Disclaimer: In all honestly, would I even–be– on Fanfiction if I owned FMA? I think not.
Jessie: Well, this is the last chapter!
Joh: Your first completed multi-chapter fic! Whee; I'm so proud of you, Nee-san!
Jessie: Huggles S'aank you… And everybody else-- I'm reeaally sorry I couldn't get this up faster; I've been having some really frustrating computer problems…
Joh: Tsk tsk tsk...
Jessie: So anyways, I thought long and hard about how this should end, and so I hope everyone is content with the last chapter of Expecting the Unexpected! Enjoy!
"How's Edward?" Alphonse asked quietly as Brian joined the Rockbell residents at the table; gaining Pinako, Winry and Envy's attention as well.
"He's fine— out cold, but I don't expect him to wake up on his own for another few hours at the very least," the doctor replied easily, smiling reassuringly at the young brunette.
"Would ya happen to know the earliest time we could get back to Central?" Envy asked suddenly, inquiring violet eyes studying the young surgeon. Brian paused to think for a moment before he answered.
"It depends on how Edward's feeling; I mean, if he's up to it, you two could head back later today," Brian shrugged. Envy made a small noise of acknowledgment before slowly getting to his feet.
"Where are you going, Envy?" Winry asked curiously.
"Well, I'm gonna go and start headin' out to the train station to pick up some tickets for this afternoon; if I know my chibi as well as I think I do, he'll be wanting to head back ASAP," Envy grinned.
"As long as there's nothing else that needs to be done here, I'll come with you," Al said cheerfully, glancing toward Pinako for affirmation; the old woman just chuckled and motioned for him to go along.
"I'll be heading down there, as well—I need to get back to Dublith as soon as possible; the store won't watch itself you know, and I'd feel horrible if I left Sid to do all the work by himself any longer," Izumi sighed. Winry jumped up.
"I've finished all my chores, Granny, and since there's nothing else to do, may I go, too?" Winry asked-- thanking Pinako happily when her grandmother nodded with a smile, and following the rest of the station-bound group out the door. The old woman walked them out; watching them until they had made it to the end of the worn, dirt path leading up to the automail shop.
The old woman yawned widely, and smiled at Den; wagging his tail lazily as he approached her.
"Looks like it's just you an' me for a while, Den," she said softly, stroking the dog's head as she glanced around the much quieter space. The three other people currently occupying the house (Edward, Brian and Serenity) were all sleeping.
Pinako was startled awake with the sound of Den's abrupt, angry barking.
"Quiet, Den-- what's gotten into you?" Pinako scolded gently, patting his head in an attempt to quiet the upset dog. Although his barking stopped, he continued to growl deeply in his throat.
She rubbed her eyes tiredly as she slowly regained her bearings. Glancing at the clock, she saw that merely half an hour had passed since Envy, Al, Izumi and Winry had left; they wouldn't be back for another few hours; especially if they were planning to see Izumi off.
She sent Den a warning look as a growl –one louder than before– rose in his throat; however, he was too preoccupied gazing angrily toward the front door. She glanced up to the door curiously and waited; sure enough, someone was knocking softly.
"You never get upset when we have visitors," Pinako grumbled as she started toward the door; this only seemed to distress Den more, for he immediately began to howl. Pinako spun around, glaring at the dog.
"Den!" Pinako finally shouted, exasperated. All at once, the dog's ears folded down against his head, and his tail dropped between his legs; sending a pathetic glance toward the elderly woman before slinking into the corner and lying down; gazing up at her gloomily. Pinako rolled her eyes at his dramatic behavior before she turned around to greet their visitor.
And her pipe instantly clattered to the floor noisily as her jaw dropped open in shock, while Den began to bark wildly once more.
'Whosat…? … En…vy …?'
The semi-conscious blonde could've sworn he'd heard the door creak open, but…honestly, who the hell cared? Certainlynot him—he was too exhausted. Heck, it could've been Mustang and he wouldn't have cared.
…On second thought, let's not go quite that far.
He listened quietly to the slowly approaching footsteps… it must be Envy or Brian hesitantly entering the room; trying not to wake him up. He smiled faintly at the thought, and so he didn't bother opening his eyes when he felt someone settle down beside him on the very edge of his bed.
Edward mumbled softly in his sleep when he felt fingers gently brush his bangs away from his face; instantly, the person froze.
The young alchemist sighed softly as he nestled further into his cocoon of blankets, his eyes fluttering half-open as he attempted to identify his mystery guest. He managed to gather the strength to lift his head for a moment; gazing up blearily at the newcomer before letting his head fall back against the pillow and closing his eyes once more.
From his brief, sleepy glance, the only information he managed to grasp was that this person had blonde hair.
…And that he smelled of a certain perfume that –for years– he'd been trying to forget.
Golden eyes snapped wide open in recognition before he struggled to sit upright. However, a strong hand landed on his chest, and firmly pushed him back down (albeit, gently).
Ed's mouth worked to form words for a full minute before settling into a firm line; his eyes flashing dangerously. It took a full minute for Edward to collect himself enough to the point where he was able to speak. And the first coherent word out of his mouth was, expectedly:
"Hohenheim," Edward acknowledged; sounding deadly calm.
The older man's shoulders sagged slightly, a small, sad smile forming on his lips.
"You're-no-father-of-mine," Edward ground out between clenched teeth.
There was another pause, before Hohenheim sighed quietly; his hand still resting against Edward's chest. Edward –for who, it seemed, had finally registered Hohenheim's hand– brusquely pushed his hand away, glowering. Stealing a glance at his father's face, Ed realized that his father's wandering eyes had fallen on Serenity, who lay fast asleep in her bassinette beside his bed.
Hohenheim turned to face his furious son, before doing the last thing Edward had ever expected.
"She's beautiful, Edward," Hohenheim said quietly, seemingly mesmerized by the sight of the sleeping babe. Ed felt the color rush to his face and he cursed under his breath, embarrassed.
"Well, I—uh—you…" Ed fumbled for a comeback, before he closed his eyes, took a deep breath and swallowed his pride.
"Yeah, I know." Hohenheim glanced curiously toward Edward; noting the surprisingly mellow tone his son was using with him. He saw the smile twitching on the corners of the younger blonde's lips as he internally struggled to remain angry with his father, while gazing at his daughter at the same time.
"What's her name?"
"Serenity Trisha Elric," Edward said; a hint of pride entering his tone as he said it.
"…Trisha would have been so happy," Hohenheim murmured at last; his eyes becoming misty as he took a moment to reminisce his days as a husband; perhaps even his short time as a father. Edward nodded stiffly; though it was becoming increasingly difficult to hold his attitude when his father was speaking about his mother; not to mention, praising his daughter.
If that wasn't the winning method to get on Edward's sensible side, then nothing was.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Edward asked at last, not able –nor willing, for that matter– to keep from blurting the question out any longer. Hohenheim looked mildly taken aback at Ed's question.
"Well I wanted to see you, Edward—and meet my granddaughter, for that matter. I'd presume there wouldn't by anything wrong with that," he stated quietly; glancing Edward's way as though he were waiting for (though, admittedly not seeming to expect) any corrections his son might have.
If Hohenheim had expected either some understanding reaction or none whatsoever, he was going to be rather disappointed.
"You bastard! You disappear when Mom needs you the most; don't give a shit when she dies and me 'n Al nearly kill ourselves tryin' to bring her back; don't give either of us any sign that you're still among the living; and now you pop up out of the blue after –what has it been now– well over a fucking decade, and expect there's nothing wrong with that? WELL, HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR --!" Ed stopped short in mid-rant when his father unexpectedly reached out and touched his wrist gently.
The blonde blinked; noticing Hohenheim's gaze focused not on him, but Serenity. Immediately, Ed felt his anger melt away; it seemed that his shouting had disturbed the infant, for she was close to waking. She squirmed about in her bassinet, and her sleepy, amethyst eyes blinked open before a soft mewling escaped her lips, steadily increasing in volume until she was flat out wailing. Ed sat stock still; gazing at her, biting his lip; looking just as guilty as he felt.
But before he could reach out for her, Hohenheim did; gently lifting her so that she rested in the crook of his arm, held close to his chest, shushing her tenderly. Ed's eyes were glued to his father, searching for some fault in Hohenheim's cradling that he could reprimand his father with; however, after a thorough examination, he found none.
Mere minutes later, Edward watched, amazed, as Hohenheim father gently replaced Serenity in her bassinet-- once again fast asleep.
"…Whose eyes does she have?" Hohenheim asked softly, stealing a glance at the younger alchemist to see what effect his question would have. Edward didn't reply, choosing to gaze out the window moodily instead. Hohenheim waited a minute longer for a response before he gave up; letting his eyes wander about until his gaze followed Edward's; and they were both looking out into the tranquil morning.
The two sat just like that for a while longer, before the (somewhat tense) silence was interrupted with a long, weary sigh coming from Hohenheim before the older man got to his feet.
Edward watched from the corner of his eye as his father got to his feet.
"Where d'ya think you're goin'?" Ed asked half-heartedly; sounding as though he were trying to sound irritated, but too tired to really put anything into it. Hohenheim smiled slightly.
"To be honest, I'd best be leaving; I wouldn't want my presence to cause any more disturbances than it already has."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa—hang on a sec; you're leaving again? Just like that?!" Ed gawked, staring at his father incredulously. Hohenheim's eyes saddened.
"I don't belong here anymore, Edward… I never did."
And with that, the elderly alchemist gracefully made his way to the bedroom door.
Hohenheim paused, glancing back over his shoulder to his glowering son.
"Yes, Edward?" he asked patiently, turning back around to face the bedridden-alchemist. Ed seemed to struggle with himself for a moment before he broke eye contact with his father; letting his gaze drop into his lap as he seemed to grudgingly make a decision.
The simple, statement was nearly inaudible; nevertheless Hohenheim caught it, and a smile lit up his features.
Ed's eyes widened slightly when he felt his father ruffle his hair affectionately; his eyes narrowed, and his head snapped up, ready to reply with a reproachful remark. The comment caught in his throat, however, when he realized that Hohenheim was already out the door; he only just managed to glimpse his father's back slipping out of sight.
He only tore his gaze away from the doorway when he heard a sleepy gurgle by his bedside. He turned to gently lift Serenity from her bassinette, smiling warmly at his daughter when her eyes blinked up at him curiously.
"Don't let 'em fool you; he's a bona fide jerk," Ed assured Serenity as he held her against himself in a loving embrace.
"…can call me anytime if you have any questions over the next few days or if anything seems out of place, annnd… that should be about it," Brian declared at last, clicking his suitcase closed in finality and turning to smile at the new parents.
"Thanks for everything, Brian," Edward said gratefully; glancing up at his lover questioningly when Envy chuckled.
"You've thanked him fifteen times already, Ed," Envy grinned; enjoying his chibi's flush of embarrassment.
"And again-- it was nothing, Edward; just promise me you'll take it easy," Brian laughed.
Ed made a small noise of acknowledgement; too distracted as he smiled down at the giggling infant in his arms. With a smile, Brian lifted his suitcase; smiling at the three permanent members of the household before he walked out the door; quickly making his way down the worn path.
Envy nudged Edward in the side; Ed tilted his head back against the Sin's shoulder to look up at him inquisitively.
"Ne, Edo, it's time to go," he murmured; nuzzling his face into the crook of Edward's neck.
"Okay," Ed replied, removing Envy's arm wrapped possessively around his waist and depositing the baby into the shape-shifter's arms instead before he slowly made his way to the table where his brother was sitting with Winry. Alphonse beamed up at his brother and stood up (but not without, Ed noted with a slight smirk, reluctantly letting go of Winry's hand).
"Promise you'll visit again soon, Nii-san," Alphonse pleaded, wrapping his arms around Edward in a warm hug.
"No worries, Al; I promise," Ed replied, flashing him a characteristic grin. The very moment he stepped away from the brunette, Edward found himself being embraced by his tearful, blue-eyed mechanic.
"You'd better visit more often-- and not just for automail repairs anymore, 'kay?" she sniffled, pulling back to look her childhood friend square in the eye.
"Aw; and I thought I'd get away with it, too," Ed retorted sarcastically, rolling his eyes up to the ceiling-- but Winry didn't miss the smile on his lips as he turned away.
"Thanks for letting us stay, Auntie," Edward grinned.
"It was nothing, pipsqueak—on the contrary, you boys should stay here more often," Pinako countered pointedly. Ed twitched, but didn't reply; merely crossing his arms and stomping back over to Envy, mumbling something about micro-mini grannies under his breath that, thankfully, the old woman seemed to miss.
"You ready to go, Chibi?" Envy asked; handing Serenity back to Ed before lifting the blonde alchemist's battered suitcase. Edward looked up at him before nodding affirmatively, allowing the Homunculus to slip a supporting arm around his waist and guide them to the front door.
"Goodbye, Nii-san! Bye Envy!" Al called, waving happily after the two figures' backs. Edward casually waved over his shoulder in response just before the two disappeared from sight over the next hill.
Alphonse slowly lowered his hand wearing a mixed expression; he was sad to see the two leaving, but happy, too. He was an uncle now-- he had a beautiful niece!
The young Elric gave a slight start when he felt a hand come to rest on his shoulder. He turned his head slightly to see Winry looking up at him questioningly.
"D'ya think we'll actually hear from them again soon?" she asked suspiciously. Al thought for a moment before grinning.
"Yeah… I think we will. They'll need all the help they can get, now that they've got Serenity," he replied easily.
A soft gasp caught in his throat when he felt two arms slip around his waist, and he glanced back to see none other than Winry smiling at him sweetly.
"So… what was that bet we made around five months ago?" she asked coyly. Al felt his heart race as he realized what she was getting at.
"What; that one about whether the baby would be a girl or a boy?" he asked nonchalantly; raising an eyebrow in amusement at the slight blush tinting the mechanic's cheeks a becoming pink.
"What else, silly?" she murmured, lightly running her fingertips down the sides of Al's arms.
"Well, I suppose you've won, then; haven't you?" Al whispered.
"Yeah, I guess I have… and I think I'll claim my prize right now," Winry declared, smiling fondly at him.
Gliding around from behind him so that she stood in front of him, she hesitated for only a brief moment before reaching up on her toes to place a chaste kiss on his lips.
The two stood there, blushing, until Al slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her close against himself and claiming her lips again; this time their kiss was less innocent as both put more vigor into it. When they broke apart they were grinning, and there was a comfortable silence as they gazed off into the sunny afternoon outdoors. Until--
"Ahem. I –do– believe there was a second condition to our deal, Alphonse," Winry began slyly, glancing up at the brunette with a slight smirk. Alphonse stared back for a full minute before playfully rolling his eyes and shrugging.
"I was kind of hoping you'd forget…" he said, grinning down sheepishly at the giggling blonde.
"I suppose fair is fair… and as much as it pains me to degrade myself in such a manner—girls are the best," he replied—feigning a dramatic sigh. Winry grinned triumphantly before a thoughtful expression overtook her victorious one.
"Well… I guess a boy wouldhave been nice, too."
"No way! You said so youself hundreds of times-- girls are the best!" Alphonse shot back, staring at her in disbelief. Winry pulled away from him to strike a threatening stance; placing her hands on her hips.
"Well maybe I changed my mind!" she replied dangerously.
A pause; and then--
Jessie: So that's it!
Joh: Aww, you're finally done, Nee-san! Tears I'm so proud of you!
Jessie: I got Hoho-Papa in there! And I finally managedtoget some AlxWinry fluff in there! Obsesses Squeeeee!
Joh: Backs away Riiiiight… 'kay people, just review.
Jessie: Pouts That's not a very nice way of asking.
Joh: Pshh, alright fine—please review.
Jessie: Smiles Much better.
Note: Don't forget to tell me if you believe a sequel is in order when you review!
A HUGE thank you to everyone who reviewed:
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Stares Wow… there were a lot more usernames than I remember ever reading… Laughs Thank you all sooo much!!