Hallo everyone and thank you soooooooooooooo much for all the reviews and support!
Someone pointed out to me that in early chapters I've said that Alfons Heiderich has green eyes when they're actually blue. So sorry, I must have been confused at the time. Of course it only makes sense of them being blue. Again, my deepest apologise for all Alfons' fans there.
Disclaimers: see chapter 1.
Chapter 17 End of the Journey
"It's going to rain tonight, don't you think?"
Pinako Rockbell turned her old eyes from the grey clouds she had been watching from the window and focused them to the direction where the absentminded answer had come from. Winry was sitting in front of her desk, pretending to do some work.
Pinako sighed. "I had so hoped that there wouldn't be anymore of your head-in-the-clouds-scenes now that Edward has come back" she said.
That snapped Winry back to reality. "What?! Come on! I'm not that bad!" she declared.
"Then may I to whom or what you're making that automail there?" Pinako asked.
Confused Winry looked down at her new masterpiece and noticed that the automail hand had six fingers. Winry's face turned red. "Err, it's a new design I was planning…" she made up.
Winry sighed. There was really no point in hiding it. She was worried. No doubt the people in military wanted to talk to Ed about his possible return to the position of state alchemist. And would Ed turn it down? Alchemy was part of Edward, Winry had come to terms with this long ago. One could never take it from him. So how could Edward say no to such an offer, when they all knew how good he was in it?
Winry had made a peace with Mustang about his involvement in her parent's deaths, but if he'd take Edward again…
Winry was woken from her musings when the front door opened and in came Edward Elric, hiding his head behind his hands. "I know you always want me to call first but I just wanted to come back as soon as possible so don't throw wrenches!" he said.
Both Winry and Pinako were quiet for a moment before Pinako burst out laughing. "My God, the chibi has actually learned something!"
"The chibi- part was completely unnecessary" Ed retorted.
Winry looked at the blonde haired young man with awe. "You are back" she said.
Ed blinked in confusion. "Er, yeah…have been few days already. I thought we covered that" he said.
"No, not that. You came back here…you didn't stay in military" Winry said.
Ed made a face. "And become Mustang's lapdog again? No thank you!"
A huge radiating smile came to Winry's face. "So? What did happen then?"
A clap of hands. A moment of bright flash. And then there was nothing left but smoking remains.
The last remains of the Philosopher's Stone were gone.
"I'm surprised you knew how to do that. Even my flames had no effect on it" Mustang commented.
"I did learn how it was made from Tim Marcoh's journals. Once you know how it is done, it's very easy to undone" Edward said.
"Well, I feel very much revealed that it's gone" Führer Hakuro said.
"Really? I would have imagined that something as powerful as the stone might have been very tempting to use, especially for a leader of a state" Ed said.
"It was tempting and that's why I'm glad I no longer have that possibility. Good thing Mustang here trusted for you to come back and told me to wait till we'd have expert's opinion" Führer said.
"Yeah…about that coming back…" Ed decided to move to the topic. He was still little shaky of actually destroying the thing he had searched for so long.
"Yes, of course. Well, the choice is yours, Edward. If you want we can give you back your status and position. You would have your funding and authority to use military library. If you'll become again a state alchemist, Fullmetal" Hakuro explained.
"Thank you, sir, but no thank you" Edward said.
Hakuro didn't seem that surprised or displeased. He just smiled. "May I ask why?"
"Sir, I never truly wanted to be a state alchemist in the first place. I became one because I had to, because I could not find any other way to make things right. But now I no longer have that need. Besides I don't even have my state alchemist watch anymore" Edward told.
Hakuro smiled. "Very well, no one is forcing you to become a dog of the military again. Such a pity though, to loose as qualified alchemist as you are".
Edward and Mustang were walking back to car, where Riza was waiting.
"So, what are you going to do now, Fullmetal?" Mustang asked.
"I honestly have no ideas, but probably something that involves alchemy but not killing people" Ed replied.
"You made a right decision though, to destroy the stone".
"Someone had to since you lacked the courage to do it".
"I'm sure I don't follow" Mustang said indifferently.
"Oh, come on. You've had that thing here for three years and you wanted to wait me to come and give an opinion? I think you were just afraid that if the choice was given to you, you wouldn't be able to resist using the stone" Edward said, feeling little cocky.
Mustang didn't reply. In fact he appeared not to even notice Edward walking beside him.
When they later departed at the train station Mustang offered his hand again to Edward, just like three years earlier. This time Edward shook it.
"See you later, Roy".
"So, you've come back here now for good?" Winry asked.
"Yes. Well naturally this isn't exactly the place were to look for works for an alchemist, but I would like to spend sometime here. If that's okay with all of you" Ed replied.
"You know Edward, this as much of a home to you and Alphonse as it is to us. You two are always welcome here" Pinako said before leaving the room, muttering of going to see where the dog went.
"You could always come with me to Rushvalley. I'm sure there is use for an alchemist there, considering how many things need to be fixed and such" Winry suggested.
"Well, maybe…but you sure you're not just asking me there to be guinea pig for all of your new automails?" Ed smirked.
"Will you rebuild your house?" Winry hurriedly changed the topic.
Edward hesitated. "I don't know. I'll have to talk to Al about it, after he has come back alive from teacher's place. But I doubt I'd want to live there. Too many memories" he explained.
"Well, I'm sure things will be fine no matter what you choose" Winry said, giving a comforting touch on Ed's shoulder. She was then starting to walk out of the room when Ed remembered something.
"When you get to see that girl who you think so lot, be sure to tell her everything!" Noah shouted.
"Can I stay with you?" Ed asked hurriedly, feeling that if he hesitated he would never be able to ask.
Winry laughed. "Didn't grandma already tell you? You're welcome to stay as long as you want".
"No. Not here. With you. Wherever you go. Here, Rushvalley, Central, no matter where. Can I stay with you?" he blurted out, feeling his heart racing in a way it usually didn't.
Winry looked at him blankly for a moment and then Ed saw as if comprehension lighted in her eyes. She took a little step forward.
"Ed, you idiot. Don't you know that you've always had a place here?" she asked, and rather boldly, gave a small kiss to the side of his mouth.
She then walked out of the room, her face red and a smile on her face.
Ed stayed where he was and touched lightly the side of his mouth. Maybe there was something in this kissing business anyway.
He felt light headed and happy when everything that had been happening the past week finally sank in to him.
Edward Elric, 19 years old, had finally ended his journey. Now a new one could begin.
Phew, that's it folks. End of my fic. Yes, this was never meant to be long fic in the first place, in fact it became longer than I had originally planned. Oh well, although it's not a work of art or best FMA fic around, I'm glad I did it. I've been a fan of FMA for over a year now and I really wanted to "play with the characters" so to speak. I'm happy I got to use most of the characters from anime (since I don't dare to do a manga fic, because manga is a GOD and I'm always expecting new updates drooling) except Scar and Lust, which would have been fun.
To those who think I left too many questions open, like what happens to Wrath and Izumi and does Al finish the training and so on, you decide. I leave the rest for your imagination.
Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all the readers who supported my crappy writings and who hopefully were not expecting anything earth shattering. I'm glad I got so many new readers and even manage to make some faithful readers of mine interested in the world of FMA.
So thank you everyone!