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Prologue: Betrayal

"So, this is how it ends. Once you get what you want, we're not important anymore. You used us to get to the top and you don't care. You don't--"

He was cut off by the whistle of the sword coming toward him. The tip of the blade was only centimeters from his face.

"Don't be so hurt, Edward. After all, if it weren't for you, none of this would've happened."

The man holding the sword was no longer the man that Ed knew, rather an evil young man. His dark onyx eyes were cold, the look of a killer showing full force, evil behind them in depth. His dark hair was matted with sweat and blood from the battle, but despite this, he held the sword steadily and had an ugly and evil smile across his face.

Ed was hurt very badly during this fight. He was on his knees and one hand, breathing heavily. His hair was caked with dried blood from a wound on his scalp. A sword wound. His ribs had been pierced with a large gash from the sword, still bleeding on the carpeted floor. He was loosing blood fast, and felt dizzy.

But that wouldn't stop him.

How much had he done in his life? he mused. He fought so many battles. Losing his mother at a young age because their father left them. He trained on the island with his brother, fighting what they thought was an unknown monster. He tried to bring back his mother from the grave, having to lose his leg and arm, and almost his brother. He fought his way to become a State Alchemist. He fought Father Cornello in Lior. He fought Shou Tucker when he transmuted his own daughter into a chimera, which still haunted Ed to this very day. Fighting Barry the Chopper when he kidnapped Winry and him. Fighting for the people at the Youswell Mines. Fighting the prisoners inside Laboratory 5. Losing one of his closest friends. Learning of the corruption in the military and how it connected to the homunculi.

So many battles. And yet through all of this, he would never had expected to be at the blade of someone he had trusted for so long.

He would not let it end this way. No matter who it was, he couldn't let his death be at the hands of a loved one. He had people waiting for him; he couldn't let them down.

He gathered what little strength he had left and clapped his hands together, the wound in his side ripping open again, the bleeding flowing. Almost staggeringly, he placed his palms on the ground. He thought of a sword, a long sword which he could create with the steel under the carpet. It would be the best weapon against the sword pointed at him.

But nothing happened.

His heart sank, and he raised his amber eyes to look at the traitor of a friend.

The young man smirked evilly. A familiar smirk Ed had seen in previous years, used by a man who was once close to him who would use the smirk to tease him about his height.

"Oh, yeah," he started patronizingly, his sword never wavering. "I forgot to tell you: there's this little trick I learned from the homunculi. I got this whole place rigged so alchemy can't be used. Alchemy is useless here, Edward. You have no way of defending yourself."

"You bastard," Ed muttered.

"Now, now, that hurts a little. You don't want to get into the whole name calling thing. You know I'll only win." The man smirked again.

"I trusted you." Ed spat, the warm blood from his side wound spilling over his fingers as he tried to stand.

The evil man laughed. "So, then, Fullmetal, how does it feel to know you are about to be killed by the person you thought was your friend?"

"I don't know. You're not my friend anymore," Ed replied.

He laughed again, raising the sword to prepare for a deathblow.

The sword whistled through the air as he brought it down to kill Ed. Ed lowered his head, and before the sword hit him he heard a shout.

"Don't kill him, Führer Mustang!"


A/N: Hope ya'll liked it. I particularly liked the scene. As you can tell, it is a future fic, and the rest will be up shortly. biggrin.gif
Wow. It's been a while since I've been here. Truth be told, for a while I got off the FMA obsession and went on with other shows. But it came back!! biggrin.gif So, I wanted to come back and clarify my story. I know it was all a little confusing.

Also, just again to warn you: Major AU!! I have not finished either the manga nor the anime, so I am making my own ending! And I don't want to hear any spoilers or flames!!

Anyway. Enjoy.

So Much for the Afterglow


Seventeen Years Ago

Ch. 1: The Pounding of a Heart

Th-thump. Th-thump.

The pounding of Ed's heart was all he could hear as the explosion temporarily deafened his ear drums.

He skidded back on the concrete floor of the large lobby of the closed library, shielding himself from the smoke from the alchemic bomb. He could see a very large and dark shadow through the smoke, one which resembled the outline of a suit of armor.

"Al!" he called, though he could not hear his own voice. "Al where the hell are you?"

The shield of armor emerged, and his little brother stopped. Perhaps to say something? He was just about to tell the fifteen-year-old that he was deaf when the suit of armor suddenly rushed at him, raising the right arm to strike.

"Al, what the--" he started, vaguely hearing what could've been his own voice.

And even though he ducked out of the way of the blow, a large but very fast flash of silver was in front of Ed, parrying the punch with its own arm. The second set of armor was identical in every way except intentions: this one was protecting Ed.

He smiled, knowing that Al was okay. He was a little worried that his brother was fighting Envy, but he knew that Al could manage. Ed had to take care of the other homunculus first and then he could help his brother. He had to. Their very lives depended on it.

No, the very country depended on it, perhaps even the world.

For these two were the last remaining homunculi now.

Keeping track of his brother who was busy dueling Envy, Ed sought out the second homunculus through the hazy gray smoke. The pounding of his heart was receeding into the background with every second as his hearing recovered. Faintly, he could hear the sound of metal hitting metal as Al and Envy fought.

Finally, he saw a faint shadow moving through the smoke, which was only starting to clear up.

"Dammit," he cursed. He was sure that the explosion he had rigged up would last longer than that, giving the Elrics time to attack the homunculus through the smoke.

Ed braced himself as the homunculus,closer now, charged at him and lept. He brought out his auto-mail arm which he transmuted into his sword and swept it down straight through the chest. He threw the weight off of him and staggered back a few steps as the body landed several feet from him.

Breathing heavily, he examined the body, expecting it to regenerate, but it didn't.

It was a chimera.

A diversion.

Which meant...

Before he had even time to react, he was brough down by a large weight. The weak floor beneath him caved, a puff of smoke rising up.

"Brother!" Al shouted, worried that the homunculs had killed Ed.

Envy, still in Al's form, took the opportunity to throw a punch, sending Al's metal head flying backward, skittering onto the floor with a loud crash.

"Haha!" Envy laughed excitedly in a sing-song voice. "I see your blood seal!"

"There's no way I'm letting you get this!" Alphonse cried through the empty body of armor. "I still have to protect Brother and get the Philosopher's Stone!"

"How touching," Envy remarked in Al's voice. "You love your big brother so much that you're willing to do anything for him?"

The pillar of smoke cleared around Ed.

Yet another chimera was on top of him, skewered through the back and dead.

Ed pushed the second chimera off his blade, taking a short deep breath to regain his composure.

A sword stabbed the concrete inches from Ed's head.

So much for composure.

He rolled over, bolting up and parrying the swing of the sword that the homunculus threw at him.

Another blow was thrown at him, and Ed knew that he couldn't be able to block in time. He sidestepped quickly, barely dodging the strike.

The homunculus smiled as he threw a left, which Ed blocked. He was toying with Ed and the boy knew it.

"So many of your friends are dead, Edward. Why don't you just give up now to join them?" the homunculus smirked again.

"What, and miss all the fun of killing you?" Ed retorted as the metal blade clashed with the right sword.

"You won't kill me, Fullmetal. You're not strong enough." He faked with his right, which Ed didn't go for, but parried the left when it came.

"See, I know that's not true," the alchemist smirked. "I know your weakness. The Philosopher's Stone."

King Bradley smirked. "Well, then. If you can pierce through the stone, then I will gladly hand over the Philosopher's Stone to you. But since you are only equipped with alchemy and your own auto-mail, I don't see how that would be possible."

Bradley attacked with a low right, which Ed defended with his metal left leg.

His auto-mail was holding up a good while. He would have give Winry a huge present if this worked.


His eyes widened at the sound coming from his right. A sharp pain went through his right arm, where the nerves were coming undone.

He had spoken too soon.

However, the small distraction made him vulnerable, even for a second. He clumsily (yet still skillfully) evaded the fatal blow as he saw the point of the left sword coming at him. Though he avoided the fatality of the hit, the blade sliced though his upper left arm, sending a white-hot burning sensation and igniting his whole left side on fire.

He stumbled backward as the homunculus pushed the sword and then pulled it out of his arm with a great force. Ed clutched his arm with his metal hand as the blood began soaking through his red jacket. Though he showed no pain and remained balanced, internally he was worried that an artery had been punctured because of the amount of blood trickling through his metal fingers.

"So soon?" Wrath said, half-wistful and all taunting. "I was just getting warmed up."

"Go to hell," Ed retorted, as he let go of the wound and held out his sword, preparing to clash swords with Bradley once again.

Al was holding his own, but doing no better than Ed. The identical yet hosile suit of armor attacked with its right, and Al parried with his left. It was scary, because not since Barry the Chopper had Al fought someone so...powerful. Envy was as powerful as he was, in this form at least.

Yet, perhaps because he was a shapeshifter, Envy was so much quicker than Al was. Envy feinted left, but Al didn't fall for it. However, Envy threw a right which Al blocked but before he could react (and before he ever expected a 500 pound empty suit of armor to move) Envy threw a left upwards, and Al stepped back as fast as he could, barely missing the glow.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something flying through the air. For a second, he thought it was Ed being knocked back by a strong hit. But when it took shape he saw it was a chimera. He saw it crush a small figure, which could only be his brother. The impact made a huge quake in the concrete beneath them, which shook his soul beneath him.

"Brother!" he shouted, turning his helmet involuntarily to see if his brother was okay.

He realized his mistake of distraction too late. As he turned back to Envy, he saw a metal fist aimed straight at his head, and his metal helmet was sent flying feet away from his body. This sent alarms ringing in Al's soul.

Envy laughed excitedly. "I see your blood seal!"

He threw a left, which Al blocked, and then aimed for the armor's upper-chest, close to the blood seal, which Al blocked. Envy was toying with him.

"There's no way I'm letting you get this!" He cried as he blocked a low attack aimed for his lower chestplate. "I still have to protect Brother and get the Philosopher's Stone!"

"How touching," Envy mocked. "You love your big brother so much that you're willing to do anything for him?"

"Yes," he replied forcefully as he threw a punch at Envy's helmet. "Brother gave up his arm and leg for me, risking his life to get me. There is nothing better I can repay him with other than the Philosopher's Stone!"

"That's so...heartfelt," the suit of armor replied before it started glowing. It shed it's outer metal, and seemed to grow a new layer of skin. The form morphed into a smaller shape, almost a third smaller. Thick black boots were the first to materialize completely, followed by dark black pants. The familiar jacket with the white lining near the zipper, covered by the long red overcoat. Finally, the white gloves. Tanned skin at the neck and face, amber colored eyes, long braided hair, and the little lock of hair sticking up.

Al panicked.

"Tell me, Al," the fake-Ed smirked. "Do you really think that you were the reason I gave up my arm and leg? Are you sure that my leg and arm weren't already gone before I retrieved you from the Gate? That maybe you were just a souvenir on my way back?"

Al threw a punch at Envy. Even though he was in Edward's form, not only did he tell himself that it was not his brother, but the fact that he spared with Ed often broke the barrier of inflicting pain upon this figure. It was trying to tune out the words that Envy spoke which would be hard enough. It was hard enough with Barry the Chopper, but this time it would be harder, since it was like Ed himself was saying this.

"You're not my brother," Al shot at him, words laced with hatred. "You weren't there when he dove into the gate to save me, you weren't there when he used his own blood to make a blood seal on this armor. You weren't..."

"And then there's the other question: are you really Alphonse Elric? Is that really the soul that was brought back from the Gate, or maybe--"

"I know I am real!" Al cried. "Brother would not sacrifice his limbs and his life just to make an artificial brother. And I have my memories back from when I was in the Gate--"

"Oh, I'm not questioning whether your soul is real or not. And I'm not saying that Ed didn't go into the Gate and retrieved. I am only saying...what if the soul he brought back was not Alphonse Elric? Maybe another soul, trapped and wanting to break free?"

That question took him aback, only for a second. Sure, he had his doubts about whether he was even real, but maybe being another person altogether? No. He and Ed were too close. Ed would not bond with a stranger taking on his little brother's persona. Then again, if Ed didn't know...

"No!" Al protested. "I know I am the real Alphonse. I have too many memories of before...before the accident. Like when Winry and Ed and I were little and we'd go--"

"But do you honestly remember it, Al? Do you remember what the wind felt like against your face when you were running, or how warm the sun was or how cold the water was?"

Again, he was startled by Envy's questions. He had forgotten what it had felt like to even touch a person, eat, drink, sleep, let alone those things. Though it was only a couple years, he couldn't recall what those things had felt like. But it couldn't be because he was another soul, could it?

And then Envy really scared him.

He laughed.

Al froze, watching Envy laughing with Ed's voice.

"Honestly, you humans," the fake-Ed tsked. He removed the Ed's duplicate glove and pointed a long slender finger at Al. Like Lust, the finger quickly extended and pierced the armor suit all the way through, inches from Al's blood seal.

"AL!" screamed Ed, rushing over toward the suit of armor and fearing the worst.

But before Ed could reach him, a long sword pierced his abdomen, stopping him in his tracks.

"Brother!" Al screamed, helpless as the seal could be broken by the slightest movement.

Envy laughed again, and Al glanced at him, still in his brother's form.

"This reminds me of something, using a loved one to kill off a person. Let me think..." the fake-Ed used his other gloved hand and brought it to his chin, looking thoughtful as he held the finger-sword firmly in place near the blood seal. Then false rememberance showed on Envy's face. "Yes, I remember! That's the same trick I used to kill that one guy. What was his name? Hughes?"

"Y-you, you killed Commodore Hughes?" Al stuttered.

"Yep. I remember it perfectly, too. Ran to the phone booth off with Lt. Ross. Of course, once he realized who I was he killed me. Showed no remorse, either, for killing a friend of his. Once I realized this I knew it was time to change plans. Then he started talking about his family and how he couldn't leave them. So you know what I did? I changed into someone who he would never think of killing. And the last thing he ever saw was his darling little wife murdering him in the worst way possible. Kinda poetic, dontcha--"

Al, the sweet young boy who never got angry like his brother--lost it. He clapped his hands together and then pressed them against Envy's finger-sword, which broke off midway, leaving a large piece still piercing through the armor. Still, it seemed to hurt Envy a lot.

Al took his chance and threw as many punches at Envy as he could, trying to keep his cool as he knew that anger would not help him in the fight. Still, how could he contain his anger when he had Hughes' killer in front of him?

He threw a right hook which caught Envy under the chin, sending the homunculus flying backward. The part of guilt of beating someone who looked identical to his brother was no longer in his mind. He knew his brother would never say anything like that.


Getting stabbed in the ribcage was a b*tch. It was not the first time he had experienced this, and he had a feeling that it would not be the last, especially in this fight. A searing white hot pain enflamed his entire right side, matching the identical feeling in his left arm. If this kept up, he would lose more blood than he could afford. Not only that, but he could feel in auto-mail coming undone.

He could be useless in a matter of minutes.

"What's the matter, Edward? You should have stayed out of this whole mess, you know. Then I wouldn't have had to kill two very useful alchemists." He dropped his swords, sticking them in the ground, and came towards Ed. "I cannot say, however, that I will feel remorse over killing you, or torturing you for that matter."

As he came closer, another nerve disconnected, sending another shot of pain through his body. Still, he stood his ground. His leg was still intact, and he could still get some good use out of his arm before it gave way.

"You won't feel remorse," Ed agreed. "And you know why? Because you won't kill me. You won't be able to. We'll beat you."

"Honestly, Edward. I was pulling for you. I actually thought you had a chance at at least getting one of the Philosopher's Stone. You are a very talented alchemist; you could've even been a great vessel for one of us. But I have to say, Fullmetal." At this, Bradley threw a punch, catching Ed in the stomach and sending him flying backward. "You disappoint me."

"And why is that?" Ed shot, spitting blood as Bradley advanced on him yet again. Another nerve came undone, filling Ed's vision with dots before the wave of pain receded.

"You have very much underestimated us homunculi. You may have defeated Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth, and trapped Pride forever, but that still leaves us three. And honestly, Edward. Do you think that you'll be able to save the one you call Ling? He is lost forever."

"I don't think so," Ed replied, giving a half smile. Unknown to Bradley, Ed clapped his hands together, quietly, and placed them on the ground, though nothing happened.

"You honestly think that you and your brother have a chance against defeating Envy and I. I'll tell you something, too, Edward. Don't count on your friends coming to your aid. Not only have I sent my highest ranking officers out to watch them, but I also have given them the order to shoot onsight. Right now, it is only us."

Ed smirked, then laughed.

"You really think that a few watchmen would stand in our way? I think you must have us underestimated, Bradley. Because you know what? I have people who I can trust with me, people who'll come to my aid when I need it. Now!"

But nothing happened.

Ed looked to his right, at the empty wall. It was supposed to explode! That Mustang bastard probably got distracted by a woman...

Bradley smirked, advancing toward Edward again. "You almost had me going there, Edward. That distraction might have saved your life if you were--"

An explosion from the empty wall cut off his sentence.

A large hole in the wall revealed Colonel Roy Mustang, Lt. Riza Hawkeye, Second Lt. Jean Havoc (who technically should still be recovering, but insisted on coming nonetheless), Major Alex Armstrong, Second Lt. Maria Ross and Heymans Breda, Warrant Officer Vato Falman, and Major Sgt. Denny Brosh.

"What the hell took you so long?" Ed shouted at Roy. "I set up your entrance perfectly!"

"Rule number one, pipsqueak: never give an entrance away." Roy moved in swiftly, gloves out and ready.

Yeah, right, probably wanted to just steal my thunder, Ed thought, rolling his eyes.

"And don't call me pipsqueak unless you want another fight, Colonel Bastard."

He stood up, though it killed another nerve, and backed into the crowd behind him, ready to face Bradley full-on.

"So, looks like I'm gonna have one hell of a night, after all!" Roy smirked as they prepared for the last showdown with the homunculi.

The gloves were on.
Very interesting opening. Is there more of it? Is there going to be more of it?
I like the latest chapter! I want to read what's coming next!
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