Playing with Fire

Her idea of training was stranding the brothers in an island with nothing but their clothes and a knife. They would remember later that Izumi, by abandoning them, had taught them basic survival skills.

The Elric brothers then had to learn to hunt and to kill. They at first blanched at the idea of killing an animal, but instinct took over. They would starve if they didn't eat the rabbits they trapped, and the island didn't have any fruit-bearing plants.

The next step was to cook the meat. After they had skinned the rabbit, Al had been prepared to bite into flesh when Ed explained that wild animals may harbor parasites. They had to cook their food.

It was easy enough to start a fire, with the appropriate array and dry wood. They skewered the meat into branches, and cooked them over the flame.

They ate their meal in companionable silence, and later dragged the large leaves which served as beds beside the campfire. It kept the scavengers and large animals away, Ed said, as he fed the flames with twigs.

"Mother used to say that we shouldn't play with fire." Al watched his brother poke at the embers. "We might get burned, or worse—"

"We aren't playing anymore Al." Ed turned to his brother with sharp eyes. "If we get hurt, so be it. As long as we get Mother back. We're doing all this for her."

Years later, Al would remember their conversation and told his older brother.

Ed laughed bitterly. "No matter what I said back then, we were still playing with something we didn't understand. Our bodies are proof of that."