Sans Birthday Cake

Summary: Brotherly love is spending the morning out in the rain, in line to buy that one special present... Sibling fluff with a crackish twist at the end. No one's OOC.

Disclaimer: It's just a fanfic that I'm not making any profit from.

-o-o-o-o-

Ed and Al hate July, for that is when Al turns another year older.

He misses the birthday cakes that Mom used to make; all soft and fluffy and moist with vanilla frosting. Because Al always picked vanilla on his birthday; Ed always went for chocolate.

Al misses the parties they would have with the Rockbells; the whole lot of them would be singing "Happy Birthday" and Den would jump about, excited by all the noise.

But now he's older, and he can't eat birthday cake and there's no time for a party. Niisan always gets him a present and tries to keep his smile from looking so guilty. "Sorry it's not the Philosopher's Stone, Al," Niisan says, in a nonchalant tone that isn't really all that nonchalant.

"It's okay, Niisan," Al always says. "Maybe we'll have birthday cake next year."

But "next year" never yields the elusive Philosopher's Stone, or the even more elusive missing birthday cake. Al keeps on saying it's okay, he doesn't mind; they're alive, and that's what matters.

Ed is always feeling the guilt, but it's always worse when Al's birthday rolls around.

But one year, it's a little different. One year, July rolls around and the city of Central is abuzz.

Because this July, something is coming; something that hundreds, even thousands of people all across Amestris have been waiting for.

And Al wants to be there right when it comes.

"Midnight?" Ed asks skeptically one evening.

Al nods. "Because it officially comes tomorrow. Right when it's midnight, everyone can go out and get it -"

"No way," Ed says, as they head back to their dormitories. "It's not even nine o'clock, and I'm already exhausted. I'm not staying up till midnight."

"B-but, Niisan, its just one night."

"I said no!" Ed yawns. "Some of us need to sleep, you know!"

He regrets it as soon as he says it. He looks up at Al, hoping for some sort of reaction; but no, Al is silent. Ed stuff his hands in his pockets and the two walk on in silence, Ed despising this mask of his brother's that can never come off.

-o-o-o-o-

The next morning, Ed is gone.

Al looks all around the dormitory but his brother is nowhere to be found; Ed must've stepped out, but Al wonders why he didn't hear him. Too preoccupied with his thoughts, perhaps...

Al is starting to get worried when he hears the door click and Ed walks in. He's wet; Al looks out the window and notices the slight drizzle falling outside.

Ed is clutching something to his chest and grinning. "Because it occurred to me last night that this thing means more to you than a birthday cake or a party or anything..."

"Did you...?"

"I stood in line for this, you know, little brother," Ed says in a haughty tone that's obviously just for show.

"Niisan, is that...?"

"Just because we didn't go stand in some ridiculously long line at some ungodly hour last night doesn't mean I wasn't gonna let you get one, Al," Ed grins, holding out a square-shaped package. "Happy birthday."

Al takes the package with trembling hands and rips away the wrapping, revealing the object everyone's been waiting for, for what seems like forever. Al just stares at it, turning it over in his hands, unable to speak.

"Ya like it?" Ed wants to know.

"T-thank you, Niisan-!" comes the excited, choked reply, and Al plunks down in the middle of the floor and tears into Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

-o-o-o-o-

Notes: Yeah, I dunno either. The silly idea of Al wanting HBP popped into my mind when we went out at midnight on July 16th, hoping to score a copy, and found an insanely long line. XD So yes.

If you flame I will get upset because I'm just a pussy like that. Then I'll delete your flame, get over it, and laugh about it.

Next chapter is a follow-up that takes place as Al is finishing the book. So, it's going to have major spoilers. Most people reading this have probably finished the book by now, but of course I can't assume that so I've gotta warn everybody. Next chapter contains HBP spoilers.

Comments? Criticisms? Cheesecake?