The only other tradition that was better than eggnog to Al, was that of mistletoe.
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.
Al can see his handwriting -- which closely resembles the marks a tap-dancing spider might make if it fell in an ink pot first.
There were precious few memories remaining, now, dimmed with the passage of time and the years that he’d spent lacking a flesh body, but he kept them close to him all the same.
He could imagine the words Fix typed as coming from his brother, and it afforded him a little bit of indulgence in his horrible, sinful, uncontrollable urges.
His tone was all weary patience, as though explaining to a child why candy was out of the question until after dinner.
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...
...when he presses his hand against the scraped array and wills it to activate, he can't help but send a whispered prayer to it. Please work. Please, please...
"It's cold and dark and raining, and there are thugs roaming the street - brother, have a heart! He could be killed! He could become kitten stew!"
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 all right, Loincloth Witch Alphonse?” “Y-y-yes,” the young hero stammered, feeling as though at any moment his heart might leap right through his ribcage.
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.
"He's the Fullmetal Alchemist," Alphonse interrupted, tapping his pen against his clipboard. "Are you sure you're up to the task?"
But suddenly, when Al had his body back, it was like picking up an old book and learning something new.
How do you condition the unconditional?
"Up," said the demon, as the blinding force of a million suns illuminated its frame and set an evil light to its eyes.
"Brother," Alphonse said, voice soft with horror, "I think that Winry's going to kill you."
His ruse works; Ed dismisses him - with a harsh, impatient rejoinder that he isn't finished yet - and devotes his attention to his brother.
I'm going to kill Ed when he gets back, Al told the General. I just thought I should tell you in advance in case there's paperwork.
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.
The sunrise is spectacular, and it is the first that Edward has been awake to see in years.
Al didn't complain about his brother's occasional delinquency, so Ed didn't have room to complain about Al's taste in boyfriends.
Boys shouldn't do this, either with their brothers or with any other boy.
He realized for the first time that Edward, who he was used to seeing shadowed by blood and sweat and his own private sorrows, was actually beautiful.
It is somewhat odd that two brothers can be so different, yet so close.
"You know we need to catch that train to Central, and you were being unreasonable. If we're late getting back again, General Mustang's going to have a fit."
It is to such a morning that Alphonse wakes up, light pouring in through the blinds and over the bed sheets.
How do you find someone who barely existed in this world now that they're gone?
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.
Sometimes he feels like an actor, playing to an especially difficult audience.
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.
This was getting crazy. He knew that his college years ran equivalent with his sexual peak, but honestly?
"I'm not being forced out of another home. They won't be here long, and it's not like they'll be looking for us."
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.
Typical Ed; overprotective, hypocritical, condescending, and for some reason fundamentally incapable of treating Al as an equal.
The desire to go wandering again, to never settle down... it worried Alphonse.
"Hi Brother!" the other end of the phone chirped, and Ed's shoulders immediately went from tense to jelly.
There was something extremely satisfying about Ed's body.
He would ask questions, even though Al knew he didn't particularly care, simply because he liked seeing Alphonse so animated about something.
"Stop that," he snapped, flicking the tap on. "Change into something a little more appropriate. You're not him, brother."
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.
Who knew how long it would take to find Al and take down those who'd conspired to feign his death?
Too many more nights of excuses are going to drive him from appropriately celibate to stark raving mad.
"I know," Ed replies, and grins. "I mean, I can totally see why. Nobody else kisses the way I do."
"It's blue!" Edward announced with the voice of desperation.
"It was a while ago," he offered nervously. "Before your time. He's, uh, well, he was a persistent bastard, and... You're not mad, are you?"
Why was Ed still letting this fear haunt him? How long was the lingering pain of these old wounds going to hang between them?