A Hesitant Goodbye
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Completed about 2 years ago. Edward Elric has been extremely sick for the past year. How will Alphonse cope if Ed doesn't pull through?
The mid-afternoon sunlight poured in through the open window drapes, revealing two figures in the bedroom, one watching the other as they slept. Edward Elric, only 23 years of age, lied unconscious with the fatal disease he’d been sick with for almost a year now. Alphonse, a mere year younger than his ill brother, sat quietly next to the bed, unable to read his book, so instead began watching Edward sleep. It was now early September, and Ed had been sick since November of the year before. Al would never forget the day when he realized the reason behind Ed’s unhealthy state, no matter how much he wanted to.
For the past few weeks, Edward hadn’t been feeling himself. He was constantly coughing, seemed to be looking slightly paler and sicklier each day, but he had been too stubborn to visit a doctor, no matter how many arguments he had to go through with Alphonse. Until one cold November day when he was finally snapped out of the denial he had put himself into.
“Brother, brother! Where are you?” Alphonse called cheerfully for Edward within their home, having just finished a phone conversation with one of their friends.
When Ed didn’t answer him after a few moments, Alphonse began to worry. He started running through the house, calling Ed’s name, checking every room until he almost literally ran into Edward in the study. “Oh! Brother! There you are! I was really worried.”
“Whadda heell, Al, ya almost bulldoozed meh!” Edward said weakly while slurring, bottle of whiskey in tow, obviously drunk again.
“Ed, are you drunk? I thought you said you’d try to stop drinking so much, since the alcohol is probably why you’re sick!” Alphonse said with a faint tone of anger in his voice, while snatching the bottle away from his brother.
“Oi! I’mma not that druunk, and I’mma not si—“ Edward couldn’t finish his sentence since he began coughing again, harder this time. His legs went out, causing him to drop onto his knees, his flesh hand clasped over his mouth while his automail gripped at his shirt, his shoulders hunching with each hacking cough.
“Brother!!” Alphonse cried out as he dropped the half-empty whiskey bottle, not caring when it hit the floor and shattered, as he ran to Edward and began rubbing his back soothingly while Ed continued hacking, but didn’t take his hand away from his lips once the coughing-spell had subsided.
“Brother? What’s wrong, are you okay?” Al asked as he pulled Ed’s hand away from his mouth, but very nearly had a coronary when he saw what was on it, along with the corner of the older Elric’s mouth.
Alphonse sighed sadly as he wiped a damp washcloth across Edward’s sweaty, feverishly-warm forehead, trying to ignore the pitiful whimper that escaped his once proud, seemingly unstoppable brother. Al frowned tightly, tears stinging the corners of his eyes, because he knew; He knew exactly who Edward had gotten sick from and he knew exactly where that person was now.
Six feet under.
Just like his brother would be sooner or later. At this rate it’ll be sooner than later…
Al clenched his teeth and turned his head away, wiping the tears away, pretending he didn’t feel their warmth staining his cheeks. He hated when that thought echoed through his mind. Edward had survived so much in the past; he couldn’t die of something so small as a disease!
“Al…” He barely heard the whisper, barely felt the not-so-warm flesh hand wrap its fingers around his wrist, holding on as tightly as Edward could in his weak state.
“Brother!” Al said; startled, but continued softly, “How long have you been awake?”
Ed smiled sadly, reaching up a shaky hand to wipe Al’s tears away. “Not that long…” He had, in fact, been awake since Al put the washcloth on his forehead and had watched his baby brother cry, and it broke his heart, but he wasn’t about to say anything about it. His smile faded as a thought suddenly occurred to him, and, without thinking, blurted it out. “I don’t think I ever wrote a will…”
Alphonse gasped in shock; half that Edward would say something like that and half that Edward knew he was going to die, even though no one told him what the doctor had said.
“This is the hardest part of my job…” The doctor had sighed sadly before continuing, “Mr. Elric isn’t getting any better… he doesn’t have very long to live. About two months if he’s lucky…”
Just remembering the conversation brought the tears back full-force; Al looked away and rubbed at his eyes furiously. He didn’t trust his voice, but he had to speak, “Don’t,” he paused as a small sob escaped, “Don’t talk like that, Edward!”
Ed frowned and whispered, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Al.” He managed a small smile, gave Al’s hand a weak squeeze and closed his eyes.
“Hey, don’t go back to sleep yet, Brother. You should eat something first.” Al smiled, but it turned into a worried frown when Ed didn’t respond after a few moments. “Brother? Ed?! EDWARD!!!”
The funeral had been small and quiet, only Edward and Alphonse’s closest friends had come. Alphonse had stood there, trying not to simply fall to his knees and sob until he was empty inside the whole time.
Edward had always hated to see him cry.
After it was over, everyone came up to Alphonse and gave their condolences and told him how sorry they were that Edward had died.
As if they had any idea of how he felt…
After everyone had left and it was just Alphonse standing in front of Edward’s fresh grave, Alphonse couldn’t take it anymore. He barely registered the rain falling on him as his knees hit the ground. The only thing he was truly aware of were his agonized wails to the sky.
Why did he have to leave? I’m alone now. I have nothing left…
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