velvet mace


Havoc tapped the cigarette out of the pack with a smooth, well practiced flip of the hand. His mouth already tasted the tobacco, even though he hadn't even put the cigarette to his lips yet. The memory of the flavor, the sensual feel of the cotton and paper roll against his lips, the warmth from the tip, from the smoke, all combined together to form an irresistible urge. At times Havoc thought he could go without eating sooner than he could go without a cig.

"Can I light that for you?"

Havoc jumped, his sensual reverie broken, and turned to look at the lanky, psychotic alchemist.

"No, thank you, sir. I've got it," he said as flatly as he could. Kimbly was like a snake; you didn't want to provoke him, but you didn't want to encourage him to do whatever it was he had in mind to do, either. Havoc knew for a fact that Kimbly had outright murdered several soldiers in the few weeks since his reinstatement as a State Alchemist—had murdered them for no other reason than they happened to be close by at a moment when Kimbly needed something to explode.

Internal affairs was looking into the allegations, Mustang had said, but with that dry voice that suggested he didn't believe it. Stay clear of him.

Easier said than done. Kimbly was making no move to go away.

Havoc looked around the ruins of Ishball. He could see other soldiers poking about here and there, but none of them near by. Not that witnesses meant anything to Kimbly anyway; if he was going to blow someone up, he'd do it in front of a crowd just as easily as he would in private. He had no fear of persecution.

"Can I help you, sir?" asked Havoc when the silence grew too long between them. Kimbly continued to stare at him with those creepy golden eyes.

"You haven't lit your cigarette yet," said Kimbly.

Havoc's ritual was already upset, so when his fingers reached for the smooth silver lighter they slipped and it fell to the sand at his feet.

Kimbly uncoiled. Before Havoc could do anything, the alchemist reached out with both hands and pressed the end of the cigarette between his palms. He withdrew, and a moment later a wisp of smoke spontaneously curled up from the end. Automatically, Havoc took the cigarette to his mouth and sucked a few times. He didn't taste the tobacco.

"Thank you, sir," said Havoc, again with as much finality as he could, hoping the man would move off. He didn't. He just stood there, staring at the end of the cigarette.

"Once upon a time, this place really burned. It was amazing to watch. Fucking amazing. But now, sand doesn't blow up very well," Kimbly said, somewhat wistfully. "It lacks necessary organic ingredients."

Havoc puffed automatically. He needed the nicotine to kick in.

Kimbly smiled again at Havoc. "We each have our addictions, don't we soldier?"

And then, as much as he didn't want to, Havoc understood. He pulled the cigarette from his mouth and snubbed it lightly against the ruined wall behind him. Then he turned to Kimbly. "My cigarette's gone out, sir. Could you please relight it?"

Havoc watched Kimbly press his hands against the end of the cigarette again. It must have been hot still, Havoc realized. Kimbly flinched, but then his smile broadened.

The end was lit again. Havoc puffed twice, then snubbed it out again. Kimbly relit it. Kimbly seemed more relaxed. His eyes closed as he pressed his hands together around the cigarette.

Again, and again until all that was left was the filter. Havoc dropped the useless butt on the sand and tapped another cigarette out of the pack. Kimbly smiled approvingly.

Over the next fifteen minutes he watched as Kimbly made his tiny explosions. The pretenses stopped midway through the second cigarette. Havoc simply snubbed it out the moment it was lit and reoffered it again. Kimbly stopped pretending that what he was doing was anything but feeding his own needs.

Kimbly's face took on a look of bliss somewhere around the fourth cigarette. He took his time now pressing the cigarette in his hands. Each time that sudden puff of smoke emerged from the end, Kimbly's breath hitched in. He licked his lips while Havoc carefully snubbed it out again.

He's getting off on this, Havoc realized. With embarrassment, he noticed that the Crimson's Alchemist's pants were bulging suspiciously. Havoc felt a wave of disgust. When Kimbly's fingers brushed against his, he shuddered and quickly dropped the cigarette.

Kimbly breathed quickly, eyes half-lidded and a slow smile on his face. Havoc quickly flipped out another cigarette before the Alchemist could consider blowing up something more important.

Inevitably, the last cigarette butt fell to the ground. Havoc felt a wave of terror. Kimbly looked impatient.

"They are gone, sir," Havoc said. He squashed the pack in his hand. "I'm sorry. Maybe someone else has more."

Kimbly looked sadly at the scattered butts by their feet. Then he smiled at Havoc with a predatory grin.

"This place really burned once. So beautiful. " Havoc stepped back as he felt Kimbly's rough palms touch his cheeks.

"Please, sir." Havoc heard the tremble in his own voice.

"All good things must end, I suppose. But I have my memories." Kimbly dropped his hands and walked off, whistling.

Havoc needed a cigarette.