First off I shall explain why I have set this apart. This chapter is quite long and can almost read like a entirely solo piece. I will give e brief outline of 'Have We Met' for those who can't be bothered to read it.
Thank-you for all the people who stuck with it. This is the longest fic I have ever done and even if it isnt that great, I am proud of it.
*SPOILERS for my fic and such*
Ed has finally escaped our world and has returned to his own. In our world he encountered alter-egos of Winry and Al. Many things happened. Now Ed has finally bumped into 'his' Winry.
PG-13 for swearing and angst.
Her landing was not as soft as she had hoped. Somebody stirred beneath her. Within a second she had wrench in hand. She was about to crash it down oh his head when a hand shot up and grabbed her wrist.
‘Not quite the hello I expected Winry.’
For a moment she sat frozen. Her lip trembled and tried desperately to believe this wasn’t a dream. But it was likely to be just her imagination again. It could be incredibly realistic at times. She brought the wrench crashing down when the figure let her go.
Yet she did not just pass through air. She hit something. She hit someone. When Ed remained in front of her holding his head she almost screamed. It was like seeing a ghost, but he wasn’t a ghost nor was he just thin air.
The force with which she threw into hugging him set them both rolling off the bed. He landed with a painful thump, but it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference to his posture. She held him firmly in place; both sprawled on the floor tight in each others grip.
‘Tell me it’s you,’ she sobbed, ‘please.’
‘It’s me Winry,’ he whispered.
She couldn’t bear to let him go. If she did he might just disappear again. He was so warm in comparison to the cold outside. It was warmth like no other. She remembered that heat from when she first felt it so many years ago…
‘Grandma, they will be okay won’t they?’
‘They are being stupid Winry. What do those boys think they’re doing in this weather?’
It had been a fierce storm that night. Each crash of thunder went through her body. But when Ed and Al had run out into the storm she had stood in the doorway calling to them and forgetting her fear. She had shaken with fright for them but Grandma would not let her follow them.
Would that stop her trying? No of course it would not. Quick as lightening she had run round to the back door and out into the heavy rain. She didn’t know exactly where they had gone but she followed voices.
She hadn’t got very far before she was caught. One of the men from the village grabbed her arm and dragged her back to grandmother, scolding her all the while for being so stupid.
Grandma had been just as severe. While Winry stood there shivering she had lectured her.
‘You would follow those boys anywhere wouldn’t you? Did you even think about your health? You’ll have a fever mark my words! It will be bad enough having to look after them. I have no idea what they are doing but you will march upstairs right now young lady!’
Pouting she did as told. But Grandma had not told her where to go upstairs. She went and settled herself in their bedroom and awaited their return. She was going to stay awake and give them an earful.
But her plan did not work. She fell to sleep in a desperate bid to get warm. She awoke again to find Ed nudging her.
‘You’re in my bed.’
‘You…you went…outside…storm…followed…’ but she could not talk well. Her body shook with the cold that had chilled her to the bone.
At that point Ed had clambered into the bed next to her while Al got into his own. He had wrapped his arms around her and held her close. The plan had been to get her to stop shaking. Although he to had been out in the cold he had managed to retain heat after all the excitement. Holding her as tight as he could without hurting her she had eventually stopped trembling.
But at that moment her body was shaking with silent sobs. Still he held on without a complaint.
Finally she pulled her head away to look at him. Her vision was blurred with tears but there was no mistaking it was him.
It was at that point she noticed his arm. Not a scrap of metal could she see, nor any scar. Lifting her head slightly she looked toward his leg. Flesh just as the rest of him.
‘You got them then,’ she laughed quietly.
‘Yea,’ he chuckled, ‘Now can we get up off the floor, I’m beginning to become uncomfortable.’
He got to his feet, holding Winrys hand to support her on unsteady legs. She was so used to touching metal it was almost unusual to feel skin. Al was the only person she hugged anymore, but that was a motherly gesture. He was still a child after all.
A man stood before her now. She looked up at him, something she had not managed to do since they were about five. She went to say something about his height but decided against it. She had already hit him over the head and attempted to suffocate him. Then suddenly her senses came back.
‘Al, Al is…’
‘Its okay Winry, I’ve seen everyone already.’
She put her hands on her hips and pouted. To be childish was her best defence. No matter what was going on underneath she could always hide it from him.
‘Oh so I was last on your list?’
‘It’s not quite like that…’
‘Well it seems it Mr Alchemist. Oh don’t mind me I’ll just be the last person to…’
He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her into him. She went to open her mouth to protest but it was soon covered by his.
Truly this was the most interesting hello Ed had ever given her. It lasted for only the briefest of moments but it was very real. She didn’t want to dare to dream she meant anything to him anymore. Two years of answering to his imaginary voice. Two years of wandering in the dark looking for his ghost. Two years of sheer torment and upset and he thinks he can just…
‘I missed you Winry.’
Damn the bastard. He chose the perfect words when he wanted to. Her shoulders slumped and she leant her head on his chest.
‘I missed you to.’
She felt a tug at her hair band. She felt it fall about her back gently. As he ran his hand through it she began to feel desperately drowsy. It was such a calming feeling to be petted so carefully. She had cried herself to sleep many times and now that seemed to be repeating itself. But she did not want to sleep. Not when Ed was finally here.
She felt him guide her into a lying position. Covering her with a blanket he laughed slightly. She wanted to protest but Mr Sandman completed his work and she fell into the most peaceful sleep she had encountered in a long period.
Slowly she awoke to the brand new day. For a moment or two she just lay there gaining her wits about her.
Then she remembered.
Leaping out of bed she ran into the kitchen. Sitting at the table drinking tea and talking with Al was Ed. It had not been a dream.
‘Have you done your hair this morning Winry?’ Al asked innocently.
She blinked, then felt the side of her head. Apparently she had tossed and turned a lot in the night.
‘Best be careful Winry, a bird will nest in that,’ Ed laughed.
She snorted angrily and stormed back into her room. It hadn’t even taken him twenty-four hours to infuriate her.
She sat and violently brushed her hair. He had vanished for two years and he was acting like her had never been away. Acting like a kid. Acting like he hadn’t kissed her last night.
Her heart skipped a beat at the thought of it. She must have blushed vivid red before practically falling unconscious. Perhaps he thought he had made her faint. Idiot, what did he know? What he didn’t know was that she had dreamed doing far more then kissing.
She let out an angry ‘oh’ before Pinako stepped in. Winry knew the look on her Grandmothers face. That sly smirk that hinted she knew more then Winry wanted frustrated her even more then she was.
‘Come Winry-chan, Ed is about to tell us about his adventures,’ she said.
But she was as stubborn as he, ‘I have some work I have to do that is far more important.’
Pinako did not leave straight away. When she did she gave a heavy sigh to let Winry know she was disappointed. But Winry did not care. She wanted desperately to hear about what he had been up to almost as much as she wanted to throttle him. No boy should ever be allowed to put her through what he did. Now he was back the first thing he does is but her through even more trauma.
When she didn’t appear his heart sank. He thought for sure she would want to hear what had happened to him. Surely she cared that he had vanished from their world without a trace.
When he told his story he did not put as much effort into it as he had before. He had told it so many times he was growing tired. He’d even have passed it on to his father if he hadn’t gone into town to do some shopping for Pinako.
They became very interested when he talked about Al and Winry. Al was fascinated that there was a version of him with blue eyes. It delighted him that in some way he had been helping his brother all along. Pinako was slightly disappointed she never turned up, but her ears pricked up at the mention of Winry.
Winry decided she would join in the little get together but show as little interest as she could. She heard Ed talking and stopped behind a door so they couldn’t see her.
‘…she was beautiful. I just wanted to take her away from it all. I grew so close to her I could swear I was going to bring her back. She was irreplaceable and always will be.’
She did not wait to hear anymore. She held back a sob and escaped the house as silently as she could.
He had found someone. He had fallen in love with a girl Winry would never even meet. When he had said she was irreplaceable it tore through her like she never thought possible. She had waited for him, he had forgotten her.
She let out a small cry that had escaped from her soul. People had been right, she was a fool. He wasn’t in love with her in the first place so why on earth wouldn’t he have found someone?
‘Because he’s mine,’ she whispered, falling to her knees by the waters edge. She wanted to plunge into its depths and never emerge again. But she was too much of a coward. Instead to resolved to stay there all day until her heart stopped breaking what was left of it.
‘It didn’t take long for me to realise I was growing attached because I saw her as Winry. It was Al who really cared for her as the person she was. I was just replacing what I lost, on both accounts. It wasn’t even that they looked like you, they were so similar in character as well.’
‘What happened to them?’ Pinako questioned.
‘I don’t know. Those last few moments went by so quickly I had no time to think about anything but getting here. The rocket crumbled after it landed just as Al said it would. Even then I didn’t think of them.’
Guilt was something Ed knew all to well. He hadn’t been thinking about them too much. He hadn’t even carried out his promise to Winry yet.
When Winry had fallen asleep last night he feared the kiss meant nothing but a simple greeting between friends. He had never been good with words and that was the action instinct had told him to carry out. It had been the wrong one. Now she would even talk to him. The wise-crack that morning had been out of his own damn nervousness. Perhaps he had hit too raw a nerve.
When Al ran off to Hohenheim at the door Pinako took hold of Eds hand. She looked at him sternly and said in a hushed voice, ‘For two years I have watched my Granddaughter think of little but you. Don’t make her wait to find out if it was all worth it.’
She liked to watch the river flow. It was there he had found her in fact, hunched up and still as stone. He wasn’t exactly sure how he was going to approach her when she suddenly spoke up.
‘You should really learn to talk quieter Edward.’
She stood and turned to face him, ‘Everything…you bastard!’
She clearly thought him selfish for not caring about those in the other world, ‘Look Winry she does mean a lot to me…’
‘I don’t want to hear anymore! You said enough back there!’
‘Just let me explain…’
‘You don’t have to explain shit Ed! I get it,’ she went to run past him but out of desperation he grabbed her arm. She slapped him harder then she ever had.
‘Don’t you ever come near me again!’
She left him standing there in shock. She was disgusted by him.
Winry hadn’t eaten that day but refused to give into hunger. She sat on the end of her bed, window shut and curtains drawn. She didn’t shed another tear but tugged at her long hair brutally.
Pinako guessed something had got confused somewhere along the way. The best way to tackle her seething Granddaughter was to not mention she had made a mistake directly. Rather, guide her into knowledge.
‘Odd to think there is another you out there isn’t it?’
Winry turned with a confused expression on her face, ‘Another you?’
‘No not another me, another you. What even more odd is that Ed managed to bump into her. Must have been awfully confusing for him seeing you everyday when it wasn’t really you.’
He sat on the grass and looked out over the place he once called home. Although his house had been burned down he had always been welcome in the Rockbell home. It seemed now that it was all over. The slap had been nothing in comparison to the accusing look in her eyes. It had stopped him dead and he hadn’t been able to call to her. He had been such a fool to think she was only for him.
‘Was she really like me?’
He jumped at her voice. She had approached him so quietly across the fertile grass.
‘Winry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t…’
She brought his face down to hers and kissed him passionately. Even more so then with Munichs Winry. Something back then had been holding them back; here there was nothing to play on their minds. Their tongues danced in union and all felt natural. He didn’t question earlier events but let himself fall even deeper into their embrace.
‘I waited for you Edward Elric. I’ve been waiting for a long time.’
He looked deep into her sapphire eyes and managed for one of the only times in his life to find the right words.
‘I think I’ve been waiting for you to,’ he muttered before embracing her again. When his hand began to explore her body she did not stop him. Her skin felt so soft and he was grateful for feeling in his right arm. He traced along her curves as she caressed his neck. She took him by the hand and pulled him back through her window.
‘Don’t make me wait any longer Ed,’ she had whispered before giving herself to him.
That night she fell asleep on his chest more content with life then she could ever have imagined. As much as Ed was delighted to have his Winry, alchemy and the army were calling to him. Whatever happened he would not let go of any of his loved ones and commited himself to them.
I was never going to be able to break him away from alchemy and I never expected to. Just as I loved my mechanics he loved his science. What was different now was that it was a whole new world to him. Like we did as children I helped him learn. Al did just the same for a while, but by the time he was seventeen he had fallen in love and settled down.
I did tame Edward Elric to some degree. Even when he achieved state alchemist again he would always come home. Mustang was lenient; having a child of his own he knew the importance of a father figure. Ed would only be called when he was really needed. Hohenheim made sure Ed didn’t become too involved in research, exclaiming he would never watch such a thing happen.
Pinako kept Hohenheim as her worker when I left. He had finally had his fill of alchemy and turned to learning mechanics.
The past five years flew by in comparison to the two years I spent waiting. Had they been in vein I don’t know where I would be today. As it is, I had not waited without reason.
When our first daughter had come along she wasn’t interested in neither alchemy nor mechanics. If she was anything she was a dreamer. She would spend hours writing stories of far off worlds where machines could fly freely and many societies lived together happily. Sad to say though she did have her fathers temper and regularly got into trouble at school. That vanished with the birth of her baby brother.
Each time I see my husband come over that hill I swear I could cry. All he had ever needed was security and finally I was the one able to give that to him.
Well there we go folks. The end. I'm off, gone, dissapearing into the distance...