After

A FMA Fanfic

By Jaelle




Disclaimer: Not mine.

Pairings: Winry/Al, implied Roy/Ed.

Setting: Post-series.

Rating: PG.



The grave had been Ed’s idea of a joke.

After hearing his childhood friends complaining about the number of times they had had to tell pilgrims that the Fullmetal Alchemist was, in fact, very much still alive, and after having spent two hours trying to convince one very dedicated believer that not only was he not dead, but he was standing directly in front of them, he’d had enough. The next day a magnificent grave had appeared in the field where the old Elric house had been. Solid onyx, with a six foot long covering plate (and HOW everyone had teased him about that when they saw it), marble statues at every corner, and a tall, imposing headstone, it dominated the landscape.

Pilgrims sighed when they saw it. Yes, yes, this was just right, this was exactly the sort of resting place that the Fullmetal Alchemist should have.

It was only when they came closer to lay flowers and pray (and maybe take some photographs and how gruesome was THAT? Winry always demanded) that they saw the writing on the headstone:

“Here lie the misconceptions of those idiots who think that Edward Elric is dead.”

Alphonse had sighed when he’d seen it the first time, Winry had snickered, and Auntie Pinako had shaken her head. So far the only person who had actually found it funny had been Roy Mustang, who’d nearly injured himself laughing when he’d seen it.

It was a mystery to Ed as to how the rumours of his death had spread so far and wide. Apparently there was some weird rule that heroes weren’t supposed to live on after their greatest triumphs. He’d had a fit the first time he realised that people were actually DISAPPOINTED to find out that he was still around.

“And what makes them think that I’ve ACHIEVED my greatest triumphs yet anyway?” He’d snarled. “I’ve still got plenty of time to come up with something even BETTER!”

In many ways though, it was actually more convenient for him to let people think he had died. He’d grown tired of his fame many years earlier, and it was easier just to wander as a nameless and unknown Alchemist, doing good where he could. For once his small size and appearance of youth came in handy. He’d just had his 47th birthday, and people still thought he was in his 30s. Far too young to have seen, learned, and done so much. Old war veterans talked down to him in bars, telling him he was lucky to have been born too late to fight. Sometimes it annoyed him, but it was infinitely better than the reactions of the ones who recognised him. They would be polite and deferential, maybe even grateful because he’d saved their lives in some way that he could never remember but which they always would, but they would be distant, in their eyes would lurk the fear of him.

He’d done terrible things during the war, he knew. Terrible, awesome things, to give his legend so much strength and power. But he remembered little of them. To him the war would always be a blur of screaming and fire and death. It was better that way, Roy told him, in that tone that always made him wish that he could take Roy’s memories of the war away as well, so that he would never use that soft, sad voice again.

“It doesn’t work that way, Edward.”

“I wish it did.”

“I know. And I thank you for that.”


There were even books about him now. Three of them. A Short and Accurate Biography of Edward Elric (which was neither); The Life and Times of the Fullmetal Alchemist (which concentrated on the two years he’d spent at war and alleged he’d had a longtime affair with the author, whom he’d never met); and Only Human: The Full Metal Alchemist (written by “Anonymous”, and if Al thought he was fooling ANYONE with that he was more innocent than Ed had believed). Ed didn’t like any of them (not even Al’s, although he never said anything about it in front of him). They all ignored facets of his life that he considered important: his mother, his brother, Roy, the military, and his own human failings. He’d tried writing something himself, but had been unable to put into words how much they meant to him. In the end he’d given up and written a paper titled, “The True Heart Behind The Metal: Alphonse Elric (An Addendum to ‘Only Human’)” instead. He’d signed it “Anonymous”, and by all accounts Al had seen through that almost as quickly as he had.

Roy claimed that it was only right that Ed was hard to pin down in print, as he was equally difficult to pin down in person. He was still a wanderer at heart, and often disappeared for months at a time, although he always came home, eventually. Of course, his home was now spread amongst several places. There was East HQ where he reported to General Lisa Hawkeye, his current commanding officer; there was Liezenbul, with Al and Winry and their children; and there was Central City, where Roy Mustang ruled supreme, along with his adopted daughter Alicia Hughes.

It surprised some of his closer friends that he’d stayed in the military all this time, despite everything that had happened. Wars, homunculi, dictatorships, and impossible acts of Alchemy, he’d seen them all. He’d also seen the entire range of human emotions, from courage and sacrifice, to revenge and selfishness. He’d climbed the peaks and ploughed the depths of love, hate, hope and despair. And yet he stayed on, still exploring their hidden pathways.

“But really, where else would I go? What else would I do? I’m a dog of the military, and have been since I was 12. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

It was enough for him, this strange wandering life that he led. He was content with it. He had homes to go to where family would always be waiting for him. Where there would be love and warmth and joy. And then he would take some of that with him when he left, and try to spread it where he could.

It was enough, and far more than he’d ever dreamed of having. Far more than he’d once believed he’d deserved.

He had his life. And he would live it as best he could until the day that he really did die, and was buried in a small, unmarked grave.

End.




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