AN : Yeah , the apocalypse is coming hahha.
Transfiguration was always the first class on Tuesdays, Harry and Ron pulled themselves out of bed groaning. Compared to other classes, Transfigurations had quite a bit of theories and complex algorithms and laws. They dressed and trudged downstairs both a bit perplexed, no matter what, without fail, Edward was always in a terrible mood before this class. They'd asked about it once, but Ed growled something they both couldn't decipher and shot them a glare that could melt glass. After that, they'd given up on trying though Hermione had become insistently annoying with Ed. She'd continue to pester him about his background, and refused to stop even with Harry and Ron's advice and accounts. Harry was pretty confident that Ed only put up with it because he couldn't hit a girl.
They met Ed at the staircase, he was wearing his red cloak today, instead of his robes.
"What's with the outfit?" Ron asked giving him a once over.
Ed shrugged and said, "Felt like it." He averted his eyes surreptitiously. At that moment, Hermione ran down the girl's dormitory, her hair flying.
"Let's go! I don't think we'll have time for breakfast and we can't be late!" She tried to tug Ed's arm, but he snatched his arm away and hurried out the portrait hole. She gave him a puzzled glance before following and motioning for them to follow. Hermione practically leaped out of the doorway.
They caught up to Hermione barely, after Ron ran over a bewildered second year in the hallway. They ran into the room almost colliding with Professor McGonagall.
"Potter, Weasley, I expect my class to be kept in an orderly manner. To your seats please," she was always an imposing figure, Ron and Harry hurried over to the table they shared with Hermione, Ed was seated right behind them. McGonagall scanned the classroom, today it was strictly Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, and she hoped it would be eventless. Her eyes fell on Ed, he was smirking slightly, legs propped up on the table, hands on the back of his head. She frowned at his attire.
"Mr. Elric, there is protocol in my classroom, why are you not wearing the assigned uniform?" McGonagall started towards him. Ed shrugged, and grinned a bit, determined to be petulant. The professor bristled at this, she felt her temper flaring out, no student, no matter how prodigious should act like this. "Mr. Elric, I expect you to change, or leave my classroom." Hermione was absolutely scandalized; Professor McGonagall was one of her favorite teachers, and disrespect on this level!
"All right, Professor, bye," Ed said calmly, he relaxed slightly and grinned a bit, got up and grabbed his bag.
"Ed! What are you doing?" Hermione hissed at him as he got up. He shrugged and shot her a smug grin. Professor McGonagall was a sharp woman; she didn't miss this little exchange. McGonagall realized what Ed had been planning, she wasn't ignorant of his strong disdain for her class. She almost admired his insubordination, though roundabout it was. Almost.
"On second though, Mr. Elric, you may stay, but please meet me after class for a mandatory course on school protocol. Twenty points from Gryffindor," with that, the Gryffindors groaned. Ed's faced changed from triumph to horror and disappointment, McGonagall felt a pang of uncharacteristic satisfaction.
Ed got back to his seat and collapsed in it, a decidedly sulky look plastered on his face. He hated this class.
"Today, we will be exploring another part of Transfiguration, as you all know, we have been concentrating on the review of OWLs, from now on, we start to study a more complicated sector. We've mainly dealt with inanimate objects, relatively elementary, today we will start transfiguration with living things," McGonagall, strode to the covered cage she kept for lab classes and unveiled it, about half a dozen rats were in the cage, white ones. Ed looked up sharply. "Transfiguration with creatures is much more complicated than matter, complete concentration is needed to successfully accomplish this. The incantation we will use today is "Abeo" the most basic. This is based on will alone, and you must picture the intended object very carefully. Please watch. "Abeo!""
Ed stared in shock as one of the rats in the cage started to morph, slowly, fur was disappearing, skin was tightening and a grotesque circle split the stomach, it pitifully tried to run away… slowly the rat turned into a white teacup. Ed slammed his hands on the table.
"What are you doing!?"
"Mr. Elric! Please sit down!" Professor McGonagall stared at Ed, he was fuming, he fists clenched on the table.
"You just can't do that! It's alive, a living thing goddammit!" Ed clutched his stomach, he felt sick. He'd read it in books, but he had dismissed it, he didn't believe it. The swirling lights, the charms to float and summon, those were infinitely more believable, but this class, this transfiguration magic, it was disgusting. The Law didn't apply, at all… why doesn't it work? Ed's entire life was built on equivalent trade, he knew it as a mantra, a work ethic, and a curse. It was his circumstance and he understood it. Nothing is free, nothing comes out of thin air, gratuitous and meaningless.
The whole class was staring at him, he didn't care. "Mr. Elric, I don't unders-" Ed shook, his shoulders hunched, in a flash he was up and gone, shoving his way through the desks. Hermione only registered the scraping sound of desks as he plowed through.
McGonagall had her hand to her chest, her mouth slightly opened. She looked between the class and the door… what on earth was that? Ron and Harry were trading looks, confused, Ed was always farther along than any of them, and he outmatched Hermione, a fact that grated on her. It just didn't make sense, the way he reacted. Hermione stood up and raised her hand.
"Professor, I can go see if anything's wrong. I thi-"
"Yes, of course, please do Miss Granger, I will continue the lesson," McGonagall cleared her throat. Hermione nodded and gathered her things, and quickly left the classroom.
Hermione's thoughts quickly went back to her suspicions; she remembered the conversation where she tried to bring it up to Harry and Ron.
"Hermione, just lay off will you? He hasn't done anything really weird anyways."
"Ron, I'm telling you, there's something strange about him…"
"Of course there is! We're all a bit off our rockers aren't we? He's fine, don't piss him off, we have a game soon."
"So I'm just going to forget he might dangerous so you can win a useless game!?"
"And it's not useless."
"Hermione, he hasn't don't anything, don't you think you're being a little rude?" Harry asked, rubbing his temple. Even for Hermione this was farfetched, Harry was much more prone to suspicion usually. Hermione slapped her book closed and got up.
"I need another book," she said fiercely before striding away from the table in the library. As she left she looked back and listened.
"She's off her rocker! Women."
"I dunno, brightest witch of her age and all… I like Edward but he is kind of a mystery. And his brother! He's got to be huge, but he sounds like a little kid."
"Oh come on Harry, we've been alone with him loads of times and nothings happened. If he were in league with You Know Who, he'd would've tried to snuff you already."
"Gee, thanks Ron."
"I mean that in the most sensitive way," Ron shrugged and looked distastefully at his homework. Hermione 'hmphed' and continued on her way, passing the new assistant librarian who was skimming a large tome. There was something off about Ed and even those new staff members… and she'd be the one to find out… definitely. Brightest witch indeed.
This was the prime time to do some digging, though she guiltily pushed the look on Ed's face away. She tried not to think of the horrified face Edward had shown, downcast eyes and pain in his features, of how he had trembled. No, there was something off about him no matter what.
Ed rushed down the hall, he didn't want to think about it, he didn't want to… he continued to rush, heading down hallways he didn't know. He didn't care where he went, he just wanted to get away. Curiosity was replaced with disgust of this world, he thought he knew what he was getting in to. He knew the rules were different. They were, but this… wasn't what he'd thought. God's domain, they didn't skim on the edge, they violated it, and lives don't matter anymore.
He stopped abruptly and exhaled slowly. The hallway was empty; he had ended up in the dungeons. The dim green light mirrored his mood perfectly, sickly. He groaned and clutched his head in his hand and slid down the wall into a sitting position.
"What are you doing down here? This is Slytherin's dungeons."
Ed looked up at the boy he'd met earlier in the week, Draco Malfoy. He was in Quidditch gear, breathing a bit heavily.
"Er… are you… alright?" Malfoy said awkwardly, fidgeting a bit. He wasn't used to being civil to Gryffindors, and he swore he could here his father's voice in the back of his head admonishing him sharply. It was definitely not appropriate for him to engage in niceties with a Gryffindor, even an ok one. Malfoy briefly entertained the thought of stepping over and just leaving the kid alone, but something in his posture… he seemed broken down. Draco stood in place fervently wishing for something to happen, or at least for him to find a tangent and leave the puzzling situation.
"This place is screwed up."
"What… what do you mean?"
"You know. Magic," Ed sneered.
"Aren't you a wizard?"
"No. I'm not. Not supposed to be here, I screwed up. Got the sigil wrong."
"You're not from here…?"
"No, don't want to be here, well, not anymore, didn't really have a choice."
"Uh..." Draco honestly didn't know what to say.
"Can you tell me, why do wizards transfigure living things."
Draco thought about it, he knew they were taught such things, turning porcupines into tea cozies, but he himself really didn't know any real world application for such things, in fact it was all really redundant. There were laws preventing the use of transfiguration on humans, but aside from that, not much use really. With a spur of impulse he sat down next to Ed, stretching his sore muscles.
"I don't know, I guess because we can, and for practice."
"…That seems cruel."
"You know, something that's alive… to eat and survive, killing it I mean, but 'practice' or just because someone can, it's gone just like that."
"I guess, if you see it that way. But we do change it back you know. Well, usually."
"Where I come from, it's taboo to mess with life. It was only recently chimeras were accepted as research."
"Chimeras are creatures that are combined to create something new. In class… it was just a rat, she turned a rat into a cup… but it was wrong. It felt wrong."
"McGonagall can turn into a cat. She knows how it feels, it must be different than where you're from," Malfoy reasoned.
Ed shrugged and looked straight ahead.
"Point me." Hermione hurried down the hallway, Edward was fast. She was already navigating near the dungeons. She pushed her apprehension away; there was only a slim chance she'd run into anyone dodgy, plus she was a prefect.
She hurried along, alternating lumos and point me. She rounded the corner, she could hear voices, now, she slowed down. If it was Ed, she didn't want him to bolt again. As she got closer she distinguished two sets of voices, one was clearly Ed's, the other's was different. She cautiously approached them, her footsteps pounding in her ears despite efforts to muffle them.
Ed looked up to the right, and saw Hermione with her wand out, approaching slowly. He let out an inaudible groan. That girl was persistent. He never had a high threshold for tolerance, and she would rarely let a conversation drop. Hermione stalled a bit, but mustered her resolve and walked forward.
"Hey, Hermione," Ed mumbled, giving a tired sigh.
"Granger? Where?" Malfoy sat up straight and wildly looked around before he saw her. "What the hell are you doing in the dungeons? Run off to your little friends before I-""
"Do what Malfoy? Run to daddy in Azkaban? Why don't you leave, I need to talk to Edward." Malfoy glared at her and crossed his arms, he was allowed to be here he though stubbornly, he was here first and damned if she could make him move. She rolled her eyes and turned her attention to Ed.
"Are you alright? What happened back there?"
Ed felt his resolve cave, he just wanted her to stop asking questions. "I don't like animal transfigurations. It looks cruel."
"We always change the animal back, there's never permanent damage... It's a rat, Ed." He sighed, she didn't get it.
"Look, he means the rat's alive. Duh." Draco cut in with a bored tone.
"It isn't about the rat, it's the principle." Ed added, "Stepped into forbidden domain."
Hermione stood rooted to the ground; a bit shocked that Malfoy was trying to be helpful, well as helpfully condescending as he could.
"It's just a rat. No one cares, blah blah blah." Ed sighed again, "You people are kind of messed up ya know?"
"Ed… It's different here. The soul of a creature is still there, as long as they're turned back they'll return to normal. They aren't dead, simply in another body," Hermione crouched and tried to explain it.
"But that doesn't give you the right to mess with their lives," Ed knew what Hermione was trying to say; it was just opposed to his very nature. Transfiguration was as a whole. Receiving without cost, it was too easy, to simple. For something to be deserved, one has to sacrifice for it, it was the way of Ed's world, literally, and figuratively. He was simplifying things already, he didn't want to raise unwanted questions. He saw memories rewinding in the back of his mind, his mother, Nina, the chimera he'd met.
"You really don't know when to stop Granger," Malfoy said spitefully. "Annoying bint." It seemed his quota for civility was at its end.
"And you're definitely no gentleman, ferret face."
"Don't say it!" Hermione shrieked.
"Bloody hell! Are you trying to maim our ears!?"
"Why you little-"
"Feh, nevermind. Didn't mean to overreact like that. Thanks Hermione, oh and Draco too," Ed cut in quickly, got up and shook out his clothes, "I'll head to Dumbledore, maybe I can weasel my way out of Transfigurations." Ed wasn't about to be caught in between a shouting match. He already had a terrible headache. Hermione threw Draco one last scathing look before heading off behind Ed. Draco got to his feet and stretched a bit before heading back to the dorms, yelling with Granger left him in an oddly good mood, he loved pissing her off.
Ed grumbled to himself wearily, he trudged up the millionth stair well headed for the dorms. Almost in a daze he didn't see the barn owl swoop down on him until it had landed forcefully into his hair.
"Ow! What? What the fuck!" Ed flapped his hands trying to shoo off the persistent bird. With one last vicious peck, it dropped its cargo and took off, hooting disdainfully. Ed rubbed his head wincing where the claws had landed. Ed looked down and grabbe the note the owl had left:
Meet in Library. Winry and Al coming too.