The door shut softly behind Edward as he entered the small room. Kimblee was already sitting at the single table. Two mugs of coffee were sitting on the table. Otherwise, the room was empty. Glancing behind him, and out the window in the door, he saw one of Kimblee’s bodyguards stand in front of the door. Great. I’m trapped in here with this maniac. Reluctantly, Ed took the other chair. Something about this guy gives me the creeps.
“Hello, Edward.” Kimblee sat there, appearing to be smiling politely at Edward, but everything about it was false.
“Cut the pleasantries, Kimblee, what do you want?” He growled out.
“There are three things. One, you will assist with our search for Scar. You will help me search for him, and if you should happen to find him, you will notify me. Two, you will also help with the search for Dr. Marco. He was last seen to be traveling with Scar, in this area. If you find him, you are to let me know immediately. Lastly, you are going to help me carve a bloody crest into the fortress of Briggs.” There was a moment of tense silence, as Edward watched the steam from his untouched coffee, processing what Kimblee had said.
“Carve a bloody crest into Briggs?” He said slowly, frowning.
“Yes. You and I will use our alchemy to carve a blood crest into Briggs, with our own hands.”
“I have no idea what you are trying to say.” Edward felt unsettled, a bad feeling settling in his stomach. “What exactly do you mean?”
“I mean we do to this place what the other alchemists did in Ishval.” Kimblee was grinning ferally at him now. He held his tattooed palms up, like he was going to clap them together, just so he could get his meaning across. “We will carve this land into a symbol of sorrow and hatred. It will be easy, after it is done we can simply blame the massacre on Drachma.”
“What the hell? I can’t do something like that! Absolutely not!” Edward sprang forward at Kimblee, golden eyes blazing with hatred. He slammed his fists on the table hard, sending the two coffee cups reiling, spilling their contents. “How dare you ask me such a thing!”
Kimblee calmly watched Edward’s outburst. It was to be expected, but he knew that Fullmetal had no choice. The faint sounds of Winry talking with the guard outside filtered in, and Kimblee smirked as Edward took notice. Gritting his teeth, he sat back down heavily, glaring at Kimblee.
“Very clever, Kimblee, negotiating while waving your hostage right in front of me.”
“Uh-oh, someone needs to pay more attention. I haven’t said a word about taking Miss Winry hostage.” He now had a very neutral expression on his face as he watched Edward. I admire your will, but this will not play out in your favor, Fullmetal. Kimblee smirked. “Don’t give me any ideas, though. And as well, we are not negotiating. These are orders. You are now being called to fulfill your duties as a state alchemist.” His eyes narrowed as he continued to study Edward. “Don’t tell me you became one of the military dogs, yet don’t have the nerve to kill?”
“I’ve got the resolve not to kill!” Edward snapped back. By now, he was leaning far over the table, staring straight into Kimblee’s eyes.
“The resolve not to kill? And a strong will as well…” Kimblee muttered to himself, hand moving to his chin as he thought. This might be a bit more difficult than I predicted. He frowned.
“Look, mister Kimblee, doesn’t this seem wrong to you? That the government is going to slaughter countless civilians just to achieve some goal? You do know what they’re ordering you to do, right?”
“Yes, I do know.”
“Then why continue with this idio-”
“Because I wish to see what the new world will look like.”
“I want to see who will win this battle of resolve vs. resolve, will vs. will. Humans versus their so called evolutions, the homunculus. Which side will the world choose to let survive? Fort Briggs lives by the motto “Survival of the fittest”. Simple, but it is the truth.” Kimblee crossed his hands in front of his face, watching Edward carefully. He could smell the stench of blood from his latest meal on them, as well as the underlying scent of fear within the room. It was a cautious fear, certainly, but fear nonetheless.
“Everything on this planet is the result of evolution, one species decimating another until only the strongest remain. Species decimated by humans, Ishvalans decimated by Amestrians, it’s all the same. If the homunculi kill the humans, than that would simply mean that humans were not fit for survival on this planet. That’s all there is to it.”
Edward had sat back on his chair, arms crossed. “But you’re a human. Why’re you siding with the homunculus? Unless… You’re a homunculi as well.”
The tension in the room doubled. Quietly, Kimblee took another sip of his coffee. He watched as Edward’s eyes widened, then narrowed dangerously. His golden eyes were accusing slits as he studied Kimblee again.
“Your intuition is admirable.” He grinned widely, showing off the ouroboros tattoo on his tongue.
“So, you’re Gluttony then.”
“Yes, that’s what they seem to be calling me now, though I still prefer Kimblee. Although, I was human once. It seemed they needed a replacement, after you and your friends from Xing nearly killed him.”
“I know. I’ve heard stories about you, you know. But still- why side with the homunculi?”
“It was a simple decision, really.” He shrugged. “They are willing to let me use my alchemy to it’s fullest potential. And this new body is a much better improvement. Do you know what it’s like to have a philosopher's’ stone as a part of you?” Edward stared at him.
“You’re sick. I’m surprised you passed the military psychology tests.”
“It’s not the first time I’ve heard that. As for the tests, it’s easy to pass as long as you know how you're supposed to act. And it’s not like they care too much. I am fully aware that I do not particularly think in the “right” way. However, this world has let me survive. Few people get to live that life, fighting every day for their right to an existence. For a couple thousand souls inside me- they failed that fight. They now live a tortured afterlife.” Kimblee leaned back in his chair.
“I’ve found that state alchemists tend to place themselves in the center of their own universe.” Reaching into his coat, he pulled out a red stone, then set it on the table.
“The- the philosopher's stone!”
“This is the thing you brothers want more than anything else in the world, no? Complete the three orders, and this is yours.” Now it was just a matter of waiting. This was his trump card, if this didn’t work than he would be forced to use Winry. There was a long moment of tense silence. From somewhere else in the fort, Kimblee smelled blood, most likely from a small injury of some sort. He shifted in his chair. Finally, Edward set his hands heavily on the table.
“Let me talk to Alphonse and Winry first, then I’ll make my decision.”
“Very well, but I will be accompanying you, to make sure you do not say anything unnecessary.” As they both stood up to exit the room, Kimblee smirked. You’re in this fight for survival now, Fullmetal, whether you like it or not.