Hi. This is my first Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic, so I'm kind of hesitant putting it up. But I figure at least it's going to be read, rather than just sitting on my laptop gathering dust. Thanks so much, and I hope you like it.
This does contain slight Al and Winry bashing, and don't get me wrong, I love them both, but for the sake of the story, it had to happen. Also, there will be TWO OC's, but they will not be paired with anyone, and the main focus of the story will lie heavily with Edward, not any of the OCs. AND - One more thing, THIS IS EDxROY! If you don't like it, get over it and go somewhere else.
Fullmetal Alchemist does not belong to me.
Ed ran a tired hand through his hair, the golden locks shifting down and over his shoulders, of which were heavy and tired. His legs ached with the amount of walking he'd done just to get to this point, and they ached at the notion of how much further they'd have to go. A sigh escaped his lips as the soft summer breeze brushed past his cheeks, but that did little to soothe his nerves.
It'd been nearly two years since he'd been to Risembool. Two years too short if it were up to him, but he really had no choice in the matter as of right now. His leg was acting up, digging him in places he really didn't want shrapnel, making him aware of the fact he'd broken it in some way or another. Every time he went to another automail mechanic, they refused to touch it. Winry had such unique technology that no one dared to touch it, something that was both a blessing and a curse. This was the first time it'd broken in t he two years since their falling out.
That word held so much pain and anger for him. Fall out. There had been too much of that in his past, and it didn't seem that people were doing much to stop it. He had a fall out with the military, seeing as they didn't have much use for a state alchemist that couldn't use alchemy. He had a fall out with Winry, seeing as the whole no alchemy thing seemed to just make her happier than ever, while it made question his whole life. And Alphonse...he didn't even want to think about Alphonse.
The steady tremble of the train and the occasional sounding of the horn told Ed that his ride was slowly approaching, ready to take him to what he was sure was going to be three days of torture. Shifting on his uncomfortable seat, he winced as yet again, another nerve was caught by metal, sending a shock of pain up his spine. That was nothing compared to the torment of having to go back to the town he was born in.
Edward couldn't believe it when the train seats were more uncomfortable than the bench at the train station, something he was still complaining about even after he stepped off the train. Rubbing at the base of his spine, Ed limped forward and off the small station, holding a lone suitcase in his hand, his loose hair still brushing in the wind. The ride here had been much too short, the amount of time only giving him enough to choose his words to say to the others, without fear that he'd be thrown out before his leg was fixed.
The country air that used to soothe him was torment as he walked the familiar path. It was nothing like the air back on the settlement. Nearly seven months ago, Ed had found himself wandering the border of Ishvala, the construction of the building city could be heard even from there. He'd been welcomed by Scar and Miles, but he'd been uncomfortable, but unable to leave. Even now he was not looking forward to going back, even if he would once again be welcomed with open arms and smiles.
They were almost too kind, in such a harsh world.
The first sight of the Rockbell house brought back an onslaught of bad memories that left a bad taste in his mouth, and the sight of the lone child playing on the porch made him scowl. That must be Hohenheim, if the letter Pinako had sent him was accurate. Winry and Al's first, and she was already pregnant with the second.
"Hohenheim." The familiar voice of his brother broke through his resolve as he jerked to stare at the now open doorway, that tall frame standing out from the darkness, "Come inside."
"Hey, Alphonse." Ed started, trying to be the civil one as he stepped closer and closer to that house, his limp growing more prominent, as to why he didn't quite know. Wether it was the pain or the hopes that maybe it would strike a bit of sympathy with his completely unsympathetic brother, he didn't know.
His brother didn't answer him, instead choosing to usher the small blonde boy into the house, patting him on the head before stepping outside and closing the door behind him. If that wasn't a message to Edward, he didn't know what was. The air was thick and uncomfortable between them, a mutual dislike from both of them.
Al sighed, taking one step forward, his eyes hard and mean as he looked over at his brother, "Edward."
Ed shifted, wincing once more as his leg stabbed him again, "My leg is banged up, I was -."
"Winry's busy." Alphonse interrupted him before he even had a chance to finish, crossing his arms tightly over his chest, "She doesn't have time for wanderers with an addiction to trouble."
"C'mon." Ed sighed, rubbing down his hair tightly, shifting on the uneven pathway in front of the Rockbell house. Their conversation was strained and rude, something that didn't belong in the soft and kind atmosphere of the day around them.
Edward didn't dare look into Al's eyes, "I just need a tune up. I'll be out of here in a day or two."
"What part of 'she doesn't have time', don't you understand?" Al turned on the porch, moving back into his house, slowly turning his back to his brother, of which he was treating no better than a common intruder. Hell, Ed scoffed at himself as he watched his brother open the door to completely shut him out, Al probably would have treated an intruder better.
"Now, Alphonse." The harsh voice of Pinako Rockbell reached Edward even from inside the house, her voice soothing despite the glare it infused on Al's face, "Don't treat your brother like that. Edward, come on, get in here."
Edward had never been more agitated in his entire life. As he sat on the uncomfortable couch of Al and Winry's living room, clad only in his boxers, listening to the strained conversation going on in the kitchen, he'd never felt like punching something more. It wasn't his fault that no one would dare touch his automail, no matter where he went. This god-forsaken town was the last place he wanted to be, but be it either by the impending threat of Pinako Rockbell, or the fact that they didn't dare tamper with his automail, no one would work on his leg for him.
He only caught every other word from Winry and Al, but most of them were harsh, and consisted of various Ed bashing statements and insistences of him leaving. Pinako would have nothing of it, but both of the others were fighting against it full force.
He was suddenly glad that it was Pinako working on his automail, and not Winry. He'd be left with some deformity or, if his luck stood out, it'd be even worse than when he'd brought it here. The words continued, they grew louder and louder, almost to the point of screaming.
To repeat, Edward had never felt more agitated in his entire life.
A soft hand pressed against his unclothed ankle, making him almost jolt out of his seat, his heart racing a mile a minute as he whipped to look down at the small boy placed at the edge of the couch. Blue eyes stared up at him with intense curiosity, his lips pursed in a small frown as he regarded this stranger. He'd, no doubt, hardly been told about Edward. That look in his eyes wasn't of someone curious about someone they should know, it was a look of a child regarding an intruder. Because that's exactly what Edward was, in this home.
The fact that Alphonse had named the boy what he did lit a fire in Edward's soul that threatened to overtake him. He'd had conflicted feelings about the name, even before this child came to bare it. Now, it was just a constant reminder of loss, that name. Everything connected with it symbolized loss and anguish.
"Hohenheim." It was Winry. She'd barely spoken a word to him the whole time he'd been here. It wasn't an astounding feat, seeing as he'd done the same to her, but he would have at least expected a hello or maybe a insult. She drew her son away from Edward quickly, sending a scathing glare at him before walking with the boy out of the room.
Ed scoffed again, wiggling his leg stump in boredom and annoyance. He thanked his lucky stars that he didn't have an automail arm anymore, seeing as he didn't want to spend any more time here than necessary.
"Here." Edward glanced over softly at the voice, smiling when Pinako entered, holding his leg to her chest. She'd aged quite a bit from the last time he'd seen her. She had to use a cane to get around now, and the arthritis was getting worse. Sometimes she forgot the name of a certain tool, she'd mentioned while writing him, or maybe she'd forget what she ate for breakfast or if she'd worked on a certain piece of automail. She was aging, and they both knew it, but Pinako was never afraid. She still had that defiant and cocky smirk on her face.
"It's done earlier than expected, and that's not because I forgot something." She walked over to him slowly, his leg in her arms not allowing her the use of her cane. Setting herself on the stool next to Ed's stump, she sighed in relief, "These dang legs of mine are already going out."
Edward didn't have the heart to do more than chuckle, his hands clenching in remorse.
"So, how have you been, these last two years?" Pinako started, reaching in with steady hands to tweak and adjust Ed's port, being careful of every nerve end.
Edward laughed, leaning his head back on the couch, "You should know, granny. I send you enough letters to take down a rainforest."
"Letters are one thing, Ed." She leaned in to have a better look at the sensitive nerve ends that the broken automail had been rubbing against, her brow furrowing in concern. She glanced up at him momentarily with her smirk, "But I haven't seen you in two years and I want to know how you've been doing without the fancy editing and proofreading that comes with letters."
Ed glared at the ceiling with a groan, cursing himself for ever feeling bad for this old bat. Taking a deep breath, he sighed, "Ishval is still under construction, but they passed a bill, got Scar and Miles some more funding. They're even building me a house, if you can believe it."
"Miles is the man from Briggs, right?" Pinako questioned softly, gently reaching in to tweak some of the nerve ends carefully, "That's nice of them."
Ed clenched his teeth in pain as she continued to prod and poke at him, spending the most amount of time right around the sensitive area. He sighed as the pain faded, but his hands stayed clenched.
"Why..." Pinako pulled back a bit, reaching up and wiping at her brow with the back of her shirt, peering at Edward through her spectacles, "How did this happen?" She sighed deeply, sadly, heart-breakingly, "You two...you two spent years together, searching for the philosophers stone, and you just let all that go?"
"The feeling was mutual." Ed couldn't look at her anymore. It hurt him too, the way that all of his and Al's time together went through the roof. He thought at that time that nothing could break them apart. They'd been through anything and everything together. Nothing could break the love they felt for each other.
But, like he was with many things, Edward was wrong.
Edward was never as relieved to get on a train as when he plopped onto that wooden seat at Risembool station. His leg felt lighter, the loss of the pain taking a certain weight off his shoulders. His small bag of clothing was close to his side, and the sun was just barely setting on the horizon. The soft warmth did wonders for his nerves, and he was almost forty percent certain he'd fall asleep at some time on this trip back to Ishval.
He could still feel Pinako's gaze on his back as he walked away, but he didn't bother turning around to look back at her. He didn't belong there, and she knew it as much as he did. She wanted him to try and fix things, make things right, but he couldn't bring himself to try. Not when he knew it wouldn't work.
As the train jerked to life to travel the some odd miles to the newly built Ishval station, he went over his various plans in his head. The last few years had been eventful. True to his word, he searched the west, learning all he could. It'd taken nearly a year and a half, but he'd walked from Mid-Aerugo to lower Creta, he'd even made it to Drachma. It took that long to make him realize that no matter where he went, what he learned, it would never be enough. During all his travels, he couldn't bring himself to stay in one place for more than three days, and his chest was always empty.
He'd attempted to settle down, and that thought even made him laugh. He'd gone to Ishval to try and find a place for himself, for some cynical redemption of his life, going to the place that was so war-torn, just like himself.
Ed jumped as he was started from his slumber, shaking his head of the strange thoughts of his dreams. He glanced at the woman to his side, her tray of various snacks and foods looking very inviting as she smiled kindly down at him.
"A snack?" She asked with a tilt of her head.
Edward laughed, seating himself up a bit further, his eyes glancing quickly over the display of options. He gave her a smile, before reaching into his pocket to pull out a spare coin, "chocolate pastry, please?"
She nodded, taking his coin and handing him one of the delectable looking pastries, smiling softly before questioning once more, "Would you like some coffee with that, sir?"
Ed couldn't hold back the twitch of annoyance, and his limbs tensed. He had an unhealthy dislike for coffee seeing as most liked to put milk in it, and anything with a connection to that disastrous white liquid left a bad taste in his mouth.
"No." He said shortly with a twitch of his brow, turning to look back out the window as he took a defiant bite of the crisp and soft pastry. It was quite good. He heard the small trolley the woman was pushing cart forward, and her soft voice ask another patron. He felt only slightly guilty and spared her a glance.
What got his attention instead was the boy. There was a teenage boy sitting there, by himself on the rather empty train, looking like there wasn't any problem with the situation at all. And as he politely declined the woman's offer, the boy turned back to his book. He looked almost content with being completely alone.
Edward sighed again, shaking his head of his absurd thoughts, choosing to munch the rest of his pastry before flopping to his side, curling his arm under his head and bringing his knees up. The warmth of the sun was warming his skin, and his tired body was fully willing to fall into a complete and deep sleep.
A soft thunk woke Edward, his eyes adjusting to the darkness that was now around him. The train was still gently careening down the tracks, making him yawn deeply at the movement, and his body ache from the awkward position. He glanced around in slight curiosity to find the source of the sound, when he saw his bag hanging half off the seat, his various belongings scattered across the ground.
"Damn..." He groaned, wiling himself to get up and gather his things.
"Are you Edward Elric?"
Sitting himself up, Ed looked over curiously, seeing that same boy, but this time kneeling next to Ed's scattered things, holding up a book. Edward's old alchemy book, something that even now he couldn't bring himself to let go of. Just like his pocket watch with the etching of 'don't forget' in the cover, this book was a constant reminder of what he'd lost...and why he'd lost it.
Ed chuckled, reaching down tiredly to gather his things, glancing at the curious boy for just a second, "The one and only."
Gently folding his clothing and stuffing it in his bag, a yawn tore from his throat again. Glancing out the window, he sighed with a small smile, the wide open planes spreading out around the train, the moon perched perfectly in the sky, surrounded by millions of stars. He quite liked the view, and his nap combined with it, he was feeling better by the second. Yawning again, Ed smacked his bag a couple times, ready to use it as a pillow for his sleep. He turned to the boy again, ready to take back his book, when those wide, wide green eyes met him.
"You're...you're really him?" His breathy whisper barely reached Edward's ears, his hands shaking as he held the book tightly in his hands, his knuckles already turning white, "You're Edward Elric?"
"Last time I checked." Edward couldn't say he was really in the mood to talk to this kid, but he felt something in him spark when he saw the boy's hopeful look, and he couldn't help but smile lightly, raising a brow, "Who's asking?"
"Oh!" The boy jumped excitedly, getting to his feet quickly, a heated blush already covering his cheeks as he surged forward with a jerk to hand Ed the book, "Frayne! Giovanni Frayne!"
Edward laughed at the name, taking the book softly, reaching in to stuff it into one of his inner pockets on the jacket he was wearing. A long yawn tore out of him as he turned back to his makeshift pillow, ready to tuck back down, "Well, nice to meet you, Gio."
Plopping on his side, he found the leather of his bag warm and soft, just enough to make his sleep-faded mind sing. Ed sighed, nuzzling in and letting out a long breath, sleep already overcoming him.
Ishval was a peaceful place, even in the midst of their reconstruction. Their people had all come to help, so there was a healthy settlement started. They were no longer under the government watch, spare for Miles, so they were able to laugh and work together peacefully. The air was clear here, and there was no longer the overwhelming feeling of blood-stained memories hovering over the ground. They were never forgotten, but they were not stopping the people of Ishval from moving forward.
They had a few buildings up already, but work was very slow, and it was nothing of it's former glory. When Edward stepped through the middle of what would have been he main street of Ishval, he was greeted by many lining the road in various tents. Stretching his back and taking a deep breath, Edward glanced over the tents and construction equipment to find that familiar military uniform. He needed to tell Miles and Scar that he was back.
He also needed to tell them that he wasn't staying.
Ed looked over quickly, recognizing the voice of one of the Ishvalans that had been helping with construction. He wasn't so good with names, but this boy was one of the ones who was in the forefront of military cooperation, sticking around Miles quite a bit, soaking in all the knowledge he could.
Ed smiled, raising a single hand in greeting, choosing not to speak purely due to the fact that he still didn't know this man's name.
The boy slowed to a jog in front of Ed, smiling widely as he clapped the other on the shoulder. His wide red eyes were full of joy and ambition, and as he looked at Ed, they were determined like his had been, "Mr. Miles and Mr. Scar were wondering when you'd find your way back. They're in the main building talking to a military rep, about getting a bit more military help with rebuilding."
"Mustang?" Edward inquired, raising an eyebrow as he made his way down the familiar streets leading to the main building, of which Scar and Miles were using as a main office or headquarters.
The boy (Edward really wished he remembered his name) shook his head with a chuckle, "Nah. Not him. Some other guy, not alchemist. Major General Mustang is off in the South dealing with something down there, on the border of Aerugo."
Ed sighed, yet again, wondering just what he'd have to go through now. Mustang was the only one he felt comfortable dealing with in the military, after everything that had happened. The general brunt of the conversation with anyone other than Mustang was why he left the military, and how he should come back. They were still trying to get the manpower to fill the hole he'd left in the proverbial alchemical force that was central.
As Edward knocked at the door of the main building, he glanced over towards the sky. The clouds were rolling in, dark and ominous, taunting him for his inability to stay here in Ishval. He wanted to, stay and help with construction and military cooperation, but he just couldn't. If he just had his alchemy, he'd be able to help these people so much more. Production would be double, or even triple what it was now. He couldn't help but think that every time he saw these people start to build a new house. Scar was helping alchemically, but the man was still hesitant, even after all these years, to use his alchemical reconstruction arm. That meant work was slow, and he only helped in dire needs.
"Edward." Ed sighed happily as Miles greeted him at the door, the man's pleasant smile showing Ed that this was just a nice conversation him and Scar were in, not another military official trying to force authority down their throats. Miles held open the door and ushered Ed inside, "We've been looking forward to your return."
Scar was donned in a Ishvalan robe and wrapping, his long hair falling down the back of the chair. He was no longer ashamed to show his arms, as they were bore to the world, his eyes still hard yet they had softened considerably over the years. He even smiled at Edward as he entered, shifting to stand up and greet the other.
"Edward, we were wondering when you'd make it back." His deep voice shifted through the air as Ed went to meet him, patting him on the shoulder in time as Scar did the same, "How is your leg?"
"Well, Winry refused to see me." Ed admitted with a sigh, smiling nervously, "But that's alright. The feeling was partially mutual, and Pinako fixed my leg up good as new."
"That is unfortunate." Scar let his face fall to that familiar frown as he turned back toward the other man in the room, stepping back to allow Edward room to move forward and introduce himself. Scar stayed standing as he gestured toward the man, "This is Colonel Yonkers, he's here to do a check up."
"Hello, Mr. Elric!" The man stood firm, reaching out excitedly and grasping Edward's hand before he even had a chance to offer it, shaking Ed's hand vigorously. His face was bright in a smile, and even as he let go of Edward's hand, he stayed standing, "Major General Mustang would have come himself, but as you probably heard, he had some work to do in the south."
"Yeah, I heard." Edward smiled kindly, but in all truths, he was in no mood to smile. He just wanted to go to his designated tent and sleep, sleep a long time before he told Miles and Scar of his plans to leave.
Ed turned toward Scar and Miles, shifting from foot to foot and smiling tiredly, "I just came to say I'm back. Seems like construction has been going full force."
"Yes, but we were wondering when you'd return." Miles spoke calmly, his fierce red eyes uncovered from his usual dark spectacles, staring deep into Edward's, as most Ishvalan's did, "You are a strong pair of arms, Edward. You keep everyone on their feet and keep their hearts light, we figured that out not a day after you left. Everyone was wondering of your return."
Edward laughed, reaching up and rubbing at the back of his head, a soft blush covering his cheeks, "I'm honored really. I'll try not to leave for too long, next time."
It slipped out before Edward could stop it, and his heart beat in agony and guilt. He couldn't fathom the thought of having to tell them that he was leaving, the look on everyones faces. Once again, he would be disappointing someone, but he just couldn't stay. Something in his gut told him he needed to leave, he didn't understand it, but it was almost like this feeling had been in him his whole life.
Scar smirked, clapping Edward on the shoulder once more, before Edward thanked Colonel Yonkers once more. As he stepped back out in the sun, Ed took another deep breath and smiled, feeling a bit lighter.
"What was that about?" The boy that Edward still didn't remember the name of met him again as he stepped out of the building, holding a barrel of water and a few two-by-fours on his shoulder, his brows raised in curiosity, "Was that Colonel guy nice?"
"Yeah...nice." Ed laughed nervously, leading the way away from the building and toward the row of tents his was located in. Him and six other men, Scar and MIles included, still stayed in the tents. There were enough newly built houses for the families and elderly to stay in, and they were almost done with the rest of them.
The boy smiled, slowing to a stop, "Well, it's certainly good to have you back, Mr. Edward. I'm looking forward to working with you again tomorrow."
Edward smiled, raising a single hand to wave a goodbye to the other, watching as the boy ran off into the construction site, his hopes high and his smile beaming. It almost made Ed feel better, and as he reached back to undo the tie on his braid, he smiled. Running his fingers through the sweat-damp strands, shaking them loose from one another, the air chilling his heated neck. He did feel better, as long as he wasn't in Risembool.
Standing in only a white tank top and loose work shorts, Ed took a deep breath before swigging the rest of his water. It was midday, and they were nearing completion of another house. The foundation was down, and they just needed to add the final concrete to the walls and ceiling, and this would be a new house for someone to sleep in tomorrow night. The Ishvalans liked their simple structure houses, much unlike the townhouses back in Central. Two walls and a roof were all that they needed, and they were insistent on keeping their tradition alive.
Edward wasn't complaining any, it made production faster due to the simplification of the houses. The boy, of which Ed finally figured out his name was Saul, was jumping for joy next to him, his cheerful disposition never failing to rub off on Ed. The others were already starting on the wooden structure of the house next to the one they were finishing up, and it looks as if that would be the last house on this row.
"Edward." He turned and looked, reaching up to wipe at his brow, a wide and youthful smile finding it's way to his face as he saw Scar coming up from behind them, a rather happy look on his face considering how neutral it was, "Very nice job. I wasn't expecting this much to be done in such short a time."
"Well, that's what you get when you work with Edward Elric." He smiled proudly, placing his hands on his hips and looking back over his work.
Scar glanced down at Edward's automail curiously, "Hows the wrap? Did it burn anything today?"
Ed shook his head as if he was expecting the question, which he was. Considering how many times he'd burned someone unintentionally on his automail, it was a miracle they didn't force him to wear longer pants. Looking down at his automail, of which was wrapped multiple times in white cloth that had once been a scarf, Ed laughed, "Not today. Finally got it wrapped enough. I'm running out of apologies for burns."
"I was not merely talking about others." Scar reached and pulled up Ed's shorts by the right leg, ignoring the boy's gawking blush, to look at the base of Ed's automail, frowning at the reddening skin, "You need to be careful of your port, Edward. The skin can burn where it is against the metal."
"I know, I know." Edward sighed, stepping away from Scar with a groan. As evil as the man had been when they were on opposite sides, he could sure act like a mother hen at times. Edward would have never believed it if he had been told, but Scar was actually worrying about him, and it was kind of freaking him out in the slightest.
Turning to walk with Scar back to the main building, thoroughly looking forward to lunch. If there was one thing that he truly appreciated about being here day in and day out, it was the Ishvalan food. He was really going to miss that when he left. He scoffed at himself as he fell into a steady stride next to Scar. He still hadn't told Scar or Miles about that yet.
"Hey, Mr. Edward!"
Ed looked up toward the top of a finished building, seeing Saul leaning over the top. Edward squinted, placing his hands on his hips and raising a brow, "How'd you get up there? Come down and get some lunch!"
"In a sec." Saul laughed, his bright eyes wide in delight, even as he leaned over the top of the tall building, "Some of the concrete is coming loose up here, they needed some help patching it up."
"What do you need?" Ed called up, squinting in the sun, before turning back to Scar. He saw MIles coming up the road, saying something to the other man, donned in his full military garb. He must be going somewhere, Edward mused to himself, leaning forward to get a better look. Groaning to himself as he saw Scar turn off the path with Miles, he knew that somehow he'd be involved with whatever was going on. He cursed his rotten luck, wishing that he'd left the day before. Screw guilt, he just wanted to get out of here before he got pulled into any more military crap.
Yawning loud and wide, Edward reached up to rub at his sweat soaked skin, groaning at the heat.
He groaned again, looking up with an annoyed expression, "What?"
He didn't even get the word out before the first chunk of concrete collided with the side of his head. Gravity pulled him down, and even as his head screamed in pain, he felt something slam against his torso and heard the crunch of gravel under his chest as he landed.
Okay, don't panic. Edward groaned as he let his eyes slide open painfully, his whole body alight with pain. He didn't know exactly what was wrong, but all he knew was that he was frightened. It was astonishing how weak he felt, lying on the ground, trying to gain purchase of what exactly had happened.
He groaned as he saw the unfocused and fuzzy outlines of those around him, just barely making out the images of Scar and Miles. He groaned as his head throbbed, his vision was red because of the blood, and if he tried to move, his whole body would churn.
He saw Scar turn to another, yelling something loudly, his eyes wide, his hands covered in red. Miles was holding Ed's chest, screaming something, sweat pouring down his face as he clenched his teeth. Ed groaned again, his vision blurring out, fading and fuzzing. With one final groan, Edward completely blacked out, hearing the yells for help and the feeling of blood.
Thank you for reading thus far. I'm afraid it might be kind of boring...but, eh, what'cha gonna do. I really like the slow moving pace. :) If I get a couple reviews, I'll upload another chapter. I already have quite a bit of it written.