Written for the 24hour themes challenge at livejournal. Beware of incest, weird themes, and limey-ness. Also, I do not own FMA.

by Halys

You're so cold; I want to heat you up. I want to burn you. Like a snap of the Colonel's fingers. Like the Ishvar desert. Like when we got too close to the sun...

A bemused grin flittered across Al's features as he looked down at his brother. It was an hour before noon and Ed was still in bed. Sometimes it concerned Al—why would his brother sleep so much?—but Al tried not to let it bother him. Now, Ed was lying on his back among the sheets, contently snoring.

'He's sleeping with his tummy out again,' Al thought, bending down to cover up his brother better. 'He'll catch a cold if he keeps that up.'

There was a sudden movement as Ed shifted to his side. Al's arm because a captive, much to his surprise, and Ed murmured in his sleep.


The younger brother's eyes widened, then he sighed. Ed was doing that a lot lately, Al had noticed. Since they had closed the gate and started living in this new world. Since they had been reunited. Since Al had his own body.

"Nii-san, why do you keep doing that?" Al murmured, well aware his brother could not hear him. "I'm not going anywhere…"

Sighing again, Al slipped into the bed next to his brother. He already knew how this would end: Ed would wake up, finding himself tangled around his brother, and would quickly get out of bed to distance himself from Al.

Al hated that the most. Why did Ed do that? It's not like he minded. In fact, he thought, shivering as his bare arm brushed Ed's automail, he enjoyed the closeness, the warmth Ed's body brought. The warmth Al knew he brought to Ed.

With an arm and leg of steel, Al knew Ed was more susceptible to the chill air of this country. Al wished he could keep his brother warm, keep his brother near.

Won't you let me warm you? Let me take away the chill. Let me drive away the cold as we hold on to each other...

When Al woke up, the space next to him was empty, much like he had expected. Frowning, he pushed aside the sheets. The floor was cold when he stepped onto it, but the chill was something Al was quickly getting used to. This whole world seemed cold to Al, so cold like his brother.

The house they lived in was not like any they were used to in their own world. Everything on this side of the gate was made of stone. Al had thought it quaint when they first moved in. Moss covered the walls around the house while vines climbed the chimney. Now, however, Al did not like it as much. The house was drafty, and on stormy nights, he could hear the wind howling in the fireplace and whistling through the cracks. On the first of those nights, he found Ed shivering and he tried to light a fire before remembering he could no longer use alchemy.

This was another of those stormy days. Outside, rain lashed against the windows, and Al could hear the howling again. The noise made him shudder, memories of monsters resurfacing.

Throwing a blanket around his shoulders, Al left the bedroom in search of Ed. He found his brother bundled likewise, curled in a quilt while sitting in front of the fireplace. The grate was empty, and Al paused, wondering what Ed was doing there.

His bare feet made soft noises on the stone floor as Al stepped forward. If Ed had heard, he gave no indication.

Sighing once more, Al draped his blanket around his brother. Ed stiffened for a moment, but then murmured his thanks.

"I don't want you to catch a chill, nii-san," Al replied.

Then, he turned, leaving the room to travel through their small kitchen and out the back door. Rain beat across Al's face as he ducked across their yard to a small shed. He slipped inside and groped in the dark for a few logs of wood. When he found some—there wasn't much left; they'd need more soon—he turned back to the house.

Inside, he found Ed sitting much like he had been when Al left. The elder avoided Al's eyes when he looked at him.

"Nii-san, have you eaten anything?" he asked quietly, his voice barely heard over the wind outside.

"You should dry your hair, Al," was Ed's only response.

Al slipped a hand into his wet hair and nodded. He bustled to the kitchen, retrieving a towel to quickly dry off before returning to start a fire.

Once the blaze was crackling in the grate, Al sat down next to Ed. Neither spoke for a while. Instead, they let the warm wash over them both. After a moment, Ed shifted, draping one of the blankets around Al's shoulders. Al's sighed contently, and leaned onto his brother.

Why are you so cold? Do you like the chill? Or do you prefer the warmth? I will give you both if I have to...

Late morning shifted to afternoon. Still, the rain outside fell. Al tried what he could to keep the house warm, but the trips back and forth between the shed and the house came with a price—equivalent exchange. He was chilled to the bone, and shivering. Al kept quiet, though, not wanting his brother to notice. Not wanting his brother to worry.

Ed never moved from his spot before the fire, save to take the cup of tea Al had made him. Al knew something was troubling Ed (a hand, a body, two bodies together in bed). He only got this way when something was. But years of time spent with his brother taught him that pushing Ed would get him nowhere. So he remained silent and watchful.

Even as Al watched, the chill was still working against him. As he sat at the table, sipping his tea, a cough rose in his chest. Al's eyes widened. He was getting sick, and he knew it.

The cough escaped him, making Ed turn from the fire to stare at his brother. "Al, are you all right?"

Al tried to smile, nodding before he fell into a coughing spell.

The blankets around Ed's shoulders fell to the ground as he stood. The elder hurried to Al's side, placing the back of his flesh hand on his brother's forehead. "Al… you've got a fever. You shouldn't have been going in and out in this weather."

Shivers ran through Al's body as he looked up at Ed. He swallowed another cough, not wanting to believe he was sick. "I didn't want nii-san to get cold!"

"Al… stupid, don't worry about me so much."

"But, nii-san…"

"C'mon, I'm putting you to bed."

Al was not given the chance to argue as Ed picked him up. A flush settled on the younger brother's cheeks, that the older dismissed as the fever. Al was carried into the bedroom where Ed promptly set him on the bed and before forcing him under the covers. Ed had Al strip of the damp clothes he was wearing.

"I'm getting the other blankets. Don't move."

Al could do nothing but watch as Ed disappeared again, but quickly returned. Ed gently placed the extra blankets over Al, making sure that he was properly covered.

"You shouldn't have been working so hard, Al. Especially not in this weather. Especially not for me. It's all right to be selfish once in a while."

Al's eyes were fever bright as he nodded. His brother brushed away the bangs from his sweaty forehead, before turning to leave. But Ed could not get a step forward because of the hand grasping his shirt.

"Don't leave, nii-san…" Al pleaded. "It's so cold…"

Give me your chill. I will take it all. I will take the cold and give you heat. I will warm you up as you chill me. I will keep you warm as you freeze me...

Ed paused before nodding, slowly slipping beneath the covers to join Al. And when he did, Al did something he had not expected. His younger brother pressed against him, fingers gripping both metal and flesh shoulder alike.

The effect was instantaneous. Soon, all misgivings or reservations Ed might have had melted in the heat of his brother's body. And suddenly the chill of the house, of the day, of the world disappeared as Al's lips touched his.

Thought melted and did not return to Ed until he had Al's knees spread. His brother was panting and gasping, with the word "nii-san!" on his lips. Ed froze, wondering briefly if what he was doing wrong, but then Al arched up and said something that drove Ed to continue.

"Please, nii-san… don't stop!"

And they were together, as never before. Al was so hot. Heat and warmth that Ed had never experienced washed over him. So warm and good, he couldn't stop. Couldn't stop pressing into the tight heat. He wanted that heat. Wanted to take and take until he thought he would die.

Al gladly gave it. He took in Ed. Took in the chill of his brother's steal limbs pressed against his flesh. Took in the frigidness of Ed's automail fingers against his thighs. He gladly took it all in and wanted more of it. More of Ed. More and more until he couldn't take anymore and saw white.

When Ed came too, he nearly collapsed on top of his brother. Before he did, he carefully withdrew himself from Al's body, and turned to curl up next to him. He placed a hand on Al's forehead, and found the fever that had been there gone. It had broken some time while they had…

He found he was comfortable there, lying next to Al in the tangled sheets. There was sweat on his brow, he knew. And for once, he did not feel the ache of cold steel on his joints and skin. He was warm. He was glad.

And Al, he was content in Ed's arms. He took comfort in knowing he had driven the chill from Ed's body, from Ed's heart. He looked up at his brother, a soft smile on his bruised lips as he murmured.

"Thank you, nii-san."

Ed nodded, and placed a finger over Al's lips. "Rest, Al. I don't want you to get sick again."

There was a glint in Al's eyes. "But, nii-san, if we do this every time I get sick, I'll want to get sick more often!"

Laughing, Ed leaned over his brother, hitting him lightly with a pillow. Outside, the rain slowed. Clouds slowly dissipated, and sunlight broke through. Patches of light shone through the windows as the two brothers battled with mean fluffy things. And the fire died in the hearth.

You are warm now. So very warm. And I have been cooled, by your touch. Don't let the heat fade. Don't let the chill disappear. Don't ever let me go...

Comments are appreciated. : )