Title: Conversion - Chapter 9
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist (Animeverse)
Pairings: Roy/Ed, Alter!Roy/Ed
Words: 4,768 (42,548 total)
Warnings: Slash, swearing?
Rating: PG-13 (possibly R in later chapters)
Status: In Progress
Spoilers: Yes, up till the end of the series.
Notes: I sure know how to make a liar of myself, don't I? Ah well, the important thing is that it's here! :D
I recieved some lovely new fanworks over the last month that deserve a bit of pimpage here. ^^
Ficlet: The Letter
: He had brought a pen and paper with him, intending to write a goodbye letter to Ed, but he couldn’t quite think of what to write. Everything he tried sounded wrong. Too distant, too chummy, too cheerful…
I absolutely love this little fic. She really captured Alter!Roy perfectly, and I just adore it. It's very sweet, and could easily be part of Conversion itself. ♥
Drabble: Life is Beautiful
: This is an alter!Roy drabble. Though I personally can't figure if the person who touched Ed is the alter!Roy or if it is Roy and Ed's just breaking over alter!Roy.
Very lovely, very poetic. It made me wibble a little. The style was just perfect, and the whole thing was wonderfully sad to me.
Fanart: Fall Into the Arms of Love
A very sweet and well done fanart of Ed and Alter!Roy. I love it! ♥
Previous chapter can be found here: Chapters 1-2 Chapters 3-4 Chapters 5-6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8::Chapter 9::
::Reunion::January 1st, 1927
A new year. A time for change, resolution and new beginnings. I managed to convince Ed to come out with me for the evening, to enjoy the celebrations around the city. He was reluctant at first, but a little cajoling won him over. We spent most of the evening wandering from place to place. I daresay he enjoyed himself, and he certainly drank too much.
Getting him home was an adventure in itself. I lost a snowball fight, which I can only hope Edward doesn’t remember in the morning because I fear I’ll never hear the end of it otherwise. I had to pull him out of two snowdrifts, catch him at least six times when he tried to take a tumble on the ice, and break up one fight with very drunk fellow who seemed rather insistent on taking Edward home. I haven’t had so much fun in ages!
When we got home I had Ed change out of his wet clothes, and he promptly curled up in a chair a dozed off. He looks so young when he sleeps, almost childlike. I hate to disturb him, but I probably should probably take him to bed, otherwise he’ll regret having slept in a chair come morning. The hangover will be bad enough, I suspect.
I’ll write more in the morning.* * *
Edward squinted at the book in his hands, trying to get the words to stop running together and start making sense. Heaving a frustrated sigh, he flopped around in the overstuffed armchair, changing position for the fifth time in as many minutes, throwing his leg over one arm and resting his head against the other. Rubbing his eyes, Ed glared at the book for a few seconds, hoping maybe it would decide to read itself. When no such thing was forthcoming, he grumbled and started reading again.-In the case of the Farseeing Alchemist, Coren Drake, the effect was unprecedented. He accomplished in days what alchemists had-
Ed slammed the book shut with a growl. The thing was nothing more than a history book and certainly wasn’t going to do them any good. Any alchemist could tell you about Coren Drake, the man was a genius, had revolutionized modern alchemy, but he was also dead and hadn’t done anything that would help him solve this problem. “What time is it?” Ed asked, dropping the book into the steadily growing pile of rejects.
“Five minutes later than it was last time you asked, Ed,” Roy replied, a hint of irritation in his voice as he set the report he was reading back on his desk and looked up. “Alphonse should be coming in on the evening train, and constantly asking the time isn’t going to make it pass any faster. He’ll get here when he gets here.”
“Well excuse me for being a little anxious when I haven’t seen my brother in five years
,” Ed snapped. “What the hell are you doing anyway? I’m not the only one effected by this you know, you could help me research.”
The general rolled his visible eye and waved a stack of reports at Ed. “I may be on leave, but I still have a murder investigation to deal with. I’ll help you once I’m finished with these.” He leaned back in his chair and sighed. “You aren’t getting anywhere anyway. Why don’t you go find something else to do? Work off some of that nervous energy.”
Ed grumbled and stood. There wasn’t much he could do stuck as he was, but Mustang was right. There was a good chance he would overlook something important in his state, better that he go find something else to do until Al arrived.
Without a word Ed wandered out of Mustang’s study and into the kitchen. He rifled through the cupboards for a few moments before pulling out some bread and leftover ham. Ed sighed, slicing off a piece of ham and munching on it while he fished out the makings for a sandwich. He wished he could focus and get some work done; the wait would pass much more quickly if he was distracted. Unfortunately, he couldn’t seem to silence the little voice running circles in his mind screaming, “Al is coming!” long enough to get into anything.
Something bumped against his ankle, and Ed looked down to find the cat twining around his feet. She had an uncanny knack for appearing out of nowhere when there was food to be had. He sliced off a small chunk of ham and dropped it down, watching as she pounced on it, sniffed daintily, and then swallowed it whole. Ed grinned and reached down, giving her a quick pat.
Finishing his sandwich, Ed started to put everything away and then paused, looking over in the direction of the study. Oh hell, why not. He’d been driving Mustang up the wall all morning, the least he could do was feed the man. Ed quickly threw together another monster sandwich and took it to the study, cat trailing behind him in hopes of more ham.
Mustang didn’t look up until Ed dropped the plate on his desk. He blinked at the sandwich for a moment, lips stretching in a slow grin. “This thing is as big as my head,” he said, quirking an eyebrow at Ed.
Edward snorted. “Don’t complain or I won’t feed you anymore,” he threatened.
Roy threw up his hands in a placating gesture. “I wasn’t complaining, merely making an observation. Thanks.”
“No problem,” Ed shrugged, leaning over the general’s desk to get a look at the clock. “Wow. That took up a whole ten minutes.” The day was never going to end. Never. Edward mourned the loss of his last shred of sanity, because he was going to go mad long before Alphonse ever arrived. “I’m never going to make it,” Ed grumbled. “I’m going to explode, you know,” he informed the general’s dark head, which was again bowed over his reports. “Boom! Blood and guts and chunks of Ed everywhere.”
“Try not to do it on the carpet, will you?”
“Bastard,” Ed returned, sticking out his tongue at the general and retreating back to the kitchen to retrieve his own sandwich.
Five more hours. He could survive five more hours.
Really.* * *
A sudden knock on the door startled Ed so badly he nearly leapt out of his skin. He stared at the door, wide-eyed and frozen, one thought running frantic circles in his mind. Al’s here.
“Right on time,” Roy said, getting to his feet. He started towards the door, then paused, glancing at Ed who was rooted to the spot, staring at the door as though it might come to life and eat him. “Do you want to get it?” he distantly heard Roy ask.
Ed turned stiffly and looked at the other man, the words not quite making sense. Another knock came, louder this time and snapped Ed out of his strange daze. “Yes! I mean, no! You get it!” he babbled, turning on his heel and racing up the stairs. He slumped against the wall just around the corner and tried to get a grip. It just Al. Yeah, sure, it had been a long time, but in the end, it was just his little brother. No sense in being nervous. Al would be happy to see him, and things could go back to the way they used to be.
Right? Right, of course they would. Ed forced his insecurities to the back of his mind. When Roy opened the door, he’d come down the stairs all nonchalant-like. Yeah. He grinned, imagining the look on Al’s face.
“Thanks for coming on such short notice, Alphonse.”
Ed froze, heart pounding.
“It was no problem, General.”
The reply was bright and cheerful, and the sound of that voice made Edward’s heart ache. All thought of insecurity or a dignified entrance vanished. “AL!” Edward roared, tearing around the corner and down the stairs, leaping the last three and charging at a very startled looking Alphonse Elric. He stopped just short of barreling into his brother, skidding to a halt and taking in the sight of him.
He was beautiful, standing there clutching his suitcase and staring at Ed in alarm. Wide, perfect eyes in a perfect face. Flesh. Whole. A little younger than he should have been, but it didn’t matter. Al was here, and he was alive, and after five years of wondering and hoping, the evidence was standing before his eyes. “Al,” he whispered, reaching out a tentative hand, almost afraid to touch the vision before him, afraid that it might vanish.
Alphonse blinked once, slowly, his expression giving way first to confusion, then to disbelief. The suitcase clattered to the floor, forgotten. “Brother?” he said, voice catching on the word.
Ed grinned, not bothering the fight the tears that sprang to his eyes. “I missed you, Al.”
“Brother!” Faster than he could blink, Ed found himself with an arm full of little brother, Al’s weight sending them to the floor with a heavy thud. His tailbone throbbed painfully from the sudden impact, but Ed didn’t care. He wouldn’t have cared if he had shattered every bone in his body, because an armful of Al made it all worth it.
He buried his face in Al’s hair and inhaled, drowning in the smell of him, the feel of him. Ed felt fingers fist in his shirt. “I tried to find you,” Alphonse choked out, and Edward held him tighter.
“I’m here now,” he whispered fiercely, hot tears soaking into the soft hair against his cheek. “I’m not leaving you. Never again.”
After that there were no words. They sat for a long time clinging to each other on the general’s floor, the silence broken only by the occasional sob. It was surreal and wonderful, and Edward didn’t want it to end. He never wanted to let go of Al again. Finally they had come full circle. Finally, they could rest.
A knock on the door broke the spell, and Alphonse started, pulling back slightly so that he could look at his brother, though he didn’t relinquish his hold on Ed’s shirt. “It’s Winry,” he said, rubbing the tears from his eyes with his free hand and wiping his nose on his sleeve with a sniffle.
“Winry?” Ed repeated slowly, not quite able to think past Al at the moment. Then it clicked. “Oh! Winry!” He scrubbed his face vigorously, trying to rid himself of the evidence of his tears. “Why wasn’t she with you earlier?”
“Forgot one of her tools at home, so she went to pick up a replacement while I came here.” Alphonse half-stood, looking from Ed to the door and back again, unwilling to relinquish his hold on his brother long enough open the door. Ed took the hint and got his feet, letting Alphonse pull him over to the door while he opened it.
“It’s about time!” Winry huffed, brushing past them and into the house, rubbing gloved hands over her arms. “It’s cold out there you know!”
Ed grinned over at Al, who looked a bit incredulous that Winry had just walked right by Ed and not noticed. “Sorry Win,” Edward said, not sorry in the slightest. “That was my fault.”
Winry threw her hands up and whirled, sticking a finger in Edward’s face. “Of course it was Edward! It’s always...” She trailed off suddenly, blue eyes growing wide. “Ed?”
“Took you long enough.”
“You...you...Oh! Ed!” Winry wailed, launching herself at him, and for the second time in thirty minutes Ed found himself with an armful of sobbing blonde. He patted her back awkwardly with one hand, the other still in Al’s possession.
Edward let her cry herself out, muttering reassuring nonsense every now and then. Part of him wished, rather selfishly, that Al had come alone, but he didn’t mind that much. He found Al’s eyes over Winry’s head and smiled. They had time now. All the time in the world, and Ed planned on making use of every bit of it.
“Where have you been?” she asked in a quavering voice, pulling back and looking at Edward with red eyes. “We looked everywhere, but it was like you just...vanished.”
Ed gave her hand a pat and gently pried it off his arm, taking a half-step back. “It’s a long story...” he trailed off hesitantly. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get into it again, but they deserved the truth. Most of it, anyway. Ed remembered his promise to Hawkeye, and he intended to keep it... just not until he could talk to Al alone.
Roy’s voice startled him from his thoughts. “I’m sure Alphonse and Miss Rockbell are tired and hungry after their trip.” Ed had forgotten about Roy, who was peering around the hall corner, apparently having retreated to his study to give Ed and his brother a little privacy. “Why don’t I order something for dinner and you can discuss it while we eat?”
Ed could have kissed him just then. He’d had plenty of time to think about what he would tell them, but he hadn’t taken advantage of it. Now he had another hour or so to sort out exactly how much he wanted Winry to know. “Good idea!” he chirped. “How ‘bout that Xingian place down by the park? I noticed it when we drove by the other day.”
“Good idea,” Roy bobbed his head in agreement. “I’ve been there before, they’re pretty good. Xingian sound okay to you two?” Everyone was agreed, and Roy vanished back into his study to call and order.
“What happened to your automail?” The words were deceptively calm, but Winry was staring intently at his gloveless automail hand. Something inside Edward quailed in fear.
“I grew out of it, Winry!” he explained hastily, taking shelter behind Al who looked rather dubious about being put between Winry and the object of one of her automail rages. “I had to replace it! I swear I didn’t wreck it! Er, well, I had to take it apart, but-”
” she roared, reaching around Alphonse and yanking Ed out by his braid. She shoved his sleeve up and stared at the revealed arm in mute horror. The seconds ticked by and Ed wondered if she’d notice if he detached his arm and hid under the sofa. “This,” she began slowly, running a hand over the metal forearm. “This is crap
, Ed! Look at this!” She wrenched his arm over and pointed at the wrist joint. “The wrist isn’t connected properly. It’s a miracle you can move your hand at all! And here!” Ed tuned her out as she went over every bit and piece of his arm, telling him exactly why it didn’t measure up. Edward stared pleadingly at Al, but he shrugged as if to say, “Sorry brother, you’re on your own.”
“Please, please tell me you didn’t pay money for this,” Winry finished, planting her hands on her hips. “Because if you did, you got robbed. That automail is junk.”
“I made it myself, Win,” Ed said, exasperated. “I mean, I had to cannibalize yours for parts and to figure out how it worked and all, but I put it all together.”
Winry stared at him for a moment, brows drawing together in a confused frown. “You? I don’t understand, why didn’t you just go to a mechanic?”
Pleased at having derailed her, Ed shrugged. “Couldn’t. Where I was, there was no such thing as automail or automail mechanics. If I wanted an arm and a leg, I had to make them myself.”
Before Winry could reply, Al slipped under his arm and wrapped his arms around Ed’s waist, burying his face in the crook of his brother’s neck. “Where were
you, brother?” he asked, plaintive.
Ed hugged his little brother tightly. “Later, Al. I promise. I just...don’t want to talk about it right this minute, okay?”
He felt Alphonse nod against his neck. “Okay.” He pulled back slightly, and Ed realized to his horror that Al was actually a little taller than he was. “It can wait. The important thing is that you’re here.”
Dinner arrived much sooner than Ed would have liked, and they gathered around the table that Ed and Roy never used to eat while Edward told them a heavily edited version of his story. Al would get the rest later, but he didn’t want to upset Winry more than she was already, and honestly, she really didn’t need to know everything. Over the course of the meal, Alphonse would reach out every few minutes just to touch Edward, as if to assure himself that his brother was really there and not some sort of illusion. Every time he did, Ed would squeeze his hand, maybe for the same reason.
By the time he was finished, Al and Winry looked about ready to drop on their feet. Roy noticed this too, because he said, “We’d better let Al and Miss Rockbell get some sleep. I imagine the trip took a lot out of them. Ed’s in the room you usually use, Al, so I prepared the-”
“He sleeps with me,” Ed said suddenly, a little more forcefully than he intended. Roy looked at him, and Ed flushed. “For tonight, at least. I just... don’t want him out of my sight just yet.” The thought of Al being across the house for the night made him feel slightly nauseous. Ed wasn’t ready to be apart from him, not yet, even if they were in the same house.
Roy looked at Al, who nodded. “Fine with me, then. The room is ready for you when you want it.”
Roy led Winry off to her room, which left Al to follow Ed to theirs. Alphonse was silent, but close, hovering a few steps closer to Edward than normal. Neither broke the silence as they prepared for bed, and Edward got between the blankets and scooted towards the far end, holding his arms out for his brother.
Alphonse took the invitation, sliding into bed and curling against Edward, clinging to his pajama shirt like he was afraid Ed would turn to smoke beneath his hands. Perhaps that was what he feared, and Edward murmured comforting nonsense against his hair and hugged him tightly, relishing the feeling of warm flesh instead of cold metal.
They remained like that for a long time in the warm darkness. Alphonse was silent, his breathing even, so Edward was surprised when he spoke. “Do you hate me, brother?”
Ed stared down at the top of Al’s head, incredulous. “Of course not! Why would I hate you?”
Al shifted, and Ed could feel the wide eyes searching for his own in the darkness. “If it wasn’t for me, you would never have had to go to that horrible place. And I,” he choked, and Ed could hear the threat of tears in his voice. “I don’t even remember!”
Edward stroked his hair, trying to soothe him. “It wasn’t so horrible,” he assured his brother, and really, it was true. “There were good things there too. I just didn’t have the best thing. I didn’t have my little brother.” Alphonse made a tiny, strangled sound, and Ed kissed his head. “I could never hate you, Al. I did what I did because I love you, and you’re more important to me than anything. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, with no regrets.”
“I’m sorry, brother,” Al said, the words stilted and broken.
Edward sighed, carefully wiping away the tears from Alphonse’s cheeks. “Don’t be. I’m here now, and that’s what matters.”
Al shifted, burrowing against his chest, and he could feel him nod. “I love you, brother.”
Ed tightened his hold. “I love you too.”* * *
Roy settled down on the sofa with a stretch and a sigh. Everyone was tucked into bed for the night, but he wasn’t particularly tired. It was still too early for him to turn in, but usually Edward was still up keeping him company, and he found he was a bit at a loss without the short blond’s presence.
The thought made him shake his head. How strange that in the space of a week he had become so used to having Ed constantly around. It was as though the younger man had inserted himself into Roy’s life so effortlessly that he had hardly noticed, and Roy found he didn’t mind that much. It was nice, having someone around besides the occasional lover, which surprised him really. Roy was never much for having his space invaded. Even those occasional lovers never stayed long.
Of course, there were exceptions. Alphonse was one of them. His door was always open to the young alchemist, and Al almost always took advantage of that when passing through Central. Maybe he shouldn’t be surprised that Edward seemed to be one of the exceptions as well. He hadn’t realized just how much he had missed the other alchemist until he was back again.
A plaintive meow intruded on his thoughts, and Roy looked up to find Ed perched in the hallway up the stairs, shooting him an accusing stare. “Hm? Did I forget to feed you?” he asked her. No, that wasn’t right, he’d fed her that morning. Then it struck him, and Roy grinned. “You got locked out, didn’t you?” Alphonse was easily her favorite person in the universe, something that amused Roy to no end. When he staying there, she always slept with him, but had apparently been forgotten in all the excitement.
He reached out, plucking the journal from the table where his had abandoned it last night. Might as well take the time to catch up on it. “I know what you’re thinking, and you can forget it. I’m not going to go let you in. You can settle for me tonight,” he said, giving the arm of the sofa a pat by way of invitation. She hesitated a moment, then sauntered over, leaping up onto the arm, then down into his lap, turning a few circles before draping bonelessly over his thighs. Roy grinned and scratched her behind the ears, then opened the journal and flipped through till he found the page he had left off on.January 3rd, 1927
Some days I despair of ever getting my morning coffee again.
It certainly isn’t sacred anymore, that’s for certain. In fact, I suspect Edward rises as early as I do for the sole purpose of swiping my coffee. I asked him why he keeps taking my coffee when he could easily get his own. He asked me why I keep letting him. I conceded the point to him and went to get another cup.
Honestly though, I think he gets up so early just to have breakfast with me. He’s certainly not a morning person, but every morning he trudges down at six, droopy-eyed and little wobbly. I keep telling him he doesn’t have to, and he keeps waving me off. In the end it’s nice to have him there, even grouchy and half-asleep. So, really, I’m glad he doesn’t listen to me.
Well. That explained that, then. The general suspected it was something along those lines; habits developed with the other world’s Roy that he was having difficulty breaking in this one. Truthfully, he felt a little sorry for Ed. Obviously, the two of them had been close, and leaving was hard on him. He supposed having to see Roy day in and day out wasn’t making things any easier. He sighed and turned the page.January 4th, 1927
We’re finally starting to get somewhere, I think. Every time we make contact with you, it lasts a little longer. I’ll admit I know little of alchemy, but it is clear that Edward is remarkable with it, even to me. He learns something from every attempt, and every slight tweaking of the array has some sort of positive effect.
Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a way to communicate with you. Always, I am an observer, looking out from behind your eyes but unable to speak, to act, or to make you notice my presence. Still, progress is being made. The last adjustment Ed made to the array changed the entire feel of the contact. I can’t quite put it into words, but something about our connection was different. Closer, perhaps? It certainly made the reaction headache worse, but Edward promised he’d compensate for that next time around. It’s clear my headaches make him feel guilty, though I try to assure him they shouldn’t. I’m helping him because I want to, and truly, a few headaches are a small price to pay if we succeed.
I suppose this would be a good place to apologize for riding around in your head without permission, though I’m sure you’ll understand that it is for good reason. I assure you, I could not read your thoughts or any such thing, and should Edward and I wind up experimenting at an inappropriate time, I always put a stop to it. I have no desire to intrude on your personal business more than is strictly necessary, but it is necessary.
I hope you can forgive us that.
January 12th, 1927
I did not intend to let such a long time go between entries; however, I was out of town on a business trip, and unfortunately, I forgot my journal at home. Ah well, no help for it I suppose. I imagine there was little I could write of any interest anyway. Business was business, it bores me to tears, but it is necessary.
Edward hates it when I go on these trips. He never says as much, but I can tell. The boy can’t hide his feelings for the life of him. He is blatantly honest, even when he doesn’t mean to be. It’s refreshing, particularly after coming home after dealing with polite words that mean nothing at all.
As soon as I came through the door, Ed was there, mauling me like an over excited puppy, babbling about a thousand things all at once. I let him talk, though he lost me early on. He’s very difficult to keep up with when excited. When he paused to take a breath, I simply threw an arm around him, gave him a little hug, and told him I missed him too.
The look he gave me alone was worth it. At first surprised, then embarrassed. He muttered something about things being boring without me around, and I couldn’t help but smile. It was then that I realized I couldn’t even imagine my life without him in it anymore. I find myself of two minds about things. On the one hand, in me, Edward has found the chance to get home he has been seeking for five years. How can I deny him that? However, when I think about him leaving, it creates a cold knot in my gut that refuses to go away, and I must admit that I do not want him to go. A selfish desire, but an honest one.
The choice is not mine to make, however. His place is on his world, with the people he loves. It is unfair of me to wish it were not the case.
January 15th, 1927
Today, we finally made contact with you. It was a fleeting thing, an image of Edward held only for a moment, but you saw it. Perhaps you even remember it. Edward nearly danced around the room when I told him. He says it will take more time, but that alone may be enough to get him home.
I am elated and terrified all at once.
His joy was infectious and heartbreaking. I want him to be happy, but I realize my own feeling are at odds with that. I have not been honest with myself, skirting my feelings for Edward and not daring to examine them too closely. I have, over the course of these few short months, become closer to him than I have ever been to anyone else. I am happiest with him, and miserable when apart. I have always known that he would leave, but that knowledge was a far distant thing. This breakthrough has thrown into stark relief that which I have been too stubborn or too stupid to see.
I’m in love with him, and I’m going to lose him.