Author: Shell Mel
Rating: P G - 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 thought 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.
Riza smiled gently at the young boy under the table. She always took care in how she treated the boy and his brother. She knew how hard it was to lose a mother so young. She couldn’t imagine it if she had lost both her parents at that age. At least when her father did pass away, she was older and stronger then when her mother had.
“What makes you say that?” She asked him carefully.
She could see Roy still trying to get the boy out from under the table. She placed a hand on his shoulder and shook her head slightly. Now was not the time for that.
“Edward?” She prompted the boy.
“We died,” Edward whispered.
The poor boy’s voice was dry and threatening to crack. He obviously needed a drink of water or something. She would deal with that later, when he wasn’t hiding under the table and talking such nonsense.
“I know,” She confirmed. “But you came back. So did the Brigadier General. Do you have any idea how that might of happened?”
“No,” Edward shook his head as he ran his fingers through his hair. “People don’t come back from the dead. Only sins come back in their place. Homunculus.”
Ah... Her knowledge on alchemy and such things were not as complete as Edward’s or Roy’s, but she knew enough to see how Edward might come to such a conclusion.
“Okay,” she said, as she extended a hand to the boy. “Why don’t you come on out and we’ll see if we can either confirm what you are or what you aren’t?”
Edward looked at her hand, hesitating as if he wasn’t sure if he should take her hand. She didn’t say anything, she waited patiently. Roy seemed to have had enough sense to at least back up and sit on the bed rather than crowding the boy. The young blond looked so confused and lost down there. And ill. So very ill. But he looked so much better than he had yesterday or the day before. And he was aware. It was definitely a positive break they needed. Though, that might make leaving the boy behind today a lot harder than they had first anticipated. Hopefully after some answers, food, water and maybe a shower, he would go back to bed without question. Figures that even the best laid plans never went off without a hitch with an Elric running around.
Edward placed his flesh hand in hers. He was always so careful about the little things like this. As if his automail might hurt them if they were to touch it. Despite his usual attitude and demeanour, he really was a caring soul.
Carefully, she helped him out from under the table. Riza kept a hand on his elbow and guided him towards the bed. He seemed to be much steadier on his feet then yesterday, but she did not stray from his side just in case. Edward hesitated at the sight of Roy sitting there, but only for a moment. Though the contact she had with his hand and arm she could tell he was a little warm. It probably wasn’t helping him mentally or physically right now.
“Now,” Riza said when had him sitting down on the bed. “What are the usual signs that someone might be a homunculus?”
Breda brought the bowl closer as Riza kneeled before the boy. She took it from him, thanking him quietly. While Edward responded, she wrung out the cloth that sat in the bowl. The water was cool, but not unpleasant.
“Signs?” He asked, only to receive a nod from her. “Their injuries heal, they have the seal of Ororobus on them, and they can’t perform alchemy unless they have real, living, human body parts to perform the alchemy through. But I’m not sure how much of that is true before they consume red stones.”
Gently, Riza placed the cloth against Edward’s head. His eyes closed as he relaxed into her touch. It caused her to smile at how relieved the boy seemed from the touch. She moved the cloth, whipping down the sides of his face. The action was done with care and maternal instinct.
“Well those are easy enough to test,” she assured him. “We’ll try those out and then monitor you both for signs of you becoming anything else. Can you perform any alchemy for me? If you feel up to it?”
Edward’s eyes flew open. There was worry and anxiety in his eyes.
“What’s wrong with me?” He asked her.
No one in the room spoke. Breda shifted uncomfortably in his position between the bed and the door. The man was never one who liked to have unknown factors, being the strategist that he was. This situation was full of the unknown. Alchemy always did have to complicate matters that should have been so much more similar. Especially when knowledge, deep and true understanding of that knowledge, of the subject was limited to two individuals of their group. It wasn’t exactly something they could put into a report after all that might help the rest of the group understand.
Riza continued what she was doing, switching the cloth to the other side of his face.
“Whatever you did,” she explained. “It took a lot out of you. It’s been just over thirty-six hours since your little miracle. The doctor says it was exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition. We thought perhaps maybe the transmutation, or whatever it was, took all you had to offer and then some. Though we’d hoped you would be able to tell us more when you were feeling better.”
“No wonder I feel like shit,” Ed whispered. “I haven’t felt this bad since...”
“You got Al’s body back,” Roy finished when Ed trailed off.
“Yeah,” Edward frowned. “I don’t even really remember what happened then.”
Silence filled the room. Roy looked tense. Riza cast him a questioning look, but he shrugged it off. Instead he got up and went over to the desk. He pulled out a pen and paper.
“So, Fullmetal.” He said, looking back at them all. “Let’s find out if we’re alive, or merely monsters.”