Restoring the faith
The train continued along its set journey, the passengers inside only thinking of their destination or whatever was on their minds.
For some it troubled them greatly, though they did not show it to their travelling companions. They hid it within their own heart and mind, slowly devouring them from the inside.
Whistling loudly, the train announced its arrival at a new station before a few minutes later departing to continue with its journey. The countryside appeared more and more as the city was left behind, buildings being replaced by trees and fields replacing roads.
Inside one carriage a small group of alchemists was travelling back to Risembool for repairs and rest after experiencing some traumatic experiences in the city known as Central.
A young girl wearing a long blue coat and gloves to hide her automail stared out of the window, watching the countryside roll by while sat on the same bench as her was their guard towering over her.
Opposite them lay a young man stretched out on the bench, his arm tucked under his head as he slept the journey away. The only person missing was his brother, trapped in a suit of armour being held in the cargo carriage only a short walk away from them.
Shortly after leaving Central, they had quickly settled down for the long train journey back to their hometown. The latest event still fresh in their mind that left Edward Elric without his right arm, damage to Crystal Hope's left arm and Alphonse Elric without half of the suit he was trapped in.
"Ed, are you awake?" Crystal asked after finishing the book she had picked up before they left Central.
"At the moment, what's wrong?" Ed asked not opening his eyes from where he was led out on the bench.
"Just wondered if you wanted a cookie or if we should check on Al" Crystal replied fishing the basket out from under her chair.
Ed sat up a little before opening his eyes, "Wouldn't mind a coffee if there's one" He said with a grin, moving to sit near the window.
Crystal smiled and nodded, moving the handkerchief away to reveal a flask and a load of fresh baked cookies. "Mrs Hughes has done a wonderful job" She said as Major Armstrong opened the flask for them, pouring each of them a cup of the hot caffeine drink.
"She always spoils her guests" Armstrong replied.
"You talk like you've had experience" Ed said with a grin as he took the offered cup and sipped it, sinking back into his seat with a small sigh.
Crystal smiled and left the basket on the table between them listening to the banter between Major Armstrong and Edward.
"If its ok Major Armstrong, I would like to check on Alphonse" Crystal said wanting to get out of the booth.
Armstrong nodded and climbed out allowing Crystal by, making sure she got to the next carriage safely before sitting back down. He turned to look at Ed, but saw that the young alchemist was staring out of the window with the coffee forgotten on the table.
"Something on your mind Mr Elric" Armstrong asked.
"It's nothing Major, just thinking about a few things that happened in Central" Ed replied softly, helping himself to a cookie and began eating it slowly.
"Colonel Mustang sent me along not only for your protection but to assist you in your recovery" Armstrong recited for what sounded to Ed's ears to be the hundredth time.
"We know Major, but its best if we just talk things through with a clear head and no one knowing what had happened back in Central" Crystal replied seeing Ed sigh and lean into his seat, looking out at the view as it past with the cookie in his hand untouched.
Ed sighed softly and ate the cookie before settling back down to continue to sleep, he had been having trouble sleeping during the night but he had yet to tell Crystal or even Al.
"I'm going to check on Al" Crystal announced sliding off the chair and disappeared off to find Alphonse in the Cargo carriage not too far away from them.
"Should I go with her?" Armstrong enquired watching her go.
"Can if you want, I'm sure we're safe here" Ed replied before stifling a yawn. "Get Crystal to wake me up when we reach Risembool" He added before falling asleep, rocked by the train's movements.
"Hey Alphonse, thought you might like some company asides from the sheep" Crystal said with a smile seeing that the sheep had been unloaded between her last visit and now.
"Hi there Crystal thought Ed would come in with you" Al replied wondering what his brother was up to.
"I think he's gone back to sleep, he's sleeping a lot" Crystal said softly sitting down next to Al, using the crate he was in to lean against.
"You're worried about him" Al finished for her before sighing. "I'm worried too, I saw him awake one night reading another alchemy book… he's pushing himself so hard lately" He said remembering when he saw Ed surrounded by books and papers.
"Did you ask him why he is?" Crystal asked as she listened to the wind blow through the gaps in carriage for ventilation.
"I did but he said it's because of the new lead we have, just wanting to get fixed up then back into Central" Al replied before sighing.
"I don't know what to do with him Crystal, if he doesn't stop to take a break then…" He stopped not wanting to think what might and could happen to his brother.
"He could collapse or go insane…" Crystal finished for him before sighing, hugging her legs close to her and looked down at the dark floorboards.
"We'll just have to make sure that it doesn't happen, hopefully that we can take a small break once we get back home" Al said sounding concerned for not only his brother but for Crystal too.
When he lost his soul, Al did not only loose his body but everything that his body needed, food, water and sleep. He did sleep but less time was needed for him to restore his energy than the others, they found this useful when they were on the road.
Crystal sighed and looked up, "You're right Al, we'll just have to watch over him even though he's going to hate that a lot" She replied with a small smile and tucked down into her jacket to sleep for a while.
To be continued…
Please be kind, this is my first official FullMetal Alchemist fanfic! I would love to thank Risembool Ranger FullMetalWing for helping me with this!