Close Your Eyes

Disclaimer: Ed, Al, and company belong to their respective owners.

Notes: What to say... First written in the car on the way to visit relatives. I wrote the last part while listening to the instrumental version of "Brothers"...and it got me feeling kinda depressed. XD I'm such a dork.

Just so we're all on the same page, "niisan" means "older brother" and it's what Al calls Ed.

-o-o-o-o-

A flash of lightning illuminates the huge figure stumbling up the stairs, unsteady on stiff metal legs. The crash as he trips and falls nearly drowns out the ensuing clap of thunder. He curses himself and scrambles to his feet. Niisan is going to bleed to death if he can't pick up the pace.

He throws open the medicine cabinet with such force that the attached mirror cracks and shatters. 'Seven years bad luck,' he thinks automatically in the back of his mind, as he seizes a roll of bandages and clumsily makes his way back down to the basement.

Heavily and awkwardly he kneels next to the bleeding boy. "I'll help you, Niisan," he says in a hollow, trembling voice he doesn't recognize to be his own.

He takes the bandages and begins wrapping the place where Niisan once had an arm. "Al," he says in a choked gasp, promptly passing out. Al manages to catch him before he hits the floor.

As he continues to bandage Niisan he becomes increasingly aware of how clumsy his huge fingers are. He's terrified he's going to make Niisan's injuries worse. Yet in the back of his mind it registers that he is experiencing none of the physical symptoms one might associate with terror, like difficulty breathing, or trembling...

He is halfway through with bandaging Niisan's thigh when he notices how badly Niisan is shivering. He notices the way Niisan's blood stands out, dark and shining, against his cold metal armor. And he loses control.

'My fault,' he thinks desperately, blind panic taking control of his mind. 'I'm making it worse. He's dying. Because of me...'

He pulls Niisan into his arms, careful to avoid the numerous spikes adorning his new body. He leaves the house and tears down the hill, terrified he's going to pitch forward and damage his precious parcel even further. But still he runs, because he's more afraid of Niisan dying in his arms.

He reaches Winry's house, still panicking. He listens to himself beg Auntie and Winry to save Niisan, then watches as they gently lift Niisan from his cold, unwilling arms.

Now, Al wants to wake up. Because this has to be a nightmare. All he has to do is close his eyes, and then when he opens them again, he'll be safe and sound in his own bed.

But he finds he cannot close his eyes.

And, as he sinks to his knees in devastation, he finds he cannot cry, either.

-o-o-o-o-