SOP: I'm still not entirely sure how this came to mind. XD I guess you're in for it as much as I am. :3 Anyways, this is..somewhere..I dunno, a smidgen AU, and Ed is..Oh, I think around 13. So. Yeah. We'll get on with that. BTW, the prologue and the first chapter are smashed together because the PL. was so damn short.
"Dammit Mustang! Why did you have to come? You've never come on any other mission!" Ed grouched for the thousandth time, issuing sighs from both Alphonse and the aforementioned Colonel. Roy's shoulders slumped.
"I told you, Ed. I have to stop letting you go on spending sprees during missions. It's military policy. I don't want to be here any more than you want me here. But Fuhrers' orders." He said blandly. Alphonse glanced out the window. "Brother.. I wanted to talk to you about something." He said, tone serious. This got Ed's attention.
"What is it, Al?" He asked, watching his brother with curious eyes. Al sighed. "I was thinking..since we're going to Risembool, do you think I could stay with Winry and Aunty Pinako for a while?" He asked cautiously. Ed looked stricken. "Why Al? You've gone everywhere with me! What's the change?" He asked, voice softening. Alphonse looked down, the metal creaking with his movements. "I just want a break is all." He said tiredly.
Ed never thought about how all the traveling could wear down on Al. He didn't have the bodily problems to think about Like Ed did, which made traveling..well, thinking time. He leaned back. "Alright.." He finally said, shoulders slumping. Alphonse visibly brightened. "Thanks brother!" He said, clasping his hands together. Ed waved his hand around in the air. "Yeah, yeah, don't make a habit out of it though." He said, attempting to keep the official air to his tone.
It was a few hours before they reached Risembool. Once there, they visited and gathered supplies for the mission. They didn't stay long, really. Just enough to get it all done. Ed said goodbye to Al, following Mustang back to the train station just in time.
Once they were seated, Roy gave Ed a serious look. "You can't slack off with this mission, Fullmetal." He said honestly. Ed shrugged. "It's nothing I can't handle, Old man." He huffed, glaring out the window. Roy looked offended. "Don't speak like that to your superior officers. I'll have you Court Martialed." He threatened. Ed took this moment of irritability to bluntly ignore the colonel, leaning his head against the window and closing his eyes.
This was going to be a long ride.
A few train rides later, they found themselves in a very small city called Beckenfield. Edward glared at the map he was holding. "This place doesn't even show up on the map!" He growled, turning it every which-way. Mustang rolled his eyes, swiping the offending paper from Edward. "It's got a population of under four-thousand, Fullmetal. It's not going to be on a map." He reprimanded, heading towards the only Inn he could find. They were both tired and irritable, and it was late evening. Definitely time to eat and sleep.
Edward grumbled his unhappiness behind him, shoving his hands into his pockets and trudging after him.
If they knew what lay ahead, surely they wouldn't have been so nonchalant.
See? XD Short as hell.
Chapter One: The Plot
"I don't see anything." Edward mumbled quietly, binoculars perched on the bridge of his nose, gaze set on a seemingly innocent building. Just inside the borderline of the city. Mustang grunted, moving into a more comfortable position.
They'd been watching the entrance for nearly four hours. And yet, nothing. Edward sighed. "I hate doing stakeouts. They're so Godda- Whoa!" He suddenly fell back, practically landing on top of Roy. The older man shoved him off, sitting up. "What?" he grouched, grabbing the binoculars and studying the entrance of the building. "What in the hell is that...?" He murmured, brows furrowing as he lowered the contraption. "Let's go get a closer look." He said simply, before stealthily moving out from behind the cluster of foliage they'd been hiding in.
Ed jumped up. "Hey! You'll get us caught." He hissed, but followed anyways. It wasn't like they couldn't take care of themselves, but Ed would much rather avoid conflict in this particular place. They weren't even sure what was going on. But the amount of alchemical residue in the air was enough to make Ed feel sick.
Roy shushed him, a silent notion for him to walk quieter. Edward complied, albeit grudgingly. Together, they slowly trekked towards the building, careful not to be seen. "Alright..now that we know that they're really here..let's find an entrance." Roy hissed. Ed didn't need to be told twice. He shoved ahead of a scandalized-looking Roy, being the entrance-finding expert he was. It took him only half a minute to find a low-set window. He shoved in on it, then up. Unlocked. "Amazing." He mumbled flatly, ignoring the colonel's eyeroll.
They dropped in on the other side of it, Ed covering their tracks by closing the window. They both stepped lightly down the hall, eyes peeled and ears open. The hallway was impossibly long compared to the building itself. Ed stopped at a two-way, glancing left, then right. "..Let's split up. You go left, I'll go right." He mumbled, glancing back at Roy. Roy's gaze hardened. "I don't think so, Fullmetal. Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?" He demanded.
Edward sighed. "Look, just do things the way I say, got it? I always come back to you alive, don't I? And I know you can take care of yourself." he said disdainfully, gripping the corner of the wall. "Look. If I don't find anything, I'll just come back to you, got it?" He asked. Roy hesitated, but nodded. "Very well. I'll be expecting you." He said slowly, before starting off to the left. Edward rose a brow. He hadn't expected it to be that easy. However, he wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
"Stupid colonel. Damn confusing." He mumbled, but went silent so as not to get caught. How long was this hallway, anyways? He trailed his fingers over the wall in boredom, but remained alert as always.
It caught him off-guard when he heard a quiet blip noise and a section of the wall, like a door...just..disappeared. His jaw slackened and his eyes widened. "The hell?" He murmured, cautiously venturing into the room he'd unveiled. It was very brightly lit, almost enough to hurt his eyes. He waited a millisecond so that they could adjust, then wandered further. There were things in here that he couldn't even begin to imagine existing.
He stood stock-still once he made it fully into the room, a slightly horrified look on his face as he took in what was before him.
People..or, so he figured. They were suspended in cases, oxygen masks over their faces. They all looked peaceful, which didn't match their predicament. Hell...some of them were children. They were all nude, but Edward either didn't notice or didn't care. He put a hand to his forehead. Roy wasn't going to believe this.
He heard it, but never got to see it. The whoosh of air you hear right before something hits you. The next thing he knew was darkness.
Roy sighed for the umpteenth time. He was finding nothing. He found a janitorial closet a few yard back, but that was all. He wondered where Edward was...surely he'd be back by now. He growled under his breath, deciding to turn back. Bloody fuckin' hell. He made his way slowly back to the area where they'd split up, before continuing onwards. Surely he hadn't gone that far? It'd only taken Roy 10 minutes to get back. Maybe he'd just been slower than Ed.
The door was closed by the time he made it there, so he didn't notice it. He continued passed it. His steps carried him through the slowly darkening hallway. He made several turns, before coming across the first door he'd seen yet. There was a small window at the top. He stood up on his toes, looking in and squinting. It was awfully bright...
His eyes widened as he spotted a cluster of alchemists in the center of the room, dressed like doctors. They were hovering over something on a table. Roy tilted to the left to get a better look, straining his eyes. A part of him let him know that it was dangerous to be so focused on one thing like this, but Roy's curiosity was a strong beast not to be tamed.
He leaned against the door a little more, figuring it was strong enough to hold his weight. But he never counted on it being just a little..open. It fell open, Roy falling through the door. Automatically, he righted himself, fingers poised to snap. His senses were back up to alertness, eyes narrowed on the alchemists that stared at him. One of them started towards him, obviously not noticing the threat. Roy's fingers snapped, and the man was engulfed in flames, his screaming tearing through the room for a few minutes before they died, the man reduced to little more than a pile of ash.
Roy grimaced; he didn't like killing, but if he had to to make these people fear him, he would. He also noted that fire wasn't a great thing to use in a room filled with chemicals. He could've blown them all sky-high on accident!
He took this moment of stunned silence to get a look at what they were focused on. One of the Alchemists was gone, so now Roy could see better...
"Fullmetal.." He breathed, eyes trained on the younger alchemist. He was unconscious, and noticeably...smaller. Way noticeably smaller. Idly, the amused thought that he was NOT going to be happy about this rang through Roy's mind, but he quickly silenced it. Roy held up his fingers again. "Step away from him, or so help me." He hissed, fingers tightening.
The alchemists, having seen what had happened to their comrade, quickly moved away from Ed. Roy moved forwards, detaching the wires from his skin and lifting him. The transmutation circle underneath him still glowed faintly, causing Roy to glare at it. He looked up at the alchemists. "What did you do?" He demanded. One of them smirked.
"You won't make it out of here alive, so I'll go ahead and tell you." He boasted, arms crossing. "We're working on the alchemical path to immortality. So far..quite successful. The only setback," He said regretfully, "being that our subjects keep losing their memory. Only one of them has ever regained them, but he died shortly after due to shock." He said, shrugging flippantly.
Roy glowered. He then looked down at Ed, who was still out. He looked fragile compared to his normal state, the hospital gown they'd put on him draping off both shoulders. His gaze hardened and he looked up. "Do not follow me." He said, moving Edward so he rested in one arm, other hand poised to snap. He backed out of the room, fighting an internal battle. He had to destroy the building...and that included everything in it. He glanced at the other subjects. He was sure most of them had family somewhere..but there was no way he could get them all out, whether he actually tried or not. Sighing, he let the door slam behind him.
It took him a while to find where they'd come in at, the alarms sounding shortly after he'd left the room. He'd managed to singe about ten people on his way out, but once he was back outside, he whirled around and snapped, blowing up a good chunk of the building just as reinforcements arrived. Roy hadn't called for them, but he silently thanked their arrival. It didn't surprise him, either. Roy had told Riza that if they weren't back to the inn by seven, then something probably went wrong.
Now, how they made it there that fast, Roy never actually found out. His focus was on carrying Ed to one of the police cars where Riza sat. Her eyes visibly widened. "Oh no.." She said quietly, gun quickly returned to it's holster as she examined Ed. "What did they do to him?" She asked, looking up with confused eyes. Roy chewed on his lower lip. "I looked at the transmutation circle. I'm still not entirely sure what it was." He glared up towards the building. "They were practicing alchemical immortality. That ground's almost as forbidden as human transmutation." He said bitingly, carefully setting Edward into the backseat.
The battle [if you could call an infiltration such a thing] raged on for hours, under which Roy carefully checked Edward over and fruitlessly attempted to rectify the problem. There was no affect at all. It was almost as if the teen-turned-child was completely immune to alchemical alteration. After the fifth attempt, he sighed in frustration, slamming his fist into the side of the car.
Eventually, things settled down, and Riza drove them back to the Inn. Carefully, they all trekked up to Roy's room. "The entire team that came today is heading back to central tonight. I'll stay here with you and.." she trailed off, glancing at Ed, who lay next to Roy on the bed. Roy sighed. "What are going to do?" He finally asked, giving Riza a helpless look. "He won't remember any of us. The Alchemist inside told me that. Alphonse isn't himself, and I know nothing about kids. Dammit.." He sighed, resting his head in his hands and groaning silently.
Riza looked lost. "I don't know, sir." She finally said, looking off towards the window. "Is there any way you can think of a fix?" She asked, glancing back to him. Roy sighed. "I've been trying.. but it's like he's...immune.." He mumbled. Her brows furrowed. "Can't you overrun that? Maybe there's just a block." She said. Roy glanced up. "Alchemists can feel blocks, lieutenant." He said flatly.
Riza grinned humorlessly. "Well, I guess you should figure it out, then." She said, standing. "I'm going to get sleep. You should as well." She added, heading towards the door. Roy spared Edward one more look, before carrying him over to the couch and depositing him there, taking his coat off and laying it over the blonde. It was all he could do for now. It was only then he realized how exhausted he was, and when he made it to the bed, he fell asleep before his head even hit the pillow.
Something was hovering at the edge of his consciousness. Wake up, it said. Roy wanted to stay asleep, though. However, it continued nudging him, until he finally opened his eyes.
Edward was perched on his chest, an angry glint in his eyes as he held the pen in his hand against Roy's neck in a threatening manner. "Where am I, who are you, and where's my brother?" He demanded. It took Roy a full five seconds to register the situation before he groaned and pushed the midget-turned-way-shorter off of him, sitting up. "Did you have to wake me up?" He asked, yawning. Edward continued glaring at him wordlessly.
Roy mulled it over. The kid couldn't possibly understand what was going on. He coughed. "Well, you're in a hotel, I'm colonel Roy mustang, and your brother is at Winry's house." He answered honestly. Edward stared at him. "Then why am I with you?" He asked, crossing his arms. Roy blinked. "..Eh..." He just continued staring at the child. Edward's eyes suddenly widened.
"You kidnapped me!" He yelled, jumping up and pointing an accusing finger at Roy. Roy slowly rose a brow. "Yeah..no, actually, I wouldn't kidnap you if my career depended on it. Calm down, Fullmetal." He mumbled. Edward gave him an odd look. "Full what?" He asked, nose wrinkling. He looked genuinely confused.
Roy sighed. "Oh..right.." He mumbled, looking down. Edward continued staring at him, before sighing. "I want my mom." He mumbled, sitting down and crossing his arms. Roy suddenly felt his heart drop into his stomach. "Shit..." He hissed, before standing. "Look, Edward." He said, the name feeling slightly foreign to the usual 'Ed' or 'Fullmetal'.
Edward glanced over at him sullenly, shoulders slouched. Roy opened his mouth, then closed it. He grunted. "Your mom...I can't..she's..." He paused, frowning. What was he supposed to tell the kid? You can't just drop a bomb-shell like 'your mother is dead' on a four year old! He rubbed his temples, attempting to alleviate his sudden headache.
"She left home to go look for your dad. You're staying with me because I'm head of a team who's been searching for him as well." Not a complete lie. He just didn't mention that their last actual interest in Hohenheim died about the time Roy discovered Ed.
Edward studied him, but eventually seemed to accept his answer. He sighed. "M'hungry." He mumbled, arms crossing. He obviously wasn't very happy. Roy chuckled, relieved that he was off of thin ice for now.
"Alright," He stood, "Let's go get some breakfast, then." He said, reaching over to help Edward off of the bed [How had he gotten up there in the first place?] and heading downstairs to the lobby, where Riza sat in a chair reading a newspaper. He caught her attention. "We're going to get something to eat. Coming?" He asked, heading towards the door. Riza hesitated, then nodded. She folded the paper before following them out of the inn.
"So," Riza said, once they sat down to eat at a small cafe across from the inn, "What woke you up so early?" She asked. She leaned back in her chair to watch them, Ed picking at his pancakes and Roy nursing a cup of coffee.
"He sat on me and tried to stab me in the neck with a pen." He offered, tone flat as he took another sip of his drink. Riza's eyebrows shot up and she turned to look at Ed, who smiled sheepishly and shrugged. She sighed. "Edward, can you please not do that again?" She asked kindly. Edward nodded wordlessly.
Thus, it was resolved that Ed was no longer allowed to stab Roy in the neck with pens. Or threaten to.
The rest of breakfast passed by rather smoothly, filled with idle chatter and Riza's silent notion that she was going to Ask Roy what the story was once they were alone. Roy nodded. It would be rather bad if Ed tried to pull a fast one on them and asked Riza where his mother was when she didn't know what Roy had told him.
Once they were done, they all headed for the train station to get a ticket back to central. Only in the comfort of his own home could Roy figure out how to sort this mess out. He wondered idly what they would do with Edward until then.
Well, let's just say he was going to find out very soon.
SOP: :O IT'S FINISHED! Well, part one, anyways. This the only story that I'm posting while I write it, meaning I've got a few others here that I haven't finished that will be posted once I am :D I'm only putting this one up cause I'm actually writing it at an alarming rate. :3 PLEASE REVEW! It makes me happy to see what people think.