"Al, Roy wants to go home..." Ed's manner told Al that wasn't all.
"So? We don't have to," Al said briskly, making his bed.
"I want to go with him."
Al glared at Ed. "Fine."
Ed bristled. "Don't say that! I want to know if you're coming!"
"So I can be a third wheel? Why would I want to?"
"Because we go everywhere together!" Ed roared. "I'm not tagging along just to watch you and Roy bicker! My home is HERE!"
"WHAT IF MINE'S NOT?"
Al stared at his brother. "Then you should leave."
"Fine! I'm going /home/!" Ed shouted to override his impulse to cry. He threw his suitcase shut and slung it down th stairs, knowing only the most blinding rage he could muster, because anything less would let him feel his incredible sorrow.
"Ed, what the hell is-"
"We can leave now! For Central!" Ed yelled in Roy's face.
"What?" Winry yelled, emerging from her work room.
"We're going back to Central!" Ed yelled as loud as he could.
"BECAUSE IT'S MY HOME," Ed screamed. Winry blanched and looked like she'd been punched in the gut.
"HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT!" she screeched.
"Winry! Ed!" Pinako snapped, coming out of another room.
"But he said-"
"/Winry!/" Pinako snapped more sharply this time. Winry clammed up.
"What are you yelling about?" she said to Ed. "I'm going back to Central with Roy."
"What about Al?"
"He's staying here."
"You two have a fight?"
Ed nodded. She regarded him grimly. "It's not going to fix itself while you're in Central."
"I know," Ed said softly.
"As long as you know that sooner or later you'll have to talk to him," she said.
"Yeah. I know." Ed looked up at Roy. "Ready to go? We have to find out when the next train leaves."
"Let me pack," Roy said. He wanted to make Ed explain his rush and tell him what he and Alphonse had been fighting about, but he thought it would be better to go with the flow now and question Ed later.
He was glad he'd kept a tidy camp upstairs; he only had to throw a few things into his suitcase before he could zip it up and take it downstairs. "It's been good to see you again," he said to Pinako and Winry downstairs, feeling awkward because of Ed's rush.
Pinako nodded while Winry sulked and ignored him. Ed grabbed Roy's sleeve and pulled him out the door and down the road to the station.
"What happened?" Roy asked a few minutes into the walk.
"Al hates me because I want to go home with you."
"Hates you? That's a strong-"
"Shut up. Don't talk down to me like I'm a child."
"I don't think Al could ever hate you," Roy changed his tack.
"He's so angry about...me and you."
"Why are we going back to Central, though? You don't usually run from fights."
"Al says Risembool is his home and I... I said Central was mine...with you...and he's so angry, him and Winry both because I want to be with you, you know? They don't want to understand why I might want to live somewhere else."
Roy tugged his sleeve out of Ed's grip so he could take Ed's hand in his.
"I feel guilty for bringing you to this. Like I shouldn't be compromising you."
"But you," Ed blushed, "you love me, right?"
"Yes, Ed. I love you." Roy didn't falter.
"So why is it bad? Why do Winry and Al have to get so bent out of shape?"
"I can't answer that."
Ed sighed heavily.
Roy was staring out the window when Ed laid down and put his head in Roy's lap. Roy was happy watching Ed sleep soundly like a child. A hcild he no longer was. A child he shouldn't be acting like...Roy was torn between believing that Ed needed this extra parental attention because his father had deprived him of it, and believing that even if Hohenheim had deprived him of parental attention and bonds, Ed needed to outgrow being babied and coddled just like everyone else. Roy decided he wasn't that torn. Ed wasn't like everybody else. And by choosing Roy and Central over Al and Risembool, he had demonstrated that need.
Ed was groggy when they arrived in Central. It was almost dusk; a completely different dusk than Risembool.
Ed wanted nothing more than to curl up with Roy on his big comfy bed and eat popcorn. Roy was happy to oblige. Neither said a word as the popcorn diminished and then disappeared and the night grew as dark as Central's city lights would allow it to. After being in Risembool, the city sounds of the night were haunting.
Ed and Roy were both dozing off when the phone rang. Roy climbed out of bed to answer it.
"Hello?" he grumbled.
"It's Al...I need to speak to Ed."
"Ed, it's your brother!" Roy called. As Ed stumbled up and took the phone, Roy went back to bed.
"Ed, I want you to know...that it's okay. For you to have a different home. I mean...everything's changed. Everything. But we're still brothers. Not matter what I love you, Brother. As long as that doesn't change, I can handle Central is your home now, that's okay as long as we stay...you know. Close. Brothers. ..." Al blushed on the other end, and Ed heard it.
"We'll always be brothers, Al."
That was the end! Wow.