Even if only a few read this here, I may as well carry on posting
Even after two days a name had still not been decided for the new arrival as Winry was really not sure. Plenty of people had suggested names to her but not one of them seemed to fit. Winry was pouring heart and soul into being a mother and she was already exhausted. Her breasts were swollen and sore and she was constantly on the move. Yet all the same she could not have been happier or more proud of herself for creating such a beautiful human being. The others helped out when they felt it was necessary as Winry was still weak from giving birth. Al took to the uncle role like a duck to water and used his alchemy often wherever he could. Elysia would play with the baby girl, and burst out into fits of giggles if the baby ever made a noise.
She was also incredibly scared. There was a life that depended solely on her and if she were to do anything wrong that could end up with her…. She tried to cast evil thoughts from her head but it never stopped the fear. The conflicting emotions that ran through her teenage body threatened to beak her down but the constant stream of guests kept her above water.
On the third day Roy stopped by to visit. He was apprehensive when asked, but was still delighted to hold the baby. She fell silent in his arms as he rocked her back and forth while Riza congratulated Winry on behalf of all those in the military who knew Ed. Ross and Broch would be arriving sometime in the next few days much to the delight if Winry who had missed their bickering.
Roy handed back the child when she began to protest through hunger. Letting her go he thanked the baby for gracing the world with her presence.
Thus baby Grace was finally christened. Visitors came and went regularly to see the arrival grow, bringing gifts for the child and her tired mother. Ross and Broch had bought and dress for Grace and chocolates for Winry. Their gifts could not have been more perfect. Schezka of course, bought a book and was adamant it should be read to Grace as much as possible. That way she would learn to love books and Schezka would never be stuck for a gift.
The public began to notice a new child with very distinct eyes. It would only take one person to walk past the house and see Winry in the front garden with Grace. It would ripple through the community and soon people would walk by the house to see if the rumour was true. Winry was assured the military would keep an eye on things to make sure it didn’t get out of hand. All the same, flowers would arrive without a sender’s name.
As he walked through the crowded streets he did not seem to notice people smiling at him. It was as if they knew something he didn’t and it would have unnerved him had he only been paying attention. On a sudden impulse he had bought a small teddy bear although he had no idea what to do with it. It sat solemnly in its brown paper bag as if it knew it had no real reason to be. Edward felt he would hold onto it all the same. Heck, if he ever made it back, he knew of several homes that would be happy to take in an unloved bear.
‘What have you been up to?
‘I just went for a walk.’
‘You have the smuggest look on your face Ed, like you’ve achieved something wonderful.’
‘Well it would be even more wonderful if I knew why. I feel smug but…’
There was a brief pause as Ed stood and pondered his odd behaviour that was once again being noticed by others.
‘What’s in the bag?’
‘A bear for the baby,’ Edward replied once again falling into dream world.
Ed took a moment to recompose himself before scrambling an answer together.
‘Whichever one comes along first…and emergency gift, maybe a bribe,’ he stuttered. Where on earth had he thought of a baby?
‘Oh, some letters have arrived, they’re on the table.’
Edward walked over and picked up the bundle. They had no address on them, only his name. When he came to opening them he had a whole new puzzle to play with. Each sheet of paper was completely blank yet somehow they felt significant. This world was a strange place and it was a strange time, but some things were pushing it.
The day came when Al was set to leave. He and Izumi were not looking forward to their last moments with Grace but they knew to had to come. They knew now that the importance to find the father was greater then ever before. Before he left Al made one final request.
‘Please tell Aunt Pinako Winry. She must be missing you and she will want to know her granddaughter.’
Winry looked into his sorrowful eyes and caved in. She craved her own bed and her family around her. She had found a good home and family in Central but they were not her own. Wherever she went she would be reminded that he was not there, but home was a far safer place for her to dwell. It was cruel to keep Grace away from the home she should know.
‘I promise you Al. I will leave the moment Grace and I are fit to travel.’
He left in higher spirits after that and she was left with hope in her heart. She held onto that hope as strongly as she held onto her daughter
A year had now nearly passed since she had been home. She had spoken many times to Pinako on the phone but still did not have the guts to tell her about Grace. She could hear the pain in her grandmothers voice. Rose had left so she only had Den for company bar the odd customer.
The day came and many came to wave her goodbye. Grace seemed entranced by the big noisy machines all around her and this kept her quiet. She packed her own small case into the carriage as everything else would arrive separately.
She waved a tearful goodbye as they began to speed off. She had a painful sense of déjà vu, the last time she had waved farewell to the same group Hughes and been there, and so had Edward. Baby Grace looked up at her with her beautiful wide eyes and reminded her there was no need to be sad for she was there to be the apple of her mothers eye.
Winry became aware of people passing through her carriage quite often for no apparent reason. She tried to ignore it and carried on reading her book, Grace cradled in her other arm. It became all too much when people attempted to subtly point at her but were quite blatant in doing so.
Finally a beautiful young woman pushed Winry over the edge. She stood next to Winry and cleared her throat.
‘I don’t believe it is any of your concern that I am a lone, young mother…’
‘A baby Elric is it?’
Winry looked up at her in surprise. The woman was indeed beautiful. Her hair was a honey brown and her eyes sparkled emerald. She looked gentle but Winry was suspicious.
‘No need to fear me. I just came over to confirm what I have heard in the other carriages. I didn’t believe the rumour but with eyes like that, she could only be one person’s daughter.’
‘It is nobodies business,’ Winry snapped, unsure why she was so angry.
‘Well, keep up the good work, I’ve never seen such a calm and quiet baby. You must be a good mother.’
She turned to walk away and Winry felt the guilt creep up her spine, ‘Wait…’
They spent the remainder of Winrys journey talking. It was a comfort to hear a tale from events back then. The woman never mentioned her real name, but she said Winry may hear of Psiren. Winry took a note of the name and would see if Al recalled it. Before she knew it they had pulled into her little village train station. She stood on the platform for what seemed hours before she built up the courage to head for home.
With only a small bag and a baby in her arms she felt out of place. Her other things were being sent home and she carried only the essentials which made her feel like a visitor on her own lands. She passed a couple of people who seemed too shocked to say anything to her. She glowed in embarrassment and was almost pleased they did not speak. She was caught between a rock and a hot place. She didn’t want anyone else to see her but her only sanctity from them was home where she also dreaded to be.
The path toward her home looked so much longer now. Like a man condemned she began the stroll to the front door. There were no sounds; no sign of Den and all around was still. She felt unnerved and sped up her pace.
Opening the door she still heard nothing, even after calling her grandmothers name. Placing her bag down she was at least comforted to see nothing inside had changed either.
Grace began to squirm and it was apparent she was restless. Winry too was exhausted from her journey and ascended the stairs. She paused only for a brief a moment when she finally heard something.
‘Grandma, are you here?’
‘I am in here, Winry dear.’
She followed the voice and carefully pushed the door open. Sat next to a cot was her grandmother with a baby blanket in her arms.
‘Bring Grace over to me.’
Winry did not move through the shock that swept over her. Grandmother knew all about the baby? Pinakos demeanour was calm and Winry could feel no anger coming from her grandmother.
‘You cannot blame Al for telling me. It was a huge responsibility to ask him to keep your pregnancy a secret.’
‘When did he tell you?’ Winry managed to croak.
‘They day he found out. Come now, hand me the child.’
Winry walked over to her grandmother and handed Pinako her great-granddaughter. The elderly woman wrapped the baby up and placed her into the cot before turning back to Winry.
‘I…I’m so sorry granny, I didn’t know what to say,’ Winry gasped, succumbing to tears. Pinako who had never been one to show her emotions comforted her granddaughter.
‘Winry dear you were scared. Now I hope you can tell me all…’
After many cups of tea and Grace taking her feed Winry had finally told her grandmother all she could. Den who had been sleeping all the time placed himself carefully by the crib to guard baby Grace as she slept.
‘I guess you must be angry at me for being so careless.’
‘You were careless there is no two ways about it. Yet I trust that both you and Edward knew what you were doing. I wonder if it has crossed his mind that you didn’t use any protection. Still, a baby isn’t that easy to conceive. You were unlucky.’
‘No, I was lucky grandma.’
There was a pause as the both drunk their tea. Grace was indeed a blessing but she would also now take over Winrys life.
‘Now you will wait for them again?’ Pinako finally asked.
‘Waiting, as much as I hate it, it’s all I can do now.’
‘How long will you wait though my dear?’
Winry laughed slightly and answered entirely truthfully, ‘I’ll wait forever grandma.’
She would not wait forever though; she would only have to wait another year.