I got this done just when I hoped! I feared I might not've been able to get it done tonight, but I did! I feel so proud of myself :D

Those that bothered, if you ever want to complain about late updates or wondering when I'll be updating, stalk me on Twitter ;D go bother me there, because I get a LOT of messages on fanfiction and I'd rather deal with complaints on Twitter when it's easier xD

I had a bad writers block, but I finally got this done! I wanted to get it done really soon because I'm going to university in two weeks time and I wanted to get some stories updated since I don't know when I'll be able to update again ^^; Well, enjoy this!

Warning: Insanity and hallucinations some people may find disturbing, as well as badly done Izumi (OH YEAH DID I MENTION HER?) and maybe heartbreaking near the end. I hope you're keeping an eye on those letters too!


Edward thought there was a certain limit when it came to being insane. Apparently, there really wasn't. Whilst waiting for Roy's solitary confinement to finally end, Edward had been sitting alone during the canteen hours, meaning he was basically a magnet for anyone up for conversation whether he liked it or not.

Unfortunately, the said attracted wasn't the brightest tool in the shed he could've attracted towards him. Basically, he attracted something more than just broken, but unrecognisable.

Nobody ever called him by his name since he arrived, they all dubbed him Mad Marvin, so Edward guessed his name was Marvin really. Who knew?

The reason he was nicknamed Mad Marvin? It was pretty obvious a few moments into talking to him. The first meeting went pretty much as such;

"Hey, you're Fullmetal, right?"

Edward looked up, hearing his codename being used and smiled slightly; "Sure, that's me."

Mad Marvin smiled a toothy grin, that dude hadn't cleaned his teeth in donkey's years and were a little worse for wear, not that that was an uncommon thing, but they were the worst Ed had yet to see. "Been hearing things about ya."

Edward looked at him again, having turned away to eat his food, with a surprised tone, he asked; "Oh? What things?"

Mad Marvin sat down opposite him, looking around, as if scared there was a spy listening in. There was very little chance people were going to bother. When he was satisfied, he leaned forward towards Ed, encouraging him to do the same; "They say you transmute without a circle. That true?"

Oh, that rumour was old now. No longer a rumour, in fact; "Oh, sure, I can do that." Edward blinked, still actually surprised that people asked him that, for many had witnessed him using alchemy without a circle, except in the last few weeks where moving came to an absolute halt for some reason never explained and people's minds started to collapse in on themselves.

The man looked panicked for a moment, then asked quickly, in a slight panicked voice; "It's not magic, is it?"

Edward lifted an eyebrow; "Um, no, it's definitely alchemy. I'm bound to the same laws; I just use myself as the circle."

The may-as-well-be-tramp calmed down hearing that, as if satisfied and calmed of his fears. He wiped the sweat off his brow as Edward took the time to study the tramp. That was the best word to describe him. He didn't even wear the official blue outfit of the military like the rest of them, but he did hold the same badge basically yelling "Yo! Freak right here, step away from the maniac!" The man had a long beard as well as a moustache, he basically looked like he hadn't been taking very good care of himself for a long time. Usually, the military sent you to be cleaned, showered, checked over for any hidden weapons (aka alchemical circles) and then let go about their business depending on how dangerous they seemed. In Roy's case, he was treated a lot like a dog. It wasn't really surprising, considering what he had done. This bloke sitting in front of Ed hadn't been taken for a shower in weeks, let alone days, and his beard and hair was a mess, a brown colour from what seemed to be white, now brown from all the dirt.

"Thank goodness! They kept telling me they had hidden scouts here! Spies! In our grounds!" What the balls is he going on about? "They told me they were going to blow up our grounds with magic from the inside! Hurt me, they did!"

So, clearly there was a reason this bloke was in here, and it didn't sound pretty, whatever it was.

Edward cleared his throat before trying to speak again; "Uh, sorry but the fuck are you going on about?"

Mad Marvin grabbed hold of Ed's arms, more terrified than threatening, but it scared the man nonetheless. "Magic, boy! The Ishballans have the help of magic! Dragons, they said they have! Monsters the size of houses! Real bulls that stand on two legs and arms like a man! A snake that could turn you into stone if you dare look at them!"

"What? Dragons? Bulls with arms like a man?" Edward had never heard any of these stories before. Clearly, the man was believing in some story or folklore, because he mentioned magic and dragons. Neither existed, to Edward's knowledge, though the Aerugians liked to flaunt it- wait. "Magic? Like, Aerugians magic?"

The madman nodded quickly and laughed a manic laugh. "Broke me, they did. Break us all, they will! Magic, everywhere, here, there, away, later, everywhere!"

"Uh, ok um. Can you let go of me?" Edward was just a bit scared right now, the man could possibly go into a panic attack or suddenly get stuck into a violent flashback and he already had Roy's experience to prove how dangerous it was.

The man did let go, but put a finger to his lips. "Trust no one, Fullmetal! They could be anywhere, everywhere, nowhere! Winged lizards, a lion with a snakes tail that breathes fire and a goat upon its back or maybe a man jailed by the moon that turns into a wolf at the sun in the night sky." The man laughs again. "You'll know, Edward Elric, be keeping a watchful eye on the mice around here, they may be attracted to some men." With that, he ran off.

"Hey, Mr Shade Alchemist!" A couple of guards shouted and ran after Mad Marvin. Oh, so he was the Shade Alchemist, Edward wondered. The Shade Alchemist was known for creating clouds for many reasons, for rain, lightning and covering patches of light. It came in quite handy, but it was very difficult to pull off and took time for the materials to gather together in the air to create a cloud and it was impossible to make a cloud with little to no humidity. Last Ed heard about the Shade Alchemist was that he was going to be sent in undercover in… oh.

Well, that explained the look he wore and why he was sent here, broken to pieces. He was a spy and got caught, beaten the snot out of and thrown to the ground and just sent here to be repaired. Who knew what the military was going to do with him if he doesn't ever get fixed, or what will they do if he does get fixed?

Waiting for Roy to get released was a pain, Edward realised. He had to deal with Winry trying to check the measurements of his automail (yes, he'd actually grown, result!) and she complained about having to get some pieces from Central and bring them back to the nuthouse. She also mentioned a few thousand senz bill he had to pay, much to his annoyance. He didn't get a discount at all for being a family friend, though he could understand that there certainly wasn't a good market out for getting metal limbs around here, Rush Valley was more the place to get them, not Resembool. But they were closer to Ishbal than Rush Valley, shouldn't they be getting even a bit more publicity and customers than they are?

He also had to deal with the Shade Alchemist taking a liking to him. Fortunately, he no longer went on about dragons or bulls with arms, he was genuinely interested on how Edward could transmute without a circle. He had to pay a high price, but he never regretted it. For some reason, despite the fact he swapped his lungs with Alphonse's, he hadn't died like predicted. Maybe Truth was keeping him alive, crazy as it was, but Truth never had an outside voice or outside help. That made sense, keeping a slave alive; otherwise you'd have no slave left, right?

Truth had actually been a lot more talkative whilst Roy was gone, not in a good way either. It was constantly talking now; as if it'd been in a bout of 'leave me the fuck alone' for the past days he had been in this lab.

"No Roy to bother today?"

"No, he's still in solitary confinement."

"Ah, yes, because he strangled you, I remember." Edward just rolled his eyes, not caring if others thought he was talking to a blank space on the wall. He moved a chess piece, though he didn't particularly like chess, it was better than being bored. It wasn't so much fun since he had to move Truth's pieces for it, because Truth said, quote; "I'm a hologram and a hologram is merely but a vision, I can't touch things at all, but I do love a game of chess, so if you don't mind." Those were its exact words.

They continued playing chess in silence for most of the period they had free whilst Winry was heading out to buy some things. Edward didn't want to tag along because Winry would just use his money instead of her own and he wasn't a fan of shopping really, so he didn't bother. Aka, he was trying to avoid his bill, plus Truth wasn't fond of Winry and would just keep whining and complaining in the background and drive the alchemist a bit crazier than was safe to be.

Then Truth broke the silence; "You seem to care. How strange."

Edward looked up, more shocked that Truth actually spoke rather than what it said. "Pardon?"

"You care about Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist."

Edward rolled his eyes. "I don't-"

"I'm Truth, Edward Elric, I know all, feel all, am all." Truth grinned in that strange of its and tilted its head. "You like him more than is safe to."

Ed shrugged his shoulders but didn't bother defending himself, but he couldn't call Truth a liar either; "I've gone through worse things, being strangled by a half lunatic isn't the worst thing I've done."

"Quite true, but you're still only human. Only so much you can take." Truth kept smiling the same smile. It didn't really have any feeling behind it, but it was there and making Ed uncomfortable.

Then Ed brought the subject he was dying to know up; "But I've had these bad lungs for years and I'm still fine, why is that?"

Truth still smiled, even though it was a serious matter, he smiled the same as always. "What's an owner without his dog?"

"That's not an answer." Edward wasn't amused, that much was obvious.

"Immortal beings have their worshippers, but they have slaves too. I've many slaves, but you're not free from the boat yet, Mr Edward Elric." That's when Truth disappeared, leaving the chess game unfinished and leaving Edward even more puzzled than before. And bored, too. I guess he was thankful Truth was there sometimes, he was never left alone, not really.

Alphonse actually came shortly after Winry left and had gone to his house and probably informed him of everything that happened. She was a tattle tale, so it didn't surprise Edward to see Al running up, yelling at him for trying to think of an idea to sneak into Central Headquarters to find out the bastard that killed their step parents, probably because it will ultimately spell out his demise, and then there was the explanation of why he had a red handprint on his neck.

Alphonse took it better than Ed had thought, since his brother was quite overprotective, strange as it seemed. Really, Alphonse was a kind soul and he cared a bit too much, Ed admits, but there was rarely the chance to get a brother that cared so much about the other.

"Um. So, how ill is Colonel Roy Mustang really?" Alphonse asked, still worried for Edward's safety, considering the evidence.

Edward huffed, but decided to pacify his brother; "He can't talk and he gets violent flashbacks sometimes, but that flashback he had when he tried to strangle me was my fault. I mentioned the Rockbells' name and it sent him to the loophole." And it was true; he knew it was his fault, which was why he tried to get him to a more secluded area in case the crowd would cause a violent outburst. Turned out it didn't even matter in the end, Mustang would be thrown into that violent space of his mind that shouldn't exist no matter the area, crowd, feeling or environment. Those eyes, even though he shouldn't have been concentrating on those whilst he was being strangled to death, he would never be able to get out of his head, even if he went to a nearby pub and battered himself.

Those eyes, when locked into the abyss of his mind that broke because of waiting, mere waiting, after having done what he had were nothing short of a chasm. Like a chasm, they were open for the whole world to see inside, and Edward was pretty sure he didn't want to be looking in there. He did, however, and what did he see? A long crack running down Roy's pupil, almost invisible, but there. A great big crack that should never exist in a person, no matter how bad they were. It was that crack that was causing all the problems, opening Flame up to all sorts of memories, hallucinations and voices that aren't meant to be there. What was worse was that Ed could see, actually see, that crack opening up, bigger and bigger, longer, surer, ruining the land of Mustang's mind without a care in the world. Imagine a field with sheep, blowing grass and a few clouds in the sky, sun shining and the wind gently breathing by. Imagine that being swallowed up, a lightning strike hits the ground and a crack forms, the sky no longer a few clouds, but captured by black angry clouds, the grass set on fire and the crack opening up, bit by bit, a fissure breaking up the land and leaving both sides unattached and unstable, susceptible to all manner of things and the life just fades away. All it took was a spark, a single spark, and the land became extinct.

That was the current situation of Mustang's mind. Extinct, or nearing it. How to tell that in words that Alphonse would understand? That even Edward Elric, stubborn git of the world, didn't think Roy ever could recover completely?

"Um, Ed?" Alphonse brought that up another day he came over, after having sorted Winry out and allowed her to stay for a few nights. Roy still hadn't been released, though Edward was told it was soon. They didn't give him a time on when Roy would be released, typically, but he was sure that he'd be able to visit Roy, or ask to see Roy, after his session with Alphonse. It had been three days, after all.

"Yes, Al?"

Alphonse fiddled with his pen for a bit, even though they hadn't actually done much revising and Alphonse wasn't really here to study, but brought it along anyway, hoping to prolong telling Edward what Winry was doing, or had done. He couldn't tell, instead asking; "Will you be ok with the Flame Alchemist if he's like that?"

Edward didn't think much was amiss, it was normal for Alphonse to ask a question like that, he was like a mother hen, sometimes. It really was dependant on what had happened, but at least Roy Mustang was still in one piece, safely back in the cell. So he thought. Alphonse had brought up the question, since Edward was bouncing in his seat, unable to wait until he was finally out of the cell and back into the somewhat real world. He could finally tell Mustang that he forgave him and that it was his fault anyway, he knew about it, knew the risks and took it like the selfish prat he was. That and he could escape the likes of Mad Marvin, not something he wanted to repeat again.

"I'll be fine, it's better than hanging out with Mad Marvin."

"Mad Marvin?" Edward had conveniently forgotten to tell Alphonse about Mad Marvin, mostly because he wasn't sure Alphonse was really going to believe him. How to tell him the Shade Alchemist had, more or less, just become about as bad as Roy? Ed was now a lunatic magnet; that was great.

"The Shade Alchemist is here as well, but he's even worse than Roy right now."

"The Shade Alchemist!" Alphonse was surprised, last he heard, he'd gone missing, feared dead. When Edward told him the whole story, he realised why now. Of course the military would try to cover up him actually being a spy and possibly had been captured. That seemed the likely case, though he didn't seem that badly off physically, they must've ruined him psychologically, otherwise he wouldn't have been here in the first place.

As the minutes rang by of studying more for the State Alchemist exam, which would arrive in a few months' time, Alphonse become more and more fidgety, clearly hiding something. He was usually good at hiding things and lying, despite his kind nature, he could be as manipulative as Roy Mustang had once been, if he really tried. But this was his big brother, his only family he has left, that he was talking to and trying to keep a secret from. It was futile. Edward knew all those little details of when Alphonse was lying, near invisible to the naked eye of a stranger. If Alphonse was hiding something, his voice would falter a moment, as if thinking, he didn't stutter unless he was surprised. He clicked his pen one time too many, like he was trying to hold back from something and that was the way to get rid of that extra burning energy. He laughed too often, he had a sound sense of humour, but if you knew Alphonse, you knew he didn't laugh that often.

Little things like that told Edward that Alphonse Elric was being a lying little bugger.

"What are you hiding, dear brother of mine?"

Alphonse looked up, trying to smile his way into innocence, but that tiny drop of perspiration told him otherwise. Hit the nail on the head. "I'm not sure what you mean, brother."

Edward put the book he was currently holding down, notes on fire alchemy, some written by Roy Mustang himself and another, Justin Hawkeye, but his parts were largely left unfinished, like the man died before he could finish writing his studies down like he had wanted to. It was strange, both Mustang and Hawkeye's works seemed extremely similar; it wouldn't surprise Edward to find that they had worked together in the past.

"You know exactly what I mean, brother." The eldest Elric let that final word ring out, before he continued speaking; "What are you hiding?"

Alphonse fidgeted for a few more moments, before he put the book down on the table, just as his elder brother had done so. He took a deep breath, before letting it out and saying the one dreaded sentence Ed didn't want to hear; "Winry called our teacher and she's on her way as we speak."

Said raven haired that the young golden haired mentioned earlier was not where he thought he would be, should be. Said raven haired was actually outside, for the first time in four days, trying to soak up the sunrays as if they were going to be taken away from him. It wasn't a surprise, considering he had been shunned from the light for the last three days and had chosen not to go out on the first before the three day sentence. How was he to know he would be taken from outside?

Currently, he was sat with his back leaning against the wall close to the streets of Central. The lab had a bit of a garden (what you could call a garden of tarmac) and the space if you had wanted to play. But these were broken soldiers, not traumatized kids; you couldn't cure both the same. The gates had been strong and reinforced, but in turning into a holding centre for the insane alchemists, the gates had been remaining shut and cars, lorries and people could come in whenever they pleased. The same bars above the fences existed and so did the barbed wire. Any idiot going rock climbing would have a horrible surprise there.

Mustang didn't go sand climbing much less rock climbing. He could run, if he wanted, but he was generally a lazy person. That being said, he didn't feel much like a person. Once he was let out, people avoided him, kept their distance and stared at him from a distance, like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. Or maybe a wild animal ready to pounce, eyeing its prey and just waiting for a mistake to be made. Everyone called him a dog too, and coupled with the reactions of people along with the words, he really did feel like a dog.

The only thing that was different was that he was wearing clothes. Dogs didn't wear clothes, at least they shouldn't. He didn't like them, not right now, what with the sweat causing the clothes to stick to him like an extra skin. It felt disturbing, too close for comfort and he hurried himself to take them off. It was a pretty troublesome task, what with his fingers shaking slightly and moving too fast to really grab the buttons to undo, but he managed it, now sitting on the ground naked with his knees up to his chest, like a dog curling up. It felt comfortable like this, in the sun and soaking it all up before they take him away again and chain him up. He didn't have a collar, but a badge pretty much showed his owners to people, the badge that was stuck onto his uniform that now lay on the ground. He'd even gone through the trouble to take off his boots and socks too, completely at the mercy of the sun and skies.

He felt more at home like this, no clothes, no responsibilities and completely by himself. The only problem was that with no responsibilities, he was somebody else's problem. A dog couldn't feed itself properly without its owner, a dog couldn't talk, though it could bark, Mustang couldn't even manage to do that right now. With no voice, he couldn't bark if he wanted to, any kind of sound coming from his mouth robbed from his mind for… why, exactly? Nobody actually knew, maybe the mind was so scared that it had decided to block the voice box's connections and, therefore, not letting Roy make a sound; not a gasp, cry, moan, shout or a bark. He was less than a dog, because a dog, at least, could bark for attention, it could whine when it was hurt or lonely and it could growl when it didn't like something or as a warning. Roy couldn't even do anything, just write his words on a piece of paper and hope to Truth that someone would notice it.

Roy was surprised out of his thoughts when he noticed something was blocking out the sun. Annoyed, he looked up to glare at the pest that was disturbing his time to soak up the rays of the sun and came to see that the person was female, wearing sandals it seemed. She had dreadlocks for hair and had blood on her shirt, but Roy could tell from the scent that it was pigs' blood, not human. Butcher, he was sure, but what was a butcher doing here, straight from work, exactly?

He had to squint because of the sun burning right by her head, but he managed to catch the face of the butcher. Nobody Roy recognised, as if the dreadlocks weren't indication enough (he knew nobody in dreadlocks) but that made his confusion more apparent.

The person huffed and bent down to pick up his military jacket, the top pocket obviously containing his notepad and pen as the pocket was too small to hide it, the paper and pen poking out at the top. Roy didn't try to stop the person, it's not like he really needed it anymore anyway. The butcher lifted the badge so she could get a better look and she laughed.

Confused, Roy looked up at her, really looked at her, trying to understand why she was laughing. She wasn't laughing in the happy way, funny way or the evil way. Just… laughing, for no apparent reason.

The butcher finally spoke after her laughing finally died down; "A patient at Lab Five. Really?" She looked down at Roy, sitting naked in the warm sun, like a… "I hadn't noticed."

Roy made a growl signal, but turned his head away, like a sulking child. So he did that often, it wouldn't matter if he did. He wasn't getting any better. If anything, he was getting worse. He could hardly sleep; his eyes near resembling pandas' and he was starting to forget what his voice sounded like, he hadn't spoken in such a long time. If he did scream in his sleep, his guards never told him, but he was afraid to sleep now. He refused to nap, even though he needed it, needed it; he couldn't because those black arms of the nightmares could only get him once he slept. When he was awake, he was safe, but asleep… he was afraid he could never break from the next nightmare, every time they came.

Being out in the frontline was better than this. Out in the frontline, you were actually doing something; your mind was too busy to go through with this nightmare bullshit. Why couldn't he just return to that? Sure, it probably caused it, but at least he'd deal with this better out there being busy. That's all he needed to do, remain busy, keep doing something, don't rest, resting was bad, bad! All he needed to do was remain busy, busy, busy. Like a worker, a bee worker, always busy, never resting.

That would be futile, even fatal, Roy Mustang knew this. He ceased to care, however.

A whack on the head from his own notepad cruelly brought him into the cruel world of reality, or maybe the mercy of reality, as the nightmares were worse than reality. "You're pathetic."

Roy Mustang wasn't amused hearing that, glaring at the butcher full on, not caring that she was very handy with an axe, hatchet or a big knife, she had just insulted him! She didn't even know him! Sure, he was being pathetic; he knew that, he didn't need a stranger to tell him something obvious.

The stranger didn't deter; instead, she spoke again, authority spilling from her voice; "So, you think you're a dog?" Flame didn't make any attempt to confirm or correct her. "Sit up! Kneel!" It was a loud command, enough for Roy to jump and quickly kneel, sitting on his legs and look up at her for the next order. It was so similar to his Major General's voice; it held the same authority as his. She would've made a great soldier, if she turned down the hairdo. He held no shame in his nakedness either, for he was a dog.

The butcher didn't seem to care either; "If you're a dog, then you must know a lot of people are counting on you. Do you know what a dog can do, Flame?" Mustang continued to look blank, not sure if that was a rhetorical question or one he was really meant to answer. "A dog does a lot of things when it's told to. A Dalmatian helps with firemen, a German Shepherd helps with the police, a Rottweiler makes the best guard dog, a Pointer helps with hunting, a Cocker Spaniel could smell drugs in moments, Jack Russell's kill rats, Labradors help the blind and disabled, Chihuahuas look cute for their owners, St Bernards work with first aid in helping those trapped in the mountains and Sheepdogs have even been known to detect and find people trapped in rubble. Tell me you're useless now." Without an owner, Roy pretty much would be useless. A dog could never survive on his own, not with nobody to care for him.

"Here, you can make yourself useful." Said pig killer told Flame and handed him his pad and pen. Roy caught it, confused and looked back up at the butcher, wondering what she wanted. "Since you're here, you won't mind telling me where my stupid pupil is, do you?"

Stupid pupil? This butcher was a teacher?

That clicked. Mustang recalled that Edward spoke of a butcher that was his teacher that could use alchemy without a circle, just like he could. That meant she was a pretty good alchemist, right? What was she doing living as a butcher?

Mustang wrote that question down and showed it to the butcher. He couldn't remember her name, just knew that she was a pretty good alchemist if she could transmute without a circle.

The alchemist didn't seem amused at all by the question; it clearly showed as she dropped the pad and pen on the floor and grabbed Roy in that one rather uncomfortable and private place. It hurt and Roy couldn't help but tense up the way the alchemist wanted him to. His vision blacked out slightly, but his brain managed to function back to normal, though he felt the need to vomit. He had to concentrate hard to catch the butcher's next words.

"I'm just being a housewife, mind your own business. Now just tell me where my stupid pupil has gone." There was a clear threat in that tone and Roy didn't want to go any further and risk his, well not sanity per se, but maybe a fair bit of any innocence he had left. He nodded quickly and looked pointedly towards his pad and pen. With a sly grin, the butcher let go of his jewels and picked up and threw the pad and pen at the recovering man. "And get dressed before you write." Roy was happy to agree to that quickly.

After getting hurriedly dressed, Mustang got writing;

I haven't seen Edward today, but if he's inside the building, he'd be in the canteen or the meeting rooms with Alphonse.

The 'housewife' smiled and nodded; "Names Izumi Curtis, run the butchers down south." Thanks for the warning of avoiding that area at all costs, Flame made a note of that. At least he remembered her name and knew what she looked like; make it all easier to avoid her. Fullmetal had to put up with that for years? How the fuck did they even get along? They seemed to clash in the worst ways possible; Roy barely even insulted her and she went and tried to karate chop his penis off. Personally, he didn't want to know, but he did feel infinitely sorry for Edward, or calling Edward an idiot for sticking around her. Either one.

"Roy!" With great Elric grace, said elder Elric appeared out of nowhere, as he does, and launches his small but surely sturdy body into the black haired once catatonic man. Said once catatonic man was not expecting it and fell sideways on the floor, like you do when you have a man with two metal limbs throwing themselves at you. "They let you out! Finally!"

A cough from above shut Edward up. Looking up, he noticed the other person, said other person was his teacher. He had completely forgotten his brother said that Winry called her; he was also completely oblivious she was even there until she coughed.

Jumping quickly to his feet, helping Mustang get up to his too, he got formal, possibly for the first time in his life; "Ah, teacher! What a wonderful surprise to see you here!"

Teacher wasn't amused. Nothing seemed amusing to her (miserable cow, she was) and she continued to look like the devil spawn. Or Satan's messenger from above.

"A little birdie told me you got sent here. Funny, I didn't even get told you worked for the army." Edward resembled a kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar, looking everywhere but at his teacher in the face and fidgeting with his fingers and was starting to sweat in nerves.

"Ah… that might've just… I was sure I sent that message and I was sure that the pigeon (1) had taken my message and flew to the right place. Maybe it got eaten or something? Shot, maybe?" Mustang didn't think it likely that the teacher would accept that, after not hearing back for a year, you'd figure the pigeon got eaten by a falcon.

"I didn't teach you alchemy so you can go into the army. You still haven't grown up; you're as blind and stupid as ever." It was about the equivalent of your mother telling you she's disappointed in you, because Izumi acted like his second, harsher mother.

"I've got a good reason, teacher! Honest!" Edward tried pleading with Curtis.

She did hesitate and give him the opportunity; "Explain. Quickly."

That's what Edward did; "I wanted to show people that alchemy was good and could be used to help people! I thought the military was the easiest and fastest way… so I joined. I'm sorry, teacher, I just wanted to impress you."

Shockingly, his teacher was moved. She softened her glare and her stature relaxed as she placed a hand on Edward's head. "I suppose you were still young when you joined." Regardless, she still smacked him across the head. Hard. Roy cringed, though he was sure a grab to the dick was worse than that. "You're still an idiot for doing that! And you Alphonse!"

Both Fullmetal and Flame turned around to look at Alphonse, who had been trying to sneak through the conveniently open gate without his teacher noticing. Sadly, his teacher was a trained prowler, a leopard, or a panther, and could hear anything and everything around her. There was a reason that cats were feared, for they were the most cunning.

"Oh uh… hello teacher, fancy-"

"Al, that's really not going to work!" Edward tried to spare his brother trying the same trick as he did. The house wife wasn't fooling for it and grabbed Edward by the ear, before walking, dragging Ed with her, to Alphonse and grabbing his ear, causing him to drop his books.

"AH, teacher I'm sorry!"

"We didn't mean to forget to tell you!"

Their teacher did stop and let go of them, however, not for their mercy, and they knew better than to run away, but to go towards Roy and grab his pad and pen. Flame tried to protest but shut up real quick, his tail between his legs from one glare of Curtis. He remained there as Izumi made her way back to Edward and Alphonse, handing the pad to Edward.

"You might want to read this about your lover boy."

If you threw his head into a microwave for about a minute or two and bring it out, it'd be the same colour as Fullmetal's face was right now. Tomato red. "What! How did you know?"

"You're not exactly the best at keeping secrets. Do me a favour, women know everything." That's just what she'd say! Then again, Edward did notice that females did have a surprisingly better time at noticing things than the male of the human species did. Fullmetal often wondered why and he was tempted to study it, but he had a feeling if his teacher would read minds too, he wouldn't be alive much longer. Stopping that thought quickly, he took a look at the pad.

They were letters, letters Roy had written for him. Letters he wrote when he was in solitary confinement, stuck in his room with no company for three days and three nights. Written in pen. Edward wondered about that, but he decided not to dwell since Roy obviously didn't draw a transmutation circle when he had the chance to.

The first letter already had Edward covering his mouth with his hand. He remembered Roy being taken away, kicking and screaming and in his voice that he probably didn't even hear himself yelling; "Help me!" It still tore him that he couldn't help Roy at all that time, the first time in his life he felt completely useless, watching the one he cared about being dragged away from him and he didn't even know it, because he thought Ed was an enemy in his nightmare breaking into reality world.

He closed his eyes to fight that memory back and looked back to the letter. He noticed that Roy didn't even seem to know that he was being held in solitary confinement. What was this shit? How could he not know? Roy must've thought he hated him if he didn't even know he was in solitary confinement. How did he not push Edward away when he hugged him, tackled him? Ed wouldn't have wanted anything to do with the other if he thought what Roy must've done. He couldn't imagine what it must've been like; stuck in a cell all by yourself thinking that the one person that seemed to give a damn was going to come, only he doesn't. Not a word flew to his ears about that one person he thought gave a damn, thinking he probably doesn't anymore.

The second letter was even worse. Roy never faulted Edward at all for not coming. Roy never blamed Edward for not turning up, for breaking his promise. Roy blamed himself. Instead, Flame questioned himself before questioning Edward, he put himself lower than Fullmetal, he cared more about Edward than himself. He still remembered what he did to Yealland too and he sounded like he regretted it. Not regretting strangling the bastard, but for Edward having seen him at his worst. Did he really think Ed would be scared of that? Did he? But Roy was right, he did deserve an answer, it just never came.

The third was his undoing. He took note that Roy put down 'Fullmetal' rather than his name, clearly he was angry or disappointed at this point when this letter was written. Again, Mustang was blaming himself before he was blaming Elric, but he was begging in this letter. Roy Mustang wasn't the type to beg. He was breaking, to the point of shattering in this letter, pleading and so alone, feeling like a monster because that's how he was treated. It was true, he didn't see a monster of fire, he saw a human of passion, because that's what fire was. It was heated, it brought good growth to plants, but it destroyed things, burnt things beyond recognition in the process. That's what Mustang was; he was uncontrollable, but still beautiful in his own way.

Edward looked back up at his teacher; "He's really sick, teacher, he needs my help."

His teacher snorted, but she nodded; "Fine, you'll probably be hurt badly in the process, but they say love is blind. No surprise if it's you."

Edward scowled; "I'm not blind and I'm certainly not in love. We're just trying, but I haven't decided yet."

Izumi nodded again; "Be real careful, brat. Come visit the butchers sometime, Sig misses you boys too."

Alphonse was first to pipe up at the chance. "Oh, we will teacher! Soon!" The brothers waved as Izumi made her exit. Alphonse then took the chance to whisper to his brother; "How long can we keep it quiet?"

"My guess is a week." Edward whispered back with confidence. After Izumi finally left, Edward turned to his brother face on. "You don't mind I spend the rest of the day with Roy, do you? Just he's really upset with me, I think, and I haven't seen him in three days, you know?"

Alphonse laughed his excuses off, he knew the whole story. "Of course not, it'll probably be good for you two to hang around each other now. I'll head home and talk to Winry, let her know teacher came." Giving his elder brother a hug, he picked up the books he dropped earlier and made his way home.

Edward, meanwhile, ran to Roy's side and handed him his pad and pen. "Are you mad at me?" Roy looked confused at his partner, but shook his head. Edward sighed. "You seemed a bit angry in the letters; I hope you didn't mind me reading them. I tried to see you but the guards wouldn't let me."

Roy held up a hand and smiled slightly. Edward knew what he meant; he already knew and didn't hold Ed responsible at all. He was forgiven. Edward smiled, then looked confused as Roy handed him the pad again. Taking it, he realised this was on an earlier page than the three letters he read earlier.


Intimidated, that was my first feeling. Well, even that is being put lightly. I was scared; I had never felt so vulnerable in my entire life. Left on the chair to be electrocuted. Left on a chair, tied and completely vulnerable towards them. Bastards, the lot of them. Utterly disgraceful, and for them to be working for the military, and for the Fuhrer to be condoning such methods of curing this accursed disease! Reconsideration, that's what I'd love to put forth, but, alas, it would be deemed rare to be taken seriously by an apparent madman. Needless to say, my opinion remains unchanged about the disease itself, even now, it still confuses me.

Truthfully, some might take this as an advantage to get out of the war in Ishbal, can't say I blame them. Hell, this fact makes it difficult for the doctors to really treat us as human beings, when they can't understand us and those that fake get caught, it makes us all look bad. Even as we scream in the night, even as we plead for them to stop, we will never be seen as normal, living, breathing human beings, never again. Moments between nightmare and real life are the worst of all, I'm sure you're aware; you're always seeing him around, aren't you? Always there, at the back of your mind, but you pretend he isn't, because you want to fit in and be treated human like the rest of us. Lacking in acting, that's your problem. Lacking in height, now there's a feat I love about you, always.

Edward looked back up at Mustang. It was true; he knew what it was like. He kept seeing Truth, having conversations with Truth sometimes, sometimes even pleasant, intelligent ones, and he gets the weird eye from everyone. The moment they spot the badge on his uniform, they change their path and cross the road. It's like the badge said "I'm diseased, run away now!" Not quite what the badge said, but that was how the people interpreted it.

Then Edward smacked Flame hard on the arm. "I'm not short, you git!" Roy winced, still thankful that Edward bothered to hit him with his left arm but he smiled. At least Elric hadn't changed at all in his absence. "Still, you're better than Mad Marvin, I suppose." Roy didn't know how Mad Marvin was, but he didn't care. Ed didn't like the person, clearly, that's all he cared about. Flame still smiled and grabbed hold of the hand Ed had just hit him with.

The blond looked up at him, confused, then he smiled back slightly. He didn't have the heart to tell the guy he wasn't a girl or go on a rant. He owed Roy, after all, might as well get used to it. It wasn't that bad either. He was going to get better for Roy Mustang, because he needed all the help he could get and Ed wasn't about to leave him to fall into madness.

Walking back to the building to eat, Edward took another look at what Roy had written. Maes had to see this. Edward couldn't do this alone and he needed Maes to help him out. He just hoped as well they had done a good enough plan to stop Roy from seeing that paper article. But there was something about those letters. He wasn't quite sure what it was, but he was going to ask Maes to take a look at them anyway. Hopefully, Maes would know what to do.

Well, I'm not entirely happy with this. When am I ever? xD! BADLY DONE IZUMI she was hard, surprisingly hard to write. Not quite sure why. Oh well.

Make me happy :D and wish me luck in university! (also review, if you'd like.)



(1) This was how messages were commonly sent during World War I and II, pigeons were the most useful of animals during the war as they flew at high speeds through wind and rain for secret messages. Usually, more than one bird was sent because a lot of pigeons got eaten along the way by falcons, Peregrin Falcons especially in London. They weren't used to send personal messages, as I'm sure there is actually a penalty for trying that and the pigeon was more than likely going to get eaten, but Edward had to come up with something. Crap as it was. For more details, watch the film Valiant. You won't regret it!