HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
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The Waters Of Lethe, Edward tries to let go of his past
Rating 4 V
IttyBittyPretty
post Feb 21 2008, 07:03 PM
Post #136


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, just my my OCs. I like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile
Author's note: post series, some movie events will happen, but differently
Warning: may contain movie spoilers. Has and will contained violence and death. This chapter features a little spritz of "lemon". Those under the age of 21 should cover their eyes.
Beta: Moi, for now.

48 What Happens In Casablanca... (Was in den Casablanca...)

Casablanca, Morocco. March 21, 1928

"Mmph." A metal hand cautiously pulled sheets off a sleepy face until the morning sunlight shone full upon it. Edward peeled one eye open, before groaned and shut it again, then yanked the covers back over his head. "Ohhh!"

His head was pounding as if The Anvil Chorus was thundering away inside his temples. How much did I drink last night? It must have been too much because he couldn't remember exactly what he'd done after the others goaded him into drinking that third whiskey and soda. Or, had it been the fourth? Fifth? Sixth? Edward was having considerable trouble recalling the exact number. He said aloud, "So this is what a hangover feels like."

Edward's voice was barely above a whisper, yet it sounded too loud to his aching head. He shut his eyes tightly, but they snapped open a moment later when a female voice muttered sleepily, "Mmm? Did you say something?"

He moved his head slowly,ever so slowly to the left and his eyes met the cornflower blue orbs of Ginger Beere. A langorous, and faintly knowing smile crawled slowly across her face, "Hullo, tiger. You were incredible last night."
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Edward slumped in a chair at a small cafe three hours later and moodily nursed a fizzing drink Harry said was a sure-fire hangover cure. The agony in his temples had subsided to a dull throb which beat in time with the roiling misery in his guts, caused by the knowledge of what occured last night. Ginger and her companion were actually prostitutes Harry knew from previous visits to Casablanca and he'd decided the much-too-sober Edward needed to have a little "fun". Ginger volunteered for the job.

He'd offered Edward the first whiskey and soda before their "spot of din-din" and the party kept on drinking after supper. Somewhere along the line, they eventually left Rick's Cafe and made the rounds of some of Casablanca's other "gin joints" and had some more drinks. Many more drinks. And then he was back in his hotel room, with Ginger, she had him backed against one wall, and they were kissing. Passionately. He couldn't remember how they got there, or why he was embracing her, because large chunks of his memory appeared to be missing.

He was still holding up that wall when she unzipped his trousers, knelt down and did "things" with her mouth and tongue that turned what remained of his higher brain functions to mush. After a few minutes of sensations that had Edward moaning with pleasure, they moved to the bed and had sex. More than once, Ginger claimed, although he couldn't quite recall the experiences. Fortunately. Discovering Ginger in his bed was bad enough, but finding out she was naked was even worse. After he'd lifted the sheets to see his own nude body - he didn't reallly want to think about that - Edward blushed scarlet with shame.

Harry finished his brunch, sat back and drained his cup of coffee and burped loudly. Edward threw him a sour look, he had barely touched his own plate because nausea burbled threateningly at the mere thought of eating. He took another sip of the fizzing drink and grimaced at the foul taste. Harry signaled to a waiter for more coffee, then turned to Edward after his cup was filled, "How long are you going to sulk, old chap? I thought you were enjoying yourself last night. Ginger certainly enjoyed you."

Edward's face reddened and Harry laughed.The sound shot thorough his sore head like a drill, and he winced with pain. "Please, Harry, not so loud. I'll take your word for it about last night, but I don't think I will ever drink again. I never knew it was possible to be in such agony afterwards."

"You just aren't used to alcohol, but with another month of practice, you'll be holding your liquor with the best of them." Harry seemed bound and determined that Edward lose his innocence, but he was more worried about Alonzo and Djura. Were they harmed after their subterfuge was discoverd in Cairo? He massaged his aching temples and groaned, thinking too hard made his brain hurt.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dublin, Ireland. October 30, 1934

He hurried through his preparations, but still got out the door of the apartment building later than he liked. With a slice of buttered toast between his teeth, Edward jogged down the sidewalk while thrusting his right arm through the sleeve of his coat. He was on the verge of stopping to button it when the roar of a diesel engine announced the bus was coming to the stop nearest his home. He bit off a piece of the toast and broke into a dead run, his right hand scrabbling in a coat pocket for his bus pass.

Edward made it by the skin of his teeth, and the bus was already moving by the time he flopped back into the last empty seat. He stared sightlessly ahead and ate his toast, because his brain already churning away on today's lesson plan. The bus filled up with other morning commuters, and he eventually moved next to a window to make room for a plump lady in a green checked coat. Squashed in his seat, Edward smiled and nodded at her, then he let his mind drift back to work. The street around the bus was choked with cars, trucks and other busses, so he never noticed the black sedan that followed him.


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IttyBittyPretty
post Mar 3 2008, 09:32 AM
Post #137


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile

Author's note: Post series, some movie events may happen, but differently

Warning: may contain movie spoilers. Has contained and will contain violence, death, and sex.

Beta: Moi for now.

49. Fragile Freedom (Empfindliche Freiheit)

Edward stayed in Casablanca for nearly eight months,and Harry used his contacts to find him a job teaching English to the children of minor Moroccan civil servants. He enjoyed his work even if it wasn't concerned with the "hard" sciences he was used to: physics, and chemistry. The children were bright, although a few of the boys liked to push the envelope to see what they could get away with. Rambunctious eight to ten year olds weren't exactly the same as the serious twenty-somethings his father taught at Munich University, but Edward had observed Hohenheim's methods closely. What he remembered was quick wit and an even quicker tongue were more effective than shouting at the students and punishing them with extra work.

After a few days of "feeling" each other out, Edward and his dozen or so ('or so" because some were rather casual about attending school) students got on swimmingly. Just prior to starting the new job, Edward also moved his few possessions from the hotel to lodgings near the Old Quarter, and within walking distance of the school. The three rooms - sitting room, kitchen, and bedroom - plus a small bathroom were very pleasant, but bare of all but basic appliances. With the last of the wages from Major Howard, Edward visisted the souk (marketplace) and purchased some furniture and kitchenware.

A month later, he went back for a bookcase, because he'd made so many visits to the booksellers in the market, Ginger convinced him he couldn't stack books on the floor anymore. A comfortable chair, a reading lamp and books within reach were all Edward needed, so it was a good thing he also had Ginger Beere who prodded him to add curtains, rugs, artwork and some potted plants to his bachelor digs. The woman who had so horrified Edward his first morning in Casablanca was now his de facto girlfriend. Among other things, she taught him how affairs ran in Casablanca. Edward learned how to haggle with vendors, cook something edible and prevent his apartment from turning into a pig-sty.

Nearly eight months after he'd landed with a thud in Casablanca, the life Edward was building for himself was rudely torn to shreds. His landlord one afternoon made an innocent remark about two men with German accents who said they were friends had come inquiring about him. Edward felt a cold hard hole open inside, and he asked his landlord to describe the men. Edward recognized Rudolph at once, who else had such bad smallpox scars? The landlord really couldn't recall the other man at all because he had no distinguishing features, and this bothered Edward most of all. A man so unremarkable he couldn't be remembered made him very nervous.

Within a week, he left his position at the school, sold the furniture and most of the books, said a very difficult good-bye to Ginger, and hitched a ride with Harry when he flew a courier job to Gibraltor. Edward stayed there just long enough to change his last name again ("Hullo, I'm Edward Thompson") before he crossed the border into Spain. He made his way to Madrid and stayed for five months until the night two men grabbed him and tried to force him into a car. It was fortunate they thought Edward too weak to fight, but fight he did. After a hard elbow to the ribs and a heel to the instep of the man holding him, he broke free, ducked the grasping hands of the other and ran for it.

He fled Madrid that same night and was in Portugal early the next day. But Nazi agents eventually caught up to him and one April evening in 1930, Edward was cornered by three men in a Lisbon alley. He panted with apprehension, backed up against an old brick wall, and waited to see who would come at him first. Two men flanked him, while the third stood directly in front. He took a rag and a small brown bottle from opposite coat pockets, unscrewed the bottle cap and poured some of it's contents onto the rag. After he recapped the bottle, he returned it to one pocket before he began to advance. "Time for a little nap, Shambalan."

Edward growled in defiance and made a feint to his right before bolting to his left. The man on that flank fell for the ruse and rushed forward to grab him. Edward stopped, pivoted and whirled from his attacker's grasp before he seized the Nazi's arm and shoved him into the man holding the choloroform soaked rag. They went down in a tangle of limbs and Edward leaped over them to attack the third man, who wasn't expecting this at all. Edward drove his right hand hard into a solar plexus and the other went down with a loud oof!

A few minutes later, Edward juddered to a halt a block from the apartment building he lived in. He peeked around the corner of another building and to his dismay saw a large black sedan parked across the street from his home. In case he escaped the other three, more Nazi agents were waiting for him. Edward spun on his heel and took the long way around to the back of the apartment building where he climbed up the fire escape. Fortunately, the evening air was warm and he'd left a window open a few inches. Edward pushed it up and squirmed inside, then reached under the bed to pull out his suitcase and throw it open.

He filled it with the few clothes he owned, and his favorite books, the ones from Casablanca, plus the ones he'd originally fled from Munich with. His last act before leaving was to lever up a loose floorboard and grab the small cache of money he had squirreled away from his job at a bookstore. As he stuffed it into an inside pocket of his coat. Edward heard footsteps coming up the hall outside his apartment and he stopped. Heart in his mouth, he stood still and listened. Three people stood on the other side of the door, and the knob rattled. Someone muttered in German, too low for Edward to hear the exact words. Then the footsteps moved away and Edward blew out the breath he had been holding in.

He moved quietly to the window and crawled out onto the fire escap, and pulled the window partially shut behind him. Edward climbed back down the fire escape and raced across the shadowed back yard, towards the Lisbon docks. A few hours later, he stood on the fantail of a cross-Channel ferry boat and watched the coast line of Portugal recede into the night. Two close escapes in the space of a year reminded him of the fragility of his freedom. This time he had to get further away if he wanted to remain at liberty.

Back in Lisbon, the unremarkable man pulled a silencer-equipped pistol from a inner coat pocket and unceremoniusly shot one of the agents between the eyes. He smiled blandly at the remaining men, who cowered in terror. "You were only taking orders from this incompetent fool," he indicated the dead man with a wave of his hand. "He was the one responsible for the failure of the mission, which is why he is the only one punished. I will let you live, but let this be a lesson to you. Now get out of my sight."

The survivors scrambled to do his bidding. Once they were out of earshot, he turned to his assistant. "The Shambalan has bared his fangs, Rudolph, and this will make his capture more difficult. I have orders not to hurt him, yet I don't have any desire to get bitten either!"

"Should I start making inquiries, Herr Doktor?"

"Nein, Rudolph, not tonight anymore. We shall get a good night's sleep and cast about for his trail tomorrow."

BTW: Fanfiction.net now has beta readers! You can either sign up to be a beta reader, or browse for a beta in t he category you write fanfiction for. Just reading the beta profiles is fun.



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IttyBittyPretty
post Mar 7 2008, 03:50 PM
Post #138


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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Group: Members
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Joined: 30-April 06
From: lets just say, you don't want to live here either
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile.
Author's note: post series. Some movie events will happen, but differently
Warning: may contain movie spoilers. Has and will contain violence, death and sex.
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

50. Captured (Gefangen genommen)

Dublin, Ireland, October 30, 1934

Rudolph and the unremarkable man followed the bus to its stop in front of St. Padraic's Day School where they watched the Shambalan disembark and hurry through the school gates. But he didn't get too far inside before he was surrounded by a swarm of boys. The man smiled fondly, the Shambalan who called himself Edward Murphy was very popular with his students. Taking him away from these children would be a pity, but Hitler's new government needed him more.

"That is enough, Rudolph," he said and the scarred man put the car into drive and took him back to their hotel room. They had finally caught up with the Shambalan a month ago and spent nearly every day following him and observing his habits. The unremarkable man walked into his bedroom and returned to the sitting room a moment later with a battered brown leather medical bag. He set it upon a desk, and opened the top clasp, and took out two bottles of liquid, two syringes, and a small silver dart with four green feathers potruding from its back.

"The time for planning is done, Rudolph. Tomorrow, we will take the Shambalan. Will you call the airfield and reserve three seats on tomorrow evening's Zeppelin flight for Germany, bitte?"

"Jah wohl, Herr Doktor." Rudolph clicked his heels together, bowed, and picked the telephone off its stand, and took it into his own bedroom. His employer had been known as Dr. Schwinghammer back in Egypt, but that was really just one of his many aliases. He was technically an assassin, but this mission required him to capture a man alive and unharmed. It was a challenge, but he thrived upon challenges. And to be truthful, he had been getting bored. There are only so many ways to kill another human being.

But this was different and the unremarkable man applied his considerable intelligence to accomplishing his task. Such as the drugs he'd decided to use to subdue his quarry. A gentle tug on the feathers popped a plug off the back of the dart, revealing two tiny chambers within. He picked up one syringe, and unscrewed the cap off one of the bottles and upended it, then pushed the needle through the tiny hole in the top. Next, he pulled on the plunger and withdrew a small amount of the liquid before pulling the needle out. He set the bottle aside and pushed the plunger gently until liquid burbled out the needle's tip.

The unremarkable man smiled in satisfaction, before he picked up the dart and expressed the liquid into one of the two chambers. He repeated the process with a fresh syringe and the other bottle before he reclosed the back of the dart. There was already a cap on the sharp end to prevent any leaking from that end. He had chosen these two drugs after much study and the dosages had to be exact.. Next, he opened a drawer in the desk and brought out a flat, zippered case which he opened to reveal a small pistol, a silencer, and a single depression in the velvet lining. The dart fit into it perfectly, and he re-secured the case before replacing the drug bottles into the medical bag. The syringes he took into the bathroom to clean carefully before they too went back into the bag.

His last act was to pick up the case and place it upon the sofa next to their other "tools" assembled for the capture. The unremarkable man couldn't help but feel a little twinge of regret at the thought of wrapping up his mission. This hunt had been both diverting and amusing, but all good things had to come to an end.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
October 31st

"Happy Halloween, Mr. Murphy!" the last of the students called out and waved before they raced off into the shadowy late afternoon. Edward echoed the good wishes and waved back to the excited boys. This would be his second Halloween in Dublin, and his desk would be covered with apples, oranges, nuts and chocolates tomorrow morning. Before leaving the classroom, he filled his briefcase with geometry worksheets to be corrected, then snapped it shut and slung the long strap over his head. Once outside, he stopped and took a deep breath of the cool air which smelled of dead leaves, and peat smoke. Edward had grown to love Dublin, or rather, Dublin had grown on him. Here in this wonderful city he truly felt safe from the Thule Society.

He strolled through the front courtyard of the school and out the gates just as the bus pulled up he boarded and rode it till a few miles away from his apartment before he got out near his favorite bookshop. A translation of an old French text on alchemy had just come in, and he picked up the copy he had pre-ordered before spending a pleasant hour browsing through the shelf of other new arrivals. He paid for the alchemy text and some other books he'd chosen and emerged into the darkening Dublin evening.

There wasn't much of a wind, so he decided to walk home. Already children were in their Halloween costumes and rushing up and down the street, trick or treating. Edward smiled at their innocence and enthusiasm. In a few hours, some would be groaning with tummy aches caused by eating too much candy, but right now was a magical time for them. He shifted the bag from the bookshop to his right hand and looked at his watch. It was going on for six o'clock and his landlady would be serving supper in a few minutes. She'd told him she was making lamb stew, and from experience he knew it meant succulent chunks of lamb in thick gravy full of carrots, potatoes, onions, and parsnips. His stomach growled and he began to salivate. A bowl of lamb stew served with crusty bread would be just the thing before he settled down to correcting those papers.

Edward was so intent on getting home and having supper, he didn't notice the costumed children had all gone past and away down the street, nor did he notice the large black touring sedan parked at the curb. He barely registered the man in the clown mask looking at him from an open back window, or the pistol pointing at him, until it was too late to react.

The gun fired with a soft phut and Edward gasped at the sharp pain that blossomed in his right leg. He looked down at the tiny silver dart with green feathers that was buried in his thigh just above the knee. He dropped the book bag, reached down and took a hold of the dart and pulled. His fingers slid right off, and Edward tried a second time, but his fingers merely scrabbled at the metal. His legs began to tremble and without warning, his knees gave way and he dropped hard to the sidewalk. The impact should have hurt, but his legs felt curiously numb. "Wha - what is happening?" he asked aloud.

He tried to get up, but his legs didn't seem to get the messages his brain was sending. He heard a car door open and footsteps approach him. "What - what did you do to me?" he rasped.

"Cease your struggles, Shambalan. I have shot you with a two-chambered dart of my own design. The first chamber has injected you with a paralyzing agent, and it's already taking effect."

Yet Edward continued his struggle to get up. But his upper arms failed next and he supported himself on his elbows, which already trembled. With the last of his strength, Edward rolled over onto his left side so he could look up at the man. "Wh - why did you do this to me?"

His clown mask still in place, the man knelt down and gently stroked Edward's hair and the sensations filled him with revulsion. He had to get away from this man!

"Ngh!" he gritted his teeth and tried to push himself back up, but his fingers just twitched feebly. He panted from the exertion and tried to protest when the masked man slipped his hands underneath Edward's back and legs and began to lift him. Edward tried to shout "NO!", but his jaw and lips wouldn't move to form the words.

"Why, Shambalan?" asked the masked man, and up close the clown face looked distorted to Edward. "Because I felt it was the most humane way to capture you. Rudoph was all for just whacking you over the head with a club, but that is so violent. Ah, are your eyes having trouble focusing? The tranquilizing drug from the second chamber is taking effect now, and you will soon lose consciousness."

He stood up with Edward up in his arms and smiled fondly at him before he turned back towards the sedan. Now Edward could see another man, one wearing a skull mask and holding the door open. The clown man bent down and stepped into the car before he set the paralyzed blond on the back seat. That door closed, and then he heard another one slam before an engine rumbled to life. The man in the clown mask threw a blanket over Edward as the car began to move down the street.

Edward couldn't move, nor could he speak. But he still was able to make a slight sound of protest deep in his throat. His kidnapper tucked the blanket around Edward's limbs and spoke in a soothing voice, "Shhh, Shambalan. We will take very good care of you, so go to sleep now. Everything will be all right."

The man removed his mask, but his face had already dissolved into an unremarkable blur before Edward's heavy eyelids fluttered closed and he slipped into a deep and dreamless sleep.


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IttyBittyPretty
post Apr 5 2008, 05:29 PM
Post #139


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile
Author's note: post series. Some movie events may happen, but differently
Warning: May contain movie spoilers. Has contained,and will contain violence, death, and sex.
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

51. Prisoner (Gefangener)
The unremarkable man was having morning tea in the sitting room of his cabin when he heard faint noises emanating from the bedroom. "The Shambalan is awake, Rudolph. Would you bring him out here, bitte?"

Rudolph set down his own tea cup, "Jah Wohl, Herr Doktor."

He went to the bedroom door, which stood ajar a few inches, and entered. The man who called himself Dr. Schwinghammer heard some low muttering, followed by shuffling sounds. And presently Rudolph returned to the sitting room. With both hands, he gently guided the prisoner to a seat on the sofa opposite his employer.
############################################

"Unnhh." Edward's first perception was of subtle movement,up and down and side to side.. At first, he was very groggy, but he quickly become more alert after his sluggish brain processed the information. Something was different. He kept his eyes closed and tried to figure it out. It didn't feel like the movement of a car, but more like Harry's airplane.

I'm-flying-but.

Edward listened harder. He could hear propeller noise, but it was muted as if far away. He finally opened his golden eyes, looked at the white ceiling above him, and blinked a few times.

Where am I?

He pushed himself up on his elbows and looked around. He was in a small, rectangular bedroom. Next to the bed he lay in was a square wooden table with a brass lamp upon its surface. Nearer to the footboard was a matching chest of drawers with an attached mirror. A few feet away was a grouping of four armchairs arranged around an oval coffee table. A door at the far end of the room stood open and Edward could see one side of a white pedestal sink with a mirror above it.

There was a window in the wall to his right, and Edward was startled to see clouds float past. He pushed the bed covers back and had another surprise. Someone had removed his clothes, dressed him in flannel pajamas, plus put a woolen sock on his right foot. The pajamas were too large and he was easily able to roll the right leg up past his knee. The dart was gone, replaced by a small white bandage. Edward felt cold all over, especially in the pit of his stomach.

I've been kidnapped!

He rolled out of bed and cautiously placed his feet on the carpeted floor. It swayed ever so slightly, and Edward shivered at the cold prickle of fear he felt. He stared blankly out the window for a moment before he looked up. But instead of wings, Edward saw grey material, stretched tautly over a framework. A Zeppelin. And he shivered again. He remembered his first sight of a Zeppelin. That night in London after his mind and soul was flung through the Gate.

Edward looked away from the view outside, and squeezed his eyes shut. But the tears still came; they trickled hotly down his cheeks and dripped onto the carpet. That awful night, when he'd temporarily joined with his machine world alter, then fought for Al's life and lost his.

He didn't want to remember the pain, but memories had a way of sneaking back. He fought back the urge to cry, sniffled and wiped his face off with a pajama sleeve. A wooden coat rack with a dressing gown hanging from it stood near the window. He grabbed it and slipped his arms into the sleeves just as Rudolph entered.
))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Rudoplh's touch made Edward feel queasy, but his knees trembled and he was glad of the support until he could ease down on to the sofa. He leaned back against the soft cushioned back and regarded the other man with a jaundiced eye.

Edward was especially displeased to see the bags he'd been carrying on a second sofa next to the other man. Even with his mask off, he looked - blank - in some odd way. Edward wondered if he had ever seen him before, maybe he had, but even if prodded, he could never have remembered such an unremarkable face.

"I take it you slept well, Shambalan?" There was that word again and a small spark of anger arose in Edward's midsection. The other man poured tea from a blue pot into a delicate red teacup and pushed it, upon a matching saucer, over the polished wood surface of a low round table. "You must be hungry, please have some of this delicious tea. Would you like a scone? Do you prefer jam, or clotted cream?"

Edward tried to pierce him with a stony glare, but the man seemed impervious to "hairy eyeballs". He wanted to say he wasn't hungry - but he was very hungry - and thirsty too.

So he settled for a simple factual statement, "You kidnapped me."

"Close, Shambalan.,but not not quite; I captured you."

Edward's voice grated in his ears, "My name is Edward. And my home is not Shambala, it is nothing like Shambala. It's not a utopia. We have wars, disease, death, and suffering, just like this world. And you took me against my will. I call that kidnapping."

Having said his piece, Edward bent forward and carefully used his left hand to pick up the teacup by its handle. He sat back and cradled it in his right. The cup was hot and the heat radiating into the fingers felt good on his cold flesh. The tea smelled good too, steam swirled off the surface and Edward's nose recognized the scent of a good breakfast blend. He brought the cup to his lips and blew on the surface before he took a sip. He swirled the brew in his mouth and let it quench the dryness before he swallowed. Warmth blossomed inside him,and Edward's head felt a little clearer.

Despite Edward's outburst, the wretched man continued to smile at him. Now he pushed over a deckle-edged china plate with two scones on it, one spread with a reddish jam, the other with a mound of white cream. Edward sipped more tea before he picked up the jam-ridden scone and bit into it. It tasted heavenly and he devoured it in three bites. He took his time with the second scone; he chewed thoroughly and sipped more tea between each bite. Now replete, he drained the cup, and set it back on its saucer before he sat back with a small sigh of satisfaction.

The kidnapper resumed speaking, "We will land in Berlin in an hour, and there you will be handed over to others for the final stage of your journey. You will not see Rudolph and I again for a new assignment is waiting for me at the Chancellory. I must say chasing you down was the most fun I've had in years. Especially because I was ordered to take you alive. Bringing you back unharmed was quite a challenge. You were wily and cunning, a most worthy opponent."

Edward frowned at the "handed over to others" statement. He stared hard at the man and wanted to ask him just what he meant by that. But he suddenly felt very sleepy. He blinked hard, but his eyelids kept drooping, and his head seemed heavy as lead. He toppled sideways on the sofa and found himself on eye level with the china plate that had held the scones.

"You drugged the scones," he accused and he heard the man laugh as if from a great distance.

"No, Shambalan. Not the scones, it was the clotted cream I drugged. It was rich enough to hide the taste better than the jam. Now please rest a while, then you will wake up refreshed at your destination. Goodbye, Edward."

My destination? Edward wondered before swirling darkness rose up before his eyes and took him.







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IttyBittyPretty
post Apr 12 2008, 01:50 PM
Post #140


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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Group: Members
Posts: 834
Joined: 30-April 06
From: lets just say, you don't want to live here either
Member No.: 35,364
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile.
Author's note: post series semi-drabbles, and oneshots.Some movie events may happen, but differently
Warning:possible movie spoilers. Has contained and will contain violence, death, and sex.
<b>Beta:[/b] Jedimasterwithapen

52, The Angelika (Die Angelika)

A converted ambulance was waiting at the airfield when the Zeppelin landed. The unconscious Edward was brought on a stretcher carried by two strong men. The vehicle backed up as close as it could before it stopped, then two men got out and opened the back doors. After Edward was secured in the back, a third passenger climbed in with him. The second pair of men closed the doors before returning to the cab and driving away.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Edward was running for his life through a blank yellow void, although he couldn't say exactly what he fled from. But that is the way of nightmares. He looked back over one shoulder, but the void stretched empty of threats, and he moved his gaze forward a bit too late. He collided with something hard and unyielding which knocked him backwards and he landed with an ungraceful thump on his [All hail lord Xenu].

"NO! Oh, no!" The breath left his lungs when he saw the Gate. It stretched black and merciless as high as he could see, and Edward scooted back away from it as fast as he could. He tried to stand up and run again, but his knees had turned to water. The doors creaked open with a terrible grating sound, like thousands of people screaming in pain. At first, Edward saw only blackness, then the eyes appeared and the whispering began. It was too low for him to make out any words, but just the sibilance filled him with horror.

When the black arms came whipping out of the darkness, Edward cried out in fear and he tried to scramble away. But they were too fast to evade. One arm after another wrapped around him until he was covered from neck to foot with writhing black tentacles. They began to drag him backwards into the Gate. He screamed and screamed as the doors closed with a terrible finality.

And then he woke up.

"Aaahh! Aaahh!"

Although awake, Edward still cried out, his heart pounded and sweat poured down his face. The cotton pajama top he wore was already damp and stuck clammily to his body. He kept his eyes closed, for fear he wasn't dreaming.

His heart rate and respiration gradually slowed from their madly galloping pace and he opened his eyes.

He was in a different bedroom, and he knew at once he was at his mysterious destination. The space was clearly very old, it's high ceiling supported by large oak beams darkened by time and smoke. The four-poster bed was large and comfortable; the furnishings - bedside table, dresser, desk, a table and two chairs - were of the same wood and appeared to be of the same vintage as the bed.

In the wall to Edward's left was an oak mantel under which a screened fire crackled cheerily. There was only one window in the room, heavy damask curtains framing a view out to bare tree branches which whipped back and forth in a heavy wind. Rain spattered against the glass every few seconds.

Edward had just begun to push back the bed covers when he heard heavy footsteps approaching him. They stopped just short of the door he now noticed was nearly hidden in the wall on the other side of the bedside table. He jumped when a loud knock sounded. "Herr Elric?"

"C - come in," Edward replied, although he didn't understand why he was stammering.

A knob rattled and the door swung silently open to reveal quite possibly the largest man he had ever seen in this world. He carried a bowl of some steaming hot liquid in one massive hand, and a bundle of cloth in the other. A towel and washcloth were slung over his right shoulder. He advanced into the room and set the bowl on the bedside table, and the bundle on the bed.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and the mattress dipped under his weight. "Ah, did you have a nightmare, Herr Elric? I heard you scream from out in the hall."

He picked up the washcloth and dipped in the bowl of water, wrung it out and proceeded to wipe the sweat off Edward's face. His movements were gentle for such a large man and Edward covertly studied him. He was dressed entirely in utterly spotless white, which contrasted with square hands and muscular arms. He had a wind-reddened face and brown hair going grey at the temples that was shorn in a crewcut.

"W - who are you, and um - where am I?" Edward's voice was still shaky from the nightmare and he inwardly cursed his weakness.

"My name is Klaus and I've been assigned to be your nurse. You are at the Angelika Convalescent and Nursing Home. It is about 50 miles outside of Berlin, Dr. Theophilus Stein is the director."

A memory flashed before Edward's eyes. The morning those train station police had grabbed him in Vienna, the stationmaster mentioned a Dr. Stein who was expected to come and collect him. The knowledge made Edward feel sick to his stomach, and the look on his face must have alarmed Klaus because he stopped what he was doing.

He put one meaty hand on Edward's forehead. "Do you feel ill, Herr Elric? Here, lie back down and close your eyes. Dr Stein will come to examine you soon."

Edward's guts were churning and he really did feel like vomiting. Closing his eyes helped - a little -and he lay very still while Klaus unbuttoned his pajama top and continued to bathe him with the warm water. He urged Edward to roll over so he could pull out first one arm, then the other from the sleeves.

Klaus was just drying off his back when softer footsteps came through the open door. "Guten dach, Doktor Stein."

"Guten dach, Klaus," a soft voice replied and the footsteps continued around to the opposite side of the bed.

He heard the sound of a chair being drawn close, and it creaked slightly when weight settled in it. Edward opened one eye cautiously and was relieved to realize his stomach had settled down. He flicked his gaze upward and studied the man in the chair, who studied him as well.

About the same height as Edward, Dr. Stein was a fit middle-aged man with short cropped brown hair, although not quite as short as Klaus's. Silver hairs spread across his temples and more were sprinkled in the neatly trimmed brown goatee on his chin. He wore a plain dark blue suit and vest, the only colors a silver watch chain across the vest, and a defiantly red necktie bisecting a snowy white shirt.

His eyes were gray, a soft gray which gazed on Edward with something like concern. When Dr. Stein abruptly smiled, creases deepened around those eyes and light glowed within them. Edward couldn't help but smile back .

"Guten dach, Herr Elric. I am Dr. Theophilus Stein, director of the Angelika Convalescent and Nursing Home. I understand you have been sickly for a long time, but I shall make you well again."


--------------------
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IttyBittyPretty
post Apr 19 2008, 07:27 PM
Post #141


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
****

Group: Members
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Joined: 30-April 06
From: lets just say, you don't want to live here either
Member No.: 35,364
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile
Author's note: post series semi-drabbles and one shots.
Warning:there might be movie spoilers. This series has and will contain violence, death,and sex.
Beta:Jedimasterwithapen

53. Dedication (Widmung)

The Angelika Convalescent and Nursing Home was founded in 1873 by Josephus Stein, the grandfather of the current director. He'd seen the devastation of the Franco-Prussian War and he wanted to create a quiet place for wounded soldiers to recover. He soon learned these soldiers had more than just physical wounds to deal with. Most also had what he called war trauma complicating their recovery. Unlike many doctors of his time, he decided mental wounds had to be treated as well, and he was the first to offer his patients consultations with an alienest. (Now called a psychiatrist)

After he finished his medical studies at Munich University his eldest son, Adolphus joined him at the Angelika, which was named after Josephus's grandmother. She had been a "wise woman" and unofficial midwife in a small Bavarian village. She encouraged Josephus and financed his medical studies, so he admired her greatly. In her will, she left him enough money to pay his college loans and buy the land upon which the Angelika was built.

It was Adolphus who expanded the Angelika's mission to include terminally ill patients. He felt those who couldn't be helped deserved to die with dignity in a beautiful setting. He also established a small cemetery so those patients who wished to could also be buried on the grounds.

Like his father and grandfather, Theophilus was also a doctor dedicated to the well-being of his patients. He had joined the staff in the early 1900s and taken over after his father was killed when a stray shell hit his field hospital on the Western Front during the Great War.
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Theophilus bent over the patient on a table in the examining room and gently probed his abdomen. Once stripped to his boxers, it was clear to Dr. Stein that Edward was far too thin. In the back of his mind, he was already formulating a diet for the younger man.

First would come meat broths. Protein rich and easy to digest, they would build up Herr Elric's strength without taxing his delicate system. Plus he would start him on a program of vitamin supplements. After two weeks,, he would add fruits and vegetables, and Edward could have as much as he wished. Finally, once he knew Edward could handle it, meat.

Balanced meals would fill out that stick-thin body of his and bring color to his pale cheeks. Once Edward was physically well, he would get time with the staff psychiatrist to make him mentally fit too.

Dr. Stein finished his probing and straightened up, wincing when his back cricked. "You may put your pajamas back on, Herr Elric."

Edward sat up slowly and looked at him. If this man was his jailor, he was a very kind one. And the Angelika was a very strange sort of jail; no bars, nor shackles.

Edward needed to find out more about this place before he could consider thoughts of escape. Until then, he meekly settled into the wheelchair Klaus brought. He was rolled to the dining hall where his first full meal in two days was a bowl of steaming hot beef broth.

Edward eyed it with such suspicion, Klaus chuckled at him as if he already knew the reason for his hesitation, "The broth is not drugged, Herr Elric. It merely is what it is, so please drink it while it is hot."

Edward finally took a spoonful and he blew on it before taking a cautious sip. But the broth really was too hot and he promptly burned his tongue. Klaus chuckled at him again before pointing out the glass of orange juice. Although he was very hungry, Edward forced himself to eat and drink slowly so he wouldn't vomit his meal right back up. Eating slowly also gave him time to check out some of his fellow patients.

They were a mixed bag. He recognized a few former soldiers by their too-erect posture and very short haircuts. But some of them appeared to be civilians like himself, most of them elderly. He noticed one young woman who wept quietly while she ate her dinner. Edward looked at her a bit too long and when she noticed, she gave him a glare that would strip paint.

He blushed from his neck to his hairline and quickly looked away. After he drank the last of the broth, Klaus wheeled him away down the hall. Not to his room, but to a half moon shaped-room made almost entirely of windows. It was filled with plants in containers, with comfortable armchairs nestled between them. Despite the wind and rain outside, the room was very warm and Edward realized he could easily doze off here.

He decided to ask Klaus some questions to keep himself awake. "Klaus? What sort of people stay here?"

"Well, Herr Elric, the Angelika started out as a convalescent home for soldiers wounded in the Franco-Prussian War of 1873 and you will see a fair amount of veterans here. Many lost limbs, or their sight, or hearing. A few look healthy enough, but they have difficulties with trauma, you know, 'shell shock'. The Angelika has a psychiatrist on staff to help those unfortunates."

"I see some civilians like me here."

"Yes, that is true. We also care for people who are convalescing from surgery, injury, or a serious illness. Dr. Stein has become interested in the new field of geriatrics and the next largest patient group is the elderly. We also function as a hospice. Dr. Stein's father was the first in Germany to provide a quiet and dignified place for the terminally ill to die. That young lady you saw in the dining hall was recently diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the blood. Her family brought her here a few days before you arrived."

Edward was mortified. "And I kept staring at her; she must have thought I was very rude. But I wondered why she was so unhappy. I wanted to find out if I could do something to help her."

Klaus, who sat on a bench next to Edward's wheelchair, patted his hand and smiled at him. "It's obvious you have a kind heart, Herr Elric. Unfortunately, medical science can do nothing for her and her doctor has given her six months. She looks healthy now, so she insists on coming down from the fourth floor. But she will be bedridden in a few weeks, and she will eventually just slip away."

Edward hung his head and contemplated. In his world, he hadn't been able to save a little girl named Nina. In this world, nothing could be done to save her alter. He sat still in the wheelchair and watched the cold, grey landscape outside get darker and darker. When his head began to droop, Klaus took him back to his room and drew a bath for him. He washed his face and cleaned his teeth and got back into bed while Klaus banked the fire. The last sounds he remembered was Klaus wishing him good night and the soft click of the door closing.

Edward woke up sometime in the middle of the night. He put one hand behind his head and listened to the wind soughing around the walls of the Angelika. His room was on the third floor, one below the terminally ill patients. He wondered if the alter-Nina was right above him. Edward closed his eyes and tried to send her peaceful thoughts. Although he wasn't convinced telepathy really worked, he felt the gesture couldn't hurt. He rolled over to his left side, shivered, and pulled the covers up a bit more. His final conscious thought before falling back to sleep was of freedom.

She can't escape her fate. But I can. And I will.

Author's note: Don't worry,action fans. Things will be happening during the next five chapters.


--------------------
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IttyBittyPretty
post Apr 25 2008, 07:17 PM
Post #142


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
****

Group: Members
Posts: 834
Joined: 30-April 06
From: lets just say, you don't want to live here either
Member No.: 35,364
Gender: Female



The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile.
Author's note: post series semi drabbles
Warning: may contain movie spoilers,violence,death,and strong language.
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

54. I'm Not Nina (Ich bin nicht Nina)

Edward stood in front of Greta's newly covered grave and cried. He probably couldn't explain to himself, or to Klaus, or even Dr. Stein why he shed tears for someone he'd barely known.

Yet he still cried.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

He saw the young woman again the very next morning after Klaus brought him to the dining hall for breakfast. Beef broth again and Edward frowned at it. Some of his fellow patients were having steak and eggs and he looked wistfully at their plates.

Klaus assured him, "It won't be long, Herr Elric. But Dr. Steins wants to be sure your system can handle it before you have solid food again."

Edward was very familiar with liquid diets from his sickly days and he had to start all over after an extended illness. Any attempt to eat solid food before his system was ready invariably resulted in him vomiting it right back up. Still, the steak and eggs smelled so good he was salivating like Pavlov's dog.

And then she came in.

She wasn't weeping this time, but her eyes were red-rimmed and surrounded by puffy skin. Edward caught her attention and ventured a soft "hallo". She responded with a glare of such intensity he flushed with embarrassment and looked down at his bowl of broth. Now he wished she hadn't sat so closely. He could feel her anger almost as a physical force. It made his stomach twist into knots and he lost his appetite.

Klaus was speaking to another patient, a wizened old bald man with an oddly yellowish face and milky blue eyes. "Herr Braun, this is Herr Elric, who I also look after," he spoke rather loudly and Edward got the sense the elderly man was hard of hearing.

Herr Braun gave Edward a gap-toothed smile, a very gap-toothed smile because he had hardly any teeth. He garbled something like "guten morgen" so Edward nodded and repeated the greeting back.

Klaus whispered sotto voce to Edward, "Herr Braun is 102 years old, he's nearly deaf, blinded by cataracts, and unable to walk. You can also see he is jaundiced. Yet for all that, he still refuses to shut himself up in his room. He very social and likes to meet people."

After Herr Braun returned to gumming his oatmeal, Edward went back to drinking his broth. He felt an odd sort of dichotomy about this situation. This pretty young lady to his left shut off all human contact, while this old man to his right sought it out. His appetite restored somewhat, he cleaned up the bowl and drank all his juice.

"Herr Elric? You remember the way to the solarium? I'm rather busy with Herr Braun, so you can take yourself there if you like."

Edward backed his wheelchair from the table, but it took him some fiddling to get himself aimed in the right direction. Controlling this thing was harder than it looked and he was sweating by the time he reached the hallway. He jumped when someone grabbed the handles and spoke into his left ear, "You really are hopeless, aren't you?"

He flushed again and twisted around to see who was pushing him down the hall. It was her, she still looked angry. He opened his mouth to speak but she just snapped, "Shut up!" in a tight voice. So he turned forward again and let her push to the solarium.

After the rain and wind of yesterday, the sky was a pale blue with only a few fluffy white clouds to mar it as if Mother Nature was apologizing for her earlier outburst. Edward sat quietly on the wheelchair and she sat on a wooden bench next to him. They watched the clouds drift through the panes of glass and Edward's mind had begun to wander onto other trails of thought when she finally spoke.

"My name is Greta Gulvarsson, I'm twenty years old and from Berlin. I was engaged to be married to a nice young lawyer-in-training when I collapsed at my bridal shower a week ago. The doctors gave me test after test and they diagnosed me with leukemia. My fiancee broke the engagement and he informed me by letter because he didn't have the guts to visit me in the hosp... SHUT UP!" she snapped when Edward tried to speak. "I began to despise all men from that moment on, that is why I glared at you. It's nothing personal, so don't take it that way."

Edward's mind was in such a whirl, he didn't know WHAT to say. I'm sorry? that was no help. Your ex-fiancee is a jerk? too obvious. You are so brave? both useless and insulting. And she beat him to it, anyways.

"I know exactly what you want to say, but you know anything you said would be just a cliche, right? So don't bother. A fatal disease is really quite liberating, wouldn't you agree? Now I know I am going to die, I can say what is truly on my mind and I don't have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings."

He just held out his right hand to her and replied, "My name is Edward Elric. I was kidnapped and brought here against my will, but I intend to escape eventually."

All in all, Edward thought it had been a good introduction. But he was sadly mistaken if he thought the revelation was going to stun her to silence. Laughter wouldn't have been so bad, except she went further and openly jeered at him. Yet she took his metal hand without hesitation and gave it a healthy shake.

And then she laughed at him. "You are obviously insane, but I think I can tolerate you. Let's go outside after lunch and you can tell me more of your delusions."
*************************************************************
In less than a week, Edward and Greta had a system down. They sat together at breakfast then she pushed his wheelchair to the solarium for several games of chess. After lunch, Klaus would bring their coats and they took the ancient elevator down to the first floor.

Going left out of the elevator took them to the south terrace of the Angelika. This was a pleasant area consisting of a brick patio lined with lounge chairs for patients to take the air in. At one end, three wide and shallow steps led to a sweeping lawn, green in summer, but now covered with colorful leaves.

The wheelchair hindered their progress because Greta didn't have the strength to get the thing down the steps. Edward offered to get out of the chair, his unsteady legs could take him down to the lawn. But she would snap, "SHUT UP!" at him and they ended up staying on the patio.

It wasn't a bad place to sit. One wing of the building flanked it to provide shelter from winter winds, and a pergola did the same on the other side.

After Dr. Stein finally decided the wheelchair was no longer needed, Greta took Edward's ungloved metal hand in hers and they walked together. They went down the steps, across the lawn and down a trail through a stand of trees.

"Dr. Stein's grandfather laid out this trail, he did a good job for being just a man, didn't he?"

Edward had to agree. The trail twisted and turned and each curve revealed something interesting, usually sculptures in various materials, benches, or the view of a small, quiet pond. They sat in a tete-a-tete, a curved bench with seats at right angles and Greta asked, "Tell me where you come from, Edward. And don't lie this time. I know you don't come from Munich, because your accent isn't right."

She's going to die anyways, and she'll take my secrets to her grave. So what could it hurt?

Edward told her the truth. "I am from a parallel world, a world on the other side of the Gate that separates it from this one. My home is a tiny village called Risembool and I have a little brother named Alphonse who I dearly love. I miss him a lot and I want to go home to him."

Greta smiled at him with something like approval. "Thank you for telling me the truth, Edward. All my life, people have lied to me because they thought girls were too weak to handle reality. As a reward, you may kiss me now."

Edward should have been used to her abrupt mood changes by now, but this one threw him for a fresh loop. "Umm, ok."

He leaned closer to Greta, but no sooner had his lips brushed hers when she pulled back while making an angry noise in her throat. Then she slapped him hard across the face before she jumped up and stalked off, back straight and face red.

Edward sat there and held one hand against the stinging pain in his left cheek, too stunned to be angry.

As long as I live, I will never understand women.
***************************************************************
But the next morning, Greta came and sat next to him at breakfast. She talked to him as if yesterday's incident had never happened, yet her cheeks seemed a little flushed as if she was embarrassed. They went outside after lunch and walked hand in hand down the path, but instead of sitting on the tete-a-tete, they kept going and finally reached the end of the path. It came out on top of a gentle rise overlooking the main highway to Berlin. A bench was placed there for comfortable viewing, but Greta remained standing.

She stared out towards the city she used to live, it glimmered just thirty miles away. Edward didn't say anything because he knew she would just tell him to shut up. She finally spoke up and said something which startled him.

"Edward, will you promise me something?" Almost immediately, she plunged on before he could reply,"I have this feeling someone somewhere has something bad planned for you. So on the day I am buried, promise you will do your best to escape."

A cold chill arrowed through Edward's insides, but he nodded at her because she was looking at him so keenly. "Edward, I'm cold. Please take me back to my room." He wound one arm around her shoulders, but she didn't protest his touch this time.

Greta was openly shivering by the time they regained the patio. Worried, Edward supported her while they went inside to the ancient elevator and rode it up to the fourth floor.

The hospice floor was quite unlike the lower floors. Everything was hushed here, the nurses walked more quietly on carpeted floors and even the paint on the walls was muted.

"My room is 425." Almost directly above mine, Edward thought.

The unnatural quiet bothered him as they passed closed doors. Silence reigned behind most, but he heard sobbing come from behind one, and low moans of "why me? why me?" from another. Greta's grip on his coat tightened when she heard those sounds and he could feel almost feel her heart pounding.

He was just reaching out to turn the knob of door 425 when it opened from the inside. "Ach! Liebchen, there you are!"

The speaker was Katarina a maternal-looking woman,and Greta's nurse. She enfolded the shivering girl in her arms, "You are so cold, liebchen, come and have your nap." Edward made to follow across the threshold, but Katarina fixed him with a steely look, "Men are not allowed in a lady's room, Herr Elric."

"Oh, let him come in, please Katarina? He is the only other person who hasn't treated me like I'm made of glass." The nurse relented before her plea, but she made Edward wait by the door while she took Greta into the small bathroom and got her ready for bed. Once she was settled beneath the blankets, she pointed at a bookcase along a wall opposite the bed and ordered, "Read to me, Edward."

He walked over and picked out a book at curious. Then he returned to her bedside where Katarina had set a straight-backed wooden chair.

He sat down and looked at the book's front cover. A Tale of Two Cities.

Edward opened the book to the first chapter and began to read aloud, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
******************************************************************
A new system began. After their walk, Edward would take Greta back to her room on the fourth floor. Once she was settled in bed, he would open A Tale of Two Cities where he'd left off the day before and read aloud till she fell asleep.

Edward was so depressed after that first day he went back to his room and crawled into bed with his coat and shoes still on. He refused his supper and only cajoling by both Klaus and Bruno convinced him to undress and put his pajamas on.

He feared Greta would never leave her bed again, but she was back on the third floor in time for breakfast the next morning. But she gradually weakened a bit every day, until she was confined to a wheelchair and Edward pushed her along the path.

Chess, walk, read.

He finished A Tale of Two Cities and began Moby d***.

"Call me Ishmael."

The days flowed into weeks, and the weeks into three months until one morning in early February, Greta's chair was empty. Edward promptly lost his appetite. He pushed back his chair and went up the stairs to the fourth floor. His knock on door 425 was answered by Katarina, and at first she didn't want to allow him-still in his pajamas and dressing gown -inside.

Then Greta called from the bed, "Is that Herr Elric? Please let him in, Katarina. I want him to read to me."

Edward was shocked by her appearance. Greta's face had become more pale over the last month, but on this morning her skin was whiter than paper. Her eyes were sunken into that face where they shone with a light like hot coals. Her lips were colorless and dried out occasionally the tip of a too-red tongue came out to try to moisten them.

Her breathing was labored, and wheezy and her voice cracked like a pump organ with a hole in its bellows. "Read to me, Edward. Don't say anything, just read."

He had finished reading Moby d*** yesterday, so he went to the bookcase and selected another volume, Gulliver's Travels. He opened it to the first chapter and started reading aloud.

"My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third of five sons."
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

His stomach growled for breakfast, but Edward kept reading until Katarina put one hand on his shoulder.

"She's fallen asleep, Herr Elric. Go back to your floor and have lunch."

"I -I'm not hungry." the very thought of food revolted him.

"You are lying, Herr Elric. I can hear your stomach growling from the other side of the door. Go and eat, then take your walk. She will sleep all afternoon, and you may come back after supper and read to her some more."

He couldn't argue with her common sense approach. Greta may be dying, but he was alive and healthy, and he needed to take care of himself. Down in the dining room, Edward thought he would just pick at his food, and he was surprised to discover he was absolutely ravenous. He ate heartily before getting his coat and going outside to walk.

While he walked down the path, Greta's words echoed in his mind, I have this feeling someone somewhere has something bad planned for you.
***************************************************************
For Greta, the end came quickly. Edward came upstairs after breakfast three days later and was shocked to find Dr. Stein in her room. He sat on the other side of her bed and listened to her heart with a stethoscope, and from the serious look on his kindly face, Edward just knew. But he sat down in the wooden chair anyways, picked up Gulliver's Travels and started to read aloud.

"My master was yet wholly at a loss to understand what motives could incite this race of lawyers to perplex, disquiet, and weary themselves, and engage in a confederacy of injustice, merely for the sake of injuring their fellow-animals; neither could he comprehend what I meant in saying, they did it for hire."

Greta stirred when she heard his voice, she turned her head towards Edward and her eyes fluttered. But they stayed open for only a moment before closing again.

The noise of her breathing was appallingly loud and Dr. Stein said, "Fraulein Gulvarsson has contracted pneumonia, possibly a result of catching a chill while outside. But it's more likely she would have come down with it anyways. She will slip into a coma soon, and I doubt she can hear you even now Herr Ellric. But please, keep reading anyways."

And Edward read. He paused only to return to his room to get dressed, eat lunch and walk for an hour. Then he was back to read about Gulliver's adventures in the land of the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos until supper time. He finished the book about eight o'clock that night, closed the cover for the last time and wondered if he should fetch another book and start again.

But he didn't want to get out of the chair and leave Greta's bedside. He set the book on a small oval table next to him, then reached forward and fished Greta's right hand out from under the covers. It was skeletal, the bones protruding through translucent skin and cold as ice. He let it rest on top of his left hand, and put his automail hand on top.
******************************************************************
Her hand lay perfectly still between his, and after a while, he hunched forward so he could rest his elbows on the bed. Sometime between ten o'clock and midnight, Edward fell asleep, crouched half on and half off the chair.

And he dreamed. They were walking through the woods, but Edward thought they had left the path because he didn't recognize his surroundings. It was fall and colorful leaves fell thickly around them as they walked up a steep hill. Greta was in her nightgown and pale as death, but she was leading him, actually pulling him up the grade.

When they reached the top of the hill, the air all around was bathed in yellow light. And the Gate was there as if waiting. Its doors creaked open and the familiar black arms rushed out in a gust of cold air.

Greta turned to Edward and she was healthy again, her skin glowing and pink, her hair soft and shining. She let go of his hand and smiled at him as the black arms wound about her body like lovers.

"Greta! Don't go!" he cried.

"Don't be such a baby, Edward. Say goodbye now and be happy for me because my soul will go to see your world."

And he remembered what his father told him so long ago in London. The souls of those who died in the machine world powered reactions in the alchemic world. Leaves began swirling in the air about them, obscuring Greta and the Gate.

"Goodbye!" he managed to call out before she disappeared behind a curtain of red, gold and brown. When the leaves finally disappeared, the top of the hill was empty. Even the yellow light was gone, replaced by an ordinary blue sky full of fluffy white clouds.

He woke up with a gasp. His hands were still clasped around Greta's and her fingers were twitching. And Edward somehow knew that although she was in a coma, Greta was saying goodbye for good.

He curled the fingers of his left hand and squeezed ever so slightly. "Goodbye, Greta, goodbye," he whispered while a tear ran down one cheek.

Her chest rose three more times, and after the third exhale Edward held his breath as if in sympathy. But Greta's chest never rose again.

She was dead.

He puffed out the breath, dropped his head back down to the bed and burst into tears.
////////////////////////////////////////

Edward couldn't tell for how long it took before cried himself to sleep because he was back in his own bed when he woke up again. Bright sunlight slanted across his bed, and that told him it was late morning. He had probably missed breakfast, and his stomach rumbled with annoyed agreement.

But the door opened just then and Klaus came in, carrying a covered tray. "Good morning, sleepyhead. You probably don't feel like going to the dining room today, so I brought your breakfast."

Edward sat up and Klaus set the short-legged tray on his lap and removed the cover. Breakfast was eggs and ham, toast and orange juice. Even after last night's events, Edward ate with relish. After getting dressed, he went outside and walked to the end of the path where he studied Berlin and the road leading to it.

He had a promise to keep.
//////////////////////////////////
Greta was buried two days later in the cemetery on the Angelika's grounds. The only mourners were Dr. Stein, Katarina, Klaus and himself, so Edward's sorrow was mixed with anger. Not one member of her family had bothered to come to her funeral. Her body was laid out yesterday in a parlor on the first floor and nearly every other resident and employee came to pay their respects.

Edward expected a hearse to come and collect the body for burial in Berlin, like he'd seen for other residents who died here. But no one came and Katarina told him at the funeral Greta's wish was to be buried in the pleasant little cemetery.

He threw a handful of earth on the coffin and stepped back, alone with his thoughts while the other mourners came forward. Klaus came over and put a hand on one shoulder, "Herr Elric, it is getting colder, will you come inside? The kitchen staff is putting on a small funeral supper."

Edward shook his head. "No, Klaus, I want to be alone for a while." His nurse merely nodded and turned away. The wind had picked up and snow flurried around as two men hurried to fill in the grave. Edward shivered and buttoned his coat up to his chin. He shoved his hands in his pockets and waited patiently until the two sextons finished their work.

They looked over at him, then one shrugged to his fellow when he ignored them. They finally walked away, shovels over their shoulders, and Edward could cry without interruption.

We are just humans. Tiny, insignificant humans, and we couldn't even save one little girl.

He couldn't even save her alter.

The snow began to fall harder when he at last turned away from the grave and retraced his steps to the south terrace. Edward looked at the lights coming from inside. It was warm in there. He had a few friends among the other residents, and Klaus cared about him. Dr. Stein cared about him.

But he couldn't do it. He couldn't go inside, not now.

He had a promise to keep.

Edward spun on one heel and walked away from the Angelika, across the lawn and down the path. He skirted the now frozen pond and kept walking until he came to the end of the path. He paused only briefly before he plunged through the snow down the rise until he came out onto the road. Edward stamped his feet to get the snow off his shoes, some had gotten inside and his feet were already cold and wet.

He had a promise to keep.

He hunched into his coat and started to walk. At first he kept his hands thrust deep into the coats pockets, but he eventually brought them out and swung his arms after the exercise warmed him up. He didn't know what he would do when he reached Berlin. Maybe he would find Greta's family first, and tell them off for not coming to her funeral, not bothering even to visit her. Then he would look up her faithless fiancee next and punch him in the face for being such a jerk.

Thoughts of revenge warmed him further, despite the thickening snow fall. He was struggling to walk through an ankle deep blanket of white when the car first passed him, then cut him off and forced him to stop.

A back door opened and Klaus got out with a blanket over one arm. "Herr Elric, where are you going?" He threw the blanket over Edward's shoulders. "You are frozen through and through, come now. Get in the car."

Edward threw off the blanket and twisted out of Klaus's grip.

He had a promise to keep.

Klaus grabbed him and Edward twisted away again. Then Klaus wrapped his arms about him in a very strong grip and Edward went berserk. He screamed "Let go!" angrily and struggled to break free. Klaus lifted him off his feet and Edward tried to kick him, but someone grabbed his legs. He yelled and flailed all the way, but he was dragged into the car and held down.

The door slammed and the driver turned the car back towards the Angelika.

He had a promise to keep!

"Calm down, Herr Elric, calm down!" Klaus soothed, but Edward would not calm down. He muttered something to another man who muttered back. Then Klaus unbuttoned Edward's coat and shirt and pulled both down to reveal his left shoulder.

He said softly to Edward, "I'm sorry, Herr Elric."

Edward felt a sharp pain, and he looked in time to see Klaus push the plunger of the hypodermic needle jabbed into his shoulder. Sleep claimed him so swiftly he didn't have time to tell his nurse:

I have a promise to keep!

A/N: So sorry this got so long, but I had a lot to say here and didn't want to divide it into a lot of small chapters. The bulk of this was written while I was worrying about an upcoming mammogram last November. That is why some of it is such a downer. Credit to http://classiclit.about.com for information on the text of Gulliver's Travels.











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Edamame
post Apr 26 2008, 07:13 AM
Post #143


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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From: By Yon Bonnie Banks
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I feel horrible for not having reviewed in the past, but I have been keeping up with the latest chapters of your story.

~I just wanted to say that your latest chapter of this installment was incredibly moving; you had me on the verge on tears, which is a rather difficult feet. There was so much raw emotion in this chapter, and I found myself sympathizing with the plights and struggles of both Edward and Greta. You tackled a heavy subject (death) expertly and made Edward's reaction to Gret's passing both highly believable and incredibly realistic. Having recently lost a relative, this chapter really hit me rather hard, especially Edward's dream sequence. Everything about this chapter was beautifully written, and I especially loved the scenes where Edward and Greta were able to find solace in the company of one another. The tragic feeling of this chapter was heightened by the fact that poor Edward lost one of the only people that he found some semblance of peace in the story thus far. This had to be one of my favourite chapters of this work. Lovely job, and I look forward to reading the next chapter. (The Classic Literature references made me really happy. Especially the reference to "Tale of Two Cities")

-Stupid question: Exactly how old is Edward now? Is he in his mid twenties?


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IttyBittyPretty
post May 9 2008, 08:21 AM
Post #144


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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The Waters of Lethe
Disclaimer: I don't own FMA. I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile.Author's note: post series. Some movie events will happen, but differently
Warning: language, violence, death and perhaps sex.
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

55. Perception (Vorstellung)

He woke up on the middle of the night, soaked with sweat and gasping for air in the wake of another nightmare. The details had largely slipped from his mind, but he had a vague memory of black hands reaching for him while a strange force held him down.

What distressed Edward most after was his inability to move now he was awake and he began to thrash against his bonds. The effort exhausted him after a fierce struggle, and he stopped and panted within a few minutes. Then he heard the floorboards creaking as footsteps approached his bed.

"Shhh, Herr Elric. It's alright, you just had another bad dream.

"Why can't I move?" Edward had expected to hear and see Klaus, but Dr. Stein came into his field of view instead. He raised his head and saw leather straps encircling his chest and legs. Plus more leather straps around his wrists and ankles. He wriggled experimentally, but the restraints held fast and he began to sweat some more.

"You tried to run away, Herr Elric. Then you fought Klaus and Bruno when they caught up with you. The straps are standard procedure after the tranquilizing of an unruly patient, just in case of a violent awakening from the drug."

Dr. Stein's voice was as calm as ever, but it contained a note of weariness, and Edward thought disappointment. "But in your defense, I understand you were very upset over Greta's death. Now you are awake, I shall release you."

Edward took a deep breath, and held it for a moment before exhaling after the straps were unfastened. He felt vaguely embarrassed by his behavior out on the road. But he really HAD wanted to get away, he'd felt suffocated by the sad and hopeless atmosphere of Greta's funeral. He sat up in bed and shivered because the sweat on his skin made his pajamas feel cold and clammy. The window panes rattled as a hard wind crushed itself against them. It was as if the night itself was trying to smash them in.

"A late winter blizzard has blown in, Herr Elric. You are very lucky someone saw you walking on the highway, otherwise you wouldn't have been missed for a few hours. The snow is falling very thickly and you could have frozen to death out there. You had no chance to reach Berlin, you wouldn't even have made it to the nearest village.

"Dr. Stein," Edward asked in a soft voice because he felt a little ashamed,"Has Klaus gotten into trouble over this?"

The older man just chuckled, "Oh no, not at all, Herr Elric, but he is very worried about you. He sat up and watched you sleep until just a few hours ago. I found him nodding in the chair when I came to check on you and I ordered him to his own bed. I have a touch of insomnia every now and again, so staying awake is no trouble. Now you are awake, I'm going to draw a warm bath for you."

Almost an hour later, Edward was bathed, in a fresh set of pajamas and back in bed. He slowly drifted off to a more natural slumber. Dr. Stein had banked the fire and left the room after wishing him "pleasanter dreams". The blizzard still raging outside made a most effective barrier and he had no worries about Edward attempting another escape.But just in case he was wrong, he decided Edward should begin sessions with the staff psychiatrist the next day.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Edward slept disgracefully late and he missed breakfast so lunch was his first meal of the day. Closely watched by Klaus, he walked to the dining hall and sat down in his usual chair. He resolutely kept his eyes forward and down towards the table, and tried not to look at the chair Greta used to occupy.

Someone else, a complete stranger sat there now and Edward hoped it wasn't another hospice patient.Lunch was placed before him, beef stew with carrots, potatoes, and onions in a thick broth. Edward picked up a spoon next to the bowl and stirred it without enthusiasm. It was hot and smelled delicious but he didn't have much of an appetite. So he continued stirring it, not noticing his hand was moving the spoon faster and harder. The stew was about to spill over the sides of the bowl until Klaus put an enormous hand over his.

Edward looked quizzically up at his nurse and Klaus answered him with a fake smile and a gentle rebuke, "Don't play with your food, Herr Elric."

Edward could tell something had changed between them because there was a sort of strain behind the bigger man's eyes. The trust between them was broken. It was his fault for attempting to escape and resisting recapture. Edward sighed heavily and dropped his eyes before he turned back to the stew.

The blizzard had stopped soon after sunrise, but a cold front had blown in. A few flakes blew angrily about in a bone-chilling wind that still rattled the window panes as if trying to get in. It was too frigid even for those patients who would lie well blanketed in the chairs on the south terrace to go outside. There was no chance of Edward going out for a walk and once he finished eating, Klaus put one hand under his elbow and steered him to the stairway.

They walked down two flights to the first floor witout a word passing between the two. Edward was confused, but didn't ask where they were going. He hesitated only once, when passing by the parlor where Greta's body had been laid out, But Klaus took him past that room and into another wing of the Angelika.The nurse stopped in front of a wooden door with a pane of frosted glass in its middle and tapped with his knuckles.

After hearing a crisp and no-nonsense voice call, "Come in", he turned the knob, opened the door and entered, pushing Edward in ahead of him. A middle-aged woman with a lined face, and grey streaked brunette hair scraped back into a severe bun sat behind a large desk of dark wood.

She was thin and angular and dressed in a blue woolen skirt suit which reinforced the impression of a stern school teacher."Hallo, Herr Elric," she extended one hand and gestured at a comfortable chair on the opposite side of the desk. "I am Dr. Simbach, the staff psychiatrist. Please have a seat and be at ease."

She nodded at Klaus and addressed him very formally. "Please come back in an hour, Herr Goldmann."

Klaus nodded and quietly murmured something deferential back before he bowed at the wasit and spun on his heel. He shut the door very gently, but the frosted glass pane still rattled slightly.Edward sat gingerly on the edge of the chair. The seat was overstuffed and it felt very comfortable indeed, but he didn't feel at ease.

Like doctors, he'd had his fill of psychiatrists and psychologists who analyzed him while he still lived in London. Between the time he'd awakened in a hospital in this world, and the day he and his father left for Munich, Edward was a very angry boy. He snapped, snarled and generally lashed out at everyone who crossed his path. It was no wonder the doctors despaired over his mental state and recommended Hohenheim commit him to an institution.

After the thump of Klaus's footsteps died away, Dr. Simbach got up and walked from behind the desk. She pulled a straight-backed wooden chair nearer to Edward, and then urged him to sit back and relax. He had a strong feeling of deja vu as she sat down in her chair and leaned closer to him. This session was starting out just like every therapy session he'd had before. Her next words confirmed his suspicions and made his golden eyes narrow with annoyance."Now, Herr Elric. Please tell me about your mother."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Author's note #2: Techinically,well by the system I use, only six years have passed in Amestris. So Edward is actually 22. I know it doesn't make much sense, the movie really confused things


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IttyBittyPretty
post May 9 2008, 06:08 PM
Post #145


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile
Author's note: post series. Some movie events will happen, but differently
Warning: bad language, violence, death, and maybe sex
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

56. Something Wicked (Etwas gemein)
Munich, earlier the same day

Dietlinde Eckart was feeling quite happy that day. The Shambalan was finally captured and under control. Plus she'd just received positive reports on the training of the Thule army, as well as the acquisition of adequate weapons for Operation Longinus. Now she was awaiting to hear a progress report from the head of the rocket ship project.

She barked, "Come in!" in answer to the sound of rapping on her office door. It swung open silently to reveal a tall, thin blond man with blue eyes who carried an untidy briefcase under one arm.

"Ah! Herr Heidreich! Please, come in and make yourself comfortable. Would you like a cup of coffee?"

"Danke, Fraulein Eckart, some coffee would be very nice. The factory is rather chilly in the winter and spring. All that stonework is so cold. I can't remember the last time I was truly warm."

Dietlinde served the rocketeer herself and close up she noted how pale and drawn his face was. His hair stuck up in all directions from a hand always running through it. His jaw was covered with a fine blond fur as if Alfons Heidreich hadn't shaved in at least a week. Those lovely blue eyes of his were bloodshot and dark bags drooped underneath. Grease and oil hid underneath his fingernails and ink was ground into the skin of his hands.

Heidreich looked as if he hadn't changed clothes for at least a week as well. They were wrinkled and also dirtied with grease and oil. The shirt cuffs were downright disgraceful, almost black with dirt and badly frayed.

"You haven't been eating properly, Herr Heidreich, that shirt just hangs on you."

The rocketeer ducked his head and a faint blush colored his sunken cheeks. He'd been so busy, so consumed by work the thought of regular meals, or even food at all was pushed completely out of his mind. Alfons clutched the china mug with both hands and enjoyed the warmth seeping out and thawing his frozen digits before he tipped it back and sipped. The coffee was hot, and rich with a full bodied flavor that felt so good sliding down his throat.

The chair was very comfortable and if he could just close his tired eyes for only a moment, it would be very easy for him to fall asleep.

Which he nearly did, but he came to in time to see Fraulein Eckart almost nose-to-nose with him.

"Are you all right, Herr Heidreich? I think after this job is done you should go someplace nice and warm, the south of France maybe, for a long rest." She waved off his protests. "You and your helpers shall be richly rewarded, and you have worked so hard you deserve every bit of it."

She gave Alfons time to finish his coffee before he picked up his briefcase and opened it. The bulging leather case could barely hold all the papers he'd jammed into it and a flurry of foolscap shot in every direction after he undid the clasp. The mortified rocketeer could only watch his research notes fly.

He caught Frauldein Eckart's eye once and flushed red from chest to hairline, but she just grinned and helped him re-capture the papers. He helplessly shuffled them around before he abruptly gave up, took a deep breath and made his report.

"All the engines you requested have been assembled and they have been mounted on ships one through five, but we've only tested ships one and two so far. The four one-seat rocket scout ships are completely tested and I've developed a special launching system for them. But it will take another week to assemble the two-seat scouts, and they must be fully tested as well. All in all, we will require another month to finish the job, a month and a half to complete it to my satisfaction."

"My my, Herr Heidreich," Dietlinde sat on the edge of desk, a sardonic smile curving her lips and Alfons flushed again. He wouldn't ever say it to her face, but she reminded him of a crocodile waiting patiently for its prey at the water hole to get just a little closer before she struck. "You are certainly - thorough."

"I - I, must - I mean, it's - vital, Fraulein, um -" he stammered, this woman was his benefacteress, but she made him very nervous. "All variants and load tolerances must be tested to make sure they are safe. My reputation rides upon those rockets because human lives depend upon them functioning perfectly."

"Very good, Herr Heiderich," she purred like a cat who had both cream and the canary. "Is that all you have to report?"

At his nod, she continued. "Very well then, you shall have all the time you need. Meanwhile, you and your team have worked very hard today. Put your rockets to bed for now. I have arranged supper for all of you at a nice restaurant nearby. It's Friday night, so eat, drink and be merry for a few hours. Get plenty of rest this weekend, and you can go back to work on Monday, all right?"

"Al -all right, Fraulein, danke." Alfons began stuffing papers haphazardly back into his briefcase. His work was fascinating, but he rather liked the idea of a break.

All work and no play makes Alfons a dull boy.

The papers still weren't in neatly, but he forced the clasp to shut, crammed the briefcase under his arm and stood up so quickly he felt dizzy. "Danke, Fraulein, danke. Good eve - evening!"

He hurried to the door and tried to push it open, rattling the knob until he remembered to turn the knob and pull. The door crashed shut a bit hard when he pulled it shut after him and he nervously called out, "Sorry!"

As he hurried away down the corridor, Alfons imagined he heard Dietlinde Eckart's laughter echoing off the stone walls. He shivered with a combination of both cold and fear because he'd never heard such maniacal tones before.

That woman is something wicked, he thought. I must be on my guard at all times from now on.

Author's note #2: I hope you all enjoyed the re-introduction of two familiar movie characters.










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IttyBittyPretty
post May 23 2008, 04:33 PM
Post #146


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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Sorry for the break, didja miss me? I finally thought of a sequal to Dr. Gregory House vs Edward Elric and wrote it in ten minutes directly to the text box on deviant art. It's called Dr. James Wilson vs Col Roy Mustang; I've also posted it to ff.net. But not here because there is a lot of swearing in it, a naked Colonel, and hair on fire. tongue.gif

The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile

Author's note: post series. Some movie events may happen, but differently

Warning: movie spoilers, also violence, death and maybe sex

Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

57. Out Of The Frying Pan... (Aus der Bratpfanne heraus)

Later that evening, Dr. Simbach met up with Dr. Stein in the staff dining room.

"Hallo, Dr. Simbach. How was your first session with Herr Elric?"

"Very quiet, Dr. Stein, very quiet." Dr. Simbach replied in a resigned tone and picked at her food.

"How do you mean?"

"Herr Elric refused to speak, so we had ourselves a nice little staring contest for a half hour. I don't think he is over what happened with Fraulein Gulvarsson. He may need a little more time before he is ready to open up and really tell me what he feels."

"What course of action do you recommend, Dr. Simbach?"

"Herr Elric is one of those strong, silent types. He appears weak, but looks are deceiving. The harder we try to force him, the deeper he will dig in his heels and resist. I feel there a lot of mental trauma is in his past, but he's not going to tell me unless he wants to. The novelty of just staring will wear thin after a while. I just need to give him time."

Two months later (early April)

Edward hated the new order of things. He once had free rein to wander the grounds on his own, but no longer. Now Klaus donned his own coat and walked down the path behind Edward, ready to grab him should he attempt another escape. The extra vigilance annoyed him but there was nothing he could do.

One day during the first week of April, the younger man stood at the paths end. He hunched his shoulders in his coat against the early spring cold snap. The air was so frigid it hurt to breathe so Edward took short breaths.

He also exhaled in short bursts, steam coming from his nostrils in angry little puffs. They beat in time with his frustration.

Klaus's feet were getting cold and the nurse stamped in a vain attempt to get warmth flowing into his numb toes. "Come, Herr Elric. We must get back in time for your session with Dr. Simbach."

Edward responded with a low-pitched growl, because he despised the psychiatrist. He took almost three weeks to speak to her, about anything. For a while he took to refusing to look at her as well. Nearly a month of coaxing was needed to convince him to lie on a leather couch and relax. But he turned obediently and retraced his steps back to the Angelika, back to his prison without bars.

Edward wouldn't ever admit it, but he was freezing. Yet his innards roiled with bitterness.

He stopped so quickly after reaching the lawn, Klaus ran into him and nearly knocked him down. Edward staggered and flailed his arms before his nurse pulled him upright.

Both Dr. Stein and Dr. Simbach, coats on against the chill, waited on the south terrace. They were flanked by two men in black uniforms. Around their upper arms were red bands marked with black swastikas on white circles.

Standing at attention behind them were four soldiers in slate blue uniforms.

Nazis.

"What in the..." Klaus trailed off, confusion mixed with pinches of fear and anger in his voice,"Those men with Dr. Stein are Gestapo, the German secret police. I've read about them in the paper."

He put a hand on Edward's back and urged him forwards. "This is serious, Herr Elric. These two could make a lot of trouble for Dr. Stein, so please behave yourself."

Edward behaved as Klaus had asked, but his nostrils flared and his golden eyes narrowed to slits. His body was stiff with hostility by the time they reached the bottom of the steps and he raked both of the SS officers with his most evil glare.

One of them just looked at Edward with a poker face, but the other openly sneered at him.

"Edward Elric," he announced in a portentous tone of voice. "The time for you to serve the Fatherland with your unique gift has arrived. Pack your things because you are coming with us now."

Edward hissed between his teeth and he turned his glare on Dr. Stein, whose normally mild expression had turned quite perturbed.

"Please, Colonel Schwahn, Herr Elric is not well enough to leave yet. He and Dr. Simbach have made progress this last month, and I beg of you to give her more time to complete his treatment."

Colonel Schwahn turned such an icy look in the good doctor's direction, Edward was surprised he wasn't frozen solid on the spot. "I'll let you in on a little secret, Dr. Stein. Your only purpose was to keep Herr Elric until we were ready to use him, and that time has finally come."

He put one hand up when Dr. Stein opened his mouth and the doctor immediately snapped it shut again. "Not another word, Stein, or we can arrange some changes at the Angelika. Do you understand?"

Dr. Stein's face worked as if he was fighting an internal struggle, then it and his whole body seemed to sag in defeat. Edward's heart sank with it because the man suddenly looked a thousand years old.

"Very well Colonel Schwahn,the other patients depend on me and I shall do as you ask. Klaus," he said in a quiet voice. "Please take Herr Elric up to his room and help him pack. I shall get the paperwork ready."

Trailed by a concerned Dr. Simbach, Dr. Stein turned and walked slowly to the terrace door.

But he stopped when Edward said, "No."

"Please, Herr Elric," Stein replied with a slight whine in his voice. "There is nothing to be done, so behave now."

"NO!" Edward shouted, and dug in his heels when Klaus tried to push him forward. "NO! NO! NO!"

Colonel Schwahn gestured to the soldiers. "Take him!"

Edward spun quickly, dodged around Klaus who still pleaded with him to calm down, and bolted back towards the trees. Pounding footsteps told him the soldiers were in pursuit and he put on more speed to leave them in his wake.

/

The other residents of the Angelika gathered at the windows looking out over the terrace, some of the nurses, including Bruno, came out to stand next to Klaus. The big man looked to be on the verge of tears, and his friend tried to console him.

An angry shout made both of them look up, two of the soldiers were coming back and each was limping. One held a handkerchief over his face and tried to stem the flow of a bloody nose.

"He is a devil!" the other soldier, bleeding from the mouth proclaimed. Another shout sounded behind them and the other two soldiers came into view, trying to hang on to a fiercely struggling Edward.

First they tried to push him, but his dug in his heels.

He went limp when they tried to drag him, and then spun out of their grasp. They would seize him again and lift him off his feet, but he kicked with gusto, and they grimaced when each heel hit home on their shins.

They would be black and blue tomorrow.

As they got closer to the terrace, Klaus could hear what Edward was shouting and his face reddened. Almost every word was an obscenity and he was surprised the younger man knew so many. The SS colonel looked on with a sour expression until the strange parade reached the bottom of the steps, and then he walked down and silenced Edward with one hard punch to his stomach.

He uttered a loud "woof!" as the air rushed out, then hung limp between his captors and took shallow breaths.

Colonel Schwahn grabbed Edward's hair and forced his head back. Edward couldn't speak, but he was able to glare. "Obey me, Herr Elric. You will come with us and do as you are told."

Edward pursed his lips and spat in the colonel's face, and this action earned him a hard slap.

"You there!" the colonel jabbed a finger at Klaus. "Herr Elric needs a little subduing, go tell Dr. Stein to prepare a sedative. It's a long journey back to Munich and I'd rather not be subjected to Herr Elric's rude comments!"

Edward had his wind back and he resisted every step of the way. Neither Klaus nor Bruno wanted to do it, but they had many years of experience in dealing with unruly patients. After the two nurses convinced the soldiers to let go, they carried the struggling blond inside to a first floor examining room. It took the combined strength of both to hold Edward down on the table while Dr. Stein filled a syringe with a sedating drug.

"Please calm down, Herr Elric," he whispered while unbuttoning Edward's coat and pulling out his left arm. "My hands are tied and I cannot help you anymore."

Their eyes met and those kindly grey orbs had such a note of pleading in them.

Edward stilled.

The nurses let go of him. Edward unbuttoned the cuff of his shirt and rolled the left sleeve up before he fixed Dr. Stein with an unblinking golden stare.

"Danke, Edward. Danke." Dr. Stein tied a length of rubber tubing around Edward's arm and swabbed alcohol on the inside of the elbow. He slid the needle in gently but Edward shuddered, then he hissed between his teeth as the drug was administered.

"I'm sorry." was the last thing he heard before darkness took him away.

A few hours later...

Dietlinde Eckart was waiting at the front door when a black sedan, followed by an ambulance rolled past the gate of the Thule Society headquarters. The back doors popped open and two of the soldiers brought out a blanket covered figure on a stretcher.

She sucked in her breath when she saw Edward's face, he looked like he hadn't aged a day since their last meeting over seven years ago.

Heels clicked in front of her and she smiled when Colonel Schwahn bowed stiffly from the waist. "I take it Edward wasn't very cooperative?"

"No, Madame Eckart," the corner of Schwahn's mouth tugged upwards in the briefest of smiles and then his face was it's usual cold mask. "Dr. Stein was obliged to subdue him with a sedative."

"Very well," Dietlinde nodded. "His cell has been prepared, Hess will show you the way there."

/

She went to check on him after he was settled in. Edward looked like an angel, asleep with his long blond hair spread out over the pillow. His head was turned to his left, the hand on that side lay next to the pillow,the fingers curled slightly.

He stirred once, those fingers twitched, and he moaned quietly as if he knew she was watching. Dietlinde sucked in a breath, and felt a brief stab of fear. Suddenly, she was a little bit afraid of the Shambalan because the extent of his powers was unknown.

He would sleep for another hour or so, and she directed the guards to feed him something hot and nourishing after he woke up. Now Dr. Stein's treatment had built his strength up, it was important to keep the Shambalan healthy.

She left the cell and walked straight backed towards the main hall where the Great Array was. Dietlinde looked calm outside, but her insides were thrumming with excitement.

Soon, she would behold the glorious world of Shambala, and she could hardly wait.


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post May 30 2008, 10:54 AM
Post #147


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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile.
Author's note: post series and somewhat AU. Some movie events will happen, but differently.
Warning: movie spoilers. Also violence, death and maybe sex. A Very Bad Word in this chapter
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

58. Enter Dr. Mengele (Dr. Mengele anmelden)


Edward sat morosely at the table in the cell and ate his lunch, a bowl of oxtail soup, and sourbraten served with fried potatoes. He stabbed up a piece of the meat (because he wasn't allowed a knife, the meat was pre-cut), added a potato and bore it to his mouth.

His mood dark, he chewed slowly and swallowed. The food was well prepared, but it sat like a hot lump in Edward's stomach.

Yet Edward continued to eat in a mechanical fashion, he had to keep his strength up in case a chance to escape presented itself. He'd woken up two days ago and spent most of his time pacing the worn stone floor, searching for a way out. But he was defeated each time.

The windows were too high for him to reach, except by climbing up the walls, and he'd tried that more than once. But the walls were very smooth and he was forced to climb up in a zig-zag fashion before going left or right. Once he'd reached his objective, he'd been disgusted to discover both windows were barred as well as covered with thick glass.

Next, Edward tapped on all the walls with his prosthetic hand in hopes of locating a trigger for any secret passageways behind them. But the walls remained stubbornly solid. This left the door, but he couldn't get out that way. Made of thick planks of wood, it had a small barred window, a sturdy lock and was guarded at all times.

Edward discovered that the first and only time he'd gotten out of the room. When his first meal was brought, he swerved around the soldier holding the tray, dodged a second who tried to grab him and bolted for freedom.

Only to be brought up short by two more soldiers who seized him by the arms and dragged him, kicking and flailing back into the room.

Eckart visited him a few hours later and he'd glared at her with such ferocity she'd taken a step back until two soldiers grabbed his arms and held him in check. Not since the night he fought Envy in the buried city had Edward wanted to kill another living creature quite so badly.

When she said, "Hallo, Shambalan," a sound like a low-pitched growl forced itself up his throat and between his lips. Every word she spoke to him was answered by a sentence peppered with so many obscenities Eckart's ears were red with embarrassment.

Yes, he was her prisoner, but no he would not open a portal, no he would not stop swearing, no he would not cooperate. The only task he would willingly perform was throttling her with his bare hands.

She retreated soon after he screamed "Go to hell, you b*tch!" and Karl Haushofer found her weeping tears of pure frustration in her office.

"Fraulein, what is the matter? Maybe I can help."

"The Shambalan refuses to cooperate, Karl. I tried, oh I tried to talk sense into him, but he just answered me with the filthiest words I've ever heard. He's all alone now so there aren't any one he cares for to threaten... I don't know what else to do!"

"Hmmm...," Haushofer rubbed his chin in the manner of one thinking deeply. "You could call that Dr. Mengele, the man Himmler recommended. He's made the study of psychotropic drugs his life's work. Perhaps one of those drugs would make the Shambalan more - amenable."

"Danke, Haushofer," a smile flitted across Dietlinde's face as Haushofer gave her a folded handkerchief to dab her face. She shuffled through the deep pile of papers on her desk, extracted one and looked at it, then went digging through the pile again in search of the telephone. "I shall do that right now."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The sound of many pairs of feet approaching made Edward stop his pacing. He looked curiously at the door. Lunch was past, and supper wouldn't be for hours yet. He frowned when he heard keys rattling, then the door was unlocked and swung open. Two soldiers came in, followed by Eckart and Hess.

Edward ground his teeth in anger.

Then he noticed the man standing in the doorway. He was young and handsome, his dark hair cropped short, and he was dressed in a gray suit. But if not for the dark red tie, and black shoes, he would have given a complete impression of grayness.

The man smiled slightly and Edward's blood ran cold. The smile was false, and it didn't reach those flat eyes.

His entire demeanor gave Edward the impression of a snake. The venomous kind, Edward's mind internally corrected when the other man walked into the room and set a black leather medical bag upon the table.

"Hallo, Herr Elric", he spoke with even, clipped tones and the temperature of the room seemed to drop several degrees. "My name is Dr. Mengele and I'm going to give you something to help you calm down."

Mengele opened the bag and took out the paraphanalia of injections: a hypodermic needle, a bottle of alcohol, some cotton, and a small bottle filled with a green liquid. He unscrewed a cap on the second bottle, held it upside down and began to fill the syringe with it. "Sit down, and roll up your sleeve, bitte. This won't hurt a bit."


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post Jun 13 2008, 10:07 PM
Post #148


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and toy with Ed's emotions for awhile
Author's note: post series and slightly AU. Some movie events may happen, but differently
Warnings: movie spoilers. Also violence, death and maybe sex
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

59. The Puppetmaster (Das Puppetmaster)

Eckart could have told Mengele even this simple request would not be met.

It took the combined strength of four Thule soldiers (one at each arm, and two shoving from behind) to dig the Shambalan out of the corner he'd wedged himself into. After three minutes of fierce struggled, all parties involved were sweaty and out of sorts. The soldiers were too well trained to yell out in pain so they just grunted when Edward's heels landed solid blows on their shins.

But a curse was ripped from the lips of one man when his hand got too close to Edward's mouth and his thumb was bitten to the bone. By now it was quite clear to Mengele the prisoner would not be persuaded to sit in the chair. He changed his plans accordingly.

"Lay him face down on the bed!" he ordered and then looked guiltily over at Eckart, but she just reinforced the order with a short nod. "Hold him as still as you can."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Edward had no illusions about what was going to happen. He had a faint hope of breaking free and escaping out the door, but he felt compelled to try anyways.

But it was no good. He couldn't yank his arms from the iron grip of the soldiers. With nothing to lose, he determined to make them suffer and unleashed vicious kicks on whatever shins he could reach. His sharp teeth clamped down on an errant thumb and drew blood but that was the extent of his "victories".

He was flung down upon the bed and held there. He tried to kick but he could barely move because the soldiers were bearing down with their entire weight. A hand shoved his face tightly against the bed covers and he bucked desperately because it was difficult to breathe. Someone was pulling up his shirt to expose his ribs, and he shivered when one spot between two of them was rubbed with something cold and wet.

Edward's scream of pain was muffled in a pillow when he felt the needle bite deep into his side. He was held down for a few minutes longer before they abruptly released him. Edward raised his head and gulped in large breaths of the chilly air for a few moments.

Not long after that, he began to feel strange.

His body was slowly going numb, it felt heavy as lead. Edward rolled on to his back and glared at nothing in particular. His vision was narrowing, the edges were slowly growing black.

Edward passed out.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Deep within the subconscious, the Edward-as-Ego suddenly lurched up and shivered. The pool of water he floated in had become very cold. He sat up and noticed ice forming along the shore.

This can't be right, something is wrong, he thought.

He stood up and waded to the pier, climbed up and went to find the Edward-as-Id.

In the pine forest around the pool, the Edward-as-Id also noticed the change. The air was colder and he saw the trees were dropping their needles in a fragrant rain.

Something is very wrong.

Now he saw a light flitting between the bare branches, it came floating towards him, pulsing gently from blue to red. The Edward-as-Id looked at it in dismay as it nestled on his palms. This was Edward-as-Soul, and it didn't look very happy. His breath puffed out in clouds and he started when something white began floating to the ground all about.

It looks like - snow??!!

He'd rarely seen snow in the subconscious before, and it happened only three times before. Once when this host's mother died, once when the human transmutation failed, and once when the host sacrificed himself. But the snow never had fallen so thickly before or so fast. He turned towards the pool and went to find the Edward-as-Ego.

They must protect the Edward-as-Soul.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Eckart and Hess watched Edward's eyes close and his breathing even out. Mengele stood by the bed with his arms folded and a slight frown on his handsome face.

He looked over at Eckart and smiled his not-quite-human smile again. "If you want the Shambalan to answer to you, your voice must be the first thing he hears. Let us test the puppet, give him an order."

Eckart swallowed before she fixed a stern look on her face. "Sit up!" she snapped.

His eyes still closed, Edward did so.

"Wake up!"

His eyes shot open and Eckart gasped. His beautiful golden eyes stared glassily and they looked wider than normal because the pupils had shrunk to tiny pinpricks. Mengele nodded in approval.

"The drug has taken effect from the first dose, but several subsequent doses will be required to put him completely under your control. I have perfected this drug into pill form as well. Then it will be easier to administer than daily injections."

Eckart looked over at the doctor with admiration. "And just what do you call this wonder drug of yours?"

"Puppetmaster, Fraulein Eckart. I call it The Puppetmaster."


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post Jun 15 2008, 07:34 PM
Post #149


State Alchemist (Lt. Colonel)
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The Waters of Lethe

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and toture Ed for awhile
Author's note: post series and slightly AU. Some movie events may happen, but differently
Warning: movie spoilers, language, violence, and death. Maybe sex too.
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

60.The Dark Spiral (Die dunkle Spirale)

The Id and the Ego met where the pier touched land at the edge of the pond. Edward-as-Id looked tearfully between Edward-as-Ego and Edward-as-Soul.

The latter still pulsed, but it was more blue than red and the light was dimmer. "What is wrong with the soul? We must protect it from all danger, but I don't know what to do!"

Edward-as-Ego bent down and squeezed the Id's shoulders in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. "Come with me," he said. "I know how to protect it!"

The Ego spun on his heel and retraced his steps back to the pond. He hissed between his teeth when his feet broke through the thin crust of ice on the water and splashed into the icy liquid. Sloshing sounds behind him told him the Id was following.

"Hurry!" he yelled over his shoulder. "We don't have much time!"

The water was no more than knee deep until they got to the middle of the pond, then the bottom dropped down and they had to tread water.

"Take three deep breaths, and let yourself sink. Don't be afraid of what happens."

The Id was afraid, but he trusted the Ego and did as he asked. Together they sunk to the bottom of the pond while crackling noises above their heads signaled the freezing of the water. Burdened by the extra weight of the Soul, the Id hit bottom first, and he swiveled to make sure he landed on his back, with the Soul on his chest.

The Ego floated right above him for a moment, and then eased on top of him. They lay together like lovers, with the Soul sandwiched between.

"This is the best way to protect the Soul," said the Ego, air bubbling out of his mouth. "By shielding it with our own bodies, the ice cannot harm it."

"How long will we stay like this?"

"As long as it takes."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Edward lay on his side, his back resolutely presented towards the door. Anyone looking in would be fooled into believing his even breathing meant he was sleeping.

But Edward could not sleep. He felt violated in some fashion and simmered with anger towards his captors. While under the drug's influence, he'd had no will of his own, his body responded as if divorced from his consciousness and it filled him with horror.

Eckart could order me to kill someone and I would obey without thinking. This is how they will get me to open a Portal to my world. A convulsive shudder ran through his body just thinking of the implications.

The sound of footsteps echoed through the hall outside his cell as people passed by almost constantly. Edward paid them no mind until what sounded like a large number of people approached and halted right outside the door.

A key scraped in the lock and they entered. Mengele ordered.

"Prepare the prisoner for his injection!"

Edward growled low in his throat and he whirled the instant a hand touched him, smashing his left fist into a startled face. A crunching noise heralded the sound of a nose breaking, and blood spurted everywhere.

He fought like a tiger, cursing and kicking but in vain. Edward was flipped over onto his stomach, and held down while the needle did its work.

The second time, he took longer to come out of the darkness.

A bright light dazzled his eyes when he did. Edward gasped, utterly fascinated, he couldn't look away. Then a woman's voice came thundering from it.

"Can you hear me?"

"Y-yes, yes I can."

"Do you know who I am?"

"N - no."

"I am your Master."

"You - you are my Master?"

"YES! And you will obey me without question! Do you understand?"

"Yes, yes I do."

"Very well then, remember this. I am your Master. You will obey me without question."

"You are my Master. I will obey you without question."

"Very good, Puppet. Rest now, and wait for me to call upon you."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Edward's face and pillow were damp after he woke up. He licked his lips and they tasted salty.

Why am I crying?

He couldn't remember why.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Deep in Edward's subconscious, the Id, Ego, and Soul were compressed into a small space because solid ice was all around them. Neither of them could recall such an intense cold. The Id could see just by looking into the Ego's eyes this was serious, so he just closed his own and prayed it would end soon.




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post Jun 20 2008, 03:03 PM
Post #150


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Fanfiction.net is being "glitchy" today, so you get to see the latest chapter first. A familiar character re-appears, but sadly not to save Edward.

THE WATERS OF LETHE

Disclaimer: I don't own FMA, I just like to play around in it's world and torture Ed for awhile.
Author's note: post series and slightly AU. Some movie events will happen, but differently
Warning: movie spoilers, also violence, death and maybe sex.
Beta: Jedimasterwithapen

61. The Puppet Alchemist (Der Marionette Alchemist)

It took Dr. Mengele just over two weeks to break Edward completely. But break him he did.

Freshly bathed, his hair washed and dressed in clean clothing, Edward sat quietly on a high-backed wooden chair. His gloved hands were folded neatly in his lap and his eyes were closed. Only the slight rise and fall of his chest showed he was alive, because he was so still.

The two men assigned to guard Edward had taken great pains with his appearance. The ends of his hair were trimmed, and set in a high ponytail tied with a black velvet ribbon. The clothes were ironed and the nap of his long brown coat was brushed free of any fuzzies or stray hairs. They stood behind the chair and critically examined every millimeter of their work.

The Puppet Alchemist sat still as a statue and awaited fresh orders from his master.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
This was going to be a great day.

For the Thule Society.

For Germany.

But most of all, for Dietlinde Eckart, director of the Thule Society.

She had dressed with care for this day in a ceremonial uniform rich with gold braid. Over it she wore a purple velvet cloak that swept the dirty stone floor behind her. At her heels, but careful not to tread on the cloaks hem followed her loyal subordinates: Haushofer, and Hess.

Even Himmler and Goebbels had come from Berlin to witness this great triumph on Hitler's behalf.

The vanguard, Eckart in the lead entered the Great Hall and the presence of the Array. Dietlinde smiled to herself at the sight of the Shambalan, now brought to heel and completely obedient. The two soldiers clicked their heels and snapped to rigid attention.

The pressure around Dietlinde's heart eased. Everything was going perfectly, and she could relax - a little.

She halted in front of Edward and whirled around to face the others. "Gentlemen, and honored guests, behold!" she extended her left hand gracefully. "My puppet, the key to Shambala!"

Himmler's fat mug split in a wide grin, and even Goebbels's cadaverous face looked alive with mirth. The former man chuckled,"He's a bit - small - isn't he, Fraulein?"

Dietlinde's face darkened slightly. These men were from Hitler's inner circle and had to be treated with respect, but they were still arrogant fools. They didn't believe a mere woman could pull this off. Even the great Fuhrer said good German women stayed in their place - haus,kinder,kirche.

She would show them all what a woman really was capable of.

Dietlinde thought and acted quickly, "Looks can be deceiving. This Shambalan was cunning and difficult to capture. But as you can see, he is now completely under my control, thanks to Dr. Mengele," she bowed her head in the doctor's direction and he flushed slightly, as if pleased. "Inside his mind, he holds the secret knowledge needed to open a portal to his world. I am able to tap that knowledge and he will obey without question."

She pointed theatrically and barked, "Awaken!"

Edward's eyes snapped open and gasps ran through the crowd. His golden eyes, the pupils constricted to small dots, seemed too large for his pale face. They blinked regularly, but otherwise were devoid of any expression.

He was a puppet and Eckart pulled the strings taut. "Stand up!"

They'd had a dry run yesterday when Eckart ordered Edward to complete the Array. After he'd finished, men moved in with special tools and incised all his chalk marks deeply into the stone floor. The Array could not be erased or changed.

Eckart nodded at Hess and he called out, "Sargeant! Bring in the sacrifices!"

Doors on the far side of the Array groaned open and a large mass of people came filing in, at least two hundred of them. Hitler had ordered their collection from mental institutions and nursing homes around the country: the physically and mentally handicapped parasites that drained the new German society of its energy. If not sacrificed, they would be herded into windowless buildings and gassed anyway. The fact most of them were also Jewish made the decision easier.

Herded by soldiers with submachine guns, the people shuffled slowly into the middle of the Array. Just in case of trouble, Mengele drugged their final meals with a mild tranquilizer. They would not know what was happening until it was too late to resist.

Once the sacrifices were all in place, Dietlinde issued her next order: "Trigger the Array!"

The Puppet Alchemist also walked slowly, as if he wasn't sure of his footing, until he reached the first incised line. He sank down to his knees and paused.

Eckart knew what he needed. Blood.

When she questioned him after the fourth dose of Puppetmaster, the Shambalan had revealed the role of blood in alchemy. She approached Edward as he held out his left hand and she took hold of it before pulling a small knife out of a pocket of her uniform.

The blade flashed and a small round dot of blood welled up on Edward's middle finger. Eckart hated to mess up the snowy white glove, but this was for the glory of the Fatherland. The Puppet Alchemist stared at the blood as if fascinated before he touched the blood with the fingers of his right hand.

Once a little blood was smeared on each finger tip, he was ready.

He reached down.

"Fraulein Eckart!? What is going on here?"

Dietlinde whirled around to see the rocketeers, led by Alfons Heidreich had entered the Great Hall. They stared in open mouth amazement at the Array, the sacrifices, and the Puppet Alchemist. The latter was frozen in place, as if waiting for the interruption to cease.

Damnation! Eckart looked down and gritted her teeth, and then re-arranged her face into a dazzling smile before she looked back up at Alfons. "I am sorry, Herr Heidreich, but as you can see, we are quite busy."


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