Disclaimer: I own nothing but FMA. Wait...I don't own that either. I'm a hobo.
A/N: Well, I couldn't resist...I know this is short, but it's a prologue more than a chapter.
A Pirate's Life for Me
by Me And My God Complex
Chapter One: It All Began Through Fun
Edward and Alphonse Elric both sighed simultaneously. They glanced at each other, before turning to face the front of the wooden-paneled room. At the head of the long table, King Von Hohenheim was droning on about pirate raids. Needless to say, it bored the two unofficial princes to death.
They sighed together again. This time, when they looked at each other, they both cracked smiles. They knew better to laugh, since the last time had landed them in the dungeon for a week. The two brothers (Alphonse was younger than Edward by a year, but Edward was shorter) were as close as twins, so they tended to do everything together.
Which was why they both sat together at the back of the room, ready for one of the many nobles around the conference table to summon them. Edward and Alphonse worked as servants together in the Royal Palace. They were only simple kitchen servants, or they were in the eyes of the general populace. To their father of course, they were his two bastard children, born of a tavern whore only trying to keep bread in them mouth of her mother. Bam. Unofficial princes.
This got them their own little nicknames for each other, when they were alone. Edward was "His Majesty The Prince" and Alphonse was "His Highness The Prince". It was enjoyable, sometimes, to see kitchen maids hiss about treason when the brothers used these names. It was funny though, how no one noticed Edward and Alphonse's odd similarity to the king. Well, they weren't chosen for their brains --- they were chosen for how to spot mildew and dust.
"Meeting Adjourned." Rang the voice of the King, and Edward and Alphonse both sighed in relief --- and, you guessed it, together. Glancing over his shoulder at the King, Edward grabbed Alphonse's hand and tugged him out of the room, through a servant's door. Their father made no move to stop them, although he'd mentioned wanting to speak to them when the meeting was finished.
"Brother...what about Father? He said he wanted to talk to us..." Alphonse trailed off, giving his brother a worried look as they settled in a little used stairwell in the servant's area. Edward stiffened, before relaxing. He began to tug at his slightly frazzled braid.
"Al. Don't call him 'Father'. He didn't want us. We were a mistake, and he doesn't love us. The only reason were not dead yet is because he feels guilty." Edward said this in a tone that suggested he and his younger brother had been over this many times. Alphonse's shoulders sagged, before he nodded grimly. He forced his brother to turn around, and began to comb the shoulder-length, golden-blond hair with his fingers.
"Okay, your Majesty." Alphonse smiled softly at his older brother's laugh. In his opinion, Edward should laugh more often. He rarely did however, since he took it open himself to look after Alphonse and keep him safe. The twelve year old took the weight of the world on his slim shoulders, and never once indicated the burden was too great.
As Alphonse began to plait the blond's hair, he pouted. "Brother, have you ever considered just leaving your hair down?" Although he couldn't see the scowl, he felt it. Silver-blue eyes widened in poor concealed amusement. His brother was finicky about his hair, whether he cared to admit or not. Edward said it made him look girly, worrying if every strand was in place. "I mean, you'd look taller and more mature."
He hoped the taller part would hit through. Edward considered it a severe insult to be the shorter than his 'baby brother', and hated comments on his stature. Alphonse was four foot nine. Edward was four foot seven.
"And more like a damn girl. Jeez Al. If you want, I'll do a ponytail." This apparently satisfied both parties, so Alphonse undid the plaint, combed the hair again and put in in a high ponytail. When he was finished, Alphonse took the opportunity to admire his work.
"There! Done Brother!" Standing up, Alphonse dusted off the seat of his pants. Unlike his brother, he cared about what people thought of him. The elder of the two stood up as well, stretching. Alphonse took a moment to look at his brother's golden orbs. They were an amazing color.
"What do you wanna do now, Al?" The elder asked, looking around the empty passageway as if some form of entertainment would suddenly pop up. Alphonse frowned for a moment, scratching the back of his neck. Unlike his brother, he kept his bronze-blond hair short. When asked why, he said it was neater than long hair.
"I know!" Alphonse brightened, and began to skip down the tunnel. He waved at his brother, who quickly followed. "Let's go to the Cove." The teen had just named the place they had used to play when they were younger. When upset, worried or bored, the Elric brothers tended to head there.
"Okay. You got the note?" Edward questioned, as they made their way through the warren that was the servants route. "Good." Said the elder, nodding when Alphonse pulled out a paper that had a very eerie resemblance to the Head Of Palace Staff's signature. Alphonse was a master forger—he could copy anyone, given the chance. For two boys trying to sneak into town, it was perfect.
As they headed out the servant's entrance, they flashed the paper, and the weary guards waved them through without much more than a glance. Really. Edward thought as they headed down Market Street. It's a waste of Al's good talent.
"Dozen for a sixty senz! It's a deal! Come here for a dozen buns at sixty senz!"
"Corncob brooms! Amazing for those in need of help when it comes to cleaning!"
"Hey there Miss! Would you like to try these new cosmetics!"
It was the usual hectic day at the Market Place, at the center of Market Street where it crossed with Royal Way Street. Alphonse look happy as he waved at those whom he knew and listened to shopkeepers advertise their wares. Edward, being the solitary person he was, glared angrily at anyone who came too close for comfort and stuck very near to his younger brother.
They turned down Harbour Front Street, which was, as the name suggested, on the Harbour Front. This was the Royal Port, in the First Bay. More noise occupied the air, making Edward grimace as he rubbed his sore ears. Alphonse took the time to say hello to those fishermen he knew, and pet dogs and cats that crossed his path. Edward would impatiently stick to the side, tapping his foot and wishing Alphonse would hurry up, while wrinkling his nose at the fishy smell everywhere.
The Elric brothers had just made it out of the crowds when a cannon blast sounded. There was a small explosion, and panicked screams. The two youngsters turned to see a large pirate ship in the bay. Something about it tickled at Edward's memory, but he shook the feeling off. "Come on Al! We gotta go." He tugged impatiently at the other's sleeve, watching the pirates row ashore.
"But Brother! We can't just leave all the nice people to the pirates!" Protested Alphonse, standing on his toes in order to get a better look. Edward pulled him down, ignoring the younger's protest. He couldn't let Alphonse go running blindly into danger.
"Al, you'll get hurt." He said in a soft tone, nearly unheard admits all the screaming. Alphonse wavered. In his world, innocent people should be helped, but his older brother's word was law. Another boom, and an explosion close of enough to send dust in their face. Alphonse, decision made, took off into the flying debris, face shielded by an arm.
"AL! ALPHONSE!" Yelled Edward, appearing to be actually frightened. He couldn't lose Alphonse. Alphonse was his baby brother. Alphonse was all he had. "ALPHONSE! GET YOUR BUT OVER HERE!"
His voice was drowned out by the screaming, which was getting louder. Edward growled, and tried to push his way through the throngs of people trying to escape the fighting zone. It was no good, because even brute force couldn't get through a mass of frightened people. "ALPHONSE! AL!"
No use. The crowds ended up dragging him along with them, while Edward screamed himself hoarse while keeping an eye out for his younger brother. The large group ended up running to town, leaving Edward sitting crumpled on the road. He stared forlornly in the distance, where he could see the explosions caused by canon fire, and pirates looting and pilfering. "Alphonse..." He mumbled, pushing his now dirty hair out of his face. Only minutes before, Alphonse had been trying to convince him to let it down.
Alphonse. There was a very small chance he would come back. He was only eleven, for as good he could fight. Edward put his face in his hands. Al...I can't just leave you. Golden eyes blazed. Edward made his unsteady way to his feet, and set determined orbs on the zone of destruction. That's right. He couldn't leave Alphonse to be killed or taken for slavery. He was the older brother. He had a duty to fulfill.
As he began to stomp down the dirt road, a realization hit him. If he went this way, he'd be seen immediately by the pirates. He'd be dead, and Alphonse wouldn't have anyone. Wait...the Cove... The Cove, Edward knew, was near a sandbar that touched a small island. From that island, one could access solid ground, which, if one followed properly would double on itself to behind the pirates. They had used it before. It was perfectly safe. Perfect.
He turned on one heel, making his way towards the cluster of trees that his the Cove. His mind was so fully occupied on exactly what he would do to the pirates if they'd hurt his baby brother, that it left no room for grief or fear. It also took his mind off of where hen was going. Which, Edward dimly realized as he tripped and fell down on some ever- so-soft sand, might not be a good idea. Cracking one golden eye open, he saw the large rocks he fell over. "Damn rocks..."
Pause for a moment. He WASN'T on sand. It felt more like a bed roll. But who on earth could be here? It was his and Alphonse's place. The only other way to see it was from the large canal which fed into the First Bay. It was rarely used, apart from...
"Pirates." With this realization, he pushed himself to his knees. A large twinge of pain in his ankle indicated he'd sprained it. But that wasn't the major problem here. Facing the sandy cove, he saw that it was full of supplies, bed rolls, and sleeping pirates. Not my lucky day..Though the sentries haven't seen me. Huh? If they're all sleeping, then this bed roll... He glanced down, and his largest fear at the current moment was confirmed. Two very dark blue eyes, which almost appeared black, were staring up at him. The man (whoever he was) had short dark hair, and currently didn't look to happy.
Edward noticed, at this crucial moment, that he was sitting on the pirate. Eyes wide, mouth closed for fear of waking up anymore of them, he attempted to move back, but the pain in his ankle stopped him. The pirate pushed himself up, while smirking, sending Edward tumbling down. As he fell, he felt his bad ankle hit the afore mentioned rocks, and strips of white, blazing crossed his vision. Before he could stop his traitorous mouth, it opened.
"God damn it! STUPID ANKLE! I'LL CUT YOU OFF, YOU DAMN BASTARD!" Edward had quite a set of lungs on him. All around him, pirates shot up, grabbing nearby weapons and looking for the cause of the yells. Next to him, Edward watched the dark haired man blink, stick a finger in his ear and pull it out. He blinked again, then decided to make a comment to the short, angry blond.
"At least I'm not deaf. Pray tell, what on earth did you do that for? I wasn't even awake. You could have killed me and gotten away." There was obvious curiosity in the tone, and Edward felt himself twitching. It wasn't fair. He had to wake up an entire nest of pirates, and sprain his ankle. As he glanced around yet again, he noticed that everyone was watching him and the dark haired pirate with interest.
"Captain? do you want us to take care of him?" Asked one of them, a blond...woman? Edward blinked, before her words got through to him. Captain? Damn it! He scowled, and managed to use the large boulders (calling them rocks was an understatement) to push himself up. His ankle hurt like hell, but he still had to get to Alphonse. Oh yeah. Al. I have to save him.
"No. He seems far to young to be an enemy. What is he, ten?" Questioned the Captain. He was smirking, and Edward found himself thinking, Smug bastard. But then the realization at what the pirate had said hit home. The pain was making him slow to react, but he wasn't about let this pirate insult him.
"I AM NOT TEN! I'M TWELVE!" Taking another deep breath, he began to totter to the entrance of the Cove. He could see the sandbar. Al. I'm coming. He watched, out the corner of his eye, as some pirates aimed their weapons at him, and opened his mouth again. "AND YOU BETTER LET ME GO! I HAVE NO INTENTION ON GETTING MYSELF KILLED BY A BUNCH OF MURDEROUS THEIVES WHILE MY BROTHER IS IN DANGER THANKS TO A BUNCH OF MURDEROUS THEIVES!"
"Er...Captain?" Asked another blond, this one a male. He glanced at his Captain, who still hadn't woken up properly yet, though thanks to Edward's rants, was pretty damn close. He shrugged. "Should I knock him out?" Asked the blond male, who seemed to have a hangover. When the Captain nodded, the pirate got to his feet, walked over, and used a rock he'd picked up to smash Edward across the head.
The Night Before
The crew of The Trisha had spent a night getting properly drunk, in order to celebrate their good fortune in the last raid. The barrels of rum were brought out to a crowd of happy pirates, who began to down mug after mug. They had been exuberant, finally falling asleep around one in the morning. Those who weren't drunk were set up as sentries, while the rest collapsed in bedrolls.
They aren't overly worried, noted the Captain, who'd settled for two glasses of rum. It left the dark haired man, named Roy Mustang, with quite a pleasant buzz, but he could still think clearly. Not that they should be. This cove is very safe. Never seen anyone else in it but us. That was one reason they'd chosen the cozy little haven, just off of the King's Canal, which led into the First Bay.
Roy had fallen asleep near a large collection of boulders, slightly apart from the party goers. He managed to fall asleep at the reasonable time of midnight, assured that him and his men were safe. Needless to say, he hadn't expected to be awoken the next morning by having a small body land on his own. Assuming that it was one of his crew, tripping over him on their way to relieve themselves, he had opened his eyes. What he had been met with was a young boy, with a shock of golden-blond hair and amber eyes, looking like he was in vague pain, staring around the cove in shock.
He blinked. Maybe the crew had slipped something into his two drinks last night. But when the boy didn't disappear, and the Captain realized the wait on his chest was real, that he decided that some dumb kid had stumbled here by accident. And listening carefully, he could hear faint explosions coming from town. That explains it.
Roy opened his mouth to tell the child to leave now, but was stopped when the amber eyes met his, and the kid looked seriously afraid. Roy felt sorry for the boy, but didn't let it show as he smirked, pushing himself up. He had just meant
to scare the boy away, but when the boy's ankle hit the rocks and he began to scream, Roy realized this plan wasn't going to work.
"God damn it! STUPID ANKLE! I'LL CUT YOU OFF, YOU DAMN BASTARD!" yelled the child, holding his ankle. Roy sighed, blinking at how loud the small boy was. He look to be no more than eleven.
Roy watched as his crew awoke, some groaning as their hangovers made the screaming seem ten times louder. Lisa Hawkeye was looking as calm as ever, though Roy could tell that the blond woman's eyebrow was twitching slightly. He shook his head, than noticed the child had stopped shouting, and was looking rather frightened.
He blinked, stuck a finger in his ear to make sure he could still hear, and decided to approach the violent midget. "At least I'm not deaf. Pray tell, what on earth did you do that for? I wasn't even awake. You could have killed me and gotten away." He had meant to sound soothing, but he supposed it sounded different than what he had been aiming for, since the kid began to twitch, looking around the cove again.
"Captain, should I take care of him?" Asked Lisa, holding her pistol at the ready. Roy shook his head, then smirked again. He could see the fear that showed up in the child's eyes when Lisa said this.
"No. He seems far to young to be an enemy. What is he, ten?" Roy said this while smirking, which was probably why the child took it as an insult. Watching the kid get up with a bad ankle was amusing, but listening to his rant was even more so.
"I AM NOT TEN! I'M TWELVE!" Taking another deep breath, the blond began to totter to the entrance of the cove. Roy found this entertaining, but it was starting to get on his nerves. Did the kid have problems, or something? Roy watched the crew raise weapons, and he held up a hand to stay them. The blond wasn't finished, for as he reached the entrance of the cove he noticed the weapons like Roy had. "AND YOU BETTER LET ME GO! I HAVE NO INTENTION ON GETTING MYSELF KILLED BY A BUNCH OF MURDEROUS THEIVES WHILE MY BROTHER IS IN DANGER THANKS TO A BUNCH OF MURDEROUS THEIVES!"
Ouch. Murdering thieves? Roy thought as he approved of Jean Havoc's request to knock out the blond. That was a low hit. Watching the blond hit the ground with a small thump, Roy grimaced, and ran a hand through raven locks. "Havoc, tie him up. Hawkeye, Ross and Hughes, I want you to check out what's happening in the harbor. It sounds like some of our cousins are causing chaos." He watched the three, who had actually been sober last night, nod and leave, while Havoc began to truss up the blond.
"Everyone else." Roy stood up, letting out a frustrated sigh. He had wanted to be here for a few days, but with some pirate cousins attacking the harbor, they couldn't afford that luxury. "Prepare the ship. Our little blond friend can go in the hold."
While everyone scattered to obey his orders, Roy narrowed his eyes on the unconscious blond. He thought that the kid had twitched when he'd said 'little', but couldn't be quite certain. Shrugging, he began to look for semi-clean clothes. They'd get their answers soon enough.
When Edward had awoken, it had been with a splitting headache, a throbbing ankle, and a wish that whoever was pounding on the floor above him would just shut up and die. He turned over, frazzled mind not quite processing the fact that his arms were tied. "Hey Al? You awake?" When he got no answer, Edward frowned. No matter what, Alphonse was always awake before his older brother. "Al?"
No answer again. Edward scowled, upon that the realization that the only way to check where his baby brother was would be to open his eyes. The blond didn't quite feel like this, since his headache was pounding through his skull. It felt like someone had hit him over the head with a rock. Opening his eyes to the bright lights from the window would be hell.
But open them he did. Slitted golden orbs began to examine the room, while the owner hissed in pain. The pounding in Edward's head only increased as he opened his eyes fully, revealing he wasn't in his room. In fact, he appeared to be in a holding cell on a ship. Wha...?
"Did I get smashed last night?" Asked Edward, brain pulling up the only reasonable answer for him to have a headache while laying on the ground of an unfamiliar place. Never mind the fact he didn't drink. "Al? You there?" As he tried to move, in order to get a better view of wherever he was, Edward's ankle put up a cry of protest. Stealing a look, saw that is legs were tied. Another glance proved his arms to be in the same condition.
"What the hell?" Edward scowled again, on the decision that he didn't like what was happening. When his ankle twinged once more, Edward found himself remembering the events of yesterday. Al...pirates...tried to save Al. Ran into more pirates. Got hit on the head. Ouch.
"Oi! Get that Bastard Captain! He better untie me!" Edward discovered he couldn't shout with his dry throat and headache, so he settled with whispering angrily. He was assuming that there was someone else under the deck to guard him, and they'd relay his request to that smug man who was probably laughing on the deck while the ship rocked with waves.
And not the little waves one found in the bay, or the canal. These were waves that one could find in the sea. Which meant, through all logic, that Edward was trapped on a ship in the middle of the ocean. This also meant he wasn't near Alphonse. He'd failed his baby brother. "Al..."
He tried to thrash his way out of the bonds, seeing as how no guard had responded to his cries, but the pain from his ankle made him stop. He lay, completely quiet, for a few minutes, hoping to hear something that would indicate someone was coming. Edward gritted his teeth, listening to all the laughter above deck. They'd forgotten about him.
Eventually, the pain and the knowledge that he couldn't escape stopped him from hoping that he'd get out. With nothing left to do until someone came down, Edward closed his eyes, and let the waves rocking the ship lull him into an uneasy sleep. Although he never told anyone, he found it easiest to sleep when he was thinking about the great big blue. And being on it only helped more.
It was a weakness and a secret. After all, how would Alphonse react if he knew just what ties the Elric family held to the sea. And Edward had to protect his little brother from everything, and that included the Truth. Because Alphonse was everything.
His dreams were filled with smoke and canon fire, along with a little boy with wide, amber eyes standing on the deck of the ship while his grandfather sang him a bawdy thieves song...
END CHAPTER ONE
A/N: In case you're wondering what inspired this, it was a story called Sweet Trade...