1. May 1927
When the two brothers first moved to the US in 1924, they weren't sure what to do first. While they initially chose to chase after the atom bomb that was accidentally dropped in this world, they weren't having much luck. The only bit of info that they could even work off of was that it was last headed for New York, and that was from several months before they even left Germany.
So, they ended up hanging around the Big Apple after a years worth of fruitless searching. After doing weird jobs all across Manhattan during that time, they eventually got enough money to open up their own shop. As immigrants though, it took a while to gain credibility, but after another three years they were finally starting to get a stable customer base.
Naturally, the store sold chemical supplies, per Al's reasoning of 'If we can't do alchemy here, then at least we can use our chemistry knowledge, right?'
They sourced materials from here and there, and mostly attracted the researchers that were running small scale laboratories. Ed often joked that it really wasn't any different from what they would have been doing back in Resembool if they had stayed there, though Al sometimes wondered about that. He didn't remember everything well, but he felt that his brother was still lacking his old enthusiasm about life. He was pretty sure Ed wouldn't have settled down for a long period of time, not at least for another few years if they were back in Amestris.
Too much had happened while Al wasn't there, and sometimes he wondered if Ed was really alright with things the way they are. Their dad had died right in front of Ed's eyes, and then there were the two years that Ed spent in this world. Two years were spent with a rocket scientist, who apparently looked a lot like him. He wasn't sure what to think of that. Because, if he had some sort of doppelganger, then wouldn't his brother have had one too? If he came into this world only after Alfons had died, what happened to Ed's equal?
"Al, are you alright? You kind of just blanked out." Jolted back to reality by his brother's voice, Al looked back down to a set of accounting sheets.
"Yeah. I was just thinking about what a long way we've come over the past few years." Al smiled reassuringly and went back to scrawl a few more figures on the paper. "Anyways, Brother, did you get all of the stuff prepared for that huge order? The customer said they'd send someone to pick it up tonight."
"Yep. Though really, asking for 15 different solvents, and some weird stuff like 25 liters of allicin." Ed snorted. "What kind of guy asks for that kind of stuff, Al?"
"Well, considering all the research that's going on nowadays, perhaps it's just another one of those strange experiments, Brother." With that said, Al continued working on the balance sheet, when suddenly they heard the store's bell ring.
"Ah, that's probably that Barnes guy, I'll go get it." Ed got out of his chair and turned to go into the store in the next room. As Al heard the customary greeting he gave everyone, he set his pen down and went to see if his brother needed any help.
Contrary to seeing a man, as Ed had implied, the customer was a stern-looking young woman dressed in a crisp suit: unusual attire for a woman in this city. She was carefully looking down the order sheet to inspect that everything was there, and he noticed she shot him a quick but discerning gaze when he came into the room. Something about the woman seemed threatening, but Al quickly dismissed it. Surely, they hadn't just involved themselves with something shady like the local gangs? Right?
"This is good. I would also like to add one liter of bromine to this order, if that's alright." She glanced at both of them, and Al replied:
"Sure, we still have some stocked in the back. Just let me prepare it for you." A quick glance at Ed told him that his brother had his suspicions too, but to carry on as normally. The younger blond went into the storage room upstairs, and rummaged through the collection of glass bottles and grabbed a mask. He efficiently filled the bottle and capped it tightly before going back down to the store front. It was unusually quiet, considering how Ed was trying his best to be more of a conversationalist lately. "Here, 5 liters as asked." Al announced, and placed it into the carrying crate with the rest of the supplies.
"Thank you. How much much will this be?"
The older brother glanced at the receipt on the table and scribbled on the additional cost of bromine. "The price is - 97 dollars, with the bromine added on. Considering how much you've ordered from us though, I'm willing to drop it by eight."
"No, it's fine." With that said, she pulled out a wallet from her coat pocket, and counted out the tender. She shuffled it into a neat pile before handing it over. Ed fingered it before storing it in the safe box under the counter and pulled out a stack of papers.
"Oh yeah, could we get your name? We had it under Barnes for the order, but we need the name of the receiver for documentation. Y'know, for regulations and stuff." Ed slid an additional receipt form to the customer, and she glanced at it for a moment before picking up the pen and signing it. Ed glanced at the signature and Al saw that he was about to make a remark when the woman effortlessly picked up the hefty crate and began to head for the door.
"Thank you for your time," she said without pause and briskly exited the store. The doorbell tinkled again as the door shut, and the two brothers glanced at each other.
"She was a weird one, wasn't she? All uptight and such," Ed commented.
"No more unusual than we are," came the reply.
"If you say so. But still, Ennis is a pretty unusual name, and she's got no last name to boot."
A/N: So yeah, something that I just couldn't help but make after seeing that Ed and Al were probably going to chase after the atom bomb that was dropped in our world (anime-verse, of course). Because Baccano is set in NYC (the place the Elrics would head first, coming from Europe) and has alchemy mixed in (because yes, I believe alchemy will work even in this pseudo-reality dimension) it was like these two stories were born to be crossovered. This will probably be the first in an episodic series, which I will probably keep under the same title, just for convenience's sake. And I will be mixing anime and manga/Brotherhood-verse as I see fit. Call it creative license.
And in case anyone is wondering; no, Star Flares is still dead. SnS Final just didn't fire me up enough to get back in the fandom, and the whole thing was more fit as a humor crack fic than anything.