Guess whose birthday it is today (Oct. 11th)? Not mine . . . not Nana's (though, hers is coming up in a few days). It is my mom's birthday, but y'all don't care about that. Give up?

It's Edward's. (nods) I've written him a birthday drabble to honour the occasion. Enjoy!

Just This Once

"Would you like to have dinner with me tonight? Y'know, just as friends."

It isn't fair, Edward Elric thought as he looked up from his work, blinking in surprise at the man before him. It isn't fair that you have his face and voice and aren't him. Who knew God hated me that much . . .

"What's the occasion?" he asked with a lopsided grin, easily overcoming the loss of breath and the painful pull in his chest that he got every time he saw the man. It isn't him, he told himself for the umpteenth time.

The dark brows knitted together in bemusement and Ed had to catch himself from gasping as that damn smirk tugged at the corners of the older man's lips. "It's your birthday today, isn't it? Don't tell me you forgot . . ."

The blonde blinked and turned to examine his day planner, looking for Wednesday. Well, I'll be damned . . . October 11th. I guess I did forget. "Oh . . ." He looked up at the dark-haired man and grinned sheepishly, reaching up to scratch at the crown of his head, just below his ponytail—it was a nervous habit that he'd have to look into correcting. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

The smirk slipped to an understanding smile. "You've been working really hard lately—I haven't known you very long, but I suppose that this throwing yourself into work is a commonplace thing . . . That said, I'm not entirely surprised that you'd forget something as mundane as your own birthday." Edward snorted at the sarcastic remark and glared at the man with little venom. Dark eyes glittered with amusement and a grin split his face. "So, where do you want to go?" he asked.

"I . . ." Edward hesitated. He shouldn't—Alfons had been putting in extra hours to get more research done, working furiously and losing sleep to help him. His brother's alter may not have believed him as far as his tales of the Other Side of the Gate went, but he was accommodating and helped Ed with his own studies and experiments. He and Alfons were actually supposed to be going to speak to a scientist named Hermann Oberth—his doctoral dissertation might have been rejected by the University of Munich as "utopian", but the two blondes thought that a talk with him would be quite enlightening. It would be a big step for both of them. So, no . . . he couldn't go to dinner.

He couldn't.

". . . How about Sardi's?" he heard himself say meekly.

"All right," the man said with a nod, sounding pleased. "I'll meet you back here at about eight." And, with that, he turned and departed, waving at Edward over his shoulder.

He wanted to take it back. He isn't Roy, a voice in his head screamed. He may look and sound like him, but he's not your smart-ass, bastard colonel. This Roy doesn't love you . . . Take it back!

Ed wanted to . . . but in the end, all he could do was murmur, "Kay."

As he watched his lover's alter leave the shop, the tail of his tan trench slapping at the backs of his legs, the blonde smiled, slow and sad. No, it wasn't his Roy; this doppelganger didn't throw out short jokes at him as a form of foreplay, couldn't argue alchemic theory with him for hours on end, couldn't snap his fingers and spark life, hadn't taken his virginity and his heart all in one fell swoop or whispered vows of forever against his temple . . . This wasn't Roy and he knew that it would be horribly selfish of him to indulge in his own fantasies with this copy—even if they were just in his own head—when the real thing was waiting for him on the other side.

Deep down, he knew that.

But it was his eighteenth birthday. And he felt that he could be selfish and treat himself to dinner just this once . . .

(sighs) Poor Ed. I've just been tormenting him recently . . .

For anyone interested, the scientist they were going to visit—Hermann Oberth—actually existed. He's considered one of the founding fathers of astronautics and rocketry. I figured that if CoS could use real people, then so could I.