Title: Nothing

Author: Thoughts of a Shadow

Rating: K+

Warnings: Guess what? This is another English assignment…whoa. Nothing bad, I don't think. AU fight against Pride (manga, I think)

This is one of the rare times you want to cry. Your brother is gone and your father managed to show up just in time to save the day. Lin is back in control of his body and LanFan got outfitted with automail. Everything's just a bit crazed and now you really just want to sit down and take it all in. But Pride just swallowed Gluttony, so you suppose now really isn't the time to do anything like that. Al's still out-you're dad has been nullified from the fight to take care of him, as has Darius. Old Man Foo is out taking care of Heinkel and LanFan looks like she's about to collapse (she really shouldn't be up and fighting after having automail on for only six months) and that means that all of your best fighters are out. The only people that are left are you and Lin.

And Lin isn't looking that good.

So when Pride goes for him, you lunge forward and place yourself right in front of the Xing man and hope that your carbon-infused automail can hold up to the strain. Of course, it does because Winry made it and you can't help but marvel at how the mixture hasn't even got a dent. Lin glares over at you, squinted eyes staring as if to ask why you just risked your life, but his heavy breathing belays that. This is just you against Pride and he's fighting with shadows.

That's a load of bull.

You should be able to beat this fake before the lights come all the way on in the slums less than a mile from here, so you take a chance, change the prosthetic limb into a sword and leap forwards. Pride meets you head on without moving an inch, watching as first you take down one spindling shadow and then another and another until there's only a small rim separating you and him. He keeps frozen while you slice your way through some of his final defenses in the hopes that the danger he's in will keep the fake human from noticing that everyone else is slowly creeping away and leaving you behind, because you're a State Alchemist and shouldn't you be able to take care of yourself?

You agree with them, because now you're sixteen and all grown up even if you became an adult at the age of twelve. The only person that stays is your father, and you know the only reason he's still there is in case you fail.

And that hurts.

You never had his opinion very high on your importance list, but the fact that he thinks you're incapable of handling yourself is a blow to your ego. So you fight all the harder and try to prove your worth to the man that walked out on you when you were younger. The shadows are getting stronger the closer you get to Pride and suddenly you're being forced back and it scares you. You can't keep up with this double creature and then you're legitimately worried for your life. Hoenheim, the unhelpful jerk, calls out a needless warning that only serves to distract you even more and you lose the minimal focus you've struggled to hold onto.

Everything after that one fatal shout happens too fast for you to really grasp.

One moment you're fighting and the next something punches you in the stomach and you can't breathe. The ground presents itself to your back and stars leap before your eyes. You spend a few moments gasping in shock and trying to get your breath back before the world rights itself and you begin to lose that tingling feeling all of your limbs had acquired as soon as you hit the ground.

That's when the pain comes.

Your stomach hurts like the devil himself and you can't breathe again because something heavy must be sitting on you and it just hurts so much that you can't think straight. Gold flashes in front of you and it looks so much like your father that for a moment, you believe it is. But your father would never come to save you, so it must be your imagination. Must be some hidden desire within you because fairy tales don't come true. If you wish on a star, miracles won't happen.

You don't get 'happily ever afters' in real life.

The princess doesn't come back from the dead no matter how much you want her to.

They say when you die your life flashes before your eyes, but you can't help but think it really goes in slow motion.

The first thing you see is your father leaving. There's just the back of him with his face blocked by the sun and then he's gone and your mother is smiling sadly at you.

-He'll come back soon, she says.

But he never does.

Then she dies and you're standing next to Al at her grave letting the soil run through your little ten-year old fingers as Al sobs next to the tombstone.

-What will we do now, Brother? He asks, and you immediately know the answer.

It's the first time you're wrong.

There's the night in the basement a year later when you and Al press your hands to that horrible circle and wait for your dead mother to come back to life. Something goes wrong, and shouldn't it have, because human transmutation has been a taboo since Alchemy was created.

-Brother! What's happening? Al asks, and you can't answer, because you're brother is being taken as payment before your very eyes.

Your life flashes forward past your automail surgery and your physical therapy and your test to become a State Alchemist until you're staying at Tucker Mansion and you've met a little four-year-old girl named Nina.

-Big brother? Let's play! She says, and you take a break from your studying to go play in the yard with Alexander.

That's when you let your guard down.

A few weeks pass and you return to the mansion to find that Tucker has mixed his dog with his daughter in order to make a chimera and keep funding. Tucker's still there, and for the first time, you want to kill someone, because how could he do this to sweet, innocent little Nina who's brightened up your life so much?

-You're just like me, he says.

That's when you punch him.

Not two hours later you come up to a crime scene that Mustang's set up and you see the mutilated remains of that little girl strewn across the stone.

-Fullmetal? Are you ok? He asks.

That's when you faint.

And it only gets worse from there, all of the people that have died or been horrifically injured or changed so badly that there isn't any real hope of saving them all because you screwed up your life before you were really a decade old.

And it just gets harder from there.

Or it would, if you were going to live any longer.

But that weight is slowly getting heavier and the sky above you is slowly getting dimmer and the warmth is slowly getting colder…

The last thing you see is a quick memory of you and Al sitting together under the stars on that abandoned island your teacher left you on as you discuss your place in the universe.

And then nothing.