Rebuilding their home was very easy at first. It was methodical almost.... almost... Placing boards together and nailing them. Alchemy couldn't be used for everything. And Al didn't want to simply make a building by pilling ingredients on the ground and "poof", it was there. He wanted to make it with his own bare hands. He wanted to feel the roughness of the wood as they stacked it, feel the sweat bead on his forehead from using energy to get the job done.
But It didn't get to Ed until he felt the blisters upon his skin and he felt his mind start to wander.
"Brother....?"Ed gulps down the hard lump that has risen in his throat. Al turns an amber gaze to him and he almost blushes.... almost...
Alphonse was starting to do that a lot it seems. He would utter Ed's name in a soft sort of tone. It was much different from the way he use to say it. It would roll off his tongue at all the right times, and all the wrong ones. But no matter when he said it. Ed reveled in it. Because if all he could get is his name seeping out of those soft lips while his gentle and caring eyes look at him then he would drink it up.
Its worth it...
And of course Ed keeps a mask on his face. Always. And Al has yet to figure it out. But Ed knows that his baby brother is susceptive.. he'll figure out something is dreadfully wrong.
"...Brother?" And as Ed shakes his head from the glaze over look he knows he must have had, Al is standing right there in front of him.
All covered in sawdust from the wood. It clings to his skin and if Ed squints hard enough he can see that some has clung to his eyelashes. And the grease from using the many tools Winry let them borrow smeared on his face and hands. He looks adorable, Ed thinks.. even while covered in all that stuff.. he still look beautiful. And the said person arches an eyebrow at him in question. Because Ed has yet to answer his brother.
A a pink hue creeps up his cheeks and Ed clears his throat. "yes?"
"Are you still planning on putting the electrical system and plumbing in with alchemy brother?" Al asks him. His face glowing with adoration for his brother for getting this far with out using alchemy. He is proud of him and adores his brother for all of the things he does. Maybe he adores him a little too much.
He watches Ed think things over. His blonde eyebrows knit in concentration as he taps the hammer against the board in thought. And again Al thinks his brother is distracted, by thoughts he isn't quite sure. So he takes a few steps forward. In reaction Ed seems to flinch and move away from him. Al frowns. What was wrong with him? He couldn't get close anymore. And its all he ever wanted.
When he was brought back he was pulled into a bone crushing embrace. He could smell his brothers hair and feel the sweat on his face. He could feel him. And he wanted to touch him again. He would forgo the hug for just a handshake, or a pat on the back. After not having contact for four years, he wanted it. He craved it. But what was the most confusing, was that he wanted it from the said blonde in front of him. No one else could get near him, not even Winry. He just wanted Ed to touch him. And to Al, that was the most confusing thing.
Al loves his brother maybe a little more than he should.
Everytime he looks at his arm he is reminded of the sin. But more so is he reminded of what Al didn't have for four years. A walking statue, well a trash can would be more like it. That thought makes him chuckle, but also die on the inside with the truth.
The wires that are fixed onto the bone and muscle of his body have become a part of him. As well as the screws and bolts that come with the automail. And its worth it. He cannot feel his leg and arm but its worth being able to see his brother splash water against his face when he's hot or hear him laugh with out it being muffled or hollowed it.
Its worth it...
But at times like this when he is seated by the water's edge at the famous river they use to play at when they were kids, his mind starts to wander further. It wonders if he is truly happy. If where is at that very moment makes him content and want nothing me of life. But he comes to the conclusion that he DOES want more. He wants Al to hug him tightly, to kiss him... to LOVE him.
But he will never, NEVER tell his baby brother about his dark desires. His yearning to feel his soft hands glide up his scarred back, or feel those new lips brush across his bare shoulder. Because those sorts of things should stay hidden and locked away in the dark recess of his mind. And Ed knows that if he tells him. That the life he has built up for his brother, the false illusion of being the stronger brother would come down and shader.
Its not worth it..
He is starting to notice. Al's attention is keen and he doesn't let anything past him. Well sorry my dear brother but not this time. You will need to leave it alone and let me wallow all alone. I can't ask you to take on the burden or a sin that is entirely my own.
And Al can't take it. He looks upon his brother and can see the worry lines on his face. His hair has gone lighter, not the striking blonde it use to be. And he knows that Ed is troubled by something., Tell me brother... please... But even as Al stands there in the doorway of the living room. His brother never turns. Do you even know I'm around anymore? He pushes off the doorway and takes a few steps forward. And still Ed doesn't turn. Don't you.. care about me anymore? And he feels himself get angry and upset. He marches over to his brother.
Ed was right, he has been found out. Even through all the guarding and faking he has seen through it all and is now angry. He cries bitter tears and shakes Ed from where he sits on the sofa by the fire place.And Ed immediately looks up and see that the light from the fire has illuminated AL's skin and given his hair a more rusty look. His eyes plead with him to let him go. And Ed's mind starts to think that maybe if he drops and kicks him hard enough his feelings that go beyond fondness and adoration will turn to those of hate and disgust. But it is a false hope. I could never stop loving him even if I tried.
Al thinks he hates him But thats not true at all. If I hate anything, its myself for all of the things I have done to you, Ed writes in his journal one late afternoon. There I go again... rambling on and on again about the sins of my past.. and possibly my future. I laugh at that.. my future? yeah right... he doesn't think of me like that and he never will. We're flesh and blood. And kin that love like that are morbid. And even before I knew of my emotions, I knew I was morbid. But not my baby brother. He's the perfect picture of innocence. Soft hair and all gentle brown eyes wrapped up in a soul that will surely go to heaven....if there is such a place...
Ed closes the journal and tucks it between the mattresses for safe keeping.
I feel like I'm ebbing away. My soul has been hurt, punctured so many times that I feel that it is impossible to mend. And Al.. he must know this because he is gentle with me now. He wakes me up when I have fallen asleep at my desk, from working late into the night on some research thing for Mustang. And he slings my arm around his neck, and his goes around my waist and we shuffle to the bed. And we do not speak.. no words are necessary.. he understands what is going on with me.. well.. not all of it. But he knows that i am in turmoil about something.
And as he lays me down on my bed one night. I reach out with glazed over eyes and grip the collar of his shirt. "Please..." but it comes out more hoarse and broken. An unsaid plea for him to love me. but I can't voice it as he pears down at me and arches one of his lovely eyebrows at me. God Al.. don't you know how adorable.. cute... and just.. beautiful you look? That when you place that gaze on me it makes my stomach flip and turn over on itself? I suppose you don't. He doesn't move. And that is my downfall. Because I can't help but gather his shirt more in my hand and pull him down so that i can place a loving and gentle kiss upon those soft ones of his that i have been eyeing... dreaming.. and lusting over for the past few months.