|A Whisper of Peace
Author: D. M. Evans PM
The What if's leave Al no peaceRated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Alphonse E. - Words: 1,367 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 4 - Published: 12-16-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5585376
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Whisper of Peace
Author – D M Evans
Disclaimer - all rights belong to Ms. Arakawa
Rating - FRT
Characters - Alphonse
Series - Manga
Timeline/spoilers - set after Hughes' fate but before Al returns to Lior
Summary - The What if's leave Al no peace
Word Count - 1263
Author's Note - Al just let it all pour out. Thanks to S J Smith for the beta
* * *
Al hated the night. He wasn't afraid of it, never really had been. It was Edward who had needed a night light but Al took the blame for his brother's pride. In the night, he was now utterly alone. Ed wanted him to 'rest' but Al couldn't. His body didn't need it and his 'mind' wouldn't allow for it. Loneliness filled the vast cavity inside him.
He knew that what if's were a waste of time but he had so much empty time to fill. What if's left the soul bleeding and his soul was the only thing Alphonse still laid claim to. On the bed, Edward snored the roof tiling loose. Al wondered idly if he should roll his brother onto his side before a neighbor came banging on the door to tell them to shut up.
Al had tried sneaking out at night in the past. Ed had been furious and, really, there hadn't been anything to do. A few scary bars were still open. He had seen prostitutes carrying on their business, probably had even passed a few criminals on their way to do harm. Al had considered taking care those of a criminal bent, knowing they couldn't harm him and were unlikely to outfight him, but Ed said no. Al knew it was because his brother was desperate to keep him safe, to keep him from getting old before his time by doing adult things, but what more could possibly happen to him?
So, Alphonse was left with nothing but his thoughts at night. The occasional sounds of the street, barely audible over Ed's stentorian snoring, were all he had, along with a few books, to distract himself from the what if's.
Naturally, the biggest of them was what if Mom never died. Paradise. He and Ed would be happy in Resembool, thinking about what they wanted to do with their lives when they weren't wasting time at the swimming hole with Pitt, Nellie and Winry. Al tried to never spent too much time thinking on this scenario because it made him cry, metaphorically speaking.
What if Izumi had been more open with them? If she had just told them what she had tried, they would never have done it. Al could understand why she kept her sin secret, of course. They were only children. She probably didn't think they'd understand. Maybe Izumi thought they would judge her, hate her. But if they had only known, he'd have a body and his brother wouldn't be weighed down by guilt and metal.
What if he had listened to Ed less? He always knuckled under to whatever Ed wanted. Granted, he was a child; they both were at the time. The problem was Ed was a force of nature, a tornado to Al's gentle summer breeze. Ed needed to be in charge and Al was all too often content to let him be. Still, he had been afraid to try and bring their mother back. He had hesitated and Ed wheedled and even though he hadn't said it, Ed made Al feel like he didn't want Mom back enough. In the end, Al shelved his fears and helped Ed make that damnable array.
At least he could lay to rest the what if Barry had planted in his mind. He was real, or had been. There was no more what if Ed had made up having a little brother. Al knew that was a lie. He had existed. His mother had loved him even if his father had abandoned him.
But that thought only led to the next possibility. What if his dad hadn't gone? Would Mom be dead now? Could Hohenheim have saved her, brought her back, stopped his sons? What did it matter, Al thought bleakly. Ed said their dad didn't care about them. Al believed, deep down, that there was another reason their father had left them and one day he'd be back and he'd hold them tight and tell them how sorry he was.
Not all of his what if's were negative. Sometimes he liked to think about the future. What if he got to be a lot taller than his brother, for instance? The very thought made him smile and picture Ed's disappointment but only because Ed was so hung up on size. What if he was the first to get a girlfriend? That was one of the first things on his to-do list once he got his body back, right after eating one of Mrs. Hughes' apple pies. What if he couldn't decide on what he wanted to do with his life? Al didn't think he'd want to be a state alchemist or sell his alchemic services but right now, that sort of future seemed so distant that he couldn't picture himself having a job.
Another pleasant what if was what if he didn't live with Ed forever. Of course, Al knew that wasn't really a what if, unless he and Ed lived some really sad, lonely lives. Al happily pictured his future house. He would have a big yard and he'd have room for all the strays he found. His home would literally purr. Al would always have furry company. Grand old dames would grace his window sills, basking in the sun, and kittens would find a target in Ed whenever he'd visit. Inside, Al smiled at the thought.
But the darker what ifs seemed stronger. They would invade and drive out the light. What if Winry didn't wait for them? What if she got tired of delaying her life? It would really hurt Ed. Al knew that it was all well and good that they used to play fight over Winry as kids but now, he knew Brother honestly loved her and Al wasn't blind like Edward. He saw Winry felt the same. He was okay with that because there was girl out there for him and Al suspected he'd find her before his brother caught a clue.
Al couldn't imagine having a life without Granny and Winry in it. But what if it happened? The things Miss Hawkeye told his brother haunted Al, too. Could he live in this country if, at the end, it turned the Colonel over to be treated like a war criminal? Mustang was a hero, once, and if things went as Miss Hawkeye feared, he would be put to death. What if suddenly his brother went from the Alchemist of the People to a wanted criminal, too? Ed did tend to wreck things, even if he tried to fix them.
What if he could stop it? Al didn't want anyone he knew to die needlessly ever again. He might be able to, Al reasoned. He was strong. Maybe they could all just disappear somewhere together. But the worst what if was, what if nothing he did mattered? What if he was like this forever until finally his soul rejected his armor and he flittered away like a butterfly, a tiny burst of short-lived color then became nothing? Ed and Winry wouldn't even have a body to mourn. How would they ever cope with losing him, too? Al feared that more than he feared his own death.
He shook, his rattle cutting off Ed's snores. His brother smacked his lips a few times, rubbed his belly then went back to snoring. Al couldn't allow himself any more dark thoughts. Picking up the latest books he and Ed had procured, Al tried to lose himself in the words, hoping for a respite, just a whisper of peace.