10

There’s no such thing as a painless lesson. They just don’t exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can’t gain anything without losing something first although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you’ll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah, a heart made fullmetal. 

Una lección sin dolor no tiene sentido.
Eso es porque no se puede ganar algo sin sacrificar algo a cambio.
Sin embargo, una vez que hayas soportado el dolor y lo hayas superado, ganarás un corazón que es más fuerte que todo lo demás.
Así es, un corazón de acero.

Important Things to Remember about Van Hohenheim:

  • He was born as a slave and manipulated into being involved in the genocide of his own race, then forced to live with the burden of having an immortal body filled with the crying souls of the thousands of people who had died.
  • He devoted at least a couple of centuries conversing with over 500,000 souls, getting to know each and every one of them, befriending them, and cooperating with them.
  • Hohenheim did not leave his children alone. He left them in the (more than capable) hands of Trisha, where he knew they would be raised well. He trusted that Trisha would be able to explain his absence to Ed & Al without revealing the truth about his body. He couldn’t have anticipated her death, and as he was travelling the entire country he had no way of keeping in contact with Trisha to check that she and their sons were doing ok (this is assuming the Elrics didn’t have a telephone).
  • Hohenheim had difficulty interacting with people, even his own family. He would probably have a very hard time writing letters back home, or talking to Trisha on the phone. He more than likely thought it best to keep his distance 100% until he could return home for fear of ruining any of his relationships with his family.
  • Hohenheim was immortal and had already lived for hundreds of years. A year or two probably wouldn’t have seemed like a long time to somebody with such a huge lifespan. Hohenheim likely still pictured his sons as young children, even after 10 years of not seeing them.
  • When Hohenheim returned to Resembool he expected to be greeted by the love of his life and his two young boys standing at the doorway to his family home. Instead he found a pile of burnt rubble, Trisha’s grave, Edward’s automail, and Alphonse’s empty body.
  • He completely blamed himself for Ed and Al’s attempt at human transmutation and subsequent injuries. He understood that they were lonely, grieving children and in his eyes the fault was all down to him and - taboo or not - the brothers had not done anything wrong.
  • Despite being the most powerful character in the FMA universe, Hohenheim was a pacifist and did not fight or injure a single person in the whole series.
  • He always put everyone else before himself.
  • The things which made him happiest in the whole world were all to do with his children. Alphonse trusting him, Ed and Al helping him on the promised day, Ed calling him Dad for the first time, getting to shake Al’s hand after recovering his body… his whole life revolved around his sons as soon as he met up with them again. He was willing to sacrifice himself for Ed and Al’s sake.
  • He died happy because he was so proud of Ed and Al and he knew that they had made incredible friends who would look after them for the rest of their lives.
  • Without him everyone would be dead.
  • All he wanted was a normal life.
  • Van Hohenheim was not a bad person.
  • Van Hohenheim was not a bad father.

(Bonus):

  • He is romantically cheesy as hell
  • He wears glasses just so he looks slightly different to Father
  • He used to fly into an Ed-like rage whenever anyone called him unintelligent
  • The first thing he said to Alphonse after reuniting with him was, “My vintage armor!!”
  • One of the first things he said to Edward after reuniting with him was, “we have the same hairstyle”.

the saddest thing about this post, for me, is this scene right after

Ed is asking about Hohenheim. he calls him “dad.” sure, it’s “dumbass dad,” but he’s still fondly calling him dad, for the first time in the series.

he’s asking where his dad is. he wants to spend time with Hohenheim. he wants to eat something with him, with Al, and be a family. this is the first time in the entire series where Ed is talking about Hohenheim fondly, without any sort of underlying malice or anger. 

and then immediately after, Hohenheim is dead. died in front of Trisha’s grave.

the first time Ed wants to spend time with Hohenheim, and he can’t, because his dad is dead. 

god, i just desperately want an AU where Hohenheim was able to live for a little longer, maybe a few years. an AU where Hohenheim was able to spend time with Ed and Al as a father. an AU where he was able to see his kids grow up while he aged, and see his grandchildren, an AU where Ed and Al and Hohenheim can spend time together reading, or relaxing, or just being a family