Series: either one
Word Count: 1,266
Summary: They loved that book of myths.
A/N: I don’t know if it shows, but I used to be obsessed with Greek mythology as a child. (And kind of still am.)
Like with any other child, she had started by reading fairytales to them. They had listened as brave princes fought dragons and trolls to save the beautifully princesses, as huntsmen saved their prey instead of turning them in for ransom, and as mermaids enchanted sailors with beautiful song. But eventually Trisha’s book of fairytales ceased to entertain the two brothers. So she went and purchased them a new book.
This book was different. It didn’t drabble in happy endings and heroes riding off into the sunset. They dealt with monsters that were seeking revenge upon an old enemy and heroes dying at the hands of their wife, from whom they committed adultery. And that had made Trisha hesitate in buying it for them, they were such young souls. But she decided that they were old enough to hear them. They were as good as they were gory, which was plenty.
The boys had loved that book of myths. And every night they had Trisha read the myths to them, there was no excuse such as she was too tired or it was way past there bed time. No she would have to read those myths to them. They even showed the book to their friend, Winry Rockbell, which they had never cared to do with the other. Edward liked the story Perseus defeating the mighty gorgon Medusa, Alphonse liked the story of King Midas, for he claimed it to be very comical. Winry liked the tale of Athena and Arachne, Edward had rolled his eyes and said that of course she would like that myth. Athena’s temper matched her own. (That comment had resulted in a swollen cheek.)
It later got to the point where they would no longer play games of knights and dragons but of the myths from that book. They would reenact each one, sentence by sentence, word per word. They knew that book like they knew the backs of their own hands. When it was so hot and their skin was as pink as the lemonade Mrs. Stubblefield would serve them, they would run down the hills carrying sticks with pretend fire, mimicking Prometheus bringing fire to the mortals below. On days it was completely frigid outside yet not too cold as to prevent them from going out, Winry pretended to be Persephone and Ed her husband Hades who had trapped her in the underworld. Alphonse alternated between the roles of Hermes and Demeter. It was then that Winry decided that she would never marry Ed, for he would be a terrible husband, if his acting at being her pretend husband had anything to show for it. And one time, when Ed cheated in a game of handball at school, it was Alphonse who came up with the idea of having Ed clean out Mr. Dubose’s horse stables, for they could find anything heavy enough for him to roll up a hill, as Winry had suggested. Anther time, when the river was overflowing, they played by the riverside, Winry pretending to be Athena, Alphonse Poseidon and Ed the people of Athens, reenacting how they chose their patron god and how Poseidon had managed to destroy the city. Eventually they were shooed out by the adults, claiming it to be too dangerous and too late at night for them to be out playing fairytales. Ed got extremely mad when he heard this.
They lived and breathed those myths and even when they had gotten older and their mother had died and they could no longer find time for playing, they would still reread them at night when they were lonely. But the night they had burned down their house, they didn’t salvage anything but clothing and supplies needed. And there was no proof, but the brothers believed that the book had burned along with all of their other childhood memories.
It was late at night and Ed was fast asleep and Alphonse was completely and utterly bored with himself. The only other person awake in the house was Winry, but he couldn’t build up the courage to bother her while she was busy working on Ed’s automail. He knew Ed wanted to leave as soon as possible, so he wouldn’t distract her while she was working.
So he hobbled downstairs, trying to make as little noise as possible, not that it was very possible with the weight of his armor echoing with emptiness with every clang his foot made against the floor and the squeaks of protest the stairs beneath him were giving. When he had first been getting used to this body, he had been so afraid of simply falling through the floor due to his weight and the stress he was putting on the wood, but Pinako had reassured him that he was making up rubbish believing that such old, strong, sturdy wood would just crumple beneath him. But at that time it had felt like everything was crumply out from under beneath him.
He came downstairs and knowing that it would bother anyone who was sleeping, since they were all upstairs, he turned on one of the oil lamps in the living room. He strayed to the book shelf that stood in the corner of the room, next to the fire place. He knew the selections were mostly peppered with books on human anatomy and engineering, but he hoped he could find something even possibly entertaining amongst the selections.
As he browsed the selections, running one leather finger over the spines, he found his finger lingering over one book in particular. It was old and well-worn to the point where the blue coloring on the spine had all but disappeared. He pulled the old book of myths out and flipped through the old pages in reminiscence. All the pages were intact and there was still the stain on the page with the picture Poseidon where he had spilled his orange juice on it. So it hadn’t burned in the fire.
There was something so exciting about this discovery that made him read through every single myth, over and over again, relinquishing in good childhood memories and the time when he still had his human body and he was still young and innocent. He had even thought of going and showing Winry the book in all of his excitement, but it dawned on him that Winry probably already knew of the books existence. She lived here; this was Edward and Alphonse’s second visit in two years.
All of the sudden Alphonse felt bad, and took the reappearance of the book as an omen, a reason to try and return home more often. A reminder of what was still left for them here. He felt himself attaching to his good memories and felt the need to go out into the front yard and play King Midas, but it was late at night and he had no one of whom would want to play with him.
They were all too busy with their adult lives.
He stayed up, going though that book over and over again, almost as if afraid that if he didn’t, the pages would just start to disappear and the book would turn out blank. At dawn, making sure Ed was still asleep, Alphonse crept bad upstairs and placed the book down on Ed’s suitcase, where he would be sure to see it. He wasn’t sure if Ed would find the same enlightenment from the book he had, but he figured it was worth a try. If he was too young to grow up yet, so was Ed.