redrose999 (redrose999) wrote in fm_alchemist,

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Gilded Cage

Sorry it took so long. This way by far the hardest chapter to write. Jack is back and Alphonse has decided to make his life difficult! *NAUGHTY* Al...*HUGGLES* Al, he's really just looking out for his poor sick brother....

Blood Pride and the Gilded Cage
Chapter 20
Big Things Come in Little Packages
Violence, Slash, Plotting, and Technobabble, and Het implications
Fic type: General, actions adventure Crossover.
Characters: Ed, Al, Noa, Alter Roy, Hughes, Envy sightings and Captain Jack
CROSSOVER with the New Doctor WHO
Rating: PG-13
Summery: Al and Jack plan an escape...

Chapter 20
Big Things Come in Little Packages


Stepping into the Kaiser’s office, Jack Harkness couldn’t shake the feeling he was being watched. It wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling, just the gnawing instinct of a trained soldier and agent that something was certainly amiss. He looked around himself; the armor, the coat of arms
hanging on the wall, the paintings, nothing seemed out of the ordinary and in the 1920s they didn’t have technology advanced enough to plant listening devices. And it wasn’t one of his people. He was sure of that.

The Kaiser sat at his desk, hand absently spinning the globe next to it. There was a mountain of papers on his desk, and several unopened envelopes in the wooden tray on the corner.

He had to hand it to the man; Kaiser was a professional
procrastinator, yet, some how he got things done. Standing in the doorway, Jack waited for the man to take notice and wave him in. “Why good afternoon, Herr Harkness!” Kaiser said cheerfully. “I am glad you got my message!”

“Kaiser.” Jack nodded, strolling up to his desk. A message be barely got because he had spent the last few hours running around Munich arranging a safe house, getting train tickets, and making arrangements to go over seas to England. Alphonse Elric’s request was keeping him
on his toes and out of the apartment. “My day off, you know. What did you want to see me about?”

Standing up, Kaiser circled his desk, sharp black eyes focusing on Jack’s nonchalant stance. “I was talking with Hans.” He said, voice becoming strangely suspicious. He straightened his double-breasted jacket and shoved his hands in his pockets as he circled. “He tells me you are soft on the Elric boy.”

Rolling his eyes, Jack folded his arms, exasperation crossing his features. “Jesus, and you believe him? Hans is a god damned idiot.”

Kaiser stopped walking, standing nose to nose with Jack. His brow narrowed and his mouth became a thin line. “An idiot you say? How so?”

Kaiser gestured with a hand. “I would call him ambitious, but not an idiot.”

Keeping his cool, Jack held the Kaiser’s gaze for a very long time before answering. “Ambitious in a stupid way, you mean. He’d do anything to get what he bloody well wants, including lying to make himself look good. So what did he say?”

The Kaiser considered this, and started to pace. “That is what I like about you Jack, right to the point! Hans claims you slept with the Elric boy. That he caught you and the child in the hall, leaving the Professor’s lab. Is this true?”

Oh yea, Hans did have a case of diarrhea of the mouth. The problem was, if he disagreed, poor Al would be dragged down to the Kaiser’s office and found out. Then where would they be? Ed and Noa would be hostages, and Al a weapon against the Kaiser’s and Thule Society's
enemies. Jack shook his head, mind racing fast. “Swell, that’s just friggin swell.” He threw his hands up, disgust washing over his face. “Did he also mention how he pounded the crap out of Herr Elric?”

The Kaiser lifted a brow. “He said he was attacked.” He returned to his desk, shoved the paper work aside and put his feet on the desk. “Are you telling he wasn’t?”

Jack snorted. “Figures; he taunted him, and you know how short fired the Professor is.” He leaned over, hands pressing on the desk. “Ok, look, I took the kid to the lab, let him do a little work. He’s damned determined to get some results, so you won’t send him off to school.” Jack explained quickly. “I dosed him on time, and he got all loopy. Ok?”

Inhaling, the Kaiser leaned back, his chair squeaking from the weight of his body. He was considering Jack’s story. “I see. Loopy, how do you mean loopy?”

Jack waved a dismissive hand. “He got all hopped up, and took his clothes off, ok.” He hated doing this to Al but he had to distract the Kaiser from the fact the boy actually had results and the fact that he was hiding them.

The Kaiser looked amused. He gave a soft chuckle and shook his head. “You mean the boy likes you?”

Jack paused, and straightened his tie. “In a manner, but he was stoned. You know kids; they don’t mean anything when they’re doped up. Al, he’s harmless. He’s attention starved…”

“And you are saying he is looking to you for that attention?” Kaiser tapped his fingers together, face unreadable. “Interesting.”

“Hans just wants to get me canned so he can get my pay.” Jack continued, his voice disapproving. “In truth, you’d get more out of Elric if you treat him civilly. Same thing with the kid, and Hans just makes things worse, with the way he treats both of them.”

“And you treat them differently?” Kaiser asked, curious. He placed his feet on the floor, and leaned his elbows on his desk. “Please, Jack, I am merely curious. I like you; you are frank, to the point and have mind enough to question my orders when they don’t make sense to you. I
admire that. In many ways, it was you that made me aware of how gifted young Alphonse is. Perhaps it should be you who shall accompany him to his new boarding school?”

Damn, talk about handing the boy over on a silver platter. All he needed to do was grab the kid and run, easy as that, his mission would be over in a week. The problem was, Edward. Sure the older boy had a few weeks at best to survive, but he was still a problem.

Jack rubbed his chin, trying to deny the fact that he liked the Elric boys and Noa. They were good people, and didn’t deserve to be caught up in this whole mess. So how could he have his cake and eat it too? “Yes, I treat them different.” Jack informed. “Ok, I don’t get along
too well with Ed, but I respect him. You hired me to protect them as well as keep them here and I take my job very seriously. In truth, I don’t give a damn about becoming your right hand man, not like Hans. I give a damn about my job.”

Kaiser seemed to understand that. He smiled thinly and turned his attention to the code of arms. “I think that is wise.” He informed flatly. “I appreciate such loyalty. That is why I asked you to come here today. I am separating the Elrics, as you know. I want the boy to trust you, to bond to you, do you understand. This way, he will be easier to control when his brother dies.”

If it was up to Al, the older boy wouldn’t die. Jack lifted a brow, wondering if the Kaiser had finally decided to stop investing in Edward Elric. With Al going away, he could easily arrange for an accident for the young scientist and use Noa his wife as a hostage.

“Ok, so, I take Al to boarding school, is that it?” Jack asked, evenly. “I guess it will be easier on him. What about Ed?”

The man lifted his gaze, sharp eyes glinting in the rooms dim gaslight. “He shall spend his last days here with his wife here in the castle.” He explained. “His time will be short, I suspect and none of your concern. Do you understand, Herr Harkness?”

He didn’t like the sound of that. “Absolutely.” Jack replied. He straightened, waiting to be dismissed.

Making a face, the Kaiser looked over his paper work and sighed. “It just seems to grow.” He said absently. “Very well, Herr Harkness, you may leave. Alas I have some work to do!”

Nodding, Jack turned away, and out the door. He was not pleased the mission was suddenly falling into place. He was hoping to delay just a little bit longer so he could get more information. Yet now, all he needed to do was report in, and leave with the kid in a week. But he had made a promise to Al. The child expected him to spring them on New Year's eve. It was close to impossible to arrange and the agency would be worried about too many witnesses. They were already fuming about Ed’s little run in with the Thule society and the damned rift Eckert opened trying to access Shambala.

So he was making plans on his own. He had come to understand why the night he spoke to Ed, too. Both boys were more than weapons; they were linked to a relic left over from a conflict that nearly shattered the very fabric of reality. Yet at the same time, how could they be real
honest to god human beings, which put his entire mission under moral question. How much did the agency know? And what did they want with the gateway of Alchemy or better yet, what did they want with those who could open and had looked into it? Did they know something about the gatway that he didn’t? Which was indeed a hell of a lot of nothing.

And why the hell was he, Jack Harkness going to hand over one or both of the only beings capable of looking inside of it to them? Was the human race ready to harness that much power?

Did Al deserve to go from one Gilded cage to another?

Shaking his head he considered the situation and decided it was best not to worry about it, not until he knew more, and that meant helping the boys and Noa get the hell out of there. In the end what the agency didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.
“Maybe,“ said Alphonse as he entered Edward’s and Noa’s bedroom. “We should go to Cardiff, it is in Wales.”

Edward rifled though his desk, lifting up loose sheets of crumpled paper, examining them and tossing them in the waste bin. “Stonehenge or the Tower of London are better possibilities.” Edward removed his leather notebook and dropped it into his open suitcase.

“There are many ghost stories about the tower of London.” Noa added. She folded a set of blouses, and a few of Edward’s shirts before adding them to the pile in the suitcase. “Dickens was a hypnotist as well as a writer wasn’t he?”

Nodding enthusiastically, Alphonse poked though the book shelves, and removed the oncology book. He joined his brother and handed him the book. “He was actually fascinated with spiritualism and did a great deal of research in the field.” Alphonse quickly explained. “In his memoirs he talks about an experience he had in Cardiff and a haunted funeral home.”

Edward rolled his eyes, slamming the suitcase shut, and sitting on it in an attempt to force it to latch. “Not that I think it is a bad idea,“ The suitcase beneath him was stuffed and unfortunately his weight wasn’t enough to close it. The blond alchemist bounced on it a few times before getting up sufficient force to close it. “But I’m a tad skeptical about these writers who get involved with spiritualists. Look at Doyle.”

Sighing, Alphonse hung his head. Edward had not forgiven Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for abandoning all rationality and the scientific method in his advocation of the existence of fairies. “He is not Doyle, and I am sorry Doyle does not live up to his fictional hero Sherlock Holmes.”

“Did I pack that?” Edward asked looked around the room.

“Pack what?” Alphonse inquired.

Edward jumped off his suitcase and glanced around the room. “My Sherlock Holmes collection?”

Shaking her head, Noa came to his side and hit him gently on the head with a small black leather book. “No, put it in your pocket. It’s hardly necessary you know.”

Grabbing the book, Edward shoved it into the pocket of his heavy frock coat. “It’s the last volume.” He said sharply. “And I’ll be damned if I don’t finish the thing before I… die.”

Brother was talking about death now. Alphonse bowed his head, debating whether it was a good thing that Edward accepted his illness was undeniably terminal. “I have alchemy, Brother.” Alphonse reminded him. “I’ll help you.”

“You know nothing about medicine, Al.” Edward wearily sat in his chair. “But we will discuss that later.”

Noa rubbed her arms, apparently uncomfortable with the conversation. “So…Doyle is perfectly acceptable in books…”

“I didn’t say he was a bad writer.” Edward remarked, smartly. “I think he’s a BAD scientist. And…I like Holmes… He… kind of makes me think of Hughes, well when he wasn’t babbling about that damned kid of his.”

Elisia, Alphonse wondered if Alter Hughes and Alter Gracia would have a daughter. “Back to Dickens,” the boy started. “He’s hardly Doyle, and his information on the haunting in Cardiff really coincides with our work. He mentioned a rift there and how it was the source of the
ghosts.” He felt giddy. “You know brother, it sounds familiar.”

Edward propped his feet up on the coffee table, and pulled his frock coat over his lap. “Jack gave you that, didn’t he?”

“Yes he did.” Alphonse informed. “In fact, I am sure he did it quite deliberately.”

Edward nodded, rubbing his chin. “He knows something, Al.”

It was a conclusion Alphonse had come to as well. But what did Jack know? “Did you speak to him about it? Certainly that book he gave you was very advanced. Perhaps…” The boy licked his lips. “Perhaps he
comes from the future. I mean we know passing though the gate can effect time as well as space.”

Outside the wind howled, and chill filled the room. Edward sank deeper into his leather chair. “It’s possible. Than my next question is, if he comes from the future, what the hell does we want with us?”

It was a very good question. “We’ll have to ask him.” Alphonse grabbed Edward’s old red coat from the closet and pulled it on. Odd, he had been the one wearing it, why did the Kaiser have his staff put it in Edward’s closet? “It’s a clue, like everything else.” He then paused looking over at Noa. “Noa, did you put my coat with Edward’s things?”

Noa shook her head. “No. I did not. Why did you ask?”

“You and Edward are the only other people who know Edward owned that coat.” Alphonse replied. He looked to his brother for conformation. The young man’s brow wrinkled with concern. “None of the servants did.”

“Envy does.” Edward answered. “I think this confirms it. Rudolph was in charge of where the servants put things.” He swiveled his glance to Al. “That changes things, Al. I don’t want you fighting him. He’ll kill you.”

“He will kill us both, Brother.” Alphonse was worried about Envy but it was even more reason for them to leave. Especially now that Edward was doing much better. “The Gate sent him I think.” Al said softly. “It knows he’ll stop at nothing to make sure you and I die.”

Nodding, Edward folded his arms. “Than you think he is here to make sure you and I pay our debts. To the gate?”

Alphonse shrugged. “It’s the only reasonable solution, Brother. Noa, what do you think?”

The woman sat down on the bed, drawing her knees up, worry on her dark features. “I can’t say, Alphonse. I know nothing about the gate, or this Envy. Are you asking me to use my power?”

Before he answered there was a knock at the door. The little group tensed looking at each other. It was easy to lie about the coats. Alphonse often walked the courtyard, as did Noa. But the luggage was an entirely different affair. Alphonse grabbed the suitcase and went to shove it into the closet, when the doors opened.

“Good morning!” It was Jack!

The three of them relaxed, as the tall, blue-eyed man entered the room, looking as cheerful and in control as ever.
Well, that would change, Al thought, but he trusted Jack could deal with it.

“Good morning?” Edward plopped irritably into his chair he folded his arms, trying to look annoyed that the man was there. “What is so damned good about it?”

Jack stopped, in front of Edward’s chair, attention straying to the suitcase in the closet and the coats. He lifted a brow, curious and turned his gaze to Al who rocked from foot to foot in front of the closet. “Going some place?”

Shoving his hands in the pockets of his black trousers, Alphonse walked to Jack and looked up. He tried to give one of his most harmless expressions. “Yes, tonight, midnight, when they change guards at the main entrance. We are leaving, I trust you have a automobile?”

“Eh?” Jack blinked, staring down at the boy. Alphonse could have sworn the man’s jaw would have fallen off. “Leaving?”

“Yes.” Alphonse confirmed. “Tonight.”

“Leaving tonight?” Jack repeated. His gaze lifted, flickering to Edward and Noa, Alphonse detected a bit of a strain in his voice. He looked back to Alphonse eyes wide with surprise. “Tonight?”

“What’s your problem, Harkness?” Edward demanded in his normally impatient voice. “Can’t hear? He said, tonight, at midnight, we’re blowing this joint.” The Alchemist folded his arms, and for a moment, Alphonse swore he could see the Fullmetal Alchemist glinting from behind his gaze.

Sighing, Jack threw his hands up in the air. “What the hell are you guys talking about? Are you crazy? We have no weapons, no safe house, no damned tickets out of the county and no goddamn reservations for an overseas cruise!”

Alphonse felt a pang of hurt. Of course they were unprepared, but he and Edward had traveled with enemies hot on their heels before. “Jack, please, we have to leave tonight.” He said, “And we need you.”

“Why? Why tonight?” exasperated, Jack plopped down on the corner of the bed, next to Noa, gaze shifting from Al to Edward. Al didn’t blame him; Jack probably was strained from planning their last minute escape on Friday.

“People.” Edward informed, features narrowed with determination. “There will be too many people here. If Al is forced to use his alchemy, some one will get hurt. We can’t afford that.” He came to a stand, and walked over to Jack. “Al scoped out the place. Tonight is our best bet; security won’t be increased and… If you are up to something, than you’ll have to work a little harder to do it…”

Hand it to Edward to be blunt and undiplomatic. Alphonse sighed. “Jack, you have to understand…”

“You have no reason to trust me?” Jack sounded as if it was a fact, rather than injured by the remark. He folded his arms. “You haven’t said anything, Noa.”

The woman looked him in the eye, her hand dropping on Jack’s. Her eyes flickered wide for a moment. “I know you mean well, Jack, but how can you expect us to trust you, when you have told us nothing about yourself. Yes, I agree with Alphonse and my husband. We leave tonight.
I am sorry it makes all the work you’ve done for nothing.”

Her husband, Alphonse felt a little surprised. Noa was more accepting of the Kaiser’s arrangement than he thought. It was probable the woman did have feelings for Edward, and Edward was as always completely blind to them.

“Yeah, to put it mildly.” Jack sighed, shaking his head. “So let me guess, you’re feeling better, Al?”

Jack placed a hand on Alphonse’s head, feeling his brow. Al didn’t mind. Jack was genuinely concerned. The fever broke the other day, though Alphonse wasn’t sure when; he had been traipsing about the castle spying on the Kaiser at the time, while his body was under the effects of opium.
“No fever.”

“Good you had me scared to death after the other night.” Jack dropped his hand away. “I assume you’ve been using Alchemy?”

“Yes. So, you understand now?” Alphonse asked. He touched Jack’s shoulder with his cast-free hand. “They won’t expect this. And I am very ready. Jack, for brother’s sake, we have to leave. I can’t delay anymore.”

The argument was over. Jack nodded. “Ok, Al, you win. I gather you have a plan? I do have an automobile and I know the way out of here. It’s just finding a safe place to hide until we can leave the country. I was making arrangements.” He looked down. “Boy, my contacts are going to be really pissed off.”

“Make new ones when we leave.” Edward retorted. “Look, we have an enemy, we’re pretty sure is here. I’m sure you know a little more about us….”

“Envy. Yes, that day you went ballistic on the Kaiser, accusing him of poisoning you.”

Alphonse smiled. “Do you use future machines to hear what we say, Jack?” He asked hoping he hadn’t offended the man. He saw Jack’s features pale.

“You kids don’t miss a trick, do you?” Jack came to a stand. He seemed more amused than anything. “Safer that you guys don’t know. Ok, tonight. “ He said winking at Alphonse. “I’ll make sure some of the guys are a little distracted. You really think this Envy guy’s going
to be a problem?”

It was a loaded question. Alphonse watched his brother’s face harden as he answered the question. “Yes, and he won’t give a damn who he’s going to take out to achieve what he wants.”

“The problem is,” Alphonse picked up after his brother, “we have no idea what he wants. So it is best to be cautious. But yes, brother is right, he’s a big problem and our only real obstacle.”

“Shit.” Al wasn’t sure whether Jack was swearing because of the Envy situation or whether because Alphonse implied nothing in the castle would be able to stop them; save for Envy. “Then you guys better fill me in, because I have a hell of a lot of work to do…”
It was midnight.

With his soul settled in the suit of armor near the kitchen, Alphonse Elric could see Hans as he stood against the door to Edward’s room. He had already dealt with the guard in the library and Jack was behind the painting, securing the passageway. The passage itself was one of the few places Al couldn’t see.

Without much effort, Alphonse easily directed his attention to the bits of his soul scattered in the armor throughout the castle. He saw each room, ranging from the halls to the kitchen easily by just searching for the part of his soul deposited there.

The boy shifted his thoughts from the tower hall to the Kaiser’s office. It was empty. The Kaiser had retired to his room and was sitting up in bed talking to a blond lady friend.

Rudolph walked the hall, inspecting the guards at the entrance of the castle and those patrolling the halls. They were all armed with machine guns, and pistols.

There were a total of 70 guards in the castle and 50 more out in the grounds. The servants had retired home or into their quarters.

Only Rudolph seemed to be on duty and as far as Alphonse could see, the man never slept.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The guard shifts were now in the process of debriefing before they changed.

It was time.

“Excuse me, Hans?” He called out, listening to the ghostly echo of his disembodied voice.

The security guard looked perplexed. His attention swiveled from the door, to Al’s bedroom to the hallway. That was right. Al knew for certain Hans hadn’t seen him leave his room. The man would be seriously confused.

Which was very good for him. “That’s right, down here…”

Opening his suit jacket, Hans placed his hand on the butt of his gun and started to cautiously walk down the hall. “All right kid, how the hell did you get out of your room? Heck I just looked in on you ten minutes ago and you were sleeping.”

He didn’t answer. Rather he stood motionless and watched the man slowly walk up the hall. Hans paused in front of the kitchen, and looked at the armor, face frowning. He scratched the back of his head, troubled. “I could have sworn that little brat’s voice was coming from here.”

Swearing to himself, Hans unlocked the kitchen door, and opened it. The room was dark and Al faintly saw the dark lines of the kitchen counter, icebox and pantry.

“I’m here, Hans.” Alphonse cheerfully announced. It was amusing to see the man spin around, now wide eyed. He was spooked and fumbled out his gun, hands shaking. He tried to release the catch on his trigger. “Ok, kid, this isn’t funny….” He reached out to the suit of armor, and
flipped open the faceplate. “Empty?”

Alphonse, lifted a hand, and gave the man a shy wave. “Hello Hans how are you this evening?”

Terror widened Han’s eyes and he stumbled back. He wiped his gun out, clumsily taking aim at the armor. Alphonse was fast; his hand came down on the gun and wrenched it from the man. “Oh no, Hans, you don’t
want to do that. You’ll hurt yourself.” With a quick flick of his wrist, the gun went skittering down the hall, while his other hand came down hard on the back of Han’s head.

The guard crumpled into a heap on the floor.

It was too easy, and Alphonse chided himself for playing with him the way he did, but he couldn’t resist. Hans hadn’t been very kind to him. After making sure the man was still breathing, he deposited Hans into the kitchen and Alchemically sealed the door so it wouldn’t open until he wanted it to open.

A grinding noise turned his attention to the painting as the wall opened up and Jack Harkness poked his head out. “Jesus!” He shouted, stepping backwards. His eyes widened! “What in God’s name?”

Waving his hands Alphonse ventured a step. “It’s me, Alphonse, Jack. Don’t worry. Is the area secure?”

Catching his breath, Jack placed his hands on his knees, and nodded. “You scared the hell out of me kid…” He stared up, blue eyes sharp and flickering now with curiosity. “Alchemy?”

“Alchemy,” Al replied.

Straightening, Jack nodded. He ran a hand though his short brown hair uneasily. “Yes, the area is secure. Ok? I took out the passage’s security patrols. I even managed to get that damn suitcase of your brother’s out to the car without being seen. I think we’ve got to go now before they notice they’re gone.”

Yes Jack was right. “Ok.” Alphonse moved the armor back to its place. If he controlled all the armor in the castle he needed to split his soul. In order to do that, Alphonse Elric needed to be in his own body. “There is a gun down the hall; give it to brother. I’ll be out in a moment.”

The last thing he saw was Jack’s puzzled face as the room faded from view.

Opening his eyes, Alphonse saw a nose sniffing at him, and the curious and concerned features of Einstein. The poor animal cocked its head, face almost appearing confused. A little dazed, the boy dropped his hand on the kitten’s head, and stroked him reassuringly. “We’re leaving now, Einstein.” He informed him with a faint smile. Slowly he
stood up. His clothes and books were packed in Edward’s suitcase. All he needed to bring was Einstein and he was ready to go.

Scooping up the kitten, he deposited the animal on his shoulders and quickly slid off the bed. A part of his mind was on the guards and various rooms in the castle. As a result, he had to make an extra effort to filter the confusing images from his mind to walk without stumbling. He had never possessed so many armors and so many different
places before and was surprised he wasn’t even more distracted.

He opened the door and stepped out into the hall.

The guards were no longer working on debriefing and were taking their stations at the doors and or patrolling the halls. Rudolph talked to one of the men stationed in the hall leading to the chapel.

“Al?” Edward’s voice said, drawing him back to their tower. Both Edward and Noa stood before Jack in their winter coats. In Edward’s hand was Hans’ gun. A confident glint flared in Edward’s golden eyes. The older alchemist turned the weapon around, checking the barrel and ammunition. Alphonse swore the older boy was eager for a fight. “We’re ready.”

“Alphonse,” concern filled Noa’s words as she quickly raced to Alphonse’s side and grabbed his coat sleeve. “Are you sure this is wise?” She asked, staring at the boy. “No man’s mind is capable of so many tasks at once.”

Forcing a weak smiled Al sighed. “It will be difficult, but I promise they won’t come after us. Please trust me Noa. It’s the only way.”

He gave her a reassuring pat on the hand, and led her to the passageway.

Jack lifted a brow, watching him. “You’re still jacked in to those armors aren’t you?”

The word jacked in was foreign to him. Alphonse looked at Jack inquisitively. “I’m monitoring what they see.” He explained. He twirled a finger in the air. “It’s difficult, but I have them ordered in my head. It’s when they move I may have a problem!” He informed. He eased from Noa, looking her in the eye. The woman didn’t need to see
his thoughts, and be confused by them.

Breathing deeply, Alphonse Elric, placed his hands together, and commanded his Alchemical abilities. “Step back everyone. It’s time…”

He touched the armor before the painting, and sent a spark of energy through its body, and down the walls of the castle. He had never had such control before, not in the past, but he had gazed deep within the gateway as well as accepted his father’s soul as a part of his own. He
had knowledge and understanding now that not even Edward had when it came to the gateway.

For a moment his vision blurred, and he became a little disoriented from the influx of information flooding him. Not only was he looking though their eyes, he was moving the armor out from their alcoves in the library and marching them into the hall.

The armor before the painting came to life.

Alphonse Elric gave a mischievous smirk. He now had a small army to distract the guards and there was more to come.

He was impressed. Edward Elric walked cautiously behind Jack Harkness attention shifting from Al, to the 6 suits of armor flanking them front and back. The other suits he sent into the adjoining passage to search for the unconscious guards and to tend to Hans. The boy had grown powerful over the years, and Edward was worried. It wasn’t the
control over the armor; Alphonse had perfected his ability to possess armors by detaching his soul in Amestris, it was his ability to see though so many at the same time, and process the information.

It was as if the truth had opened his mind to something far more than the understanding of Alchemy. It had changed him.

Or had it? Edward set his jaw, looking at the boy as he walked beside Noa. He had always assumed the gate allowed him to crossover without being possessed by gatelings because of Alphons’s death. Now he was
sure it was because of the Gate’s desire to make their souls a part of it.

But was there something more?

“Something wrong Ed?” Jack asked looking down at him. “You look a little pale. We could have one of these…” He gestured to the armor. “Errrr, friends of your brother carry you…”

Annoyed, Edward waved his gun at Jack. “I don’t need to be carried.” He glanced at Al. The boy was drifting behind Noa, gaze dark with determination. “It’s Al,” he whispered. “He’s…stronger than I thought.”

It was putting it mildly, but he didn’t want to give Jack any more information than he wanted. Perhaps the man was there for Al, and that was why he made the effort of being so cozy with the boy.

Jack shrugged, “Well, you know what they say, Ed.” He smiled slyly. “Big things come in little packages.” The man slapped Edward’s bottom with a broad hand, pushing him along. “Ok, now, lets get that little ass of yours out of here, before they catch on…”

Little ass…

Did he have a little ass? Edward felt his jaw tighten and his brow twitched.

He called him little.

Not only that, Jack touched his ass….

The Alchemist’s features warmed and his eyes widened. This wasn’t the time or the place to lose his temper, but he couldn’t just let Jack call, talk, pat… His little… package? Was he referring to his ass?

Or his…

Edward’s tightened his fists and picked up his pace so he was beside the tall security guard. “My ass is not…”

“It is.” Jack cut him off firmly. “This is not the time to discuss this Edward…” The man looked down, face sympathetic “It’s a nice little ass, ok, Ed.”

What the FUCK? “I’m not little!” Edward felt his anger rise.

Jack threw up his hands. “What, you want a big ass? That’s your problem, not mine, kid. I happen to like guys with little asses, but hey, whatever you want. Eat more, and you’ll get yourself a nice big ass…”

Edward Elric was speechless. How did this discussion get out of his control? Not just that, how did his ass become the topic? It was about little right? Jack has called him small… Edward worked his jaw, absolutely befuddled. “It’s not about my ass…”

“Well we’re not talking about Al’s or Noa’s.” Jack remarked sharply. “Ed, can it… Before you get yourself all worked up about it.” He gave a signal and the giants in front and behind them slowed to a stop. “Thanks, Al.”

A set of stairs loomed before them. Edward recalled walking down them in the past. It was dark, save for the ghostly light wavering from the gas light lamps hanging on the wall. Shadows crawled across the pathway as the faint moonlight from the window above cast its eerie glow on the strange group.

“Jack.” Alphonse stepped up, beside Edward. “Stop teasing my brother. You are having far too much fun at his expense.” Gently, the boy put a hand on Edward’s shoulder and squeezed it. “I am fine, brother. Don’t
worry about me. You look tired. Do you need to rest?”

Edward couldn’t help but suddenly feel like he was the younger sibling. He must have looked tired. Than again, he had a particularly bad bout with chemo that morning so of course Al was worried. “I feel strong as a horse, Al.” He said, slapping the boy on the back. The blow was strong enough to make Al stumble a step. “Don’t be concerned
for me!”

Jack side glanced the two of them and waved his gun impatiently. “Ok, quiet! Do you guys understand? From here on we’ll be moving out of the tower.”

Noa touched Edward’s shoulder with her fingers. “I am sure they understand. Don’t you Edward?”

The woman was almost as bad as Alphonse. Edward looked up at his wife and gave a strained smile. She was right. He would have to control his temper. It was just damned impossible with Harkness around. Something
about the man just irked him. “I can control myself.” Edward pushed past Noa and started down the stairs. He just didn’t have to like it. “No SHORT jokes, get that Harkness!?”

“Got it.” Amused the security guard rolled his eyes.

Out of the corner of his eye, Ed watched while Jack passed him and ducked by the stationary suits of armor. To his surprise, a hand closed about the Alchemist’s coat and dragged him back up a step. “Which means, you stay in the center and out of trouble, and listen to orders, get it ED?”

Gritting his teeth, Edward nodded. It was damned unfair, being reduced to some helpless bystander who needed to be rescued and rescued by a man he utterly despised. Well sort of despised. Yanking his coat out of Jack’s grasp, Edward stepped back behind the man, and folded his
arms. “Ja, I get it.”

“Good. Now, Al, make your buddies here, walk… Quietly.” Jack gestured to the armor.

Nodding excitedly, Alphonse smirked. “Yes sir, we can sneak… That will be easy…”

Not even a moment of concentration, and the boy commanded the suits to walk stealthily down the stairs on their tiptoes. Well, at least Al still had his sense of humor and the bewildered look on Jack’s face was worth it. The man looked skyward, gestured with his gun and
mouthed the words why me before taking off down the stairs after the empty suits. Resigned, Edward followed, Noa and Al not far from him.

Al had never thought quite like this before. There were so many things to do all at once. He, Edward, Noa, and Jack were continuing down the secret passage. He was also in the chapel, and the main hallway, and the offices, and a lot of other places… pretty much the whole castle. You know, he thought to himself, before I saw into the Gate, I would
never have even been able to understand this. Now, seeing through a hundred pairs of eyes a hundred different views (including seven different views of the secret hallway) was just … difficult, not confusing.

Enough of the musing. Time to act, before they came out into the firing line. As his human body continued down the passageway, all throughout the castle, a hundred suits of armor stepped forward at the same instant. The reactions were the same, whether from a servant in the their quarters or a hardened soldier at the front entrance: widened eyes, and a shout of disbelief. Servants fled before him, but
Al wasn’t letting them get far. Not that he wanted to really hurt anyone… well, not too many people… but he had to make sure they were gone. The soldiers began firing. Al felt the various bodies he inhabited jiggle and twitch. It tickled.

“We’re getting close to the exit.” Jack whispered. On his shoulders, Einstein perked up, looking at Jack as Al nodded, showing no sign of what he was doing. He didn’t want them to worry.

Unfortunately for the soldiers, putting little holes in living armor didn’t really bother it much. They screamed as the hulking metallic forms grabbed them with inhuman strength, stripping the weapons away and breaking them like toothpicks. For a moment, Al was looking out of
windows on all sides of the castle, seeing in all directions
simultaneously, and then he was looking down all sides of the main castle, watching screaming people plummeting into the moat below. Belatedly, Al wondered if they all could swim. Too late to reconsider now. Besides, the others would probably help them. He went back for another group of people. He had to empty the castle fast.

“Okay… get ready; there could be guards right outside the door.” Jack and Ed readied themselves. So did Al, although he knew the way was already clear. No point in trying to explain, and it was a little difficult to focus on this many things at once.

There, only a few stragglers left. The tiptoeing armors led the way out of the secret passage. Out into the open. “What the hell’s going on in the castle?” Ed demanded suddenly. Al listened with his living body’s ears. In the distance were curses and screams… a few gunshots,
but almost instantly silenced. Then a few splashing noises and more shouts, but almost all in the distance. It was interesting to compare what he and Ed were hearing with what he was seeing at the same time. Wow, he thought. Sound really does travel slowly. “I’m sorry about
this, Herr Kaiser,” he said to the bug-eyed man under his one arm. “And you, Fraulein,” to the blonde girl he’d found in the same bed with Kaiser. “But you really don’t want to be in this castle right now.”

The Kaiser’s eyes narrowed as he recognized the voice, and he suddenly laughed; a short, explosive sound. “I see. Totally outmaneuvered on every front by a child. I salute you, Herr Elric.”

“Thank you, sir. Sorry again, but this won’t be comfortable.”


The curse, the accompanying feminine scream, and final resounding splash, echoed first in his metal “ears” and then, a second or so later, in his flesh ones. That’s the last of them.

Ed was now staring at him as they approached the car, still
unmolested. “Al… Al, what did you do?”

“Made sure we were safe, brother. Hold on.”

He sent the armors back into the castle. The first bedraggled soldiers and servants were starting to drag themselves out of the moat, but without weapons they weren’t going to be a threat. The armors positioned themselves throughout the castle, in a pattern that he’d
made sure to calculate three times, just to be sure. Then he clapped his hands together, a hundred pairs of hands clapping as one… and then through the soul marking on each armor, transmuted steel and air to thermite and nitroglycerine.

A thunderous roar split the night from a hundred points around the castle. The great pile of masonry shuddered, and then slowly, majestically collapsed inward, walls falling towards the center, dungeons sagging down to their floors, until the sides of the moat cracked and the water drained away.

Jack stared at the still-settling pile of dust-choked rubble as they got into the car. “Some day I have to teach you boys the meaning of the word ‘subtle’,” he said.

Removing Einstein from his shoulders, Alphonse gently placed him in Jack’s car. “They wouldn’t understand subtle,” he replied while he climbed in, followed closely by Edward and Noa. “Now, let's go.”
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