Here are the quick and dirty particulars:
Title: "Jean Havoc: A Work in Progress"
Rating: M, for language, realistic description of spinal cord injury, and later sexual situations.
Spoilers: Manga Chapter 38+
Pairings: Main pairings are het some yaoi later without much detail, you'll know it happened. You will have to see for yourself for more info on the main pairings, I won't spoil you. Trust me, you'll like it.
Characters featured: Jean Havoc, Gracia and Elysia Hughes... and one other who comes in around Chapter 4.
Other Characters: Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye, Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric, Winry Rockbell, and manga only cameos.
Disclaimer: All of these characters are the property of the genius that invented FMA. No one but Jim is mine and he's purely fictional, Dr. Prick, er Parker as well. All smex scenes are fictional but technically accurate and hopefully spicy due to some personal experience as inspiration, however it would be creepy to write my actual sex life into fan fiction. This is a frank, detailed and realistic fic with some levity thrown in with the tragedy. Just like real life. If you can't laugh at yourself, you're left with others laughing at you. Better to laugh with them.
Beta: Anat-Astarte is amazing and wonderful. ANY and all mistakes up until chapter 29 are MY OWN. She hadn't joined this insane quest yet. ;)
EDITS are COMING!! They are up in Chapter 1 already. I consulted with my most excellent friend Karl who has a lot of knowledge on spinal cord injuries and he really helped me out with the medical setting. I think it's going to be great. (Explaining HOW they could have Titanium in a place with no computers and that YES there are antibiotics, no there are no computers, they have alchemy... THEY CAN SO DO THAT... they have AUTOMAIL! XD) Now I owe him my soul. He also thinks Havoc should cuss more, so he added quite a few F-Bombs. Karl is the MAN!
Chapter 1: Awareness
In a small black journal similar to the Moleskines so many writers favor...
Disinfectant. That was my first impression upon waking up. I heard familiar voices, but unfamiliar noises. What was that smell and what the hell is in my arm? I searched through my memory and found: the Lab, Lust, Mustang, and me. Judging from the disinfectant I was definitely not in the lab. No stench of the lab, no ozone from alchemical reactions and definitely nothing burning. Shit! Was Mustang ok? No, he was, I just heard him in the room. Well, no time was better than the present to announce I was among the living.
"Hey, I need a cigarette. A drink of water and some whisky wouldn't hurt either." I rasped out.
I don't think I've ever seen people move so quickly. Breda and Fuery jumped to attention, Mustang slumped in obvious relief, and I could swear I saw tears in Hawkeye's eyes. I let that go. To be in the hospital I must be pretty messed up, and I didn't need the wrath of Hawkeye's 9 mil on top of whatever was wrong with me. Seeing that everyone I cared for was no worse for wear was a relief. I also think it was against the fire code to have that many people in one room. Mustang seemed a little jumpy and he could be dangerous even without the gloves; one could never be too careful.
Sure that everyone else was ok, and with cigarette in hand, I did a little mental inventory. Eyes, check. Ears, check. Arms and hands, check. Torso, not so good. OW.
"ROY, did you HAVE to do me well done? Seriously, the crispy look really does nothing to attract the chicks."
Mustang replied with some crack about leaving me rare and that he was medium done. I'm sure if he'd had to perform field cauterization that it had been necessary, which meant the situation must have been bad.
I'd always been pretty lucky, and I'd had the great good fortune to be a subordinate to the human barbeque pit. Bleeding out in the bowels of Lab 3 would not have been good. This more than paid off the debts Mustang owed me for ruining all the women in Central and all the money for losing to me at poker.
My assessment had to end as a rather pretty nurse ushered my well-wishers out as visiting hours ended. I groused to myself, "I'm sure Mustang will get her, but perhaps he'll have pity on me as I seem to be a little more banged up than he is."
As everyone left, I waved and requested they send cigarettes, booze and magazines. Breda winked and said he'd take care of my "intellectual pursuits." Mustang was deep in thought looking over charts of the Third Lab, so I was free to continue my self-assessment.
Ok Jean, where were you? Ah, yes, torso, charred but serviceable. I lifted the blankets and noted that the hospital gown was rather revealing and THE HELL? Well, no wonder I didn't have to pee after having been out cold for days. Safe to say, all of the nurses would be Mustang's as some genius had attached a contraption to my junk to make sure I didn't piss myself. How dignified. This was definitely not a shining moment in my manhood's history. Slowly the pieces began to fall into place, one by one. Wait, what the fuck? that should hurt, that really should hurt. WHY the fuck doesn't that hurt?
Now I was getting concerned. This couldn't be good. I pulled my gown up and I checked the bandages on my abdomen. The doctors had bandaged me rather thoroughly with a wrap that started at my chest and ended the top of pelvis. I noted that there was extra thick gauze at the front near my navel. So much for modeling as my navel was now one hole of many, and then I felt around towards the back and there was a very similar arrangement of gauze.
That bitch had run me through! The dressings were stiff and substantial. I would later learn it served two purposes; to protect my burns and wounds and to immobilize me until they could perform tests. As I felt lower centimeter by centimeter the feeling started to tingle and change and then… nothing. Just nothing. I felt skin, what I assumed to be my skin, but I could have been touching someone else. I repeated my test on my stomach; again, nothing. I then probed lower. Both legs were there, but both thighs just lie there like a broken doll's. I tried to wiggle my toes, I pinched myself and I even thought of testing for pain with a lit cigarette. My mind raced. I thought to myself, "Easy Jean, easy, this is probably just temporary. You've been in bed, what almost a week? It's pins and needles. That's all. You've just been sitting on your ass too long."
Then the final test, I touched IT. I felt NOTHING! Zero, zilch, nada!
I closed my eyes to keep them from stinging and waited for sleep. I had nothing else to do from there. It was over. I knew the doctor would be in in the morning to check on Mustang and myself. To "assess" the situation, as they had said most of the tests would have to be done when I was coherent.
Why bother? What could a doctor tell me? Lust had run me through and quite obviously I was broken. I settled in to try to sleep and prayed that the nurse would come in with something for sleep like they did at the cinema. My prayers were answered and I gladly took the offered sedative. As I nodded off into the fog I thought, "Fuck, I broke my back, now what?"
A new day dawned when an old crotchety nurse came in to, I can only assume, harass me and ruin some perfectly good sleep. In truth, she had come to turn me onto my side to prevent bedsores and empty the bag that was attached to the contraption violating my junk. She explained that it was called a catheter. I didn't need an explanation. I'd owned a pair my whole life, I knew how my stuff worked, and I knew mine wasn't working. All she really did was clarify just how totally fucked up I was. I'd been right about harassment part. This was not a shining moment in my life, or in the life of "Master Havoc".
Thank the gods Mustang is a heavy sleeper. I would have NEVER heard the end of this, either by witty retort or the sad look on his face that I would come to know later. I never got the pretty nurses any other time I got banged up, but in my current state this twist of fate was a relief. I was informed that I would be going for tests after breakfast. I wouldn't be learning anything I hadn't already figured out myself, but the time alone to think would be welcome.
Breakfast arrived, and Mustang of course had a few cracks about his lack of a "Command Suite" and the caliber of the fare. I picked at my food and was thankful they at least let me have a cigarette after breakfast. If there was ever a time to smoke 'em if you had them, this was it.
After breakfast a couple of orderlies came and transferred me to a gurney and took me for X-rays and a full physical work up. After the X-rays I was stripped, and then the Neuro Surgeon proceeded to show me a variety of blunt and pointy instruments, some which looked like they would be, should be, painful. I only ever felt a few of the pricks, but I suppose that was the aim of the whole test, to see if I could feel pain. I'd never wanted to feel pain so much in my life. I would hear the doctor move, and then he'd purse his lips or sigh, and I knew it was not good. I guess the doctors were surprised when they saw the results; I was either very out of touch with my body and ignorant of my situation, or one of the most together people they'd ever seen. Apparently, I should have been hysterical as soon as I woke up and realized I couldn't move. If only they knew what was going on in my head. I had been treating this mess like a mission, like I was gathering intel on another person. But the tests made it impossible to distance myself any longer. This was me. This had happened to me.
It was no surprise to me when the doctor came back in with a grave face and informed me, "Lieutenant, you've broken your back at T-11. Your spinal cord was severed when you were stabbed. From the sensory function tests we did we can tell you have a little sporadic sensation below the injury site and no voluntary motor function at this time. It's too early to tell what the eventual outcome is going to be, only time will tell if you will get any return of sensation or movement or not. In a week or so we will insert steel rods to stabilize from T-10 to S-1 and repair some of the burns with skin grafts. You will be able to start Occupational and Physical Therapy shortly after that. I don't want to disturb you or hinder your rehabilitation progress, Second Lieutenant Havoc, but don't count on much return."
It was like I was no longer Jean Havoc. He'd referred to me in technical terms, like a broken or obsolete machine, devoid of emotion because I was the diagnosis.
"Excuse me Doctor…. could I have that in Amestrian?" I said in a snappish tone.
He translated it from jargon to the cold hard truth.
"Lieutenant Havoc, the stab wound in your back severed your spinal cord completely just above the waist. When the swelling goes down it may allow you more feeling & function than you already have, but the outlook is grim. This is probably how it is going to be for the rest of your life. I'm sorry, but you are paralyzed from the waist down. In medical terms, you are classed as a complete paraplegic. Now that you're out of immediate danger we plan to insert steel rods to stabilize the broken bones and to insure no more damage is done To minimize the risk of infection we will perform skin grafts to cover the burns on your torso. Once we are sure the grafts have taken you will be allowed to sit up and start rehabilitation."
He'd introduced himself before the "prick test". Prick. As the ceiling flashed by as the orderlies took me back to the room, I realized I couldn't remember his last name for the life of me. It should have stuck in my mind, since in ten minutes his diagnosis had completely changed my future and my general outlook on life. I had asked Dr. Prick not to tell any of my comrades about my injuries, that I would do that. He was rather relieved, as he already had to call my mother and give her the news.
"Live like this," he'd said. How in the hell could I live like this? How could I have become such a burden on my poor mother? What would she do with me? What would I do with me? A soldier, hell, a war veteran, reduced to living with his family? Life as I knew it was over. This situation was undignified and unsuitable I would be better off dead. I considered the fact that IT was as good as dead too. Dr. Prick hadn't mentioned that. But diagnoses don't get laid, do they? I might as well give all women to Mustang now. Hell, Fullmetal could have some of them, too. He wasn't getting much in the downtime he had between missions.
When I was delivered back to the room, and gingerly but gracelessly, placed back in my bed, Hawkeye and Mustang were poring over the blueprints for the Third Lab. They were discussing plans for how to discern who could be trusted in Central. As Mustang lectured on how we would be working doubly hard for him and how good it was to have something to fight for and Hawkeye was obviously honored to be included in Mustang's ascent to the top, I thought, "This is it, I have to tell them." It was then that Breda burst in with the "intellectual stimulation". I decided there was no time better than the present.
"Breda, my friend, I won't be needing that reading material anymore, hand it over to Fuery. He certainly needs an education beyond those dime store novels," I said, trying to control my tone and keep it light. Then I turned to Mustang, and said, "I regret that you'll have to count me out."
Mustang and Hawkeye glared at me incredulously, with fury in their eyes. I explained my blunt announcement gripping the sheets that covered my now useless legs, "My legs, I can't feel them, so excuse me," I paused trying to find the words. "I cannot go on."
We were all experts at escape and evade, so of course after I gave everyone the news, the room fell into an uncomfortable silence. With that, Breda left for Headquarters to do something. I'm sure it was important, but at that point I was beyond caring. Mustang and Hawkeye fell into silence. Hawkeye left, explaining that she had to go feed Black Hayate, though the housekeeper could have done it. My announcement felt like it had sucked all the air out of the room. Mustang announced that he needed a nap after all the plotting. I just needed a cigarette and a good stiff drink.
After a much needed smoke, I settled in for a nap. I suppose the blessing in this was that I was feeling no pain. Funny, had I known this when I woke up the day before, I would have wished for agony. Anything was better than this.
A very needed distraction came before suppertime in the form of a pretty nurse. The fates hadn't forgotten me! "Hello there you! Is it time for my sponge bath?" I said.
"Well you look like you are feeling quite well. How are you soldier?" the vision of loveliness before me said. She did indeed have the necessities for a sponge bath and commenced her work appearing rather eager.
"Havoc, you haven't lost it," I thought to myself.
She undid the shoulders of my oh-so-flattering hospital gown. I let her know my name was Jean and that I was, after all, a Second Lieutenant. She started washing my shoulders and arms. She added a little shoulder massage for good measure, as I seemed tense. Was she flirting? Then she moved onto the hair. Hopefully she'd get the 'do' back in place when she was done. It was heaven to have my hair washed, and man did I ever need a shave. She of course saw to that. Gosh, pretty and perceptive. She had it all. It was pleasant for once to have a blade to my throat that wasn't going to kill me. I admitted to myself that I must have looked like hell before that. I was glad I'd requested a toothbrush after breakfast. It wouldn't do to flirt with a pretty nurse with fuzz on my teeth. After she finished my shave and moved to lower regions, she faltered, and I realized that she had not read my chart. I thought to myself, "Jean, you idiot. She didn't know. Perfectly serviceable shoulders and arms, hell, perhaps even an attractive face. Lust left that intact. Perhaps she even thought that through… but Angel Nurse saw the damage, and what they've got going on with the manhood and she's pieced it all together that Jean Havoc, former loser in love, has been taken out of the race for good."
She apologized for the lapse of attention and continued my sponge bath, but it was no longer the companionable and flirty affair that it had started out as. Sponge baths from pretty nurses were supposed to be fun, and this was just another reality check. I was now to be taken care of by pretty women and definitely not an object of lust.
All dry and powdered like a newborn babe, it was announced that Mustang and I would be fed soon and the blushing Angel Nurse hurried out of the room.
After a few more days of being babied due to my helpless and hopeless state, it was declared that I was fit enough to undergo surgery. I found it kind of funny at the time that a knife would be repairing damage done by a knife. I didn't let anyone know that though; I think they'd already thought I'd lost it. I wasn't talking much to anyone, though my inner monologue was going a mile a minute.
The day of surgery arrived, and it was a relief to be put under anesthesia and then sedated heavily until they thought I was "out of the woods" pain wise. It passed the time. Since they wouldn't let me drink at all or smoke much, pain medication was a welcome escape.
With my state of mind I couldn't concentrate enough to read, and would read the same page over and over again if I tried. If I was awake, the unceasing concerned questions of my comrades grated on my nerves. I wanted to be left alone to fester in my self-pity. When medicated, I was too out of it to hear the comings and goings of my comrades and, more importantly, to hold the pained and polite conversations. The injuries I could deal with, the pain was manageable. The unbearable part was being pitied by my former peers. In addition to my list of battle scars that my comrades and I would compare and tell tall tales about how we'd gotten them, my back now looked like I'd been dissected in biology class. A long thin line ran from the top of my boxers to mid-back. This would be great with the ladies, maybe I should have asked Mustang to char that too, make it a matched set to go with his field medicine efforts.
Days flowed in and out. Almost two weeks had passed since the diagnosis. At times I slept through whole days, and some days seemed to drag on for an eternity. Food, meds, what passed for therapy, Mustang complaining and eventually being able to wander the hospital grounds (thank the gods, a room to myself some of the time), and the Dogs would come by to visit when they had some time. Nurses would come in and check on me, turn me over so I wouldn't begin to rot and I'd stopped really looking at them. They may as well have sent the homeliest nurses. I didn't really notice, and if I had, what good would it have done? I couldn't really DO anything about it in my broken state. I'd never been much of a success with the ladies when I was whole, what could I do from a hospital bed?
I got one smoke a day. This was truly a brutal medical facility. What's a guy supposed to do when he can't really DO anything? The answer is smoke. It is comforting. It's something to do with your hands. It takes up time. It is familiar. It was damned annoying that I could only have one and damned annoying if I spaced out while smoking my one measly allotted cigarette for the day. Each drag should be appreciated if they are being rationed. Maybe they could have let me chew them? Or just hold onto one?
During my sacred smoking time, Breda came in. I must have been spacing out because he startled me, and handed me an ashtray as I'd about smoked it down to the filter and was about to have the cherry land in my numb lap and set myself aflame. I'd have known once I smelled the smoke or saw the flame. Normally a cherry landing in my lap would set me jumping. Bygones.
Breda informed me that Second Lieutenant Maria Ross was safe and sound, and though pleased for her, I didn't really smile. I was still kind of dazed and in my own thoughts. Poor Breda looked to be beside himself. I pulled out the gallows humor in an attempt to make him feel a bit better. "I'll at least be a good joke around the barracks. 'Jean Havoc, the soldier who was retired from service because he was stabbed by a woman.' Somehow it's fitting really."
Breda, ever the loyal dog, was persistent. "What about automail like the Fullmetal Boss? Edward does ok."
I sighed and said, "No, the nervous system to my lower body is completely shot. It's useless. It won't work, it's impossible. The doctors, Doctor Prick in particular, said not to get my hopes up too high, or go looking for 'miracle cures'."
Breda got ready to leave and set his jaw, I can only imagine he was thinking up some hare brained scheme to get me back into working order. He said a cryptic, "Not quite. You're not suited to the life of a retiree," and strode out. Perhaps he and the Boss can share a room in the loony bin. It's just down the hall, quite aptly named since many of the Ishbal veterans are stashed there.
As a member of the military, you need your mind and your body sharp. My mind was sharp as ever, but the body, well, it was not cooperating and my sick leave was completely used and there was still no change in my condition. The swelling had gone down around my spinal cord and I still couldn't feel anything more than I could before. Even after the skin grafts had healed & I was finally allowed to sit up I could hardly move on my own. I called the Retirement Department. An officer was sent to my room and my mother came to the meeting. I could barely look at her. My limited options were discussed, and it was decided that when I was "better" or as good as I was going to get, I would be released to the care of my parents in the East. My mother cried the whole time.
They were just leaving as Breda came in. He saw my mother and the Retirement Department officer and asked what was up. I let him in on my plans and he tried to convince me otherwise, but WHAT can a soldier do if he cannot move on his own? My sick leave was up; I was clearly dead in the water. What would I do if someone tried to attack my comrades? Fall in front of them to trip them? Roll my chair in front of them and pray that terrorists wouldn't harm a cripple or that they'd stub a toe on the clunky thing? Cripes.
Mustang of course was shocked that I would retire without first discussing my options with my him, and I think he was scared that I had talked to anyone without clearing my statement and cover story. After all, we were on an illegal raid of the Third Lab. I had covered our tracks well though.
The scenario I gave was that my injuries were caused while trying to seize the detention center attackers. Besides, who would believe that a gorgeous woman had shot out her fingers and skewered me like shish kebab? Breda continued to press me on my plans for my release from the hospital. The Retirement Department and my mother had decided that it would be for the best if I moved back to the East where my parents have a general store. In my state, I could probably still answer the telephone for them and take orders. I agreed, though I really didn't care where I'd be, or to be anywhere.
Mustang argued that it wasn't decided that I wouldn't heal. Was he crazy? What alchemy, medicine or miracle from the heavens would restore a severed spinal cord? Stubborn idiot. I was beginning to lose it. But Mustang was still my commanding officer. I couldn't yell at him. I simply stated, "I'm not so dumb that I think I will still be useful. A pawn that cannot move is not needed by the army."
Mustang said, "I won't accept it."
I finally just lost it. All the pain, loss, apprehension and fear that had been gripping me for weeks finally exploded to the surface.
"What in the HELL do you expect me to do with these legs?" I screamed while punching my slack thigh muscles.
Mustang dropped his gaze, trying to object it was useless. His eyes held a mix that I could only interpret as despair and possibly pity. This was the final straw for me.
"Why are you looking at me like that? Why don't you just throw me out? LEAVE ME HERE! Don't you have to keep your promise to Brigadier General Hughes?"
How could he keep his promise with me as literally dead weight in his command? I grabbed Mustang by the shirt, and with much effort pulled myself up so I was eye to eye with him.
"LOOK AT ME! LOOK!" I grunted out. I felt Breda's arm grab me to support my shoulders because I was shaking with the effort of even sitting up unsupported. "I have to be held like a baby to even sit up properly. I DON'T need your sympathy! Just cut me off... just GIVE up!"
I pitched forward and Breda caught me like a rag doll and I ground out my last request to my Colonel. "Please." Just that one word. Please. Like a child. I was exhausted with the effort of arguing and just sitting up. What had become of the soldier, the man that I was?
He left, but before he did he told me that I'd better catch up, he'd be waiting at the top. Even after my tirade and all we knew, he didn't give up on me. He let me know that he still wanted me to "cover his back", even in my state. Hawkeye explained that Mustang still needed me, that they still needed me. She comforted me, even after I'd been a total bastard. She and Breda carefully laid me back down on my pillows. They left without another word; just two long and puzzled looks.
After that I fell into a deep sleep. I wished I'd never wake from it, but I did. The country began to fall into a mess. I stayed in the hospital and they began working with me to make use of what was left of me. I thought about what the General Store in the East would be like, and that didn't sound too appealing, but really what was there for me?
Mustang was released, my comrades Breda, Fuery and Falman were transferred and scattered to the winds. Hawkeye was made the Fuhrer's personal secretary. All this insult on top of injury was becoming too much to bear. Truly, this was the end I thought. I prepared myself to rot in the hospital, forgotten, and to then slink off to the East to fester in my self-pity.