Gone the Sun

Roy’s memories of his friend. Drama with Angst, I-4, spoiler ep 25.

Character(s): Maas Hughes, Roy Mustang
Pairing(s): Gracia/Hughes

Colonel Roy Mustang stood in the night.

Stood while the chill settled into his bones.

Stood and remembered.

“Roy! About time you got here! Serve you right if I finished your drink.”

Roy suppressed the urge to grin. “Oh, well, I was a bit delayed,” he said, elaborately casual. “Notice anything different?”

He posed so as to show his new First Lieutenant’s insignia to best advantage. He was sure Maas saw it immediately, but he made a great show of squinting at Roy from all angles.

“Hmmm. You got your haircut? No? I know, you put on this month’s new shirt! No? Hmm. New perfume?”

Roy swung at him, laughing, and Maas ducked and slapped a drink into his hand. As Roy sat he thumped him on the shoulder.

“So how did you get promoted before me, you rat, and why didn’t I know?”

“It just happened now,” Roy protested. “As for how, I imagine our worthy superiors judged I better fit their image of a command-track officer.” He looked down his nose.

Maas nodded, wisely. “Ah, of course. Ineffectual, easily-manipulated, effete clothes-horse…”


“Did I mention the easily-manipulated bit?” Maas forestalled another swing by holding up his glass. “Cheers,” he grinned.

Roy growled. “You’ll get yours, Hughes. Especially if you, a mere Second Lieutenant keep mouthing off to superior officers.”

“As long as the officer is you, there’s no problem,” Maas pointed out, mildly.

Roy had to admit the justice of this observation. They clinked and drank with enthusiasm.

“Did I mention the congratulations bit yet?”

Roy’s mouth quirked. “Not in so many words, but I got the idea.”

“Well, congratulations, my worthy superior.” Another clink. “If you can just manage to control that temper of yours, you’ll go far.”

“And what’s wrong with my temper?” Roy inquired.

Maas lifted a sardonic brow at him. “What, should we go another couple rounds of hand-to-hand to demonstrate? After the last time?”

Roy’s eyes narrowed at the reminder. He’s not getting me this time, he swore to himself. “Yes, I think we should do that,” he drawled.

Half an hour later Maas swept his legs out from under him for the third time and Roy stayed down when he landed. At least Maas was breathing as hard as he was.

“The point I was making,” Maas panted, “is that when something pisses you off you just put your head down and charge. You don’t pay attention to anything else.”

“Whereas you do?”

“I pay attention to everything, Roy. That’s my gift. Yours is to barbecue things that annoy you. Apparently this makes you command-track material.”

Roy hauled himself upright and eyed his friend. “Are you really upset about that?” he asked, quietly.

Maas looked at him thoughtfully. “No. You’re good with people, you like playing politics, command will suit you. So, no.” A slow smile spread over his face. “I’m going to jab you about it until you try to fry me, of course. But I’m not really upset.”

Roy fell back with a groan.

The Colonel’s hands held the rail in front of him so tightly it would have hurt if he had noticed.

Roy signed off yet another report and threw it onto the stack for his new aide to take away. He was becoming convinced that the only thing higher rank was really good for was making you read more reports.

And it wasn’t as if most of them actually came from, say, the field agents in Intelligence, which might have some significant information in them somewhere. No, these were the reports about how many uniform code infractions had taken place in the last month.

Of course, there were other ways to find out what Intelligence was up to…

Right on cue, his aide opened the door to their offices.

“Sir. There’s a Hughes-taii here to see you.”

“About time,” Roy muttered, slapping down the most recent useless report. “Show him in, Shoui.”

Maas threw himself into the chair of one of the spare desks and tossed a folder carelessly onto it.

“So?” Roy asked.

“Another new aide?” Maas shook his finger at Roy. “If you keep going through them like this the higher ups won’t let you have any more shiny new ones, you know.”

“Never mind my staff, Maas, are they sending us or not?” Roy snapped.

Maas eyed him. “Your staff will matter rather a lot, to your command, if they call you up alone in your capacity as the Flame Alchemist, won’t it?”

Roy inhaled very deeply and restrained his urge to throttle Maas. “If they’re not planning to call me, then the point is moot, isn’t it? Do I have an answer to my question already?”

Maas grinned. “There. You are getting better at this.”

Roy gave him a sour look. “I’m so glad you approve, sensei. Now will you give me a straight answer?”

A new voice spoke. “Based on this correspondence, Sir, Dai-Soutou Bradley has agreed to start choosing State Alchemists for deployment in the North at some time in the next few years.”

Two head snapped around to see the Lieutenant, who had apparently taken Maas’ folder and been reading through it the whole time.

“My file!” yelped Maas.

The blond woman looked at him coolly before continuing, to Roy. “No one is named specifically, yet, but as you are one of the most combat effective State Alchemists it seems reasonable to assume that you will be one of those chosen.” She handed him the folder, open to the pertinent page.

“Thank you, Shoui,” Roy said, a bit bemused.

“Sir.” She saluted and strode out of the office, closing the door behind her.

“Who is she?” Maas murmured.

“Lisa Hawkeye,” Roy told him, flipping through the pages. “Hers was the best of the personnel files I got to choose from this time. She’s very efficient. Expert shot, too. Snipers would have snapped her up for certain if she hadn’t chosen officer’s training. I admit,” he added, thoughtfully, “I hesitate to ask her for tea.”

He expected some crack from Maas about having a sense of self-preservation after all, but what he got was an extremely serious look.

“Roy. Keep this one.”

Roy raised an eyebrow.

“I mean it. You need her. You need someone who’s brass tacks and no nonsense to back you up. You can get so flighty sometimes.”


“What, you prefer flaky?”

Roy actually paused to think about that, and Maas clapped a hand over his face. Until he saw Roy’s sly grin.

“You bastard! You did that on purpose!”

Roy smirked. “You did say I was getting better at this.” He tossed the folder back to Maas. “There won’t be any trouble over that being gone, will there?”

Maas sniffed. “Of course not. As long as I get it back before they notice.”

Roy had the grace to look concerned.

“Don’t worry, Roy. This is my field.” He smiled lazily. “And the things you want me to do are loads more fun than my actual orders. Mustang-shousa, sir.”

Roy came around the desk and closed a hand on Maas’ shoulder. “Thanks, Maas.”

“Any time.”

The air burned in the Colonel’s lungs.

If he could stop his breath heaving so much, it might be better.

Champagne had been flowing pretty freely, and Roy figured he could get away with it.

He made sure Maas was in ear-shot before sidling up to Gracia and lifting a hand to brush her hair back from her cheek. “So, may the Best Man claim a kiss from the bride? For good luck?”

“Hey,” Maas squawked, gratifyingly, “hands off, Mustang! Find your own!”

“Surely there are no other ladies in the world so enchanting,” Roy declared. “Besides, she should have at least one kiss from a good looking man before she spends the rest of her life putting up with your scruffy face.”

Gracia’s efforts to restrain her new husband were hampered by her own giggles. Finally she resorted to kissing him into submission, though she blushed a bit at the whistles from the guests.

Roy offered Maas a fresh glass in compensation, as Gracia left for another round of mingling with the crowd. “Happy?”

Maas looked at him as if Roy had asked whether it was nice to be able to breathe. “Aside from a few troublemakers who seem to have crashed in by impersonating a member of the wedding party, I’ve never been happier in my life.”

Roy showed his teeth. “I did warn you what would happen if you kept making fun of your superior officers.”

Maas grinned back. “You’re a bastard.” He slung an arm around Roy’s shoulders. “So,” he continued, “since you can’t have Gracia,” this backed up with a dire glare, “what about that Hawkeye-shoui of yours?” He gestured with his glass across the room to where Gracia and Hawkeye had their heads together and were laughing.

Roy looked at him as if Maas had asked whether he would like to gargle ground glass. “…Hawkeye? You are joking, right?”

Maas now looked smug. “Thought so.”

“You thought what so?” Roy eyed him narrowly.

“She is the one you need. And you know it. I can’t imagine any other reason you, of all people, would refrain from making a pass at a woman that impressive.”

“The regulations forbidding fraternization within a command?” Roy suggested. “The fact that I really don’t want her to shoot me anywhere important?”

Maas laughed uproariously, which Roy thought rather unfeeling of him. After all, Hawkeye clearly liked Gracia and probably wouldn’t shoot her friend’s husband. A mere commanding officer had no such assurances.

“Just remember what I said, Roy,” Maas told him, recovering himself, “keep this one.”

“Right, right. You too.”

Maas raised his brows. “Hm? How’s that?”

A corner of Roy’s mouth curled up. “Well, you never know when a wonderful lady like Gracia will wake up and realize how many other, much better looking, men would be happy to…”

Maas chased him around the table, brandishing the champagne bottle.

The Colonel could feel tears starting to freeze on his cheeks. He could feel himself shuddering.

He supposed it was the cold.He sank to the ground and wrapped his arms around himself, trying to stop the shivering.

It must be shivering. It was cold out.

Roy knelt, shaking, in the broken stones of Ishvar.

The muscles of his stomach hurt from being wrung out so hard. Bitterness filled his throat and mouth. He was contemplating whether he had the strength to stand when hands closed over his shoulders. He started, violently.

“Roy! Roy, calm down. It’s me.”

“Maas?” Roy coughed. He didn’t question how Maas had found him. Couldn’t think past the noise and the smell and the memory of fire, the words that wouldn’t leave his head… your orders… just following orders…

Maas caught him as he doubled over again. “Here. Drink this.”

The water washed away a little of the bitterness. Roy hadn’t thought it would leave.

“Now drink this.”

The burn made him cough again.

“Finish it. You need it.”

Roy didn’t argue. He emptied the bottle and slumped back against a shattered wall beside Maas. Whatever had been in it seemed to unlock his voice. It was the first time Roy had spoken in what felt like days. “…can’t go on. Like this. Have to stop…”

“You could turn in your license,” Maas said, quietly.

Roy shook his head, suddenly wild to make Maas understand what he meant. “Not that! We have to stop. This has to stop!” His voice was harsh, and Maas silently handed him the water again. Roy laughed.

It took a while to stop.

“We can’t stop it now,” Maas told him softly.

“Maybe.” Roy looked over the rubble around them. “But we can stop it again. This can’t happen again, Maas.”

Maas’ voice was impatient, pained. “Do you really think you can stop it?”

Roy didn’t know what was in his face, but when he looked at Maas whatever it was made his best friend edge back.


“If I’m the one making the decisions I can.”

It looked as though Maas would protest that statement, but he bit his lip and looked away. “Are you serious?” he asked at last.

Roy clenched his fist, feeling the roughness of his glove against his skin. Not again. “Yes.”

Maas looked back at him, grave and measuring. “All right. Whatever I can do to support you, I will.”

Roy blinked. “Are you serious?” he found himself echoing.

Maas looked at him more normally, with affectionate derision. “Of course I’m serious.”

“Maas… This isn’t a joke. This is…”

“Treason. I did get that part, yes.” Maas took Roy’s shoulders again and shook him a little. “But if anyone can actually pull off an idiotic, suicidal stunt like this, it’s you. And you’re right that this can’t go on and leave anything spared of us. And I will always support you. Always, Roy. Understand?”

Maas’ bare statement had the force of anyone else’s oath, and Roy bowed his head, bringing his hands up to grip Maas’ on his shoulders.

“Understood,” he whispered.

“How long is always, Maas?” he whispered now.

Dimly, he felt something warm settle around his shoulders. Looking up he found Hawkeye beside him. She had brought his coat.

He had kept her. Or, perhaps, she had kept him. And she had picked up his plans as easily as she’d picked up the folder that day, given herself to his cause as easily as she’d given her opinion, grounded him and guarded him as efficiently as she did everything else. Maas’ advice was almost always good.


How long?


Her eyes widened. The Colonel very rarely called her by anything but her rank. “Sir?”

His hand closed tight on hers. “Promise me you’ll do your best to live through this.”

He could see her weighing it, weighing, most likely, his life against her own. That was why he had not asked for more. But finally she nodded.

“I promise.” Her grip suddenly rivaled his. “Promise you will too.”

That was the exchange, he knew. That was his duty to them. To live. To succeed in what they gave their own lives for. The weight of it bent his head down. “My best,” he agreed. “I promise.”

She accepted that with a nod of her own and climbed back to her feet. “Are you coming in yet?”

“In a little while.” He looked up at her. “Thank you, Chuui.”

Her eyes were serene as she saluted him. “Sir.”

Roy looked up at the clearing sky, wishing he could think of something to pray to for the peace of his friend’s spirit. But, in the end, the only thing he could offer was what he had promised his second.

“My best, Maas. Everything I am. I swear it.”

Tears could not even this exchange. But perhaps time would. Roy closed his fist.