Disclaimer: I don't own FMA or any of its characters.


Epilogue

"Put the child down slowly if you value your life."

The color completely drained away from Tray's face. Cautiously, she knelt down and gently set Al on the floor. When she stood back up, her arm was grabbed and she was thrown to the ground. After she managed to push herself back up and readjusted her now cracked glasses, she saw a slim women with black micro-braided hair tied back in a ponytail, wearing a white dress-like top with black pants. Her face was like hard granite when she looked at Tray, but immediately melted into a warm motherly expression when she looked at Al, who was now coughing and clinging to her shirt. She spoke to him in a soft, soothing voice.

"Yes, I know you're hurting, little one. I'm here now. You're going to be alright."

Izumi snapped her head back to look at Tray. Her tone was firm and demanding, and her speech was quick.

"What's this red substance on him?"

"It's . . . red water."

"What's that?"

"It's one of the ingredients used to make a Philosopher's Stone. It's . . . extremely toxic to humans."

"And you covered him with it?!"

"It was Nigma's idea! He believed that the child would survive longer in it since he was born through alchemy, and he did! But . . . I couldn't stand the knowledge of him being put through this torture anymore, so I came back here to take him back to the hospital."

"Unfortunately, neither of you are going anywhere with him."

Izumi and Tray both spun in the direction of the voice. Nigma emerged from the shadows, holding a gun.

"Honestly, Tray. Did you really think I was stupid enough to not notice your change of mind? What's even worse is the fact that you thought I would leave the boy completely unattended to."

He looked at Izumi.

"You. I don't know what your relationship with this child is, but if you don't do exactly as I say, you'll end up like the 'great' Fullmetal Alchemist."

Izumi narrowed her eyes, then, surprisingly, began to chuckle. Nigma looked at her in mild surprise.

"What's so funny?"

"First of all, never underestimate me. I'm more than you can handle. Second, you shouldn't put the intelligence of other people under your own. If I was smart enough to find this place, don't you think I'd be smart enough to inform the Fuhrer before I entered? As we speak, he and the military are on their way here. It's over for you."

Nigma gave a look of defeat, which quickly changed into a smirk.

"How troublesome. Well then, I guess I'll just have to kill all three of you. I'll never let that boy go back to the hands of the Fuhrer, or his brother."

Nigma suddenly turned the gun on Tray, firing. At the same time, Izumi dove to the ground, managing to make her hands come together and shoot a projectile from the ground. When Nigma dove to the floor to dodge it, she quickly got to her feet. She looked over at Tray, who was screaming at her to run while holding her shot shoulder. Izumi darted towards the door. In an instant, Nigma sprung to his feet, and fired the gun again. The bullet managed to lodge itself into Izumi's arm, causing her to trip. By the time she realized what happened, Nigma was standing over her. They both glared at each other. In an instant, Nigma raised his gun, Izumi clapped her hands, and a loud gunshot filled the building.

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'Al . . . Alphonse, I'm sorry . . . I'm so sorry . . . Please . . . Please come back . . .'

'Edward . . .'

'Alphonse . . .'

'Wake up, Ed.'

'I can't go yet . . . Al . . . I have to find him . . .'

'Now, Fullmetal.'

'Mustang?'

Ed stirred, slowly waking from his uneasy sleep. Sluggishly, he began to sit forward. A strong hand pushed him back. When he managed to focus his vision, he saw Mustang sitting next to him.

"Easy, Ed. You don't want to wake up Al, do you? He needs his rest."

"Al?"

Ed followed Roy's gaze, finding Al tucked in his arm. An IV was hooked up to him. Ed immediately noticed the bad condition Al was in. He looked at Roy.

"When did you find him?"

"A few hours ago. Your teacher did a little of her own research and found that he was being held at Lab 5. She informed us when she arrived there. She was lucky, though. She managed to escape with only an injured arm, when she could've been shot in the head. If it weren't for Hawkeye getting in there first, both your teacher and your brother could've been killed."

"And Nigma?"

"Like I said, Hawkeye got in there first. When she saw what he was about to do to, she managed to fire before he did. He won't be a problem anymore."

"What about his colleagues?"

"They're all in custody. We're still deciding their punishments. One of them died due to blood loss from a gunshot wound caused by Nigma. She was the one who told us where the others were hiding. As it turns out, she was working in the Investigations Department, acting as their inside informant. Her name was Second Lieutenant B. Tray."

"Her name fits her."

"I know. She was also the one who stabbed you and grabbed Al. However, according to your teacher, she tried to save Al. That's why Nigma shot her."

Ed was silent, then rolled over on his side. He didn't bother trying to hide the pain as he did so.

"Ed, don't-"

"Shut up, Mustang."

Ed gently pulled Al against his chest, then lovingly began stroking his hair.

" . . . How bad is it?"

Roy let out a deep sigh.

"He's not doing very well. I'm sure you can already tell he has a high fever, along with the numerous bruises on his body. His throat is damaged due to chemicals Nigma poured in it, and he's very ill from some other chemical concoction Nigma fed him. At least, that's what his colleagues told us. Alchemic doctors are going to try to get the tissue in his throat to repair and heal faster."

Ed remained silent, burying his face in Al's hair. It wasn't long before Roy heard the sobs he knew were coming.

"How is it . . . that no matter how hard I try . . . to protect him . . . he's always put through hell?"

Roy said nothing, and just continued to watch. It wasn't until Ed felt something small and soft wipe his tears away that he stopped. Lifting his head, he saw Al turn his own head upwards to look at him, tears running from his bronze eyes. He opened his mouth to talk, but only managed to squeak, causing more tears to run down his cheeks.

"No, Alphonse, don't-don't try to talk, okay? I'm here, it's alright. You're going to be alright."

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Ed and Al returned to Mustang's mansion after Al's operation to fix his throat. They spent the next month of healing there. Once the doctor told them that Ed's injury had healed completely and Ed would be able to act like his normal self, Roy decided it was time for a change.

"Tell me again, why are we standing out here, Mustang?"

"So you can see your new house, Fullmetal."

" . . . New house?"

Roy nodded his head.

"I've decided that it's time for you to have your own place to settle down in. It's across the road from my estate, so if you need anything, we'll be easy to get to."

Ed looked at the house. It had two stories, a brick pathway, and trees shading the front yard. It was beautiful.

Roy grinned.

"You should see the inside. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, nice sized kitchen and living room, and a fireplace. Everything you'll need to live comfortably. There's even a small garden in the back."

"Mustang . . . I . . ."

"It's alright, Ed. After everything that's happened, you deserve something like this."

Smiling, Ed looked down as Al began to stir in his arms. He had been sleeping. Al let out a big yawn and looked up at Ed, rubbing his eyes.

"Hey Al, look. This is our new house. We'll be living here from now on."

Al seemed confused for a moment, turned his head to look at the house, then looked Mustang with tears in his eyes.

"Al, what's wrong?"

"You don't want us anymore?"

Roy gently took Al in his arms.

"It's not that, Al. You know Aunt Riza and I care about you very much, but you two can't live with us forever. You need to live in your own house now. You're going to be living right across the street from us, see? You can visit us any time."

Al sniffled a couple of times, and nodded his head. Then he turned his body and stretched out his arms so his brother could take him. Ed hugged Al tightly.

"You want to see the inside now?"

Al nodded his head again. Smiling, the four of them made their way up to the new house, to the beginning of the Elrics' new life.

Maybe now we can finally live a normal life, just like Al wanted. Alphonse, my brother, my child, I love you, always.

The End


AN: THIS IS THE FINAL CHAPTER! Don't be sad though. I'll try to post a fanfic consisting of oneshots relating to this fic. Anyway, sorry about the long wait. A few notes about this chapter: I read somewhere that Izumi's hair style was NOT dreadlocks, but micro braids. I've seen pictures of real micro braids, and they look pretty similar. I also don't know if a bullet to the arm would be enough to bring down Izumi, but I wrote it in to go with the story. And sorry if the ending sounds cheezy. It was the only fitting ending I could think of. Until the next fic, bye!