Title: No Better to be Safe Than Sorry

Author: S J Smith

Rating: Teen

Summary: Ed wakes up somewhere…different. And in the control of someone he doesn't even know.

Disclaimer: No, no, I'm just a fangirl.

Note: Thanks to D. M. Evans for her edits. Also, warnings: Misuse of Witchcraft, language. This story was partially inspired by me recently reading the graphic novel, MangaMan, and a lot inspired by the video for a-ha's Take On Me. Which probably isn't much of a warning unless you're over thirty.


The pain in his skull pounded Edward awake. He twisted his neck, ignoring the way it made his head throb, trying to figure out where the hell he was. He knew he didn't recognize this place, with its close walls and black and red curtains, and what looked like a poster of him, back to back with Mustang, hanging there. "The fuck?"

"You're awake!" someone chirped at him and Edward jerked, wincing at the way his head ached at the movement. A girl came to the bed, grinning. Her eyes were ringed with some sort of dark makeup, and her hair was partially up in a pair of dog ears, while the rest of it hung loose. She had a complexion that reminded him a little bit of Winry's thief friend, but her hair was reddish, rather than black. "Oh, you have no idea how much I've wanted to meet you! And then I found this spell based off of some really ancient music video from the '80's, and I had to try it out! So now you're here and you're with me and it's so amazing!" She squealed, and the sound of it sliced right through the headache and made its own brand of pain.

Edward tried to sit up, forcing his body to move despite the way it really wanted to lie there like a jelly blob. "Who are you?" he snarled. Wait, that wasn't important. "Where am I?"

"You're on Earth! San Francisco, to be exact." She bounced around. "No one thought I could do this but I did it, I did it!" Throwing her fists in the air, she shouted, "Take that, world!"

"Where in hell is San Francisco?" Edward swung his legs off the bed, hating he had to rest for a few seconds before he tried anything else.

"The United States, dummy. California." She rolled her eyes. "I guess Winry beating you with a wrench really did cause brain damage. Well, don't worry, you won't have to deal with her any more."

"How do you know about Winry?" Edward asked, muscles tensing as he wondered if Bradley decided to take some sort of action against her.

"Same way I know about you," the girl said, grinning brilliantly. "And I have to say, I really love you! I mean, you're my favorite hero ever. The way you just adore Alphonse!" She laced her hands together, her eyes starry. "And you'd do anything for him! And how close you are to Ling!"

Lip curling, Edward gave the girl a dismissive look as he went to the window. Outside was nothing he recognized; a huge city, as far as he could see, on steep hills that were nothing like any place he'd ever known. A chill ran through his body. "How did I get here?" He'd been asleep; he knew it, or trying to, since Mr. Gorilla snored like a saw mill.

The girl tsked. "Magic, dummy. I told you, I found that spell based on that video? Weren't you listening?"

"There's no such thing as magic," Edward said, almost absently.

"Maybe in Amestris, there isn't, but this is Earth. Your rules don't apply here."

He turned back around, hiding the fact that his legs still wobbled under him. "Yeah, but if I don't know the rules, I can't play."

"Ooo, good one." The girl smiled again, an unnerving thing. "Well, you're from a fictional world created by Studio Bones, and there's the manga, and you're now here, in my world! I kept you from getting really hurt, and now you owe me."

Edward ignored the 'really hurt' part, focusing on, "Fictional?"

"Well, yeah. You're from an animated series." She frowned, pouting. "You do look kind of weirder than I expected, with your eyes and all."

"There's nothing wrong with my eyes!" Edward snarled. "Why the fuck did you bring me here, anyway?"

"Because I wanted to meet you." She swayed her body from side to side. "You're amazing, Edward, and I just couldn't stand never meeting you. And now, you'll have to do what I say, or I'll make sure you never go home again."

X X X

Darius blinked at the hand on his shoulder, following it up the arm to stare at Heinkel. "Why'd you wake me?" he asked muzzily.

"Where's the kid?"

"Maybe he wandered off to take a piss." Darius groaned, realizing he was sleeping on a root. Or a rock. Something that poked up into his back. Rolling onto his side, he used his bent arm as a pillow.

"It's been over an hour since he was supposed to take over the watch," Heinkel said.

"An hour?"

"Yeah, and I don't smell a trail away from where he was sleeping."

That got Darius's attention. "The hell?"

"That's what I was wondering. The tree branches aren't low enough to let him grab a branch and climb up from here." Heinkel paused, cocking his head. "Well, he is a little monkey."

Darius tilted his head back to study the trees. "Still, that's probably three meters up. The kid can't jump that high from a standstill. He'd need at least a running start. And probably to use my back as a vault."

"And I'd still be able to smell him."

They looked at each other, and Darius said, "Well, damn. The little shit still owes me four hundred cenz."

X X X

"So, Ed," the girl crooned. "What do you want to do?"

"Go home." Edward leaned against the windowsill, folding his arms.

She pouted. "You're not going home!"

He managed to refrain from grinding his teeth, but only just. And then a thought hit him. "You know I'm supposed to be protecting my brother," he said. "Kinda hard to do that from," he gestured at everything in the room, including the girl, "here."

She huffed, irritated.

"You know I'm right."

"Just because I know you're right doesn't mean I have to like it." Her pout deepened. "You're supposed to be here for me!"

"How could I be here for you? I don't even know you, and I've got people waiting for me back home!" Edward wondered if Mr. Gorilla and Mr. Lion were waiting for him, or wondering where he was. Damn it, he needed to get back home. "I don't know how you got me here, but send me back, now, or you're really going to regret it."

"What are you going to do?" she asked, tilting her head to one side. With her dog ears, Edward was reminded of Den. He decided not to say that out loud.

Forcing a dangerous smile, Edward said, "You really don't want to know."

"No," she said, "I really do. I mean, are you going to transmute my room? That'd be so cool!" Squeezing her hands together, she wriggled in place. It reminded Edward of a little girl needing to go to the bathroom. He'd seen Elicia and Nina do that exact dance before.

"No, I'm not going to transmute your room," he said, disdainful and kind of concerned, because that had indeed been the plan. "I'm going to – to transmute your clothes!"

"Really?" she squealed. "That's so cool!" Yanking open a door, she waved a hand at the clothes inside it. "Go ahead! Do it!"

Well, fuck. That wasn't the reaction he wanted. Still, he'd made the threat, time to follow through. Edward considered the transmutation circle, running through all the possibilities, or at least those he could think of in a split second, then clapped his hands together and hit the floor of the bedroom. The familiar blue bolts sizzled under his palms and flashed into the closet, illuminating it. Clothes exploded from the closet, shredded by his alchemy into rags. There, Edward thought, satisfied, that ought to get her attention. Flashing his teeth, he smiled at the girl as she stooped to the floor, picking up a piece of…fabric.

"What. Did. You. Do?!" she shrieked, leaping at Edward.

He sidestepped her attack, letting her crash into the bed, hard. "Transmuted your clothes."

She shrieked again from the bed, her mouth twisting in rage. "You bastard!"

Edward grinned mirthlessly. "Takes one to know one. If you send me back home, exactly from where you took me, I'll fix your clothes."

Baring her teeth at him, she snarled, "You're not supposed to be like this! You're supposed to be sweet and kind!"

That struck him, and Edward laughed long and hard. "Whoever the hell you think I am, I'm not that guy."

"Yes, you are!"

"You don't know anything about me," Edward spat, "you just see something you think is true, and twist it to your own means. You're just as bad as – as Bradley!"

She recoiled, horrified. "I am not!"

Determined to make his point, Edward went on. "You're using me to get something you want – and you're not taking into consideration that I don't want to be here." He stabbed a finger at her. "Send me back home!"

"No! Not until," she glanced sideways, and then smiled, a toothy grin that made even Edward nervous. "Not until you sleep with me!"

X X X

"So, if he's not up a tree," Darius said, "and he didn't walk away, what happened to him?"

"How should I know?" Heinkel shrugged. "I mean, he's Edward Elric."

"That doesn't mean he's able to vanish."

"Maybe he made a hole in the dirt and crawled away underground."

They exchanged a long look. "Yeah, it's a stupid idea," Heinkel admitted as Darius nodded.

X X X

Edward curled his lip. "I am not going to sleep with you."

"Then you can't go home." She folded her arms.

"Are you sure? I mean, I could do something worse to your room than what I did to your clothes."

That made her hesitate, then she sneered. "Go ahead. Do your worst."

Shrugging, Edward said, "Okay. But remember, you told me to." He pressed his hands together.

X X X

"Surely we would've heard him leave," Heinkel said. "His left leg makes so much noise."

"I dunno," Darius said. "He can be kinda sneaky."

Something crashed into the underbrush, a string of familiar curses erupting from the bushes.

"Well, he's back," Heinkel said as Edward pulled himself out of the brush.

"I was kidnapped!" Edward snapped, picking a twig out of his hair.

"Kidnapped? Are you kidding?" Darius asked.

"No, I'm not kidding! Some weird girl kidnapped me."

Heinkel's eyes widened. "Kidnapped you? Whatever for?"

Edward started to reply, then his face reddened. "Never mind!"

"Oh, no, you started this, you need to finish it," Darius said, making himself comfortable.

"I'm not telling you anything!"

Heinkel rubbed his ear. "And it was so nice and quiet while you were gone."

Edward glared at both of them. "Fuck you."

"Well, you are kinda cute, but I like girls," Darius said.

Flashing him an obscene gesture, Edward limped into their makeshift campsite. "You'll never believe where I just was." He slumped down into the hole he'd made for himself earlier in the evening.

"Save it for later, kid," Darius said.

"Yeah, it's your turn for watch, anyway," Heinkel said. "I was coming to get you."

Groaning, Edward climbed out of his hollow, walking out of the site. "Yeah, sure," he muttered, "you were going to do that. I bet you'd never show up where I was." He shuddered. "Maybe I can tell myself it was a nightmare, yeah…"

"So where do you think he was?" Darius asked, when Edward was out of hearing range.

"Who cares?" Heinkel crawled into the hollow Edward had made, wriggling around to find a more comfortable position. "He's back, and he's on watch. I'm going to sleep."

Darius decided he wasn't going to think about that any more, and closed his eyes. Whatever Edward had been up to, it wasn't really his concern. Unless the kid turned them in, and he doubted that'd happen. Sighing, he drifted back off to sleep and into a dream where he was safe, warm, and full of food, and Edward Elric and all the other crazy alchemists were all a distant memory.


- end -