A Perfect Imperfection, Chapter Seven
Summary: Ed's new mission: Go to Hogwarts and find info on the Stone! Of course, there're some rules. He's to be a student, can't mess with the war, and is NOT to fall in love with his Alchemy Professor. …Oh, screw the rules!
AUTHOR NOTE: This hasn't been betaed, but since I'd rather have an unedited one and put it up now than wait for six weeks until I get back from Israel. So I'll put up the better version when I get home. Sorry Rein of Review inc for not waiting around, but I'd like to post!
Ed sighed as he listened with half an ear to Professor McGonagall's lecture. It was pointless, really, to try and pay attention to something he didn't believe and likely never would.
"Mr. Elric," Professor McGonagall said. He jerked his head up and looked at her. "I've given the rest of the class instructions on what to work on for the rest of the period. Did you not hear them or are you rather ignoring me?"
"I'm sorry, Professor," he said in a flat voice. Activity in the class slowed so they could hear him. "I don't believe in trying anything new until I know how it works."
She turned and walked to her desk while the students hurried to look like they were doing something. "In that case, Mr. Elric, I'll write you a pass to go to the library and you can begin reading up on the theory for the rest of the period. I expect you to come back next time prepared to work."
Ed gathered up his supplies and stuffed them into his book bag. He calmly walked down the aisle, ignoring the whispers and mutterings that followed him.
"Thank you, Professor," he said and accepted the yellow slip.
– – –
Ed waited until he was sufficiently far away from the classroom before digging out a map of the school.
'Ah, shit,' he muttered in German. 'I have no idea which way I'm facing.' He continued down the hallway in which he hoped was the right direction.
Fifteen minutes later of directionless wandering, Ed stopped in front of a portrait. "Which way is the library?" he asked.
"Go the way you were going, take your second right, then a left, up the first set of stairs you come across, a right, and it's at the end of the hallway," it said sleepily.
"Thank you," Ed replied, and left without another glance.
He was just reaching the top of the staircase when he heard his name being called. He turned to see the Colonel walking towards him.
'Shouldn't you be in class?'
'Professor McGonagall gave me a pass to the library to research Transfiguration theory.'
'Ah.' Mustang fell into step with Ed. 'I was going there, too.' There were a few minutes of silence. 'How have your first days been, shorty?' he asked with a smirk.
Ed whipped his head around to glare at him. 'Who're you calling so short he's a third of the height of a pixel, Colonel Bastard!'
Roy turned to one of the paintings. "Did you happen to hear anything? I think I might be losing my mind."
The painting looked at him oddly. "I'll pretend I didn't hear that, sir."
'You're not losing just your mind, Bastard. I'll cut you off at the waist and then kick your head in!'
'Are you admitting you can't reach it as you are?'
'Oh, you're going down.'
'Like I haven't heard that one before. Bluey.' He flicked the end of Ed's braid as if to prove a point.
Ed rolled his eyes. 'Shut up. It's not like I didn't pay them back.'
Roy almost grinned. 'Do tell.'
'Only if you stop looking like you got into the cookie jar.' Roy put on his best straight face. 'I've got pictures of them drunk beyond anything and playing strip poker. And doing some rather compromising things, I might add.'
'So why weren't you partaking in all of the fun?'
Ed raised an eyebrow at him. 'Are you, a "responsible" adult, trying to convince me, a minor, to drink?'
'Oh, come on. Like I've never imbibed you with alcohol during HQ parties. Haven't I always told you to get a life?'
'And second point: they were playing strip poker. I don't want any awkward questions just yet.'
Roy gave him a curious look, which Ed was sure had nothing to do with the mention of the mission.
'Okay, I give in!' he exclaimed with an embarrassed blush for having been caught. 'Yes, I drank. Now shut up and gloat in your special corner reserved for such activities!'
They didn't talk for the rest of the time it took to get to the library, having nothing more to say.
When they walked in, Mme. Pince didn't even ask for a pass from Ed on account of being with a professor, so he balled up the slip and stuck it into his pocket. 'Do you even know where to start looking?' he asked to thin air.
'I don't know, Fullmetal, how about in the Transfiguration section?'
Ed rolled his eyes and flipped him off. 'Stuff it, Useless.'
Roy chuckled and nodded his head over to the correct direction. 'If I remember from my tour this morning, it's over here. Come on, I'll help you get started.'
'As if I need help from you.'
Roy ignored him.
Ed huffed and followed. He tugged a thick book out from the shelves labeled "Beginners Guide to Transfiguration Theory". 'I hope the book is as straightforward as the title.' He tucked it under one of his arms and continued looking for other intriguing titles. 'I can't believe I never asked this,' he said in a voice loud enough for Roy to hear, 'but why are you even here?'
Roy cocked an eyebrow. 'You're not the only one with free periods, genius.'
'No, that's not what I meant. I mean – why are you here at Hogwarts in the first place?'
'Oh. Hawkeye thinks it would be good for me to strengthen my foreign relations.'
It was Ed's turn to look at his partner strangely. 'Are you sure? Maybe it just creates more paperwork for you to do.'
Roy laughed nervously. 'If it is, then I'm screwed.'
Ed shook his head and started walking to a table. 'Whatever, bastard.'
An hour later, Ed slammed his book shut. 'This is bullshit!' he exclaimed. 'They just keep on talking about wand movements and who created which spell!'
Mustang shut his book with a little less force than Ed had. 'Would you mind if I gave you my point of view on this?' he asked.
Ed shrugged. 'It's better than nothing, right?' he replied and sat back.
'From talking to different people, I've come to believe it has its roots in alchemy, but instead of drawing upon the user's energy, it takes from the Earth's – which, in turn, borrows from the sun. And in place of people having to memorize all sorts of complex formulas at the price of higher efficiency, they created a different one for each type of magic that uses more energy.' Mustang stopped abruptly and shrugged. 'Yeah, that's my theory.'
Ed grumbled. 'You mean it's as simple as that? Here I was thinking it was stupid and complicated and magical.'
Roy laughed. 'I'm pretty sure it's just a dumbed-down version of alchemy.'
'Wizards are lazy.'
'Indeed.' He drummed his fingers against the table and then suddenly laughed.
Ed looked up.' What?'
'Do you remember the time when Breda swapped all of Havoc's cigarettes with candy?'
'Pft, yes. What brought this on?'
'Oh, the twins remind me of him. By the way, what more revenge are you planning on them? I doubt you're just going to put up compromising pictures around the school and call it good.'
Ed leaned in conspiratorially. 'Oh, let me tell you about it.'