1Bitter Fog

D M Evans

Skewed Perspectives series, story #1

Disclaimer - not mine, all characters belong to Hiromu Arakawa et al, Square Enix and funimition. I don't make a profit

Time Line - During the Ishbal war, pretty much 100 manga based

Pairing - none, some one sided sexual tension between Kimbley and Roy

Summary - Envy sends one alchemist to help corrupt another

Prompt - the palms of his two black hands

Author's Note - this was written for the 7 stages challenge where I opted to try and write Kimbley and Roy. Mostly I'm interested in their dynamics, their sameness and their differences more so than anything romantic.

I Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth - Marcus Aurelius /i

The black of the palms of his hands frightened him. The grime and soot seemed embedded in his flesh, leeching straight through his once-white gloves. This wasn't what he had dreamed of when he argued with his teacher about his choice to join the military. He was saving no one. If Roy needed proof that Teacher had been right in keeping the secrets of flame alchemy away from him, the evidence shone in Riza's eyes. She was afraid of him. Riza still cared but...Roy scrubbed his soot-stained hands over his face. No, he couldn't think on it. It hurt far too much. He needed Hawkeye's approval and respect like he needed water. When had she become so important to him? Before or after she showed him her back? The implications disturbed Roy.

Other reminders of the horror he was becoming hung in the hot evening air. The sun wouldn't go down fast enough to suit him. It hung like a bloody eye just at the horizon, glinting through the bluish haze that blanketed the desert. Bitter fog, that's what the soldiers called it, an awful lung-burning, eye-stinging smoke, part explosive remnants, part fire, part flesh and hair. It coated them all with an inescapable reek. Mortar fire, flame alchemy and Kimbley's explosive alchemy all went together to create the bitter fog, a lethal mix of science, lost idealism and plain evil.

Roy staggered to his feet, wishing for a distraction. After Kimbley's dressing down of Riza over some of the things she had to say about what Roy had done, Mustang knew she wouldn't likely console him now. Maes was off riding the light winds generated by a letter from home. Hughes would be useless to Roy and he didn't want to ruin what small comfort his friend could find in this hell.

Roy didn't know he could so alone, so low. He was a killer and that was something he had never even imagined himself to be. How idealistically stupid was he? He should have known. Hawkeye had tried to tell him before he died. The urge to find a handful of the Ishbalan warrior priests and let them punish him was nearly overwhelming.

Central command routinely shipped a lousy grain alcohol to the front. It helped to keep the soldiers happy and on a more even keel. Roy helped himself to a flask and wandered to the nearest camp fire. He wasn't in the mood for company but sitting alone in the dark seemed even less appealing. Maybe it was the look on his face that did it but the other soldiers gave him a wide berth. Roy drank and listened to the crackle of the fire. Would that sound ever be comforting again?

XXX

"Why me?" Kimbley moaned.

"We have a vested interest in the Flame Alchemist." Envy lounged in Kimbley's tent. He wanted something interesting to happen. Father and Wrath had shown an interest in both of the alchemists. Envy wondered what Father would do if he could turn the Flame Alchemist to their side. He already had Kimbley in the palm of his hand, which was a coup but it wasn't a sure thing.

Envy knew that he himself wasn't the sanest of creatures but next to Kimbley, he was a vast bastion of mental stability. Of course Kimbley's utter joy in blowing things up was what made him of interest to Father and the Sins. Besides, it was just plain fun to hang around with the nutter.

"So why don't you do it?" Kimbley waved him off. "Go look like that bitchy little blonde. Mustang will fall over his own cock to be with her. You can make him do whatever you want. Or maybe that four-eyed loud mouth he hangs out with. Bet you anything Mustang takes his pleasures both ways...not that there's anything wrong with that."

Envy snorted. "Nothing at all. But I have other pots to stir. You can do this. Corrupting your fellow alchemist...surely that would be fun." Envy technically had nothing to do but he was feeling lazy. Kimbley was certainly the right man for the job. All Envy needed to do was sit back and watch.

Kimbley cracked his knuckles and looked at the tattoos on his palms. "Fun...well not as fun as explosions but having something on the 'I'm Too Good For You' crowd does interest me."

Envy beamed. "I was so hoping you'd say that."

XXX

Roy glanced up as he heard someone approach. He scowled, seeing it was Kimbley. He was too drunk for this.

Kimbley flopped down a little too close to Roy. "What's up, Flame?"

"Happily being alone," Roy stressed, taking another swig of the alcohol. He hoped Kimbley would take the hint.

Kimbley grabbed the flask, wiped the mouth and helped himself. "Get dumped?"

Roy almost snatched the flask back then decided he didn't want it after Kimbley had drank from it. "Not that it's any of your business but no." He would have to have a relationship first in order to get dumped and Roy just didn't want to think about the mess his personal life was in.

"Heard you're a ladies man, anyhow." Kimbley gave him a once over. "Must be the eyes." He ran a finger under his own almond-shaped eyes that were so much like Mustang's own.

"I'm not in a talking mood," Roy grumbled, hoping Kimbley would just go away. He was too drunk to even think about doing anything to scare the man off.

"Big surprise. You're the mopey kind." Kimbley slapped Roy's back. "You need to let it all out."

"I'm fine as is. Don't pretend to know me, Kimbley. We're nothing alike," Roy grumbled.

"Oh, but we are." Kimbley's voice pulled over Roy like silk as he edged too close to Mustang.

"You enjoy this destruction. You breathe in the bitter fog and it means you smile," Roy argued, trying to put distance, physical and emotional between them. "It makes me sick."

Kimbley sprung on him like a cat on a mouse, an arm snaking over Roy's shoulders. "You tell yourself that, Mustang. If it were really true, you'd have faked battle fatigue and got sent back to some pointless desk job on the outer fringes somewhere. No, Flame, you can fool your little friends but not me. You have amazing power. I know it. Everyone around here looks at us, sees that Xing blood in our veins, sees how similar our talents are and they think we're brothers." Kimbley laughed.

Roy tried to pull away but the other man was too strong and more importantly, sober. "I hate those rumors." Roy had heard them, too. If he grew his hair long, he and Kimbley could pass for one another, except that Crimson had a hardness to him that Roy prayed he didn't.

Kimbley continued on as if uninterrupted. "Your talent with flames, what else good is it, Mustang? It's destructive, just like me, and you love it. You'd have done anything to learn this talent, to control the flames. You don't master abilities like ours without stubborn pride, a little foolishness, a lot of balls and a taste for violence."

Roy shuddered, hearing it put that way. "No," he whispered.

"You and I are far more alike than you want to admit to. I'll buy that for now but in the end, you'll see it my way." Kimbley smirked. "You can't tell me, Mustang, that when the flames are spreading you don't look at your handiwork and think, 'Damn, I'm god,' Kimbley laughed. "You can't tell me it doesn't get you here." He leaned over, stroking Roy's crotch lightly. "You feel that power and it makes you hard."

Roy could feel Kimbley's erection digging into his thigh when the alchemist leaned over him. The lust for power stirring in the man all but glowed in his eyes. Roy shoved him back. "Get away from me."

Kimbley laughed louder, getting up. "You hate it because it's true." He stretched languidly. "Damn, either I need to get laid or go blow something else." A lazy, sleazy smile parted Kimbley's lips. "Want to help me out?"

"Get out of my sight," Roy growled.

Kimbley's laughter lingered in Roy's ear long after the man was gone. Roy staggered back to his tent and collapsed in bed. He wasn't like Kimbley. He couldn't be. Roy refused to accept it. He covered his face with his thin pillow. He wasn't sure if he'd ever sleep peacefully again.