Illusion of the Bluebird
A/N: Thanks a lot to all who you have read and / or left a review! I am terribly sorry for the delay! This is the final chapter and hope you will like it!
Special Thank: Once again, I would like to give my special thank to Hitokiri-san for beta-ing my story and correct my messy English! Thanks a lot!
Credits: Please refer to the previous chapters. Again, many thanks to the BBI team, kier and h2oblue! You are the best!
Summary: (Spoiler to Bluebird's Illusion and the TV series) The Elric brothers had finally found the philosopher's stone and Al was finally restored. But there was something wrong with Al's body. Would Ed find the solution in time?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything and I don't have anything. So don't sue me!
Please excuse my poor English.
Reviews are most welcomed!
Chapter 10 – The End
- Elric's house-
Alphonse awoke three hours later and found that his brother was not in the house. He felt uneasy as he knew that Edward would never leave him alone right after he had fainted. Hesitantly, he called Roy Mustang, one of the few people he trusted in Central.
An hour later, Mustang arrived at the Elric household.
"When do you think he left?" Mustang asked while looking for any clue of the whereabouts of the elder Elric.
"I faintly remember that it was about 7 o'clock when niisan helped me to get to bed." Alphonse explained, "It was past 10 am when I woke up. He was not in the house by then."
"There is no sign of a fight or struggle in the house." Mustang murmured, "there must be something that tempted him to leave Alphonse so urgently."
Suddenly, the telephone rang and Alphonse picked it up. It was Hawkeye, asking for Mustang.
"What is it?" Mustang asked.
"There were eye-witnesses saying that Edward went to the President's office at around 8 this morning." Hawkeye answered, "But since then, neither the President nor Edward has come out of the room."
"Thank you." Mustang said, "Keep an eye on the President's office. I will be back in an hour's time." He hung up.
"We have some clues." Mustang said to Alphonse, "Get changed and we will go to investigate."
- Two hours later-
Alphonse sat uneasily in Mustang's office. It had been an hour since Mustang went out to search for any update on Edward's disappearance and asked Alphonse to wait for him in his office.
A knock on the door made Alphonse jumped out of the chair. It was Mustang. He looked around to make sure no one was following him before closing the door.
"Are there any news about niisan?" Alphonse said, deeply worried.
"It seems that he might be kidnapped." Mustang said quietly. "According to the information we got, Edward has not come out of the President's office since early this morning. Although it was announced that the President is not feeling well and has returned home to rest, Hawkeye confirmed that he has not left his office at all."
"What should we do?"
"We will investigate the President's office tonight."
- Around 11pm-
Two figures moved across the corridor without making a sound, hiding in the corners whenever there were guards patrolling nearby. They reached the President's office, the smaller figure took out a wire and putting it into the key hole. Within a minute, the door was unlocked and the two figures slid into the office, closing the door silently behind them.
"Where did you learn such a skill?" Mustang asked in amazement.
"This is one of the survival skills we needed when niisan and I wandered around the country, looking for the philosopher's stone." Alphonse replied, smiling.
They looked around the room and soon noticed the handle behind the bookshelf. Quickly, they followed the long dark tunnel and reached the underground city.
"What is this place?" Alphonse asked, amazed.
Mustang had a very bad feeling about the place and decided to investigate around the area near the tunnel's entrance. He then noticed a dark red stain on ground a few metres from the entrance. He sniffed at the red substance and frowned.
"It's blood." Mustang said, "And it is quite new."
"Niisan..." Alphonse felt extremely uncomfortable with the thoughts of his brother getting hurt in such a strange place.
Mustang then noticed the trail of blood along the road, heading towards the centre of the deserted city. "This way." Mustang started running along the trail, Alphonse following closely behind him.
Mustang and Alphonse stood in front of the gigantic doors of a theatre. The blood trail indicated that Edward went into the theatre, but the doors are closed and locked. They hesitated, not certain about what awaited them behind the closed doors.
Suddenly, the doors opened and a dark figure came forth from the dark hall. Mustang was a bit surprised, though not unprepared, to see a familiar person walking towards them.
It was President Bradley.
Bradley walked slowly, coming to a stop in front of them. "You shouldn't be here, Mustang." He said coldly, "Leave the young boy here, go back and pretend you saw nothing. If you do that, I promise that you will get what you have always wanted - a promotion, power, anything. All you have to do is turn around, leave this place and never mention anything about it to anybody."
"A very tempting offer," Mustang said, a smirk on his face.
Alphonse turned to look at Mustang in surprise. For a moment, he doubted if he had put his faith in the wrong man.
"But I am afraid that I cannot accept it." Mustang continued, putting on his gloves and got ready to fight. "I will never abandon my subordinates. Not even if you give me the whole world."
"Stupid humans," King drew his sword, "then I will shut you up eternally right at this spot."
"Al, go and find your brother." Mustang said as he put on his gloves, "I will take care of this."
"No buts, Al!" Mustang shouted, his eyes fixed on Bradley, "Time is running out! Go!"
Alphonse hesitated for a moment before running into the theatre. Bradley simply watched as the young alchemist disappeared into the depth of the theatre, making no attempt to stop him.
"So, let's get back to our business." Mustang held his right hand up to the air and snapped his fingers. A huge fireball erupted and consumed Bradley with its fierce flame.
Alphonse ran along the dark corridors. He did not know why, but something in his mind was telling him to go to the dungeon. He ran straight to the last cell and looked inside. He saw a small figure lying still on the dirty floor, and immediately recognised it as his brother.
"Niisan!" Alphonse called out in panic. There was no response from Edward. Alphonse clapped his hands and tried to transmute a hole on the wall but nothing happened. He tried again, to no avail.
Frantically, Alphonse searched his pocket and took out a small box of tools he always carried along (as an old habit from the four years of travelling). He took a wire and unlocked the cell door within a minute. Quickly and carefully, he held his brother in his arms.
"Niisan! Niisan!" Alphonse gently shook Edward, his heart burning with worries as he saw the wounds and bruises all over his brother's face and body. To his relief, Edward slowly opened his eyes.
"A... Al? How... did you get here?" Edward asked, his mind dizzied and his whole body sore.
"General Mustang led me here." Alphonse said, smiling, "We will get you out of here. You will need a doctor."
"No... wait..." Edward's mind cleared as he remembered the words of his father. Coming to a decision, he clapped his hands before putting them on the floor. Bright light flashed across the small room and a complicated alchemy circle appeared on the floor.
"Niisan, what's this for?" Alphonse asked, a bad feeling rising in his heart.
"According to the old man, your transmutation is incomplete."
"What? What are you talking about? Who is this old man?"
"Our father." Edward said, his heart had never been calmer. "He told me that your transmutation is incomplete. He wants to give us eternal life by transform us into homunculi."
"But I won't let him do this to you, Al." Edward smiled and gently clapped his hands, " he has also told me another way to complete your transmutation."
"Another way?" Alphonse asked. Then he noticed Edward slowly lowering his hands to the floor, towards the alchemy circle Edward had just created, "You don't mean..."
"You will be fine, Al." Edward smiled one last time as he touched the alchemy circle, "Live well and don't let the old man or the homunculi catch you."
"NO!" Alphonse desperately shouted as bright light emitted from the circle. "NO! Niisan, don't do this..." but everything was overwhelmed by the bright light before Alphonse could do anything...
Mustang panted heavily. He was exhausted after the fierce fight with Bradley. But no matter how many times he had burnt the homunculus, Bradley simply refused to die. Once again, as the flame died down, Bradley stood firm, his burnt skin quickly recovering.
"I am getting bored with your tricks." Bradley said, an evil smile on his face. "You can't kill me."
"Really?" Mustang smiled, his face covered with sweat, "Then I will kill you until you are dead!" He snapped his finger again and again. Fire balls exploded violently and continuously around King.
"YOU!" Bradley shouted angrily. He charged again and again, trying to stab Mustang with his sword. But the violent explosions kept him away from his target. After dozens of explosion, Bradley finally fell to his knees.
"Stupid humans." Bradley whispered, "You will never triumph over us."
Mustang watched quietly as Bradley slowly dissolved into dust. "Let's wait and see."
Once Mustang was sure that Bradley was defeated, he rushed into the theatre. It was not long before he found the dungeon, as he had heard Alphonse's desperate shouts. When he got to the last room in the dungeon, he saw Alphonse holding Edward tightly in his arms, his head buried in Edward's chest.
"Niisan!" Alphonse shouted through sobs. "Please answer me!"
It was then Mustang noticed Edward. He was sure the young alchemist was alive, but there was something missing. Edward's eyes, which used to be full of life, were dull and empty. "What happened?" Mustang asked in shock.
"Niisan used his spiritual power to complete my transmutation." Alphonse sobbed, "He lost his soul because of me..."
Mustang's mind became empty as he stood there, Alphonse's sad of desperate cries echoed in his ears, "Niisan! NIISAN!"
-At the other end of the dungeon-
Envy stood beside Hoenheim. "Why can't I go in and finish them all? They killed Bradley and ruined your plan, father. It is completely unforgivable."
"Calm down, Envy." Hoenheim said in an emotionless tone. "I need time to rethink this. I cannot understand why Edward would prefer to sacrifice his life to save Alphonse, while I can give both of them eternal life. I need time, Envy. Be patient."
With that, Hoenheim and Envy slowly disappeared into the darkness of the dungeon.
-Two months later-
"General Mustang!" Hawkeye frowned as she entered the huge office, "I told you that we need you to review and sign these documents before 10 this morning. It is already 11am and still you haven't touched them."
"OK OK, I will get it done in a minute." Mustang said lazily as he reluctantly tore his eyes away from the window.
"I mean you have to REVIEW and sign the documents." Hawkeye frowned deeper, "Not just sign them."
"All right, all right." Mustang sighed heavily, "Give me half an hour and it will be done. How come my workload has increased so much after the 'disappearance' of the President?"
"General, please handle your work seriously." Hawkeye demanded.
"Yes, madam." Mustang sighed.
Hawkeye smiled as Mustang finally picked up the thick file on his desk and started reading the documents. "Another thing." Hawkeye took out a letter from her uniform jacket, "You have a letter from Rizenbul."
"From Alphonse?" Mustang immediately put down the documents he was reading and took the letter.
Dear General Mustang and Lieutenant Hawkeye,
Hello! How are you? First of all, I would like to thank you again for everything you have done for me and niisan after the incident. I can't imagine what we would end up with the military if you had not helped us.
It has been a month since niisan and I returned to Rizenbul. We are now staying with Winry and her grandma. Niisan is showing good improvement as his wounds and bruises are healing healthily these days. Although he is still not responsive to us, I believe that, one day, he will smile at me again. I have no doubt about it.
I will write to update you on niisan's condition regularly as you requested.
Mustang read the letter before passing it to Hawkeye. She read the letter and put it on the desk. "Do you think Ed will ever fully recover from this?"
"I don't know." Mustang said, "But miracles do happen sometimes..."
"Niisan, look, it is all bright and sunny today." Alphonse said cheerfully as he tied up the curtain, "Would you like to take a walk outside?"
A few feet behind him, Edward sat quietly on a wheel chair. His was in his nightdress and his hair was loosely tied in a ponytail. His golden eyes were staring blankly at the air.
A shadow of sadness cast over Alphonse's face as he saw no trace of reaction from his brother. He took a deep breath and put a smile on his face. "Let's go outside, niisan. You always like to be outside. Let's get changed and have some fresh air."
"Look niisan! It's a firefly grass! And it is about to flower!" Alphonse touched the plant gently. They have been walking in the field for over an hour and came to the edge of a forest. "It is so beautiful. Shall we take it home so that I can put it on your window-sill?"
"I am sure you will like it." Alphonse continued and carefully dug the plant out of the ground, as if Edward had actually answered his question.
"I am all set." Alphonse carefully put the plant into a paper bag and placed it on Edward's lap. "Let's go home. Winry is probably cursing us for going out without telling her in advance." He turned Edward's wheel chair around and started walking towards the Rockbell's home.
"OK, it is time for bed." Alphonse carefully placed Edward on the bed. He went to the window to close the curtain and was surprised to see that a flower was blooming on the firefly grass.
He held the pot holding the plant and placed it close to his heart. "Niisan, do you remember I told that if you hold a firefly grass flower close to your heart and pray, the person you are thinking of will be able to feel your thoughts, no matter how far apart they are?"
Alphonse's hand tightened around the flower, taking care not to damage it. "I wish you could feel my thoughts, niisan. I love you, I miss you so much..."
Alphonse looked at his brother for a while and was disappointed when he saw no reaction from Edward. He put the pot on the small table beside his brother's bed. "Good night, niisan." He said as he switched off the light and left the room.
Unknown to Alphonse, Edward slowly closed his eyes and a silent tear slid down his cheek.
Hope you enjoy the chapter and the story! Thanks again for your support and encouragement!