Jennifer Darknight (inuyashanohime) wrote in jen_fics,
Jennifer Darknight

To Find Shamballa -- Chapter Ten, Part One

Title: To Find Shamballa
Pairing: Edward Elric x Alfons Heiderich
Side Pairings: Alphonse Elric x Winry Rockbell, Roy Mustang x Sheska, onesided Roy Mustang x Riza Hawkeye
Rating: G-NC-17
Summary: Alfons Heiderich had gone to Transylvania to pursue his passion, and maybe find a way to help save his tattered country. Little did he know that he would find Edward Elric. 
Words this Chapter: 7,000
Total words: 42,973
Betas This Chapter: wen_renee, cryogenia
Thanks: To everyone who has taken the time to read, speak to me about, and beta this story! Without all of you, I would not even have half the confidence I do now about this story, or as much of the drive to keep this monster of a story going! I can't thank you guys enough!!!
Note: This is the remake of the entire Movie arc. This is heavy DIVERGENCE. This is EXTREME DIVERGENCE. DIVERGENCE WITH A CAPITAL DIVERGENCE xD This will also be posted on, but that is the cut version of this story. The complete unedited version is LJ only.

Past ChaptersP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Resembool, 1914
Alphonse Elric: 5
Winry Rockbell: 6
                She was the only one who understood. Even when his brother didn’t, even when his Mom didn’t, she would, offering him kind words and even a helping hand during the most difficult of times, even when his brother couldn’t even find him.
                His brother had always thought that he would run to the river. And he would, eventually. It may have taken some time, but his feet would move towards there, with a heavy heart and the notion clear in his mind that any further argument at this point would be won by the elder brother, even though on the surface all battles were won by the younger. He would head there and sit, staring at the water…
                Just staring there for all the time it took for Edward to go and get the nerve to go and find him, when his pride was properly squelched and he felt it wasn’t completely necessary now to sit in the corner stubborn and sulking. Now that he had gotten over the embarrassment of being beaten up by his younger (and taller) brother, he could bring that macho feeling back in his system, and then walk back acting like he was still the tough, strong older brother.
                And Edward was.
                He always, always was.
                He was the one who Al could depend on, and could stick with. His brother was, even though he never won a fight, stronger than anyone else, and could do things so much better than everyone else because he was his brother.
                And yet here Al was, in the same old place, hiding while he got his own thoughts organized and sorted through. The forest was quiet enough, but far away from the house to the point where if his brother or mother caught him, he’d be done for.

                “Don’t go into the forest,” they’d always say, “Wild animals will be there.”
                But it wasn’t dangerous—it was quiet, and it always gave him the peace he needed to think things through—those things that the river itself didn’t do for him, which was always his last stop. The bugs would chirp in the trees around him, the birds would flutter around…sometimes he’d hear a stray cat mewing in the distance, or a dog, somewhere in there, barking at something-or-other.
                It was his place.
                His place to think where nobody would really know where he was…
                “Stupid Brother.” Al kicked a rock under his foot, glaring down at the dirt. “Stupid, stupid, stupid Brother.”
                Stupid Brother, indeed, even though it was him who had won the fight that resulted from the silly argument in the first place. What had that even been over…? Something about them and the logs out in the back, even though neither of them were able to carry any. They had wanted to prevent their mother from carrying them, so they were going to carry them for her. But childish pride fought back and the two of them ended up arguing a storm, which then resulted in the usual fistfight…
                The usual fistfight ended with Edward running one way, Alphonse running the other, and then the two of them separated and miserable for a good span of a few hours.
                It was obvious that his mother was probably wondering where he was. Maybe Auntie Pinako, too. His brother assumed he was at the river again, but if he had suddenly managed to go there to see if her was, in fact, there…
                His brother took longer than he did to get his mind together, and even then it took some time to fight the usual Elric pride down to just get up and confront whatever argument it was that he needed to confront. As great as his brother was, it was like clockwork…a never ending cycle.
                He was safe for now.
                Safe detection from anyone else besides her, anyway.
                He should have expected that Winry would show up eventually—like his brother’s ego, it was like clockwork, though Alphonse didn’t mind that one bit. Even in the dim light going through the trees, he could see her blonde hair and pink dress easily, hear the sandals crunch on the leaves as she moved towards him.
                …How many times would she risk getting in trouble, just to seek him out at times like these?
                “I’m here, Winry.”
                It wasn’t like he needed to say anything; it was more of a formality than anything else, even as the girl stepped over the large root and took a seat next to him.
                Auntie Pinako would surely wonder at the dirt on the bottom of her dress, though the girl had never mentioned anything about getting in trouble, or getting caught, or her even getting suspicious. She’d simply follow him whenever she heard the booms of argument rising from the Elric house.
                It was funny how it always turned out like this.
                “What was it this time?”
                “That’s it? That’s pretty dumb.”
                “Yeah, it is…”
                Dumb. Yeah, it was dumb, all right. He had battered his brother pretty good, too…he knew that there was at least some hair-pulling and some kicks to the stomach…
                The Al of later in life would look back on this fight and laugh, saying that it reminded him of a couple of girls arguing over which doll had the better dress (only to cause Ed to snort, turning away with a bit of disgust)…but now, in this time, Al had thought he fought the pretty good fight. His brother was no pushover, after all (kicks to the groin and arm pulling notwithstanding), and the bruises to his face actually hurt a bit (even with Ed’s flailing punches).
                “Why do you two keep fighting over dumb things like this? You’re brothers, right? Shouldn’t you be getting along more than arguing?”
                “You don’t understand.” Al hugged his knees to his chest. “You’re an only child. You don’t know what it’s like to have a brother.”
                “…that still doesn’t mean that it’s not stupid. You and Ed are always together…and just as much as you get along, you fight.”
                “Brothers do that, I guess…”
                “Well…at least…that’s what we do. Maybe we’re weird brothers, huh?”
                ‘Weird’? They weren’t weird. They fought like brothers, played like brothers, acted like brothers, and even lived like brothers. A much older Al would have slapped himself for the stupidity of what he had just said, but the younger Al felt a little bit of insecurity creep up inside him, hearing Winry’s words.
                “I don’t think you’re weird at all. You and Ed fight a lot, but you wouldn’t be you two if you didn’t…”
                Al sat silent for a moment, simply staring down at his feet.
                “You…think so?”
                “So um…” Winry tapped her foot on top of the ground, her blue eyes turning away from him. “…are you two going to make up?”
                “Then you should. You can’t just sit around forever, y’know. I’ll go with you.”
                And she always did. Just like that.
                How was it that with those words, he had always felt like she understood the most, even if she was saying something so simple or generic? Even if she was saying something that anyone else would have said, she was still the one who understood him, knew where to find him, knew how to talk to him…
                It was puzzling, but somehow still, Alphonse Elric looked up and smiled, nodding…
                “Yeah…I should.”
                She had always understood…somehow, Alphonse Elric had always thought that.
                He never understood why, though.
Resembool, 1924
                …it was like clockwork.
                It was then, and it was now.
                Even after all these years (even the ones he couldn’t remember), he’d still run here. The nearby pond’s water flowed in his ears, despite how deep inside he was in the depths of the place. The sun was still bright through the canopy through the trees…neverending green in front and behind him, with sticks and stones dotting the path like makeshift chairs, tables, and maybe even a shelter, if he arranged them right to keep the rain from hitting him.
                That’s what he had done when he was on YockIsland, back when he had his brother, and back when everything was at least somewhat ‘normal’.
                As normal as a pair of kids trying to revive their mother using forbidden Alchemy could have been, anyway.
                He hadn’t had to run here ever since he had come back to Resembool…after Rose found him (speaking of Rose, where was she? He hadn’t seen her since he had come back here, and then she disappeared off the face of the planet, it seemed). He’d had to think many times, but since he’d come home, he’d never had to just flat-out run away, and hide from everything, while his mind delved on the ‘what’s, ‘where’s and ‘why’s.
                The shadows somehow made him think like he was invisible. Even though he knew that he wasn’t, rather just a brown-haired kid sitting among the leaves like a cowering wild animal, trying to get away from the predatory wildcat which would most certainly eat him. But when the light pooled in front of him, keeping him out of the direct shine as he curled up in the shadowy areas…
                The childish part of his brain always kicked in.
                The childish part that told him that nobody could see him, and that if he stayed still enough, and stayed quiet enough, and huddled into himself enough, nobody would see him, and maybe he’d just curl into himself so much that he’d disappear.
                During the course of his stumbling run to his retreat (more like limp, with his legs not wanting to agree with him, stumps they seemed to be these days), the thoughts kept running through his head:
               When I was in that armor, did I run away like this too? Or was I a bit more mature than this? Did I want to curl in myself then too, wanting to disappear?
                He didn’t doubt that he’d at least done it once.
                Run away like a childish coward.
                Every fight had started this way though…first the initial fight itself, then he’d run here, hide, and think things through before getting coerced to go and think it through much further at the river, preparing himself for the inevitable clash between him and whoever-it-was that he had fought with in the first place…
                Of course, the only one who came here to coerce him was Winry.
                And Winry was the one he had fought with.
                She wasn’t here yet.
                What went wrong?
                “Winry, you…you just want to see Brother again, don’t you? It isn’t about me…it was never about me…”
                …Why had he said that? All those things, back there…they hit his head hard like a bad dream, slamming in the side of his skull and sending jolts of pain to sometimes come in their wake.
                Just wanted to see Brother?
                Didn’t he want to see his brother, too?
                She had lied to him. He had every right to be angry about that. She had hidden the truth from him, just like everyone else had, and then she had admitted it, and apologized.
                That, the rational side of his brain told him, should have been the end of the argument. That should have been where he accepted her apology and moved on, asking her all the questions that he could, soaking up the information like a sponge and answering all the questions that had been plaguing his mind. That might not have been what his brother would have done, but it was something that he would have done. She had admitted she was wrong, and was willing to tell the truth.
                But like a child, he didn’t act.
                He reacted. Like his brother, just like his brother.
                Everyone was waiting for him, and everyone wanted to see him again. It was true that Al was the last person that everyone wanted to see—seeing him reminded them of his brother, and brought the old pain back, he was sure—but at the same time, Winry was finally starting to notice him for who he was. She was starting to turn away from the window just a little bit, starting to lighten her spirits, just a little bit. She was starting to bring her laugh back, her smile back. The old Winry wasn’t even close to back yet, but she was starting to return…if not just a little…
                She was just starting to talk to him again.
                And then he had to say that.
                Stupid, stupid Alphonse.
                Even if his brother was the one everyone noticed, he was gone and trying to find his way home. Alfons was even willing to help. He was out there somewhere, out there and alone, and all he could do was whine and complain about something as pointless as this.  
                …He had hurt Winry, too. Even when she slapped him, he could see the pain in her eyes.
                What was he doing? Why did he do that?
                Why did he even go on and say that?
                He hugged his knees to his chest, trying to force the tears in. After all of this, he wasn’t going to cry again. He yells at Winry, he starts whining about his brother, and then his tears want to go down and make him cry?
                His brother would be ashamed, if he saw him.
                He was already ashamed of himself.
                Ashamed and feeling sorry for himself like a little baby. His brother would laugh maybe, seeing him like this. Even if he cried a lot, he was still the mature one, after all…
                “You’ll be with him again, someday. You’ll get home.”
                “You will. I promise. I’ll try to do all I can to help you, as well.”
                “What the hell, Alfons…Why do you even give a damn? I’m a total stranger.”
                “I’ve known you since I was a child, Edward. Though you might not know me, I know you almost as well as my own older brother.”
                His brother was really looking for him, wasn’t he…
                He really wanted to go home, didn’t he…
                He wasn’t like Dad. Dad never came home. He just left them there, and he had always hoped and wished that he would come home, but he never showed up again. Ever. But his brother was going to come home. Or at least, he was going to try to come home.
                …Well, that was what the dreams said.
“Heard?! Al, you’re seeing your brother in a dream, and you believe that those are real! I know you miss your brother, but listen to yourself!”
                Winry seemed so sure that they weren’t real. But they had told him his memories. Alfons had told him his memories…at least to an extent. He said he ‘knew’ him. He mentioned things that he couldn’t remember, and not in vivid detail.
                If it was just a way to get him to remember his memories…wouldn’t that…wouldn’t that be more visual? Or at least, it would be more than just that, right? And that world…
                Those weren’t dreams. He knew they weren’t just dreams. There had to be more to it. More that he just wasn’t picking up on.
                “You’re…real, right? Alfons? You really talk to my brother, right? He’s really going to be coming home?”
                …This was ridiculous. He couldn’t hear him. Even if he did see him in his dreams…it wasn’t like he could respond.
                But somehow…the words fell from his lips, hands trembling against his knees, still close to his chest.
                It wasn’t like he could hear him…but asking…asking somehow made the tears push themselves back, back into his eyes and away from the back of his eyelids for now, only leaving a small residue of tearstain under his eyelashes. Somehow his heart felt a little lighter, and his body felt a little more willing to move.
                As if asking made all the difference in the world, even though it really didn’t.
                “I…miss my brother a lot. You miss yours too, don’t you? He was probably like my brother, huh? Maybe. We’re not the same—so my brother and your brother probably wouldn’t be the same either. I’m sure he looks sort of like my brother, though…”
                He paused…
                Then chuckled, dryly.
                “Yeah…yeah right. Even if they looked alike…they wouldn’t be the same. Your brother probably doesn’t look like mine anyway. You look like me, but if your brother looked like mine…that would be too much of a coincidence, right?”
                He heard nothing as a response. Only the wind answered him, tousling his hair a tiny bit.
                “I wonder…if anybody believed you, when you dreamed? Winry doesn’t believe me. She doesn’t think Brother’s coming home. She doesn’t think you’re real, either. But you’re real, right? I mean…you have to be. I don’t know how, but…”
                “I can’t explain it. But I know that Brother’s with you. And that you’ll bring him home.”
                “There’s nobody to help, Al! If Ed’s still here, he’s probably running around somewhere trying to find you…IN. THIS. WORLD. Not in some magical realm conjured up by your imagination!”
                She was wrong. His brother would be home.
                His brother would be home, and then everyone would be happy again. Auntie Pinako and Winry’s faces would light up again, and then their lives would be brighter.
                Or maybe they’d brighten over time, like they were now? Winry didn’t seem to be as upset to see him anymore, anyway.
                “Alfons…do you remember a lot from when I was armor? What was I like? What happened? I…don’t know what to do.”
                “Winry, you…you just want to see Brother again, don’t you? It isn’t about me…it was never about me…”
                If it was just about him, then she wouldn’t have told him that they were lying. Wouldn’t have stepped up and said something…
                If Edward was home, would it have been like this…?
                Probably not.
                But something had to have happened in order for him to disappear. He was in armor…and now he was like this? Winry was older…
                He’d ask her.
                He’d ask her what she knew…
                After he apologized for what he said.
                He’d say that he didn’t mean it, that he was sorry. Even if it was true that they all waited for him, Al was waiting too. It wasn’t right to be upset with them for waiting just as much as he was.
                Alphonse found himself standing before he could even think, almost tripping over the tree branch as he got to his feet.
                She would be waiting there…right? 

On to Part 2...

Tags: edxalfons, fma, to find shamballa
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