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Title: Birthnight
Author: Dearheart
Disclaimer: I'm not making any kind of profit from this (except maybe for some warm, fuzzy feelings) and I don't own anything of FMA. I don't even have it on DVD yet! *sniffle* But then, I'm a fairly new fan and my family is generally not into anime (with the wonderful exception of FMA, of course.) biggrin.gif

Summary: Edward Elric loves to sleep. But there is one night every year when he refuses to let his eyes close. (An angsty/fluffy brotherfic, and my very first FMA fanfic. So gimme some feedback, people! There's a new kid in town!)

“I never knew the nights were this long. Before this, I always spent my nights talking with brother about alchemy, about our future...and once we got tired from all the talking, we'd fall asleep and dream of happy things. One night seemed so short then. Now one night feels so... so awfully long.” – Alphonse Elric, chapter 43

~ Birthnight ~

Edward Elric loves to sleep.

After all, spending every day traveling, researching alchemy, chasing leads and getting into various kinds of trouble can be rather exhausting. And he once heard that getting a good night's rest helps you grow, so what he misses from his issues with milk he makes up for in sleeping hours. (In his reasoning, anyway.) He doesn’t care anymore where he tucks in for the night; he’ll sleep on anything from couches to cold, hard ground, with only a tuft of grass for his pillow. Arms beneath his head, mouth slightly open in a gentle snore, shirt rumpled upwards just enough to expose a bit of his stomach...he treasures every minute of unconscious bliss.

But there is one day out of the whole year when he refuses to let his eyes close. Instead he sits with the big, empty suit of armor beside him, the armor with the gentle voice of his little brother inside, and keeps vigil all through the night.

Alphonse rarely says anything, but Ed knows. He knows his brother longs to taste cake and ice cream again, to romp and play with the other barefoot children in soft, grassy fields, to know again the simple happiness of receiving ordinary presents, real presents...not just another can of oil for the armor's old hinges.

Truth can be a terrible, terrible thing; even more so when it is mixed with subtle deceit. There isn’t a day when a faint, ghostly thread of guilt doesn’t creep through the cold of his automail and whisper to him...he can’t taste, can’t smell, can’t feel...can’t cry, can’t smile, can’t sleep...because of you...your foolishness, your sin...he can’t, he can’t...

Then, like the glint of sunlight reflecting off the firm, silvery surface of Winry’s handiwork, the quiet hope and determination within him outshine the dark whispers:

But someday he will.

So Edward celebrates both their hope and his brother’s birthday in the best way he can: to sit next to him, count the stars with him, talk with him, be with for at least one night, Alphonse won't have to spend the long, wakeful hours alone.

And every year, the conversation eventually repeats itself. Alphonse will hesitate before venturing,

“Ed? You don't have to stay up all night, you know...”

“Don't give me that,” comes the hot retort. “No one should have to be all alone on their birthday night; least of all you, Al. So shut up.”

“But why? Why’re you doing this? It’s been a long day and I know you’re tired. Don't try to deny it.”

Hard obstinacy tinges Edward's voice as one by one, he counts the reasons on his gloved fingers. “One: it’s your birthday. Two: you're more than worth it. And three: making you happy makes me happy. It's as simple as that. And besides,” he sometimes adds, moonlight and distant bittersweetness in his eyes as he turns his gaze upwards, “I know you’d do the same for me.”

It is then that the two points of reddish light brighten from within the armor, glowing warmly in an unseen smile, and the young, gentle voice murmurs,

“Brother...thank you.”

And Edward will simply smile back and say,

“Happy birthday, Al.”

This drabbly little story was partly inspired by the picture above (by druihd on DeviantART. You can check out her gallery here.) I just adore this picture. *blissful sigh* happy.gif I was drooling over it for the umpteenth time and then out of the blue, a single phrase brushed against my mind: "Edward loves to sleep...but there is one night when he refuses to let his eyes close..." And the plot bunny kept nibbling and nibbling and wouldn't let go. So finally last night, at 2:00 AM in the morning, I caved and scribbled this thing.

Again, this is my very first FMA fic and I've only recently become a fullmetal fan, so if all you experts could give me some feedback or constructive criticism...gosh, I'd love you. biggrin.gif
I love this! I also love the pic, it really shows Ed's devotion to his brother.
Ugh! My cat keeps trying to eat my food! Nevermind.. he's eating my sister's food now.
Anywho, I looooove this fanfic!
That was just beautiful. Your descriptions painted a perfect image in my mind, and the emotions came through strong. Excellent job for a first fic! I'd love to see more from you. biggrin.gif

Loved this!
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