Edit: Special thanks go out to Consulting Crazy and Gwen Fin Alae for correcting the German used in this chapter.
Blanket Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist or Harry Potter, or any of the works related to or written by their respective authors. I do not own any other franchises or products that may be mentioned throughout either.
A/N: I'm well aware this is overdone. There, I said it. The originality will come, just wait and see. Enjoy the reading, and please review. Don't make me ask, 'cause it's just not nice not to. I've put well over a month's work into Arc One alone. At least tell me what I've done wrong.
Warning: One flashback. Some alternate languages.
FMA: Takes influence from manga, 2003 anime, Brotherhood and Bluebird's Illusions / Illusions of a Bluebird (for whichever title you're more familiar with.) Can be considered AU.
HP: Pre-Book One, Sorcerer's Stone. (Yes, the American version.)
Beginning Of Arc One: Hope
Hope – noun, verb (with object, without object), idiom; (noun) 1, the feeling that what is wanted or events will turn out for the best; a particular instance of this feeling; grounds in feeling in this instance; 2, a person on which tings are centered; 3, something that is hoped for; (verb with object) 1, to look forward to with desire and/or confidence; 2, to place trust in or rely on; (verb without object) 1, to feel that something desired may happen; 2, (Archaic) to place trust in or rely on; (idiom) 1, 'to hope against hope', to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it; 2, 'not a hope', 'some hope', used ironically to express little confidence in expectations to be fulfilled; 3, 'last hope', the last chance to accomplish a goal
"When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope."
–Pittacus Lore, "I Am Number Four"
"Und wenn die Elemente sich verbinden, setzten sie Energei in Form von Wärme Wärme frei. Habt ihr Fragen?" And whentheelementsbond, they releaseenergyasheat. Do you have questions?
The persistent ringing of a bell sounded throughout the room, dismissing the students. The teacher shrugged, unconcerned with their leaving and instead busied himself with wiping off the whiteboard. In just moments, the room was quiet save for the swath of the eraser. It was set down in moments, its job done. The teacher sighed and sat down in his chair, taking a moment to reminisce about the old days. Back to the time before he had been condemned, but he had accepted this fate then. What did one do with all the time in the world, when they quite literally had all the time in the world?
With that question running circles in his mind, the teacher unconsciously pressed one hand to his chest, where he knew it was. The thing that was keeping him alive, but he couldn't remove. He'd given up on it a long time ago; the multiple attempts to finally rid himself of it had ended in failure truly proved he was immortal, as did the sporadic attempts of unaware outsiders. Those sessions had been quite bloody, and scared the others quite badly when the person they believed had killed stood back up as though nothing had happened. If he didn't know any better, he would joke about it and say that Death either didn't want him or was too afraid to come get him himself. That would be worth a laugh, if it wasn't the grim truth. He was doomed to live until he finally died on his own, which couldn't come fast enough, and nothing he did would hasten the end, only the actions of others. It was frustrating, but he'd long ago come to accept it.
Eying a stack of test papers warily, he shuffled the sheets together and scrutinized the unfortunate leading paper. He had long ago come to appreciate a certain person's purposeful distancing from required paperwork, but procrastinating didn't get it done or remove it any faster. But even that didn't excuse the mentioned person's tendency to burn said papers, or the students' laziness. The test he had given to the students last week wasn't studied for, if one was entirely judging by the test that was unfortunate enough to have led the stack. Nearly everything was wrong, either written off as inconsequential or with incorrectly chosen or used formulas. The teacher rubbed the bridge of his nose before carefully touching two fingers to one eye, removing the contact there. He blinked at the sudden change in pressure on one side and placed the thin, near-transparent sheet into a container, its twin following shortly after. The lids were clicked shut and a pen was reached for to correct the tests in comfortable silence. Unfortunately, a crack resounded through the room like a gunshot, startling the teacher.
He immediately snapped to attention, grabbing at a desk drawer that he hoped would never have to be opened until he had retired. A gloved hand reached in and pulled out bright metal, glinting cruelly beneath the fluorescent lighting. A thumb drew back the hammer, cocking the gun, its sights swiftly set on the intruder. He didn't like guns, but found out the hard way that one could never be too careful. The cold revolver threateningly flashed as it was moved through the air, never wavering from its doubtless bulls-eye position as the man weaved around the desk, inspecting the perpetrator.
The other man had raised his hands into the air as soon as he saw the weapon, one of which clutched tightly at a thin, wooden stick like a drowning man grasped at a life preserver. He wore a set of robes, passable as a traveling cloak, around his shoulders. It was not so unusual, even for the summer, as the summer temperatures dropped to the high fifties despite the apparent warmth associated with the season. What did set the teacher off was the lack of other warm garments, inappropriate for potentially the potentially chill weather. The hat was also a dead give-away; it was cone-shaped with a wide brim, greatly resembling that of a stereotypical wizard's hat. The notion was only emphasized by the 'wand' in the man's hand. Deciding answers were needed, the teacher began asking questions.
"Warum bist du hier?" Why are you here?
The visitor frowned in abashment and nervously fiddled with the stick in their hand. The teacher came closer, the gun barrel never wavering. He stopped at a half-foot's distance, arm carefully wielding the weapon.
"Ich sagte: warum bist du hier?" I said: why are you here
The intruder then got a good look at the teacher, having come close enough for his sclera to be visible to the other man. But, more importantly, his irises were also in full view, which startled the stranger. Coming to a conclusion, the intruder yelled something in a different language, the meaning of the words tickling the edge of the teacher's mind, just out of his reach of understanding. Without warning, the perpetrator pointed his stick at the teacher and there was a flash of light. The teacher felt his body stiffen without his permission, as though going through high-speed rigor mortis. The gun fell out of his unresponsive fingers as his body fully froze. The man, moving up from assault and battery, grabbed at the teacher's arm and the world became dark. An invisible force tightened its unseen fingers around the teacher, squeezing until he thought he was going to pop! with the pressure. It wouldn't have been a bad guess to venture that they had somehow entered a black hole. Without warning, the restricting blackness reluctantly gave way to blinding light, and whatever had held the teacher in place was lifted. He took a deep breath, thankful for that after the harsh pressure he had been subjected to. People came into his line of sight, speaking softly and soothingly. Confused, the teacher put his arms out and shook his head, caught by surprise by a man dressed holding a syringe.
Then the restricting darkness gave way to light, and the frozen state the teacher had found himself under was gone, but he was quickly snatched up again by the man before being passed off to people that looked like hospital workers. The medication sent the world spinning, and forced the teacher to succumb to his memories until he awoke.
"And if I do this, you will bring Alphonse his body back," he repeated, wanting to be entirely certain. Ed would only do this for his brother, and that he wanted to be absolutely sure of. He didn't want any doubts that the other would turn back on his word.
"I will. If you prefer, I will restore your brother's body first. So long as you keep our agreement, of course." Ed glared at the taller man, his reply slathered with contempt.
"Of course I will, I keep my promises. All of them."
The other man let the comment slide, choosing to instead focus on the ground. Ed followed his gaze and suppressed the urge to speak. An array was lying in wait, one of the most complicated circles he had ever seen. At least two metres in diameter, the array contained symbols Ed couldn't decipher due to their age, their language lost to time. The older alchemist placed his hands down onto the array and red lightning flashed brightly, screaming out at Ed until he had to close his eyes. A sucking sound began, akin to that of water swirling down the drain, but on a much larger scale. Ed opened his eyes a crack and saw his brother's body being reconstructed before his eyes. He had to stop himself from running forward into the array, but as soon as the light died down, he was kneeling over the younger, pulling off his red coat and draping it across his brother's body like a body sheet used in crimes. He pushed out that last thought, checking instead to make sure Al was covered from the shoulders down. He was far too thin, but what was to be expected when one was taken by the Gate five years prior?
"I believe that concludes my part of the deal," the alchemist remarked. "I will ensure that your brother is found, in his current condition, by your military contacts."
Ed slowly stood up, and with one last look at his younger brother, followed the other man out of the room.
Ed twitched once before forcing his eyes open, gasping for breath and coughing the precious oxygen back up as his body rebelled against itself in the receding throes of the nightmare. When his trachea cleared, he took greedy lungfuls of air as best he could with the restricting garment around his torso. Once he deemed himself calm enough, he took a careful look at the fetters he had been given. A formerly white straightjacket had been forced onto him, likely by the hospital staff. It was now stained a light grey with his panic-induced sweat, not that it mattered. He just needed a little give and he would be sailing out of here. The sound of someone speaking broke his concentration, and out of curiosity, he looked over to whoever had spoken.
Pale yellow eyes greeted his own golden ones and Ed found himself flinching away from their gaze, the color dredging up too-fresh memories. A reassuring hand found his shoulder, barely felt through the excessive layers of cloth. He closed his eyes and forced back the apprehension, reminding himself this was not Alphonse. Never one to run away from a challenge, Ed lifted his eyes and looked to the stranger, this time taking in their features.
The other 'patient' was a man, features aged beyond his years. Stress had likely taken its toll on him, progressing the wearing of time to make him appear to be beyond his years, adding lines to his face and lightning his hair to grey long before he had reached his twilight years. His companion, who had been silent so far, was closer to the man's apparent age, her auburn hair graying at the roots. Smaller lines marred her face, the beginnings of age, and her hair was kept up in a strict bun, not a strand out of place. She had an aura that reminded Ed of Teacher.
Deciding then to speak, the older woman said something in her language, the words dancing on the edge of Ed's understanding but not lending any form of aid. The man responded in a lighthearted tone, brisk yet comfortable. Ed almost ground his teeth in frustration as his mind failed to decipher whatever they were speaking. Deciding to break into their conversation, he spoke brusquely and without hesitation.
"Warum bin ich hier?" Why am I here?
"Weil sie glauben du bist was du nicht bist." Because they believe you are what you aren't. With some degree of surprise, Ed perked up at the more-familiar tongue, not having expected another speaker at all. "Weißt du wo du bist?" the strange man asked. Do you know where you are?
"Sie sind in einem magischen Krankenhaus." You are in a Wizarding Hospital.
Ed couldn't stop himself; he made a face at the barest mention of magic. He had come across other magic users some time ago, but they hadn't been very receptive to his presence, at least not in any way that was beneficial to him. He preferred all his body parts where they were, thank you. This time around wasn't much better, with him being knocked out and tied up by the staff.
"Woher kommen sie?" Where are you from?
He toyed with the idea of lying for a moment, before deciding a half-truth was the best answer. There was no doubt no one had heard of Amestris, anyways. And didn't the phrase go 'Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer'? This was a good situation to test that advice.
"München, Deutschland." Munich, Germany. It wasn't the truth, not exactly, but it wasn't a lie either. Ed had been in Germany when he was kidnapped, regardless of where he had been born. "Warum bin ich hier?" he repeated. Why am I here?
The other man seemed unsure, either of his answer or how he should answer. Settling with a conciliatory gesture, he eventually gave an answer.
"Sie glauben, dass Sie ein Werwolf sind. Wegen Ihrer Augen." They believe you are a werewolf. Because of your eyes.
The blond exhaled slowly, rankled but masking it well. Now it made sense; the idiot of a man believed him to be a werewolf, so he brought him here. The other man must have been a werewolf as well, which would explain the similarly colored irises. They weren't a perfect match, of course; the other man's were paler, like that of electrum, than of a purer gold. And Ed's own changes wouldn't have helped either.
He still looked much the same; still... not as freakishly tall as other people, but taller than he had been before. His eyes and hair were still the same; he still braided it or left it in a loose ponytail if he was in a hurry. There were smaller, less noticeable changes. One of which called for the contacts which he had been wearing before being assaulted by the man in his classroom.
Since agreeing to Father's deal, Ed had been dealt with some difficulties in laying low. His eye colour, once uncommon, had become near non-existent and he found it to best to hide their oddity. He was also forced to move around quite a bit, as he didn't change in appearance. Time had stopped working, so to speak. Not exactly what occurred, but it was one way to explain his apparent lack of aging over the many years he had lived.
"Idioten, alle miteinander," Ed muttered in disdain. Idiots, the lot of them. " Ich bin kein Werwolf." I am not a werewolf.
Dismissing the conversation, Ed started to struggle against the straightjacket again. A gloved finger brushed against the ends of frayed fabric and he held his breath, gently probing the tear. It was just large enough that he could force one hand out, which was pressed against his still-bound hand. They came together again and the restricting fabric immediately began to deconstruct, breaking down at the elemental level and entering the air. Ignoring the two others in the room, Ed rolled his shoulders to relieve the cramp that had settled there during the short stint. Rubbing his left wrist, he noted the stiffness in his right joints. Deciding to take care of it later, he pushed himself off the bed and was immediately faced with two primed wands pointed at his chest in a deceptively comical manner.
"Wie hast du das gemacht?" How did you do that? Ed cocked his head in confusion and the man sighed in exasperation. "Was ich meine ist, wie haben Sie zauberstablose Magie angewendet?" What I mean, is: how did you do wandless magic? Ed chuckled to himself and found himself doing the unexpected.
"Es ist selbstverständlich keine Zauberei. Es ist Alchemie." It isn't magic, of course. It is alchemy.
The woman asked something, leaving the blond on the cusp of understanding. Her tone and gestures gave more away than he needed, despite the language barrier. From her crossed arms to the set line of her mouth, she was insistent on whatever point she was making. The man was quite feebly arguing, unable to meet her stony gaze. He moved his arms weakly, voice reflecting his feeble position. Both still sheathed their wands... somewhere out of his line of sight and looked to Ed, the man hesitant.
"Mein Freund lehrt an einer magischen Schule. Sie möchte Ihnen dort einen Platz zum unterrichten anbieten."My friend here teaches at a magic school. She wants me to offer you a teaching position there.
Ed crossed his arms stubbornly; he didn't appreciate being taken from a perfectly good life only to be indebted to a new one. Regardless of how long he would have stayed in Munich. He'd had experience with magic before, but it was for a comparatively short amount of time, and it was of a different caliber than what he had been faced with here. Plus the wielder had been much more sympathetic towards him as a being, rather than a tool, as these two were coming across.
"Und warum sollte ich?" And why should I?
The man shrugged in response, unwilling to take the matter further. This was clearly not his idea, and he didn't support it either. Whether it was out of lack of trust for the blond, or for a general unwillingness to listen to others, Ed didn't care. At least he sort of had someone on his side. The man was then absorbed into another quick dispute with the woman by a scathing comment, neither taking more than an eye off their unwilling visitor at any time. Despite his admittance, he was still a patient of the hospital, and the staff would hold them responsible if he attempted escape, more so if he succeeded.
"Sie scheinen nicht die Art von Person zu sein, die an Reichtum interessiert ist." You do not appear to be the kind of person interested in wealth. The man looked at Ed expectantly, who hesitantly nodded. "Sind Sie an Wissen interessiert? Die Schule verfügt über die größte Bibliothek der gesamten Zaubererwelt." Are you interested in knowledge? The school has the largest library in all of the Wizarding World.
From the way the other man's face eased ever so slightly, Ed knew that he knew he had struck gold. Maybe at the mention of a library, his eyes had lit up like they used to at the prospect of knowledge. The mere thought of the library was enough to make his fingers twitch with excitement. Yet, there was also size to consider. It would be unusual, but not impossible, for the library to potentially consist of two books and still be the largest existing library, as sad as the sentence sounded. But this wasn't a chance that could simply be passed up. But first, there was something that needed to be asked.
"Welche Schule würde jemals ein Monster wie mich wollen?" What school would ever want a monster like me?
The man was clearly upset by the question, a hurt look spread across his features that gave Ed a pang of longing to see his brother again. The man, oblivious to the sudden pain the blond felt, relayed it to the woman so she could hear it for herself. She gave a slow shake of her head, murmuring low on her breath.
"Du bist kein Monster. Niemand ist." You're not a monster. Nobody is.
The answer wasn't quite what he wanted to hear, but it was enough. More questions would only spark their curiosity further and that was never good for him. He preferred to keep his secrets hidden; they were too painful to relive any time soon.
"Fein. Informieren Sie Ihren Scgulleiter, dass er einen neuen Lehrer hat." Fine. Tell your Headmaster he has a new teacher. After the man passed the message and the woman nodded curtly, Ed asked, "Wie werde ich unterrichten? Ich spreche Ihre Sprache nicht." How will I teach? I do not speak your language.
"Dann müssen wie sie Ihnen beibringen." Then we have to teach you.
The aging young man, who Ed later learned was named Remus Lupin, patiently taught Ed the tricky nuances of the English language. The student picked it up with seemingly surprising speed, unexpected by the werewolf, but typical to the Amestrian. There was a reason, after all, that he had commonly been accredited as a 'child genius' back in the Amestrian military. The woman, whose name was Minerva McGonagall, and a future colleague, routinely stopped by every day at noon to check on his progress, and was no less astounded than Remus had been.
The days passed fairly quickly and, in less than a week, Ed was released from the hospital as there was clearly nothing wrong with him.
Tell me what you think.
Next chapter: Tergiversate