Disclaimer: I do not own nor am affiliated with the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise in any way. I make no money off this endeavor. Original characters in this fic do belong to me, so please ask if you want to use them (cause they're such fantastic characters hardy har har).
Divine Right of Kings
"I am the Fuhrer of Amestris!" Roy Mustang lunges on top of the rail and stands with legs spread, arms akimbo.
"Pretty pathetic Fuhrer," Ed says. "You're the Fuhrer of a dead nation."
Roy smiles and exalts his face into the burning sun, waiting for the glory of heaven to fall down on him. The divine right of kings.
So Hohenheim's Umbral Transmutation Circle didn't work, and the Dwarf took the soul of every living person in Amestris with him. Except for theirs, of course, but that was beside the point. Everything was beside the point of why the circle didn't work. Who knows? Maybe it fizzled out, or was missing some element, or just couldn't stand up to the power of a god. "Back to the drawing board!" was just the sort of thing Al would have said. Except he didn't.
It took Ed a long time to understand that there was no enemy to fight. How could the thing that destroyed his world just be gone? The Dwarf had tossed around a few billiard-ball suns; smiled at his sacrifices as a father smiles at his stupid, obedient children; and rocketed off. He didn't actually rocket. His just blinked out of their space, as if the act of moving was so pedestrian now.
He took the soul of every living person in Amestris with him. Did Ed already mention that?
"What happened?" Roy asks. He's caught some sort of short-term amnesia along with his blindness.
Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric, Izumi Curtis, and Roy Mustang are Amestris now. A nation of four friggin' people. May Chang is around here somewhere too, but she is not Amestris. Van Hohenheim is here, but he is not Amestris either; he has aged beyond Amestris, beyond definition.
Losing another culture broke him. It's in his eyes. An invisible line runs through them, a gap of longing and dingy anguish, as a vein of gold polluted with oil. As the days run by, the line grows complex, breeding a living fractal in his irises, one that grasps Hohenheim whole.
Ed doesn't care. Everyone is broken now. Especially Roy. Maybe it would have been better to have kept him in the dark. Snort. In the dark. Ed's such a wit.
After the Dwarf blinks out, there in that cellar Amestris' heart, Pride is all that's left. He puts his fingertips together, and then swings his arms like a little boy, rolling his mothman eyes around as though looking for his Father. His smirk falls, but only after a long, uncertain start. After it's clear that the Dwarf is not coming back, a strange thing happens: Pride really does look like a little lost boy, and he reaches out like Briareus with sooty arms, and clambers out through the ceiling. Greed leaps out from the shadows, yelling, "Where're you going, you little pissant?" and follows him up.
They follow too, on ledges of earth alchemy. Izumi holds onto Roy, sacrificing herself closer to the edge. They hope and fear. Their hope is not rewarded.
Greed is up top, lounging around. Pfft. Not really lounging. But he leans against a wall, eyes shut, in a disordered, sneering rest. The city is at rest too, but it is not sneering; it's serious. The buildings fall away in progression, like dominoes. The air buzzes with the sound of a disturbed hornet's nest. Ed shields his eye from the sun dangling off the corner of the chapel. There is every clichéd sound that Ed can think of (dogs barking, birds chirping), but there are no people sounds.
Greed's eyelids split open like fermenting fruit. "Look at what the cat dragged in."
"He couldn't take you," Hohenheim says, interlacing his marble fingers as if praying. His skin looks vulnerable, thin like a newborn baby's.
Greed jabs a thumb into his chest. "Not me, baby."
"What about Ling?" Al asks.
Grinning, Greed looks away, over the dead city. There is bitterness in his smile. "What happened to him?" He nods at Roy, whose hand covers his eyes. "Looks pretty ba—"
"What are you doing?" Ed asks.
Greed stretches his arms above his head, arching his back. He moves it this way and that, rotating his shoulders. It's Ling's, Ed thinks.
"Maybe I'll become Emperor of Xing."
May gulps, holding her paws in front of her chin. Greed laughs.
"What happened?" Roy asks. For the twentieth time. Or so.
"Colonel, honey . . . ." Izumi says, holding him closer. "Colonel, honey . . . ." It's the closest anyone has gotten to answering him. She's never spoken so gently before.
Roy's question is stupid. He's been asking it ever since the Dwarf shot off and won. That incident has corrupted Roy's mind.
"You know what happened, you idiot!" Ed says. "You're not going to make us say it!"
Roy stares at the distance behind Ed's shoulder, but no one says anything, except for Al, who says, "Brother." It's so disenchanted, Ed can't stand it. A reprimand would be better.
Hohenheim checks the bodies, turning them over. The fractal grows.