This one is more serious. And longer. And most likely ooc. Please don't hate me.
Little Red Ridinghood
Ed walked through the forest, hands deep in the pockets of his red coat, a worried frown on his face. Al had vanished two weeks ago and this was the first real hint he had gotten. Well, if the dog who guided him could be called a hint.
The animal had blackish, tousled fur and there was something wild about it that made it look more like a wolf than a dog. Had Ed met it in this forest at night, he sure would have mistaken the canine for its wild distant relative. But this was definitely no wild animal because when it had tugged at his pants leg it had been very carefully, not trying to hurt him but trying to lead him. And because Ed was desperate enough he followed the animal, which lead him to the forest at the outskirts of central.
The chance that Al had found a dog smart enough to find a person it had never known before and bring it back to the younger Elric was so slim that it was really ridiculous to go for it, but then stranger things had happened to Ed and so he wasn't willing to let this crazy chance slip. After all he wasn't like that bastard of a colonel who just kept sitting in his office, claiming if they wanted to find Al they had to use their heads and not just aimlessly tear the city apart like Ed was doing.
The boy huffed and frowned in anger this time as he remembered the argument they had yesterday. Ed had been been so frustrated about them not finding Al yet the colonel had still been so calm. And so Ed had yelled at him that he was an asshole who didn't care about Al because Al was no priced dog like Ed or a direct subordinate, had screamed about the man only working to look good until his promotion to brigadier-general after the Promised Day was official. Mustang had snapped at him that he was truly stupid if he believed that just because the colonel didn't lose his head while searching he didn't care, had tried to explain to him that his hands were bound and he couldn't order an all out search by the military for a civilian who had even left a letter for them not to worry, saying he'd be back soon. And Ed had yelled that such letters weren't Al's type and the colonel had told him that the higher up's didn't care about if the letter was Al's type and the circle of arguments about caring and not caring had started again until Mustang had suddenly gotten very calm and told Ed to leave the office now before he would forget himself. So Ed had stomped out of the office and didn't go back there for two days by now because he believed they wouldn't help him anyway.
The young man jumped as the dog ahead barked – or rather tried to bark because it seemed to have some trouble with it's vocal cords – to make him go faster. He had gotten carried away by his memories of the argument and his angry frown had turned into a sad one because he knew that some of the things he'd said had hit well below the belt. Just when he had gotten along with the colonel more friendly than in the early days when he really hated the man. But Mustang had proven himself quite often since those days and after the Promised Day things seemed to be lighter, happier around everyone. Ed had to wait another half year for his contract to end after they fought against Father, but he had spent the time helping with the Ishbal project the colonel had started once he regained his sights. He couldn't transmute but he could do manual labour quite well or help planning the rebuilt. And they had still annoyed the hell out of the other but they had gotten along despite of that. Al had been with them, recovering well in the warm climate. He couldn't work as much as Ed but he still had a clever mind to offer.
And that's why Edward freaked out when Al went missing once back in Central. Al in his new, vulnerable flesh body was gone and Mustang seemed so cold and analytic like he didn't care. Ed had spent the last two days roaming the city day and night and pestering everybody he knew and didn't know about information, even the slightest hints. And then sometime around 5pm today there had been a strangled bark from this strange dog and then the animal had tried to get him to follow. It had tried a lot of other things too, like barking in what seemed to be a pattern, but its vocal cords and Ed's inability to make any sense out of its behaviour had stopped it from getting whatever message it had across. In the end it had just taken a hold of the cloth covering his left shin and carefully but demanding and hurriedly dragged him along until he kept following it.
And that's why Ed was following it through the wood while the sun was setting around them. The dogs ears stood straight and it looked nervous now, like they were getting closer to their destination. Ed started jogging and soon they reached a small cabin. He was hesitating now, but the dog didn't seem to see any reason to be careful because it ran back and forth between him and the cabin, urging him on and trying to bark again. So the young alchemist walked up to the little house and with a dagger drawn from his belt at the ready he pushed his way in, the door swinging open without resistance. It was warm inside and there hung a coat on the rack. His brother's coat.
"Al?! AL?!", Ed yelled instinctively, hoping to have finally found his younger sibling.
And really, there came a hoarse answer from the door the dog was scratching at with one of its front paws as it tried to get the handle down. "I'm here Ed!"
Relieve flowed through him and he pushed the dog out of the way to open the door. "Al! Just why the hell are you here what hap-..." he stopped and stared at his brother sitting in a bed, his back propped up against the headboard and a pillow.
"Brother, you were supposed to wait in Central for me, I wrote a letter for you! Now you ruined the surprise!", Al chided, though not really angry. He seemed proud, proud on...
"Al... why are your eyes so different?"
"Oh, one's from a hawk and one from an owl, I know it doesn't look so good but now I have the best sight for day and night!"
Ed felt sick. All he could do was keep repeating the name to make sure this really was Al and question the whys.
"A-Al... why are your ears so different?"
"I took them from a cat, there are animals with better hearing but they are hard to get and I love cats, I wanted to share something with them..."
"Al... why is your nose so different?"
"I took it from a dog, now I can smell so much better!"
"And... Al... why is your mouth so large?"
"This way I can fit in two tongues to taste more!" He opened his mouth to reveal a snake's tongue underneath his human one.
And Ed wanted to cry and scream and throw up. But all that left his mouth was a choked "Al, why?"
And Al grinned as happy as he could with his new features. "Because I missed all of these sensations so much and now I want to enjoy them to the fullest!" he cheerfully babbled on as Ed sank to his knees, listening to the voice contorted by two tongues and choking on disgust and sorrow and guilt. "I haven't found an animal to help me get a more sensitive skin yet, but I'm sure I will soon. Maybe the colonel can later tell me if a dog is more sensitive than a human, that would make things easier. I could just use this one then once I gave him his body back. Though I bet he'll refuse to tell me, he didn't like my plan when he found me here and I told him. Why didn't he understand Ed, do you know?"
But Ed could only kneel there silently and stare at these mad remnants of his brother. Until some of the words made impact on his brain and he very slowly turned to look at the dog that sat in the corner now, head hung low.
"This dog... Al?"
"Yes that one. I actually wanted it for the nose, it's a police dog you see, but then the colonel came and tried to interfere, so I switched their souls out. I'll switch them back once I'm not this tired any more. His real body is in the other room, it's sedated so the dog won't do something stupid with it. Though I really should let it run free, I had to go get another dog because of him after all! And he hit me when he struggled! And then he ran away to get you!", Al complained. "Bad Mustang!", he then chided, laughing.
The dog's head shot up, it snarled at Al, ears flat against its skull and hatred and sorrow in its expression. Yet even though it bared it's teeth it didn't attack. It just hung it's head again.
Edward could only stare. Stare at the sad wolfish dog, not willing to believe. "M- Mustang?" And it looked him in the eye and nodded.
The young man jumped to his feet, screaming out in frustration and sorrow and disgust and guilt and pain from seeing this. Seeing Mustang turned into a dog by Al, seeing that Al had turned himself into that- that thing, this chimera creature, this collection of the senses he had missed so long. And it was all Ed's fault because Al had been in the armour because of him, had to wait so long to feel because Ed constantly failed.
"Al just what have you done, what have you done, what have I done, what... why..!?" he gave up making sense again and just dropped to his knees once more, bending forward and slamming his head and arms into the floor.
"Ed, watch out, you are ruining your nose! If you want a new one too you can just tell me and we'll make that a lot cleaner!" Al piped up from the bed and Ed howled in horror and just smashed himself against the floor again. Only to freeze when there was a soft, whimpering noise beside him and a cold nose nudging against his side. He turned his head with wide eyes, blood from a split wound on his forehead seeping into them, and stared at the dog, at the colonel, who tried to reach out but couldn't because he had no hands to touch, his paws just tapped Ed in a pathetic attempt to get him to stop. The cold nose nudged his temple now, sweeping inwards, telling that he would wipe the blood away if he could, but he couldn't because he was a human, he wouldn't lick the wound like a dog did, no matter if his shape was currently fitting the action.
Ed lounged forward, wrapped his arms around the dog and grabbed the shaggy fur tight, crying into the soft coat, seeping it with his tears and the blood still dribbling from his forehead. "Why, just why, I don't get it! We were so happy, we were all happy, we achieved all we wanted, why wasn't it enough, why do I get punished again, why? WHY!? Didn't I learn the lesson already? I did learn it, I LEARNED THE LESSON, SO WHY?!"
"Brother?", Al asked, uncomprehending from the bed.
"Shut up, Al, SHUT UP!", Ed screamed and the dog - colonel - flinched, flattening sensitive ears against his skull but not pulling away. He just heavily placed his head on Ed's shoulder and tried to utter a calming sound, though it failed just like the barking.
"But Ed... " Al started, confused. "Do you too not understand? I thought you'd be happy for me, now I can catch on to everything I missed even faster and you can finally get over being guilty!"
"Al... Al, we fought to get your body back, your body and you just... mutilated what we fought and sacrificed for. You mutilated it! You wanted to be human again and now you just turned yourself into- into- AHHHRRGHHHHHH!", he pressed his face into the bloody fur of the colonel again and continued to scream until his throat felt raw and wouldn't emit another sound.
He barely registered the door opening and Hawkeye coming in. With a rifle slung over her shoulder she stepped into the cabin like a hunter coming back home, only the two pistols in her hands and the blue uniform betrayed that she wasn't. Even when the rest of the team came in Ed kept screaming into the fur coat of the second person important to him that was turned into a dog. He ignored the horrified gasps and sharp questions around him, tried his best to blend out his brother's distorted voice as the younger Elric tried to make them understand his decision, and just breathed in the scent of the dog who smelled like smoke and sparks no matter how impossible that was.
Only when Mustang tried for a sound and lifted his head from Ed's shoulder to nudge him did Ed slowly pull his face out of the fur, wincing along with the man turned dog when some dog hairs stuck to his forehead sticky with blood, and slowly opened his bloodshot and sore from the crying eyes. The colonel nodded towards Hawkeye who had her pistols trained on Al, asking him what he had done to her commander and going pale when Al answered.
"Don't worry, his body is slightly sedated in the next room and his annoying personality is right over there!", Al grumbled.
Hawkeye turned to where Ed was clinging to the wolf like creature and looked for a moment in horror, then her voice went deadly calm and she settled cold eyes on Al again. "You will change him back, now, and I don't care what you'll pay for it!"
"But I'm too tired! He'll manage a few more days like that, I managed the armour for yea-"
A shot echoed through the room, the bullet slamming into the headboard only an inch from Al's grotesque looking head.
"My father was a master alchemist Alphonse Elric, either you turn the colonel back to himself now or I'll make use of whatever talent I might have inherited and do it myself, using you as the fuel and price to pay for every problem I might encounter!", Hawkeye spat at him. "And don't think I wouldn't try! You are not the Alphonse I considered a friend, you are some crazy mutation of his mind and I don't mind destroying it when it brings harm like this over people I care about!"
The colonel whimpered and pulled away from Ed, he jumped to Hawkeye and got up on his hind legs, trying to get her attention, trying to get her to calm down. She looked at him with a sad smile. "I'm sorry, sir, but I won't change my mind. I swore to protect you no matter what."
Mustang turned to Al with a snarl. Alphonse huffed.
"Fine, but don't blame me if I make a mistake. Brother, could you help me over to the other room?"
Ed sat there and stared at Al. Stared at that wrong, mutilated, utterly mad version of his brother. And he knew if it got closer to him he'd either start throwing up or try to kill it, make it go away.
"I think Ed is a bit dazed from that head wound.", Breda saved him. With a not very well disguised look of disgust he marched over to the bed, picked Al up and threw him over his shoulder. The younger Elric squeaked in protest and surprise and started complaining about everybody being so harsh to him today. Ed just sat there and stared as they carried him out of the room, he was frozen by it all.
Someone stayed with him, a military jacket was thrown over his shoulders. Ed didn't care.
His forehead was patched up, comforting words were murmured. Ed didn't care.
The hum of alchemy from the next room, a scream ripping through the air. Ed didn't care.
Hawkeye telling Breda that the colonel seemed all right, just very tired. Ed cared.
Hawkeye turning to him, saying Al didn't make it. Ed breathed in relieve.
This is the second time I killed Al. I don't hate him. I just felt like writing this. Sorry. :D