Roy gazed across the barren, rocky field separating him from his nemesis. The man was no match for Roy, and they both knew it. Roy was just enjoying toying with the man's emotions a bit before he finally finished him off.
The man raised his sword and took a step toward Roy. "I wouldn't do that if I were you," cautioned Roy, "I am the Flame Alchemist, after all."
The man paid no heed, and continued to make his way towards Roy. "Very well, if you desire to continue to fight with me even in knowing that I'm the Flame Alchemist, then so be it." Roy extended his gloved hand in the man's direction and snapped his fingers. This man would be quite easy to take down in one blast.
However, the transmutation didn't go quite as Roy had expected. It erupted in his own face, causing him to black out. He woke up, hours later, staring into the concerned face of Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, whom he had proposed marriage just a few weeks before.
"Roy! You're finally awake! Are you alright?" She had started addressing him by his first name, not merely his rank, once they had become engaged.
"Riza, yes, I'm fine." He winced at the pain for a second, and then continued speaking, "That was quite an explosion, but I'll be fine."
Fortunately, the potency of the blast was enough to make his enemy retreat, but Roy was much more humble about his alchemical abilities after that. He could never figure out why his transmutation had failed him.
Roy held Riza's hand as they waited in the maternity ward some months later. In between spasms of pain, they would just sit and talk to each other, wondering what their new baby would be like, and what it would be like to raise a family. Roy couldn't help but chuckle thinking of this. Maes Hughes would have loved to have been able to see this, since he had always been urging him so strongly to get married. Roy missed him. He really did.
Then Roy sighed. Speaking of missing people, ever since Edward had up and disappeared into thin air after restoring Al to his original body, he missed him more than anyone else, even Hughes. He never would have guessed that he would have gotten so attached to he boy, but he had.
"What's wrong, Roy?" asked Riza.
He snapped out of his trance. "Oh…nothing. Just thinking."
"Are you thinking about what you'd like to name the baby?" she asked. "If it's a girl, I'd like to name her Allison."
Roy smiled. "That's a good name." He hesitated, and then spoke again. "If it's a boy, could we name him Edward?"
Riza fixed Roy with a serious gaze. "You really miss him, don't you?" Roy nodded, silently.
"It's so sad, with Al being separated from him, and all that. I used to tell myself that he was still alive, and so did Al. I guess that after all these years; we've both just kind of lost hope of ever seeing him again." Riza patted him on his hand and tried to encourage him with a gentle smile.
Suddenly, she tensed up, and said, "Roy, the baby's coming!" Roy hurriedly jumped up, and ran like a chicken with its head cut off to find the nearest nurse. It took him a while to find any help, since he was so panicked, but soon the nurse and doctor arrived by Riza's bedside, and helped her to deliver the baby.
The doctor placed the newborn in Riza's arms and whispered, "It's a boy. Quite a fine young fellow too."
"A boy," mused Riza, "Welcome to our family…Edward." Roy smiled. If only Edward Elric could be here now, Roy was sure that he'd be immensely pleased.
"Let me hold my son," Roy said after a few minutes. Riza handed the bundle to Roy who gently cradled him in his arms. The baby opened his eyes for just a second and looked at Roy, then promptly closed them again, since the light was still too bright for him. Roy chuckled, and then spoke to his son, "Now, Edward, I'm going to do my best to raise you to be a fine young man. Your namesake was an incredible person for someone his age, but I don't want you following his life path. No alchemy, got it? That's what started the whole mess he got himself into." The baby cooed, and Roy chuckled. It was good to finally have a child of his own.
Over the years, little Ed grew until he was a bright young child of five. His hair even turned out to be a golden blond like his namesake's, and it always seemed to grow out in a disorderly fashion, refusing to be tamed, much to the dismay of his mother who was constantly fussing over it. He still retained his baby blue eyes, however, which stood out in stark contrast from underneath his hair. He may have had Edward Elric's hair, but his eyes were his own. They didn't even match those of his mother or his father, they both having dark eyes. He was definitely unique to the family, but a lovely addition as well.
One day, little Ed was outside, playing with his chalk on the patio while his mother ran some errands around the house. The three of them were going to go to a friend's house tonight, so she was busy getting ready. After she got herself prepared, she headed outside to get him ready before Roy arrived home. Little Ed was happily scribbling something on the concrete.
Riza smiled as she walked up to him. "What are you drawing?" She stopped short when she saw what it was. "Do you know what this is?" she asked.
"Yeah," he answered in his childlike monosyllabic way.
"What is it?"
"It's a transmutation circle," he answered. Riza almost fainted. Little Ed never used such big words, nor was he supposed to know anything about alchemy, as Roy had carefully kept it away from him.
"Where did you learn about this?" she demanded.
"From a friend," he answered.
He shrugged. Riza sighed, grabbed him by the arm and took him inside to get ready. Roy was going to have a heart-attack when he saw this.
As predicted, Roy nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw what his son had drawn on the concrete outside. Riza could almost swear that this was the real reason that they had called him the Flame Alchemist. "Where did he learn this?"
"He said he learned it from a friend, but he doesn't remember who."
"We need to find out then, and stop it before it gets any worse!"
Riza sighed. She hated to see Roy so angry, but he got really protective over his little boy. She understood his feelings quite well, as only a mother could.
"We'll do our best, Roy, but let's just have a nice evening with friends tonight, shall we? Let's not let this ruin our night." Roy sighed and consented, and then they all left for the gathering.
Over the course of the next few weeks, little Ed began exhibiting more bizarre behavior. He had called Riza, "Lieutenant" and Roy, "Colonel". He had even called Roy "Colonel idiot Mustang" once, much to the enragement of Roy, who took immediate measures to discipline the offender. He continued to draw transmutation circles whenever his parents weren't around to stop him, and he also started speaking of his "friend", Edward Elric.
This last thing really spooked Roy. He had taken extreme caution not to let the boy know anything about alchemy or alchemists, not even letting him know where his name came from, since he would have to tell him who Edward Elric was if he had. "But," he said, "Edward Elric disappeared long before you were born. You couldn't possibly know him."
Little Ed shook his head. "He's my friend," he said. Roy thought for a moment. Was Edward Elric really still around somewhere, and talking to little Ed somehow? It was certainly possible, but why didn't he show himself if he was? Was he afraid of something?
"Ed," said Roy, "Next time this Edward Elric shows up, you tell him that he can talk to us. He doesn't have to be afraid, okay? Can you tell him that?" Little Ed nodded his head slowly, and continued looking into his father's eyes for further instructions.
"You can go and play now…but no transmutation circles, understand?"
Little Ed sagged his shoulders in a frumpy position and hung his head as he muttered, "Okaaaaayyy…" in a whiny voice. He turned and ran outside to play.
Roy sighed and shook his head. That child was quite bizarre, but he couldn't quite place his finger on it.
A few hours after Roy had sent him out to play, little Ed came wandering back into the house, looking for Roy. When he found him, he slowly approached him, and said, "I, um, I need to tell you something."
Roy raised an eyebrow at this no-nonsense tone that was quite unusual for little Ed. "What do you want to talk to me about?" Little Ed looked up into his eyes, then down at the ground, and then back up into his eyes.
"Do you know what the energy for alchemy is?"
Roy's eyebrows shot up. "Why do you want to know that?"
"I don't. I want to know if you know."
Roy sighed and leaned against the wall. Kids always seem to be drawn to what their parents try to keep from them. He wasn't sure why that was, but if he were to keep pushing little Ed to stay away from alchemy at the force he was doing it; he was bound to be drawn to it. He might as well start answering questions, like this one.
"I don't know what the energy for alchemy is, son; it just works."
Little Ed's gaze became even deeper set in its intention with that no-nonsense air about it, which gave Roy the shivers. He wasn't used to seeing his son behave this way. It gave him the creeps.
"Alchemical energy is made from human souls pulled from the other side of the Gate," said little Ed.
Roy's jaw dropped open. "H-How did you know that?"
"Because…" little Ed's eyes met Roy's, "My friend Edward died over there when you pulled him through."
Roy remained silent, and let little Ed continue.
"Had he let you transmute him, it would have torn apart his soul, so he had to foul up your transmutation. That's why it exploded in your face."
Roy's mouth was agape. "How do you know about that, son?" He had never told him about his fouled-up transmutation, much less about anything regarding alchemy.
"Edward is my friend," the boy answered.
"But, you're saying he's dead," said Roy, trying to understand what little Ed was saying. Little Ed shook his head in frustration, like he was trying to try to find a way to explain something to Roy, but couldn't find the right words. That was understandable, since he was only five, but it left Roy quite confused. What was little Ed trying to tell him?
Little Ed cast his eyes to the floor. "I want to see Al." Roy jumped.
"Do you know who that is?"
"He's my brother."
Roy coughed, "No, he's Edward Elric's brother."
"He's mine and my friend Edward's brother," said the little boy. Roy sighed. He must've considered everyone Edward mentioned to be like family.
"I'm not sure if I can get Al here, son," said Roy, trying to drive a little sense into the boy, "He's a grown man, you know."
Little Ed stomped his foot. "I need to see Al! He'll know! I have to see him!" He started crying pitifully and throwing a temper tantrum. Roy put his hands over his ears. He hated it when little Ed did this. He always did it about things like this too…things that didn't make any sense.
"Why do you want to see Al so badly?" Roy shouted above the noise.
"Because," little Ed sniffed, "He'll know."
"What will he know?"
"He'll just know!" Little Ed threw his arms up in the air and ran out of the room in a huff. Roy sighed. Maybe he should see if he can get Alphonse over here to meet little Ed. He had always hesitated to do that, because he was afraid that it would bring up painful memories for Al to see this little namesake of his brother that even had the same hair, but perhaps now was the time.
Roy picked up the phone and called Al. He explained the bizarre situation to Al, and asked him if he would be willing to come over to see if they could find out what little Ed wanted. Al readily agreed. The Colonel had helped them so much when they were young that he wanted to do something for him in return.
Before long, Al arrived at the house. After all the adults had greeted each other, Roy called little Ed to come out and greet the visitor, though he didn't tell him who it was. Little Ed walked out into the room, took one look at Al, and shouted, "Al!"
"You…You know who I am?" Al stammered, a bit shocked by the little boy's recognition of him, since he had never before met him. The boy just nodded vigorously. Al was confused by this, needless to say, but he brushed it off for the time being.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a picture of when he and Edward had both been still alive. "Do you know who these people are?"
The little boy grabbed the picture and squealed with glee. "I knew you still had this picture! I've been wanting it! It shows you and my friend Edward in it!" Little Ed ran over to the mirror and held the picture up in front of his chest. Al, Roy, and Riza just looked at each other and shrugged. Little Ed was indeed perplexing.
After a few minutes, which everyone patiently waited through to see what little Ed would do, little Ed turned back around and walked up to Al. "Look!" he said, "We have the same eyes!" He gestured toward the picture. Al looked at little Ed, and a shiver ran down his spine.
"What color is your son's eyes?" asked Al.
"Well, blue, of course," answered Riza. Al gulped and then made little Ed turn around to look at both Roy and Riza. They gasped. His eyes had turned golden.
Al grabbed his right arm and pushed up the sleeve to examine it, and gasped. "It's only a birthmark," said Riza, noticing Al's shocked expression.
Al nodded. "Yes," he said, "A birthmark that happens to be in the same place as the fox bite on my brother's arm. Also, look at this mark where his arm joins his shoulder." He pulled down the collar of the shirt little Ed was wearing, and exposed the other mark, a mark that very much looked like a scar.
"He was born with that," protested Riza, "So it couldn't mean anything."
"But it's so unusually coincidental," said Al. He turned little Ed to face him again, and said, "Now, Ed, please tell me honestly, who are you?"
The little boy looked up at him questioningly, and said, "I'm Ed."
Al shook his head, and repeated the question, emphasizing the word "are". Little Ed thought for a moment, and then said, "I am my friend, Edward."
Everyone gasped. No one knew what to make of it, except for Al, who was already on a roll. "Why are you here then?"
Little Ed didn't miss a beat. "Roy pulled me into his body during one of his transmutations, and I had to screw it up to keep it from tearing apart my soul. Then, I couldn't get back out of his body, so I had to become his son." Little Ed turned and looked around at his dad. Roy was shivering, not so much from the statement little Ed had just made as from the fact that he had called him "Roy" and not "father" or "daddy" like he usually did. That had packed more punch for Roy than did anything else the child had said.
"So…" Al hesitated, "Are you saying that you're really…"
"Edward Elric, the FullMetal Alchemist, and your elder brother," finished little Ed. Now it was Al's turn to shiver. This little kid was claiming to be his elder brother. How was that possible?
Little Ed must've sensed the confusion, for he then spoke up and said, "Don't be scared. I came back. I died, but I came back. I wanted to be with you, Al." Al looked deeply into the face of the child he was holding before him. He really did sense his brother's presence in him. This was incredibly weird to him, but…he really did.
"Is he…" Roy began, before he coughed a few times, and then tried again, "…Edward's reincarnation?"
Al looked from little Ed to Roy, and nodded. "I would know my brother anywhere. This is him. This is my brother, Edward Elric."
Little Ed smiled. "We're finally back together, Al." Al jumped at this, and then relaxed. It was only natural for a child this young to remember so much about their past life, having recently come from the spirit world. He would just have to learn to accept it…and also prepare himself for when little Ed got older, and those memories started to fade.
"Yes," Al said, "Though it's not the way I had originally planned, we're back together. We'll never be separated again." With that, both boys threw their arms around each other, and shed a few tears onto each other's shoulder.
Just before they let go, little Ed reached over to Al's ear, and whispered, "We're still brothers, right?"
Al chuckled. "Of course, we'll always be brothers, even if not in the flesh, we will be in spirit." Little Ed smiled, and then let go of Al, and rested his head on Al's knee. As much as he tried to fight it, his little eyes soon grew heavy, and he fell asleep.
Al stroked the small, golden head asleep in his lap, and said, "Sweet dreams…Brother, just know that I'll always love you, no matter who, or where, you are, and I'll never forget you, ever."
Al looked up at Roy and Riza, and they all exchanged a look between them. They shared a universal understanding between them. Edward, against all odds, had actually managed to find a way back home, even if it wasn't exactly the way he'd had in mind. "Good ol' Edward," said Roy, "He always eventually gets what he wants." And everyone laughed as the little boy continued to sleep soundly in Al's lap.