Aheh, I really have no excuse for myself. Ever since Chaotic was "put on hiatus" (aka cancelled) and Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name started to dwindle down, I've sort of been looking for something else to obsess over. EEnE happened.
PLEASE NOTE: This is an Alternate Universe fic set in an alternate Victorian Era commonly known as Steampunk. If this isn't your cup of tea (no pun intended) then don't read it. There will be numerous amounts of angst, blood, trauma, Victorian slang, and Ed shenanigans. Consider yourself warned.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ed Edd n Eddy.
All notices and important stuff aside, I present you with Eternity's Army.
One: Really Quite Unnecessary
The problem, he decided, was those three.
Yes. It was most definitely those three idiots.
That wasn't to say they weren't useful, they certainly had their perks, but they were just so...odd. They didn't belong, something was off about them. He wasn't sure what it was but it was something that made him want to throw them out.
But he couldn't do that. He'd promised, made an oath, not to turn anyone away. So he'd just have to put up with them.
Kevin's eyes narrowed as he glared at his tiny gang of orphans and misfits from his perch atop a stack of crates. They were a strange bunch, there was no denying that. A group of kids with no where else to go but into London's back alleys and dark recesses, thieves and schemers who picked the pockets of the unwary and made off with any goods not carefully watched.
He watched Jimmy and Sarah scrounging around in the middle of the floor, digging through an old pile of worn out blankets, he looked on as Rolf sorted through the results of their latest enterprise, let his gaze linger on Nazz as she tried in vain to remove a smear of grease from her skirts, traveled across Jonny and that rodent he always carried around, and finally settled on them.
They sat in their own little corner of the abandoned hut, snickering to one another and muttering quietly. They were always muttering, always scheming. Or at least he was. The other two usually just seemed to be along for the ride.
Ed, the tallest of the trio. Dim-witted and still tough as a brick. In any other gang, Kevin would have labeled him as the muscle; Ed would punch through anything to get to his friends. Even if what he was punching through had a habit of punching back.
Eddward. But everyone called him Double D. Or Dee. Or Edd. That kid had more nicknames then Kevin could come up with in a second. But was smart, almost eerily so. He could rebuild a broken steam-car in a minute and probably make it run smoother in the process.
And then there Eddy. Kevin had loathed that short stack of annoyance since the trio had wandered into their alley on a cold, rainy night. He was loud, obnoxious, and prone to undermining Kevin's authority.
Everyone else in the gang had a story, a reason why they were orphans. The three Eds did not. If asked, Ed would simply spout some random nonsense and laugh. It made Kevin want to punch him. But Edd and Eddy...
He'd asked Eddy. Oh he'd asked plenty of times. The first time he'd gotten a simple string of rude comments telling him to back off. The next several times after that had ended in fist fights with variations on the winner. The last time he'd asked, Eddy had actually gone quiet for a whole solid minute and when Kevin had taunted him, Eddy had given him the deadliest glare Kevin had ever seen and stalked off.
Double D was the only one who'd really given him something that could have been called an answer. He'd cornered the kid alone just before they'd gone out pick-pocketing and threatened him for the answer. Where did you come from? Why are you orphans? What happened to you?
And Eddward had looked back at him with black eyes like obsidian and said, "We don't remember." And then he'd slipped away before Kevin could get another word in.
Those three...! Kevin clenched his fingers on the edge of the boxes, gritting his teeth. Why did they put him on edge so much? Was it because they had no memories, or at least said they didn't? No, that wasn't it. Was it because they'd simply wandered in and expected to be accepted into their group? No, that wasn't it either.
Maybe it was the faint, lingering scent of grease and steam.
Maybe it was the odd clicking-whir that he swore he heard on occasion.
Maybe it was Ed's inhuman strength.
Maybe it was Double D's uncanny skills.
Maybe it was Eddy's unnatural ability to just keep going.
Maybe it was what he'd found in the graveyard last week.
There was certainly something abnormal about those three boys and Kevin was bound and determined to keep an eye on them. If they threatened the safety of his gang in any way, shape, or form he'd turn them out into the streets; promise or no promise.
"Oh Double Deeee~!" Eddy's sing-song voice rang through the small shack that the gang lived in, tucked back into a shady alley of London's dark side, "Double D, where aaaarrreee yyyoooouuu~?" The short boy paused, listening for a response. When none came, he huffed and pushed a greasy strand of jet black hair from his face, "Double D?" Still no answer. Eddy opened his mouth, took in a deep breath, and shouted, "DOUBLE D!"
A shower of dust trickled from the ceiling but no Double D appeared.
"Huh, that's weird." Eddy scratched his head, frowning, "He can't have gone too far. Hell, he doesn't like to be away from his bed if he can help it. Double D!"
"Dee's out with Rolf and Jonny." Said a voice and Eddy spun around to see Kevin standing there with his hands in his jacket pockets, his cap pulled low over his red bangs.
Eddy ground his teeth together and stomped up to the taller boy, "Did you send him out there with them? Did you!"
Kevin smirked, "So what if I did? He's got to pull his weight just like everyone else."
"He won't do it and you know it!" Eddy screeched, grabbing at Kevin's coat, "You know he won't so why do you keep sending him out there!"
"Because he's nothing but a useless freeloader unless he brings back some goods!" Kevin shouted back and his fist made contact with the side of Eddy's face, sending the other boy sprawling, "I've had it with his whining! Either he does more than fix a bloody hole in the wall or he can go back out into the streets by himself!" And with that, the gang leader stomped away, fuming.
Eddy stared after him, shaking with anger. A pair of strong hands picked him off the ground and set him back on his feet again. Eddy glanced over his shoulder and muttered, "Thanks Ed."
"Anytime Eddy." The taller boy murmured and then looked around with a frown, "Where's Double D?"
"That idiot Kevin sent him out with Rolf and Jonny." Eddy growled, "And he said if Sir Prissy Pants doesn't bring back any decent goods, he's throwing him out."
"Wha-Double D!" Ed gaped at his companion, "But Double D has done a lot for the group. He's fixed a heater and a car-only you crashed that so I guess it doesn't count anymore-and he's really smart. Why would Kevin get rid of him?"
"I don't know, Ed, I think something's bothering him." Eddy hitched up the two belts that were criss-crossing over his front, the holsters holding his tiny steam-guns tapping lightly against his thighs, "Come on, we're going to go find Edd."
"But I am right here."
"Not you, you moron! Double D!"
"Oh. Why're we going to find Double D?"
"Because God knows Helmethead's going to need all the help he can get."
Eddward was currently standing beside a fruit stall in the market, inspecting a display of rather fine looking apples. He could smell their sweet aroma and it made his stomach gurgle with hunger. He licked his lips and raised a hand, fingers twitching as he reached for the largest, shiniest one of the bunch.
The hair on the back of his neck, underneath the brown-red ponytail poking out from underneath his flight helmet, prickled and stood on end. Edd glanced up, saw the owner glaring at him, and slowly withdrew his hand, making it seem as though he was only reaching up to adjust the goggles perched atop his helmet. The owner's eyes narrowed and he turned away from his display of large melons to stalk towards the boy.
Edd swallowed thickly and stepped back a pace. There was a flash of movement from behind the stall owner and one of the melons disappeared. Then another. Eddward quickly tore his gaze away from the disappearing melons and focused on the owner who had finally reached the edge of his stall and gone around the side so that he was now face-to-face with the unfortunate Edd.
"What are you up to, kid?" The large man asked menacingly.
"I...I think you misunderstand, good sir..." Edd said weakly, his legs starting to shake. He wasn't cut out for this, not at all, "I was m-merely inspecting your wares, I assure you."
"Really?" The stall owner raised an eyebrow critically, looking over the worn out vest, the faded pants, and dusty spats and vanbraces that Edd wore, "'Cause it looked like you were trying to steal one of my apples."
"N-n-no! That's not it at all!" Eddward stumbled backwards, trying to get away from the large man, "P-please! I mean no harm!"
Why, oh, why was he doing this? He wasn't made for stealing, for cheating, for scamming; he barely fit in with the other kids in the gang. He was the inventor, the medic, the one who patched everything up. He wasn't supposed to be out stealing. That was Eddy's thing, not his.
"We'll see how much harm you mean, brat!" The man reached for him and Eddward let out a squeal of fear, tripping over his own feet in an attempt to get away. A hand grabbed his ponytail and yanked on it painfully, hauling him backwards and out of the way of the grasping owner.
"Run Double D!" Jonny shouted as Rolf let go of Eddward's ponytail.
Edd reoriented himself and took off after the short, dark-skinned Jonny and the tall, foreign boy, Rolf. The angry shouts of the stall owner rang after them, calling for the police.
"Rozzers on our tail!" Jonny yelled out as they spun around a corner and into a side alley, attempting to lose their unwanted followers.
"Rolf thinks taking this narrow street was not such a good thing." Rolf muttered, skidding to a halt in the middle of the alley.
"Oh d-d-dear...!" Edd clamped his fingers tightly around the strap on the leather bag dangling over his shoulder.
"What do we do now, Plank?" Jonny asked, speaking to the dirty-blonde furred rat that was perched on his shoulder. How Jonny had trained a rat was beyond anyone, especially a London rat.
Police officers closed in from either side of the alley, blocking their exits. Edd's dark eyes swiveled around, trying to find some means of escape. But there was nothing. No grate that would lead to the sewers, no hidden passage through the wall, no ladder that would lead them high up the roofs and to safety. They were stuck.
"Rolf is thinking this is the end." Sighed the foreigner, "But Rolf will not go down without a fight! This will be a battle like that of the annoying-Ed-boy's and Leader Kevin but with much more screaming of agony!" And he puffed out his chest, clenched his fists (though one was occupied by a bag of stolen goods), and glared down the officers as though daring them to approach.
Edd got got a lump in his throat that made it suddenly almost impossible to breathe. This wasn't happening. This couldn't be happening. He tried to swallow and found his mouth dry, his limbs shaking and weak, his head spinning. He would get arrested and go to jail and he knew what they did to thieves in jail. Thieves would lose a hand. His stomach turned over.
The officers were closing in. This was it, it was going to be over soon. He would never invent anything ever again. He would probably never see Ed nor Eddy ever again and would most likely spend the rest of his days rotting in some cell. Useless, alone, and short an appendage.
Something clicked inside him. It was almost audible, he could almost hear a gear turn and click into place. Pacifist though he was, Eddward had to draw the line somewhere and losing a hand was definitely where a line needed to be drawn.
Dark eyes narrowed and a hand reached into the bag at his side. Enough was enough.
"Rolf, Jonny!" The two other boys glanced at Edd, "Grab hold of me and close your eyes! This is going to be bright." With those words, he reached up and pulled down his goggles.
Rolf and Jonny shared a brief look between them and then darted to Eddward's side, grabbed a fistful of his vest, and screwed their eyes shut. Edd removed his hand from his bag, slim fingers clutching a couple of small, metal spheres. Each of the spheres had a tiny patch of leather and a knob on the top. Edd pressed all the knobs at the same time, releasing the catch inside the devices, and flung the spheres in either direction towards the oncoming officers.
There was a sharp crack, a hissing-squeal of compressed steam, and then a brilliant flash of light that blinded anyone who didn't have their eyes closed. Or happened to be wearing a specially crafted pair of tinted goggles. Even so, Rolf and Jonny saw stars and lights dancing in their vision and they had to rely on Edd to guide them safely out of the alley. At a very quick run.
The trio collapsed some half hour later, closer to London's underground and farther from its busy central market. Edd was gasping for breath, his chest heaving, sweat drenching his face and staining the front of his shirt. He sagged against a wall, eyes closed, limbs quivering with the aftermath of the adrenaline rush.
"Double D!" Jonny cried, "That was amazing! What were those?"
"F-flash...bombs..." Eddward panted, wiping sweat from his brow with a shaking hand, "Made them...m-myself...last batch..."
"Rolf is grateful to helmet-wearing-Ed-boy for saving his skin!" Rolf proclaimed, yanking the exhausted Edd to his feet, "For this Rolf will provide you with free passage home! Take these, Jonny-rat-boy." And he thrust the bag into Jonny's hands. Jonny heaved both Rolf's bag and his own over his shoulder, carefully avoiding Plank, and they set off together down the back alleys.
"Rolf..." Edd moaned, "This really...isn't necessary..." It was also intensely embarrassing and completely invading his personal space. Rolf had slung Edd over his shoulder so that Edd's face was pressed against his back, his gaze fixed on the ground, "Rolf...I can walk..."
"Silence, Ed-boy!" Rolf stated, "This is favor returning, yes! Rolf knows you are not up to running vast distances with your puny stick-legs so enjoy your ride!"
"Er...thank you, Rolf. I think." Edd murmured, pushing his goggles back up to the top of his helmet with a shaky hand. It wasn't so much that he was worn out from that run, it was just that he was in something of a state of shock. He'd attacked a group of police officers, the law enforcement for Heaven's sake! He knew it was the right thing to do because, darn it, if he hadn't that would have been the end of their little gang. But it still felt so wrong.
"Rolf? Jonny? Double D!" A familiar voice shouted and Edd suddenly found himself enfolded in a smothering hug, the thick fabric of a familiar, stained and filthy trench coat pressed against his face.
"E-Ed, please!" Eddward cried, pressing against the bigger boy in a vain attempt to get him to let go, "I...I can't...b-breathe!"
"Kevin was going to throw you out, Double D!" Ed cried, finally setting Edd down.
"He what!" Edd looked up, startled.
"He told me!" Eddy snapped angrily, "He told me himself that if you didn't bring back any goods, he was going to turn you out onto the streets!"
"Why would red-head-Kevin-boy do such a thing?" Rolf blinked in confusion, running a hand through his messy, blue-black hair.
"He can't throw out Double D!" Jonny cried, "He just attacked some police officers! Plank saw the whole thing! There was a flash of light and then BAM they were all knocked down!"
Edd winced at the memory, fiddling absently with the straps on his helmet. Eddy stared at Jonny and then looked around at Edd with his mouth hanging open. Edd felt his face flush with shame and embarrassment.
"Our little Double D is growing up, Eddy!" Ed said happily, patting Eddward on the head. Edd thought he felt his spine being squished.
"We-ow-really shouldn't-ow-be standing around out here!" Edd said, wincing each time his taller companion hit his head, "Ow-Ed, please-ow-stop that-ow."
"Oh, sorry." Ed took a step back, stuffing his hands in his pockets and hunching his shoulders with s sheepish smile.
"Plank agrees with ya', Double D!" Jonny announced, indicating the rat still sitting placidly on his shoulder, "We should get a move on in case those rozzers decide to show up again."
With nods of agreement from the others, the group set off through London's twisted back alley's, trading banter and stories and plans. Eddy teased Edd about the encounter with the police, knowing it would rub Double D the wrong way, Rolf hummed a tune that no one knew, Jonny was talking with Plank, and Ed was...being Ed and ducking in and out of everyone's conversations.
Their good moods plummeted somewhat when they saw Kevin waiting for them outside the safe house. His arms were crossed over his chest, his gaze hard, and he was tapping his foot on ground in a pointed sort of way.
"Well, Double Dollymop," The gang leader looked on expectantly, "Did you bring back anything good? Because I'm sick of your freeloading!"
"Kevin, I assure that I am anything but a freeloader." Edd stated, prepared to defend himself, "I have done my fair share of work around the safe house. Anything that's been broken I've fixed. Why, I even-."
"Fixing things doesn't help us eat, Eddward." Kevin prodded Edd in the chest and Eddy's eyes narrowed dangerously, "Where's the goods?"
"I...I..." Edd swallowed, looked helplessly around at his companions, and then returned his gaze to Kevin, "I'm sorry, Kevin, but I didn't manage...to steal...anything..." He trailed off dejectedly, shoulders drooping.
"Is that so?" Kevin raised an eyebrow, smirking, "Well, then, I'm so sorry Double D, but I'm afraid you've become a burden on this gang and-."
"If he goes, we go!" Eddy shouted, stomping up beside Edd, fury easily readable on his face. Kevin stared at him, "You heard me! You get rid of Helmethead, you get rid of us 'cause we're sticking with him!"
"Eddy..." Edd said hesitantly.
"And Ed too!" Ed cried, jumping forward and scooping his two friends up in his strong arms, "If Eddy and Double D go, the Ed goes too!" And he gave Kevin quite a frighting glare indeed.
"Wait Kevin, you can't get rid of Double D!" Jonny shouted, "He saved us!"
"'Tis true, Rolf was there!" Rolf exclaimed, striding forward on his long legs, "Helmet-wearing-Ed-boy save Rolf and Rat-boy-Jonny from Blue-bottle-law-men when they caught us...uh, how you say? Busting?"
"Buzzing?" Edd supplied, cringing a little at the slang term for stealing.
"Yes! Buzzting!" Rolf grinned, "Law-enforce-men had blocked of narrow-street-alley, yes, and were closing in and Rolf would have fought them until last breath!"
"But Double D pulled out some bombs and blew them all to high Heaven!" Jonny added, "Isn't that right, Plank?" He looked expectantly at the rat on his shoulder. The scruffy rodent wrinkled its nose and its tail twitched, "See, I told you! Even Plank saw it happen!"
"You blew up rozzers?" Kevin gasped, gaping at Edd who was still dangling in Ed's strong grip.
"N-n-no, you misunderstand!" Edd struggled, feet kicking several inches off the ground, "They were flash bombs! They simply blinded the officers so we could escape! It was a simple trick! I assure you no one was hurt!" He paused, thinking about it, "Actually, Rolf pulled my ponytail and I did bite my tongue..."
"Wait, wait, wait, wait," Kevin thrust a hand out, silencing the stuttering Eddward, "You had flash bombs and you never told anyone! Is that helmet on too tight! We could have used those! Think of how much safer everyone would be if they had one of those in their pockets!"
"I'd rather they not." Edd huffed, pushing Kevin's hand out of his face, "I abhor violence, Kevin, and normally I would not have committed such an atrocious act against legitimate men of the law. However, even I have to draw a line at getting my hand cut off!"
"Double D, you're an animal! Hahahaha!" Eddy slapped Edd on the back, his raucous laughter ringing down the alleyway.
"Well, well, well," Kevin stepped back, looking Eddward up and down with some sort of half-hidden new respect, "I think I just found a new job for you. Congratulations, Double D, you just earned the post of Weapons Developer." And without waiting for a response, the gang leader turned to Rolf and Jonny, "Good job, you two. Get those goods inside and let's start sorting them out."
"Rolf is eager to rest his weary feet, yes!" Rolf stated loudly, picking up a bag and swinging it easily over his shoulder as he followed Kevin back into the old hut.
"Let's go, Plank!" Jonny hurried after the two and the door slammed shut on the three Eds.
"What...just happened...?" Edd wondered, staring blankly at the closed door.
"Oooh, oooh, I want a lightning rifle!" Ed danced on the spot, looking excited, "Double D will you make me a lightning rifle? Oooh, can I catch the lighting? Please, Double D, can I please?"
"Lightning...rifle...?" Ed murmured weakly.
"Was that...did Kevin..." Eddy blinked, looked from Edd, to the closed door, and back again, "Was Kevin just nice to you?"
"Lightning! Lightning! Lighting rifle!" Ed chanted loudly.
"I...I believe he was." Edd gripped the leather strap of his beg, spinning around to look wildly at his shorter companion, "Eddy! Kevin wants me to make weapons! Me! Make weapons!"
"Lightning! Lighting! Lightning rifle!"
"What's wrong with that?" Eddy was grinning, "Not only would we be the most unstoppable gang in London but we could sell those inventions of yours for money!"
"I can't do that Eddy!"
"Lightning! Lighting! Lightning rifle!"
"Lightning! Lighting! Lighting rifle!"
"Because I'm a pacifist!"
"Lightning! Lightning! Lightning rifle!"
"ED BE QUIET!" Eddy screamed and the taller boy shrank back. Eddy gave him a warning glare and then faced Edd once again, the glare becoming a warm smile that Edd didn't quite believe, "All right, Double D, if you don't want to sell your weapons, you don't have to." He reached up and slung an arm around his friend's shoulders, "But you still have to make weapons."
"But Eddy, I-!"
"Kevin's orders." Eddy poked the end of Edd's nose in a friendly way but Edd still huffed and brushed him aside, "Look, if you're so upset about it, we'll help you. Won't we Ed?"
"Help, Ed will do!" Cried the taller boy and scooped the other two up in his arms again, "Come, my fellows, there is much to be done and we are the merry wanderers of the night who jest to the Fairy King and make him laugh!" And he kicked the door open dramatically and strode in, still carrying his struggling friends in his arms.
"Ed!" Shouted an angry female voice, "Shut the door!"
"Don't yell, Sarah!" Ed shouted back and then the door banged shut, shivering on its old hinges. From inside the safe house, the muffled sounds of laughter and shouting could be heard. Dusk draped itself over London and the shadows stretched out, long and thin, across the cobbled streets.
Another day, another successful raid on the marketplace. The gang was safe for another day, would survive another day. And with Edd making weapons to keep them that way, things were really starting to look up.
At least for the moment.
And then the world exploded and everyone died.
Okay, no, not really.
So what're your guys thoughts. Continue it? Yes? No? Do you want more or do want me stop throwing absolutely everything into Steampunk? Feed back is like chocolate covered gold only edible. Wait, that didn't make sense either…