Finally, I've begun to get a tiny bit of a plot idea to carry along. Heh...I can't update a story very quickly if I have no idea what to do, after all, heh. I finally got a good "connection" as I call it, though ironically, I got the "connection" while I was actually writing the chapter, not before I sat down to write, like I normally would have. ((shrugs)) Go figure.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the chapter.
Disclaimer: "Melissa doesn't own us," said Ed One, "And if you want to know what the whole dual Ed thing is about, you'll have to go to "The Demon Within" and read the disclaimers there."
"Why are you advertising another one of her stories?" said Ed Two, "Don't you hate how things wind up for us in her stories?"
Ed One shrugged. "Well, it sucks that we're always dying and all in her stories...but hey! In "The Demon Within", we're immortal, you can't beat that, can you?"
Ed Two put his hand to his chin, as if to think, and said, "You know, you're right..." he paused, "But, there has to be some sort of catch to that. There always is one."
Ed One slapped him upside the head, and said, "Don't worry so much! Anyway, everyone, Melissa doesn't own us, so don't sue her...wait a minute...maybe you should, considering how she treats us."
Ed Two beamed. "Yes, sue Melissa! She doesn't own us, but she's evil!" With that, the two Eds gave each other high fives, and then walked off to get back into the story they actually belonged in.
"How is Brother doing?" asked Al as he stepped through the door.
Winry got up from her perch at the window. "You're home early," she said, "How'd things go?"
"Just fine," said Al as he wiped some sweat off of his forehead, "I got all the errands done...and it's only noon." He gave off one of those childish smiles of his, and then resumed his original question. "So how is Brother doing?"
Winry looked down at the ground. "Oh um...he's fine I guess...but he seemed a little sad when I saw him last."
Al frowned. "Should I go check on him?"
Winry shook her head. "No, I put him to bed. Let him sleep."
Al sighed and was trying to decide whether to obey Winry's orders or not when Ed came walking into the room. Al, sensing the familiar presence of his brother behind him, spun around and said, "Oh, Brother! How are you doing?"
Ed's mouth twitched in a sort of smile, and his gaze seemed to dart between Al's face and the floor about once every second. It was a little bit unusual of behavior for him, but no one really thought much of it.
"Brother?" Al persisted upon not getting a response, "How are you doing?"
Ed jerked his attention up to Al's face and kept it there. His lips quivered as he tried to speak. "I..." Al's eyebrow went up, and he encouraged Ed to continue. "I-I..."
"Brother, what's wrong?"
Ed smiled and shook his head, and then looked back at Al. "H-h-hi..."
"...Hi?" repeated Al, a bit confused, "Um, hi to you too...but are you okay?"
Ed just nodded and turned around to head to the kitchen, but Al couldn't help noticing that Ed seemed to be wobbling a bit in his walk. What was wrong with him? Al ran up to Ed and grabbed his arm, and proceeded to give it his brother a light shake as he said, "Brother, something's wrong. What's the matter?"
At this, Ed's eyes opened wide as if in a daze, and he staggered back a few steps. He put his hand to his brow as if to shield his vision and his eyes squinted. "Whoa...what am I doing out here?" Ed said as he looked around the room nervously.
"Brother...you don't remember anything about the past few minutes?"
Ed stood quietly for a moment, but then finally shook his head. Al sighed. "Were you walking in your sleep?"
Edward looked up at his little brother and smiled. "I doubt it. I've never done that. I think that Selmac was just taking advantage of the fact that I hadn't woken up yet. It was probably him who was controlling my body just now, and brought me out here..." He then chuckled, and added, "...the rascal."
Al paused a moment. "But...Selmac isn't able to talk...is he? I mean...he's a dove, and doves can't talk...can they?"
Ed looked directly at Al, and said, "Why, did he talk to you?" Al wasn't quite sure if that was the appropriate question, but he knew what the answer was, regardless of the question asked, so he simply nodded. Ed replied with a smile. "Well, I'm not too surprised...I've been teaching him how to talk. He can't speak human language fluently like you or I can, but he's gotten to the point where he can articulate words on occasion. Likewise, he's been teaching me how to fly. I still can't soar like he does, but if I jump from a few feet off the ground, I can glide for a few yards before I touch down."
Al was rather impressed, to be quite honest. After all, he had just been spoken to by a dove, intelligently for that matter. He was about to comment on that intriguing fact when Ed suddenly placed his arms in front of his abdomen and doubled over, spewing blood all over the floor just like his teacher used to do.
"Brother!" Al ran up to Ed and gently raised him back to a standing position, only to suddenly find that he rather needed to help Ed down to a kneeling position, which he did. Al knelt down next to Ed and placed a hand on his brother's shoulder. "Brother, what's wrong? I knew something wasn't right! What's going on here?"
Ed was breathing so hard and fast that he was hyperventilating. "I...don't know...this...is the first time...this has ever happened."
Al sprang to his feet without even thinking. "We need to get you to a doctor."
Fortunately, Ed's clarity of mind was still present, and he reached up and grabbed ahold of Al's coat and pulled him back down. "You...idiot...we can't let a doctor...see me...like this...or I'll be...discovered."
Al's brow knit together in worry. "But we have to have someone look at you. You're not well. Who can we find that we trust, even if they can only do a little?"
A cough sounding from behind the two boys reminded them of Winry's presence in the room, and they both turned to face her. "I...I can do a little," she said timidly, "I used to read my parents medical books all the time...and the surgical procedures that I have to perform for auto-mail installation give me a little further knowledge...but I..." she started to tear up, "I'm not a surgeon, so I'm not sure how much I can do."
Ed began to get control of his breathing, and he carefully pushed himself up to look into Winry's eyes. Noticing that his lip felt a bit wet, he brought up his hand to wipe it off, only to realize too late that he had just smeared blood all over his hand. He sighed. At least blood would easily wash off his hand.
"Winry," he said, "You're the best person for this situation right now. We can trust you, and you also have some knowledge in the field. Examine me if you wish."
"But...what if I can't do anything?" Winry's lip was beginning to quiver with worry.
Ed shook his head and grabbed Winry's chin to make her look at him. "If there's nothing you can do, then there's nothing you can do. That's no fault of your own. In the state I'm in right now, I'm lucky that there is anyone who can look at me at all." He let go of her chin, and managed a smile. "Don't worry so much about me, Win, I'll be alright."
Anyone could tell by the look on her face that she didn't really believe that statement, but notwithstanding, she marched him into the surgery room and had him sit down and rest while she went to clean up the blood. All the equipment that she might need to examine him was in that room, plus she really didn't want to drag him all the way back up the stairs at that moment, so she figured that that was the best place to leave him for the time being.
She came back out to find Al laboriously mopping up the blood, though there was a lot to mop up, so he wasn't having a lot of success in the matter. Sig had always taken care of Izumi's problems when they were apprenticed to her, so they had never really learned how to deal with this situation.
Winry almost managed a smirk as she watched Al's attempt at being useful, but she quickly went and grabbed the mop from his hand, thanking him for his help, and asked him to go and keep an eye on Ed while she cleaned up the mess. Al nodded and walked off to the room where Ed was being kept.
Winry sighed and proceeded to fetch all the necessary cleaners and disinfectants that Al SHOULD have grabbed had he known any better, and began the process of cleaning the mess up correctly. Well, in all honesty, he had helped a little by mopping up the bulk of the blood, though a mop really wasn't the best tool to use in a situation like this. It would have been much better to grab some rags and gloves that could just be easily thrown away after the mess was cleaned up, but no matter. At least the job was being done.
Finally, Winry had the mess cleaned up to her satisfaction, and she went back to the room to check on Ed. Al was still in there, chattering away to his brother, though it appeared that he wasn't really getting any response from Ed. Upon closer examination, Winry noticed that Ed had fallen asleep right on the table. Al had probably known that, but kept talking anyway. He must've thought that hearing a friendly voice would comfort him. Winry smiled at the thought.
"Okay, Al," Winry sighed, "If I'm going to examine him, I'll need you to step out for a few minutes. I can't do this with someone else looking over my shoulder." The truth was that she didn't know what she'd find, if she found anything, and she knew that she and Al were both expert worriers. If one of them started worrying, it would trigger the other one to start, and then it would just continue to escalate in a negative spiral.
Fortunately, Al didn't question her simple explanation, so he just nodded and stepped out of the room for her to examine his brother.
Al waited outside of the room for some time, trying to occupy himself by fidgeting in whichever way appealed to him most at the moment, or pacing back and forth when he grew tired of that. He was about to sit down again and resume twiddling his thumbs when he heard a loud "Oh my GOSH!" come from within the room. That did it, he couldn't stay outside any longer.
Al burst into the room, nearly scaring the living daylights out of Winry, and said, "What? What is it? What's wrong with him?"
Winry looked up at him, but didn't scold the boy for barging in like that. Al took a step back as he noticed the tears staining her face. This couldn't be good.
"Come and see," she said. Al obeyed and came over to where she was standing over the still sleeping Ed. She pulled his shirt up, exposing his abdomen. It still looked quite normal, so what was she trying to get him to look at?
"Place your hand on his stomach."
Al did so, and nearly jumped back in fright. "Wh-what the heck?" He turned to Winry for confirmation, only to have her nod, that yes, she had felt it too. Al began to visibly quiver. "H-how did this happen? How could this have happened to him? What's wrong with him?"
Winry shook her head, indicating that she wasn't quite sure herself, but she was guessing. "I think that the transmutation he went through was faulty, and he's suffering the effects of it."
Al clenched his fists, and his face took on an expression that was a mixture of confusion, sadness, and rage. He repeated the question he'd been asking all day. "What's wrong with him?"
Winry took a deep breath, and coughed a couple times. Tears were streaming down her face, and in response, tears began to stream down Al's face as well. Winry finally met his gaze, and her lips began to move in an attempt to speak.
"He...his...his insides are turning to mush. Unless you know something about alchemy that I don't, he doesn't appear to have long to live."
Heh heh heh...well, the dual Eds made an unexpected guest appearance in this story, didn't they? Just make sure you don't listen to them. Don't sue me, hehe. Hey, these stories may be sad and angsty, but that's why a lot of you keep coming back, right? Anyway, you know I always patch it up somewhat in the end, hehe. So no suing, or you get no story, so there! ((sticks tongue out))
Anyway, please review, and let me know what you think. I know that the story suddenly took an unexpected turn that even I didn't see coming, so don't blame me! I don't know where that came from, it just...did! Heh...anyway, make sure to review, and I'll try and update soon. Okay? Okay.