He thought it was over.
No more worry, no more fear of losing someone. Anyone else. Everything was okay. Wasn’t it? Okay? It had to be, it must be-no...
The man carefully lifted up his blankets, not wanting to wake the sleeping woman next to him. He tiptoed out of the bedroom, into the livingroom. His eyes travelled over the pictures.
Him. His wife. His son, only a toddler, now around seven. His daughter, a baby, now four. They were smiling, happy.
He felt a grin adorn his face. He looked at another picture. Him and his younger brother. They had their arms thrown around each other, laughing. How he missed those days. His brother was in another country, studying.
Then another. And another.
Then finally a last photograph. It was worn, rough. The man found tears pricking his eyes. Two little boys, with golden hair and golden eyes, and a smiling brunette hugging them close.
“Mom…” He mouthed, a tear slipping down his cheek. He sat back on the couch, his palm covering his mouth, body shaking with sobs.
So much pain, so much suffering. So many people had died in their wake, so manys lives have changed, for better or worse. Because of them.
He looks up, hearing the soft patter of little feet. He turned, a little boy standing in the doorway, rubbing his tired eyes. “Daddy, why are you crying?”
The man smiled at his son, not bothering to wipe the tears from his face. “Because daddy just had a bad dream.”
The little boy walked over, crawling onto the couch next to his father. “My friends say you’re famous.”
“Oh? Do they?” He asked, the smile playing on his lips.
“Yeah. They said you could do magic and that you saved a lot of people.” His son grinned. “Is it true, daddy?”
An image of a little girl with bright green eyes and twin brunette braids crossed his vision. His eyes widened slightly, before picking up his son and placing him on his lap. “No.”
The little boy looked up at him in confusion.
“I can’t do alch-er, uh-magic anymore. I gave it up. And I… I couldn’t save everyone…” He said, looking away.
Suddenly, he felt two small hands placed on his cheeks, turning his head towards the little boy. “I didn’t ask if you gave up magic and how many people you lost.” The boy grinned. “I asked if you could do magic and if you saved people.”
The father’s eyes widened. He suddenly grinned, tears forming in his eyes. “Yeah. I could do magic and I saved a lot of people.”
His son’s grin widened and his eyes shone. “Wow!” he breathed.
“Do you remember Uncle Alphonse?” The man asked.
“He can do magic. I gave up mine long ago, but that’s why he’s in Xing.” He added. Ed was silent before meeting his son’s gaze. “Promise me something. Look after your sister… please…”
He nodded. “I will!” the boy put his hands on his father’s chest. “Now, Tell me about you and Uncle Alphonse!”
“Well,” he started, “It began when your daddy met a very angry and annoying guy named Roy…”
“... and then I married your mom and your sister and you were born, so-ah…” He stopped mid sentence, noticing his son asleep in his arms.
“Ed?” his wife, Winry walked into the living room, holding their daughter. “What are you-oh.”
Edward smiled at his wife. “I’m his hero, Win… I thought all along I was a horrible person, but… I’m his hero…”
Winry smiled lovingly at her husband. “Does he see the Fullmetal Alchemist or his dad.”
“That’s the thing… he sees both.” His smile faltered a bit. “He wants to learn alchemy, Win. I don’t want him to become a dog of the military…”
“I want to send him to study the purification arts once he is old enough. He can stay with May Chang and Al.” Edward cut in.
Winry was silent.
“I know it sounds dangerous, but don’t say no just yet-wait what?”
“I said okay, stupid.” Winry smiled.
Ed looked down at his sleeping son.
“He’d be a better Fullmetal than I was…”
“Do you have everything?” Winry asked, putting the backpack on her son’s back. Her daughter, seventeen stood back with her dad.
“Yes, mom!” her son laughed, scratching the back of his head.
“Are you sure he’ll be safe, Al?” Winry asked the man behind him.
Al laughed. “Perfectly safe.”
The son hugged his mother. “I’ll be fine mom. I promise I’ll write to you guys every week!”
“Oh… alright!” She cried, kissing his forehead.
Next he hugged his sister, who would be joining him in Xing in three years. “We’ll be waiting for you.” He teased.
“Shut up.” She huffed.
Next, his dad. The son loved to see the proud look on his dad’s face. He wrapped his arms around him, whispering into his ear, “I promise I’ll be careful.”
Ed ruffled his hair, smiling. “That’s my boy.”
The son turned to Al. “Ready to go?”
“When you are. May Chang gave us the go.” Al replied.
He turned back to his family.
“Well, I’ll be off. See you guys for the holidays!”
Al and the young man walked down the path, waving as they went. The family waved from the porch, waving back and shouting their goodbyes.
Winry turned to Ed with a smile on her face. He smiled back, as the family went back inside their house.
"We can no longer go on thinking this world has nothing to do with ourselves. This is our world. There's no difference. This is where we live." -Edward Elric