Afterword by the Author:

It's been a couple of harrowing weeks to get this fic finished. I much enjoyed the praise I got, and thanks so much for reading it—you guys are my inspiration. Keep an eye out for an add-on, the transcription of that Christmas Eve tape. I'm not sure when I'll get it out.

Credit to Jackson Browne for the song in Ch. 25: "My Stunning Mystery Companion." Winamp reads my mind sometimes.

Also, it's come to my attention that a few things need to be addressed. No, I never said Ed was dead. I just implied that Alphonse wants to attempt human alchemy to bring him back, since Ed's gone beyond the Gate and human alchemy is the only KNOWN way to bring someone back from beyond the Gate. If you've seen the end of the series, you know that Al was talking about re-learning alchemy to bring Ed back. Maybe that's what the movie (Summer 2005) is supposed to be about.

I've left certain things unexplained or un-ended for a reason. But yes, this is the end of my story. If you don't like it, tough. Write your own fic. As if you're particularly interested in why, I'll follow up with a livejournal entry I wrote about a week ago:

"I've always seen Roy/Riza as a very straightforward relationship, with a long untold history largely personal and unimportant to the larger plot. (As a side note, I'm probably one of few people who is glad there is not more of their story told in the series.) I still feel innocent romance, rather than either Shakespearean or the gratuitous, is the best kind. It's what most of us experience, which is why it relates so well.

"There's so much degraded crap that you see these days even published, and despite how I encourage those of us who put the effort in even if our writing isn't the best, I have to say that if you write, please do so by asking the question 'what if?' and answering it with more than a pretty picture all wrapped up and explained. A piece of writing is designed to let the reader think and imagine. It is what inspires more questions, poses what will inspire another, in an endless chain that cannot be broken.

"And so, I think, the terminus of a story should not be surrounded and boxed with a bow on, to be shaken and guessed at and eventually known in its entirety. That's not interesting; that's religion. I want my story to spring out into a million directions that I won't ever know, because they all reside in the minds of the readers. Stories are not written to sell. They are written because they will be told."

Thank you once again for reading. Every reader has an impact on how I write, and I want you all to feel as if you've made a difference to me. It's an unbelievably great feeling I get when I see the bot-mailer in my inbox. If you are curious about me, or if you'd like to be my friend, my Livejournal username is ItsumademoOtaku and my AIM is Dragonsblood5. See you around!