Note: Okay, I've reworked this story so it should make a lot more sense now. Enjoy!

Through a Mirror Darkly

Alphonse Elric stared out the window of the train and idly watched as the landscape flashed by. Across from him, his brother slumped against the chair sound asleep.

His brother tended to sleep a lot. Even more so, it seemed, since he'd successfully returned Al to his body.

Currently, the two were on their way back to Central after a long mission the Colonel had sent them on. Ed had not been amused, especially upon discovering the mission could easily have been taken care of by ANYONE else and had in NO way required the services of a State Alchemist.

Personally, Al felt the Colonel had sent them on such a routine, simple mission because of him. It had only been two months since he'd become a State Alchemist and the Colonel was "keeping the training wheels on" for the time being, exactly as he'd done with Edward once he'd joined.

It hadn't surprised Al when Ed had decided to stay in the military after getting him back in his body. He'd already seen that his brother was not one to ever settle down in one place and just enjoy life.

No matter how much he may have wanted to.

No, there was simply too much of the FullMetal Alchemist in Edward Elric now. He could never go back.

Now, what HAD surprised everyone was when Al had decided to join the State Alchemists and stay with his brother.

Apparently it had been assumed that he would retire to Resembool and live a happy life while his headstrong brother was out risking his life on a daily basis and getting into who knew what kind of danger.

Not likely.

Al would never be able to have any kind of peace with the knowledge that Ed was out there somewhere possibly hurt, possibly in danger, and he wasn't there to help him.

Of course, with his brother, he had definite precedent to almost guarantee that Ed WOULD be hurt and in danger.

He had the uncanny ability to attract danger everywhere he went.

So Al went with him.

After all, Ed was all he had.


The train pulled into the station and Edward Elric opened his eyes as the change of speed reached into his sleeping mind and woke him up. Across from him Alphonse was staring out the window, blond bangs hanging over his eyes and partly obscuring his face.

Getting up, Ed got the suitcase and got off the train. Walking through the streets of Central, Ed felt the same lightness within him that he had felt every day since he had restored Al. Even the fact that the Colonel had sent him on a useless mission simply to show he could wasn't enough to dampen his spirits.

It was as if an enormous burden he hadn't even known he had was just simply gone. The sun seemed warmer, the sky brighter, everything seemed more vibrant and alive than it had ever been.

No more worries about Al's blood seal or about his armor rejecting him. No more fear about possible failure.

Al was back and, better yet, had decided to stay in the military with him. Out loud Ed had argued against it of course. He didn't want Al in danger or living a life he possibly didn't want simply to stay near Ed.

Inwardly, however, Edward was glad Al had decided to stay with him.

It would have been impossibly lonely without him.

After all, Al was all he had.


At headquarters, Roy Mustang glanced down at the paperwork in front of him and signed his name without having really read anything on the page. A glance at the clock showed the train should have arrived which meant he'd be expecting his door to be kicked down at any time.

His eyes darkened slightly and he glanced back down at his desk. There was a knock and a moment later Riza Hawkeye walked in carrying an envelope.

"It arrived today, Sir."

Mustang nodded and reached out to take the envelope from her.

"Thank you Lieutenant."

Riza hesitated and Mustang raised an eyebrow, "Is there something else?"

She opened her mouth to speak when suddenly the door, which had partially swung closed, burst open and a blonde teenager stalked into the room. A red jacket swirled around him and a long ponytail was angrily flicked back as gold eyes zeroed in on their target.


The tirade went on for quite a while and then, just as suddenly, cut off. The golden eyes seemed to change and the anger vanished from them almost as if it had never been there.

Roy raised an eyebrow, "Finished are we?"

"I'm sorry, Sir" a timid voice said, "You know how brother gets. I did try to calm him down before we arrived."

"That's all right," Mustang responded quietly, "You must be tired. Why don't you give me the report and go back to the dorms and get some rest."

Eyes snapped and suddenly the anger was back.

"As if I NEED rest after that crap mission you sent me on" came the heated reply, "The only thing there was to DO was sleep after the first five minutes!"

Mustang nodded without comment. A moment later the teenager shoved a report into his hand and then stalked out of the room in much the same way he'd arrived. Roy looked after him for a long time before noticing that Hawkeye was also standing in place staring at the empty doorway.

"What is it Lieutenant?"

She looked at him and said, "Shouldn't we do something Colonel?"

"What do you suggest we do?" Roy said calmly, "He's not causing any problems."

Picking up the manila envelope that Hawkeye had handed him earlier, Roy pulled out the sheet of paper from within in and studied the death certificate that had been inside. Quietly he said, "What do you suggest I should have done Lieutenant? Handed him the certificate and told him there were only the three of us in the room? Informed him that his brother died restoring his body? What possible good would that have done?"

"But to live like this………"

"No," Roy said firmly. Reaching down he unlocked a drawer and slid the paperwork inside. He then locked it firmly and looked back up to meet Hawkeye's gaze.

"Just leave him alone Riza. Let him deal with it in his own way."

"And if he never deals with it?"

Once again Roy looked back at the empty doorway. Steepling his fingers, he rested his chin on them and sighed.

"Then so be it."


Alphonse Elric watched as his brother stalked across the square still ranting about the stupid Colonel and his stupid tricks and stupid missions and everything else that was apparently stupid about the world.

Al couldn't help but smile at his brother's antics.

What would he ever do without him?

Al was falling behind and Edward automatically adjusted his stride to slow down and let his brother catch up. Al was still getting used to his new body and he wasn't nearly as strong as what he should be for his age.

It was okay though. He was getting there and Ed would make adjustments for as long as possible.

After all, what would he ever do without him?


To anyone watching a strange sight would have presented itself. A teenage boy walking across a square ranting to himself about whatever it was he was currently angry about. Every so often he would stop suddenly and slow down. For a while he would walk like this before suddenly speeding up once more and becoming vocal again.

No one had the heart to say anything to him.

On the few missions he'd been on no one had said anything either.

They felt sorry for him.

He was a little boy who'd lost his brother and retreated into a world where his brother still lived.

It was a dream and no one could bring themselves to try and wake him from it.

So Alphonse kept his dream.

And his brother stayed with him.