Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Rating: R – NC17
Type: Angst, Divergence (splits off from episode 32), Romance, Mystery, Political, Yaoi, Het, etc.
Pairings: Roy/Ed, Al/Winry, (other minor pairings)
Warnings: Language, Sex, Violence, etc.
Summary: After getting Al’s body back, Ed finds that life after reaching his goal wasn’t what he expected. As the country faces the threat of civil war, will Ed be able to handle life without Alphonse constantly by his side, or will he simply substitute one companion for another?
Previous Chapters Here
Walking through the front door,
After putting everything but the lube and condoms away,
His heart was beating hard and fast in his chest as he looked nervously into the bedroom. Relief washed over him. Lying on his side on the bed was Ed.
He stepped silently into the room, not wanting to wake the other alchemist, then stopped. The phone, which normally sat on one of the nightstands, was lying on the floor near the closet door. A section of paint on the wall was peeling and dented as if the phone had been thrown against the wall.
He walked over to the nightstand, opened the drawer and put the lube and condoms away, then picked up the phone and set it back where it belonged before looking down at Ed. The boy was lying with his back toward him, so
Sighing in weariness,
In a way it had been a great weekend. Things had happened that he would never have believed would ever happen. It had only been in his wildest dreams that Ed was interested in him before…
In another way, the weekend had been really rough on him. Dealing with all the drama Ed had brought with him, and the emotional ups and downs he had gone through dealing with the boy.
‘I don’t think it’s a good idea.’ Hawkeye’s words echoed in his mind as his eyes searched Ed’s face.
He wondered if she was right. What if he couldn’t help Ed? Would it really be so bad for him to try? Was it so horrible that he didn’t want Ed to leave now that he was here? Was he being selfish?
The silver state identification gleamed dully in the muted light coming from the storm ravaged world outside the window. Sometimes he thought the watch a heavy burden. He had done things since becoming a State Alchemist that he wasn’t proud of; things he would have never thought he’d have to do when he first entered the military academy.
Using his thumb, he depressed the button that opened the watch. In the side opposite the clock was a picture of two young boys.
The picture had been taken the summer of their thirteenth year, along with several others; one of which sat on his desk.
That summer had been a great summer. It had been the summer Maes had found out about
But all good things have a tendency to come to an end. At nineteen, Maes had decided he wanted their friendship to be a platonic one, and of course
Needing something to fill the emptiness,
That was when they decided to join the military together. After basic training they had been separated, choosing different paths to follow; although they still kept in touch.
A mistaken, naïve belief.
The Ishbal extermination had taught him that.
Maes had been lucky enough to land a desk job and had never been sent to the front lines, but not
Despite Maes’s declaration, years before, of wanting a platonic friendship, he had been the one who had held
That was the last night they had together.
Not until he laid eyes on Edward Elric.
It hadn’t all happened right away, but his infatuation with the boy slowly began to take over and he was able to let go of his feelings for Maes.
He would help Ed.
A trumpet blew and Russell Tringham looked up from what he was doing. The man who had blown the trumpet, a tall, heavily muscled miner from Youswell, had short brown hair and a full goatee.(2) When those in the immediate vicinity began gathering around, Russell left what he was doing to join the crowd.
After a few minutes the man shouted, “There are missions to go to the north and to the south for some of you.” There was murmuring among the crowd, but the big man overrode the voices. “These come directly from Kagegkuski. I’ll be reading out a list of names. If you’re on it, you’re to report to section F-7 to get your assignments.”
There was a rustling behind him and he looked back to see a short, blond boy squeezing his way through the men.
“Brother, what’s going on?”
Russell waved him to silence as he listened to the names being read. When he heard his name he listened even closer for Fletcher’s and was dismayed when it never came.
As the crowd dispersed, Russell quickly explained what was going on as they walked toward section F-7. Fletcher stopped suddenly, a look of panic on his face.
“Brother… I don’t want to be left here without you...”
Russell frowned. “Well, we’ll just have to ask if you can come with me.” He said it mostly to console his brother for the time being, but he didn’t think they’d let Fletcher leave. His younger brother was a talented alchemist, they’d need him there.
Besides, Russell was no fool. He knew he’d never be able to match Fletcher’s skill in alchemy. His scientific specialties lay in chemistry and they weren’t much use in an army. He wasn’t needed here as much as his brother. He didn’t want to leave Fletcher, but he believed in the cause enough that he was willing to be separated from his only family for a short while.
“Don’t worry,” he said, trying to be cheerful. “I’m sure everything will be fine, even if I have to go without you, I’ll be back before you see any fighting.”
Winry knocked on the door, but when no one answered she cracked it open and looked inside.
The room was dark, but moonlight came in from the window and she could see Al leaning against the windowsill looking out through the glass. She bit the inside of her cheek trying to decide whether she should disturb him or not.
She hadn’t spoken to him since that morning. She’d spent the rest of the day, after her talk with granny, working and thinking about what she’d said. Maybe granny was right. Perhaps Al did care for her. But if he did… what then? Was she placing false hopes on Ed returning her feelings?
Taking a deep breath, Winry slipped inside the room and closed the door softly behind her.
“Al?” Her voice sounded more timid than she wanted, but it had gotten his attention. His head, which had been at a downward angle, came up, but he didn’t turn around. “Dinner will be done soon.”
There was silence in the room for almost a full minute before he spoke. “There was a phone call today.”
Winry blinked. “A phone call…? From who?”
When he didn’t respond immediately, she felt a tightness in her chest and her heart began to beat faster. Could it have been…?
“I don’t know,” he whispered, his voice soft and worn.
“You don’t… What do you mean?”
“No one spoke when I answered the phone,” he said heavily. She wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she said nothing. “I think…” he said in a painfully broken voice. “I think… it… was Ed.”
She gasped involuntarily. She’d thought that perhaps it could have been, but to hear Al say it… “How do you know?” she asked hesitantly.
He shook his head and whispered, “I don’t, but… I asked if it was Ed and whoever it was… well… they hung up…”
Winry felt tears come to her eyes. Ed… it could have been Ed, and if it was… that meant that at least he was alright. But he hadn’t said anything to Al! Nothing at all! The whole situation just seemed so wrong! A tear rolled down her cheek. She sniffled and wiped it away.
Al turned around and peered anxiously at her through the gloom. The concern in his eyes was too much for her and she dropped her head. He shouldn’t be concerned about her, not when he already had so much to be worried about. After all, it was his brother that was missing. It had been he who had been beat up.
“Winry…” he began, but she cut him off.
“Why...” she whispered, then looked up at his dry eyes. “Why don’t you cry? Have you even cried once since it happened? Just once?”
He couldn’t meet her gaze and looked away. “No…” came his answered whisper.
“Why?” she asked again, tears streaming down her face.
“I want… I wanted to be strong.” He turned his head back. “For you, Winry. I wanted to be strong for you.”
Her eyes widened at his answer. She hadn’t expected him to say such a thing. “No,” she whispered. “No… Alphonse…” She shook her head. For her. He wanted to be strong for her. “It’s okay to cry; it doesn’t make you weak.”
Oh granny! You were right... he does care for me... Ed had never said such things to her, and in a way it broke her heart to realize it, but she also felt relieved as well. She’d been so confused about what to do… She did care for Ed, but she cared for Al too. But… if Ed didn’t care for her, then there was no need to hold her hopes concerning him, was there? She was free to explore how she really felt about Alphonse. Although her brain kept going over this, her heart just wasn’t listening…
She already knew she was attracted to Al, but… if he cared for her and she cared for him… What would that mean for their future? She tried to picture herself with Ed’s brother, but the mental image just wasn’t coming… all she could think of was Ed… She did care about Al though. She really did. How could she make her heart understand what her brain had already figured out?
A pained look crossed his face. “But, you’re always waiting for him to return, and…”
And what? What could he say? That he wanted to be strong so that she could lean on him? It just seemed so arrogant… selfish even.
She had lowered her head again and when a small sob came from her Al thought his heart would break. He couldn’t stand seeing her cry, but he was unsure what to do. What could he say?
Without warning, Winry walked over to him and put her arms around his waist, burying her face in his shoulder. He stiffened and blushed. Of course, they were friends, and she had often hugged him and Ed, but that was when they were kids…
“Win…” he began, but she cut him off.
“Shut up, Al, and hold me.”
A small smile touched his face and, not for the first time, he envied her ability to be so straight forward. Hesitantly, he brought his arms up and wrapped them gingerly around her body. He lowered his head so that it was pressing against the side of hers and breathed in her scent.
He had wanted to hold her for so long, but now that he had her in his arms he felt guilty. He felt as if he were betraying Ed. Winry cared for his brother, not him. It all just seemed so wrong… but he couldn’t get himself to let go.
Al felt a lump form in his throat. He had to find Ed; he just had to. He couldn’t stand all the mixed emotions, all the pain. He tightened his hold on her and tried to hold back the tears. Whatever she said, he needed to be strong for her.
“It’s okay to cry,” she whispered, and he felt his eyes begin to burn from the tears.
How did she know?
He squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his teeth together; determined to hold it in. But he couldn’t. A rough sob burst from him as all the negative emotions he had pushed away came to the surface.
Weeping brokenly, Al held her even closer, not caring if it was right or wrong to have her in his arms. She was there, and that’s all that mattered.
2) See episode nine.