"You were sick, so it must have chosen me to take your body in the time of recovery?" Edward flung his hand through his hair with a sigh. "It was amazing how it happened anyway, but I do see relation." He paused for a moment, trying to find the right words. "We really must be connected. That means that if you die on me…" "I'm not going to die!" Al said with a deep and determined voice. His eyes flickered open from deep thought. "So you want me to go looking for Al?" "Don't you want to go looking for Al yourself?" Edward's eyebrows rose with an all knowing grin. "You want to see how exactly alike you are don't you?" Edward began laughing. "Well, he is nothing like your smart arse self, so don't expect a buddy in that genre of people!" Edward couldn't help but smirk smugly and the horrified look on Al's face. "So that's what you think of me after all?" Al crossed his arms over his chest and sighed. It was time to get serious. "Yes, but there is other stuff I want to know. Like why you are so well known. Everywhere I go its Fullmetal, Fullmetal… I didn't even know who that was till Winry explained it was you. All Al got as a reply was a slight chuckle "No-one believes you are dead because people say that you won't die before you are ready. Well, your followers anyway." "Which is true." Al rolled his eyes at his cockiness. "You are quite infamous, just what did you do? O' Fullmetal." "Hahaha I guess that is for me to know, and for you to find out!" Edward deliberately said this; he wanted Al to seek answers and information. It would be the only way he and his brother could finally meet.
"I'm not going to die!" Al said with a deep and determined voice. His eyes flickered open from deep thought. "So you want me to go looking for Al?"
"Don't you want to go looking for Al yourself?" Edward's eyebrows rose with an all knowing grin. "You want to see how exactly alike you are don't you?" Edward began laughing. "Well, he is nothing like your smart arse self, so don't expect a buddy in that genre of people!" Edward couldn't help but smirk smugly and the horrified look on Al's face.
"So that's what you think of me after all?" Al crossed his arms over his chest and sighed. It was time to get serious.
"Yes, but there is other stuff I want to know. Like why you are so well known. Everywhere I go its Fullmetal, Fullmetal… I didn't even know who that was till Winry explained it was you. All Al got as a reply was a slight chuckle "No-one believes you are dead because people say that you won't die before you are ready. Well, your followers anyway."
"Which is true."
Al rolled his eyes at his cockiness. "You are quite infamous, just what did you do? O' Fullmetal."
"Hahaha I guess that is for me to know, and for you to find out!" Edward deliberately said this; he wanted Al to seek answers and information. It would be the only way he and his brother could finally meet.
Al opened his eyes slightly after the delirious dreams and answers that ran through his head and he tried to bring his head around the dream. Find answers? Weren't the answers in Central? Shouldn't he and Winry just stay here and head to the military headquarters? Or…
"Mmm…" He felt something unmistakably shift on his bare chest and fought the urge not to scream at the sight of Winry lying on top of him with nothing… but… her… underwear on…
Think. Think… Why was Winry on top of him? In that state as well? What did they do last night?
"Oh right… I was Edward…" He sighed at the thought of whatever Edward had decided to do with his body and pushed Winry off him gently. She would slap him and call him a pervert if when she woke his back wasn't turned. So he sat on the chair next to the bed and yelled her name out, they didn't have time to sleep in this morning. They had a million things that they needed to do. He heard her stir.
"It's me Al, get dressed!"
"Oh right…" He heard the let down in her voice and frowned slightly. He knew she was probably already missing Edward. He knew she was probably upset he was now gone. He knew she was upset that she had to be stuck with him instead of one she cared about. But the longer she moped about things, the less Al was going to be able to do for her.
"Today we have to go to headquarters Winry." Al tried not to cringe as he heard her pull her clothes over her body. She was an attractive female, what was he supposed to do?
"I know" She replied, pulling her hair up into a pony tail. He turned when he decided it was safe not to get a punch in the face and saw her dulled blue eyes and sighed. "Edward told me."
"I guess I can't make up for Edward, but I promise we are going to sort this out ASAP."
"I know Al… I just… I just hope it does work out." She turned to him with a serene but faltering smile. He wondered what had happened between Edward and Winry last night and looked down as he noticed her eyes search for a hint of Edward within him, but it seemed she had found nothing as she just lowered her eyes and grabbed her bags.
Al found it hard to create conversation with Winry as they walked towards the military headquarters. She would end almost every topic he brought up with one or two words.
'So… What did you and Edward do last night…?' 'Stuff' 'Oh… what kind of stuff?' 'Usual'
'Oh… what kind of stuff?'
He was so sick of the one word replies that he had just forgotten to create conversation completely. What was wrong with her? Why was she so down? They were so close to bringing Edward back. All Al needed to do was meet up with Ed's brother, then surely they would find a way easily. He just couldn't shake off this look Winry had upon her face. An expression that told him she thought 'It wasn't going to be that easy'.
"So… what's Al like? Will I get to see him today?" He asked with excitement. Sure, it was building up inside him. He had butterflies in his stomach about meeting his alter self.
"Maybe…" Winry trailed off in thought. He rolled his eyes.
"Right, one word replies, I forgot."
"I just don't have much to say okay!" Winry snapped when they stopped outside a large gate which was obviously the entrance to the military's headquarters. "Al is Al. You will have to see for yourself!"
"Will he help us do you think?" Al looked from Winry to the gate with suspicion. Maybe Edward's brother would think that Al Heiderich was some kind of impostor trying to gather information on his brother. Maybe he would think the stupid idea of there being a completely different world out there suspicious… There were many possibilities.
"Of course he will!" Winry spat. "Are you insane? Al is living to bring his brother back. Despite the fact many people had suspected him to be dead. Even I was guilty of loosing hope… I wasn't strong for Al, I couldn't help him through. I wanted him to stay at home with me. I thought that I had already lost Edward; and I didn't want to loose Al as well… Al couldn't forgive me for thinking like that… that's when we lost contact I guess." Winry looked up at the building and buzzed in to let them know it was her. Okay, so Al had wanted a conversation with her. But he didn't want all her worries and fears to pour out in one sentence within the space of fifteen seconds. He hadn't got a simple reply there… he had received some confession that Winry had been guiltily holding inside of her for quite some time. What other secrets could he get her to release? To just let go of. She looked much better now that she had released that, walking contently towards the soldiers approaching us. She was afraid to come into contact with Edward's brother after what had happened… At least Al knew about her concerns now.
"Miss Winry, how wonderful to see you…" A female solider trailed off after coming into eye contact with Al.
"Ross, Broche. How have you been?" Winry asked, trying to avoid the topic of Al's resemblance to Edward's brother.
"Hmm… a bit rushed at the moment. It seems that Lior's people are trying to rebuild their city. The government isn't all to pleased with that, and the military doesn't have much say in the matter…" The woman replied with a sigh.
"Oh no…" Winry looked down at her feet.
"I know, if only Edward was here to put things back into order. Like the time he just totally busted that old priest." The man said. The woman solider glared at him almost instantly as Winry's head lowered slightly.
"Edward busted up a priest?" Al inquired, eyes widening a little.
"Well… he was using the fake philosopher's stone to trick the town's people into thinking he was an associate of God. Edward solved the problem."
"Really?" Al questioned with delight. "But wouldn't this priest have had a lot of followers? How did Edward get through that?" Al was curious as to this conversation, what had Edward done in the past? Was he really that strong? Once again… the philosopher's stone came into play; maybe it really was the key to bringing Edward home.
"Simple, he was the Fullmetal Alchemist." The woman smiled at Al with a nod. But that repeated answer did not satisfy his curiosity.
"Oh really? And what else did this Fullmetal Alchemist do?" Al stepped forward slightly, completely forgetting Winry in the background that seemed to be hurting over their conversation.
"Don't you know? There was that time he saved that mining town, which is now thriving…" The man put his hand to his chin.
"Oh yeah, he was the youngest State Alchemist of all time actually… could practically do anything he wanted with some materials." The man added. "Oh and there was that time he actually kicked the Colonels ass in a fight!"
"He 'kicked a Colonel's ass?'" Al's jaw almost fell to the ground.
"Well… I guess they tied…" The woman chimed in. "But What about the time he dealt with all those Homunculi?"
"Homunculi?" Al squinted slightly.
"Oh, like artificially made humans! And that time he came into contact with Scar and wasn't killed!"
Al's brain was almost swirling with unsatisfied questions as the two soldiers delved deeper into a conversation about Edward's accomplishments as a boy who started winning battles at around the age of… twelve!
"And that time!"
"Then there was also that!"
If the two didn't stop, Al was going to burst.
"And every time he came back home… he had more and more scars on his chest." Winry lifted her head with teary eyes. "I was the one who had to see his automail completely busted up, yet I was the one left to wonder how it even got so wrecked in the first place! I was the one to see all the new scars on his chest, on his arms, his legs… I was the one who cared. He wasn't a god! He was just a boy! And the military totally screwed his, Al's and my life! You should have all just left him alone!" Winry pushed past the two soldiers to run inside. And they were left there… looking down at the ground with regret.
"I'm sorry… something happened last night that I don't really know about. She is a bit sensitive." Al owned up as the two soldiers watch the huge door close behind Winry when she was granted entrance. "She is usually so strong isn't she?" Al sighed.
The female solider cocked her head slightly and blinked with confusion. "What are you two doing here anyway…? Who are you? Where did Winry meet you?" She asked him with slight suspicion. Al glanced in direction of the man to notice him stroking his chin as he gazed in Al's direction, in some kind of deep thought.
"Well, I'm kind of a friend of a distant relative… you know…"
"Isn't it uncanny Ross?" The man stepped forward to observe Al even closer.
"Definitely… it's like they could be brothers."
Al raised his hands in defence and began to laugh nervously behind a childish smile. It was the only thing that could hide his secret. "Now, now, please. I'm not Edward's brother; I really don't know what you are talking about."
"No we mean the other one—"
Al cut the man off before he had a chance to realise what he was saying and shot forward to avoid any more close encounters, that only Winry would be able to save him from. "I have to go find Winry!" Al yelled out as he ran off in the direction Winry had, waving his hand in the air to signal goodbye to the two soldiers.
It didn't take long for Al to find Winry. As soon as he had pushed the door open and explained to the guards outside that he was indeed with Miss. Winry, he had found her leaning against the white wall next to him, breathing heavily.
He had watched her for a moment, observing her. He took nervous steps towards her, afraid that she may blow up at him like she had a few minutes ago.
When she sighed and turned to face him with what seemed like a genuine smile on her lips, Al let out a breath of relief and moved towards her.
"Winry, I'm sorry that I never knew…"
"Its okay, it's okay. I accepted what Edward did a long time ago. I don't know why I became so angry." Al placed his hand on the wall next to her and rubbed it with thought, thinking on what Winry had just said.
"I do. We were talking about the trauma Edward had been through like it was normal. If you really cared for him, you wouldn't like that conversation. I don't even really like it. I was just completely shocked; Edward never told me any of this. I'm sorry, I'm just curious as to everything he hid from me when we were working together." Al explained himself then watched the busy soldiers go about their daily business. Everyone was like this, going about their own life problems. Little did they know there was another entire world doing the same thing; little did they know that someone close to him and Winry was trapped between the two worlds, waiting for the day he could finally be reunited with his own brother.
"Right, just remember curiosity killed the cat. As it did Al, as it then did Edward." She turned to walk ahead, letting Al know that the conversation was over. Al presumed she was headed in the direction of a certain Mustang's office, as that was the plan from the start. But he once again felt his curiosity rise from the depths of his body.
"Wait!" He held his hand out in front of him as instinct, even though he knew Winry's back was to him and the hand-stopping motion would have no effect on her. However, as soon as the last letter of the word fell from his tongue she had frozen in place, ready to answer the inevitable question. It was her fault for bringing it up in the first place.
Winry spun around on her heel and stopped when she was facing him, closing her eyes with frustration and taking a deep breath, she tensed her fists.
"In a way yes" There was silence for a moment where Winry gathered her next words, and Al gathered his next questions. However, she decided to speak before he asked anything, it would hurt less. "My friend was at the scene, she was drugged but apparently Edward was killed, Al brought him back, then Edward wasted his life again and brought Al back. As you can see the two brothers are utterly the most stupid boys I have ever had the misfortune to know! But the main thing is that Edward didn't really die after all, he went to some other world. So I guess it worked out okay in the end."
"I see… I knew Edward came through the Gate for bringing his brother here… but I never really knew…"
"Well now you know. The world is cruel and Edward has seen his fair share of its brutality, that's why I was never able to comfort him in the end." The last fading words of her sentence signalled to Al that he should stop right there, hold back his urges to find out more and simply try to understand what she was going through.
"We will find him Winry."
"That's why we better get to Mustang ASAP!" She once again spun on her heel and began walking forward. Al followed her closely; hearing her sniff and flinching as he saw her bring her hand up to wipe something from her face more than once. Was she crying again?
"Why Winry!" The loud bellowing voice was right behind Al, and was also enough to make him fall to the ground with shock. This didn't faze the excessively large man however; he just continued to walk towards Winry with a huge proud smile, over which she had now backed herself into a corner with fear over.
"M-m-m-major Armstrong! What a coincidence!" Winry twitched slightly as he approached; hoping Armstrong wouldn't throw his arms around her and crush her. He extended his hand. Winry put hers forth nervously and screamed with pain when his handshake almost lifted her from the ground.
"More beautiful every day!" Winry nodded her thanks while Al tried to overcome a burst eardrum and stand up. "What brings you here?"
"Ummm" Al observed her wring her hands together. It was like she was more worried about Major Armstrong crushing her then finding an appropriate answer. A few more 'umms' fell from Winry's tongue, leaving Al frustrated. He wanted to just speak up for her, but maybe bringing attention to himself really wasn't such a good idea after all.
"Looking for Al, are you not?" This voice also erupted from behind Al. His nervous system had had such beating within the last few minutes that he just decided to lay on the floor with exhaustion.
"Riza?" Winry spoke up, peering around the corner in her way, which happened to be a man about five times a normal human's size.
"If you are looking for Roy Mustang then you won't find him here. If you are looking for Alphonse Elric, you won't find him here either." Riza said calmly, appearing behind Armstrong.
Al watched as Winry's eyes glazed over, and he knew that she was thinking some kind of horrible thoughts. Like Al was dead, or Al was in danger, or Al had gone for good or… He decided to speak up almost instantly.
"What do you mean Miss? Where are they?" Al said frantically, turning around to meet the cold gaze of the woman.
"Why I believe they just boarded the last train to Resembool to see you two." Riza smirked, yet it was warm and easy to look at. "Yes, rumour spreads fast. Al already knows about the one that looks like his brother." Al's eyes travelled to Winry's. Her face was completely shocked, with great or horrible shock he didn't know.
"Al has come to see me?" Winry pointed to herself and looked away with a small smile. "Really?"
Yes he has! But we aren't exactly there to meet him are we! Al panicked. What if the two came to Winry's beautiful home and decided to leave after noticing no-one was home? No! He couldn't ruin a chance like this. If it meant meet Al in Resembool instead of chasing him around Amestris, then Al picked Resembool.
"Miss, and when would the next train for Resembool leave?" Al spoke up quickly, frantically, almost inching closer toward the front door so he could make a run for it if there was hardly any time at all between the trains.
"Resembool isn't a popular place to go, but it is on a train line that travels to some other places." Riza put her hand to her chin in thought and made a sound of deep thought. "I believe that there is one departing in about five minutes. The next one won't be for a few hours."
Riza didn't have to tell them about how fast they would have to run to make it. Because Al had already grabbed Winry's hand and dashed out of sight towards his destination. Towards his goal. Towards secrets he was going to find answers for.
Saturn Stars and Lialiakicks OUT!