[quote]I have written Fullmetal Alchemist ficcage.
Physical Change. One shot, self-indulgent and extensively chemically metaphored answer to Joy's innocent question "Does Ed Wank?"
Indeed. One of the burning scientific questions of our time.
I am not on any FMA lists, so if you are, and want to rec this, please do. There will likely be more such forthcoming. It is not often we revamp an entire section of bishink for a series we only have two completed fics for. Right now. Pardon me, I have to get back to my Edit Pad Lite, as I have a Mr. Mustang on line one.
For the very lazy (like me), the fic is also available behind the cut. But you want to see our new shiny page, don't you?
Can you hear the cat within the box
can you hear electrons moving free
in stasis somewhere in-between
-- love and hatred, the cruxshadows
Late morning sunlight slanted in through the window, picking out motes of dust, turning an open notebook into a white snowdrift and finally settling its gaze on Edward Elric's hair. It sparkled in pale gold eyelashes and did its very best to coax open sleepy eyes and brighten the narrow gray dorm room. It was, as far as the sunbeam was concerned, far too late for young alchemists to be wallowing in bed.
Edward growled something at it that might have been profanity or possibly the chemical components of galena, and yanked his blanket over his head. In the process his auto-mail wrist joint caught on a hole he had accidentally burned in the blanket two nights before while meddling with ammonia, and his right foot became uncovered and instantly cold. Ed tried to get it back under and instead upset the pile of books he had fallen asleep in the night before, and they made a noisy papery avalanche as they cascaded with obnoxious, inevitable slowness onto the floor, spilling his notes.
The sunbeam, content that it had done its job of seeing young things up and at 'em, promptly curled up in a shred of cloud and winked out, leaving Ed alone in the chilly dark dorm room and glowering.
"Damn." He said, and scrubbed at his eyes with his good arm. "Al, is there any coffee?" He waited for an answer, and when none was forthcoming, glanced over at the other bed wedged in against the stone wall. His brother hardly needed a place to sleep, but Ed knew well enough that having a bed was at least some pantomime of normalcy, Alphonse's equivalent of auto-mail make believe. The bed was empty, and neatly made, but Ed's answer was written above it.
The walls of the alchemist's dorm were all smooth concrete, something that Ed had found almost unbearably oppressive until he realized why they had been left plain. The surface took chalk exceedingly well, and long formulas and sample circles could be written, erased, and rewritten endlessly on all walls save the one with the window. It was an almost glorious freedom, all that space without the boundaries of paper.
It was also handy for leaving notes.
Out of coffee, blue ink, and sodium nitrate. Went to the market. - Alphonse
Ed smiled and flopped back down on his disheveled pillows. Al was all too eager to go to the market these days, and Edward suspected it had something to do with the litter of kittens that had recently been born to the fishmonger's cat.
He stretched, momentum lost, and rolled over lazily in his tangled bedding. Al wouldn't be back for hours, and the thought of bounding industriously out of bed only to stand under the cold trickle of water left in the showers at this time of morning was deeply unappealing. He scratched at his braid; hopelessly lumpish from being slept on, and tried to burrow back in the warm spot still lingering somewhere in his mattress.
The silence of the empty dorm settled in around him and Ed realized that in spite of his best efforts, he was no longer sleepy. He would never have said anything to Alphonse, but he missed the days of having a warm body curled asleep next to him. There was nothing nicer than that even breathing and quiet bodyheat to lull him back down into slumber. He reached out to retrieve his escaped pillow and the shrouded morning light flashed dully on his auto-mail. Ed frowned. There was his arm and leg to consider, too. The steel was never quite warm in the morning.
That was almost enough to get him out of bed, to drag on his pants and shirt, load up the books and go back to the library. Almost. Instead he tucked up his left leg and ran the metal palm of his auto-mail down his thigh in an attempt to warm his artificial limbs. There were times, if he could leech enough heat from his own skin, that the steel was almost comfortable, heavy on top of him.
Grudgingly his auto-mail began to shed its chill, and Ed found the comfortable dent he had made the mattress the night before. His finger joints clinked faintly as he absently traced transmutation circles on his belly, half-lidded gold eyes on the ceiling, the nearly-forgotten refrain of a childhood song hummed in and out with his slow breathing. Something flickered low in his belly and he shifted his weight in the sheets, stretching.
It was nothing he ever planned. His mind was too often full, and any other thoughts had to be scribbled in the margins or overlooked altogether. He just knew it happened sometimes when he wasn't expecting it, without prompting, his body slow and greedy in the late light of morning. The metal fingers of his auto-mail closed, no longer chilly, on hot swollen skin.
Ed groaned, curling in on his side, flesh and blood fingers tangling with unyielding steel. He was not yet practiced, knowing only basic instinct and how to solve it, as practical in his head as balancing an equation. Sensation sparkled at the base of his spine and in the arches of his feet, the nerves attached to his auto-mail tingling. It was not unlike the slow unfolding change of a difficult transmutation, one substance surrendering as it became another, molecules greedily clutching electrons. The final change was swift and unexpected, flashing white like magnesium exposed to flame. Sweetness burned bright and hot behind his eyes and between his legs and Edward crumbled, transference complete, powerless in the face of simple chemistry.
He lay, gasping in his now hopelessly knotted bedding, gold hair dark with sweat at the base of his neck, clinging to his skin. His left hand shook slightly as he shoved his bangs out of his face, and let out one last shuddering breath. His hammering heartbeat slowed, steadied, and he laughed at the state of his sheets. The cold shower didn't sound quite so bad, now.
He flopped over and yawned, blinking up and going still as Al's perfectly made, unslept-in bed came into focus. The memory of release was suddenly wormwood bitter in the back of his mouth, the familiar parasite of his guilt twisting in the confines of his stomach. There was no reason for his brother to linger, no pleasure and no pain passed through the barrier of his empty armor. Edward had grown used to overlooking his own corporeality for the sake of his brother's feelings, but it still hit him full force every time he was hungry, or thirsty, or tired, or had to relieve himself in the tiny swaying train-car lavatory. Or more lately when he woke, inexplicably burning, with only his own hands for mercy.
Those kittens that Al was probably visiting right now, could he feel their soft warm fur, or their needle-sharp teeth? Could he breathe in their sweet milky smell or feel the prick of their tiny transparent claws in his skin? Or was he just pretending, holding them and laughing in his quiet empty way, because it made him remember such things from his fading store of a ten-year old's physical memories?
Ed swore, ripping blankets off and ignoring the icy floor on his one bare foot, running cold water in the sink to splash his face. Five minutes had him dressed and chewing toast, leaning over to mark his own impatient message under his brother's.
Meet me at the library.
There was no time for sleeping.