A/N: This is just a bit of fun, which grew out of wondering if I could write a crossover. I considered two of my favourite anime and found some interesting meeting points. I know The Gate doesn't work quite like this, and Alchemy probably wouldn't work on Pacifica's world ... so don't delve to deeply into it please - just enjoy it for it's own sake!
Set after the Full Metal Alchemist series and some time early on in Scrapped Princess. I don't own either of these series, or the characters, nor am I responsible for anything they do, damage they cause, etc.
Sword, Sorcery and Big Brothers
Pacifica chattered away as the wagon rumbled along the road, speculating on the prospect of a bath at the next town and buying fresh eggs. Raquel listened with half an ear, supplying a bright 'Hai' where necessary and enjoying the sunny weather and the pleasant forest that bordered the road. Inside the wagon, Shannon dozed, arms folded across his chest.
Rounding a shoulder of the rocky hillside, Pacifica's eye was caught by a splash of colour: the crimson coat of a figure sitting on a boulder beside the road. He was leaning back, his hands behind his head and his eyes closed against the sun. His clothing had a slightly foreign look and, although he was all alone on the deserted roadside, he seemed quite young.
"Hallo!" Pacifica called out as the cart rumbled closer. The boy opened his eyes - a striking golden colour! - and she smiled and waved:
He looked at her through sleepy eyes for a moment and then leapt to his feet, suddenly full of a boundless energy. One hand behind his head he grinned lopsidedly.
"Hi, uh ... Can you tell me how far it is to the nearest town?"
Raquel drew the horses to a stop next to the stranger and gave him a friendly smile.
"It's still some miles ahead. We expect to be there tomorrow, but it's a long walk for a boy your age."
The boy went from relaxed to shaking with rage in less than an instant. Then he seemed to get a hold of his anger and drew himself up as tall as he could manage.
"You may not have heard of me, but I am the famous Full Metal Alchemist, Edward Elric," he announced, jabbing a white-gloved thumb at his chest.
"Al-chem-ist?" Pacifica asked, puzzled.
"You would probably call it magic," Ed explained, condescendingly. "It is the scientific practice of transmuting one substance into another."
"Raquel-nee does magic," Pacifica told him brightly. "I wonder if it's the same."
"Just a little!" Raquel demurred.
Ed seethed at their lack of proper reaction.
"Would you like a lift, Mr Alchemist?" Raquel offered, oblivious.
He almost refused. He had been making his own way for years already, he didn't need help - especially from a pair of girls who were going to treat him like a kid - he'd had enough of that from Winry ...
But it sounded like town was a long way still, and his foot hurt and his stomach was depressingly empty...
He ended up on the seat between the two sisters, one blond and the other dark.
"Can you turn rice into eggs?" the one called Pacifica demanded. "Eggs for supper would be wonderful! Maybe you can make a three course meal! Although Raquel-nee's magic doesn't go very well with food. There was one time, with this barbeque chicken..."
They stopped the cart in a clearing off the road as the sun was getting low behind the trees. As the horses drew to a halt, a man poked his head out of the curtained front of the cart. He had dark hair like Raquel and a military-looking blue jacket and he regarded Ed with a bored expression.
"Who's the kid?"
"Who're you calling a kid, a baby who shouldn't be out of his mother's sight, an infant as small as a bean beneath your notice...!!!"
The point of a sword appeared inches from his face and he stopped dead.
"Shannon! He's just a boy," Raquel chided.
"Nii-chan! He's going to make me eggs for supper!" Pacifica complained.
Ed drew himself up, standing on the seat of the cart and covering his tantrum with officiousness.
"I am Edward Elric, Full Metal Alchemist! Alchemy is a powerful science that can easily beat a simple sword, so I warn you to beware!"
Neither Shannon's expression nor his sword wavered for a long moment. Then he sheathed the blade in one smooth movement.
"Okay, okay," he sighed. "But test your science against my sister's magic first: I have to get supper going."
Pacifica sat on the seat of the cart and watched while the horses grazed placidly nearby. Off to one side Shannon tended the fire, but he too kept watch, if unobtrusively, on the two that faced each other in the centre of the clearing.
Ed stood, legs apart, leaning slightly forward in readiness. He lifted his arms till he held his hands, palms slightly apart, in front of his face. A feral grin matched the gleam in his tawny eyes.
"Hai." Across from him, Raquel stood calmly, hands at her sides.
Bringing his hands together with a sharp clap, Ed transmuted the blade from his automail wrist even as he leapt forward with a yell.
"Subjects of flame, dance!" Glowing lines ran through the air from Raquel's outstretched hand. Centering on Ed, the circle contracted with a flash of speed and he was knocked through the air by the blast.
Flipping with well-trained athleticism, he landed on all fours, leaping away as she calmly repeated the invocation.
"Subjects of flame, dance!"
A crater was left where Ed had been, but he was already on the move. Hands clapped and he slammed them to the earth, sending a fist of rock punching out at the slim woman.
"Wall, block it." Again blue lines materialized in thin air and their glowing hemisphere blocked the blow of the huge fist. Ed seethed as the stone shattered against the magic barrier. He charged it himself, striking with the wickedly sharp point of his blade, but Raquel raised her hand and the barrier expanded, throwing him backwards.
"Subjects of flame, dance!" Again he leapt out of the way of the magic, twisting in mid-air to land on his feet and send a relentless stream of transmuted earth to bombard her barrier.
This is not working! Changing tactics, he began to run, gouging his blade into the ground, although he paused constantly to send further attacks against her shield - to keep her occupied.
Now he threw himself at the barrier and though she threw him back he repeated the attack. Again and again as the dome of blue tracery grew larger around her.
Thwack! His hands hit the earth at the very edge of her shield and another blue radiance lit in competition to the magic dome. It flared along the circle cut into the dirt, a circle that now matched the rim of the shield as it touched the ground, and blue spilled into the lines that now lay inside the circumference of the protective dome.
The ground exploded. The magic winked out. The combatants disappeared in a storm of flying rock and dust. As the clouds cleared, figures swam into view. Raquel lay on her back where she had fallen in the centre of what had been her circle of protection, looking up wide-eyed along the metal blade to Ed's triumphant face.
For a moment the tableau held. The clearing was strangely silent except for the seethe of Ed's breathing. Then he pulled back. With a touch the blade disappeared and he held out his metallic hand to help her up. His intense expression was transformed into a lopsided grin. Raquel smiled and let him gave her his hand, letting him draw her to her feet.
"Your magic really is powerful, Ed-kun," she said pleasantly, smiling down at him.
Pacifica came running up.
"Wow!" she exclaimed. "That's amazing! You're arm's made of metal! That must be why you're called Full Metal - thingy."
"Yeah, yeah," Ed grinned, basking in the attention.
"Look, Shannon-nii," the blond girl continued, "he makes his arm into a sword!"
Shannon had come up. "I see, I see. Oi, Pacifica, you shouldn't pick up dangerous pets."
"Shannon-nii!" Pacifica scowled at him.
Shannon just crossed his arms, looking down with an unconcerned expression. "One stray cat attracts other strays, I suppose."
"Shannon-nii!" Pacifica sung her fist at him and he lifted his arms to fend her off, all dignity lost as she rained blows upon him. Raquel just smiled at the racket they made.
A little while later, Ed and Shannon faced each other across another clear area. They were somewhat pressed for space with the ground so torn up from Raquel and Ed's duel, and stood close to the overhanging trees. Pacifica had been adamant that Ed fight her brother as well.
Which was going to be a pleasure. He wanted to wipe that expressionless look off the man's face. And Shannon kept calling him 'kid'.
Pacifica had taken up her seat again on the cart. Raquel was watching from by the fire, where she was keeping an eye on the dinner - after promising her brother that she wouldn't use her magic and spoil his cooking.
Ed grinned and transmuted his automail. Shannon put his hand to his sword hilt and waited. Oh well, if that was how he wanted to play it ... What had Colonel Mustang said about being quick off the mark?
With a yell Ed leapt forward. Shannon caught his blade on his suddenly drawn sword and threw Ed back without the young alchemist's feet touching the ground. Ed recovered quickly and the two combatants exchanged a lightning flurry of blows, both blades flashing in bright arcs.
For a few steps Shannon retreated and then he seemed to decide on something. His grey eyes narrowed slightly and Ed found himself beaten steadily back until his heel encountered the roots of a tree. Grinning dangerously, he leapt up over Shannon's strike. Clapping his hands together mid air, he grabbed a branch that stretched overhead. Blue light flared and he landed with a long spear held in both hands.
The spear had longer reach than Shannon's sword and the swordsman leapt back agilely as Ed stabbed out. Then steel flashed and the head of the spear fell to the ground, severed in one stroke. Ed quickly threw the remaining length into the air. Clap! He caught it in both hands and threw it from him as the wood burst into sudden flames. The burning length arched through the air but Shannon was already moving. Charging under the flames with black cloak flying and sword held out low to the side, he rushed Ed. The alchemist was again forced to retreat, but now he had an idea. Wishing he had Colonel Mustang's technique of setting the very air alight, he grabbed up a large piece of deadfall. Altering the molecules to produce an explosive reaction he threw it at Shannon.
The branch exploded, sending flames scything through the air. Shannon, half expecting the same trick again, ducked and charged straight through, slashing aside the burning wood with his sword and bringing it down on the indistinct figure beyond. Thwack! The blade bit into a stump - a stump with a round head, scowling eyes and sticking out tongue.
"Aaaahhhh!" Ed dropped from the branch above, bringing his blade down with all the force of his body behind it. The black cloak swirled out beneath him as Shannon moved. And then settled slowly to the ground, revealing Shannon behind Ed, his sword to the youngster's throat.
"I hope your alchemy can fix my cloak," he said calmly. "I only have the one."
On the ground the black material smouldered gently as sparks drifted around them.
It was much later. The campfire created a glowing circle of warmth in the night, a feeling of home amidst the dark trees and wide sky. The three siblings sat around it, enjoying a companionable quiet, absorbed in their own thoughts. Some distance away Ed sat atop a large boulder that thrust up from the torn ground where he and Raquel had dueled. Arms draped loosely across his knees, he gazed up at the unfamiliar sky.
Pacifica sat herself down next to his perch.
"I hope you find your little brother," she said quietly. He had told them, at least, that he was looking for Al: just not how big a quest that actually was.
"I have to," he replied, still looking up at the sky. And then, as if he couldn't help openning to this strange yet appealing blond girl:
"We did something terrible, and we payed for it. Al paid more than me, even though it was my fault. I tried to set that right, but I don't even know if it worked in the end. I just know he's out there somewhere, and I have to find him, no matter what."
Pacifica smiled brightly. "You sound like Shannon-nii. He always says he will protect me, no matter what!"
They sat in silence for a while. When Pacifica spoke again her voice was unusually serious.
"I am the poison that will destroy this world. At least, that's what people say. But Shannon-nii says he will protect me, no matter what." She smiled with quiet cheerfulness at Ed. "Big brothers are wonderful, ne?"