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Toby-Chan
Comedy seems popular here... Hmmmm... time to please popular demand!

This is another of my more popular ff.net stories. (I'm such a sellout) I'm not as proud of it overall as my other things (But then again, I'm more of a critic of myself than any of my reviewers... save for that n00b who flamed me for writing that parody ShishioxIwanbou fic... moving on... dry.gif) but I do have a few scenes I'm a little proud of, and on the plus side, this is the first and ONLY multi-chapter fic I've ever finished. (It's 3 chapters... whoopdee friggin doo!)

Anyhow, here it is!

Title: The Joys of Growing

Rating: PG- for brief mild language and... medical themes tongue.gif

Summary: Ah, that beautiful time in a young woman's life... NOT! Neither Winry, nor the Elrics have any idea what's going on, and the brothers have to deal with a tempramental PMS-ing Winry who's convinced she's dying of a rare disease. What's a poor mechanic to do?

(Timeline notes: Set in the 3 year desparity between episode 9 and 10. Ed's 13 and Winry's 12, about a year after her first visit. Located in East City. Excuse me for any rank messups. Heck, even Funimation messes them up; I can't be expected to do better!)


Chapter 1: Strange Little thing




"Finally made it!" The blonde twelve year old declared, wearily stretching her limbs, as she exited the train, "If I didn't know better, I'd have thought they were taking a longer route this time." She blinked, and took a deep breath. This was no time for pouting about a train ride. She was getting her chance to see her favorite Elrics, and she had to remain happy.

... At least as happy as her stomach would allow. She blamed the ache on what must have been some spoiled food off of the snack trolly on the train. She should have known better than to try an unknown confection on a speeding vehicle.

She inhaled once again, with the scent of the station swirling around her, a scent that should have comforted the borderlining obsessive junior mechanic, but somehow, even gas fumes from the most advanced new engines out there couldn't ease her jitters, and she found herself absntmindedly pining for the country air of Rizenbul.

The bustle of passers by jolted her briefly back to reality, and she did her best to shake off her apprehensions, and get moving.

"Let's see..." She unfolded a crinkled piece of notebook paper, with ripped edges, showing how it had been messily and carelessly torn from it's book. She squinted a bit, as she walked and tried to interpret the squiggly pen lines that must have translated as a map in some alchemic language. The illustrated streets, and sidewalks were decorated with some recognizeable symbols, and charicatures of people, compliments of Edward's ever-so developed sense of art. It was kind of cute, in a way, that in spite of all the neatness required in drawing transmutation circles and alchemic formulas, Ed was still doodling as sloppily as the day he turned five.

"Hmm..." She scrunched her nose in thought a bit, heavy luggage in one hand, map in the other, "This...," She gazed at an anthropomorpic smiling flower scribbled on a square , "Must be the flower shop." She looked up once again, siting that she had the proper direction, based on the corner florist where she now stood.

"Then... looks like I'm taking a right on... cow?" She paced in the indicated direction of the map, to discover a meat market that had been represented by a happy looking cow doodle. Ed could have a rather morbid sense of humor sometimes.

She continued her faithful journey, through the flock of birds (Gardens), past the french-looking chef's hat (Bakery), and over the troll (A bridge- probably Ed's most creative analogy), and finally found the brick building, where Ed and Al were temporarily renting a flat. (It was illustrated by small victory-sign holding Elric brothers, and a scrawled out portrait of Winry, wrench in hand.)

She ascended the stairs, and found the room number, gently knocking. No response. Knocked louder. No response.

"Edo! Al! I'm coming in!" She called, cracking open the door. She was greeted by a mess of papers, books, discarded wrappers, and Lord-Knows-What in the far corner.

"Geez." She moaned, tapping her toe, "For a temporary home, those boys sure can mess things up." She scanned the sea of corruption again, before landing on a note in the middle of the floor.

"Eh?" She picked it up.

-Winry, We are down at headquarters. Make yourself at home. Signed,-

There was a tiny minimalist Edward doodle with it's tongue stuck out in lieu of a signature at the bottom of the page.

"What, they think I'm gonna just get comfortable in a dump like this?" Winry sighed, noting once again that her stomach was hurting. She grew more irritated by the second. What was this? They just expected her to stick around there and wait for them? Maybe tidy up for them while she was at it? Maybe they wanted her to just wait and greet them when they came home, and declare 'Hi, how was your day?' like a housewife in a book... Or maybe they wanted her to cook dinner... and just do the women's work for them. They didn't need an automail mechanic at all! They just wanted a she-slave How DARE they? Stupid, mindless, insnsitive sexist JERKS!!!

The girl didn't realize that she'd already clenched her fist and wrung the life out of the note she'd been left.

"Make fun of me, will they?" She left her suitcase and slammed the door, turning on her heel, "Well maybe I'll just pay them a visit! TO HEADQUARTERS!!!"

z.z.z

"I'm telling you colonel, all I need is a few days off. I can't finish my report without my automail in place. After my mechanic gets the repairs done, I'll be good as new and have my writing hand back."

"You write with your left hand, FullMetal."

"Shut up!"

"If you're going to lie, at least do it properly; at minimum, believably. Perhaps you should work up a sympathetic story."

"You wouldn't believe me anyway." Ed gave one of his signature sulk/sarcasm faces, to the undefeatable prodigy that was Colonel Mustang. Mustang, of course, was already cooking up his own story,

"How about, 'Oh Colonel! Please have mercy! I have to go work at the orphanage to cook for little children, because it was my late grandmother's dying wish to have me be helpful to others.' "

"That's pretty lame."

"Or perhaps, "Kind and handsome Colonel, surely you would give me a few days off to perfect my pathetic alchemy skills."

"I wouldn't say go as far to say 'kind and handsome'... Hey! Who's pathetic?!"

"Or maybe, "I have a near homicidal girlfriend waiting at home for me who just might beat me up like the lame girly-man I am if I don't spend some more time with her-"

This comment was punctuated by a just-as-described-homicidal blonde girl slamming the door to Roy's office open. Both Flame and Fullmetal (And FullMetal's little brother who had been quietly sitting out the verbal sparring in the corner) turned their heads in shock and fear.

"W-Winry?" Al was the first to speak.

"Al!" Winry was snapped out of her rage-streak at the very sound of her childhood friend's voice. Of course, being snapped out of a homicidal intent also caused a momentary lapse in memory... what was she doing there...? There had to be some reason... something to do with... cooking... and a messy apartment...?

"Um..." She covered the silence by breaking into a standard Winry-ish cheer, "I just came here to gret you guys, and walk you home. Eh heh heh heh!..." She scratched the back of her head.

"...Shouldn't we be the ones greeting you?"

The comment caused a brief rebound into her previous fit of rage.

"Well maybe if you had greeted me at the station, like gentleman, then I wouldn't have had to!" She snapped shortly, and stared at the golden haired boy, who smirked apologetically.

"Sorry, Winry. Al and I just had to, uh, discuss something with the stupid colonel." Roy interrupted,

"Yes, indeed. FullMetal here had a poor starving kitten to attend to."

"Would you shut up?"

"Kitten-?..." Winry confusedly repeated, when her eyes strayed to the limp automail hanging at Ed's side, and all other thoughts were immediately replaced.

"Ed! What on earth did you do to your automail?" She shrieked, rushing to pick up the metal arm and examine the damage, with a blushing Ed, and Al, and an amused Roy watching.

"You said it was only a minor problem!" Ed scratched the back of his head with his remaining arm.

"Well, it was..."

"This is terrible! Your screws for F-7 to F-13 are missing, this plate has a dent in it. And... Good Lord, Edward! What did you do to this ligament connector?"

Ed smiled and blushed guiltily, trying to act as though he admitted he'd known what he'd done wrong when he was really wondering what on earth a ligament connector was supposed to do.

"Ah- Um... so... Winry... how have you been?" Alphonse timidly asked, trying to make small talk as Winry went about her examination, and wondered when this had turned from a meeting into a check-up.

"Ugh, Terrible." Winry said, coastering once again between her hot and cold phases, as she flipped the mechanical arm from side to side, inspecting each screw with a critical eye.

"First, I was almost late for the train because I slept in. Then, it was the loooongest ride I'd ever been on. Then I got some bad food on the train which is making me sick as we speak, and I had to go to your messy neandrathal cave only to find you not there-!" She punctuated this last statement unintentionally by twisting Ed's Automail and causing a yelp to emit from the young state alchemist.

She finally sighed,

"As I thought. This is worse than I planned for. You're going to have to wait for a few days while I order a new part for you."

"Aw, man, Winry!"

"Don't 'Aw man', me. It was your fault for being irresponsible. You'll just have to go back to using circles for your alchemy. It'll be good practice for you." She tinkered a bit before continuing, "Oh yeah. And Granny says hi, and she also says she hopes you're being a good boy over here."

Roy chuckled a bit from where he sat,

"Looks like all of your situations came true... save for the orphans."

"Hn?" Winry asked, not looking up from her work, "Orphans? What orphans?"

Ed breathed exasperatedly and waved the subject away,

"Nothing. Nothing at all."

z.z.z

The three walked down the cobblestone street, each with their own topic of conversation that they were simultaneously trying to edge in. It was like a sudden relapse into young childhood, that they were together again. Yet even with her merry demeanor, Winry felt a little dampened by her stomach ache that should have been gone by now.

"Nngh." She groaned, favoring her stomach.

"Are you okay, Winry?" Alphonse inquired, noting the girl's slightly twisted expression.

"I'm FINE!" She snapped just as suddenly as she returned to her cheery self. An odd... almost bipolar reaction, Ed noticed, mentally checking it off, as he continued walking with his hands behind his head. Al, on the other hand, put another little concern into his worry bank.

Winry suddenly paused as if by instinct, and did a double take at the flashy store window she'd just passed.

"Wooooooow!" She declared, with a sparkle in her eye, pressing her face against the window, and speaking with an affection that was usually reserved only for the finest sparkly tools.

The brothers looked at eachother with a bit of confusion, and forlornment. Since when was Winry so fond of sweets?

"That chocolate looks really good right now..." She mused, her features melting into an almost cat-like saccharine appearance.

"Didn't you say you had a stomach ache?" Ed piped. He was met with a glare that could have melted steel.

"Winry wants chocolates; Winry gets chocolates."

Both were frozen in mortification, that not only might this suddenly static Winry decide to leave them abandoned and unrepaired, but also that she might cause either of them serious bodily harm.

"Well... I guess if you want some..." Ed said, cautiously approaching her.

"It's the least you could do, for making me wait," She chided.

"Fine. Let's get some chocolate."

"Thank you Ed!" Winry cried, with a quick tackle hug, "You're the best!"

z.z.z

"Honestly," Ed moaned, to his brother, "It's enough that she wanted chocolate, but did she have to get the most expensive kind?"

"I can hear you over there." Winry called from her end of the room, as she turned to face them with half a block of chocolate hanging from her mouth, "You should be grateful. I'm your mechanic. I need brain food!"

"I thought fish was your declared brain food," Ed argued, a slight irritation surfacing.

"And do you guys have fish? Do you even have any food besides fast food in here? Honestly, this place makes our trash dump look clean."

"Nobody said you had to stay here." Ed said, turning on his chair and crossing his arms.

Winry pouted and bit her lip, seeming on the verge of tears,

"Not a very nice thing to say!" She yelled, fists stuck firmly to her hips, "I'm just trying to help you."

Al watched them ricochet back and forth, and wondered if this was what people called a 'lover's quarrel'.

"Fine then! You don't want me around?"

"I didn't say that, Winry. You're overreacting!"

"Am not!" She turned and stomped away.

"Wait! Where are you going!"

"To the bathroom. I feel sick."

She slammed and locked the bathroom door, leaving a guilty Edward and a confused Alphonse. She stayed in there, crying, Al assumed, for a good long time, as the brothers both tried to be quiet and act normal, hoping maybe Winry would get over it and come out.

She didn't. In fact, they almost forgot she was there, in all her silence, until the air was sliced with a piercing scream.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!" came the shrill cry. Both brothers stood up, altert, rushing to the door, to see what was the matter.

"Winry! Winry, what's the matter?" Ed yelled, pounding on the door, with a worried brother behind him. "Don't come in!" She shrieked just as shrilly. Ed stood, perplexed backing away from the door,

"Winry... what is it?"

"Nothing!" came the response.

It certainly didn't sound like nothing...

The door unlocked with a click, and Winry's mortified face popped out. She looked at the brothers, bit her lip, then dashed to a folded blanket on the sofa. She swiftly picked it up, and rushed back to the bathroom, where the door was clicked and locked shut again. Through the door, came her muffled declaration,

"I'm sleeping in here tonight!"
hidden_death
lol!
Le Monkey
cool.. Looking vv funny..

Keep it going..
darkangelslayer
*laughing and pointing at computer screen*
that's funny. its weird how in the anime they never mention that stuff.
Chiyo
It all clicked at chocolate....its so true it scares me. Mood swings can be ugly...especially with a male in the area.

Keep it going, this is very amusing.
Yukina_Raven
laugh.gif This is great! Poor Winry... Actually... I think I feel more sorry for Ed and Al. XD; Keep going, this is very funny! Wonderfully written as well!
Toby-Chan
A/N Grrrr, I took too long to update! (Almost forgot I had this fic here!)]

Sorry, sorry. Chappy 2!

Warnings: Um... senselessness, and an Azumanga Daioh referense. (Gotta love Osaka)




Winry sat against the tiled wall, knees drawn defensively to her chest, as she tapped her finger and nervously weighed the possible scenarios of reasons as to what on earth was going on here.

A scratch? No... not likely.

Internal bleeding? That meant you'd have to rupture something... she hadn't done anything rough enough to bring that about.

Maybe it was like those people she'd read about once, who bled randomly from the palms and forehead in retribution for committing mortal sins. Oh, God! Was she a sinner? She couldn't remember committing anything bad. Was this about that lemon pie she'd snuck and blamed it on the dog? Or maybe it was the time she beat up Edward and employed her cuteness to get out of the consequences. (Actually, that happened on numerous occasions, but for her conscience's sake, we shall not bring up that piece of trivia.)

'No, no, Winry. It can't be. You've never committed any mortal sins,' she tried to comfort herself, 'And besides... that happened along time ago, and those people bled from the forehead... That most certainly wasn't within her region of injury.

"Oooh!" She pressed her fists against the sides of her head, trying to squeeze out some sort of answer. When no revelation came, and she was instead left with an aching head, she let loose and accepted the theory of her fate she had concluded.

She was dying.

Yes, that was the only way it could be explained. Some strange rare disease she probably picked up, from something foreign being shipped on her train, that only affected beautiful, cute, peppy, young automail engineers.

'I can't die! I don't wanna die! I'm only twelve! I at least wanted to know what it was like to slip on a banana peel!' (The typical statement in such a situation would usually be "I wanted to fall in love at least once", but that is ever so cliched, and Winry-Chan most certainly isn't one to be beaten by cliches at a time so close to her tragic demise, now, is she?)

She set her palms against the floor, with some gaining resolve and lifted her head up.

"If I'm going to die, I might as well go down memorably!" She paused, halfway through this sentence, reconsidering the potentially dangerous situations this could bring her through, and toned it down to a slightly more responsible notch, "Or... just be really nice... I guess."

She stood up, and breathed, determined to be so nice, that everyone couldn't help but cry, and say nice things at her funeral, and maybe even make Edward insist willingly that in spite of the cruel heartless comment he made at the age of five, she really wasn't an un-cute violent tomboy, but a sincere, sweet and motherly type.

"Yes." She decided, "That would be an excellent way to go."

Having already prepared herself against the horrid injury through experimental use of the contents of the first aid kit in the bathroom cupboard, she swung open the bathroom door, and stood in the frame, menacingly standing, all ready to be the nicest darn person on the face of the earth.... within reason.

She scanned the messy room, where Ed and Al were lying on their cots. Ed was sprawled accross his bed, not unlike a large human-colored slab of moss stuck to the surface, and Al quietly lay on his own cot, sleeping- or at least- feigning sleep.

The morning sunlight spilled in stripes through the apartment, and although the chaotic mess in the one-room flat made it appear as though at some point, the drop of a pin just might trigger a putrid avalanche of old snack-food bags and dirty underwear, there was a sort of sense of tranquility... in a loose sense of the term.

"Ed, Al..." She whispered, tiptoeing around an old comic book, and leaning forward patiently.

"Rngrphsfad...," Ed responded, turning to his side, and letting his arm hang over the end of the frame. Al politely, indicated he was awake, with a quiet, "Yes."

Winry nodded at the armored boy, but then turned back at the sleeping alchemist, hands moving into fists, which found themselves planted on her hips.

"Edward..." She spoke, a little less softly, but still trying to maintain her intended angelic demeanor.

He tossed and covered his face with a pillow, and muttered something incoherent.

She began to ball her fists a little more tightly. Honestly, it was going to be very hard to be the kind and perfect sister figure for him if he was just asleep for it. She was dieing, here! At least he could have the decency to wake up and acknowledge her...

"Edward ELRIC!!!!!!!" She yelled, yanking the drawstring shade causing it to snap upwards in time with her morning wake up yell.

"Kyyyaaagaganya!" was what sounded to be the exclamation coming from the newly ressurected blond as he sprang, as if through electric shock from his sleep. He found himself with his legs remaining on his bed, and his head and arms on the floor, a rather uncomfortable position.

"Muamua zaffor!" He yelled into the pillow, which, if one were to filter the audio muffling caused by the pillow, would have translated as, "What was that for!?"

Winry snapped back into her decidedly cheery demeanor, and clasped her hands together, with an all-too suspect smile.

"Good morning to you too, big brother Edward!" She sang, tilting her head to the side.

"Brother... what the he-"

"It's a beautiful day, isn't it? The sun is shining so wonderfully. Have you ever had the chance to admire such a lovely light before?"

"Not one that was forcibly burned into my retinas, no." Winry was too caught up to pay any heed to this sarcastic comment.

"And can you hear the way the birds are singing? I bet you can, big brother Alphonse, dear! Oh, you always were so sweet. Such a friend to the animals... give me a hug!" She took action upon her words without hesitation, and grabbed the boy's head into an affectionate embrace.

If Alphonse Elric, at that point in time, were to have the ability to turn beet red in embarassment, and confusion, he most certainly would have.

"How about I make you some breakfast, big brother?" She sprang over to the cupboard, and swung upon the doors as gleefully as possible, only to be met with a half a box of baking soda, some flour and two dust bunnies who probably just wanted their 'alone time'.

"Edo... When was the last time you went shopping?" She asked, trying to mask her temper.

"Eheheheh," Edward nervously scratched the back of his head, "Well, we don't need all that much food around here, and usually I just get something while I'm out..."

"You poison yourself with fast food, brother dear? Oh how terrible!"

"It's not that bad... and can you cut it with the 'brother-dear'? It's getting kinda creepy." Edward shifted his eyes nervously, to Al, who was providing him with no clues as to how to deal with this.

"But,..." Winry sniffled, sidling up to Ed, "We grew up together. We're just like family! We should be able to be affectionate, shouldn't we?"

"Hitting people with tools counts as affection?"

A hypocritical response was given, with a slap upside the head to poor Edward who still didn't know what was going on.

"You will let me love you, and you will like it, Mister!" She snarled, pointing a threatening finger in his direction.

"Ulp... uh, yes ma'am."

"Then in that case, let me make you a wonderful nutritious breakfast! But first, I must go shopping! Who's got money?" (Being a kind sister couldn't be funded entirely out of her own pocket.)

"Um..."Ed fished in his pants pocket for a few crumpled bills.

"Alright. I'll be back in a jiffy! You just wait here!" With a twirl, Winry was out of the apartment, and slammed the door, leaving two dumbfounded brothers.

"Brother?"

"Yeah Al?"

"... I'm scared."





"Hmmm. I'll have some of these!" Winry cheerily announced, pointing at some shiny looking fruit, "And might I mention that hat is lovely, ma'am?"

"Oh, my, aren't you a sweet girl? Now lets see. Three of these makes two hundred cens." The elderly woman behind the produce stand bagged up the fruit for her, and smiled as she handed it over.

"Here you go." Winry sang, handing the coins into the lady's hand.

"There. Thank you for coming. You seem new around here. Will you be staying long?" WInry paused, with a mild sadness overtaking her eyes.

"I- I'm afraid that I cannot. But... I'll remember you and your kindness for as long as I live," She leaned forward with conviction, "Life is so short. Please! Enjoy life as you have it! Everything becomes more beautiful when you know you may lose it. Remember that! Remember that, please." At that, she choked a sob and turned on her heel to dash back to the Elric's flat, grocery bag in hand.

"My... what an eccentric little girl." The woman nodded, as she reached for a broom.





"Winry. I didn't know you knew how to cook like this." Ed commented, tentatively, leaning back on his chair, his metal arm hanging limply.

"Of course I can! Mechanics isn't my only area of expertise!" She moved to the pan over the single burner and flipped the eggs with her spatula. She then rotated back to the cutting board, where she sliced a red apple into sections and arranged them over the top of the fruit salad.

"Ta daaa!" She sang, spinning, and sliding Ed's plate on the table in front of him.

"Th- thanks Winry," He said, cautiously picking up a fork and scooping a mound of eggs. He slowly raised it to his mouth, and chewed.

"Well? Well? How is it?" Winry asked, wringing her hands.

"It's good." He said, a little uneasily.

"Really?"

"Yeah." He insisted, biting out of his toast.

"Mmmm!" She squealed as though she were going to burst, and did burst, in a manor, to attack her 'brother' with a flying hug, "Good! Eat up, brother! You need all the nutrition you can get."

"W-win-ryy... gan- breaaazzz." ("Winry, can't breathe")

"Oh? Ah! Sorry! Sorry!" She released her well intended- though deadly grip on Ed, and backed up, letting Ed rub the back of his neck with his only good arm.

"It's okay Winry. But... are you alright?"

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"Well, I mean... the wierd anger eruptions, the chocolate binge... sleeping in the bathroom, and calling us both 'big brother', and hugging us instead of beating us? Are you sure you're okay?"

"I can beat you up if that's what you really want, brother dear!" Winry offered, producing a threatening looking spatula from behind her back.

"That's not what I mean, Winry? I mean... did you eat something bad... or join some wierd cult that practices chocolate eating and sporradic hugging?"

"Brother, you don't need to pry like that." Al tried concernedly to break the tension.

"What are you talking about? Ed? Al?"

"You're acting funny. You're usually... well, at least a little predictable. I thought you were all into mechanics, and you weren't this wierd."

"You think It's wierd that I try to help you?" Winry was pushing it, and Ed was slowly raising his foot to mouth level.

"No- it's just. I mean- Winry."

"So that's how it is." She said, flatly, tears forming in the corners of her eyes, "You can't accept me being close to you?"

"-Winry!" Al butted in.

"I see it now. You think I'm just a tomboy who only likes mechanics. You just need me to fix your automail for you. That's all you want!"

"It's not-"

"You don't need to bother explaining. I'm dying here, and all you can do is think about yourselves! Well that's fine! Goodbye!"

She left the apartment with a hearty slam of the door, and once again, left her two friends dumbfounded where they sat.

"Did she say 'dying'?..."

"Yeah, Al. She did."

"Brother... I'm even more scared."




On the streets of East City, although it was quite obviously a sunny mid-morning, a blonde girl trudged up the streets, hugging herself as though bracing against a bitter cold. Tears ran down her cheeks, as she moved forward, inwardly chastizing herself.

'Winry, you're so stupid!' She thought, clenching her teeth, 'You freak out over nothing and just leave! It wasn't their fault anyway. It was all...' She couldn't finish the thought, as a pang overtook her stomach.

'Oh crap. And now my bloody stomach hurts too.' She added, mournfully, cursing herself out for the bad, unintentional pun.

The clouds floated by merrily, people passed by casually, but Winry could only moan as she cursed her pitiful lot.

In fact, she was so busy pitying herself, that she completely lost track of direction, and therefore lead herself into an ironically fortunate collision.

"Pardon me, Young Miss."

"Uh- n-no! That was... my fault."

"Ah? Miss rockbell!"

"... Lieutenant Hawkeye!"
Phyco girl
Someones getting their period! Poor Winry, I hate cramps! Continue Toby! It's a very entertaining story happy.gif
Chiyo
Yay, and update! This is a very amusing fic. Poor girl, I hope Hawkeye will explain all.
darkangelslayer
*Laughs almost falling off the chair*

Hawkeye: Well, um you see Winry. Uh, there comes a time in a girl's life that uh, um...

^^
Now that's gonna be a funny explanation.
Phyco girl
QUOTE
Now that's gonna be a funny explanation.


@darkangelslayer: HECK YEAH! tongue.gif

-Phyco girl
Luckyalchemy27
*broad grin spreads across face*
Ha! Now this is going to be interesting.
hagane_no_tokage
LMAO! oh my god, toby, you are a genius. this is hilarious! and the dramatic irony is just slaying me! aaahhaah! man, hawkeye's so matter-of-fact, too, this ought to be a good explanation... *snerk*
Aoko-chan
xDDDD !! Its hilarious!! Loved it !! I wonder how Hawkeye is going to explain it to Winry xDDD!!!
Yukina_Raven
...Is it wrong that I cracked up wicked hard when I read the part about the dust bunnies who just wanted some 'alone time'? ^^;;;;

Wonderfully written and extremely witty, as always! I'm interested to see if Riza ends up giving poor Winry 'the talk'. laugh.gif Update soon!!
Phyco girl
PLEASE continue!!! biggrin.gif
Luckyalchemy27
Yes, yes, I agree! Update soon!
Toby-Chan
Ack! I've been forgetting to update. Whoopsie! <.<

Here's teh final chapter! (Don't forget to read mah other fics when you're done, okie dokie?)

First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye was by nature a very tactful person, graceful in social propriety and utmost politeness in all situations. There was rarely a time when she could not find the diplomatic thing to say, or diffuse a situation with her cool head and her ever-present sense of knowing and sensibility.

Yet there was at least one time when she had to bite her own tongue to supress her own utterly improper desire to break into hearty laughter. And sitting at her living room table across from a sniffling Winry Rockbell as she tearfully retold each sad and ironically hilarious piece of her odd and melodramatically tragic story over a dwindling cup of mint tea, the need to simply giggle at the prospect of it all was far too tempting.

Her sense of pity for the girl and her situation, however, kept her amusement in check, and stopped her inward laughter at simple understanding smile.

"And so you didn't want to visit a doctor?" Riza asked, trying to sound unobjective.

"No!" Winry blurted out, snapping back into an embarassed shift, "Well... doctors... might be a guy... and..." She jerked her head to the side averting her gaze with severe embarassment.

Of course she wouldn't have, Riza thought to herself, No girl with a reasonable sense of pride would have wanted to come out to a complete stranger with such an embarassing situation. It was probably fortunate that she could find a trusted female before she completely regressed into paranoia. She had to wonder, though, why on earth she hadn't been told about this before.

"You live with your grandmother, I understand, Miss Rockbell?"

"You can call me Winry. Yes, I do."

"Winry, yes," The woman tapped a finger against the handle of her teacup pensively. She wondered what kind of life she was leading at home. Certainly her grandmother wasn't an unattentive gaurdian, seeing as Winry had grown into a relatively well-balanced intelligent young woman. Perhaps it had simply slipped her mind, or it didn't occur to her that she was unaware of the facts of life. Perhaps she had tried giving the facts, but young Winry simply drove them out without paying much attention.

Well, however the fact had been overlooked, it made no difference that it had been as such, for now the responsible second in command whose responsibilities usually consisted of defending the Colonel with her sharp aim and occasionally badgering him into paperwork, was left to give all the explanations to a twelve year old girl, which was, in her opinion, the most challenging of tasks.

So, it came to pass that over a full pot of tea, and several medical textbooks which Riza kept for occasions in which she would need first aid reference, the essential facts were fully and uninhibitedly disclosed to Winry Rockbell for the first time. Many blushes, strange metaphors, and disgusted expressions later, they both found themselves somewhat exhausted and relieved at the same time.

"So..." the girl breathed, "I'm not gonna die?"

"Not on account of this. All you need to do is take care of yourself and bear with it. It's just another one of those silent wars we women have to wage on our own." Hawkeye cooly explained as she filled her guest's teacup with the last of the tea.

"And it dosen't happen to boys?"

"Unfortunately, no. Nothing of the sort."

Winry leaned back in her chair with a pout.

"Stupid boys. They'll never know what it's like." She folded her arms, the invisible chip on her shoulder becoming apparent as she tallied this on her list of things to hold against the male sex.

"That may be so. But men do have their own worries that we may never understand," Riza replied, and decided to leave it at that. Spending the time she did with other men, especially the infamous skirt-chaser, Roy Mustang, she had come to conclude that perhaps it was best to try to leave the male mind as one of those mysterious enigmas piled up beside UFO's, the Sasquatch, and the usefulness of stiletto heels. Oftentimes she did wonder, how with such a constantly base mindset, they could even have the capacity to learn alchemy. But she left her unanswered wonders to trust in character, for even with the vast differences that became more apparent the more she learned, the men in her life were still good people, trusted comrades, and close friends.

"I suppose they do." Winry mused, playing with the edge of a napkin listlessly, "I guess I'll jsut never understand boys. Ed and Al are..."

"Yes?" Riza encouraged when Winry paused in hesitation.

"They've changed."

"Well, that's rather clear."

"I mean... it used to be so easy to talk to them and understand them," She paused realizing that all possible reasonings were blatantly obvious, but felt compelled to finish her statement somehow, "Even back when we were little, there were times when Ed would say things like, 'That's for babies' or 'I'm too old to play girly games'. And Al would follow him, because you know they're stuck like glue."

"That is very true." Riza commented, her mind playing with the image of a miniature suit of armor being pasted to the alchemist's side like an extra appendage, and she had to curb her laughter for the second time.

"Sometimes... Sometimes I worry that maybe we'll grow out of each other. And just forget," Riza raised an eybrow very slightly, suddenly interested a little more, "I'm so worried that maybe now we've grown out of it for real. Maybe our old friendship was just a temporary thing. Maybe we just don't belong together anymore..." Winry stared dismayedly at her lap, long past her initial embarassment, now just gloomy at the prospect she was laying out and consequently desiring more chocolate. Riza simply smiled in an undramatic, but subtly warm and wise way, and replied,

"I don't think so. You may have both gone through your phases, and you may have had your disputes, but no relationship is perfect. Everyone gets angry or unreasonable."

"You don't, Miss Haw- Riza."

"You'd be surprised sometimes. Even Al has his moments, am I right?"

"I suppose that's so..." Winry thought this over. Even the eternally sweet and patient all could have fits if provoked. The difference between he and his brother was that even when he had the most selfish of outbursts, or followed Ed on the stupidest of reasonings, he always came back to humbly admit it and apologise. Edward, on the other hand, had pride that took expertise, and often physical violence to defeat. Which is probably why Winry probably didn't worry so much about keeping ties with Alphonse, although there were times when she mournfully worried losing both brothers.

"I don't think you need to take on such worries right now, Winry. Just take care of yourself, and take it easy on those two. If I know anything about men, they're more helpless than they appear," This comment triggered a relieved giggle from Winry, "I think you three will be fine. The strongest friendships will stand the test of time."

Gaining resolve, Winry sighed, and glanced at the wooden framed clock, as a thought suddenly dawned on her, noting the time.

"Miss Riza, don't you have to work today?" She asked, suddenly growing uncomfortable at the thought that she had inconvinienced the loyally resposible lieutenant.

"Actually, by coincidence, I have the day off today," Riza replied, as she began to pick up the saucers and spoons, and Winry offered to help. Well, that explained why she was out of uniform so late in the morning. Winry hadn't noticed before when Hawkeye was decked in the standard issue no-nonsense uniform, without any stray frills, but she was actually very pretty, and even feminine. While her clothing wasn't in the least showy or even especially colorful, the gentle pastels and white of the perfectly pressed outfit she chose reflected her inner warmth, her amiability behind her signature sensibility.

"I hope I'm not keeping you from anything," Winry worriedly inquired, picking up her spoon and setting it on the teatray to carry to the sink.

"Don't think of it; you're no trouble," the woman responded easily, as she quickly maneuvered the dishes through their cleaning and drying stages with practiced skill, "I was just going to run a few errands, and perhaps-"she paused for a moment rolling a lock of her short hair between her fingertips, "Perhaps get my hair cut."

Winry had also noticed that Riza's once boyishly short hair had grown out into a youthful bob, ending just below her chin.

"Oh, no. Don't do that!" Winry protested, "Your hair is lovely like that. Really, it is!"

"Thank you for the compliment. However it's impractical. I have some difficulty managing tasks, as well as handling firearms when it's in my face like this." She set away the last of the china.

"You should tie it back," Winry offered excitedly, "It would look very nice on you. I could style it for you."

"No, you don't need to-"

"Please?" The girl stood with her hands clasped, "It would be the least I could do to thank you for helping me."

Somehow, the poor puppy look had an unusually strong effect that day, and Riza was convinced to have her hair styled by the young mechanic, who by stroke of luck, happened to have several hairpins in her pocket at the time.

"All done!" She declared proudly, directing Miss Hawkeye's gaze toward a mirror. Riza wasn't at all used to dressing herself up, nor was she perfectly comfortable with the notion of complimenting something applying to herself, but she managed to thank Winry, and tell her it looked nice.

"I imagine you don't get many opportunities to do things like this." She commented casually, trying to keep the conversation from centering on herself.

"That's true. It's not much fun alone, and Ed stopped-" She cut herself short.

Riza Hawkeye was a polite person who never pried, or inquired about any subject that could bring about embarassment or an unfortunate faux pas. However in this one moment, she was secretly curious.

"Yes?" She asked, trying not to sound in the least bit prying or eager.

Winry opened her mouth as if to say 'Nothing', but slowly melted into a grin as she explained.

"When Ed was little, his hair wasn't as long as it is now, but it was still pretty long for a boy. He hated getting it cut and tried to avoid it. Attatchment issues, or something," She shrugged a little, moving the story along, "Since he was my nearest friend, and I didn't know a lot of girls, he was the one I would usually play... beauty salon with." She smirked a little bit more.

"That's not totally uncommon," Riza replied calmly, noting that there were times in every childs life when they played one strange game or another.

"But the thing is, we played it a lot. And he actually requested it," Winry was fully grinning now, in fuzzy fond remembrance, "Pretty princess, or tea party. He'd play them all, and secretly love it. He always returned to playing in the mud like nothing happened, but I always knew the whole time, that all along he truly enjoyed frolicking down our stairs in feathers and a tiara singing 'Look at me! I'm all pretty!'."

Now, Riza was a very collected woman. However, in this moment, her mental image of Edward Elric, the proud and undoubtedly masculine FullMetal Alchemist, going through his strange toddler crossdressing phase and skipping in a tiara and pink feather boa while announcing 'I'm all pretty' had her previous image of the adhesive Alphonse indubitably defeated.

And she, in spite of herself, laughed.

She laughed very, very hard.

She laughed so hard, in fact, that she leaned back in her chair, hugging her sides, pressing Winry to worry as to whether she would be alright or not. She apologized, and tried to excuse herself between breaths, as she wiped tears from the corner of her eyes, but she somehow couldn't get over the absolute tickle of the thought that now plagued her mind. She'd found some odd tidbits on Mustang before; Even more disturbing and unspeakable anecdotes from Havoc's past, however this was one time, she believed, that she may never look at her comrade the same way again.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have told you." Winry apologised, handing Riza a tissue with which to wipe her eyes.

"No. No, thank you. Don't worry about that. That was just-" She covered her mouth for a moment and collected herself, "That was an interesting thing to know."

Winry giggled as well, and the two shared a moment of trust, and secret scandal, that only they could share the humor of.

o.o.o

"Thank you for everything," Winry declared, bowing slightly with her small bag of supplies, compliments of Riza, in hand.

"It was no trouble," Riza replied happily, shifting her grocery bag in one arm, in front of the produce cart by which they both stood, "I have a few more errands to run. I trust you can find your way safely back to the Elrics?"

"Yes ma'am!" The young blonde replied, in a peppy salute. It wasn't a moment after they said goodbye and were about to leave their seperate ways, that Winry noticed a familiar head of black hair, whose owner was leaning confidently against a nearby brick surface, chatting with a vivacious young woman.

"Oh. The Colonel has the day off today too?" She wondered out loud.

"Yes, he does." The woman behind her responded, ready to turn and leave, when she saw the young blonde girl was walking as if to greet her aquaintance.

She had approached the colonel, and his targeted catch of the day, when she noticed the smirk (Lecherous smirk? Possibly) that sat upon his face as he charismatically complimented the woman and teased her with his best charmingly witty comments. Something about all she'd learned about men in the past 24 hours just seemed to add up, and something about this flirtatious devil's wicked wiles just didn't sit right with her.

Just as he was serenading her with his smooth voice declaring that her sandy blonde hair was comparable to the hue of the most calm and perfectly radiant sunset, there was an interuption- a small body between the two, and a young ferociously confident girl who looked up at the poor woman and declared with fire in her eyes,

"Don't believe anything he says! He just wants you for your body!" And stormed off as quickly as she appeared, in a cloud of newound self-empowerment and some (however twisted) sense of feminism.

Colonel Mustang, at one of his rarest instances in life, found himself utterly dumfounded, and as he searched his surroundings for words, he could have sworn he noticed his first Lieutenant's undoubtedly amused smirk, before it disappeared behind a cart of watermelons.

o.o.o

"Ed. Al. I'm home," The young mechanic declared, knocking once on the door, then tentatively pushing it open, to encounter something of a surprise.

There was no pile of garbage and discarded laundry blocking the path of the door as it opened, and the entire flat, in fact, seemed surprisingly, almost sparklingly, tidy.

"Ed-?"

"Welcome home, Winry." Alphonse declared with a hint of aprehensiveness and relief in his voice.

"Al-, what did you-"

"Well, we thought about what you said and well... I'm not sure what you meant about everything, but it seems that we haven't been the most understanding, or attentive of hosts," He scratched the back of his helmet, "So we decided to fix this up and make things more comfortable for you."

Alphonse's ever-present adorableness, and the brothers' sudden change of heart was enough to put a lump in the girl's throat. She bit her lip, and looked around the room where it was obvious they had made an effort to repair the damage, regaurdless of what the cause of their quarrel had truly been.

She scanned the room, and was about to inquire as to the elder Elric's wherabouts when she saw for herself, wrapped in a white apron, and wielding a spatula with his one good hand. He turned to face Winry and attempted a smile.

"Um... Welcome home... Winry," He greeted, shifting a little, and looked at the floor before continuing, "I-" He looked up at Alphonse for reassurance, and twisted his boot into the floor, "I'm sorry about before and... whatever I did that made you so upset."

"And...?" Alphonse encouraged.

"And... I promise to stop doodling in your textbooks when I get bored?"

"Brother!"

Edward sighed, and lifted his head, only to drop it dejectedly again, "I'll- I'll try to be more understanding."

"Ed, you don't have to-" Winry was interrupted,

"-Now come on. We're having lunch."

The girl sat herself at their table, a little embarassed that she had the brothers so worried over something that wasn't such a big deal, but ultimately relieved and amazed at their willingness to repair everything. The lunch was plain- cheese melts- as Edward, in spite of his advanced alchemy skills, still lacked in the culinary finesse department, however, as the three of them sat (Only two of them eating) and chatted happily, forgetting their worries and becoming, for this moment, truly happy and at peace with each other, it was perfectly delicious.

"Ed," Winry spoke to Edward over a sink of dishes.

"Yeah?"

"You remember those games we used to play when we were little?"

"Like what? Tag? Hide and Seek? The ultimate mud war?" He shuddered a little at the last one, triggering bitterweet memories of having one of the most enjoyable afternoons of his life, however torn down from his pride by the knowledge of having been mercilessly slaughtered by a girl with wicked mudball tactics.

"I mean, the beauty salon games," She reminded him.

Had he been holding something breakable, he might have dropped it in momentary mortification. As though painfully, he meakly managed, a "... yeah."

"That was fun, wasn't it?"

Edward was hesitant to admit it.

"All the way up until you started saying you were too big to play it." She recollected, calmly, amusedly.

"Yeah, well that's-"

"What do you say, Ed?"

"Huh?"

"Let's play it once more. For old time's sake?"

Stuck between a rock and a Rockbell, the hesitant alchemist had no other choice, but to accomodate his eccentrically nostalgic friend. The armored brother acted as assistant, and although he hated to admit it, that afternoon, they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the silly game of memory lane, and the FullMetal Alchemist had positively fabulous nails.

o.o.o

The brothers Elric stood and waved on the train platform, watching as their good friend and trusty mechanic grew smaller and dissappeared into the distance, waving cheerily all the way.

"Well, Al. Shall we go?" Edward ask, his hands thrust casually into his pockets.

"Mm." Responded the taller brother with a brief nod.

They paced the sunny streets, Ed flexing the fingers of his newly repaired Automail, and discussed the passed incidents in retrospect.

"Winry is kind of wierd, but she's a cool wierd," Ed mused, resting his hands behind his head, "I guess we'll just never figure her out completely."

"But it would be nice if we could do things like this more often." Alphonse offered, staring forth with his always unchanging expression.

"Hm?"

"Longer visits with Winry. I don't think I realized until just then how much we've grown apart. But it's also so fun to get back into old things. I want to be sure that we don't ever become unfamiliar with eachother."

"Yeah. Me too." Edward mumbled as they walked into HQ.

"This is from Winry," Alphonse told Hawkeye politely as he handed her the tiny parcel.

"Thank you Alphonse," She responded politely accepting the gift, which turned out to be a nice navy colored hair clip. The gift made the lieutenant glance downward at the smaller brother, at which she immediately jerked her glance away in order to avoid unwanted incriminating smirks. (The little 'secret' Miss Rockbell had told her was still fresh in her mind, and she was somehow still finding humor in it.)

"Something wrong, Lieutenant?" Ed asked, perplexed.

"No, nothing. Nothing at all," She replied with the slightest of smiles, as she hurriedly walked off to laugh to herself in an empty hallway.

"That was wierd." Ed muttered, shrugging it off, and heading the Mustang's office to drop off his report, and pick up the folder of frivolous papers that the Colonel had cooked up for him. When all was said and done, and the brothers gave their greetings and goodbyes, they left the headquarters once again.

"Looks like you've got some quite some homework, brother," Alphonse commented.

"Yeah. That guy has nothing better to do than to give me the hardest time he can."

"Surely it's not just that, Brother," Alphonse chided like he was so used to doing.

Edward listlessly flipped open the beige folder he'd been given and flipped through the useless contents, until one slip fell out and fluttered to the cobblestone ground.

"What is that, Brother?"

"Hm." Was all Ed replied, shrugging as he picked it up. He curiously read the paper, with growing confusion, shock, and utter surprise.

'This Certificate indicates that Edward Elric has pledged to volunteer six hours of community service to the East City orphanage. The city thanks you for your concern.'

"... THE HELL!"

Fin
hagane_no_tokage
aaahahah!!! fantastic, dear! i loved the hawkeye/winry bonding, that was too cute. riza needs more girl friends, she's surrounded by guys and never has the chance to be girly. i wanna see riza and winry have a pajama party. happy.gif

i loved the image of ed playing pretty princess, that had me rolling. and your reference to men vs. UFO's and the sasquatch was on spot. lovely job, as usual, that was the most amusing thing i've read in a while. <3
Luckyalchemy27
QUOTE
but I always knew the whole time, that all along he truly enjoyed frolicking down our stairs in feathers and a tiara singing 'Look at me! I'm all pretty!'."


I'm still laughing about that one. Very funny mental images... ^^
Morgri
Very good, I liked it all, lol, poor peeps, but hey, all is nice and well in the end. Nice little story smile.gif
Toby-Chan
So... ::Hops::

Is anyone gonna read any other fics of mine? ^.^

Or is it just as I expected and nobody around here reads anything that's not blatantly Ed/Winry and/or smut?

>>;;
darkangelslayer
HILARIOUS!!
Morgri
Hehe, ummm I'm blatantly ed/win XD I just don't care about any other couples... lol.
Saturn Stars
Hahaha I read most of your other stuff even though I'm pretty strictly EdxWin! I lvoed this work!
Aoko-chan
I LOVE this!!! Ed playing beauty salon xDD!!!!!
Phyco girl
lol! I just loved that Pretty Princess scene! You had me cracking up! You have a talent for comedy Toby happy.gif
sweetums
QUOTE
Pretty princess, or tea party. He'd play them all, and secretly love it. He always returned to playing in the mud like nothing happened, but I always knew the whole time, that all along he truly enjoyed frolicking down our stairs in feathers and a tiara singing 'Look at me! I'm all pretty!'."


Rotflmao!!!!!!!! Still laughing. Everytime I look at those lines, I giggle uncontrolably. GOOD JOB!!! xD
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