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1) He's ten years old, and his parents are dead. His guardian is a whore. His teacher is insane. There is nothing in this world that Luo Jong-Ma does not want to destroy. His anger and sadness are all encompassing and being called 'Roy' does not make it better. Knowing that the woman who has taken him in *cares* about him does not make her family. His family is *gone* and they are not coming back. His alchemy is not that good. 

His teacher will not teach him *enough*. Earth and air and chemical reactions are not *enough*. 

His teacher's daughter is the only one who calls him by name, who looks at him without pity, who *understands* that the world is awful. 

She wants to fix it. 

She smiles, and holds his hand, and watches him manipulate the air with his arrays and shrugs when he gets it all wrong. "Things get better when you try." she says. He wants to tell her that he loves her, but he can't because the people he loves die and he won't do that to her. 



2) He's seventeen and watching her pack up her duffle bag, eyes hard and set, the angry shouting between her and her father still echoing in the tense silence of the small house. She's leaving, joining the army, taking her talents and skills and putting them to *use*. She's going to make the world a better place, while he sits here in a crumbling workshop with a crumbling alchemist trying to put together the last pieces of his theory. 

He wants to follow her. He wants to be there, at her side, helping her reach her goals and watching her shine like the star she is. He wants o tell her that she's the closest thing he has to a sister, she's his family, he loves her. 

Instead he helps her pack, tips the taxi and makes her promise to write him when she gets her commission. 

He'll be there beside her as soon as his alchemy is worth-while.



3) "What good is alchemy when it does *this*?"

He's twenty-one, in the trenches of the Ishvar desert and she's breaking to pieces in front of him. He can't offer her anything but his silent heart ache as well. His alchemy was supposed to make things better, her father always taught him Flame Alchemy was for the good of the people...

Of course, he also said that Roy was a fool and worse for joining the army and now he knows the old man was crazy, but right. There's nothing good about it except that he doesn't have to *see* anything but ashes and char. The screams are bad enough, he adds more oxygen to cover the sounds with percussive blasts but nothing covers the smell. He's always going to smell of smoke and burning meat. He'll carry it to his own grave. 

'I'm sorry. I love you. I never meant for it to be this way.'

"Please... Please get rid of this, so no one can ever use it like this again..."

'I never wanted to hurt you.' He's careful when he snaps, so very careful, and she still screams and sobs while his eyes are dry, they have to be dry, he has to *see* what he's doing to make the scars as small and surgical as possible. 'One day I'll pay for this to.'



4) He's thirty-two and she's dying in his arms. Deep in a tunnel under the city that's been a trap and a lie she's bleeding out and even his fire can't save her. She's dying and he can't make the words come out. 

Too many years holding them back, too many lies, too much dependence on the steady trigger finger at the back of his head. Of all the things he owes her, he can't give her this. The words won't come. He chokes them down, prattles about 'It's going to be alright', The Xinganese girl manages to do more with an ounce of blood than he does with all his years of study. 

Looking down into walnut brown eyes he almost has it. "Don't leave me Lieutenant."

'I love you too much.'

The swords go through his hands before he gets the words past his lips and a treacherous part of his heart is grateful. 



5) He's thirty-eight and the youngest Fuher of Amestris. Changing the country takes time, effort, and more diplomatic skill than he's ever possessed. Trying to end two wars, prevent a third and bring the stubborn minds of the populace around to new ways of thinking gives him ulcers. 

Having the support of Fullmetal, the People's Alchemist helps. 

Culling the sycophants, psychotics and warmongers from the ranks has helped even more. 

Letting General Hawkeye handle initial delegations has meant a lot less polite death threats over the dinner table with visiting ambassadors. 

She's more beautiful than ever of course, strong and righteous and the scars on her throat make their enemies shudder sometimes. When he comes in to the 'office' in the mornings his eyes are drawn to her, making sure she's there, alive, well. He needs that subtle reassurance before he can get on with another day of trying to subtly grind the world onto a new track. 

Every morning he finds those words tucked behind his teeth, shining from his eyes, and he swallows them down and blinks them away because in her eyes he can read the brilliance of her reply. 

'I love you too.'

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