Title - By the Light of the Moon

Disclaimer - Arakawa owns all

Timeline/Spoilers - During the Ishbalan war

Warning - dark war time actions

Summary - It's a night mission

Author's Note - I have a million other things to be doing but Maes was not to be denied. Thanks to evil_little_dog for the beta. Written for fma_fic_contest's 'moonbeam/sunray' prompt and took first place.

XXX

The desert was drenched in so much sunlight, Hughes thought he'd never drain it all from his sight. He found himself almost hoping for missions like this, in the night with nothing but unsubstantial moonbeams to reveal the dogs of war sneaking across the sand like light-footed lizards. Despite the near relief of having darkness to hide his deeds, Hughes still didn't want to be here. This would be up close and personal.

He had long since lost the capability to understand this war. If it went on a couple more years, it would be a decade-long bloody stalemate. Hughes had heard the rumors that the State Alchemists were going to be dispatched. His mission hinged on that idea. He couldn't help but wonder if Roy would be with them. Surely he was safe back in Central, doing whatever alchemists did for the military. Would Roy even recognize the man he'd become?

Tonight they needed to remove Avrin as a threat, an influential priest who had holed up with guards stationed far enough away, not even the best sniper could make the shot. That was the point of the mission, to remove the guards and get their best sniper close. Hughes pitied her, yet was in awe just a bit. The Eye of the Hawk hadn't even graduated the Academy yet, and her skill was stunning. She didn't look deadly, but he knew looks were deceiving.

Holding his breath, Hughes saw the outline of a man in the diffuse silvery light. Getting a hand around the man's bearded jaw, he swept the Ishbalan's feet out from under him. Keeping the hand over the enemy's jaw, Hughes got his other hand behind the man's head and twisted. As a sick crack split the still night air, the man went limp. Hughes couldn't even hear a wishbone break any more without getting the nauseous feeling he had now.

Thinking he heard something, Hughes straightened up, glancing around. He saw the Ishbalan cutting across the rocks. Reflexes screaming, Hughes pulled his throwing dagger. Flinging it hard, he hit the man in the neck. He went down with a little bit of noise. Hughes finished him off with another knife. It sickened him to remember that he had perfected his throw by smacking wadded up paper off Roy's head whenever his friend was busy over studying.

A soft sigh escaped his lips, hearing the night bird's call, their 'all clear' sound. Hughes knew the Eye of the Hawk would move in for her kill shot and Avrin and his influence would be gone. In theory, that would make it even easier for the State Alchemists once they got here. Hughes couldn't care about that. His mind was on staying alive to make it back to base. If he saw the sun's rays on another day, then he would consider tonight a success. No need to worry about the future here. Most of them had none.