Against Conscience

Author – D M Evans

Disclaimer – so not mine, no money made

Rating – FRT

Characters - Roy

Warnings – angst

Series – manga

Timeline/Spoilers – set within volume 15 (so chapter 58-61)

Summary – Roy can't quiet the still small voice within

Author's Note – I wasn't going to do this prompt. I'm not a fan of this pov and outside of writing class, this is the first time I've ever used it that I can remember. Roy, however, was quite insistent. Thanks to S J Smith for the once over.

Word count -492

"Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it" – Albert Einstein

***

It gets harder every day, your targets getting fewer. You've tried your best to hide what you're doing from your superiors, though they might be getting wise. You don't want to do this anymore. You never wanted to kill, not like this. You are not protecting your country, fulfilling some naïve ideal that spurred you on through the academy. You are a killer.

Yesterday, you helped capture an enclave of priests, too elderly to fight but still good leaders. One of them called you a criminal. You wanted to scream back you're no such thing, you're following orders. That is such a hollow defense, you couldn't make yourself form the words. Through Ishbalan eyes, surely you're a monster. Even your own men avoid you, eye you fearfully, and you die a little each and every time. So you try your best to wipe out the Ishbalans resources and places for them to hide in lieu of murdering them by the dozens with your flames. War has taught you how to control them, a little better every day. You can give first degree burns now and take prisoners, but you worry you're doing them no real mercy.

According to the articles of war, you are doing nothing wrong. You are doing your duty even though you twist it to suit your conscience. You direct your flames toward unoccupied buildings and leave clever paths that the desperate could use to run out into the desert. You've secretly brought people to the husband and wife team of doctors.

You are a soldier, a weapon unto yourself. Whether you'll be judged a criminal or not depends on who wins the war but deep down you've already tried yourself. You are guilty. You would quit if you dared but Hughes told you about how Gran executed a general for being stupid. You have no doubt Iron-Blood would do the same to you. You're not Armstrong with a family name to protect you. Even after all the man did, it did nothing to quell the whispers of 'cowardice' once Armstrong had been sent back with shellshock. You would probably not get that lucky. You would wake up with Iron-Blood or Crimson in your tent and that would be the last thing you saw if you decided to quit fighting. You're still so very young and you do not want to die.

The only things you can do are use your abilities to minimize fatalities and try to forget what you've done. Easier said than done. Headquarters doesn't allow booze but the soldiers find it anyhow, stealing it from the Ishbalans when their villages fall. You don't partake because the Ishbalans have been known to poison it, well aware of what your fellow soldiers do. Even if you survive the poisoned brew, you end up blind. You fear you couldn't forget this, even drunk. No, this place has branded your soul and you will carry that mark until you die.