AN: After writing many chapters for many stories, I have come to the realization that the most difficult part or writing anything is beginning. Whether it be a new story, a new chapter, or even a new scene, starting to write down your ideas is extremely hard. I always have doubts that I'll be able to find the right words to express what I see in my head, but once I overcome my doubts and write a sentence or two, the rest simply flows. Many times I spend weeks trying to think of ways to begin and then, once I start, write for hours on end. As with any part of life, the hardest part is overcoming your fears. That being said, don't be afraid to write your own stories.

Standard Disclaimer: Sugarpony does not own Harry Potter or Fullmetal Alchemist. They belong to the brilliant J. K. Rowling and Hiromu Arakawa-sensei.


Chapter Ten

The End of a Beginning

Colonel Roy Mustang had been on his way to the Headmaster's office when he had run into an enormous problem. A wall to his left suddenly exploded a few feet behind him, and he pivoted mid step to be greeted with the sight of none other than the mass murderer Scar advancing upon him. Quickly, he snapped his fingers, guiding a stream of flame toward the Ishvaran who in return dodged to the side of the it and continued his assault. Mustang snapped again, and again his enemy ducked, and soon the two of them were creating an intricate dance, the bronze-skinned man weaving between the graceful rivers of dazzling fire.

Growing tired of this continuous exchange, Scar deftly dodged another flame before grabbing a suit of armor and hurling it at the military man. The colonel quickly redirected the trajectory for his next snap toward the flying metal. In the ensuing explosion of smoke and flying shrapnel, Mustang was forced to cover his face and did not see the other man as he ran through the debris with his right arm extended until his was too near to fire another flame. Hastily, he jumped backwards, but he was not fast enough to dodge the attack.

Luckily, the sound of a gunshot fired through the corridor, and Scar ducked to the side once again. Mustang spared a glance behind him to see First Lieutenant Hawkeye dashing down the hallway to stand beside him, gun held steadily before her trained upon the killer. Scar, upon Hawkeye's arrival, placed his hand on the wall next to him, destroyed it with his alchemy, and hurried through it, the others following in pursuit.

Hawkeye fired five more shots at him, all of which he dodged or blocked with something lying around, before Mustang sent cover for her at the criminal as she reloaded her revolver. She was finished in a matter of seconds, and she took careful aim as the three continued their chase through the school. Thankfully, it was nearing curfew, and very few students were wandering around the castle. Those who were unfortunate enough to be lingering in the hallways or investigating the noise quickly ducked into an open room and slammed the door for cover.

Suddenly, Scar turned where he stood and placed his hand to the ground in front of him. The stone floor began to rupture, a large crack speeding toward the two soldiers, before it exploded beneath Mustang and Hawkeye's feet. The colonel hastily grabbed the edge of the hole that appeared, and he wrapped his hand around his first lieutenant's wrist as she fell behind him. The duo dangled there, neither unable to move, a good twenty feet between them and the lower floor.

Scar calmly walked around the broken stones and approached his adversaries. He squatted to address the black-haired man before him. "I had not planned on meeting you this day, Colonel Roy Mustang, Flame Alchemist," he began. "However," he continued, "it seems that fate has planned for me to send your soul to the next world. May Ishvalla have mercy on you." He reached out his hand to destroy the state alchemist as he had many before him, but Mustang merely smirked and released his hold on the floor above him. He and Hawkeye feel to the ground, rolled upon impact, and dashed down the corridor.

"Colonel," the woman shouted as they rounded a corner, neither needing to glance backwards in order to know that the Ishvaran was pursuing them, "forgive my insubordination, but that was foolhardy, idiotic, and very well may have gotten us killed!"

Mustang smirked mischievously as he replied to her. "You can yell at me later, Hawkeye - in fact, I encourage it; you look absolutely ravishing when angered - but for now, I suggest you save your breath while we run!"

Hawkeye sent a withered look to him.

The two turned another corner and ducked into an empty room, pausing to catch their breaths. After several moments, when they could both breathe normally again, they stood still and silently, listening intently for any sign of the murderer walking through the hallway. Shortly after they could hear him closing in on their location. He tried to both open and destroy the door in turn, but neither attempt succeeded.

"It must be the castle's magic," Mustang said, relief spreading through his body.

Hawkeye relaxed for a moment, collapsing in a nearby chair. "We've come to the Room of Requirement, Sir."

The colonel leaned against the back of the chair, tensing again. "Unfortunately," he said, "now we're trapped in here with no way of warning Fullmetal." He frowned. "I have yet to hear Scar leave, so he must be standing outside trying to find a way in. Hopefully that should keep him occupied for a while.

"So for the time being," he continued, grinning slyly and massaging the shoulders of the lady in the chair before him, "why don't we occupy ourselves?"

"Sir, if you don't remove you hands in five seconds, I will have to shoot you."


The following silence lasted for nearly thirty minutes, but it was finally broken by voices coming from outside. Mustang and Hawkeye were immediately on their guard, and after a short scuffle, the door was flung wide open.

Professor Dumbledore crossed to where Mustang and Hawkeye were standing as Professor McGonagall and Flitwick tightly bound the Stunned murderer in ropes conjured from their wands. "I apologize for our late arrival," he said, "but I do believe that we have pressing matters to deal with in the Great Hall. There is more than one intruder in the school tonight."

Mustang's eyes widened and the hardened, his determination becoming resolute once more. He signaled Hawkeye, and they, Dumbledore, and McGonagall raced to the main floor.

Edward charged the shape shifter and swiped furiously at him with his blade, but the nimble homunculi merely dodged out of the way. He moved to attack again, but he was stopped as a long, thin, sharp spike embedded itself into his left shoulder and effectively pinned him to the wall. A deep, voluptuous voice was heard from the doorway. "Well, well, well," it said, "what do we have here? It seems as though Fullmetal still has his claws."

Two more figures entered the Great Hall. One was a tall, slender woman with a long, low-cut black dress and large curves with long, wavy black hair, and the other was a short, stout man as round as one of Trelawney's crystal balls. The woman's hand right arm was extended, and her pointer fingernail was elongated to an impossible length and connected to both Edward's left shoulder and the wall behind him. She was the one who had spoken.

The pudgy little man beside her tugged on her dress, one finger in his mouth. "Lust," he said in a hoarse voice, pointing to the children, "can I eat them?"

Lust, as she was called, patted his head with her free hand. "No no, Gluttony," she responded, "not until he does what we want him to." She then paused, a wide, manic grin covering her face. "But there are plenty of hostages here," she continued, and the students shivered at her cruel tone and callous words. "Maybe you can have a little snack later."

The students anxiously backed away from the entrance, stunned and confused by the turn of events. They did not know whether to stand and watch or run and hide; even if they wanted to assist their teacher, they could not. Wands had been forbidden in their Alchemy lessons since the very first session. When Elric had found a wand on one of the students the lesson after, he had viscously snapped it in two. No one had risked bringing a wand afterwards, and as none of them knew Muggle fighting or was skilled enough at alchemy to be of any help, they were all defenseless.

Edward winced and groaned as Lust abruptly twisted the nail in his flesh. He raised his hands, but before he was able to bring them together, Envy transformed his hand into a sharp spike and cut off his automail arm. "We can't have you using that annoying alchemy to get away from us, now can we?" he sneered, a wicked grin on his face.

Edward growled. "What the hell are you damned Homunculi doing here?"

Lust sighed in feigned disappointment. "Now Edward, really," she said, "I thought we left a bigger impression on you than that! We still need you to create a Philosopher's Stone for us."

"Oh, yeah?" the boy asked, spite evident in his voice. "Well forgive me for not jumping for joy, but there's no way in hell I'm gonna make you a Philosopher's Stone!"

Envy hovered over him, grabbing the blond's head and slamming it into the wall behind him. "You will if you know what's good for you, Pip-squeak!"

"Pip-squeak! Why I oughtta -"

"Now really, Envy," Lust interrupted, her tone slightly condescending, "there's no need to get violent."

The alchemist spat in the face of the creature before him, head still reeling from the sudden blow. "You're fucking crazy!"

Envy growled, preparing to beat Edward half to death, but his comrade stopped him before he could attack.

"Envy!" Lust's harsh voice cut across the room. "We need him alive, you imbecile!"

"But that doesn't mean I can't cause him extreme pain." (1)

During this exchange Edward surreptitiously withdrew a small piece of chalk from him pocket and constructed a tiny transmutation circle on the castle wall behind him. Before they could move, the three homunculi were trapped in a stone cage. Lust sighed, shaking her head. She released her hold on the boy and used her claws to slice through the bars of the cage, utterly destroying it. "Now really, Fullmetal," she chided, "you didn't actually expect that to work, did you?"

He was spared having to answer, however, because at that moment a flood of flames burst through the open doorway. The ensuing explosion caused Edward to be blown back against the wall, where his head was cracked against the rough stone. He was barely able to see three shadowy figures stride into the Great Hall toward the charred bodies of the Homunculi as he drifted into unconsciousness.

The students rushed forward as Colonel Mustang and Professor Dumbledore hurried to where Major Elric was lying on the floor. Hermione fought her was through the crowd, Harry and Ron following behind her, eager to see if he was badly injured. The three creatures that had intruded into the castle had somehow regenerated their bodies after the fire had died, but they had fled after being heavily assaulted by the combined force of the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress. Elric, however, had yet to rise from where he had been flung by their forceful entry.

The back of his head was badly bleeding, as was the puncture wound in his left shoulder. Professor McGonagall hurriedly muttered a spell, and he was lifted into the air. Together, she, Colonel Mustang, and First Lieutenant Hawkeye raced out of the room, presumably headed for the Hospital Wing.

Dumbledore cleared his throat and turned to address the students gathered around him. "There is no more danger inside of the Hogwarts Grounds," he said. "Major Elric will be fine with the aid of Madame Pomfrey. Now, please return to your Common Rooms, as it is past curfew." He gestured to the open doors, and they all slowly filed out of the Hall, still stunned by the recent events.

As the seven Gryffindors (McLaggen had been forbidden from the lessons when Elric mistook his circle for a crude drawing) parted ways with the members of the other Houses, Harry, Ron, and Hermione lagged behind their house mates in order to discuss what had happened.

"Oh, I do hope he'll be all right," Hermione worried, wringing her hands together.

Harry attempted to ease her fears. "He'll be fine," he said. "Madame Pomfrey's patched me up more times than I can count; a couple flicks of the wand and a few blood replenishing potions, and he'll be out of there good as new.

"What I want to know," he continued, "is what that was all about back there."

"Yeah," Ron agreed. "What the hell were those- those things?" He shuddered, remembering how they had talked about eating the students in the Hall. "Creepy."

Hermione, as usual, had the answer to his question. "Major Elric called them Homunculi," she said, "but I haven't a clue what a Homunculus is!"

"And did they do those freaky tricks without a wand?" Ron asked. "It wasn't alchemy, was it?"

The girl shook her head. "No," she said. "It couldn't have been. What they did broke all the rules of Equivalent Exchange."

Harry said nothing for a moment, pondering all of the new mysteries that had been created in such a short amount of time. Then, he turned to his two companions and spoke slowly and deliberately. "I think," he said, "we need to get out my dad's cloak again."

Ron looked as if he agreed with Harry, but Hermione put her foot down against it. "No, Harry! Absolutely not! We can't spy on the military!"

"Well then," Harry huffed, a bit annoyed with her even though he knew that she was right, "what do you suggest?"

At first she said nothing, but then the witch responded. "We'll just have to wait until we can talk to Major Elric ourselves. Or maybe Professor Dumbledore will explain things for us. Either way, we are most certainly not doing any illegal detective work this time."

The rest of the trip to the Common Room was spent in silence as the two wizards brooded.

Edward groaned, putting a hand to his head, which was still throbbing with pain. A moment later, however, he jerked it away and gazed down at his limbs. His right arm was flesh again, and as he slowly closed and opened his hand, he could feel the cool skin of his palm against his fingers. Quickly, he pulled up the left leg of his pants to reveal his leg whole, as if the cursed Human Transmutation had never taken place.

"How," he whispered, his voice full of confusion, "did this happen? Is this a dream?"

"Yes and no." A soft, familiar voice echoed around him, and he snapped his head up and turned around to be greeted with a sight which stole away his breath, leaving him stunned.

Standing in front of him was his younger brother, completely whole in his still ten year old body.

"Alphonse?" Edward hesitantly edged toward his brother, unsure if this was another one of Envy's tricks.

Alphonse smiled, and Edward knew before he could say anything. "It's me, Brother."

The older blond raced forward and gathered his sibling into a tight hug, resisting the urge to sob uncontrollably. "If this is a dream," he murmured, "please don't let me wake up!"

The two boys stood together, embraced, for an indeterminable amount of time. At last, Edward pulled away, and he looked at their surroundings. They were standing in the middle of what seemed to be nothing more than a white abyss with seemingly no beginning and no end. It was completely empty save for the brothers. "What is this place?" he asked.

"This is the threshold between life and death."

Edward once again jerked his head, staring at his brother. "This... What?"

Alphonse smiled again, a bit sadly this time. "The threshold between life and death," he repeated. "In reality, you're safe in a bed in the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts. But because you came so close to death from the loss of blood and the wounds on your head, I was able to meet with you here."

They stood in silence together, neither wanting to say what must be said, until Edward spoke. "So," he said, "you're dead. I knew you must be, we both know that nothing can bring the dead back to life, but I had hoped..." He drifted off, defeated, and they once again elapsed into silence.

"Anyway," Edward finally said, growing tired of the depressing atmosphere, "you said that this both is and isn't a dream?"

Alphonse nodded. "Like I said, in reality, you're safe in bed. Like your mind travels to a different place when you dream, your soul has traveled here. And for me, of course, this is the same as when you and Colonel Mustang argue. And time passes differently here, too, also like a dream, but believe me when I say that this is entirely real."

"Good," Edward said, his voice becoming slightly higher pitched as his throat tightened, "because I need to- to tell you something, Al. I- I'm so sorry!" He clenched his fists and bowed his head, too ashamed to look in the face of his younger brother. "It- It's my fault your dead! I'm sorry for everything!" Tears welled up in his eyes, and he sniffled a bit as he lost control of his emotions.

He stood there hating himself, waiting for judgment to be passed, until he felt a hand on his shoulder. He raised his head, and he saw Alphonse still smiling kindly at him. "Oh, Ed," he said, a little amusement in his tone, "you're so stubborn." At Edward's questioning gaze, he elaborated. "You always take responsibility for every little thing that happens. It's not your fault that I died; I knew what might happen, and I made my own choice. I don't blame you, Brother, and I could never hate you.

"The only thing you need to apologize for," he continued, "is acting like such an idiot and not taking care of yourself. I don't want to see you again for a long, long time."

Edward stared for a few moments before smiling sadly. "You're right," he agreed, sheepishly putting a hand to the back of his neck. "I'm sorry, Al. I guess I have been acting kind of stupid lately, huh?"

Alphonse chuckled, and he gathered his brother into a hug. "One more thing," he added, and he pulled away to face Edward. "Tell Winry you like her already, okay?"

The first thing he noticed was that it was dark. Where moments ago he had been surrounded by a giant white abyss, he was now plunged into an impenetrable darkness. The next thing he noticed was the sound of hushed voices bouncing around him.

"Why hasn't he woken up yet?"

"I've already told you, head wounds are very finicky. If he is awakened before his body is ready, it could put an enormous strain on his brain, causing the rest of his body to malfunction or even begin to break down."

He was lying on a soft bed beneath warm covers. There must have been an open window nearby, because a light breeze was gently blowing across his face.

"Sir, I really wish you would rest. He isn't going to wake up any sooner simply because you're hovering over him."

"I'm fine, Lieutenant Hawkeye. I'm not the one who needs your concern."

He opened his eyes and blinked blearily, greeted by the sight of a white ceiling. Flexing his muscles, he realized that his right arm was still missing from when it was severed by Envy. He automail leg clinked slightly, alerting the others in the room to his presence.

"Edward!" The first one to reach his side was Colonel Mustang, whose face was for once completely relaxed in relief. He was quickly shove aside, however, by the resident nurse, Madame Pomfrey.

"Don't move," she growled, and she flicked her wand and began to mutter. This continued in a similar manner for several minutes until, at last, she crossed the room to a cabinet, pulled out a bottle and poured a measure of the potion inside into a glass, and thrust it into his hand. Edward blinked, and she said to him, "Drink."

The boy sniffed the concoction cautiously, wincing at the putrid smell. He nearly refused the nurse's orders, but one glance at her face was enough to convince him otherwise. After he had downed the horrible potion, Pomfrey left the three military personnel alone with strict instructions to "let him rest."

Edward looked around at the room to discover that no other patients were currently in the Hospital Wing. At his questioning expression, Mustang explained. "You've been given a private ward so that we can discuss military matters while Pomfrey still has you confined to a bed."

The blond nodded, and then he remembered exactly why he was in the Hospital Wing in the first place. He jumped out of bed, panicking at what had happened. "The Homunculi! What happened to them? Did anyone get hurt? Are they still here?"

Mustang shoved him back into bed with no answer, saying, "Stay in bed or that insane nurse will have my head." He then continued, "Nobody was hurt. The Homunculi left shortly after we arrived in the Great Hall, and they haven't been spotted on the grounds since."

"Damned cowards," Edward growled.

"Also," Mustang said, "earlier that evening, Scar was found in the castle."

Edward shot out of bed once more, infuriated by this information. "What?" he shouted, but he was, again, shoved into the bed before he could say any more.

"He was captured," Mustang continued, "but unfortunately escaped three days ago. He also has not been seen on the grounds since."

"Three days?" Edward asked. "What- How long have I been here?"

First Lieutenant Hawkeye was the one to answer this question. "You've been unconscious for over a week, Sir," she said. "It's the third of October."

The young alchemist collapsed onto his pillows, tired of all the surprises he had so far received. "Of course it is," he said, defeated. "So, what else did I miss?"

"We had to make up a cover story for the Homunculi," the colonel said. "The students have been told that they're a terrorist group with a magic unique to Amestris, and the F├╝hrer has ordered us back home, because the safety of the castle has been compromised. We'll be leaving after dinner this evening."

Before any more could be said, Madame Pomfrey bustled into the room. "All right, that's enough," she said, pushing the adults toward the door. "You've had plenty of time to talk, but now I demand that you let him rest! It is early in the morning and he should be sleeping!" They said a hasty goodbye, and they were gone, not wishing to face the wrath of the nurse.

Edward sighed and leaned further back into his pillows. So I've been asleep for a week? he thought. Damn. He thought back to what he had experienced during that week, even though it had seemed much shorter to him. Did I dream all of that? Or was it all actually real? Either way, what had happened had caused a change in him. Whether or not it had simply been his imagination craving for forgiveness, he now knew that what everyone had been telling him all along had been right. Alphonse's death was not his fault. It was a regrettable occurrence, yes, but Alphonse had made his own decision. Edward would be disgracing his memory if he thought otherwise.

And maybe he was right about something else, too. He blushed as he thought about his brother's final words to him and rolled over to fall asleep once more.

Some time around noon Edward had some unexpected visitors. Madame Pomfrey had already brought him his lunch and returned to the public ward, and he was heartily eating the enjoyable meal (although avoiding the milk like the plague) when he heard a swish of robes. More quickly than he could blink, three familiar students appeared at his bedside out of thin air. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley had apparently somehow come into the possession of an Invisibility Cloak.

No sooner than the cloak was thrown aside did Hermione rush forward and envelope the alchemist into an enormous bear hug. Harry chuckled, Ron's mouth fell open and ears turned red, and Edward froze in shock. Several moments later, Harry gave a suttle cough, and Hermione pulled away. Both she and Edward were blushing brighter than Hagrid when he had too much to drink.

"So," Edward said when he had regained his composure, "what are you doing here? I assumed that this ward was off limits to students."

"It is," Harry explained, "that's we had to use the Invisibility Cloak."

"We heard that you were awake and wanted to see if you were all right," Hermione continued. The major quirked a skeptical eyebrow.

"Oh, really," he drawled. "And it would have absolutely nothing to do with the ones who put me here in the first place would it?"

The witch began to fidget, and her two friends blushed. Edward laughed at their discomfort. "I can tell you now, most of the information is classified. But ask away, and I'll let you know what I can."

The three relaxed a bit, sighing with relief that they were not going to be turned in to Madame Pomfrey. The boys looked to Hermione, and Ron elbowed her in the side. She threw a glare at him before clearing her throat.

"Well," she said nervously, her voice shaking a bit, "we wanted to know why they were after you."

The alchemist answered with a prompt, "That's classified."

Hermione gave the boys a triumphant smirk, as if she had known what he would say before she had asked the question.

Harry, however, far from being discouraged, continued the inquiry. "What did they want with the Philosopher's Stone?"

Edward tensed. "How do you know about the Philosopher's stone?" he asked, his voice ringing with a dangerous edge.

"Read about it in a book. Can you tell us or not?"

The blond boy sat still for a while, and the students began to believe he was not going to answer. As they were preparing to leave, though, he spoke slowly, deliberately. "Many people in my country believe that the Philosopher's Stone is nothing more than a myth.

"Some, however," he continued, "spend their entire lives searching for it for various reasons. A few have noble reasons, such as using it to heal the sick or injured. Most of them, though, have something much more unsavory in mind.

"They want to use the Stone for personal gain by creating gold or bribing others. Some want to use it to perform Forbidden Alchemy, bypassing all of the natural laws.

"And some," he said, his voice now barely more than a whisper, "want to use it as a weapon."

The room was still. No one move, no one dared to do little more than breathe. An ominous pall settled over the students as they contemplated Edward's words. Finally, the silence was broken.

"So," Hermione began, but her voice cracked. She cleared her throat and tried again. "So," she said, slightly stronger this time, "they thought that you would be able to create a Philosopher's Stone because you're such a talented alchemist?"

"Yes," Edward said.

Harry continued where his friend had left off. "And can you?"

The boy in the bed looked the wizard directly in the eye before giving a resounding, "No."

"Bloody hell."

The three turned to Ron, who had made the blunt statement. Hermione gave him a withering stare and said, "How eloquent. Once again, I am amazed at you powers of observation."

The tall boy's ears turned red, and he puffed up himself, insulted. Harry laughed slightly, and the tension was broken.

"Anyway," Hermione said as the boys calmed themselves, "we're really glad that you're all right."

Edward smiled at her, and something sparkled in his eyes that they had never seen before. "I'm better than I've been in a while, Hermione."

Ron looked on cluelessly, but Harry and Hermione shared a pleased expression.

That evening, the house-elves cooked an enormous feast in honor of their guests, filled with foods native to Amestris. Edward had been released from the Hospital Wing by a reluctant Madame Pomfrey after being forced to choke down a glass of milk, and he was currently gorging himself upon his favorite foods. Eventually, though, the feast ended, the last of the desserts disappeared, and the dishes were cleared away.

Professor Dumbledore stood to address the Hall. "As you know," he began, "the time has come for our most esteemed guests to leave the grounds of Hogwarts. They will be returning to their homes and to their duties.

"Before they leave, however, let us thank them for their presence here and all they have taught us - not only about their knowledge, bu also about ourselves." He began to clap, quickly followed by the rest of the staff and eventually all of the students, including several Slytherins. Even Professor Snape joined in, though it was possible that he only did so because he was seated next to Edward and did not wish to once again be encased in stone.

Once the applause had died down, Colonel Mustang stood and turned to the headmaster. "Thank you, Albus," he said, shaking his hand, "for all that you have done for us." He then saluted the man, as did the rest of the visiting military.

Finally, Mustang, Hawkeye, Armstrong, Hughes, Havoc, and Edward all filed out of the Great Hall and outside of the castle, where a portkey was awaiting to return them to Eastern Headquarters.

"I don't know about you," Hughes said, not sparing a glance backwards, "but I'm glad to be out of that place."

"Hear hear!" Havoc agreed.

Edward sighed. "Winry's going to kill me," he declared. "It hasn't even been a month and I've already wrecked her automail."

"Fear not, Edward Elric," Armstrong said, flexing his muscles, "for I shall protect you from the wrath of her diabolical wrench!"

Mustang smirk, and even Hawkeye could not resist the temptation of a few small chuckles. "It's time to go home now, boys," she said.

Edward smiled gently. "Yeah," he said, "home." And even though he knew that nothing could ever be the same as it had been, he knew that it could be good.

And that was enough.

And safely tucked inside his pocket was a watch with an inscription inside of it that now meant more than it ever had.

Don't forget.

3. Oct. 10.


Story Notes:

(1) This is not my quote. I forget where I read it, but I felt that it fit. If this is your quote and you don't want me to use it, just let me know.

Final Author's Notes:

There's really a sense of accomplishment when you finish something that you've had in your mind for about two years. It's been a long journey for me (and all of you, as well), but it's been good. There is a sadness, though, that comes along with it. It took me more than half an hour to bring myself to write the final scene.

So now you know everything. A lot of you were actually right with your first guess about the Homunculi, you just didn't realize that I had left them out of the last chapter for dramatic purposes. I hope you all enjoyed the fighting sequences; I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not an action writer. Actually, I had always planned Mustang having a fight with Lust out in the hallway, but it never made it into the story because I couldn't find a place to put it. I had always planned for Scar, though, so I just had to be content with Mustang only getting one fight.

Alphonse finally made it into the story! It's what I've been teasing you with since the very beginning, and now you know what I meant when I said that he would and yet would not return. Yes, he is dead. He is definitely not coming back. But Edward had his reconciliation with him, so that okay.

Yeesh, I hope you all didn't think that scene was too cheesy. I though I did all right with it.

So Edward got his happy ending. I hope you've all enjoyed my story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'm very happy with this final chapter, but I hope at least one of you readers likes it as well.

Now that you've read the entire story, please review and let me know what you thought. If you have any questions, I will be happy to send you a personal reply. And remember that I accept flames, as well, so feel free to yell at me if you hated it. If you've never taken the time to review before, please just give me a few quick words so that I know if you liked it or not.

No, I am not planning on writing a sequel. In that six months where there were no updates, I began to lose interest in FMA, and I just can't bring myself to write it anymore. Maybe some day I'll write a new story in this category, but no time soon. And just so there's no doubt in your minds that there will by no sequel, let me tell you that I couldn't even begin to imagine what I would write.

To wrap this all up, just let me say thank you to all of my loyal readers, and I hope you liked this final installment of Rehabilitation.