The Other Side

"I shouldn't be here," Scar kept saying. In fact, he had been wandering in circles, saying the same things over and over, ever since he showed up.

"Yet here you are, all the same," Hughes said dryly, and exchanged a look with Trisha.

"I've turned away from the path of God. I have committed many sins. I should be facing my judgment right now, not..." The man turned around to face his new companions, confused distress writ large over his face. His red eyes dropped to regard Nina, playing happily on the floor, and widened. "I shouldn't be here!"

"What makes you think that you haven't already faced your judgment, and this is it?" Hughes asked reasonably. "Were you maybe expecting an announcement? Trumpets?"

"I... no! This is... wrong!" Scar sounded terribly confused. He stared at his hands, and turned them over, as though searching for marks that weren't there. "I deserve... punishment. I have committed many sins..."

"We already know that, Scar-san," Trisha told him kindly.

"You know? How can you know?!"

"Some things... are visible... from a long way off," Hughes said carefully. "And why shouldn't we pay attention, when our loved ones are involved?"

"You saved my son Alphonse's life," Trisha told him seriously. "And you have helped both him and Edward several times in the path, when you could have hurt them instead. Why should I bear you a grudge for that?"

Scar backed away, as though he could avoid her words. "But I have turned away from the true path I have killed many people, I have—"

"Neee," Nina spoke up suddenly, and she was clinging to Scar's leg, peering up into his face. He froze as still as a statue, as though afraid she would tear off his leg if he moved a muscle. "Are you going to stay here with us, Mister?"

The Ishvar man looked from one to another, as though searching for some trace of condemnation. "I don't understand," he exclaimed, pulling away. "I should be judged... I should be... I absolutely belong in Hell."

Hughes gripped the man's shoulder, hard enough to restrain him. "Take it from one who knows, Mr. Ishvarian," he said. "Hell is what you make of it. As is Heaven."

The scarred man stared at him, still plainly lost and dazed. Hughes pushed him down, until he was sitting, and not so likely to bolt.

"And on that note," Hughes said happily. "I have lots of pictures I need to show you of my beautiful daughter Alicia. Aren't you lucky? I've already shown them all to Elric-san and Nina-chan, but now that you're hear, I can start all the way from the beginning!"

"Uh?" Scar blinked, as Hughes whipped out a huge black photo album from thin air.

"Don't go away! We've got lots of time, and... Ah! Remember this one, Nina? Here's Alicia at the beach, making sandcastles! And her second birthday party; I took lots of pictures from that. This one has Ed and Al in it, right, Elric-san? Oh, and... Hey! You aren't going anywhere! I have to show you Alicia when she was in training pants! Oh, she can make anything look like a fashion magazine, can't she?"

Some judgments aren't easy to understand, and even more difficult to accept. But in the end, those are the ones that are the most fitting.