Note: I wrote this when I was 16 going on 17. It's probably the oldest fic that I will bother posting here from my old hanjuuluver account. I admit it has a few flaws, but even three years later I still kind of like it, so I wanted to take it with me. I hope you can all still enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy readings!

Disclaimer: Even after 4 years of writing fic, I still don't own FMA! Sad, isn't it?

How?

How could he stand it? Always standing by my side, saying things like, it's not your fault, I'm going to fix you first, calling me his brother. After all I've done, all I've put him through! How can he stand to look at me? To be around me when all I've ever caused him is trouble and pain! How can he not see that it kills me to be reminded of everything I've done, the sins I've committed, every time he talks! Every time I look over at him! I know I've always said that dwelling on the past is useless, that you need to look forward and get on with your life, to walk past your mistakes, fixing the ones you can and forgetting the rest. Why is it I just can't bring myself to do that when he can, and continues to do so? How can he still maintain that faith in me that I will be the one to fix our problems?
Even when I lie awake in the dark every night, questioning if it's even possible, if the Philosopher's Stone even exists, his hope somehow manages to pull me through. I know for a fact that without him there, without the will and hope he puts in he when he's here by my side telling me that we can fix this incredible sin together, I'd have died long ago. If not by some military enemy or a homunculi then by my own hand.

Yet I can't stand looking at him. His raw faith in me, his "Big Brother," the one who's supposed to protect him. How is it that I can't stand being around him, yet he's the only one that keeps me going?

Al, if only you knew. You know more about me than anyone else does, or ever will. You know me from inside out, but you don't know everything. How could you? I could never tell you. I want to, but I know that would be selfish of me. How could I tell you that I don't even know if it's possible? That I'm not that strong? I know the mask I put on can keep most people from figuring out how helpless I feel to help you, and sometimes it even works on you. I feel bad about lying to you, about keeping my fears from you when they not only concern you, but are about you, about you're future and my inability to achieve it for you. But no mater how much I hate myself for it, I know that I would hate myself even more if I took your hope away from you.

I'm sorry Al. I'm so sorry…

"Big brother? You should really come in. You'll catch a cold if you stay out here much longer." An unmistakable voice. Young, metallic, and hollow. My brother. I hadn't heard him coming up behind me. I also hadn't noticed the rain pouring down from the sky, though I was thankful for it as it masked my tears from him.

I turn to look at him, towering above me as the rain cascades down the rivets in the armor, pooling down around his feet, his red eyes staring down worriedly at me. I tell him I'll be right inside and to go back in before the rain washed off his blood seal. Though he's obviously not convinced, he goes in anyway, though I can still see him watching me from out the window. I try to smile for him, but it comes out so superficial looking. I sigh as I slowly stand up, looking towards the dark clouds above my head, letting the wet drops of water fall on my face, washing away my tears. I refuse to let him see me cry. I will be brave for him, if nothing else. It may be futile in the end, but as long as he has his faith, somehow I think I'll make it through. Yes, seeing him makes me hate myself, remember my mistakes, and make me question myself over and over again, but in the end I think that's what keeps me going. Because I don't want to feel like that. I don't want to give up, and he reminds me of that.

I smile. A real smile this time. I can make it. It may be pointless in the end, but I will try. For his sake, I will try.