FMA Gilded Cage
Warnings, Spoilers possibly, even with my limited knowledge of the movie and show (must ask nieces and son for infor) Al and Ed Whumping ahead. There also may be some Slash implied, as well as het pairings. I’m still toying with RoyAlter/Ed /Envy sightings, but not entirely sure.
Summery, Ed is forced to discover a way to make Alchemy work in the real world. Except Ed has a problem, he's dying of Leukemia and it is up to Al to figure a way to get them both out.
Despite the rationing, Alphonse found three loaves of bread, some cheese, and three apples. It was enough for breakfast and lunch. Hefting his paper bag in his arms, the boy wove his way though the streets. With its old Medieval brick buildings, Munich reminded him of Central City. He loved the churches with their flying buttresses and gray stone spires. The central square was a mixture of roman colonnades and regency manors. The workmanship was amazing, and Alphonse admired stonework.
Without thought, the younger Elric dashed across the Odensplatz towards the financial center and home. The Odensplatz was a large brick courtyard, dedicated to fallen German soldiers.
Paying their respects, people gathered in front of the Feldhernhalle. It was an open building, with a set of stairs leading up into a raised mausoleum. At the top of the stairs, two stone lions looked down from their marble perches, guardians of the soldier tombs that lay beyond. Several uniformed men were standing on scaffoldings between in front of the arched memorial hanging a red flag with a swastika in the center.
Alphonse stopped, looking at the flag. It rustled in the wind, almost covering the entrance to the building. A couple walking by him paused to salute the flag and continued on.
Hugging the grocery bag closer, they boy swallowed. How could they keep a low profile in a city that welcomed their enemies? It seemed unfair. He and Ed were better off traveling with the gypsies. With a sigh, he turned; thankful his face was not yet known to their enemies. Even if he did take Alphonse Heinrich’s place, he looked different. Heinrich wasn’t a young boy and most adults failed to take 13 year old children seriously.
Even if they were really 17, it was the body that counted.
With a heavy sigh, the boy forced back his fears, and turned away. It wasn’t long before he spirited himself away from the memorials and was strolling down the dull, cracked gray pavement of the city sidewalk.
The market place was quiet, though a few people wandered the streets and occasionally paused in front of shops that captured their interest. Very few took notice of him, which satisfied Alphonse. Unlike Edward, he hated being the center of attention and liked to go about his business unnoticed.
“Alphonse?” A familiar voice startled him to a halt.
Only one person beside his brother knew him in Munich. Wrinkling his brow, the younger Elric brother looked around for the source.
Standing in shadows of the ally across from him was Noa . The delicate dark skinned gypsy girl gave him a shy smile. She was dressed in her long flowing skirts with a colorful shawl draped over her ruffled white blouse. Her dark eyes met with his and glinted with a hint of sadness.
She was earlier than he expected and hiding away from the hustle and bustle of Munich’s citizens.
But who could blame her? They hated her kind. “Hello, Noa.” Out of concern for her safety, Alphonse joined her in the ally. “How was your trip?” he asked, recalling how the girl insisted on leaving them for a short while. Though he wasn’t sure why. Edward claimed she had friends and distant relations in Austria.
Noah shifted her gaze to her fingers as she twisted one of her many rings. “It went well.” She said awkwardly. “But I was eager to come back. How is Edward?” Her large eyes peered up and searched the empty boxes and trashcans in the ally.
Alphonse noted fear in her gaze. How could he be so thoughtless? If the authorities saw them, the girl would certainly be arrested. Like many gypsy women, many thought she was a prostitute. With a kind smile, Alphonse extended a hand to her. “How foolish of me, Noa . Lets talk in a place more comfortable than this… Edward is…”
His brother’s name barely left his lips when something seized him from behind. He yelped, as the bag in his arms dropped to the ground and his body was pivoted into a brick building. He struggled instinctively to free his limbs, but his right arm was pinned against the building and his left was behind him. Rough hands yanked the limb until it buzzed with agony.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spied Noa . She stood motionless, arms wrapped about her chest, tears streaming down her face. She had betrayed them, and yet young Alphonse stayed his anger and disappointment aware she was suffering. She was being coerced.
“Noa! Warn my brother!” The boy gasped. He twisted dragging his arm up and feeling the sting of flesh peeling away as it rubbed against the biting bricks.
“We’ll have none of that.” A deep voice whispered in his ear. A hand holding something cold and wet pressed over Alphonse’s mouth and nose and a pungent stench assailed his senses. Dizzying spots of colors swam before his eyes and it was difficult to keep moving.
“Still yourself boy, you don’t want to hurt yourself!” A voice breathed into his ear. “What would your father think if I were so careless?”
Father? Blackness feathered his vision, and he felt the cold biting surface of the brick against his cheek fading. With an effort, Alphonse jerked, in an attempt to move his face from the drugged rag. Yet he was too small to break the iron hold. It only tightened with his struggles.
A moment later he fell into darkness.
“Alchemy? You’re wasting your time, Herr Kaiser .” Edward said flatly. Kaiser wasn’t Roy, but Edward couldn’t help but think of his friend when he looked at him. He certainly knew things the way Roy did, yet his eyes were colder, crueler than the former Colonel. He never did trust Mustang, Kaiser was no different.
How did Kaiser know he was an Alchemist? Edward studied the man, curious. It was possible he was a member of the Thule Society. “Chemistry and Physics give better results.” He folded his arms, gaze capturing Kaiser’s cold dark eyes. Edward had seen eyes like his before. They were prideful, like his alter self. The kind of eyes that belonged to a man who got what he wanted regardless of the costs. “So tell me, how do you know about me? I’m more established for my research with Oberth and rockets, than Alchemy.”
Kaiser chuckled and clasped his hands so Edward could see a very large ring with a red garnet and a royal seal on its face. Kaiser was a German duke. “You see Herr Elric, your father was a brilliant man. And he spoke very highly of your talents when he was assisting the Thule Society.”
“Humm, so you’re a Nazi?” Putting his hands on his hips, Edward lifted a pale brow and studied Kaiser. He didn’t hold himself like Mustang. Mustang was arrogant, but he was military and well disciplined. Kaiser was self-centered, and nobility.
“I hate Nazis, they’re ignorant bastards pretending they are educated.”
“And you are not?” Kaiser looked genuinely surprised. He folded his hands and steepled his fingers, curious. “With your genius and Aryan features, I am surprised. You could go far in the Society, my friend; your understanding of the occult surpasses even the so called experts. You could have incredible power… But, yes, I understand your hostility. Fraulein Eckart’s attempt to grasp the power in Shambola resulted in the death of your father.” Kaiser lifted a hand and gestured to the window. “To answer your question, I travel in such circles boy, yet I also stand out side of them. They are a passing fancy and I am willing to forgive your noble attempt to prevent my fellow countrymen from harnessing your world. I am not involved in what they do. I am independent, so you need not to be concerned about me turning you into my Nazi allies. We have an agreement.”
Edward stared blankly at the man. It boggled his mind. How could Kaiser assume he supported the Thule Society and their dreams of Aryan superiority through occult power? Just because he understood Alchemy and science, did not mean he casually tossed aside respect for others, as the Thules did. Yet none of these things seemed to occur to Kaiser. He thought of power as the sole driving force behind a man’s motives. It spoke volumes about the man to the young Alchemist.
Edward’s time with Hughs taught him to recognize exactly what kind of person Kaiser was. He may have been Roy’s doppelganger, but he was nothing like the man. He was a sociopath.
Carefully, Edward walked into the living room. Hidden under his couch cushions was a Browning pistol. If his hunch was right, he would have to make a run for it, find Al and Noa and escape Germany. He would need the weapon.
“What sort of agreement?” He tried to hide the anger in his voice. He wondered if Kaiser had thugs waiting outside the door and how Kaiser would signal for them.
“They will leave you alone, if you come to work with me. Your father…”
“Was weak, and a fool.” Edward spat. He slipped his hand between the cushions and eased the gun up and into his jacket’s pocket. There was no way he’d show the man fear. Sociopaths thrived on it. “And I am not him, Herr Kaiser.”
“But you have a brother. I understand he is young, a child… Alphonse is it not?” Kaiser walked about the apartment casually, looking at the bare walls. “Do you think it is fair to raise a child on the run? How can you expect to give him the life and education necessary to survive on an alien world?”
They were aware of Al and most of all, they knew his nomadic ways. A cold chill goose pimpled the flesh on his left arm. It could only mean one thing, Kaiser and the Thules had spies watching them.
Edward’s heart thudded against his chest. Fear knotted his gut and became very concerned for his brother. Al was no child, and the 17 year old knew how to fend for himself but he was trapped in a 13 year olds body with no Alchemical powers. “Al and I are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves. If you knew our father, than you’d know we’ve been doing it since we were children.” The young man came to a stand, features stern and unyielding. He bunched his fists. “Now, get the hell out of my apartment. I have no interest in working for a Nazi. You’re the bastards who killed Alphonse Heinrich and nearly destroyed my WORLD…” He stalked up to Kaiser , and craning his neck so he meet Kaiser ’s gaze. He did a swift gesture to the door. “You know the way out. Or are you going to give me the pleasure of tossing you out on your ass?”
Kaiser frowned, stony features washing over with disappointment. Across the room, a gentle breeze rustled the pages of one of the open books on the table. Edward wrinkled his nose, smelling the stench of the city streets below.
Kaiser sighed. “Very well, Herr Elric. If you are not interested in what I have to offer, I suppose I will have to look elsewhere.” He turned as if to leave, then paused as if stuck by an afterthought. “We will at least part as gentlemen, will we not, Herr Elric? I have a great deal of respect for your talents.” He extended a hand to the former Alchemist and smiled thinly. “I wish you luck, it will not be comfortable for you and your brother in Munich. I suggest you leave, and do so soon. England will be safer for you.”
Kaiser was difficult to read, but it was safe to assume the man was trying to lull him into underestimating his true intentions. Yet Edward Elric wasn’t convinced and wanted to let him know it. With a sly smirk, Edward took his hand with his automail one. If Kaiser had anything up his sleeve, the artificial limb would be protection. His real hand discreetly hovered near his pistol’s pocket. “Well, to be honest, I can’t say the same for you.” Edward said with a sneer. “I hope the Nazis and all their kind are stopped and seen for what they really are. Now get the hell out of here.”
Returning the young man’s thin smile, Kaiser’s right hand dropped on Edward’s shoulder, near his exposed throat. “A pity, Mr. Elric, I could make you a very powerful man. Your brother would be safe and you comfortable. But you’ve given me no other choice, but to leave…”
Shrugging the hand off, Edward felt a sharp pain, like a small needle sinking into his flesh. Instantly the room around him titled and his vision fuzzed.
“But not without you.” Kaiser lifted his hand and twirled his ring. “Archaic, but useful isn’t it? In the past is was how my relations poisoned their enemies…”
The ring, a wash of embarrassment and rage flooded the elder Elric as he watched the man’s face before him brighten. “You son of a bitch!” Clumsily, he tried to seize the gun in his pocket, but his coordination was off and he staggered into the doorframe. Numbness prickled down from his neck, into his hands torso and legs. Fighting his dimming vision, Edward slid to the floor. How could he be so stupid?
And where was Alphonse?
Kaiser watched, silent pleasure glinting in his cold gaze. As if he read his mind, the man spoke. “Ohh, my dear boy, don’t worry about your brother. He will be a guest at my estate as well… You see, I don’t take no for an answer, Herr Elric, especially from children.” He reached down, lifting the young man’s face. “You have spirit, I was warned about it, but I have more than enough patience to crush it. Let that be a warning, my boy.”
He’d never break, Edward forced his eyes to stay open. Many had tried to destroy him in the past and failed. Kaiser was no different. Fighting the whirls of translucent spots encroaching on his vision, Edward managed to force himself up to his feet. The automail was heavy, and moving it was impossible. “Temporary set back…” The youth slurred. The man’s features distorted then faded into gray nothing. Seconds later he was falling, but was unconscious before he hit the floor.