"Winry!" Edward screams, eyes wide and voice ringing.
He knows that he should be worrying about himself, about the fact that his ribs are cracked and blood is streaming out of his mouth, but honestly, he couldn't care less.
"Winry!" he screams again, as if his voice could rouse the still figure beside him.
He crawls over to her, making slow, laborious progress, and dammit this should be nothing, he's dealt with a fucking pole through his abdomen before. But his ribs shoot through with pain at every movement and it's getting so he can't breathe around the blood in his throat and no matter how fast he moves he's just too fucking slow.
And when he finally reaches her he coughs blood onto her too pale face with a spinning head and shaking hands and frantically grabs for her wrists, feeling for something, anything, that resembles a pulse.
He stills, eyes wide as he stares down at his hand.
He gives in and falls into her lap, dead asleep, an exhilarated smile on his face.
"No," he whispers, eyes down and studiously not looking at the boy - man - with golden hair and hazel eyes before him.
"No," he repeats, voice steadily gaining volume. "No, there has to be a mistake!"
His eyes are wide and his pupils are dilated and his hands wrench pathetically in the crisp white hospital sheets below him as he hyperventilates.
"I felt it!" he practically shouts, head finally snapping up frantically, "There was a heartbeat! She's alive!"
Al regards him with pity and more than a little empathy because she was his friend, too, and hears Ed's unspoken words.
She has to be.
"Al, I swear that if you don't help me-"
Ed slams him up against the wall, hand clenched in his collar and practically spitting in his face.
"Brother-" says Al, eyes wide because Ed has never acted like this toward him before, never, and because Ed is crying, and Brother never cries. "I can't let you-"
"Winry deserves to live," Ed interrupts, eyes flashing dangerously. "And I don't. I'm only Edward fucking Elric."
Ed glares at him for a moment before Ed's grip on Al's collar slackens, and they both crumple to the ground.
Ed's hands, slow and shaking, rise up to grip his head tightly.
"Al," says Ed, voice high and hysterical in realization, "Shit, Al, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry."
Alphonse Elric stares at his brother sadly and makes his choice.
"Back again, Mr. Al-che-mist?"
The smoky apparition grins savagely with pearl white teeth and stands on it's single leg of flesh.
"What'll it be this time?" It tilts its head thoughtfully. "An arm? A leg?"
Suddenly, Truth appears half a foot away from Ed. "Your soul?"
"Anything," Ed replies hoarsely. "Take anything. Everything. Just bring her back. Bring her back. Bring her back."
"Oh, Mr. Al-che-mist," says Truth, grin not faltering for a second, "you should know better than to say that."
"Brother!" Alphonse scream, eyes wide and voice ringing
His hands are still firmly planted within the transmutation circle and the glow hasn't even faded yet.
"Brother!" he screams again, reaching out for fingers that disintegrate right before his eyes.
He sprints toward the dying man - boy - and only just manages to make out the last vestiges of a smile on Edward Elric's face before he's gone forever.
When he turns back to the grotesque mess of shadows and darkness, he isn't even surprised by the chestnut locks of hair that curl from the thing's head.