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Love is Love

Title: Love is Love
Chapter: 6 The Hospital
Beta: assume_a_virtue
Warnings: Kind of end of anime spoilery...
Rating: PG13 I guess? Mild language, some gore later on, and possibly... probably Hentai if I ever get the guts to write it... or con persuade someone else into writing it for me.
Type of Fic: A Looove Story~
Pairing: AlxScieszka
Notes: I don't own FMA. This is derived from RP chats done with various members of the Fullmetal Folly RPG, where I play Al. I had the wonderful task of converting crack into fic. Woot.
Summary: And you thought that hospitals sucked... homestays are always better anyways~ ;)


Al hated hospitals. Not that he had really ever been to one before. But with his time here… if he ever needed a good reason to hate hospitals, he had a dozen now.

As soon as they got there he was rushed in to get stitches for his torn up back. It wasn’t until after the surgery that Al awoke. The hiss of a faucet rang in his ears. He tried to sit up, but a gentle hand pressed on his chest, keeping in his seat.

“We have to clean you up dear. Please relax.” Al’s eyes protested a bit as he looked at the woman. She was looking kindly down at him, with smooth blonde hair framing her face. She couldn’t have been more than in her late twenties. Al picked his head up a bit to look around the room. Other patients were lined up sitting with their backs to the walls. Some patients were old, others were young. Each was attended by a nurse. The entire room smelled like shampoo.

“Lean your head back dear.” Al did as he was told, training his eyes on the ceiling. His neck settled into the groove in the front of the sink. However, once the nurse leaned over him with her chest over his eyes, he decided the view wasn’t worth the risk. The feel of her fingers lathering the soap into his scalp was soothing- but then he heard something clink against the porcelain of the sink. Alphonse turned his head- and a red sink filled his vision. A dark clot with some hair in it was attempting to continue with the flow of the sink, but bobbed helplessly against the drain.

“Please turn around. I don’t want to get soap in your eyes.” Once again Al simply obeyed the nurse. Soon he was being wheeled from that room. He then entered a pristine room. There was no other bed, so he guessed he wouldn’t have a roommate. Once he was in bed, it was time for the sponge bath. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, and the bin and sponge were next to him. The nurse wrung out the sponge a few times, she leaned over towards Al, reaching for the snaps on his hospital gown. As sincere as the nurse looked, Al really wanted to bathe himself.

“C-could I do that- this?” The embarrassment on Alphonse’s face was obvious. The nurse nodded compliantly, taking pty on him. Al started to take off the shirt, but then let out a loud gasp. The nurse quickly leaned over and lowered Al’s hands.

“I can’t allow you to if it hurts you.” Al hung his head in defeat, and tried his best to concentrate on other things wile the nurse worked. Thankfully, he was saved some dignity since he didn’t have to reach up to get to his boxers.

Then came the pain medication. That was wonderful. Otherwise he really wouldn’t have been able to lay on his stomach, which was the best position for him to heal. And he couldn’t sleep on his side, they said. “It would put to much stress on the stitches.” Also, the occasional nurse would take a double take when she, or sometimes he, saw the name “Alphonse Elric” on the diagnosis sheet posted on the door. Al managed to smile and wave weakly to them, and a signature for a niece who was a ‘fan.’ The five or seven ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ conversations disturbed him. The whole thing left him drowsy and unable to sleep, with an uncomfortable numbness gnawing at his body that reminded him of his worst memory while people looked at him like he was on display. It couldn’t get much worse.

“So how did it happen?” The doctor asked. Al thought back to the fight– a fight with a homunculus who could change shape. The first excuse he could think of was:

“I don’t remember.”

Oh, yes. It could, in fact, get worse. After the doctor’s initial concern, Al made the mistake of telling him that forgetting things wasn’t new and that he couldn’t remember a third of his life. That was a big mistake. This led to more questions he haltingly responded to– which led to ‘therapy’ and more medicines. The ‘therapy’ involved him thinking back to the last moment he remembered– the train ride back to Resenbool is what he described while the image of his brother illuminated in scarlet ran through his mind. Human alchemy was, after all, highly illegal. The medicines made him feel tired and anxious, and the doctors constantly pestered him to see if he remembered anything new. He was shaky, tired, restless, dizzy, nauseous, numb, and it hurt dimly when he tried to move his neck or arms. When Scieszka peered into the room, he struggled not to cry with relief and his eyes begged her.

“Get me out of here.

“Please.”

It was a shocking welcome for poor Scieszka. She glanced behind her. The hallway was empty, and she quietly shut the door behind her. The finality of the latch on the door made her exhale heavily. As she turned, Al’s eyes still trained on her, Scieszka swallowed the lump in her throat. She crossed the too clean room to Al’s bed and for a moment she could only manage to hover over him awkwardly as his attention remained on her. After a big breath to clear her mind and gather courage, she finally broke the silence.

“How are you feeling?”

“I hate hospitals.” His voice cracked with exhaustion, both physical and mental.

Sciezka tenderly touched Al’s forehead, brushing his hair to the side. “I'm sorry- I wasn't sure how badly you were hurt, and this place has the best doctors. They took care of my mother.”

Al’s face scrunched up as he finally dropped the façade that he was anything other than a scared thirteen year old. “It sucks.” His misery increased as his nose started to run and his eyes began to water.

Scieszka could only grimace at Al’s expression. “I know.” This was a far cry from the Alphonse that had protected her against a giant exotic lizard. What had they put Al on? She carefully wiped away his tears. “My mother used to be a few rooms away. At least I'm familiar with the staff here... I'll try to get you out as soon as possible.”

Al’s arms were too tired for lifting so he settled for grasping the sheets. “I wanna go home.” He pleaded as the last traces of the mature Al vanished.

Scieszka looked around the room, strode to the door and opened it, peeked out into the hallway, closed the door, and then returned to Al. “Do you want to leave now?” Alphonse nodded, eyes streaming. “If I get you on my back again, will you be able to hang on?”

“I. Think so. They made me numb...” Scieszka sat on the bed and pulled Al’s arms over her shoulders, and tucked her arms under his knees to gradually lean him onto her back. Al’s arms and legs hung down a little too far for her to balance just right. However, all those years of lifting books must have given her a strong sense of balace. All the years of climbing her mountains of books was the only explanation of how she was able to stand up with him latched onto her back and yet not fall over. Of course, there was also her determination to get that horrid expression off of Al’s face as soon as possible. It worked almost immediately. Al leaned his head gratefully against her soft shoulder, sniffling a bit.

“Thank you.” Scieszka had never heard such feeling in two small words.

Just as Scieszka reached for the doorknob, a shadow paused, visible in the crack of light under the door. Al tensed– They could both hear the clipboard from the other side of the door being picked up and pages being flipped. Finally, the shadow walked away. Once the sound of steps had disappeared, they both exhaled. Scieszka turned the knob slowly, then poked her hand outside the door. After no response, she waved it frantically. Finally, Scieszka peeked out-
The hall was empty.

She chewed on her lip for a few seconds to calm her nerves, then scurried as fast as possible down the hallway with Al balanced precariously on her back. Al's nervous, warm breaths brushed against Scieszka’s ear. She couldn’t help but breathe in time with him, feeling his nerves and edginess seep into her. Somehow, they made it out without being spotted.

Once out of sight of the hospital, Scieszka sat Al down on a bench, then collapsed next to him. After a few minutes of both of them catching their breaths, Scieszka figured it was as good a time as any to figure out why Al was suddenly afraid of hospitals. “Al– have you never been inside a hospital before?”

Al shook his head slowly. Even that languid action seemed to make the ground move more than it should. “They. Kept giving me pills--asking questions. Couldn't sleep-” His word came out tiredly between breaths shaky from trying not to shed tears.

“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.”

“Which way is home-?” Al valiantly tried to remember which town he was in. All he wanted now was his nice warm bed and a bowl of his mother’s chicken soup. With the medication he’d been given, it was far too easy to slip into the house of his childhood, where he and his brother stayed up late in their room studying alchemy for no other reason than to make their mother smile…

Scieszka bit her lower lip, trying to decide where to go. “We're near Central. Where would you like to go?”

“C-central. Don't know much there– here.” Al’s memories drifted to what he knew of the city. He came here for the libraries and museums… and to watch an automail surgery in the best surgery theater in Amestris. He wanted to know what his brother had gone through, but Granny Pinako and Winry refused to let him watch one of their surgeries. He winced as the full grown man’s scream replayed through his head.

“Resenbool, then?” Scieszka offered, pulling Alphonse again from his memories. “Can you handle the train ride?”

Drifting again to the present, Al considered going back to Resenbool as he was, to face his brother. Al quickly decided that he wanted refuge somewhere closer.

“H'bout- your place?”

This new suggestion caused Scieszka to stiffen and start babbling. “I don't know if you'd be comfortable there, it really is a mess, and I don't even know if I have enough food there, what in the world will your brother think...”

Al remembered how much of a mess that Scieszka’s place was, but he had worked hard to fix that. The smile she gave him when the wonderful library-esque sliding shelves were installed made him more happy than words could describe…

But she said the place was a mess…

“Thought the shelves I made-did they break? Thought I did ‘em right.”

“No, no, they're absolutely fine, Al,” Scieszka said hurriedly. “We can go to my place.” She stood up and began to place Al on her back again. This gave Al the time to slowly trace over the other words of Scieszka’s previous babble.

“Nnn. Don’ matter 'bout Ed.” He nuzzled his cheek into her shoulder a little more.


Scieszka couldn’t help smiling. “That's not what you said before.” She headed for the softer grass rather than the hard sidewalk. Either way, she knew her feet were going to kill her in the morning.

Al responded by rubbing his nose lightly against her neck. “Don’ care-” Al suddenly noticed that Scieszka’s neck turned an interesting shade of pink when he did that.


When they arrived at her house, Scieszka fumbled for her keys, kicked the door open, stumbled in, and then with a sudden onset of grace, set Al on her bed. Al attempted to get up... but only managed a sort of guttural voicing of discomfort– followed by one signaling that he wouldn't mind staying in the bed.

Scieszka smiled warmly at him. “Just stay there.”

“Jus’– don't like that I-can't really not stay.” His words were mumbled, tired body rebelling against his will with the soft bed beneath him.

“Are you uncomfortable in here?” She asked, concerned.

“N-no. Jus’– tired.” He closed his eyes. “And it smells– like you.” Had Alphonse’s eyes been open, he would have caught the beautiful shade of scarlet on Scieszka’s face that his casual observation had caused. However, his mind was far from being as alert as it usually was. “S’nice.” He didn’t think he could fight against the peace creeping over him much longer.

“Al... I still like you.”

Now Al’s mind viciously fought to stay awake. His brow furrowed as he fought to put words together. “I like you. Mmm I– ”

Her hand landed lightly on his forehead, comforting him. “Shh, just get some rest.” Her voice wavered with the threat of tears. As her hand retreated, Al managed to bring his arm up, brushing his fingers against her arm as it retreated. His eyes were now open, shining with new tears, a window to the pain in his heart.

“Why are you crying?” The tears had surprised her. He had been almost asleep a moment ago.

A weak mysterious smile curved Al's lips. “Love you.”

It seemed too much like a dream. Time and place became indistinct, and Scieszka decided to take control before the dream broke in favor of the reality. She leaned down carefully, hands pressed to the sheets on either side of Al. Al’s eyes had closed before, and tears slid down his face. Her lips tasted like toffee. He knew it distinctly the way he knew nothing else, not time or even how long her lips remained against his. His lungs ached as he inhaled oxygen that seemed a sorry replacement for her mouth.

As she pulled back, she could see tears on his face that matched her own. Once again she wiped them away. This time, he leaned into the touch, closing his eyes. Scieszka’s lips softly brushed his face, tracing the salt path left by a tear. Al gasped in surprise and Scieszka could fell his eyelashes flutter when his eyes opened. She immediately stepped back from the bed, eyes studying his expression. Surprised lingered in his eyes and a blush on his cheeks.

“I'm sorry.” She said it rushed, simple. Al’s face moved from surprised because of the new sensation to being underlined with fear, and then, finally, to crushed hope.

“I shouldn't have– ” She barely held back tears. “You're going to hate me– if you even remember this.”

“But– ” His eyes searched hers. They were afraid, just like his. Did she really feel how he did? “Can– ” He started, stopped, and then shifted uncomfortably. “Can you at least stay while? ‘till I dream... sleep?”

Al’s honesty broke the last barrier keeping Scieszka from tears. “O- of course.” Al’s hand barely rose and twitched open, beckoning her to take it and she clung to it. The tears that fell now were not unwelcome, only a reaction to the extreme emotions of her day.

“I love you, Al.”

He closed his eyes, a soft smile on his lips.

“Love you too.”

1: The Party
2: The Apology
3: The Questions
4: The Goodbye
Interlude (4.5): AftermathWritten by rentetsu
5: The Battle

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
rentetsu
Aug. 16th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
~___~ That was fun to RP! And even more fun to revisit!

I really appreciate the little details. We agonize along with Al.

Oh, bad Schiezzie, no more picking on defenseless young men.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )