BROTHERS IN ARMS
DISCLAIMER: THE USUAL. 'NUFF SAID.
A/N: This is my first FMA fic, so be gentle, and yes, it is a crossover with Harry Potter, but I hope that it's something different from the usual crossover, because there are a few of them out there, and I want a little originality. I plan on mostly following the main plot line to FMA, adding or changing scenes as it becomes necessary, so be gentle! I also want to have some slash/yaoi in here, because I am a total fangirl... but I don't know what pairing I want. Any input would be greatly helpful!
CHAPTER 1: ARRIVAL: THE BEGINNING
The damage was extreme, the destruction truly frightening. It was something out of a nightmare, made more horrifying as the reality, the result of a horrible war that was starting to take its toll on the world.
The battlefield: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The combatants: Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, and the Dark Lord Voldemort. All other combatants didn't really matter in the true outcome of this war. The end would be decided by the two of them.
Hours ago, Voldemort had attacked Hogwarts with a hugely intimidating force behind him. He had wanted a swift, mutilating strike that would give him an easy victory, but Harry Potter foiled that idea. For months, he had trained in secret, forgotten magics, training himself nearly to the extent of killing himself. He was determined to destroy his enemy at all costs, literally. He had suffered far too many loses as it was with that monster free.
The school had been ready for such an attack by the Dark Lord, dragging the battle out as the two forces clashed together with a fury worthy of the gods of old. Countless fell in death, or injury, or maiming, but both sides forced their key players against each other quickly.
Draco Malfoy, who had turned against the Dark, fought against his own cruel father, falling under Lucius' Cruciatus curse, his screams more agonizing than anything imagined. Narcissa Malfoy, who had killed three of the Weasley children, engaged a hysterical Molly Weasley, while Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger faced off against Walden McNair and Avery. Neville Longbottom finally avenged his parents by killing Bellatrix Lestrange before succumbing to her husband's ire.
So many people he knew, so many friends he cared about were dying more quickly as time passed. Harry loped off Fenrir Greyback's head, standing before Voldemort with Godric Gryffindor's sword in hand. The bastard had the bloody nerve to just smirk at him.
Harry had forsaken his wand in favor of the sword he carried, and favored his powerful wandless magic. This way, Priori Incantatum would be null and void.
Harry had studied and trained hard for months for this very moment, this single point in time. He had also found what he believed would be the end of Voldemort. Permanently, this time.
"Harry Potter. This is the day. The day history changes, and the day of your death. Prepare to die, boy." The taunt was hissed.
Harry regarded his enemy calmly. "Fairly confident of yourself, aren't you? I have guided you to where you will die. Look at the ground you're standing on, idiot. Don't you see the array?"
It was true. The day before, after a true Vision of the future, Harry had magically engraved a circular array of curving lines into the very earth. He had seen it in a book he had been studying from. This particular array was the strongest of its kind, and Voldemort and himself were standing in the middle of it.
"What do you have planned, boy?" Voldemort was getting a touched worried.
"Equivalent Exchange. I offer up myself as the price of destroying you. I give up my freedom, my life, my magic, my memories, the memories of me, my friends, my family, my will. I offer up my very soul to have you irrevocably destroyed." Sheathing his sword, Harry dropped to his knees, laying his hands gently on the smooth lines gorgeous array. Voldemort did not have any time to react to Harry's words.
Immediately, blue light exploded from the array, halting every battle. The light swirled and convulsed, immobilizing both of those trapped inside the vortex.
The light turned crimson and angry, but neither Harry nor Voldemort were aware. They stood before the Gate that Harry had only ever heard or read mere whispers of.
Voldemort quaked in fear at the sight of the massive Gate, insanity quickly taking over his mind. Harry stood before it calmly. He smiled.
The doors creaked open, revealing an infinite black chasm, but one by one, hundreds of pairs of amethyst eyes opened, and Harry thought for a moment, he could children's laughter. It sounded malevolent.
And he knew truth. He could see it all, faster than he could understand it, and he knew the absolute truth, the truth about the world he had called home, and it scared him, what he could understand in those very few seconds. But Harry did not falter; he did not run from the ultimate truth.
He was grabbed roughly by dozens of small black arms, and he allowed himself to be pulled unresisting into the Gate. Voldemort struggled to run, and was dragged in. Harry noticed, absently, that the arms and hands (so much like those of children), slowly deconstructed Voldemort's makeshift body as they passed through the Gate.
Harry closed his eyes. He knew what the Gate had chosen as a trade for Voldemort's destruction. His world, the wizarding world, would never remember his face, and he was forever being taken from that world. The faces of the parents he never knew faded from his mind, and the Gate took his leg as well, from just below the hip. He would never be able to return to his world again. Ever.
Unless the Gate wished it.
Tiny black fingers tugged at his clothes, and Harry opened his eyes. His school robes were fast disintegrating, leaving Harry in his muggle clothes, jeans and a green t-shirt, and his black traveling cloak. Harry nodded. He would accept anything the Gate wanted, no matter how much it would terrify him, or hurt him.
He couldn't hear Voldemort's screams anymore. The Dark wizard was gone.
The black chasm lightened rapidly, until he was being pushed through to the other side of the Gate. Something horrible was happening was happening on the other side.
The moment blue light erupted from the most powerful of Alchemic arrays in one world, two young boys, grief stricken and minds clouded by delusions of grandeur and ignorance were awed for a moment at the sheer power they had released and wielded at their touch to the Circle on the floor.
Then the light turned dark, violent, and one brother looked around, confused. The other brother noticed something was horribly wrong first.
"Brother, something's wrong! Brother!" But it seemed like his brother hadn't heard him over the wind caused by their power. A lamp shattered and books scattered around the room as the vortex around them grew more violent.
"Brother, something's going wrong here! WHAAAGGARRHHH!" The younger brother suddenly screamed, finally catching his brother's attention as three black hands stretched and curved, grabbing at his flesh, red lightning flashing as his skin was deconstructed. He was terrified and he couldn't figure out a way to stop it.
The older of the two boys heard his brother's screams, and turned away from the eerie violent light, eyes widening in horror as he watched his brother's arm fade away.
"AL!" He started after his brother, hoping to reach him, but he stumbled, and he looked down at his leg. The same black hands that were taking away his brother had a hold of his leg, deconstructing it, taking it away. There was pain, a lot of it, and he could do nothing to stop it.
"EDWARD!" Al's shout brought Ed's mind back to his brother's predicament. He looked back at his younger brother and saw as he was being pulled, dragged, into... a Gateway? Ed gathered what strength he had and tried to move towards his brother, reaching out for him.
"Brother! Brother! Brother, please!" Al got dragged further and further away out of Ed's reach.
"NOO! AL!" He reached out, stretching his arm to grab his hand, Al's screams echoing he disappeared, the brothers' fingers just barely missing each other.
Then, so quiet it was nearly missed, a voice rang out in Ed's mind. "I have your brother with me... I stopped him from crossing the Gate completely. If you want to save him, do what you need to do."
Ed nodded and performed alchemy once again. This time, however, he was blinded by a flash of light, and he cried out in pain at the sacrifice he used for his brother's soul. There was a loud clang and a heavy thud before silence drowned the occupants of the basement.
After a moment, a low, echoing moan was heard and a large suit of armor moved from its place where it had fallen on the floor. A look of life shone somewhere in the eyes of the helmet, and it looked at his metal hand.
"Wha- what... is this?" Low, wracking sobs and suppressed pain drifted into his hearing, and he looked past his armored hand, to where Ed was, kneeling on the floor, clutching at his shoulder, where once there had been a right arm. Ed stared blankly at the suit of armor, pale from blood loss.
"I'm sorry... Al"
The suit of armor rose to its feet with a clang. "Brother!" He rushed to his fallen brother's side, reaching out, but not touching his older brother just yet. "What happened to you? And me? What happened to me?"
Al gathered his brother in his empty hollow arms, staring at the bloody mess that was his only family. "There wasn't much time, I used my right arm as material in a transmutation... and all I could manage was to attach your spirit to the armor in the corner!"
"I heard someone, after you were gone... he said I didn't have much time, and that he stopped your soul from passing through completely... and I was only able to do what I did!" Ed had his eyes shut as the pain settled in his body, and his nerves felt like they were burning, on fire.
Al looked down at his brother. "But... but what about mom?"
"No, Al... you shouldn't look!"
Al turned his metal helmet of a head anyway, looking into the center of the circle they had drawn. As the fog and mist in the basement dissipated, the large dish that had held all the physical ingredients to the human body lay in a pool of splattered blood.
"It wasn't human!"
A mass of congealed flesh and muscle lay grotesquely in the dish, bones, eerily similar to robs poking through the bloody mess. Something that resembled a hand hung, almost as though reaching out for something. Al had to look away.
"I don't understand, Ed! What happened? Your theorems and equations! They all seemed right!"
"The theorems weren't the problem, Al... it wasn't the math!" Ed's voice was a ragged whisper now, his eyes clenched tightly shut. "It was us!"
Another moan caught Al's attention. He looked away from his brother, avoiding the sight of the inhuman mess they had created, trying to find the cause of that moan.
In the corner of the room, was a stranger. Someone Al had never seen before, and he was badly hurt, too, like Ed. He was older than Al and his brother, but not yet an adult. He was laying sprawled out, like he had been tossed around like a doll. Black hair hid most of his face from view, but Al caught a glimpse of bright emerald green- the man was awake! He set his brother down, and approached the stranger quickly, assessing him.
A sword was strapped to his back, barely visible under a tattered black cloak, and he could barely see a hint of a long ragged scar across one eye. There seemed to be more to this man that Al could imagine, and he was also missing his left leg, but unlike Ed's leg, this man was missing his leg from the hip down.
Al grabbed some sheets from one of the cupboards, and tore them into strips, wrapping up the stranger's wounds, before doing the same to his brother. He then gathered up the two of them and ran from the house, trying his best not to jostle his precious cargo.
The stranger wrapped one arm around Ed and held him close, trying to shield him from the rain that poured heavily outside. Al ran to the only place he could think of to go for help.
In moments, or it could have been hours, Al crashed though the door of the home of their only friend, Winry Rockbell. The young girl, around the same age as Ed, and an elderly woman stood in shock at the sight that silhouetted their door.
Al dropped to his armored knees, the rain sliding smoothly down his plated body in rivulets. The two bodies he carried were just barely moving, and bleeding heavily.
"Please... help them. They're going to bleed to death!"
The girl jumped, as though startled. "Al... is that you?"
They were rushed into the house and the older woman set up a guest bedroom as a kind of hospital room. At her command, Al settled his brother and the stranger in the two beds that were in the room. He stayed out of the way as the girl Winry, and her grandmother, Pinako cleaned and wrapped the hideous wounds of the two victims.
They still had no idea who the stranger was. There was no piece of idea on him, and the sword didn't tell them anything. It was then, in the proper light of the Rockbell home that Al was able to properly look upon the face of this strange man.
He was tall, and lean, he looked like a swimmer. His black hair was slightly messy, and hung in his face. Al could see a multitude of scars adorning his body, and he wondered about them. The most mysterious of all the scars was the large one on his face. It roughly resembled a lightning bolt, starting down from his forehead, and coming across his eye, settling on his cheek, near his mouth.
Al left him to sit by his brother, who appeared to be sleeping, or unconscious, the bandages on his shoulder and knee already seeping with a little blood. He looked up as Winry started speaking.
"We didn't even know you were back from training. How did all this happen, Al?"
Pinako cut in. "Well, clearly, it's a product of mischief! You were trying to bring back your mother, weren't you?" Al looked away at that.
The door opened abruptly, startling all three of them. "Well, that explains a few things. A human transmutation; I've never seen such a furious reaction before." A dark man in black gently closed the door to the room they were in, his black eyes shrewd and guarded. "Pardon me," He reached into his long jacket and pulled out a pocket watch.
"A State Alchemist?" Al asked. The man stepped further into the room, approaching the stranger's bed.
"What are you doing here? I have no time to entertain dogs! Can't you see these boys are hurt?" Pinako kept a hostile front to the newcomer.
The State Alchemist smiled casually. "Take it easy, ma'am; I'm just checking the mail."
Al perked up. "One of our letters! Do you know where my dad is?"
The Alchemist raised his gaze to Al. "I only wish, kid. We've been looking for Hoeinhiem for a long time, and we're still only kicking up dirt."
"Well, if you didn't have any information, why did you come? You sure aren't going to find their dad here!"
"Call it nostalgia, or misplaced curiosity. Whatever it was, I'm happy I came; if these boys can try human alchemy and survive, their dad just dropped a rung on my priority list."
A new voice joined in the odd conversation. "And what about me?" All heads turned to the stranger no one knew about. He was forcing himself to sit up, despite the pain it caused him. Emerald eyes burned with a determined fire.
"What about you?" The Alchemist asked.
"I was there during that transmutation. I came through because of it. I know nothing of this place, everything is alien to me, and you will find no record of me anywhere. My being here is a direct result of that transmutation." His voice was ragged, and Al noticed that his hand strayed closer to the sword that was propped up close by.
"And who are you, exactly?"
The stranger just smirked. "Harry Potter. A veteran of war, and the Boy who Lived."
"Boy... Who Lived?" Winry's asked, her voice shaken slightly. Harry nodded.
"Yes. I survived unavoidable, instantaneous death. The only one to do so in the history of man. Where I'm from, it was rumored that I could survive anything."
Pinako had had enough. She turned to the Alchemist angrily, her voice rising as she spoke. "I want you out of this house immediately! I've had enough lives ruined by the State!"
"We'll see, then." The State Alchemist turned away from them, walking back towards the door. "I'll be keeping an eye on you lot. The name's Lt. Colonel Roy Mustang, State Alchemist. Pay me a visit at Central sometime." With that, he left the house, leaving its occupants staring after him.
Al looked away from the door and faced Harry. "Who are you? How did you get to be in the lab?"
"Like I said, my name is Harry. Believe it or not, but I am a wizard. A true, honest to Merlin wizard, and the real deal. I don't know what happened exactly, but I helped your brother save you. And I have lost everything that was dear to me. but right now, I think I need to rest, so this discussion will have to resume at a later time." With a small nod, Harry settled back down into the sheets of his bed, and passed out from the pain from his wound.
Harry woke up again sometime the next day, late afternoon by his guess, and he heard voices around him. He opened his eyes, and found his glasses on the small table beside the bed, and slid them into place, without distracting the others in the room.
"There's some money in the house, in a closet." The boy called Ed.
"I'm sure its safe. There are more important things to worry about now." And Pinako. Winry and Al stood off a little, watching them.
Ed shook his head a little, trying not to move much as Pinako was changing his bandages. "That's not what I'm saying. I want you to take it as payment... for automail."
Pinako still, drawing in a sharp breath.
Ed continued on, never making eye contact with any of the others. "I can't go through my plan lugging around a pair of stumps! I'm gonna visit that man, Mustang, and become a State Alchemist."
"I was hoping you weren't conscious to hear that talk."
"He's not the only one I heard from. The teacher we had told us about State Alchemists; they've got access to the Federal Library in Central, with books on alchemy no one else has. They'll pay you, and fund your research, and those pocket watches amplify alchemic reactions."
Pinako leveled a steady look on Ed. "Please tell me that's not all your teacher said. What about State Alchemists being the Military's attack dogs, called into war to mow down the lives of people the State tells you are bad! Did your teacher mention that? In the attacks that took the lives of my sons, there were Alchemists involved. When war comes again, are you ready to do that same?"
Ed didn't look up at her, keeping his head down, but Harry saw a determination light Ed's golden eyes. "I don't wanna be chained to the State anymore than you, but I'll do whatever it takes to fix things."
"Fix you? Or the world? Make sure you ask yourself that."
"Let him do what he wishes; it's his choice, in the end." Harry spoke up, causing the others to stare at him. "There are all the choices in the world, few of them are ever decided by ourselves. Your advice is sound, but in the end, he must choose for himself."
"You're awake. Good. Now, we can continue what we started last night, so explain what you mean by being a wizard."
Harry smiled. "It's simple, really. I have the strange feeling that I am from a different world than this one, and that different rules applied. Where I'm from, alchemy was a forgotten art, a branch of magic that failed due to the folly of man. I was at war, back in my world, and had stumbled upon alchemy, true alchemy, during my research and training to bring that war to an end, since magic wasn't getting us anywhere."
He gestured to the sword that had been with him. "Accio sword." The weapon flew into his hand, a flicker of lightning flashing between his palm and the blade.
"Magic could almost be called alchemy with laws, but it is not. I can summon anything I wish to me; I can fly; I can torture people; I can even kill with magic. I can change the shape of anything, or conjure up things from the very air, but there are limits to what I can do. I cannot bring back the dead, I cannot change history, or mess with time, although time travel is possible, and I am not invincible or immortal with my magic."
Harry paused, looking at Pinako with a calculating gaze. "What is this 'automail' I heard Ed mention, and how much would it cost?"
"Please, just bare with us, Ed! This is the best procedure we can do!" Winry said as she worked on the boy, trying to calm him down. Pinako was in a similar situation with Harry.
"Aaugh!" Harry tried not to thrash around too much as the old woman worked, and he gripped the sides of the operating table with crushing force, his knuckles white with exertion. Ed thrashed a little, clenching his eyes shut from the monumental pain of the surgery.
A door creaked opened. "Stay out of the room, Al!" Winry snapped, and Al shut the door quickly.
"I'm impressed, Ed, Harry. Even adults scream in this part of the operation; we're attaching each one of your nerves to the mechanism." Pinako stated, clearly impressed with her two patients.
"I've lost everything I hold dear... and this is nothing compared to the Cruciatus, but what I wouldn't give for one of Snape's numbing draughts!" Harry managed to grit out of clenched teeth.
Ed opened his eyes, sweat dripping down his face. "This pain's nothing... compared to what he's given up...!" The operation continued.
A couple of months passed since the operation, and the two patients slowly recovered from it. Al occupied himself by training his new body, getting a feel for how the metal moved, and what he could do. He was out by the river, practicing his fighting skills.
Harry had managed to convince the two boys that it would be best if he stuck close to them. He was eager to learn about the new world he was in, and wanted to learn about the alchemy that was a science here, and not some forgotten branch of old magic. Ed willingly agreed to teach Harry all he knew about alchemy, and during their recovery, he had found that the older teen was quite proficient at the science. It helped that he already knew the basic principles.
It turned out that he could still use his magic in this new world, but it was wandless, and it was visible as lightning. Harry had found this horribly ironic.
He learned of Ed and Al's past, their life in Risenbul, and in return, he told the two, and Winry and Pinako at times, about his life back in his own world, the world he would never return to. The others were skeptical about his stories of another world, but they could not dispute it either, so they kept the matter open for interpretation.
Ed had connected with the stranger he was starting to consider as an older brother during the time they had spent together recovering from the automail surgery. As Harry talked about his past, and the friends he remembered, Ed couldn't help but feel sympathetic when it turned out that Harry could no longer remember what his parents looked like, or their names. All Harry knew was that he remembered was being told that he had his mother's eyes.
But at the present moment, Ed and Harry were walking slowly down to the riverside, where Al was practicing. The animated armor noticed their arrival and paused, not looking at them directly.
"It's been enough time. We should see what we can do." He said.
Ed smiled, walking towards his brother with his hands in his pockets. "To train the mind to its potential, you got to train the body. That's what our teacher said." He paused a few feet away from Al. Harry stood back a little, a small smile tugging at his lips. He pushed his glasses into place.
"Really? Your teacher was very smart, then, and very good at teaching. Too bad I don't have my Firebolt, or I'd fly circles around the two of you."
"You talk a lot, Harry, and Al, I don't know, how good can you as an empty heap of steel?" Ed smirked at the two of them.
"Better than a couple of chunks of automail, that's for sure, and if you're as good on the ground as you say you are in the air, Harry, then you'll be a challenge." Al retorted, drawing grins from the other two.
Ed suddenly charged at Al, punching him with his metal right fist, and Harry leapt into action as well, launching a flying roundhouse kick at Al's head. Al caught them both, blocking the attacks.
And so the assessment continued, with Ed and Harry attacking Al, testing out their automail parts, and Al testing his foreign body, trying to see the limit of his empty shell of a body.
The mock duel ended quickly, with Al overpowering both of them, dragging Ed around in a half circle, and holding Harry in the air by his metal leg. They began again, fighting each other, testing their skills.
"Brother, are you serious about becoming a State Alchemist?"
"I'm serious about trying. I'm going to see this Mustang guy, and find out if I have a shot!"
"But I don't want you to join..."
"Al, I've made up my mind!"
"Then I will, too!"
"Ed, are you going to try and bring back your mother again?" Harry spoke up this time, breaking into the brothers' conversation. "You two did agree that it was a mistake, correct?"
"I'll become the State Alchemist!" Al interjected. "And I'll find a way to get you and Harry back to normal, with real limbs again. Then you can forget about all these other things that you say you have to do."
Ed cut him off. "It's not your burden to carry, Al."
The three of them stopped their fight. "Well, why shouldn't it be?" Harry asked calmly. "He wanted you to stop, from what you told me, he had the feeling."
"So I should've acted on it. And then you gave up your arm to save me! And Harry got that scar helping you!"
"You've got no place feeling sorry for us, though." Harry cut in again, voicing his thoughts. "We have all made our choices, we share the burden."
"But, Harry, Brother..."
"We're both serious! But I'm the one that has to fix things, and get your body back. I don't know what I can do for Harry, since his sacrifices weren't totally related to us, but I'll do me best to help him, too."
Al stared at Ed, glancing at Harry as well. "So we won't try with mom again?"
Ed looked away, pain and sadness glistening in his golden eyes. "Well, chances are there isn't anything in this world we could trade for mom's soul, and besides all that... I don't..."
"He doesn't want to risk losing you again, Al, and I wouldn't be able to keep you back again." Harry said, coming up to stand behind Ed, towering over the smaller, younger boy.
There was a moment's pause. "Good, then I'll have to come with you, Harry too!"
Ed looked up at Al, perplexed. "Er, why is that?"
"You're no good without me, you just turn into a jerk, and Harry will be a good influence, too!"
Ed deflated, his ego hurt. "Thanks for the endorsement!"
"But seriously, we're all we got. From now on, we can't do anything that could pull us apart."
Harry smiled warmly, feeling quite attached already to the Elric brothers. "And you brats are stuck with me, too. You two are my family now, and I will not let you go without a fight."
A couple of months after that, close to a year after the incident that brought them together, the three of them left Risenbul, burning down the Elric home, and all the familiar things inside, erasing all trace of that night and Harry's arrival. The two brothers were trying to restore their bodies, and it was still human transmutation, a forbidden science. If they failed, there would probably be nothing left of them, and they had no idea what the future would hold.
Harry vowed to protect the two brothers as best he could, using everything he had at his disposal. He could not judge them on their actions; for years he had wished for something similar, but he would do his best to make sure they made it to their future, because he knew that he had no hope of going back.
A/N: first chapter is finished! How'd I do? The review button is just in the corner, so don't be shy! Was everything plausible? Let me know! And no flames, please, they will just be ignored and given over to my pet werewolf puppy to eat! See you all next time!