Chapter One – Concerning Bikes, Walkmans and Telephone Calls
I slowly opened my eyes and let them adjust to the dim light of the room I was in. I found myself lying in a cozy bed with a pile of thick covers drawn up to my chin. Curtains covered the small window across from me and the only source of light was a small candle next to a glass of water on the nightstand beside me.
I found myself briefly wondering why there weren't lights powered by electricity in the room, but then I grabbed the glass of water and drank from it greedily. The water was cool and soothing, helping push away some of the pain in my head. My head hurt terribly. I had only had a migraine once in my lifetime, and I did not enjoy remembering it.
After taking a long drink from the glass, I dipped my right hand into the remaining water and then pressed my wet hand against my forehead. The cool water helped to soothe my headache as I tried to remember what had happened to get me in this situation.
I could remember riding my bike home from Sabrina's. I felt a swell of pride as I remembered that we had finished watching the last few episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist together. I had now read all the manga (that had been published so far), seen all the episodes of the anime, and watched the movie. No longer would I have to worry about spoilers in fanfiction, because nothing could be spoiled for me anymore. My FMA knowledge was almost as up to par as my Harry Potter knowledge, which had taken me years to accumulate. FMA had just been one highly compacted year during which I had focused on reading whatever manga I could get my hands on, (luckily I had a friend a year younger than me that owned practically every manga you could ever want to read) wrote fanfiction that I had mixed success with, and going over to Sabrina's house to watch her downloaded episodes of the anime.
I could remember how we had watched the end of the anime over giggles and many glasses of juice. I could remember how Sabrina's dad was worried about the computer crashing because it looked like a storm would start soon. And then I had foolishly turned down an offer for a ride and opted to take my bike home instead.
The ride home from Sabrina's house wasn't a long one at my pace, maybe fifteen minutes. It was summer, and I loved to ride my bike all over town to help battle the heat. Triumia is one of those small towns – but not as small as Resembool – where you can park your bike on the street and feel comfortable in knowing that no one will steal it.
Not that anyone would want to steal my bike anyway. It looked like a four-year old bike that had been enlarged in order to fit a sixteen-year old on it. Which meant that the main two colors were hot pink and a very bright purple. It had handbrakes, but only the ones connected to the front wheel worked properly. If I wanted the ones on the back to work properly, I had to squeeze extra hard in order to get them to press down slightly. Every now and then the chain would get disconnected, and I quickly got good at learning to reconnect it, which would leave my hands covered in black oil spots. But I was okay with black oil spots, since I would look down and think of Winry at the sight of my stained hands.
I was obsessed, to say the least. Nearly every other word would get me thinking of FMA or some new fanfic I could write for it. I was almost glad I didn't have enough time to write all the different fanfics that popped into my mind. I hadn't even had enough time to ever get past FMA fanfiction and move on to Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, or even Pirates of the Caribbean, some of my other obsessions. Of course I also had ideas for those, but stories of wizards, hobbits or pirates didn't seem quite as pressing as stories of alchemists. So I continued to write only FMA fanfiction, but I made sure I kept a generic penname.
With a different name, I felt so much more confident and sure of myself. Slowly the shy exterior of myself peeled away to reveal a new version of myself that was more confident and headstrong. Online I became a new girl that was willing to write things that others could actually read, give her opinions and offer constructive criticism at times. And I was pleased to know that there were actually people who wanted to hear my opinions, who wanted to read the things I had written. My last English teacher had bashed my writing, so my confidence soared when I heard that others actually liked my writing. Eventually I got to the point where I was always thinking of new ideas for stories, sometimes fanfiction, sometimes not.
So naturally that was what I had been doing when I had been riding my bike home from Sabrina's that day. I couldn't remember the exact story I had been thinking of, but I could remember thinking about the story as huge drops of rain started to fall on me.
At first the rain had been nice, since it was the middle of summer and had been scorching hot for weeks. The rain was really a nice alterative. It was almost like taking a shower in your clothes with nice trees all around you instead of white tile. And I also loved the smell of rain. I knew that my mom didn't really ever like staying out in the rain long enough to smell it, but both my father and I loved the smell of fresh, wet rain.
But the rain got tiresome very quickly. My glasses were soon impossible to see out of, and the rain was falling so fast that it didn't matter if I wiped them off or not. My clothes were soon soaked, and instead of feeling light and refreshed, I soon started to feel drenched and miserable. I could remember riding my bike as fast as I dared in hopes of getting home quicker, which made the rain hit me even more.
After that, the details started getting foggier in my mind. I could remember the sky booming with thunder and making me even more worried, crossing the one way street and starting up the hill that led to my home, and then bright light and intense pain. Then I had woken up here, in this strange room I couldn't remember.
I reached over to the nightstand and put on my glasses, which had been kindly folded and set aside for me. The room sprang into focus as I tried to puzzle out where I was. Dark shadows stretched from the different pieces of furniture in the room and flickered in the candlelight, making the room look much more ominous than it really was. I knew it wasn't dangerous because the blankets pulled around me were nice thick quilts with flowery designs stitched into them. If there had been a cat calendar on the wall, I would have guessed I was in my grandmother's sewing/guest room.
As I thought, I slowly took in a few more of my surroundings. Whoever had put me in bed had been kind enough to take my shoes and wet clothes off. A borrowed nightgown hung loosely over my shoulders, and my old clothes were folded neatly in a chair across the room from me. I quickly edged across the room to the chair and pulled on my socks as fast as I could. I had gotten too many splinters in my feet over the course of my life to trust any floor enough to go barefoot.
I glanced down at the floor and noticed my drawstring bag sitting there, looking as if it hadn't been touched. I quickly opened it and sifted through a few items just to make sure there were all there. As soon as I saw that my Walkman was still in there, I immediately relaxed. Whoever owned this house had a good conscience, since my Walkman was the most expensive thing in my bag. I carefully pulled the bag closed again and sat it upright next to the chair.
I eventually came up with several theories about where I was, with the most practical being the idea that I had probably gotten injured somehow, like hitting a car or passing out on the sidewalk. Some nice family had probably taken me home to recuperate and they were using a candle because the power had gone out during the storm. But my favorite idea was the thought that I had finally traveled back in time or even to another world to finally have my own adventure, just like the ones I'd always read about so ravenously. This theory always came up when I was in a situation I didn't know, no matter how ridiculous it seemed each time and no matter how many times I was proved wrong. I knew I would eventually have to accept the fact that I would probably have an average life without crazy aliens, magicians, pirates, mutants, dragons or even alchemists in it, but I didn't want to just yet.
I slowly pushed the blankets off me, even though I despised the loss of them. It was really chilly for summer, but I pushed the thought away and decided that it was cool because of the storm. Someone had probably left the windows open and let in a nice draft.
I slowly walked down the hallway and into a larger room, which I guessed must be the living room. I couldn't see a TV around, but a girl about my age sat silently on the sofa, her face intently buried in a book. She had the book tilted so I couldn't see the title, but it seemed like it must be a pretty good book for her to be reading it in what I guessed was the middle of the night, thanks to the blackened windows on one of the walls in the room. One of the floorboards creaked as I stepped closer to see the cover of her book, and she looked up at me in shock.
I nearly laughed in surprise. I would have thought Winry Rockbell was sitting in front of me if it wasn't for the fact that she didn't look anything like I would have thought Winry would look like in person. Her hair was long and blond, but not in the usual ponytail I had seen on Winry so many times, and the face didn't seem quite right either. She looked like she could be Winry, but at the same time, she didn't look like she couldn't possibly be Winry. Maybe that was because she was actually a real person instead of a drawing. I smiled, and silently told myself for the millionth time that I needed some serious help. She was probably just some nice girl from school I had never noticed because I was always so intent on getting to my classes.
"Um, hi," I said nervously, sure that she wouldn't have heard it because I was so quiet. My throat almost felt a little raw, so I coughed to make my voice louder, feeling the tickle of phlegm at the back of my throat. I hoped I hadn't caught a cold thanks to the rainstorm.
"Hi," the girl said back with a smile in my direction. I felt immediately warmed by instant kindness and smiled back at her happily. "It's good to see you're all right," she said with a pleased grin. "You know, you shouldn't go out in serious storms like that."
"Yeah, I know," I laughed. "So how'd my bike mange?" Even if I hated my bike at times and had deemed it 'a useless heap of scrap,' it had always managed to take me where I wanted to go. I was still attached to the geeky, clunky old machine, no matter how many times I insulted it. I wanted to know that it was at least good enough to get home in one piece, though I doubted anything bad had happened to it. The stupid old bike was too stubborn to really stop working on me.
"Oh, it had a few problems, so I took it out back to fix it up," the girl answered, seeming a little nervous by the question.
"What kind of problems?" I asked worriedly, hoping that it was only something simple, like a flat tire. I really didn't have the money to put all sorts of money into fixing it. I decided that if it were too bad, I would just get rid of it and buy a new one at a garage sale for five bucks, like I had been doing with bikes for years. They had all served me well enough until they broke down or I outgrew them, and I didn't need to travel in luxury, I just needed something to get me from point A to point B.
"Well, the brakes for the back tire aren't working," the blond girl said slowly, and I shrugged. I didn't care about the rear brakes; they had never worked for me. "And there were some dents and stuff…"
"Could I see?" I asked nervously. The girl looked at me with a pair of wide blue eyes, and then nodded. She led me through the house and out to a back door that opened onto a dark lawn. The rain had stopped, but I could still feel the dampness in the air. And it was a colder night than I would have expected for summer. It almost felt like it could be fall instead.
"So where's my bike?" I asked as my eyes scanned over the dark land. I couldn't see a bike anywhere, so I looked back to the blond girl by my side. She simply pointed down to the ground beneath my feet. I was about to object and tell her that my bike wasn't there when I suddenly noticed a small glimmer in the darkness. I looked closer and realized that it was a small silver gear. I slowly let my eyes adjust to the darkness and saw that my bike was scattered in pieces across the yard.
"What did you do to my bike?!" I shouted, sinking to my knees in despair.
"I'm sorry!!" the girl quickly shouted as I grabbed my handlebars and clutched at them protectively. "It had so many problems, and I figured I could just take it apart and-and-! I thought I'd be able to put it back together tomorrow morning! I didn't know you would wake up early!" A small chuckle escaped from my lips, and I stood up and faced the girl again, dropping the handlebars to the ground.
"You remind me of a girl I once knew. She tried to steal her friend's pocket watch just so she could take it apart to see how it worked," I laughed. I was, of course, talking about Winry Rockbell, but I didn't feel like talking much, so I didn't tell her how much of a fan I was of FMA, just in case she knew of it and wanted to talk about it with me. I just wanted to go back to bed and sleep now.
"Promise you'll put it back together tomorrow?" I asked as a small yawn slipped from my lips. The girl nodded enthusiastically, but I still wanted to be absolutely sure I would have my bike back the next day.
"Pinkie swear?" I asked as I held my right pinkie out towards her. The girl nodded in agreement and locked her pinkie with mine. "All right," I sighed. "Then I'm going back to bed." I turned to walk back inside the house, but then suddenly remembered something and turned back to the girl.
"My name's Rebecca," I said, hurriedly sticking out my hand for her to shake. Even in the darkness I could see the girl smile as she wrapped her fingers around mine in a strong grip.
"My name is Winry," she told me kindly, but I immediately dropped her hand as if it was on fire. Winry? It couldn't be! Maybe her face looked a little like Winry's, but it couldn't really be her…!
"Yeah, right. Very funny. Ha ha. We all got a joke on the stupid obsessed girl. And I thought you were nice," I snorted angrily as I glared at the girl in front of me. "Now what's your real name?"
"No! My name really is Winry Rockbell!" the girl protested quickly. "Really! I'm not trying to be mean!" I rolled my eyes and looked up at the sky to show her the Big Dipper and prove her wrong, except I forgot that I could never find the Big Dipper among the countless stars. I sighed and dropped my head again, but this time I caught a scent of something familiar. The river. I had lived in a town right next to a river, and had grown up on that smell. Even though I couldn't swim, I had always been attracted to the river and paths beside it. Some days I spent hours just riding next to the river and enjoying nature.
I turned my head in the direction of the river-smell and start running towards it, my previous sleepiness forgotten. I would prove that girl wrong. I would know the second I laid eyes on that river that it was the same river I had know all my life, and that this wasn't Resembool. It couldn't be. It just didn't make sense. When was I the one to start having adventures? This was just some mean kids playing a trick on me again. I wouldn't let them get the better of me. I would expose their little trick and make them all feel wrong for being so mean to me.
I eventually slowed down, a stitch in my side and my breath coming out in wheezes. I clutched a hand to my side to try and ease the pain, and slowed my breaths, but I kept walking in what I hoped was the direction of the river.
I eventually got to the river, still wearing the borrowed nightgown from before. I felt foolish in it as cold breezes kept whipping straight through me, and a few times I quickly grabbed the nightgown in order to keep it from blowing up and showing my underwear. Even when no one was around and it was pitch black outside, I was still shy and modest. I didn't even want the possibility of someone seeing my underwear.
I crouched a good distance away from the river, remembering all the warnings my mother had given me about drowning. I could feel cold mud pressing against my knees, but I didn't care as I looked out across the water.
This wasn't my river.
I knew the second I saw the dark water glittering in the moonlight. Everything was wrong. The proportions were off, the trees weren't the same, there wasn't a bike path beside it…
But mostly I just knew. It wasn't my river. Even if I wasn't in Resembool, I was still a long way from home. I knew that I was definitely far enough that I wouldn't be able to ride my bike home. I could hear soft footsteps behind me and glanced over my shoulder to see Winry walking towards me. I turned back to looking at the river wearily and let her walk up next to me.
"You should come back to the house," she said as she gently draped a blanket over my shoulders. I hugged at the thick fabric as I kept staring wordlessly at the river. I could hear the river gently sloshing over stones and other things in the way, and realized that it didn't even sound like the river back home. The river I knew always made me want to pee with the way it crashed into anything in its path.
"This isn't the way it's supposed to work," I mumbled under my breath. "I'm supposed to be the one who stays at home and writes about this sort of thing happening to other girls that can handle it better. It's not supposed to happen to me."
"Come on," Winry said, lightly tugging at me. "Let's get you back to the house. It's cold outside." I slowly got up and let her lead me back to the house, where I immediately collapsed on the bed I had been in earlier and fell asleep.
I slowly opened my eyes the next morning, but I didn't immediately crawl out of bed. Instead I just stared silently at the ceiling, realizing that I was in the same room as yesterday, and therefore, still in the Rockbell home. This really was happening to me, somehow.
I rolled onto my side and curled into the fetal position, hugging at my dirty knees. This wasn't right. This wasn't right at all. The girls that ended up in Amestris were brave, pretty, athletic, courageous, and somehow always knew what to say. I wasn't any of those things. I was the writer that put the perfect girls into these situations. I wasn't supposed to be the one that ended up in here.
I sighed and slowly crawled out of bed. I grabbed my drawstring bag again and dumped all the contents out onto the floor. I hadn't really unpacked the bag since the Fourth of July, so some of the items in there were a little ridiculous for just visiting a friend, but I was glad I hadn't unpacked them, since I realized that a good chunk of them would be valuable things to have in a world other than my own.
The first object was my Pirates of the Caribbean baseball hat, which I immediately tugged on. It was a bright red with a large pink spot and rather worn threads, but I had been wearing for most of summer thanks to the bright sun. A dark line drawing of a sword going through two hearts covered most of the pink spot, and a banner ran around it proclaiming 'PIRATES FOR LIFE' in flowing script.
I then pulled out a sturdy jeans jacket that I had packed for the late night on the Fourth of July. I hadn't actually worn it that night, but I was now glad I hadn't taken it out. It was a bit colder here already, and I didn't know how long I would be stuck here. The jacket still fit my arms, but my chest had gotten too big to allow me to button it. But since my mom had decorated it for my aunt back when she was in college, I still treasured it. A wide variety of wildflowers ran along the collar and the bottom of the jacket, but the real accomplishment was the large sunset on the back of the shoulders. My mom had often told me about how long it had taken her to finish the sunset, which had been made with hundreds of tiny knot-stitches. I could practically feel my mother's love surrounding me every time I put the jacket on.
There was also a pair of knuckle gloves in the bag. I hadn't really had a reason for packing them earlier, but somehow I felt like they would be useful now. They had nice thick pads in the center of the palms, but the cloth stopped halfway up my fingers so I could move them freely. I had always been grateful for their coloring of black and white that allowed me to wear them with any outfit I wanted without clashing. They worked well for gripping things and keeping my fingers warm without constraining them.
Then there were some more practical items. Bug spray, sunscreen, twelve chewable Benadryl tablets (which would be about six doses for me), four new batteries (in case the ones in my Walkman died), a small first aid kit for cuts and scrapes, and my inhaler for my asthma. I even had my hairbrush and a couple strawberry Lip Smackers, which I had discovered worked well as both a chapstick and lip-gloss. I even had a Koosh ball left in my bag for entertainment purposes.
Then there was my Walkman, one of my better possessions. I had saved money from a summer job once to pay for it, and when I went to buy it, I made sure I got the best possible Walkman I could for my money. It was a Panasonic, a company I trusted, and it had an anti-skip system and could even play MP3 discs. I once broke the original set of headphones, but I quickly replaced them a few weeks later. I had even put some money into a nice sturdy CD holder that would be able to hold my entire CD collection, which was a grand total of about 18 CDs. The hinge had fallen apart once, but I had managed to put it back together, and it had been holding out fine ever since, just like my Walkman. They had both served me well so far, and in return I hadn't gotten an ipod to replace them yet.
And then the reader/writer side of me started to show in my possessions. First there was my copy of the first FMA manga, which was like an old friend to me by now. The covers were starting to curl, and the back even had an old fold in it, but I still flipped through it when I needed inspiration for my fanfic.
And of course, there was my other book-friend, The Two Princesses of Bamarre. I had read through it many times, but there was still a bookmark stuck in the middle to hold my place. I had first read the book when my best friend had given it to me to read, so I figured it was only appropriate that the story was about two sisters. After all, Sarah and I had felt like we were sisters so often that I think we almost started to believe it. I flipped it open to the bookmark, and found that I had just stuck in a picture of Ed to hold my place instead. I could still remember printing the picture in order to hang it in my locker back when my obsession had first started.
And the last item I had managed to bring along was my writing notebook and four pencils. I had bought the small purple notebook for six dollars at the beginning of summer, promising myself that it would be full before school started again. In hopes of achieving that goal, I had taken the notebook with me everywhere, so I could write in it whenever I got a spare moment. I opened to a random page and discovered that I had put one of my old bulletins from church there from lack of a better place. I smiled gently at it and then closed the notebook again. I knew I had written bits and pieces fanfic in there, and I really didn't want to see them.
I took off my baseball hat again and swept it to the side with all the other objects that I realized were now my only possessions other than my bike and clothes. Just the other day I had my own room, a bed, a desk, and even a borrowed laptop from my father. Now I had practically nothing. I didn't even know the land I was in very well. All I knew about it was things I had learned from manga and anime.
I pulled the nightgown up over my head and started to slowly change into my clothes. First was my pair of large, baggy, army green cargo pants. I had to wear a brown studded belt in order to keep them on my hips, but I had always appreciated the pants for their comfort. They also had tons of pockets, which I normally didn't like to store objects in, since it ended up pulling my pants down.
Then I pulled on my plain white shirt. I had gotten it for reading a certain number of books in a reading program at the library once, so the words "Get Caught Reading" were across the top in big black letters. It was rather large for me, so it didn't show off any curves I had, but at least it didn't constrain me at all. I then grabbed my jeans jacket, POTC hat and knuckle gloves, putting them all on quickly. Even though I didn't bother to look in mirror, I knew that I was probably starting to look more like an adventurer, even if I didn't feel like one yet. I slowly packed all the rest of my stuff into the bag again and slung it over my right shoulder. I didn't know how I would do it, but I knew that somehow I had to find out whether I was in the manga or anime version of FMA.
I slowly walked out to the backyard as I thought of possible ideas to find out. Winry was already kneeling in the grass outside, sorting through various bike parts. When she heard my footsteps on the grass, she smiled up at me and wiped her greasy hands on her pants. She was now in the normal outfit that really made me realize that she really was Winry. Her hair was pulled back into its usual ponytail, and she was wearing the trademark outfit of her work one-piece that had been tied around her waist, revealing the tube top underneath. I suddenly felt a little jealous of her, since I knew I could never feel confident enough to wear that sort of outfit around anyone.
"Good morning," Winry said cheerily as she pushed herself up into a standing position. "I didn't think you would wake up this early. You were up late last night."
"I never really sleep well in beds other than my own," I shrugged, while thinking of how she had been up just as late as me, if not later. I started wondering what time it really was, so I glanced down at the sliver watch on my right wrist. The small purple face told me that it was only 6:15 in the morning. My plan wouldn't work until later in the day, so I knew I would have to find a way to kill some time.
"I guess I'll go read a book," I sighed, and then turned to Winry. "You go ahead and keep working on that, if you want." I walked back into the house and into the room I had been staying in, where I opened my bag and pulled out my Walkman and The Two Princesses of Bamarre. I knew I had to be careful with the Walkman, because if Winry ever saw it, then it would end up in a million pieces.
I flipped open the lid to check what CD was inside, and was greeted by a familiar golden disc with the words "Fullmetal Alchemist Songs of Awesomeness!" scrawled on it. Sabrina had made the CD for me a while back, and I knew all the songs on it by heart.
Okay, so I couldn't sing the Japanese words to save my life, but I did know the tunes by heart. I could definitely hum along with the songs, even though I couldn't actually sing the words. I knew Sabrina could, but I hadn't gotten that obsessed yet. I grinned to myself and snapped the Walkman shut again, and then pressed the "Play" button, ready to skip ahead to track number six, READY STEADY GO!
But to my surprise, the Walkman didn't respond. I checked to make sure the CD was snapped in properly and tried again, but it still didn't work.
"Come on," I growled angrily at the machine as I reached into my bag for a pair of new batteries. "I just changed your batteries a few days ago! You can't be dead yet!" I quickly pulled the old batteries out of their spots and replaced them with new ones, snapped the CD inside again and closed the lid. I tried pressing play once more, and still nothing happened. I sighed angrily and started checking and rechecking every possible thing that could be wrong with the machine, but found nothing. I kept trying to get it to play until I finally realized something.
"Walkmans haven't been invented yet," I sighed, flopping backwards on the bed. This kind of advanced technology wasn't yet in Amestris, and I couldn't bring in. "Equivalent Exchange," I muttered to myself. "You're in Ed's world, but without your music." I sighed and rolled over onto my stomach, grabbing the book. So maybe I didn't have music, but at least I could still read.
Winry came in about an hour and a half later, telling me that my bike was done and wondering if I wanted any breakfast. I quickly snapped my book shut and hurried out after her, the smell of scrambled eggs starting to affect my stomach.
"So Winry, you know the Elric brothers, right?" I asked as I took a forkful of eggs. I tried to make it sound as casual as I could, but I knew I still surprised Winry when she suddenly looked up from her breakfast.
"Yes," she said slowly. "How did you know that?"
"Oh, they're pretty famous," I shrugged carelessly, hoping that she wouldn't press the matter too far. "You know, I've heard stuff here and there. Edward is always talking about how he's got the greatest automail mechanic, so I remembered your name." Winry smiled at the thought of Ed telling everybody about the world's best automail mechanic, and I smiled back at her, glad the flattery was working.
"Do you know them?" Winry asked with a mixture of suspicion and excitement in her voice. "Have you seen them recently?"
"No," I sighed. "I wish I knew them. I was hoping you had seen them recently so that I could meet them." I was also wondering where Pinako was, but I didn't want to press my luck and ask more questions than I could make excuses for.
Winry sighed and looked back down at her eggs. "I haven't seen them for a while. Usually Ed would have done something to his automail by now. I'm kind of worried about them."
I wanted to snort and mention how she was always worried about them when they weren't around her, but instead I smiled sympathetically and went back to eating my eggs.
"So what about you?" Winry asked. I looked up at her with what must have been a confused expression, because she then clarified, "What about your family? You got some relatives waiting for you somewhere?"
"Yeah, I got two crazy little brothers waiting for me at home," I said with a bit of a chuckle. "Michael and Paul. They're really insane sometimes, but I still love them to bits."
"That sounds like Ed and Al," Winry said with a weak smile. I could tell she was still busy worrying about them, so I decided to try and distract her.
"Yeah," I said. "They always seemed a little like the Elrics from the stories I heard of them. Like Michael – he's kind of small and wiry for his age, but he can lift… what was it – 300 pounds? I think it was 300 pounds - with his legs. So whenever I wasn't doing what he wanted, he would threaten me by saying, 'Hey, my legs can lift 300 pounds, so you better watch out!' and then I'd tell him, 'Yeah, well I can lift that much with my arms, so shut up, small fry.' And then he always got mad at me for calling him small." I smiled at the memory of Michael, and Winry smiled back at me. "And I was only calling him small because he was smaller than me. I didn't realize until I saw all the kids at his school that he really was pretty small. It looked like he was at least a couple years younger than all the kids there when he was really their age."
"And what about the other one?" Winry asked, starting to get a little more enthusiastic. I normally didn't like talking this much to people I didn't know so well, but I was more than willing to brag about my brothers. Besides, I had seen and read so much FMA that I already felt like I was friends with Winry, even if she didn't fell like that with me.
"Paul? He's so cute," I practically cooed. The word 'Hughes' popped into my head but I kept going. "He's ten – two years younger than Michael. Sometimes I'll just be sitting out on the couch, and Paul will come out and snuggle up next to me. And if I ask him something like, 'What are you trying to get? You know I'm broke, right?' and he'll say that he just needs his snuggle time for the day."
"That does sound similar to Al," Winry said, now smiling broadly. "I didn't think there was anybody else out there like Ed and Al," she laughed.
"Well, Paul's not completely like Al," I said, laughing with her. "When he melts down, you really don't want to be around him."
"What, you think Al never melts down?" Winry said, her shoulders now shaking with the giggles. "One time he got really angry and blew up because there weren't any pencils with good erasers." We both laughed together over the thought of Al throwing a fit over pencils.
"Hey Winry? Do mind if I use your phone?" I asked once we had both settled down.
"Sure," Winry said pleasantly as she took the two empty plates out to the sink. "I'm going to go take Den out for a walk."
Perfect, I thought. I didn't want her to hear the phone call I was going to make, since it would probably raise any suspicions she had considerably.
"Have fun," I called behind her as she walked out the door to go find Den. I then lunged for the phone and quickly dialed zero.
"Hello, operator?" I said quickly, pressing the phone to my ear. I was desperately hoping that my plan would work. "Could you please connect me to the Military Headquarters in Central?"
"Thanks," I sighed as the phone fell silent. I almost wished they had music on the line, but I was more worried about catching the line that would tell me I was connected to the military.
"Hello, Central Military Command, how may I help you?" a voice finally said, and I almost wanted to scream or cry in relief. I hated being on hold, especially in an empty house with no one to talk to.
"Um...is Edward Elric there?" I asked hesitantly, and then waited as the woman checked.
"No he is not," she told me, and I sighed partly in disappointment that I wouldn't get to talk to Ed, but also partly in relief that I wouldn't have to. I had no clue what I could possibly say to Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist, only a 2-D drawing until yesterday. Sheesh. The guy had fangirls from here to the moon. I had no clue what I could possibly say that would even make him pay attention.
"I've been told that he's currently out conducting research," the woman informed me. "Do you want me to take down a message to give to him once he returns?"
"Uh…No," I stammered. "Could you please connect me to Colonel Roy Mustang instead?" I was just as nervous about talking to Roy, but I knew I had to find out whether I was stuck in the manga or the anime. I knew it would be very important soon enough.
"Who is calling?" the woman asked. I thought I detected a hint of suspicion in her voice, but I wasn't sure.
"A-A-Alphonse Elric," I stammered, the phone shaking in my hands. I felt really guilty for impersonating someone as good and honest as Al, but I had to speak to Mustang. I had to.
"Code please," the woman said briskly.
"Uncle-Sugar…" I started, trying to remember the code Hughes had used in the manga before envy had killed him. The next one had been olive, right? I decided it was the best choice I had, and went with it. "O-Olive-Eight-Zero-Zero," I finally stammered out, sweat sliding down my brow as the woman on the other end went silent.
"Al? What is it? What's wrong?" I finally heard Roy say, and I nearly sank to my knees in relief. I was on the phone with Roy Mustang! Now I just had to tell him that I wasn't really Al.
"I sorry sir," I stammered quickly, but Roy cut me off before I had a chance to finish.
"Dammit Al, don't apologize! Just tell me what the hell is going on!" Roy shouted into the phone. He sounded like he was really, really angry, but I figured that he was actually worried. Al must have never called him like this before.
"Please sir, I'm not Alphonse, I just need to-"
"You're not Alphonse?! Who are you?!" Roy bellowed, making me hold the phone away from my ear. "How did you find out how to call me here?!"
"Hughes," I practically whispered, hoping that it would catch his attention and make him listen to me. Roy was silent for I moment as I desperately wished he would continue the conversation, and then the line went dead.
I slowly put the phone back in its cradle as I willed myself not to cry. My first encounter with a male FMA character, and it had been a total disaster.
I tried to get myself to forget about the incident by going back to reading my book, but it didn't work very well. Every few minutes I'd notice that I hadn't understood any of the words I'd just read, and would have to go back and reread the whole paragraph. My words from the conversation with Roy kept ringing in my head, reminding me of how much of an idiot I was. Who was I to think that Roy Mustang would actually listen to me? I had to accept that I had been a nobody in my world, and I was a nobody in this world. I wasn't a brave adventurer, and I probably wasn't ever going to be one, so it was time to move on.
The ring of the phone suddenly jerked me out of my thoughts. I slowly closed the book again and walked out to grab the phone. I hoped that it wouldn't be some very demanding automail client, since I didn't really feel like dealing with someone like that.
"Hello," I said slowly, glancing out the window as I said it. I had to stop doing 'brilliant' plans like that. They never did me any good.
"Are you the one who called me earlier?" a deep voice asked sternly, and I knew immediately whom I was talking to. Roy Mustang. I was talking to Roy Mustang on the phone a second time. That probably meant that I was in serious trouble now.
"Please sir," I stammered quickly. There was just something about Roy's voice that made me call him 'sir,' which I figured was probably a good thing. "I didn't mean to- I was just trying to- Please don't hurt me!"
"I'm on an outside line now, so no one will be able to listen in on our conversation."
"Oh," was all that I managed to say. So mentioning Hughes had made him pay attention to me. He obviously thought it was important if he took the trouble to go to an outside line to call me.
"Now who are you?" Roy demanded, making me flinch. I had never thought about how intimidating he really could be when I had watched the anime. I was actually frightened of Roy! "And why do you want to talk to me so badly?"
"I- I- I need to ask you some questions," I stammered. I could feel sweat coating my palms and making the phone slide slightly between my hands.
"Fine," Roy agreed, more quickly than I had expected. "But for every question you ask, I get to ask one, or you don't ask any questions." Ah. So that was why he was agreeing so quickly. I suppose that he wanted to know as much about me as he could get.
"Yes, sir," I murmured into the phone. I knew I would have to answer all my questions truthfully, since I would not be very good at lying in such a stressful situation. Roy would see right through any lie I threw at him, so I just had to make sure he asked as few questions as possible. I didn't want to tell him too much and make him really suspicious of me.
"Did any strange flying machines come here once?" I asked timidly. I knew that if he answered no to that, I would still have to ask more questions. I could be at any point in the anime, after all. There was no rule that said I had to come in after the movie.
"No," Roy replied curtly. "What's your name?"
"Rebecca Jacobson," I told him softly, knowing that the name might sound 'weird' by his standards. "Is- Is Alphonse Elric still taller than you?" I asked slowly. I could hear Roy pause on his side of the phone.
"Yes," he said after a minute of silence. "What do you know about Alphonse?"
"I know he would make a great drum," I muttered with a small chuckle, immediately realizing afterwards that I was giving away too much. I had to tone it down quick. "Does King Bradley have a pretty female assistant?" I asked hesitantly. "Dark, sort of wavy hair, and she tends to look down a lot."
"Yes," Roy told me. My whole mind screamed 'ANIME!' but I decided to keep going. After all, just because Bradley had an assistant that fit the description of Sloth, it didn't mean that she was Sloth. There were probably plenty of pretty women with dark wavy hair that tended to look downward. I had to be absolutely sure which storyline I was in.
"What do you know about Hughes?" Roy asked me, making me gulp. I was almost certain my face had paled, but I could never be exactly sure on what color my face was.
"Well, I know that he was a great father," I started hesitantly, but I knew Roy wouldn't be satisfied with that much. "I knew that he was your friend and was murdered…" I trailed off uncertainly. Forget it. Go for the shocker, I thought to myself. "I know that he was murdered, but not by Second Lieutenant Ross as some people would think. He was really murdered by a homunculus by the name of Envy. I also know that he found out something he shouldn't have about the military, which is why he was killed. I even know that you cried at his funeral," I babbled out, and was greeted by complete silence. Maybe I shouldn't have said the part about crying, I realized I little too late. Men are always sensitive about that kind of thing.
"The lady at Central told me that Edward Elric was out conducting Research," I said slowly, hoping that Roy would still answer after my little outburst. "Where is he?"
"That's restricted information," Roy told me stiffly. Either he really couldn't tell me, or he didn't want to after everything I had just said. I had to get out and go somewhere, though, whether he would tell me or not. I couldn't just sit around in Resembool waiting for Ed and Al to show up.
"Well, thank you, Colonel," I sighed. "I think you've told me everything I wanted to know."
"Not so fast!" Roy said quickly. "A question for a question! Tell me how you know all this!"
"That's restricted information," I replied with a smirk before hanging up quickly.
Kay, time for a few notes on this. So, I based Rebecca a LOT off me (and those of you who actually know me will know just how much) but I have changed all the names in here except for Sabrina's, since she says hers right on her profile. So while Rebecca isn't my real name, it does have some connection to me. If I had been born a boy, my name would have been Paul Isaac, (which is also why I gave one of my brothers the name of Paul in this) and Rebecca was the wife of Isaac in the bible, so I named myself Rebecca.
And Triumia isn't real either. I seriously just made that name up from the word 'triumphant.' So you probably won't find any cities by that name if you look, and if you do, then I will be very surprised.
I am sorry for committing the ultimate sin by putting myself into the FMA world, but there will not be any outrageous romance or that sort of thing. (if anything there'll be Royxriza hinting, but I doubt I'll even do that) and I also won't become a huge hero five minutes in either. To put it simply, I'm going to stick to the characters of FMA and my life as well as possible. Part of me writing this was because I was thinking 'What would really happen if some fangirl dropped into Ed's world?' 'Cuz I think we all know that Ed probably wouldn't fall in love with her on sight. (sorry, but it's true)
So tell me what choo all thought of this. It might take me a while to update this, since I'm trying to make the chapters nice and hunky, (14 pages in Word! That's a record for me!) but I will do my best if people like it.