D M Evans
Disclaimer - not mine, all rights belong to Hiromu Arakawa
Rated - FRT
Pairing - general fic, Al centric
Time Line - AU post anime series where Al's back as a teen, not a kid and we didn't lose Ed
Author's Note - this belongs to the Life Anew series along with If Happiness Should Forget You and Petals Fall Like Tears
He wasn't really supposed to leave the home he and Ed were sequestered in but Al couldn't help it. He was human again. There was too much he wanted to do, too many people he had to thank to hide away from the remnants of Bradley's supporters. It wasn't like he was alone; Ed stuck to him like a half automail burr. Still maybe coming to the hospital wasn't a good idea. His nose burned from all the strong, acrid smells.
The General's room reeked of the smells of blood, sweat and singed flesh topped with antiseptic. Mustang never woke up while the Elrics were there but Hawkeye assured them that Roy would appreciate the visit. The scent of coffee -which Hawkeye termed sludge - was the only pleasant smell in the room. The raw, damaged humanity drove Al outside for a breath of fresh air only to find Havoc talking to Falman about their impending guard duty outside the General's door. The ever present cigarette dangled from Havoc's lip as he spoke.
Al held his abused nose. "Man, those stink!"
They wouldn't be in Resembool long, lest Bradley Loyalists stumble on them. They were there just long enough to show Granny that he was alive and well and to pick up Winry who promised not to let the brothers out of her sight.
Al had gone to his mother's grave then found his way to the pond they all used to play in. Stretching out on the grass, he listened to everything with fresh, no-longer-metal ears. Pure sound. If city folk thought the country was quiet it was only because they'd never been there. It was alive with sound. Birds heading south for the winter set up a cacophony of calls in one bank of nearby trees. He could hear cows lowing in Nelly's father's fields just over the rise.
Somewhere back towards the house, Den was barking up a storm and probably chasing Hayate, whose barks were so big for a little dog. Pine trees whispered with the wind that blew through them and all around him were crickets warming up for their nightly symphonies. The country was alive with sound and Al let it surround and drown him. He was home.
It wasn't like he had been blind as armor but now with his new, true eyes, everything seemed clearer, brighter, and all around better. He could see all the little details that seemed to have passed him by before.
Little details like how Ed's eyes seemed more golden whenever he looked at Winry. The subtle play of emotion of her face whenever she snuck looks at Ed were so plain to his eyes now. Seeing them together with new eyes left Al overwhelmed. He left them on the porch, tears standing in his eyes as he went and sat in the overgrown garden of their temporary housing.
Mustang sat next to him on the bench, a black eye patch where the bandages had been just last week. "You all right, Alphonse?"
"I was watching Ed and Winry." He rubbed his eyes. "We were both half in love with her growing up and now I see her...I'm just feeling things so strong."
"And you still love her and know she loves someone else?" Mustang asked sympathetically.
Al shook his head. "No, I can see how much they love each other and it makes me so happy that they have that. She's my sister, nothing more. When I see them...I can't even put it into words." He wiped his cheeks. "But apparently I can put it into joyful tears."
Mustang clamped a hand on Al's shoulder. "You really are one of the sweetest men I've ever met, Alphonse. That's something to be proud of."
Al just smiled.
"Hawkeye! Alphonse is sick!" Roy bellowed.
"Al!" Ed peered frantically over the back of the couch where Al had curled up, holding his belly and hoping for death.
"No surprise there with all he ate." Riza clucked her tongue at the boy.
"I'll go make ginger tea," Winry said with a resigned sigh.
"Al?" Ed sat next to his brother. "You okay?"
"My stomach really hurts."
"It was probably that last glass of milk you had...evil stuff," Ed said.
"But it's been so long, Brother. I haven't tasted so much real food in so long, I couldn't help myself," Al moaned.
It was East City's fall festival and Mustang said it should be safe enough for them to attend. Al couldn't resist all the taste treats. Once his taste buds were truly awakened, he lost all self-control. He did the very thing he was always yelling at Ed for; he stuffed himself with everything he could find. Savory meat pies set his tongue dancing with spice. Chocolates, peppermints, rock candy, caramel apples and spun sugar so sweet when it dissolved in his mouth, all of it went down so easy.
He made it an orgy of tastes. Apple pie, fruit tarts, sweet, sticky gooey cake, confections of every sort, pastries to be sucked dry of their creamy fillings before being devoured. Lollies, steak on sticks, taffy, candied nuts, topped off with sugary drinks and a milkshake until finally he had to loosen his pants, go home and lie down.
Sick as he was, Al knew he'd do it all again.
Of all the senses Al had missed the most in his armor years, touch was number one. Without it, he had been so isolated that he thought he might slowly go insane. Once he regained his body, Al had gotten touchy, clingy even trying to fill his need for physical contact. It had been several weeks since he got his body back now and he had calmed somewhat.
One good thing about hiding out in the East where it was hot was that Winry and Riza wore flimsy dresses at home, revealing lots of flesh. It was a feast for the eyes. Al couldn't help watching.
Al was suddenly very aware of a totally new sensation overcoming him, a warmth below the belt and the press of his flesh tight against his zipper. It was a unique sensation. The feeling was overwhelming and wholly new to him. He had been too young for this before he lost his body but Al knew what was happening. He had seen Ed slinking off to the rest room when they'd travel and come back looking guilty and embarrassed.
Looking at Riza and Winry only made Al harder and the urge to do something about it grew. Al quietly shuffled to the bathroom, locking the door behind him. He sighed loudly as he got his pants down and touched himself. His thighs quivered with the new sensations. Oh this was amazing. Al had no intentions of feeling guilty or embarrassed.