Moonlit: I actually have... I just have never tried to get it published. I have three original works, two I want to one day write sequels for. And that makes me feel special XD.
copycat: Yeah, I like to have happy endings. You wouldn't guess it looking at the majority of my oneshots, but I do like happy endings.
Gaara: Thank you.
moonstone: You know he'll think of something.
Koorii: Good lord woman, you need to learn how to type the words 'and they smooched each others faces off', or something like that. -snickers- I've never heard that song, I'll have to find it and listen. And no, I made up the line about the angel and the sky. One of my fewer but more brilliant moments. I'm glad you're in love with it.
Tana: Unfortunately no weddings... but I imagine they'd one day have them.
amlf: I would love to see that too. I'd be right there with Ed eating popcorn and smiling.
EveningAlchemist: Almost made you cry? Darn... that means a quarter less payment from the tissue companies XD. -catches pie- I agree with you on the guard llama thing, forget a german shepherd, I want a Nitro.
GreedxEd: You really want Marks and Collins to get it on like rabbits don't you -snickers-. You're so funny. But don't ruin my sob moment by telling me stuff like that XD.
Sailor Silver Rose: Oh dear, I can see how that would be disturbing. Clean your shower. Thoroughly.
haganeno: Either way as long as you don't hit me or anything... but yay! CAKE!
Akira: Thank you, a lot. And I can't wait either actually... as sad as I am to be finishing this one.
kazuko: I take it your grandpa doesn't enjoy airplanes either? And yes, chocolates are the best. Nothing like some chocolate romance. And that's strange that the site wasn't working right for you. I hope it keeps working now.
E: Oh my... I am hiding Roy and Ed from you now.
Some last minute words before we commence with the epilogue and the official end to the story.
I'm spring cleaning my MSN and YIM messengers. I think I know who maybe... six people total on them are still. Chances are you're not one of them (that includes my wives). XD
I will be replying to the last of the reviews, just through the reply function itself.
Stop adding this to story alerts. It's completed. As in, I hit the 'complete' button and saved it and now get to gorge myself on sugar.
Tomorrow the winner of the votes will be put up as my newest story. The other stories I have going currently (Paradox and Ultimatum) will be updated soon. Never fear. I just had time issues the past few weeks. Or months. Whichever. Ever since April things have been crazy for me. As for my LJ stories... let's just say I'll update when LJ's posting page actually loads, instead of... not. I get that triple chocolate cookie recipe up and LJ goes into diabetic meltdown so I can't post for a while, or something.
And with all that being said, I leave you to the short epilogue that gives a brief snapshot of what happened to the main OC's, and Al and Marta. Thank you everyone for reading this far, favoriting it, favoriting me, and a special thank you to those of you who have left me such beautiful reviews. I've met a lot of new people during this story, and I hope that tomorrow you'll be back for a new one. As I hope everyone else will be back. Thanks for everything. I now leave you with the epilogue.
I hope you enjoy.
In the days and weeks that passed since the clinking of glasses had filled the black-pillared hall, stood forsaken for so long, it was not just the second chances of two that were embarked upon. In a ripple effect, the decisions of two people forever changed the course of other lives. For better or worse, it could only be for them to decide.
Office of Thomas Brown – London
"Have you seen him lately?" Charles Kain asked as he browsed the pictures handing on the office wall. He'd just had a press conference out on the Green, and had stopped in for a chat.
Thomas shook his head, twirling his pen between his fingers as he stared out the window. Personally he still couldn't quite believe the view he'd gotten over the river Thames. Just a matter of luck he supposed, luck and good timing. "Not since he turned in his resignation."
Charles smiled faintly, "rather like how his father up and vanished. I guess we shouldn't be surprised. But I had hoped… I just miss him I guess. The other advisors are having a hard time stepping in to fill his shoes."
"I'm sure he'll make an appearance when it's on his own terms." Thomas turned to watch as Charles continued to browse photographs and paintings.
"It worked out nicely for you though. With the recommendation he left for you." Charles grinned over at him. "You're on your way to the top. Hell, you even got an office with a view. Just warn me before you decide to challenge my position as prime minister."
Thomas scoffed at him good-naturedly. "Charles, I'm a full-fledged politician now. And Mister Elric prepared me well for it. If I run against you, I sure as hell am not going to tell you about it beforehand. I want to see your face and leech some confidence from it."
"Comforting." Charles rolled his eyes, and tilted his head as he studied a reprint of The Abduction of Europa. "What do you make of that anonymous call that was received informing the police about Kedder being dead, and all those animals that were found?"
"Exactly what you made of it." Thomas answered smoothly. He'd seen the komodo dragon, he was no idiot to not fathom a guess as to where it had come from. Thus he wasn't fool enough to believe that Kedder being shot dead was a random act. "We've always known Kedder hated Edward. And we may not have known, but we guessed that Edward was not the type to take such things lying down."
Charles turned to him with a wry smile. "And the fact they have no leads, not even fingerprints-"
"-Edward always wore those gloves."
"-it makes it clear to us." Charles finished, "but I'm not about to say anything. And I doubt you are either."
"No." Thomas was firm in his answer. "I see no wrong in what he did."
Charles could agree there, and after a moment he came over to sit in one of the chairs before Thomas's desk. "But have you ever gotten the feeling that he was never quite… human?"
Thomas twirled his pen some more as he considered the question. And finally he shrugged. "It's a very general term that, human… so many ways to define it. I'd say that he was human. But I believe there was a reason he never spoke much of his past beyond the gypsies."
"I see your point." Charles looked down, to watch the pen twirl. "Are you coming to the party on Saturday?"
"My first party where I'm actually invited and am not just allowed in because of who my boss is?" Thomas grinned at him. "You better believe that I'm going. I'm determined to find myself a nice lady at one of these parties."
Charles smirked, and rose from his chair. "You're looking in the political sphere, the women are more manipulative than the men. If you want a nice lady, I suggest looking around at the polo matches away from our crowd."
"Personal advice from experience?" Thomas raised an eyebrow, but filed the information away.
"Where do you think my relatives found their wives?" Charles grinned at him, and then stood. "I'll see you on Saturday. Nice office."
Thomas stood as well and clasped hands with the man, smiling. "Thanks. For a lot of things." And he watched as Charles left his office, the door closing behind him. Still smiling, he sat back down. He had a lot of work to do if he wanted to fulfill all his ambitions. Edward had given him the boost he'd needed, and now it was up to him to make it all matter.
Romanian Embassy – London
"Sir, the reports just came in, and you are not a father."
Fane Banciu leveled a look worthy of any hell creature at one of his employees. He was sure that they'd all drawn straws to decide who would report in to him about this. So really, this poor sod probably didn't deserve being glared into the ground, but it made him feel better. So the poor sod would suffer. "Of course I'm not a father. It was a gossip column! Go get back to work, stop bothering me with this drivel."
But aside from this bit of unneeded news that brought back the memories he'd been trying to repress – though as of yet he hadn't tried electroshock therapy –, he was still whore-less as it seemed the girls who'd run out on him had informed all their friends. Could he help it if he had standards for whores? So he had been cornered and blocked on the market. And then there had been that delightful news about Edward Elric resigning.
Which should have made him dance around in gleeful joy.
Except he soon realized that while Edward may not be the prime minister's advisor, the sneak of a blond had left him some last minute advice. And now the prime minister himself was refusing the meetings he sought about certain issues until he could provide adequate proof that changes were being made.
And while he very much wanted to march right up to Elric's front door, and make some demands, he knew better. First off, the llama still guarded the domain. Second, he doubted Edward would save him from that llama. It was best to just try and let things go. And in the meantime… work on getting that proof he should have gotten ages ago instead of playing a losing game of political tennis with Edward.
Well, there was one bright side to all of this that he could not deny was a bright side.
Alice was still disgraced and away.
Berane – Montenegro
Alice was scowling as she looked at her reflection in the mirror of the small room she shared with another, what she liked to call, poor lost soul. She hated this nun habit she had been forced to wear. Literally. As in all her other clothes had been taken from her and put who knew where. And as she couldn't very well go around stark naked, she was forced to wear this confining, unflattering thing. And what was worse! She wasn't allowed to do anything remotely intimate with a man!
This was unfair, as all the men she encountered the times she was allowed to go out with a chaperone eyed her up and down. Oh how she'd like to show them she may be dressed as a nun, but she was no novice to the world of drunken parties and random sex in bathrooms. But she was unable to do so.
Her chaperone, a Sister Rose, was always watching her like a hawk.
"…and then we will pray tonight for three hours, to observe the Saint-"
"Three hours?" Alice screeched, whirling around to stare wide-eyed at Sister Rose.
Rose smiled, "yes. It should be sufficient time to pray and find God again tonight. And afterwards you will hold an all night vigil awake, tending to the candles and readying the church for service tomorrow." Oh she was enjoying herself. When Edward Elric had called her up on the phone to ask her for a few favors, she had been all too eager to oblige once Alice showed up. She'd have to remember to thank him for allowing her to have some fun along with straightening out this poor misled girl.
"What?!" Alice screeched again. "I'm not the only one staying up, right?"
Rose gave her a confused look. "Of course you are. This task has been appointed to you through the saints whom we honor tonight. And don't shriek so, you are a young lady, not a cat."
"Young lady? I'm as old as you are!"
"It does not seem ladylike to call yourself old." Rose said, and patted Alice's cheek. "I require your presence in ten minutes. Do not be late again, or I shall be forced to double your duties."
Alice glared at her as Rose walked out, and then threw her head back with a groan. "This place is going to kill me. I've got to get out of here."
From just beyond the door, Rose smiled, and made a mental note to have Alice watched more carefully. She was not about to let the girl escape. Oh no. And really, if Alice was complaining about having to do two hours more of assisting the elderly and helping out at the orphanage, she still had a ways to go in turning her into a sensible girl.
The next few years should be fun.
And Rose walked off with a bright smile, intending to make a phone call to an old friend and provide an update before she recommenced with project Alice.
Olde Mitre – London
The tap of his cane was now background noise, and the artificial leg was still awkward, but Collins wasn't exactly gloomy as he walked up to the door of the pub. He knew this was where he needed to be, for many reasons. He could have crawled home right after his release from the hospital, or even gone to fetch his car from where it was probably sitting about abandoned, but he decided against it. Instead he'd called for a taxi and had it drive him elsewhere.
So now here he was, outside the home turf of the person he hated most in this world. The person who the doctors had told him had been the reason he'd lived. But that was one of very many reasons, and confusions, that now brought him here. Taking a deep breath, he let himself inside.
He ignored the bar area, though he nodded to the staff. Instead he made his way to the room he knew Marks ran his illegal gambling operation out of. It was slow going for him, as he still wasn't exactly agile with his cane and fake leg. Reaching the door he chose against knocking. Knocking meant the door being opened, and then most likely shut in his face and locked. No, he was not about to knock. Seizing the door handle, he let himself in.
Marks looked up in interest, and then mild surprise, followed quickly by a smirk and an appraising look. "Well, well, if it isn't Collins. Up on your feet again already, that's surprising. It would have been a fitting way for you to end, death by lizard." But he waved the man in. "Shut the door, place your bets."
Collins did shut the door, managing not to rise to the bait for an argument. "I'm not here to gamble." He said, and stayed where he was. "I'm here to talk to you."
"Talk to me." Marks deadpanned, gave him a suspicious look, but leaned back in his chair before nodding to another. "Take a seat then at least. Lurking in doorways is rude."
Collins glared at him, but said nothing. Merely partially hobbled his way over to an empty chair to sit.
"If you're here to talk to me about how you're going to repay me for finding you and hauling you to the hospital, I'll accept your gifts. However I didn't do it for you," he said sternly, "I did it for Elric."
Collins smirked at him while he laid his cane over his thighs, grasping it at both ends. "I know Edward paid us both only a short while after that all happened. Which means any duty you had to me because of him ended. So why is it that you only left the hospital last night?"
Marks's eyes narrowed. "A bit of lingering delirium, perhaps? Should you check back in for another hospital stay?"
But Collins was not about to be baited, or redirected. Not this time. This time, Marks wasn't going to get a rise out of him. It was overdue, but it was how it was going to go. He only smirked more. "The doctors told me you'd been staying in my room the entire time I was out. But as soon as I began to wake up, you took off. So tell me, Marks, why'd you stay?"
Looking away, Marks harrumphed to himself and kicked his feet up on the table before him. "Curiosity. A curiosity which was fulfilled when you got better."
Collins smiled, that answer would do… for now. But he'd get the truth later once he got the man inebriated. Only curiosity? He'd only buy that if he were an idiot. And despite what Marks might say, he was not an idiot. "Well, in any case, I'm alive."
"You are." Marks sounded pained about it.
"Don't seem so gloomy." Collins chided him, and then took a deep breath. "So in light of that… I must say the two words I never thought I'd say to you. Thank you."
Marks smirked at that, and his feet came off the table as he sat up properly. "Don't ever mention it again. I'll have to kill you myself if you do."
"Of course." Collins smirked back at him, not feeling at all threatened. Who'd have believed him anyway besides Edward? No one else would think Marks capable of saving another human life, especially his.
At that, Marks stood up. "Come on, I recall that I owe you a drink." He announced as he walked around the table and towards the door. "And you can tell me all about this lizard."
Collins carefully got to his feet, and clacked his way after the man. "You'd just accuse me of it being a fish story!" He said as they entered the main part of the pub.
"How well you know me. But it's a story even so." Marks said as he sauntered over to the bar counter. "And I'm in the mood for beer and a good story."
Alphonse stood outside the front door of a house he hadn't seen in far too long. Marta's house. It was an hour past sunset, so he knew she was at home. He had only arrived back in Toronto a few hours ago. He'd checked in at the hotel, and then come here bearing flowers. And small packages of flours too, as the case were. And the entire flight back over here he'd been nervous. About stupid stuff really, but nervous he still was.
So feeling very much like a hopelessly enamored teenager come to ask out the most beautiful girl in school, Alphonse raised his free hand and rapped lightly on the door.
It didn't take long for the door to open, and when Marta instantly smiled, Al felt all his nerves melt away. "I wasn't sure which one you'd prefer…" he said holding out the bouquet and the few small packages of various flours. "So I bought both."
Marta laughed as she took the flowers and the flours, and set them aside immediately. "Prefer?" She repeated before she quickly embraced him in a tight hug. "I prefer you."
Alphonse grinned as he hugged her back. "Gods I've missed you."He said softly as he held her tight. It had only been a little over a week since he'd seen her, but right now, it felt too long to have been without.
"I've missed you too." Marta replied, not willing to move away from him yet. "We'll figure this out though."
"We will." Al promised her. "I'd do anything for you, you know." He said, and only pulled away enough to steal a kiss which was eagerly returned before they parted for air, smiling, and returned to their embrace.
Marta chuckled, smiling into his chest. "Deceptively charming."
Alphonse smiled at the barely heard words, and turned his head to kiss her hair. "And true." His eyes closed as a soft, contented sigh let itself out. He was falling, and he knew it. He knew that they'd figure this out, because for him, it didn't matter where he was anymore. As long as she was there, he was home.