By Henrika

Henrika- Had a hard time naming this one, but it seems to fit. This is stream-of-conciousness, which is a bit of a departure for me. Tell me what you think. Enjoy and review!

The Colonel hasn't shaved, the stubble apparent on his jaw and it isn't right dammit, he's always got on the uniform and the smirk and the clean-shaven jaw.

And I shouldn't care! I shouldn't give a damn if something is wrong because he makes my life hell and he's always sending me on pointless missions and threatening to have the military take Al away! Who in their right mind would be like that? Who would honestly want to be such a smug asshole every minute of every day? And the realization hits me, not that I want it to, that I'm exactly right. He's dropped the mask, maybe just for a few minutes (Or days. I'm not sure how fast his hair grows.) He's being human for a moment.

And I think that scares me. Maybe I don't want him to be human. Because if he's human, then he can be hurt. If he's human then he can care about other people and know that other people care for him. If he's human then that means that he's on the same level as me, though still just a tad higher because most people don't have the sin of human transmutation on their hands. (Though he was at the Ishval rebellion. Isn't life all the same in the end when you take it?) I don't want him that close. I want him far away, just like the untouchable bastard he pretends…is. Like the bastard he is.

He should not be sitting there in the middle of the library in civilian clothes, staring blankly at a mug of coffee. I resist the urge to walk over and tell him that there are no drinks allowed in here. He should not be reading the books I see him reading. Because I recognize those books. I've read them before, a very long time ago. And I doubt that these books have the same notes and carefully hand-written warnings that I ignored in the ones I read.

I resist the urge to go over to him and take his gloves. Because I want to set those books on fire, so he won't be able to read them. I want to grab him by his collar and haul him up out of his chair and knock some sense into him with my fist, my metal fist! That man should not have that look in his eyes. It's reserved for people who show emotion, not for him. He should not look fragile. He shouldn't!

I don't want him to.

I don't want anyone to have to go through that ever again, me or anyone else. But isn't that what I'm doing? Isn't the Philosopher's Stone bound to bring misery to someone? Am I not seeking human transmutation? I'm fixing one mistake with another. And I want to show him that, even if it means that I lose every chance to fix things. I steel myself to walk up to him and I'm there before I can think about what to say.

He looks up; doesn't say a word. Just looks at me with those broken eyes and that unshaved jaw and no uniform and damn him! He should not be like this. There should not be rings under his eyes from lack of sleep. He should not look like he hasn't eaten in days. And there should not be tear tracks dried on his face. I want to hit him.

But I have to be the older one here. I have to be the one to give the orders here.

I close the books and haul him up by the collar…and set him on his feet, shaking my head. I want to say a million things, but he seems to have caught my message. Not this way. He doesn't cry. I want to believe it's not his style, but I honestly don't think he can anymore. I propel him forward, making sure he doesn't look back at the books. I don't want him trying to come back here for them. I consider coming back later and hiding them, but he looks at me and I think he got more of my message then I gave him credit for. He won't come back. We leave. I know where he wants to go. It's where I would have taken him anyways. It's a way of showing him that it's final.

We go to the cemetery and look at the name etched into the headstone.

And he's crying now and it's not right for him to be the one doing this. Not when I'm here. Not ever.

But he's human and so am I.

So I let him.

Henrika- The name on the headstone? To tell you the truth, I couldn't decide myself. It could be the one we all know about dying or someone else. Kind of up to your own interpretation. Did this work? I'm really curious to hear people's opinions.