Disclaimer: For the last time this story (grabs Kleenex box) I don't own FMA!

Author's Note: I'm gonna cry! I'll miss this story so much! Thank you so much everyone who has reviewed my story and stuck with me from the beginning- especially through my bad updates and slow updates and the fact I had to change the writing style. You guys are the best!

I love this story so much, and I'm glad that everyone else liked it too. Sorry it's been so sad, but don't worry… I hope you'll like the ending. Thank you everyone! I love you all! Please review and tell me what you think. Yes, this is the last chapter!

Now go read before I cry.

Lessons in Alchemy

Chapter 18: Can't Live Without You (Epilogue)

Al stared at his brother with human features for the first time in forever. His eyes were soft, but had the cloudy look of confusion in them, and he took a step forward. "Brother…did you make a wish?"

Ed's eyes flickered closed, and he began to wish with all his heart that Ash would come back to life again. Even though his golden orbs were tightly shut, tears still escaped from them and traveled to the floor.

"Please…please let her live," Ed begged and begged, his mind beginning to hurt. "I'll give up my body. I'll travel in a suit of armor like Al had too… even if it means not being able to feel her soft skin, or lips, or smile at her with that sparkle in my eyes that shows how happy I am that she's around… I just want her back…" he thought, never knowing himself to be such a romantic.

He was surprised that the words just flowed through his mind. It shocked him…he had never even 'thought' something like that… so, why did he think it now?

But that was how he felt-he knew it, so he finished his wish and opened his eyes, slowly looking over to the girl lying on the bed. She was still gone.

He threw the stone on the bed next to her and walked out, fuming, from the shack and sat down on the swings at the park. He let his feet brush against the rocks, staring downwards, tears falling and sliding down his cheeks.

"The Philosopher's Stone was supposed to be able to do anything!" he grumbled under his breath, trying to keep from screaming. He wanted to punch around a few people, scream at the world at the top of his lungs. Why? Simple. Because he couldn't live without her.

Al walked up slowly behind his older brother, staring at him, tears swelling up in his soft blue eyes as well. "Brother?"

Ed spun around, anger still residing in his eyes, then saw it was Al and calmed down. Al took a seat on the swing next to Ed. A single tear slid down his cheek. "I forgot how it feels to cry… it's because of her that I can do all the things I couldn't do before… but… I want her back too."

"You don't understand Al!" Ed said yelling, then, realizing this, slowed his voice down. "I'm sorry Al… I'm just so upset right now… I guess I've always been a hothead, but now…"

His voice trailed off, and he stared at his feet again. "I wished for her…" he said quietly. Al looked up at him and another tear fell down his cheek. "I wished that she would come back… in place of me losing my auto mail," he moved his right arm. "But, it didn't work… why didn't it work?"

Al shrugged and instead of looking at his brother, looked at the lake nearby the swings. "Brother, I'll be right back!" he said suddenly, then jumped off the swing before Ed could get a word in.

Ed watched his brother leave then walked back into the shack and sat down on a chair, sighing deeply as he did so. "Now what?" he asked himself rhetorically. "I have nothing else to do now…I lost my purpose…"

Ed was sixteen now, Al fifteen, Ash fifteen, time had flown by. He'd known that girl for months now…had loved her for so long… had needed her since before he had even met her… so now what?

What was this thing called 'true love'; because the only explanation he could think of was that it didn't exist. If it did, why would it hurt this bad.

He looked over at the girl, knowing that he'd have to bury her soon. He wanted a big funeral for her…but that was impossible. "Maybe I should bury her next to mom…"

He stared at the girl, noticing her pale cheeks and dark hair…wait, was she getting color back?

Ed walked over to the bed and sat next to her. He pushed some hair away from her face and let the back of his hand rest on her cheek. She was getting warmer!

Then he noticed that the Philosopher's Stone was gone. He had left it right there, but it wasn't there… had someone taken it? No, that couldn't be right, no one was around.

His eyes lingered on her for what seemed like hours, and he gradually saw signs of her improving. Her hair was now light black, no longer gray, her cheeks weren't white pale, and her chest seemed to be trying to move up and down.

Tears swelled up in his eyes: she was really coming back!

X

Al left the bakery, a sack of chocolate donuts in one hand. Every since Ash had brought them chocolate donuts the second day they knew her, they had been Ed's favorite treat. Al knew that getting them might bring back painful memories, but he hoped Ed's love for food would take over.

He walked down the streets, feeling the wind press against his skin, the sun beat down on his back; even sprinkles hit him when a car turned too fast around a curb and splashed water upon him.

He had forgotten how great it felt to be human; he probably would've flown if he wasn't on a mission. All he could think about was Ash and Ed… he loved her, she was gone.

Which lead him to another question: Why? How did she get sick? "I guess we'll never find out," was Al's reply to that question. He opened the door to the shack and saw Ed hunched down next to Ash.

"Brother, I brought some donuts…Brother?" he asked. Ed wasn't moving- hadn't moved since he had walked in.

Then he turned around and saw Al, and ran over to him and tackled his little (now both ways) brother in a huge hug. "She's waking up Al! She's waking up!"

After his last word drowned out they heard a sound by the bed and both boys turned their heads so fast it was a surprise they didn't get whiplash, and saw Ash move a little in her sleep.

All the sudden, her eyes flew open and she sat up a little too quickly. She gripped her head and fell back down, but her eyes stayed open.

Ed rushed over to her bed and sat down next to her. "Ash?" he asked. She looked up at him and cocked her head at him.

"Who?" she asked, staring at him with confused eyes. He stared back down at her.

"Oh no," Al said behind them. Ed looked around and realized the problem. The stone was still there- yet she was alive. Did this mean she had a real heart?

Then Ash broke into a huge smile and threw herself at Ed, burying herself into him. "I'm so happy to see you!" she said happily.

Al started laughing, "That wasn't very nice…"

But Ed didn't say a word; he just held the girl and smiled to himself. Now he was complete.

X

(One year later)

Ash rolled in her sleep, bumping the person next to her, immediately waking her up. She smiled as she saw Ed.

She moved closer to him then touched his face slightly and his eyes flickered open. He smiled at his girlfriend, his golden orbs dancing. "Hey," he said quietly, finally getting out of bed.

Ash got up too and walked into the room next door; smiling when she saw that Al had inherited Ed's sleeping habits. He was hanging half off the bed, the blanket wrapped around him. In the other bed, Winry slept curled in a ball, the blanket up to her neck.

It was December the twenty third, and Winry and Ash had plans to go shopping for the boys' Christmas presents. She walked over to Winry's bed first and lightly shook the girl.

"Hey Winry," she said, and Winry smiled before looking over to her boyfriend and laughing. He was about to fall off the bed. The girls exchanged glances and put smirks on.

They crept over to his bed and both yelled really loud, causing him to jump and fall. He landed roughly on his butt.

"That wasn't nice," he said, getting up and lightly kissing his girlfriend on the cheek. Ash smiled, "then you don't know us."

X

The girls left at eleven, praying they'd find something perfect for their guys. Winry spotted her gifts for Al almost immediately. It was a dark red hoodie with a transmutation circle on the front. She also got him a giant book about animals. Sure the gifts didn't seem like much, but the two of them had only been dating for three months.

Ash on the other hand, was having a hard time shopping for Ed. It was their first Christmas together as a couple, and she wanted to find him the perfect present. She had her eye on a couple of things, but it just didn't seem right.

Then her eyes laid upon a dark red, floor length jacket, much like the one Ed used to have before he outgrew it. He had a giant growth spurt in the year they'd been together and was now 5'9". She smiled at herself, knowing that she'd have to get something else too, but this was a nice gift.

X

Christmas morning came too quickly, and everyone was crashed out. Winry and Ash had stayed up late last night preparing the lunch; while Al and Ed played video games- which Al won every time.

Ed was the first one awake, and he quietly got out of bed and walked over to his closet. He quietly got dressed, throwing on whatever happened to catch his eye first, before he snuck into the living room and grabbed a velvet box out of the hiding place in a bushy plant. He stuck it in his pocket.

Everyone else was soon up and the presents began. Al got Winry a book on mechanics, and also some new equipment, which she needed for Ed. He was growing a lot more now, and his auto mail had to get a lot of alterations. The last present she opened was a silver necklace with a cross on it.

Winry smiled and gave her presents to him, which he also loved. He helped her clip on her necklace. Ash gave her presents to Ed, who smiled when he saw the jacket. Ash had the old one now, since it was too short for him.

Ed opened his second gift- a framed picture of the two of them. They were standing together, all bundled up in their coats and scarves, snow flakes on the tops of their heads, holding hands in the park. He smiled at the picture, so happy that his life had turned around.

Ed gave Ash her gift, a beautiful red silk kimono with big pink cherry blossoms on it. Ash was a big fan of Japan, and the gift made her so happy.

Everyone looked about the same as last year. Ed's hair was the same length, and he wore it back in a braid still, but was now a lot taller. Ash's hair went to her waist, coal black again, and about 5'7". Al had sandy brown hair with soft blue eyes, and Winry had blonde hair that went past her butt, still obsessed with mechanics.

---

That night, Ed and Ash went to a special dinner together. They went to a Chinese restaurant, then afterwards, a walk in the park, like in the picture. Ed reached his hand inside his new coat pocket, then took it out quickly. His other hand, the auto mail one, was holding Ash's.

"Ed…I know I tell you this a lot…but…thank you so much. I mean it from the bottom of my heart…" She said quietly, staring at the ground.

Ed smiled, "Hey, don't worry 'bout it. You're more important than these limbs anyway." She blushed. He bent down and kissed her quickly on the lips, and she snuggled closer to him, his warmth comforting her.

He stuck his free hand in his pocket again, this time withdrawing the little box. He was glad that Ash had her attention elsewhere.

He fumbled with it between his fingers, the little green box, and looked over at her. She was wearing his old jacket. Granted, he thought she would've thrown it out from sheer fact that it held so many sad memories. She truly was alone now, but she didn't seem to mind, and he would always be there for her. Her scarf was white, and one of those really soft ones that can also be worn as a poncho, a Christmas present from Winry last year, and her gloves. It was really cold outside; he could see the air from her mouth although she was looking away.

She looked back to him and noticed the little box in one hand. "Edward?" she asked, now confused by what was going on. He smiled. "You didn't think that was all I was going to get you for Christmas, did you?"

Ash raised an eyebrow as he flipped open the box and revealed a pure silver charm bracelet, with a charm of a red heart hanging off one of the hoops. It was the only charm on the bracelet.

She stared at it, mesmerized, for what seemed like hours, and he took it out of the box and slipped it on her wrist.

"Soon, it will be full. Every year, I'll get you a new charm," he said smiling.

"You really want to stay with me for that long? Until it is full?" She asked, receiving a nod from her boyfriend. "Why?"

He smiled, "Simple. Because I can't live without you."

X

I know, corny ending, but I thought it was kawaii. Anyway, please review if you read this chapter and tell me what you think. Also, sorry for the stupid content in this chapter… I'm finding it hard to think at the moment.

This whole story, all 18 chapters, turned out to be 92 pages long! That's not a lot for most writers, but it is for me. Anyway, useless fact I know.

I'm really gonna miss this story… thank you so much everyone who reviewed. I love you all! Please look for other stories from me in the future!

Fox Kitsune