Disclaimer: I own nearly nothing, even the whole 'Ed goes to Hogwarts' plotline. Only the writing is mine:)

This chapter has been edited a few times and the rest of the story will be too. Constructive criticism is always welcome and very helpful.

The Gate


Circles were the basic principle of alchemy; the lens of the telescope, glass plane of the mirror.

Ed had spent years pondering over the intricate form and the hands that created the shape in the sand moved without conscious thought.

When it was done, he stood in the middle, studying his handiwork, making sure he hadn't missed anything, before throwing away the long stick he had used to etch the human transmutation circle on to the ground. On the perimeter, the people closest to him were with him, crying for his loss.

However, Ed refused to believe that it was impossible to bring Al back. He could and he knew how. There would be sacrifices, but they were bearable ones, ones worth making. Ed could do anything for his brother.

People asked him what he was doing, so he told them the truth: Edward Elric, the Fullmetal alchemist, was going to his final transmutation.

As his palms slammed down onto the floor, the world faded to white.

… Except it wasn't his last.



There was nothing but white. Everything was white, all the way to a distant, curving horizon – a chocking, empty white that clung to everything.

Distantly, Ed wondered why the Gate always appeared behind him when he appeared in the netherworld it existed in. Perhaps it was because he had entered from the real world through the Gate. Maybe confronting visitors with the overwhelming scale of this netherworld was part of Truth's dramatic welcome presentation.

"Yo," a voice said from behind him and Ed turned slowly. It only took him an instant this time to spot the white, humanoid figure that could only be distinguished from its identical surroundings by a shadowy black outline.

"Hello again," Ed said calmly.

"So you came back. For your brother I guess," Truth said. "But what will you pay for this time? An arm, a leg? What is worth your brother's soul?" Truth's blank features stretched into a wide laugh but Ed was impassive. He knew what he was doing.

He smiled. He walked with deliberately slow steps to the gate. The metallic surface was cold under his palm.

"Your Gate… your Alchemy. You would give it all up?"

Of course Truth would predict his actions. The omnipotent freak.

"I'm sure," Ed said confidently.

The moment of silence that followed added to the oppressing nothingness of the atmosphere. It didn't suit Truth, Ed thought. While the Gate gave the impression of being complete impersonal, Truth was snarky, sarcastic and mocking at all times.

"You think you have two options," Truth said, finally. "One; you sacrifice your life. Two; you sacrifice your Gate. But…"

"But what?" Ed asked, a frown appearing on his face.

"Have you considered the third option?" Truth said, finally. Ed dropped his arm and spun around on the heel of his foot and locked his eyes on Truth's featureless face. The wide gaping mouth was gone. Without it, the shadowy figure, that was now standing, looked even more sinister than before.

"You pay time," Truth finished.

Ed rolled the word in his mouth, tasting each syllable carefully. He had never thought of time as a tangible quantity of payment. It was too abstract to categorise, too impractical to use.

"It's not worth it," Ed stated strongly. "I can get Al back anyway."

"Because you don't consider your alchemy to be important, you think you can get something priceless with minimal loss. You think you've bypassed equivalent exchange," Truth said.

He was right.

"I have… a proposal. You can gain from this exchange. Call it a win-win deal," the shadow said. The grin was back but somehow it was more forced then it had been before. The blond boy furiously blinked in confusion, trying to comprehend what had been told to him. Gain? All the shadow had ever done was take as the harsh judge. "As payment for your brother, I will send you to another world, a world where magic exists; in essence, you will be paying Time."

Another world? It was a turn in the conversation that Ed hadn't been expecting.

"And if I say no?" Ed asked.

It was at that moment Ed saw something that he had never seen before; Truth's smile dropped and an emotion flashed passed his face that was very familiar with but would never have attributed to the shadowy figure.


Actual, heart-in-stomach, fear.

Ed almost jolted back in shock. Within a second, Truth's face was back to its blank smile. However something still remained. A tightness in the white half-moon, as though Truth was forcing the smile out. What was that?

"Then the balance of your world, their world and everything in between is in danger."

Ed genuinely couldn't decide if Truth was being serious. The smile was still there.

"This is a world where equivalent exchange can be twisted. If you can find your way back, perhaps you can find the payment for Mustang's eyes and Curtis' organs too. Come on; it's a good deal." Truth's voice was almost too cheery.

"I…" Ed started

"Please," Truth added, involuntary desperation sticking to his voice, so subtle it might have been missed. Ed was getting more confused by the second. Truth – the world, the universe, god, as he like to put it – was afraid.

Ed took a moment to think – not only would his brother get his body back, but he could help Mustang and Curtis too. All he had to pay was time. However, there was suspicion swirling around his thoughts; where was the sacrifice, the equivalent exchange. Magic. What did that mean? Did it matter what happened to him, as long as the others were safe?

"Yes," he replied after a while.

Truth swirled around on his real leg

"… Well, Mr Al-che-mist, that's the deal done."

A great groan sounded across the expanse and with it the huge grey doors of the Gate glided outwards, showing the blackness behind. Black tendrils swarmed out, each inky tentacle ending in tiny hands, grabbing like starved children begging for food. Ed flinched and took a step backwards.

"Hey, wait!"

He didn't know what the hesitation was about but it was there and apparent in his leaping heart. It was too late to turn back though – he was in the Gate's tight grip.

"Brother!" the thin voice screeched. Ed turned and his eyes fixed on a figure in the distance. Al. His body was so thin and brittle, like it would break with the slightest touch. Havel eyes locked on to his own and a gasp of recognition found Ed's ears. His brother struggled against the black hands of his own Gate but it was pointless. For a grown man like Armstrong it would still have been impossible; for the half-starved boy, with wrists so thin they were like sticks and ribs in plain sight, any straining seemed to break him.

"Al!" Ed screamed, tugging against the force that was pulling him backwards, away from the only family left to him.

Al's Gate was opening too. But instead of blackness there was light – pure and blinding, streaming in from beyond. The sunlight of home. Truth's face was turned towards it. In the bright halo it formed, his black outline seemed to smoke and dissipate like a puddle in a hot summer's day. Behind Ed, however, there was a chasm of darkness.

Ed had seconds left. There was so much to say, so little time…

"Wait for me Al. Wait for me. I'll come back, I promise!" Ed shouted. His voice sounded quiet, too quiet, but Al must have heard for he relaxed ever so slightly. Al opened his mouth to say something, but he was gone. Back home, Ed thought. Safe. The hands were still around him, pulling him to the gate.

Ed watched him go, watched the silver gates slam shut behind him. Although it felt like he was being torn apart, he suddenly knew from his heart that he had made the right choice. Al would be safe and that was all he needed.

It's only for a while, he thought desperately.

"My advice?" Truth said. "Look for a friend who will spy on you. You will need him to get home."

Ed's Gate was closing now and Truth's voice was oddly distant against the roar behind him.

However, just as Ed passed the threshold and the doors gave a final screech before it slammed shut, he heard Truth's final words ring in his ears:

"'Till next time, Fullmetal."



Ed was tumbling through a world of terrifying, raw information. He had been here a few times, but nothing could prepare somebody for this. For these few moments it was like he knew everything, from every time and every place, nothing was hidden. He understood. For one drop of eternity hanging in the air, it was like his eyes had been opened and everything suddenly made sense. It hurt - his head banged and pain shot through it like daggers made of fire. Seconds stretched to infinity and after what felt like forever, but could only have been moments, a light appeared in front of him.

Light from a foreign sun, from a foreign sky.

A new world, he thought. Then, he hurtled through like a bullet.

I hoped you liked it. Thanks for reading!