The halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry always rang with the titters of young voices. In a place where pre-adolescent students and teenagers gathered, naturally, everyone knew what the adults absolutely wanted to keep secret.
"Did you here about Potter?" the dark-haired first year leaned over to his friends and whispered. "He actually faced You-Know-Who?"
"Do you really believe that?" The third-year, a boy with the same features as the young student, frowned at the younger one.
"Well, he is the Boy Who Lived, right?" The boy at the third-year's elbow reached over to help himself to a second helping of potatoes. "He could have. And you heard what happened to Professor Quirrell. He actually had You-Know-Who attached to the back of his head."
"That's what was under his turban?"
"Hey, who are they?"
The two strangers in question strode through the Great Hall easily as if the many eyes on them were non-existent. Both men wore dark trousers with matching vests over their white shirts. One wore his suit coat buttoned professionally while the other carried his coat in the crook of one arm with his hands tucked into his pockets. His long white hair draped down his back from its plain tail at the back of his neck.
"I don't know. Probably from the Ministry."
"But they're dressed like Muggles," protested the first-year.
"Don't know." The group watched the two men march up to the staff table. "But they're talking with McGonagall. Maybe they're here for Dumbledore."
The students continued murmuring to themselves as the matronly figure of the Transfiguration professor led the two men out of the Great Hall and through the maze of halls and stairways. She stopped at a large gargoyle that stood in an archway.
The two men only nodded to her as the stone beast sprang away from the staircase behind it.
"Danke, Frau McGonagall," the taller one said politely.
They traipsed up the stone stairs until they reached a large wooden door. With a curt knock and an invitation inside, the two men were quickly in the presence of one of the most powerful wizards in Britain, if not possibly the entire world.
"Good evening, gentlemen." The wizard's blue eyes twinkled merrily at his guests. "I'm very glad you decided to come so quickly."
"What the hell did you think we were going to do, Dumbledore? You knew any mention of that artifact would send us running." The white-haired man slumped into a chair before the large desk.
"Brother . . ." The taller man with short gray hair pulled out his own chair and sat down, all the while staring at the offender.
"Sorry." The man grumbled and straightened. "Anyway, we just got in this morning. Direct flight from Tokyo. Heathrow's a mess, as usual."
The blue-eyed man folded his hands together and rested them on top of the large wooden desk.
"I could have sent a Portkey had you sent word."
"No, thanks. I've had enough with pieces of my body flying around without my permission."
The white-haired Muggle straightened and leaned forward. He pulled his hands out of his pockets to rest his arms on his knees. His right hand was completely metal, old and buffed, while his eyes, a strange golden color already, shined with an intensity not usually seen in the elderly.
"Now, what about the Philosopher's Stone?"
The brother sat up as well, a little more spry due to the years between them, and fixed his own gray eyes on the blue-eyed man who had called them.
"A few days ago, Tom Riddle found a way to enter Hogwarts undetected," the headmaster explained shortly.
"We heard about that." The elder brother raised one hand as if to bat away the unnecessary words floating about the air.
"The students do tend to talk a lot more than they probably should." The youngest of the trio shrugged in what might have been an apologetic manner. "He attached his soul to a living body, correct?"
"That is my assumption." The headmaster nodded solemnly. "It was most likely only a sliver of his soul after he split it in a bid for immortality."
Golden orbs narrowed as the man let out a grumble that might have once been words from somewhere deep in his throat.
"You'd think people would find something new to go after," he muttered under his breath. "So, what happened to the stone?"
"Fortunately, three students thought to follow Quirrel beneath the school. Harry Potter was responsible in the end for retrieving the Philosopher's Stone from within the mirror, preventing Voldemort from obtaining his goal."
"Harry Potter?" The man leaned forward, his gray eyes sparking with genuine curiosity. "He's the one you said . . ."
He gestured loosely in front of his chest, as if searching for the words. The aged wizard smiled kindly.
"Yes, he is the destined child." His smile made him look more like a doting grandfather than a powerful wizard.
"No one is a destined anything unless they choose it, Dumbledore," protested the golden-eyed man. "Where's the stone now?"
The old man reached behind his desk and withdrew a blood-red, smooth stone, vibrant in the dim light of the office. Both guests of the headmaster leaned forward in the exact same pose, their faces mirroring each other's amazement mixed with what looked like disgust.
"Nicholas and I agreed that it would be best to destroy it," announced Dumbledore.
The announcement broke the spell hovering over the two alchemists as the older of the two slumped backwards in his chair.
"Now you say that." His tone turned accusing. "We told you years ago that that thing should never have existed."
"Yes." The old man nodded tiredly. "You were right. The temptation and cost is not worth its existence."
The elder brother blinked, apparently surprised at the sudden and easy concession. Then, his shoulders sank again as his golden eyes turned burnished bronze.
"We told you that," he said with the air of a man tired of repeating himself.
"Bruder . . ." cautioned the younger brother.
"Right, right." The man rubbed a hand across the back of his neck and calmed at his younger brother's voice.
Dumbledore watched the exchange with cautious eyes. The brothers would only concede to each other, and he knew this. He had firsthand experience of this.
"This is the reason I called you here, Edward," Dumbledore explained. "I hoped that you or Alphonse could provide some insight into the stone's destruction."
Edward stood and slowly approached the large desk. His eyes, hooded and thoughtful, were fixed on the small red stone.
"We spent years searching for this thing, fighting for it." He reached out and gently brushed his fingers over the surface of the stone. "Once we reached this world, we started fighting against it instead. We tried to make sure that no one would ever make one of these again. I don't care if it's not the same as our world—this should not exist. Es ist übel."
"Bruder, können wir es zerstören?" asked Alphonse, standing to join his brother.
Edward pulled back from the stone. Neither man seemed away that they had slipped into their native language in front of Dumbledore. Edward raised his eyes to meet the old teacher's in a glance of pure confidence.
"We can break it into its original elements," he announced.
"You can do that without your—"
"Yes," interrupted the golden-eyed man. "We'll have to do it the long way, but we can do it. There are seven basic steps to make the Stone in your alchemy. We just have to devolve the process, do it backwards."
He turned to his brother at the last moment, as if explaining to a colleague what process was best to take. The long-time teacher could already recognize the sight of a mind racing behind a curiously professional face and nodded solemnly.
"Thank you." He bobbed his head in a semblance of a bow to the two men before him. "It will set my mind greatly at ease."
"Right." Gold eyes returned to staring at the stone like it was a puzzle waiting to be solved. "I don't know how long this will take."
"You are welcome to stay here for as long as the process takes," offered the headmaster.
The younger brother, undistracted by the red stone on the desk, smiled and nodded back at the old man.
"Thank you very much, Professor Dumbledore. But we should be done and back in Toyko within seven days."
"If we're not, Winry's gonna take a wrench to my head," muttered the man bent over the headmaster's desk.
The blue-eyed man lifted his eyes curiously to the younger brother when the older offered no further explanation.
"It's his birthday." The gray-eyed man grinned widely as he nodded toward his older brother. "We've invited all our grandchildren over."
"Don't know why she's making such a big deal of it."
A strong sense of embarrassment was buried under the complaining grumble, and the headmaster smiled at the sentiment. A family's bonds and a family's love was among the most powerful force he knew of, including the power in the Stone that the two men were so familiar with.
A/N: While you're all waiting so desperately (or patiently) for my next chapter, I have been waiting much more desperately for the next chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist. FMA remains my favorite manga (and one of the few anime I like), but it only comes out once a month. Arakawa-sensei wishes to torment her audience, I am sure. Plus, Harry Potter is proof that Rowling is a genius. Seriously, 4,200 pages of plot, character development, and backstory that she had to have planned out beforehand to drop some of the hints she did in the early books.
This particular one shot is based heavily on the ending of the FMA anime and subsequent movie (Conqueror of Shambala) and OVA "Hagaren Kids," which explains how the Elric brothers fly to England from Japan and speak German. The actual idea of a crossover with Harry Potter came from sessha-chan's Alchimie. Go read. It's good.
P.S. And the day after I post this, FMA ends! Farewell, my first love of Japanese cartoon-ery.