Edward Elric was in an exceedingly bad mood.
Brother wasn't the only one hiding his fears; I was so afraid everything I knew was a lie -- that our brotherhood was a lie.
But they were no longer young, and they no longer lived together, and Al wouldn't embarrass his brother in front of their hosts by trying to take care of him.
That was the problem with girls these days... they just didn't know how to deal with a little pain.
He remembered finding himself asking why the Fullmetal Alchemist would be the one to patch his own clothes.
Ed meets his eyes, holds them, and then -- slowly, painfully, but deliberately, traces his free hand in a line across his throat.
The audience fades away; the chatters dies, their twin breaths are the soft herald of thunder to come.
It is what people say to him because they cannot think of any other way to relate to him, this boy who has the heavy title of 'Full Metal Alchemist'.
It was a big world out there, full of more possibilities than either of them could dream of.
Winry had never gotten to appreciate the leather pants in her current position as the person who got to unzip them.
If Ed had his way, his allowance (and all of Roy's salary) would be spent entirely on the most expensive brand of dog food to have ever existed.
Very few alchemists believed in God, but all of them believed in books.
Car broke down again, couple kilometers out of the city, so they had to walk for a while, until Alfons couldn't speak for the coughing.
There was a loud crack, like the sound of several chopsticks simultaneously being snapped in two, followed by the sound of something heavy falling, the object hitting the ground so hard the earth literally shook beneath Ed's feet.
Hadn't he survived a month on a deserted island when he was ten, equipped only with a little knife and one pair of shorts? He was tough. He was rugged. He could fall asleep anywhere. He could totally do this.
And if he did forget mom's face, what would be next? Her voice? Her smile? The color of her eyes?
As much as he loved his family, Alphonse Elric wouldn't have traded these moments alone for anything.
For in equivalent trade, everything has value and therefore everything can be taken away.
And there was a certain look they shared, the one they both used when they thought Ed was being unreasonably stubborn.
Ed imagined Al's expression would look something like Fletcher's did right now.
Ed remembered that Al's first word was 'Mama', and his second one was 'Niichan'.
"You know it's a good thing I heal almost immediately, because otherwise I'd be so sore, I'd never get anywhere in the story."
It was just as his body heat was beginning to bring the sheets up to a reasonable temperature that the noise caught his ears- an ugly scraping sound, unnatural and harsh in the silence of early morning hours.
He decided, then, quite firmly, that he wasn't ever going to drink coffee again, with anybody. It was too risky.
It hurt, somehow, to know that there was no one now who could see past the mask if he didn't want them to.
When the lines didn't matter, when the lungs weren't working in labor of sweet industry worlds, then it was so easy to see where they might be all born of the same blood.
"You. Boy by the window who's been doodling all the way through. What would be the result of this equation?"
Sometimes they race to see who can get to Winry's house faster.
Brother likes to pretend that he doesn't care what goes on in the military unless it directly affects him. Or, you know, directly offends him. One or the other.
At night, curled shivering on the layers of musty damp leaves under the glimmering stars, Ed lay silently and thought of unspeakable unknowns...
Yet there are still nights that he wakes up to find his hand clutched by a seated Al, who laughs his hollow laugh and asks if he's okay, even though he does not remember screaming.
Ed's arms swept out, taking in the street and the buildings, the grass and the trees and the sky -- "the world and our own minds to understand it! That's all!" Isn't that enough?
In a blur of red and flying braid, Ed is on his knees before her.
It was getting kind of depressing, though, by the time the color red alone would make him wonder about the child; the flash of a cardinal, a sprig of bright berries, the gaudiness of nighttime tavern lights, and the scarlet lipstick of bar women.
Bravado. Make them regret they ever talked to you.
"You're late," Ed tells him flatly. "You should have been here one minute and forty four seconds ago."
You hide it well behind your bluster and your sulks, but the workings of your mind are at once cunningly devious and ruthlessly simple.
This is the smell of ozone from a lightning strike. This is fear.
"We ought to have a toast," Ed says, frowning into the depths of his bottle. "They always do when they're having a drink in someone's memory."
Tomorrow: having to talk to fucking Hohenheim. The day after tomorrow: the apocalypse. No pressure, eh?
What he remembered of ice cream, more than the taste, was how messy it had always been.
"You don't think doing grown up things makes you look older?" Ed said after a while.
He's getting so awfully, awfully tired of pictures, but they won't just stop coming.
The only problem was that Ed didn't know what the heck "getting some" was or what he was being congratulated for.
Neither brother seems willing to speak, but their thoughts dip down into similar wells, dredging up the questions that most haunt them.
Of course he came through the window.
It was a lousy day, depressing and the color of the sky on his way home reminded Ed of the color of the Gate and he just felt helpless and sorry and lonely and bad.
It was so terribly painful, really, the way he would smile when he was about to cry.
And while he didn't know the Niisan that had been to hell and back again with a grin on his face, he knew his Niisan, and he knew that prison was not at all where he belonged.
Every line in his chest and back was defined; he hardly seemed to have any body fat at all.