A drabble request for a friend, and my first foray into restored!Al. May or may not end up in the same timeline as the rest of my FMA fics.

white aster

A Dream of Parting

When General Roy Mustang knocked on the door of the Elric residence, the most dangerous thing he expected to encounter was Edward Elric's temper. He was NOT expecting the sound of canine WOOF!ing from inside. One eyebrow twitched upwards as he distinctly heard Al's voice, trying to shout something over the canine commotion.

Man and dog's voices came closer to the door, followed by the rattle of a lock and chain, then a short scuffle, and finally Alphonse Elric opened the door a crack, beaming when he saw Roy. "General! So good to—"

The largest St. Bernard Roy had ever seen finally succeeded in muscling its head around Al's legs and the edge of the door, eyed Roy, and promptly howled at him in a deep bass loud enough to shake the doorframe.

"—SEE YOU!" Al finished, trying to keep the door between dog and Roy. He thwacked the dog on the head, which seemed to mollify the mutt only a bit. "Will you shut UP!"

Roy's mouth quirked, watching both of them. "Really, Alphonse, if Fullmetal was becoming a pest, I could have found a mission to send him on. You didn't have to —"

Al's eyes flashed a smile, his mind quick as always, picked right up on the joke. "Oh, but he's more useful this way! He eats just as much, but he scares away burglars and can keep my feet warm! Would you like to come in, General?" Al, with a quick quirk of his own lips, finally gave up on the door and wrapped both hands around the dog's collar, hauling backwards to halt the canine's lunge towards Roy.

Roy eyed the dog. The dog eyed Roy and growled. "If it's safe," Roy said.

"Oh, he'll settle down once you're inside. Please!" Al hauled back, dragging the dog back to clear the doorway.

Ten minutes later, they were settled in the living room. Roy looked over at the dog, which had, indeed, taken to ignoring him and was stretched out in front of the fireplace like a particularly furry rug. "I didn't know you had gotten a dog."

"Oh, me home?" Al blushed just a bit, pouring the tea. "Really! I was at the market last month and he just walked up to me and sat down at my feet. Followed me everywhere, including home and right into the house. Winry says that someone probably abandoned him, and he chose me as a new owner. Brother says that he was probably thrown out for eating more than any three people combined."

"As if Fullmetal has any room to talk," Roy murmured under his breath. He nodded to the brute in front of the fireplace. "He's a lovely dog. A bit...large. Does he have a name?"

"We haven't given him one yet. Right now he's 'Hey You' most of the time. Brother's well on his way to convincing him that his name is 'Moron'— see?" Al laughed as Moron, apparently recognizing his name, got to his feet and shuffled over to have Al pet him. Al ran his hands over the dog's ears, scratching his head. The dog's tongue lolled out of his mouth in bliss. Al's head tilted to the side as he scratched thoughtfully. "I think that someone really did just turn him out into the street, or he can't find his way home. We put an ad in the newspaper and all, but no one's come to claim him. And as much as Brother gripes about him...I think he feels better about leaving me alone if I have some kind of protection." Al made a face, and Roy smiled, following his train of thought.

"As if you're not quite capable on your own. I'm surprised that he's left you alone at all." Edward had been a rather militant motherhen in the half-year since Al had gotten his body back. Roy's office staff had been taking bets on when either Al or Winry would snap and either kill Ed or turn him into something unpleasant.

"I threw him out for the day," Al replied brightly. "Winry helped. She drug him off to a play, I think."

Roy nodded in approval. "I'm glad that you two seem to have Fullmetal well in hand."

"Did you want to talk to him? They should be back in a few hours—"

Roy shook his head, blowing on his tea. "This is just a social call. I wanted to see how you were."

"I'm fine." Al beamed with a brightness that rivalled the noon sun. "Things are getting more bearable. Light's not such a problem anymore. It's sounds, mostly. It's different."

Roy nodded solemnly, though he could only imagine. "The dog's noise doesn't bother you?"

Al made a wry face. "Well, his barking startles me, but then a lot of things still do. I had to argue with Brother that he wouldn't scare me to death." Al tilted his head again, looking down at Moron's head under his hands. "It's not as overwhelming as it used to be. I think that he actually helps, getting me used to the noise. And he's soft, and warm. A silly reason, I know, but...I like having him around."

Roy watched Al running his hands over the dog's head wonderingly. He thought of ten years of this vibrant, smiling young man locked into an unfeeling suit of armor, and said quietly, "I don't think that it's a silly reason at all."