Ok people here is a story that I have wanted to write for... ok a long time :) it takes place at the end of the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime series but before the movie and just for warning there are lots of spoilers in here for the end of the FMA storyline. There may possibly be some spoilers for the Bleach storyline as well but its all pre-winter war and based more on the anime than the manga.
There will be pairings in this story, both het and yaoi and some of them may be a little... odd so if your not ok with that please hit the back button.
Lets not forget I don't own Bleach or Fullmetal Alchemist and I dont make any money writing this, its simply the product of my over active imagination combined with my overwhelming urge to write.
Now without further ado...
He could feel that there was a change to the gate but he couldn't really put his finger on what it was. To tell the truth he couldn't really think of anything in the resultant situation. God how he hated that fucking gate. Slithering hands pulling him into a darkness that was so thick it was like a sludge constricting his every move, making it unable to breathe, wrapping around his soul, surrounding every part of him, and every moment was terrifying beyond anything he had ever experienced… Those eyes. The only thing worse than the all encompassing darkness were the eyes, so many they couldn't be counted, all staring at him, boring though his soul, making him feel like he would dissolve under them. He had tried so desperately to get his brother back from the brink, the only person he would go to that place for. He had offered anything and everything just for the simple knowledge that he would be ok, that he would be alive.
He could still feel the arms pulling at him, wrapping around his body with their slick oily blackness. He pulled away from them, had to get away but his body simply wouldn't comply. He felt sick and the bile rose up to the back of his throat, tingeing the back of his mouth with the foul acidic taste. He shook his head trying to gain some kind of sense of where he was. The hands were still on him but they felt different, real and warm. Someone was calling his name and he tried to focus on the voice in order to get some semblance of himself again.
"Brother! Please wake up! BROTHER!" It was Al! Maybe the plan actually worked; maybe he was actually able to save him from the entryway of the gate. He cracked an eye, the force of it making his head spin.
"…'S ok I'm here." His voice sounded wheezy and thick, like he had a cold or something. If that were the case he would have gladly taken the sniffles instead of the nauseous dizzying world that surrounded him now. His faculties were slowly starting to come back to him and he opened his other eye carefully to focus on his brother. Instead of gleaming metal and creaking armor he saw two terrified smoky colored eyes under a ruffle of caramel hair, disheveled but real… So real.
"AL!" He didn't care that his voice cracked with the force of his scream or that the sound reverberated through his skull, feeling like it was going to split open. He grabbed on to his brothers arms for dear life, feeling the warmth seeping in through his gloved hand. He was real, he was here and the abyss he felt tugging at his soul ebbed just that little bit. "It worked! You got your body back!" It was all he could do to keep the tears at bay. The long days and longer nights, the pain and heartbreak at every turn trying to return his brother to his body finally came to the goal he was so desperately scared would never come. It wasn't in vain then.
"Yeah it's back but we have a problem, Envy is here and he keeps yelling for dad… But it doesn't look like Envy at all! I had to drag you over here so he wouldn't see us." Al's eyes looked huge and frightened as he looked over his shoulder. Ed followed his eyes and could feel them widen in shock at the scene before him.
It was some kind of creature, not Envy at all but the screeching voice calling out Hoenheim's name could not be mistaken. It was Envy's voice alright. The body was so different though. It was huge, black and had two large hind legs and four arms, waving madly into the air in its rage to find his father. Instead of the chill smiling face there was a mask, black and white with some kind of markings on them and through the center of his body there was a hole, as if Envy's soul were missing. Huh, that wouldn't be possible, Envy had no soul, he was just pure evil. His name suited him quite well he thought darkly.
He watched in horrified amazement as one of its arms crashed down on a building, effectively rendering it to rubble in its two story temper tantrum. Ed got up on shaky knees, using his brother's arm for support. They were on some kind of rooftop, hiding under a small overhang. If Envy looked in the right direction he knew they were screwed and tried to look for a better place to hide and recover a little more. As he looked for a safer hiding place he caught sight of three people running along the rooftops, coming closer to the creature, monster – thing now known as Envy. One had black hair with glasses, the other two were redheads and for some reason held swords and wore uniforms, none of them much older than Ed himself. They were actually going near Envy!
"Don't go near that thing! He'll kill you!" Ed managed to yell out. The darker haired kid seemed to hear him and turned a piercing blue eye at Ed and his brother.
"You can see the hollow?"
"Of course I can see it, who couldn't!" He yelled, biting back the last comment of 'dumbass'. The young man gave him a sharp look before raising his hand and creating some kind of bow with what looked like alchemy but really wasn't. There was no clap, no crackle of energy, no circles and no tattoos, just a silver circlet of some kind hanging on his wrist. He took careful aim and let the glowing blue arrow go to hit Envy a blow to the mask, chipping it slightly along one of the edges before he screeched and arched back violently, arms flailing wildly in some sort of pain. He could see Envy change form then, the bright wave of red encompassing his body, changing into something small and human like before running off at a high rate of speed. The two guys with swords gave an indignant squawk and started chasing after him, leaving Ed, Al and the dark haired archer to look each other over.
"How long have you been able to see hollows?" The dark haired teen asked.
"Hollows? Is that what your calling Envy?" His brain was still refusing to work and tried to shake his head to dispel some of the cobwebs. Unfortunately it didn't help and another wave of crippling dizziness washed over Ed.
"Envy? Are you saying this hollow has a name? How would you know that!" The teen had come closer now, looking Ed and Al over more carefully.
"I don't know what hollows are but I know what your friends are chasing and he isn't good. Envy's dangerous!" He had slowly got up from sitting on his knees, watery legs shaking under him as his arms still desperately clung to Al, as if he would be whisked away at any moment, never to be seen again. The two redheads were coming back towards the dark haired teen now, swords still drawn and puffing profusely.
"Hey Uryuu we lost him, he's somehow masking his reiatsu." The spiky orange haired kid said. He looked over at Ed, noticing him and his brother as if for the first time. "You can see me?"
"Of course we can see you. Why wouldn't we?" Al said in his light voice. Ed tried to shake off the spinning inside his head; he probably shouldn't have stood up so quickly. He held on to his brother even more tightly now, trying to keep him anchored in his world of vertigo.
"Al I…" He tried to get the words out but they wouldn't come, darkness flooded his vision and he fell to the ground.
"Brother!" Al yelled, the sound echoing painfully in his head the last thing he heard before the roaring in his ears took over.
Ichigo watched as the blonde kid slumped over in his brother's arms.
"You have to help him please!" The younger kid turned desperate eyes to the three of them.
"He knows about the Hollow Kurosaki, I don't know how but he does." Uryuu seemed troubled as he looked at the two teens in front of them, a crease puckering the lines of his forehead in concern.
"Well let's get him to Urahara's then; Renji can you take him?" Ichigo turned to Renji.
"What am I your pack mule now?" He said disdainfully but walked over to the slumped blonde anyways, lifting him easily out of the others arms.
"I guess so. Hey kid what's your name?" He looked back again at the tawny haired kid. He looked like he couldn't be older than ten or eleven years old. He looked relieved for the help and gave a wide smile before responding.
"My name is Alphonse Elric and this is my brother Edward. I'm pleased to meet you." He gave a shallow bow as he helped Renji fit the blonde haired kid more snugly on his back.
"That's cool, I'm Ichigo, The guy with glasses is Uryuu and this dork over here is Renji."
"Quit calling me a dork." Renji growled. The blonde was securely in place now and they started walking.
"You don't even know what it means." Ichigo commented. He loved taking these little digs at the lieutenant; he just reacted so well he couldn't help himself.
"I know it's not good if you're the one calling me it."
"Cut it out you two; let's try to get these guys to Urahara without fighting for once." Uryuu gave the two shinigami's a stern look and started following after. "Come on Al, your coming too." The kid nodded and fell into step with the three.
"Hey this kid's got a metal arm!" Renji was holding the kids right arm and Ichigo could see he was right; peeking between the red coat he wore and the edge of a glove was metal not skin. The metal was a deep grey-blue color that reminded him uncomfortably of gunmetal, gleaming in the afternoon light.
"How is that even possible?" Uryuu queried. He had seen it as well and his face, already darkened in thought darkened even further.
"It's automail." He heard a voice from the younger kid behind him and turned to look him over.
"What the heck is automail?" Ichigo asked. The question seemed to affect the kid, confusion and some darker emotion Ichigo wasn't sure of flitted across his features.
"It's for people who have lost their limbs. You don't know what automail is?"
"I've definitely never heard of it before. Hey Renji have you ever heard of anything like this in the soul society?" Ichigo asked as he turned to the lieutenant. Renji's face creased in thought but he eventually shook his head.
"No never. It's kinda cool lookin' though." He said as he took another look at the gleaming metal wrist in his hand.
Unease started to tingle up Ichigo's arms. Something wasn't right about these two and he couldn't put his finger on what. He snuck a look at Uryuu and could see he had a similar look of unease on his features. The rest of the trip was mostly made in silence, each deciding to take solace in their own thoughts as opposed to biting comments and angered comebacks. The blonde kid Edward still seemed to be out cold and his little companion looked worried as he followed close behind.
When they finally reached Urahara's shop they dropped the two boys off in one of the adjacent rooms and took up a rather unusual conversation with the exiled captain.
"We found the hollow easily enough but somehow it was able to change form." Ichigo said as they sat in a small circle in the common area.
"It changed form? That's not something I've heard of before." Urahara seemed concerned and kept his head down, hiding his eyes behind his green and white striped hat.
"There's more. The hollow not only changed form but it's able to mask its reiatsu." Uryuu added solemnly. He was sitting up straight, shoulders squared and tense.
"Mask its reiatsu… Are you certain?" Urahara looked intent and even a little worried as he looked between Uryuu and Ichigo.
"Yeah we're sure. Ichigo and I chased it for a while before we lost it down one of the main streets." Renji added.
"The kids we found and brought here, they said they know its name, the one that's unconscious called it Envy. Have you ever heard of any hollow by that name?" Uryuu asked as he turned to Urahara. Piercing eye met piercing eye. There was a long pause before the older man spoke again.
"No I haven't. It sounds as if this hollow is stronger and smarter than most of them out there. I would definitely like to know how that kid knew its name." Urahara said as he glanced at the door behind which the blonde was currently lying on a palette. "There's something odd about those two. Their spirit pressure is unlike anything I felt before." He said quietly as his hand rested on his chin in thought.
"He has a metal arm too." Ichigo said.
"I saw that as well. Once the kid wakes up we'll need to have a talk with the both of them." Urahara gave one more piercing look at the door then dropped his head in thought, hiding his face in the darkness of his hat again.
Ichigo looked over to the door as well. The look in the older kids' large gold eyes before he passed out came back to Ichigo and for a moment he almost shivered at the memory of it. They looked haunted, terrified, like he had looked into the face of death. It bothered him just to think of what happened in order to get that look at such a young age; the kid couldn't be more than fifteen!
The room came slowly into focus and Ed groaned. He was having a horrible dream about the gate, black hands pulling at him, trying to tear him apart. He shuddered and opened his eyes. He looked to the ceiling, expecting to see the ballroom in the underground city, Dante's cold laughter rolling over him, prickling his skin with the horrible sound but all he could make out was a dimly lit room with a small window at the far end. Where the hell was he?
Realization came crashing back to him, like it always did. That fucking gate. He remembered every part of it. His mind never let him forget and the memory of Envy screaming his fathers name in a body that wasn't his, a dark haired kid with glasses and a hard attitude and his brother string at him through real eyes all came flooding back. Oh God Al… He sat up quickly, hoping to whatever power there was that the eyes he had seen were not part of some twisted dream, getting his hopes up only to find that he was alone. He wasn't though; he could hear soft breathing somewhere behind him.
"Al! Oh thank God! I thought it was a dream." He said as his eyes landed on Al. Real flesh and blood Al! He looked exactly the same as the day they tried to bring their mother back, same clothes, same face, like not a day had aged him. Only his eyes gave him away. They looked different, older, out of place almost, as if the pink boyish skin and dimpled knuckles was a mask against the soul inside.
"Ed your awake!" His brother got up from his seat by the wall and came over to his brother, looking concerned. "How are you feeling?" Al's arm came to rest on his right arm, the metal limb. It looked like half of his plan worked at least. He would take it though; he would take it all for the sake of his brother looking at him with human eyes instead of through the dimness of some metal shell.
"Ugh. Sick." He said. His voice still sounded raspy and thick, like he swallowed gravel. He shook his head taking in the situation. "Where are we?"
"Some place called U-da-ha-rrahs shop… I think. The people who tried to fight Envy took us here so you could recover." The look in the smoky eyes seemed dark and foreboding, worried somehow at the situation they had found themselves in. "Brother something isn't right here."
"You could say that again." He moved to sit more comfortably on the single futon, rubbing his eyes.
"The last thing I remember before coming here was trying to save you after… After…" Al's eyes started to moisten at the edges and Ed only had the barest of warnings before he was caught in a crushing hug. "I used the philosophers' stone to bring you back. You were… Dead." The last word came out as a sob and he could feel his shoulder moistening with tears.
"It's ok Al, I'm here. When I woke up Rose told me what you did. You saved me. I had to do the same. I couldn't live with myself knowing that you would be…" He could feel tears prickling uncomfortably along the edges of his eyelids and hugged his brother, the fate of the two seemed impossible but somehow they were alive. Ed shook himself, trying to keep the tears at bay and pulled his brother from his shoulders, looking him over. His eyes were reddened from fresh tears and a few glistening tracks made their way down to his chin but he smiled through them. "We're ok now though and that's the only thing that matters right now." He gave a nod to his brother, smiling through the tears he felt wavering on his eyelashes. His brother nodded back and wiped the stray tear tracks from his cheeks.
"After that I don't really remember much, just falling and hitting the ground and you landing beside me. Then I heard Envy screaming for dad." Al's eyes were large and scared at the memory.
"I remember going to the gate. Envy went through first before I tried to get you back." Ed's head dropped to look at his hands.
"Does that mean we're inside the gate?" His brother said incredulously.
"To tell the truth I really don't know." He could remember very little about it but was almost certain he remembered going through something. It was all so blurry though, almost as if his memories had been distorted. The silence stretched uncomfortably. Al finally broke it.
"What should we do now brother?" He asked in a small voice.
"Well we should probably find out where we are and thank the people who brought us here." He gave his brother an encouraging smile and patted his brothers shoulder with his metal hand and swung his legs from the futon he was resting on to place mismatched feet on the floorboards. "We should also talk to them and find out what's going on, it seemed like they were trying to fight Envy and I want to know why. Come on Al"
He lifted himself from the palette and opened the door. When he stepped into the common area all conversation stopped and four pairs of eyes met theirs.
"Well it's good to see you're up and about." The older man said with a half smile. Ed wanted to get a good look at him but was having trouble since the green and white hat he was wearing shaded his eyes, giving the older blonde man an air of mystery. "I'm Urahara. Come, sit, would you like some tea?" Ed's thoughts were all but forgotten in the offering of a hot beverage.
"Yeah thanks, and thanks for back there too." Ed said with a smile and they both took a seat between the dark haired kid with glasses and the orange spiky haired one. "Sorry I don't really remember much, what were your names again?"
"You don't remember because you were unconscious brother." Al chimed in inelegantly. Jeez did he have to bring up his moment of weakness in front of everyone? Well not that it mattered since they probably had to carry him from wherever they were to wherever they are now.
"It's no big deal." The redhead with the ponytail and facial tattoos stated nonchalantly. "I'm Renji" He said pumping a thumb towards his chest. "The dark haired kid is Uryuu, that's Ichigo over there and the hat man is Urahara. It's his shop we brought you to." He said as he pointed the same thumb in each direction of said person.
"I'm Ed and this is my brother Al." He gave a smile to each before accepting the tea from Urahara. The sharp astringent scent of green tea lifted to his nostrils and he inhaled deeply before taking a small sip. It was really quite good.
"So do you live around here?" The older man asked as he passed a similar cup to his brother, nodding in thanks.
"No I don't think so." He said looking into the depths of his teacup. The older man gave him an appraising look before responding.
"Ok then." The man could tell Ed was keeping something from him but thankfully let the situation lie, instead changing tactics and bringing up another subject that immediately had Ed on edge. "I need to ask you about that hollow that knocked the building down, the one we found you near. You said it had a name?" Ed gritted his teeth.
"Yeah it has a name, Envy. He's bad news. Why do you want to know about him anyways?" Ed gave the older man a calculating look. Let's see what this guy knows.
"Well the hollow – Envy has some interesting gifts that I would like to know more about. Like for instance how it can hide its reiatsu and change form." His arms folded against his chest and gave Ed a pointed look.
"Reiatsu? Whats that?" Ed said in hopes of stalling the conversation a bit more. Explaining to random strangers what a Homunculus was and how it's born not being one of Ed's funnest conversations.
"Reiatsu is kind of like a spiritual pressure. Every living thing has it whether it's strong or weak. The spiritual pressure in you two must be pretty high if you could see these two in their spirit forms and see the hollow. The thing is this creature can mask its spiritual pressure which is something I have never heard of. Since it sounds like you two know this creature, or at least its name I'm hoping you might be able to give me a hand in figuring out what its doing."
Ed sighed heavily and gave his brother a long look. He had almost forgotten how short he was, and he actually had looked upwards to catch his brother's eye but then looked down to find the two pools of smoky quartz worried and unsure.
"He's looking for our dad." Al said heavily. "That's the name he was calling out. Hoenheim. He hates him and heard that our father had come through –um – came through this area which is why he's here."
"That's why we're here too." Ed looked up from his half drunk tea to look up at the shaded eyes of the older man.
"What does he want with your father?" The orange spiky haired guy named Ichigo asked.
"He wants to kill him." Ed said meeting the bronze eyes. "He's been wanting to kill him for a long time. When he heard that this might be where he was Envy took the fastest route here… And we followed." He swallowed thickly; the tea was now sitting uncomfortably in Ed's stomach. He didn't feel he needed to mention the fact that he had gone to the underground city in order to get his brother back or the small issue of Envy pretty much killing him and his brother pulling him back from the darkness of death only to have to do the same for him. Ed didn't really want to think about it either honestly
"So you're on a mission then? I mean to stop that dick from killing your dad?" Renji said, looking him over with assessing eyes.
"Yeah. Envy needs to be stopped; no one is safe with him around. Once we stop him we'll just…" Ed paused in mid sentence. What was going to happen after? First he needed to figure out where they were before making any further plans. "Where is this place anyways?" Ed said looking around.
"This is my shop. You're in Karakura town." Urahara gave him a quizzical look.
"Karakura huh?" He hid his face in his tea trying to deal with his racing thoughts. The last time he went through the gate he ended up in some place called London, not Karakura so there is a possibility that they may have not gone through the gate but instead were thrown from it to a small town in Amestris or something. That thought made him feel a little better but still didn't help to dispel the earlier comments of hollows, reiatsu and spiritual pressure.
"Where exactly is Karakura then?" The question seemed to unnerve the kid with glasses.
"It's in Japan" Uryuu said. "Where are you from?" The question was asked again.
"Central City, Amestris." He looked up in hopes that they would know the name but the strangers around the table looked confused.
"Amestris? Never heard of it. Or Central City." Urahara said. He was giving a confused look out from under his hat. This is not good. Not good at all. An uncomfortable feeling started working its way through Ed. No one here has even heard of Ametris here and we're not in London either. He gave his brother a sidelong look, he seemed ill at the information they had just uncovered. The only option he could think of is that they had actually gone through the gate but if this wasn't London then where the hell were they! Does that mean the gate could open into other places? That had Ed's mouth drying out with the possibility that there could be hundreds, even THOUSANDS of entryways and exits. How the hell were they going to get home!
"So when you stop this Envy thing does that mean you're going home to wherever this… Amestris is?" Ichigo asked as he looked between Ed and his brother.
"Honestly I don't even know if that's possible anymore." He looked into his teacup again. It was getting cold, the warmth from the half filled cup now barely even a luke warm. What were they to do? Bring the gate back and just saunter through its doors? In order to do that Ed would have to compromise almost every moral and personal code he had. The only way to open that gate would be another human transmutation... Or use a baby like Dante did and that thought had him shuddering and feeling nauseous again. That was now the least of their worries anyways. Once the gate was open he couldn't be sure that where they ended up would actually be home. The anger, fear and frustration bubbled up under his breastbone, coursing through his veins and his hands clenched. The cup in his hands cracked, a thin line of porcelain breaking off to land on the tabletop. What little tea there was left spilling onto the table.
"Shit. Sorry about that." Ed said quietly.
"Don't worry about it. Here, let me get you another cup." Urahara made a motion to get up but Ed stopped him.
"Don't worry about it; I'll fix it for you." He clapped his hands, felt the swirling alchemic reaction through his palms and gently came to rest them on the table, the broken cup fitting comfortably in the centre. A small crackle and a soft blue light surrounded the cup, unable to see it as the alchemy took its course. After a moment the cup came back into view uncracked and even the tea that had spilled on the table was back in its place. He looked up with a small smile only to have it wiped from his face and a sinking feeling unlike any other fill him.
Four pairs of eyes were staring at the fixed cup, looks ranging from shock to open astonishment. The redhead Renji pulled his eyes away from the cup to look at Ed with wide eyes.
"What… Was that?"
Ok please let me know what you think!