Chapter 1 - Waiting
“Things are just getting to be worse everyday,” Gracia said as she poured Alphonse a cup of tea. He sat down calmly as he listened to her speak. Edward was with him, naturally, sitting to the left of his brother at the same table. He wasn’t drinking anything but he was gnawing on a cookie; Edward loved Gracia’s cookies, even if the sugar was limited due to rations making them more like a flat biscuit. “I can hardly go outside anymore. There are so many people being taken away, I’m just waiting for my time,” she said softly as she handed him the cup.
Alphonse took it and frowned, “Gracia, please don’t say such things. You don’t fit any qualifications,” he said as he sipped at the tea.
“No, not yet but demand is getting to be higher. The only thing really protecting us is the fact Hughes use to be one of them. If he wasn’t, they probably would have come up with some kind of excuse to kill us by now.”
“That’s such a negative thing to say,” Edward said as he crunched the cookie in his mouth. Watching a few crumbs fall out of his mouth and onto the table; he wiped them off the cloth and onto the ground. Alphonse watched him, as did Gracia, “your both so negative. Sure this thing is terrible, thousands of people are dying. I don’t like it either but for now we just have to keep watching out for each other and things will get better. Just wait, one of the Russian leaders or someone will come and stop them.”
“A Russian leader? They wouldn’t help us,” Alphonse said as he rolled his eyes. “They’re busy doing other things. Besides, last I heard, they approved of this whole thing. France and Britain aren’t any help either.”
“Negative!” Edward shouted playfully as he pointed at Alphonse.
Gracia nodded. “He has a point Edward. They don’t seem to be in a big hurry to do anything.”
“Well not right now, but that’s why we need to just hold on,” Edward said as he took another cookie, twirling it around a bit before chewing it.
“We should have gone with the other scientists to America,” Alphonse said out of the blue as he set his cup down on the table and looked over at his brother. “This isn’t happening over there. In fact, they seem to have been having a great couple years with tons of new inventions. If we went, we might have been able to-”
“I already told you,” Edward said rolling his own eyes as he finished the second cookie. “They wanted us to be packed and ready the next day and it was too soon. Besides, I’ve heard their stock market has been going downhill. A lot. A whole hell of a lot bigger than ours even.”
“That was just a rumor,” Alphonse frowned.
“Yeah well, I’d like to believe that there are other problems in the world besides our own.” Edward explained as he reached for another cookie, only to be swatted by Alphonse. He gave his brother a questionable look and Alphonse mouthed ‘you’ve had enough’ in return. Edward pulled his hand back and leaned in his chair. “I’m just making a point,” he said with a sigh.
“Not a very good one,” Alphonse said as he sighed also; he looked down at his cup of tea, staring back at his reflection.
“Now who’s being Negative?” Gracia asked with a small chuckle, “you two shouldn’t worry so much. Edward, your hair is more blonde than any of those so called Aryans,” Edward perked up a little, “and Alphonse. You have done absolutely nothing to be considered a threat.” Alphonse smiled and nodded, “neither of you have done anything to be considered ‘impure’ or whatever else it is they say.
“Ed, your probably right. Some other country will jump in and save us any day now. We just have to wait and see,” she said a little happier than a moment ago.
“That’s the hardest part,” Edward said as he stood up to stretch a bit. Alphonse watched him, “not knowing when this whole thing will end. I’m ready for it.” Edward stated with a half yawn, already bored of this chit-chat.
“We all are,” Gracia said as a small creaking sound was heard from off to the side. When the three turned to its source, they spotted the girl. Elisia was around four years old or so, with little blonde pigtails and bright aqua colored eyes. She was wearing her pajamas still from the night before, but looked content in them.
“Mommy your being loud,” she said softly as she walked over. She was sleepy from the looks of it, and the boys smiled as she approached.
“Oh Elisia, I’m sorry.” Gracia said as she got up and walked over to her daughter to pick her up. “Your big brothers are here, do you want to say hi?”
“Hi big brothers,” Elisia said with a wave, sleep was dredged in her voice.
The two Elrics just smiled and waved in reply as Alphonse got up to walk over. “Hey Elisia, your birthday’s coming up soon isn’t it?”
“Yeah!” Elisia said with a little smile, “I’ll be four!”
“Yeah I know,” he said with a laugh “what do you want for your birthday?”
The girl gasped excitedly, “you really want to know?”
Alphonse laughed with a small nod, “sure I do. What do you want?”
“I’ll show you,” she said as she squirmed around. Gracia set her on the ground and off she went taking Alphonse’s hand and dragged him off.
“Be right back,” Alphonse said as he left the room.
Gracia just watched them go before turning back to Edward. She sighed, her smile vanishing into a frown. “Edward, I need to speak with you.”
“Hm?” Edward blinked, “okay. Shoot.”
“It’s about your arm and leg,” she said as she glanced at the limbs “they’re both fake aren’t they?”
Edward went quiet a while then looked down at them and nodded. They had their ‘skin’ colored covering on for the moment, cloaking the auto-mail, “yeah. Both my arm and leg are gone. Winry gave me these auto-mail ones but they’re starting to get too small and rust.” He said as he held his hand up, turning it about to feel the crusted joints.
Gracia looked at them for a while then nodded, “yes and I’m sure you’re aware of the newest group that is to be put into the camps?”
“Cripples,” Edward said softly as he put his arm down.
“Technically, you are counted as one. Even if you do have fake limbs that help you with mobility.” She said as she sat back down in her seat. Edward wasn’t sure what to say as he watched the ground; it was a true statement. Sure he could get around and sure he could hide them; but in truth, he was counted as a cripple.
“Yeah, I know.” He said quietly, “Hughes told me that the order was for cripples and those diseased to be put to death. No place for them in this world, so they figure they'd just get rid of them altogether." He shrugged, "sounds so illogical to me."
"None of this sounds logical, because it isn't." Gracia explained with another sad glance to the table cloth.
There was silence between the two for a long time, then Edward spoke up, “please don’t tell Al. He...he doesn’t know yet and I’d rather he didn’t find out unless it gets way out of line.”
"I wasn't planning on telling him," Gracia said as she grabbed a cookie and held it out to him, “here. Have a cookie.”
“No thanks,” Edward said with a weak smile. “Al made it clear I was done for now. Maybe I can take a few back to the apartment with me?”
“No problem,” she said with a little sigh. “Life is too short Edward, enjoy it.”
Edward nodded and picked up a cookie, just to look at it. “Yeah...tell me about it.”
“Brother, I’m going to go to the graveyard for a bit,” Alphonse called from the front door. He was all ready to go with his large and heavy black coat draped across his shoulders. He had one hand stuffed in his pocket and the other one on the door knob. He turned back towards the stair case to wait for some kind of reply, but when none came he just left.
It had been three days since their little visit to Gracia’s house and since then all Alphonse could think about was the conversation they had. Both Gracia and his brother had made good points. None of them had done nothing to get put into one of the camps or be murdered in anyway. Then again, neither did the Jews; and the more he thought about it, the less fair it seemed.
Alphonse let out a long and dragged sigh as he started walking down the sidewalk. He casually glanced around at the buildings and people that were walking about. Many of the buildings were run down, some were burnt, some were torn and some were just old and rotting. They lived in a, considered, poor neighborhood. Where the only entertainment you could find would be down at the local pub; which was somewhere Alphonse wasn’t allowed to go for various reasons.
After examining the buildings, Alphonse looked at the people he saw pass by. Many were sad looking and gloomy, wearing almost permanent frowns. They were waiting, like the brothers were, for the Nazis to come get them. Then there was a small group of people walking around that seemed happy; either agreeing with the Nazi way of life or they just hadn’t realized what was going on.
Germany had hit rock bottom. Living in Munich was worse than living other places too, by the way. Alphonse hated living there, but it seemed they really had no choice. They couldn't leave by some decree and this was the place where most of the events took place. This was where many people were killed and this was the place where the conference had taken place. The start of hell, in short.
It made Alphonse sick to think about, and finally reaching the graveyard did nothing to boost his confidence in the legal system. He stopped a few feet through the gate and looked around.
The graveyard, which covered a good couple hundred feet, was getting old like the rest of the town. Tombstones were knocked over or broken, chipped to where one couldn’t read the names anymore. Alphonse frowned again as he began walking off somewhere in the back. With so many deaths taken place daily, the grave yard wouldn’t hold anymore.
He stopped when he reached a familiar grave.
Alfons Heiderich. He had been Edwards room mate, and the closest thing he had to a friend. They spent several months together before he was shot and killed after helping Edward return to his 'real' home. Edward always had claimed that Alfons looked just like his younger brother, and that was what originally brought them together.
Alphonse smiled weakly as he bent down to clear away some dust and try leaves. He often times had to tell himself that this man was a friend of theirs and that it was because of him Alphonse was back with his brother. At the same time, Alphonse hated him. Envied him for having Edward as long as he did. He hated the fact that his brother would even consider replacing him with another person just because they looked similar.
He sighed and shook his head as he went into a real smile, “hi Alfons. I just wanted to drop by and say hello. Sorry it’s been so long,” he said as he sat down near the stone. When was the last time anyone was there? Was Noah the last one to be there? Alphonse frowned again, “sorry Noah isn’t here with me right now. She’s actually probably with you right now. If she is, can you tell her I say hi?” He spoke to himself mostly, not actually believing Alfons could hear.
He didn’t feel so alone anymore, at the very least, “brother is doing fine. He has his moments when things just get too crazy for him. Then again, who doesn't? This war is driving the whole world mad.” He explained as he shook his head, “but don’t worry, we’re doing fine. We haven’t done anything wrong and Gracia says we have no reason for them to come and kill-
“Anyway,” Alphonse said to cut himself off quickly, “I just wanted to say hi. I sure hope this war ends soon. I can’t stand to see so many people die.” He whispered the last part, and as if in reply, the sky opened up and began sprinkling rain.