(I, of course, don't own FMA)

I. sense of smell

Ishbal. The smell of burning flesh. The weight of his crimes, and oh god, Riza's dead, dead eyes and even deadlier aim.

(Mr. Mustang? she used to ask, back when he was fifteen and she was eleven. When you're done playing with Papa, will you play with me?)

There's too much smoke in his eyes and sand in his mouth, and death heavy in the air, whenever he inhales.

(And he'd ruffle her hair and say, We'll see, because she was a good kid, and he's not as old as he pretends to be.)

He wakes to the sound of Riza's sobbing because she thinks it's her fault, and he tries to tell her that it's his because he's the one who actually did it and she has nothing to do with this but the words lodge in his throat, and he chokes.

(She'd beam up at him, cheeks still flushed with youth and fresh air, eyes happy and sparkling.)

II. pride / vanity

He combs his hair flat in front of the bathroom mirror and wonders why he bothers.

He and Hughes planned it all out, but Hughes is gone now, and their cloak-and-dagger plan of turning Roy Mustang into a good-looking but good-for-nothing cad means that Roy can't even properly mourn.

And being the young, dashing opportunist he's not, he gives his perfectly practiced and sincerely insincere smile to his reflection.

He would, he knows, hate this man if he met him on the street.

III. weather

Riza tells him, as she puts his coffee before him, that it will rain today. She makes it her business to know these things, and he nods in acknowledgment.

Since there is no one else here, he doesn't indulge in his usual melodramatics about the rain and how it makes him worthless.

(Because, of course, Riza knows better than anyone that rain just makes him more dangerous. Because he could light every raindrop on fire if he wished, burning Central and its surroundings to ash.)

Instead he just gulps at his coffee, taking great care to burn his mouth with every sip. Riza presses her lips together but says nothing.

IV. rage / anger

Edward's all rage and adolescent bravado this afternoon, ranting on about something Roy couldn't change and wouldn't change anyway, even if he could.

Roy watches and wonders at how Edward can be so confident that he can just let go like that, yelling and gesticulating without worrying that he might snap and do something. Something terrible. Something he could never forgive himself for.

Roy thinks about his gloves, so pristine and white and the way they sit (so peacefully) in his desk drawer with those blood-red arrays of theirs just itching to destroy.

V. melancholy

After Edward leaves his office (with a bang), Roy clears off as well, finding himself drunk and getting steadily drunker at a bar not far from headquarters. There are other military men there as well, flirting with the bargirls and bragging about their field experience.

He's in the thick of it, going through all the motions, like he does nearly every night. He can flirt and brag with the best of them, the personality he and Hughes so painstakingly created so perfect that it takes on a life of its own.

He doesn't even need to be there for its performance, not really, and he wonders (like he always does when he's like this, maudlin drunk that he is) if he's even really here or if he burnt out long ago like Riza's father.

And there's Riza at his side with a quiet, Sir, it's very late.

He lets her lead him out of the bar and gets into the car.

Nothing, he tells her meaning both I learnt nothing tonight and I am nothing.

VI. back

The array on Riza's back was never a thing of beauty, and it's even worse now, now that Roy's burnt part of it beyond repair, the skin all puckered and dead.

He kisses it anyway.

(The first time she shows it to him, he is seventeen and she is thirteen, and he can't believe that Hawkeye carved something like this into his daughter's flesh.)

Riza trusted him to see it, and she trusts him to see it now. Trusts him to kiss her and touch her and fit himself into her relieving heat.

(She trembles under his touch as he traces the symbols with his fingers, mind decoding and recombining and suddenly marvelously clear as the array sings its promise.)

He knows he's blurted out something strange again because when it's over, Riza holds him close against her breast and tells him everything's going to be all right.

(The array glows red against her skin, and he wonders what would happen if he used it for real, if Hawkeye had ever used it for real, and he feels sick.)

After she's asleep he makes his way to her bathroom and is quietly, violently ill.

VII. gingerbread

There's hot gingerbread in the morning; Riza always lets him fuck her and then feeds him, and with the way she feeds him, he thinks sometimes he's just a human version of Black Hayate.

Something to look after and lavish affection on because she can't bear to look after and lavish affection on herself.

This is, of course, his fault, so he eats her gingerbread in penance.

VIII. clothes

His uniform is always immaculate, every crease and fold starched and pressed just so and to look at him one would never think he was anything other than proud to be a military man.

IX. glare / stare

People stare at him as he walks down the street, Riza her customary two steps behind. Shopkeepers try not to look too eager, schoolboys glare, and young ladies twitter excitedly behind their hands.

He is Roy Mustang, and so he must play the part. His stride is easy, not too wide and not too swaggering. Just enough but never too much to push the role over the edge and into caricature.

(And he must be doing something right because he still fools Edward Elric, and the boy is supposed to be the brightest alchemist of the age.)

His self-worth (especially where the young ladies are concerned) knows no bounds, and so he smiles at the prettiest of them, eyes promising much under the veil of his lashes.

Sir, Riza says to his back, loud enough that those closest to them cannot help but hear. There's paperwork.

There's always paperwork, Roy tells her easily, for this too is just another part of the role.

X. hope

Once, when he was young, he told an even younger girl about his dreams to protect their country. And she believed in him, and when she was old enough she too joined the military with the same naïve shine to her eyes.

Now, he sees that shine in every new recruit he comes across, and he wants to lash out at them. Tell them not to waste their time, to go back home and do something useful with their lives. Be farmers, be traders, be anything so long as they stay alive and whole and sane.

Then there's the Elrics with their goddamn optimism that they'll get their bodies back and their fool's errands and the way he helps them because even after all this time he's still a damned romantic in all the worst definitions of the word.

XI. fall / fly

He's tried so many times. Hughes only knew about the time with the gun. Riza only knows about the time with painkillers. Havoc knows about the time with the razor. But the time he was closest to ending it all was the time he was on the roof of headquarters, watching the sunset.

It was a beautiful sunset, and Roy had wondered what it would be like – for just one brief second – to tilt his head up to the sky and let go.

All the way down until his skull smashed into the pavement.

He had even gone so far as to get up on the ledge, leaning back as far as he dared and telling himself just one more step.

He still regrets he didn't. It would've been wonderful to die with the sun on his face.