The Silver Band

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing.

(Alphonse's POV)

I smiled sheepishly at my brother, who stood in the doorway with an uninterested, bored look in his eye. A bag was slung over his shoulder carelessly, his signature old red cloak protecting him from any gusts on this December night. He had grown much more mature, in a good way and a bad. It seemed like his playfulness had just been worn down, and while he was still friendly, the rest of the time-when he was alone-the weight of his past weighed down heavily on his shoulders, suffocating him. I wasn't exactly checking up on him all the time(he was an adult), so I invited him over to our place every once and a while to make sure he was okay. Seeing as he lived in Central though, it did take about a day to get here, so I made sure not to bug him too much.

"Hey Al," Edward smiled, the bored look still in his eyes. "Where's your fatso gear-head wife? Tell her get out here so she can fix my ankle and I can leave."

I'll admit, that ticked me off just a little bit. But since it was Edward, I let it slide. I laughed. "Got a hot date you don't want to be late for?" I walked down the hall, knocking on my bedroom's door. "Winry, I think you'll be pleased to hear one of your regulars is here."

She flew out, tackling me to the ground with a hug. "Who is it?" she screamed.

Edward rolled his eyes from where he was seated. "Me, gear-head. Wow, you'd think you're having twins with how big your stomach's gotten." A wrench flew towards his head, and he paled, just managing to not get impaled. His left foot was shoeless, and he was twitching his toes, glaring at the steel prosthetic. "Hey, mind giving me and early Christmas present and stop making such crappy auto-mail? My ankle is stuck, and might I say, pretty painful to stand on."

I frowned. Had Ed been limping? I hadn't noticed anything. How long had his auto-mail been broken? No wonder he had jumped at coming down for Christmas for a few days.

Winry frowned in confusion. "It's stuck? Well, lemme see. I'll give you a spare until I can fix your auto-mail, if you want."

"Whatever. Just do it so I can make a call." Ed gripped the chair as she disconnected the auto-mail. He hated the temporary feeling of being limbless. Winry connected a new leg, earning a yelp of pain from Edward as the nerves were connected.

"Don't go too hard on that one," Winry scolded, glaring cutely. "It's not as strong as your steel one. Got it?"

Edward swatted the air. "Yeah yeah." He went to search for the phone, when I noticed a sparkle. I grabbed his hand, gaping.

"IS THIS A RING?"

There it was, right there, a silver band, encrusted with gold and black diamonds that alternated in a pattern. I looked back up at Brother, to see he had gotten tomato red.

"Who are you getting married to?" I demanded, but I was so happy for him that it wasn't as intimidating as I wanted it.

He grew redder and then yanked his hand away. "I'll tell you later. Now where's that phone?" He went to pick it up, but I snatched it away. Oh no. He was not getting off that easy.

"Come on, Brother!" I whined. "At least tell me her name!"

He glared, staring at me for a long time. "I'll give you one hint, and one only, and then you give me the phone. I'll tell you eventually, but if you insist-"

Yes! "What's the hint?"

"Someone in the military. Someone you know." Edward grabbed the phone and started dialing. "Hello, you there?"

I thought about the clue, annoyance rising in me. There weren't many girls in the military, especially ones that we knew, not to mention that Edward didn't despise. He had been discharged, Hell, three years ago after I got my body back and he got his arm. Who could he be engaged to that was in the military? I looked at him, trying to read his mind with what Edward had called 'Elric Telepathy.' Nothin'. But I did notice something strange. A small, true smile slunk its way onto Edward's face as he talked at the kitchen table.

"Oh you are? Cool, that means I don't have to rush home. Yeah, hehe, they'll be surprised. What?...No I didn't tell them yet, I'm waiting for the right moment. I know, I know, I'll tell them before you get here. Hey, who're you calling a pipsqueak? I'm almost taller than that bastard Hohenheim!" Edward sighed, leaning his chin on his hand. "Yup. I know. I get it. Stop worrying, I'll be fine. Oi, what could happen? His smile disappeared quickly. "Oh…you have work. Yeah, I understand, tough job. But you promise you'll be here in two days for Christmas Eve?" Edward smiled again. "Excellent. I'll talk to you later, and don't stay up all night; I don't care if that bitch tries to shoot you, you need your sleep. I love you, bye." He hung up the phone, smiling at it for a minute, before frowning. "All right, I'm heading to bed. They'll be coming for Christmas, my fiancé. You'll know by then. G'night Al."

Edward left, heading to the guestroom.

I said nothing, unable to speak. The phone had been loud enough for me to hear some of the other line from where I was standing.

Let's just say, I could now safely say that I was sure that Edward wasn't getting married to a girl.