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Prompt 37, Sensory Overload, "Bad Days"

Title: Bad Days
Author: ?
Word Count: 4636
Rating: PG-13, possibly R for some language.
Characters: Alphonse (mention of Winry), Ed
Series: Manga
Summary: Alphonse is recovering, and so is Ed. Sometimes the calm is the worst part.
Warning: Post-manga. There are no inherent spoilers given that the series hasn't actually ended yet, but it might be good to be reasonably caught-up with the manga if you absolutely want to avoid spoilers!

Some days are good days.

Al likes to think that most days are good days simply due to the fact that he has his body back. His heart beats his life in his chest. He feels the absolute joy of drifting off into sleep at night. He tastes every miniscule bit of flavor in his food as an explosion on his tongue. He touches the textures of life and feels his heart swell in his chest and clog his throat with emotion. Too many people take it for granted, Al thinks, the sensations they are privy to simply by being alive. On these days he and Ed smile all the time, and they are happy, and the world feels right.

But some days are bad days. Some days, Al feels sickened and horrified by his own organs filling his body. Some days he feels claustrophobic, trapped inside flesh and blood and bone as much as he’d felt trapped inside the armor, terrified of his suddenly obvious mortality. Some days he dreams of an eternity of white nothingness, of loneliness, of painful and constant hunger tearing at his belly. The dreams are the worst, and on bad days, he dreams often.

On a bad day, he dreams of Martel bleeding out inside his body, and he screams and screams and screams; and Ed finds him in the middle of the night and Al wakes up to Ed crying like he hasn’t in years, saying, “I’m sorry I messed you up again, Al, I’m sorry I messed you up.”

This disturbs Alphonse more than anything else, because all days, even these, should be good days compared to what was before, but Edward can only ever see the bad.

Expressions are an odd thing to have again, Al quickly realizes. He doesn’t need to exaggerate what he’s feeling so everyone else with understand, and he can’t hide behind a fixed metal expression when he doesn’t want others to know. He’d forgotten how expressive his face is; Ed catches him practicing them one morning and teases relentlessly, a blessed and good-natured bit of normalcy in this otherwise extremes-filled aftermath.

Sometimes Al thinks that his brother is going crazy. Well, maybe not – maybe not crazy, but maybe the stress of all of their years since that transmutation is catching up with him. At first, Alphonse had worried that his brother had fallen ill. He sleeps almost constantly – more, even, than when he had been sustaining Alphonse’s body as well as his own – and when awake, seems exhausted; he rarely seems hungry when the rest of them sit down to a meal, and eats only in strange, ravenous spurts. But he is not ill, Al quickly decides. He is just Ed, and Ed is slightly crazy.

Al is overwhelmed by the strength of his feeling after being numb for so long, but he’d never had to bear the emotional toll over the past six years, as Ed had. And now it is catching up with Ed, and now Ed has weird mood swings and weird pains and weird bouts of guilt for helping to restore Al to his body, like that could possibly be a bad thing.

Al thought that maybe being home again would have calmed Ed down, but he seems even jumpier than he had the day after… everything had happened.

Not, Al has to admit, that he doesn’t have his guilt-ridden days, too. They’d only managed to have Ed’s leg restored, in the end, which makes Al worry that he hasn’t lived up to his own promise. Ed, however, continually refuses any suggestion of finding a way to retrieve it. ‘It wasn’t taken from me like my leg; I gave it up,’ he says. ‘I gave it up for good reason and I don’t care if I never get it back.’

Al wonders if it is that simple – now that he has a body to feel with he is horrified at the thought of losing a limb, let alone two, or carrying such a heavy burden as automail every day – but Ed always sounds so sure, so pleased – practically the only time he sounds truly pleased, nowadays – that Al can’t argue.

Another thing that takes some getting used to is the interpretation of his own basic needs. His brain misfires signals so that every small pang of hunger feels like the dying cry of a body in starvation – and yet, though Al begs for food, he can barely gulp down two spoonfuls of soup before he feels uncomfortably full. He is fairly constantly fatigued, but sleepiness hits him suddenly like a brick to the head, and in the beginning he had often fallen asleep mid-conversation (another fact with which Ed liked to tease him). Bathroom needs, as well, are rather embarrassing, though he hasn’t made a complete fool of himself just yet besides having to excuse himself with extreme suddenness when his brain finally informs him that he has to go right now.

Luckily, Ed hasn’t made mention of that.

Winry likes to dote on him on the days that Al is feeling too weak to get out of bed and Ed has been called off by Granny Pinako to do some chore to keep him occupied – a true testament to how she must be feeling, as Alphonse had never before considered her the doting type. She’s baked him so many pies by now that Al would need approximately four stomachs and three weeks of nonstop eating to consume them all – though that is just his rough guess.

She also seems to think it’s enjoyable for him to assist her with various small and easy bits of automail work – “it’ll help re-refine your motor skills,” she enthuses – and Alphonse doesn’t have the heart to refuse her. Particularly not today, when she is working out a few small kinks in Ed’s arm with a rather grumpy Ed still attached. Al takes the first opportunity to retrieve a forgotten tool from a different room; it is uncomfortable enough being in the same room with the both of them, these days, with the amount of tension they give off.

Midway back he hears slightly raised voices; when he pokes his head back into the sitting room, Ed is tensed and glaring. Winry has stopped her work, her eyes dangerously narrowed, and then says evenly, “You can’t scare me, Ed.”

Ed’s mouth stumbles over itself for a few moments before settling, haltingly, on, “I wasn’t – I didn’t mean – I wasn’t trying to.”

Winry just purses her lips and returns to her work on his arm; Edward deflates. “Sorry,” he mumbles. At this, Winry’s posture relaxes; Alphonse takes the opportunity to shuffle back in and hand her the much-needed screwdriver.

“You should just… try and actually relax,” she tells him, not looking up, accepting the screwdriver with a vague wave of her hand. “You two are home. You’re finally done. Aren’t you happy to be back?”

“Yes,” says Ed, suppressed frustration creeping into his tone. “I don’t understand it either, Winry. I’m trying.” And then –

Well, the look that comes across Winry’s face, when she glimpses up at Ed to make sure he isn’t looking – it feels like something Al shouldn’t be intruding on. It sends a nervous flutter of second-hand embarrassment and discomfort straight down his spine.

They’ve forgotten I’m here again, thinks Al, and clears his throat to make them aware. Which, he realizes a moment later, is a mistake – Winry, the normally unflinching Winry, flinches so hard that her wrench gets caught somewhere in the wiring of Ed’s forearm; Ed yelps in pain, and Winry jumps again, arm jerking at the wrench so that three separate wires snap and, under Ed’s second shout, the pitiful whir of automail going limp can be heard.

A full four seconds of silence pass in which Winry just stares in open-mouthed horror. Then, most uncharacteristically, “Oh, shit. Ed!”

“What the hell, Winry!” Ed cries, lifting the motionless automail with his flesh hand and shaking it awkwardly at her. “What the hell! What is this!”

“I didn’t – I didn’t mean to!” Winry sputters, still in shock. Role reversal, Al’s dumbstruck mind supplies. “I didn’t – I’ll fix it, I’ll fix it, okay?”

The squabbling continues; Alphonse gets cautiously to his own unsteady feet and hobbles out of the room before he inadvertently causes any more trouble.

Touch is perhaps the best of all of his renewed sensations, Al eventually decides. There is so much texture to the world, and so much life. Feeling the warmth of another living body, particularly a loved one, is unequaled. More than once he has almost been moved to tears by the beauty of it, by the sheer gratitude and appreciation of being able to feel again. This, he tells himself, this he will never forget.

Edward is sulking in his room this afternoon, because Granny Pinako had gotten frustrated and told him to go mope where he wouldn’t infect anyone else. A part of Al agrees with that sentiment, but a part of him, protectively, finds it too simplistic. It’s not as though Ed hasn’t been having his good days, after all; why are those ignored? Ed has been moving forward for years now, and they’d urged him to stop and feel; now he is being (unknowingly) selfish for the first time since he was a very small child, and they are telling him to get over it. Happy, you should be happy all the time, they say; why aren’t you happy? And Al thinks, it’s not that simple. It’s not that easy. Don’t tell him to just ‘be happy’ when so much has happened, so much, not all of it good.

And then Al thinks, Brother, why aren’t you happy? And he thinks, don’t take this away from me, I want to be happy, and then he feels guilty – which just gets him back to where Ed is now, really, which is not where Al wants to be and not where he wants Ed to be.

And where Ed is, this afternoon, is sulking on his bed with his pitiful broken automail arm in a sling, staring out the window instead of reading the open book in his lap. He just manages to look up in time when Al shuffles in.

“There’s more pie downstairs,” offers Al, smiling at Ed’s responding eye-roll.

“All right, Winry makes great pie, but a guy can only take so much of it,” Ed explains, and Al laughs his agreement. This is comfortable quiet; Al picks another discarded book off the floor and flips through it absently, settling on the other edge of the bed. He is normal-sized enough, now, that he can do that.

“Al,” Edward asks suddenly, gaze moving back to the window and his left leg drawn up to his chest – Al knows it still sometimes hurts him, the way Al’s entire body still sometimes hurts, “how long have we been back?”

Alphonse has to think about that. He has been asleep, frankly, for so much of that time, recovering for so much of that time, that it is hard to measure. He knows, from the way his bones are no longer so visible through his skin, and from how it is easier to breathe and to move and to feel, that it has to have been weeks rather than days. “Six weeks?” he ventures. “Seven weeks? I think.”

Ed’s brow furrows almost imperceptibly. He starts to speak, then stops himself; Al waits patiently though his brother’s inner debate. “I feel like I don’t even remember any of it,” Ed finally says, so quietly that it feels like a deep secret, and for a moment Alphonse is ten years old and they are sitting up in their father’s study, half-sprawled atop books and whispering hopes too dear to say very loud. He blinks – that moment is gone, and Ed haltingly starts to speak again. “I can barely remember what I did yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. The only thing I remember is the – that day. I haven’t been able to do my alchemy right in weeks. I ruined one of Winry’s tools when I tried to fix it, yesterday. It should have been simple, Al, but I can’t remember. Why can’t I?”

Anxiety pulls Alphonse’s hair on end. (It’s a sensation he hasn’t felt in so long that it is almost pleasing). “I – well, I haven’t really done alchemy, either,” he tries. “I’m sure it’ll come back to you.”

Ed still looks unsettled. Al tries to think, tries to remember that day. “What happened to you while I was – gone?” He asks, because he has just now realized that he was never told. He was half-delirious, nearly starved, and just happy to see so many people alive.

“Uh,” says Ed, shifting on the bed, trying to find the words. "I think… I died, or I – I almost died, I can’t have – I can’t have really," he confesses, quiet and unsure as though afraid he might sound crazy -- and he does sound crazy, but nearly everything that has come out of his mouth over the past six years has sounded crazy. And, hell, crazier things have happened to them on a daily basis. Al will accept it all, always. "I think – was it like that for you?"

"I never died," says Alphonse, thinking the transmutation from what seems like a lifetime ago, now. "You wouldn't have been able to seal me to the armor if I had, Brother."

Ed shakes his head, eyes unfocused in thought. "Well, whatever happened to me, it -- the Truth healed me, Al, I think it did, and I don't – I don't understand why it would. What did it take?" His flesh hand clenches, trying to suppress panic. "You get something, you give something, right? What did it take?"

Alphonse has no answer for that, but then, he can’t muster up the same level of panic as his brother over this. They are all fine, aren’t they? “Maybe it didn’t take anything,” he tries. “Maybe you’ve already given up enough.”

Ed shakes his head; he will never be able to do enough, and how can Al possibly do anything for him if he thinks that way? This was a battle he thought they’d overcome long ago – questions of blame and punishment, worthiness and responsibility. Maybe it would haunt them their entire lives, the way their mother’s death still does. The way the days and weeks and years afterward still haunt Al, knowing all of his mistakes. The way he still remembers lying awake in the nights after their mother had died, feeling his heart beating in his chest and its pulse in his ears, and being abruptly seized by the horrifying and inescapable realization that someday, his rhythm too would stop.

One day Al catches a fever, his body still too frail and too unused to the elements to fight it off quickly. It lasts nearly all week; a string of bad days. He trembles and yells, sometimes, in his sleep, different than the usual nightmares that accompanied his first return to flesh; sometimes when Ed pads into the room he wakes suddenly, eyes wide in barely-conscious fear, frightened that he’s alone, or trapped, or both. He knows he is scaring everyone, and it almost angers him when Winry checks in on him one morning and it is obvious that she has been crying – as if anything’s going to happen to me now, his mind screams when he is coherent enough, as if I can let anything happen, after all we’ve been through!

Somewhere between the end of the worst of it and the beginnings of true recovery, Alphonse wonders why Ed never cried if it was really so bad, why Ed never cried though he had cried over Al’s nightmares when he thought Al wouldn’t know – and he realizes, their thoughts were probably the same.

And Al thinks, and he realizes.

Al remembers, it’s not that simple, but maybe it is.

“I’m tired of sitting around in bed all day,” he says one evening, when the only remnants of his illness is residual fatigue and Ed is in better spirits.

Ed eyes him critically, polished and finally-fixed automail gleaming in the dim light. “Well, get out of bed,” he decides easily. “You should be healthy enough by now, I guess.”

Al rolls his eyes, hands fisted in his lap, his lips pressed together petulantly. He had forgotten this particular facial expression – by Ed’s answering raised eyebrow, he had, too. “Not according to Winry.”

“What Winry doesn’t know won’t hurt her,” says Ed, already unfolding his crossed legs from the chair and sliding a bookmark between the pages of the alchemy text he’d been writing. It’s filled with nothing that the both of them don’t already know, but Ed had said the words are nostalgic.

“I don’t know,” Al stalls, worrying his bottom lip between his teeth. Ed fancies himself a manipulator, but Alphonse considers himself a fair bit better and lacking in the urge to brag that always gives Ed away. He makes sure that his gaze, pointed out the window at the storm- and rain-filled sky, is full of longing – not particularly hard to do, as he really does want to get up. “She and Granny are just trying to look out for me. And besides, it wouldn’t hurt Winry, she’d just get mad.”

“Well what Winry doesn’t know won’t make her mad, then,” Ed revises. “Or get us pelted with wrenches. And I look out for you too, don’t I?”

Al allows himself a small smirk, though he doesn’t turn his head. “You’re the only one who gets pelted with wrenches.” After a moment he sighs, shifting beneath the sheet. This feeling is nothing but sincerity. “Don’t laugh, I know it’s stupid, but I really just want to go out in the rain.” When Al sees a smirk beginning to stretch Ed’s face at the sentimentality, Al’s eyes narrow a bit, defensively. “Don’t you dare laugh, Brother.”

Ed’s smirk turns into a smile, almost as honest as he used to give, but then he deflates a bit. “Out in the rain, really?”

“Rain isn’t diseased,” says Al. “I’ll be fine. Just a few minutes? Just on the deck?” He makes sure to utilize his most sympathetic eyes. Working his jaw in hesitation, Ed finally sighs.

“Fine, fine, let’s go. But if Granny or Winry ask, I didn’t help you, all right?”

So he helps Al out of bed, because Al is maddeningly weak again; they tiptoe

passed Winry’s room, known to be occupied due to the faint off-key humming heard from inside, and thank their lucky stars that Granny Pinako is out at the market. By the time they make it to the deck, Al is already exhausted. When they sit down, he urges, “Wait, let’s go out further.”

“Out into the rain?” says Ed. “The actual rain?”

“Yes, the actual rain,” replies Al. “As if there’s any other rain, Brother.”

“You know what I meant,” Ed snaps. “Don’t go around sassing your big brother.” He ignores Al’s aggravated sigh. “I think Winry would seriously have our asses if I actually let you just go frolicking off into the rain, Al.”

“You sure changed views quickly,” grumbles Al. “Weren’t you the one urging me to defy Winry just a few minutes ago? ‘What Winry doesn’t know won’t hurt her’?”

“Yeah, well, I was extremely naïve back then and I’ve since learned the error of my ways,” says Ed uncomfortably. “Look, I just don’t – I just don’t want you getting sick again, okay?”

There is such honest concern there, and it’s perfectly reasonable concern, and completely illogical anger swoops through Alphonse’s gut like fire. He can care for himself – he was already ill and turned out fine; he is flesh again, just like the rest of them, and that doesn’t make him suddenly feeble and wispy and ready to drop dead at any moment. So he takes his own barefooted, unsteady steps out onto the wet grass, and enjoys the feel of the rain pelting down on his head and back, and ignores his brother, who – to Al’s admittedly great surprise – doesn’t make any move to stop him besides yelling. When he is a sufficient distance away, Al flops down onto the grass and mud, and just exists.

“All right, you experienced your damn rain,” Ed shouts from the deck, his angry voice barely carrying over the roar. “What a truly beautiful and poetic moment of your life. Come back in!”

“No,” Al shouts back simply. He hears an incomprehensible swear emanate from Ed’s direction. "You can't actually get sick just by getting rained on," Alphonse yells his reminder.

"Your immune system gets compromised," Ed bellows, sounding like he might pop a blood vessel, "your immune system gets compromised and then you get sick --"

Alphonse interrupts him with a turn and a pointed roll of his eyes, because this shouting debate is getting ridiculous. A look of pure rage crosses Edward’s face and then he is stomping out into the rain too, mud splattering up onto his pant legs and bare feet, ponytail flying in the wind.

“Why the hell did I let you come out here,” he manages through clenched teeth, and Al almost sees red.

Let me?” he rasps when Ed is close enough. “Let me? I’m fine, Ed, it’s not your job to let me do anything –”

“You were just sick! I don’t care what you want to do, this is stupid, you were just sick and now I’ve let you out here and what if you get sick again –”

“Not everything is your fault!” Al screams, and though his voice is raw barely any sound comes out. “It’s not! It’s my fault, okay? Let something be my fault!”

Tired out, Al just sits back, clenching his hands in the mud; joy at the sense of touch and anger at his brother wage brief war in his chest, and Ed just stares down at him for a good while, rain dripping from his hair, expression unreadable. In the end, the need for joy wins out, and Al wills his tensed muscles to relax.

“For fuck’s sake, Al,” says Ed, frustrated, defeated. “What’s wrong with you today?”

“What’s wrong with me?” Al repeats, incredulity and exasperation cracking his tone. “Me?, Brother, you’re the one who’s gone crazy since we’ve gotten back. Just – just stop and – and be happy, already!”

Ed’s face twists, expression showing utter bafflement and frustration. It’s almost enough to make Al laugh. “Why does everyone keep telling me that? I am happy, damn it!”

“Then act like it!” Al does shout again this time, his sore throat protesting – and then he has to throw a hand to his face and just laugh, because his brother has always been pigheaded and oh-so-slightly unaware, and this is really nothing new. When he moves his hand again, Ed is staring at him in honest concern and, slightly, offense.

“Okay, that’s not exactly what I meant,” Alphonse moans before Ed can speak. He takes a moment to let his voice adjust in sincerity. “I mean – I know you’re happy, really, but you’re sad, too, Brother. You’re not fooling anyone.” I don’t know how you could possibly think you were fooling anyone. “That’s okay. I am, too.”

Apparently lacking anything to say to that, Ed takes a seat on the grass beside him, clothes and hair completely soaked through with rain. “Fuck this,” he mumbles after a moment of silence, staring out at the darker storm clouds in the distance. “There’s no reason everything should feel messed up. There’s no reason, Al. I don’t get it. I should be – I should be out, out enjoying life or some shit, like you should be, like you’re trying to, not sitting here holding you back.”

“You should do whatever you want to do,” says Al. “If you feel bad, then feel bad. Don’t sit around feeling guilty because you feel bad.”

Ed gives a short, wry sigh, and crosses his arms around his knees. “Go be a psychoanalyst or something if you’re gonna keep bleating things like that at me,” he grumbles, but there is no real heat in it.

Several minutes pass with nothing but the rain and their slowly-getting-soaked bodies. The air is still tense, and so many thoughts are swirling around in Al’s head, and he doesn’t even care to make sense of everything, so he asks, “Do you remember when we first returned, Brother?”

A genuine smile stretches Ed’s mouth for a moment. The mention of their accomplishment, at least, brings out an inarguable happiness every single time. “Yeah,” he says. He says it nostalgically, like it wasn’t only seven – eight? – weeks ago that they’d accomplished their goal. The first few days at home had been filled with happiness, even if Al had hardly been awake enough to appreciate them. There is still happiness – more happiness than they’d had since before the military, before the taboo – but there is a strangeness to it all, too; something unsettling that prickles just under the surface – like waiting. Alphonse can’t understand why they can’t just stick to the happiness, the two of them.

“I was in a lot of pain,” Alphonse recalls, moving to sit beside his brother, grateful that his steps, these days, are steady and sure. It isn’t a confession that he whispers, because it’s the truth, and he is done being ashamed of the truth. “I didn’t think it would stop. I didn’t know what to do. I felt -- trapped.” Ed has turned to look at him, his expression at the ready to morph into guilt, but Alphonse smiles, because this is a good story. “Do you remember the first thing you said to me, Brother? When you saw me?”

Edward remains silent, eyes narrowed in more honest confusion than anxiety now. Perhaps he can’t remember it as well, given the chaos that was happening at the time; Alphonse can remember that moment so clearly, the warm hum of life such a shock after so long; he can remember the love in his heart and the joy that surged through his veins even through the pain, clear and warm as daylight. We did it, we did it, we did it. Here, lying in the grass and rain where Winry will no doubt find him soon to yell, he wants Edward to remember that feeling, too. “You said, ‘holy fuck’,” Alphonse finishes, tone like the ending of a pure fairytale.

Edward’s bark of laughter is worth it. He stops it short, like he is surprised by the sound -- he probably is, Alphonse knows; you never appreciate your own laughter the way you do when you haven't laughed in so long.

“God damn,” says Ed, another unexpected laugh nudging his chest. “I did, didn’t I. ‘Holy fuck.’ What an eloquent way to welcome you back.”

“Yeah, you could’ve done a lot better,” Al agrees, and scoops up handful of mud before shoving it down Ed’s shirt. “Think of this as penance.”

Ed lets out a yelp, pushing himself to his knees to shake out his shirt; his surprised gaze flits between Al and his own chest. Then – then, finally, finally – Ed grins, and Ed grabs a handful of mud, and lunges forward to rub it into Al's hair.

Al thinks, life is simple, because now Ed is laughing again, and they are together in the rain, free and easy and alive; and one day they will both be gone, but not right now. He falls back against the grass; the rain feels like dull pinpricks against Alphonse's upturned face.

Some days are good days.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Al likes to think that most days are good days simply due to the fact that he has his body back.

This is just so very Al, isn't it?

He’d forgotten how expressive his face is; Ed catches him practicing them one morning and teases relentlessly, a blessed and good-natured bit of normalcy in this otherwise extremes-filled aftermath.

This is a really cute moment in Elric brother history. It feels real, and I love how Al revels in the teasing because it is normal and he enjoys feeling normal again.

They’d only managed to have Ed’s leg restored, in the end, which makes Al worry that he hasn’t lived up to his own promise. Ed, however, continually refuses any suggestion of finding a way to retrieve it. ‘It wasn’t taken from me like my leg; I gave it up,’ he says. ‘I gave it up for good reason and I don’t care if I never get it back.’

You know, we've had discussions about this and whether it would be right for Ed to be restored in the end. In my opinion, him getting his limbs back would take away from the sacrifices he's made (that they've both made) and everything they've learned along the way. I like this idea though: that his arm was an intentional sacrifice, and therefor, unable to be restored. I can't wait to see what happens in the end!

“I can barely remember what I did yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. The only thing I remember is the – that day. I haven’t been able to do my alchemy right in weeks. I ruined one of Winry’s tools when I tried to fix it, yesterday. It should have been simple, Al, but I can’t remember. Why can’t I?”

Oh no! Did the Truth take his alchemy? Did it take the knowledge that he gained at the Gate?

“You said, ‘holy fuck’,” Alphonse finishes, tone like the ending of a pure fairytale.

XD Aw, that is so Ed. I love it.

This is a very sweet piece about the pair of them, and I was sorry to see it end! I really enjoyed this look at what might happen after the Promised Day is over, and I particularly liked how you managed to work in the prompt and Al's new sensations without making it the center of the piece. It would have totally worked and is an obvious choice for this theme, but I rather liked that you didn't.

Also, I caught a small formatting error:

“What’s wrong with me?” Al repeats, incredulity and exasperation cracking his tone. “Me?,/i> Brother, you’re the one who’s gone crazy since we’ve gotten back. Just – just stop and – and be happy, already!”

This tag needs to be closed, as the rest of the piece afterwards is in italics.
Nov. 21st, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thanks for the thoughtful review! :D

In my opinion, him getting his limbs back would take away from the sacrifices he's made (that they've both made) and everything they've learned along the way.

I totally agree. I'm very interested to see how Arakawa resolves it in the end!
Nov. 11th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
I liked this rumination on the what happens after, a lot. I got the chills when Ed says he doesn't know what the Gate took from him this time, that he just has this feeling of something missing. My favorite part is when Al says that he wants Ed to let something be his own fault, for once. Very interesting little philosophical and psychological themes buried in this sweet, healing story. Nice work ♥
Nov. 21st, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thank you! :)
Nov. 12th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
This is so, so wonderful, I can't even tell you in coherent, sensible words. I am basically the worst comm member ever because I always forget to vote, but I will make an effort to vote this time, because this is one of my favorite fanfictions ever.


You're such a great writer, and the tone worked so well for Al. It was like the narrative itself was characterized to fit him. All the little sensory details, the descriptions, the perfectly 'Al' logic--it was amazing. I loved the brotherliness, I loved Winry and her crazy pie-baking, and I loved all the little things. This is such a great fanfiction. The whole scene with the brothers out in the rain was so sweet and it was a joy to read. Thank you!
Nov. 21st, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thank you so much! I'm so happy you liked it. I'm glad I managed to capture Al's POV successfully. :)
Nov. 12th, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)
This is awesome! I love Al's lack of self-pity and how he copes with the difficult bits. He's such a sweetheart. Lovely prose, lovely character work (and did I spot a hint of lovely sexual tension between Ed and Win? poor kids, they should be at it like bunnies now but they're too worried about Al). And I loved Al's irritation with everyone's overprotectiveness.

And the idea at the heart of the fic felt very FMA to me - they get their happy ending (mudfight!), but it's imperfect and fraught with ongoing struggle - but still hopeful.
Nov. 21st, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thank you! :)

I can see it taking a little while for Ed and Winry to actually get together just due to sheer awkwardness, haha. Throw Al in there and it gets even worse! :P
Nov. 12th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
Awe, our poor, confused boys. This was so bittersweet I loved every minute of it. Especially the end, which made me giggle like mad. Good job.
Nov. 22nd, 2009 12:03 am (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thanks! :)
Nov. 14th, 2009 07:10 am (UTC)
I really liked this, and glad to see things taking a bit of a turn for the better at the end. :)
Nov. 22nd, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thanks! :)
Nov. 17th, 2009 10:26 pm (UTC)
Really interesting stuff. I liked the little details, especially the early bit about the facial expressions--- how Al can no longer hide behind his mask, and how he must re-learn how to use his face. Nice touch!

The present-tense really worked for this piece. And it was good to see Al stand up for himself, and to call out Ed on his over-protectiveness.

Good work. I liked it a lot.
Nov. 22nd, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thanks! I'm not particularly used to writing in present tense, so I'm glad it worked for this. :)
Nov. 17th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
Really great. So many lovely sensory details. You've done some really nice things with Al here, and I love it. ^_^
Nov. 22nd, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
Replying now, since I can, haha!

Thank you! :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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