Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of the characters or concepts therein. They belong solely to their respective creators. I am making no money from this story, so don't sue me please.
Made of Metal
Metal. My heart is metal now, just like my limbs. There is no more room for warmth, for love, hope, fear, or hurt. No more room for any emotion what so ever. Now, when people speak my name, they will speak the utmost truth in calling me "Fullmetal". Metal… That is what I am.
At my feet a letter lies crumpled, discarded in one final fit of rage. One last display of emotion before my last shred of humanity fled. I should have burned it, turned that blasted paper to ashes so that no one will ever know the truth. So no one will know that I am not human . . . that I never have been and have no hope being so. How could she? Why? The questions torment me in ways no physical pain can.
She never told me. She never even hinted at the truth in all the years of my life. Not even when she herself lay dying did she let slip the secret of my past. Why? Why did my mother never tell me who my father really is? Why did she never tell me that I was not sired by a man of flesh and blood, but by a monster? He is not human.
My father is a homunculus, a beast born in a madman's attempt to play god. Nothing can bring back the dead. I know that now and so must the poor bastard that brought my father back from the grave. We all pay the price in the end. As if the very monsters we created were not price enough. . . . They are demons. Demons who wear the faces of the ones we bring back. They look human on the surface, but on the inside…. On the inside they are as far from human as life is from death. Homunculus are not human, so neither am I . . . not fully anyway.
Mom was a human I think, so that makes me something in between. I am neither man nor beast. I am a filthy half blood . . . a beast in the guise of a man. More machine than human at that. Why didn't she tell me?
Crying. . . . Why am I crying? Metal does not cry. It cannot cry. So, what are these tears? Who do they belong to? Not to me. I am metal to the very core. There is no humanity in me and there never has been.
There is a knock at the door to my room, the hollow ka-thunk of an empty gauntlet upon the wood. "Ed?" The voice of my brother sounds small when compared to the sound of his knocking. "Ed, are you all right?"
Am I all right? How can I be all right? Nothing will ever be all right again…and my brother? He is the personification of my musings, a true metal man. I laugh bitterly at the thought. He is a metal man, yes, but one with more heart than I will ever have. I was the maker of his body after all.
My brother, Alphose Elrich, the one I confined to a metal prison because of my ignorance and stupidity. He is the only other in the world to share my fate, though he does not know it yet. Doomed to share the fate of a monster in man's clothing. . . .
I laugh again. At least he looks the part.
"Ed?" His voice comes again, a little louder this time, and I turn away from the door. Ducking under the desk, I slide my back against the oak and pull my knees up to my chin. He can not see me like this. Al can not know the truth of what he really is. It would break him just like it has broken me. He speaks the words I do not want to hear, "Ed, I'm coming in."
The door squeaks open and I press myself farther under the desk. Please just let him go away. Don't let him see me. Don't let him know.
Metal feet ka-thunk their way into the room followed closely by Al's voice calling my name. He is pleading for me to come out of hiding. More tears fall unheeded to the floor.
Al's feet come into view.
Please just let him go away.
He is bending now, stretching his arm down to pick something up from the ground. No! It's the paper! He picked up the paper! I have to stop him before he reads it. He cannot see what is written on it, cannot know the truth.
I lunge at his feet, seeking to throw him off balance and grab the cursed letter from his hands. The plan almost works sending him tumbling, but it is not in the direction I wanted. He falls on the desk, through the desk, and right on top of me.
Winded, I can only watch in horror as Al stands and glares at me with an eyeless stare. "Ni-san! What was that for! You baka! I could have squashed you!"
I don't reply. My eyes and mind are fixed on the paper in his hand. The paper I so desperately want to destroy. If only I had Mustang's ability to burn things with the snap of a finger I would…. Blast! Al has followed my gaze to the crumpled letter. He casts a brief glance in my direction; he understands now what I am after.
Slowly the paper unfolds and Al reads the letter. I look away, ashamed and afraid of what his reaction will be.
Metal. We are both metal. We have to be. That letter demands it.
There is a soft gasp and Al shifts his weight with a clank of armored shell. He knows now. He understands what we are and what we will never be. Why didn't she tell us? Why did she do it?
My brother lowers his arms and answers the question.
"She loved us, bother." The words strike the metal of my soul a sharp blow, the words reverberating with the echo of it in my mind, my armor giving way. "She loved us and she loved him too. She never would have married him if she didn't."
A sardonic smile appears upon my lips and I force my armor back into place. I sneer my personal disgust at my own inhumanity. "Then she loved monsters, Al." We are not human. We cannot be.
Al shifts his weight again and kneels beside me. He is close enough that I would hear him breathe if he still could. I took away what little humanity he had. What a fool I had been….
"We are not monsters, Ed. Ask Winry and Granny Pinaco. They would know if we were." I swear I hear Al laughing at me but I cannot fathom why. Silence hangs for a moment, mere seconds until he speaks again. "Besides, logic proves we are human brother."
He has my attention now. Science is the one sure anchor in the world. The founding principle of the alchemy I hold so dear. Al continues, "If we were not human, we would not be able to use alchemy."
The plainness of the logic corrodes away the metal and leaves me bare to my emotions. Defenseless to the whims of my own human fallacy I blink up at Al, uncertain and afraid to believe. With all the tact of a scientist trained and alchemist born I snatch at the argument, prodding for flaws, looking for any reason to disprove it. I find one.
"Wrath can use alchemy." I say.
Al sighs and throws the crumpled letter at me. I catch it in my metal hand and glare at it. It had caused all of this trouble, after all. As I muse over whether to tear it to shreds or disassemble it via alchemy, Al speaks again. "Wrath uses alchemy because Wrath is human."
My head snaps up as brows furrow and eyes glare. "What?" I ask.
"Wrath is human." The answer comes once more, without a waver or the slightest hint of doubt.
That does it. Al is mad. The realization of what we are has snapped his frail grip on sanity. Wrath is human? What is he thinking? My mouth comes open in protest but Al holds up his hand, motioning me to silence.
"Just think about it, brother." He says. "Wrath came from beyond the gate. He wasn't born of alchemy like the other homunculi and logic dictates that-."
"If he isn't a homunculus, he must be human." I finish Al's though for him, a welcome realization dawning on me. The homunculus cannot use alchemy but I can.
I can use alchemy. That ability to use alchemy makes me human. It makes Al human...mostly…at least beneath the metal finish I gave him. We are not monsters.
As my world slowly takes form once more, I smile at my brother with a wide, toothy grin. "You know, Al, I don't know what I would do without you?"
Al cocks his head in such a way that I know he is smiling back. Strange how even metal can show emotion when you know what you are looking for. "You would be a wreck and we both know it. Now, let's fix this desk before teacher gets back. We don't want her angry at us."
"That we don't." I say as I stand and brush the wood chips from my jacket.
As human flesh claps against inhuman metal, one thing stands clear in my mind:
I am Edward Elrich, the Fullmetal Alchemist, and I never back down. No matter what it takes, I will get my brother's body back. No matter what mistakes I have made -- no matter what shadow darkens my past -- I will give back that which I took away. Al will have a human body equal to his human soul. He will be human inside and out. I swear it by all that makes me human.
I am the Fullmetal Alchemist.
I am Edward Elrich.
I am human.
Moonlessnight: Well, there you have it. I'm not terribly happy with the ending, but I'm too sleepy to think of anything better right now. Maybe later I'll re-work the end a bit but for now a good night's sleep is in order. Night all!