A/N: Hi, I'm back with my HP-FMA shitposts again. I wrote this a while back, rediscovered in my google drive, and thought, what the heck, I'll just post it.
This time, I took inspiration from one of my previous author's notes, in a similarly nonsensical, allegedly humorous story called The Pottermore Quiz – Which Damned Wand? (what, was that a self-plug? damn it, it's also an old and weird story because I used to be young and weird). I said something along the lines of: "Do you know what would be an amazing crossover? Like those self-inserts, where the OC has watched/read the series, except that the OC is actually Ed or Al who's read Harry Potter before going inverse…"
The idea was so ridiculous/glorious/brilliant that I had to do it.
Warning: it's pretty disjointed and kind of weird, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Into the Unknown
"Ed, have you read the newest Harry Potter book?" Alphonse Elric gushed, hazel eyes emphatic, hands clasped together in front of his chest like a typical fangirl's. "It was so good. I couldn't believe the ending, I thought for sure Snape was going to be a good guy – "
"Yeah, yeah, I read it," Edward Elric, his older brother, said in response, waving his hand absentmindedly. The sixth book of the Harry Potter series had been read in a flash at his brother's insistence. "I didn't think it was anything special."
"Not. Anything. Special?" Al repeated the words, aghast.
"Nothing special," Ed affirmed, still looking out the train window. "It's all kid stuff, anyway. Magic, ghosts, talking portraits? None of it's real."
Al huffed. "Well, just because you're a cynical know-it-all doesn't mean that I don't have a heart."
Ed, finally, turned his gaze away from the window to give his little brother an incredulous look.
"You're not actually upset are you, Al? About a book series?" When Al only petulantly looked away and tucked his feet onto the train seat and into his folded arms, looking abruptly gloomy, Ed exclaimed, "Al!"
"I know it's just a book series," Al muttered. "B-but, it had so much heart."
"You really can't be serious."
"I really felt like I was adventuring alongside Harry, you know. I was worried for him, when first Quirrell turned out the be the bad guy, when he had to fight basilisk in the second book, when in the third book Sirius Black was going to go to Azkaban again, but Harry saved him by using the time-turner and rescuing Buckbeak from being executed, and…"
Ed pinched the bridge of his nose. "Al –" he started.
"And then Snape killed Dumbledore!" Al's bright eyes popped out from behind his folded arms, blazing gloriously with a reader's anguish. "And the Death Eaters invaded Hogwarts! I just want to know what happens next, but I don't know how long it will take for the next book to be released…" His head plopped back into his arms to rest forlornly on his knees.
Ed rolled his eyes. "There, there, Al," he said, though his consolation wasn't too sincere. "I'm sure it'll come out soon… in about two more years."
"Two more years?" Al gasped. "That's too long."
"Well," Ed said, "you have this entire train ride to fantasize about it. Why don't you – "
There was a rumble, a distant crash, then a screech as the train rapidly decelerated. Everything outside went dark, pitch black, until the windows were only portals reflecting a vast, deep darkness.
Immediately, Ed was on his feet, and Al after him, only seconds later.
"What's happening?" Al asked, looking around.
"Don't know," Ed replied shortly, eyebrows furrowed in concern. Then he shot Al a wicked grin, rousing to proper excitement for the first time in months. "How about we find out?"
Al looked around hesitantly for a moment, but soon enough, a strong conviction returned to his eyes, stance firming. "Right." He clapped a fist into the palm of one hand, then smiled too. "Let's do this. Just like old times, right, brother?"
"Right," Ed grinned, and they dashed out of the apartment.
To their confusion, nobody else was there. It had been a packed train – they'd have thought other people would be wondering what had happened too.
Ed slammed open a compartment door, only to stop short when he discovered it was empty.
"Brother, this one's empty too!" Al called, from behind him.
Ed whirled around, eyes wide. "But – wasn't there a family there? Two kids, nice-looking parents?"
Al opened another compartment door it slid open with a smooth thwoosh. "And this one too." Al looked at him earnestly. "Brother… it's too quiet. I think they're all empty."
"It can't be," Ed protested, running to the end of the train carriage. He hurriedly opened the door, then hopped to the next carriage, Al following closely after him. He slammed open a door. Same result: nothing. And on and on he went until he reached the end, panting for breath.
"They're… really all gone," Ed said, eyes wide. "... What could have happened?"
"Do you think it was alchemy, brother?" Al asked, coming up behind him.
"I don't know. I didn't think alchemy was capable of this. And you know as well as I do, Al, that it doesn't exist in this world."
He stared down, at his gloved hands. His left was still automail, Winry's last parting gift before Ed had decided to close the Gate between worlds and both him and Al had gotten stuck here.
"What are we supposed to do?" he muttered to himself.
Al heard him. "Maybe," he said, leaning down next to him. "We should start looking for a way out of here?"
Ed turned to look at him, for a moment gaze blank. Then he regained his previous vigor, and straightened himself. "Right," he said, lips puckering, even as his eyes gained a determined light. "If anything, this is just a good excuse to put off my presentation for work." He grinned lopsidedly, then clapped his hands. "Right! Let's make a hole in this thing!" He cocked back his leg, ready to try to punch a hole in the wall of the train.
"... Why don't we try the door first, brother," Al said from behind him.
"Oh, right." Ed grinned sheepishly, rolling up his sleeves. "Guess old habits got me a bit excited."
They walked to the carriage exit. Ed and Al shared a look, before the older brother, with only a hint of hesitation, tore the door open in a mighty motion.
For a second, they both blinked, startled at what they saw.
The darkness of the train seemed to have lifted as suddenly as it had come on. Foggy daylight revealed a train station before their eyes. It looked normal, made of brick and cement, if a bit eerie and empty.
"What the – " Ed started.
"Oh no!" a voice said from before them so suddenly, that Ed took a startled step back and up a step, bumping into Al. A figure soon popped into view, rounding the field of view the frame of the door had covered. Had he been just standing there, watching the train come in? "Living!" he exclaimed, eyes comically wide, the effect only exaggerated by his tall red conductor hat. "You shouldn't be here!"
Ed and Al traded looks. It was quite the awkward exchange, because Al was standing one step higher than Ed and Ed had to crane his neck back in order to see his brother properly.
"Shouldn't be here?" Ed parroted, before deciding that they'd better get out of the train after all, and Ed stumblingly went down the steps, Al after him. "What do you mean? What is this place?"
The conductor shook his head gravely.
"This place is only meant for the dead – not for the living. A nexus for those departing for the next life."
He turned sharply, away from them so that his face was hidden, his cap shading the side of his frame.
"Oh dear, oh dear," he said softly. "Whatever shall I do?"
"Can't you send us back?" Al asked, somewhat bewildered. "If you're a conductor, and these are trains… can't one of us take us back to the world of the living?"
The conductor whirled around, looking at him sharply.
There was a terse pause.
A smile bloomed on the man's face.
"Indeed, indeed! How correct you are! There is indeed a way to bring you back to the living world, it is very rarely used, but I am sure it will work in this case… Come now, follow me."
The main again pivoted sharply, looking quite like a marching toy soldier with his bright red coat and exaggerated, snappy movements.
"Is it just me," Ed whispered, jerking a thumb towards the man. "Or is this guy somewhat insane?"
"Brother," Al said scoldingly, but there was some worry in his voice too.
Regardless, the two Elric brothers wordlessly followed the crazy conductor in the train station of the dead. There was just some feeling about him, about this place, that had made them believe him almost without question.
At first, anyway.
"Do you think this is really a place for the dead? Like an afterlife?" Al asked, eventually, when they had been walking for long enough.
"I don't know, Al," Ed said after a moment, uncertainly looking around. "But there is a feeling I'm getting from it, something I can't quite put my finger on. And besides… if the Gate exists, why can't a place like this?"
"I suppose…" Al said, eyebrows furrowed.
The conductor announced that they had arrived.
"Here we are!" he said cheerily, eerily, gesturing at a door in a thick cement wall, between tracks 113 and 114, which he then promptly opened with a key and held open for them. "This route will take you back to the living world, bodies and all."
Ed and Al again traded skeptical looks.
"Are you sure?" Ed asked. "This isn't something we really want to… er, stake our lives on."
The conductor smiled at them, but the cheeriness was now lost.
"Oh, I'm sure," he said.
Then he waited patiently, holding the door open.
Ed and Al traded another look, this time more nervous.
"Well, alright," Ed said, stepping forward, gulping. He shot the conductor what he thought was a fierce look. "But it better be the right place, alright? Bodies, all limbs intact, no weird half-dead stuff..."
The conductor only remained smiling.
Ed scowled, but looked around at all the empty fog around him, the endless number of train tracks, realized there wasn't quite much else he could do. He stepped through the door.
After nothing happened, he squinted, trying to see what was in the room. It was dark – he could barely see – but he thought he could see smooth
Al stepped into the room, the door swung shut, and suddenly, all went black.
"H-huh?" Al exclaimed, a moment later.
The room was rumbling.
"What the – " Ed squeezed his eyes shut, feeling as if he was suddenly being compressed into a very small, tight space –
What was that sound?
Cr - crack.
Suddenly, the pressure alleviated, there were the sounds of shards flying everywhere, the light returned to Ed's eyes so suddenly it was blinding, and a bird sqwauked to their left.
Oh, and the bird was flaming.
Ed took a moment to process that, making sure that it wasn't just the sudden light playing tricks on him.
"Brother, it's like a pheonix!" Al gasped from beside him.
So it wasn't just the light.
Okay, so the world was going crazy. This was fine. Just another day.
He turned around, investigating the room, trying to figure out where they had ended up.
… It looked like a crazy man's office. Toys, nicknacks everywhere – holy crap was that a gyroscope? There were shards of some strange yellow metal strewn about the floor. Then, looking up, on the walls, there were –
"And moving portraits? Brother, it's like we're in Harry Potter!"
Ed felt faint.
"Just like old times…" he said half-heartedly. "Magically transported into a place that we know absolutely nothing about and way in over our heads."
"Come on, brother, let's go this way!"
Al grabbed his wrist, his living one, and almost forcibly pulled Ed to the door in his excitement. When it opened, his little brother gasped.
"Gargoyle! It's just like – "
Without another word, Al dragged him further, onto the waiting steps. Then, he stood stock still, leaving Ed just a moment to wonder why the steps terminated in thin air, when the gargoyle began rotating and it was clear that these were not just steps, but a platform.
Al let out an unholy squeal.
"It's just like – Headmaster Dumbledore's office!"
"No way," Ed said flatly. "No way is this happening."
"We're in the world of Harry Potter," Al sung happily. "Magic is real!"
"That bastard conductor took us to the wrong place," Ed groaned, head in his hands. "If I ever see him again, I'll…"
"C'mon, Ed," Al said, then pulled him forward again. The gargoyle steps had reached the bottom, and the entrance led into the hallway. A grand, vast hallway rife with more moving portraits and strange suits of armor. "This is really Hog – "
His elated expression fell when he heard the screams.
They traded looks.
"We never do get a break, do we," Al said, forlornly.
Ed shook his head.
Then, together, they ran off in the direction of the screams.
Turns out, alchemy worked just fine in this new world. It was a little bit different, somehow, but Ed was able to transmute his arm and do some proper ass-kicking – just like old times.
Al wasn't in his armor anymore, but he proved himself still an able fighter when he launch-kicked Snape right in the mouth when he was just about to kill Dumbledore with a muttered Avada Kedavra. Yup, they had landed themselves right in the middle of the Battle for Hogwarts, end of book 6.
Together, they took down all the Death Eaters methodically and almost ferociously. Never having been exposed to physical combat, they didn't stand a chance in the close-range quarters of the observatory tower.
After they were all tied up, Ed and Al flashed victorious grins.
"Who are you?" the long-bearded old headmaster asked them, utterly bewildered.
Al might have answered his question, but just then, Harry Potter revealed himself, invisibility cloak sliding off of him to reveal a furious, but utterly confused expression.
"Harry Potter," Al said, eyes turning gooey in genuine admiration, hands clasped together again in that strange fangirl expression that made Ed groan. The bewildered black-haired, green-eyed boy stared back up at him. "I am such a fan."
"What?" Harry asked, taken aback, angry expression sliding off of him.
"All your adventures –" Al gushed, "all of your adventures, I've read them all. When you were fighting the basilisk, when you were –"
"Look, those books about me aren't really –" Harry startled, disgruntled.
"Oh, I don't mean those," Al said. "I know people wrote all kinds of books about you in your childhood that weren't real – like the kind Ginny read – but I read the real ones. About how Quirrell betrayed you in book one, about Tom Riddle and the Chamber of Secrets, about Sirius being your godfather, about how you rescued him from being sent to prison, about your trials in the tournament and Cedric's death – I really cried, you know – how you were upset when Dumbledore stopped talking to you in your fifth year, how –"
Looking at the poor boy's expression, Ed decided to take pity on him.
"Al," he said, setting his hand on his little brother's shoulder. "You're creeping him out."
Al craned his neck and looked at his brother with wide, aghast eyes.
"But – !"
"Al," Ed said firmly.
Then he took a deep breath and looked at Harry.
"I think we just landed here from a different universe," he said seriously. "I'm pretty sure I just lost my job, unless I can somehow get back to our universe in the next few days. How about," he flexed his arm and grinned, an evil glint appearing in his eyes. "We help you crush this Voldemort guy?"