Joined: 27-January 05
From: a land called Honah Lee
Member No.: 6,466
Gender: Not Telling
Gah! I can't believe it! I'd had forgotten this fic so much I've already started writing chapters 70-73 without realising I'd already done it! Dang it all!
Fine, I'll be updating soon with the chapters I HAVEN'T already done *groan*.
Edit: Updated January 31st 2010. Spoilers for Brotherhood up to 44
***** It hadn't been too difficult to let her body droop as she had let the weight of the day take over. She swore she could hear Ed's voice in the distance but she dare not strain her ears to confirm. She had been so sure when they parted it would not be too long until they met again, but as the danger grew even days felt like months.
'So you're the Rockbell's daughter?' Marcoh asked.
'Yes,' she replied in a quiet voice. They were now wandering through the tunnels Yoki had lead them to and each sound echoed around the empty walls.
'They were well known on the battle field and now their daughter is once again showing the great character of that family.'
'I don't think I am,' she said honestly, 'Now that I am trapped up in this I don't know when I'll be able to go home. Now I have to neglect my customers and my teacher in Rush Valley. I'm just awful…'
The thought had crossed her mind a few times but she had still dug herself deeper into the troublesome world of the Elric's. She wasn't blind to the fact that trouble was slowly spreading across the land but that she had left everyone else behind hurt her inside.
Wrapped up in her own thoughts she hadn't realised Mei had stopped in her tracks unless Marcoh called her name.
'What's wrong? Winry asked.
Mei's little face frowned, 'My clansmen are waiting for me, but I don't know when I'll get to go home either.'
As Mei let the tears form in her eyes Winry forgot her own sorrows. The young girls dreams had been dashed, just as Ed's had, by finding out the Philosophers Stone was created by sacrificing many human lives. They had just resolved to find another way of getting their bodies back just as Mei would have to find a new route to immortality.
After walking for a long time they settled down while Yoki went to hunt for the exit. Like so many hours during her youth, she spent the time listening to talk of alchemy without understanding too much of it. It was when Mei finally turned to her specifically that Winry paid attention.
'One theory says,' she started, 'that the person who bought alchemy to Xing was an immortal man with golden hair and golden eyes, hence we call "True Man" or "Golden Man"'
Winry laughed, 'Golden hair and golden eyes, just like Ed and Al.'
She didn't have too much time to get her head around this as Yoki called them to say he found the exit. Walking into the sun dazzled her eyes but not to much she didn't see Yoki fall into the deep snow. The soldiers offered to go ahead and pack down the snow so they could walk on it.
Suddenly, she heard a feint cry. Unsure of what was said she turned toward where it was coming from. There, sticking out of the undisturbed white, was Al's leg. The voice was coming from beneath the snow.
'What, Al?' she cried, rushing over to help dig him out. She'd only scooped a few handfuls away when he burst back to the surface with a cry of "saved".
'I got stuck in a dip then got buried in the snow there,' he explained while Mei brushed the rest of the snow off him, obviously elated she was reunited with him.
'Why the heck are you here?' Winry asked.
'We had an emergency communication for you, so I crossed over the mountain in the blizzard, arrived here ahead of everyone else and waited for you.'
'The Central Army is in the Briggs Fort. I hear the Major General was summoned to Central also.'
It clicked quickly with Winry, 'What? That means…'
'Yes,' Al interrupted, 'it is dangerous to go to the fort now.'
'Then we should hide somewhere else,' Winry said, half to herself and half to Mei.
'Somewhere else you say,' Scar added, 'just where can we expect to go?'
There was an awkward silence before Al broke the ice with news he had brought food. As the others grabbed what Al unpacked from his body Winry was still unsure.
'But is it okay?'
'Is what okay?' Al asked her.
'If you disappear all of a sudden, won't Kimbley and the rest get suspicious?'
'It's fine,' Alphonse assured while handing food to Mei, 'Brother is doing something about it.'
Once they had eaten their fill they prepared to move again when Al collapsed into the snow. Winry and Mei were at his side in a second.
'Al, what happened?'
In a strained voice he mumbled, 'This is bad…again…it's being pulled away.'
'Al! Winry cried as he stumbled again, 'what is being pulled away?'
'Your soul is being pulled away?' Scar asked.
'Miss has this happened before?' Marcoh questioned.
'I don't know, Al!' she cried, growing ever more desperate as his body lost the strength holding him up. 'Al, get up! Someone helped him!' she begged, 'someone!'
She was lost as they turned to her for answers. She didn't know the workings of Al's body as well as she should. There was only one person who really understood this armour with a young soul attached. Only one, whose existence was tied to that of his brothers. If Al had fallen; a body that could not grow tired and could not feel pain, it could only mean one thing.
'Ed!' she screamed, with all the power of a woman on the verge of losing everything.
They trudged through the snow, each of them carrying part of Alphonse. He had fallen unconscious and had to be taken apart for them to continue moving. He may have been the strangest of beings but Winry knew something had gone drastically wrong. If Al didn't wake up she didn't know what she could do. She had no idea of where Ed was at that point, and just what state he was in himself. He could be lying somewhere, broken and alone…
Winry knew exactly where that voice had come from, 'Al! Are you back? Are you alright?'
'Wait, how come I'm in pieces?' his voice called from his torso.
Winry breathed out heavily, 'Good, I was worried you wouldn't gain consciousness.'
'So, what's going on?'
It was Scar who answered Al, 'You lost consciousness all of a sudden. You were too big to carry even with all of us here so we had to disassemble you.'
'That's right,' Al said, 'even if you were in trouble you couldn't hurry if you were carrying a weight like me.'
With a protest from Yoki they found a place to settle before they continued their conversation. For the time being Al was left in his disassembled state. It was now that he revealed that it wasn't the first time this had happened and Winry once again felt that sinking feeling in her stomach. She wondered what the implications of this happening to him were and whether or not Edward knew about it. If Al was back to normal now at least she felt a little more hope that Ed was okay too.
She didn't give up on alchemy this time. When Mei suddenly let all the papers from the research paper fall to the floor she watched intently to what the young girl was doing. Rearranging the papers in order on the floor revealed what Winry recognised as a transmutation circle. Though she was amazed herself, Marcoh simply stated that this was information they had guessed already. Panic and anger ensued with Yoki, who had succumbed to the cold, sneezed the papers out of order. It seemed as if they weren't going to get anywhere when all suddenly called out.
'Reverse it! Those pages, could you turn them over, but don't change their position?'
Once again she watched them get to work, this time with a sense of urgency. Mei once took out a pen and drew on the pages spread out on the floor. With a basic understanding of the previous image Winry knew that this didn't forebode well even before Mei finally revealed;
'This is our new transmutation circle. It is for Amestris. It will be put into motion using alchemy!'
It didn't take long for her to find her role amongst the Ishval people. She hadn't spent any real time with children since Elysia but she loved to interact with them. Something about the innocence of youth helped her ignore all the terrible things she knew. In them she could see the happy hours she and the brothers had spent back at home, in their quite little country village. She felt a pang of pain and guilt for not seeing her grandmother for so long. She had given Ed so much hassle in the past for not keeping in touch and there she was doing just that. If she were ever in a good enough mood, she would apologise to him.
There was suddenly a loud explosion in the distance. It came from the direction that most of the group had gone to. They had said they were off to defeat a homunculus and that she was not to follow for her own safety. Her instinct was to run straight into that danger but this time she had a few frightened children clinging to her legs. Doing her best to comfort them she kept her eye in the entrance to the camp.
It was too long until they all returned. Though Marcoh was being carried the rest of them seemed unharmed and Mei even seemed happy.
'Doctor Marcoh, you're hurt!' Winry cried as they finally reached them.
'Oh these are nothing,' he sighed, 'but my backs killing me. I'm embarrassed that you have to see me like this.'
Upset by the sight of his injuries she snapped, 'You can't keep pushing yourself like this!'
'Seeing you reminded me of your parents and made me realise that running away was cowardly and unfair…because there was still something I could do. I wanted to do what I could, no matter how far I had to push myself'
Winry flushed with pride at such a comment and could only mumble something about him not doing it again. It didn't hurt her anymore to hear about her parents as only ever good things were said about them.
She hadn't been completely aware of the creature in Scar's hand until there was an almighty cry of pain and fear from Yoki. The being, which looked like an oversized caterpillar, had latched on to Yoki's neck and taken control of his body. She felt almost sick at the sight but everyone else acted as if Yoki meant nothing to them and Envy could do whatever he wanted. She didn't exactly add anything to the moment but tried to hide her disgust. Luckily for her they managed to subdue Envy once more and trapped him in a glass jar. They quietly explained to her what they had done when Envy called over to Al.
'So where's the Fullmetal Shrimp?'
'My brother?' Al replied, 'He's probably in Briggs by now.'
'Oh,' Envy sighed with a wicked hint in his voice, 'I heard he'd disappeared. You're sure he's not here?'
'Spill your guts!' Al demanded, 'where's my brother?'
'Spill my guts? I just heard the mine in Baschool collapsed and he'd gone missing.'
Perhaps had Al not collapsed before she would have taken this news with a pinch of salt. But in an already unsteady state, her mind began to play all manner of horrific scenes to her. Her throat dry she barely managed to gasp;
'D…don't worry, remember who we're talking about,' Al stepped in to reassure her, 'I'm sure brother managed to get away.'
She nodded and tried to catch her ragged breath, 'Yeah…right…you're right.'
Worrying about Ed in such an obvious matter was not fair on Al and she bit her tongue from asking any more questions. With Al assuring them he wouldn't fall again they began to move again for it was certain the enemy now knew where they were. When they reached a crossroads Scar turned to Mei and presented her with the trapped Homunculus.
'Take him to Xing!'
She gasped and looked terribly confused.
'It's no-where near true immorality,' Scar carried on, 'but we have what's left of a being that couldn't die no matter how many times it was killed. It may save your clan.'
'But if I leave..' she started.
'Yeah,' another interjected, 'we decoded the research book and figured out that alchestry fits into all this somehow.'
'This is no time to worry about someone else's country,' Scar said in a stern voice. As Mei remained silent he carried on, 'Did you really come here with so little dedication? If you get caught up in our affairs will you tell the people who gave you're your task "sorry I couldn't help Xing because I was saving Amestris". You'll reach Youswell if you head East from here.'
With one last push from Scar, Mei bowed to them all. Her face showed a confused and lost young girl who had been put in her place, albeit with care and thought. She thanked them all.
When Al thanked her in return she threw her body into his and buried her face in to his loincloth. Winry nearly burst with the excitement of it all when she could hear Mei try and cough out what sounded like the start of "I love you". It pained Winry to watch her go for she knew how it hurt to be parted from those she held dear.
'She's gone..' Winry said, her voice trailing off.
'What a lively little girl,' Al sighed.
In a moment of good humour Winry teased Al, 'I think you're more broken then you're letting on.'
'What are you smirking about?' he growled. Winry danced about as she imagined a beautifully romantic reunion between Al and his lost Princess Mei. She remained lost in that happy place until Al caught her attention.
'Winry, there is somewhere I would like to take you to.'
Years of working through the night had given Winry a strong back and arms that could stay stable for hours. Walking, however, appeared to be an entirely different matter. She hated that they were still keeping to the shadows and longed for even a few minutes on a train. Her thick coat was growing heavier and hotter by the mile and she felt on the verge of collapse when al finally declared they had reached their destination.
As they wandered through the town she noticed people pointing at Alphonse. This wasn't usually unusual except that everyone was smiling at him as if he were an old friend. Winry didn't feel comfortable with such familiarity.
'Wow, what's that giant statue?' one of them asked.
'Any place we can get something to eat,' another of the group added. Winry resisted the urge to ask for anywhere they could sit down.
'Hang on, I know it's here somewhere,' Al informed them, 'Ah, here it is!'
They approached a stall where a young woman stood cleaning the counter. When she spotted Al she gave an exclamation of surprise before smiling broadly at him.
'Rose, how have you been?' Al asked her.
'Fine Al. Are you still travelling?'
Winry's eyes darted between Al and this stranger he had referred to as Rose. The name didn't ring any bells with her but she seemed to know Al well. The look of joy on her face didn't show any darker meaning and her manner was pleasant and gentle. She was even very pretty and something about this combination made Winry's heart feel strained.
'Ed's not with you?' Rose asked after exchanging pleasantries.
Al didn't seem to want to really reveal to Rose the situation so mumbled, 'No he's…somewhere else today.'
'Oh to bad, I wanted to see him again,' Rose replied.
A small beast inside Winry's chest started to whisper to her in her head. Oh why does she want to see him again? Such a pretty young woman too, she probably wouldn't lose her temper too easily. Seeing Al doesn't appear to be enough for her does it? I wonder just why she wants to see Ed so badly?
'Oh ho ho!' Al suddenly cried, sidling up next to Winry.
'What are you smirking about?' she cried, ever on the defence.
'You had a weird look on your face, that's all. What were you thinking about?' he asked.
Rose seemed to have caught something in her expression too, 'Oh so you're Ed's…'
'Childhood friend YES!' she snapped before they had the opportunity to accuse her of anything. How did Al manage to spot something so trivial as a slight change of expression and figure out it was…whatever the hell it was! She wasn't jealous, far from it! She just didn't see what exactly Ed would mean to this woman.
'Rose!' came a deep voice from behind them, 'I've finished cleaning the pots. Anything else I can do for y…'
He stopped short as they all faced each other. A collage of photo's danced through her head at top speed. She can precious little memory of him but the pictures scattered around her house told her exactly who it was.
'You're…' he said at the same time as Winry, 'My vintage armour,' he finished just as she and Al managed to blurt out, 'Ed and Al's father!'
Winry cringed at his slip up and felt for poor Al until his father spoke up again.
'It's been, what, 10 years Alphonse?' Hohenheim asked.
'Yeah,' Al responded in a quiet voice.
'I heard what happened from Pinako, about your body and…'
'Right,' Al said again, stopping him.
There was an awkward silence between them. Though Winry could guess how Ed felt about his father, Al was a little harder to read. He never show anger in the same way Edward did, but a decade was a long time to be parted from someone. Finally it was Al who spoke again.
'So, um, Father…'
'Ah there he is,' a man interrupted, calling over from behind them.
'Mr Hohenheim,' the woman standing next to the man called.
'Are you busy? We could sure use your help?'
'Happy to oblige,' Hohenheim said, and with a quick wave of his hand walked away from Al. It was at that point Winry felt a fraction of the anger Ed did toward him. He had only just been reunited with his son and he was already walking away from him. She could tell from Al's pose he wasn't happy about it either. When the owner of the bar appeared and started to talk to him, Al's voice seemed distant. He was polite enough and indulged the man the in brief conversation, before declaring he was going to help rebuild too.
Winry called after him but he was too late. He instructed her to go and hide somewhere and was quickly out of sight. She had forgotten Yoki and the others were still there until they too made a swift exit and left her there alone.
When she turned to Rose the young woman had a beaming smile on her face. Before Winry could put up any form of a fight she found she was being dragged away by the woman who had flared up such jealousy in her earlier.
They finally came to a small but welcoming house. Rose quickly pulled off Winry's coat and scarf and asked her if she would care to take a bath. Winry could barely hold in her joy at the thought of a nice hot soak.
'Would you like a drink while I run the water?' Rose asked.
'Oh yes please,' Winry sighed. She slipped off most of the layers of clothing she had been bearing and sat on a chair. A small part of her kept it's guard up but in such a hospitable atmosphere it was hard not to feel comfortable.
After a nice cool drink Winry slipped herself into the water. The heat penetrated her aching muscles and the oils soothed her skin.
'Is the bath hot enough Winry?' Rose called from the bedroom.
'It's awesome!' Winry cried honestly, 'I'm in heaven, I can't remember the last time I took a bath.'
'I'm putting your clothes out here,' came Rose's voice again from just behind the screen.
'Okay, thank-you so much!' Winry replied. As she sunk deeper into the tub she mumbled about how nice Rose was. She couldn't very well apologise for all the accusations she had made earlier for she hadn't said them out loud. But she was very sorry for judging Rose so harshly. Being in love with someone could turn you into a monster sometimes.
'I think you're amazing,' Rose said to her, 'living on your own and working in an automail shop at your age. Did you do Ed's leg too?'
Winry laughed, 'Yes, we're old friend, I kinda felt like I had to.'
The mention of his name again stirred Winry's thoughts. The last she had heard he was missing, but perhaps by now somebody had heard something. She might even have been worrying over nothing and he was himself relaxing somewhere safe in a tub too…
Before her thoughts let her wander into a world she dare not tread, Rose spoke again.
'Wow, so you built the legs that support Ed! And when he came here, he helped us stand on our own. That makes you our saviours saviour!'
Winry didn't reply to this, or more she couldn't. She swelled with pride that such a small thing she had done had gone on to help so many people. She still didn't know exactly what Edward had done but Rose didn't seem the kind to lie. Whatever they had done for the city had helped everyone there. Their saviour, she had called him. A foul tempered pipsqueak with no sense of politeness who always butted his nose into other peoples business.
Joined: 27-January 05
From: a land called Honah Lee
Member No.: 6,466
Gender: Not Telling
Thanks you two, glad it was worth doing it.
Well this will be the last chapter for the moment as it leads right up to the point we last see Winry, and since I don't know what she's doing I can't speculate until she appears again. Not much happens here but it needed to bo done. Spoilers and all that up to chapter 82.
Edit: Updated 14th February, spoilers for manga and Brotherhood, up to episode 46.
***** Once she had dried off and dressed herself, Winry sat down to listen to Rose tell the story of exactly what had happened to their city. She explained about the rise of the church and how it became her whole world.
‘I completely fell for the church of Lets lies,’ she explained, ‘because they told me they could revive my dead boyfriend. The one day Ed and Al just waltzed in and revealed the truth.’
She paused to take a drink and then carried on.
‘Those who’d devoted their lives to Let, like me, were left depressed and disillusioned.’
‘What did they do to help you get through it?’ Winry asked, fascinated by Rose’s story.
‘Well Ed got really mad and said "stand on your legs and start walking forward".
Winry groaned and rubbed her forehead, ‘Sheesh why does he always have to rub salt into peoples wounds?’
Rose laughed, ‘I’m glad he got angry at us though. He opened everyone’s eyes, including me. Maybe the true cause of the revolt was people placing all their faith in miracles and not thinking for themselves. That’s why we are going to bring Reole back to prosperity without waiting for a miracle to do it for us. We’re going to recover through our own efforts.’
Rose sighed heavily as she started wistfully out of the window, ‘we’re all so grateful to Ed and Al. If the deceit had continued much longer we might have thought ourselves invincible and become one of those crazy armies “who don’t even fear death” or whatever they call them.’
Winry made a sound of recognition but could only appreciate a fraction of what Rose had said to her. Faith had a lot to answer for but it seemed hope was able to offer some answers. All it had taken was two young brothers with no belief in a God to uncover a deception that had convinced an entire city of its divinity.
‘I suppose you must find me stupid, falling for such lies in the belief I would be rewarded with my dead boyfriend back,’ Rose said, smiling at Winry weakly.
Winry put up both hands, ‘Of course I don’t! I think they were cruel to use such a thing to get to you. There is nothing stupid about wanting a loved one back. If it wasn’t for Ed and Al I suppose I would believe in anything if it would give me my parents back.’
Rose sat down in front of Winry, ‘It must have been difficult to see them in that state. Were they always so ready to get their bodies back?’
Winry traced back through her memory, ‘Al stood before me, a soul attached to a suit of armour, but the moment he spoke I knew nothing had changed. Ed took it much harder and disappeared in to a dark place we couldn’t get him back from. Then one day a man and woman from the military appeared. I don’t know what was said to him but Ed seemed to come back round. He wasn’t exactly the boy I had grown up with, I couldn’t expect him to be, but there was a fire burning within him. From that day I swore I would help them any way I could so…so…’
Winry trailed off before she could finish voicing that thought. She had already gone over this in her head time and time again. What could such independent young men find appealing in Rizembol? Of course it wasn’t for the benefit of the village she’d want them to return but there was no way she’d be selfish enough to ask them to return just for her.
‘Just an old friend you say?’ Rose said, smiling into her cup.
Winry flushed bright red, ‘Of course that’s all he is! Why would you even ask?’ ‘Oh I don’t know,’ Rose sighed, shrugging her shoulders, ‘a strong body, a good soul and intense golden eyes that shine like a fire is burning within…’
‘I GET IT,’ Winry snapped, before burying her face in her hands to hide her increasing embarrassment.
‘Just…don’t let anyone use whatever feelings you do have…as a weapon.’
Winry uncovered her face to look Rose square in the eye. An invisible understanding passed between them and Winry nodded lightly to show she understood.
‘Let’s go see if we can find Al, shall we Winry?’
With her knees drawn up to her chest and only some fresh air coming in, Winry wondered just how she had ended up in an empty water carrier. She felt stuffy and rather claustrophobic as the train bumped along. She could hear the conversations of the soldiers around her and so many voices speaking of war and devastation. She wanted to cover her ears and drown them out but she desperately sought any news of Ed’s whereabouts. None came.
Her last moments with Al had packed her head with more information than she was sure she could handle. What had stuck in her mind clearly was the "Promised Day" that she had been warned was coming soon. From what she could understand they would all be affected; they were all in danger from this strange man hidden underground. Part of her longed for an alternative life, where such worries were never a part of her existence. She had requested nobody hide anything from her anymore so she only had herself to blame, but the child in her wanted to cover her eyes and pretend it wasn’t happening.
She felt the train come to a halt and the familiar smells of her surroundings filtered through. A voice whispered harshly to her.
‘Miss, we need to seal the lid for a moment. It won’t be long.’
With all light shut out she was bumped about in her little tomb as they unloaded her from the train. Sure enough though they soon released the catch so some sun and air was allowed to find it’s way to her. Rolling along on wheels was a little easier but she couldn’t wait to get out.
‘Miss, we’re here,’ the soldier from before said, lifting the lid.
With a gasp of breath she thanked the men and stretched her aching legs. Her other guard told her the door was locked as she eased herself on to solid ground.
‘Today’s the Spring Sheep Festival,’ she explained, ‘Grandma and Den must still be there. This way, we can get in through the back door.’
Stepping back into her own house she felt a new sense of relief. Though she still wasn’t alone she knew a soft bed welcomed her at the tops of the stairs. She would have to wash and change too after being stuck in that barrel. Pushing open the door to her room she was greeted by darkness. Regretfully flicking on the light her heavy eyes relaxed and the familiarity of her own room meant she didn’t bump into something. Pulling open her closet and seeking out some clean clothes she could feel that there was a thin layer of dust on each surface. She muttered to herself about cleaning up as she peeled off her oversized shirt.
Grabbing the bottom of her vest and pulling it up to just below her bust her eyes finally darted across the room. The last thing she had expected was to be greeted with a pair of shining, burning, golden eyes. The sudden shock and embarrassment of what she nearly done revealed itself in a vocal outburst.
The next few moments were a blur. First her bodyguards burst in, then the men who had arrived with Ed who had also cried out in surprise. Next the familiar sound of her faithful dog Den, first barking and then yelping in surprise as a familiar face picked her up by her scruff.
‘Ling?’ she called out.
‘Oh, you know him?’ he replied.
Unable to inquire about his odd response due to the arguments and noise around her Winry was unable to control her temper. A loud cry of frustration and the brandishing of a spare wrench and the men were cast from her room at top speed. She whipped round to Ed, ready to give him the earful he deserved, when all the worry she had bottled up for him stopped her in her tracks.
Holding back the tears she mumbled, ‘I was so scared…’
He stumbled a couple of times before replying, ‘Y...yeah…I’m really sorry…I’m glad you’re safe too.’
She took a deep breath to force back the tears that tried to form, before giving him a beating for the previous embarrassment. Angry and somewhat ashamed she grabbed the shirt she was wearing and threw it back over her shoulders.
‘What’s all this now? There are more of you filthy bums dirtying up my house now? Winry?’
‘Grandma!’ Winry cried, setting eyes upon her guardian finally.
‘Thank goodness you’re alright,’ her grandmother sighed.
‘Yeah, sorry I worried you,’ Winry replied, a little taken aback by the tenderness in her grandmothers voice. Though there was no doubt she loved her, her grandmother was not one for sentiment and affection.
‘Now who are they?’ Pinako demanded, back to her old self.
As the men explained themselves, Winry took a closer look at Ling. His foolish grin had been replaced with a more sinister look and his clothes were now all black.
‘Ling, something seems different about you,’ she stated.
‘Oops, I guess I never told you,’ Ed mumbled.
‘I’m Greed, nice to meet you,’ Ling…Greed replied.
With a confused look she turned back to Ed, who sighed and instructed, ‘Let’s go down to the basement, I’ll explain there.’
It wasn’t the most detailed explanation she had ever been given but she knew enough to get a better idea of the situation. Ling had offered his body to the homunculus Greed and he had broken away from the other creatures and had joined forced with Ed on the understanding Ed was actually working for him. Such a motley crew couldn’t wander round free so they were hiding.
‘Why did you come back here though? Hiding in Central would have been a lot easier,’ she stated.
‘Because I said so,’ Greed said in a matter of fact tone, ‘There’s no way to tell where they have eyes in Central. Plus I gotta make sure his automail is all tuned up.’
‘You better get to work Winry,’ Grandma Pinako suggested behind her, ‘you made all his latest stuff, I can’t do the retuning.’
‘That’s right,’ Winry muttered. Standing up quickly she commanded Ed upstairs.
‘We better do this in my room. Everyone else should stay down here!’ Greed gave a sinister looking side grin, ‘Only his automail, I don’t expect you to give his whole body a work over…’
‘If I had said something like that you’d have beaten me to death,’ Ed grumbled as Winry focussed on her work.
‘You aren’t a half-human, half-demon prince from a far off country.’
‘I do apologise for not being so interesting…’
‘I didn’t say it was interesting! I just don’t know who he is anymore, or what he’s capable of!’
‘Now you’re saying he’s stronger than me!’
They had been sniping like this from the moment he had sat down and she had set to work. His temper was unreadable and she was finding it hard to keep her own. There wasn’t too much to be done but the time dragged painfully by. There was so much she wanted to say but in the mood he was in she dare not.
‘I met Rose,’ she said carefully.
‘Oh? You went to Lior?’
‘Yes,’ she sighed, grateful she seemed to have found some calm ground, ‘they are rebuilding the city with their own hands. Rose said she is grateful to you and Al for revealing to them the lie that was being fed to them. I think she would have liked to have seen you again.’
She turned away when she said this to hide her face. There was a moment of silence as she began to tidy her tools. Finally it was Edward who spoke again.
‘So Lior’s starting to prosper again. That’s good, I always wondered how they made out. And Al?’
‘He’s working with Mr Miles,’ Winry explained, surprised he hadn’t asked about his brother sooner, ‘they can plan much better with an Alchemist who knows about everything on the team. Your Father went to Central ahead of him. He’s in some slum called “Kanama”, you should go see him and explain the situation.’
Finally able to turn and face him again she asked, ‘So do you know anything about this “Promised Day” stuff?’
He frowned slightly and looked toward the floor, ‘Yeah, Greed told me. That day will be a chance for us to get our bodied back…the day Amestris might be obliterated.’
She turned away again, unable to say anything. She concentrated on cleaning her tools thoroughly when he called her attention on him.
‘Hey,’ he sighed with a heavy voice, ‘take Grandma and Den and go hide in a different country.’
She clenched her fist, which happened to fall on one of her wrenches. Landing a powerful blow on his head she snapped.
‘Are you serious? What’s the point of telling only your friends and family to run? Are you saying you can’t stop all that from happening.’
‘We can stop it!’ he cried, recovering himself, ‘and we will! But there is a small chance…’
‘There’s no small chance, there’s no nothing!’ she shouted back, ‘You have to stop those guys and protect our country! And you and Al have to get your original bodies back! And I have to do whatever I can to help!’
He was surprised by her outburst at first, but then he grew annoyed with it. He wasn’t angry at her as such, just at the situation. Looking down into her tight frown he sighed and broke their gaze.
‘Geez, talk about simplifying things…’ he grumbled as he picked up his shirt and made for the door.
‘Now what? You never give in that easily!’ she called from behind him. He had had enough of arguing with her and ignored her last cry for his attention as he slammed the door behind himself.
She glared at the door behind him before giving in to her upset and letting her eyes fall to the floor. Something just wasn’t the same anymore and he wouldn’t even argue with her. Her heart began to flutter with panic as her oldest fear was making itself apparent. He was breaking away from her so much he would no longer have a conversation with her. She shouldn’t have hit him again.
Flopping down in to the seat he had just been sat in she looked at her hands. She had a scar or two from the mistakes she had made while Granny taught her how to work on automail. The odd mark where a callus might have once sat. She had even broken a nail on her thumb. They were the hands of a mechanic, and to him it was all they would ever be.
‘Winry! They are leaving!’ Grandma called from downstairs. She didn’t want to wave him goodbye this time, there was something too final about it this time. She slowly descended the stairs to find everyone on the dark porch outside.
‘Thanks Winry, Grandma!’ Ed called over his shoulder.
‘You gonna be okay?’ Pinako asked, ‘The trains don’t run at this hour.’
‘We’re all outsiders,’ Greed replied, ‘It’s easier for us to just slip back into the shadows.’
‘And that Promised Day is almost here,’ Ed added, ‘we can’t waste any time.’
As he turned back away from her, Winry finally managed to utter, ‘Make sure you listen to what your dad has to say Ed.’
‘Yeah yeah,’ he said waving, ‘and you make sure you stay hidden.’
She resolved that this was all the goodbye she would get until Ed turned back to her with a smile on his face.
‘I’ll be back when all this “promised” crap is over,’ he informed her, ‘So bake me an apple pie and keep it warm.’
She froze up. Inside her emotions danced about each other like children at a party and were just as awkward and out of control. She had built herself up for the last goodbye she would ever say to Edward Elric, but something in his voice made her believe every word of what he had said. He was almost out of sight before her chest finally permitted her one final cry.
Joined: 27-January 05
From: a land called Honah Lee
Member No.: 6,466
Gender: Not Telling
Thank-you Tombow and kkg22104. I have now begun the process of editing older chapters for my writing has somewhat improved since I first started writing. Plus we now have Brotherhood to follow which had recently reached the point I started at.
I also had it suggested to me to try a new chapter, simply guessing what Winry's been up to rather than wait for her to re-appear. Good idea or not?
Joined: 27-January 05
From: a land called Honah Lee
Member No.: 6,466
Gender: Not Telling
No spoilers beyond Chapter 84 and so far this is just me making it up. Winry is once again left behind to wait for The Promised Day and the Elric's safe return. Will she cope?
She opened one heavy eye to the violent morning sun pouring through her window. Though she awoke in familiar surroundings she was ill at ease, having only fallen asleep in the early hours. Long into the night she had stared at the ceiling, willing her mind to close down and let her rest.
Edward had been out of sight for five minutes before she had finally turned away and re-entered the house, closing the door behind her. In a desperate bid to busy her hands Winry had first cleaned up her own mess, and ended up clearing the whole house. It was during this manic cleaning spree she had discovered a discarded jumper sat at the foot of her bed. There was no question of the owner. Without changing into her nightwear she had buried her face in that black cloth and lain on her bed. The tears had at least remained at bay for the time being.
Still with the jumper clenched securely to her chest she trudged her way downstairs to find her Grandmother sat at the table with a hot drink in her hand. There was a lone cup opposite her, waiting to be scooped up by Winry’s grateful hands.
‘What time is it?’ Winry sighed, rubbing her eyes.
‘It has gone eleven already. I thought you might need the rest. I have never seen the place so tidy,’ Pinako replied, smiling.
‘Most of the mess was made by me, or at least by the men who were keeping an eye on me.’
‘Or by Edward and the group that were with him,’ Pinako added, keeping a close eye on her Granddaughter to gauge her reaction. Winry’s face remained still but Pinako was sure she saw the girls grip on the shirt tighten.
Pinako had first met Hohenheim when she was in her late twenties. She had been almost completely bowled over by the handsome stranger who had waltzed into her world. Apart from his dashing good looks and his charm, he was also impossibly gentle and kind. They could talk long into the night on many subjects that were of no significance. Somehow he seemed to make everything he said sound wise.
He had also vanished just as quickly, only to reappear some twenty years later. In his face he seemed to have aged barely five years but in his manner he was an older gentleman. In that time Pinako had given her heart to another and had her son. She was never meant to be with Hohenheim and she knew this more than ever when he fell in love with Trisha. She was too old by that time to have retained her crush on him but a small piece of her heart was dedicated to him. It was she who had introduced Hohenheim to Trisha and couldn’t have been happier when they had announced that Trisha was carrying a baby. She had Sara spent hours moaning and laughing over their swelling stomachs.
Winry had arrived a few months before Edward. Both of them announced their presence into the world with gusto. For a while in fact, they were only ever quiet when they were together. The first time Pinako saw her Granddaughter really smile was while she watched Edward play. It was hard to believe that had all started with a mechanic watching a blonde haired stranger walk in and out of her life.
Here she was, over four decades since that first meeting seeing the same look in her Granddaughter’s eyes. It was the look of the forlorn and the lost, the confused and the hurt. What Pinako had believed only a harmless crush had morphed into an entirely new monster.
‘Is there much work to do?’ Winry asked, sitting down and finally taking a reviving sip of sweet tea. It was at this point she finally took notice that she had the black material tangled around her fingers. Subtly as she could she placed it on the table as if it were a rag she would use for polishing.
‘No more than usual. Winry, about last night…’
‘Well usually we always have small but steady repairs to do. I’ve learnt so much in my time away Grandma. We don’t have all the technology I had in Rush Valley but I can do without it just as well. I know I shouldn’t be so vain but I’m really an excellent mechanic.’
‘Already late in the day anyway so I better get go…’
Winry’s words faltered and with down turned eyes she fell silent. She feared looking up at her Grandmother in case her eyes gave away what she wouldn’t dare say.
Pinako sighed, ‘I heard you fight last night. I think it must have been the shortest fight there has ever been between you two. Is there anything I should know?’
A noise escaped Winry’s throat that was somewhere between a sob and a laugh, ‘He knows he can’t win.’
Before Pinako could inquire any further Winry darted back up the stairs, calling behind her some poor excuse about needing to wash before she did anything else. The old woman sighed and gathered up the cup left behind, choosing to ignore the black jumper left behind by that wayward young man.
Just in time here is part two of my little story. Please take heed that there are spoilers for chapter 104 abound. I would also ask you to please take a look at a piece of artwork that helped inspired me. fma-apple pie by the artist na-na-o
The One Who Waits
Lying in the bath took her back to the few days before when she had first met Rose. To think that she let envy get the better of her was now laughable. No matter how beautiful Rose might have been, Ed would never have noticed her in a greater context then just being another human being. Perhaps what had really upset Winry was exactly that knowledge. What chance did she have of being anything more than a human being to him if a beautiful stranger in need of rescuer did nothing for him? She sunk deeper into the water. Her own selfish thoughts made her feel dirty and inhuman. People she knew, people she loved, where out there at that very moment risking their lives to so that she may comfortably bathe.
"Winry," came her Grandmother's voice from behind the door, "does this shirt need washing?"
"No!" Winry cried, "well, I don't know!"
"You were sat in one of those water tanks wearing it. You spent all night cleaning wearing it."
Winry flushed and could only mutter a groaned yes. She was sixteen and had adopted a new comfort blanket. So protective over it was she in such a short space of time, logic had died a swift death. She clenched her fists under the water and barely flinched and she pushed her nails into a newly developing callous. She sat in that state until long after the water had turned cold and the pain in her hands was numb.
"Grandma, do we have any apples?"
Pinako looked up from her work, "Apples? I think so, but they might be too bitter to eat."
"I don't plan to eat them raw. Would they be okay in a pie?"
"I should think so, when did you learn to cook apple pie?"
Winry looked up at her Grandmother, "it was months ago now. I need to get better though, it needs to be…perfect."
Pinako decided better than to ask this time.
Her hands were rested on either side of a rolling pin, which she had been using to flatten the pastry for the lid of her pie. It was the third time she had put a pie together and yet she still wasn't happy. In a flash she had gone from master chef at work to novice. Everything Gracier had taught her had blown away on the breeze and she stared at the half completed pie with anger and despair. Her eyes burned as if she were running a high fever. It was the tears she was not letting fall that torched her eyes in a bid to be freed.
Pinako heard an almighty crash and ran to the kitchen. Winry stood staring at the broken plate with a hand clasped over her mouth. Her shoulders trembled as she watched her Grandmother retrieve the rolling pin and the pieces of crockery from the floor.
'I never liked that plate anyway. Not sure why we had it on the wall,' Pinako said in a quiet voice.
'I…I…I don't know…how it happened,' Winry gasped, hand still clutched tightly over her gaping mouth.
'You are all worked up Winry,' sighed Pinako, 'Go back to bed for a while and settle yourself in. You have been on the move for too long and your body is too active to be stood in the kitchen…'
'But I have to get the pie right! I have to make it now because…because…'
Pinako finally stood back up and placed the evidence on the table. Looking at her Granddaughter broke her heart. Winry's eyes scrunched up as tight as her fists but not one tear fell. She had once found crying such a release for her sorrow and frustrations.
'I promised I wouldn't cry…' Winry choked, her words barely audible.
'That's it Winry. I won't have this. You haven't been focused since Edward left and are you suggesting you won't be until he gets back? What am I to do? It is as if you never came back and I am to go on working alone!'
Winry just stood staring ahead with glassy eyes. Unsure whether or not her Granddaughter, Pinako pointed a figure skyward to indicate Winry was to head to her room. Much as she hated to treat her this way, this was not the time to tip toe around teenage emotions.
'Go and get your head together. Forget the boy. Do not believe him when he says he will be coming back. He is more like his Father than he knows.'
She didn't cry. She didn't scream. Winry's face morphed in to a complete blank and she left the room in silence. Whatever Pinako expected it had been anything but immediate acceptance. She wanted the tears and she wanted the screaming, anything to snap her Granddaughter out of this love lorn daze. What Pinako had said, she did truly believe. It was easier for Winry if she didn't find out the hard way that those with Golden Eyes are inevitably wanderers.
She thought it was the smell of iron. The stronger it became the more she was aware it was twinned with the unmistakable smell of the organic. Blood, yes she knew it well. Her eyes began to swim as the crimson liquid seemed to ooze around her feet, crawling along the ground in silence. The warmth of it nauseated Winry as she walked carefully forward. Just ahead she was aware of a mass on the floor. It wheezed and gasped for air with a pitch no human was capable of. She wanted to escape but her legs carried her forward. She wanted to close her eyes but they stared ahead until the mass came in to focus.
She screamed and fell backward into the sea of red. She retched as she tried to get to her feet. Her weak legs would not obey and she began to crawl in a desperate bid to get away. Looking behind her to make sure the monster did not move her hand landed on a new surface. It was soft and wet. Looking down she saw she was on top of a giant eye. In it's iris she saw her reflection. She was not a sixteen-year-old girl but a young boy, with golden eyes and golden hair.
Her eyes finally snapped open and she sat bolt upright. Gasping for air and soaked with cold sweat, but in her own bed in her own village. Her body shook and her eyes darted across the floor, illogically searching for the monster that had stolen her dream.
It had been over two days since Edward had left. After the harsh but painfully true words of her Grandmother, Winry had got back to her regular life without another word. Customers were fairly regular and when she wasn't working on anyone directly she applied her new found skills to work in progress. But no matter how much she occupied her thoughts during the day, she couldn't escape her dreams at night. She knew what the monster was, and in a strange way she could accept that as part of her dreams for it brought her closer to him.
No, the dream that hurt the most had come the night before. He was there beside her, now the handsome adult, with their child in his arms. The sun shone brightly upon their happy world as Alphonse approached, now too a man with a warm right hand and a family awaiting him.
Everything she had to accept was almost certainly an impossibility.
Washed, smiling and without a word she ate her breakfast and prepared for the day. Careful not to make it obvious she cast her eyes around for the lost black jumper. She suspected Grandmother Pinako had hidden it but she dare not ask.
They were working on a customer when a distant rumble disturbed the relative peace. It grew louder, like an approaching stampede, and the ground began to tremble in earnest. She knew it, the reason Edward had told her to leave had arrived, the Promised Day.
Her heart stalled in her chest, like taking a faltering step in the dark. It hit her again harder and she fell to the ground, much as she had in her nightmare. The red sea foamed in front of her eyes and she felt a great eye upon her. It was everywhere and yet no-where, pulling at her very soul, persuading it to let go of it's mortal casing.
Her Grandmothers voice called her from a distant shore, but neither woman could be reached anymore. Amongst the ever increasing darkness Winry was aware of a golden light radiating the only warmth left in the world. She reached out with her last ounce of strength and uttered one final sound with her last breath.