[Author] Mara D
[Series] Fullmetal Alchemist
[Pairing] EdxAl (No real mention of it yet, but it’s coming.)
[Rating] R so far.
[Spoilers?] Yes. AU. Picks up after the series ends. The movie can bite my butt because it doesn't exist as far as I am concerned. I am also taking a few tiny liberties with series facts, but should not be that obvious.
[Chatter] Took them long enough. This chapter gets a "toodamncute" warning. That is all.
Ed and Al were on a train on the way to Rizenbul.(Hoenheim was staying with Roy, not wanting to be along obviously. The man had been in noticeable pain and looked exhausted. Neither Ed or Al had dared argue.)
They were going to visit Auntie and Winry, and Ed was going to go get new automail. Al had put on a good front, and was calmer, quieter. He did feel better now that he wasn’t perpetually exhausted. Honestly, everything was frighteningly normal, except for Ed trying his hardest to pretend that Al didn’t exist. That wasn’t normal.
Each day, like the last, Al remembered the first night Ed had returned, when they had slept together in the same bed. Every time he closed his eyes his mind provided the details again perfectly. He could almost live on the memories alone, or so he thought, but when he sat up in the morning in bed and found he was all alone, he couldn’t help but be certain he was wrong. He felt alone, desperate, hurting. It was like a slap to the face. He had told Ed it was the one thing he had feared the most, waking up and Ed not being there, and yet, that was what Ed was doing. It hurt. Badly. He hid it behind a quiet smile, hid it behind the low simmering ache that could almost become anger. He wanted to rail that this wasn’t fair, but then again, he didn’t know what there was to be fair about.
He had to have done something wrong, and he was too embarrassed to ask Ed again. So instead he was stoic and quiet. Not cheerless as he had been, but still slightly damaged, reserved.
Up until they had left, he had been going to work with Roy, helping file paperwork, advising Intelligence, and generally done the best he could to keep himself busy, to keep himself from thinking. To keep himself from aching every time he looked at his brother. He still didn’t quite believe the ache, didn’t quite believe that he loved him…like that. Inside he knew the answer, but his mind couldn’t quite fit itself around the concept, while his heart knew quite enthusiastically where the truth lay.
Ed knew he was somehow becoming a crazed pervert…and that was why he wouldn’t sleep in the same bed as Al. Ed probably knew, and just didn’t want to have to let Al down. Al also couldn’t press the feeling further, because if he did, Ed might do something purely out of guilt, out of loyalty. Al didn’t really know what that was, considering he didn’t know the first thing about men and love except for what came down the rumor mill.
Ed’s excuse had been that them sharing a bed looked funny, but Al knew. He was going to lose his big brother forever if he told him how he really felt, or worse, pull him down into some sort of guilt induced sordid existence. Both were things that Al could not live with even more than the pain he already felt.
So now he sat on the train, trying to ignore the delicious way Ed’s shoulder brushed his.
He was trying to live in the little moments, in the time when no one paid anything any mind and found himself wondering, dreaming.
He watched the open window tease at Ed’s ponytail and dry the sweat on that handsome brow. It was warm on the train, almost too warm. And despite it, Ed was so beautiful, dozing there against the window.
Al’s mouth felt dry, and his palms were sweating. No matter how hard he tried to think about other things, the more persistent his worries became. It was like Ed’s laugh, his smile, his tears, had crawled inside of Al, nestling just under his heart and were caressing like the summer breeze. Until he wanted to cry from pure joy and aching nostalgic pain. He saw Hoenheim in Ed’s grin, in his easy and determined personality, and sometimes that would stop Al dead too. It wasn’t anything like he wanted to be with his father, it was just…a reminder of better times. Happier times.
The whistle blew, and Ed sat up groggily as the train began to slow, the station drawing nearer. Al gave Ed a sweet smile as he stretched and yawned.
“So are you excited about getting new automail?” Al asked softly.
“Yeah, and no…” Ed replied.
Al winced for a minute. He might have brought Ed back, but it was still Al’s fault that his brother was incomplete.
“I understand.” Al said, smiling sweetly for Ed, because it was all he could do to cover up the tears.
No one spoke to him much, instead both of them piling onto Ed, asking questions and bombarding him with curiosity. That was just fine with Al, he would just rather not be noticed, and so he took it easy as they walked. Once in a while, Winry would chatter at him, and he would smile shyly, reply in as few words as possible, and just try to stay out of the way. He didn’t feel particularly well at the moment, the train ride having made him a bit motion sick.
As they hitched a ride in the back of a supply cart, Al listened to Ed begin his tale, hamming it up for his audience. It was just the little bit he had told Al, about the cities on the other side, and how strange the people were.
Al just listened intently and leaned up against a crate while he smiled. It hurt a little bit, but this was the way it had always been. It was all about Ed, and Al didn’t mind. Ed deserved all the good things life had to offer. Al came…never.
He honestly felt a bit emptier than when he had started the whole endeavor to bring his brother back.
He had been polite, but he had not said much, too afraid of Auntie and Winry to talk a great deal. He knew he wasn’t really unwelcome, that he just felt that way, but that didn’t stop him from believing he was. He did his dishes, his own laundry, kept everything in a neat pile in his suitcase. He did as he was bidden at all times, and simply tried to stay out of the way for the first week while Winry and Auntie worked on creating Ed’s new automail. And then there was the surgery to mend the ports.
When they reattached the automail a week later, Al had sat in the hallway and flinched while his brother screamed. They had to operate on the ports again, and well…from the sound of it, it wasn’t enjoyable. Al knew what they were doing to nerve endings, and knew that there was nothing more heinously painful.
He cried quietly, helplessly, while wishing it was he and not his brother going through this. Wishing it was his pain, not Ed’s. Ed didn’t deserve to ever have to go through this again.
When they brought Ed out finally, sedated and medicated, Al had refused to let anyone else tend him. He patted a cool cloth over Ed’s forehead and eyes as the blond was sick over and over. The pain must have finally been easing though, because a few hours later, Ed fell deeply asleep.
Al slept curled on the floor next to his brother, shivering even in the warmth of Rizenbul. He was utterly alone, and worried about Ed, and there was nothing else that he could do but sleep as close as Ed would let him. Here on the floor, if his brother needed anything, he only had to reach out and touch Al.
It was the third night after Ed’s surgery when the sound of someone crying woke Al. Al sat up blearily, rubbing his eyes with his fists and sighing sleepily. Who was crying?
A quick glance towards the source of the sound revealed his brother, curled towards the couch back and whimpering between low, choked sobs.
“Ed?” Al asked as he stood, making his way to the edge of the couch where he perched, touching Ed’s good shoulder gently with a warm hand.
“Go away.” Ed sobbed.
“Why?” Al asked sweetly. “You wouldn’t leave me if I was crying.”
“You should leave me alone.” Ed said, a touch of mourning to his tone.
“Why in Amestris would I ever do that?” Al asked in disbelief.
“Because I’m a monster.” Ed cried through tears.
“No Ed! Don’t say that!” Al exclaimed fearfully.
“Al…you should…go away…before I…”
“Ed…what is it?”
“Al!” Ed whimpered, curling closer to the couch back now, a blush staining his cheeks.
Al finally noticed that Ed was hiding his hand with his hip, his knees curled tightly to the couch.
“Ed…what did you do to your hand!” Al said, a thousand scary ideas traipsing through his mind as he rolled an unwilling Ed away from the sofa back.
He was surprised to see the front of Ed’s boxer’s damp, his hand coated in something wet and thick.
“Oh!” Al exclaimed softly. “Oh!” He said again stupidly.
Ed was giving him a look of abject terror, studying his face as if he were expecting Al to fly into a fury.
“You did that while you watched me sleep?” Al asked softly.
Ed sobbed and then nodded ashamedly.
“Is that why you think you’re a monster…because I make you feel…that way?” Al asked.
Ed nodded again, another sob spilling from his lips.
“Is that why you won’t sleep next to me?”
Ed nodded again.
“Brother, you are so ridiculous.” Al said as he leaned forward to press a kiss to Ed’s forehead. “Let me go get a warm cloth to clean you up. It’s okay…don’t cry Ed…”
Ed glanced up at Al then, vulnerable.
“Why don’t…you hate me?!” Ed asked then, tears still tracking down his face.
“Because I feel the same way.” Al said quietly. “Now you stay still and I will go get you a cloth.”
“Al! You?!” Al heard the words, the objections starting, but he ignored them and kept walking towards the bathroom.
Al wiped the stickiness off of Ed’s hands and forearms, wiped it off of stomach and the tiny bit spattering the front of Ed’s boxers. It would dry by morning with any luck. He used the other clean side of the cloth to wipe Ed’s tears.
“Al, are you sure that…”
“Ed, listen to me, and listen well.”
Ed choked on a hiccup, but did as Al asked.
“I don’t feel any sort of misplaced anything for you. It isn’t a misinterpretation, it isn’t guilt or obligation or anything stupid like that. I love you. Truly love you. Now, I’m not too sure exactly…what love it. But I know what I feel for you…and I know how you make me feel when I’m with you, and when I’m without you. I just can’t be a person…I can’t be real, be worth anything without you.
I don’t need you to make it on my own, but I don’t feel right without you at my side.” Al said gently.
Ed stared up at Al, completely in shock.
“…and!” Al continued. “You shouldn’t cry. I love you, everything will be all right. You are going to get your new automail attached tomorrow, and you can go back to being the usual pain in the ass that you are.” Al said cheerfully.
Ed gave Al a shaky laugh, and Al laughed right along with him in relief.
“I know it’s hard for you to say, but I never really doubted it.” Al said softly as he curled back up on the hardwood floor at his brother’s side. “Get some rest, okay brother?”
Ed snorted. “I’m too afraid of Winry and what she’s going to do to me tomorrow.”
Now that was the Ed Al knew and loved talking. Al fell deeply asleep then, for the first time in weeks, and felt the lump of black and icy pain in the pit of his stomach thawing.
Ed had been nauseated for a while, but after a time, that had gotten better enough that he was up and tentatively walking around, adjusting to his new limbs.
Al watched him smile so broadly that he wondered if the grin might split his face. Winry had gone out of her way to make the automail perfect, make it the best she could, and it showed. Ed was also excited because for the first time in a very long time, he didn’t have a limp and he could wriggle his fingers. Al smiled a bit proudly. As proud as Ed was, to see his brother finally self sufficient again.
The sun was setting, and Al fell easily into step next to Ed. He tried not to feel a bit awkward at being taller. They were going for an after dinner walk. Al used to love these when he was a child, but then, they had gone outside to play, not to go for a walk. When in life did playing have to become something more grownup? Why did having fun have to be labeled with “walk”? Ed and Al were going out to do something other than be in the house.
A firefly winked in front of Al, and he reached out, easily catching it in his cupped hands.
“Brother!” He laughed softly as he stopped immediately. Ed did too, turning.
“What have you got there Al?” Ed asked, even though it was obvious to Al that his brother already knew.
“A firefly! See!” Al said, parting his cupped hands at the thumbs to let Ed see the little creature as it flashed fitfully.
Ed rewarded Al with a nostalgic smile.
“You shouldn’t hold onto it much longer Al, it will get lonely, it’s looking for a girlfriend.” Ed said, a tiny frown quirking down the corner of his mouth.
“How do you know.” Al said slyly “That it isn’t looking for its brother or sister.”
That one caught Ed by surprise, even as Al opened his hands and let the little creature go; laughing outright again as its tiny feet tickled his fingertips as it used him as a launching point to fly away into the dusk.
“It isn’t…natural.” Ed said. “If it were, everything would be…like that.”
“Yes Ed, but then we would never have babies…and the world would die. Maybe we aren’t unnatural, just special. Humans are a little different from animals sometimes. And even some animals mate with the same sex. Animals that are brothers and sisters will mate, they don’t know the difference.” Al continued.
Ed took that silently into account as Al continued to walk, and this time, Al was leading. He knew where he was going.
They got there about ten minutes later.
It was a moonlit hilltop that overlooked the farmland of Rizenbul. When Al was small, sometimes he would come here and sit all day, watching the travelers walking or riding along the roads and wonder if they were possibly his father, coming home.
Al used to tell their mother that he was “going to watch for Dad” and this was where he could be found.
There were no travelers along the roads now, and everything was still except for the singing of frogs and crickets. The sun was fast descending past the hills, leaving only a heavy blue-violet in its wake.
Al marched right up to the edge of the cliff and had a seat, dangling his legs into nothing and making his stomach lurch just by looking down.
It wasn’t far, only a thirty foot drop, but still, it was enough to make his palms sweat.
Ed sat silently beside him.
“How is your automail?” Al asked quietly, whispering over the hush of nightlife.
“Sore.” Ed replied, giving his shoulder a hesitant flex.
Al reached out, resting hand next to Ed’s port. He remembered, even from when he was a suit of armor, how he should rub to help with the pain.
Ed made no protest as Al’s warm hands worked at the outside edge of the ports, even more careful than usual because of the recent surgery. Ed made an odd sound, shivering as if he wanted to pull away in discomfort, but was leaning back against Al’s hands instead.
“It’s easier now…that I have my hands.” Al said tenderly.
Ed made a small sound that was something like an affirmative.
“When we get back, you should take something for the pain so you can sleep tonight.” Al continued.
He could feel the articulate flex of every warm muscle in Ed’s back. Al knew each one intimately, knew their names, what they did, which had been affected by surgery. And he knew them because they were part of Ed, like part of himself, an extension. Al was part of Ed, and that was all there was to it.
He massaged a bit longer, until Ed’s hands came up and stopped him. Al froze immediately, feeling the clutch of automail and flesh, strong but very gentle.
“Is this…what you want?” Ed asked, golden eyes worried and a bit…concentrated, luminous in the low light.
Al nodded slowly.
“Is it what you want?” Al asked, worriedly.
Ed slowly lifted his gaze again to Al’s face.
“More than anything else in the world.” Ed choked, honestly.
“Than why are we sitting this far apart…” Al asked softly. “It’s not like anyone will see.”
Ed glanced up then, smiling wolfishly at Al.
“Good point.” Ed said as he scooted over until they were touching, automail leg to flesh leg.
Al leaned over until he was bumping shoulders with his brother affectionately.
“That better?” Ed asked as he reached out, twining his flesh hand with Al’s.
“Almost.” Al whispered.
“What do you mean almost?!” Ed said, sounding indignant.
“Because B, I want to do this.” Al said, twisting at the waist, he leaned over, and artlessly pressed his lips to his brother’s.
Even if he had planned it, he wasn’t expecting the sensation. Ed’s lips were warm and smooth against his, a tiny sound of surprise escaping. Al shuddered, squeezing Ed’s flesh hand almost to death as he inexpertly moved his lips against Ed’s.
Ed was stiff for a moment, unsure. Al’s eyes were tightly closed, because he didn’t dare look.
For a moment he thought Ed might hit him or push him away, but then Ed was disentangling their grip, and Al felt the creep of hands up the backs of his arms. The warm swell of Ed’s lower lip softened against his, and then Ed was moving back, taking charge of the kiss as he slowly slid his arms around Al’s shoulder and waist.
Ed wasn’t moving away, he was pressing into the gesture now.
They parted for air a moment later, and Al opened his eyes to stare up into lost gold. Ed was trembling now too, trembling with an almost desperate need. Al understood and yet he felt unbelievably lost
And then Ed was kissing him, kissing back fiercely. Pushing Al back down to the cool grass of the hilltop, straddling Al’s waist while his tongue warmly skated the seam of his lips, touching carefully.
Al didn’t really know what that meant, but he opened reflexively.
And then Ed’s tongue was in his mouth, tasting like nothing but heat and slick.
What was he supposed to do?
He tentatively moved his tongue back, caressing it against Ed’s.
This made Ed make a tiny moan.
Okay, so that was good?
It took a moment, mainly because Al was clumsy and nervous, but eventually Ed wrung a moan from Al as well. Ed’s tongue was warm and silky and it made him ache…there…maybe he was an utter pervert, but it made Al think of where else he might like that warm tongue that was caressing his.
He had heard about things like that before, but never seriously considered them until this moment. He hadn’t given his body much thought really…not like that.
When they broke apart finally, it was with a sound of regret from Ed, and a gasp from Al.
He just laid there for a moment with Ed on his chest and his fingers tangled in Ed’s long blond hair. Neither of them moved. Al briefly wondered how it was that Ed knew how to do this. The other part didn’t particularly care. He either wanted some sort of relief from the tightness in his shorts, or to calm down. Either way, Ed wasn’t helping. And Al didn’t want to push things too far. So he regretfully wriggled out from under Ed.
“Ed…” Al asked slightly breathlessly.
“Yeah?” Ed replied softly as he rolled away from Al to flop into the grass, spread-eagled.
“Can I please…sleep beside you tonight? I promise I’ll stay on my side.”
“I fully expect you to share my pillow. Don’t be stupid Al.”
Al smiled to himself slowly, staring up at the stars.
“I missed this Brother, in Central…I missed seeing the stars.”
Ed wriggled in the grass with a satisfied grunt.
“I missed this too…when I was on the other side of the gate. There was always too much smoke or city light…”
“You have to tell me…about there…sometime. Will you?”
Ed’s expression was slightly haunted.
“Some day…soon, just…We should head back, I’m getting tired.” Ed said weakly.
“Okay.” Al murmured.
Go Back To:
((Chapter Seven - Part One ))
((Chapter Seven - Part Two))
Cross posted to: yaoicest fma_yaoi fm_alchemist elricest