Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Rated for: Sexual Situations, Mild Violence, Language
Type: Gen, Suspense, Psychological, Dark, Divergence (story ignores series ending and movie), slight AU.
Pairings: Focus on Roy and Ed, but no actual “pairings” (see A/N in first chapter).
Warnings: Yaoi and Het sexual situations
Summary: When Ed shows up unexpectedly after a two year disappearance, Roy tries to help him and learns that there is a darker meaning to the words 'equivalent exchange'.
Chapter Listing Here
Ed’s eyes popped opened. Something had awakened him, but he wasn’t sure what. All seemed quiet now. Perhaps he had woken because of a dream? It was possible, but he couldn’t remember what he had been dreaming only moments before. As the indistinct fuzziness of sleep began to fade, Ed became aware of being in a bed; of someone holding onto him. He blinked at the white stucco ceiling, then turned his head to see who was lying so close to him.
A woman who looked to be in her late forties slept next to him. Her skin seemed to be well taken care of, but that didn’t hide the wrinkles of her age. Medium-length, chestnut-brown hair splayed messily around her; and as he stared, the gray in her hair became more noticeable. He frowned and shifted, causing the sheets to rustle a little as they moved against his body. Ed glanced down involuntarily and blinked, feeling faintly surprised.
He was naked with a woman he didn’t know...
Ed laid there for several moments, wondering what he should do. Finally, he lightly grabbed the woman’s arm and moved it carefully off his body so as not to wake her, and sat up. The sheets and blanket slid off him and he instantly shivered. Cocooned in the covers as he had been, Ed hadn’t realized how chilly the room was. He felt goose bumps cover his skin and instantly crawled back under the covers, yet that didn’t stop the unnatural chill that seemed to fill the air.
Glancing to his other side, Ed saw a man sleeping with his back turned to him. From the looks of it, Ed suspected the man was probably just as old as the woman, though not in as good of shape. The woman was thin and probably kept herself healthy by exercising regularly. The man...
Ed shook his head and let his eyes wander over the bedroom. The bed the three of them were in was ridiculously large. Cream colored sheets lay beneath a floral-print comforter on the bed. Two tall, oak bedposts rose from the corners at the end of the mattress and reached halfway to the ceiling. He turned and looked at the headboard, a sturdy thing with a curved top, and noted that identical bedposts rose from the back corners before glancing around the rest of the room. Two oak nightstands were placed on either side of the bed, each cleared off except for a small lamp. A long oak dresser sat past the foot of the bed, the style of it matching the nightstands and bed frame.
Ed frowned deeply feeling slightly confused. He had no recollection of coming here; no memory of the two people he was in bed with. In fact, today he was feeling particularly fuzzy in his head, as if even his identity was hidden from him like the sun behind passing dark clouds.
Taking in a sharp breath to brace himself against the cold, Ed crawled out from beneath the warm sheets and carefully climbed off the bed. He stopped and waited to see if the two people would wake; but when they didn’t, he walked over to the dresser where picture frames lined the sleek wooden surface. Ed glanced at each, wondering vaguely if he was in any of them.
There were pictures of the two people—both old pictures, such as wedding photos; and new ones, pictures of them with a young girl and boy—and then pictures with the girl and boy who seemed to have grown and were now in their late teens or early twenties. Ed grabbed one of the picture frames and tilted it so that he faintly reflected off the glass, then quickly put it back.
He wasn’t the boy in the picture. That’s all he needed to know. He turned and stared at the bed. No... he wouldn’t be. It seemed that the girl and boy were these people’s children, and if he was their kid, then he wouldn’t have been in bed naked with them. Ed glanced back at the sleeping couple and frowned. At least... he supposed that was true...
With a sigh that produced a puff of misty breath in the cold room, he glanced down at the floor. Clothing was scattered across the light brown carpet in a haphazard fashion; though, despite that, he easily found what was his. Quickly gathering up his stuff, Ed held the clothing close to his body, wondering if he should get dressed. He shivered again and thought suddenly that a hot shower would be nice. He lifted his arm and smelled it, then made a face of disgust. A shower would definitely be the best course of action.
Glancing around, Ed saw a door that seemed to lead to the master bathroom and started toward it. Letting himself into the room, Ed shut the door and stared hard into the pitch-black bathroom. Suddenly, a shiver passed through him at the feeling that he wasn’t alone. He reached out blindly with his hands and quickly felt around for the light switch. When he found it, Ed turned it on and swiftly twisted around, ready to defend himself if needed. Instead of finding an immediate threat, he saw a brightly furnished bathroom. Yellow flowers, rugs, trinkets and multiple towels decorated the room. He supposed it was meant to be cheerful, but instead he felt even more unease than he had before he’d turned on the light.
Ed tossed his clothes on the floor and glanced up to see himself in the mirror. His hair was loose and messy, and his body held a gauntness to it that made him think perhaps he hadn’t been eating so well lately. Not that he could remember right now, but it was the suspicion he had. Small bruises marred his skin in various places; some looked as if they were from fingers, others looked as if someone had sucked on him for too long. Some looked old and others very recent—perhaps some of them were from the night before.
However, those things didn’t capture his attention for long. What held him were his eyes. Large and golden, they seemed to draw him in as if he were falling into liquid, yellow pools. He felt as though he would drown in them; and, if he did, then he would truly die. His heart beat quickly and he tried to tear his gaze away, but it was as if someone was holding him where he stood, as if someone were watching him... as if someone were waiting behind those eyes.
Fear gripped his heart, and his skin prickled with goosebumps as he imagined it wasn’t just one who watched him, but many... Perhaps even he was behind those eyes in the mirror. Could it be that he was standing in front of the mirror, but was also staring back at himself from somewhere else...?
They were insane thoughts, and he knew it. He wasn’t out of his mind, was he? Perhaps he really was crazy, but he just couldn’t remember that he was. He wanted to laugh at the absurdity of it, but he couldn’t. It seemed too real. The feeling of many eyes on him wouldn’t go away and when he was finally able to look from the mirror he grabbed one of the towels from the towel rack and tucked part of in the small space between the wall and the back of the mirror. It was covered, but he only felt slightly better.
Swallowing hard, Ed reached for the knob that would turn on the bathtub faucet—his hand visibly shaking—and grabbed a hold of it. The metal felt cool against his skin and he let his breath out slowly as he turned on the tap. Hot water ran from the faucet and when he lifted the small metal bar on the faucet, the water started spraying down from the shower head instead.
Not wishing to stay in the bathroom any longer than necessary, Ed quickly climbed into the tub and closed the flowered, yellow shower curtain. He stood there—the water raining down on him—confused and unsure what to do next. This wasn’t his shower... Was it okay that he was in here? Was it alright if he used their soaps and creams? Chewing lightly on his lip, Ed decided that if it wasn’t okay, he’d rather apologize later, then have to go and ask for permission now.
He picked up one of the bottles and squeezed the contents into his hand. The clearish-blue slime oozed over his automail hand and he felt slightly fascinated by the fact that he couldn’t even feel it. Of course he couldn’t, it was metal, but this hand—this arm—was part of him; most likely attached even more securely than his real one, yet he felt nothing. Ed set the bottle down and rubbed his hands together as he wondered vaguely how long he’d had automail. His body seemed to be used to it so he supposed it must have been a long time.
He scrubbed his fingers through his hair concentrating on how the automail fingers against his scalp felt as opposed to his real ones. He pulled his hands away and grimaced when his automail hand caught on something. Reaching over with his real hand, Ed untangled his hair from the automail the best he could before squeezing his eyes shut and pulling the automail roughly. He heard the hair tear and break, and when he opened his eyes, Ed looked at his automail hand and saw blond strands of hair sticking out from the joints. He cleaned them out to the best of his ability, thinking that perhaps he should have known better.
Maybe he did, but he just couldn’t remember right now.
He frowned as he rinsed his hair. The thought gave him little comfort; and, in fact, made him feel even more unnerved. Ed reached for the soap and lathered up his hands before rubbing them over his body. That felt so good, and it seemed to calm him a little; especially the feel of his automail hand against his skin. It was almost like someone else was there, touching him, comforting him, making him feel good.
As the metal fingers traveled over his chest, they caught lightly on his nipples and a small moan of pleasure escaped him. His penis twitched and a burning need began to fill his groin. His nipples started to harden and again he brushed his fingers over them. Forgetting about his previous nervousness, Ed slid his hand down to his cock, careful to avoid the light pubic hairs, and slowly stroked himself.
He bucked his hips forward and his cock slid easily through his soapy grip. So good... it felt so good; as if he wasn’t fucking his own hand, but someone else’s. As he moved his hand and hips, Ed reached up with his real hand and pinched his nipples; softly at first, but as his need grew, he pinched them harder in an effort to give his body more stimulation. His groin ached for release, and he thrust harder and faster into his hand. Suddenly, he reached his peak and bucked his hips forward once more before holding still as milky cum spurted from him. It spattered against the back of the tub, then merely dripped onto the bottom of the bathtub as the force lessened.
When it was over, Ed felt slightly light-headed. Slowly, he lowered himself to his hands and knees, and closed his eyes. He felt something rubber against his foot and kicked it away. A metal chain slid against his toes and suddenly the sound of draining water stopped. Frowning, Ed realized he must have kicked the stopper into the drain, but it didn’t matter. The lingering feeling of having released was what was important. He felt more relaxed, though still a little dizzy, and it felt good to feel the hot water from the shower pelting his back.
As he knelt there on his hands and knees, the water level in the tub slowly began to rise and Ed opened his eyes. Shock and horror filled him as he realized he was again staring into his reflection, though this time it was faint and watery. Although his reflection rippled slightly from the pelting shower, it was as if it were a real person staring at him through a window that was being hit with rain. Terror raced through him when his reflection grinned at him—wicked cruelty radiating in those bright, yellow eyes.
Ed tried to get back up, but he couldn’t. Another glance showed his reflection holding onto his hands under the water. Panicked now, Ed slid one of his legs under him so that his foot was against the bottom of the tub and he tried to push himself up with no success. The grip on his wrists was too tight.
Swinging his head wildly from side to side, Ed tried to think of a way out of this. Suddenly, he felt himself pulled forward toward the ever-rising water. The arms of his reflection were pulled back a little as it drew him forward; yet, oddly enough, he could still feel the surface of the tub beneath his palm. In alarm, Ed realized that if he didn’t think of something, he really would drown in those eyes, though not exactly in the way he’d thought before...
Again he pushed up with the foot when suddenly it slipped against the slick porcelain. His knee hit the bottom and he cried out in shocked pain before his head was pulled under the water. With all the effort that was in him, Ed pressed against the tub with his knees as he used his back and abs to pull his upper body up. His head thrust out of the water though the water came to his chin now.
In an effort to relieve his knee of the pain he was feeling, Ed put all his weight on his automail knee and moved his real leg back. It was then that he felt the metal chain. Desperately, Ed grabbed the chain with his toes and tried to pull, but he simply wasn’t strong enough.
He looked down at the water and his reflection was so close now that he thought he could hear it whispering, “Come with me! This is where you belong. I own you, Edward Elric.”
At that moment, the chain slipped from his grip and he shouted, “No!” Though, whether it was because of losing the chain or a response to the whispering, he didn’t know. Perhaps it was both. Gritting his teeth, Ed put all of his weight on his injured knee and moved his automail foot back. He couldn’t feel the chain now, but he could hear it when it connected with his toes.
“You’re not happy there, Edward. Let me set you free!” he heard whispered in his mind.
Grabbing the chain firmly, Ed pulled with all his might and the stopper came loose, causing him to gasp as he fell face first into the water again. This time, pulling back up was easier as the water began to drain. Gasping and coughing, Ed lifted his foot and kicked back, slamming the faucet against the wall to turn off the water. The grip on his wrists lessened and Ed was able to pull free and hurry out of the tub. From the corner of his eye, he saw that, instead of his reflection following him as would be normal, it lunged for his foot, trying to make one last grab at him.
For a minute, Ed sat, wet and dripping, on the cold tile floor; breathing hard through his mouth as he tried to calm himself. He’d been so afraid... His body shook violently and he wrapped his arms around himself trying to stop it. His brain worked in overdrive to convince him that what happened wasn’t real; it wasn’t possible...
Finally, with shaky hands, Ed grabbed one of the towels and started to quickly dry himself. It didn’t happen, he told himself. It didn’t. It wasn’t possible. Ed told himself that he was simply overreacting to how he’d felt about the mirror, though that line of thought wasn’t very convincing.
He quickly pulled on his clothes, which were dirty and smelled of sweat and grime, and hurried out of the bathroom. He stopped and looked around the bedroom. All was as it had been before; nothing had changed.
His eyes fixed on the telephone which sat on one of the nightstands next to the bed and he blinked. Had there been a phone there before? He didn’t think so; but then, perhaps he just hadn’t seen it. Walking slowly to the nightstand, Ed picked up the receiver, pressed it to his ear and heard a dull dial tone. Without giving the matter too much thought, he quickly dialed, idly watching the rotary turn each time he put in a number.
There was a ring, then another before he heard a click and, “Rockbell Automail—Alphonse speaking. How can I help you today?” The voice on the other line was a light baritone and Ed supposed it should sound pleasant. Instead, the voice sounded bored and dull like something that had once been bright, but had since lost its shine.
Ed was quiet for a moment, not sure what to say.
“Hello?” the voice said again, this time sounding more aware and slightly suspicious.
“I’m sorry...” Ed whispered, though for what he wasn’t sure.
The voice on the other line was silent for a moment, then he heard a cautious, “Brother...?”
“I’m sorry,” Ed repeated, not sure whether he really was the other person’s brother or not.
“Brother,” the voice whispered urgently. “Where are you?”
Ed looked around the room and murmured, “The bedroom.”
“Okay... that’s a start. What house is the bedroom in?” The voice had taken on a tone that one reserved for either children or dimwits, but Ed paid this no mind.
“I don’t know,” he said quietly. He really didn’t know. He still didn’t even know who he was, let alone anything else.
There was a moment of silence, then, “Is there someone you can ask?”
Ed glanced at the two people on the bed. Despite all the noise he must have been making, they hadn’t woken, hadn’t even moved. As if in a dream, Ed said dully, “They’re dead.” The moment he said it, he knew it was true. He supposed he should feel upset about this, but he didn’t.
He felt nothing.
His skin felt numb and suddenly the phone he was holding seemed too heavy. He lifted his other hand, his automail one, and stopped when it clinked dully against something in his pocket. There was silence from the phone, but he paid it no mind. Instead, he dug in his pocket and pulled out a pocket watch.
At that moment, the voice on the phone spoke again. “Ask someone who isn’t dead,” the voice said in a slight monotone that made a chill run through him. He held the pocket watch up in front of his face and studied the scratches and dings in the cool, silver surface.
“There is no one else,” he whispered vaguely, feeling himself mentally slipping away from the conversation.
“Brother?” the voice asked. The flat tone was gone, once again replaced with an urgent and familiar one. “Brother, answer me!”
“The dead keep their secrets, Alphonse. It’s the living who can’t be trusted,” Ed murmured and watched as the watch began to turn on the chain.
“Brother, you have to come back to Rizembool,” the voice on the other line said. It was almost a command, yet still a plea. “Tell me where you are so I can come get you.”
As the watch turned, Ed noticed something etched into the metal on the back. He held it close and peered interestedly at it. There was a name and an address.
“Brother? Are you still there?” the voice asked again.
Ed figured if someone had gone through the trouble of marring the watch with this information, then it must be important. Of course! This person must know the answers! He would go to this address and find this person.
With eyes still riveted on the watch, Ed said, “I’ll ask him.”
“Him? Him who?” the voice asked, again sounding suspicious and harsh.
Ed stuffed the watch back in his pocket and said with a clarity he didn’t feel, “Mustang knows, Al. Mustang always knows.” At that, Ed hung the phone up. Stepping back, Ed stared at it, wondering who it was he’d just been talking to.
With a shrug, he turned around and started for the bedroom door. He needed to go to that address. He suddenly felt obsessed with it. It must be important if he’d scratched it on there. Stopping, Ed cast his mind back to that thought. Was it he who had scratched it in? If so, he couldn’t remember...
He started walking again, a little slower this time as he suddenly remembered that he didn’t know who he was or why he was here. The thought made him extremely uncomfortable. Reaching out, Ed pulled open the bedroom door and stepped outside. The outside of the house was filled with rotting vegetation and pieces of cement that had once been the sidewalk led from the street to the house. Strips of wood and construction materials dotted the decaying yard—the weight of these partially sinking into the putrid bog that must have once been a lawn. The street beyond was broken up and in disrepair making him think that no one could have driven on it for a long time.
Swallowing hard, Ed turned back to glance from where he’d just come, and saw a broken-down, shell of a house. The doorknob he held onto was old and rusted and the room beyond was dimly lit and filled with various pieces of construction wreckage. A nondescript rat scurried across the room and squeaked loudly before finding a place to hide.
With a feeling of confused fear, Ed let go of the door and stepped backward. He stopped abruptly when he heard a sickening ‘squish’ sound and his foot began to sink. The sinking caused fear from something forgotten to grip him and he quickly pulled his foot back up onto steady ground. His heart beat wildly in his chest and he stepped gingerly onto the broken sidewalk and started for the street; all the while not moving his eyes away from the sinister-looking house.
When he set foot on the street, Ed stopped and took in the house before him. The building looked to be structurally unsound, as if it would fall over any moment; and yet, part of him could have sworn that when he’d been in there...
“Young man?” Ed blinked and turned his head. An old woman looked curiously at him and said worriedly, “Are you... alright?”
He stared dumbly at her, wondering where she could have come from. “I...”
“You’ve been standing there, staring at my house for almost an hour now, and I thought perhaps you might be ill...”
Ed blinked. Hours? Her house? He whipped his head around and blinked again. The house in front of him was a small, cozy-looking thing, with white trim and a cute picket fence around the yard. The lawn was green, and well cared-for bushes grew near the house making it seem the ideal place for someone like her to live. He glanced around. In fact, the whole neighborhood seemed to be a nice, friendly place.
“You were even standing out here all the while it was raining...” she said, her voice radiating concern.
He looked at her and muttered, “Rain...?”
The woman nodded and pointed at him. “You see? Your hair is still wet from it.”
Slowly, Ed reached up and touched his undone hair. Just as she’d said, it was damp. “I...” He wasn’t sure what to say. He really had no idea why he was standing there. He had a feeling he’d been heading somewhere, but...
He thrust his hands into his pockets, then frowned when his hand connected with something hard and metal in his pocket. Taking it out, Ed saw that it was a pocket watch. He stared hard at the symbol on the front, then looked up when the woman spoke.
“Oh my! Are you a State Alchemist?” He glanced back down at the watch, but before he had a chance to say that he really wasn’t sure, she went on. “But you’re so young!” She paused, then said, “Are you the Fullmetal Alchemist?”
The name sounded familiar, and suddenly, as if something had just clicked in his head, Ed smiled brightly and said, “Yeah! That’s me! I’m the Fullmetal Alchemist!” That was him! Of course! What had he been thinking?
“Well, I’ll be!” the woman exclaimed. “And where’s that brother of yours? I heard he’s a tall one, all dressed in heavy armor.”
Ed blinked, again at a loss. Where was Al? He glanced around, then saw a stray cat run behind a corner. He smiled brightly and looked again at the woman, “I’ll bet he’s off finding stray cats. He loves ‘em.” Without giving it another thought, Ed stuffed the watch back in his pocket and said, “I’ll go find him!”
He started to jog the way the cat had gone, then turned around, ready to tell the woman not to go anywhere, then stopped. The woman was gone, and instead of a nice cozy house and friendly neighborhood, he saw a business plaza with people hurrying on their way. Snow flitted lightly down from a gray sky to either melt on the sidewalk or pile up in the corner. He frowned and scratched his head, then suddenly wondered why his hair was wet. It took him a moment, but then he remembered it was because of the rain. Ed shook his head and turned around. Or maybe it was because of the snow... He shrugged, deciding it didn’t matter. Without stopping to think why his hair would be wet and not his clothes, Ed rushed off to find his brother.