bTitle/b - Failed Symphony

bAuthor/b- lj user="cornerofmadness"

bseries/b - manga/FMA:B

bDisclaimer/B - Arakawa owns all

bRating/b - teen

bCharacters/Pairing/b - Roy, implied Royai

bTimeline/Spoilers/b - barely post Ishval

bWord Count/b - 676

bWarning/b - angst

bSummary/b - The music failed him tonight

bAuthor's Note/b - Written for lj user=fma_fic_contest for the prompt 'skip.'. Thanks to lj user=evil_little_dog for the beta and for poking me with a stick to make me write something.

XXX

Three in the morning should have meant he was tucked into bed, sleeping. Sleep was a joke, had been since even before Roy had left the desert. More often than not, the horrible things he had done in the war haunted his rest. Red eyes glared at him from bedroom shadows. This night, however, was the remembrance of a young child in a shallow grave, and the moans of pain as he carefully gave a woman he loved third degree burns. Even now, awake for hours, Roy could still smell her burning flesh, but his stomach had nothing left in it to vomit up.

When Roy was very little, his aunt had introduced him to music. Not just the swing music or the slow waltzes that had echoed up from her club. She had Roy ensconced in the penthouse suite of the old hotel she and her girls worked and lived in. He would often sneak down to hear that music. However, the music Aunt Chris most wanted him to love was the soaring scores of the symphony. He still remembered the time when he was seven and she'd dressed him up in his finest clothes and had taken him to hear the orchestra. The girls thought he'd be bored, but Roy had been entranced by the music and more than a little vain about being a 'handsome boy' as all the girls cooed and fussed over him.

Chris had hoped he'd have musical talent. While his fingers had no trouble measuring out chemicals to the nearest milligram, they were all thumbs – and uncoordinated ones at that – when it came to piano or violin. Roy had nearly been as disappointed as his aunt. Still, his enjoyment of music had remained unmarred. The tone poems of the Drachmaian composer, Handula, painted pictures for him. Rousing marches from Creta were still his favorite music to clean to, and Amestrian composer, Perska, wrote melodies that could relax him when nothing else did.

Tonight, even the music didn't work. Roy tried for an hour, but nothing blew the memories out of his mind's eye. Picking up another record, he set it on the turntable, not seeing it was scratched. The thing had been skipping for so long now, he had lost track of time. He knew it was ruining the needle, but he didn't care. He had others. He wouldn't care if he didn't have spares. What did it matter? What did he matter?

Roy thought he'd change out the record when he got up to get more whiskey, but he had finished his glass some time back and felt no impetus to go for more. It took more spirit than he had now. Just lying on the couch, arm draped across his forehead, felt like an effort. Roy hoped he might actually drift off, but the skipping record ensured that was impossible.

His mind wouldn't quiet. It ran races along the tracks of his memory, dredging up every terrible thing he had ever done. Roy wondered if he could sleep if he went to visit Hawkeye in the hospital. He was fairly sure she had been brought to the Eastern compound, but Roy was afraid to look into it too deeply. He shouldn't even really know the Eye of the Hawk other than by rumor. It would be too easy to read something sexual into a superior officer visiting a pretty young soldier. It would be even easier for someone to wonder about the fire Hawkeye had been burnt by and wonder if he had truly become a monster.

Roy pried himself up, his muscles shaking with fatigue and whiskey as he made his way over to the phonograph. Lifting the arm, he turned off the turntable before going to do what he did every time the music failed him. Roy sat at his desk and dialed the phone.

A groggy voice croaked a fuzzy hello into the other end after the operator did whatever magic it was that they did to connect the call.

"Maes, can we talk?"