Ketita (ketita) wrote,
Ketita
ketita

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Fanfic: Messenger parts 4...and 4

I have finally finished it. The funny thing is, that I wrote an ending for it and then had an idea for a different ending. I considered ditching the first one entirely, but the second ending makes a different point and puts emphasis on different personality aspects of different characters.
So I'm just going to post them both.

Previous parts can be found here.

Title: Crow
Author: ketita
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Ed, Envy
Spoilers: Manga chapter 53, mostly
Notes: The original ending I had planned.
Summary: All things come to and end. But just because it's over doesn't mean it's...over.



You know that story about Crow who wanted to walk like Dove? Every day Crow saw how beautifully Dove walked, and decided he wanted to walk like that too. So he followed Dove around, trying to mimic the way she walked. All the other animals laughed at Crow, including Dove, for how silly he looked; but he knew that one day he would succeed, so he stuck to it.

But he never managed, and at some point he decided to give up.

By then it was too late. Crow found that he couldn't remember how he used to walk before, and so until this day he has a strange hop-skip gait, neither here nor there.
I know exactly how that crow feels.




He had succeeded.

The thought felt alien. Months of fighting madly for his life, battles with homunculi, skirmishes with Scar and crazed alchemists- all had brought him to this wonderful moment.

He stared at Al, basking in the sight of his younger brother in the flesh. His breath came short and his lungs were on fire, his heart felt like it was bursting, he felt dizzy and lightheaded and absolutely wonderful.

Al was still inspecting his new body bemusedly, but now he looked up at his brother, tears starting in his eyes and a grin splitting his face.

Ed laughed, the culmination of his life's work standing in front of him, and opened his arms. Al didn't hesitate even for an instant, and the two locked together in a bone-crushing hug.

They didn't need words. They didn't need anything but each other.

The shouts coming from outside the abandoned building they had chosen to use for the transmutation hardly penetrated their happy haze; now that they were completely together, body and soul, nothing in the world would ever separate them again.



He held Al at arm's length, and surveyed the perfection that was his younger brother. Resisting the impulse to touch was difficult; he didn't want to be clingy, after all. But Al just smiled at him and ran his own hands up Ed's arms, so that was ok.

"Now all we have to do is find a way to turn you human again!" Al said cheerfully.

Wait…something felt wrong about that. His mind was struggling with a concept, something that had been there so long he had stopped noticing it.

Al was restored. With the loss of motivation, came release of the vice-like grip. Hauntingly familiar images suddenly flashed through his mind, a maelstrom of blood and death; homunculi and the one called 'Father', and a golden-haired alchemist dying on the ground, blood bubbling at his lips.

"He's dead," he crowed, forcing the words out, relishing the freedom of being able to finally say it. He could feel his face twisting in effort.

The grin faded from Al's face. "What…?"

"You're brother is dead!" A voice inside him was weakly telling him to stop, but he could ignore it this time, and plowed on. "I killed him!" He smirked cruelly. He had waited for this moment, dreamed of this moment for what seemed like an eternity.

"That's impossible!" Al stared at him, eyes wide and horrified. "Who exactly do you think you are, then?!"

People had entered the room; he registered them in his peripheral vision, but he didn't care.

"I'm…" suddenly he floundered. It had been so long since he had even thought the name.

Envy, the voice inside his mind told him sadly. It was equivalent trade.

"Envy!" he gasped out, taking a few steps back. Finally, I can be myself again! he suddenly realized. The shape-shifting was awkward, and took him longer than he vaguely remembered it taking. He was out of practice.

Finally he was back in his own form, though a niggling worry was playing at the back of his mind.

It was all wrong, he thought, fear finally beginning to register. This form felt all wrong. The fingers were too thin, the legs too long, the hair too wild. He nervously brushed his hair back, and tugged at his skort with one hand. The clothes were too skimpy.

This wasn't him.

Panic was starting to set in. He let himself flow, letting go of this too-alien form, and tried to come up with something more comfortable. His hair abruptly changed from green to gold, matching his eyes. His clothes flowed, covering more of his body, though remaining tight.

A solid blow to his face nearly stunned him, and he stepped back in confusion. Another blow followed.

"How dare you wear his face!" Al cried furiously. "You killed him!" Al punched him in the face again, then grabbed onto the fabric of his shirt. "Give him back to me!" he screamed. "Give me back my brother!" The anger was practically drowned in the misery of the heartbroken plea.

Al, it's ok, it's ok – I told him to, I made him, I wanted to fix you, please don't cry Al, please! I'm sorry I messed up, I'm so sorry, please Al!

"I…I can't…" he stumbled over the words, feeling helpless. Why had he done this? What had possessed him to break it to Al this way? "I didn't mean to…"

"Liar!" Al glared at him. "Why did you do it? Why did you pretend to be him?" Al shook him, and he didn't have the heart to pull away from the abuse. What was a little physical pain, compared to what he had done? "He's inside of me. Inside my Philosopher's Stone."

"He's…he's still alive?! Let me talk to him!"

No!

What? Why?!

I don't want…him to see me…like this…

"Please!" Al hunched over, his voice heavy. "I'll…I'll give you anything, just let me see him again…"
Why did it hurt him so much to see Al like this? "No!" he choked. "I'll show you…"
Maybe Al wouldn't hate him so much, then.

No!

It was possible to ignore what that voice wanted. He should know, most of all, that Al always came first.

He took a few steps back, and allowed his body to remember that other form.



Edward suddenly found himself in a different place. The red walls around him receded, the landscape was changing. Suddenly he felt something he hadn't felt in an eternity. He could see. It was a body, he realized, blinking physical eyes and looking at physical hands.

It wasn't quite real. It didn't respond fast, and he could still feel the connection to other bodies, and to the main one, but it was a heady feeling nonetheless.

Al, he remembered in a flash. Al was waiting for him.

He pushed outward, fought his way through the other bodies. They were gibbering at him, and tried to stop him. They clung to him with smooth hands and twined themselves about his form, but it was a completely futile effort. He pushed them away as easily as if they were dead leaves in his path.
Finally, he burst out, the light puzzling him momentarily, but unable to distract him from Al.

Perfect, he thought. How can anybody be so completely perfect?

"E-Edward…" Al stammered, looking up at him in horror.

It was this body, Ed realized. He was horrible. Al shouldn't see him like this. He shouldn't touch his brother with these fake hands of his, nor dare look on him with these dirty eyes.

He recoiled. No, no, he never wanted to see Al look at him like this. He would rather die a thousand more times than have to live with the knowledge that he disgusted his little brother. Ed hid his face in his hands, trying to pull away, to retreat back behind the rows of other bodies now pressing him gleefully forward, enjoying his torment.

"Ed, no, don't go!" Al was touching him, pulling him forward.

No, stop, I'm horrible, hideous, dead.

Al pulled his arms away from his face, and hugged him. "Ed, my brother, my…" Al was whispering against his neck, and he could feel wetness from tears.

Ed tried to move his mouth, to communicate out loud. "Don't leave me, Al," he begged, and tried to hold on.

He was dead.

Suddenly this seemed clear to him.

He would be stuck like this forever, he realized. He would never be able to see Al again, or hold him, or even speak to him properly.

Al would leave him. He could feel a strange wetness on his cheeks.

I don't want to be like this! he screamed. I want out! Let me out! Let me go!

His arms tightened around his brother.

I can't. Dammit, I would have gotten rid of you ages ago if I could!

I don't want to stay here! I want Al!

I'm sorry!

"I can' leave," he finally explained thickly. "I'm stuck here. Just…could you bury me near Mom? I don' wan' to be dead all by myself."

His brother nodded at him through his tears, and Ed sighed with relief. It would be some sort of comfort to know that at least his body would be close to his family.

All the other spirits had lost their identity long ago. He hoped he would go quickly, enough to forget who he had been, and what he had lost.

Al was looking up at him, trying to get his attention. "I…I think I can…." Al clapped his hands together, and reached out. Ed took his hands willingly, hope briefly igniting in his dead heart. Al would save him.

"I'll always love you…"

He could feel Al growing further and further away, but he wasn't worried. Some day, Al would be here with him.

Everything was fading away, dissolving in light, and he could finally rest.




Stop!

He roared throwing his head back, and jerked away. His body convulsed, and he melted, changing to his smaller, more human form.

Al was staring at him, the look of vindication and victory fading slightly to reveal worry.
There was a gaping hole inside of him, a gaping hole where Edward had once been.

Frantically, he searched for that voice that had always told him who he was, told him what to do, had loved him and comforted him.

He crumpled to the floor, clenching both fists. He was Envy, completely Envy, and nothing but Envy.
They were all looking at him, contempt written on their faces. They hated him; he had taken their Edward away from them.

He deserved to suffer.

It was fitting that they were here, he thought. It was good that Roy got to see Edward one last time. Those soldiers had been his friends. Ling had been his friend too.

And Al….

It wasn’t fair, he realized. He still understood them. He still loved them. He was Envy. Why did he still care? Why?!

"He's gone," Al said, his voice shaking. "What did you do with his body?"

They had never cared about him.

Envy found himself wildly jealous of Edward. It was always Edward they had loved. "I buried him…outside of North City." He had no will to resist any more.

Al was turning away from him.

They hated him.

He deserved to hurt, he thought. He had sinned grievously, past any kind of redemption. But it still wasn't fair…. Envy found his voice.

"Was I…was I such a bad brother to you?"

Al froze, stared at him in incredulity.

He looked up pleadingly, searching for some spark in one of the stone faces around him but found none. "You're supposed to be the good ones! This isn't right!" he cried. "You made me love you. You can't throw me away now! You need to…take responsibility. This isn't Equivalent," he choked out, not daring to look at him.

"You deserve nothing." It was Roy. His voice was cold, furious.

"You brought this upon yourself." Ling had no pity for him either.

The worst part was, they were right. It was only what he deserved. He couldn't bear to look at Al's face; he got unsteadily to his feet and fled.

Rejection was one of the cruelest punishments for Edward; even an incomplete Edward, like Envy was.

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He stumbled through the underbrush. The world was a gray, drab place. He knew he would never again be able to find peace in nature the way Edward had taught him to, would never be able to just enjoy something simple like sunlight.

"Wait!"

It was Al's voice. How much longer must you torment me? He was Edward enough that Al's hatred was something he could never bear.

"Please, wait!"

Envy slowed to a stop. His mind was protesting, telling him he would only hurt himself worse, but his heart desperately wanted to be near Al.

Al came to a stop, panting slightly. "Listen…I thought about what you said…maybe, do you…come back with me? We can try to make it work. Stay with me."

He frankly stared at Al. It didn't make sense, what he was hearing. It couldn't be true. Despite everything he had done, Al was willing to try and forgive him. At that moment his heart fell at Al's feet, and he knew he would belong to the young Elric forever.

He wanted to agree, desperately wanted to say yes, but the memory of Al's haunted voice stopped him.
"You would hate me," he said hoarsely. "How long until you got up every morning, and looked at me only to remember that I was the one who took your brother away from you? You can never forgive me for that."

Al opened his mouth, but he wasn't finished.

"Don't try to use me to replace your brother. He deserves his own place in your memory." He could no longer resist the impulse, and dared to hug Al. It was the only time Al hugged him back, him as himself and not Edward, and he knew he would treasure it forever.

"Mourn him, Alphonse," he whispered, before running.

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He left Amestris. He couldn't bear to stay in that country, so close and yet so far from Al. His only thought was to get away, as far away as he possibly could.

Maybe some day he would find out who he was now.

The world was a cold place to him; it belonged to humans. There was no room for a watered-down version of Edward Elric anywhere in it; but maybe there would be a small corner for him.

Sometimes, fleetingly, he would catch a glimpse of how the world had looked when he was Edward: a bright, beautiful place, full of life and endless opportunities. It would come upon him when he least expected it, when he saw a particularly breathtaking view or heard someone laughing, or sometimes just after the rain.

He would search for that feeling for the rest of his life. It was a dream, something alien to him, a peace that he didn't deserve and would probably never reach.

But he could no more stop trying to reach that elusive 'happiness' than he could turn back time and the circumstances that had brought him here.

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And the second ending:

Title: Last Sacrifice
Everything else: pretty much the same
Notes: The other ending.
Summary: The world owed him, and he was going to collect.




He had succeeded.

The thought felt alien. Months of fighting madly for his life, battles with homunculi, skirmishes with Scar and crazed alchemists- all had brought him to this wonderful moment.

He stared at Al, basking in the sight of his younger brother in the flesh. His breath came short and his lungs were on fire, his heart felt like it was bursting, he felt dizzy and lightheaded and absolutely wonderful.

Al was still inspecting his new body bemusedly, but now he looked up at his brother, tears starting in his eyes and a grin splitting his face.

Ed laughed, the culmination of his life's work standing in front of him, and opened his arms. Al didn't hesitate even for an instant, and the two locked together in a bone-crushing hug.

They didn't need words. They didn't need anything but each other.

The shouts coming from outside the abandoned building they had chosen to use for the transmutation hardly penetrated their happy haze; now that they were completely together, body and soul, nothing in the world would ever separate them again.



He held Al at arm's length, and surveyed the perfection that was his younger brother. Resisting the impulse to touch was difficult; he didn't want to be clingy, after all. But Al just smiled at him and ran his own hands up Ed's arms, so that was ok.

"Now all we have to do is find a way to turn you human again!" Al said cheerfully.

Turn you human again. The words echoed strangely inside his mind.

Something sparked inside of him, some long-forgotten memory of a different person, but he quashed it quickly. He was- Edward Elric, he thought firmly. No, there was somebody- What a silly thought. True, now he was a shape-shifting homunculus and he hadn't been before, but he was still himself.

no...

That small protest seemed to die out.

He refused to give up this body he had worked so long and hard to have.

Not...not fair...

“Leave it alone, Al,” he said softly. Al stared at him in surprise. “I've got my limbs back, and I've got you. I don't want to push my luck.”

You promised...

“But...it's not right for you to be like this...”

That hurt. “Al, are you saying that just because I'm not...not human I-”

“No!” his brother hugged him tightly. “You are human. If I was human when I was nothing but a soul in armor, then you are definitely human!”

Sighing in relief, he hugged Al back. “Then please, my brother, let it lie. I am happy.”

It wasn't like Al could really fix him, anyway. If he had learned one thing, it was that you couldn't raise the dead.

You promised...! the voice was laden with betrayal.
Edward looked at Al again, brushed some flaxen hair out of his eyes. Yes, he had promised.

To give up this life again -he was already long dead- never to see Al any more, to leave Winry and Pinako and Izumi and yes even Mustang behind, since Al was restored. All this he had promised.

He imagined the look on Al's face when he found out his brother had died. Thought about the reactions of all the people who had worked so hard to accept him, gone far enough that they had accepted a homunculus as his replacement.

No. Hell no.

He would not give up this life. Even if he had to fight to keep hold of this body every day of his life -of Al's life, since he could live forever, but why would he want to live after his brother died?- he would take what he figured life owed him. He had paid enough.

It's equivalent trade.

This is not equivalence!

You killed others. Now you lose your life.

Liar...liar...

Al didn't have to know. His brother would never know how close he had come to losing him completely.

“Let's go home, Al.” Edward grinned, and held out his right hand. It only took a short thought to change the texture of the flesh from metallic to skin and bone.

His wonderful, beautiful little brother smiled back, and took his hand.

To sacrifice Envy's life for this...

Yes, it would bother him. He would lie awake some nights over what he had done.

But it was a sacrifice he was willing to make.


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~END~

A/N: ^_^ I'm very happy I finally finished this. I was actually going to do one more scene on the first ending, the funeral (which basically involves people being miserable) but I decided to just leave it like this.
I would like to say that I am pleased to pieces with this idea, and especially because I came up with it before the GreedLing chapters in the manga came out. I also can't quite believe I pulled a semi-happy ending out of this thing. ...well, sort of...
I hope you all enjoyed, and Happy Passover!
Tags: fanfic, fullmetal alchemist
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