Mmkay. So, I was really in a writing mood and I said to myself 'why not start working on a new chapter?'. That's why this chapter is out so soon. Wow. I'm getting faster. Well, not really, but you guys get the point. Life is pretty good right now. Me and my friend went to AWA and it was awesome. I gots myself a Roy plush now. It's so cute. Now all I need is an Ed one. So yeah. You guys probably don't care about my life, so I'll get on with the chapter. Wow. It's the final one and it's taken me a year to get this far. I'm so proud of myself. Hee. Well, I'll try not disappoint you guys.
Chapter Twenty-Five – Caught In-between
The wind roared in Roy's ears as he spiraled towards the ground, vision unfocused and semi-obscured by the raven locks that danced wildly in front of his eyes. He felt his breath leave his lungs, making him feel hollow, empty. Whoever said that falling was like flying had dung for brains or flying really sucked.
He closed his eyes as he watched his death rush up to meet him in a bone-crushing embrace. Memories flashed before his eyes. Mostly he saw Edward. The sparkling golden irises, long corn-colored hair, they were imprinted in his mind, scrawled in permanent ink. Then he found himself thinking.
I'm going to die and I've only kissed Edward once.
It was strange to be thinking that now, but Roy really hadn't had much time to plan what he was going to think now. Plus, he had technically kissed the blonde twice, but right now his brain really didn't care about technicalities. When you were in a freefall without a parachute, your mind really doesn't give a rat's ass about much.
His eyelids fluttered open, the world just a blur of muddled colors. The wind howled and screamed, drowning out his own thoughts. His mind went blank. No use thinking when you had to yell to hear yourself inside your own head. But, he had heard something.
There is was again. It was like a mosquito's buzzing, incessant and irritating. His eyes closed again. The human conscious could be so cruel at times: hallucinations, delusions, non-existent voices.
His brow furrowed. The voice was getting louder and louder. Just like a mosquito or a fly, a cruel joke he was pinning on himself.
The Colonel could almost feel the pine needles digging into his skin. He must be close to the trees by now. It would be a wonder if he didn't impale himself on a branch before hitting the ground.
He was thinking again.
His eyes opened again, black spots dotting his vision, but there was something strange. A black shape – perhaps just another spot? – was hurtling towards him, blurring into the dark backdrop.
Suddenly his body jerked to a stop. The little air he had managed to inhale was quickly forced out of him, leaving him gasping and wide-eyed. While he gasped and spluttered, the black dots grew in numbers, leaving him with little mosaic pieces of the full image.
The voice seemed to crack and Roy felt drops of wetness hit his cheeks and trickle down. Had it suddenly begun to rain? Something strong was holding him up; it was letting the cold seep into his body. Or maybe it was the source of that chill. Roy's gasping finally came to a stop and his vision refocused.
"Ed?" he managed to croak out, his throat suddenly very tight. His gaze traveled a path across the pale skin of Edward's face before turning to look at his would-be-killer, the ground. They were floating about the pines, defying every law of gravity. "We're floating," he said dumbly, still not exactly thinking clearly. His thoughts were still pretty jumbled.
The blonde's lips twisted into a wry smile, tears running down his cheeks, eyes still shining with unshed ones. He sniffed and dried his face with the fabric of his shirt.
"Yeah. We're flying."
Roy blinked once. Then he noticed the wings protruding from Ed's back, right by his shoulder blades. He saw that the blonde's shirt was stained with blood and the cloth was ripped around the wings. The Colonel also noticed that Edward's jaw was tightly clenched in pain, but that was really the only sign.
"Thank you," Roy murmured, letting himself relax. If Ed hadn't saved him then by now he'd be nothing more than a broken heap on the forest floor. The blonde didn't say anything; instead he pressed his cool lips to the older male's forehead.
Flying really was nothing like falling.
Then Roy noticed that Edward was slowly descending towards the ground. He frowned. Shouldn't they be going back up? He then felt himself being gently set down, the grass crunching beneath his feet.
"Stay here," Edward said, silencing any protest from Roy with a chaste kiss. Then the young vampire had darted back up into the air, leaving a stupefied and dazed Flame Alchemist behind.
"I had never expected him to jump," Lilith told Raith as she leaned against the balcony, examining her sharp perfectly manicured nails. Her long hair twirled in the night breeze. "All this waiting is becoming so bothersome." She glanced over her shoulder, rolling her eyes at the touching moment the two alchemists were sharing. "Oh gag," she muttered, voice devoid of compassion or understanding.
"You're impatient," Raith replied from the other side of the room. The vampire had decided that he was going to put as much distance between the blonde and himself for the moment. The female vampire rolled her eyes in response. Impatient she may be, but Edward really did like to take his time didn't he?
"That little pipsqueak is the slowest being on this Ear-" Her eyes suddenly grew wide and her sentence was cut short. "Ah," she gasped pitifully, eyes turning down to examine a metal blade - belonging to the one and only Edward Elric of course - sticking out of her chest. Dark blood began to pool from the wound and a small trickle left her mouth, dribbling down her chin.
"Don't call me short."
Lilith's blood-stained lips pulled back into a sadistic smile, her fangs peeking out. A small chuckle left her mouth as he body trembled slightly. Cold steel glinted in the moonlight, rivers of red running down the metal surface.
"You've done your research," she said weakly, her breathing shallow, irises becoming duller. She gave a raspy cough before letting her body fall limp. Slowly, Ed pulled his blade out and the vampire's body landed with a dull thud in a puddle of her own blood. His cold gaze rested upon the still body, wings retracting back into his back. They would only get in the way.
The blonde want panting slightly, bloodied arm hanging by his side. It was a horrible feeling to have someone else's blood on you. It just made Edward feel so unbelievably dirty, despicable. His fiery eyes turned upwards to rest on the stunned vampire frozen on the spot. Raith had not foreseen an event like this. He hadn't even given it the slightest thought.
"You bastard!" he growled as he crouched down into an offensive stance. His teeth were bared and sharp claws ready to rip Edward to shreds. Ed definitely knew how to hit people where it hurt the most.
"Payback," Ed said simply, straightening himself up, lips pressed into a thin line. An air of seriousness surrounded him. His eyes held no trace of emotion, neither did his expression. Everything was so blank. So inhuman. Almost like a robot.
That did it.
Raith snarled as he lunged at Ed, fists raised and prepared to smack the living daylights – nightlights? – out of the blonde. Edward easily evaded him, but hadn't been prepared for the vampire to recover so quickly afterwards. This ended in the small teenager to get thrown against the wall, the plaster cracking even more. Pieces of white fluttered down, a thick layer of dust settling over Edward.
"Too slow," Raith said, still growling his words. It would be an understatement to say that the vampire had a dark expression. It was the blackest of black, revealing nothing but rage and hate. Sins. Feelings of sin.
Edward quickly picked himself up off the floor, narrowly missing another strike from the infuriated vampire. A dark purple bruise was already forming on his jaw. He would surely get more by the end of this fight. As if on cue, Raith's fist connected with Edward's cheek, causing the blonde alchemist to stumble back.
"Shit," Edward cursed as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The taste of blood was fresh in his mouth. That last punch really had done more damage than the boy had initially expected.
He quickly ducked, escaping another punch, then another. He continued to evade the vampire's strikes. In the end, Raith's fists ended up colliding with the walls and air more often than Edward. Pieces of plaster fluttered down each time the white-haired vampire's fists collided with the walls and soon the ground was covered in a thin layer of white. Like snow. Almost.
I can't keep dodging like this! Edward mentally screamed to himself.
He knew that he was slowly becoming tired. His aching limbs weren't doing much to help. He could feel his legs shake, ready to give out beneath him at any moment. If that happened then it might just be the end of him.
Just keep moving. Keep moving forward.
The words echoed in his mind. He couldn't back. There was nothing to turn back to. All he could do was move forward, towards the future, to the stone. He gritted his teeth as he ducked another strike and sliced upwards with his blade. The sharp bloodied metal bit into the vampire's shoulder, creating a shallow cut. However, it was enough to make Raith hiss in pain and pull away.
Ha! Take that!
Ed grinned as he dashed towards the other vampire, weapon at the ready. He barely even noticed how much stronger or faster he was. All his movements were more fluid, graceful, light. They barely took as much effort now.
Raith let out a strangled cry as Edward sliced into his shoulder again, blood gushed out of the wound, running down his pale arm. Clutching the bleeding wound, Raith moved back, trying to put as much distance between himself and Edward. The blonde would have none of that and immediately followed, mimicking the others steps.
Edward lashed out again, creating another cut. Then another, and another. Then a large gash in the abdomen. By now the white residue on the floor had turned red, tainted with Raith's blood. Speaking of the vampire, he was panting, clutching his many wounds, clothes covered in the sticky warm substance, and pressed up against the wall. He was cornered.
"Give up yet?" the blonde asked, a slight sneer in his voice that was alien to him. Raith let out a low growl, eyes flashing in defiance.
"You haven't won just yet," he snapped, "Don't get so cocky." His voice faltered slightly. Raith knew that his chance of getting out of his current situation was small. He sent a kick in Edward's direction, hoping to catch the boy off-guard.
The blow knocked Edward backwards, but he recovered far quicker than Raith could've accounted for. The blonde took a step towards the vampire and his blade embedded itself in the white-haired man's stomach.
Blood flowed out quickly, soaking the already wet fabric of Raith's shirt. Edward grimaced at all the blood. Its scent clung to him, invaded his senses like an infection. Infectious. That was what it was. Edward was too busy trying to clear his muddled thoughts that he didn't notice Ratih's body go limp and slump over, sliding towards the floor after the weapon was removed.
Eyes the color of dying embers quickly turned away from the bloodied body. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He'd just killed someone. His stomach churned, clenching painfully. Edward felt bile rise up in the back of the throat and quickly swallowed it back down, blinking rapidly at the burning sensation that followed. He coughed and pitched forwards, trembling, arms wrapped around himself. They were soon joined by another pair.
"Edward…" said a soft voice that could only belong to one person, the last person Ed wanted to see, Roy.
It was an understatement to say that Edward hated looking weak in front of the Colonel. He hated having to be held up by him.
"Get away from me!" Edward snapped, pushing the Colonel away. His expression held no traces of the anger in his voice.
"Edward!" Roy snapped back, expression growing serious. The Flame Alchemist's stony gaze rested on the blonde for a moment before Roy turned his head away. "You shouldn't face everything on your own." His voice was tinged with sadness.
"Why did you come back up here?" Edward asked, quickly changing the subject. "You could've gotten hurt."
"So could you."
"Are you going to use it?" Roy asked, looking towards the stone, the red jewel that could easily fit in the palm of a small child's hand. Edward's gaze followed suite.
"It's what we've been after."
"I'll still love you even if it doesn't work."
"Don't say things like that! It will work!"
"Maybe not in the way you hope."
Edward snorted softly, turning away from Roy and walking towards the small pedestal on which the stone sat, glowing softly, peacefully. The teenager stopped in front of it, reaching out towards the thing he'd been searching for. He hesitated. What if Roy was right? What if it wouldn't work? What if he would be stuck this way forever?
The blonde pushed all those thoughts out of his head and grasped the stone without a second thought. What followed was a blinding light and a loud scream.
Breda leaned against the metal wall of the van. He'd been sitting there for over an hour at the very least, along with about fifteen other soldiers the military had managed to cram in there. But that wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it was that Armstrong was sitting right next to him, and due to the major's immense size, the dog-fearing man had been practically squashed to the point that he was flat. Okay. That was an overstatement, but Breda was very uncomfortable.
And Armstrong's incessant talking was also starting to give him a headache.
He sighed and looked away from the muscled man, tuning out the irritating babble. It was just his luck to be out here in the middle of nowhere. Stupid. Now he was being shipped off with pretty much every other soldier to fight this 'supernatural' being. That was a lot of bull in his opinion, but there had been strange things happening lately. Where they were going didn't exactly have a history of being good either.
That's what all the soldiers were talking about. They hadn't been told much, but there had been talk about them, the blood-sucking creatures. There had also been talk about a certain Edward Elric.
Now, the mere idea of Edward being one of the undead was enough to make anything that Breda was drinking, spurt out of his nose. Well, it was a good thing he hadn't been drinking anything when the major brought the subject up.
"That's a load of bull shit," Breda immediately replied.
"Maybe, but apparently there's a lot of evidence stacked up again Mr. Elric."
Breda raised his eyebrows. Evidence? What could possibly prove the existence of a myth? So strange. Everything was confusing now. All those disappearances back in Central, not to mention the uneasiness. Apparently people had stopped going out after dark now.
It wasn't Armstrong's voice that snapped him out of his thoughts this time. Instead it was a blood-curling scream that sent shivers down everyone's spine. Breda's eyes widened.
"That sounded like-"
The major cut him off.
Edward fell to his knees as an all too familiar burning sensation rushed through him. There was an inferno burning him from the inside out. A bright red light surrounded his small trembling form. The teenager's expression contorted in pain, wide eyes fixed on the palm of his hand. The stone was being absorbed into the palm of hand.
What the hell?
His mind was screaming at him to just throw the stone into the farthest corners of the room, but it was too late for that. Sparks darted around him, the air crackling as the white hot streaks cut through it. The burning in his palm intensified.
Make it stop!
Too late. The stone was gone, completely sucked into his body; all that was left was the inflamed flesh of his right left hand. Edward slowly let himself sink onto the ground, trembling more than ever. His breaths were shallow and pained. The hot air hurt his lungs, which felt empty, no matter how much air he took in. His mouth throbbed and everything else ached now that the burning sensation was dulling.
The red light dimmed and then died out. That was when an exhausted Edward Elric fell to the ground unconscious, leaving Roy to sit by his side and wait for the boy to wake.
Ed came to quicker than Roy had expected. The blonde stirred in his sleep for a few moments, but his eyelids quickly fluttered open. He lay there in a daze for a few moments, mind slowly replaying all the events that had just occurred.
Then everything clicked into place.
The now wide-eyed boy shot up into a sitting position, breathing hard, a frightened expression on his face. His hands flew up to his mouth, fingers dancing across his teeth, searching for something.
Something that should not be there.
A cry of anguish tore from his throat as he slammed his fists into the ground, leaving two dents. His anger quickly dissipated into confusion, frustration, desperation. Sobs wracked his body as he sat there, face buried in his hands.
"Why? Why me?"
The bitterness was clear in his voice.
"What are you talking about?" Roy asked, confused. What had made Edward so upset? The stone had worked. Hadn't it? Edward took in a shaky breath.
"The stone! The goddamn stone didn't work!" he snapped back angrily. However, the eldest Elric hadn't meant to throw all his frustration at Roy. It definitely wasn't the Colonel's fault, but Edward couldn't help it. He spun around to face the raven-haired male, lips pulled back to reveal his fangs.
"See!" he said as he pointed to the smaller, but still quite there, canines. Roy's startled expression immediately softened and the older male let out a sigh.
There's always a catch isn't there?
A raspy coughing noise caught both Ed's and Roy's attention. The two alchemists quickly turned their heads in the direction of the noise.
"I should've told you before," Raith whispered just loud enough for the two of them to hear. His head hung limply, hair falling in his face, but he was still alive, even just barely. "There's no way to become human again." Another coughing fit followed.
"But that book said-"
Raith cut off the teenager.
"The stone can turn a full-blooded vampire back into a half-vampire, though there are times when even the stone can't do that." The wounded vampire paused for a moment to draw in a few shaky breaths. "Once the vampiric cells are in your system, there's no way to remove them." He let out a weak laugh, but ended up lapsing back into a series of dry coughs. "Being a half-vampire is the closest that you can get to humanity," he said, lifting his head slightly so that the two other males could see the sad smile upon his blood-coated lips.
Edward remained silent as he let everything sink in, gaze falling to rest upon the scuffed floor. All of this time he'd been searching for a lost cause. It was funny actually. Funny in that bitter disgusting way. It wasn't fair!
Since when had anything been fair? Sure. Getting bitten by a vampire was definitely fair.
This was Edward Elric's personal hell.
"Edward?" Roy said gently, letting his hand rest on the boy's shoulder. The blonde shrugged it off and slowly stood up. Something wasn't right here.
A thick ominous air hung in the air and it sent shivers down Edward's spine. He looked over towards Raith and noticed that the other vampire had stiffened up slightly. Great. So he wasn't the only one who felt uneasy.
The scent of gasoline, gun powder, and sweat tickled his nose, causing him to sneeze. Making a face, Edward took another whiff out of curiosity. Where was this foul odor coming from? He was sure that Raith had noticed it as well.
"We have some unwanted company," the white-haired vampire finally said with a small exasperated sigh.
"The military?" Ed asked. Raith nodded, shifting slightly, still slumped against the wall. He was far too weak to move. Edward really had done a number on him.
"They think you're trying to kill your little friend over there," Raith said, jerking his head weakly in Roy's direction. "Plus you're wanted for all those murders back in Central." He sighed, ignoring the bristling Edward. "You've also managed to put him in danger." By 'him' the vampire meant Roy of course.
"Shit," the blonde growled, massaging his temples. This was all just too complicated. All he had done was drag Roy down with him. He couldn't let Roy suffer for his actions, so that left only two options. He could run away from the military and let Mustang come up with a cover story, or he could shoulder the blame himself and Roy would most certainly be safe. The former was rather iffy, so that left Edward with the latter option.
"What are you thinking, Edward?" Roy asked, his voice hinted with worry. Okay, there was plenty to worry about at the moment thanks to the military's sudden intervention. "Edward!" The worry in Roy's voice was showing through more and more.
Roy, I'm sorry for bringing you into this mess.
Edward sighed and turned to face Roy.
I'll try to fix it.
"Roy, I'm going to turn myself in to the military," he said calmly.
"What?" Roy asked, his eyes wide with surprise. Then the protests came. "No. I won't allow that. You don't deserve the blame for anything that happened!"
"No. Maybe not, but you most certainly do not. That's why I need to turn myself in. It's to protect you. If the military finds out that you helped me, then you'll be thrown into jail." Edward bit his lip. "I don't want you to have to waste away in jail. I have more time than you, so I want you to make the most of yours."
Roy opened his mouth to speak, but Ed quickly shushed him. The boy had already made up his mind and thanks to his mule-like stubbornness, he wasn't going to be rethinking his decision at all.
A loud screeching sound cut through the air, presumably the brakes of the military vehicles. Shouts and the thumping of feet soon followed. There were a few loud clicks of previously forgotten guns being loaded. Edward let out a sigh.
"Guess it's time to put on the show," he muttered, glancing over to Raith, who was now completely still. It was hard to tell whether the vampire was merely resting or dead.
The door, which was slightly ajar, suddenly flew off its hinges and in stormed the military's forces just in time to see Roy snap his fingers and let loose a flurry of flames towards Edward. Of course the blond dodged them all too easily.
Scorch marks now marred the walls as well, giving the impression that this battle had been going on for a while now. Edward smirked when he saw the looks on the soldiers' faces. They had completely bought it. However, his smirk fell slightly when he saw the look on Roy's face. He ignored the sadness written on it and pressed onwards.
He was just about to close the last bit of the gap between himself and the Colonel when he was suddenly thrown back into the air. The blonde landed in a dazed heap on the ground, head cracking painfully against the stone wall. He opened his eyes, wincing at the pounding in his head.
The world spun slightly and things were coming in and out of focus, but Edward managed to make out the large form of Major Armstrong standing a few meters away from him, the floor completely destroyed from the major's alchemy. He heard Armstrong's booming voice, but could barely make out what he was saying thanks to an unpleasant ringing in his ears.
He let out a groan of pain, wincing as he slowly tried to push himself up off the ground, legs shaking slightly beneath him. His body was completely spent. All the changes had really worn him out and he was ready to topple over.
Edward had just about collected himself when he felt himself being yanked upwards and his arms being pinned behind his back. Cold metal bit into his flesh wrist uncomfortably. He looked around dazed.
"We have the situation under control Colonel Mustang, sir!"
Muddled words filled the blurry room. Edward found it hard to keep his balance as he felt a thin, sharp something sink into his shoulder. Then everything became even more distorted. Colors blended and forms twisted. Words were nothing more than jumbled up garble.
"That stuff should do the trick."
His body teetered forwards, but gruff hands kept him in place. He blinked stupidly as a strange numbing sensation spread from his shoulder towards the rest of his body.
"He'll be out like a light in a matter of seconds."
He tried to form words, but found that his body wasn't responding to any of his orders. Strange. Trying to pull away from whoever was holding him in place, Edward frantically tried to push away the darkness that was slowly creeping in on the borders of his vision.
"Edward Elric, you are under arrest."
Then Edward fell unconscious as the drug finally finished taking affect.
Be safe, Roy.
Roy Mustang had endured many horrible things in his life, the war in Ishbal, massacres of the innocent, and the cruel brutal force the military used. However, nothing had hurt him the most than when he saw the person he loved being dragged away by the military he served and then being praised for helping in the capture.
This was the second time he had been a hero for something he had never wanted any part in. How ironic.
Edward. I'm so sorry.
The Colonel barely paid attention to the world around him and let everything become a blur of colors and shapes. He let himself be taken away by the soldiers and towards a 'safe place'. Then, finally when he was all alone, it began to rain.
Wow. This really ended up getting long. About eleven pages or so on Word. Well, I have to say I did a pretty good job even though I had a massive writer's block towards the end. Anyways, the ending just does scream sequel doesn't it? Yeah. There's going to be a continuation, but said continuation will be much darker. I'm not kidding when I say that. It's rating will probably be 'M' just for safety measures. I expect it to be out around the end of October. It depends on how much free time I have left.
Anyways, I'm also in the process of writing a lighter, more comedic, and fluffy FMA fic. It's RoyEd of course. I've recently just become infatuated with this pairing. It's hard not to. But yes, that will probably come about when I get off my lazy rear.
In any case, don't kill me if you hated the ending. –hides under a rock–. Yeah. It's a little cliché I suppose, and a bit predictable. Hurr. Ah well. I shouldn't beat myself up over it 'cause I'm proud of it. I never expected my first fanfiction to be this much of a success. I'd just like to thank all of you, who kindly reviewed and faved this. I'm not worthy, but keep on doing it 'cause it makes me happy and feel fuzzy inside. I really love you guys. I really really do.
So yeah, until next time guys. I still cannot believe that this is now over after a year. Wow. By the time I finish the sequel I'll be twenty probably. Ha. I kid. I'll probably just be sixteen or so. The days just go by so fast.