Words: 1 958
Discalimer: I don't and I'll never own Fullmetal Alchemist.
A/N: I shamelessly admit that I used Väinö Linna's Unknown Soldier (a.k.a. Warnovel) as my guideline while writing this. That book is good, if not a tad boring sometimes :D ROKKA AND VANHALA PWN!

The sun was setting, the growing shadows eating away the daylight, embracing the people crazy enough to be out at this time. On a lonely rock, not far from larger area full of debris, sat a figure, dark against the darkening sky. The person let out a breath, blowing spiky blond bangs out of his blue eyes, sharply looking over the surrounding area. He took a firmer grip of his rifle, adjusting it against his tigh, ready to shoot if anyone neared the camp.

He felt as a louse bit his neck. How long had been since he had a bath? Or even a decent shower? Too long for it be hygienic, anyway. He sighed and did his best to ignore his new "pet" like pretty much everyone had started to call louses. They weren't nice but what was in times like these. Sometimes he really wondered why he'd joined the army.

"Oy, Havoc", came voice from behind him.

He turned his gaze from the horizon, away from the city few miles away. A city that would be wiped from the map before this was all over. He didn't know it's name, higher ups didn't see any reason to give even that bit of humanity to the people who resided there. Maybe it was cruel, maybe not, but it didn't change that he was still ordered to kill the Ishvalans who lived there. In a way he was thankful that he preferred to guns and rifles and that he was mostly ordered into taken, still standing buildings to keep watch and shoot those who tried to escape their inevitable fates in hands of Amestris Military.

Behind him stood one of his comrades, a man whose uniform was open at the front, hanging over his now thinner frame. Over the whole thing was long, dirty coat to keep them hidden in this wasteland. When they came here, Breda was bulgy, not exactly fat but he didn't have a sixback either, like he did. He gave a ghost of a smile to the orange haired, unshaved man and stood up.

"Thanks, Breda", he said, trying to stiffle a yawn that tried to make its way out. He would never figure out how sitting there, doing nothing but observing the surrounding area, could make a guy so tired he was ready to drop dead. Or sleep'd be better word as everyone was worried about death statistics. If they're so worried about how someone was going to kick the bucket then they shouldn't be fighting in the first place.

The other gave him equally tired smile. "Orders are orders. Don't think I'm doing this only 'cause we're friends."

Havoc punched him friendly to the upper arm as he headed past, back towards the tents and the ruins of a temple they'd won over few days ago. "Wouldn't dream of it", he called back and Breda waved his hand while adjusting his rifle, getting ready to sit on that same rock he'd occupied for four hours. In four hours time someone else'd go and take over the shift.And four hours after that. It was a neverending cycle, going to go on until they're either dead or this stupid war had come to an end.

Havoc strode slowly towards the camp, letting the cooling evening air to soothe his nerves. He hadn't been this nervous and stuck up ever before. War did that to a people, he knew. Breda was the same. They'd met in the Military Academy and had shared a room and the situation had forced them to work together, to be able to trust each other with their backs. He didn't have a problem with that anymore. After they'd been ordered to Ishval after the crash course they'd been put through in the Academy he'd had to be able to trust his corades in arms. Some more than others. Breda was one of those "more".

'Our sons fight for what is right, to achieve the peace of motherland', he thought ruefully. Yeah, right. None of the guys he knew really believed into any of the crap the higher ups're feeding the cilians with. No one. Not even those who'd almost lost their minds in this senseless killing spree. While they're supposed to make the soldiers more willing to fight, it only served them couple of sarcastic laughs and stupid jokes that someone'd pull up in most desperate times at the campfire. 'War propaganda my ass', he sneered. 'More like a big joke.'

He himslef was one of those who'd try to make others feel better by making stupid comments. He didn't really care if it made him seem stupid, he wasn't that bright to begin with. 'His strenght was humor in right moment and a common sense, accompanied by his aim', some of the higher ups had praised when they still had time to wander among them.

He slid his hand into his pocket, taking out a cigarette. He, and everyone else, had been forbidden to smoke in guarding duty. He put it to his lips, fumbling for his lighter. Guarding duty, right. He was one of those who're supposed to be keeping the State Alchemists, the Human Weapons safe and sound. Like those couldn't take care of themselves. He had seen what they could do, blow up a whole block if needed. They weren't human, or he didn't believe they were. How a human being would achieve those God-like powers and still remain human? Well, it wasn't his job to think that, a low-ranking officer like him. He let out a frustrated sigh. His day was turning out to be even better. He couldn't find his lighter. How was he supposed to be able to face all the corpses, blood and other depressing stuff that he was going to face tomorrow if he couldn't have his stress relief? A cigarette'd turned out to be his best friend here. A good smoke helped him to focus, to keep his head empty while on duty. It helped him to forget, even for a moment, that Ishvalans're human, too.

"Need a light?"

He looked up, startled. He really did need sleep if someone could sneak up on him. He wasn't praised by being one of the best snipers and field agents for nothing. Their motto was: "Don't be seen, but make sure you see." It was simple common sense, easy to understand even to those who weren't good at other stuff besides killing. It kept them alive for at least one day if they're lucky. You can never know when the higher power comes to collect you. Be that power the devil or God, he didn't care nor did any of the others. They didn't wonder where their dead comrades'd went after their deaths. Not the final destination of bodies or souls. It didn't really matter. Nothing did.

He looked at the person standing before him, offering the guy a tired smile. "Yeah."

He didn't seem at all different at first. Just one of the younger officers roaming around the destroyed land, trying to face his demons and still trying to maintain his humanity. Many men lost their humanity in war. Havoc had felt his own slipping slowly away since he shot his first Ishvalan. An old man, dressed in nothing but rags. He'd been thin and some of the other soldiers considered his feat of shooting that man as a mercy. Maybe it had been, Havoc himself didn't think so. There had been no hate nor fear in that man's eyes. And he'd shot him. They all're often plagued by nightmares, some're affected more than others. He hadn't been able to sleep after that, he'd laid awake, listening the quiet sounds of night, trying to keep his head empty. After that night the pain had dimmed into a dull ache somewhere in his chest, reminding him that he was now a murderer.

He shook himself out of his memories, to study the officer before him. Havoc couldn't see his rank insignias beneath the dirty brown coat they all had to wear. He didn't really care. This guy was as dirty as he was, they're comrades even though they'd never met before. And they'd probably never meet again. His pale face was smeared with mud and dust from the dessert in the east. His short black hair hang before his empty, onyx eyes as he regarded Havoc with a silent gaze.

The man took his hand out of his trouser pocket and Havoc felt confusion flash through him before his blue eyed gaze settled onto the symbol on the back of a dity white glove.

A transmutation circle.

The guy was a State Alchemist.

Before he'd a chance to react (wether he'd have run away or stayed was a mystery to him) the guy snapped his fingers. His eyes snapped closed as quickly. 'I'm going to die', he thought in panic. He felt small brush of hot air blew before his face. He opened his right eye to small crack when he managed to confirm that he was still, indeed, breathing. The end of the cigarette was lit. Now he opened both eyes and blinked as he took it from his mouth to be inspected. A light chuckle interrupted him and he looked up to see the shorter man trying to suppress his chuckles, without success. He frowned at the alchemist and growled under his breath: "No funny."

That had been how he first met Major Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist.


He'd been mistaken in one thing on his analysis of war and comrades. He'd lived in belief that he'd never meet that young dark haired alchemist again but he'd been proven wrong when the said alchemist, after his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, had requested him as one of his direct subordinates, along with Breda and the most legendary sniper of Ishval, Hawk's Eyes, now Second Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye. Of course they hadn't been the only ones. He had never met the two other, but he liked them nontheless. Kain Fuery was an excellent communications technician with wide smile and open nature. Vato Falman was harder egg to crack, being the oldest of the group but still being the second lowest. He also had a bad habit of playing encyclobedia even when one wasn't needed. None of these two had been in Ishval directly. Falman'd been working on investigations regarding it, updating the personnel files and the like while Fuery kept the Central Headquarters updated via radio.

He, Breda, Mustang and Hawkeye had all been at Ishval, killing people and still maintaining their humanity. Havoc was thankful to that as he didn't believe that he could live with himself if he'd turned into a monster, a killing machine, like one of the alchemists, the Crimson Alchemist Kimbley.

But they're a good team, all of them hard-working people, ready to push Mustang to the top. They didn't have problem doing so, either. His idealism was one to believe in, even if it was a little bit naïve and foolish dream. They didn't care.

Mustang was the fire, they were the smoke. He fueled them, making them live and work, giving them life after War while they worked to make him stronger, so they could all achieve their dream of a warless country.

After all, the saying goes: "No smoke without fire."

A/N: I live from reviews. And I'm hungry.