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Fullmetal Alchemist: From Ashes (1/10: After the Gate) [Aug. 15th, 2010|10:42 pm]
Prose Alchemist

prose_alchemist

[jordannamorgan]
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Title: From Ashes (Chapter I: After the Gate)
Author: jordannamorgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author’s consent.
Rating/Warnings: PG for blood in the first two chapters.
Characters: Mainly Ed and Al, with intermittent Winry and Pinako.
Setting: The year between the boys’ human transmutation attempt and the day they left Resembool.
Summary: Edward and Alphonse had a long journey to make before they ever left home.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I own nothing but a couple of villagers in chapter nine.
Notes: In some ways, this chaptered story is more like a series of sequential one-shots about the boys’ long recovery from the transmutation. It alternates between Ed and Al’s perspectives; a couple of scenes from the episode “Mother” are touched upon, but much of the story attempts to explore the gap between Ed’s automail operations and their departure from Resembool. Expect a lot of angst, a lot of brotherly love, and even a little humor after the first few chapters.



The fall from searing light into blackness was instant and complete. For a moment, even in those blind depths of semi-consciousness, Edward’s mind still swam dizzily with the raw knowledge that had pulsed from the Gate…

And then he felt the pain.

He had never truly known pain before; never even imagined it. Not compared to this.

Alphonse!

Somehow his left hand—his remaining hand—managed to push his upper body from the blood-smeared floor. His right leg, likewise absent its twin, drew up beneath him to support a weight that was now much too light. He folded his arm across his body, clutching the torn and gushing void that was his right shoulder, and swallowed back the bile in his throat. Tears stung his eyes as he struggled to focus through the gray-red mist that clouded his sight.

It was the first thing he saw.

Before his second trip through hell, the toppled suit of armor lay in a heap on the bloody floorboards, its helmet fallen a foot away… but now, some invisible force had drawn its parts back together, bound firmly in its cumbrous approximation of human shape. It lay just beyond his arm’s reach, facedown, motionless—empty.

Clenching his teeth to hold back the scream of pain and fury and despair inside him, Ed waited. There was nothing more he could do now. He had no chance of crawling away to seek help for himself; even with the loss of only his leg, he doubted he could have reached anyone before his life bled away. His gamble to save Al was also his own sole chance for survival… and if he had failed, he would die here too.

Either way, they were going to be together.

A glimmer beneath the shadows of the metal hulk caught his eye. Inhaling a sharp hiss of breath, he watched as a pale white glow sparked to life behind the visor of the helmet, quickly growing brighter and stronger.

The steel plates shivered, with a faint rattling sound… and a soft moan resonated from within the hollow depths of the armor.

Something was alive.

But maybe it wasn’t Al. Maybe it was another horrible thing, like the nightmare across the room that was supposed to be their mother—and if it was, maybe this one would be able to survive within the shell Ed had fastened it to. He had drawn it back from the other side with his own flesh and blood; maybe now it would be hungry for the rest of him.

If it was, it would be welcome to finish the job.

What was left of Ed’s body was curled into itself, braced against the pain. Struggling to take each breath, and to fight back the darkness that threatened to fill his vision, he watched the armor warily from the corner of his eye.

Slowly it rose, sitting up on its greaves with a clatter of colliding metal, and stretched out its left arm. From behind the eye slits of the visor, two eerie points of light mirrored nonexistent eyes, staring at the empty leather gauntlet that had swelled into the shape of a solid hand. It uttered a bewildered sound. Ed recognized the pattern of human speech, but he didn’t quite catch the words between his own gasping breaths.

At last the helmet tipped to one side, looking past the gauntlet, and Ed felt its gaze fall on him—sending a shock of mingled hope and terror through his broken body, in the form of a wave of sick dizziness.

He whispered three simple words, just in case they were his last.

“I’m sorry… Al…”

For an infinitesimal moment, the steel behemoth hesitated. Then it lurched to its feet, with a blood-curdling howl that seemed to be torn from its hollow depths… and this time, the ringing echo of metal could not disguise the anguished voice, nor the one desperate word that pierced to the core of Edward’s heart.

BROTHER!



© 2010 Jordanna Morgan


Chapters: I. | II. | III. | IV. | V. | VI. | VII. | VIII. | IX. | X.
LinkReply

Comments:
From: kristensk
2010-08-16 03:30 am (UTC)
Wow, what an opening! I'd been anticipating this one since you've talked about it so long, and the beginning here doesn't disappoint.

It had never occurred to me that Ed might doubt the soul/entity in the armor was really Al, but it makes sense given what he's already seen. It's a nice touch. (Well, you know, a nicely done element that adds to a moment that can't really be called nice.)
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From: jordannamorgan
2010-08-16 03:49 am (UTC)
*g* Thanks! This is very much the shortest chapter--a few of the ones to come are probably several times this length. I think it's safe to say it gets better from here, on a few levels. (And you've already read a goodly portion of Chapter 2, among those unposted-fic excerpts I did a while back.)

As for Ed's uncertainty... I'm fascinated by the look on his face when Al first sees him after coming to. It's part of what suggested that thought to me.
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From: ghostfriendly
2010-08-19 02:08 am (UTC)
Cool beginning, Alphonse waking up in the armour really would be that scary. Like the description and ideas.
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From: jordannamorgan
2010-08-19 02:35 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)

(And thanks just for commenting. The crickets had seemed dismayingly loud on this one so far, so hopefully there will be more interest as further chapters go up.)
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From: cornerofmadness
2010-08-27 03:27 am (UTC)
very interesting beginning
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From: jordannamorgan
2010-08-27 03:56 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting. I really appreciate it, and hope you'll continue to find the story intereting. :)
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From: enemytosleep
2010-08-27 10:43 pm (UTC)
What an intense, dark moment. It's so easy to forget how young Ed is here, but god, how terrifying must that all have been? The future was very uncertain for them, then. I would also like to comment on Ed's resolve - he took his last gamble, made his last bet. All he can do now is hope. *wishes there was a link to the next chapte ... is lazy XD*
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From: jordannamorgan
2010-08-28 01:33 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting! :)

As badly as Al feels for the fact that Ed gave up an arm for him, I think it's significant that he did save Ed in turn, by carrying him to the Rockbells' house. I don't bring it up elsewhere in this story, but it would be interesting to have Ed point that out.

Actually, the "next entry" button up top does constitute a link to the next chapter. *g* But it's occurred to me that I should include more prolific chapter links--in my community posts if not in the chapters themselves. Maybe another reader or two will wander in if the next chapter posting has links to all the earlier ones too.
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From: enemytosleep
2010-08-28 01:39 am (UTC)
Oh, are those the little green arrows? I did not know that was what those did! XD
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From: jordannamorgan
2010-08-28 01:47 am (UTC)
Yes, that's them. :)
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From: yuukihikari
2010-09-06 03:45 pm (UTC)
I don't know why I kept looking at this and going "I'll come back to it later", because I really shouldn't have. That was very good, nicely written, and I thuroughly enjoyed it. I also agree with what kristensk said about Ed worrying that the existance waking up in the armour might not be Al. I'd never thought of that, and it made a lot of sense.
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From: jordannamorgan
2010-09-07 02:20 am (UTC)
*glees* Thank you so much for deciding to take a look! Chapters will continue to be posted through the end of the month, so I hope you continue to enjoy it. :)
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From: seta_suzume
2010-09-09 08:41 pm (UTC)
Ooh, Ed's uncertainty makes this creepy.

jordannamorgan, reading your stories over at fma_fic_contest has made me want more...so I sought out your pet project here and plan on getting caught up with it posthaste!
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From: jordannamorgan
2010-09-10 01:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so very much! Feedback has been sparse, so it's wonderful to see any new readers come along. I hope you enjoy the remainder of the story! :)
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