"What do you mean a whole country?" Alphonse asked.
Francis chuckled. "Oh, they haven't told you?"
"I told them what they needed to know," Holy Rome growled, using his sword to turn Francis' face back at him. "There's nothing more they need to know."
"Ah, but I get the feeling that they want to know," Francis replied, looking at Edward.
Edward was looking at each of them, as if the pieces were falling into place. First Francis, then the Vargas Brothers, then Holy Rome, then quickly Arthur, Alfred, and Peter, before jumping back to Francis.
They can't drown, but they can die by battle wounds. Edward thought to himself. Roderich and Antonio aren't related to them, yet they're trying to protect them from Francis, who is their older brother. Edward's mind jumped back to that first night, when they were at Winry's. He was passing Feliciano's and Lovino's bedroom, heading back to his room from the bathroom, when he overheard them. What did they say? "It's not! Holy Rome was the one that told them we'd be safe here, and Big Brother France shouldn't know we're here either. We should be safe!" Feliciano said that, but when those two were talking, they didn't call each other Feliciano and Lovino. What was it they called each other? Veneziano and Romano. What else? When they were at Teacher's house, Feliciano said, "Holy Rome and Big Brother Francis got into a fight over me before, I don't want to see either of them getting hurt over it again. I don't want to see Roderich or Ms. Elizabeta or Antonio hurt either."
Putting all these dots together, it was easy to tell that there was something greater here than he originally thought. Finally, something seemed to fall into place as he looked at Ludwig and Francis and thought, Holy Rome and France. Then, looking at the Vargas Brothers, Veneziano and Romano.
Edward was just about to say what he realized when Roderich and Antonio crashed through the trees, making a majority of France's army scatter long enough for the two to reach the Vargas Brothers. Subconsciously, Edward corrected himself to think, Austria and Spain.
Everything had fallen into place, except for where they came from.
"It's over, Francis," Antonio stated, holding out a halberd. He grinned and said, "There's no where for you to run. Surrender is your only option."
"That's so cliché, Antonio," Francis replied, waving his hand airily. "And besides, your surrounded by my army, what hope do you have?"
"Well," Roderich said, adjusting his glasses slightly. "While we may be down Elizabeta and her army, we've still got one of the best alchemists Amestrian military has. Besides, you already know you've lost."
"Oh, and why's that?" Francis asked.
"Kol kol kol kol…" Ivan muttered, standing amidst all the people.
"HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN THERE!" Francis cried.
Arthur cackled. "Didn't I tell you you've got another thing coming?"
"Arthur, how could you do such a thing?" Francis asked.
"All's fair in war," Arthur replied, stepping back.
Ivan walked forward, pulling his bloody faucet pipe. "Become one with Mother Russia and I won't have to do this~" he stated.
Edward blinked. This took a turn, and something told him that the fresh blood on that pipe was Envy's. Edward inwardly shuddered, somehow finding the ability to feel sorry for the Homunculus.
Francis sighed. "Ok, I surrender," he said.
Cheering. Edward and Alphonse didn't understand what just happened, but something told the Elric Brothers they were going to have to say goodbye to their charges very, very soon.
"We'll give you an hour to leave with your army," Roderich stated, picking up Feliciano. "If we find you still here, you will face the consequences."
Francis nodded. Antonio looked at Edward, mouth open, but Edward said, "Come on. You guys owe one huge explanation."
"Ok, so you guys are from another world, and not only that, you're embodiments of the COUNTRIES?" Edward asked.
Holy Rome nodded. "Moving…moving Feliciano and Lovino to someplace that wouldn't be easily reached was our best chance of keeping them safe until we could get Francis to surrender."
"Don't worry," Feliciano said from Roderich's lap, where he looked perfectly content. "We'll come back and visit again, someday. Right, fratello?"
"Maybe you will," Lovino grumbled, munching on a tomato Antonio gave him.
Alphonse chuckled. "This is actually quite amazing. I mean, is there a possibility that there's an embodiment for Amestris?"
"If there is, he's done a very good job at hiding himself," Antonio replied. He glanced at a clock and said, "Ah, we must be off. Got to go tell Elizabeta of our victory and all that."
Edward nodded. They were just getting ready to leave when Feliciano hugged Edward. "We'll really come back to visit, I promise."
Edward smiled, patting Feliciano on the head one last time. "I know you will." Then he handed Feliciano back to Roderich and watched them leave.
"Edward, have you finished with the roof?" Winry called from her house. It was two years after Feliciano, Lovino, Ludwig, Roderich, Antonio, and the rest of them left. Edward called Winry to explain how his automail got dislodged and she told him that everyone she was watching just left, saying their duty was done. They hadn't had contact with them since, and Edward could almost believe it was a dream, if it weren't for the fact Winry had taken the liberty of pinning Feliciano's picture that he gave to Edward where everyone could see it.
Alphonse ran up, laughing. He was back in his normal body, and being chased by Den. Edward smiled, following Alphonse into the house. They had succeeded in both their missions. They kept the Vargas Brothers safe and returned their bodies to normal. Or, rather, almost normal. Edward still felt the automail leg in place of his real one.
Edward took one last look around before going inside and gasped. Standing about a mile away were two figures. Ludwig and Feliciano, only they were both grown up. Edward could just see it, but he watched as Feliciano, in what appeared to be a blue military uniform, smiled and waved at him. Edward smiled back and gave them both a wave.
So why was he so disturbed as he walked inside that it looked like Ludwig didn't recognize him?
The end! *smiles* Oh, I loved writing this story! Kinda makes me sad it's finished now…
Well, what'd you guys think? I, personally, loved coming up with the ending. It just seemed…right…for Edward to see Lud and Feli when they had grown up.
R&R Please, and thanks so much for reading!
AND SPECIAL SHOUT-OUTS TO ALL MY REVIEWERS UP UNTIL NOW! I couldn't have done this without you guys cheering me on!