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14 February 2011 @ 07:25 pm
Fanfic: Mask of a Hero, Soul of a Sinner  
Title: Mask of a Hero, Soul of a Sinner
Author: inulovinkit
Series: Manga/Brotherhood
Word count: 905
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Ed
Summary: The FullMetal Alchemist is just a mask he wears. 
Warnings: none
Author's Note: Dear god, I love fics where I get to explore Ed's psyche.




Edward Elric and the FullMetal Alchemist were two different people.

The FullMetal Alchemist was a kid filled with fierce determination. He knew he would get his brother’s body back, save the world and live to tell the tale. He had been through a lot, but the hardships only made him stronger.

Maybe they thought him a cocky, arrogant kid, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but achieving his goals.

Failure was not an option.

Edward Elric, however, knew it was all a façade.

He said outwardly that he wouldn’t fail—inside, he was pleading with fate that he wouldn’t. He said he believed he had he suffered enough; inside, he knew he didn’t deserve redemption.

He was going to get his brother’s body back. He was going to stop Father. He was going to save the world. That’s what he told everyone.

But when he was alone, he wasn’t so sure he could do it. What if his theory was wrong? He hid the trembling fingers when he thought of fighting that monster; that thing comparing itself to a god.

“We’ll come back to Resembool when we’ve gotten our bodies back!” he had said cheerfully. But many nights he would lie awake, terrified that he might not come back at all.

The FullMetal Alchemist didn’t have these fears. The FullMetal Alchemist was a beacon of confidence. He wasn’t scared of failure, or shame, or death.

Edward Elric was.

He told his brother once that he wished their places were reversed. That he would have given his entire body to get him back that terrible day. Alphonse quickly hushed him, saying he was just glad Ed only lost his arm and leg.

To tell the truth, selfish as it was, he was glad he wasn’t in Alphonse’s situation. How did it feel to live in an armor body, without the ability to touch or feel? How did it feel to know that your days were numbered; that any time your soul might flee your container and you might never again get a chance to live in this world?

He didn’t want to know how it felt. He preferred to never know.

What if the time came to get his brother’s body back, and the only thing he could sacrifice was his own body? Would he have the courage to do it? He said he’d get Al’s body back no matter what…did he really mean it?

Ed didn’t know, and he was afraid to know.

What was it like to die? His mother had died, same as Nina, and Mr. Hughes, and so many others. If they failed to stop Father, he might die. Was there really another place after death, or was there nothing…?

He didn’t want to die. He was scared to die. He had gotten close to death once—so close. If he hadn’t been saved, would he have died?

His heart would pound just thinking on it.

The FullMetal Alchemist had none of these weaknesses; he was a hero of the people.

But Edward Elric knew he was no hero.

In his dreams, he saw all the faces of those that had died because of him. All those lives carelessly thrown away because he had foolishly gotten them involved. Nina. Maes Hughes. Those people killed in Lior because he had meddled. He saw his brother sucked back into the gate—stuck there forevermore. He saw more faces; more  that might be killed at any moment because of him. Mustang. Hawkeye. Ling. RanFan. Winry--!

He saw the corpse—the thing that was supposed to be his mother, reaching towards him, screaming, crying out in pain, pain he had caused her—

And then he would wake, panting and covered in sweat, hating himself for his weakness. 

He didn’t deserve to be called a hero.

He didn’t deserve a happy ending.

And yet he could say nothing; he could never let that mask of the confident alchemist slip. When his brother asked if they were going to get his body back, he replied “Of course!” without any hesitation. When the bastard Mustang asked him if he knew what he was doing, Ed rolled his eyes and replied that he knew it better than him.

And when Winry told him not to die, he replied “Right,” without any hesitation.

Sometimes he wished he could switch places with the FullMetal Alchemist. Sometimes he wished he really did have that unwavering confidence. That willpower. That faith that he’d pull through and everything would be all right.

When the doubts, the fears came back to haunt him, he wanted so desperately to be that brave, heroic figure, instead of the scared little boy that he was.

He was just a kid with the responsibility of a lifetime.

So many people relied on him; so many people needed his confidence—for their sake, he couldn’t show his true self. Any of their concerns were always waved off with a smile or an arrogant huff. He didn’t want them worrying. He couldn’t let them worry.

They all relied on the FullMetal Alchemist’s resolve to see everything through.

Though they all needed his assurances, his bravado, his inner strength—it wasn’t just for their sake that Edward Elric donned his mask.

If he hadn’t found the FullMetal Alchemist inside him that day when he first met Mustang, he’d still be back in Resembool, waiting for his life to end.
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Barking at the windevil_little_dog on February 15th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
Very nice character study of Ed. This is how I see him, too.
Kit: Shamballa Edinulovinkit on February 15th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
When you really think about it, it makes so much sense.

Thanks for reading!
Kitslinkysoul on February 15th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
This is so, so, so beautiful. <3
Kit: Edo-kuninulovinkit on February 15th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
zeowynda312: EdWin USTzeowynda312 on February 15th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC)
Wonderful. Too often, I think people forget that deep down, he's just a scared kid. I always thought he put that mask in place for Al and for Winry but it had never occurred to me that he would rely on that facade to give courage to himself (if that made any sense).

Kit: Shamballa Edinulovinkit on February 15th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
Ed most definitely puts on a mask for Al and Winry, but there are some moments in the series where he gets really nervous/scared, and somehow pulls himself out of it by slapping on that confidence. It always wondered if the confidence was really just a front he's putting on for everyone, including himself.

Thanks for reading!
Yuuki Hikari: FMAFicyuukihikari on February 15th, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
Muchly enjoyed that. I do enjoy fics that dig into his mind. Poor boy has a lot going on in his head, and he works really hard at hiding his fears behind the FullMetal mask.
Kit: Shamballa Edinulovinkit on February 15th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
I always loved Ed's point of view more than anyone else's in the series (Al is my second favorite POV to write from) mostly because his psyche is so interesting--he's got that couragous front, but behind it is all that fear and guilt that he works so hard to hide. And when the facade cracks and he shows it makes it all the more fun to write.

Thanks for reading!
Shellisonshellison on February 15th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Oh how I love this. Beautifully written, as always. I so enjoy the way you've traversed the deep depths of Ed's mind and especially from a point of view that's mostly unexplored. Oh how I love your FMA work!
Kit: Shamballa Edinulovinkit on February 15th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
Edward POV fics are my favorite fics to write, since his mind is just so interesting--sure, everyone is interesting in FMA, but Ed is just a special case.

Thanks for reading!
(Anonymous) on March 8th, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
I wish I were huge like Sig so I could give him a proper bear hug. But I can't. Even if I were and could, I would just make the façade slip, which wouldn't help him. ARGH, SO CONFLICTED. I liked this character piece.
-T
(Anonymous) on May 7th, 2011 06:27 am (UTC)
I agree Edward shouldn't have to be so tough all the time. He just needs a hug and some time to let go and let those tears fall. I just want to be that person to say its alright and just be a parental figure even though I'm the same age as him. *cries a little*