Chapter Eight: Crumbling Down

"The little shit!" Edward muttered, scowling at the letter in his hands. He felt like he'd waited years for the letter in his hands, and through it made him want to cry, an anger was welling up in his stomach.

"Edward?" asked Ludwig, looking up from his own letter. There had been about twenty or so delivered to the camp a few days after they'd arrived.

"He's in fucking London," Edward mumbled, cold and angry tears springing to his eyes. What did he fucking care? He had no pride anymore. "Fucking London!" Edward didn't know whether he wanted to scream until his throat tore, or cry until he drowned.

Didn't Alphonse understand how precious he was? Didn't he understand that he was the only thing that Edward had left to cling onto? That in reality, there would only ever be one Alphonse Elric, and he was so easily breakable and he was Edward's. Why couldn't he just do as Edward asked and be selfish just this once?

The few men around him were either indifferent or didn't know what to do with him in one of his rages, and so just looked uncertainly at him, then turned away awkwardly, leaving Edward standing by the 10 foot chain wire fencing that surrounded the perimeter, fuming.

Could things get any worse?

Edward stopped himself before he started drowning in his own self-pity.

Yes, things certainly could be worse. He looked up and gazed around this desolate home away from home wearily.

He could be one of them.

For endless miles before him was dead land – nothing would grow here. Outside of the wire fence, grass and flowers grew, though wilting a little in the Autumn-turning-Winter – but inside, noting grew and nothing thrived.

Endlessly stretching as far as the eye could see were low, wooden huts set slightly into the ground, meaning that when it rained, the water pooled at the doorway and seeped into the wood, rotting it.

Further to the back of the plot, the shed-like structures stood, half built looking sad and wet, and beyond that stood two concrete chimneys.

The place was death. But if the place was death, Edward didn't know how to describe the people. They certainly weren't alive.

Men, women and children all merged into one and it became impossible to view anyone as an individual for Edward. Everyone was filthy, curled in on themselves and a heap of skin and bone. Edward couldn't even say that he felt sick, or disgusted, just nothing. His mind pulled up a blank every time he tried to analyse his own opinion on the situation. Often before in the past, when witnessing the suffering of others, his 'hero' instincts would often kick in and he'd be right there to save the day.

But in this place, he'd never felt weaker. If nothing else, he felt disgusted with himself. Not because he stood for this, because he didn't – or because this was his fault, because it wasn't. He wasn't deluding himself. Just being in the area disgusted him. He didn't feel human. He didn't even feel like an animal. Animals didn't treat each other like this.

He'd never felt so useless and mechanical – like a possession, only doing as he was told like a good toy soldier. He stood by the gates every day in his uniform and guarded the doors.

Watching the Nazis.

He wasn't a Nazi.

Thank God he wasn't a Nazi. If he couldn't take it to stand here and defend the land that was being threatened by the British and American troops, even if it meant being near this abomination called humanity, he'd take it.

At least he was on the outside.

Edward felt appalled at himself, but at this point, if he was truthful, he often spent more time pitying the Nazis inside the camp. He hated himself for it, but he just had no sympathy left for the Jews. Not that he liked their situation. He hated what was happening with every fibre of his being, but there was quite literally nothing he could do. He wasn't going to jump in and save them only to be shot in the head. He was not. Though he may have made many moves in Amestris which seemed selfless at the time, the underlying truth was that, there was always a little slither of personal gain in there somewhere. Even if it was just the gratification or the praise. Back there, he'd had something to strive for, a name, a goal and a purpose.

Here, he just had to stay alive. Edward wasn't going to lie to himself and make out that he was some kind of selfless person. He knew he wasn't, but he had no problem with that. He would stand here, day by day, waiting for the Americans or the British to stumble across this worker's camp, and when they did, he would not resist their forces.

But he was not going to take the path of a bullet for something unrelated to him.

There was only one person on any earth he'd take a bullet for. As much pity as he'd squeezed out of himself before he'd wrung himself dry and empty from frustration and tears for the Jews, he would not put himself in harm's way just to lose his life meaninglessly.

This war did not need one more meaningless death to add to the toll.

~*~Die Heiderich Theorie~*~

Emily,

London is in a shamballs – like people warned me up North. It's such a pity to see all the rubble, someone spent ages laying those bricks which have housed hundreds of people for hundreds of years but what can be done in defence?

Though I've been seeing a lot of that spirit you were talking about. I think you might burst with pride if you had come with me, but never-the-less, I'm glad you're safe in Hexham.

I sent a letter to my brother. I didn't tell him that I was in London, but he'll probably figure it out. I don't want to make him mad, but I feel like I have to be here. I want to help. I want to be part of it all. This is all new to me, I can't just sit back and let everyone else handle it.

That being said, there's more destruction going on that rebuilding. Most people are pretty much living in the subway now, the street is almost completely demolished. I have been able to help a little though, so for that I'm glad.

I was also able to meet some lovely people.

I don't want to sound weird, but I feel like I need to tell someone –

I'm so happy I could be in this world. I'm so happy I could cry – but I miss everyone so much that I probably will.

Do try not to die because I love you very much.

~Alphonse.

~*~Die Heiderich Theorie~*~

The shelter was in a thick silence that felt very touchable as everyone sat facing the wireless that Oliver had managed to salvage from the shop's rubble. It was a little battered looking, and the signal was a little terrible in the underground station, but the voice was understandable.

There was a BBC announcement interrupting the endless stream of songs that had been playing prior.

"– on the North East. The bombs fell instead on the nearby towns of Hexham, Choppington, Cramlington and Seaton Burn. Bombs also fell on Seaton Burn – however there were no casualties. Newcastle General hospital and Heaton Secondary school were also hit. There has of yet been one report of casualty."

"Oh, Al, please don' be sick," said Oli, eyeing Alphonse's shocked expression and pale complexion.

She never wrote back. I thought she was busy, but she never wrote back.

"Alphonse, please stop staring," Oliver muttered, shaking the older boy's arm, a little worried. The news bulletin had long since ended, and yet Alphonse was still staring into space looking like he'd throw up at any moment. "Al, hey…"

How long am I going to be waiting? The realisation dawned slowly, the sun coming over the horizon casting bloody red and sombre orange over the skyline. I'm just going to be waiting. And the longer I wait, there more are going to fall.

How long will I wait until the last star falls and there is never another sunrise?

How long can this keep going until Edward falls?

I've not been very true to my universe with Edward in this chapter. Since this is Shamballa verse, Edward is much more of a 'hero' and much more selfless than he is in Brotherhood/the manga. But I much prefer manga Ed. I think he'd more of a realistic person.

I feel like I really need to explain myself when Edward states that he has no sympathy for the Jews, just in case it didn't come across the way I wanted it to and I made Edward sound like a dick, which wasn't what I wanted.

Nazi Germany is not Edward's problem at all. WWII is a major inconvenience to him, though not to be brushed off entirely. Of course, it has emotional impacts on him, it goes against his creeds and he's a very opinionated person, but I believe that when thrown into the grand scheme of things, Edward will most likely find himself helpless, as he does in the manga when he begins to realise that all of this is above him and everyone is a puppet. Luckily, there was something he could do about it. However here, he is very defenceless, and having been separated from Al, he is not willing to take any risks and lose his brother.

So yes, Edward felt empathy, sadness, hatred and anger towards to situation that the Jews found themselves in WWII, but what I was trying to put across (and I feel as if I wasn't successful) was that he no longer had the emotional strength to keep on caring that much when there was nothing he could do, especially on the guilty side. His hands were completely tied – so of course, he felt bad, but he also didn't feel obliged to step in, because it would be a fruitless endeavour, and that is what is wearing him down, his own uselessness (as we know from Nina) and generally Al ignoring him and being very, very selfless and mainly a 'little shit.'

I was cheeky with historical accuracy in this chapter. I lied here and there about areas which were bombed because I did it in the wrong year. Please forgive me?

My ending feels kind of lacklustre, but it was what I had envisioned from the beginning. I hope that when the last chapter comes, it does not disappoint. This turned a lot more melancholy than I initially expected…

Please, do review this time guys. (On the reviews, FF Net stole my circumflex thingy! Humph!)

(By the way, yes, I do know this chapter is really short. It has to end here, or else there will be no H chapter. And then we wouldn't spell HEIDERICH.)

~BS