Title: October 3, 1911
Author: Calenlass Greenleaf
Disclaimer: I don't own FMA.
Spoilers: Manga only (Maybe for Brotherhood; I can't remember off the top of my head.) Gapfiller for Chapter 24 and references things that lead up to Chapters 15, 19 and 42.
Warnings: Ed. What? He naturally warrants a PG-13. *grin* No romance, unless you count hints of EdWin. No incest.
Summary: What happened that night. Gapfiller fic, Chapter 24. Oneshot.
A/N: Written in a hurry, because I wanted to finish it tonight. Pardon any mistakes you find; I'll correct them later.
October 3, 1911
"Al." He sat up in bed and looked across the room.
His brother looked up, surprise showing in his movements. "You're not asleep?"
"No." He rubbed the back of his neck. "You know our house, right?" he began, not quite sure how to explain his reason for not sleeping.
"What about it?" Alphonse slowly asked.
Ah, forget this. He was going to jump in. "Let's burn it down, Al."
"What? Are you serious?"
"Yeah, I'm serious." Leaning forward, he crossed his arms. "We're leaving tomorrow, right? So we'll sneak out tonight and burn it down."
"I've been thinking." Edward fingered the edge of his blanket.
"That's never a good thing."
He snorted, but didn't respond to the jibe. "Anyway, now that I'm a State Alchemist, we're going to be traveling a lot, right?"
"That means we won't need that house because we won't be returning often."
"You mean you're afraid you'll regret choosing this path?"
"No, I'm not afraid," he snapped. "But what I've chosen isn't a paved road. Maybe I'll regret it, maybe I won't. But," Edward smiled thinly. "We can strengthen our resolve by burning it down and cutting our ties."
"Nii-san, what if our father—"
"He's not going to."
"I am not going to think about that bastard right now, Al." In fact, it would be nice if he were dead. "He's gone and he's not coming back." Just thinking about him made him mad. "You with me?"
"Yes," was the reply. "Always."
Always. You've always followed me, even when I made poor decisions. Like transmuting our mother. He bit his lip and managed a grin. "Just let me change, and we can go."
"Just where are you two going?"
Damn. Edward gritted his teeth. "Night walk, Granny. The weather is lovely tonight." Not too dry, not too humid. Perfect weather—for burning something down.
"You've never cared about the weather. Why start now?" Pinako eyed them.
"Didn't you say I can come and go as I please?"
"I thought you were leaving tomorrow."
"Does it look like I'm leaving today?" He waved his hands. "I'm not carrying anything with me, am I? No!"
She ignored him. "You're going over to your house."
He sighed loudly. "Yes, we're going over there. So what?"
"Granny, we'll be back in about an hour," Alphonse spoke up. "We just want to pick something up."
"Well, why can't it wait until tomorrow?" She asked, a glint in her eye. "Your brother needs his sleep so that he can grow and—"
"DON'T SAY IT!" Edward stomped his foot. "Shut up, old hag!"
"You shut up, Ed."
He gulped and turned around. "Ah, I didn't mean to wake you up, Winry."
"I wasn't asleep." She rubbed her eyes and walked down the stairs, her sandals slapping against the wooden stairs. "Stop yelling, Ed, you don't have to be so loud."
"Reading again, young lady?"
Edward looked at his brother, motioning his eyes. 'Door, Al.'
"Ahem." Pinako cleared her throat.
"We're burning our house down." Alphonse said, interrupting his brother.
"Al!" Edward yelped.
"Al," Pinako echoed, though not as dramatically.
Al…you idiot. Edward mentally smacked his palm against his face explained his reason for burning down their house. "And if you're going to stop us, we won't let you," he finished.
Silence hung in the room for a few moments.
"At least…let us come with you," Winry ventured, "in case the fire gets out of control."
He rubbed the back of his head. "Fine with me. Just don't get in the way."
"Do you need anything? Matches, gasoline, anything?"
"Nah." All he needed were his hands and his mind.
"Did you get the photos?"
"I gave them to Granny and Winry. I kept one."
He knew which one his brother referred to. "Good." He paused, looking up from his notes. "Was there anything else you wanted to get?"
"I picked out the books that I thought would be useful."
"You didn't go into—"
"No. Do you—"
He shook his head. "Don't worry; I don't want anything there." He brushed his hands off and stood. "I'm going upstairs and working my way down and outside."
"That's not really safe."
"It'll be fine." Edward waved the concern away.
"Are we also burning the tree?"
"Tree?" He frowned. "Oh." The swing. "Yeah, since it's right next to the house."
"Nii-san, are you really sure about this?"
He didn't answer, pretending to be busy writing something down in his notebook.
"We could just leave it and never come back."
No. Every time he came into this house, he remembered that day…the blood…the mess on the floor…Al's screams…his own tears…
I have to get rid of it.
Me and my stupid mistakes. If I get rid of our house and the evidence, then maybe it'll stop bothering me so much. I already know it's my fault. I don't need another reminder of my failures.
And…if that bastard comes back, he won't stick around.
"No, we're burning it down. It's better to get it out of the way." He headed for the stairs.
"Be careful, Nii-san."
"Yeah." He pushed the attic door open and pulled himself up. For a moment, he stood there, looking out the tiny window and into the darkened night.
It's now or never.
He closed his eyes and clapped his hands together, concentrating.
It went without a hitch, and the five of them—Edward, Alphonse, Winry, Granny, and Den—stood watching as the fire consumed the house. He didn't say anything as the house fell in on itself, the timbers weakening. He heard the creaking of the tree and saw as it collapsed on the house.
Edward tossed a burning stick into the ruins. "No turning back, no regrets—right?" he asked.
Sniffling. He glanced over at Winry. "Uh…why are you crying?"
She rubbed her face with her arm. "But…but…" she sobbed out.
"Ah, you're helpless." Awkwardly, he shuffled his feet and mustered his widest grin. "Your crying hasn't changed at all, Winry."
"Sh-shut up, Ed."
He wisely did so, even though she didn't have any dangerous items in her hands. "It's all right, Winry. Really."
But she continued to cry, and he turned away, once again staring at the flames.
Come on, burn faster. After the house was completely demolished, he and Al still had to put out the flames. Already, he was
"You boys decide on things so quickly," Granny muttered, reaching down to pat Den's head.
"Yeah, yeah." He had always made decisions as soon as they came to him. It had its advantages and disadvantages. "You can go back now."
"We're staying until you're done."
He knew she probably wanted to leave, but they staying—for Al and him. "Thanks, Granny."
She snorted. "It's the least we can do for family."
Ow. Cinder in my eye. He blinked hard.
"Nii-san," Alphonse nudged him.
"Shh," he hissed. "I have soot in my eye, so stop laughing."
"It's still good to know that we have family, though."
Even though he wouldn't admit to cry, he willingly agreed with his brother.
He inwardly groaned as he realized that he would only have five hours of sleep before he had to board the train. Snapping his watch shut, he clambered up the stairs. He didn't bother to balance his footsteps out, and his left leg clunked loudly.
"Al, could you get me a drink?" he muttered.
"And don't you dare bring me milk." He called out.
"What if it's warmed?"
"Even nastier." Cold milk was bad enough, but heated milk was disgusting.
He heard his brother's tinny laugher as he closed the door. Still, he had to smile as he sat down on his bed.
All of you worry too much about me.
He traced the emblem on his pocketwatch with his right hand. Even though he couldn't feel it, he could imagine the smoothness of the metal underneath his fingers.
I'm a State Alchemist now…I'm not another little kid.
Edward breathed in slowly.
I won't forget this day—the day I decided to walk forward.
Gah, that sounds so cheesy.
Cheesy or not, he clapped his hands and transmuted his right forefinger into a blade. A flick of his left hand popped the cover of his watch open.
Argh, the apostrophe…
He hurriedly transmuted his finger back to normal as he heard his brother coming up the stairs, dropping the watch on the nightstand and flopping backwards onto his bed.
Alphonse opened the door. "There was some juice left."
"Took you long enough." He grabbed the bottle and pulled the cap off.
Tomato juice…gods, I drank so much of it last year that I sick of it. But it's better than milk, any day and any time.
"Granny made me tack up the pictures before she let me get anything for you."
"She asked if I wanted to keep the family photo."
Edward finished the bottle and tossed it to Al, who easily caught it. "No. It stays here." He didn't want that reminder.
"Mm?" He pushed his pillow a little higher and turned on his side so that he could face his brother.
"You could have taken the house apart with just alchemy."
"I know, but then I would have the raw materials to build it back up again." He shrugged. "So I burned it down and destroyed the elements."
"You just didn't want him to try to build back up again, right?"
"Think what you want, Al. I burned it down to test our resolve." He yanked the blanket over his head. "Good night."
Alphonse sighed, but let the subject drop. "Good night, Nii-san."
Edward closed his eyes and sighed a little.
You know, I've never asked you if you blamed me for what I dragged you into. That's one thing I'm actually afraid off, heh.
But I can't go on. Not when I keep on remembering our mistake.
Every time I step into our house, I remember Mother. His library. His room. Our failed attempt to bring her back.
He turned to face the window, his breathing slowing as his thoughts focused and his felt sleep tugged at his consciousness.
I'll get our bodies back, Al.
There's nothing standing in our way anymore.
A/N: Thank you for reading, and don't forget the third of October (much to my shame, I did until I saw the reminder on my LJ).