"He misses me," came the quiet whisper, a hope that maybe this madness would end, that maybe, maybe, he could be released, that he could go home.
Roy was silent when Maes came back several minutes later. If he heard the sounds of retching from the bathroom, he didn't say.
Alphonse worried, but was rapidly won over by his brother's promises.
"I have to spend a year at Northern Command, and you can't come with me."
This, too, was a pain that Edward had inflicted only on himself, but neither Roy nor Al had dared to say so.
The sun was up. It was time to start the day, but Roy felt exhausted.
The creature tilted its head, eyeing the two men to the side of her, and slid off its precarious perch.
Al makes a worried little noise, and Ed raises his head a little. He's been found out, he thinks, and knows he should feel something.
"I'm told by Mr. Mason that you resisted being fed, and he had you punished for that."
"Honestly, Fullmetal, I'm beginning to think that you're more trouble than you're worth."
"Apparently their mother never cautioned them to stay away from strangers with cars."
There were many things that Edward Elric didn't want the world to know, secrets to be protected at all cost.
...but he must take a moment to compose himself, all the same, before he can look through the small window.
The blond shook his head lightly, probably in amusement, "I'm really sorry but he's normally not like this to strangers but your resemblance? is very striking, Roy."
It's a paradoxical situation; Alphonse is closer to Edward than he has ever been, yet somehow he feels as if they don't know each other at all.
"Oh, he's probably just studying too hard to notice you knocking," Winly said at first.
Because he had said one year; and dammit, he meant it.
And if she listened carefully enough, she could hear Edward reading in a low voice to a gurgling Alphonse.
He was afraid, so afraid, that something would go wrong, but he couldn't let this go.
But he still flinched away from that metal skin, and held his own burning automail arm a little further from his body in hopes that he would not bump against it.
Roy Mustang was shipped back home last week. Neat as a parcel of vegetables with the stamp upside-down on the crate.
Winly was touched, really, that even after two years without seeing one another, Ed still wrote her letters.
His friend is blushing, ashamed to be seen in such a condition - and this is not new, either, this is not new at all.
It was a game they often played, what would they do once they got their bodies back.
"I know," Ed replies, and grins. "I mean, I can totally see why. Nobody else kisses the way I do."
For a few minutes they sat in silence, looking out over the sun-dazzled water. There didn't seem to be much to say.
I didn't know on the phone. I didn't know on the train.
But when the acting commander of the Intelligence branch, the man who controlled her widow's pension, requested and required this service... well... well.
If his past actions weren't reason enough to kill him, then this would be more than enough!
"I'm not thirteen," Al said, as if reading his mind.
There was uncertainty in those eyes, and wounded pride, but there was no less passion, and therefore, Roy was no less terrified.
...it was something you had. And if it's something you had, it's something I want.
Even so, you still are a manipulative bastard.
"Aww, is the rough and tough Elric crying for his dead brother?" sneered a voice in his ringing ears.
He runs out of ink halfway through the page, and with a quiet sigh dips his finger in the inkwell...
Dante took the seat next to the bed, and handed a mug of tea to Trisha.
Why was Ed still letting this fear haunt him? How long was the lingering pain of these old wounds going to hang between them?
You hide it well behind your bluster and your sulks, but the workings of your mind are at once cunningly devious and ruthlessly simple.
This new life was staggering - more so, the feel of Alphonse's shoulder, warm and flesh beneath his cheek as the train lurched out of the station.
Something that wasn't quite narcissism, wasn't quite masturbation.
She clung to him so tightly that his skin was white under her fingertips.
PR, we need PR, he kept telling himself, but at this point he didn't think he could string more than two sentences together.
Water fills her ears without stopping them, just as grief does her mind, and she drums her fingers on the wooden slats in time to the litany of her failure.
You gave me hope, Edward Elric, and then you took it away.
Between Ed's commanding presence and the fact that Al had been an impressively large suit of spiked armor, it had been hard to get to know him much.
Twenty-one days, and it all falls down.
Yet there are still nights that he wakes up to find his hand clutched by a seated Al, who laughs his hollow laugh and asks if he's okay, even though he does not remember screaming.