It all comes down to this bright light. The alarmed screams in the distance, the whistle of engines, and the iron railings trembling beneath his feet as if it were the end of the world—all condensed into a flooding white.
How ironic. The whole world has been a stormy gray crushing his shoulders until now, as he stands before a death barreling towards him at 95 miles per hour. Now, he can see some light, an intruding one in which a thousand shafts of fiery white sliced him into a million pieces, leaving his ugly sin bare.
So he is right. There is only light for him in death. And then after that, he expects a insurmountable barrenness. An eternity of not even fire or blood—just the simple Hell of pitch, black, nothingness.
So let it be that he will never see the sun. There is no happiness left for him. He welcomes that tremendous force, waits to be cast into absolute darkness. A darkness in which warmth is a nonexistent stranger, light a forbidden exile. A darkness that is everlasting. A darkness he deserves.
So let it be that he will never see the sun.
The sunshine tint in her blonde hair glows against the grey dawn in the window. She sits absentmindedly on the sill, with an arm casually propped on a knee and eyes staring at the smoke clouds rising ominously in the distance.
It is never silent in this small town hospital; a few miles ahead lies the demilitarized zone separating the country of Amestris and the country of Ishbal, which recently gained its independence from the former after what seemed to be an endless war. Before the old, faceless men in the central city decided that throwing their young men into a mayhem of bullet rains and grenade storms was no longer profitable, the zone used to be a major battlefield for the war none of Amestrian locals really knew was about. All the residents knew was that each year, a mother rushed out into the street, holding a letter and tearing at her hair while shrieking the name of a husband or child. The hospital here knew a bit more—it knew every sickening laceration, gut-wrenching wound that a human body could possibly endure.
Regardless of its official name, all of the townspeople of Resembool never call it the zone "demilitarized". Because the border was heavily armed with bitter Amestrians, nervous Ishbalans, and hundreds of machine guns, the people of Resembool still call it a battlefield.
Today she can hear the faint popping of firearms in the distance. Undoubtedly, there will be more men on stretchers being rushed in today due to failed attempts at avenging loved ones whose war sacrifices resulted in defeat. So in reality, the war has never really ended for this hospital, whose workers have the daily task of picking up pieces of human sorrows and broken hearts.
But this smoke gray dawn, the electrocardiogram beeps incessantly from the double doors at the end of the hall, drowning out the hum of fluorescent lights as it has been since midnight.
Finally, the emergency room sign fades from an urgent red to a neutral white.
She notices this in the corner of her eyes but keeps her head aloofly turned towards the barren scene past the window, unable to stop wondering about death and the man it took from her. In the reflection of the glass, she sees the silhouette of an elderly woman with graying hair tied up in a bun appear at the door. Despite her petite frame, the woman bears the presence of someone who has developed the strength to endure.
Her granddaughter has inherited a similar, stubborn tenacity in her sky-blue eyes. From the glass, she notices the spots of blood on her grandmother's surgery coat yet maintains an indifferent tone as she asks:
"How was it?"
Heaving a sigh of exhaustion and relief, the elderly lady replies: "He made it. It was close, but he made it."
The 22 year old only asked out of common courtesy as an employee. Whether that particular patient lived or died could not have matter less to her. In fact, perhaps she prefers that no one saved him at all.
"He lost his right arm and his left leg."
As the prosthetic engineer, she knows what her grandmother is implying when she says this. Yet she staunchly gives her answer before the request is asked, "No."
"Winry." Her grandmother says sternly. But her tone lacks admonishment, for the even with her old eyes, the woman can see the heartbreak in her granddaughter's eyes.
"Why should I?" The young woman sharply replies, turning her head to her senior. "Why should I help him?"
"You three were friends—
"He tried to kill himself, grandma. If he hated himself so much that he didn't even care to live anymore, then why should I bother with him? Besides, just because he had a heart transplant, doesn't mean he's going to have some miraculous change of heart. It's his fault—
"That's the past, Winry."
The unyielding tone in her grandmother's interruption silences her. There is a bitter aftertaste on her tongue—probably from the words that rolled off. She clamps her jaw before any more of the acrimony storming inside her chest escapes and burns her lips.
"Tomorrow morning, 0600 hours. Room B109." Her grandmother tells her.
Nurses' footsteps become more frequent as day begins in the hospital ward. Already there are sounds of new bullet wounds waiting to be treated. As a dedicated woman who rarely takes breaks, the elderly woman slides off her green surgeon's coat before heading towards the next patient.
Before leaving her granddaughter in her room, the woman softly speaks. "Winry, please try to give him a chance. People change."
A tuft of the young woman's blonde hair flows into the air from an unbelieving snort.
"You know, there's a story among doctors...They say that the spirits of organ donors guide the patients who receive their organ in times of need."
Left with these words, the young woman returns to staring at the window as the sounds of her grandmother's small feet melt into the bustled hurry of multiple footsteps.
What an odd day—instead of only seeing the gray of smoke, she can make out a thin, golden sunlight on the brink of the horizon.
The sky was falling.
Glass shards were slicing through his leg as the ground below trembled and threatened to swallow him whole. The smoke from the crumbling building was stealing his breath. The flames were licking away at his skin and bones, eating him alive.
But there was a piece of sunlit sky—an escape.
He turned to his companion—a blurry face. Giving a reassuring smile, he lifted the body onto his back and headed towards the exit of the inferno.
Almost there. Almost there.
Another earth-shattering impact ripped at his eardrums and threw him to the ground. The burning wooden frame of the ceiling was about to fall. That window of sky was disappearing fast—Hell was about to seal them in.
On instinct, he pushed the body off him, thrusting it into the tiny gap left that guaranteed safety.
Before he can breathe out relief for saving a life, something explodes above him. A white flash overtakes him without warning.
And then he feels nothing.
Nothing at all.
The sound of his yell saves him from absolute nothingness, bouncing off the walls and back into his ears. This loudness, along with a sudden shock that popped in his shoulder (mostly the latter), slams him back into consciousness rather ungraciously.
He jerks and sits up, panting as an icy bead of sweat trickles down his feverish forehead.
No searing cuts on his legs. No burning skin. The pain he felt left a trace only in his rapidly pounding heart.
He wonders if this room is some form of limbo between life and death. That explosion couldn't have been a nightmare—something in the pulsing of his heart tells him the hellish experience was very much real.
Limbo must be a hospital room then. For he recognizes the typical tile flooring and the white sheets of the bed he sits on.
Confusion sweeps over. That feeling of being absolutely vacant like air itself felt so authentic...he was certain that he had died. Yet the sound of electrocardiograms and the sight of IV bags strongly suggest that he is very much alive. And in one piece too—
Actually, he doesn't know that yet.
He peers down the bedside. Two legs underneath the covers, good. Then to the left. An arm good. Then to the right.
Instead of seeing peach-colored skin, his eyes widen at the sight of steel contraptions complexly bolted together, imitating the shape of his biceps, triceps, forearm, hands...all the way to his fingers.
His shaking left fingers feel the coldness of the metal in place of his right arm. Sheer shock chokes him and he realizes that he can't feel anything on his right side. Neither the soft breeze puffing on the curtains, nor the warmth of his own torso, nor pulse of veins guaranteeing human life...nothing. Nothing at all.
He can't feel fabric against his left leg either.
The bed sheets fly off as his left arm—the only arm he can move—rips them aside, only to have a silver prosthetic calf gleam in the light.
"W-w-what the...what the fuck did you do to me?"
Panic provides the strength in his voice as he addresses only other presence in the room: a figure bent over a cart with a long blonde ponytail covering his back—that is, he assumes that the person is a male based off the multitude of daunting mechanic's tools he is adjusting.
He wonders if he has lost his voice as well. For although he spoke, the figure placing a wrench back on the cart shows no sign of having heard anything at all.
"Oi. Oi! You!"
Finally, the blonde hair swings aside as the individual turns around and takes him aback.
Although the baggy pants, plain-white cropped shirt, and combat boots are untasteful, her attire can not hide the feminine hips that her hands were placed on. The soft features of her face framed the fierce glare in her striking blue eyes.
"What?" She demanded.
Now made aware that he is conversing with a female, he attempts to speak more tactfully. Yet he is still unable to cast away the slight hysteria in his voice.
"I said: what the—what did you do?"
"What a great way to thank the person who gave you a good quarter of your mobility back."
If sarcasm could drip and ooze, he has just experienced it firsthand in that girl's voice. It is as if she has something personal against him, as if he has done something terribly wrong to her before. The stranger's no-nonsense tone calmed him in some odd way and he tried to collect his thoughts.
A quarter of himself was gone. He has a metal arm and a metal leg. He is in the hospital. He is...
Who is he?
There are whispers in the air, mouthing different names in his ears. The vowels and consonants clash, leaving him with an incredible headache.
"Oi..." He gritted through the pain.
"Now what?" She looked at him with impatient exasperation.
He forces the feeling of embarrassment down his throat as he asks, "Do you...do you happen to know my name?"
She opens her mouth as if to reply but only silence comes out. Thinking that it might be easier just to pretend that she never heard him, she continues to head towards the door. But even then, she can still see the gold eyes that showed such an uncharacteristic vulnerability—a softness that she once thought only belonged to him...
And because the young man behind her in pain reminds her so much of her loss, she can not help but look slightly over her shoulder. At the same time, she avoids looking directly at him, for fear of seeing the similarities of the man here and the man gone. With confusion constricting her throat, she replies quietly before leaving:
"Your name is Edward Elric."
A/N: Hi FMA fans! This is my first FMA fic and I hope it goes well. I've primarily written Bleach fanfictions but I think it's always nice to broaden my horizons, right?
For those of you Bleach fans who have actually happened upon reading "Somewhere Only We Know", I wrote that as well, and yes, the heart-transplant concept is very much the same. Unfortunately, Somewhere Only We Know is on hiatus. But I have a very good idea of how this fanfic will turn out.
Anyways, please review if you can!