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[FMA] Infection (Roy/Al, Roy/Ed, Ed/Ling, various other implied, R) - Caveat Lector [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

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[FMA] Infection (Roy/Al, Roy/Ed, Ed/Ling, various other implied, R) [Oct. 12th, 2005|01:37 am]
The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

caveat__lector

[stickmarionette]
[Current Mood |restlessrestless]

Title: Infection (Last Third Part of the Futilities Arc)
Rating: R
Pairings: Roy/Al, Roy/Ed, Ed/Ling, various others implied
Warnings: Semi-con, mindfuckery, AU.
Summary: Alphonse is -

- quietly, unassumingly brilliant, which is a refreshing change in so many ways. His pride is malleable, his patience almost infinite, and he never complains.
Roy's cozy life with a newly restored Al unravels. Concluding Third part of the Futilities Arc, so read the previous parts if you want this to make sense. Heavily AU.
Dedication: to devils_devotion, happy birthday! Sorry this is so late and so...fucked up. In any case, you are awesomely talented and a great friend, so I hope you like it anyway.
Notes: This fic features, amongst other things, my first sex scene. Be warned.
Music: Chihiro Onitsuka – Infection, a beautiful, powerful ballad with amazing lyrics. The fic is of course named after it.

Previous Parts: Everything You Want and South of the River, East of the Sun



--


Alphonse is -

- quietly, unassumingly brilliant, which is a refreshing change in so many ways. His pride is malleable, his patience almost infinite, and he never complains. Most times he flashes a smile, transparent and bright, and does whatever he’s asked without a fuss.

Alphonse is a much-needed slice of normalcy in a life filled to the brim with far too much peculiarity, and none of it good. He’s comfortably lacking in sharp edges, in contrariness, and for that Roy is grateful.

Alphonse is a surprisingly lousy cook, but at least he makes the effort, so Roy eats the results of the younger man’s culinary experiments without complaint. They make a strange picture of domesticity, the two of them, if only because it seems so damn effortless.

Alphonse is all clear eyes and long silky hair just one shade south of perfect gold, deceptively thin form coupled with strong wiry limbs, and all of it full of the purest passion for life.

Alphonse is all unrestrained gasps and moans, miles of soft skin marked only by fine blonde hairs, and he chants Roy’s name when he comes, like a benediction and a prayer.

But.

Alphonse is not Ed.


--


Ed on the other hand is going to kill him when he finds out.

Roy glances at Al’s sleeping form and has to fight the urge to rub at his forehead one more time in a final attempt to dislodge the frown lines etching themselves in. There are dangers inherent in this relationship beyond his eventual untimely demise by Fullmetal’s hand, dangers he knows all too well. While Alphonse is thankfully an adult and not a member of the military, he’s also male and quite a bit younger than is appropriate for a man of Roy’s respectable years. If their relationship were to become public, his ever present political enemies would no doubt use it against him without any hesitation.

He understands the implications well enough; for one, the ever-reliable Riza Hawkeye had respectfully but firmly reminded him upon – somehow - finding out.


“Permission to speak freely, sir?” she asks stiffly, face unreadable.

“Of course,” he says, inexplicably hurt that she thought to ask. “You know you always have that with me.”

Her back straightens almost imperceptibly at that. “I believe that your relationship with Alphonse is politically dangerous.”

“I am aware of that, Captain Hawkeye.” Roy smiles to show her that he appreciates the concern, nevertheless. He can’t blame her – they’ve all worked hard to attain their collective goal, and it would be a shame to let all that hard work go to waste.

She almost seems personally unhappy, though, and he can’t quite figure out why.



When Al had turned up on his doorstep with a scrap of paper and a sheepish grin, it had been all he could do to stop staring. Alphonse Elric, in human form at last – not only that, but grown, glowing and beautiful in a way that was entirely different from his brother.

Roy had recognised him, of course, before he even spoke. The resemblance ensured that.

He remembers thinking, with a hollow sense of shock, so this is what he wanted. This is what he was chasing, all those years. And bitterly, was he worth it, Fullmetal? Was he worth all those pieces of your heart and soul, in the end?

If he ever got a chance to ask the blond about it, the answer would probably be a firm yes, he was, and that’s just sad and twisted and insane and inalienably Ed.


“Brother’s still recovering from the transmutation – I think it’s been harder for him than it has for me, to be honest.”

Roy feels something twist in his stomach. “H-how is he?”

An almost delicate pause, and then – “Fine,” Alphonse says, bronze eyes dark with something that could be sorrow.



Ed was most definitely not ‘fine’, although he is now - at least according to Al, who also claims that no one can find his brother. Roy has the sneaking suspicion that Al knows exactly where Ed is.

He isn’t cruel enough to ask, although he wants to – oh, how he wants to, and in the worst way possible.


“What happened?”

His heart is probably hammering loudly enough for Alphonse to hear, and he’s too tired to care.

“I - ” Al sneaks a look at Roy’s face as he speaks, and whatever he sees there makes him swallow his words. “He’ll come back, Furher Mustang.”

Roy wants to say ‘I’m sick of waiting for scraps from him’, but he doesn’t.

He isn’t quite that unfair, after all.



There had been a lot of confusion at first – no one knew what had happened to restore Al and subsequently drive Ed into seclusion, and the only witness wasn’t willing to talk.

Alphonse had become quite an eager conversationalist with time. The depth and breath of his knowledge continues to surprise Roy day after day, although he still doesn’t talk about his brother.


"What did your brother lose?"

"Nothing that wasn't already broken, he said.”

“What -”

A heavy sigh. “I don’t understand it either.”



Al wrinkles his brows in sleep. It’s an unaccountably endearing gesture and makes him look frighteningly young, which he isn’t, not really. Roy has trouble remembering that Al is an adult sometimes, oddly, but it’s not something that worries him in the end. Age was never one of the things that bothered him about his arrangement with the elder Elric, and so it is the same with the younger.

Like his relationship with the elder Elric, this had also been an accident. Happily, though, it’s turned out to be a much nicer form of accident.


Curled around himself, Al looks impossibly small in sleep for a reasonably tall adult. Roy can’t help staring, just for a moment, in complete fascination. In moments like these, he feels like he can almost understand Ed.

Al’s eyelids flutter half-open, and Roy finds himself riveted by the hazy, open glaze overlaying placid bronze eyes. Dazed, he leans down and places a light kiss on Al’s lips - which are unbelievably soft and Roy knows instantly that he can and will get addicted - almost involuntarily.

The sleepy glaze is gone from Al’s face when he draws back, though, and reality sets in. This is, after all, an unbelievably bad idea.

“I-I shouldn’t have done that, Alphonse. I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s okay,” Al says, grinning sheepishly. “I don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind at all.”



Later, sleepy and docile in his bed, Al had grabbed his wrist with a tired, almost drugged looking smile and whispered –

“- I know, don’t worry.”

Al is probably the one person who really knows Edward Elric, so maybe he does understand some of the twisted knot that is Roy’s relationship with his older brother. If so, Roy thinks with a twisted smile, he would be the first one.


“T-there’s something you h-have to understand about my brother,” Al says brokenly between pauses to gulp in more air, pale skin flushed and glistening with sweat all the way from neck to pelvic bone.

Roy would speak up and tell him that maybe now isn’t such a good time to talk through his numerous issues with Ed, but all his concentration is going into attempting to shut down his gag reflex with each thrust of Al’s thin hips.

Long fingers tangle themselves almost roughly in his hair, and Al goes on, although the pauses are becoming more frequent, the words more strangled.

“H-he isn’t very g-good at l-liking p-”

Roy hums around Al’s cock, cutting off the rest of the sentence as Al finally gives up on speech and keens, hand tightening in Roy’s hair almost painfully.

It’s nothing he didn’t already know, anyway.



For all their mutual silent understanding, there’s an Edward-sized gap between the two of them, and it just will not close. No matter what he does, that is and has always been and probably will always be the one constant of their relationship.

Roy is a great liar, especially to himself, but even he recognises what he and Al have for what it is – a pause, companionship and pleasure found in the blank spaces between two paragraphs of a story that doesn’t belong to him.


--


He isn’t particular surprised to return late from headquarters one night to find Ed lounging in his favourite chair, comfortable and sleek with his long braid and Xingian-embroidered black shirt.

Still, for a moment, he can only stand and stare. Ed raises an eyebrow at him and lifts a glass of amber liquid in a silent toast. Roy recognises the contents as some of his most expensive scotch, but he can’t bring himself to mind, if only because it makes sense, somehow.

Ed is nothing if not expensive.

He breaths in deeply and steels himself to speak. “Breaking and entering into His Excellency the Fuhrer’s own property, Fullmetal?”

Ed drains his glass and sets it down carefully, softly, as if afraid of waking his brother, who is, of course –

- sleeping fitfully in Roy’s bed.

Fuck.

“You are the world’s biggest bastard,” Ed says, slowly and tonelessly.

He doesn’t sound angry or even surprised, which throws Roy for a moment. He has only ever thought up one way to deal with a quiet and reasonable Edward, and he grasps for it now as a last resort.

“Were you expecting a warmer welcome?” he asks lightly.

It is perhaps unfortunate that his last resort in dealing with an emotional Edward is to act like an utter bastard.

Ed’s eyes narrow dangerously, and then he pounces in a flash, dragging Roy down by his collar before he can even think of moving and kissing him hard, with lips and teeth and perhaps a fraction of the anger he’s feeling –

- and Roy is almost resigned to the sharp spike of longing that rises up in him, the realisation that yes -

- he has missed this.

When Ed pulls back, his eyes are hard and gleaming. “Something like that, yeah.”

His voice is cold and soft, now, and he hasn’t let go of Roy’s collar. Something about the way he’s holding himself sets off warning bells in Roy’s mind. He has seen Ed angry, and this isn’t angry. This is far worse.

“Edward -”

Ed shakes him once, hard. “No, you shut up. You don’t get to talk.”

Roy fights the urge to snap back. He is after all the guilty party here in some respects, and perhaps Ed does deserve free rein to vent his concerns. It’s a little uncomfortable to be dragged down - a surprisingly small amount – though, so he raises an eyebrow at Ed and glances deliberately at hand on his collar.

Ed snorts and lets go abruptly. “Go make yourself comfortable. Lazy bastard.”

Roy inclines his head as a sardonic ‘thank you’ and sits down in the chair Ed had just vacated.

“Old bones comfortable enough now, Your Excellency?” Ed asks bitingly, and doesn’t wait for a reply. “Now you can listen. Very carefully.”

Roy raises an eyebrow at the venom in Ed’s tone, but remains obediently silent – for now.

“I don’t suppose Al told you where I went. No, he wouldn’t have. You see, I assumed that I’d lost something as an equivalent exchange when we got Al’s body back, so after Al had recovered I went away by myself to try and figure out what it was.”

He pauses to take a deep breath before going on, slowly. “Ever since Al was restored, I had been feeling…odd. Unfocused. So I figured something was taken from me.”

“But that was my mistake.”

Ed starts pacing in measured steps in front of Roy, clearly ignited and starting to talk faster. “Our method of restoration was a combination of Amestrian alchemy and the ancient Xingian equivalent. We found out that they used to have a way of animating and controlling dead bodies by using alchemic sigils, and eventually we modified that into a method of attaching the soul. I thought we hadn’t managed to bypass equivalent exchange by using that method, but we have.”

He stops directly in front of Roy, staring hard into his face. “There were almost no bad side effects.”

Almost.

Amazing how a single word can send a thin sliver of ice down his spine. It also makes him forget that he’s not supposed to speak.

“What’s wrong?” he says, hushed and inexplicably horrified.

Ed doesn’t seem to have heard him. He goes on, eyes locked on Roy’s and voice growing somehow more hushed.

“I’ve been studying the sigils and arrays we used, sir, and I’ve found something very interesting.”

He pauses and leans down until their noses are almost touching, forcing Roy to stare into his own reflection in cold golden eyes. “Listen to this part very carefully, and think about it.”

“You see, I found out that since the sigils were made for control, Al lost some of his capacity for free will.”

It can’t be.

The shock of it fills his mind with white noise, and when Ed pounces this time, he can’t move even if he might want to.

Clap!

Ed’s hands are suddenly there on his chest and the light of the transmutation races up Roy’s form before he can even flinch. His clothes fall in shredded ribbons.

Roy wants to protest, but somehow the words are stuck in his throat.

Ed kisses him again, hard enough to bruise, his gloved hands wandering down Roy’s bare chest, stopping at one nipple to give it a vicious twist. He doesn’t want Ed’s tongue in his mouth and Ed’s hands on him – it’s invasive and uncomfortable and painful – but the jolt of pure pleasure that races through him is unmistakable, and he can feel his cock stirring in interest.

Ed breaks off the kiss with a bite to his upper lip, and he can speak now, push Ed off –

- he does none of these things.

It must show on his face, because Ed smiles, beautiful and terrible, and says –

"- understand now? This is what he feels.”

He stands up, dusting his hands off, and turns to head into the bedroom where his sleeping brother awaits.

“This is why you are a criminal."


--


It begins with a kiss, their last meeting, amongst the flowers and columns of the imperial gardens.

There are probably eunuchs and servant-girls lurking around every corner, but for now, Ling can’t bring himself to care. Somehow, he knows that he’s never going to have another chance.

After, he smiles widely and invites Ed to go for a walk amongst the willow trees. Surprisingly enough, Ed agrees. They take a stroll where there is no paved road and speak in hushed tones.

“What are you doing here, Edward Elric?”

Unbelievably, Ed grins, and it looks almost genuine. “I’ve come to say goodbye, Your Majesty.”

Ling closes his eyes and exhales slowly. He knew this was coming, after all. “I’m glad you were able to reach your goal.”

Ed’s smile is almost painfully radiant this time. “Thank you, Ling.”

It may just be the most heartfelt thing Ling has ever heard from the alchemist. He can only swallow the lump in his throat and smile back.

“Farewell, then.”



Some say that –


“What do you want from me, Edward?”

“Now we’re talking. I want all records of my service in the military wiped; a nice retirement pension and unlimited access to the military’s alchemical records so I can work on fixing Al; oh, and the government to never bother us again.”

“You do realize that you’re asking quite a bit.”

“You owe us.”

“…all right.”



- love is -


Ed frets over every aspect of his life. Al finds it rather endearing. He falls asleep every night with his head in Ed’s lap, gloved fingers stroking through his hair and a smile on his face.

“You’re safe with me, Al,” Ed would say, softly. “I’d never make you do anything bad.”

Ed never says ‘I love you’. That’s okay, though. His brother has always been like that.

Ed shows him, and that’s enough.



- a grave mental disease.





fin. (..."what is love?" And the wise man said...)




Author’s Notes: *cough* yeah, apparently said wise man is Plato, although I'm not too sure. This ended up being 1500 words longer than I thought it would be and I at no point in the planning stage decided to include a sex scene. Feedback is adored.

LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: chrstphrl
2005-10-11 02:31 pm (UTC)
I really liked this arc and this chapter is wonderfully disturbing. Roy having no qualms about either boy's age is an interesting sign of his morality.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: trelali
2005-10-11 02:32 pm (UTC)
Utterly gorgeous. I've been following this without commenting (because I suck) but the way you ended it... how can I not comment? Lovely.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: devils_devotion
2005-10-11 03:07 pm (UTC)
Oh God. More coherent review later, after I've eaten and had time to digest this. But this. This is love. And I fail at reviews. VERY MUCH SO. But still. Know that I am sufficiently PWNED.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: devils_devotion
2005-10-11 08:16 pm (UTC)
Okay, yeah, well, anyway. This STILL isn't going to be that coherent. But I'll try. I need to take a break from Symphonic Suite, anyway. *kicks it*

Okay, so. This DEFINITELY wasn't what I'd expected when I'd noticed that you'd finished this fic today. This was brutal and painful and JARRING. It's evident in the choppy style you're writing in, too, which consists of scene breaks at almost INAPPROPRIATE moments, and lots of interrupted dialogue. It makes the story uncomfortable to the reader, really, which is what I imagine you were going for. ^___^

In some ways, this story makes me feel sort of ill. When the truth about Al was revealed, I felt my stomach drop from my body and was just like..."blech". There's such a fine line between complacency and control, and...ew. You really hit home with that. Ed's demonstration of that same theme only serves to twist the knife in both Roy and the reader. OUCHOUCHOUCHOUCH.

Ed drains his glass and sets it down carefully, softly, as if afraid of waking his brother, who is, of course –

- sleeping fitfully in Roy’s bed.

Fuck.


-___-;; That line just gave me a fic bunny. Thanks. No, really. THANKS. /sarcasm

I'm actually rather intrigued by all of the "in-between" time that seems to be taking place during all of this, and I'm wondering what the best way to prod you into writing more of this would be...argh! All these questions left unanswered! And just...agh! Argh! DOOM! *rips out hair in frustration*

...wow I'm so intelligent.

Let's see, what else... Oh, as always, the snippets of Ed/Ling were gorgeous, and strangely..............enriched with detail. It's almost like the sequences in Xing seem somehow more VIBRANT than the scenes in Amestris, though they're all tainted with darker undertones. Just...this entire thing makes me happy.

I love you. So so much. My darling, er. Alphonse. WE R IN NAUGHTEH AND INUHPROPRIATE RELASHUNSHIP TEE HEE
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: chiharu_octavia
2005-10-11 05:00 pm (UTC)
.... I am now late for the bus, but I can't bring myself to care. There was no way I could leave without finishing this.

Excellent.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lyxdexic
2005-10-14 07:00 pm (UTC)
I was late for class. I had to walk across campus for my 10 o'clock class and missed the first twenty minutes because even I couldn't tear myself away from this. XD

Glad to know I wasn't the only one.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: squirrelarmy
2005-10-11 05:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was so shocking at first because it's unbelievably difficult to tell the difference between a controlled!Al and a complacent!Al. And it makes me really really want more from Al's point of view, because now I'm curious just how he perceived it all.

Very excellent story, and rather creepy, all things considered. It would be fabulous for you to write something from Al's point of view on the matter, if you felt up to it -- I'm incredibly curious if Al was like Roy on the matter, disgusted but unable to say no, or if he wanted to but couldn't reply properly or whatnont. Also, whether or not his control is tied directly to Ed, thus leading Ed to believe he had "lost" something. It's all very intriguing.

Fastastic job with this -- I really enjoyed reading it! ^_^ I love it when stories make me think~~
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: madrona_8
2005-10-11 05:58 pm (UTC)
"But.

Alphonse is not Ed.
" Ouch...

"She almost seems personally unhappy, though, and he can’t quite figure out why." Because you can be infernally stupid Roy. Bonehead.

But I think it's unfair of Ed to be so angry with Roy about bedding the controlled!Al when he thought it was mutual consent. But I suppose when it comes to Roy, Ed isn't exactly clear in the head.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sky_dark
2005-10-11 06:03 pm (UTC)
OMG, Ed doesn't get Ling or Roy? That's not exactly Roy's fault about the Al situation, how was he to know? ARGH!

Here stick, here are my wrists, just have at them.

btw, did you see the netspeak/cellphone nonsense I wrote and tried to pass off as As Far As You Go? XD
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: allherglory
2005-10-11 08:33 pm (UTC)
WOW.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: covet
2005-10-11 08:36 pm (UTC)
But I want to know what happens nowwwww. ;_;

A really beautifully written story arc, constantly shifting and surprising and making me change my feelings about each character 100 times over.

So add my name to the petition for more. And I'll start my very own petition to send both boys back to Xing for a Ling sandwich.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: strawberrykaoru
2005-10-11 10:05 pm (UTC)
*reserves little comment place* I'm going to review this after I read the first two parts. XD;
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: strawberrykaoru
2005-10-11 10:24 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm back. Forgive the rushed review (and lack thereof for the previous chapters ._.), I have to go in a few minutes. ^^;;

Ooh ouch. This was...wonderful, of course, but left me with a sense of...uncomfortableness. (that seems to be the word I was looking for o_O) Choppy structure, I like. ^^

Roy is so morally bankrupt all right. *snorts* It's funny though; I thought Al went along with this willingly. But of course, you did a twist and had me gaping in surprise. XD And uh, for your first sex scene, it wasn't too explicit - rather, more on the 'spiritual' perspective, so I liked. XD The ending gave me an Elricest feeling, is that supposed to happen? And poor Roy, he ends up with...practically nothing -- losing Ed and Al at the same time. Poor guy. ^__^;

Great piece though. ♥ ^__^
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zalia
2005-10-11 10:27 pm (UTC)
*cries*

That is so sad and twisted. Brutal, even. I guess Ed had cause to be so pissed off, but I feel bad for Roy!!

*goes off to cry more*
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From: i_found_jesu
2005-10-11 11:20 pm (UTC)
Aaaah, such a great story, I feel bad for Ling though. :/ And the whole thing with what exactly restoring Al cost them was good. ♥


(and on the pic_unperfect side of things, I swear, one day I'm going to get to making those "Strategy of War" icons, as soon as they discover a cure for procrastination.)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ceruleanpure
2005-10-11 11:54 pm (UTC)
Wow....

♥♥♥
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fma_addict1
2005-10-12 03:22 am (UTC)
I've just read through this arc, and just, wow. <3 It's amazing, wonderfully written and addicting! I read it 3,2,1 (because I am like that) and then I read the entire thing 1,2,3. :33

"“This is why you are a criminal."

Ooo *winces*
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kesenaixtsumi
2005-10-12 03:49 am (UTC)
o.o .... Wow. :.swoons.:
"This is why you are a criminal."
Great; great line. God; I love you. X.x;; ♥
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: shutterfly3
2005-10-12 05:48 am (UTC)
you made me cry...

this is much love.
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[User Picture]From: cherrymelle
2005-10-12 03:06 pm (UTC)
That was utterly beautiful in an horrifying way, if that makes sense. I mean, there is so much love there. Ed's unfailing devotion to his brother, Roy's guilty passion and Ling's hopeless love. And even with so much feelings, or rather because of that they all are completely miserable and end up all alone. That is kinda ironic I guess but above all sad.

The worst is that all 3 of them seem as much guilty for this entire mess and yet, you can't completely blame any of them because they already suffer so much.

And through it all, your Al. It is the clever thing in this arc. In parts 1 and 2, he is not ever seen, just mentioned as a passing thought to explain Ed's obsession. It is like he lacked of any free will even before the transmutation and the last part is just the inevitable conclusion of that. Al became a soulless doll and it is like you can't define when it occurred but like he just grow into it.

I agree with everyone that the point of view of Al would give us some insight, and maybe, hopefully, shake this disturbing feeling.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: qem_chibati
2005-10-13 02:21 am (UTC)
I'm just incoherrant with awe.

The theme's motifs the darkness.... Awesome. Brilliantly awesom.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: psi_neko
2005-10-13 02:55 am (UTC)
;_; YOU have a way with causing pain. I think that the only who comes out ahead is Black Hayate. Scratch that. Hawkeye isn't happy, so nobody is.

Once again you have proven the ability to twist the readers minds into little knots and make us wail in pain at the pure 'luck' that these characters have. Granted this makes it worth reading, so it's a good thing.

Will reply later with niceness after brain reboots.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: youkofujima
2005-10-14 08:23 pm (UTC)
*hurls mouse straight across the room*


...

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. BRAIN. NO. CAN'T CONTAIN. OH CRAP.

*shuts down* *will come back later when more coherent*

But this means--this fic was extremely heart-wrenching love. Goddamnit.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: leasspell_dael
2005-10-23 03:19 pm (UTC)
Finally reaching the end of my catching up, I think. XD I read this when you first posted, but didn't have enough time to give a review. That may be a blessing, as re-reading it to refresh my memory noticed things I missed the first time round.

The whole issue of Alphonse's consent is tricky (especially after reading the snippet you posted). There are several lines in the beginning like: "Most times he flashes a smile, transparent and bright, and does whatever he’s asked without a fuss", that seem to imply that like Ed says, he doesn't have much free will.

As for Alphonse's relationship with Roy, Roy never tries to get Al to agree. In fact, from the beginning he said it was a mistake and apologizes. It's *Al* who pursues it further. If it was a question of free will, Al would have just agreed with Roy that it was inappropriate and accepted the apology. The fact that Al pursues it, means that it's something he legitimately wanted.

Ed's story is kind of shaky in other places too. He says he left to discover what he lost, but Al claims that Ed told him that Ed had only lost something that was already broken (his conscience maybe?), so he must have already known. Also, Ed would *never* use an array on Al that he didn't know inside out and backwards. So I'm willing to bet he already knew about the "control" sigils.

He certainly knew exactly what he wanted out of Roy in exchange too. I'm willing to bet he set everything up so that he could cut ties with the military and live a comfortable life. And something about his phrasing at the end "I’d never make you do anything bad" instead of something like "everything will be okay soon", implies to me he's not even *trying* to "fix" Al. It's a creepy prospect that Ed might be crazy enough to leave his brother without free will in order to ensure their future, based on the fact that Ed would never "abuse" this power.

It almost seems in this part that Al is *trying* to get around Ed's control. The possible sorrow in his eyes when he tells Mustang that Ed is fine. Maybe he *knows* that Ed *isn't* fine, but Ed told him to tell that to anyone who asked. And Al's cut off comment during sex, that Ed "isn’t very g-good at l-liking p-". Assuming that the cut off word is supposed to be "people", it's almost like Al understands that Ed's manipulating things, and is trying to get Roy to understand and forgive before it's too late. How much Al understands consciously versus subconsciously is hard to tell though...

Add to this, the wording of one of the sentences in your little ficlet seems to imply that only Ed has this control over Al. It leads to a very poor outlook on Al's restored life. *hugs Al*

Of course, I could be reading way to into this... ^_^;

Hawkeye's section is a bit sad too. I think on some level she understands that something's not right, but isn't quite sure what it is, outside of the obvious dangers. Add to that, Roy doesn't seem to understand why the relationship might personally upset her, ouch. The Elrics certainly have this ability to blind those they're involved with to the rest of the world.

"Ed on the other hand is going to kill him when he finds out."

"Ed is nothing if not expensive."

Two great lines. The first one is a wonderful way of relieving tension, because it's giggle-worthy in it's similarity to describing even canon-Ed. The second is a bit tragic, when you think about it in terms of the night they tried to resurrect their mother, which is close to the surface considering this arc deals with restoring Al.

"Was he worth all those pieces of your heart and soul, in the end?"

This line is practically the core of the arc. It almost makes me cry... ;_;

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[User Picture]From: leasspell_dael
2005-10-23 03:21 pm (UTC)
(continued)

Ling's section is beautiful. I feel sad for him, but at the same time, respect him for his wisdom. He understands that nobody owns Edward, and that being with him you risk being burned. Take what time you can with him, but when the time comes let him go freely. Because Ling knows this, Ed is able to leave amicably. Ed returns what he receives.

Which leads to Roy's scene at the end. Roy tried to control and manipulate Ed the entire time they knew each other, and so Ed returns this in kind.

The last scene is heart-breaking. Along with my suspicions that Ed has no intentions of actually fixing Al, it's just a horrible fate to be subjected to, and Al doesn't even realize it. It's bittersweet, because Al is happy, but is it true happiness?

You tied them, and the entire arc, together very well with that ending quote interspersed between them. It added just the right connection to seal it all into a neat little package.

As usual, an excellent story. I really hope you decide to write up that little ficlet in full. It would be really interesting to see what happens from here... I really *really* like this arc. Angsty twisted-ness is goooood! :D
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[User Picture]From: lady_addiction
2006-01-06 09:48 pm (UTC)
that's heart-twisting. I feel sorry for the boys all around T_T
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[User Picture]From: tyreling
2011-01-04 03:37 am (UTC)
Beautiful and horrifying. Both of them still lose Ed and yet the ending was... rather poignant.
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