This was part of a oneshot I wrote called "I'll Reach You", but I was kind insatisfied with it that I think I'll rewrite it again. This part however, was of my liking! I hope you like it too!
My Last Present
Alphonse Elric sat in a chair, outside of Izumi's bedroom. He was worried sick, in the past, he had seen his teacher cough blood, but she has always pulled through it, always seeming strong. She was always strong. Al admired her deeply, always being one of his sources of inspiration, and even though she was really strict and a hard teacher, she had always cared for him.
Like a mother.
Al was anxious, his legs were trembling out of nervousness, and his face was twisted in a frown. Just a few hours ago, Izumi's decadent health let itself be shown. After an episode of massive blood coughing, Sig took her to her bedroom.
The minutes they've been in there were like hours to him. Normally, Al was pretty patient, he really was. But when it came to his loved ones, he just couldn't wait. He felt useless. That was how Al was, a noble heart, always willing to help people.
He bit his lip, and laid his head against the wall. He closed his eyes and prayed for the well being of Teacher. Brother would know what to do, he always does.
Actually, Al wasn't just worried for Izumi, but also for himself. Izumi was the only person who could help him find a way to get back his brother. If she died, who would help him? Who would reassure him that he would reunite with Ed? Who would cry with him in the hopeless nights? Who would instruct him in the art of alchemy, the only way to save his brother?
Izumi was his hope. Without her, he had nothing. Not even a slight clue that would lead him to Edward. No Teacher, no nothing. What would he do then? Join the Military and become a State Alchemist? He didn't want that.
Drowned in his own thoughts, he sighed.
"You can come in, Al."
Al opened his eyes and turned around to find Sig Curtis staring at him with a hollow look. Sig was a big man, in every sense of the world, but he looked as helpless as he was. That meant that this was bad, that Izumi was in no good shape at all.
He stood up and walked towards the door of the room, he looked at Sig, and both of them nodded in understanding. One second later, he found himself facing his Teacher, with the door closed behind him. Facing Teacher, alone.
She looked bad, real pale, and she looked like she was in real pain. However, as she saw Al, her expression softened. It really hurt Al to see her like this, all the strength she had now seemed gone, consumed by her condition.
His gaze met the floor. "Hi Teacher…how are you feeling?"
Izumi gave him a weak smile. "Come closer Al, I promise I won't bite you today."
Al lifted his head again and looked through the eyes of his teacher, he gulped. Unconsciously he began walking towards her bed, and before he realized, he was sitting over the bed, close to her, by her side.
"Alphonse, I'm afraid that my condition…won't let me keep teaching you.", said Izumi with a sad look, looking down. She never showed the side of her that cared, but maybe today was her last day. She may never have another chance. "My time is coming, Al."
Al instinctively grabbed her hand and shielded it beneath his own. His eyes began to water, as he looked again through hers. He was there again, holding the hand of a dying woman, a woman that has been more than just a teacher, but also a mother to him.
It was almost like seeing Trisha die again.
"Don't say that Teacher.", said Al softly, trying to be optimistic, but failing miserably. "You're the strongest woman I've ever met, you'll get through this."
Izumi smiled again. "Thanks Al, but there are times when even the strong must know when to stop. I knew there would be a day when I wouldn't be able to get up, but I didn't think it would be so soon."
"But Teacher…what will I do without you?", said Al, finally letting the tears run down, tightening his hold on Izumi's hand. "How can I keep going without you? How will I find my brother? I don't want you to die, it's not fair! You don't deserve to die!"
Izumi lifted her other hand and wiped the tears off of Al's face, caressing his cheek softly. "Al, you must be strong. You have to move forward, besides, I don't think there is anything else I can teach you."
"But still…it's not fair. All these time, you've been like my…like my mother…", Al kept crying silently, not releasing his hold on Izumi's hand.
"Don't cry, baby, it's okay.", said Izumi as her eyes too, began to water. She hadn't cried ever since the death of her baby, but it was time to release the suppressed tears. "I'm always going to be with you, through my teachings."
After a while, both their tears dried. Al looked up and saw the smile on her face, it was firm, reassuring. As if she had known all along what was coming, she didn't look hurt at all. Al knew this was a goodbye, and he didn't liked it at all.
"Al.", she began. "I have a present for you."
Al looked a bit puzzled, and Izumi pointed her head to a box that was by the side of her bed. Al kneeled and lifted the box, looking at it for a moment. He sighed and opened it, wondering what was in there. He hoped it were books that would continue his learning, but it was too light to be books.
He looked inside and found a red coat, a black jacket and a pair of white gloves. His gaze turned to Izumi with a puzzled look, not ungrateful for the present, but confused.
Izumi smiled. "Your brother used to wear the same clothes. Actually, the coat is his', Rose gave it to me after Ed's disappearance. That coat was mine, I wore it when I was still an alchemy student, many years ago, and I gave it to Ed after he completed the training. Now it's your turn to have it. Those clothes are my present Al, so you know that a part of both me and Ed will be there to guide you. Besides, they match your hairstyle."
Al grinned a bit. His hair was real long now, tied in a ponytail, Winry told him that Ed styled it the same way. Looking like his brother made him feel closer to find him. And now, with his new clothes, he would feel almost complete.
He hugged his present against his chest with love, specially the coat. "Thank you Teacher, I'll always treasure them."
Izumi nodded with a faint smile. "Now go Al, travel, learn and hope. And when you find Ed, give him my regards. My last lesson to you is to Hope…hope and fight, Al. Hope."
Al nodded and hugged his Teacher tightly, something he had never done. For a moment, just for a moment, he felt like he was hugging Trisha. "Goodbye Teacher."
Reluctantly, Al let go and slowly made his way to the door. Before leaving, however, turned back to see Izumi one last time. She was smiling at him. "I'll find him soon Teacher, I promise."
Once he left the room, he walked directly to his own. He had to pack, for he was leaving. Even though Izumi wouldn't teach him any more, the clothes inspired him too keep looking, to keep going. To move forward.
He could feel his brother now, within him, telling him what was next. A nostalgic smile was drawn in his face; he was close to find Ed, very close. He could already feel the embrace of his brother, telling him what was next.
Ed and himself had always been close, real close. They have always been around to help each other. Whenever he was sad or lonely, he would go to Ed and be with him. If Ed was around, everything would be alright. They were as close as twins.
He had to admit it, he needed Ed. He was his other half, both of them shared a symbiosis, neither could live without the other. It was his close bond with Ed that motivated him to go on. To find his beloved brother and hug him and kiss him and just be with him.
He saw now the bright side of leaving, now that he was not bound to stay, he would begin the real quest. Putting on his new clothes, he watched the sunset with a smile. "Big brother, I can already feel your embrace, I can already hear your voice calling for me. I promise that wherever you are, I'll find you."