Disclaimer: It isn't mine. In fact, I got the idea to do a fic with the circle insanity thing from someone else too, although I'm using it differently. So that isn't really mine either.

Author's note: I hope that this makes sense, I felt like there were some weird tense things relating to the point of view that I used. It's sort of told by a narrator in Ed's head, but who is not actually him.


Many people say that if you can a perfect circle then you are crazy. When he was younger Edward Elric was inclined to say that this made no sense, because if one could see then it was easy enough to judge where the lines were supposed to be. Alchemists had to learn the skill, he and his brother too, though he was proud to say that like anything that he put his mind to he had done it quickly. As far as Ed was concerned it was simply an old wives' tale, untrue, just as you could not catch a cold from playing in the snow, drawing perfect circles did not make you crazy.

But as he got older, he got to see more alchemists with their perfect circles. And as he did he started to wonder. Maybe, just this once, the old wives' tales were right. Maybe you did have to be crazy. Did any of the alchemists he'd seen ever even come close to disproving this theory?

Roy Mustang seemed on the surface to be a logical, disciplined military man. But Ed had seen him do crazy things when he was in a tight spot. He knew that Mustang wanted to be the head of Amestis' military, wanted to become Fuhrer. Ed could not help but think that that was crazy. How could anyone want that much responsibility? He had too much with just himself and Al. Ed did not know of the reason that Mustang wanted to become Fuhrer, did not know that his superior officer had almost killed himself out of horror at Ishbal. He did not know the profound impact that that had had upon Mustang, but if he had, he would only have seen more evidence of insanity.

Alex Armstrong had seemed crazy from the moment that Edward had met him. He was too energetic, too obsessed with the Armstrong line, too ridiculously muscled. And he showed the muscles off all the time. In Ed's opinion it was just a little bit disturbing. And really, couldn't he be just a little less muscled? How much time must the man spend working out? That kind of waste was a proof of insanity. He could have been reading instead.

Then there is Kimblee, the crimson alchemist, a man who makes Ed's blood run cold with horror, and that's hard to do, considering the horrors he's seen, the horrors he's created. But much as he hates his own mistake, and the painful repercussions, as much as he regrets it, as guilty, as angry at himself as he feels, he can usually remind himself that he meant well, that he was just a little boy trying to find his mother. He remind himself that he did not mean to hurt Al, that he did not try to cause pain. Not like Kimblee. He, at least did not go out of his way to hurt, to revel in the death and destruction of innocents. That is enough to condemn Kimblee as a madman.

Izumi Curtis, his teacher, well, he loves her. But she is crazy. He can't really understand why she ever talked to him and Al again, after everything that they did. She always warned them, and they disobeyed. But that wasn't really the worst of it, not in her eyes. To her, the worst thing that they did was joining the military. He knows why he did it, and he does not regret it, in spite of everything, but he cannot see how she could ever have forgiven them. And he certainly does not understand the whole equals thing, not to mention the way that she tested two little boys. Really, he reflects, teacher must have been crazy to take them in at all.

Tucker lost his sanity along with his wife, although Ed didn't realize it nearly fast enough. Now Tucker's mind is completely gone, he is obsessed with regaining the daughter that he lost. Ed would have no sympathy at all, but he can't. Because he understands. Even though he, unlike Tucker didn't mean for anything at all to happen to Al, he understands what it is like to hurt the most important person in your world like that. So he cannot hate Tucker for his desire to regain his daughter, in spite of everything. The man is still crazy.

Then there's Father. Hoenheim. Bastard. Ed knows he is crazy because he left. He left Mom, Trisha, and anyone who would do that willingly is mad. That's all that there is to it.

Al doesn't seem crazy on the surface, but Ed knows better. He knows about Al's cat obsession, which no sane person would have. He knows that Al loves Winry, and that, which in Ed's mind is the equivalent of a death wish is enough. But the best proof of Al's insanity is that he hasn't left Ed yet. It is at once Ed's greatest fear and something that he partly hopes for. Because surely Al would be better off without him. Surely his brother should blame him for what he did. But he doesn't say this to Al. He's too scared that Al will leave. If that happens Ed doesn't know what he'll do.

And finally he is left with himself. Edward Elric. He know that he is crazy, which seems a little strange, because he would have thought that crazy people had to be told by someone else. He wouldn't have thought that they would know themselves. But he does. His reminder is in the metal limbs that he has. It is in the daily reminder that his brother no longer eats, that he has left the home that he loved. It is in the date scratched on the pocket watch, and in the ashes of the home he burned at an age when most boys are playing sports. It is in the knowledge that at the age when most boys play with tin soldiers, he joined the army, signed away his own soul, to save his brother's. Ed knows that he's crazy because the only sane thing in his life is alchemy. He knows, because the only sane thing in his life is a perfect circle.

Yes, this is one old wives' tale that just might be true.