I am soo sorry for not uploading this for so long. Truth to be told, I lost interest in my story and every time I came back to this, I was just unsatisfied with it all and gave up. But thanks to several reviews, story alerts/favoriting, I decided to actually finish this. I know I've mentioned it before in my other stories, but I'm really bad at endings. So if there's anything I can fix or whatnot, please let me know.
So, as always, I hope you enjoy this chapter - the last one in this story, unfortunately. Please review!
Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist.
Fuhrer Roy Mustang sat at his desk, once again diligently ignoring the mounds of paperwork that lay on top of the large mahogany furniture. Warm sunlight illuminated the room; rays of light hitting the large comfy sofa against the side of the wall across from where Roy worked. There were sounds of laughter and chatter from outside of the open window, but Roy paid it no attention. Instead, he found himself drowning in the golden orbs of an irascible blonde that sat upon his lap, kissing him passionately. Their tongues fought for dominance as Ed grinded himself against Roy. Heat rushed down to Roy's groin as his breaths became shallower. Lust and desire covered his features; his hands that were wrapped around Ed's slender body drew the alchemist closer, unable to bear the space between them.
Laughing, Ed tangled his fingers within Roy's black hair, pulling the Fuhrer into a deeper kiss. How Roy loved hearing Ed laugh…how he loved their intimacy behind closed doors. Here in his arms, he had everything he had ever wanted – the seat of the Fuhrer and the love of his life. Everything that had happened – Ed's disappearance, Adonai, and Heino – all seemed to be in the distant past, though it had only been six months since Ed was allowed to be discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health with a warning to take it easy. Whatever it was, he and Ed spent most of their time (when he wasn't working) consuming what they had missed out during those five years that Ed had been away. And it didn't seem like Ed minded at all. In fact, if Roy didn't know any better, Ed was enjoying this much more than he was – he quite often left Roy high and dry with wicked amusement sparkling in his eyes.
Suddenly, Roy found himself grasping nothing but air. Bewildered, he swiveled around to see Ed lying peacefully on the couch, his eyes closed as if he was asleep. The next second, Riza opened the door and strolled in, another stack of papers in her arms.
"Good afternoon, sir," she started, "You need to look over these documents by today. I'll stop by later to pick them up."
"Y-yes. Of course," Roy responded, clearing his throat as he tried to smooth his hair back and straighten his clothes. He shot a glance towards Ed who opened one eye and winked at him before settling back into his fake stupor. Roy didn't know whether he should be amused or irritated at Ed leaving him so disheveled.
"Also, there has been some unrest in East that you may have to look into," Riza continued.
Immediately, Roy composed himself and rifled through the papers that Riza had handed to him. "Does it have to do with alchemy?"
"It seems so, though we may need to send a State Alchemist to gather information."
"Understood. I'll take care of this. Is that all?"
"For now, sir."
Riza bowed slightly and then turned to leave. Opening the door, she paused and addressed Roy again. "By the way, if I find that you are being distracted again by your 'bodyguard' over there, I will shoot you, sir."
Cringing, Roy gave her a sheepish look, "Understood…"
"You too, Ed. You can't fool me with that act," Riza smiled.
Sitting up, Ed raised his hands in surrender, "Got it, got it."
"Good." And then the door shut tightly behind her. Ed shook his head as he got up to hover near Roy's side.
Though Ed had to keep his abilities hidden, Roy sometimes appreciated the fact that Ed had retained all of the skills that he had learned as himself and Edric from their time in Germany. Being so stealthy guaranteed that they wouldn't be caught doing anything, unless of course they were caught by Riza, Maes, or Al. For some odd reason, no matter how they hid, those three people always knew.
"How does she always know?" wondered Roy out loud. "You always react fast enough."
"Yes, but you give away everything," explained Ed, flipping through the same document Roy was supposed to be reviewing.
Ed grinned, "Your face tells everything. So much for your impeccable mask, bastard Fuhrer."
"Give me a warning next time then, Fullmetal Shorty," quipped Roy.
"Hey, do you want me to check out what's going on in the East?"
Shaking his head, Roy replied, "No, it's fine. Let's give some other alchemist a chance, alright? You can't always solve everything for everyone."
"Fine," sighed Ed as he stretched. "It's your loss."
Shuffling forward, he flung himself onto the couch, staring up at the white ceiling above him. When Roy moved into his office, he had specifically ordered that particular furniture for Ed – it was almost exactly the same as what he had when he was a Colonel, just slightly more comfortable. Perhaps it was to entice Ed to stay cooped up in a room for a long period of time or to help Ed with his abnormal sleeping habits. Roy glanced at him warily when he saw Ed's eyes close. Despite Ed moving on, nightmares of his past would not let him go. Sometimes, Ed would wake up gasping for air, tangled in his blankets, or find tears coursing down his cheeks. Even with Roy nearby, soothing him whenever he had one, there were times when Ed feared to close his eyes and drift off.
Watching Ed, Roy could see the careful, expressionless mask upon the young man's face. It was a sign that the alchemist was still awake and restless.
"Why don't you go find Alphonse or something?" suggested Roy, turning back to his paperwork.
Ed opened one eye and considered Roy. "I'm supposed to be your bodyguard, aren't I? What would people think if the Fullmetal Alchemist left his post for leisure time?"
"Would people know if you left? I won't tell and you certainly can slip through any of the defenses of this country. Besides, don't you have to help him out with the party tonight?"
"I'm sure he's fine," came Ed's curt reply, "They're just going to fuss over me. It's been six months – you'd think they'd back off by now."
A flash of anger sparked in Roy at his words. "Ed, you almost died. Of course everyone will be worried."
Instantly, Ed seemed to understand the hidden meaning behind Roy's words. He always did. Suddenly, Ed's arms were wrapped around Roy's shoulders. Roy could feel Ed's warmth against his back as he leaned into the touch.
"Sorry, Roy," whispered Ed.
"In exchange, how about you help out with the decorations? I'm sure Maes would appreciate your presence."
"Hughes put you up to this, didn't he? If he pins me down with pictures of Elysia, you're going to regret it," joked Ed as he pulled away. "Fine, fine. I'll go over."
"No," Ed cut him off. "You can't come with. Hawkeye already threatened you today. Remember our deal? One threat per day – any more than that and I am not allowed to save you."
Sighing, Roy pulled Ed down and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Fine, have fun. I'll come pick you up after I'm off –and don't mess up Hughes' house that much, understand?"
Ed rolled his eyes again, "Yes, Mother," he quipped as he walked over to the window and opened it further.
"What are you doing?" frowned Roy.
"What do you think I'm doing? I'm leaving."
"Bye!" laughed Ed as he skydived out of the window.
Roy rushed over, watching as Ed flipped in mid-air so that his feet were facing to the ground. He heard a resounding clap before he saw the alchemical light making small ledges from the wall of the building. Ed skipped lightly over each of them, slowing down his descent enough for him to land gently onto the ground. The blonde looked up and waved up at Roy who could just imagine the wicked smile Ed had on his face. That man just loved to take years off Roy's life…
"At least fix the damn building!" he shouted. Though he was on the seventh floor, he knew that Ed could easily hear him. The next second, it was as if Ed had never jumped. The wall was fixed and he was gone from view, no doubt already racing towards his brother.
Roy opened the window wider, enjoying the light breeze that came into the room. Smiling at the peace, he turned back to his work, deciding to distract himself from the feeling of emptiness when Ed wasn't with him. He left the window the way it was – just in case Ed decided to come back.
As excited as he was to see his brother, Ed felt trepidation in facing Al's current girlfriend – Winry. He had seen her occasionally since he was hospitalized and afterwards, but she had always been a little bit cold to him. He could read her like an open book – she had yet to forgive him completely. If it wasn't for his near-death experience and Al, she probably would have disappeared without a word. That girl had a reason to despise him. Despite his reasoning, Ed knew that he probably could have come up with a better solution to pushing Winry away from him and towards Al. Like always, his smug bastard was right. He couldn't change what had happened, but he certainly could help determine what the future would hold.
Ed paused in his slow walk to Hughes' home. Did he even have a future? It was true that all that he could see when he tried to dream was just a quiet life with Roy, but was that even possible? No matter what people said, he was a murderer who had committed numerous and unspeakable crimes. Karma would catch up to him sooner or later, and no doubt Al, Roy, and everyone he had ever cared about would be dragged in. He could feel his heart wavering in his decision to stay, but he had made a promise to Roy. He wouldn't leave that man alone. That big rabbit...
A smile flittered on Ed's face at the thought of Roy wearing bunny ears. Perhaps, when Easter rolled along, he could get Roy to dress up like that.
Fuck Karma. He had gone through so much, trying to right every wrong that he had done. He deserved to be happy, even if it was just for these few minutes. He wasn't alone anymore. He couldn't simply run away – there were people waiting for him.
With several quick steps, Ed found himself running towards Hughes' home where he knew Al was waiting for him. As he had expected, his little brother was already standing outside waiting for him. A huge grin burst upon Al's features when he saw Ed in front of him, and Ed returned the gesture.
Flinging himself forward, Al hugged Ed tightly. "I haven't seen you in so long, Brother! How are you? Have you been eating properly? Have you been sleeping?"
Chuckling, Ed ruffled Al's golden-brown hair, "Calm down, Al. I can't answer all of your questions if you keep firing them at me. I'm alright. Doing nothing but lounging around in Roy's office. What about you? Has the university accepted you back?"
"Yes! I've officially become a doctor with benefits," smiled Al.
"What do you mean 'with benefits'?"
"With my knowledge of alchemy, I've also been contracted under the military to treat patients who have been affected with alchemy, so we're still somehow connected."
"You idiot. You're my brother. How much more connected can we be?" joked Ed as he draped his left arm over Al's shoulders, "Congrats, Al," he said as they both went into the house.
Hughes waved Elysia's hand as a greeting while Gracia smiled warmly at the two.
"Long time no see, Ed," said Gracia, "How are you feeling?"
"You are still going to your monthly appointments, right?" asked Hughes.
"It's nice to see you again, Gracia!" smiled Ed, "And I'm fine. Roy's been forcing me to go. I still have to be careful of overexerting myself, but otherwise, I'm in perfect health."
"So no exploding things, Brother," grinned Al.
Ed reached over and tousled Al's hair, "I'll like to see you stop me. So what do you guys need me to do?"
"Relax," replied Hughes. "Gracia and Winry are working on the dinner and Al and I have already put up the decorations."
"Al, do you want to spar a little then?"
"I thought you weren't supposed to overexert yourself."
Ed grinned. "Confident, aren't we? Don't worry, little brother. I'll go easy on you."
The two wandered outside into the yard, discussing the rules of their fight. Obviously, alchemy was out – Gracia would have killed the two of them if any part of her home was destroyed. Ed also opted out of using his assassin skills, mostly because his body was still weak and using it for a long period of time would strain his healed wounds. There was always a chance that he could tear open his scars and that was the last thing he needed in front of everyone who was still on edge about his most recent battle.
Just as the two were preparing to launch at each other, a wrench came flying out of nowhere and struck Al in the center of his forehead. He instantly fell over backwards with a groan, causing Ed to wince apologetically at his brother. Ed could have easily caught the steel tool, but his instincts for self-preservation had kicked in before he had a chance to save Al.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" came Winry's loud and familiar voice.
Both Elric boys flinched.
"Ed is still recovering and you want to spar?"
"It was Brother's idea!" protested Al.
"But you agreed to it!"
"Hey! I know I'm charming, but there's no need to fight over me," joked Ed.
Al snorted while Winry rolled her eyes, smile on her face.
"Don't flatter yourself, Ed," Winry said, her tone playful, "As charming as you think you are, I don't go for men who play for their own side."
Pretending to be shot in the heart, Ed clamped his hand to his chest, "You wound me so, my dear Winry."
Winry laughed and patted him on the shoulder. "When you're free sometime next week, stop by. I have automail made especially for you. I used lighter materials so it won't drag you down as much."
It was a peace offering and Ed readily took it. He flashed her a stunning smile, "Definitely."
She smiled back and then turned to her boyfriend, holding his hand. "I know Ed thinks he's invincible, but you should know better."
Al sighed, "I got it."
"Good." She kissed him lightly, "I'll be inside helping Gracia. Let me know if you need anything."
And then she left without another word.
Ed sank down onto the grass with a sigh, subconsciously rubbing his stomach where Adonai had stabbed him. He felt a nudge and he didn't have to look to know that his brother had sat down next to him, their shoulders touching.
"Does it hurt?" Al asked softly.
"Sometimes." Ed didn't feel like elaborating – his ghostly wounds only ached when he had a flashback to Germany or had a nightmare about Adonai. Everyone was already worried enough without knowing that little fact.
"How are you doing?"
There was a deeper question within that one and Ed knew what it was about. "It feels so surreal, that everything is over and we have this peace. I just keep feeling like there's something lurking around the corner, waiting to fuck everyone over."
"How is Fuhrer Mustang handling it?"
"You know him. Damn bastard won't let me leave his line of sight."
Al chuckled, "I can imagine that. I'm surprised that he isn't here with you right now."
"He got in trouble," grinned Ed, leaning back to lie on his back. He stared at the blue skies and the clouds floating by. Again, he was struck with nostalgia and disbelief that this was real.
A thump notified that Al had followed suit and both brothers watched the white fluff above them drift about. The silence was comforting. There wasn't much that they could say regarding Ed's health, physically or mentally. Al knew that he wouldn't get a completely straight answer from his brother and Ed couldn't tell him because he simply just wanted to move on and start anew from his bloody past.
"Brother, did I ever tell you about this patient I had that was afflicted with alchemy? I can't figure out what happened to him and was hoping that you could help me out," Al said, feeling a need to fill in the gaps.
"Sure, go ahead."
"Well, he is a twenty-four year-old man and he has an alchemy circle drawn on his chest. It seems ancient and I haven't seen anything like it…"
Al kept on talking, but Ed had accidentally tuned him out, thinking about Winry. His 'sister' seemed happier than he had seen her in years. There was a glow to her that could have only been brought about by being in love and being loved. Despite how harsh and painful it was for Ed to do what he did, he was glad things turned out the way they did. In a manner, he felt as though he had righted the imbalance he had caused in both this world and the other – at least between two of his most precious people.
The clouds above him were swaying so comfortingly that it was making him drowsy. Or perhaps it was the fact that he hadn't really slept in a couple days. Whatever the reason, he found his eyes closing on their own accord. There was a small smile on his unguarded face though – something that was rare these days when he fell asleep.
"Brother, are you listening to me?" Al asked, turning to look at his brother.
He smiled with fondness as he saw Ed fast asleep beside him. He didn't want to say it aloud, but he also felt as though everything was just a dream. He had everything he wanted – his brother back, Winry, and his brother being happy. It was just too perfect, but he wasn't going to complain. After all the hell they went through, Al felt as they deserved a moment of peace, even though they all knew it wasn't going to last. It was the Elric curse after all, but they had learned from it to never take anything or anyone for granted.
Al let his mind wander as he, too, closed his eyes. In a few moments, the Elric brothers were sleeping side-by-side.
That was how Winry found the two of them hours later, fast asleep and spread out on the grass. Ed's left hand rested on his stomach and his right was outstretched – the tips of his fingers brushing against Al's.
She was suddenly hit by the memory of the two in the same position when they were children back in Rizenbul and smiled warmly at her two boys.
Some things never changed and she was forever grateful for it.
A gentle warm hand caressed Ed's cheek, rousing him from his nap. He smiled as he recognized the scent of coffee and cinnamon. Golden eyes opened to meet black ones. Ed lifted his head slightly and Roy's lips met with his.
"That's a nice way to wake up," murmured Ed, sleep still hanging over him.
Roy smiled at him, "Come on, Shorty, it's time for dinner."
"Already? How long have I been asleep?" Ed asked, actually taking in his surroundings. He wasn't outside as he thought he was. Instead, he recognized Hughes' living room and the feel of the cushions beneath him. When had he been moved on the couch and how had he not noticed?
The confusion must have showed on his face because Roy merely chuckled at him. "I came over and saw you and Al sleeping outside just as your brother woke up. He realized how deeply asleep you were so he insisted that we moved you somewhere more comfortable."
"Thanks." A pause as Ed stood and looked around, "Hughes took a bunch of pictures, didn't he?"
"You know he did."
Ed groaned, "Now, I'm going to have to sneak around and steal them."
"Oh no, you don't," came Hughes' voice. His father figure was standing at under the doorway that led to the dining room. He had his hands on his hips and Elysia clinging to his pant leg. It looked like she hadn't let him go all this time – no doubt her young mind was just as afraid of losing sight of her father as Roy was for him.
"Gracia has specifically banned any form of alchemy, assassin skills, and anything else remotely related to that in this house. She also has Riza and Winry to support her, so I highly advise against it."
A twinkle sparkled in Ed's eyes. "How would she know if I did any of that?"
"I'd know and I'll tell her."
Ed laughed, "Of course you would. What's for dinner, Hughes?"
"You'd have to ask Gracia," Hughes replied, bending down to scoop his daughter into his arms. "Come on, they've been waiting for you."
There was something in Hughes' voice that made him suspicious. The half-hidden smile on Roy's face didn't help and he found himself a little nervous when entering the dining hall.
A loud noise erupted from either side of him and instinct kicked in just as quickly as his surprise. His hands were centimeters from touching when he saw the scene before him.
On the table was an enormous amount of food – a whole roasted chicken, boiled and mashed potatoes, bread, and so much more that Ed couldn't even name. There were colorful balloons tied to weights in the corners of the room.
Al and Havoc were standing on both sides of him holding party noise makers; Winry, Gracia, Riza, Breda, Fury, and Falman were standing under a banner that said "Welcome back!".
"I told you we shouldn't have surprised him!" hissed Havoc. "Did you see how close his hands came?"
The room laughed at Havoc's statement. They had all known that Ed would react like that, but only Havoc didn't believe that Ed would have stopped himself in time.
Ed didn't miss the passing of money between the members of Roy's squad and just shook his head, chuckling.
"What's this all about?" he asked.
"It occurred to us that we never really properly welcomed you back," Winry said.
"What about Hughes? I brought him back with me."
Riza responded, "We had his party when you were in the hospital."
"Wait, we weren't supposed to tell him that!" protested Hughes.
"Oh, so your savior wasn't invited to your homecoming party?" asked Ed, his tone playful.
"It wasn't like that…" Hughes stuttered.
Ed laughed. "Look, I don't know about you guys, but I'm fucking famished. Shall we eat?"
"Hear hear!" exclaimed Breda, Falman, and Fury together.
The entire house was filled with laughter and voices chattering animatedly with each other. Smiles were upon everyone's faces. For the first time in a long, long time, they were finally whole and complete – and that was the greatest happiness of all.
When the food upon the table was settling blissfully in their stomachs, Al cleared his throat and stood.
"I have an announcement to make," he said, "I didn't really want to share it because this party is supposed to celebrate Brother, but here goes nothing. Winry and I are engaged!"
Cheers broke out and congratulations were given just as Winry sprang to her feet and whacked Al on the back of his head.
"Ow! What was that for, Winry?"
"Didn't we decide that we weren't going to tell them today?"
"But everyone is here already! It's simpler this way, isn't it?"
"You haven't even gotten me a ring yet!"
Havoc patted Al's shoulder with a knowing sad expression. "I'm sorry, my friend. Haven't you realized that the women are always right even if they aren't?"
"Excuse me?" started Riza.
"Nothing! I said nothing!" squeaked Havoc, "You're beautiful, you know that? I love you."
At that, Ed nearly fell over from laughing at the couples. At that, the rest of the people joined in as Al and Winry continued arguing while Havoc tried to appease his girlfriend.
A hand on his own distracted Ed from making fun of Al and his antics with Winry, and he turned his head to smile at Roy. The moment gold met black, Roy leaned forward and pressed his lips against Ed's for a brief second before pulling away. His raven eyes sparkled as a brilliant smile broke out on his face. Ed could feel his heart soar at the sight, and everything melted away except for the two of them.
With all that Ed had done, there was no doubt that there would always be another danger waiting for him; challenges that he had to overcome. But seeing the comical scene in front of him - the smiles and laughter of the people most important to him - somehow, he couldn't bring himself to worry about any of it now. It was almost like a dream. In this rare moment, he had everything he wanted - Al's happiness, a family with Hughes and the crew, and a love shared with Roy.
He was finally where he belonged, and that was all that mattered.
So, that's it! It was a really short chapter, but epilogues usually are, aren't they? I apologize if this ending wasn't up to your expectations, but I hoped you enjoyed this story nonetheless. I had a lot of fun writing this and I'm eternally grateful to all the reviews and support I got. I can't thank you guys enough.
There's room for a sequel, but I'm still debating whether or not to do it. Anyway, please review and let me know what you thought about this story!
Thanks again for everything and so ends Priceless!
~ Kanae Yuna