Disclaimer: Amelda and friends belong to their respective owners, not me. Title comes from the Switchfoot song of the same title. I also don't own Switchfoot.
Authoress notes: Well, for one thing, for the Doomies to go home, I needed places for them to go home to, y'know? And they're not native Japanese. Dartz is...well, Atlantean. o.O Raphie is French (the magazines about his rescue from the island were in French, as were the gravestones of his family).
Valon, well... He was raised by a nun named Mary, and considering that a vast majority of Japan's population is Buddhist, and a nun named Mary doesn't sound Buddhist, I needed somewhere else for Valon to be from... So then I thought, "...What the heck, Valon can be Australian!" XD; Maybe it's a bias of some sort... My cousin recently married an Australian guy, and I met him and his family at their wedding, and they all had wicked awesome accents and stuff. :P
Amelda is from Some Random Country. X.x They never gave it a name...
So anyway, without further ado, enjoy my first fic on Doma's bikers three. n.n Review, please?
The employee at the airport's ticket booth paused, looking at the passport of the young man standing in front of him. His was such a mechanical job; but this young man had broken the monotony.
"...You really wish to go here, kid?" the employee asked.
"Yes, I do," the young man said impatiently.
"Their civil war ended only four years ago, you know...Things are quite unstable."
"I know that," the man replied, gritting his teeth. "I'm going. I don't have anywhere else to go..."
The employee looked at the man, studying him, something the young man's sunglasses made difficult. "Alright, I see," he said, understanding.
Nearly an hour later, Amelda was settling into seat 16B, a window seat, of course.
He wanted to see it as soon as the plane got close enough... He wanted to see his home.
Amelda leaned against the wall in the baggage claim area, watching the carousel, eyes searching for his black bag.
Other passengers stood around as well, waiting for their baggage. A brother and sister, obviously bored with all the standing around, broke into a game of tag.
Two rumpled boys with messy, reddish hair joined their game. Except, when Amelda blinked, the two boys were gone.
A little shaken, he retrieved his bag and walked out of the airport.
He'd gotten on a city bus outside the airport, and, almost reflexively, found himself getting off in a place he thought he would never see again. The curb was piled with dirty snow – it had snowed recently and looked as though it might again in the near future.
Somehow, he ended up in his old neighborhood. It had been four years since the war had ended, and of course reconstruction had begun right away. Signs of construction were everywhere – of course, nothing was being done at the moment. The sun was beginning to set, and work was over for the day.
Amelda walked down the cracked sidewalk, losing his balance occasionally on the jagged concrete.
He glared at the sidewalk as though it were tripping him purposely, and fixed his gaze on it to keep from tripping again. And then a small chunk of metal lying on the ground caught his eye. It looked as though it had once been on a mailbox. Amelda crouched down and rubbed the dirt and snow off the metal, revealing the numbers two, zero, and three.
A young boy, no older than nine, shouldering his backpack, hopped down the sidewalk. "Step on a crack, break your mother's back," he chanted to himself. He was always so happy in the afternoon after school let out. His teacher was, in his eyes, too cruel to be human. He'd told his little brother horror stories of class with her. It would always end up with his brother clinging to their mother's dress, wailing that he didn't want to go to school.
The boy turned and skipped up the sidewalk to his home – number 203.
"I'm ho-!" he was cut off by a reddish-colored blur crashing into him and sending them both sprawling to the floor.
"Guess what, nii-chan!?" the blur piped up. Now that he'd slowed down, the boy recognized it was his little brother, rather than a redheaded missile.
The boy smiled indulgently. "What?"
"It's my birthday today!" the younger boy cried.
"Oh, really?" came their mother's voice from the kitchen. "Miruko, we had no idea. You really should have told us," she teased.
The boy, still pinned under his little brother, grinned mischievously. "Wait, Mama...I think maybe he did say something."
"Yes, maybe once, or twice," their mother laughed.
"Try the whole month!" the boy laughed, and his brother giggled.
Amelda stood inside the wreckage of the house and looked around. He closed his eyes, and no longer was it wrecked but it was the way it had been the last time he'd seen it. There were the robin's-egg-blue walls, and the cream-colored linoleum of the kitchen. There were the two boys and their mother. She set a cake in front of the little boy, who, grinning from ear to ear, blew out the five candles.
He was still grinning when he opened the present from his big brother – the action figure he'd seen at the toy store and had been begging to have for weeks.
Amelda was startled from his reverie by a dull pain in his arm.
"Git, ya punk kid!"
Amelda turned to see a construction worker who hadn't left yet, holding a rock in his hand. "This one's gonna be aimed for yer head!" he cried threateningly. Amelda didn't have to be told twice. He turned on his heel and ran, biting back maledictions.
And then a wry smile twisted his mouth as he ran.He'd just been chased out of his own house.
Amelda ran for a while, beginning to regret returning home. But he realized bitterly that there was nowhere else he could have gone.
The sky was getting darker and the air colder, and Amelda still had nowhere to stay for the night. He slowed to a walk, eventually stopping altogether. A little ways ahead was a cemetery. Amelda shrugged, beginning to walk toward it. It's not like he had anywhere else to go.
A woman happened to be driving past the cemetery just as Amelda was walking in. She shook her head in disapproval. That boy was a hoodlum, plain and simple as that. Hopefully, he wouldn't do something so low as desecrate the graves. She wondered if he knew those other two hoodlums she'd seen before, driving around as though they were looking for something they'd lost...
Also, an elderly couple happened to be walking out of the cemetery just as Amelda was walking in. The woman smiled and her eyes lit up in acknowledgment, recognizing immediately the reddish hair and skinny frame. Crale, that was his name. His father had been a drunk, a n'er-do-well, but his mother was a hard-working, kind woman. She used to exchange recipes with her all the time, and she remembered how well-behaved and sweet her boys were.
And there was one of them, all grown up, and home.
Amelda walked through the cemetery, his boots crunching softly on the snow-covered ground. The sky was darkening rapidly, and Amelda finally removed his sunglasses. If anyone were around, they would've seen his normally expressionless gray eyes betray him, displaying for the world to see the turmoil of emotions inside of him.
Snow was beginning to fall. As Amelda walked through the cemetery, recollections fell from the sky as well.
He read the inscriptions on the graves, names connecting with faces and faces connecting with memories Amelda didn't even know he had.
Ms. Fleming... the kind widow who'd always see to it that Amelda and Miruko had something to eat after their mother had died, despite she was already working hard to feed her own three children.
Amelda suddenly froze, snow gathering in the folds of his black trench coat, which he pulled tighter around himself. The sudden memory of his brother jolted Amelda as though he'd run into a wall, and suddenly butterflies filled his stomach.
No, he wouldn't get his hopes up for nothing. Shouldering his bag, Amelda kept walking.
Catherine Elric... Yes, he remembered Catherine. "Who could forget her?" Amelda asked no one in particular, a smirk tugging at his lips. Perhaps deep down she'd been kind, but she was such a demanding, high-maintenance sort of girl.
His smirk grew wider. Her and that Mai would've gotten along, probably. But his grin faded.
Mai... The mention of her name reminded him almost painfully of Valon. What was he doing right now, back in Australia? And what about Raphael?
Amelda shook his head. They were in the past now.
He busied himself, remembering Catherine's older brothers – the twins, Edward and Alphonse. Every boy in Amelda's neighborhood wanted to be just like them - even Amelda himself. They'd left to fight, and that was the last he'd seen of them. Were they dead? He couldn't be sure. The last he'd heard of the twins was that Alphonse had nearly died but Edward had been there to save him, losing his left leg in the process.
Oh, and Christine, that orphaned girl... No one knew her surname. She'd been seventeen the last time Amelda had ever seen her. Christine was the neighborhood's renowned babysitter; she was kind and almost a child herself. Not to mention she was a phenomenal soprano singer.
Amelda shook his head. She'd died so young... But perhaps she went to be with her parents, and she was happy.
Amelda suddenly found himself looking up at the sky, vast and gray like his eyes. He found himself asking a question he'd asked as a child – 'Is Miruko happy with Mom?'
Once again, the butterflies returned to flutter inside his stomach, and Amelda pushed away the hope tugging at his heart.
At least, he tried to. The hope remained, stubbornly, as he approached the last remaining section of the cemetery.
The snow fell faster, the flakes becoming thicker. Snow dusted the gravestones, obscuring the inscriptions.
Amelda was drawn inexplicably to two headstones, sitting side by side. A lamb carved of stone was attached to the smaller headstone. A child was buried there.
Amelda's throat dried out. He swallowed and bent over, rubbing the snow off the inscriptions.
He fell to his knees.
'MIRUKO CRALE' read the smaller grave, '1992 – 1997'
'ARIAL CRALE' was the inscription on the other. '1966 – 1997'
Here...They were here... They'd been here, all along.
How...He didn't know how, but 'how' didn't matter.
Amelda looked down at his palms, which were marked with crescent-shaped pinkish-whitish scars. He used to clench his fists so tightly his nails dug into the skin, drawing blood. The cuts he'd made symbolized the anger he'd harbored so long, against himself, against Seto Kaiba, against the world. But now all he had left of that anger were those scars.
Plip. A drop of water landed on his palm, then another, and another. And then Amelda realized it was not water. It was rain, from his stormy gray eyes.
"W-when did I get so weak?" he asked softly, smirking to himself. "They're dead...dead...they always have been...."
Amelda found himself with his forehead resting against his mother's grave, sobbing like a child. He cursed his weakness; he cursed his past mistakes.
"I-It was my fault," he confessed to the silence. "Both of their deaths...
"Mama had left the camp for something," he told the cemetery. "S-she was in danger, I knew she was, but I waited...When I finally went after her, it was too late...
"And Miruko... Oh, God, Miruko... I handed him to them. I handed my brother to Death..."
Unseen figures stood watching Amelda pour out his heart. "He's talking nonsense..." one whispered, the voice lacking it's usual carefree tone.
"Shh," the other chided.
And then suddenly all was quiet, and the two figures turned to watch Amelda, who had been startled out of his crying by a new revelation.
"If it was my fault... Then why did I join Doma?" His eyes widened.
"My God..." he choked out. "I...I was just like them..." he whispered. "We wanted to fix the world, but we became just like everything we wanted to destroy..."
He stared at the ground, his eyes in shadow. "I have nowhere left to go," he said to himself. "I have no one."
"Turn around, stupid!" a voice exclaimed from behind him.
Amelda said nothing in reply. Now he was weak, and crazy. He was hearing voices from the past.
Now he was hearing crunching footsteps. And now he was feeling someone place a hand on his shoulder and turn him roughly. The Someone proceeded to grab Amelda by the front of his shirt.
Amelda was staring straight into Valon's face.
"Y-you're being stupid, stupid!" Valon blurted out. "Stop going on about not having anyone, because there's still us...!"
Amelda blinked a few times, his eyes wide. "Us...?"
Raphael stepped out of the shadows.
Amelda regarded them with suspicion. "I...You...how did you find me?"
Raphael shrugged. "Call it gravitation... And Valon, get off of him."
Valon looked down and realized he was still clinging to Amelda's shirt. "Oh...right."
"You...you two were watching me...?" Amelda asked slowly, still recovering from the shock of having the only two people he could consider friends pop out of the woodwork.
Raphael nodded. "We were going to...erm..."
"We were going to wait for you to finish with your little pity party, but then you started going on about stupid things," Valon finished matter-of-factly, straightening up.
Raphael gave him a Look. Amelda folded his arms across his chest. So, they'd seen him... They'd heard him. They'd witnessed his infinite weakness. "Damn," he mumbled.
"We all went home and threw ourselves pity parties," Valon added, his tone softening. "And then Raph got the idea that the three of us should, well, stick together, and so he tracked me down, and then we tracked you down, and here we are." He finished his narrative with a flourish.
"I...I see," Amelda said.
"So, are you coming with us or not?" Raphael asked gruffly. But it was a pointless question, really; Amelda was coming with them no matter what.
Amelda still seemed taken aback. "Y-you really...I mean, that is to say...You want me to?"
Raphael and Valon were both surprised. They'd never known the redhead to be insecure like this.
"Duh," Valon said. "We've only been telling you that for the past ten minutes..." With that, he reached out his hand and offered it to Amelda. Raphael followed suit.
The redhead swallowed and placed one of his hands in theirs. The other two pulled Amelda up, in more ways than one.
The three of them began to walk from the cemetery, standing shoulder to shoulder. Amelda paused suddenly, then turned back. "I forgot something," he called over his shoulder, walking back to his mother and brother's graves. Amelda set his black back in the snow, unzipping it and fumbling through it. Valon and Raphael watched him curiously, and Raphael suddenly realized what the redhead was getting out.
Amelda drew out a small, battered action figure, with a leg missing. Without a word, he placed the action figure in the snow before his brother's grave.
He got up and ran back to the others, who said nothing. They didn't need to.
Then, suddenly, the laughter of a mother and child.
Raphael and Valon whirled around at the sound and saw, standing in front of the Crale's graves, a woman and a small boy. The two were holding hands. In the boy's hand lay the broken action figure. The two smiled at them.
Amelda turned. "What is it? Why'd you stop?"
Raphael and Valon looked at each other. He couldn't see them...
"It was nothing," Raphael said firmly. "Let's go home." Home...that sounded very nice indeed.
"Only one problem, Raph."
"...We don't know where that is yet." A snigger.
"...Shut up, Valon..."
Ending notes: Teehee! All over now. Well, not really. I am considering adding on two more one-shots, one for Raphie and one for Valon. I've got rough ideas of them, but who knows if they'll get written. u.u
Mmkay...well, I think this came out alright... The beginning is kinda bad, and the guy who was throwing rocks at Amelda was like a hick or something. Maybe he lives in Boggy Creek with the Legend...:P (Doubts hardly anyone will get that, but okay.)
Amelda: (glares) I am NOT a crybaby.
Me: (pats him) Of course you aren't, dear.
Oh yeah, I'd like you all to meet my newest muse, the Phantom of the Opera! n.n ... Well, he's very reclusive so...you can pretend you met him. Just...watch for falling chandeliers in the future... (Duhduhduuun.)
Sooo, who caught the Fullmetal Alchemist reference? It was pretty obvious, if you know anything about the show. And I made a Phantom of the Opera reference that was a little less obvious. Oh, and Raphael used the word 'gravitation' because I'm falling in love with the shounen-ai anime series of the same name. :P And the actually definition of the word seemed to fit with the situation.
Anyway, I'll shut up now. n.n;; Baibai ya'll, and thanks for reading!