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.
"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."
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.
...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.
The desire to go wandering again, to never settle down... it worried Alphonse.
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.
"Damnit, brother," Alphonse managed, and Ed grinned at him. "I was only away for a week!"
Fingertips drifted over curves, up over hips and thighs and the dimple of ribs, and if my eyes were closed, I could have told you in detail every perfect flaw and scar.
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.
Too many more nights of excuses are going to drive him from appropriately celibate to stark raving mad.
How do you condition the unconditional?
There is immortality deep within us that has nothing to do with corruptible flesh and earthly demise.
"Oh, hello, brother." Alphonse flashed the smaller boy a smile, startled but pleased. "I didn’t hear you come outside."
A collection of 100 word ficlets.
“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.
If it didn't rain so often, Ed thought, he might feel a little more like he could make plans.
Al didn't complain about his brother's occasional delinquency, so Ed didn't have room to complain about Al's taste in boyfriends.
"Hi Brother!" the other end of the phone chirped, and Ed's shoulders immediately went from tense to jelly.
The water streamed clear and icy through his fingers- and all at once he straightened, laughing, to flick the last few drops into his brother’s face.
Alphonse settled for a barely audible sigh and hoped that his brother knew what he was doing.
"It's blue!" Edward announced with the voice of desperation.
"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."
It is somewhat odd that two brothers can be so different, yet so close.
Al can see his handwriting -- which closely resembles the marks a tap-dancing spider might make if it fell in an ink pot first.
His ruse works; Ed dismisses him - with a harsh, impatient rejoinder that he isn't finished yet - and devotes his attention to his brother.
Sometimes he feels like an actor, playing to an especially difficult audience.
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.
Who knew how long it would take to find Al and take down those who'd conspired to feign his death?
"I'm sorry Al," he said at last. "For what it's worth, I never meant for this to happen to you."
Faith didn't hold much of a place in my life; science was my passion, something I could see, something I could feel, could make sense of.
"Your arm," said Al, smiling apologetically. "It's kind of heavy."
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.
He would ask questions, even though Al knew he didn't particularly care, simply because he liked seeing Alphonse so animated about something.
"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?"
"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."
But suddenly, when Al had his body back, it was like picking up an old book and learning something new.
"So by 'torture,' you really mean 'sexual gratification'. Specifically your sexual gratification.
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.
"That's what you said last time. And the time before that. And," he added, dragging the feather upward with maddening slowness, "The time before that."
Humans are so greedy, the Truth had told him in his dreams; and for all his airs and graces, he is no exception.
As always, there was a spark of hope in the younger Elric's expression, and it dug its claws into him as it had every day for the past eight months.
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.