A/N: I would just like to apologize in advance for this chapter... specifically the ending. By the time i got this far i was so sick of this story (yes, it happens very easily for me) that i felt like killing everyone off in one fell swoop and letting Voldemort win the day. I compromised. Please forgive me for not bothering to do any better.
In the Time of War
The students had been evacuated the moment the news had arrived. Hogwarts was almost a ghost castle, deserted with the exception of the handful of Wizards and Witches that had sworn to see to the downfall and destruction of the Dark Lord Voldemort. The Order of the Phoenix had gathered, for what that counted for. They had also called in all the magical creatures that despised the Dark. Most others had fled.
Hogwarts Castle did not look like the peaceful school that it had been not four days before. The stone walls were deeply scored and the once green grass was torn, pitted, burned and stained. The defenders of the castle were being worn down slowly even as they took out their share of the Dark Army. Every single Wizard and Witch was pulling their own weight, fighting tooth and nail, curse and hex, but there was one other, a boy with hair of spun sunlight and eyes of polished gold, that was doing the most damage.
Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist, Colonel in the Amestris Army, State Alchemist Division, was, admittedly, the only thing between a standstill and being overrun. All of the magical folk agreed, even reluctant 'Mad-eye' Alistair Moody. Of course, this also meant that he was the one who was doing the most running around in addition to all of the damage he was inflicting. No one could really keep track of the alchemist. One moment he was in the thick of the Dark Army blowing everything up and slicing things unmentionable to pieces, the next he was back in the castle seeing how big he could make an explosion without melting any of the Good Guys. It was a madcap adventure, fighting with Edward Elric.
"Elric!" someone screamed through the din. "We've got more giants coming! What can you do about them?"
Edward didn't waste his energy on answering verbally. Of all the people fighting he was the one who had been getting the least sleep. It seemed that once the magicians had realized the flexible versatility of the Fullmetal Alchemist he was suddenly indispensable.
And indispensable meant that Edward was run ragged when he was awake, catching only fleeting snatches of sleep when he could and eating food that he didn't, couldn't, taste when he found the time.
The Ministry of Magic had sent aurors when it was painfully, blindingly obvious that Voldemort had returned and was on a rampage. They had been a blessed relief. Edward had taken the brief respite their arrival had caused and dozed lightly.
Now, of course, thing had picked back up and Edward was dashing to and fro causing as much havoc for Voldemort has he could. Let the magicians see why State Alchemists were called the human weapons of Amestris. Edward hopped off the curtain wall he had been running over, landing hard, his stride hardly breaking. Creatures tried to converge on him. A crack of alchemical lightening later and Edward was sporting a shiny blade on the back of his automail hand that flashed through bodies, spraying blood everywhere.
Giants, where were they? Edward frantically scanned the battlefield. Towards the lake lumbered the gargantuan creatures and Edward considered what would be the most efficient way to dispose of them. He clapped his hands together.
Edward had once been asked what it felt like to transmute things on a grand scale. He had flippantly answered that it was being god. But now, as he placed his mismatched hands over the earth, his golden eyes paling with the energies he controlled, Edward focused on the massive transmutation he was about to begin.
He could feel information racing through his mind. It was always like this for any transmutation, big or small, but Edward only ever paid attention the the large transmutations now, the smaller ones second nature to him by now. Information about the earth he was connected to – sand, clay, a deposit of granite – about the plants that grew in the soil, about the water of the lake, everything raced into his mind in one heady rush. Bending the alchemical energies to his will he manipulated not only the shape of the materials that were at hand but also the very composition of them. Edward's mind was enthralled by the process. His eyes were almost blind to the world around him. His consciousness was racing through molecules, chains of DNA, shaping them to his iron will.
Normally alchemists needed arrays in order to sharpen and control the elusive energies and focus them to their will. Edward's array was purely mental, his mind alone being enough to direct all of the confusion that assaulted him. The mark of the Truth of Alchemy sped thing up remarkably. Through the focus of Edwards mind blue alchemical lightnings raced from his fingertips into the ground. Edward commanded the elements to do his bidding and the elements answered his call with enthusiasm.
The earth rose, sinking and growing as it shifted, in a score of grasping hands, each one big enough to destroy a house with the flick of a finger. The grasping fingers sought out and wrapped around the giants, then, without a pause in motion, pulled them down into the earth. Only a small rise in the terrain suggested that any change had happened.
And all this in mere seconds.
A curse lanced through the air in his direction. Edward ducked and rolled out of the way, coming up to mince something that looked like a dwarf with boils.
There was suddenly a sharp rat-a-tat-tat of multiple gunfire and the dull, loud roar of fire being called. Edward spun around, taking out another Dark Creature as he moved. Through the bloodshed and smoke strode someone Edward had been certain that he would never have been so happy to see before. Trailing him were four soldiers in blue uniforms, guns drawn and firing rapidly. Edward grinned.
"It's about time you got here," he yelled, "You missed out on most of the fun!"
"Glad to see you've saved some for us, Edward," Roy Mustang yelled back, snapping his fingers. A spark flew through the air to explode in size in the middle of a knot of Dark Creatures. Black smoke rose into the sky and the stench of burning flesh assaulted them like a intangible weapon. Edward couldn't stop grinning.
"Just don't make me regret asking you to come, Mustang," he taunted.
"Someone had to haul your butt out of the fire, Brat," Roy threw back.
"Funny, you saying that," Edward created his own small wall of flames to keep at bay an advancing group.
"Sirs," Hawkeye snapped, "this is not the time. Edward, catch!"
Edward snatched the handgun out of the air, flipped off the safety and unloaded three bullets into the heads of some Dementors that were floating in the distance. They fell like stones. "Thanks!" he shouted. Havoc tossed him some extra clips of ammunition which he pocketed for later use.
"We'll need a situation and status report, Fullmetal," Roy said after a couple of minutes of heavy artillery fire. Edward nodded sharply.
"Inside the castle. Just give me a second." He finished off his clip on a giant bird that somewhat looked like a harpy and turned, clapped his hands and slammed his palms on the wall of the castle. The stone melted and shifted into an arched opening. Roy waved his subordinates in and they complied with alacrity. He and Edward dashed in almost at the same time and Edward closed the opening before anything else could get through.
"This way," Edward said, spinning on his heel and striding off across the courtyard. He led them into the castle proper and into the nearest room he could find: the Great Hall. He cleared off a table with a sweep of his arm, transmuted some paper and a pencil and began.
"Voldemort and his army have been sieging Hogwarts for two and a half days now," he said, rough sketching the outline of the castle and grounds. "They started their attack here, at the front of the castle, thinking that a breach would be easy. We had evacuated all of the students by that time out of some tunnels that led underground into various points in the village. From their they had teachers to take them further away using something that they call apparation. It's essentially like teleportation, if you must know. Anyways, Voldemort attacked at the from first but I had made certain that the outer walls and doors were reinforced, lined with metal and concrete, and that slowed them down quite a bit."
"Good thinking," Roy murmured, staring down at the map fixedly. Edward wasn't even sure if the Major General had realized that he had just complimented him, but Edward wasn't paying much attention either.
"He's been calling in more flying creatures – harpies, dragons, wyverns and a couple more that I don't recognize – and giants. I wouldn't recommend getting anywhere near the floating things in black shrouds. They do something to you, make you relive the worst moments in your life over and over before they suck out your soul through your mouth," he warned seriously. No one even cracked a smile at the absurdity of it. "I've found that the best way to get rid of them is to kill them from a distance with as much speed as you can. Guns, firestorms, spears of rock skewering them from underneath, whatever you can do."
"Guns sound good to me," Havoc said around his cigarette to his fellow non-alchemist soldiers, "Whadda you guys think?"
"Guns," they agreed. Roy and Edward shrugged at each other, cold-humor smiles playing about their lips.
"Anyways," Edward continued, "we have about thirty people fighting here in the castle, magicians all of them."
"Don't hold it against them," Furey said at the tone of Edward's voice. Edward shot him an unreadable glance but didn't comment.
"They're not bad, but to Voldemort they're predictable. We're the wild cards in the little war here. From what I've been told Voldemort knows nothing about alchemy and hates people without magic with a passion. We're the ones that are going to have to be unseen, snipers and assassins." He bit his lip, "A word of advice. If a beam of coloured light is heading towards you, hit the dirt. That's what their magic looks like in and in this situation you can guarantee that it's going to be unpleasant stuff."
"Noted," Roy nodded, "Continue."
"I have already picked out several locations, close to each other, for you four. Sorry Feury but your radios aren't going to work here. Anything with electricity is disrupted and fried. You didn't bring them, did you?"
"Just walkie talkies and headsets." Fuery sighed, unloading the personal-sized radios onto the table.
"Might as well leave them hear. The only thing they're going to be good for is throwing at people," Edward said. "Voldemort has been here," he pointed to his map, "but I haven't been able to get to him. It wouldn't do any good if I did right now anyways, because he's got his soul split still. I'm going to need you guys to cover me when I destroy the last container because I know that the people on our side aren't going to like it."
"Will do, Boss," Havoc nodded.
* * *
Edward decided again that he hated war. He crouched down, his arms thrown over his head as stones rained down from the newly blasted hole in the curtain wall. One of the stones had stuck him on his flesh arm and Edward was almost certain that the bones were cracked if not broken. It throbbed in time to his accelerated heartbeat. He'd have to have someone splint it later.
Fire blossomed to life in the new gap in the wall, cutting off the invaders in their tracks. Bone-grating screams echoed straight through everyone's skulls. Roy snapped orders to Edward to take Hawkeye and Breda to the other side of the gaping hole in the wall, giving them cover. Edward and the two soldiers nodded sharply. They waited only as long as it took for another miniature firestorm to roar to life before dashing across the open expanse and scrambling to their new positions at the top of the wall. Hawkeye reloaded her rifle and took aim at a group of dementors that was gliding towards the breach. Havoc, his cigarette almost burned to the filter, had his gun emptied and reloaded before he noticed Edward's arm.
Edward was taken aback as Havoc holstered his handgun and grabbed his broken arm. The alchemist grimaced, enough of a reaction for Havoc to know how much pain Edward was in. There were few people that were more stubborn than Edward when it came to pain, having gone through a double automail surgery without a single scream. It was something that Edward was silently proud of and Roy and his men knew it.
"Why can't you alchemists take care of yourselves? I'll need splints, Boss," he muttered around his cigarette. He cast about for something that he could use, coming up with a peace of a shattered board. He tossed it in front if Edward and Edward took the broad hint and created some smaller boards from it, the length of his forearm. Havoc grunted something and told him to take off his coat. Edward did. The bright red coat was soon several inches shorter as Havoc tied the splint to Edward's arm with the flashy material. When he was satisfied Havoc pulled out his gun again and turned back to the fight. Edward checked his mobility briefly before joining the fray once more.
They had suffered casualties. Most of the magickers had been hit with some curse and were nursing wounds both physical and magical. Edward was lucky that he had made it as long as he had before breaking his arm. Roy's arrival had been a very welcome respite, more so after it was proven that a gun could take down the feared dementors from a safe distance without requiring the energy that a patronus charm would take.
Edward grimly skewered a group of ugly troll-things as Roy turned his attention towards the bulk of the army, letting his men take care of stalling invaders at the breach. Edward watched with a hint of envy at the finesse that Roy used to handle the flames he called. In a shocking and grim way it was beautiful and almost artistic. The fire rose to life like a dragon surging towards the sky, tongues of flames licking across the ground like predatory snakes that snapped at anything flammable, swallowing them whole and moving on for more. Smoke from burnt flesh rose into the sky, darkening the sun.
It was a fearful sight to behold.
"Professor Heidrich!" someone screamed. Edward turned sharply, ducking back down behind the wall. Hermione was dashing through the detritus towards him. She skidded to a stop, dropping down beside him, gasping. She had a cut above her eyebrow that was dripping blood down her face and there was a bruise on her jaw that he could see that he was certain was uncomfortable to talk through.
"What is it?" he asked, casting a quick look over the wall.
"It's the other side of the castle," she gasped, "We can't keep the shock troops back. Tonks told me to find you." Edward dragged her to her feet and ordered to her take him there. He nodded once to Hawkeye who had heard the conversation before running after Hermione.
"Fullmetal!" Roy yelled, catching sight of them.
Edward barely spared a moment for explanation. He didn't stop as he yelled back, "Problems in the back!" and kept going.
Problems indeed. Edward arrived just in time to see Lupin take a green curse in the chest. The man fell back. Tonks screamed, her arms reaching out to catch him.
Edward traced the path of the curse that had felled his friend, sending a deadly ridge of stone spears lancing up from the earth towards the caster. Noise filled his ears. The rush of alchemy in use, explosions, screams, wailing, the wild language of the monsters, it all rushed around him in a cacophony of ear-filling incomprehensibility.
The earth rocked unexpectedly, pitching Edward to the ground. He landed on his bad arm. All the colour drained from his face and it took him a minute before he got back to his feet. He leaned against a wall, his eyes scanning the situation.
"Tonks! No!" he screamed, lurching forward.
Edward could only watch as other lance of green light hit his friend square on the chest. She crumpled, her momentum tumbling her forward. She lay still.
In all honesty Edward wasn't able to say what he did after he saw Tonks die like that. His mind, his thoughts, were pushed to the back burner while his body reacted. Disregarding his broken arm he clapped his hands together. Sparks raced through the air and the resulting explosion rocked the entire castle. A funnel of flames spiraled towards the sky in the center of this branch of the attacking army. The intensity sucked in the creatures unfortunate enough to be too close to the firestorm. Edward's paled-golden eyes reflected the firelight. He did not drop his hands, forcing oxygen towards the flames, keeping them alive.
Suddenly he was no longer standing on the fringe of the battle. The dark creatures weren't stupid enough to stand around and allow themselves to be fuel for the flames, they were running. Edward was doing a very frightening revision of Scar. Blood and bodily matter sprayed through the air. The earth shifted into pits and spikes, grasping hands and cannons waiting to be fired.
Spells flew through the air around him, both aimed for him and aimed for the others. Edward, moving on adrenalin alone, dodged all the spells cast at him. Those that he couldn't dodge found themselves stonewalled – literally. Trailing behind Edward was a series of small, six foot tall stone walls, each with their own scorch marks marring their smooth surfaces.
At length the rush of adrenalin tapered off and Edward dropped down to the ground, back on what was relatively safe ground. He guessed that this must have been a hallway at one point. Now it was only a tunnel lit by many holes that looked out onto the battlefield.
Edward just sat there. Now that he wasn't moving, wasn't fighting, he couldn't stop himself. It started with a dry cough and soon the Fullmetal Alchemist dissolved into silent tears. They streamed down his cheeks as if someone had turned a faucet on. It wasn't a production. It was private. It was the only release Edward would allow himself.
And it couldn't last long.
The sounds of fighting hadn't dimmed. Edward reigned in his grief and hauled himself to his feet. His broken arm was throbbing even more than before from the callus manhandling that he had put it through. He grimaced. It wasn't just his arm. He had a cut somewhere on his head, just above the hairline on his forehead, that was seeping blood still. Ah, it was almost clotted. He wiped as much of the blood as he could off of his face, although he guessed he was probably smearing it more than removing it. Oh well.
The patter of someone running in his direction caught Edward's attention. He peered cautiously around the corner to see who it was.
"Ronald!" he said, catching the red haired boy's attention. Ronald darted towards him, skidding around the corner. "What's the matter now?" Edward demanded, catching the boy's arms.
"We're being pushed back!" Ronald gasped out between desperate inhalations.
Edward swore and threw Ronald away as he flew across the detritus strewn battlefield towards Mustang's last position. Along the way he caught Harry's arm and dragged him along with only a short order to shut up and do as he said.
"Mustang!" Edward shouted. The Major General spun around. His uniform was torn and smoke stained his face. He looked tired. Edward briefly wondered how he looked. "Where's Voldemort?"
Roy turned the same question on Feury. The short comm officer rattled off the answer. Edward nodded, frowning darkly. "Cover me, Roy," he said with steely resolution in his voice, "I'm about to make myself hated."
"Wait! What do you mean by that?" Harry demanded. Edward said nothing. He clapped his hands together and hit Harry square in the chest. His green eyes widened in momentary shock before the force from the strike threw him back into the crumbling stone wall.
Harry Potter was dead.
"Are you certain this will work, Fullmetal?" Roy asked, frowning. Edward scowled.
"Shut up so I can bring him back, Mustang," he snapped. He briefly closed his eyes before he clapped his hands together once more and pressed them against Harry's chest. "Come on, don't be like the chickens," he prayed. "Please don't be like the chickens. Come back!"
History always got facts muddled. Historians, try as they might to be unbiased, are always influenced by something, be it their past, their present or what they think their future holds. Influence is an impossible thing to be rid of.
In the case of the Final Battle with the Dark Lord Voldemort things are somewhat muddled on some accounts and very clear on others. Voldemort attacked Hogwarts in full force. The reason for this brash move remained to be speculated upon but the leading theory was that he had gotten word somehow that Harry Potter was hiding there. From there things get messy. Some people account to seeing Harry get killed by someone on their own side. But that couldn't be true because Harry Potter survived the battle, killing Voldemort in a fantastic display of spellmanship.
So of course the people who claimed that they had seen Harry Potter die were discredited very quickly.
Historical accounts of this battle vary depending on the author. But we're not going to get into the dirty details. The battle was won, Harry Potter survived even though the side of Light suffered heavy casualties. That was enough to settle the accounts with the masses.
No one in the British Isles saw Edward Heidrich again. The rest of the school year had been canceled due to lack of a school building and Edward, it seemed, took that as an invitation to go home with his Commanding Officer and the soldiers he had brought. Edward faded from their lives as quickly as he had erupted upon them.
* * *
The train rattled and swayed as the land outside swept past. The single occupant of one compartment was stretched out along one of the seats, a book open on his chest, one thumb hooked under it as if it had just gotten too heavy to hold up. His breathing was steady and even. He had, in fact, been traveling for quite some time and this was the last leg of his journey.
The train slowed and the young man was jolted awake. He looked out the window, ran a hand though his hair and grabbed his suitcase. This was his stop.
"Welcome back," the station manager said to him with a friendly smile as he disembarked. The young man waved, still waking up. He didn't even bother to check his path, just allowing the familiarity of the land carry him along. He had walked these roads all of his life, and often in pitch dark or so exhausted that he couldn't walk straight. At least this time he was semi-conscious.
People waved and shouted greetings to him from their fields. He waved back, calling replies. He waved at a well kept graveyard as he walked past, paying respects to the family he had that was resting there. At the base of a hill that had a house on the top he paused.
"Guess this really is home for me," he said to himself as he shoved a hand into a pocket and slung his suitcase over his shoulder. Whistling tunelessly he started up the hill. A dog with a prosthetic leg barked happily and bounded over to greet him.
"Hey Den," he said, scratching behind the dog's ears. He didn't pause in his ascent of the hill and soon he was at the house. He knocked twice and opened the door. "Hey everyone, I'm back."
"Edward!" "Brother!" came the first immediate responses to his entrance.
"Hey Al," Edward grinned and allowed the younger – but still taller – Elric brother to give him an effusive hug. "Hey Winry, do you think you could fix my automail for me? I kinda busted it up a bit."
There was a moment of silence.
"JUST WHAT DID YOU DO NOW!??!"
A/N: told you the ending sucked :P