The camera was tilted. Golden hair flowed past shoulders of brown suede. His face was covered by a handheld Polaroid camera.
A blond-eyed young man dressed casually in a white shirt and slacks laughed as his crooked visage was captured.
Al chortled, straightening the camera as he took it from Ed's hands.
"C'mon now, that's not how you hold a camera. Look."
The screen focused on flashing golden hair and soft golden eyes.
He smiled, a quiet, dreamy look carved into his cheeks, around his eyes, around his mouth.
"Hey, Al, you…I was playing with that"
They were the same words that, but they were said with such gentleness, such unarmed…tranquility. But no. It wasn't explosive. It wasn't right! But it was. It was Ed. It was Ed, who had turned to the window, camera and companion forgotten.
"Al", Edward called with urgency enough to subdue a lamb.
Edward's lips tilted ever so slightly in a frown.
"Al", he tried a third time, "Are you there?"
This time he looked up. In agonized grief, he laughed. Edward laughed, too, a simple movement from his abdomen and lungs.
Al wiped his face, pointing Edward towards the kitchen.
"It's lunch time. How do baked potatoes sound?"
The blinds were closed. Ed didn't reply, distracted by the streaming white light.
It was a simple room.
One Edward Elric and two Als eyed each other in a Mexican stand-off.
Ed looked to his left. "Brother! It's me! Al!" Silver eyes beseeched him to walk to his side.
Ed remained where he stood, looking to his left. "Edward. What are you doing here? We have to get home. The clear blue eyes questioned his lack of stationary posture.
Feeling a chill down his spine, Edward looked up. "Edward-
Two echoes of dull claps sounded up the stairs and to the third floor apartment. The military boots clicked to a halt in front of Apartment # 1735.
A gloved hand reached out and knocked three times in quick succession.
One Alfons Heiderich opened the door for Officer Hughes and his wife. In this world, Gracia had been barren.
"Mr. Hughes", Al smiled.
Hughes noted how his smile didn't quite reflect in his eyes.
"How is he today?"
Silently, he led the couple into the kitchen, facing the opened balcony.
Refusing to break even though he was broken, flitting between worlds. Alfons mutely watched Ed as he tilted his chin up embraced the wind on the balcony. Alfons looked up as well. Slowly, Ed turned around. He smiled. No, there should be another word for this muted reflection.
"Oh. Hello Mr. Hughes. That's where Al went. Feel. The wind is so nice."
Where are you?
A/N: Is anyone else frickin' bothered by how confusing it is that both Als are called Al? :