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23 January 2006 @ 04:57 pm
Gilded Cage  
I've tossed in lots of weird theories and stuff. Let me know if they work here... I'm having fun with it, and again I have to thank the folks on this list who help fuel my imagination....

Gilded Cage

Chapter 13
General Fic, Action adventure, with lots of hurt comfort!
Summery: Al tries to force his memory block and talks to Ed about their research and the Gate. They realize something horried, and Al only touches the tip of why he's phobic of the gate.
Character: Ed, Al, Noa and Captian Jack
Crossover with Dr Who
WARNINGS: SPOILERS, Hints of SLASH, HET (if you want to read into it, which is your choice) and VIOLENCE.
MAD SCIENCE AHOY and LOTS of ANGST

Chapter13
The Philosopher’s Stone
Alphonse

Brother sat body hunched over a book at his desk. For most of the day, Edward lay in bed but insisted that afternoon, he was well enough to do some research.

He wasn’t well enough. Edward had spent the previous night vomiting and complaining about his body aching. Yet, Alphonse had given up arguing with him.

Rather, he only shrugged, and climbed his own way out of bed. The room tilted and twisted with colors. Al was forced to lean into the bedpost for a moment until the lightheadedness passed. He hadn’t been out of bed for three days and his legs were very weak, but determination drove him to remain standing.

Edward looked over to him, features filled with concern. Carefully,
the elder boy went to stand. Alphonse shook his head, breath catching in his throat. “Brother, no, I will be fine. The medication has me dizzy, but I will be all right.”

“You better be.” Edward grumbled. “Or a few heads will roll.”

"The last time you tried to make heads roll, brother, I got beaten, so
I suggest you find a better strategy.” With careful, pain-filled steps, he joined his brother at his desk next to the fireplace.

Edward was reading on mystical places, searching for a possible rift.
He had gathered information on many places ranging from Egypt to
Stonehenge. Of course, none of them could be certain if any of those places were of use to them. They’d have to visit them first and run tests. But Alphonse highly doubted Kaiser would allow them to leave. “Have you gathered any research on hauntings?” Alphonse asked, studying the scattered books, research articles, newspaper clippings and magazines littering his brother’s desk.

Edward dug though the pile and pulled out a clipping from the Society of Psychical Research. “Everything from the Flying Dutchman to the Tower of London.” He dropped it on to the clutter and sagged down into his chair. “I don’t know, Al.” He sighed. “Once we find the rift, what are we going to do? How are we going to tap it?”

Weakly smiling, Alphonse considered the question and answered with the only solution he could think of. “With the array Frau Ekheart used.” He reached down and flipped open Edward’s notebook and leafed through it.

Edward took off his spectacles, and cleaned them with a hanky he kept in his breast pocket. “You think their array is for opening
dimensional rifts? This isn’t magic, Al; I would think we need a
machine here. The Thule society only succeeded in opening the portal because one existed in our world. One that you opened at the same time.”

Alphonse shook his head. “In that sense, what we do is MAGIC,
Brother.” He flipped the book around and pointed to the array. “Think of it as a formula to tap non-Euclidean space. See these symbols? With a powerful psychic mind like Noa’s, we can redirect the forces of the rift, using these mathematical equations.” Grabbing a pencil, he jotted down another array and swiftly added various equations and symbols representing non-Euclidean math. “Noa is our machine to open the power, the array is our way of containing and tapping it.”

Edward shook his head. “The principles are all different here, Al.”

“But we are not, Edward!” Alphonse placed his hand on his brother’s
shoulder and turned him around. He stared deep into Edward’s eyes. How could he explain what he had done in the lab? The very truth hiding behind his buried memories of the gateway. The horror he didn’t want to face, but had to in order to save Edward. “Redwater, brother. If what you think is true, than that power still exists inside of you. We’ve both channeled the power of the philosopher's stone; if I am right, both you and I are batteries for such power and can store it for use.” Did he dare to continue? Already he felt shaky, the memories of the gateway were worming their way into his mind, guiding his words with the truth.

The truth frightened him, yet he had to face it. The Gateway had
changed him, and it had changed Edward. The boy heaved a breath, seeing his brother’s lips tremble and denial fill his golden gaze. “What are you saying Al? That you’re still a philospher’s stone and that I am becoming one or was made into one?” he placed his glasses back on and shook his head. “It doesn’t fit with
Dr. Marcoh’s research, or what we know about making the stones.”
Huffing, Edward frowned. “I saw my blood samples, they show no
similarity to the redwater samples I have examined.

“It is metaphysical, brother.” Alphonse sighed; he bit his lip, trying
to understand the images and thoughts spinning in his mind. It still
terrified and repulsed him, but he stood fast, knowing if he ran from it, Edward was doomed to die.

Alphonse pointed to the array he had drawn. “Einstein, Brother. The
theory of relativity, energy cannot be created or destroyed here
right? Just changed in form. That is what the gateway does. Through its connection to this world, it takes souls and changes their form into Alchemical energy. In our world, equivalent exchange was the definitive rule guiding energy. Except with Alchemy we used up the energy, destroying it with use. Yet we found out if you passed though the gate, we could bypass the properties of Equivalent Exchange and if I am right, we are required to obey the laws of relativity.” He paused for a breath; dimly aware his brother was studying him with curiosity. “Scar completed the philosopher’s stone when he sealed it to my soul and armor, right? I USED the philosopher’s stone to heal and give your arm back. In turn, you used your power from the redwater, and the energy I gave you from the philosopher's stone to bring my body back, which was a PART of the gate and connected to this world. The Energy
of the stone was NEVER used up. It was changed in form. MY BODY.” The revelation made him tremble. Alphonse looked down, scanning his useless arm and the bruises poking out from the bandages around his chest. Was it possible? Was that why he was so frightened? The truth he was trying to face in the lab was unspeakable, but at the same time their salvation. No, being the philosopher's stone was frightening but not terrifying.

He strained his thoughts, trying to push though the blackness of the horror veiling his mind. Yes, he was still the philosopher’s stone, just an empty one waiting for power to convert. “My body brother, is a Philosopher’s stone in the same way Scar’s arm was. It’s still a body, just metaphysically different.”

In many ways he was just like the gateway. He wanted to run, to vomit
and cry, sickened, thrilled, and frightened all at the same time.
There was something else though, something he could not pull from the abyss of horror gripping his soul. Alphonse shivered and stared at Edward, waiting for a reaction.

“Einstein.” Edward repeated. He rubbed his chin, looking across the
room. “All right. So what about me? Obviously it was the redwater that gave me my leukemia. Are you suggesting passing though the gate transformed the remaining energy of the stone that still existed in me into an incomplete stone? But we can’t use the power here because it needs to charge up with souls from the gate.”

“Or energy from a rift, brother.” Alphonse said. “But if you are
incomplete, you will be unstable. That’s why you are dying.”

“That’s an interesting theory.” Edward blinked towards the fireplace,
thoughtful. He was paler and distant. “I hope you are wrong. I have my own theories about the gate, you know. Why we’re here and why am I ill.” The elder boy took his notebook in hand and absently looked through it. “It’s alive Al, we both know that. Kaiser’s not that far off, calling it a devil.” His brow narrowed and he looked to the door.

Alphonse followed his gaze. The knob twisted and Noa entered the room.

Humming, the woman strolled to the bed stand holding a jug from the kitchen, and poured out two glasses. It was a gentle tune that
reminded Alphonse of his mother. Just for a moment, the ugly business of the gateway and what he had become seemed very far away. Wearily, the boy smiled. “You sound like an angel.”

Noa blushed. “You’re too kind.” She looked at Edward, lifting a glass
and carrying it over. “Edward, you should be in bed.”

Snatching the water, the elder boy shook his head. “I am sick of
dying. I have to do something about it.”

Noa’s looked sympathetic. She touched his hand gently and squeezed. “What about trusting Alphonse? He is a capable Alchemist.”

“Noa is right, brother.” Alphonse said. “You’ve done some research.
Why don’t you rest now.”

Edward folded his arms stubbornly. “No, not after what you’ve told
me…” He looked over to Noa, gaze darkening. “Noa. You understand I am trusting you. Say NOTHING to Kaiser. You saw what he did to Alphonse.”

She nodded, tears filling her eyes. “I know he only wishes to use
you.” Her hand timidly drifted up and down his arm. “Edward, I can’t
bare to see either of you harmed. Please forgive me, I only told them you were ill because I feared for your life. He had doctors that
could help you.”

Alphonse sighed. He saw his brother’s features soften as Noa spoke. Alphonse remembered the same expression on Edward’s face when he looked at Winry or mentioned Alphons Heinrich. Yes, Edward Elric more than liked Noa and he was unable to say to her it like everyone one he loved in his life. “Brother.”

Edward took Noa by the arms and looked her deep in the eye. “Noa,
Alphonse has a theory that makes sense to me, but it means we might have a way to get the power to free ourselves. Do you understand? You can help us find these rifts with your mind…”

She nodded uneasily.

“But Brother, there might be another way.” Alphonse ventured. “Don’t you understand, we could open the gateway…”

“Never!” Edward turned on him, eyes filling with anger. “It’s alive
Alphonse! Think damn it! We’re here, where it gets its power! That
thing will take your fucking soul! If we are Philosopher stones, it is
just waiting to incorporate US into it! Why do you think it let us
crossover?” He grabbed the boy, desperation filling his large
frightened gaze “Because it hungers for power and perhaps our souls will help it grow!”

“I realize that, brother. But you are dying…” Alphonse felt a lump
catch in his throat. His gut was twisting and the paralyzing fright
started to seep it way into his heart.

Edward pulled him close by his open nightshirt so they were nose to
nose. Pain flashed down Alponse’s injured torso, and up his arm. “Than I will die, it is better than all of you returning to that monster.
Promise me, you won’t consider touching the gate’s power…”

The boy swallowed. He didn’t want to make any promises and he wasn’t about to let Edward die. An overwhelming sense of loss swept him. Alphonse felt tears filling his eyes. The array in the lab, his sudden understanding of what he needed to do to save Edward: it was inevitable; he’d ultimately betray his brother to save him.

But before he could say anything, the door swung open and Jack
entered, singing something about jingling bells. Cheerful, the man
strolled across the room, carrying a large satchel that he dumped
unceremoniously on the couch. Digging in it, he pulled out what looked like the top of a small pine tree and stand.

“I thought I told you to knock!” Edward snapped, releasing Alphonse. “No one gave you permission to just waltz in here like you bloody well own the fucking place!”

“Not today, Edward, my old man! Today is special!” Jack announced. He plopped the tree and stand on the coffee table and fished out several tiny glass bulbs that he had wrapped in newspaper.

Noa, put her hand over her mouth and gave a little laugh. She dropped it on Edward’s shoulder. “I almost forgot it was a holiday today. It’s Christmas.”

Jack snapped his fingers, cheerfully. “Right she is! And I’ve come
baring gifts, if you all don’t mind, that is. After the other day, I
think you kids deserve something special!”

Einstein lifted his lazy head from his paws and stared at Jack from
the couch. The kitten yawned, and stood. His body stretched out in an attempt to shake off sleep-ridden limbs.

“Christmas?” Edward side glanced Alphonse who shrugged not
understanding. Edward’s face became melancholy. “Yes, Alphons and I celebrated it last year with father.”

It must have been wonderful to celebrate anything with their father.
Alphonse studied his brother, trying to comprehend what the older boy was feeling. He was sad, and missed their father, Alphonse decided. “Brother, what is Christmas?”

“A religious fest.” Edward explained. “Celebrating the birth of a man
who the people here believe is God.”

“Was he?” Alphonse asked, curious. “Or was he a fake like father
Cornello?”

Edward shrugged. “I can’t say, Al. I don’t have any data.”

Placing the bulbs on the tree Jack snorted. “The point of Christmas is being with family, giving gifts and having a good time. Think of it as one hell of a 24 hour excuse to party…” He paused gaze darting to the faces in the room. “I’m not a religious guy.”

Alphonse understood holidays. They had them in Rizenbol. Growing up, he recalled his family and the Rockbells sharing in holiday dinners and exchanging gifts. It made him feel warm inside. Maybe they did need something special to distract them from being prisoners. Uneasily, he inhaled, feeling the pull of his aching ribs. The pain was growing by the moment.

Edward shrugged. “Neither am I.” The alchemist sank down into his
chair and leaned his cheek into the palm of his hand. His fingers
touched the folding arm of his glasses and tilted the frames up. “Why are you doing this?”

Their argument must have exhausted him. Alphonse detected weariness in his voice. The boy patted his brother’s shoulder. “Does it matter, brother? Can’t we try and be happy for once? I think Jack means well. He wouldn’t have risked his job and saved me if he didn’t.”

“Alphonse, you don’t need to defend me. Edward is right to be
suspicious.” Jack removed a large sack from the bag and handed it to a startled Noa. “Do you know how to cook a goose?”

She blinked and hefted the bag uncomfortably. “With some help. I think we have everything we need in the kitchen.”

The security guard beamed. He emptied the bag. Several colorfully
wrapped presents tumbled out with canned goods, some fresh vegetables, fruit and three loaves of bread. “Great! Now, Al, you help Noa, Ed, you get into bed, and I’ll take care of the presents and make sure the guys out in the hall are drunker than skunks. It’s gonna be a hell of a party tonight, I promise.”
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