3 – Cold Snap

His hands were cold. His hands had never cold before, but he didn't find the sensation disturbing in the least. His insides were warm, thanks to the brandy he'd been drinking, but for some reason that warmth didn't travel to his hands.

The apartment was quiet, save for some snuffling sounds coming from the general direction of Black Hayate. A glance at the clock told him that Riza wouldn't be home for another three hours. Time crawled by without her and then it stood still when she walked through the door. It was an interesting affect she had on his perceptions that he hadn't noticed before. Or maybe it hadn't happened before all this.

The radio was nothing but background noise and he'd stopped listening to it hours before. She'd left it on, probably in the hope that he would take an interest in what was going on in the outside world, but he only felt tired when he tried.

What was the point?

In front of him, a pair of white gloves sat untouched. He'd wanted to put them on, just to see what they felt like, but he hadn't been able to do more than take them out of the drawer in which he'd kept them and stare at them.

That morning, Riza had asked him to boil water for tea, and the gas stove refused to catch. He'd reached for a pencil and started to trace an array on the counter top, but then he'd remembered...and he'd taken out a box of matches instead. He'd felt her eyes on him when he'd struck the match, but she'd stayed quiet.

If only she'd known that those eyes had always told him more than she ever did.

Alchemy had always defined him, had given him the power to be what he wanted to be even when others told him he couldn't do it. All it took was the snap of his fingers and all arguments were silenced. People knew him as the Flame Alchemist, not Colonel Roy Mustang. Alchemy had been the answer to all his problems and he could find all the answers through alchemy. That was how it was supposed to be. Science would save them. Science would save him.

So much for that idea.

All he had left now were a pair of gloves that he couldn't put on and a pair of hands that felt as if they'd never felt fire before.