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It crept up on him without him realizing it. 

The sun had a way of improving his mood and Ed loved working in the neighborhood, helping the people who had taken them in a year ago.  He and Alphonse had started out with a small alchemy business.  Al did the transmutations and Ed did a lot of research and designed circles as they needed.  It paid the bills, but they’d been scraping by until they realized they had another, much needed, commodity for a community by the docks.  Translation.  Their knowledge of the world, languages, and customs outside of Aerugo were in demand.  Their business took off and now they ran an alchemy and translation business from the shop underneath their apartment. 

Today, they’d helped repair one of the docks that had been blown out by a bad storm.  For something like that, Ed refused payment, but he’d been told by three different captains that there would be compensation forthcoming. 

He wasn’t too upset about the idea.  He figured they’d be eating pretty good for a while on free fish from the fishermen and whatever spices the trader came back with on his next trip. 

Ed loved their little community.  The people were as friendly as those they’d left behind in Resembool, but the place was as busy as Central.  It kept Ed moving.

And as he sat at the large fountain in the middle of the square, Ed realized that he was happy.  Truly happy.  He didn’t know the last time he’d felt that way. 

He set his hands behind him and leaned back on the cement block that was part of the fountain.  He closed his eyes and tipped his face up to the sun, enjoying the warmth of it and the splash of water behind him. 

He felt the shadow before he saw it.  He opened his eyes to see his brother smiling over him.

“Good day?” Alphonse asked.

“You bet,” he said as his brother sat beside them.  Alphonse handed him a pastry from their favorite stall in the marketplace and Ed took a big bite before he looked back at Al. 

“What?”

“You seem good today.”

“I’m not supposed to be?”

Alphonse’s face fell a little and Ed hated that he put that look there, but last night had been pretty rough and they both knew it.  Ed didn’t know what his brother heard when he woke Ed from nightmares.  Alphonse never said anything. 

It was a rough day for both of them though.

“Hey,” he said before Alphonse could say anything about yesterday.  “A year ago, you and I boarded a train to Aerugo and it was the best decision we ever made,” he said.  He believed it too. 

Alphonse let out a deep breath.  “I think you’re right.  I know a lot of people were upset when we took off like that, but it was for the best.”

“Yeah.”

“You did what was best for him too.”

“Alphonse- “

“I’m still in touch with Hawkeye and Havoc,” Alphonse said quietly.  Ed gaped at his little brother because he’d always suspected his brother knew who he’d been with but he’d never mentioned it before.  “They said it was touch and go for a while there, but last year something happened and he started to clean his act up.  They still keep a close eye on him, but Hawkeye called this morning.  She said it was a bad night for him, but not like the others.  She said- ”

“I don’t want to know what she said, Al.”

“She said he was mourning for something else too.”

Ed closed his eyes and let out a deep breath.  “Good.”

“I don’t agree with whatever was happening, Brother, but I think walking away when you did was the best thing for him too.”

“Well, I didn’t walk away for him, Al.”

Alphonse shook his head.  “I think you did.   But whatever the reason, I’m glad that you’re happy now.”

Ed looked at Alphonse and nodded before he stuffed his mouth with food to keep from having to talk any more.  He didn’t want the past to bring him down today after he’d worked hard to be in such a good place.

He couldn’t help but admit, if only to himself though, that it was good to hear Mustang was doing better.  As much as Ed had been hurt by him, he never wanted ill for the other man.  When the worst of the hurt had ebbed, he’d even wished him well. 

He wasn’t ready to see him again, and he wasn’t sure he ever would be, but time healed all wounds they said.  Ed could only hope that was true for Mustang.  He hoped his leaving had woken the general up to the downward spiral he was in and that he’d been able to find help for it. 

Time had given Ed the ability to hope for that much.