By Henrika

Henrika- Last chapter of "Family" coming in a few days, I swear. This was just an Alphonse piece I wanted to do, something introspective. Hope you like it.

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Alphonse Elric kept his concerns locked up inside himself, right in the place where his heart used to be. And besides, it wasn't as if he had that many concerns anymore. He was never hungry. He was never thirsty. He was never too hot or too cold. He was never sick. He was never truly tired. He was never in pain; that was only a vague feeling of pressure or a sudden lack of it. Or the strange feeling when someone touched his blood seal. At times, he wanted to feel these things, all these bad things, because maybe, maybe he would feel these things and still feel like he was human and alive.

But then he would feel selfish and look at someone who had become the source of concern he could not feel for himself. He would see so clearly the auto-mail limbs his brother concealed under his clothing, the two hunks of steel weighing down the blonde's small frame. That right arm had been sacrificed for him. His eyes would trace the line of the silver chain that led to Edward's pocket watch. His brother had sacrificed his childhood and what was left of his innocence for that. He would stumble over the glimmer of pain in his brother's golden eyes. His brother sacrificed his moments of weakness in order to conceal it from him, so he wouldn't worry. He would catch the symbol emblazoned on his brother's cloak as it flared out behind him, one he shared as well. His brother had sacrificed all his time in pursuit of that mark: the Flamel's Cross, the Philosopher's Stone, the mark of the sinner. His brother had done it all for him.

But he had been selfish once; refused to acknowledge his brother's devotion. Barry the Chopper suggested that he wasn't real, that Alphonse Elric had never existed. That his brother had created him and given him false memories. He had accused his brother of this; while Ed was still in the hospital recovering from the wounds he had received at Lab 5. Al didn't want to believe that the blonde had been lying to him, that he wasn't really human, but the idea had just been so strong. And then his brother hadn't denied it, hadn't really said anything; just slammed his hands against the table, just asked him if that was everything he had wanted to say. Then a serene look had come over his face and he had said, "…I see." At that moment, Al had wanted to wipe that calm look off that face and break that frail, bandaged body into pieces. And then Ed had just walked away, passing him without a word.

And then Winry had literally "wrenched" him back to his senses and her angry, tear-stained face made him realize just how badly those accusations must have hurt his brother. Al had been horrified with himself and quickly searched the hospital as Winry had demanded until he found his brother on the roof. Edward, despite his protests, started sparring with him and didn't stop until the gray armor had fallen. It was how they solved problems Al remembered, even as Ed refreshed his memory of previous matches and other little fights that they'd had as kids. He'd felt so guilty as Ed had softly half-asked him a question, "And you're saying those are all fake memories."

He felt guilty still, though they had long since reconciled over the incident. Al kept his concerns on the inside, because Edward's burden was already breaking his brother down. Alphonse would not be the one who broke him. He cared for the human concerns of brother; making sure Ed stayed rested, fed, and in good health.

"Do you need anything Brother?" He asked.

Ed just waved him off and grinned, that perfectly sincere fake grin that hid his pain. "Silly, I should be asking you that."

Alphonse wanted to be human, like his brother said he was and would be again. He wanted to be human, but not if his brother had to sacrifice his humanity or his life to do so. He wanted them both to be restored and to live happily without the burdens they had carried for so long. But Al knew his brother would sacrifice everything if it meant Al would have his body back.

And Al kept that concern locked away, hoping it would never be realized.

Henrika-Poor Al. So much to worry about when you have someone like Ed for a brother.