|The Pen is Mightier! (penismightier) wrote in chaotic_library,|
@ 2011-04-28 17:57:00
|Current music:||Celtic Journey - Prophecy|
|Entry tags:||alphonse elric, ed and al, edward elric, fma, fma: alternate post-movie timeline, fma: anime, gen, pg-13, short shorts, y-52flavours, yuuo, yuuo: fma|
[Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric; PG-13] Shades Of Gray
Character/Series: Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric; Fullmetal Alchemist
Notes: Written for 52_flavours, theme #1- Five shades of white (original themes list).
Title: Shades of Gray
Word Count: 940
Summary: When they were children, morality was black and white.
"I see a red door, and I want it painted black.
No colors anymore, I want them to turn black."
-The Rolling Stones
When they were children, morality was black and white. Heroes were the good guys of the day, and the knight slayed the evil dragon that held the princess captive. Good was good and evil was evil, there was no question about it.
Then their mother died, and they decided to violate the laws and try to bring her back. Surely such a good thing as having their mother back couldn't be as bad as the adults made it sound, right? Sure, it was against the rules, it was wrong, and they said impossible, but if they could prove it was possible, if they could have such a wonderful person as their mother back again, it would be okay, and not taboo anymore, right?
They were shown how wrong they were, and punished. Good was good and evil was evil, and listen when the adults tell you something is wrong.
"Brother, he'll die!"
Edward wanted to kill Tucker for what he'd done to Nina. Nina, precious little innocent Nina, what had he done to you?
But good guys didn't do that. Good guys didn't even think it. Good guys were good and only the evil thought things like that.
"But you're just like me. Your mother, your little brother. Humans have a desire to see what they can do with the knowledge they possess."
Edward wanted to kill Barry, too, too scared to do anything else but attack back, attack blindly, as he fought for his life. Surely it was okay to kill someone in self-defense, wasn't it?
But good guys were good. They didn't kill.
They didn't rip the limbs off of little boys, no matter how evil those little boys were, no matter what those little boys did to the only mother the good guy had left. Good guys were good and bad guys were bad. The good guys stopped the bad guys, righted the wrongs, but never did anything morally ambiguous to do it.
Life, they were finding, didn't work like that. Alphonse wanted to rip away his brother's limbs from Wrath, wanted to make the homunculus pay for hurting Izumi, wanted to make him pay for taking away Edward's limbs in the first place. He was just a homunculus, not even human, right?
Morality kept growing grayer as they grew up.
When Edward killed, it changed him. A homunculus was still a person, with thoughts, and words to share those thoughts, and Greed had taught him how to win, how to keep the others from destroying everything he held dear. And Edward had killed him.
Good guys were good, but sometimes, they were bad, too. And sometimes, bad guys were good.
Edward wasn't sure which he was when he drove his blade through his mother's heart. She had memories, memories that they'd given her, and a desire to love them that they'd given her. Had it not been for Dante's sweet poison, she might've been their mother, loving them and living with them happily in Rizenbul the way they'd intended.
But his mother would never use Alphonse to attack him. His mother would never try to deliver Alphonse and the precious Stone he carried up to a madwoman hellbent on living forever, driving the people into further despair.
But that was his mother, a sweet, gentle woman abused and lied to and manipulated into something evil.
Sometimes, evil was good and good was evil and he couldn't even cry when he transmuted her into ethanol so she'd simply evaporate away, a bad nightmare put to rest.
Alphonse hadn't cared that it should be considered evil to use the Stone, to use all those sacrificed lives so carelessly, but he couldn't stand the thought of his brother dying. All those lives to save one. Sometimes, the good of the one was more than the good of the many.
Evil was evil and good was good but it never worked that way, did it?
The longer Edward was separated from Alphonse, the longer he lived in the world on the other side of the Gate, the grayer his morality got. The National Socialists preached both good and bad, economic recovery for the German people and hatred for anyone who wasn't them all at once. The so-called good guys of the war had brutalized the losers until such evil seemed acceptable by contrast.
When he reunited with his brother and returned home with him to Rizenbul, Edward couldn't stomach the thought of rebuilding his old house, although Alphonse- now untouched by all those years of memories- wanted to. That was the house of good and evil, and clear-cut lines. It didn't belong to a man who could only see shades of gray. But he rebuilt the house, preferring to do that than infect Winry with the moral ambiguity that had stained his world view.
When the call to war went out, it was Edward who responded. He didn't do it for any noble ambitions, like so many his age did. He did it because sometimes, good guys had to be bad guys and the war was spreading to threaten Rizenbul. His family.
Sometimes, good guys had to do bad things. And he didn't want Alphonse to see that. Let him maintain his innocence.
When the war is over, Edward is older, but much the same. Many men came back from the war scarred, changed beyond repair, but Edward had already learned those lessons.
Sometimes, good guys were bad guys, and good was evil and evil was good. He did evil to protect his brother. Morality had dimmed to nothing but shades of gray.