The Promise of a Lifetime
Warning: This story (mostly just the summary) does contain spoilers to the end of the (original) Fullmetal Alchemist series. If you have not watched the original series then I suggest you do before reading this.
Summary: It takes place right after the very end of the first series (not brotherhood). If you don't remember the ending or don't feel like watching here is just a small re-cap. At the end of the story Ed is killed by the Homunculus Envy and in a rash attempt Al tries to save him. Being that he was now the Philosophers stone he was able to bring him back, with his original body parts and all. Ed lost it when he found out his little brother had sacrificed himself to save him, so he went back to The Gate to try and bring him back. All in all they ended up being on opposite sides of The Gate, Al with Winry and the others, Ed with his father in London during WWI. Anyway, this story starts out a few weeks after that happened, Ed is still trying to find a way back to his brother and along the way he finds someone that might be of some help; seeing that she is also from his side of The Gate. Whether or not she decides to help him is another thing, but then again equivalent exchange tells her that if she does, he may be able to help her in return.
A/N: I know exactly how anime brotherhood goes because ive read most of the manga, however I have not actually seen brotherhood. The ending of the original anime kinda made me a little upset so I decided to continue the story my way. I really hope you guys enjoy!
"Are you sure it's safe for a young lady such as yourself to be traveling to the city alone?" You could see the concern in the old man's eyes as he passed me the train ticket underneath the glass window. Truth was I had been traveling by myself for a few years now and nothing really scares me much anymore. I grabbed the ticket and smiled softly at him reassuring him that I would no doubt be fine alone. "What about all the air raids that have been happening? The city is being leveled as we speak…" He trailed off with obvious tears filling his eyes. He probably has family there, or did at one time. Without saying anything in return I headed towards the train just as the whistled called for last minute boarding. Sure the war going on was scary, but I don't fear death. If you had seen what I have you would be the exact same way.
The train was mostly empty; only one other man joined me in the car. Though I could hardly call him a man, he couldn't have been any older than me. Something about him caught my attention; it threw me off guard in a way, As if I had seen him before. I struggled to lift my heavy bag over my head and set it on the rack above the seat. I wanted to sit right across from him, not to be creepy or anything, just to see if my suspicions were correct. The train suddenly started to move before I could successfully place my bag as it and I went tumbling to the ground. My bag popped open on impact and all my things scattered about the train's floor. The man quickly jumped up from his seat and started to help me pick things up. Then it caught my eye, inbetween the white glove on his right arm and his sleeve... it was… 'Automail...' I whispered to myself in shock.
"What did you just say?" His golden brown eyes met mine with the same wide expression, his blonde hair wrapped perfectly around his small pale face.
"N-nothing!" I snapped out of it quickly, wrestling with the rest of my clothes and notebooks to get them back into my large wooden suitcase. Before I was able to finish he closed it for me and set it above my seat with ease. I don't see how that was possible though, he's only like a few inches taller than me. Not to mention that damn bag weighs a freaking ton. My eyes continued to wander over at him through the entire train ride. Could he really have an arm made of automail, here in London? I gripped at my right leg through my long purple dress, it too was automail; A secret that I've kept for years now.
"Is there something I can help you with?" His head rolled along the back of the seat to look at me, his long blonde braid resting on his shoulder. My face flushed, was it really that obvious that I had been watching him?
"No... It's just… I just never got to thank you properly for helping me pick up my things."
"Don't worry about it." He smiled softly.
"I guess it's a good thing you're a bit taller than me."
"What, you thought I'd be too short to reach that damn rack?" His eyes narrowed and there was a slight bark in his voice.
"N-no that's not what I meant at all I swear!" He just huffed and went back to looking out the window. Jeez, he's way too sensitive about his size. It's not like being short is a bad thing… I'm really short too you know.
As the train came to a stop at London's central station I got up out of my seat and waved goodbye to the small blonde man. We hadn't really spoken anymore since he yelled at me, but I still made sure to be polite and say goodbye. I didn't even manage to get his name, but it would be foolish to get back on the train for a silly thing like that, chances are I won't ever see him again anyway. I sighed to myself, watching him from the platform as the train took off, he watched me too from the window. Although we had only just met I feel like I know him.
London had changed a lot since I had been away on call, of course the war would be to blame for that. I was one of the few doctors left in this city; the rest had gone off with the soldiers. I can't wait for this stupid war to be over, you never know what's going to happen next, when the next bombs are going to fall, or if it's your house that will be destroyed next. Everywhere you look is just chaos; those that haven't fled the city had been reduced to rioting and looting. The businesses that are still here have raised their prices so much that's all you really can do is steal, just to get by. This city has gone to hell, that's all there really is to it.
I made my way up the large steps to my office; it was one of the few buildings left open on my block. Up against my office was a tailor shop run by a woman named Margot, she fled to the country side with her husband and four children. Same goes for the owner of the barber shop to the left of my office. I took a deep breath before entering my small building; it wasn't really much to look at. A couple beds for the sick lined the room to the right, and to the left was my office. Not that many people come here for my help, but then again would you trust a sixteen year old that claims to be a doctor? Didn't think so. Though I do have people from time to time that trust only me for their medical needs, most of them have fled the city though.
I walked into my office and set my large wooden suitcase on my desk. I started to reach for the claps the sealed it shut but stopped myself before opening it. Then there was a sudden knock on my front door. Something inside me jumped at the knocking, causing my heart to skip a few beats as I dashed happily for it. To my surprise though it was the military, but if I didn't open the door there would be hell to pay. That and I would much prefer them not breaking down my door. "What do you want?" I scoffed, opening the door only but a small crack. The taller of the two men spoke first, as if I would be scared of him for his size.
"Good evening ma'am," He started with his fist to his mouth as he cleared his throat. "As you well know, the city has become a rather dangerous place. We suspect another oncoming air raid scheduled for tomorrow morning. To keep the civilian casualties to a minimum, we ask that you pack all of your important belongs and be on the next available train to the country side."
"And if I refuse to leave my home?"
"Need I remind you the situation at hand?" the smaller of the two men stepped in. His voice wasn't as deep as the other man's, but still annoying all the same.
"No, look around you! It's obviously a war; everyone is either dead or going to die! Who are you to tell anyone where they are allowed to do so, huh?"
"Be out by morning." The larger one cut in, his voice deeper than before. Before I let my anger get the better of me I slammed my door shut and took a deep breath. If they think I'm going to leave just because of a stupid little air raid they're sadly mistaken; that's what bomb shelters are for. The damn military here is just a bunch of bloody idiots, we're already loosing and they need to stop acting like they're trying hard when they're not. I walked down the long hallway towards the back of my small building where my kitchen was. Opening up the fridge my stomach let out a small growl at the lack of food. I need to stop slacking on my chores, I don't even remember the last time I went grocery shopping. Not that I could afford it anyway with this damn war going on. A rather large sigh escaped my lips as I feel back onto the counter, leaning on it for support. If I remember correctly I think I spent the last of my money on those damn train tickets…
I made my way across the hallway yet again towards the bathroom; it was the door straight across from the kitchen. This was originally meant to be a house, that's why it's so damn small. I leaned over the sink with one hand gripped tightly on either side of the large white bowl and just stood there staring at my pale reflection. I still look just like a child; I let out another heavy sigh as I examined my still small facial features. My large baby blue eyes made their way around my face, taking in every inch from my long light brown hair to my small little freckles under my eyes. I took my glasses off and tossed them onto the sink behind the faucet before turning it on and splashing my face a little bit. I wish I could escape from this damn city, escape and be with you again Enya. Thoughts of my little sister began to fill my head and a few tears fell from my eyes; but I quickly washed them away. I promised I would be strong, and I'm trying, I just wish it wasn't taking so long to get back to you… After I finished washing my face I grabbed blindly for the white towel I always keep on the rack by the sink.
Another knock at my door broke me away from my thoughts and I quickly reached for my glasses before heading down the hallway. I fumbled for a minute with the lock and chains on the door before opening it. I was expecting another military monkey to come stomping by like they always seemed to do, but instead it was a small child. Her small brown eyes were filled with water as she gripped at her little pink dress. She was covered in dirt and soot from head to toe, like she had been digging around in the ashes of a building. Even her soft blonde hair had almost been transformed into a different color. "Penelope, is that you?" I crouched down to meet her at eye level. Penelope and her widowed mother, Lina had been regular patients of mine since before the war began. I helped Lina deliver her baby two years ago when no one would take her in. Some people in this city can be so cruel over a little bit of money.
"Lady Madeline, I can't find my mommy..." She wiped away her sobs with the back of her small arm, only dirtying her face more.
"When was the last time you saw your mommy?" I licked the pad of my thumb and swiped it across some of the dirt on her cheek.
"Before last night's air raid… She told me to leave and go hide in the bomb shelter behind the neighbors' house. She said it was okay 'cuz they left and wouldn't need it. Then she said she would join me shortly but there was something she had to do, mommy said it was real important… Then… then when I woke up this morning mommy wasn't there, and the house wasn't neither…" A few more sobs escaped from her but before I could say anything she started again. "Lady Madeline… i-is my mommy dead? I looked and I looked all morning but I couldn't find her…" Her words were becoming more difficult to understand with her rapid breathing and heavy sobs. I quickly wrapped my arms around her and pulled her in, trying not to cry myself. Chances are it was true; more than likely her mother was killed in the air raid. I rubbed my hand up and down her back to try and sooth the crying, but it was useless, nothing could make her feel any better.
After bringing her inside and cleaning her up, Penelope was soon fast asleep in one of the four patient beds. She tossed and turned every now and again and cried out for her mom, but I couldn't bring myself to wake her up. The best course of action would be to take her to the train station and get her out of the city. With all the parents that have lost their children in this pointless war I'm sure someone would have no problem taking care of her. Such a cruel world we live in. I shut off the small light beside her bed and walked out of the room; closing the door quietly behind me. I walked across the hallway into my office and opened my large wooden suitcase. After shuffling through it a bit I pulled out a clean light blue dress, similar to the purple one I have on. I pulled the now dirt covered dress up over my head and tossed it onto the floor before putting on the clean one. Note to self, never embrace a child that's covered in dirt, doing laundry then becomes a bigger pain in the ass. I walked over to the small green couch underneath the window and flopped down with a big sigh, this was turning out to be one hell of a day.
I woke up rather harshly as the setting sun shined straight into my eyes through the window. Just how long was I asleep? I got up quickly remembering that I needed to get little Penelope on that train before the scheduled air raid. I hurried across the hall towards the patient room and opened the door. She was still fast asleep tossing and turning with tears in the corner of her eyes. I scooped the small child up into my arms and carried her back into my office where I grabbed my purse. "Lady Madeline, where are we going?" Hearing me fumble with the locks on the door must have woken her up.
"Were heading to the train station," I smiled down at her with the best fake smile I could muster up.
"Why are we going there?"
"Because the city is being evacuated to the countryside…" I set her down on the ground and grabbed hold of her small hand.
"But if we go there then we can't find mommy…" she looked up at me with tear filled brown eyes. I had to look away quickly.
"What do you mean..? " I took a deep breath and put forth another fake smile. "Your mommy is there waiting for you as we speak, Penelope." It broke my heart to lie to her, but this was probably the only way I could get her to leave. This city is no place for a child anymore.
"Really?" Her face quickly lit up with joy. "Then we got to hurry!" She pulled me into a half run as we made our way through the city towards the station.
The station was overly crowded with people and everywhere you look tears were in almost everyone's eyes. I didn't even know there were this many people left in the city, this was ridiculous. We pushed our way through the crowd and over towards the ticket booth. The man behind the counter looked like this was last place he wanted to be right now, he would probably be leaving as soon as he could anyway. "What can I do for you miss?" He let out a heave sigh and rested his chin on the back of his hand.
"I need a ticket for the next train to the countryside." I smiled at him, trying to put forth my best act for a discount; god knows I only have enough for about a half a ticket.
"That'll be sixty marks…" Sixty marks? Is this guy freaking insane? That's beyond ridiculous for a damn train ticket! We're the ones forced to leave the city, it should be way less!
"Can you take twenty?" I pleaded, trying to form a tear or two out of the corners of my eye. Jerks like this always fall for a woman in distress. "You see, I don't have very much money and the tickets for my daughter, she's only six and can't stay here. Can't a big, strong, handsome man such as yourself make an exception, just this once? Please?" I managed to squeeze a few tears out of my eyes as I pushed my arms together to make a bigger cleavage at the top of my dress. His face flustered up a bit as his eyes went straight for my chest, what a pig...
"S-sure thing, honey..." He pushed a ticket underneath the window with a big dumb smile across his face. "If you ever need any comfort from the war, be sure to look me up okay, sweetheart?" He winked.
"Thank you so much!" I fake giggled a little and then walked off. What a pig, god I swear men are so stupid. As if I would ever waste my time with a big, stupid oaf like that. I can only imagine what he meant by comfort... With that thought a small shiver went down my spine. Ugh, pig.
"Lady Madeline, why did you only get one ticket? Aren't you coming with me?"
"I wish I could..." I stopped her right before the door to the train and crouched down to her to be at eye level. "Don't worry about me, Penelope, I'll be just fine. I need you to be really brave for me and get on that train by yourself, okay? Think you can do that?" She nodded. "Don't talk to anyone you don't know, and don't get out of your seat for any reason unless it's your stop, okay?"
"But how do I know what stop is mine?"
"You're stop is the very last one, it's going to be a very long train ride." She needs to be as far away from the city as she can.
"And mommy will be there waiting for me?"
"Yes, she will…" I lied and pulled her in for another hug.
It took all I had to look strong and not cry with her as the train left the platform. She waved to me out of one of the windows along with all the other children that were leaving their families behind. As soon as the train was gone I made my way back home, focusing mostly on the orange sky. I really hope she doesn't hate me when she gets off the train to find out her mother isn't there… I'm sure she will be okay, I myself have never actually been far enough to reach the last stop so I really have no idea what to expect. With all the people that have left, I'm sure the last stop was the majority of their destinations. I would leave with them if I could, but all of my work is here and I can't leave it behind. Not if I ever want to be with my sister Enya again. Not when I'm so close…
I made it back to my building to find someone sitting on the steps in front of my door. I paused a minute and looked him over before he realized I was there. His golden brown eyes looked up at me and we just paused there for a moment, just staring at each other. It was the guy from the train, the one with the automail arm, but how did he find me? "So we meet again," I smiled softly as if nothing was bothering me. "What brings you all the way to city during an evacuation?" I walked over closer to him.
"Just returning something you left on the train." He held up one of my brown leather notebooks in his hand, a slight uneasy expression across his face.
"Oh wow, I can't believe I didn't even check to make sure I had everything before I got off the train. Sometimes I swear!" I reached out to grab the notebook from him. "Thank you so much for returning it to me."
"It's no problem; I figured it was pretty important." He shrugged his shoulders like it was no big deal, but something about the way he was acting made me think otherwise. I really hope he didn't read it.
"Yeah, it is, thank you…" I smiled again, a bit more hesitant. "Say, I never did catch your name."
"It's Edward." He stood up and stepped down onto the sidewalk.
"I'm Madeline; it was nice to meet you, again." I bowed my head at him slightly as I walked passed him towards my front door.
"Say, Madeline, what do you use that notebook for?" His question stopped me dead in my tracks.
"W-what?" I turned my head around to look at him but he was still staring off in another direction. "I-it's just a medical notebook, y-you see I'm a doctor." I hesitated; and my grip on the book grew tighter.
"I'm not quite sure what language that book is in…" He turned around to face me, his brow narrowed into a frown. "But if it's a 'medical' notebook, then why does it have transmutation circles in it?" My eyes widened, I had no idea what to say next. I knew his arm was automail, but he knows about alchemy too?
"I-im not s-sure what you're talking about!" I laughed hesitantly and rubbed the back of my head
"You know exactly what I'm talking about." He snapped, but before I could reply the air raid siren began to go off. Our attention was directed almost immediately to the sky.
"The siren already? The air raid wasn't scheduled until tomorrow morning!"
"Who the hell schedules an air raid? As if they would come out and tell you what time they're gunna come bomb you! That's just absurd." We looked back at each other, as if we were searching each other's faces for the right answers. I bit down on my lower lip debating on what to do next. This guy knows my secret, how do I even know I can trust him? Then again I just can't leave him out here when the city is about to be leveled.
"Can I trust you..?" I stumbled on the words, as if he would actually come out and tell me.
"Can I trust you, Edward?" I felt my stomach go in knots. Whether I was doing the right thing or not, something just felt like it was suppose to happen.
"I don't know…" he seemed just about as unsure about me as I was of him, but I couldn't waste anymore time.
"Come with me, I have a bomb shelter." I hurried over towards him and grabbed his left arm, pulling him up the steps and into my house. Without letting go of his hand, the one that obviously wasn't automail, I quickly locked my door up and pulled him into my office. I grabbed my wooden suitcase of the desk and handed it to him. He didn't ask any questions and took it. I yanked up the large rug in the center of the floor to reveal a trap door leading to the basement. I signaled him to climb down the ladder first then followed quickly behind him, making sure I locked the hatch. Not that locking the doors would stop a bomb from blowing up my house or anything.
"So, Madeline, if you didn't know what I was talking about, then what the hell is all of this?" He pointed to one of the walls that were covered in different transmutation circles. My basement was the only place where I could study and be safe. No one here in London knows anything about alchemy.
"That's why I asked if I could trust you…" I sighed and sat down on the floor against one of the walls. What had I gotten myself into…?
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