Warning : Set two years after "Conqueror of Shamballa", so there are spoilers for the movie.

Disclaimer : FMA isn't mine (Honestly, who would believe it is ?).

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The Best Years Of My Life

Love… What is it we love ?

The person in front of us, for what they are, with their qualities and faults ?

Or how they make us feel ?

Is it some kind of "I make you happy so you'll make me happy in return" thing ?

Could that be it ? It'd be so selfish.

But people are selfish, so that could definately be it.

We love what makes us happy and do our best to make it last. For our own sake. Selfishly.

But then… What about longing and yearning for the one we love ?

Love, real love, isn't a drug, you can't get addicted to it. So longing isn't just a mere side effect of some withdrawal.

Were it only a matter of selfishness, it wouldn't hurt that much. We'd get over it, find someone else to love.

But it's been two years, and I still haven't.

I can feel it… Them… The unshed tears. I feel them rolling down my cheeks even though I'm not crying. The bittersweet taste of memories brought back by some insignificant detail.

But then again, there's no reason for me to cry. Nothing should be wrong.

Alphonse's back in his body, and as I write this, he's sleeping in the room next door.

I restored his body, I achieved the goal of my life, not everyone can say that !

See ? Nothing is wrong.

I still can't believe he willingly sacrificed every thing he had to follow me to this world. I don't deserve that. Can't say it didn't make me happy though, although I've never told him. I keep saying he should have stayed in Amestris.

I really think he should have. But hey, I'm merely human. That means I'm selfish too, and I think my actions prove that all too well. Al and I have been together all our lives, except for those two years after the Truth sent me here for the first time, and I missed him so much I worked and shared an appartement with his look-alike. Don't get me wrong, Alfons really was a good friend, but I couldn't help thinking he was a pale imitation of my Alphonse.

So yes, I got my brother back, and it made me feel happy and lucky again, and we could start a new life in this world. I had a whole world to show him and he was so eager to learn. Being called "Brother" again was enough to make me smile from ear to ear. I was so proud of him, I still am. I'm an older brother again, I have a family again.

We are together, and nothing else matters. Happy ever after and all that stuff, or so I thought. Oh blissful naivety.

It's been two years and now… Now I'm tired of pretending I'm thrilled every time I show Al something new, as if this world was a huge toy shop for him to play in. I love my brother, and I know he loves me, but I still feel empty. I'm still longing for something else.

For I haven't forgotten anything. Amestris still plagues my dreams.

I dream of Resembool, of our true home. I dream of long golden hair that I'm sure would feel like silk were I given a chance to stroke it. I dream of saphire eyes and wonder how many different shades of blue I'd have to mix to obtain the same colour. I'm not sure that something that beautiful could be artificially created though, even by alchemy. I dream of pink lips and soft skin I'm oh so desperate to touch. And all that can be summed up in one word. Winry. I dream of Winry.

I dream of Winry, and I'm hugging her and kissing her and telling her how much I love her, and she hugs and kisses me back and says she loves me too. Alphonse's there too. He's standing on the balcony at Winry's house, waving at us, or playing with a newly adopted kitten or saying something along the lines of "Brother, remember when we used to fight over who would marry Winry ? I guess you win."

In those dreams, everything's bright and warm and sweet, and the sun's always shining. But then I wake up, and it's dark and cold and harsh, and I'm lonely and my chest aches and everything's real, so real. Too real. And no matter how much I wish I could, I never go back to sleep on these nights. Resembool and Winry are lost to me for another day.

Those days… I spend them fearing that, next time I dream, she won't welcome me the way I hope she will or, worse, that I won't remember the exact colour of her eyes. I mean, what if I forgot ? She's spent all these years waiting for us, worrying for us, helping us and understanding us. The very least I can do is not to forget her, isn't it ? Even if the memory of her makes everything here look old and dusty or taste bitter.

I try not to daydream, though. I force myself not to think about home. It gives me that forlorn look and makes me try to avoid people, even Alphonse, and I don't want him to worry. He would try to talk to me, to get me to tell him what's wrong. I wouldn't say it, but he'd probably guess anyway. He's smart like that. But it's none of his business. Plus, I absolutely don't want to hear him saying that he understands that I miss her because he misses her too, but that, as I told him, this is our world now and we have to live in it. Cruel, yes, and very much so, but it can't be helped. And he'd probably add that I'll get over it and find another girl to love on this side of the Gate. Out of concern for me.

Al's so kind and gentle sometimes it could make me sick. I don't deserve it, damnit ! He lost his body because of me, I stole four long years of his life. I may have restored his body, but it's no excuse. Why can't he get angry for once and tell me to stop whining ? It would make things easier…

Besides… Find another girl to love on this side of the Gate ? Yeah, well, sure. Alphonse, you don't seem to remember how I ended up here in the first place, now do you ? The Truth sent me here. The very same one that took your body and my limbs away. Do you honestly believe it would let me have my happy ending ? It's never been that kind.

No, it will make sure I know my place in its game. A disturbing and annoying pawn. It could get rid of me easily, but I guess it loves seeing my agony. Probably still mad at me for defying it all those years ago.

So when I wake up from these dreams, it'll make sure I'm left panting and shaking and hurting. Guess I can add my peace of mind to the price for restoring Al's body. And I know I'll be tossing and turning around in my bed and feeling with every fibre of my being and painful accuracy how cold and empty the place beside me is until the break of dawn. All hail the almighty Fullmetal Alchemist… No wonder I'm an early riser.

And when the weight on my heart is heavy enough to leave me breathless (and damnit, that hurts and happens way too often), I stand up and walk to Al's room as silently as I can, and sit on the chair at his desk and watch him sleep. Back when he was in the suit of armour, it used to be the other way around. That's irony for you.

I try to take deep, even breaths, just like he does. 'Cause yes, he has the decency to pretend he hasn't heard me and I haven't awaken him. He's not fooling anyone, because I know where the sad and concerned looks he sends me on some mornings come from, but I certainly appreciate the gesture.

His steady breaths calm me and comfort me. The Truth is real, the pain it's put me through is real, but so is my brother. He looks peaceful and serene and I can't help thinking that maybe, just maybe, he's right and I won't grow old alone. I'm only twenty after all…

Twenty… According to the common saying, I'm now living the best years of my life. How could I believe such a ridiculous thing ? The best years. I mean, come on. The best, as in "things will only get worse from now on". Great.

I've seen more in a decade than most people will in their whole life, and although I doubt it has granted me the proverbial wisdom, it has taught me something. Duty, towards your family, your country or whatever you want, always has to come first, at any costs. They didn't call me the People's Alchemist for nothing. Happiness comes last. That may sound heroic and romantic, but it screws everything up actually. Trust me, I can tell.

Duty's why I crossed the Gate again two years ago when I could've gone home, it's why Al and I are trying to find that uranium bomb, which appeared in this world thanks to us and that wicked Truth (see my point, Al ? It keeps on messing my life up), and that's hardly any fun. And I'm not blind, I know what's going on in Germany, what could have happened had Hitler succeeded two years ago. And I know for a fact that, as long as you're alive, things can always get worse.

But why am I complaining ? I shouldn't even worry. These are the best years of my life after all. Lucky me.

Being slowly driven mad by a lost love, dreams and an uncooperative Truth, trying to find a safe place for my brother and to prevent things from getting worse are the best things that will ever happen to me. Absolutely wonderful.

I don't know what the future holds for Al and me. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it either. But I'll worry about this tomorrow. For now, it's getting late and I should try to get some sleep. Winry's waiting for me on the other side of the Gate, and I want to marvel at her eyes once more and tell her I love her.

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"We will meet again my friend,

A hundred years from today

Far away from where we lived

And where we used to play.

We will know each others' eyes

And wonder where we met

Your laugh will sound familiar

Your heart, I won't forget.

We will meet, I'm sure of this,

But let's not wait til then...

Let's take a walk beneath the stars

And share this world again."

Ron Atchison

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A.N. : Poor Ed… And poor Winry. And poor Al too. I like it that the movie doesn't have a fluffy fairy tale ending, because it wouldn't be realistic, but thatThat's just too cruel. All of them deserve so much more ! Anyway, can't change it, can we ? Sigh… Please review !