Whew! This chapter took me a little longer to type up, hehe. Funny, I used to type up incredibly long chapters and not sweat it, but I guess I'm not used to it anymore. I'll have to get back in the swing of things. Oh well, at least I'm updating at all, and frequently, hehe. Hope you enjoy this chapter.
Disclaimer: Moo. I don't know why I said that, even though it was irrelevant to the fact that I don't own FullMetal Alchemist. All the same, it's fun. Say Moo.
Edward groaned and slowly opened his eyes. Light streamed in, temporarily blinding him. He made a move to try and block the light with his hand, but his hand wouldn't obey him. Where was he? Then he remembered. "Al!" he yelled as he tried to sit up, but found that the rest of his body was bound in the same way his hand was. What was going on?
"Brother? Are you awake?"
Ed turned his head to look in the direction that the sound had come from. As his eyes began adjusting to the light in the room, he could make out Al's form lying down on a bed nearby. That was a relief. At least his little brother was okay.
"Al? Where am I?" Ed asked and once again tried to sit up, but failed.
"You're in an angel hospital, Brother," said Al.
Edward didn't even try to hide the confusion on his face at hearing that. Being in the hospital after the events of the previous night made sense, but…
"Al…what are you doing here?...And why am I bound to the bed?"
Al propped himself up so that Ed could see him better and rested his chin on his hand. "We both needed healing after that fight last night, Brother. We both got contaminated with demon blood, but you got the worst of it."
Ed sighed and turned his head so that he was looking straight up at the ceiling. "I suppose I did…now my hopes of being a warrior are probably shot."
Al shrugged. "I don't know anything about angel politics, Brother."
Ed turned to face Al again. "So…do you know why they bound me to the bed?"
"Apparently, angel react differently to contamination than human souls do," said Al, "They wanted to make sure that you didn't turn demonic and attack everyone, I guess."
Ed rolled his eyes. "If I haven't turned demon on them by now, shouldn't that be enough indication that I'm not going to?"
Al shrugged again and lay back down. Just then, a couple healer angels walked into the room. "Oh Edward, you're awake?" said the female angel.
"Good," said the male, "Now we can proceed to the final stage."
"And get me out of my bonds?" Edward asked hopefully.
"And get you out of your bonds," said the male angel.
The two angels came and stood one on either side of Edward's bed, and the n stretched their hands across the boy's body to clasp each other's hands. Edward felt the connection start a current of energy flowing through them. He looked and could now see that the bonds keeping him in bed were now visible, as he hadn't been able to see them before. They looked kind of like ropes made of pure light. As annoying as it was to be bound by them, the sight of them was incredible.
"We're going to blast a lot of light through your being, Edward," said the female angel, "It might not feel good, but just be brave for us. It won't last long."
"The light will help us find out if there are any hitchhikers remaining in your aura and bring them out," said the male.
"I understand," said Edward, "Just get it over with so I can be released."
Both healer angels smiled and then turned their attention back to Edward's angel body and closed their eyes. The frequency of the energy in his immediate environment began to increase and Ed found himself squirming a bit out of discomfort. He wouldn't have expected that angel light would make him uncomfortable at all, no matter what the dosage, but maybe this much this fast would make anyone uncomfortable. They had warned him that it might not feel good.
The vibrational level of the light continued to rise, and Ed had now moved beyond squirming to wriggling. This had better get over with soon, because this procedure was most uncomfortable.
As the amount of light being shot through Edward continued to go up and white light became increasingly the only thing that filled his field of vision, Edward discovered that he was frantically convulsing and trying to break free of his bonds. The light hurt worse than those bonds did now.
Finally, Edward raised his voice and shouted, "Stop it! Stop it! I can't take it anymore!" The two angels paid no heed and continued with their healing practice, so Ed continued writhing in pain and screaming at them to stop it. They wouldn't stop. Why wouldn't they stop? Couldn't they see how much pain he was in?
"May the powers of hell be unleashed upon you!" Edward gasped. Had he seriously just said those words? Even when he was human and could feel free to swear, he never would have wished a curse on someone. Finally, it clicked. There WAS someone hitchhiking in his aura, and it wasn't Edward who was getting hurt by the light, it was the hitchhiker.
"Get out of me!" Edward yelled aloud, not sure if that was a good idea to do so or not, but he did it anyway.
The two healer angels finally looked up from what they were doing, though they continued to focus the light onto Edward. "That's it, Edward," said the female angel, "Fight it."
So, they had known all along that he still had an entity, or at least, part of an entity, inhabiting his aura? That would explain why they had warned him of the pain and also why they ignored his please to have them stop. How they seemed to be able to tell the difference between him and the hitchhiker when they were speaking, he didn't know, but they obviously knew what they were doing. They had been trained for it.
"Hold on, Edward," said the female angel, just before the energy level dramatically increased to an outrageously unbearable level. Ed found himself screaming in a voice so high-pitched and loud that he wasn't sure how he was even making that sound. The pain he was experiencing was like nothing he'd ever felt before. It was like every part of him was being torn apart and simultaneously burned. He was dying. He was already dead, he knew, but he was dying. He had to be.
All of a sudden, the painful sensation rose up through his chest and hovered above him. The screaming continued, but it was no longer he that was screaming. A shadow creature was floating in midair, just a couple inches above his own person. The healer angels had not slackened their pace, and were now focusing their attention on the creature in the air. While it continued screaming, its size slowly began to diminish, until finally, there wasn't a speck of shadow anywhere. There was just pure light.
Edward breathed out a huge sigh of relief. He felt so light now. Who would have guessed that he had been carrying around an evil entity in his aura? Apparently, these angel doctors had known, and he was grateful.
"How do you feel now?" said the female angel as she lowered her hands and cut off the light.
"Much better," said Ed with another sigh, "Thank you."
"You're pretty strong," said the male angel, "There hadn't been much we could do until you evicted that being from your body."
Edward looked confused. "Didn't YOU evict it from my body?"
Both angels turned to look at him and said, in unison, "No, YOU did."
The female angel stepped forward and laid a hand on his forehead. "That's why we have such a hard time saving many of our warriors. They aren't strong enough to fight the demons themselves."
"Both you and your brother are incredibly strong," said the male angel. He then waved his hand and the light bonds disappeared from around Edward's person. "You're now cured, so you're free to go, but I'd advise you to rest up for a while first. You're still low on energy."
"Thanks," Ed said again. The two healers offered Ed a polite nod and then left the room. Ed rolled over on his side, since he was no longer bound, and rested his head on his pillow with a contented sigh.
"Congratulations, Brother, you made it."
Ed smiled. "Al, what did you have to go through when they healed you?"
Al smiled and propped himself up again to look at his brother. "Well, pretty much the same process, but I didn't react the way you did."
"No hitchhikers in your aura, huh?"
"No, I did have my own hitchhiker, just like you did," said Al. He licked his lips to think for a moment, and then said, "I guess the difference is mainly in WHAT we are. Human souls always have to deal with these sorts of things, so I guess they're easier to heal. I'm guessing that it's difficult to heal an angel when they get possessed by an evil entity, which would make it amazing how well you were able to fight it off."
Ed chuckled. "Heh, sure Al, put me up on a pedestal while the rest of angeldom hates me."
"They hate you?"
Oops, he hadn't meant to say that in front of Al. He'd better fix it, fast. "Ee, uh, no, no, they don't hate me…I, uh, was just using that as an expression…you know."
"Oh, okay," said Al.
"So what are you still doing here, anyway?" Ed asked, trying to change the subject, "Isn't Winry going to be awfully worried when she finds your body without any soul attached?"
Al smiled. "The doctors said that the one that took me out of my body has to put me back in."
Ed rolled his eyes and smacked his head. "So I've got to do it. I got the message." He threw aside the sheets on his bed and stepped up, being careful not to make himself get dizzy, as he was still recuperating.
Al protested, "But…shouldn't we wait for-"
"Why wait?" said Ed, "The sooner you get back to your body, the better."
All nodded and humbly grabbed Ed's robe as both of them vanished from the hospital room and then appeared in Al's bedroom back at home. Ed directed Al to go and climb back inside his body, even though Ed didn't have a clue as to how to get it to reattach.
The angel walked slowly over to where his little brother was lying down, hoping that something would come to him about what to do next. As he was putting one foot in front of the other, hands behind his back, looking at the floor, he spotted a mass of cut ropes on the floor surrounding Al. "Al, what are these ropes for?"
"Hmmm?" Al's astral form said from inside the body. That's right, Al couldn't move his body yet, and he was trying not to move his astral form either so that they two would be totally synchronized when he was bound back to his body. Ed would have to make sure not to disturb Al until he had succeeded, so as not to throw Al's attempts off.
Ed picked up one of the ropes, and his eyes widened. Now that he was holding it, he realized that it wasn't a physical object, it was ethereal, but it had been cut. Could these have been what were holding Al inside his body? It wouldn't hurt to find out.
"Okay Al, hold on, let me try something." Ed began picking up all the cut ends of the ropes and tying them back together around Al's body. Finally, when he had tied the last one, he told Al to try and sit up. The boy twitched for a few seconds as his body and soul got used to each other again, and then he sat up easily. That wasn't as hard as Ed had thought it was going to be. At least it didn't require scratching a blood seal into Al's neck.
"I'm back together now," Al said with a little laugh in his voice. "Thanks, Brother. Does this mean I get to keep my memories?"
"What do you mean?" asked Ed.
Al looked at his brother with a confused face. "Don't you know? They'd said that I'd seen too much, so they were going to erase my memories of your realm before I went back to my body."
"Eh heh," Ed reached up and scratched the back of his head. Oops again. "Well…just keep what you know to yourself, and everything should be fine."
"You sure?" Al asked.
"Positive! Since when have I ever been unsure of myself?" Ed crossed his arms and nodded for emphasis.
Al shook his head and smile a little as he cautiously said, 'You're unsure of yourself whenever you act like that."
Before Ed could react, Winry burst into the room. "Oh, Al, thank goodness! You'd been sleeping so long that I was starting to get worried!" She then noticed Ed's presence in the room. "And Ed's here too? Alright boys, what happened?" The girl folded her arms across her chest and propped herself against the door jam.
"Um…" said Al.
"Uh…" said Ed, but he was able to come up with more to say better than Al was. "Al here…just had an out-of-body experience again…and I had to bring him back." That should work, right? That much was true, at least.
Winry uncrossed her arms and shook her head. "Geez, you two always get me so worried. You never cease the drama, even when you're dead." She sent one more glare in the room at both boys and then turned around to head out of the room while shouting, "Come on, Al, lunch is on the table."
"You mean I missed breakfast?" Al asked as he carefully stood up.
"Yep," came the faraway voice.
Al shrugged and turned to look at his brother, who laughed. "Well, go and eat, Al. I'll be back later."
"Okay, seeya Brother," Al said while running out of the room.
Ed waved slightly, feeling worry creep over him about what would happen when he got back to his dimension, since he'd broken so many rules lately. "Seeya," he said, then took a deep breath and vanished.
Hope you enjoyed that. Leave me some reviews if you will, and I'll try to update soon! Thanks a bunch, and hope to see you soon.