This is a doujinshi put into word form with a few things added by yours truley so that it makes more sense.
Do you remember?
We flew a lot of paper airplanes, didn't we?
We raced them against eachother, watched them intently to see where they would land....smiling....
At that time we didn't know anything, didn't have anything, and yet we had everything in the palm of our hands.
The door creaked open as Pinako opened it and the sunshine from outside came streaming in. A man stood before her, slender and tall, with black hair and a serious expression that seemed almost permenant.
"Hello. You must have had a long trip." she stated casually.
"Well I owed you all a visit." he broke his serious expression and smiled kindly at the small old woman. Pinako waved Roy Mustang inside and he obliged.
"You were last here..." she trailed off measuring the time before continueing, "About 3 months ago. Three months ago... Yes, I suppose, it has been half a year since it happened. Sorry you had to come all the way out to the boondocks to see us."
"No, no it's no trouble at all." Muustang said politely as Pinako escorted him across the large house, "How is he?" he asked warily.
"The same as ever." Pinako sighed wearily, "Wait here. I'll go get him."
"No, that's alright. I'll go myself." Mustang insisted promptly as he headed to a single room atatched to the large house. He knew where he was going. I still regret it... he thought as he walked slowly toward the small room.
"He's here again?" Winry said with distaste. No one had noticed her slip into the room from her workshop.
"Winry." Pinako warned sympatheticaly, "He feels responsible too, you know. He was in charge of them and the boy came back like this."
I could have sworn we'd already seen hell.
Perhaps even that was not enough for us.
Roy turned the knob of the room he had been headed towards and pressed it open. This is my fault. He thought as he closed the door behind himself.
"I'm coming in." he warned as he stepped into the small room. The room was crammed with books from the floor to the ceiling. Roy stepped up the the bed that was the only furniture in the room other than the shelves and small bedside table. He smiled fondly at the small blonde boy who lay sleeping in the bed and took notice to the tiny flower arrangement placed on the bedside table. He picked up one of the small delicate purple flowers and placed it behind the boy's ear. It was a forget-me-not.
"Nnn... I said cut it out Al." the boy grumbled. Mustang took a large step backward in shock it didn't last long though because he noticed something gliding into the room. It was a paper airplane. Roy put a gloved hand to his mouth and wondered who had thrown the object.
"Nnnn...." the boy groaned as he rolled over in his bed lazily with his eyes half lidded. Upon noticing the man standing above him Ed's eyes flew open and he shot to the other side of his bed in surprise.
"Ahhh! Colonel!" Ed nearly shreiked.
"Hello." Roy said cassually.
"Y-you! When did you...?!" Ed was so surprised to see him there.
"I've been here for a bit." Roy said.
"Don't freak me out like that!" Ed demanded, "You always frickin' show up unexpected." he continued as he reached up and pulled the flower from behind his ear and tossed it back at the Colonel who caught the delicate flower quickly, "And cut this crap out."
"It's not Colonel anymore, Fullmetal. And I had buisness in the neighborhood so I thought I'd stop by." Roy lied smoothly, "Though I suppose your title is different too...Ed. I dropped in to see how you were doing but... I certainly hadn't expected this." Ed grimaced as he sat up more and leaned toward Mustang and smiled. His hair rumpled and frazzled from sleep.
"Dropped right in is right." Ed smiled.
"You've taken up flower arranging?" Roy nodded toward the vase trying to change the subject.
"Oh, that? That's Winry's thing. I told her I didn't need them." he said as he braided his hair, "But she says 'Beautiful things are good for healing' or something like that."
Roy's gaze narrowed in on Ed's hair which was shorter than he last remebered it. "You've gotten your hair cut." he noted aloud.
"Hm? Yeah..." Ed replied, "Al was bitching at me to get it done." he smiled as he flipped his braid over his shoulder. Roy felt as though someone had just smacked him across the face. This is pure insanity...
The Day Before
"It's been a while... Mom." Ed smiled at the head stone.
Little by little. Bit by bit.
Picked away at, shackled, chained.
I know that life is based on making mistakes and that that's supposed to be okay,
but still, with every breath I gasp for,
I feel like reality is so merciless,
It makes me want to scream in frustration.
Ed sat with his knees up to his chest and his head buried in his arms. Only his eyes poked out to stare at the grave. I think that everytime I come here and honestly I can't believe I want to say, 'Hi, I'm home'.
"Oh, there you are!" A voice said from behind him. Ed pulled his eyes away from the headstone to look at the speaker. It was Al. In the flesh and bone. His hazel eyes shone with adoration for his brother and his shirt ruffled in the slight breeze. "Sheesh! I was wondering where you'd gotten too!" he smiled brightly. Ed stared back at his brother. Why was he so confused as to why his brother was there?
"Auntie says it's time for dinner!" Al continued.
"A...Al..." Ed breathed.
"What's wrong?" Al asked confused.
"...Al, is that you...?" Ed asked.
"Brother, what's wrong with you? You're giving me the wierdest look-huh?"
"Your body, your back to normal. How?" Ed continued. As he spoke the words he realized, how was Al back? Ed started getting up off of the ground and leaned toward Al.
"What are you talking about? We finnished our journey and came home, remember?" Al said as he leaned away from his brother's advance. Ed ran his hand through his bangs and mumbled to himself, "O-Oh... We did...? Did we..?"
"Sheesh! What a weird brother I have!" Al giggled, "Come on." he said as he offered out his hand. Ed reached out reluctantly to take his brother's hand. He was still confused. He didn't remember ever bringing his brother back but as soon as their hands met he knew.
That's right. We came home. Our journey is done.
They walked side by side and a few times Ed had to run a little to catch up with his younger but taller brother's long strides. He gazed over the edge of the bridge they were crossing and recognized it as the one they used to use to get to their own house.
"Hey Al, where the heck are you going?" Ed asked confused. Their house was a pile of ashes, didn't he remeber what they'd done?
"Huh? Home, of course!" Al insisted.
"H-Home..." Ed repeated to himself. He turned toward where the massive pile of ash he knew was there but instead there stood their house as if it had never even been touched. He didn't ever remember having transmuted the house back. Everything about it was right. Just as it had been.
"What's wrong? That's our house." Al said worriedly.
"Why is this...here...?" Ed questioned. It didn't make any sense.
"You said that it wasn't until we had a home again that we had everything back... we built this place together, remember? With alchemy but, you know...." Al explained.
"Oh really? Yeah, well I guess..." Ed lied. Where had the house come from? Surely he would not forget building it. It was huge.
"Brother... Are you sure your alright?" Al asked.
"Y-Yeah! I'm fine!" Ed insisted, lying again. Al took his word for it and smiled.
"Everybody's waiting for us inside!"
"I'm home!" Ed shouted as he burst through the door. Winry shot up from her chair at the table inside.
"Ed!" she cried, "Geez! You had me worried! I had no idea where you went!"
"I just went out to visit Mom's grave." Ed explained, "Huh? I thought Al said dinner was ready."
Winry and Pinako stood stock still as if someone had just shocked them with electricity.
"Ed what did you just say?" Winry questioned.
"Huh? Like I said Al called me in for dinner so why...?" Ed said confused as ever. What was going on? Winry balled her fists and looked down.
"You're still doing that?" she whispered.
"Winry?" Ed said looking for some sort of explanation.
"Al... Al is-" she started.
"Winry!" Pinako barked in warning.
"Al is gone." Winry finnished. Ed suddenly saw a transmutation circle, it was a piece of a memory and he almost knew what it was but found that he couldn't delve into it further.
"What are you talking about? Winry?" Ed said laughing in shock and hurt at her words.
"Ed...." Pinako began simpatheticaly but Ed wouldn't let her finnish. "What do you mean 'Al is gone'?" he said as he reached behind him to pull his brother out from behinf him where he was sure Al was standing. "Al is right-" he stopped abruptly as he hand caught only the open air. Ed turned to look behind him. Nothing. No one was there.
"What the...? Al!" he called.
"Ed..." Winry said as she started to cry. She had never seen Ed like this. She realized what she had done. Ed was absolutely frantic now.
"H-He was just here! Al!" he nearly screamed, "He was right beside me! Al!! Al!!!"
"Stop it!" Winry shouted, "Please Ed! Pull yourself together!"
"But Win...." Ed wanted to know! Where was Al?! He had just been there! He needed to show her him in person! He and his body!
"I don't want to see you like this." Winry said as she closed the space between them and gripped his shoulders firmly, "Please get it through your head! I'm begging you!" Ed didn't respond, he didn't even see her so she continued, "He's not here... Al's gone."
"I don't get it... What the hell do you mean he's gone...?!" Ed said snapping back, "We finished our journey and came home didn't we?!" Winry was crushed.
"Finished your journey...? I guess you did..." She whispered.
"What's wrong with you? We got everything back didn't we? Look, my arm too!" Ed said as he showed her his flesh right arm. Winry pulled back sharply. "Ed."
"Winry that's enough." Pinako said on the verge of tears.
"Ed...In order to get your arm and leg back...Al..." Winry choked.
"WINRY!!!" Pinako warned again begging her to stop.
Winry ignored her, "Al, he gave himself as a sacrifice."
Brother...I'm sorry... Ed remembered Al saying as he drew a chalk circle. NO!!!!!!!! His mind screamed. Ed fell to his knees as all of the memories came flooding back to his mind as he released an in-human scream of pure pain.
No! I can't take this! I don't want this! It wasn't supposed to be like this!
Winry fell backward and covered her mouth to keep herself from screaming as well as Ed clutched his head and screamed.
Al! Al please don't! Don't leave me Al...
Ed passed out and Winry and Pinako carried him to his room where he could sleep.
A hand pressed against Ed's back and his eyes shot open. His cheek was being scratched by.... he pulled himself up.... a tree? He had just fallen asleep on the tree? He looked up and was met by the metal armored face of his brother.
"Al?" he said.
"Sheesh! I was wondering where you'd gotten to! Auntie says dinner is ready! I've been looking all over for you-! Huh?" Al cheered.
"Al is that you?" Ed interupted, "Is that really you Al?"
"Yes it's me. It's Alphonse." He laughed as if to say, 'Silly Brother!', "Like there are any other tralking suits of armor wandering around! What a wierd brother I have!"
"Al." Ed said as he jumped into Al's lap and hugged him.
"Brother?" Al said obviously questioning his sanity, "Brother, what's wrong?"
Ah, a dream...that's good... Ed thought as he pulled himself up and got up. When he woke up Colonel Mustang was there.
"Your there aren't you Al?" Ed said aloud as he heard the metal footsteps behind him. He remembered what Winry had said last night and had thought long and hard about it the whole time he walked. He had excused himself to take a walk after Roy and Pinako started having a very serious hushed conversation.
"Yeah. I'm here." Came the reply.
"Hey, walk in front of me." Ed said. He was walking back into the house. When they got back in there would be no way Al could escape from him. The others would see him for sure this time. Al wouldn't get away. Ed wasn't insane. He would prove it.
"But that's just wierd!" Al protested.
"Just do it!" Ed comanded.
"I would feel wierd leading you Brother." Al said. Ed thought for a moment and then it came to him. He pulled on his younger brother's hand unconciously.
"Did you have a bad dream when you fell asleep out there? You wanna hold hands?" He said comfortingly.
"SIT!" Ed comanded. Al was shocked into doing so.
"What's with this all of a sudden?" Al asked as Ed climbed onto his shoulders. There was NO WAY Al was getting away.
"Brother!" Al complained.
"Okay, now go." Ed said contempt.
"Honestly, what's up with this? It's really selfish of you. Your so pushy... Nice view from up here isn't it though?" Al said as he stood erect and started walking toward the Rockbell house.
"Sounds like you bragging..." Ed grumbled.
"But I can't wait to be back to normal. I want to be able to see your face up close, Brother."
"There's more interesting things to see than that, stupid-" Ed blushed.
"I'm going to get your limbs back for you. I am going to see you fixed, you know." Al interupted.
"I'm fine, don't worry about me." Ed snapped, "Just think about yourself now, you hear me?!"
"Look Brother!" Al said ignoring his brother's statement, "A paperplane!"
They both watched the object soar throught the air above their heads and watched it intently to see where it would land.
"We used to make those alot didn't we? Back before we knew how to do alchemy." Al stated.
"Ya, your right." Ed said absently, "Sure brings back memories..."
I want to go back to those days... Ed thought.
"Brother do you think we would have been better off if we had never heard of alchemy?" Al asked out of the blue.
"I don't know. Ed answered honestly. There was no way of knowing because neither one could imagine their lives without alchemy. It had always been a major part of their lives... and their mother's....
"Me, I'm sorta glad we know it. Because that means I'm going to be able to put you back to normal." Ed couldn't respond before, "Hm, It's sprinkling..." Al noted. He was right. Tiny rainy drops dropped around them in a flurry.
"...Yeah. I swear I'm going to fix you Al." Ed swore as he let his tear mix with the falling rain, "So please don't leave me behind."
"Leave you? Where would I go?!" Al chuckled.
"I don't know! Anywhere!" Ed said, he couldn't tell Al what he meant.... the gate.
"Of course I wouldn't do that Brother! Don't be silly!" he assured,
"We'll always be together."
Roy bent down and picked up a paper airplane.
"He probably made that one too." Pinako said.
"Why would he be doing that? There were airplanes in his room as well." Roy noted.
"Who knows? It could be some type of regression... But it's more like he's having a dream. A dream where his brother is always with him. Almost as if he's dreaming the world is perfect. Do you really want to wake him up from that? It could be out egos asserting our own selfish desires. Can we honestly know better?" Pinako said.
"I don't know." Roy admitted, "What do you think of Ed the way he is now?"
"Do you think I'm being cruel?" she questioned him. She pointed out the window, "Look at him. He's smiling." It was true, Ed was walking toward the house smiling and laughing with the air next to him, "Understand Mr. Soldier? Right now that boy is happy.
A beautiful nightmare,
one where he's happy,
in other words,
"Show your face around here more often, its been a pleasure. Come back again." Pinako insisted.
"Yes, I intend to." Roy said as he watched Ed come in and head up the stairs to his room still talking to no one.
"As long as you don't expect too much out of him or force him into confrontation Winry and I will be happy to welcome you in. Until he decides to start changing on his own."
Roy smiled and walked out the door.
"Say, Grandma?" Winry said as she put her grandmother's tea on the table, "I've been thinking, ever since they failed to bring back their mother from that day on Al only existed as a soul in a suit of armor right?"
"Maybe Al was a ghost to begin with." Winry said not making eyecontact. Ah! Sorry! Don't mind me! I was just babbling crazy stuff!"
"No! I think I know where you were going with that. Maybe you're right. If that's true then maybe Al is still with Ed even now. Only Ed knows the answer to that one."
A paper airplane flew into Roy's vision as he walked away from the Rockbell residence. He turned and looked back to where the plane had come from.
"Colonel!" He heard Ed call. He turned and his eyes widened at what he saw before him. Ed was standing on the second floor balcony smiling widely and leaning his head in his hand on the railing and beside him was....Al... Clear as day Al was standing next to him in his flesh body. He was transparent and ghost like but he was Al none the less and he smiled at Roy right along with Ed.
"See you later!!!" Ed called after him.
Hmm... I see.
"You really were there," Roy said aloud, "weren't you?" He bent down and picked up the paper airplane at his feet. So that's how it is. He thought as he turned waving behind himself to the boys. Al turned back to Ed and they resumed their conversation.
You both are just fine.
That's all! Hope you enjoyed it! In case you were wondering, Al apears to Ed in different froms and Ed is not crazy he is just the only one who can see Al's ghost and he just doesn't realize Al is a ghost. Al is the one that throws and makes the paperplanes that are everywhere to remind Ed of the old days when they didn't even know Alchemy existed and everything was perfect because he wants Ed to go back to those days. Ed is slowly putting everything together though and at the end he knows and it completely content with it. Questions? Drop a review. Pleas have the decency to review this story once you've read it. Even if you didn't like it.