Sixth Avenue Heartache
Chapter one: Welcome Back
It wasn't the best of all nights in Central. The rain poured heavily outside and the cold pre-winter air was starting to settle in. No one in their right mind would dare to stay out for too long. Further down the street a young man in a worn out trench coat slowly walked along the sidewalk hunched over and with a slight limp. To anyone inside, they would've thought the man looked like a walking corps. His clothes hung loosely on his thin frame and he carried himself with a lifeless expression on his face. With a sudden stop and a jerk of his head he finally looked up at his surroundings. A faint smile appeared on his face, adding some life to his dead- like state.
"I'm glad everyone could make it tonight," Gracia said while she drank her coffee.
"Me too, the weather today is terrible," Hawkeye replied as she looked out a nearby window in the kitchen. The rain was pouring harder outside and the wind blew harshly against the window. "I heard it was going to get worse later on this week," she said casually.
"Really? That's not good," Gracia said with a frown, "Winry and Al are supposed to come down sometime for Elysia's birthday."
"Oh? Are you having a big party?"
"No, it's just going to be all of us. Maes was about to have a heart attack, he wanted to throw a huge party," Gracia explained with a small smile on her face.
"That sounds like him," Hawkeye said with a laugh.
In the other room Hughes, Mustang, Havoc, Fuery, Falman, and Breda were participating in an intense game of poker. It was made a tradition for this military group to meet every Saturday night for dinner and a poker game at Hughes' home. By this point they had a routine worked out for these nights. Hawkeye would come over early and help Gracia cook, Hughes stayed out of the way, and the rest came at different times. After dinner all the men would sit down in the living room and start their game while Gracia and Hawkeye drank coffee in the kitchen and talked.
"Ah damn! Fuery! How are you getting all the good cards?" Breda complained after loosing his fifth game in a row. Fuery shrugged while everyone else sighed.
"I'm out," Havoc said as he reached for a cigarette. Everyone else agreed and threw down their cards as well. Even Hughes, with his perfect poker face, lost a few times. Mustang got up and walked over to a chair that was by a window and sighed in annoyance.
"There goes my paycheck," Mustang muttered as he glared at the only two people that had won that night.
"Don't be such a soar loser Roy. Here, I'll give you this picture of Elysia to make you feel better!" Hughes said brightly with hearts forming around his head as he pulled out one of his many pictures of his daughter. "Isn't she just the cutes! You should've seen her yesterday! I swear, my darling Elysia…," he rambled on. Havoc managed to escape the terror and crack open a window so he could smoke, while the others were trapped. Eventually, Falman and Fuery got to cleaning up their mess while Hughes terrorized Roy and Breda.
"Maes, could you help me with this?" Gracia called out to her husband. Roy and Breda let out a sigh of relief as Hughes rushed to his wife's aid. After everyone was settled, the conversation stayed casual. News of Central's latest developments, promotions, and of course Elysia (A/N: guess who started that one).
"What about Fullmetal? Anything new, in his whereabouts I mean?" Roy asked once the conversations died down a bit. There was an awkward silence that suddenly fell in the room. Around the military, this subject was unspoken of. No one had the heart to bring up the sad story of the hero of the East. As much as Mustang wanted to deny it, he missed the Bean just as much as everyone else.
It had been five years since Alphonse got his body back and Edward's disappearance. They had all seen Al from time to time in Central and Winry stayed in contact with the Hughes', but no news of Ed. Rumors went around the country about him saying that he was either in hiding or locked away by the military. There were people who claimed to have seen Ed, but their information lead nowhere. Someone even claimed to be the Fullmetal Alchemist himself once, that person didn't get anything but a wrench thrown at his head, courtesy of Winry.
Hughes let out a sigh and answered, "No, nothing new".
The man kept on walking slowly down the road as he paid attention to his surroundings, taking up the familiar setting. By this point he was soaked to the bone, but he didn't care. His mind was telling him to keep moving despite the rain and cold atmosphere. Once again the man stopped, he looked up and noticed a big yellow house, with most of the lights on, a little ways down the street. He gave another weak smile and continued on towards the house.
"If Edward was still around, wouldn't someone have seen him by now? I mean, as popular as he was with everyone, it would be hard to hide out for this long without anyone catching on to his identity, wouldn't it?" Falman reasoned.
"That's true, but like you said, Ed was pretty well known. Even if he's not alive, someone would've at least been able to find his body," Havoc said as he put out another cigarette. No one could help but agree with this. The military had practically turned the country upside down trying to look for Ed, but they found nothing.
"What about Alphonse?" Hawkeye asked.
"What about him?" Mustang countered.
"Doesn't he know anything about where Edward is? They worked so hard to get back what they lost and now Al has returned back to normal, but at the expense of Ed," Hawkeye said in her usual monotone voice.
"From what Winry has told me, Alphonse barley remembered anything from when he was trapped in the armor, but now, most of his memory is back and he still doesn't know what happened to Ed," Gracia informed them and then added, "Is he still looking for Edward?"
"Yeah, we saw him a few months ago in Lior. Even Al is just kicking up dirt on this matter," Breda said while Havoc, Fuery and Falman nodded there heads in agreement.
"What are the higher ups saying about all of this?" Gracia asked curiously.
"Nothing, I think they want to stay out of it, but I heard that they might close the search and just label him dead," Mustang said with distain.
"It would be one hell of a funeral that's for sure," Hughes said, catching the room's attention to his statement.
"What do you mean?" Falman asked.
"Think about it. Edward had just as big of a knack for getting into trouble as he did for helping people. With everything that he's done, I'm sure a lot of those people would want to pay their respects to him," Hughes explained," and…"
The sound of footsteps from upstairs interrupted Hughes' last comment. Every one watched the ceiling and followed the sound as it got closer to the stairs and finally a pair on small feet where seen running down the stairs. The feet, which were connected to a scared looking Elysia, came running into the room.
"What's wrong baby?" Gracia asked concerned about her child as Hughes walked towards her and picked her up.
"There's something scary outside. It looked like a zombie!" She cried as she clung to her father.
"Don't worry sweetie, I can promise that there aren't any zombies running around outside," Hughes tried to tell her. He looked towards his wife and she shrugged. Kids, they make up the weirdest things, Gracia thought.
"But I saw it! It's coming here!" Elysia said as tears began to pour down her face. At that point Hughes could do nothing but try and calm her down while thinking: My poor BABY!
"Maybe it's just someone coming to visit sweetheart," he tried to reason to her.
"Coming to visit?" Gracia questioned, "I didn't think that anyone would be out there in this weather, I'll go see." Gracia left to go to the front door while Hughes tried to convince poor, little Elysia that zombies didn't exist as he took her upstairs to put her back to bed. As Gracia opened the door, she did see someone enter through the front gate. It was a man with clothes that hung loosely on him and was soaked from head to toe. She kept her eyes on him, trying to see if she recognized the figure, as he approached. Then, he suddenly stopped and looked up at her.
Gracia let out a gasp as she saw two familiar amber colored eyes looking back at her and she realized who the man was.
"E…ed…ward?" she faintly called out in disbelief. He continued to stare at her as if he didn't recognize her. As the rain continued to descend, a sudden look of awareness crossed his face and he slowly let a weak smile appear on his face. Gracia looked at him with both happiness and shock. They had just been talking and worrying about him and here he was, standing right in front of her.
"It's…its good… good to see you again," Ed strained with his words as he winced in pain. As he tried to take a step forward he started to sway back and forth until he finally collapsed on the cold, stone ground.
"ED!" Gracia shrieked as she immediately ran out to retrieve and get him out of the rain. She quickly tried to lift him up and get him inside. As Hughes came down the stairs he saw his wife outside trying to drag someone into the house and rushed to help her. Not paying the rain any attention, he took the person from her and started to carry him inside to the living room with Gracia following close behind him.
"Quick! Someone get some towels and a blanket," Hughes yelled. Fuery, who was nearby, saw what was happening and rushed to do as he was told. As Hughes looked down at the boy in his arms he suddenly recognized who it was that he was carrying.
"Ed?" he asked shocked and tried to observe to boy more closely. "It is you!" he announced both overjoyed and worried. His announcement had caught the room's attention and they all stared at the boy in Hughes' arms in disbelief.
Not paying attention to their stares, Hughes hurried over to the couch and placed Ed on it. Once he was able to get a proper look at Edward he began to notice more things about his appearance. His hair was shorter than ever, as if someone had shaved it at one point and it was just now growing out, and his auto-mail arm was missing. But what worried Hughes the most was the fact that Ed was so light to carry. Just looking at him gave you the impression that he was half starved. Hughes' thoughts were soon interrupted once Hawkeye appeared by his side.
To his surprise, she looked deeply worried. He knew that Hawkeye always had a soft spot for the Elric brothers, but he never really expected her to be so openly concerned about one of them. Although he couldn't blame her, he too was worried about Edward. Ever since he got to know Ed and his little brother Al, he always thought of them like family. Judging by the expressions on the rest of the military group, who were in his living room, they thought of Ed in the same way.
"Here they are," Fuery said as he handed the towels and blankets to Gracia.
"Thanks, I need to take off that coat and his shirt so I can dry him off," Gracia said as she approached Ed's unconscious form lying on the couch. While she was doing this, everyone in the room moved behind her to watch. No one knew what Ed was doing here or where he had been, but by the looks of him it was obvious that he needed immediate attention.
Getting his coat off was easy since his auto-mail arm was missing, but his actual shirt proved to be more difficult. Since he was soaked, his shirt stuck to his skin and it became obvious that he had some open wounds because of a few blood spots that showed on his clothing. Carefully, Gracia unbuttoned the shirt and peeled it off from Edward's skin. Once it was off, Gracia let out a gasp and backed away from Ed.
His body was practically just skin and bones and he had scars, gashes, and bruises all over. On his left forearm were numbers that were crudely tattooed on. Havoc let out a low whistle while the others stood there, shocked at what they were looking at. Edward had apparently been outside for some time. His lips had a blue tint to them and his body was ice cold. His breathing was harsh and you could practically see his heart beating in his chest.
"My god," Hawkeye said, "what happened to him?" This question had gone through everyone's head as they stared at Ed. What could've happened that cause him to look the way he did?
"I didn't even know it was possible to be in that state and still live," Havoc muttered to no one in particular.
"It's not good, that's for sure," Falman replied. The room silently agreed with him as they continued to stare at him, thinking and waiting for something to happen. Their thoughts were interrupted when Ed let out a low moan of pain and slowly opened his eyes. He gazed at the ceiling and remained there for a few moments as if to try and figure out where he was.
Eventually, his amber eyes tore themselves away from the ceiling and looked to the side. Instead of seeing an empty room, like he thought he was in, he saw eight familiar pairs of eyes staring back at him. He gave them a forced smile, as if to tell them that he was alright, and passed out once again.
Author's Note: Alright! That was the first chapter of SIXTH AVENUE HEARTACHE! I hope you all liked it and hopefully I'll be able to get the next chapter out soon. As you all know I do not own FMA or any of the characters (although I wish I did…).
Also, to clear some stuff up for everyone; I'm not going to have any themes from the Full Metal Alchemist Movie: COS in here (characters, plot, nothing… I haven't even seen it so I'm not going to try and guess around …), but the story does pick up 5 yrs. after the anime series and Ed is coming back from Germany around the time WWII is happening. So hopefully this won't be a problem for any of you to follow. Please Review! I would love to hear what you think!