Disclaimer: Rowling owns Harry Potter and all affiliated characters. Hiromu Arakawa owns Full Metal Alchemist and all affiliated characters. I am poor, and it would be a waste of paper work to sue me.
Spoiler Warning: Harry Potter through book six, Full Metal Anime, through episode 50, but it starts around episode 40
Author's note: My ADD strikes again. I know I have three other works in progress and two other stories on hold. But this wouldn't get out of my brain. So here we go again. Remember to review!
Chapter 1: Look Both Ways Before Crossing
"I can't believe he's wasting our time on this," Edward Elric growled.
The short teenager lowered his head and walked faster, as if he were planning to charge straight through the wall at the end of the street. His two companions hurried to catch up. One was a similarly short man, dark haired and bespectacled, in a blue military uniform that seemed just a little too big. The other was in a towering suit of armor, studded with metal spikes, and coated with dust from a long journey.
"Brother, wait!" called an unexpectedly young voice from inside the armor. "You don't even know were you're going!"
Ed stopped, kicking a rock in frustration. "So where are we going Sergeant Fuery?" he demanded of the man in uniform.
"It's just a few blocks further, sir," Fuery said. "Can you hold this for a second, Al?" he asked the armor, handing over a lantern as he pulled out a note book to confirm what he just said.
Ed ground his teeth. It was hard to stay mad a Fuery, he was probably the nicest officer in the entire military. That's probably why Colonel Mustang sent him. He knew Ed would feel bad for acting like a jerk.
"Are you sure this can't wait? It feels like some kind of a trick," Ed asked. "They're about to invade Leore and he sends us off to dig up a dead Ishbalan's basement. If they had any useful alchemy they would have used it to keep the military out. Scar's carrying the only thing they had worth taking."
"The Colonel still wants it checked out. I have a feeling he doesn't want Colonel Archer to know about it until the last possible second if it's worth anything," Fuery added in a very low voice.
"How do you know that he doesn't already know?" asked Al.
"He would already have a team of goons around it if he did," Ed supplied. "Who found it?"
"They did a sweep through the city before they set up the command post in the main temple. The two soldiers who found it said they heard it humming," Fuery said.
"Humming?" asked Al.
Fuery nodded. "That's what they said. No one has heard anything like that since then."
They turned down another alley, filled with rubble from the collapsing buildings on both sides, and sand blown in from the surrounding desert. At the end of the alley was the ruined temple. It wasn't a building so much as a pile of randomly broken and scorched stones. A human skull peered out at them from beneath a cracked and tilted alter. They followed a set of boot prints through the mess leading to a recently uncovered stairwell.
"I don't think we should go down there," whispered Al. "Something feels very wrong about this."
"You can wait up here if you want, but the sooner we get this done the sooner we can go back to hunting Scar," Ed said.
"I'm coming, but we're going to do this fast right?" Al asked.
Al had his own reasons for wanting to rush. He'd let Marta out to use the bathroom before they left for the templeand she'd gone out a window. Al knew she was hunting for Kimley, the crazy alchemist who had murdered all of her friends. It was a fight she wasn't likely to win. He just hoped he could catch her again before something bad happened to her. They started down into the darkness. Al would have held his breath if he could have.
On his hands and knees Ed inspected the deep gouges, and veins of different composition on the surface of the stone. It was twelve feet in diameter and he was fairly certain there was more to it, under ground. There was a pattern. It didn't look like an alchemic circle, even one worn away by thousands of years of exposure. It was one though. He could feel it, resonating deep in the center of his chest, he could feel it. A part of him wanted more then anything to clap his hands together and start the energies surging, wanted to just turn it on, because even if he couldn't understand its purpose, he could understands its power. But reason won out.
"Anything yet Ed?" asked Sergeant Fuery.
Ed looked up from the stone circle.
"I don't have the slightest idea, except that it will draw a lot of energy when ever it does…what ever it does. Can you get me some tracing paper and maybe a lamp? Why'd it get so dark all of a sudden?"
"You've been staring at that thing for nearly three hours, Ed," called the monotonous but familiar voice of First Lieutenant Hawkeye.
"Can't have been-" Ed started to say, but Al and Fuery were nodding in agreement. "When did you get here?" Ed asked the Lieutenant, who towered over Fuery, holding a dying lantern.
"An hour ago," the stone faced Lieutenant replied, her red hued eyes glowing in the wavering light. "The Colonel wanted to know what was taking so long. From your expression I'd say you'd found something worth while."
Ed shrugged. "It could be a weapon or it could be a giant self destruct meant to blow this ruined city to hell. I can't tell. I need to study it more."
"The Colonel will be along shortly to get your report in person," the Lieutenant said.
"Great," Ed muttered. "I'd better get back to work then."
Ed crawled around the edge of the circle, inspecting the place where the circle met the stone floor. He pried loose a couple of stones from the floor and dug at the dirt underneath. He dug down half a meter, and still didn't come to the bottom of the stone that bore the circle. He got up.
"Everybody step back please," Ed said clapping his hands together.
"You aren't turning it on?" Al half asked half pleaded.
"No, just trying to get a look at the rest of it," Ed said, placing his hands on the floor next to the circle. The floor glowed a bright blue white and began to melt away from the stone, and creating a pit around it. It was as tall as it was wide, more importantly though, Ed could see that the pattern, the carving and the veins of rock, continued down through the cylinder. It was a three dimensional alchemy circle.
"This is…this is…" he tried to explain to the small group watching him.
"It can't possibly be stable," Al said, understanding.
"I think it goes through the center of the cylinder too," Ed said. "How could they have made this? It's almost impossibly complicated. The inner transcriptions can't even be accessible. I need some paper!"
Lieutenant Hawkeye, always prepared, took several large sheets out of the brief case at her feet. Ed snatched them with a rushed grunt of thanks.
"Al can you start tracing this pattern, and this one here?" He said thrusting the paper into his brother's hand.
"Alright, but I don't know if it's a good idea to be standing so close to it."
Ed climbed up on top of the cylinder and hopped up and down. "See, it's perfectly stable as long as we don't use alchemy on it. It's been here for at least a few hundred years, Al. Stop worrying."
Al nodded nervously. He took chalk from his belt and started tracing. Ed slapped some paper on top of the cylinder and started tracing as well. He was interrupted what seem like only a moment later by his commanding officer clearing his throat. He was about to object to the constant interruptions when he looked down and realized that he had already filled two dozen sheets with tracings. He didn't even remember Hawkeye handing him more paper. Ed hopped across the pit. The Colonel was a foot and a half taller then him. His dark hair and uniform hadn't collected a single spec of dirt. Ed looked down at himself. He was caked in mud from digging in the floor, and his hair was more dust colored then blond at the moment.
"Report FullMetal," Colonel Mustang demanded.
"Nothing to report yet…sir."
"Nothing? You've been here for almost the entire day. Do you at least have a theory?"
Ed nodded, his yellow eyes shinning. "It's an Alchemy cylinder."
The Colonel's mouth dropped open. "You can't be serious," He said looking over Ed's head to see the object of interest.
"Brother?" called Al from the pit around the cylinder.
"What?" Ed said.
"Brother, can you come here for a second?"
Ed could now hear an edge of panic in his brother's voice. He rushed over, and leapt down.
"Brother, my leg's caught." Al said.
Ed nodded. He hadn't actually needed that pointed out to him. His brother's armored leg, from his foot to the top of his thigh had sunk into the side of the cylinder.
"Did you use Alchemy on it?" Ed demanded as he grabbed his brother from behind and pulled as hard as he could.
"No! I was just leaning against it as I was tracing. It's pulling me in!" Al said.
"We could use a little help down here!" Ed called.
Fuery and Hawkeye scrambled into the pit. They grabbed Al and started to pull. Their efforts had no effect.
"The hell with this," Ed growled. "Everybody get back. Al I'm going to slice through your armor just above your leg. I'll make you a new one."
"Alright big Brother," Al said.
Ed clapped his hands together and with a spark of light a blade slid out of his right sleeve. He started to cut through the armor when the cylinder glowed. Al was yanked further in and his brother's arm, which had been between his chest and the stone was pulled in as well.
"Uh-oh," Ed muttered.
"Hang on!" Fuery said, grabbing Ed by the waist.
Hawkeye grabbed Al. Their tugging wasn't doing much good.
"Get something to cut us loose!" Ed shouted.
Fuery was clawing at Ed's coat. He was calling up to Colonel Mustang for help. Ed was only half listening. There was another strong tug and his right foot slid into the cylinder. He couldn't feel it. Al let out an anguished cry as his chest plate hit the cylinder and his helmet started to sink in.
"No, no, no!" Ed muttered, as his shoulder was pulled in.
"Let go!" Mustang ordered.
Fuery and Hawkeye didn't relinquish their grips.
"Sir," Hawkeye called. "It would be helpful if you could transmute some sort of cutting tool for us."
"It's too late. Let go!" Mustang ordered again.
"Sir!" Hawkeye grunted, "I think we can still-"
Ed's eyes widened as he realized Mustang was using his alchemy, but not to make a blade.
A rope of fire whipped up and slapped the two officers away from the trapped struggling teenagers. Fuery and Hawkeye fell back, fanning their burned hands. The last thing Ed saw was Mustang looking down at him.
"Guess I'll see you in hell," Ed growled as the stone pulled him in.
"It's been an hour," Donavan said.
Sorenson shrugged, and took another breath through his pipe. The smoke poured back out between the teeth of his skull mask. The skull's teeth were almost as tobacco stained as Sorenson's own. Donavan wondered whose skull it had been originally. He'd made his own mask from the skull of an old muggle born witch. Half her teeth were gone even before he'd killed her.
Donavan stalked across the field to Whidbey and Malfoy who were guarding the circle. Lestrange had wandered off into the woods, probably to kill small animals.
"Anything?" Donavan asked.
"No," Draco Malfoy answered in a monotone.
The boy had been talking like that ever since he was sent to make his mask. Half the Death Eaters though he was under the imperious curse, but no one had the guts to ask Snape about it. It wasn't their business anyway.
"I think we should cut his throat," Whidbey said, pointing to the bound prisoner in the center of the circle.
"The translation clearly stated a living body must be exchanged," Malfoy said.
"He hasn't died has he?" Donavan asked. "Maybe that's why it's not working."
They all turned to peer at the bound and gagged figure.
"He's still breathing," Whidbey said. "Maybe we should at least start him bleeding. It looks more like an Aztec Blood wheel then a Druid transformation circle. Maybe a little blood will get it going."
"He's already bleeding," Malfoy said.
"Maybe more blood," Whidbey said.
"Let's give it another hour," Donavan said. "Even if we are going to off him, we have to wait for Lestrange. She said she'd get anyone who got between her and him. That kid really must have pissed her off."
Whidbey leaned closer and lowered his voice. "She worked on him for six hours and he didn't break. With his parents it only took her two, so either he's made of stone or she's lost her edge."
"Keep that to yourself or she'll hone it on you."
"Something is happening," Malfoy said, startling them both.
Light danced over he patterns carved in the stone circle, glowing blue, silver, and white. It chased itself around the corkscrews and up the rays and then back into another loop. The light was so bright it turned the sacrificial offering into a shadow.
Malfoy sent off a message to Riddle Manor, alerting them to the change in status. The light dimmed a bit and the bound teenager sank into the stone. When he had vanished completely the lights went out. The death Eaters exchanged glances.
"That better not have been it," Whidbey growled.
"There," Malfoy said pointing.
The stones remained dark, but a hulking form was rising out of the circle. Malfoy raised his wand and cast light over the unfolding scene. A huge suit of armor rose out of the stone. This must be the power spoken of in the texts their master had found. It had to be some kind of mystical armor. The air echoed as five more Death Eaters apparated in.
"Is that a girl or a boy?" Donavan asked.
The rest of the Death Eaters turned to look at the diminutive figure standing slightly behind the towering armor.
"Doesn't look much like an ultimate power does it?" Whidbey said.
"Come here little one," Bellatrix called in simpering sweet voice.
Wisely, the kid didn't move.
"Atrel lsghnrk daht otg thgr rir?" the kid called out in a voice that was young but definitely male.
"Anybody understand that?" Whidbey asked.
"Do you have a really bad feeling about this Al?" Ed asked.
He didn't take his eyes off the figures in skull masks surrounding them, but he heard the clank as his brother nodded.
He thought they were both dead when the stone had pulled them in, but when the sky appeared above him and Al appeared at his side he thought things were gong to work out. Looking around though, perhaps he hadn't been that far off when he told Mustang he'd see him in hell.
"Can you start up the cylinder again?" asked Al. "Can you send us back?"
Ed knelt down. "I'll try," he said, clapping his hands together. "Warn me if any of them-"
A red light struck Ed in the chest and sent him tumbling into the snowy field that surrounded the stone. Al heard his brother swearing and knew he was alright. He charged towards the nearest of the masked men. A green light washed over him, but he didn't feel anything. He slammed a fist down on one of the masked men's head. As he went limp Al picked him up and tossed him into one of his companions. Other colored lights bounced off of Al. A few put dents in his armor or made him stumble, but they did little to slow him down. He slammed his fist into the chest of another of their attackers. The ground rumbled and he spared a glance at Ed, who was using alchemy to shoot spikes out of the ground and knock the skull men off their feet.
Ed clapped his hands together and a blade slid out of his right sleeve. He ducked under another blast of light and slashed his attacker across the chest. It wasn't a deep cut but the man dropped the strange stick like object he was using to shoot energy blasts at them. Ed's foot flew up and broke his nose. He snatched up the stick, but it didn't appear to be anything other then wood. He rolled sideways under another blast and clapped his hands again. He slammed them to the ground and a blast of earth and snow splattered two more of his attackers in the face. He somersaulted forward and took out the one on the left with kick to the head. The other one had recovered though and Ed brought up his right arm just in time to block a blast of red light that was coming at his face. His coat caught fire and he threw it off, exposing his auto-mail arm. The man who had attacked him started as he saw the artificial limb, and Ed took the opportunity to rush forward and crack the man's teeth with it. He looked around for someone else to hit. Only two masked freaks were left standing, a woman, whose dark hair stood out around her mask, and a tall pale teenager whose maskwas fallingoff. Ed watched both of them closely. They looked human, but then again, so did humunculi.
"Hey big brother," Al called. "Do you think it's some kind of alchemy they're using to make those energy blasts?"
"I don't know Al. But lets finish them off before we stop to chat," Ed said, as he pointed his blade wheedling arm at the two left standing. "Looks like you freaks picked on the wrong alchemists!"
The dark haired woman laughed, though Ed didn't think she'd understood him. The field around them echoed with a dozen gunshot cracks, and twelve more masked goons stepped out of thin air. Ed's triumphant expression faded. The new goons opened fire. Ed ducked the shots coming from behind him, but the woman in front of him was too close to miss. A green light hit him in the face.
Al heard his brother screaming and turned. His brother never screamed like that. Even when he was having his automail surgery he'd never made such awful pained noises. The world around Al tunneled in. All he could see was the laughing woman, and his brother writhing on the muddy ground. Blasts of energy hit him, but he barely registered them. He charged.
Severus Snape stood calmly back from the fight and watched as a half ton of armor collided with Bellatrix Lestrange, and huge fist slammed her into the ground. The blond boy was climbing back to his feet. He trembled from the after effects of the curse, but his eyes were narrow and focused on the other Death Eaters, who were closing in around him.
Amycus tried to hit the boy with a paralysis hex, but he easily ducked under it, and charged towards his attacker. The wizard tried a stunning curse, but that too was easily avoided. Amycus managed to fire one more curse, but the boy took it on his metal arm with no apparent effect and in the next instant, Amycus was in his reach. The boy was half his size but he easily over whelmed the wizard with a couple of quick punches and a kick in the stomach. Snape noted that the boy did not simply run his opponent through with the wicked looking blade that jutted from his arm. As the boy charged toward another Death Eater, Snape set up his shot.
The dislocation charm hit the boy in his right shoulder. In a normal human the hex would have left the arm disarticulated and useless, hanging at the victim's side. In this case, the boy's mechanical arm popped right out of the socket and landed in the mud a few yards away. The boy fell face first in the mud. Snape watched as Burke approached the fallen boy, and received a kick in the groin. The boy got back to his feet, a little off balance from the loss of a limb. His foot snapped up, catching the hunched Death Eater in the jaw and laying him out. The boy whirled, his eyes locking onto his detached arm. He ducked several blasts as he rushed towards it. Again Snape took his time lining up his shot.
The chain binding hex flew across the field and slammed the boy sideways into the ground. He rolled, kicked, and struggled as the chain snaked around him, but after a few seconds he was completely immobilized. Snape walked over to his prisoner at a dignified pace, his dark robes billowing around him. The armored one had seen his companion fall and was charging towards them. Snape muttered a spell and the end of his wand glowed with a wicked green light. Snape hadn't bothered to put on his mask. His own face was more then enough to send people fleeing now. He raised an eyebrow at the armored figure and then held his wand toward the immobile boy. The threat was obvious. The armored one froze.
The armored figure shouted something. It had the voice of a boy, but Snape could not understand a single word he was saying. He looked into the red glowing eyes of the helmet, but Legilimency gained him nothing. At his feet the blond boy shouted to the armored one in the same language. From his tone Snape could tell he was angry and afraid. He was probably telling the other one to keep fighting. Snape looked around. Of the dozen Death Eaters he had brought with him, four were still standing. None of those from the first two waves were still conscious.
"Activate the recall portkeys," Snape ordered without raising his voice.
Around the field unconscious Death Eaters flitted out of sight. Snape pondered for a moment. The armored one would be a lot of trouble to contain, and they wouldn't be able to do much to interrogate him until they learned his language. The boy at his feet was all they really needed at that moment. He leaned down and got a grip on his prisoner's chains. The armored one seemed to understand what was going on and rushed them, but Snape activated his own portkey long before he could take more then a few steps.