I’m sick of this shit. This country fucking sucks. I was twenty fucking years old and had three-fourths of my limbs before I fucked around with an array I found in some old windbag’s basement and now I’m sixteen with half of my limbs and most noticeably in an entirely different world. The only upside is having my alchemy back, but I would exchange it again if it meant going back home and getting rid of the back pain that comes with having your spine stressed more on one side than the other.
The local language is easy enough to grasp, similar to Lin’s native tongue, which if you remember, was pounded into me by your “One and Only” (I’m never gonna let you live that down for saying that), but simpler. I’m getting followed everywhere I go by these kids with markings on their tongues. I’ve only just been able to catch them by surprise because they thought I couldn’t do anything because I don’t have something called chakra. They don’t really say much when I ask them why the hell they’re stalking me but it’s cool because they haven’t tried to do
anythning anything yet.
Also, on the topic of Fucking Chakra.
It’s same kind of shit that Lin lectured us on, only infinitely more malleable it seems. And inside of everyone, just probably not me. What they seemingly lack technology wise, they make up for with mind breaking feats of strength and breathing fire out of their fucking mouths with nothing more than some twisty hand signs. No chemistry, no fundamental understanding of what exactly they were doing, but just doing it.
I guess this is the part that fucks with me the most. I once chatted with a blonde haired kid with the special ninja headband (which everyone seems to hate, what the fuck) and it went something like this:
“How do ninjas do that crazy shit?”
“I don’t fucking know because I’m absolutely useless and this place sucks ass.”
I’m paraphrasing because I’m running out of paper and also because this kid talked about a whole lot of shit that wasn’t even remotely related to what I originally asked him. The hotel I work at is about to kick me out of the living quarters for “not showing enough skin while cleaning”. Gotta go find an apartment before I’m homeless.
I’m pretty sure this “hotel” is a whore house.
“We have no place for boys who don’t show skin staying all night at our hotel! Come back tomorrow at eight o’clock sharp with a place to sleep or you’re fired.” Ed mocks under his breath, a long sleeved black turtleneck with gloves and slightly too long baggy, olive green pants covers up his most of his particularly defining features. The last time someone from here had seen his automail they had passed out, maybe from shock, or maybe from the way Ed had nearly cut their dick off in panic. He kicks up a cloud of dust in front of him, the once black boots are now covered in a thin sheen of dust that makes him want to scrub them clean.
They should really invest in some paved roads.
Also cars. That would be nice too.
Ed deftly blows strands of golden strands out of his eyes and heaves another sigh. Even with how early it is, there are people running across rooftops and gathering in markets to get the freshest buy, similar to his hometown with it’s tight knit circles but different in the sheer scale of the people. As much as he wants to bash and hate on the village that more or less ruined his life, he can’t hate the people. They’re too similar to the ones back home, hardworking and never quite serene. There’s always a underlying restlessness in a country that senses war, and from what Ed can tell, this world has seen a lot of it. Very much like his hometown indeed.
His eyes land on a poster nailed to the wall of a nearby store, “RENTERS NEEDED, APARTMENTS NEWLY REFURBISHED, PRICE NEGOTIABLE. TALK TO TEUCHI AT ICHIRAKU’S FOR MORE INFORMATION” The address is listed to be near the Ichiraku stand and even though Ed has never been one for living near what’s bound to be a busy area (he’s seen the store, it’s never empty), he’s in desperate need of a house. Not to mention, from what he can remember, the stand is fairly close to the library. He snatches it off the wall, and for what feels like the first time in a long time, he feels what might be a sliver of hope.
With his own place he can work on an array in private and finally get back home in what he hopes to be a year. At least that’s the plan, but if Ed knows anything about plans, especially his plans (though if anyone were to ever ask, his plans are perfect), they often go awry. Basically, the plan is perfect and also, he’s heard that the Ichiraku stand has good food, so really, is there any flaw?
He thinks the fuck not.
He finds the stand quickly and examines the apartment building right behind it. It’s old, but not old in a way that could be found back in Amestris, because old here isn't nearly as old what could be found in his world. These countries, or villages, as they call them, are just under a century old, and the mortality rate is extremely high due to the constant back and forth battles between them. Though he has to admit, that chakra healing he briefly read up on in the library is pretty damn useful, and again, a lot like Lin’s home country.
Actually everything here is a lot like Lin’s home country.
It is perhaps the most telling when Ed steps into the stand and notices that it is almost completely empty. The old man at the front smiles tensely, as if waiting for a reaction.
Ed double checks the room, the only person here is the dumbass blonde who doesn’t know what chakra is sitting at the counter with stacks of bowls next to him, hunched over the paper and muttering under his breath. He raises an eyebrow at the man behind the counter questioningly and gives him the most confused glance he can muster. The smile does a complete one-eighty, broadening out and stretching into a friendly smile that could only be rivaled by Lt. Armstrong’s.
Ed guesses he passed the test.
He clears his throat, inadvertently drawing the attention of the dumbass blonde, “I’m here to talk to Teuchi-san about the about the available apartment.” Ed waves around the ad, not entirely sure about what he should be doing, but doing something anyway.
“Ah, yes!” The old man waves to the bar, “have a seat! I’m Teuchi, I own the building and rent it out to make some side cash.” Ed takes a seat at the bar next to orange jumpsuit kid, and the kid stares, his expression edging on disbelief. Ed’s pretty sure he’s done something weird but, god, does he hope none of them bother to point it out.
Honestly, if either of them do bother to point it out, Ed might just lose it right here in the ramen stand. His temper is a hair's breadth away from being dangerous, he’s exhausted from staying up all night cleaning at the “hotel”. Ed tears his eyes away from the jumpsuit kid to look back at Teuchi, “Your flier says it’s newly refurbished?”
At this, the kid goes back to being hunched over the paper, muttering to himself indistinctly. Teuchi nods his head, “Yes, no one’s lived in that apartment for years,” his eyes unreadable as he stares at jumpsuit boy, “some friends of mine used to live there, but ever since they died I haven’t been able to clean it out.” He shakes his head, “but, the Hokage came to collect their stuff a long time ago, so it was really just some heavy cleaning and changing out the furniture.” The heavy look on his face is gone, replaced with the bright smile from before, “is 2,000 ryo a month a fair price for you?”
Ed nods, he doesn’t have to worry about expenses other than rent, water, and heat. Most clothing and organic material he can create himself with a couple arrays no problem. Even though it goes against Teacher’s teachings entirely, he doesn’t foresee himself having much of a choice (though, if he were to be completely honest, if he really ever cared about Teacher’s rules, he would have all his limbs). “Do you have a name?”
“Elric Edward, though most people just call me Ed.” He says with a grin that shows far more teeth than necessary, but what can he say? He’s always had a flair for the theatrics and being stuck in a different dimension where no one knows his name isn’t going to kill any of that.
Ed chokes down a laugh, the complete butchering of his name is another thing he’s had to get used to while here, and at this point it’s more funny than anything. “I’ve been told Ed is easier to pronounce.”
Teuchi returns his grin, “well Ed it is then.”
A scream from jumpsuit boy draws both of their attention, and the paper is shoved behind the counter in the old man’s face. “Please old man, you gotta help me! Kakashi-sensei says that if I can solve this equation without the help another ninja, he’ll arrive on time today!” Ed watches as Teuchi squints at the paper and shakes his head sadly.
“I’m sorry Naruto-kun, but most civilians my age just aren’t schooled as much as you ninjas are, though I’m told it’s changing now with civilians your age.” The newly dubbed Naruto rubs his head aggressively and sighs in defeat.
Ed stifles a laugh and sighs theatrically, “Give it here fishcake boy, lemme see what I can do.”
The boy squints, hiding his paper in a possessive manner, “Oh yeah? Who says you can solve it? I’ve seen you working down at that old whore house as a janitor, this is hard stuff.”
Ed huffs irritatedly and snatches the paper over, he could use a good math problem to think about. “If a ninja throws a kunai at an enemy thirty-three degrees, assuming the enemy is in a tree perpendicular to the ground, what is the enemy’s angle relative to the tree?” Ed finishes, sighing, “this is basic geometry, are you telling me that this is the highest mathematical education you receive freely from your country if you go to their special ninja academy?” He asks somewhat incredulous as the two nod, somewhat confused. He heaves another sigh, “the answer is fifty-seven. A right triangle’s angles all add up to one hundred and eighty degrees, so the only other angle you can fit in here is fifty-seven. It’s the basics.” Ed hands the paper back. “I think I might have to go talk to your Hokage if this is the highest education the populace can receive without government support.”
“Where I’m from it’s normal to be in school five days a week, for roughly sixteen years or more, depending on whether or not you wanted to receive higher education in certain areas, you could go off and pay to learn more and become a certified master in a certain field.”
“School for sixteen years? Your village must have sucked.”
Ed pauses, “I mean, I guess in some ways, but personally in terms of education, I find your village to be lacking quite honestly. I’ve seen this before in different count- er, villages that I’ve been to. They withhold knowledge to keep the populace under their thumb so that they don’t rebel against the ruling power.” He scratches his cheek thoughtfully, “without the knowledge that there could be something better or the ability for them to think for themselves, the ruling power can effectively keep thoughts of treason from ever occurring.”
The slack-jawed face from Teuchi and the indignant fury on Naruto’s face draws a hum from the back of his throat, “Maybe I shouldn’t have told you all that, it’s just been awhile since I’ve talked about things other than the sanitation of the floor.”
A gloved hand nestles into Naruto’s hair, shaking Ed out of his musings and startling Naruto so much he loses his balance on the stool and falls to the floor.
“You said your name was Errick Edweerd correct?” The man says, his one visible eye twisting into what Ed assumes to be a smile.
Golden eyes stare into the smiling quarter of the silver haired man’s face. “Are you going to help your student up, Kakashi-sensei?” Ed purposely doesn’t answer, going on a limb and praying he’s right because god as his witness if he just called this man by the wrong name in an attempt to be cool he’s going to dig his own grave and lay in it until he starves to death.
A small hum and the two disappear in a puff of pink smoke. More of that chakara bullshit
Ed thinks he’s really screwed the pooch with recent display of intelligence, or so Ed is going to call it, and not the urge to show off and talk about things that aren’t Maiko’s, frankly, mediocre tits. Every day when he wakes up to clean the remaining jizz off the walls of the hotel, his new babysitter Kakashi shows up, porn in hand and delightfully punny, (which, if there was ever anything that Ed really hates, it’s bad puns) to walk him to his workplace.
“How old are you Errick?” The silver haired man asks, face buried in his ever present porn and Ed thanks the heavens that it’s not his actual sixteen year old self stuck here, otherwise the amount of embarrassment he would be experiencing would be unreal. As of now though, all Ed can say is that he’s done more humiliating things than walk around with a guy reading erotica.
“Call me Ed.” He replies, and pauses in front of the library, questioning whether or not it would be safe to go inside and look up what he needs to look up with the silver headed jackass tailing him the entire time in the guise of ‘I want to be friends’. “I’m twenty-three.” He answers (somewhat) truthfully, moving away from the library and towards the hotel again.
“Oh?” A page turn and a small giggle, “you look a little young to be twenty-three.”
Ed grimaces, absently rubbing the aching automail port on his leg, “I get it from my dad.” God, he hopes he doesn’t have an infection.
“An old injury to the leg?” He can feel Kakashi’s eye roaming his body, searching for what Ed thinks might be signs of injuries. Possibly more evidence that he’s not an average civilian.
“Something like that.”
“Care to share?”
It’s only after they’ve walked all the way to the hotel and Kakashi starts to leave that Ed answers.
“I made a deal with the devil.”
There’s someone in his living room.
Ed shoots out of bed, peering through the crack of his slightly open door. Kakashi is lounging on Ed’s couch, face nostalgic and somewhat… sad.
Whatever. Ed just wants a glass of water. He’s too tired and thirsty for this emotional bullshit.
He pops open the door, stretching his arm up and rolling his shoulders. His automail clicks faintly as he moves, warming up to movement in a way that’s unnatural and yet familiar.
“That’s certainly different.” Kakashi comments, eyeing the scar tissue stretching around his right shoulder and leading into his automail port.
Shit, Ed forgot he wasn’t wearing a shirt. At least he’s wearing long pants.
“Stop eye fucking my automail, shit stain.” Ed grumbles out hoarsely, trying to make his reveal seem completely intentional, “if I’d have known all you would do is stare at it I wouldn’t have kept it so hidden when it’s one fucking hundred degrees outside.”
“So why show me now?” Kakashi says from right behind him, Ed jumps slightly, dropping his glass and watching as Kakashi deftly catches it, eyeing Ed’s automail as he grabs it back from him.
“Thanks.” Ed says, dry as dust; he flips on the tap, filling up his glass and ransacking his brain for a bullshit excuse. “I figure your Hokage doesn’t deem me as much of a threat anymore, considering I haven’t been asked any particularly prying questions lately.” The fascinated stare is somewhat annoying, but he’s used to it by now. Even in Amestris, having automail was somewhat rare. Ed holds out his automail arm, “you can touch it if you want.”
It’s as if a switch is turned on, Kakashi’s hands roam all over his arm, squeezing and flexing his fingers, testing the mobility of the joints, doing all sorts of shit while Ed sips his water, watching somewhat amused. “I see your left foot is also, uh, automail you called it?”
Fuck, no socks either. Observant bastard.
“Yeah, all the way up to my upper thigh.” Ed says, “though I’m not taking my pants off for you, pervert.”
A wink (or maybe a blink?) and Kakashi rubs his thumb against Ed’s hip, humming. “Maybe someday.”
Ed barks out a laugh, and maybe it’s self deprecating, but the last time someone wanted to hook up with him their boner died immediately upon seeing the extensive scar tissue that works itself around his body. “That’s not what most people say when they see I’m practically more metal than human.” If he sounds bitter, it’s because he’s really not over losing his limbs to an asshole in front of some knowledge gate. Equivalent trade his ass.
His eye crinkles, “well I’m not most people.”
Suddenly Ed is very much aware that he’s pinned to the counter, and that Kakashi is very much in his space. His eyes widen with realization, he’s getting hit on. He just traded one forbidden romance for another, possibly even more dangerous to his life, likely one-sided ‘imma seduce you for your secrets’ crush. Apparently, not only is the universe out to get Ed killed, his own emotions are too. He feels heat rush to his face, his ears start to burn and he knows he’s in this for the long haul.
“You’re so…” Kakashi starts, his voice slightly raspier than before, “short.”
Never mind. Crush cancelled.
Ed pushes off the counter, hands shoving Kakashi’s shoulders back and showing the jackass the way out. “You can leave now.” Kakashi tenses slightly, eyes narrowed as if looking for something.
“Actually, no I can’t.”
“What the fuck? Actually, yes, you can. You don’t own this apartment, now get the hell out before I drag you out by your balls.” Ed seethes, opening the door and waving his hand, “goodbye you stupid mother-“ an arm wraps around his waist, and it seems they jump through time before landing in front of a very unimpressed blonde haired lady who seems vaguely familiar.
“What the fuck?” He rounds on Kakashi, eye twitching and feeling very exposed without his shirt on because everyone else very clearly has a shirt on. “I am this close to losing it you stupidly tall monster sized human. You better tell me what’s going on now before I rip off your nipples and paste them to your stupid fucking face.”
“Charmed.” Blonde Lady says, arms crossed over her desk, “I assume this is your ‘weird civilian’ that you-“ she makes quotations in the air “‘had a feeling about?’”
“Well Tsunade-sama-“ he wheezes as Ed digs an elbow into his ribs, “I found out why Danzo is following him, and have come to the conclusion that he needs our protection. Also it seemed like they were about to kidnap him when I was over there. So,” Kakashi picks a screaming and kicking Ed up by the armpits and places him on her desk, “here he is.”
“I can see that.” She motions to Ed, “let me see your arm, kid.”
Ed is getting quite the Hawkeye vibe from her, so he supplies his arm dutifully, but not without a sufficient amount of grumbling about how he’s not a kid and if he loses his job and how Kakashi better not have left my door open I swear if I get robbed-
“Quit you’re moaning-“ she starts, doing almost the exact things Kakashi did, “you’re still a kid until you’ve fought in two wars and become the Hokage.”
“Well I suppose I’m halfway there already.” Ed snarks back, pinching the bridge of his nose with his flesh hand. “Is this about that weird old guy that those fucked up kids work for?” He asks, annoyed and not feeling any of this shit.
Tsunade looks faintly surprised, and nods, while Kakashi looks resigned to that fact that Ed is, and always will be, better than him. Maybe Ed’s just projecting though. “Yeah well,” he yanks his arm away from Tsunade, “I can protect myself, so thanks for the meeting and everything, but I been knowing that I’m being followed since the first day I got here.”
“Errick,” Tsunade stands, her stare seemingly piercing through him, “you are very clearly not from anywhere in the Five Nations.” The question doesn’t have to be asked aloud, her voice very clearly says tell me who you are or you get your ass thrown in jail.
Ed sighs and plops himself down on the chair facing her desk. “I was born and raised in a country called Amestris.” He starts, “I am…” he snorts, “something of a war hero back home.”
“Is that where you lost your limbs?”
Ed laughs, loud and clear, “no, no,” he shakes his head, “I lost both of my limbs in an attempt to bring my mother back from the dead when I was ten.” They both seem to recoil, a response Ed has seen time and time again. He’s twenty-three now, and when people ask him where he lost them, he answers honestly, there was nothing to be ashamed of anymore once he had gotten rid of the physical evidence that he fucked up. The Bastard once said that it’s a sign that he’s matured, but Ed likes to think rather than maturing, he’s healed.
“I only partially succeeded, I created a living organism, but it wasn’t…” he pauses, thinking back to that day, the creature he had seen, and the moment he knew he had made a terrible mistake. “It wasn’t her.” He sucks in a breath, “in exchange for creating life, Truth took my left leg, and my little brother. And in exchange for the soul of my brother,” as if magnetic, their eyes are drawn to his right arm, “Truth took my arm.”
“Who is ‘Truth’?” Tsunade asks, her voice heavy.
“He told me he was something of a deity. The Truth, or Knowledge, as he told me to call him.” He shakes his head, “but for all the knowledge I gained that day, I’ve never been able to figure out what exactly he is.” Ed looks between the two of them, the tense feeling in the air and he has to refrain from laughing again. “He is not a threat to you. None of you are alchemists, not to mention I’m not even sure he exists in this plane.”
Ed pauses, taking in both their expressions before continuing. “Because one thing’s for certain, this is most definitely not the same world that I come from.”
There are letters stacked under my bed for you. Despite the whole “different universe” thing, it still feels like I’m in Drachama or something, and I can mass send these letters like I used to back when I was traveling around. I still feel like I have a chance of making it back home, even though I’m nowhere near creating this theoretical array that’s been on my mind.
In the meantime, I’m still working at the “hotel” but I’ve been upgraded to “Garden Manager” which is slightly less disgusting as cleaning “The Chambers” (please don’t ask me what they are. I can only hope that the things I have seen in there have never graced your eyes. Ever.). I’m having a lot of fun experimenting with what kind of arrays work best when growing plants. I often have to substitute the nutrients in the garden with alchemized material because the area they have the garden in is mostly clay-like soil.
No wonder the last “Garden Manager” got demoted.
I’ve found out recently that the Hokage (what they call their Fuher) is actually a medic, and every other week she has me visit so she can examine my automail. She’s asked to take it off only once, and I had to tell her that I’m honestly not cool with someone who’s never even seen automail attempting to tune it up and stick it back on. Perhaps when my automail becomes more burdensome than useful I will, but until then, all she can do is poke and prod. I think you’d be proud of me for telling her no. She’s a lot like Hawkeye in the sense that she’s scary, smart, and way too powerful.
I’ve filled up two entire books on dimension alchemy, just through what I remember of the array from before and more than a few theories on dimensions I’ve seen in the public library.
Speaking of the library, it’s definitely lacking. I think it’s probably the worst library I’ve ever been to, and that includes the Xerxian ruined library where we the only book we found was very, very, ancient erotica.
I met a guy named Kakashi by insulting his government in front of his student and he’s been following me around ever since. He’s used the excuse that “Danzo is following me” but the creepy kids have yet to show their face again, and I haven’t been able to tell if I’m being followed.
Basically, his excuse is horse shit.
The real question is, “why is he following me?” and I think I have an answer.
He thinks I’m a liar.
OH SHIT HERE HE COMES I CANT HAVE HIM SEEINF THAT I WROTE ABOUT HIM
it’s in another language. i’d like to see him try and decipher this
why the fuck does he think he can just come into my house
i miss you,
“What language is that?” Kakashi asks, peering over Ed’s shoulder.
Ed can feel Kakashi’s breath on his ear and he is Not Comfortable. “Amestrian.”
A hum, deep in Kakashi’s throat and vibrating right in his ear distracts Ed and he starts to write nonsense in attempt to look like he’s Not At All Distracted because he is not thank you very much. A gloved hand wraps around his and Ed really hopes that Kakashi can’t see that his ears are bright red because they are and ohmygod-
“Edward,” the name rolls off Kakashi’s tongue like something sly, and secret. “Have I ever told you that you are the prettiest person I have ever seen?”
They’re not even banging, but Kakashi is making it sound like they are definitely banging, and the thought of banging makes Ed’s face burn even more. “Um. No.” He answers in that smooth Ed fashion.
Ed summons his bravery from somewhere, and faces Kakashi fully.
Gold meets silver.
i guess kakashi is okay