Author's note~

This is my tribute to October 3rd. I hope you guys enjoy it :)

Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist nor do I own Vic Mignogna's version of the song "Brothers".

The Strength to Move On

"Really, Edward?! Are you trying to stress me out today?!"

"Shut up, Winry! I'm cleaning it up right now!"

Ed knelt down and began picking up the pieces of the glass he just knocked off the table. It was just an accident but Winry was making it sound like he did it on purpose.

Winry sighed and walked over to him.

"You know, Ed. All this stress isn't good for the baby," she said, suddenly smiling as she placed a hand on her bloated stomach.

Ed, too, broke into smiles and placed his hand over her own. He leaned forward and kissed her belly, a gesture meant for both her and for the miracle within her.

Winry was five months pregnant with their first child. Ed had been elated when he found out, deciding to be the best father that he could be. He knew what it was like to grow up without a father and didn't want his child to have to feel that sense of abandonment.

He stood up and walked over to the calendar on the wall, wanting to recheck the day that the baby was predicted to be born on. However, as soon as his gaze fell on the calendar, the smile left his face.

"Edward? What's wrong?" Winry asked, concern clear in her voice.

"Winry…do you know what day this is?" he replied.

"Wednesday, I think."

"No, not the day of the week. The date."

He pointed at a space on the calendar and Winry walked over to see what Ed was so upset over. As soon as see was close enough to see, she gasped.

It was October 3. The day that Ed and his brother had burned their home and left Resembool.

"Oh Ed…" Winry whispered sadly. She turned and hugged him tightly. She felt him stiffen in her grasp. He grabbed her arms and pulled them off his body, stepping out of Winry's reach.

"…I don't feel well today," he said walking over to the stairs.

"Edward." Ed stopped trudging up the stairs and tilted his head, a sign that he was listening.

"Edward, what happened in the past can never be erased. The best we can do is keep moving forward. You can't let this drag you down," Winry said sadly. Ed was still for a second before he continued up the stairs without a word.

Winry sighed and walked over to the couch, laying down and fighting off the urge to burst into tears.

She must've fallen asleep then because when she opened her eyes, it was already 3:00 pm.

Just as she lifted herself off the couch, Den, who was sitting on the front porch, broke into a fit of barks and howls. Winry looked out the window, wondering who it was that Den saw. She stared for a second before running towards the kitchen.

She needed to whip up some tea. And plenty of it.

"Ed! It's dinner time! Come down here!"

"I told you I'm not feeling good today, Winry! I don't feel like eating anything!"

"I'm giving you ten seconds to get down here! Don't make me get my wrench out!"

Ed groaned. He had managed to break Winry's habit of throwing wrenches at his head only recently. The last thing he wanted was for her to start it again.

He stalked down the stairs, grumbling to himself.

"Here I am, Winry. Are you finally satisfi-" Ed broke off when he stepped into the living room. Inside the room was…well, everyone.

Mustang and his men were standing in the center of the room, talking amongst themselves. Major Armstrong was off to the side, telling Second Lieutenant Maria Ross and Sergeant Denny Brosh, who both looked quite overwhelmed, about his impressive but long legacy. Ling sat on the couch, helping himself to a bowl of stew while Ran-Fan stood protectively behind him. To Ed's left, Izumi and Sig were conversing with Winry.

They all looked over and began calling out their greetings.

"Brother!" a voice called out. Alphonse broke through the crowd and ran towards Ed, closely followed by Mei-Chang, whom he recently got engaged to.

"Wha…What are you all doing here?" Ed asked, addressing the entire group of people.

"We're here to cheer you up, Edward,' Hawkeye said, smiling gently. "We all know how you feel about this day."

"C'mon guys. It's really unimportant. I mean-"

"Unimportant!?" Ling began to laugh. "Do you think that the Emperor of Xing would leave his country completely unattended for something 'Unimportant'? Don't make me laugh, Ed!"

'He would if he was an idiot, which you most certainly are, Ling,' Ed thought irritably. "Listen guys," he said, now speaking aloud. "I appreciate the gesture, but today is my problem and my problem alone. None of you are involved, nor do you need to be."

"You're wrong, Fullmetal."

Edward looked over at Mustang (who still addressed him as 'Fullmetal', much to his displeasure).

When no one spoke, Mustang continued.

"When you and your brother burned down your house, it was only you two who were involved. But when you joined the military, it wasn't just your problem anymore. We, too, became involved," he said, motioning to himself and his subordinates. "As your journey continued, each and every person standing in this room eventually became a part of it. All of us are connected to each other because of you. It's like a circle. We make up it's perimeter while you stand at the very center. If you weren't there to hold us together, we would become disconnected and the circle would fall apart. Despite this, we are all still part of the circle and though we may not stand at the center, we are still attached and we always will be."

Everyone nodded and the room grew quiet. Finally, Second Lieutenant Havoc broke the silence.

"Damn, Chief. Who knew you were the philosophical type," he said, laughing. Mustang muttered an annoyed "Well…" and soon enough, the entire room broke into conversation.

"Brother…are you okay?" Alphonse asked. It took Ed a moment to realize that silent tears were trailing down his face. He wiped his eyes and looked up.

"I never asked for friends like these," he muttered. He looked over the crowd, studying each and every face. Suddenly, he began to smile as a thought dawned on him.

Ed and his brother have been through Hell and back multiple times in their life. They had gone on a seemingly hopeless journey and lost many people along the way. Images of a young girl and her dog and a family-man with a goofy grin filled his mind, but he quickly shook them away, not wanting to feel the sorrow that came with them.

So many sacrifices were made and for the longest time, Ed thought that there was nothing equivalent given in return. But just now, Ed realized that he was wrong. As Ed's eyes swept over the crowd, he realized that there was an equivalent exchange. Ed has done things he never thought he could do and met people he never thought he would meet.

He had fed the Emperor of Xing a leather boot.

He had called the future Fuhrer of Amestris a bastard on multiple occasions.

He had fought alongside some of the bravest people that he had the pleasure of meeting.

He had kicked the asses of Father and the Homunculi and saved the world.

Ed looked over at Winry and blushed. Hell, he even found love along the way.

Winry turned and smiled at him. She walked over and stretched out her hand. Ed grabbed it and let her drag him to the crowd. To where he belonged.

In order to gain something of value, something of equal value must be lost. Life had put Edward through Hell and in return, he had been given friends that were worth dying for. This was his Equivalent Exchange.

He looked over at the calendar that hung on the wall and smiled with a tint of sadness.

It was time to move on.

So where do we go from here?

And how to forgive and forget?

What's gone is forever lost.

Now all we can do is live.