The Theory of Alchemy
"Did you hear that the president is going to give a speech this evening at the town square?"
"Really? What's it about?"
"I don't know, some rumors say that he's going to speak for Edward Elric."
"Oh yeah, the Fullmetal alchemist is good friends with the president… He'll probably make it out of it like it was nothing."
The word about the speech was spreading rapidly, and eventually it reached also David Keller's ears. He fidgeted nervously in his black leather sofa and wondered what he would do if the president wanted to talk with the one who told about it all to the magazines. He wouldn't stand a chance against the president when it came to manipulating: Roy Mustang would somehow make everyone loathe him instead of Edward Elric. He would lose his friends, his self-confidence and his power over people. But at least he would have Elysia…
"Son?" David was so deep in thought that when he heard his father's voice he startled and stood up so fast that the room spun in his eyes. His heart beat faster than normally and he realized that he was breathing heavily. Embarrassed of this, he tried to calm down and look as calm and collected as his father in front of him.
"Yes, father?" Nevertheless of his attempts to calm down his voice was higher than usual because of the stress and fright. This wasn't left unnoticed by his father and Clark Keller walked to his son so he could place a hand on his shoulder. "There is no need to worry. I will do everything I can so that Edward Elric will lose his job." The smile that spread to Clark's lips was so threatening that it send shivers down his own son's back.
The town square was always full of life, but today the voices were even louder and the crowd at least four times bigger than usual. All the casualness of a normal day was gone: people were moving sternly, anxiously, because everyone was here out of curiousness. They wanted know what was so important that the president would announce so suddenly that he would be giving a speech. When the rumors of the most famous ex-state alchemist appearing started to spread, it seemed that the whole city tried to fit in to the square. Hundreds of thousands pairs of foot were tramping the light brown pavement, and all the sounds joined to one deafening hum. In the northern end of the square was a huge stand where the president would be standing in a few minutes. The huge clock tower on the eastern side of the square would declare loudly the passing and the start of another new hour. At five o'clock the president would climb up the few stairs up to the stand.
Dong… The loud, low but clear sound of the clock rang over the square, covering all the other voices under it. The smallest of the children sitting on their parents shoulders covered their ears and the babies that had yet no knowledge of the place where their ears were or the coordination to place their hands on them, cried out loudly.
Dong… Edward Elric raised his head up to watch the huge hands of the clock and clenched his hands into fists. He was nervous, and he hated the fact that there was no way to predict how this would end or how the people would react.
Dong… Roy Mustang turned his head towards his former subordinate and said in a calm tone: "Focus, Fullmetal. Just follow my instructions and everything will work out." He hid his anxiousness well, and it wouldn't be as a nerve-wrecking experience to him as it would be to Ed, as he had stood in front of huge masses of people numerous times. Edward on the other hand had isolated himself entirely for ten years or so. And Roy Mustang wasn't the one accused for those crimes.
Dong… The president of Amestris turned to face the stairs and started walking with a determined expression. His mind was focused only on the speech he was about to give. There was nothing that could disrupt him right now.
Mustang's foot landed on the stand with a heavy thud, and the people fell silent as if someone had given them a sign, and everyone turned their eyes to the stand if they hadn't already been staring at it. It was impossible for all of the people to see Mustang standing in the northern end of the square, but the microphone he was given would make sure that everyone could hear him.
"Good evening to you, citizens of Amestris." Roy Mustang's calm voice, strengthened by the microphone, reached the very end of the square and even further. David had left his window open and now he had stuck his head out of the window of his family's apartment. He was staring to the direction of the square, though he couldn't see it except for the huge clock tower. The door opened, but David didn't notice, because he had to concentrate so he could hear Roy Mustang's voice over the noisy town.
"David?" Asked a hesitant voice, and David frowned. "Leave me alone", he said and glanced over his shoulder, only to see his girlfriend standing at the door.
"Elysia! I'm sorry, I thought…" But he wasn't given time to finish when Elysia walked swiftly forward and David spread his arms, ready to hug her and hear words "everything is going to be alright", but all he felt was a sudden, splitting pain on his left cheek. First he didn't understand what had happened and he raised his hand to his face, touching his now red cheek as if to check if the pain was real. He could only stare at Elysia, who had clenched her hands to fist and glared at him like he was worthless scum.
"How could you?" She wasn't screaming, but her voice sounded venomous and her eyes were blazing with hatred. Such controlled anger terrified David more than shouting would have. "How could you do that to Ed?" She repeated and when David didn't answer, her eyes watered, ready to spill tears to her beautiful, delicate skin.
"I believed in you, thought you were a caring, gentle person, but now I have seen what you can really do. Why couldn't you understand that you were digging your own grave when you started picking a fight with him? How did you let such hatred fog your mind? Ed was right about you." The tears were falling now to the expensive carpet, but Elysia didn't wipe them away, she kept staring at David, who was slowly recovering from this both physical and mental blow. It was his turn to get angry now.
"So you're siding up with him, too? Can't you see that he's full of himself and doesn't give a damn about anything? How could you have someone like him as a friend? Why aren't you supporting me, your boyfriend, to whom you should be faithful?" David closed the small gap between the two of them and his face was only a centimeter from Elysia's. She shuddered, but didn't back down, stubborn as she was. She was still looking down on him, which made David even angrier in his moody state.
"Don't you dare to look at me like that!" He shouted and slapped her jaw, snapping her head to the side. Elysia grew silent, looking at David with both unbelieving and hating eyes before turning on her heels and walking to the door.
"I've said everything I came to say", she said coldly, but she was trying to swallow her tears.
"Look, Elysia, I'm sorry, I-" David reached towards her with his hand, a painful look on his face, but she wasn't looking at him anymore and would never look again. "It's over", and with that she opened the door, stepping out and slamming it shut with so much force that an extremely expensive painting fell to the floor. David sunk to the sofa and buried his face to his hands, now suppressing tears of his own. How could his life be ruined in few days by only one person?
Back at the square, Roy Mustang, the president of Amestris, had finished talking about other matters and was ready to start discussing the greatest reason for this event to be arranged.
"I believe most of us have already heard of the accusations that the papers have put upon Edward Elric, and many are wondering if they are true. When Amestris became a democracy, I promised that no former state alcehmist would get treated differently from anyone else and made them vow they would not use their power unjustly. Now I will give the former state alchemist the chance to defend his vows and clear his name. Regarding the assault happened towards David Keller by Edward Elric at the Hughes' residence, we have a witness who lives there and was with them the whole time. Miss Hughes, could you please come up here?"
Edward could only stare at Elysia, who had just seconds ago appeared next to him. There were fresh tears on her cheeks and her hands were shaking. And why was her face swollen? Had someone hit her? His eyes filled with rage and he opened his mouth to speak, to ask who had done that to her, but Elysia shook her head. Edward tried to calm down, but he didn't like the direction this event was going. Why was she, of all people, going up there to say the words that would risk her reputation? He wasn't worth it.
"Elysia-", Ed started, but Elysia shook her head again and smiled a wavering smile to stop him from saying anything and like Mustang, she walked calmly up the stairs to the stand.
People were literally standing on their toes to catch a glimpse of this important witness and those few who were close enough were surprised to see a young, nervous woman standing next to the president. Elysia Hughes was looking at the sea of people in both awe and fear. She was so nervous that she felt like she couldn't produce any words from her mouth even if she wanted and her feet seemed to be just barely strong enough to support her weight. To her it felt like the crowd was skeptical about her, they doubted her, and now she finally understood how Ed had felt in his teens. It seemed as she was shrinking and the crowd was getting bigger, louder. She felt the need to go closer to the man she had referred as her uncle for longer than she could remember, but she couldn't do that when so many eyes were watching her every move. She cannot show the close friendship she shared with the president, even though Roy Mustang has been her father-figure all these years.
Roy could see and sense Elysia's anxiety, but there was nothing else he could do that smile to her.
"Miss Hughes, the assault is supposed to have happened in your home. Is that correct?" Elysia nodded, but realized that people couldn't see her gestures, so she gave a shaky yes as an answer. The crowd was silent, as if to hear her words better, but there were no need for the silence, because her voice rang loud and clear over the square from the huge speakers.
"Why were Edward Elric and David Keller visiting your home?"
"We- we had invited them for dinner." Elysia had never heard her voice before like everyone else heard it, and if she hadn't been so nervous, she would have wondered why her voice didn't sound the same as the one she heard inside her head.
"Did Edward Elric attack David Keller while they were at your home?" The absolute silence over the square was making Elysia nervous, and she knew that the answer she would now give would decide everything.
Edward Elric had a death grip on his chair that he was sitting on, half holding him from going up there to save Elysia from this burden and half wishing she would say the word already and everything would be over.
"No." Roy Mustang smiled approvingly to Elysia and turned to talk to the crowd. "But they did argue." Roy was slightly surprised to hear Elysia's voice behind him, but he didn't show it on his face. "And what were they arguing about?"
"Alchemy, mister president. Mr. Keller asked Edward Elric about the philosopher's stone and Mr. Elric said that he would never tell someone like Mr. Keller about it. His words aggravated him so much that David Keller started a verbal fight. My mother had to cut in and then Mr. Elric decided to leave, but Mr. Keller stayed with us." People started whispering to each other the second Elysia fell silent and the loud hum filled Roy's ears. He was impressed that Elysia could stay this calm and nodded in approval. The only things that revealed Elysia's anxiety were her flushed cheeks, her eyes were filled with determination to save her friend. 'You've grown up well', Roy thought and turned to the crowd again. "I think this is a good time to ask if Edward Elric would kindly join us." The hum died down at once, and again, people tried to stand as tall as they could to see him; the Fullmetal alchemist, hero of the people and war and the one who was told to be striking in personality and looks with his blond hair and matching golden eyes.
Elysia almost expected that the single women in the crowd would sigh at the sight of him, but the silence and tension was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Like in a cliché novel, a single gust of wind chose to blow over the square the moment Edward Elric had walked up the stairs to the stand, catching his coat's long hems and his long hair. He stood there for a brief moment, scanning the square with his golden eyes. He had probably never seen a crowd this big and he was a bit overwhelmed by it. He blinked, once, twice, and then he snapped out of it and walked to Elysia's side. He placed a hand on her shoulder, smiled at her and whispered to her ear:
"Thank you, I will take it from here."
HAH! I PROMISED I WOULD POST IT THIS WEEK, AND IT'S STILL SUNDAY! (At least in Finland) But geez... This chapter is much much shorter than the others and I took my sweet time to write it. So sorry, but one word that will explain it all: S-C-H-O-O-L. Okay, well, I was a bit lazy too. But still...!
I wonder if I have lost half of my awesome readers because of the lack of new chapters, but those who still read The Theory of Alchemy, THANK YOU :D
And the awesome people who reviewed
Demonraily, I love the fact that you always review! And David did suffer in this chapter, didn't he? :D But this isn't where his agony ends... * Insert evil laughter. *
Shigur3', Thanks to you for sticking with my story this far! And I hope you will continue sticking around like a cute Ed-sticker. * Randomness from tired Xanta. *
ninjagueenxxxx, Thank you for your compliments, they warm my heart ^^
Kame-tan, Yes, he did lie. :D
Ali Phantom, You have no idea how fun it is to write suffering!David.
bluedog10, Made you **? I don't understand, but I guess it doesn't matter. :D Yes, and Stones is weird. I guess I don't know myself if he is good or bad. I know! He has a split personality! XD
THANK YOU ALL and try to be patient, because I can promise that the next chapter will not be up soon. (Damn that sounds mean D:)