n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
As usual, I was fail at making the LJ Idol deadlines and had to drop out a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, Gary announced Second Chance Idol like ten seconds later, so I guess I'll be trying to make deadlines again pretty soon. Wish me luck?
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
Randall shifted in his seat as the door swung open, noiseless on its well-oiled hinges. He leaned forward, the muscles in his broad back bunching. The solid oak chair beneath him didn’t creak in response to the movement. Under most circumstances, this would have pleased him; he seldom encountered furniture sturdy enough to support his bulk without complaint.

Now, however, it brought him no comfort.

The silence ate at him. It hung unbroken, tense as a held breath, as Devin stepped inside. The door made no sound when it closed behind him, nor did his boots as he crossed the room in slow, supple strides. He came to a stop only inches away, folding his lean arms over his chest.

He cocked his head to one side, the motion almost imperceptible. His golden eyes swept over Randall, studying him with clinical indifference. They held no trace of the sweet, unassuming boy he’d once known. Randall swallowed hard, his throat thick. “Devin, I --”

“Don’t.”

The words died on Randall’s lips, and a sense of unreality washed over him. Over a year had passed since he’d last seen Devin, but his lithe frame and exquisite features remained the same as Randall remembered them. Still, Randall felt as though a stranger stood before him.

He waited for what seemed like hours, an unpleasant pressure building behind his breastbone. Devin didn’t move; his face showed no sign of emotion. At last, Randall could hold out no longer, and opened his mouth to speak once more. Uncrossing his arms, Devin raised a hand.

Invisible fingers wrapped themselves around Randall’s neck. He uttered a strangled cry, unable to take in air. Devin looked on, his expression impassive. After a long moment, the squeezing sensation abated. Randall slumped in his seat, gasping. His vocal cords spasmed.

“Said ‘don’t,’ didn’t I?” Devin said, his tone even.

Randall nodded, feeling dazed. When his breathing had returned to its normal rate, he forced himself to sit up straight. He met Devin’s eyes, now wide and a bit unfocused. His features had softened, and for the first time since he’d entered the room, they betrayed a hint of his old innocence. Devin blinked once, his jaw tightening, and his gaze became stony.

“Tell me what happened to Eric,” he said.

His fingers numb, Randall massaged his swollen throat. The boss had shown him footage of the incident, much of it from Devin's neuro feed. Randall recalled with perfect clarity the taste of soot-choked air, the heat of melting sneaker soles beneath his feet. He'd watched, transfixed, through Devin's eyes as Eric's house collapsed. Flames licked its broken bones, the same brilliant blue as the fire that often flowed from Devin's fingertips when he'd trained on Ward Zero.

“‘Swrong, don’t wanna talk anymore?” Devin asked, his voice low and honeyed. With a single step, he closed the gap between them. “Seemed pretty fucking chatty a minute ago.”

Randall chewed at the inside of his cheek. “I… don’t know what happened to Eric.”

Invisible hands took hold of Randall’s wrists, grinding bone against bone. Pain shot through his brawny arms, white-hot and sickening. The smell of singed hair assaulted his nostrils. His heart stuttered in his chest and his whole body ached from the inside out. He opened his eyes, wondering when he’d closed them. Devin stood on the opposite end of the room, a large wooden chair in front of him.

Randall blinked; he’d been sitting in that same chair only an instant ago.

A wave of exhaustion crashed over him. He sagged against the wall behind him, struggling to make sense of the situation. All his muscles twitched at once, and he became aware of an odd tingling in his extremities. Randall jolted upright as the pieces of the puzzle slid together.

He recognized this feeling.

It had taken almost a week to subside, after the night of the storm. He remembered the flash of lightning, the shock of a sudden impact between his shoulder blades. His arms had trembled as the current coursed through them, shooting out of their own volition and thrusting Devin away --

Cool fingers brushed Randall’s forehead. He shrank from the touch, his thoughts returning to the present. Devin hovered over him, brow furrowed and lower lip caught between his teeth. The air between them crackled, and Devin averted his gaze. Devin stared down at his hand, a visible tremor running through him, and settled himself on the floor in front of Randall.

Randall dragged in a deep breath. “You… didn’t know you were going to do that, did you?”

“Doesn’t matter, does it?” Devin drew his knees up, hugging them to his chest.

Time doubled back on itself, five years falling away in an instant, and Randall saw a glimmer of the boy he’d once sworn to protect. Randall hunched over, the weight of his failure bowing his spine. He longed to reach for Devin, to pull him close and whisper soothing words into his hair. Randall quashed the impulse, folding his hands in his lap. “It matters to me.”

“That s’posed to make me feel better?” Devin spat, his fine features contorting. “Don’t give a fuck what matters to you. Just wanna know what happened to Eric, and you --” His voice cracked and he curled in on himself, tears glistening like dew on his dark lashes. “Won’t fucking tell me that.”

“I can’t tell you.” Randall licked his lips, resisting the urge to kiss Devin’s tears away. “I don’t know anything, and even if I did, what good would it do to tell you? It wouldn’t bring him back.”

Devin flinched as though he’d been slapped, a choked noise escaping him. He held himself very still after that. Seconds stretched into what felt like hours as he collected himself, silent apart from an occasional shuddering breath. At last, he lifted his eyes, and Randall repressed a shiver.

Only once before had he seen them so cold, so empty. Randall stiffened, recalling white walls bedecked with blood and brains. He blinked away the image, but others arose to replace it: the remnants of Brinkley’s skull strewn like stars over carpet the color of a midnight sky, and those eyes -- Devin’s eyes -- round and yellow as twin rainy-season moons. They’d held no remorse as he crouched at the epicenter of the carnage, regarding the crumpled form beside him.

Should’ve stopped when I told him to, he’d said. Asked him real nice and everything.

He’d done more than ask. The Board had tried its best to keep the allegations under wraps, but rumors spread like brush fire on the ward. They’d taken Brinkley at his word, hypnotized by his martyr’s smile, and Randall had done nothing to dissuade them. He’d done nothing but watch, fists clenched, each time Brinkley led Devin off to have his way with him.

His insides twisting, Randall recalled Devin’s last day on the ward. He’d looked far younger than his fifteen years, frail shoulders slumped as he followed Brinkley into the treatment room. As the door closed behind Devin, he’d glanced back at Randall, an unspoken plea in his wide, wet eyes.

Even then, Randall had done nothing.

He gritted his teeth, a familiar heat coming over him. He’d always worked well with the boys on the ward; even the boss had said so. If only they’d chosen him instead of Brinkley --

“Don’t know anything, huh?”

Randall felt the question, warm and silken on his sweat-chilled brow, before he registered its meaning. It lingered in his mind for only an instant, erased by the urgent press of Devin’s body against his own. Randall inhaled sharply, taking in the scent of soap and floral shampoo.

“Think you do,” Devin whispered, trailing his tongue along the edge of Randall’s jaw.

Devin moved his lips to Randall’s neck, teasing it with a slow, deliberate exhale. Randall shivered, pulse quickening and fingers trembling with the need to touch. His eyes rolled back and he drew in a ragged breath. Time stopped and the world around him receded.

“Wanna play nice, don’tcha?” The words were muffled, hot puffs of air on Randall’s bruised flesh.

Randall froze, his stomach rolling over. In all the times he’d bedded Devin, it had never been like this. Pliant and unresisting, he’d never played the aggressor. Was this the way he’d behaved with his clients, those men he’d slipped out to see at night when he thought Randall was asleep?

The haze of lust that fogged Randall’s thoughts began to dissipate. He grasped Devin’s shoulders, lifting him as though he were weightless and holding him at arm’s length.

“This isn’t what you want,” Randall said, each syllable an effort.

The color drained from Devin’s face. “Since when’s that ever fucking mattered?”

You wanted me, Randall thought, though he didn’t dare speak. You never told me no.

Devin recoiled as if from a physical blow, his eyes all whites. They narrowed a moment later, dull and devoid of emotion. His delicate nose wrinkling, he wrenched free of Randall’s grip.

He lifted one hand and sidestepped, the action so swift he seemed to blur. Randall hurled himself to the floor. Wind whistled above him; a large object sailed through the space he’d occupied an instant earlier. It struck the wall behind him with a deafening thud.

It echoed in his ears, accompanied by a sickening crack. Randall held his breath, glancing up to see the heavy oaken chair in splinters. Devin stood amidst the wreckage, though Randall hadn’t heard him move. His mouth quirked up at one corner, and he spoke in a soft, sweet voice.

“Never fucking wanted you,” he said.


n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
“Let go of my fucking son.” Murdock moves in close.

Can smell the stench of his carnivore breath, feel it hot on my face. Heart’s in my throat, stomach right behind it. I gulp ‘em back, keep my knife hand steady. Keep my eyes on his, searing blue and all but shooting sparks. World goes dim, him and me and nothing else.

“Let go of him, you Umani piece of shit,” he growls, like I didn’t already hear him.

I smirk, my arm still tight around the kid. “Gotta give me what I want first, General.

Course he can’t, not really. Can’t give me back the man I love, the man I lost. He’s gone for good ‘cause I tried to stall the war Murdock wants so bad, but --

Least I can finish what I fucking started.

Murdock glares, teeth bared. “I don’t have to give you anything.”

“Guess not.” I drop my gaze, focus on the blade. Blood wells up with just a tiny shift in pressure, almost black against the kid’s brown skin. Paints slick trails around the bruises on his neck. Kid’s silent, doesn’t move a fucking muscle. His eyes meet mine, calm as summer seas.

Air’s too thick, heavy in my lungs. Hands wanna shake, takes all my strength to hold ‘em still.

Murdock’s carved from fucking stone, a true Majerian. Folds his beefy arms across his chest and stares me down. “Why stop there?” He shakes his head. “Go ahead, cut deeper. Bleed him dry, for all I care. I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

I swallow hard, mouth dry as desert dunes. “But he’s… your fucking kid.”

“He’s expendable.”

Kid goes stiff against me, lets out this little squeak. My hold on him relaxes and I stroke his hair with frozen fingers. Pulse pounds in my ears, throat closes up. No choice now, no way out --

Devin, sweetheart. Breathe.

I blink, remember why I’m here. Strain to hear that soft, sweet voice and let it ground me. Force myself to breathe in deep, be strong for him. I push the kid away, mouth one word at him:

Run.

“Everyone’s expendable,” I whisper when he’s gone.

I lift my shirt, reveal the wires bundled nice and neat above my shattered heart. Those ice-chip eyes of Murdock’s widen, fixed on my homemade bomb. His hand creeps toward his blaster and I grip my knife, white-knuckled. Raise it up and press its blade against my throat.

“Guess what happens if I fucking die,” I croak.


n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
“Aidan.”

I can almost hear her lips purse, as though my name tastes sour on her tongue. Tension tugs at a spot between my shoulder blades, and I brace myself for what’s to come.

We’ve done this dance one time too many, and I know I’m in for a lecture; I always am, when she calls me by my given name. I linger at the window, prolonging the inevitable. It’s only once the sleek black car pulls away, my young companion safe inside, that I turn to face my fate.

“Yes, Lilly? I ask, meeting her glacial blue gaze.

With swift, efficient fingers, she plucks a vial from my living room table and tucks it into her medical bag. “I expect you already know what I’m going to say, not that it’ll make any difference.”

But she’s going to say it anyway, I suppose. My teeth clench against a retort, and the action sends a flare of pain through my newly set nose. I hold myself still, forbidding my face to betray my discomfort. It’s a cardinal sin, after all, for a man of my ilk to display any sign of weakness.

“It hurts, doesn’t it?” The hard line of Lilly’s mouth quirks up at one corner. “Good.”

“I won’t fire him.”

“Oh, of course not.” She snorts, crossing her well-muscled arms over her chest. “The last one tried to stab you on more than one occasion. What’ll it take before you let this one go?”

“They have names, you know.” Heat rushes into my cheeks, and I’m certain that whatever I’m about to say, it’s going to be the wrong thing. “You met Mosan tonight. The ‘last one’ was Jasen, and I hired him on your advice.” My voice rises in pitch, becoming a feminine falsetto. “‘At least take a Majerian boy this time,’ you told me. ‘They’ll talk less if he’s one of our own.’” I let out a gusty breath, raking a hand through my hair. “That certainly worked out well, didn’t it?”

She regards me with narrowed eyes. “You’re really going to blame me for that.”

“I’m not --” I pause and replay my own words. “I suppose I just did, didn’t I? My apologies. I only mean to say that there’s a reason I prefer Umani sidearms. They’re --” I glance down at the dark stain on my uniform shirt, and a ragged laugh escapes me. “They’re less prone to violence.”

“So I’ve noticed.” She lays a hand on my arm. “Sit down. You look exhausted.”

I open my mouth to protest, but her fingers close around my bicep.

“Yes, yes, I know.” She shakes her head, all but dragging me to the couch. “You’re Major Aidan Ellis, a fearsome Majerian warrior, and are therefore impervious to fatigue. Now sit.”

I do as she says, though I suspect it’ll only make her more insufferable. She settles herself beside me, her back straight and strong as a girder, and waits for me to state my case.

“What happened tonight, it wasn’t Mosan’s fault,” I say at last.

“He was drunk,” she says, each syllable clipped and clinical. “At a military ball.”

“He’s Umani." My pulse quickens, and I fight to keep the pleading note from my voice. "His people don’t frown upon such indulgences the way we do, and it settles his nerves. He suffers from anxiety, you know, and he’s little more than a boy --”

She lifts a hand, and my defense dies on my lips.

“It’s never their fault, and they all seem to suffer from something,” she says with a dismissive wave. “You’ve always liked the pretty, broken ones, and --”

She shakes her head and stares off into the distance. I know what’s coming next, the list of allegations. It’s difficult to watch me sabotage myself, she’s going to say. If I’d only held my tongue when the general baited me, or hired a female sidearm instead, I’d never have been demoted.

We’ve done this dance one time too many, after all, and I’ve long since learned the steps.

“It’s never your fault, either, is it?” She speaks slowly, moving to an unfamiliar rhythm. “You parade them about like exotic pets, with no thought for how it affects them. Do you think they don’t hear the whispers on the ballroom floor, or do you let them drink to drown them out?”

I flinch as though she’s slapped me. “They know the truth, regardless of the rumors. I don’t… indulge myself with any of them, nor have I ever wished to. I’ve only ever --”

My words catch in my throat, Mosan’s shrill accusation ringing in my ears.

You say you don’t look at me that way, but -- you get off on this, don’t you? I’m not a person to you at all. I’m just here to make you feel good about yourself, to inflate your stupid ego.

Once more I hear his screech, the crunch of bone and cartilage beneath his fist. I blink, my vision hazed. “I’ve only ever had their best interests at heart, haven’t I?”

She tilts her head to one side. “Have you?”


n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
It turns out that there's going to be another season of LJ Idol.

I tend not to actually write things for Idol when I sign up for it, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Wish me luck?

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