“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall….”
Roy Mustang had achieved his life’s dream, but it was at a cost that he had wanted to avoid.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Returning to Ishval was meant to bring peace; he was supposed to make amends for his sins. Instead he was here again as bearing arms against his fellow countrymen. Again, the Flame was causing devastation, though this time he refused to use his alchemy unless absolutely necessary…
“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…”
The kid appears out of nowhere, his red eyes full of hate. “Amestrians!”
Who did I kill belonging to you?
The boy lines up the gun and Roy knows the bullets in the barrel are for him. He doesn’t move. So, this is it, he thinks. Suddenly he is pushed aside and he sees a tendril of blond hair. Riza stands in front of him – using her body as a shield.
“You don’t want to do this,” she calls out to the boy. Her voice is level and calm.
Roy knows, she feels reluctant to have any other blood on her hands. Still, her gun is pointed at the boy. Unlike the boy, Roy is also aware that she emptied the barrel earlier in the last gun fight and the rest of the team are conspicuous in their absence.
His gloves are on his hands before he knows it. He can read the indecision in the boy’s face and he hopes the kid will turn and run. He hopes they can let him..
Suddenly, he hears the click of the gun and this time it’s Riza in the crosshairs.
And he snaps…
“All the King’s horses and all the King’s men…”
When he snapped, it was in more ways then one. His fingers shake, his shoulders tremble and he cries. Tears fall down his face, the salt water flows into his mouth. Riza puts her hand on his shoulder.
“No, no, don’t touch me.” He lowers himself to the ground. “No, I didn’t want to be that monster again.”
“Listen, Roy, you saved me. You did it to save me.”
He shakes his head, the smell of the charred flesh is still in his nostrils and he can’t understand how she can bear to be near him.
“I’m a monster.”
He hears the sound of approaching footsteps, but he can’t look up.
“Jean, leave him be.” Riza’s voice is resigned and sad.
“Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
The team watch him closely, and for once he does not have the strength to put on a mask for them. The fire is low, they can’t risk attracting more rebels. The only thing that he is glad for is that he only has his team with him.
Breda is supposed to be on watch, but Roy notices the man’s eyes are closed and the soft rise and fall of his chest. Sleeping on the job. Any other time, he would have chewed him out for being so careless. Roy looks around the camp carefully to make sure everyone is sleeping. Satisfied, he sees the gun lying next to Havoc’s rucksack.
He takes his chance and he crawls over, careful to make as little noise as possible. He pulls the gun out and checks the barrel to make sure it is loaded. He takes a deep breath and puts it to his temple.
What will you do when I’m gone? He had asked her that once and the response had pulled him out of a murderous rage and it was enough to give him pause.
Would she still see things the same way?
How many more times would she follow him into hell?
He lets his hand drop and he turns the safety back on replacing the gun, where he had found it. He turns around and sees Riza standing there.
“How long have you been there?” he whispers.
“Long enough.” Her voice is cool but her eyes are kind.
“I’m sorry.” He drops to his knees before her.
He’s not just apologising to her, but to her father and to the countless victims of flame alchemy. She joins him on the ground and wraps her arms around him. At first, he wants to bolt, but he doesn’t have the strength. He tries to hold back the sobs threatening to overwhelm him. She doesn’t say “okay”, because she knows it will never be okay. He’s so grateful for her quiet strength and understanding. When he can’t hold back his emotions any longer, he embraces her too and holds her as tight as he can.
In the end, only he can put himself back together again. But he wants to try and that’s something.