Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of Hiromu Arakawa's original characters.

A/N: Well here it is, my next major Fullmetal Alchemist/EdxWin project. Now, this story takes place five years after the movie Conqueror of Shamballa and follows the events of the anime. I've often felt that the EdxWin relationship in the anime was very subtle and subdued, but most definitely there. Because of this different direction in the relationship, Ed and Winry might seem a little out of character. I just want to warn my readers right now that many things have happened to Ed and Winry during their five years apart, but to tell you now would spoil the surprise and ruin the suspense. This work is also a little darker than I'm used to, but when the plot popped into my head I realized that it had to go into violent, angst-ridden territory.

Hope you enjoy!

P.S: Don't mind the prologue, it's supposed to be cryptic.


He was everything and he was nothing.

Time kept moving, yet it stood completely still.

He could see the whole world, right down to its first atom, yet he was as blind as a newborn pup, desperately seeking out with long fingers for something to grasp and hold…something to keep him anchored to this strange, unknown place.

The Gate.

It was light and dark, hot and cold, safe and dangerous.

The Gate was everything, just as he had been told. Just like they all believed.

One is all.

All is one.

Wise words from a very wise man.

Was he falling? Flying? Floating?

As the Gate consumed him his mind became flooded with images.

He saw his mother and father, kind and hardworking farmers, both taken violently by the outbreak of influenza that had swept across the countryside before the Great War.

He saw his older brother, executed in a dark alleyway by giants in black uniforms for the crime of kissing another man in a public street.

He saw his little sister, aged beyond her twenty years, her body broken from birthing seven children, her face always sad from her husband's indifference and her heart breaking from the world's cruelty.

He saw his first love, a chubby-cheeked blond with freckles and curls, kissing him behind the chicken coup and promising to love him forever.

He saw the day he joined the military, earning top honors and becoming the youngest captain in the Sturmabteilung.

He recalled the pride he had felt in that shinning moment when Oberster SA-Führer von Salomon gave him a special assignment that was cloaked in the utmost secrecy.

He saw the day he met him, that strange man with the intense gold eyes and metal limbs, bloody and dehydrated, speaking in mumbled incoherent babble about alchemists and other worlds and bombs.

He recalled how he felt looking at that pathetic prisoner, stripped and chained to a dirty stone wall, never allowed a doctor or clean water or fresh food, expected to reveal his secrets or die. In that moment, he saw a chance at redemption for not saving his brother. He saw a way of helping, a way of doing right by his life.

He saw the blood.

So much blood.

So many bodies.

All too young, all too innocent...all too terrible.

He remembered the light, and the hole that sliced the air. There was red and blue lightning, reacting to the blood and the sacrifice and the selfish desire of man. There were things, black things that took them, sucking them into the hole as if they never existed.

And he had to go, too.

He had to follow.

He had to help that man with the golden eyes.

So he jumped.

He erased himself.

There were doors, there was a voice, a being that was real and imagined, and then there was this great gapping in-between where he lived his whole life, and the past, and the future, both of his world and the strange alien one he was about to be born in to.

He felt it.

Like a lurching earthquake, he felt the space around his body reject him. He was being pushed out, expelled, regurgitated into a place that was cold and damp and dark.

He was in a ruined city.

His body ached and his back burned, his own blood seeping across his skin from the fresh stinging wounds that were infected and festering. His brown uniform stuck to him like a second skin, sweat dripping into his eyes and dampening his blond hair. He had lost his glasses, but he could make out the stones and the buildings and a long staircase that lead up into the darkness.

He could hear them.

The soldiers that came before him.

The ones that made the Gate on their side so that they could come here, to his side.

To get one person.

The one person he was determined to get to first.

Standing on shaky legs, he forced himself to move, to beat his exhaustion, fight his injuries and focus his confused mind. As he touched on the first step of that strange stone staircase, he placed his left hand into his pocket and clutched tightly at the round object inside.

He was on a mission, two words repeating themselves like a mantra in his befuddled mind. They were his focus and his purpose and the reason he kept putting one foot in front of the other, just as he had been told, and ascended the staircase.


Well, that's a strange beginning, isn't it?

I'll tell you right now, the narrator isn't Ed or Al, but I'm sure you've already guessed that.

Not to worry, more will be explained in the next few chapters.

Thanks for reading!

Reviews are welcomed and appreciated. No flames, please and thank you!

Giant Nickel