Sacrifice

A Friendship Blossoms

(Alphonse's POV)

Alex’s eyes widened. “Absolutely! That sounds like it would be amazing!” She quieted and looked at the ground, probably embarrassed by her little outburst. “Yeah.”

My brother smiled. “Sounds good. We’ll get a hotel room.” He said. Alex smiled a little bit in return and blushed. I was starting to get the feeling that she had some sort of attraction to Ed. She seemed to blush at almost everything he said. Besides, she said he was tall. That was not something to take lightly.

The woman came back with Alex and Ed’s drinks. They thanked her and started enjoying their refreshments. I looked at the two longingly. Although I didn’t really mention it to anyone, I missed eating and drinking and sleeping.

Alex looked at Ed and me.

“You two seem pretty interested in alchemy. Do you know any?” She asked, carefully taking a sip of her hot drink. Ed shrugged.

“Yeah, a little.” He said, looking at me. “We learned at a young age, too.”

Alex’s eyes widened. “I just realized why your names sounded so familiar! You’re the youngest person to ever become a state alchemist!” She said, smiling.

“No! Edward’s the state alchemist, not me!” I said, waving my arms. Ed got a dark look on his face.

Alex laughed. “I know that, Alphonse.” She said, looking at my brother. Her expression turned serious. “Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist.” She bowed her head. “It is an absolute honor to meet you.”

Ed appeared to be a bit taken aback by Alex’s sincerity. “Its… Uh… Nice to meet you as well.” He said, rubbing his neck.

Alex turned to me. “And, of course, Alphonse Elric, the younger brother of Edward Elric. I am very glad I have crossed paths with you as well.” She said.

I turned a bit pink. “It’s nothing, really…” I said.

Alex dropped her intense expression. “I can’t believe that I've finally met you two! I’m a huge fan.” She said, smiling again. “You know, now that I think about it, I’d assumed that you would be shorter…” She stopped abruptly when Ed looked at her menacingly.

“Who are you calling so short that I needn’t be afraid of being stepped on because I would easily fit inside of a shoe sole?!?” He yelled.

“That’s a COMPLIMENT, brother!” I shouted, holding my brother back as he reached for Alex.

Alex shook her head quickly. “No! You’re much taller than everyone says you are. Whoever says you’re short is WRONG! You’re so tall, Edward! I look up to you… Literally.” She recovered.

This seemed to calm Ed down. “I knew it.” He said, a smug look appearing on his face. “I was tall.”

“So, Alex, how did you hear about my brother?” I tried to turn the discussion away from the subject of my brother’s height. We would get nowhere with the topic.

“Nobody, really. Just a friend.” She said, looking at the ground.

“So you wanted to meet him, huh?” I asked.

She nodded. “It wasn’t just Edward I wanted to meet, Alphonse. I wanted see you too. After all, who wouldn’t want to meet a sweet fourteen-year-old boy with a special place in his heart for creatures in need? Not to mention that you’re an alchemic genius and have the coolest body ever.” She turned her gaze back to me.

Edward smirked and elbowed me in the chest. I blushed a bit and rubbed my relatively nonexistent neck. “Thanks…” I said, looking down shyly.

“No problem. It’s true, Al.” She responded, leaning her head on the train window. “It definitely is nice this time of year. I love autumn. The crispy leaves, the sharp bite of wind, the cool air…” She said quietly, seemingly enjoying the view. After a few minutes, she closed her eyes, laid down on her seat, and soon drifted off.

“Brother, Alex is asleep again.” I said, gently pushing Alex’s bag (the one that was holding her cat) away from her sleeping body. I didn’t want the kitten to get squished.

Edward looked at Alex. “So she is. She must be very tired.” He responded, looking at her. Our new friend had her arms crossed around her body. “I think she’s cold.” Ed took off his red cloak and gently draped it around her shoulders. “There. She should be warmer now.”

“Definitely.” I smirked. I was pretty sure that Alex would be happy to see Ed’s cloak around her when she woke up.

“She’d probably like a pillow.” My brother continued, taking a few shirts out of his suitcase and folding them. He carefully lifted her head and slid the makeshift pillow underneath her. “I bet that feels better.”

I looked Edward. “You certainly are going out of your way to make her cozy, brother.”

“She didn’t look that comfortable. I wouldn’t want to have to sleep like that.”

“Have you taken a liking to her, Ed?”

He blushed. “No! I just want her to be comfy!”

I laughed. “Sure, brother. Whatever you say.”

Edward opened his mouth to argue, then seemed to change his mind. He instead turned around and looked out the window.

“Do you miss Winry, Ed?” I asked after a while.

“Yeah, why?” He continued facing the train window.

“Did you have feelings for her?”

“She’s a FRIEND, Al! We’ve been over this!”

“Alright. One more question.”

“Yes?”

“Alex or Winry?”

Edward whirled around. “Alphonse Elric, if you say one more word…”

I laughed. “Are you avoiding my question, brother?”

“Maybe.” He turned away from me again.

I decided to stop pestering him for now and turned to look at Alex. She had wrapped Ed’s cloak around her completely, ensuring her warmth by bundling up. My brother leaned up against me and closed his eyes. Great. As much as I was happy that I was traveling with Alex and Edward, I was a bit tired (no pun intended) of their drifting off. I was going to be alone again for who knew how long. Only about– How long had we been traveling? An hour? – four more hours until we reached Dublith. So I chose to keep myself busy by looking out the window. I could see why Alex and Edward liked the activity – The scene was beautiful. The golden late afternoon sun slowly lowering in the sky… The red, orange, and yellow leaves blowing in the wind… Both seemed to balance each other out, mixing together in awesome beauty.

Edward opened his eyes after a while. “What do you think about Alex, Al?” He asked.

I looked at her. She was still asleep. “What do you mean, brother?”

“Should we have invited her to stay with us?”

“Absolutely, Ed. She seemed excited about the idea of staying with us.”

“Maybe she was lonely. Her cat isn’t really that much company, considering it’s asleep on her train rides. She travels a lot, Al. I couldn’t imagine what a long train ride would be like alone.” He looked at Alex, who had snuggled her head into Ed’s “pillow.”

“Probably. She probably wanted a traveling companion of some sort. Maybe that’s why she got the cat. I doubt it makes up for human company, though.” I said.

“I agree. I’m so glad I have you, Al!” Ed playfully punched my arm.

I laughed. “So am I, brother.”

We were quiet for a few more minutes. Edward watched Alex nuzzle his cloak with a little smile on his face. I pretended not to notice and instead chose to look through Alex’s alchemy book. She had let us scan it earlier… Why not give it a more in-depth reading? I picked up the journal and opened it. Somebody had written almost all of alchemy’s concepts in the pages. Did Alex write that? It was pretty advanced for someone her age to be writing. But if she had written it, then who made the little notes in the margins? Somebody with different handwriting had added details and sketches of transmutation circles. Two different people had been using this journal: No doubt about it. I skimmed through the pages for a bit longer, until something caught my eye. A list of very familiar elements had been jotted down in the margin of a page.

“Ed, look.” I showed him the book.

“What is it?” He asked, peering into the journal.

“Right here. The list.”

“Water: 35 liters. Carbon: 20 kilograms. Ammonia: 4 liters. Lime: 1.5 kilograms. Phosphorus: 800 grams. Salt: 250 grams. Saltpeter: 100 grams. Fluorine: 7.5 grams. Iron: 5 grams. Silicon: 3 grams. And…” Edward looked at me.

“Fifteen other elements in trace amounts, brother.” I finished.

“Put the journal down, Al.” My brother said quietly.

“Wait! Look! Somebody multiplied the list by two! Enough elements to make up two average adult humans!”

“Put it DOWN, Alphonse!”

I quieted, closed the book, and set it down on top of Alex’s suitcase.

“I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, brother.” I said, looking down.

“Definitely a coincidence.” He responded.

“Absolutely.”

“Why do I have the feeling that we shouldn’t have seen that?” Ed asked me.

“I don’t know. I won’t tell if you won’t tell.”

“Let’s just forget about it.”

I pushed the list from my mind and tried to forget what I had seen by looking out the window. It didn’t work. A thought in my mind was nagging for my attention.

“Ed?”

“About the list…” I started.

“What list?”

“You know what list. I have a question.”

“Yes?”

“Do you think Alex attempted human transmutation?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” My brother said uncomfortably after a few moments of silence. He turned to Alex and swiftly pulled his cloak up back over her legs. It had fallen down a few moments before. “There.”

I dropped the topic and looked out the window again. Hopefully Alex hadn’t made the same mistake we had.

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