Are disclaimers a necessary part of fanfictions? Because I find the idea rather redundant. There should be claimers for OCs and all the AU stuff, but otherwise can't we just assume that it wasn't ours?

Summary: Jack and the Elric brothers have done everything up to the Scar fiasco. Which means that Ed's arm is broken, and he naturally has to go visit his mechanic. But first…

.oOo.

"Are you sure you want to go through with this?" Jack glanced over his shoulder at the group standing beside him. Ed was clutching his sleeve, and Major Armstrong was hefting Alphonse's remains in a crate on his shoulder. They were about to enter Central's orphanage, to visit a certain little girl.

"Why wouldn't I?" Ed questioned with a frown.

"It's just…" Jack hesitated, then shook his head. "Nothing. Nevermind."

They opened the door, entering the dank building. It seemed pleasant enough, with floral curtains and hard wood floors. A staircase hugged the left wall and lead to a narrow hallway, where a small face with big blue eyes could be seen peering around the corner. Suddenly, the face broke into an enormous grin, and the child came running down the stairs.

"Big brother!" Nina cried as she launched herself onto a slightly unsuspecting Jack. His eyes widened as he caught her, then he readjusted her to his hip and matched her smile.

"Hey there Nina," he bounced her up and down a bit, causing her braids to fly as she squealed. "How've you been?"

"Good!" She noticed Edward, standing a few feet off. With a slight frown and a tilt of her head, Nina asked "Where did Big Brother Edward's arm go?"

Edward blinked, then rubbed his shoulder and put on a reassuring smile. "It got broken, so I'm going to go and get a new one soon. I'll show you once it's fixed, okay?"

" 'Kay!" Nina grinned and repositioned herself to carry on a conversation with Jack, who was surprisingly good at handling the child. Ed smiled to himself, looking at the two of them interact. It was almost like they actually were siblings, the way they playfully bantered with one another. She has a real chance at life now, he thought to himself, I hope she can make the best of it.

.oOo.

There was a tap on the window. "Hey!"

I blinked and looked over my shoulder at the man saluting the glass. It was the dark haired guy with the glasses from yesterday. Holmes or something.

"Lieutenant Colonel Hughes?" Ed asked. Eh, I was close. "What are you doing here?"

"Everyone down at the office was busy, so it's just me to see you off." He grinned, glasses flashing and green eyes twinkling.

Ed smiled back. "Great. But can you tell me why the Major" he shot a disgruntled look at the bald man beside him "is accompanying us?"

In all honesty, I was a little lost on this one as well. The Major, whose name was ALEX LOIUS ARMSTRONG A NAME THAT MUST BE YELLED SO THAT PEOPLE GENERATIONS FROM NOW CAN STILL HEAR IT RINGING IN THEIR EARS (as mine continue to bleed), was sitting quietly on the bench opposite me reading a small brown book. He was imposing enough, reaching around seven feet tall, but I had witnessed his… sparkles. Needless to say, I was utterly confused when it came to this guy.

"For protection." He said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You don't have any way of defending yourself until you get your arm back."

I snorted, causing Sparta to stir on my lap. "Well gee, thanks. What am I, chopped liver?"

Hughes blinked, as if noticing that I was sitting right there. "Oh yeah, you."

"Yes. Me."

The train whistle blew, signaling our departure. "Probably because you're not military, and we don't know if we can trust you." Hughes straightened up and popped a salute. "Give me a shout next time you're in Central!"

Ed and Armstrong were saluting back. Not sure if I was supposed to return the gesture or not, considering I wasn't a part of the military, I grabbed Sparta and hoisted her up in a kind of cat-wave-thing. She was most displeased with this turn of events.

Eyeing me from his seat beside Armstrong, Edward shook his head. "You're a strange one…"

I smirked. "You don't even know the half of it."

We sat like that for a while, Ed staring out the window, Armstrong reading his book, and me stroking Sparta's fur, letting my mind wander. Eventually, something occurred to me. "Wait… so you guys just accept my story?"

Ed blinked. "Huh?"

"What I said last night," I continued, "about dying and getting another chance at life. You believed me?"

He snorted. "Not for a minute. From what I've seen, that thing you've been calling 'God' isn't that generous. In fact, that's what I've been trying to figure out."

I grinned. "Great minds think alike."

"Don't flatter yourself," he retorted. "I'm doing my job. You're frolicking around in La-La-Land."

"You'd be surprised what you can learn in La-La-Land." I muttered under my breath. Speaking of which… "Does that mean you haven't tackled Ishval yet?"

Edward blinked, and Armstrong finally looked up from his book. "What?"

"Did you figure out Ishval yet, or do you just love me so much that I'm all you can think about?" I continued. Sparta purred in my lap.

Edward frowned. "There's nothing to figure out…"

I raised an eyebrow. "Oh really? Then please, do explain to me how a trained soldier 'accidentally' shoots a child. When tensions are already tight, I might add."

Armstrong stiffened noticeably. "Are you suggesting—"

"That's exactly what I'm suggesting." I finished for him. "Well, either that, or there's an evil third party that we don't know about yet, but I find that unlikely."

Edward stared at me for a minute, then shook his head in exasperation. "Ugh, whatever. I can't think about this anymore."

"Alright then!" I readjusted in my seat, then began scanning the train. "I spy with my little eye…"

.oOo.

We had left the Central area and passed another important place called East City hours ago, and frankly, I was getting bored. Ed was staring out the window in thought, as he had been for the past few hours, and Armstrong was reading another book (this one was blue) as he had been for the past few hours. And I was sitting, petting Sparta, and staring absently into space, as I had been for the past few hours.

It is a little known fact that I do not handle boredom well. And so I did what anyone would do in such a situation. I tried as best as I could to get that mysterious girl in my head to talk to me. Which meant shouting at the top of my lungs within my skull.

HEEEEYY HEY HEY HEY YOU HEY YOU YEAH THAT GIRL GIRLY GIIIIRRLLLLYYYYYY GIRLY GIRLY GIRLY GIRLY HEY GIRLY WHERE ARE YOU GIRLY ARE YOU THERE GIRLY YOU WERE TOTALLY HERE YESTERDAY GIRLY DID YOU LEAVE MY HEAD GIRLY OR ARE YOU STILL THERE OR WHAT BECAUSE I'M BORED AND I WANNA TALK TO YOU HEY HEY GIRLY GIRLY GIRLY GIR—

WILL you PLEASE just shut the HELL UP?!She finally yelled back. Ah, the sweet taste of victory. I can hear you PERFECTLY FINE if you think that you're talking to me. Especially when you're feeling a strong emotion, such as BOREDOM. Now WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT?

I'm bored. I said, rather unnecessarily. Could you explain some stuff to me?

That completely depends on the questions you ask. I couldn't exactly tell, but did she sound… teasing?

That's cool. Sparta shifted in my lap. So can you explain the… empathy link thingy to me? Like, how it got here and how it works and such?

Moron. She muttered, though it didn't actually get any quieter. I JUST explained to you that I could hear you if you think that you're talking to me, and if you're feeling a strong emotion. As for how I established the link, I'm afraid that's a secret of the trade.

I scowled to myself. Right. Trade secret. So I can't just go establishing these empathy links with anyone?

You can't, no. I could theoretically go sticking peoples' minds together, but that takes so much effort… It's not gonna happen. Sorry, bud, you're out of luck.

Why can you do that, but I can't?

Because I'm awesome.

What? What do you mean 'because I'm awesome'?

That's just it! I'm. Freaking. Awesome!

Uh huh. So, does Miss Awesome have a name, or should I just keep making up bad nicknames?

She gasped dramatically. Oh, how rude of me! Allow me to introduce myself: I am known as Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gombigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andri Charton-Haymoss Ivanovici Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser the Third. Don't hesitate to call.

I blinked. No way in hell. I think I got Blue and Kaiser the Third. And I'm not calling you either of those. What do you want me to call you?

I am Percival Ramsey Gregory Nikolai Jacques Gozer Leonardo Gabriel Socrates MingVictor Nostradamus Alistair Perdita Vladimir Steve Rasputin Boromir Walla-walla Shedia Alexander Oliver Avalar Ernesto Zippyzappy Angeleyes.

Should I even try that one?

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

These are all from movies?

And TV shows. Hello, I'm the Doctor.

Does this mean I have to guess your name?

And then she started SINGING. Today I brew, tomorrow I bake, And then the kitten Sparta I'll take. He does not know, that Jack so lame, That Rumpelstiltzkin is my name!

Well now that's just mean. So I have to guess your name? And if I don't, you'll take my cat?

My cat, actually. And no, not yet anyways, I just needed something to sing in my song. But yes, that is the best way to entertain you for the time being.

Sounds like fun. So… Alyssa?

Nope.

Jennifer?

No.

Lauren?

Nu uh. Lean to the left quickly.

I leaned to the left instinctually, and was immediately glad that I had. Armstrong had just jumped up and placed a hand right where my head had just been to steady himself. Edward, who hadn't had the warning, wasn't as lucky and got squished against the window.

"Doctor Marcoh!" He shouted out the open window at a stocky old man who had just walked past the train. He had dark hair that was graying by the ears and a tan coat. "Doctor Marcoh, it's me! Alex Louis Armstrong from Central!"

The old dude turned around slowly, his expression frozen in that 'oh crap I'm so gonna die any second now' face from just about any scary movie. He caught sight of Amstrong, a rather terrifying sight indeed, and bolted away as fast as his legs could carry him.

"Smart man." I muttered under my breath as Armstrong sat back down and Ed peeled his face from the wall.

Rubbing his face, Ed glared at the Major. "Friend of yours?"

He nodded his head. "Doctor Marcoh was a revolutionary scientist during the war in Ishval. Unfortunately, he deserted the front part way through, and hasn't been seen since."

Ed paused as if in thought for a moment, then shot up and bolted out of the train. Sighing, I placed Sparta on my head and ran to catch up with him. Armstrong went into the back to grab Alphonse, who had been crated with the livestock ("I thought he might get lonely!" Armstrong explained) and then stepped out onto the platform with us.

.oOo.

They made quite a sight for the townspeople. A giant of a man lugging a crate of destroyed armor and showing a drawing of an aging man, followed by a one armed adolescent in a rather vibrant red coat and another adolescent balancing a cat on his head while seeming lost in thought. If it weren't for the speed with which they travelled through town, several people would have requested a performance.

Their speed was well rewarded, though, for soon enough they had arrived at the humble dwelling of a Doctor Mauro, the man who bore a striking resemblance to the one Major Armstrong had drawn up. The house was built for two residents, Mauro owning the upper of the establishments. An empty flower box hung above a flight of concrete stairs, leading to a plain brown doorway. Just another invisible dwelling in a small town of invisible people.

They mounted the steps and knocked twice on the oak. The door immediately opened, followed by a gun of some kind and a shot through the air. Edward had to leap to the side to avoid a fatal injury.

"Who are you?!" the doctor cried, brandishing his pistol like it was the last possession he had. "Have you come to take me back to Central? Because I won't hear of it!"

Armstrong raised his free hand in what was supposed to be a friendly gesture. "Doctor Marcoh, please calm down, we would just like to spea—"

"I won't let you have me!"

Jack chose that moment to step forward. Actually, scratch that, he chose that moment to step past Doctor Marcoh and seat himself at one of the four wooden chairs surrounding a similar wooden table. He clasped his hands in front of himself and looked pointedly at the entourage gaping in the doorway.

"Well?" he raised his eyebrows. "The man invited us in, didn't he?"

Amrstrong looked like he wanted to hurl Alphonse at him, and Edward was torn between being shocked by the kids audacity and trying not to laugh at the kids usual audacity. Doctor Marcoh was spluttering, his weapon momentarily forgotten. "Why, young man, I did no such—"

"Shut the front door and sit you ass down, now." His glare was frosty and intense, like a raging fire of ice. Marcoh simply gulped, then followed his lead and sat himself down at the table. Ed and Major Armstrong closed the door behind them before situating Alphonse and seating themselves as well.

"Now that that's taken care of," Jack smiled like nothing had gone down. Why, that little… "I believe that there were some thing that needed discussing."

Seeing that these people weren't going to leave until they were pleased, Doctor Marcoh heaved a great sigh. "Well then, I suppose I should start at the beginning…"

And start he did. Marcoh explained that he was a state alchemist known as the Crystal Alchemist and a researcher during the Civil War in Ishval. He made horrible weapons for the military that caused such a high death toll he couldn't bear it, so he left. In an attempt to clean his hands of the accumulated blood from the war, he used the materials he stole from his research and became a doctor for this small town.

"That's so very kind of you." Armstrong sniffled, wiping tears from his eyes with a surprisingly masculine handkerchief. Edward nodded his agreement., though he was still frowning.

"What weapon could you have been researching that was so bad?" the golden haired lad asked. There was a gleam in his eyes that said he already knew the answer, though.

Marcoh closed his eyes as if in pain. "The Philosopher's Stone."

The reaction was instantaneous. Amstrong sat up straighter, Alphonse let out a small gasp, and Edward leaped straight out of his chair. Even Jack looked interested in the conversation now (he had been very nearly dozing off for a while now).

"You mean you have it?" Ed cried with glee. "The real Philosopher's Stone?"

Marcoh reached a hand into the breast pocket of his coat, then pulled out a vial of liquid a hint lighter than blood. Edward froze in confusion. "That's it? But… it's a liquid!"

"Just as the Philosopher's Stone known by many names, so it can come in many forms." Marcoh explained quietly. "It is not limited to a physical stone."

Edward seemed to be lost in thought for a moment, then he slammed his hand down onto the table with determination. "Please, I need access to all of your research notes on the Philosopher's Stone!"

Marcoh almost fell out of his chair. With trembling hands, he steadied himself. "Major Armstrong, who is this child?"

Armstrong narrowed his eyes at the man. "This boy is a state alchemist."

The doctor seemed to stop altogether at that. Then he clutched his head in his hands. "Even children now." He muttered to himself. "When will they learn?"

He raised his head to face the determined teen before him. "Do you have any idea of the mistake you've made? The Amestrian military will—"

"I know the choice I've made!" Edward snapped. "But no matter how poor of a decision it may seem, it's a decision I have to make! We need the Stone to set things right, to get our bodies back!"

Marcoh frowned. "Your bodies…" Then his eyes drifted to the crate of armor bits beside him and the empty sleeve of Ed's red coat. The dark orbs widened in realization. "You did it, didn't you? The ultimate taboo." He walked over to Alphonse slowly and removed his helmet, as if knowing that that was where his blood seal was. "To have been able to transmute a specific person's soul, and at such a young age…"

He walked back to his seat and lowered himself slowly, as only an aged man can. "As talented as you may be… I cannot let you get your hands on those research notes."

"Why not?!" Edward's demeanor had changed from gleeful determination to subdued anger.

Marcoh looked away, as if ashamed by his mere knowledge of the object. "I won't let anyone else dirty themselves with that thing. It is the research of the devil, and following it will only put you through hell."

Jack's eyes widened slightly in understanding, but Edward was too busy being indignant to notice. "I'VE ALREADY BEEN THROUGH HELL!" He shouted angrily, waving his arm in a wide arc. He glared at the occupants of the room in turn, then left the building in a huff, slamming the door behind him. Major Armstrong shot a worried look at the door, then seemed to decide it was best to leave for now.

"Thank you for hosting us, doctor, it's been a pleasure." With a slight bow of his head, the mountain of a man grabbed Alphonse's crate and followed after him, leaving Doctor Marcoh alone with the dark haired youth and his cat.

.oOo.

Fixing my gaze upon Marcoh, I removed Sparta from my head. Well, here goes nothing… "It's human life, isn't it?"

That seemed to be the last straw for the aged man. He finally fell out of his chair, looking at me with bulging eyes. "How… how could you possibly know that?"

I shrugged. "You said it was the devil's research. Human experimentation is usually where people draw the line when it comes to science."

Struggling to his feet, Marcoh regained his posture. "I assume you're going to go tell that boy now, perhaps crush his hopes while they're still fresh?"

Don't tell them. My little cranium crony piped up from the recesses of my skull.

Eavesdropper.

But seriously, don't. She insisted. This is something that they have to discover on their own.

"Young man?" Marcoh interrupted my silence.

"Give me a minute." I refocused my attention again. Why shouldn't I help them? According to Truth, I'm supposed to 'save them'. Isn't helping them now going to save them later?

No, it's not. If you tell them now, then they'll never find the truth hidden within the truth.

I scowled. You're damn confusing, you know that?

And proud of it.

Heaving a sigh, I continued. If I agree not to tell them, what do I get in return?

Internet access.

Say what?

I will give you access to the internet through your phone if you don't tell them about the Stone.

You can do that?

I wouldn't offer it if I couldn't.

And what happens when my phone dies? The damn thing is almost out of battery!

If you continue to heed my advice on the important stuff like this, I will keep your phone charged as well.

I grinned. Deal.

I returned my attention to Doctor Marcoh, who was looking at me with worry. "I won't tell them about the stone. But know that they'll probably figure it out on their own, even without my help."

Marcoh nodded in solemn thought. Then, apparently deciding on something, he grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled something down. "Here, this is for them." He handed the folded piece of paper over to me. "Maybe they're smart enough to find the truth hidden within the truths."

Smiling at the coincidental choice of wording, I took the paper and shook his hand. "Thank you very much, doctor."

I rose from my seat and held Sparta close, giving a final wave before closing the door behind me. On the way back, I passed a dark haired beauty who even I knew was way out of my league. But that doesn't stop a man from trying.

I slapped her shapely behind as I passed. "Keep flaunting it while you still got it!" I called back over my shoulder. She smiled back at me knowingly, and I knew that I had made a lasting impression on her. They don't always smile back.

.oOo.

Edward had calmed significantly by the time I made it back to the station. He was just telling Armstrong how even discovering that the Stone could be made was a lead for him when I shoved the paper in his face. "Read it and weep!" I grinned with my success.

His eyes quickly scanned over the page before looking back at me, incredulous. "How did you get him to tell you where it was?"

"A magician never reveals his secrets." I winked impishly, still grinning. "He also said that you would be smart enough to discover 'the truth hidden beneath the truth' or within the truth or whatever, point is, there's more to it than first meets the eye." I struck a rather convincing pose. "How awesome am I?"

Grinning, Ed clapped my on the shoulder. "You're the best job ever, Jack!"

Within my head, not-Stephanie groaned. Please don't inflate his ego anymore…

I laughed with them, realizing that I had finally made peace with the other Elric.

.oOo.

Ed insisted that Alphonse sit with them for the rest of the trip to Risembool. It was only once the train cart was empty enough that Al dared to speak. "Brother, what did the note from Doctor Marcoh say?"

"National Central Library, First Branch." Ed smiled to himself with satisfaction.

Major Armstrong nodded in understanding. "Like hiding a tree in a forest…"

"Exactly." Ed smiled at Jack, who seemed to be very interested in that little rectangle thing again. Frowning, he leaned forward and snatched it from his hands.

Jack started. "Hey! I was using that!"

Waving it teasingly, Ed shook his head. "You said you would explain to me what it was once you weren't sitting on it anymore. It's in my hand now, so you have to tell me what it is before you can use it again!"

Crossing his arms, Jack looked pointedly out the window. "It's technology from my country."

Ed frowned, looking at the rectangle in his hand. Well, it was actually shaped a bit more like a square now, since it had some sliding contraption that made it open. The top portion was some sort of polymer with a lot of words on it, surrounded by a similar dark blue polymer that seemed to be there just to keep everything contained. The bottom section had all the letters in the alphabet arranged in a way that he didn't recognize. He pushed one of the letters warily, and that letter appeared near the top of the words part of the rectangle.

His eyes widened. "That's amazing! The center part changes depending on which keys you press! How does it work?"

Jack shrugged. "Some electrical thingamajig. I can write stuff down with that and look at it later, like a compact notebook." He extended a hand expectantly. "Can I have it back now?"

Ed pouted. "What, I can't explore it? This thing is absolutely fantastic! Where did you say you were from again?"

"America. Give it here."

"But it's the most advanced thing I've ever seen! How could we not know about this?"

Jack raised an eyebrow. "You've never even heard of America, what makes you think you'd know about our technology? Give. "

"But—"

"No."

"Can I just—"

"Maybe later. If you give it to me."

Sighing, Ed handed the rectangle back. "Don't let Winry get her hands on that. She'll take it apart and put it together as something else altogether."

Jack paused. "Who?"

"My mechanic."

"Ah."

.oOo.

Scrape.

Scrape.

Scrape.

The file moved steadily, back and forth in her hands against the double wrench. It was important to take care of her tools, keeping them sharp and in pristine condition.

Scrape.

Scrape.

Scrape.

Scrape.

"Winry!" Granny's voice called from outside. "Our best customers are here!"

Winry looked over her shoulder towards the porch. Sure enough, she could already hear Edward shouting about how short he wasn't. Sighing, she grabbed another wrench and tied her jumper around her waist.

The wrench flew from her hand with perfect precision, silencing the argument. "Winry!" Ed whined from the ground, pulling himself into a sitting position.

She put her hands on the railing. "I thought I told you to call before you came back for maintenance!"

Edward growled in annoyance, but given his position, it looked more pathetic than terrifying. It was such a typical pose to see him in that she just laughed. "Welcome back!"

"Yeah…"

The group picked themselves up and move to the sitting room, where Edward handed over his arm. Or, more accurately, what was left of his arm.

"OH NO!" Winry cried, holding bits of wire and steel in her trembling hands.

Ed was sitting on the couch, sipping the mug Granny had grabbed for him. "Yeah… it's a little smashed up."

"A little smashed up? It's been a week since you last stopped by, Edward, and I can fit the biggest piece in a single hand! I slaved over this arm!" Her masterpiece was in masterpieces, and he was saying it was 'a little smashed up'?

"It's basically the same, just in smaller pieces!"

Pow!

Winry's fist hurled into his cheek, quite possibly loosening teeth. She put her hands on her hips and looked over at Al, who was sitting in a crate that shouldn't have been able to fit the entire suit of armor. "Let me guess, you 'a little smashed up' too, Al? Just what kind of trouble do you guys get into?"

There was a snort from the other end of the couch. "Tell me about it."

Winry looked over at the newcomer for the first time. He had dark brown hair and tanned skin, as well as a faded red shirt. But even from this distance, she could tell that his eyes were his best feature. They were a pale, pale gray blue, maybe even silver.

She extended a gloved hand to him. "Hello there, I'm afraid we haven't been properly introduced. I'm

Winry Rockbell."

"Jack Ryenn." He took her hand and shook it in a firm grip.

Winry smiled at him. "I like your eyes."

"I like your boobs."

did he just? OH MY GOD HE DID THAT PERV! Winry's wrench connected with his temple just as Edward's automail leg kicked his… yeah.

"Jack!" He shouted. "What the hell?!"

But Jack was unconscious, clearly not having as thick a skull as Edward did. Served him right, the no good little…

.oOo.

"Yo."

Something was poking my head. Repeatedly. Like Chinese water torture, but without the water.

"Yo. Hey. You. Buddy. Friend. Amigo. Compadre. Partner. Captain. Mister. Meister. Magician. Mage. Muppet. WAKE THE HELL UP ALREADY!"

That got me up. I snapped upright, smacking my forehead against something unforgiving.

"OOOWWWWW YOU ASS I SAID WAKE UP, NOT SIT UP!" Not-Brittany was clutching her forehead in a similar manner to myself. Which was weird, because I had never actually seen her before, but I knew that voice very well now.

"Then don't startle me." I grumbled. "How come I can see you? And where am I?"

She stood up with a flourish, bracelet jingling and dress swooshing. "This is the supernatural equivalent of" she raised her fingers in air quotes "'the me cave', AKA my place. You touch anything and you die."

I stood up slowly, taking in my surroundings. It was similar to the portal of truth with that whole never-ending abyss, except the surrounding area here was a light purple. It was pretty sparsely furnished as well, only having a piano, a piano bench, a side table, and… was that a… throne? There was also a large mirror that reminded me quite a bit of the mirror of Erised from Harry Potter, and a single white door.

And then I got a good look at my companion. She was significantly shorter than me (but still probably taller than Ed), with big green eyes and strawberry blonde shoulder length hair. She didn't wear shoes, but she did have a silver bracelet on her left wrist and a plain white dress.

"So…" I began slowly, not sure what I was doing here.

"Os." She replied.

I raised an eyebrow. "…what?"

"You never finished your sentence." She shrugged. "I thought saying the reverse of what you said might help, as a bit of a conversation starter."

"…no. So you never explained to me why I'm here."

She winked. "You never asked. But anyways, you're really just here for introductions."

I grinned. "Great! Then I get to know your name?"

"Nope!"

"I hate you."

The girl grinned, showing very nice white teeth. "But you love it."

"Yeah, yeah, sure I do." I grumbled to myself. "Seriously though, what's the point of introductions if I don't get to know your name?"

She gasped dramatically, slapping her palms to her cheeks. "Why, to see my amazing dwelling of course!"

"And you couldn't have showed me this before?"

"Nope. I can only show you stuff when you're not awake. Be that unconscious, as you are now, or dreaming, it doesn't matter."

This chick is by far the most annoying vague girl version of Yoda I've ever seen. "And why, pray tell, doesn't it matter?"

"Because you," she flicked my forehead, sending my backward several feet, "are about to wake up."

That flick had all the force of a dragon. It actually made everything significantly darker. Then I realized that it was actually me fading into the darkness.

"Oh, and before you go," she appeared above me. When did I lie down? "Don't even try to make another move on Winry. Edward will kill you. Toodles!" She wagged her fingers teasingly.

I sighed. This chick…

.oOo.

It was an entire day before Jack woke up. Apparently, he had learned his lesson, because he didn't try to do anything funny again the entire time they were there. He spent the remainder of the few days in Risembool exploring outside, sitting with the brothers or playing with his cat. He watched with fascination as Ed reattached his new prosthetics, and then again as he transmuted Al into an entire suit of armor again.

It was when the Elrics were sparring that Jack finally made a significant comment. "You guys are like… medieval ninjas."

It was such a strange comment that Edward didn't dodge quite far enough to the left and got clipped in the gut. Grunting, he glared at Jack. "Why do you interject at the most inconvenient moments?"

Jack shrugged. "I have to speak when no one else is or I'm not heard."

"Right…" The two went back to fighting, and Jack continued to watch intently. Neither brother were paying him enough attention to note the gleam in his eyes.

.oOo.

"Come back soon." Winry waved tiredly from her room. Edward scratched his head before waving back as he walked away. We were a decent enough distance from the house when I started poking fun.

"Edward and Winry, sittin' in a tree."

The blonde yelped and turned to face me, face red. "No way! She's just my mechanic!"

I grinned, and Alphonse laughed knowingly, his voice echoing. "K-I-S-S-I-Nnnnnnrmph!"

Edward punched me in the gut quickly, knocking me back a step. I coughed into my fist a few times before glaring at him. "Oh, you are so asking for it!"

Even Armstrong laughed as we chased each other all the way to the train station, Alphonse following behind us in a vain attempt to spare us of bloodshed.

.oOo.

The two of them sat, staring through the mirror at a young girl with twin braids.

"She's on you now, you know," Truth stated emotionlessly.

The girl groaned. "Don't remind me." She rubbed her temples in frustration, the small circles digging into her skull. "What I don't get it why you're making me take care of the way he changed it, even though the entire point of sending him there was to change things up!"

"It's because she was always a fixed point." He motioned towards the smiling, cheerful girl. "Leaving her as she is now will tear a serious hole in the fabric of reality. How did you phrase it before? Ah yes, 'Time cannot be rewritten'. Something needs to happen here, or everything will fall apart at the seams."

"But why does it have to be her?" she snapped back at him. "I wouldn't have a problem with it if it were somebody bad like Kimblee or Bradley or something, but Ed just got over this! Can't I do something else?"

But Truth had already left.

Hahaha wow, that was close! I almost came to a full month without updating, but I just made it!

I'm sorry if this chapter is a bit of a letdown, you guys were all so eager to see how Jack would interact with Winry, and I totally skirted around anything big. This chapter's just been a big pain in the rear since I started writing it. Hopefully the next one will be better… And sooner…

Ah yeah, about that: I've got AP exams like next week, as well as tryouts. Don't worry, it's just a quick mini-break from writing, but I still will not be writing this week or next. Hopefully it won't hinder that next update too too much…

VIRTUAL COOKIES IF YOU CAN NAME ALL THE REFERENCES IN THIS CHAPTER! Especially when Mystery Girl is listing off her names. That was fun to write. Oh, and I totally have no clue what her name is gonna be, so I'd be glad to listen to any suggestions!

SEE YA SOON, THANKS FOR BEING THERE, I LOVE YOU ALL!