fullmetal alchemist fanfic: black lion

Edward has spent years searching for a way to save his brother. However, his search comes to a grinding halt when he finds himself in the midst of a covert war between a radical resistance and - at the centre of everything - the omnipotent and secretive Black Lion Corporation.

The frail figure that was Alphonse Elric lay before him, small and vulnerable, framed by thin white sheets. Edward let his hand rest on his brother’s forehead, but the skin was cold as usual, marked by a familiar darkness in hollowed cheeks.

"Sorry it’s taking me so long," Ed murmured to the seemingly lifeless body of his brother.

Read chapter one: [ FF.netAO3 ]

With a furious kick, Edward sent the wooden door swinging open, and he gasped at the sudden rush of cold air that stung his skin. He drew his scarf closer to his face, peering grumpily at the dismal scene before him.

The street had almost completely frozen over in the mere hour he’d spent inside the dilapidated building. A thin layer of frost coated every surface in the immediate area, giving the simple garden an almost crystalline appearance. Ed’s eyes followed the path that stretched out before him. He absently wondered how he was supposed to hobble across the hazardous ground and reach the street without somehow falling on his ass, what with automail ports that reacted to sudden changes in weather and made walking slightly more difficult.

Ed steeled his nerves, and was preparing himself for the arduous journey towards the distant gate when a crouching figure there unfurled itself and stood up. His stomach turned at the suddenness, but he grinned when he recognised Roy Mustang with what looked like a steaming foam cup in each hand.

Ed carefully made his way along the garden path, arm outstretched, skidding as he went. “Oh thank fuck, hand that over.”

Edward found he quite liked the nights.

When his shame and guilt dulled and he could not feel their thorny tendrils curl inside his chest; when the dull hum of the thing at his shoulder that felt a bit too heavy and not-quite-human fell quietly into the back of his mind; when he was too tired to allow the lurching shadows to take on wild shapes that shared an uncanny resemblance with horribly mutated things with limbs that ought not bend the way they did; he found his mind blank. It was the bliss of nothingness, the place in between where harsh reality could not dig in its claws and bind his hands to the ground, nor twisted dreams drag him screaming into the suffocating air.

There was always, of course, a pang of concern when he thought of his brother, which he always did. Alphonse never slept. There could be no moment of reprieve for a soul encased in steel. He could only ever watch the light and dark bleed together in a ceaseless purgatory while he sits in the dark, unfeeling, observing the enduring procession of rising suns and moons for a crime committed in naïvety by small and grieving children.

Edward watched Al watch the stars some nights, and wondered if the stars watched back in apathy. He wondered when he would once again see them reflected in his brother’s wholly human eyes. Perhaps then the guilt would recoil for good. Perhaps it would pull its pincers from his gut and drag his burdens away along with it.

Not for the first time, alone in the dark, Ed granted himself a moment to fervently wish for a future that did not deal cruel and senseless punishments, and a Fate that could for once be forgiving.

I.
Time slows. He watches the dying figure fall in the distance: a smudge of cerulean against a drab stone wall. He could have easily mistaken it for a dislodged piece of the stark blue sky if it weren’t for the slightest hint of black hair.

That god awful mullet, he thinks absently. He had silently hated it.

II.
He can’t remember what the other man had said. The memory is like smoke from a fire long since died; time has softened its edges. His only certainty is the smirk that followed. He knows it was a mask, a futile attempt to conceal wariness. Years in a prison cell would temper trust - not that the other man ever had any.
"I can make it happen."
The promise had not been empty; the other man knew it. He remembers the consideration in those cold, narrow eyes.

III.
The scarred man is not the only murderer in Lior, he thinks. But it’s a fact his troops don’t know. He wishes he could be as ignorant as them.

IV.
Red Lotus, Crimson - he used to wonder what inspired the names.
Perhaps it was the sanguine bolts of power that surged from those tattooed palms, for the other man had always indulged in raw, destructive abilities.
Or perhaps it was the blood that bloomed like roses from open gashes of the nameless Other, the result of a rogue alchemist’s sanctioned slaughter. In his mind’s eye he saw them: malformed flesh and gore entwined with tattered remains of fabric.
It was almost poetic, the way the crimson liquid fanned out out from the torn-open cavities underneath.
Morbid petals of a red lotus.

Pushing aside the long grass, the young boy scanned the ground before him, his eyes darting amongst the shivering green blades. His nose wrinkled against the gritty stench of earth.

A twitch to his left. The child’s eyes snapped to a tangled weed that had partially crumpled beneath his knee. He clawed at it, heedless of the soil catching beneath his fingernails, determined to claim the prize that had crawled underneath. He withdrew a balled fist; unfurling his fingers, Selim Bradley squealed with delight at the cricket that lay disoriented in his palm.

Mrs Bradley watched the child with mild amusement. She couldn’t help but take joy in his growth - after all, this was the first time she could truly experience the beginning of her adopted son’s life. She could not, however, dismiss the fact that it was a life he was living a second time through.

Fuhrer Grumman had skipped over much of the details of her son’s supposed rebirth - Mrs Bradley knew that much, and she was grateful for it. The recollections she had of little Selim were imbued with enough doubt already. Was the son she had raised nothing more than a shell? A vessel for something ancient and foul? That was the vague message the military officials seemed to convey, anyway.

In the passing years, Fuhrer Grumman had called by many times. The visits were cordial enough: tea was shared, political matters discussed - though their discussions seemed to involve the older man gravely describing conflicts in the military, with Mrs Bradley nodding sympathetically when a lull in the conversation deemed necessary.

These days, it seemed politics did not engage her.

Grumman would always find a way to ask about Selim, to the point where Mrs Bradley was becoming impressed with the creativity of his segues. Each time she dismissed his concerns: “There is no need to worry, Fuhrer. He is a gentle young boy, and he’s growing up healthily.” Sometimes Grumman would push further, though often he would just lean back in his seat and regard her thoughtfully. Mrs Bradley often wondered if he suspected that there were things she was keeping from him.

Certain things should be kept a secret, she thought. Grumman had no reason to know that her son had trouble sleeping. That he spent most nights curled up against his mother for comfort and protection. That little Selim often whimpered when faced with the silence - the silence that bore no distraction from the moaning, disjointed voices whose cries seemed to echo within his head, the haunting presence of many hundreds of things that clawed at him from the inside.

Grumman had no reason to know.

Red Sky at Night

The countless swift glances Kendra threw at the distant West were barely seconds apart, and yet she swore the sun had sunk farther each time she looked. She quickened her pace and tried yet again to suppress the unease that clenched at her gut.

Her donkey teetered on the edge of the path, weighted to one side from the bags roughly strewn across its saddle. Kendra had packed in a rush; she was desperate to return to Myra before nightfall, even if it meant dragging an imbalanced jack all the way. Not that it mattered now: it was starting to look like she wouldn’t make it.

The hilltop, the highest peak of the Valleys, was unsheltered from the bitter wind that whipped at the girl’s naked ankles, stinging with the icy breath of an approaching winter. Kendra shivered, and drew her hood down almost level with her eyes. Ominous swirls of grey hung like a shroud against the blazing autumnal glow of the evening sky.

'Red sky at night,' the children would chant, 'red sky at night is a shepherd's delight!' But Kendra knew better than to hope for fair weather. The Valleys were no longer as they should be.

The donkey brayed mournfully in response to Kendra’s fervent tugs on its bridle, and dug its hoofs into the dirt. “Come on, you great filthy sod,” she cried, exasperated, and sent a kick straight for its haunches. The creature whinnied in fright.

With a shaky sigh Kendra flicked a wisp of hair from in front of her grey-blue eyes and pushed on through the descending fog. The sun was barely visible anymore. As she ran her hand along the donkey’s coarse brown coat, Kendra felt a surge of guilt for being impatient with it. She could not blame an animal for the impending darkness.

The heavy, sinking mist was both chilling and blinding. Kendra screwed her eyes shut against its raw sting as she wandered forward, one arm cast before her, groping at the white wall that threatened to swallow her whole.

→ intro post

My name is Em, and I’m a twenty year old student majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. I also plan to pursue a diploma of Visual Arts at some point in the future. We’ll see how things turn out.

I’ve always been a somewhat disorganised mashup of both art and literature, but lately I seem to have placed illustration on the back-burner and aimed my sights primarily towards writing. However, I’m having a little trouble motivating myself and putting everything together.

That is, of course, where this blog comes in. It will hopefully present some semblance of organisation.

Most of my interests will be related to fandoms, primarily Fullmetal Alchemist, though some original material might pop in from time to time.

I hope you enjoy my work.

Em.