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Brave New World

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“You can use the back door.”

Truth’s words rang in Ed’s ears as he staggered, nearly falling onto Al. “Whoa.” He passed his hand - his flesh hand – over his forehead, breathing out. “That was something.”

Something amazing. Something incredible.

Ed wrapped his arms around Al’s shoulders, deeply inhaling his little brother’s scent. Al needed a bath. But he could actually have a bath. It didn’t matter that he smelled weird. “We’re back.”

“Brother?” Al broke in. His voice sounded so different, no longer metallic, not ringing off the hollow inside of a suit of armor. “I don’t believe we’re in the same place we were before.”

Opening his eyes, Ed slowly turned from where he knelt behind Alphonse.

A city surrounded them, ash grey except for strange columns Ed recognized as smoke. There were bright flashes of fire scattered around. Overhead, a trail of grey arced across…it wasn’t a sky, what the hell was it? – before vanishing abruptly. Somewhere, Ed couldn’t quite pinpoint where, he could hear voices shouting, though he couldn’t make out the words.

None of the details he’d registered seemed familiar.

“Damn it.” Ed squeezed Al’s shoulder, reminding himself wherever he was, he wasn’t alone. But it still begged the question:

“Where the hell are we?”

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