Chapter 1- The Doctor and the Exorcist
The cold, stormy skies churned unpleasantly, casting the town in an ominous light. Overhead the mustard coloured moon shone faintly, marking the house with a menacing glow. The winds whipped at passerbys as if warning them to stay away, joined by the withered trees in their threat. A murder of crows flew by overhead, crying their deathly song, singing of the fates of travelers who had decided to stay a night in the forlorn house.
Allen shivered. He quickened his pace, hoping to get out of this town soon. Despite the repulsive places he had been with his master, and the gruesome monsters he had been forced to fight, he still wasn't used to horror. And that house described horror to the teaspoon.
He clutched his suitcase tighter, and turned his gaze away from the eerie manor. Akuma he could handle, Master he could handle, but this…? He just wanted to get out of here.
Suddenly, he noticed an orange blur in the corner of his eye, slamming into his shoulder with the force of a small boulder. Allen froze, nearly giving a shriek of terror: a… a ghost! Just then, the orange tabby cat took flight, a hard, golden ball clenched firmly between his teeth.
Allen felt his mouth drop open. A cat? He had been bested by a cat? Scared of a cat of all things? He closed his mouth with a groan, putting a hand to his temple. Master was never going to let him live this down. He turned to Timcanpy, hoping that the little critter hadn't recorded that. Except… Timcanpy wasn't there?!?
Just then, Allen recalled the golden ball clamped between the cat's teeth, and nearly slapped himself for his stupidity. Timcanpy!
"Hey! Wait up!" He called, running in the direction of the cat, "Give back Timcanpy!"
The tabby mewed, and bounded up the stairs of the house.
"Ah no," Allen groaned, springing up the steps after the cat. He pushed the door open, and stepped quickly into the foreboding front foyer. Thankfully, the tabby was right there, on top of the third step of the large, curving stairs, scratching its ears with its front paw. Timcanpy was clenched firmly between its teeth, wiggling desperately in an attempt to set himself free. Feeling sympathy for his little golem, Allen decided to end this quickly. It didn't have anything to do with how spooky he found the abandoned church; no, of course it didn't. Readying himself, Allen lunged at the cat, and successfully caught it between his two hands.
"Mew," The tabby let out a pained meow, looking pitiful between Allen's large hands.
Allen panicked; oh no, he hadn't hurt the cat had he? It was possible, with his anti-akuma weapon… He opened his hands, ready to examine the kitty.
The cat jumped away, and hurriedly ran to the top of the stairs. At the top, it paused, and looked back as if to mock him.
Arg! It had tricked him! Allen sprang up; jumping after the tabby, but by then it was already too late. No matter how much Allen ran, he couldn't seem to catch up to the cat, and there were certain places the cat could fit through but Allen couldn't. He wandered through darkened corridors, searching, searching. Pat, pat, pat; the soft sound of the kitty's footsteps echoed through the hollow walls, making Allen shiver in trepidation. It sounded just like a ghost's… After what seemed like an hour, Allen finally decided to give up. It was just impossible. Timcanpy would have to stick it out on his own for a while. Allen needed to get catnip first.
Sighing, Allen turned to go back out, and froze. Nothing looked familiar.
He couldn't have gotten… lost? Allen sucked in a deep breath, feeling like wailing. No, no, no! This wasn't fair! Why was he stuck in a spooky, dark house and lost at that. Sighing, Allen spun, hoping that somehow, fate would help him for once.
And it did. In the form of blue lightning.
Once again, Allen's mouth dropped open. What…? Warily, Allen inched towards the blue lightning, wondering if it was an Akuma. His left eye hadn't picked up on anything, but then again, this Akuma could have been extra smart. After all, what else caused blue lightning?
He flung the door open, readying his left hand for activation… and he saw a boy. A boy with long, braided hair, sunspun like a field of wheat during the last flicks of dawn. He had his back to Allen, but it seemed that the moment Allen walked in, the boy stiffened. Slowly, the boy turned around, his odd red cloak swirling past his shoulders.
For a moment the boy looked angry, but it quickly disappeared into a sigh of weariness. "Are you staying here for the night as well?"
Allen shook his head, giving a little laugh of embarrassment, "Um, no actually. I am a traveler too, but I didn't really want to stay in this place because…"
Allen stopped in midsentence, goggling at his surroundings as he finally noticed them. Wasn't this supposed to be a rundown, dark and spooky house? Looking around him, Allen couldn't help but gape a third time. Behind the boy, rested an elegant bed, velvet drapery hanging off its banisters. A majestic light was fixated on roof, shining so brightly that Allen wondered how he could have missed it earlier.
But… something about this picture didn't fit with the rest of the house. Allen's brows furrowed, noticing that there were in fact, some furniture in this room that still seemed old and…
"Hey, so what was your name?" The boy asked, laughing nervously.
"Hun?" The white haired boy's attention was once again drawn back to the traveller's. Allen blinked, then let a brilliant smile light up his face. He held out a hand, "I'm Allen, Allen Walker. What's your name?"
"Edward Elric," The boy replied, shaking Allen's hand. "So are you staying here for the night too?"
"Oh um," Allen rubbed his hair, and chuckled in embarrassment. "No actually. I was… um… well I was looking for a cat. He stole something of mine, and I need it back."
The golden haired boy blinked, then groaned, looking pained. "It just had to be a cat didn't it? It couldn't have been a dog, couldn't have been a rat. It had to be a cat."
Allen smiled sympathetically. "Bad experience with cats?"
Yeah, he knew those. Though… they were mostly induced by his 'master'. Allen quickly squashed that thought; no, now was not the time to go into one of his dark moods.
"Bad experience?" Edward repeated sarcastically, "The question should be, have I ever had a good experience with cats? I swear, felines are out to get me."
Surprised laughter arose from Allen before he could help it, "Haha… yeah, I know how that feels."
They shared a grin. Allen felt something warm bubble up within him. This was the first time since Mana he had shared-
Allen startled; that scream had come from the other side of the building, but it was loud enough to be heard from where he was. It was a scream of true terror, the likes of which he had heard only on one other occasion… The white haired boy jumped into action, completely forgetting about the golden haired boy beside him. Allen slammed his way through the door, and jumped on the banisters. He slid at an almost alarming rate, but managed to catch himself with his right hand before he fell down the steps. Without wasting a moment, he flung himself from the staircase, and ran towards the direction of the scream.
Door after door was opened, in the neverending maze that was this house. Bats suddenly seemed to appear out of nowhere, blinding and restricting him. Allen didn't dare take time to get rid of them, afraid that it would be too late if he even took a moment's break. A streak of yellow suddenly blurred past him, causing Allen to narrow his eyes. So it wasn't a human under attack after all! It was the stupid cat! Growling, Allen extended his hand in the direction he had seen the tabby go last, and his palm connected with flesh. Almost cooing with victory, Allen grinned, he had finally gotten the cat! Unfortunately, there was this thing called inertia.
After putting all that speed into the chase, Allen found that he couldn't stop. Greeeaaaat…..
Allen groaned; this so wasn't worth it. But at least… at least… "Gotcha! I won't let you get away this time."
The cat coughed.
"A… a human?" Allen stuttered, his right hand jerking back as the bats finally flew away. What in the world were so many humans doing in a spooky house like this? It couldn't be that they actually liked this type of scenery.
"Damn you," The woman muttered, a fierce scowl on her face. She raised her free hand to fix her helmet, the hand that wasn't holding on tightly to the handcuffs attached to Allen's wrist.
Allen groaned, staring at the metal chunks on his right hand in dismay. This couldn't have been just a regular human, like that other guy? It just had to be a cop?
"Who are you?!" The woman demanded, tugging on the rope that was tied securely to Allen's handcuff. She glared at him, a fierce scowl of annoyance on her lips.
Allen put his hands up in surrender, feeling embarrassment creep up on him like a hungry spider. "I'm s-sorry! I was too into it and didn't notice it was you. I was just trying to grab the cat. I'm… um… a traveller."
A loud laugh rang through the air.
Allen and the lady turned as one, their eyes fixating on the blond figure clutching the doorway for support. He couldn't seem to get up, laughing so hard.
"Hun, oh boy." Edward stood, wiping a tear from his eye with a crisply gloved hand, "Thank you Allen. I haven't had a laugh like that for a while."
The cop narrowed her eyes, "Who are you?!"
Edward smirked, "Just a traveller, like he said."
"Tch." Without giving him a chance to defend himself, the officer lunged, and with another decisive click, handcuffed Edward as well.
"He-hey! What are you doing?" Edward demanded, looking at his new accessories in shock.
"Well technically," The officer responded with a slightly apologetic tone in her voice, "You're a suspect too."
"You're kidding me." Edward looked too surprised to resist as he was dragged to the window, and tied to it just as Allen was. "I'm the Ful- um…"
The lady's attention perked, "The full what?"
"The full nothing," Edward responded grumpily, tugging on his chain, "The fulfilled kid maybe. If you let him go."
"Nice try," The officer replied dryly, walking around Allen and Edward as she secured their handcuffs even more. She put one on each of their hands, so that they had no change of escaping… nor doing anything else, for that matter. "So what are you guys doing here anyways?"
"I'm just staying here because it's free," Edward muttered, then jerked his head towards Allen, "And he's…"
"Trying to catch a cat," Allen responded despondently, hanging his head. And the worst part was, he still hadn't caught it!
The lady sighed, "You do realize that this is mightily suspicious. There have been a bunch of disappearances around this house; and you've just turned into our main suspects."
Edward smirked, but from Allen's vantage point it looked rather bitter, "So the government's still the same eh? Still using scapegoats?"
The woman blinked, looking shocked. Hurriedly, she shook her head, "You're not scapegoats, and besides, you're much too young to be thinking about that. Sheesh, you kids these days. Is this what it's all about? A hate crime against the government?"
"But- but-" Allen protested, "We're not doing any of those things! I mean-"
Well actually, he didn't know about Edward. For all he knew, the golden haired boy could in fact, be behind the disappearances. It would explain why Edward was here after all. But Allen sure wasn't ready to assume the worst of anyone just yet. And so he prepared to argue some more-
A sudden, piercing scream penetrated the room, followed by a loud, sinister tapping noise that gave Allen the creeps.
"Wh…what?" The cop looked to be in shock. She looked around in panic, sweating with fright. But she was a cop, and cops were trained for these types of situations. If Allen were anyone else, he'd have curse the cop system right then. The police officer turned a blue eyed gaze on the boys, nodding faintly as if to reassure herself. "Um… you two… stay here!"
She ran down the stairs.
"No, wait!" Allen cried, but she didn't seem to hear. Biting his lip, Allen wondered if this was once again, a trick of his mind. It seemed the haunted looking house was giving him the creeps, and completely throwing off his sixth sense about Akuma. But… but if there was even the slightest chance…
Allen twisted one hand around, a little trick he had learned from his time in the circus. Bending a few fingers, he reached into his inner pocket, located just an inch above his sleeve opening. Just as he had done thousands of times before, Allen unfastened the hidden pouch, and snagged the little hairpin that had come to use many times. In less than five seconds he was free, and running towards the rusty door to freedom.
"Hey wait!" Edward called, sounding agitated. "Free me too!"
"Sorry!" Allen shouted back, not even taking the time to turn around. It killed him to be so rude, but he couldn't afford to stop if there was an Akuma on the loose. "I'll free you later!"
Without waiting for another word, Allen quickly followed the direction he had seen the cop taken. He was just in time to see another cop explode, sending poisonous fumes of gas into the air. The woman didn't seem to notice; she staggered forwards still, unseeing.
"This can't be," She muttered distantly, "The rumours are true… I… I…"
Clenching his teeth, Allen ripped off a piece of cloth from his travel robes, and hoping that the officer wasn't scared of germs, he dashed towards her. He caught her just as she fell, finally succumbing to the Akuma's poison. Dragging her back to a relatively safe place, Allen put her down, allowing her to rest. After making sure she was alright, Allen stood, his blood red eye activated. But… nothing. Except…
The mists finally parted, revealing a figure running surely towards Allen.
"What in the world happened here?" Edward asked, his voice slightly muffled through the red cape he was holding to his nose.
Allen sighed, squatting down beside the cop, his left eye deactivating. He slowly shifted the woman to her side, so he could carry her more easily. Stretching his legs, he lifted her up bridal style, so that she could still breathe.
"An Akuma happened," Allen whispered, taking a step towards the exit, "Now we've got to get out of here. The gas from the corpse is poisonous, and you'll die if you stay here much longer."
"Joy," Edward muttered, "Hey, what do you mean by... I'll die? Are you immune to it or something?"
"Yeah, I am," Allen nodded, glancing back. Just then, something stuck him as odd. He wasn't a suspicious guy by nature, but he also couldn't completely forget the instincts Master had engraved in him long ago. "By the way, how did you get out of those handcuffs anyways?"
For a moment Edward looked uncomfortable, but then he grinned secretively, as if sharing some great joke with himself. "I have some tricks of my own."
Allen got the message: Edward didn't want to talk about it. That was fine, since Allen didn't especially want to talk about how Master had forced him to learn how to pick locks, either.
"Right then," Allen grinned, "Let's get going."
The investigator smoked.
"Um… sir," Allen started.
"Yes?" The investigator leaned in, eyes sparkling with a predatory glint. His belly pressed against the wooden table, creating a rather unpleasant image. Allen tried to ignore it. It wasn't nice to stare, after all.
Still… there were some things even he couldn't keep quiet about. "Um… I don't think you should be smoking sir, it's bad for your health."
The inspector flushed red, his face lighting up like a tomato. Allen's tummy growled, and he bit back a moan. Just thinking of food made him unbearably hungry. But for now, the investigator demanded all his attention. The detective sneered, the heavy fat of his cheeks nearly blocking out the shape of his mouth, "What do you know? You're just a kid who doesn't know his place!"
"What Allen said is true you know," Edward quipped in, looking annoyed with the interrogation that was getting nowhere, "Smoking would destroy whatever health you had left."
"And what would you know about that?" The detective demanded, narrowing his attention to Edward.
"I'm a certified physician," Edward said with evident boredom. This caught Allen's attention. Certified physician? Really?
The inspector seemed to be thinking along the same lines as Allen. Piggy eyes glinting, he smiled menacingly, "And where are your certificates? Your records?"
"Who knows? Who cares?" Edward crossed his arms, leaning back on his chair. "Look, if you want to certify my skills, call in a doctor. I can tell list you every cure in history."
"You don't have any-"
Just then, the police lady walked in.
"There names are Allen Walker and Edward Elric," The investigator said with an annoyed tone, glancing up at the policewoman, "Unknown address, underage and from an unknown country."
Eep! When he said it like that, it didn't sound good at all.
The inspector jerked forwards, a fierce scowl on his face, "You did it didn't you?!"
"I told you I didn't!" Both Edward and Allen shouted at the same time; Edward with annoyance, and Allen with panic.
Allen took a deep breath, "Why are you so suspicious of me?! I just carried the unconscious officer here!"
"It's weird that you were in the church the first place!" The inspector growled, narrowing his eyes. Suddenly, he snatched Allen's hand away from him, making a disgusted face. "And besides, look at your hand. It's red, so it must be blood!"
"Um…" Once again, Allen looked uncomfortable, "No, this hand is really…"
Allen's head turned in surprise, his attention focusing on the now standing Edward rather than the inspector. The blond was shaking with rage, a look of fury on his face and the discarded chair at his feet. With a little degree of shock, Allen realized that Edward must have knocked his chair because he stood so abruptly.
"You," Edward said to the inspector, his voice as cool as the winter frost, "Had better apologise. Blood obviously cannot sink into human skin, and if that's really what you officers have thought up then I really am losing my confidence for the police force. Heck, it doesn't even smell like blood! Are you such an imbecile that you now think that just having a body part marks you as a criminal? Should I say that just because you're clearly overweight you should be put to death, then? I suggest you think on your words before you say them inspector, or else I'll file a complaint to the government. And trust me; they're in need of doctors more than policemen."
Allen suddenly had a flashback of Marian Cross, when he was meeting with another member of the Black Order. Master hadn't meant for Allen to see it, but Allen had, and he would never forget it. The clear authority that Marian Cross had displayed that day… Allen had thought he would never see it again, or at least, not until the Black Order.
Now it was… it would almost be embarrassing to say anything after Edward's speech. Even the inspector looked too flustered to retort. Still, Allen couldn't let the police officers get the wrong impression. Coughing slightly, Allen retracted his hand, and smiled at Edward. "It's fine, I don't mind it. Thank you though."
With a huff, Edward upturned his chair and sat back down, looking all too much like a normal kid again. "Well I mind. Idiots like him shouldn't comment about things they can't possibly know about."
"Oh?" Things they can't possibly know about? Allen's eyes drifted to Edward's gloved hands, and he felt his heart skip a beat. Was it possible…?
Edward seemed to follow his train of thought. With a blush, Edward shook his head, and neatly slid the pristine white gloves off his hands, showing perfectly normal and very slender fingers. He smiled fondly, "No, I wear gloves for other reasons, medical procedures you know."
"Oh." Did he feel slightly disappointed? No, what kind of thought was that? Why did Allen want someone else to have a disfigured arm anyways? But… but he desperately wanted someone to understand him, that was all. His disfigured arm that everybody would cringe away at, that he himself found endearing. That he couldn't love, couldn't hate… he wished…
"Erm…" The inspector coughed, glanced at the two boys, then glanced away again. He turned to the female officer, a hard glint appearing in his eyes. "It was irresponsible of you to become unconscious Officer Moore Hesse, now we can't possibly know who the culprit is."
"I- I'm very sorry," The female cop apologized, looking ashen.
Seeming to finally get his act back together, the inspector leaned back on his chair, sneering, "Be more courageous! You were on the scene and didn't even seem the culprit!"
Frowning at the way Miss Moore was treated, Allen raised his hand, "I know the culprit."
All heads swivelled to him.
Allen smiled tightly, preparing himself for a long explanation. "I couldn't see it, but I know what it is. Let me help you in this investigation. Its nickname is 'Akuma', and I see them very often. That thing gets experience by killing, and evolves as it kills. And it won't stop killing. If we don't stop it soon, it'll get out of control."
He raised his hand, flashing the silvery cross. "This cross is an anti-akuma weapon. Do you know what 'exorcists' are? They're members of an anti-akuma group that consists of holy priests."
Taking a deep breath, Allen waited for their responses. After a moment of silence, he snuck a glance at Edward, wondering what the blond was thinking now. Would Edward be frightened now? More determined? Show that cold authority again? Or... Allen was met with a smirk. What…?
"Exorcists?" The inspector scoffed, huffing on his cigarette. "What the heck is that? All right, fine, you can go now. I'm going back to the scene. Officer Moore, you go back to your house and watch them."
Without another word, the inspector ushered them out of the room, leaving Miss Moore looking quiet depressed. Allen wanted to say something to cheer her up, but Edward beat him to it.
"Are we really that despicable?" The blond asked without sympathy, giving the policewoman a hooded glance.
Miss Moore looked back in surprise, a startled expression on her face. Instantly, she shook her head, her blond hair flying wildly behind her. "Oh no no, it's not that. I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. It's just… I really wanted this case. Here, let's go."
Uncomfortably, Miss Moore started walking, presumably in the direction of her house.
"Well perhaps it's better that you're not on this case," Edward stated as he hurried to follow the policewoman, turning back to wink at Allen, "After all, it is quiet dangerous. Especially with these 'Akuma', eh?"
Allen nodded seriously, also quickening his pace, "Yes, Akuma are very dangerous for regular humans. That's why I don't think it's a good idea for the inspector to go. They need an exorcist you see, or else… what?"
Edward was staring at Allen incredulously. "You mean, you actually believe in Akuma?"
Allen gave Edward a skewered glance, "Well of course they're real. Why else would I mention them?"
"You're crazy," Edward muttered, blinking. "You're actually crazy. I just thought you were saying something about Akuma to get the inspector to let us go, and it worked didn't it! But you actually believe in gods and exorcists… oh boy."
Allen inclined his head, feeling a stab of pain go through his heart. Edward didn't believe him?
"I'm actually inclined to agree with Edward," Miss Moore called back, from her place in the front. "Allen, you do realize that Akuma are just imaginary creatures that were created by our ancestors, who feared diseases and pain? It's only a word, and imaginary thing. It doesn't really exist. I hate them."
"Um…" Oh, Allen suddenly felt a lot better. "The Akuma I'm talking about isn't the Akuma you're talking about."
"Akuma is the name of a weapon," Allen clarified, "It's a weapon made by the devil that targets human beings. That… is 'Akuma'."
They cut across someone's lawn, and were approaching a wooden gate which Allen assumed to be Miss Moore's. The church was in the distance, not too far off at all from their current place. Mentally, Allen made a note of that.
"I don't really think…" Miss Moore began weakly.
"No," Edward cut in, looking at Allen with an odd light in his eyes, "That makes sense. Well… I can't say I agree with the 'devil' part, but then again, I've met plenty of devils in my lifetime. If a human were manufacturing these 'Akuma' with the poisonous gas, it would actually make a whole lot of sense. An abandoned warehouse is also the perfect place to put it, so no one will really check. Rumours of ghosts will keep unwanted visitors away, and it also helps explain any deaths. But now I'm wondering what the function of the 'exorcist' is."
They entered Miss Moore's yard, and were only a few feet away from her front door.
"No, no," Allen shook his head, "That isn't it at all. Akuma are things made by the Millenium Earl that usually takes on the form of a human being, and are fed by… Edward?"
Edward was clutching his chest, his eyes wild. Slowly, he dropped to his knees, clenching his teeth as if in extraordinary pain.
"What is… that?" He gasped, shaking. "Is this what Mei Chang felt when she came to Amestris…?"
"Edward?" Allen asked fearfully, who for the life of him couldn't figure out what was happening to the blond. "Edward?"
"I'll go get help!" Miss Moore shouted, springing into action. She sprang onto her front porch, and flung open the door… "Brother Mark?"
Allen looked away from Edward, wondering who this 'Brother Mark' was. Was it someone who could help Edward? The human certainly didn't look promising; he was skeletal looking, as if he hadn't had food for months, and his skin was as wrinkled as rice paper. And then he saw it… the horrifying, wretched looking soul tied forevermore to the empty carcass. Akuma!
"My… My stomach…" The wheelchaired man groaned, his skin stretching almost tauntingly to its limit, "Starving… Let me kill!"
Miss Moore's eyes widened, and she took a few steps back almost instinctively. "What…?"
The skin exploded, ripping into shreds as the Akuma burst out of the human hide. It formed a terrifying shape; the true form of a level one.
"Brother…" Miss Moore fell to her knees, her voice disbelieving, "What the hell is this…?"
Allen didn't waste a second. He knew what was going to happen next. Springing into action, he grabbed onto Edward's collar with his right hand, and reached desperately for Miss Moore. The air in front of him exploded in a cloud of smoke: the Akuma had fired. Allen blasted backwards, propelled by the Akuma bullet he had caught. Pain exploded along his back as he crashed into a wall, but it was nothing compared to the agony of holding a piece of Akuma. Finally, they landed, amidst a pile of debris and wreckage. Distantly, Allen recognized this as the church; the church where it had all started.
"What was that?" Edward groaned, rolling away from Allen's numb fingers. The blond boy looked bad; his face pale and his eyes pained. He leaned against the wall, wrapping his torn cloak around him and breathing heavily. For a split second, Allen wondered if Edward hadn't been hit with a bullet after all.
"Well?" Edward turned towards him, golden eyes burning like molten gold. Suddenly, his mouth fell open, as if he had forgotten what he was about to say. Edward leaned forwards, extending his hand towards Allen's 'souvenir', "You… you stopped a bullet?"
Knowing what Edward wanted to do, Allen jerked his hand away, letting a sad smile grace his face, "Don't touch. It's a bullet with the Akuma's blood. This bullet contains a poisonous virus. The Akuma changes its physical aspect into a gun, and fires a bullet at us. If you get hit by the bullet…"
Allen turned away from Edward's blank amber eyes, and fixed his attention on Miss Moore, whom he had not gotten in time. She was still kneeling by the Akuma, and suddenly little stars started appearing on her body. Slowly, she was turning dark, her sun kissed skin becoming black with disease.
"If you get hit by a bullet," Allen chocked out, feeling something well up in the back of his throat, "The virus immediately infects you and-"
"You shatter," Edward whispered, his eyes wide as Miss Moore broke into tiny crystals of dust, and exploded in a shower of light.
Allen squeezed his eyes shut, clenching his fists together tightly. He couldn't save Miss Moore, but there was nothing he could have done about it. He knew that, yet still…!
"Why would someone do something like that…?" Edward cracked out, thankfully taking Allen's thoughts away from the kind, female police officer. "Her own brother… why?"
Allen opened his eyes, giving Edward a look of surprise. He pretended to miss the suspicious sheen present in those golden eyes, and instead concentrated on giving a suitable answer. "That was… that was not Miss Moore's brother. That was an Akuma that killed Mark, and took over his corpse. It's just a killing machine; a program set to act as a weapon so it can evolve. It's not… no, it's a living weapon that has a soul implanted in it. That soul is then controlled by the creator, a person who has no faith in life, who hates their looks, and who hates to face reality. It is frustration of the soul that becomes the source of energy that drives an Akuma to evolve. Even in that Akuma, a soul has been implemented."
"A soul…?" Edward murmured, his eyes wide, "No… impossible."
"Please believe me," Allen begged, "Believe me and get out of-"
"No, it's not that. I believe you." Edward said, waving off Allen fears. But then, he gave a low, bitter laugh, "Haha… 'Fullmetal Alchemist'; even here that name still haunts me. A soul transmutation… who knew that it existed even in this world…"
"Here it comes," Allen warned, jerking Edward into a hidden cove as the Akuma floated past, and not allowing Edward time to finish. Soul transmutation? What was that? Still… it could wait until all this was over. Allen stretched out his left hand, ready to finish this once and for all.
"Yo! What are you guys doing here?"
Allen's eyes widened, his head swivelling to the chubby man who had just came, "Detective?!"
"Shit!" The inspector swore, his wide eyes focused on the Akuma overhead. "What the hell is that?"
Police officers suddenly burst into the room, guns at the ready.
"Shoot it!" The detective ordered, and the police force immediately fired off five rounds. "I don't know what it is, but it seems dangerous!"
"You can't kill it with guns!" Allen shouted, leaning forward slightly as he clutched desperately onto his cloak, "Run away now!"
Not taking lightly to being shot, the Akuma's head slowly turned towards the police officers, and its own gun ports readied.
The room blazed with blue light, and static electricity filled the air. Allen bit his lip, readying himself for the grotesque sight of yet more people destroyed by Akuma. But... but they were still alive. Behind a hasty erected and heavily dented wall, the detective and his police were still very much alive.
"Get out of here if you know what's good for you!" Edward shouted, panting. His hands encircled a small arrangement of knives, a glowing, complex circle etched by the five knifepoints. "Or didn't you see how your bullets didn't affect it?! Go!"
"But we can't-" The detective gulped, but ploughed on determinedly, "We can't leave the citizens to that thing!"
Edward blinked, and suddenly an honest smile spread across his face, "I see, so you're competent after all. Good, I would feel bad about letting a tyrant live."
Edward's eyes dropped, and the air filled with blue lightning once again. Suddenly, the ground beneath the police force split open, the excess cement roving to a barricade around the hole. With a shout, the force dropped through, leaving not a single adult. The ground shifted back, covering the opening to the whole.
"That should keep them safe for a while," Edward muttered, sitting back with and wiping the sweat from his brow.
"What did you…?" Allen asked, wide eyed. Amazing… even his exorcist powers couldn't do that. So… was Edward an exorcist too?
Edward's lips quirked, but he seemed to ignore Allen as he gazed up at the Akuma weakly, "I told them I would get rid of it, but… for some reason, that 'Akuma' feels like it's the one in pain."
Allen felt a jolt of shock. Edward could feel how the soul felt? That was… that was disturbing. If Allen could only see Akuma, and predict how they felt, what did Edward, who could sense Akuma, feel? Allen did not wish his curse on anyone, but it would seem that someone had gotten a worse deal than he. He owed Edward an explanation, then. Turning back grimly to face the Akuma, Allen shifted so that he was standing right in front of Edward. "That's because it is in pain. 'The girl' probably, was someone who had a special bond with Miss Moore's brother. An Akuma is born with the ingredients of 'machine', 'soul' and 'despair'. All human beings have a dark side to our hearts, and that dark side gives birth to 'despair', which in turn makes the creator appear and give birth to an Akuma. Miss Moore's brother was probably in so much despair that the creator had his eyes on him. And then, the creator forces the recalled soul to kill the caller, even if the soul doesn't want to. And now, it's forced to kill."
Edward's voice was soft, disbelieving. "Who is capable of this…?"
"The 1000 year old phantom," Allen sighed, "That's who they call the 'creator'. He is putting a scenario into action, in which all of mankind will come to an end. Bringing an end to that scenario is what an 'exorcist' does."
That's right; it was time to end this. Allen held out his left hand, preparing to release its full power. "The cross that lives within me… it's time you unleash your power to destroy darkness."
He felt the familiar power course through him, and he knew his arm was at its exorcist form. Allen stared straight up into the cursed soul's eyes, feeling true sorrow well up inside him. "You poor Akuma."
The Akuma roared, opening its mouth to fire more bullets.
He was too slow. Allen jumped up, readying his arm for the final blow… when suddenly the earth below him came alive, and shoved Allen out of the way. A round of bullets whizzed by Allen's head, dissipating the column of earth.
"I know it's just a killing machine, but… but even so…" Edward had his face bowed, his palms resting on the ground just as it had been when he saved the crowd of policemen. A ring of five knives were beside his hands, crackling with blue lightning. Suddenly he raised his head, his amber eyes determined. "I still won't let you destroy their souls!"
"No, no!" Allen said weakly, jumping away from yet another round of bullets, "You've got the wrong idea! I cleanse their souls, so the Akuma's destroyed, but the souls aren't!"
Edward blinked, and removed his hands from the ground. The blue lightning died down. He scowled at himself, treading a hand through his golden hair, "What am I doing? I don't believe in souls and the afterlife anyways."
Taking this as a sign that Edward approved, Allen grinned and dashed towards the Akuma again. This time, he scored a sure hit.
"I'm sorry," He murmured, feeling the Akuma become still beneath him, "It must hurt. But I'll make it comfortable soon. Rest in peace, Akuma."
The Akuma exploded in a sea of brilliant light.
Allen stood a bit longer, watching the light. For a moment, he felt true peace in his heart; and this was the moment that he lived for. The lady was gone, but to a much better place. It was moments like these that he finally felt like he wasn't drowning in the sin of Mana, that he could actually repent if he tried hard enough. He wiped his eyes, sure that dust had gotten in them somehow.
"You're right," Edward whispered in wonder, sounding every bit as heartfelt as Allen had felt, "The soul truly does not feel any pain…"
"Yeah…" Allen smiled, head still raised towards the heavens, "It doesn't…"
They stayed like that a few moments more, both absorbed in the wonder of a soul. Finally, Edward sighed, seeming to have gotten enough. Supporting himself with his right hand, Edward quickly popped up. He brushed off his cloak, and gave Allen a stern look, "But you do. Especially since, you're so reckless in trying to save people."
"Eh?" Allen turned to the blond, shocked.
"So, you obviously need a doctor to heal you, and make sure you don't overdo yourself." Edward explained, dusting off his gloves. "And hey, what do you know? I'm a qualified doctor! So... I'll travel with you from now on. We'd better hurry up and leave right after I set the police free, or else they'd have our heads."
"B-but-" Allen stuttered, feeling that all this was happening too fast. He hardly knew what was happening, let alone how to reply, "That is- that is- I mean… it's dangerous!"
"Which is exactly why you need a doctor," Edward grinned, swirling his velvet red cloak and tsking at the rips. Suddenly he turned to Allen, his face serious. "Really, have you been 'exorcising' these Akuma by yourself all this time?"
Allen scratched his head; technically, he had been with Master all this time, but it wasn't like Master really helped him much when it came to exorcism. "I… I guess."
Edward nodded seriously, and stepped forward with a hand outstretched. "I've been thinking that I had no purpose ever since I came to this world, but now seeing these Akuma… it really make we want to help you. Besides…"
Edward flushed slight, and he hurriedly looked away like a shy little lamb. "Aren't friends supposed to help each other?"
Friends…? Allen had never had those before. But it sounded sweet, that six lettered word. He ran it through his mind once again, and savored the taste of it. It was sweet, warm, and made him feel strangely protected. He hadn't had a friend since Mana. Mana… would his father approve? Even after Allen had made him into an Akuma, even after Allen had sworn to spend his life helping those tortured souls? But that word… it sounded so comforting. Friends… He may be selfish but… Allen shook the hand.
A.n: Worry not, the first chapter just needs to set the scene, but later chapters will deviate from the cannon plot quite a bit (I hope), so you won't be bored :)
As for this fic in general... What can I say? It seems that I've been rather obsessed with crossovers lately. Well, who knows if I'll continue this one or not, but if you'd like me to, please