The cat is baaaaaaack! Its been a while since I last put anything on fanfiction, and I apologize to my readers. I have been sick lately with the dreaded mono that has been running rampant round my school. I missed A WEEK! I'm so going to die when I go back.

This story is an example of my main goal in life; to do the unexpected. I mean, FMA and Pokemon? Who is even going to read this? By I want to go boldly where no writer has ever gone before (I watched some Star Trek when I was sick) and try new things. And so, here I am, writing a story about two people trying to recover from troubled pasts. Feel the angst!

WARNING: CHARACTER DEATH AND SOME DARK THEMATIC MATERIAL. Which basically means, if you can't take a sad story, go elsewhere.

I don't own this. I've said it before, but I just felt like saying it again. Oh, and I apologize for any spelling or grammar errors in the story, I'm horrible about some of that stuff. Thank god for spell check!

So, without further ado...

Chapter One


In an abandoned apartment building somewhere in a dingy city, a cry echoed across the night. In this rundown section of town, not many people were there to notice. The alleyways were the cleanest places to be, for the streets accumulated more dirt and filth than the covert shadows of a crooked alleyway. A mangy, flea bitten cat, startled by the sudden loud noise, gave a crackling hiss and scurried away into the night. Of the others who noticed the outburst, which included the squatter sitting on the doorstep and the three burglars counting their cash on the floor down, well, they just shrugged and went about their business. It wasn't unusual here to hear a sudden cry in the middle of the night. Gunfire was a just as frequent sound.

The three burglars sitting around a small, rickety, poorly-lit table looked up again as another piercing scream filled the night, this time accompanied by the sound of manic laughter.

"Hey Tom," said one, a cigarette hanging off his greasy lips, "Jus' who are we sharin' da building wid? Don't member nuthin getting passed the door last night."

Tom grunted, brushing his greasy hair back from his dark eyes. "I dunno, but whoever they are, they sound like a complete psycho."

The third member of this little tryst, a man by the name of Nate, asked, "Should we kick em out, boss?"

Tom considered this for a moment, his eyes collapsing in on themselves as they crinkled in deep thought. "Nah," he decided, swiping the cigarette off the first man's lips and taking a deep drag from it. "Let's get the job done, boys, that's all that matters."

The other two men nodded, taking in the wisdom of their boss's words, and went back to counting cash.

On the floor above them a boy slumped in defeat, bound to a straight backed wooden chair. His golden eyes were lost in a sea of pain as he gazed down at the large suit of armor by his feet. Or what had once been a large suit of armor and was now many pieces of twisted metal. On the very top of the mountain of debris were a spiked helmet and a piece of armor inscribed with a strange runic circle. The circle had a large scratch running across it, cutting the marking almost in half. Suddenly, a drop of liquid fell down upon it, running down the scratch until it disappeared in the faint light of the room. Blood, or a tear perhaps.

The apartment around him was trashed. Half the ceiling was caving in and a few of the walls looked like they were about to do the same. No personal possessions littered the room, not even a couch. The room was bare with the exception of the chair the boy was tied to. Bloodstains coated everything; the floor the ceiling, the walls, the chair… Fresh blood was coated on top of that, making the wood floor slick and shiny in the faint light. Somewhere in the background, a small piece of plaster fell with a muffled thump.

After all the screaming, it was oddly silent now. The only sounds to be heard were the harsh breathing of the golden eyed boy and the soft chuckles of the dark figure standing in the shadows.

"Well now, Fullmetal pipsqueak," said the figure, purple eyes gleaming in the light of a passing car, "What are we going to do? Widdle brother gone forever, can't bring him back this time." Manic laughter filled the room. The boy said nothing. His golden hair, encrusted with blood, hung over his face, shadowing his eyes. The boy was shirtless, his muscled torso showing so much abuse it was a surprise the boy was still alive. His right arm, although made of metal, also showed profound wear, dinged and scratched with cut wires hanging out the side. His leather pants, though fairly intact, were soaked with blood. It dripped down from a wound on his temple and positively flowed from the stab wound in his stomach.

The purple eyed figure, apparently tired of the boy's silence, launched across the dirty room and grabbed the boy's chin in a bone crushing grip. With a painful jerk, he lifted the boy's head, forcing eye contact.

The figure of the abuser was now revealed in the scant shadowy light coming from the streetlight outside the window. The person was a man, though abeit a very feminine one. He was dressing in a skintight purple outfit that wrapped around the upper part of his chest. Around his waist hung a skirt –like contraption, falling down to around mid-thigh. On his hands were fingerless gloves, and on his feet were ankle wrap braces, used often to protect the feet in hand-to-hand combat. A bandana held back his long, spiky hair, sporting a triangle symbol as its motif. The eyes that had glowed purple in the dark were slitted like a cats, and the teeth bared in a menacing smile were pointed. Whatever this creature was, it wasn't human. In fact, the man's eyes shone with an clearly inhuman glee at the boy's pain and suffering. Insanity was being radiated like poisonous nuclear waste, seeping into the air and coiling around the still silent boy.

"Well?" said the man, glaring down at the boy and giving his a sharp shake. With his face tilted upward, his golden eyes were utterly unfocused, showing no sign he even realized where he was. A lone tear trailed down his cheek. The purple-eyed man sneered, dropping the boy in disgust. Eyes narrowed in anger, he shouted, "Answer me! Just look at you, the great Edward Elric. The People's Alchemist so cowed so he can't even muster words! Well, I'm going to fix that!"

The purple man stalked around behind the boy. Transforming his hand into a blade, he slashed down and cut Edward's bonds. Without the ropes keeping him upright, the boy slumped forward, slithering from the chair and falling to his knees. Edward's sightless gaze fell downward and found the scratched array on the scrap of metal that lay right between his hands. In a flash, his golden eyes filled with indescribable grief. "Alphonse," he whispered, "I failed you…"

"Get up, shorty," the tormenter barked, kicking the boy so hard he slammed into the wall of the cheap apartment, cracking the plaster. Edward gave a small cry of pain, leaning forward and coughing blood into his hands.

"I said get up!" the man screamed, spit flying from his mouth. "Get up and fight me, you worthless piece of trash. Don't you want to avenge your brother? I killed him. I KILLED HIM!" He threw back his head and laughed, long and hard like a scream in the night.

Edward paid him no mind. He only had eyes for the piece of metal decorated with an array that he held in his hand. The eyes, once so vacant, hardened until they resembled stone. A decision was reached. Slowly, painfully, the boy pulled himself to his feet, his hands never once letting go of the scrap of metal that was once his whole life. He straightened, standing on his own two feet. His head was held high, eyes no longer clouded or unfocused.

The man, though, thought the boy was going to fight him at last. He smiled, straightening to a fighting stance. "That's right, boy! I, Envy, the last of the Homunculi, will kill you and avenge the deaths of my fallen comrades. I shall cleanse the Earth of you inferior humans, I shall…" The man continued to rant, but Edward wasn't listening. Holding the piece of metal in his normal hand, he slowly brought his metal hand over, the pistons creaking from the strain. With a tap, he touched the metal, holding it between his two palms. Edward slowly closed his eyes.

At once, light flashed outward, whipping around like blue lightning. The man, paused in his rant, looked up to see something being etched in blood on the boy's chest. It was an array, a very complex one that almost looked like it had wings branching out from it. "What…what are you doing?" Envy yelled looking panicked. His prey was doing something unexpected. And when an Elric does something unexpected, you better watch out.

Surprisingly, Edward answered. "I'm going after Alphonse," he said simply, eyes still closed, hair whipping around his face as if blown by a high wind. "The array on the metal represents his soul. Using this, I'm going to try and find him on the other side of the Gate." Having said this, the array started to glow, and the light became much more intense.

Envy stood there in dumb shock. "But…wait!" he said, looking taken aback. "Aren't you going to try and kill me? I killed your brother." He said this simply, but just uttering those words made Edward's eyes snap open.

"Oh yes," said Edward. His eyes narrowed and in a flash, he had launched forward and stabbed Envy in the chest with the piece of jagged metal. Envy yelled and swore, struggling to break free, but Edward merely ground it in deeper. This time, it was Edward who was being matter of fact as he said, "I can use your sacrifice to open the Gate."

"Wha-!" was all Envy managed to get out before a flash of white light enveloped them both. Below their feet a whirling portal of black, hand-like shadows appeared in a circular opening.

Edward's face looked almost peaceful. "Ah, the Gate." He breathed, seeming content. Then, his molten eyes narrowed. "Alphonse, I'm coming for you. Just hold on." With that, the glowing light reached a peak of blinding brilliance, and the two people disappeared, leaving only the destroyed and bloody apartment behind.

Edward walked forward through the portal, ignoring the dark hands reaching for his body. Even when they passed right in front of his face, he didn't even blink. After many hours of research and two previous trips through the gate, Edward had discovered some of the Ancient Rules that governed the gate and its denizens. There were very few mortals who possessed a portion of the Rules, and Edward had literally paid in blood for one of them.

Rule 1: The wraiths in the Gate feed of the fear of living human beings. If they are not acknowledged, then they cannot touch the soul of a living human being. But if even the slightest acknowledgement is made, then they will devour said living being.

Noting the light at the end of the tunnel, Edward smiled a twisted bitter smirk that mocked his old sarcastic grin. Striding confidently on, he broke free of the dark tunnel and walked into the infinite white space of the Gate. Sitting cross legged in the space before the Gate was the Truth, complete with the arm and leg that had been taken in his first human transmutation attempt. Edward narrowed his golden eyes and gritted his teeth. He really wanted his arm and leg back. It was the second most important thing he wanted in this world. But Al came first, always, and Ed needed the Truth to send him to wherever Al was now.

"Hey, bastard," said Edward nonchalantly, striding up to the Truth with his hands in his ruined, blood-soaked pockets. "I'm back, and I want something from you."

"Back again, you ignorant fool," the Truth said, tilting its eyeless head.

"Well, I'm a little less ignorant this time," said Edward, some blood dripping into his eye. He absentmindedly wiped it away, noting that none of his wounds hurt particularly. Good. It helped him concentrate on the task at hand, which was bartering with the Truth. Nothing was guaranteed to give someone a headache faster than trying to barter with the Gate or its lackeys. They all operated on an otherworldly set of rules not yet completely known to man.

"What do you desire?" asked the Truth, grinning its Cheshire grin. "You haven't come here for your brother's body, so what do you want?"

Edward squared his shoulders. Okay, deep breath in…"I want to follow my brother to wherever he's gone. And I have payment for you."

"All right, let's see it then," said the Truth, floating upside-down while watching Edward's every move. Ed gave a small shudder. The Truth was just plain creepy sometimes.

"Give me a second, I just need to summon it," said Edward, rubbing his head absentmindedly. Squatting down, he began to draw a transmutation circle with his own blood. It was a simple one, really, the alchemic equivalent of a key. But drawn in blood in Gate territory, it gave the circle power. A lot of it. Finishing up, Ed touched his hands to the circle and it began to glow. Standing back, Edward watched with loathing as Envy rose from the ground. He looked mad as hell, and as soon as he had a formed mouth to speak with he began yelling abuse at Edward, spitting and shouting and struggling against the bonds of light that held him in place.

"Here we are," said Edward, wiping his forehead on the back of his human hand. "One Homunculus, as payment to pass through the Gate unharmed."

"I'LL KILL YOU!" Envy screamed thrashing wildly about while trying to free himself. His purple eyes were wide with homicidal rage. "YOU BASTARD, YOU INFERIOR LITTLE WORM, YOU RAT, YOU…"

"He is kinda loud, but surely he's worth something," said Ed enticingly to the Truth.

"Hmmm…" said the Truth, thinking.

"WHAAAAAAT!" screamed Envy, who was now beginning to foam at the mouth.

The Truth began to nod. "Fine," it said in its genderless voice, "I'll grant your request."

Edward sighed in relief, shoulders slumping. "Hey, tha-" Ed began his thanks, but was cut off by the Truth whirling through the air, slamming his foot into Ed's temple, knocking his backwards into the open doors of the Gate.

And so, an epic journey begins… like, you no like? I'll update the second chapter next week. Review me :)!