A/N I don't usually write Christmas fics, but the mood has taken me, so I gave it a shot. This is my first try at using Heiderich, so I hope I did him well. Enjoy the fic, everyone!

Merry Christmas! Have fun everybody!

Disclaimer: no.

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He couldn't help staring. Alfons had explained everything, of course, even though he'd believed he had been humoring Ed's odd tendencies and nothing more. Ed had seemed somewhat skeptical at first, but his skepticism had quickly given way to something between curiosity and amusement.

And so Edward was staring. Seated on the steps of an empty shop, he stared at the candles that lit each window; stared at the happy people passing by, crystals of snow clinging to their caps and scarves, their arms full of packages.

The snow lined streets were quickly emptying out, as people made for their homes, and the little shops along the street closed for the evening. No doubt the owners would be returning to be with their families.

It was a strange holiday, Edward mused, his eyes following a young woman pass by. She spared him nothing more than a glance before disappearing into a building a little further down. To be so rooted in religion, but easily celebrated in such a secular way, it made him wonder why they'd celebrate it at all. It just seemed like a lot of trouble.

He did like the atmosphere, though. The drab world of Munich seemed suddenly much brighter. Everywhere he turned there seemed to be golds and reds, festive songs rang through the street as people passed, so cheerful that the mood became contagious. Even knowing so little of Christmas, Edward had found himself humming wordlessly, mimicking the tunes he heard in the streets.

He hoped Alfons knew the words. Perhaps he would teach him…

"Fröhliche Weihnachten!" an older man greeted him, pausing as he passed the shop Edward had settled in front of. The man beamed down at him. "Enjoying the weather, are

you?"

"Sure am." Ed grinned, brushing a few wet flurries from his face. The old man nodded in agreement.

"Nothing like a white Christmas, is there? Better not stay too long though, friend. You'll catch your death and worry the missus."

"I'll keep that in mind." Ed said as the man continued on. He didn't bother telling him that there was no missus to worry, it wasn't important. The streets were beginning to get dark, and were quickly becoming deserted. It was probably late enough that he should head back to their apartment before Alfons began to worry about him. Edward allowed a soft chuckle to leave him. He was a grown man (well, nearly) and Alfons was still always worrying about him. He would likely get a stern talking to when he eventually decided to go back.

A few late stragglers moved further down the street, too far off for their voices to reach him. Edward allowed his head to drop forward, closing his eyes and allowing the muffled silence of the street to envelope him. The lack of activity, added to the snow, gave the street a quiet, peaceful feeling.

He knew the warm light of the windows above and opposite him hid the happy sounds of the family inside, but on the darkened street, his eyes closed to the warmth. He felt totally alone. The silent street suddenly felt a world apart from the festive season.

He chuckled again, mentally gong though their faces. He couldn't help wishing that he'd known it would be the last time he saw everyone. He'd not had time to think about it, but if he had really known…now he truly was a world apart.

"You drive me crazy sometimes." Edward started, looking up the boy next to him. He hadn't heard Alfons approach. Whether it was due to the muffling effect of the snow or the fact that he'd been lost in his own thoughts, he didn't know. The German boy frowned down at him, obviously annoyed. "You left for the grocer's over an hour ago."

"It's been that long? Sorry, Alfons, I must have lost track of time…"

"Again? You've been spacing out a lot lately." He offered a hand, hauling Edward to his feet. The older boy dusted the snow from his trousers, noting absently that his backside was rather wet.

"Must be the season." He muttered, crunching away through the soft snow. Alfons followed after him, casting a worried glance towards his friend. For a while they walked in silence. Edward's eyes wandered skyward, picking through the clouds for a patch of stars. There weren't any. He was glad Alfons wasn't pressing him. The truth was: it was the season. It seemed to be very family-oriented, and seeing the happy people throughout the city, he couldn't help thinking of his own family. Al, Winry, and Pinako…the joyful atmosphere made him miss them all the more. They would have enjoyed this Christmas thing; particularly Al. his sense of wonder had never left him as it had Edward.

Edward dropped his eyes, throwing a glance toward Alfons. He supposed, in a strange way, the German boy was the closest thing to a family he had. Not just because Alfons looked like his brother, but he had taken him in. he was everything Ed needed: someone to force him into bed after an endless day of digging through musty library books; someone to drink with who could remain sober enough to see that he didn't kill himself; someone to connect with (regardless of how seldom they did so). Alfons was his lifeline in an unfamiliar world.

"I have some Lebuchken at home since you didn't make it to the grocer. We'll find something else to go with it, I suppose…" Alfons sighed, his eyes on the cobblestones passing beneath his feet. He was unaware that Edward's gaze had settled on him. Edward didn't admit it to himself, but in an odd way Alfons felt like family to him now. Perhaps because they lived together they had become close. It might have been because Alfons reminded him of Al (another thing he didn't quite want to admit).

Most likely, though, it was because neither of them had anyone else.

"Hey, Alfons?" Ed caught his attention hesitantly. The German boy turned to him, his blue eyes bright even in the darkened night. "Did you…did your family celebrate too? You know, back then?" Alfons was silent, his eyes falling thoughtfully back to the cobblestones. He didn't usually speak of his family, not the way Edward did. For a brief moment, Ed feared he had crossed some sort of unspoken boundary. Once again, they fell into a tense silence. At length, Alfons sighed softly.

"I hope we did. To be honest, they've been gone so long…most of what I remember is everyday stuff, you know? Playing or eating dinner together. Things like

holidays…they're a bit blurry. I don't know, really, if we celebrated or not. I really hope we did, though."

Edward frowned, thinking over what Alfons had said. He started to force a grin to cheer his friend, but by the time it had formed on his face it felt real and full.

"I hope you did too." Happily, Ed wound an arm across Alfons' shoulders, an almost brotherly sort of gesture. "Let's have some fun tonight. It is a holiday, isn't it? Fröhliche Weihnachten, Alfons!"

"Fröhliche Weihnachten, Ed." Soon, Alfons' smile joined Ed's and together they crunched along the snowy street, laughing as they broke into a garbled, nearly unintelligible rendition of a Christmas carol.

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[1 "Fröhliche Weihnachten!" - Merry Christmas

[2 Lebuchken – little honey cakes originating in the Black Forest area. These are popular during the holidays. If you'd like the recipe, feel free to message me.