Title: Copper Ion

Author: Aria DC al Fine

Rating: G

Genre: Angst

Pairing: (If you squint hard enough): HeiEd (one-sided) HeiAl (almost undiscovered)

Warning: OOCness and Character Death

Synopsis: Al noticed in Heiderich what his brother Ed failed to do.

A/N: It's more like a character contrast between Heiderich and Alphonse Elric, though.

Words: 2036

His eyes, Al noticed, were not just plain 'blue'. The bleak colour description did no justice to the beautiful orbs of his older look-alike.

He was similar to his doppelganger in a lot of ways, but at the same time, he realised that he was different to the German in many ways too. There was their 4 years difference in age, resulting in Heiderich being taller and having broader shoulders. Their facial bone structure, for instance, were the same – they both had fine cheekbones, straight nose and less defined jaw than Edward. But Al's cheeks hadn't rid of baby fat, and he was well-fed when he was living in Amestris, so the younger male's face was rounded, fuller, and glowed in a youthful shine Heiderich's thin face failed to radiate. Almost everyone, including Edward, thought that Al would look like Heiderich after he grew up, but Al himself thought that he would be stockier, muscles resulting from weekly spar with his brother, while Heiderich was hopeless in fighting due to his poor health. Then there was their colouring, which was the most obvious difference of all. Al's own skin was a golden tan, while Heiderich was so pale, his alabaster skin even more translucent than the ex-Colonel's skin back home in Amestris, and more often than not Al could see the purple veins in the pureblooded Aryan's hands. The shade of blonde of their hair was different – Al's was almost like dirty blonde, while Heiderich's was silver blonde, like hays that were bleached by the sun, effective for hiding the many white hair that the young man already had. Then, of course, there were their eyes.

The way they think, too, was different, even though through weeks of observations Al knew that the way they hid secrets was the same – they would smile and lock their lips so tightly that even Edward who was infamous for being stubborn gave up – and the both of them were really, exceptionally good at keeping secrets. Whenever there is a problem, Al tends to butt into it head straight and tries to solve it determinedly – he was not unlike his brother in this aspect – while Heiderich ponders about it for a while, decides whether or not it is possible to be solved before taking calculated actions. If he deems it to be impossible to solve, he will not do anything. Pessimistic, that was what Heiderich was. He was persistent in his work in fulfilling his dream of inventing rocket, but other than that, he preferred not to bother. May be this came from the fact that Heiderich had been living in 'this' world since he was young – he had been disappointed by it so many times that he believed that he could only hope for one thing. And indeed, from what Al had been studying about the History of this world, compared to Amestris, Germany was one big country of a mess (A/N: No offense, Germans! It's history! And I admit that Indonesia is one big country of a mess now, so, yeah). No one could tell when the inflation would stop.

Al understood his doppelganger well, but he still couldn't, wouldn't want to, accept why the paler blonde gave up so easily on Edward. It was so obvious from the way he behaves around the oldest blonde, that he loved him, his orbs – which were so beautiful Al wanted to stare at them the whole day trying to put a name to the colour – looking at Edward with such reverence, but whenever the two were talking, Heiderich just smiled that smile, the same smile he would give his brother when he was feeling so very crappy and hurt but did not want Ed to worry about him, at the former Fullmetal Alchemist and Al felt like bashing his only blood relative. Ed might be genius at alchemy or science in general, but he could so dense when it came to these kinds of things.

"Why don't you tell him?" Al asked his look-alike bluntly after weeks and weeks of waiting and more waiting. They were sitting on the couch in the living room, and Heiderich was reading one of his science books. He put it down and turned to the younger man, his expression puzzled. "Huh?" he blinked.

Al opened his mouth to speak, but lost any form of coherency when his own grayish copper eyes met those of the German. A plain old 'blue' really didn't hold them any justice. The colour was so unique – it wasn't the pale blue of a clear summer sky, it wasn't the murky green-blue of a dirty sea, it wasn't the blue of the water in the river, it wasn't sapphire, cyan or aquamarine and it was close to but still not quite turquoise. These eyes, Al told himself, were what enabled people to tell Alphonse Elric and Alfons Heiderich apart.

"…Al-kun?" Heiderich tried when the boy appeared to space out in front of him, and he smiled when Al realised that he had blanked out. His cheeks turning pink, the little brother smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, I was distracted."

"It's alright," the 'blue'-eyed male told him patiently. "What was it that you wanted to speak to me about, Al-kun?"

Al's face turned serious again. "Why don't you just tell him?"

The older male's expression did not indicate that he understood what Al was talking about, though Al was 100 sure that he really did. "Pardon, Al-kun? What are you talking about?"

"You should tell Brother, you know," the brother of the most hardheaded person on Earth continued, "that you like him that way, that is."

Heiderich smiled at him, that very smile that showed Al that he would have to walk over the older male's dead body to pull that secret out of him. "I don't understand what you are talking about, Al-kun. I'm sorry."

Al frowned. "You are aware that I am your 'clone' from another world, aren't you?" he almost growled.

"Strange as it sounds, yes, I am aware of it," Heiderich remarked, "But I fail to see where this has got to do with-"

"You might not realise it, I have been observing you." The pureblooded Aryan raised his eyebrow at that, and Al blushed again, but the determined boy continued, "Out of curiosity. I want to know how much are the extent of similarity between us, not only looks but also characteristics. And it turns out to be that our characteristics are similar, to some extent. I can see from the way you behave around Brother that you like him that way."

Then there was a thick, tense silence. Al continued to stare at Heiderich unfalteringly, while the man at the receiving end of scrutiny continued smiling. They stayed in that position for the longest of time, before one of them gave up and sighed.

"You are like Edward-san in this aspect, aren't you Al-kun?"

Al kept quiet. He just narrowed his eyes and urged Heiderich to continue talking.

But the pale blonde tried to stall by looking over the window at the clear summer sky, the blue reflected in his unique eyes. Al gritted his teeth in impatience, but Heiderich ignored the sound of frustration. They fell into silence again.

Seconds ticked away to minutes, and it was so silent one could hear a pin drop. Al was about to conclude his effort unfruitful and was thinking on continuing on another day when Heiderich chose to speak. "Edward-san doesn't care about me, I hope you know that."

Al shook his head straight away. "It's not true! Brother-"

Heiderich ignored him. "A few months ago, before you come here, when we were still making the rocket, his room was never decorated. He put things back into his suitcase straight after using them. Any one would think that he was going to flee anytime he wanted to," the blonde's lips curled up on the left and he chuckled softly, the sound bitter in Al's ears, "I think he only stayed because I look like you, Al-kun."

The frown etched on Al's young face deepened. "But-" he protested.

Heiderich raised his hand, and Al was shocked to speechlessness when pale fingers rubbed the lines on his temple gently before a pair of pale lips descended on it chastely. Al slumped forward and leaned to Heiderich's chest, feeling bones and hearing heartbeats that were too weak for his liking fluttering behind the Aryan's ribcage and slight whispery wheezes. Heiderich arm enveloped the left part of the younger boy's body while his hand was petting strands of silky dirty blond hair. Al's own heart seemed to be beating rapidly as his shaking hands clutched at his doppelganger's shirt and he buried his head to his shoulder, inhaling scent of musk, cheap aftershave, detergent, soap, oil, sweat and something that was purely Heiderich. This…Al wondered at the back of his mind, having an epiphany. This feeling…

Then, as quickly as the hug came, Heiderich extracted himself away from the other male and smiled when Al looked at him. "Thank you for worrying about me, Al-kun," he seemed genuinely grateful, "But I don't think it's necessary."

Al opened his mouth again to argue, but as he did so, Edward opened the door to the apartment and shouted happily, "I'm home!"

Heiderich turned his head towards the source of the sound and smiled, even though Edward hadn't actually reached the living room. "Welcome home," he replied before standing up and walking to the kitchen, "Dinner's in ten minutes. Clean up first before you eat, Edward-san."

Heiderich was replied with a grunt. His smile widened. Before he entered the kitchen (Heiderich had been the one who prepared the meals. Edward could only cook stew and Al, for all his neatness freak, was a bad cook, partly because he had lost the sense of taste for too long), the tallest blonde turned to Al again and smile a different kind of smile, a gentle, contented, resigned, smile. "Once again, thank you, Al-kun."

Al responded with a blush and a smile. Only when the man had truly disappeared to the kitchen, did he frown again. He didn't like the sense of resignation that was flying across Heiderich 'blue' eyes before, no he didn't like it one tiny bit.

---------------------------------

Three months later, only after Ed had found Heiderich coughing blood violently on the floor of the kitchen, weak and unable to stand up, did Al realise that he had underestimated his clone's ability to hide a secret. Barely before Ed was going to storm out to fetch a doctor and create havoc at the hospital, did Heiderich confessed that no, calling the doctor is not necessary, because he is dying, has known that he is dying since a year ago, and no, there is no cure.

And when Edward screamed obstinacies at the really pallid blonde – so pale was he the only colours that could be seen on his face were those of his eyes and blood – mainly about, 'WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU TELL US? WE COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING!', the golden-eyed male was replied with a smile (which Ed thought as infuriating) and said, simply, that he didn't want them to worry about him, he didn't want them to waste their money on him, and he didn't mind dying at all, because his dream of creating a rocket was realised, and, "I can finally see my brother again," Heiderich choked at his breath and coughed blood again before continuing to smile.

When they buried him, and people came to the funeral, the back of Al's eyes felt as though they were burned. Heiderich never said that he had no regrets. Al was sure that he died carrying his broken heart to the grave. Looking at his brother standing next to him, drops of tears flowing down his cheeks, Al wanted to scream to his deceased clone, who was his newfound crush, that yes, Edward did care about you because he grieved, the fact that the great Edward Elric himself cried was the prove. But it was too late, and Heiderich carried with him not only his own broken heart, but also shards of Al's shattered heart.

Le finis

A/N: I know you want to kill me…but I know I'm a sadist. I love to torture one character. In HP fandom it was Draco or Harry (mainly Draco, though, and I make Harry felt guilty over it, hehe) and here it's Heiderich and Edward (same concept). Anyway, this fic may have a little similar plot with Mirror Image…I did get the inspiration from it, but twisted the ending and write it differently.

Anyway, if you are wondering why the title is Copper ion, well…it's because copper is the colour of Alphonse Elric's eyes, while Copped (II) ion is blue (sometimes green) depending on the concentration and presence of impurities and something of the sort, which is the colour of Heiderich's eyes, not quite blue but not green also. Since this fic is mostly about them, hence the title.

And the 'Al-kun' and 'Edward-san' just shows that Heiderich is hesitant in trying to be close to Edward, since the '-san' implies politeness while '-kun' projects friendliness.

I want to protest! Why isn't there Alfons H. in the list of characters? And too few people write about him! Write about him more! He's my 2nd fave chara after Ed!