Well, this is it, everyone. After all this time, and over 180 reviews…wow. I really never thought all this would happen, but the fact it did makes me smile every time I think about it. I won't be writing a sequel. You can imagine lots of fun Elric Family get-togethers, Ed and Van and maybe sometimes Al going on epic adventures, and of course fun times at the office. If I were to write it into a story, however, I'm sure it would be dull. As for other stories, well…I'm mulling ideas over in my head. Of course, what I should be doing is working on my other stories in the HP fandom. Oh well.
Anyway, I'll stop the sappiness now, and give you what you really want. Thanks so much for reading!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
He looked up at the sound of Barry barking and scratching at the front door. They had a guest, it seemed. He rose from the chair and placed his reading glasses down on the page he had been studying to mark his place. After all, they might be entertaining for a while. He only made it halfway down the stairs before Sasha reached the door, starting to pull the old, but still powerful dog out of the way, laughing when the animal licked her face.
"I got him, Dad," she said while Barry's paws and claws skittered about, trying to make purchase on the wood floor.
"Okay, Sasha," Alphonse replied. His daughter, sweet, sixteen-year-old Sasha was more than he could have ever asked for. She was of a delicate build like her mother, but had his height. Her hair flowed down her back like spun gold, but her eyes were like Winry's shimmering blue gems. His two girls were joys to him every day.
Barry, of course, had probably the sharpest senses for a dog he had ever seen. So it really didn't come as a surprise when Alphonse did not find his visitor on the doorstep. Sasha spotted not one, but the two, first as they crested the hill and came into view, and she gasped in delight.
The man stood tall, with the same golden hair and eyes as himself, though he wore his hair long, tied back into a ponytail. His companion, a woman with light hair, had an arm looped around his elbow.
"Van!" Sasha cried and her brother looked up, smiling warmly at the sight of his father and sister waiting for them at the door. Sasha had let Barry go, and the dog ran to the pair walking toward the house leaping around them in excitement. Elysia smiled and let go of Van's arm briefly to rub the dog's head in greeting.
Alphonse found himself turning to call into the work room. "Winry, I think you might want to take a break. You'll never guess who just showed up!"
"Give me three guesses, dear," was the response, and he heard her place whatever piece she was working on down with a clang, and his wife quickly came out to the front room. Her face split into a huge smile when she saw their guests. They had finally reached the porch and she walked to them with open arms.
"Van, oh it's good to see you," she wrapped her son in a hug, which he returned, and then did the same to Elysia. "What a surprise! How's your mother, dear?"
"She's well, thank you."
Van now was being treated to a hug by his sister, who paused to tease him, "What's with the suit, huh? You stopping by on your way to some fancy gala or something?"
Instead of responding in kind, Van hesitated, his eyes meeting Elysia's across the room. He then looked back down at Sasha. "Just came from somewhere, actually."
Alphonse had noticed their attire. Elysia was dressed in a nice, if modest, blouse, skirt, and jacket, while his son was wearing a suit. Both were in black. It made him uneasy, and yet he still had to ask.
It all seemed to pause. They all looked from him, to Van who was staring right back.
"Uncle Ed. He's—gone." His son's voice broke on the last word, and Elysia stepped toward him, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. Van looked at her almost gratefully, as though her presence was the only thing keeping him from breaking down.
Sasha had gasped at the pronouncement, while Winry placed a hand to her mouth, eyes wide in disbelief. Alphonse, meanwhile, placed a hand against the doorframe to support himself.
"When?" He asked hoarsely.
"Last night. I asked them to hold it from the papers. I—he said he didn't want you to find out like that."
He nodded. It made sense; Edward had probably been thinking of when they had learned about Elysia's father's death from the newspaper all those years ago.
Had been. He wasn't thinking anymore.
"There was a brief, private service," Elysia said when it seemed Van wouldn't continue. "Just the President and close associates. The body will be coming here for the funeral."
He noticed dimly that Sasha had helped Winry to a chair where she was wiping furiously at her eyes, Barry curled up at her feet and releasing a faint whine every now and then.
"How?" He seemed only capable of one-word questions, but no one commented on it.
"It was really sudden. He gave this old man his umbrella on the way home from work because it was raining. I—I wish I'd known, I would've made him stay home, take some medicine, somethi—" Again, Elysia reached out and brought her hand to rest on his son's shoulder, and it seemed to calm him greatly. "I—I'm sorry, Dad."
It was then he realized that this whole time Van had been avoiding his eyes. That wouldn't do.
"What have you to be sorry about?" He asked, and Van did look up at him in surprise. "There was nothing at all you could have done, and you know it. He knew it, too." He would not allow his son to be eaten up by guilt the way he and Edward himself had been.
Winry stood, a little shaky, but gently easing her feet out from under the dog. "I'll fix up something for you to eat. You must be hungry. Sasha, will you—"
"What do you need me to help you with, Mom?" Winry smiled gratefully at their daughter and wrapped her in a hug. The two women then left for the kitchen. Alphonse meanwhile turned his gaze out the still-open door.
"Dad?" Van asked.
"If your mother asks, I've gone to the usual place," he simply said, and started slowly up the hill. He walked along the fence that bordered his neighbor's yard, the relatively new, fresh-painted house built upon the remains of his childhood home and Edward's aborted project. The neighbor's cat, seeing a familiar friend, yawned and stretched, walking over so that Alphonse could pet it. It was funny, he had pitied those strays and wanted to keep them, and yet he'd always been a dog owner.
Soon, the cat was behind him, and he stood at familiar wrought-iron gates. Pushing them forward, the hinges squeaking only a little in protest, he travelled past the other stones and rocks that made up the landscape until he finally came upon the two familiar graves.
Trisha Elric. Van Hohenheim.
Another would soon be joining them. Edward Elric. And it made Alphonse smile to realize that his brother would be in the right place. To Trisha's right. Yes, their mother had loved Van Hohenheim to the very end, and he was a great man, but Edward had always been her right-hand man; taking care of himself and Alphonse when she was no longer able to. Yes, this spot would suit him nicely.
He hoped that when his time would come, he would prove himself worthy of being placed to his brother's right.
"I know you always did best in the bustling cities, Brother. But here, in peaceful Resembool, you can finally rest those weary eyes and traveler's legs…"
Riza stood before the memorial marker, looking at the hard words cut into the enduring rock. They held a weight, even if he truly wasn't there. The place of that honor was Resembool. But she felt perhaps that she, the woman who had helped him, watched him grow into something no one could have ever imagined, would be welcome every now and then, to pay a visit. She felt that Edward might smile to know it, too.
Edward Elric, Vice President of Amestris, Master Alchemist, Hero of the People, was dead at forty-four. He left no sobbing window, no distraught children, nothing of the sort. He had lived a surprisingly empty personal life.
And yet that seemed to make the loss of him almost all the greater. For instead of the masses pitying a small collection of mourners, the grieving spread slowly outward, from his brother's family, to his political mentor, President Roy Mustang, to office workers, acquaintances off the street, scattered through cities and towns visited in times past, and even places where his mismatched feet had never touched.
Because so-and-so had a cousin who met the Fullmetal Alchemist. What's-her-name had an aunt who had been coming to visit on a train that had been hijacked and then saved by the young, blond hero. A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who had their life thanks to him.
Little by little, across the world people had opened up their hearts and let the traveler in, without even realizing it. And there forever more would he remain.
So, I know that exploded with sappiness at the end, and you're probably all going to kill because I technically did kill Ed, but that's how I saw this story ending. I hope it was satisfactory and really showed the point I wanted to make; even if I didn't give Edward that fairytale ending like in the manga/Brotherhood anime, he still lived a life that was full and helped fill others' lives.
Yeah, it's cheesy. Ignore my babble.
Some points of interest: Yes, in my mind, Van and Elysia are dating. It's cute. I got Sasha's name by combining the names of her grandmothers. Sarah (that's her name by popular opinion anyway, I haven't actually checked) Rockbell and Trisha Elric. Sasha. Because when I combine names, I do it with such a skill that it actually makes a name. I certainly am not making a jab at any author, particularly of the teen-paranormal-romance genre (which apparently is a genre according to Barnes & Nobles…yeesh).
Anyway, take it for what it is, this is the official end. I'm so grateful for all the support, interest, etc while writing this story. It's been an amazing experience, and I'll miss hearing what you have to say about my writing! So I guess I'll have to work on a new one, huh? At any rate, thanks so much for all your time reading, and please review!