AN- I am not dead. To prove it, I'm posting this. It's short, it's rather PWP, it contains spoilers for the anime in a big way...and it's also the first time I've written a paring other then RoyRiza.

Updates for Every Missing Irony are coming. Finals week might as well be finals month with the amount of time it leeched from me; once the semester is done I should have time to focus more on fanfic.

(As it is, I scribbled the first draft of this in the margins of a textbook...)


You aren't able to love.

But you love him.

His skin is warm against yours. He leans against you, but only because he doesn't have the strength to stay upright on his own any longer. You know that, had he a choice, he would never allow you to be so close. His eyes stare in your direction, but he is not looking at you. He never looks at you. To him, to the Scarred Man, you are a mistake, a demon.

A sin.

He cares only for his people, for paying the Amestris military back for their crimes. He cares, even all these years later, for the woman you once were—the woman who, by dying, gave you this mockery of life. He cares for her, but he's never cared for you.

But you love him.

"I could love you," you comment, because it is only you and only he in this ruined building. Because the soldiers from Amestris are coming, and because you can feel his life slipping from this world. Because he is going where you want to go, and you know you cannot follow. "I could love you, if I had the time."

"No," he answers you, bluntly. Bluntly, as if your previous statement was a silly, presumptuous waste of time. "No, what you feel is only lust. The type of monster that you are cannot feel true feelings. You feel only the artificial shell affection is covered with, not affection itself."

"Well, isn't that appropriate," you purr. His words do not daunt you. He is man—stubborn, self-righteous—but man. And man, you know from long and terrible experience, does not need love to be with someone. Love, lust…there's never been much of a difference, for man.

"Isn't that appropriate. Lust is what I am." You smile at him, seductively. "I'm told I'm very good at it."

You put your hand on the Scarred Man's shoulder. His body is bleeding and tired, and he shudders slightly under your grasp. But he does not pull away—whether he has the strength or not, he does not pull away. And that is all that matters to you, in the end.

"I could be her," you say hopefully (but hope is another emotion you cannot feel). "If what I am is only an imitation, then I could be an imitation of her. We could pretend." Your voice softens, just slightly. "I wouldn't mind it. I'm used to playing pretend."

(And for these last few minutes that the Scarred Man is alive, you are willing to pretend to be the woman in his heart. You will let him call you by her name, let him pretend to hold her as he dies. You don't mind. If he cannot love you, then you will steal his love for someone else.)

But the Scarred Man grunts, and his eyes are stern. "To live a false life in order to achieve happiness is a wicked idea. Even if it was only for a few minutes, Ishbala would see through all the lies."

"So forget him. Forget your god," you breathe. "It would only be us."

To your surprise, because you did not think he had the strength, because you did not think he would resist you any further, (because no man ever has before, but he is not an ordinary man), he pulls away, and chuckles.

The laugh, as bitter as it is, is strange coming from his lips. You have never seen him be anything but grim, and you feel (fake? false?) hope rise again inside your chest.

But then he shakes his head.

"That only proves you are not her," the Scarred Man says. "She was a true Ishbalan woman, one who would never forget her place before Ishbala. You may have her face, but you will never have her soul. You are truly an empty creature."

You clench your fists, feeling your nails digging into your palms. Anger, hot and heavy, surges within your being, and you are sure that hate, if nothing else, is an emotion you can feel.

"I could kill you!" you hiss. "I could end your wretched life right here!"

But he does not change his expression, and the tart half-smirk twisting his lips does not fade. "I am not afraid to die here," he tells you. "Whether by your hands or by my wounds, I am not afraid."

And you are confused, and upset, because none of this is fair. He is not reacting the way you have seen men react before. You are upset, because you don't understand humans, and you never will, and this man gets to die but you cannot.

Greed's motivations make perfect sense to you now, as you sit in the ruined room with the half-dead Ishbalan in your arms. He wanted everything he could not have. The same with Wrath—the same with all the homunculi. All of you want to be something you're not, something you'll never be. And while you homunculi struggle and fight, this man who feels nothing for you will die easily, calmly. This man who hates you will never look back.

What is this life for? you think suddenly, fiercely. Why am I here, why was I born?

Only you know the answer to that. You were born out of love—love that became something evil. Love that became Lust. And sitting here now, you despise that Ishbalan woman, for having what you want and then cursing you to want it forever. You despise her, and you despise the man who brought her back, and you despise the Scarred Man who loved her but ignores those feelings even now. You despise him most of all, because even at his death, when he could be weak and pretend you were her and give you what you want from him…even at his death, he is so strong and so righteous. You despise him, because you cannot tempt him, and you want to tempt no one else.

You have disliked others, in your life. You killed most of them, and you could kill him now. It makes sense: you despise him, so you'll kill him.

But you can't. Because you love him.

You aren't able to love, says the Scarred Man, says every man. And now you'll never be able to prove them wrong.