Fullmetal Alchemist Fan Fiction ❯ Future Memories ❯ Goodbyes ( Chapter 12 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Future Memories
Chapter Twelve
When they stepped into the house, Ed's eyebrows knit together in confusion. He had expected chaos or at least loud noises, but there was none of that. Instead the house was eerily quiet.
“Hello?” Trisha called.
No answer.
“Yo! Colonel Bas…” he stopped what he was about to say, glanced at his mom, and instead yelled, “Colonel! Major! Al! Shorty!”
When his mother gave him `the look' and shook her head, he chuckled. He was beginning to see why everyone seemed to enjoy taunting him about his height so much. His younger double was a riot to tease.
“I wonder where they could be…” Trisha murmured.
It was then that Ed realized where they must be, if they were in the house at all. “I bet they're in the back room,” he said and began walking that way. He heard his mother following close behind him.
Sighing, Ed smiled softly to himself. Things had worked out okay; not the best, but okay. Telling her everything had been so hard, and he felt completely drained, but he felt pretty good about their talk. Now, what he really wanted was a nice hot shower and a nap, even though it was only almost noon.
When he reached the door to the back room, Ed turned the knob and poked his head inside. There, sitting on the floor, were both the colonel and the major, along with the two kids. They were all looking up at him in surprise, and he laughed as he let himself fully into the room.
“You don't really think you're going to figure this out without me, do you?” he asked arrogantly. The colonel shut the book they'd all been looking at, using his finger for a bookmark and said, “You'd only be a small addition to this group, Fullmetal.”
“Why you…!” Ed growled, then stopped when the major picked up a glass with ice in it and rattled it.
“Hm… looks like I'm out again…” he held out the glass and said, “Refill.”
“No way!” Edward shouted. “Get your own water!”
The major raised an eyebrow and said, looking up at Trisha, “You know, Mrs. Elric, Edward here was saying the most interesting thing this morning…”
Suddenly the small boy stood up, grabbed the glass and began stalking out of the room. “Why don't you get the colonel's glass too?” the younger Mustang asked in amusement. Growling, Edward turned around and snatched the other glass before stomping out of the room.
“Al,” the older Mustang said, “You'd probably go watch him to make sure he doesn't break anything. You know how he can be sometimes.”
After the small sandy haired boy nodded and ran out of the room, Ed growled, “What did you mean by that?”
Instead of answering his question, the colonel said, “We've gotten pretty far on this, I think you'd be interested to see what we've found.”
Ed nodded, then turned to his mother. Before he could speak, she reached over and kissed him on the cheek, then said, “I'm going to get lunch ready.” She paused before whispering, “Thank you…”
He nodded and watched until the door was closed behind her, then sat on the floor with the other two men. “So what have you found?”
The colonel opened the book, handed it to Ed for him to look at, then grinned slightly. “I think I like your father's thinking,” he said in amusement.
Ed glared at him momentarily before he scanned the handwritten notes in the book. As he read, the teen had the urge to roll his eyes and finally he exclaimed, “I don't believe this!”
When the two men started laughing, Ed narrowed his eyes and said, “I don't see how this is funny. I mean…” He let out a sound of exasperation. It seemed that his father was looking for a way to duplicate himself so that he could get out of doing the household duties Trisha gave him.
“You would like this!” he growled irritably, then flipped the page and frowned when he saw that some of the pages were torn out. “Missing…” he whispered and let his finger touch ripped page stubs.
“Yeah…” the major said. “We're guessing that the information about all this was on those papers… because if you actually read through everything, you'll see that this array,” he gestured at the floor, “isn't written anywhere else in the book.”
“What?” Ed asked in confusion. He hadn't really had time to go through the book because of everything that had been happening with his mother.
“That's right,” the younger Mustang said, then pointed to the page below the ripped out ones. “And look at this.”
At first, Ed wasn't sure what he was supposed to be looking at, then he saw it. A ghost of the array in question was pressed into the page from when Hohenheim had drawn it on one of the missing pages. His younger self must have noticed the impression and drawn it out to see what it looked like. The teen held the book to his nose. Besides the array, there were words, but they were hard to make out.
“Hmm…” he murmured and sounded out the letters as he figured them out. “London… other side…” Ed shook his head. “None of that makes sense...” he looked up. “He took all the information about this array…”
The other two men nodded, and the colonel said, “That leaves us to figure out how to modify this array to send us back.”
Sighing Ed looked down at the book and opened his mouth to speak when the door slammed open and Edward stalked in with two glasses. When the boy thrust the first glass out to the major, water sloshed onto his hand and dripped on the younger Mustang's uniform.
The major smiled and said, “That isn't how it's done. Remember what I said about manners?”
The blond boy rolled his eyes and sarcastically drawled, “Soooory.”
The twenty-one year-old's smile widened and he took the glass from the child before saying to the older Ed, “I'm thinking that if I start early he won't end up as rude, and foul tempered as you are.”
The teenager growled at the major, then turned to glare at the colonel who was chuckling and nodding in approval.
“You bas….”
“Mom says lunch is ready and everyone should wash their hands,” Alphonse announced, sticking his head into the room.
“Alright!” Edward exclaimed excitedly and ran out of the room.
“Well, lunch sounds pretty good to me too right now,” the major said, standing up and heading toward the door.
Ed watched him go with a heavy feeling of hesitation. He needed to talk to the colonel about last night…
The younger Flame Alchemist looked back at them and frowned slightly, but didn't say anything as he slipped out of the room.
The blond swallowed hard, trying to find the courage to say what was on his mind.
“Roy…” he began quietly, “about what I said last ni…”
“I think we should get ready for lunch,” the colonel said, standing up and avoiding Ed's eyes. The teen watched the older man walk to the door and stop. “You don't want to keep her waiting do you?” the dark haired man asked, the discomfort evident in his voice.
Ed sighed and stood. Why was he avoiding this conversation? Maybe his mother was right… Maybe Mustang really didn't return his feelings…
“No…” he answered heavily, and followed the colonel out the door.
“Oh! Mom the rope on the swing came off the tree branch again…” Edward whined.
Trisha sighed, feeling a bit irritated. For some reason she couldn't get that swing to stay on… Hohenheim had put it up originally, but one day there had been a fierce storm that broke some of the branches off the tree including the one with the swing. When she'd tried to put it on a different branch it just wouldn't stay…
“Alright, I'll look at it again after lunch is cleaned up,” she murmured.
Suddenly the major scooted his chair back with a grin and said, “Don't worry about it. I can get it to stay.”
She gave him an appreciative look, then frowned when the small seven year-old pouted, “Not yoooou!”
“Edward,” the brunette woman said in warning.
The boy scrunched up his face, then stood up. “Fine! But I'd better watch to make sure you do it right!” Edward said. The younger dark haired man only shook his head and chuckled. “You wanna come too Al?” Edward asked, changing his voice to a kinder note.
The sandy haired boy gazed at him for a moment before shaking his head `no'. That gave the older boy pause for a moment. Al almost always followed him around. “Well… okay then…” he said, a bit unsure.
“Come on, let's go,” the major said and left with Edward trailing behind him.
Alphonse watched them go, then turned around and said, “I'm done. May I please get down from the table?”
Trisha smiled. Her youngest had caught onto manners like a fish to water, and he just sounded so cute every time. “Yes you may,” she answered and watched him take his plate and Edward's to the sink before heading down the hall that led to the back room.
She glanced at her teenage son and her soft smile slipped. He'd been so quiet throughout the meal, and was now staring despondently down at his plate... The older military man had also been quiet…
“Ed…” Trisha said kindly. “Why don't you take a break? You said something earlier about taking a nap and having a shower… Maybe you should do that before you work on that alchemy stuff anymore…”
The teenager looked up at her for a moment before giving her a half smile and nodding slightly. This Edward picked up his own plate and set it in the sink before leaving the room. It was nice to see he'd learned some manners…
Her eyes rested on the colonel as he took a last drink from his cup and said, starting to stand up, “Well, someone had better get to work on that array…”
“Colonel Mustang I'd like to speak with you,” Trisha said, keeping her voice level with an effort. Just thinking about this man caused her emotions to flare, both in anger and hurt.
The twenty-nine year-old looked at her for a moment before sinking back into his chair and returning the dishes to the table. “Alright…” he said slowly.
For almost two minutes, Trisha said nothing. It was hard for her to gather her thoughts. She'd told Ed that she would try to consider his point of view, but it was hard for her to even think about accepting a relationship where she saw him being hurt.
“Tell me about your relationship with my son,” she finally said in a shaky voice.
Now it was his turn to quietly study her as he thought. She was beginning to wonder if her question had been too broad when he said, “It's pretty simple actually… I am his commanding officer, he is my subordinate, but we're also more. Perhaps you could call us friends; most certainly you could call us lovers, although that has been a more recent development.”
“How did it come to that?” she asked carefully.
He looked up for a moment in thought, then brought his gaze down to her with a sigh. “It's a long story, that I really have no desire to get into, but I'll tell you that I never would have imagined that this would be how it would all end up. I won't pretend that it isn't a bit strange for me to think about having a relationship like this with someone fourteen years my junior, but please understand that even though he looks young, Ed is really very mature for his age, and he is handling this situation just fine.”
Trisha clenched her teeth together for a moment, trying to hold back the anger she was feeling, and when she didn't say anything he continued, “He as been through a lot for someone his age. I'm sure he's told you some of it, but there couldn't have been time for him to give you every detail of his life, he…”
She cut him off, “He told me plenty. I know about,” her voice began to tremble “…about… Alphonse… and I know about me, and I know about his arm and leg…”
He nodded with a sympathetic look on his face, and said, “Then you know quite a bit…”
But,” she continued, cutting him off again, “he is still a child. He's only fifteen.”
The colonel nodded. “Yes, it's true. He is fifteen, but he is no longer considered a child. He gave up all rights to childhood when he entered the military.”
“So that gives you the right to have sex with him?” she asked, unable to keep the anger out of her voice.
He sighed in exasperation. “I told you it isn't like that. He…”
“Do you love him?” she asked bluntly. When the dark haired man only stared at her, she said, “I don't want you playing with his emotions. If you don't love him, then you need to end this. As much as he has matured, he is still very vulnerable and naïve.”
He let out his breath and ran his fingers through his fine, black hair. “Mrs. Elr…”
“But,” she said, again stopping his words, “if you do love him, you need to tell him. I want to see him happy, and if being with you makes him happy, then I'll try to live with that, but not if you continue to mess with his emotions. Right now he isn't happy. He's trying so hard to act `grown up', to pretend he's just fine, but we both know he's not.”
The older man nodded thoughtfully, but said nothing. She waited, hoping that he'd have something to add, or perhaps to tell her his feelings toward her son, but when he remained quiet she finally said, “That's it. That's all I wanted to say.”
The colonel nodded again, and put his dish in the sink. For a moment he looked down the hall to where the back room was, then silently walked the opposite direction toward the front door.
After the shower and a short nap, Ed definitely felt much better. He hadn't slept well the night before and he hadn't realized how all the stress from the past couple of days was affecting him. Turning the doorknob to the back room, the blond teen expected to see both of the Mustangs and probably Edward and Alphonse working on the array, but what he saw instead surprised him.
The room was empty except for Alphonse. The sandy haired boy was kneeling on the floor, chalk in hand and a couple of books open on the floor near him. His little brother looked up and smiled when he saw who it was.
“Look brother!” Alphonse exclaimed and pointed at the circle.
Ed walked into the room and gazed down at the modified array in wonder. “I don't believe it…” he murmured to himself. He quickly took in everything, then looked down to see a paper on one of the books. Picking it up, Ed studied the crudely written equations, then stared at the boy in amazement.
“I think you did it, Al!”
The child's grin widened, then he yawned and rubbed his eyes. Shaking his head, Ed set the paper down and, while still bent over, held his arms out to Alphonse. The little boy set the chalk down and put his arms around the teen's neck, letting himself be picked up.
Ed could remember well enough how Al used to take naps around this time without even being put down for one. “You'll never cease to amaze me Al…” he said quietly into his brother's ear.
Still carrying the boy, Ed left the room to find the colonel and the major.
“Do you really need to go today?” Trisha asked in disappointment.
Both her son and the colonel nodded, though Ed was more hesitant about it.
“We shouldn't be here at all,” the older man said.
“I need to get going too…” the major put in.
“No one cares about you,” Edward remarked snidely in an effort to cover up the fact that he really did care.
The major reached down and ruffled his hair. “Don't worry, we'll see each other again, you brat.”
The boy folded his arms and looked away with a grumpy frown.
Sighing, Trisha stepped forward and put her arms around Ed, giving him a tight hug. “I'll miss you…” she said, trying to keep the tears back; she'd cried enough for one day.
He returned the hug and murmured, “Me too… you have no idea how much…” They stood that way for a long time before Ed pulled back a little and whispered, “Mom… can you… can you ever forgive me?” His voice broke and he looked down, in an effort to get control over his emotions.
“For what, Ed?” she asked in confusion. There seemed to be nothing that she knew of that needed her forgiveness.
He looked up with liquid gold eyes and said in an agonized whisper, “For… for everything. For joining the military, for what I did to Al, and … you… trying to…”
Trisha put a finger over his lip and made a hushing sound. “Edward…you are my son, and I love you no matter what. Of course I forgive you.”
He blinked and a tear rolled gently down his cheek. “You do…?”
She nodded, getting tears in her own eyes.
A smile broke out on his face and he hugged her close. “Thank you!” he whispered. “Thank you! I was so afraid that you'd hate me after all that I told you…”
The brunette shook her head. “No… I could never hate you Edward. Never.” She stepped back a little and said, “I will always be with you,” she touched his chest. “Here. I'll always be here in your heart, and you'll always be in mine.”
He nodded and wiped the tear away.
“Be sure to tell Alphonse that I love him as well,” she said, and he nodded again.
“I will. I promise.”
When they pulled apart, she watched as the two boys each gave him a hug, then turned her gaze to the colonel who was watching the scene with a neutral look on his face.
“Remember what I said, colonel.”
He sighed heavily, then nodded before stepping onto the array. When Ed joined him, Trisha stepped back, pulling Alphonse with her. The major and Edward knelt down by the circle and the major said, “On the count of three.”
Edward nodded and said, “One.”
Trisha moved her gaze up to meet the one from her teenage son; the teenager she'd never get to see her little Edward become.
“Two,” Major Mustang said.
Tears came to her eyes and she blinked rapidly, not wanting to miss seeing him during these last seconds.
“Three,” they both said together and she heard their hands hit the floor.
Suddenly a glow surrounded her son and the colonel, and in that moment she saw Ed smile at her, then the light filled her vision and she couldn't see them any longer.
“Mom…” a small voice from far away sounded.
Trisha opened her eyes to see blue sky and the drawn on face of Alphonse.
“Mom,” he said again and shook her slightly.
She sat up and looked around. She was lying on the grass by the basket of laundry and… and… and what?
“Are you okay mom?” her youngest asked, a little worried.
The brunette looked at him and smiled reassuringly. “I'm fine Alphonse. It's just such a nice day that I thought I'd take a little nap, just like you.”
This answer seemed to satisfy him and he asked, “Where's brother?”
She thought for a moment, her mind still working to wake up. The markings on his face reminded her and she said, “He's in the backroom. Why don't you tell him he can come out now, okay?”
The sandy haired boy scampered off and Trisha laid back down and looked at the sky. The dream she'd been having was already fading. She remembered… her son, Edward, being older and a couple of State Alchemists…and…
The brunette shook her head and stood up wearily. For a moment the world seemed to swim in her vision, then everything was fine again. Perhaps she should see a doctor… after a moment of thought, she once again decided against it. She was just tired that was all…
Edward and Alphonse ran out of the house and yelled, “We're going to Winry's!”
Trisha waved and suddenly she felt very melancholy. Perhaps it was from the dream, she couldn't be sure…
Trisha shook her head, no, it was just a dream. She'd had stranger dreams before… The brunette began taking the laundry down off the line. For example, there had been that one dream where Alphonse was talking to her from inside the armor they kept in the corner, but when she opened it, there were only kitties inside.
Now that had been a strange dream…
Wow… Just the epilogue left…. My original plan was to have this be two separate chapters, but it seemed to fit better as one so, haha, lucky you guys.
PLEASE REVIEW! Remember, busy college student authors will make time to write when they know people are waiting on them.