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22 February 2005 @ 05:03 pm
The Medium  

Title: Rhapsody
Rating: Close to PG-13, but I go with UR sometimes... I'unno.
Summary: The good, ole' 'What If' fiction. This times 'What if'? What if Ed was a Medium??

Rhapsody

[by Lain Blackchurch

Fullmetal Alchemist Ó Hiromu Arakawa

 
But don't tell me there's nothing coming,
You don't fool me.
I hear the ghost train rumbling
Along the track to set them free.
And I hear them...

¾ Madness, (Waiting for the) Ghost Train

 

001. Ghost Hands

 

He saw them. He heard them. He felt them reaching out to him in the middle of the night. Sometimes, they would let him alone if he had the loud music of his headphones drowning out their eager cries. If they knew he couldn’t hear them, then they would go away… but that was only a night’s worth of sanity that he saved for himself. And then in the morning, he would sit up and push the headphones about his neck, shaking his head. The spirits would be gone by then, trying to find another person who would reach out to them, yet they would be back that night to try him again.

 

Well, there he lay again in bed, hands at the back of his head, eyes shut, and the loud music echoing into his auricle. He felt damned, somewhat stained with this… this gift as the people who knew him so referred to it. And then he would always have to tell them that it wasn’t always as wonderful, to see beyond what most knew, but then again, how could they understand without feeling it.

 

Opening his eyes, he watched a single hand, beckoning to him. He turned his head away, wanting to dismiss the desperate spirit that continued to ask for his attention.

 

“Can’t you just go away?” he asked bitterly, still listening to the steady beat of the music through the headset. “Can’t you just find someone else to help you?”

 

The ghost watched him for a while, cocking her head, and then merely standing over the medium. “Tell me…” the apparition began, yet the volume of the music muffled the rest of the guest’s sentence. Finally, the medium opened his closed eyes, propping himself up on two hands and glaring fiercely at the stranger.

 

“What the hell do you want?” he grumbled, rubbing the tiredness from his golden eyes, and then ejecting the CD from its device. The apparition smiled elatedly.

 

“I wish to know the name of the medium that will help me…”

 

“Ed…” he muttered. “It’s Ed…”

 

“Ah… Wealthy Guardian in the English language… how pleasant.” The ghost murmured, leaning against Ed’s nightstand. “And I am Chloris. There, see? It’s only difficult if you make it difficult… and by the looks of it… you’re coping over some trouble with handling all that we ask of you.” Chloris walked around to the foot of Edward’s bed before smiling again. “You’re new, and that’s what we’re all looking for. A fresher mind that will be able to handle much more than an older medium… however…”

 

“Wait…”

 

“You’re still a bit wet behind the ears…”

 

“Just leave me alone…”

 

“No, Edward. You can see me, you can hear me, and therefore you must listen to what I have to say.”

 

“Damn it…” Ed muttered, stuffing his head beneath his pillow and sighing. “I never wanted this… this was an honest mistake and whoever made it will be forgiven as soon as they take this thing away from me.” He could feel Chloris’ hand upon his shoulder, which he shrugged off.

 

“Now… tell me who that younger child is in the next room…”

 

“I thought you had business with me?”

 

“I do… I do, but I wish to know who lives here as well with you so that I may come when it is convenient for you.”

 

“My brother…” Edward stated hesitantly. “My younger brother Alphonse, and that’s all you need to know, his name. Keep him out of this, and don’t touch him. Those are my only rules for people like you.”

 

“You mean, ghosts, Edward. Spirits…” Chloris reminded, suddenly stepping to his side and removing a lock of blonde, disheveled hair behind his ear. “In the end, Edward… you’ll get what you want… You will get to see her.” Ed froze.

 

“What?”

 

“Your mother of course… the both of you will get to see her.” Chloris murmured, pulling his hair back into a braid. “And then she’ll get to see how much you have both grown from her last seeing you… but I think that you’re a tad on the short side, Edward…”

 

“Don’t call me short… Do you want me to keep ignoring you?”

 

“You can’t anymore, Edward. I have you now, and you’re stuck with me until you finish my case.” She walked over to where a chair and desk sat quietly in the dark. “I think we ought to start now due to the fact that you’re awake.” Chloris smirked. “I’ll be back…” The spirit dissipated into a thin line of smoke and left Edward standing there in the dark.

 

He removed his shirt, wishing that he had just kept to himself instead of listening to Chloris. The black wife-beater went over his head as he thought vindictively of many ways he could vent out his anger, as he would spend the day following a person that only a handful of people could see. “Brother…?” Ed turned around at the voice, looking at his younger brother, though only by a year. “I heard a voice…”

 

“What voice?” Ed lied gracefully, looking at his brother with a raised brow.

 

“A voice… And actually, I’ve been hearing voices for the past week. Every time I come into your room there are people here… but then… there aren’t any people here.”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He muttered looking out the window. “The only people here are you, me, and that cat you’ve been keeping around the place. And then Winry lives a few blocks away and…” He began to rattle off a list of people they knew, yet was stopped in mid-sentence. “What?”

 

“But I didn’t’ hear their voices, Brother. I heard your voice and some strange woman’s voice…” Al looked at his brother gently. “I’m worried.”

 

“Just go back to bed, Al…” Ed muttered, looking down as he pulled on his boots and stood up, beginning to smooth out his covers and set them straight again. “I’ll be back later…” Al stood in front of Edward’s door defiantly. “Just let me out…”

 

“Where are you going?” Alphonse questioned, cocking his head and watching his brother with pale, limpid blue eyes. “I want to know before you go out there at four o’clock in the morning. You don’t go out there just for the kicks.”

 

“For a walk.” Ed sighed. “I just want some fresh air… nothing else.” Alphonse looked at his brother with another gaze and then stepped aside, laughing softly as his brother walked down the hall. “What’s there to laugh about?” he asked quietly, turning around. “Hm?”

 

“The fact that you’re still so small after all these years.”

 

“Just keep your jokes to yourself and the cat will stay right where it is.” Ed warned, shutting the door of the apartment behind him. He looked down, feeling the cat walk in and out of his legs. “Al…” he muttered, unlocking the door and shoving the cat inside with a gentle nudge of his boot. He then called into the apartment. “Stop leaving the door open. We’ll end up being mugged or Yuki will end up running away…”

 

“Yes, Brother…” Al muttered as Edward shut the door, locking it, and flipping the key over his fingers and into his pocket. He passed his hand over the wall and reached the doors, finally able to feel air filling into his lungs.

 

 

He walked along the streets in complete silence, only wishing that morning would come and he could finish his day. But then again, finishing the day meant brandishing his skills as a medium, which gave weigh to a massive headache afterwards. “Shouldn’t you be somewhere?” came a smooth voice to him. Edward turned around, seeing a tall man standing beside him now.

 

“Not really…”

 

“A kid like you should be home now. You’re parents are probably worried.”

 

“What the hell do you care?” Ed asked, not really knowing whom he was talking to. The man looked at him skeptically and laughed. Edward hated it when people laughed for no apparent reason, at least to him.

 

“I care because I’m with the local police… and there is such a thing as a curfew around here.” He jerked his thumb towards the car that was parked along the side of the street. “I’ll drive you back home and we can act like this never even happened.”

 

“I’m old enough so fuck off…” Ed muttered, wishing the man would stop following him like a shadow. “Who are you anyway?”

 

“I’m on the night patrol here, Roy Mustang.” Roy looked up, the black hair falling from his eyes to reveal royal purple irises. “And you might be?”

 

“Didn’t I tell you to screw off?”

 

“No… you asked me who I was…” the man retorted. “And I answered. Now…”

 

“What?” Ed asked. “I’m not going anywhere with you and that’s final, do you understand?” His hand was grasped tightly and pulled behind his back in a single, liquid motion. Ed struggled slightly, trying to remove himself from the hold that was being used. “Damn it, let go!”

 

“I’m doing my job, and sadly, it’s thankless.” Roy murmured, letting Edward free movement after the restraint. “Just make my life a heck of a lot easier and come with me?”

 

“My brother is going to think that I got in trouble again.”

 

“And you did.” Mustang stated with a smirk. “Just get in the car and I’ll explain a few things to you, kid.” Ed mumbled something about unfairness and such, slipping into the shotgun seat, and watching Mustang enter through the other side. “So…”

 

“So…? That explains a lot…” There was a pause. “You’re not with the police.” Ed muttered suddenly. “I can tell…” The man became slightly less pleased with himself and turned his peripheral vision to Edward, who was sitting there and grinning like a Cheshire cat.

 

“Now… tell me. How did you come up with such a conclusion?” he asked, turning the wheel slightly to the left. “Give me some evidence and I’ll give you some credit.”

 

“For one thing, it’s the way you move. Policemen don’t go strutting here and there like some cocky ass. They keep good cover.” Another silence came from Edward as he awaited Mustang’s response.

 

“Go on.”

 

“It’s how your eyes are staying in one place. The real authorities’ eyes are always looking around for something…”

 

“And how do you know this?”

 

“I’ve known a few… and they’re nothing like you, so let me out of this damned car or I’ll jump.”

 

“And kill yourself?”

 

“Yes.” Ed replied composedly, removing the seatbelt. “I’ll do it right now too.”

 

“No need.” Mustang chortled. “We’re here.”

 

“And where exactly is this mysterious place you call ‘here’?” Mustang did not answer Ed’s question, only exiting his side of the car and opening up the door, leading Edward out. Immediately, they both stood looking each other over with a critical eye.

 

“You’re a medium.” Roy swiftly concluded, causing Edward to look up in slight surprise. “And a new one at that. How long? One…? Two months and your still not used to the fact that dead people are whispering to you?” There was a leer in his eyes, a threatening leer that caused Edward to shudder slightly. He moved backwards, wishing once more that he had just stayed in bed, listening to his music, ignoring the pale hands dancing above his face. Edward then came out with the only thing he knew how to do.

 

“Shit-face, just leave me…” he began, yet was cut off.

 

“Alone? Sorry… I’m afraid that I can’t do that.”

 

“And why is that?” Ed asked, wanting to know more since this man knew so much about him. He tapped his foot impatiently upon the ground before unfolding his arms and staring up at the black-haired man.

 

There was an uncomfortable pause before a cough came from Mustang.

 

“I’m your tutor.” Mustang stated casually, as if talking about  the weather, and placed an arm around Edward’s shoulders. “I’m going to make sure that you do it right.”

 

 

Al could hear his brother slamming the door behind him, and there came a gentle purring sound from Yuki as he removed his boots and entered. “Brother?”

 

“Yes?” Ed asked, sitting down upon the couch, watching the clock’s hands tick away at the seconds at six o’clock. “What is it?” Yuki climbed up into his lap, rubbing herself against his stomach, and finally curling up, whiskers brushing upon his hand.

 

“You were gone an awfully long time…”

 

“I know that.”

 

“I was worried.”

 

“You do too much of that.” Ed muttered. “I’m supposed to be taking care of you, remember?” He reminded, watching Al sit down beside him.

 

“What were you doing?”

 

“Walking,” He replied. “What else would I be doing?”

 

“We need to give you a name, however…” Mustang stated briefly.

 

“Isn’t Ed good enough?”

 

“No… it’s not.” He laughed bitterly. “We’re going to have to give you something so that it'll make it easier to travel back and forth. You know how spirits are... persistant, and once they have the scent of living flesh in their heads, they don't ever want to let it go.”

 

“So are you going to name me?”

 

“I suppose so since no one else is training you.” There was another one of the infamous pauses. “I’d go with…” Ed halted suddenly before being able to make a wry comment. There were voices again, shouting out random adjectives. He cupped his hands over his ears.

 

“Damn it… they’re back again.” He muttered. Mustang looked at the medium for a moment with signs of a smirk upon the corners of his mouth.

 

“And what are they saying, Edward?” Roy questioned, hand upon his shoulder. “What are they telling you.”

 

Ed’s voice was halting, as if he were cold. “H… Hagane… I-I probably slaughtered the pronunciation of that but… it’s what I heard.”

 

“That’s… Fullmetal.” There was silence and then another chuckle. "Hagane...”

 

“And why that?” Ed asked, pulling his jacket tighter about him. “Why are they calling me that?”

 

“It’s going to be the identity that you’ll resume for the rest of your life.”

 

“And it takes you two hours?” Al asked, watching Yuki sigh lightly upon Ed’s lap. A hand immediately went to his forehead. “Are you alright?”

 

“I’m just fine.” Ed muttered, removing Al’s hand from his temples. “And why don’t you go and take some aspirin for those ‘voices’ in your head.”

 

However… Edward knew that medicine was not something that Alphonse needed at the moment. He deposited Yuki onto the couch and walked back into his room, knowing fully well that he could sleep in due to the weekend having arrived about six or seven hours ago. Sitting down upon the bed, he watched the red lights of his clock move from six twenty to six twenty one.

 

They would come again.

 

But he couldn’t hear them through his headphones. The song played continuously as he pressed the repeat button over and over again.

 
“I see the wonder setting in
Over where I am going
And where I’ve been
And by the way when I kneel to pray
It never seems you’re there…”

The hands danced above him in silence. 

“And I’ll admit that I do not try
When it’s easier to sit down and cry
I’m so full of doubt
Want to let it out…”

They beckoned to him softly.

“Let it out all over you
On my circle of error
I go round and round
On my circle of error…”

He rolled over, hoping to bring himself to a wall where spirits did not dwell before his wide eyes.

“I go round and round again
I’m running things into the ground
All the truth I am seeking has not been found
And I am weak
All the words I speak…”

No… it would be another sleepless night.

“Bring no passion anymore
And will I try for happiness
In the midst of all this emptiness
All I want is you
If I only knew…”

Shutting his eyes, he covered himself even more with the blanket, feeling the cold sweat run down his cheek, mixing in with the tears that came from his eyes. “Stop…” he whispered.

How to get up off this floor…”

A/N: Lack of info on mediums is dragging me down. Anything I need to fix? Comment, please. NO 
FLAMES! ARGH! If you must give me critisism, make it constructive critisism. P.S. The song in the end that Edward is listening to is called Circle of Error which is by Sixpence None the Richer.
 
 
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Six Pence None the Richer: Kiss Me
 
 
 
EvilHippo of the Clan MacHippo: 5 [hehehe]evilhippo on February 22nd, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC)
I like! I'm always up for a well-written AU, though. ^_^ Normally fics with block quotes from songs turn me off, but the end of this chapter ties it in well with the start (though it is weird to picture Ed with headphones on, for some reason). I wish I could help you with the info on mediums, but really I know nothing (and I'd probably be more tempted to make it up as I go along). (-:

(Tiny nitpick: “It’s going to be the identity that you’ll resume for the rest of your life.” Assume, maybe? Resume doesn't seem quite right.)
hopeonsun on February 23rd, 2005 06:06 am (UTC)
whee! thank you! I'll fix that... thank god I have it saved... *salutes you and walks off*