Hello again, my lovelies! It is me, and I am back with another chapter! YAAAAAY! Also, make sure you read the author's note at the end to get filled in on more of my 'editing decisions'. Enjoy!
Chapter 29: A Different World
Harry held tightly to Ed's arm as they were pushed and pulled and squeezed through heavy, crushing darkness. The world spun dizzyingly and suddenly they were sent toppling out of the whirlwind, collapsing to the rough paving stones in front of a night-shadowed Grimmauld Place. Harry pushed himself up from the ground, glancing at his blonde-haired friend and feeling a flash of panic as he noticed a dark pool of blood slowly spreading from beneath the alchemist's unresponsive body. With energy stolen from his last sparks of adrenaline, Harry ran to the door of Number Twelve and began to pound heavily upon it. His knocks slowed as his energy faded, and, just as he was about to crumple to the ground from exhaustion, the door was thrust open to reveal the annoyed face of Sirius Black, whose expression quickly turned to concern as he caught his falling godson.
"Harry?! Are you all right? Where did you come from?!"
Harry slumped into Sirius's arms, panting out, "I'm…fine…. Ed… help Ed…" Finally succumbing to the stress and exhaustion he had been fighting for so long, Harry's mind dropped into darkness.
Edward slowly came awake, his senses tingling with awareness. He was lying down somewhere soft, with gentle fabric against his skin. There was a slightly musty smell to his surroundings, though the scent of fresh baked bread and clean cotton permeated through it. A breeze was blowing through the room, and he could hear the soft murmur of voices over the rustling of curtains. Edward had yet to open his eyes, but attempted movement was met with slight twinges of pain and the restriction of heavy bandages. Releasing a soft sigh, Ed opened his eyes to view his surroundings. He wasn't in a hospital as he would have expected, but in one of the many bedrooms of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. The room seemed thoroughly clean, and a gentle wind occasionally stirred the cobweb-free drapes over the slightly open window. A soft noise alerted Ed to a presence on the right of his bed. He blinked blearily at Molly Weasley, who smiled kindly down at him. "Edward, it's good to see you awake. How do you feel?"
Ed tested his limbs, wincing at the pain in his abused body. "Not too badly, considering. How's Harry?"
Mrs. Weasley ruffled Ed's hair, which was free from its braid, a motherly expression on her face. "Much better than you, deary. He has a few scrapes and bruises and is a little malnourished, but it's nothing a good feeding and some rest won't fix."
Ed batted Molly's hand away from his hair, pouting when she gave him an amused smile. He let out a huff of air before hesitantly asking, "…and what about me? How bad is it?"
Molly's expression switched to one of caring concern. "Are you sure you want to know?" At Ed's nod she sighed. "All right then, though it isn't good. We were able to heal your most serious wound, the one in your stomach, but nearly everything else was cursed by Dark Magic, preventing us from healing the injuries. You were rather lucky, any infections have been mild, though it was a close call with the stab wound to your right shoulder and the places you were shot. On the topic of shoulders, your automail arm is badly damaged. Arthur," she smiled slightly to herself, "as eager as he is, has absolutely no qualifications to mess around with those Muggle mechanics. Nor does anyone else we know, I'm afraid. I left it attached, as I don't understand how it works and didn't want to damage it worse. I hope that's alright?" At Edward's nod she continued. "I think it would be best for you to wear a sling, in order to keep weight off of your hurt shoulder. You had some broken bones when you arrived, but the curses only seemed to extend to visible wounds so we were able to heal them. You have some burns, bruises, and cuts that will take a bit to heal but beyond the scars left behind you should be fine."
Ed nodded, a thoughtful look on his face. "Okay, I suppose it could be worse. I've got a few questions though. You mentioned 'we'? Who exactly healed me?"
Molly smiled. "Well, I helped with the more superficial things, such as bandages and keeping an eye on you, while Albus had Severus help with treating the infections and speeding up the healing process. Albus himself healed the wound in your stomach, while he had Sirius and Remus attempting to reduce the curses on the rest of your injuries."
Edward chewed his lip thoughtfully. "Yeah, that makes sense. How long was I out?"
"About four days, deary."
"Four days?!" Ed slumped into the mattress. "Wow, I wasn't expecting it to be so long…. Okay, what about the curses, how exactly have they been affecting me?"
Mrs. Weasley's expression turned contemplative. "Well, I don't completely understand it, to get the most accurate description you'd have to go to Remus or Sirius, but from what I know most of the wounds were caused by weapons that had Dark Magic cast upon them, and those spells interfere with the magic we use to try and heal you."
"So, basically, any injuries caused by a weapon can't be healed by magic?"
Molly nodded, her concerned, motherly face back up. "Yes, that seems to be the case. You seem tired, Edward, would you like me to leave so you can get some more rest?"
Ed contemplated for a moment. "Is there a possibility of talking to the rest of the Order? I also need to make a phone call…."
Mrs. Weasley smiled kindly. "I'll get Albus." She ruffled his hair once more, chuckling softly when he waved her away. "Edward, darling?" At his questioning look, she continued, "Thank you, for taking care of Harry."
Ed smiled. "Just doing my duty as a friend."
Molly blinked, tears attempting to gather in her eyes. She turned abruptly in an attempt to hide it. "I'll go get Albus for you, just stay put, alright, Edward?"
"All right, Mrs. Weasley."
Edward was sitting up in his bed, glaring at Mad Eye Moody. The rest of the Order of the Phoenix was clustered in the room, each in their own personal chair provided by Dumbledore. Said wizard cleared his throat, breaking the tense silence.
"I don't trust him." Ed broke in, his anger-filled gaze never leaving Moody.
Dumbledore sighed. "Edward, I understand that, but he is an integral part of the Order. He needs to be here for this."
Moody snorted. "It's good you don't trust me, kid; I don't regret what I did and I'd do it again in a second if I thought it was important to our safety."
Ed scoffed. "Why is the reason I lost my arm important to your 'safety'? You were just asking to satisfy your personal curiosity, with no respect for my privacy and without considering the invasiveness of your question. I'm still pissed that you spiked my drink, but I can at least understand the need for it. Learn to ask relative questions, you bastard!"
"Enough!" Dumbledore shouted. "Now, I understand that you're angry, Edward, but now is not the time. We need to discuss what happened at Malfoy Manor and our strategy from this point on. Can we set this aside for now and get to the matter at hand?"
Ed grumbled but consented, continuing to shoot glares at Mad Eye. Alastor sighed, looking to Dumbledore as if for permission to speak. Albus gave him a reluctant nod and Moody turned to Edward. "Okay, before we move on, I wanna say somethin' to you, Elric. You're damn good in a fight and you've got a set of instincts that'd make any seasoned fighter proud. I was wrong to ask somethin' so personal of you, and, though I would interrogate you again in a heartbeat if it was necessary, I swear never to do so in an attempt to satisfy my own curiosity about you. That's all." He settled back into his chair as the rest of the Order stared at him in shock.
Ed blinked in surprise before acknowledging the apology. "Apology accepted. But I still don't trust you."
Mad Eye barked out a laugh. "Ha! Boy, I'd been disappointed if'n you did!"
Lupin scooted his chair forward, looking warily between Ed and Moody, who were grinning at each other like a pair of old army buddies. "Um…. I suppose that's finished?" At confirming nods from both parties Remus continued, "Well, onto more somber matters. Edward, could you tell us what happened the day you and Harry were taken?"
Ed chewed on his lip before beginning his story. "Harry thought Sirius had been captured by Voldemort, so he came to me for help. I helped him break into Umbridge's office, distracting the Toad's lackeys while he got in contact with you. I found out that Umbridge had caught them and came to rescue them, but they escaped before I got there. Harry and Hermione had gone out to the Forest with Umbridge." He looked around, a curious look on his face. "What happened to her, anyways? She was gone by the time I got there."
Chuckles were heard around the room before Kingsley answered. "She was carried off by a herd of centaurs."
"….WHAT?!" Ed immediately burst out laughing, clutching his sides as his wounds protested. "Seriously?! Ow ow ow…." He took a deep breath to calm his giggles, rubbing circles on his aching ribs. "Ow….. But seriously, that is literally the best thing I've heard in a while. Oh Gate….." He shook his head, a wide smile stretched across his face. "Okay, now that I've had a good laugh I guess I can get back to the depressing story." He sat up straighter, brushing his bangs out of his face. "Harry told me that Sirius had been taken and we had to get him back." Ed sighed. "Obviously, it wasn't true but we thought it was then. We used thestrals to travel to the Ministry and we made it most of the way unhindered. When we reached the area Sirius was supposed to be… well, there were a bunch of Death Eaters waiting to ambush us the moment Harry took the prophecy from its shelf."
"Harry?" Ron called.
Ed watched Harry pacing about, looking for evidence that his godfather was actually in this place, that this hadn't been a pointless mission.
"Have you seen this?" said Ron.
"What?" Harry said, striding back to where they all were standing, a little ways down row ninety-seven, to see Ron staring at one of the dusty glass spheres on the shelf. Ed followed, peering around curiously.
"What?" Harry repeated glumly, his hopes of Ron having found something Sirius-related obviously crushed.
"It's- it's got your name on it," said Ron.
Harry moved a little closer, Ed right on his heels. Ron was pointing at one of the small glass spheres that glowed with a dull inner light, though it was very dusty and appeared not to have been touched for many years.
"My name?" Harry said blankly. He stepped forward, craning his neck to see. Edward tried to look as well, but could barely read it, even on his tiptoes. "It is my name." Harry said, surprise in his voice.
"What is it?" Ron asked, sounding unnerved. "What's your name doing down here?" He glanced along at the other labels on that stretch of shelf. "I'm not here," he said, sounding perplexed. "None of the rest of us are here…."
"Harry, I don't think you should touch it," Hermione said sharply as Harry reached out to grab the globe.
"Why not?" he said. "It's something to do with me, isn't it?" He continued to reach for the sphere.
"Harry, Hermione's right," Ed cut in. "I don't think you should touch it."
Neville nodded, agreeing with Ed. "Don't, Harry."
"It's got my name on it," Harry said recklessly, closing his fingers around the ball's dusty surface.
And then from right behind them, a drawling voice said, "Very good, Potter. Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me."
"There were about a dozen Death Eaters. We barely managed to get away by smashing the shelves but we got split up. I was on my own and I ended up sneaking around looking for everyone else. I took out two Death Eaters before entering the room with the Veil and finding most of the kids knocked out or injured. Lucius Malfoy was standing over Harry and I made a stupid move by attacking him head on. Bellatrix Lestrange hit me with a Stunner to my metal arm and knocked me into the wall before I was Stunned again. That's the last thing I remember before waking up in the dungeon."
Sirius shook his head. "And to think we turned up too late. We must have missed the Death Eaters by five minutes at the most. If only we'd been faster…."
Ed laughed humorlessly. "You can beat yourself up all you want, it won't change anything. What happened happened. Anyways, how are the rest of the kids? They're okay, right?"
Dumbledore nodded. "We found them all in time and treated them for their injuries. Unfortunately, we had to get out of the Ministry quickly, as Fudge was under the impression that we were attacking in order to usurp his control and take over."
"What?!" Ed's expression turned incredulous. "Are you kidding me? He still doesn't think Voldy's back?! That son of a-"
"Ed, it's okay," Tonks cut in. "Fudge knows You-Know-Who is back, he figured it out once the interrogation of the Death Eaters was complete. After all, it's easier to believe someone admitting it under the influence of Veritaserum than hearing it from someone you believe is trying to unseat you from power."
Ed sighed, shaking his head. "Fudge is a moron."
"Ain' t that the truth." Moody snorted. "Luckily, he won't be in power for much longer. He finally decided to make a public statement that You-Know-Who is back and the wizarding community is in an uproar. We'll have a new minister soon, hopefully one who can do a better job."
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, but as it were we need to be prepared. Edward, could you tell us what happened after you were captured?"
Ed let out a huge breath of air, looking around the room. In particular, he looked at Mrs. Weasley, hesitant to talk about the terrible memories in front of such a gentle woman. "I'm going to paraphrase some, leave out the gory details. I don't want to remember all of them and, well, I don't think you exactly want to hear them." At a murmur of consent from the Order, he continued. "I woke up in the dungeons of Malfoy Manor with Harry. I checked with him to make sure he was alive and relatively uninjured before attempting to escape. Unfortunately, I was unable to."
"Why weren't you able to?" Sirius asked.
"That's a good question," Ed said, "but a difficult one to answer. To answer it, I have to delve a little into my past." The room went completely silent. "All of you, well, most of you, have seen my scars." He pulled one of the bandages crisscrossing his chest down, allowing the group to see a large starburst-shaped scar on his upper left chest, slightly masked by cuts and bruises. "This scar is from around three years ago, when my half-brother tried to kill me. His name is Envy, and he is incredibly strong. In fact, he's not even human. And now he's working with Voldemort."
The confusion in the room was almost tangible. Severus Snape, lurking in the back corner of the room, stepped forward. "Elric, perhaps you could explain more. If you are related to Envy, how is it that he is not human?" Snape blinked, his normally blank eyes slightly fearful. "And I have met Envy, and I can assert that that…. THING is not human."
Ed swallowed dryly, feeling nervous. All these people… and he had to tell them. About alchemy, about where he came from, about Envy. He didn't want to; Gate, he didn't want to, but it was necessary for their survival. So he steeled his nerves and continued with his tale. "Now, what I'm about to tell you, I swear to the ends of the earth that it is true. It's going to seem unbelievable, maybe even completely insane, but I need you to believe me." He looked around the room, taking a slow deep breath before speaking. "Well, you know, I'm not exactly from around here. Hell, I'm," he paused, rubbing the back of his neck as he searched for the right words. "Okay, I'll just say it. I'm actually from a whole different world. And I don't just mean the Muggle one."
I'm evil, I'm terrible, I know, I know, I KNOW! I'm sorry! I didn't actually want to end it here but it was so perfect I just HAD to! I'm SORRRRYYYYY! Anyways, here's the really long A/N I wrote ahead of time! Please read it and I'm sorry it's so long and that I ended the chapter so terribly! Also, I want to give credit to the amazingly beautiful and fantastic person who is my friend, OasisMirage75, for helping me edit this chapter and perfect the ending! You are an amazing person!
~~~LE AUTHOR'S NOTE~~~
Hello my glorious lovely people! I hope you enjoyed the chapter and it was everything you've ever wished for! So, it is summer and I've had a lot of time to think about this story and brainstorm ideas and I felt I should fill you in/ask your opinions about some of my decisions. So, let's start with the whole story re-write/edit thing. When I have completed editing all my previous material, one of three things will happen. Most likely, I will start a new story called "The Blonde Stranger" (thanks to DreamweaverAki for the title idea! You're awesome!) where I will upload the edited chapters in the evening every two days. Once the story is caught up to where this one is I will delete this story and try to do weekly updates on the new one. The key word is TRY. I'm really unhappy with how inconsistent my update schedule has been for, well, the past YEAR (roughly) so I'm gonna try to get this story back on track. Once again, TRY is the key word. I might upload faster than I say I will but it might also be slower, it all depends on inspiration levels/time/scheduling. Anyways, this first option is my personal favorite and if you support this one please let me know by saying "Option A" in the reviews. "Option B" is for me to do basically the same thing I would do in Option A, but when the new story catches up I would not delete the old story. I would still only upload on the new story but the old story would be there if you want to read it without the changes. The third option, "Option C" is for me to take down all the content on THIS story (only when editing is complete, mind you) and re-upload all the edited content, changing the title as well. I'm personally leaning towards Option A but if you've got a good reason for me to go with B or C tell me in the reviews! If you don't really care feel free to tell me or say nothing at all. Moving on! So, little middle school me who started this story as a fun project didn't really think it through and left stressed-out high school me to do all the hard work, such as plot development, character relationships, etc., etc. This is one of the reasons this story has been updated so infrequently lately; I have literally been coming up with a plot off the top of my head, which means there are plot holes and I end up explaining a lot in the author's notes, leading to really long author's notes (like this one; I'M SORRY). However, I have sat down and put some thought into the future direction of this story and because I have done that and because I have gone back and done so much editing, I will no longer be posting long explanations in the A/Ns! From now on, all confusedness will be explained in the story, so if it doesn't make sense now, it will work itself out later so DON'T FRET ME PRETTIES! Okay, so now that I've actually begun planning a plot I am really excited for how it will turn out and I hope you guys enjoy it! I feel like it's a pretty unique idea and, you know, that's always nice. Okay, moving on (WOW this is so long). I've gotten some mixed feedback about some stuff over time, like how fast the story's moving or how I separate scenes and I kind of just want a majority opinion. Is the story moving too fast? Is it moving to slow (no smarmy comments about my update schedule mister)? Do you guys like my little line break interjections or would it be better if I tried to make things flow more? Let me know in the reviews please! Lastly (I think O_o), there is going to be some changes in my original plan for character relationships. I won't tell you who or how, but the whole little thing at the beginning talking about what the pairings would be? Yeah, disregard all of it. Feel the anticipation! Anyways…. OH I JUST REMEMBERED. So this chapter will be the last chapter for a while (yes I know you hate me cuz it's a goddamn cliffhanger I'M SORRY), though chapter 30 (WOW 30?!) will be uploaded along with the official announcement of the new story/editing completion! Once the re-upload has begun, there will be no new chapters until it is completely caught up. Even if you just read this story two seconds ago, I am going to recommend reading the edited one once it is uploaded because (even though I claim not to have) I have changed a LOT. Some of it is more drastic, especially in the parts I re-wrote. Oh, fun little tidbit, I threw in Ed's Ollivander experience and I kinda love the way it turned out. Well, I think that's all for now. Once again, apologies for the long author's note, I just wanted to fill you guys in but I didn't want to do a whole chapter as an author's note because I know I hate it when authors do that. Anyways, please leave me a review, a question, or some constructive criticism! And don't forget to vote! Thanks!
***OMAKE (for the lovelies who actually read to the end :3)***
"ROY!" Riza Hawkeye stormed through the hallways of Central HQ, her pistol at the ready. "Roy Mustang, you get the hell back to your desk right now and do your paperwork!"
She heard a rustling behind her and turned just in time to see the edge of a blue military jacket flutter around the corner. "Aha!" She cocked her gun and crept stealthily along the wall, whipping around the corner and aiming her weapon threateningly.
"Woof!" Hawkeye stared down at Black Hayate, who wagged his tail and barked happily again. Tied around his neck was the strip of blue uniform that had caught her eye. She scowled at the dog before turning on her heel and stalking back into the previous hallway, gun once again at the ready.
"I know you're here, sir…." She peered around another corner, surveying the hall before creeping down it. As she passed a broom closet the door burst open and she spun, shooting an entire clip into the offending door. She lowered her gun, glaring daggers at the paper sign taped to the door.
'HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU SHOOT ME?' it said. Hawkeye ripped it down, her expression stony. She reloaded her gun deliberately before pulling a second gun from her boot holster. She was loaded up and ready to kill. Suddenly, a voice came over the loudspeaker, startling her and causing her to shoot in the direction of the speaker.
"Could General Hawkeye please report to Führer King Mustang's office please? General Hawkeye to Führer King Mustang's office please. What was that, sir?" The loudspeaker went silent for a second. "General, the Führer says all bullet hole repairs are coming out of your paycheck, but he is willing to let you off the hook if you go on a date with him. Bonus points if you wear a miniskirt. That is all." The announcement finished with a crackle of static.
In the Führer's office, Roy Mustang chuckled as he cowered behind his bullet-proof desk. "I finally did it!" he murmured to himself. "I asked Riza out!"
Oh god, I dunno wtf that was. I kinda ship Royai, and I dunno where I was going with this but I hope it was enjoyable at least? Omigod I'm just gonna go now. Bye.
P.S. If you got the Cryaotic reference you are a beautiful person.
P.P.S. There, articwolfgirl347, I updated! Just for you! Thanks for reviewing! You're awesome!