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[FMA/HP] "Endless Moments" 07/?

Title: Endless Moments (07/??)
Rating: PG
Archived @ Master List
Summary: [Sequel to 'Mr. Elric'] It's obvious now that the community of Hogwarts wants a piece of Mr Elric, be it knowledge or attention. Ed's privacy is further invaded when forces beyond his control insist on contact with The Boy Who Lived.


Chapter 07: Talk to Me


And then came the ever-complicated dilemma of deciding the next course of action.

Past experience dictated that he should confess to Ron and Hermione on what he did and then listening and following the advice they gave rather than acting out on his own. Under these circumstances, however, Harry found that it was not something he could do easily. It resembled the situation last year when he poked his nose in Snape's worst memory and found a pair of grey knickers waiting at the end; the fact that he had not been reprimanded this time around only served to make him feel all the guiltier.

Harry bent further over his notes as Professor Edinburgh droned on, not daring to look toward the back though Mr. Elric was most definitely not in the classroom. He had no idea how he could last Transfigurations if this continued.

"...and it seems that the young Mr. Potter finds the tabletop more interesting than our flame-proofing spell. Are lines of wood more amusing than a spell that could potentially save your life, Mr. Potter?"

"No sir." Harry replied, ignoring questioning looks all around him. "Sorry sir."

"Quite alright, Mr. Potter; see me after class."

Harry sighed and sank into his seat as the Professor tossed a pinch of feverfew in the air. This was turning into a fine day indeed. Still, he did not dare to look over his shoulders.

---


When class ended, after everybody shuffled out, Harry reluctantly dragged himself up to the head desk.

"Is something the matter, Harry? Had enough sleep last night?" Professor Edinburgh had a twinkle in his eyes, one more calculating than kindly as Dumbledore's was. Harry mumbled a response. "What was that?"

"I said-"

"Of course," Professor Edinburgh leaned back in his chair and put the palms of his hands together, that calculating look still present in his eyes. "That boy's an odd one. Do you find him odd, Harry?"

"That boy?"

"Hmm? Ah, I suppose you youngsters have to refer to him respectfully even if he's only so much older than the lot of you. His official age is only nineteen, you know."

Harry's forehead wrinkled in surprise. "Isn't he a little young to be a staff member then, professor?"

"Of course. There was something or another- a deal with Headmaster Dumbledore privy only to the two of them, you see. Not even the teachers know much about it."

Harry was silent as he digested the information. "Then wouldn't-"

"Well now, dear me, I've spoken too much. And will you look at the time! I've kept you after class for too long- Professor McGonagall will have my head served up on a platter for dinner tonight." Professor Edinburgh chuckled to himself. "Run along to class now, Harry, and be quick with it. Do remember to try and not let your mind wander so much after today, alright now? Yes?"

"Yes sir."

As Harry exited the classroom, Professor Edinburgh’s voice called out to him once again. "Your essay on theoretically countering higher level jinxes and curses is admirable, Mr. Potter. Would you be interested in writing another to bump your grade up further?" Harry was about to decline when suddenly, he remembered that he had Transfigurations next.

"What topic, professor?"

---


Harry had half a mind to confess the details of his little breach of privacy to Mr. Elric that night, but to his disappointment, he was no where to be found. Instead, it was the familiar glare of doom from Madame Pince that greeted him when he walked in at closing time. He finished the essay in a little less than an hour and there was no more talk between him and Professor Edinburgh concerning their little chat the day before.

His conscience ate at him mercilessly, prodding a constant thorn in his side whenever one of Mr. Elric's fangirls entered the Common Room giggling like they'd been hexed with a laughing charm gone wrong. It wasn't so much the fact that he had no way of receiving penance as it was the fact that he stumbled upon something he knew he was not suppose to see, and his overwhelming desire to find out the truth didn't do much to help.

He finally decided not to tell Ron and Hermione, not until he had asked Mr. Elric himself. It was the least he could do.

---


The next day, at lunchtime, instead of following the usual current of people trodding toward the Great Hall, Harry headed in the direction of the library. He found Mr. Elric sitting at one of the dustier tables of the library.

"Mr. Elric?" A bespectacled pair of eyes met his. "There's something I need to tell you."

"Is this about your research in my past or is it something else?" Harry took an involuntary step back, startled. Mr. Elric continued quietly, "Does the magical world have etiquette on looking up other people's lives or do they normally just take a quick glance whenever they feel like?"

"N-no. I mean, I mean... how did you know?"

"I always leave off at a certain point so I'd know when someone other than myself," here, he gave Harry a pointed look, "has taken a look. At least Headmaster Dumbledore makes an effort to conceal his presence."

"Professor Dumbledore has...too?"

"Yes."

Harry took a deep breath. "If I may ask, what does it all mean?"

Mr. Elric stared at him steadily. "Why do you want to know?"

"I was... I still am curious."

Mr. Elric's face darkened. "It's not something you need to know simply because you're 'curious'," he said sharply.

"I still want to know."

Mr. Elric did not speak for a very long time. Finally, he said, "Who do you think you are?"

After a moment hesitation, Harry opened his mouth, "I'm-"

"I know who you are," Mr. Elric interrupted, waving his hands almost impatiently. "You don't spend five months in a library and not know the significance of the name Harry Potter." His eyes flickered to Harry's forehead and Harry flinched. "Tell me who you think you are and I'll consider telling you what it all means." Mr. Elric turned back to his book.

'Who do I think I am.' Harry did not move nor did he speak. He just stood there and thought for a while. The sound of hustle and bustle from the direction of the Great Hall signaled the end of lunch, but he remained where he was. The hallways were cleared and silent and he stood in the same spot, thinking.

"I am Harry Potter," he said finally, unable to come up with a more decent reply. "That's all. I'm just Harry."

Mr. Elric turned around slowly and for a moment, he simply stared at Harry. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, Mr. Elric burst into a smile. "Maybe I'll tell you something after all." Then, he jerked his head toward the nearby grandfather clock. "You'll be late for your next class if you stay here any longer."

"Can't you write me a pass?" Harry asked automatically, willing himself not to think of the many reasons why Snape would unfairly have him put in detention.

Mr. Elric smiled again, this time a slower one. "Come back if you need one."

As Harry was leaving, he heard Mr. Elric call out to him. "By the way," he said, "I'm Ed."

---


Harry exited the library, hungry, but feeling infinitely lighter as if the proverbial weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He had been 'forgiven' and the relief he felt was unexplainable. Harry dashed into Potions and took his seat just as Snape began to talk.

Where were you at lunch? Ron immediately inquired via Messager Paper.

I was in the library. Harry wrote back.

Library? Why were you in the library? Hermione's words scrawled in response.

I was talking to Mr. Elric.

Talking? He talks?

Don't be ridiculous, Ron, of course he talks! We've all heard him ask those silly girls in his fan club to be quiet.

I know he -speaks- Hermione; I just didn't know one could -converse- with him. You know? Like a -normal- human being?

What are all those -dashes- suppose to mean, Ron?

You know what they mean. CAPPING words take too long.

Tell me when the two of you are done flirting with each other.

Flirt with -her-?

We're NOT flirting.

Why don't the two of you get married and get it over with?


"What's this?" Harry had a split second notice before Snape snatched up the bit of Messager paper. His Messager paper was apparently a bit stale, for the words obviously didn't fade fast enough and Snape's sardonic smile widened. "Well, now." Snape drawled, "it appears that Weasley and Granger are getting married." The Slytherin side of the room burst into hoots of trained laughter. "Perhaps the two lovebirds can spend your honeymoon in detention. You too, Potter."

To Harry's surprise, Ron and Hermione brushed the detention aside as if it were nothing and continued to make faces at each other behind Snape's back.

You'd think they'd be tired of each other after spending all of Christmas break writing letters.

---


"So what did you and Mr. Elric talk about?" asked Hermione, cringing as she sliced a neat line down the middle of the horned toad's upturned stomach.

Harry opened his mouth, but then he remembered. "Can't tell you."

"See, you can't do that Harry." Ron said, looking a bit green in the face as he tossed the hearts and bowels into their respective barrels. "You can't have us going to detention and cutting up dead animals for Snape just to tell us that you can't tell us."

"We're in detention because the two of you were writing so fast even Snape knew you weren't taking notes." Ron made a little noise of protest immediately drowned out by Hermione.

"Why would you need to talk to Mr. Elric at all, Harry?" she asked. "Did you do something you're not telling us?"

"Er... you could say that."

"Fine, don't tell us what the two of you talked about," Hermione said, almost smugly, "just tell us what you did."

Harry opened his mouth again, this time to object, and realized, with grim horror, that Hermione had him trapped. Of course, he could just say nothing, but he had a feeling that they'd badger him ceaselessly until he spilled. It must have been that talk with Mrs. Weasley at the start of the year- the one about friends not keeping secrets from one another.

"I won't say what we talked about," he said cautiously, careful of any potential slip of the tongue. "But I kind of... looked in his pensieve."

"You what?!"

"Harry!" The reaction was as expected. "Harry, that's very bad! There are rules about these things! If you're a good, decent wizard, you don't use the Unforgivable Curses, you don't backtalk to your mother, and you don't go looking in another person's pensieve without permission!" At that point, Harry decided to neglect mentioning that he's never been in a stone bowl of floating memories with consent from its owner.

Hermione took a deep breath as she stuck the tip of the blade in the last of the horned toads. "So that's why you needed to talk to him- I can see why. What'd he say? Was he mad?"

"Er... he wasn't really mad." Harry said. "He was just sort of... annoyed, I guess." Among other stuff.

"I see. What else did the two of you talk about?"

"We didn't really talk about anything." Harry admitted as he rinsed off the heart and handed it to Ron, unwittingly answering the question he had been so careful to avoid. "But he said he might tell me something, so that's better than nothing."

"That was still a rotten thing to do." Ron declared, clapping a lid on the last jar to put into storage. "Now can we please leave? I think I'm going to be sick."

---


He was insane. He was utterly mad. He had lost his mind and it was only a matter of time before he completely lost himself. By then, it'd be too late to return home, no hope in seeing Al again.

Ed had never before experienced complete isolation. Whenever he suffered a loss, he always had someone to be there for him. When he lost his father, it was his mother. When he lost his mother, there was Al. When Al nearly died, there was Winry and reluctant as he was to admit it, the Colonel had been there too. He had always had a companion, someone to keep him from losing his mind.

Now, here, in this place, there was no one. His father was cursed and rotted at a terrifying rate whenever he came near Hogwarts and Ed could not bring himself to trust Albus Dumbledore even though he had been nothing but a jolly old man since Ed's arrival.

Maybe this was why he tolerated that boy for defiling what was considered to be an unbendable rule in the wizarding book of manners. Maybe that was why he nearly threw himself at an offer to tell someone who didn't want or need to know everything, everything. Maybe that was why he told him his name.

He leaned out the window of the Astronomy tower, breathed in, and exhaled, suddenly feeling very, very old. He had no recollection of his time in Germany after he had traveled to Transylvania and while he was still a teenager in appearance and mind, he felt old, like an old man who woke up one day in the body of his younger self. He may look and sound as he was, but there's that corner of his mind never quite forgets the creaks and aches of overused bones.

A sudden tapping noise woke Ed from his stupor and he glanced down to see an obviously flustered owl tapping incessantly at him, not realizing that the right hand was a fake. He immediately relieved the creature of its letter and patted it apologetically with his human hand, which the owl accepted before flying off once again.

The contents of the letter was as follows:

Edward:

Would you care for tea? I am thinking Saturday morning at eleven.
Hope to see you.

- Professor V.N. Edinburgh


T . B . C