Disclaimer: I only own the obvious, the rest belongs to JK Rowling and Hiroku Arakawa.
Author's Note: This is going to be a series of one-shots, both crossover and not and most of them slash, raging from PG to M to fluffy to dramatic. This is the first of said series, and I hope that you enjoy!
Crossover: Harry Potter & Fullmetal Alchemist.
Warnings: Slightly AU in the FMA-verse. Light shounen-ai.
One-shot #1: Ready, Steady, GO! (Part I)
The last thing Harry had expected after the final battle with Voldemort, was to end up in a world far different from his own and where magic was known as alchemy. But that was exactly what had happened – largely helped along by Hermione's ingenious spell – and for a whole year or more Harry had been happily travelling through said new world, completely anonymous and not a single soul had even known who he truly was. Hell, he had even changed his name upon arrival, and most people simply thought him to be a foreigner from one of the neighbouring countries. Apparently such exceedingly black hair and pale skin as his wasn't common in Amestris. Harry hadn't bothered to correct them, and simply smiled whenever the question came up.
His anonymity was further helped along by the fact that the infamous lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead had faded completely, and only appeared when he did some heavy magic – which wasn't often. Hermione had also insisted on him getting contacts.
"If you're going to go gallivanting off to a new, unexplored world without me and Ron, then you're going to minimize the danger as much as you can." She had told him sternly. "Glasses are dangerous. They can fall off in the middle of battle, break, you can lose them, any number of things can happen. Therefore you are going to do what the Aurors do, and get yourself contacts. Magical contacts differ greatly from their muggle counterparts. Standard contacts can last up to six months, and if you are willing to pay extra, then you can get a pair that last your entire life, taking an insignificant amount of your magic yearly to keep themselves in working order."
"Here're the colour-choices, mate," Ron had picked up, holding up a parchment. "See? They have red ones, green ones – that are, apparently, very popular lately. They also have black ones, yellow ones, pink, orange, brown, amber, you name it!"
Despite Ron's fervent wishes for him to choose the neon-pink contacts, Harry had settled for a pair of simple black ones, charmed to last his entire life. Harry rather thought that he fit the new image he had created. With black hair that he managed to tame slightly with a powerful spell, narrow eyes black as coal, and pale skin, he looked like a much more friendly and shorter version of Severus Snape.
'The old git's probably rolling over in his grave.' He thought in amusement.
His wanderings throughout this new world had brought him to Central, the capital of Amestris, where he had ended up meeting a young man named Mäes Hughes. Within five minutes of meeting the other man, Harry had known that Hughes was insane. An hour later he was ready to commit murder upon said man, and before the day was over he was sure that he couldn't have made a better friend. Hughes was a good man, a good friend, and was totally devoted to his girlfriend, and often bombarded Harry with pictures of said woman.
"It's like this angel flew down from heaven and kissed her!" Hughes would randomly exclaim while pushing a picture of the woman in question straight into Harry's face. "Isn't my Gracia the hottest thing you've ever seen, Roy?!" he would ask, using Harry's assumed name in this world.
Harry would either roll his eyes or shake his head, surprisingly finding himself fondly exasperated, then he would try to go back to the alchemy book he was looking at. It was something that he always did when arriving in a larger town or city. He would head straight to the public library and raid their alchemy-section. The entire thing fascinated him. "Sure, Hughes, wonderful."
"Exactly!!!! Look!!! I've got another picture of her!!" Hughes would then pull out picture after picture, until Harry finally snapped at him. "Why are you reading, Roy? Alchemy? Thinking of joining the State Alchemists, then?"
"Maybe." Harry nodded. "I would like to help people in some way. Besides, alchemy fascinates me, and the military HQs here in Central have the biggest alchemy-related library of them all."
Hughes stared seriously at him for a long while before he smiled. "If you are going to join, then so am I."
Harry blinked. "But what about Gracia?"
"She'll understand, besides, it's not like I can't have a military career if I marry her."
"But why would you ever-?"
The other young man grinned and promptly messed up Harry's hair as though Harry was a kid. "Someone has to keep reminding you to get yourself a wife and settle down, Roy Mustang, and it might as well be me!"
"Hughes!" Harry had roared in return, and had chased the other man out of the library and throughout half the city before they settled down in a small café, watching the people pass along with the occasional car. Harry noted that everything – except the clothes – seemed to come straight from the 1930's, and it made him smile. "Seriously though, Hughes, why would you ever follow me into military service? We've barely known each other for two months."
"I told you! At the rate you are going you'll never settle down! I intend to make sure that you don't end up like a scrooge!"
That was the only answer Hughes would ever give him, no matter how many times Harry asked, begged, threatened, blackmailed or otherwise tried to get it out of him. Gracia seemed to know the answer whenever Harry met her, but she never said anything and simply smiled and offered him another piece of her homemade apple pie.
Harry and Hughes joined up with the State Military, and were quickly separated when it was discovered that Hughes had a knack for intelligence gathering, while Harry had a knack for alchemy, especially alchemy that involved fire. They were both taken under the wings of older officers, and hardly ever saw each other for the next three years. Harry studied alchemy under a man who wasn't directly involved with the army anymore, but who was still on their pay-list. Mr Hawkeye was a demanding teacher, and Harry hardly had the time to finish all the work the man set for him, let along make social calls to Hughes (who was just as busy) or Gracia – though he did manage to drop by every now and then.
After taking the State Alchemist Exam – and easily passing – Harry was almost at once dispatched to the neighbouring eastern country, Ishbal. It was supposed to be a simple mission of calming some civil unrest, wasn't supposed to last more than a few months at the most, but it didn't go that way. The Ishbalans thought alchemy to be the work of the devil, and they had nothing to put up against the State Alchemists. Nor was their firepower anything worth mentioning, and it turned into a genocide. Harry did things during that war that he would never have thought himself ever capable off, and it made him sick whenever he even thought about it. He knew that he had become just like the Death Eaters, and that thought unsettled him more than anything else could have done.
It was Hughes who made him see otherwise.
"You did help people, Roy!" the man insisted. Harry's group and Hughes' group had met up during the fights that day, and had put up camp together just outside of the smoking ruins of an Ishbalan city. A city that Harry had almost single-handedly brought down with his alchemy. "You have saved all your friends today! This is a war, Roy, and they are our enemy."
It was a harsh truth, but it managed to bring some small measure of comfort.
Once the war was over, Harry had been promoted to Colonel for his work. He smiled and nodded and thanked those in charge during the ceremony, but all he really wanted to do was to wash his hands clean of the entire thing – and the army. Later that day he and Hughes (who had also received a promotion), had met up in their regular café, and true feelings could finally be let free.
"I hate it," Harry said, staring into his class. "I wish I had never done this in the first place. Helping civilians!" he snorted.
"What's done is done. We have both become dogs of the military." Hughes muttered quietly into his own glass. "Question is, what do you intend to make of it all?"
Harry hadn't replied for a long while, but finally he did. "I'm going to become Führer. And I'm going to make sure that it never happens again. The country of Amestris is far too bloodthirsty for its own good, and someone needs to put a stop to it before we're all wiped out." He had done too much wrong during the war in Ishbal to ever have peace in his soul, but he could try to right some of his mistakes. Perhaps then Ron and Hermione – with whom he kept in regular contact – wouldn't hate him too much for it.
"That's right, I keep forgetting that you aren't originally a citizen of Amestris." The other man muttered, and downed his glass. When he looked up, there was a rather dark smirk on his face. "If you're going to for the presidential position, then I'll help you. I'll work under you, stay close to the higher-ups, and help push you to the top."
Harry smiled for the first time since the fights in Ishbal had begun.
Over the next couple of years Harry did all he could to rise through the ranks, presenting himself like a loyal soldier. He also managed to establish a wide informant network consisting mostly of women, which gave him the misinformed title of womaniser, but he ignored it. Over time he also founded a core group of loyal friends, who supported him and would do everything in their power to help him out – most loyal of those being Lieutenant Colonel Mäes Hughes of course, and First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye – the daughter of his old alchemy teacher.
"My father praised you highly, sir," Riza said on one occasion. "He taught you everything he knew about alchemy, and trusted you with each one of his secrets. If it is acceptable to you, sir, I would like to stay on as your subordinate as long as you are willing to have me."
Everything had gone great for a few years, then Harry found himself contacted by the young Elric brothers in an attempt to reach their father. At this point he left the Eastern Headquarters along with Riza, hoping that the panic and fear he perceived from the letter didn't lead the young Elric brothers to commit the greatest sin in alchemy: human transmutation. Unfortunately he came too late, and two days after the deed had been done, he knocked on the door of an auto-mail mechanic, Rockbell, having been told that the two boys in question were currently staying there after some sort of accident – thankfully the local people didn't known about the truth of what had happened.
"You should take the State Alchemist Exam," Harry said as he stared down at Edward Elric. The child didn't even twitch, the empty and emotionless look never leaving his eyes. The boy had lost his will to live, just like he had lost his arm and left leg during the transmutation. "If you take it the government will fund your research, and you can try to rectify your mistake. Or I can arrest you right now for trying human transmutation. I'll give you two years. If you don't show up at the Eastern Headquarters in search of me within that time-frame, I will come and arrest you. Either way, stop this self-pitying and start living again."
"What the devil do you think you are doing?!" the miniature auto-mail mechanic Pinaco Rockbell raged at him as he left the room. "Do you have any idea what that poor boy has been through in the past two days?!"
"I do, Mrs Rockbell. I went to the house and saw the cellar." Harry replied calmly while accepting his coat from Riza. "I assume that you took care of the results of the transmutation?"
"… I did." Was all Pinaco was willing to grumble. "That thing was nothing close to human."
"Good." Harry put on his gloves and hat, then turned towards the corner where a large piece of armour sat, and approached it. "Here's my card. Use it."
The armour looked up at him, a young boy's voice echoing somewhat metallically from inside it. "Uhm, Colonel Mustang, sir, I-I don't think nii-san…"
"Keep it just in case." Harry replied, allowing his eyes and facial features to soften slightly, then he left the house. "The Edward-boy is barely ten years now, and still he managed to bind his brother's soul to a piece of armour during a life-or-death situation. Simply amazing." He couldn't help the small smirk to lift the corner of his mouth.
"Are you sure this was a good idea, taisa?" (Colonel) Riza asked as they headed towards the train station. "That boy seemed utterly broken."
"Nothing to worry about, First Lieutenant," Harry replied. "Two years at the most and the oldest Elric will be giving us a call. And where the older goes, the younger one will follow."
He had been correct in his statement, and Edward and Alphonse Elric showed up just as he had predicted. That was the beginning of the end, he supposed when he looked back at it all. Though he had to admit that the verbal sparring with Edward Elric were thoroughly amusing, and he definitely looked forwards to seeing Edward and these arguments.
"Fullmetal? Where'd you run off to?" Harry would look around his office, trying to keep himself from grinning at the fuming blond. "Ah! There you are! I couldn't see you there behind my paperwork, seeing as how you're so short and all."
"Who're you calling so small you want to crunch like an ant!?!?!" Ed would shout.
"That's not what he said at all." Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc would mutter, while Fuery and Breda nodded and Riza simply sighed in exasperation.
The two Elric brothers had not only brought themselves to the Eastern Headquarters, but a whole lot of trouble followed them like a moth to the flame, and for the next couple of years Harry had his hands full protecting the headstrong Fullmetal Alchemist and his younger brother from the higher-ups, paying for the damage Ed caused wherever he went, and tolerating being insulted by a half-pint bean-sprout with anger-management problems.
"Sometimes I really wish I could kill the short brat." He grumbled to Hermione once she came to visit him.
The bushy-haired woman laughed. "Now you know how Professor Snape experienced us in school. We were just as horrid." She and Ron took turns to visit Harry. One of them always had to remain behind to anchor the spell and to open the portal when the other wanted to get back. "If I didn't know better, I'd say that the great Flame Alchemist has a crush on Edward Elric."
Harry blinked in shock. What the hell was the woman thinking!?!?!
Hermione simply laughed again when his only reply was a weak squeak in protest.
"You can't fool me, Roy," Hughes said with a grin. "You care for Ed in a manner you haven't cared for anyone as long as I've known you."
"I don't." Harry insisted stubbornly.
"You do. And I wouldn't mind if you settled down with him, you need someone to keep you on your toes."
"Hughes…" the other man growled out in warning, but his upcoming tirade was cut off by having a picture shoved into his face.
"Look! Can you believe how big Elicia's gotten? She can even ride a tricycle now. She follows me everywhere on that thing – like my own escort of cuteness!" Hughes stuck another picture under Harry's nose. "You have to hear the girl! And to think she's only three years old! She has the voice of an angel! That settles it! She's gonna be an opera star!"
Life didn't get easier after that. The appearance of the alchemist serial killer Scar and the homunculi brought even more chaos to the world, and the Fullmetal Alchemist seemed dead set on being in the middle of it all. Hughes was murdered, and Harry found out that the current Führer, King Bradley, was a homunculi himself. When he tried to expose the man to others in the military, he found himself demoted and cut off from most of his loyal friends. However, in the end the homunculi were defeated, but not without casualties. Harry himself lost his left eye, and Edward Elric used himself as equivalent exchange to give Alphonse his body back. Harry had demoted himself to Corporal and had retreated to a remote outpost, needing time to process it all and to think through it. Unlike some people he was sure that the oldest Elric was still alive and would return, and he was proven right once again two years later when he had to break his currently-preferred no-alchemy-allowed hermit-ways to help defend Amestris from the invading forces of Dietlinde Eckhart.
The State Army had won, luckily, and Harry had retreated from the civilized world again. Seeing Edward Elric again had sent a shock to Harry's very core, and he could no longer deny his feelings for the young man. Therefore he had tried his best to cover his tracks, having pulled any and all favours to hide where he was headed so that no one could find him. He simply wanted to be alone, he needed time, but Hawkeye, Breda, Fuery, Falman, Havoc and most others didn't seem too fond of his decision.
So, here he was, eight years after the Eckhart-incident, the ruler of his very own one-man post on the Drachma side of the Briggs Mountain Range. The place was buried in four feet of snow more than three quarters of the year, and the closest human contact was another outpost a week's walking towards the east. Every month he had to check in by telegram with the closest army HQs which was situated at the foot of the Briggs Mountain Range on the Amestris side, and supplies would be sent once every six months by dog-sled. It was a harsh and lonely life, and he often wondered why he didn't simply allow himself to die or kill himself – lord knew that more than one person had perished in these outposts.
'I think I'm waiting for something, whatever it might be.' He thought to himself as he trudged through the snow. If someone from Central saw him now, they wouldn't recognise him. The army-issued winter clothes weren't made for such harsh conditions, and he had taken to bundling himself up in fur-made clothes that he bartered for with the locals whenever he met them – which wasn't often. He had allowed his hair to grow out and to go back to its natural wild state, and had allowed for a surprisingly thick and long beard to make its appearance. It may be a hassle to keep the hair and the beard clean, but at least they helped to keep him warm. Quite frankly he looked like a mix between a savage and the look that Sirius had sported upon his escape from Azkaban.
'It's going to snow again soon,' Harry mused as he looked up at the sky through the sparse canopy of the trees. The wind was already picking up, and dark clouds rolled surprisingly quickly across the bleak skies. 'Better get this patrol done with, and get back to the hut. It's going to be a bad storm, this one.'
He continued for another couple of minutes – while praising the locals to the high heavens for giving him these warm fur-clothes – before he suddenly stumbled across something unexpected. A very red, very familiar coat was hanging from a lower branch of one of the trees. With a shocked blink, he hurried over to it and pulled it down, revealing the well-known cross-and-serpent crest.
"What the hell…" he trailed off and concentrated on finding the person to whom the coat belonged. 'The wind's been blowing in this direction for a while now, and the coat couldn't have hung there for long or the wind would've ripped it free and carried it away. Which means that I need to go in that direction…'
Harry walked steadily through the thigh-high snow, almost bent double in order to avoid the worst of the wind and the snow that had started falling with vengeance. Fifteen minutes later he spotted what he was looking for and hurried over. The black-clad person was already almost half-way buried in the snow, pale and shivering, their lips almost blue. Familiar blond hair danced across the snow in the wind, and Harry couldn't help but stare for a second.
'What the hell is Edward Elric doing in this godforsaken place?' he wondered, then sighed. 'For some strange reason I feel like my hermit-years are coming to an end.'
Wrapping the smaller man in the red coat and lifting him onto a shoulder, Harry started on the trek back to his cabin-slash-outpost. Once he returned he placed the frozen young man on the rug in front of the fireplace and lit said fireplace with matches. He still refused to use his alchemy or magic even after all these years. Quickly shedding his thick fur-jacket, mittens, boots, pants, and head-cover, he walked back to the unconscious young man to examine him.
'He's grown since last time,' Harry mused to himself as he methodically and automatically checked for wounds, then he snorted. 'Way to state the obvious. It's been eight years since you last saw him, genius, the boy should be twenty-six years old now. He has developed into a handsome young man.' He shook his head angrily at his own thoughts, and focused on his examination. 'Nothing seems broken. The problem seems to be the cold, perhaps a bit of frost bite. Nothing that Hermione's potions can't heal up. A few pepper-ups and Edward Elric will be back to his annoying, half-pint self.'
After finding the required potions and forcing them down Fullmetal's throat, Harry quickly walked through the one-room cabin, removing the few things that could identify him. Pictures of himself and Hughes, of Elicia, of Gracia, and the group-picture of himself, Ed, Alphonse in the armour, Riza, Havoc, Fuery, Breda and Falman were all hidden in one of the large chests. A few other things were hidden as well, but there wasn't much to do – mostly since he didn't own much to begin with.
'Hopefully the boy won't recognise me, will leave, and I will be left alone again.' He sighed. 'Yeah, right, this is Edward Elric we're talking about. He'll dig into my secrets, and won't stop until he knows what colour of underpants I wear!'
Then he settled down by the fire in the lone wooden chair that he owned, and constantly caught himself staring at Fullmetal who occupied his bed.
After the third time, he slapped himself harshly on the cheek. 'Stop it, you idiot. He's almost twenty years your younger! Probably married that Rockbell girl ages ago. No, my dear Roy Mustang, when you settled down here in the middle of nowhere, you condemned yourself to the life-style of a monk. The only thing you will experience is some self-love.'
He threw another piece of wood onto the fire, stirred the stew that was brewing over said fire, and then settled down for a long wait.
Fullmetal didn't wake until the next afternoon, and Harry had been slightly worried that the young man wouldn't wake up at all. But he did, and looked around the cabin with curious golden eyes, before finally settling on Harry's form by the fire. Harry was ever grateful for his long, unruly hair which practically covered his entire face unless he tied it back into a ponytail. Most importantly, it hid the eye patch that covered the left side of his face. His beard was thick and generally he looked very scruffy and most decidedly not like he had as a Colonel.
"It was very foolish of you, Major, to walk around in the middle of a snowstorm in those thin and useless clothes." Harry commented quietly, not looking at his guest but stirring the broth. He picked up a ladle, poured some of the soup into a bowl and held it out to Ed.
"I'm a Lieutenant Colonel," Ed said automatically as he accepted the bowl and blew on it to cool it down.
"I apologise," Harry said still in the same quiet voice, giving off the impression of being very shy and slightly insecure. "There were no markings on your clothes, sir."
"Ah, no, I usually don't wear the uniform." The blond replied between mouthfuls of the soup. "What is this place?"
"Amestris State Army Outpost #62442, one of five on the Drachma side of the Briggs Mountain Range. May I ask, sir, what you are doing out here? We usually don't get visitors out here, and the arrival of a State Alchemist would've reached our ears." The older man looked over on the other through his curtain of hair. 'Isn't it ironic, Fullmetal, that you now hold a higher rank than your "Bastard Colonel" and don't even know it?'
"I'm looking for someone." Edward replied, then held out his bowl. "Could I have seconds?"
'You have truly changed! There was a time that you would've simply demanded seconds. Heh. Wonder if you still hate milk.' These thoughts ran through Harry's head as he took the bowl. "Of course, sir. Here you go. Are you hunting a criminal, if I may ask, sir?"
"Why do you want to know?" the blond was suspicious. "Who are you, anyway?"
"I am sorry for not introducing myself, sir. Corporal Harry Potter at your service, sir." Harry replied, stood up and did a salute, not relaxing until Ed had saluted him back.
"How do I know that you are speaking true? With your looks, you could've murdered the real Corporal Potter and simply taken over this outpost."
Harry couldn't help but laugh. "I suppose I do look horrid. If your arrival had been announced rest assured that you would've seen me without long hair or beard, Lieutenant Colonel. This is simply a cheap way of keeping myself warm. And you still haven't introduced yourself, sir."
Ed grumbled, a small blush spreading across his cheeks. "Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist."
"Pleased to meet such an infamous person as yourself, sir," Harry said, a small smirk playing across his lips. "And as for why I ask about whom you're hunting, it's simple. If you are hunting someone in my neck of the woods, I ought to know about it so I know how to prepare. Do I need to bring out my old service revolver and more gunpowder, or is it enough with the old rifle over there?"
The younger man slurped up the last of his soup before replying. "No need to do any of that, Corporal. The man I'm searching for is an old friend of mine. I've been searching for him for the past three years, going from remote outpost to remote outpost, but I haven't found him yet."
Harry felt himself tense slightly. "Indeed, sir?"
Ed nodded, apparently warming up to the subject and taking this chance to rant slightly. "The man has been hiding himself from the world long enough, besides, we need him back in Central."
"If I may be so bold, sir, but maybe this friend of yours has a very good reason to keep himself in isolation?"
"His reasons are valid, I'll give you that, but he won't work through them on his own. Stubborn man that he is."
"How can you be so sure, sir?"
"Because I know him! And because those who know him even better have said the same! Something similar happened once before – though he didn't leave at that time, but that's only due to his friend that kept him from doing something stupid. Hell, he's probably ready to come back to his friends, but lacks the final push to do so." Ed threw off the numerous covers, wrapped a blanket around himself and walked over to the fireplace, settling down on the floor beside Harry's chair.
"I thought you said that he had to work through some problems and wouldn't return?"
"If I know him then he's worked through his problems at a logical level, but hasn't dealt with the emotional one, and for that he needs us."
The black-haired man was tense as a bowstring. If Ed looked up now he would be able to see his eye patch, recognise his profile, recognise him. And if the blond Lieutenant Colonel ordered him back to Central, then Harry would have to comply seeing as Ed held higher rank. Calmly as he could he picked up the ladle and filled his cup with some soup, then sipped on it, hoping that the young man didn't look up. 'Fuck. Hadn't expected for them to continue this fanatical search for me. I don't think I'm quite ready to go back yet.'
"The truth is, I really miss the bastard," the young man muttered and looked up.
Lady Luck seemed to have finally gotten tired of Harry's hiding, and abandoned him at that crucial moment. Yellow eyes met with one black one, then focused on the eye patch that could be seen through the hair at this angle. Harry sighed. 'Bugger.'
Ed's eyes opened wide in shock and surprise, and he jumped up with a cry. "Y-you…! You! Here! You!"
Harry's one eye glittered in amusement that he couldn't help but feel. The stuttering was quite charming, actually. "Still short in both vocabulary and stature, Fullmetal."
"Who're you callin' so short he'd fall through the cracks of the floor, you bastard?!?!?!?!" the young man raged automatically. Then he threw himself at the other figure, completely enraged at the other's calm demeanour. The wooden chair broke under their collected and sudden weight, and they ended up on the floor, Ed straddling the older man's torso, kneeling on one of the arms and pinning down the other. Finally he was holding a knife to the black-haired man's throat, and was glaring for all he was worth.
Harry didn't move at all, and was completely limp. "I see you haven't forgotten your martial arts skills, Fullmetal." He commented calmly, almost emotionlessly.
"You fucking bastard!" Ed growled. "You've been here all this time! Hiding from your friends! Sulking! Feeling sorry for yourself!"
The last two accusations struck a cord deep, deep within Harry, a cord that he had thought had shrivelled away in the past eight years. But he did nothing. 'This reminds me exceedingly of the time when I first visited the two Elric brothers after their human transmutation – except that this time the roles are reversed.'
"You're a coward, Mustang! You promised Hughes and Hawkeye and all the others that you would become the Führer, you had the chance and yet look at you now! You're a pathetic excuse for a human being, you know that?!"
"Hn," was all Harry could bring himself to reply. Those accusations had hit him surprisingly deep, and that cord within him seemed to hum with energy that he hadn't felt in the past eight years. His magic was starting to rise to the surface, and it didn't help that the fire was so close. It would be so easy to snap his fingers…
"When the rest of the world moves on, what do you do? You hide! Hell! Even that person Pettigrew was more worth than you!"
The cord snapped, and in a flash Ed found himself now pinned to the ground with the older man above him, glaring. His one black eye was flashing dangerously, and with the long hair and beard it made him look like a madman. "How do you know that name, Fullmetal?!" he growled lowly.
Ed actually shivered upon the suddenly dangerous aura that surrounded his former superior. "Hughes mentioned it in his diary."
"And how, exactly, would you know about that?"
"When we couldn't find you after three years of search, Hawkeye suggested to ask Gracia if Hughes hadn't left behind something that could help us. That's how I know, and that's how we knew to search the farthest outposts in order to find you."
Harry growled and lifted himself off the younger man, then stalked to the other side of the small cabin in an attempt to put as much space between himself and Edward. "What do you want from me, Fullmetal?"
"I told you already, you bastard, it's time for you to return." Ed got up from the floor, and glared at the older man. "Stop wallowing in the past and walk into the future, Roy Mustang! You've got a strong pair of legs, dammit, start using them!"
"It's not that easy, Fullmetal." Harry refused to look at him. He hadn't known that the appearance of this particular young man would knock him so completely out of balance. He could even feel a great lump forming in his throat, and tears gather behind his eyes. Just how much control did Edward Elric hold over him?!
"Yes it is! All you have to do is forgive yourself. It was a war, people die. It's cruel, but it's the truth! Don't let the weight of the dead pull you down with them!" Ed walked over to Harry, and put a strong hand on the taller man's shoulder. "Let it go."
Harry was shaking now. Eight years of loneliness and hardship were being undone in less than ten minutes. It would've been laughable if it hadn't been so pathetic. "I've become the thing that I hate the most in the world. I've become just like the person who killed my parents." He muttered in defeat.
"You are nothing like Tom Riddle!" Ed insisted, shaking Harry's shoulder slightly. "From what I can gather, Riddle enjoyed killing, revelled in it! The fact that you're out here slowly killing yourself in a misguided attempt to atone, proves this!"
"I see Hughes wrote absolutely everything down into that diary of his."
"Forget that, dammit!" Ed turned him around, pushed Harry against the wall to make sure that he couldn't escape, and grabbed the taller man's face with surprising gentleness. Their eyes met and held. "You had the right idea, you were on the correct path when you wanted to become the Führer in order to fix things."
"That was a long time ago, Ed. And look how that ended up."
"The homunculi were trying to turn the city of Central into one giant transmutation circle! What appeared to be maintenance work on roads and buildings has been exposed to be not so innocent after all. Without you killing Pride it would've ended up much, much worse! The citizens of Central would've ended up as sacrifices to create the Philosophers Stone for the homunculi!"
"It would never work," Harry insisted, swallowing thickly. "My chance passed all those years ago."
"Now you have the chance to try again! We're all waiting for you to come back, all of us have managed to attain important and useful positions, and Hawkeye and Falman have kept your network of informants alive and working. All we need now is someone who knows what they are doing to lead us."
"The current Führer-"
"He's an idiot! We're keeping close eye on the man after what happened with King Bradley, and although the current Führer isn't a homunculi, he's a spineless worm! The man doesn't have enough courage to negotiate peace-treaties that will benefit both parts! Amestris will be overrun by the neighbouring countries if this keeps up!"
The lump in his throat had grown to the size of a dragon's egg, and his tears were this close to the surface. He was pale and his shaking had worsened, his hands clutching onto Ed's upper arms. He wondered when that had happened. The people he had left behind in Amestris couldn't have done something like this for a murderer like him. It was not possible, it was insane, it was… it was the simple truth, he realised as he gazed into the golden eyes of the Fullmetal Alchemist.
"I am a mere Corporal now, Ed, I'd have to start all over again in the army hierarchy and that could take years." Even to himself the excuse sounded feeble, and was half-choked with overwhelming emotions.
"I believe you've heard of Major General Olivier Milla Armstrong?" Ed smiled, knowing that he had won. "She seems to hate the spineless weakling that is our current Führer, and this once she has agreed to help us and will promote you back to Brigadier General. And from there the road to the top is short."
Harry blinked in surprise. "I thought that woman disliked me."
"She dislikes the Führer even more because he has removed her from her HQs here in the mountains, and has called her back to Central where he spends most of his time trying to flirt with her and all the other female officers. He's even done what you threatened to do, and forced all female officers to wear miniskirts. At first it was cool, but then women stopped enlisting and dropped out of the military, and now there are hardly any women left. This does not make for a very happy military." Ed was grinning by now.
The black-haired man chuckled but then unnoticed the chuckles turned to sobs, and after all this time the tears finally flowed. Tears for those who had died on both sides in the Ishbal rebellion, those who had been killed by Scar, those people who had died thanks to the homunculi and for Mäes Hughes. For Gracia for losing her husband and Elicia who had to grow up without a father. For all the pain Riza, Fuery, Falman, Havoc, Breda, the Rockbells and the Elrics had been put through. And finally he allowed himself to truly grieve for those who had died thanks to Voldemort and his blasted Death Eaters.
He was hugging Fullmetal fiercely like a lifeline, and Edward didn't seem to mind, but was hugging him right back just as fiercely. They stood there for an unknown amount of time. It could've been minutes or hours, Harry didn't know or care. He finally managed to get himself back under control, drawing a few shaky breaths. "Dammit, Ed, since when did you get to be so mature that you offer me advice?" he muttered.
The smaller man grinned up at him, his own cheeks wet. "Bastard Colonel."
Harry snorted, feeling lighter and better and more alive than he had in ages. He raised a hand and gently wiped at the wet cheeks of the blond. "Why did you cry?"
"For you." Came the reply. "You would never cry for your own losses like this. Sure, you would mourn them, but never cry. As you cried for the others, I cried for you."
"How very poetic of you, Fullmetal. And exactly when did you get to know me so well?" there was only amusement and fondness in his voice.
"Hughes' diary. It is a very interesting read."
"I think perhaps I need to try coming back to Central, after all. If for nothing else than to destroy that accursed diary of Hughes'. What else did that fool write about me?"
Ed laughed. Neither seemed to notice that they were still standing in each other's arms, nor did they seem to care. "He mentioned that it was his life's greatest goal to see you settled happily with someone – it didn't matter if it was a man or a woman."
Harry suddenly tensed again. Hughes wouldn't write down the fact that Harry found himself attracted to the young man currently standing in his arms. Would he?
"And he also wrote down a certain something concerning your feelings towards me."
Apparently he would. If Hughes wasn't already dead, he would've been in some serious danger. Harry released the young man and straightened. "I assure you, Fullmetal, you need not worry about-"
Edward cut him off in one of the nicest ways ever. He kissed him. It was thoroughly awkward and scruffy due to the beard, and not at all what one would expect of a first kiss. Yet it was also the most perfect kiss ever, in Harry's humble opinion. But he had to make absolutely sure that the young man wanted this.
"Are you out of your mind?"
"Of course not."
"I'm almost twenty years your senior, you bean-sized annoyance."
"Don't care." Ed replied and kissed him again. Or tried to. "You need to get rid of the beard, Roy."
"Are you even listening to what I'm saying, Fullmetal?"
"Not at all, bastard." The smaller man ran his hands through the wild, long hair. "This needs to go as well."
Harry rolled his one eye and grumbled. "Should've left you out there in the snow, damn it."
The younger man laughed, and tugged slightly on the strands in his grasp. "Come on, bastard, lets get back to Central!"
There. Please tell me what you think!
This isn't beta-ed since my beta doesn't like slash of any kind, so excuse the mistakes.
I hope I didn't get characters too much OOC, and I hope that this is acceptable. I tried to incorporate things from the anime and the movie and the manga, all which differ slightly. Hopefully it was somewhat successful. I'm even toying with an idea for a sequel for this particular one-shot, if you're interested.
Until next time then! (Hopefully!)