"Well... Brother does that, every so often. He really should think before he tries to attack people."
Al wonders, a little, what it's like to live inside Ed's head now.
"Don't go to sleep," he murmurs into Ed's hair, and thinks of their mother, long ago, telling a story about spinning straw into gold.
Ed finally conceded that the cats were indeed very useful.
"That would have killed you, you idiot! You wouldn't be destroyed, or erased, or whatever. You would be killed! I would have murdered you!"
Rubbing at a fading reminder of one such lesson on his left biceps, he hopes she appreciates what a formidable champion she’s gained.
"This one's for you, Al." Edward swore, raised the glass to his lips, and braced for the impact.
Ed looked down at the camera again, and smiled an evil, evil smile.
"You know, Al, you don't have to warm yourself in the sun for me."
Nurses in white smocks bustle about a tiny nurses's station, and he is intercepted by one of the younger ones, a new girl he doesn't recognize.
Red. It looked strange on him, the red did, strange and somehow distressing.
Ed swallowed hard at that--Al could hear the gulp, could see his Adam’s apple bob, and copied the swallow reflexively to see what it would feel like.
"We'll have you patched up in no time." Edward announced, slicing the leather into short, precise strips. It was irrational, but somehow Alphonse hated those words.
Always on Al's face was that soft, sad expression, paralleled by the fierce unyieldingness on Ed's.
"What do you mean, you're PREGNANT?" Ed yelled through the door.
"What part of self-defense was it to write 'BIG FAT NINNY' on his forehead in permanent marker?"
When they are alone in the passenger car, the silence is both natural and oppressive.
"For only one arm..." Ed rasped out, gritting his teeth against the pain.
Al sits in a doorway puzzling absently over the problem of what array to draw to bandage his arm before he bleeds to death.
His brother was brilliant at many things, but finances were not one of them.
"Brother," he whispers into the soft warmth of Ed's skin, "Is mom going to get better?"
...Ed looks bored, but Alfons knows that it's an act, that Ed loves learning and these impromptu history lessons are favourites of his.
He would ask questions, even though Al knew he didn't particularly care, simply because he liked seeing Alphonse so animated about something.
For a few minutes they sat in silence, looking out over the sun-dazzled water. There didn't seem to be much to say.
In the file were pictures of the alchemist's circle where the boys had attempted to bring back their mother.
He staggered to a halt, abruptly terrified of pressing onwards through the mist, and tried not to cry.
"Tall girls need not apply," Hughes read aloud, without even the trace of a smirk.
rated:K | M+F S+S | Fullmetal | mid-series | First Place, Het & Non-Het | Green Lion Winner | Riza Hawkeye | Roy Mustang | angst | humor | sweet | Elric Kyoudai | 354th FG HQ | 2004 First Kiss, Non-Het
He'd meant to say something but Ed had been so determined, so anxious to be useful, to create something.
"But he's just a kid... he's too short to be a criminal..."
Ed glared at him, and Al sighed. Maybe today wouldn't be a good day for Edward after all.
"Do you remember that song Mom used to sing to us?" He asked instead, concentrating on the tiny kinks of the inside of his detached leg.
His name. His name on wet, bloody lips. Edward turned his face away, his lips in the long, dark hair.
And he was tired, and he did eventually fall asleep, to the vague hum of voices in discussion downstairs.
I really don't like this body, he thought sadly; if he'd had a face to pout with, he would have.
They smuggled Al out of Central and back to Rizembul, where they rented a small house with room for Ed's books and Al's wings.
If there was something Al still deeply enjoyed about his illness, it was seeing Ed play a sort of housewife.
"As you can see," she said to Mr. Elric, wryly, "Appreciate them while they're at this age, because they turn into teenagers in the blink of an eye."
His arms weren't big enough to encompass all of himself, and Edward always got the pieces that he couldn't reach.
He was looking forward to the prospect of a hot meal in the cafeteria; even if it wasn't exactly home cooking, at least it was hot, and it was fresh.
Edward Elric was notoriously known for his intense dislike of milk.
"Mother?" And his voice broke, shattered as he raced to her, arms wrapping around her thin body, embracing the image, the idea. "Mommy!"
Sometimes, he prays that the hand will come down and Ed will tell him gently they are done, they are going to quit, end the nightmare before it worsens.
What could you give a soul trapped in a suit of armour as a present?
In matters of love and loss, it could be argued, the principle of equivalent exchange did not exist.
Alphonse washed, and Edward dried (owing to the automail; safer not to submerge), and between the two of them the stack eventually diminished.
Alphonse Elric was a gentle soul, and he detested fighting.
But it was through the hands that you cooked, and with a false hand Ed found that the cooking didn't come as easily anymore, didn't taste quite like Mother's.