Jeez, I think the last time I wrote a FMA fanfic was in 2005, this is weird...
Title: Not His Fault
Rating: PG-13 for implied sexuality on Ed's part
Pairings: None, except for a mention of EdWin
Summary: While Ed sleeps, Al contemplates his armor body and if he really doesn't blame his brother for what happened.
Comments: Eh...I dunno...I always wondered if, besides that moment in vol 4 of the manga, if Al ever slipped and did blame his brother for what happened to him. Truth did fuck Al over, so he must have a LITTLE bit of jealousy over the fact that Ed got to keep his body.
I know Ed has TEH GUILT TRIPS about all of this, but it is written from Al's point of view, after all. I know the point it time is totally non-canonical in the manga, but meh, whatever.
At least, that's what the clock in the corner of the room read. Let's see...only 3 minutes since he last checked that clock. He could have sworn at least some time had passed...
Still, it had been like this for four years. Nights were always longer than he thought. He should be used to it by now.
Alphonse wished he hadn't finished reading that book he had borrowed from the Central library about studies in botany and alchemy. It hadn't been particularly interesting but...it was something.
He always needed something to get him through these long nights.
Though, on nights like this when he had nothing to do, Alphonse Elric merely sat in a chair in the corner of the room and thought on some subject or another. Maybe it was wondering about some new alchemy theory that Ed had brought up earlier in the day. Maybe it was wondering about how Granny and Winry were doing back in Resembool.
Sometimes, he just sat, and thought of the past--those happy memories that were proof of his humanity.
A loud grunt from the other side of the room brought Alphonse Elric's thoughts to the present. Currently, it was the middle of the night, and Ed was soundly asleep, having twisted himself around the sheets, once again.
Ed had never been a quiet sleeper. Many times in their childhood, Alphonse would be woken up by Ed's snores, or his mumblings in the middle of the night. He could even remember one time when Ed had sleepwalked his way halfway to the door before Al had caught him.
But now that Al had no choice but to stay awake these nights, he noticed how much of a restless sleeper Ed was. Not a night went by that Ed didn't roll in his bed, or thrash with the sheets, or talk in his sleep to various friends of his.
Ah, dreams. Al could hardly remember what it was like to dream.
Tonight, Ed seemed to be having some sort of dream about Winry. This happened every so often--well, Al figured it should happen more often, given how shrouded Ed kept his feelings while awake--and sometimes when the dreams got a little...heavy to speak, Al had to leave the room for his brother's privacy.
Though it didn't look like tonight would be one of those dreams, thank goodness, Al could still make out Ed's muffled whispers, "Wi...Winry...you...safe...please...
Ed always kept his worries guarded from everyone else, but at least at night, in his dreams, he showed he cared.
That's how Ed was, after all, and Al knew it. Ed annoyed a lot of people, especially Winry, who sometimes called him uncaring for disappearing for weeks without calling. But Al knew better--it was easier this way, for him, at least, to put her behind him so he could move forward--even if he would worry himself sick sometimes about it later.
The three of them had known each other for a long time, but Al had always figured that Ed and Winry had a soft spot for each other, even back when they were children. Maybe at the time, he had been a little jealous--after all, hadn't they all grown up together?--he had put that behind him now. When Winry worried about both of them, he noticed that most of her anxious glances were for Ed.
And as for Ed's part well...the dreams said it all.
But Al was happy for them. When Ed eventually came around (or had he already? After all, didn't he mention hiding out in Winry's house for a few months? Had something happened there that his brother was reluctant to talk about? Well...it would explain the increased frequency of the dreams...) they would be happy, he was sure of it.
Because that's what Al wanted. He wanted his brother to be happy.
After all, his brother always tried to do things for him. Back when they were young, he looked out for him. Now he promised that he would do anything anything to get Al's body back.
That was his brother. Caring, selfless, putting himself on the line just for him.
Al knew Ed felt guilty about what had happened that day, and would willingly sacrifice another of his arms or legs if it meant getting Al's body back. But Al would never let him do it. Because his brother had already sacrificed too much for him.
Yes, Ed was a good brother. Al could ask for nothing more.
Al sometimes wished that Ed wouldn't push himself too hard, though. Because after all, he was human.
Ah, there came those thoughts--those impure, unwanted, evil thoughts--that sometimes came at night. Whenever he noticed it, Al would instantly push it away, like he was doing now, but sometimes, he couldn't quite do it.
His brother was still human. That was why he could still sleep. Still dream. Still have those thoughts about Winry.
Still eat. Still grow. Still smile. Still cry. Still feel the sun on his face. Still feel the warmth of another human being. He could still do everything.
What could Al do? He couldn't sleep. He couldn't eat. Couldn't cry, couldn't dream. Couldn't age. Nothing. A shell of a person. Just the soul, nothing more.
Still, that wasn't his brother's fault. It was the Gate's fault, after all.
But they had committed the same sin! Why had the gate taken so much from Al and so little from Ed? Al would have gladly given his arm or his leg or both if only he could have stayed human!
It wasn't fair! How could it have been fair!
But none of that was Ed's fault. They had both committed the same sin.
Yet if they had committed the same sin, why had the consequences been so vastly different?
Ed didn't know how lucky he was. He said he hated his automail--hah! What Al would have given if he was still human with all automail limbs!
He complained about it, sure, but the stares you got with one arm made of automail was nothing compared to the stares he got walking around in a suit of armor. A suit of armor that might soon reject his soul and send him back into the gate for good.
But none of that was Ed's fault. Ed felt enough guilt over it. Al knew that if something like that happned to him, Ed would never forgive himself for it.
No, no, he couldn't think like that. They would solve this. He would get his body back. He would be human again. Ed would have no reasons to worry and Al--
But if they couldn't get his body back? Even if his soul wasn't rejected, he would be stuck like this forever. A walking tin can. While Ed would age and grow, be able to have a family, be able to live a normal life, he would not. He would never age, and just walk the earth like this--a shell of a being--forever.
Ed had no right to complain. He had it easy compared to Al! Every time Ed complained was a moment he could be spent enjoying life wasted. Why waste his life as a human when he had the opportunity to live as one? Why waste time pretending when he could be out there, loving Winry like he should when he didn't know if they would live to the next day?
Al didn't have that luxary. As long as he lived like this, he never would have. No one would love a shell of a person in a suit of armor. He wasn't even human--how did he know his friends didn't secretly think of him as a freak as well?
Even people who hated Ed at least saw him as a person. A human being. Something that Alphonse knew he was not, though he hated to admit it.
Though...none of that was Ed's fault. His brother told him he was human. Shouldn't that be enough for him?
But it wasn't. It never was.
Why had Truth taken so much from Al and so little from Ed? Well, maybe Al would never know...
It wasn't Ed's fault. It could never be.
And no matter what Al thought, Ed could never know. He knew his brother had too many worries, too much guilt over the situation. And so Al told him over and over that it wasn't his fault, that Ed should focus on getting his arm back as well. He did care about his brother, after all.
He just wished that sometimes Ed knew how good he really had it.
Oh look, 3:41 already. At least he had found a way to make some of the time pass...