Ludwig Beilshmidt awoke in total darkness.

His breath came in shallow gasps, his eyes dilating. With a shuddering breath, he forced himself up, his wild eyes scanning the blackness for anything. As he sat up, pain shot through his chest, as if a knife were being thrust through his ribcage. He almost cried out, but clenched his teeth tightly, the way his brother had taught him. 'Never cry, Lud,' seemed to be Gilbert's mantra. 'Crying is for sissies.'

…where was his brother? The thought came to him suddenly, and he froze. And then another thought came too; Where am I?

Panic, shear panic, forced him to his feet. "G-Gil…?" He called suddenly. Gott, why did his voice sound so small? "Gilbert?" He tried to call louder, but he was alone.

Ludwig stared around, hyperventilating. And he slowly forced himself back onto the cold stone floor. Calm down, he told himself, shutting his eyes tightly. Fear is the enemy. You are a soldier. Just calm down and think.

He tried to think, but his head seemed to be spinning. Where was he? He remembered…he remembered the fight. His gun—he automatically reached for his side, but his pistol was gone. Right. So there'd been a fight, and he'd been captured. They'd taken his sidearm. He riffled through his other pockets. Same with his knives.

He sighed and ran his fingers through his now disheveled hair. The revolt had gone badly then. Was he the only one captured? Or had they isolated him? He was an officer after all. But how would they know that anyway? His head was spinning faster, he was going to throw up. He buried his face in his hands.

There wasn't any way to know what time it was. He wasn't sure how long he'd been there, could've been days for all he knew. But no, he hadn't been fed yet. So only hours, maybe a day at the most. He clambered to his feet again and began pacing quickly, his mind racing. He needed to escape, and quickly. He brushed his hands along the wall, but they were all rock solid. The door, he found, burned to the touch. Some sort of enchantment? No way of being sure.

He sat down against the wall, trying to clear his head, to no avail. The longer he tried, the harder it seemed for him to hold his eyes open. Soon he found them falling shut against his will…

There're a few things you need to know about me if we're going to continue with this story. Just some little background details.

The first is that we have no money. My brother and I, I mean. Gilbert couldn't hold down a job to save his life, an ironic statement seeing as that is exactly why he'd needed one in the first place. And me he'd refuse to let work, in the mines, in the factories, in the other death-traps in need of labor. Back when we were looking for jobs, I mean. We'd given up by the time I was twelve.

Anyway, like I said earlier, no job, no money. Maybe it'd been better that way, mein bruder was never one for taking orders. He'd refuse to listen to the teachers at the school. Admittedly, they were all bigoted arschlöcher with as much understanding of mathematics and science as the average two-year-old, but at least I tried to stay on their good sides, to make less trouble for our grandfather.

He never listened much to our grandfather either, now that I think back. They were always at odds with each other before grandfather was killed. Or, maybe 'at odds' isn't quite the right term. Perhaps 'blatant antagonism'? At least on Gilbert's part. I tried my best to mediate between the two of them…

Oh yes, another thing to know about me: I am an orphan. My parents were in some sort of horrible crash when I was two. Err, well, they weren't driving, we didn't even have a car. Gil tells me we were there too when it happened, not that I remember it. He'd been eight, though…

Anyway, my grandfather raised us. Our parents married young, so he wasn't that old. He worked several jobs to keep us fed, and taught me everything I didn't get from a book. Or, as Gilbert would so eloquently put it, "He taught us the useful shit, Lud. Forget the rest of that unawesome crap."

My grandfather was killed when I was nine. He'd gotten into a fight with an aristocrat, over what I have no idea. But I know the other man was important because the police showed up afterword. They don't come unless someone important gets hurt. They'd both been killed, my grandfather and that man, but they came to us. Someone needed to be punished for the death of an aristocrat.

Since my grandfather was dead, they took my fifteen-year-old brother, and beat him within an inch of his life…

There was a grinding noise, and Ludwig shot awake immediately. He leapt to his feet, fists up, ready to lash out. But then a small hatch opened, and he had to shut his eyes at the light. It slammed shut almost immediately.

Ludwig blinked the spots out of his eyes furiously. He cautiously leaned down and brushed his fingers against the floor trying to figure out what had happened. Then his hand brushed against the tray.

Food! He grabbed it and grinned, and almost immediately began to shovel it into his mouth. But something stopped him. Just an out of place smell. Something almost…familiar… And a warning signal went off in his head, like a red light.

He threw the food down immediately with a clatter, hissing, and leaned against the wall. Of course, he was a prisoner of war. They could kill him without a second thought. Or what if it was a truth serum? The thought of what would happen then was so much worse… Either way, eating wasn't an option.

His head felt light. His extremities were shaking. He crouched next to the door silently, staring at the blackness where he knew the door would open any moment. He shut his eyes slowly, listening for movement on the other side—footsteps. Someone was coming. He tensed, every nerve in his body on edge. And the hatch opened—

Ludwig dived. His hand shot out, and it closed around someone's throat. He heard a strangled yelp, but tightened his grip hatefully.

"Let—Me—Out," he growled.

"W-Wha…What the bloody…?" He felt someone clawing at his fingers, and he caught a glimpse of wide green eyes through the hatch. Ludwig stiffened slightly, seeing the fear in those eyes, but he didn't let go, he had to escape, he had to—


There was a flash of red light, and Ludwig's skin was burning. He yelled and stumbled back, and another shout as the door swung open; "Caesum! Conligo!"

His body seemed to freeze up, and he collapsed backward. His eyes flashed white for a moment as his head hit the floor with a crack, but he forced the pain away. He couldn't move, he could barely breathe.

The young man standing in the doorway stared down at him, his green eyes wide. He looked about twenty, with prominent brows and dark purple circles beneath his eyes. "…bloody hell," he rasped, rubbing slightly at his bruised throat. "And here I was under the impression that you had no strength left. You know, having not eaten in over twenty-four hours?"

Ludwig glared at the man, but his jaw was clenched shut. He settled for portraying all his hate in his eyes. The man sighed, prodding the food with his toe. "And I worked so hard on that potion…not on the food, of course. They claimed they wanted you alive…what the hell does that even mean…?" He sighed, seeming to be talking more to himself than Ludwig.

Then he glanced up at him. "And why aren't you eating anyway?" He asked.

Ludwig stared back at him, feeling his hatred bubbling inside of his stomach. The man frowned at him, until he remembered that he's bound his mouth shut. "Oh, right, sorry. One moment…" He waved his arm, and Ludwig felt his jaw loosen.

He opened his mouth to breathe deeply. Then, he shouted, "Go to hell!"

The man blinked, then chuckled slightly. "Oh, don't worry, I'll likely be headed there soon…" he murmured, a sardonic smile forcing itself across his face. "Although that certainly didn't answer my question—"

"I will not betray my friends' trust," Ludwig spat at him. "I'll starve myself if I have to!"

"How noble of you," the young man muttered, "unless of course I poured something down your throat now. After all, you can't move."

Ludwig felt his heart stop. He was right; Ludwig had no way of defending himself. He clenched his jaw back shut, glaring at the man again. But the young man just sighed and strode over to him, looking down at the other's grimy face. "I'm not going to, so don't worry yourself too much. Now," he pulled a tattered card from his pocket, frowning at it, "your name is Ludwig?"

Ludwig stared at the card, confused. He didn't answer, but the man just shrugged. "Normally the penalty for treason is execution, but someone 'up there' must really like you. Or maybe they just hate you more than usual. Either way…" he bent down, pulling something from his pocket, "…well, here I am…"

He held the object up, and Ludwig could see it was some sort of stone cup. The young man reached inside and coated his fingers with black dust, then began writing runes on the floor.

Ludwig followed his movement with his eyes. "…just who are you?" He asked suddenly. He immediately clamped his mouth back shut, unsure of why he asked. But the man just looked up at him.

"Name's Arthur."

Ludwig swallowed, but his throat was dry. "Arthur," he said slowly, as Arthur continued calmly writing, "what exactly are you doing?"

He smiled grimly back at Ludwig. "Turning your life into hell." He shut his eyes, and began murmuring something under his breath. Ludwig couldn't catch the words, but the dust on the floor had begun to shift, even without the slightest breath of wind. And the seemed to glow, but black, as if sucking light away from the very air.

And then suddenly sharp, excruciating pain shot through his body, like nothing he'd ever felt before. He heard someone screeching an ungodly shriek, and only realized in the few seconds before he blacked out that it was his own scream…

Hey guys, what is up? Jmp# here! Hope you guys like my new story. I feel as though this one could be really long. This is my first time with an AU, so I hope it turns out okay. Going to introduce more characters with each chapter.

Anyway, just tell me what you think. Good enough to continue?