Sunny Resembool, tranquil and quiet. Izumi walked down the path toward the Rockbell house, this being her third trip since the Elric brothers disappeared. It had become a tradition for them, adopted family of the two alchemists, to get together once a year to reminisce, and to exchange news of their reappearance. If there were any.
So far, none. Not even a body to bury. Whatever journey they'd gone on now, it was likely that they'd never come back. And yet both women found this hard to accept, having both suffered losses in the past, and after all, no news was good news, right?
But this time, it was different. She could tell the moment the door was opened by Winry, wearing a worn smile and tired, red eyes.
"Did someone find them?" Izumi asked gravely, following her into the kitchen.
"No. But it looks like we don't have to wait anymore," Winry said with a shuddering sigh.
"What do you mean? Have they--" Izumi froze. She caught a glint of metal from the corner of her eye, and turned, to see a young boy with unnaturally pale skin, wild hair, violet eyes...and automail. She choked on a gasp. "Boy..."
Wrath flinched, his lips pulling back in a grimace to show sharp teeth. He moved to stand up from his chair, paused, sat back down and sulked. Izumi continued standing and staring. Neither of them knew how to react to this sudden reunion.
Eventually, Izumi tore her eyes away from him and tried asking again. "Have they..."
"They're not coming back," Wrath answered instead.
"I was there," he said simply, "I saw it with my own eyes. They’re dead."
A sob. Winry exited the room, tears streaming anew.
"I see...my students, murdered by my teacher. It comes full circle." Equivalent exchange, indeed. "Do you know where she is now?"
Wrath shrugged, picking at a clump of dirt stuck between his metal toes. "I wouldn't try looking for her, though. She has the complete stone now. There's nothing that can stop her."
As if she would try anyway. Izumi was never able to match her own teacher; she couldn't help but wonder what made Ed think he could. Foolish boy, always full of himself... "And what about you?"
He stiffened. "I don't know. I can't go back to her. Envy would kill me again."
"She's disowned you?"
Wrath bared his teeth, but his eyes reflected inner pain and conflict. "Mama's dead," he muttered to himself, under his breath. "He killed her, he deserved it..."
Hearing this, it took a great deal of nerve for Izumi to ask, "Would you like to come stay with me?"
The young homunculus looked up, startled...and snarled. "NO." He scrambled out of the kitchen, knocking the chair to the floor.
A month later, she found him asleep at her back door.