Series: Brotherhood/the manga
Word Count: 499
Characters: Havoc, Mustang
Summary: “Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” – Aldous Huxley
Warnings: spoilers for the end of Brotherhood/the manga, mild language.
Notes: Billow: To move with great difficulty; definition from here. Yet again, the fic wanted to eat the word limit. >.>; Won third place at fma_fic_contest for prompt 80: Billow.
You take one tremulous step; you stumble and you fall; you pick yourself up and you keep moving. You eventually grow to forget that there was a time when you couldn’t take more than three steps without falling flat on your ass. Asking you to remember what life was like before you learned to walk would be like asking you to remember what life was like before you were unable to speak. You take the wonderful simplicity of being able to put one foot in front of the other for granted.
Jean Havoc takes one tremulous step; he stumbles and he falls; he picks himself up and he keeps moving. His progress is slow and he knows that he probably shouldn’t be doing this on his own, but what the hell—he’s only walking to the chair anyway.
The chair is a grand total of fifteen steps away from where he is currently standing. Any outsider who was to catch a glimpse of him at this moment would probably believe that he is instead preparing to scale a ridiculously tall mountain.
He used to take this walking thing for granted, too—until he was told that he would never walk again; until he stopped pitying himself to death and started feeling the slow burn of determination at the edges of his consciousness; until Roy told him, “I think I can help;” until Havoc took that first step; until he proved those damn doctors wrong.
He’s vowed to never take this for granted ever again.
The Philosopher’s Stone did fix him, in a sense: he wouldn’t have been able to regain sensation in his legs again without it. Still, he has to learn how to walk all over again—not that he’s complaining. He is grateful.
He makes his way to the chair on legs that are as shaky as a newborn colt’s, and his muscles are aching by the time he sinks appreciatively into said chair. He’s breathing like he just ran a cross-country marathon.
It is Roy who (unexpectedly) finds him; it is Roy who tells him that he is making excellent progress. It is Roy who looks down at his own feet and says, “I wish it would have been--”
“Yeah, well,” Jean interjects, “a crippled and blinded soldier wouldn’t make a very good Fuhrer.” And then, much gentler: “You’ve sacrificed enough, Sir.”
Roy smiles at him then – a real smile – and the subject is dropped. “Want to grab a bite to eat?”
Jean shakes his head. “Not right now—gonna keep practicing for a bit.”
Roy’s smile widens and he nods, something very much like pride and admiration shining in his (once sightless) eyes. “Carry on, then.” He places a hand on Jean’s shoulder and gently squeezes; it is the touch of a comrade, of a brother.
Havoc returns the smile. “Yes Sir.”
And silently, he adds moments like this to the list of things that he’s never going to take for granted ever again.