"Transparent Melody"

That laugh. Forever he would remember the laugh coming from that monstrous beast known as Frank Archer before he pulled the trigger. The robotic, sneering tone would ring through his ears until the end of time. Down, down, he had plunged into the depths of hell once the bullet hit. While his left eye became a lost cause, his right eye still searched for something to hold onto as he felt himself hit the ground. And the last thing he saw…was her.

The darkness seemed to consume him after the sight of her running. He could no longer feel any of the cuts or bruises inflicted upon him by the Fuhrer or the gunshot wound by Archer. He was dead, of that he was certain. He wondered what unspeakable horrors awaited him on the path into the underworld. Yes, he knew he was no longer living, but he could not understand why it seemed his spirit still remained.

That's when he could hear the crying. Loud, mournful sobs echoed in his soul. It sounded like….

"ROY!"

No. It couldn't have been. He tried to shake the thought from his mind, but on and on the weeping played almost lyrically, as if he were being sung to. Who was that singing again? Could it have been an angel? He could no longer recall. The sobs faded into a soft humming that seemed to go on forever, yet the atmosphere didn't seem so dark anymore. Instead, he was standing in a sort of white light alone, until he turned around.

"…M-Maes."

That blur of a figure nodded. "Hey, there Roy."

"Well, this is a surprise," he smirked. "I was for sure I wouldn't end up in a peaceful place such as this."

Hughes smiled. "Don't get your hopes up. I've been informed to tell you that you won't be granted passage here just yet."

"I figured it was too good to be true, my friend," Mustang sighed and looked off into the blank distance.

"It doesn't matter to you anymore, does it? Going to the top?"

He chuckled. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't care. But now…I don't know. It just seems like…"

"…There are more important things to accomplish?"

Mustang grew silent. When he turned back to face his friend, there was no longer a figure in his presence.

"Go back. There's someone waiting for you…"

Again the emptiness swept over him, the darkness devouring his every thought and feeling. Dizzily, he could feel a dull pain in his left eye. That's right…he remembered now. Every other second the memories of that night seemed to leave him. Slowly he could feel himself materializing, and knew that his body lay flat. He was in bed, but neither of his eyes would open when he tried to see. He could not move. The only senses that were of use to him were sound and scent. All he could smell was perfume…and all he could hear was a light snoring. Everything seemed hazy as his right eye slowly opened to the view of a bare ceiling. Who on earth was that snoring sound coming from? His left arm twitched slightly, as the feeling started to return, and as he moved it to the side only a little, he could feel the hand of a woman. Without thought or any consideration, he clasped the hand tightly, and the woman sprang to life with a gasp.

"Oh, God! Roy!"

"Lieutenant…is that you?" he managed to say weakly.

"You're awake," she choked.

"I can't see you…" he said.

Hawkeye stood and leaned over him, her hands trembling as she clenched the side of the bed. He could see that was ready to cry. So it was true. It had been her that called out his name and sobbed over his supposed corpse. Her blonde hair cascaded beside her face entrancingly as a single tear landed upon his chest with a light thud.

"Tell me…that is isn't a dream," he whispered.

Those words seemed to melt the poor woman, and she fell upon him roughly, all of her strength escaping her. Her body was painful as it rested on him, but he didn't care. He was starting to realize what Hughes had said to him now. This was what he needed to accomplish.

"…I'm so sorry, sir…!" she cried out, apologizing that she had not been able to get to him in time.

He gently lifted his left arm and ran his fingers through her smooth hair while she whimpered quietly.

Yes, this was his fate…and a damn good fate it had become.