redrose999 (redrose999) wrote in fm_alchemist,

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Gilded Cage

Title: Blood, Pride and the Gilded Cage
Main summery: Ed and Al are held captive by German noblemen who wants Ed to make Alchemy work in the real world. The problem is Ed is dying of Leukemia and its up to Al to save them.
Chapter 11
Warnings: Ed and Al Whumping AHOY! Violence, metaphysical WHO-HA and EVIL ALTER/ROY.
General Action Adventure FIC with LOTS of hurt comfort and angst.
Summery: Ed realizes he's being poisoned and envy might be responsible!
Crossover with Doctor Who and Torchwood (Cardiff Wales, and Jack )
Characters:Ed, Al, Noa, Alter Roy, Envy and Jack Harkness

Chapter 11
Seeing Red

He was sitting in the dinning hall, staring blankly at a glass of wine. It was bright red, and glinted in the room’s gaslight lamps. Lifting it, he studied it, face intent on its contents.

It was almost opaque, and was dark like blood. Edward Elric leaned back in the chair, his gut tightening. He was dying of leukemia.

But why did it go into an acute form so quickly? He was suffering from minor symptoms only a few weeks ago. It shouldn’t have accelerated so quickly.

Was it the wine?

“Hello, Edward, how nice to see you again, remember me? And to think, you thought I was gone when he died…” A familiar effeminate form crossed the room, long tendril hair wavering behind his delicate heart shaped face.

“I’m dreaming…Envy.” Edward went to stand, but his body refused to move. He was rooted to the chair, paralyzed. Anger filled him as Edward watched the homunculus run his pale fingers along the table. He gave a broad wicked smile.

Envy stopped in front of him, his hand tracing up Edward’s thigh, up his chest and tapped his nose with a finger. “I smell DEATH… Your death! You’ve just made my day, Fullmetal pipsqueak!”

“I’m not dying, Damn it!” Edward shouted, voice weak from exhaustion. “I’m not going to die until I pound your god damned face into the ground, do you hear me? You mother fucking son of a bitch!” He strained against his invisible bonds. “AND DON’T CALL ME PIPSQUEAK!!”

Leaning against the table, Envy inspected his nails looking board. He lifted a brow. “Are you done yet?”

Weakness washed over him and Edward slumped. It took all his strength to keep himself from collapsing. “No. You killed my father.”

“He deserved to die, and I’ve got front row seats, darling, for your death.” He reached down, hands curling around the glass. He lifted it up, and swirled it leisurely. “I can’t believe you’ve been so stupid.” Pressing the glass to his lips. He savored the fluid. “Yum, now that’s a charge. To bad, it will kill you… Even here.”

Lifting his head, Edward studied the glass, features puzzled.

Then it dawned on him. It wasn’t wine. Edward grabbed the glass from Envy, and stared deep into it. It was blood thick with silvery bubbles, and seemed to absorb the light rather than reflect it. Redwater. Edward wet his lips. Was it possible he had been exposed to the stuff of recent? It had been years since he stepped into it, and the exposure nearly killed him. Edward stared at the glass with growing horror. He looked down at his legs, recalling how the toxic stuff splattered him. Yes, it was enough to give him a slow wasting disease especially if he could potentially inherit it from his mother.

But what did the glass mean? As far as he recalled he hadn’t seen any redwater in this world. He would have recognized it on the spot.

Unless it was heavily diluted. Like in their food, or drinking water.

Or Wine… Edward set his jaw. How many bottles of wine had he been drinking of late? Rudolph delivered a bottle every night with dinner.

Envy smiled, showing pointed teeth. “You would like to know, wouldn’t you little brother?” He leaned forward, hands gripping the arms of Edward’s chair. “Well let me tell you this, before you die, I’m going to make it so you wished you never lived.”

A scream turned Edward’s head. Where the wall should have been was a gaping oozing black hole with tentacles. The dark dripping things were wrapped around a struggling Alphonse, and dragging him back into blackness beyond. “BROTHER!!” The boy thrashed as a thick thing sank deep into his mouth, cutting off his words.

“Let him go! Damn bastard!” Edward bolted up, the binds around him suddenly breaking as the dreamscape around him shattered like a billion pieces of crystal.

He was sitting up in bed, in the dim golden rays of early morning. Pressed into his side was Alphonse. The boy was curled on his side, tangled in sheets, face pressed into his pillow and his arms wrapped about his chest. Long golden wheat hair dripped down his brow into his face and his lips mumbled silent nothings. He was still dressed and his hair was loosely tied back as if he had fallen asleep studying. The thirteen year old was restless, and pale, but safe.

There was no Envy.

There was no gate.

It was a meaningless nightmare.

A painful and sickening twist in Edward’s gut greeted his efforts and he felt vomit fill his mouth. Clasping his hand over his lips, Edward half climbed, half fell out of his bed, and scrambled into the adjacent bathroom. Anguished, he buckled over the open toilet and wretched.

He heaved for what seemed like forever, but it finally settled, and he collapsed to the floor, gasping for air.

It hurt all over, never in his life had he felt so dreadful. Not even the day of his death at Envy’s hands more than two years ago felt as bad. At least, then there was a numbing blackness that settled over him, and a peace drawing him into painless bliss.

Hugging his waist, Edward Elric hunched over. He tried to curl into a ball, and wished he could just vanish from the face of the earth just until the pain passed.

Eventually it would, it always did, and left him exhausted and wanting to sleep.

He was sure he’d never eat again. The damned tonic made him so violently ill even broth shook up his entire digestive track.

“Edward.” Noa hesitated in the doorway, piety tearing in her dark eyes. She dropped to his side, and pulled him up into her lap. She gave a sob, hands stroking his aching back. Not that he could blame her. He must have looked awful. “I fell asleep.” She said apologetically. “I was reading on the in the parlor on the couch, watching you from there and the next think I know, you’re gone… I am so sorry Edward.”

Clumsily wiping his mouth with his night shirt sleeve, Edward Elric weakly sat up. “No sweat.” He said. “I actually feel better after that.” He forced a week smile, and patted her thigh. “Nothing better then emptying the old stomach after a nap. Really.” He leaned his back against the door-frame. His stomach was settling, and he felt his strength returning. “I now know what they mean by the cure is worse than the disease.”

Their gaze’s met. Noa wasn’t smiling. Her dark full lips trembled and her eyes scanned him up and down with horror. He suddenly wondered why she still remained at his side. Kaiser could have given her anything with her abilities. Yet, she stayed with him, day in and day out, even now when he could do nothing for her safety. He touched her cheek, feeling the warm tears.

Tears he refused to shed for himself. “I’m sorry for scaring you, Noa.”

“How do you do it, Edward?” She asked, grief filling her words. “You’re miserable, and yet here you are, trying to protect me again…”

He shrugged, feeling helpless. “I suck at being a patient, that’s all.” He gently informed. His fingers trailed down her chin and dropped away. “I scared you, it’s unfair after what you’ve gone though. I shouldn’t rob you of your hope.” Using the door-frame, he rose to his feet. His legs wobbled at first, but after a moment of standing he felt stable enough to let go. “You see, I get stronger every day.”

Noa looked skeptical, but a hint of a smile twitched across her face.

Much better, Edward titled his head and extended a hand. Noa refused it and stood on her own. “You are a stubborn bastard, Herr Edward Elric.”

“Heh, giving up never got me anywhere.” He folded his arms, trying to look confident and waved a hand. “Besides, I’ve been in bed too long, Noa. I need to do something.”
Edward went to turn, when Noa placed a hand on his shoulder. “Edward, please get back into bed. You need to keep up your strength. I’ll get you something from the kitchen…”When you are ready, you can eat.”

Eating, it was the last thing on his mind, but he had to eventually. He brushed his straggly bangs from his face, catching a glimpse of his gaunt features in the bathroom mirror. He had lost weight. “May be a little later, I need a shower.”

Disgusted with himself, he shut the bathroom door and went to the sink to wash up. It didn’t take long, and when he finished he tied his long damp hair back into a ponytail. He looked and felt more himself.

Of course, the feeling would vanish at his next dose of tonic, but that was expected. He planned on doing a blood test that afternoon and see if the medicine was having any effect on his cancer. If he was lucky, he would only have to endure another week of treatment, then wait a week or so before he started again.

Hopefully he’d put himself in remission. That was unless something other than natural causes was behind his cancer.

He paused, blinking into the mirror with hollow golden eyes. Why did he think that? It was a dream right?

But it made sense. The redwater could easily be responsible for his leukemia.

Edward opened the door and peered out. Noa was sitting on the bed with her back turned to him. She had a book in hand and was turning pages.

Quietly, he crept over to his dresser and grabbed a pair of pants. He pulled them on and struggled out of his night shirt. “I need for you to watch out for Al.”

Noa looked over her shoulder. Concern and fear flashed across her face. She folded her hands over the book and squeezed her fingers. “What are you up to Edward?”

Fishing into his closet, Edward Elric flashed a sharp sneer. For the first time in days he felt his spirit return. “I have business with the Kaiser.” He took out clean shirt, donned it on and buttoned it up. “The bastard owes me an explanation.”

The woman didn’t appear to pleased with the idea, and he didn’t want to take the time to explain why. Rather, he looked at Al amazed the boy hadn’t stirred. “Please, Noa. Trust me.”

How many times had he asked those words? Edward shrugged on his black vest. The dream kept returning to him, reminding him how his imprisonment could have easily made him vulnerable to his enemies.

Even if Envy was dead, the Thule could have obtained redwater from his father, or perhaps from Envy. He needed to know for sure, what the Kaiser knew about the Thule and most of all, if he did indeed have access to any redwater.
“You son of a bitch! What the hell do you really want?” Edward Elric shouted, whipping off his blindfold and stalking across the office to the elegantly carved mahogany desk at the end.

The room wasn’t large and housed a desk, and a few bookcases lined two walls. A golden globe of the world stood near the desk giving the room an Edwardian look. There was also a cabinet, and one suit of armor. Red and golden tapestries with a shield and golden griffin hung on the wall behind Kaiser’s desk. It had to be his family coat of arms, but it reminded Edward painfully of the state military.

Kaiser, sat at the desk, dressed in a quilted, red velvet robe with a woven gold collar. His hair was impeccably neat, and his face was alert, as if he had awoke some time ago, but was leisurely enjoying his morning before getting himself ready.

A cup of coffee sat near his left hand and a stack of bound paper sat in front of him like he was waiting until last minute to take care of his business.

Just like Roy.

No, Edward reminded himself, an evil doppelganger of Roy.

Kaiser’s brow narrowed, displeasure frowning his lips. It was the same expression Roy gave him when Roy was annoyed at him. “I see your manners haven’t improved since you’ve taken with Influenza.” He said, coolly. He lowered his papers and picked up his cup of coffee. “So I suppose you are feeling better now.”

Edward glared at him, and slammed his palms on Kaiser’s desk and scowled at the man. “You have not been fully honest with me, Herr Kaiser and now I want answers!”

Leisurely, Kaiser lifted his mug to his lips and took a sip. “How do you mean, Herr Elric? I have told you, everything you need to know to do your work and live here. Haven’t I given you the woman, comfortable quarters to live in and a place to do your research? You and your bother even have an allowance to purchases whatever you need when asked. I even tolerated that damned cat your brother rescued. There should be no complaints.” He lowered the mug and folded his hands neatly on the desk.

Edward clenched his teeth and tightened his fist. He noticed the Kaiser’s gaze shift to one of the guards and nod. The man bowed and vanished out the door. They were up to something.

“How can I do my work, unless I really understand what you know.” Edward measured his words carefully. “You want to make Alchemy work here, for your own uses, and you give me a library and a lab with material that only a man who understand the arcane arts could possible collect.”

Kaiser chuckled and shook his head. He stood, the soft leather chair behind him creaking. “Come now, Edward… May I call you that? You have been living here for almost two months now, I feel we should be on a first name basis.”

“I’m not your personal pet, Herr Kaiser.” Edward hissed. “Answer the question. What do you know about the Thule and my father, or I will do nothing for you!”

Circling the desk, Kaiser faced Edward. He looked down to the young man, features twitching with disappointment. “I see, I thought you were smarter than this, Edward. But it seems rumors of your temperament are true.”

Hands seized Edward from behind, dragging his arms behind his back. Startled, Edward thrashed, aware his strength was not even a quarter of what it had been when he was well. “You’re poisoning me!” The words came out with a rush of irrational anger. “God Damn you! You’re fucking poisoning me with Redwater, what the hell do you want from me dead!?”

Genuine surprise crossed the Kaiser’s features and he smiled thinly. His hand touched Edward’s chin and lifted it. He carefully inspected the young Alchemist, the way one would inspect their prized racehorse at a derby. “I am very disappointed in you, even more so now. You actually believed I was so stupid as to waist my money keeping you and your brother alive and comfortable just so I could poison you?”

Loathing knotted Edward’s gut as he glared at the man. As much as he hated to admit it, Kaiser had no idea what he was talking about. “I am not dying.”

Ignoring him, Kaiser released his face and strolled to his globe. Thoughtfully he spun it around and watched it. “I suspected it was more than influenza. Noa told me of her predictions some time ago. So it is true, you are dying, what else are you hiding form me?”

“Nothing.” He couldn’t show weakness, not now. “What do you know about the Thule and my father.”

Kaiser sighed. “You are beginning to sound like a broken phonograph. But I suppose I can answer the question. I prefer being straight forward, unlike you.” He placed his hands behind his back and looked Edward in the eye. “When he was at the university in London, I funded his research. I also introduced him to the Bare Bones Society, which eventually lead him to the Thule. We understood each other, Edward. I have always been fascinated with the occult, and unlike Dateline, I didn’t fool myself with the idea it was all science. You see, the concept of Equivalent exchange, Edward is about bargains. And one only makes bargains with demons and devils. So, my young Faust, I was well aware you and your brother bargained with the devil. But unlike your father, you tricked the devil and broke whatever magical ties he had on you. Something I am very interested in learning myself.”

“There is no God Damned Devil!” Edward sneered. The Kaiser was mad. The young Alchemist leaned forward body pulling at the hands holding him. “You’re bloody insane!”

“Am I? Then why are you dying Edward Elric? Is it the Devil, trying to lay claim to the soul denied to him?”

Dropping his head, Edward closed his eyes. It couldn’t be true. He didn’t believe in devils. Yet, in truth, a part of him associated the Gateway with one. It was a living metaphysical force, capable of drawing in souls and tapping their energy. The Alchemist mastered this energy, and in a way, served the gateway in a twisted symbiotic relationship. Something he never understood as a child.

But realized now, as he was dying.

He didn’t believe in God, but he worshiped Alchemy. The GATE was his god.

Or devil, he found himself accepting the Kaiser’s metaphor.

In that context, he had made a deal with it when he resurrected Al and passed though. His soul would be equivalent exchange for Al’s life.

As long as he stayed on this side of the gate, he would some day die and become a part of the gate’s power. At the time, it was a fair exchange, he never intended on staying in the real world for long. Yet, he did succeed in leaving.

But he returned to close the portal and Al followed. The gate must have known this when it let Al crossed over without payment.

Horror filled him. Edward felt his stomach twist.

Kaiser and the dream were right. It must have known he was dying when he passed though.

He was Faust, and the Devil was laying claim to his soul now. Neither he nor Al would ever know happiness.

The click of the door latch turned his attention. Edward opened his eyes, to see Rudolph and one of their security guards.

Between them was a blurry eyed Alphonse. The boy was still dressed in his rumpled clothes from the night before. They must have aroused him and dragged him from his bed.

“Now,” Began the Kaiser. “Back to the subject at hand, Edward. It seems to me you have been hiding things from me…”

Licking his lips, Edward glanced to Al, who blinked at him helplessly. “What do you mean? I haven’t been honest? I’ve sent you reports! You know exactly what I am doing in my lab! What have I lied to you about?”

Kaiser’s dark gaze became very cold. “You’re health and your notes.”

The words barely fell from his lips, when Rudolph twisted Alphonse’s arm wrenching it up the boy’s back. Alphonse gave a yelp as he struggled to hold in a scream.

“STOP IT DAMN IT! Stop it! OR I’ll never fucking work for you again!” Edward lunged forward, feeling the hold on his arms tighten and yank him back.

There was a grotesque snapping sound, Alphonse stiffened, tears filling his eyes.

Kaiser’s smiled broadened. “Never work for me, Herr Elric? As if you have a choice? ” His attention shifted to Rudolph.

A cold shiver swept Edward’s spine. There was a familiar glint in the man’s eye, as if he was secretly enjoying injuring Alphonse. It was personal. Edward’s Struggles became more desperate “Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch!”

“Rudolph, show young Elric why is isn’t wise for his brother to hide things from me.”

“My pleasure, Kaiser.”

Pleased, Kaiser returned to his desk and seated himself. He neatly folded his hands and watched. “When we are done with this exercise, Edward, you will be so kind to give me your notes, unedited?”

Edward grit his teeth together. “Let him go…”

Rudolph shoved Alphonse into the guard’s arms, and cracked his knuckles. Al’s brow furrowed. Lightning fast, the youth lashed out, foot slamming into the thug behind him, into his crotch. The man gasped, releasing the young Alchemist. Swiftly, Alphonse sprang, fist swiping out at Rudolph. He missed his face, but he connected squarely in the German’s chest, knocking him back several steps.

Edward’s eye’s widened, even with one broken arm, his younger brother was quite formidable. Now, if he could only get arms free.

Rudolph lunged, fists pumping into Alphonse's gut and jaw. Even though he was considerably larger than the boy, he was inhumanly fast. The blow knocked the teenager into the wall, broken arm first, where he slid down stunned. Within moments, Rudolph seized the boy’s shirt and dragged him to his feet, striking with a fist to the face.

Rudolph went for another blow. When something forced the heavy wooden doors beside him open, knocking him off balance and away from Alphonse.

It was Jack Harkness.

“IDOIT!” Rudolph sprang to his feet, swinging his attention and fists toward Jack.

There was a blur of movement, and Harkness’s cocked pistol was aimed at Rudolph’s nose. “That’s enough, the kid can’t stand.”

A glint of crazed rage passed over Rudolph’s features. He was being denied his prey. “He struck me!”

It reminded Edward of Envy.

Across the room, Kaiser leaned back in his chair, puzzled. “What brings you here? Jack? I gave an order.”

“Yes, but I beg to differ with your order. Edward is dying and Alphonse is the only other person capable of finishing his work. Beating him to death isn’t going to help your investment.” Jack said, evenly. He lowered his gun and holstered it. He fixed Kaiser with an unrelenting stare.

Rubbing his chin, Gustave Kaiser studied Alphonse’s broken form thoughtfully. “Ahh, yes, it appears, Herr Harkness you have a point. As I recall, Hohenheim mentioned his youngest was talented in Alchemy.”

Disappointment filled Gustave’s features. However, it faded quickly as he conceded to the Kaiser. Bowing he straightened his clothing. “If that is what you wish Kaiser. “

“It is. You are dismissed Rudolph. We will discuss this later.”

“Very well, my lord.” Snapping his heals together, Rudolph exited the room.

Kaiser signaled the guard behind Edward.

The arms holding him vanished. Edward stood motionless, gaze shifting to Harkness. He felt lost and too weak to be angry at the man.

“Give him your note book, Ed. It’s not worth it.” Jack fixed him with a blue-eyed stare. There was a flash of compassion and worry there that Edward hadn’t expected.

Unable to think of anything else, Edward took a step painfully aware his legs wobbled. “I don’t have it.” He said, “Al does.” With an effort, he crossed over to the boy’s side and knelt down beside him.

Dark ugly bruises formed on Al’s cheeks and blood trickled out of his mouth and nose. He was a battered mess. Large dark gold eyes blinked up painfully at him. “Brother, don’t.”

“I have too Al, I’m sorry.” Touching the boy’s face, Edward held in his grief driven rage. He never wanted to see Alphonse hurt. Unfortunately with his illness, and lack of power, he was unable to stop it.

Edward Elric felt his own hope dwindle. “It’s ok, Al, it’s ok…” He stroked the boy’s head and kissed his bloodied brow. “I’m proud of you, little brother. Under the circumstances, I could have done no better.” He took the book from Alphonse’s pocket and stood.

He hoped that Alphonse would understand. “You won’t get away with this, Kaiser.” Edward said evenly. He dropped the book on Kaiser’s desk. “I promise.”

“Promise all you will, Herr Elric, but remember your place.” Kaiser lifted the book and smiled. “Do not worry, you will have it back by this evening.” He flipped though the pages slowly, displeasure flickering over his narrowed brow. “What is this? Do you think I am a fool?”

Edward offered a weak mischievous smile. “You wanted my notes, you said nothing about translating them.”

Kaiser went to object, than stayed his tongue. Amusement twitched into a slight smile. “I will let your brashness pass this time, for I was a fool, Herr Elric. But you will stay here, and translate what I want. Do you understand?”

Edward inhaled. “Ja, I understand you will torture Alphonse if I disagree.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jack, gently lifting Alphonse into his arms. The boy peered worriedly at him. “It is all right, Alphonse. Herr Harkness and Noa will take care of you. “

“Good, “ Kaiser gestured to a chair beside his desk. “Than have a seat. We have work to do!”
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