Why are there always others, and why not him...? He was just as good; so how come he never was chosen...?
Fury looked into his glass. The deep, rich, golden-colored whiskey felt cold against his fingers; however, it burned his belly. It was his second glass actually.
Five years ago, Fury decided he knew enough to take the State Alchemist exam. He studied hard for it and practiced often – there were plenty of occasions to do that. So, with his heart drumming furiously, he signed up for the written exam.
Fury nearly wept from joy - not that he seriously doubted it, he knew all the correct answers - but it still felt so extraordinary. He went to take the second test - and he failed.
They never gave him a proper answer as to why. Fury was devastated for two days… then held his head up and learned more. He read reports, talked with State Alchemists, and he signed up again for the next year.
The same thing happened. And again the next year after that.
It had been happening for five years now; Fury made it to the last test twice, and they seemed to be draws; but they never chose him. And they never told him why.
Fury felt anger rising in him. He was good, damn it; he was just as good as the others. Then why? Why don't they want to give him a chance?? Perhaps... Fury smiled darkly. There was an answer, which seemed fearfully appropriate. Namely, that the exams are just a big cover-up; they take those who seem to be useful. Like Shou Tucker. He experimented with chimeras. Fury only wanted to make life better. He wasn't worth giving a chance to.
Another sip from the golden liquid; it burned, just like the hatred Fury felt towards the higher-ups and all the other State Alchemists now. They say it right: they're all the dogs of the military.
Scar wandered in Central, keeping in the shadows but without any real fear. Ishbalites were uncommon, but not impossible to see in the capital, and he hadn't done anything yet that would make him a target of the military. However, he planned. To get revenge for his people, to use his brother’s arm as it was intended to be used: against the Amestrisian State Alchemists. It was a great goal, but there was a little fault in it: Scar didn't know how to choose his targets; who was a State Alchemist, like Kimbley, and who was a mere soldier who followed orders. He hoped to find some kind of clue, but until that time he just got familiar with the city's streets.
After a whole day's walking and learning, he was tired, and he chose a small, hidden away bar that he discovered not so long ago to sit down and have some quiet time to relax his body and mind. He went in and suffered through the curious glances as he went to the counter to order a meal and a drink.
Fury heard the low, velvety voice and he blinked up. His eyes widened a little beneath his glasses; the newcomer was an Ishbalite, no doubt about it. The dark skin was a telltale sign. The small soldier felt the sudden rush of compassion; these people suffered a lot in the war and the State Alchemists... yes, the State Alchemists caused them most of the grief. The sergeant major never noticed that he was actually staring at the tall, white-haired man.
Scar, holding his mug of beer, turned around and his scarlet eyes rested on the occupants of the pub. He met the eyes, which were looking at him, one by one. There was a young girl who turned away with a blush, an elder man who snorted and turned back to his own meal, and there was a young man with glasses, and dark hair, in military blue. Scar frowned and decided to take up the challenge; he walked to the box and asked with a light accent. "Excuse me, may I sit here?" The Amestrisian words came a little harder than usual, and Scar sipped from his drink to cover his uneasiness, although he never took his eyes off from the soldier.
"Why would you...?" Cain felt unusually brave and cocky at the moment; maybe because of the alcohol. "You are an Ishbalite; you should hate me for what I am, not try to make a conversation."
"Should I really hate you? You seem to be young enough to be only a toddler when the war was," Scar answered offhandedly and sat down. He watched the other warily, not sure if his words would enflame the Amestrisian's temper or not. The Ishbalite was in Central and he shouldn't seek fights with her people, however, he was too tired to be extremely polite to the black haired soldier. "Or are you a State Alchemist who found the formula of eternal youth?"
A low cackle escaped the small-framed man's lips; it felt kind of... inappropriate. His grin, which lacked any happiness, didn't help much. "You’re right with the first one; I was a mere child back then... Lucky me. And as for your second question, no, I'm not a State Alchemist, never was and probably never will be one. They don't need me." He raised his glass. "To the high-ranked fools, who decide about who's useful and who's not!" Fury drank again. It burned.
"They didn't find you useful?" Scar asked and took a drought from his beer. The soldier was drunk, and probably the envy had turned into hate when it came to the State Alchemists. Scar could use him, and he intended to do it. For now, he needed to keep the black haired man talking. "Probably your alchemy isn't killing enough."
Fury laughed, lowly, sarcastically. "Ooh, I could kill you before you had the chance to move! But nooo, I'm an idealist, who thinks alchemy should be used to help people, to heal, to fix, to correct... Yes, maybe you're right and I'm not violent enough. But then..." he began to draw an array on the table with his fingertip absent-mindedly "What's the use of State Alchemists anyway...? We have weapons, bombs, and automail, why do we need them to destroy? They're all bastards, afraid of the machines' power. Nothing is as nice as a neatly forged gun. Killing with it teaches you a lesson about the value of life."
"Guns and bombs couldn't destroy my people. It was State Alchemists who eliminated us." Scar's answer was almost a growl; his hate almost solid in the air when he said those two words. The Ishbalite sipped again from the beer to gain back his calm before he smiled sarcastically. "Killing won't teach you to anything. But not killing when you are attacked will teach you about early death and merciless murderers."
"I have to disagree on what you said. If you pull the trigger and see the bullet hit home, see the blood flying and the eyes turn glassy, you'll learn how fragile and worthless a human's life is. Even yours. And not fighting back - that's plainly stupid. I'm sure you killed many of us." There was an almost perverse pleasure in saying this out loud.
Scar wryly laughed at this and shook his head. "You seem to think I'm a murderer myself, who isn't following his God's teaching to be 'stupid'. This makes me think, would you kill me or call your friends to lock me away into a prison if I said I did kill? Or would you pat me in the head to say I'm not stupid?"
Fury snickered. "At the moment, my vote goes for the second option. I'll let you run; my so-called friends should learn to defend themselves against you." He raised his glass again. "To the fearful dark avenger."
Scar looked curiously at the smaller man. It was time for some carefully chosen words before the soldier passed out from too much alcohol. "I can't be that. All of God's dark angels know who is to be punished. I don't. All I see is the blue uniform of the army."
"Hmm, it's hard to identify the State Alchemists, right...?" Fury lowered his head; his mind wasn't as fuzzy as Scar imagined. The light flashed on the glasses as he adjusted them. "Well, you know... There is something that identifies the State Alchemists. They all receive a silver pocket watch. The chain is visible on their left hip. And actually... You know, we have a huge library here... the Central Library. There are some records containing all the names and pictures of the Alchemists... Wait a little, where should it be...? Ah, I got it; in the second office on the left on the ground floor; in the back of the building." His nails scraped the surface of the table, leaving shallow lines; another array. "It would be a real trouble if somebody got a hand on those papers..."
Scar emptied his mug as his mind processed the information. They have a record about the State Alchemists! In the library that he passed twice just today no less. "Ishbala forbids the use of alchemy, just like killing other beings is forbidden. Those who combine these two sins, like the State Alchemists, are in real danger," Scar said at last. He got what he needed from this small-framed soldier, and now he shouldn't wait any longer to start his revenge. Ishbala must have sent the other as a guide, to show Scar she cared, even if he used unclean methods.
"Don't worry," Fury smiled darkly. "Now I'll quit trying to become one."
"I wasn't worrying," Scar's mouth curled as well, mirroring the Amestrisian's expression. He thought, if he met the soldier again, he would try and not kill him. "I should go; my mug is empty." The Ishbalite didn't offer any thanks - the dark haired one hadn't told him these things out of goodness. Scar nodded and stood. "We won't meet again, I hope. May God bless you."
"May your journey be successful." The low chuckle rang out from behind the rim of the glass. Fury smiled. The ancient ones were all right.
Revenge is sweet.