This story has spoilers for the entire series, up to the last episode. I recommend you stay away if you haven't read that far.

End Is The Beginning Is The End

Alphonse and the man with the eye-patch stared at each other. Alphonse wondered what the man was doing in their kitchen and wanted to ask, but this seemed to be turning into a staring contest and he was good at those. He'd always beat his brother at them, and if he could beat Edward he could certainly outlast this guy.

It was curious, though, that eye-patch. Did he have a glass eye underneath it, or just a hole? Probably a hole—it was fairly large as eye-patches go. Not that Alphonse had seen many of them of course. But the butcher in town had one, and he'd read books with pictures of others.

The man wasn't that old—thirtyish, Alphonse guessed—but he had a cane and a limp. Probably an accident or something. Or maybe they were old battle wounds. But this guy didn't seem that old...maybe old enough for Ishbal then. He wasn't in uniform; the military must've let him go after his injuries. Did he carry a gun? Then again it could be from a measly tavern fight.

"What's your name, kid?"

Alphonse smiled. Nobody could beat him at staring contests.

"You already know my name. You asked Aunt Pinako to see me."

A faint smile on the man's face, a light shrug of his shoulders. "Heard that, did you?"

"Sound carries on a breezy day in the country, Mister. Did you come to talk to me about alchemy? About my missing time?"

The man leaned back, bemused. "I suppose a lot of people have talked to you about that, huh?" Alphonse shrugged.

"Mostly state alchemists, and some military people. I can't remember anything, so I wasn't much help." Alphonse tilted his head, and leaned forward with his elbows on the table.

"Hey Mister."


"Did you know me? Did you know my brother?"

"What makes you think that."

Alphonse almost snorted but suppressed it—adults that weren't his family or his sensei were always assuming he was the stupid one, especially now because he was young and had a loss of memory. Because he was still a child instead of a grown-up like he should be. He reigned the feeling in though; this man hadn't meant to offend him.

"Because you looked sad just now. Tell me; you did know us didn't you?"

"Yes, Alphonse. I knew you and Edward very well."

Alphonse put his chin in his hands and stared at the man across the oak table, and the moments ticked by. Aunt Pinako was in the yard folding laundry from the line, and Winry was in the operating room, tinkering with her many tools. It was almost noon, and Alphonse was hungry. Pinako had said they wouldn't eat until the man left, but waiting was okay, he decided.

"So, Mister, are you an alchemist too?