What Goes Around
Posted on Sun Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 10:28am by Sailor Edward Marketh 2nd
Edited on on Thu Dec 27th, 2012 @ 8:27pm
Chapter 6: Desperate Times
Tags: Ed's Death
It wasn’t often that one receives a letter from the dead. Too often they’re busy running and hiding. Never once do they make it simple. However it seemed that just this once things would go smoothly. Sure there had been some trouble already but at last everything would be sorted out. The message to meet out on the docks was strange, truthfully. It could even be a trap. However it didn’t matter much regardless. One way or another things would be finished tonight.
A small figure moved from shadow to shadow, hiding behind crates one after another as it made its way down the docks. Slinking forward, avoiding the moonlight streaming down from above, it appeared as if it was looking for someone. It wasn’t long before that someone became apparent in the form of a pinprick of light down an alley. The figure swiftly made a beeline towards it.
The figure presses against the wall at the end of the alley, pausing just a moment before peeking its head out to gaze at the beacon of light in the darkness. The figure was greeted by a small candle flickering gently in the breeze. It sat on top of a small barrel, used as a table, with two small stools nearby. Sitting in one was a second shadowed figure.
Finally the first figure moved out into the alley and approached the second. “Given up running?” a woman’s voice quietly asked. The small candle brought illumination to the face of the first figure, revealing the hard features of Elizabeth. The second figure nodded gently and sat forward to bring his face into the light as well.
“I’m not stupid enough to think I can escape you, Elizabeth.” Edward said softly. His voice was calm, not the usual monotone he traditionally carried. It was almost as if he was at peace. Elizabeth strode forward and seated herself cross-legged in the stool next to Ed. “You seemed pretty eager to fight before. But I’m glad you’ve seen things my way.” she said softly.
Ed reached down and grabbed a bottle next to his stool. Alcohol. He slowly brought the bottle to his lips and took a large gulp of the liquid inside, but nearly coughed it up as soon as it hit his tongue. Elizabeth laughed slightly. “I’ve never known you to be a drinker, Ed. And it’s a little late to start now.” Ed took another sip, forcing it down this time. “I just thought I’d try it once.” he mumbled before handing the bottle off to his partner. “Do you want it?” he offered.
Elizabeth was somewhat surprised by the kindness, but she didn’t show it. She simply chalked it up to strange people doing strange things in their last moment. Nevertheless she accept it and took a swallow herself.
“At least tell me this, Elizabeth. Why does our father want me dead?” Ed quizzed the woman. He had a guess as to the reason, of course, but he figured he’d at least hear it himself to be sure. Elizabeth laughed in response. “It’s OUR father now, is it? Seems I recall he disowned you a long time ago.” She sighed. “Surely you aren’t that dense though? The things you’ve made. Do you have any idea how many people they’ve put down? How many people you’ve put down? Disowned or not, that’s a bad stain on the family name.”
Ed had figured as much. He signed lightly to himself. He knew he’d have to deal with this someday. “And what about you? As assassin in the family? How is that for the family name?” Ed responded logically.
“Don’t give me that. Whatever you think of me I’m not some common punk knocking down doors for just anyone. I work for our father. I’m HIS assassin. It makes a world of difference.” She paused briefly, then chuckled lightly to herself. “Besides, how many people besides you even know of the connection?”
Ed nodded to himself. He nearly began to speak again when he was interrupted suddenly by Elizabeth. “Now answer ME something. How did you hit me the other day? You and I both know nothing should ever touch me.” A touch of anger quaked at the edge of her voice. It seemed the woman still wasn’t over the humiliation from being struck for the first time in her life.
It was Ed’s turn to laugh. It was a strange, almost forced laugh, but a laugh non-the-less. “Do you even know how the shield and gun I made for you work? It was so long ago I can’t even remember if I explained it to you.” Elizabeth grimaced in response. “I didn’t think so. Father always knew you were ‘gifted’ with inborn alchemy, but it’s always been too weak to do anything meaningful. It wasn’t hard to make something that amplified your natural field into something more tangible.”
Elizabeth frowned harshly, but it made sense at least. “I guess I shouldn’t have doubted your ability to find a way around something you made yourself.” Soon after she spoke she smiled lightly again. “I won’t have to worry about that much longer, at least.” Ed nodded. “No, you won’t.” he replied softly.
The two sat in silence for a long while. The candle slowly burnt it’s way down the wick, flickering every once in a while as if about to go out. Elizabeth leaned back in her chair and smiled. “How long ago was it when I caught you in father’s library the first time?” she asked. Her tone was odd. It was almost as if she was remembering something... fond.
Ed actually smiled as well as he thought back in his life. “At least ten years. I don’t think father would have been so mad if all the books I’d pulled off the shelf were machine manuals.” They both laughed together slightly. “Well he never did like your tinkering, Ed.” Elizabeth said softly.
“We used to get along pretty well didn’t we?” Ed asked, more of a statement than a question. “We sure did.” Elizabeth replied. “Before we both go into our lines or work.”
Elizabeth gaze turned to the candle on the barrel. It was nearly down to it’s nub. She supposed it was time to finish up. Slowly she stood from her chair. Ed quickly followed suit. “I guess I better get going. It was good talking to you one last time, Ed.” she said, smiling. “You too, sister.” Ed replied lightly.
Oddly and suddenly, Elizabeth spread her arms open wide. “Want a hug, brother? For old time’s sake?”
Ed approached slowly, but swiftly stopped in his tracks. “This is... where you do it... isn’t it?” Ed questioned, plainly. Elizabeth’s eyes nearly rolled out of her head. “Why must you ruin the moment, Ed?” The woman sighed quickly after. “Yes. This is it. I’ll make it quick, just for you.”
Slowly, carefully, Edward took a step forward, into the arms of his tiny older sister. Gently they closed their arms around each other in embrace. Ed was reminded of how Elizabeth had always calmed their father down when in one of his fits over Ed’s profession, and Elizabeth was reminded of the small boy she’d helped raise.
Ed gasped as a sharp pain entered into his side. He tilted his head downward slightly, just enough to see the hilt of the knife pierced into his liver. Elizabeth cooed softly. “Sssssh, Ed. It’ll be over soon.” Ed nodded slightly, wincing past the pain in his gut. “Yes. It will.”
Elizabeth’s eye’s went wide as she shoved Edward away from her. She clenched the side of her stomach tight, almost mimicking her brother before her. Slowly she moved her hands, only to find a faintly glowing dagger stuck deep into her body. An identical wound to Ed. “You... what have... ED WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” Elizabeth screamed in anger as the wounded Edward fell backwards, knocking a stool over in the process.
“I... I told you. I made your shield.” Ed coughed heavily, a spatter of blood spraying out of his mouth and into the air. A pool of crimson spread out from the wound in his side as he pulled himself towards the wall of the alley. Elizabeth stumbled backwards before tripping over her feet and landing sprawled on the ground. “You... goddamn... disgusting...” Elizabeth’s word’s were cut short as she too expelled a stream of fluid from her mouth in a vicious cough.
Edward propped himself up on the wall he’d managed to drag himself too. His feet and hands had started to grow cold, but the pain in his side was thankfully gone. “You know... this is the first time...” Ed coughed once again. “The first time I’ve taken a life with my... own hands...”
Elizabeth spat a glob of blood in his direction. Meekly she clawed at the ground in a vain attempt to drag herself over to Ed. “You sick... filthy... arrogant piece of gutter trash!” she roared. “Like hell... Like hell I’m going down here! To you!” Elizabeth’s struggling forced her wound to open wider, a river of crimson seeping out and dripping slowly down the alley. Finally her arms stopped flailing and she began to lay still.
“This... this isn’t the end... Ed...” Elizabeth wheezed out. “I’m going to... I’m going...” her words slowed as the stream from her side slowed to a trickle, then finally stopped. Ed stayed silent. There was no point in replying.
Ed coughed violently and slid onto his side, losing the strength to keep himself upright even with the support of the wall. His eyes were drawn to the dying candle’s flame as his eyelids grew heavy. He gave a long, heavy sigh. Just keeping his eyes open was becoming difficult as his vision blurred. He supposed he’d have to take a nap. Even Ed, used to working days without sleep, knew he couldn’t stay awake forever.
Ed coughed one last time, though much softer than the last. “I just hope... Copper will be... ok alone...” Ed mumbled softly to himself as he shut his eyes.
The candle on the barrel flickered softly, having reached the end of its wick, and finally puttered out.