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And the Whole World's Bringing Me Down

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Alphonse was officially the most pissed off human being on the face of Amestris. Worried, but mostly pissed off.

He left his brother alone for one hour and he managed to disappear. And while this would normally be seen as a normal occurrence, knowing his brother, however Edward now only had one arm and leg. It should have been close to impossible for him to get out of the house with only a crutch to help him, at least without getting injured. And yet, there was no blood or signs of a dead body anywhere.

This brought him to only one conclusion: His brother had been kidnapped. Though, even as a cripple, Ed had always been able to put up a good fight. Hell, just the other day he'd managed to outrun Pinako in a wheelchair and thrown several pieces of furniture at the perverse old woman. So whoever had taken his brother was strong. Which also begged the question; Why the everloving fuck would anyone want to kidnap his brother?

He was a goddamn cripple with an attitude problem. Obviously not something a gang of child-slave drivers would want. They were poor and orphaned, so there was no reason for some sort of ransom. And there was pretty much nothing he could be used for at this point, aside from his knowledge, but what kind of moron would kidnap a kid just because he was smart? Plus everything was still where it should be, so it couldn't have been robbers.

Winry was scavenging the house with a look on her face that said she was going to murder Edward Elric if he didn't show up in the next two seconds. Pinako didn't actually seem all that concerned about the predicament, merely walking along the path outside and asking neighbors where Ed had gone with her pipe in hand.

However, when Pinako finally came to the entryway and announced that a neighbor had seen Ed being carried away by two soldiers toward the Elric household, Alphonse immediately retracted his previous thought and raced out of the house and down the path.

"Wait up!" Winry called, chasing him down the path while Pinako stayed behind.

As Alphonse ran down the path, he almost missed the graveyard in his desperation to get to his house, where he had assumed Edward was, but he stopped in his path upon seeing a head of golden hair in the graveyard alongside two soldiers. He stopped in his tracks and Winry almost ran into him, turning to see the graveyard and upon seeing the blonde, yelling his name, which startled not only the soldiers, but the boy himself.

Upon realizing that his brother and friend had found him, Edward elected to waving the two over rather than attempting the tenuous activity of getting up.

Alphonse finally made his way toward Edward and scooped him up in his, now, rather large arms. "Brother, we were so worried!" Alphonse then elected to holding Edward away from under his armpits, where the boy hung limply with an unamused expression, looking similar to a disgruntled cat. "What were you thinking?!" He yelled at his brother, whose expression remained the same until Winry pulled a spanner out of seemingly nowhere and threw it at the unsuspecting boy.

"If I may interject," The male soldier said, interrupting them. "Is the man in the armour your... older brother?" The man said uncertainly. Edward and Alphonse both shook their heads in answer.

"I'm his younger brother," Alphonse answered, while the man stared at the two, no longer in shock, but more in horror. He knew.

The man was now looking between the two, silence filling the gap. "What did you do?"

Edward stared down at the ground. "If you really want to know, go take a look for yourself." He pointed down the road where their house was visible at this vantage. The man looked toward the house and saw the lone stone sitting upright in the yard to mimic a gravestone.

"We just wanted to see our mom again," Alphonse spoke softly. The blonde woman let out a soft gasp in understanding and the raven man looked a bit nauseous.

"So you commited human transmutation."

Nobody answered. They all knew the answer. The man placed a hand over his tired face and combed his hair back. "Well, the offer is still open. It might not be possible for your brother, but you can still perform the exam, Edward."

The boy looked up, some surprise lingering in his grief stricken face. "If you have any hope that you might be able to get your bodies back, then you should consider it." Edward nodded slowly, taking the paper that the man held in his outstretched hand before the man turned and started to leave.

"What exam was he talking about, brother?" Alphonse asked, helping his brother up and giving him his crutch as Edward stared down at the piece of paper. "The state alchemist exam." Alphonse almost dropped his brother at the answer. "Are you actually considering it?" Ed barked a short laugh. "Considering it? I've already made up my mind!"

Alphonse sighed as his brother started to limp out of the graveyard with Winry, helping him stay balanced, the two leaving Al behind. Alphonse stared down at the grave marked 'Trisha Elric' in tall lettering.

"And the whole world's bringing me down."