This was written together with Kfirefly. Manga-based, general Doors spoilers, including chapter 53.
The Last Resort
"Brother...are you sure about this?" Al asked tentatively. He couldn't help but remember a similar time, a similar array- which had gone horribly wrong.
Edward nodded solemnly, looking at his brother. He took in the sight of the armor, and tried to remember what Al had been like before. Pictures were only weak reflections of real memories, but they were all he had left by now. It had been so very many years.
But now, finally, he would atone for his sin. This time he was prepared for what might happen, and he was ready to sacrifice whatever was needed.
To see Al again, in the flesh, even for a moment... for that, he was willing to trade his life, his very soul. It had taken him many hours of contemplation to prepare himself for this moment, for what he was willing to give up.
Consciously thinking about losing more parts of himself, how he would live afterwards was one of the most difficult things he had ever tried to do.
Al held his brother's gaze a moment longer before nodding. He did not want to be responsible for the death--or worse--of his brother, but it was his brother's life goal, he knew. When Ed set himself to something, he completed it. Now that they had seemingly exhausted all other options, Ed had resolved to meet the Doors once more. Al had tried to talk him out of it, but it had been futile. In the end, he had given in to what Ed truly wanted, and silently prepared for the worst.
Edward looked at the array they'd drawn and knelt beside it, knowing Al would follow suit. Their hands were only inches away from the outer line, and they stared down at it intently before sharing one last glance. Edward steeled himself and nodded to Al.
"If...if something happens..." Ed began, but trailed off immediately, unsure of what to say. "…Ready?"
Al nodded slowly, the metal of his armor complaining as the helmet rubbed against the body. In a motion, they activated the array, and Edward stepped into it as it erupted in light.
World dissolving into whiteness, Al spared no thought to himself, all his attention focused on praying that Ed would somehow make it through.
Edward had to close his eyes, as the light from the array nearly blinding him. When it had faded, he was standing alone before the gate. He felt a presence behind him, and glanced to see Al's body, older than the last time he had seen it, and looking at Ed curiously.
Al's body shook its head sadly. "You're not my soul."
"I know." Ed agreed. "But I have the strength now to do what it takes to reunite you with it."
Another voice was suddenly heard, and Ed turned to face his own Truth.
Strength? How amusing. You must be a singularly stupid human being.
Ed turned to face him. Now the real test would begin.
"I am ready this time, and I am willing to sacrifice." Ed took a deep breath; everything hinged on this moment. "May I choose what toll to pay?"
Truth paused, a smile making its way onto his face. Well well. Maybe you have learned something.
Edwar'd golden eyes met the Truth's, and despite himself, a shudder ran up his spine. There was something undeniably frightening about facing pure Truth. It wouldn't allow him to protect himself with the small, everyday lies and justifications that people told themselves to feel better about the world and their choices in life.
Edward clenched his teeth and balled his fists. He wouldn't allow himself to question his resolve any further. He had come this far, and he would complete what he had come here for. It had been his personal weakness hundreds of time in the past that had been the catalyst for his failure. No more. "I offer you...my appendix." And Edward let out the breath he'd been holding.
Truth paused, considering, while Ed's heart beat frantically in his chest and his lungs strained. Finally, regretfully, Truth shook his head.
I'm afraid that's not enough.
Ed refused to give up; he had made it this far, he would see it to the end, dammit! What was one more sacrifice? "I'll give you my tonsils too."
Truth seemed to shift its weight and mull of this. Just as it was about to reject Ed's offer, words hastily tumbled from his mouth. "And my wisdom teeth!" Ed's eyes widened, as if he was surprised he'd been willing to go so far. "And my toenails," he added quietly.
I suppose you're getting close, Truth said reluctantly.
Ed was sweating; he was nearing his limit. "I'll...I'll also give you five percent of the blood in my body."
"Ten. And that's final."
Truth seemed a little unhappy with this turn of events, but as far it was concerned, it was making off like a bandit. Ed considered a moment, then added temptingly, "Ten percent, but I'll also give you my ear wax."
Oh, FINE, Truth snapped in annoyance. Have it your way.