In the academy, they were always told to carry as little as possible. As soldiers, they could not afford to be weighed down by unnecessary things.
Everyone was required to have the standard blue uniform, black shoes, desert camouflage, water, and daily rations. Whatever else they carried depended on their position.
Snipers carried a specially designed bolt-action rifle for long ranges, an assault rifle for mid and short range, a semi-automatic pistol for close range self-defense, and as many rounds and detachable magazines as deemed necessary by sniper location and proficiency. Bipods and slings were optional, but most were forgone for the extra weight that would come with them. These materials were often kept in bags or backpacks for organization and ease of travel. The straps of these bags often dug into the arms, backs, and shoulders of already weary soldiers, almost as a way of emphasizing how heavy the burden was.
State Alchemists were luckier, evading the tiresome weight of guns and ammunition. They required only what was needed for their transmutations, ranging from nothing at all to tremendous armor. Few brought actual weapons, relying on science and training to get them through this hell.
But each soldier carried something else, something much heavier than any weapon.
Riza Hawkeye carried the recipe to the Flame Alchemist on her back, forever bound to her deceased father's secret. She carried with her the memory of her cheek resting against metal as she peered through her scope, the sight of a person falling to the ground, the knowledge that whenever she pulled the trigger that someone was going to die.
Roy Mustang carried a pair of gloves, embroidered with a special transmutation circle that allowed him to control oxygen in the air and made with a fabric that allowed a single spark to disastrously explode. He carried with him the tired looks of a killer and the anguish of a man torn between obedience, morality, and justice.
They found each other on the battlefield.
It had been many long years since they'd last seen each other, each drastically different than before. They came into the military with dreams and hopes of peace, only to be burdened by the terrors of war. He decided then that he wanted to change things in a more drastic way; she, trusting in his goals, followed.
As he aspired to ascend the ranks and become Fuhrer, he faced a world of cunning and deceit. It was a vicious world, one that would throw everything and anything at him just to see him fail. He would take into stride any challenge tossed at him, every doubtful remark, every sneer, every responsibility, gladly accepting the load in exchange for a brighter future for everyone.
She accepted the responsibility of being his subordinate, the one responsible for keeping him in line and focused. It was a duty she embraced out of her faith in him and his goal. She would take on the role of bodyguard, confidant, and friend, pushing him to the top.
Together, they encountered plan after plan, realizing just how deep they'd gotten themselves into. They shared the shock, pain, and worry of a corrupt government, the death of a beloved friend, and the true intentions of a most evil power. There were times when he felt defeated, instances where she just wanted to collapse, because there was only so much that two human beings could do. But they still had each other and they still had their dream, and that was good enough reason to keep trying.
In one final moment, it was all over. There was blood, sacrifice, and struggle, but there was also an overwhelming relief and happiness. The military government of Amestris was demolished, and a new democracy was erected in its stead. It was the end of meaningless wars and fighting and the dawn of a new era.
There would always be heaviness in their hearts left from the war. They would always have scars that only time could heal. But Riza would never ever have to carry a gun, and Roy would never use his gloves again. There was solace in the feeling that some of the weight was finally lifted and that these two hearts could finally be at peace.