This is a sequel/homage to the most ridiculous Elricesty parody doujin EVER, "Loincloth Witch Alphonse." If you haven't read it, see the footnotes for a brief summary of the plot.
Alphonse barely had time to grip his Metal Stick That Has No Other of Its Kind on Earth a little tighter before Red Cape-sama had disarmed the bespelled woman who attacked them, knocked her out, and propped her gently against a nearby wall.
He’s so fast! Alphonse thought. And so…dashing. The pounding of his heart seemed to echo through the sudden night-stillness of the alleyway, and Alphonse pressed his hand against his chest as though that could quiet the sound.
Red Cape-sama straightened, the cloak for which he was named billowing around him in the wind. He pushed his sleek red glasses up his nose, all but hiding his eyes from view, and his debonair hat sat tilted at a slightly rakish angle that made him seem taller, more imposing somehow. He took a few steps closer, the heels of his shoes clicking on the pavement.
“Are you all right, Loincloth Witch Alphonse?”
“Y-y-yes,” the young hero stammered, feeling as though at any moment his heart might leap right through his ribcage.
Red Cape-sama stepped closer still, reaching out; Alphonse stood frozen, wide-eyed and flushed, as his savior gently righted the headband that had been knocked a little bit askew in Alphonse’s dirty-blonde hair. “You should be more careful, Loincloth Witch,” the smaller man (Smaller? His presence was so overwhelming, but standing this close, he seemed no taller than Edward) murmured, his fingertips lingering a little at the sides of Alphonse’s head. The wind gusted through the alleyway again, and that silky red cape fluttered gently against Alphonse’s bared legs. He wished suddenly that he were wearing more clothing, or perhaps less—but then Red Cape-sama pulled back again to a more proper distance. “A hero as cute as you must have someone at home who worries about him.”
Sudden guilt twisted through Alphonse’s chest, though it did nothing to still the trembling in his limbs or the sudden urgent hardness that his loincloth barely concealed. That’s right—brother will be worried. He’s probably lying awake in bed right now, wondering where I am, when I’m out here having very inappropriate feelings about someone else! What an awful brother I am!
“Yes,” Alphonse agreed aloud. “I do have someone worrying for me at home. I...I have to get back to him.”
“Then hurry to him,” Red Cape-sama admonished gently, taking Alphonse’s hand, “and give him this from me.” He bent in a stately bow, pressing his lips to Alphonse’s knuckles, the blonde rope of his hair sliding forward over his shoulder and swinging like a pendulum.
Alphonse shivered at the touch of those lips, suddenly weak-kneed. “I-I-I...I will!” he stuttered out. Red Cape-sama seemed to smile crookedly; then in a whirl of black and red and blonde, he vanished into the dark.
The lights were off when Alphonse got home, and there was a silent, Edward-shaped lump in their bed. Alphonse tucked his Metal Stick That Has No Other of Its Kind on Earth away for safekeeping until tomorrow night’s patrol, stripped off his clothes, and tiptoed to bed. His groin and his chest were still throbbing from the electric touch of that kiss on his hand; as he slid carefully beneath the covers at Edward’s back, guilty and relieved in equal measure, his brother spoke.
“You were out again tonight.”
“Yes, brother. I’m sorry.”
“I’m glad you’re home safe.”
“Me too, brother. I know you must’ve been worried—”
“Of course I was worried.” Ed turned over to regard him, gold eyes catching what little light came in from the window and lighting up like a cat’s. “Just...just always come back to me, okay?”
“Always,” Alphonse replied immediately, reaching for his brother’s hand and, after a guilty pause, kissing the knuckles gently.
Ed laced their fingers together, his expression intense; Alphonse squirmed a little under the scrutiny, made breathless by the heat of his brother so close to his skin. Then Ed slowly smiled and rolled over him, pressing the lengths of their bodies together from lips to toes, and Alphonse gratefully wrapped his limbs around his brother to receive him.
The barest streaks of sunrise were lighting the sky when the brothers finally fell asleep, still locked together in a sweaty, exhausted tangle.
“Another loincloth thief captured,” Ed commented from behind the morning’s paper when they finally rolled out of bed late that afternoon. Alphonse fiddled with his tea and pushed his very late breakfast around on his plate.
“Any idea who’s behind this? You keep catching thieves, but more of them keep appearing.”
“Well, supposedly there’s a man in a black loincloth who’s behind everything, but…” Alphonse shrugged, vaguely embarrassed. “I haven’t really gotten any leads on him.”
Ed hmmmed in a way that meant he wanted to say something protective and big-brother-ish but was holding back, and the sound made Alphonse smile into his tea. Brother really does care about me. I couldn’t possibly love anyone more than I love him. And when I see that Red Cape-sama again, I’ll tell him to stop kissing my hands and things, it’s entirely uncalled for.
It was just then, as Alphonse nodded decisively to himself, that the kitchen window exploded in a shower of glass and a rock the size of a fist, wrapped in a black loincloth and trailing a folded-up missive, thumped onto the table between them.
“It’s obviously a trap,” Ed growled as he swept a few more shards of glass into the pile on the table with an automail hand.
“Well, of course it is, but I can’t just ignore it. This could be my chance to catch the man in the black loincloth and put an end to this for good!”
Edward’s scowl deepened. “I really don’t like the idea of you going in there alone, Al.”
“I know.” Alphonse glanced down at the note again, then over at his brother, who clapped his hands with more force than was really necessary and transmuted the window back the way it was. “But he says he has hostages from the Loincloth Country. I can’t risk letting any of them get hurt, they have souls now, and it was my actions that made them that way. They’re people, as much as I was in the armor, and they deserve to be saved.”
Ed turned to regard Alphonse, his hard expression softening a little around the eyes. “Then please promise you’ll be careful.”
“I will, brother. I promise.”
“Who knew Central had an abandoned theme park?” Alphonse murmured to himself as he stood beneath the rusting entry gate to Crazy Comedy Adventure Town. “And what a dumb name for it.” It was darker here in the city’s outskirts than in Central proper; there were no street lamps, and fields stretched out around the decrepit park in almost every direction. Only the road Alphonse had followed to get here gave any indication of civilization nearby.
The perfect place to spring a trap on me, he thought with a little shiver. Then he squared his jaw and straightened, pulling the Metal Stick That Has No Other of Its Kind on Earth from his pocket and waving it sharply through the air. “Magical Loincloth Makeup!”
The transformation was fast, but bright—it would not have gone unnoticed. As Alphonse’s regular clothes disappeared, replaced with his loincloth and sailor midriff top, he searched through the shadows for any sign of ambush. He was lucky—no attack came. He pulled the ransom note, rather wrinkled now, from the snug pocket of his loincloth and read it through again.
“Come to the funhouse,” it said. “I’ll be waiting there for you.”
Alphonse shivered. A funhouse was sure to have mirrors, and secret doors, and any number of other things to distract him and catch him unawares. Still, he had no choice—and Loincloth Witch Alphonse was not one to back down from a fight just because of a few curvy mirrors.
He slipped quietly through the park, darting from shadow to shadow with the ribbon of his Metal Stick That Has No Other of Its Kind on Earth flowing behind him like a vapor trail; the stillness of the place gave off a creepy sort of air, as though nothing alive had been through those gates in ages, and the days of lights and noise and children’s laughter were long, long gone. Alphonse tried to ignore the itchy feeling that he was being watched as goosepimples rose all along his bared limbs that had nothing to do with cold. Then, quite suddenly as he turned a corner, he could hear music.
There was the faintest echo of a carnival song drifting from somewhere to his left, deeper into the park. Warily he followed it until the sound was so loud amidst the park’s dead stillness that it was almost all he could hear. Then the funhouse came into view, looming and garishly, crazily lit. There was something so wrong about that noise and light in the middle of this ghost town that Alphonse froze, a shudder of fear rippling through him.
Still, there was nothing for it—the citizens of Loincloth Country were counting on him. Quickly adjusting his loincloth and gathering his wits about him, Alphonse strode forward out of the shadows to the funhouse entrance.
“Welcome, Loincloth Witch Alphonse!” a voice greeted through a loudspeaker. The voice seemed familiar somehow, but he couldn’t place it through the speaker’s distortion, so he just held his ground, alert and showing no sign of weakness. The voice giggled, then continued. “I’m so glad you’ve finally arrived. Come in, come in—I await your arrival in the Grand Mirror Ballroom.”
“Where are the hostages?” Alphonse shouted. “I won’t come inside until I know they’re safe!”
“Oh, they’re perfectly safe—for the moment. Aren’t you?” A chorus of voices answered through the speaker, crying “Help!” and “Save us!” and a single shout of “Don’t let him trick you, Loincloth Witch!”
That shout was one he knew—it was the giant teddy bear, the one who’d welcomed the lost Elric brothers to Loincloth Country on their first visit there, and who’d gifted Alphonse with the wand that produced his magical transformation.
He had to get them out.
“All right, Black Loincloth,” Alphonse called, closing his hands into fists. “They’d better remain unharmed—I’m coming in!”
He charged into the funhouse, scrambling through the spinning tunnel and darting through crazily tilted hallways and past bizarre portraits with eyes that followed him and statues that creaked with disuse as they lunged out suddenly to frighten him. He ignored these distractions—time was of the essence, and he’d seen enough real danger in his short life to know funhouse tricks from real threats. He let his instincts carry him deeper in; the passages seemed to weave up and down alongside each other, endless hallways that gave the impression that the funhouse was larger inside than out. Finally he surged through a doorway into a huge, glittering room that spun dizzily around like a carousel, lined with curved mirrors of all sorts, reflecting his own distorted image back at him from every surface. And there in the center sat the giant teddy bear and a handful of his loinclothed companions, tied to the center axis around which the room rotated; standing beside them, two wicked-looking swords in hand, was the man in the black loincloth.
Alphonse skidded to a halt and stared, slack-jawed. “Fuhrer King Bradley?”
There he stood, naked but for his eyepatch and bushy moustache and loincloth all of the same black hue, one sword held to the throat of the giant teddy, the other held casually at his side.
“Welcome, Loincloth Witch Alphonse. I see my disguise cannot fool you—but still, will you do me the favor of calling me Black Loincloth? I rather like the ring of it. As your nemesis, I ought to have an equally charming villain name.”
“But…don’t you already have a homunculus name?”
“If I were in your position, young man, I would stop arguing while I was ahead.”
Alphonse snapped his jaw shut, eyeing the wicked edge of the blade at the giant teddy’s throat. “All right. Just tell me what you want from me, Fuhr—uh, Black Loincloth, and let these innocents go!”
“What I want?” Black Loincloth replied mildly. “Why, I thought you’d have guessed. I want to take over Loincloth Country and absorb its lands into Amestris. All great nations become greater through colonization and expansion—it’s the way of the world. And you, Loincloth Witch,” he continued, pointing his second blade straight at Alphonse, “are the only thing standing in my way.” Then, with incredible speed, the nearly-naked Fuhrer charged.
Alphonse barely had time to bring his Metal Stick That Has No Other of Its Kind on Earth around to defend himself, his cry of “Alchemic Lovely Ribbon Spiral!” coming just quickly enough to deflect the enemy’s blades. Alphonse darted away, trying to put more distance between them, but Bradley was faster, bearing down on him with swords slicing toward him from both sides, one aimed for the throat, the other for the stomach. There wasn’t time—there just wasn’t time for another Alchemic Lovely Ribbon Spiral or an Alchemic Heart Attack, he was going to die right here, and his brother would be all alone, his brother would be all alone...!
Red and black flashed before his eyes; metal clashed and sparked. There, between Alphonse and certain death, stood Red Cape-sama.
There was a frozen moment as Alphonse tried to take the scene in; Bradley’s swords had been halted in their deadly arcs, one caught against Red Cape-sama’s forearm, the other against his raised shin, knee bent high against his body. How...how is that possible? He stood, strong but straining, balanced on one foot as Bradley’s mouth and visible eye narrowed into thin, tight lines.
Red Cape-sama turned his head, just a little, the gold braid at his back sliding aside. “Run, Alphonse!” he barked, the strain evident in his voice. “Get out of here!”
Alphonse twitched, startled by the harsh order. “But...I can’t just—”
“Too late,” Bradley murmured, pulling the blades back with lightning speed and spinning to catch Red Cape-sama across the face with a bone-snapping heel kick. Alphonse’s would-be savior was thrown a good two yards, landed hard with his red cape sprawled out over his body, and did not rise.
A breath of a moment later Alphonse felt the breeze of a blade through the air in front of him; his Metal Stick That Has No Other of Its Kind on Earth seemed to shift, slide, and then the cute little armor head at its end toppled off and rolled away across the spinning floor.
Mirrors all around the room reflected that rolling little head, and Alphonse watched it with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. Red Cape-sama could very well be dead, crumpled and mirrored crazily on every surface, and now the source of his power had been beheaded without a second thought. He felt the air around him shimmer as his Loincloth Witch magic ebbed away; felt the transformation reversing itself, and knew that now, without a doubt, he was surely going to die.
I’m sorry, brother. I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry—
“Don’t lose faith, Loincloth Witch Alphonse!” the giant teddy called suddenly into the frozen moment. Time seemed to slow; Bradley whirled, ready to spring back to the center of the room to silence that call. The giant teddy paid no heed. “The Metal Stick That Has No Other of Its Kind on Earth is just a catalyst, a tool—the power of the Loincloth Witch is in you, Alphonse, you just have to believe it! Find it in yourself! Save us!”
The power is...inside me? It has been all along? Alphonse let the useless stick drop from his hand. Just believe it, huh? He watched Bradley dart in slow motion toward the hostages bound against the center column; he reached inside himself, somewhere deep in his stomach, or maybe his chest, or maybe in his loincloth, or maybe some combination of all of them. He felt the power pulsing there, alchemical magic shining, pulsing, waiting to be unleashed. He took hold of the power, gathered it, raised his hands—and let go.
The release of power was blinding, and knocked Alphonse backward as it left him in an explosive rush; when he could see again, Bradley was slumped against the far wall and surrounded by shattered mirror fragments, his skin smoking faintly and his signature black loincloth burned away by sheer magical force. At the center of the room, the giant teddy had somehow freed himself in the commotion, and was untying the others; they cheered and hugged each other, crying with relief.
“You saved us! All hail Loincloth Witch Alphonse!!” they chorused, but Alphonse himself just scrambled to his feet, hurrying to the still form beneath the red satin cape.
“Red Cape-sama?” he whispered, fearful, and knelt by his side; gently he pulled the cloak away from Red Cape-sama’s face.
The top hat and stylish red glasses had been knocked aside; where Bradley’s sword had struck his forearm, the black suit was sliced open, revealing the glint of metal beneath. Alphonse sucked in a strangled breath, the icy chill of fear gripping hard at his chest and rushing out along his limbs, ripping a shudder from him. “B...brother?”
The side of Edward’s now-exposed face was already purpling from the vicious kick—might’ve fractured his cheekbone or his jaw or oh god his eye socket or his skull or—and his breath was shallow, just the barest rise and fall of his metal shoulder. Alphonse lay a hand gently against his neck—oh god what if his neck is broken oh god—and felt the flutter of his pulse beneath. “Brother? Ed? Ed, please open your eyes, can you hear me? Ed!”
He felt a huge fluffy paw on his shoulder as the Loincloth Country folk gathered around in a solemn circle; the giant teddy knelt beside him, speaking softly. “You can heal him, Loincloth Witch Alphonse,” he said in Al’s ear. “Believe in your power.”
“I...I can...what?” Alphonse stuttered through a sudden deluge of hot, panicked tears.
“You can do it,” another of the giant loinclothed toys murmured, and the reassurance was taken up around their circle. “We believe in you!” “You saved us, you can save him too!” Alphonse bit back a sob; Edward still hadn’t stirred, not so much as a flicker of his eyes beneath closed lids. “We believe in you,” the giant teddy soothed in his ear.
“I hope you’re right,” Alphonse choked out, leaning close over his fallen brother. “Brother, listen, you can’t die, you can’t die protecting me. You can’t leave me alone. You have to stick around and keep looking out for me, okay? So I’m gonna fix you, and then we’re gonna go home, you and me...” He paused, overcome, and lay his hands against Ed’s swollen face and tanned neck. “Come back to me, okay?” He reached for the power again, and found it, gentle this time and warm, yet electric like every kiss they’d ever shared, like the touch of Red Cape-sama’s lips to Alphonse’s knuckles, his brother disguised all along.... He let the power move through him like water, like alchemy, let it catch tiny little bits and pieces of himself and carry them through into his brother. Little whispers of his love, of his soul, passed between them; then, at last, Edward’s brows furrowed just a little. The corner of his mouth twitched. His eyelids fluttered, and cautiously slitted open.
“Al?” he croaked.
“Brother...brother!” Alphonse sobbed, and pulled Edward into his arms.
“Ed, if you don’t keep the ice on it, the swelling won’t go down.”
“But it’s COLD!”
“Of course it’s cold, it’s ice! You’re such a baby.” But Al let it slide when Ed tossed the bag of ice onto the bedside table; the side of his face was purpling horribly, but at least his eye wasn’t swollen mostly shut anymore. Ed stretched languidly and sat on the edge of their bed, still wearing the Red Cape-sama suit; as he leaned down to pull his socks off, Alphonse smiled and rubbed a hand along the line of his back. “I still can’t believe I never recognized you. I felt awful about the way Red Cape-sama made my heart pound.”
“Not just your heart, from what I’ve seen,” Ed murmured, turning to look back at Al with a teasing grin.
“Mmm, well, no, not just my heart.” Al reached up to take off the antenna-bedecked headband and lay it aside; his clothes hadn’t transformed back on their own, and he wondered if they ever would as he removed the flamel choker from around his neck.
Just as he was about to tug off the sailor midriff top, Ed caught his hands. “You know, you weren’t the only one who was feeling that way. It was really hard not to break my cover, seeing you in that getup, fighting so bravely...”
The molten look in his brother’s eyes set Alphonse’s insides aflutter, but he turned demurely away, blushing. “But it’s so silly-looking...” He stood, going to the closet to get hangers for their costumes, but Ed was at his side in a flash, pinning him to the closet door with firm arms and a smoldering look.
“I like it,” Ed cooed, and pressed forward, a black-suited knee sliding between Al’s bare thighs. He tugged the glove from his flesh hand with his teeth and splayed his fingers along the smooth stripe of skin that Alphonse’s skimpy shirt exposed, and Al felt all the air leave his lungs in a rush.
“You’re so adorable, Loincloth Witch,” his brother murmured, closing the distance between their mouths and punctuating the statement with a flicker of his tongue. “All that sweet skin showing, and that perfect tight behind.” Alphonse moaned, heat surging through him, and wrapped his arms around his brother’s trim waist beneath the black suit jacket.
“Red Cape-sama,” Alphonse groaned out, and then the automail slipped up beneath his shirt to tease a rosy nipple, and Ed’s flesh hand slid downward into his loincloth, and Alphonse thrust into his brother’s warm palm and didn’t speak again for quite some time.