A/N: Kekeke!!! IT'S DONE!!!! YATTA!!!!! OMG!!!! wow! I'm totally psyched!!!! I just ADORE this story and it's finally done!!! YAY!!! Anyway, it's been fun writing this for you guys; thank you all for your wonderful reviews! They keep this poor, little writer happy and, many times, alive. *hands out big, hot cookies with goo-y insides* mmm, those sound tasty. Oops, getting off track *wipes away drool* Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me, especially through that ridiculous dry spell that kicked my ass a couple weeks ago. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! Enjoy the last chapter and look for the side-story for Al! (which may take some time, so please be patient) Now, onwards to the next story!!!!!
"Randy! Get back here!"
The five year old boy with the wild red hair tore through the back yard, screaming at the top of his lungs as Ed chased after him in vain, hoping to bring the little hooligan currently high on too much sugar to task before he hurt himself. Or someone else. The yard was rather crowded with people and tables set up for both food and for eating at and it was all he needed to have the kid knocking into something. The blond winced at the images of disaster that came to mind and narrowly avoided tripping over a chair the red head had managed to leap neatly over.
He actually liked the little shit most of the time; he was smart and had an amazing stubborn streak that reminded him of himself. Plus, it didn't hurt that he worshipped the blond like an older brother, fascinated every time he performed alchemy, which, if Randy had his way, would be all the time.
Just then the boy spotted something around the side of the house and squealed loudly, changing directions abruptly. Confused, Ed paused and then smiled at the cheer that went up from right around the corner of the house.
"Uncle Alphonse!! You're here!" his own brother's voice answered back, sounding a bit hassled already, though Ed couldn't really blame him. While Randy might follow the blond around all the time it was nothing to the absolute adoration he lavished upon Al every time he visited. Ed loved it when his younger brother came over because, he had to admit, it gave him a little bit of a breather on the baby-sitting front. Not wanting to get caught up in that again, he back tracked towards the patio where Roy had taken position in front of the grill and plopped down in the grass beside him.
"Chasing the kid around again?" the older man spared him an amused glance, dark eyes glittering in the bright summer sun and for a moment Ed considered sneering at the apron he was wearing just to get a jab in but decided against it. Instead he just leaned forward against his knees and watched where his younger brother had just joined the growing crowd with a practically vibrating red headed five-year-old in toe.
"Why does he do that only to me, not listening when I tell him to do something?" he whined, resting his chin in his arms, voice at odds with the warm, contented feeling curling in his chest. Then he shot a resentful look at the dark haired man expertly flipping over the line of hamburgers, "Anyway, he's yours…"
Randy actually wasn't Roy's kid but he had met the boy while the Colonel was out laying down the very patio he was currently standing on a few months ago and the youngster had instantly become a fixture in their lives. Not that Ed minded and his lover was quite fond of the red head. He lived two houses down with his mother and had watched his father beat her up on a regular basis until the man simply left one day. Randy's mother, Rebecca, had been nearly at wits end until Roy had shuttled the boy back to his house and had the boy declare him his "Dad". Thus their baby-sitting gig. Ed still got a kick out of the whole thing and that was why he teased the Colonel with "ownership" of the red head. Strangely, during the times the boy barged into their house without asking or stayed over because his mother couldn't get away from one of her many jobs, they felt like a real family. An odd one, perhaps, but to him, it was whole, something he had not felt in a long time.
"That's because he recognizes a kindred soul in you, Ed. It's no wonder, really, as your maturity levels are about the same," Roy laughed at his own joke for about two seconds before he was dodging a quickly transmuted brick from the patio that came roaring at his head in the shape of a short, oddly proportioned spear. He blinked and then whirled on the blond, face set, "Don't rip apart my patio! I just put it in!!" secretly, Ed loved it when the older man got worked up like that; it was insanely hot.
"Then don't compare me to a fucking five-year-old, you fucking geezer!!" he screeched back, leaping to his feet and matching the bigger man with a glare of his own. They were both fully prepared for a face off, ignoring the rapidly accumulating audience when a familiar voice broke in.
"Oh, dear, fighting again, nii-san?" Ed blinked and then grimaced at his younger brother who had just made his way through the rest of the guests, a red headed child hanging off one of his arms and a blond, blue eyed Second Lt. at his back. Al had been a scrawny thing when they had finally rescued him from the other side of the Gate but now he towered over everyone at the party, including his lover that stood behind him, which was quite a feat Ed often thought with healthy doses of bitterness. Ed had grown but he was nowhere near as tall as his little brother.
"Hey, Al!" he grinned and then just waved at Roy as if he suddenly became insignificant, "He's just being a bas—jerk again," the older man growled under his breath, the sound running right through Ed in a wave of heated desire but before he could send a smoldering, apologetic look his way, Randy giggled and then tackled him around the knees.
"You were going to say bastard!! That's a bad word, Edward-nii-san!!" he turned his molten glare downwards, planting his hands on his hips. Unfortunately, the kid picked up on curse words faster than Ed had the opportunity to dole them out, which had gotten him a rather frightening earful from the boy's mother. Yet it seemed Randy was the only kid in Central that didn't cower under the power of his rather potent glare.
"I did not!" he growled, trying to dislodge the vice around his legs.
"Did too!" which then quickly degraded into a rather demeaning screaming match of "did too" and "did not"-s before Randy took off through the crowd again, cackling and announcing if Ed couldn't catch him, he was a slug. Of course that meant he couldn't lose this time. He didn't think he could bear Roy teasing him about being bested by a child again while they were alone.
"GET BACK HERE, YOU BRAT!!!"
Al leaned quietly against the large oak tree that took up one entire corner of Roy's back yard, watching as the sun slipped from the sky in an explosion of bright color and then as it was replaced by the lights placed about the tables and in the branches of the trees. It had been more than a year since he and his brother had first moved into Roy's house; a year since his brother had been destroyed and then remade. In that time, they had both managed to regain their bodies and had both found their happiness. For a long time, it looked as if it would be hopeless but the fight they had put up had not been in vain. And fight they had, with every last ounce of will they possessed.
He just had to stand back and take it all in because it was times like these, it was hard to believe it was real. It didn't feel real, the way everything had come together so perfectly. Of course, he knew there would be more trouble; nothing in life was ever or would ever be perfect. But for now they had been given this and in this moment, it couldn't possibly be any better.
"What's put that sappy look on your face?" strong arms wrapped around his waist from behind and he felt a warm body press against him, breath teasing the nape of his neck. Al grinned but didn't turn, shivering in delight as he always did when he was so close to the older blond.
"I was just thinking how happy I am. If you had told me this was how it would turn out just a year ago, I would never have believed it but it's good to be able to have something to smile about again," there was a long pause as he watched the rest of the party goers starting to prepare for the real celebration that would be taking place in the front of the house, complete with sparklers and fireworks. The entire block was participating and everyone from the office as well; Hughes was telling a story to all of the children in his booming voice near the house, his wife and daughter watching on fondly while a group that included both Breda and Fury were playing a haphazard came of basket ball with a garbage can on the driveway. Ed and Roy were in the front, setting up the fireworks display and he could hear his older brother yelling at their cling-on, Randy, even from the back yard.
"You deserve it, Al. You deserve the entire world," a warm kiss was pressed to his neck and he caught Riza grinning behind her hand at them from where she was standing with a group of neighbors, making him duck his head with a small blush. Usually Havoc didn't get all that sentimental but he treated the younger man like he was worth more than the sun and Al loved him deeply. That, too, had been a battle he'd had to fight but all the heartache and the doubt had been completely worth it.
That was a story for another time, though.
The strong embrace disappeared but the older man only moved to stand beside the taller blond, slipping his hand into Al's with a sideways grin that never failed to make Al's heart skip. "Come on, we can't let the others have all the fun," and he tugged at the younger man, turning towards where the rest of the guests were.
"Yeah," he said and followed.
The night was quiet, finally, the sounds of the parties taking place all over the neighborhood quenched with the late hour. Though, he should probably say early as the sun would be rising in about an hour. Yet he continued to lay there in the silence of his bedroom and listened to Ed's soft, steady breathing. No, he thought with a smile, their bedroom.
Not long after they had charged Wells and put him away, Ed and his brother had disappeared for about a few weeks without a word, telling no one where they had gone and when Roy saw them again, they had found the means to get their true bodies back. During that time, all hell had broken loose, an all out battle with the Serpents mafia gang who had entrenched themselves deep into the social structure of Central and had proven nearly impossible to eradicate. There had been a lot of fatalities, as it seemed they had recruited a lot of people like Wells, using their alchemy against the military and innocent civilians alike, not caring who got hurt. The conflict was nearly under control now and there were a lot of people waiting to be put on trial so they could be put away. And when the two Elric brothers had returned, in their rightful bodies, they had thrown themselves into the fray and proved to be indispensible.
The Colonel glanced down and studied the form of his young lover sprawled across his chest, long hair spread out like a silken fan against his pale skin. Those few weeks with no word from the younger alchemist had been nerve-wracking to the point he could barely focus, thinking the boy had once again been swept away by some unknown evil. Every day that he woke up to find Ed still asleep beside him something in his chest would loosen, as if he was still afraid he would open his eyes and find the younger man's return had all been a dream.
The blond huffed in his sleep, hot breath tickling the Colonel's skin and he shifted so that his right arm draped over the older man's stomach before he settled again. Roy smiled to himself and reached out so he could run his fingers over the warm, very real flesh of the younger alchemist's forearm. He would never get tired of just touching him, finding himself entranced by the limbs that had once been crafted from automail but were now so real. They both had to get up for work in several hours and he knew he would be a zombie if he didn't shut his eyes now but he didn't, not yet. He continued to admire the beautiful young man he had fallen in love with, his heart calm and completely at peace.
No matter what found them in the single life they had been given, he knew it would be alright as long as he had Ed beside him. If that was not to be, then they would find each other in the next.
The sky was already beginning to turn a stark, cold silver by the time he slipped into a peaceful slumber and the smile stayed on his face until the alarm clock announced the start of anther day…
Until next time, *hugs* for all of my wonderful readers and to you, malfoysdaughter, whom I adore with all my heart...