Chapter 1: The town of Rainfall
Disclaimer: I don't own FMA or any of the characters within it. I think that should do it…
Rating: M for future chapters
Summary: At the age of 16 Edward Elric disappeared through the gate leaving everything behind him. Two years later rumors circulate to his return, but with war brewing in Ametris will Ed still be the same? And will he help the military once again?
A/N: This obviously disregards the movie, I did love it but I prefer to work around it. This fic will be Ed/Riza without a doubt, and any out of character with Ed is probably on purpose. He is a broken man from his experiences with war on the other side. The slow pace will hopefully pick up a bit later in.
Central was still so teeming with life even after all the events following the philosopher's stone, but of course the hype was well covered up by the restructured military with Roy Mustang as fuhrer. What was left over from the events two years back were mostly just rumors outside of the military higher-ups. Peace was restored with the ishbalans and things moved great in the first year.
It was just one year back that things began to heat up with the nation of creta to the west being conquered by unknown soldiers. Enemies dressed in all black with blades and guns faster then lightning was the original description their scouts gave them, and of course the fleeing people of creta. It seemed unbelievable at the time, but it couldn't have been closer to the truth. Since then the military has been at full battle alert, careful of spies as the main troops skirmish near the border. The worst part of it all was they were losing…slowly but surely. Alchemists couldn't be everywhere, and their regular troops were slaughtered in the dozens by only one of these barbarians. The kingdom of Tirian whose generals are called 'The Fangs of Tirian', hidden behind silver face masks they strike without mercy and with great strength…their soldiers with crimson red masks no less deadly.
Sighing to herself one Riza Hawkeye walked along the busy streets of Central in exhaustion. She had been deployed time and time again against this new menace, and it was crushing her spirit. Even she one of the greatest gunners in the entire military was having trouble. She was starting to hate her appointment as a Colonel in place of Roy.
Despite being worn out her orders were clear, fuhrer mustang had another assignment for her to complete. She slowly approached the massive headquarters building where she was instantly let through the gate. Riza navigated the hallways with great ease, having done it many times over. The halls were always so boring…the same design every time…no changes, not even a picture different it seemed these days. She finally reached a larger set of double doors after passing countless personnel, the shimmering of the silver handles calling for her to open them.
Placing her hands around the cool metal she pulled quickly, releasing it in time to spare her hands any more cold frustration. Riza walked gracefully into the room using the long green rug on the floor as a guide towards the desk at the back. She moved with an air of authority and intimidation, causing many of the younger soldiers working in the room to turn away quickly…her reputation of having a quick trigger finger passing down the ranks.
She stopped directly in front of mustang's desk, where he was actually doing work without prompting. "Good morning Fuhrer Mustang, Colonel Riza Hawkeye reporting for duty as ordered" her hand shot up in a respectful salute, her blonde hair held back in the same manner she always used.
"Please Hawkeye you know we don't need these forms of formality…" sighing to himself he rubbed his temple, the stress of his workload getting to him. But being on top had its up sides; he had started in a new era. Beginning complete reform and construction from the very foundations he was a great leader. They were still a military state but people were much happier, even the ishbalans.
"I apologize sir" her hand slipped back to her side where she held firm for a moment before taking a seat just off to her right, the comfy sinking feeling making her wish she could have some time off.
"It's alright…well anyway the reason I called for you is because of a few rumors I have heard amongst some travelers." A small frown crossed her lovely face; she knew right off the bat exactly what rumors meant…a wild goose chase most likely. "Since when do you let rumors influence you sir?"
"I usually don't…but these are…special" his fingers tapped insistently on the desk, his eyes scanning a few files just under his gaze. "A young friend of ours seems to have made another appearance…" she seemed to study him with a look of suspicion, trying to figure out exactly who he could mean.
"Sir I don't see who it could be except…" her eyes shot open quickly, the realization of what or who a rumor must be about in order to catch mustangs attention. He nodded towards her shock stricken face with another long sigh "Yes you see…Edward Elric was spotted…."
Unable to muster any sort of words she simply sat there with mouth partly open, staring at mustang with pure astonishment. After two long years during one of the deadliest conflicts they had ever seen Edward Elric returns out of no where? "S-sir…these rumors you mentioned, do they have any merit at all?"
Roy was slightly suspicious of her sudden nervousness but said nothing about it "Several people have backed the claims but no official government personal. This is the first time I've decided to send someone ahead to confirm them." Secretly he was begging for the rumors to be true, for Ed to return as a guiding light for their troops. He hated to think of how selfish it sounded, yet with everything falling apart how could he not hope for the kid?
"And if I may ask…what is the meaning for sending me? Should I not be returning to the front lines? A simple soldier could handle this job with ease…" the disappearance of Edward had hit her harder then expected. It was as if something that had always been there simply vanished from her life. He had always kept everyone in high spirits, been the spunky kid all could smile at as he ranted on about every little topic.
"You know Edward can be rather stubborn, if we sent a soldier for him he would probably just chase him away with arms flailing. The brothers always had a soft spot for you, so I thought it would be best for you to go. Besides you can think of it as a small vacation from the war." The fuhrer folded his hands calmly in front of his face, the blue uniform lined with medals and ribbons. Honestly he was close to leaving for the front lines himself.
"Sir…I will accept the orders given to me" she couldn't explain why the room suddenly felt hot, why she felt so strange going to search for Ed. It was just another assignment after all "Where exactly am I setting off to?"
"You will be setting off for Rainfall immediately; it's located in the far north of our borders. It's only a small border town but it's fairly large, if you should run into any trouble return immediately." Although no one ever mentioned it the north had become quite unstable, bandits were roaming freely during the conflicts and small rebellions were beginning to brew. Despite that even Riza knew no soldiers could be spared as an escort.
"If that is all I shall take my leave" her uniform shifted and ruffled against the chair while she rose quickly to attention, her hand in a perfect routine salute. Sighing to himself mustang watched her leave with a short shake of his head, resting his forehead against the palm of his hand "She never seems to change…"
Central Trail Station
Upon leaving the headquarters she was given a folder detailing her assignment, they had granted her a week paid leave for locating the Fullmetal alchemist, any time after that would be deducted from her pay. It took roughly a half hour to pack a few things away in a travel suitcase. Without a second to spare Riza had rushed herself to the train station.
The loud ringing whistles, the bustle of life and the screaming train directors really made it a lively scene. Trains puffed out smoke as gears twisted and turned driving them outward, the rustle and patter of footsteps on stone floors echoed across her ears relentlessly. She moved carefully through the crowds of people, her suitcase clutched in one hand and the intelligence folder tucked away under her opposite arm.
She scanned the station quietly before locating the fairly empty platform packed away in the back. Sidestepping past an elderly couple she could hear the last call for her train. It was an older model which looked frail and weak, retired to the occasional trip to the outer towns. She boarded quickly to avoid having to wait another three days for the next chance.
Very few people filled the seats, the occasional couple, older gentlemen or traveler taking up one here or there. The train itself was small with only a few cars, the metal walls rusted and stained in several sections. Many of the once glamour curtains hanging from the windows were dulled of color or torn. The seats themselves were still strong yet as bland as the rest of the train. Riza conveniently picked the last car, separating herself from the rest of the travelers.
Shoving her suitcase above the seats she plopped herself down with a soft sigh, lifting the folder up to scan through the information. Despite her destination being within the military's borders it didn't have a single troop stationed there, and worst of all the report indicated an almost never ending rain storm. It was an odd occurrence; no one had an explanation for why so much rain fell upon the small town. For the local residents it had become a normal thing but for her it would be uncomfortable.
The train heaved and jerked as it pulled out of the train station, the screech of the whistle attacking her ears viciously. With a drawn out sigh Riza pushed it out of her thoughts, turning her head towards the window idly. She stared blankly out at the glorious city full of both beautiful treasures and horrible problems. The scenery was soon replaced by the expansive lands outside as they pushed forward at a sluggish pace at best. Her mind though was someone else entirely.
When was the last time I even talked to him…? She frowned deeply trying to rack her brain for some sort of memory from two years prior. That's when it finally came to her, the final time they actually spoke. It was right before the final leg of both of their adventures. In Resembool right before she left with mustang to redirect the military looking for the two brothers. It had been deep into the night…
The return of Edward's father had driven him partially mad, every little thing with even his name in it causing him to snap. That night as Al abandoned his brother for the chance to stay outside with their despicable father Ed found himself lost in many ways.
It was just before 2 am when he finally got fed up with twisting around in his bed, groaning as his eyes stared at the dark ceiling. "Stupid Al…I don't get any appreciation, I'm here for him all his life and he runs to be with our deadbeat dad. How can he even stand him?"
Growling he found himself grinding his teeth in frustration, the untied blond hair still freely thrown about his face. Finally unable to stand the silence he pried himself up, glaring at the empty bed off to the side before hustling downstairs.
The hallways were dark and silent, as to be expected. The occasional beam from the moon painted the floor from a few well placed windows, but besides that he was walking blind. Using his hand to run against the wall Ed found his way to the top of the stairs, below he could see the soft glow of some form of light. Using it Ed easily made his way down stairs, crossing into the kitchen where a single candle flickered at the center table. Riza was poised in one of the chairs, dressed in her uniforms blue pants and a simple white sleep shirt. It was quite obvious the pants were only in case of company…much like Ed.
She looked up immediately, a mug held up to her lips with both hands. Finishing her sip she lowered it back to the table, staring slightly "Edward what are you doing up?" Her hair was let down in a brilliant wave of yellow. The usual seriousness of her eyes was calmed with the night, her face catching the gentle candle light generously. Ed was astonished having never seen Riza in such a casual manner and it didn't help the way she looked in the light. "Oh…um…just couldn't sleep"
With slightly red cheeks Ed hurried to the fridge, his once long standing respect for the woman now border lining a crush. The first thing in his face was a carton of milk sending shivers up and down his spine. Pushing it out of the way he found little to drink "why couldn't Pinako have gone shopping…"
"There's tea on the stove if you would like some…" Riza seemed to watch him hurry about in slight amusement, dressed in a simple black shorts and shirt. He seemed to consider the offer while pushing aside the various things not suiting his picky tastes. "Or you could always have the milk…"
He stiffened visibly, shutting the fridge without a moment to spare. Removing a mug from a cabinet he quickly poured himself some tea, placing himself on the other end of the table. They drank in silence for a few minutes before Ed began to grow curious "…so…lieutenant what are you doing up anyway?"
"Same as you, had trouble sleeping. I came down and Pinako was just finishing some tea…so I stayed down when she went back to sleep." That explained why the tea was less warm for him, but even so it was soothing. "I see…" he stared down at the table unable to bring his eyes up; Riza seemed to ignore his presence for the most part.
Eventually Riza stared directly at him, placing her mug down for good "Ed is something wrong…?" She had watched them grow before her eyes and easily grew a soft spot for the two boys; anyone could tell Ed was in pain. But instead of confiding in her he simply bit his lip ever so slightly "no of course not, just a bit tired from all the adventures…you know." She frowned at his excuse, her hands idly resting on the table.
"That hardly seems like the issue…you know you can tell me if you want to" Riza wondered if he ever talked to anyone about his troubles, but when thinking it seemed unlikely. She simply watched him as he squirmed under her gaze, eventually those golden eyes looking up with a sense of nervousness.
Ed could barely stare at her for long moments but with everything happening so fast lately it would be nice to talk to someone. Even if he couldn't divulge his secrets he could still talk about Al without a problem. "Maybe I'm just a bit upset over Al…I've been with him all this time, it's just been us…and then suddenly our deadbeat dad comes out of no where…and I lose him, just like that."
Riza saw his eyes glaze over and dull, his nervousness replaced by all the despair building up over the years. "Edward…you can't honestly think that can you?" His stare began to go beyond her; it was like he wasn't even there anymore "Why can't I? We've been through everything together, we saw each other threw the hardest moments of our lives…what has he ever done to deserve Al's attentions? He left our mom and drove her to an early grave! He left us!"
"Shh…" she warned him quietly to keep him from waking the whole house, his anger seemed to subside enough to at least quiet down. "…You know…There's nothing wrong with him wanting to get to know his father. He never knew him; maybe he just wants a chance to have a parent again…"
Ed went silent after that, whether her words had any impact or not there was no clue for her. "Edward if I may ask…what have the adventures been like?" She knew he had been through a lot with Al but knew nothing of the actual events. He rarely submitted an actual military report in detail, and when he did it seemed to carry…gaps. She had gone without knowing for so long, and yet each time they returned from their missions she grew curious.
When she never got an answer she eventually let out a sigh "I think I'll turn in for the night. Goodnight Edward…" she rose discarding her mug in the sink right before passing his seat. It was only then, with their backs facing did he speak grimly.
"You want to know…? There is no way to describe them…some have been fun, others just another adventure. Some were boring while others taught me lessons. But the majority…has showed me things beyond the imagination…gruesome and horrid, something no one should ever lay eyes on. I have memories so burned in my mind that I relive them every night in my dreams in new horrifying ways…and for everyone of those I dragged Al along with me."
A speechless Riza stood in awe at the deep grim voice, her entire body shivered at the thought of what those experiences…spoken of in such a scared voice would have been in reality. Unable to think of anything to say she simply returned to her room, and sleep wasn't any easier the second time around…
End of Flashback
The Town of Rainfall
The train ride was longer then she expected, two long days with only two other stops on the trains route. Finally after countless taxing hours the trains whistle squealed the arrival, already Riza saw the rain pounding against the windows fiercely, her ears absorbed in the clamor.
The train pulled into the station slowly, drawing to a stop under a long overhang next to a tiny train station. Stepping out with her suitcase with a few other people she let out a long groan, stretching out her aching muscles. "Well…guess I'll get started"
A/N: I do hope you enjoyed the first chapter and I look forward to any positive or negative reviews I receive. If you do have a problem with this fic, please criticize and don't flame. Below is something new I have been trying with my fan fiction, it allows you to get to know my reasons for the chapter and your author better. You don't need to read it by any means. Please ask any questions you may have about this fic, my writing style, or me personally (not too personal).
The mind of an Author
Well in this first part I will talk about the chapter, and answer any questions received about a chapter that I think deserve to be answered to the entire audience. The first thing I would like to comment on is the slow moving aspect of the story. I myself prefer deeper stories then most…I do know if I wanted to I could have condensed all of this to about half the size and continued with more. But I think that would deprive you of a better quality story. Don't worry the pace should start to pick up as I introduce Ed into the story next chapter. The next thing on my mind is Riza. I do realize she is depicted as less cold in this, and especially when alone with Ed. I'm attempting to flush out her kinder side in a more evident way, and I think I like it. The flashback was completely fictional, an insert of episode 44- Hohenheim of Light.
This part here will give you insight on your author, a knowledge that should hopefully help you understand my story better. I will also answer any personal questions about me or my writing style one may ask in a review. With little to mention at the moment I'll tell you a bit about my writing style. I prefer to use description to a medium degree; I try not to go overboard while also giving you a good look into what's going on. I enjoy using varying degrees of emotions where applicable, and will no doubt add them into battle as well. The future action scenes planed for this fic will be in what I consider detail, you will not get the simplified "Ed ran and killed him" action…I hope detail works for you.