A/N: Expanding the knowledge of Ametris and automail in this chapter, as long as setting up for future chapters. The next chapter will be more Hunny centric. Yay! :D More comedy in the chapter, aside from the beginning and a part in the middle, that is. I am WDR after all.


Chapter Eight: Recovery

In two weeks time, a dance will occur.

The music will play. Melodies will mix with quiet laughter and smiling faces. Then clock will chime midnight's hour. Dancing will cease as screams are heard. Answers will be lost in the sea of rising questions.


Shima Maezono, the head housekeeper, had decided she had been away from Suoh Mansion for too long. Overdue vacation or not, she did not like the weird text messages and phone calls sent from the other servants. Taking one last sip of her martini, she waved good-bye to the fine specimens of Hawaii's beach. Alas peaceful life, I hardly knew ye.

American airport security was a hassle. Thankfully, Mr. Suoh was kind enough to grant her a personal flight back to Japan, being an important asset to family and constantly dealing with Tamaki-style high jinks. Please let the mansion remain in one piece. Or still standing, if she was lucky.

After coming home, Maezono raised an eyebrow at another old woman residing at the mansion. She turned to the cowering Tamaki behind the maids.

"Just what have I missed?"


Tuesday came, and Tamaki hadn't left the mansion or his family. Needless to say, his friends worried.

Punctual as always, Kyouya was the first to arrive after school. With roughly ten minutes until the others arrived (assuming the twins dialed down any shenanigans,) the black haired youth made his way to the den with Tamaki. He took a seat in a comfortable chair.

"This room is secluded, yes?" Tamaki nodded. "Good. This shouldn't be discussed over phone lines. I was wary mentioning the murders in the school hallway, but it had to be done. Now, first relate to me the events of the weekend."

Tamaki adjusted his position in his own armchair. He let the cool business persona overtake him. "Pinako and Winry were scheduled to fly home on Sunday. All we know is what had been reported on the news. That message, written in clear German, 'No turning back, you can't escape.' Do you think it's related to the murders at the school?"

"The only connection so far is you. You are the link between the school, your family, and, in return, the airport. It is possible, maybe probable, but we lack information needed to confirm a resolute conclusion. For now, we should be cautious and assume the worst. For whatever reason, the lives of you, your family, and your friends are in danger. This includes the Host Club as well. As a king, what do you propose to protect your subjects?"

A bead of sweat trickled down Tamaki's neck. "We find those behind this madness and hold them accountable." He let out a sigh with a grim smile. "But we're high school students, wife. We're not the law or vigilantes with cool capes and masks."

"Correct." In a corner of his mind, Kyouya made a side note for a superhero themed Host Club. "Yet we are not average high school students. And I am not your wife. We are the elite, not without resources." He rolled his neck. "I have been asked not to inform the police, only my family resources have been used thus far. There's another matter about the bodies…"

When Kyouya's face went green, Tamaki knew it couldn't be pleasant. Hardly anything could make his friend visibly disturbed.

Kyouya calmed his shaking. "It was beyond grotesque. Dried, caked blood. The stench of death, it's unbearable. But we had to investigate their corpses. We need all the information available to us. So the doctors, they looked. Nothing has come back in the blood work area. Something cut into their skin, marking some sort of drawings on them. It reminds me of something satanic. Something dark." He then voiced something that he knew Tamaki wouldn't want to hear. "I'm thinking that the next step involves questioning the Black Magic Club."

Tamaki froze. Although he wasn't as close to them as he was his own club, he considered Nekozawa and them friends. They couldn't be evil. They couldn't possible commit such heinous crimes.

"I doubt they're related to the airport incident, but the symbols are the corpses clearly—"

"Stop it," Tamaki ordered quietly yet firmly. "We can't accuse them of something that we're unsure."

"We're not accusing," Kyouya explained softly. "We investigate. If they're innocent, there's nothing to worry about. Either way, they will have information on the symbols."

The blonde ran a hand through his hair. "You're right."

But the thought remained: the possibility that the culprit could be a student. Someone that he spent time with in the hallways; someone that he knew. And what if it was someone like Nekozawa? A friend? What could he do? No, Tamaki knew. He would protect his family.

"We need to tell them. Their lives may be at risk."

There was a knock at the door. "Master, your guests have arrived at the gate."

They both stood up and made their way to their friends. Before Tamaki could open the door, Kyouya grabbed his sleeve. Tamaki looked him straight in the eyes

"Fine. But not today," he murmured. Kyouya watched as Tamaki walked in front of him.

The tall slender student shifted backed to the bumbling, good natured fool. He sighed and allowed a smile. If anyone were to be king, Tamaki was the best suited for the role.


There is no effort in being dead. Avoiding death is a different matter. Winry took it upon herself to relax with the utmost class: chilling in bed with Edward while eating cupcakes. And what delicious cupcakes! She would have to thank that Haruhi boy later.

She muted the television when Granny entered. Not that she knew what was going on in the samurai drama to begin with.

Winry shoved the remaining chunk of cupcake, swallowing after one bite. "A dance, huh?" She licked spare icing from her fingertips. "Sounds fun, but is it safe?"

Granny puffed smoke from her ever present pipe. "Top notch security. Besides, we can all use a relaxer."

Winry turned to Edward who was still quietly nibbling on the homemade cupcake. She giggled. "I can't wait to see you in a tux." She laughed harder as cupcake chunks splattered his plate. "Don't think you're not going, mister."

She gave Granny a thumbs up. "Tell Tamaki that we need to go shopping for the dance!"

Granny left to relay the news.

Winry poked the sulking boy. "C'mon it's not going be that bad, I promise. You don't even have to talk to anyone." She pursed her lips. "I know you spoke on the phone. Granny said I was hearing things, but it was definitely you."

He merely gazed down at the remnants on his plate.

"Ed, don't play dumb with me."


"Just a 'hello' will do."


"At least acknowledge that you spoke!"


"Fine!" Winry pushed her side of the blanket off and hopped out of the bed. "I almost die, and you're still so damn stubborn!" She stomped the door, and took one last look at him. "You'd look stupid in a tux anyways!"


"Stupid Ed!"

Winry slammed the doors open to her work room, steam already rolling offer her. Her work table lied emptily across her. She hadn't visited this room since their return. Her heart raced, the moment fresh in her mind.

It all happened so fast. The car crash: the vehicle colliding into theirs; scraps of metal flying; the reek of burnt rubber. The rest of Tokyo's street zipped by without a thought. Her and Granny were so tiny and insignificant in the big city; ants that could have been crushed. Granny tried comforting her, saying that the driver was going to be found. Yet her words did little.

If only she could hear Edward again.

"I'm not crazy," she murmured.

The girl set her tool bag on the table, and started setting stuff out for preparation. At the moment, she hadn't the clue on what to design or tinker with. The more she pulled out, the more she realized that cleaning was in order. Else Granny might have a stern wording with her.

And that was never pleasant.

She reached into Granny's box of supplies to grab mineral spirits, oil, and rag. She set them out proper for when she returned with water.

She left and found one of Tamaki's friends walking in the hallway. She waved high to the teenager, trying her best to calm her anger. "Hey!" Crap, it came out a tad aggressive. She tapped her chin contemplatively. "Lemme guess. Tall, black hair, nicely dressed…" She pointed a comically dramatic finger at him. "Mori!"

The man sighed. "That'd be the wild type."

Winry didn't understand what on Earth that meant. Must be a Japanese thing. Or a rich thing. Neither of which, she was. "Sooo, Kyouya then?"

The man pushed his glasses up. "That would be correct."

Winry beamed. "Got it!" She also ignored that sigh. "So, what brings you to my lovely part of the hallway?"

"Your grandmother is busy learning shogi with the head housekeeper, and I had some questions on automail."

The young blonde's faith lit up exceptionally. If Kyouya wasn't use to his own energetic blondes, he would've been blinded by the sheer undiluted joy radiated off of her.

"Me?" She proclaimed as she hopped enthusiastically from side to side. "Me? You're looking at one of the top Ametris mechanics, topped by only her grandma. Anything you need to know, I'm ya girl!"

Kyouya gave a small smile. "Well, I'm glad I'm in the right hands." He saw the rag in her hand. "Am I interrupting something?"

She brushed it off. "Oh, just heading to kitchen for some water to clean my tools. Perfect timing! I'll tell explain as I clean them. Show all the parts and how it works," she gushed, then tilted her head. "Any reason for your interest?"

"Oh, I find it fascinating. My family has a business in the medical field, so I'm interested in ways to expand it."

Mentally, his smile widened. Asking the little girl would several multiple purposes. If she was good as she said, then all the better. Not only would it help him in his position as the third son, but also unravel the gold haired enigma.

As Winry and Kyouya began to head to the kitchen, they talked about beloved automail.

"You see, Ametris doesn't like its technology going out of its country. Buuut, it's not like they've done me any favors. Besides, if it's for medical purposes, I'd be happy to help people."


Edward stared blankly at the muted samurai on the television. He didn't need sound to know they were probably going on about something to honor or pride or whatever. He didn't care. He thought of upset Winry, and that he was cause of her troubles once more. He mentally cursed himself for being childish and simply not speaking to her.

He hopped out of the bed, and looked back at Alphonse the teddy bear. The stuffed creature tilted its head. A moment passed. Edward nodded in understanding.

Right. Need to drink water to clear my throat.

Then Tamaki burst into the room. Edward stumbled back. By now he should be used to his brother's suddenness!

"My dearest little soul brother," the tall blonde started in a dramatic fashion. "I hear you having lady troubles. No worries, for I excel with those of the lovely female persuasion."

The twins, Mori, Hunny, and Haruhi shoved him out of the doorway.

"Whatever advice m'lord gives, forget it," began Hikaru. "To nurture a lady's heart, you need pizzazz," said Kaoru. "Woo her in style!" They completed in style as they pulled out dapper outfit in Edward's size.

The short kid raised his eyebrow in caution. What the hell just happened?

"Your clothing isn't exactly fitting for the Suoh lifestyle," Tamaki explained.

"It's not often Mom gets to work with people of small stature, Hunny aside, so she volunteered to design an outfit," said Hikaru.

"Since you will be living here from now on, it's best we set you up."

Edward stared at them blankly. The thought hadn't crossed him. Living in Suoh Mansion #2 from now on.

Small stature…

He lunged. Kaoru quickly stopped him with his foot. Well, tried. The kid was much stronger (and heavier) than he reckoned. He promptly hit the floor. Used to Hunny and Satoshi's rambunctious duels, Mori simply lifted the shorty from atop the twin.

Hikaru helped his brother up, and the twins stuck out their tongues at the growling Edward. Mori set Edward down, but held him back from going at it again.

Hunny pulled out handsome article of clothing that fit perfectly behind him. "Ta-da~~!"

Edward could only star in awestruck. If Granny Pinako and Winry were the best at automail, the twins' mom was the best at designing clothes.

Tamaki glanced around for Winry. "Where is she? I thought for sure that she'd want to see this."

Edward's head hung. "I may have pissed her off."

There was no question of "may." He did, and it was that simple. But he didn't simply know what to say. His first words in quite a few months were "don't die." And felt incredibly, hopeless, desperate. So what can his second set of words be to her? The ones face to face?


Shima Maezono eyed her opponent carefully. Her fingers remained unmoving, not quite sure where to move next. "You learn fast," she pointed out quietly.

As the two played, they engaged in small chitchat. Although Pinako understood Japanese clearly, her words and pronunciations were still slow. She mostly listened to the fellow old woman.

"I almost forgot about Tamaki's relatives in Ametris," Maezono said after making her move. "It's odd, since the more I think about it, the more I remember him talking about his cousins." She smiled fondly. "I think his favorite story was his last visit a few years ago before he moved to Japan."

"They went to play by the river."

"Tried to catch fish for dinner. He said that Edward and Alphonse were so small, they had to team up together against this one big fish. And ended up falling in the river."

"They all came back sunburned and foodless." Pinako captured a piece. "But Trisha was making stew, and we had one last meal as a family." She closed her eyes, picturing that blissful moment.

"Yes, he told me about that. That Trisha made the best stew. The cooks often try to mimic it, without success so far." There was a long pause as they concentrated on the game. "Alphonse was young when Tamaki moved here. When I saw that you guys were here, I've been looking forward to seeing him. Is he back home since he's still young?"

Even though it was Pinako's turn, she didn't bother. She puffed her pipe and looked at Shima Maezono. "Winry wants to believe he's missing, but I believe he is dead."

"The police need to do something."

"We do not have police. Our country is strictly run by the military. It may has helped our security and wars, but a small child gone missing is hardly their concern."

Pinako thought of her country compared to Japan. Before coming here, she had never been outside of Ametris. It was hard due to the military. But Tamaki had connections because of his family's status, making it easier for him and Edward. She wondered how he managed to let Edward stray this far from Ametris—especially concerning his own family's status.

But it seemed that Tamaki was unaware that Trisha and her husband were so desperate to keep the eyes of their militaristic government's eyes away from them. And the less known about that, the better.

Unaware that others also played the dangerous game, Pinako made her move by doing nothing but observe. And until the time came, if it ever did, Hell will most certainly break loose.


As Winry cleaned, Kyouya listened to her explain the basics like a text book.

"Linked directly to the nervous system, automail prosthesis does not usually require an external energy source and can be moved at will like a natural appendage, taking electrical pulses from the nerves to power and regulate the various electric motors and pneumatic actuators inside. Automail limbs are generally made with a full steel skeletal frame layered with steel armor-plating to protect the various wires and intricate machinery inside; however, contemporary technological advancements have allowed certain automails to be comprised of other materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, chrome, copper-nickel and aluminum alloys, so as to be less cumbersome and more durable than steel in abnormal conditions."

He stared blankly at the sheepish girl.

"Heh. Heh. Granny had me read the material before letting me go near the equipment. I can recite more of it, if you want."

He nodded. "You know so much," he complimented. This girl was more useful than he thought. "What about the drawbacks, minus the text book format, if you will?"

"Besides losing the limbs that need to be replaced, the greatest pain is attaching new ones. Even grown men cry." She stops cleaning, moving altogether as she closes her blue eyes. She remembers the blood, his pained expression, and stubborn silence. She bit her lip. "There are the upgrades too. Have to reattach, and there's more pain. In the skirmishes, automail is mainly for the desperate. Ametris always has "skirmishes." What a silly word," she said with a bitter chuckle. "I'm sorry, moving on.

"If a person is going to commit to automail, they have to keep up with the maintenance: proper oil, etc…" She trailed off. She looked up when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

"It must be hard, learning the things people go through to need new body parts." He brushed her swelling tears. "Doctors must exist, you know, to prevent people from hurting so much that need new body parts."

She smiled. "It takes awhile for news to reach Resembool, but Granny heard word from a regular that Ametris doing more research to make it more painless and humanlike. Automail must look primitive to other countries, especially this one, or maybe something out of a steampunk book. But it's more advanced than at first glance."

He spread a finger across a wrench, feeling the metal. He looked down at the little girl who wielded these objects on the table—the tools that she used to renew life in people. So knowledgeable in the subject of biomechanics, he noted to talk to her more later. He stepped back, allowing her space back.

"Very useful," he said. "One more question, though…"

This man, Winry thought, was awesome—hardly anyone listened to her nerd out. "Of course!"

"Does Edward have automail?"

She paused.


Edward blushed as he stood outside the door to Winry's and Granny's workroom. The Ouran gang, minus that glass fellow, stood behind. He didn't have to see Tamaki to know his cousin was doing a cheer. He quietly snorted at the image of pompoms. He couldn't believe that he let them talk to this. Blame was placed on their fast talking, the Amestrian unable to keep with speedy Japanese. Yeah, that was it.

A nice braid poured down his neck, a few well placed "out of place" strands. Along his legs were his best pants. Not up to the fine test of Tamaki's friends, but the only pants that fit. Haruhi sent him "I feel you" look. The best part was red coat draping his soldiers—handsome and completely bad ass.

Straightening the shirt for the hundredth time, he hoped the fine red silk didn't appear silly on a country boy. He took a deep, reassuring breath, and opened the door before he could change his mind.

"…have automail?"

Well, now, he wasn't expecting Kyouya to be chatting up Winry. Not to mention in German. He didn't have to hear the beginning of the sentence to know he was the one in question. Winry's face said it all. But she kept silent, not wanting to reveal his secret.

He stepped into the room, looked Kyouya dead in the eye, and nodded in confirmation. He knelt in front of Winry, and gazed up in her sweet blue eyes. He offered her a gloveless, flesh hand, and took hers that rebuilt his broken body. He cleared his throat.

"Winry, will you go to the dance with me?"

She knelt to hug her best friend. "Of course!" Hugging him, their body heat mingled, and she never felt warmer. Blinking away tears of happiness, she noticed the assemble standing outside the doorway. She gave them a smile, and mouthed a 'thanks.'


Like always, Tamaki was a star amongst the sea of adoring fans. They swayed at his charming smile and glistening white teeth. Standing proudly atop a stool brought for the very occasion, he raised Renge's loud microphone to his lips.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he bellowed, "in two weeks time, a ball will be held! Everyone, including your parents will be invited along with top notch security! Not just any ball, but a masquerade!"

His sea of fans roared with approval.

Kaoru and Hikaru pushed him off the stool and snatched the microphone to trade lines.

"This dance will include two special guests—"

"—and one very special prize for a lovely lady."

"Even better than last year, more than kiss, but also a surprise!"

Hunny smiled and waved at the audience. "Guess my favorite sweet to win!" He climbed atop Mori. "Good luck everybody! This will be our best dance yet!"


In two weeks time, a dance will occur.

The music will play. Melodies will mix with quiet laughter and smiling faces. Then clock will chime midnight's hour. Dancing will cease as screams are heard. Answers will be lost in the sea of rising questions.

In two weeks time, lives will be lost.

But there is time before that, and fate is not set in stone.

A/N: After the Dance Chapter, I'm going back to edit everrrryything. The title will be different, etc. A few details here and there. Corrections. Blah blah blah. Who's wants to be my better. Someone familiar with both universes? Also someone, doesn't have to help edit, to bounce ideas on? :wink wink: