Disclaimer: I no own Fullmetal Alchemist or Harry Potter.
A/N: I think I actually posted a fifth chapter before. I'm pretty sure I posted a fifth chapter before. It was so long ago I can't remember. But anyway, I got an idea to pick this story back up and deleted the chapter because I didn't like it, but then got stuck again. And I'm only now sticking another chapter up. Woot. It'll probably crash and burn again though. The last chapter's also had some stuff cut out and shoved into this chapter because otherwise it jumped around WAY too much.
Geography: So obviously Amestris can't actually be attacking Britain, because that'd just be stupid. Imagine a chessboard, and each square is a country. From left to right you've got Amestris, the Great Desert, and Xing. The square below the Great Desert is the unnamed Land of Witches and Wizards. Does that make sense?
It was raining. Not a true rain, a rain that was the heavens opening up and expressing her sorrow for all to see, but a drizzle, the tears of a sad sky that needed to be strong for those below it yet could not quite hold all of it in.
Roy Mustang knew exactly how the sky felt.
As soon as they had stopped running, retreated until they were chased no more, he demanded to know the location of Edward Elric. A nameless soldier delivered a cup of steaming coffee into his hands, and was given the silent treatment. The soldier edged away, not truly leaving until Mustang had taken a long swig, wincing as he burned his throat. He waited five minutes before doing anything. After five minutes were gone and feeling more like five hours, he went off in search of someone, anyone.
He found Riza, Jean, and Vato in the Infirmary tent. Falman merely had a small head wound, but Havoc had been hit by a particularly nasty… whatever they were. The only name Mustang could possibly attach to the beams of light was spell, but as magic didn't exist, at least in his book, he refused to use that word. At any rate, Havoc's leg was covered in gashes. The medics expected him to make a full recovery, but in the meantime he would be sent back to Central. Mustang was secretly glad. One less friend to worry about for the time being.
The three of them looked up as Mustang approached, looking like hell. "Has anyone seen Ed?" he managed to croak out, before Riza stood up and hugged him, letting him cry into her uniform. They were soft, quiet sobs; just like the sky. When he was done he dried his eyes and pulled the command façade back on. "Where's Breda and Fuery?" he asked, almost hesitantly.
"At the radio," Riza replied, "reporting on the battle."
Mustang nodded, slowly. "Edward's dead," he finally said, slowly, hesitantly. They all watched each other for several more minutes, before Mustang left the tent for the cleansing rain.
Edward Elric knew that it was virtually impossible to turn 'completely, irrevocably, and royally pissed off with flames shooting out of eyes and deathly aura that kills people' into an understatement. He also knew that he was pretty dang close to doing so. The impossible had never really stopped him before. The only thing that was stopping him from blowing everything to high heaven and hightailing it out of there was the military's tendency to manipulate people into liking what they did. Executing the Fullmetal Alchemist for treason would be counterproductive to that. And besides, Mustang would never allow it, and the military needed to keep Mustang happy. He was one of their best commanders and they were in the middle of a war. They needed him.
Ah. The lovely underworld of manipulation, false satisfaction, and the blame game. If Edward were of another nationality he'd laugh. He wasn't just then because the burly guard outside his cell door might think he's just a little bit crazy.
Of course, now all he had to do was wait. Wait for someone to grow brains, berate Travis, then come and free him. Ed hoped it was Mustang. Actually, scratch that. Mustang would find something about it to tease him with. But then again, Mustang could give a dressing-down like no other. Ed changed his mind. He didn't want Mustang to come free him, but he did want Mustang to give Travis the dressing-down. Damn he wished he could see that. But he would have to satisfy himself with his imagination at the moment and later, eyewitnesses.
James's funeral was a small affair as there was no body and they couldn't spare many from the fight. Only Harry's family, Ron's family, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Fleur and one of her daughters, Marie, Professor McGonagall, and George's family could make it. They put the empty casket next to Harry's parents in Godric's Hollow. The reception was a small affair, after which those who had to apparated back to the front lines. As everyone dispersed Professor McGonagall approached Ginny. "Mrs. Potter, as much as this is a hard time for all of us, I need to ask you a favor."
"With the death of Professor Flitwick, I find myself in need of a Charms professor. If nothing else, it will give you a chance to be closer to Albus and Lily."
"I'll think on it Professor."
"Thank you dear," McGonagall said, putting a reassuring hand on the other woman's shoulder.
"You're joking, right?"
First Lieutenant Ian Travis leveled Edward Elric with a smirk that was as cold as ice, not like Colonel Bastard's smirks at all. "Joking? That order doesn't look official enough for you?"
"For one thing it's not signed by Colonel Mustang, both my direct superior and yours."
"However it is signed by several generals, all of whom outrank Roy Mustang."
"But but but. You'll be shot at dawn, end of story." Travis left before Ed could spit out another word.
Ed sank to the bottom of the wall. Well this stank. He could easily get out of here, save for Big Burly Guard standing at the door. He could also take him down, but that would raise a fuss large enough to bring even more soldiers, more than he could take down. And he hardly wanted to advertise his escape. The further to the outskirts of Central he could get before discovered, the better.
Of course, the question of where he would go raised its ugly head. Rockbell Automail would be one of the first places they'd check. He could go join the enemy, but he wasn't actually a traitor he just wanted to protect innocent life. Tensions with most of Amestris's neighbors were bad, so going to any of them would probably be considered treason as well. Except…
Ed did have a personal connection with a prince of Xing. A connection that could definitely be used in his favor. Yes, that was definitely his best option. The trip across the desert would be hell, but he would still be out of here. Of course, first he had to escape.
And that wasn't looking all too hard. The guard was shifting uncomfortably. Just a few more minutes at most. The guard tried a few cross-legged positions that looked natural, then groaned, giving up. He fixed Ed with a glare. "I'll be leaving for a few minutes. You'd better not try to escape."
Ed gave a sickly sweet smile. "Why would I ever want to do that? I love getting shot! Especially at dawn!"
The guard rolled his eyes, catching the sarcasm, but left anyway. Ed stuck his tongue out at the door as soon as it shut, then clapped his hands and created a tunnel out of there. Time to bust this joint.
Faceless military men with stony looks and airs of 'we have to do this even though we don't want to' are never good.
Rightfully enough it was raining, a good loud thunderstorm. They were eating dinner, well Granny Pinako and Winry were eating dinner. Al was sitting in a corner, flipping through books, doing his best to continue research on the Philosopher's Stone while stuck in Resembool. Then, to accompany the rolling thunder after a clap of lightening, a quick, deadly knock sounded from the door. Al set his book on the ground, wondering who it could possibly be in such horrible weather.
The two faceless men delivered the news, the letter, and the condolences with military precision, leaving after they were done. They spoke so quietly that Granny Pinako and Winry didn't hear what they said over the torrential rain. After they left, Winry walked up to Al, wondering why he was just standing there with the door open. Al could find no words with which to answer.
As Winry stood confused behind him, Al wanted desperately to join the weather in its angry sorrow.
It was in the paper the next day, written in a way to win support for the war that was fast becoming unpopular. As hoped, people rallied around the death of the Fullmetal Alchemist, demanding blood for the loss of their hero. Enlistment numbers jumped. Irony at its best.
One day shortly afterward Winry and Pinako woke up to find a note on the table stating that Al had gone after the Philosopher's Stone again.
"Surprising to see you here, friend. Shouldn't you be off fighting a war?"
"I've been betrayed. Someone wants me dead and had me charged for treason."
"Really? I never would have guessed. You escaped obviously, but what brings you to Xing?"
"I would like to strike a deal with you."
"Through research I have determined an inherent difference between Amestrian alchemy and Xingese alchemy, a difference that may help me to attain my goal. However, back home I am now a traitor and here I am an illegal immigrant, which makes things difficult.
"Currently the war is at a sort of stalemate, though the enemy is advancing slowly. If left to their own devices Amestris would eventually lose, though at great cost to both sides. Something someone might benefit from."
"You claim you are not a traitor, yet this is taking a decidedly traitorous turn."
"With Amestris in ruins, Drachma, Creata, and Areugo may see an opportunity to take back their old territory, as well as the rest of Amestris. And then suddenly, they find themselves with more land than they ever had before. They may become greedy for more. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. They could fight amongst themselves for all eternity, or they could sweep down below the Great Desert into the land of Amestris's current enemy. And suddenly your Great Desert isn't such a good defense anymore."
"Are you suggesting something?"
"Xing attacks Amestris's enemy, except from the other side of the map. With my inside knowledge, I can accurately guess what Amestris's generals will do, and so Xing's armies could easily compliment them. Once Amestris and Xing win the war, the enemy's territory is divided up at least partially, and the Great Desert is still a good defense."
"What do you want in return?"
"If the war is won in this fashion, I may be able to prove my innocence. For the meantime at least, I will be able to research Xing's alchemy."
"You forget something. I am still only a prince. I have no control over the battles which Xing fights."
"I am sure your father would be easily persuaded with the argument I just gave you."
He no longer screamed. He would no longer give the scientists the pleasure he knew they derived from it. Instead he grit his teeth, bit the inside of his cheeks until they bled. He felt sick. His insides burned like they were on fire. He had to get out of there, but he couldn't. He was trapped motionless in the circle. The glowing light stopped, but the pain continued on.
"No. We still can't get the pigments to permanently change any color, let alone black."
"Maybe the mistake was in making the chimera in the first place. Maybe we should have stayed with human."
"That is a possibility. We should look into it."
"What should we do with it until then?"
"Just get it out of my sight."
Two of the scientists approached him, grabbed him, and hauled him roughly out of the circle. The rough concrete floor scraped away his skin but he was too weak to stand up and walk. At least his long matted hair protected his head.
The creak of a door which he recognized dimly brought him back to what few senses he had left. He was thrown to the cell floor and lay there, too weak to get up, too weak to even move. He sensed movement; probably the woman in the cell to his left, asking if he was okay. He was too weak to answer her. He was just too weak.
He needed to get out of there before he died.
He knew the general idea. He knew how it was supposed to work. He had never actually done it before though. It also involved standing up, something he definitely couldn't do. But he had to. He had to, before he died.
Summoning the last of his strength, he dragged himself to the back wall and sat, leaning against it. He used the wall to help himself up. He could feel his feet about to collapse underneath him. To do it, he would need to go away from the wall. If he did, he would collapse. If he didn't, he would collapse soon anyway.
He gave the wall an almighty shove, falling to the floor in a twirl. He was gone with a pop before he even hit the ground.
The weather in Resembool belied the underlying tension at Rockbell Automail. They were still grieving, yes, and Al had disappeared ages ago without a single letter, yes, but more poignant was the feeling that something was about to happen. That spark of electricity in the air, and the tension, all going to culminate in one thing… something.
Pinako stepped out the front door. It was getting colder as the year wore on, and they were out of firewood inside. But she stopped dead when she saw the lump in front of her.
It was a boy of about 14, maybe 15. He looked as if he hadn't cleaned up properly in a long time. His black hair was long and matted, and he was covered in dirt and scrapes. His clothes were rags, and a second glance revealed he had no legs. Pinako turned back and called for Winry before she knelt at the boy's side. His eyelids flickered, revealing panicked brown eyes. His mouth moved, trying to say something.
"It's okay, you're safe," Pinako muttered gently.
"Help," the boy whispered, before finally falling unconscious.