Author's Note: I feel this is the perfect ending to this lengthy project. I can't believe I'm actually done! At least two and a half years of brainstorming, thinking up ideas, writing them down... This has been an amazing ride for me, exploring my love of these characters and improving my writing as I showcase my ideas. My goal in writing FMA fanfiction has always been to bring into prominence the two most important characters of the story, because so many people seem to disregard them in favor of their favorite pairing or whatever. I feel that I've succeeded with this fic, that I've managed to show just how important these two boys are to me and how I could never get over them or run out of situations that display who they are. I could probably write another 100 Themes for them, but I don't feel that's necessary. This fic shows them from all sides, so I hope that by reading these hundred chapters you can get the full picture of this amazing relationship. Thank you to everyone who's followed this story all this time! I really appreciate all the reviews and faves I've gotten. Happy FMA Day!
Timeline: Chapter 108/Episode 64
Theme 100: Until that day
For my Nii-san, my best friend, my other half -
You were there from the day I was born, you made me who I am today, and you found that Angel Ed picture that started this madness ^_^
It was here at last, the day Alphonse had been secretly dreading for weeks. Oh sure, he'd had a hand in coming up with this idea, and had agreed with Edward that this was something they needed to do. Even though Edward had given up his ability to perform alchemy, he still understood all the theory; his mind was as sharp as ever. It made perfect sense that they should split up, Edward to the west and Alphonse to the east, so they could discover everything there was to know about alchemy. So they could perfect their theories and make this world a better place.
Even so...now that it came time to part, Alphonse had to struggle just to maintain his grip on his suitcase, to keep himself from running all the way back home and never leaving. He stood with his brother on the platform at the Risenpool train station, like so many times before. He held the suitcase in both hands just like always, and Edward was craning his neck to see if the train was coming yet, just like he always did. It was hard to think they would be separate from now on.
All too soon, the train pulled into the station with a shriek and Edward turned to him with an awful finality. "Well," he said in a would-be cheerful voice.
"Well," Alphonse replied quietly. He ran his gaze over his brother's familiar features, knowing he wouldn't see them for a very long time. He didn't want to forget.
"Take care of yourself, 'kay?" Edward smiled gently. "You're not metal anymore, so don't just go rushing into things."
Alphonse laughed, his heart lightening a little. "Speak for yourself. If you get into trouble in Creta, I won't be around to bail you out anymore."
With a grin and a chuckle, Edward said softly, "Yeah."
They stared at each other for a moment, gazing into each other's eyes – eyes that were golden like the sunrise, lifting up in hope as they looked to the future. "One year," Alphonse said determinedly, forcing himself to think of that day rather than all the days until then that would be spent without his brother, his best friend, his only family. "In one year, we'll come back to Risenpool and tell each other what we've discovered. So, until that day..."
Edward snorted. "Don't be so formal about it, silly. C'mere." And he pulled his brother close in a tight hug, as Alphonse had been wishing for all this time.
Alphonse dropped his suitcase and locked his arms across his brother's strong back, breathing in the familiar scent he knew he wouldn't smell for an unbearably long time. He didn't trust his voice enough to say I'll miss you, but he tightened his arms and let them do the talking. And Edward's right hand rubbed his back a little, back and forth, whispering without words, I know, I know. Me too.
Suddenly the train whistle shrieked through the air, and the embrace shattered as though struck by a sledgehammer. "I gotta go!"Alphonse cried, grabbing his suitcase again and hopping onto the train. Even as he clung to the handrail and hung out the open door, he felt a pang of regret. This wasn't the way he wanted to part, so suddenly like this.
With a chugging sound and a cloud of smoke, the train slowly began to move. "Al!" Edward trotted on the platform alongside the train. He raised his fist, his face blazing with the open, determined smile Alphonse knew so well.
With an almost identical grin, Alphonse leaned out and pounded his fist against his brother's. For an instant, their knuckles collided – flesh against flesh, bone against bone, no metal or gloves or gauntlets between them. Then Edward came to a stop at the edge of the platform and the train picked up speed, until Edward soared out of sight. But like the stinging crackle from a clap of alchemy, Alphonse could still feel his brother against his hand. Inside his heart.
Still smiling, Alphonse turned to face towards Central, towards Xing, towards the future. Because he knew Edward would be there, waiting for him, when he got back. Because they were at each other's backs, allowing them to move forward. Because not even ten thousand miles could truly separate them. Because they were brothers.
Author's Note: I've already decided on my next 100 Themes project, which will be entitled "Till I'm a Hundred, You Idiot" XD Can you guess who will be the focus of that story? (It's not the brothers again.) I like to keep some buffer chapters to allow me to post every week, so give me about a month before I start putting it up, but keep your eyes peeled! Thanks again!