Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Summary: For Alphonse, traveling offers a preview of things to come.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: For some reason, prompt challenges on Dreamwidth keep bringing out Al's perspective for me recently. This ficlet was inspired by the "Travel" challenge at Fandom Weekly, where it won first place.
The traveling, Alphonse thought, was sometimes one of the nicer parts of the way things were.
…At least for him. Brother sometimes had cause to complain about bad food, bad accomodations, and long hours of arduous effort in getting from one place to another. Immune to such discomforts within his armor (although rather guiltily so), Al experienced it only as the excitement of seeing new places and things.
Sunset colors staining the waters of Aqroya. The open vastness of the desert beyond Liore. Snow-dusted mountain forests along the northern border. Even the gleaming, imposing architecture of the capitol in Central.
If things hadn't happened the way they did, the Elric brothers probably would never have seen a fraction of the sights they had. It was hard for Al to imagine now, when their lives and skills had grown so far beyond who they were back in Resembool; but if not for the painful losses and changes they endured, they might never have had much reason to journey far beyond their rural village at all.
So Al resolved to appreciate the chance to explore the wider world. He marveled at seeing natural wonders that were so different from the green meadows he grew up with. He was fascinated by the ways people lived in other environments—sometimes much harsher places that made him realize, a bit wistfully, how good and safe and simple his childhood home had been. He enjoyed meeting new people, even if it sometimes took them a bit to get past his fearsome appearance.
Of course, with his senses limited to sight and hearing, there were important dimensions to the experience of travel that Al couldn't enjoy. The flavors of regional dishes, made with vegetables and spices he'd never heard of before. The fragrance of exotic flowers that could only grow in far-flung climates. Desert heat, mountain cold, and the textures of the fabrics the locals wore to stay cool or warm in those extremes.
In the end, he could only watch Edward's reactions to such sensations. However, Brother didn't seem to pay as much attention to the smaller details of their surroundings. Sometimes Al wanted to ask him to describe what he tasted and smelled and felt… but Ed was usually so focused on his objectives, Al didn't want to impose on him that way.
He also didn't want to sadden Ed, by reminding him of the things his little brother was missing.
Someday, Al silently promised himself instead, each time he encountered something in their travels that he couldn't fully experience.
Someday, when his real body was restored and he possessed human senses again, he would revisit each point on the map where the siblings had traveled. He would eat the food, smell the flowers, feel the climate of every single place. He would meet the friends they had made along the way, all over again; and when he reintroduced himself with his true face, he could finally show them his smile of gladness at seeing them.
For now, it was only a pleasant daydream. There was still so much work for Brother and himself to do, and a long, long way yet to go.
But even so, each stop in their journey gave him a small preview of wonders he could spend a lifetime exploring…
And someday, he would.
© 2016 Jordanna Morgan