...Ed looks bored, but Alfons knows that it's an act, that Ed loves learning and these impromptu history lessons are favourites of his.
To he who seeks, let him find. That was Ed's motto.
He'd lied in smoke filled bars. He'd hunted down lubricants in seedy stores that catered to the most iffy of clientele. Alfons had EARNED Ed's love.
The momentary flash of grief and longing took him by surprise, as it always did.
The taste of arsenic is golden, addictive, even it does pave the road to hell.
Alfons is a scientific man, and Edward is his paradox.
He inhaled deeply, felt the darkness ripple over his skin, and the room seemed to flex and expand around him.
Ed's heart began pounding in anticipation of the rush he'd feel when the process was over.
He reminds Alfons of himself, in a way, back after he'd been first diagnosed with his illness; when he used to get up and stare at his face in the washbasin mirror every day and think, I am too young for this.
Of course, the jar was really the professional female companionship fund; or, as Ed liked to sarcastically call it, the pussy kitty.
He was a version of his brother if he'd grown up, but fainter, as though he'd been diluted in the bright light of the Gate.
Alfons prays for the day when he will return to a far-off Edward, and somehow miraculously find the words, the actions, to call him back from his imaginary world.
"I will teach you patience even it if kills me," Alfons gritted out. "Let me do this my way, you can give up control just for one act."
"All this whiny, pathetic, 'no-one-understands-me' bullshit was suppose to be over in my teens," he told the bottle angrily, "I'm suppose to be an adult now."
It was as if there was an invisible box Edward carried with him, keeping a careful several inches between him and the rest of the world at all times.
"Shut up. Don't say anything. I made you food, and there's beer in the icebox, and happy fucking Oktoberfest."
He has felt this before, from homunculi and other dead things, and where Al does not have those tactile memories from Before, only visual ones (thankfully, thankfully), Ed certainly does.
As it got later, Al could hear the night in the strange world deepen. Nights of terror, here, a country full of dead people.
They were Scientists; this was Nature. They were Modern; God is dead.
Something about the place seems to be sucking the life out of him; the more time he spends indoors, the more he seems to wilt.
His flatmate is a night owl and is always knocking around at odd hours, reading well in the early morning; if Alfons didn't remind him to sleep he most likely never would bother to.
Let me start by saying that I love my grandchildren. Actually, they’re my great great grandchildren, but that’s repetitive and makes me sound old, so screw that.
Alfons had never had anyone his age to horse around with, Edward thought, and as cerebral as he was he probably didn't get in many street fights.
It made him feel useful, and needed, even if the truth was his help wasn't entirely necessary. It made him feel like someone would miss him when he was gone.
"You know what the problem with this world is," Edward started, and Alfons thought: here we go again.
He doesn't have time for any of this, oak trees and summer days and a pale, bony hand twined with his.
People paid a lot of money to see things like this, she imagined.
There is no way Alfons knows what he does to him.
His friend is blushing, ashamed to be seen in such a condition - and this is not new, either, this is not new at all.
Theirs is a strange relationship--they know so little about each other--but somehow it's okay, as though knowledge would throw a spanner in the works.
But there would be no alchemy crackling to his command, not in this world, and the thought of swinging a weapon against this man left him cold in agony.
"Of course, that depends how you define cruel," he adds, amused.
He was coming to read Alfons pretty well now too, and from what Al did understand he could give as good as he got.
He'll fix himself breakfast, and maybe something for Edward as well, if he's feeling charitable.
Two boys, two faces, two fates, alive and dead at the same time, at different times, nothing in common, everything in common, one thing in common: him.