Words in the Heart

A Fullmetal Alchemist Fanfic

By Jaelle

Disclaimer AND Warning:

At the time I wrote this fic, I had seen ONE episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, I’d read up about the show, and I’d read a lot of fanfic. I swore once that I would never be the sort of person who wrote fanfics based on OTHER people’s fanfics and an extremely sketchy knowledge of a series. Then this fic clamped an auto-mail hand around my throat and wouldn't let go until I wrote it down. I ASKED it to wait till I'd seen more, but it wouldn't LISTEN!

So I figured that hey, I’m going to hell anyway for some of the other stuff I’ve written in my life, I might as well make sure I get a good seat for the ride.

The characters herein are not mine, and no harm or copyright infringement is intended.

It had started out, as so many things do, as a joke.

“Magnetic poetry!” Hughes had said triumphantly, holding the small box aloft. “You just stick the little words to a metallic surface and spell out a poem. There are some spare letters too, for if there isn’t a word you want.”

He’d demonstrated the toy for everyone else, hesitantly trying to spell out a poem about his daughter and how wonderful she was. After the third time the little words had fallen off the small metal bar he was using to demonstrate them on, Alphonse had leaned over to help him pick them up... and promptly found them sticking to his fingers.

“Aha!” Hughes had crowed. “Alright, hang on a moment. Now, with the help of my lovely assistant Alphonse...”

And, carefully choosing the right words, he had stuck, “be loved daughter of my heart” across Al’s chest.

Havoc had snorted and swapped ‘daughter’ out for ‘son’. “You don’t want to cast aspersions on Al, do you?”

This had led to an interesting argument, and as they’d yelled, the others had crowded around to try out the new toy. It had all been very amusing, right up until when Ed returned from the library and promptly threw a fit about the “exploitation” of his little brother.

The hot-tempered Alchemist had used a lot of words that were NOT among the ones in the pack, confiscated the whole thing, and stormed off, dragging Al along with him.

“Honestly,” he’d fumed, “What were you THINKING?”

When Al had hesitantly commented that it had been fun, and everyone had been enjoying themselves so much, the older boy had gone very quiet. The next day before he left, he’d returned the pack to Al, and then carefully stuck, “be wary of the Alchemist” across Al’s shoulder.

Everyone had been pleased to see their new game come back to them, and had promptly bent their talents to composing some very strange poetry on Al. Even though he couldn’t really feel their hands on him, he enjoyed the sense of contact, the feeling of connection that came out of the game. And somehow, Hughes had never gotten around to taking the little words home. Ed painstakingly picked them all off every time the brothers went off on a mission, and just as painstakingly put them all back on again when they’d returned, so that the game could continue.

Once, a particularly nasty smile on his face, Ed had composed an entire mission report out of the little magnetic words (which had mysteriously multiplied over the months as people bought additional sets to augment Al’s ‘vocabulary’). The look on Colonel Mustang’s face when Al marched in to “present their report” had been priceless, and Al was only grateful that he was unable to sink into the ground from a combination of embarassment and a case of the giggles. It had almost been worth having to deal with Ed’s explosion after he’d returned from the Colonel’s office with a particularly rude poem about certain short Alchemists arranged across his face.

Sometimes, when Ed was at the library and noone he knew was around, Al would take up position in a corridor somewhere and pretend to be an empty suit of armour, which was easy. Then he would pretend to be a non-sentient suit of armour, which was harder and less fun.

But sooner or later he would be rewarded as someone found the urge to “play” with the poetry irresistable, and would compose something on him. Al was careful never to betray the authors of these verses, although he sometimes had to “edit” the poems he came home with. He really didn’t think Ed would appreciate the odes to “Fullmetal the cute” for example, or the often extremely long paeans of love to the Colonel (usually with very tortured rhymes, and descriptions of his anatomy that would have made Al blush furiously if he could). Usually he just brushed them off or roughly dragged his fingers through them, turning them into incomprehensible gibberish.

One day, when Ed was idly reading the latest works of the typing pool on Al’s arm, he’d paused at an unusually good poem about the importance of holding on to hope.

“Did you compose this one?” He’d asked.

Al had rubbed the back of his head nervously. “Ah, that is... no.”

Ed had looked at him strangely. “Why are you embarassed?” He’d reached out and begun to peel some of the words off and rearrange them, ‘always face...’

“Damn,” he’d sworn as he yanked the glove off his living hand and pried the next word free. “Stupid gloves, can’t get my fingernails under...”

He’d stopped, and silence had descended between them. Eventually, he’d continued prying ‘forward’ out of Havoc’s latest masterpiece and carried on, without saying anything.

A few days later, he’d approached Al again, a confused look on his face. Al had just returned from a successful foray downtown, and had come back with a rather sweet comment about melty chocolate icecream and a limerick about a young lady which he hadn’t understood, but which had caused all of the men in the barracks to collapse into fits of howling laughter after reading it.

“Doesn’t it bother you?” Ed had burst out, “That you can’t use the words? Everyone puts down what they’re thinking about, what they think, how they feel, but you can’t use the words, and you can’t tell us what you feel... and you can’t...” He’d trailed off, looking away.

Al had reached out to his brother and held his real shoulder gently. “It doesn’t matter,” he’d said quietly. “I don’t need the outside words...”

“I have the real words in my heart.”


Author’s Notes:

Idea gotten from a wedding I attended, at which the groom was wearing a full suit of armour (he took the helmet off for the ceremony). Afterwards, his new in-laws covered him with fridge magnets. :-) Title and ending inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay. I just liked the idea of Al being used to express other people’s feelings, when he cannot feel things properly himself. And technically he doesn't even HAVE a heart at the moment, but I don't like using "soul" in this sort of context. If enough people howl about it however I'll change it.

This was originally going to be a short, silly drabble, only it mutated on me and turned into this kind of semi-sad thing instead, which I actually like much better. If you’re interested in seeing the original piece however, I’ve added it here below:

Lieutenant Hawkeye strode to the loudspeaker system and pressed the transmit button.

“Attention all staff!” She yelled loudly into the microphone, the echoes of her voice rocketing around the base and successfully drowning out the sounds of screaming and swearing that had been dominating the airwaves until now.

“Would the person who spelt out ‘Edward Elric is a really CUTE kid’ in magnetic letters across Alphonse this afternoon please come to the main office and own up, so that he can kill you and we can all get back to work? Thank you.”

“And Colonel, if it was you, RUN!”

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