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.
His ruse works; Ed dismisses him - with a harsh, impatient rejoinder that he isn't finished yet - and devotes his attention to his brother.
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.
Boys shouldn't do this, either with their brothers or with any other boy.
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.
There was gold in the middle of midnight, and Envy smiled over his satisfaction.
There was something extremely satisfying about Ed's body.
More than once already, Edward had regretted turning down the offer of a ride home, despite the fact that the little house he shared with Alphonse was nowhere near where Havoc lived.
It is to such a morning that Alphonse wakes up, light pouring in through the blinds and over the bed sheets.
Too many more nights of excuses are going to drive him from appropriately celibate to stark raving mad.
"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?"
"Don't worry about it," he says bossily. "I know what to do. Give me the book--don't close it--ah, thanks."
If he would permit himself to be honest, Alphonse would admit to Roy that he hates the rain, too.
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.
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.
"I know," Ed replies, and grins. "I mean, I can totally see why. Nobody else kisses the way I do."
"Up," said the demon, as the blinding force of a million suns illuminated its frame and set an evil light to its eyes.
With no warning at all, something changed in the air between them, and the fight turned dirty.
"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."
Why was Ed still letting this fear haunt him? How long was the lingering pain of these old wounds going to hang between them?
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.
The house rumbled gently, as a cat purrs, and Alphonse tied off the braid, pressing his hands to Edward's scalp one more time before dropping them to his side.
Twenty-one days, and it all falls down.
Al didn't complain about his brother's occasional delinquency, so Ed didn't have room to complain about Al's taste in boyfriends.
If it didn't rain so often, Ed thought, he might feel a little more like he could make plans.
They say that a wizard lives in the log cabin, on the other side of the dark woods and the silver river.
"Your arm," said Al, smiling apologetically. "It's kind of heavy."
Ed tosses four sausages at once into his mouth and swallows almost without chewing, shooting Al a smug, triumphant grin.
Al crouches down on a dune looking down on the camp and draws an array in the sand, thinking of Gunnar with a dull pang of grief.
"Hi Brother!" the other end of the phone chirped, and Ed's shoulders immediately went from tense to jelly.
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.
"So by 'torture,' you really mean 'sexual gratification'. Specifically your sexual gratification.
"Oh, hello, brother." Alphonse flashed the smaller boy a smile, startled but pleased. "I didnít hear you come outside."
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.
"I'm sorry Al," he said at last. "For what it's worth, I never meant for this to happen to you."
A collection of 100 word ficlets.
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.
The water streamed clear and icy through his fingers- and all at once he straightened, laughing, to flick the last few drops into his brotherís face.
"It's cheating," he declared at last, "To pick a fight while I ache."
There were many things that Edward Elric didn't want the world to know, secrets to be protected at all cost.
His tone was all weary patience, as though explaining to a child why candy was out of the question until after dinner.
"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?"
With a sense of rising dread, Alphonse raised his fist to pound for admittance, worry tinging his voice. "Brother? Are you alright in there?"
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...
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.