Spoilers: Movie and possible end of series
Rating: a HARD G
Characters: Ed, Al and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Type of fic: Historical silliness and Fluff
Warnings: None, unless you come across some grammer my beta reader missed.
Sound traveled well. It was a brilliant display of acoustic physics, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. Beside him, Alphonse Elric shifted nervously, looking around the tall book stacks and hordes of people milling about in the great high ceilinged hall of the London branch library. It was a vast square room with marble walls covered with display cases and artwork. The main desk was to the side, and one of the head librarians looked up from stamping her books and watched them with suspicion in her gaze.
They had waited in line for three hours to see this man, and Edward was now about to insult the hell out of him.
The elegant gray-haired Englishman fingered his curled mustache and gazed up at Edward, features puzzled. “Hmm? I thought you loved the Sherlock Holmes mysteries? In fact, hadn’t you just said a moment ago you were my biggest fan?”
Edward‘s brow twitched. Impatient, he tapped the book in front of the man. “Yes, yes, that hasn’t changed, Dr. Doyle. Holmes is one of the greatest literary detectives in Victorian literature. I am one of your biggest fans. If you could sign the title page please…”
“Yes, yes, of course, Professor Edward Elric, isn’t it?” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle flipped the book open to the title page, and scrawled his name.
“Edward Elric. “ Edward folded his arms. He looked up at Al, who stood a good three inches over his head now. “And Alphonse Elric, my brother.”
Lifting a brow, Doyle stopped writing and meet Edward’s gaze with a flicker of wonder in his eyes. “I swear that name sounds familiar. How do I disappoint you?”
The woman standing behind them, whispered to one of her companions and poked Al with the tip of her parasol. Apparently the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Appreciation Society was getting impatient. Or were they annoyed that Edward was daring to criticize their patron?
Alphonse nudged Edward’s foot, staring at him with disapproval. It wasn’t a great secret; everyone knew Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's occult hobby had taken a great deal of his fortune, and time. He traveled all over, researching everything, from ghosts, to the existence of fairies. “Brother likes your writing sir, it’s very good. He loves the Challenger books as do I!”
“Fairies.” Blurted out Edward, ignoring Al’s attempt to save face to Victorian Literature’s greatest author. “How in hell can the creator of one of literatures greatest proponents of critical thinking…” The corners of Edward’s mouth twitched into a slight frown. “Advocate the existence of Tinker Bell.”
There was a gasp from the woman behind them, but it was drowned out by the note of agony in Edward’s voice. “Dr. Doyle, my brother is a scientist, and well, he was rather upset with your 1921 publication of The Coming of Fairies. Nothing against your ability to write. The writing was quite good…I enjoyed it immensely. ” Alphonse struggled with damage control.
Doyle looked to Edward, than to Alphonse. His brow knit with a mixture of puzzlement and indignity. Troubled, he spun the book around. “Professor ... Elric you said?”
Conscious of the whispers from the line behind them, Alphonse watched his brother’s face. They had just insulted a man knighted by the monarchy and he wondered how much longer it would be before the library had them dragged out or when enraged fans would lynch them.
“Yes, Elric.” Edward straightened his bow tie, and fell into awkward silence.
Doyle said his name under his breath, tapping his chin with his pen. “Professor Elric? Of the London University? Did you write a paper about the usage of electro-magnetism in the measurement of psychical energies?”
Edward shifted, features paling. “Ah… Yes. It was nothing really, just a hypothesis I am currently researching.” He was sweating. “My father did some work with Karl Haushoffer before he died. I just finished it with some research of my own.”
Doyle’s features brightened and he clapped his hands together.. “Why yes! I saw your father talk about using mediums to locate paranormal disturbances and possible dimensional instabilities! Why a good friend of mine, Sir Arthur Lodge would love to have you speak at one of the ASOPR meetings! Or perhaps a lecture at tea!” Excited he slapped Edward on the back and shook his hand enthusiastically. “Why, Professor Elric, I’m very fascinated with your work! It’s a pleasure to meet you!”
Edward swallowed and Al covered his mouth to repress a flurry of giggles. This wasn’t going the way they planned, but it was better than being tossed out because Edward’s disdain for fairies….
“Tea? My work? It’s fringe… Hardly science…. Why…”
“We’d be delighted!” Alphonse said, swiftly. He wrapped an arm around his brother, and grabbed Ed’s book from the table. There was quite a stir from the women behind them, and he needed to get Edward out of there before the elder Elric caused a riot. “Why brother could talk hours about his work!” He slipped a paper card from his wallet and handed it to Mr. Doyle. “Our address and telephone number. Feel free to contact us anytime you’d like!”
Edward was blinking, stunned, even as Al dragged him away from the table, past the line of onlookers and down the great library steps to the street, where they stood in puzzled silence. “It’s because of men like me, a brilliant man knighted by the queen is wasting their lives chasing fantasies.” Edward sighed aghast. He hung his head low, face tormented.
Adjusting his suit, Al shrugged. He didn’t see a problem. “Yes, Brother, but everyone has a right to their dreams. Even if they are about Tinker Bell. And you should be happy you're finishing father’s work helped to guide a man’s dreams.” He patted his brother on his back and glanced at his watch. “Well, it’s still early and my classes don’t start until later so, why don’t we get ourselves a drop of tea?”
“But Al, it’s all poppycock!” Puffing out air, Ed held up his complete stories of Sherlock Holmes and opened to the title page. It read, To Edward, terribly sorry you don’t believe in fairies but as long as long as magic and other realities exist, the fairies will believe in you.
“Tea.” Edward muttered, shoving the book in his frock coat pocket. “That’s a bloody understatement. Scotch, that’s more like it. I just hope to God, queen and country can forgive me for my work someday!”