By Henrika

Henrika- Inspired and heavily based on episode 23 "Heart of Steel". Poor Ed. That was just so unfair, and then to have it happen on his birthday. Poor guy. Enoy his misery!

She entered Edward's room with the intention of telling him 'Happy Birthday!' but the room was empty. She felt bad about slapping him earlier, but she still felt completely justified. The boy put himself in so much danger, wrongly believing that he was the only one who could do anything for the situation he and his brother were in. And now they were both in the hospital, seriously injured. She sighed, going to look for them.

She ran into Sergeant Denny Brosch before she got too far. "Oh, hi Lieutenant Ross. Are you looking for the boys?" She nodded. "They're up on the roof. Ed said something about fixing Al now that his arm was working again."

"Thank you. I'll just wait for them in their room." She turned back, admiring the sunny view outside the hospital window. Brosch followed behind her, doing the same. Until the view was blocked by a large, falling shape. A familiar shape. They both ran to the window and Maria tore it open. They were just in time to recognize Al sprinting at top speed away from the building. And hear an anguished voice screaming his name. "That's Edward." Maria bolted for the roof, Denny practically following at her heels.

The scene was as heart wrenching as the one only a few days ago, when the boy had been caught in his own alchemic reaction. Winry Rockbell, the boys' friend from childhood, was desperately trying to restrain Edward, who was frantic, struggling hard to break free from her grasp, and all the while he was screaming his brother's name, over and over in sobbing breaths. The soldiers instantly went to her aid, pulling the boy back from the edge of the roof. Maria noticed the thin stream of blood and the already-forming bruise on the boy's cheek as they set him down.

"Get the doctor! Hurry!" Brosch left and Maria took stock of the boy's condition. He was still struggling, his head jerking spastically, but his actions slowed as he realized they were futile. He finally stopped, slowly turning in Winry's arms so he could sob dryly into her lap.

"I didn't…he thought…what I was trying to tell him was…"

"Shh. I know." Winry rubbed his back, trying to calm the shaking body.

"He thought I lied to him. He's real, he's real, he's real and he's my brother and I lost this arm for him and I love him and he thought I…thought I…" His voice broke off again and Maria began to grasp what had happened. She had noticed the tension running between the brothers as they'd recovered from the Fifth Lab and with Al running off like that; she figured that that tension had finally snapped.

"Why would he think that? Why wouldn't he trust our word?" Winry accidentally asked aloud.

"I don't know. What do I do?"

And the only thing Maria could think of was how much Edward looked like a lost child, a fragile, lost and broken child. And how she had told him to trust in adults, yet there was nothing she could do to help him.

She turned as Brosch returned with a doctor, who, after a quick examination, declared that the boy had gone into shock and injected him with a sedative. Ed continued to heave dry sobs until he fell asleep. Winry looked as though she was about to cry, but Ross heard her muttering, "Be strong." over and over under her breath. Maria took one last look over the railing (noticing the crunched metal that had been under the auto-mail hand) as they loaded Ed onto a stretcher. There was no trace of the armor that held Alphonse's soul. Maria sighed as she noticed the still-anguished look on Edward's face. "Happy Sixteenth Birthday Edward."

Henrika- Ok. It's out of my system. Expect more one-shots in the future and the next chapter of family will be up once I find a little time to type it! See ya next fic!