Fullmetal Alchemist

The Alchemic Wizard

By: Melissa the Damgel

Edited by: S J Smith

I don't own anything of Fullmetal Alchemist or Harry Potter. I just like playing with them and shoving them into situations we know we'd never see them in –and also I like seeing Ed and Winry play. …you'll know what I mean later! It's all for fun and kicks so don't sue! I'm not rich! Really!

Ch. 20

About Time

"Al. Al."

The fog of sleep clung to his eyelids, but as his name curled into his mind, he slowly swam to the surface and opened his eyes, blinking into the darkness of the Shack's gloom. The groaning of the building greeted him and he frowned, closing his eyes again.

"Hey, Al!" the voice hissed.

Al's eyes snapped open and he sat up in bed, looking around.

A curse rose from his dresser.

Crawling from bed and jerking open the top drawer, Al rummaged about wildly, his heart pounding. It couldn't be. It had to be. He panted and his fingers fumbled with the metal case. "Ed…Ed!" He jerked the case open and the mirror flipped out, thumping against his socks.


"Ed, where are you?" Al snatched the mirror up and looked down into the face of his brother. A very beaten and bloody and raw looking face. He sat down hard on the floor, rubbing at his eyes as he felt his brother's pain in phantom waves. "Ed…"

"I'm fine." His voice croaked and Al swallowed hard. He couldn't cry. This was just like his brother, to be in trouble and bruised from all his conflicts. "I promise." Ed added and Alphonse's shoulders fell, his face twisting up. He wasn't fine. He wouldn't promise unless he was really all right.


"I sorry. I'm so sorry it's been so long. I never meant-"

Al smiled then, his stomach heavy but he swallowed past the lump in his throat and he struggled for words. "It's all right. Really. It seems you've been getting into trouble again, brother."

Ed smirked lopsided at him, one eye a black ring and a corner of his mouth a raw and puffy mess. "What gave it away?"

"I just have a sense for these things." Alphonse said, wiping at his eyes quickly. He was so relieved. Ed was alive. He didn't know what he would have done if were gone.

"So, Al, I don't know how long I'll be-"

"What did you do now?" Ed scowled at him and Al smiled back, leaning against the dresser as he curled in on himself, cradling the mirror in his hands.

"Why do you automatically assume I did something? Maybe it was them!"

"Edward, you are shackled and lying in a bed. It's not hard to figure out you're in jail." The glare he received would have withered and lesser man, but Al simply cocked his head and raised a brow, waiting patiently.

A grumble and gnashing of teeth his only indicator he was correct. "Whatever. It was totally in self defense."

"Sure; and are you going to tell me what happened?"

It felt like a cloud drifted over the glass and Alphonse inhaled sharply. "Ed?"

"Look, I am in prison. I'm being held by the United Council of Magic and I'm pretty sure they are listening to this call. If phone lines can be tapped, I'm certain even magical communications can be as well and I really don't give a rat's ass if they hear everything I tell you. You need to be careful. Envy is alive."


"Do you remember anything at all about the homunculi?"

Al shook his head, "What's going on, Ed?"

Ed inhaled, his jaw tightening as he stared at Al, seeming to look right into his soul. "Al, be careful. Envy has the power to shape shift…and he's working for Voldemort. He can be anyone, Al. He could even pretend to be me, Harry or Dumbledore. You need to be careful." Ed hissed, "If you're in hiding, make up a password. If you're on the run, don't look back. I'll find you."

"Brother…" Edward's eyes…they flashed with a fire that scared him. He had never seen his brother like this, vengeful and wrathful all wrapped into one. He just looked so old and that age gap once again stabbed him in the chest and he longed for all those years he had lost, for all those memories, all those experiences that he had obviously lived through, but had lost because his soul had aged, not his physical body. He couldn't help him like this, and Edward frightened him.

Sighing heavily and seeming to lose some of his conviction, Edward looked away and his jaw tightened. "Look, Al, just…be careful, all right?" His expression softened as he gazed at Al through the glass.

"I will." He whispered, swallowing hard. "What do I do?" he asked, hating the quiver in his voice.

Edward frowned, "What's your situation like there? I can't imagine Umbridge is being very good to you."

He hung his head. "I have a warrant out for my arrest. Whatever you did, brother, you really let loose a can of worms."

"No shit. I'm pretty sure Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic. I don't know how deep, but deep enough to sic Aurors after me and nearly killed Winry in the process."

Alphonse gasped, eyes wide. "Winry! Is she alright? Where is she?"

"She's fine. That's the only good thing about these United Council of Magic people; they got Winry patched up real quick." His face fell though and Al trembled. "They just haven't let me see her."


"Where are you?"

"The Shrieking Shack. It was the only place we could think of on short notice to get away from Umbridge and her troops. I couldn't hide in the suits of armor forever." Alphonse smiled then at the surprised look in Ed's eyes. But that could be discussed later. "Her military police have-"

"Aurors. That's what wizards call their military troops. How long have you been there?"

"Going on two weeks now. She put out the warrant after you left." Al fingered the edge of the mirror, his breathing hitching. "When are you coming home?"

Edward closed his eyes and Al bit the inside of his cheek, schooling his face so he wouldn't cry. He felt them there, behind his eyes, warm and flushed, threatening to appear at the corners if he let his guard down.

"I don't know. If I can get the United Council of Magic to understand my side of things…" He trailed off and he shook his head and Alphonse nodded, his nails biting into his palm. "But don't worry. I'll be back. If you can find Dumbledore, ask him to get you out of here. This isn't our world, Al. We shouldn't be expected to follow their laws."

Alphonse sighed heavily and that got a tic twitching in Ed's forehead. He smiled at his older brother, chastising and yet patient. "Ed, this is their world. We should follow their rules. I'm sorry that I did everything we did-"He held up a hand to stop Edward's tirade before it began."-the way we did it. I'll never be sorry for getting Winry out of the Ministry of Magic's dungeons. But if I had forced you to calm down and do everything properly? Where might we be now? Not hiding or arrested, that's for sure. You fly off the handle whenever it concerns one of us. You always have. Remember Jarek back home? He pushed me down because he said I was a baby and baby's shouldn't play big boy sports? You punched him so hard you broke his nose. Mother had to apologize to Jarek's parents repeatedly because you refused too. This is the same as then, only this time there are people who have wands and the authority to punish us. You need to stay calm and think things through. Don't do anything rash."

His brother refused to look at him, his eyes hooded and his shoulders slumped. Even though he knew he shouldn't be lecturing his brother, it had to be said.


"No, you're right. You always are. I'm too rash." Ed sighed and looked back to him and Al felt something inside of his chest swell and fill every corner of his body. That fire was back in his brother's eyes, past the bruises, the cuts, the stains of blood upon his shirt and the swelling on his cheek, he nodded then and Al nodded back, his smile real and full this time. "I'll see you soon."

"Same here, brother."

Marching down the hall of the Shrieking Shack, bundled up in her winter cloak and scarf with hair wild and bouncing behind her, Hermione inhaled, straightening up with self importance, "Now then, I know you think that nothing good has happened lately, but that doesn't mean Al can't have a hot meal now and then."

Ron groaned and rubbed his eyes. "'Mione, it's two o' clock in the bloody morning. Let the bloke sleep!" he whined before letting loose a break-jaw yawn. The gangly teen stumbled slightly as he yawned a second time and then scowled at Harry as he bumped into him in the middle of his own yawn.

"Um, Hermione, why are you shouting exactly?" Harry asked near the end of his own yawn. The young man scratched at the back of his head, bumping his shoulder into the wall next to Ron and leaning against it. He was perfectly happy to settle down there for the rest of the night and sleep against the wall.

Rolling her eyes and letting out a loud sigh that announced just how annoyed she was with them both, Hermione put her hands on her hips, "I'm announcing our presence so Alphonse knows who is here. I'm certain that with everything going on, he might have been hiding or preparing for a fight. Alphonse is a wanted criminal by the Ministry's declaration and it would be ridiculous to think he wouldn't be prepared in case someone came snooping around. Besides, it's perfectly proper to announce ones visit – though as unethical as this is – its common courtesy," she explained.

Al rushed passed them, jaw set and his shoulders squared. He nodded, acknowledging them before he disappeared back into his room and drawers were pulled open and slammed shut.

Hermione visibly stopped short, eyes large, but recovery was quick and she stepped into his room, forcing a smile on her face. "Al! I have wonderful news! I figured out a way for you to get hot meals from the kitchen delivered here without Harry, Ron, or myself being caught and giving you away." Hermione smiled, looking so incredibly pleased.

"Oh?" But his lack of enthusiasm brought a disappointed look to Hermione's face. "I mean, that's great." He paused, moving to take a seat on the edge of his bed. He offered a weak smile and looked down at his hands, tapping his thumbs together in thought.

The girl frowned, peeking over at the two other boys, and even more disheartened when Ron shrugged in response. But with true Hermione spirit, she bolstered herself, smiling at Alphonse, "It will work so much better for everyone. I have asked Dobby if he can deliver meals for you. It will also give you that option to get whatever you would like."

Al nodded, frowning at the window of the shack as the wind bustled and rattled the shades.

"We'll be able to visit you without drawing suspicion by carrying around food, so you'll be safe hiding-"

"I can't…." Al said, hopping off the edge of the bed. He stared at his feet, but something had changed since yesterday. His shoulders square, his head no longer bowed in defeat, but rose with decision and confidence. Alphonse's mental state had shifted from depression to a fighter, and the set of three friends understood that instantly.

"Al?" Harry asked, raising a brow.

Grabbing up a bag he had half full by the side of his bed, Alphonse turned and began shoving his few remaining belongings into it. He didn't regard the three of them standing there, Harry's hands began to quake.

"I'm leaving," Al announced, pushing his minimized trunk into his pocket.

"What? Alphonse…" Hermione started. A hand on her shoulder silenced her. She glanced at Harry, pursing her lips.

"Al, not that it isn't a good idea, but where do you think you can go?" Harry asked. He joined Alphonse at his bed, watching him fold and twist a pillow case into a bag to carry some food he had obviously saved.

"I'm going to go get my brother back. I've done nothing but sit here and mope for over a week." He yanked open a drawer of the dusty, rotting dresser, reaching way back inside it to pull out a clean pair of socks. "Back in Amestris, I found out everything that Ed did to get my body back. He sacrificed so much. He gave up his arm to rescue my soul. I can't repay him by sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I'm in a strange world with a different form of alchemy; but that shouldn't give me permission to do nothing. Edward and Winry are out there, hurt, captured, or running from something. I might not be able to save them, but I can at least be there to try and help them." Crossing the room, Al pushed those socks and another pillowcase inside the first along with the bread and candy, Alphonse then struggled into his shoes, his mouth thin and his brows knitted together tight in determination. Every movement he made was sharp and precise. He wasn't going to be talked out of this.

"But Al, you can't just go out there without money or knowing where you are going!" Hermione gasped, her eyes wide. Her hands shook as she reached for his arm. "We know someone who could help! He's on the run, too, but he's a good man. He could hide you-"

Jerking free as he scrambled to his feet, Alphonse shook his head, cutting her off with a sharp swipe of his hand. "No! No more hiding!" he shouted. "I've been hiding long enough. He has always done everything he could to keep us together because we are the only family we have left!" He panted, his eyes reflecting the light and seeming to glow. His anger deflated and just like that, he went from being an Elric to a twelve year old child again, so small and thin. "Can't you understand that? I can't abandon him. He never let me down, not when it mattered. I have to do the same for him. He's my brother."

Hermione pressed a hand to her mouth. It frightened her, letting him leave like this without a plan or a safety net of sorts to catch him if he were to get in trouble. What if Umbridge caught him just outside of the school out on the road? What if the Ministry of Magic still held a grudge against him for what he and Ed did in freeing Winry? He was vulnerable – and a child! She couldn't even imagine doing this herself yet Alphonse was ready and willing to leave everything behind to look for his missing brother. It was so strange and scary.

"Al, we can't…" she began then hushed herself as Ron laid his hand against the small of her back.

Alphonse took a deep breath to steady himself, once again squaring his shoulders and settling his resolve. "I have to go get him; him and Winry. They're my family. I won't abandon them."

"You know you sound completely mental, right?" Harry asked, pushing his glasses up his nose.

Al grinned, a wide and innocent smile. "Yeah, I know I am. All us Elrics are."

"You could die though, you know that?" Hermione asked then began to tick off her fingers as she continued. "Voldemort is out there, the Ministry, Death Eaters; even just regular folk who have seen your face on a flier could try and stop you! You aren't safe out there!"

"I'm not safe here either, Hermione."

"Sirius could keep you safe." Harry interrupted. "He has a safe house that the Ministry of Magic and the Death Eaters can't get into. Even if they know you are there, they couldn't get in. You could stay there, work out a plan with Sirius, you could then get the help of the Order of the Phoenix to find Ed."

"It's a better plan," Hermione agreed.

"And you would get out of school," Ron pointed out then took a sideways step away from Hermione at her glare.

Sighing, Alphonse dropped his gaze, considering his options. He shifted from foot to foot, mulling something over in his mind with a heavy crease between his brows. When he looked back to them, Hermione knew, he wasn't going to change his mind. From what she had gathered from the brothers, they were used to wandering the countryside and traveling for days on end. But, this was a foreign world and the muggle world wouldn't be any kinder to a boy wandering the streets.

"I suppose…" Al began, still hesitant and he sat on the end of his bed, a cloud of dust rising around him. "I don't know what to do. I need to get to America; and I don't know where it is."

"Why do you need to get to America?" Harry asked, moving to stand beside him.

Alphonse sighed and turned to regard them with a hint of guilt in his eyes. "Because Ed contacted me. He was arrested by the United Council of Magic in America."

"I can do it myself!" Envy shouted, flinging trinkets about the woman's office and taking no pleasure this time as they shattered. He thought throwing the disgusting little cat figurines would have made him pleased, but nothing seemed to console him.

"I have my orders directly from Him." Umbridge frowned at the destruction of her precious little kittens. Lifting her wand, she easily repaired them, floating them towards her where she tucked them away safely into her drawer where Envy couldn't reach them.

Slapping his hands on the desk, Envy leaned over it, fire flaring in his purple eyes as he snarled. "I want to rip the little shit apart on my own. Tell him I can do it!"

Umbridge narrowed her eyes and shook her head, her extra chins wiggling. "That is the exact reason He will not allow you to go alone. He wants the boy brought to him alive and neither of us see how that will happen if you do this by yourself. We both know you, Mr. Envy." She stood, leaning over her desk to stare him in the face. "You might just have an… accident… while apprehending the 'little shit' as you put it."

Envy glared. He wanted to rip her throat out. He wanted to poke her eyes out with a hot poker, maybe disembowel her and watch her scream – but the ugly truth stopped him. He had been planning an 'accident' from the very start.

Umbridge sniffed and sat back down, her chair creaking. "The Master will be sending ministry agents to storm that disgusting old building. You are to accompany them and secure the youngest Elric for his purposes. Mr. Filch has gone through Edward Elric's room trying to find anything of importance, but I'm afraid the dolt isn't smart enough to know what we are looking for. I'll be searching his room tomorrow morning myself to see if there is anything of interest for Him. But He wants us to focus on the capture of the younger brother. You understand?"

Envy hated her eyes. They reminded him of some ugly frog or gold fish. He wondered if popping them would make them smaller or air would rush out of them. "Crystal clear, bitch." He sneered.

Her large fingers curled until her knuckles turned white. "That is very inappropriate-"

"Shut up." Envy pushed off the desk, pacing the room, his body hunched. He moved like a predator, fingers curled, teeth bared. "I want Edward Elric's head on a platter! I don't care what that bastard Voldemort wants, I want to pull Elric apart!" He found another trinket – one of those dozens of plates on Umbridge's walls and threw it across the room. The painted cat clung to its pillow and screeched in fear as it shattered. Envy could see bits of cat on the larger porcelain pieces twitching.

Umbridge bellowed, "That will be quite enough!" Umbridge bellowed and stood, her hands held tightly at her sides.

"This is ridiculous! I could have gone in and gotten the little shit a week ago!" He shouted right back, eyes wild, hands shifting into claws in his anger. "He wasted precious time!"

"They are His orders. You don't understand His orders because you are not-"

"I'm not an idiot." Envy snapped, pacing once again, his feet stomping into the stone floor. "I know the Elrics. They will not sit still long. For all we know, he is gone already and all because the high and mighty Voldemort deemed his plans for taking over the Ministry more important than grabbing the snot the moment he knew where he was!"

Umbridge seemed to puff up, her face turning red. "That is quite enough! I will not have you talking ill of my Master!"

"Shove it." He snapped, "I'm right and you know it."

The woman's cheeks remained flushed even as she deflated. Their eyes locked and she leaned forward. "Perhaps I can allow you to go in to...survey the area. Make certain our target is… still in place?" Umbridge raised a thin brow.

Envy's smile was vicious and hungry. He returned to the desk, leaning over it, face to face with the old toad. He whispered, "Now we understand each other."

She smirked. "Just don't do anything until his men arrive."

"Of course not. Wouldn't dream of it," Envy hissed, eyes bright.

He was starving for some hard earned blood.

Grunting as he worked through the flashes of electricity, Edward fought against the magical barrier that surrounded his cell, and he ground his teeth, his fingers shaking as the heat intensified. He leaned heavily against the wall, ignoring the burning, and he carefully moved his arms, digging the edge of his restraints against the stonework. Each scrape, each etching he scratched into its surface put him one step closer to completing the transmutation circle. Ed snarled and narrowed is eyes against the sweat that blinded him and he pushed against the barrier till his body strained and the skin of his fingers had baked away.

A burst of energy plowed into Edward's stomach and threw him backwards. Ed hit the cement and rolled to a stop in the center of his cell, panting and coughing as little hisses of pain escaped him. He couldn't speak, his lips moved, cursing and snarling but it only resulted in him curling up and coughing as spittle flew from his mouth and his body shook as the last of the electricity exited his body.

He would not pass out!

Panting, Edward struggled to his knees, his hands too raw and he used his elbows to steady himself. Reaching for his bed, he clutched the bedding and dragged a foot up under him. Resting his forehead upon his arm as he leaned upon his bed, Ed paused, gathering himself. He stared at the circle, so close to being completed and he trembled where he knelt his body ready to give up on him. It wouldn't be so bad if the barrier wasn't so violent in its repelling of him. Crimson stained the sheets and as his blood seeped into every corner, he curled his lips back, snarled, and forced himself to stand.

Like an addict unwilling to part from a drug, Edward moved back to the wall and got back to work, leaning into the barrier, unwilling to close his eyes because if he got one etch wrong…

Wincing as the steel crossbeam that reminded him of a stockade-like restraint, heated up, he jerked backwards and panted, his body hanging, his limbs as heavy as lead, and his knees shook. He allowed himself a rest as the steel cooled once more but with a sound escaping him like a caged animal, he pounced, hitting the magical barrier like a tiger clawing for freedom. His wrists hit hard, digging his restraints into his flesh and he gouged another line into the transmutation circle as lightning snapped at his cheek and dug into his flesh. He had been working for hours, every symbol a struggle to create, but he had to do this. The talk with Al bolstered him, reminded him that giving up was never an option.

A hiss, a shout of triumph and a stumble backwards as the steel burned against his wrists, Edward panted and looked up at the ceiling, his fingers stinging from the air. His whole body hurt. Everywhere, not a stitch of his skin felt like it hadn't missed the meat grinder, and so long as this worked, so long as forcing more injury upon himself to carve that circle into the wall gave him a fighting chance to work past the magic and into the foundation of the wall itself, he could open a doorway into the next room.

Wiping the sweat from his face as best he could by raising his arms, Edward licked his lips, tasted the salt gathered there, and he stepped forward, his hands out and ready. Inch by inch, his flesh warmed, heated, and then crackled as he pushed into the spell till his palms pressed against the circle. He cried out, both in pain and determination, and the magic flared around him, bursting in colors of blues and pure white, licking at the room, dancing about him as his mind's eye saw the runes of the spell and he shoved them aside and the alchemy shuddered beneath and rumbled against the wall. Much like a stick shoved into a waterfall, the magic parted as the wall suddenly shifted and morphed, opening up around his fingers till an ornate archway with hints of twisted, gothic roses and skulls took shape. The magic wrapped with the wall, curving away till an opening appeared and Edward dropped to his knees, falling forward onto his elbows and he squeezed his eyes shut, gasping for air.

It worked.

He trembled, raising his eyes slowly and looking past his sweat heavy hair and he suddenly wished he hadn't done this. Nerves, fear, even an immature streak took hold and he felt like an idiot. Lifting his head slowly, blonde hair falling into his face and over his shoulders as it finally escaped the remains of his ponytail, Edward struggled to pull himself upright and his eyes locked with the wide-eyed blue of Winry's.

"Hey." He whispered, his hands trembling uncontrollably.

It was like the world stopped. Clocks went silent, the earth stopped spinning, and they floated in this moment with only a single breath shared between them. Then she smiled, "Hey you, I was wondering when you'd get here." She stood from her bed, her hands held in front of her and her head tilted in welcome with her hair resting around her shoulders.

Edward's belly fluttered and he bowed his head, sinking forward once more. She was at his side before he realized she had moved and she lifted him up, sliding his arm around her shoulders and together, they lifted him up slowly, her arms wrapped about his waist.


"What did you do to yourself?" she choked out and he gazed down at her as she shifted in his arms, halting their trek to her bed and she buried herself against his chest, clinging to him with tears streaming down her cheeks.

His face heated up, his lower lip trembled and he felt his head spin out of control as the evenings events caught up to him and he leaned into her, bowing his head, pressing his cheek to hers and his knees quivered, nearly giving out on him. He didn't want to move even though this – everything about this moment terrified him. She was so clean and fresh, a safe haven caught up in all the shit he got them into. Her touch reminded him of every good thing that had come from her, but it also reminded him of a little house on a hill that maybe someday….

"I came to get you."

"Idiot." She hiccupped, her fingers digging into his damp shirt and she hugged him all the tighter and he flinched.

"Ow, Winry…" Ed took a small step back, his ribs screaming at him.

Pulling back sharply from his hiss, Winry tilted her head and looked up at him, steadying him with a hand against his waist and the other pressed against his cheek. It made his face warm up. "You really got yourself worked over this time, didn't you, Edward?" Past the tears and the worry, she gave him a smile and he swallowed hard. His hands tugged against his restraints. Winry moved to his side, once again helping him walk to the bed and he leaned upon her. "I would have thought you'd be more careful with your limps now that you don't have automail to take the brunt of the damage."

He sat on the edge of her bed, jerking his eyes away from her face as she bent toward him, looking over the bruises on his face. "Well, let's get you cleaned up first." As she turned, her hair sliding over her shoulder with the moonlight highlighting its length in silvery hues, she snatched up a towel, wetting it in the small sink in her cell, and Edward stared at her, his heart pounding and he felt like he couldn't breathe.

She returned to him and gently began wiping his face and neck, returning to wash his arms and then gently examine his hands. A bobby pin was pulled from her hair and she got to work on his restrains and in no time, they clicked open and set aside. She bathed his wrists, and he could see the concern for his hands, but she gratefully left them alone. He wasn't sure he could stop himself from screaming if she tries to wash them.

Standing, she turned and left him, disappearing into the gloom of his room. He heard ripping and tearing and when she returned, his bed sheet was in long strands over her arm. She knelt before him, lifting his pant leg and she hissed, looking at the torn stitches and ugly gash that he was fairly certain was infected. "Edward…" She said his name as if scolding him as well as sympathizing with him.

"Winry?" Edward felt like a child all over again, showing up at his mechanic's house banged up and needing a rush repair. He had learned over the years though, that her toughness was all attitude. In all truth, she was soft and gentle, thoughtful and his opposite in every way that mattered.

Blue eyes lifted as she began to wrap his leg after cleaning it as best she could. She finished her work before she finally straightened, a hand shyly resting upon his left knee. "Yeah?" she asked and fidgeted for a moment before she began the very careful process of wrapping his hands in the sheet to keep the flesh from the air.

She was his peace. He found a comfort with her that no one else he knew had to offer. She gave him hope that allowed him to continue trusting those he met. His aims in life had changed, and it was all because of her. He had gone from needing to find answers, finding a stupid stone, to wanting her to be commander of his soul. She had stolen his heart somewhere in all the years they had known each other, and just recently taken his breath away by simply being herself. His emotions snuck up on him and everything came rushing down to one thing – she moved him in ways that made life necessary only by being with her.

Winry smiled soft and small, taking his hands gently in hers. "Don't worry about it. All better." she smoothed her thumb over his and he inhaled sharp. "After a little rest and a good meal, you'll bounce right back. Probably try and break us out of here, knowing you." Her undying belief in him illuminated her eyes like dozens of alchemic reactions all at once.

Edward's stomach jumped and his heart danced, and a chill swept over his body. In the past, he would have passed it off as something or other, but here, now? Watching the light in her eyes and catching another glimpse at the beauty of her soul, Ed's face flushed and his fingers twitched against hers. Desperation filled him and his face twisted as he stared at her.

"Ed?" she leaned toward him, worry in her eyes at his very evident display of distress and her hand touched his cheek.

Falling forward, Edward grasped her face between weak hands and he begged her to understand because he couldn't talk, he couldn't think straight because this feeling, for her, it consumed him and he needed her. His brow touched hers, his nose brushed against hers, and his chapped lips fumbled against her mouth, warm and soft, he hesitated because she was too perfect, he rough and callous and brash; why would she want an alchemist freak like him?

Her hands grabbed his wrists and she turned her head, her lips slipping from his, and Edward kissed the corner of her mouth, eyes squeezed shut and his hands trembling against her cheek.

It was like everything hung on a thin silver string, waiting for one of them to move. He should let her go, yet he couldn't justify pulling away at this point. He was also scared to pull away and look her in the eyes. With a tilt of her chin, her lips passed over his and it was like fire flickering to life. He cupped her face, pulled her close and pressed into her, memorizing the soft give and take of her lips, the shape and taste of her, the weight of her lower lip against his. His bandage wrapped fingers slid into her hair and he felt her arms snake around his neck and a hand grip at his hair. They kissed each other in the moonlight, upon the dirty floor of a jail cell, in a world that wasn't their own, and Edward didn't want to let go.

Her gasp broke the kiss and Edward pulled back, a sharp inhale and he bowed his head, staring at her shoulder because he couldn't look at her, not yet. Her blue eyes were always so expressive; they would tell him everything before she ever spoke. He wanted this thing, this feeling he had for her…he wanted it and it was scary and foreign and a heavy weight to bare; but to have her tell him this was a horrible mistake….

He finally looked to her, his throat bobbing and his lips feeling a phantom kiss still passing between them. "I think I love you."

She stared straight back at him, her cheeks flushed brilliant. Lips parted, fingers gripping his hair all the tighter, Winry's face twisted and a whimper escaped her throat, raw and wounded. Ed's stomach flipped and she stood slowly, towering over him, her fingers brushing across a bruise upon his cheek and she eased herself down upon his good leg. She perched upon his lap and turned, pressing their brows together, her hair falling in golden tendrils around him as she finally smiled as tears collected in the corner of her eyes. "Edward Elric..." She sighed and wrapped herself around him, like a blanket of warmth.

Air filled his lungs and he squeezed his eyes shut, holding her desperately as he hid his face against her neck and her fingers threaded through his hair and ran along his shoulders. His fingers hurt as he clung to her and he couldn't breathe. He didn't know if they could just be friends after this. He wouldn't be able to step back if she told him she didn't feel the same. It had been so slow, a progression throughout their entire lives that led him to where he was now, waiting for her verdict.

"It's about time." Winry's voice brushed over his ear. Ed flushed scarlet and pulled back, looking up at her, eyes wide. She smiled, a hand pressing to his jaw, and just like that, everything he wanted and need was pulling him closer and kissing him.

Envy moved swiftly up the stairs, slinking in the shadows like a wolf on the hunt. A vicious smile curled his lips back to reveal his sharp, toothy smile while his purple eyes flickered and the pupils became slits in excitement.

Edging towards the only door in the building that wasn't hanging open and swaying in the breeze as the house moved with the wind, Envy carefully laid his hand on the doorknob and turned, pushing it open cautiously. As soon as it was wide enough to allow his body in, Envy slithered through, and in only a matter of seconds formed a plan of attack when the only thing he saw in the room was a lump on the bed.

Grinning wickedly, Envy's arm burst into light and he leapt into the air, crashing down atop the lump with his sword transformed arm leading the way. Screw Voldemort, he was going to kill the brat and enjoy it!

Slashing at the bedding, Envy cackled in delight, wild eyed with abandon. But as the first feather fluttered past his cheek, the homunculi stopped all together and stared down at the bedding with rage slowly etching across his face.

A pillow. A damn pillow. He had fallen for the oldest trick in the book.

A scream ripped from his chest and echoed through the Shrieking Shack and out across the valley. Villagers awoke in the night from the screams that once again confirmed in their minds that the Shrieking Shack was the most haunted building in Britain.

Underground, a mile away from the shack, Al turned and squinted down the tunnel, not sure what to make of that horrible scream.

Hermione shot Harry a look, her eyes wide, and Ron gulped nervously, already starting to inch his way backwards to hurry to the Whomping Willow.

Frowning deeply, Harry nodded and snagged Al's shoulder, tugging him after him as he began to run. "Hogwarts, hurry." Was all he said – but it was enough to get the point across and the teenagers ran, racing to get out of the tunnels before someone or something found that trap door.

He screamed and stomped his feet, flailed his arms and then stormed from the bedroom. It was ridiculous! It was maddening! He refused to lose to Hohenheim's bastard!

Flying down the stairs, his feet stomping and cracking the floorboards, Envy roared one last time – and then stared down at his foot as it smashed through the floorboards and met air. Pulling his foot from the wood, he kicked the rug away and growled, purple eyes flashing and teeth gnashing as he revealed the secret door. Ripping it from its hinges, Envy threw the trap door over his shoulder and jumped into the hole, crouching there, snarling like a hunter as he stared down the tunnel.

Rushing forward, toes digging into the soil, Envy ran through the darkness skirting roots and plowing through the darkness, shedding it like a second skin from a snake. He could smell them, multiple brats and the little bastard child.

In the darkness ahead, outlined by the exit lit by the moon, he could see them, running, fleeing from him like mice. He grinned and bellowed, and he heard them scream, running wildly from him.

He saw two of them disappear and another push someone up through the opening – he was almost there! Envy reached for the escaping child's ankle, brushing his leg and shouting in anger as he was yanked away at the last second. He grabbed at the earth, dragging himself up through the hole – and was met with a willow branch to the face, smashing his body and flinging him against the trunk of the tree.

"Run!" he heard a brat scream and then their feet as they did just that. Envy was hit again and again, his body trying to regenerate as he was injured over and over. At some point he managed to get a foot under him and spring away from the branches, landing in a bloodied mess just far enough away to escape the tree. He growled, laying there, seeing in the distance four children racing up a twisting and curving staircase toward the castle. His cheek crackled as red lightning created muscle and spread fresh flesh over his cheek. Broken bones in his legs snapped and crackled as they jerked straight and knitted together once more; and the plucked out eye slowly grew back inside of the bloodied socket. He crawled across the lawn when he couldn't walk and he hobbled till he could run. He raced through the yards and up the stairs, his nails breaking and regenerating as he clawed his way up the steps and towards the school. He saw their backs disappear into the massive doors and with a howl, he smashed into the front doors and was momentarily stunned at its lack of movement.

There, through the window. Leaping for the stained glass, Envy burst through it, flying through shredded glass and splintered wood. He landed and was running before the glass landed behind him. He could hear their running feet and their labored breathes. He was so close.

"In here!" He heard them say and something closed behind them.

Tearing around the door and only stopping once he was in the middle of the hall in a field of suits of armor, Envy's lips curled back and his eyes darted back and forth, hissing. "Oh, real clever, pipsqueak. Hiding in armor. Like it saved you in Amestris!" He threw a fist out at the first suit of armor he saw, "Where are you?" he demanded, ripping armor chest plates open like it was nothing more than a tin foil covering. The suits of armor protested, heads shaking back and forth and shouting for help, but it was no use, Envy's fingers sank into their steel and ripped them apart. Only once all twenty suits were lying in a mangled heap at his feet did Envy scream, rocking the very foundations of the school in his defeat.

Hermione looked over her shoulder and trembled, grabbing onto Ron's arm hurriedly as he helped her from one of the suits of armor and back onto solid ground.

"You guys get back to your house room. You're protected there." Alphonse said, yanking open another suit of armor's chest plate. "I'm going to head up to Ed's room. I'll probably have no more than a few minutes before he'll think to find me there. I'll head into Hogsmead and hide at Dervish's. Brother seemed to know him when he saved us from some Ministry men. You stay out of sight!" He hissed, easily sliding up into the armor.

"We can't abandon you." Harry hissed, his green eyes flashing.

Shooting a stern look at the boy, Al suddenly no longer appeared to be a twelve year old boy; he was twenty and new better than these brats did. "You aren't abandoning me. I'm ordering you to get to safety while I execute a tactical retreat in order to save your lives. Now go or Envy will kill you."

Ron nodded, understanding, but Hermione shook her head, her hair bouncing upon her shoulders. "Al-"

"Come on, mate." Ron hissed, glancing over his shoulder as he took Harry's arm, his other holding tight to Hermione's wrist. "We'll be able to check on him tonight." He hissed urgently.

Harry jerked his arm out of his friend's grip and his hands shook – he was being left behind again! He was being told he was useless! He was-

"Where are you?" A bellow filled the halls and made the armor behind him rattle. "I'll kill you!"

"Go!" Alphonse hissed and slammed the armor shut, being transported up several floors to the wing where Edward's room was.

Harry gritted his teeth, his emotions fluttering but he turned, snapping a curt, 'Come on' to his friends and led the way to their House's door where the Pink Lady urged them inside with a quaver in her voice.

They could only hope Alphonse knew what he was doing and would be all right and escape in time.

A withered old man with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his blue eyes and skip to his slow steps, shuffled along the blacktop road in his purple suit. He whistled a merry tune as he made his way to the front gates of the Potato Factory.

Smoothing down his white beard, the old man straightened his bowler hat and reached under his beard to straighten the green and yellow polka dot bow tie he had clipped onto his faded yellow dress shirt with the ruffles down the front and at his wrists.

The guard at the gate raised a brow and eyed the old man as he fixed himself up before approaching his booth. It was too early in the morning to deal with wackos like this. Sighing as he opened the small window so he could talk, he raised a brow as the man quietly set his cane firmly on the ground and leaned on it as he bent forward, his blue eyes twinkling behind his half moon glasses.

The guard tried to keep his sigh soft and his annoyance hidden as he too leaned forward. "May I help you?"

"Evening my good man. I am here to see a student of mine, a Mr. Elric. I have an appointment with Mr. Mustang as well – though I would truly like to speak to my student first if you don't mind. He has had a rather trying two weeks you see."

The guard blinked and stared at the older man for a minute before he stood up straight from his chair, his jaw slackening, "Mr. Dumbledore… I… I…"

Leaning forward further so he was bent over further in a funny position, and smiling that wonderfully warm smile, he spoke directly into the booth through the little round hole in the plexi glass and he gave a slight shake of his head, "Oh no, just Dumbledore will do, thank you."

Author's Note:

So...I don't really have much to say as to my hiatus. The first half of the downtime was just because I got writer's block and was trying to figure out what to do next. I realized what I originally wanted to have them do was really super dumb so I had to rework the next part and that took a bit of the steam out of the writing.

The second half was...the hardest... my brother died.

...I guess I now know what Ed felt like at the end of the series when he watched Al give up his life to save his... ... I mean, obviously its not the same; but that wanting your little brother back no matter what...to save him and protect him...that's what I understand now, very vividly. I just wasn't able to write anything at all. like it was a giant boulder sitting in my head. the ideas were there, behind it, trapped, and I couldn't move that boulder because everything just stopped. it hurt listening to those ideas whisper to me, but nothing that colored my desire to write. So the first year after his passing, I just was. even my friend said that I looked like just touching me would make me break. I couldn't write... so I didn't. then last year I had to force myself. this year has been a little easier.

So...I decided a few months back that I needed to get back into writing every day. so in order to do that, I decided I needed to finish all my fanfics because it's a little bit of everything - writing for fun as well as focusing my thoughts on writing the story. This one is at the top of my list to finish, so after I finished one of my other stories, I decided I need to tackle this one next. So wish me luck.

I really don't know how quickly the updates will be. I only had a few pages written for the next part so wish me luck on that going quick and easy. sorry for the huge hiatus...but I'm serious about that promise I made years ago...I will finish this story, even if it means posting a giant "this is how the plot was supposed to go" at the end story so that at least all your questions are answered. I don't want to abandon my work, and even if it takes years, I will finish it. so to all of those you who have stuck with me and sent very encouraging notes, thank you. Reviews and messages really do help me because I need constant reassurance that what i'm doing is working and going somewhere; your messages helped and it got me back on the path of writing this troublesome chapter that I both felt like was broken as well as adored and loved.

and to my editor - SJ Smith - huge thank yous for your help up to this point. I know I haven't talked to you since my brother died; but because of your guidance, my writing has improved leaps and bounds because of you. Thank you for your help and all the time you have given me.

~Melissa the Damgel