"Hi Brother!" the other end of the phone chirped, and Ed's shoulders immediately went from tense to jelly.
Who knew how long it would take to find Al and take down those who'd conspired to feign his death?
The desire to go wandering again, to never settle down... it worried Alphonse.
He was just moving to light the stove, casting about for a match to begin the flames that would cook their dinner, when the voice drifted in from the other room.
"So by 'torture,' you really mean 'sexual gratification'. Specifically your sexual gratification.
How do you find someone who barely existed in this world now that they're gone?
This was getting crazy. He knew that his college years ran equivalent with his sexual peak, but honestly?
For an instant, a look passed between them, and Alphonse could almost imagine that he saw his own emotions reflected within the eyes of his brother.
"I forgot my....the ticky thing? It's...it's round and it...tells the time..."
The sweet morning snaps like a fragile pane of glass and Al is sobbing, the sounds tearing up out of his chest and throat before he can stop them.
Not many people are close enough to his brother to have seen either of the first two with any sort of frequency.
I know what I feel, I know what I think, and I don't need to chickenscratch the shit down and have the risk of it falling into the wrong hands.
"Don't worry about it," he says bossily. "I know what to do. Give me the book--don't close it--ah, thanks."
He had never dared to dream that things could get better, astounded as he'd been by the way air tasted spilling over his tongue...
Twenty-one days, and it all falls down.
But suddenly, when Al had his body back, it was like picking up an old book and learning something new.
His tone was all weary patience, as though explaining to a child why candy was out of the question until after dinner.
"Damnit, brother," Alphonse managed, and Ed grinned at him. "I was only away for a week!"
The only other tradition that was better than eggnog to Al, was that of mistletoe.
There would always be this silence in the air, stifling, thick, foggy and almost opaque, and I would watch from the mouth of the hallway, hands in front of me, our kitten, Unsere, threading through my legs.
How do you condition the unconditional?
"Get out of the kitchen, brother," he snarled, waving the spatula threateningly. "I'm still cooking, damnit."
"Your arm," said Al, smiling apologetically. "It's kind of heavy."
There is immortality deep within us that has nothing to do with corruptible flesh and earthly demise.
If it didn't rain so often, Ed thought, he might feel a little more like he could make plans.
When there was no answer, he tried again, but gave up after that. It wasn't like Ed would get eaten by a rabid saucepan, or something.
With a sense of rising dread, Alphonse raised his fist to pound for admittance, worry tinging his voice. "Brother? Are you alright in there?"
All it took was a push of his hand and the twist of a small brass key to put it out of sight.
We were the naive kings of all we surveyed, lingering on the hilltop as we stared at our kingdom of ash, of ruins, of dust.
It is snowing in earnest by the time the fire has begun to burn low, but neither boy wants to move to add more wood.
"Yeah," Fuery chips in, "you're always the one to stop Ed from doing weird stuff, not the other way around."
He would ask questions, even though Al knew he didn't particularly care, simply because he liked seeing Alphonse so animated about something.
It's important that a little light always comes in, even if it's only enough to see shadows and outlines, and not words at all.
It wasn't enough just to know what chemical components went into a human body, not if the structural knowledge was completely lacking.
"Are you saying," Al inquired, slowly, "that you never believed that I didn't blame you?"
Typical Ed; overprotective, hypocritical, condescending, and for some reason fundamentally incapable of treating Al as an equal.
Boys shouldn't do this, either with their brothers or with any other boy.
The room had gotten hot and stuffy, and there was sweat on both of his hands, though the sheen on the automail had not come from his own body.
Why was Ed still letting this fear haunt him? How long was the lingering pain of these old wounds going to hang between them?
That was when the nightmare had begun, when the world had become stone walls, sterilized laboratories, and lights so bright as to make little red capillaries snake across both boys' eyes.
The creature tilted its head, eyeing the two men to the side of her, and slid off its precarious perch.
"Brother," Alphonse said, voice soft with horror, "I think that Winry's going to kill you."
In the summer they competed at climbing through the twisting branches, risking life and bruises to collect baskets of fruit and bring them back home.
"He's the Fullmetal Alchemist," Alphonse interrupted, tapping his pen against his clipboard. "Are you sure you're up to the task?"
There were many things that Edward Elric didn't want the world to know, secrets to be protected at all cost.
It was so, so much easier just to go hungry than to try their hands at something she'd done so well.
After so many years in the dark, Edward Elric had discovered he had a libido after all, and it was unfortunately exacting its frustrated vengeance upon one Alphonse Elric.
A collection of 100 word ficlets.