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Title: Make the Best of the Time We Have 1/9
Author: Seaweed_FMA
Characters: Jean Havoc, Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye, and the rest of the group (no pairings)
Word Count: 15,339 total (1707 this chapter)
Rating: PG-13, some adult concepts.
Summary: Jean Havoc's life changes drastically. Will he or his friends ever be the same?
Warnings: Mentions of capture and abuse.

Notes: AU, set soon after Hughes' death. I don't own the characters. The cow does.

Thank you to Emma, Heather, and everyone else who helped this behemoth FINALLY come to life.


I posted this once and it was a little too daunting to read all at one sitting, so I took a friend's advice and broke it up. It's in 8 pieces, plus the epilogue. It was originally written to be read all at once, so I apologize if the “chapter” breaks are a bit awkward. I really worked hard on this, and I would very much like some constructive feedback- what is good? What is bad?







On Monday- the first day that Jean didn't show up for work- his coworkers figured that he was hungover, mourning yet another failed date, or sick; or some combination of the three. No one was terribly worried. Lieutenant Hawkeye called Jean's apartment on her lunch break, but there was no answer. She assumed that he was either asleep or in the shower, and she didn't think there was any reason to be concerned.

By Wednesday morning, when Jean still hadn't come into work, they were all worried, and Breda offered- no, demanded- to go find his best friend.

A call came back to the office about a half hour later. Breda had found signs of a struggle inside Jean's apartment, but there was absolutely no sign of him.

When Armstrong and the Investigations group arrived at Jean's apartment and started to question his neighbors, they were surprised to find that no one had heard anything, even through the thin apartment walls. Jean had kept to himself for the most part since moving in, and little attention had ever been paid to the smoking blond.

Jean probably would have found that ironically funny if he had been there to appreciate the joke.

But he wasn't.

And the manhunt was on.

It took ten days before the investigation of dozens of people and the searching in the seediest parts of the city paid off. And it was Mustang who had the unfortunate honor of finding out what had happened to Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc.


* * *


The room reeked of blood, antiseptic, urine and feces- and death. Roy put his gloved hand up to his nose, barely able to hold back the bile that rose in his throat.

As he scanned the dingy laboratory, his breath hitched at what came into his vision. There were cages in the room, packed into every single dank corner and dirty floor space possible. Some of the cages held animals, others held things that looked... vaguely human.

Vaguely.

He made the mistake of looking into one of the cages and came face to face with something that used to be a person- though he couldn't begin to guess what the twisted mass of flesh and hair was any more. The alchemist couldn't stop the vomit this time, and he retched up bile that burned his mouth, throat and lips. "Oh, don't be here, Lieutenant." He whispered, wiping the yellow green liquid dripping from his mouth with the back of his hand.

A few more minutes of searching brought him to a cage with a dark form in the back. It looked human- at least more human than most of the things that he had seen in the other cages- though through the shadow of the bars on the front of the prison, he couldn't see any details on who or what lay inside. "Please don't be who I think you are." Roy said softly as he opened the cage, making the contents of the small cage whimper in surprise and curl into a small ball in the opposite corner.

"Hey, it's okay." Roy said in a soft voice that broke at the end of the last word. He gently held out his hand, out palm up, as a gesture of friendliness. If the other cages were any indication, most of these chimera-like beings seemed to be dog based, and he knew enough about canines to know that they need to sniff a person to gather information on them and gain their trust.

"Please, come forward a little. I just want to make sure you're okay. I'm not here to hurt you, I
promise. The one who hurt you..." he couldn't even say 'the man', "...he isn't able to do anything to you anymore."

Roy looked over his shoulder to the smoldering pile of flesh and bone that used to be Shou Tucker. It struck Roy as pathetically funny that throughout his military career, he had gotten so used to the smell of burning flesh that it hardly even registered over all of the other stenches in the room. He was so used to killing that the thought that he murdered Tucker barely upset him.

However, with what that... thing... had been doing, death was a much more merciful end than what he deserved.

"Won't... hurt?" Roy immediately snapped back from his thoughts to the form at the rear of the cage. The voice was oddly familiar, though it was low and broken and scared. But it was a voice that he knew well.

"Damn. Havoc.."

"Hav... oc."

"Yes, that's your name. Do you remember, Lieutenant?"

"Hav... oc.."

"Yes." Roy's voice wavered again, and a lump formed in his throat. How much had the man changed? Was he even human anymore? He could speak like a person, but the alchemist still hadn't yet been able to get a good look at him.

"Can you please come forward a little, Lieutenant?" He couldn't even bring himself to say the man's
name again. "I just need to make sure that you're okay."

"Not... okay." The chimera could smell the fear and anxiety of the man in front of him, but there was something familiar about him that he couldn't place. He smelled smoke and ash. Jean knew the smells from somewhere, but his mind- clouded by tranquilizers and confused with canine and human thoughts- couldn't place it.

"Please Lieu- please, Havoc. I.. need to see what you are."

Jean blinked his blue eyes as they adjusted to the low light of the lab. Roy sighed in relief as the blond moved into the light. His face was gaunt from malnourishment, and his eyes were dull and a bit sunken, but overall he didn't look like he was in terrible shape-

- Until he saw the ears that the blond had pinned back to the sides of his head in fear- two pointed canine ears above his human ones. They were almost the same color as his hair, just a few shades darker.

"Lieutenant..."

"S-s-ir..."

Roy gasped in surprise at the response. "You.. remember me?" Roy leaned in a little bit closer, and Jean panicked at the sudden movement- yelping in surprise and ducking back into the dark.

"No, please, Lieutenant. It's okay. I'm sorry. I was just surprised. Yes, I'm Colonel Mustang. You worked for me. Do you remember?"

"Mus... tang."

"Yes. Mustang." A soft, sad smile crossed his face. "Please, come back out, Lieutenant. I need to look you over, to make sure you don't need any immediate help."

"NO!" Roy almost fell backwards at the sharp, loud bark of a response. "No! No more... Leave me alone! "

Jean had almost sounded lucid at that moment, more like his human self than he had been since Roy discovered him. "It's okay, Lieutenant. I promise. If you don't want anyone else to look at you, that's fine. But please, I need to get you out of here. You don't want to stay here do you?"

"Don't... know."

"I know a place with a warm bed. You can eat food and drink water and no one will hurt you. I promise. But you'll have to come out first." Roy gently brought his hand forward again and smiled when he heard a soft snuffling noise from the dark. Roy wondered what else had changed. Could Jean smell better? See better? Hear better? How much of the Havoc that he had known was still there?

Roy cringed again when Jean came fully into view- slowly, shakily, moving into the light. The man was naked, and somewhere deep inside his mind Roy knew that should have made him uncomfortable, but he was so worried about the Lieutenant that the fact that he had no clothes on only registered for a moment, then it was gone with the millions of other questions about what had happened, and what to do next.

He was glad to see that Jean could almost pass as human, until he noticed the clicking noise on the metal cage and looked down at the man's hands. His nails looked more like small claws, rounded off to dull points. But Roy couldn't stop the gasp that came from his mouth when he saw the tail that extended from the base of Jean's spine. It was tucked tight between his legs now, and Roy knew that meant that he was scared and submissive.

"No longer a man, no longer an animal..." Roy mumbled under his breath. He gently reached towards the top of the chimera's head to try to give him a gentle, reassuring touch.

Jean felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. A growl rose in his throat and he snapped at the
dark haired man, baring his teeth, exposing his sharpened canines. Roy retreated a step, falling back on his ass a few feet away from the entrance of the cage.

"I'm sorry, Havoc. I didn't mean to scare you." Roy sighed when he saw that the chimera had retreated back to the rear of the cage again. He wasn't sure if he was ever going to get him out of here at this rate. "Please, Lieutenant. I promise, I won't try to touch you. But you need to come out of there. You aren't safe."

"Safe..."

"No, you're not safe. Not here." Technically, Roy knew that it wasn't totally true, because Tucker- the only immediate threat to his Lieutenant- was dead. But he knew that he needed to get Jean out of there before he either starved to death, or some else found him who would see him as a threat- or even worse- a prize.

What kind of future would a chimera have, anyways? He couldn't go back to work. He was so jumpy that Roy couldn't even get within a few feet of him. It flashed in Roy's mind that there was an alternative, a way to make Jean's pain go away for good. Roy actually got as far as holding up his gloved hand in front of the cage. He pressed his fingers together, obsidian eyes fixed on the shadow. One quick move, a simple snap, and the poor man would be free of his suffering forever.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ghostfriendly
Jun. 29th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Very positive start; Roy assessing the situation makes it more vbelievable, and I was quite worried for the poor Havoc Chimera. Roy might have more of a painful or horified reaction at the thought of killing his friend.
seaweed_fma
Jun. 29th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
Well I am not sure that Tucker was ever a friend, just a colleague as far as we know, and the fact of what he was doing, and what he did to Havoc, I doubt he would feel that badly.
At least, I think you mean Tucker.

But thank you for responding. I was beginning to think that no one was reading this. I will post part 2 either tonight or tomorrow.
ghostfriendly
Jun. 29th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
In the last paragraph, Roy was considering putting Havoc out of his misery; I think his thoughts on that idea would be even more painful than what was written. BTW, I was wondering who turned havoc into a Chimera, since you mentioned Tucker's death.
seaweed_fma
Jun. 29th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Oh... sorry. Yes, it was Tucker that turned him into a chimera.

I didn't really think about putting too much into that paragraph, because it was supposed to be more about Havoc, but Roy does talk about it a tiny but more at the beginning of the next chapter. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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