Pairings: Roy/Ed. slight Ed/Winry
Summary: A heart is nothing but four chambers and a rhythm.
Notes: Follows first anime arc, another analysis of RoyEd. This is written for peridottears , to whom I owe this little excursion into the FMA fandom in the first place. 1/4. (I fail.)
~Automail is the reason we're famous~
part one: anatomically
It comes to him in flashes, in parsecs the size of minutiae visible only under electron microscopes, while he is already walking down the country lane at twenty-three hundred hours minus five Central Time. It comes to him like the ebbing tides of a monotone ocean, drifting in an out of his conscious on the mismatched scale of a pear-shaped hourglass. It’s all grayscale, dominated by objective correlatives and parallel impressions. Time turns into a rocket; it shoots skyward and leaves the world spinning on a bent axis, swinging from feeble hinges.
It’s swinging, swinging, swinging.
Water balances on either side of a tightrope swung across a canyon with box-like dimensions of infinity plus one.
And since then, it had never been the same.
It’s already dark when Roy finds the house. The lights are dimmed on the first landing, and a single lamp shines like a satellite beacon on the second floor. The back door is open, spilling voices out into the night. They are soft voices, hushed voices, wistful voices, desperate voices; discussing the secrets that had kept the boy alive. His presence doesn’t go by unnoticed, of course. By the time he reaches the door, the girl is already wielding a defiant glare and a heavy-looking metal wrench that Roy would have hated to be victim to.
Rockbell, the old lady tells him with a wary glance. I’m the child’s grandmother and you had better take those suspicious-looking gloves off in my presence; we have enough trouble with these alchemists, as it is. (Rockbell, you say, Roy murmurs, and then he forgets how to breathe. One, two, three gunshots ring through his head, BANGBANGBANG. He freezes, feels something light and metallic –a bullet?– slam into his gut and looks down at his abdomen, surprises himself when he finds nothing there.)
Old Rockbell coughs. Young Rockbell looks ready to commit a capital crime at her grandmother’s word. He decides to look over his position in the end, slipping off the gloves. He’ll play the beleaguered outlaw for today.
“We are in the middle of something,” the old lady says, voice loud, “please excuse us.”
“I cannot be dismissed,” Roy smiles grimly.
A pause; the Rockbell woman sizes Roy up (she sniffs like a blood hound who has found a fresh hole in the ground) and then she scowls, childlike and almost likeable if she hadn’t been looking at him like he’d just climbed out from a garbage dump. “Winry, tea.”
The young girl reluctantly releases her weapon, but not before swinging it at Roy’s face.
“I’m afraid it’s important business,” he says without flinching, catching the spinning wrench in midair and wincing when he feels the metal clunk against his bones (the girl tramps out of the room with a satisfied smile), “I’m on a recruiting mission.”
Old Rockbell folds her arms over her weathered apron. “I see,” she says, in a voice that indicates that she does not see at all.
“I’m looking for the Elric brothers,” Roy continues, “Edward and Alphonse Elric.”
There is a clatter of tea ware, water splashing, and a small yelp somewhere in the background. “Clumsy girl,” Pinako mutters under her breath, and adds a short reply, this one for Roy to hear, “They will be unavailable for some time. We have nothing to do with the army, officer. Please leave.”
That is when he notices the boy the cot by the workbench, the young boy with the striking blond hair (so much like Hawkeye’s) and the panicky, more-horrified-than-scared frown frozen on his face. There are two bloody stumps on the boy’s body, one over the place where his right arm should have been, the other halfway up the thigh of his left leg. Was this human transmutation?
“That’s him, isn’t it,” he breathes, “Edward Elric.”
Rockbell doesn’t reply at first. She’s judges Roy through narrowed eyes. “Whatever you are about to do, the answer is no.”
“I am on orders to be non-obtrusive—” (the expression that Old Rockbell gives him tells him clearly that oh yes, Roy has been more than obtrusive) “—we can definitely work something out,” he says softly, glancing in the direction of the blond boy again, “I just have a few papers to hand over to you.”
The boy in the bed stirs.
(And for the first time in a long time, Roy Mustang can feel his heart skip a rhythm.)
For maximum damage, you aim for the heart; his commanding superior tells the roomful of eager students during the first lesson on the first day of battle school. He sketches a rough map of a human body on the chalkboard (it looks more like a lopsided chicken drumstick, Roy thinks, but none of the other students say anything so he decides not to bother), and jabs his sausage-fingers at points he deems appropriate; it’s their first of many anatomy lessons. The best way to die is by severing the cerebellum from the back of the head (jab, jab), but unless if you’re shooting from point-blank (jab, slide of the chalk from the region that resembles a face), or if your opponent is dumb as a walking wooden target (jab, in the pelvic region), this opportunity will be rare, if even possible. The main arteries above the heart, on the other hand, are a much easier target. The ventricles and chambers cannot function without each other. Everything is interconnected.
One student (probably Riza) raises her hand. But what’s the most efficient way to kill? Isn’t all that blood a little messy to deal with? Their professor stops for a second and rubs his chin, stalling for time (he’s not about to let anyone know that he has not studied anatomy in thirty years, that he would really rather be at home, lounging on his velvet couch and watching The Secret Lives of Office Ladies, that when you kill you really forget about everything and everyone but killing). He is saved from delivering an obscure and extremely philosophic answer when another student (probably Havoc) raises his hand to go to the bathroom.
And so, Roy remembers leaving the classroom that day with one line of notes: maximum damage, aim for the heart.
This is a lesson that he will never forget.
Thanks for reading. Reviews are much love. :D