velvet mace

Blinded by the Light

Roy tasted fate in the air as he topped the muddy, grass swept hill. Only once before in his life had he experienced anything that approached a premonition, but now he felt it deep in his belly. Something was going to go wrong—dreadfully, permanently and devastatingly wrong.

The icy rain poured down hard on the land, soaking his clothes, his gloves, leaving him with an impotent feeling that cut right through to his bones. He sensed the clock winding down towards an uncertain doom, and he was too late. When the sky suddenly flashed an unnatural purple he felt more resigned than surprised.

The light paralyzed him, growing bright, warping the landscape, and blinding not so much his eyes but his very being. He felt alchemy like a harsh wind buffeting him from every angle. The vortex was close. The ground rippled under his feet, the sky tore, and existence itself grew tissue fragile. Instinctively Roy bent his knees and brought both hands up, pushing the reaction away.

Then, the reaction was gone, and Roy was alone but for the icy caress of rain on the back of his neck. He dug his fingers deeper into his pockets, wrapping one hand unconsciously around the folded envelope within it. The sense of dread was gone. Too late.

The world narrowed down to a patch of ground no larger than a vague circle of light issuing from his military issue flashlight. Roy kept his eyes glued to the ground following the over-sized footsteps through the grassy fields. The giant's steps didn't deviate, and so when Roy passed over harder, stonier patches it wasn't that hard to find the trail again once the land returned to mud.

Roy didn't see the house until he was practically on its doorstep. Roy knocked and waited. Now that he was still, the coldness had set in. His mind inevitably passed back over what he'd seen in the Elric house: A circle, scuffed in places, obscured by blood in others, but still a circle that Roy recognized, one that he'd been tempted to draw himself once. The washtub in the middle of circle was empty, and there were disturbing signs left on the floor. Bloody handprints stood out against the stone floor. It looked as if something not quite natural had slithered and pulled its way through the pool of blood and out the door into the rain.

Roy shook the image out of his head, causing rain to cascade of his cap. He knocked once more and when no one answered he turned the handle. The wind caught his arm and the door and flung it wide.

Roy winced as the light from the house stabbed his eyes, and for the second time that evening Roy was blinded.

Roy expected many things, but not this.

The report that reached his desk two weeks ago said that Edward Elric had come into the world on December 17th, 1899. Other than his birth, there was nothing remarkable enough about him to warrant official documentation. No arrest record, no legal disputes. Nothing that would suggest that he was anything other than an ordinary eleven year old.

The letter in Roy's pocket claimed Hohenheim as Ed's father. It suggested that Edward could perhaps be a person of interest to the military in some capacity, if only as leverage for tracking down the most infamous and powerful and elusive alchemist in history.

The array on the floor of the empty Elric house spoke of talent, recklessness, and desperation. It suggested genius and hubris in equal amounts. It spoke seductively of military uses. Of skill that could be molded, directed, aimed.

Roy stared at the child lying, pale, defenseless, unconscious under a thin blanket. Gold hair, only a bit darkened by sweat and dust, framed a face round with innocence, smooth with youth, and pale from trauma.

A dark unspeakable urge welled up from nowhere. Roy's mind twisted away from the unbidden thought. It was inappropriate, unworthy, wrong on far too many levels, and Roy was ashamed that such a thought even occurred to him.

He pulled his eyes away from the youth. He thankful his expression was stony, and the others in the room could not see into his mind, or know that even now his lips tingled in anticipation of something that should never—would never happen.

He had not expected Edward to be so beautiful. He had not expected to be reminded of the fairy tale of the princess woken by a kiss.

Roy walked out of the house, away from the stares and anger and temptation, to the safe darkness of the Rizembul night. When he was far enough away that he couldn't feel the house behind him, he looked up at the sky and let the cold rain on his face soothe his blinded heart.