When Al had been younger, Ed remembered, he used to have nightmares, like almost any other child. Monsters under the bed, shadows snatching him away, creatures unknown to man chasing him through the dark. Just about anything that a child would have nightmares about. Al had a vivid imagination and it all too frequently manifested itself in his dreamscape.
Half of the time Edward had ended up waking his brother, sitting on the young Elric's bed and gently shaking him until Al latched onto with terror born strength. The elder Elric used to complain to his mother constantly about this, mumbling about how Al had disrupted his sleep. Secretly, though, he secretly enjoyed taking care of his brother. It was a wonderful feeling to know that Al depended on him in the dark when half remembered images caused his frame to shake in fear. Still, it wouldn't do to get all mushy over his brother. He was a guy, not some overemotional girl!
Later, when he tried to get to sleep at night while listening to the soft metal 'clink' of his brother's movements about the room, Ed almost wished his brother could have nightmares again.
When Ed had been younger, he rarely had nightmares. The dark had never frightened him in the way that it had bothered his brother. It was merely a result of the Earth turning away from the Sun after all. Seldom had his mother come to his bed side to hold him as he shook from fear. On the rare occasion his sleep was troubled, he mentally recited alchemy terms and formulas until he fell back to sleep. Before Alchemy it had been the alphabet and math facts.
But alchemy was cold comfort when it was the source of your nightmares.
Far too often Ed took to the streets after the dreams, his feet echoing in unmatched tones as he traversed the pavement, the dead metal thuds of his brother's steps behind him. On nights like this, the Philosopher Stone seemed miles away, their dream of restoring themselves an impossible fantasy. The night seemed to weigh them down, making every step move painful than the last. But only until the sun rose over the horizon, banishing their fears with light and kindling hope.
Strange, Edward reflected as the pair watched the sky turn to a dull red, he had told Rose that to drawl too close to the sun was to burn in is flames. It was merely a fiery ball of gas that would consume all that it touched. Yet its light some how managed to transcend Ed's mental barriers and touched his emotions in a way that few other thing could, driving out his darkest nightmares.
It was Brother?"
"Let's go pack. That blasted Colonel should have a new lead for us." And as the pair began their trip back to the dorms, the first rays of the sun successfully peaked over the building surrounding them. It warmed Ed's face. Just like a mother's touch.