The little boy lay there, able to wriggle the remaining flesh digits he had been left with, but lacking the ability to move much else. For the last week he had been struggling to become totally awake; each new level of awareness bringing with it a new understanding for the word pain. Now he lay here, his body strapped down and humming with more pain than he ever thought possible, and prepared himself for a new definition.

A clank at the door made him instantly loathe himself. Here he was dreading the pain of what was to come when his dear brother would give anything to feel even the smallest of pinpricks. And to top it off, that very same dear brother was feeling guilty about his pain. His thoughts slammed to a halt as the armor face came into his field of vision.

"Brother…." He nodded that he'd heard. "I'm going out to play with Den, now. Granny and Winry say that it's too distracting having me in here. I'll be back when it's time for dinner."

"Okay Al. I'll see you then." The armor nodded and shuffled out. As the clanging footsteps receded from the room he was tempted to call out, beg him not to leave him, but then her face appeared. The blue eyes that bored into his held no fear, no trepidation, no hesitation. He felt his anticipation leak away and then renew. It was about to start. There would be no turning back after this. The blue eyes lingered in his field of vision. He didn't know why, but he was glad. He felt his bravado returning, his determination to fix his mistakes. As he swelled with it, she nodded once, and then a hand touched his face. She gently coaxed his jaw open and slipped a plastic barrier of some type over his teeth. When his chin was released he clamped down and returned her nod. A flash of golden hair was the last he saw.

Hands tightened on his leg. Delicate fingers settled over his collarbone.

The first voice he'd ever heard announced the commencement, "Well, boy, hold on."

The pain hit him like a giant electrified hammer. His body instinctively lashed out attempting to knock away the cause. The restraints held, but dug deeply into his flesh leaving the first of many bruises. Then, as Winry and Granny began to wrap the wires around his nerves the pain tried to consume him. His very sense of self was torn away leaving nothing but images and sensations to flicker through his mind. The groaning growl which escaped from between his clenched teeth turned to a whimpered sob as the metal was heated melting into every crevice along the nerve. Sweat sprouted from every pore as the heat raced along his spine, his already dry bladder found liquid to flush out the tube protruding from his body. The miniature torches stopped but the metal still burned as drool and foam leaked from his lips. Then an icy cold chased the heat away freezing him in place, turning his struggling muscles to lead, leaving him chapped and blasted. Warm tears continued to fall as his body quaked with shivers. His jaw ached from the grinding of his teeth. A last jolt raced along through his body and the whole world stopped.

The cold slowly wore away, letting him regain himself. He remembered that his name is Edward. His eyes began to focus and his sense of hearing returned. Feeling cold water fill his mouth he swallowed convulsively, not feeling it go down. Time seemed to speed back up to its normal pace. He began to make out that the weird humming he'd been hearing was actually a voice. He felt a cool rag wipe his face and the words slowly began to make sense.

"Edward. Edward." He must have moved his lips because the voice let out a little relieved sound before going on. "We've finished the first connection. I thought you needed a little break. Granny is outside smoking. Can you squeeze my fingers?"

At this inane question he became rather irritated. He fought desperately to feel anything but pain and the cool rag on his face. Ah, there it was. Little fingers resting in his. He fumbled a little, trying to squeeze them and felt the voice…Winry….speak again.

"Good Ed. You're doing great. Not too much longer." He felt the rag on his face shift, wiping his nose. He was crying, but he didn't care. He tried to spit out the mouth guard. Her hand went to his mouth, helping him remove the piece. Anger came back to him, anger at his helplessness. He wondered for a split second what this was doing to her and then let it go as her eyes met his. The strength in those blue eyes hadn't faded. "More water?"