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09 August 2004 @ 01:31 am
Title: Short
Rating: PG-13
Warning: None
Spoilers: First one or two episodes of FMA, nothing major...
Category: Humor, angst, Al POV.
Older brother: Fifteen
Younger brother: Fourteen

I don't like it when people call Niisan short.

It's not just because he hates it, although he does. The quickest way to get him into a flaming temper is to make some kind of crack about his youth, or his height, or his size.

Sometimes I think that he can hear the word "short" over the noise of a large crowd, through walls, and in his sleep. Even if it wasn't directed at him, that will get him up and raging around, looking for the culprit, and guess who has to hold him back?

"You should have been more gentle with him, Niisan," I say, watching him walk in front of me.

Niisan growls and glares at me over his shoulder. "He called me SHORT," he says, as though I hadn't been right there and heard it. "He said that I was short enough that I'd need a stepladder to see over the top of the bar! Right in front of the entire crowd!"

"Still," I murmur, "I don't think you really needed to break his kneecaps."

And it's not just because people always mistake me for him, although they do. I think it's because of Niisan's name; they hear "Fullmetal" and they go looking for the nearest metal thing, and since Niisan always covers up his arm and his leg when he can, that would be me.

I don't really like the attention, and it gets embarassing having to explain that it's not me who's the nationally infamous alchemist, it's my brother, and that I'm actually a year younger than him even though I'm so much taller. Not to mention, he hates when people don't give him the respect he's earned.

Like this time. "Well, what did you expect," Niisan says, "It was the quickest way to get him down on the floor. What was I supposed to do after he called me a little kid? He's lucky I didn't break his whole damn leg off."

Niisan turns completely around, now, walking backwards while looking at me. He has to look up at me to meet my eyes.

"You still didn't have to transmute his clothes into nettles," I reproach him. Niisan turns a little red, but he still doesn't look terribly contrite.

And it's not just because it means he hasn't grown very much since back then. In the three years since that night, he's only grown a few inches. It scares me, sometimes, to think that what we did that night might have done some kind of permanent damage to him; that he'll have to spend his entire life looking the same as when he was eleven.

I think it relieves him, though, that he's stayed the same. He knows that since that night, nothing has changed for me, and won't until we find away to get my body back. I think he wouldn't want to rub my face in the fact that he can still go on in a body that's mostly normal, that grows and changes, and I can't.

Of course, I think he's stupid to think that, but he's my brother and I love him anyway.

"He called me a girl," Niisan snarls, and he stops walking entirely as he waves his arms wildly up and down. "Al! You heard what he said! He said that I'd have to be some kind of girly-boy to look so pretty and weak and that he bet I'd lose in an arm-wrestling contest to his baby cousin!"

"You lost to Alicia last week," I point out to him, and he sputters.

"I let her win," he said, "because she's Alicia, and because Gracia would have had my spleen if I made her cry. But Al! Do I look like a girl?"

I pretend to look him up and down, just to tease him. Before he can get really mad, I allow, "Not if you don't have your coat on."

"Hah!" He scowls and kicks at a rock in the ground. "And that idiot imagined that riding around in a topless convertible would make him cool --"

"Not since you sunk it in the river," I say, and he smirks at me.

And it's not even just that I'm so much bigger than him, now, when I used to be so small, because the two of us have gotten used to that. He treated me just the same, once he got over his not-quite-meeting-my-eyes habit, and it wasn't long before it didn't even occur to me that I used to look up at him, not down.

Memories from before that night are always a little hazy, anyway, though it scares me to admit that too. I trust Niisan to remember them for me, and he makes sure that I have good memories of the time after, too.

He always makes sure that no matter how busy he is with missions, or how hard we work searching for the Philosopher's Stone, that there's always time to take out in a park or out shopping. Just acting like normal people, enjoying the fact that we're both still alive, and if people stare at us when we go out among strangers, it's worth it just to be with him.

Unless, of course, somebody starts to talk about his size.

"He said it was past my bedtime," Niisan reminds me, "and that I should go away and not come back until I'm old enough to have a set of balls. He said that, Al! Was I supposed to let him just get away with that?"

"Setting his hair on fire was excessive," I tell him. "You really need to work on your temper."

"I put it out almost right away!" Niisan protests.

"And the cracked ribs..." I remind him.

"He's lucky they weren't broken," Niisan points out quickly. "I really wanted to kick his lungs out through his chest, but I held back. Besides, he took a swing at me. It was self-defense!"

"Of course." I want to grin at him, but I can't. He understands anyway, though. "And what part of self-defense was it to write 'BIG FAT NINNY' across his forehead in permanent ink?"

For a moment, Niisan grows serious. He steps closer to me, staring intently into my face, and I feel a moment of awkwardness, because I was there, so I already know. "He called you a freak, Al," Niisan says. "He deserved everything he got."

No; the reason I don't like it when people call Niisan short isn't because he's sensitive about it, or because I'm so much taller, or because they mistake me for him, or even that in all this time he hasn't grown. But when they talk about his height, it always takes me right back to that night, when I woke up in a smoke-filled basement and saw what my brother had done.

Even though I can't really remember what it was like to be smaller than him, I still remember the shock that went through me, looking down on him, when he looked so small, so young. When he was bleeding his life out on the floor, with ashes and blood and grime and that expression smeared over his face, telling me in a strained voice that he had sacrificed his arm up to the shoulder in order to save me.

When I realized, for the first time in my life, that my big brother wasn't perfect, wasn't always right, wasn't indestructible. When I realized that by sitting back and passively and keeping my mouth shut, letting Niisan make all the decisions, bear all the burdens, I had nearly killed him. I knew all this as soon as I saw him, but all I could think, in that moment -- the worst in my life -- was 'He's so small.'

I carried him to help, next door. He fit in my hands. With one leg, one arm gone, his entire body fit into my hands. It's funny, but we don't really think about how much space our limbs take up, both physically and psychologically, until they're gone. But I can never forget how light he felt in my arms.

"All the same," Niisan says, breaking into my thoughts, "I didn't really expect that of you, Al."

"Oh? What?" I try and make my voice innocent, but like I said, Niisan knows anyway. He laughs, the satisfied and slightly manic laugh he gets when he's particularly pleased.

"The way you picked him up and shoved him completely into the ceiling," he says, and he's grinning like a loon. "I honestly thought that place's ceilings were tougher than that -- but then, maybe he just had an especially hard head?"

I'm really glad armor can't blush. I start walking again, knowing he'll catch up in just a bit. "Well, what was I supposed to do, Niisan?" I say over my shoulder, hearing him still chuckling. "He called you short."


Also, just for fun... >_>
wet, naked ed

This one is no good to use as an LJ icon yet, because it's too big, but I'm still working on it.
Current Music: With Words Only Mine - Gundam Wing/Heero
shadowlucretia on August 8th, 2004 10:41 pm (UTC)
XD!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THAT ICON!! XD Too big? Hmm.. you could probably put it in a little box or something like how mine is *shrugs*
mikkeneko on August 8th, 2004 11:01 pm (UTC)
Ah, well, I really have no idea how to do that. ^^; I don't have an animation program myself, you see. I just got all the screencaps for this and asked a friend to put them together.
Courtney: fma sinnerpixelspaniel on August 8th, 2004 10:51 pm (UTC)
Great fanfic! Eds a short(*snicker*)-tempered chibi, but he's all about respect.

And AAAIIIII! I love the icon! XDDDDDD

I had that problem with three icons I just made, so I know the feeling.
mikkeneko on August 8th, 2004 11:03 pm (UTC)
He sure knows how to extract respect, doesn't he? X3

Heh, even if it doesn't work, I'm glad to have that little icon. *watches some more*
tripoverhercats: bang bangtripoverhercats on August 8th, 2004 10:55 pm (UTC)
Humor, angst and love all neatly woven together. A nice little introspective piece!

... must not lust over pretty wet naked boy half my age... goes off to savage Roy against a wall.
mikkeneko on August 8th, 2004 11:05 pm (UTC)
When I originally imagined the fic, it was just Al ruminating. But then I looked back over it and realized, "Hey, wait a minute. This is boring!" So I added the funny bits and I think it makes it go down smoother.

...You know, I used to tease my friend about her Card Captor Sakura fics, because she was lusting after the 11-year-olds. Then I saw 11-year-old Ed and OHH.
(Deleted comment)
mikkeneko on August 8th, 2004 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :D
Jaqui: fullmetal alchemist (al 01)storyinmypocket on August 8th, 2004 11:29 pm (UTC)
That fic was wonderful. And the icon makes me smile. ^^
mikkeneko on August 8th, 2004 11:45 pm (UTC)
I <3 your icon too. Chibi bookworms are always cute.
|<4ti3: sai wai wai4ti3k4t35 on August 8th, 2004 11:45 pm (UTC)
mikkeneko on August 8th, 2004 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: the fic, or re: the naked wet Ed?
|<4ti3: eyepatch dork XP4ti3k4t35 on August 9th, 2004 07:28 pm (UTC)
Nikki: greed by lelldorinsarashina_nikki on August 8th, 2004 11:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is wonderful. Really, it's just perfect.

It seems strange to say this for such a short fic, but you really have a good sense of pacing, cataloging not only all the different ways that Ed spazzed out on some random guy, but all the different ways that Al hates people calling his brother "short." And it just builds gradually until the two points converge at the end.

When I realized that by sitting back and passively and keeping my mouth shut, letting Niisan make all the decisions, bear all the burdens, I had nearly killed him. [...] "The way you picked him up and shoved him completely into the ceiling," he says, and he's grinning like a loon. "I honestly thought that place's ceilings were tougher than that -- but then, maybe he just had an especially hard head?"

Oh, Al. He's such a good brother.

And you're a good writer. :)
mikkeneko on August 9th, 2004 12:44 am (UTC)
I almost feel sorry for the jerk. He really had no idea who he was dealing with when he picked a fight with Ed.

Oh, Al. He's such a good brother.

Ed is perfectly capable of looking after himself... most of the time. But the rest of the time, it's so good that he has Al there to look out for him.

And you're a good writer. :)

Thank you! #^^#
Junie: Ed sinner - by mecherrylilwolf on August 9th, 2004 02:08 am (UTC)
Great fic =D Humor and angst all roll into one ^^ You are a really good writer!!! *worships* And I love the icon XD
mikkeneko on August 9th, 2004 12:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And, heh, I wish I could get the icon down to a workable size, without losing all the frames. Don't think it's possible, tho.
tell them stories: take the empiredjcati on August 9th, 2004 03:53 am (UTC)
awesome fic... Wow, you ARE a great writer! XP

I should go read more FMA fics...
mikkeneko on August 9th, 2004 12:24 pm (UTC)
The silly part is, I've been writing up a storm, but I'm still too afraid to really go and *read* FMA fics. I don't know what I'd do if I came on a bad one!
girl_starfishgirl_starfish on August 9th, 2004 04:14 am (UTC)
mikkeneko on August 9th, 2004 10:18 am (UTC)
Louise! Hooray! *glomps*
Sayrsayrchan on August 9th, 2004 07:50 am (UTC)
Yay Mikkeneko! I liked your fics back in GW fandom too and now... got more of these lying around, have you? Please? More?

And mmm... Ed...
mikkeneko on August 9th, 2004 10:21 am (UTC)
A few more, yes. I just don't want to spam the community. ^^;
Butterfly Collector: smile(i'msorryidunnowhomtocredit-_-)basilika on August 9th, 2004 09:14 am (UTC)
EEeeeeee, kawaii!!! ^_^V Fan fic was very, very cool! You showed Al's way of thinking in a very good anr true way. :P

And icon - yummmmm, love it! ^_^
mikkeneko on August 9th, 2004 10:20 am (UTC)
I actually had a conflict with myself as to whether or not I wanted Al to use "Niisan." I'm normally a firm opponent of random Japanese in English fanfics, the more so when there isn't any need to be there. But I wanted this fic to be in Al's 'voice,' and the more I tried to work with it, the more Al just isn't Al without his "niisan."
Butterfly Collectorbasilika on August 9th, 2004 10:44 am (UTC)
Exactly! that "Niisan" gave that feeling of Al, if you take my meaning... When you read, you do believe that it is al thinking and speaking, because you hear "Niisan" which characterizes him so much. ^_^ You did it right. ^_^b
i am a jedi, like my father before me: twistertatooine on August 9th, 2004 11:00 am (UTC)
It scares me, sometimes, to think that what we did that night might have done some kind of permanent damage to him; that he'll have to spend his entire life looking the same as when he was eleven.

... wow. I wonder if that's actually true, that being involved in botched human transmutation like, freezes you in time. (Maybe Al will still be, like, eleven if he's restored? And maybe Ed's arm and leg will be too small?)

*cough* Anyways, I had something to say about your wonderful, beautiful, funny, cute, super-awesome fic, but then I was distracted by wet, naked Edward.
mikkeneko on August 9th, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC)
I have no idea whether that's true or not, but it seems to me like it's the sort of thing Al would worry about. ;)

*heheh* Wet, naked Edward is highly distracting, isn't he? Naruto could take lessons.