Title: That Which Doesn't Kill You...
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Characters: Fuery, Ed and Al.
Setting: Probably somewhat AU.
Summary: Kain Fuery makes a surprising request of the Elric brothers.
Disclaimer: They belong to the genius of Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: I had this peculiar idea floating around for a couple of months. I finally put it in print for the prompt word weakness at FMA Fic Contest.
"You want what?" Edward Elric asked slowly.
Master Sergeant Kain Fuery nervously shifted his weight. "I want to learn to do alchemy. And I thought... you know..." Despite his efforts to keep his voice steady, it dropped to a near-whisper. "Maybe you and your brother could teach me."
Ed exchanged a glance with his brother Alphonse. Then he let out a very unencouraging laugh - but whether he was laughing at the idea of Fuery learning alchemy, or himself teaching it, was impossible to guess.
"Just tell us one thing," he said as he recovered from his mirth, fixing Fuery with a grim stare. "Why do you want to learn alchemy?"
"It's... it's because I'm tired of being scared of everything!" Shamefaced, he dropped his gaze and shrugged. "I'm scared of the dark, scared of going to war, scared of my superiors- and I'm scared of alchemy more than anything. And I thought, if I could actually learn to use power like that myself... then maybe I wouldn't be so afraid of all those other things. Maybe I'd even get some respect, and not be treated like a nerd and a runt anymore."
He glanced up, to see a conflicted look on Ed's face.
"You know, Fuery, that wasn't the worst answer you could give... but it's still the wrong one." Ed stood up, folding his arms somberly. "I know you mean well, but you just want to use alchemy for yourself - and as far as I'm concerned, the only reason anybody should learn it is to help others. Al and I knew that even when we were kids."
That seemed to be the final word. Stung by frustration and defeat, Fuery moved to walk away; but he turned back when Al spoke up.
"But we lied, Brother."
Ed's expression became suddenly stricken. Al shrugged, his armor clattering.
"We told Teacher we wanted to help people, because we thought that's what she wanted to hear - but all we cared about was our own selfish reasons. And when she wouldn't teach us what we wanted to know, we studied it on our own anyway... and you know where that led us."
Ed's shoulders slumped. He stared sadly at Al for a moment; then he frowned and scratched his head with steel fingers, glancing sideways at Fuery.
"Okay... you know, tell you what. We're too busy to sit around teaching you basic alchemy - but we'll write you an introduction letter for our teacher. And if she doesn't kill you... who knows. Maybe she'd consider helping you out."
The proposal was ominous, but Fuery forced himself to smile. "Thank you!"
Al nudged his brother's shoulder. "Are you sure it's a good idea?"
"Yeah, well... why not? I mean, as long as he doesn't tell Teacher he's a soldier. 'Cause then she would kill him - and come after us next. But if he keeps his mouth shut, we'll be fine."
And Fuery just smiled harder... to keep his teeth from chattering in terror.
2010 Jordanna Morgan