The Bank Called, Your Reality Check Bounced
A Fullmetal Alchemist/Ouran High School Host Club fan fiction
By Lady Norbert
A/N: I claim very little responsibility for this. Most of the blame lies with my friend Andrea (she to whom the Elemental Chess Trilogy was dedicated), for spending a day introducing me to OHSHC almost a full year after getting me addicted on FMA. Most of the rest of the blame belongs to a large number of my Tumblr followers, particularly FFN's own jellyjay and LyssaLaa, for encouraging my sleep-deprived delusions. I have yet to determine how many chapters this will be, but at least three or four...
This is, in largest part, pure silliness. It was chiefly inspired by the fact that the OHSHC anime and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood have identical voice casts. I have not read the OHSHC manga (although I know how it ends), so this strictly references the anime, hence the appearance of - among other things - banana peels. It can take place at any point during the school year. Also, regarding the word that the Hosts use to refer to each other, I have seen it written as both senpai and sempai; I am using the senpai spelling because that's how they spell it in the title of one episode of the anime, "Mori-senpai Has an Apprentice Candidate."
In terms of FMA, it's set two years after the events of the Promised Day. There are spoilers in here for the finale of Brotherhood/the manga. Also, the fact that it's a crossover means that it's an AU in the first instance, but it's additionally made one by the fact that a certain beloved FMA character does not die - he survives to enjoy these events, particularly at Roy's expense.
And I think I've covered everything now and if I keep this up the author's note will be as long as the chapter, so I'll stop here. Enjoy! Please review!
Chapter One: Black Magic and Banana Peels
It was, on the surface, a fairly standard day. Of course, at Ouran Academy, the definition of "standard" was a bit different from the rest of the world, to the point where it probably wasn't a good way to describe the day at all. The only inescapable fact was that it was a Thursday.
Anyway, the Host Club - the school's elite playground for the super rich and beautiful - had just concluded their day's business. Kyoya was tallying data in his PineApple computer; Honey was eating his ninth piece of cake; Tamaki was preening; the twins were playing tag; and Mori was meditating. Only Haruhi, the club's "secret princess," was absent; she had gone to pick up more instant coffee.
Adjacent to the club's meeting place was a room occupied by the Black Magic Club. Occasionally, and for no discernible reason, a strange door would materialize in their shared wall. It did so on this allegedly standard day, and opened to reveal Nekozawa Umehito, president of the Black Magic Club.
Despite the vast differences in their interests, Nekozawa was actually rather fond of the seven Hosts. They had helped him, with some difficulty and for no personal gain of their own, repair his relationship with his adored little sister Kirimi. It was a kindness he would not soon forget.
"Oh, hey there, Nekozawa," said Hikaru, pausing mid-stride. "The door showed up, huh?"
"The door? It must be plot-relevant," said Tamaki, setting aside his comb.
"I made an amazing discovery, and I wanted to share it with all of you," Nekozawa told them, brandishing his puppet Belzeneff in excitement. "I have opened a portal!"
"I'm not completely sure," he admitted. "But I was experimenting with some mystic circles, trying to determine if they were suitably black to share with the rest of the club, and a gate appeared! I have reason to believe that beyond it lie the answers to all of life's mysteries!"
"I'm back," said Haruhi, interrupting this impassioned speech. "Oh, hi, Nekozawa. A gate, huh?" She put down the bag of groceries.
"Yes. So will you all come and see the gate?"
"I'm not sure it's entirely wise," Kyoya began.
"Well, it's not like I've been able to get the thing open," Nekozawa protested. "I just want someone to see it!"
"Oh, come on, Mommy, let's go see the gate," Tamaki wheedled.
"Very well. If it's closed then I suppose it can't do much harm."
The seven Hosts followed Nekozawa into the Black Magic Club's room, where - after their eyes adjusted to the darkness - they could see his extraordinary discovery for themselves. It was nothing less, and nothing more, than a massive pair of stone doors set into a wall where there was almost certainly never supposed to be a door, stone or otherwise. "You see?" the Dark Prince asked proudly.
"Well, we see it," said Hikaru.
"We're just not sure what it is," added Kaoru.
"Neither am I, exactly. But I just know it's a significant black magic discovery! It has to be!"
Haruhi peered closely at the gate's intricate carvings. "All the words are Latin," she mused, "but I'm not fluent enough to know what they mean. I recognize a couple of them, though, they seem to be related to... medicine."
"Let me see," said Kyoya, moving to join her. "Hm. Yes, I see what you mean. These are very old pharmaceutical terms, or at least some of them are. That doesn't seem especially black magic to me."
Haruhi lifted a hand to touch one of the inscriptions. The instant her fingertips made contact with the engraving, the gate began to slide open, the double doors parting inwards. Startled, she jumped back, and the twins each grabbed one of her arms to help her stay upright. "What the-?"
From the depths of the blackness beyond the gate, an impossibly large and penetrating eye gazed unblinkingly at them. They gazed back. It was emotionless, inexorable, and kind of creepy.
"What is that?"
"The eye! The all-seeing, all-knowing eye!" cried Nekozawa, dropping to his knees. "I knew this would show us the way to the answers! Let's go in!"
"I have to be over here now."
The Hosts, each more spooked than they wanted to admit, turned to go. Of course, this would be a really short story if that had actually worked.
Haruhi, being closest to the gate when the Hosts decided to make their exit, was at the tail of the group and fell in step behind the six boys. Just as she did so, one of those ubiquitous and never-adequately-explained banana peels appeared on the floor beneath her shoe. She immediately lost her balance and shrieked, her arms pinwheeling out at her sides in a futile attempt to keep herself from falling. She slid backwards, tumbling head over heels, ultimately careening into the darkness surrounding the eye.
The other Hosts stared after her in dismay and alarm. "Come on, men! It's our sworn duty to rescue Haruhi!" declared Tamaki, and together they rushed into the abyss without further hesitation.
"Wait for me!" exclaimed Nekozawa, getting to his feet. "I'm coming too!"
But as he reached the gate, it abruptly slammed shut in his face, the sound echoing through the empty room. He stared at it in dismay, Belzeneff hanging limply at his side.
Meanwhile, in Amestris...
"So we're agreed," Alphonse Elric said to his brother Edward, as they walked back home from the grocery store. "In just two weeks, we'll go - me to the east, you to the west."
"Admit it, you just can't wait to get to Ling's court and see May Chang again," Ed teased him.
"Come on." Al chuckled. "What about you? You're not overjoyed to be leaving Winry, now, are you?"
"Well, I - hey, look, a distraction!" He pointed, and Al turned.
"Oh, you weren't kidding," said Al, as they hurried over to help the individual sprawled on the grass not far away. She, or he (it was a little hard to tell), was not too much younger than themselves. "Hey, are you okay?"
"I...think so," mumbled the stranger, getting up slowly. "Where am I?"
"Resembool, in the south country. Did you hit your head, miss...?" Al ventured a guess as to gender.
"Haruhi. Haruhi Fujioka." She shook her head. "I don't think so."
"Here, let us help you." Ed gave her his hand. "You've got dirt all over that nice suit jacket - give it to Al, he'll clean it off for you."
"Thanks, that's nice of you."
As Al helped her remove the blue jacket with the unfamiliar lapel logo, Ed became vaguely aware of a collection of young men in the near distance. Suddenly -
"What the hell?"
He just barely managed to dodge a flying kick from a skinny blond boy, who performed a few improbable somersaults in midair before landing.
"Oh, no." Haruhi put her face in her hand. A pair of identical redheads were suddenly standing on either side of her.
"One," they said in unison, "good looks that attract the public eye."
"Two," said another voice, this one belonging to a bespectacled black-haired boy, "more wealth than you can imagine."
"Three," said a different black-haired boy who sounded way too much like Roy Mustang to be believed, "chivalry that will never be able to overlook..."
"...the hideous wickedness of this world," finished a sandy-haired midget standing at his side.
The blond who had tried to kick in the side of Ed's face rejoined them. They were clustered like human shields around the lone female, who seemed positively embarrassed. "That's what makes up the Ouran Host Club," the blond said defiantly. Together, the six boys declared, "We're here! Watch out!"
Ed and Al blinked, and looked at each other.
"So are you guys some kind of traveling stage show?"
"How often do you rehearse that?"
"Senpai," groaned the girl.
Al finished getting the dirt off of her jacket and handed it back. "Here you go," he said pleasantly. "Not exactly good as new, but it's an improvement."
"Thank you very much."
As she pulled the jacket back on, it became obvious that the wind was going out of the boys' sails. "So...so you weren't...in danger?" asked the blond.
"No, Tamaki-senpai. I fell in a dirt pile when I landed here and these guys were passing by so they helped me up."
"Oh. Aheh." He rubbed the back of his neck. Coughing, he turned and extended a hand to Ed. "My profound apologies. Thank you so much for assisting Haruhi." Slinging his free arm around her, he gave a squeeze, adding, "Daddy was so worried about you!"
"Daddy?" Ed repeated.
"Don't ask," she muttered.
Winry was sitting on the steps with Den when the collective approached the house. She looked baffled. "You seem to have picked up a couple of strays," she called out as they drew near. "What's going on?"
"Kind of a long story," Ed told her, handing over the bags of apple pie ingredients she had requested.
"Ed, our entire lives are a long story."
"I guess that's true enough. Okay, short form, these guys somehow wandered through the Gate of Truth and ended up here."
Winry blinked. He shrugged and pointed. "This is Tamaki, Haruhi, Kyoya, Mori, Honey, Hikaru, and Kaoru. I think. I might have the twins mixed up. Don't ask me why Mori sounds like Mustang - if he actually talks at any point, that is - or why Hikaru sounds like Ling."
"And who is this charming princess?" purred Tamaki, bowing over Winry's hand and pressing his lips to her knuckles.
"Uh..." She looked a little perplexed.
"This is Winry," Ed replied, eyes narrowing slightly.
"Enchante, mademoiselle," he said, bowing again.
"Okay, I have no idea what you just said, but it sounded pretty." She looked amused. "Well, you might as well all come inside. Grandma's making stew and she always makes enough for a small army."
"What's stew?" asked one of the twins.
"It's kind of like vegetable soup, but it has milk in it to make it thicker," Ed said. "You've never had stew before?"
"No. Is that commoner food?" asked the other twin.
Haruhi groaned. "Yes, guys, it's commoner food," she told her friends. Turning to their hosts, she said, "I apologize in advance for anything stupid that comes out of their mouths. These guys are aristocrats in Japan, so they tend to not understand how normal people live."
"Japan? Is that near Aerugo?" Al wondered.
"How can you never have heard of Japan?"
The eight boys stared at each other. Winry and Haruhi exchanged looks of commiseration. "It's gonna be a long night," said Winry.
"It usually is, with the Host Club. I'm with these guys every day," said Haruhi. "I'm starting to think I've found the secret to immortality."
Winry and Haruhi had no difficulty getting along. In many ways they were rather similar characters: they were both intelligent, down-to-earth, generally good-natured, and unassuming. They both liked to cook, and to read. Winry was only too delighted to show her automail workshop to someone who had no prior experience with the mechanics, and Haruhi paid her the compliment of genuine interest.
Honey loved everyone, and as soon as he learned that the strange stew dinner would be followed by Winry's apple pie for dessert, he was entirely content with the situation. "Pie's not as good as cake, but it's still really yummy!"
"Yeah." This was the extent of Mori's contribution to the discussion. But he seemed pretty much at ease, for the most part; it was his nature to be unflappable. Kyoya was 'watching and waiting,' to put it simply. His calculating disposition was content to wait and see what, if any, benefit might be derived from their present circumstances.
Al wasn't too ruffled by any of them, but he was quick to identify why Ed didn't like Tamaki. "Brother," he said, taking Ed aside, "he's not going to steal Winry away from you."
"I know he's not!" Ed snapped.
"But he is kind of like you in some ways."
"No he isn't!"
"You have similar voices," Al continued. "And you even make some of the same faces. Look." He pointed at where Tamaki was being tormented by the twins over something or other. The expression on the taller boy's face was remarkably like the one Ed was known to make when someone made the mistake of implying that he was short.
Ed scowled, which only enhanced the resemblance.
Over dinner, they tried to iron out exactly where Japan and Amestris lay with relation to each other. It was an exercise in futility.
"So you've never heard of any of the countries around here? Amestris, Xing, Creta, Aerugo, Drachma?"
"None of them sound remotely familiar," said Kyoya. "And you don't know Japan? China? The United States?"
"Apparently not, then." The Shadow King looked thoughtful. "Could I possibly look at a map of the world?"
"Sure, I guess so." Ed left the table and returned a few minutes later with an atlas. "It's kind of old - it was our father's - but the basic layout of the countries is still pretty much accurate."
Kyoya opened the book, and the others crowded around him to peer at the pages. "This is weird," said Hikaru. (Ed could only identify the twins when one of them spoke, since - as he'd noted previously - Hikaru sounded like Ling.) "It looks a little like Europe, but not much. And where's the ocean?"
"What's an ocean?"
"...giant body of water separating continents from each other?"
"What's a continent?"
"Are you saying," said Kyoya, "that these countries depicted here are the only ones in existence?"
"Well, kind of, yeah. They say there's more on the far sides of Aerugo and Xing, but our country's government being what it has been for the past couple centuries, nobody's really had the opportunity to go and find out for sure."
"Mm. I doubt there's enough time in this episode for a full-blown explanation of your political history," said Tamaki, still frowning at the page. "But we get the general idea."
"...episode?" asked Winry.
Haruhi shook her head. "With Tamaki-senpai, it's sometimes just easier if you don't ask too many questions. He sort of lives in his own world."
Later, Ed and Winry got into an argument.
This was not exactly headline news. Ed and Winry got into an argument at least once a day, usually over something mundane such as - in this case - whose turn it was to go into town and buy bread. They snapped at each other for a few minutes, stewed in silence, and then resumed life as if the confrontation had never taken place, with Ed more often than not giving in to Winry's point of view. Neither Al nor Pinako paid the quarrel the least bit of mind.
Tamaki, however, was aghast. "You can't fight with her like that!" he told Ed. "She's a princess, a beautiful flower of womanhood, you can't speak to her that -"
"What is with you and your princess obsession?"
"Tamaki feels that every girl is a princess and deserves to be treated as one," said Kyoya, with what Ed suspected might be forced patience. "That's why he's our princely type."
"Princely type. Each of us in the club has a personality type that appeals to a portion of our club's clientele, and thus we're able to entertain an extremely wide variety of customers. Tamaki is actually the most popular of us all; he's requested as a host by a good 70% of guests."
"Uh-huh." Ed didn't look impressed.
"Where is Tamaki?" asked Al, realizing that the other blond had slipped away during Kyoya's explanation.
"Over there," the twins said in unison, pointing. Ed turned around slowly, golden eyes taking in the sight of Tamaki attempting to console a mostly confused-looking Winry. Haruhi, standing nearby, was rolling her eyes.
"Okay, that's it," said Ed through gritted teeth. "First thing tomorrow, we're getting on a train to Central. I'm going to introduce you all to my commanding officer, General Mustang. He'll find a way to get you back to Japan."
"But Brother, shouldn't we take them to Ishval for that?"
"Nah, Mustang and his unit are in Central for the month. Meetings and stuff." In a lower voice meant only for Al's ears, he added, "Let him deal with this mess."