(A/N) Hey there, another fic disaster from me, this time, my first 'serious' attempt at FMA. Read: Absolute canon fuckage. I don't care really, at least not for this fic in particular. Those who know me know I can be almost anal when it comes to canon, but for this… well, I said what the hell and went along with it.
Needless to say, it was a surprising turn of events… and yes, I panicked when I broke the ten page limit. I was afraid it would turn into a behemoth like Maktub. …that fic has me in a trauma, you know? But yes. Rants aside, this all Lady Jade's fault… just because. So, this one goes for you Mara ;)
If you can, find "A song of storm and fire" and "I talk to the rain" by Yuki Kajiura to read this. They were the musical inspiration.
Beginning quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist and related trademarks; However, I do own Ivy, Alan and the Songs. As in, I wrote them. Take them and die painful bloody death.
Seven Pointed Star.
"The compensations of calamity are made apparent to the understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts."
Ed wished his eardrums would stop throbbing and that horrible sound would shut the fuck up. Groaning, the blond haired Alchemist sat back, and ran a short list about his current state. He was dressed, though soaked, his back ached but both automail and flesh were relatively intact. He reached for his neck, the small stub of bone was still hanging from the necklace there. He was sitting back on a dark alley, and now that the headache had dulled, he noticed the whole floor was thumping to a really loud yet dried sound. A bass. Cautionously walking out of the alley, Ed's eyes widened almost comically. He hadn't passed through the gate… he had jumped in time again. And this time it hadn't been a few years either… Everything around him looked… strange. Cars parked on the streets were stylish and there were lighted signs around everywhere, bright and vibrant.
No, Ed was not back home… he was in the future.
XXI century, to be precise.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck…" Screwing his eyes shut, the blond leaned against the shabby wall, cursing every deity he knew.
"Hey kid," A lanky teenager grinned goofily at him, dark blue eyes amused. He made a strange sign with his hands and hit his chest, making Ed tense somewhat, "Cool look, rather… retro. Peace brother."
And he walked away, sauntering strangely as if his arms and legs were too big for his body or his pants were too heavy or something. Ed glared and refrained barely from screaming that he was not his brother, thank you very much, and instead got into the main street, blinking a bit at the bright lights. The sky was dark, though the neon signs amused him slightly. This must be the future of… London… He watched the names of the nearby bars, and found which one was causing so much noise. "Dante's hideout." The irony burned on Ed's tongue, but he stumbled inside, determined to find out when exactly he had landed.
Inside the deceptively small looking bar, Ed found himself in a darkened room, with strobe lights flashing around and making his movements somewhat awkward. There was a bar at the right hand side, where a few people were sitting, and tables scattered at the left hand. Further back, there was a nice sized dance floor and a stage housing a group of instruments. People were cheering and the music was making the floor bounce slightly. Ed felt his headache coming back to haunt him. Sliding into a stool, he let his head rest on his folded arms. He needed money, he needed to know where the hell he was, he needed… that whomever was touching him to remove their hands if they wanted to keep them.
"Hey, no kids after ten," The gruff voice scolded him, and Ed felt his eyes turn to slits.
Whirling around, he glared murder at the taller man, and clasped both metal and flesh hands over his, snarling. He was annoyingly tall, as tall as Armstrong, Ed noticed distantly, all dark green eyes and black hair. Intimidating, if one was not a renown State Alchemist and the Fullmetal at that.
"Who are you calling 'kid'?" Hissing disdainfully Ed easily pushed the bouncer away from him, and for the first time, everyone took noticed of the metallic limb.
"Seems he caught you, Sean," The bartender laughed as said Sean pulled back, apparently shaken by the promise of pain in the golden eyes, "No kid would be allowed to get a Claw."
Sean sulked away, causing Ed to huff irritably and the bartender to grin. He had an eerie resemblance to Alphonse, yet his eyes were a warm grey green and the hair was oddly spiked as he set a scotch in front of Ed.
"Oh, take it on the house," The blonde winked, "As a compensation. The name is Al," He offered his hand to a sudden ashen white Ed, who shook it wearily, "You're not from around here, are you?"
"Edward and no, I," Ed scowled at himself, shrugging, "I'm not… you reminded me of someone, sorry."
"Ah," Al arched his eyebrows and shrugged lightly, "Former lover? Wouldn't really be the first time, actually…" He grinned boyishly, cleaning a glass with a smugness that made Ed sick, "Of course, with my charms…"
"My brother," Ed rasped out softly, not looking at Al anymore, instead glaring down at the scotch that was tempting him with the promise of oblivion, "My younger brother."
"Oh," Al looked slightly taken a back, and irrationally, Ed hated him for making him feel bad about it, "Sorry."
"It's alright," Ed grinned weakly, "Not your fault for being handsome."
Al laughed good naturedly and refilled the glass of scotch. He refilled it several times afterwards, as their chat moved forward, to the city itself and its lifestyle. To Al, Ed either came out of a very isolated town or he had been living under a rock. But the shorter blonde was amusing and generally a good lad… until his height was mentioned. It happened accidentally, but there had been a certain murderous flame in the golden eyes that made him wonder.
"Do you have where to stay?" He asked when Ed was sporting a nice and permanent blush, watching his reaction measurably.
By the way he was blinking, Al knew the answer already.
"Um, listen," The taller blonde shrugged, "This might sound a bit forward, but with the troops around, you shouldn't stay out… and I need someone to replace that idiot of a waiter that got killed last week, so yeah."
"Are you coming on, on me?" Ed mused after a moment, arching an eyebrow.
"Sorta," Al grinned, then his face turned serious, "But you too remind me of someone, someone who was foolish enough to stay out in town past curfew. We're at war, Eddie, I wouldn't kick someone into his death outside right now."
"I haven't gotten a cent on me," Ed argued softly, shrugging, "And don't call me that."
"Details," The bartended shrugged again, "Listen, if you stay up tonight and help me clean up this mess, I'll let you stay the night. Tomorrow you can see what you'll do."
Envy laughed, an insane glint in his eyes as he twisted and used his body to attack. Sixteen soldiers and four state Alchemists were down before him, and everyone was growing desperate. Roy Mustang snarled as he created another fireball, and watched as Hawkeye loaded her gun again. It had happened, what they feared the most, a homunculus who had gathered enough power, a philosopher stone and enough determination to kill them all. The Headquarters were holding up the best they could, but they knew it was pointless, no one knew where Envy's remains where or how he had archived his new alchemy, or…
There was the light of a gate behind the homunculus, and a very familiar silhouette walking through. The coat was missing, and the cloths were torn and strange, from another world. But Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist, was back in Almestris, and he didn't look happy. In fact, his face looked blank, emotion completely washed off his face.
"Well, if ain't the pipsqueak," Envy cawed, grinning.
"Drop that form," Ed replied instead, voice chilling as his eyes narrowed, "You don't deserve his form."
"Come and make me," The green haired teen clapped his hands forcefully, causing a rip of earth and spikes to rush against the blond.
"I plan to," Fullmetal didn't even bother to dodge the attacks, watching them crash against the ward around him, the almost black stone glowing into navy blue, wasting slowly, "You're too predictable, brother."
Envy screeched in anger as he launched himself against the older Elric, then froze when the telltale tingling ran through his spine. It was too late to pull back, however, and the blonde Alchemist twisted himself around as he delivered a brutal kick to the homuluncus' chest. Slamming him against the floor, Edward looked strangely solemn as he raised his metal arm, which transmutated slowly into a blade. Envy howled as he noticed the glowing stone hanging from the Fullmetal's neck, enraged even as the blade sunk into him, glowing strangely in a soothing golden light. A large array glowed under them, burning through earth as Envy shrieked in pain, every fiber of his cursed body disintegrating under the power that was cursing through him. Ed didn't move, the blade lodged an inch in earth as he kept himself still. His eyes were closed and his face obscured by his bangs. The stone Envy had used against them shattered, crumbling to dust under the slaughter of energy.
No one noticed the stray tears that fell as Envy disappeared, existing no more.
"Arg! Palm tree!"
Ed pointed at the taller male with a rather pathetic butter knife, eyes wide and mouth dry.
"...you, short stuff, need to lay off the vodka," This Envy-but-not-quite arched an eyebrow, smirking as he let a hand fall on his hip.
"Wha- who the fuck are you calling short, you freak!" The blonde Alchemist growled, baring his teeth in warning.
It was Envy, to some extent. The clothing was similar, but the headband had a yin yang symbol, rather than the triangle Ed remembered, and there was no tattoo on the green haired teen's thigh. The hair and the eyes and the smirk where the same though, eerily so. Ed swallowed hard.
"I dye my hair green, you point knives at innocent by standers, who is the freak?" He still did that thing, of tilting his neck and obscuring his face with his hair, while his hips stood out on the side.
"...Envy?" Ed knew it couldn't be, of course, but he just had to ask, some sort of morbid curiosity coloring his tone. The purple eyed teen blinked.
"Don't tell me you're a fan?" Sliding into a stool, Envy balanced his legs curiously, "If so, this is the weirdest way to ask for an autograph."
"Ed!" Alphonse's eyes blurred with tears as he ran towards his brother.
The cold glare felt like a physical blow to him. Roy furrowed his brow as the Fullmetal stood up and regarded them with a look of quiet hatred and loud despair. Ed was hurting, but no one had any idea why. And they noticed the differences too, now that they weren't on risk of dying.
Ed was taller, not by much, but he had grown. His features were sharper, his eyes somber and a thin scar ran from ear to chin on the left side of his face. The hair was longer too, reaching to his waist and still braided carefully. The clothes, black but from unfamiliar materials, were torn and marred with dried blood. The right shoulder was twisted awkwardly, dislocated. There was also the strange stone glowing in his chest which looked like, but couldn't be a philosopher stone. It was blue, a deep navy blue, but it looked as if it was wasting.
"Colonel," Ed said almost wryly, regarding him still as his authority and not quite. The light teasing in his voice was gone, replaced by an acid void that seemed to swell with hatred, "Or perhaps I should say General?"
"Fullmetal," Roy didn't know where his voice came from, but he hoped it was steady enough. He knew his heartbeat wasn't, "Welcome back… But let our medic look at you, then perhaps you can talk about what happened."
Edward nodded and then walked calmly back into the main building, completely ignoring Al or Hawkeye or Havoc. There was a knot of tension in his back and anyone who knew the Fullmetal, was well aware of the upcoming explosion.
"So you work for Alan now?" Envy, or rather, Ivy, asked curiously, looking at Ed with a risen eyebrow, "What do you do? Clean under the table?"
"Look," Ed clenched the mop tightly, leaving dents on the metal where his automail dig into it, "Al said not to kill you, but he didn't say a thing about maiming you."
"Aw," The green haired annoyance clasped his hands behind his back and balanced on his heels. The epitome of innocence… not, "You wouldn't harm an innocent child, would you?"
"Keep trying, Wagner," Ed sneered testily, his temper barely kept in check, "Keep trying and I'll clean the floor with that stupid hair of yours."
"Bah," The taller, yet younger teen cornered Ed against the bar, grinning deviously, "Promises, promises."
Ed blushed slightly, then narrowed his eyes dangerously as he snarled. Something acid and potentially lethal was about to escape his lips when Al appeared to save Ivy's hide. The green haired monster, who absolutely adored to piss Ed off was sort of a baby brother for the bartender, who eventually turned out to be the owner of the bar. Ivy Wagner, as this 'Envy' was actually called, was the lead singer of the quickly dying 'Seven Sins', which played regularly in Al's bar. Ed, as the newest member of the bar crew, had the displeasure of seeing much of the annoying, self confident, arrogant brat.
"He's going to kill you one of these days, Vy, just leave him alone," Al soothed as he placed his hands on the taller teen's shoulders, giving Ed a placating look.
"Keh," Was all the Fullmetal muttered as he went back to cleaning and Ivy was forcefully shoved towards the stage, where his guitar was waiting.
"Then you must hand in that stone!" The new Führer roared, eyes wide.
He was a surprisingly small man, with pale blond hair and dark green eyes. Ed didn't like him, and his sneer told the man so, more clearly than any snapping would.
"You can't," And the Fullmetal's voice was so hollow, so darkened, that Roy, two steps behind him, shivered inwardly, "It was made for me, no one else will be able to use it."
"Nonsense," Spitting the word almost acidly, the Führer glared at Ed, then snapped at Mustang, "General? Remove the stone."
"Go ahead," Ed smirked nastily, "But don't say I didn't warn you."
General Mustang had worked with an Elric long enough to know he was about to do something very stupid. Nevertheless, he reached out for the stone. It turned an inky black and volts of energy cracked within as his gloved hand approached, and when he touched it, he was physically blown away, slammed painfully against a wall. Faintly, the Flame Alchemist noticed the stone had washed again, becoming a shade lighter.
"What kind of trick is this, Fullmetal?" The Führer demanded with a snarl, green eyes slitted.
"No trick, just… equivalent exchange, Sir," Ed shrugged, looking at the stumbling Roy almost pitifully, "It's not a philosopher stone, per se."
"What?" Falling back on his seat, the Führer frowned.
Fullmetal was not posing any danger to him, except he was being a complete and utter bastard and refusing to say more than what was asked. Martin Guttenberg had raised to power by his insight into the matters of war and how to deal with people. He had a certain degree of 'empathy' that allowed him to be a fairly accurate character judge. No, Edward Elric was angry and full of a scorching hatred to something, perhaps even himself, but Guttenberg was sure it was not directed at him or the system or anything that would pose a threat.
"How the hell did you get a Soul Crystal, Fullmetal?" Roy asked as he pulled himself together, eyes wide.
Ed smiled, a thin lipped gesture that carried grief in every line, and shrugged.
Ivy tripped and Ed didn't think, he reacted. Pulling the taller teenager with him, they both fell behind the bar, as earth itself shook around them. Outside, the sirens whined and gunfire could be heard. For the first time since he had met him, Ed saw Ivy be something else but a pompous ass. He was quivering, ashen white and hugging himself to calm his nerves. For that fleeting instant, he wasn't the green haired annoyance that seemed to live to make him throw a tantrum, or the spitting image of his half brother, or that sexy singer with the angel's voice. He was just a child and he was afraid.
"Shh," Ivy found himself awkwardly folded into Ed's arms, blushing brightly at the seemingly innocent contact, "Relax Envy, they'll be gone soon."
They winced together as a loud explosion echoed into early morning, and Ed thanked any deity listening that he had gotten Ivy to stay back and help with the clean up. Otherwise… otherwise he didn't want to think about it. He unconsciously licked the blood slowly oozing from his face, where the smashed crystal had gotten him, and ill humouredly wondered if it would leave a pretty scar. It was a long time before the screams and the yells died out, and when they did, Ed realized he had a lap full of sleeping Envy.
For a strange reason he didn't understand, he couldn't bring himself to forcefully wake the other, and instead arranged himself to sleep the night there, behind the bar and with a cramped neck.
"I believe this is yours," Roy said awkwardly, noting with a sense of frustration that recently, everything he did regarding Edward Elric was awkward.
The blonde didn't notice, he was too busy staring at the watch being offered to him. Roy noticed his Adam apple wobbled slightly, and found the gesture strangely endearing. But there were few things endearing about the Fullmetal Alchemist, fewer by the day, and it ate Mustang inside to not be able to tell what was happening. Ed's tale was consistent, detailed enough to placate the irritable Führer, but not detailed enough to placate the curiosity of his former commanding officer.
"You kept that old thing?" Was all the golden eyed Alchemist could ask as he took the watch almost with awe.
"I was your superior when you disappeared, so most of your things went into my possession," He smiled wryly, almost sheepishly, "I gave them all to Alphonse, of course, but I decided to kept the watch for some reason."
And something within Roy Mustang cracked horribly as Edward Elric gave him – him and not Alphonse or Havoc or Hawkeye, him – the first honest smile since he had walked into the battle and killed Envy so efficiently.
"You're one of them, aren't you?" Ivy looked terribly small as he said it, sitting on the rail of the bar's rooftop, balancing precariously as he swung his feet around. He was still wearing those trice damned shorts that were so awfully distracting, "A sorcerer I mean."
Ed stopped. He had been silently walking towards the green haired teen, had the words well practiced in his mind – fucking jump already or come inside for dinner, but stop making Al pace around like an obsessive idiot – and completely forgot them as he stared at the back of the teenager that had turned his life upside down.
"A sorcerer?" He echoed the word frowning, and Ivy turned to look at him from the corner of his left eye, the purple iris strangely somber.
"They started this war… all the wars… long time ago," There was no accusation in that tone, even though the words felt like a slap against the blonde, "They can shape the world at their will, with their stupid circles and their marks, their incarnations and the talismans. They broke everyone's will and tried to impose themselves over the rest," Ed noticed, faintly, through shock and horror, that Ivy was shaking like a leaf, "My mother was one of them."
"She said there was another world, where their… their science had come from, where they were the norm and not the exception," That stupidly long hair moved softly against the evening breeze, "Why do they call science something that broke the world? Science is supposed to help people, isn't it? To make life better?"
"I'm sorry," And Ed was surprised to realize he actually meant it, "I…"
"Why would you call science that stupid thing that turned my mother into a power source for an idiot who wanted to rule the world?"
It took him two days before he finally came around to meet Al. His Al. Not some alternate version of him, but the real Alphonse Elric, delightfully blonde, delightfully his brother. He had embraced him, tightly, and told him he was sorry… he didn't told him for what, but Al understood. For being gone. For failing. For being an idiot. For not being the Ed he remembered.
"I'm getting married," Al told him after a long moment, both staring through the window into the sunset, "In eight months."
Ed said nothing for a while and Al tried to tell himself he was glad his brother was back, even if it was a broken, hastily pulled together version of his brother. He was startled to feel a flesh hand on his shoulder, reassuring. Ed didn't look at him, eyes fixed on a distant point in the horizon.
"Take good care of Winry for me, Al."
And then he was walking away, again. And Alphonse was fighting the raising panic and forcefully told himself Ed was not going to vanish into thin air, again.
It was a silly thing to notice, but Ed did, Ivy's eyes were really warm when you were looking at them from up close. Of course, when he slid his lips over his, the blonde stopped thinking all together and just felt. This was good and right in the strangest way, even when his neck kinda hurt from stretching and his hands fell idly on Ivy's shoulders. Even when it was sloppy and wet and strange and there was tongue somewhere.
But then, Ivy was moaning and whatever stupid remark he was about to do died in it.
And when they broke apart, clothes in disarray, flushed and confused, Ed had the small consolation that at least he wasn't the only one.
"I'm not going to get used to it," Ed said suddenly, startling Mustang into almost falling down the couch he had been lounging on.
"Mmm?" The dark haired Alchemist picked himself from the awkward position he had managed to get into, and found with certain disappointment, a very acute lack of mocking in his companion's eyes.
"General Elric," The Fullmetal said with a shrug, "It's just… not right."
"I'm still surprised Guttenberg didn't demote you from the little show in his office," Came the grumbling reply.
Ed smiled faintly. He didn't know how exactly he had ended up in Roy Mustang's apartment. He only knew that he couldn't live with Al anymore, and that it was unbecoming of his new 'rank' to sleep in the dormitories. Plus, Roy had scotch and Ed had this new habit of drinking himself to oblivion on Friday nights and being rudely awoken on Mondays. And Roy didn't ask, he gave him plenty of openings to tell him something, anything, but he didn't out right asked.
It probably had something to do with the Führer making Roy his official nanny, though. Since it was painfully obvious Ed was still the Fullmetal Alchemist and as such, not fit in the slightest to do paperwork. Roy tried to keep up with him, even when he no longer felt capable of using his own Alchemy; a borrowed .45 from Hawkeye became his newest best friend.
"The charisma hasn't died completely, it seems," Ed replied somewhat hauntingly, looking at his other time superior with a certain sense of loss.
Roy made a small sound in the back of his throat, and watched as Edward rose and walked over to the window, opening it and sitting on the rail. Then watched with a sort of morbid fascination as the younger man took out a cigarette and lit it calmly, methodically.
Homulunculi, The Gate and War had not killed Edward Elric… but nicotine would, in time.
"I hate it when you smoke," Roy said before he could stop himself, but instead of a violent out burst – when was Ed going to snap? When was he going to release all that stupid tension into a fight with him, as usual? – he got a disdainful look.
"I hate it when you try to remind me I'm still alive," Ed countered acidly, and set to ignore him for the rest of the evening.
Roy read the same line in his book sixteen times before he fled the room.
The door to his room banged open and Ed jerked away, eyes wide and hair a mess. His eyes caught Ivy's siluet, and he snarled despite himself. It wasn't even ten am, and he had been up until five. He needed sleep and he was going to kill for it if needed.
"What the fuck-"
And then he saw his eyes. Wide, frightened and teary. Ed felt himself grow sick as Ivy ended up against him, curling and sobbing and shaking. Ivy Wagner didn't cry. Envy didn't cry. He was arrogant and pretty and self confident and he always managed to nag Ed into a fight that always ended into a kiss. He was annoying and loud mouthed and he never, ever left Ed to sulk around in peace. And he was crying too, holding onto Ed and shivering.
And in that second, between a heartbeat and the next, Ed realized he hated the thought of Envy crying, hated it fiercely, and made it his new personal crusade to prevent him from crying, ever again.
"Elia is dead, Ed," The green haired teen told him long after, when he was done crying and he'd stopped shaking so badly, "I… I had a fight with her, last night, remember? 'Cause she said I was wasting my time singing nonsense instead of doing something important. She always wanted me to be someone important. She took after mom, you see? When she… she… turned into that thing, Elia started reading the books and making circles and marks. She stopped singing with me, too."
Elia Wagner, alternate Lust, a tall woman who absolutely hated Edward and made sure he knew it so. Sarcastic, volatile, with that acid wit and a knack for bringing out his height in the worst possible moment. And she was dead. Ivy's sister was dead. Ed felt something lodge into his throat, and it was then when he realized he cared. He cared about these people who were so similar to those he knew but not, who had given him a place to stay, something to do, even if it was as stupid as cleaning the mess in a bar and dodging military troops. These people, with their quirks and habits, they were his home now.
"What happened?" He managed to ask softly, running a hand over the tangled mess of hair and prompting Ivy slowly, patiently.
Ed realized he had become the patient one, if only because there was no one else to be.
"She… she was like mom, a sorcerer," Ivy shivered, face buried in the crook of Ed's neck, snot and tears marring the light green shirt Ed used to sleep, "She worked for the rebels. And then, today… it was my fault, Ed, she went to buy me something, for my birthday, and the soldiers saw her and somehow recognized her and…"
Ivy broke down again, and Ed did nothing but hold him and tell him he was there. Not that everything would be fine, because it wouldn't, but that he wasn't alone.
Ed held Ivy there, and assured himself that wherever, whenever, Al was, he was fine.
Roy watched the scene with an unreadable expression, lips thin and eye strangely hard.
"Al looks up to you," He said after a moment, watching the blond snort, "He always has."
Ed was resting his head against his arms, lounging on the kitchen table, with a bottle of scotch half way done. He reeked of alcohol and tobacco, and the stench made Roy sick. His clothes were carelessly thrown on him, and his hair was a tangled mess badly tamed into a pony tail. Ed was mourning, but Roy had no idea of what or who. He knew, however, how he felt and remembered with a wince the sort of things he had done after Ishbal, the trials he had set on Maes when they came back home.
"Al doesn't fucking need me anymore," Ed replied acidly, looking up for a moment to let the taller man see the despair swirling in his eyes, "No one needs me and it's fucking fine with me."
"He loves you Edward," Roy said softly, calmly, because he could still remember all the hurtful things he had told Maes in those moments, when he wanted nothing more but curl up and die, "Many people still do."
"They love me? They love me?" Ed voice was raising steadily and Roy prepared for the slaughter, shoulders tense, "And I suppose this is where you tell me that you know how this feels and that it'll pass in time, then? That you too felt this way and wished for these things, but that the love," And Roy wished to never see that sneer again, "Of friends and family was enough to pull you forward?"
"Yes," Roy hated the way his palms felt sweaty, the way his nails were sinking into his skin, biting, terrible, foretelling.
"Then tell me, General Roy Mustang," The blonde's tone was an insult itself, and the dark haired man hated himself when he flinched, "Why the fuck do you wear that stupid patch everywhere, if your friends and family love you and make it better?"
The door to Roy's room slammed a moment later, forcefully and terribly, but Ed convinced himself he didn't care, even when he could almost swear he heard the whimper coming from within.
Ed told him. Everything. Alphonse, his mother, the military, Izumi, Dante, the Homulunculi, the gate, the war, Ishbal, everything. And Ivy listened to it, eyes widening, paling, shaking… but accepting. He didn't judge him but couldn't understand him either… so he merely accepted it, and for that, Ed was grateful.
"She shot the dog?" Purple eyes wide, Ivy looked at him horrified.
"No, around the dog," Ed shrugged, "Hawkeye had a strange way to show affection… probably that's why the bastard liked her."
"Ah…" Long fingers played idly on the strings, "Did you…"
Silence stretched for a while, and Ed fixed his eyes stubbornly on the book he was trying to read. Ivy left after a while, and Ed promised himself he didn't feel disappointed.
"He loved me, you know?" Ed mused out loud, voice almost awed as he glanced over at his companion. Roy grunted, "Loved me enough to do something stupid even when I asked him not to."
Outside of the small cabin, another bomb went off, causing them to flinch. Ed fingered the stone hanging from his neck, promising – it'll be soon, I promise… then you can rest… please go to rest…
"Damnit, I want a scotch," Roy muttered and gained himself a snort from his companion, "How long until we can go there and stop this nonsense?"
"Soon," Ed looked distant, hearing Hawkeye's voice carried through the wind, listening to her directing the troops, the gunfire, everything, "I brought Envy into this world again, that's why I came back," Roy paused, turning to face him, frowning at the random confession, "I didn't have anything back there anyway, so I figured I'd come and fix that mess."
"People died when Envy came through," There was no reproach in the voice, but Ed flinched nevertheless, "He almost killed Al… he came through looking like you."
"He would," The Fullmetal snorted, "He always had a stupid sense of irony… but he's gone now. Both are."
But Roy didn't get an answer, instead, he found himself running through the battlefield, in the wake of a blonde Alchemist who wouldn't talk to him and watching as the power of the Soul Crystal unleashed again, apparently without Ed's will. It was fading, but along with it, so was Edward, to some point.
The crystal was a pale blue, slightly transparent, when Roy yelled and pulled Ed against him, causing them both to crash hard against the dried grass.
"I cry the lives that've been taken,
The promise that's been broken,
The slumbering that won't be awoken,
The echoes made a token."
Ed knew, as he watched Ivy swing those taunting hips in an almost hypnotic way, that the song was for him. If the lyrics weren't clear enough, the continuous glances in his direction, short and nervous, were enough proof. It was a tempting sight, he had to admit, because holding the guitar wasn't stopping any of those sensual slips from the taller teen, and Ed did like his voice. Quite a lot actually.
"I cry for liberation,
In this stupid quest for salvation
I beg for life out of starvation,
For a place to be brought into redemption."
He lusted after him. Ed was man enough and crazy enough to admit it, he was lusting for this alternate Envy who had the strangest cravings of sugary treats at four am. Who never cleaned after himself and who usually found a way to end up in his lap. Who had that annoying habit of biting in between kisses and who moaned quietly when Ed combed his fingers through his hair.
"But it's our story,
In a lonesome night,
That I feel you guide me,
That I feel you love me,
Push me back into the light."
"If you break it, you pay it," Al mused with a grin, noticing the glass in Ed's hand crack slightly.
"What?" The blonde Alchemist turned to look at, he realized wryly, his boss, blushing brightly.
"It's fine Ed, he likes you, you like him," The green haired man grinned as Ed flushed, horrified, "Just… clean after yourselves and don't wake me up, that's all I ask."
Ed watched through widened eyes as the fire circle that Mustang had unexpectedly cast broadened and served as an attack on their enemies. Then bleached as he felt a warmth spread on his back and the unmoving Flame Alchemist groaning above him. Ed felt his eyes narrow dangerously. He hated the almost weightless feeling of power hanging from his neck, the fresh blood that was marking his clothes, the wounds that were oozing said blood. The ashen white color Mustang was sporting as he slowly bled to death, three bullet wounds clearly visible.
"I hate you," Ed whispered vehemently, forcing Roy onto his back, even as he heard the regrouped unit disposing of their enemies, beyond the flame barrier, "I hate you for making it worth it."
And as he held his hands over the wounded chest, the blue stone glowed and slowly flickered into a pure crystal, the wounds healing perfectly as they would under treatment with a Red Stone. Ed let his hands fall limply on Roy's now healed chest, head bowed as the crystal felt, for lack of better wording, dead on his neck. Mustang was breathing harshly, eyes tightly closed and lips thin, but he was alive and awake, if the soft whimpers were any indication.
No one saw Ed cry, silent tears sliding down his cheeks, eyes hidden behind his bangs, as the sky poured down on them. The dark haired Alchemist heard it, knew it was happening, but refused to move.
I'm useless in the rain, anyway, he told himself wryly, even as the smaller hands removed themselves from him.
And he was not crying either.
Ed never knew he could be patient. He just… hadn't had any incentive to be. Ivy was on his bed, though. Willing and nude, trembling softly as both metal and flesh hands trailed over him. And though Ed had a fairly good idea of what he wanted, he was still in enough control of his mind to know he had to pace down a bit.
After all, Ivy had taught him how to properly hold and play a guitar, how to make that strange motion with a bottle without having to pay for any broken crystals, how to properly set up a fight and make it believable. Why should he be surprised about learning a bit of restrain? Alchemy was all about self control, Ed mused, it was just obvious that sex would be too.
"Fuck!" The green haired teen arched almost fully off the bed, mewling through clenched teeth as his eyes shut tightly.
"Getting there," Ed grunted softly, twisting his fingers and allowing himself a moment of awe at the rush of control he felt in his veins, before arousal crashed on him, the need almost crushing.
It wasn't supposed to be that intense, he wasn't supposed to be that needy. He… he…
He was fucking Ivy Wagner, alias Envy, and he was enjoying it thoroughly.
"Why won't you fucking listen?"
"If you weren't so damn wrapped around yourself!"
"Oh, that's sweet coming from you!"
"I'm not hiding behind a bottle of scotch, am I?"
"No, you hide behind that ridiculous eye patch!"
It happened, the dam broke. And although the Mustang-ees, couldn't have been happier about recovering even the slightless bit of their old Fullmetal, they had to admit there was enough hurt and anger wound around their commanding officers to burn. It didn't help that their newest office was one right under the Führer's, and that their voices were steadily escalating in viciousness and volume.
"Well fuck you and your stupid issues!" Mustang finally snapped, his only eye glowing darkly.
"I just fucking saved your life at the cost of his soul, ungrateful bastard!" Ed howled as he fisted his hands, holding them tight at his sides.
"And the hell you want me to do? Give you flowers and build you a monument?" Even Hawkeye flinched at the vehement whisper, that was something they hadn't known, but it certainly explained the ruined uniform a slightly sheepish Mustang had turned in earlier.
"If you weren't so stupidly wrapped around yourself and your petty ideals," Ed growled lowly, far more dangerously then, golden eyes slitted and long golden hair messed, "Then maybe you'd see… fucking bastard."
Hawkeye was slowly helping everyone retreat, slowly, backwards, to the door. The door lead to the corridor and the corridor was relatively safe. Yes. Fuery swallowed hard as Havoc felt his shoulder blades tense. Roy Mustang was growling. Things generally got set on fire when he growled.
Fullmetal didn't burst into flame. Neither did the walls, desks, papers or other office paraphernalia around. Havoc let his cigarette fall into the floor, limply.
Roy Mustang growled… then forcefully kissed Edward Elric into submission.
His subordinates all but ran away from the room.
"Stop that," Ed admonished half heartedly, eyes weary, "It's disturbing."
"No," And Ivy had the nerve to arch an eyebrow at him, "It's disturbing you keep a bone in your clothes, all the time."
"The fact you're clumsily playing with it while naked on my bed doesn't affect this, of course," Ed replied, not skipping a beat as the green haired teen flushed. With a sigh, the blonde retrieved the shard, feeling it cold against his skin, "I need it though."
"Not for stamina, I assure you," And the purple eyed beast swayed his ass in the air, making the Fullmetal narrow his eyes. With anger or lust… or both.
And suddenly there was quite a taller teen on him, straddling his thighs, eyes flashing and lips set into a determinate line. Ed forgot how to breath.
"Not Envy," Came the breathy whisper, "Ivy. Always Ivy."
"Oh shut your poetry, Vy," The golden eyed young man even managed a smirk, "You suck at lyric writing anyway, so just kiss me and be done with it."
And though there was a huff, he was kissed and 'done with' shortly afterwards.
He and Roy were in the first row as Alphonse Elric spoke his vows to one Winry Rockwell, voice unwavering, strong and determinate as Ed's had been once. The older Elric was not the best man, not because Al hadn't offered, but because he wouldn't accept it. Roy hadn't said a thing, except looking a bit more grim than usual and always hovering around the Fullmetal Alchemist. Hawkeye, Havoc and Fuery were invited too, of course, but were keeping themselves strangely busy and away from the General duo that now ruled over them. And were being extra careful to keep mentions of kisses, near-deaths and other explosive prompt topics to minimum. It was, nevertheless, a joyous experience.
"I'm still angry at you," Ed said suddenly, as he and Mustang looked at the dancing couples.
"You always are," Came the biting reply; Roy wasn't in the mood to play understanding.
"I gave him up," And Roy knew, knew that if that thrice damn Crystal had even the faintest trace of blue still, there was hope of bringing whoever had been inside back. He hadn't expected the soft complement to the sentence, "For you."
Roy thought up a hundred different replies for that. From corny to cheesy to teasing to insulting to depressing to absolutely improbable. In the end, he casually draped an arm around the tense shoulders, noting that the golden hair was reaching past Ed's waist already, and went with the truth.
"Don't do this," Ed pleaded, voice cracking softly.
He winced as he felt his breathing hitch again. Ivy wasn't looking at him, or at the badly secured doorway. He was sitting on the cold floor, facing away from Ed, staring pathetically at the blood on his hands. Ed's blood.
"I don't want you to die," Ed hated him right then and there, for being reasonable and pathetic and emotional and so fucking brave. He whimpered, both from where his life was slowly oozing from his body and the emotional wreck he was going through, "You said there was still a homuluncus alive. You have to deal with him, don't you?"
"I… I think I understand," The green haired teen stood up gracefully – was he always that graceful, or am I just noticing because I'm dying? – and retrieved something from the dusty shelf. Chalk, "Mom, I mean, I think I understand now. Elia too."
Ed whimpered as his lover slowly cleaned the floor, moving the boxes and pieces of forgotten furniture out of the way. Outside, the rain of gunfire and the screams were deafening. The smell of something burning sneaked quietly around the blonde Alchemist, and he had a terrifying, yet accurate mental image of what was going on above them. And I had just fixed the top left hand cabinet, the Fullmetal mused distantly, hearing glass smash horribly. Al's dead anyway, so what does it matter?
Ivy was knelling again, tracing a pattern on the floor, the chalk sounding ominous to Ed's ears.
We're all going to die anyway.
And then he refused to think more and blamed his slow dismiss for his strange train of thought.
"What the fuck you want?"
Ed was still sore, even more hostile than usual and sulking around in a room he hadn't used since the first year he had lived in the apartment. Roy shrugged, pushing the steaming cup towards the annoyed young man.
"Peace offering?" Mustang felt awkward and he disliked the feeling; he was the ladies man, the suave figure with a knack for knowing just what to say… and he was also completely lost as to how to deal with his situation with a certain blonde, "You like chocolate Ed, don't let it go to waste."
"Ishbal forbid," Came the deadpan, flawlessly, and Roy flinched.
He was distracted, however, by the long rope of golden hair that fell behind the younger man. Ed hadn't cut his hair in a while, letting it grow and grow and grow… always pulled back into a tight braid that trailed after him in the most… distracting way Roy had ever had the misfortune to face. Surprisingly though, the hair was unbound and a bit tangled too. Roy was a tactician, so he measured his situation… and concluded he was dead anyway.
"Ow, what the- oh."
Ed purred. Softly arching his neck so that Roy's fingers massaged his scalp for a second longer, he closed his eyes and allowed Roy Mustang – Shit Bastard Mustang – to comb it. It felt good. Too good… though not as good as being pressed against a mattress, in such a different way, doing everything with movements that were much more determinate and lacked the endearing nervousness of a near virgin teen.
"I still hate you," Ed muttered as he fell asleep against Mustang's chest.
Roy smiled, there was still a venomous sting in that tone, a bite that came from loss and mourning, but it was a step closer to old Edward. His Edward. Roy didn't know the whole story and he was well aware that he would probably never know it… but as long as he felt the aftermath was fading… he held onto hope.
Even if his hope was mean tempered, violent and suffering.
"It's a seven pointed star," Ivy said, tracing the array carefully on the floor, "I could never forget it, you know? I was there when it happened," Ed whimpered as the wail of the sirens got louder, "I never told you the full story, did I? I'm such an asshole, four years and I didn't bother to tell you… I'm his son," Ivy chuckled at the sharp intake of breath. Ed wasn't dead enough to not understand the subtle hinting, "Oh yes, you've spent the last two years fucking the son of the asshole that's directing this stupid war."
"It was a mistake, I think," The green haired teen looked calmly at the array, adding a few touches here and there, perfecting it without even knowing the formulae he was working on. He was too calm, "But I remember mother being enthusiastic about it, saying He would be granted all the power he needed. Elia was around at that time, too. She was always more interested in this shit than me," Throwing the small piece of chalk away carelessly, he began going through the cabinets, looking for something, "But mother showed us the star to both, said it was the most important thing in the world… then pushed us away as she stood in and… well, did herself in."
Ed wanted to say something, anything. He ended up coughing violently, blood coming forth both, his mouth and the wound on his chest. He won't… he can't. He's a stupid brat babbling about something he doesn't understand. They don't know about equivalent exchange or the rules of arrays. They don't know how to balance it… Ed's vision blurred slightly. Dear god, he's going to get himself killed stupidly over a lab mistake. He saw the glint of metal in Ivy's hands. And he's going to do it… for me.
"Love you Ed, even if you're an insufferable bastard," Hands reached to tilt his head upwards, and distantly, as he felt himself fading away, again, back to The Gate… Ed knew he was being kissed, "Don't die."
And the soft request fixed on his mind as there was another flash of metal, a soft gasp and the glow of a carefully set array.
Roy nuzzled his pillow. It was soft and welcoming and it reeked of sex, cinnamon – his own cologne – and lavender – Ed's soap. He heard the first notes and moaned softly, listening to the strings echoing into their room. He had to wonder about Edward sometimes. Twisting around, he faced the blonde menace… and stared. Golden hair loose, thus cascading down in a messy array around his face, the younger man had his head against the headboard, playing idly with the guitar as he randomly put notes together. He was stark naked too.
"Why the fuck did I bought you that thing again?" Roy groaned instead, trying to ignore the, ahem, raising need to pounce on his partner.
"Because you're a sentimental idiot," Ed replied absent mindedly, "And because I took a calculated risk and stared at it for more than two seconds while you were around and angsting for a good birthday gift."
General Elric grinned that stupid grin he wore before decimating an enemy camp, usually dragging a mildly reluctant General Mustang behind.
And Ed laughed, not the same laugh he had had all those years ago, when he was fifteen and his brother was a human tin can or the one he graced Ivy with when he did something remarkably stupid. It was an older laugh, matured, slightly somber, but nevertheless mirthful. It was the laughter of a man who had loved, lost and dared to get up again.
It was the laughter Roy Mustang lived to hear, because he had spent three years helping to unleash it back into the world.
Edward Elric was deliciously mature, aware of himself, of his priorities… of his aging lover who certainly wanted nothing more than to curl up and sleep until noon. Ten years of difference between them felt like nothing most of the time, but Roy appreciated the subtle – and rare – considerations to his age.
"Yeah, well," Roy felt lips caressing the scarring over his lost eye and shivered, moaning softly, "I learned from the master," Roy didn't care to look and find out, but he was sure the damn brat was twinkling at him, "Bastard."
He was… and Roy didn't give a damn about it.
The glow died.
His heart did too, then started up again as he realized he was now alone in the dark room, his wounds healed considerably… at least no longer life threatening. Within the array, there was a lone stone, glinting sadly as if to say 'it's alright', and it only served to make Ed's heart colder, icier. He held the stone close, felt it warm against his numb fingers, felt the fire die out within him and the need to avenge that pointless death scorch his veins. He was gone now, equivalent exchange fulfilled... but Ed was far from done. Looking at the door, he watched emotionlessly as it was brought down, as the soldiers came in, as they pointed at him... as they burnt to ashes under the easiest flicker of his hand.
He didn't have a home or friends or a lover to live for. He didn't have a heart... but he had his purpose, and Edward Elric would let purpose lead him as far as he would go.
Envy was a priority now, because he knew the stone had enough potential to send him back through The Gate at the exact time he needed and get rid of that bastard for once and for all… but first…
First he had a certain fanatical dictator to kill in order to average his loss. He noted distantly his coat on the floor, drenched in blood, his own blood. He could still make out the sign on the back and smiled thinly.
Edward Elric was dead too.
Cold in summer nights,
Burning high in winter light,
Touch my dreams with that last glance,
Felt the need to tell you why,
Heard your voice shiver when I cried,
I don't want to let you go,
I want to make you mine,
I want to taint your smile
I want to… want…
And I'm the sinner,
The man and mastermind,
I'm the sinner,
The lover and the son,
I'm the sinner,
And you alone are my salvation,
coming forth creation.
Darkness held at bay,
Reaching ghostly to the light,
Broke my heart with that last plea
Knew the moment to say no,
Tasted your tears as I moved on,
I don't want to let you go,
I want to make you mine,
I want to taint your smile
I want to… want…
And I'm the sinner,
The man and mastermind,
I'm the sinner,
The lover and the son,
I'm the sinner,
And you alone are my salvation,
coming forth creation.
For I loved you mine,
For I wished to make you so,
For I yielded into myself,
(A/N) Whoa. That was longed than expected. So, notes:
1.- Yes, the scenes are alternated. Those revolving around Envy happened 'before' those involving Roy.
2.- I'm well aware the age difference between Roy and Ed is fourteen years, however, due to the jump in time, Ed is four years older than he should be, when he returns to kill Envy. My timeline? Ed is 15 when he stumbles into the alternate world. 19 by the start of the Ivy storyline. 23 when he stumbles back into 'his' world. Roy is 33 when Ed stumbles back into his world. They're 27 and 37 respectively by the end of this fic.
3.- Yes, Ivy is my twisted outtake on Envy being human.
4.- No, a Soul Crystal is not an alternate Red Stone, nor a copy of a Philosopher's Stone. It follows the principle of the Philosopher's stone, however, instead of hundreds of lives in exchange, it's made up of a single soul that willingly and selflessly submits into the array. It's my own twisted view of equivalent exchange… an important person: body and soul, for semi unlimited power. But like the other stones, the Soul Crystal erodes with use.
5.- The song Ivy sings is "Hard Felt Revolution".
6.- The song at the end is from Ed to Roy. It's title is "Sinner".
7.- Yes, Roy bought the guitar. He regrets it though. A lot.
8.- Yes, Ed with Roy is a considerably darker version than Ed with Ivy/Envy.
9.- Yes, I indeed wrote those crappy songs. XD You can find them at my Fictionpress profile. Do NOT use them without permission.
10.- Most certainly, I'm cruel.