A.N. This takes place in the first anime while Ed and Al are staying with Shou and Nina Tucker. Short story, short chapters, 'nuff said.

Chapter One - Strays In The Snow

If there was one thing Ed hated, it was a hypocrite. Practice what you preach, that was his motto.

Okay so once in awhile, he got on another alchemist's case if they tried to perform human transmutation. Classic case of pot calling the kettle black. But it wasn't like Ed was planning to do it again so they'd better damn well listen to him because, when it came to the consequences, he knew what he was talking about! And if the day ever came when he became a father, Ed had already sworn to never walk out on his children like his bastard of a father had done to him and Al. But most of all, Ed always stood by whatever rules he had to impose on Al in lieu of a parental figure. If Al couldn't have that colorful chalk because it was too expensive, then Ed denied himself the fabric for a brand new coat. He also made a point of cleaning and maintaining his automail in front of Al so the younger wouldn't have any ammunition when Ed ragged him about taking care of the armor.

And if Ed said they had to leave the stray kittens exactly where Al found them, then that was where they stayed! All three of them, outside in the snow. Starving and cold and wet. Fragile eyes watching somberly as the brothers turned their backs and walked away...

"You damned hypocrite!" Ed hissed as he stomped through the snow two hours later, clutching his hood tight so the wind wouldn't blow it off his head. The storm was quickly reaching whiteout conditions and he was having trouble putting one foot in front of the other. He hadn't thought it would get this bad when they left the kittens behind. At long last, Ed arrived at the correct alley and he scanned it right and left until he spotted the box where Al had found the kittens. An inch of snow had already blown inside and frozen into a patch of ice that coated the bottom. The kittens were nowhere in sight.

Maybe someone else had picked them up? Ed hovered by the box indecisively, wanting nothing more than to run back to the Tucker mansion and take a nice, hot shower. Instead, he stepped further into the alley, straining to hear something over the wind. But there was nothing, not even a little mewl of distress from the shadows.

Ed turned back to the entrance of the alley, took one step...and he felt a set of miniature claws hook into his pant leg. That was when he saw them. Two were huddled under a shoebox near a dumpster while the third, a gray tabby, had braved the cold to get his attention. Ed's heart twisted painfully at the pitiful sight and he squatted down, pulling the tabby close to his chest.

"Trying to save your brothers, huh?" Ed murmured into the wet fur. The kitten tucked its head under his chin, too far gone to make any sound at all.

Al was never going to let him live this down.