1) The Briefing at Midnight
A teenager walked into the lobby of the Centeral State Military of Arimatus. He trudged in with his red coat and black boots. Edward Elric, or as most knew him, FullMetal Alchemist, rubbed his eyes and mumbled under his breath. He and his younger brother, Alphonse, had just come back from another mission Ed's colonel had sent them on. They had been back in the barracks for and hour, and already Edward was being called on another mission. He tiredly made his way to the receptionist's desk and looked at the receptionist named Janus.
"Hello Major, tired?" she asked him. Ed opened his eyes a little more and blinked as his eyes adjusted slowly to the light.
"Just got back an hour ago from Lezinth. Not one hour and already Colonel Bastard is calling me back in." said Ed stretching his arms.
"I thought I told you not to call him that." she said, irritated.
"I'll stop naming him when he stops acting like one." He snapped.. Janus sighed and closed her eyes, knowing Ed was right.
"Any way," she continued, "he's waiting for you so hurry into his office."
"Good night, major."
Ed walked down the long hallway and stopped halfway, then faced the two doors that opened to the colonel's office. Edward dreaded the visit he was about to have. Ed puffed out his chest slightly to show some pride, bracing himself for the short jokes, and then opened the doors. The first thing Ed saw when he opened the doors were Colonel Roy Mustang, and an old man whom Ed had never seen before. Roy was behind his desk in the usual pose as the old man sat in one of the two couches that faced each other. A table was in the middle of the two parallel couches, it had files and scattered papers on it. Edward looked back to the man, he observed that this man's beard was long, covered the front of his body, the long, thin, grey hair on his head went down his back. He was unlike anyone Edward had ever seen within the military walls. Roy and the odd man turned their attention to Edward as he closed the door. "You wanted to see me colonel?" asked Ed. Colonel Roy nodded and addressed him.
"Yes, I wanted to introduce you to professor here." Roy extended a hand to the professor.
The old man stood up and shook Ed's hand. "Good to met you." he said in a light and pleasant tone. Ed nodded back to him polightly; he noticed the elder's cloths were odd. He wore a checkered vest and a long brown shirt under it with jeans and black shoes. He was dressed…a little un-formal for meeting in the military.
"FullMetal," began Roy as the professor stopped and sat back down. "I have a new assignment for you…."
"But I just got back form your last wild goose chase!" exclaimed Ed. "Al and I can't just up and go two seconds after we get done with a mission."
"You can, but Al can't."
"Exact- what?" Ed asked confused. Was the colonel agreeing with him?
Roy stood up, "Here's the thing, I'm going to tell you right up front- every little detail."
"Colonel Mustang, Maybe I should say something first, if it's all right?" the professor interrupted politely. Roy nodded to him,
"Of course." and he sat back down. The professor gestured Edward to sit on the couch across from him. Edward sat down and faced the Professor, wondering what this strange midnight call was all about. The professor leaned forward and began to introduce himself. "My name is Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwart's, a boarding school."
"I've never heard of it." said Edward, bitterly.
"No," Dumbledore chuckled, "No I don't imagine you would've." He cleared his throat and continued. "This school has had it's share of troubles… troubles so grave that it affected the entire wizarding world. One such student, in fact, has foughten the worse over the years… many grave things have still yet to come."
Edward listened, wondering where this dramatic debriefing was going to go. To Ed, it seemed as if Dumbledore was working his way around something important. Dumbledore continued, "This school is rather…unique to what you would normally think. It is a witch and wizardry school. Hogwarts has been around for quite some time now, but this is the first time it's asked help from people like yourself. Muggles have never seen true magic, but I fear worse things will come to pass unless you help us." There was a pause as Ed eyed him, nobody said a word. Suddenly, Ed stood up and walked out of the room calmly shutting the door behind him. The colonel and the professor heard hysterical laughter from the hall for a while, which lasted for a minuet. Edward opened the doors again and stomped back in, making a bee-line for Roy's desk. He slammed his fist on the desk. "You don't expect me to believe this do you?" he shouted.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Fullmetal." said Roy, in an arrogant manner, as if this were a perfectly normal mission. Roy looked back at professor Dumbledore. "Sorry about the 'short' interruption." he said, Ed growled quietly. Dumbledore stood up.
"Quite understandable, I should think that I would do the same thing in his position." he had a small twinkle in his eye as he looked at Edward. "But I should like to continue."
"Sorry," said Ed, he folded his arms. "But I don't think magic is really my thing."
"It doesn't matter what your thing is, Fullmetal." said Roy, now obviously annoyed at Ed. He grumbled and then sat back down, across from Professor Dumbledore.
"You mission in all of this, is to bodyguard one student. You see, there has been trouble following him ever sense he came, and I fear there will be more on his heels as the year goes on." he looked a little more serious, though not by much. "He is the only one who survived from the dark lord, Voldemort, and has continued to survive from every attack since then." Dumbledore picked up the folder from the table and handed it to Edward.
Ed took it from the professor and opened the folder to read inside. He saw a profile of the boy, along with a picture. The photo was of a fifteen year old boy with messy black hair and green eyes with glasses, Ed even noticed a peculiar scar on his forehead.
As he read the boys profile and history, Edward asked Dumbledore, "So, this boy survived a dark wizard attack and is famous for it now?"
"Well, can he just protect himself again? We're not talking a suicidal mission are we?"
"No, no." the professor chuckled lightly, "No. I just want someone to keep an eye on him for me, and to protect him at all costs."
"Oh, well if that's all…" muttered Ed, sarcastically under his breath as he looked back to the report.
"Our school is open to you, as well as all of our books in the library for your research. Also, there is an event to be held that is of greatest importance to the wizarding world. If something were to go wrong, I want Harry protected."
"What kind of trouble?"
"Never mind that," said Roy. He stood up suddenly, "Thank you professor, but I should like to speak to Major FullMetal alone."
"That's alright, colonel. Good bye my friend." and he left without another word to either of them. Ed turned his attention from the door where Dumbledore had left, back to Roy.
Roy stood up and put his hands in his pockets. "Do you understand everything, or should I go over it again?"
"No. I've got it" he muttered darkly. Colonel frowned,
"Good, I didn't know how 'short' your attention span was, so I thought I'd go over some 'short' items on my 'small' list." Roy smirked as Edward narrowed his eyes at him. "Dismissed FullMetal."
Meanwhile, in Private Drive in little Whinning, Harry Potter woke up from a nightmare, breathing hard as if he had just finished running a race. He sat up and rubbed the old scar on his forehead; it seared with pain and he shut his eyes tight, trying to make it stop. Harry threw the covers off and stumbled over to his desk. 'Should I tell someone?' he thought to himself. He thought about the dream he had had. Voldemort was talking to Wormtail… they had talked of a person they killed… but he couldn't remember who. They had also said they were going to kill someone else…him!
Harry pushed it out of his thoughts and walked over to the desk to start reading. As he read, the dream kept coming back even stronger then before, it seemed that not even a book on Quidditch could stop his thoughts. He ended up restlessly going back to bed.
As Harry lay there with the desk light still on, he wondered who he should tell about the dream. Dumbledore perhaps- but what would he say?
Dear Professor Dumbledore, Sorry to bother you, but my scar hurt this morning. Yours sincerely, Harry Potter.
Even in his head that sounded stupid.
Harry decided, when his owl Hedwig came back, he would send Sirius a letter. He went back over to his desk and started to write. Harry cleared his desk of all the crumpled parchments of Sirius's past letters.
As he wrote, the sun came up and made the sky golden as birds chirped and roosters crowed. He could hear the Dursleys starting to stir; Uncle Vernon rolling over in his bed, making that annoying creaking sound from the old mattress. The usual morning sounds didn't' distract him as he continued to write.
Harry finished and put down his pencil, he read his letter over:
Thanks for your last letter. The bird was enormous; it could hardly get through my window.
Things are the same as usual here. Dudley's diet isn't going to well. My aunt found him smuggling doughnuts into his room yesterday. They told him they'd have to cut his pocket money if he kept doing it, so he got really angry and chucked his Play station out the window. That's a sort of computer thing that you can play games on. Bit stupid really, now he hasn't even got Kingdom souls to take his mind off things.
I'm okay, mainly because the Dursleys are terrified you might turn up and turn them all into bats if I ask you to.
A weird thing happened this morning, thought. My scar hurt again. Last time that happened it was because Voldemort was at Hogwarts. But I don't reckon he could be any where near me now, can he? Do you know if curse scars sometimes hurt years afterward?
I'll send this with Hedwig when she gets back; she's off hunting at the moment. Say hello to Buckbeak for me.
Yea, that'll do. It didn't make him sound too worried, and he made it sound pleasant enough. Harry sighed in frustration, unsure of what this dream meant, or of what it would bring in the future.
Edward was back in the Colonel's office. He had a bag in one hand and a small portable automail kit in the other that Winry Rockbell had given him. Alphonse was right behind him with his own bag. "Ok, were here." said Ed, as they placed their things down.
Alphonse bowed slightly to Dumbledore, "Hello sir." He said politely. Dumbledore smiled at Alphonse and then looked at Roy. "It appears you haven't told them." He said to Roy. Mustang turned from the window he was looking through and to Edward. Ed wondered what Dumbledore was talking about. "FullMetal, you'll be on this mission for one year."
"Year!" said Ed and Al together.
"But sir," said Al, "We need to try and find the philosophers stone! If we're gone that long, the homunculus might…"
"Don't worry, I'm perfectly clear about that. This is why I've decided to enlist Alphonse as a temporary assistant to me to find the stone. Major here will go to Hogwarts."
"WHAT?" they both said. That was impossible, the Elric brothers had never been apart from each other for that long, and Ed didn't exactly like the idea of Roy in charge of his brother either. Ed folded his arms. "And what if I refuse to go on this mission?"
"Then you're fired." said Roy simply. Ed cringed at these words and looked up at Al helplessly. Ed sighed and said, "Alright…let's just get all of this over with." Ed turned back to Al. "Write you every day, alright?"
"Yea, me too."
"And if the Colonel gives you any trouble, tell me or Hawk eye, right?'
"Don't worry brother, I'll take some of the burden this time. At least we're not completely loosing the stone." Al laughed slightly and picked up the bag. "Good bye brother…see you in a year."
"Yea…don't tell Winry, alright? I don't want her to worry about us."
"I understand." Al nodded. He waved and then walked out.
Ed turned back to Roy, a little down hearted and frustrated. "Well, it's good that you see it my way." said Colonel. Dumbledore then took out something peculiar, it was a tarnished boot. Ed looked at the boot, then to Dumbledore.
"Okay… what is that?" he asked, pointing. Dumbledore merely advised Edward to pick up his things. Dumbledore was receiving odd looks from Roy, "What are you doing with that old shoe?"
"This is a port key."
"A what now?"
"A port key. It will transport Mr. Elric and I to a certain destination. I decided a boot would be a good idea since it would be used for something else later."
Ed hoisted the automail kit under his arm and looked from Dumbledore, to the boot. "Now what?"
"Touch the boot with your index finger."
"…Alright then." And Ed did as he was told. There was a pause for a couple of seconds, then it hit him!
Ed felt as though something was tugging at his belly button as he went flying through a portal. He felt sick as they spun, a bunch of random images flew by, then he finally landed with a thud. Edward had landed flat on his face, his kit and bag still in hand, as if he had dropped right where he stood. Ed looked up; his face had slight specks of mud and grass on it.
"Come, come now, major. We wouldn't want you late to your hosts house." said Dumbledore walking briskly past Edward, then stopped in front of him.
"House?" Ed asked, standing up. "I thought we were going to your school."
"No not yet, it's still summer after all- and I want you to meet Harry before you leave with him tomorrow." Dumbledore started walking as Ed followed him, brushing the dirt off his face. Already his patients was wearing thin. 'I think I hate magic.' thought Ed bitterly. He followed Dumbledore to the house just ahead of him, the burrow.
Dumbledore knocked on the door, there were voices of many people talking inside. Dumbledore turned to Edward, "Now I'm sorry to say, I have to leave immediately. There are more pressing matters, I'm afraid."
"Sorry to hear…" said Ed not really meaning it. Dumbledore handed him a letter,
"Give this to one of the Weaslys." Dumbledore said. Edward watched Dumbledore walk away; he thought Dumbledore was going to go back to the boot. Instead, Ed heard a loud pop and Dumbledore was gone! "What the… what the hell was that?" wondered Ed out loud.
Just then the door opened and a stout woman looked down at Ed. "Can I help you?"
"Yes, I'm here to look after Harry." said Ed. The woman looked confused, but her face softened, "Oh my," she chuckled, "Harry has a little fan."
"No ma'am." said Ed. He held out the letter and gave it to the woman, he put down his things and saluted, "My name is Major Edward Elric, FullMetal Alchemist of the state central military." He looked dead serious. She opened the letter and read it. Ed picked up his things, the woman stepped aside to let Ed in.
The first thing Ed saw when he entered were two people. One was leaning back in his chair with his feet on the table, he had long hair in a pony tail and an earring that appeared to be a fang. Next to him was another man with red hair, he was stout and had freckles on his face. He had one of those good-natured faces.
The one with the pony tail asked, "Mum, 'ho's the kid?"
"My name is Edward Elric, state Alchemist!" said Ed loudly, more then he actually meant. The one next to him looked confused. "Alchemy? You mean Muggle magic?"
"Magic? No! Science." Ed folded his arms; not but two seconds and already they were getting on his nerves.
Mrs. Weasley looked up from the letter, "Bill, when's your father coming back?"
"As soon as he picks up Harry." said the one with the ponytail, Bill.
Ed looked around the room, but his attention went to the fireplace as it turned green. A tall red head came out of the flames, looking smug and pleased with himself. He waved to his brothers and turned back to the fireplace. Edward rubbed his eyes, wondering if what he just saw actually happened. The flames turned green again, and the boys twin came out of it. They were greeted by Mrs. Weasley. "Fred, George, where's Harry?"
Fred (or was it George) set the trunk he carried down. "Don't worry mum, he'll be here."
Poof! Another person appeared out of the flames; he was about Ed's age (though not his height) and had the same red hair as the others. The three people looked at Ed, "Who's the kid?" asked Fred.
"I'm not a kid!" Edward yelled, short tempered.
Another poof, another person, but this time Ed recognized him. The black haired boy fell to the ground, and George (or maybe it was Fred) helped him up asking, "Did he eat it?"
"Sure did, what was that?"
"Ton-Tongue Toffee" Fred said proudly. "Me and George made it, and we've been looking all summer to try it out on someone!" the whole kitchen exploded with laughter, well, not Ed at least. He hadn't the faintest about what they were going on about. Ed approached Harry with the folder out. He took out the picture and looked at it, to Harry.
"Scar head…" muttered Ed, putting the photo back in the folder.
"Excuse me?" asked Harry. Ed saluted,
"Major FullMetal Alchemist." He announced. Everyone looked at him, the whole room was silent and Edward felt akward and foreign Harry looked back at Fred and George,
"What's he going on about?"
"Dunno," said Ron, "We just saw him here. I don't know him."
"Harry dear." said the woman, she went over and hugged him, "So good to see-" but she didn't finish, for at that second Arthur Weasly came out of the fire looking angry.
"That wasn't funny, Fred!" Mr. Weasly said, "What on earth did you give that Muggle boy?"
The two continued arguing and Harry looked over to Ed. Edward was reading the report in the folder. "Who are you exactly?" Harry asked Edward.
Ed looked up from reading the report. "I was assigned here by Central and Dumbledore to protect you. I'm your bodyguard for the rest of the year."
"Bodyguard? I don't need a bodyguard." Harry said, confused. Ron turned from the fight and started listening.
"That's funny, because it says right here, in black and white, that you do." said Edward, "But unless you think that your headmaster made a mistake, then far be it from me to judge. I'll be happy to take my things and leave…" he turned, along with everyone else.
Mrs. Weasley came back from the kitchen, though nobody noticed that she had left. "Stop, stop, stop!" she yelled, and they hushed. Mrs. Weasley was holding Dumbledore's letter up. "Arthur, this is for you." She handed him the letter. Arthur took it, "By Jove…."
Dumbledore stood in front of two boys a duck and a dog-man. The boys were in hoods, "Don't worry," said a slightly shorter boy, "We'll take care of it."
"I have no doubt that you will." Dumbledore looked toward the duck, "Tell his majesty thank you for acting quickly."
"It's no problem." said the other boy. "We'll lock the keyhole for good, so Voldemort can't get his hands on it."