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 | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Pat XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Tag filter
Notes: Once again, many thanks to daringu for the spiffy beta. This is the last actual chapter. Epilogue is coming tomorrow.
The crime scene looks the same as the others. Same setup, same arrangement, though there's a carelessness there that seems to indicate something about Wrath's emotional state. In a hurry. Desperate.
The message is written so sloppily, it takes Roy a minute to figure out what was written, but after he deciphers it, there's no question as to what it says. "HERE TONIGHT"
Roy will be certain to be here. He reaches into his pocket and clenches a fist around the envelope for reassurance. Tonight. It has to end tonight.
It's almost become routine now, the meetings, and Roy feels no hesitation as he approaches the same area, four hours later. The police have left the scene already, taking with them what little evidence they managed to collect, and not even leaving behind the distinctive yellow tape.
There's no sign of Wrath, but then again, there never is.
Roy waits with his hands in his pockets, turning the teeth there over and over again with his fingers. It's strangely comforting, the feel of them, a reminder of who he was, who they were.
With the usual gust of wind, Wrath appears. There's something agitated to him, a confusion in his eyes, and Roy can clearly see the dissonance between him and Maes. There's a line now, that wasn't there before. It's not just a giant mess in his mind, a blurring between the two. Now there is Maes and there is Wrath, and they are not the same thing.
Something rights itself then, and none of the anger or uncertainty of their earlier encounters resurfaces. Bathed in the moonlight, Wrath looks other-worldly, like the ghost he isn't (and Roy wished he would be). The moment feels crystallized, frozen in time, and Roy thinks that if someone asked him about it twenty years down the line, he would still be able to describe the stone under his feet, the cool, chill breeze in the air.
"I need to know," Wrath snarls, splintering the moment. "Tell me."
Roy thinks for a instant that this is the moment they've been moving toward, that this time it wouldn't be one of his Doppelgängers to die. This time it could be the real thing (though he knows Wrath probably won't, needs him alive too much to). His fingers tighten around the teeth in his pocket reflexively.
But when Wrath shiftblurs to get closer, he freezes within inches of Roy, stuck in an almost comical pose of movement, anger still written clearly across his face.
This is the moment he's been waiting for. He looks Wrath straight in the eye, practically feels the anger in there. Roy feels a surge of power, of strength, and it strikes him that their roles are reversed from the first time they met. He doesn't know why the homunculus is frozen in front of him, and he doesn't particularly care. The hows and whys don't matter here, all that matters is that he can.
As he looks at Wrath, however, he feels a great sense of pity, of regret. It had never asked to be born, and it hasn't asked to die. And it will only be one more person (thing) that that Roy has wronged in his lifetime. Maybe this is an act of pity, but maybe that is just another thing Roy tells himself to ease the guilt. So be it. At this point, it is just another load he must carry.
He doesn't hesitate as he places his hands together (knowing that this is right in some undefinable, untouchable way), feels the circle within him form. This is atonement, of a sort, and while he knows he can never truly be forgiven, he knows that he will have at least taken responsibility (because it it his and no one else's).
He separates his hands. The alley is silent, not even the sound of a passing car disrupts their strange tableaux. It feels appropriate, that it should end like this. Only the two of them. No one else.
His hands seem to move slowly through the air, though he feels no hesitation in them, and as they press themselves to Wrath's unmoving, cold flesh, he feels the finality of the gesture.
His head falls, and his eye close (though later he will wonder if he should have left it open) and he works the alchemy necessary, separates out the molecules, feels the skin deform between his fingers, lets whatever is left fall to the ground.
And when he opens his eye again, there is nothing left in front of him but dirt and water.
Roy thinks that somewhere it must be raining, gallons and gallons of water pouring down from the skies, soaking into the earth, striking the ground with a familiar pit-pat. But here the sky is clear and the air is quiet, and Roy is alone with the mess he had created.
The water will dry and the dirt will wash away, and maybe the police will forget about the murders ten years down the line, but Roy will remember.
There's no way he could ever forget.
He has been marked with the memory, and the scar is soul deep. His fingers go to the eyepatch, and he appreciates that it will always be a reminder of his failure. Of his own weakness.
With a still heavy but somewhat lightened heart, he steps out of the alley and onto the street. In the distance, he hears a dog bark, a baby cry, and a car rumble down a cobblestone road.
He feels a great sense of relief.
"Well, that went well."
"He was a risky proposition from the beginning. It's fine, we don't need him for the final plan."
"I hope you're right."
"The colonel thinks he's won. We can use that. Besides, we have other things to think of."