Warnings: Roy/Al = pedophilia, also implied Roy/Ed and implied Elricest
Notes: First one was written for devils_devotion, who requested Roy/Al with the phrase prompt "We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge and wisdom." from John Naisbitt. The second one was written for velvet_mace as a sequel to the first one. The last one is just to round things off a bit.
Alphonse Elric is a genius.
At times, it's fairly easy to forget this. After all, he looks like a child - a decadently, damningly beautiful child, seemingly made for temptation's sake - but still a child, and he sounds like one.
Roy has never had this problem with Edward. The Fullmetal Alchemist had shed his childhood the moment he fought death itself for his brother and put on the cloak of prodigal maturity the moment he became a State Alchemist. For Ed, it was sometimes difficult to find the child behind the genius, rather than the other way around.
Alphonse is highly matter-of-fact about his talents, just like Ed was. He knows far more about alchemy than a child his age should, just like Ed had. His mind is a complex maze of information on all kinds of things, just like his brother's.
These are the thoughts - excuses, really - that stop him from feeling worse about his desires when it comes to the boy.
He's mature beyond his years. I'm not -
- not some horrible monster who lusts after mere children.
Ed didn't complain about it. The brothers were - are so similar, maybe -
But of course, that's not true. Because as much as Alphonse is a genius, just like his brother, he's also still a child in many ways, more innocent than the Ed of thirteen had been. There Roy would be, safe in his delusions of left-over morality and the boy would say or do something completely childish, reminding him painfully that no matter how brilliant Alphonse was, he was still just untouched raw potential.
Alphonse has not yet been taught knowledge and wisdom by the cruel hand of experience, and in this he is unlike his brother.
And you - you would teach him. Take what little purity these brothers have left together and destroy it all. Wisdom gained the hard way.
Ed would kill him for this, slowly and painfully, and Roy - well, Roy would only be able to shrug and say 'fair enough' as he was drawn and quartered.
Alphonse Elric is a genius and a child - Roy has simply condemned himself by wanting to make the one fade into the other.
Roy is well aware that Alphonse may be in love with him in that desperate way children often have of clinging to what they have. It unnerves him, because this was never supposed to be about love.
He doesn't really remember what it was supposed to be about, though. Not anymore. It's all lost in a sea of slate grey and dark bronze, skinny hips and perfect, unblemished skin. Not even Edward had enthralled him like this - Roy's infatuation with the blond stemmed from a different, darker part of himself.
If he had loved Edward, hopelessly, then what should he call this, their current disgustingly blissful situation?
Al loves his brother, unconditionally and openly, although most don't understand the depths of their connection. He always has, and always will, no matter what happens. It's one of the great unchanging truths of his world.
His relationship with Roy is something completely different - that he's sure of. The man was the only one willing to take him in and tell him in colourful detail about the missing years in his memory, about the trials and tribulations they had gone through, and most importantly, about his brother.
Al understands irony, which is just as well, because it's the only way to describe their situation - for him, half Roy's original appeal was the way he sympathized with Al's quest and his longing the way no one else could. Sometimes, when he catches Roy giving him looks that are half wistful and half sad, he thinks that perhaps he can understand why.
One day, Ed turns up on their doorstep, windswept and smiling. In adulthood he is beautiful in an eerie, quiet way, and Roy is shocked at the difference a few years has made.
Al throws himself into his brother's arms, of course, voice hoarse with excitement. They embrace so tightly that for a moment, it looks like they're going to melt into each other and never part again.
Then Ed raises his head and stares straight at Roy, eyes clear and hard. "Thanks for taking clear of my brother for me, Colonel."
He can't mean -
But he does. Ed knows, somehow, and it's clear from the note of bitter amusement in his voice. Roy takes a moment to be surprised that he hasn't been murdered on the spot.
There's no violence at all, surprisingly, even after the brothers break apart. Ed only takes Al's hand, still smiling, and inclines his head at Roy.
"So, I guess we'll be going."
In that moment, Ed's intended revenge becomes terribly clear, and it's a fitting one - being the unrepentent sinner he is, Roy can't complain of his divine retribution.
Al looks uncertain for a moment, which is dreadfully flattering, but then he looks at his golden, shining brother and something hardens in his soft grey eyes.
Roy watched the brothers' retreating back and could only think of his painful, desperate and completely futile love for the both of them.
After all, the Elric brothers love each other above all else, and one forgot it at one's peril.
Al's world is reflected in the wide, gleaming eyes of his brother.
This has not always been the case, or at least not so completely. There had been a time when they had been normal siblings just like any other, although it seems awfully far away now. Before Mother, before human transmutation, before losing his memories - sometimes those days don't even seem to exist.
There is no then, just now, Ed says, smiling brilliantly, bitterly. We don't need anyone else.
This is Ed's mantra, and therefore it is Al's. Sometimes, though, he thinks that he can see - one dark eye, dark hair and an indulgent smile different from his brother's - in the empty echoes behind the words.
He looks into Ed's own - different, but only slightly - adoring, indulgent grin and wonders if his brother sees it too. Wonders about other things, as well, things like -
Long, deft fingers buried in long hair a shade lighter than his own -
That peculiarly fond look directed at narrowed eyes a shade brighter than his - and so sometimes he wants to ask.
In the end, though -
Brother, I -
I know. It doens't matter.
Does anything matter to you? Anything at all?
Only you, Al. Only you.
Al's world is encompassed by his brother's devouring eyes, and so he can only wonder.
Cross-posted to fm_alchemist and fma_yaoi