They were done. It was finished. Days of waking up before the sun and nursing sore and aching muscles as they crawled into bed at night were over. Somehow, Edward and Alphonse knew they would miss it.
For all the pain, they had learned so much. That morning they would go home to Resembool, but neither Elric would return the same. They were stronger both in body and spirit, and, in their minds, untouchable. Izumi had created little heroes of them.
But now it was time to say goodbye and let her go. Edward didn’t think it would be so easy. As they stood at the train station, bowing humbly to Izumi, Edward got the nagging sensation that this wasn’t truly goodbye. They would see her again. He knew it.
“Thank you for everything, Teacher,” Ed repeated once more before straightening. He subconsciously shifted his coat on his shoulders. On the back of the red fabric was an ink black Flamel sign – a symbol that he had been trained under Izumi Curtis. Taking the suitcase full of his and Al’s clothes, Edward stepped back next to Alphonse who loosely held their day pack.
Izumi nodded in return, “Don’t forget anything I’ve taught you, you hear me?” She crossed her arms expectantly, leaning slightly into her husband.
“Yes, ma’am!” two young voices chimed together.
Alphonse grabbed Ed’s hand so they wouldn’t get separated in the crowd, and together they turned away from the Curtises. They had almost reached the train doors when suddenly Al stopped.
“What’s wrong, Al?” Ed asked. “Did you forget something?”
Slowly, Alphonse looked back toward Sig and Izumi. He gazed at them for a moment, his expression indiscernible. Then, with a quick glance at Ed, Alphonse broke free and ran back. He dropped the day pack and nearly ran into another boarding passenger, but Al was focused on one thing:
Alphonse attacked Izumi, reaching up and hugging her tightly.
Ed resisted the urge to laugh as Izumi stood baffled, but when his teacher bent down and hugged Alphonse back, Edward smiled. Acting like an older brother for once, he sauntered back to retrieve the fallen bag and his brother.
As abruptly as he had hugged Izumi, Alphonse broke free of her embrace and launched himself at Sig as well. Edward, unfortunately, was close enough to get swept into the big man’s hug, and once again Ed was surprised by how gentle Izumi’s husband was despite his size.
Izumi was right: strength of heart was more important than physical size. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t do everything in his power to get taller though.
Sig released them without a word – the tender embrace said it all – and the brothers stepped back once more. Ed gave Al a “ready?” look, and Alphonse nodded, taking his brother’s extended hand.
Together they boarded the train and found a seat overlooking the platform. There stood Izumi and Sig Curtis, hand in hand, watching as the train slowly chugged forward.
“She’s the scariest lady I’ve ever met, but I’m going to miss her,” Al voiced Ed’s sentiment aloud.
Edward hummed in agreement and started to rifle through the day pack. “Let’s see what she packed us for the trip.”
“If she switched our lunches for rocks again, I think I might eat my socks,” Al stated in a chipper tone, his stomach growling.
Ed raised an eyebrow at his little brother.
“What? I’m hungry! You’re not the only one who’s growing!” Alphonse giggled in childish protest.
Puffing out his cheeks in a long sigh of mock annoyance, Ed stuck his nose into the bag. “Hey, look.”
From among the snacks and large lunch sacks in the bag, Edward pulled out a deck of new cards. Both pairs of golden eyes lit up.Izumi’s final unspoken message echoed through their hearts as they set up the first round of cards on the bench space between them. Have fun. Act your age. Enjoy life, and learn to love it.
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