Oh dear. I am sorry for the late update! SO VERY SORRY! I wanted to get this up before hand, but I had a full week and my health was sort of in question. I am better now and my schedule cleaned up so I will be able to write more! YAYYYYY! It was a little difficult to write this chapter, but i tried to make it go as smoothly as possible... well okay... I hope you like it. Remember, if you are wondering about the working status of my chapters or ptoential updates, I have statuses on my profile that explain what when where and why I am either able or not able to post. It is just to say that I am working and will be finished by... Well anyway, I hope you all enjoy!

CHAPTER 20

The Secrets of the Night

Edward sat on the train with Arthur Weasley sitting across from him. Dumbledore simply abracadabraed himself out of the government facility, while the ministry, or Lucius, forced him to ride the train back with Arthur from the trial. He got to keep his job, after the 51:49 vote, however they made amendments to his magical amulet to make sure that he didn't do anything sporadic. Apparition and floo powder were some of them. The ministry didn't want him gallivanting all around the wizarding world. Since they didn't have a port key he was forced to use the train back to school with an over excited and very curious wizard. Arthur Weasley, though turned out to be a very great debator, was not as cued into muggle culture as Edward would have guessed. He kept asking him silly questions about postal service, telephones, and even their transportation systems. However, the thing that really got the man going was his automail. After it being revealed to the ministry, Edward had very little hope that the nation wouldn't hear about it. Arthur picked up his bare metallic arm and investigated it with fascination.

"This is truly fascinating!" Arthur exclaimed. He picked up Edward's foot and basically threw him off of his seat. Edward landed on the floor of the compartment with a thud. "I can't believe that muggles are so technologically advanced! This could revolutionize the wizarding world!" Edward tried to tug his leg back but had very little success. The man still had a strong hold on his foot and screamed in ill joy whenever his toes flexed. He reminded him of someone, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

"Why don't wizards use technology? Wouldn't it make everything easier for you?" Edward asked him and gave one last tug on his leg, freeing it from the iron grasp. The magical man gave out a sad sign in defeat and returned to his proper position in the chair.

"Wizards don't mingle in muggle affairs because we are afraid that everyone won't accept us the way that you do. Did you ever hear of the witch hunts in the medieval periods? That was the last time that the muggles knew about our existence. It ended in a massacre. Since technology is part of muggle culture, we threw it aside and started our own search into advancing in the magical arts."

"But that was over several hundred years ago!" Edward exclaimed at him. "Surely people should have changed their opinions by now! I mean, look at me! I had no clue this stuff exsisted, and I am still a little fuzzy and skeptical on how it all works, but it isn't the craziest stuff out there!"

"Well, I am afraid that you stray from popular belief, Edward," Arthur chuckled a bit. "Most people are scared of the unknown." Edward let out a bellowing laugh that startled Arthur a bit.

"I know how that feels, but that doesn't mean that you can't even acquire a simple telephone system around here!" Edward chuckled. Arthur joined him and they were laughing for a bit and talking back and forth about each other's cultures. Edward let Arthur inspect his arm in order to get a feel for how they worked. The sky slowly darkened as they approached the school. After a little bit Edward decided to pull out his notes and study a bit.

"What are you planning on doing after the school year is over? It is only a month till the finals, are you planning to go back to your parents?" Arthur asked quietly. Edward didn't look up at him from his book. The man was kind, but stupid. Did he honestly believe that if Edward had parents that he would be working a job? Arthur missed out on the part of the trial where the toad was interrogating him on his life, so he couldn't have known.

"I don't have any parents," Edward mumbled and scribbled down a random sentence in his notes. "I probably will be going back home to my brother and then do some travelling for his health." There was an awkward silence as Arthur mulled over his pitiful statement.

"I am sorry, I didn't know," Arthur said softly. "Is your brother ill?"

"I guess you could say that," Edward said. "I have been trying to help him, but the Colonel keeps sending me out on missions and trips. I expect the world to blow up by the time I am through with it."

"Well, Edward, if you ever need to get away for a while, our house is always open. You can come by anytime to visit. Just send me a letter and we will pick you up by port key." The train pulled up to the station and gave their compartment a tiny lurch. Edward thanked the man and grabbed his duffel off of the rack. As he headed down the platform, Arthur called out behind him.

"Hey Edward! Take care of yourself out there!" He turned around and gave the man a light hearted smile. After waving him goodbye, Edward made his way on the long hike towards the castle.

Edward didn't know why the train was always so late arriving to the school but the darkness made the borders of the forest look like solid black curtains. Several wolves howled in the distance and he could here different types of animals scurrying about beneath the darkness. He tried to ignore them and continued his walk in. At least it wasn't raining. After a good mile of the hike, the full moonlight shone down from the sky and lit the path for him. It was a smoothed out dirt road and the weeds were tangling around the edges. It was quite beautiful if you took the time to look at it. He didn't really get a good view of it since it was pouring rain the last time he walked down the path.

All of a sudden there was a loud shuffle to his left. Edward turned his head to see a giant black dog staring back at him. Steamy breath panted out of its mouth as yellow devilish eyes were locked on its target. It looked like the one that he saw in the castle a few months ago, but something was different. The dog still didn't pounce on him like all the others and didn't seem to be attacking at all, so Edward decided maybe to just leave it where it was standing. He moved his leg to take a step but a low growl started to come from the animal's throat. He immediately froze and looked down at the thing. The eyes were blaring and its body was tense. Edward relaxed his own body and the dog stopped growling at him. He took a step it growled, he stepped back, it stopped. Edward let out a huff of frustration, he couldn't go anywhere without aggravating the beast. He crouched down on the road and studied the dog. It didn't seem to be diseased, just easily provoked. With a closer look, Edward took in a shallow gasp. The dog was smiling. He staggered a few steps back. After he regained his senses, Edward quickly transformed his arm into a blade. The dog's smile faded and it looked completely pissed off again.

The dog growled and lunged at him. Just as the beast left the ground, another animal sped out of the darkness and tackled the thing to the ground. The two identical black dogs were fighting and gnashing at each other in the darkness of the trail. The one kicked the other off of it and they both separated their fight. Edward couldn't tell which one was which they were both the same, which is until they started to transform.

"ENVY!" Edward yelled at the transforming homunculus. He felt the homunculus turned to him and gave a mocking bow at him. "Get out of here!"

"Well, that's some big talk for a runt like you," Envy cruelly laughed at him. Edward raged and threw himself towards him. He swung at him a few times with his blade, but Envy clumsily dodged out of the way.

"I AM NOT SMALL!" He screamed at him and cornered the beast to a tree. Edward threw a punch, but Envy ducked at the last second and his automail fist collided with the wood. The homunculus backed away a couple of feet and waved his hands to try and calm him down.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hey, I am just here to take you back!" Envy tried to reason, but he already pissed Edward off and reason wasn't going to get through to him. The alchemist charged him again.

"I am not going back yet! I am not through!" Edward took a round house but Envy ducked underneath it. He spun around to deliver another punch, but the green haired man caught his fist. "I just worked my butt of to stay here!" Edward panted. "I am not leaving just yet!" Just as Edward was about to make for another hit, a bolt of light came out of nowhere and hit Envy's side. The Homunculus was thrown into the side of a tree just off of the trail. Where the other black dog use to lie, stood a man pointing a wand in the creature's direction. His long black hair reached his shoulders and framed his sickly face. Edward was afraid that the man was going to fall over dead at any moment. He wanted to ask the man what he was doing there, but now wasn't the time. Envy moaned a bit and looked up from where he laid in a bush.

"What was that?" the homunculus laughed. "That really packs a punch! Need to get some more of that down in Amestris!" Envy chuckled a bit and slowly staggered to where they were standing in the road. He wiped a little blood off of his face and smiled at the stranger. Instead of attacking though, Envy just stood there like he was having an afternoon chat.

"However Mr. Wizard, my fight isn't with you, it is with the alchemist." He turned towards Edward and looked him over twice. Ed knew that Envy couldn't kill him until the time was right, but that didn't mean that he still couldn't beat him up and drag his ass back to Amestris. Edward carefully positioned himself in a sturdy stance and lifted his blade up close to himself to prepare for any attack, but the homunculus smiled. "You really don't get it do you? The reason why you had that trial was because I sent the information and photographs to those stupid magical humans. We need you back now. Father is getting ready."

"As I said before, I am not going," Edward scolded.

"Well, that isn't your choice to make," Envy said. He lashed out and threw a punch at Edward's stomach. He was too slow and caught the impact. As he tried to grasp some air, Edward threw his blade and caught Envy in the stomach. They both staggered back away from each other trying to overcome their wounds. Edward sucked in a huge breath as Envy's regenerative powers kicked in and his stomach started to close back up. The homunculus was up and ready before the alchemist was and tried to give Edward another taste of his fist, but another blast of light came out from the wizard's wand and Envy was sent back towards the ground. The creature struggled around a bit as if an invisible force was binding him together, but it proved no use.

"Come on! Let me go you stupid freak!" Envy raged at the pale white wizard. The man walked over to Edward and picked him up off of the ground. He shot a glare at the homunculus.

"You look like the freak around here," he retorted. Envy screamed and shifted his mass to get out of the invisible force. After turning into a snake, he was able to writhe out of his bonds and make a snap towards the humans. Edward shot his hand out and grabbed the snake's body just before its venomous mouth was going to hit the man. The tail whipped around and found a place to rest about his neck. The tail of the snake squeezed tighter around his trachea as Edward tried to pry it off of himself with his left hand, keeping Envy's lashing head at bay with his right.

"I guess I will just have to drag you back to Amestris myself, and maybe kill this little wizard friend you have here!" Envy chided trying to strangle Edward into submission. Edward fell to his knees due to the lack of oxygen, but kept a strong hold of the snake's head. The man tried to pry it off of his as well, but Envy's grip was unfaltering. Seeing little use in the struggle, the wizard grabbed his wand again and pointed it at the snake.

"Conjunctivitus!" he bellowed and a stream of light shot out of his wand and into the snake's eyes. Envy writhed in pain as his eyes watered and turned red from irritation. The constriction around Edward's through loosened just enough for him to get a good grip and free himself from it. He threw Envy to the ground, who turned back into his human form. The homunculus rubbed his burning eyes and glared up the wizard.

"Why you!" Envy shouted out and lunged at them. Edward clapped his hands and threw them on the ground. Large portions of the earth columned out of the ground and wrapped themselves around Envy. They were easily avoidable and the homunculus just shape shifted around them. Just as Envy was about to kick the wizard in the face, a giant spike of earth erupted out and impaled him in the gut. He let out a little gasp as the air was knocked out of him. The man pointed his wand at the struggling homunculus.

"Portus!" he shouted and for a second, Envy glowed bright blue. The light died down however and nothing else happened.

"Are you serious?" Edward exclaimed at the man. "You couldn't have torched him or something?"

"Looks like you ran out of magic tricks old man!" Envy chided and gave a pain filled laugh. However in a few seconds, Envy randomly started to spin around the spoke that he was stuck on as if he was a loose wheel. In an instant, Envy shot up into the air and out of sight into the heavens. Edward stared after the homunculus as if expecting him to return, but he never came back. The stranger walked over to him and placed his hand on his shoulder.

"I turned his clothes into a port key and sent him back home," the man's cold voice said. Edward was about to laugh at that, but caught himself. He finally got a good look at the man and realized that it wasn't just an ordinary wizard, it was the same criminal that supposedly helped murder Harry's parents; Sirius Black. His body froze for a bit as he looked up into the man's tired and dirty face. The man gave him a nice innocent smile, but Edward screamed. This startled Black and he took a few steps back to get away from the loud noise. The young boy ran down the road a few paces to get a good few feet away from the man.

"W-What are you doing here?" Edward screamed at him still trying to grasp the concept of what happened. Black uncovered his hurt ears and looked at him rather annoyed. He pocketed his wand as if thinking that Edward wasn't a threat to him. However, the alchemist was still on high alert with his fists raised.

"I am here to meet a friend of mine. I was making my way to the rendezvous point when I saw that thing attack you," Black said simply.

"But….. Wa?" Edward faltered a bit. Black just shrugged at him and started to walk off into the woods, probably the way that he was headed before. Edward stared after him for a few seconds and let out a sigh. He started to follow the creepy man. They walked for a little while in silence, stepping over roots and under branches of the low hanging trees. The moon barely broke the tree's branches, but there was just enough light for a sure navigation. Sirius walked sure footedly on the trail while Edward fumbled a bit. The man sure was talkative. After a little while of silence, Edward piped up.

"Why didn't you just let Envy take me?" he asked the dirty man. Sirius seemed to be contemplating an answer as his eyes grew a bit.

"You don't seem too afraid to be walking right next to a convicted criminal," Sirius replied very annoyed. Edward eyed the man for a little bit judgingly. The man didn't have a sense of malice in his voice.

"Tell me why. I don't think that a wanted criminal would take time out of his evening to save someone and risk getting caught. That is, unless you aren't guilty to begin with," Edward stated with a pulling smirk on his face. Black looked down and actually studied him for the first time. A smile of his own crept onto his face.

"You are quite bright for a young man," Sirius chuckled. They walked out through the woods into a clearing. They were standing on the opposite side of the lake, the full moon hitting the glimmering night waters. "I saw how Harry really respects you. I was there when you saved him from his fall at the quidditch game. For that, I deemed it right to return the gift you gave me and save you as well. I don't know what I would have done if Harry would have gotten hurt. It was because of me that he was even in that situation at all."

"What do you-" Edward started, but Sirius turned on him and looked into his eyes. They were cold traps of steal, but they did not hurt.

"You were right. I was framed. I am trying to right everything, but I can't do that if I get caught again. Harry is still my Godson, and he has the right to know this, but I beg you to not tell anyone I am here. Not yet anyways," Sirius said dead cold. Edward knew that this could have all been an elaborate trick, but for some reason he knew that it wasn't. Sirius was dead serious about it. He only saw that determination in one other person; himself. Edward gave a tight nod and looked back across the lake where the castle was standing. He still had a long walk back till he could get into his own room. Just as Sirius was about to part ways, Edward stopped him and grabbed his shoulder.

"Wait, I just have one question," Edward said. Sirius turned his head to look at him one last time. "Were you the dog in the Dark Tower?" The man laughed and nodded his head.

"Yes," he said simply and looked distantly back at the castle. "I would offer to walk you back, but you know." Just as they both started to walk away, Black shifted into a strange dog and galloped towards what seemed to be the whomping willow. Edward was a little distracted by the whole transformation that he didn't see where he was going and walked right into the water. He just couldn't have a normal walk back to the castle could he?

Edward climbed the stairs through the Grand Staircase towards his chambers. He couldn't help to think about his conversation with Black. It was completely out of the blue. Edward did owe him for helping him with Envy back there, but he was afraid that keeping it all a secret would bite him in the butt later down the road. There was definitely someone in the school that was helping him around the grounds. Severus was right about that, but who? He would have to talk to the potions teacher later about his search.

As Edward approached his portrait, he heard a loud commotion going on in his chambers. Falman and Fuery looked down at him with mischievous grins that they barely wore. Roy just rolled his eyes in their direction as they whispered something inaudible to each other. Edward never saw them this giddy unless they were planning on scarring Breda or telling something to Armstrong just to unleash his power on either Roy or him. Edward glared at the two and cautiously opened his chamber door.

"CONGRADULATIONS!" several cries rang out as Edward entered his own room. Several people including teachers and a few students like the Weasleys, Hermione, and Harry, stood in his bedroom with a giant lopsided cake. Edward was shocked to see them in his room, but he wasn't as shocked to see Dumbledore wearing a crazy party hat.

"What are you doing in my room?" he asked them a little annoyed. He loved parties, but after a long court meeting and a battle with Envy, he just wanted a relaxing night to sleep. Hagrid hobbled over to him with a face bleached red. He must have been drinking too much of that fire whisky again. He scooped Edward up in his big arms and gave him a bone crushing hug. Tears started to fall down his face and splash him in the face. He sobbed, Edward guessed, tears of joy or relief. It reminded him too much of Armstrong for comfort.

"I-I am so happy for you!" He sobbed. Edward had to use both his arms and legs to basically kick the man off of him. Hagrid sat down on his bed which gave out a loud whine from the weight. The twins, who were previously sitting on the bed had to move in order to relieve the frame of any excess weight. They galavanted over to him and grabbed him around the shoulder, pinning him a little reluctantly between them. George, who was on his right picked up his arm.

"Why didn't you tell us about the arm?"

"We could have done so much with that!" Fred echoed.

"Think of the possibilities!" they both exclaimed. Edward pulled his arm away from the two physics majors.

"I would have told you if I wanted to!" Edward retorted and escaped out of their reach. He knew that wizard news was fast, but that fast, he couldn't believe it. Edward shot a glare at Ron and Harry. He hoped nothing else was released about him. Even if it was the ministry who let the information slip, there was some things that shouldn't be public knowledge. Edward marched over to the center of the room where Dumbledore was merrily talking to McGonagal and eating a slice of cake. Edward recognized Hagrid's cooking anywhere. The red icing was sloppily piled onto the pastry with terrible spelling on the top. He was grateful, but now just wasn't the time.

"Dumbledore, I need to speak with you," Edward grumbled. Dumbledore smiled down to him and gave him a twinkling wink.

"Why don't you enjoy a piece of cake for a little bit? Today is a happy occasion!" Dumbledore announced.

"What?"

"It is your birthday isn't it? Not to mention the day you didn't lose your job," he asked a bit puzzled. Edward could have face palmed himself. He forgot about his own birthday. He normally doesn't think about it, and with all of the things that happened that day, he kind of wanted to forget about it. He looked around the room and saw everyone smiling at him. He gave out a sigh and looked back at the headmaster.

"Yes it is, but I am sorry, this is going to have to wait," Edward said. He saw a flicker in Albus's smile for a moment. "I need to speak with you, immediately."

….

Edward was pacing in the headmaster's office waiting for the rest of the faculty to gather around. Some of them were asleep so they had to be woken up and dragged into the emergency faculty meeting they were having. Dumbledore grabbed some more cake to share with the rest of the group. He didn't seem too bothered with the whole thing, of course he pulled across as old and senile to Edward. He let the students stay in his room if they wanted to just to keep them preoccupied. It was a shame that he had to call the birthday party quits. The faculty slowly gathered together, even Sybil was called down from her tower to attend.

"Edward, what is this emergency that you called us for?" McGonagal asked him with a yawn. Edward stopped pacing and looked at everyone in the room.

"Hogwarts is in danger," Edward stated flatly. Several teachers started to whisper back and forth to each other. "There are some people, from my homeland that….. didn't want me to leave. They are here to take me back."

"What do you mean? Are you in some kind of trouble?" Sprout shivered.

"No, more like….. a diplomatic error. I ran into one of them this night when I was walking back from the train station."

"Why were you walking back from the train?" Edward gave the teacher a glare.

"Because I can't magic myself anything," Edward graveled. He sighed and returned his attention to the rest of the knowledgeable faculty. "I was able to…. Ward this one off but I am afraid that it might be back, maybe not soon, maybe not even this year, but it is better to be safe than sorry."

"If you come from a muggle country," Snape said monotonously. "Then how much of a threat can these people be?" Edward tried not to take offense to that.

"They aren't people in technical terms," Edward said. That sent the whole room up in a fury of whispers and confusion. Dumbledore had to yell at them to quiet everyone down.

"What exactly are we dealing with Mr. Elric?" the headmaster asked calmly.

"Homunculus. I am a target of the homunculus," Edward said quietly. This sent the crowd up reeling again. Edward guessed that they didn't fully understand the ideas behind the creatures, but it seemed that Dumbledore did as the man shivered uneasily in his chair. Edward tried to quiet down the room and with very little success in his attempts, had the headmaster do it for him again.

"Surely the dementors would be able to help in this case. They weren't much help with the Black incidents but maybe-" Sprout started but was cut off by a wave of Severus's hand.

"Homunculus can't be stopped by dementors, for they don't have a soul to be used. The kiss would have no effect,"he stated. Aurora fainted. Edward, in the midst of her distraction, leaned over to him and whispered.

"It isn't that they don't have a soul….. They actually have about… a thousand or more," he informed him. Snape took a double take at him to make sure that he was serious. He was.

"You have got to be kidding me," he sighed. Poppy finally managed to take care of the astronomy teacher and the crowd was settled down yet again. "Why, might I ask, would you take a teaching position if you were being chased by these things?" he growled.

"I didn't decide to take the position, I was forced to by the Fuhrer and my commander. It wasn't my decision," Edward retorted. Snape graveled at him and Edward pushed him aside in order to talk to the rest of the faculty.

"There isn't much we can do in this case," Edward announced to them, "but if we keep an eye out, we might be able to keep anything further from happening. The homunculus don't know the full potential of magic yet. They seem vulnerable and naive to it and that will be a great advantage. I just needed to warn everybody about the potential danger." Dumbledore scratched his beard and the wizards and witches in the room seemed a little bit eased at the fact that magic was helpful in this case. Edward waited for the headmaster's answer and caught a quick flicker in the man's eye. It was suspicion. He glanced back at Severus, he had it as well.

"Edward, how long do you think we have until they return?" Dumbledore asked.

"All they want is for me to return back to my country, the fact that I am going back in a month might ward them off for a little longer," he reassured them. Some of the distant faculty gave him judging glances. He could tell that Snape wasn't going to be too joyous in the morning. The headmaster nodded and picked up his piece of cake again.

"Very well, we will keep a sharp eye out for them. I will have Lupin and Flitwick set up charms and wards around the school. I will advise to keep this all quiet from the students. As for now, since it is late, we will all leave for our chambers."