|The Pen is Mightier! (penismightier) wrote in chaotic_library,|
@ 2012-05-26 17:14:00
|Current music:||Garth Brooks - That Summer|
[Edward Elric, Alfons Heiderich; R] Jacob's Ladder 2/2
Character/Series: Edward Elric, Alfons Heiderich; AU to the movie.
Notes: Second part to Failed Attempts To Fly. Please don't blame me if you go through a box of tissue reading this.
Title: Jacob's Ladder
Word Count: 9373
Summary: Hohenheim's voice woke them from a sound sleep.
The winter here's cold and bitter.
It's chilled us to the bone.
We haven't seen the sun for weeks,
Too long, too far from home.
Hohenheim's voice woke them from a sound sleep. Edward fell out of bed, groping around for his boxers before pulling them on and hurrying out to see what his father wanted. "What is it?" he demanded irritably, rubbing one eye. "You'd better have a good reason for this, old man."
Hohenheim looked a bit wild-eyed, carrying a suitcase. "Both of you, pack a bag. We have to leave. The Socialists have started a revolution, and their occult group is looking for the two of us."
"Us? What? Why?" Behind him, Alfons wandered out in his sleep pants that were rarely worn but kept around for just such a situation.
"They're wanting to open the Gate," Hohenheim explained, hurrying over to the window and looking out.
"I am confused. Don't you want the Gate open to go home?" Alfons asked.
Hohenheim shook his head. "It'll take killing one of us to do it. And while I'd gladly give my life to get you two boys home, the Thule Society would not make it that easy for anyone but themselves to get through. Get packed, hurry."
Edward looked up at Alfons. "Come on, sounds like we gotta run. Give us ten minutes, Dad." He grabbed Alfons's arm and pulled him back to the bedroom.
"We're leaving? Just like that? What about the others? What about Miss Gracia?" Alfons seemed more than flustered as Edward pulled out two suitcases and threw them on the bed.
"They'll pick up the pieces," Edward said as he got dressed and started tossing clothes, a couple books and a photograph of the two of them they kept on their bedstand into his suitcase. "Come on, hurry up, get dressed and get packed. I'll let you get the lube and condoms. I'm going to go keep watch for trouble with Dad." He snapped shut his suitcase and hurried past Alfons.
"Where's Alfons?" Hohenheim looked back at Edward as he entered the living room-kitchen area.
"Still packing," Edward said, setting down his suitcase and stepping over next to his father. "What the hell's going on?"
"Have you heard of Adolf Hitler?"
"That beer hall speaker? Sure, he's a nutcase, but they all are around here. What'd he do?"
Hohenheim turned to his son. "Declared a revolution. He's down at the Bürgerbräukeller holding people hostage right now. The National Socialists all over town are seizing control of buildings and law enforcement personnel. The Thule Society has their own men looking for us in all this. If I'd had enough warning, I might've been able to use this to get you two home, but it happened too fast."
Alfons came out with his suitcase, still looking bewildered. "Where are we going?"
"Out of town, I'm not sure beyond that," Hohenheim said, moving quickly to the door. Edward grabbed his suitcase and followed after, Alfons on his heels. "By morning, the military will have wind of this and things will get messy. I want to be long gone by then."
The three ran down the stairs to Hohenheim's car. Edward grabbed the passenger seat, leaving Alfons in the back with their suitcases. As Hohenheim put the car into gear and set out down the street, Edward looked at his father. "How long are we going to be laying low?"
For a second, Hohenheim didn't answer, winding his way through the streets, avoiding areas where Nazi occupation was high as best he could. "I'm not sure, Edward," he finally answered. "I'll give things a chance to settle, then I'll start putting my ear to the ground."
It took them a harrowing hour to get around the more troubled areas of the city and out onto a country road. None of them spoke until they were out on the country roads leading away from Munich.
"Where will we go?" Alfons finally asked from the backseat.
Edward turned in his seat a bit to reach back and take Alfons's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "What about Berlin?" he asked his father. "Unless laws up there have changed, it might be the safest place for us for awhile."
Hohenheim shook his head. "No. If this putsch is successful, they'll head onto Berlin. We'll be safest finding an isolated place in the country and hoping nobody finds us."
Alfons sat forward, gripping Edward's hand tightly. "What about getting Edward home? If we hide like that, we won't be able to get him home."
"We're both going, Alfons, stop worrying about me," Edward told him.
Hohenheim was silent, driving into the dark night with only his headlights to show where the road was. "I'll keep working on what I can do," he finally said.
Edward stared at his father. He knew exactly what that meant. Having to hide was Edward's death sentence. But if the Thule Society got ahold of them, they'd quite probably die anyway, and Alfons wouldn't be safe either, not with sodomy charges hanging over their heads.
He wasn't getting home. Edward was going to die there, never seeing his brother again.
Letting go of Alfons's hand and settling back in his seat, Edward stared out the window at the road ahead, counting out his last miles silently in his head.
Edward fell asleep as they drove, lulled by the passing dark scenery and the sound of the car. He dreamed of his brother while he slept, dreamed of Rizenbul and home and his family, introducing his boyfriend to the family, everyone back together again. The presence of his mother told him he was dreaming. His cough woke him up, snapping him out of the light sleep he'd fallen into.
"Are you all right, Edward?" His father's voice chased away the remainders of sleep.
As his cough settled, he rubbed his eyes and looked around. "Where are we?"
"I'm not sure anymore," Hohenheim admitted. "We're on the back roads somewhere. I'm hoping to chance across an abandoned home. It's getting late in the year, and we can't possibly build a home before the snow comes."
"You mean a place like that?" Alfons asked, leaning forward and pointing off over Edward's shoulder.
Dark against the night sky, was a little two story house with a tree in the front yard. There was noticeable evidence of disrepair and a lack of occupancy. It wasn't too run down, though, nothing some simple carpentry wouldn't fix. The house looked remarkably like the house Edward and his brother had burned down years ago as they left home forever.
Hohenheim pulled to a stop, looking out the window at the house. He and Edward exchanged a look. "It looks suitable," he said.
Edward looked back out at the house as Hohenheim turned the car onto the grass and pulled up by the building. "It looks like home," he said. "Never thought I'd see that house again."
"What house, Edward?" Alfons asked from the back seat.
Edward waited to answer until they'd gotten out of the car. "My home back in Rizenbul. When Al and I left to take the State Alchemist test and start looking for a way to restore Al's body, we burned it to the ground so we'd have no sentimental places to pull us back and give us reason to quit."
Hohenheim looked at him with a dry expression. "So that's why you did that. I thought you were just running away."
"Bite your tongue, old man," Edward snapped.
"Enough, Edward," Hohenheim said. "Let's go inspect the place, see what furniture might be left. Hopefully, this place will turn out ideal."
Leaving their suitcases in the car, the three of them walked over to the door. Hohenheim knocked, listening for signs of anyone living there. After minute of no answer, he tested the door, finding it unlocked, and opened the door, stepping in. "Hello?" Edward and Alfons crept in after him as he called out, listening for signs of occupation. A further inspection proved the place completely empty. There were drafts that spoke of need for upkeep.
After a circuit around the place proved the house very much like Edward's old home, they returned to the main room, looking around. "It seems suitable," Hohenheim announced. "A few repairs, but with three of us working on it, we should have it livable before winter hits."
"How long will we be staying here?" Alfons asked, casting a worried glance at Edward before looking back at Hohenheim.
"I don't know," Hohenheim admitted. "We'll ride out the winter, then I'll find the nearest town and start putting my ear to the ground. Hopefully, this will blow over soon."
Alfons looked around the living room again. "Am I the only who finds the house to be creepy?" he asked. "All the furniture is still here. The beds were still made. It's like this place was just abandoned and whoever abandoned it left everything behind."
"Kinda like we did?" Edward said. "Whoever lived here probably died somewhere on the property. We'll probably find remains somewhere around here while we're fixing this place up. I doubt they died in the house, at least. No smell of decay and I didn't see any evidence of it while we were searching the place."
"Small comfort, Edward," Alfons said. "This place is still creepy."
"Now boys, no arguing," Hohenheim said mildly. "Be grateful this place was here. It suits our needs perfectly. I'll find a town nearby tomorrow to buy some food. For now, we should rest. I'll let you two pick a room first. I'll get the suitcases while you two do that."
After Hohenheim had left, Edward headed up the stairs to the bedrooms. Alfons tailed after him. "It's still strange to know your father knows about us and approves," he said. "He seems completely okay with it."
Edward peeked in the first bedroom, judging its size and the bed size. "Why wouldn't he be?" he said. "My world is different from yours, Alfons. No church, remember?"
"It must be nice," Alfons commented, looking in another room. "How about this one?"
Edward stepped up behind him, looking around him. "Seems good. Dad can have the other one." He shook his head. "You know, this place is so much like my home. This room was Mom and Dad's. The other room was Al's and mine."
Alfons looked down at him. "Would you prefer the other room?"
"No. This room's bigger, and honestly, it wouldn't feel right being in that room without my brother. I know that sounds weird, but-"
Alfons put a hand on his boyfriend's shoulder. "But nothing. It doesn't sound weird. He's a big part of your life, I don't think it sounds weird at all. Now come on, let's go back down stairs and get our suitcases, and see if your father has any more bright ideas."
They headed downstairs, where Hohenheim was inspecting the few appliances- the stove, mostly. A fireplace in the living room, which was connected to the kitchen. "It looks like we'll be living the way we did with your mother, Edward," he announced as the younger Elric and boyfriend entered the room.
"I was fine with it back then, I'll be fine now," he said. "What're we going to do about food? You're not getting your income out here, and we have no animals or garden for food for the winter."
"I have enough saved up that I took with me to get us through through the winter and invest in some seeds and animals come spring," Hohenheim said dismissively.
"Jesus, Dad, how much did you make?" Edward stared at his father.
"Enough," Hohenheim said a little evasively. "I've also been saving since before you showed up in London. The recession was hitting Britain too, Edward, so I needed every bit of money I could save in case of an emergency. Such as this. I'll get us through, don't worry. The only thing in our way is that I have no idea where the nearest town is."
"Yeah, that might be a small problem," Alfons said dryly.
"I'll go out and look around," Hohenheim said. "I woke you two up, so you should go back to bed and get rest. I'm fine a few more hours yet."
Edward scowled. "The hell, old man. I know how ungodly early you get up, you need sleep too. And I'm awake now, you may as well take advantage of it."
Alfons stepped in, cutting off an argument between two very stubborn Elric men. "I suggest we all sleep. If there turns out to be nothing near enough to be efficient, then this place is not ideal and we will spend a great deal of time looking further, something none of us have the energy for."
Hohenheim looked at Alfons, then to Edward. "Your boyfriend makes a good point. Let's all rest. No more arguing, Edward."
Edward opened his mouth to argue anyway, before catching the stern look Alfons was giving him, then shrugged. "Fine by me," he said. He grabbed his suitcase. "Don't try to skip out, Dad. You got Al's and my old room. We're stealing the bigger room."
"That's fine," Hohenheim said, and Edward suspected he was probably just as glad. It would probably be just as lonely for his father to sleep in his old room without Mom, as it would be for Edward to sleep in his old room without Al.
Suitcases were picked up and stairs were climbed. The boys bid Hohenheim good night before they all disappeared into their own rooms. Edward and Alfons changed into sleep clothes for once, curling up under the meager, dusty old blankets, pressed against each other for warmth.
Alfons was the first to speak up, after a long moment in which Edward came nowhere near falling asleep. "How long do you think this is for?"
"Shut up, Alfons," Edward said.
Alfons smacked Edward on the back of his head, then nuzzled his neck. "What's with the hostility?"
"I don't like the question." That question that had an answer of 'the rest of your life' for Edward. Unless his father pulled off a miracle out there in the middle of nowhere, Edward would be too weak to make a move like that back to Munich by the time Munich was calm enough to go back to.
Alfons was either psychic, or just could read Edward remarkably well. "You'll make it back," he said. "You're not going to die out here. You're going to go home and be healed and live until you're an old man. And I'll be there with you."
Edward sighed. "No, Alfons. That's not going to happen. We're going to be here all winter. By the time spring comes, I'll be too weak to move back to Munich, must less survive going through the Gate."
"Bullshit. I've never heard you be a pessimist," Alfons snapped, sitting up.
Edward rolled over slightly to face him. "I'm not being a pessimist. I'm being a realist. It's been progressing faster than I've let on. You know how I always squirm out of helping carrying things? That's because I can't anymore. I'm too weak."
Alfons looked horrified. "Edward- ... oh god."
Edward turned away from his boyfriend's grieving. "I'm dying, Alfons. And this is where I'll die. Just promise me something?"
"I won't let you die here, Edward. I'll make your father take us back in a week. You're still strong enough now to make it."
Edward ignored Alfons's words. "Promise me something?
"Damnit, Edward, stop that. You're not going to die."
"Promise me something?"
Alfons sighed. "You're going to keep asking me that hideous question until I answer, aren't you?"
"Yes. Promise me something?"
Alfons reached over and brushed back some of Edward's hair. "You know I'd do anything for you."
"After I'm gone, go back to my world. Tell my family. I'm sure they'll adopt you. If you can convince the old man to go with you, all the better." Edward rolled over again, eyes wet as he spoke. "Promise me. They need to know, and you need someone to take care of you." He reached is hand up and rested it over Alfons's. "They'll take care of you. You'll be safe, nobody will go after you because of me like they would here."
Alfons gripped Edward's hand tightly. "All right, Edward. I promise. But first I promise you that I'll do everything I can to get you back with me."
Edward smiled faintly, not looking back up at his boyfriend. "I know. Why don't we sleep? We'll think better in the morning."
Alfons settled in against Edward's back, holding him tightly. "Good night, Edward."
"Good night, Alfons."