Regrets on the Eve of Battle

Author – D M Evans

Disclaimer – I own nothing. All rights belong to Ms Arakawa.

Rating – PG-13

Pairing – none, remembrances of Hohenheim/Trisha

Summary – Going to face Father, Hohenheim reflects on his mistakes

Timeline- manga based spoilers right up to chapter 90.

Author's Note – This was a wild bunny out of nowhere. Thanks to SJ Smith for the beta and the title.

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My son is buried under the earth. It's even grimmer than it sounds but I have to trust that he'll be all right. Technically, he's neither dead nor alive and he has trapped himself in with a monster. Oddly I felt the need to stay with him even though I couldn't. I never thought I would feel such an attachment, that I could ever hope for such human sentiment when, for so long, I've been something other than human.

None of us wanted to leave Alphonse there but what choice did we have? Watching them both for a while now, I couldn't be prouder of my sons and more shamed of myself. I hadn't really meant to be gone so long but I have a bad habit of losing time, easy to do when you're virtually immortal. I suppose in some ways that is why I left in the first place. I wasn't sure I could bear watching Tricia and the boys aging without me. How could anyone bear such isolation and loneliness? If I wasn't there to see it, it wasn't happening.

I didn't think that through very well, perhaps a testament to how out of touch with my human beginnings I had become. It had never occurred to me that Tricia would die or my sons would have done the things they did. I had never imagined that they wouldn't always be tiny squalling things that I feared hurting by accident. But time soldiered on without me, like always. I couldn't believe how old Pinako was now. Where was the buxom young lady who used to sit on my lap, sharing my whiskey, interrupting perfectly good card games?

I wonder if I'll see Pinako again. As we go underground, I may never even see Alphonse again; never know if he's all right. That part doesn't sit well with me. I haven't had a chance to help him yet. I may fail him one last time. The only consolations will be that I will have finally dealt with a creature I should have removed from the world from the very beginning and I might finally get to rejoin Trisha. Just because I left didn't mean I loved her less.

It was unfair she missed her boys growing up. I'm angry about that. Trisha deserved to see how handsome and smart they were. Alphonse might even be a bit smarter than his brother, or at least patient enough to make better choices. Edward is me at that age. I should have told him that before we separated. I've seen enough to know he would have exploded like a volcano, spewing enough to create his own island. Was I any better at his age? Perhaps slightly more tempered but only because I was a slave and didn't have free rein of my tongue. The boy even looks like me, like looking in a mirror that reflected the past.

The expression on Edward's face when I led the young Xingese girl off was priceless. He really did seem to think I was flirting with the child. I shouldn't find it so amusing but it did lighten my heart. What did he think I could possibly get up to down here? No, better that I don't think about that. I needed a clear head now. The creature that taught me alchemy, turned me into the Philosopher's Stone, was just around a few more bends, unless I missed my guess. I could feel him getting stronger somehow, as if he was absorbing power into himself. It might be smart to call the others to me but this was my fault. My sons will not die for my mistakes. I may never see Edward and Alphonse again. I can only hope they knew I always loved them. Alphonse will understand. Maybe in time, his brother would as well.