Author's Notes: SPOILER WARNING. Now that that's done with, I have a few other warnings to administer, none of which need to be quite so glaring. Firstly, since I have not seen the movie, nor all of the last episode (between which this story takes place), it's safe to assume that this will be a divergence from timeline around episode 51. Second, it's going to be Hohenheim/Ed, which is incest. If you are freaked out by that, well...it's certainly your choice not to read the story, now, isn't it? Actually, it won't be getting "romantic" until much, much later, but...now you know what's coming. And, last and probably least offensive, I take quite a bit of liscence. You'll see what I mean.

And, also, if you feel the compulsion to flame, please do so in a private e-mail to me, not in the reviews. Reviews are for constructive criticism, and it's a waste of space if you flame. I myself have a rather empty mailbox and love discussions, so all your flames should be directed to me! Thank you.


Prologue

--

Sometimes in the evenings, they would go to a play. Nobody had much money these days, but to the country's credit, it made an admirable effort to keep its theatres open and reasonably priced. Hohenheim was one of the last people to afford such a trivial expense, but he found the fanciful costumes and elaborate story lines entertaining, while not enough to take his mind off the lonely way that Edward moped listlessly around the house, no doubt thinking of Alphonse. Wondering. There was so much they did not know, that they might never know.

Maybe when Edward stared off into the far right corner of the Residenztheater, he was trying to formulate exactly what had happened in his mind. Maybe he was daydreaming. Whatever it was, it absorbed his whole attention from the time they took their seats to the moment the curtain fell and the lights bloomed again, throwing the room into its gilt-and-satin glory, as much a marvel as the operas which it hosted. Hohenheim was fairly certain Edward never noticed any of it.

And when they got into the car, and he tried to make conversation regarding the struggles of the hero or the richness of the dialogue, his son was distant, replying in monotone utterances that neither hinted at agreement or displeasure.

He had long since deemed it worthless to expect or even attempt to get a thinking response.
--
At home, a modest apartment within walking distance of the university where Hohenheim taught physics, their days were rarely spent together. Since arriving, Edward had insisted on keeping journals of his life in Amestris. It absorbed him in a way that was worrying, but the one time Hohenheim had dared to confront him about this, telling him it was best to let go of what you couldn't change, he'd become so violently angry that he threw the book at him, raised his fists and beat on his chest until the anger became a deluge of tears. Instead of collapsing into Hohenheim's embrace as any other child might (and it could have been warm and comforting or it could have been awkward and quickly withdrawn), he simply folded against the wall and sobbed into his hands. All the while his father stood on, didn't know what to do, and felt guilty for watching anyway.

After the encounter, it had appeared best to simply leave him to his business, and so he'd stay holed up in his room for days at a time, sometimes refusing to come down to eat.
Hohenheim was never certain, but sometimes he thought he heard crying trickling down through the ceiling of the sitting room, a painful melody of distorted notes that made him lose focus on the book in his hands, and rub his face and wonder whether it would ever be his place to ask what was wrong, what he could do. He had tried, once, and there was only the hateful whisper of, "There's nothing you can do now."

Whatever he did, there was no way under the shell that had built up in the two months since the Gate had closed them off from everything which had been their home. He felt like he was losing another son. He felt, suddenly, like he couldn't stand it. Edward's probable words almost rang in his head as though they'd been spoken aloud: "Giving us up didn't bother you when you left us and mom for dead." There was so much guilt and anger between them, so much to atone for, and neither of them was letting it be done. The black curtain of Edward's hate might always hang there, obscuring them from each other, or it might be that Hohenheim was so afraid of what might be said in return that he could not speak a word to ask forgiveness, and the chasm of silence and uncertainty between them grew to encompass all things.

If anything was to be done, it would have to be soon.

Their family was broken, but not destroyed.

And if it took getting on his knees and weeping helplessly before the cruel judgements of his son, he would do whatever was required to keep their kinship from dissolving further into a grudge.