Title: Gods and Monsters
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: PG for fantasy violence.
Characters: Yato, Yukine, Edward and Alphonse Elric, various cameo appearances and guest villains.
Setting: Noragami/Fullmetal Alchemist crossover, taking place within the world of FMA.
Summary: On a visit to a different mortal realm, Yato and Yukine unwittingly step into a tragedy surrounding two brothers. Their quest to help will lead them to confront forces unlike anything they knew back in Japan—and forever change the fate of their new young friends.
Disclaimer: They belong to Adachitoka and Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: This story began as a single random idea: "After Al lost his body in the Elric brothers' human transmutation, what if his unattached soul was adopted as a Regalia by Yato?" I shared that thought with my chief enabler, Kristen Sharpe… and what followed thereafter was a deluge of incredibly stimulating back-and-forth brainstorming, in which the concept soon expanded into a fully involved plot. Crossovers are something I tend to have difficulty with, but this one just seemed destined to come together.
As I mentioned, a huge amount of credit for this story's development goes to Kristen. Thanks also to those who helped me out with important information on the kanji involved in naming Regalia.
Lastly, if anyone is wondering, the title comes from an iconic quote in the film The Bride of Frankenstein. As a lifelong classic horror devotee, I found it a very apt description.
"It was a dark and stormy night, and the sky was raging with phantoms—"
"Oh, Yatty!" Kofuku giggled loudly, hanging off of Yato's shoulder, with a familiarity that embarrassed everyone at the table except the object of her attentions. "You tell the most exciting stories!"
At Kofuku's other side, Daikoku looked disgusted. "Seriously? He's one sentence into it… and that was literally the most clichéd opening line ever conceived."
"Now now, don't interrupt!"
Her Regalia strangled a growl between his teeth. "…I'm just waiting to hear the explanation for all this. Other than Yato getting into a drunken argument with Lady Bishamon, that is."
"Hey, it was Bishamon's fault!" Yato protested indignantly. "She was kind of drunk too, you know. And after she started bragging about how she's made a name for herself in three different mortal realms—"
"Then you got the idea that people in another realm might appreciate you better," Yukine muttered from the end of the table, narrow-eyed. "At which point, we were officially doomed."
Before Yato could reprove his own Regalia, Kofuku tugged on his arm like an eager child. "Come on, just get back to the story!"
Casting a broad-spectrum glare around the table to warn against any further interruptions, the god of calamity sat back loftily. After a pointed moment of silence, he cleared his throat and continued.
"As I was saying, it was a dark and stormy night…"
CHAPTER I: THE STORM
"Yukine? Hey, Yukine! Where are you, buddy… I've got a feeling I'm gonna need you in a hurry here!"
Raising a hand to brush back his sodden bangs, Yato peered into the cold, stinging rain, and tried to get his bearings. Under pouring clouds, grassy hills and fields were illuminated only by flashes of lightning… but he was much more disturbed by the one other visible light. In the near distance, there was an unearthly glow that blazed from every window of a tall house beside an oak tree.
The storm was not merely a meteorological one. The thicker darkness swirling above the house was not formed of clouds alone. Yato could see the spectral, multi-hued shapes of phantoms twisting through the sky, snaking over the roof, and he knew something terrible was taking place there to attract such a swarm.
He also knew it would be only a matter of minutes until the creatures began to smell him—and his Regalia was nowhere in sight.
Pelting across the slick wet grass toward a nearby dirt road, he mentally cursed Bishamon. She'd probably plotted the whole thing on purpose, just to get rid of him. He certainly never should have trusted her when she claimed this particular mortal realm was underpopulated with gods, and might welcome the services of one as eager to please (or in her words, as impoverished) as Yato.
Just a little workman's holiday, he'd insisted over Yukine's protests. Just long enough to make some quick cash to put toward his future shrine. Besides, even if Bishamon still harbored any lingering embers of a grudge, Kazuma would never let his mistress pull a fast one on Yato… would he?
When Yato got back to Japan, he was going to slug that guy.
…If he got back to Japan.
"Yukine! Come, Sekki!"
His calls remained unheeded; and as the light in the windows of the house began to fade, the phantoms also began to spread farther from its immediate vicinity. They glided, slithered, and oozed, their unholy murmurings growing louder.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a phantom thudded to the earth in Yato's path. Blue-gray in color and gleaming faintly like metal, it was the size of a horse, and it even resembled a childish attempt to fashion that animal's shape. Psychically, it seethed with emotions of grief and abandonment, a wave of very human pain that felt thick and choking like smoke in Yato's chest.
Gulping down a yelp of alarm, the unarmed god turned and bounded in the opposite direction. So much for reaching the road.
More phantoms were moving towards Yato. This was not good. Without his Regalia, if he couldn't escape or find cover, there was no way he could last long against the horde of malignant creatures.
And then it happened.
Beyond the luminous varicolored blurs of the phantoms, he glimpsed one tiny, lone spark of pure whiteness. It was clinging to a windowsill of the house over which the storm was centered… and as he reached out to it mentally, he felt the minute flame-flicker of a mortal spirit.
So young… Could it be…?
Uncomfortably close behind him, a phantom roared, and Yato decided he was out of options.
Stretching out a hand that streamed with chilled rain, he began to trace the complex lines of a name into the lightning-ripped air.
"Spirit, you are lost and adrift. You have nowhere to go and nowhere to return to—thus I grant you a place to belong. My name is Yato. Bearing two names, you shall remain here. With these names I make thee my servant. With these names, I use my life to make thee a Regalia fit to be wielded by a god. Thou art Ame, as Regalia Uki. Come, Uki!"
The glowing kanji arced forward, enveloping the fragile mote of the uncorrupted spirit, and a new streak of lightning leaped into Yato's waiting hand. He gasped at the unexpected surge of power within that young, fleeting life, as a flood of images swept through his mind.
Two boys, hardly old enough to walk, yet with their heads bent over a book. A tall, bearded man standing in a doorway. Tears of a little girl. A pale hand falling open, releasing the smaller ones clutched within it. White lilies on a gravestone. An arcane symbol drawn upon a floor.
Pain. So much… so much pain.
When Yato fell to his knees, he hit the ground with a clatter of metal.
The myriad icy slaps of raindrops against his skin had ceased. Releasing a shuddering breath that echoed strangely, he opened his eyes to a slightly reduced field of vision—and found his entire body sheathed in steel.
A suit of armor…?
Before he could think or feel anything else, something collided squarely in the middle of his back, pitching him forward. He grunted, rolled, and stumbled to his feet, reminded that he still had urgent business to attend to. The phantoms were closing in on all sides—only further incensed by the shell that had suddenly materialized around their intended prey.
With a roar of his own, Yato lunged. Phantoms snapped and tore at him; but the strikes were repelled by the armor's surface, almost as easily as the raindrops flowed off of it. A sweep of his arm raked sharp-edged steel fins across the torso of a smaller phantom, and its gelatinous body shattered, disintegrating in a burst of light.
On the outside, the weight of the armor felt like nothing at all… but it was on the inside that Yato felt an unbearable heaviness.
Something was wrong, but he couldn't think about that just yet.
As he slashed the semi-bladed vambrace against another encroaching monster, a voice broke through their otherworldly moans and screeches. It was young, bewildered, breathlessly frantic—and familiar.
"Yato! Is… is that you?"
Yukine's voice. Without taking time for pleasantries or explanations, Yato called his Exemplar to him. Instantly he felt the solidness of a blade in his leather-clad hand; and after that, it was all quickly finished. Unbelievably agile within the armor, he leaped from the ground to the tree to the roof of the house, hacking phantoms into tiny pieces.
For a few moments, he was almost out of his senses, lost somewhere in the infinitesimal space between extremes of agony and joy. There was a buzz in his head, a throb in his chest, the simultaneously elating and anguishing pull upon his lifeforce by a new presence—and above all else, a dizzying swirl of confusion from both of the spirits now tied to him.
When there were no more phantoms left, he fell heavily back to earth. Sprawled in the grass, he just breathed, and tried to contain the boiling sea of memory-impressions that had spilled into him from his new Regalia.
At length the soul-voice of Yukine reached him, faint and quivering. "Yato…"
"Revert," the god whispered, and the steel that surrounded him glimmered away, allowing the hard rain to mingle with the other moisture on his face.
Yato felt utterly spent in body and soul, but the gasp Yukine let out caused him to sit up quickly. He saw his Exemplar, now returned to human form, staring at what appeared to be a smaller and younger boy: a boy who suddenly swayed and crumpled to the ground, prostrated by violent shudders of shock. That wasn't quite normal for a newly named Regalia, but nothing about this was really normal at all.
Wide-eyed, Yukine looked up at his master. "Yato, what is this… Who is this?"
"His name is Amane," said Yato, softly and simply. He knew Yukine would understand the implications of that name clearly enough.
"What? You mean he's…?" Yukine looked from Yato to Amane and back again—with a growing expression of indignant outrage that the god could have expected, if only he wasn't so shaken himself. "You mean to tell me we're just visiting a different realm, and the first thing you do is grab a local spirit as another Regalia? What were you thinking? How are the gods of this world gonna react to some foreign god coming along and messing with their mortals?"
The scathing reproach managed to stir Yato's usual mettle. He jerked to his feet. "Well, excuse me, but I didn't have much of a choice—since my Exemplar up and disappeared on me in the middle of a storm!"
"That's not my fault! We must have been separated somehow when we landed here!"
Waving a hand brusquely at Yukine to quiet him, Yato stepped closer to the stunned and shivering Amane.
It was painful just to look upon him. The human form this spirit manifested could not have been more than ten years old. With his head bowed, little of his face could be seen. Already he was sopping wet, his dark gold hair dripping, his shirt and trousers clinging to his body.
Those garments would not be considered proper burial clothes in any culture Yato was aware of. They looked much more like simple articles of everyday wear. That would mean the boy had been given no funeral… and coupled with the fact that Yato had found his spirit in a place where something bad was very actively happening…
Yato looked up sharply, toward the darkened house—just as Amane flinched and turned his head in the same direction.
Wild-eyed, he staggered to his feet. Powerful waves of panic and terror began rolling off him, twisting into Yato's being like a knife… and then, he erupted in a bloodcurdling scream.
He set off running toward the front door of the house. With a surprised noise, Yukine moved to follow—but the older Regalia was halted when his master seized his shoulder. Not to stop him, but to lean heavily on him by necessity, as Yato's legs nearly buckled.
"Yato!" Yukine gasped, automatically putting an arm around the god to steady him.
"This fear… It's not normal, something is wrong…" Yato jerked his head stiffly toward the house. "Come on. We've gotta go after him!"
As quickly as he could, Yato stumbled up to the house, letting himself lean on Yukine for only a few moments before he marshaled his strength and pulled away. Linked to his own life now, Amane's pain—a tempest of emotions that should not even have existed at that moment—felt as if it was carving into the deepest depths of him.
"How?" Yukine breathed, as they reached the front doorway through which Amane had already vanished. "He said—!"
In Yukine's trembling gasp of shock, there was a tiny sliver of something else that further cleaved Yato's heart. The ache that pulsed through his chest for one second was not a part of Amane's distress; but before Yukine could speak, all other concerns were swept aside by the animal-like scream that drifted from the back of the house.
They followed the cry to a candle-lit study, where they found a scene of hellish horror awaiting them.
Nearest the door lay a lifeless and twisted… thing, vaguely human in its parts, but those parts were jumbled together in all the wrong places. A nearly-skeletal hand had fallen outstretched, like a dying entreaty. The distorted, gaping face that stared vacantly up to the ceiling was female, its expression permanently frozen in torment when whatever life it once possessed had slipped away. What should have appeared as a monster somehow echoed only of tragedy.
Beyond that abomination, an intricate chalked circle took up much of the stone floor, its circumference filled with eldritch lines and symbols. It was the same thing Yato had seen in Amane's memories; but now the white was splashed with copious amounts of red, and the largest puddle was still spreading outward from a point by the far wall.
There, Amane was kneeling in the blood. His small, shaking frame was bent over another human figure, no larger than himself… but its mass was reduced to even less than his own by the horrific fact of what was missing. Where the blond-haired boy's right arm and left leg should be, there were only ragged, bleeding stumps of exposed flesh and bone.
"Brother!" Amane shrieked again, clutching the other to his chest. "No! It's not… You can't—!"
If the grief, guilt, and terror pouring out of Amane went on a second longer, Yato felt as if he would die himself.
Stumbling forward half-blindly, he jerked a sheet from some disused piece of furniture, and fell to one knee beside the pair. He pulled the other child out of Amane's arms, ignoring his new Regalia's small cry of half-protest, and searched for a pulse in the neck.
The boy was alive, but just barely. Yato quickly set to work, tearing strips from the sheet for tourniquets and bandages. At once he was joined by Yukine, as the faithful Exemplar caught on.
Gently but firmly forced to one side, Amane curled into a sobbing, whimpering ball—but the very presence of someone to help seemed to calm him at least a fraction. Although Yato still felt as if something inside him was tearing open, the soul-pain backed off a tiny bit.
"We've gotta find help," he said to Yukine, carefully gathering the boy's limp and too-light body, after they had stabilized him as well as they could. "A doctor or a neighbor, or something—but I didn't see where any other houses were nearby—"
That whispered suggestion came from Amane. The young spirit lurched to his feet, his tear-streaked face clearing slightly as he was confronted by a need he could answer. Underneath the confusion, fear, and terrible self-blame, his face and his soul were beginning to reflect the first spark of a desperate determination.
"This way!" he blurted imperatively, and turned to run out of the house.