A/N: Well, hello there! It's a good thing you clicked on this story because it will be awesome! Now, if you look at the plot, it says Ed will have a split-personality. But all that will be slow… So if you're wondering why Ed doesn't have a split personality yet, well he has to have a reason to have a split personality first.
So anyways, this story won't resemble Replacement Father, but I hope it will be just as good. Also I don't think it will be longer as Replacement Father, but oh well. At least I've gotten better at writing. ;D
The parental will come after a few chapters. There will be lot of hurt-Ed, and plenty of angst, so I recommend you read it if you like that sort of thing! Which many people do, including me.
Sorry, I wrote plenty of stuff, but it was all for clearing things up for people! Anyways….
Edward turned around the corner of the abandoned house, his breath coming out in gasps due to him chasing around a killer for about ten minutes. He'd been sent on a mission along with the Colonel and his crew to catch the murderer known as Dasher who had murdered five people so far, them being all men and having their internal organs removed. They had discovered his location early that morning, and the moment Ed saw him, he'd run after him while the rest focused on surrounding him. But the house was huge and Dasher had been running quite a while. Ed ran inside the room to his left and peered inside. Sure enough, the killer was cornered, the only escape being the window. A four story drop and Ed could tell that the man had no intention of anything that kind.
Dasher's dark brown hair matted across his face and his breath was ragged as much as Ed's. But somehow, even with the carving knife held in front of him, his eyes looked calm. Ed held his own blade in front of him while his other hand covered his mouth and nose. This particular room was heavily stenched with blood.
He could see it on the floor, the trail of blood getting bigger and bigger as it led to half-decomposed internal organs covered in maggots. He suddenly felt the urge to puke at the sight, but managed to control himself.
"What's wrong, dog of the military?" Dasher asked with the same calmness that rested in his eyes. "Can't handle a little bit of blood?"
Ed removed his gloved hand and decided not to attack since the man wasn't moving either. It looked like he didn't want to move anyway. "Why did you kill all those people? What did they do to you?!" he yelled, the image of the corpse they discovered the other night still fresh in his mid.
The man stared at the knife in his hand, running his finger on the blade and cutting enough to draw blood. "I'm sure you know that all those men were retired military officers that once served in the Ishvalan War."
Ed paused, trying to figure out what the man was getting at. A few drops of blood fell from the man's fingers and onto the floor, staining the ground with more blood as he watched.
"Yeah, so?" It's not like any of them wanted to be in the war!" Ed yelled, finally figuring out the man's intention.
Dasher smiled. "Oh, but they did. They happily went to the war, happily slaughtered people. Enjoying it too. And then they came back happily, thinking they can go on with their life as if nothing happened."
Ed began to question the man further, the tension between them growing even bigger. "How would you know?!"
"I do." Dasher said calmly, resting his elbows on the window pane while continuing to stare at Edward. "When you watch them for about two years, you realize some things. Ever heard of Kimblee?"
Ed didn't answer, continuing to glare at the man. "He's a mad bomber. Enjoys killing people. Enjoys their screams of anguish. I would have killed him first if he wasn't in jail. They aren't like your officer Mustang. That man actually feels guilty about what he did. Even though he didn't run away like a coward from the battlefield, he has sins of his own. He's using people. He's using you, a kid of fifteen. Can't you see?"
Edward balled his fists, a significant hint that the Dasher's words were beginning to crawl under his skin. "I'm no child! I'm the one who signed my name on that paper!" he said, still waiting for the man to attack.
"Oh, please. Sure, you might have done that, but he's the one who invited you. He's the one who manipulated you, asking you if you'd rather drown in your own pity and have a brother without a body or join the military, right Edward?"
Ed froze, his whole body gone rigid. He suddenly remembered that day, when Mustang had barged in and grabbed his collar. He'd shown no sympathy, just yelled at his face, asking him what he'd done. "H-How would you know that?" Ed asked, slightly shaking.
The man smiled. "Seems like I hit a nerve. Like I said, kid, when you watch someone for two years and hear all the stories, you realize some things. Besides all the hair-brained people out there, I can actually tell when a suit of armor is hollow. I heard all the stories and figured everything out. Mustang doesn't know anything about you, Fullmetal Alchemist. When the time comes, he'll leave you behind. He doesn't care what happens to you."
Ed arched his eyebrows, angry inside, yet a part of his brain seemed to agree with what the man was saying. "Yeah right! Why should I believe what you say?"
Dasher's grin got even bigger. "You don't have to believe me. Though, haven't you been listening to what I've been saying? I've observed him. He sends you out on leads that prove to be useless. He doesn't even try to help you. The Colonel's only trying to keep you out of his hair." Dasher ran the knife on the wall and began scratching a D. Then an A and a S. He wrote the next three letters and spelled his nickname. His eyes looked deep into Edward's and made him feel uncomfortable.
"Didn't you notice the way he makes fun of you?" he continued. "And his crew? They don't care about you. They think you're just an immature brat who's on a wild goose chase. Of course, they don't know how much pain you've been through. How much your automail hurts you, the nightmares, all the guilt that weighs you down… Mustang might feel guilty about the war but he'll never know how you feel. So he'll manipulate you for his own cause while he and his crew laugh behind your back. It's time for you to open your eyes and see the truth, kid."
Ed couldn't respond. He didn't know if it was because Dasher was telling the truth or because the man seemed to know so many things about him. Either way, he didn't utter a single word and stared.
Dasher switched his knife in his other hand and began walking towards Edward. But Ed's mind seemed to be somewhere else. He didn't notice the man coming closer to him, the knife pointed at his heart.
The running footsteps advanced rapidly and a snap could be heard. A scream and Dasher fell on the floor, holding his legs.
Ed turned his head and saw the Colonel standing beside him, eyes squinted angrily. "What's wrong with you, Fullmetal?" he asked removing his gloves, and staring at the man below their feet. "You were supposed to catch him. Not stand around, waiting for him to kill you." Roy put his hands in his pockets and looked into Edward's eyes instead. "Or was it a little too hard for you?"
Edward looked away.
Dasher, who seemed to notice the difference in Ed's behavior, stopped howling in pain for his burnt legs and looked up between wheezes. "Don't forget…what I said, kid… Think about it…"
Roy looked at the man on the floor and the not-responding Edward. Hawkeye and other few of his crew members ran in to arrest Dasher, breaking the tension for a while.
"Hey Al." Ed responded without turning his head.
Roy Mustang raised his eyebrows. "What's wrong, Fullmetal? What did he tell you?"
The words had made a place in his heart but he didn't dare mention it. "It's nothing important." He walked towards Al, avoiding Mustang's eyes. "Let's go, Al."
He began walking after the suit of armor – his brother – but paused for a moment to utter a few words. "I'll give in the report tomorrow at nine."
Ed walked away without waiting for a response while Colonel Roy Mustang stared after him, wondering what could have caused the boy to act so gum.
Ed held the pencil in his left hand, explaining the events of the mission. Sure, Roy Mustang and his crew were also there, but he still had to write a report for some stupid reason. He signed his name on the bottom and clutched his head.
"Brother, are you okay?" Alphonse appeared in the room. He looked at the report in front of Ed's desk and turned back at him, waiting for an answer.
"Yeah, I'm okay. I just have a headache." He mumbled. And it was true. Though that wasn't the only thing that was bothering him. There was a storm inside him, trying to figure out if the words Dasher told him were true. A part of him told him that Roy Mustang and his crew was actually helping him, and that they cared about him. But then he remembered the countless failures and teasing and he cursed.
"Maybe you should sleep, brother."
Ed nodded, putting the report in the envelope and leaving it on the desk for the morning.
Ed entered the bed and closed his eyes. His hand unconsciously gripped his shoulder, the part where his automail met and rubbed.
What would they know about the pain automail gives you?
Or how much it hurts having it done in one year?
He buried his face in the pillow and tried to stay warm, while looking at his brother with the corner of his eye.
They don't know how much it hurts me when I look at Al. What would they know about being in an empty unfeeling shell?
His automail got too cold and uncomfortable and Ed was unable to bring it close to his body, so he held it out instead.
Was Mustang trying to help me? Was he really giving me a chance?
Or did he really take advantage of a crippled kid like me and manipulated me so easily?
Edward didn't sleep that night.
Ed staggered into Colonel Roy Mustang's office at eight o'clock in the morning. Just as he thought, Mustang hadn't appeared yet. Ed should have known, not many people had showed up. Ed had gotten bored of lying on the bed for five hours straight, so he'd taken a shower, fixed himself a breakfast, examined the dark circles under his eyes. He'd quickly run out of things to do and finally stumbled into the Eastern Headquarters.
He stared at the report in his hand, his mind wandering off.
"Well, you're early."
Ed raised his head as Mustang hung his coat and sat on his chair with a cup of coffee in his hand. He eyed the fifteen-year old boy in front of him and raised his eyebrows at the bloodshot eyes.
"I didn't think a little mission could take so much out of your little body."
Ed scowled. "Uh huh." was all he muttered. He stood up and walked up to Roy's desk.
Leaving the report in front of him, he stepped back. "There's my report." He mumbled, shifting uneasily on one foot. Mustang slowly cut the envelope with a letter opener and read through the report thoroughly.
"Your orders were to arrest him. Why did you wait?" Mustang asked, clearly looking at him.
Ed avoided his gaze and stared at the ground, not answering.
Roy gave am exasperated breath and decided to try a different tactic. "I assume you were waiting for him to kill you, huh? It's a good thing I came along, or he would have spilled your blood long by now."
Ed lifted his eyes from the floor, a dark scorn across his face. "Whatever." He mumbled.
"Is it something Dasher told you?" Roy decided to question further. Suddenly Ed's eyes bore deeply into Mustang's, causing goose-bumps to appear on his back.
"That's none of your concern." he said coldly.
Roy finally decided to let go to break the tension. He shuffled his papers around his desk and pulled out a file. "I've got another lead for you." He said, holding out the file.
Ed raised his eyebrows and took the file but made no attempt to open it.
"The rumors come from a town not that far from here called Salzetrax. Numerous people have said that they've heard someone creating and using Philosopher's Stones to kill people. You could leave right away."
Roy examined the boy from head to toe, waiting for him to speak. But Ed just stared at the file in his hand, spacing out.
"You're not going to say anything?" Mustang asked with a tone of mock in his voice. "No 'Thanks Colonel'?"
Ed tucked the file under his arm and made his way towards the door. "I'll thank you if it turns out to be true."
And once again, a heavy weight fell on Mustang's chest, making him feel guilty for reasons even he couldn't explain as he stared after his subordinate.
"What's up, brother?"
"Huh?" Ed turned around after entering the dorm and seeing his brother at his right.
"You left pretty early, didn't you?"
Ed shook his head. "Yeah, I couldn't really sleep. But never mind that, the Colonel Bastard gave me another lead." He said as he gave the file to Alphonse and went to pack his stuff. He didn't feel like talking to Alphonse about his thoughts. They already had so much suffering in their hands, Ed didn't feel the need to add one more. He'd have to deal with this on his own now. He was the one who signed up for the military and he had to bear with it even though he didn't trust the Colonel.
"Where is it?"
Ed twisted his lip, trying to remember the village's name. "He said it was in a town named Saltrax or something. A murderer seems to be killing his victims using the Stone. We'll see it for ourselves when we get there."
Al nodded. "Yeah, but why the hurry?"
Ed shrugged. He didn't want to tell his little brother that he preferred to be away from the Colonel and his crew for a while. He needed some time to think.
"Come on, let's go buy our tickets." Edward said, dressed up and holding his suitcase in a manner of minutes.
Al put his hands on the door handle but didn't open the door. He turned to his older brother and looked into his eyes. "Brother, is something…bothering you?"
Ed blinked, taken aback at the question. Then after a few seconds he laughed. "Of course not, Al. I just couldn't sleep at night and I have a headache. That's all."
Al opened the door. "Did you have a nightmare?"
"No, why would I?"
Ed bowed his head, feeling guilty for not telling his brother about what was bothering him. Well, at least he'd told the truth about not sleeping at night.
He just hoped Al wouldn't start getting too suspicious.
"Two for Salzetrax please." Ed lifted on his tiptoes and handed money to the man in charge.
"Salzetrax?" The man took the money and waited for a minute, trying to remember. "Oh, well then you should get on that train right now." He pointed at the train waiting at the station. "It makes a stop there."
"Thanks." Ed took the tickets and handed one to Al. The train was nearly deserted. There were only a few people sitting by themselves and none of them were talking. Ed and Al slowly took their places in the back of the train.
As the train took motion, Ed watched the slowly disappearing station from the window.
Well, Mustang… We'll see if you really are trying to help us now.
A/N: Oooh! Ed's starting to doubt Mustang! Yeah, so looking back at the author's note in the beginning, I think you can see where this is going, right? Salzetrax…weird name, eh? I have a trouble coming up with names so I make up random stuff. Hehe~
I shall update soon! I hope you liked my writing, I have improved greatly!
PLEASE REVIEW AND THANKS FOR READING!