A/N WHOO! This is my sixtieth story since I joined here at ! It kind of snuck up on me. Let's hope that it doesn't take me another seven years to reach a hundred!

I know, I haven't really updated much lately. I've got the usual excuse of too much work and school. I am, however, almost finished with a story and am starting work on an EdWin 52 Flavors! Which reminds me, go vote on my polls since it's helping me decide something for that.

Anyway, I love Ed's whole "older brother" mode. It's so cute. ^_^ This was originally the first chapter of a slightly longer fic, but this is all i ever got around to writing and I've decided it's good the way it is. I hope you guys enjoy it!

Disclaimer: Fanfiction! Consider thyself disclaimed!

"Almost there...come on, Al; you gotta help me a little..." Edward struggled along the dark path, supporting the weight of his little brother as he tried to steer the boy's steps around the large stones that littered the path. Alphonse's arm was draped over his shoulders and he held him up, an arm around his torso to offer extra support. The younger brother's head had fallen limply against his neck, his forehead burning hot against Edward's skin. Some way ahead of them, a little grassy knoll rose against the darkening sky. At its crest sat an old familiar yellow house. If they could get there...if they could make it that far...

"Brother, can't we stop? I'm tired..." Alphonse mumbled. He was too worn down to bother speaking clearly, but his brother interpreted the words perfectly. He was beginning to drag, making it harder for Edward to pull him along.

"Not yet. When we get to the house you can sleep all you want, okay?"

"Mmm'kay..." Feeling his brother shiver a little against him, Edward quickened his pace as much as he dared. It felt like hours later when the door of the house was thrown open and the brothers found themselves looking upon the diminutive form of Pinako Rockbell. The old woman squinted up at him through the darkness.

"Edward? Alphonse?"

"Auntie!" Edward was a little startled by the urgency of his own voice. The heat radiating from his brother was really starting to scare him. Alphonse had never been sick, not since before their mother had died. Edward really had no idea how to take care of him. "He's sick! I don't know what to...Auntie, can you help him?" Immediately the woman stepped aside, waving them in.

"Take him up to your room. I'll be right there." She scurried away, leaving Edward to awkwardly navigate the stairway. With Alphonse hanging on him it was difficult to climb. Eventually they managed it and Alphonse was practically dragged to the room at the end of the hall where he could finally curl up in bed. Pinako came in several moments after them, her arms loaded down with several heavy quilts. She spread them over the boy and looked closely into his face. "You should have brought him home sooner. He's probably been fighting this off for a while." Frowning, she pressed her hand against his forehead.

"So, what is it?"

"Influenza's in season...could be some sort of infection. Fever feels high. Has he been coughing or anything?"

"Um...I don't know..." Edward's head dipped forward. He was a little ashamed that he'd not been paying enough attention to his brother's state of health. It didn't seem to bother Pinako.

"Nothing to worry about, unless it goes much higher. I've got a stock of aspirin for patients. We'll give him some of that and keep an eye on him through the night." Ed nodded gratefully, watching as the old woman left the room. She had been gone for several minutes before Alphonse stirred beneath his covers. He mumbled something, fighting the sleep that pulled at him.

"What, Al? Say it again." Edward shifted, moving farther up the bed so he could see the younger boy's face. Alphonse grunted and repeated himself, his voice muffled under the layers burying him. "I hate…being sick…" Ed couldn't help laughing a little. "So do I! We'll have to tough it out, though."

"Meh…" Alphonse grunted, neither agreeing nor contradicting him. They were both quiet for a moment before Edward leaned worriedly over his little brother.

"You need anything?"

Alphonse thought for a second. "I'm really cold…"

"That's the fever. We can't help that yet." Edward reached out his left hand, resting it against Alphonse's forehead the way Pinako had done. His skin was hot to the touch and sweat was starting to bead there. Alphonse leaned into his brother's touch, causing Edward to frown. "Al, why didn't you tell me you were sick?"

"…Didn't wanna worry you…"

"And you suddenly keeling over on the train wouldn't worry me?" Ed scowled, even though he was a little touched by his brother. "You're lucky we weren't working or anything." He was more than a little irritated, and it definitely showed in his voice. Alphonse flinched at his tone and Edward tried guiltily to push the feeling away.

"M'sorry, Brother…"

"No. It's okay." He rubbed his brother's head, sweeping a few strands of his light hair away from his eyes. Alphonse gave a groan and burrowed farther into the quilts as footsteps sounded from the hall: Pinako was back.

"You got lucky, kid." She grinned as she approached the bed bearing a glass of water and two tiny pills. "I almost couldn't find them. These are easy to handle so they shouldn't be a problem." Reluctantly Alphonse sat up. He kept a tight hold on the edge of the covers in an attempt to stay completely covered. The tips of his finger poked into view to carefully take the offered glass and pills. Once most of the liquid was gone, Pinako took the glass back, setting it on a little bedside table. She tucked the quilts in around him as he settled back down and she spoke to Edward.

"He needs to sleep now. You should too, boy, or you'll be sick before long."

"But, I-"

"Edward, you'll be three feet away from him, you can watch him from there." Edward glared a little, but he knew she was right and didn't argue anymore. He waited until she had retreated back downstairs before he stood and began stripping down to his shorts.

"Um…Brother?" He paused, his pants halfway off as he glanced to see Alphonse lift his head towards him, a faint grin on his face. Some of the sleepiness had left him and he was speaking more clearly. "Every layer helps, you know."

The elder nodded, retrieving his black coat from where he had unthinkingly dropped it in the corner earlier and flapped it out over the small form of his brother. It wasn't anything fancy, just a wool coat not unlike the one the Colonel and the others sometimes wore. It was very warm, though, and Alphonse snuggled his face into it happily. "Thanks."

"Sure." Edward crawled into his own bed. He was glad that Pinako had never decided that the boys needed their own rooms when they came home, it would have bothered him to be too far away while Alphonse was so obviously uncomfortable. He turned on his side, staring across the gap so he could see his little brother. The top of his head and his nose were the only parts of Alphonse that weren't covered in something. The little light seeping through the window cast a pale glow over him, making him a little easier to see in the darkness. Silence lay heavily in the room; Alphonse's somewhat scratchy breathing was the only thing that broke it.

Edward frowned. How long had his brother's lungs sounded like that? "Al?" he called, sitting up when after a moment the sound had really started to bother him.

"Uh?"

"You sure you don't want anything?"

"I want you to be quiet and let me sleep." Alphonse's nose poked a little farther from the blankets. "Stop worrying so much."

"Who's worrying?"

"Ed…" He whined, prompting Edward to roll his eyes a little.

"Okay, okay…seriously, though-"

"No. I don't want anything."

"'Kay. Night, Al." The younger Elric gave a small grunt in reply as he wriggled deeper into the bed.

"Brother?"

"Eh?"

"Thanks...You practically carried me here."

Edward lifted his head, smiling at his brother. "Come on, that's what I'm here for, isn't it?"

"You're always taking care of me..." Alphonse sighed and turned onto his side, curling in on himself against the cold of his fever. A few moments of silence passed and the younger boy's breathing began to even out. Satisfied that his brother was dozing off, Edward wriggled into his mattress, letting sleep overcome him as well as a small tickle began in the back of his throat.

A/N I'm sure bundling up when you have a fever probably isn't the best idea in the world, but that's what my parent's always did to me when I got sick (as long as it wasn't alarmingly high). Obviously, I came out of it alright. You guys escaped a lot of shameless "Winry taking care of her boys" love because I was lazy. I thought briefly about adding to this, but I've got too many other things to work on right now. Maybe over summer or something.

If you guys don't mind my asking, if you fave this or anything like that, please review. It's the least you can do.