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Fullmetal Homunculus

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“MOM!” his blood curdling scream echoed through the empty house. Darkness covered the area. Red sparks crackled against blood and flesh, allowing brief moments of light.

“Damnit.. It was supposed to.. not this… no… please… MOM PLEASE!” The blonde pleaded to nothing, beating his only hand against the wooden floor. He stared back into the dead and cold eyes of the monster he had created. It only moved for a few moments, before its body gave out and died. Out of all things that would come from this, His arrogance lead him to never expect this outcome.

“I just… I wanted to see her again.. IS THAT SO WRONG!?” His pleading turned into anger, his voice rough and hoarse from all of his screaming. He had nowhere to go, he couldn’t move without his limbs. He never wanted to be this useless, the only thing he had left was his own strength. His Father left him, His Brother left him, His Mother was taken from him.

“I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!” The boy’s cries were shrill. The last thing he could remember was his name being called out.

“EDWARD!”

---

Edward let out a deep breath from exhaustion, the dry desert air stung at the back of his throat. He let himself slump into the nearest seat he could find, closing his eyes and letting his body relax. His energy had never been this low before. Usually even after walking miles the boy wouldn’t even break a sweat. The desert air must be doing this to him. Trudging through the sand in extreme heat with nothing to drink. This entire venture was already a pain.

“W-Wait up!” A hurried and hoarse voice called out to him.

The blonde turned to see his companion jog up to him with shaky legs and sweat beading down her forehead. She copied his motions almost to a Tee, stopping to catch her breath and finally get a moment to relax.

“Ugghh! I would be able to live my whole life peacefully without ever seeing a single grain of sand ever again!” The girl panted, letting herself slide into the curvature of the seat she had chosen.

“Can I help you two?

Ed opened his eyes to see a scrawny man with a pointed mustache looking at them quizzically. He was behind a counter and had an apron strapped around his waist. It dawned on him suddenly that they had managed to land themselves at a bar of some sorts.

“Water!” The blonde coughed out. “Two please!”

Nodding, the man disappeared into the back of the building. He returned shortly with two tiny glasses of water. Edward could have sworn that it was a joke of some sort. They obviously looked beyond dehydrated, and he has the nerve to serve them these tiny shot glasses?

“This is it?” Ed exclaimed in disbelief.

The other patrons of the bar turned their heads curiously, all eyes fixated on the sudden cause of commotion.

“Yup! One per customer, sorry bub.”

Agitated, the blonde began to sit up, inviting the bartender to participate in a disagreement with his fists. He stopped when he felt a hand land on his shoulder. Edward turned to see the furious eyes of his seemingly out of commission companion, glaring at him.

“Edward, not here. Not now.” She stated strictly, letting her voice alone be enough to dictate Edward’s next actions.

“But Winry he-“

“But Winry nothing!” Her eyes, even more furious than before, bore into the blonde boy’s will until he reluctantly sat back down.

Winry gulped down the water she was given quickly, letting out a relieved sigh when it was finished. Edward stared down at his glass and back to Winry.

“Here.” The blonde boy extended his glass out to his blonde friend.

Winry paused for a beat before taking it out of his hands. It was drained within seconds, releasing an even more relaxed sigh out of the young woman. It wasn’t like Edward needed it anyways. It would be better spent on someone that needed it to live.

“So what’s with the water restriction?” He glared up at the bartender.

“We’re a desert town! What do you expect?”

Edward didn’t want to admit it made sense, mainly because he was still upset that he didn’t get something to drink in the end. He leaned his torso against the front of the bar, resting his head in the crook of his folded arms. His mind began to wander to Alchemy, as he waited for Winry to say they were ready to go. That didn’t seem likely to happen soon however, since she was starting to order a meal. What a pain she could be sometimes.

Deciding he was ready to continue with their whole reason of coming here, Edward decided to take a walk around town. His partner didn’t notice him get up and go, which was probably for the best. Winry was a tourist type and Ed didn’t feel like getting stuck in tourist traps. The buildings were worn out and covered in dust. Bricks were out of place and he failed to see a single potted plant. As the Alchemist kept walking however, the quality in the overall environment suddenly shot up. Iron railing and perfect buildings with not a thing out of place. The people around this area also reflected its condition. Smiles and confidence beamed from each and every one of them. One stood out among the crowd. She was smiling and handing out bread to what seemed to be homeless men. Her hair was an ash brown with her bangs dyed a bright pink. She wore a sleeveless white summer dress with maroon sandals.

“Eat up now! There’s plenty for everyone!” Her voice was soft and had a kindness he didn’t think possible in this dust bowl of misery.

“Oh you are too kind Rose dear.” One of them spoke up.

“You are just a gem sweetheart!” another chimed in.

“Thank you so much! You are much too kind Rose!”

“Oh No! Don’t thank me! It was out of the kindness of our Father’s heart and Leto’s grace that I can even gift you this food!” Rose assured them, handing out more bread as she spoke.

Leto, Edward remembered that name. It was in the Colonel’s report on this place. Usually Edward wouldn’t bother reading what that bastard has in store for him, but when it had his own interests in mind… that was a different story. He knew all about this ‘Father’ Cornello and his religious cronies. What a shame this woman was one of them, He saw potential in her too. However disappointing this new information was, it presented Ed with an opportunity.  

“Miss, by any chance would you be a part of the Church of Leto?” He asked, not trying to seem disgusted with what he was about to ask.

“Oh!” The girl named Rose turned and smiled at Ed. “Yes I am. What can I do for you?”

“I’ve heard about the Church of Leto and I’m interested in learning more.” Edward lied through his teeth, keeping a smile on the entire time. This seemed to make the girl very excited.

“Of Course! We are always welcoming new Brothers into our order!” She exclaimed happily, giving a little hop of joy as she strode over to shake his hand. “My name is Rose Thomas! You?”

“Edward Elric! Good to meet you!”

---

It seemed like days they had been walking, trying to make it to an exact point on the mountain. There they could begin. The Blonde followed along his Father, keeping a quick pace. The road they followed was barely visible and it seemed to get steeper with every step.

“Father?” The young blonde began. “Are we almost there? We’ve been walking since Nightfall.”

“No. We must make it to the center of the old battleground.” The older man replied swiftly. Seemingly not wanting to continue the conversation. Keeping the silence they have kept for hours now. It was odd behavior for him. The younger blonde knew it meant he was in a bad mood. Why else would he bring that bottle of brandy with him as well? Watching his Father drink more and more with each passing year was troubling. He worried for him, but he was always brushed aside whenever he brought it up. Sometimes he would wonder what it tasted like, but he would never want to drink any. It was out of the question for him. After seeing what the toxic liquid could do to someone, it was a no-brainer.  

“Here it is.”

Hearing his Father, he looked out upon a grassy field. The light of the rising sun made the grass glimmer. There were unmarked gravestones that dotted the area. Most were crumbled and cracked, yet the blonde boy noticed one that seemed in perfect shape. It was smoother and taller than the rest of the stones and had markings unlike the others. He couldn’t read it from where he stood, but he did see a mixed assortment of flowers placed at its base. As the boy got closer he could make out the text of the stone.

                       *Here Lies our Son*
* He was not able to make it into this world.*
          * He will be always in our hearts.*

“Oh…” He wasn’t expecting that. Maybe a recent family member or some sort of memorial to the battle that took place here. A baby seemed out of place though. As if he knew exactly what confused him, his Father started to explain.

“This graveyard is a place for the nameless. There are a lot of people in the town below who don’t have homes or families. This is where they are buried.”

“I see…” He supposed it made sense. The town below did seem sort of scummy. All of the gangs and underground bars. It was all sketchy enough for this place to have a purpose. It was nice they still showed some acknowledgement for the dead. With how much death this country has experienced, you would think taking time to bury and make gravestones would be a luxury.

His Father walked past him, stopping next to a fallen tree. He seemed to inspect the area before nodding his head.

“Right here.” The older man began to unbutton his shirt, but didn’t bother to take the shirt off all the way. In a swift motion, he plunged his hands into his chest and pulled right out. Blood fell from his fingers onto the ground, soaking into the earth. After a few moments Al spoke up.

“Is that it?” The Blonde asked hopefully.

“Of Course not.” The Older man stated.

“Yeah… Of Course not.” He replied distraughtly. They have been traveling for as long as he could remember. Always on the move, they had to keep going. He had vague memories of a time when this wasn’t the case, but that was much too long ago. It was nice to see the world, but it was also lonely. He would never admit it to his Father. He wouldn’t care.

“Alphonse, Hurry now. We are done here.”

“Right...”

---

Enormous wouldn’t begin to describe the Church. Much bigger than the ones in Ed’s hometown for sure. The walls of the Church were smooth stone with religious markings engraved into them. Two rows of stone columns stretched to the back of the building and inwards. Long rows of benches lined up all the way in the back and only parted down the middle. There were enough seats In that part of the building alone to fit more than half of the town. All the way in the back there was a podium where ‘Father’ Cornello must speak during sermons. Behind that was a tall statue of a bearded man holding a book and a staff. The statue was the same stone as the walls were made up of.

“Wow, pretty fancy place you got here.”

“It’s all thanks to the help of my fellow Letoists.” Rose explained. “Everyone pitched in during the construction!”

Every time she spoke of the people in the town, her eyes seemed to well up with pride and hope. He couldn’t see why. The people in this town look like every other religious group. They act all nice and kind towards others, but they are the exact opposite if you disagree with them in any way. He may have only really interacted with a couple of them, but Religious sheep usually act the same as the flock. He had no doubts the minute he questioned anything Rose had to say, she would turn out with the same attitude.

“The Church used to be much smaller and wasn’t used because the religion the church represented is no longer practiced.”

“With the rise of Alchemy and understanding of basic things, how can you blame them?” Edward remarked.

“You’re an Alchemist?”

‘’shit!’’ Ed cursed under his breath. He didn’t want that to come up, he shouldn’t have let that comment slip. Doing this with the assumption that he was a simple normal person was the plan. Made it a ton easier than having to explain why an Alchemist would be remotely interested in any religion. Well half of the truth was out, so it didn’t seem to hurt to let the rest out as well.

“Yeah actually, I’m a State Alchemist.” Edward commented casually. The face that Rose made was not what he expected. Anger, Betrayal, Confusion, or even Sadness would have made more sense. Yet there she was, with a gigantic grin on her face.

“A State Alchemist wants to learn of Letoism! This is incredible!”

“Uh! … Yeah…” It was a relief she wasn’t going to shut down and stop talking to him after this, but it still puzzled the blonde.

Rose sat down on the furthermost bench and began to dig around under the seat. She quickly pulled up some sort of book. It had a chestnut brown leather cover and had ‘Word of Leto’ written in gold on the front. It wasn’t a very thick book seeming to only have a few chapters. She handed one to Edward and kept one for herself.

“This book contains our beliefs and Leto’s laws.” Rose explained in a chipper tone. “It’s not very big since our Father Cornello is the first priest and prophet of Leto!”

The Blonde was sure that wasn’t the only reason it was lacking in content. As he began to read it became even more apparent to him how fake this whole thing was. Stuff about the Sun birthing the earth and Leto making man in his image. It was typical religious nonsense. It was too much for Edward and he had to say something.

“Do you really believe this garbage?” Edward scoffed. The smile she wore snapped into a face of anger and confusion. Looks like that comment did it.

“ED!” A loud and furious voice rang through the empty church.

Both Rose and Edward turned to see what made the sudden loud sound. It was Winry, she had the look of death on her face and was armed with one her wrenches.

“Do you think leaving me alone and lost is funny!? I was bumbling around town looking for you! If those kind men didn’t tell me where you went I don’t know what I’d do!” Winry ranted, her face darkening with each step she took towards them.

“W-Winry! Its- I Just-“ He was at a loss of words, not expecting to be interrupted by the blonde woman’s wrath.  

“You said you wanted my help! So what do you do!? RUN OFF LIKE A COMPLETE IDIOT WITHOUT ME!”

Edward knew better than to argue at this point. She wouldn’t go easy with that wrench if he did argue. At this point he needed to just take it. Maybe he shouldn’t have brought Winry along.

“You’re a friend of his?” Rose spoke up, daring to interrupt Winry’s rant. The blonde girl stopped and turned to look at her. She snapped her head right back to Ed with even more fury than before.

“DID YOU LEAVE ME TO FIND SOME HOT DATE!?”

“WHAT!? UGH NO!” Edward recoiled back. What in the world made her think that? He had no interest in any sort of romance. “She’s just someone showing me around the place!”

“Wait, what do you mean ‘ugh’?” Rose asked, sounding hurt.

“Well, you’re just some hu-“ Edward was quickly shut up by Winry slamming her hand over his mouth.

“Edward will stop talking now!” Winry laughed nervously. “He’s not good with his words!” She let go of Ed’s mouth once she was sure he wasn’t going to speak, and continued. “That’s more of my department! I’m sorry if he said anything rude!” She turned back to the alchemist and glared. “And so is he.”

Ed grumbled as Winry plopped right in-between him and Rose. He looked away but didn’t stop paying attention. He was just going to let Winry do her thing. He heard Winry pick up the book and start asking questions about it. Rose sounded so sincere with her garbage it made Ed feel bad for her.

“So this says ‘The Prophet Cornello, Holy and Just, can do miracles through the hands of God. Such as turning Water into Wine, and Resurrecting the Fallen.’ He can really do all that?” Edward knew Winry was just trying to coy information out of Rose, but it still made him sick to think she might actually be interested. Especially with that last one.

“Yes! He gives these miracles to all of his believers!” Rose sounded excited again. “Water to Wine, Coal to Gold, Flowers to Gems, and Bringing the dead back to life!” Edward flinched. “Our God gives him this power to help his children!  

“More like he’s scamming you into believing that.” Edward mumbled. It must had been too loud because Rose turned back to Edward frowning.

“It’s not a scam!” Rose argued, angry now. “I’ve seen his miracles! He truly ca-“

“Nobody can bring the dead back to life!” The Alchemist’s scream echoed throughout the building.

“G-God can do anything! If you just had faith I’m sure you’d see!” Rose’s voice was shaky, but her tone was stern. She seemed to be still holding her ground on this. How annoying. Edward sighed. It would seem this little religious flower would need more proof. He reached into his coat and pulled out a journal of alchemic notes.

" Water 35 Liters, Carbon 20 kilograms, Ammonia 4 liters, Lime 1.5 kilograms, phosphorus 800 grams, salt 250 grams, saltpeter 100 grams, sulfur 80 grams, fluorine 7.5 grams, iron 5 grams, silicon 3 grams, and a trace amount of 15 other elements.”

Rose looked startled and confused. Before she could ask what that meant, the alchemist explained.

“That list represents the complete chemical make-up of the human body for the average adult. It’s been calculated to the last microgram, but still there has never been a reported case of successfully creating a human life.” Edwards eyes dart away from his book and over to Rose. “And your telling me something modern science can’t do, you can do with prayer!?”

“Lift thy voice to god! And the prayers of the faithful shall be answered!” Rose had stood up at this point. Her fists were clenched and her eyes were focused directly on the blonde alchemist. A wicked grin spread across Edward’s face as he leaned back into his chair.

“Did I mention all those ingredients I read off? Down at the market a kid could buy every one of those with the spare change in his pocket!” He chuckled to himself. “As it turns out, humans are pretty cheap.” Rose could have sworn there was a sadness in his voice, but her rage at his remarks flooded her thoughts.

“That’s blasphemy! Humans are… We are all children of god! Created in his image!” This notion made the boy laugh even more.

“You have to understand, Rose. Alchemists are scientists. We don’t believe in unprovable concepts such as ‘Creators’ or ‘Gods’. We observe the physical laws that govern this world, to try to learn the truth.” His eyes shifted, cold and empty, staring up at the statue of Leto. “It’s Ironic really, but through the applications of science, we’ve been given the power to play gods ourselves.”

“You’re putting yourself of the same level of god!? That’s just… Sheer… Arrogance!”

“Arrogance huh? I know a good story about that. You ever hear the story of Icarus?”

Rose paused, his reaction was so calm and bored. It was as if he had done this all before and wished to be rid of her.

“Icarus flew on wings of wax. He thought he could touch the sun, but when he got too close his wings melted and he came crashing back down to earth.”  

Silence filled the air like a toxin. Edward’s cocky grin even wider on his face. Winry decided this was a perfect point to jump in. There was an opening to stop the fighting and do what they came here to do, But It seemed Ed was a couple steps ahead of her.

“I’m so sorry miss, this is difficult for me to ask, but do you think your Father Cornello can save an arrogant scientist like me?” His voice was over the top with his fake shame. Rose bought it completely.

“Of course! That’s Wonderful! If anyone can turn you towards the creator's light, he can!” The young woman practically jumped with glee. It was nice, Ed supposed, to see her like this opposed to when she was angry. He was excited to ask this man a few questions.

“You’ll have to wait until after his miracle performance! But that itself might convince you!”

“Right. Do you know anywhere we can stay while we are here?” Ed asked. He knew this would take long. The faker was probably busy with believers wanting their sins erased or something. That Miracle performance though. What did she mean by that?

---

“Looks like Rose got us a nice place here.” Edward grinned. “Guess it pays to kiss ass after all.”

“It pays to be polite, Ed.” Winry corrected. “Maybe you should try it more often.”

“That’s why I bring you along Win.” He smiled, dropping his luggage onto his bed. It wasn’t very heavy, seeing as he didn’t need to bring much with him. Winry’s on the other hand, had all assortment of nuts, bolts, tools, and other geeky automail things.

“If that’s the only reason, maybe I shouldn’t come along! That way you’ll have to learn some manners!”

“Go if you want Gearhead, it’ll be a lot more liberating!”

“Sadly I can’t; you’d be lost without someone to control your short temper.” Winry laughed.

“ARE YOU CALLING ME A MICRO MINI SHRIMP!?”

“And that right there is exactly my point.” Winry sighed.

Edward calmed down, realizing the comment was not about his height but his temper. It was still infuriating, but getting mad again would further prove her point.

“Ok! I’ve got my gloves, so If that priest tries anything, I’m not useless in a fight!”

“It’s a waste if you ask me.” Edward remarked.

Winry paused what she was doing and turned back to the alchemist. That was a weird comment, she wasn’t really expecting it.

“What do you mean?”

“You only use alchemy for fighting. I think that’s a waste.” Edward stated simply. Winry still seemed confused, so Ed continued. “You’re really… smart. I think if you put your mind to it… I don’t know. You could even become a state alchemist?”

“Don’t be silly Ed. Alchemy is just a hobby for me! I’m an automail engineer first!” Winry finished putting her things away and plopped next to her friend. “But thanks. It means a lot.”

“Whatever it’s just the truth, Gearhead.”

He was being kind. Winry knew this and him better than anyone. They grew up together. Thinking about it brought a wave of nostalgia over her. The summer breeze, the windy days and scratchy grass. Rolling hills that went on for miles. That was home for them.

---

“Winry! Winry!” The little blonde boy came running up to her. In his hands he had a metal object that looked almost like a horse. “Look what I made!” He held it out to her proudly, a wide grin across his face.

“Wow! Is that from one of your dad’s books?”

“Yeah! I already showed Mom. She was super happy!” He kept it held out, seeming to want Winry to take it.

“W-Wait! For me?”

“Yeah!” Edward giggled. “I can make more for Mom! But this is my best one so I want my best friend to have it!”

The little blonde took the object from Ed. It was super smooth, Winry wondered how alchemy worked. How he could turn something into something else. It was like magic!

“You know Win.” The young boy started. “If you want to learn alchemy, you can come hang out at my place sometime!”

She considered it for a second. She wasn’t really that interested in alchemy to the point of learning it. She liked keeping it mysterious and magical. The look in Ed’s big violet eyes told her that the real reason he wanted her over wasn’t for alchemy, however. She knew his brother and father left a while back and she knew how lonely being an only child could be. Winry had a lot of friends at school, but Edward was always the outcast. His mom was really protective of him and he rarely gets to go outside.

“Sure I guess I could try it! Must be easy if you’re good at it!”

“Pfffft! Whatever Win!”

“EDWARD!?” A panicked voice called out to her friend. He flinched upon hearing it. It was his mother. She had a panicked and wild look on her face. She relaxed completely when she finally saw Edward. “Oh there you are sweetie! You know it’s not outside time! You scared mommy!”

Her friend’s shoulders slumped and he looked defeated. He took his mother’s hand and walked off with her. Winry wondered why he wasn’t allowed to go out much. Maybe it was just a family thing? She was just glad her mom and dad didn’t do that too.

---

It was time for the Miracle something or another. Ed didn’t remember what it was called. It was where all the proof Ed needed was supposed to be. He and Winry stood in the back, waiting for the show to start.

A fat man with religious garb stepped up to the podium. A huge crowd covered the area even before the man arrived. Edward could tell that this must be ‘Father’ Cornello. He started with a speech about Leto or some other stuff. The alchemist wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying. No, Ed was looking at the red ring he wore. He could feel something from it, like there was just something wrong about it. The more he stared at his ring, the more he felt like it wasn’t right.

“He’s really got his crowd worked up!” Winry commented, snapping Ed out of his thoughts.

“Y-Yeah.” He replied shortly. After the longer than necessary lecture, He did something that almost knocked Edward on his butt. He actually turned water into wine. Water which was just H20, into something completely different and definitely not equivalent. He then turned a flower into a crystal statue that was much bigger than the flower or Cornello himself. Ed noticed something however. The red sparks, the way the objects grew. It seemed Winry noticed right away too.

“That’s definitely alchemy.” She stated. “No doubts.”

“Yeah, I noticed it too. Those are sparks are from an alchemic reaction.”

“He should only be able to make something of equivalent mass and material. He’s totally ignoring the laws of alchemy!” Winry added.

“What he is doing is impossible, that is unless…” Edward’s attention shifted back to his ring. The red stone attached to it. Could it be? It would explain the strange feeling he got when looking at it. He couldn’t believe his eyes! After so long, it was actually in front of him. “Win you see what I see?”

“You mean his ring? Yeah.”

“Looks like this wasn’t a waste after all.”

---

Rose, Edward, and Winry all walked into a large room. She had explained to them that Cornello was busy, but took interest in converting a state alchemist. Well, She didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what Ed supposed the fat man really thought. The room was so large, Ed wondered what it was even used for. At the end were two staircases leading into two more staircases. The room was dimly lit with an orange hue covering the room. The stone they had seen before was replaced by tan brick and there was only one door, and it was the one they came in from.

“Thanks for having us! We know you’re busy so we won’t take much of his time!” Edward falsely apologized.

The man escorting the three of them was tall with short hair. His skin was the same as most Amestrians, which was uncommon seeing as most people in town were darker.  

“Then it’s agreed then. Well make it quick.” His tone was sinister, but Edward didn’t give it much thought. He was too fixated on actually getting his hands on the priest’s ring.

Stopping Edward’s thoughts was the sound of weapons shifting. He turned around to see the guards had Winry blocked off by two intersecting spears. The man escorting them pulled out a gun and pointed it at Edward. ‘Shit’ Edward thought. They must have recognized his name and want to get rid of him. He should have just come up with a fake one. ‘These bastards better not lay a finger on Winry’

“Brother Cray! What is this!?” Rose spoke up now, obviously very confused. It made sense that Rose wasn’t involved. She was too kind of a person.

“Rose these heathens seek to snare and discredit the Father! They’re evil, this is god’s will!” He kept the gun steadily pointed towards Ed’s head. Edward needed an opening, if he could just distract this guy.

“Well like you said, let’s make this quick!” Winry shoved her elbow into one of the men blocking her, and threw them onto the ground.

‘That’s it!’ Edward took the opportunity to slam his fist right into Cray’s face, sending him and his gun flying. When the other guard tried to make a run for it, Winry grabbed the spear that dropped on the ground and tossed it towards his head. The man fell to the ground and took a heavy blow from the spear.

“Alright! Looks like all these years of throwing wrenches at you has paid off Ed!” Winry boasted.

“What’s this commotion?” A voice sounded out from the back of the room. As the figure emerged from the shadows, Edward noticed right away who it was.

“Ah the Fullmetal Alchemist!” Cornello began. “Welcome to the home of our scared order!” He was charismatic, he could see how people would fall for it. Top that with the miracles and this whole sham made sense in a way.

“Father Cornello!” Rose called out in joy.

“I must apologize for my disciple’s behavior, it seems they’ve been misguided.” A lie, obviously. Ed wouldn’t play along this time; not after they threatened Winry’s life.

“Ok let’s say I believe you weren’t the one guiding them, what next?”

“Have you come to learn the ways of Leto?” His voice was starting to get on Ed’s nerves.

“Well there are a few things I’m curious about.” Ed started. “Like how you’ve been using second rate alchemy to deceive your followers.” He could see Rose turn to him out of the corner of his eye. She must feel betrayed.

“My dear boy, I don’t know what you mean! What you’re doubting I see as alchemy, are the miracles of the sun god Leto.” Cornello explained matter of factly. “Look again, could mere alchemy create something from nothing in this way?” He transmuted a miniature statue of Leto out of thin air between his hands. The red sparks shining again.

“Yeah that’s what I didn’t get at first. How can you perform transmutations that ignore the laws of equivalent exchange?”

“As I said! Because it isn’t alchemy!” Cornello interrupted.

“Then I started thinking about it.” Ed continued, ignoring the interruption. “If you somehow required a certain object to amplify your alchemy. One that’s said to make the impossible, possible.” He glared right at Cornello. “That would explain everything.”

“What?”

“I’m talking about the philosopher’s stone. Your ring, that’s it isn’t it?” His gaze got more intense. Edward’s desire to get that ring grew more and more. “I’ve been looking for that!” He began walking towards Cornello, a wild grin spreading on his face.

“The ring is just a ring, it is from God alone I derive my power!”

“Still trying to sell that line huh? If that’s how you want to play it; I’ll just have to come up there and beat some truth out of ya!”

“My, you really are quite the incorrigible heathen aren’t you? Rose dear?”

“Yes Father?” Her voice was hushed and her legs were shaking.

“That gun there beside you, pick it up.” He ordered, keeping his smooth and charismatic voice.

“Uh… Ok.” Rose obeyed, picking up the gun beside her. From the way she did you could tell she had never handled one before.

“Now child, I want you to shoot the Fullmetal Alchemist.” Winry and Edward jerked their heads towards Rose. Her face filled with terror and shock.

“N-No! I can’t do that!” She pleaded.

“I am the sun god’s chosen emissary; my word is the word of Leto himself.” The priest grinned, looking directly at his follower. “Shoot him Rose, its god’s will.”

Rose pulled the gun to her chest, trembling terribly. What a horrible thing he was doing to this girl. Edward believed in her though, he didn’t see her as capable of harming another.

“Why hesitate? When you lost your fiancé to that tragic accident last year; who was it that saved you from the very depths of despair?” His voice had lost its honey and now sounded harsh and demanding. “Have you forgotten?”

“I-it was y-you Father.” She answered obediently. Her voice and body still shaking.

“That’s right! It was I who found you and led you into God’s light! And do You recall what it was I promised you then?”

“YOU SAID IF I HAD FAITH YOU’D BRING HIM BACK TO LIFE!” Rose shouted, her voice desperate. She brought the gun up and pointed it at Edward’s head. They stared at each other unmoving. He had faith she would make the right decision, she had to! “I’m sorry I have to do this. I don’t have any choice!”

“He’s been lying to you Rose!”

“No you’re wrong! I’ve seen Father Cornello’s miracles; he can bring him back to life I have faith!”

“Fine, then shoot!” Rose began shaking again but gave into it in the end and shot. The bullet landed right in Edward’s skull. He hit the ground like a stone; blood pouring out of the wound.

“ED!” Winry cried out.

Rose stood quietly until she finally understood what had happened. She let out a terrified scream, dropping the gun, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Good, god Leto is pleased, you have done well my child. Now pick up the gun and shoot the other as well.”

Suddenly red sparks crackled upon Edward’s head, the wound that Rose had made sealing up. Ed lifted himself to his feet, brushing off the dirt that had got on him. The Red sparks dissipated as the wound fully healed.

“Don’t you think you made her do enough?” Ed glared back up to Cornello. Rose stared in horror, while Winry just sighed.

“Yeah, it’ll take a little more than that to kill this shrimp.” Winry said bored. Edward tensed up and shot Winry the look of death, but she ignored him. “I wish he wouldn’t have let it come to this though.”

“Hey! It wasn’t like I wanted to get shot! It still hurts Win!”

“Y-you’re alive! And that light! Have you been blessed by Leto?” Rose asked, this explanation being the only one she could think of. Cornello hadn’t said a word and was silently staring in awe at Ed.

“Hmmm. No, it’s a lot more complicated than that.” Ed rubbed his head, still feeling a tad bit of pain from the bullet. “I’ll explain it later.”

“Whatever it is, it’s evil! As God’s emissary, I must purge this land of creatures like you!” Cornello backed up until he was near a lever. He pulled it and the stone wall to the left of them began to open up. “You survived a bullet, but how will you fare against my chimera! It will rip you to shreds!”

Out of the opening a creature with a lion’s head, lizards back half, and rat’s tail appeared. A chimera for sure, an alchemic monster created out of separate animals. A freak of nature creature created by alchemy, Edward could relate.

“Well, looks like I’ll need a weapon then.” Edward clapped his hands together, blue sparks crackling against them. He slams his hands to the ground, the stone cratering in everywhere but the center. In the center a spear was being created, it rose up and pointed perfectly. Edward grabbed it and got into a fighting stance.

“Alchemy without a transmutation circle? So the title isn’t just for show, you truly are gifted!” Cornello was getting angry now, gripping the railing and watching intensely.

The chimera charges Edward. Ed tries to block the oncoming attack, only for the spear he was using to get cut into pieces. Before he can double back and try to get another weapon, the chimera slashes again. The attack hits his left leg, tearing through his pants.

“Your spear is no match for claws that can tear through Iron!” Cornello cheers.

In a moment of perfect timing, the claws of the chimera break off. The cloth that was cut away from Ed reveals a metal instead of flesh.

“Guess those claws don’t do well against steel!” Edward teased. He then doubles back and claps his hands once more. Before he can transmute again, the chimera zooms onto him and prepares to bite into Ed. He blocks the attack with his right arm.

“EDWARD!” Rose cries. She only seeing and hearing what seems to be the chimera chewing on the blonde alchemist.

“You like that kitty?” The biting was not effecting him at all. “Go on, get a good taste!” The alchemist kicks the creature upside the chin, knocking it away. The creature growls in pain; passing out from the blow it took.

“Y-Your Arm! Your Leg! How is thi-“ Cornello stopped himself, and began laughing. “I see now! It’s becoming very clear! You did it, didn’t you?”

Edward removes his red coat, throwing it to the floor behind him. His automail arm now fully visible, along with strange markings around his waist and a tattoo on his left arm.

“The one thing even the most novice alchemist knows is strictly forbidden!”

“Why don’t you come down here and try me? I’ll show you real quickly who the novice is!”

 

Chapter Text

“EDWARD!” 

The young blonde snapped his head towards the calling of his name. His friend… He had nearly forgotten. Blood still poured from his missing leg and missing arm. It was too dark, but it didn’t seem like anything happened to her. Good; Winry was ok and he was the only one who took a toll from this mess. No matter how much pain and grief he was experiencing at the moment, he wouldn’t know what he’d do if Winry was hurt because of him. 

“Edward!? Why did this happen? I thought that-“She was interrupted when she looked at the thing inside the transmutation circle. She didn’t move and it was too dark to tell, but she didn’t seem afraid. Instead of recoiling in disgust like Ed did, she picked the boy up and began to move him out of the room. 

“We have to get you somewhere safe! Stop the bleeding.” She stated, her eyes focused ahead and trying not to look at Edward. 

“Winry… I’m sorry.” Ed choked out. He was in intense pain and couldn’t move on his own. It was embarrassing for him to be carried by her. He was supposed to be the one protecting her; not the other way around. It was embarrassing, so, so humiliating! If fate couldn’t get any worse, it started raining on their way out. 

“Hold on Ed! We’re almost there!” 

His arm and leg still wouldn’t heal… He could feel his body trying, but it just wouldn’t happen. Just his luck… 

Rain poured down on them like a hurricane, thunder echoed through the hills. Some sort of divine justice must have not wanted him to survive this. Not that there even is one. How pathetic. His mind was slipping away no matter how hard he tried. He couldn’t die, not while he still needed to protect Winry! His eyes twitched close. His mind settled and began to drift.

 

---

“Why don’t you come down here and try me!? I’ll show you real quickly who the novice is!”

Rose stood back, covering her mouth. Her eyes kept their terror and her body shook even harder. To lose your arm like that, your leg like that! What in the world could he have done to lose them!? 

“Rose, this is the price of his sin! This fool committed human transmutation! The greatest taboo for any alchemist! In his arrogance he tried to bring someone dead back to life!” 

She took a second to process everything. He… The dead back to life? Suddenly Rose remembered what the alchemist had told her. 

“Icarus flew on wings of wax. He thought he could touch the sun, but when he got too close he came crashing back down to earth.” 

He did it. He wanted it as she does now. It wasn’t just pride filled nonsense, he was speaking from his own experience. He must have… He must have… failed. 

“Oh no.” Rose couldn’t imagine what had happened. Who he tried to bring back and why. She was overwhelmed. 

“This is what happens when you try to play god or whatever you want to call it. Look closely Rose… Is this what you want?” He spoke turned away from her, his voice filled with no emotion.

“So this is the great Fullmetal Alchemist!?” Cornello scoffed. “Not even half a man! Hell, not even human!” 

“And what are you!? You’re just a phony who can’t do anything without a philosopher’s stone!”

“Father, we don’t want trouble.” Winry stepped in, much calmer than her friend. “Just give us the philosopher’s stone and we’ll be on our way.” 

 “Don’t be absurd! Why, so you could use it for yourself!?” Cornello’s ring began to crackle with light. Ed and Winry readied for whatever he was going to transmute. “If you’re so keen on playing god! Perhaps I should send you to meet him instead!” Once the transmutation was complete, Cornello’s staff turned into a machine gun. 

When he started firing, Ed clapped his hands together and created a stone barrier. Ed smirked.

“Nah!” Me and god don’t get along too well! Even if I went, he’d probably just send me back here!” 

“Tch!” 

“Winry, you take care of Fatass holy hands over here!” This made the priest yell out in anger, but none paid attention to it. “I’m the bullet proof one here, I’ll get Rose out!” He lifted Rose up, making sure to cover her vital spots with his own body. 

Sure enough, Cornello began to shoot at Edward. Rose curled herself up into Edward’s arms, trying her best not to look at the bullets flying towards her. It was amazing that she wasn’t hit by any of them, it seemed like any bullet that came close to her was picked off by the shadows. 

“Well, Well, Father!” She heard Winry say as she and Ed escaped. “Looks like it’s you and me now.” The door slammed behind them, and Edward ran past all of the guards with ease. She noticed he made sure not to hurt a single one of them. Simply jumping over head and almost bouncing off walls. He was strong that was for sure; being able to hold Rose and do all of this.

Once they got to a safe spot, Edward let Rose down gently.  She had a couple bullet holes in her dress, but amazingly she was unharmed. Such couldn’t be said for Edward however, His body covered in Red Sparks where wounds were closing. It would still take some getting used to; seeing his body recover like that. 

“So what you think of the ‘Father’ now? Didn’t even care if you were in the way, he shot at us regardless.” 

“But, that’s because…” Rose didn’t finish. She knew there wasn’t a reasonable explanation. It didn’t matter though, she didn’t want to be wrapped up in their fight. She was a believer! But, what her Father said… She had to know. “Is it true then? What Father Cornello said?” 

“Yeah.” His response was quick. The blonde had begun climbing the tower and removed the bell with alchemy. She wondered what he was doing. As he set it down again, she pressed further. 

“Who did yo-“ 

“It was my mom.” 

His… Oh. How old even was he? He looked so young. Rose wouldn’t pretend she knew anything about alchemy, but she did know that he must be extremely gifted. Most alchemists she had met in her life were all older men. Alchemy was supposed to be a hard to understand science. 

“You should quit now.” 

“W-What?” 

“The dead don’t come back to life Rose.” His eyes focused in on her. It was like he could see directly into her soul. His eyes were such an odd color, she had never seen someone with violet eyes before. His hair was more golden than blonde as well. And that tattoo… Edward continued.

“The thing that I created? Wasn’t even human.” Fury stuck on his face, obviously recounting the incident. 

Trembling, Rose gripped tightly onto nothing. Trying to keep herself from tears.

“Just like me… a monster.” 

“What are you?” Rose wanted to quickly take back that question, but Edward answered before she could apologize. 

“You see this?” He pointed to his red tattoo, the one that looked like a dragon eating its own tail. “It’s an Ouroboros. It’s an alchemic symbol for eternal return, an endless cycle of construction and deconstruction, life and death.” 

“Did you get that because of your healing powers?” 

“I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.” His eyes turned away from hers, his hands balling into fists for a moment. “I don’t know what I am, but I know I’m not human. I have these weird red markings, un-naturally sharp teeth, and you see my clothing?” 

Rose noticed his skin tight black crop top and leggings. The leggings going all the way down to cover the heel of his right foot, but stopping at his automail on his left leg. It was odd clothing choice, but she didn’t understand what it had to do with him not being human. 

“I can’t take these off, they’re a part of my body.” His hands demonstrated as he picked at the end of his crop top. It moved as if it were skin, pinching up along with his flesh. It was horrifying to watch. Rose didn’t know how to react. 

“That’s why I need that stone. I don’t want to be a monster. I want to be human.” 

She didn’t make a sound. There was nothing she could say to any of that. Edward wanted to be human, he wanted to give up his powers to be like her. In a way, it was suicidal to her. Her thoughts ended suddenly when she heard a loud ring. It came from the bell, which now resembled a giant speaker. 

“Looks like Win Is ready.”

 

---

“Well, Well, Father! Looks like it’s you and me now.” She wasn’t worried in the slightest. It would take more than a fat man with a machine gun to scare her away. Winry clapped her hands together and started rubbing them rapidly. Purple sparks crackled against her hands and the alchemic symbols on her gloves glowed. She slammed her hands to the ground and large bolts of lightning cracked in a jagged line towards the priest. Any stone the bolts touched melted instantly and created more lightning. It exploded under the stairs the priest was on and made them give way. 

“How you like that? I call it Static Alchemy! My personal specialty!” Winry grinned. “Now if you don’t want to be a puddle of goo, I think you should hand over the stone.” 

“Never!” The priest touched his machine gun and began to transmute it. It shifted into an even bigger gun. Winry dodged bullets by cartwheeling away until she was behind a pillar. She reached into her pocket and took out a piece of chalk. While she was still under fire, Winry drew a circle and created a door. 

“Come and get me holy man!” She teased, charging her way out the door. She heard the priest screaming something, but she kept running until she found his office. “Here we go!”

According to their back-up plan, Winry had to bait the truth out of him. She set the microphone on the floor, perfectly positioned if he were to take a few steps forward. Grabbing the on and off switch and keeping it behind her back. With perfect timing, the priest past the room. He noticed Winry in there and ran back. 

“There you are!” 

“Look Father Cornello, I’m not as hot-headed as my friend is.” She began to bargain. “If you just answer a couple of my questions, I’ll convince him to leave and we’ll be out of your hair!” She grinned. “Or he could get the military involved.” 

He stood a moment, thinking. Cornello shut the door behind him and stepped forward.

“Ok ask your questions.” He took the bait. Winry clicked the on switch behind her.

“Well, why do all this? The stone is powerful enough to do whatever you want. Why use it to perform phony miracles?” 

“Because with each new miracle I attract new believers into the order! Believers who would lay down their lives for my sake! I’m slowly building an army! A legion of holy warriors not afraid to die! In a few more years I’ll be ready to unleash this mindless hoard upon the world! And I’ll use the philosopher’s stone to tear this country apart! Who knows! I might even carve out a slice for you and your friend!” He started cackling uncontrollably and Winry couldn’t help but laugh too. 

“Wait what are you laughing for!?” 

“Ed was right! You are a novice!” Winry pulled the on and off panel from behind her back and showed it off to Cornello. He looked to the panel, and down to the microphone. Suddenly his face snapped into one of total shock. 

“YOU DON’T MEAN THAT!” 

Winry just nodded smugly. This was plan B in case Father Cornello didn’t cooperate; which they both assumed would be the case. Luckily they didn’t have to resort to plan C. 

“WHY YOU! HOW LONG!? HOW LONG HAS THAT BEEN ON!?” 

“Since the beginning! You’re ‘Mindless Followers’ heard every word!” 

“YOU’LL PAY DEARLY FOR THIS!” 

“It’s going take a lot more than I can afford to pay for the mess you’ve made!” Winry leaped forward and elbowed the priest in the stomach. Cornello doubled over in pain before activating his ring again. 

“Why you! I’ll get you!” He transforms his gun into something larger, but a sudden explosion causes to the priest to collapse in pain again. His arm was a mix of wires and tubes, Somehow the ring… failed? 

“You can’t even use the philosopher’s stone right!” Winry laughed. “Even someone who uses Alchemy for a hobby like me, can beat you!” 

“NOBODY CAN BEAT ME! I AM WITHOUT RIVAL!” His body started to grow rapidly. The floor underneath him visibly breaking. He now towered over her like a monstrous behemoth. Noticing the floor was giving way, she clapped and rubbed her hands together. Creating another static transmutation. She aimed it towards the floor around Cornello, and watched as he plummeted down to the lower level. 

“You should just give up, if you were fighting Ed maybe you’d stand a chance. But I’m not as reckless as that idiot.” Her mocking words echoed down into the main room below. Winry dropped down into the room below to see the priest behemoth struggling to return to his feet. Taking advantage of his weakness she quickly took out her chalk and drew a typical earth transmutation circle. Once activated, it flings the fat giant into the air. His body crashed through the top of the church, before plummeting back to the earth. The second fall was enough to knock the priest out.

 “And that’s how we do it!” Winry grinned to herself. Striding over to the body of the priest before he woke up again. As she went to grab the stone on the ring, something became clearly apparent. “Is… Is it darker than before?” 

The stone slipped out of the ring’s holding and crumbled onto the ground. Red dust faded into the air, leaving the blonde in intense confusion. 

“It… It… It was a… FAKE!?” Winry cried out in anger. She grabbed the priest at his shoulders and shook him angrily out of his injury caused sleep. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? All of this for a FAKE!?”  

“I’m-I’m sorry! P-PLEASE DON’T HURT ME!” Cornello pleaded pathetically. “I didn’t know! I swear! It was given to me by someone!” Winry let go of the man, not even giving the priest the satisfaction of a response. All that was on her mind was fury and failure. They were so sure that this was it! The big breakthrough! It was going to be hard to break the news to Ed.

 

---

Those word’s echoed in Rose’s mind, the lies she had been fed. It couldn’t be true… The one hope she had left. The only thing keeping her from insanity. A lie? 

“That’s the cold truth Rose. There are no miracles. There is no Leto. He’s a fake.” His words pouring salt into the fresh open wounds of the revelation. 

A crashing sound shook the building, interrupting any potential conversation that were to be had at the moment. Edward looked back to Rose. Its eyes bored into hers with ice cold nothing. No emotion, no feeling. The blonde jumped down to the ground, leaving Rose alone. 

She felt like her world had crumbled; it crashed and burned in the hands of a beast who couldn’t leave the happiness alone. That selfish creature that had taken everything away from her. It didn’t matter how fake it was, it was all she had. 

Now there was nothing.

---

Edward gaped at the monster that rocketed out of the church roof. He assumed his friend could handle it herself, and he was correct. Walking in he heard his friend scream. It wasn’t an agonizing or frightened sound, it was definitely angry. Before he could make his way into the now wrecked building, Winry opened the door hands balled into fists. Her look softened when she noticed Ed. 

“Is there something wrong?” Edward asked concernedly. Her eyes refused to meet his own. Something was wrong? No, something went wrong. Maybe both? Judging people’s emotions seemed to get harder to read for Ed over the years. Especially Winry’s; she was never black and white about her feelings. 

“Ed…” She began, her eyes still locked to the ground. She embraced the blonde. She didn’t shake or begin to cry. It was short and sweet. Their eyes finally locked and everything suddenly made sense. 

“Was it… It was a destroyed.” He reaffirmed. She didn’t have it on her, and that was the only reason for her anger. Rage started to build up inside of him. Not only was it destroyed, but to be destroyed it had to be fake. A damned fake. Of course, like it would be this easy. Only four years of their lives were spent on this wild goose chase. 

“Heh… Figures.” 

“Ed I’m so sorry, for a second there… I thought we could finally make you human.”

It was odd, but Winry was more upset than he thought he even could be. It all seemed like clockwork to him now. Hear a story that leads nowhere. Over and Over again. Accepting it was easy for him, but maybe that was because of what he is. Winry seemed to get angrier with every false lead.

Trying to comfort his friend, he softly took hold of both of the blonde’s tight fists. Unclenching them and replacing the space with his own hands.

“It’s ok Win. It isn’t over. We’ll find it.” He stood and stared down at their hands. Quiet washed over the area. It was shortly broken by the clicking of a loaded gun. Edward instinctively put himself in front of Winry milliseconds after the sound was made. 

“GIVE ME THE PHILOSOPHERS STONE!” Rose stood only a few feet away. Tears ran down the woman’s face which itself was contorted with overwhelming grief. She was shaking all over, not being able to even hold the gun steady. 

“Like I just told Edward… it was a fake. Cornello overused it and it crumbled.” Winry spoke up, pushing Ed out of the way to face Rose. “I’m so-“ 

“LIAR! You just want to keep it for yourselves!” Her voice was almost unrecognizable, it was hoarse and filled with desperation. “So you can turn that thing into a human! YEAH! That’s right! And so you can bring back its mother!” 

“YOU SHUT UP!” Ed spat, letting his pent anger release. He grit his teeth through his words and glared back at the girl. “People don’t come back from the dead Rose. Not ever… Not. Ever.” 

 She fell to her knees, her voice more manic and desperate than ever. “But he told me… He said he could do it!” 

Silence. 

“THAT HOPE WAS ALL I HAD LEFT WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE IN NOW!?” 

Edward began to walk past the woman, ignoring her crying. 

“What gave you the right… you monster…” 

His eyes kept towards the ground. Winry following behind now. 

“You monster…” 

 “Yeah, I am. And if that’s how you want to justify this, I don’t blame you.” 

Her sobbing ceased for a moment. Her eyes returned to emptiness and sadness. 

“It won’t help though. Blaming it all on a Monster. All it will do is blind you from the faults that led you down this hopeless path in the first place. If you want to have hope, you have to make it yourself. Stand up and walk on your own, Forge a destiny outside of what the world thinks you should be. You’ve got two good legs, so get up and use them.” 

Rose looked towards the sky, her tears drying up as she contemplated his words. Not fully understanding it’s meaning but clinging onto something that would give her hope once more. 

“You’re strong enough to make your own path. I know it.” 

The chatter and panic of the town increased under the setting of the sun. Screams of horror and shock shook the air around Rose. It was paid no attention by the brunette. She stayed still, watching as the bright red sun faded into the black night glittered with stars and moonlight.

 

---

 

The world flew by like a haze of colors, each tree speeding past like a bullet. Green and white mixed into a concoction of figures that are only seen for milliseconds at a time. Wind forced its way wildly through the window. 

“Alphonse?” 

He snapped out his thoughts and turned to face his father. He was still dazed and tired from the hike before. Alphonse couldn’t sleep. He knows he should since not doing so is a waste of his energy and stone. The constant moving from place to place with no familiarity besides his distant father had him on edge. Nothing could stay the same, they always had to run from something invisible. 

“After this next stop, we’ll be headed to Resembool.” 

Al stayed silent, soaking that in. The way he said it was so casual, like he didn’t know that it was a big deal. It wasn’t like every day Al yearned to see his brother and mother again. He hadn’t heard from either since he was very very young. So much to the point they were like dreams that played out years ago. 

“Ok.” 

“Are you alright? You haven’t slept in weeks now.” 

“You noticed?” 

“Of course.” 

He knew he shouldn’t distance himself further from his father. Al just didn’t feel like speaking to anyone. He needed time for himself. After that, he would be back on his feet and ready to follow his father. For how much longer Al didn’t know. Was there anything that would keep him from not staying with his mother and brother? That was a future problem. For now the hills are speeding past, the winds are dancing wildly against his forehead, and colors fuse into a mesh of objects that will never be seen. Now however, the greens and blues were faded into a darkening orange.

 

---

 

They missed their train. All of the commotion and fighting cost them hours. Night had fallen upon the city as they both waited for the next train to come. His partner lay next to him, using Ed’s shoulder as a pillow. She wasn’t asleep yet, but it reminded him they probably should have gotten a room instead of waiting hours for a train. 

“Hey Ed?” 

“Hmm?” 

“Are you ok?” 

Always worrying about him. He was the one that was supposed to be taking care of her, not the other way around. A common theme in his life so far. 

“I’m fine Win.” He felt the girl press deeper into his shoulder, letting all of her weight press up against him. 

“Please don’t lie to me.” 

It was routine to at least to try and hide it. Spare Winry his whining and complicated feelings. He thinks that, yet she insists she wants to hear him groan on and on about the same issues he’s had for years. It was just hard to believe that someone could continue to care after this long. 

“Do you think that I was too cold back there?” No point in trying to dodge around his feelings now. She wouldn’t know about most of his problem, because she wasn’t there. It had just been bugging him looking back on it. 

“I think what you said was… personal.” Winry didn’t hesitate to respond. It must had been on her mind as well. His heart dropped into his stomach. If she had seen it and thought about it, he must had been really awful. “But I think it was a good thing to say.” 

“Really?” 

“Yes Ed.” She smiled up at him. Her bay blue eyes looked tiredly up into his own. “I know you’re worried... I think you’re letting it get to you too much.” 

“How so?” It didn’t seem like an unreasonable worry to have. Every day it seemed he was getting more and more detached emotionally. He was getting farther and farther away from human each day he searched for a way to become one. 

“You worry about it. Doesn’t that prove that you still care?” 

“I guess?” She could be right about all of it. Maybe worrying about it was just making him even more despondent. He couldn’t shake the feeling something was still wrong with him. All of these feelings brought up about a fake stone. One which should be seen as a sign of hope, not anger or despair. 

“Thanks.” Ed finally grunted out. 

“Of course you idiot.”