Please read this author's note
Okay. This is an experiment of mine. I had this idea, and it just wanted to be written. I am not going to worry a big deal about this story – I'm making this up as I go, I don't know where it's going or what I'm doing. I don't have a set plot. General ideas, yes. But this isn't going to be nearly as well-written or intricate as the rewrite of In Truth, None of it Was Fiction. I will tell you now. It's not a crack!fic. I'm still taking this story seriously. But chapters are going to be about 2,000 words long and not heavily edited. When I'm done with the rewrite, I may come back and actually make this a large project, depending on how it goes.
I just really wanted to start posting things again, and you've waited long enough for some new material from me.
This is currently rated T, but it could easily go up to M due to the usual zombie apocalypse themes … and I don't know where I'm going with couples or if I do that I don't know how far I'm gonna go … so just a heads up.
This isheavily AU. Most ages are not the same as they are in Fullmetal Alchemist. Ed, Al, and Winry are the correct ages, but Mustang and Hawkeye are 19 and 18. I will try to keep everyone in character, but I don't know how well I'll do.
Please, if you could give me a response for this chapter at least, that would be wonderful. I want to know the general reception so I know whether to continue or not- if it's not liked, I won't be wasting rewrite time to write this one.
As for any story I write here, I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist or anything related thereto it. This shall be the only disclaimer I post.
1. Cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.
2. Reddish; ruddy: a sanguine complexion.
3. Bloody; sanguinary.
4. Blood-red; red.
(from Dictionary . com)
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
"Winry! Behind you!"
It wasn't a second later that the girl in question whipped her hand around, smashing a malformed skull in with what was once a shiny wrench. She grimaced as blood and gunk showered down on her, but she kept her mouth tightly shut to prevent herself from accidentally swallowing any of the foul liquid. Looking up, she saw her childhood friend – who had issued the warning cry – standing at the end of the aisle, still in shock from the panic his friend's encounter had caused.
"Well, don't just stand there!" The girl – Winry – exclaimed, recovering quickly and motioning to her rucksack. "Help me with this!"
He ran towards her and she could hear his footsteps in the heavy combat boots he never took off. He hauled her to her feet, and then they took off running. There were other Chims not far behind them, and depending on how far gone the things were, the things had the potential to catch them easily.
"Where's Al?" Winry asked in between pants, trying to ignore the sounds behind her. It wasn't often that the brothers were separated, and in the world they lived in … one always had to assume the worst.
"He's fine. He got out – he should be by the car. I told him to meet us there."
She didn't continue the conversation. One tried to conserve their energy as much as possible and talking wasted valuable breath. It wasn't long, however, before they burst clear of the doors to the warehouse and into the hot summer sun once more. The light blinded the yellow-haired girl, and it was a second or two before she saw the dark vehicle parked on the side of the road. Another sandy-haired blond sat behind the wheel, watching her and his brother as they dashed toward him.
He revved the engine as soon as she and Ed landed inside the car, and then they were leaving the masses of Chims behind them.
Her name was Winry Rockbell. She was sixteen years old, as of the day before, and this was her life. This had been her life for the past three years.
"What happened?" She screeched quietly, not wanting to draw any more Chims to them. Using the car was already a risk, as the engine made an unmistakable rumble in the dead silence that was Outer East City. It didn't make as much noise as it had when they first found it – she had made sure of that – but it was still noise.
They were drawn to noise.
"Win, I –"
"We were doing so well! Quiet in, quick out, just as Roy told us. We shouldn't have had to fight! It was just a grab-and-go …"
"Winry, I don't know!" Edward exclaimed just as quietly, supporting his elbows with his knees. "I wouldn't have screamed if I could have gotten there in time."
"What?" Alphonse asked from where he sat in the front with what he had managed to grab from the warehouse. "Brother, what are you talking about?"
But he knew what the two were talking about. These days, when people talk in vague terms like she and Ed were doing, it always meant one thing: Chims. It was always Chims.
This is where some background information wouldn't go amiss. Chims was short for 'Chimaeras.' Several years ago, government scientists began doing genetic research in the hopes of combining animal genes with human ones to aid in the prevention of various things people suffered. For example, if someone had lost a limb, they would have the starfish genes that allowed for the regrowth of limbs grafted into their own, and they would regrow the missing limb.
It was fantastic research – coming from a family of doctors, Winry could see how it would benefit the population of Amestris. The problem was that the government pushed it too early. For a while, it worked – at least that's what we were told. They tested it out in the desert towns first – camel genetics were used in an attempt to decrease the impact of the droughts they were having. If people didn't need to drink as much, there was that much more water for everyone.
Six months later, they began to hear rumors of conflict in the desert region of Amestris known as Ishval – where the very first doses of the Chimaera Project were given. It wasn't long before the conflict escalated, and the truth came out.
The Chimaera Project did work … for a while. Winry didn't know exactly what changed, but having had a medical education growing up, she could guess. The body rejected the genetic substance, and grew extremely sick. The high fevers and conflicting data to the brain messed the person up – badly – until it was like they were no longer human. Chims didn't think. They couldn't think. And they were always hungry. Their bodies demanded the fuel, their metabolisms haywire as their bodies attempted to fight off the foreign material … and lost.
Chimaerism was extremely contagious. Any part of a Chim that held the foreign genetics had to be kept out of a healthy person's systems, or else they would become messed up as well. The speed of the 'infection,' so to say, was dependent on the amount of genetic material that ended up in the body. If someone got drop of blood in the mouth, it might take a few months. But if someone ended up with Chim blood in an open wound? They had a few hours, at most.
"Don't worry, Al," Winry said from her place in the back seat, "I took care of it." She still held the rusty, bloodstained wrench in her hand. It wasn't the best weapon, as far as fighting Chims went, but it was her weapon. And, she might add, she had gotten pretty good at using it.
When she had first ended up on the road with her childhood friends Edward and Alphonse Elric, she hadn't been much use. She cried. She shrieked. She cowered. She had been a thirteen-year-old girl. Even now, she hated fighting. She hated the feeling of killing things – people – even if they could no longer technically be called that. But she had stopped crying. She fought back when she needed to. The boys needed her, even if they wouldn't admit it, and therefore she would stay with them. She wouldn't hold them back – they had enough to worry about without having to worry about her as well.
"So what did we get?" Edward asked. "I have to have something to show the bastard when we get back," he grumbled.
"I got some medical supplies," Winry offered, looking through her sack. "A couple bandages, some antiseptic … it's not much, but it will help."
"Lamps," the younger Elric said from behind the wheel. "I also grabbed some oil and matches. There was more …"
"Okay, good. I also managed to grab some stuff, so that should be enough."
They rode the rest of the way through East City in silence, listening only to the soft purr of the car's engine. The sound, while really inconvenient, filled Winry with pride. It was the reason why she wasn't entirely useless in this situation they found themselves living in. Originally an automail mechanic in training, the girl lived and breathed machinery. She had saved all their lives multiple times by hotwiring cars for a quick getaway from Chims when they were out on their own.
The three of them pulled into Eastern Headquarters a couple minutes later. Well, their version of Eastern HQ – an abandoned apartment complex on the outside of the city that had been slated for demolition before the outbreak. The real Eastern HQ was the large, fortified structure smack dab in the center of the city. That was where the military and the families of the soldiers and officers had holed themselves up when things took an extremely sour turn. Most of the Chims in the city were to be found in the perimeter of the government building – they could sense the number of people, and the sound of sporadic gunfire also drew them in.
Roy had chosen the location for his own Headquarters for that reason – with most of the Chims there, there were never too many around the hotel. Still, there was always a twenty-four hour watch stationed in rooms 122 and 125 – the two rooms that overlooked the entrances.
They were greeted by Maria Ross and Denny Brosch as they exited the car. The seventeen-year-olds both carried weapons, keeping their eyes on their surroundings rather than on the return of Winry and the Elrics. After losing a party right at the front doors a couple months before the three of them had arrived, Roy made sure there were always men or women to cover the backs of the people hauling sacks.
"Good afternoon, Maria, Denny!" Winry exclaimed as brightly as she could as they approached the building.
"Good afternoon, Winry," Maria answered for both of them, but didn't take her eyes off their surroundings. "Hello Edward, Alphonse," she said, acknowledging the brothers as well.
No other words were then exchanged until all five of them were safely inside the building. The lack of incident was rare – the sound of the car usually brought at least one or two Chims back to Headquarters. Once the doors were closed, they were locked once more. The doors were always locked in case of an attack.
"So, Ed, what did you guys bring back for us today?" Denny asked eagerly, trying to peer into one of the sacks without much luck.
"Enough that Roy won't tan our hides again," the younger blond teen said as he readjusted his grip on the bag over his shoulder.
"Brother, he isn't that bad," Alphonse tried telling his brother, but his words fell on deaf ears. The younger boy sighed at his brother's stubbornness.
"Did you have any trouble?" Maria asked, taking Winry's sack from her. Again, the 'trouble' was simply implied. Chims. Although the black-haired girl was only a year and a couple months older than the blonde, she had been with Roy's gang for much longer. The younger girl looked up to her as a superior and as a friend.
"Not too much," Winry told her. "I took one out with my wrench, but then we just ran." They'd had worse warehouse runs. Much worse. Seeing Maria's next question, she continued with "No, we didn't lead them back here, obviously. We lost them at the first turn."
Considering Al wasn't even technically old enough to drive at fifteen and a half years, he did it extremely well. Two and a half years of practice hadn't hurt, that was for sure. And with Amestris the way it was now, no one was going to care. No one did care. The more people that could drive, the better.
"You're back," a new voice broke through Edward and Denny's banter. "Sorry to drag you away, but Roy needs you all to report back to the Office."
Winry turned to see Elizabeth Hawkeye standing in the entrance to the hotel's stairwell. There was a clear hierarchy in the ragtag group she found herself a part of, and while Roy Mustang was undeniably the leader, Elizabeth was just as undeniably his second-in-command. Roy made the executive decisions, but the blonde woman in the stairwell was the one who kept Eastern Headquarters running as smoothly as possible on a day-to-day basis.
She heard Edward grumble something unintelligible, and she had the strangest urge to whack him with her wrench for it. She would be lying if she didn't feel the urge often, but she never carried through. For one, her wrench was rusty and covered in Chimaera blood. If she didn't infect him, he'd end up with lockjaw or something equally as terrible.
It pained her to admit it, but he was one of the best fighters their group had.
"Sorry, Riza. We really were on our way," Al said.
"I know you were," the eighteen-year-old told them, "but Roy is getting impatient."
"Great," Edward drawled, drawing the word out longer than it needed to be. "Come on, Al. Let's get this over with."
"Hey!" Winry exclaimed, running a few steps to catch up with the brothers, "I'm coming with you! I was just as much a part of this run as you were!"
The golden-haired boy looked at her for a second. "Okay," he conceded, "let's go."
Sheesh, Winry thought as she followed after the brothers. What is with him? They were in this together… weren't they?
It's probably nothing, she told herself. And it was.
Response for at least this chapter would be fantastic. If it's great, I may end up making the chapters longer, but no promises. This is supposed to be a fun thing that allows me to feel I'm making progress when I'm stuck on the rewrite.
Love always from the not quite dead yet