That aside, she amazed me by writing a short FMA/xxxHolic crossover fic. Somehow, despite the fact that she knows next to nothing about FMA, she managed to get Ed and Al down pat. So, I'm sharing it here.
Rating: Bordering PG, but nothing bad
Summary: General fic, FMA/xxxHolic crossover one-shot. Ed and Al decide to pay a visit to Yuuko, to retrieve what they have lost.
Spoilers: None for FMA, and nothing really for xxxHolic. You don't even have to know that much about the plot. (I don't.)
The shop was quite gloomy, and that was an understatement. The air was stale with smoke, penetrated slightly with a whisper of jasmine, making it almost enjoyable, but not quite. It was dark, save the few rays of light that escaped from the outside to find refuge inside, and also crowded, as they were surrounded by many odd, interesting looking objects that neither he, nor his brother, could identify.
A suitable place for a witch, Edward thought grimly.
Really, he wondered why they were there. It was ridiculous, and he was ridiculous for thinking it was a good idea. Honestly -- a shop that granted wishes? They were better off following dead leads for the stone than standing there, waiting for someone to greet them, when there was a boy near their age that obviously worked there just a few feet away.
He wasn't short, but he wasn't too tall either, with raven hair that stuck out oddly from beneath the scarf he had on his head. He wore glasses, though it was a wonder how he could see through them, as they were covered in dust, and his eyes were a pale, crystal blue. He looked a bit awkward, and occasionally glanced over at them almost worriedly. The brothers chose not to wonder why.
"Excuse me," Ed called to the boy who stopped his dusting and looked at him through dust-covered lenses. "Um... you work here, right?"
The boy nodded. "Someone will be with you shortly," he mumbled, just loud enough for them to hear, seeming to dislike how the words sounded as they fell from his mouth. He quickly returned to his dusting and Ed let out a sigh.
"Brother," murmured Al. "Are... you sure about this?"
"No," he admitted. "But it's worth a try."
Voices sang from the back room and two children rushed out to greet them. Two girls, dressed adorably, stared up at them with bright, empty eyes. They giggled in unison, speaking perfectly in sync with one another.
"Welcome to the shop!" They chorused, like chimes in the wind. "The Mistress will see you!"
So, she'd known they were there all along.
The children led them into the back of the shop, and they were attacked by a sudden on-slaught of smoke that slid it's way out between the screen doors. Ed coughed slightly, stepping further into the room, stopping only when the figure of the witch came before his eyes.
She was stretched out on what looked like a sofa, nonchalantly smoking a long pipe that she held loosely between her slender fingers. Inky black hair covered the sofa, spilling over the sides and onto the floor, as well as over her practically half-dressed form. She looked at them, bottomless chestnut eyes swirled with chocolate, her gaze boring into them and the faintest hint of a smile formed upon her thin, pale lips.
She was not incredibly beautiful, and yet, they couldn't seem to tear their gazes away from her. It was as if she had cast a spell on them, and perhaps she had. She was, after all, a witch.
"Welcome," she greeted, her voice a sultry purr. "I am Yuuko. I will be granting your wish today."
She motioned to a spot on the floor near her, indicating that she wanted them to sit. They stepped forward and did so, kneeling.
"You have a wish." It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes..." Edward paused, choosing his words carefully. Something told him she was not the kind of person you simply talked to any way. "We wish to retrieve what we've lost."
"Your arm and leg, and his body," the sorceress drawled, placing her pipe between her lips once more. The blonde-haired alchemist looked surprised.
"That is what you want, is it not?"
"Yes," he said quickly, pausing before he spoke again. "We... Could you please give us--"
"Sell you. I don't give wishes."
At this, he frowned. "You... sell wishes?"
The witch snorted, amused. "Of course. This is a shop. Shops usually sell things, you know."
The frown deeped. Golden eyes narrowed. "So you want money..."
Yuuko smiled somewhat eerily. "No," she said softly, raising herself up into a sitting position, as gracefully as a cat. "I don't want money." She paused in such a way that he knew to not speak, and her smile widened. "I don't want limbs either -- don't worry, your body parts will all remain in tact."
He breathed a soft, almost inaudible sigh of relief. "Then... what do you want?"
"Do you know why you were punished as you were?"
He looked surprised, then the frown returned and his lowered his eyes to his hands. Oh, he knew. "Of course..."
"You did what you shouldn't have," the witch said simply, as if she hadn't heard him. "But do you know why you shouldn't have?"
He opened his mouth to respond, then stopped. He knew the answer, yet somehow he knew that, to her, it would be incorrect. Yuuko leaned forward and reached out, her fingers lazily stroking his cheek. Her fingers were warm, but they sent a shiver down his spine. The smile on the sorceress' face became softer and she leaned in a bit closer, her face mere inches from his own.
He was frozen. Something in the back of his mind yelled to push her back and leave the shop, yet something else -- something stronger -- forced him to remain still. He imagined Al felt the same, as if brother did not speak or move; he simply watched. He watched as the witch's gaze devoured his brother, swallowing him whole, until there was nothing left. Or some equivalent to that.
Gold eyes met chestnut and Yuuko whispered, her voice as smooth as silk and as light as a butterfly as it fluttered in the wind, her lips dangerously close to his.
"Do you know what made it wrong...?"
He did. He didn't. He might have.
When had he started holding his breath?
"Yuuko-san," called a voice from somewhere in the room and the spell was broken. Yuuko released him and he sucked in a breath, eyes wide, his body relaxing. All eyes turned to fall on the boy that had been cleaning in the front of the shop, his glasses now clean, the scarf that had been on his head gone. He glanced at each of them un-easily before continuing. "Dinner's done."
"Serve it in a bit," the witch said, smiling at him. "But bring me some wine!"
The boy -- Watanuki -- frowned. "Drinking again tonight?" But he left anyway to get the wine.
"Now," Yuuko cooed, leaning back. "Back to what I was saying... you cannot go against fate. Hitsuzen."
Edward frowned. "I thought we were talking about--"
"That was why it was wrong," she continued, completely ignoring him. "Do you understand?"
He didn't. Really, he didn't.
She took his silence as a negative and smiled. "Everyone dies. It is our fate as human beings to die. We are born, we live, and we die. Some of us die sooner than others, and some of us, when we die, leave people who need us behind. Some of us are brought back -- wether it be in another lifetime as someone else, or in the same lifetime... it all depends on your fate. Your mother was not destined to be brought back, and that is why it was wrong."
There was silence and the brothers digested the information slowly. When she was sure she'd given them enough time to do so, she spoke again, softly. "Your mistake cost you dearly, didn't it?"
Unconiously, Ed's left hand fell upon his right arm and out of the corner of his eye, he glanced at Al who's gaze was on the ground. "It did," he said quietly.
She reached out once again, her fingers beneath his chin, raising his gaze. She stared down at him, her smile soothing.
"Your mother is very proud of both of you."
Neither questioned how she knew. They simply believed her. And they were right to do so.
"Will you be paying individually? Or will one of you pay for both of you?"
"I... I'll pay for both of us," said Ed, somewhat weakly. Al looked at him.
"Very well." Yuuko raised a hand, motioning for the two girls from before, who had sat silently in a corner, waiting for their mistress' attention. They hurried forward. "Your hair band."
Ed blinked. "...huh?"
"Your hair band," Yuuko repeated. "That is your payment."
That was it? He blinked again, and removed it from his braid, handing it to the servants before him. The servants smiled at him and stepped back. Silence filled the room and the brothers waited. They weren't exactly sure what they were waiting for; blinding white light? A rush of magic that would turn them back to normal? There were hundreds of ideas that ran through their minds, but none came. Instead, Yuuko resumed the position she'd been in when they entered, idly smoking her pipe.
Ed frowned. "Um... Miss Yuuko?"
"Uh... our wish?"
"What of it?"
"Aren't... aren't you going to grant it?"
"I already did. And you payed for it."
The brothers exhanged looks and then looked back at her. "What are you talking about? Al... Al's still metal and I'm still..."
Yuuko looked at them, that eerie smile returning to her face. "Oh, is that what you thought you were paying for?"
"That's what we wished for!" What the hell was going on?
"But that's not what you payed for. You know what you payed for."
He knew. He didn't know how he knew, but he did. And Al knew too. They were grateful. What for was anybody's guess, but they were greatful. But... what had happened? She...
The damned witch had just taken his hair band!
"You ripped me off!" He exclaimed.
"You want a refund?" Questioned Yuuko, amused. Her servants sang behind her.
"Give that back!" He reached to snatch his property from the servant that held it, but she darted away, followed by the other. He rose to his feet and chased them out of the backroom, yelling as they sang happily.
As they ran out, Al stood, turning his hollow gaze to Yuuko, who stared up at him with a knowing smile. After a moment of silence, he half bowed.
"...thank you," he said quietly. Yuuko smiled.
"You're welcome, Alphonse."
He turned and left the room, catching up with his brother who had practically been shoved out of the shop and was grumbling irritably. Only when they were a good distance from the shop did he realize he'd never told her his whole name.
"Yuuko-san," Watanuki sighed, watching as she downed another glass of wine. "Why didn't you grant their wish? They seemed to really want it."
The witch chuckled to herself, setting down the glass so that he could fill it again. "Some wishes are not meant to be granted," she stated matter-of-factly. "Not by me, anyway. They'll retrieve what they've lost eventually."
"Did you have to take the guy's hair-thing?"
He handed her the once again filled glass, shaking his head. "Yuuko-san, you're a devil."
"No," said Yuuko, taking the glass, examining it's liquid contents with a lazy smile. "No, I'm not. A devil would never show a person the true meaning of their mistakes."