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Two and a Half Alchemists

Chapter Text

He dialed with a shaking hand, biting his lip against the pain. That woman had done a number on his shoulder with those freaky fingers of hers.

His adrenaline was already at heart-attack-inducing levels when it spiked again.

The streetlight just zapped out.

“Damnit, Roy, answer the phone!” He pleaded.

“I’m going to have to ask you to put the phone down, sir.”

Startled yet again, Hughes whipped around, shocked to see Sergeant Ro-

Wait.

That’s not Maria Ross.

When he pointed out the discrepancy, he watched in growing horror as the being in front of him swiped their hand over their cheek, somehow moving her mole, to become an exact replica of Ross.

Hughes was having a really hard time keeping down his panic now, and the second and third nearby streetlights going out wasn’t helping.

Nothing prepared him for the horror of seeing his wife’s face on that monster when he whipped around, knife barely glinting in his tight grip.

He froze.

He was going to die. He knew it.

What if that thing became him? What if it got close to Gracia, to Elicia?

‘Oh, God, please no.’

Just as that terrifying thought shattered his world, the creature with his wife’s face grinned a sickening grin that had no place on Gracia’s face. It moved to pull the trigger...

...and was blown backwards by a flash of red light.

Clearly, the blood loss was starting to get to him.

“What is it this time, Hughes?”

The voice came from the receiver still in his slack grip.

“R... Roy?” He mumbled.

“Hughes? What’s going on? Why aren’t you calling from a secure line?”

Hughes glanced at the phone, somehow still in his hand.

‘Huh. Guess that blast wasn’t Roy.’

With a great effort, Maes pulled his mind back to his present predicament. The abomination was getting up.

“Roy, it’s a transmutation circle, the whole damn country. It’s been set up from the star- ngh!”

He was interrupted by the bullet that wedged itself deep in his shoulder, the one the first woman had already sliced. He glanced up to see the creature approaching, having recovered from the blast and grown incredibly angry, her more-than-likely-stolen firearm aimed at him again.

“Hughes! Where are you?!”

Maes could hear the panic in Roy’s voice, but he couldn’t bring himself to feel the same. Belatedly, he realized his arm holding the phone had dropped. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a burst of flames.

“Roy?”

Another bang and another pain, this time in his hip. With a cry, Maes fell, hitting the wall of the phone booth on his way down.

“HUGHES!!”

Maes opened his eyes, briefly wondering when he had closed them. He needed to answer Roy before it was too late.

“Office... East... Park... Phone...”

“Hang on, Maes, I’m on my way.”

The man listened to the beep of the dial tone as he tried getting his thoughts back together. He lifted his head up to see more flashes of light like before, but not all of them red. His brow furrowed.

‘If that blast wasn’t Roy, who is that?’

Before he could determine the identity of his savior, a searing pain erupted in his side. Looking down, he watched as the long, black fingers slid out from his stomach.

“Hurgh!”

He coughed, the wet, body-shaking variety, tasting iron on his tongue.

‘Damnit, Roy. If you try to come, you’ll get yourself killed. Wish I could have said goodbye to my girls first.’

Then the world turned black.

 

*****

 

Roy wasted no time.

“Lieutenant, Hughes needs us!”

The woman, having burst into her superior’s office at his earlier worried yelling, displayed her guns always on her, holding out a hand, waiting for her superior.

The Colonel himself tore open a drawer, snatching a pair of his gloves and his wand, before taking his subordinate’s offered hand and apparating to the area Hughes described. 

 

*****

 

When Dumbledore knocked on the door of Number 4 Privet Drive, he was livid. The very air about him crackled.

Why was he there only four years after dropping off the Boy Who Lived? Because of the report from Arabella of course.

He had asked the kind, elderly squib to spy a little on the Dursleys, just to keep an eye on Harry, and she agreed. Once she moved into the neighborhood, it hadn’t taken too long before Petunia had managed to scare off another babysitter, and when she did, Mrs. Figg was ready to fill that spot.

Imagine her horror upon finding evidence of abuse on the scrawny, underfed, bruised, black-haired savior of the wizarding world.

She had sent an owl to Dumbledore immediately, and the man managed to arrive minutes before the Dursleys were scheduled to return. Dumbledore had taken one look at the small, quiet child and rage boiled in his veins.

He had a few quiet words with Arabella, before thundering over to the Dursleys, who had just arrived home.

 

*****

 

Harry wasn’t sure what was going on.

The nice cat lady across the street was watching him because it was Dudley’s birthday, but she seemed to be afraid of him. He knew he scared people, like the Dursleys, and when people got scared, they got violent, so he tried to be smaller, never uttering a peep. It didn’t seem to make her feel better, as she kept glancing out the window, much like his aunt.

Then the old man came.

Harry immediately didn’t like him. He was okay with the Dursleys because he knew exactly how far they would take the abuse. He was okay with Mrs. Figg because she had cats, and no one with pets could be mean, and she wasn’t that scary anyway.

He was not okay with this new man.

He radiated anger and power and scared the little boy senseless.

And now he was being told to go with the man. What was he supposed to do?

The young boy glanced at the bag in the man’s hand and let out the first noise he had uttered since arriving at the cat lady’s house.

He let out a quiet sob.

Because there, in the bag the man held hostage, was his blanket, his little, blue blanket with his name stitched into a corner. His aunt told him it was the blanket they had found him on the porch in, and she refused to wash it or even touch it. She almost seemed scared of his blanket.

Now this strange man had his blanket. He’d never get it back; he’s sure of that. The only reason the Dursleys let him keep it was because they were afraid of it.

With reluctance, the boy took the offered hand, vowing to get his blanket back at all costs, before the hand gave a slight tug, and the boy was sucked through a straw.

When he could breathe again, the boy fell to the ground, his stomach hurting.

“Are you alright, Harry?” the man asked him.

Harry nodded, standing up. Aunt Petunia was never happy if he couldn’t get up. He didn’t want this man to be unhappy with him. He was older than Aunt Petunia, but he was much scarier.

Nodding, the man led him further into the room they had landed in. Now that his stomach had settled, the curious boy looked around, noting all the odd trinkets and books on the shelves. Fearful of being reprimanded for looking, he quickly glanced at the man who had somehow brought him to this new place, and his fears were confirmed when he saw the man was frowning at him. Hoping to avoid a beating by the new man, Harry quickly looked at the floor, trying desperately not to cry.

 

*****

 

Dumbledore had no clue what to do.

Yes, he was a headmaster of a school for children, and yes, most people said he was very good with kids.

However, he’s not entirely positive he’s even laid eyes on a child below the age of seven in the past decade. He was a little out of practice where smaller children were concerned. He needed to find another relative of the boy. He glanced down frowning in thought at the small child. Perhaps sensing he was being observed in his gazing, the boy glanced up at him before quickly turning to stare at the floor.

Merlin, this was going to be difficult.

He glanced down at the bag in his hands, all the boy’s meager possessions fitting nicely in a small canvas bag.

Dumbledore felt like cursing something, or rather, someone, namely the Dursley’s.

He pulled out the blanket and motioned for Harry to follow him. Noticing how the boy glanced back and forth between him and the blanket with worry, he realized the boy was afraid he would do something to his comfort item. Upon reaching the bedroom, he placed the blanket on the bed, the bag on the floor and turned to Harry, conjuring a small table with parchment and muggle crayons.

The boy gasped, staring between the conjured items and the man questioningly.

Dumbledore smiled, answering the questioning look with a simple answer of, “Magic,” before leaving the boy to his own devices while he found family to take the boy.

 

*****

 

Harry stared in fascination at the new table and coloring utensils the man had magicked into being. He sidestepped the table, skirting around it until he reached the bed. Snagging his blanket, the boy found a nice corner, and simply sat there, holding his blanket, waiting for the man to come back.

 

*****

 

‘Ah ha! Iolanthe Peverell had a squib sister!’

Dumbledore was faithfully perusing the Potter family line, despite his hesitation to allow Harry to grow up in the wizarding world, as the Evans family line had dried up, ending only in Petunia. He refused to count her as an option any longer. He thought he had a decent lead with the Fleamont line, but the last Fleamont he could find had died of an illness along with her husband, leaving her son, Alphard Fleamont, to be lost in the muggle social services, and thus, difficult to find.

Now, however, he had a lead with the Peverell line, having gone back further, and was researching the branch of the family from Iolanthe’s sister. To his delight, he found one last living relative.

‘Now, let’s go find Mr. Hughes.’

 

*****

 

When Dumbledore began approaching his target’s office, he started flicking out the lights with his Deluminator. The plan was to intercept the man on his way home from his office, introduce him to Harry away from prying eyes, then hopefully leave Harry with much better caretakers.

The plan started falling apart when he noticed the man he was looking for being held at gunpoint in a phone booth.

When his attacker changed their appearance in a flash of red light, Dumbledore knew he needed to act now. He could hear a little of what was being said, and it was made obvious the man would have difficulty defending himself now. Setting down the Boy Who Lived and nudging Harry behind his robes, he pulled out his wand, firing a stunning spell at the attacker. Unfortunately, the attacker was back and firing that muggle weapon before the wizard could get to him, as Harry was starting to panic. He was worried the boy might run away while he was distracted. Quickly, he called Fawkes to him. He whispered a quiet spell at the boy, asking Fawkes to take the sleeping boy somewhere safe.

Now assured of Harry’s safety, the wizard began attacking the shape-shifter in earnest, careful of the wounded soldier nearby.

 

*****

 

“Hughes!”

To Roy’s horror, red liquid was trickling down his chin. Internal bleeding was difficult to fix quickly.

With a roar, flames exploded around the attacker, burning her to a crisp. Quickly, wand in his left hand, he ran to Hughes’ side, dropping to the ground in front of his comrade, followed quickly by his loyal lieutenant.

Vulnera Sanentur!” the Colonel gasped, seeing the state of Hughes’ side and shoulder, quickly closing the wounds as best as he could. His healing magic was better with burns, for obvious reasons, but at least Maes’ life was no longer in danger.

At least that was what he thought until something speared him in the side.

Recovering from his shock, he followed the long, thin blade to see its origins were the fingers of the lady he had burnt to death.

‘Wh-what?’

He snapped his fingers again and again, even as he continued his and Maes’ rudimentary first aid, while Hawkeye moved to help fight off the other assailant.

It was with extreme difficulty, but eventually, they managed to kill their adversaries. Exhausted and so very done with the day, Roy’s patience was having a tea party with his sanity somewhere on Mars.

“Who are you, and why are you here?” Roy asked, his wand trained on Dumbledore in his left hand, his right hand raised to snap.

Dumbledore ignored him until he was sure the hulk of dissolving flesh on the receiving end of his wand would not recover. Looking up, the man raised his wand loosely in the universal sign of, ‘I’m not going to attack you so please do the same.’

“My name is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, and I’m here with an offer for Mr. Hughes, but that can wait for later. Is everyone alright?” His bright eyes flitted about between them.

“What kind of offer?” Roy asked, deftly stepping between the newcomer and his best friend, only stumbling slightly. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Hawkeye tending to Hughes’ injuries.

He wasn’t expecting a phoenix to fly down gracefully, dropping a sleeping child in the stranger’s arms before alighting on his shoulder. He couldn’t help but stare.

“Sir, I suggest we take this elsewhere. Both you and the Lieutenant Colonel require medical attention.”

Roy glanced behind him to see Hawkeye holding up a clearly unconscious Hughes. Movement in front of him caused him to whip back around faster than advisable in his state. As the world spun a bit, his balance left to join his patience and sanity for their tea party on Mars. Leaning on the side of the phone booth to keep from falling, his wand fell from his shaking fingers. A hand on his side in pain, he realized the spur-of-the-moment, hasty first-aid he had performed for himself did not help as much as his adrenaline-filled body had led him to believe. His side was still bleeding profusely.

“Lieutenant, I…”

Roy never got to tell her he was about to pass out, because he was interrupted by the blackness that swallowed his vision and thoughts.

Chapter Text

“…find his remaining… can’t be the only… get here?”

Hughes slowly awoke to the soft, soothing tones of his best friend next to his bed.

‘Wait, bed? I thought I was outside.’

The man tried to pry his eyes open, but nothing happened. He tried to listen in to the conversation, but blackness fell around him again.

 

*****

 

Roy sighed. This was becoming a capital T Terrible day.

“Although Voldemort never came to Amestris, we still know of him and understand your concern. The only thing that saved our country from his influence, I believe, was the fact that we had been at war during his rising. We didn’t stay very up-to-date on world news during that time. However, it is dangerous around us, as you have seen, and no one is sure when Hughes will wake up again, if he ever will. I’m sure we can arrange for someone around here to take the boy in, away from that criminal’s influence, but you can’t just-“

“Roy.”

The man in question turned to Gracia. She had been here since he had called her from the hospital last night. A friend of hers had taken Elicia and Harry while she stayed by her husband’s side, discussing Harry’s case with Dumbledore. Roy couldn’t believe the man! He was trying to pawn off a child on Hughes who could barely manage to make ends meet for his own family.

Hughes, who was now in a coma caused by him. If only he was better at healing magic.

Gracia smiled at him, and Roy had to wonder at the strength of the woman. Despite his knack at schooling his expression to his advantage, he certainly couldn’t smile at this situation. The woman turned back to Dumbledore.

“Of course, we’ll take him in. He certainly can’t go back to those relatives of his,” she turned back to Roy, “Roy, dear, would you stay with Maes while Mr. Dumbledore and I talk for a bit? I need to make sure I know what I’m getting us into.”

With that, the woman walked the strange old wizard out of the room and down the hall. Roy sat in the chair she vacated by his friend’s bed.

“Hughes, you better not add pictures of your new son to your usual arsenal.”

Silence was his response.

“Goddamnit, Hughes.”

Roy watched the breath fog up on the mask around his nose and mouth.

“Please wake up, Maes.”

 

*****

 

Harry was very confused. The scary man was gone, he had his own room, the nice lady was his new mom, and he had a little sister?

It was a long day.

He glanced warily around his new room. It was simple, just a bed and dresser, but it had a window, and that alone was more than Harry had ever had before. He didn’t realize until the nice lady told him to put his blanket on his bed that the bed was for him.

He couldn’t help it. He started crying.

“Oh, Harry, dear, don’t cry. What’s the matter?”

Harry sniffled, trying to stifle his silent sobs.

“’s nice.” He mumbled.

“Oh, darling!” she cried, scooping him into a hug, not noticing him flinch, “I don’t know what it was like for you at your old home, but I promise, I will try to make this home a good one for you,” she let him go to look him in the eye, “And I don’t expect you to warm up to us immediately, but I’d like it if someday you could think of yourself as a part of this family,” she winked conspiratorially at him, “You can even call me ‘mama’ if you like.”

Harry didn’t know what to say, so he said nothing.

 

*****

 

Gracia had taken Harry shopping to get him clothes and other necessities. She would never tire of saying it; she was very grateful to Dumbledore for allotting her a small amount to financially support Harry. The man had offered, and had she known how much he considered to be “small” she would have turned him down. At first, she thought he forgot a decimal somewhere. He reassured her that the funds were for Harry from his birth parents, and that they were to use it to help Harry feel at home. He hinted that the funds were to be used for Maes’ hospital bills as well when he asked that Harry get a father as soon as possible.

“After all, every young boy needs a father in his life. I’m sure his parents would agree.”

‘God bless Dumbledore.’

 

*****

 

Roy and the Elric brothers still stopped by every once in a while, and while she had explained to the boys the sudden appearance of Harry Hughes, omitting the wizarding parts for now as she didn’t want to endanger Harry, she was happy to see the young, black-haired boy enthralled by the two, rather than terrified like she had worried. Just like her daughter had, he quickly accepted the two teens as older brothers of sorts.

She also had to chuckle as he quickly made it apparent that he was Elicia’s older brother. The friends from her birthday party thought that they were home free with her husband missing, but the quiet boy soon made it obvious that he was not going to let them try anything either.

She was a little sad that he called Elicia “little sister” but hadn’t yet called her “mom”, but she was willing to wait. She was good at waiting. After all, six months later and she was still waiting for her husband to wake.

 

*****

 

Gracia was so nervous. She had been planning for Harry’s birthday party for weeks, calling up his new friends from the park, as well as the friends he shared with Elicia, buying presents without him knowing, and of course, baking the cake the day before.

She jumped when she heard the pitter-pattering of feet tapping down the stairs. She quickly turned out the lights, ducking down, motioning for Elicia to do the same. The little imp had gotten Harry to play hide-and-seek, and the two girls had pulled out his little cake and presents while he ran to hide.

“Heehee! Harry’s gonna be so s’prised mama!”

Gracia suppressed her own giggles, her finger to her lips, “Shh! He’s coming!”

Harry rounded the corner, bounding into the dining room.

“Happy Birthday!” the two girls shouted, flicking on the light.

Harry promptly screamed, jumping a meter into the air.

Despite the initial scare, Harry was really touched. No one had ever celebrated his birthday before, after all.

 

*****

 

As she lay awake that night, unable to sleep knowing her husband couldn’t wake, Gracia listened to the clatter of rain on the window. She pushed herself out of bed to go and wander into the kitchen, thinking of making some tea, or hot cocoa. She had just placed the kettle over the stove when a particularly loud clap of thunder made her jump. Shaking it off, she continued her preparations. She didn’t expect a small body to collide with her legs a few moments later.

“Why, Harry, dear, what are you doing out of bed?” she asked the boy clinging to her legs.

She didn’t receive an answer, but he flinched at the next clap of thunder, burying his face further into her side. Soothing the boy’s fears, she picked him up and held him while she finished making her cocoa. She poured a mug for both her and Harry, handing the boy his as she sat him down at the table.

“Thanks, mama.” came the mumbled reply.

She almost dropped her mug. Carefully, she schooled her expression, continuing to talk to him to keep his mind off the raging storm outside. He had never called her “mama” before, and she didn’t want her reaction to it to scare him off from doing it again. It had taken about a year, but he had finally called her “mama”. She just hoped it stuck when the storm was over.

Chapter Text

Harry peered through the special lenses given to him, looking at the darkness that was the sky. It scared him a little to see the sun covered like that, but Gracia and Elicia both thought it was neat. Setting his fears aside, he had to admit, it was pretty neat.

Until it wasn’t.

He could see a big, black shadow, creeping across the city. In fear, he backed away from the window, tugging on Mrs. Hughes’ dress to pull her back from the danger, but she didn’t understand. She tried to reassure him, telling him it was only the moon, but it wasn’t the eclipse he was afraid of.

Before he could try to explain, she started dying.

She coughed, falling to the floor, Elicia still in her arms. His new sister cried out, gargling something unintelligible before going terrifyingly still. Gracia coughed a few more times, calling her daughter’s name, calling his name, before she went still as well.

Harry stared in horror, a scream caught in his own throat as he started coughing. He could feel, something was wrong, so wrong, the world was turning red. He could hear a woman scream from somewhere, but it wasn’t Gracia’s voice. His body went cold as he hit the floor, the last thing he saw being the two dead bodies on the floor next to him.

Harry found himself in a tangled mess of souls, screams and horror filling the space. He struggled with the other souls, writhing in the agony of being ripped from his body and cramped in a small space with every single other person in the country. Dimly, he was aware of something holding him, but how could it? He had no body.

Looking down somehow in his bodyless form, he saw, or rather sensed, a broken, slimy something tangled with his own soul. With a desperate cry of renewed horror and terror, he broke away from the nightmare, getting tossed away into the swirl of agonized souls.

 

*****

 

The monitors in every room blared the incessant beep of a flatline, but no nurses or doctors ran to the rescue. In room 423, a black-haired soldier lay on his bed, glasses on the night table, no one around to hear his monitor scream for him.

 

*****

 

Harry’s eyes snapped open as he coughed. He wasn’t sure how, but he was back to laying on the floor in the living room. Coughing, he pulled himself to his feet, running to his new mother and sister.

“Mom! Elicia! Are you okay?!”

They were all coughing, trying to get air back in their lungs, but they were alive. Gracia pulled them both into a hug, holding her children, thanking the Elric brothers who she was sure had saved them. 

 

*****

 

He awoke suddenly, his memory a little blurry on the past who-knows-how-long. He vaguely recalled screams, pain, and unimaginable sorrow, but he had no clue what that was. Glancing around, coughing at the breathing mask, he saw he was in the hospital, a nurse on the floor by his bed, coughing up a lung.

“H-hey...” he croaked, his voice shot from lack of use, “Are you alright, miss?”

The nurse jumped, startled, staring at him with wide, frightened eyes, a smile slowly taking over her features, washing away the shadows that had been there since she had come back to her body.

“He’s awake!”

 

*****

 

Ed was desperate. He knew that.

But to use other lives to get Al back?

He was standing in front of his Gate, facing off against Truth again, but he wasn’t expecting a horde of Xerxesian souls to stand between him and the devil.

“Please, young Hohenheim. We had no choice in our enslavement. Allow us to choose how we are used.”

He really couldn’t argue because Truth had already taken the deal, tossing him and his brother from his domain.

“Thank you!” He called, tears thickening his voice as the Gate slammed shut behind him. 

 

*****

 

“You’re father’s awake!”

Harry was a little nervous. His new dad was awake from his coma, which was great and all, but Harry had never actually met the man.

What if his new dad didn’t like him? What if he was as bad as Uncle Vernon? What if he beat him? What if he beat Elicia?

Harry wanted to puke.

Sensing his nerves, Gracia squeezed his hand, gently pulling him towards the room. He could hear the boisterous sound of Big Brother Ed’s laugh. That was a good sign.

When they reached the door, Elicia sprang forward to tackle her father in a hug, but Harry hid behind Gracia’s skirt.

“Oof! Easy, Princess, Daddy’s still a little sore.”

“Sorry, Daddy. I just missed you! I’m SOOO happy you’re awake! Now you can meet Big Brover!”

Maes paused his fawning over his daughter, glancing up to Gracia.

“That’s right! I’ve got myself a son now, don’t I? Ed here was just telling me about the lad. I could hear a little bit while I was out, but it’s a little muddled. Where is he? Did he not come with you?”

Gracia answered her husband by stepping aside to reveal Harry behind her skirts, the boy ducking back behind her. His curious green eyes poking back around the fabric, handfuls of the dark blue cotton gripped tight in his little fists like a lifeline.

“You must be Harry then! Come on up, son. Can’t be a family hug without you now, can it?” Maes questioned, Elicia tucked tight in one atrophied arm, the other open and offered for the young boy to come to.

Slowly, Harry ventured out into the open, sidling up to the bed. In a swift motion, Ed snagged the child, plopping him on the bed next to Maes. Harry let out a terrified little squeak that was drowned in the man’s shirt as he pulled his two children close to his chest, showing surprising strength for a man moving for the first time in a year.

“I’m so glad to see my children! You missed Daddy, didn’t you!” He gushed, Elicia squealing with contagious giggles as Harry slowly joined in, his nerves ebbing away in the tide of affection he was being shown.

Calming down a bit so the kids could breathe, he settled back into the sheets, Gracia standing by his side, Ed grinning like the madman he was at the foot of the bed.

“You didn’t come home early, Daddy. You promised you’d try.”

Hughes’ heart broke into a thousand little pieces when he saw his daughter’s pout. Those pieces tried to fit back together when a grin wormed its way into her frown.

“You’ll just have to be extra nice to Big Brover and me to make up for it! Mommy said Big Brover didn’t get enough love before, so we gots to give him lots!” the little girl cried, flinging herself at Harry as he caught her in a hug, giggles bouncing between the two children.

Maes felt a sad smile creep onto his face at his daughter’s antics. He knew a little about the boy, but only what he had gleaned from Ed so far and what he could piece together from what he remembered. Apparently, the boy was an orphan that had been abused by his relatives, and as he was the next living relative, he had been asked to take the boy.

Naturally his lovely wife had said yes for him.

He was trying not to think about the added expenses another child would generate on top of his likely outlandish hospital bill from being in a coma for a year. He could see the telltale signs of expensive magical treatment.

“Of course, we’ll love him lots! He’s your big brother and our son after all!”

He was pretty sure that the watery-eyed smile on the boy was worth it. He had only met the boy minutes ago, but he had already wormed his way into the man’s heart. 

Chapter Text

Harry was on cloud nine. His new dad was great, Ed had a real arm, although it’s a little skinny, and Ed even says that Big Brother Al can take off the armor now! 

Harry is glad for that, because the armor always kind of scared him a little. He knew Al was nice, but it just felt wrong somehow. 

When Big Brother Ed led him and his sister into Al’s hospital room though, he wasn’t expecting Al to be skinnier than he was when he left the Dursleys. 

So, he said so. 

“You’re skinnier than I was, Big Brother!” he shouted, startled. 

Elicia’s face scrunched up in thought. “He’s taller and older though.” she piped up, sagely. 

Ed didn’t even care that they were talking about height. He had his brother back! He had never been happier. 

“What if Big Brother Al is actually shorter than Big Brother Ed? Does that make him Bigger Brother Ed?” Harry wondered. People didn’t typically use honorifics in Britain, and they still eluded him. 

“No way,” Elicia answered, quick to set her brother straight, “Big Brother Ed is too short for that.”

It was only Al’s insistence that stopped Ed from hexing the children into next week. 

 

*****

 

“So, what are you going to do now, Brother?”

Ed had taken the children back to Gracia, and she had taken them home for the day. Now Ed and Al were talking in Al’s room, as Ed was trying desperately to avoid his own hospital room. If he wasn’t in his room, then he wasn’t a patient, and they couldn’t make him drink his milk. At least, not to his mind. 

He wasn’t too banged up, but they still wanted him in the hospital. His only consolation was that pretty much everyone else was in the hospital too, even the colonel. 

He still hadn’t visited the man. He wasn’t sure what to say to the man who had become a father/older brother to him. Without a stone, he couldn’t heal his eyes, and that just made Ed want to cry. 

He wouldn’t be able to see it, but Ed didn’t want to cry in front of Mustang. 

“I dunno, Al. Research some theories maybe. Travel a bit. Something fun and exciting.” Ed grinned, incapable of holding a sour mood for long with Al back. 

Al smiled back, “Will you stay with the state?”

Ed’s grin dropped. He still hadn’t talked with Mustang, and he wasn’t sure if he could just leave the man, after all they had been through. He was more than a commanding officer to him; he was like an older brother, the father figure that was so painfully absent in his life.

“You know, Ed,” Al said, interrupting his thoughts, “You can still visit everybody, even without a silver pocket watch.”

Ed chuckled. Somehow, Al just always knew what he was thinking. Elric Brother Telepathy at its finest. 

“I know, Al, but,” he paused, chewing his lip. He wasn’t sure how to explain it, but he thought Al would understand, if no one else would. “I want to help him get to the top. I know I didn’t take away his sight, and I know he can still do all kinds of crazy shit, even without his eyes, but I still feel responsible. It was dad’s blood in Father, which makes Father my responsibility. That bastard was the one who took away his sight, and I’m the one who failed to stop him. If I could have protected Hawkeye, then he wouldn’t’ve ... wouldn’t’ve done that.” Ed finished quietly, glancing away. 

Al showed just how much strength he still had when he shoved Ed off the bed onto the floor. 

“Al!” Ed whined in a heap. 

“I let you talk, now it’s my turn!” The normally quiet Alphonse was on a roll, angry. If people thought Ed was scary when he was mad, they had clearly never seen Al worked up. “You say you feel responsible because it was dad’s blood in Father, but that just makes it my responsibility and dad’s responsibility too. Do you blame me for the colonel’s sight being taken?!”

Ed numbly shook his head. 

“Right, and, Father stole dad’s blood, so it wouldn’t be our responsibility, it would be Father’s. Secondly, who are you to protect Hawkeye?! She’s scary! She doesn’t need you to protect her when she has the colonel anyway. You’ve seen those two. If ever there was a match better than Winry and automail, it’s those two. Would you really usurp Mustang’s role as her protector?”

Ed shook his head quickly, eyes wide in fear. He had learned the hard way not to get between the two. 

“Good, and lastly,” Ed whimpered. Al wasn’t done yet. “Lastly, you can want to help someone just because you want to help them. You don’t have to make up excuses about what you owe them. You don’t need to guilt trip yourself. Remember, social interaction isn’t governed by the laws of equivalent exchange, Brother.”

Ed heaved a deep breath and sighed. As usual when he got mad, Al was completely right. 

“Now, I’m worn out from yelling at you, so go visit Mustang. He’ll be sad that you visited everyone but him.”

Ed nodded, leaving his brother to rest, heading to Mustang’s room. When he got to the door, he was half expecting to hear the whole office crew on the other side, but it was quiet. 

He knocked. 

 

*****

 

Roy was having a great day, all things considered. Hawkeye had agreed to move in with him to help him around the house. He couldn’t really do much on his own yet. He couldn’t wait. 

He was startled out of his musings when a knock sounded at the door. 

“Come in.” He ordered in his authoritative colonel voice. 

He listened intently. He had noticed that his hearing had increased dramatically to make up for his lack of sight. Slowly but surely, he was getting better at distinguishing what was going on around him based on sound alone. 

He’d know those uneven footsteps anywhere. 

“Fullmetal.” He greeted, nodding in the direction of the sound of shuffling feet. The shuffling paused. 

“How’d you know it was me?”

Roy smirked. “I could sense the trouble in the air that seems to follow you everywhere. Now, to what do I owe the pleasure?”

He waited while Ed shuffled around a bit more, closing the door behind himself with a faint click. The uneven footsteps shuffled the few meters to his bed, a slight thump indicating he had fallen into the chair he knew was there. 

“So, how you been?”

Ed cringed at the awkward floundering he was doing with social interaction. ‘Thanks Al. I blame you.’

Roy chuckled. “Well, all things considered, I haven’t been too bad. I hear Hughes is awake.”

Ed was relieved to see a genuine smile on his CO’s face. He had learned pretty quickly which smiles were real from the man. Ed may be terrible at conversing, but he was pretty good at reading people. 

“Yeah, he finally got to meet Harry. Poor kid was so nervous.” Ed chuckled at the memory. 

Roy sighed. He had gotten fond of the child, and he seemed to hold Roy on a pedestal. Apparently, the boy had heard early on that Roy was the one to save Hughes when they met, and his hero worship had only grown worse. Every time Roy visited the Hughes’ when Gracia invited him to dinner, he spent a little time showing the boy his flame alchemy, a handful of spells, even a little about firearms. Everything interested the curious little boy, and Roy was eager to show him everything. He realized with a certain amount of self-depreciation that he loved kids, even though they usually didn’t like him much.

The boy was smart though, Roy recognized that immediately. He would probably end up a bit of a prodigy, just as Roy himself was. 

He remembered the first time Harry had called him “Uncle Roy”. It had been at the boy’s small birthday party with the Elrics and a few of his friends. Roy had given him a dragon coloring book whose pictures stilled only while you were coloring and colored pencils with lead that never broke. Of course, he had to gift them when the other guests weren’t around, so the muggles didn’t freak. The boy had looked at the magical items in wonder before Roy heard a breathless little thank you from the boy. Quickly getting over his awe, Harry had jumped up and squealed, tackling the man in a hug. 

“Thank you, Uncle Roy!”

He still had the first picture the boy colored on his fridge. 

He sternly blinked back the tears that wouldn’t cloud his vision when he realized he’d never see that picture again. He’d never see Harry’s face light up in awe at his fire alchemy. He’d never see-

“I know it hurts but keep remembering.”

Roy jumped, suddenly remembering Ed was still in the room. He could feel his gaze, the telltale hairs on the back of his neck standing more rigidly at attention than Ed ever did for him. To his horror, a wayward tear slid down his cheek. 

Furiously wiping it away, he listened to the boy sitting next to him. 

“You need to remember it all now, when you can still remember colors and what things look like. Not just the good things, but the bad things too. Remember what everything looked like. Don’t forget it.”

Roy swallowed heavily. “What makes you say that?” he asked, his voice gruff with emotion. 

He could hear the emotion in Ed’s voice when he answered, “Because I’ve lost things too.”

Roy nodded, unsure if Ed was still watching him or not as he let the tears flow. 

If he was honest with himself, he wasn’t okay, but Roy was used to pretending to be okay until he was, so that’s what he was doing. Continuing to command his team from his hospital bed. He was glad of the news of the Ishvalan restoration effort. 

He was even more glad of the news of a way to get Havoc’s legs back. 

Chapter Text

Harry sat atop Ed’s shoulders, bouncing along for the ride. Ed had been discharged from the hospital yesterday, and at Hughes’ request, had brought Harry to see him so he could get to know his new son. When Hughes was forced by his overprotective nurse to rest, the two decided to head to Roy’s room. Harry hadn’t gotten to see his uncle after the incident after all.

The bright, red light scared Harry something fierce. It reminded him of the time when he wasn’t Harry anymore, just a floating thought. 

Ed set him down, running into Roy’s room. Harry peeked around the corner to see a man standing over his uncle, the bright light coming from his hand. He whimpered when he heard the groans of pain. The flashes of light died down, and his uncle sat up, blinking hard. 

“Well?” The stranger asked him, “Anything?”

Roy nodded. He could see light and vague, blurry shapes, but no color or clarity. He knew this was all he would get. It wasn’t much, but it was better than the impenetrable darkness before. Plus, Havoc got the use of his legs back, and that was more than he could have ever hoped to gain on his own. 

“Was that a Philosopher’s Stone?”

Roy jumped at the voice, not sure how to explain himself to Ed. Would he think he was being selfish? Was he being selfish?

Someone must have nodded because the dark shape by what he assumed to be the door moved closer. 

“Roy, can you see me?”

He decided to ignore the use of his first name as well as the emotion in the voice, “I can see light and vague shapes, but no color or clarity.” he answered. 

There were collective sighs around the room as the hopeful mood plummeted.

“It’s much more than I had before, so I thank you, Dr. Marcoh.”

An awkward silence stretched for a moment before a small voice that Roy was terrified would lose itself to tears broke the silence. 

“U-Uncle Roy? What... what’s wrong with your eyes?”

His breath caught in his throat at his nephew’s question. Did no one tell the boy?

“... Well, Harry... You see... The thing is...”

He was blinking furiously now, trying to hold back tears, instinctively trying to clear his vision to see the small, dark blob coming closer. 

“Don’t cry, Uncle Roy!” The boy cried, clambering up on his bed. “Your eyes aren’t working, right? It’s okay! I’ll be your eyes!” The boy declared through tears. 

He wrapped his little arms around Roy’s neck and cried into his shoulder. Roy found himself breaking a second time, listening to the boy’s sobs. Why had no one told him? Warned him? He closed his eyes, trying to hold the tears at bay. He needed to be strong for Harry. The boy needed to see that he was okay. 

“Harry, I...” he broke off when color erupted across his vision. 

Gold sparks were everywhere, radiating from the boy in his arms, warmth bubbling up, dancing with the light. 

Harry squeezed harder, still crying, apparently unaware of the evident display of generous magic. 

Roy watched, watched, fascinated as colors, red, blue, green, flooded his vision. When the golden light died down, and the warmth from the boy in his arms faded, Roy blinked around. The shapes were still fuzzy, but there was color and defined shapes. He could see the gold of Ed’s hair, the red of his coat, the blue of his men’s uniforms. Laughing, he pulled Harry back to see his face, but froze, horrified. 

This close, he could see Harry’s bright green eyes. 

His bright, green, unfocused eyes. 

“Nonono, Harry, can you see me?” He asked quickly, his voice more panicked than it had ever been in front of his men.

To his relief, Harry nodded. 

“You’re fuzzy, but you’re right there!” Harry declared happily, his finger jammed dramatically on Roy’s nose. The boy gasped. “Uncle Roy! You’re looking at me! You can see me!”

Roy laughed in relief, hugging the miraculous little boy. 

 

*****

 

The way that Roy described it, Harry had used accidental magic with his strong emotions, and somehow used his own sight to fix Roy’s. Both of them were nearsighted now and required thick glasses, but they could still see. 

Ed was impressed. He knew he and his brother were prodigies for using magic, or alchemy as muggles knew it at least, at a very young age, but accidental magic of that magnitude at only seven years old?

Ed couldn’t wait to see what Harry would do. He may even give Ed a run for his money...

Nah. 

No one could beat besting Father before they turned 18, right?

Chapter Text

Over the next four years, Harry became much more comfortable in his new family. 

He beat up the punks trying to get too comfortable with his sister, taking on a few bullies even. Brother Ed taught him a little alchemy, Uncle Roy taught him a little magic, his mom helped him learn how to bake, and the boy loved it. 

Most importantly, his dad was his dad. 

He couldn’t imagine better parents. 

His uncle Roy had become Führer the year before, and he still wasn’t quite used to all the guards. From what Roy had said, he had turned the dictatorship into a diplomacy. He didn’t really understand politics, but everyone has happy about it, so he figured it was a good thing. 

They had a big party about it at least. 

Uncle Roy even got days off now. Harry appreciated the time he got to spend with his uncle. He was showing him more and more the difference between full magic and the scientific magic that muggles knew of called alchemy. The magical population of Amestris had managed to find themselves a nice niche in society by developing alchemy and living under the law of equivalent exchange in the public eye. Magic itself followed those laws, but the magical properties of the wand was used as equivalence for spells, as well as the magical energy of the wizard or witch casting the spell, but most muggles were afraid of the power of magic, as it tended to be a little unstable in inexperienced hands. People are always afraid of the unknown.

Ed and Al had travelled a bit, Ed retaining his license, but mostly sticking to research rather than physical missions, although he did do those occasionally. Al ended up getting his certification as well, staying in Xing as ambassador with Mei for a while, but he ended up bringing her back after he married her. Harry was very happy to visit Xing to be the ring bearer. 

He got to do it again for Big Brother Ed and Winry shortly after. 

Now that Uncle Roy had successfully abolished the fraternizing laws, whatever those were, Harry would get to do it again for Uncle Roy and Auntie Riza. Harry loved Riza, but she could be kind of scary when he misbehaved. 

Al had jokingly asked him if he was going to be next to get a girl, and Harry vehemently told him NO. He hadn’t even turned eleven yet, for crying out loud!

On Harry’s eleventh birthday, Uncle Roy, Auntie Riza, and all the Elrics came to visit. Harry showed his brother Ed how he could make little horse statues with his alchemy, and Ed got a kick out of showing the horses to Mustang, playing on the pun of his name. 

Before everyone left for the night, Roy had one last gift for Harry. His eyes blew open wide at the sight of the broom. 

Roy had to hide it away from the pile of presents to keep it a surprise. The size and shape of the package gave it away very quickly. 

“A Nimbus Two Thousand?!” The boy gasped. “Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou!” Harry launched himself at Roy, practice and sharp reflexes being the only thing that saved the man from getting flattened by the rapidly growing boy. 

Roy chuckled, “You’re quite welcome, Little Bunny.”

Harry scowled at the nickname Ed had given him, a play on what Roy had called him once, shortening his name to “Hare”. Ed had teased him relentlessly, and he didn’t appreciate Roy joining in. 

“Sir.”

Harry’s scowl turned to laughter as Roy paled at Riza’s reprimanding tone. 

“Just be careful with it, darling,” his mom warned. “I don’t want you out there flying it without Roy or one of your brothers out there with you.” She wanted someone with him who could catch him if he fell.

Harry nodded, inspecting the beautiful craftsmanship under his fingers. Ed and Al had joined him to marvel over the broom, both promised a turn in exchange for watching him while he rode. While they were busy, Roy turned to the two parents in the room.

“Any owls?” he asked.

Maes shook his head, “They’re supposed to come on the eleventh birthday, right?”

Roy nodded. Whether it was Hogwarts or any other school, you got your acceptance letter on your eleventh birthday. What could be keeping that owl?

“I’m not sure about the Elrics, but I got a letter from Durmstrang on my eleventh. Never went. Spent a year at Castelobruxo with their exchange program, but most of my education came from Hawkeye.”

Maes nodded, understanding the relationship between his friend and his fiancé’s father. Before he could respond, a loud bang came from the door. Everyone jumped, conversations abruptly halted as everyone turned to the door. A few more bangs sounded, reminiscent of knocking, but it was loud enough to be a battering ram.

Maes stood, followed by Roy and Ed, both of whom had pulled out their wands. It was raining outside, so Roy forwent his ignition gloves.

Cautiously, the three approached the door, the children hiding behind the women and Alphonse.

“Anybody there?” a heavily accented voice asked through the door.

Everyone jumped. Maes pulled the door open to show a giant of a man in the doorway.

He was huge, larger than even the Strong-Arm Alchemist, dark and bushy hair and beard hiding most of his face, but his black eyes twinkled in the middle of the tangled hair.

“Eep!” Elicia squealed, hiding back behind her mother’s skirts.

The giant turned at the sound, as Hawkeye and Al both moved to shield Gracia and her daughter. Unfortunately, Harry had been hiding behind Al, and when the man moved, he was left exposed.

“’Arry! There ye are, lad! You look jus’ like yer dad!”

Every adult in the room stiffened. Harry was frozen stiff. This man knew his name, and he was terrified. Could this man be the homunculus called Sloth? Ed had told him the creature was big.

“What do you want with my son?” Maes asked, his voice clipped, and his eyes narrowed.

The large man turned back to the three blocking the door, noticing the wands.

“Oh, there’s no need fer tha’,” he stated. He dug into the many pockets in his large coat, muttering to himself, “Know I got it ‘ere someplace…” The men in the entryway stared flummoxed as the large man pulled a strange assortment of things from his pockets looking for the elusive whatever-it-was he was looking for. “Ha!” the man pulled out a large, parchment envelope with glistening green ink and a red wax seal. “This ‘ere’s fer ‘Arry. Dumbledore wanted me ter deliver it fer ‘im. Said ‘e didn’t want ‘im to decide on any other school, an’ I ‘greed wit’ ‘im. ‘Snot right a Potter shouldn’ go ter ‘Ogwarts.”

The tension in the room ebbed but didn’t disappear at Dumbledore’s name. Those who knew the man merely shook their heads. The man sure did love his theatrics.

‘Are we sure these guys aren’t related to Armstrong?’

“Come in, Mr…”

The man huffed, “Oh, there’s no need fer the ‘Mr.’. Me name’s ‘Agrid.”

Maes nodded, sharing a look with Roy and Ed. The two gave a slight nod, tucking away their wands, but Roy pulled out his gloves, and Ed’s sharp eyes never left the stranger.

Gracia had taken Harry, Elicia, and the other ladies, sans Hawkeye, and disappeared to the kitchen. She came back alone to offer tea to their impromptu guest as the men all settled around the room. Graciously taking the offered refreshment in his hands the size of garbage bin lids, the newcomer settled himself down gingerly onto the couch. Glancing around, the man realized that Harry had left.

“Where’d ‘Arry go?” he asked, peering around, “’e’s still gotta read ‘is letter.”

Maes cleared his throat, drawing Hagrid’s attention.

“Let’s talk first. What was this about Dumbledore? Did something happen?”

Hagrid laughed, a large, booming sound of joy, smacking his knee with his free hand. The observers were surprised that the large man hadn’t broken anything yet, or even spilled the tea.

“Oh no, Mr. ‘Ughes. I’s jus’ ‘Arry’s acceptance letter. Dumbledore wanted me ter come personally, ye see. Af’er the problems wit’ the last bunch, ‘e wanted ter be certain ‘Arry got ‘is letter.” Hagrid explained, nodding sagely.

The soldiers in the room relaxed at that. The man wasn’t a threat. Even after five years, Roy was still jumpy about the safety of the Hughes family.

“Gracia, dear,” Maes said, turning to his wife, “Go ahead and bring Harry and the rest in, so he can read his letter.”

The woman nodded, smiling. While she left to fetch the others, Roy decided to step in and introduce them.

“Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist and Fürher of Amestris.” He stated, offering his hand to shake.

“Ah,” the man said, taking the offered hand, “Rubeus ‘Agrid, keeper o’ the keys and grounds at ‘Ogwarts.”

Roy nodded, “This is my second-in-command and fiancé, General Riza Hawkeye, and Brigadier General Alphonse Elric, the Lifearmour Alchemist and Ambassador to Xing, and his older brother, General Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist,” he paused in his introductions, gauging the man’s reaction. At Ed’s name, the man had seemed interested, but he showed nothing but polite curiosity at the other names, “And I suppose you already know of Brigadier General Maes Hughes, Head of Investigations and Harry’s father. Gracia, earlier, is his wife and Harry’s mother.”

Hagrid turned to the man with something like sorrow and gratitude on his face. “I ‘eard from Dumbledore tha’ you ‘ad taken in ‘Arry af’er wha’ ‘appened wit’ ‘is relatives. I knew ‘is parents when they was kids, see, an’ I know they appreciate all you’ve done fer the lad.”

No one in the room missed the way Hagrid was speaking like Harry was not a permanent member of the Hughes family. It made everyone a little tense when the others walked in.

“There ye are, ‘Arry! I got a letter fer ye!” Hagrid declared, waving the letter in the air.

The boy bounded forward, snatching the letter. “Mom said it was a letter from a wizard school! I got a letter from a wizard school!” he laughed, showing the letter to his sisters Elicia and Winry, “Lookit! It even says, ‘Second Floor West Bedroom’ on the front!”

Everyone laughed at the boy’s antics.

“Open it, Harry!” Elicia squealed.

He tore open the letter, pulling out the many pages of parchment inside. He began to read aloud.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,

Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

               Dear Mr. Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on September 1. We await your owl no later than July 31.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall,

Deputy Headmistress

“Congrats, Little Bunny,” Ed said, grinning, when Harry looked up.

“I got a letter fer you as well, Mr. Elric,” Hagrid informed him, handing the letter to the man.

Curious, assuming it wasn’t an acceptance letter, Ed took the offered envelope, sliding it open and scanning the contents. With a huff, he passed it to the equally curious Fürher.

“Don’t expect me to follow along after the old man just because he offers a library. I have responsibilities here, you know.”

Hagrid seemed disappointed, Roy and Maes realizing why as they read the letter, the latter hovering over his friend’s shoulder to see,

Dear Mr. Elric,

It has come to my attention that you are an expert in the field of alchemy. Several of my students and their parents have requested that we offer the discipline here at Hogwarts, in the hopes of accomplishing peace with muggles, as you have done in Amestris.

As such, it is with great pleasure and hope that I humbly ask you would grace our halls with your knowledge. Regarding whether you are willing to join our lovely faculty, please send your response with Hagrid. The position will, of course, offer compensation, and we can discuss the parameters of the arrangement at a later date.

Hogwarts boasts many things, least of which is the largest magical library in the world. As a member of our esteemed faculty, you would have unlimited access to its depths.

Yours Sincerely,

Albus Dumbledore,

Hogwarts Headmaster

“You’re going.”

Ed spun around to stare at his superior, shocked. Roy gave an imperceptible shake of his head, warning Ed to not argue here. Despite all his talk, Ed trusted the man with his life, so he stayed quiet.

“Ed’s going where?” Al asked, glancing in Winry’s direction.

“Dumbledore wants me to teach at his school.”

Harry gasped, “So you’ll be my teacher? That’s great!”

Winry’s face fell. “Ed, you’re leaving?”

Ed turned to his superior in distress.

Roy grimaced. “We can discuss Winry accompanying you with the Headmaster, but this is an opportunity you will not miss.”

“What about my research?” Ed asked, eyes narrowed, “I run the entirety of this country’s state research. Are you really willing to put all of that on hold for a year?”

Roy’s grimace became a smirk. “You don’t honestly believe you are the only one capable of handling the labs, do you?”

“Other than Al,” he answered, “I don’t trust anyone with my research. Not even you, Colonel.”

Roy rolled his eyes at the nickname. When in the presence of Elicia, who was still watching the proceedings with wide eyes, Ed had taken to calling him Colonel instead of Bastard. He supposed he should thank the girl for staying. Instead, he turned to the Xing Ambassador.

“What do you say, Al? Want to take a break from travelling for a bit?”

Al looked up from Ed’s letter he had stolen to read, a sheepish look on his face.

“Actually, I was planning on asking you tonight if you could reassign me for a bit.”

Roy raised an eyebrow in question and the young man fidgeted, glancing at his young wife by his side before taking a breath, turning back to the group.

Before he could explain, Hawkeye interjected, “Congratulations, Lifearmour.”

Gracia gasped, looking to Mei for confirmation. The Xingese princess merely smiled in response. Mrs. Hughes squealed, much like her daughter always did, congratulating them as well.

“Wait, Al, what’s going on?” Ed asked, confusion evident on his face.

Al grinned, glancing at a smitten, grinning Mei again. That was the moment Roy and Maes caught on.

“No way, Al! Seriously?!” Maes yelled.

Roy nodded, “I suppose this is perfect timing then. I’m sure we can work something out with the Headmaster so that Ed and Harry can be here when the time comes.”

Ed and the kids still hadn’t figured it out, so Al explained.

“Well, Ed… kids… Mei and I are going to be parents.”

There was a beat of silence.

“WHAAAAAAAT?!?!” Ed shrieked, “Wha-wha-what!? Since WHEN?!”

Everyone laughed watching Ed flounder, his face the color of his signature coat. While the Elrics began discussing their growing family, Roy turned to Hagrid.

“Let Dumbledore know Ed would be delighted to join your staff for the year. I look forward to speaking with him.”

Hagrid looked confused, “Why would Dumbledore be talkin’ wit’ you?”

“Ed is under my command,” he explained, “Thus, everything Ed does must be sanctioned by me.”

Hagrid nodded, the noise of celebration filling the room. He would have to explain this to Dumbledore.

Chapter Text

“But what about Al and Mei? I can’t leave now! What about Winry? You’re asking a lot, Führer Bastard.” Ed growled, his stance defensive. The two men were discussing Ed’s possible assignment in Mustang’s fancy, new Führer office, but Ed wasn’t having any of it. “I’m not even a real State Alchemist! I haven’t had an evaluation since before Father, and you know I don’t do much field work anymore.”

Roy sighed. Why couldn’t Ed see how beneficial this deal was? “Fullmetal, have you-”

The door to Roy’s office slammed open, interrupting his sentence.

“Roy, ma boy!”

He dropped his head in his hands. He was already dealing with Ed, he couldn’t take Hughes on top of that.

“Oh, sorry Ed. Didn’t know you were here.” the investigator chuckled, rubbing the back of his head in shame.

“Yes, you did, sir. I told you the Führer was in a meeting with the Fullmetal alchemist, but you barged in anyway.” Hawkeye revealed in her Professional Voice™.

Roy glared at Maes through his fingers.

“Haha! You’ve sure got yourself a spunky one!” Hughes commented.

“Thank you, sir.” Riza said, turning to exit, “Please do not distract him long. The Führer has a lot of paperwork to finish.” The door shut with a snap, and every man in the room swallowed in fear at the threat in her voice.

“She’s still got you whipped.” Ed snarked.

Roy raised an eyebrow.

“Come now, Ed. I think you should reevaluate your relationship with Winry before you criticize me.”

Ed scowled.

“Now, now, you two,” Hughes interjected, “No need to be at each other’s throats. I assume you’re discussing Ed’s assignment?”

Roy nodded. “Ed doesn’t want to leave.”

The young man’s scowl deepened as he hurled it towards his superior, but the Führer was unaffected.

“Ed,” Hughes started, the serious glint in his eye forcing the other two to listen, “Please take the assignment and watch over my boy.”

Roy glanced at Ed. The man was shaking. Suddenly, he yelled.

“AAAHH! WHAT THE HECK!? THERE’S NO WAY I CAN GET OUT OF IT NOW!” he fumed, gripping his hair hard enough to loosen the strands. Glaring at his CO, he growled, “You better have a way for Winry to come too, Colonel Bastard.”

With those parting words, Ed stormed from the room. Hughes chuckled.

“Colonel and Bastard? He must be serious. You got a plan, Roy?”

“Actually, I do,” Roy answered, “I also have something for you.”

The Führer ignored Hughes’ raised eyebrows and began digging through the piles of paperwork on his desk, mumbling to himself.

With a crisp knock, Hawkeye entered, a file in hand.

“Are you looking for these, sir?” she asked, holding them aloft.

Roy sighed. “You’re too good at your job, you know that?” he quipped, taking the offered file while Hughes watched, curious.

“Yes, sir. I do.”

Hughes chuckled. “Remind me who the Führer is again?”

“Don’t make me regret this gift, Hughes.” Roy grouched.

Intrigued, Hughes took the file, flipping it open to glance through it. Unbidden tears threatened to make their presence known when he realized what he was looking at.

“Roy, how did you…?” Hughes asked, his voice strained by emotions.

“Called in a few favors in the British government. They sent over the paperwork. Turns out, Harry has a godfather, but the man is serving a life sentence in Azkaban, so there weren’t any problems. All it needs is your and Gracia’s signatures.”

Hughes nodded, too touched to get words out anymore.

“Go get it signed. I want it processed before Dumbledore arrives at 15:00.”

“Thank you, Roy.” He managed to choke out.

Roy smiled one of his rare, genuine smiles.

“Your welcome, Maes.”

Still not quite back from cloud nine, Maes left to get his wife’s signature so that Harry could be officially adopted into the Hughes family.

 

*****

A few hours later, Edward, Alphonse, Hughes, and Mustang were all back in the Führer’s office, awaiting Dumbledore’s arrival.

“So, it’s totally official, and they can’t do anything to change it?” Ed asked.

“Not legally, anyway,” Roy answered.

“Congratulations, Mr. Hughes,” Al interjected, “I’m sure the whole family is relieved.”

Maes nodded. “Gracia and I really didn’t like the way Hagrid was talking about Harry last night. We know his birth parents loved him, but they aren’t here to care for him. At the very least, I would like assurance that my son will not be taken away.” The others in the room nodded in agreement.

A few moments later, the fireplace in the office flared with green flames, and an old man stepped into the room. Ed’s nose scrunched in distaste at the man’s fashion sense. He wore bright purple robes with stars all over them, and a pointed wizard’s hat of the same style. He wouldn’t have looked out of place trick-or-treating.

“Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to get to actually meet you, Mr. Edward Elric. My name is Albus Dumbledore.” He held out his hand in greeting.

Ed’s eyebrow twitched as Alphonse stuttered out an explanation while denying the hand offered him.

“I’m actually his brother, Alphonse. You want my brother, Edward,” he explained.

Dumbledore glanced over. “Ah! My apologies. I simply assumed the first man with golden hair I saw would be the man I wanted. Who knew two of the famous Elric brothers would want to meet me?” Dumbledore expertly smoothed over, though not to Ed’s satisfaction.

Glancing around the room, the old wizard spotted Hughes.

“Ah! Lieutenant Colonel Hughes! We have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, I’m afraid. Terrible circumstances. Good to see you awake and healthy. I trust Harry has settled in well?” Dumbledore rambled, shaking Hughes’ hand.

“He’s a Brigadier General. Do your homework.” Ed growled. He really didn’t like this wizard.

“A promotion since we last spoke? How fortunate for you!” The man congratulated, “Though I suppose, Führer Mustang, your promotion carried you a little further.”

Roy nodded in that curt, businesslike way that so annoyed Ed.

“Indeed, Headmaster. As such, I am Edward’s only commanding officer. He is the sole director of our state research thus, we cannot part with him so easily.”

Dumbledore nodded, prepared to argue his case.

“He will have access to the largest magical library in the world, as well as other resources, if he so desires.”

“Oh no,” Roy interrupted, “He will be going. He simply has a few… conditions.”

Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. Conditions usually involved pay.

“You will be well compensated, I assure you.”

“That’s not it either, gramps,” Ed bit out, “Five conditions: my wife goes with me, Harry and I get to come home when my brother becomes a dad, I get to keep an eye on Harry, I teach my class as I like without interference, and I get to kick students out of my class if I do not find them suited to alchemy.”

Dumbledore nodded, “I’m sure that can all be arranged.” He was glad it wasn’t some outlandish request, like paid holidays, or higher wages. He didn’t like that someone other than him would be watching Harry, but he figured he could work around that. The classes could always be influenced once they got to the castle.

“I’m glad to hear that, Headmaster. Winry is a lovely young lady, and I would hate to see them separated so soon after they were married.”

Ed flushed, but merely nodded his approval.

“Al can take my place in the labs then. Al, Roy or I can take Harry shopping for his supplies before we leave. I’ll need to get supplies of my own as well, and Winry will need to pack. She’s going to have so many wrenches…” Ed petered off, mumbling out his plans to get them ready for the school year.

“Now that that is settled, why don’t we discuss his employment contract, and what the employment of a General ranked State Alchemist entails?” Roy offered.

Eyebrows raised again, Dumbledore nodded.

‘Let the negotiations begin, Bastard.’

Chapter Text

“That should cover everything,” Roy announced, to the relief of all present, “Now we should discuss Harry.”

Dumbledore glanced up over his spectacles. “What about the boy?” he asked.

Roy frowned. “It has come to our attention, that we had neglected some paperwork,” Ed snorted, “so we wanted to inform you, that Harry Potter Hughes has been officially adopted by the Hughes family, according to the laws of both the British and Amestrian governments.”

Dumbledore froze. This was not supposed to happen. He had put certain people in certain places in the British government to avoid this.

“As such, Hughes should be given access to a few things as Harry’s legal guardian. His legal records, his key to Gringotts, and any other matters of his, as he has that right.” Roy concluded.

Dumbledore straightened, his gaze steely, rather than twinkling. If they thought he was going to allow this, they were sorely mistaken.

“Now Roy,” he began.

“I don’t believe we are on a first name basis, Headmaster.” Roy interjected.

Ed tried very hard to keep his laughter under wraps.

Dumbledore frowned. “Führer Mustang, I cannot allow this. Harry was never placed up for adoption.”

“Ah,” Mustang replied, “That is where you are wrong. As Harry’s parents are both dead, and his godfather is in no position to assume guardianship, Harry was legally free for adoption. Hughes had every legal right to adopt Harry, so he did.”

Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed. He knew there was a loophole somewhere. There always was. He would find it and use it to get Harry back under his control. He needed Harry where he could keep an eye on him. He knew Voldemort would be back, and only he could keep Harry safe from his former pupil.

“Very well,” he sighed, “As long as it was done legally.”

“Of course,” Hughes responded.

“Then I will take my leave. Hagrid will be back in a month to take Harry and Professor Elric to Hogwarts.” Dumbledore said, itching to find out how this snake had managed to sneak Harry away from him.

“Don’t bother,” Ed shot back, “I can get Harry and Winry there myself.”

With a curt nod, the elderly wizard excused himself, flooing back to Hogwarts.

“You’re such the adoption is airtight?” Alphonse asked, worried.

“Don’t worry,” Roy reassured them, “Not even Dumbledore can do anything.”

 

*****

 

Maes found himself, a few days later, visiting the Elrics’ home. Ed had offered to take the family to London via Floo, and in an effort to save time, he took the man up on his offer. Harry and Elicia were beside themselves with anticipation, and Hughes would be lying if he said he wasn’t excited as well. His grandmother had told him about the magic her grandmother did, so he wasn’t too surprised when he witnessed Roy’s self-mending gloves in action. In fact, he was rather happy, because if Roy was a wizard, it would explain a lot.

He had met the young man during the Ishvalan war, and he was honestly impressed. Roy was capable enough that no man under his command ever became a casualty. Other alchemists in the war, such as Kimbly, often caught their own men within their attacks, but Roy never did. Curious to figure out how he did it, Hughes had watched his movements closely. To his surprise, Roy never let his men move forward until after he had burned the place to the ground. His men were always behind him, sometimes only there for show. When he congratulated Roy on his unconventional success, Roy became defensive and wary. This only served to make Hughes more curious, so he got closer. It wasn’t until he and Roy were good friends that Hughes saw it.

 

*****

 

He and Major Mustang trudged back to camp. Most of the men trailing behind them were jovial, as they, once again, didn’t lose a single man on a raid. Hughes glanced askance at his companion, seeing the physical and emotional exhaustion in his stormy eyes.

When they made it back to camp, Hughes silently followed his new friend as their men milled about, setting up watch and sleeping shifts without guidance. Hughes nodded in approval of the training Roy had ingrained in his men.

Pulling the flap open, Roy entered his tent, and Hughes ducked in after him. For a solid minute, Hughes watched Roy stand in the middle of his tent, his eyes distant, replaying the events of the night before. After a few moments, Roy seemed to shake himself out of his stupor, glaring down at his gloves. With an angry gesture, he ripped the right one from his hand, literally, the misshapen cloth falling to the dirt floor.

“Roy.”

The man jumped, turning to snap with his left, still gloved hand, as Hughes grabbed his hands to stop him tearing his greatest weapons to pieces. Hughes’ catlike reflexes kicked in when Roy’s finger met his thumb. His hand struck, grasping Roy’s own.

“ROY.”

Roy froze, realizing what he was about to do.

‘What’s wrong with me?!’

“You back, man?” Hughes asked his voice still soft, loosening his grip on Roy’s hands.

The alchemist nodded glumly, pulling his hands free from Hughes’ gentle grip.

“I’m fine.”

Hughes couldn’t stop his chuckle if he tried.

“If that’s not the biggest lie I’ve ever heard, I’ll eat Gracia’s hat,” he chortled, an encouraging smile on his face.

Roy scowled, but the energy that usually accompanied his expressions was missing.

“Go clean yourself up, Roy. We’re going to celebrate,” Hughes said, bending to pick up the ruined glove on the floor.

Roy looked hurt when Hughes stood back up, and Hughes could think of eighteen different reasons why that expression should never be on his best friend’s face.

“You want to celebrate the deaths I caused last night?”

“Of course not!” Hughes assured, shocked that Roy would think that, “It was your birthday a few days ago, but we haven’t had the chance to celebrate yet.”

Roy blinked. “Oh.”

Because how else do you respond to that?

Hughes gestured to the trunk that held Roy’s possessions. “Get comfy. The men will be fine on their own for a bit, and you already radioed your report to the main base.”

Roy nodded numbly, moving to obey like a small child, and boy did Hughes hate that analogy.

Tucking Roy’s glove into his pocket, intending to stitch it back together later, Hughes grabbed the bottles that Madame Christmas had sent Roy the week prior. Hughes had to thank the woman. She had sent the good stuff right on time.

Hours later, Roy had downed a full two bottles and was nursing his third. Maes watched him stare unseeingly at his bottle with a calculating look. Roy would usually start spilling what was bothering him around a bottle and a half ago, so whatever it was must be more than the typical guilt that accompanies a successful soldier.

Taking a sip from his own bottle, Maes asked, “So, Roy, what’s botherin’ ya?”

Roy tipped the bottle back for a moment. Coming up for air, he finally answered, mumbling, “I da know whatta do.”

Maes frowned. That answer wasn’t very helpful.

“Do ‘bout what?”

“If I’m gonna be Furer, I hafta do stuff tha’s not righ’, but I wanna be Furer ta stop tha bad stuff,” Roy mumbled forlornly, staring at the amber liquid in his bottle as if it held the answers he sought. “Unforgivables only work if you want them to.”

Hughes frowned. ‘“Gonna be Furer”? He wants to be Führer? To “stop tha bad stuff”? He’s serious about this. He really wants to fix this country. But what does he mean unforgivables?’

“Alright, Roy. Who would you rather did this ‘bad stuff’? You,” His glasses glinted in the lantern light, “Or that pretty little blonde you were talking to the other day?”

Roy’s eyes got comically wide, and Hughes had to fight to keep the grin off his face.

“No way in hell am I putting Riza in danger.”

The absence of slurring in his speech was not lost on Maes.

“Then if you want to protect her, do what you must.”

Roy glared at Maes.

“You always make it seem so simple.”

Hughes chuckled, “It is,” before snagging the bottle and setting it aside. With the ease of practice, Maes pulled Roy to his feet and led him to his bunk, making sure his feet were covered. It got awfully cold in the desert at night. Hearing the soft snores that meant Roy was out like a light, Maes exited Roy’s tent, heading to his own. Settling on his bed, he pulled out the needle and thread Gracia had given him before he left.

He missed her so much.

Finally getting the thread through the needle, he pulled out the pieces of the glove from his pocket.

The pieces that were stitching themselves together.

“I’m not even that surprised,” he mumbled.

Fascinated, he watched the glove slowly mend itself.

‘I’ve never heard of alchemy that works without an alchemist guiding it. Is he guiding it from a distance? He couldn’t be, not with how drunk he was. Could it… could it be magic? Is he a wizard, like my great grandmother?’

Determined, Hughes scooped up the glove and stomped out of his tent.

Chapter Text

After days of questioning and needling, Roy had finally admitted to having magic and using protective spells on his men without their knowledge. He even spiked their water with a lucky potion, Felix feels-ies or something. Hughes shook his head, pulling himself back to reality from his reminiscing just in time for Winry to answer the door.

“Mr. Hughes! Gracia! Good to see you again,” She greeted.

“What about me?” Elicia asked, a trace of a pout on her nine-year-old face.

“Of course, I’m always glad to see my little sister!” the blonde agreed happily.

The family filed into the house, joining Edward in the living room. The alchemist had six different bags in front of him that he was muttering to, waving his wand between them.

“Whatcha doin’ Big Brother?” Elicia asked, bounding up to the man.

“Extension charm.” Came the distracted reply.

“Let him work, dear,” Gracia warned as her daughter went to ask another question.

Harry watched intently as Ed worked, noting the way he moved his wand. He knew Ed didn’t need to say the words to cast a spell, so he figured the muttering was just him talking to himself, and the real magic was the movement.

“That should do it,” Ed said, standing and taking the small bags from the floor, “One for each of us. They’ve all got an Undetectable Extension charm, a few protection spells, and I added a little boost that’ll help you get what you need out without having to climb in to get it yourself. I always use Accio when I need something from my trunk, but you all can’t do that, so just say what you need into the bag, and it’ll pop out for you.”

“That’s very nice of you, Edward. Thank you,” Gracia said, “Now, Elicia, Harry, it’ll hold a lot, but don’t put too much in it, or else it will get too heavy,” she warned, but Ed waved her concerns aside.

“Don’t worry about that, Mrs. Hughes. That spell is strong enough to hold General Headquarters without adding a single gram.”

“Wow,” Harry breathed, looking at the small red knapsack in his hands in awe.

Winry grabbed her own Extended toolbox and stepped up to the fireplace.

“Where was it the wizard said again?” she asked, grabbing a handful of floo powder.

“Diagon Alley. It’s where you went for that screwdriver with the changing bit.”

“Ah!”

With a determined step, the half-blood witch marched into the green flames, shouting, “Diagon Alley!” through the soot. Each person followed until it was just Ed and Harry left.

“I’m not sure how much you know about wizarding culture in Britain, but based on Dummydore, it’s a load of phooey. Don’t let them get to you.”

Harry nodded at the warning, stepping up himself to take the floo. When he said the words, it felt like he was being flushed down a warm, green toilet, before the spinning abruptly stopped, and he found himself falling into his dad’s waiting arms.

“Good thing your father came through before us, or we all would have had a nasty spill.” Gracia noted.

“Good thing I came first, so that you could fall for me all over again.” Maes crooned, pulling his wife close.

“Gross.”

Harry looked away to see Ed emerge from the fireplace in the wall just in time to see his parents being gross. From the look on his face, Harry figured Ed agreed with him.

“Alright, let’s- “

“Blimey, is that Harry Potter?!”

Ed was cut off from his suggestion by the sudden crowd they found themselves in. Harry was suddenly shaking hands with three different people at once, while four more were trying to introduce themselves, and Harry had no clue what was going on. Without warning, a hand grabbed the back of his collar and hoisted him back.

“THE FAMILY’S TRYING TO ENJOY A SIMPLE SHOPPING TRIP!” Ed bellowed, tossing the young boy he had snagged to the boy’s father behind him. The whole crowd took a collective step back from the angry alchemist as he fumed, “The boy’s just here for his schoolbooks. Keep mobbing him like that, and we’ll have an international incident on our hands. You crazy lot nearly stampeded his poor mother and sister!”

The crowd murmured, wondering if they got the wrong kid. After all, Harry Potter was an orphan with no siblings. With the crowd quickly dispersing, not wanting to face the wrath of a foreigner over a fake Harry Potter, the alley was soon clear enough for the group to breathe properly.

“Everyone okay?” Ed growled, still angry.

“I believe so,” Maes answered, releasing his wife and son from his arms, “Thank you, Ed.”

The man nodded gruffly, checking over Winry while she did the same for him.

“What was that about?” Elicia asked.

Maes and Gracia looked at each other. They didn’t expect Harry to be so popular because of what happened when he was a baby. Just how powerful was this Voldemort guy? Even Ed didn’t get mobbed back home, and he saved everyone from Father.

“Well, sweetie, Harry’s birth parents were killed by a very bad man,” Maes explained, looking to Harry in case he was crossing any lines, but the boy seemed more focused on hiding behind him than on what was being said. He had tried to prepare the boy for a small level of stardom at school. He didn’t expect grown wizards to worship the kid like that.

“And that very bad man tried to kill Harry when he was just a baby,” Maes’ heart reached out to his children when Elicia pulled Harry close while he explained, “But somehow, the bad man couldn’t kill Harry, and he ran away scared. Now, a lot of wizards here who were very afraid of the bad man think that Harry is a hero who defeated the bad man.”

“You know I’m nine already, Daddy,” Elicia complained with a pout, “I don’t believe in the Boogieman.”

Maes smiled at her innocence.

“But if the bad guy tries to come for Harry again, you can beat him up, right?”

Pulling his two children close, he tried to comfort them, reassure them, his wife at his side. He was eternally grateful to Ed for keeping the bustling crowd of Diagon Alley away from their little family display. They didn’t need another stampede in the streets.

“Alright, now who wants to go shopping?” Maes asked, straightening. The children cheered, all somberness from before banished by their smiles.

“Off to Gringots, then!” Ed ordered, leading the charge, “It’ll be a fun trip for the kids!”