Rating: PG for language
Summary: We never hear about Ed's time in the Military's version of boot camp. Here's a glimpse. If anyone can direct me to the official birthdates of the Elric Brothers, please! Edumacate me! And...since there is not Jesus in Amestris, the Star Festival is their Christmas. Welcome to loop holes.
It's my first FMA fic in public, so I hope you enjoy!
Another day, another reprimand. Even though he'd gotten his State Alchemist's Certification, Ed still had to go through basic training. Drills and physical tests and qualifications for everything.
Alphonse couldn't be with him for this.
Twelve years old, going through boot camp, and it was holiday season. Ed collasped his bed in the squad bay feeling like a truck ran over him multiple times. Physical training he could deal with. He was the recruit with the best time in pull ups (automail never tired). He had to double time to keep up in marching and drills. Failed the swim qualifications and then was absolved of it (automail sank) and he took the short jokes from his Driller with little protest. He did it for Al. All he did was for his brother, and he needed to keep telling himself that while he was getting chewed out for every little thing. If he didn't make it through training, he wouldn't be let out on the field. If he couldn't be out on the field, he couldn't find the Philosopher's Stone and get Al's body back.
Ed would not fail his brother. Not again.
There were quiet murmurs in the squad bay as the other military recruits passed on well wishes for the Star Festival. Edward had forgotten about that. The sky itself seemed to mock him as multicolored streaks of light rained down on the land. He shivered, the cold of the winter night seeping into his automail outdone only by his lonliness. Ed couldn't help but wonder where his brother was and if he was up thinking about him.
Ed sniffed and flopped over on his stomach. Of course Al missed him! They hadn't been seperated ever. He was mad for his own failings and his inability to complain. The last time (this afternoon) he was caught ranting he'd been sent out to the pit to do push ups until he puked.
His current rant was his failed qualifications in the rifle. No matter how good his calculations were, how fast he disassembled, cleaned, and re-assembled the damn thing, he couldn't shoot straight. Ed's automail hand wasn't steady enough.
He had his last chance to qualify tomorrow and it was making him sick with worry. Edward sighed and burried his face in his arms. It was going to be a long night.
"Hey Ed," his bunk mate to his left offered an encouraging smile. "Good luck on your qualls, tomorrow."
Edward's reply was a muffled- "Thanks."
"So you think you'll have active duty and be able to have your brother stick around?"
"Hmm?" That was something he hadn't thought of yet. "I don't know, really." Damn the Military to HELL if they thought Al wasn't going to be allowed with him on the field.
"Well, Happy Festival and all. I bet he has a present waiting for you when you get out."
Edward sank his face back down into his arms. He was stuck in here with no way to get a present out to Al. Perfect end to a rough day and even more stressful with tomorrow morning coming.
He stewed over his own thoughts and stared out the small window to nature's fireworks display. Finally, he pulled out his dog tags and stared at them. Edward Elric, 03-02-1899, The Fullmetal Alchemist. Perfectly stamped precision was his name and title. His military career in the making. But who was he without his brother? Edward tapped his fingers together and drew his automail index to a razor sharp point. When lights out hit, he was still scratching away.
It wasn't until years later after Alphonse had been restored his human body that he found it. He had always wondered why Edward gifted him his tags, the reminders of his brilliant and famous military career. Actually, Ed never spoke much of it. So it was a complete suprise after a shower that Al noticed some scrawl on the back of the tags that graced his throat.
The Soul behind Fullmetal
The etching was worn, but Al could still read them. It made his throat thick and impossible to swallow as he thumbed the etchings over and over again. Tears dampened the shower and body warm metal. This was the reason why Ed had given them these tags. Not as a reminder of their journey seeking the Stone, not even because it was something Al could relate to. If Ed had given them to Winry, she would only be reminded of the time they were seperated and all the worry they'd put her through. No, these tags were more than that.
They were a belated Festival gift.