|Shades of Grey: In Truth, None Of It Was Fiction
Author: KarmaHope PM
Karmyn Dallas was a normal girl until she met Willard and Alfred Cirle. She had her rough patches in life, her mom was a chemist, and she was an otaku. Wait- The new boys are Ed and Al Elric! In the process of helping them home she makes a false step, landing herself in Amestris. Forget alchemy- she's just trying to live, and it's not quite so easy! -/-!UNDER COMPLETE REWRITE!-\-Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Friendship - Edward E. & Alphonse E. - Chapters: 69 - Words: 160,080 - Reviews: 676 - Favs: 177 - Follows: 108 - Updated: 01-27-13 - Published: 06-20-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7102320
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Okay. Let's see if I can write this chapter. I've procrastinated for long enough this morning.
Anyhow, as for my question last chapter, "Why is Karmyn only speaking English," I would have accepted any of three answers- "She knew Envy couldn't speak it," "It was a test so she would know when the real Elrics came," or one other answer, which no one got, so I won't reveal it yet. Congratulations to:
Wyxlan Lonestar, Shadow the Ranger, yyh-ygo-fma, Falling Raene, Nikkome Konno, what-is-the-color-of-love, SeaDevil
Remember: One-shot contest, no limitations but PG-13 or under, and it has to relate to the story. You can PM your story to me, or you can email it to Philosophium116(at)gmail(dot)com. (guess where I came up with the idea for that address!)
Random fact: My friend and I just spent the entire day deciding which FMA characters the people in our band would represent. I'm Winry- Cute and innocent, but hurt people out of nowhere.
Alright. Let's go.
10 April, 1917
Edward, Alphonse and Sergeant Cross sat on a bench as they waited for Karmyn to come out of the emergency room. Both the General and the Colonel had left hours before, saying that they really couldn't stay away from Central much longer. It pissed Edward off the fact that Mustang had gone on this mission with them to retrieve her, seen the state she was in, and then left as if it didn't matter anything to him. Of course, he wasn't too surprised. He knew that the General didn't have a compassionate bone in his body.
Alphonse sat beside his brother, not paying much attention to anything around him. His focus remained on the door in front of them, hoping that the doctors were able to help Karmyn. His fingers intertwined nervously, playing with each other in the same way that they had been since they had arrived at the hospital in the northern town of Clarkstead. Despite what his brother had told him the day before, he still couldn't help but feel that it was at least partially his fault for the mess that the girl had landed in.
His mind flashed back to the day before, as they carried Karmyn out of the Drachman facility.
The Elrics exited the compound, where they found the General still standing outside, utterly confused. Any other time and Edward would have fully appreciated the rare look on his face, but they had more pressing concerns to worry about.
"That was quick," Mustang said, "what happened?"
"The place was abandoned," Edward told him, "other than the soldiers that ran out, there was nobody in there."
A few more words were exchanged between the two, but Al had quit listening a little while back. He looked down at the figure he held in his arms. She was not in good shape. Her hair was matted with blood and dirt, as were her clothes. It was then that she realized that she was only wearing a torn shirt and ripped-up jeans that were doing nothing to protect her from the cold. Her shoes were missing as well, leaving her in her worn-down socks.
A few seconds later, he could feel her trembling. He made a split-second decision and called to get Ed's attention.
"Brother," he said, "can you hold her for a minute? I'm going to give her my jacket- it's freezing out here."
Ed nodded his agreement, holding out his arms to take her. The only problem was Karmyn wouldn't relinquish her grasp around Al's shoulders.
"Karmyn," Al told her quietly, "wake up."
He was met with a sleepy groan as she raised her head to look at him. "What is it?" she asked him, obviously out of it. Al found himself wondering what it was that they had done to her to cause her to act like this.
"I need you to let go of me. I'm going to hand you to Brother so I can give you my jacket," he explained.
"Don'wanna," she slurred sleepily, "you're warm."
Al could feel himself flush at this, though he didn't know why. It's not like she said anything embarrassing or something like that. "Yes, well," he started, "You'll be even warmer after I give you my jacket. So please? I don't want you getting frostbite."
There was a few moments' pause. "Fine," she agreed, loosening her hold.
She was quickly handed over to the elder of the two Elrics, and Al wasted no time in taking his coat off and wrapping it around her.
"Thank you," she murmured before turning and snuggling into Edward, holding Al's coat tightly around her.
The Elrics exchanged looks before continuing to walk back to the rest of the rescue party.
It had been over twenty-four hours since then, and none of them had gotten any sleep. Every once and while one of them would get up to pace up and down the hall, or one would go and ask for food for them all, or someone would take a trip to the bathroom. However, none of them wanted to be the ones sleeping when the news came from the ER.
Edward looked over at his younger brother, wondering how he was dealing. The seventeen-year-old had hardly spoken since they had arrived at the hospital, instead opting to stare at the door and play with his fingers. Somehow, the older Elric suspected that the entire ordeal had affected his brother more than the boy thought. He had noticed this over the past couple of months, and now there was this. Al had been incredibly distraught when he discovered that Karmyn had been kidnapped. He had seemed different throughout the month that they had been waiting. Then, when they found her, he had been the one to crouch down to talk to the girl. Then there was the incident with the jacket- Edward had noticed his brother flush red at Karmyn's comments. And now, he was like a zombie, staring at the door and hoping she was okay.
The thing was, Ed could also tell that Al had no clue as to what was happening, which made it even more fun to watch. He smiled as he realized that his little brother was starting to grow up.
An hour later, the doors of the ER finally opened. All three of the men outside looked up instantly, hoping to hear the news. Sergeant Cross stood up, walking over to the doctor that stood there.
"How is my daughter? Is she alright?"
The doctor looked at him. "Are you Robert Cross, father of Karmyn Dallas?"
"Yes," the man replied, "and these are her best friends." He gestured to Edward and Alphonse behind him.
"Very well then, follow me," he told them. The Elrics stood up and walked over to where the two older men were standing, and the four of them walked down the hall to the room where Karmyn resided.
The doctor (who introduced himself as Dr. Leigh), informed them of her condition on their way down. "She's stable now," he said, "but she's still in no great condition. We've found multiple cuts and lacerations, as well as multiple bruises. There has been some internal bleeding as well. She has a severe concussion, and is dehydrated and malnourished. There were evident signs of drug usage as well. We've done some tests, but nothing has come back yet as to which drug was used."
With every problem that Dr. Leigh listed, the Elrics felt their hearts sink. Edward, even in the worst of his fights, had never been that beaten up. They supposed that it could have been worse, as they had heard of many cases that were more severe, but this was their friend that they were talking about. And, not to be sexist, but she was a girl. Not to mention that she had never been beaten up in a fight, ever. She usually just escaped them or outsmarted them. There were only three fights that she had been in- the Stone Thief in the Boston Lab, the criminals in Ceredigion, and the Drachman terrorist on the train. In each case, she had outrun them, been saved by someone, or had outsmarted them.
"There is also the slight problem with her mental health," the doctor continued. "She seems sane enough, but she's only talking nonsensically. None of our staff can understand her."
"Oh, that's normal," Edward said, trying to lighten the atmosphere. It only earned him a weird look from the doctor and a small chuckle from Alphonse.
A couple minutes later, they arrived at the hospital room that Karmyn was resting in. "You can visit for a little while, but then she is going to need to get some sleep."
"Thank you," Al said, ever the polite one.
"I shall wait out here for you. Call me in if you need help," Dr. Leigh told them.
Robert Cross nodded at the man before walking into the room. The two Elrics followed after him. Once inside, they were met with the sight of the whitewashed walls and hospital bed. The sight was a bit too familiar for Edward.
Among the whiteness lay Karmyn Dallas, a small splash of color among the whiteness of the room. It wasn't too much color though, as she was still quite pale from her ordeal. The multitudes of bandages she was wrapped in didn't help, either.
Both Ed and Al stalled as they caught sight of the girl. She didn't look the same as the strong girl that had helped them through so much since they met back in Boston. The girl on the bed was weak and frail physically, and severely shaken mentally. Though neither of them spoke it aloud, they both wondered if she would ever be the same again.
"Karmyn, honey. How are you feeling?" her father asked, taking a seat on the chair beside the bed.
She smiled weakly. "Better," she answered, "Considering there is no possible way that I could be worse." She laughed feebly at her own joke.
Robert smiled. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I'm so proud of you for holding on until we could get to you," he praised her, "not many people are strong enough to stand up to that,"
"Thanks, Dad," she said affectionately. "It wasn't easy. There were many times when I just wanted to give in and spill," she admitted. She looked up at Edward and Alphonse. "I didn't, I promise. At least, nothing that he could use."
At last recovered from their shock, they made their way over to her bedside. Edward knelt down beside her, fixing her with a serious look. "What did they want? What the fuck could they accomplish by kidnapping you? You aren't military- hell; you don't even have any records! Who was it that caught you?"
Karmyn froze. They don't know, she thought, they don't know a thing. They don't know that the homunculi are alive. Should I tell them? She paused in her thought. If I tell them, then that's all they're going to be able to think about. From what I learned, they now look like normal people, and they're spread across the continent. I can't trouble them with this now. What should I say?
She looked at the intent countenances of her friends' and father's faces. Biting her lip, she answered. "It was Neidel that caught me," she started, "I didn't see him until it was too late. He used chloroform, or something like it, to knock me out." That, at least, could be considered the truth. Envy had been Neidel when he abducted her, and he had used a chloroform-like substance.
"But why?" Al asked from the other side of her. "Why did he do it? What did the Drachmans want?"
Karmyn gulped. Here was where she would have to start fabricating a lie. "Noodle had been giving them inside information, so they knew that you two were back. They knew that you had ties to the military, and Noodle also told them about me, and how I was hanging so close to you. They figured that you were sharing some military information with me, and they thought that it would be easier to get information from me than you." It sounded plausible, at least to her. She didn't know that her answer had only added to Alphonse's guilt. However, she saw how his face had shifted when she said those words. She could assume that he was feeling something like that.
"It's alright," she said, reaching out with a bandaged hand to rest it upon his own. "It's not your fault. In no way to I blame you. Either of you."
"Karmyn," Ed started again, "do you realize that you've been speaking in English since we've rescued you?"
"I have? I guess I have been . . . I guess I can switch back now . . ." She fell silent for a few minutes, and the others watched as her mouth moved to try to form the words.
"Karmyn?" her father questioned about the silence.
They all jumped as her hand slammed back down onto the covers of the bed. "Dammit! I can't! I mean, I can understand what you guys are saying, but when I go to speak it myself, I can't remember the words, and my mouth won't make the sounds."
"It will probably come back as time goes by," Edward told her, "I've read about cases like this. In situations under extreme duress, the brain subconsciously 'forgets' a language or how to speak. You must have done this unknowingly so that if you did break, you couldn't tell them anything anyway."
"So you're saying that in time, I will 'remember' how to speak Amestrian again?"
"Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. It will be difficult until then, as nobody else but us four understand English. You'll need a translator until you can remember."
"It's a small price to pay," Karmyn consented.
They talked for a while longer, until Karmyn complained of a headache. They took this as their cue to leave, telling her that they would be back the next day. She hugged each one in turn before they left, grateful to still be alive. She watched them sadly as they left, but comforted herself with the fact that they said they'd be back. She continued to smile softly as the doctor hurried in, and ignored the pain of the IV that she was given.
She knew that life could never go back to the way it was, no matter how hard she tried. Reluctantly, she withdrew her right hand from underneath the covers of the hospital bed. She bit her lip but refused to cry as she saw that the four fingers on that hand were shorter than they had been before. She could never get used to that. While in prison, Envy had cut them off from the third knuckle up, so she was missing the tips of each finger. Luckily, the Elrics hadn't noticed.
I always did want to become ambidextrous, she thought wryly, laughing internally at the bitter irony. Mom, can you see me now? You always said that I was destined for great things. Look where I am now! Things can only get better from here, right?
Quietly, she moved her two palms together, ready to test a theory that she had come up with while in the throes of one of her hallucinations. Steel, she thought, Iron and Carbon. Taking a deep breath, she ran her hand along the railing on the side of the bed.
Her heart leapt as, for the first time, she saw blue sparks emanate from beneath her hand. She was met with a shock of pure adrenaline as she continued to rearrange the atoms in her hospital bed, filling the room with a soft blue glow.
There! She nearly wanted to jump out of bed and run circles around the room, not completely useless after all!
Life would never be the same again.
Ha-HAH! I bet you didn't expect that!
The person that was closest to the correct answer to the question above was SeaDevil, with "maybe she couldn't keep herself from revealing stuff, so she forced herself to 'forget' Amestrian, so that Envy wouldn't understand, even if he made her speak."
Thank you for all your guesses, those of you that are competing in the One-Shot Contest, and for your continued support as I write this story!