Edward Elric, as seen by ten different mutants.
Truthfully speaking, it was the Brotherhood that found him first.
Another pawn was making another speech, about mutant superiority and dominance and war. Only about half the gathered crowd were actually mutants, others humans who hated their own kind for their own perverse reasons. It all escaped Magneto, to be honest. He usually spent these things being bored out of his mind-shielding helmet.
In fact, the only reason he even noticed the young man was because his was the only face not turned to the speaker. And the red jacket, that helped as well. Blood red cloth in a sea of goths and punks with black fishnets and piercings in the oddest of places.
Magneto glanced him over, and had he spared a thought, it would have been 'Doesn't look like much.' But he wasn't one to waste brainpower, and so went back to seeking out mutants with potentially useful powers.
Then one nobody pushed another nobody, and apologies were not given, and insults were exchanged, and soon there was an all-out free-for-all going on. Suddenly, no one cared if the person they were hitting was friend or foe or ally, mutant or human.
Magneto sighed. When he ruled the world, this sort of stupid thing just wouldn't happen anymore.
There was enough metal in the skin of all those present for him to safely and securely lift them all by it, but he didn't bother. No one here was worth his time.
Turning, he motioned for his minion entourage to follow him as they skirted the brawl, him with a rather disgusted look on his face, and headed for the exit. They were nearly there, when something made him turn around.
By some unfortunatecircumstance, the blond-haired young man from beefore, in the red jacket, had wound up in the middle of the fray. By all means, he should have been trampled, probably to death. But as Magneto watched, the man slugged the person before him, causing them to crumple pitifully. The blond stepped into the hole, and brought down the next twenty or so people, many of them mutants, by similar means. The crowd spat him out directly before Magneto, where he straightened from the crouch his last kick had put him, and burshed off his clothes.
Magneto was rather surprised to find the young man looked positively bored.
The blond seemed to notice him just then (but the supervillain was somehow sure the man had seen him long ago) and raised one eyebrow.
The man's eyes were glittering gold.
At that moment, in the back of his mind, Magneto knew this man could change the course of his war.
"Hi. You're the guy who runs the Brotherhood."
The young man smiled, held out his left hand. "Fullmetal."
Magneto held back a laugh.
Storm saw him first, on the other side, with the Brotherhood mutants. She had the best view, after all, floating as she was on the winds of her own creation. The young man, with blond hair and an eye-catching red jacket, stood off to the side, obviously not involved in the fight.
Throughout the battle, she caught glimpses of him. Watching the mutants pair off into their own little personal vendettas and sometimes help each other out, as they often did. From what she could tell, he was taking mental notes the entire time, watching with scientific awe and a calculating gaze. And she could tell that every time one of them displayed a new part of their power, he was revising his notes, making amends, changing his view of possible and impossible.
Storm knew then that while this young man might stand on the Brotherhood's side, he was by no means a part of them. He was intelligent. He sucked up everything around him like a black hole, a singularity alone, and everything moved for him.
When the fight was over and the X-Men had soundly trumped the Brotherhood, Storm saw the young man, still standing there, and she went to him.
"You're not with them, are you?" She asked.
He shook his head, a short braid swinging.
"What's your name?"
"Edward Elric. But they called me Fullmetal." And here Edward Elric smiled, and it was a thing that spoke of bitter memories.
She smiled too, knew he was one of many with horrid pasts. "I am Ororo Munroe, but I prefer Storm."
Sabertooth hadn't liked Edward for even one second of the two weeks he was with the Brotherhood. To him, Edward was weak and human and not deserving of the interest Magneto showed him. It might have been jealousy, if Sabertooth needed attention or approval. But he didn't, so it wasn't. To put it into words, Sabertooth would say that Elric was an outsider, and outsiders were not to be trusted.
Mystique found Edward Elric interesting just as much as Magneto, though for entirely different reasons. As a shapeshifter, she was often sent out to impersonate someone for any length of time, and for that she needed to be able to know them, their habits and schedules and personalities. She needed to be able to play them with no one the wiser.
Which was why she found Elric so appealing and frustrating. He was a puzzle she could not solve, a person she could not know. He was a thousand different things and all of them contradicted each other. None of his reactions made sense. When she tried to seduce him, he turned her down flat with a stare like a frozen stone. When she tried to rile him up with insults to his person he only looked at her and she saw so much self-loathing that no personal jibe could top it. He seemed to deny himself the basest of pleasures and yet he chased something, for he had a purpose in his eyes and determination in his stand.
Even after he left, Mystique still wondered what he was looking for.
Wolverine wasn't the poetical type. He would rather slice up some Brotherhood pawns than think about the reasons they became Brotherhood pawns in the first place. He was a very look-at-the-surface-only kind of guy. It's worked out pretty well for him so far.
But he made an exception for Edward Elric, because on the surface Elric was a brawler and a scholar and a mutant, and on top of all that he had a conscience that despised killing, discrimination, and corruption. And they found him with the Brotherhood, which made no sense because they were all three of those things. The surface of Edward Elric said he was three or four or five different people at once, which should make him bat-shit crazy, but he was one of the sanest mutants around.
So Wolverine tried to look past all the faces of Edward Elric and see the true one.
He was still looking long after Elric left.
Kitty Pryde watched him from afar, hiding behind a bookshelf. She had been there for an hour, at least, never tiring of watching this beautiful young man hunch over ten different books, nearly half of them his own note books filled with more text than the actual ones. She was enraptured by the sight of the wide sunbeam filtering through the window to land on him, setting his hair to glittering, his jacket on fire. It was a crush yes, but there wasn't much romantic about it. Looking at him, she had the same feeling as when she stood in the wind and let it flow through her. It was like man's first dream of flying, it was exhilarating.
She knew the determination in his eyes, lit by that sunbeam, would shine brighter than the hottest of fires.
Kitty had been watching Edward Elric since he first came to the Institute. She had seen his expression when he saw the mansion--appreciation and wariness--she had seen it when he saw the mutant children, running free and happy through the halls, at home in this place where they were accepted, where they were safe and protected. She knew that that was when he'd decided to stay, when he'd made up his mind that this was where he would start his search, and this was where it would end.
She didn't know what he sought, only that some nights he and the Professor talked for long hours, the door locked.
Edward had eyes like gold in the fire, and a will that would move the whole world, if he had to. This, Kitty knew.
Bobby had heard the talk, that the new young man--who wasn't really a student or a teacher or really much of anything--was going around and asking mutants all sort of odd questions about their powers. The talk also said that the Professor knew, and encouraged the students to answer him truthfully and with as much respect they would a teacher. However, he'd never actually thought Elric would come to him.
"When you freeze something, where do you think the water comes from?" Asked Elric.
Bobby half-expected the young man to whip out a pencil and pad and begin writing furiously as he answered. "Uhh... I don't know... the air, maybe?"
Elric nodded, like this just confirmed something he already knew. "When you use your powers a lot, do you get a headache, or very tired, like you've just been very active?"
"Well, yeah, I guess. But its like that for everyone." Bobby somehow felt he had to defend himself.
Through out the next dozen or so questions, Bobby's most common thought was Where the hell did he come up with that one? and he soon tired of it.
"Why do you want to know all this, anyway?" Bobby asked, when he was able to get a word in edgewise.
Elric had the gall to look startled, like he hadn't even considered the possibility that everyone else didn't find this all as utterly fascinating as he obviously did. "Well, I suppose I just want to understand your powers. All mutants, that is." He said, like he wasn't a mutant himself.
"Why?" Bobby asked, thinking, So you can make one?
Elric looked confused at the slightly accusing tone. "I like to know things, and I can help, maybe. For example, I think all humans will eventually be mutants, just because of evolution, and the farther down the muntant line goes, the easier it will be for them to use their powers, because their bodies will be more equipped to deal with the mutation."
Bobby was left at a loss for words. No one had ever suggested anything like that before, and this--this stranger, was suggesting that eventually the Brotherhood's goal would be met, without need for bloodshed at all.
Bobby looked at the short young man, and finally he saw that Edward Elric was an earth-shaking force. And it might have scared him, just a little bit.
Charles Xavier had been in others' dreams before. It was a psychological shortcut, so to speak, where he could help the subconscious mind to overcome a traumatic event the conscious thought it had already conquered. It might have been a more widespread technique, except that you needed to be psychic, and precious few people willingly allowed psychics into their minds.
Charles wasn't proud of what he had to do to ensure the safety of his family. He preached ethics to the young ones every day, instilling in them the concepts of free will and equality, but he himself was forced to break them sometimes. However, there were some lines even he would not cross.
Invading another's dream was not one of them.
He was not immune to the mysterious air around Edward Elric. The young man had told them almost nothing as to his background and while Charles didn't want to pry into what was likely a painful past, he couldn't have a Brotherhood (or other) spy within the school.
So he took the most harmless and least invasive option. He entered Edward's dream.
He immediately knew he'd made a serious miscalculation, one that might even prove fatal. And that Elric's past was far worse than anything he could ever have imagined.
Two boys, one easily seen as a young Edward, and the other likely his brother, crouched on the fringes of a chalk circles filled with geometric figures and alien symbols, their faces set in determination and hope and elation. They looked at a mass of materials in the middle, concentrating. Together they set their hands on the circle, and something pushed—
Lightning erupted from the bright glowing array, a wind sprung from nowhere and whipped around the two boys hair and clothes, though they were still fully concentrated on the pile of stuff in the middle. And it was moving.
Charles couldn't know the exact moment the younger brother lost control of whatever it was they were doing, but he could see that suddenly both brothers were panicked and Edward was the only one left to form an entire human being—for Charles could now recognize the shape beyond his own dawning horror—from the basest of its elements. And he was doing it. He was going to finish the process.
A black hole opened between Edward and the half-formed thing, and from it rose a gothic style gate with an eye carved onto its stone doors. It was a massive, foreboding thing, eclipsing everything else in the room. And its doors slowly creaked open, releasing a vortex that sucked in everything near it. Edward lost control of the array at last, and the younger boy was dragged screaming into the vortex, taken apart piece by piece in front of his brother, who could not reach him. The whirl of color and light consumed the boy and Edward's left leg, stopping just above his knee.
And then little black hands like children's reached out of the open black hole, and grasped Edward. He struggled against the hand trying to pull him in, until suddenly he went limp and his eyes stared into space, like his mind had left for someplace else.
Charles' mind was gripped by the Gate, the Truth, a white-hot hand with an unbreakable grip. This thing was far more powerful than anything he could ever hope to be, and he was helpless within its grasp. It squeezed, sending a thousand blinding migraines into him at once, and thrust him from Edward Elric's mind with an unspoken order that he should never come back, or it would take moremoremoreeverything.
When Charles was finally released from that horrifying grasp, he knew the Truth.
He could do no more for Edward Elric than the mouse could for the lion. He may pull the thorn from the lion's paw, but he can do nothing for the stake through its heart.
Gambit liked to think that he could deal with shapeshifters. They had the nasty habit of transforming to look like people you cared for, sure, but many of the poeple he likes are also people he's felt like punching at one time or another, so throwing a good punch at them is actually a nice way to relieve stress. Mystique, the blue-skinned bitch, wasn't that big of a deal once you got past the strange things she coul make her body do.
But this creature was something else entirely.
It had started with a roar, something primal and as resounding as a lion's, but so much louder. It actually hurt to hear. Some took cover immediately, and Gambit had to wonder if they were the smart ones. Others ran to the windows, to look outside, where the noise had come from. And out there was an enormous, serpentine dragon, head thrown back to deliver another bone-aching scream.
From his vantage point on the third floor, Gambit could easily see the main doors. His attention was drawn to them when they opened to reveal their resident mystery, Edward Elric, and behind him, the X-Men. The young man was in his usual black and red garb, but there was something different about him. An air of... battle, Gambit supposed was the best way to put it. Elric turned, spoke to the X-Men, and as he did the dragon's head fell to stare at him, like he was the center of everything, like there was nothing else.
Gambit couldn't know what was said, but there were protests from the X-Men, silenced by Charles, who then nodded to Elric. The blond tilted his head respectfully, and faced the dragon. Alone, he walked half the distance between it and the mansion. Gambit had by then cracked the window, and he caught the young man's words on the breeze.
"I knew you'd come looking for me." Said Elric, far too calmly for someone standing in front of a dragon as big as the mansion it stood beside. "I assume you've killed Hoenheim?"
The beast growled, opened its mouth, showed hundreds of razor teeth. Out rolled something vaguely spherical, coming to a stop at Edward's feet. Gambit realized it was a head, its features, though covered in blood, unmistakeably similar to Elric's.
Edward had an expression of detached disgust as he nudged it aside with his left foot. "So our father is dead. And now you want a crack at me, as well."
The dragon grinned. And somehow, it managed to speak, in a voice that reverbrated within Gambit's bones. "I killed you last time, little brother. I will do it again."
Edward snorted. "We'll see, Envy."
And then several things happened at once. Edward clapped his hands, and a blade formed on his right wrist. He jumped at the dragon, pushing off on his left foot, sailing far higher than any normal human could hope to, landed on top of the beast and stabbing its massive bulk. But that was little more than a fly's bite to such a creature, Gambit could tell.
Edward knew it too. His right hand secured him to the thrashing body while his left crackled with blue energy, and then he brought it down, and the flesh exploded. Half of the creature's body was eaten away in a near-perfect sphere, showing bone and muscle. Edward, covered in blood, dropped into the cavity as it began to heal at a pace far outmatching even Logan's phenominal healing powers. The flesh closed around the young man.
The dragon roared, tore at its own body. Gambit couldn't really believe it, but the only possible explanation was that Elric was using that same power to burrow his way through the thing, causing it great pain. But still, it did not die. The beast, which Edward had named Envy, was leaking blood out of its mouth, enraged with pain and madness, but it was nowhere near death.
Edward emerged from the dragon at the base of its head, blasting his way out, literally coated in gore. He climbed his way up the dragon's neck using his metal blade as an awkward sort of pick, and when he was on top he blew apart its head.
The battle, by all natural rights, should have ended right there. The X-Men certainly thought so, as they ran from the mansion's entrance toward the body.
"No!" Edward shouted. "Stay back!"
They slowed, confused. Gambit saw, quite clearly, as the dragon's head began to regenerate from soupy mess. The X-Men, struck dumb, watched as the beast came back to life. It roared again, head facing skyward as Elric clung on determinedly. And the dragon began to shrink.
It became a young man, dressed in rather out-dated clothes, resembling Edward as much as the bodiless head had. The man smiled, before jumping at Edward with a fist cocked back, ready to punch. There was a flurry of fighting, where Edward solidly held his own and Envy gave no ground, either, until the older of the two was pinned to the ground.
Envy changed shape again, becoming a woman with brown hair and kind eyes, stared at Edward with fear in her eyes. "My little boy... you wouldn't hurt me, would you?" She asked plaintively.
Edward growled. "Sloth tried that already, and I killed her." And then he punched the woman, who Gambit now suspected was his mother.
Envy morphed again, became a dark-haired man with eyes like the night and a blue military uniform. "I am you Superior Officer, Fullmetal, and if you don't get--" The rest was silenced by Edward when he smirked and drove his elbow into the handsome man's mouth.
Gambit got the immpression that all of this was building toward something, something huge--
Envy became a little boy, not even ten years old, who looked up at Elric with watering, fearful eyes, and said, "Please don't hurt me, big brother!"
Elric almost pulled back, a look of horror and self-disgust on his face. For a second he warred with himself, visibly. Gambit thought this was what they had both been leading up to, this final test. He could see the battle within Edward.
He's your brother. Never hurt him.
He's an imposter. Kill him for wearing your brother's face.
Which was stronger? Mind--it's not really him--or matter--but it has his face.
Envy didn't know Edward at all, not really.
Gambit watched as the battle erupted anew, even more fierce than before. The wildfire in Edward's eyes was reflected on the field as he clapped his hands again, touched them together, and there was that light again. Then he jumped back from Envy, snapped his fingers. A spark shot through the air between them, hit Envy, exploded. Elric went right back in, and there was that undeafeatable creature, still standing even when it should by all rights have been dead long ago.
Gambit was honestly shocked by the amount of power Edward was showing. So amyn different talents, so many different powers. Was he another Deadpool? Another culmination of mutant abilities? Or was he really just so powerful? Gambit knew that even Jean, for all that she was the most powerful mutant they knew, could not have kept this up for this long. And yet there was Edward, breathing heavily and bleeding and still fighting.
"You can't kill me." Taunted Envy, now in the form of a fit young man with dark green hair in long dread locks, dressed in a skort and very tight belly shirt. "My human body is all the way back home. Here, I am invincible."
Well, Gambit supposed, death was pretty much instantaneous after a villain said something like that.
He was not disappointed.
Edward smirked. "Think so, Envy? Because not too long ago, I found this grave... and I wondered if the whole Homunculous weakness thing crossed the Gate. So I brought some along."
As Envy's eyes grew wider with realization, Edward clapped his hands, dropped to the ground, and there was a rumbling again. In front of the blond, the ground went up in a muddy spray as something pushed its way out. It was a vase, like one used to store the ahes of loved ones.
Envy fell to his knees, eyes fixed upon the vase, and for the first time his face was set in an expression of true fear.
Edward stood above him, a bloody, avenging angel.
Rogue was only one of many who watched Edward Elric, the Institute's most secretive, isolated person, as he drew a chalk circle on the floor of their main hall. In the center was the unkillable creature he'd fought for well over an hour, held down by ashes sprinkled over his arms and legs and chest. The circle was slowly but surely filling with geometric figures and strange, alien symbols.
Rogue glanced worriedly at the bound creature in the middle of the array, once again wondering how it was held by only ashes. She also worried about the humanity of this all; it was starting to look like some sort of ritualistic sacrifice.
Edward had, apparently, seen her look. "Don't worry yourself," He assured. "Envy isn't human. He's a homunculous born of our father's greatest sin."
"He tried to play god, he tried to bring back the dead. He paid dearly for it, and Envy is only the least of that payment." Edward explained.
Rogue, though confused, thought she was getting the gist. "Why are you telling me all of this now?"
Edward gave her a small, sad smile. "Because I was trapped here by a real god, and I'm going to make it take me back to my home. Because I made the same mistake, I'm still paying for that sin. And because I think you might someday try the same."
Rogue watched him complete the array, watched him glow with light even before he activated that circle. And she thought, maybe she understood.
Her and Elric, they were both loners. People who didn't need anyone else. Maybe he was trying to tell her, You don't need anyone, but there will be times when you want them.
Someday, Rogue will have to make a very important decision. She will not remember a beautiful young man with golden hair and golden eyes and a red jacket, but she will think for just a few moments longer than she usually would have, and then, maybe her choice will be different.
So, at the end there, as part of the payment, the Gate erased all of his involvement with the mutant's world. But it missed a little speck. Honestly, I was winging it on the last two. I don't know either of those characters, and the whole X-Men thing is so fuzzy for me, I will accept any and all criticism. I have only ever seen the last movie and Origins, I don't know when or where this is set, and any inconsistencies are to be ignored. If anyone's really overly OOC, please contact me so I can take this embarrassment down.
Also, LONGEST ONESHOT I'VE EVER WRITTEN! WOOHOO!