D3ath: YOSH!!! I AM BACK AND FULLY RECOVERED!!! YESSSSSSS I SHALL GO AND TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!! MWA HA HA HA HA HA HA— (is immediately shuttled into the closet, where Ed and Al lock it)

Al: …(sighs) phew.

Ed: Er—sorry about that. She still has to take medication, and it's making her extremely hyper.

D3ath: (voice slightly muffled) I WILL PREVAIL!! (Cue evil cackle)

Allen: (looking a little nervous) So, yes, um…reviewers. Thanks for all of the well wishes; D3ath-san really appreciated them.

Al: (pulls out a list) Thanks to awalkingparadox, the-ice-cold-alchemist, the42jabberwocky, Chindu Prince of Darkness, Kazeko Aozora, AliceOfGrey, Rebekira-exchemist, Hina Kita, xTincampi, ShanaEdward, hugglestheknowitall, himeoka tsuki, Chaxwillkillusall, ChrissyViolet, Eriisu-April, DemonRaily, hplo, and Dreamsong. Thank you all for reviewing!

Ed: And congrats to The Lone Eagle for being the 200th reviewer, yadda yadda yadda…(flaps hand uselessly). D3ath will have an omake for you at the end. (Tosses list) Alright, we're done. Let's go.

Allen: (blinking) uh…all right, then, disclaimer. D3ath-san doesn't own us.


Chapter 18

Alphonse's eyes lit up as he stepped into a familiar alleyway. However, he didn't even stop to pause. He quickly hurried out of the alley, and a large grin spread across his face as he didn't even try to hide his delight.

He took a big breath, the silly grin still stretched across his face. "I'm home," he said, almost euphoric. "I'm home."

He heard Havoc let out a sigh behind him. "Good to be back," the smoker said, casting an approving eye on the familiar streets.

"We need to report to the General, Captain," Fuery pointed out, immediately squashing Havoc's cheerful mood.

"I'll bet you anything that he stole my girlfriend again," the soldier muttered, hunching over and stuffing his hands into his pockets. Breda laughed while Olsen chuckled, and the four of them began making their way through Central.

Suddenly, a hand shot out from behind them, grabbing Alphonse around the collar of his shirt and swiftly dragging him into a nearby alleyway. Alphonse let out a yell and struggled, but a familiar voice hissed, "Quiet," and Alphonse gulped, falling silent immediately. Havoc's squad grabbed their guns and dashed after the blonde teen, bringing them up to point them at one severely pissed Kanda Yu.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" the Japanese exorcist snarled furiously, throwing Alphonse against the brick wall. "Leaving in the middle of war! Do you realize what this means?!"

Al's face was stubborn as he replied. "I'm not leaving," he said, his chin jutting out defiantly. "I was going to come back."

"What are you doing here, then?!" Kanda shouted, and Havoc's Squad lowered their guns. "Or did your brain leave with your shrimp of a brother?!"

"Don't talk about my brother that way!" Alphonse replied angrily, his gray eyes fierce as his fists clenched. "This is my home!! We've been searching for a way back for years! And Ed and I didn't even want to join the Black Order! We were looking for a way home when your precious religious cult made us join!!"

Kanda's dark eyes flashed. "This isn't about what you want, you stupid bastard," he shouted, drawing Mugen. "This is war. You're a holder of the innocence. Your personal lives are no longer important! They don't give a damn about your family, or your past, as long as it wins them the war. And what would have happened if you had been caught while coming here?" Kanda suddenly snarled menacingly, marching up to Alphonse and leaning over the startled blonde, their noses almost touching. "What if you had been caught by the enemy, and killed? The Order would have lost two very important soldiers, possibly ones that could change the whole course of this war!" Alphonse's eyes widened, and suddenly, he recalled a memory that he had shoved back into the far recesses of his mind…

"We cannot afford to lose you, Alphonse Elric," a dark-haired woman said, her dark-painted lips twisting up into a cruel smile. "Why, you and your brother both are important sacrifices." A metal suit of armor cried out desperately as long nails pierced through his body, and Alphonse screamed as one gently pressed on his blood seal…

"NO!" Alphonse bellowed suddenly, shoving a started Kanda back. "I don't want—I can't—not again—!" Kanda's eyebrows snapped together in a fierce scowl.

"You don't have the choice, you fucking bastard," he said harshly. "Ever since you joined, the Order has, and will control you until you die, or until the war is won!"

"What about you, then?!" Al challenged, his stormy gray eyes meeting with Kanda's pitch black ones. "Aren't you in the same situation?!"

"I have nothing to care for," Kanda said impassively, and Alphonse saw red.

"You bastard," he hissed, and Havoc's squad shared worried looks. It was a sure sign of trouble when the younger Elric swore. "What about the lives of others?! What about those that you're fighting against?! Don't you care about anything?!!"

Kanda scowled. "I am just a tool," he said, "What I say will have no effect on what the higher-ups will do."

Alphonse gritted his teeth, and punched. There was a loud snap, and Alphonse retreated, his face pale with rage.

To say that Kanda was surprised might have been an understatement. He was completely baffled, and he stood there with a hand pressed to his broken nose, staring at Alphonse while the others' eyes bugged out of their heads. He hissed as he tried to inhale through his nose, and Al gave him a contemptuous look.

"Leave me alone," Alphonse said, and he marched away, his back completely rigid. "Let's go," he growled as he stomped past Havoc, and the blonde man nodded dumbly, his cigarette nearly dropping from his mouth. Silently, though, the others followed after him, keeping a respectful (and slightly frightened) distance away from the fuming teen.

Kanda followed after him. "Help me get back home," he commanded, his head still dizzy from the broken appendage, and Alphonse focused ahead with a steely gray gaze, refusing to look back at his fellow exorcist.

"Get the fuck out of here," Alphonse retorted, pulling the hood of his jacket up. He didn't want people to recognize him.

"I can't," Kanda muttered bitterly, already resentful about the fact that he was lost. He wiped a hand against his nose, smearing blood all over the sleeve of his jacket, stubbornly ignoring the pain.

Alphonse scowled. "Well, go find it, then," he said scathingly, before making a sharp right. Kanda rolled his eyes and followed.

"Tch."


Mustang was sorting through paperwork, fidgeting nervously the whole time. Hawkeye glanced up at him from her work.

"Sir."

He ignored her, focusing intently on the pile of paper in front of him. Falman and Hawkeye traded worried glances, before Hawkeye cleared her throat.

"General Mustang!" she said, and still, the dark-haired man didn't respond. Finally, Hawkeye lost her patience.

"ROY!" Mustang jumped, scattering paper all over the floor and snapping his pen in half, getting ink all over his hands. He cursed before looking up at Hawkeye.

"What is it?" he asked, and that was when Falman decided to speak.

"Sir, we suggest that you go and take a break," the thin-faced man said, saluting. He was sitting at his desk, already almost finished with his daily work.

Hawkeye nodded. "Worrying isn't going to help, sir," she said, her fingers resting on the butt of her gun. "We suggest that you stop."

Mustang let out a heavy sigh before rubbing his temple. "I can't help it," he said, frowning. "They've been gone for more than two weeks without word—" The phone rang, and Mustang stared blankly at it, not comprehending what he was supposed to do. Luckily, Falman did, and the tall man reached over to grasp the phone in one large hand.

"Central Military Headquarters, General Mustang's office," he said, before nearly falling off his seat in shock.

"What?! What is it?!" Mustang demanded, nearly leaping up from his seat. He snatched the phone away from Falman. "Who is this?!"

"Yo, chief, we're back," the familiar voice of Havoc said. He could easily imagine the man grinning. "And we brought along a little surprise…actually, two—"

"WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?!!" Mustang roared, slamming a hand down onto Falman's desk. "YOU'VE BEEN MISSING FOR NEARLY TWO WEESK WITH NO RESPONSE!! EXPLAIN YOURSELF, SOLDIER!!"

"We'll tell you when we get there," Havoc said cheerfully, before hanging up. Mustang slammed the phone down onto its stand, cursing the whole time. However, he couldn't stop the smile that crossed his face.

"I'm going to kill him," he said with a large grin, shaking his head with relief. "I'm going to fucking kill them all, drag them through the parade ground, and beat them into the ground so hard that their families would have to dig them up in order to give them a proper funeral."

Hawkeye gave a small smile to her superior officer. "Let's just wait until he shows us the surprise, sir."

Mustang was pacing by the time Havoc and the others came in. He heard the others speak as they approached his door, and he arranged his facial features so that they would be stony and harsh. His eyepatch also added to the effect, giving him an almost menacing look as he faced the doorway.

Havoc slammed the doors open, his trademark grin on his face. "Aaaand, we're back!" he proclaimed, only to wilt when Mustang turned his gaze on him.

"Havoc," Mustang growled, crossing his arms behind his back. "Breda. Fuery. Olsen. I asked you to contact me as soon as you could. It was an order, soldier." Havoc was visibly unnerved, fidgeting as he quailed underneath Mustang's glare.

"S-sorry, sir," he stuttered, and the others nodded fervently. "It's just that—we couldn't exactly—"

"And why not, Captain?" Mustang's voice was cool and calm, almost icy, and Havoc rubbed the back of his neck nervously.

"Well, we came up with something…unexpected," he admitted, and Mustang raised an eyebrow.

"Unexpected," he repeated, and Havoc nodded fervently, gesturing for the others to step back.

Alphonse smiled as he saw the look of absolute shock on the General's face. "Hello, General Mustang sir," he said cheerfully, his sour mood gone as he approached the man.

Mustang grappled for words, before stepping forward and engulfing Alphonse into a hug.

"It's been years, Alphonse," he said softly as the younger male flailed about, clearly surprised. "You've certainly grown. And where's your brother?" he asked, pulling away and trying to muster what was left of his dignity—Hawkeye had a small smile on her face while the others openly snickered.

Alphonse sighed. "He's on a mission right now, and won't be back for a while," he said. Mustang's eye narrowed.

"Mission?" he asked sharply, and Alphonse nodded, glancing back behind him.

"Kanda?" he asked hesitantly, and that was when Mustang realized that there was someone else beside the dark blonde before him. He was leaning against the opposite hallway, in view of the door, and he did not look happy. He had long dark hair, almond-shaped eyes, and a scowling mouth that proclaimed his oriental heritage. Blood flowed from a crooked nose, and he wiped it away with the sleeve of his strange black jacket, which was already covered in blood. His brows were snapped into a permanent scowl, and he let out a "tch," looking away. Alphonse glared at Kanda until the man spoke.

"We're part of an organization called the Black Order," he Japanese swordsman said irritably before he met Mustang with a glare. "We destroy akuma, but I can't say much, other than that the runt's brother is coming back with me." His voice was slightly muffled and nasal, most likely from the broken nose.

"Not right now," Alphonse practically snarled. Mustang raised an eyebrow. Alphonse seemed almost threatening when he said that, giving Mustang a vivid impression of the Fullmetal midget.

"Major Hawkeye, take this man down to the infirmary to fix his nose," Mustang ordered, and the blonde woman saluted sharply. She gave the returned soldiers an approving clap on the shoulder, her face stoic, before walking off to tend to the irritated Kanda.

"What happened to his face?" Mustang asked aloud after both were gone.

Havoc grinned at Alphonse. "Why don't you tell him?" he asked the sandy-haired teen, and Al fidgeted, ashamed of himself.

"…I punched him," he finally muttered, and Mustang blinked.

"You punched him?" he asked incredulously, and Alphonse fidgeted even more, his face the picture of guilt.

"He made me mad," he said, not looking at anyone.

Mustang chuckled. "You're getting to be more and more like Fullmetal every day, Alphonse," he told the younger boy. Alphonse flushed.

"Not as bad, though," he protested sullenly.

"True; since when has Alphonse tied someone to a pole, covered them in chicken feathers, rotten fish, eggs, and left them in their underwear?" Breda grinned, and Havoc snorted, nearly choking on his cancer stick.

Mustang gaped at Breda. "…Fullmetal did this?" he finally managed to say, before a smirk grew on his face. "I didn't know Fullmetal was capable of that. He seemed too short."

Fuery shuffled a little. "Actually, sir, I think he's almost as tall as you. And he's still growing. He was a little taller than me when we saw him again."

Mustang froze. "What?"

Olsen nodded. "He's not really that short," she said, and Havoc rolled his eyes.

"Olsen, you weren't here when the Chief first joined the military," he said, and Olsen tilted her head, a small frown on her face.

"What do you mean?" she asked, and Mustang grinned.

"He was barely five feet when he first joined," the dark-haired man explained.

"Oh," Olsen said, repressing a snigger.

Mustang sat back onto his desk, his grin turning into a stern glance. "Alphonse, I want you to tell me everything that's happened."

Alphonse swallowed and nodded. "Okay."


Valença do Minho, 9:54 PM—

Edward silently cursed himself as he carried the small little girl through the streets of the village. If only he had arrived sooner…Quickly, Edward shook his head. He was being ridiculous again. There was no way the finder would've been alive, even if Edward did arrive a little earlier to scout around.

He glanced at the girl in his arms. She looked like Nina so much that it almost hurt. His throat tightened, and he looked away quickly again.

She whimpered a little, and clutched at his jacket. His heart nearly broke at the sound, and he focused on finding the nearest hotel.

"Turn left," a small voice in his arms said, and he complied immediately, making a sharp left.

While he walked, he thought about the discussion he had earlier with the Nina of this world. Why hadn't she wanted to go to the police station?

"Nina," he said quietly, and the little girl looked up at him.

"How'd you know my name?" she asked innocently, her blue eyes wide. Edward considered banging his head on the building beside him.

"I said niña, but okay, Nina," he hastily amended, making up for his blunder. Nina nodded, accepting the response before Edward continued. "Why didn't you want to go to the police station?"

"NO!!" Nina burst out, and Edward shook his head, trying to soothe the girl.

"I wasn't going to take you there, I just wanted to know why you didn't want to go," he explained gently, his heart twisting at the frightened expression on her face. "I swear I won't take you there," he promised.

"Promise, big brother?" she asked, and he nodded.

"Promise."

She swallowed. "I—I saw bad things in there," she finally said, and Edward raised an eyebrow.

"What do you mean?" Edward questioned softly, suddenly suspicious of the police station. He made a mental note to stop by there after he dropped Nina off.

"He wouldn't stop screaming and screaming—" she whimpered, and Edward patted the top of her head, cutting her off.

"It's okay, you don't have to say any more," he said, and she nodded.

"I don't like going there, but papa takes me there every day," she whispered, and Edward stopped, a frown marring his face.

"What?" he asked sharply, and Nina began to cry.

"He takes me there, but he leaves me alone in that room for hours—I hate it there!!" she burst out, sobbing into Edward's black exorcist jacket.

Edward swallowed, and walked on.


As soon as they reached the hotel, Edward quickly paid for his room, and set the little girl on the counter.

"Do you know where her father is?" he asked, and the hotel woman shrugged.

"No one's seen him for the past three days," she said seriously, looking around to see if others were listening. "Some say he was kidnapped by demons," she said, eyeing Nina carefully as the little occupied herself with the hotel bell. "I don't know where he's been, but he's always been a shady character, so I wouldn't put it past him to disappear."

"Thank you," Edward said stiffly, before gathering Nina in his arms and heading up to his room.

He set her down on the bed, and hurried to the phone, grabbing his golem out of his traveling bag and attaching it to the phone.

"Contact headquarters," he told his golem in English, before turning to Nina, who went wide-eyed at the sight of the black golem.

"What is that?" she babbled in Spanish, transfixed by the creature. "Is it like a bat? Does it drink blood like other bats do? Can it turn into a vampire?!" She then let out a small shriek. "Is it going to drink my blood?"

Edward rubbed his forehead with a gloved hand. "No, it's a golem, and I use it to communicate with the people I work for."

"Oh," Nina said, looking slightly put out before looking around. "Do you have something to draw, big brother?" she asked, and he nodded, digging through his bag once more before the golem connected.

"Edward?" Komui's voice caught Edward's attention, and he looked up, a little startled.

"Oh, one moment," he said, before handing Nina a pen and some paper. "Aquí," (trans: here) he said, and she grinned in delight.

"Ah, gracias!" she chirped, and began to quickly draw as Edward turned his focus back onto the golem.

"Sorry," he said, scratching the back of his head. "Found a little girl that might help me with what's going on here."

"Ah, keeping her close, then?" he asked, and Edward nodded.

"Yeah, considering how she found the last finder dead," he said grimly. "She also has a terrible fear of the local police station, mentioning someone screaming, so I'm planning on investigating that tomorrow morning, after I find someone to look after her. Her father has also been missing for three days."

Komui was silent as he processed all of the information. "What's her name?"

"Nina Tucker," he said, and the little girl looked up at him questioningly before resuming her drawing. "Her father's name is Shou Tucker, and her mother is deceased."

"We'll investigate," Komui promised. "By the way, have you heard from your brother? Or Kanda?"

Edward felt his stomach drop a little, a small sense of foreboding looming over him. "No. Why?"

"They're both gone, and have been ever since this morning after you left." Edward swallowed.

"Let me know as soon as they are back," he said.

"If they come back," Komui said, and Edward scowled furiously.

"Don't you dare say that, bastard," he hissed, before ending the connection. He grabbed the golem out of the air, and stuffed it in his bag again before it could so much as blink. He faced Nina, and his face paled at the picture that Nina was finishing.

It was an akuma.


D3ath: sorry about the short chapter! My computer's not working too well, so there'll be no Allen in this chapter. SUMIMASEN!!! Allen will have a lot more time in the next chapter, I promise! Anyways, here's the omake I promised!

Omake—

Kanda couldn't help but scowl ferociously as the blonde woman led him down the corridors of the building. He also glared menacingly at anyone who stared at him as they walked by.

"Please stop that," the woman in front of him said sternly, her back rigid as he set his stare on her. "Keep it up, and the others might think that you're a threat."

"Of course," Kanda scoffed, and Hawkeye glanced at him disapprovingly. "I could kill you if I wanted to."

"But would that be such a good idea when you're surrounded by military men?" she retorted, her amber eyes daring him to follow up on his bluff.

Kanda "tch'd" and scowled, looking away.

"That's what I thought," Hawkeye said, smiling grimly, and Kanda bristled at the underlying taunt. He wanted to gut her SO BAD, but…He glanced uneasily at the wary look some of the soldiers were giving him, and his fingers twitched, longing to grab the hilt of his innocence.

Once he reached the infirmary, he hissed as the man set his nose back into place.

"Oh, if I were you…" he man warned, glancing at the woman who was standing outside the door, "I would get the hell away from her. I heard she shot at someone's genitals last week." Kanda paled slightly, thinking about life without genitals. His imagination told him that it wouldn't be too good.

And Kanda swore to never cross that woman again, especially when he watched someone grope her on the way back.


D3ath: Hope you all enjoyed it! Oh, and I posted a new poll up, be sure to check it out! :D