Problem of Creation
Author – DM Evans
Disclaimer – all rights belong to Arakawa
Rating – PG-13
Characters – Roy & Maes
Time Line – for safety's sake consider it ch 5-10 of the manga and definitely references them heavily.
Summary – Some days he really does feel like a bastard
Warning – a few bad words
Word Count – 969
Author's Note – Written for the fma_fic_contest for the prompt 'chimera'. I said that I had no ideas for this and the next prompt. Apparently Roy disagreed with me, little stinker. Thanks to SJ Smith for the beta
"I'm a total bastard." Knocking back a full glass of whiskey, Roy didn't pause to catch the breath the strong alcohol robbed from him. He was very aware of the subtle scrutiny he was under. Maes' eyes hovered at the edge of the man's glasses, giving Roy the feeling of being a hare confronted with a hawk.
"I hear that ten times a day from Edward."
Roy gestured sharply to his empty glass then slipped the bartender far too many sens in order to get control of the bottle. Swinging off the stool, Roy headed into as dark a corner as he could find. Maes trailed after him, beer mug in hand.
"So why are you a bastard this time?" Maes' voice held hints of amusement.
"I sent those boys into hell," Roy muttered.
Maes lost that humor. "How much did you know before you did it? You obviously suspected something."
"There was only one talking chimera, Hughes, and the appearance of it coincided with Tucker's wife leaving the family. How often do you see women abandoning their young children?"
Maes spread his hands. "Not many. You know I'm teasing when I call you an alchemy freak but some times." He wagged his head. "Mixing humans with animals?"
"It freaks me out, too," Roy said swiftly.
"You sent Ed and Al into Tucker's house, knowing that man might have murdered his wife, more or less." At Roy's nod, Maes scowled. "You should have given Ed a head's up."
The smoky liquor slithered down Roy's gullet, pooling in his belly where a warm amber lake was slowly forming. Roy poured a third. "If I sent Ed in there with an agenda, Tucker might have suspected something. Don't think I wanted to send those boys there, suspecting what I did about Tucker." Sucking greedily at the whiskey, he tried to ignore the storm raging outside and within him. "I couldn't get close to him, no alchemist really could. We guard our secrets too closely, and no matter how good you are, Maes, you wouldn't begin to know what to look for to make a chimera."
"Agreed. You figured he wouldn't get too worried about two kids. Tucker thought he was helping Edward."
"I was wrong," Roy whispered, polishing off his whiskey. Maes stole the bottle before he could pour more, ignoring Roy's doleful look. "I never dreamed he'd panic about his upcoming recertification and Edward's presence. How can anyone be so demented to use his own child that way?"
Maes tipped a dollop of whiskey into his beer. Roy watched the glimmer of the two alcohols meeting and dancing around each other. Maes pounded it back, resentment in his eyes. "I could have done without thinking about Nina for five minutes. I had to go home and hold Elicia for hours. I would have left you sitting here alone if Gracia hadn't shooed me out. It takes a monster, Roy. A daughter looks up to you, trusts you in ways you can't even imagine someone capable of. There is so much love there."
"I believe you," Roy said, wondering if the parents he never knew ever felt that way about him. He tried to get the bottle back away from his friend but failed. "It takes someone desperate and so utterly selfish that the only person who mattered was himself. Alchemy can make you think you're a god, Maes. That's why you and Riza have your orders should I start down that path."
"Could have done without that reminder, too." Maes poured more whiskey into his mug, the remainders of foam dissolving away. He surrendered the bottle back to Roy.
"I put two young boys into a house with a mad man just so I could satisfy my own curiosity," Roy muttered incredulously.
"Use everything, Madame Christmas taught you well," Maes replied and Roy snorted.
"Edward and Alphonse will carry the scar of what they saw on their souls until they die and I'm responsible for that. I forced Tucker's hand. I got that child killed." Roy quaffed the whiskey. "I'm a fucking bastard."
"Tucker would have to do his recertification any how. I know you do," Hughes said. "You can't bear all that weight."
"Tell that to two boys on their way to Resembol in pieces," Roy scoffed.
"Blame that one on Scar," Hughes countered.
"Should have killed him." Roy had been prepared to add one more final Ishbalan to his tally, especially seeing he had hurt the brothers. They were innocent of anything to do with Ishbal. Scar had no right to go after them but at least he was understandable. There was no way Roy could wrap his head around turning a child into a chimera.
"You're useless in the rain."
Roy let out a loud sigh. "How long do I have to keep up that myth?" Hughes knew, Riza too, just how dangerous he could be with rain but the enemy couldn't.
"Until you get to the top," Hughes said simply.
"Wish you had been there on the steps, there in the rain." Roy glanced at the window. "I have no talent for handling Edward unless I want to rile him up and point him at something. I told him to stop being depressed, that he chose to be an alchemist, to be a military dog when he could have just stayed at home." Roy slugged whiskey again. "I told him to stop worrying about something so small. And what does he do? Barely a day later, confronts Scar and nearly dies."
"That's Edward all over," Hughes agreed. "Is it wrong that I'm glad Scar blew Tucker's head off?"
"No, but I'm really drunk, Maes." Roy wondered if it would start raining inside the bar.
Maes clinked his glass to Roy's. "We're not drunk enough for this."