Disclaimer: I do not own FMA.

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Selfish: Part II

I don't need you to worry for me 'cause I'm alright
I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home
I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life
Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone
- My Life, by Billy Joel

'Brother, do you think I'm selfish?'

The alchemist in question blinked, as if not comprehending, and broke out into laughter, tears stinging his eyes. 'Al! Where the fuck did you get that idea?' He was serious while saying it. How could Alphonse, his baby brother, be selfish? He was probably the most unselfish person in the world, if not the universe.

He looked sheepish, as sheepish as a suit of armor can get. 'It's just that, I was thinking, and it seems as if you've done so much for the both of us, and I've been doing nothing - nothing that will last, or determine survival, or anything like that.' (It was more of not pulling his own weight, but poor Alphonse couldn't tell.)

His brother stared, the laughing fit finally passing. 'Are you being serious, Al? You do a lot for "us"! When I'm tired, you let me rest inside your chest cavity. You carry the suitcase - most of the time.'

Al hung his head. Whenever he was refusing to carry the suitcase, it was because he was sulking - which he was ashamed of.

'No, don't go beating yourself up over it, Al, I know you're doing that already. You take care of me - reminiscent of a mother hen, and no, I'm not complaining, I know you think it's for my own good, yada yada yada.'

'Those are things I have to do, because you're the one risking your neck every time we go on a mission for the Philosopher's Stone. It's only equivalent exchange, brother.'

Ed glared at having his own sayings said back at him. 'Close enough. But anyways, the main point is, you are not selfish. You were not, you are not, you will never be. A selfish person would not have put up with me this long, he would've been long gone by now, pursuing his own dreams. Besides, I don't care. You're Al, and that's all that really matters to me.'

The eyes gleamed from the metal suit, Al's version of a smile - after all, lack of a movable mouth made it hard to smile. 'Thank you, brother.'

Ed wrapped his arms around his metal waist, in a rare show of affection. 'Anything for my little brother, Al.'

'Then it's okay to be a little selfish at times?'

'Yes. It's perfectly normal to want to be selfish sometimes, Al. It only shows you're human like the rest of us.'

Al was silent.

'Can we stay like this for the rest of the day? No talk of the Stone, work, all that. Just Edward ad Alphonse, two brothers spending the day together.'

'Sure.'

x

(About one year later, on an anonymous mission in the middle of a war with Xing.)

x

He knew it was going to be like this, he knew it. And yet, brother still got hurt, a nasty wound right in the middle of his chest.

And it was all because of Alphonse. If he hadn't went in and distracted Ed ('Didn't I tell you to stay away, Al? This place isn't safe for you!'), he wouldn't have gotten hit by that bullet.

A metaphorical heart broke into tiny pieces as Ed tugged, feather-light on his metal armor, and Al only knew it was him because he saw it.

'Brother, save your breath, General Mustang will be here soon with help...'

Ed cracked a grin. 'It's too late, Al...I just wanted to ask you for this one thing, the last thing ever...'

Al bent closer; Ed was getting out of breath and his voice was getting steadily quieter with each word he said. 'Anything, brother,' Al said quietly.

'What if I...I wanted you to go with me? To whatever is beyond death?'

'In a heartbeat.'

Ed gave a small smile, the corners of his eyes crinkling just barely. The blossom of red on his chest grew as he coughed.

'Then let me be selfish just this once, Alphonse.'

Al's metaphorical heart began mending itself when Ed transmuted his automail arm into its signature blade and pierced the blood rune on his armor, just as he drew his last breath.

Let me be selfish just this once, Alphonse.

Anything for you, brother.

Finis