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Chiyo
Well since many will have run away after seeing Ed/Win, hey to the few of you left laugh.gif


Here starts a series of fics concentrating mainly on Winry. The idea behind this was there are many times we don't know whats going on in her head so I have filled those gaps. And I wish to say before I get bashers, she had admitted she loves Edward more then a brother, that I am not making up.

Anywho, because its me there will be much Ed/Win. I start on manga no. 45, which is where the title came from. I will then follow on from there...if enough people are interested. As the manga may go on for some time I will probably make my own conclusion at some point.

So please enjoy, now I'll leave you to read.

Edit As of today (1st September 2009) I shall be updated and editing these previous chapters. Since we have got to this point in the anime, spoilers for the series are abound. Here we start at Episode 20. This chapter now edited.

********


She stood in the doorway staring blankly ahead for what seemed like hours. Perhaps she should never have got out of bed in the first place but it was too late now she was here. It was a miracle no one else was walking the corridors or they may have seen her. She had opened the door so carefully and made sure she let in as little light as possible and closed it quietly so he would not wake up.

As he turned over in his sleep she pushed herself further into the wood, as if would make any difference if he woke up. Once he had settled back down her body relaxed but she still felt frozen to the spot. For the life of her she could not recall what had urged her to get out of bed and make her way here. Now she was glued to the spot looking at him sleep like some stalker might.

Then her memory caught up with her and she knew why she was there. That night she had realised, or more had been reminded, that her childhood friend was in fact growing up. She had no idea what the future held for any of them but Ed was ever more independent. To her this meant many things but it was the one thought that scared her most.

Still as silently as she could she crossed the room and sat herself down in the armchair opposite the bed. She couldn’t see his face anymore but his presence was still very real. Wrapping her arms around herself she decided the safest thing to do now was just to remain seated there. She knew she wanted to at least be close to him but with nothing to say she was content with the silence.

Once his task of retrieving his brother’s body had been completed he would probably not need too much human contact. He would easily break away from the Rockbell household and so easily break away from her. She wasn’t quite sure how she would take such news if it occurred, but she knew fear played a great part of it. Even though he had been travelling for some time she still fully believed he would come home and a sense of normality could fall upon them. But then it couldn’t be normal, for he would be an adult in search of his own life. They had always joked the three of them would be together forever but that was the naivety of youth.

It may eventually have ended up that if she wanted to stay near to them she would have to keep following them. A travelling auto-mail mechanic didn’t seem to bad an idea, until she remembered most customers needed after-care. She couldn’t just give someone a new arm and let him or her get on with it. Though had left people behind in Rush Valley there were other people there to care for them. The people back in Rizembol had Granny so for the time being it was okay to be away from home.

Her heart had been through a lot of late and she knew it would only get worse. Ed and Al seemed to get into more dangerous situations with each passing week. The fact that Ed had asked her to stay to fix his auto-mail meant he was planning on getting himself into trouble again. She would be glad when he got his own limbs back so she didn’t have to keep fixing him.

She giggled quietly to herself knowing full well she was never angry with him for breaking his automail. Even if it was her hard work destroyed in an instant, it was the symbol of what she could do for him. So that when he got his real limbs back…she wouldn’t be needed. Yes, this was probably what she feared most. She had become dependant on people being dependant on her.

His eyes flickered open as he heard a feint laugh across the room. Slowly he inclined his head to see where the noise came. This he did with great care to remain undetected. The bed covers obscured his vision and all he could make out was a pair of long pale legs tucked up on the chair; a pair of long white female legs. Closing his eyes he shifted his legs as if he was moving in his sleep to get a better look.

‘Oh Edward,’ Winry cursed under her breath as his sudden movement made her jump. Worried this was an indication he was about to wake up she got to her feet to exit. She padded silently across the room and her hand reached for the door handle.

‘What are you doing?’

She let out a squeal of surprise and her hand snapped away from the door. She whipped round to see Edward sat on the edge of his bed, arms folded and with a scowl on his face. How he managed to move that damn quickly without her hearing was beyond her. However, there were more pressing matters. Just how was she going to explain her way out of this one?

‘Well…clearly…’

‘It’s been a while since you snuck into my room after having a nightmare,’ he butted in, ‘you could have given me some warning you were there.’

Bingo, ‘Oh…well… it’s late isn’t it! You would have yelled at me and called me a child.’

He huffed, ‘You’re not really the same as you were when you used to sneak in to my room.’

‘What do you mean by that?’

She kept her eyes focused on him and it seemed he kept his eyes trained on hers. In the briefest of moments, she saw his eyes flick down across her body. Her face flushed red and she recalled she had taken off her pyjama bottoms and only had her slightly oversized shirt covering her.

‘You perv...’ she started.

‘There is no way you would have politely waited by the door before. You used to just jump straight in and press your cold nose against my back.’

Her face creased up, ‘it wasn’t cold.’

‘Come over here,’ he sighed and patted the bed next to him. Determined to not let herself embarrassed she shrugged her shoulders and casually strode over, seating herself beside him. With all the grace of a baby elephant she began to lie down, only for her plan to backfire on her as the moment she leant backward she saw his back again. She sat bolt upright and looked away to hide her blushing face.

‘It won’t work if you face away from me,’ he said, so close to her ear she tensed up. All the same, she straightened her face and turned to look at him.

‘I said face not look,’ he sighed again and suddenly grabbed her right ankle with his left hand. With a small tug he swivelled her round until her whole body faced him. The sudden movement mixed with his hand on her leg caused her to glow red. He took hold of her hands and leant close to her. When he instructed her to close her eyes she did so with great caution. Whatever he was up to he was going all out to unnerve her.

‘What are you afraid of Winry?’

Had she been mumbling to herself while she was sat in the chair? Had he magically read her every thought since she had entered the room? Aware he could still see her face she bit her lip to stop herself gawping like a fish.

‘C’mon. We can’t do this if you don’t tell me.’

‘What? Do what?’

‘What was your nightmare about? What has scared you?’

With those words suddenly everything fit into place and inwardly she laughed hysterically. When she was little and she snuck into his room after having a nightmare they performed this ritual. After she had subtly woken him up anyway. They would face each other and take hold of each other’s hands. Then, with her eyes closed, she would picture the nightmare she had and describe it to him. The combination of knowing someone was physically there and describing the dream would make her see she was safe enough to go back to bed. When Edward really didn’t want to know, Al was always happy to step in.

She opened her eyes and took her hands away, ‘I’m too old for that now Edward.’

‘Then why were you in here?’

‘Because…well perhaps seeing you made me feel better but I didn’t want to wake you!’ she snapped. She stood up to make her hasty exit but he grabbed hold of her wrist.

‘Fine. You are staying here with us for a while though?’

She cast her eyes over his form. Although she loved automail she also knew she would love to see him with his real limbs back. Even if that meant she might not see him as much, she couldn’t deny him his limbs and his brother back. Apart from a metal arm and leg, every other part of him was perfect.

Snatching her hand away she grumbled something about not having much of a choice. Trying to not be too loud she made a dash for her own room and slammed the door behind her. Her heart was beating heavily in her chest, which made her short of breath. She had been ready to accuse him of being a pervert and she very nearly become one herself. She did not know why it had happened, but she didn’t wish it to occur again.
Le Monkey
biggrin.gif

lol.. Its just like him to be so niaeve.. XD

more! biggrin.gif
Nil-chan
Wow! This is extremely good!! The characters play out well, and they work with each other perfectly! Normally, i'm not a ginormous EdWin fan (unless its manga, like this is, then it works really well!) But this is really good! I'm glad I took the time to read it! Great job! I'm excited to see where this goes, fluffyness is so much fun! Update soon!
Animeoldtimer
I read this on ff.net. I really liked it and look forward to the next chapter.

I especially like the relationship between Ed and Winry in the manga and I agree sometimes the statements Winry makes gets you thinking 'what does she mean by that?' or 'what is she thinking?'

Like her connection between a person's back and her love for them.

Anyway, keep up the good work. You do write really nice Ed/Win stories. smile.gif

Summerlover01
Wow laugh.gif this was really good! I really enjoyed it! Especially since it's manga based. I do hope you write some more of this story. By the way feel free to write some more edwin manga based stories. smile.gif
Chiyo
Holy hell, I updated a fic! I'm in shock myself. But once I got going it flowed easily. Especially since this is following the manga and there is only so much basic story I have to do. This is following number 46, some is the story, some is the made up inbetween parts.

If there are any mistakes I haven't spotted I do apologise, but this was rushed. The weather is too hot, my brain melted.

Edit Note: Updated and Edited 6th September 2009

********

By the time she stirred again the sun was up and shining through her window. The odd flicker of shadow meant the tree outside was being blown about by the breeze. She closed her eyes again and longed for another hours sleep. Her midnight excursion had unnerved her and she had lain awake for hours. The peace didn’t last as she heard familiar voices were heard outside.

‘It’s a clever plan brother if you are sure you will be safe.’

‘I’ve tackled him before Al. I know what I’m doing.’

If anything were going to stir her from her bed, that small section of conversation would do it. Throwing on her dressing gown she threw the door open just in time to see them at the end of the corridor.

‘What plan?’ she called.

She could tell she had caught them off guard as they slowly turned around, revealing guilty looking faces.

‘What plan? Who have you tackled?’ she questioned again.

‘The Colonel,’ Ed blurted out, ‘we have made plans to go and see him but you know what he can be like.’

‘Yes Winry, I was over-reacting when I said, “tackled”, but you know what he’s like.’ Al supported.

She opened her mouth to make more of a protest but they made a dash for it. If she had been clothed she might have chased them but she had to leave them to it.

‘Oh Winry,’ Ed called to her, once again appearing round the corner, ‘why don’t you go visit Gracier and Elysia?’

‘Don’t you think you can tell me what to do Edward Elric!’ she yelled. Realizing he had indeed vanished this time she slammed her door and leant her head against it. Nightmares, she thought, the only nightmare I suffer is him.

******

Quite of her own will and nothing to do with Ed’s suggestion Winry paid a visit to Gracier and little Elysia. Since the boys had vanished so early Winry would have to entertain herself for the day. She hadn’t seen Gracier since the day she had found out about Hughes’ death. It had been a sad meeting and Winry would hate for them to part on such a memory.

They were stood by Hughes grave but the feeling was not so sullen. Winry found she could talk to Gracier easier then her own Grandmother and so was taking the chance while she had it. The wind was blowing her hair into a frightful mess but her mind was too occupied to notice. She wasn’t talking to Gracier about the uncomfortable feeling that had taken her over the previous night, but Edward was very much on her mind.

‘I know I should be happy with what I have but…’she sighed.

‘Go on dear,’ Gracier urged.

Winry took a deep breath, ‘It’s so horrible. Why does everyone disappear in some place I don’t know?’

She didn’t expect an answer. Brushing her hair away from her face she continued.

‘My mom and dad too, “We’ll be right back so be a good girl and mind the house”’, she remembered with a sore heart, ‘Then they went to Ishbal and never came back.’

She felt as if anyone could have been there and her words would have streamed out like water down a river. Her words and voice were lowered as if she were only talking to herself. Perhaps this had been why she felt so out of place last night?

‘The last I saw of my parents were their large back when going to the battlefield. As their backs became smaller, I began feeling lonely.’

Gracier turned to walk away but encouraged Winry to keep talking as she stayed with her.

‘But I remember feeling hope as I watched from behind, them taking pride in their work. I may have been comparing Mr Hughes’ back with my own father’s’.
As they stepped through the gate, Elysia merrily stood between them Winry knew this probably made no sense to Gracier.

‘Something that I have lost and can never get back again. My mother and father and myself laughing in the middle,’ she turned to look at the little girl as her realisation broke through, ‘I was comparing myself to Mr Hughes and Gracier and Elysia because I was welcomed like family there.’

A weight she maybe didn’t realise was there lifted off her shoulders, ‘It made me happy. Very much. It was kind of a familiar, happy feeling.’

Gracier smiled that motherly smile Winry delighted in seeing, ‘Come and visit every now and then okay? He gets so lonely all the time.’

Winry felt humbled to be asked such a thing and promised herself she would drop by when she could. Her visit was coming to a close but she walked back with them just to have their company a few moments longer. Last night she was seeking reassurance from Edward that he would not disappear too; she just hadn’t realised that was it at the time.

‘Alchemists?’

‘I’ve heard the Elric brothers are in a fight.’

‘Where?’

Although all that came out of her mouth was an angry ‘eh’ Winry screamed inwardly. Sods law was playing his cruel trick on her again. She calms herself that the people she cares for won’t always vanish just as two of them are in danger. Quickly excusing herself from Gracier’s company she made a dash for the centre of town. She could only imagine they were very much in the public view. They were such idiots sometimes!

As she ran she heard more comments from passers by. Her anger soon melted into fear as the severity of their situation became apparent.

‘A State Alchemist killer?’

‘He’s still alive?’

These words caused her heart to drop into her stomach. She knew they were up to no good this morning but she never expected this.

‘Hey hey is this alright?’

‘What’s the military doing?’

Panic drove her legs to go faster but she frustratingly didn’t increase speed. Her mind raced with the conversation she had just had with Gracier. The image of her parents walking away from her came to mind mixed with the image of Ed and Al from the back.

No, she thought to herself, why do they have to be the same? She associated one thing with another. That had been the last image of her parents and now she believed it would be her last memory of the Elric brothers.

*****

She ran and ran until her breath was ragged and her legs weak, but still she kept on running. Flashes of light and the sounds of stone smashing could only mean alchemy and she ran to the source. Sure enough she came upon a crowd who appeared to be keeping their distance from something. Mumbling an apology as she pushed her way through a few men, she ignored their calls of ‘danger’ and kept going. The alchemised metal and rock, broken to pieces that surrounded her was not a sign of comfort. Tears began to form in her eyes as she fully expected the worst. She mentally pleaded to whoever could hear her to keep them safe until she could reach them.

*****

Edward had his hands poised to defend himself from another attack. His plan was backfiring on him, as the homunculus had not made themselves known yet. He needed to stop fighting even if for a little while, to catch his breath and think of another plan. While he had Scar in his presence he would tackle and issue that had been burning in his mind and kill two birds with one stone.

‘Certainly, we alchemists have been making mistakes,’ he called across the battlefield, ‘but that doesn’t mean we are going to acknowledge what you’re doing.’ He took a deep breath, ‘Scar, there’s something I want to ask you.’

*****

She could hear his voice and she could smell his metal. To see Al standing there filled Winry with relief. They were both still alive even if the danger was still present. As she approached she could see the back of a tall, dark skinned man with tatty clothing. He was the State Alchemist killer. She knew Al had seen her, but she had to see Ed with her own two eyes before she would back away.

*****

‘Do you remember a couple of Doctors from Ametris named Rockbell?’ Edward asked, his anger raising the volume of his voice unintentionally. He heard his brother try to call him to stop but Edward would not let this opportunity go.

‘They went forward into the Ishbal rebellion,’ he carried on, ‘and even after there was an order of annihilation they continued helping the people of Ishbal…’

‘Wait brother!’ Al pleaded again, but Edward would not stop.

‘Scar! Do you remember those doctors who you were helped by and you killed?’

‘BROTHER!’

That final cry stopped Ed in his tracks and he turned his head. Standing just round the side of a nearby wall was Winry. Her face that last night had been so soft was twisted into a look of confusion. His mouth fell open in silent explanation. If he had known she was there he would never have…

‘What?’ her voice quietly trembled, ‘what do you mean? This person…he killed…mom and dad?’

Although her voice was small each word pounded into him as if to remind him of what he had done. He tried to lie and tell her he was wrong but he couldn’t do it. She knew the truth and nothing would change that or the fact she knew because of him. Stupid, loudmouthed him.

‘No way, they were killed by someone they saved?’ she carried on, ‘you killed my mom and dad?’

In that moment of he could hear nothing but his own breath as he gasped for air. Her eyes shone with tears and her face showed a pain he hadn’t seen in many, many years.’

‘You don’t deny it?’ she asked and he winced as she fell sharply to her knees. She began to breath deeply and he knew she would break down any moment. They were in a dangerous position to leave themselves unguarded but he desperately wanted to go over to her.

*****

She knew she had damaged herself when she had fallen but the pain did not register. Her brain only appeared to be functioning as much as it needed to. Words came out of her mouth but she couldn’t recall what she was saying. She knew however, her words were not conveying her pain so she cried at the top of her lungs and used up all the voice she had left.

‘Give them back, give mom and dad back!’

Her knuckles slammed hard onto the ground and silence fell again. The anger and sorrow pushed her into a dream like trance from which she could not remove herself. All she knew was that this man didn’t deserve to be standing. He didn’t deserve to have the chance to hurt others. He had to go, and the gun in front of her would do the trick.

As if sensing Ed and Al were trapped in stance her hand drifted toward the weapon. Ed’s voice filtered into her ear but rather then mean anything she let the words fall.

‘Wait Winry…don’t…not that. Winry! Please stop Winry!’

Her hands fell on the gun and she lifted it onto the air. She had no knowledge of these weapons but somehow she became an expert once it fell into her hands. She was aware of nothing but her enemy and the weapon she had to destroy him.
Animeoldtimer
Wow! Please continue! smile.gif
Summerlover01
O my gosh! You actually updated your story! smile.gif Thank you so much. This really made my day. I will definetly be looking foward to you continuing. Oh and feel free to write another ed/win fanfic if you want. Your an awesome writer. laugh.gif
Chiyo
Blah, blah blah, oh and yes I have updated again. This is still easy to follow with the manga (no. 47) but pretty soon I'll be making a lot of it up. Hope you can stick with me through those hard times

Edit: 22nd September 2009


*****

Perhaps it was the sudden change in his tone. From being nervous to calm but still stern Ed’s voice finally broke through to her. She could hear his words but they made no sense. Her once determined hold had begun to shake.

‘Don’t shoot Winry! Lower the gun,’ she heard Ed call, but her head fought back, crying out to her ‘but your parents’

‘You shouldn’t hold something like that. Winry!’

Something in the childish tone of Al’s cry brought out a motherly instinct in her. She was causing them fear and hurt and she knew she should stop. Her hand began to grow weak until she heard the voice of the man who had taken her parents from her.

‘So you’re those doctors daughter? You do have the right to shoot me. However the moment you shoot I will see you as an enemy.’

She knew he was right, but before she even had a chance to try and reply the Elric brothers had leapt to her defence.

‘Scar,’ Al cried, the child in his voice leaving him.

‘Bastard, if you put a hand on Winry I’ll kill…’ Ed yelled, but his call was interrupted by a chilling reminder of what was facing them.

‘You’ll kill me, that’s fine too!’ Scar yelled, ‘The cycle of hatred cannot stop till either side falls. But do not forget, the first one to pull the trigger in that civil war was from Amestris…it was your people!’

A twitch in her hand caused the gun to clink slightly. She could see the fury in Ed and waited for him to explode again. Instead, he did not rise to the challenge of such an argument but turned back to her. His voice seemed to have grown weary.
‘No...don’t shoot. I’m begging you.’

‘Hurry,’ Al called still with urgency, ‘drop the gun and get away from here.’

She knew she should, she knew she was in the way, but the faces of her mum and dad danced before her as if pleading her to take the chance to shoot while she had the chance.’

‘Hurry,’ Al cried again but it was the scarred man who replied first.

‘If you cannot shoot, then leave this place.’ His hand raised itself in the air with all the power and menace of the weapon she had in hand, ‘You are in the way.’

The next few seconds were a blur through her tear filled eyes. She was unaware of what was happening until Ed’s hand was gripped tightly onto hers and he sat as a blockade between herself and Scar. She could barely see over his shoulder, almost as if his whole back shielded her from the enemy. His final cry of don’t shoot still rang in her ears as his hand pushed her own down to lower the weapon.

The moment stayed frozen until Al sprung to life and knocked Scars had away from Ed’s vulnerable head. This seemed to startle Scar enough for him to try and flee from attack. Winry still starred blankly at Edward’s strong grip. She heard Al yell at his brother, but words once again lost meaning in her head. All she could register was what she had almost done. What would Ed have thought of her?

She became aware of a new grip on her wrist, it was warm and soft, so much more gentle then it had just been. She wanted so much to release the gun, to let him know she was sane.

‘Winry let go of the gun,’ he said again sternly.

********

As much as he wanted to whip the gun out of her hand he could see her grip slacken. He could see in her expression she had woken from the trance she was in and it was hitting her hard.

‘I couldn’t shoot,’ he heard her choke. Painful as it was to hear her sound like that, he was grateful for her voice. ‘Even though he’s my enemy...’

‘Please don’t shoot, I’m begging you,’ he pleaded, a lot quieter this time then he had before. He brought his other hand up and placed it on the gun to try and ease it out of her hand but her hold was still fairly strong.

‘But,’ she continued, raising her hand to her head, ‘he killed mum and dad….why….you and Al too…might be kill…why!?’

He knew what she felt and he could only pity her. Sometimes he forgot that they were as close to her as any family would be. He wasn’t an expert on comforting words or caring for someone in such a delicate state, so he simply spoke the truth.

‘Winry, didn’t you help deliver a baby and save a mother and child in Rush Valley?’

********

She could feel him trace his hand down her wrist and to her hand. She could see him prise away her thumb from the gun as his words still tried to sooth her.

‘Didn’t you give me an arm and leg to stand up with?’ he questioned, using his other hand to release her fingers, ‘your hands are not those that kill people, they’re hands that let people live.’

The gun finally fell to the ground with a clatter. Had his hands not carefully softened her grip she doubted she would ever have let go. His words struck a cord and she was deeply ashamed of the crime she had nearly committed. What mattered at that time that Edward was still alive, and holding her trembling hand carefully.

As Edward leaned closer to her to hand the man behind her the gun, she could feel the heat from his body. She hadn’t noticed how cold she had become even though the day was warm. The salty smell of his sweat mixed with the dusty smell of rubble was a strange comfort. She didn’t want to lose it.

‘Winry, Al is still fighting so, I’m going.’

Oh how she wanted to scream no, to pin him to the ground in a bid to keep him safe. His face was bloodied and battered from the fight. But she knew he was right, Al would need his brother more than she did.

She saw the familiar flash of red as he wrapped his jacket around her shoulders. Her father had once done the same when she was so little. She waited for the gentle kiss on the forehead her father gave her, but knew better then to expect it. As he stood up her hand instinctivly took a hold of his and as he walked away he pulled it from her grip. As she watched him dissapear her hand moved and held onto the edge of the coat as she took in all the warmth she could from it.

As he finally vanished from view behind a pile of rubble she felt totally worthless. They fought a battle that baffled her, but she still wanted so much to protect them, to keep them. Why…why was waiting all she could do?

But waiting for the time being was all she could do. The officer guided to her feet while a local medic quickly cleaned the grazes on her knee. The ointment stung, but with Ed’s jacket wrapped around her shoulders she felt she could face any pain. She closed her eyes on concentrated on that moment…she had rarely got any closer to him unless they were bickering. Apart from last night that is, when something new and almost unwelcome had stirred inside her. Today such antics should not ever have come to her mind, but she knew if it made her feel why should she feel guilt? She was lead to a car and sat in the back seat. Her mind was so pre-occupied she failed to notice the gentleman beside her.

‘You have been through much to have such a smile on your face. Are you having pleasant thoughts?’

She neither nodded nor shook her head. She couldn’t very well lie to him, but telling the Fuehrer the truth was unthinkable.
MonsterEnvy
I really like how you use the manga to further the fic... it seems to work really well in this case. I'm looking forward to them branching off, though- you're a great writer, and seeing the events of the next day or two (read:next fifteen chapters) from Winry's POV should be interesting.
IttyBittyPretty
Ed is naive (or maybe just really, really distracted) about human relationships, but he can be honest when the situation calls for it. Winry learned two important things in this chapter: the danger Edward puts himself into so he can make things right, and by his actions, he shows Winry how much he really DOES care for her.

You are SO more talented than I am, please update soon as you can.
Summerlover01
Thanks for updating this fic I really appreciated it. It was really good and well written. I cant wait till you update. smile.gif
Chiyo
An update *le gasp*, and so we are clear these scenes are based around chaoter 48, and so the last where they are together. Most of the chapters after this will be Winrys POV.

Edit: September 26th 2009

*****

‘So you’ve known the Elric brothers for a long time?’

‘All my life,’ Winry sighed, ‘Ed is only a couple of months older than me, our mothers were close friends.’

‘And I am right in thinking you have both lost both parents?’

Winry took a sip of the sweet tea she had in her hands before speaking again. ‘I suppose you could say that, although Ed and Al’s father is alive. Granny took them both on as extra grandchildren and helped raise them. For a little while we were never apart.’

She put her cup down and rested her hands on her lap. Resting there was the remains of Ed’s red jacket. It was still warm and as much as she knew it wasn’t true she longed to believe it was still his body heat.

‘I can image it pains you a lot when they are away?’

She looked up and Bradley and thought about how to answer his question. He seemed to be genuinely concerned about her as a person rather then just a friend of Edward Elric. She didn’t wish to pour her heart out but he was an easy man to talk to.

‘I don’t want to lose them, but sometimes it feels like I have already. Although I am with them at the moment it’s just not the same. Right at this moment I don’t know where or how they are…’

‘Do you believe they would worry about you in such a way?’

The question caught her off guard and the most she managed was an ‘oh’ and a shrug before the door opened. The most welcome sight greeted her eyes for standing in the doorway were both brothers all in one piece.

‘Ah….your safe,’ she muttered with a tremble in her voice.

********

‘Winry,’ Ed sighed, thankful to see a smile on her face. As he pushed the door further open and jogged inside he saw the figure sitting opposite her.

‘Hi Fullmetal Alchemist.’

‘Fuehrer Bradley!’ Al exclaimed.

‘Why are you here…?’ Ed asked in a strained voice, still taken aback that the most senior military man was looking after Winry.

‘When I asked the officers about the riot in the city, they told me they were watching over your childhood friend. She’s a friend of an important life, we must treat her respectfully.’

Ed thought he saw a twitch in Winry’s face but it happened too quickly for him to know if he had or hadn’t. He waited for Bradley to rise and make his exit before speaking to Winry.

As Bradley passed Ed he told him something under his breath, so only Ed could hear.

‘She’s a nice honest girl. Treat her well.’

Something about his tone didn’t sit well with Ed and he turned back to Winry, ‘What were you talking about?’

‘Nothing,’ she responded, ‘I told him that we were childhood friends and we’ve been together for a long time, vague things like that.’

It didn’t seem they had been talking about anything odd but Ed was still perplexed. He had almost forgotten why he was there until Winry sternly spoke to him again.

‘Ed, about Mom and Dad, how long have you known? You promised. Tell me everything.’

He was going to seat himself, but found he it was hard to move any closer to her. Her strong but delicate expression tormented his own emotions. There was no reason it hide anything anymore, and he explained all.

‘I see,’ she sighed after Ed had finished talking, ‘Mom and Dad stayed behind to the very end for the people. I’m relieved…Mom and Dad are my pride after all.’ She smiled a little, but then let her face drop back into a sorrowful look, ‘But above all else, I wanted them to come back home alive. Waiting is hard…and scary.’

She let the last sentence slip out without knowing it. She hoped it hadn’t sounded as accusing to them as it did her. Problem was she knew she was accusing them of putting her under undue upset. But they knew they did, and nothing much would change while they were on their quest.

She looked up at Ed and opened her mouth to apologise. She could see the hurt in his eyes at her words and she wished she could have taken it back. But a knock at the door faltered the words in her mouth and the sorry was never said. Truthfully, she was just glad to see his stubborn face there in front of her. He could have danced on top of the table nude for all she cared so long as he was okay. She smiled at him lightly, but it was not returned.

As they sat in the car that would take them back to their hotel Winry could feel Ed’s eyes burn into her skull. It was too late now to say sorry for what she had said, and what was even worse, she had meant it. She watched out of the window to distract herself from the ever harsh presence of Edward seated in front of her. Her heart was a confused muddle of fear, relief and distress and something else she knew she had felt before but wasn’t sure what it was.

They said nothing to each other as they stepped out of the car and into the hotel lobby. The porter at the front desk beamed at Winry as she entered.

‘Ah, perfect, a phone call has come in for Miss Rockbell.’

‘Me?’ she asked, indicating to herself. The only person who ever called her was Ed and he was still standing behind her with a frown across his face. She took the phone from the porter and pressed it to her ear, ‘Hello?’

‘Winry-Chan, it’s me!’

‘Garfiel-san, what’s wrong?’

She listened to the voices of all the people on the other end of the phone. They were normal, everyday people who needed her; just as so many normal people had needed her parents. She felt her eyes well up with tears as she quietly spoke to Garfiel.

‘I’m sorry, I’ll be back right away. Wait for me…I’ll do my best…I’ll do my best so….thank-you.’

Why hadn’t she realised that so many people were waiting for her too? She hadn’t forgotten them, not at all, but she had been doing important things. But to know they were there, waiting for her, was a feeling so tender she didn’t know how to take it.

‘Winry, are you okay?’ Al asked.

She had nearly forgotten they were both stood there waiting for her. She wiped the lonely tear from her cheek and turned back to them. She almost froze as Ed finally smiled back at her. She didn’t think her heart could take much more.

‘I have to go,’ she stated bluntly. She waited for the questions to erupt but Ed merely nodded at her.

‘We’ll take you to the station.’

********

They walked to the station in near silence, Every so often Al commented on something he saw or something he had been told. She did her best to respond to the younger brother, secretly longing to hear the elder’s voice again. But Edward remained as silent as he had before. She hoped dearly he wasn’t angry with her…not now she knew how he felt about having her waiting for him.

‘Are you going to be okay alone Winry?’

‘Yes Al,’ she sighed, walking with them to her platform.

‘Will you really be alright by yourself?’

Over a brief moment of elation that he had finally spoken to her Winry began to fall into her sad little world again. After assuring him she would be fine she stopped in her tracks and took a deep breath. She would apologise to them, one way or another.

‘Back then, thank-you for stopping me,’ she sighed, not turning to face him. ‘I guess there are people waiting for me too. I was almost unable to face them again. I haven’t finished sorting over Mom and Dad in my heart yet, but everyone’s waiting so…’

She took in another breath and finally turned to them. She was smiling but it was not forced for she did feel glad, ‘I can endure it thanks to them.’

To her distress Ed’s face seemed to tighten even more. The whistle blower indicated it was time for everyone to board the train. Winry quickly rushed into a cabin and opened the window to say her goodbyes. Somehow she found it easier to have a barrier between her and Ed. Her mix of feelings had whittled down to sadness and the strange feeling she couldn’t quite put her finger on. In the spirit of what had been her goodbye to Ed was as blunt as she could make it.

‘Don’t forget to take care of your auto-mail.’

‘Yeah,’ and something she didn’t catch was his only response.

‘I’ll send you some good polishing oil next time Al.’

‘Okay,’ Al said.

She locked her eyes onto Ed’s and felt something in her heart die a little. She was leaving them again. She was leaving them to get into all kinds of danger that she wouldn’t know about. What if they…if they….

‘Don’t die,’ she requested in a tiny voice that seemed unlike her own.

She still didn’t get much from Ed in the way of a response. Why she believed he suddenly would was a mystery, she knew him well enough to know goodbyes were not his speciality. She was about to slink back into her seat when Ed’s expression distorted. He made a noise somewhere between a grumble and a gulp. As he was about to speak the whistle went out for the train to exit.

‘Next time…’ he started.

Perhaps any other day she would have let it slide, but her desperation to get something from him drove her to call after him. When he turned to walk away she yelled at him that she hadn’t heard what he said. She wasn’t mad; his brother hadn’t heard him either.

‘Wait Ed! What did you say? I couldn’t hear!’

When he continued to walk away she gave one final cry, ‘what is it?!’

He stopped dead and whipped round to face her. The train had begun to pull away and the noise was loud, but no-where near as loud as Ed.

‘The next time I make you cry you’re going to be weeping for joy. Al and I will defiantly return to normal and we’ll make you cry tears of happiness!’

She blinked in shock a couple of times, taking in his cries. Her hair began to blow as the train moved away.

‘Remember that!’ was his final call. She laughed out loud and raised a hand to bid them farewell. She felt warm all over and decided not to look away until they were completely out of sight. She had got a reaction out of him finally.

Watching the Elric’s bicker as she was taken from them, images of Ed over the years flashed before her eyes. She was reminded of how strong he had been, no matter what had been thrown at him. As the images flashed passed they narrowed down to images of his back.

Ah his back, she thought, taking one last glance at him before he vanished into the distance. She had noticed how big it had got not too long ago, but not its significance. As she slid back it all became painfully clear. The strange feeling in her heart, the moments she felt awkward, the safety she felt when near him.

Ahhh, I see…I…might have fallen for him a long time ago.
Funderful
Yay! Manga Ed/Win. How I enjoy it so.
I wish I could get the damn 'New Topic' button working...
I have one of my own.
By the way, if any knows how the hell to fix that problem, please contact me.
v_v
Viktor_Berg
The only important stuff I want to say to you: THANKS ALOT!

Now will the rubbish go:

I bacame obsessed with Anime 4 years ago approx. by watching russian-dubbed Digimon Adventure. Since then, I've seen:

Digimon Tamers,
Digimon Frontier.

Read:
Love Hina.

Now, onto the FMA. First, I was sceptical towards it. "Some load of bull****", thought I. I was WRONG! The FMA series (both anime and manga) are so far my favourite readings/seeings!

Now, I've downloaded the scanlations of chapters 01-64 (Me bloody pirate, arr!). Read through it in less than a week. But it's not enough! I want more FMA!

And here I find this forum. And your story. Again, THANKS! This (and other fanfics) have reignited the flame of passion towards Hagane no Renkinjutsushi inside me!

I've always been a fan of Ed/Win storyline, and, it seems, their love story will develop during the original manga. But I'm impatient. You saed me.

I'm forever yours.
Le Monkey
Perfect as always Chi, I really do like it, the last few lines felt so real and fitted so well.
I really did enjoy all of it.

Well done! XD
Summerlover01
Thanks for updating! I really enjoyed this last chapter it was great insight on what winry was thinking. If you could find it in your heart to continue writing this fic it would mean alot to me. Once again thanks for the update it was another great chapter as usual. keep up the good work. happy.gif
Chiyo
Oh my word, an update, and I have to hurry forit looks like Winry may make an appearence again sometime soon. Using snippets from Manga 56 but mostly my own ideas.

Edit: 25th September 2009

*****
Winry found that to be one of the longest train rides she had ever taken. It may have passed a little quicker if she had not had such a huge revelation so quickly. But as it was she was sitting on a train, a few hours from her destination realising she was in love with her childhood friend.

Perhaps her confusion was mixed in with a great deal of relief. Many times over the past few weeks events had occurred which had filled her with emptiness and unknowing. That moment when she had crept into his room suddenly held a whole new meaning and a rather embarrassing one. Perhaps in the back of her mind all she had wanted to do was to see Ed without him knowing about it. He would never tolerate anyone staring at him.

But then he had looked at her hadn’t he? She was pretty darn sure it had not been an innocent gaze even if it was very briefly done. Perhaps her guilt was not very deserved as he had been looking at her the same way.

She let out a small grunt of frustration and hit her hand against her head. There was no point in trying to find evidence that Ed felt anything for her but friendship. She was a sister to him exactly as she was to Al. This ridiculous little infatuation would wear off eventually and she could go back to finding him irritating and geeky…if not maybe a little attractive. She smiled to herself slightly, quite unaware that someone on the train was keeping an eye on her every move.

*****

While Winry spent the hours after their parting thinking about him the same could not be said for Edward. There was no denying his mind was very one track and sentimentality was not one of his strong points. However when the subject of Winry came up just by chance he had time to reflect on the events that had surrounded her recently.

He flexed his auto-mail hand and took a good look at the mechanics of it all. Although he was not completely na´ve to the world of auto-mail he could never do what Winry could. Much as he wanted his limbs returned to him he got far in life with his auto-mail.

But all too soon his mind was dragged back to the world around him and Winry became a thought in the back of his mind. It wasn’t so much out of sight out of mind…more out of sight out of danger.

*****

When Winry arrived Garfiel was not there. She knew he would not have forgotten and so decided to stay put and wait for him to arrive. It was now she noticed a man sit close to her and keep his eye on her. She recognised him as someone who was sat near to her on the train. It unnerved her to be scrutinized but she knew nothing could happen in a crowded station. She made sure her gaze did not fall his way and trained her eyes on the door for Garfiel.

For a few minutes she felt safe, but as the station began to clear and the man did not leave she felt even worse. She could feel his eyes burning into the back of her skull and she wished harder and harder for Garfiel to arrive. Then suddenly he did appear in the doorway, puffing and panting but squealing in delight when he saw her sat waiting.

‘Oh Winry I am so sorry. I got caught up in a situation I simply could not escape from. I am so relieved you are safe.’

‘Yes I’m fine,’ she managed to say through all his apologies. When she turned to see what the stalker was doing she found an empty spot. She felt a great weight lift from her shoulders and she accepted Garfiel’s arm as he led her back home.

*****

‘Winry dear, could you check this connection on my leg?’

‘My arms beginning to feel heavy, I need a lighter one.’

‘Look at how dusty this joint has got while you’ve been away. It needs a good clean.’

The work load seemed relentless. From the moment she had changed into her overalls people were all over her trying to get her to work on their limbs first. It was in the early hours of the morning before she got to bed that night but even then she did not sleep. She envied how well the Elric brothers readjusted themselves to new surroundings. This bedroom wasn’t even new to her but she had been away long enough to make it feel strange. Perhaps it was being surrounded my half finished auto-mail arms or perhaps it was the strange sounds Garfiel made when he snored. Or maybe, just maybe, it was knowing he wasn’t lying only feet from where she slept. A sudden wave of doom swept over her mind and sleep eluded her for the rest of the night.

*****

After only a few hours worth of sleep Winry was woken by Tetsu at the door with some strong tea. The feeling in her stomach that something was wrong would not leave and so her appetite was quite small. As long as she could throw herself into her work she would be able to get through the day alright.

‘Winry my dear, could you go and fetch some supplies? I’ll finish Hitiko-san off.’

‘No chance am I letting you near me!’

‘Oh be quiet and sit down,’ Garfiel snapped and turning to Winry said ‘Here’s the money, and buy something you want as well. My treat for letting you down.’

‘Oh Garfiel you really don’t have to…’

‘No arguments and no buying any tools. By something befitting the lady you are becoming.’

Winry nodded rather slowly and stepped out of the door while muttering to herself. Garfiel waved her goodbye and turned to Tetsu.

‘When she comes back, make sure to have a strong tea to hand.’

‘Why’s that?’

Garfiel winked at the lad and patted his head, ‘She just looks like she needs a drink.’

*****

No-one could deny Winry knew exactly how to spend money but perhaps what they didn’t know was how hopeless she was at buying for herself. Usually money was spent on tools she wanted to make her work easier. When it came to clothing and cosmetics she was like a child in a sweet shop…she had no idea what to do with herself. There weren’t as many clothing shops in Rush Valley as there were in Central but they still seemed alien to her. She observed woman walking round but found she didn’t like the way and of them looked. She couldn’t follow the fashions of anyone in the military as they were always in uniform when she saw them. The girls at home always looked to homely and as for Grandma.

‘Winry! When did you get back?’

‘Ah, it’s nice to see you again Bunny. I got back yesterday.’

‘Are the Elric brothers with you?’

‘N…no. I came alone.’

‘Aww that’s a shame, Al is fun to talk to. Are they still…?’

‘Looking for the stone,’ Winry quickly interrupted, hoping to diffuse the conversation.

They walked together for a while chatting about this and that. Winry was happy to hear that Baninyah was doing well with her work and making good money. She hadn’t stolen anything since the day Winry had asked her not to.
‘So are you shopping for equipment?’

*****

‘Not exactly,’ Winry admitted, quickly thinking it might have been easier to lie. ‘Garfiel told me to buy something for me…something feminine.’

Bunny giggled for a moment or two and all Winry could do was laugh along. Neither of them was very feminine so all they could do was find the situation comical.

‘Perhaps you could buy some jewellery. You only ever have those hoops in you ears.’

‘Rings aren’t very practical…and a necklace might get caught in…’

‘You aren’t working all the time Winry. C’mon, I know a really good place.’ If Winry thought she was confused before she was kidding herself. The place Bunny had brought her too had a larger selection of jewellery then Winry could ever have imagined.

‘Can I help you?’ a lady asked. She was dressed elegantly and Winry felt like a child next to her. She ducked her head and cleared her throat before explaining her predicament. Although she didn’t want to add she didn’t have enough money for most of the items she had seen already.

‘You have such a pretty face,’ the lady said, ‘so we don’t need to add anything dramatic to your face. And with a light hair colour gold can look out of place. We’ll go look in the silver section.’

Winry looked back at Bunny with a look of terror in her eyes but Bunny just smiled and waved her off. It was no use in trying to fight the inevitable, what Winry was doing now was something grown women did. It would not be too long until Winry would be leaving childhood herself.

‘Here we have a beautiful range of necklaces, ranging from the simple to the jewelled items.’

‘Necklaces aren’t really safe in my area of work.’

‘Then how about a ring? A pretty little diamond would do the job.’

Winry cringed, ‘That’s still not a very good idea.’

She waited for the woman helping her to start getting angry but she didn’t. Instead she suggested buying a charm.

‘A charm?’

‘Well its something beautiful like any piece of jewellery but you don’t have to wear it. You can just keep it safe out of harms way.’

Winry smiled and looked into the counter full of tiny items. Most were objects like a small teddy bear or a tiny ring. She thought she had found the perfect item when she saw a small wrench but then something else caught her eye.

‘Miss, can I take this?’

‘If you wish. It’s a little strange isn’t it my dear? The most popular charm we sell is…’

‘No, this one will do. This one is perfect.’

*****

‘Winry you have a phone call.’

Winry looked up from her work and removed her gloves. She had been back a few hours now and had thrown herself into her work once again. A phone call probably meant Granny had found out she was back in Rush Valley.

‘Winry?’ the voice on the other end of the phone asked.

Her heart skipped about five beats when she heard his voice. Although she had desperately tried to avoid thinking about him; thinking about how much she missed him already; thinking about her revelation on the train he had brought himself right to the front of her concentration.

‘Ed,’ she snapped, composing herself quickly, ‘What? Did you break it?’

‘No,’ he screamed from the other end. Perhaps her judgment had been a little too quick but usually he only called for repairs. She listened as he fumbled with his words ‘It’s just…you know…’

‘What?’ she demanded, trying to contain her panic.

‘I was worried whether you arrived there safely. Was there anyone suspicious following you?’

A dilemma presented itself to Winry. If Edward was asking if someone was following her it must mean he was expecting someone to. She had been followed, or so she thought, but she simply could not tell him. Whether it was the worry she was wrong about the man on the train, or not wanting to worry him she did not know. Whatever it was she knew she could not tell him.

‘Winry, are you okay?’

‘Ed you’re creepy!’ she yelled as loud as her lungs would permit her.

‘What was that…?’

‘The vary fact you’re calling me is weird,’ she carried on, ‘to think that someone who has no delicacy like you would call out of worry. Eeew, is this a change in the weather? Weird.’

She was laying it on thick it had to be said, but it was to cover up her own worry. He wouldn’t be expecting any less from her anyway and at this rate he wouldn’t think anything was the matter.

‘Do you have any idea how worried…!’

‘Thanks,’ she interrupted, ignoring his final cry, ‘I’m glad you called, thanks guys.’

After an awkward goodbye and more assurance she was fine Winry managed to put the phone down. She stood staring down at the phone for a moment or two before fleeing the scene and locking herself in her room. She was already finding it hard to talk to him on the phone…how on earth would she ever face him again? She screamed into her pillow and tried to burn the thoughts of him out of her brain. She didn’t care she might be in danger for all she could think of was him. Thus was the fate of the woman who waits.
Summerlover01
*gasp* You updated! Thank you so much! I really didnt think you were going to continue, but I'm really glad I was wrong. Interesting chapter, I like it. Keep up the good work and I'm looking foward to your next update. happy.gif laugh.gif
TSilver Fox
Very nice! but then how could I expect less from you??!
So nice to see your still writing and updating, I highly look forward to your next update.
Chiyo
Finally, I have made it up to date with the manga, from now on I have to wait untill the next chapter comes out....Monday I think. This chapter is shorter than the rest and I'm sorry for that *Manga & Brotherhood spoilers*

Edit: December 21st

*****

She tried not to let the phone call worry her as she carried on with her day. It was clear that something was going on without her knowledge but it was not her place to worry Ed. She had become ever more suspicious of faces she did not recognise for phone calls requesting she made a home visit. In her pocket she carried the charm she had bought, believing with all her heart it would keep her safe. Whenever something frightened her she gently squeezed her charm and felt alright with the world.

She hunted through her old note books to remind herself of home. She had always taken notes when she was little but some had become diary entries. There would be a doodle here and there of Den being chased out of the house by Pinako or of Al crying because he had scraped his knee. Her drawings of Edward always seemed to have more effort put into them as if she knew he would put if she did not get it right. There was even a picture he had scribbled out on one page because she hadn't drawn him tall enough.

She slid the note books back under her bed and reminded herself such days had passed by. She was more an adult each and every day and she could not expect others to come to her rescue for much longer.

*****

When her courage had worked its way back up again she went shopping for equipment. She avoided looking anyone in the eye but did not cower away from quiet streets and empty shops. She knew how to handle herself should anything happen, and you only live once.

She came upon new oil that was on a trial price at one of the markets. It promised shine and strength. She wasn't gullible enough to believe that it would be a guaranteed success but a trial price was a trial price. When she got back she faced her toughest challenge yet…phoning Edward.

She was certain that he would be his usual blank and inelegant self on the phone when she called. He couldn't be so caring twice in a row let alone say something comforting three times. As long as she was blunt with him she wouldn't slip up and declare her undying passion for him. Heck, she'd rather die than let him find out. Perhaps it would just be easier to talk to Al.

When the receptionist informed her that the brothers had left the hotel all the courage she had summoned up fell back onto the pit of her stomach. She clutched the oil she had bought for Al tighter to her side.

'They've checked out of the hotel?'

'Yes, sometime yesterday,' replied the receptionist on the other end of the line.

'Did they say anything?'

'I haven't been told of any messages for you.'

The situation was looking even worse; they only failed to tell her where they were going if they knew it was dangerous.

'Did they say where they were going?'

'They talked about going to Briggs in the North…'

Her ear closed up at that point as she realised the scale of what had happened. Going north meant dangers for Ed he could not possibly have imagined. Certain as she was she had told him about frostbite if his auto-mail got too cold he hadn't paid attention. She put down the phone and cursed his name under her breath.

'What's wrong?' asked Garfiel, 'Are the brothers doing well?'

She brought her hand up to her mouth and avoided chewing on the charm she had hidden in her hand.

'They said Ed is going to the north, just like that,' she said in a choked voice, hearing the words from her own mouth like a death sentence.

'Oh my, that means…' Garfiel started, stopping till Winry looked at him, 'he's going to die.'

With a loud cry from the back of her throat Winry tore upstairs, ignoring the cries of apology coming from Garfiel. For the second time in such a short space she buried her face in her pillow, this time to weep. It wasn't so much the fact that Ed was in the north, but that once again he had endangered himself and it was all her fault. Why didn't she just set him up with the right auto-mail to begin with? Then she wouldn't have to try and keep up with his stupid antics to stop him from getting himself killed. She silently asked whoever was listening to keep an eye on him until she could reach him.

*****

As Edward reached out to take hold of something he felt that sharp pain rip through his auto-mail connections again. Of all people he should have realised the components his limbs were made from grew exceedingly cold. What was even worse was having to phone Winry and ask for more auto-mail from her. He was not so much worried about her temper but rather her safety. He had sworn after the last phone call to avoid communicating with her and keep her as unconnected to him as possible. It was proving to be easier said than done. He needed auto-mail and Winry was the best one to provide it. He wondered if she knew where he was at that time. He had to get new auto-mail or he would only do himself damage. He could not face making her cry anymore; he would phone her in the morning.

*****

The next morning Winry set about making Ed's new limbs. She had dug up all her notes on his measurements and nerve points and all the work she could on auto-mail designed for colder climbs. By midday her eyes and her hands were sore, her stomach pleaded for food and her head for sleep but she just pushed on. Just before he went to bed Garfiel brought her some food and a strong cup of coffee. Her spirits perked up at the sight of him in his face mask and nightie and she felt able to work for a few more hours.

She heard the phone ring but left to it Garfiel to answer. She had her goggles over her eyes and was working on an intricate part.

'Winry…Winry-chan, you have a phone call.'

'Okay,' she replied, trying to hide the frustration in her voice at being interrupted.

'From the military,' Garfiel added.

She removed her goggles from her face and looked toward the door.

'Military?' she muttered, wondering what they would want with her. Then she remembered that there could only be one reason for the military to call her.

Something must have happened with the Elrics.
shorebay
OMG. I just read all of it. This is realy good work. Keep it up tongue.gif
Edamame
Lovely work on this fiction Chiyo. It is nice to see a fan fiction that follows the events of the manga. You do a great job with Winry's characterization, and are able to capture her inner emotions. I look forward to the following chapter. Keep up the great work!
Summerlover01
Thanks for the update Chiyo. I'm looking foward to your next chapter. Good luck. happy.gif
Animeoldtimer
Good work! I really enjoy your take on the Manga and the emotions behind the characters. It seems hard to find manga based fic. I'm glad to read your stories. smile.gif
archangelkatherin
These are some very nice Winry centered fics. There are a few things about her that irked me in the anime, but your portrayal of her in the manga is very well done! Please, keep going.
Star Alchemist
This fanfic is great, please continue! biggrin.gif
Chiyo
Ha, you thought I;d gone away hadn't you? I had a juicy chapter to work with, and I do so hope I've done it justice. I'd like to thank AnimeOldTimer for suggesting that Ed might have been dissapointed that Winry had only come up for the auto-mail. This is my story however, and even if Ed doesn't know, of course that wasn't the case.

Blah blah Manga spoilers for 70 and Brotherhood 37. I'll check spelling and such later. I'm pooped after trying to get this all done.

Edit: 21st December 2009

*****
It had been a little while since she had been on a train. As a matter of fact, her last train journey had taken her away from the Elric brothers and now she was in motion on her way to them. Her worry that they were hurt or in danger had subsided once she had learnt that they were at a military base. It had helped her even more to know Ed would be getting the new auto-mail he needed finally. At her feet was the suitcase containing his new limbs; she didn't want to put them anywhere she couldn't see them. The more she concentrated her focus on the container the more her mind wandered to how she would take to seeing Edward again. She had held herself well enough when she had last spoken to him over the phone, but that was hardly the same as seeing him face to face again. If she felt herself slipping, she could just spend her time with Al instead. Did Al suspect something? He was far more perceptive when it came to emotions than his dim-witted brother.

She shivered right down to her boots. She had been warned it would be cold in the North but she hadn't quite been prepared for what she was fast speeding in to. She hugged her arms around herself and dreamed of a nice warm bed. She dreamt of her bed back at home, back when she was a child on cold stormy night, tucked up next to…

'Dammit Edward!' she screamed to herself, causing the woman who was the same compartment as her to swiftly exit.

When they finally pulled into the station she was greeted by a line of men in uniforms who guided her into a large building close by. One of them informed her someone was arriving to pick her up and then they all fell silent. The feeling of being cold melted into a feeling of dread. She urged whoever was picking her up to arrive quickly and take her to more comfortable surroundings.

Her attention was caught by the sound of the doors opening. Looking up she saw a man dressed smartly with his hair in a ponytail approach. He politely removed and tipped his hat to her.

'I'm sorry for making you wait, I am Zolf J. Kimbley. Is this your bag?' he asked, picking up her heaviest item of luggage.

'Ah, thank-you very much,' she replied, still hesitant about letting her bag out of her sight. She followed him to the car that awaited them and sat herself in the backseat. She remained quiet again until Kimbley spoke to her in fear she would say something wrong.

'Miss Rockbell, you are from Rizembol aren't you?'

'How did you know?' she questioned perhaps a little too sharply, her fears and suspicious taking over her judgment for now.

'I heard from His Excellency the Fuhrer…Miss, Your parents were a husband and wife team of doctors who lost their lives in Ishbal, weren't they?'

Her heart dropped a little at the realisation this would be the reason he knew so much, 'yes' she murmured.

'Their bodies were found by my squad, we were just unable to make it in time. When my party reached the scene, the Ishbalans had already...'

She began to ache inside, 'I see.'

'They obeyed the ethics of medicine and carried out their will to the very end
I would have liked to meet them while they were still alive. A photograph…'

She looked up at him, unable to keep away her curiosity, as often was the case when it came to information about her parents.

'They had a cherished photograph that showed them with their cute daughter,' he carried on, 'that girl was you, wasn't it?'

She could only nod as he smiled her way and told her how honoured he was to meet her.

*****

When they finally reached the complex she was amazed at the sheer size of it. The country girl in her feared this place, but the mechanic in her wanted to take the place apart and learn her way around it.

'Could you wait here one moment,' Kimbley instructed as he went through another door. She heard a few mumbled voices and finally heard Kimbley call her in. Walking toward she cell he was stood at she felt a little nervous, until she finally came to face with two figures she couldn't have been happier to see.

'Idiot! Why did you come here?!' Ed and Al both cried in unison.

So much for a tearful reunion, this was just typical!

'Why? Don't you need Northern use auto-mail?' she snapped back.

'No-body called you!'

'I got a phone call from the military!'

They snapped at each other back and forth until Kimbley called a halt to their bickering.

'Now now, calm down everyone,' he said, 'from what I've heard Mr. Fullmetal Alchemist hasn't got his auto-mail replaced with the Northern use kind. When I told this to the Fuhrer he seemed concerned so he arranged for Miss Rockbell to come.'

Winry felt two hands fall on her shoulders, but Kimbley's voice and hands blurred into the background when she saw the look on Ed's face and the stiff position Al stood in. As Kimbley steered her toward the door she kept her eyes fixed on Edward's for as long as she could. Then, he was out of sight.

*****

She was promised Edward would be delivered to her once she had set up all of the equipment she needed. Taking the odd sip of a strong coffee kept her focus on setting up her tools to fix Ed's new limbs. She tried not to let the image of his horrified face play on her mind but how3 she wished she had seen just one smile out of him. Perhaps after she had done what she needed to do she would leave straight away for it was clear her presence there was a problem to the Elrics', some hello that had been.

*****

His hands still bound Ed was taken from his cell, leaving Al remained locked up. He knew better than to kick up a fuss about it and so let himself be marched around like some criminal. After his efforts to keep Winry relatively safe she had put herself right into danger. Bradley now had the power over them he would have desired but there was still no telling Winry. When he saw the concern in her eyes he informed Al they would keep quiet for now. She seemed fairly happy even if they had exchanged a few heated words. But then, for Ed, having her yell at him was the most comforting thing of all. Only his Winry would ever talk to him like that.

Entering the room where she sat waiting for him his binds were finally removed and he took a long stretch. When she smiled up at him he found he couldn't smile back while he was keeping such a secret from her.

*****

When he turned away from her without so much as a smile she decided she was not going to be kind. She had been so worried about seeing him again she had forgotten just how infuriating he could be.

'I can't do anything while you have your clothes on,' she snapped at his back.

'I'm not getting undressed in front of everyone!'

'Then go behind the screen!'

She watched him pull a face at her and storm off behind the screen. She gulped down the remainder of her coffee in preparation for a rather stressful auto-mail operation. Since there would be military personnel around she would avoid it getting too personal but she would not let get away with blanking her.

As he approached she kept her eyes on the ground and didn't say anything. As he stood in front of her she permitted her eyes to wander higher but not so much she looked into has face. Of course, this meant her focus was on his torso, on all the strong muscles in his arms and his chest, in his thighs and…

'Get on the bed!' she cried.

He raised an eyebrow, 'What?'

'I can't do anything with you standing there can I? Or do you want me to try and take your leg off while you're standing on it?'

'Geez no need to get so violent about it,' he grumbled as he lay down in the bed. She threw a small blanket over him to stop oil getting on what remained of his clothing and set to work. For the longest time neither said anything to the other, both of them growing even more frustrated with the situation but neither wanting to be the first to say anything. Finally after what seemed an eternity she found the perfect words to say.

'I suppose you thought it would be perfectly fine to let me worry about you?'

'Don't be stupid.'

'You should at least tell me if you're going North!'

'I couldn't help it, we were in a hurry.'

She wasn't going to buy that, 'You two are always in a hurry!' She changed subject quickly as she felt her anger begin to turn into sadness at her constant predicament of being left out of their adventures, 'And why were you in jail anyway? Be straight and tell me what you did.'

His face twitched 'Uh, well, various things…'

'It was a mere mistake,' said Kimbley from across the room, 'Please don't worry Miss Winry, Mr Fullmetal Alchemist will be let out right away. I'll go through the procedures later.'

Out the corner of his eye Edward saw Winry beam a huge smile at Kimbley and it unnerved him. Winry was innocent to what Kimbley was known for and her desperation to keep him and Al safe would lead her to trust him. He reached his good hand over and tugged at some of her free hair until her soft blue eyes looked down at him.

'Don't trust Kimbley too much,' he muttered.

'Eh, why? He's such a nice gentlemanly person. He was really sympathetic toward my parents too.'

So that's how he got to her he thought, 'Gentlemanly? From what I heard about him in Ishbal…'

But then, what Lieutenant Hawkeye had said was only her personal account. All they had talked about was what she had seen…talked about…she had asked if he loved Winry! Why did he have to remember that now of all time? Now, while Winry was right next to him and while her biggest smile was being saved for Kimbley of all people! Why now while her hands were all…over…him.

Ed's sudden change from deep thought to madness wilted Winry's anger at him. As he started to recite chemicals in a loud voice to himself she was reminded of her thoughts on the train up here. No matter what he did from now on she knew she would probably never stop loving him, even if he was a bit of a weirdo at times.

'Ah, did you say something?' he asked.

Oh crap, did I say something?

'It's nothing at ALL!' she cried, and with a twist of her wrist she connected the nerves in his arm. Perhaps she had been a little cruel not to give him a warning but it had been the best way to completely divert from where the situation. He may have been annoyed at her, but at least her one dark secret was kept safe.

'You,' he breathed through bared teeth, 'tell me when you're connecting the nerves.'

She took a small breath and chose not to have heard him, 'Okay, your leg is next.'

As she stood up to move round to his leg she noticed Kimbley smiling at her. It was a knowing smile, but there was no way he could have heard what she said. That was unless he could lip read.

She put her mind back on track and tried not to let it bother her. What did it matter if Kimbley knew? It's not like Ed would believe it if he heard it. He would just brush it off as nonsense or at most he would accept it but never do anything about it. She knew that, she could accept that.

Finally her work was done and Ed was able to try out his new limbs. In true fashion his first words came across as negative and she had to put his fears to one side. He would see how well she made her auto-mail once he used it to its full potential.

As Ed dressed a huge man entered the room and started to speak to him. Her eyes focussed in on the amazing auto-mail attached to this bulk of a man and became oblivious to anything else around her. Auto-mail was her Achilles Heal after all and she almost forgot Ed was there until he yelled directly at her.

'Hey!'

She turned to him with a scowl on her face, 'What?'

'Well, don't go loitering around just because you're having fun. There are lots of dangerous things inside this fortress.'

What was she to do? Yell at him for being concerned for her welfare? She smiled at him to reassure him she would keep her wits about her before turning back to a world of new auto-mail.

He carried on watching her as she turned away from him. When he heard her say she had visited mainly to learn about Northern use auto-mail his heart dropped a little. Perhaps a little part of him longed for her just to want to see him. Apart from his brother, there were precious few people in that world that were glad just to have his company rather than want him because they needed him to do something. Winry was his one last link to a world without military and without homunculus. She was a representation of his home and so perhaps he believed only he should feel the way he did. He couldn't own her like that and her heart was currently more into the mechanics than the flesh. She was hopeless, but that was why he…

'Just like her parents she's eager about her job. I like girls like her.'

Those words coming out of Kimbley's mouth turned his stomach, even when Kimbley reassured him he wasn't interested in Winry in that sense. Then what Kimbley said, however few words were spoken, threatened any happy home life Ed might have ever been thinking of.

'Lets talk about work, Mr Fullmetal Alchemist.'
Zachelle
QUOTE(Chiyo @ Apr 17 2007, 08:08 PM) [snapback]531627[/snapback]
Only his Winry would ever talk to him like that.


Omg. So true.
That was really great Chiyo, I only read all of your works now, It's all so well written and I think it's really awesome that you follow the manga and goes to those thoughts of Winry that Arakawa-san leaves us to imagine. Hope you will continue doing this for the next chapters to come. happy.gif
shorebay
As always that was wonderful! I realy think you do a great job relating the manga into fanfiction and personalize it. Keep it up. I can't wait for the next chapter!
Summerlover01
Very impressive chapter Chiyo. I love how you kept everyone in character and portrayed what they thinking. Awesome chapter again. I happily await your next chapter. Keep up the amazing work! laugh.gif
Chiyo
Holy carp, I finally update. Based upon chapter 71, its probably going to be quite a dull read as very little really happens. So sorry, I'm waiting to do chapter 72 till I've read 73 at least so I can write from Winry's POV easier. Also Brotherhood spoilers up to ep 39.

Its short too, but I missed out alot of coversation from this chapter that really wasn't needed.

Edit: January 18th 2010

********

'Hey Ed, look at what I…' Winry started to say before realising Edward was no longer there. Apart from a couple of guards they had all left and she hadn't even noticed. The tool that was in her hand weighed a great deal and with a deep sigh she set it back down. Perhaps it was for the best. After all, no matter how hard she may try she would never get anyone very interested in mechanics.

'Miss Rockbell,' one of the guards said, 'Will you please follow me.'

'Are you taking me to Edward?' she asked a little too hastily, 'I mean…erm…Mr Elric?'

'He is talking about important matters that are for his ears only. I will take you to the room adjacent to him.'

She smiled politely and indicated she was willing to follow. She had a gut feeling the word "important" was code for "dangerous". She would gather as much information as she could. If that came to nothing, she could always smile sweetly at Kimbley and get him to spill everything he knew.

The soldier walked her through the room where Edward sat. He nodded to acknowledge she was there but didn't say a word to her.

'Ah Miss Winry,' Kimbley greeted, 'I must apologise for keeping you secured in the room next door. Mr Elric was most insistent you were nearby.'

She looked back down at Edward but he focussed his gaze upon the wall. She thanked them both and assured Kimbley it was no trouble.

As she strolled into the next room with the door shut behind her she felt a familiar uneasiness gurgle in her stomach. She looked through the glass window at Edward, still sat with his eyes trained forward and his arms folded. It was a pose she was all too well accustomed too; she liked to call him "The Stubborn Seat".

The guard offered her a tea and she accepted with some caution. Since she had arrived she had no reason to be suspicious about anyone but Ed seemed to believe she did. She strained her ears as she sipped her tea but all she could hear were mumbles. This was until Ed gave a cry.

'There's no way I can do that!'

When she looked toward the door the guard indicated for her not to raise herself to her feet. She trained her ears even harder to catch the follow up but she didn't hear anything after that but the low murmurings of Kimbley and Edward.

********

When she was allowed to see Ed again he and Al were back in the cell she had found them in. She and Ed had now dressed to go back into the cold weather and she assumed they were finally leaving this cold hole in the wall.

'Winry, sit down,' Edward instructed and she did so. After she started at him expectantly for what seemed like so long he finally spoke again.

'I'll say it straight. Winry, right now, you're in a hostage situation.'

She almost laughed at him before almost telling him to shut up. To avoid doing either she turned to Al.

'Eh…what? What does he mean Al? What kind of joke is this?'

When Al didn't answer she turned her attention back to the one who'd said it, 'Hey Ed, what is this, explain it to me!'

'It's not a joke,' he answered sternly, 'I'm being requested to work as a human weapon from above…'

'That's…!'

'Right…I might have to help commit mass murder.'

Her anger bubbled over, 'You should just refuse to do something like that…!' That's when it hit her and she finally realised the truth, 'Ah, and that's why I'm…'

She tried to calculate in her head how they had come to that point. Her fear for Ed's safety had brought her to this place as swiftly as a bird in flight. They had planned that she would come and now they were using it against the Elric brothers. Why was it that whenever she wanted so desperately to be near them it was always an advantage to someone else?

'I hate this, I'm being a burden to you two,' she sighed, lowering her eyes so they would not see the guilt buried beneath them.

'D…d…don't cry!' Ed demanded but she quickly silenced him. These were not tears of sorrow but they were anger and frustration at her own stupidity. She had lived long enough to not trust the kindness of strangers.

She listened with new meaning to Ed explain what would happen next. When she heard him accept Kimbley's deal it was hard for her to believe Ed would go ahead with such a thing until Al confirmed that he would not.

In a strange way, Scar became a small beacon of hope for Winry at that moment. Although she did not trust that such plans would work, Scar was no longer, in her mind, the man who could take away all she held dear. Instead he was now the man who could return Ed's limbs and Als' body without the guilt of knowing many lives had been lost in return. In her mind she hatched a plan and trotted along with Ed and Al to the car that would be taking them to Scar.

********

Ed rolled his eyes in mild disgust at Kimbley ordering the men about. Since she had done it with such silence and ease, Ed was unaware of Winry until she had squashed herself tightly in the car next to him.

'Why are you here?' he cried as he felt himself being squashed next to Al even harder.

'It's so tight! Al, move over a little more!' was her reply.

Through his head ran a thousand ways to get her out of the car, until it occurred to him she was being sneaky. Winry was known for caring for those she gave auto-mail to so she was playing on this reputation to get out of the fortress. He threw in a comment of his own to play along and convince Kimbley further. Their hard work paid off. With a few false tears they even made Darius feel bad.

She was good, she was really good.

*******

Winry had to admit to herself she wasn't a perfectly behaved child, but deceiving the military was a new thrill. As uncomfortable as it was being bounced around inside Al's armour body she felt the temptation rise within her to giggle at their deception. She could just about make out Ed running along side his brother; a surprisingly quiet and elegant runner when he felt the need to be. She had no idea of what was to come, nor how it would affect her new found feelings for a certain metal limbed male.

One change came quicker than she thought and it came in the form of a young girl hurtling herself into Al. Once Winry had recovered from a rather sore bump to the head she noticed something quite clearly. Ed was too dumb to see it, Al was too innocent and everyone else was too distracted to notice the gleam in little Mei's eyes when she looked at all. Winry, for all the love she had in her would never be able to love Al in quite the way she did Edward. But now, she had nothing to feel guilty about. For Mei to fall so head over heels in love with Al in the form he was in proved what a good soul she must be. She had seen past the physical to the soul within. Winry almost swooned with the romance of it all, but now was not the time to start getting sentimental.
Animeoldtimer
Nice to see more of your works, Chiyo! I love your manga based stories on EdWin! They are so hard to find. Thanks.
Tombow
@Chiyo - Awesome writing!! It's like reading FMA manga side story!!
I enjoy reading it very much!!
Chibi_Girl29
omg !!You did a really good job !You have a real talent for this !You should ask Hiromu arakawa-sama to let you tell your works.
And i really liked it because the story's like a real work from hiromu arakawa.
I loved the part when Winr's having nightmare when she was small, she goes to ed's room and formed a ritual It was sooo Cutte !!
Can you make more ?! tongue.gif
Edamame
Chiyo: Lovely job with your latest chapter. You handle characterizations so well, and your writing meshes so fluidly with the scenes presented in the manga. I really like how you make Winry out to be a strong character in all of your writings. I look forward to reading the next chapter!
chibi_cherry 29
it is really good and i like it i hopeu update it soon biggrin.gif
Celeste Nayamashii
OMG Chi, I just went through and read all your stories! You must write more! I love these so much! <3
Chiyo
An update...haha...I'm writing a novel but still managed to update this! Its getting a bit long so I have stopped where I have for now. This follows manga till mid-way through 73. Enjoy

Edit 13th June 2009! I have re-written this chapter, by accident technically, but I'm happier with this version. Now slowly re-editing all previous work.

*****
‘Mei-Chan, are you all right? I heard you scream…’

The voice came from a man who had been horribly disfigured by what looked like burns. She had seen many horrific injuries connected with her line of work, but never such substantial damage to the face. It must have been impossible to recognise him as the man he was before he had been so cursed.

Suddenly another character joined in the discussion. It was in moments like this that Winry recalled what an extensive group of people the brothers met on their travels. Here they were in the midst of the most unique group of people and they all seemed to know them quite well.

‘Can we all just calm down?’ Al finally chipped in, ‘let’s talk while we can.’

After finding an empty building they gathered in a circle and Winry pulled up a crate to sit on. She tried not to tire as they began to talk about alchemy as she knew it was important at this stage. It was hard to concentrate when she clearly wasn’t a part of the conversation and was easily pulled away by the sound of one name and a commotion near-by.

‘What was that?’ Marcoh, the burned man asked.

‘No idea,’ Ed mumbled, looking out of one of the windows, ‘Winry, Marcoh and co. stay hidden. We’ll go take a look.’

‘The Northern Army is here looking for Scar. They might have made contact,’ Al added before the pair of them disappeared.

She hadn’t misheard before. The being that had caused her so much pain was once again near to her; he was once again taking them away from her! Not again, her heart couldn’t take it again.

With her eyes transfixed on the doorway they left through, her legs began to take slow and unsteady steps to follow them. Her brain became a nightmarish whirl of all the outcomes that could occur if the brothers met with Scar again. The scenes played over and over in such a rush that nothing was clear anymore.

‘Where are you going, Winry-chan?’ the young and gentle voice of Mei asked behind her.

‘Air…’ she sighed in reply, ‘I need air.’

In such an open space it was clear she was lying but they didn’t question her. Only moments ago she was a stranger to them, even a love rival, but the childhood friend of the Elric brothers was given the respect of a good friend and left alone.

*****

They weren’t far. She could hear the fighting and see flashes of alchemy. Even at this point she wandered in a daze at a slow and uncalculated pace. It was instinct alone that pushed her into danger and toward that inevitable meeting with the man who had taken so much from her.

‘You idiot, why did you come?’

She was brought back into the present by the sound of his angry voiced. The brief flash of his golden eyes clashing with Scars red stare brought out the illogical need to run to him. She didn’t get far before a stern looking man in a military uniform stopped her in her tracks. It stopped the fight and restarted her heart.
Edward had secured Scar’s right arm thus he was momentarily not in danger.

It was at this point she finally took in the alien creatures lying battered on the floor. The man in the dark uniform, referred to by one of the other men as Miles, commented about their origin. They were not human but they are not what kept her gaze. When she saw Miles point a gun at Scar she became all too aware of what she must do to finally let go of the anger she had been holding on to.

Once again letting her legs do the thinking she walked straight at Scar with a steely determination and a calm resolve. Even when Al’s hand grabbed her shoulder and Ed snatched at her arm she didn’t flinch.

‘Winry,’ Al cried.

‘Stupid! Don’t go near him!’ Edward added.

She took a breath, ‘Let go, it’s okay.’

Though Alphonse complied, Edward gripped even harder and shouted once more.

‘Like hell it’s okay!’

‘Please, let us talk,’ she sighed, ‘I’ve been wanting to talk to him face to face.’

With one final last squeeze she felt Ed let go of her arm. She couldn’t blame him for being angry with her after what happened last time. She wasn’t sure if she could detect panic in his voice but as she took another tentative step forward he remained quiet.

With her eyes looking deep into his, she asked Scar, ‘Why did you kill mom and dad?’

He paused for a moment, ‘No matter what I say it would only be an excuse. It is a fact that I killed the husband and wife doctors named Rockbell. I have no right to say anything on this matter. However girl, you do have the right to judge me.’

She wasn’t sure what answer she had expected. He hadn’t set in stone the real reason for his actions but something in his reply told her this was all she would ever need to know. Oh she could demand him to clarify but she knew he would never relinquish a reason.

Her eyes broke away from his face and fell on his left arm, which was bleeding profusely. Before she really knew what she was doing she had torn a strip of material lose and found herself kneeling before the man who had taken so much from her.

‘You’re arm,’ she told him, ‘if we leave it like this you’ll bleed do death.’

She barely heard Ed call out her name and didn’t turn to him when he dropped down beside her. Aware his expression was one of worry but unable to look at him she set to her task. As she pulled the tourniquet tight she mumbled;
‘Mom and dad would probably have done this too. And you’re someone that they let live. I think there must be some kind of meaning in that.’

‘Are you saying, you’ll forgive me?’

She flared up and met Scar’s eye’s again, ‘Don’t misunderstand me! I won’t forgive something so outrageous.’

She looked away once again and finished tying the final knot. She had barely stood upright before Ed’s arm was across her chest and easing her slowly backward and out of harms way. He had control of her body now for she was too tired to fight anymore. She could feel two pairs of eyes on her, staring at her expectantly.

‘It’s okay, I won’t cry,’ she reassured them, flashing a weak smile, ‘because we promised that the next time I cry, they’ll be tears of joy.’

With those words she felt the world lift itself off her shoulders. As she drooped with the sheer weight of it all she felt Ed’s hand affectionately on her head and she allowed her body to fall against his. His arm slid down round her shoulders and she rested her head slightly on his shoulder. There was a peace in her soul she hadn’t known before and all she wanted at that moment was to envelop herself in his protection.

‘Her Scar,’ Ed growled, keeping Winry secure by his side, ‘Winry might be fine with this, but as for us, we still want to punch your lights out and drag you in front of the graves of the Rockbells if we can.’

He meant every word of it and with Scar trapped he had every opportunity to carry his threat out. With Winry feeling so small under his arm though he knew it was time to let it go. For today at least. Keeping one ear on the conversation between Major Miles and Scar he turned back to look at Winry. He ducked his head lower to try and catch her eye. She raised hers to meet his and gave a gentle nod to indicate she was all right. He could only admire her strength and hope she never lost that heart.

‘Why does one with Ishbalan blood take part in the National Military?’

Scar’s question made them all turn to look at Miles. They waited expectantly and the Major took a deep breath.

‘To change the way people think about Ishbalans from within the country.’

Scar didn’t seem taken aback by this, ‘I don’t think that peoples minds can be changed so easily.’

‘You’re right,’ Miles accepted, ‘I don’t know how long it will take. But it is because it is I, one of mixed race, that it can be done. Let us say that my body is one stone of Ishbal that has been cast into Amestris’s National Military. Before long, that ripples that arise from the one small stone that was cast will grow into a great ring. And as for the one that made me realise that it’s worth throwing my life into the Military…ironically she’s pure Amestrian.’

Winry watched the words soak in to Scar and wondered how one who so hated the military would take the words of one of his own that was part of that hate.

‘I am a pus named hatred that was born in that rebellion,’ Scar started with a dark voice, ‘I don’t prey to God or look back. As pus it would be suited for me to be like pus and rot without hope of being saved by God and disappear into the gutter,’ he glanced up at Miles, ‘I’m glad people like you exist.’

As the Major called for back up, Winry lost herself in thought. Scar had a self-loathing she never could have believed. She had thought someone who took life as he did would hold some sense of great importance. This was a man who loathed his own existence.

‘Miss, hurry and get away from here,’ Major Miles called out, waking her up, ‘we can’t let you be captured by Kimberly again.’

‘Please! Please don’t take that man away!’

They all whipped round at the sound of Marcoh’s voice. Its painful rasp was highlighted by volume and panic. Just behind him stood Mei with an unsettled look on her face.

‘Who are you?’ Major Miles inquired with a gun pointed in Marcoh’s direction.

Ed took a sharp breath, ‘No-one special…’

‘It’s okay Edward Elric,’ Marcoh interrupted, ‘I shall explain.’

Major Miles listened carefully as their new guests were explained to them. He nodded and fell silent as he considered all their problems.

‘Let’s wrap things up here,’ he finally said, ‘They can’t know about Marcoh being here and if we’re going to decipher this research, Scar can’t stay here either.’

He sighed and turned toward Winry, his glasses shading his now tired eyes, ‘We must also help Miss Rockbell escape her situation as Central’s hostage and we can’t have them find out about our alliance with the Elric brothers. Finally,’ he said, turning to Mei, ‘I have been ordered to take the alchemy girl back to the fort.’

Mei tucked herself behind Al and in a terrified whisper asked, ‘What are you getting at?’

‘Relax, we’ll treat you with the uttermost courtesy,’ Miles replied. Turning back to look at the group he suggested, ‘Our best option would be to get to Briggs in one group and hide there.’

Ed leaped to action after realising the suggestion was they take Scar alone. Winry understood why they had to take him along and willed her inner demon to hold off its lust for justice. She even leaped to the defence of the chimera’s when it was suggested they should be killed. She didn’t have to explain why they deserved to live for Al did that for them. Another explosion was enough to really out them into action and a stroke of genius from the other man, Yoki, had saved them.

All they had to do was get to the tunnels safely. Winry’s mind went into overdrive when she realised the plan might fall apart right before it was carried out. How exactly would they get out without arousing Kimblee’s suspicion?

‘This…is kinda hard for me to say,’ she mumbled, ‘but what if he see’s Scar taking me hostage. Would that work?’

Even when Ed’s face contorted with disgust she still saw the logic in her plan.

‘You want to release this freak?’ he cried.

Undeterred she carried on, ‘The scenario’s basically “Scar runs off with me while you try and stop him.’

‘Are you nuts?’ both brothers cried.

‘Our lives are in danger!’ Winry retorted, ‘If I need to risk my life so that everyone can escape, then I will! I’m sick of sitting around doing nothing!’

‘We are not letting you go with Scar!’ Ed snapped.

‘Right, you don’t need to take such a huge risk,’ Al added.

The words as the frustration flowed through Winry as easily as her boiling blood.

‘You told me I was involved now too!’ she cried, and with a deep breath screamed, ‘Stop trying to handle everything yourselves!’

She kept her eyes glued to Edwards. As people around them pushed him to make a decision she saw his face twist and turn with the confusion of feelings inside of him. He ducked his head and mumbled something to himself, before cursing so loudly she nearly jumped out of her skin. To her relief he turned away from her toward Scar.

‘Scar! You try anything funny and…’

‘I know,’ Scar calmly interrupted, ‘I’ll keep my word.’

A small part of her wanted to smile in victory. She had finally let out those feelings she had bottled up for so long. It was now her time to help save the lives of others and not even Ed’s glare could dampen her spirit. She began to follow Scar when one of the soldiers stopped her.

‘Wait Miss! Your earrings! They’re metal right? If you leave them in they’ll freeze and you’ll get frost bite!’

How could someone who had to understand metal in cold climbs have forgotten something like that? She fiddled with her earrings to remove them as Ed yelled at her to get a move. It was then she guessed why she had made such a silly mistake. These earrings had been a part of her ever since Edward had given them to her years ago. She’d even put extra holes in her ears so she could wear all of them at once.

‘Ed!’ she called before running down the stairs to him. Grabbing his hand she dropped her precious items into his palm before once again making her exit. Seeing he was looking down at them confused she added.

‘Hold on to those for me. I’ll see you at the fort.’

‘R...right,’ he called over after as she disappeared from sight. With a shrug he secured them in his pocket and prepared to meet Kimbley. All that anger he had felt before was still bottled up inside of him and he needed a release. Leaving Winry in Scar’s care was the last thing he would have dreamed of doing…but he couldn’t argue with the logic of it.
Celeste Nayamashii
Yay an update! I'm really loving this EdxWin manga writing you have going on Chi! I thought the earrings part in that chapter was so sweet and considering it was Ed who'd given her those earrings (in that omake, can't remember the name offhand) she would find them so special to her. <3 So awesome! I can't wait for more! Hopefully our newest chapter coming up (which I'm DYING for) will you give you some more play with in regards to EdxWin. Keep it up!
Chiyo
Well we've got a dramatic chapter but I want to wait to see where the next one takes us before I tackle that particular scene.
Animeoldtimer
I hear you! Chiyo. I'm curious if the chimeras will take Ed to Doctor Marco (where Winry is of course! biggrin.gif. ) This will make for some good Ed/Win fanfiction! I really like how you tie your stories in with the manga!
AngelHunteress16
gah!!! I can only read up to the one before 56!! Curses to the slow english-manga! Oh, well. I loved them so far though!! I have yet to get 14 so I've only read up to like 50 or so...but i loved it so far!! It's very well written. You've got awesome talent!! When I read the others I'll review for them! biggrin.gif
Chiyo
Cripes, has it really been that long? I suppose I could try and update if there's anyone still reading?
Tombow
I'm reading!! Update, please!! biggrin.gif
(At your leisure, of course. ^^)
Havanese
QUOTE(Chiyo @ Jun 12 2008, 11:03 AM) *
Cripes, has it really been that long? I suppose I could try and update if there's anyone still reading?

I'm still reading! I love this fanfic! biggrin.gif
Chiyo
Gah! I can't believe it! I'd had forgotten this fic so much I've already started writing chapters 70-73 without realising I'd already done it! Dang it all!

Fine, I'll be updating soon with the chapters I HAVEN'T already done *groan*.

Edit: Updated January 31st 2010. Spoilers for Brotherhood up to 44

*****
It hadn't been too difficult to let her body droop as she had let the weight of the day take over. She swore she could hear Ed's voice in the distance but she dare not strain her ears to confirm. She had been so sure when they parted it would not be too long until they met again, but as the danger grew even days felt like months.

'So you're the Rockbell's daughter?' Marcoh asked.

'Yes,' she replied in a quiet voice. They were now wandering through the tunnels Yoki had lead them to and each sound echoed around the empty walls.

'They were well known on the battle field and now their daughter is once again showing the great character of that family.'

'I don't think I am,' she said honestly, 'Now that I am trapped up in this I don't know when I'll be able to go home. Now I have to neglect my customers and my teacher in Rush Valley. I'm just awful…'

The thought had crossed her mind a few times but she had still dug herself deeper into the troublesome world of the Elric's. She wasn't blind to the fact that trouble was slowly spreading across the land but that she had left everyone else behind hurt her inside.

Wrapped up in her own thoughts she hadn't realised Mei had stopped in her tracks unless Marcoh called her name.

'What's wrong? Winry asked.

Mei's little face frowned, 'My clansmen are waiting for me, but I don't know when I'll get to go home either.'

As Mei let the tears form in her eyes Winry forgot her own sorrows. The young girls dreams had been dashed, just as Ed's had, by finding out the Philosophers Stone was created by sacrificing many human lives. They had just resolved to find another way of getting their bodies back just as Mei would have to find a new route to immortality.

After walking for a long time they settled down while Yoki went to hunt for the exit. Like so many hours during her youth, she spent the time listening to talk of alchemy without understanding too much of it. It was when Mei finally turned to her specifically that Winry paid attention.

'One theory says,' she started, 'that the person who bought alchemy to Xing was an immortal man with golden hair and golden eyes, hence we call "True Man" or "Golden Man"'

Winry laughed, 'Golden hair and golden eyes, just like Ed and Al.'

She didn't have too much time to get her head around this as Yoki called them to say he found the exit. Walking into the sun dazzled her eyes but not to much she didn't see Yoki fall into the deep snow. The soldiers offered to go ahead and pack down the snow so they could walk on it.

Suddenly, she heard a feint cry. Unsure of what was said she turned toward where it was coming from. There, sticking out of the undisturbed white, was Al's leg. The voice was coming from beneath the snow.

'What, Al?' she cried, rushing over to help dig him out. She'd only scooped a few handfuls away when he burst back to the surface with a cry of "saved".

'I got stuck in a dip then got buried in the snow there,' he explained while Mei brushed the rest of the snow off him, obviously elated she was reunited with him.

'Why the heck are you here?' Winry asked.

'We had an emergency communication for you, so I crossed over the mountain in the blizzard, arrived here ahead of everyone else and waited for you.'

'Emergency?'

'The Central Army is in the Briggs Fort. I hear the Major General was summoned to Central also.'

It clicked quickly with Winry, 'What? That means…'

'Yes,' Al interrupted, 'it is dangerous to go to the fort now.'

'Then we should hide somewhere else,' Winry said, half to herself and half to Mei.

'Somewhere else you say,' Scar added, 'just where can we expect to go?'

There was an awkward silence before Al broke the ice with news he had brought food. As the others grabbed what Al unpacked from his body Winry was still unsure.

'But is it okay?'

'Is what okay?' Al asked her.

'If you disappear all of a sudden, won't Kimbley and the rest get suspicious?'

'It's fine,' Alphonse assured while handing food to Mei, 'Brother is doing something about it.'

Once they had eaten their fill they prepared to move again when Al collapsed into the snow. Winry and Mei were at his side in a second.

'Al, what happened?'

In a strained voice he mumbled, 'This is bad…again…it's being pulled away.'

'Al! Winry cried as he stumbled again, 'what is being pulled away?'

'My soul.'

'Your soul is being pulled away?' Scar asked.

'Miss has this happened before?' Marcoh questioned.

'I don't know, Al!' she cried, growing ever more desperate as his body lost the strength holding him up. 'Al, get up! Someone helped him!' she begged, 'someone!'

She was lost as they turned to her for answers. She didn't know the workings of Al's body as well as she should. There was only one person who really understood this armour with a young soul attached. Only one, whose existence was tied to that of his brothers. If Al had fallen; a body that could not grow tired and could not feel pain, it could only mean one thing.

'Ed!' she screamed, with all the power of a woman on the verge of losing everything.

********

They trudged through the snow, each of them carrying part of Alphonse. He had fallen unconscious and had to be taken apart for them to continue moving. He may have been the strangest of beings but Winry knew something had gone drastically wrong. If Al didn't wake up she didn't know what she could do. She had no idea of where Ed was at that point, and just what state he was in himself. He could be lying somewhere, broken and alone…

'Mmm, what?'

Winry knew exactly where that voice had come from, 'Al! Are you back? Are you alright?'

'Wait, how come I'm in pieces?' his voice called from his torso.

Winry breathed out heavily, 'Good, I was worried you wouldn't gain consciousness.'

'So, what's going on?'

It was Scar who answered Al, 'You lost consciousness all of a sudden. You were too big to carry even with all of us here so we had to disassemble you.'

'That's right,' Al said, 'even if you were in trouble you couldn't hurry if you were carrying a weight like me.'

With a protest from Yoki they found a place to settle before they continued their conversation. For the time being Al was left in his disassembled state. It was now that he revealed that it wasn't the first time this had happened and Winry once again felt that sinking feeling in her stomach. She wondered what the implications of this happening to him were and whether or not Edward knew about it. If Al was back to normal now at least she felt a little more hope that Ed was okay too.

She didn't give up on alchemy this time. When Mei suddenly let all the papers from the research paper fall to the floor she watched intently to what the young girl was doing. Rearranging the papers in order on the floor revealed what Winry recognised as a transmutation circle. Though she was amazed herself, Marcoh simply stated that this was information they had guessed already. Panic and anger ensued with Yoki, who had succumbed to the cold, sneezed the papers out of order. It seemed as if they weren't going to get anywhere when all suddenly called out.

'Reverse it! Those pages, could you turn them over, but don't change their position?'

Once again she watched them get to work, this time with a sense of urgency. Mei once took out a pen and drew on the pages spread out on the floor. With a basic understanding of the previous image Winry knew that this didn't forebode well even before Mei finally revealed;

'This is our new transmutation circle. It is for Amestris. It will be put into motion using alchemy!'

********

It didn't take long for her to find her role amongst the Ishval people. She hadn't spent any real time with children since Elysia but she loved to interact with them. Something about the innocence of youth helped her ignore all the terrible things she knew. In them she could see the happy hours she and the brothers had spent back at home, in their quite little country village. She felt a pang of pain and guilt for not seeing her grandmother for so long. She had given Ed so much hassle in the past for not keeping in touch and there she was doing just that. If she were ever in a good enough mood, she would apologise to him.

There was suddenly a loud explosion in the distance. It came from the direction that most of the group had gone to. They had said they were off to defeat a homunculus and that she was not to follow for her own safety. Her instinct was to run straight into that danger but this time she had a few frightened children clinging to her legs. Doing her best to comfort them she kept her eye in the entrance to the camp.

It was too long until they all returned. Though Marcoh was being carried the rest of them seemed unharmed and Mei even seemed happy.

'Doctor Marcoh, you're hurt!' Winry cried as they finally reached them.

'Oh these are nothing,' he sighed, 'but my backs killing me. I'm embarrassed that you have to see me like this.'

Upset by the sight of his injuries she snapped, 'You can't keep pushing yourself like this!'

'Seeing you reminded me of your parents and made me realise that running away was cowardly and unfair…because there was still something I could do. I wanted to do what I could, no matter how far I had to push myself'

Winry flushed with pride at such a comment and could only mumble something about him not doing it again. It didn't hurt her anymore to hear about her parents as only ever good things were said about them.

She hadn't been completely aware of the creature in Scar's hand until there was an almighty cry of pain and fear from Yoki. The being, which looked like an oversized caterpillar, had latched on to Yoki's neck and taken control of his body. She felt almost sick at the sight but everyone else acted as if Yoki meant nothing to them and Envy could do whatever he wanted. She didn't exactly add anything to the moment but tried to hide her disgust. Luckily for her they managed to subdue Envy once more and trapped him in a glass jar. They quietly explained to her what they had done when Envy called over to Al.

'So where's the Fullmetal Shrimp?'

'My brother?' Al replied, 'He's probably in Briggs by now.'

'Oh,' Envy sighed with a wicked hint in his voice, 'I heard he'd disappeared. You're sure he's not here?'

'Spill your guts!' Al demanded, 'where's my brother?'

'Spill my guts? I just heard the mine in Baschool collapsed and he'd gone missing.'

Perhaps had Al not collapsed before she would have taken this news with a pinch of salt. But in an already unsteady state, her mind began to play all manner of horrific scenes to her. Her throat dry she barely managed to gasp;

'Ed's missing…no!'

'D…don't worry, remember who we're talking about,' Al stepped in to reassure her, 'I'm sure brother managed to get away.'

She nodded and tried to catch her ragged breath, 'Yeah…right…you're right.'

Worrying about Ed in such an obvious matter was not fair on Al and she bit her tongue from asking any more questions. With Al assuring them he wouldn't fall again they began to move again for it was certain the enemy now knew where they were. When they reached a crossroads Scar turned to Mei and presented her with the trapped Homunculus.

'Take him to Xing!'

She gasped and looked terribly confused.

'It's no-where near true immorality,' Scar carried on, 'but we have what's left of a being that couldn't die no matter how many times it was killed. It may save your clan.'

'But if I leave..' she started.

'Yeah,' another interjected, 'we decoded the research book and figured out that alchestry fits into all this somehow.'

'This is no time to worry about someone else's country,' Scar said in a stern voice. As Mei remained silent he carried on, 'Did you really come here with so little dedication? If you get caught up in our affairs will you tell the people who gave you're your task "sorry I couldn't help Xing because I was saving Amestris". You'll reach Youswell if you head East from here.'

With one last push from Scar, Mei bowed to them all. Her face showed a confused and lost young girl who had been put in her place, albeit with care and thought. She thanked them all.

When Al thanked her in return she threw her body into his and buried her face in to his loincloth. Winry nearly burst with the excitement of it all when she could hear Mei try and cough out what sounded like the start of "I love you". It pained Winry to watch her go for she knew how it hurt to be parted from those she held dear.

'She's gone..' Winry said, her voice trailing off.

'What a lively little girl,' Al sighed.

In a moment of good humour Winry teased Al, 'I think you're more broken then you're letting on.'

'What are you smirking about?' he growled. Winry danced about as she imagined a beautifully romantic reunion between Al and his lost Princess Mei. She remained lost in that happy place until Al caught her attention.

'Winry, there is somewhere I would like to take you to.'

Years of working through the night had given Winry a strong back and arms that could stay stable for hours. Walking, however, appeared to be an entirely different matter. She hated that they were still keeping to the shadows and longed for even a few minutes on a train. Her thick coat was growing heavier and hotter by the mile and she felt on the verge of collapse when al finally declared they had reached their destination.

As they wandered through the town she noticed people pointing at Alphonse. This wasn't usually unusual except that everyone was smiling at him as if he were an old friend. Winry didn't feel comfortable with such familiarity.

'Wow, what's that giant statue?' one of them asked.

'Any place we can get something to eat,' another of the group added. Winry resisted the urge to ask for anywhere they could sit down.

'Hang on, I know it's here somewhere,' Al informed them, 'Ah, here it is!'

They approached a stall where a young woman stood cleaning the counter. When she spotted Al she gave an exclamation of surprise before smiling broadly at him.

'Rose, how have you been?' Al asked her.

'Fine Al. Are you still travelling?'

Winry's eyes darted between Al and this stranger he had referred to as Rose. The name didn't ring any bells with her but she seemed to know Al well. The look of joy on her face didn't show any darker meaning and her manner was pleasant and gentle. She was even very pretty and something about this combination made Winry's heart feel strained.

'Ed's not with you?' Rose asked after exchanging pleasantries.

Al didn't seem to want to really reveal to Rose the situation so mumbled, 'No he's…somewhere else today.'

'Oh to bad, I wanted to see him again,' Rose replied.

A small beast inside Winry's chest started to whisper to her in her head. Oh why does she want to see him again? Such a pretty young woman too, she probably wouldn't lose her temper too easily. Seeing Al doesn't appear to be enough for her does it? I wonder just why she wants to see Ed so badly?

'Oh ho ho!' Al suddenly cried, sidling up next to Winry.

'What are you smirking about?' she cried, ever on the defence.

'You had a weird look on your face, that's all. What were you thinking about?' he asked.

Rose seemed to have caught something in her expression too, 'Oh so you're Ed's…'

'Childhood friend YES!' she snapped before they had the opportunity to accuse her of anything. How did Al manage to spot something so trivial as a slight change of expression and figure out it was…whatever the hell it was! She wasn't jealous, far from it! She just didn't see what exactly Ed would mean to this woman.

'Rose!' came a deep voice from behind them, 'I've finished cleaning the pots. Anything else I can do for y…'

He stopped short as they all faced each other. A collage of photo's danced through her head at top speed. She can precious little memory of him but the pictures scattered around her house told her exactly who it was.

'You're…' he said at the same time as Winry, 'My vintage armour,' he finished just as she and Al managed to blurt out, 'Ed and Al's father!'

Winry cringed at his slip up and felt for poor Al until his father spoke up again.

'It's been, what, 10 years Alphonse?' Hohenheim asked.

'Yeah,' Al responded in a quiet voice.

'I heard what happened from Pinako, about your body and…'

'Right,' Al said again, stopping him.

There was an awkward silence between them. Though Winry could guess how Ed felt about his father, Al was a little harder to read. He never show anger in the same way Edward did, but a decade was a long time to be parted from someone. Finally it was Al who spoke again.

'So, um, Father…'

'Ah there he is,' a man interrupted, calling over from behind them.

'Mr Hohenheim,' the woman standing next to the man called.

'Are you busy? We could sure use your help?'

'Happy to oblige,' Hohenheim said, and with a quick wave of his hand walked away from Al. It was at that point Winry felt a fraction of the anger Ed did toward him. He had only just been reunited with his son and he was already walking away from him. She could tell from Al's pose he wasn't happy about it either. When the owner of the bar appeared and started to talk to him, Al's voice seemed distant. He was polite enough and indulged the man the in brief conversation, before declaring he was going to help rebuild too.

Winry called after him but he was too late. He instructed her to go and hide somewhere and was quickly out of sight. She had forgotten Yoki and the others were still there until they too made a swift exit and left her there alone.

When she turned to Rose the young woman had a beaming smile on her face. Before Winry could put up any form of a fight she found she was being dragged away by the woman who had flared up such jealousy in her earlier.

They finally came to a small but welcoming house. Rose quickly pulled off Winry's coat and scarf and asked her if she would care to take a bath. Winry could barely hold in her joy at the thought of a nice hot soak.

'Would you like a drink while I run the water?' Rose asked.

'Oh yes please,' Winry sighed. She slipped off most of the layers of clothing she had been bearing and sat on a chair. A small part of her kept it's guard up but in such a hospitable atmosphere it was hard not to feel comfortable.

After a nice cool drink Winry slipped herself into the water. The heat penetrated her aching muscles and the oils soothed her skin.

'Is the bath hot enough Winry?' Rose called from the bedroom.

'It's awesome!' Winry cried honestly, 'I'm in heaven, I can't remember the last time I took a bath.'

'I'm putting your clothes out here,' came Rose's voice again from just behind the screen.

'Okay, thank-you so much!' Winry replied. As she sunk deeper into the tub she mumbled about how nice Rose was. She couldn't very well apologise for all the accusations she had made earlier for she hadn't said them out loud. But she was very sorry for judging Rose so harshly. Being in love with someone could turn you into a monster sometimes.

'I think you're amazing,' Rose said to her, 'living on your own and working in an automail shop at your age. Did you do Ed's leg too?'

Winry laughed, 'Yes, we're old friend, I kinda felt like I had to.'

The mention of his name again stirred Winry's thoughts. The last she had heard he was missing, but perhaps by now somebody had heard something. She might even have been worrying over nothing and he was himself relaxing somewhere safe in a tub too…

Before her thoughts let her wander into a world she dare not tread, Rose spoke again.

'Wow, so you built the legs that support Ed! And when he came here, he helped us stand on our own. That makes you our saviours saviour!'

Winry didn't reply to this, or more she couldn't. She swelled with pride that such a small thing she had done had gone on to help so many people. She still didn't know exactly what Edward had done but Rose didn't seem the kind to lie. Whatever they had done for the city had helped everyone there. Their saviour, she had called him. A foul tempered pipsqueak with no sense of politeness who always butted his nose into other peoples business.

Yes, that was her Edward.
Tombow
@Chiyo - Yay!! Glad to see the update!! biggrin.gif
Animeoldtimer
Yeah! I saw this on ff.net first, but I read it hear again. Very nice! Can't wait to see what you have coming next.
Chiyo
Thanks you two, glad it was worth doing it.

Well this will be the last chapter for the moment as it leads right up to the point we last see Winry, and since I don't know what she's doing I can't speculate until she appears again. Not much happens here but it needed to bo done. Spoilers and all that up to chapter 82.

Edit: Updated 14th February, spoilers for manga and Brotherhood, up to episode 46.

*****
Once she had dried off and dressed herself, Winry sat down to listen to Rose tell the story of exactly what had happened to their city. She explained about the rise of the church and how it became her whole world.

‘I completely fell for the church of Lets lies,’ she explained, ‘because they told me they could revive my dead boyfriend. The one day Ed and Al just waltzed in and revealed the truth.’

She paused to take a drink and then carried on.

‘Those who’d devoted their lives to Let, like me, were left depressed and disillusioned.’

‘What did they do to help you get through it?’ Winry asked, fascinated by Rose’s story.

‘Well Ed got really mad and said "stand on your legs and start walking forward".

Winry groaned and rubbed her forehead, ‘Sheesh why does he always have to rub salt into peoples wounds?’

Rose laughed, ‘I’m glad he got angry at us though. He opened everyone’s eyes, including me. Maybe the true cause of the revolt was people placing all their faith in miracles and not thinking for themselves. That’s why we are going to bring Reole back to prosperity without waiting for a miracle to do it for us. We’re going to recover through our own efforts.’

Rose sighed heavily as she started wistfully out of the window, ‘we’re all so grateful to Ed and Al. If the deceit had continued much longer we might have thought ourselves invincible and become one of those crazy armies “who don’t even fear death” or whatever they call them.’

Winry made a sound of recognition but could only appreciate a fraction of what Rose had said to her. Faith had a lot to answer for but it seemed hope was able to offer some answers. All it had taken was two young brothers with no belief in a God to uncover a deception that had convinced an entire city of its divinity.

‘I suppose you must find me stupid, falling for such lies in the belief I would be rewarded with my dead boyfriend back,’ Rose said, smiling at Winry weakly.

Winry put up both hands, ‘Of course I don’t! I think they were cruel to use such a thing to get to you. There is nothing stupid about wanting a loved one back. If it wasn’t for Ed and Al I suppose I would believe in anything if it would give me my parents back.’

Rose sat down in front of Winry, ‘It must have been difficult to see them in that state. Were they always so ready to get their bodies back?’

Winry traced back through her memory, ‘Al stood before me, a soul attached to a suit of armour, but the moment he spoke I knew nothing had changed. Ed took it much harder and disappeared in to a dark place we couldn’t get him back from. Then one day a man and woman from the military appeared. I don’t know what was said to him but Ed seemed to come back round. He wasn’t exactly the boy I had grown up with, I couldn’t expect him to be, but there was a fire burning within him. From that day I swore I would help them any way I could so…so…’

Winry trailed off before she could finish voicing that thought. She had already gone over this in her head time and time again. What could such independent young men find appealing in Rizembol? Of course it wasn’t for the benefit of the village she’d want them to return but there was no way she’d be selfish enough to ask them to return just for her.

‘Just an old friend you say?’ Rose said, smiling into her cup.

Winry flushed bright red, ‘Of course that’s all he is! Why would you even ask?’
‘Oh I don’t know,’ Rose sighed, shrugging her shoulders, ‘a strong body, a good soul and intense golden eyes that shine like a fire is burning within…’

‘I GET IT,’ Winry snapped, before burying her face in her hands to hide her increasing embarrassment.

‘Just…don’t let anyone use whatever feelings you do have…as a weapon.’

Winry uncovered her face to look Rose square in the eye. An invisible understanding passed between them and Winry nodded lightly to show she understood.

‘Let’s go see if we can find Al, shall we Winry?’

********

With her knees drawn up to her chest and only some fresh air coming in, Winry wondered just how she had ended up in an empty water carrier. She felt stuffy and rather claustrophobic as the train bumped along. She could hear the conversations of the soldiers around her and so many voices speaking of war and devastation. She wanted to cover her ears and drown them out but she desperately sought any news of Ed’s whereabouts. None came.

Her last moments with Al had packed her head with more information than she was sure she could handle. What had stuck in her mind clearly was the "Promised Day" that she had been warned was coming soon. From what she could understand they would all be affected; they were all in danger from this strange man hidden underground. Part of her longed for an alternative life, where such worries were never a part of her existence. She had requested nobody hide anything from her anymore so she only had herself to blame, but the child in her wanted to cover her eyes and pretend it wasn’t happening.

She felt the train come to a halt and the familiar smells of her surroundings filtered through. A voice whispered harshly to her.

‘Miss, we need to seal the lid for a moment. It won’t be long.’

With all light shut out she was bumped about in her little tomb as they unloaded her from the train. Sure enough though they soon released the catch so some sun and air was allowed to find it’s way to her. Rolling along on wheels was a little easier but she couldn’t wait to get out.

‘Miss, we’re here,’ the soldier from before said, lifting the lid.

With a gasp of breath she thanked the men and stretched her aching legs. Her other guard told her the door was locked as she eased herself on to solid ground.

‘Today’s the Spring Sheep Festival,’ she explained, ‘Grandma and Den must still be there. This way, we can get in through the back door.’

Stepping back into her own house she felt a new sense of relief. Though she still wasn’t alone she knew a soft bed welcomed her at the tops of the stairs. She would have to wash and change too after being stuck in that barrel. Pushing open the door to her room she was greeted by darkness. Regretfully flicking on the light her heavy eyes relaxed and the familiarity of her own room meant she didn’t bump into something. Pulling open her closet and seeking out some clean clothes she could feel that there was a thin layer of dust on each surface. She muttered to herself about cleaning up as she peeled off her oversized shirt.

Grabbing the bottom of her vest and pulling it up to just below her bust her eyes finally darted across the room. The last thing she had expected was to be greeted with a pair of shining, burning, golden eyes. The sudden shock and embarrassment of what she nearly done revealed itself in a vocal outburst.

The next few moments were a blur. First her bodyguards burst in, then the men who had arrived with Ed who had also cried out in surprise. Next the familiar sound of her faithful dog Den, first barking and then yelping in surprise as a familiar face picked her up by her scruff.

‘Ling?’ she called out.

‘Oh, you know him?’ he replied.

Unable to inquire about his odd response due to the arguments and noise around her Winry was unable to control her temper. A loud cry of frustration and the brandishing of a spare wrench and the men were cast from her room at top speed. She whipped round to Ed, ready to give him the earful he deserved, when all the worry she had bottled up for him stopped her in her tracks.

Holding back the tears she mumbled, ‘I was so scared…’

He stumbled a couple of times before replying, ‘Y...yeah…I’m really sorry…I’m glad you’re safe too.’

She took a deep breath to force back the tears that tried to form, before giving him a beating for the previous embarrassment. Angry and somewhat ashamed she grabbed the shirt she was wearing and threw it back over her shoulders.

‘What’s all this now? There are more of you filthy bums dirtying up my house now? Winry?’

‘Grandma!’ Winry cried, setting eyes upon her guardian finally.

‘Thank goodness you’re alright,’ her grandmother sighed.

‘Yeah, sorry I worried you,’ Winry replied, a little taken aback by the tenderness in her grandmothers voice. Though there was no doubt she loved her, her grandmother was not one for sentiment and affection.

‘Now who are they?’ Pinako demanded, back to her old self.

As the men explained themselves, Winry took a closer look at Ling. His foolish grin had been replaced with a more sinister look and his clothes were now all black.

‘Ling, something seems different about you,’ she stated.

‘Oops, I guess I never told you,’ Ed mumbled.

‘I’m Greed, nice to meet you,’ Ling…Greed replied.

With a confused look she turned back to Ed, who sighed and instructed, ‘Let’s go down to the basement, I’ll explain there.’

********

It wasn’t the most detailed explanation she had ever been given but she knew enough to get a better idea of the situation. Ling had offered his body to the homunculus Greed and he had broken away from the other creatures and had joined forced with Ed on the understanding Ed was actually working for him. Such a motley crew couldn’t wander round free so they were hiding.

‘Why did you come back here though? Hiding in Central would have been a lot easier,’ she stated.

‘Because I said so,’ Greed said in a matter of fact tone, ‘There’s no way to tell where they have eyes in Central. Plus I gotta make sure his automail is all tuned up.’

‘You better get to work Winry,’ Grandma Pinako suggested behind her, ‘you made all his latest stuff, I can’t do the retuning.’

‘That’s right,’ Winry muttered. Standing up quickly she commanded Ed upstairs.

‘We better do this in my room. Everyone else should stay down here!’
Greed gave a sinister looking side grin, ‘Only his automail, I don’t expect you to give his whole body a work over…’

********

‘If I had said something like that you’d have beaten me to death,’ Ed grumbled as Winry focussed on her work.

‘You aren’t a half-human, half-demon prince from a far off country.’

‘I do apologise for not being so interesting…’

‘I didn’t say it was interesting! I just don’t know who he is anymore, or what he’s capable of!’

‘Now you’re saying he’s stronger than me!’

They had been sniping like this from the moment he had sat down and she had set to work. His temper was unreadable and she was finding it hard to keep her own. There wasn’t too much to be done but the time dragged painfully by. There was so much she wanted to say but in the mood he was in she dare not.

‘I met Rose,’ she said carefully.

‘Oh? You went to Lior?’

‘Yes,’ she sighed, grateful she seemed to have found some calm ground, ‘they are rebuilding the city with their own hands. Rose said she is grateful to you and Al for revealing to them the lie that was being fed to them. I think she would have liked to have seen you again.’

She turned away when she said this to hide her face. There was a moment of silence as she began to tidy her tools. Finally it was Edward who spoke again.

‘So Lior’s starting to prosper again. That’s good, I always wondered how they made out. And Al?’

‘He’s working with Mr Miles,’ Winry explained, surprised he hadn’t asked about his brother sooner, ‘they can plan much better with an Alchemist who knows about everything on the team. Your Father went to Central ahead of him. He’s in some slum called “Kanama”, you should go see him and explain the situation.’

Finally able to turn and face him again she asked, ‘So do you know anything about this “Promised Day” stuff?’

He frowned slightly and looked toward the floor, ‘Yeah, Greed told me. That day will be a chance for us to get our bodied back…the day Amestris might be obliterated.’

She turned away again, unable to say anything. She concentrated on cleaning her tools thoroughly when he called her attention on him.

‘Hey,’ he sighed with a heavy voice, ‘take Grandma and Den and go hide in a different country.’

She clenched her fist, which happened to fall on one of her wrenches. Landing a powerful blow on his head she snapped.

‘Are you serious? What’s the point of telling only your friends and family to run? Are you saying you can’t stop all that from happening.’

‘We can stop it!’ he cried, recovering himself, ‘and we will! But there is a small chance…’

‘There’s no small chance, there’s no nothing!’ she shouted back, ‘You have to stop those guys and protect our country! And you and Al have to get your original bodies back! And I have to do whatever I can to help!’

He was surprised by her outburst at first, but then he grew annoyed with it. He wasn’t angry at her as such, just at the situation. Looking down into her tight frown he sighed and broke their gaze.

‘Geez, talk about simplifying things…’ he grumbled as he picked up his shirt and made for the door.

‘Now what? You never give in that easily!’ she called from behind him. He had had enough of arguing with her and ignored her last cry for his attention as he slammed the door behind himself.

She glared at the door behind him before giving in to her upset and letting her eyes fall to the floor. Something just wasn’t the same anymore and he wouldn’t even argue with her. Her heart began to flutter with panic as her oldest fear was making itself apparent. He was breaking away from her so much he would no longer have a conversation with her. She shouldn’t have hit him again.

Flopping down in to the seat he had just been sat in she looked at her hands. She had a scar or two from the mistakes she had made while Granny taught her how to work on automail. The odd mark where a callus might have once sat. She had even broken a nail on her thumb. They were the hands of a mechanic, and to him it was all they would ever be.

‘Winry! They are leaving!’ Grandma called from downstairs. She didn’t want to wave him goodbye this time, there was something too final about it this time. She slowly descended the stairs to find everyone on the dark porch outside.

‘Thanks Winry, Grandma!’ Ed called over his shoulder.

‘You gonna be okay?’ Pinako asked, ‘The trains don’t run at this hour.’

‘We’re all outsiders,’ Greed replied, ‘It’s easier for us to just slip back into the shadows.’

‘And that Promised Day is almost here,’ Ed added, ‘we can’t waste any time.’

As he turned back away from her, Winry finally managed to utter, ‘Make sure you listen to what your dad has to say Ed.’

‘Yeah yeah,’ he said waving, ‘and you make sure you stay hidden.’

She resolved that this was all the goodbye she would get until Ed turned back to her with a smile on his face.

‘I’ll be back when all this “promised” crap is over,’ he informed her, ‘So bake me an apple pie and keep it warm.’

She froze up. Inside her emotions danced about each other like children at a party and were just as awkward and out of control. She had built herself up for the last goodbye she would ever say to Edward Elric, but something in his voice made her believe every word of what he had said. He was almost out of sight before her chest finally permitted her one final cry.

‘I will!’

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