The nauseatingly humid smell was coming off of him.
Strange, woolen blankets molded to the exposed skin of his smaller body, sticking to his hot chest. Oxygen felt chilly to his face yet his body refused to cool down. The occupant of the cot peeled them off and sat up to examine his surroundings. Cabin room; dusk filtered through an open crudely-made window; there was barely enough light to locate a way out. Off some mile in the distance, forestry draped civilization from him. This was no place he had been before… he was almost sure of it...
"Is that what you are afraid of? The possibility of what is out there?"
Partially shaded by the darkness of the lofty cabin, a taller silhouette purred faintly, the hum of it tensing the feverish man in the cot, "Or are you more afraid of what's right here with you in this room?"
Fear seized the walls of his stomach as the silhouette inched closer, bending down and hoisting itself onto the bedspread noiselessly; there was no mistaking that coppery brown.
"Ah…Alphonse, what are you—?"
The younger cut him off, sensually pushing air through his lips and tapping his index finger against them in the universal sign of shushing another, carefully stroking the flesh ankle uncovered to him before making his way closer to his blood relation. With a feline grace, Al crawled up over his shaking body; a body only clad in boxers…why, was beyond Edward's knowledge; and seated himself gleefully between his older brother's legs, "What a sin, Edward. And I… well, your little brother. Do you desire my body?"
Hot breath sweltered across the exposed part of his neck as Edward tried desperately to escape his advances.
"Ahhhhhh, but I know you do. I know the reason why you wanted my body back. I know how you looked at me. You knew it was wrong… but that wouldn't stop The Great Edward Elric, now would it?"
The beginnings of frantic tears swelled in the corners of golden eyes. Edward fought helplessly against the hold his sibling had on his wrists as they were pinned roughly to the mattress. All power left him as soon as fine, soft eyelashes found their way to brush lovingly against his throat.
"Please, Al, stop… I don't—"
"You wanted my body back for selfish reasons—"
"Al—no I didn't—"
"You didn't care for what I wanted. You were willing to make me wait—"
Grayish green hazel smiled sadistically down upon Edward's burning and moistened face (mingled with tears and sweat), "But I forgave you only because I knew you could do it. And then I would give you what you…" The grinning boy lowered his face just millimeters away from Edward's parted mouth, thrusting his pelvis forward, "and I wanted."
At the connection, the older doubled his efforts of thrashing, lovely cascades of yellow pooling around him. Alphonse smiled at the picturesque scene of his sibling making a delightful struggle, vain as it was, "Equivalent Exchange, dear brother." Their hips shot into a pistol motion. Edward Elric did the only thing he could think of to do in this situation.
In the camp firelight, the bullion dangles from her ears clinked together as her elegant, brown neck twisted in her blood-red headscarf. Reminded him of a stubborn arrogance. Noa withdrew her slender arms into her cloak as the Roma man nearby came forward to tend to the dying flames. "So where do you plan on journeying?" She asked, focusing on the seventeen-year-old daydreaming beside her.
"Huh?" Hazelish eyes blinked. He said embarrassed, trying to recuperate his wits. "Oh, uh— we're tracking down something brought back from our world. Something that doesn't belong here."
Her large, velvet eyes stared back at him with traces of a deep, personal bitterness. "What does?" When the youngest Elric brother did not give her an answer, she asked with a little less bite, "What do you plan on doing afterwards? After you have found what you are seeking? Will you go home to your world?"
"I don't think that's an option any more," Al confirmed lowly, bringing his knees to himself to keep warm, or perhaps it was an unconscious impulse at closing himself to any more personal questions.
'. . .What do you plan on doing with your big brother, do you mean? Your intelligent. . . idealistic. . . golden-haired. . . beautiful. . .'
Al pursed his lips tightly and shook his head of the offending thoughts, not caring if the gypsy girl thought him a bit loony. Not that he was sure he was completely sane anymore.
'. . .You don't know, do you, Noa? You along with the rest of the world don't know. Wouldn't understand why the first night I appeared in this world I had refused to let go of my brother, sobbing into his blood-stained shirt and hoping that this wasn't just a dream I came up with in my head. Understand why as he slept, I was still awake; why I had physically traced every facial feature into my memory. After being trapped in armor. . . how much I desired to experience my brother's embrace, the scent of his hair against my face, the two senses taken from me for seven years. And things I've yet to explore. . . .'
Giving his head a harder jerk, he let his face fall down with a decisive thump against his kneecaps, digging his forehead into his pants irritably. Damnable wants.
Saving him an explanation for his behavior to Noa, and not far off from the sleeping area of the campsite, fell a familiar despairing shout. Following the echoes of it, Al rose to his feet to tear through the wild, and staggered upon a gathering of Roma people huddling; at their feet, a body lashed about as if on fire.
"Brother!" He sped up his jog into a full-out sprint. Al pitched a bystander off their feet rudely, and slid in the mud to kneel beside the convulsing form. "Brother! What's wrong —?"
With one last scream, one that tore through the darkened forest, that tore a new wound in Al's heart, Edward's body came standstill on the forest carpet. Al grabbed him by the sticky, sweaty collar and yelled, though his voice hardly came to normal volume, "Wake up, you idiot… don't do this to me! If you're going to scare the hell out of me, so help me, Brother; you'd better explain yourself NOW!"
Something hard connected to his cheek.
Reeling onto his bottom, not from the force but in pure shock, the younger gawked open-mouthed at his now awake and frantic older brother scooting away as far as his body would allow him.
"Stay away from me…"
Some part of him wanted to cry; a weaker, childishly indignant fragment; all Al could do was rub the lightly developing bruise on mouth helplessly. "Brot—?"
"STAY AWAY FROM ME I SAID!"
As if Edward were in pain, he clutched at his stomach and pushed himself to his feet only to double over instantly, golden eyes widening in repulsion.
'Oh no. . .'
He paid no heed to more approaching strangers and headed straight into the trees, leaving a worrying Al to assemble the strength to go after him. When the ex-Fullmetal Alchemist reached his destination (a cold creek not too far from the Roma camp but far enough for privacy), he stripped himself and remained doubled over shivering in the freezing black waters. Anything to get rid of the...
God... he had an erection of all things. The gates of Hell, reserved for the most evil of souls, waited for him eagerly... he was sure of it.
When Edward was sure that his body was too cold for any sort of arousal, he eased his grip he had around his abdomen. Through his long blond bangs, he peeked up dazedly into the semi-darkness of the forest's clearing. Standing just beside some brush of it, Al spotted him, wearing a deeply confused look. He snapped shrilly enough for the other to hear, "Ever heard of privacy, Al!-?"
A meep! summon attention to his mortification. The backside of a light-colored tunic greeted Edward's view. He had a full three minutes of silence to properly dress, although soaking his garments, and attempted to wring out his untied, matted hair before his little brother questioned softly, "What did you dream of, Brother?" Halting his mechanical fingers from fiddling with a stray thread on his wrinkled, light blue button-up, the blond looked up momentarily to see Al's back still to him.
"You were afraid of me... did I do something?"
Growling at his overly self-conscious attitude, Edward rolled up his left sleeve to mutter, "Don't be stupid...you had nothing to do with it..."
"...Did I hurt you?" Al added.
Clenching his teeth, Edward held back to urge to snap. He couldn't blame Al because he didn't know; not that he needed to. "Listen, Al, it was just a nightmare. Whatever happened doesn't matter—"
This time Alphonse was the one to break the conventions by snapping at him, turning right around, and stomping into the earth to emphasize his point, "It matters to me! If something's bothering you, I want you to be able to talk to me about it! Isn't that what family does?"
Snorting at his preach, Edward stepped in front of his little brother to motion grasping his shoulders then calmly remembered the reasons why it would be a bad idea, letting his arms drop instead.
"It was just a nightmare. Just a bad nightmare. Let it die."
"...Why won't you touch me?"
Challenge alight in silver.
It was almost enough to make Edward smile cynically at the churning irony of it all.
'I don't think you understand what you're asking, little brother. . .'
A short bark of laughter did escape him. Numb encompassing gold. "You might want to reconsider that question, Alphonse."
Spots of cherry pink touched Al's face. They were never noticed it in the dimming setting. Nevertheless, the cold never wavered from his gaze held on his big brother. "Why. Won't. You. Touch. Me?"
Edward hated losing to challenges. He also hated hurting his family.
Chilling and gleaming automail curled around the side of Alphonse's face. Cautious not to move his prosthetic fingers that were holding the young boy's face, Ed nodded curtly. "See? No problem here."
Hazelish eyes slit venomously at the trembling in Edward's voice.
"No problem at all…"
He swallowed hard, throat swelling up. What was with this weather? Since when did it get so hot at night? Maybe he should run back into lake… cool down his body that felt it was climbing a hundred degrees every passing second… and when did Al get such a pretty neck…?
Golden eyes bulged in surprise and disgust. Edward stepped backwards hurriedly, sliding his deadened fingertips across the bone of his brother's cheek, "...I'm sorry. I'm going to be sick."
"It's me," Al confirmed darkly, "I did something to you."
The older man began to sink to his knees in the muddy bank, squeezing a lump of fabric from Al's shirt in his flesh fist, mumbling as another wave of violent nausea struck him low in his already cringing stomach, "Stop, I'm begging you... Alphonse…"
"Why are you always trying to protect me…why can't you talk to me like a normal person, Ed!" The enraged sibling shouted down at the wilting form, quieting at the sight of the once proud Fullmetal Alchemist dry heaving on his hands and knees. After a couple of moments, leaking golden eyes stared back into the darkness, spittle shining on the folds of his arm sleeves.
"You raped me."
Alphonse made a strangling noise, legs turning into trembling jelly, but remained upright frozen. Horror froze his entire body.
Edward hung his head forward, too ashamed to reveal the hot, humiliated tears collecting in his eyes, "And I think I liked it… Al, I'm sick. I'm really sick." He snapped his face back up at the end of his confession to watch Al's light-colored tunic already half-vanish into the trees.
Edward would hate him. If he didn't already. He could barely touch him as it is. So Al ran.
That logic was a single stream shaping inside his mind as he raced through invisible brush and forest, unsure where he was running to, and unable to tell which way the campfire was.
Now completely lost in nightfall, Al slowed himself against the bark of a lone tree, allowing a small hiccup of a cross between frustration and a sob erupt from his lips.
He knew that persistent Edward Elric would not rest until he was found safe and sound... but what if he didn't want to be found? His brother would be sickened to know the truth; the truth that Alphonse Elric had fallen in love romantically with his older sibling. It was better to stop existing if anything. But... Al glanced off to the side, eyes catching the sight of distant firelight.
The firelight seemed so promising before Alphonse's world exploded into blinding white agony.
Noa returned to the campfire, visibly shaken, nervously clutching her arms underneath her shawl. She had hoped that Edward had found Al and that they were both out of harm's way.
One of the men warned her before she joined Edward to find his brother that there were rumors of murderous men lurking in their woods and that everyone must stick together to prevent panic. She ignored his warning, and after informing Edward of the news, he did as well. They split up when it got too dark to be guided without starlight; Edward chanced his safety, leaving Noa to ask her people in the campsite if they had seen a tall, pale boy with copper hair pass by. No one could prevent any information help her.
As she approached the warming fire from earlier, she started to smile relieved to see the back of a familiar, bright blond head facing the opposite direction.
As Noa came closer, her good spirits sank into nothingness. Clutched in Edward's arms was the person they had been looking for. Her dark brown eyes widened dismayed at the twinkle of the gem-encrusted knife handle thrust deep into Al's abdomen. The blood could not found in the spotty lighting. But he was dead. She was sure of it.
The color in his face was completely replaced by a gray-milky sheen, glittering with beads of sweat; even the life in his hazel eyes looked dulled out to an empty black. Noa reached out to stroke his hair, to bless his passing with her unspoken prayers, when Al shifted his face slightly in her direction, the cracked skin on his lips parting and turning up. Almost to reassure her.
"Edward, quickly, take him to the healers! He's alive!" When the man did not move, did not turn his blank white face from the firelight, she insisted, shaking his shoulder roughly, "Take him! Edward! Edward, are you listening to me? Take him now or he will die!"
"They can't cure the poison. It was on the blade. Alphonse told me."
With an inattentive yet loving motion, Edward pushed back his brother's wet bangs from his open, blind, dark eyes. "That's why he wouldn't let me take out the knife. The poison passes through contact of body fluids. That's why they knew no one would help him," he said monotonously, staring steadily down at the poor creature in his lap.
Noa steadied herself, half convinced to curse him and fetch the healers herself... but Edward did not lie. He could not be lying about this. Tears prickled the corners of her quivering eyelids.
She retreated, for the sake of their privacy, using that excuse for her cowardice.
He shifted the body in his arms, leaning down to gently press a tiny kiss to his little brother's nose. "You did good, Alphonse. Noa and I found the body... you did my job for me," he said patiently.
The chest in his embrace shuddered weakly, the handle of the dagger wobbling. As soon as it passed, Al blinked once dazedly up at him, signaling his continued ability to still listen.
Edward fought back another wild, insane urge to cry. "Whatever reason you had to run away is your own and I don't ask it from you. I just hope…"
'You don't hate me.'
As if reading his thoughts, Al smiled wordlessly.
"I'll be joining you soon, Al," Edward murmured comfortingly, the smile on the younger's face instantly disappearing as confusion set in. Confusion morphing into faint shock as Al received Edward's lips delicately to his slackened mouth. In an act that was out of Edward's given nature, he timidly touched his tongue to the roof of the younger's mouth. Alphonse smelled of musk and creek water. He wished he could have stayed pressed against his brother's irresistibly soft mouth for a couple seconds more.
But it ended quickly.
Alphonse's head lolled back, leaving his long ponytail to dangle limply in the air like a cascade of molten copper in the firelight. The only piece of color left was the ugly stain of red sealing his closed lips. Tasting the very same, Al's blood intertwined with his senses, the remaining Elric brother moved his sibling carefully off to the side, folding his arms together, before sitting down alone.
He waited for Hell.
As the early morning sun rose at the Roma campsite, their people started to move on.
As the women and children loaded themselves into the travelling wagon, laughing and grumbling and crying... several burly-looking men argued rapidly in their native language off to the side. They gestured towards the remains of the last evening's fire, towards two bodies folded neatly around the ashes, and the silk-spun figure wearing red hovering over them to arrange them.
It was decided ultimately that the bodies be buried in a clearing in the forest. Two old healers blessed the dirt covering their frail, pale corpses. Both graves marked with one or two stones, in a superstitious hope that the two boys should be content in the afterlife and not haunt those who could not save them.
Somewhere beyond human comprehension, a family reunited.
And the world moved on.
FMA and the FMA movie belong to its creators. I make no profit. So, this project had been running for over a year now, and I've edited it a countless amount of times…and I just want it out of my documents because it's creating unwanted blockage, even if I'm not entirely satisfied. And plus I haven't updated anything in a long time. XD Not beta-read, not enough time to send it out. Reviews mean the world to me. I would appreciate any comment given. I hope to see you readers at the next story!