-1Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, no money is being made off of this.

Spoilers: This fic contains spoilers for episode 42.

Every Star a Grain of Sand

The Elrics were gone. The desert swallowed them whole, the falling night hiding their retreat from prying eyes. Lust didn't know where they were going and she found that she didn't care. She would find them again, she always did. Her mind was elsewhere. The desert was cold in the night. She wrapped her arms around her, stone beneath her and night sky above. She looked upwards, the cosmos stretching out across her as vast as the sea. It made her feel small.

The stars were innumerable. They lay scattered across the blanket of darkness like sand across stone, glittering and cold. Men had long believed their fates were held in the canvas of the night sky, the stars mapping their destinies. In the stars, all the secrets of life could be found. A silly notion, but Lust found herself considering it as she watched the heavens. Which star was hers, Lust wondered. Which of the cold white lights foretold her path? Which one spoke of her creation? Which one held the story of her joys and her sorrows? Which one told of her love? Which star was his?

The wind came down out of the mountains. It stirred the sand at her feet, washing a spray of white grains across her feet. Were there more grains of sand in the desert or stars in the sky, she wondered. She lifted a handful of sand in her hand and let it fall through her fingers. There were no secrets in the falling grains, no destiny revealed. The sand was silent, mocking. The sand was nothing but dead and scorched earth. No philosopher had ever pondered his existence in the sand. The only thing the sand held was death. Lust lifted her eyes, letting her gaze drift upwards.

Who decided the fate of men? God? He had thought so. The only gods Lust had ever known had been flesh and blood humans. And the only devils, as well. Did some omnipotent being guide their every move? Or was it truly in the stars? Did they, in their twinkling brilliance, hide some great design? Had the god of men written the story of the universe in the tapestry of nature? And what did the sky say tonight? There was a red star, low on the horizon. Didn't that mean the death of a king? No kings had died in the desert today, only men.

She missed him. She thought of him then, his stony countenance carved into her mind's eye. Mentally she traced the harsh scar that had given him his name. She remembered it beneath her fingers. It pained her, to think she would not see him again. He was gone now, to wherever it was those who committed the sin of human transmutation went. Wherever it was, it was nowhere on this earth. Foolish man. Had he been fated to die for her, in that city in the sand? Had the stars decreed it, or his god, or had he simply sealed his own fate in a moment of emotional idiocy? Either way, he was gone.

What would she do now, were she to become human? Somehow, he had come to represent her humanity, the life that she would gain when she was given a soul. He had loved her once. And she, in her own way, had come to care for him as well. And now he was gone, and she found she didn't much like entertaining the idea of a human life spent alone. She had come to assume he would have her, once she was human. And why not? She was what he had always wanted, after all. More or less. They could have been happy together, sinner and sin joined together in mortality. She had thought of it often. Would her desire for humanity have been so strong, without him? She had kissed him, as he lay wounded and broken. And he had kissed her in return. She could still taste his lips as though he were there with her. She longed for his warmth in the cold night. What did he think of the stars? She laughed then, a dry and humorless sound. She doubted there were stars wherever he was now.

She remembered their first meeting, among the ancient books of the library. Had some part of her known, even then? He had seemed captivating to her, even then. And then, in the laboratory, he had recognized her face. He had plagued her ever since, haunting her and stirring memories she hadn't known she had. How far they had come, from that chance meeting in the library. She had tried to kill him, then.

"What will I do?"

Only the stars overhead heard her, and they refused to answer. Lust stretched out under the desert moon, her head pillowed on her arm. She had no desire to rejoin the others - her wants were simple and direct. She only wanted to be human. And continuing with them, serving their master, was not the way to achieve it. It was the Elric boys now, they held her life in their hands. And it was he who had placed it there. How ironic, Lust thought, laying in the desert and watching the sky. It was he, in a way, who had given her the means to her humanity. He had finished what his brother had started. Surely it was fate that had brought them together.

But was it worth the price? Lust sighed. He was gone and she was left with only a handful of memories. And when she was human, what would she remember then? She wanted to remember him. His wind roughed lips, his sand calloused hands, his warm and spice-laced scent. She crossed her legs, her foot twitching in the wind as she thought.

"I wish you well," she said into the vast night sky. "Wherever you are."

Over the mountains, in a blazing flash of light, a star fell from the sky.