Setting: Empty Bedroom
Time: Day 003, before Al's bandages are changed in the Gold Bathroom
Summary: Edward and Al rest and have a chance to talk
Warnings: It's Al. 8| Beware the cuteness.
The bedroom was pitifully empty... just a mattress in the middle of the floor, and nothing else. Not even a chair. He would bring one or two in later from elsewhere...but for now it would do. He helped Al to sit on the mattress properly before sitting himself, sighing. What a crappy day. He'd woken up to find Al seriously burned by the house's nighttime residents, found a collar around Al's neck that tied him to someone else, and...
He'd found out that his prosthetics weren't really meant to carry the weight of another body.
Edward removed his shoe from the false foot and looked it over, feeling up and down the mechanism for any damage. "Sorry about that....these new prosthetics break way easier than automail." He grinned over at Al. "And you've gotten really heavy!"
Alphonse wasn't exactly having the time of his life, either - but he was remaining positive, really. He had his brother back again, Courtney had helped him when he was still burnt, and the collar had made him a new friend...so he could manage with this.
He sighed softly as he was set down, and felt the mattress shifting underneath him as his brother say. "I can't be that heavy..." he pouted a little, face turned in Edward's general direction, "Besides you don't have to carry me, Brother...I can manage on my own, afterall! Especially if your limbs can't take it that well..." Alphonse was worried, after all, and he didn't want to be a burden...
"Nah, you're not that heavy..." He felt along Al's arm gently, nowhere near any of the burns. "But look at you--you're almost solid muscle! Did you do some more training or something?"
He paused. How could he explain? He did feel guilty for not being there... whatever the house had done, wherever it had taken him... There were too many should-haves that swirled through his head over and over again. Should have been with the others, not alone...should have fought harder... should have somehow seen it, and come to Al's defense... But should-haves would never heal Al.
"All right. I'll just hold your hand, okay? I won't lead you into any walls, I promise." He snickered a bit. Keeping his humor was the only way to really cheer Al up, it seemed.
Alphonse couldn't help but grin at the comment about the muscle, chest practically puffing up as he felt a little proud of himself, and most certainly pleased about it being aknowledge... "Yup! I went back to training and learning with Teacher, before looking for you..."
His grin faded more into a little smile, though, and he snickered some. It really was nice for his brother to keep acting like this for him, in a way... "I...thank you, then, Brother." he shifted a little more, trying to carefully give the older boy a quick hug. "Just don't do too much for me...okay?"
He shook his head as he pulled away, but was still smiling.
Edward paused. He was silent even when Al embraced him, before giving him a very odd look. "You went back and trained with Izumi again? Are you crazy?! We barely survived the first time around!"
He shook his head. Couldn't believe it...Al had been the one most terrified of Izumi, though their fear had been pretty well-rounded between the two of them. "What else have you been doing...having Lieutenant Hawkeye shoot at you so you can practice dodging bullets?"
Alphonse pouted a bit more, face turned trained his brother, even if he couldn't seen the expression the older was making.
"Oh come on Brother...even if it was...kinda scary, she still taught us a lot, you know that." he shook his own head, taking pause at tht second name - the name of an officer, trying to recall who it was - but he remembered fairly easily, at least, and he grimaced, "No, Brother - I'm not stupid! I just...thought that training some more, and learning more would help me find you again..."
He sighed in frustration. "....I'm more worried that you're going to end up getting yourself killed... But... how's Winry doing, anyway? And Rose? And even that bastard General?"
There. Thinking of Mustang always seemed to illuminate his mood...especially when it was punctuated with insults. "'I don't have time for all this paperwork--where's Fullmetal when I need him to do this for me? If he'd stuck around he would've been a paper Colonel just like I was--that's my bean!'"
He snorted. "That's the only reason I'm glad that I got out of that situation. I'd be pushing paper behind a desk for the rest of my life, most likely..."
Alphonse was quiet as he listened to his brother talking. It took him a moment, again, to realize who he was talking about - just saying 'General' was rather vague to him, especially since the man in question was just an enlisted man, now...but he believed he knew who was talking about, at least.
"Winry's been well - she's still working hard...and she's grown a lot. Rose..." that was the woman who had found him the underground city. The first person he met once his life had been given back to him, "She's been well, too...she's in Lior, and is helping out with the restoration..."
"The General, um..." he paused, biting at his lip, turning his head away for a moment. Even the teasing was new to him - no one had talked about that sort of thing, and he had only met the man briefly, "...the one who became an officer? He's living up north, now..."
Edward faltered, if only slightly. It didn't make sense, for Al not to realize just who he was talking about. Mustang had been a constant topic of his griping....why would Al...
"Hey Al? ...you act like you don't have any idea what I'm talking about..." He swallowed. This entire line of conversation was unsettling, but he had to know. "Are you...okay? I mean..."
Alphonse froze up. His brother sounded completely uncertain, and even a bit worried...and he wasn't sure how to react. He...could he jut outright tell him he couldn't remember? That didn't seem right, but neither did keeping it from him...
"N-no, I'm fine, Brother..." he shook his head, slightly, and turned back to face him, smiling a bit nervously, "I just...I'm used to him being an officer now, so I was confused...that's all."
"An...officer? Mustang's an....officer?"
That didn't make sense. Blackmail? Pressure from the higher-ups? He couldn't see Mustang freezing to death in the north without his beloved flames to keep him warm. But...
"Why? What happened that day, Al? After you woke up?"
..and this conversation was getting increasingly awkward, he felt. He hadn't much of an idea of what he could say to explain - and he hardly knew what had happened as it was. No one really told him why the man would have given up such a high rank, and he had hardly spoken to the man, himself.
"I...I don't know what happened to him. I just woke up, and a woman named Rose found me, and she got some boy - Russel and Fletcher - to come help me out...I-I think Officer Mustang was in the hospital, around then, but..."
Ed was thick at times, he knew that. But the implications were beginning to slam into each other again and again at this point, making the realization all that much more painful.
"...Al....you don't remember, do you. If...if you don't even know Rose, then..."
"....your body reverted to...to before that night...and your memories did too, didn't they."
Alphonse tensed up again, turning his face away instinctively. His brother didn't sound pleased at all - though he couldn't blame him in the least for that - and it hurt a little to know that. Would it have been better to just tell him, and not let him figure it out...? Alphonse couldn't be sure.
A pause, trying to figure out what to say. He knew he had screwed up - and wondered if he should have been more careul.
"It...it really was like nothing happened..."
Not displeased...more...heartbroken. Al couldn't remember anything... the good -or- the bad. Nina, Scar, Mustang...Barry the Chopper...none of it. He was...an innocent again. Free from so many painful memories...
"It's okay, Al. It's not your fault." He pulled Al into an embrace, fingers running over his hair gently. "Don't worry about it. We'll get your memories back somehow...I promise."
Alphonse stayed still even as Edward hugged him close. It hurt him, too, to not be able to remember anything, but...
He shifted, hugging tight onto his brother, and burying his face into him. It hurt, like that, yes, but...but he would ignore the stinging pain in his nerves. "I-I'm sorry, Brother...I wanted to remember. It's not fair to be able to..." he shook his head a little, and winced some at the sharp pain it caused, "I...I should have said something, huh?"
Edward paused, releasing his grip on Alphonse. "Sorry about that... I should be more careful, huh." Al was probably in enough pain from all the burns. "I can't imagine what it must have been like, Al...waking up in that place, with no idea of how you got there..."
"It's okay..." he mumbled his reply, smiling slightly up at the other - it hurt, yes, but it was mostly his own fault for clinging back so much, as he had been.
But it wasn't okay when he had woken up all that time ago, alone...without any clue where his brother was, or what had happened. Alone, confused and afraid...worried about his brother, and with his entire family gone, now. Only to find out it was several years later, but he couldn't remember a single bit of it...
"It was fine...Miss Rose came and helped me, soon after, so it was okay..."
"I'm just glad you're safe. For me, that's all that matters." He smiled, touching Al's cheek gently. "You're going to be okay, Al. I'll get us home, I promise. I'll keep you safe--no matter what."
He stood up, taking Al's hand. "Come on. Let's get those burns cleaned up. I don't want you to get an infection."
Alphonse nodded slightly, and smiled a little to his brother again. He held on tight to his hand when he took it, and pulled himself up as carefully as he could.
"O-okay, and...thank you, Brother."