*gasps* It's the finale! Can you believe it!? After more than 60,000 words, my story is drawing to a close. XD

And since I don't have anything else to say up here…

Enjoy the final installment!

Thump thump thump thump…

On a normal day, perhaps Roy would have found the sound incredibly frustrating. Perhaps he would have complained to Hawkeye about the impossibility of getting his work done with the noise, perhaps he would have snapped and given the perpetrator an incentive to shoo.

Today, Roy couldn't help but grin into his coffee cup and chuckle a little at the sound.

Boots against the side of the desk, over and over in the rhythm of a bored child. Which is what exactly what the noise maker was.

Roy didn't think he'd ever seen Ed so absolutely content as in that moment. There had been the earth shattering happiness of getting Al back, yes, but this was true comfortable contentment. Sitting on the corner of Roy's desk with his combat boots thudding against the side, there was a light in his eyes as he flicked through the thick sheaf of papers. Roy hadn't ever seen Ed so interested in paperwork, either, but odds were he was hunting for any loopholes that could turn against him.

After Hinze, Roy could stand to be the subject of such careful investigation.

The door opened a little and Havoc's eyebrows shot up on his forehead. "Um, I was going to ask what the tapping was…"

Ed looked up oh-so-innocently, a glint in eyes just daring Havoc to badger him about it.

"…But now I'm not even going to bother," Havoc finished, leaning against the doorway and shooting a bemused look at Ed. "Boss, I thought you resigned last week?"

Nodding, Ed looked back down to the paperwork, apparently deciding that Havoc was, comparatively, only of nominal importance. "And?" he asked distractedly, eyes already eating up the words again.

There was a slightly awkward pause that Roy enjoyed as Havoc's gaze flickered between the two alchemists, trying to figure out why Ed was in the office. "But… you're not allowed to be here, are you?"

Ed shrugged carelessly, apparently disregarding the regulations around Central Command. "Exceptions are made for people like me."

Havoc had a strange look on his face. "People like you," he said slowly.

"People like me," Ed established with an impish grin. Roy could feel where this conversation was going and tapped his pen against the desk in anticipation.

"Like you, because you're Edward Elric, of course," Havoc grumbled jokingly, rolling his eyes.

"Not just Edward Elric," the younger blond said in a singsong voice.

Havoc sighed and slumped a little further down against the doorframe and grinned around his cigarette. "Yeah, yeah, you're the Fullmetal Alchemist too, no need to rub it—"

"It's Edward Elric Mustang now," he declared, and watched with entirely too much enjoyment as Havoc's eyes widened to their stretching point. Roy couldn't help himself from smirking and was perfectly aware he looked to be the epitome of the phrase, "cat got the cream."

"You—you—" Havoc sputtered, his eyes flicking between Ed and Roy with growing alarm, and then his entire face turned crimson. "Married?!" he gaped. "You two? Is that even legal?"

Sometimes, Hawkeye didn't want to know.

Like the time Breda had somehow gotten himself transmuted to a wall next to Havoc while Fuery and Hayate huddled under a desk in a fetal position. The colonel's eye had been twitching after that and there had been distinct evidence Edward had recently passed through.

Or like the time a week-old carton of rocky road ice cream was found in the air-conditioning vent when the maintenance men had come in to try and figure out why the whole office smelled like spoiled milk.

Or like the time with all those cats.

Or like right now.

Breda was roaring with laughter, Falman's eyes were actually opened in shock as he stood stock still, and poor Fuery was bright red and looked about ready to faint.

Ed was even redder than Fuery, however, and was currently attacking a very flustered-looking Havoc. With… were those the adoption papers Hawkeye had fetched him for a look-over? They were currently fluttering through the air like papery kamikaze butterflies, dive-bombing Havoc at Ed's command.

"You're sick!" Ed was yelling at him, coming at Havoc physically in lieu of any more papers to throw. "Absolutely sick!" The Lieutenant backpedalled in alarm and came up against a desk, desperately raising his hands in front of his face to block Ed's fists.

"Ow—ow—Gerroff, kiddo, I didn't—just thought—" Havoc stammered, but Ed was not to be assuaged.

"You are so lucky I don't have my automail anymore, Havoc, or else I'd rearrange your face and then maybe I'd fix whatever's wrong with your head—"

No one had noticed Hawkeye enter, as fixated as they were on the spectacle before them. She glanced around, eyes finally settling on the figure of the Colonel still at his desk. Generally, Roy would have been delighted at Havoc's misfortune, but now he looked to be halfway to a coronary. Hawkeye gave the conflict in the office a wary eye and decided not to intervene, with Ed in such a state; instead, she skirted the side of the room and made her way to the Colonel's office.

She snapped into a salute. "Sir. If I may ask…" Hawkeye let her question go silently, watching Roy's face as it tried to decide what expression to take.

Finally he let out a strangled kind of laugh and rubbed his forehead. "I don't know whether to laugh or cry…" He cut a glance towards Havoc and added with a grimace, "Or torch him. That might be appropriate too."

Hawkeye's hand went to her gun in case Roy decided to make good on that threat, but he made no move to do so. "Sir, what did Havoc do this time?" she questioned resignedly.

Roy dropped his face into his hands; his chuckle came out muffled. "Ed's proud of his new last name," he said, then shot her a helpless glance through his fingers. "But I've just been accused of being married to a kid half my age, and male to boot."

Ed's acidic voice could be heard in the main office: "No, Havoc, as a matter of fact it wouldn't be legal! I was adopted, you idiot!"

Hawkeye stalwartly tried to resist the admittedly sane urge to laugh.

It took a good half hour to calm things down. Ed was still highly disgruntled and a little red in the face, and Havoc made sure to stay at least three feet away from him as a precautionary effort.

In all likelihood, Roy reflected, it would have taken only about half that time had Ed not realized Hawkeye's shoulders were shaking with suppressed laughter. An embarrassed Edward was not a calm Edward.

And now Ed was again sitting on the edge of Roy's desk, shooting occasional dirty looks at Havoc as his gloved hands worked at shuffling the adoption papers back in order. But because the universe had long ago banned this office from normalcy of any kind, the door flew open with a flash of glasses and an ear-to-ear smile.

"Yo! How goes it all?" Maes greeted cheerily, brandishing a rolled up newspaper like a baton as he entered the office with a grinning Alphonse in tow.

Havoc spotted the younger Elric and looked away with a sigh. "You're a Mustang too, now, Al?"

Al beamed and nodded, while Roy rolled his eyes. "And no, Havoc, it wasn't a three-way wedding."

The expression on Al's face turned confused while his elder brother began ranting again. Maes let out a laugh and clapped a blushing Havoc on the shoulder.

"Not that kind of name change, you know," he grinned. The Lieutenant refused to look at him, and Maes abandoned his victim in favor of attacking Roy instead, slapping the newspaper onto his desk. "Take a look, Roy-boy, page 4A."

The colonel raised an eyebrow at his friend but didn't hesitate in following directions. The story was only three paragraphs long, hardly sensational, and Roy's eyes skimmed over it all in under a minute before he allowed himself a contented hum and a grim smirk of satisfaction.

"Hit-and-run," Roy mused. "How very sad."

"Did you—"

"I didn't have anything to do with it, Maes."

Ed perked up and turned at the words, his younger brother following suit. "What didn't you do?" Ed queried, cocking his head to the side like a curious cocker spaniel.

"Hinze got T-boned by another car," Maes said in a singsong voice. "Hit-and-run accident. The General didn't make it."

Two sets of golden eyes seemed to be reading Roy's soul. "I didn't have anything to do with it," he repeated, then added, "regretfully."

Al nodded firmly in a vindictive kind of movement, apparently approving of this turn of events, but Ed was still. Shadows lingered in his eyes, a dark kind of hurt, and Roy resolved to talk to him about it later.

Maes sighed in dreamy ecstasy and ruffled Al's hair, shooting a puppy-dog look at Roy. "I can't believe it. You're finally a father! It's great, right? Right?"

Before Roy had been given the chance to respond, Breda gave an almighty snort. "Naturally before he's even got a long-term relationship with a woman."

"Come on, did you really expect him to have a wife first?" Maes pointed out.

"Hey, I—" Roy began, but Al's bright voice cut him off.

"Well, now he can just marry Hawkeye and everyone's happy, right?"

Roy didn't think he'd ever blushed so hard in his life, and the red coloring that slammed into his cheeks was not remotely welcome in the company of his team. The entire office burst into peals of laughter, all except the one female in the room.

But as Riza Hawkeye gave Roy one of those looks that told him to keep his men under control, he could swear he saw a strange little sparkle in those sherry eyes.

"Riza Mustang," Ed said slowly, savoring the taste on his mouth. He cut a glance to his adoptive father and gave the man a lopsided grin. "I like it. Al's right, you know."

Roy mulled over the words for a moment and had to admit he rather liked the flavor of that name in his mouth, but he refused to say so with anyone in earshot. Maybe someday, maybe in the far future. Not so much now. Not at all.

They were home, Roy sitting on the couch in the living room, newspaper in hand. Al was stretched out like a cat on the carpet reading a book and Ed was curled up on the other end of the couch.

"Really," Ed insisted, "It's great. Just marry her, it's kind of painfully obvious you like her after your blush of all blushes in the office today."

Roy made a disparaging noise and tilted his newspaper in an attempt to get Ed to realize he was trying to read here, thank you—it was a lost cause, of course. "I do not like Lieutenant Hawkeye," Roy sniffed. I love her, he thought.

"Mm-hm," Ed hummed skeptically, "whatever you say."

"I do say," Roy emphasized, and then, miraculously, Ed allowed him to get back to his newspaper.

They had dinner for the first time as a real family; each of them would suddenly break into a spontaneous smile as they sat at the table, but no one had to ask why. Finally, after they finished washing up, Roy was ready to go study his alchemy for a bit before turning in.

The brothers had other ideas.

"It's a clear night," Al explained. "We have to go look at the stars."

"On the lawn," Roy deadpanned.

Ed snorted. "No, that's boring. On the roof."

Roy's eyebrows raised at that, but his vote didn't count for much in current company, apparently. Twenty minutes later found the three of them lying on the rooftop huddled together in a Mustang Sandwich, blankets wrapped warmly around them. For a time, they pointed out the constellations to each other and recited the myths and stories behind them.

They ended up staying there for hours. Al fell asleep with his head pillowed on Roy's arm while Ed lay awake with his head on Roy's chest.

"Thank you," Ed said softly. "For everything. You saved both of us."

"No," Roy responded. "Thank you. You reminded me to live again. Reminded me what a family was like."

"Don't you already have a family?"

"A foster mother and numerous foster sisters," Roy admitted. "I haven't seen them in a while, come to think of it."

Ed's voice brightened audibly. "Introduce me!"

"When you're older," Roy told him automatically. "Trust me. I… just trust me."

There was a pause. "Okay," Ed pouted. The silence returned, and Ed twisted his body to cuddle a little closer to Roy, burying his face in Roy's shirt. "I always trust you," he said, voice slightly muffled by the cloth.

"I'm glad," Roy murmured, laying a gentle hand on the back of Ed's head.

"You're not my dad," Ed said suddenly, wrenching his head up with a determined look in his eye. Seeing Roy's expression, he hastily amended, "I—I mean, I'm never going to call you 'Dad.' Just, considering my history, that'd be an insult, you know?" Ed stumbled over his words a little, but Roy nodded and petted his hair to calm him down. For a dreadful moment he'd thought that Ed regretted allowing the adoption; any stuttered explanation was better than that alternative.

"I understand," Roy said, a slight smile touching his lips. He stared up at the stars and wondered how far they went, how long they existed for. Wondered how long they would exist, as a family, and as Al subconsciously snuggled closer in his sleep, Roy decided it would be a long time. Forever, preferably.

"What will you call me, then, Ed?" Roy asked suddenly. Sleepy golden eyes flicked up to his face and Ed considered. "Just Roy? Bastard, maybe?" the man teased.

His son grinned back at him and gave a quiet laugh. "You're still a bastard. You'll always be a bastard."

Good to know, Roy thought amusedly, and would have said it aloud if he hadn't gotten a mouthful of golden-blond hair as Ed threw his arms around his neck. And in that territorial way that was Ed's love:

"You're my bastard."


*stares at last line*


I'm… done?

*beams* I feel like my baby's all grown up now! *pouts* Except it kicked me out of the house instead of the other way around…

O.o Well, this is the first multi-chapter story I've ever finished, including the ones tucked away in my laptop that I don't dare allow to see the light of day. I'm… accomplished, or something. I'm very grateful for all you marvelous reviewers who stayed to see the end, the light at the end of the tunnel. XD

As for poll announcements: As of right now, Forget and Forgive is winning by a landslide, and I'm ending the poll a week early. *guilty glance* Sorry… but I want to be able to really get started on the in depth planning of whatever fanfiction I'll be doing next before I shift gears into planning for my original novel—I'm doing NaNoWriMo, and will chat about such with anyone who'd like to PM me! (However, this also means Forget and Forgive will not start being posted on this site until at least the first week of December, but probably won't be delayed past Christmas except in case of emergency.)

Thank you for all your continued support, and may I announce that we are just on the verge of breaking FOUR FLIPPIN' HUNDRED REVIEWS?! I mean, AMAZING, people! Thank you so much, I feel unworthy! XD

Drop a line should you feel so inclined! Goodbye! Adieu! But not for forever. ;)