Me: This was a short thing written spur-of-the-moment while on MSN, so it's not the best piece of writing in the world, but I like it enough to share. Enjoy?

Alfons was annoyed. The events of that day hadn't been encouraging, to say the least, and Edward's infuriated banging behind him didn't help his mood any.

They'd arrived, cheerful, optimistic, at their small work place. A tiny airhanger that had once been used during the War, now abandonned and a perfect place to tinker around with their rockets and their various parts.

Edward had had a brainwave the night before, and had woken Alfons up incredibly early that morning to show him the crumpled stack of papers, peppered with scrawls and diagrams, that he had produced during his latest all-nighter. Alfons, despite being grumpy that he had been woken in the early hours of a particuarly bitter winter morning, had given Edward his attention as the smaller blond chattered excitedly about a new engine idea.

The German found himself, as he often was these days, jealous of Edward's brilliance, but agreed to try it out all the same. An inspired Edward was a hard-working one, and, fueled by the idea of reaching his mysterious goal, finished a test engine by nightfall. He'd been practically bouncing on his toes as Alfons set it up for a test run, his golden eyes gleaming with excitement and gazing off into the distance. Something inside of Alfons had trembled when the engine spluttered and imploded a few seconds after working, and the taller man ached as he watched Edward's face fall. His entire body had drooped and after kicking the engine in his frustration, he muttered tersely to Alfons that they should get back to the apartment before it began to snow.

He hadn't said a thing since, taking out his anger and disappointment out on various inanimate objects in the kitchen as he noisily made a steaming cup of black coffee.

Alfons had been careful to be quiet and not say anything for the time being, knowing full well that Edward in his current mood was easy to set off and he did not want to be shouted at so late at night. Instead, he pretended to be facsinated with the grooves of the wooden table top as Edward sulked next to him, leaning against the counter and sipping his coffee darkly.

Growing ansty and irate at the steady ticking of the wall clock, Alfons turned to his room mate and partner, hoping to offer some words of comfort. "There's always next time, you know..." he began, and was abruptly cut off by Edward banging his coffee mug on the kitchen counter with a growl.

"'Always next time...'" He repeated with an angry snarl, eyes gleaming as they glared at Alfons, "It's been 'next time' for the past year or so! I'm tired of all the fucking failures!" His left hand, devoid of a coffee mug, curled into a fist and quaked. Jaw tight, he looked like he wanted to rant some more, but as a nostalgic look in his eye appeared, he appeared to sink into himself and his head drooped to stare at the floor. "I'm just... tired of waiting." He mumbled, shoulders slack and hair hanging around his face.

Alfons watched him quietly, before scraping his chair back and walking the few steps to the smaller man's side. Hesitantly, he reached out and clasped Edward's right shoulder, knowing that he couldn't feel it. He wanted to laugh bitterly, the noise bubbling in his throat. How ironic was it that the contact mirrored the relationship with this man? That he couldn't touch the left shoulder, the real shoulder, like Alphonse could. That he was stuck with the fake one, the one that couldn't feel. He screwed up his face and his fingers tightened their grip on Edward's shoulder, but the shorter man didn't look up, unaware of the contact. Alfons took in a deep breath through his nose and waited for his emotions to steady themselves before speaking. "Sometimes, we have to wait." He paused. "I know you want to see your brother, but..."

"But nothing!" Edward exploded, suddenly angry, spinning around and smacking Alfons's hand away. "I've been waiting seven years! Isn't that long enough?!" He snarled, seemingly not at Alfons, but at someone else.

Alfons was confused. He thought Edward had left his brother behind around a year or so ago, shouldn't he have seen him then? What was going on?

He didn't have time to figure out an answer to those questions, however, as Edward had raged out of the kitchen and was stomping down the narrow hallway, intending to go outside and vent his frustration there.

"Oh Hell..." Alfons cursed, chasing after the smaller blond, being mindful to grab a coat for Edward as he tugged on his own beige jacket quickly. "Stupid, tempermental idiot..." he muttered, throwing open the apartment door and hurrying down the steps to the lobby that joined Gracier's flower shop.

He know they were being loud, and other lodgers, plus Gracier herself, would probably wake up but he didn't care. Right now he had to find Edward, and stop him freezing in the snow, and possibly apologise.

The night was bitter, unforgiving, as the winter wind blew harshly around Alfons while he made his way down the snow laden path, following the small dark shape ahead of him. "Edward!" He called, "EDWARD!" But the wind stole his words away. Cursing for the second time that night, a record, he hurried faster, breaking into the fastest run he could with the snow and ice slippery beneath his feet.

He was lucky that Edward was in a bad mood enough to be simply trudging down the road, rather than hurrying, and soon caught up with him at the entrance of a small alley. A shortcut for people wanting to get places faster. Alfons reached out and grabbed Edward's human shoulder as he turned to head down the alley, pushing him against the damp brick wall and holding him there.

"Stop walking away." He panted harshly, tired from his run after the short blond. He felt his lungs bitch at him in payback, the familiar burn rising in his chest and he coughed throatily.

"... I thought I told you go and see the doctor about that cough." Edward mumured after a while, when Alfons's splutterings had subsided. He reached up with his right hand to tug Alfons's arm away and frowned when the taller man held firm.

"I'm not letting you go until you listen." Afons told him firmly, frowning at him with displeased blue eyes. "I don't know what's happened between you and your brother, or why you haven't seen him in so long, or, or... anything much." His tongue darted out to lick his lips. "But I am not him." He hissed quietly, "and I wish you would stop looking at me like that sometimes, or pushing me away!"


"Shut-up!" He shouted, tears building behind his eyes and he wiped them away angrily with his free arm. "I'm not him, I'm someone else, someone different, do you understand?" Edward was glaring at him, his eyes unreadable, but he bobbed his head his once to show that he did.

Alfons watched him, feeling the anger drain away to be replaced by hurt and terrible loneliness. "I'm not just some replacement for your Alphonse, Edward." He said quietly.

"I think you've established that." Edward commented dryly, though his tone wasn't harsh.

"Idiot." Alfons muttered, lowering his face to peer closely into Edward's and making the younger man squirm. "You great big... stupid fool." He sighed as his head dipped forward to rest against the smaller man's.

"Get off." Edward mumbled, sounding fond, nervous.

"No way." Alfons mumbled back, tilting Edward's chin up and crushing their lips together forcefully, chest bursting with emotion, tears spilling down his pale cheeks and growing chilly in the winter air, his free hand reaching up to clasp the brick wall, the particles burying themselves under his fingernails.

He would have Edward as he wanted him, been seen as something different, not a replacement. If only for a moment.

Me: Edward, you're such a loveable fool. Review, please?