Hi, everyone! I'm so excited to introduce the sequel to Every Now and Then! I know I had lots of readers who were sad to see ENAT go, as was I, so I knew it wouldn't be gone before plots ran wild in my head and I felt almost forced to continue ENAT. The result is, as you can see, Every Now and Then Again, which if I have my way will run for fewer chapters than ENAT but should amount to basically the same word count (I don't like reading fics with an inordinate amount of words, and I'm a fast reader, so I know you guys don't either).
If you've just discovered ENATAgain I STRONGLY suggest you read ENAT before starting on this one. I tried to give the first few chapter some self-sufficiency; some of the story of the previous fic is told here in summaries and flashback, but the flashbacks are fairly concise under the assumption that everyone reading this fic will have already read ENAT.
As for the disclaimer, I find that anyone who thinks I am Hiromu Arakawa (and thus the owner of FMA) is a complete and total idiot and should be shot on sight.
"It's so hot."
Understatement of the year.
Whatever clothes they wore had only been spared from removal by their role in keeping the pair's favorite bits from showing.
"This humidity sucks!"
Silence. It was just too hot to have a conversation.
"Me too." A moment's pause, thinking of remedies. "Wanna make out?"
"I wish I could fall asleep or something."
"I wish we had air conditioning."
They both wished it wasn't summer.
"The ice cube I got a few minutes ago just melted on my face."
"Why are you complaining? What's a little more water on your face when it's already so hot?"
They were too uncomfortable to disagree.
"Shit." Ed sat up from his place on the floor. "I'm going to die."
"I know how you feel. It's like, five hundred degrees out or something."
"One hundred and four," he corrected seriously. "My shoulder hurts." Ed rubbed at the place where his automail connected to his skin. "The metal's too hot."
"Everything is too hot, Ed."
The windows were open, but no tiny breeze dared to peek in.
"I wish it would rain or something."
"If it's as hot tomorrow as it was yesterday and the day before, I'm going to pack up and migrate north."
"I'll come with you."
"Every time I threaten to leave you say that."
"Every time you threaten to leave it'll be true."
"Hush, no getting philosophical when the temperature is over ninety."
"You call that philosophical?"
"The rules change when the temperature does, Win."
"I don't feel like arguing about it," she said on the exhale, rolling her eyes.
They both fell silent again.
Presently Meta and Eli Erlich, the orphaned children who had moved into the Rockbell home a few months ago, trooped in the front door, Meta's loud call of "I. Fucking. Hate. Summer," audible from the living room where Ed and Winry were lazing around, unable to bring themselves to do anything.
"Don't cuss like that, sis," they heard Eli scold.
"Shut up, El Stupido," she snapped back, "It's not like everybody else in Amestris doesn't do it!"
"I'm not a stupido," he said in a small voice.
"WINRY! SHORTY! GRANDMA! JO-JO! WHERE ARE YOU GUYS?" Meta screamed.
"In here," Winry called back.
"I'M NOT EFFING SHORT!"
"Shut up, Shorty," she muttered as she came into the living room, followed by her older brother. "Hey, where's Jo-jo?" Jo-jo was the pet name Eli and Meta used for their three-year-old sister Joli.
"We put her upstairs about half an hour ago; she fell asleep."
"Yeesh, only Jo-jo could have managed to fall asleep in this weather."
"She's a miracle baby," said Winry sarcastically. "So how was school?"
"Can't wait till it lets out," Meta groaned, throwing her body onto the couch.
"Seconded." Eli dropped to the floor a foot from Ed's head (both he and Winry were sprawled across the floor and had been for some time) "Where's Alphonse and Grandma?" He had taken to calling Pinako Grandma, as pretty much everyone else did, but he still called Ed and Al by their full names. Eli had always been extra polite to them, especially Ed, as if by being unnecessarily formal he could make up for the unorthodox conditions under which Ed and Eli had originally met: Right after a fight with a man called Erlich who, angered about the coup d'etat that had occurred in Amestris after the Promised Day and the death of Fuhrer Bradley and his son Selim (both homunculi), had blackmailed Ed and Al and tried to kill them. The fight had resulted in the death of Erlich by Riza's bullet, but the unfortunate death of Erlich hadn't been the end of it.
"You're Edward Elric?" the child confirmed. The stutter he'd used to endear himself to Winry was gone.
Ed nodded. "Yes, that's me. Who are you?"
The little boy pressed his lips together solemnly, then opened his rucksack and started looking for something. He wasn't searching long; the pistol was at the top and the bullets in the front pocket so he could find them easier. The child was careful not to let Ed see what he was doing, and Ed was only vaguely familiar with the sound of a gun being loaded, so he didn't realize right away what was happening.
"Sorry, but who are you?" Ed repeated when the boy didn't answer him. He was getting frustrated with his inability to sit up due to his injury, and his instincts were telling him that something was wrong.
The boy was trembling visibly, but he managed to load the gun and pull it out of his bag with decent speed, and he pointed it straight at Edward's head. "My name is Eli Erlich, you're the reason my father is dead, and I'm the reason you're about to be."
Thankfully that crisis had been averted before anyone had gotten hurt, and due to Winry's compassion, Eli and his two younger sisters had been allowed to live with the Rockbells. It had been a tight squeeze in the house for a few days, then Ed and Al had had the bright idea to use alchemy to create an addition to the Rockbell home to house the homeless Erlich kids. Less than a week later and they had started school, and less than a week after that the Erlichs were practically a part of the family.
"I think Al went for another walk," said Ed.
"He does that every day," Eli noted.
"You idiots, that's because he meets up with his girlfriend," Meta snapped. She got annoyed whenever Ed or Eli displayed their shared ineptitude in the ways of people, instances such as now, though it wasn't the first time.
"I… you all…" Winry stuttered. She started bodily pushing Ed and Al out of the room, forcing Pinako, Meta, and Eli to move if they didn't want to get ran over. "Everyone out of my room," she explained as she shut the door in their faces and turned away—as if they could see her tears flowing through the wood of the door.
"Shouldn't someone…?" Meta asked, pointing at the closed door to make it obvious what she meant.
"She kicked us out," Eli responded. "Clearly she doesn't want us in there, bothering her."
Meta rolled her eyes. "You don't know a damn thing about women, Brother. You," she pointed at Ed, "Go back in there and calm her down."
"Why me?" Ed asked. "I'm the one who got her in this state in the first place."
"Precisely," she shot back. "I get the feeling you don't know anything about women either!"
Ed was surprised at Meta's report that Al had a 'girlfriend' but, as he had said, the rules for emotions were different when the thermometer went over ninety. "What girlfriend?"
"Luna, you idiot."
"Ew," Ed said promptly, "don't even joke about that stuff." A common reaction to hearing of the self-proclaimed 'moon princess.'
"Who's joking?" Meta asked seriously.
"He really does meet up with her," Winry said dully. "Like, every day I think."
"What the hell for? She's a freak."
"She's nice," said Meta mildly. "You have to have a little perspective to 'get' her, but she's not all bad."
"You haven't known her long enough," Ed responded. "She's annoying as hell. She'll go on and on about how much better she is than everyone else, and if you talk to her for more than five seconds she'll take it upon herself to diagnose every problem you have and offer 'advice.'"
"Pretty much everyone around here hates her, including her parents," Winry added. "It's not like she's a bad person, she just doesn't fit in. Doesn't even try. In a small town like this, that's not appreciated. So what Ed means is that he doubts Al would want to meet up with Luna because Luna is 'not his type.'"
"Well, that makes more sense, at least," said Meta.
"Thanks for translating my words into girl talk," Ed complained.
"Shut up, Shorty."
"You're lucky it's so damn hot or I'd smash you, little girl."
"Ed, if you smash anyone I'll smash you right back," Winry warned.
"Not if I smash you first."
"Good luck with that," Meta snorted. "I've seen her smash you loads of times."
"I hold back."
"Sure you do," Winry and Meta said simultaneously.
"Sure I do!" he defended. "Anyway, how would you girls know? I've never seriously tried to hurt Winry, and I've never even really had a physical confrontation with Meta so you can just shut your mouth right now, little girl."
"I'M NOT EFFING LITTLE!"
"Oh, c'mon, stop baiting each other," Eli pleaded, now laying on the floor with his eyes closed. "It's too flippin' hot."
"She started it!"
"Who gives a shit?" Winry snapped. "I'll finish it."
Please review if you like the chapter, or if you have questions and comments. I love to hear from you readers, even if you totally hated the whole damn thing. (As a matter of principle, I review every story I read no matter how much I like or hate it.)
See y'all soon!