Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Fullmetal Alchemist. If I did I would be filthy rich. :)
Edward Elric staggered down the empty street.
It was dark outside with the smog of the city lingering in the air, and above him dark clouds threatened to pour down rain.
For only those who knew Edward quite well would be able to detect the hint of panic in his startling golden eyes.
At the moment, in his mind's eye he was reliving his experience with the Truth and the Gate.
"Hello again, Mr. Alchemist," the figure… more of an outline of a person, leered at him, its many voices over-lapping each other.
"Have you finally brought something worthwhile to trade for your brother?"
Ed drew himself up to his full height, confidence bursting flooding through him. Finally he knew he was doing the right thing. He smiled and gestured to the looming gate behind him. "My gate, my portal of truth. It's yours, for Al."
There was a beat of dead silence, which seemed to stretch forever in the vast white expanse.
Then the Truth laughed.
"So, you'd willingly give it up? Even knowing without your alchemy you would become a tiny, insignificant, little human?"
"That's all I've ever been," Ed replied, unruffled, "A tiny, insignificant, little human who couldn't even save a little girl." And for a moment his mind was dominated with the image of Nina laughing and hugging Alexander.
"But still," the Truth persisted, "What will you have without your alchemy?"
Ed paused, but his smile did not falter. He pictured his younger brother, Alphonse, alive, healthy, whole and human laughing. He pictured Winry smiling, Colonel Bastard with his annoying smirk, Riza with stern gaze, Granny Pineako puffing her pipe and shaking her head at him, but still smiling…the rest of the team; Havoc, Furey, Breda, Falman, Armstrong…He thought of Izumi, Sig, his good-for-nothing father…
"Why do I even need it? When I have them?"
A genuine smile broke across the Truth's face, "Well, well Edward Elric, you've beaten me. Congratulations."
Ed jerked his thumb back at his gate, "Then take it and let me bring Al back with me."
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that just yet Mr. Alchemist." The Truth's voices echoed in the white expanse and Ed froze, golden eyes blazing.
"What do you mean?"
Ed could sense the amusement in the Truth's voice (which just pissed him off further) as it answered, "I can't let you make this deal."
"Why not?" Ed growled, trying and failing to contain the bubbling anger inside him.
"Because, Mr. Alchemist, I have a different proposal in mind. It's been millennia since anyone has beaten me, but not to worry this deal still adheres to the law of equivalent exchange. Can't go breaking my own rules, now can I?" the amusement in the Truth's voice was growing.
Ed clenched his fists trying to keep himself from just going out and attacking the bastard. He lowered his head, blonde bangs obscuring his eyes, "Do I even have a choice?" Ed asked bitterly.
"Of course, Mr. Alchemist you always have a choice. You can always refuse…but wouldn't you like to hear my offer first?"
Ed wanted to say no, he wanted to storm and scream and demand what the bastard could possibly want with him now.
"Fine," he said curtly, raising his head to glare at the Truth, "I'm listening."
The Truth smiled a horrible, grotesque Cheshire cat smile. "I need you to do something for me, Edward Elric."
At that Ed couldn't hold back a snort, "You need my help?! What happened to me being a 'tiny, insignificant, little human'?"
"Very few humans have had the gall to stand in front of me as many times as you have, much less survive." The Truth responded, un-amused.
Ed just shrugged, and the Truth continued. "There is another world, one where I have little influence. Instead of the balance of alchemy they possess this chaotic thing they call magic. I need you to go there and be my influence for me. I need you to get rid of one who is trying to become me."
Ed furrowed his brow, thinking, "What's in it for me?"
The Truth smiled, "I will let you have your brother, he will be sent home, whole and healthy. You will be able to keep you're alchemy and once you've beaten him…if you figure out the way to get back here…I will allow you to return to your world."
Ed started to feel uneasy, the Truth was starting to be abnormally nice…something told him that kicking this guy's ass wouldn't be a cakewalk.
"Who is this guy?"
"I'm assuming you accept then?"
"Yes." Ed nodded, "Who is it?"
"They call him Tom Riddle." The Truth replied. As the black hands stretched out towards him and pulled him into the gate, the Truth offered him a clue.
"Follow the light to the number 12. There you will be set on the path."
"Follow the light to the number 12." Ed murmured, following said light. He looked up seeing a house in-cased in some sort of light shield. "Number 12." He muttered, and then exhausted, he collapsed on the front porch.
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