Sacrifice

Gone

(Alphonse's POV)

We left Alex sleeping on the couch and walked outside. It was a nice day and we wanted to make the most of it. My brother and I sat down on the grass, enjoying the view of the grassy plains.

“What were you thinking, brother? Why on earth would you walk into the room Alex was in wearing nothing but your boxers?” I asked Edward. I had been wanting to talk to him about that, but I hadn’t found the time until now.

Ed flushed. “How was I supposed to know she was conscious? I thought she had died, you sounded so urgent!” He said. “Did she see me?”

I nodded. “Why else would she turn bright pink?”

Edward’s face reddened some more. “She blushed?”

“Yep.”

Edward buried his face in his hands. “Great…”

I laughed. “Winry sees you in your boxers all of the time! Why would you act any different for Alex?” I asked.

“It’s different! Winry’s a childhood friend, and Alex… Well, Alex is…” Ed put his face in his hands.

“Your love interest.” I couldn’t help myself. I had to say it.

“No, Al. She’s just Alex.” My brother sighed.

“What’s wrong?”

“I really don’t know how I feel about the girl. You said she has a crush on me, right?” He said.

I nodded again. “Yes. It’s true.”

“How do you know?” Ed asked.

“Many reasons. She offered to pay for her chocolate.” I said.

“That doesn’t matter.” My brother told me.

“She told you that she would’ve given you a diamond if she had owned one. People don’t just say that to each other.” I tried again.

“I doubt she meant that.” Edward said. He sounded a lot less sure of himself. I think I was getting through to him.

“Fine. One last thing.” I looked at him.

“What?” He asked me.

“Put your hand in your pocket.”

He did, and his eyes widened a bit as he pulled out the stone that Alex had given him. He smiled as he followed the engraved symbol with his finger.

“So what? She gave me jade. You got one too.” Edward said.

I shook my head. “Amethyst is a lot less valuable than jade. Granted, it’s still relatively expensive, but jade is worth a lot more.” I told him.

Ed quieted for a few minutes. “You can tell that she has feelings for me. Can you tell how I feel about her?” He asked finally.

I nodded. “You have a crush on her.”

Edward blushed. “You’re wrong.”

I laughed. “Let’s see… How can I tell that you like her?”

Ed put his face in his hands.

“You insisted on paying for her chocolate, and didn’t even let Alex pay you back.” I started.

My brother looked at me. “It was the nice thing to do.”

“You gave her your cloak and shirts to sleep on.” I said.

Edward turned his gaze towards the ground. “She… She looked cold.” He responded.

“You winkedat her. For crying out loud, brother, you winked at her.” I told him.

Ed was silent for a while, probably trying to digest what I had told him. After a couple of minutes, he looked at me.

“If I said that I had feelings for her, would it shut you up?” He asked me quietly.

“Maybe.” I said, trying not to sound too excited. The moment of truth was quickly approaching.

“Fine. I… I…” My brother started.

“Yes?” I prompted him.

“I… Have… Feelings for her.” He said quickly. When he realized what he had just implied, he turned bright red.

I smiled. “Yay! Brother has a crush! Brother has a crush!” I think that he had just told me how he felt about Alex to keep me quiet, so I don’t know if he meant it or not. But it felt good just to hear him say the words aloud. He couldn’t lie to himself any longer.

“Hey! You promised that you’d shut up if I said how I felt!” Edward cried.

I grew silent, but for some reason, I couldn’t wipe that goofy smile off of my face.

Ed noticed my expression. “I shouldn’t have said anything. Besides, I didn’t mean it. I just wanted you to stop talking about us like that.” He told me.

“Since you didn’t mean it, I can keep pestering you about her.” I said.

“No. I didn’t mean it.” My brother seemed to be eager to get that idea through my head.

I sighed. Back to square one. “You referred to Alex and yourself as us.” I tried.

Edward blushed again. “Be quiet, Al!” He shouted.

I started to say something, but quickly quieted when I saw Winry approaching us.

“Hey, guys.” She said, sitting down next to us.

“Hi, Winry.” I greeted her.

“What’s up?” Ed asked.

Winry looked at us. “Nothing, really. Just had to work on some automail.”

My brother looked at her. “Thanks for keeping an eye on Alex. She told me that you watched over her.” He said.

Winry looked a bit surprised. “Yeah. Yeah, I did.” She nodded.

“She’s better now, but she’s getting some rest.” I said.

She nodded. “Yeah. So, where’d you guys meet her?” She asked us.

“Rush Valley train station. Alphonse kind of ran into her.” Edward said, looking at me.

“When I learned that she liked alchemy, I invited her to sit on the train with us. I thought that she would be a great friend to me and Ed.” I told Winry.

“So far, we haven’t been regretting the decision.” My brother finished.

Winry laughed. “Not even when she was mentally unstable?”

I looked at her. “That wasn’t her fault!”

She threw up her hands in surrender. “Alright, alright! I’m sorry!” She said. Then she looked at me with a smirk on her face. “Well, you’re being awfully protective of her. Have you found a girlfriend, Al?”

I blushed. “No no no! Nothing like that! I just care about her. My brother has more of a chance with her than I do! She’s fallen for him hard!” I cried, defending myself. I realized what I had just said and put my head in my hands. Alex and Edward were going to kill me for sure.

Winry’s face got dark. “Oh, really?” She asked, pulling out her wrench.

“No, Winry. Put the wrench away.” Ed told her, glaring at me. He mouthed the words “you’re dead”.

“I’m going inside.” She said, brandishing her weapon and heading back into the house.

“What’s going to happen?” I asked.

My brother looked at me. “First, Alex is probably going to get hit with a wrench again. Second, you are going to die.” He ran towards the house.

“I am?”

My brother stared daggers at me. "Somebody is going to die. I'm just not sure if it's you or Alex.” He ran towards the house.

I followed him. “I think Winry might hit Alex with her wrench again." I called.

Edward rolled his eyes. "You don't say?" He said sarcastically.

We burst into the house just in time. Winry was stroking her wrench gently, looking at Alex.

"Winry, please don't hit Alex again." Edward said quietly, putting his hand on her shoulder.

Winry looked at him. "Fine." Then she turned to the sleeping Alex. "I hate you." She said, running into her room and slamming the door.

Ed stepped back, surprised. He looked at Alex, then Winry's door.

“We should go talk to her, brother.” I told him, walking towards her room.

Edward nodded and followed me. He pressed his ear to the closed door.

“She’s crying.” He whispered. “This is all my fault.”

“No, Ed. Go and talk to her. Alone.” I said.

“But what if…” He started.

“Just go, brother!” I opened Winry’s door, shoved Edward inside her room, and closed the door.

“ALPHONSE ELRIC! LET ME OUT!” Ed shouted, banging on the door. I stood in front of it to block his attempt at escaping the room.

“Not until you do you-know-what!” I called. My brother sighed and stopped hitting the door. I heard him walk away.

Satisfied, I tuned out their conversation. After a while, Winry stopped crying. The two knocked on the door.

“Can we come out now? I talked to her.” Edward said.

“Fine.” I let Ed and Winry out of her room.

“How’d everything go?” I asked.

“Good. I’d better go apologize to Alex.” Winry said, smiling. She walked out of the room.

“So, what’d you say?” I turned to my brother.

“We just talked about Alex and her possible feelings for me. Turns out that Winry has some feelings for me as well.” He said, putting his head in his hands. “What should I do?”

“I can’t help you there. You have to make your own decisions now. But sooner or later, you’ll have to answer the question: Alex or Winry?” I told him quietly.

Ed looked at me helplessly. “I don’t want to disappoint either of them. They’re both pretty and nice girls.” He looked down.

Winry rushed into the room. “Hey, guys?”

“Yes?” We asked.

“Alex’s gone.”

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