-sits herself down with chocolate and tissues-

Wow... it's seemed so long and yet, I feel like this story has flown by. I had never thought that this story would be as loved as it is, and for me, that's a great honor. Thank you so very much to everyone. Your support, and lovely reviews, fan art, hilarious PM's, and everything else you do I appreciate every single day that I log on to put up another chapter. Daily, you all make me smile and feel proud that I am part of such a supportive group of writers and readers. So thank you again, and I hope you enjoy the ending.

Needless to say, please stop putting this story on alerts. It won't do you an ounce of good after today.

Chapter Sixty Eight


There it was again… that strange but familiar gray fog around the edges. Obscuring the black and white scene of all the key landmarks needed to discern where it was happening. There had been many of these… yet not enough. And few that could be recalled once dawn broke.

Roy did not fight to understand anymore, nor did he fight to remember past this moment. As time had shown him, everything came to pass. All he could do was wait. Yet this time was different.

Before, he'd drifted on the outer reaches, an observer to the happenings. Now, for the first time he could recall, he was a participant in this gray edged world that showed only the barest necessities to him. And rarely let him have the whole thing in the end anyway.

He seemed to be in some sort of large room. It was empty, aside from the familiar figure of Edward.

The blond man was kneeling down, face to face with a molting condor that normally would have come up to his hip if he had stood up. His flesh hand was ungloved and rubbing something into the colorful skin on the birds head.

It was the bird that seemed to notice Roy's presence first, as it turned it's head to blink balefully at him. Edward looked over as well with a welcoming smile, said something Roy was not surprised he could not hear, before getting up. Edward's hand was resting on the bird's head still as he seemed to be talking with Roy.

But as Roy could hear none of it, he sat back to wait.

Suddenly Edward stopped talking, and jogged away from the condor who had taken to stretching its nine foot wingspan and spinning around in a circle. And then Edward was back, obstructing the view of the condor being chased by Kang.

Now Edward was holding up what appeared to be a garishly patterned fabric and laughing.

Roy realized that there were teddy bears on the fabric. No wonder it looked so garish. It was making a bit of sense though… if he objectively thought about this while the dream continued. Edward was going to be an uncle, they'd obviously be dealing with matters of fabric and teddy bears if a baby was on the way. Gifts would have to be made of course.

He silently promised himself to try and talk Edward out of teddy bears should this come to pass.

Edward had lowered the fabric it appeared, and in another hand was waving an envelope about. It had elegantly scrolled handwriting on one side, but Edward was moving it about to haphazardly it was impossible to read. And the blond was still laughing.

Evidently something was highly amusing.

Any chances he might have had to try and figure out what the hell was going on were cut short as Edward was forced to duck, else be taken out by the condor who had taken flight to escape Kang. The blond immediately had turned to start chastising the bird, waving the garish fabric in its presumed direction.

Just as the scene went blank with gray fog.

"Roy…." Edward stared down at the sleeping man looking quite amused. "Roy…" He tried again, and shook the man's shoulder gently.

For the past ten minutes Roy had been groaning in his sleep muttering something about teddy bears. It was three in the morning, and personally Edward wanted to get back to sleep. But curiosity as to why his beloved was groaning about teddy bears had piqued his curiosity.

"Wha-a?" Roy moaned sleepily as he began to stir awake.

"Roy, are you okay?" Edward asked with a grin, propping his head up on an arm he folded under his head.

Roy opened his eyes, blinking blearily at the blond. "Teddy bears."

"Yes, I know." Edward chuckled softly, grinning at the man. "What about them?"

"No teddy bears." Roy said with sleepy insistence.

Edward gave a very unmanly sounding giggle. "What'd the teddy bears do to you?"

"They're hideous." Roy frowned at the laughing alchemist and stirred awake more. "I had another dream."

"About teddy bears?" Edward guessed with a grin.

"Mmm." Roy agreed slowly. "You were playing menagerie babysitter and were waving around a bolt of fabric with teddy bears. Ugly teddy bears."

"That sounds truly fascinating." Edward stifled another laugh behind one hand. He was tempted to wake Roy up in the middle of the night more often and enquire about the man's dreams.

"No teddy bears." Roy said again, quite adamant about this.

Edward broke out into laughter again, and leaned over to kiss Roy on the forehead. "Very well, no teddy bears."

"Good." Roy mumbled sleepily and scooted over so he could nestle in closer to Edward.

Edward snickered to himself, and lightly stroked Roy's back until the man had fallen back asleep. So, no teddy bears huh? That was something to keep in mind as leverage. Apparently Roy had something against ugly teddy bears. "You're absolutely crazy, but I love you." Still amused, Edward fell back to sleep.

The next morning the two of them made their way to work together, Kang following along obediently. When they reached the office where the rest of Roy's team was, Edward was welcomed back warmly by all of them.

Once Edward informed Hawkeye of his new job, she happily got to work creating the paperwork for Roy to sign to finalize the placement. Roy had eventually pulled him into his office away from the crowd of still energetic people happy to have Edward back.

"Thanks." Ed smiled at him, and took a seat on his favorite black couch with a relieved sigh. Kang curled up to lay down by his feet.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Roy asked him in concern as he sat down beside Edward.

He nodded. "I'm healed… but my body is still not where it used to be. I gained strength and stamina, yes. But I am still malnourished I think. And I still don't like crowds much."

"Well, I need to get to a meeting first thing. Backlogged meetings must commence." He smiled wryly. "Go home if you feel tired. I won't mind. Just let Hawkeye know where you're going so I don't worry."

"Yes mom." Edward teased.

"Love you, insolent brat." Roy laughed and kissed him before rising from the couch.

"Love you too, bastard."

Edward waited until Roy was gone before rising from his seat on the couch and going over to the phone on Roy's desk. Picking it up, he sat in Roy's office chair and dialed the phone, hoping to reach Alphonse.

Edward settled back contentedly, his eyes on the picture of he and Roy sitting on Roy's desk. One that the man had drawn and only now it seemed, decided to display it. To all others, they'd believe he'd hired someone to do the portrait. But he knew it was far more personal.

And then his brother answered at last. "You know how you once told me everything would be okay?" He asked Al with a happy shadow of a smile.

Yes… everything had been okay in the end. The trials suffered on the journey had been just that. Part of the journey. But he'd finally reached the destination he'd wanted for so long. To be happily with Roy, and that was where he'd stay. Everything would be okay, he believed that now.

That's all it had really come down to in the end, had it not? Whether or not their trust was strong enough to last through that darkness, whether or not they could believe in each other even when the world turned ugly. Their love had passed through the literal trials of fire. And when all was said and done at the end of the day…

They believed in each other… Edward knew everything would be okay.