Series Rating:: PG - NC-17
Main Characters:Edward Elric, Jean Havoc
Other Characters: Various other members of the Peanut Gallery called Fullmetal Alchemist
Word Count: 1,667
Warning Yaoi; consensual, underaged sex (well, maybe it's underaged to some); potential overdosing of crrrrack.
Synopsis: When I said cracked over the head, I didn’t mean literally. Oh well.
Author's Notes: Companion/Sequel to Games Without Frontiers. I think you can read this without having read that (especially if you’re not into het!fic), but here's the link to the GWF.
The story is completely AU. My own little private timeline; my own private little world. Yeah, and, just to add, my own little crackpot theories. Nothing else related to any episode or chapter of any kind, except the usage of the character(s) in question, though some events in some episodes will be used out of context as artistic license. I try not to make the events I use too spoilerish, but if I can’t help it, you’ll get a warning. Commentary is certainly welcome and tends to make me go “you like me! you really like me!”
Part 28: Can’t Scratch the Surface without Moving Me
“Brother? Brother? Oh, please wake up…”
That was the first thing Ed remembered when consciousness returned to him. It was unfortunate that the tinny voice of his brother cut through his brain like a knife through warm cream. It actually hurt. Although, that might have something to do with the warm wetness he felt on his forehead that clung to his hand when he put it up there to see what it was.
“Brother!” Al said excitedly, jostling as he moved about. Ed winced, but when he opened his mouth to tell Al to calm down, he only managed a small croak.
That scared him. He put his hand around his throat and opened his eyes then and looked wildly around him. Everything was dark and cold, and the only thing he could actually see in his line of sight was Al’s torso, which took up his entire field of vision.
“Over here! We’re over here!” Al was calling, in a normal voice, not hiding their position at all. Ed thought that might not have been a good idea, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember why.
He took a breath and tried again. “A-Al…” he croaked pitifully, and only that by squeezing his throat.
Al looked down at him, his eyes glowing red. “Sh, Brother. Everything is going to be all right. Someone is here to help us.”
“It’s Major Armstrong. Now hush and lie still. You’re hurt.”
No kidding, Ed thought. That would explain why there was pain all over his body, and blood − because it was blood − on his forehead. He lay back in his brother’s arms and waited as patiently as he could, and tried to remember exactly how he got this way.
They had made it to the encampment. They had even seen Scar, sliding through the shadows almost in the same place as before and he remembered moving in front of Al to follow the man, intent on tracking him down.
His eyes snapped open and he stared straight up at the night sky. He couldn’t see very many stars above him, nor did it matter at that moment. Because the sky was pitch black, laced with dark purple and blue lowlights…
Just like those… creatures he’d seen.
Now he remembered. Painfully so. Every blow. Not exactly every word, because some of those blows had left his ears ringing. But he remembered now how he’d gotten injured. Or had been injured.
How those… talons… had encircled his throat and left bruises and scratches.
How a fist, almost as indestructible as his own automail had driven him to his knees, accompanied by a high, bitter, cackling voice, taunting him, cursing him for reasons unknown to him.
How he felt his own skin…
“Alphonse!” That booming voice landed in his ears like an ice pick. He almost clapped both hands on his ears to block the sound, but realized when he raised his right hand that a couple of fingers were actually missing. So he had gotten in a few punches. Good. “I could not reach you in time! I sincerely apologize for this gross negligence!” Armstrong’s voice continued battering at his senses, and his voice was still gone so he couldn’t tell the man to shut the hell up. “I don’t know what came over me… my crack reflexes have been carried through the Armstrong line for generations!”
Ed managed to groan a shaky protest to the aural abuse. Al looked down at him for a second, then back at Armstrong.
“It’s okay, Major,” he said. “But, please, he’s been hurt. We have to get him somewhere safe.”
“Yes, well do not fear! He will come to no more harm!”
“A-Al…” Ed put his hand around his throat and squeezed out another croak as Al stood and held him close.
Al bent close to hear as they jogged along behind the Major. “Yes, Brother?”
“T-tell him… to-to…” Ed coughed.
“To what?” Al asked.
He felt each jerk and rumble of the train that Armstrong called using the power of the Chief of Investigations, his superior officer. Even though the medic that came with the train had given him something for the pain, he could still feel each turn of the wheels on the track underneath him. It didn’t really hurt, really, but he could feel it and knew that it probably should hurt, so it did.
By the time they reached Central − the best hospital, Al told him in response to his muttered question − he was in that interesting state where he knew he was asleep, his body was responding like it was asleep, but he could hear everything around him. Scratch that; he could hear every sound around him. Because there was no way he could understand what he was hearing. All he could hear was the “Wa-wao-wa” of several voices, those he could recognize by the tone and type.
He could identify Mustang − that deep baritone barking across the air, answered by the crisp tones that belonged to the First Lieutenant. He heard Armstrong and Al answering, he even heard Hughes chiming in with opinions probably. Even though he couldn’t hear one word said, he recognized all of them.
The one voice he actually thought he would hear, he didn’t, and even in the depth of his drugged mind, he refused to admit that it bothered him.
They picked up his stretcher and took him into the hospital. He could feel each step, could still hear the voices fading behind him, replaced by new ones, those of doctors “wa-wa-wa-ing” about things that doctors talked about. When they leaned in, he picked up questions about internal bleeding and inwardly tensed until he heard them say that there wasn’t any. After that, he let them do what they wanted, and let the drug he’d been given, as well as the other bits of sedations the doctors thought necessary, take over his brain.
Hopefully, he wouldn’t dream. Because he knew if he dreamed, it would be of those creatures who beat him from here to there and back again, and all of the things they said. And what their words implied about a lot of other things.
Then, right before darkness hit him completely, he caught it. Through the disinfectant which he hated and the sour breath of the doctors muttering about him, which could have nauseated him, he caught it − light, and faint, but there. The smell of wool and tobacco. It was a scent he had gotten used to over the past few weeks, a scent that permeated everything around the person who owned it. From the curtains in his house, to the tablecloth on his kitchen table to the pillows Ed would bury his face in on many a quiet evening.
He was there.
Jean took the easy way out for the moment. He dropped Roy and Riza off at the entrance of the hospital and volunteered to park the car in the Central Motor Pool lot. He knew the two of them had seen completely through him, but he didn’t care.
He wasn’t ready to see what damage had been done.
He took his time getting from the lot to the hospital, scrubbing at his head as if he could rub some reason back into his head.
Edward had gone on many missions before, and had suffered damage. He’d watched himself as the guy’s arm was shattered beyond all repair. And it hadn’t really bothered him one way or another. So why, this time, did his chest feel tight and was his scalp tingling and why were his palms sweating.
You know why, his brain said. You’ve let that kid under your skin.
Impossible, he answered, as he missed bumping into another soldier milling in the reception area of the hospital.
Cause I don’t do things like that.
Yeah, right. Remember that little girl in the florist shop? The one who ran off as soon as the Colonel crooked his finger?
That was different.
And the guy at home? The one who taught you a thing or two about the proper use of a tongue?
This one’s a keeper though. He’s a good kid. Aside from the whole Philosopher’s Stone thing, he’s a good kid.
I said shut up!
“Are you all right, sir?”
Jean started and looked up at the little nurse standing in front of him, clipboard in hand and a worried look on her face. “Ah… yeah. I’m looking for… Elric. Edward Elric’s room?”
“Oh, yes,” the young girl smiled and nodded toward a knot of people near the end of a hallway. “They just brought him in. He’s over there. There are other soldiers with him, I believe.” She pointed.
He gave her a distracted smile. “Thanks,” he said, and moved off down the indicated hall. Halfway there, he started patting at his breast pocket.
After a few steps, he saw Roy look up and turn his head toward him. Jean frowned a question; Roy quickly shook his head and held up one finger. Wait was the answer to his unspoken question.
Jean slowed his steps and found a spot on the wall somewhere near the door, and leaned against it, to do as Roy asked. If he leaned forward just a bit, he could see inside of the room and watched as the doctors settled Ed into his bed.
He watched them like a hawk.
Ed’s throat felt less swollen when his eyes finally popped open. And it was a good thing, because the first thing he saw when he did so made him want to speak. And how.
He looked at the First Lieutenant, who stood by his bed, a kind smile on her face, looking as if she’d swallowed at least half of that globe in the main library, took a deep breath, and said the first word that came to his mind: