"You'll be up against the wall before you know it, Mustang, right where you belong, eating the bullets of a firing squad for breakfast."
He gave, and he gave, and he gave, and he could only hope that it was enough.
They would bow, they would drop into a fighting stand and extend their swords, there would be the shout of en garde. And then she would take him down.
What he remembered of ice cream, more than the taste, was how messy it had always been.
Like the touch of Izumi-mommy's hand in mine, like her voice in my ears.
I didn't understand that, didn't comprehend why being clean for going into the earth was a good thing until much later...
Ed imagined Al's expression would look something like Fletcher's did right now.
Are you listening to me, Lieutenant Hawkeye?
The question "Why learn?" always stops him; he cannot imagine not wanting to learn.
At night, curled shivering on the layers of musty damp leaves under the glimmering stars, Ed lay silently and thought of unspeakable unknowns...
Al loved the way his brother's face turned inward, his golden eyes unfocusing and a little smile coming to his face...
But it was through the hands that you cooked, and with a false hand Ed found that the cooking didn't come as easily anymore, didn't taste quite like Mother's.
Ed meets his eyes, holds them, and then -- slowly, painfully, but deliberately, traces his free hand in a line across his throat.
Inside the house, the door to the new room his father was building, with the wonderful baby-blue walls and blankets and toys, is shut and locked.
Yes, something was amiss, and Roy Mustang was going to find out what.
The Colonel narrowly saved himself the disgrace of fumbling for Edward's name (Id? Alex? Eowan?) by resorting, once again, to his title.
Your eyes stared up at me, wide and questioning, in a response not fit for such a young child.
"Aww, is the rough and tough Elric crying for his dead brother?" sneered a voice in his ringing ears.
If Al hadn't known how often the older boy feigned unconsciousness in order to stave off these visits, he might have been fooled.
"I want to bring father back for her," Al had whispered the week before Christmas fell.
"Elric, you're excused from labor today. I hear you've got mechanical problems."
Bravado. Make them regret they ever talked to you.
Occasionally, after a bad sand storm, a bone would work its way up to the surface; bare and bleached, like the sticks he used to pretend were swords.
"I believe my exact words were, 'a microscopically short bean boy the size of a pin'."
His arms weren't big enough to encompass all of himself, and Edward always got the pieces that he couldn't reach.
It was so easy to forget how uneven alchemy made a fight. No ordinary guy ever had a chance.
Faith, he'd thought, was something he'd learned as a child, squirming on the hard wooden pews.
Breathing. Fuck, he did it every day of his life, why was it so hard all of a sudden?
It was merely a battle of wills. He would win.
"What part of self-defense was it to write 'BIG FAT NINNY' on his forehead in permanent marker?"
Edward snaps awake at precisely three thirty-one in the morning, safe in a bed next to his one and only brother, and for the life of him he cannot imagine why.
He read his father's old, dog-eared textbooks, fascinated by the mechanics of alchemy.
Once you promised me that you would dance on my grave. I'm keeping you to that promise, you know.
Were Riza to choose, she would be the shield rather than the sword.
What was it like, Father mine, to die and to be resurrected again?
There were people here who did not run screaming when he whipped out a photo. Or five.
He didn't know why they would do this to him, why they would stare with sad eyes and sad lips, with mouths turned down for the frowns that came.
And there was a certain look they shared, the one they both used when they thought Ed was being unreasonably stubborn.
Ed stalked into Mustang's office, growling illtemperedly under his breath.
PR, we need PR, he kept telling himself, but at this point he didn't think he could string more than two sentences together.
There was a crunching noise from Roy's direction, as of teeth biting through the edge of a porcelain cup.
Here was the corner where she retreated, reloading her gun as she prepared for another kill.
It is what people say to him because they cannot think of any other way to relate to him, this boy who has the heavy title of 'Full Metal Alchemist'.
Brother wasn't the only one hiding his fears; I was so afraid everything I knew was a lie -- that our brotherhood was a lie.
The first time your mother asked you what you wanted to be, you answered, 'King of the whole world!'