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[FMA/HP] "Endless Moment" 08/?

Title: Endless Moments (08/??)
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 08: The Art of Playing a Gracious Host


Ed pondered at the letter in his hand curiously. The invitation itself had caught him off-guard; most of the teachers had respectfully kept their distance after The Incident. Except the Headmaster, of course, who had offered him peanut brittles yesterday after Ed emerged from the Pensieve.

He knew of a Professor Edinburgh, and vaguely recalled the bearded old man with squinty eyes whose classroom he passed every time he went to observe the students in Transfigurations. Ed did not have an opinion on the Professor, but everything he had overhead from grumbling students painted a portrait of someone with a lesson plan rivaling the excitement of watching bread mold.

Still, it would be downright rude of him, stated Basic Etiquette of the Modern Wizarding Society, to refuse anyone tea for frivolous reasons- a potential boring host being one of them.

Also, he decided, possibly offending anyone who lived in a world that operated regularly outside Equivalent Trade would not be a wise thing to do. And so, his mind unfortunately made up for him, Ed pocketed the piece of parchment and left the Astronomy Tower.

---


"I apologize if this sort of tea is not to your tastes." Professor Edinburgh said as the tea kettle began to whistle and steam. "I vacationed in Japan for some time- just before the start of this school year, actually, and my tastes have not favored Earl Grey since."

Ed nodded obligingly. Boring was not a very accurate word to describe him. True, the good Professor spoke with a hint of a drawl, and Ed supposed that it could cause sleepiness had he been in a classroom, but otherwise, Professor Edinburgh was not boring. They downed the first cup in silence and did not venture to speak until the third had been poured.

"You must be wondering why I asked you to meet with me even though we have never so much as spoken to each other before." Professor Edinburgh said, fixing Ed in a gaze with his beady little eyes. "Well, there's no reason to keep you waiting. I am terribly curious as to how your progress is."

Ed choked fantastically on his tea. "I'm sorry?" he coughed.

"Why, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that you're here on some... personal mission," the Professor said. "Spending all day in the library... not sparing any time for meals... unaware of your growing cult of admirers... the event that occurred from a month ago- I say you've put too much effort into this little project of yours for it to be for anyone but yourself. In fact, if I didn't think any higher of Headmaster Dumbledore, I'd say that's how you weaseled your way into Hogwarts in the first place."

The color drained from Ed's face and it was a wonder he managed to keep his expression under control. Well, looking back now, he supposed he hadn't done a very clean job in disguising his activities. He hadn't really cared, after all, for anyone else's opinions. "Why are you telling me this?" he asked, wary of the response.

"Is it true?" the Professor asked, leaning forward in excitement, as if he had been bursting to ask the question the entire time. "Are you a real alchemist?"

This time, the tea cup slipped from Ed's fingers and shattered on the floor with a crack.

"I don't mean to intrude," the Professor said as he bent forward to help Ed, who was retrieving the pieces with shaking hands, "but I helped clean up what you did in the Great Hall that night and... well, I've always been fascinated by the higher arts."

Ed deposited remnants of the cup into the tray, chills running down his spine as he did. From what he had read, alchemy itself was different in this world, less a branch of science and more a branch of... well, magic. In this world, an alchemist's sole purpose was the Philosopher's Stone, that and nothing else. The Philosopher's Stone itself was also different. Instead of amplifying its creator's original powers, it could turn metal into gold (which was not an incredible feat) and produce the Elixir of Life that granted immortality (which was a very incredible feat).

There have been very few recognized alchemists in this world; less than five. Nicholas Flamel, who had introduced him to Hogwarts, was one of them. Albus Dumbledore was another. The rest were loons who would eventually end up in the St. Mungo hospital, under a closed ward, and never be seen again.

"No, I'm not an alchemist." he finally said after he had collected his wits, which was true to some extent, seeing as he was no longer affiliated in any such way with the Philosopher's Stone.

"Well, then." The Professor looked disappointed. Ed couldn't blame him, but his image was a small price to pay for his privacy. "Nevertheless, I would still like to offer my assistance with... whatever it is that you are doing. Professor Dumbledore has not been gracious with information regarding your going-ons."

"I don't want- I mean... I don't need-"

"Don't feel a need to decide now," the Professor interrupted before Ed could finish his refusal. "I prefer my propositions to remain open, just in case. Would you like more tea?"

---


Their conversation became brief and awkward after that, and Ed was very thankful when he finally left. The corridors of the school were strangely empty as Ed made his way back up to the Library. He finally caught sight of a living soul as he rounded the stairs: Madam Pomfrey, leaning out the door of the hospital wing, wearing an irritable expression.

"Forgot to report for your weekly maintenance, Edward?" she asked, waving her wand almost threateningly.

"Ah..." It had completely slipped his mind. The appointment was usually at half-past-eleven and the clock behind the nurse indicated that it was well after noon. "Sorry."

Shaking her head, waving him in the clinic, and muttering all the while, she sat him down on one of the beds, Ed sensed, with an air of vexation. But her hands were gentle when they detached his arm.

"It's rusting at an alarming rate." Madam Pomfrey said, apparently perturbed. "The Anti-Corrosion Charm seems to have no effect whatsoever. I can't understand why, though..." Ed rubbed at the empty port as the nurse spoke, uncomfortably off-balance without the extra weight in his shoulder. "I'll have to clean it the traditional way."

She waved the wand once and the red disappeared to reveal the dull metal underneath. Then, waving it again, the arm lifted into the air and reinserted itself. Ed cringed as it snapped into place. Then, waving it for a third time, the pain subsided and he felt suddenly lightheaded.

"That should do it." Madam Pomfrey said approvingly. "Your leg looks fine, much better than your arm. But I suppose we could fix that too, while we're at it-"

A loud groan suddenly issued from outside the grounds, followed by what was undoubtedly wild, enthusiastic cheering.

"On second thought, perhaps later," she said, pursing her lips. "I'll bet someone's been hurt out there. Quidditch, you know?"

Ed nodded. That explained why the school was so eerily quiet on a Saturday morning.

"Now, I'm sending you back to your room," she said, resuming a more professional air as she shooed him out. "No more work today; you need bed rest. Have you looked at yourself in a mirror lately? You've got the worst case of insomnia I've seen at Hogwarts in almost a decade years. I've cast a Numbing Charm, which should hold until the pain's gone. Here's a drought for a dreamless sleep, it's just enough for one night so mind you don't become dependant on it."

Ed accepted the tiny bottle with a quiet "Danke."

"If I catch you in the library, Edward Elric," she added severely as he left the ward, "I shall haul you in here for overnight rest faster than you can say 'no'."

---


"...you know?"

"You think..."

"He has been looking ill..."

The faint whispers from the lower end of the Gryffindor Table were, unfortunately, not quiet enough to escape the hearing range of Ron and Hermione. "They're right, you know." She said briskly, scooping a large spoonful of pudding onto her plate. "He has been looking more tired and sickly since we've got back from Christmas."

"Who's been looking more tired and sickly since Christmas?" Ginny asked as she joined them, nicking a chicken leg off Ron's plate and ignoring her brother's undignified squawk.

"Mr. Elric."

"Ah, he does look a lot worse than he did before Christmas."

"Girls- why're all of you so fascinated with him?" Ron asked scornfully through a mouthful of food. He gave Hermione a look. "You're sure you don't fancy him?"

She returned his scrutiny with a sharp glare of her own. "Yes, I'm quite sure, thank you very much." she replied testily. "And even you have to admit he's the best looking and youngest and most secretive of all the people Dumbledore's hired. And as I seem to recall, you had a bit of a crush on him back when you didn't know he was a boy."

Ron's cheeks colored. "I did not."

"Of course you didn't," Ginny said absentmindedly. "Hi, Harry."

"H'lo." Harry's expression was decidedly happy for one who had just gotten his face smashed in by a Bludger. Then again, he caught the Snitch anyway and after a ten-minute visit to Madam Pomfrey, you couldn't tell that he had broken his nose. "What's going on?"

"We were just talking about how you never told us what was inside Mr. Elric's pensieve." Ginny said matter-of-factly. Harry glanced at Ron and Hermione. How did she know? They shrugged.

"So? Out with it. What'd you see?"

"Nothing," he said quickly.

"Harry... we're curious too, you know." Hermione said. "And you've never kept us in the dark so long before..."

The three of them gave him a Look.

"I don't believe this," Harry said indignantly. "You're the ones who told me off about sneaking a look in the first place! What's the difference between me telling you right now and you looking for yourself? I'd take the fall both ways. Forget it- if you're so curious, ask him yourself."

"We can't, though." Ginny said patiently, as if she was explaining logic to a very dull little boy. "You're probably the only person who knows anything about him- even if you weren't completely honest in finding it out. So... c'mon, now. What did you see?"

"I can't."

"Fine, then," Ginny huffed, and she turned her heel and left the Great Hall leaving the three of them staring after her.

"What's eating her?"

---


"What do you mean they've cancelled the rocket program?! Nicht annehmbar! It is unacceptable!"

"It is not our fault! Herr Elric, our Fuhrer is going to war! He has not time to-"

"That is not my concern! He promised funds- unless of course our revered Fuhrer is not a man of his word."

"It is treason to speak like that, I beg you to retract your words, sir."


Ed awoke with a start. There it was, another dream from the missing gap in his memory. The last thing he remembered, after landing here from Amestris, was going on a train to visit Orville in Transylvania and then... he woke up in the 20th Century with Hohenheim wiping his feverish forehead with a damp rag. The dreams, which started around the time he arrived at Hogwarts, were becoming more and more frequent.

So he had wanted to build a rocket in a country with a Fuhrer...

Ed sat up in his bed and glanced out the window. It was twilight. A fire crackled in the hearth and the jacket he had thrown on the table in the adjacent room was folded neatly at the foot of his bed.

Amazing, magic was.

The hallways were illuminated by the moon as he crept out of his quarters and headed for the stairs. Sleeping for over ten hours, as much as it did for his overall well-being, also had the unpleasant effect of making him very, very hungry. And the staffroom could always be trusted to be stocked with food.

Somewhere near the staircase, he heard a rustling sound behind him but when he turned, the hall was empty.

"Who's there?" he asked sharply. Someone crept into view, swinging a lantern and wearing an expression of gleeful malice. It was the caretaker, Argus Filch, who was carrying a walking stick and followed by an equally filthy cat.

"Oh, it's only you, Mr. Elric." Filch said, not putting much effort into concealing his great disappointment that the person he had found was someone he had no authority over. "Seen anyone out of bed?"

"Only you."

The man's nose wrinkled in distaste and then, making an almost sarcastic bow, he slinked away, his cat at his heels. Ed waited until the man was far out of hearing range before speaking again, this time more quietly.

"You can come out now." When no one did, he added, "I can see your feet."

The mysterious visitor finally, with great reluctance, pulled of what appeared to be an Invisibility Cloak.

"That's the second time you've been caught out of bed, Harry Potter." Ed's eyes flickered downward. "Midnight snack?"

"You could say that," Harry replied, mustering as much dignity as he could while balancing two flasks in one hand, an assortment of meat pies in the other, and a rounded basket of bread on his head. "Thanks for that."

"You're welcome," Ed said, resuming his trek toward the staffroom as his stomach gave a small grumble. "You'd better get to back to bed soon. I don't personally care, but I'm certain Mr. Filch would."

Harry was about to do just that when, suddenly, he remembered the peevish Ginny from earlier that day.

"Uh, sir," he started before Ed could get too far away, hoping that whatever came out of his mouth next wouldn't sound stupid. "I was wondering... well, your Pensieve... I mean... I want to-to talk about- sort of... er, please."

For what felt like an eternity, Ed stared at Harry Potter, feeling wrongfully amused. This situation reminded him greatly of all his visits to the Colonel, except that now, he was now the one with the upper-hand. For the first time, Ed felt something like a bond to Roy Mustang.

But upon reexamination, the mere idea of him resembling the Colonel in any conceivable way rather pissed him off. No, he would not be like the Colonel, who dangled every little bit of information just out of reach in exchange for a price. If this world operated outside of Equivalent Trade, then damn it, so would he. If he was lucky, it may even pay off in the future.

"Would you like to have tea with me, Harry Potter?"

"Really?" From the look on Harry's face, he probably expected another order to go to bed. He added, hopefully, "Can I bring a friend?"

"No." His shoulders sagged. Well, it was worth a shot.

"We're not allowed to talk in the library," Ed said. "My office is on the fourth floor, behind the suit of armor. Come whenever you want."

"Right, sir," Harry said, slipping the Invisibility Cloak back on and careful to sweep it over his feet before remembering his manners. "Thank you, sir."

It was only after Harry was safely back in the Common Room did he realize that Mr. Elric's room was located right where the Mirror of Erised had been, five years ago.

---


The next morning, Harry caught sight of Ginny on his way to Charms.

"Hullo Ginny," he called out. She returned the greeting with a smile, looking considerably more cheerful than she was the day before. "Do you remember," he began, deciding that caution was the best approach, "what you asked me in the Great Hall yesterday after Quidditch?"

"What in the world are you talking about?” Ginny asked. "I wasn't in the Great Hall yesterday after the match- I had detention, remember? We had to negotiate so I could play in the match at all." She peered at Harry curiously. "How hard did that Bludger hit you anyway?"

Flabbergasted, Harry stammered out a "Not really" and waved weakly as she ducked into Muggle Studies. What in the world was going on?

---


"Mister Potter... oh, y'mean Harry?"

Ed nodded as Fang laid by Hagrid's feet, drooling. The great dog had become quite attached to him after the first time they met, when it decided that Ed's arm made an excellent chew toy.

"Aw, he's a good lad." Hagrid nodded. "Known 'im since he was young- delivered his acceptance letter m'self," he added.

"Really?" Ed nibbled at a slab of Hagrid's new-and-improved Treacle Tart. It no longer glued the consumer's tongue to the roofs of his mouth. "I've caught him out of bed at least twice times in this past week."

"He 'asn't got much talent fer followin' the rules." Hagrid said, chuckling. "But things usually work out better for 'im better when he don't." Ed said nothing. A bell rang in the distance, signaling the end of the school day, and he stood.

"I'd better get back." he said, brushing the crumbs off his lap. "Thank you for the tea."

"Anytime," Hagrid replied. "Come back whenever you need th' company."

Ed patted Fang on the head, gave Hagrid one last nod, and left the cabin.

This world, he thought as he approached the castle, everything in this world was about breaking rules. There was nothing scientific, nothing logical about it. This was like one of those fairytale lands Mother used to tell him about when he was young, which he had conveniently forgotten after her death. He was still yet to discover just why he could use alchemy. It made no sense.

He walked passed the staircase to Dumbledore's office without noticing, and when he finally became aware of his surroundings, his feet had carried him to the passage leading to his room. As he drew nearer, he heard a voice that grew consistently louder.

"Um... open! Lemon drop! Chocolate Humbug! Oh, come on, open!" A sharp clang rang out, followed by a slight grunt of pain.

"What in the world are you doing?"

Harry Potter inclined his head towards him, looking almost guilty. "I didn't know the password," he said, abashed.

"There is no password."

Ed strolled past him, observing with a twinge that Harry Potter was about five centimeters taller. He clapped his hands together and pressed them against the space next to the suit of armor. A familiar blue electricity crackled and when he drew away, a handle that had not been there before jutted out of the wall.

Pulling the handle and missing the drop of Harry's jaw, Ed beckoned him inside.

T . B . C

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
qem_chibati
Mar. 22nd, 2006 08:29 am (UTC)
This is a really fascinating story, I've really been enjoying reading it.
(Anonymous)
May. 6th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
update
so... when will you update? please don't stop writing it! ive been waiting for a new chapter to come out for a long time so have alot of other people, you owe it to your fans!
katfireblade
Jun. 16th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
So..is there any chance in hell of this ever being updated? I have waded through a lot of crap stories in fanfic, and a lot of good ones, and this is by far the utmost wonderfully fascinating crossover I have ever been privlaged to stumble across. And its well written. Kudos.

blue_harinezumi
Jul. 16th, 2006 08:00 am (UTC)
i TOTALLY agree with what katfireblade said...this story is amazing. it's hard to find stories this good, especially crossovers! and i usually hate crossover stories, i've seen very, very few that actually make any sense, but this one works. and it's GOOD. pleeeeeeeeeease keep writing it!!!
ered
Dec. 4th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
Endless Moment is by far the best FMA/HP crossover I've read. Hell, it's the best fic I've ever read... I know I'd be crying tears of happiness if you decided to continue it <3
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )