Title : Ignition

Genre : Anime/Manga

Category : Full Metal Alchemist

Disclaimer : If I owned this, it would never have stopped with fifty-one episodes and a movie. No, it would just go on and on and on…..

Summary : Producing a flame was as easy as the blink of an eye, but after Edward went missing, it became impossible. Post series.

Warnings : Well, of course, look who you're dealing with! ANGST, Mustang-style

Rating : T

The onyx-eyed man stared at the lifeless fireplace, a container of matches trembling miserably in his shaking hands. To most, the small box would have amounted to a few ounces or so; but in his, the damned thing was dead weight, a constant reminder of the precious ability he once held but no longer used. He just couldn't do it. It wouldn't be fair.

Fair. A word he had heard numerous times but had never quite taken the time out to consider what meaning it held behind it. Now he knew. Fair was having something for six years and never taking the time out to appreciate it. Fair was having that something leave you, expecting you to be able to get along without it, and not think twice about the longing that rooted itself in the pit of your stomach.

Roy Mustang scoffed lightly, the sound of matches rattling a faint noise in his ears. He was there, but his thoughts were another world away. Almost literally.

The golden eyes he had glimpsed into for so long haunted his every step, making him rethink all of the choices he had made in the previous years. Sure, he'd killed the Fuhrer, the homunculi that had fooled them all, including him.

Fooled. For so many years, he had been fooled. Fooled into thinking that perhaps, one day, maybe one day, he could actually be happy. But that ghost of a dream faded completely out of sight the moment Maes Hughes was murdered. And it all went down hill from there. The war escalated into something he had no idea it could become. And then Edward disappeared.

Edward.

The name settled in his head like an anchor, refusing to move anywhere but deeper in, the matches rattling even louder. He could feel his teeth grit as the name repeated over and over, images of a certain golden haired teenager running through his head. He remembered the first time he had seen that kid, laying deathly still on clean white sheets, missing his arm and leg.

The dark haired man recalled setting his first glance on the ten year old who had attempted a human transmutation and actually lived to see the light of day. Not even amazed could describe the feeling that was circulating through his mind, inwardly knowing that not even many men twice his own age could attempt such a thing and live to tell the tale. But there he was, skin almost as white as the sheets due to the amount of blood he had lost.

And that's when Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang had to open his mouth and suggest the kid travel to Central and take the State Alchemy exam and become a State Alchemist, just as he was. And of course the kid listened, the one and only damned time the boy actually listened to him and he passed. A twelve year old of all people fucking passed.

And that was the beginning of it all. He never thought the end would come four years later. Just like that, Alphonse Elric was back in his body, a ten year old's nonetheless, but at least he was back. But Edward, Edward had disappeared without a trace, leaving nothing behind but a little brother to search for him and a pathetic old man with a patch over his eye, just wanting to see the kid's face one last time to know that he was alright.

He tried to fake that rare emotion of happiness, at least for her. The woman who served under him for more years than he could remember, nursing him back to health after that last fight; and what did he do? He gave her a second's worth of what could have been, then decided it was time for a change. The next thing he knew, he was a lonely enlisted man living in the northern most part of Amestris, dreaming dreams that would never come true, and thinking about every single damned mistake he had ever made.

But it was too late to change any of it. God, was it too late.

A pitiful, crooked grin wracked his chapped lips, it forming more out of pain than pleasure. He could feel tears brimming, tears that had been pushed away for years, reminding him that he in fact, was still living and breathing, and had blood flowing through his veins.

It had been two years. Two painful fucking years living without seeing that kid's face. And he suffered through both, the days never ending, the nights never beginning.

But it wasn't as though he was an amateur at self-torture. He'd gotten quite good at it actually. The War had started it off, nearly forcing him to shoot himself square in the head, but he couldn't. Once again, it wouldn't be fair. He was supposed to suffer; he was supposed to remember each and every single face that had diminished right before his very eyes. And he did. Every night when most normal people would sleep, he would not. Instead, he would be transported back to that damned desert, forced to relive the crimes the military committed. The crimes he committed.

Then after Hughes died, he joined their ranks as well. And just seeing that face pissed him off all the more. His best friend, the man who would help push him to the top. And to think, now he was just an enlisted man. The lowest of all the dogs.

The chill of the room snapped him out of the sorrow and pity he was wallowing in, forcing him to remember that his only source of heat was in his hands. He carefully opened the box, sliding out one and attempting to light it. He struck it against the strip, though nothing happened. He tried again, and again, and again, but they all bent in half or became dull. Before he knew it, the box was empty, and he was shivering profusely, feeling as though his blood had turned to ice.

Two years he had lived this life, pathetically lighting matches instead of using the talent he had been granted. Two years of swimming in a melancholy dream, letting the black, icy waters eat away at his soul until there was hardly anything left.

He had been missing something. That spark, that one tiny spark that could ignite the flame he needed to light the fire. The fire that had been out for so long...

Reaching into his coat pocket, he felt the familiar material rub against his fingertips, that feeling of using them just one more time creeping through his nerves. Slowly, he eased them on to his shaking hands, hesitance ever present. They fit perfectly, just as they always had.

And it felt right. It felt right to wear that piece of material with the alchemy symbol on it. To use it, as he knew he was supposed to.

He snapped, electricity running at lightning speed through the tips of his fingers and straight into the fireplace, a beautiful array of flames shooting up before him, their colors of orange and vibrant gold enveloping the air in front of him. He stood to his feet, staring into the flames that danced invitingly on top of the wood. That vague notion of responsibility struck his nerves, the title of General racing through his mind.

That's were he was supposed to be. He knew it now. Fuck the pity and the sorrow. Enough was enough, and he had a job to do.

"You'd better be there, Full Metal." The words left his mouth faster than he could give them permission, but he didn't care. He had a place to go, and soldiers to save; and a stupid kid with a height complex to take care of.

Fin

Once again, I'm a day late. Oh, well. Ever the procrastinator, right? Hope you liked it. ; )