Standard disclaimers apply. If you don't like, don't waste your time reading it... flames will be duly ignored. If you have something to say that is less than complimentary please explain your reasoning behind it and i will take it into consideration for future writing.
AN: This has been on my computer for probably a good year and a half now, finished but needing a BETA. Lacking a willing BETA that would actually give me back the story with corrections i have given up on that front. Please excuse any mistakes.
Alchimie mit Edward Heidrich
Annamarie CouchChapter 1
Professor of Alchemy
Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist, sighed. He flipped open the file Major General Mustang had given to him before he left Amestris as he boarded the train for the coast of France, ready to read it over once more. He pulled his reading glasses out from his coat pocket and put them on. Winry and Alphonse had told him long before that reading in dim light would strain his eyes. He should have listened, but it was a little late now. Hindsight is ever perfect, as the saying goes.
This was probably the strangest mission he had been sent on since he had willingly sought out and joined the military at the jaded age of twelve years old. Major General Mustang had called him into his office and told him the bare facts of why he was being sent to a distant country to teach basic Alchemy to a bunch of magic-users. Apparently every year the government of Amestris sent one State Alchemist to the school of Hogwarts to brief the oldest of the students in Alchemy. Over the last years the alchemists that had been sent had reported growing tensions among the different factions of Wizards and, as the Major General had pointed out with an amused smirk, Edward was used to beating trouble down with a heavy, metal fist. So Mustang had submitted the request that Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist, be sent to Hogwarts in case there was more trouble than any normal State Alchemist could handle.
The report he had given Edward had copies of the reports from the others, dating back three years. Much had happened to the people who were not used to living in the middle of war. Edward sympathized with the situation, but he had to raise his eyebrow at the mention that many of the students were not taught practical combat and that their 'Defense Against the Dark Arts' classes had had a different professor every year since it was found that one six years back was working for the 'Dark Lord' Voldemort. He really had to wonder just how prepared these children were for a war of any scale.
There had been a mention of some sort of prophesy concerning the self-appointed Dark Lord and a boy named Potter that Edward had glossed over. These people actually believed in prophesies? What a strange bunch.
Apparently the Headmaster had been killed in a raid on the school at the end of the last year. Edward shook his head, wondering who had been assigned then. Bumbling idiot, how could he have let people die on his watch? It was one thing to be caught in the middle of a coup or raid but to allow important people to die under your watch? What kind of State Alchemist was that? Probably a desk jockey. Edward shook his head again. It was a good thing the Major General had sent him this time.
Then again, it was not like he had anything interesting to do. He had gotten Alphonse's body back for him, exchanging an unwilling Envy and Gluttony along with the incomplete Philosopher's Stones they had in their bodies. It had been quite touch and go. Edward had almost lost control of the transmutation and lost himself as well to the Truth, but it all came out well in the end. Never would he tell Alphonse how close he had come to failing again. No, he would enjoy the fact that his brother could have a normal life. And for the last six months Edward had been languishing at a desk doing paperwork like a good Colonel should. He had been teetering at the precipice of boredom induced insanity until Mustang had reassigned him.
Edward supposed he should be grateful towards the womanizing, power-climbing man. If Mustang had not remembered him then Edward could still be handcuffed to his desk, bored out of his skull.
But no, now he was train-bound to a school of magic, in a pocket of society that was embroiled in the middle of a civil war. Never mind the fact that Edward was only eighteen, and had never taught before. Never mind the fact that he would have been happier to just have been sent after the Dark Lord himself without pussyfooting around students and professors.
Oh well. Nothing he could do about it now.
He sighed and put the file down. What was the point of reading it again? He had gone over it dozens of times already even after it had been committed to memory. The words did not change, nor what they conveyed. It mattered not that most of it was in the form of code, several different types of code. To Edward it was like reading a children's book. He had cracked Doctor Marcoh's Recipe-code years before and had yet to come across anything quite so devious amongst common (even State) alchemists. After that feat it seemed like every other code could be broken in his sleep.
Which was probably another reason why Edward did not mind greatly the fact that he had been assigned out-country. Who knew, maybe this assignment would prove interesting.
* * *
The castle was impressive, to say the least. Edward sized it up appreciatively with the eye of both an artist and an architect. He nodded once and slung his suitcase carelessly over his flesh left shoulder. With a confident lilt to his steps he ascended the stairs and pounded on the heavy door with his metal fist. He waited, his long golden hair and bright red coat catching the breeze that was blowing off the lake. Absently he scratched an itch behind his ear. When the door did open a tall, stern-faced woman peered down at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes? May I be of service?" she asked.
Edward nodded. English was not his best language but he hoped that he spoke it well enough. So he spoke slowly, careful to shape his words correctly. "My name is Edvard Heidrich. I am new Alchemy teacher."
"You?" she looked surprised.
"Ja," he said and pulled out his silver watch to show her the emblem of the State Alchemists before replacing it in his pocket. She nodded and stood aside to allow him inside the entrance hall. Edward nodded as he passed and gave the hall a cursory critical once over. Very open, was all he could think.
"Mr. Heidrich, how old are you?" she asked once the door was closed. Edward wasn't sure he had caught that right.
"Your age. What is your age?" she explained.
"Ah, ja. I am eight-ten years of age, gnädige Frau," he said politely. She raised an eyebrow.
"And your rank? In the military?"
"Oberst. Colonel, in English," he frowned, hoping desperately that he had the right word.
"Really? A Colonel at such a young age?"
"Ja," he nodded.
"What is the world coming to?" she murmured, shaking her head. "Well, come along then. I shall show you to your rooms and where you will be teaching. When you are settled in then I shall show you around the castle itself."
Edward nodded again and fell into step behind the Witch. He had been warned of the oddities that abounded in the castle, such as the portraits, the doors with personalities and the moving staircases. It had all been in the reports. Even so, it was unnerving to be introduced to a ghost.
His rooms were right behind the office that connected to the classroom he would be teaching in. Talk about living your job, he thought, shaking his head inwardly. On the floor and table he could still see the remnants of various arrays that could not be scrubbed off. Of course, just because you had been sent out-country did not mean your were exempt from your assessments, whenever they fell. Progress still had to be made, theories proven. Edward tossed his suitcase onto the bed and looked around. The walls were bare, with only the curtains and windows to vary the gray stone. The bed, neatly made with a plush green and yellow striped comforter, was pushed into one corner, leaving the bulk of the floor open. There were no books in the large bookcase, only a box of chalk.
"Does it meet with your approval?" asked the Witch from the doorway.
Edward nodded slowly, smiling politely. "Ja, danke. If I may ask, vhat is your name, gnädige Frau?"
"Minerva McGonagall," she answered, "I teach Transfigurations and am Headmistress of this school."
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Frau McGonagall."
"And you, Mr. Heidrich. Welcome to Hogwarts."
* * *
Edward Elric, or, as he was to be known outside of Amestris, Edward Heidrich, soon found himself very bored. He had been introduced to the other professors and given the twenty-five cent tour around the castle. He had written Mustang to report his arrival to the Major General and gotten a reply. Apparently the professors did not understand why someone so young had been sent to teach. Mustang had written them explaining a small part of Edward's history in the military and mentioned his near unsurpassed skills. For the days following the arrival of that letter Edward had been the subject of many curious conversations and sideways glances. Not that it bothered him. Being the youngest in the military to ever make the rank of Colonel, beating even Mustang, not to mention being the one with the name and reputation of the Fullmetal Alchemist had taught Edward to brush off whispered conversations and speculations.
By the time the students arrived at the start of term Edward had already drawn up an entire lesson plan for the year, loose enough that it could be changed and shuffled around but definite enough to please Professor McGonagall. He had stocked his office with extra sticks of chalk both for himself to use and for the students. He had also taken meticulous inventory of the basic elements in the storeroom, making sure to request more of what he thought he would be using most.
The students arrived in the evening. Edward had been summoned down to the Great Hall, where all the meals were taken, and shown to his seat at the head table. He was situated between latest Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, a pink-haired lady who told him to call her Tonks, and a round, pleasant faced woman named Sprout, who taught Herbology, gardening, as far as he understood it. He and Tonks were deeply embroiled in a discussion about the uses of Alchemy in everyday life when the students entered the hall. Every single one was dressed in black robes, some wearing pointed black hats to match. They filed in and sat down at the four long tables, chattering excitedly amongst each other.
The first years were led in and Edward watched, bemused, as they were sorted into the four houses. Once all of the children had been seated appropriately McGonagall stood before them and began her address.
"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts," she started, looking over the Hall. The conversations stilled and every face turned to listen to the Headmistress. "We are glad to see so many faces, new and old. We have three new professors with us this year. Taking over the Potions classes is Professor Flanagan." A stalky man with graying hair waved a lazy hand to the students. McGonagall went on, "Teaching Muggle Studies and Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Smith and Professor Tonks respectively." Tonks stood and waved briefly before sitting again. Ann Smith waved, but did not venture out of her chair. "And teaching the seventh year class of Basic Alchemy is Colonel Heidrich of Amestris." Edward stood as well, nodding as he scanned the crowd curiously. There was a ripple of amazed murmuring as he sat down. Many of the students looked confused.
"They can't believe you're a professor when you look the same age as them," Tonks teased.
Edward shrugged. "I vas never as young as dem," he sighed, confusing the other professor.
McGonagall continued, "Dark times have befallen the Wizarding World. Therefore all extracurricular trips have been canceled. Students will refrain from going anywhere by themselves. These measures have been implemented for your safety. Let the feast begin," and with that she sat down, food appearing on every table, waiting to be eaten.
Edward eyed the food with a flash of distrust. Sure, he had been briefed on magic and had read all that reports, but it was another matter to see the act itself. He gingerly helped himself to a plateful of the strange food. It did not take him long to decide that he did not like the pumpkin juice and with a soft clap of his hands and a small flickering of blue energies the dark orange liquid paled to a more familiar hue. Orange juice, much better.
"Was that Alchemy?" asked Tonks.
"Ja," Edward nodded, "Basic chemisch transmutation."
"It looks like orange juice now."
"It is," he held it up to the light, "I could do Alchemy at this level since I vas six."
"Really? You started that young?" she asked, intrigued.
"No one stopped me. I learned so Bruder and I could help our Mutter," his eyes got a far away look and he frowned.
"You have a brother? How old is he?"
Edward tried to remember the right English word, "Seven-ten?" he said uncertainly.
"So he's just a year younger than you."
"Ja. That is so," Edward nodded and started in on his dinner. After spending the majority of his teenage years wandering the countryside he had developed a deep respect for food. He still would not touch milk, but even without the calcium rich drink he had managed to hit five feet and a handful of inches inches tall, so no longer was he so obviously short, he was just shy of average. Even if everyone he worked with back in Amestris was taller than him. Mustang stilled enjoyed poking fun at him but Edward had gotten better at restraining his irritation. He was not a child any longer after all.
Dinner was loud and by the time Edward could leave for his rooms he had a headache the size of Mustang's ego. He bid the other professors a good night and slipped into the hallways as quietly as he could. He wanted to get as much sleep as possible. Tomorrow was his first day of teaching.
* * *
The seventh year students bustled excitedly into the classroom for their first lesson in Alchemy. No one could see the professor anywhere. They took their seats, talking amongst themselves, passing around suppositions and idle gossip. After everyone had sat down the door that led to the office opened and Edward stepped out, facing his class for the first time.
Edward did not look up from the sheaf of papers in his hand as he walked across the room to stand in front of the chalkboard. Every eye was trained on him, wondering what he was going to do. At last he looked up, startling everyone with the odd colour of his eyes. If they had thought that his hair was a pure shade of gold then they had to admit that his eyes matched his hair perfectly.
"Gutentag everyone. My name ist Edvard Heidrich and I am your Alchemy teacher," he said slowly and handed the sheaf of papers to a girl sitting in the front. "Pass around the course syllabus and I vill explain vhat it is dat ve vill be doing dis year. Alchemy is not 'magic,' it is science. And since it is science there are many laws to be obey. De first two and most important are Equal Exchange and Providence. dese two laws rule everyt'ing that is Alchemy. People who try to vork outside these laws pay de price, usually vit' deir lives and the lives of ot'ers. Ve vill go into the laws more later." He scanned the classroom with his unnerving gold eyes. "If you vish to do vell in dis class I vill help you as much as I can. If you decide that you vant to not vork then I vill not be held responsible if you fail. By the end of dis year I vill expect all of you to be able to do at least half of what I vas able to do vhen I vas nine."
There was ripple of offense that passed throughout the students. Edward regarded them impassively, waiting for them to quiet. One girl put up her hand. He nodded in her direction.
"Granger. Hermione Granger, Sir," she said, "I was wondering why you expect so little of us?"
Edward cracked an amused smile. "Expect little of you? It is the opposite, Frauline. Back home I am known as genie. Vhen I vas nine my Bruder and I had far passed many adults. Ven I vas twelve I vas the youngest Alchemist pass the State Alchemy exam and earned the rank of major in the armee. Trust me vhen I say dat dis klasse vill not be simple." His expression was positively wicked. "Now. You all have a syllabus, ja? Gut. As you can see there vill be tests every second veek on vhatever it vas ve had covered up to that point. There vill also be three essays, the topics I vill give you later. Feel lucky, kinder, that I am not permitted to teach as I vas taught. If everyone listens to instructions then no vone vill die." His grin grew evil, "I hope."
Another hand went up. "Is Alchemy really that dangerous?" asked the boy, his eyes wide.
"Alchemy is a sword vit' two blades," Edward said seriously. "The law of Equal Exchange knows nothing of good or bad, it just is. Equal Exchange means that in order to transmute somet'ing, somet'ing else of equal value must be given. It is much like the Law of Conservation of Mass. You cannot make mountain of a molehill and nothing truly is used up." He pulled out a blank piece of paper and sketched out an array on its surface with a black pen. "If you vish to make a crane from dis paper then some of de paper must be used." He touched the array with one finger and the black lines lit up. Paper moved and reshaped itself into a folded crane, detached from the excess material, a now much smaller sheet of paper. "Dis is basic. Kinderspiel. De paper used to make de crane was taken from de paper vit' de array on it. By de end of de mont' you may be able to do somet'ing like t'is. Ve vill see." He brushed crane and paper to the side and picked up the textbook labeled Basic Alchemy. "First ve vill be learning arrays and runes used. Turn to page sieben and read until t'e chart."
The students scrambled for their books and flipped to the right page. Edward sat heavily in the chair behind his desk and reviewed the reading himself. Of course, he had already read it. He had read the entire book. It was a good text for beginners to use. Whoever had written it had done an exemplary job. The chart that they would be studying later had all the runes that were used in transmutation arrays from basic to forbidden. They all used the same runes, it was just the way they were used that made some combinations less savory than others.
But they would not be learning enough to attempt anything of a high level. Certainly nothing that even came close to the forbidden.
Edward closed his textbook and watched the class. Every one of them was reading intently. The girl who had asked the first question, Hermione Granger, was already done, he noticed. Soon enough everyone else was done with the reading. Edward spoke again, staying seated this time. "Every transmutation requires an array, a transmutation circle if you vish. The arrays direct alchemical energy but practice is the only t'ing that will ensure correct transmutation. De chart in your book contains all of de ruins used in arrays from basic to complex. For next class I vant every vone of you to memorize the first ten."
"But next class is only in two days!" protested someone at the back.
"So vhat?" Edward asked calmly. "By the end of the veek you vill be required to know three different basic arrays and vill have to be able to draw at least one without reference. I am sure dat de homework for this klasse vill seem much like an art klasse. Dere is much drawing involved and every array must be perfect or you vill be required to do it again," he nodded, ignoring the groans of complaint. "Jetzt! Copy out de array found on page eleven onto a sheet of paper. Copy it perfectly. Vhen you have finished bring it to me and I vill tell you if you have done it correctly."
* * *
Many of the seventh year students were already complaining about how difficult Alchemy was by the time dinner came around. There were two classes for Alchemy, dividing the students into alternating days. On Friday both classes were combined for 'practical application.' The students who would have Alchemy the next day were nervous wrecks thanks to what the ones who had it earlier had to say about Professor Heidrich.
Edward did not care. It was not his job to coddle the children, it was his job to teach them basic transmutation. There was a lot to learn and only one year to learn it in. Besides, if he could do this when he could hardly read they should be able to do it when they are almost finished with their schooling.
"I've been hearing some pretty mean things about you, Edward," Tonks teased as she sat down.
"Oh?" Edward shot her a curious glance, "like vhat?"
"That you look like an angel but are even harsher than Severus was when it comes to classwork," she rested her head on a hand, propping her elbow on the table to stare at him.
Edward shrugged, "I am going easy on de babies. Dey should t'ank me."
Tonks laughed loud, slapping her thigh and grinning, "I like that attitude! I think I'll use it in my class."
"You are in the middle of var, I have been told," Edward smiled mischievously. "De vant to live is great den. Dey learn more."
"That's true," she agreed, sobering. "And it's my job to teach them to fight to survive."
Edward regarded the Defense professor with interest. "You vant help vit' dat?"
"What do you mean?"
"Vell, I am an Oberst and I have been fighting for a long time. I know a trick or two," he said without any pride, just stating a fact.
"I have a period free tomorrow morning. How about you?" Tonks said, nodding slowly.
"Ja. All of my classes are after mittagessen, so I have all morning free of appointment," he agreed "Talk more about this t'en?"
"I'll meet you at your classroom," Tonks agreed.
"Bis morgen," Edward nodded and smiled.
The pink-haired Defense professor laughed. "You know, Edward, you really have to work on your English."
The blond Alchemist shrugged. "Ja. I know. But I started learning Englisch two mont's ago. I never t'ought I vould have to leave Amestris until t'e Generalmajor assigned me here."
"Why you? Aren't you a bit young to be teaching? Especially if you only just started learning English?"
Edward cracked another smile. He knew exactly why Mustang had assigned him here, in the middle of a war. "Generalmajor Mustang has been my..." he frowned, searching for the word, "boss? Nein. Superior?"
"Ja! Superior Officer. Generalmajor Mustang has been my Superior Officer since I joined the armee and he knows dat I vas tired of doing nothing but paper-signing."
Edward shrugged, "Vhatever. He knew I was tired so he sent me here. T'ought it would do me gut."
"But we're in the middle of a war here. Isn't it a bit dangerous?"
That had been exactly why Mustang had sent him. There was no one in the entire military that was more stubborn or destructive as Edward Elric was wont to be when the mood struck him. Edward laughed softly, "T'at is vhy he sent mich."
* * *
Tonks rapped on the door to Edward's office the next morning. She looked around the classroom, taking in the artful arrays that were drawn up on the chalk boards. It looked like any other classroom, innocent and easy to dismiss. It was strange to think that the hardest subject offered was taught in this room.
The door opened and Edward stood aside to let her in. His office was neat, papers and books in orderly piles, nothing out of place. It was nothing like what she had expected from someone so young. She remembered what it had been like at his age. She still had yet to outgrow the urge to leave things in a disarray. Edward offered her a chair, which she accepted, and sat down behind his desk.
"Guten Morgen Frau Tonks," he greeted amiably.
"Good morning," Tonks said back. "How do you keep your office so neat?"
Edward blinked. "Zu entschuldigen? Term has only just started. I don't have anyt'ing to make a mess vit'. Only lesson plans."
"Still...." She shrugged. "Anyways, how are you doing?"
"Sehr gut, danke. And you?"
"Curious," Tonks admitted. "What is it that you do in the military?"
"Now? Sign papers," he quirked a smile. "Before? Fought against the last Fuhrer in the civil var that he started vhen he was trying to... change the vorld. Before that? Research." Change the world? No. Sacrifice the country and use its people's souls to make a Philosopher's Stone? Yes. But she did not need to know that little bit of Amestrian trivia. Few people did.
"You've already fought in a war?"
"Ja. Vhen I vas six-ten."
"Sixteen," she corrected. "By the way, how did you learn English in such a short time?"
Edward shrugged. "Read a dictionary and grammar book. Not perfekt but de Generalmajor did not give me time to take lesson."
Tonks blinked at the boy sitting across from her. "You learned English by reading a dictionary? What are you, some sort of genius?"
He looked at her, his eyes hooded with amusement. "Dat is what people call me. Genie." He shook his head and grimaced.
Tonks let the subject drop, feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the look of self-loathing that passed across Edward's face. Something was bothering him, she could tell, but it was not something she wanted to touch. So she dove head first into what she had come to talk to him about. "Last night. Last night you mentioned working together to teach these kids to fight. That sounds like a great idea but I have no idea what kind of things you can do with your Alchemy that you could teach the kids."
Now Edward smirked and laughed. "I vas not taught to fight vit' Alchemy, Frau Tonks. My teacher taught my Bruder and I to fight vit' our hands before she taught us Alchemy. I got into the armee after I got past the Fuhrer's bodyguards and had him looking down the tip of a blade during the third text. If anything I could teach de babies how to duck and run properly."
"That could be helpful," Tonks agreed. "Ducking and running are a big part of fighting after all."
"Das stimmt," he nodded. "In many fights dat vas the t'ing that kept me alive."
"Zu entschuldigen, but vhat did you do before you came to teach here?" Edward asked curiously.
"I'm an Auror. I specialize in fighting the Dark Arts," she said proudly.
"Interesting," Edward said sincerely. "I'll vager that there are not many vomen in your line of vork, are there?"
Tonks shook her head, "Not really. Why? Is it the same in the military?"
"Somevhat," he smiled. "It is not somet'ing many vomen go for. I admire vomen who can do it and not feel dat dey need to be like men."
"It is hard to do," Tonks agreed, sitting back in her chair. "What about you, Edward? Why did you join the military?"
Edward's golden eyes locked with hers for a brief second before he smiled and looked away. "I vanted to get into deir libraries," he said truthfully with a chuckle. "Dere are some libraries in Amestris dat are open only to armee officers. If I vas a State Alchemist den I vould have access to dem."
Tonks stared at him. She could not believe his reason. Who joined the military to get into a library? She asked him just that. Again he shrugged that eloquent shrug that said everything and nothing at the same time.
"Someone who vants to so more research dan he could before," was his even more enigmatic answer.
* * *
Edward once more stood before his class. This would be their second class with him and now he was lecturing about the different types of arrays. He drew them up on the chalkboard with practiced ease. Even though it had been six years since he had seen The Truth, the Wahrheit, and surpassed the need to draw the array before transmutations he still knew them like the backs of his mismatched hands. It was hard to forget something you had been studying for most of your life.
"So, as you can see t'e arrays that deal with plants have softer angles t'an the arrays for fire," he said, pointing to the elegantly curving lines of the botanical array and the sharper lines of the array that decorated the backs of Mustang's Pyrotex gloves.
"Sir," It was Hermione Granger, "What is that lizard for?"
"T'is?" he pointed to the salamander in the fire array. "T'is is salamander. Does everyone know it?" A couple of the students shook their heads so Edward explained, "T'e salamander is a creature of fire whose skin can resist flames. T'e symbol used in t'is array it protects Alchemist against big rebound. It is found in every high-level fire array, but not in t'e lower level arrays because t'e lower level arrays are used differently." he erased the arrays on the chalk board and drew two new fire arrays along with Mustang's array. "T'is one here is most basic. It is used to start small fires vit' only spark. T'is one here can be used to move flames about, bending t'em t'rough t'e air to t'e Alchemist's will. T'is last one is used to t'row spark to a certain place and use t'at spark to create an explosion. T'is one is used most by t'e Generalmajor Mustang, my Superior Officer." he rolled his eyes at the chalkboard and turned back to the class. "Fire is very difficult element to transmute because it is flüchtig, ah... dangerous? Nein. Ach! Volatile. It is very volatile," he nodded seriously, folding his arms, "Alchemists who vork vit' fire usually have not studied any other type of array. It is t'at difficult to control. Most who try fire get burned most seriously. Generalmajor Mustang is an ausnahme, an exception. And he is very skilled vit' fire."
Another hand went up. "If fire is so dangerous then why do people try to use it?"
Edward quirked a smile. "Because it is so dangerous is exactly vhy t'ey vant to learn. Vould you rat'er fight vit' a cannon or vit' a knife? Bot' can kill but the cannon kills more from safe distance. Generalmajor Mustang has fought in two large vars and in bot' he vas one of the strongest men because of his skill vit' fire. If you can manage fire Alchemy then you can be very dangerous," he shook his head, "Maybe one of these days I vill show you all vhat fire Alchemy looks like. But not today."
He turned back to the chalkboard and erased the fire arrays, "Vhile fire Alchemy is impressive and dangerous, it is not very trustvordy. If it is raining a spark vill not stay and you cannot do anyt'ing halfway. It either burns or it does not," he drew some more arrays on the board, "These arrays vork with stone. Notice the simple flow of lines. T'ere is no need for vortäuschung, for pretense, vit' stone. It is constant solid and vhatever you see is exactly vhat there is. Stone Alchemy shapes, it makes things. Vhen my Bruder and I first started learning Alchemy ve vould vork vit' paper and stone since t'at vas vhat ve had. Ve Vould make little toys to show our Mutter. Vhen ve trained under our teacher ve learned to use stone as veapons. I still use stone in fights because it is everyvhere. It is t'e ground, it is t'e buildings, it is vhat people use to live vit'. T'is makes it very useful." he bent down and chalked an array onto the floor and touched it with a single finger. The stone rose up, shaping itself into a beautiful Grecian pedestal. "Kinderspiel. Basic reshaping of t'e elements. By t'e end of t'e month all of you vill be able to do basic reshaping."
* * *
Edward was lying on his bed late one evening when there was a tapping at his window. Confused, since he knew he was several stories from the ground, he got up and unlatched it so he could see what it was that was tapping. An owl fluttered in and came to a landing on his bed. It had dropped a letter on his pillow.
"Hello you," Edward said quietly in his native tongue, not wanting to startle the bird. "What are you doing here?" he slowly moved closer, his hand out entreatingly. The owl regarded him curiously. Its head tilted to a ninety degree angle before it walked gingerly onto Edward's automail hand. The Alchemist held his breath, carefully moving back to the window to set to bird outside. The last thing he wanted was a scared animal in his rooms. He launched the owl into the night sky and quickly closed the window behind it.
With one last confused glance out the window Edward walked across his room and picked up the bundle of letters that the bird had deposited on his pillow. One from Major General Mustang, one from his secretary and one from Alphonse. He broke the seal on the one from Mustang first. Best get the tedious over and done with as soon as possible.
To: Colonel Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist
From: Major General Roy Mustang, Flame Alchemist
Situation has changed somewhat. Informants report Dark Lord himself moving closer to your position. Just an advance warning. Try not to get into unnecessary trouble. Will send further instructions at a later date.
Major General Roy Mustang, Flame Alchemist
Edward frowned. He had not expected word like this for several months yet. From all of the reports he had read on the Dark Lord Voldemort the man was something of a coward, relying on others, his Death Eaters, to do all of the dirty work while he reaped the glory. Why was he moving closer to the school already? He shook his head and reached for the letter from his secretary. Why he had a secretary he did not know, but he had one anyways.
To: Colonel Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist
From: First Lieutenant Friedrich Schmidt
Reminder that even though you are out of the country and holding down a teaching position, that does not exempt you from your annual assessment. You only have less than one month. Don't slack off. I hear the Major General is going to pick the method.
First Lieutenant Friedrich Schmidt
He groaned. He hated the time when his assessment came around. Every year he had to jump though that hoop just to stay in the military. Granny and Winry were probably right, it was too much trouble to go through to do something he did not like. Then again, they did not know that Edward had grown used to working inside the military. He had been an officer for so long that he did not know what he would do if he was a civilian. He reached for the letter from his brother.
How are you doing Brother? Are you really all the way over in England now? How do you like teaching? If you need anything just let me know. Winry and Granny are doing good. Since you left Winry's been complaining that you don't know how to take proper care of your automail. I keep telling her that you've been doing it by yourself for years but she won't listen. I think she's just worried about you.
I just got back from visiting Sig Curtis. He's been really lonely since Teacher died. I made sure to lay some flowers on her grave for you and tell her what you were doing. I just hope that where ever she is now that she's not sick anymore.
I got a cat a couple days ago. He's orange with white socks. He's so cute! I can't wait until you can come back home so I can introduce you two. He and Den get along quite well. Winry didn't think they would like each other but they do! Isn't that great?
Tell me all about this school you're teaching at. Write soon.
"Oh Alphonse," Edward shook his head, smiling at the letter. "It's a good thing you've moved in with Granny and Winry. At least now you can afford to take care of a cat."