But he's traveled like this before, and the hope that it won't end in failure a second time is, at this moment, enough.
"You paid for him to have sex?" Mustang says incredulously, putting his pen down on the table top and shoving the form away. "You bought him a prostitute?"
"So by 'torture,' you really mean 'sexual gratification'. Specifically your sexual gratification.
He's a pessimist with an ego seven miles long; he's a scientist, too, doesn't approve of Al's books.
Ed was normally a cheerful, friendly drunk, thank goodness, but the slightest hint of reproach or anger on Al's part would send Ed into a crashing depression.
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.
They say that a wizard lives in the log cabin, on the other side of the dark woods and the silver river.
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.
It is somewhat odd that two brothers can be so different, yet so close.
There were three ways to identify the Fullmetal Alchemist, wherever he went.
"Yeah," Fuery chips in, "you're always the one to stop Ed from doing weird stuff, not the other way around."
"It's cheating," he declared at last, "To pick a fight while I ache."
"Hi Brother!" the other end of the phone chirped, and Ed's shoulders immediately went from tense to jelly.
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.
There was something extremely satisfying about Ed's body.
There were many things that Edward Elric didn't want the world to know, secrets to be protected at all cost.
Typical Ed; overprotective, hypocritical, condescending, and for some reason fundamentally incapable of treating Al as an equal.
How do you condition the unconditional?
Ed tosses four sausages at once into his mouth and swallows almost without chewing, shooting Al a smug, triumphant grin.
Too many more nights of excuses are going to drive him from appropriately celibate to stark raving mad.
"Are you saying," Al inquired, slowly, "that you never believed that I didn't blame you?"
"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."
"Oh, hello, brother." Alphonse flashed the smaller boy a smile, startled but pleased. "I didnít hear you come outside."
The creature tilted its head, eyeing the two men to the side of her, and slid off its precarious perch.
Apparently, years of stress had jaded Ed into thinking that if things were looking good now, then something terrible must be around the corner.
Sometimes he feels like an actor, playing to an especially difficult audience.
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.
"Up," said the demon, as the blinding force of a million suns illuminated its frame and set an evil light to its eyes.
It is to such a morning that Alphonse wakes up, light pouring in through the blinds and over the bed sheets.
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.
Who knew how long it would take to find Al and take down those who'd conspired to feign his death?
"Brother," Alphonse said, voice soft with horror, "I think that Winry's going to kill you."
"He's the Fullmetal Alchemist," Alphonse interrupted, tapping his pen against his clipboard. "Are you sure you're up to the task?"
Alphonse settled for a barely audible sigh and hoped that his brother knew what he was doing.
The first time was not a night of magic or fireworks, not something dreams were made of, not something that either of them planned on repeating again.
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.
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.
With a sense of rising dread, Alphonse raised his fist to pound for admittance, worry tinging his voice. "Brother? Are you alright in there?"
Why was Ed still letting this fear haunt him? How long was the lingering pain of these old wounds going to hang between them?
...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...
His brother seemed to like it when the leather left marks, a residual token of ownership, even when the collar (by job-dictated necessity) had to be removed.
He would ask questions, even though Al knew he didn't particularly care, simply because he liked seeing Alphonse so animated about something.
"I'm sorry Al," he said at last. "For what it's worth, I never meant for this to happen to you."
Boys shouldn't do this, either with their brothers or with any other boy.
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.
"You aren't Envy, are you? Because if you are, I'll kick your ass and find out what you've done with my brother."
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.