Part one. Two. Three.
Special thanks to azusaanakano for helping with Al!!
Answers. He needs answers. Do the papers on the table have them? Edward doesn’t know, and so he picks one up to see for himself. The date on top doesn’t make sense: March 28, 1915. Last he checked, it was February, not almost April. The header is simple: Citizens Mourn the Hero of the People.
Edward stares at the word ‘mourn.’ His brain pops and dies. If they are mourning him, that means they think he’s dead.
Does Alphonse think he’s dead?
Intrigued and slightly horrified, he keeps reading. The papers tell him that he had dropped off the face of the planet last month, and no one has seen a lick of him since. Edward’s tail flicks nervously behind him. He has one answer now: he had been in that church for a month.
Digging through the rest of the newspapers, Edward reads them all. Next to an article about him, there’s a special tidbit about a company called Hija. It talks about how they have been perfecting the human life form.
Edward barely glances over it.
Once he’s reached the bottom of the stack, the door opens. Edward freezes, and the person in the door does, too.
“Where have you been?”
Edward drops the papers in his hands and stands up. Alphonse takes a step towards him, and then another, and another. Pretty soon he’s standing right in front of him, and staring down at his head like it’s the first time he’s ever seen it. In his heart, fireworks are shooting off. Because his brother is here, and his brother isn’t gone, and his brother is okay. But then he notices something, and comes down off his high.
”Ed… what’s with the costume…?” Al asks. His voice is tight.
Edward’s stomach drops into his boots. His ear twitches, and his tail skitters, full of anxiety. “This isn’t a joke, Al.” He takes off his coat and drops it to the floor. “So quit bein’ funny! Don’t tell me you see them too—”
Slowly, Alphonse reaches out. He pinches the tip of the ear, and Edward hisses before clapping his hands over his mouth.
“Where have you been, Brother?” Alphonse asks again. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere! But you—… it was like you just disappeared!”
Guilt burns in Edward’s chest. “I dunno,” he says. “When I woke up, I was in the basement of some freaky church.” Shuffling, he continues, “There was this statue, and chimeras popped out of nowhere! They took a bite at me, but I scared ‘em away.”
Alphonse drops to his knees. It’s then that Edward notices how badly he’s shaking. “Sorry,” he says. He rests his hand atop Al’s head. “It must’ve been scary, huh? Not knowing where I was…”
Alphonse balls his hands into fists. There’s only one thing on his mind: “Wh… what happened to you?”