Title: "On the Wings of a Dream" - Chapter 1: Part 1
Authors:theregaltigress and crazyloststar
Characters: This: Ed and Al, (The Rest of the Fic: Riza, Roy, Havoc, and more. :) )
Rating: This Chapter: PG-13 (due to the comedic subtext), (The Highest Rating of the Rest of the Fic: R)
Genre: AU (sky_dark's BLTA AU, to be precise), Humor, Romance, Fluff, Drama, Angst
Pairing(s): Roy/Ed, Al/Riza (pending), Havoc/OC (implied in future chapters)
Length of this Chapter: 8,557 words
Length of the (Edited) Story to Date: 27,548 words
As this fic is inspired from sky_dark's BLTA (("On the Wings of a Dream" takes place somewhere approximately between BLTA Chapters 7 and 9, so it is a 'tweener fic), so if you haven't read that far into her wonderful fic, you might find a few spoilers within. To get the full impact of this story series, familiarity with "The Adventures of Roy Mustang: Sex Ed Teacher" and its continuation, "Better Living Through Alchemy" would be particularly helpful, but if you aren't, hopefully we can get you up to speed. :) This is based on sky_dark's unique AU "take" on the end of the series, so there are some post-episode 51 "whiffs" and flickers of some movie backstory within the story as a whole. Obviously, since we are not sky_dark, this is not canon to BLTA, but as writers we are trying to stay as true to the characters/events in it as we possibly can. :)
There is a high likelihood that we'll post sketches, cosplay, and other art inspired from this fic and it's inspiration too. :) Ah, creativity!
CHAPTER 1: PART 1 (Includes Summary/Prologue) + Art
CHAPTER 1: PART 2
CHAPTER 2 + Art
CHAPTERS 5 - 8+: Editing in Progress
APPX. CHAPTER 9: Riza(/Al) Ficlet
APPX. CHAPTER 10: Al/Riza Ficlet
(Very Brief) Summery:
At last Alphonse Elric's memory has been restored! He has been reunited with his brother, and all seems generally right in the world. Alphonse's 22nd Birthday is approaching, but considering the way his life has gone, the age of his body still lags somewhat behind at nearly 18 years of age. The approaching celebration is particularly important since it will mean Alphonse's retirement from military service as a State Alchemist, where he had once worked only to be reunited with his brother. In the years since, he has continued to work under Colonel Riza Hawkeye, admiring her as a friend and confidad, and growing what would otherwise amount to a rather hefty crush.
Edward seems to have made it his solemn duty to ensure that the two of them grow into more than just "work friends," and he has no quams in trying to rope in Roy('Pirate')'s advice in order to make sure his little brother can get the complete happiness Ed feels he rightly deserves.
But there's a lot more lurking under the surface all around. Many unasked questions still lie silently between the brothers that continue to prevent them from fully-connecting as they once did in the past...
Note on the Included Sketch: This sketch was whipped out in about 5 minutes, and I just loved the "loose" quality of it, so I decided to stick with it. :) Future chapters will have more "refined" art included. ^_^
And MOST of all: Enjoy the Story!
CHAPTER 1: PART 1
The sun above played tag with passing clouds, while somewhere far below two brothers sat at the bright red and white outdoor patio of a favored ramen restaurant.
It was spring outside East City, and the birds, for one, knew it. They sang out in flocks and pairs around the patio, darting in for the scraps of food that had slipped to the cement floor. Now and then they would indulge in fleeting moments of half-frenzied feasting when the casual customer had gotten up from their table to unwittingly abandon their previous claim to their food.
Crowds of people maneuvered about the pebbled noonday street, separated only from the makeshift patio and the “wildlife” within by an ornate iron railing.
Casually dressed for once, Alphonse Elric took a bit of crust from his bread and tossed it to an eagerly-awaiting (but somewhat undersized) sparrow. A smile played over his features as he turned his head back to his bowl of ramen and looked across the table at his older brother. He couldn't help but be struck that some things about Edward had changed... but by the looks of it, his eating habits were certainly not one of them.
It was pasta and meat sauce for both of them, and it was with strictest insistence that Al had told his brother he was treating him: after all, it was somewhat of a rarity for Ed to make it all the way out to visit him in East City considering the combined work schedules of both Pirate and "Professor Elric."
Alphonse watched his brother a moment and shook his head before continuing work on his own portion. While it had been many years since he lived as a hollow suit of armor, his appreciation for his favorite food hadn't diminished in the least. In fact, he found like so many other things in life, he had a finer appreciation for it now.
But watching his brother stuffing his face ... Al couldn't help but groan, "I'd really have thought all that time around Pirate would have somehow 'impacted' your eating habits," the younger brother casually observed, "there's nowhere we need to rush off to, you know. How can you even taste it?"
Ed was holding the bowl by the bottom, and had his face very close to the noodles. It seemed like no matter when, this was just the best food. Ever. And Al paying for it made it even better. But at Al’s comment about his eating “habits”, Ed looked up over the edge of the bowl, noodles just floating before his mouth.
“I’m not in a hurry. Just hungry-- And there is nothing wrong with the way I eat!” He huffed and sat down his bowl. “Why should I eat like Roy? Just because we are…” he realized they were sitting out in a restaurant and brought his tone down just a bit, “around each other all the time, doesn’t mean I should take on his fancy schmancy habits.” At this last bit he waved his hands in the air, looking like a conductor.
The younger brother’s face now had a bit of a smirk to it. Conversationally he responded, "Well, I wouldn't expect you to model how you eat EXACTLY off of him, but..." he paused for a moment, considering his words, "...I would have thought at some point he would have .... "suggested" learning some proper habits, considering the people he has to interact with because of his work and all."
Al seemed to remember as a child he had been one to gobble down his food as well, though never with the voracity of his brother. At the present time, however, he found his own gentlemanly eating habits to be a mark of adulthood, and something he took exceptional pride in when dining with company such as the Colonel.
His mind started to teeter off when he looked back to Edward, the seeming antithesis of refined ... anything.
Ed stiffened up and lifted his chin into the air. "For your information, I do just fine at Roy’s gatherings. I don’t know why you are complaining. If you don’t like the way I eat just don’t pay attention to it. Roy doesn’t complain."
Actually, the General did, but Al was going to have to drag the truth of that out of his dead body. Ed always counteracted the complaints by doing something that led to the bedroom, be it his foot trailing up Roy's leg, or trying to feed Roy some of the food.
But of course, again, he would never tell Al that his way of eating was sometimes a way of him getting some.
Ed instead picked up his bowl and commenced eating. This time, he made sure to make even more of a mess than before.
Make fun of my eating, I’ll show you. He studied al trying to get a read of something to berate him for.
"....Brother...." Alphonse drolled, "it's hard NOT to pay attention to it. And I _have_ heard him complain, besides."
He watched Ed "eat," if you could call it that, and a hint of repulsion was not unmistakable in Al’s features. It took him a moment to recover himself before he continued. It was like having an angry, blond wolverine as a brother.
And a wolverine without table manners.
"It's almost as if you find some sick pleasure in making a scene for yourself sometimes," he sighed, "don't you have any IDEA how embarrassing that is?”
Alphonse tried inevitably to reason with the wolverine, ”I mean, it's tricky enough around most company that you and Pirate have to keep..." he made a gesture with his hand, "...a bit private, but I just don't understand why you have to insist to be like 'this' even around formal company. It reflects badly on everyone. Especially yourself."
Al decided he would keep the wolverine comment to himself.
That made the bowl drop. He complained? Ed could feel the heat of anger rushing to his cheeks, and dropped both hands to his thighs, clenching them into fists. He decided he would deal with the General and his wonderful thoughts on his etiquette later. Right now. . .
"I embarrass you Al?" said through slightly gritted teeth, an eyebrow raises slightly. Fists clench tighter, then released. Then the sound of hands clapping together came out from under the table, as a mischievous grin flickered over Ed's face.
One of the first blessed thoughts that came to Al's mind was that he was in a restaurant, a _public_ restaurant. Ed wouldn't do anything here... right? It was a safe place for him to speak his mind.
...at least that's what he hoped.
Alphonse wasn't exactly sure WHY he was bringing this up now. He'd gone his entire life watching Ed eat like this, watching Edward's temper flare, but .... the table manners.
Also Reflect badly on me when we eat out with the Colonel. Al considered. Yes. This was certainly a topic that needed to be addressed. After all: everyone would benefit! Pirate might well throw a party in celebration if Alphonse could manage to get the direness of this matter through Ed's thick skull!
So, like any good brother, he braced himself.
He was forced to admit, however, he wasn't used to Ed's anger being directed at _him_, and it took every ounce of his desire to press on into unwelcome territory.
Think of the Colonel. Think of Pirate. Think of the looks on their faces when brother sits down with a napkin across his lap and eats like a gentleman. Imagine it! Courage now!
Apparently Alphonse had had eyes closed for a moment, for when he opened them, he was greeted by a fuming figure far removed from the idealized image of Ed he carried in his mind.
"Embarrass me? … You..." Al took a breath, always the pillar of calm. He hoped it would rub off on Ed. He really hoped. He wasn't trying to start a fight, he really wasn't, "...Brother, I know you don't try to..." he paused and reconsidered, "....okay, sometimes you try to, but not always, but OFTENtimes you.... well, yeah. You do. It's not so hard being in your shadow most of the time, but when it becomes a crazed, high-strung, foul-mouthed, rather ill-tempered and ill-mannered shadow... it gets a bit harder to---"
Al was cut off by that 'clap,' and that certain mischievous look that floated to the surface of his older brother's face.
This wasn’t good.
The timing was perfect. Al had begun babbling, ill mannered?! and Ed's hands were clapped under the table. Time seemed to stand still for a moment as both brothers stared at each other, one with a horribly evil grin and the other with wide eyes of unknowing.
Embarrassing, eh Al? Ed's eyes flickered and he hit his hands to the table. He didn’t know why this was irking him today, but something just...snapped. He was always seen as the rude, loud, and obnoxious brother. And he didn’t mind what others thought. But if the General was complaining? That just pushed all the wrong buttons.
He would deal with Roy later.
The table was now glowing the familiar blue light. They were sitting outside on the patio, but the light still stood out, and people were eyeing the light with mild curiosity. Ed focused and the table began to move, shifting towards Al almost like a gelatin. Ed was simply changing the consistency of it momentarily, to get Al where he wanted him, so Al couldn’t duck and hide like he always did.
He wanted confrontation? An argument? He was gonna get it. Change me? HAH. It made Ed laugh out loud as the table began to mold itself around Al while Ed stood to move forward with the gelatinous table.
One of the mixed blessings about being the younger brother of the esteemed "FullMetal Alchemist" is that Al was excruciatingly aware of just how "creative," for lack of a better word, his brother could be in any given circumstance.
As Ed clapped, Al’s brain struggled to quickly access memories: when was the last time he and Ed had spared with Alchemy? Or fought over a thing like this, period? What had Ed done?
The part of him that was freshest came up blank except for memories of when the two were very young, while even his memories within the armored shell didn't account for terribly much, though he could remember a time or two when Ed, as usual, had started a fight. Indeed, Edward had frequently gone after others during his tantrums (Roy included), but Al was not customarily the recipient of such things.
Being that as it was, Al must have looked like a startled deer in the headlights as the table, complete with wooden legs and a blue and white checkerboard tablecloth, seemed to turn to gelatin and wrap around him. His right hand (still clutching chopsticks for dear life) was quickly restrained while he hefted the other hand high above his head. It was a strange response mechanism, but it left the bowl of pasta and meat sauce perched precariously in his left hand.
"This is precisely what I'm talking about!" he wailed. "Why can't you ever act your AGE!?"
The moment he said THAT, he regretted it.
He had a feeling he'd regret a LOT of this in the near future.
This worked out better than he had even planned, smirked Ed. Al had no way of transmuting a thing, not with one hand trapped and the other in the air, balancing a bowl of noodles. Ed stopped and looked at his brother as he wailed about Ed acting his age.
“Maybe you should act yours Al, and just be the little brother.” Ed shrugged and looked around. The patio had mysteriously cleared out.
Ed walked over to Al, and rested one arm on the table that trapped him.
Al glared daggers at his older brother. Why did he always have to turn even the merest CRITIQUE into a chance to try and show off and call attention to himself?! And now he had the audacity to gloat and prop himself against the mutated table as if he was a big game hunter posing with a prize elk?!
Alphonse squirmed a little bit. His right hand, while it still held a set of chop-sticks, was fairly immobilized, as was the majority of his torso. He felt the weight of the bowl of pasta in his other raised hand, but didn't take his eyes off of Ed. He tried to formulate a plan, but was drawing a blank. There was the meat sauce though... ... could he make an array with the meat sauce? Hmmm...
He hadn't even finished eating: why didn't he wait until at LEAST he'd been done eating? He struggled to collect himself, knowing he wasn't going to get far if he raised his voice: Edward only fed off that sort of thing to fuel the fire of his tantrums.
He opened his mouth once, closed it, and the second time he opened his mouth, he responded a bit more coolly, "I'm only one year younger than you, Ed, and that has nothing to do with this, especially since by just about every regard I'm more mature and mannered than you! (and taller!) And I wish for once, just ONCE, you would just listen to what someone is trying to tell you rather than over-react as usual! I'm trying to help!" Alphonse expounded.
The younger brother found he had quite a lot he could say on this subject: he found no lack of experiences he could reference from the immediate past, which would clearly support his position. The destruction Edward had caused, the shocked looks and property damage. But none of it would do any good: Edward simply wasn't ready yet to listen to reason.
But Alphonse would never admit that was he REALLY wanted to do, however, was to daintily toss the bowl of pasta at his brother. He had previously established, however, that such a maneuver would contribute nothing towards his 1.) current predicament, 2.) Edward's anger, or most importantly, 3.) proving Alphonse's own points in regards to maturity.
Pity that. Alphonse sighed inwardly as he faced his tormentor.
He wouldn't beg Edward to release him, no. He wouldn't give his brother the satisfaction. Alphonse would beat him at his own game. He would use his own "lucky" card until he was able to get free: he would use guilt. Guilt wasn't beneath him ... at least until he got his hands free.
His eyes looked gentler somehow, as his voice pled with his brother (which was somewhat ironic, because by all accounts it looked as if he'd been swallowed whole by a table while trying to save a sacred bowl of pasta and meat sauce). "Brother," his voice implored, with this little twinge of hurt that only Alphonse could manage just so, and that certain intonation of 'brother' that recalled times where they both whispered their deepest hopes and dreams to each other in the dark, "if not for yourself, could you at least stop a moment and think how it reflects on other people? What someone as proper as the Colonel must think..."
That part wasn't supposed to be out loud! Al's subconsciousness whined.
But it was too late to take it back. His face flushed a little as he bit his tongue and thought it best not to speak for a little while, while he scrambled to gather his thoughts.
What DID the Colonel think?
What if Edward really WAS both a boon and a curse? Could his antics _actually_ be impacting Alphonse's own dating life?
The thought both startled and terrified him.
The stakes had been raised!
CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 1: PART 2 ...
(FullMetal Alchemist Fan Fic: On the Wings of a Dream" CHAPTER 1: PART 2 can be found here)