Pala: Note...I just wanna try writing this... It contains my OOCs AT THE SECOND PART, but there's NO ROMANCE. NONE. JUST PURE ANGST...or at least, the best I can do at it.


There is goodness in Equivalency, but only a few people care to notice it.

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Once upon a time, there were two brothers.

They were both blonde—smiles shining brighter than the sun, laughs more melodious than any bird or song of Nature. The older was Edward, the younger was Alphonse. Equivalent Exchange was needed, and so it happened.

One day, their mother died.

The two brothers were both distraught; who would take care of them now? They needed mother, and they needed her back.

That time, though, they didn't know about the debts of Equivalent Exchange. They had no clue of the sin of their acts. All they cared for was mother...mother...mother...mother...

They used Human Transmutation.

Alphonse's body was lost in the Gate, and Edward lost two limbs: one in trying to get back their mother, and another in trying to save his brother. Where is the Equivalent Exchange in that?

Equivalent Exchange was still there, but they didn't see it. Edward knew—of what, he knows, but of how he'll find it, he doesn't. Alphonse was able to live—even if it was a metal body, he was still in his brother's company.

But what of mother? Now, they were able not to think of the dead, but of the living.

Instead of mother, now they think of brother. Their bond was closer than ever before.

But human greed was present. They overlooked the good things and wished for more, more, so that they would be complete. They didn't know that at least they still lived—Edward can die a natural death, and Alphonse can cause his own. They can have normal limbs and all, but would it pay for thousands of lives sacrificed?

It was still alright—but they failed to look for the good thing and set off on a mission from where they wouldn't have returned.

Once upon a time, there was the Philospher's Stone.

It was a tale among Alchemists, a thing said to overlook Equivalent Exchange. Edward and Alphonse heard of it, and they wanted it to return to their original form—and yet again, they didn't notice the good thing.

So they set off on a mission.

Later, they got it.

It was in their hands—a line between Equivalency and Freedom. Only one more stepping stone—and they used it.

Alphonse got his body back.

Edward got his limbs back.

What else are they to do now, that they have succeeded in their goal? Nothing else was left; all they loved and cared for died in the way. Nothing else was left but to die.

But they didn't—they have yet to repay the debts of thousands of lives sacrificed.

Their lives are forever a circle of debt...all that cannot be repaid, but they insist upon...

Equivalency is forever cruel.

--------------- (my OOCs are included here...you can choose not to read this part, although it's interesting. REMINDER! THERE IS NO ROMANCE!)

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Ah, but I forgot to mention—in one of their journeys, they encountered a strange trio.

One was Monse- she had short black hair always in that messy low ponytail that she never bothers to fix. Her glasses, they were unique. Once, she removed them in front of the Elrics-

Edward never wanted to remember that ever again.

Next were Chitose and Konosuke- they looked like Monse, only Chitose had short black hair and Konosuke had long silver hair. They were always with Monse and never slept nor ate, and Edward once wondered why they didn't.

He remembered, yet he felt no apathy.

Here was one of their short experiences with them before they died.

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When Edward and Alphonse came to the big squarish house, it was dark and silent as it normally was. Alphonse hated to come there, but they had to—the inns were closed to all State Alchemists.

Alphonse's metal hand slides across the door, and Edward briefly wondered how anyone could have ever heard it. The next thing he knew, a smiling Chitose was ushering them inside the house.

"Monse's still sleeping." Chitose said gently, opening the door to a large living room. "What do we owe you this visit?"

"No...you don't owe us anything." Alphonse said in a merry voice that made Edward wish he saw the smile that came with it. "We just needed some place to sleep in. All the inns...well..."

Thud. Edward wondered where that sound came from.

"Ah. Against State Alchemists." Konosuke muttered from the fireplace. He snapped his book shut. "I'll get the extra rooms ready for you."

Thud.

"Ed, would you like something to drink or eat? I can polish your armor if you want, Al." Chitose said kindly.

"Thank you. But you don't need to, really. Just hand me a rag and I can clean myself off—"Alphonse began, but was cut off by a loud noise.

THUD.

"Ah!" Chitose gasped, dropping whatever she was holding and rushing out of the room. The Elrics looked at each other before rushing with Chitose. They met Konosuke on the stairs, barely sparing a glance before running upstairs again.

THUD. THUD.

THUD.

The last thud was their causing—Alphonse had barreled into the door and came short of entering, gasping lightly. Edward rammed into his brother's metal body as it was blocking the whole doorway.

But...how were Chitose and Konosuke able to go through? He could've sworn they came after his brother and himself. He climbed over Alphonse's shoulder and landed to the floor, eyes widening at the sight.

Monse's glasses were on the floor, and a glove was beside it. Konosuke lifted the girl from the floor, dumping her on the bed were she kept on scratching at her face, where her eyes should have been. It was bleeding, and Edward feared that she dug her eyes out. Monse was screaming, struggling, flailing her bleeding arms everywhere and splattering red blood everywhere.

Chitose yelped and took a step back, and Edward was able to see what was behind.

The only thing he noticed that Monse had no eyes. They just weren't there. The spot where they should have been was blank. Edward recoiled in shock.

Chitose picked up the discarded glove and slipped it on Monse's bare hand, putting her glasses on too. Then Edward was able to see—Monse's eyes were back. Monse fell still, blood still coating her hands thickly. Alphonse wanted to puke, but he can't.

"Sorry you had to see that." Konosuke muttered. "I know you saw."

"I want explanations!" Edward yelled. "Why is she like this? What IS this?"

Chitose was healing Monse in the background, spreading ground herbs all over her arms.

"Konosuke, tell them, but not here. I don't want to wake up Monse."

Konosuke nodded, then wordlessly left the room. Alphonse and Edward followed mutely.

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"What...what was that?" Edward choked out. Konosuke wordlessly poured them both a glass of water, offering it to Edward.

"Calm yourself down, then I'll explain."

Edward knocked the glass out of Konosuke's hand. "Calm down? CALM DOWN? WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'CALM DOWN'? I JUST SAW A FREAKING NIGHTMARE, AND I WANT TO KNOW W—"

"Brother. Please." Alphonse said quietly. Edward halted.

"Al...?"

"Mr. Konosuke. Please tell us...what happened? I saw it...we saw it. Her eyes weren't there, but when you put her glasses back on...also at the instance that I was blocking the door..." Alphonse paused. "I swear that you were behind us, yet how did you get through me?"

Konosuke hung his head. They were discovered. "Then...I should tell you the truth, then."

"W-what?" Edward stuttered. Konosuke took a deep breath.

"We're not human, but we're not homornuculi."

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Monse stood in front of the gate, speaking to the one eye that showed itself to her.

"I want them back...I don't want to be alone...please...give them back..."

"Then you have to sacrifice your sight and be forever concealed by the dark."

"But I can't! I...I'm afraid of the dark...I don't like it..."

"Equivalent Exchange."

"I...I'll give you my eyes...give Konosuke and Chitose back..."

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"She tried human transmutation." Edward muttered. Konosuke nodded.

"And now...this is what we are. We're spirits. We're not human. We don't have hearts." Konosuke picked up a book. And set it on his lap.

"So...her eyes...Monse was scratching at...her glasses..."

"Her glasses are altered by alchemy. It makes her seem to have eyes." Konosuke bit his lip. Edward's shoulders slackened. Konosuke continued, "She is forever in the darkness, but her remaining four senses—the taste, feel, smell and hearing—makes it seem that she's not. When you're blind, your other senses grow keener, sharper."

Chitose entered the room. "Monse never liked the dark. She was terrified of it since she was a child. She still haven't grown out the fear. In her mind's eye, she can see it all...but it's dark. She hates it. Monse wants to see me...you...everyone...but she can't."

"Why...when we see her, she's always happy..." Alphonse muttered.

"Equivalent Exhange doesn't always have to be caused by Alchemy." Konosuke said. "It's a natural thing—a part of life itself."

"What do you..." Alphonse trailed off.

"Monse can never sleep well. In the day, her worries are pushed to the back of her mind." Konosuke spoke quietly. "But the stress—the weight of the sin of her acts—they remain there and they produce a hormone that goes out through her skin. Then she scratches...and scratches...and scratches...until she feels the contentment of the warmth of something—she doesn't know if it's blood...she can't see her own blood—on her hands."

"I don't need sleep because I'm not human." Chitose smiled. "I still remember how it felt, though. It was nice—once where I can be able to not think of anything. It's just sad that she can't sleep like that. I can't feel anything, though. Sad...it's like an empty thing eating away at me right over here." She pointed at her chest.

Edward's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean? You can touch books, you smile, you laugh..."

"We only do that because it's what we think we should feel." Konosuke muttered. "People misunderstand us if we don't react at all at what they say. We have to be like them to be understood. We have to pretend to feel." He flexed his fingers. "As for touching things...we can't touch anything with a soul except for Monse. Monse was the one who made us, after all. We die when she dies."

"So you mean...that why you passed me..." Alphonse started.

"You should feel lucky. You have souls. You may have lost your limbs, but you can still feel emotions. You can still die...either by your own hands, by another's or by natural death." Konosuke sighed. Chitose smiled.

"Equivalency is forever cruel, but it is only cruel when you don't see the goodness in it, isn't it? Ironic, how Monse can see the goodness yet she has no eyes."

Konosuke and Chitose looked at them squarely in the eyes.

"How about you?"

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The next day, Edward and Alphonse left them.

"Do you...do you think what they said was true? Maybe...maybe it's alright, how we are right now. We can stop this journey...that has no end..."

"Don't believe such things, Al. It's too much to give up this journey and we have reached this far."

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Things aren't what they seem. Everything that has been told...hasn't happened.

Yet.

But one has already seen...and that one was...

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"That was a good story, wasn't it?" Monse smiled, head turned to the window. Her hands clutched her glasses. Konosuke looked up.

"How did you know what would happen in the future? Ed and Al just left us, and most of your story did happen. But in the future...how did you know?"

"Because I have Seen."

"But you're not supposed to See! That is a sin, to Know!" Chitose yelped.

Monse smiled as she drew a circle on the floor. "Correct."

"What're you going to do about it?" Konosuke asked. Monse smiled and placed her glasses on the circle.

"If we're not supposed to know, then we don't." She placed herhands on the circle.

The building collapsed on top of them.

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Thus was their story. Of journeys that cannot be solved, of things they intend to do.

Thus was how they lived, died, and ended.

Equivalency is forever cruel, isn't it?


Pala: Okay. Fine. I'm done.

Read and review, please!