Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Pairings: Eventual Roy/Ed, mentions of past Ed/OC, mentions of past platonic Hei/Ed
Type: Psychological, Drama
Summary: 34-year-old Edward Elric finds himself standing in a city he thought he’d never see again; in a time that had already come and gone in the distant memories of his past.
Chapter Listing Here
Mirrors of Yesterday
Reflections of a Dream
Reflections of a Dream
Roy felt himself gradually float into wakefulness. He was vaguely aware of the rain beating heavily against the window, of the sheets against his skin, of the arm around his waist... He blinked. Arm...? It was then that the previous evening crashed into his bleary mind, and he squeezed his eyes shut in sick humiliation. Last night he’d told secrets he’d kept all his life... to Edward Elric no less... An older Ed, but Ed still the same...
He felt completely mortified. True, he’d drunk quite a bit, and he’d been tired, but he just couldn’t believe he’d made such a horrible mistake. It was a dangerous secret; something he had to keep to himself—for his reputation, for his career. People ‘like him’, as Ed had put it, just weren’t welcome. People ‘like him’ ended up harassed, demoted, discharged for some silly little thing... or even found ‘mysteriously’ dead...
Behind him, Ed shifted, and Roy almost didn’t want to breathe for fear of interrupting this moment. Mistake as it may have been, it felt so nice to sleep with someone; felt nice to feel another man pressed up against him.
He closed his eyes, trying to understand the situation. How was this older Ed here? How was it possible? Figuring it out seemed to be almost impossible. If Ed didn’t know, then how was he supposed to? Ed had said that he could end up going back anytime, but he hadn’t seemed sure of how that would happen either.
Roy felt a heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He didn’t want Ed to leave... It was a silly thing really, to feel so needy, especially of someone he’d just met—given that this older Ed was not the younger teen he knew—but he couldn’t help it. Now that he’d told Ed his darkest secrets, and they’d seemed to come to some sort of understanding, Roy wanted him to stay... It felt nice to have finally told someone... Maybe he could prevail on Ed to give him a chance, to give being with another man a chance... Probably not, but it was a nice thought that kept him entertained for the next little while as he enjoyed the feel of Ed behind him.
Finally, Roy knew he couldn’t stay there any longer. He’d be late if he didn’t start getting ready for the day. With a sigh, he slowly moved to get out of the bed, but stopped when he felt something tug at his arm. Turning, Roy saw that Ed was staring fixedly at him and holding onto him.
“Where are you going?” Ed asked, sounding a little reluctant.
“Work... unfortunately,” Roy answered simply. He hadn’t realized Ed was awake, or maybe he’d woken him up by moving; though he liked the idea that perhaps Ed had been awake and had been enjoying the closeness just as much as he had.
“Of course,” Ed murmured before releasing Roy and letting his arm flop onto the bed. He felt heavy and hesitant as he slowly pulled on his uniform. He didn’t want to go. He wanted to stay here... Damn his responsibilities...
He heard a loud sigh from the bed and turned to see Ed lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling. “I was thinking of finding an automail mechanic. It’s been a while since I had mine inspected.” Roy frowned slightly. For some reason he hadn’t even though about what Ed would do while he was at work. “But... I probably won’t,” Ed continued, sounding regretful. “I don’t have any money.”
“Why not just put it on the state’s tab?” Roy asked as he buttoned his military jacket.
“I’m no longer in the military,” Ed said mildly, then sat up and looked at Roy seriously. “I...” he began, then stopped for a moment as if trying to gather his thoughts. “I would like to thank you for giving me a place to stay. Like I said, I don’t have any money, so I can’t pay you back...”
Roy studied him quietly for a moment as he digested what Ed had said. He was no longer with the military... Did that mean that he’d been able to achieve his goal of gaining what they’d lost, or at least at returning his brother back to normal, given that Ed still had automail...? He wanted to ask, but now didn’t seem to be the right time.
“You’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like,” Roy said in a tone that he hoped sounded inviting. “It’s not a problem having you here at all.”
Ed pressed his lips in thought, then said, “Thank you, but I don’t want to stay here for free. I don’t like handouts.” Roy nodded. The younger Ed was the same way. Ed was quiet for a moment, then said, “I can cook and clean, though I don’t know if that would be enough to repay you for your hospitality.”
“You cook?” Roy asked with a raised eyebrow. He was suddenly even more interested in Ed staying with him. Roy could cook a few things well enough to stay alive, but the list of things that he could make was pretty limited, which meant he was forced to eat at the military cafeteria more often than not.
“Yes, I cook,” Ed said, sounding slightly defensive. “My mother taught Al and me how to cook when we were children, plus I had to know enough to feed myself when I was a teenager. My wife also taught me a few things...”
“Ah, well then, I think we can work something out,” Roy said quickly, not wanting the moment to become awkward. Ed seemed to be quite sensitive about the subject of his deceased wife, and right now Roy didn’t have the time to get into a long drawn out discussion. “But for now...” Roy dug out his wallet, pulled out several bills, and offered them to Ed. “Take this and get your automail checked.”
“I told you,” Ed began stubbornly. “I don’t want to take han—”
“This isn’t a handout,” Roy said, cutting him off. “It’s an advance. I also think there should be enough for you to pick some food up for dinner...?” He phrased the last as a question. A home-cooked meal sounded almost as good as Ed sticking around for a while, and he couldn’t help but be curious about his cooking skills as well.
Ed seemed to consider this for a moment, then slowly took the money. “Thanks...” he said, sounding a little unsure. He watched as Ed looked down at the bills and studied them; then, after a moment, said, “This is real... isn’t it...”
“Unless our banking system changed overnight,” Roy said wryly.
Ed glanced up at him with a slightly irritated look on his face, then said, “I meant this whole situation. I mean... I guess I thought perhaps I might wake up back home, but I’m still here. It doesn’t feel like it should be real...”
“I’m real,” Roy said flatly, then retrieved his black overcoat, pulled it on, and began to button it up.
“I wasn’t trying to imply that you weren’t,” he heard Ed say behind him. “But, to me, you’re someone from my past. You’re someone I never thought to see again, especially not with you being the age you are now, and me being older... And well, even then, you’re just not who I remember you being...” Ed said, his voice trailing off.
Roy swallowed as he did up the last button, then turned to look at Ed, who was gazing down at the money again. What did Ed mean by that? Was it because of what had happened last night? Regret surged through him and he felt angry at himself for telling Ed so much.
“Well... sorry to disappoint you,” he said bitterly, then turned and, grabbing his umbrella, walked out the door.
Ed walked slowly down the sidewalk of East City and took in his surroundings. The rain hadn’t stopped, only slowed to a dull drizzle, and the few who were braving the weather had donned heavy coats and were holding umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain.
While Ed did have a heavy coat, there had been no spare umbrella at Roy’s place, and so he’d simply decided to go without. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d gone without an umbrella in the rain, and it wouldn’t be the last. Unfortunately, the absence of said umbrella caused a few curious glances in his direction from those people who made it their business to know everyone else’s business.
But what did he care? He’d probably be gone soon anyway... At least, that’s what he tried to reassure himself with. Truthfully, he had no idea. The only thing he could remember was the car. It had hit him, he knew that, but after that the memories just weren’t there. It had been raining, just like today, and he’d been on his way home from work.
It had been just another day at the university, with students and faculty, and all sorts of research piled on his desk. Just another day where he would go home and have a stiff drink before immersing himself into one of the many projects he had going on.
Just another way to fend off the loneliness.
He’d run into Al on the way home and promised that he’d come visit over the weekend so they could reminisce about the past and about whatever crazy—though never serious—theories they might have to return to their homeland. Promised his nieces and nephews—who adored him for some reason unknown to him—that he’d bring some of that candy he’d invented. Promised his sister-in-law—who thought he was at least one egg short of a dozen, but liked him anyway—that he would absolutely not regale the children with wild stories of magic circles, people who weren’t really people, and places far away—that, of course, were not real—because then the children got strange ideas.
He smiled softly to himself. He loved his brother’s family and envied him as well. His own wife had talked of children early in their marriage, but it had never happened. The practice was to blame the woman for lack of offspring, but he never did. He wondered if it was his fault that she’d never been able to conceive, and he’d tried to console her as much as he could.
Ed paused when he saw a group of boys sailing a small boat down the ditch on the other side of the street, then sighed heavily. Maybe things would have been different if they’d been able to have kids. Maybe he would have become more acceptable in her eyes. Maybe he could have proved himself in some way. Maybe he would have felt more for her...
But, of course, it was all speculation. Despite their problems, numerous as they were, the marriage hadn’t been horrible. And, though he had married her more so that he wouldn’t have to be alone, he had come to care for her a lot; maybe even loved her... It was all so complicated; and, even after all this time since her death, he still felt so confused about a lot of things from that time. He still jumped from idea to idea and from emotion to emotion depending on the day or even the hour.
Shaking his head at himself, Ed began walking again, this time paying attention to the buildings around him. The architecture of the buildings, though different from those in Germany, held a familiar and nostalgic feeling about them. He suddenly found himself wanting pictures of random buildings to take back with him; just so that he could pull them out and look at them every once in a while.
He stopped when he saw the sign in an automail shop, proclaiming that it was open. Moving over to the shop, Ed opened the door and let himself inside.
The first thing he noticed as he wiped the rainwater from his face was a friendly-looking but active old man bustling around the back end of the shop where six young men sat at tables working on various pieces of automail.
The walls were lined both with pictures of ancient automail and the real things; which should probably have been in an antique shop somewhere, or even in a museum. When the old man saw that he had a customer, he quickly scurried out of the back area which, according to the sign, was for employees only, around a long counter, and to where Ed was waiting.
“Good day, good day!” the man said in a friendly, but businesslike manner. He looked Ed up and down curiously, though whether it was the soaked nature of his clothing or the different enough to be foreign look he was sporting in his apparel, Ed didn’t know. When he was satisfied, the shopkeeper asked, “What can I do for you?”
Ed raised his automail arm and said, “I need to have my automail examined and maybe even get a tune up.” The shopkeeper raised an eyebrow in surprise, and Ed realized, once again, that his speech held an obvious German accent to it—an accent that was unknown to Amestris. He’d have to work on that, though right now it wasn’t his top priority.
“Is it just the hand?” the shopkeeper asked more slowly, as if Ed might not be able to understand what he was saying.
Ignoring the shopkeeper’s tone, Ed said, “No, it’s the whole arm, including the shoulder; also, my left leg to above my knee.”
“Hm...” the old man murmured, pulling out his pocket watch. “I can look you over right now, though if you need a tune up, then you’ll probably need to make an appointment.” He snapped the watch shut and looked up at Ed. “That work for you?”
“Of course,” Ed said, wondering if he’d be around for the tune up or not.
“Right, well, have yourself a seat at that table there,” the man said, pointing to a table halfway between the door and the long counter. “Take that coat of yours off—there’s a coat rack over there—and remove your shirt.” He waved vaguely to a spot near the door as he wandered to a desk and searched for a few things.
After hanging up the coat, Ed made his way over to the table, moved his hands to his shirt, then paused. He hadn’t shown his automail in public for... well, more years than he could remember. But then, that was the other world... In this world, automail was an everyday thing. Still, he couldn’t help but feel nervous and reluctant as he began unbuttoning his shirt.
Ed heard the old man chuckling and looked up to see him walking back toward the table with a few instruments in hand. “I didn’t peg you as one of those types who’re embarrassed about their automail.” He motioned to one of the chairs. “Sit down and don’t worry. We don’t judge no one. How you ended up with it is your own business.”
“Thanks...” Ed murmured, taking off his shirt and draping it neatly across his lap.
The old man introduced himself as Nolen Knight, then promptly exclaimed, “Well, I’ll be! This is Rockbell work if I’m not mistaken! I met Pinako Rockbell once, back in the day. She was quite the woman; but even more, she was quite the mechanic. Still is, from what I hear, and her granddaughter too...”
Ed smiled, then chuckled a little when the man took on an almost guarded look. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell either of them that it was you who messed with it.” Nolan gave him an almost sheepish smile, as if that had been exactly what was on his mind, then began to probe.
Moments later, Nolan muttered in disapproval, “How long has it been since you’ve had a check up? Those women will eat you alive the next time they see you; you know that?” Ed nodded, silently agreeing, though for a different reason. Most likely those two would eat him alive if they ever saw him, but not for the reason Nolan believed. No, it would be because they were actually seeing him...
Ed swallowed hard, thinking of Winry.
She’d loved him...
He hadn’t understood until much later—until it was too late—but he had come to realize it. He probably could have been happy with Winry. She wouldn’t have shunned him because of his automail...
Ed mentally shook his head. There was no saying whether or not he would have been happier with Winry than he had been with his wife, but he suspected it might be so. He’d made his choice, however, and it was something that he’d have to live with.
“Well,” Nolan said after looking at both his arm and leg. “Despite the fact that you obviously haven’t had a tune up in a while...” A pointed look from the old man which obviously meant that he was displeased by such a lack of responsibility. “The automail is in rather good condition. You take good care of it.”
Ed nodded. Of course he took good care of it. There was no where he could have gone for a replacement...
Nolan paused, then went on. “I definitely recommend a tune up. I’d be happy to do it, though if you can get to Rizembool, that might be your best bet because the Rockbell women have never looked kindly on others messing with their work, as you must know.”
“I’m not sure how long I’ll be here in East City and when I leave, I doubt I’ll be going that way. Best to have it looked at here,” Ed said mildly.
After another feeble attempt to get Ed to go to Rizembool, Nolan agreed to set up an appointment for a check up. After making the appointment, Ed pulled on his shirt, paid a small fee for the quick exam, and left the shop. The rain had lessened to a light sprinkle for now, and for that Ed was grateful. Hopefully, the respite would last long enough for him to shop for food and return back to the apartment without becoming thoroughly soaked.
Alone in his office, Roy sat back in his chair and stared dully out the window at the drab, and very wet, world beyond. He didn’t feel like being here; didn’t feel like spending his time going through accounts and requests, or trying to find ways in which he could increase his rank or get close to his superiors.
All of that would matter tomorrow or next week. Right now he wanted to go home and make sure that it all hadn’t been a dream. He wanted to be reassured that he wasn’t going to be rejected by the only person he’d let in on his secret; wanted to know that Ed was going to stay, at least for a little while...
Roy felt like he’d really messed up. He felt embarrassed and regretful. If he could take back all that he’d told Ed last night, he would. He couldn’t though, and so somehow he needed to make the best of what he had.
“You’re having a productive afternoon, I see,” a smooth female voice said, and Roy turned in his chair to see his first lieutenant walking toward one of his filing cabinets with a couple of files in her hands.
“I’m thinking of how to execute my grand plan to rule the world,” he countered, but the banter sounded forced to his own ears; and, by the small frown she gave him, Hawkeye must have thought so too.
For a moment, Roy wondered if she was going to go soft and ask him about his troubles; but instead, she gave him a small smirk and said, “How about starting small and working your way up.”
“As in Amestris?” Roy replied, not in the mood to joke, but not wanting to bring his personal life to the office either.
Hawkeye pointed to the mess of forms and folders that littered his desk. “As in the building reports.”
Roy lifted one of his legs and rested the ankle on his knee as he sat back easily in his chair. “I’ll get them done,” he said lightly with a yawn. He always got his work done. “After I take a nap...”
Shaking her head, Hawkeye bent down and began putting the folders away in the filing cabinet. Roy eyed her rear idly; and, not for the first time, wished that he could make himself like women. Maybe if he did, he would ask her out; rules against fraternization be damned. He and Hawkeye got along amazingly well, in the office and out, and he was pretty sure that she would agree to date him if he asked... But he wouldn’t ask because he knew that all he felt for her was friendship, and it wouldn’t be fair to her if he pretended he had any further interest than that.
“Do you believe in love, Lieutenant?” he asked suddenly, then instantly wished he hadn’t.
She sat back on her heals and turned her upper body and head so that she could look at him. Her deep brown eyes studied him intently for almost a minute, and it took a lot of effort on his part to look at her steadily and not squirm in his seat. The silence was unsettling and the rain pelting the window suddenly sounded much louder than it had a moment before.
“I don’t know,” she said softly. It seemed as if she wanted to say more, but instead she simply waited. She wouldn’t pry, it wasn’t her way; and besides, he was her superior... But he also knew that she was willing to listen if he needed to talk.
He did need to talk... but he was also uncomfortable with bringing personal matters to work with him and sought a way to escape. Glancing at his desk, Roy’s eyes rested on the East City Tribune. He slowly picked it up and began flipping through a few pages as if the conversation had no real meaning to him, but was simply a passing thought.
A moment later the sound of her messing with the files met his ears, and he glanced over the paper to see that she was no longer looking at him. Roy returned his gaze back to the newspaper and tried to forget that he’d asked the question, but the black print seemed to mix together in his vision and he just couldn’t concentrate.
Finally, he asked, “Do you believe that there is someone out there for everyone?” Roy tried to keep his eyes on the paper, but they slid involuntarily over the top of the newspaper and rested on her back.
Again, there was silence in the room except for the ever present rain on the window, then she said, “No, I don’t.”
Roy let out a breath that he hadn’t realized he was holding. He felt so... disappointed... though he didn’t know why. Perhaps it was because Hawkeye was always so sure of herself and about the things around her that if she said it was so, then it would be.
She shut whatever drawer had been open; and, when she stood, Roy forced his gaze back to the newspaper. He heard her boots click on the floor as she walked toward the door, then they stopped.
“I believe,” she began slowly, then paused as if she were unsure if she should say what was on her mind. “I believe that most of the time it just comes down to luck. Maes and Gracia Hughes, they were lucky. Fate put them together; they were meant for each other... Most of us aren’t that lucky. Some will find people who they at least like and think they’ll be able to get along with, but the rest of us...”
She trailed off, and Roy pulled his gaze away from the paper and let it settle, once again, on her back; unconsciously aware that he was hanging on her words like a drowning man to a lifeline.
“The unlucky ones...” she finally said. “Well, they’ll end up alone. Or worse,” she said quietly. “They’ll fall in love with people they can’t have...” She stopped, then shook her head. “I suppose what I’m trying to say is, we can’t wait for fate to hand ‘the one’ over to us. Those who take chances just might end up happy, or they might not, but if you don’t try for something, you’ll always wonder...” There was silence in the room once again, then she walked over to the door and opened it.
“Lieutenant,” Roy said quickly, and she stopped once more. He swallowed, before saying quietly, “Thank you...” Her hand tightened slightly on the doorknob and she gave a curt nod, then she was gone.
He sighed heavily, then folded the newspaper and set it by the telephone. Turning his chair to face the desk, Roy opened a folder and stared dully down at it before turning his chair back to face the window. He wasn’t going to get anything done today; he knew it, Hawkeye knew it. The least he could do was look busy, but he just didn’t have it in him today.
“You know who you look like?”
Ed glanced up from where he’d been inspecting the money Roy had given him and stared blankly at the girl at the cash register. She was young, probably in her early twenties, with auburn hair that barely touched her shoulders, deep green eyes, and a brilliant smile.
“No idea,” Ed murmured, then looked back down at the bills, trying to come up with the closest amount to what he was being charged.
“You look like Edward Elric,” she said with a laugh. “I mean, not exactly. You’re taller, older, you wear your hair differently; and your clothes, that’s different too.”
Ed glanced up slightly and said wryly, “Is this Edward Elric someone I should know?”
The girl flashed another bright smile and said, “Well, probably not, since you’re obviously not from Amestris, but the resemblance is uncanny. You should look him up sometime. He’s sort of a hero out here in the East, even though he’s in the military. I’m sure he’d be easy to find.”
“Edward Elric. I’ll remember that,” Ed muttered, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable.
“‘The Fullmetal Alchemist’, that’s his title. Lots of people just know him by that, so don’t forget it.”
Ed only nodded as he finally put together the amount he wanted and handed it over to the girl. She took it, but instead of putting the money away, she continued to stare at him for a moment before saying in a more subdued tone, “But you know what?”
“What?” Ed asked when it became obvious that she wasn’t going to continue until he said something.
“It’s your eyes...” she said breathily.
He blinked. “Excuse me?”
“Your eyes... Ed Elric is the only one I’ve ever seen with eyes that color. Yours are exactly the same... It’s... well...” She blushed deeply, then turned away to put the money in the register and to pull out the change he was owed.
Ed stuffed the leftover bills in his pocket and silently willed her to hurry. He didn’t remember ever meeting this girl, but then he’d met a lot of people in his travels, and it had been a very long time since he’d been in Amestris. Suddenly, the only thing he wanted was to get back to the apartment and hide away. If this girl, who most likely had only seen the Fullmetal Alchemist a few times, could put him and his younger self together, then he was sure others could—and would—too.
The questions he would get and the mess it could cause if people knew he was, in fact, Edward Elric... well, it could get very ugly and he didn’t want that. What would happen if his mere presence somehow changed what had happened in the past? What sort of repercussions would it cause? The possibilities and theories made his head spin.
She handed him back his change with a shy, “Come back again,” and he practically fled the grocery store with his purchases. He was sure that was a very normal thing to say to the customers, but not the way she’d said it.
The realization that by leaving the house and venturing out into public he was taking a huge risk made him want to run, but he knew that would only draw more attention his way. Not that there were many people about on such a dull and dreary day, but still...
Forcing himself to settle on a quick walk, Ed tried to think about his options. He had no idea how long he would be here, or how he’d gotten here for that matter. There really was nowhere he could go in Amestris where people wouldn’t think of how much he looked like his younger self...
Thunder boomed overhead and suddenly the rain became a torrent. Feeling that any sane person without an umbrella would run in this weather, Ed tightened his grip on the sack and quickened his pace to a fast run.
Roy knew who he was... Last night Ed had figured that as long as he didn’t mention anything that hadn’t happened yet, then it was fine, but he’d also been tired and not really thinking straight. How would Roy knowing about him this change the future? Would it? Should he leave? But if he did, where would he go? He’d still have to earn money to live; still have to go to a market to buy food. He’d still be seen... Someone was bound to figure out who he was.
Ed only stopped running when he reached the apartment building and let himself inside, but he didn’t relax until he was safely hidden inside of Roy’s apartment with the door locked—for his own peace of mind—behind him.
Huffing slightly from the run, Ed set the bag on the counter, then pulled off his coat and hung it on the coat rack. I’m getting old... he thought wryly. He wasn’t nearly as physically active as he used to be, and he was pretty sure that was more of a reason for his being out of breath than his age. But, he had a habit of blaming everything on his age now.
It had started as a way to subtly irritate the older professors when he’d first started working at the university. He’d been so young; much too young for the position, but his brilliance had gotten him the job. In fact, even after all these years, he was still the youngest professor employed there.
With a heavy sigh, Ed wandered over to the couch—he’d folded the bed back into a couch after Roy had gone—and slowly sank into the cushions before letting his head fall back and closing his eyes.
It didn’t seem real; none of it. He felt as though he was stuck in a dream, and it made him nostalgic, excited, sad, frightened, and nervous all at the same time. He’d already reconciled long ago that he would never see his homeland again; yet, somehow, here he was, in East City... in Roy Mustang’s apartment of all places...
Roy Mustang... Ed thought as he opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. Moving his head from where it was laying against the back of the couch, Ed looked around the small studio apartment with a frown.
All the memories he had of the man consisted of a snide and arrogant colonel constantly poking fun at him, making things hard for him, and doing things that pissed Ed off with a vengeance.
Ed glanced over at the telephone which sat on Roy’s desk, thinking of the phone call from the night before. Well... Perhaps not all the memories he had of Roy Mustang were like that, he amended. There had been the time he and Al were on the run and the colonel had been mad because they hadn’t asked for his help. And then, of course, how could he forget... there had been that talk in the car... the talk before he’d confronted Dante and the homunculi... Before he’d died...
He shivered at the thought and rubbed his eyes tiredly. Old memories... Yet, now Ed had to wonder how accurate they were. He’d been so young and hadn’t had the benefit of years like he did now. He’d been a different person...
The clock on the wall chimed, and Ed glanced at it before looking toward the kitchen. When should he start dinner? He realized that he didn’t even know what time Roy got off work... He’d never stuck around the office long enough to find out when anyone got off work, or when they went to work... Ed shook his head at himself. Roy had been right about him not really knowing what went on there.
Well, he supposed it didn’t really matter if he started dinner early. It had to cook for a few hours anyway... Ed lightly scratched his head, then smoothed back his still damp hair before getting up and wandering toward the kitchen.
He hadn’t made this recipe in... well, a very long time because Europe didn’t have all the same vegetables that Amestris had, and vice versa. Ed began pulling food out of the bag. The first time he’d tried to make this recipe was when he’d been living with Alfons. It had been... well... atrocious probably came close, but with the war going on and the country in the middle of a hyperinflation nightmare, they hadn’t been able to afford throwing it away...
Ed smiled a little at the memory of Alfons suggesting they use it for rocket fuel on their next test run, then the smile slipped away. Except for missing his brother and being desperate to find a way home, Ed had been happy living with Alfons. They’d gotten along for the most part, and... well... he’d just felt comfortable with him...
Shaking his head as if to clear the melancholy memories from his mind, Ed pulled out a few drawers to find a knife, then glanced back to the vegetables he hadn’t had in so many years. No, it wasn’t a dream. It was real... Feeling resigned, Ed began to work as his mind reminiscenced on the past and the future, and what it all meant for him now.