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pomatoverse

Lasting Impressions

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Sep. 18th, 2005 | 02:08 am
posted by: aguynamedgoo in pomatoverse

More not-beta'd fun. trollopfop and I usually beta each other, but the Fates conspired so just be glad we're working on this again. :P We are also open to fanworks now, although we still need to work on the timeline before people can contribute to the canon. And remember: keep spreading the word!


Lasting Impressions

"These books just arrived today,” Maria explained, setting them on a table in her shop. “I had to borrow them from your grandmother's collection, so be very careful with them.”

Ban picked up one of the books, opening it. It was written in Latin. He sighed. “How am I supposed to read this?”

Maria smiled broadly. “Very slowly, would be my guess.”

Ban slammed the book back onto the table. “Do you find this funny?! We may not have a lot of time! Himiko is...God only knows where, alone, lost, and possibly in pain!”

“Ban-chan,” Ginji soothed, putting a hand on Ban's shoulder. “I am sure Himiko-chan will be all right. I know Masaki-kun and he wouldn't hurt her.”

“Yeah, what the hell was up with that?” Ban asked, rounding on Ginji so fast he barely had time to take his hand off of him. “You claim you know that guy. You keep saying he's a good guy. So why can't anyone find him now? And what did he want with Himiko? And where did he send her?”

“I don't know, Ban-chan...” Ginji admitted. He sounded miserable.

“Take it easy,” Maria told him. She was sitting at the table she used for reading her cards, leaning on her elbows. “You won't gain anything from hurting your friends, especially if they are trying to help you.”

Ban sighed. “I know that. But...six months have gone by already, and who know what kind of hell she could be in?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Himiko used her feet to stop the bicycle, manipulating the packages she was laden with expertly as she leaned it against a fence. She really didn't care for bicycles, especially this one, which didn't have brakes or a kickstand, but it was better than making her deliveries on foot, at least. She'd much rather have a truck or a car, but she had observed that automobiles seemed rare in this town at least. The only truck she could count on seeing was the military's supply truck that came once a month from South City.

She strode up toward the door, shifting the packages so that she could knock on the door. She knew she would end up at this house for a while. The old man who lived there was a chatterbox, and in her effort to learn “Amestrian” faster she had taken to listening to people who engaged her in conversation, whether she was interested or not.

The old man opened the door, looking down at her, surprised. “Is it meat day already?” he asked, stepping out of the way so she could come inside “If I'd known the meat girl was coming by I'd have picked up a bit more, but I lose all track of time.” This man said this every time Himiko came by. He'd never asked for her name, or even expected her to maintain her half of the conversation.

Himiko began setting down the wrapped packages of meat that had the man's name on them on a table as he continued to chatter on.

“How's your lady doing today? We used to see her around town all the time, you know. It's a shame she got sick. The supply truck's coming in today, too, so today's the perfect day to go to the stores. I don't know what it was like where you're from, but here in Dublith the military likes to send things to help out the locals. We didn't ask for it, but we're so close to the southern headquarters that if the town went under for any reason it would look bad on them. Your lady's never been very happy about that.”

Himiko had heard all of this before. The old man rarely said anything new, tailoring his tangents to the current events of Dublith, which showed as little creativity as his babblings. He also always referred to Izumi as “her lady”. She'd noticed a few other old timers doing the same thing and assumed this was a common thing, used to refer to female employers or teachers.

“Izumi-san is fine,” Himiko said flatly, ignoring most everything else he had said. Whether that was true or not, it was what she was programmed to say. She doubted Izumi would want her giving people a full status report on her, anyway.

“I assumed she must be getting better if she's taking students again. The last time she did was...let's see...five years ago? Two boys. Brothers. Much younger than you, though they'd probably be about your age now. I don't recall her having any before that, though..”

Most people in town assumed that Himiko was learning alchemy from Izumi. It was a natural thing to assume: she was living with Izumi, and she was studying alchemy. Why wouldn't she be taking advantage of the obvious expertise of such a talented alchemist that was living under the same roof? But the truth was, Himiko actually had little contact with Izumi. She answered to Izumi's husband when she worked making deliveries for the butcher shop, and as long as she was quiet and careful Izumi allowed her to stay in her home and use most of her materials to study. She ate meals with the Curtises and Sig's apprentice Mason, but rarely spoke other than the usual pleasantries and shows of gratitude.

The most significant conversation Himiko had ever had with Izumi had been shortly after she arrived in this world, and it had been that conversation that lead to her believing alchemy held the key to her returning home. She wasn't sure if she asked then Izumi would help her in her study, but the fact that she didn't ask anyone for help unless the situation was dire meant she'd never ask. She had worked hard to keep tension to a minimum while she lived with the Curtises, and she wasn't going to risk overstepping her boundaries.

Himiko hadn't realized she wasn't even listening to the man anymore until her attention was suddenly brought back to him. “Oh, I nearly forgot...” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a fistful of crumpled bills. “That should cover the price of the meat, and leave enough for you to buy yourself something nice in town.”

Himiko thanked the man and pocketed the money. She never kept her tips, but that didn't stop her from accepting them. With that, she went back outside to her bicycle, readjusting the packs on it (and making sure there wasn't anything missing, although there never was) and climbed on to finish her deliveries for the day.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“She'll be out near the edge of town around now,” Izumi had told Ed as he pocketed the envelope that she'd given him containing a lock of her child's hair. “She delivers meat for our shop. Once you see her, you'll know who she is.”

He'd planned to ignore this for a little while in favor of the more pressing issue of destroying homunculi. He'd left his old teacher's presence, ostensibly to head to the train station. But he found himself walking past the train station, and on to the other side of Dublith, keeping his eyes out for someone he had never seen before but had been told would be obvious to him when he saw her.

Ed halted in his tracks as he finally noticed someone out of the ordinary, observing her to make sure she could possibly be who Izumi had told him about. Her skin was dark, her hair was short and violet, and on her bicycle there were packs for making deliveries. She wiped her forehead with her bare right arm, and Ed realized that her clothes looked familiar as well: she was wearing a black tank top and black leather pants. His, in fact, although the belt looked different. She had to have been the one.

The girl pushed off on the bike, taking off at a surprising speed. Without even thinking, Ed broke out into a dead run, trying to catch up to her. It was interesting that one moment he wasn't even all that interested in talking to her, thinking that her claim of coming from the other side of the Gate couldn't possibly carry any weight, and the next talking to her seemed like the most important thing he could be doing.

He was about to shout something to her when the bicycle suddenly turned sharply to block his path, her foot dragging to bring it to a complete stop and nearly pulling off her black slip-on shoe. He didn't even have time to register something in her hand before he caught a whiff of something in the air.

“Hey, what the-” Ed started, but before he could finish he was on the ground, chattering and grunting like an ape.

The girl lowered the bike to the ground and put the bottle in her hand away, removing another and waving it in his face. Within moments, Ed was standing erect again, pressing his hand against his forehead and hoping the things she was shouting at him in a language he wasn't familiar with weren't as threatening as they sounded.

“Hey, I don't know what the hell you just did, but I'm not going to hurt you!” Ed snapped, looking up at her examining her. She looked about his age, although her violet eyes were colder and older than what her physical age had to be. Below her left eye was a little six-pointed star, a symbol Ed had seen in some arrays but never on its own. He had a feeling its origin wasn't alchemical, anyway.

“You have been following me!” the girl accused. As Izumi has warned, she spoke with a thick accent that made some of what she said difficult to understand. “Even if I could not hear you running, I could smell your machine oil!”

“Machine oil?” Ed asked, stunned. He sniffed his shirt. “I don't smell any oil...”

“It is coming from underneath your right arm. You should get it fixed,” she told him coolly. She picked up her bicycle, brushing off the pack. She didn't seem alarmed by the fact that his right arm seemed to be mechanical at all.

“How could you tell?” Ed asked her. “Never mind that, how can you smell it from all the way over there? No, wait, what the hell did you just do to me a second ago?!”

“I used one of my poison perfumes,” she explained, climbing back onto her bike. “That one turned your mind like that of an ape. If you do not leave me alone then I will use one of my more deadly perfumes.”

“Look, I'm really not going to hurt you, okay? My name's Edward Elric, and I used to be Izumi Curtis's student. She told me to come and find you.”

The girl got back off the bicycle, lowering it to the ground again. She then stepped up to him. Ed found himself a little surprised that she was actually a bit shorter than him, although in hindsight that should have been obvious to him: she was wearing his clothes, after all.

“Does Izumi-san need me to return to her shop?” she asked coolly.

Ed shook his head. “No. She told me that you came from the other side of the Gate. That might help me with what I am trying to do.”

The girl snorted. “A man threw me through a big door. I do not know anything about any 'gate', unless that was what it was.”

She didn't trust him. That was obvious to Ed. In fact, that look in her eyes seemed to imply she was closed off to everyone. Getting through to her was going to be hard. Maybe if he appealed to her own needs...

“You want to get back to your world, right?” he asked her. He received a slow nod in response. “I'm an alchemist. I lost something very important to that Gate. If you talk to me about what happened to you, then maybe we can help each other get what we want.”

“I don't want your help, and I have nothing to offer you,” she told him coldly.

Ed sighed. “Sorry I wasted our time then.” He turned around to walk away, then noticed something on the ground, picking it up. It was a folded piece of paper, the thick kind usually used to wrap meat in a butcher shop. He began to unfold it, unveiling a complicated array with notes scribbled in a language he couldn't read around it. “So you are learning alchemy...”

The girl marched up to him, trying to snatch the paper from him, but he turned out of the way. “Give it back!”

“If this is what I think it is, you need to change a few things. And you could do it a much simpler way, anyway,” he criticized. “Not bad for a beginner, though. You know what you're doing, but you should slow down a bit...”

She snatched the paper back and folded it up. “I do not have time to go slow,” she muttered, putting it back into her pocket.

“And that's where having an alchemist willing to help you comes in handy,” Ed told her with a grin. “You haven't been having Sensei help you at all, have you? That, or she won't...”

“I did not ask.” She righted the bicycle again.

Ed nodded. “Figured you didn't. Not sure she'd help a rude girl like you. I'm surprised she hasn't thrown you out yet. She doesn't have patience for people she tries and tries to help and who still won't trust her-” He blinked, looking down as the sleeve of his jacket dissolved, revealing his automail. When he looked back up at her, sure enough she was holding another bottle.

“You are the one being rude, assuming things that you cannot know anything about,” she growled.

Ed pulled off his jacket, and the girl snorted and looked away, probably when she realized that he was the one who left the clothes she was currently wearing. “At least tell me your name. I told you mine.”

“Kudou Himiko,” she answered, putting the bottle back. “...Himiko Kudou, I believe is how you say it in your language.”

“Well, Kudou Himiko Kudou,” Ed said with a nod. She glared. “Himiko?” She nodded. “Himiko, then. I don't have time to stand here and try to convince you to help me. There is someone I care for who needs me to work fast, and a whole lot of other bad things that will happen if I waste time here. So I'll ask one more time: will you work with me and hopefully we'll get what we both want, or are you going to keep playing the ice princess game and using your 'poison perfumes' or whatever you called them to keep people away from you forever?”

Himiko just stared at him with narrowed eyes. Then she pushed off on her bicycle, heading toward the edge of the town again. Ed sighed. Well, he'd tried and he'd gotten no where. This wasn't anything new. So why was it he felt so much more let down this time than all the other times leads had lead to dead ends?

“Are you coming?” a voice called in the distance. Himiko had stopped her bicycle and was using her foot to keep it standing. “I have to finish working. If you help me now I will think about letting you help me more.”

Ed stare at her a few moments longer. He really was pressed for time, and he had no idea what he was getting himself into. But the sooner he helped her finish with her work, the sooner he may be able to get her to help him.

The End

Notes:
Only note I have this time is that it is difficult to write someone who is not fluent in English. I tried to make Himiko speak in simple statements and without contractions or slang terms, so smile, nod, and pretend this is enough. This chapter was actually a lot of fun to write, and I hope it was just as much fun to read. ^_^
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Comments {4}

the Anything Muppet

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from: xerne
date: Sep. 18th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
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I love that she's still transporting.

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Tony

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from: thisistony
date: Sep. 18th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
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A note on Non-English Speakers:

Himiko's from "our *cough* Japan" so she would have at least studied English or seen it or something, so her level of exposure to knowledge ratio is pretty good, BUT Slang is one of the first things non-English speakers pick up on. It's just like how you always learn the swear words first.

"More better" is a common phrase and dropping the "s" in pluralizaed words, too.

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A Guy Named Goo

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from: aguynamedgoo
date: Sep. 18th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
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trollopfop noted in hir last entry that Himiko does have a foundation in English, not from school (canon states Himiko never went to school. She was homeschooled by her brother) but rather she probably picked it up for work purposes (and, as you mentioned, Japanese people like to include Engrish in many non-professional capacities). Plus she's immersing herself in it intentionally to help pick up some more of it.

I will admit I live somewhere where foreign people without a foundation in English is a very rare thing, and when I started learning German the first thing I learned was "another round, please", not the swears. :P

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Tony

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from: thisistony
date: Sep. 18th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC)
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Ahh yeah, (I probably knew and then forgot that bit).


Where I go to school, less than half of the kids are English speakers. Most are Korean, but there are a few Japanese and Taiwanese kids, so I'm surrounded by people who suck at English XD. (And they all seem to learn the swear words pretty quick, goodness the entire school can swear in Korean XD)

Also, English learners will talk in the speech patterns of those around them. An example: I live in Cali, so I say "like" in every other sentence. My two best friends, Korean and Taiwanese, now do the same.

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