Consequences of Necromancy
Note: Edited out the footnotes so the whole fic actually makes sense.
Throughout his life, Edward Elric had acquired many titles; they were as follows:
Big Brother – this was his favorite.
The Fullmetal Alchemist – this was necessary.
The People's Alchemist – this was earned.
But the one he became most known for was the name that was attached to his person after restoring his younger brother to true flesh once more – the Necromancer.
This name was first made famous after his trial – human transmutation was a crime, after all, no matter what the jury said. (There hadn't been any punishment in the end – it was determined that losing an arm and a leg was punishment enough for an act of love.
It paid to be known as the alchemist "for the people" as well.)
Edward Elric went down in history as the first person ever recorded to have successfully brought a person back to life. For say what you will: for a moment, both Alphonse's body and soul had been consumed by the Gate – thus, he had died – and both had to be fetched back and rejoined.
This very fact was both a blessing and sorrow. Of course Edward was happy (all of the synonyms for "happy" in the thesaurus could not express his joy) that Alphonse was alive and thriving, no longer imprisoned in the armor that his big brother had trapped him in, however…
There were many who wanted the same miracle.
The first to arrive was a mother from a town not a day's walk from Risembool. She carried with her a small, battered suitcase. Inside that small, battered suitcase was the small, battered corpse of a stillborn baby, and could he please bring him back? She knew he could, for was it not a living brother that served them tea on the porch whilst they spoke?
Edward turned her away, with condolences. He would not make the same mistake again (or survive having the sense beaten into him once more by Izumi-sensei). He told her of the flow of life and death, and how they all were a part of that flow… and he knew that he was a hypocrite.
It wasn't long before more people came – mothersdaughtersfatherssons wanting their childrenparentsfriends back. He served them tea, heard them out, gave them a place to stay for the night, but ultimately refused all their requests, citing the same reason each time. As he saw them out the door, he could hear Alphonse's human presence in the absence of metal clanking in the clattering of tea things being cleared, and Edward always felt the person's accusing eyes staring at them through the back of their heads.
But still they came. They came, telling stories or bringing along carefully wrapped tiny bodies, hoping against hope that this time, this time the Necromancer would have pity, because their sondaughtergrandmotherfriend was special and didn't deserve to die. And Edward would give them a cup of warm tea (for tea is good; it is the solution to all of life's problems), listen patiently, and afterwards, without fail, showed them to the door.
He told them of life's cycle, its uninterrupted flow, and even as some yelled that he had the knowledge, why not use it, he was the alchemist for the people, was he not?, he felt regret and told himself that he could never do that again, never face the Gate (or Izumi's wrath(the one implied in her facial expressions and body language, not the one that had been born of her)) again; even as he faced the sad, dead eyes of those who have lost someone (like Mom) … and he knew that he was a liar and a hypocrite, because that he knew that he would do it again, if that corpse wore Al's face.