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  • Published: 24 Apr 2018
  • Updated: 24 Apr 2018
  • Status: Complete
its sad


1. angsty!

He did it.


Sure, it had taken a while, and he was worse for wear because of it, but now… Now he could finally do something.


Apollo Justice was sick of watching the people around him fizzle out. His mentor, arrested for murdering some innocent drifter. His best friend, murdered by soldiers from Drachma during an excursion to Briggs. Nahyuta… His elder brother, Nahyuta Sahdmadhi, whose death he would never be able to absolve himself of, not since he was ripped away from him by the monstrous being that called itself The Truth. And then, most recently, only just after they had finally reunited, Dhurke Sahdmadhi was found dead in a phone booth in Central.


Apollo hated himself for it. Dhurke had come all the way from Aerugo, even leaving his biological daughter behind, just to see Apollo, and Apollo had snubbed him. He'd made the trek to Central Command, found his hotel, only to be booted out. Apollo hadn't wanted to see his father. He still bore resentment toward him for sending him to live in Amestris; he'd had his reasons, sure, and it was for Apollo's own benefit, but that didn't make starting a new life as a 10-year-old in a place like Amestris any easier. Especially when everyone would hear him speak with the awkward, thick accent characteristic of Aerugo and scoff. It was only his state certification that made life easier. He hadn't even wanted to learn alchemy, but he had to if he was to gain even base respect in this country.


And then… Clay.


Clay Terran had been a superior officer, but by only one rank. He'd joined two years before Apollo himself and they'd made fast friends. In fact, Apollo could admit that, looking back, he'd wanted so much more than friendship from Clay. But that wasn't to be, since he left with a wide grin on his face to visit the icy peaks of Briggs, only to return home in a body bag after a border skirmish and be promoted to colonel posthumously.


All he'd wanted was to have Clay back with him, and Nahyuta, his foster brother who'd followed him to Amestris against Dhurke's wishes, had come to him with an idea. "We can bring him back, 'Pollo." he'd said, and maybe if Apollo had been more responsible, he would still be alive.


He'd been desperate, so he accepted it. He studied human transmutation furiously, struggling to keep up with Nahyuta's alchemical genius. The two tried it, and that night, Nahyuta was taken forever by The Truth, a punishment for clutching desperately to someone who was gone and refusing to see the people standing by him. Or, rather, person, for now that Nahyuta was taken, and the only thing he'd gained from that mess had been a ruined corpse that he could barely call humanoid, he had no one left.


Until Dhurke had come back.


Until Apollo had pushed him away, intent on research and uninterested in seeing the man who abandoned him.


Until Dhurke died.


Apollo attended the funeral and wrote a letter back to Rayfa. He also wrote ones for Datz and Amara, though he doubted the two would receive them. He apologized to his old foster sister, sent her flowers, let her know he'd visit when the military allowed it. He never got a reply, though he knew Rayfa wouldn't resent him for it. She was in pain, and Apollo felt it in his bones that everyone back in Aerugo would ache with the loss of their future leader.


It had been 5 years since he'd tried to bring Clay back when he got that phone call informing him that Dhurke Sahdmadhi was dead. Apollo had done so much research trying to find the secret to human transmutation in order to fix his mistake, to bring back Nahyuta, but now… Now he was more intent than ever. He'd lost so many people. So many lives had been lost right under his nose, and he had been willing to take any step necessary to fix it. He'd even sought out the Cykeses and the Blackquills, head researchers on the Philosopher's Stone, and found out the ugly truth within the truth after Athena deciphered her late mother's research. He'd resolved at the time to never use the stone; Nahyuta would never forgive him for using the lives of innocents to save him.


Dhurke, though?


What he didn't know wouldn't hurt him.


And that was how Apollo found himself with his suit sleeves rolled up, rubbing exhaustion from his eyes and pushing loose sheets of paper out of the way to draw a chalk circle on the hardwood floor of his empty countryside house. As he scratched out the runes and sigils, the weight of the Philosopher's Stone tugged impatiently in his pocket, and he felt a sickening wave of guilt mixed with anticipation wash over him. He couldn't stand the idea of what he was about to do. He could only think of the horrific things that the people within the stone must have been though. He couldn't just keep allowing people to die right beside him, though: he'd already failed to bring back Clay, and Nahyuta would hate him for the rest of his life if he used the stone for his sake. The least he could do for his old man is to try to bring him back. With the Philosopher's Stone, it should be possible, shouldn't it?




"I see you're back."


Apollo blinked. Nahyuta? He turned around, finding himself facing an empty, white void, with only Nahyuta standing before him. "Nahyuta? Nahyuta!" Apollo took a step forward before Nahyuta shook his head with a soft smile.


"Unfortunately, no. His soul is not with me. It's probably still where you left it."


"What are you talking about?" Apollo demanded, clenching his fists. He knew who this was, who this had to be, if not Nahyuta. "You're Truth, aren't you? What do you mean, where I left it? You stole him! You took my brother from me!"


"No, I didn't." Truth rolled its eyes and frowned. "A foolish young alchemist. Not very clever, are you? I took your brother's body as payment for the body you created, along with your excursion within your portal. I didn't take his soul. Just his body. His soul is still in your world where it belongs. Wherever it was that his body was lost, that is where his soul remains."


"You… You mean that?"


"How else could I use his body as a vessel, hm?"


Apollo felt faint. He'd wanted so badly to bring Nahyuta back, but he'd abandoned his only brother without even realizing it? His stomach churned, and if he had any food in him, he was certain he would have heaved. Sweating, Apollo wrapped his arms around himself and choked back a sob. "F…Figures. It figures everything would end up like this, huh? But that's not the point. That's…" He swallowed thickly, trying to brush aside the idea of Nahyuta waiting for him, all along, in that little house in Kanama. "That's not who I'm here for this time."


Truth seemed quite surprised at this, eyebrows shooting upward. "Oh? And who are you here for, if not your brother?"


"…My father." Apollo reached into his pocket and pulled out the stone, hands shaking. He held it out to Truth, who stared at him silently for several moments before throwing his head back and cackling, voice high and clear and oh-so-eerie coming from Nahyuta's body.


"A stone? You truly are an alchemist through and through, aren't you?! Humans are so arrogant, thinking they can use the souls of others as bargaining chips. While that may have worked if you'd had a different goal in mind, I'm afraid that a stone simply won't cut it."


Behind him, Apollo heard the tell-tale sound of a door creaking open, and he didn't have to look to know that those black tendrils were crawling out of the shadows, ready to wrench him into the depths of his portal. He reached out desperately, waving the stone at Truth who simply watching with mirth in his eyes. "Please! It's equivalent, isn't it?! A soul for a soul! There are plenty to pick from, right?! Please, I can't just let everyone I love die like this! Let him go! Let me bring him back!"


Shadows bit into his wrists and ankles and waist and he felt tears spring to his eyes as he was tugged backward. The jerking motion bounced the stone out of his hand and it clattered to the white ground, looking like a single bloodstain in the pristine room. "You brought this upon yourself by using the life of someone you've never even met in your desperate scheme," Truth replied, his mocking expression turning somber. "Know this; humans who would play God must pay a steep price. That is Truth."


And then, everything went black.




Apollo groaned as he roused to wakefulness on the ground. The first thing he registered was the sound of alchemical aftershocks singing through the air. The second was the unbearable stench of blood and decay. And the third was the pain.


He heard the scream long before he realized it was coming from his own mouth, and he only realized it when the metallic taste of blood trick into his open lips. He gagged and scrambled to his feet, unable to distinguish his own shallow breathing from the half-dead heaving of whatever monster he knew he had to have created. He'd earned this. He hadn't been the one who created the stone, but he'd allowed his desperation to drive him to use it, and now he was facing the punishment he'd earned.


But what had been taken from him?


Last time, it had been Nahyuta. And he'd met a young woman about 5 years his senior who'd lost her arms trying to revive her sister. And then there was that famed state alchemist who, according to rumors, had tried to bring his birth father back to life and lost his leg for it. Truth would not let him off with nothing but taking the stone, and the searing pain shooting through his head was more than enough proof of that.


He stumbled over his own feet, tripping over books and papers and quite possibly the emaciated body of his failure, but he was hurting too much to stop. He had to find a lamp. He could've sworn it was lighter in here, but maybe it had turned dark. He never knew exactly how long his meeting with Truth had actually lasted, even the first time. He reached over tables, knocking plenty of things to the ground until he groped long enough to find the lantern, which he promptly burned his hand on.


The lantern was lit. It was lit, and he didn't register the light. He nursed his singed hand close to his chest as realization dawned and he felt more and more like crying. He held back the tears, though; he didn't know how it would feel to try crying now, and the last thing he wanted was to try.


My eyes. It took my fucking eyes.


He clutched his face and sunk to his knees, letting out a dry, agonized sob. It hurt. He hadn't been this scared since he'd almost drowned as a child, and he recognized through the pain and the blood steaming down his cheeks from empty sockets that it felt much the same. His lungs filled with unshed tears and his body felt cold and weightless, tossed into darkness with no way out. He hunched over and whimpered, feeling more pathetic than ever. He hadn't learned the first time. He deserved it. He earned it. This was his second time gambling with people's lives.


"…Dhurke," he whispered, feeling more childish and weak than ever. "Dad. Dad, please…"


How pitiful, that the boy who wanted no more than to see his father again would have no eyes to see with?

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