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Chiyo
After Parting Gift I really got a buzz for doing major pieces of work and Goldeneye is something I've had in mind for so long now. Its got a little bit of everything in this fic so hopefully some of you will like it.

Basic storyline: (I did not know what happened in the film when I started this) Set after Ed has finally made his way home he wants for the time to have a peaceful life. That is all shattered when Winry is taken away by a strange old woman. Will they be able to get her back before Winry starts to believe the lies being fed to her.

Chapter 1

When Pinako had received the phone call she felt it one of the most wonderful days of her life. Not long ago Al had vanished from their world along with his brother. Now they were both safely back in their world, alive and well. They were close to her heart, more grandchildren that she had lost the opportunity to have when she lost her son and his wife.

‘They’re coming home,’ she called up the stairs, not needing to specify. There was a small cry of delight from upstairs and the girl came bounding down. She had been through much in her life but to look at her face then you would not know.

‘I had almost given up hope, but I prayed each day! When will they get here?’

Pinako smiled at her. The elderly woman was aging day by day but young life in her house made her ageless. At the news she would get the brothers back ten years had simply lifted from her. The younger woman was giddy with excitement, just like the child she had once been.

‘They will be here by this evening, we must prepare, and to start, Den needs a bath,’ Pinako beamed trying to contain her overwhelming joy. The dog simply looked up and wagged his tale, not understanding what was going on but knew it had to be good.

*********

The waiting was almost painful. They had spent each day waiting for him to return. That pain had only extended with the loss of Al too. To know they were now back in their world and so close was a frustration few felt.

The young woman sat on the edge of the chair her leg bouncing in excitement. Den had his head rested on her other leg choosing not to protest his hunger. The elder woman smoked on her pipe trying to keep her cool. She was sure the boys had been pounced on many times since they had returned. Right now they would be looking for peace and quiet, the one thing she could offer them.

There was a knock at the door. They tried not to run frantically but they truly flew to the door. Throwing it open they were faced with one small figure at the door. It was Al and he hadn’t changed a bit since he had vanished. Pinako, usually and avoidant of physical emotion, embraced the twelve year old and for a moment did not question the absence of his brother. To have the younger in her arms for the time was enough. When she let go it was the turn of the other. She knelt in front of him and held him as a mother would a child. But then, she was now a mother. Jack was upstairs asleep and she did not disturb him. He could see Uncle Al in the morning, and finally meet Edward who had saved him and his mother two years ago.

‘Oh Al,’ she cried, ‘it’s so good to have you home.’

‘Glad to see you again Rose. I wondered if I would ever come back,’ he laughed just as overjoyed as them.

‘Where,’ Pinako started, ‘where….is Edward.’

For just a moment Al looked at them confused. They had asked him that question so many times before and he had not been able to provide an answer. Then he remembered that of course he could answer them.

‘He has gone to see mother.’

***********

Edward stood before his mothers grave. He had not been to this spot for such a long time he felt guilty. The country was so quiet it eased his soul. He whispered apologise to her for all that had happened and for not being there. He had neglected this place when he was in this world. Now he had come back he truly appreciated the home that always had its door open to him, the family that would always love him, the comfortable future. The flowers he had laid on the grave twitched softly in the breeze and all was well with the world. He hoped that no-one had followed him in a desperate attempt to get him to reveal his story. He did not want to talk about it for now. He was home and reunited with his brother. That was all that mattered.

Something poked at the back of his leg. Turning he met eye to eye with a sorrowful little face. Den appeared to have forgotten who he was.

Ed bent down and began to pet him. Some animals really were a good thing to have around. Den was getting on now, that could not be forgotten, but he suddenly jumped up and began to lick his face. Ed laughed and stood back up to escape the attack.

‘Have you come to take me back Den?’

Wagging his tail with all the power he could manage, Den barked and turned with Ed to head back. There would be no questions there.

*********

Each time Ed had appeared during his adventures he had aged somewhat. Although he could sometimes act childish but there was wisdom in his golden eyes. This time a man walked into the kitchen. Strong, upright and finally taller only the shine in his eye could reveal his youth. His clothes were old fashioned but impeccably smart. She could see a hand of flesh were there was once auto-mail. At least it looked like flesh, if not a little pale. But she did not question, he would talk in time.

Unlike Al she did not embrace Ed. He had never been affectionate like his brother, only on the very special occasion. He sat silently next to his brother while Pinako made him tea. Few words were spoken because words did not need to be spoken between them. They both knew how grateful the other was.

At the sound of someone bounding down the stairs he stood back up waiting for what was to come. If Winry was who she had always been he would receive a blow to the head for worrying her all this time. He had not forgotten the last time they saw each other but would not mention it.

‘Oh Ed I forgot to say…’ Al began, knowing who his brother would expect to see.

It was too late. Rose appeared round the corner and threw her arms around his neck, squealing in delight. Ed was clearly taken aback and simply patted her rather than put his arms around her. She didn’t appear to mind and seemed to not want to release him. Her death grip on him was a sure sign that she cared about him. But then, Rose grew strongly attached to anyone who could provide her with protection. She had taken the Rockbells into her heart and they had become her family. She had been the last person to see Ed before he vanished but had shed no light on where he had gone. She had been questioned several times by many people but always told them the same thing. She simply had no idea. She had escaped that underground town with her life and her child and that’s what mattered most. She hadn’t expected someone to be at the entrance but there was. Fletcher and Russell and helped her and carried Wrath to find the home of the Elrics. Pinako had insisted she live with them and that was what she had done for the past two years. Russell and Fletcher visited when they could, telling tales of their own alchemy skill. Rose soaked it up and loved when they were around.

Finally she released Edward to receive a confused smile. Perhaps he knew what had happened when Dante had taken control of Rose. She opened her mouth to ask but then thought better of it. For now her curiosity would have to wait.

‘Rose, it’s good to see you got out ok, how is Jack?’

Her face lit up, ‘Yes we are both fine, thanks to you Edward.’

He blushed slightly but she did not care. She had waited for too long to thank him and it was a delight to finally be able to.

‘What became of Wrath?’

It was Pinako who answered this question. ‘He was fitted with auto-mail but vanished soon afterward. Nobody knows where he is.’

This troubled Ed but it was pushed to the back of his mind. They all sat round to eat the most fantastic meal he had had in a good long while. The very smell reminded him of his childhood and days of innocence. Back then he knew very little of the horrors he knew know. He had joined the military, killed, witnessed murder, travelled to a new world and sacrificed all he held to save his brother. Yet on these thoughts he did not linger. For too long such events had played on his mind he wanted to wipe them entirely.

Much of the evening remained silent, each member taking the enjoyment of having the other there. Yet for Ed the house felt incomplete without the one vital ingredient. He hadn’t mentioned Winry as he figured someone would explain to him why she was not there. It troubled him that no-one thought to mention her name. Did she even know he was home? It was entirely possible that she had settled in with someone somewhere, there was little else to do in Rizembol. He smiled at the thought of auto-mail freak settling down, not cute and not sexy. Yet he hadn’t seen her for two years, perhaps she had changed as he was sure he had. Al was the bright, optimistic spirit he always had been but now he had a real body. He moved his right hand as much he could. Although it looked more human it did not move as well as auto-mal. He had not gained the flesh he had wanted. At least Al was finally in a human body, which was all that really mattered.

‘I suppose I had better phone Winry,’ Rose sighed.

‘W…where is she?’ Ed hesitated to ask.

‘I take it Al forgot to tell you. She’s in Rush Valley training herself to be the best auto-mail mechanic she can be. She left not long after you…’ her voice trailed off. Then she smiled and bound out of the room. Pinako was left to explain that she couldn’t phone because whenever she did the phone slammed down.

Rose came back still smiling gleefully, ‘She wasn’t there so I left a message. I’m sure she’ll be on the train tomorrow.’

‘It isn’t a nice journey, she may not come straight away,’ Ed laughed.

Pinako shook her head in quiet disbelief. Did he really have no idea what emotions he had put her dear granddaughter through?

********

Winry walked with her arms loaded. She had been sent out by Dominique to get in the weeks food which was more then she anticipated. She paid her fair share now she was earning money. Or, to be exact, she was earning Dominique money. Her auto-mail skills had greatly improved and Dominique’s shop was now well known thanks to her. However, it was not just because she could make great auto-mail that people came to talk to her. Once people had found out who she had once made auto-mail for she was constantly bombarded with questions; reporters thinking they could get some great gossip out of her, some that made her fiercely blush. Now Al had gone too, the military had stepped in somewhat to guard her. People around Rush Valley would talk behind her back often about how she would vanish too in an attempt to find them.

Truth be told, she had been searching for an answer, but never got anywhere. She stole some of the alchemy books Ed had left behind. Very little made sense to her other then the basic knowledge she had picked up from them. All she could do was make auto-mail so she tried as hard as she could at that. Secretly, she had been building an arm for Ed which would be the best the world had ever seen. He wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by false limbs ever again so he would come back home. Oh how she spent her time thinking such things.

The whisperings around her were busy tonight. Wherever she walked people burst into conversation. Even in the dark of the oncoming night she could see their eyes scrutinizing her. If she met their glance they would turn away as if nothing had happened. It frustrated her but it was tolerable. After all she had been suffering it for two years.

Yet something was different this night. Those who strolled by her smiled warmly but it didn’t feel false. Middle aged women were not giving that painfully concerned look as if she was at deaths door, they seemed genuinely happy at seeing her. Elderly men were giving her a knowing wink causing her to check her reflection in a shop window. No, there was nothing on her face, nothing hanging out of her burden that looked strange. She walked on by, meeting the eyes of one or two but otherwise hurried to return to the relative safety of Paninyas company.

‘You’ve heard then I take it?’ Mrs Morris from the local bakery called to her.

Winry turned to see her across the road. Even at a distance she could not mistake that grin that she had received most of the evening.

‘It doesn’t appear that I have,’ Winry called back to her, slightly embarrassed that she was clearly missing out on something.

‘A traveller arrived a few hours ago. He has been in Central for the past week, had some interesting news to pass on to us all.’

Winry was more bewildered than ever, such big news would have been broadcast somehow surely.

As if reading her mind Mrs Morris spoke up again, ‘Central didn’t want to world to find out just yet. Somebody has returned…’

*******

Paninya sat prepared at the back door to tell Winry the wonderful news. She knew Winry would be delighted to have him back, if only to give him that damn arm. Paninya hadn’t been spying but she had seen it one day. She guessed that this lone, perfect arm already had an owner for whenever he would come to pick it up.

The door burst open and Winry ran in. Paninya was nearly knocked from her stool as bags of food were thrown in her direction. She never managed to get a word in as Winry stormed upstairs crashing into things along the way. She remained in that position for a moment or two before finally coming to her senses. Putting the bags down she hesitated toward the stairs, hearing the continuous crashing coming from Winrys room. At that point Dominique walked in to the commotion coming from upstairs.

‘Did you tell her?’ he asked, believing it to be a stupid question considering the reaction.

‘No I didn’t, should I go check on her?’

At that very moment all went quiet and no movement was heard. It was almost eerie considering the racket that was. Paninya took a gulp and slowly ascended the staircase, knowing the power of Winrys temper. This sounded like something had upset her greatly and she was letting it all out on anything she could get her hands on.

She took another deep breath as she pushed to door open. The light was off and the room seemed clean but for a large bag and a tool box which had hurriedly been filled.

‘Winry?’

The blonde girl was on her knees leaning on the bed staring at the object in her hands. It was a doll, simple to look at but very well crafted. Winry caressed it carefully as if it could actually feel her touch. A small, almost delicate sob escaped her throat.

‘Winry are you okay?’

She whirled round at Paninyas voice, apparently unaware she was being watched. Her eyes were slightly red and it was apparent she was trying desperately not to cry. She was gulping heavily to get rid of the lump that had formed after her hand had fallen on the doll.

‘Dominique said you don’t have to come back anymore. He can’t train you anymore and you now have somewhere you need to be.’

Winry opened her mouth to say something but found no words. She was extremely grateful for the pair who had taken her in and looked after her well. Yet now she did have somewhere she felt she simply needed to be. Ed and Al were not going to get off lightly; Edward especially would have to suffer for what he put her through. Al was now too young to be blamed for running off so she would only scream at him for a while.

She cradled the doll in her hands remembering the day they had made it for her. She was so young and terribly frightened by alchemy. She went on later to hate it even more as alchemy had only led to those she loved leaving her. Mom and Dad would never return, but somewhere in her heart of hearts she had always believed Edward would return. She didn’t believe he was dead as many others did but she believed he had been freed. He was no longer the ‘fullmetal alchemist’, but simply Edward Elric.

Tomorrow she would catch a train to Central and then carry on home. It was a long journey so she prepared for it, shooing Paninya out of the door so she could be left alone with her thoughts.
Frozen Ice Alchemist
I luv this fanfic, Chiyo!
Keep it up~ biggrin.gif
Chiyo
I know only one person has replied but what they hey I'm going to post more anyway. Sorry about this rather long chapter but this is where Winry meets her fate on the train journey home.

************

Chapter 2

When Ed awoke he was first surprised by his surroundings. Then he recalled that he was in Rizenbol and in the house that was his home. Al was placed on the other side of the room after sacrificing his own for Rose and Jack. From his regular breathing Edward estimated his brother was sound asleep. It had taken him days to sleep properly because he would sit and talk to his brother for hours. Ed on the other hand had relished the fact he could finally lie down without any real troubles on his mind.

A squeal came from the room next door. It was not a frightened squeal but one of delight. He guessed that it would be Jack after his mother awoke to feed him. Children really were a marvel and Rose was too for taking care of him so well. She now appeared to show no sign of the horrors she had been through and had lived quite happily with Grandma Pinako for the past two years.

The door creaked open, startling Ed. He stood up in time for a small figure to approach him from the doorway. It was Jack, much as Edward remembered him if only bigger. Confident as anything Jack strode over to Al and shook him awake. This was apparently a regular occurrence as Al shooed Jack away with a grumble.

Rose quickly strode in and took Jack up in her arms with an apology. For all Ed had been through he laughed and waved away her sorry. If this was the worst he was to suffer from now on, Jack could interrupt whenever he desired.

‘Did you sleep well Edward?’ Rose asked, struggling to hold the fidgety Jack.

‘Yes quite. It’s so quiet around here.’

She laughed, ‘It won’t be for long now this one is awake.’

He smirked again and walked toward the window. It was a beautiful morning and the smells of the country wafted through the breeze. He looked across the fields he had played on as a child. He saw the ghosts of his past run around without a care. That had been so very many years ago.

‘It’s still empty brother,’ Al yawned as he stood next to Ed, ‘Just as you left it.’

Ed nodded, ‘That it is Al. It just seems to be…a little too empty.’

*********

The familiar smell of steam and metal filled her nose as she got off the train and onto the platform at Central. So many people bustled by, so many faces that meant nothing to her. This was one of the main reasons the journey home was so very tiring. To witness people rushing around like they had barely time to breath frustrated her. She had heavy luggage but barely noticed the weight as she pushed her way to the correct platform. The giant suitcase that she was carrying contained no clothes but who was to know. What it really contained was truly a precious cargo so she kept it close.

The train would not arrive for another hour so she sat herself upon her suitcase and waited. Much as they irritated her she did enjoy watching the people go by, each with a different tale to tell. She liked to guess where each was going and the reason they were. In Central you could meet any sort of person if you wished but all ran about in the same mindless fashion.

‘Winry?’

She turned to see a face she knew well. Dressed in military uniform as she always was stood Riza Hawkeye. Her long hair was scraped back into a bun and her make up was subtle. She looked stern as she usually was but Winry was very fond of her.

‘Miss Hawkeye, what are you doing here?’

‘The military is still keeping an eye on things just to make sure nothing goes wrong.’

‘How long has this been going on?’

Hawkeye smiled slightly before replying in a hushed voice ‘Ever since Edward-kun came home.’

‘Where is this train heading Miss?’

They both jumped at the voice of the elderly lady who stood behind them. Winry answered her and returned to her original thoughts. A smirk threatened to spread across her lips but she kept it at bay. If Miss Hawkeye was here then there was certain to be someone else.

‘Where is Mustang?’

At first Riza was surprised by the question but then remembered that Winry knew little of what was going on. The girl had remained quite hidden away even after the air had cleared. The only person who had remained in constant contact was Shezka and she had told Winry only what Winry requested to hear as far as Riza could tell. The questions would always be the same; how was everyone doing, was Elysia doing okay at school and was Armstrong still working in a shop. Then at the end of each conversation she would quietly ask ‘Any news on Edward?’

It had hurt Shezka to keep telling her no but it was all she could answer. For two years she had repeated the same answer ‘Nothing yet but who knows what tomorrow will bring.’

Finally tomorrow had brought something but the news had thankfully taken a while to leak out. Edward Elric had always been a genius but mainly on previous knowledge. He had done something unique by vanishing off the face of the planet only to return. He had even managed to bring Mustang back to Central after re-appearing.

‘He is a lower ranking officer now Winry-chan, he does not belong to such missions.’

There had been a time when Winry couldn’t have been happier that he no longer had power, back when she found out he had murdered her parents. After time though she had accepted he was only following orders and that he had helped Edward along his way. Roy Mustang was a good man but secretly so. His dream had been to become Fuehrer but had sacrificed all that to avenge the death of many an innocent man, including Maes Hughes, killed by the creatures Ed had been chasing.

‘Do you still see him?’ she asked quite brashly.

She had hit a nerve as Hawkeye’s lips thinned into a tight line on her face. It was clearly a far more sensitive subject then Winry had planned for it to be. She saved herself by asking another question.

‘Are…you coming on this journey as well?’

‘Ah no, this is quite a quiet train so there will only be a few plain clothed officers. I’m needed here. I must go now Miss Rockbell. Congratulations.’

Her abrupt departure could either have been down to work, or the rather awkward silence that had passed between them. Either way Winry was once again alone and carried on her watching of the passengers. She gagged at the sight of a young couple in rather an intimate embrace and wondered why she had never had the desire to act in such a way. Did they not realise they were in public? She averted her eyes over to a man reading the paper as if it were telling a tale about him. She suppressed a giggle at the deep concentration on his face but knew she looked like that when she worked on her auto-mail.

The train finally pulled up and she clambered on. Hauling the heavy suitcase with her she found a place to sit and settled into her spot. She would be seated there for a while so she had best get herself comfortable. Her backside was sore from sitting on the suitcase but the hard leather on the train fared no better. If it weren’t for what was waiting at home she would have given up and gone to see Gracier. As it was she wanted to be home as fast as was feasible. The smell of the metal and the steam still played on her nose as it seeped in through the window.

The elderly lady that had asked her for the train’s destination earlier seated herself opposite Winry with a friendly hello. Winry smiled and nodded at her but preferred not to engage in conversation. Her thoughts demanded attention and she could not think and talk to old people at the same time. Thankfully the old woman pulled out a paper and began to read.

The world began to move and she was soon clear of buildings and cars. Country stretched across the horizon and she already felt like she was close to home. She saw past ghosts running through the tall grass, laughing at the innocence of youth. She saw herself as a little girl chasing after the Elric two, yelling at Edward for throwing grass in her hair. Without realising she began to smile.

‘That’s a knowing smile if I ever saw one.’

Winry jumped. She had been so engrossed in thought she didn’t realise the elderly woman was watching her. The paper was still in her hands but she was glancing over the top.

‘Just thinking about when I was a little girl,’ Winry laughed.

‘How wonderful. I don’t recall too much of my childhood. Far too old you see now. My only real clear memory is of my late husband.’

Great, she had guilted Winry into listening. She shifted her body to face the elderly woman who was no doubt about to tell a tale. Perhaps it would pass the time and perhaps Winry was even a little curious.

‘We had known each other since we were young but he went away you see. I always wanted him to be mine but alchemy got in the way.’

A knot began to form in her stomach.

‘It took him away from me for near ten years. But I waited mind, I waited all those years hoping and praying he would see the error of his ways. I was lucky, he came home the one night and we were together till his death.’ Suddenly the old lady looked startled and fell quiet after saying, ‘Oh I’m sorry dear. You don’t even know me and hear I am spilling…’

‘No,’ Winry said quickly, ‘don’t feel bad. I was actually quite taken. Please continue.’

The old lady smiled warming Winry’s heart. She wasn’t lying when she said it had caught her interest for it really had. This tale was too close to home so she couldn’t leave it without any detail. In just a few words she was taken from her memory into thinking about the future. The knot in her stomach was tighter now but she wouldn’t be satisfied until the cat inside her was killed. She needed her curiosity satisfied. What was his name? How long were they together? She wanted it all and this lady was clearly willing to tell it.

‘Aren’t you sweet? I have to say it would be nice to have someone listen to me. I’m just a dithering old dear.’

But when Winry crossed her hands over her lap the lady began to tell her tale. She had lived near to her love when they were young. They had always planned to be together but then he had fallen in love with alchemy and vanished.

‘I had many an offer. I was just as pretty as you when I was younger,’ she laughed as Winry blushed. ‘But none were him and I was so determined to believe we would still end up together.’

‘And you did, so it was worth it.’

‘That’s right, it all paid off. When he died two years ago I wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be. We lived a good life together for so many years; it was just his time to go. Come now dear, I’ve spoken far too much, tell me about you.’

Winry was taken aback. What was there about her life to tell? All she had done was work on auto-mail and wait for…

‘There isn’t much to tell.’

‘Well where are you heading?’

Winry averted her gaze back out the window, ‘I’m going home. It has been so long.’

‘Who’s waiting for you?’

She sighed and pondered over the question for a while. Her grandmother would be waiting of course, as would Al and Rose. But was he waiting for her to come home? Was he really bothered? She hadn’t contemplated this fully but it was quite possible. He could have been doing anything for the past two years; why would she be interesting anymore?

‘We shall see,’ she finally replied.

The old woman grinned before reaching out her hand. ‘My name is Isabelle.’

She took a hold of her hand and shook it, ‘My name is Winry, Winry Rockbell.’

Isabelle beamed even harder, ‘Well I never, the childhood friend of Edward Elric himself. His little brother Al is pretty well known now as well isn’t he?’

‘I suppose he is yes…’

‘So you are going home to see them are you?’ Isabelle butted in.

‘That is the main reason yes,’ Winry replied, her smile becoming nervous. The old woman still had a tight grip on her hand and it was beginning to hurt.

‘Do you think he loves you?’

‘What?’ Winry asked, startled by the ferocity in her voice.

‘Edward Elric. Do you think he is in love with you?’

Winry couldn’t answer as the pain in her hand grew severe. She called out in protest but Isabelle still held on with unnatural strength, pulling her in closer.

‘Do you want him to be in love with you?’ Isabelle growled.

‘I don’t…I don’t…’

‘Don’t what?’

‘Please let me go, your hurting me!’

‘Don’t what?!’

‘I don’t know…I don’t know if I want him to love me,’ Winry snapped, desperate to be released. People were looking to see what all the commotion was about but none offered to help. Isabelle was just a little old lady after all.

‘You are very pretty Miss Rockbell. Why wouldn’t he love you?’

But Winry could no longer speak. Pain and fear had taken her voice from her. This appeared to work as Isabelle finally let her go and vanished through the carriage.

Winry rubbed her sore hand and squashed herself as far into the corner as she could. She had been asked many questions by reporters before but never with such force. Isabelle was a harmless old woman, or so she had seemed five minutes ago. The questions had taken Winry by surprise so she had answered more honestly then she ever had. How on earth could she know if she wanted Ed to love her? He did of course but only as a close friend. As far as Winry was concerned that was how it would always remain no matter what newspapers would say.

The newspaper. It lay in front of her like an ominous sign daring her to pick it up. True enough there was an article about Edward covering one of the pages. She read through at top speed scanning for her name.

“…Edward, along with his brother, is on his way back to their home land. After the death of their mother they took up residence at the Rockbell auto-mail shop. Pinako Rockbell took the brothers under her wing and cared for them as if they were her own. Winry Rockbell, also an expert in auto-mail and childhood sweetheart of Edward Elric, is currently studying in Rush Valley. It is of no doubt that after waiting for him for two years she will be returning home to reclaim her place in his heart.”

Winry groaned and put the paper back down. Isabelle must work for the paper under cover or something. She told Winry that sop story to try and get Winry to confess her love for her ‘childhood sweetheart’. When she didn’t get it she became violent as some reporters do. Why were the papers so concerned about Ed’s love life? Did something to private really sell papers? Did people honestly care that much? Winry decided she never wanted to be famous. It seemed like far too much hassle.

Suddenly a scream ripped through the train. The whole train lit up before screeching to a halt, throwing Winry from her seat. She looked across the people in the opposite seats but a wall had built up around them. She could hear their voices calling out to be set free. The voices were everywhere and Winry appeared to be the only one who was free. She banged on the walls that had appeared from nothing but they were solid steel. She went to retrieve her tools to try and break people out but something down the carriage stopped her.

It stood staring at her. A large round creature drooling hungrily. She had heard of this creature before but everyone assumed it was dead.

‘Don’t worry Miss Rockbell, Gluttony will not eat you.’

Winry whipped round and Isabelle stood behind her. This little old lady stood with an air of importance that commended respect. Winry felt no respect for her and made a leap for her tools to use as a weapon.

‘Gluttony, get her.’

With everybody a prisoner even the military could not help as Winry’s screams carried through the train.
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Keep it going~ I love the fic but i h8 cliffhangers! sad.gif Although I'm the only one commenting, I'll keep reading this great fic~
kaizenyorii
i dont comment that often but i am paying attention. keep goingggg ph34r.gif ph34r.gif ph34r.gif ph34r.gif ph34r.gif ph34r.gif ph34r.gif ph34r.gif
FMAlover^
Update soon.Please continue smile.gif
Aoko-chan
That is VERY VERY VERY good biggrin.gif Please update very sooooon
Chiyo
Update as a promise to Ice, and for all others reading it biggrin.gif

Chapter 3

He scratched the back of his head and yawned again. If Winry had to be on a train this long she would no doubt be in the worst mood possible. He would have been at any rate but a train delay was very rare. He would get it in the neck for expecting her to come back. But even after not facing them for quite a while he was prepared to face her temper tantrums. They would usually end in a smile and her storming off laughing.

It had been two years however and she may have changed. It had not questioned about her for fear he would find out news he would prefer not to know. Selfish as it was he had hoped home would remain as it always had while it was away. That included Winry and her temper within it. Al was the same as was everything in Rizembol. Having Rose around was a little strange but she had promised she would be leaving soon. She had been keeping Pinako company but now Winry was coming home there would no longer be any need. Ed believed this was wrong as Winry would no doubt want to go back to Rush Valley the minute she had seen him.

The stationmaster approached with a sheet of paper in his hand. His age showed as his body shook even as he stood still. His face showed neither highs nor lows and he had been the same for as long as Ed could remember. He had agreed to pick up Winry alone as the old man depressed Al and Jack was playing up taking all of Roses attention.

‘We’ve had a call. The train from Central had to stop. There has been some trouble on board,’ sighed the stationmaster.

‘Trouble. What a technical fault or something like that?’ Ed asked.

‘No it’s been attacked. The military were on the train and they are on the way to see your Aunt Pinako,’

‘Why?’ he demanded, standing up ‘Why are they coming to see Aunt Pinako?’

********

It was the not knowing that was affecting them the most. Winry was supposed to be home by now but as it was she was stuck on a train somewhere. They knew military personal were going to turn up to explain what had happened but they had no idea when. Edward had been shooed from the train station a few hours ago after causing upheaval by demanding to know what had happened. He had been on a train that had been attacked and knew it could be very dangerous. They could be holding everyone hostage but that wouldn’t explain why the military personnel were freed. All he could assume was that they had to comb the train so it had to remain stationary.

Pinako calmly smoked her pipe and waited for the military to turn up on her door to explain what happened. They were probably visiting everyone who was expecting someone who hadn’t shown up yet. They would probably bring Winry and the others with them to save a journey. Once their panic had subsided they were dreading her temper again. Rose had retreated upstairs both in fear of Winry but also because this was a moment she was not part of.

Finally they could see a car coming toward the house at a top speed. Edward opened the door and stood to show he was there and expecting some news. He was also in sight of Winry if she too was within the vehicle. He stuck out his chest so she knew he was waiting to get an earful.

The car stopped and two men in uniform got out. So no Winry, which would mean the men, were going to tell them when she would come home. Why this couldn’t have been done on the train was beyond him but they no doubt had their reasons. The military were an odd bunch when they wanted to be.

‘Edward Elric?’ one of the men called as they walked up the path.

‘Yes, that’s me. This is the Rockbell residence. I understand you have some news about our missing friend.’

Ed loved to sound like an adult and one with authority. But when the men didn’t smile he felt something in the pit of his stomach drop. Something had happened to her after all.

‘May we speak to Pinako Rockbell please Mr Elric?’

*********

Nobody wakes up to think something terrible will happen to them that day. Even after all they had been through the Elric brothers still didn’t. Edward had felt relief like no other when he had finally got home now only to face this. Winry had been taken and they had no clue as to whom. Witnesses had seen her talking to an elderly woman but nothing after they had been blocked in. That was at least some form of a clue. Whoever had taken Winry were an alchemist and a good one at that. The military promised to try and find the old woman Winry had been seen talking to but she too had vanished. They knew her last moments were fearful for many people on the train heard her screaming. The very thought of what might have happened to her tore through them all and Pinako was close to tears. Al stared out the window full of melancholy while Ed was angry. If he hadn’t wanted her to come home so soon she would still be safe. He should have gone to her rather then demand she uproot to come to him.

‘Brother, don’t blame yourself,’ Al sighed, ‘Winry wanted to come home to see us. Nothing would have stopped her.’

‘Was it so hard for us to go to Rush Valley?’ he demanded.

‘I wanted you to stay here and I wanted Winry home,’ Pinako snapped and Edward fell silent. One of his greatest weaknesses was to see those he cared about in pain and the look on Aunt Pinako’s face was one he had never witnessed before. The last time she had seemed so down was when her son and his wife were killed. When Winry lost her parents at the hand of the military. That was water under the bridge now as the military would play a big part in finding her. They would find out why she had been taken and what they wanted in exchange. One key piece of evidence was a newspaper found at the scene opened on a page about him. What was key is that it mentioned Winry as so very important to him. If someone wanted to get at him it would be easy to take Winry. Well if they wanted to upset Edward Elric they had succeeded. Nothing would stop him finding Winry and bringing her home safely. Home just wasn’t home without her.

*********

‘What we need to figure out is why Winry was taken before we can build a profile of the kidnapper.’

‘Sir, we can easily narrow down the group we are looking for.’

‘We can narrow them down even more if we know what they are looking for.’

‘They are clearly trying to get at Edward Elric now they know he’s back.’

‘What exactly can he offer First Lieutenant?’

‘The knowledge to venture to another world or create the Philosophers stone.’

‘He hasn’t discussed either of those things since he came back.’

‘Exactly sir!’

Roy Mustang growled at Riza Hawkeye while she managed to retain a straight face. This sort of bickering between them had been going on for years, even while their positions changed. For a while Riza had in fact been higher in rank than Roy, but for some reason she could not stop seeing him as her supervisor. Still, when they bickered she generally won due to her skill at foreseeing problems. Roy wasn’t always the ‘look before you leap’ type, especially in times of panic. When the news had come in that Winry Rockbell had been kidnapped he immediately set into action. Anything to do with Fullmetal had always been left to him to sort out. Now it wasn’t responsibility, it was a favour.

‘I’m afraid to say I agree with the First Lieutenant. The train only had so many people on, one of them had to be an alchemist. Not only that, they had to have a desire to meet Edward, otherwise they wouldn’t have taken Winry.’

Roy Mustang turned to the other subordinate. A valued soldier and a friend, Jean Havoc was often caught in the middle of these fight. He usually sided with Hawkeye and earned himself the evil eye from Mustang.

Papers were everywhere with witness accounts and written descriptions of the scene. Sadly very little of it looked like it would help them in their investigation. They needed to find the old lady who had been talking to Winry before the incident as she might have some idea of what happened. Many alchemists had tried to speak to Edward and got nothing out of him but none seemed capable of kidnap. As far as witnesses could tell no-one famous had been on the train let alone an alchemist. They had nothing to go on and none of them had volunteered to phone the Elric house and tell them. It may have been reduced to drawing short straws. That was until Farmen came in to inform them the Elric brothers were in fact on their way to Central right now.

‘Perhaps we need to wait. The kidnapper will surely be in contact with their demands soon enough,’ Farmen suggested.

‘That won’t be enough for Fullmetal. Remember the last time Miss Rockbell was kidnapped,’ Mustang sighed.

‘Barry the chopper,’ Havoc whispered.

‘That time she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was a selected attack,’ Hawkeye added, but Mustang had a point. Wherever she was Winry must be expecting nothing but death. Thanks to knowing the Elric brothers she had been at risk before. The biggest problem was they knew that and would be blaming this solely on themselves.

********

Edward didn’t like being on a train considering what had happened. Sadly it was still the quickest way to get around in this world. In the other world they had machines that could fly freely and technology beyond what had ever reached his world. Still the other world did not have alchemy like they did which was an invaluable source of energy. He did not like to recall however exactly how they obtained the enemy to perform alchemy.

‘Brother, it will be alright,’ Al comforted, ‘Winry will be safe I know it.’

Edward nodded at his ever-optimistic brother. Somehow Al was right about these things even if he didn’t seem it at the time. His youth and innocence hadn’t changed in all he had experienced. It was refreshing to say the least and Ed appreciated seeing a smile. Although he couldn’t agree with Al vocally he knew his brother understood.

He kept going over in his head if there was anyone who would like to hurt him and use Winry as bait. Although many people had harassed him about what he knew they were all nothing but curious. Anybody who was a threat or who had been were dead. Unless there was someone who he had made an enemy of a not known. Of course there was the possibility this had nothing to do with him and it was an attack on Winry. But what could Winry have that somebody would kidnap her for? She was willing to make automail for anybody who needed it so that couldn’t be it. Nobody would be dissatisfied with her work so it was not a revenge attack. He just couldn’t fathom a reason for anybody to kidnap Winry. For them to know alchemy so well meant they wanted knowledge. Edward wasn’t rich and neither was Al. They had no connections in the military anymore. They had nothing but the secrets they kept. He once again cursed the media for it was it that had ultimately put Winry in danger. How much had they harassed the ones he loved while he was away?

‘Brother, we are nearly there.’

‘Yes Al. So we are.’
Frozen Ice Alchemist
I luv people who keep promises~
And thanks for updating biggrin.gif
Saturn Stars
I can't believe I missed this! I am so glad to be able to read another one of your great fics sis! keep it going and update please soon?
Aoko-chan
*yay* and update biggrin.gif

I hoope Winry is okay, and they find her in time~~~

Update sooon Chiyo biggrin.gif by the way, your cosplay pics look VERY cute ^^
Chiyo
Just a short update, but its because I love cliffhangers and I need to see if anybody is still reading he he.

Oh and thank you Aoko-chan *blushes*

********

When he strode into the room Riza almost smiled at the determination of his face. That stubborn resolve he had kept throughout his military career. When he was twelve it was cute, when he was sixteen it was arrogance. Now he was nineteen it served to show the adult he had formed into. The years had changed him in many ways but he was still Fullmetal to those in the military.

‘Show me what you know,’ Edward yelled as he came face to face with Roy.

‘Your hellos are always to overblown Fullmetal,’ Roy replied without batting an eyelid. He had become accustomed to Ed’s temper even though he hadn’t faced it in a while.

‘This is no time for pleasantries,’ Edward continued to yell. So the arguing carried on.

Behind them Alphonse was engaged in conversation with Hawkeye. First off he had apologised for his brothers behaviour and now he was asking about the evidence.

‘We found her cases. We decided it would be best for you to open them but I suggest you hurry. They may contain a clue as to who took her.’

‘Where are they?’ Edward demanded, clearly listening on their conversation. Hawkeye lead them to the two cases. The first held her clothes and the odd tool. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as they could see. The second was far more difficult to prize open, as it had been locked with alchemy. Apparently Winry had picked up something along they way and it made Al smile. Edward however was struggling and in the end gave in. Turning to Al he let his brother undo the alchemy but Ed was the one to open the lid.

He couldn’t say he was exactly expecting what they found but it did not surprise him. An automail arm and leg that Winry had clearly but a lot of effort into. They were the best he had ever seen and they may have finally found something to work with.

‘Somebody wanted these limbs! Its her best work if it is hers and somebody must have wanted them,’ he said with an excited speed to his voice.

But the others did not look so hopeful.

‘Brother, they would have taken the automail and not Winry,’ Al sighed and despaired as his brother slammed the lid shut. He stormed out of the room and out into the open air to try and clear his head. Al followed but kept his mouth shut in case he upset his brother further.

‘We have to find who these limbs are for. It isn’t much to go on but it’s all we have at the moment. What I said in there was stupid…’

‘No brother, it wasn’t stupid at all. Automail has to be made for the person its intended for. Perhaps they took Winry to demand she make them such good limbs.’

Edward smiled and ruffled Al’s hair. What would he do without his brother around him? It was something he had experienced and didn’t want to again.

‘Right. We find the person they are for and question them. It may give us a clue even if it is small.’

‘That won’t help.’

Edward turned with a scowl toward Mustang who had joined them. ‘Pray tell exactly why not?’

Mustang smiled as he knew it would enrage Edward further. He ran a hand casually through his hair before saying, ‘Those limbs are clearly for you Fullmetal. Why else would she be carrying this with her on a train home?’


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What she noticed first was how dreadfully cold she was. Her eyes hadn’t quite found there way into opening so she could only feel what was around her. Her hands were bound but she was on a soft surface. She was cold she finally realised, because she was stripped down to her underwear. This snapped her eyes open to take in her surroundings.

She was in fact lying on a huge bed in a rather luxurious looking room. She could see no sign of her clothes but there appeared to be nobody around. Although she was frightfully scared she trued to recall exactly what had happened. When she did, she wished she hadn’t.

Panic began to set in. She flew over to the door only to find of course that it was locked. She ran to the window to try and get some clue as to where she was. She was on a high floor in what seemed rather a grand building. She was surrounded by nothing but woodland for miles all round. She screamed in frustration before the door burst open.

Isabelle, if that was her real name stood in the doorway with a camera in hand. Visually she was still a little old lady but now held power. She had that vile creature at her command and she had to be wealthy. Foolishly Winry had thought she worked for the paper and was now proven wrong. If this wasn’t a direct attack on her Isabelle was trying to get at Edward.

‘Where are my clothes?’ Winry demanded. Fear and confusion made it the first thing that came into her head and she had blurted it out. She felt ashamed stood in nothing but her underwear in front of this stranger. What was worse was she didn’t know who in fact had taken her clothes.

‘I had to give them to Gluttony,’ she sighed, ‘it was the only way to stop him eating you. Likes the taste of a young girls flesh you see.’

Winry sank to her knees as a new fear spread through her. She had momentarily forgotten that Gluttony wasn’t a real person and could perform such an act. As much as she tried to stop it her body began to tremble in full view of her captor. As Isabelle smiled it was clear this was just the reaction she had been after all along. Shame was no longer a part of her emotions as the realisation of what had happened really began to sink in.

Isabelle held up the camera and looked at the terrified girl through it. The look on Winry’s face was perfect but kneeling on the floor would just not do.

‘Get on the bed!’ Isabelle snapped.

Winry looked up in shock at the volume in her voice. Her mind was a boggle and the words did not register properly. All she could think of was to run so that was what she did. Isabelle may be scary but she still had to be physically frail. Just one push and Winry could just run until she collapsed.

But as she stood up something blocked her escape path. Gluttony stood in the doorway salivating. At the sight of her his tongue fell out and his stomach rumbled. Winry let out a small cry before crying again. She would not be able to get out of this one easily.

‘Please get on the bed dear, then I can give you some clothes,’ Isabelle sighed.

‘Why?’ Winry whimpered, ‘So he can eat me in a wrapping?’

‘I told you my dear he will not eat you. You are an important body and I can not let it get damaged. Now on the bed.’

What choice did she have? Perhaps playing ball could buy her some much needed time to think. She was obviously going to take a picture to invoke some extra fear in those trying to find her; make them think that she was in danger. She was in danger it was true but if Isabelle wanted Winry to stay in perfect condition little could physically happen to her. For now anyway. Clambering on the bed she looked out of the window, hands still bound behind her back. If those searching for her had to see her like this she would at least show in her face she was not afraid.

‘Who are you?’ Winry risked asking.

Isabelle positioned the camera for a good shot of Winry’s slim and delicate figure. ‘My dear, I am all you ever wanted to be.’
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Thats the meanest person on earth!!! That freakin old hag....
But who is she anyway??? XD

And welcome back Chiyo, I missed ya~
ed's numbuh 1 fan
i read this on fanfiction.net i really liked it smile.gif i think i commented too happy.gif

well anyway, please continue i really love your stories smile.gif
ED_fangirl_forever!
I love this fanfic! Please continue! smile.gif
Chiyo
Well, glad to hear from all of you, and glad you are enjoying this fic. Glad to be back.

*********

Isabelle, if that was her real name stood in the doorway with a camera in hand. Visually she was still a little old lady but now held power. She had that vile creature at her command and she had to be wealthy. Foolishly Winry had thought she worked for the paper and was now proven wrong. If this wasn’t a direct attack on her Isabelle was trying to get at Edward.

‘Where are my clothes?’ Winry demanded. Fear and confusion made it the first thing that came into her head and she had blurted it out. She felt ashamed stood in nothing but her underwear in front of this stranger. What was worse was she didn’t know who in fact had taken her clothes.

‘I had to give them to Gluttony,’ she sighed, ‘it was the only way to stop him eating you. Likes the taste of a young girls flesh you see.’

Winry sank to her knees as a new fear spread through her. She had momentarily forgotten that Gluttony wasn’t a real person and could perform such an act. As much as she tried to stop it her body began to tremble in full view of her captor. As Isabelle smiled it was clear this was just the reaction she had been after all along. Shame was no longer a part of her emotions as the realisation of what had happened really began to sink in.

Isabelle held up the camera and looked at the terrified girl through it. The look on Winry’s face was perfect but kneeling on the floor would just not do.

‘Get on the bed!’ Isabelle snapped.

Winry looked up in shock at the volume in her voice. Her mind was a boggle and the words did not register properly. All she could think of was to run so that was what she did. Isabelle may be scary but she still had to be physically frail. Just one push and Winry could just run until she collapsed.

But as she stood up something blocked her escape path. Gluttony stood in the doorway salivating. At the sight of her his tongue fell out and his stomach rumbled. Winry let out a small cry before crying again. She would not be able to get out of this one easily.

‘Please get on the bed dear, then I can give you some clothes,’ Isabelle sighed.

‘Why?’ Winry whimpered, ‘So he can eat me in a wrapping?’

‘I told you my dear he will not eat you. You are an important body and I can not let it get damaged. Now on the bed.’

What choice did she have? Perhaps playing ball could buy her some much needed time to think. She was obviously going to take a picture to invoke some extra fear in those trying to find her; make them think that she was in danger. She was in danger it was true but if Isabelle wanted Winry to stay in perfect condition little could physically happen to her. For now anyway. Clambering on the bed she looked out of the window, hands still bound behind her back. If those searching for her had to see her like this she would at least show in her face she was not afraid.

‘Who are you?’ Winry risked asking.

Isabelle positioned the camera for a good shot of Winry’s slim and delicate figure. ‘My dear, I am all you ever wanted to be.’


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Edward flexed his right hand to study the mechanics. It had served him well but it was now quite battered. There was a new auto-mail arm waiting to be attached but he would not let anyone but Pinako put it on. Normally he wouldn’t have let anyone but its creator fix it to him but that wasn’t possible at the time. With Winry’s fantastic piece of work he would be more able to face any foe and save her.

Al sat next to his brother and respected his silence. All his brother had wanted to do was to come home and settle down, but that was impossible for the moment. He didn’t know of anyone who would want to hurt Winry and nobody who would want to hurt his brother. Al was worried that Winry had been chosen at random like when Barry took her. Edward said that wasn’t likely and that they knew it was Winry and that she was their dear friend.

‘Are we going home brother?’

Edward looked at Al before taking in his surroundings. They had been lodged within the military dormitories to keep them close to the action. If the kidnapper wanted to get hold of Ed he would either try Central or…

‘We had better go home Al. I don’t want Grandma Pinako to have to open any letters. She’s upset enough already.’

‘Rose is looking after her. We could ask Rose to hide any letters that arrive.’

‘You know that would only make grandma angry if she found them. We should go home for a while Al, I can get my arm fixed while we’re there.’

Al nodded knowing his brothers words to be true. Central held many bad memories for the both of them. Winry’s kidnap was another added to the never ending list.

The next morning they were ready to go. No other evidence had come to light and the witnesses could still no longer give any clues. A description of the elderly woman had been given in the hope someone would report seeing her. They had done all they could do for the time being so it was time to comfort the one person who needed it most. Pinako was a strong woman but some things broke her hard front. Winry was her only relative and so her most sacred possession. The brothers recalled her face as they had left to come to Central. It was a silent plea to bring back her granddaughter. They had not achieved that nor had they got any closer to finding her. The guilt would eat away at them until Winry was home for it was their fault. Edward felt even more to blame after reading the article about him in the newspaper found at the scene.

‘It’s nothing new brother,’ Al had told him, ‘when you vanished she was questioned wherever she went. They all thought you were…together.’

‘Where would they get that idea?’

Al had shrugged his shoulders and said they just wanted to make gossip. This had compelled Edward to look at some of the news articles on him while he had been away. He didn’t realise just what a celebrity he had become. Some of the questions they had asked people that knew him were rather personal but he was relived to see that not even the Colonel had answered. There were many pictures of his brother performing alchemy and of Winry looking melancholy. He had gulped hard and put the pictures to one side.

‘Okay brother, I’m ready.’

Sat on the train Ed drifted back into his thoughts. He felt like he was betraying Winry by going home but he knew it was the best option. It would not be for long and they would be back to Central calmer and he would be fitted with his amazing new auto-mail. He dreaded the pain of the nerves connecting but he had never cried because of it. He would be strong for Winry’s sake.

They bypassed the place where Winry’s train had been stopped without any trouble. They could see some men looking for evidence by the line which eased their pain. It was good to know they weren’t giving up on finding something in the grass. Still they held little hope of anything new being discovered. Whoever this kidnapper was they knew what they were doing and would not make stupid mistakes and give themselves away.

The almost sickeningly peaceful journey came to an end as one again they saw the familiar hills of home. So very little changed in Rizembol but word had clearly got around. Anyone who saw the pair gave them a melancholy look as if to sympathise with what they were feeling. If it wasn’t for a quick escape Ed may have been compelled to demand they stop looking like that as Winry would be fine. Yet he could not bring himself to say those words for he feared eventually eating them.

Den who was nothing more then a dog was not nearly his usual self. He trotted toward them wagging his tail slowly instead of the usual pounce that pinned them to the floor. Den was an expert in the puppy eyes field but you could not explain things to him to try and comfort him. Clearly he sensed disrupt in the house and had expected Winry just as the rest of them had.

Rose stood in the doorway and a tear streaked face. She was visibly biting her lip to stop the flow of any more tears. She gave the brothers a small wave decided it was not the right time for an emotional welcome home. Winry had become a close friend to Rose which may have been the reason she had vanished. Rose secretly believed she was cursed as anyone she got close to either died or were not the person she believed them to be.

‘How did it go?’ she asked them carefully as they reached the door. It was a stupid question really but she didn’t know what else to say. Pinako had demanded she be left alone and so Rose had only had Jack for companionship.

As Edward completely blanked her it was Al who answered that they didn’t know much else. He apologised for his brother and guided Rose back into the house. Edward had clearly gone to hunt down Pinako and tell her all he could. In his hand his brother carried the case with his knew improved arm and leg which he would need fitting. Whether Pinako was up to it or not was an entirely different matter.

Pinako was in a pitiful looking state when Edward found her tucked away in an upstairs room. Her usual rigid hairstyle was unkempt, there were bags under her tired looking eyes and she slouched in a way that made her look entirely defeated. He went to speak up so she knew he was there but he didn’t need to.

‘Have they found my grand daughter?’ she asked with a clear tremble in her voice.

‘No…no they haven’t yet,’ he replied also with a strong tremble distorting the words. He waited for Pinako to scream and yell that this was his entire fault but she fell silent again. In a sense this was worse as her spirit appeared to have been crushed.

She turned toward him but she did not look at him. Instead she looked straight at the case in his hand. Edward swore he saw the feint hint of a smile in the corners of her mouth but it soon vanished.

‘Your present arm and leg are useless. I had better fit what is in that case if you are to save Winry without messing it up.’

He almost stepped back in surprise as suddenly the normal Pinako spread forth from no-where. She wasn’t the type to give up hope that easily and it had only been a few days since the incident. She would not let herself mope in front of anyone else let alone Edward. He would be acting tough on the outside to not show his sorrow and so she would follow suit.

‘Let us get this out of the way. You never did like the nerves connecting did you?’


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Even if he never cried he always let out a deep moan of pain as his nerves burned all through his body. Al had volunteered to connect his leg at the same time as Pinako connecting his arm so he would only feel pain once.

None that Al enjoyed seeing his brother in such pain. The comfort was that his brother would be proud of him for doing it. Rose hadn’t remained to see it happen as she was unable to stomach cries of pain. It was the one little reminder of a life she was once surrounded by and it was a memory that would never leave.

While she sat away from the rest of them the post arrived. While Winry was away letters arrived all the time so she didn’t pay too much attention. Then it occurred to her that it was unlikely to be from Winry and she rushed to pick it up. It was addressed to Edward so it was not her place to open it. Yet there was something about the paper; it had a smell that she couldn’t quite put her finger on but recalled it from somewhere. Although it was weak on the paper it was clearly a strong odour to begin with.

Taken from her thoughts by Jack calling her from upstairs she put the letter down and attended to her sons needs. She was sure that if she didn’t think about it she would remember that smell. Sadly she could also be very scatterbrained at times and she didn’t think about the letter for the rest of the day. The rest of the day went on as normal for o-one could face mentioning the very thing that had them all together at that moment. Pinako did not once fall back into the state Edward had found her in and acted as if all was well. Winry would not show any fear for those she loved to be strong for those that surrounded her. Being the adoptive grandmother for the Elric pair she had as duty to be the last one standing.

Edward spent a good part of the afternoon and some of the evening recovering from the shock his body had suffered. It also meant he managed to get to grips with his new limbs. They really were as fantastic as they looked with fluid movements and no more weight then a normal arm. The metal looked strong enough to cope with whatever Ed would put it through. It was smooth and sleek and shined in all it’s glory. He would not let such a piece go to waste and mentally promised Winry no damage would ever befall his greatest work. Unless it was in process of rescuing her that is.

He would spend another day recuperating then he would return to Central. He had just picked up the phone to call the military base when he noticed the letter addressed to him. It smelled vaguely of something but he didn’t like it. Many people had written to him recently so another letter was nothing special.

Opening the envelope he realised the contents were stiffer then paper. It was in fact one photo with the blank side facing him. In beautifully written handwriting were the words ‘what you always wanted’.

Flipping it over his heart sank with a distraught thump back into his stomach. It was a picture of Winry looking more determined then ever not to cry. She lay on a grand ornate bed with nothing on but her underwear and a scowl aimed at the lens.
ED_fangirl_forever!
Yay! Can't wait till you post again! Continue! laugh.gif
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Poor Winry, STUPID OLD FREAKING HAG!!!! (referreing to Isabelle) Continue Chiyo, this is really good!!!
Chiyo
Isabelle is a nasty character indeed...but who is she exactly. Hopefully by the end of this chapter you will have been able to guess. For those following on fanfiction I will update soon but I'm on a roll with 'Illegitimate Child' and I need to keep that roll while I can. By the way Ice, amusing you called Isabelle a hag....you'll see why.

Slightly suggested Ed/Win in this one, couldn't be helped really.

Thanks for sticking with this guys biggrin.gif

************

‘I think you’ve studied it for long enough Mustang!’ Edward yelled as he snatched the photo away from him.

‘Calm down Fullmetal. I was trying to remember if I had seen that setting before,’ was the reply to this.

‘I’m sure you have seen a good few beds in your time but that’s not…’

‘Ahem.’

Both of them snapped their attention to Hawkeye who was standing in the doorway of the office. She had her suspicions something had happened when Ed and his brother had stormed in a day early and demanded some explanation. She had been sent to retrieve an expert in the field of ransom notes and pictures. The only trouble was there were no demands that they knew of; the sender believed themselves to be giving Edward something he wanted.

‘I hear you were in need of my assistance,’ said the elderly man as he entered. He seemed old to the point of frail but also held an air of importance about him. Edward didn’t feel in much favour of anyone seeing the photo of his dear friend but it seemed it had to be done so. Biting his lip he calmly handed the old man the picture with the note on the back. Much like Mustang the old man seemed to study it a few seconds too long for it to be comfortable so Edward cleared his throat. He had left Al sat outside and refused for him to see the picture. It was only distress him more then he already was. Pinako had seen it and sent Edward back to Central that very second.

‘This girl…are the two of you dreadfully close?’ the expert inquired.

‘She’s been my best friend since we were babies; she’s more of a big sister to Al. That’s why I couldn’t let him see this.’

‘Perhaps I should word myself a little better,’ said the man rubbing his chin, ‘have you ever slept together?’

Edward almost reeled in shock as his face began to glow red with a mix of anger and humiliation ‘Why would you ask that?’

‘Have you?’

‘No!’

Ignoring the rising tone in Ed’s voice he carried on the questions. ‘Have you ever expressed the wish to? Ever suggested it to anyone?’

‘No!’

‘Have you ever seen her naked in the past few years?’

‘Accidentally when we were about sixteen…’

‘Yea an accident. Sure about that fullmetal?’

‘Shut up Mustang,’ Edward growled.

‘Did you ever tell anyone you had seen her unclothed? Tell them you liked it?’

‘NO. Why are you asking me this because if you don’t stop…!’

The elderly man put his hands up in defence and stopped his barrage of uncomfortable questions. He was heading somewhere with this but avoided saying what it was so he got honest answers. The blush glowing from the young mans face told him all he needed to know. Perhaps he did indeed secretly desire this girl but it was not something he advertised for all to know. The person who sent this knew Edward more then they all realised.

‘They are trying to tempt you Mr Elric, the person who sent you this. They believe they are doing you a favour by putting this girl into a compromising position for you.’

So perhaps he was being a bit thick but not once had Edward thought about it that way. He truly believed they were doing this just to make him angry and hurt Winry. It explained why she was half naked but appeared to be unhurt but why would somebody think that he would like to see her like that? He didn’t after all…he really didn’t.

‘They’re wrong. They must be going on a presumption that they took from the papers. There was a paper at the crime scene wasn’t there? It claimed I and Winry were together and so many papers have or so I’ve heard,’ he was aware of his voice growing panicky, ‘they have it all based on lies!’

They all winced as he slammed the door behind him leaving the photo behind. Mustang sighed and rubbed his temple. Whoever had kidnapped Winry had already enraged fullmetal as well as make clear what he secret weakness was. Edward didn’t realise just how much he enjoyed looking at the photo he had been provided with.


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Even though the food placed in front of her looked delicious Winry found she simply had no appetite. She hadn’t eaten properly for a couple of days and her stomach ached with hunger but she could not face putting food in her mouth.

‘You saw all the pretty clothes didn’t you dear? You won’t be able to fit into any of them unless you begin to eat. A girl should never be so slim you can see her bones.’

Winry concluded that Isabelle patronised her far too much. She had lost the want to argue back now and just ignored whatever she said to her. The monster wasn’t around but her weakness stopped her from pushing the old lady over and making a run for it. Then again this old lady was in no way frail and she may end up in more trouble then she already was. Although she remained still most of the time Winry’s mind was racing at top speed.

‘You’re upset aren’t you?’

Yet another stupid question coming from the evil old witch. She hadn’t answered any question correctly and she really wasn’t in the mood to start. She had been kidnapped by a psychopath with a monster that eats people but is thick as two short planks; of course she was likely to be upset.

‘You think that Edward isn’t coming for you? I assure he will be my dear. And this time he will get what he wants.’

Winry ignored the twitch developing in her eye. There was no chance she would cave in and ask what Isabelle what she meant but it did take a lot of will power. Winry knew Ed would be looking for her and that was all that mattered. Her belly rumbled again giving away just how weak she really was.

‘I think Edward deserves to get what he wants. He has been waiting for long enough but you have been holding out. Please eat up now…’

‘What does he deserve?’

Perhaps that rumble in her belly had not been hunger but agitation building up. To speak up was not the intention but she acted as if she had planned it in a cool manner. If she was estimating correctly then Isabelle had no idea about her relationship with Ed. Never in a million years would they…do such things. Was she so twisted that her whole intention was to see them together? No, although Isabelle was messed up Winry believed she wouldn’t put effort into something she would get nothing out of.

‘Such a handsome young man, must be very virile. A shame to let it go to waste don’t you think. If my body wasn’t so old I would quite happily give him all he ever wanted.’

Up until that point very little had ever made Winry physically gag. She felt her nose turn up at the thoughts this woman was having about her dear friend. In fact she almost began to laugh at the very idea of it all. To think how Ed would react to an old woman perving on him was quite amusing even in her predicament. Then she felt a pang of something she couldn’t quite identify and the smile that had begun to spread across her face died suddenly. She resorted back to her ever faithful frown and fell silent again.

The only sound for a long while after that was the ticking of the giant clock and an old house full of thousands of memories. Something was eerily familiar about this place but discovering why was the last thing on her mind. No matter how much she looked out of any window she could not hazard a guess as to where they were. Her old fashioned clothes that had been provided for her restricted much movement but something within her heart began to push her forward. The way Isabelle sat and supped her soup as if they were close. As if this was just another normal tea between granddaughter and her grandmother. Her stomach growled again and she came to the conclusion she had best have something to eat. If she was ever going to make a run for it she would need the energy to get passed the front door.


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He lay in bed more alert then ever while his brother snoozed in the room next door. He couldn’t possibly contemplate sleep when so much was hanging over him. He had felt guilt before for letting this happen to Winry, but now he felt even worse. He was sure that Winry was in such a predicament because he had let something slip sometime. He could not remember directly saying he would like to….well be with Winry; but someone must have read between the lines. So yes perhaps Edward had recalled seeing Winry stepping out of the shower and yes perhaps he had smiled whilst doing it, but who was to know what his smirk meant. Sadly from now on if he was ever caught with that smirk Mustang would know exactly what it meant.

Turning over he caught the photo out the corner of his eye shining on the bedside table. He clenched his eyes shut but the damage had been done. He could see the image of her on the bed, determined not to cry and yet vulnerable to her kidnapper. How he hoped beyond hope she wasn’t being harmed. How on earth could that psycho think he was doing Ed a favour by torturing Winry that way?

With much tossing and turning he finally found sleep and dreamed many things that he would not admit to anyone.


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Across the miles none of them would have been surprised to find Winry was also unable to sleep. She had quenched her thirst and satisfied her hunger but she was not able to find any peace to be spoken of. Gluttony sat outside her door humming to itself and its stomach growling every so often. She pulled the covers tight around her but they provided no security.

All the time she was plotting her escape Isabelle appeared to change her routine. Winry believed she would be able to calculate a time when Gluttony wasn’t around and Isabelle was distracted but so far the chance hadn’t come up. If she was being held by a frail old lady all may have been well but she knew all to well what Isabelle was capable of. Alchemy had taken many things away from her which now included her freedom.

Silently as she could she made her way to the window to once again look for hope. She knew they would be looking for her and no matter how much Isabelle bullied her she would believe nothing else. She looked toward the stars and took a deep breath in. The memories of the conversation she and Isabelle had shared today threatened to come back so she fought to think upon something else.

‘Dammit,’ she murmured under her breath as she recalled how cool Isabelle had been. How admitting she was attracted to Edward in that way was just a part of her everyday life. Winry felt her nose turn up again and she shivered. Not even she had thought about Ed in that way let alone that old hag.

Well perhaps she had thought about him that way a little but she brushed it off as nonsense. The only reason such thoughts cropped up were because newspaper reporters asked her if she had slept with him. At first she adamantly said no but as the months had gone by she had resorted to keeping quiet and letting them get on with it. She fully expected Mustang to tell the papers a whole bunch of lies for the fun of it but it appeared Riza was keeping him in check.

Her forehead hit the glass and she looked toward the ground. Freedom was on the other side of a piece of glass but it was also several metres down. She would only end up hurt if she tried to jump and the windows on the lower floors were barricaded with alchemy.

Then something caught her interest she had noticed before. The side of the building was covered in vines all the way up to her window. They were thick and full of life thanks to the recent weather.

Her heart began to pump like a steam train as she devised a quick plan of action. If she could open the window she could easily clamber to the ground by using the vines as a rope. After that she could run and run until she found out where she was. She could run all the way home if she wanted straight into the safe arms of those she loved. How could she not have noticed before? Then again she had been unconscious from the time they caught her on the train until she eventually woke up on the bed behind her.

She examined the frame around the window. Years of being an auto-mail mechanic meant she knew metal well. Perhaps not the components like Ed and Al would but she knew which would easily bend or which could snap. These were made of steel and so would be hard to bend enough her to get out of the window.

From the looks of it she would not be able to make the silent escape she wished for after all. The only part of the window that would give in would be the glass but it would make an almighty noise which would have Gluttony bursting in and doing who knows what to her. Her plans of escape were disappearing right before her eyes and her shoulders began to slump in defeat.

But then perhaps she was overcomplicating things. If she made it so they couldn’t get through the door very quickly she might just have enough time to run into the surrounding woods and hide. Alchemy would be useless in that situation and it would reduce Isabelle to being the old lady that she was. She began to tremble with excitement and recklessness again as she searched for something to barricade the door. The chair would be no good as she would need that to smash the window. Nothing else would be heavy enough.


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After finally managing to get to sleep Ed was none to impressed by being woken by Al. He grumbled at his brother to go away but all was shaking him quite violently.

‘Wha…what is it Al? It’s…3am!’

‘I know brother and I’m sorry, but Rose is on the phone and she really needs to talk to you.’

He rolled his eyes but then began to worry something had happened to Pinako. Throwing on a vest he ran into the corridor and headed toward the room with the light on. In there he found Hawkeye with the phone in hand. As he took it from her she took her leave just as how she had learned to.

‘Rose, is everything okay? Has something happened to Pinako?’

‘No,’ was the whispered response, ‘she doesn’t know I’m calling you.’

He breathed a sigh of relief, ‘Okay, then what has happened because if this is a casual chat you’re going to have to sing me to sleep.’

But she didn’t laugh, ‘The perfume Ed, the one that was on the letter, the one I couldn’t remember…’

‘You know who it is?’

‘Edward, you know who it is too, you hate that perfume.’

‘It’s not Hohenheim though, is it Rose, you must have got it wrong. The only other person I ever smelled it on was…’

Rose winced as she heard the phone crash to the ground.
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Ok.... At first I thought it was Envy, but now that I know that "hag" can use alchemy...
Now don't tell me it's Dante... AND I think I know why the "hag" kidnapped Winry.... >.<
ED_fangirl_forever!
My loving for this fanfic is growing! I absolutely love it! Continue please! happy.gif
Chiyo
This will be the last update of this fic for a while and I'm leaving it on a cliffhanger. The story has far to go, so I'll leave it to you to guess what is going on. Thank you for commenting, and I'm glad it has captured your interest.

************


Her body continued to tremble as her plan was ready to unfold. She had tied the bed covers to the door handle and the bed frame, hopefully giving her enough time to make her escape. If she had been in a calmer state she probably would have thought it through and noticed the fault. But she had no time to really think about what she was doing anymore; she wanted out.

Taking deep breaths she lifted up the chair and pointed the legs at the vulnerable glass. She listened again for any sounds outside her door. After hearing nothing she wound herself up and charged at the window.


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‘How could I have been so stupid? Of course the one person who would want to hurt us is Dante.’

‘But brother we thought she was dead. Rose said Dante and Gluttony just vanished after you had gone. Stop blaming yourself.’

‘He’s right Fullmetal. You can blame yourself afterwards. Right now you have to go find Miss Rockbell.’

He didn’t need to be told twice. Right after his conversation with Rose he had pulled himself together and got ready to go right away. His brother was right by his side and now the military had appeared, or to be exact Mustang had. Edward wanted to take his leave there and then but his temper had got him into trouble before. No matter how much his heart told him to get moving he listened to his brain this time around. Whatever Dante had planned for Winry it was unlikely she was going to try and harm her too much. If it was a similar situation to what happened to Rose Dante was merely using Winry to gain access to him. His heart began to pound with adrenalin as he now knew where he would have to go to find Winry. Locking eyes with his brother one last time to speak a secret language only they knew they headed for a very well known forest.

‘Are you sure she will be there Fullmetal?’

‘Of course I’m not entirely sure, but I’m not pausing to think about it any longer.’


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She held her winded stomach with a blooded hand and forced herself back to her feet. The chair had easily smashed through the window but she had not anticipated the effect the impact would have on her. She had precious little time to completely recover so she staggered to the window and tried to ignore the small shards of glass imbedding themselves into her foot. As she climbed up onto the sill the door slowly began to open and her panic reached its peak. With utter desperation she grappled with the vines and finally hauled herself out into the fresh air. The pain in her hands and feet were intense but the adrenalin kept the real pain at bay. The vines tore at her dress but still she crawled down the side of the wall like a freed animal. She had not realised that the vines contained vicious thorns, but then much of this plan had been floored. She began to feel she may not escape after all but that trying could not hurt her. Her cuts would mostly heal but it would be a while before she got the chance to rest. She heard movement in the room above but she dare not avert her eyes skyward for fear of seeing that damn creature tearing down after her. A cry escaped her lips but she did not stop her frantic race for freedom.

‘Gluttony likes the smell of your blood,’ came a cry from above.

Her panic had made her clumsy and that last call had finally done it. As she went to grasp for another vine she missed. In what seemed like slow motion she fell backward and all the way to the ground where she landed with a solid thump. Luckily for her she had only fallen far enough to be winded but it caused her to look up. With the ease of an ape Gluttony crawled down the very vines that had helped her to her escape.

Once again she forced her weakened body up no matter how hopeless escape now seemed. She ran across the stone and cried out at the pain in her bleeding feet overwhelmed her. She was no longer moving on any sense as all she was doing now was survival instinct. Sadly the days of no exercise and no eating had taken its toll and she could go no further. She fell into the nearest patch of grass and cried pitifully. She was sure her life was now at its end and she cried for all she had not done. She was barely an adult but her time was coming to a close. She had not run her own business, she had not owned her own house, she had not fallen in love or had any children.

And it was all that fault of the Elric brothers. If they had even tried to rescue her she would never have ended up like this. She cried out again but this time in anger. With new vigour she pushed herself up to her hands and knees. For some reason the creature had not reached her but she did not look back. A most foul smell crossed her nose and she vomited all that was within her but still she pushed forward. Her wretched attempts at escape would continue until she was well and truly caught and that would not be far off now. Closing her eyes she closed of all senses and carried on crawling across the softest surface available.

Something grabbed her wrist and she was forced to open her eyes. Through blurred and teary vision she could not see what was holding her clearly but she felt how cold and clammy it was. As she weakly tried to pull away she saw what the hand was attached to. Her vision didn’t need to be clear. The smell was coming from the rotten corpse of an old woman, half a corpse to be exact. The empty socket stared directly at her and she screamed louder then any creature ever had done before her. Before her world fell dark she heard the voice of Isabelle in her ear but not a word came through.


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Something felt pleasantly warm on her cheek. Through closed eyes she could see a bright light and for a fleeting moment she believed herself to be dead. Then a thousand needles of pain stabbed at her hands and feet and she was awake. As her eyes snapped open she realised she was very much alive and still sprawled out on the ground. She was damp with morning dew and blood and even the morning sun could not stop her shivering. For some moments she tried to calculate what had happened to her last night. She was still lying where she had fell and she was still alive. Surely Isabelle would have done something with her if she knew she was alive. Or perhaps Isabelle knew Winry was too weak to escape now and was leaving her outside hoping death would claim her. All her theories that Isabelle wanted her safe and well had been wrong after all. Winry began to curl into the pitiful ball she had created for herself.

As she tried to pull one arm in she realised it was still caught on something. Looking up she saw the horrific image she had caught last night. The motionless carcass still had one hand grasped around her wrist. Again she screamed with all the power left within her lungs and pulled away as she tried to run from it. Her legs gave way and she fell only a few feet further from the body. It did not move but she still had to keep her mouth shut as to not vomit again. If Isabelle had thought Winry was dead she would know better now and would be on her way. She closed her eyes and once again waited for death as she heard footsteps run toward her across the gravel. She passed out again as a strong pair of hands took hold of her.


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They heard the blood-curdling scream break through the morning mist. Although he had tried not to fear the worst his pace increased dramatically. His brother managed to remain by his side but Mustang fell back. He called out her name but there was no response so he just kept on running. Finally the ground fell level and he could see a figure on the gravel. Her body was torn and her golden hair was matted with blood. Dreading what could be he gathered Winry up in his arms and felt for a pulse. His own heart began to beat again as he realised hers was too.

‘Brother, what happened to her?’

He looked up at his brother but could not provide an answer to his question. He did not know how or why but for the time being all that mattered was they had found her. He could feel her bones through her skin and she was pale. Her body was cut all over and he pulled a few of the leaves out of her hair. He could see the streaks that tears had left on her face and he held back his own. Finally he knew how Winry had felt each time she had seen him hurt. He mentally urged her awake but she did not stir. He held her closer, not enough to hurt her more but enough to pass some of his warmth on to her.

‘What made her scream?’

Ed was going to reply but the Colonel got in there before him.

‘I would hazard a guess at that.’

When he had first found the body of what was Dante he had felt sick to his stomach. In his panic for Winry he had failed to notice the rotting corpse sticking up from out of the ground. It looked like half of the body and crawled out of the grave they had put it in. The skin was green and maggots crawled around the body. Now his senses returned the smell encased him.

‘That’s not possible,’ Al whispered whilst covering his mouth.

‘Either the body had been positioned like that or the matter was animated. It was never alive but it could scare enough. Look at her wrist,’ said Mustang.

Edward saw the finger marks around Winry’s wrist and the corpse hand in a gripped position. He wanted to figure out what had happened but for now Winry needed to be taken to a hospital immediately.

‘Mustang, take Winry back with you, I need to check out this house.’

‘Don’t be a fool Fullmetal.’

‘He’s right brother.’

‘I’m not leaving here before I find out what’s been going on. I won’t be long.’

‘How do you know this wasn’t Dante’s plan all along?’ Mustang demanded.

Edward picked Winry up and carefully placed her into Mustangs arms. Her face showed all the distress she had been through and anger burned within him. If it wasn’t for him Winry would never have got caught up in his mess. He hadn’t seen her for two years and now he had to see her like this.

‘It probably was. I would hate to disappoint her by not making an appearance.’

‘I’m coming with you brother.’

‘Al it isn’t safe…’

‘I’m mad too, why can’t I exact my revenge as well.’

Ed sighed as he saw himself reflected in his brothers new found determination. His eyes truly did burn with anger but he was not going to get himself caught up in this.

‘Are you really going to leave Winry to wake up to this?’ Ed answered, pointing to Mustang.

Al bit his lip but nodded as Mustang held back any remark he was tempted to make. Seeing the poor girl beaten and blooded in his arms melted his heart as well as angering him too.

‘Very well Fullmetal, but make sure she can wake up to you too.’

Edward smile and nodded. After taking one more painful look at Winry he headed into the fateful mansion.
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Noooo.....cliffhangers... sad.gif If i woke up in the morning to find a corpse holding my wrist i would just scream the daylights out of me.... -.-; Poor Winry....very poor winry..... STUPID DANTE IDIOTIC DANTE YOU SHOULD GO TO HELL DANTE!!!!!! tongue.gif
I'm listening to this maderin song that suits this story ALOT... Come back soon too ok, taisa!? (referring to Chiyo)
ED_fangirl_forever!
Evil cliffhangers!! sad.gif Oh well....I will be waiting! Post soon as you can when you get back! laugh.gif
Chiyo
Come along everyone, Winry is safe so we must rejoice.....right? Thanks for keeping an eye on this and commneting, I do love feedback. Perhaps some slight suggested Ed/Win...depending on how big a fan you are.

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Visions and horrific memories danced around in her head. She could see Gluttony munching his way through some innocent passer by. She could see herself naked and vulnerable in front of all the monsters she had heard about. Although she ran she did not seem to be able to keep away from them and she fell to the floor in despair. All fell dark around her as she began to cry out for her friends to save her but no-one came. They had left her to suffer all alone and for that she hated them. She kept screaming their names although she knew they would never come.


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‘Winry, wake up. Winry!’

‘She can’t hear you Al. Her temperature is so high she must be delusional.’

Al sighed and sat down next to her bed. They had brought her in over two hours ago but she showed no sign of waking up. The doctors had tended to her the best they could but she still looked liked she was in intense pain. He was almost too scared to find out what had happened to her. Perhaps it would have changed her and she would not be the Winry he had known for so long. He held on with hope to the fact that Rose hadn’t changed after she had escaped from Dante. Yet whatever Dante had wanted from Winry it was in no doubt different to what she wanted of Rose.

His thoughts turned back to his brother who could have been in danger at that very moment. Al had learnt many years ago his brother did not consider other peoples emotions in the same way other people did. Edward could worry people to death but it did not seem to faze him. Al was quite aware his brother usually had a lot on his plate but now he was living in an entirely different world to the one he once was. He was meant to come back from the other side of the gate with no worries to hold him down. Instead his one major foe had ruined all chances of a quiet life.

Winry stirred again and he took hold of her hand to try and give her some comfort. Although he would be there for her when she woke he knew he was not the one she wanted to see. After all she had been through, all the years of waiting, didn’t she deserve at least a little time with her best friend?


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Once he had cleared the parts of the house he remembered Edward began to look elsewhere. In particular, he was looking for the room where the photo had been taken, for any clues. As far as he could tell the house was now empty but he still kept his guard up. If Dante had been trying to get his attention she had succeeded. But why if she wanted him would she up and leave before he got to her, leaving Winry behind? He could only think that she was doing it to distress him and that she was out of power now. She had probably left Lyra’s body behind and had moved on. However that would not make her hard to detect for she would still have to cover the smell of rotting flesh.

Finally something stood out from the many closed doors. As he walked down the corridor he felt a breeze blow around his ankles. Stopping where the breeze was strongest he pushed open the heavy door to face what was inside.

The breeze came from the window that was now minus most of the glass it had once held. Strewn about the floor were sheets from the bed and a chair that had seen better days. There was blood dotted about the broken glass and from the state of Winry’s feet he guessed it was hers. With care he walked over to the broken window and looked out onto the forest. Winry must have climbed down the vines but failed to notice in her haste the vicious looking thorns. Not far down the side of the wall he could see a piece of her nightdress caught amongst the spines. He followed the bloody footsteps to the grass, which eventually lead round a corner and out of his sight. It would have been round that corner that they found her. Her body had been cold to the touch, which meant she must have been out in the night air for a while. The timing did not work in his head so he would have to talk to her. For now he could not exact the revenge he so longed to, but he could go to Winry’s bedside. His gut began to ache with guilt and he expected nothing but hate from her. If he had only acted quicker Winry might have been saved from all Dante put her through.


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‘Pinako is asleep at the moment Al. Can I pass on a message to her for you?’

‘Tell her we have found Winry and that she is safe in our care. She is in a bad way but the doctor says she should recover in no time. Once she can walk again she can come home.’

‘Oh Al that is good news, I shall tell her right away. How is Winry, what does she say?’

‘She was unconscious when we found her and she has not woken up yet. I’ll phone you when she does and you can talk to her if she can stand.’ He paused before speaking again knowing he could be hitting a raw nerve, ‘Rose, may I ask you something?’

‘Of course you can Al, ask away.’

‘After you escaped from Dante did you feel any different? Had she changed anything about you?’

He heard a sigh down the other end of the phone, ‘I can see why you are worried Al but there is no reason to be. When I woke up I remembered nothing and I hadn’t changed at all. Winry will be fine I am sure of it.’

He agreed with her and hung up for the phone. For a moment or two he stood in the hallway staring at the phone as if it would give him more answers. Although Rose, who had been through something he had not, told him not to worry he still did. For all they knew Winry had been through much worse and such memories were reliving themselves in her dreams. He just prayed that she would have forgotten everything when she woke up.

Then there came the sound of the footsteps he had been waiting for some hours to hear. Approaching from his left was his rather weary looking brother. Apart from a slump in his shoulders he appeared unhurt and Alphonse was able to rest a little more. He himself was tired but did not want to leave Winry’s side in case she awoke. Now his brother was back they could try and seek normality.

‘She wasn’t there?’ Al asked.

‘Ah no, she wasn’t. It is hopeless looking for her now unless we keep an eye out for missing persons. I don’t think it’s over yet Al.’

‘But she let Winry go. I know Winry tried to escape but she would never have got away that easily.’

‘No Al she would not. We have to let Dante come to us.’

‘But brother…’

‘How is Winry?’

Al could easily sense when it was not the time to argue so for the moment he remained silent. He was glad his brother was okay but if that meant it was not over he was not so sure of it. For the time being they would have to wait and his brother would not get the peace he so truly deserved.

‘She is still in a fitful sleep brother but she will be all right. I am tired now, is it okay if I rest for a while?’

‘Yes of course Al, but on your way could you tell the Colonel I have returned?’

With a nod Al left the way Edward had come in. He asked a passing nurse which room to head to before making sure he looked okay. Winry always grew distressed when she saw him hurt or upset so he set himself right and headed in her direction. He needed her to wake up soon for there was many questions that needed answering. And yet, when she did wake, he would find out if she hated him or not.


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He found her room and pushed open the door. Sat by her bedside was Hawkeye who was glancing through a book. When she turned to see him see smiled lightly and stood to greet him.

‘Welcome back Edward, I trust you are well.’

‘Yes Hawkeye. Sadly I was unable to find Dante. I shall take over here now.’

‘Very well, but I must warn you she has not been sleeping peacefully. She must be tormented by her memories for they will not leave her alone.’

As if on cue Winry began to moan and her face began to strain. She threw her head from side to side, as moans became cries. Ed found he could barely watch but Hawkeye barked commands at him.

‘Grab her arms and hold them by her sides so she doesn’t hurt herself. Not too tightly, you don’t want to break her bones. That’s it Edward. If you can’t stand to look at her face then look down!’

Bewildered he did as he was told but closed his eyes altogether. It frightened him how much her bones showed through her skin. He wanted to block his ears from her cries but he knew he had to keep a strong hold of her. From what he could tell Riza was dabbing Winry’s forehead with a cool damp cloth to try and fight her temperature. After another moment or two Winry fell limp again and silence filled the air. Daring to look he opened his eyes and glanced at her face. To his relief she looked as if she was sleeping peacefully and he let go of her arms.

‘I shall leave now. If it happens again you must call somebody. I shall be back in a few hours so you can then get some rest.’

As she left he inwardly told himself he wouldn’t rest until Winry was awake. He had so rarely seen her in real pain it chilled him to his core. It had been two years since he had seen her bright blue eyes. He urged her to open them but she did not stir again. Seating himself if the chair Riza had left he contemplated what he would do next.

An hour passed before Winry made the slightest bit of movement again. Her arms rose up and pushed outward as if she were having a morning stretch. Placing her hands down by her head she gave a contented sigh. He took this as a good sign and whispered her name. When she did not respond he called her name louder and it seemed to do the trick. He almost laughed out loud as she pouted in her sleep, a habit she had held since childhood.

Agonisingly slowly her eyes began to open. Although he could tell they did not shine as they once did he was glad to see that flicker of blue. He remained silent as she completely opened her eyes and took focus of the world. At first she was facing away from him but once she was adjusted to the light she turned and looked directly at him. After so much time to think about it he could not find the right words to say so he merely smiled at her. She blinked a few more times before launching herself out of her bed and directly at him.

‘Where have you been?’ she laughed gently in his ear. He felt the tears fall from her face and on to his neck. He went to put his arms around her but was wary of her fragile body. In a moment or two he would get the violent onslaught so for the time being he rejoiced in the peace and comfort she gave him.
Winkle
Heya, I've seen this on fanfiction.net but haven't had a chance to check it out (been pretty busy with my own work there). But now that I've done my stuff I'll read yours for sure. Though I'll check it out at FF.net since I find reading there is easier on the eyes biggrin.gif
ED_fangirl_forever!
Yay, another wonderful post! smile.gif Post more whenever you can!! laugh.gif
Frozen Ice Alchemist
YAY~ A really good update!!! biggrin.gif Winry finally wakes up; Although I'm no Winry fan.. but HIP HIP HORRAY HIP HIP HORRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif
Chiyo
Updated for Ice especially....in return for all those fanarts you post laugh.gif

**********

He sat on a bench near to the grass and studied her in detail. It had been a few days since Winry had been brought in and she had remained the picture of serenity. After her outburst upon waking she had fallen into near silence and rarely moved. The doctor had recommended she get some fresh air so he had brought her outside to the hospital garden. Al sat with her on the grass as she watched the clouds float by. As much as it eased his guilt to see her so calm he knew he would need to extract information from her soon.

‘Brother, Winry wants to go back inside now.’

Al seemed to have adapted some form of telepathy and could sense what Winry was thinking. It was certainly coming in useful for Winry did indeed turn to Edward and nod her head. He walked over to her side and lifted her into his arms. Her feet were still severely damaged and she had to refrain from walking for at least another three days. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she clung to him tightly before he went to ease her into her wheelchair.

‘No,’ she said in a soft whisper.

‘Winry you know you can’t walk,’ he replied. Instead of speaking again she looked up at him with sorrowful looking eyes.

‘She doesn’t like the wheelchair brother. I think it makes her feel worse if she has to be wheeled around.’

‘Well me carrying you around is pretty much the same thing,’ he snapped slightly, surprised at this new found pride coming from her. She sank her head further into his shoulder and he realised there would be no arguing this time.

‘Fine, I’ll carry you upstairs this once, but you owe me.’


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He set her down on the bed and pulled the covers over her. She hadn’t spoken again nor had she looked up at him again. He wasn’t sure whether she was directly aiming this silence at him or she was still in shock, but either way it was frustrating. Since she had managed to utter something that day he decided it was time to tackle the issue at hand.

‘Winry, I need you to tell me what happened.’

She didn’t even move an inch but continued to stare out of the window. He waited to see if she was preparing herself but when she didn’t even draw a breath he began to grow even more impatient.

‘We can’t very well do anything if we can’t find Dante. If you want me to help you Winry you have to help me. Are you listening to me?’ he demanded.

‘Brother,’ Al cried, imploring Ed to stop before his temper got out of hand.

‘I know you can talk so why are you ignoring me!’

‘She is too scared brother…’

‘Yes Al I gathered. I didn’t need your psychic powers to tell me that!’

He stormed from the room and through the corridors ignoring the calls from people telling him to be careful. He needed to get out of there before he really lost his temper and said something he would regret. He marched straight back to where he was sat only moments before. Nobody was in the gardens so he couldn’t snap at anyone else.

What angered him the most was the fact he wasn’t angry with Winry. The more she remained so closed the more he was reminded it was his fault. Upon returning to his world one of the first things he longed to see was her smile. She always had a smile for him no matter what he had put her through. It was a symbol of home and his childhood and he feared it was gone for good. His soul comfort was how Rose had turned out after her ordeal with Dante. She had fallen straight back into her own character, least from what he knew she had.

‘Brother,’ came a quiet voice from behind him. Al had been a victim of his temper too when all he was doing was try to tell. How many times had that happened between them, he thought.

‘I’m sorry Al, that was unfair of me.’

‘It’s okay; I know you didn’t mean anything by it. If it helps Winry called after you but you probably didn’t hear her. She wants to talk to you now brother.’

Ed turned to face Al who was indicating upward. At one of the upper windows Winry was standing looking down on them. He nodded at her before starting his guilty walk back to her room. He then stopped and looked back up at her before yelling, ‘You are not meant to be on your feet! Get back on that bed now!’


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‘I only wanted to look at the garden again,’ she said in a hushed voice when he entered into the room. That one little comment and the look on her face filled him with relief; only Winry could pout like that when she had been caught doing something she shouldn’t.

‘There isn’t much grass is there. Wait until you get home and you can stare at all the greenery you want,’ he sighed, seating himself down. He tried to suppress a smile as she gave him a lopsided grin and nodded whilst rolling her eyes. Then they fell silent again and she stared toward the window.

‘I’m sorry Edward, I’m so sorry,’ she choked before proceeding to let the tears stream down her face. Time away had not taught him how to handle her crying and he sat trying to figure out the words to say. Luckily for him it was she who spoke first.

‘When you asked me what happened to me I didn’t stay quiet because I was scared. I didn’t say anything because I don’t remember anything. I have been trying to but I just can’t. I remember getting onto the train and talking to an old lady. Next thing I can recall is waking up in here.’ She sniffed a bit before apologising to him again.

His emotions conflicted with him. He was angry that he had no leads to find Dante; he was frustrated that he could not exact his revenge; but on top of that he was happy. If Winry couldn’t remember what had happened to her she could not be upset by it. If her mind was at peace he could pursue his hunt for Dante and not have to keep an eye on her. Unless of course she could recall everything and she was ashamed. That was unlikely; it was not in her character to keep something like that a secret. She had told him all that happened with Barry all those years ago, something else that had been because of him.

Biting his lip he got up to leave but as he went to walk away her hand reached to grab his sleeve. He turned to look back at her and she returned his glance with the doleful eyes she had given him before. Something fluttered inside of him and he put it down to guilt as she raised herself to her knees and drew him closer.

‘You forgive me don’t you?’ she whispered, grabbing on to his shirt.

He gulped hard and looked away from her. He had always felt uncomfortable around her when she was acting in such a way. Back then the best way to ease his un-comfort had been to not say a word. But now was not the time for that. If he did remain silent she would think he wasn’t going to forgive her so he had to say something.

‘There is nothing to forgive,’ he stammered but that didn’t get him out of his predicament. She leant her forehead on his chest and didn’t look like she was going to move any time soon. He awkwardly put his hand on her head and used the other to try and carefully ease her off. Of her own accord she did pull away and sat back on the bed. She smiled at his arm and said, ‘I’m so glad they fit. I had to guess how much you would’ve grown.’

‘Oh well you got it spot on, they aren’t too small at all.’

‘I would have been more at risk of making them too big,’ she giggled. He went to retaliate but she suddenly began to frown. She looked as though she was concentrating hard but on what he could not tell.

An interruption came in the form of the nurse who had come to change Winry’s bandages. He took this as his cue to leave and go inform Mustang that he would have to do with the information he had.


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‘So what do you plan to do now Edward?’ Riza asked.

‘Nothing for the moment. I shall take Winry home and keep a watch over her. Perhaps she will be able to remember something in time or the dreams she was having will reoccur.’ He replied.

Mustang sat behind his desk leaning on his hands whilst deep in thought. He knew it was not over for them by a long shot but with all being quiet there really was nothing any of them could do. He nodded at Edward to leave as if he was still in command of him. Mostly what had happened to Winry had nothing to do with the military but he was willing to help a friend. He saw Edward out the door before turning to Riza and asking her;

‘You have seen Winry since she woke up, is she as normal as fullmetal is making out?’

‘From what I know of her, yes sir. However it is quite possible she is in shock or denial and so she must be kept an eye on.’

He nodded and sat back at his desk to await the time he would be called upon again.


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Another five days passed before the doctors allowed Winry to travel home. Ed and Al were there to pick her up and take her straight to the train station with them. She had expressed nothing but the desire to get back with her family and enjoy their group being complete again. Aside from that she had fallen quiet again but was quite open to smile as often as she could. Now as she left her hospital room with them she practically glowed with delight and they could not help but smile along with her. They were enjoying the peace while they could knowing full well Winry would get mad with them at any point and resort back to her temperamental self.

As they trotted along Winry suddenly called out in pain and faltered. Before she fell Edward managed to grab hold of her and hoist her back onto her feet. She seemed to keep a hold of him a moment or two longer then she needed to before letting go and smiling apologetically.

‘Winry are you alright?’ Al asked, taking her hand.

‘Oh yes, there is just the one graze on my foot that won’t heal correctly.’

Somehow Ed wasn’t convinced as she took hold of his hand too as they carried on to the train station. Although she had just taken a stumble she now almost skipped along merrily but he was not ging to say anything at this point. Emotionally she was still delicate and so as long as all seemed well he would have to button it. Al beamed along with her so Ed just accepted the calm he had been granted after so many years of stress.

There was a moment or two of struggle as they reached the train station. Whilst Al went to check that their luggage was aboard Ed had to stand with Winry and keep a strong hold of her hand. She was trembling slightly as the prospect of getting back on the train and he began to hope she might remember something.

‘If you need to Winry, we could go by car.’

‘No, no that would take far too long. I’ll be fine Edward; I have you with me this time after all.’

The nasty pang of guilt ripped through his stomach again but she was still smiling at him. Once Al rejoined them all her fear seemed to slip away and she led them into the carriage.
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Yay~ biggrin.gif smile.gif laugh.gif Good for you, update soon!!! wink.gif
ED_fangirl_forever!
Yay! Another great post! Continue whenever you have time! wink.gif
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Can you update for me??? blink.gif
Chiyo
Ok Ice, this is for you, but I may not update for a while as I have a major assignment to do and I am trying to complete Illegitimate Child. Cliffy coming up...and its a good one.

********

The journey home passed them by without fault and Winry seemed to forget she was aboard a train within an hour. While Al and Ed talked she started blankly out of the window and watched the world speed by. Although they did not look at each other she kept a tight hold of Al’s hand. They suspected it was her secret security blanket; that she feared if she turned away they would no longer be there. Edward saved one eye to glance at the door now and then for strangers would pass by and glare in at them. Since he had Winry back safely he noticed how many people look at the three of them and smiled. He was warmed by this and yet feared it at the same time. With Dante still at large everyone was a suspect but as far as he knew their home back in Rizembol was safe.

After another few peaceful hours, after speeding by the very spot she was taken, Winry gladly grabbed both their arms and dragged them off the train with haste. In doing so she forgot about how delicate her feet were and crumpled as she tried to walk. They had both been warned this might happen and so Ed once again scooped her up and carried her all the way back home.

As they approached the familiar house they could see the gentle rise of smoke from Pinako’s pipe as she stood at the door looking out for them. She did not run to her grand-daughter nor did she say how happy she was to have her back, she merely smiled and said, ‘You have much work to catch up on.’ It would be seen as unaffectionate to a stranger but the all of them it was the norm. It was Pinako’s way of saying she couldn’t be happier everything was returning to normal. She ushered them all inside for dinner which they were just in time for.

‘Oh Winry you are safe!’ Rose cried as she wrapped her arms around Winry tightly. Winry seemed to seize up at first but soon relaxed into the embrace. Jack decided he would join himself in and hooked his arm around her leg. Rose laughed and gently guided him over to the table. Winry, still tender on her feet, followed suit and sat herself in between Ed and Al. somehow she looked out of place among them but it was not surprising. She had been away for quite some time, not just from Ed but from all of them.

Apparently not in the mood to talk it was Rose who led the conversation that meal. She did not have much to tell but did not enjoy the quiet that was when she wasn’t making conversation. She couldn’t understand why they were not happier at being re-united again. They should have been deep in conversation with each other, especially Ed and Winry. Yet she was still unaccustomed to this family and kept her feelings to herself. She was quite happy when Winry finally spoke up.

‘Your arm and leg,’ she mumbled taking a hold of Ed’s right hand, ‘Are these what I made you?’

‘They were found on the train. They fit perfectly,’ he smiled, also clearly aware it was the first time she had spoken up.

‘Did I fix them onto you?’

‘I did Winry. Edward needed a good arm and leg to come and save you,’ Pinako answered for him. It did not seem to ease whatever was on her mind and Winry pouted as she played with her work. For a time Edward sat there and let her play with his hand until eventually he lost his patience and pulled it away. Only after he had done it did he realise it was a big mistake. Winry, who was still not herself, whimpered lightly and buried her face into her hands. He could see her shoulders begin to shake although she did a good job of hiding her sobs.

‘Winry, what’s wrong?’ Al asked whilst frowning at his uncouth brother. Ed just shrugged his shoulders and looked confused.

‘I took so long making that arm and leg,’ she choked, ‘and I couldn’t be the one to give them to you.’

‘But they will always be attached to me Winry and I will always know that you made them for me. You even got them to fit perfectly even though you only guessed how much I had grown.’

He had comforted her with similar words in the past and it seemed to do the trick just as well as it had always done. She took her hands away from her red face and smiled at him. Although her eyes were puffed up he could not deny she did look strangely cute. Perhaps because crying meant she was not yelling.

That little moment set off a spark and Ed told them of some of his adventures. They had been on the train for quite a time and Al retired about an hour after darkness had fallen. Jack was going through a bout of nights he would refuse to go to bed but Rose finally managed to persuade him to at least stay in his room. Pinako took her leave after that leaving Winry sprawled out on the sofa with Ed and Rose on chairs near to her.

He finished the tale he was telling and silence fell between the three of them. The only light in the room came from the fire they had set ablaze once the natural light had failed. Rose tried to keep her eyes away from Winry but she was so curious to know what had happened to the frail blonde. Each time she looked over toward Winry, she got a stare back until she eventually looked away. It scared her a little but then she told herself that Winry had been through a lot.

‘I’m going to bed, are you two coming?’ Winry asked in a groggy voice.

‘No I’m going to stay up a little while longer,’ Rose sighed.

‘Yeah me too,’ Edward added.

Winry seemed to hesitate at the bottom of the stairs but then slowly ascended, keeping her eyes focused on the steps below her feet. They watched her go before Rose caved in and asked Edward her burning question.

‘What happened to her?’

‘I don’t know Rose. She says she doesn’t remember anything but I wonder if she stays quiet out of fear. You already know the state she was in when we found her.’

‘Yes Pinako told me. Oh the poor girl I wish I knew how to comfort her.’

‘Hmm well just act as if nothing has happened to her. I think the least she is reminded she was ever away the better. Hopefully, in time, she will remember something or at least tell us what she knows.’

Rose opened her mouth to say something else when they heard a thump from upstairs. With all the agility and speed of a cat Edward dashed up the stairs and toward Winrys room. Without even the thought to knock he burst in to find her in a heap on the floor. Den stood beside her whimpering and barked when he saw Ed come into the room.

‘What happened?’ he asked as he moved to her side to help her up.

She groaned, ‘I was taking my skirt off when I came over light headed and I fell.’

It was then he noticed that bottom half she was only in her underwear. It was not the time for him to give in to male hormones and he shook itoff. He eased her to her feet and gently placed her on her bed. After mumbling a good night he shot from the scene and straight to his own room. He didn’t mean to think such thoughts when she was so fragile and had been through so much. But ever since he had recalled accidentally seeing her nude a few years ago he hadn’t been able to eradicate the image from his head. He would need to find himself a girl and fast. But then he chuckled. When had he ever made time for someone of the opposite sex?


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A few days went by and although Winry remained quiet she seemed to settle into routine a little better. Her legs stopped giving way underneath her as she was even able to go for walks as long as she was accompanied. She even got back into making auto-mail as long as it wasn’t heavy duty. Ed tried to keep his distance but living with someone generally meant you were in close quarters. At that point in his life he didn’t know what to do after so much journeying. He knew his top priority was Dante but all the same he could not risk growing a closer attachment to Winry. He had left her many times before and there was nothing to say he wouldn’t do it again.

It was Al who seemed to be happiest. Out of all of them it was he who had always treasured family above all else and to have everyone he was close to with him was purest joy. Rose seemed to close her self off a little but it was no surprise to anyone. Seeing Winry in such a state only led to remind her she too had fallen victim to the evil jezebel. Pinako acted just as Ed believed they all should and that was to act as if nothing had happened. There was nothing obviously wrong with Winry after all it was just that she was a little quiet. The worst affected appeared to be Den who in his old age was easily confused. Unable to bound as he once would he tottered around after Winry looking as melancholy as a dog could.

Ed looked back and gave Winry and Jack another quick wave. He, Al and Rose were heading into the market to pick up some food while Pinako was out to visit a patient who had broken his auto-mail. Winry had offered to look after Jack to give Rose some free time. They guessed that translated as it’ll keep her mind on something.

Once they reached the market they all perked up a little. Although it was crowded it was sometimes nice to have lots of people round for a change. Al bought some cherries before he did anything else. They were to be a treat for Winry as she had had to stay at home rather then come with them. Ed thought it was best he bought something too just to try and get some weight on her. Winrys time away had dropped a lot of weight off her and she still hadn’t fully put it back on. When he had helped her up the other night he had been able to feel her rigs a bit too well for comfort. Problem was if he had held her any higher she might have buried a wrench in his skull.

‘Ah, look over there!’ Rose suddenly chirped. A stall close to them was selling roses of all colours and of course Rose was drawn to them. She was drawn to any flower in fact but she appeared to fall week at the knees at this specific store. She dashed over to see them closer leaving the two Elric brothers behind. After both sighing deeply they slowly began to walk over to where she stood, cooing over the range of colours.

It was a woman in the crowd who was the first to notice. She screamed and pointed skyward toward the building Rose was standing beneath. Some of the wall had crumbled away and was about to fall directly on top of the stall and would in no doubt take Rose with it.
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Ok..... I hope you finish your major assignment soon~
ED_fangirl_forever!
No, another cliffhanger! Another great update though. (Woah, I didn't suspect that the cliffhanger would come down to this!) ohmy.gif
Chiyo
Work has been done (for now) and so my fic can be updated. Enjoy (even if it is just the two of you)



********

Her screams carried through the town and alerted everyone to the event. They all turned in time to see a giant stone hand emerge from a wall and cover the young woman. Rose did not stop screaming as the rocks fell on the hand and broke into small pieces around her. When all had fallen silent and the dust had settled she realised that no harm had come to her.

Both Alphonse and Edward stood back up after hitting the ground to transmute the rock. Al was the one to walk over to comfort Rose while Edward put the wall back together. They were quite aware they were being watched but they had grown used to it after years of using alchemy. Rose was shaken up but unharmed so they went to a local café to get her some tea.

‘I must be one of the must unlucky people alive,’ she laughed nervously as they sat her down.

‘Not really. You were very lucky brother and I were here,’ Al smiled.

‘After this we will go home,’ Edward said, ‘You will need to rest after that. Plus,’ he sighed as he sat down and looked out of the window, ‘we appear to have attracted quite an audience.’

Rose began to giggle at the site of twenty strangers staring in at them.


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When Rose appeared at the front door Jack leapt into her arms and began to cry.

‘Jack? What’s wrong dear?’

‘I missed you mother, I missed you,’ he wailed.

‘But you had Winry here to look after you.’

‘She went into her bedroom and never came out, even when I knocked.’

Knowing that Winry would not leave a child alone like that Edward dashed into the house and into Winry’s room. As he feared she was lying in a heap on the floor. Kneeling by her side he once again scooped her into his arms and placed her down on the bed. As he did so her eyes fluttered open and focused on him. At first she smiled but then winced and held her wrist.

‘Oooh, what happened,’ she moaned.

Taking a hold of her hand he squeezed her wrist which made her cry out again. Rose appeared in the doorway with Jack who was still sobbing heavily.

‘She fainted again,’ he said to Rose, the turning back to Winry suggested, ‘you must have fallen on your wrist as you fell. Try not to use this hand if possible.’

She nodded and smiled weakly at him again. Remembering the bag he had with him he produced a box and sat it on her bed. Pushing herself up with one hand she looked curiously at him.

‘Just something I picked up while we were at the café,’ he smiled and opened the box. Inside was a rather creamy looking cheesecake which when eaten with Al’s cherries would surely bring a smile to her face. ‘I’ll get you a fork,’ he added, getting up to leave.

‘Get two,’ she called after him.

‘So you can eat it twice as fast?’

Not getting angered by his comment at all she smiled slightly and said, ‘So you can join me and help me eat it.’


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‘Ah Winry, you’re up,’ Al cried as he embraced her, ‘You scared me back then.’

Winry nodded, ‘I’m sorry for leaving Jack alone Rose,’ Winry sighed looking over at the other young woman.

‘It was not your fault Winry. He is a sensible boy so stayed safe. How are you feeling?’

‘Much better thank you. What can I smell?’

‘I’m making stew but minus the milk,’ she laughed, indicating to Ed.

‘But Ed likes stew in milk?’

‘I found I like the one Rose makes and it doesn’t have milk in it,’ Ed grumbled. He was rather full from eating so much cheesecake but he had been happy to see Winry eat so much. There was now colour in her cheeks and a new found sparkle in her eye. He was finally getting his Winry back.

‘So how was the market?’

‘Ah, we never told you did we? Is it alright if we explain while you make dinner Rose?’ Al asked.

‘Of course, make sure you explain about what a hero you are.’

Al watched Winry as she walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water. He too could finally see more of a spring in her step and was delighted at how interested she was in what happened at the market. She seemed to concentrate all the way through and showed no signs of fatigue.

‘Do you think she will completely recover?’

‘She will Al, this is Winry we are talking about.’

‘My ears are burning,’ Winry laughed as she walked back in the room, closely followed by Rose announcing that it was time to eat. The all placed themselves round the table as Rose dished out the steaming hot stew. Ed could feel his mouth salivate and he forgot all about being full on cheesecake. Checking that everyone else was ready he picked up his spoon and took a huge mouthful.

For a second or two he kept it in his mouth before the realisation of what he could taste has set in. Rather then the usually delicious taste his mouth almost stung with the taste of salt. Politely as he could he spat out the food into a napkin and went to apologise. However it appeared he was not the only one having trouble as the others were watering at the eyes. Jack made a rather verbal protest at how ‘nasty’ it tasted.

‘Goodness, I must not have realised how much salt I put in,’ Rose laughed apologetically. ‘I guess I had better quickly make something else.’

‘Don’t be silly Rose; I’ll make something else,’ Winry said standing up, ‘an easy mistake to make, especially after the drama you went through today.’

‘Thank you Winry that might be a good idea.’ As Winry walked away Rose turned back to the Elric brothers and sighed, ‘Not doing well today am I? It was lucky Pinako is still working, she might have boxed my ears for trying to poison you all.’


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Rose was severely tired by morning after a very poor night sleep. She had spent it trying to remember when she might have put that much salt in. Convinced she was loosing her marbles after the shock at the market she had vowed to make it up to everyone. She slowly made her way up the stairs with a huge pile of washing she was taking back to Edward. She marvelled at how much laundry he went through in such a small amount of time. She passed Winry’s room as quietly as she could as it was still rather early. She knocked on Ed’s door and he opened it to let her in. He was still looking rather drowsy himself and just indicated for her to drop the basket on the floor.

‘You didn’t have to do all that,’ Edward yawned.

‘It’s to make up for last night.’

‘It was an accident Rose. Anyway it was good to see Winry so active. You probably did her some good in the long run. Never seen someone cook so fast with one hand.’

‘Perhaps you are right. I suppose I was still more shaken up then I realised. I have to admit my heart did skip a beat or two when Jack said he had been alone.’

‘Understandably so, but like you said he is a sensible boy and would never leave the house without permission.’

‘He is a good boy. He downstairs eating breakfast with Pinako now and I suggest we join them. He can be a bit of a pig in the morning.’

As they walked down the corridor Rose noticed Winry’s door was now open. As they passed it she saw Winry sat on her bed looking straight ahead.

‘Winry, is everything okay?’

The girl seemed to jump at Rose’s voice, ‘Is Ed with you.’

‘I’m here,’ he said appearing behind Rose.

‘Can I have a quick word with you?’

‘Yea. I’ll catch up with you Rose,’ he said as he walked over to Winry and sat on the bed. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Is Rose okay? She didn’t seem to realise she had made a mistake yesterday.’

‘I just think she was a little distracted, nothing to worry about. Are you worried she has become unhinged,’ he laughed.

‘Don’t be so cruel Edward; of course I don’t think that. I was just concerned for her. She is a mother after all.’

‘What’s that Winry? Not getting mad at me are you?’

‘No, I know you were joking.’

‘You don’t fancy clubbing me with a wrench?’

‘Why would I do that?’

After seeing signs of his Winry last night these words seemed to sting rather harshly. Her eyes had clouded over once again and the humour had gone from her voice. He got up to leave her to her thoughts but she gripped on to his sleeve.

‘You know I didn’t want to leave Jack in danger like that?’

‘Winry you had passed out. How on earth could I blame you for that?’

‘I don’t know. I heard you and Rose talking a moment ago and she sounded pretty scared for Jack. He is okay isn’t he?’

‘Where has all this suddenly come from?’

She suddenly raised herself on her knees and grabbed his shirt much like she had done in the hospital. Her big blue eyes began to fill with tears as she looked mournfully up at him. He put his hands on her arms to try and stop them shaking. She was clearly still very delicate.

‘I just don’t want you to hate me Edward. I want you to know I accept that you want to be with Rose and that I would never…’

‘Winry! Nothing is going on between me and Rose! Where would you get such an idea?’

‘Because she told you she loved you before you disappeared. Now you live under the same roof.’

‘She remembered that? She never said she loved me anyway. Living together doesn’t mean anything Winry. Rose is only here so Pinako could look after her.’

‘So you do not love her?’

‘Not like that, no.’

Winry let go of his shirt and sat back down. Whispering a sorry she looked down at her hands and rubbed them nervously. He rubbed the back of his head awkwardly before saying, ‘Come downstairs and have some breakfast. I’m sure Grandma will want to see you as she missed you last night.’

Winry gave a small sniff, ‘Okay, I’ll be down in a second.’

He exited the room as quickly as he could without making it obvious he was trying to escape. He hated feeling awkward around someone he should be so comfortable with but it was happening more and more.

Rose was stood waiting at the top of the stairs. She smiled as she saw him approaching and indicated for him to go first.

‘Ah Rose you should have just gone. There was no need to wait for…’

He was unable to finish his sentence. Rose watched in horror as Edward tumbled down the solid wooden stairs and landed with a sickening thud at the bottom. After that she saw nothing but the blur of Winry’s form streak past her and the cry of horror that rang through the house.

Le Monkey
Yet more good work Chiyo!!
I do love your work! XD

Ooooh.. whats going to happen? ohmy.gif
violentmog
I really like this story. I've read some of your other ones, and they were fantastic as well. Keep up the good work!
Frozen Ice Alchemist
YAY! Updatez Chiyo~ Awww cliffhanger.... sad.gif
ED_fangirl_forever!
Gah!! Another cliffhanger! sad.gif Great post! Update soon, please? smile.gif
ed's numbuh 1 fan
grr! cliffie's! you need to update faster, i have nothing to read laugh.gif
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Chiyo, update soon~
Le Monkey
Just posing here "Update" isnt going to make her type any faster or have any more free time around Uni is it now?
ed's numbuh 1 fan
QUOTE(le monkey @ Mar 25 2006, 12:56 PM) [snapback]369037[/snapback]

Just posing here "Update" isnt going to make her type any faster or have any more free time around Uni is it now?

your right ^^;

erm, sorry Chiyo sad.gif ! we just love your story so much laugh.gif
Chiyo
No problem, but now I have completed one fic I should have a bit more time for this one.
Le Monkey
yeah, but you silly things on this forum wont read it.. ITS A BRILLIANT STORY!!
READ IT! biggrin.gif

HERE!!
Chiyo
Woohoo I finally got round to completeing the update. I just couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to happen at first but now it all seems to fit. Actually I ran out of space as I usually stick to about 2000words and to stay with my original chapter plan would have meant going over. Ah well...still got a cliffy in. Enjoy

********

He sat on the sofa with one leg rested on a chair in front of him. Winry had gone to fetch some more ice to rest on his swollen ankle. Rose for some unknown reason and locked herself away in her room and refused to come out. The moment she saw Ed had opened his eyes she made a dash for her bedroom and had been there ever since.

‘Does it hurt brother?’ Al asked.

‘Not too much, I’ve had worse then this.’

‘Not recently you haven’t,’ Winry pointed out as she re-entered the room, ‘You’ve got bruises all over you, a bump on the head and a twisted ankle.’

‘It could have been far worse Winry…’

‘Well it didn’t have to happen at all! Why did you fall?’

Al held up a sock in front of her, ‘This must have been on the top step and brother slipped on it.’

‘What was a sock doing there?’ Winry asked.

‘It was my fault.’

They all turned to see Rose stood in the doorway. Her face was streaked with tears and her arms wrapped around her defensively.

‘How was it your fault?’ Ed inquired.

‘I had done the washing and carried it upstairs. I must have dropped that sock and not noticed which meant I just left it there. If I had been more careful with what I was doing Edward would be okay.’

‘Rose that was nothing but an accident…’

‘But I appear to be making more and more mistakes! I’ve been clumsy these past couple of days and these accidents just keep getting worse!’

Ed sighed and realised Rose was still too upset to realise that none of it was her fault. She made a bolt for the door, narrowly missing Pinako who was coming through it at the same time.

‘Careful Rose,’ Pinako called after her but Rose was already out of the house. They stood in silence for a while, none of them sure just how to react. It was finally Winry who spoke up again

‘She isn’t going to stop accidents happening if she plans to tear around like that.’

********

After a couple of hours Rose still hadn’t returned and so Al was keeping an eye on Jack. It was because of Jack they knew Rose would return soon. She was too devoted a mother to leave her son alone for too long. Ed was succumbing to the sleep that was trying to catch him so after much effort he made it up the stairs. As he passed Winry’s room he saw she was kneeling on her bed looking intently out of the window.

‘Is everything okay?’ he asked.

Winry gave a small squeal and whipped round at the sound of his voice. She put her hand to her heart and scowled at him.

‘Did you need to sneak up on me like that?’

‘Winry it’s taken me about five minutes to get up the stairs. I couldn’t sneak if I wanted to.’

‘Well make more noise next time,’ she snapped and returned her gaze to whatever was through her window.

‘Looking at something important then?’ he inquired, secretly savouring the sound of her sharp tongue.

‘Not really. Not that it has anything to do with you anyway.’

She stood up and turned to face him. For a moment or two she didn’t say a word but soon her eyes wandered and fell upon a pair of her shoes.

‘Well I take it none of you plan to look for Rose then? Then again it’s probably best I find her anyway. Guys aren’t very good at handling women in a delicate state,’ she sighed, lifting her nose into the air. Although his mouth opened to respond she sauntered past him, making sure to flick her head as she went out of the door. He listened to her hum all the way down the stairs and eventually out of the front door. He would never understand women but he preferred this Winry to the reserved character she had been of late.

He hobbled over to the window to take a look himself. He could see Winry walking toward the lake where they had played often as children. Although it was a distance away he could just about make out the figure of a girl sat on the swing they had built by the riverside. It had to be Rose and Winry must have spotted her too. As Ed wandered his eyes back to where Winry was walking he jumped as much as Winry had done earlier. She was stood on the spot looking directly at him but her face showed no signs of an expression. Afraid he was in trouble for something he gave her a friendly wave before backing away from the window. He was in no doubt that by the end of the night there would be a second bump on his head.

********

He must have only dozed for an hour before he heard the joyous call of Jack greeting his mother. It must have meant that Winry had successfully persuaded Rose to come home. He smiled to himself as he marvelled at how complicated women were.

As he heard footsteps slowly ascend the stairs he sat himself up in preparation. Sure enough he heard a soft knock at his door and he called for them to enter. However although he had expected Rose it was a rather meek looking Winry.

‘Is Rose okay?’

Winry let out a rather sharp breath, ‘She is still too embarrassed to come and see you. Looks like she is going to be blaming herself for a good long while so I would just drop the subject with her.’

‘Was she okay when you found her?’

Winry shrugged her shoulders, ‘She was lost in her own little world as I walked toward her. Once I got her to talk she was very blunt with me as if she was trying to hint at me to drop the subject. Frankly I think she’s being ungrateful!’

Edward was taken aback by the sudden outburst from Winry. Although her face was just as expressionless as it had been before something in her voice sounded bitter.

‘What makes you say that?’

For a moment or two her eyes stayed glaring at the wall and she was silent. After furrowing her brows for a while she locked her gaze onto his. He resisted asking her again as she walked over to the bed and sat herself close to him. Her eyes were still locked on his as she finally spoke up.

‘I’m not saying Rose has had an easy life but there is no doubt it would be worse if you hadn’t been there. She told me what you had done for her and I don’t think she should forget it. You put yourself in danger for her…’

‘She put herself in danger for me which possibly saved my life!’

‘But she put herself back in danger as well. Then you had to save her again from that underground world. You have done so much for her Edward and she doesn’t seem to appreciate that. If she remembered all the times you have saved her she would not believe she was cursed.’

He looked away from her as she took a hold of his hand. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable near her again and her words sounded too selfish to be coming from Winry. Yet he had to remember it had been two years since he had last really spent time with her; this may have been a character change.

‘Tell me you understand Edward? I am only thinking of you here. You know I will always remember all the things you did for me?’

He hesitantly looked straight at her and his heart lurched. He couldn’t remember a time she had acted in such a way around him. Sure she had cried or got upset with him but never had she seemed so very…feminine. He found his mouth to be too dry to speak and he just sat gaping at her.

‘Although I cannot remember what happened to me I knew that it would be you who would save me. All I could think of was seeing you again after so long. Nothing was going to keep me from seeing you again Edward. And now here I am, safe and sound and with you.’

‘It was more like you had escaped then I rescued you. It took me far too long to get to you…’

She leant even closer to him and he closed up once again. Her blue eyes were glistening with tears but she kept moving closer and closer. He didn’t know what to do with himself as all he could do was look into her eyes.

With a rather heavy thump he fell on the floor. Obviously he had been shifting away from Winry without realising and hadn’t noticed there was no bed left for him to move along. When he looked once again at Winry he noticed she seemed to have resumed to her normal self and she was giggling at him.

‘Still clumsy as ever hey Ed?’ she laughed as she got up to exit the room.

‘Tha….that was your fault,’ he yelled in defence but she had already shut the door behind her.

********

After picking himself up and letting his anger settle Edward decided to head downstairs and make himself something to eat. His ankle was still tender but the bump on his head appeared to be receding. If Winry had been teasing him he was going to find out right away. He heard the phone ring downstairs but he was not going to make a dash for it. Luckily with a few people in the house it was soon answered.

As he walked down the stairs he could hear Winry’s voice. He tried to make out what she was saying but her voice was too low. He knew it wasn’t right to eavesdrop but if it was a client she would be loud and happy. This tone sounded low and hushed.

He faltered on the last step and made an obvious thump. He suddenly heard the phone be put down and Winry ran into the room.

‘Are you okay? You didn’t fall again?’

‘No, I’m fine. Who was on the phone?’

‘Oh it was Miss Hawkeye. She was just updating me on their investigation.’

‘I see. Have they found anything?’

Winry sighed heavily, ‘No and I still can’t remember anything to tell them. Not doing to well am I?’

He shook his head before he noticed Rose sitting in the front room. He decided to take Winry’s advice and he was not going to mention the accident to her. With Winry to support him he walked over to Rose and sat next to her. He could see she tensed up and he could also feel Winry’s gaze on him. The next words he was going to say would have to be well chosen or he would end up with a wrench in his skull.

‘Hey Rose…do you know where Al has gone?’

He couldn’t have picked anything much safer then that. He heard Winry let out a breath again and Rose seemed to smile ever so slightly.

‘He’s gone to play on the swing by the river; says it calms him.’

‘I think I will join him,’ Winry suddenly chirped and left before either of them could say another thing to her. She was certainly a bemusing character of late.

Although Winry had gone he knew he would still have to be careful as to what he would ay to her. Several times he took in a breath to say something but only silence followed. He was actually taking this time to marvel at just how difficult he was finding it to talk to females. Not in the sense that he got hot under the collar near them but rather they just got more confusing with age. Noah had been different because of the situation she was in. Winry had changed, Rose had changed and he just couldn’t keep up with them anymore.

Some time passed and the only sound to be heard was the ticking of the clock. He didn’t feel awkward for Rose looked strangely serene. The reason was that she had finally accepted she wasn’t cursed at all but that she had just been around some unfortunate accidents. She guessed Edward was being quiet as he felt a bit unsure about her after her outburst. She went to speak but was interrupted as the door burst open. In fell Winry and Al, both soaked to their skin and gasping for breath. Winry let out a moan and collapsed.
Frozen Ice Alchemist
Joy, you finally updated Chiyo~ biggrin.gif And why are Al and Winry all wet...?
ED_fangirl_forever!
Oh, I wonder what is going to happen in the next chapter! ohmy.gif Another great update, I love your work! wink.gif
Nil-chan
Wow! Good job on this story! i like it! The chappies are nice and long, a lot of deatail in them, and some fun kawaii fluffiness. I like how your tried to include a lot of the characters in here. PLease please update soon!
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