When he squinted, they were the same. When he held his breath, didn't look at the sky that never shone blue, when he wished and when he prayed, they were the same. When the lines didn't matter, when the breath was clean, when the lungs weren't working in labor of sweet industry worlds, then, then it was so simple, so easy to see where they might be all born of the same blood.

...where they might be all family.

He smiled as he watched, as he stared, as he whispered to a God he didn't know, didn't recognize, didn't believe in, and held a hand at his chest as if to beat sounds into his silent psalms. Maybe someone might hear the dream, might kiss it and send it back to him with good intentions, with love and light and hope, oh please, Hope.

They spoke of war. They spoke of Reich's rising and hate brewing, of doom and prejudice and death for you, and you, and you. They hissed in dark alleys of the man climbing to power, of the following, of a faithful nation of Commandment breakers, and he slid through their conversations with the ease of unseen illrest. He was so damn good at that, had always been, would be given another hundred years.

God, god, they were the same, if his head turned a little to the side, a little; the eye color was different, changed, blue sweet blue, but... the smile, the lips... the light he brought to his lonely, maimed companion's lips.

Hohenheim looked away, sliding down the alley from where he was spying, letting the shadows descend on him like alluring whores to the dusky streets. His children were a mess, a tangled weave of worlds that electrified when touched, and he wondered, wondered idly what would happen if he stepped in again, if he showed Edward the truth, the blissful truth of loss and love under his heated, calloused hands.

Oh, how they both shared Trisha's face, her sweet, beautiful face. And their lips, would they taste the same, even if only one of them had been spewed from her screaming sex? Would they know the hidden Art of Lust as she did, the way she blushed when she rode atop him, the color flaming crystals in her rounded cheeks?

Would Edward scream his name when he teetered over the edge, hands fisted in long, long blond hair that was wrapped so deep down in the core of his own DNA? Would this false Alphonse bury his gasps into the crook of his neck, ignoring the rough grate of facial hair, gather the warpaint of desire and spread it over mutually needy skin? Would he be able to reclaim a single second of peace in their wanton, confused minds? A wrinkle in time when he could see her eyes in theirs?

Hohenheim laughed a little, shaking his head as he melted back under the rug of society like the dust that he was, ageless and hiding, should be long gone forever. He was cancer; he was death that lingered and mimicked the utter trivial game that Life had become. He was the jester whose tales and mockery had simply run past their near-eternal prime.

Maybe on another night he would come to them. Maybe on another night he could stand at the foot of their bed where they were tangled in a sleep that transcended the state of their naked knotted arms and legs. Maybe he could look at them like a son and a friend rather than the links to the past he had chosen to leave behind.

But the fountains of disillusion ran so tastefully deep, and he realized...maybe...he didn't want that day to come at all.