|As the World Goes On
Author: justwalkingdown PM
In a life where Al was never saved, Ed meets Nina Tucker, and goes through life accordingly.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Friendship - Edward E. & Nina T. - Words: 1,710 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 6 - Published: 10-28-09 - id: 5473500
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As the World Goes On
They meet in sunlight. She is its very essence; he could not shine if he tried.
Which he doesn't.
She bounces through life, utterly happy with her lot, while he is dragged kicking and screaming, lost to everyone and everything.
Yet somehow, they are exactly what each other need.
("Ni-san, I – " "Don't call me that." "But I – " "You're not him. Go away.")
Her father is kind to him, has allowed him to stay in their home instead of the streets, but they are not close. He must watch her while her father is away, and in return he can access her father's library.
He throws himself into the research, spending endless hours tucked away. She does not know what he is looking for. He only tells her that he wants to know what they did wrong.
("I could be your sister. You've never had one of those before. Please, Ed?")
She is so very lonely; shut up in their big house all day, her father always gone, with no one but Ed and Alex to play with, and Ed only sometimes. She must not talk when Ed is studying, or she has to leave. But one day she finds him huddled behind a bookcase, hunched over and shaking. He look up at her blankly and does not know who she is, will only talk to the brother she must never mention.
("Ni – Ed? I…I found this in the library, I think you might have – " "Give me that!" "…Edward? Who…who is he?" "…that's Al. My brother." "Oh…where is he?" "…Gone. He's gone.")
She sits next to him, silent for once, still as a statue; Alex sprawled in front of them, and offers him comfort in the only way he will accept. She says nothing as he rambles on, muttering nonsense; speaking to people she has never met and doesn't think she wants to.
("Sorry, so sorry, tried to save – Al, mom, don't… please…I don't – wait – wait I can save you I can I swear just give me more time please I – no…no…please…I can't…I need…please")
Neither of them respond.
But slowly, after that, things start to change. Her father is never at the house anymore, she is lucky if she sees him once a week, but now…now she has Ed.
He shows her the wonders of alchemy, makes toys for her to play with, flowers to go in her garden. He tells her everything he knows and she swears she will learn it all. They are close now, her and Ed and Alexander, all three of them fitting together into one; the broken boy, the adored, abandoned girl, and the dog who seems to be the most normal of them all. And slowly, so very slowly, he begins to heal.
("Almost time, almost here, what to do? Need more time, can't stop searching, has to be an answer, where where where maybe…no, not her, must keep looking…")
It is no longer Ed who talks to himself constantly. But she is happy now, so very happy, because she has Ed, and Alex, and even her father is spending more time at home, even if it's all in the basement.
("Now, Nina, remember you must not enter the basement, alright dear? That's where Daddy does his research and he doesn't want you to get hurt, okay? Good girl.")
The men are coming more often now, those people in blue who hand her father official looking packages, and come to converse in grave voices.
("Now see here, Tucker, we need results, and we need them soon. You know the higher ups are getting impatient." "Yes, yes, don't worry, I'm close, very close, I'll have it in no time.")
She and Ed stand on the balcony, watching, waiting for them to leave, for her father to return to his lab, so they can continue playing. She turns to him, catching his worried look, and asks him what they want. Nothing, he tells her, nothing at all, they just want to help your Daddy with his work. And she nods, and picks up her dolls, and leans against Ed, who ruffles her hair softly.
("Nina? Nina, dear, where – ah, there you are. Come with me, Nina. No, no it's okay, you can come down today, Daddy just needs help with one of his experiments, you want to help your Daddy, right? Why don't you bring Alexander, too?)
So she follows, Alex clomping along behind them, thrilled by the thought of time with her father, down into the basement, tripping slightly over the steep stairs, and delights when he picks her up to carry her.
The scream pierces the house, traveling upwards to enter the library, startling the boy inside. He runs to the balcony, peering over, shouting her name, over and over, searching desperately.
There is no answer.
("I really hate perceptive brats like you.")
Taking the stairs two at a time he sprints for the basement. Gets there just in time to see Tucker bend over the transmutation circles. Catches a glimpse of Nina's pale, white face.
Just in time to tackle Tucker, grab Nina, and watch as the man's life force is pulled into the incomplete circle. Twitching and shaking he falls violently to the floor.
He will not get up.
("No! No, daddy, no! Wake up! Wake up, now, don't go, you have to wake up, please…please…" "Come on, Nina. We need to go.")
They run as the walls begin to fall around them. He has been told (experienced) over and over not to meddle with the rules of alchemy, and is seeing the results of yet another failure. Picking up Nina, he runs, tripping on overturned furniture and debris along the way. Falling to his knees, he claps, and blue lightening flashes all around them. Nina shrieks and he pulls her close, murmuring nonsense as the ceiling rains down on top of their crude shelter. They sit side by side, clutching each other as the building collapses around them; the Tucker mansion finally brought down.
("What's happening, Ni-san? W-where's daddy?" "Don't worry, Nina, it'll be over soon, don't worry.")
Knuckles tight, they grasp each other and do not let go, both shaking as the walls crumble and vibrate around them. Gradually, the shaking stops and they are left in the ruins, hunched under the crude transmuted lean-to. They do not move, not entirely sure if it is over, and still do not let go, trembling, both wondering what will happen next.
"What…what's going to happen to us? Where will we live?"
"…I don't know…but…but don't worry Nina, I'll take care of you…I won't fail again…I can't."
He knows they should leave, get out while they can, for surely someone noticed the destruction, yet still they sit, side by side, unwilling to go beyond the safety of their temporary haven. Eventually he pulls himself to his feet and gestures for her to follow. The room is unrecognizable from its once impeccable appearance and he pauses for a moment to get his bearings. And then she is bounding ahead and it is almost over before he realizes the danger.
("Ni-san, look; I found the door!"
"Great lets – Nina no!")
Oblivious she pulls on the twisted door, and he throws himself forward, knocking her into the ground, dragging her away as they are pelted with shattering glass. She turns, eyes widening as she takes in the broken chandelier. Then she is sobbing, gasping out apologies into his shirt, trembling from the near miss.
Again he allows her to hug him, shaking from the almost-tragedy. Huddled against the wall, neither of them move, and he keeps a firm hold on the end of her jacket, determined not to come so close to losing her again. Her small hands fasted to his shirt and they do not let go. Slowly the distorted sunlight shifts across the room and they still hold on, in shock over the day's events.
They do not move as they are cast into shadow, do not move as it progressively grows colder. They do not move as their shaking slowly ceases, and they are still against the wall. They do not move as they hear the sirens, as the shouts pervade the house, yelling names they know but cannot focus on enough to care. Do not move as the voices grow closer, as light is flashed upon them, as the blue-outfitted people surround them carefully.
It is not until the hands are laid upon them that he goes into motion, clutching her closer, determined not to be separated again. It is only when he realizes that the strangers are taking about them that he focuses on what is happening.
" – the boy?"
"No, sir, the only record we have is Tucker and the girl."
"Yes, about that, has any family been found?"
"None so far, though investigations are looking into it. They're not hopeful though, the mom hasn't been seen in several years and the others have all lost touch."
"Ah, well, maybe we can find a willing family in central."
"And the boy, Sir?"
And then he erupts, fighting the hand that try to pull him away, fighting desperately, as does Nina once she understands what is happening, ignoring the voices telling him to just calm down because no no no he will not lose another one!
("Nina! Nina, no!"
"Calm down, boy, don't make us – "
"Nina! Please, let me go – Nina!
"Kid, I'm warning you, co-operate or – "
"No – please, I… I promised I'd protect her…please…")
"The boy, Sir?"
"Ah, yes, who's in charge of the investigation?"
"Colonel Mustang, Sir."
"Very well. He can deal with the boy."
Authors Note: Sorry if confusing, I'm trying a new writing style. Also, originally this was supposed to be a oneshot, but what say you?