After writing Redefinition, I felt an urge to continue. These two characters just work together. I hope you can enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it- and hopefully I whip myself into writing some more chapters. Also, there's a basic plot I have laid out, but I'm open to details, like who Ed meets and when father and son are actually united and if Remus actually gets a chance to apologize to Harry face to face. For those who have not read Redefinition, this is the Manga/Brohood Hohenheim. He's so much cooler than 2003, hit on all the young ladies Papa Hoho.
Chapter One: Fate's Vectors
It was night, like always, and the wretched, crimped streets stood in sliver light. From above, London could appear a mound of dreary luminescence rising from the black water around the British isles. Below, at ground level, everything was damp and dank and dull and any other adjective that sounded like the word 'grey'. Light reached the pavement at intervals like some regimented archipelago and the round spots stood in sharp yellow circles sparse in the night. Travelers spanned great lengths to each brighter area, as if they felt something would snatch them in the dark. There were very few people on the sidewalk.
A sign hung dimly above the street, half illuminated in red and blue. 'Underground' it read and the man below couldn't have found a more apt name for it. The stairwell along side did indeed go underground, but this suitability was less literal, it was a brand of cruel irony that dictated "Yes, a man can certainly go lower" and then guided him with that fading beacon of a sign.
The steps descended a conglomerate of concrete, metal, plastic and fluorescence. Each plane glimmered with sick grey light like the helter-skelter facets of some polished and distorted gem. A grey gem.
His feet were a harsh slap on each surface, the sibilance of water pressed between two forces. Further in, the light was buzzing and harshly white. The fixtures leveled out as the stairs ended and each was a dingy, illuminated rectangle extending deeper underground. Underfoot, tiles of an unidentifiable color reflected patches of oily highlights that stretched in streaks to either end of the hall. His stride was another smack on the floor, the residual wet amplifying in echoes off the curved walls. At the far end, a pair of dormant turnstiles tilted at an angle in anticipation of a corner. No one else approached. He was the only one looking to catch a train.
A couple pounds and a broken escalator later, he was standing on the platform straining to hear the metallic click of cars on tracks.
This station was one of the most unmaintained stops on the line. Across from the ledge and the tracks was the far wall. The concave surface was a canvas for vandals. A hoard of twisted font and shaky, sprayed on letters stood as a strange testimony for the anonymity in the massive, hectic world. The man sat on the provided bench in some odd reconstruction of a museum scene. He attempted decoding.
He stopped attempting.
He started his daily self-hate ritual that seemed only more consuming than normal. How fitting. There he was, sitting in a damp, subterranean tunnel, with such acute misery he may as well have melted like a sand castle in the rain. Slowly uttered with some disbelief was whatever higher power he believed in.
As if heeding his call, a wind picked up like some divine response. It was actually the train. Pressed from the tunnel was a startling breeze that whipped up discarded trash and deposited it in the trench alongside the platform. Empty water bottles and old newspapers and crinkled wrappers were flung to the tracks and promptly crushed by a set of metal wheels. He stood the meet the train, drawing his coat further around himself in the breeze. The locomotive burst into the space with a descending hum and finally halted to the high pitched electrical whirr of charged rails. A garbled voice announced something on the speaker, the doors opened with a chime. Sitting on the row of chairs facing the now open entrance, was very a distinct man. It was a surprise for both. Neither moved.
Slowly, they said the other's name with little regard for the waiting train.
There were now two men. One sat in the car, looking somewhat bewildered about who he had just discovered waiting on the platform. The other remained, shocked before the open doors, doing very little to get inside.
"Mind the gap between the train and the platform. Mind the gap." the intercom was a droning bass that did little to rouse either man. It wasn't until the bell rang a second time and the doors began to trundle closed did anyone react.
The blond man on the train leaped up to wedge his arm into the gap and a buzz rang through the cavernous space as the doors bounced back. Quickly the other man, Remus Lupin, slid into the car before turning to Van Hohenheim.
"Fancy meeting you here." He remarked with a fantastic calm that was regretfully not present during his conversation with Harry Potter earlier.
"Hmm. I didn't think wizards rode the Underground."
"I do when I'm trying to avoid things." the wizard who rode the underground took a seat.
They both sat in silence reminiscent of a meeting more than a year ago
"I'm surprised you remembered my name." Said Remus with a twisted little half smile.
"Should I say the same to you?" Van Hohenheim prompted wryly.
"No, you happen to be far too remarkable to forget."
"And what makes you think you don't fall in that category?"
"I-" and the werewolf left his thought unfinished. He glanced at the alchemist next to him only to turn to the black window with a dismissive sigh.
They were sitting side by side on the patterned plush seats and the din of the train whooshing through tunnels rattled the compartment. Bits of the car creaked and the plexiglass windows made a scratchy, squeaking noise against the air outside. He doubted anyone else was in the train, barring the driver.
"It's hard to forget a man with such an ironic name." Hohenheim spoke airily and propped his head back to peer at Remus from the corner of his eye. The significantly younger man only shrugged.
"I fear it may have been a self fulfilling prophesy." he accompanied this with a light laugh because it was hard to feel bitter about things he never really felt bitter about to begin with. His parents, the two who granted him that horribly ironic name, loved enough to keep young Remus a happy, albeit lonely, child. It was hard to curse the world for that. Many in his situation had dealt with far worse. In fact, it seemed Remus Lupin suffered less from his physical affliction than he did from others who found his state sympathetic. To be concise, he felt the most pain from people caring. When people cared, Remus cared back and inevitably something bad would happen to them and the werewolf would be left to pick up the pieces. What Remus didn't realize was that this problem was quite common and stemmed less from being a dark creature and more from being human.
Remus wondered if meeting Van Hohenheim was an indication that his life had too many issues in need of solving. The fact that Van Hohenheim was pondering the same thing was almost unsurprising.
"I may need your help." the spectacled man sighed. He didn't often ask for assistance, but some deep urge in an equally deep part of his mind told Hohenheim that Remus might benefit from helping him.
"Hmm. What is the problem?"
"My son, I need to find my son. I feel he has gotten himself into trouble, as usual."
There was a period of heavy silence
"You have a son?" Came out as a slow, awe-filled whisper "A child?"
Hohenheim drifted his gaze to Remus who looked incredibly pale.
"Yes. Two sons, actually."
"I hope I don't need to explain to you where children come from, Remus." Hohenheim answered with slight humor. Remus shook his head and attempted to gather words. It wasn't the physical 'how' he was looking for, rather a certain psychological state along with a strange set of ethics.
"No, not like that" the werewolf proceeded tentatively, suddenly nervous about what he would discover "I meant how you... allowed yourself to have them- I'm sorry, that must have sounded terribly offensive."
"I should never have allowed myself." he sounded old and his hands were bunching his trousers near the knee.
"I know I shouldn't have, but my sons are my greatest pride. I do not regret having them." a short bitter laugh "Although they may regret having me."
Wistfully they sat on the train, the only noises rattling the compartment and howling through the tunnels.
"I'm going to have a child too." Remus said softly with potent self-loathing.
"With the young lady you told me about?"
"Nymphadora? Yes. I've done her so much wrong."
"I'm sure she doesn't feel that way."
They had gone by two stops, the doors trundling open to empty platforms, a voice echoing through caverns as each station was named.
"Of course she doesn't feel that way. My wife is a very stubborn woman. It is hard to make her see what she does not believe."
"A stubborn woman for a stubborn man." Hohenheim mused with an arched, golden eyebrow. Rather than taking offense, Remus merely gave a short, rueful laugh.
"It seems I'm destined to meet you every time my life is in complete shambles."
"I could say the same."
They both shared an ironic chuckle before feeling incredibly uncomfortable with their unfortunate camaraderie.
"I can help you with your son."
Hohenheim turned to Remus with gratitude in his golden eyes. The werewolf continued as if verbally cementing a notion in his own mind "I have a feeling fate likes throwing us together." he grinned, a certain, wry wit dominating his gaze. "We might as well find out why."
Hohenheim nodded and asked suddenly,
"Well then. Do you want to ride to Heathrow?"
Remus peered at their reflections in the dingy glass across from them.
"Do we need to catch a flight?"
"No. I just figured we'd start our search at the end of the line." the alchemist closed his eyes in anticipation of the long ride.
"I hope you're ready to meet Edward." an then as if the thought only just came to him, the immortal added "And I hope you're ready to meet you own child as well."
Brow furrowed and jaw set, Remus Lupin heeded his companion's words and readied himself for the rest of his tumultuous life.
"I hope I'm ready too." and the softness of this conviction was lost in the screech of wheels through the tunnels to the end of the line.
The world was full of rot. It was an inevitable fact of life: for every decent person, there would be a trio of bad, for every good deed, a score remained acts of meanness.
So, it was with this reasoning that the worst of a place managed to find Edward Elric. Deep down, under any shining facade, is the true decay of character. In this country Ed had found himself flung into, one didn't have to dig too far to find that decomposition; in England it only took a gloved hand to scoop away the shallow layer and, Oh! Talk about rot! They didn't even try to disguise it. True to honest democracy was the genuine ease of lies and answers to pointed questions so sincerely full of nothing they could have filled a thousand campaign balloons with air. After sifting through false smiles and needless fluff, Ed pierced the shell of some gaping cavern of deceit. In this grand space, styled with neoclassical columns and Grecian statues, the young alchemist found the very source of rot.
The source defied any logic.
Fervent in his desire to uncover, Edward had grasped the most vile of leads. It had something to do with magic (scientifically unexplained), plenty of bigotry, and two big red 'X's in his book: immortality and riches. The whole plot stunk of money like the rusty taste of blood in one's mouth.
One man stood at the head. He had a ridiculous name and a certain flamboyant flare for mass murder. A question for the universe could be: " What kind of person names their son Voldemort and expects the kid not to be a genocidal maniac?". Ed didn't need to know that this name was actually made up as the humor derived from the earlier notion lightened the situation's gloom somewhat.
Voldemort stood before his minions who were, apparently, very hungry for death. In the dark of the forest clearing, the bone-white of his skin glowed and his eyes glittered with a reptilian greed. Surrounding their leader were rows of masks, almost floating amidst dark cloaks. They appeared to be macabre puppets of a very macabre puppet show, skulls hanging in the air like marionettes. There had to be at least 50 of them. Ed wasn't sure why the nasty doom cult hadn't spotted him yet- not that he wanted to be found- but he was glad not to have experienced their freaky, science defying magic first hand. Certainly, there were moves Ed could pull for escape, but he would rather avoid confrontation all together. The weapon of choice for these fanatical stick shakers had no formula the alchemist could comprehend. A power he knew not was a power he would prefer not to fight.
Below, Spoilsport was regaling his followers, who seemed to be crowding inwards because their leader's voice was too much like a full grown man speaking through a straw to be heard properly. From what Edward could actually catch, they seemed to be preparing for some kind of raid. Most likely a pillage, rape, and plunder sort of raid. It was plenty disgusting to think these people considered themselves as superiors in their society when they were reverting to such medieval, barbarian practices. Still, with riches and immortality it was easy to turn any weak-minded person into a bigoted, idiot-drone. Those were very motivating incentives.
Up on his branch, Ed scoffed fiercely, but remained frozen. Words from members on the outskirts reached his ears
"...Potter? Little bastard's probably off with those Weasley blood traitors..."
"...D'you think the Muggles'll scream if I vanish their mouths?..."
"...Black family reject. She caught me a few years back, that little shape-shifting bitch..."
"...The Dark Lord will surely win. The pitiful Order fell apart as soon as the Old Fool died..."
Most of this was complete gibberish to Ed, who was still researching this dirty spot of decay. In fact, the whole reason he was up in a tree witnessing some Neo-Nazi, magical death cult meeting was for the sake of research. He just hoped the hours spent clinging to the rough bark was worth it. Information was the key to taking the freaky doom gang out.
At his podium, Mu Shu Pork was finalizing his speech of glorious bloodbath and Ed was stuck in his tree thinking hard about how he would save all the people sure to be pillaged. There needed to be some kind of plan, a strategy that the opposing force would take some time to decode. Unfortunately, his brainstorming was cut short when he shifted his gaze back to Voldemort who was reveling in his minions' applause. Slit-like red eyes met Ed's golden pair. Like wind across a field, the masks turned as if a wave crested. Half a hundred faces were upturned, all looking at Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist.
Was all Ed could find in himself to mutter. He would have to think later, not he would just have to run. High-tail it out of the dirty cavern full of rot. Flee as fast as possible to someplace where he could hide- like the city. At least fifty wands were pointed in his direction now.
Steadying himself of the branch, Ed poised his hands. With a resounding clap, everything exploded.
A.N.: things didn't actually explode, though. Just the... Activity became... Explosive? Whatever. Hopefully there will be some more chapters of this. Summer's almost here so expect updates on those hot, sexy months.