Hello everyone! This is SakuraLetters bringing you the first chapter of "Utopian Requiem", the sequel to "Temporary Home". This is set ten years after "Temporary Home", so Erika and her friends are 14.
Disclaimer: I, SakuraLetters, do not own Fullmetal Alchemist. Hiromu Arakawa does, and although I am half Japanese, I am not a successful mangaka. I do, however, own the wide array of original characters featured in this story.
The room was small and slightly messy: a few toys scattered across the room, a few books here and there that hadn't been re-shelved, bed clumsily remade by small hands. Several crayon drawings were taped to the wall, within reach of a small person. It was a child's room, a room Edward Elric knew surprisingly well. He sat on the bed, waiting for a certain little girl to come running through the door.
And she did, wearing a cute plaid jumper and a white blouse, her school uniform. Her golden blonde hair was loosely tied into two pigtails, and a hair clip that matched her skirt held back her bangs on the left side of her face. Her gold eyes—so much like his own—lit up as she saw him.
"Daddy!" Erika squealed as she launched herself into her father's arms. Edward smiled as he hugged his daughter.
"It's great to see you again, Daddy!" God, how could she so largely take after him and still manage to look so much like Winry? Erika began to go on and on about how things had been since their last meeting. She talked about her best friends, Ed Mustang and Chris Armstrong, and about her school. At seven years old, Erika already had a vocabulary that would make a high honor student jealous and had a stunning understanding of alchemy. To say that Edward was proud of his daughter would be an enormous understatement.
Erika was showing him her last drawings. She had quite the artistic talent, and despite being only seven her portrayals of flowers already had a realistic touch to them. After a bit, Erika's chatter died down, and a sad look crossed her face.
"It's all a dream, isn't Daddy? Soon I'm going to wake up, and you still won't be here, right?"
Edward smiled sadly. "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
"Mommy misses you. We need you back, Daddy!" Erika fought to hold back the tears; Daddy didn't like it when she cried and neither did she. It made her eyes all red and puffy and made her nosy stuffy.
"I'm trying, Erika. It won't be today, and it probably won't be tomorrow, but some day I'll be able to come back," Edward said as he rubbed her back.
Erika sniffed. "Promise?"
The sound of flesh hitting flesh filled the courtyard as a pair of school kids sparred before class started. Their match had already attracted a sizable audience, and the crowd showed no signs of shrinking. After all, sparring matches between Edward Mustang and Erika Rockbell-Elric were almost as epic as when they threw alchemy into the mix. (Unfortunately, they could no longer do that thanks to several complaints involving property damage.)
A bell rang throughout the crisp early morning air, signaling the start of the school day. Chatter exploded as all of the students made their way to their first class. Edward and Erika called it quits and moved over to where their school bags sat, guarded by a muscular boy with messy blond hair and bright green eyes.
"So, tell us Chris: who won today?" Erika asked cheerily as she grabbed her uniform blazer and her side bag.
"I totally won, Erika," Edward said, a teasing smirk on his face. Erika had no problem punching him in the shoulder in response.
"You're a violent witch, Erika," Edward remarked, forcing himself not to give her the satisfaction of rubbing the area of impact (which was really starting to smart).
"Alchemist, Ed," she corrected in a light, airy tone. "I'm an alchemist, not a witch. So, Chris, who do you think won?"
"You two tied. As far as hand-to-hand goes, you guys are pretty evenly matched," Chris answered as the three friends headed inside. After thinking for a moment, Chris grinned. "Hey, Ed, I just thought of something. If you and Erika are evenly matched when she's wearing a skirt, she could most likely own you easily when she's in pants."
The next thing she knew, Erika was watching Edward chase Chris down, screaming accusations and carefully chosen profanities at him. Of course, Chris was getting a rather big laugh out of the whole deal. Chuckling herself, Erika turned down a different hallway. When she reached her locker, she quickly opened it and began to pick out what she needed and put away things she didn't.
"Good morning, Erika!"
Erika looked around her locker door to see a girl with shoulder-length blond hair and wide brown eyes.
Allison Havoc was a bubbly girl with an ungodly amount of energy. She could probably sprint to Xing and back without getting tired. While she had no interest in fighting or alchemy, she did share Erika's passion for art. While Allison was actually two years younger (she had managed to skip two grades back in elementary school), that didn't stop the girls from quickly becoming friends.
"How far are you on that project Mrs. Iverson assigned?"
"I just finished the eyes."
"Only the eyes?" Allison was shocked; usually Erika steamrolled through her projects and made them look absolutely stunning within two days of getting the assignment. They had been on this assignment for three days.
"I told you I'm not good at drawing people, or animals. I much prefer still life."
Allison, who was the opposite when it came to her preference of subject, mulled over her choices. If she continued with the issue at hand, it wouldn't be long before Erika got stuck in one of her hostile moods (which, when she thought about it, was inevitable: the idiots in their Algebra class never failed to set her into a homicidal rage). However, if she changed the subject, chances were very good that the conversation would wander to Erika's relationship with Edward. Ah well; a flustered Erika was extremely amusing.
They had their first three classes together: back to back art classes and then Algebra. Allison had the strangest feeling that something would go horribly, horribly wrong today, and she warily scanned the classroom. Unfortunately, the three biggest provokers of Erika's wrath were present. Craig Olsen, Katie Mathews, and Timmy Schultz had been thorns in Erika's side since she given them all minor injuries standing up for Allison back in the second grade. They had never quite gotten over the humiliation and had vowed to make Erika's life a living hell because of it. Today, they seemed to be at the top of their game.
"Hey, Erika, still no word from daddy?"
"Shove off, Katie," Erika snapped as she set her bag down (mercifully, the teacher had managed to keep a room's length between them) and pulled out her math notebook.
"Hey, have you heard the news? They're finally holding war crime trials for what happened in Ishbal," Craig said offhandedly, a smirk on his face. "Looks like your little boyfriend is going to be short two parents in a few months."
Allison knew bloodshed was imminent when Erika froze. Rule number one when dealing with Erika: you could badmouth her all you wanted, but bring her family and friends into it more than once, and you were a dead man. Craig obviously didn't grasp the severity of the situation, seeing as he was sharing a rather obnoxious laugh with his friends. Erika, however, was already plotting the many gruesome ways she could kill him.
"Olsen, for seven years, I've put up with your shit, but now you've gone too far." Erika's voice was eerily calm, rage seething underneath the surface like lava preparing to erupt from a volcano. Within seconds, Erika had him pinned to the wall, her eyes flashing murder. "Don't ever joke about matters you do not understand. Ishbal happened over twenty years ago. If this country is too stupid to just move forward, that's its problem, but I will not let you badmouth my best friend's parents!"
Fear shone in Craig's eyes. Thankfully, she was only holding him by his collar instead of his throat (he was almost certain he'd have suffocated by now if she was), but the pure malice in her eyes made him shake with an unholy fear. Erika let go of him. She remained silent as she returned to her seat. The entire class remained silent as the teacher walked in and began the lesson, Erika's outburst fresh in their minds.
Meanwhile, Craig, Katie, and Timmy were all stunned. That was Erika's first outburst of physical violence towards them since their original beating seven years ago. The only thing Craig could think of was Erika's eyes darkening into soulless gold orbs, promises of a horrible and bloody murder floating just underneath the surface. Those eyes would haunt his nightmares for life. One thing was certain:
Erika was true demon when she was pissed.
The final bell rang, and students poured into the hallways as they headed for their lockers and then home. Everyone was chatting happily, not a single depressing thought on their minds. With Erika and Edward, it was a completely different story. Erika's face brightened when she spotted Chris and Ed. Chris noticed her immediately, but Edward's eyes remained on the ground until Chris lightly elbowed him the side.
"Huh? Oh, sorry Erika. Didn't see you there." His voice sounded so…defeated. It just wasn't like him to be so depressed.
"You won't see anyone looking at the ground like that, Ed. You still want to come with us to that new bookstore?"
"Hehe, sorry guys," Edward said, rubbing the back of his head. "I can't hang out with you guys after school anymore."
"The guards assigned to my parents have orders to keep tabs on all of us until the trial's over. It's either this or drag you two into it by having them shadow me. I didn't think you'd be too happy with the shadow thing."
"I'm not happy with either of them!" Erika was irritated; how dare a couple of military upstarts tell her best friend how he could and couldn't spend his time! "Ed, they can't do this! You're not on trial!"
"They gave Blaire and Nikki the same ultimatum."
"Blaire's only nine! And Nikki just turned seven!"
Edward didn't say anything; he didn't even smile at the memory of Blaire tearing the officers a new one. She had a very healthy set of lungs on her; they probably heard her clear on the far side of Xing.
"Ed, are you going to be okay?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I'd better get going. Have fun at the bookstore!" With that, Edward took off to home, leaving his friends in the dust.
"We might as well get to the bookstore, Erika," Chris said, adjusting his back pack. Erika nodded and the two left the school.
"Not to seem rude, but why isn't your dad being put on trial?"
Chris shrugged. "Maybe it's because he was court marshaled for disobeying orders in Ishbal, and that counts as a 'get-out-jail-free' card or something."
"Kind of makes you wonder why, doesn't it?"
"I heard you flipped on Olsen today."
"He just said the wrong thing at the wrong time. He should know by now that my tolerance threshold when it comes to him is near zero. Besides, he said something about Ed's situation that I didn't find particularly amusing."
Chris decided not to push the subject further; if Erika believed she was justified, there was very little anyone could say to convince her otherwise. She had an amazing amount of self-restraint and hadn't physically assaulted someone in anything other than self defense since the second grade. (Although, that might have counted as self-defense because Craig Olsen did throw the first punch.)
"It's going to snow soon," Erika said offhandedly, absentmindedly looking at her shoes.
Chris looked up at the gloomy gray sky and suppressed a shiver. Not from the cold, mind you, but from the second meaning of her words. Something big was going to happen, and very soon.
Erika's instincts were never wrong.
Alright, I think that went well. However, just to warn you, things are going to fall apart rather quickly in this story. As the summary says, history has an unfortunate tendency to repeat itself, and sometimes in the most unusual ways.
Please review! Flames will be laughed at and then promptly ignored, but constructive criticisms are welcomed.