I clearly don't own Fullmetal Alchemist. (That was my disclaimer).
. . .
Older Brother - 18, Younger Brother - 17
Two brothers walked along side each other down the crowded Munich streets. If one was just to look at them, they might not guess that the two were brothers. This is due to the fact that they shared very few physical characteristics, other than the paleness of their skin.
The younger of the two, who appeared to be around 13 (although this was technically not the case) had long, light brown hair that was pulled back at his neck, and wide grey eyes that were curiously taking in all of his surroundings. His companion, however, walked casually down the street, having seen it all before. The eldest brother had long golden hair tied in a pony tail, with eyes to match. This brother was actually rather tall (a strange twist in events considering he had been extremely short for his age nearly his entire life). He looked around 18 or 19.
"Are you sure it's okay for us to just leave like that, Brother?" the younger asked.
The older brother waved his hand through the air as if to say 'whatever'. "Well staying around wouldn't do much good . . . Besides, someone's gotta tell Gracia about Alfons . . ."
Without meaning to, his eyes shot to the girl who was trailing after them. She had olive skin and dark hair. She was crying. They locked eyes, brown and gold.
"What of his body?" the girl asked quietly. "We just . . . Left it there.
The eldest brother didn't answer, instead he kept walking.
"This other Alfons . . ." the younger brother said. "Did he cough a lot? Like teacher?"
The older brother looked him in the eye. "Yeah . . . He was sick. How did you know?"
"In some of my dreams . . . I think he and I shared consciousness."
The older brother nodded. "That fits my theory."
"I'll tell you later . . . We're almost home." He faced the girl. "Noah, put on a brave face for Gracia, okay?"
The girl-Noah-nodded, and the group of teenagers entered the shop that ran under the flat where they would be staying.
A woman in her late-twenties with short light brown hair and sparkling green eyes greeted them from behind the counter. The little bells above the door chimed as they entered.
"Edward! Noah!" the woman, named Gracia, exclaimed. "And who is this?"
She was looking at the youngest brother, whose eyes were wide with awe.
"Gracia!" the elder one-Edward-replied quickly, interrupting his younger sibling. "This is my little brother, Al. I've told you about him, right?"
Gracia offered her hand to Alphonse. "Of course! How could I forget, what with the stories Ed tells us . . . And not to mention you and Ed's best friend share a name . . . Speaking of Alfons . . . Where is he? Edward, you two rarely leave the house separately, do you know where he went?"
Ed and Noah both looked down, tears creeping into their eyes.
"Ms. Gracia?" Al asked. "Maybe you should take a seat . . ."
. . .
Later that night, Edward and Alphonse sat together on the floor in Ed's room. Noah and Gracia were still downstairs, chatting and crying and sipping tea.
"So this other Alfons . . . You and him were pretty close, then?" Al asked his older brother.
Edward nodded. "We studied rocketry together and became friends . . . I needed something to do without alchemy, right?"
Al was silent for a few moments, thinking that over. Then he spoke again, "so this theory . . . Does it have anything to do with Mrs. Hughes back home and that woman downstairs?"
Ed nodded. "My theory is that there's another everyone on this side of the gate as the other. Everyone's got a double . . . Alfons Heiderich was your's. Gracia downstairs is the other Mrs. Hughes. There's even another Maes Hughes, although this one's kind of lousy as of late."
"Well, leaning on that theory, Brother, shouldn't Alfons have had a brother that's the other you?" Al asked.
Edward shook his head. "As far as I can tell, blood lines aren't the same here. For example, Gracia-this Gracia-and Officer Hughes aren't even married yet, but there's a little girl who looks a lot like their daughter in our world a few blocks away, with different parents. Hughes and Gracia like each other here though . . . And this Fuhrer Bradley's married as well, and I assume his wife looks like the Mrs. Bradley from Amestris. As far as I can tell only relationships like that matter here. I guess there is such a thing as a 'soul mate' . . ."
"So based on that there's still another you out there somewhere," Al said, gesturing towards the window.
Ed shook his head and looked down. "The other Edward was killed in the war a few years ago . . . A zeppelin dropped a bomb where he was."
Edward chuckled. "Oh yeah, they don't have those in Amestris, do they? A zeppelin is a big blimp that they drop bombs from . . . It's not pretty."
"How do you know?" Al asked. "About the other Edward I mean."
"You said you remember, right?"
"Well you know Lira tried to trap me . . . Before?" Ed asked. Al nodded. "Well, when she did that I was sent here, to the other Edward's body (like you with Alfons). Dad was there, and he noticed right away that it was me and not the other me. They were living together or something . . . Then Hohenheim drove away in a car and the bomb blew up and I ended up back in Amestris . . . The whole thing's kinda fuzzy. Oh and I kind of forgot to tell you but . . . Dad . . . Uh, died . . . Earlier."
Both boys silent. Al hadn't known his father very well but it still stung a little to hear that he was gone. Edward felt guilty; that was no way to break that sort of news.
"So's teacher," Al said quietly.
"What?" Edward exclaimed. "No-how did . . ."
"She was sick, Ed, you know that," Al replied a little harshly.
After a few seconds of silence, Ed decided to change the subject.
"You're gonna have to ditch the get up, Al . . . people around here just don't understand style."
Al grinned and blushed a little. "Winry gave me your coat . . . She said it would fit considering I'm the same size you were when you were 16 . . ."
"Aw, come on there's no way I was the size of a 12-year-old when I was 16!" Ed began to rant. Al just laughed; it was good to have his brother back.
. . .
The next morning, Al, Ed, and Noah all sat down for breakfast at a near by café with Gracia, who was still dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief.
A man with crop-cut black hair and hazel eyes caught sight of them and ran over. He was wearing a Police-Officer's uniform.
"Officer Hughes . . ." Noah grumbled under her breath.
Hughes began talking quickly. "Edward! Thank God you're alright! I promise you I have finally seen the light, me and a couple others are done with all of this crap! I swear it my days of darkness are over-"
He was interrupted by Gracia slapping him across the face.
"You bastard!" she shouted.
Ed, Al, and Noah squirmed down in their seats feeling uncomfortable.
"Gracia-" Hughes began to protest, raising his hands in surrender.
"YOUR STUPID NATIONAL SOCALIST GROUP IS THE REASON ALFONS ISN'T SITTING DOWN FOR BREAKFAST WITH US!"
Everyone in the café had turned to watch what was happening.
"Gracia would you just let me expl-"
"He was just a kid! Hardly 17, hardly old enough to live on his own!"
"Please just let me-"
"And Noah! You treated her like dirt when she's got more moral character than you ever could!"
"Gracia, please I just-"
"You're a monster! Working for those people! How can you live with yourself?"
"Half the population of this country is fleeing because of people like YOU!"
"Really, please I just need-"
"And dragging Edward and Alfons into it with you! And why was Noah there? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"
"Gracia it's not-"
"And furthermore you're the worst police officer ever! All you do is sit around and drink beer all day!" Gracia glared at him, taking deep heavy breaths.
At this point, Edward, Alphonse, and Noah were practically under the table.
"I quit," Hughes simply, finally able to get word in.
"What?" Gracia asked.
"I'm done," Hughes told her. "I no longer support the National Socialist Party."
Garcia's face softened. "Oh . . . Well that changes things. Alfons's funeral will be held tomorrow at noon, if you'd care to attend. Until then, you'd better get back to your post."
She sat back down.
Hughes nodded. He turned to Ed. "If there's anyway I could possibly make up for this . . ."
"Actually officer," Edward said grinning evilly. "You could help us out with one little issue."
Al lowered his head. "Oh, Brother . . ."
Ed pulled out a pen and wrote down everything he known about the uranium bomb on a napkin and handed it to Hughes. "Burn that when you're done with it, but it'd be really great if you could get someone on that. I think my brother and I are gonna spend some times enjoying out lives while we're still living for now."
Hughes nodded. "I'll take care of it."
When he was gone, Gracia turned to Al and smiled and addressed the clothes she have given him to wear. "So those old thing fit you okay?"
Al nodded. "Yes, ma'am. Thank you."
"Don't mention it!" Gracia insisted. "I like to think of Edward as my extended family, so it's nice to help him out when he'll let me."
Ed smiled sheepishly and took another bite of his breakfast.
"So, Al," Gracia continued. "Where were you these past few years? Edward always told us the two of you got separated when London was bombed . . . Where did you go from there?"
"Uh . .. Well . . . I-uh-"
"He went to France to live with out cousins," Ed saved him. Al didn't even know what London was yet. "Out Aunt heard that I was working with rockets here in Munich and Al took a train here as soon as he found out."
"Oh well that's very sweet," Gracia said. "Brothers should stick together."
Edward and Alphonse turned to each other and grinned.
. . .
After the funeral service for Alfons Heiderich, Officer Hughes invited Gracia, Ed, Al, the rest of Alfons's rocketry team, and even Noah over to his house for tea.
The salary of a police officer isn't very high, but it was enough to get Hughes a small house with furniture, even in the poor state of economy.
At some point in the evening, Hughes grabbed Edward by the arm and pulled him aside, into the hallway.
"Ed, I took care of that thing for you . . ." he whispered. "Some of the higher officials are looking into it now but it's all very hush-hush."
"Okay, thanks a lot lieu-officer Hughes!" Edward scratched the back of his head and grinned, hoping Hughes wouldn't catch Ed almost calling him "lieutenant colonel".
Luckily for Edward, before Hughes had time to say anything, Gracia walked in. "Oh there you are! Please, come to the sitting room."
They did as she asked. Hughes sat in his big cushioned chair, and Ed sat in between Gracia and Gregory (one of the boys from Alfons's rocketry team) on the couch. The other boys and Noah were on the wooden floor.
"Edward, dear, we were wondering if you would tell us one of your stories," Gracia asked. Her voice was soft and sad. "Alfons always loved your stories so much . . ."
"Oh, I don't know . . ." Edward tried to protest.
"Come on, Ed!" Gregory exclaimed. "I'm sure Alfons is listening right now!"
Ed sighed. "All right . . . But just one."
"Stories, Brother?" Al asked.
"You mean Ed's never told you his stories?" Hughes asked, shocked. "Well Ed, better make it a good one, then! How about the one with Barry the Chopper? I always liked that one . . ."
"No, no." one of the rocketry boys-Paul-said. "Tell the one about the 5th Laboratory! That one's the best!"
Alphonse's eyes widened a little as he heard everyone talk about he and his brothers adventures. He had just regained his memories, yet everyone else already knew them?
"How about the one when you and Colonel Mustang fought for your alchemy evaluations?" Another boy suggested.
"My favorite was when Winry found your pocket watch . . . So romantic!" Gracia sighed.
"I like the one when you and your friends had to deliver a baby . . . That's pretty funny," Gregory said.
"Alright! Alright!" Edward held his arms up to silence them. "Alfons always said his favorite was the one about Lior, so that's the one I'll tell . . .
. . .
"So then," Ed concluded. "While that fat-ass Cornelo dealt with the angry townspeople, the Fullmetal Alchemist and his brother left Lior, but not before being confronted by Rose, who wanted to make sure I knew how amazing I was-"
"That is not what happened!" Al exclaimed. "Rose chased you down to yell at you for ruining her town!"
Everyone was silent; confused. Ed had always tired to convince them that his stories were real, and the way he and his brother talked about it, it sounded like they were talking about real events. And considering everything that had just happened with the gate, revealing the truth about themselves was no longer an option for the Elric brothers.
Al shot his brother a look of apology.
Hughes saved them by bursting into laughed. "Boy, you brothers are something else! It's like you actually believe every word you say!"
"Well, that's what makes a good story teller," Gracia praised them.
The others joined in with Hughes laughing, except for Noah who also knew the truth about the strange brothers without a home.
. . .
Alphonse Elric sat on the cot that Noah and Gracia had set up for him in Edward's room.
"Brother?" Al asked. "You said that married couples are the same here, but . . . Ms. Gracia and Officer Hughes don't seem to enjoy each other's company very much . . ."
Edward looked up from the book he was reading on the floor and grinned. "No way, trust me they're totally head over heals for each other. Give it a few months . . . Year tops."
Al squirmed around a little. "We won't really be here that long, will we Brother?"
"Why not? Where else are we gonna go?" Ed asked.
"Well . . . It's just that I've been thinking. You said that when you were in the same body as the other Edward, you saw our dad, right?" Well, that means other Edward knew our father, and maybe he was helping with research or something and that's why they were living together . . . I'm sure if we go back to this London place and track down the other you's friends and family we might be able to figure something out! Something important . . . Dad always was working on important stuff, right?"
Ed looked skeptical. "Al . . .?"
"Al kicked his legs back and forth, acting calm. Finally, he couldn't contain himself anymore and burst out, "okay fine! I just can't stand not having some bigger goal! I mean I'm not ready to stop adventuring yet, Brother! I want to see more, learn more . . . I'm not ready to settle down and just live in one place. That's never how we've worked!"
Edward burst out laughing. He wrapped his arms around his ribs because they were starting to ache.
"What's so funny?" Al asked defensively.
Ed sucked in a breath and recomposed himself. "When we were kids, we set out to bring out mother back. After that, we set out to get your body back. Then we were split up; you set out to find me and I set out to send a man to the moon. I guess you're right, Al . . . We seem to be incapable of resisting the impossible. These past few years I've been trying to work on something and was starting to think it was impossible. But now . . . I think together we might be able to get back to Amestris, and I think your idea might be a good place to start."
Al raised his eyebrows in alarm. "But, Brother . . . I thought alchemy didn't work on this side!"
"It doesn't, trust me I've tried," Edward admitted. "But something Dad said before . . . About opening the gate within ourselves. I think it might be possible . . . We'll have to dive further into it."
"So, we're going to London?" Al asked, his voice dripping with optimism.
Ed nodded. "Yeah, just give me a week to wrap everything up here with this rocket stuff . . ."
"Will you show me?" Al asked.
"Will you show me?" Al repeated, smiling enthusiastically. "How you and the others make rockets work?"
Ed smiled and patted the ground next to him. Al jumped excitedly off his cot and sat down next to his brother, eager to hear what he had to say.
"Well, there was this guy named Isaac Newton," Ed began. "And he came up with three really important laws of science in this world. The third law is the building factor of rocketry. 'For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction'."
"That's like alchemy!" Alphonse exclaimed.
Ed nodded. "I never really thought about it that way, but I guess you're right, But as I was saying . . . The third law basically means that how ever much force is given in one direction will be equally distributed into the other . . . So the force of the gas going down pushes the rocket up."
"Well wouldn't you need an extreme amount of force, then? Just to lift the rocket, never mind get it into space."
Ed nodded. "Right . . . The moon is a long ways away for this world . . ."
. . .
Feedback is greatly appreciated.