Uh... hi. *waves awkwardly* Remember me? Nope, didn't think so. :/ Whatevah.
So... yeah. This has taken waaaay longer than I anticipated. O.O Prolly will be my last update before band camp, and then school, and since with school starts marching band... Who knows when I'll have time to write again.
To put it plainly, this chapter is pure shit. I have no idea how I was going to end it. Blast it all, just... just... ignore me...
Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist and Harry Potter are not mine. They are the sole property of Hiromu Arakawa and JK Rowling, respectively. Don't worry, I'll put my toys away when I'm done.
This chapter was inspired by Joe Hisaishi's pieces, John Williams' scores, Michiru Oshima's "Fullmetal Alchemist" soundtrack, and Akira Senju's "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" soundtrack. I give a biiiig thanks to them, and also to the cast of "A Very Potter Musical", which has made my life sooo much better and has allowed me to download the soundtrack which I listened to a LOT while I wrote this chapter. So TeamStarKid gets cookies.
It had only been a week since classes had started and Edward's automail was already failing him.
"What's broken?" he demanded as Winry tinkered with some of the wiring.
"There doesn't seem like there's anything wrong with it," she said, inspecting the limb thoroughly. "I'm not sure what the problem is."
The alchemist frowned. "Damn it. I can't be held back by a stupid limb or two, we're here for a reason!" he growled under his breath.
Winry placed the coverings back onto the leg she was working on and screwed them firmly in place. "If it keeps happening, I guess we can talk to the Headmistress. Maybe she knows some spell or something to find out what's wrong."
Edward scowled at the idea of magic. It was so shady, so, so… unscientific.
"Hey, quit making that face," Winry instructed, dropping her tools back into her toolbox. "It isn't the end of the world."
"I don't like it," Edward muttered, glaring at nothing in particular as he pulled his shirt back on again. "It's not normal."
"And neither are you, but you don't see us complaining about it," Winry said with a smile. "Shorty."
"I'm not short! And I'm very normal, thank you very much!" Edward snapped, standing up and stretching his metal arm.
"Says the child prodigy with a metal arm and leg and a suit of armor for a brother," came a new voice.
"Enough of you, Mustang," Edward growled, looking up to see the Flame Alchemist stride into the hospital wing where the Major had just gotten an automail tune-up.
Winry sighed and shook her head in exasperation.
"You know, if you keep scowling like that, your face will freeze that way," Mustang remarked with a smirk.
"And if you don't shut up, I'll give you a knuckle sandwich for lunch every day this week," Edward replied. "So we're even."
Mustang said nothing.
"What brings you here, Colonel?" Winry said politely, not looking at him.
"I just came by to remind Fullmetal that he ought to be keeping up with his research as to how to get home."
"I am, I am," Edward muttered. "Sheesh, Mustang. Don't you have better things to do than badger me? Like, I don't know, carry on illicit affairs with students or something?"
Winry whacked him with her wrench, abashed that he would suggest something so rude, while Mustang just laughed heartily. "Would if I could, Fullmetal. Would if I could."
"I don't know how your lady friends can put up with you," Edward wondered aloud, frowning and crossing his arms (though not without difficulty.) "Hawkeye, too. She must be about ready to shoot you."
Mustang simply smirked.
"You're all set, Edward," Winry said, putting her wrench back into her toolbox and collecting her supplies. "I'll talk to the Headmistress sometime this afternoon and I'll meet you in the entrance hall after dinner if there's anything I can do about it."
Edward nodded and stretched his metal appendages, grimacing slightly. "Fair enough. Mustang, I'll be outside before our next class."
The dark-haired officer nodded as his subordinate left the hospital wing, muttering about automail and its faulty wiring under his breath before turning to the blonde who still wouldn't look at him as she put the last of her tools back into her beaten metal toolbox. "Miss Rockbell," he said quietly.
"Yes?" she asked stiffly.
"Thank you for looking after Fullmetal and his automail. I appreciate you coming along with us," he said quietly.
"It's nothing," she said quietly, latching the box and removing her greasy work gloves. "If I hadn't come with you, Ed and Al would probably have been busted up beyond repair."
"That's true," Mustang mused.
There was silence between the two, broken only by the occasional chattering of the odd student out in the hallway or Madame Pomfrey bustling about, tending to patients with headaches or stomachaches.
Roy thought of all the things he could say. Something he could say to make the animosity disappear. But of course, there was nothing. She had every right to hate him. After all, he was the one who had killed her parents. He had been following orders, true, but that wasn't the point. The fact remained that he was the one who had done it. But he didn't want the hatred that still stood between them, the tension that filled the room like water filled a pond.
The colonel couldn't say a word. Instead of trying to make things "better," he left the hospital wing, putting on his placid, cool poker face. There would be a time; that time was not now.
"Sir, are you alright?"
Startled ever so slightly, Edward looked up from the notes on his desk. "Vy vould I not be?"
Hermione Granger appeared slightly taken aback. "W-well, sir, it's just, you seem a bit… stiff. Like it's hard to move."
"T'at is not t'e case," Edward replied, giving her an analytic stare. "I am just… tired."
"I'm not sure you're tired, sir, I mean, after all—" Hermione began but Edward's withering look caused her to trail off and shrink in her seat. "Sorry," she said meekly.
"Yes, yes," he said, picking up an open book from a stack on his desk and writing equations, formulas, and elements on the blackboard. "Now. Today, ve vill be looking at t'e structure of atoms in matter."
"I can't believe this," one of the students muttered to a friend.
"Vat I cannot belief is t'at you haff all gone for so long wit'out learning such basic kemistry," Edward responded coolly, still writing. "It is disgrace to education."
"You do realize this is a magic school, Fullmetal?" Mustang asked in Amestrian.
Edward merely shrugged and continued.
"You vill remember t'e basic structure of each element, no?" Mustang said to the students as his subordinate finished his task. "Vat ve haff said about protons, neutrons, and electrons? About stable and unstable elements?"
There was a murmur of agreement.
"Excellent. Now ve begin on how each element becomes stable or forms new substance. Like vater," Mustang continued with his lecture. "Vater has formula off two parts hydrogen, von part oxygen. So for every molecule of oxygen in a cup of vater, t'ere is tvice as many hydrogen molecules."
"A vital part of alchemy is knowing vat substances and elements make up a material," Edward said. "Observe, pleese." With that, he clapped his hands and put his palms to the stone floor of the classroom. Bright, electric light came seemingly out of nowhere and the alchemist grinned as he pulled a sharp, intricate spear from the ground.
Of course, Mustang thought with a sigh and a roll of his eyes.
Within moments, Edward had a long, dangerous-looking spear wrapped in his hands. He grinned wickedly. "Do you see vat I am getting at?"
There were many murmurs of awe and blank stares of confusion.
Edward's face dropped. "I suppose not." He sighed, shaking his head. "No matter. Vat I mean is t'is; if I had not known vat elements and t'eir respectiff amouts vere in t'e stone of t'e floor, t'en I vould not haff been able to create a spear."
"It is incredibly difficult to know exakly how much of vat materials vill make up a piece of matter," Mustang said, crossing his arms in front of him. "Major Elric is vat is called a 'child prodigy'. Few alchemists can do such… trying vork. T'is is vy most of us specialize in von type of alchemy."
Edward clapped his hands and returned the spear to the floor. "For example, t'ere vas vonce an alchemist named Isaac McDougal. He vas a state-certified scientist who specialized in vater alchemy." Of course, he also tried to assassinate the Fuhrer and half of Central, he recalled to himself, picturing his thirteen-year-old self as part of the force involved in his arrest.
"T'ey gave me title of 'Flame Alchemist' because I specialize only in flame," Mustang added with a smirk. He snapped his gloved fingers and Edward yelped as a short burst of flame erupted out of nowhere beside his head.
"Holy shit, Mustang!" he cried in Amestrian.
Mustang shut his eyes and chuckled. "Such t'ings like t'is are extremely difficult to master, but if you manage to, t'en you are considered esteemed. Such forms of alchemy are nearly impossible to learn."
"But you did it, Professor Mustang," one of the Ravenclaw girls said in a low, sultry voice. "Didn't you?"
"Yes," Mustang said, raising an eyebrow and smirking in her direction. "I did indeed."
Had this story been a shoujo manga, the poor student would have been stabbed with Cupid's arrow. However, it is not. So the young lady swooned as her cheeks turned bright red.
"It vas skill learnt from his lieutenant's fat'er," Edward drawled, grinning widely. "She is… vat is t'e vord… enamored vit Mustang's skill."
Several of the girls gasped, muttering amongst themselves about Mustang's love affair with his lieutenant and some giggled as Roy glared at his subordinate. The male students in the room rolled their eyes at the antics of the ladies.
The class continued on as per the usual, which was Edward and Roy switching of explaining concepts and lessons while they made jabs at each other, the female student population swooning, and the boys in the class giving their teachers death glares.
"T'ere vill be qviz Friday on basic principles you haff learned," Mustang said as the students packed up. "Be prepared!"
Edward groaned in aggravation as his automail creaked and hissed quietly. His ports ached as the air outside was rather chilly compared to most of Amestris. "Damn metal arm and leg," he muttered in his native tongue, limping across the entrance hall towards the Great Hall for lunch. At least he didn't have to put up with any more scientifically-inept students until the following morning.
The blond alchemist turned, slightly surprised and saw his younger brother running down one of Hogwarts' many hallways towards him. "Hey, Al!"
The young boy had been blending in rather well, seeing as many of the suits of armor around the castle were enchanted and had minds of their own. People didn't give him so much as a second glance at Hogwarts, which made a rather nice change from being gawked at all the time in Amestris.
"Edward, I found something on Nicholas Flamel in the restricted section," Alphonse said excitedly, catching up with his elder brother. He held out a thick, dusty book that looked as though it had only been recently opened. The book had no title on its cover or spine, but that hadn't stopped Alphonse from opening it.
"Great, great," Edward said, waving a hand and managing a smile at his brother.
"Is your automail hurting?" Alphonse asked, following his brother towards the Great Hall.
"Killing me, but I'll live," Ed replied, laughing half-heartedly.
"Did Winry find anything wrong with it?"
"Nope. Neither of us is sure what's aggravating it."
"Nah, I don't think that's it. It's usually not nearly this bad in cold weather."
"That's strange." By this time, the two had reached the doors to the Great Hall.
"Are you coming in, Al?" Edward asked, pausing halfway through the door.
The suit of armor hesitated before shaking his head. "No thanks, Brother. I'm going back to the library to look up some more materials."
The two of them parted ways and Edward headed through the crowds of hungry students to the staff table, where his plate was waiting to be filled.
As the Fullmetal Alchemist ate his supper, he thought hard and long about their predicament to get his mind off of the aching limbs attached to his self. Nobody here so far had known a single thing about the Gate. Alchemy was, as it had been expressed to him earlier, a dead art. Though he hadn't been able to get to read the texts in the library, he found the textbooks that had normally been issued to students had many, many gaps and mistakes. The basic idea was the same, but the information was far off.
"Professor Elric, how good to see you," McGonagall said, taking a seat next to the blond.
The young man looked up and gave her a curt nod. "Afternoon, Professor McGonagall," he said stiffly.
"How are your classes faring so far?" the older woman asked pleasantly, spooning mashed potatoes onto her plate.
"Vell so far, I suppose. I do not know if t'ey vill be able to keep up, t'ough." Edward smirked to himself as he reached for a pitcher of fire whiskey.
"And why is that?"
"I haff… How to put it… Vat some might call an unort'odox met'od of teaching. T'e very same my teacher used vit me. Call it toff love if you vill."
McGonagall raised an eyebrow. "Tough love, Professor Elric?"
"Yes, t'at is it. My teacher dropped Al and I off on a deserted island vit not'ing but a knife and told us ve had to survife for a mont'." He grinned at this fond memory.
McGonagall looked slightly shocked. "Surely you don't mean to leave those children on an island for a month!"
"No, no, ma'am, off course not," Edward said hastily, trying to hide his smile as he poured some amber-colored drink into a waiting goblet. "If I had my vay, t'ey'd do it t'e vay my teacher did it; alone in t'e vinter at Mount Briggs, von of t'e coldest, harshest, snoviest places in t'e country of Amestris."
McGonagall looked shocked.
"Al and I almost had to endure t'at, too." He shuddered, despite the warm, bubbly sensation of butter beer running down his throat.
"Just what kind of a person was this teacher of yours?"
Edward's grin returned. "She vas a housewife."
The elderly woman stared at him, aghast, but he ignored it, turning back to his meal.
"Edward, how's your automail?" Winry chirped in Amestrian, plopping down into the seat beside him with a grin. "Holding up alright?"
"Yeah, so far," he said, ignoring the twinges of the artificial nerves. "It still hurts like a bitch."
"Language," Winry chided him happily, spooning salad into a bowl.
"Whatever, it's not like they know what I'm saying anyway."
"That isn't the point."
"I don't give a crap if its the point or not. Its not like you can wash my mouth out with soap or anything. That wouldn't end well for you or me."
Winry rolled her eyes. "Edward, I hope you know that you're a pain."
"I get that a lot."
She sighed and shook her head. "Sheesh, Ed."
"Sheesh, Winry," he mimicked, cutting his chicken into large chunks and stuffing one into his mouth.
"Have a little more class, would you?" the blonde girl said, narrowing her eyes at him.
He chewed, swallowed, and grinned at her, lifting the butter beer again. "I do it for you."
She gave him a snort of disgust and turned back to her meal, muttering something about Edward and his general stupidity.
He gave her an amused, satisfied grin and turned back to his meal with vigor, suddenly very hungry.
The meal continued for him in silence, as he gave no invitation to anyone to make human contact. He finished up and took one last hearty drink of the butterbeer, silently wishing for some good old-fashioned brandy from Pinako's liquor cabinet. She always had the best. "I'm heading up for now, I'll probably be in the library and then head off to bed," he told Winry quietly, stifling a yawn with his flesh hand. "Don't worry about me or Al, alright?"
She nodded up at him and said goodbye, under the impression that she wasn't going to see him until rather late in the evening, or else very early the next morning.
Edward turned on his heel and strode around the staff table and towards the massive double doors at the end of the hall, oblivious to all the subtle and not-so-subtle glances his female students were giving him. All he really wanted was to get to the library, his sanctuary of books and solitude, the wonderful scent of ancient texts and volumes, the glorious feel of the pages in his hands, the enlightenment of the information they all held! Oh, what fantastic feeling, the feeling of being wonderfully genius and literate! Ah, how he loved it.
Of course, things like this never went well for Edward.
Halfway down the hall his automail leg gave out from underneath him, pushing him face-first into a meeting with the hard, flagstone floor. With a resounding "thud", the Fullmetal Alchemist fell to the ground and reached instinctively for his leg, gasping ever-so-slightly in surprise at the sudden shot of pain that raced from his foot to the flesh it was attached to.
The students cried out, laughed, or called for professors, but the one noise Edward could make out was Winry shouting loudly in Amestrian about him lying to her about his automail.
"Moron! How am I supposed to fix it if you don't tell me it's faulty?" she cried, racing around the staff table towards him.
"How am I supposed to know its faulty?" he yelled back, biting back the cry of pain he instinctively wanted to let out, struggling against himself to sit up properly. "It just gave out on me two seconds ago!"
By this time, Winry had reached him, looking rather concerned. She dropped to her knees next to him, ignoring the curious looks that the students were giving the two Amestrians and tuning out the other professors' speech. Without any hesitation, she shoved Edward's pant leg up to his knee and began examining his appendage thoroughly. "The suspension is fine, the hydraulics don't seem to be busted up…"
The student body gasped and began gossiping the instant that their alchemy professor's leg was exposed and Edward groaned. There would be a bombardment of glares, stares, gossip, stupid questions, and an overall mess that he had hoped to avoid. "Thanks, Winry," he muttered sarcastically.
"What on Earth is wrong with his leg?" the portly Professor Slughorn asked, somehow managing to waddle over to him.
"T'e vires in his leg cannot get t'e electric signals from t'e brain," Winry noted, lifting his leg carefully. "Everyt'ing by vay of mechanics iz fine, but t'e vires…"
"My dear girl, did you say 'electric' signals?" Slughorn asked with a chortle.
"She did," Edward said, watching her examine his leg.
"Well, there's your problem!" the round man boomed, clapping a hand atop Edward's head. "He'll need a specialized charm for that to be able to function around here."
The blond alchemist scowled and shook his head vehemently, forcing the pudgy hand off of his cranium. "Magic?" he snarled.
"Yes, boy, magic."
Edward scoffed. "I won't let them use it on me, Winry," he said bluntly in Amestrian.
"Don't be silly, Ed. You have to take this chance, otherwise you might never walk while you're here and have to ride in a wheelchair or be carried around by Mustang." She smirked at the shocked and slightly disgusted expression that crossed her childhood friend's face. "Now, what do you think about that?"
"I'll let them use the damn magic," he muttered, still speaking Amestrian. His eyes glared at the flagstone floor, leaving Winry to translate and ask for assistance getting him to the hospital wing, if it was needed.
She wrapped his flesh arm around her shoulders and helped him onto his flesh leg, the other one hanging uselessly from his left thigh. "Come on," she told him. "Work with me, here, Ed."
Together, the two of them managed to make their way out of the Great Hall and up the stairs (God knows how) to the small apartment in which they were staying.
Edward flopped onto the sofa once he was inside as Winry, flanked by Professors Slughorn and McGonagall, who had seen the commotion from the faculty table, began talking about automail, how it worked, what spells could or should be used, and more along those lines.
"Could I pleese haff t'e spell now?" Edward groaned loudly. "My leg hurts like bitch."
"Edward!" Winry scolded in Amestrian.
"Vaaaaat?" he replied in English, frowning and raising his hands in a helpless shrug. "It does!"
Winry gave him a withering look before returning to her conversation with the two teachers. She carefully explicated how automail worked and helped the two of them figure out a safe charm to make sure that Edward would be able to function properly.
The blond professor sat somewhat impatiently on the couch as this whole discussion went on, and it wasn't long before he started counting the number of stones on the far wall. He was just so bored…
"Alright, Professor Elric," McGonagall finally addressed him, briskly walking around the sofa and standing in front of him, looking stern and solemn. "We have a spell we're going to use now on both your arm and leg."
"How does it vork?" the young man asked, curious.
"Don't bother asking us that," McGonagall snapped, pulling her wand from the waistband of her dress. "Now. This is going to hurt where your nerves connect, but I can easily get you a potion to reduce the pain, if you wish."
"No potions," Ed spat disdainfully. "Don't trust t'em. You are lucky I am letting you cast a curse or vatever on me."
"I can assure you, Professor Elric, there will be no cursing of any sort going on," McGonagall replied, looking mildly offended. "Now, keep still."
Edward screwed up his face, grit his teeth and swallowed the pain that suddenly shot through his ports as the older woman waved her wand and murmured a few complicated phrases that Edward did not understand. When she finished, she stepped back and Professor Slughorn, who had been observing silently from the other side of the room, stepped closer to survey the damage. Edward let out a small groan and dropped his head onto the back of the sofa.
"Are you alright?" Winry asked in Amestrian, kneeling on the other side of the couch and brushing Edward's bangs out of his upside-down face. "Do you want some of the painkillers Gran gave me?"
Edward shook his head. "Don't worry 'bout me," he replied quietly in his native tongue. "Really. It's not… It's nothing I can't deal with."
"Are you sure?"
He nodded silently, pulling a weak smile across his features.
Winry watched him quietly for a few more moments, then sighed and stood, stepping around the couch to where McGonagall and Slughorn had taken hold of Ed's arm and leg, examining them carefully.
"You built these, Miss Rockbell?" Slughorn asked.
"I did," she answered in English, grinning. "T'ey are special designs. Ed alvays breaks t'em real good, so I vas… proactive."
Slughorn grinned up at her with beady eyes. "You did a superb job!"
"T'ank you, Professor Slughorn," Winry beamed with a little giggle. "It is refreshing to know t'at t'ere are people in t'e vorld who can appreciate good automail." At this, she gave Edward a rather pointed glare.
"Feh," he said in response, smirking at her angry expression.
Winry stared at him for a moment longer before enthusiastically answering any and all of the questions that Slughorn and McGonagall asked her.
Before Edward really registered what was happening, Slughorn and Professor McGonagall had been invited to dinner in the small apartment with them with some of Winry's delicious home cooking, rather than going down to the Great Hall.
For the love of God, he thought to himself, sighing and standing up with a great amount of effort. "I'm going to go… help Al with research," he declared in Amestrian, ignoring the two other professors in the room. "I won't be back for dinner, don't worry about me."
"Really? But I'm going to see if I can have an apple pie finished for later tonight," Winry said, looking up from her food preparation.
Edward was silent for a moment, then turned and approached the door. He was halfway out before he paused and said, "…maybe I'll be back." With that, he strode out into the hallway, ignoring the dull, throbbing pain in his ports, and headed off to the library.
"Vy must he be so rude to you?" Winry sighed, glaring at the doorway. "I am sorry he is acting like a child. I do not understand vat has gotten into him. He is in t'e military; aren't t'ey supposed to show respect?"
"Professor Elric doesn't seem to be your conventional teacher," Slughorn said with a hearty laugh. "I doubt he'd be your average soldier, too."
Winry gave a halfhearted smile. "I suppose…"
"Now, how about that dinner?"
Alphonse internally sighed as he flipped through yet another hopeless book. He was getting nowhere.
"Hey, Al," he heard a familiar voice say, and the suit of armor looked up as Edward Elric dropped into a seat across from him.
"Hi," he replied, gently shutting his book.
"I heard about what happened in the Great Hall today," Alphonse said. "The ghosts wouldn't keep quiet about it."
"Yeah," Edward said with a little grimace.
"Did Winry fix you up?"
"Nope. McGonagall and Slughorn did."
"Was anything wrong with it, you know, mechanically?"
"It was all fine. The metal and suspension wasn't busted, the wires were secured, it was just the electric signals from my brain getting all screwed up."
"There's something wrong with your brain?" Alphonse sounded amused.
Edward groaned, ignoring the jab and dropping his head onto the book that lay in front of him. "No. The electric signals weren't working on the automail. They weren't being amplified because of some weird magic repellant or something."
"Is that it?"
Ed lifted his head and sighed with a shrug. "I don't know and, frankly, I can't care less. I just want to be able to walk around without falling over a hunk of useless metal."
Alphonse, were he able to, would have smirked ever so slightly. "Don't worry, Brother. I'll get you arm and leg back so you won't have to worry about that ever again."
"You first, Alphonse. You're more important." Edward grabbed a book from the "to-be-read" pile at random and flipped it open to a page halfway through. "And we will succeed, no matter what."
I swear to you, there will be Draco action in the next chapter. I have some rather evil ideas regarding him... A-durdurdurdur...
So. Reviews, as always, are appreciated. CRITIQUE, especially!
Anastasia, if you're reading this, now will you shut up and let me alone! THANK you! Sheesh!
Anyhow, thanks guys!