He was here; bunched in a corner, gauntlets over his head desperately trying to find some way to block out the sound of the drill; over Ed's objections. He didn't know how it had happened, but somewhere in all the fighting, explaining, and crying over "the upcoming procedure" someone had won him a front row seat. He was beginning to rethink that decision. Ed had waved off most of the explanations for this particular segment, "'Cause I'm not going to feel it." If only he had pulled Granny or Winry aside and asked on his own he could have avoided this dilemma.

People had always admired Ed for his focus, but after five hours of listening to Winry work she was awarded that trophy. Her last words to him had been said over her shoulder in an offhanded way, "We're about to start. Are you sure you want to stay?" He had nodded his affirmative and ten minutes later had his metal face buried in leather hands. He had seen automail before; he knew it was mostly seamless with the skin. He just hadn't given much thought to how it got seamless. Winry had handed Pinako a scalpel and very carefully held Ed's thigh steady. The blade had cut deep and hadn't stopped. All the way around, the entire stump; all that wasted newly-healed skin. As two seams were made and metal pieces gently slipped into the cuts Al had craned his neck to see what they were doing. He heard a wet tearing sound before he saw the flap of skin being slowly pulled up in Winry's hands. He had glanced away, but not buried his head yet. The tearing sound continued for a few more minutes and then Winry had moved. There was Ed's leg, the lower 12 centimeters or so with skin completely torn off; muscles and veins gleaming. Granny was cauterizing all of the larger tears and at this sight Al's head went down, guilt consuming him.

He could only see flashes of things from his new viewpoint for the rest of the operation. As Winry moved back into place he saw a flash of metal and something red-hot. He heard machinery start up slowly; and then the most wretched pleasant sound: teeth in apple pie. Only it wasn't apple pie, it was his brother's flesh and no teeth could be as cruel as the little machine tearing into it. A soft crack sounded and Winry grunted. Something clicked and the whining of the machine rose in pitch accompanied with the sound of breaking branches full of sap. Al ground his gauntlets into his head, wishing for ears he could plug, when Winry stopped the machine. He heard a sigh of relief but didn't look up as the machine began again. Blood and flecks of burnt tissue began to sprinkle onto the floor; the bone chips making a flat ping. He heard running water alternating with sucking; bits of his brother being swept away. It was Granny who moved away this time, returning with a covered cart. Using extra long tongs, Al saw the flash of heated metal move towards the work table. A horrible sizzling noise, fatty bacon in a frying pan, drowned out all others for a few seconds before dying back down. He heard a few sniffles and one hacking cough. Suddenly he was grateful for his lack of smell. The next noise was too loud. A sickening bong accompanied by a splat. Winry pounded the metal plate for what seemed eternity. When the noise finally echoed for the last time Al shifted, catching Granny's attention. She frowned upon following his gaze and sprayed some water in the floor; blood and pieces of Ed washing down the drain. Winry seemed impervious as she reached again for the drill. Carefully, she used the tongs to maneuver a red-hot bolt over the new panel. Aligning drill, bolt, and hole all together she flipped the switch, driving the anchor home. Winry switched the machine off and set it aside. Next gloves were shed as Granny moved to inspect her work.

"Alright, good work, girl. Take 20 while Al and I clean up and heat the next pieces."

Winry didn't say anything, but nodded as she dropped onto a stool beside the table. She took a long gulp of water as Granny swept up and ran a rag over the drill bits. Al stood and grabbed the cart when Granny motioned in his direction and started to follow her out of the room. Hearing a strangled sob he turned back in the act of closing the door. He was just in time to see Winry bury her head on Ed's left shoulder as sobs wracked her. He hesitated but then closed the door behind him.