pandora_culpa: (Ed golden eye)
[personal profile] pandora_culpa
Title: Something Beautiful
Author: [ profile] pandoraculpa
Word Count: 677
Rating: PG
Characters: Tucker, cameo by Ed
Summary: He wanted to make something beautiful.
Warnings: Spoilers for manga chapter 6 and original anime episode 7- but if you haven't read/seen those already, one wonders why you're reading fanfic in the first place. ;)
A/N: I wasn't hugely satisfied with this, seeing as how it was mostly an exercise to blow off the end-of-story jitters I'm experiencing on another project, but it seems that other people were. First place for [ profile] fma_fic_contest's Chimera prompt! Thanks to [ profile] truths_in_lies for the read-over.

banner by [ profile] darkblysse

It really was beautiful. The most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

Not easy, of course, but nothing worth doing ever was. And it was right, to work so hard to create something so wondrous. Fitting. He didn't mind the hard work, the late nights, eyes burning from staring at tiny lines and words in decaying texts. It was worth it all, in the end.

Flash melting into flesh, separate skins grafting together and forming not a patchwork, but a whole; complete and new and beautiful.

There were failures along the way, oh yes, but successes as well. The things that shrieked and gibbered and died taught him as well as the things that lived and, after their own fashion, prospered. All is knowledge, and he sought after those lessons with greedy hunger, to make beautiful things, things that all would look upon and desire. Things that he could say, unequivocally, were his.

Blood flowing to blood, bone knitting to bone. Tissue and hair and teeth.

Simple things, at first. Simple creatures begetting other simple creatures; useless, but they taught him the way. Then more complicated things, more disparate things, challenging himself and his art and still he learned. Soon he could use large beasts, creating dazzling complex combinations, but still he was not satisfied. There had to be more. Better. He wanted something special.

The product is nothing more than the sum of its parts. To make something beautiful, he had to use something beautiful.

So he did.

And the result, ah!, it was glorious! Deftly woven, perfectly joined; it was a masterpiece. It was magnificent, the culmination of all his dreams and aspirations, worthy of the praise it rightly accrued. He basked in its splendor, more proud of this achievement than anything else he had done his entire life. This is what he was meant to do! To create things of beauty and wonder, more remarkable than anything else alive. His heart soared.

But his masterwork languished, and died.

And he was left somewhat disgraced.

There was a flaw in his design, there had to be, it was the only reasonable explanation that he could see for his failure. Such a wonderful creation; it shouldn't have died. He spent longer hours in his labs, studied and postulated, experimented...

But his patrons frowned, unimpressed. What is the use? they asked him, mouths twisting, and he wanted to shout at them, you don't understand! Use- what use? The thing itself is the purpose! The advance of science, the art! Isn't it incredible? Isn't it divine?

Blood and bone; hair and hide. What did he have, that could impress upon them how incredible his art truly was? How could he show them that all he wanted, all he had ever wanted, was to make something truly beautiful?

Time pressed upon him. Flesh and sinew, organs twining. The loss of his lab, his last chance, loomed. It had to be done, it had to be now. They were watching him, he could feel their eyes, their spies. It had to be now; he had no more time.

Something beautiful...

It surpassed his first work, a fact that both surprised and gratified him, and it was perfect. It was whole and complete, and indisputably his own. And it was beautiful. He knew it would have to be, from its elements, but it was so immeasurably lovely that tears overfilled his eyes, ran down his cheeks. So beautiful. How could anyone deny his work now?

The other alchemist, the one planted by the Colonel, arrived and with pride he showed him his creation. Look, he wanted to crow, see what I have done. He hadn't failed, like the rash, genius boy- he had surpassed, flown clear above all others in this work, he stood at the right hand of god and his creation was beautiful...

Gold eyes, hard and implacable, stared at him in horror. “What happened to Nina and Alexander?”

And the crushing realization- he doesn't understand, he doesn't see...

“I hate perceptive brats like you,” Shou Tucker sighed.
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