“So Ed told me to put the cat back where I had found it.” Alphonse said to me, finishing his story.
“Out in the rain?” I asked.
“Out in the rain. I was heartbroken, and I ran away.” He said. Edward glared at him.
I gasped in mock horror. “Really, Edward, how could you?” I asked playfully.
“Oh, come on you guys! You of all people should now how high maintenance a cat is, Alex!” Edward responded.
I laughed. “I was just teasing. I understand how hard it is to care for a cat. Trust me.” I said.
“She’s right, Al. They have to be fed, sheltered, and loved. They’re like babies.” Ed looked at his younger brother.
“I know, brother. I just wanted to rescue it. How would you feel if you were cold, wet, hungry, and alone? You wouldn’t want me to just ignore you, would you?” Alphonse asked.
Ed rolled his eyes. “I guess not. But we can’t care for a cat now. If Alex wants to take one in, that’s her decision. But we’re not.” He said.
“So if I find another cat, can I give it to Alex?” Alphonse looked at me. I glanced at the ground nervously. Why had the boy brought me into this conversation?
“It’s up to her if she wants to take care of it.” Edward said. “Don’t force anything on her. If she doesn’t want it, then you put it back.”
Al shook his head. “I wouldn’t make her care for it.” He said.
I looked out the window. That (actual) nap I had taken had certainly cleared my head. I felt a lot better. I tuned out the brothers’ conversation and discovered that the sun had sunk below the horizon. Let’s see. It was six at night right now. It would probably take us four more hours to get to Dublith. And another eight hours to get Resembool. So I we would get there around six tomorrow morning. Huh. Looks like I was going to be going to be spending the night on the train. I sighed.
“What’s wrong, Alex?” Ed asked, shattering my thoughts.
I shook my head. “Nothing. I’m just going to be sleeping on the train tonight.” I said, looking at him.
Edward nodded. “I guess we are, too.” He said.
Alphonse glanced out the window. “Yeah.”
The three of us made eye contact. I coughed a bit nervously and the brothers blushed. They looked at each other.
I cleared my throat a bit awkwardly and opened my mouth to say something, but a crew member walked over to our little compartment and gave Ed and I some soup and bread. (Alphonse politely turned down her offer.)
“A perfect meal for a cold, autumn night.” She said, winking and closing our compartment door.
I smiled and took a sip of the broth. Immediately my body began to feel warmer. Mmm. Perfect.
“This is good.” Edward said, taking a piece of his bread and dipping it in the soup.
I nodded, following suit. “Wonderful.”
We remained quiet for a few more minutes. I just couldn’t think of anything to say to the brothers.
“So, Alex, what kinds of places have you traveled to?” Ed asked, attempting to make conversation. I smiled at him gratefully.
“Oh, I’ve visited a lot of places. I’ve been all over Amestris: North, East, South, West, and Central City have all been my home for a short period of time. I don’t like to stay in one place for too long.” I said, nibbling my bread.
Edward nodded. “Yeah. I’m a bit restless myself.” He laughed and rubbed his neck.
I yawned, tired. Last night had been brutal. I mean, staying up studying alchemy until eleven at night and being unable to fall asleep had definitely taken its toll on me.
“I’m sorry. I’m just a little exhausted.” I said, realizing too late how little sense my comment had made.
“It’s fine, Alex. If you want, you can get some rest.” Edward said. His eyes widened and he started shaking his head. “Not that I don’t want to talk to you, heh. But I want you to take care of yourself. And that means getting some sleep.” He babbled.
I smiled. Aww… He cared about my well-being! I mean, that’s what friends did, sure, but it still felt nice to see him a little concerned.
I nodded. “That’s probably a good idea. I’m sorry I’m not that much company. I haven’t really been doing anything but sleeping. I’ll be better tomorrow… I promise!” I said, grabbing some long, cotton pants and a long sleeve night shirt from my suitcase. “I’ll be right back.” I called, running into the train’s bathroom to change. I pulled on my nightclothes and slowly returned to our train compartment.
As I opened the door, I discovered that our plates had been taken away. The Elric brothers looked at me. I turned a bit pink, set my suitcase underneath my seat, and picked up Nya’s backpack. After I had let my kitten drink the drugged milk, I gently closed the bag and put next to my suitcase.
“Hello, boys.” I said as I laid down on my train seat.
“Hi there. Hey, Alex, do you want to borrow my cloak again?” Edward asked me. I blushed a little and smiled gratefully. It was a bit cold, after all.
“Sure, I guess. Thanks.” I nodded. Ed handed it to me, and I wrapped myself in it. It was super cozy and warm, and I smiled when I felt its fabric.
"You look cool with that on." He said, smiling.
"So do you. It's such an awesome cloak." I bit my lip and looked down. We were quiet for a few minutes.
"Do you want the pillow thing too?" He started rummaging through his suitcase.
"Sure, I guess. I mean, you don't really have too…" I said, wringing my hands.
"It's fine. I wouldn't want you to be uncomfortable." He responded. He rubbed his neck a bit shyly.
"Okay…" I smiled at him as he handed me a few of his shirts. "I'm not normally this high maintenance, I swear!" I said as I put them next to me.
"You're not high maintenance. I was the one who offered that stuff to you." Edward shook his head.
"Yeah. You're a super cool girl, Alex!" Alphonse chimed in.
"Definitely. I'm… Glad that I met you." Ed said, looking at the ground.
"Aww… Thank you. I'm super glad that I met you too." I said, rubbing my neck and looking to the side. "Heh."
I laid down on the train seat and looked at the roof of our compartment.
"I've been wondering, Alex… Is there someone in Resembool besides Piper that you're visiting?" Alphonse asked me.
"What do you mean?" I looked at him.
"I don't know. Another friend, I guess. Maybe your boyfriend, if you have one…" Alphonse said. Ed blinked and looked at his younger brother. I blushed.
"Piper's the only friend I have. And as for boyfriends, I… don't really have one." I said, turning to the ceiling.
"Oh. Heh. Sorry." Alphonse said quietly, looking down.
I sat up quickly and looked at him. "It's fine. You were just asking a question. You didn't do anything wrong." I put my hand on his leg. He blushed and I pulled my hand away quickly. "Oh, sorry." I looked down.
"No, no, no… It's fine…" He said. "It was kind of… heh… nice…" He looked down, embarrassed. "Nobody really does that to me anymore."
I hesitated a little, then slowly put my hand on him again. Edward watched me, seemingly interested in the dialogue that was going on between us.
So I just sat there for a minute, with my hand on Alphonse's knee, exchanging glances with the two boys. Edward looked at me gratefully for some reason. Was it because I was treating his little brother like a normal boy? That I wasn't afraid of him, despite his fearsome appearance? I didn't know.
After a minute, I clapped my hands together. "Well, it's late. I should probably get some sleep." I said, laying down again. "Goodnight, boys."
The Elric brothers seemed a bit surprised by the sudden dramatic change in atmosphere, but they bid me goodnight nonetheless.
"Night, Alex." Alphonse said.
"Sleep well." Edward added.
I closed my eyes and snuggled into Ed's shirts. Cozy.
Today had been a long day. Even though it was probably like seven at night, I was still exhausted. For crying out loud, I had met the ELRIC BROTHERS! The most amazing alchemic prodigies to ever exist, in my (humble) opinion. My heroes. My idols. My… Friends. Alphonse and Edward… Edward. Edward Elric. Sweet, kind, caring Edward Elric. So I had just met the boy. That didn't matter. His name brought a smile to my lips.
Great. I had fallen for the Fullmetal Alchemist. And I had fallen hard.