Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Spoilers: through 51
Summary: Roy hasn't learned from other people's mistakes
Previous Parts: Prologue | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Pat VI
Notes: Stuff will happen! In the future! I swear! (tatooine is the shizznizzle for the beta)
The next murder happens a few weeks later, and Roy feels a strange mixture of dread and relief.
He still doesn't know what Wrath wants. He still doesn't know what the object of the game is. If the murders continue, he can figure it out. The rules aren't changing -- well, maybe they are, but at least there is something for Roy to latch onto, more pieces to the puzzle. If the murders stopped, he'd have to start again from the beginning. Of course, more murders are still more murders, and Roy can't remain indifferent to that, no matter how hard he tries.
Hawkeye has started speaking to him again, though her eyes remain guarded every time she does. She stands near the edge of the crime scene, lips in a tight line. Roy knows she's trying to hide her distaste.
The scene looks as bad as the last few, worse maybe. Wrath was extra vicious on this one; Roy could barely recognize the body as being human. Still can't, actually.
Wrath, of course, is nowhere to be seen. He's not stupid enough to stay around here, even to gauge a reaction. It's disappointing in its own way.
Roy wants to understand his mind, his logic. Their connection is easy enough to spot; this is probably some kind of twisted revenge for creating him. The victims seem to be chosen for physical appearance; the significance of which chills Roy to the bone. The quotes may mean everything or nothing at all.
The new one is just as taunting: "To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge." It throws off the pattern, of course, but now that Roy knows about Wrath, there's no need to keep the old trend up. No need to hint at the identity of the murderer.
The message is messier this time, written sloppily and carelessly. The blood dripped down the walls in tracks and dried that way. Roy wonders if Wrath found himself inexplicably busy and had to hurry, if he was just short on time or if he wasted too much time on the kill and nearly forgot to write the message.
Wrath is a problem. Roy needs to fix the Wrath problem. It's simple logic. He's had time to compartmentalize, separate Wrath and Maes in his mind. He doesn't know if it's worked.
Roy wonders how many more people will die for his mistake before he can fix it, if he can fix it.
The victim this time was Malcolm Evans. Same dark hair, pale skin, as far as Roy can tell. from the photograph one of the inspectors had handed him of what Evans had looked like before.
Evans had worked at a restaurant, not too far from this alleyway. His wife reported he was missing when he was only two hours late. The police weren't too pleased with that, but they did go out searching. Roy thinks about Evans' wife and can only picture her looking exactly like Gracia. Evans would have been lucky if she were half as good as Gracia.
And here he is now, a chalk outline. Roy should probably put him on the list, along with everything else he has to be guilty about.
Hawkeye watches him, studies him, gauges his reaction. Roy still can't meet her eyes. "What do you think it means?" she asks, gesturing to the words written on the wall.
"I think it's a message," Roy says, inspecting it himself. "I think he's trying to tell us something."
Hawkeye doesn't ask what the message is, and Roy is grateful. He hates not having answers.
"To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge."
The message could have a million meanings. Of course, there's the one that Roy thinks he sees. He knows next to nothing about the homunculi, besides what Ed has told him, and he should acknowledge that he's in over his head. But is there some pattern to the words? Is there a deeper meaning that he's missing? There are too many questions and too few answers.
"Sir?" It's one of the younger police officers, eyes wide and concerned. "Sir, you shouldn't touch the evidence."
Roy jerks back from the wall. He'd been running his fingers over the words without realizing it. That bothers him. He doesn't like doing things without conscious thought. When he looks at his fingers, the tips were stained red. Part of it was still wet.
He steps back to stare at the whole thing again. It looks worse up close. From farther away, it's easy to pretend it's red paint. Roy turns and walks back to the car where Havoc is waiting. Hawkeye gives him a questioning look.
"I'm going home, Lieutenant Hawkeye," he says with a nod. She salutes.
The ride back to his house is quiet. Roy needs some time to think.
They stand opposite each other lit by sunlight streaming through stained glass windows. A man and a woman, one leaving, one arriving.
"I hope you have Mustang under control," the woman said. There was a threat in the statement.
The man grinned and kicked a stray pebble, apparently unconcerned. "I'm meeting him tonight."
That earned him a raised eyebrow from the woman. She knew what he meant. "Are you sure he'll show?"
"Of course." The man's grin grew wider.