PROLOGUE

Edward Elric watched dumbly as dirt was shoveled into the grave.

DeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDead…

The mantra filled his head as he continued to watch. Voices swirled around and over him but none of them reached him.

Nothing could reach him.

At some point the dirt stopped being shoveled.

Edward clenched his fists, trying to fight back the urge to dig the coffin back up and get in.

He had promised Al he wouldn't do anything like that. It was a promise they had made to one another, that if either one died the other would continue on and live for the both of them. At that time Ed had figured with his job and lifestyle that he would be the one to die.

It had never occurred to him, even in his darkest nightmares, that Al might die first.

Now it felt as if the direction for his life had fallen away. For almost four years his mind had focused on one thing and one thing only, saving his little brother.

He'd failed.

So now what?

A hand fell on his shoulder and Ed was dimly aware that it was suddenly much, much later than it had been a second ago. Darkness covered the spot where the grave lay and cold bit through his clothing. Wordlessly he allowed the hand to turn him around and steer him back to the Rockbell's home. Once there he allowed other people to help him get ready for bed and then put him in.

DeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDeadDead…

Edward didn't sleep that night.