He sat alone in his corner, looking at the watch as it glistened under the morning sun. He’d done it. He’d passed the test and now he was a State Alchemist. The watch was his. The privilege was his. The knowledge would be his. He sighed and held the watch by its chain, watching as it lazily twirled over and over.
He’d gotten this watch for Al. He’d gotten this watch for Al’s sake in order to save his little brother from the fate he had imposed on him. He had sold his soul over in order to rectify a mistake he had vowed never to do again. A mistake he had almost made again.
He threw the watch in the air and caught it as it went down, holding it tightly in his fist. He’d gotten it so Al and he could get closer to their goal. He’d gotten it so he would be closer to attaining some kind of salvation. He’d gotten it so he’d never forget what they lost. Nothing could be gained without losing something.
He closed his eyes and saw his house burning. Al had stood by him in silence as he had held the burning stick and went around the house setting fire to everything. He had stood by his side as they watched the flames lick the sky and the smoke color the stars. He had stood by him as he threw the stick within the flames, never crying, never flinching. He had come with him when he had turned his back to the burning carcass and began walking away towards a journey he could not phantom the destination.
He opened his eyes and stared at the watch, tears burning and blurring his vision. He couldn’t forget. He should never forget. He always had to remember it. He always had to remember his house, his home, his family, his life. A life he no longer had; a life now out of his reach. He blinked the tears back and stood up, rummaging around the room for the closest thing he was looking for. He had to have something that he could use. He had to have something that could carve the metal.
Smiling, he closed his hands around the screwdriver and sat back down by the window. He flicked the watch open and began his work. He watched as the metal was chipped away and began to resemble letters. He watched fascinated as the words slowly began to form.
He could remember Al running around the garden, laughing and smiling, his arms outstretched, pretending he could fly. He could see his mother chiding him for tripping his younger brother who had gone crying to her because ‘mean old Ed’ was doing it again.
He could see Winly watching as he and Al practiced alchemy, now over her initial fear of the strange science. He remembered Al and him searching their father’s book collection for anything new, for anything that they could experiment with. He could still feel the old paper crackling in his hand as he turned page after page.
He would not forget. He would forever remember the day Al’s dreams went up in flames. He would always remember the day his past was turned to ash. He would always remember the day his mother’s house was turned into black clouds.
And if he forgot, he would be reminded.
He would be reminded and he would remember his destination.