I guessed at what might happen when I plotted out No Small Injury in August 2009, but knew I would inevitably be jossed, so I also based some things on what I thought would make for a good story. Slight ending AUs are already very common in anime-based FMA fic, so my hope was that people would bear with me and keep reading. For the record, I really liked 90% of what actually went down in Chapter 108 and thought it was a fine conclusion to a wonderful story. (And this is not the place to talk about the 10% I am less crazy about.) But I got jossed, like many a fic author before me, and now I have this fun AU to play in.
Here follow the gory details of where things went differently on the Promised Day in this 'verse:
- Al's sacrifice still occurred, but went a little differently. He exchanged his soul's binding to the armour in order to save Ed from life-threatening injuries, but Ed did not get his arm back. Ed's automail arm got spectacularly trashed in the ensuing fight with Father, but the best replacement on offer to him after the Promised Day is a truly kickass new automail from his brilliant mechanic.
- Hoho didn't take no for an answer, and hitched a ride on Ed's intended final transmutation. With him there, Ed's confrontation with Truth at the Gate went very differently. What happened is detailed in Chapter Six of No Small Injury, but the consequence is that Ed is still very much alchemy-powered and clappy. The emotional consequences, Ed and Al's responses to Hoho's sacrifice, and Ed's frustration are explored in No Small Injury and The Phoney War.
- Scar and Bradley duelled, but a wounded Olivia Armstrong ended up finishing the job and sacrificing her life in the process. See Curtain Call for the swashbuckling details.
Many further consequences and events cascade from these two key divergences. These are explored within the stories themselves, but here's a brief scene-setting summary of the most notable:
- The power vacuum left by Olivia Armstrong was a political game changer which left Grumman vulnerable to a challenge from the old guard. In this 'verse, Grumman died less than a day after assuming the Fuhrership, from a very suspiciously timed heart attack. Grumman was a figure who could unite the old guard and the reformers, but his death left the military divided. The consequences of Armstrong's death and Grumman's are explored in The Riderless Horse. While No Small Injury picks up the story two years on.
- After the Promised Day, Ed is still the Fullmetal Alchemist, with the country in turmoil Team Mustang is all hands on deck, and his contract hasn't expired yet. After a summer of compassionate leave, Mustang orders Ed back to work. When No Small Injury starts, his contract is due to expire in a month.
- the different political set-up you see in this 'verse also has another consequence, which is explored in The Riderless Horse. Doctor Marcoh has, wisely for him, vanished into the shadows. Taking his Philosopher's Stone with him. Although the Great Cow didn't specify whether the Philosopher's Stone could bring about total recovery or just something of an improvement in function for Havoc - from the 108 epilogue, all we know is that it would take a lot of hard work, pain and sweat on his part - the Philosopher's Stone is off the table right now.
- finally, the most important and earth-shattering question of all. In this 'verse, at nineteen, Ed is 5' 6" and likely finished growing. Al at eighteen is 5' 10". Never mind, Ed, at least you can see over the top of the bar now.