The story's set with Ed at least 16, and possibly older than that, and is definitely a "Timeline, What Timeline?" story.
Fullmetal Alchemist is the creation of Hiromu Arakawa. It is not mine, nor am I making any money off of this story. Please enjoy!
A Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction by Ryo Hoshi
Chapter 1: Nigredro (1)
When Edward finally woke up, the light was dimming and he couldn't remember how he'd gotten to bed. While normally that wasn't a reason to be worried, normally the last thing he remembered doing was something other than walking down the street. The ceiling was familiar, from his childhood -- which also didn't make sense, because he certainly didn't remember returning to Liesenburg.
But then, his missing automail did provide some explanation for why he'd be there. However, that left unexplained why it would be disconnected. It probably had something to do with why his right leg was currently in a cast and his body aching and bandaged in various places, but...
He heard the door open, and he turned his head -- carefully -- and saw Winry staring at him. He froze, wondering why she seemed so surprised to see him awake.
"He's awake! Ed's finally woken up!" She ran off, towards the stairs.
He stared at the now empty doorway. What the hell happened...?
The parade of people coming by to confirm his condition only confused him more. Some of them he would have expected, such as Al (looking scratched up but otherwise fine) and Granny. However, he hadn't expected to have either Roy Mustang or Lieutenant Hawkeye present, both sporting bandages and, in the Flame Alchemist's case, an arm in a sling.
Eventually, though, things calmed down enough after all but his brother and Roy left the room for Ed to ask questions. "Al, Roy, what happened?"
"Some of the military's offices in Central blew up, nii-san. They're still not sure if it was an accident or not, but it originated from Brigadier General Thayer's office..." Al paused, unsure, then added, "After we'd left."
"I remember that much." Thayer had promised to see if some files Ed had wanted to see could be found & make copies of some of his personal notes for their use. "Is he still alive...?"
"No; he was in his office at the time," Roy said. "I had been ordered to pay him a visit, to discuss a report that'd come from my jurisdiction. His aide had just left, with a memo to deliver to the records office and needing to get more tea, when the explosion occurred."
Ed decided to wait before asking what the memo said; the records had been of more interest than the notes, and if that memo had been about those files he wanted, it was possibly less of a dead end. "So, why am I here instead of in Central?"
"It was thought that you might be more comfortable for you here instead of in the hospital, and your automail needed to be rebuilt." There was something of an ironic smile on Roy's face, though it was more likely a smirk than a smile. "Your automail arm stopped a lot of shrapnel."
Ed suspected that he didn't want to know. "My legs...?"
"Falling rubble," Roy said, looking unusually embarrassed. "I had been in a bit of a hurry to dig myself out." There was a short pause.
"Riza...Lt. Hawkeye and I didn't have very much space, and I didn't want to risk running out of oxygen."
There was a long silence, eventually broken by Edward yawning. The colonel quickly excused himself and Al tucked his elder brother into bed. "Good night, nii-san."
"G'night, Al," he mumbled back, already half-asleep. He'd not known he was so tired before Al'd tucked him in... He swiftly fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Morning came with annoyingly cheerful birdsong and the scent of food. Ed spent longer than he wanted staring at the ceiling, listening to the house's inhabitants' morning routines while waiting for somebody to remember that he'd woken up and would want breakfast. He perked up when he finally heard somebody approaching the door to his room.
"Good morning, Ed!" He'd never quite realized how much he liked Winry before now. She was carrying a tray with what was clearly his breakfast, and by that point he'd have liked nearly anyone who had arrived with that tray. Even better, someone had gone to the trouble of making sure it was all things he liked having for breakfast. "I hope you don't mind if I keep you company while you eat. It's a mess downstairs in the morning, and I'll be changing your bandages this morning. Al normally takes care of them, but he has a few errands he wants to run."
He glanced up from the tray, only slightly distracted from the food. "Errands?"
"He wants to pick up some groceries, since you've finally woken up." She placed the tray on the nearby table and helped Ed shift himself into a sitting position, using a pillow as support. He watched eagerly as she put the legged tray in his lap.
He ate eagerly, enjoying the food. He was vaguely aware that Winry was taking things out from a cabinet and laying them out on the nightstand, and he only half-listened to her chatter about what had happened in town since his last visit. The food was much, much more important.
Eventually, though, he finished the food, and noticed that she was being careful not to talk about what had happened there since he'd arrived. Or, for that matter, about what had happened to him. She wasn't even complaining his automail getting destroyed yet again...which reminded him...
"Winry, how long until you'll have my new automail done...?"
"I'd asked you to tell me when you were done," she pointed out. She moved the tray from the bed, absentmindedly collapsing the 'leg' panels on each side as she put it aside. "I'm having to make them both up from scratch, and I'm carefully checking all the parts as I build them this time." Ed twitched, remembering the embarrassing results of one of the critical parts of the last leg she'd built for him turning out to have been unexpectedly weak. At least it hadn't waited until after he'd left to fail, and she'd been understanding about where his face had ended up...
"Lean forward, I want to start with your back." He did as she asked, using his arm to support himself. He felt her hands deftly undoing the ties that held his top closed, and shifted slightly to help her get it off his shoulders. "I've switched my suppliers of metal since then, and I've been playing with a few recently-developed alloys. I think I might actually be able to get a balance between rust-resistance and strength that'll actually mean that the next time I need to replace anything it'll be because you've grown."
That earned a faint snort of laughter, which he hoped she mistook as being caused by the feel of her fingers gently brushing his ribs as she took the bandages wrapped around them off. He was starting to doubt that he'd ever stop being short, though that didn't stop him from being touchy about it. Given that she knew that he wasn't ticklish there, though... "You don't normally spend so long building my automail."
"Well, building your new automail hasn't quite been a priority. Even if you'd been awake the entire time, and there hadn't been the chance that...you wouldn't have woken up, you still would be needing to spend some time resting. Not replacing your automail's the best way to make sure you rest. Besides, I'm also having to help Al nurse you." A faint blush graced her cheeks.
Ed stared at her. This was a bit awkward, as she was currently leaning over him and, while he could barely see her face, his view of her bust was much, much better. It was possible that she'd understand, but the place on his back that she was gently applying salve on ached and he didn't want to have her press hard on it.
When she turned away to get fresh bandages for his back, he cautiously shifted his hips into a more comfortable position. He still felt tired, and though it annoyed him to admit it to even himself, he needed to rest. This, of course, didn't mean that she was wrong; he'd have insisted on being up and about if he'd been able to get out of bed.
He looked up in surprise as she carefully climbed onto the bed behind him. His surprise must have been clear on his face, because she held up the rolls of bandages she was holding. "It's easier to rebandage your back from behind."
Her hands deftly replaced the bandages, and it was clear that she was used to this particular task. He didn't say anything about it, only moving his arm out of the way when she pushed the shirt off his shoulders and down so she could more easily bandage him. When she was done, she quickly moved on to the bandages on his head, removing them with a deft cut with the same pair of scissors she'd used to trim the bandages on his back to size.
It took a few seconds for him to realize that the bangs he'd been expecting to fall into place completely...hadn't. The right side of his face was still free of bangs. "Winry, what happened to my hair...?"
Winry was silent for a few seconds, and then reached behind her. "I had known that you'd ask," she said, her hand coming back into Ed's field of vision with a mirror. She held it in front of his face so he could see his head.
He stared. He'd gotten cuts on his head before, and he'd had his head bandaged a few times, but... This one went from somewhere behind his right ear upwards towards his temple, with stitches in its recent past and a clear future as a scar. His hair had been trimmed all around it, and it showed signs of having been at some point carefully shaved away from around the wound itself. "Winry...?"
"One of the pieces of shrapnel grazed your head. They had to sew your scalp back together." She put the mirror back. "Al called me while you were in surgery at the hospital, to tell me that your automail had been destroyed, and...that you were badly hurt. He said that they weren't sure if you would survive.
"He kept me updated on your condition. When they decided that you were stable, he told me that they thought you might be better off somewhere familiar. Granny and I offered to let you stay here, and they sent you here..."
Ed stiffened and almost protested as he felt her chest against his back, and her arms slip around him in an embrace. "When you arrived, you were so pale and still...and...they'd sent the remains of your automail with you..." There was something in her voice that said that she wasn't comfortable saying this. "I... I don't want to lose you, Ed."
He sighed, and relaxed into her hug. It wasn't entirely comfortable, but he had missed her. She'd been his friend as long as he could remember...
Actually, I have no notes for this chapter. This feels strange...
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