Sunday Morning - by BandGeek99

Hello, all! This is the first FMA fanfic I've done from an Ed Elric-type POV. It was hard to write from an atheist's POV, as I am very comfortable in my Christian beliefs.

And I don't mean to rag on Catholocism. My family is Catholic for the most part. This is just an exaggeration.

I don't own, never will own. I can only dream... *sighs dreamily*

Anyhoo... Enjoy!

000

Edward Elric was not a man of God. He was a man of science, a man of logic, an alchemist, a genius of his own age. The Fullmetal Alchemist was an incredible talent, not really having much patience for authority, nor respect for those above him. He was labeled as a Dog of the Military, Leader of the People, a hero to all of those in need.

But, of course, this was all in the past. Not only was it in the past, but in another world. Beyond the Gate, the basis of the whole universe, of all alchemy, of most science. Now he resided in Munich, Germany, instead of traveling the country of Amestris, in his world that was oftentimes referred to as Shamballa.

He was a scientist, a twenty-year-old genius. So… why was he being dragged to a church service by his closest friend in this world?

Edward Elric sat in the backseat of Maes Hughes' car as Maes and Gracia drove to Sunday morning Mass. His younger brother, Alphonse, sat in the seat beside him in his newly restored body. The four of them were dressed in their best suits (or dress, in Gracia's case) and not a word passed through the vehicle throughout the ride.

Alphonse looked slightly excited. His older brother had always forbidden him to attend a service, even just to see what it was like, and he was, well, intrigued by the whole idea of religion, even if he knew that most of it was absolutely impossible.

Edward, on the other hand, was absolutely enraged. Maes was Catholic and when he heard that Edward had never been to church, he'd had a major freak-out, shouting that Edward would "burn in Hell if he didn't redeem his soul!" Edward didn't believe this for a second, but before he could get a word in edgewise, Maes had forced him into a suit and into the car, not bothering to listen to a word he said.

The car silently pulled up to the curb of a huge cathedral on the other side of town and Ed stepped out of the car, peering up at the massive stone structure.

In the cold, dark winters of Germany, the building looked ominous and foreboding. Edward didn't know much about this religion, other than what he'd discovered on the other side of the Gate, where the religion had long been abandoned and abolished. He knew they worshiped one god, believing that he sent his son to Earth, born of a virgin, who could perform miracles such as turning water in to wine and walking on water. It seemed a little strange to the scientist. Then again, didn't all religions?

"Come on, Brother," Alphonse said quietly, knocking his brother out of his stupor. "Mass is starting soon."

"Right," Edward murmured and entered the large church.

They passed through a huge foyer where some acolytes stood about, talking quietly, and where some very well-dressed people gave the Elrics a glare, as if they were heathen punks, what with their skeptical expressions and long hair.

"Right this way. We're lucky we made it on time," Maes said in a hushed voice, smiling at the twelve- and eighteen-year-old.

Both smiled at him, but didn't make a noise.

As the dark haired man led them to a pew, Edward took the opportunity to look around. Along the walls were huge, multicolored stained glass windows depicting the stories in the so-called Holy Bible, such as the crucifixion of their God's supposed son, Christ Jesus, the Great Flood with the giant boat, the resurrection of Christ. The walls were held up by huge stone arches, an architectural wonder. Edward cocked an eyebrow and looked to the front, where his gaze was met with an oversized cross. On the cross hung a young man with curly locks and a small beard, clothed with a tunic and nothing else, his head hung and his eyes shut. A crown of thorns adorned his head and the alchemist could feel the disgust rise up in him. Such a symbol of death… and they worshiped it?

He slid into a seat next to his brother, closing his eyes and shaking his head to get the feelings of horror out of his system.

"Are you okay, Edward?" Gracia asked gently, reaching across Alphonse's lap to check on the boy she thought of as family.

"Fine, thanks," he said, rubbing his temples with his automail hand. "Just fine."

She didn't look like she believed him, but she left the subject alone as someone began to play the organ and a choir of nuns stood, filed into the choir section, and began to sing.

Two white-robed acolytes began down the aisle, one carrying a cross, the other carrying a bible, and in between the two walked a man with a stout stature and a bald head, resembling Father Cornello from Liore.

The young blonde let out a small gasp and almost stood up to shout, but Alphonse grabbed his arm. "Brother, it's not really Father Cornello. His name is Father Carson."

Edward nodded, relaxing a bit, but still glaring at the reincarnation of the priest of heresy. Though he knew that the two men were probably nothing alike here, he was still wary.

The service went on, involving a lot of standing and sitting, which drove Edward up the wall. There were the long, drawn out songs and the lectures about how we needed to be God for forgiveness so we wouldn't burn in Hell. When communion came around, he took the Eucharist in his dominant hand by accident and he fell over one of the pews into some poor old man's lap. God must have really hated him.

The end of Mass finally came by and the Hughes' left, taking Alphonse out to breakfast with them.

Edward had opted to stay and apologize (mostly because his younger brother forced him to) to Father Carson for being a disturbance.

He stood in the sanctuary in one of the front pews, reading the Bible. He'd gone over it many times at the Hughes' house, all except for the last book; Revelations. The young blonde had flipped back and started reading straight from there. His legs were crossed, his chin rested in his hand, and he was totally absorbed, just as he had been before he crossed the Gate.

"Excuse me," a deep voice said jovially. "Can I help you?"

Edward looked up, somewhat startled by the sudden noise interrupting the silence. He looked around and spotted the priest heading up the aisle between the sets of pews. "Oh. Um, hello."

"Hello," said the priest, smiling. Crows feet crinkled outside his eyes and his face wrinkled good-naturedly.

Edward stood up, setting the bible down on the seat of the pew. "My name is Edward Elric, sir. I'm sorry for disturbing your service earlier. I've never really been to church before."

Carson laughed. "No worries, son. I could tell."

"Was it that obvious?"

"Your brother looked so intrigued by the whole concept, or at least, I assume he was your brother," the priest said with a chuckle. "And you didn't look like you believed a word of what I was saying."

Edward blushed profusely. "Yeah, well… I'm not exactly a great believer in any kind of God."

"Any kind of God? I see." Father Carson watched Edward carefully, as if waiting for some sort of explanation.

Edward, being a perceptive person, noticed this and warily decided to continue. "Yeah. I kinda felt like God abandoned me a long time ago. My brother and I went through a lot, and I don't think a deity so 'loving' would have caused us to have to put up with what we did."

"Oh?" Carson looked interested, cocking his head slightly.

"Our mother passed away when Al was six, and our father left before Alphonse can even remember. He didn't come back, even when we wrote him about our mother's illness. We were alone, except for our neighbor and her granddaughter. Al and I lived on the road for a while, always trying to study our science until I was sixteen or so and we got separated." Edward edited his story to sound like it could really have happened.

"Yes, but you found him, I see," the priest said. "Thank the Lord our God for that."

Edward sighed, looking back up at the stained glass window. "Well…"

"Father Carson!"

Both men turned to the doorway of the sanctuary where a young girl stood, leaning on the doorframe, panting slightly. She wore a winter dress and coat, a hat slipping over her eyes over long, blonde hair. Her green eyes lit up with curiosity, she waved to the unfamiliar scientist talking with the priest.

Edward waved back as a wave of nostalgia hit him. This was Earth's double of Winry Rockbell.

The priest smiled and waved hello. "Ah, Minnie! Welcome back. How was your trip to London?"

London… the very first place that Edward had seen on this side of the Gate.

"Very wet, very cloudy. I was afraid it would rust out my tools!" she said with a laugh. She began to walk forward towards the two and the eldest Elric had to take a deep, steadying breath, reminding himself that it wasn't really Winry. Just a look-alike. Only a look-alike.

"Did you manage to find him?" Carson asked, almost forgetting that Edward was in their presence.

Winry—no, Minnie's face fell. She looked at the ground for a moment, silent, before finally saying, "I found his family. His father told me… he passed away. In one of the bombings." Her lip trembled and Edward's heart went out to her. "Stupid Ed… Had to go get… blown up…"

The guy's name was… Ed?

Minnie didn't bring her face back up, but Ed could spot two wet tear marks hit the cold stone floor.

Carson gave Edward a meaningful glance, and turned all of his attention to Minnie. He approached her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders and began to talk with her quietly, and the Amestrian took this as his cue to leave.

The blonde left the church, his heart as heavy as his automail. He remembered the other Edward, however vaguely. He'd been the reason that the other Edward died, chasing after that bastard he called a father.

The clouds were letting out a misty sort of rain, more sleet than actual snow, as the forecast had once said. Edward held his two hands out in front of him, staring blankly at them. The wet precipitation hit both of them at the same time, but melted faster on his left hand than on his right. He sighed and looked to the heavens, shoving his hands in his pockets.

If God really did exist, then why did he cause so much pain and suffering in the world? Sure, you could say that it's just a part of His plan, but what meaning does it have? A regular woman falls in love, then when she goes to visit said lover, she discovers he's dead. Two boys with a father who abandoned them lose their mother young. A boy loses his body and almost his life before it's begun. A whole race of people is almost wiped out—twice—because of some fool's ignorance, another man's wants, one person's dream.

If God truly existed, then why was this war starting? Why were people being persecuted because they were different, because they believed separately?

And why were there so many questions? If God existed, then why were there so many things that science contradicted? And the Gate…

Edward was pretty sure that there was no God. And if there was, he was a seriously twisted… existence. Taking a leg and a brother for something that didn't even resemble a human. An arm to keep a boy alive.

Atheism, Edward mused, was so simple. Science could explain it all; there was a rational explanation for anything. The sun, the moon, even the birth of mankind could be rationalized with a little bit of study and a lot of hard work.

"Um, mister! Mister!" a feminine voice shouted and Edward turned his head slightly to the side, trying to hear where the yelling was coming from and whether or not it was directed at him. "EDWARD!" the same voice yelled.

This time there was no mistaking it. It was the same as Winry's when she was upset, so it had to have been Minnie. The blonde alchemist had no idea how she knew his name, but he turned anyways and saw the young woman barreling down the street towards him. Instinctively, he held out his arms and let her ram into him. "Ah… Minnie…?" he said, hoping he got her name correct. If she was anything like the Winry back home, he'd be getting a heavy and blunt object hurled at his head if he pissed her off.

She sniffed a couple of times, keeping her face planted in his chest, before stepping back, wiping something off of one of her cheeks. "I'm sorry. I don't know why I called you Edward…"

Yes, you do. "No problem. You're actually not far off at all, that's my name. Do I remind you of someone? Yes, I do… Your dead lover that was killed when my soul invaded his body and I led him to certain death. Not that I'll ever tell you this.

"A… a friend," she managed, looking back up at him. "You look a lot like him, except he had blue eyes, he had short hair, and he was taller than you."

"Again with the short jabs…" Edward muttered to himself.

"What was that?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all." He faked a smile and prayed to the Gate that she wouldn't throw something at his head. He'd had enough of that in Amestris, he wasn't about to get it here, too.

Minnie looked at him skeptically before shaking her head and continuing with what she was saying. "Anyway… I'm sorry, I shouldn't have stopped you. I really don't know why I did, but… you looked so much like him…"

Edward nodded mutely, trying to decide what to say. "I know the feeling."

"He told me… he told me that when I was finished my apprenticeship that I should go back to London… and we would get married…" Minnie started crying again and threw herself back at the unsuspecting Amestrian.

Confused, he opted that the smartest thing for him to do was to bring her back home to the Hughes' house with him, hoping that her crying subsided.

They walked through the streets of Munich and every so often, passers-by would give Edward either a glare or a look of puzzlement. He could only shrug helplessly and keep his head down.

When they finally reached the door to the apartment outside the Hughes family home, Minnie turned to look at her companion, getting over her crying jag. "You know, you have the same features as him, but your eyes are the same color as his father, Hoenhiem's."

"FATHER?!" Edward roared, taking a step back from her. "Him?!"

Minnie looked shocked and slightly afraid at this sudden outburst.

"Go ahead, asshole, leave my mother and all three of your kids, then run off with some tramp from another world… Damn it, Van Hoenhiem! I'm going to kill you, you fucking bastard!" he growled, staring straight up at the sky. "I'll bring you back from the dead, clone you, kill you, and then kill all your clones!"

"H-hoenhiem isn't his real father," Minnie stuttered, holding up her hands in a strange sort of effort to calm down her companion. "He adopted Edward when he was young. Said something about how much he looked like his own dead son."

Edward snorted. "Figures that he'd think I was dead."

"Are you—are you Hoenhiem's real son?" Minnie asked cautiously.

"Yeah, I'm him. Stupid bastard didn't give a rat's ass about me or my brothers."

"Brothers?" Minnie said, sighing in relief. "Thank goodness!"

Ed cocked an eyebrow. "And what exactly are you 'thank goodness'-ing about, anyways?"

"Now I know that you're not really Ed," she said, wiping the tears from her cheek, but not meeting his gaze. "My Edward only had one sibling, an older sister."

"Course I'm not him!"

She whacked him on the arm. "I know that! But… you just looked so much like him… Your voice is the same; even the way you act is the same. I thought… Somehow, I thought you were an angel of him, come back to punish me for something I did. You kind of scared me when I first saw you in the church."

"I don't believe in angels or demons," he muttered. "It's impossible for the dead to come back to life. Nature flows in one direction; forward. All is one and one is all."

"That's… really deep," Minnie said, looking slightly surprised.

"Don't look so shocked," Ed chuckled. "I know I'm a genius."

She glared at him, causing the blonde to laugh nervously.

"I learned that much from my teacher when I was young. Reversing the flow of the world isn't going to do anything for mankind. It's going against the will of Nature, the will of God, whatever you want to believe in. You shouldn't be looking for someone who's gone in someone else. It isn't going to bring them back to you." His eyes were bitter and he sighed slightly, looking towards the still grey sky.

Minnie nodded silently. "I know that. I can't help but wish, though…"

"Yeah, well, for right now, the best thing you can do is keep moving forward. You have a pair of strong legs… Use them." Edward smiled at her before turning to the door, fumbling in the pocket of his overcoat to find the key.

"I will. And… Mr. Edward, sir?"

"Ed will do fine," he told her, not looking up.

"Right. Ed. Er, I do hope… that I see you again sometime," she admitted sheepishly, keeping her head bowed.

He paused for an instant, a hint of a smile crossing his face. "Me too, Winry."

"What was that you called me?!" she demanded, but by the time the sentence finally flew from her mouth, he had already entered the small apartment and closed the door behind him.

000

Fin! Reviews are good for the soul, guys. Help heal an author's heart!!