As much as he loved his family, Alphonse Elric wouldn't have traded these moments alone for anything.
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.
The only problem was that Ed didn't know what the heck "getting some" was or what he was being congratulated for.
It was only after the sheer sensation had abated — only when he felt on solid enough ground to focus on the subtleties of life once more — that the habit began to catch his attention.
"When I walked in on you in the bath, Edward, I wasn't expecting Al to be there too."
He can still feel in his cheeks the faint scratch of beard against skin when his father kissed him there.
"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."
Ed remembered that Al's first word was 'Mama', and his second one was 'Niichan'.
Ah. Fans. He preens slightly into his coat, sits up just a little taller on his haunches. Fans he knows how to deal with.
The color red was a distraction. The color red was him. Him--Mustang's own constant distraction, the waving red banner amidst the dull color that painted his everyday life.
Not a fairy, then, Alfons thought in disappointment. The fairies in stories weren't usually so foul-mouthed and excitable, anyway.
I didn't understand that, didn't comprehend why being clean for going into the earth was a good thing until much later...
It would be a shame if the future Fuhrer got himself killed over something as trivial as a chess game.
"Well, I guess she can't keep him away from every bitch in heat around this place."
Of course he came through the window.
He even dragged out his Best Manners for the occasion, the ones his mother had taught him so long ago.
“Um, you must’ve learned that from Colonel Bastard. You’d better not be flashing that at the nurses. Or at me, ever, ever again.”
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.
Alphonse had thought that he must have the bravest brother in the world.
Even Hawkeye could be caught off guard, and the men moving in too late, even five seconds too long, too far away.
He's getting so awfully, awfully tired of pictures, but they won't just stop coming.
What he remembered of ice cream, more than the taste, was how messy it had always been.
This is the smell of ozone from a lightning strike. This is fear.
There was one thing that Edward had missed above all others.
He mostly trusted his brother to be able to put a nearly-three-year-old to bed by himself, but...Al should probably check, just to be sure.
He remembered finding himself asking why the Fullmetal Alchemist would be the one to patch his own clothes.
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.
One day Edward was out kicking the crap out of those damn Homunculus with Al...
Neither brother seems willing to speak, but their thoughts dip down into similar wells, dredging up the questions that most haunt them.
It was so terribly painful, really, the way he would smile when he was about to cry.
"You don't think doing grown up things makes you look older?" Ed said after a while.
And there was a certain look they shared, the one they both used when they thought Ed was being unreasonably stubborn.
Because he had said one year; and dammit, he meant it.
Every line in his chest and back was defined; he hardly seemed to have any body fat at all.
Ed opened his mouth, and then closed it. "Visibility is that important to you, huh?" he said.
Ed should have remembered this from that month on the island, back when he was a kid: you can only be in the great outdoors so long before you start dreaming of hot showers. And of dumping the people you're travelling with in them.
Ed meets his eyes, holds them, and then -- slowly, painfully, but deliberately, traces his free hand in a line across his throat.
You hide it well behind your bluster and your sulks, but the workings of your mind are at once cunningly devious and ruthlessly simple.
He’s killing his brother slowly, but he has already promised to do it quickly; what does it matter?
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.
If Al began to forget things, then Edward would remember anything and everything for the both of them.
At night, curled shivering on the layers of musty damp leaves under the glimmering stars, Ed lay silently and thought of unspeakable unknowns...
ROY: [calmly] If drinking means acting like an idiot the way you are, I'm going to pass.
"Honestly, Fullmetal, I'm beginning to think that you're more trouble than you're worth."
Okay, his hair wasn't brushed, and it had been a while since he'd gotten a bath, but he didn't think it was anything to blush at.
And of course, he does not believe in God anyway, and scorns the idea of predestination.
The idiot prince still couldn't be bothered to figure out the different notes and coins, probably because he'd never actually paid for anything in his life.
He was only human though, and he had given into his rage at having to deal with Edward's dysfunction--and now Edward was gone, and it looked more and more like he might not be coming back.
He decided, then, quite firmly, that he wasn't ever going to drink coffee again, with anybody. It was too risky.
Ed did not want to die without seeing Alphonse again.