Author: Shell Mel
Rating: PG - 13
Warning: Some violence and near death scenes. Also for Ed's swearing.
Spoilers: Spoilers for episode 22 and end of anime series.
Characters: Edward Elric, Roy Mustang
Summary: AU Edward never though much about the incident back in lab 5 with the red water. He doesn't really remember it that much. He's seventeen now, repaying his debt by helping Mustang reach the top now Al finally has his body again. But what happens when he and Mustang become targets for assassination?
Author Notes: Alternative ending to Anime series. Prologue is based in episode 22, while the rest is a year after the series.
Okay last chapter before I fly back to Australia. It's so sad... I'm packing for the trip back now. :(
The stench of scorched skin filled the air, almost suffocating him. The screams of the innocent people surrounded him, practically deafening him. The sight of the dead and dying, most certainly consumed him. Everywhere Roy looked, all he could see, was the horror he and his fellow soldiers had unleashed. As much as every fiber in his body told him it was wrong, he couldn't stop. He had orders. He had to kill. No life was to be spared.
Roy walked through the slums, soldiers going with him, but obviously keeping their distance for their own safety. Many begged for their lives, or for their children's lives. He was not deaf to them, but he might as well have been. A snap of his fingers and the pleads turned to screams of panic, pain and grief. There was no blood, only blackened bodies.
Roy could feel his resolve breaking as he laid eyes on his next victim. He had to do this. He had to, but it was just a child. Probably no older then ten. He looked up at his executioner with no fear, only hate. Behind him was a younger boy. The older boy was trying to protect him. His stomach heaved itself as he was about to snap his fingers, it caused him to pause.
He could hear the soldiers around him. They were demanding he do it. To hurry up. To just get it over with. He could feel his eyes stinging with tears as he raised his hand to the two boys. He was sorry, but it had to be done. He snapped, they screamed. Not once did the older boy look afraid, he had been ready to die at the age of ten for his brother. That thought was the last straw. His stomach revolted against him, forcing him down on his knees so he could empty his stomach.
After his stomach was long since emptied, he continued to dry heave where he knelt. Tears had escaped past his mask. This isn't what he had signed up for. This isn't what he wanted. The shouts of the men around him faded slightly as he felt someone wrap their arms around him. He didn't know or even care who it was. He just buried him face into their shoulder.
The arms around him were strong and reassuring. Roy felt safe. He didn't have to fight anymore. He didn't have to kill anyone. He could just stay here. One arm moved slightly to stroke his hair. It was soothing, he continued to be held.
It took Roy a while before he realized a few things. The first was that there was silence. No wait, he could hear humming, coming from the person who held him. The tune wasn't one that he could recognise. But the screams? The pleading? The shouting? The orders? They were all gone.
Roy frowned at this and opened his eyes. Lingering tears blurred his vision, but there was no mistaking the clothing in front of him. That red coat. Roy quickly scrubbed his eyes clear of tears at the realization that Fullmetal had been the one who held him. How much had the kid seen?!
Edward allowed Roy to pull away, as the older man was obviously fine now. Well, if not fine, then no longer in need of being held like a child. The boy did not say anything, nor did he look at him with any form of pity. No, there would be nothing like that from either of them. They had both been to hell, they had survived, and they would continue to move forwards past it. It was just that from time to time they would stumble on their way, but that's where fellow survivors come in to help them back up again.
It took Roy a few moments for him to realize they were no longer in the slums of Ishval, but instead back in his office. He frowned.
"How...?" He began to ask when Edward interrupted him.
"It's a dream, Mustang," The younger alchemist shrugged as he got off the floor. "Doesn't have to make sense. Plus I figured this place would be a better backdrop. After all, that couch is really comfy."
As if to prove his point about the couch, the kid threw himself onto it. Roy took a seat next to him, feeling a little awkward. It's not everyday someone got to see his demons and worse, his weakest moment.
"Thanks," He said quietly. "For..."
Roy just let himself trail off. He wasn't going to restate what had happened.
"Forget it, Mustang," The kid said. "It happens. Just be glad I won't be remembering any of this. Plus I've had years of practice with Al. It's a big brother skill."
Now that got Mustang's attention right away. He dismissed every other word that came out of the kid's mouth.
"What?" He asked, staring at Edward. "What do you mean you won't remember?"
"Yeah," Ed just shrugged. "Pretty sure it's some psychological bullshit. But the last time this happened, once I returned to myself, everything that went on outside my body was forgotten. Well, at least until I was put in your head anyway."
"Hold on!" Roy snapped, getting confused. "This happened before?"
"Yeah," Ed smiled at him. "Just once, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I have something to show you."
Roy opened his mouth to object and demand more answers when Edward clapped, changing the scene around the lounge. Instead of being in his office, they were surrounded by white. He could see another Edward floating around.
"This follows on from after I died," Ed informed him, his voice sounding a little tight.
"After I got shot, I ended up here. Definitely not one of my favourite places, I assure you."
"Why are you showing me this?" Roy couldn't help but ask as he watched a door slowly appear.
"I need someone who will remember the facts," Ed told him quietly. "There are too many unknowns that still need to be figured out. Like what I paid in exchanged for our lives. How the hell I even managed it in the first place, blah blah blah. Or you could think of it as an equivalent exchange. A nightmare for a nightmare. Not my worst, but it serves a purpose."
"You don't know what you paid?" Roy frowned, the scene freezing before him.
"No," Ed said, sounding annoyed.
"Well you," Roy started. "Or the physical you, isn't exactly mentally well right now. Maybe you paid that way?"
"Nah," Edward dismissed his fears. "It's just the exhaustion and the fact that a part of my mind is stuck in yours. That'll fix itself. Just watch for now, we'll talk later."
With that the scene before him continued. Slowly Roy began to realize what Ed meant by a nightmare for a nightmare. He could practically feel the black hands on his own skin, sending shivers down his spine. The gate. Just watching made him hope he would never have to meet the real thing. The scene was short and quickly over.
"That is my last recollection outside of your body," Edward revealed as the office reappeared around them.
Roy pondered for a few moments. What could Edward had lost in exchange?
"You mentioned a last time," Roy said slowly. "Explain."
"Come on, Bastard," Edward said almost playfully. "How the hell do you think I got my brother back?"
Roy's eyes widened in shock. His brother? Considering everything that had happened at the time with his own injuries, attempting to be charged treason and everything, he hadn't even taken Edward and his brother into consideration. Nor had he even thought to ask.
Roy opened his mouth to demand to be shown the incident when-
-he felt a sudden pressure pressing in around his rib cage.
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