After seeing How To Train Your Dragon, I couldn't help but think of automail when I saw that Hiccup had a metal leg at the end.
Seriously. I was sitting there at the drive-in theater and I was flipping out because Hiccup had some crude form of automail. How nerdy can I get?
Sorry if parts don't make sense, or if Hiccup is OOC. or Ed for that matter. Post ep. 51, except Edward ends up here instead of Germany.
I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or HTTYD-the are property of Hiromu Arakawa/BONES and DreamWorks, respectively.
Nobody was sure who he was.
He was an enigma amongst the townspeople and didn't fit in anywhere, not even with the outsiders and outcasts. Quiet and reserved, he made a living for himself in the medical field, knowing quite a bit more than anyone else there, for whatever reason. The only evidence he existed was the shaggy black dog he kept, which had an affinity for bounding around the village center, and the small shack he'd built just inside the forest. They had asked for a name upon his arrival, and he claimed it was Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist.
While Edward the Metal, as he'd been dubbed by the town, was not feared, he was most certainly scrutinized by the citizens. He never associated with anyone if he could help it, he never really spoke, he didn't fear dragons, but instead screamed upon first seeing one why anyone would create such a pitiful, deprived abomination. (Needless to say, Hiccup didn't like him very much after that incident.)
The only time they ever saw the young man express any emotion other than sorrow was when he cared for the massive black mutt he called Hughes or was when he could be coaxed down to a town bonfire and singing some of the folk tunes he knew from his own land. Edward didn't have a superb voice, but it carried more emotion with the war songs of destitution and grief than any other man could even imagine.
Astrid had asked him how he knew military battle songs. Edward claimed he was a Major and had seen his fair share of fighting before the age of fifteen. Mostly skirmishes, he claimed, but the occasional large battle on the borders of his country weren't uncommon. He claimed, with a great heaviness to his voice, that he had even killed men before, men with families, wives, and children at home who would never see their father again. He claimed that he'd seen things, lost things that he'd never be able to regain.
Hiccup had snorted at this. "You think you had it tough?" he asked one day, then lifted his leg, revealing the metal crutch attached to the end. "You don't know anything. I lost my ability to fly freely."
Silently, solemnly, the town's doctor removed his ever-present gloves and rolled up the sleeve of his right shirt and left pant leg. In the darkness, nobody knew what exactly he was doing, but as the fire swelled suddenly, a gleam caught everyone's eye; the man was missing two limbs. "I lost my mother, my childhood, and my brother at once. Everything I loved most," he said quietly. "I know the feeling; I'm sorry about your leg."
Hiccup couldn't think of anything to say after that.
It was almost a full year after the dragon fiasco and things were settling back into a sense of normalcy. People slowly learned to coexist with the dragons they had once struggled so hard to fight, and Stoic had even insisted that the youth of the village, led by Hiccup, teach the older dragon hunters how to ride and get along with the reptile beasts. Some of the village men were reluctant to part with tradition, but the Nightfury had managed to change their minds, including that of Hiccup's father and town leader, Stoic.
Edward was the only one in the village who seemingly refused to accept dragons as the others did. Every time he laid eyes on one, his face took on a pained expression and he started muttering under his breath about the travesty that must have occurred to "create so many beasts". When he learnt that they could breathe fire and fly thousands of feet into the air, he almost had a heart attack, muttering with wide-eyed astonishment that there was no physical way, it simply couldn't be.
Hiccup had never really cared about Edward. As long as the man didn't take out his painfully blatant disdain for dragons on the poor beasts, he would leave the medic alone. The awkward teenager never gave the outsider a second thought, never really believed that he was anything special or had gone through anything nearly as difficult as what he had. After all, Hiccup was a teenager and had all but completely stopped caring.
That all changed quickly.
Winter hid hard and fast that November. The weather was already bone-chilling, and had been since September, but snow didn't appear on the ground until just after All Hallows Eve.
Hiccup insisted on functioning outside as though he still had a flesh leg and foot. He was a Viking, for the sake of the gods, and he'd be damned if he didn't carry his weight like one. The snow of the north was something he'd grown up with, he could handle it.
Or, well, he could have, had he not had a prosthetic limb.
The cold, plus rampant disease caused infection where the metal of his leg met the flesh. Hiccup, having always been a small, frail boy, succumbed quickly to fevers, stomach illness, and anything and everything else that came with. His father had quickly demanded that he be brought to Edward, rather than having Edward's significantly larger and heavier prosthetics make the trip into town through drifting snow.
Hiccup protested, but he didn't get his way. He was going to be treated by a person he didn't like for something that he didn't wish for.
Hiccup scowled at the blond medic.
"You have a metal leg! You expect to go traipsing around in the wintertime while it's still that new and raw? If it were a wood limb, that'd be one thing. This is metal, Hiccup! This is steel! You moron!"
"How do you know all this?" the brunette asked with a scowl.
Edward gave him a death glare and lifted his right hand, pulling off the glove he wore. "Dumbass."
"Honestly, why do you think Pride gave me the title of 'Fullmetal' in the first place?" He snorted, glaring at nothing as he went through his cupboards, looking for this herb or that ingredient.
Hiccup lay in Edward's own bed, confined there until his infection cleared up (which, according to the outsider, could take up to two months) in the small forest shack. It had a low ceiling, a hearth, cupboards and a table, as well as a bed and three large shelves stacked with books. Edward was the only man on the island of Berk not to own at least one sword and shield set. Instead, a large writing desk was pushed up against one of the walls in the dimly-lit house. On the small coat rack crammed into the corner hung the ridiculous, foreign-looking red coat that Edward treasured so much, as well as numerous fur-lined jackets and sweaters. It smelled like a strange mixture of whatever it was Edward used to keep his arm and leg from rusting and the sweet scent of the woods outside. A bizarre combination that Hiccup found he disliked greatly.
"Who's Pride?" the Viking inquired, silently questioning the man's mental health.
"Just a bastard who probably got his ass kicked from here to the moon," Edward answered fiercely, dropping several diced... somethings… into a large pot of boiling water. "But that's not important. What is is that you're a freakin' idiot."
"I have to help out around here!"
"Then don't insist on helping out outside! Be a scholar or something, cook, stay inside the blacksmith's shop!" By this point, Edward the Metal was slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. "Honestly, can you get any more clueless?"
"I'm sorry that I'm not an all-knowing genius like you!" Hiccup snapped in response. "I only just got this on a few months ago, and if you haven't noticed, not many people around here use metal for replacements!"
Edward frowned, then approached the bed, forgetting what he had started entirely. "Bear with me," he said, pulling the thickly-layered quilts from Hiccup's feet and examining the crude leg carefully. He considered where the metal met the leg and gave a small frown. "…I'm not sure if it would work, but if you'd like… How would you like total control over that leg back?"
Hiccup folded his arms and, in a typical teenage manner, stuck out his chin and scoffed. "You can't bring back my leg, stupid. It was eaten by a dragon."
"I wasn't going to bring back your leg. I have something better—science."
"And how is your sci-whatever going to help my leg?"
"I'll fit you with automail." Edward was never a mechanic. He barely knew how his own limbs functioned, and even then, it was only the basis. He had no idea if he'd be able to build a successful facsimile, especially since he didn't know if alchemy was an option, but he figured it was worth a shot. "I can't guarantee you a limb that works as well as mine; after all, I wasn't the one who built it. I just broke it all the time." He stared at his metal fingers. "But if I can find materials to make wire and the plates, I'd like to help."
"How do you plan on doing that? You can't go into a blacksmith's shop, if you tried melting iron, there's no doubt your arm and leg would melt too, it's so hot in there! Don't be stupid, you can't help me. Besides, it's just a leg. I lost it due to a mistake I made. It's my own fault, not anyone else's."
Edward's face held a ghost of a smile. "I said the same thing, you know, when I was a few years younger than you. The least I can do is help you out of this, alright? I'll get you fitted for ports and see if I can remember the procedure exactly… Are you alright with not riding for a couple of years?"
Edward proceeded to explicate his metal leg, called automail, and its installation, functions, and rehabilitation time. He explained the difficulties of recovery, the pain of ports in cold and in extreme heat, the unfeeling of a steel limb.
Hiccup had listened quietly and agreed immediately to everything. He was sixteen now—he was, by village laws, a man and fully qualified to make his own choices.
He drifted in and out of consciousness for a while, the fever wreaking havoc on his mind. It wasn't until the sky was fully black and snow drifted outside that he really registered anything was happening. Upon waking, the dragon tamer heard a faint sound from outside, a sound muffled by the snow and silence of winter.
"When the cold of Winter comes
Starless night will cover day.
In the veiling of the sun
We will walk in bitter rain."
It was Edward, he realized dazedly. Oh.
"But in dreams
But in dreams
I can hear your name
And in dreams
And in dreams
We will meet again."
Hiccup vaguely wondered what he was singing about with such passion. He'd heard this particular song one time before, back when Edward had only first started to come to the village bonfires. He claimed that it was an old song that was as old as his mountain village itself, dating back hundreds upon hundreds of years, as old as the tradition of raising sheep.
He could remember the sorrow in his voice as he sang it the first time, but this time the same emotion was magnified ten-fold. How strange.
"When the seas and mountains fall
And we come to end of days
In the dark I hear a call
Calling me there.
I will go there
And back again."
Edward the Metal was so… cut off, Hiccup realized, and saw that Edward reappeared in the door to the outside, downing the last of a large glass of mead.
Golden eyes met brown and Edward nodded in acknowledgment. "I'll work on getting you some more medicine," he said with a slight drunken twang.
Silence for twenty minutes followed this two-line exchange until Hiccup finally gathered every last bit of courage in him and asked, "Why are you always so sad when you look at your limbs? What did you do wrong?"
"I… I defied God's laws. I paid the price. I nearly killed my brother once, he may be dead now for all I know. I have no family. I became the one person I hated and… And I left her all on her own."
"Why do you hate dragons?"
"They aren't what you think they are, they just can't be. They're chimeras. There's no other explanation." He scowled at the mere thought of the giant flying reptiles. "Creatures made with the lowest form of alchemy. Depraved science."
Hiccup watched quietly. He had zero idea what the young man was talking about, but sat and listened anyway.
Listening to another man with a metal leg was the least he could do.