Prompt: "We've seen pretty much everyone being all badass while saving Ace, right? I'd love to see a fic where Ace is finally freed and it's his turn to act. Something dark, angsty and full of rage of someone who's just seen his friends and family massacred in front of him, and who can use fire of all things to fight."

(written 31 December 2009)

((Yes, I know this is also a drabble done for OP Fan-for-all, but it didn't fit with the others, so I'm uploading it separately.))

There's this thing about fire. People tend to forget about it when they only use it for cooking, warmth, and light; when they make it tame. Sure, they'll admit that it can be dangerous at times, but they never really believe it. They think of it as a friend.

Fire is not your friend. Not even if you can turn into fire. It purifies nothing. It changes nothing. It can only destroy.

Destroy... I saw them all die, for me. So it's only right that others should die, for them.

Fire burns everything. Water boils away into nothingness. Metal warps, glows red-hot, then white-hot. Ice melts, evaporates. Wood combusts to ash. Its effects on human and animal flesh are more spectacular.

Hair ignites. Eyeballs burst. Flesh chars black. Limbs twist in agony, burn away. Screams die unheard as flame enters their throats, destroys their lungs.

Fire burns everything. If something doesn't burn, you aren't using enough fire.

Even stone burns; magma is proof of that. But that pales in comparison to the pure unbridled heat at the centre of the sun. Smoke fills the air, blocking out light.

Fire is undiscerning. Everything in its path gets destroyed, regardless of its value.

I think they were allies. But it doesn't matter. It's too late now, for them.

Fire feels nothing.

But you do.

As you become human again, and drop to your knees, the familiar scent - when did it become normal? - of charred bodies assaults your nose. Nothing moves nearby; there's only bones and ash and bones turned to ash. You wonder where the moisture on your face came from, when it all should have vanished from the heat.