First off, disclaimers-I don't own anything. I live in a state of non-material bliss.-

Author's Notes: None that I can think of. Oh wait! This story went up to PG-13! So beware of mild suggestiveness and also some mild angst.

Part 3

"Colonel Mustang, this is a nice place you got here. Thank you for the wine," Winry sat primly on the couch her knees clenched shut, her shoulders defensively hunched as if scared to take up space. She blushed and took a sip from the glass goblet in her small hands. It tingled as she swallowed, feeling oddly like it was evaporating the further it went down her throat. It was fruity and not sweet like she always imagined it. She admonished herself. What was it supposed to taste like? Apple juice and soda pop?

"I said to call me 'Roy'." Roy supplied, as he leaned against the doorframe, swirling the wine in his own glass. He had taken the liberty of discarding his coat. It was his own house, he was allowed to unwind, Winry chided herself. Mussing his hair lightly, and then slowly untucking and unbuttoning his white shirt, Roy exposing the lean muscles of his chest and stomach that were normally hidden under the bulky overcoat of the military's brass.

Suddenly, nervous Winry gulped down some more of the wine in an effort to do something besides stare at the older, more experienced man before her. For all her time working on clients' mangled bodies and staring at anatomy books, Winry was shocked that she could feel fluttered. It was only a torso, a structure of bone, overlaid with muscle tissue and skin, encasing organs.

"This is the first time I've had red wine. It's a very good," Winry realized how stupid and naive that sounded. If it was her first time drinking it, how was she to tell if its good wine or not. She's never had any kind of alcoholic drink before in her life. She couldn't even focus enough make a general opinion about if she liked it or not because the thought that there was increasingly undressed man was standing in front of her and didn't want her to attach a hunk of machinery to him.

Roy simply smiled as he set his glass down and walked across the room. He sat right next to her and took the wine from her hands. Reaching over, across her, he set it on the end table.

His lips a mere breath away from her ear, his fingertips gliding up her thigh, he whispered, "If I have anything to do with it, it won't be the only 'first time' you have tonight."

"Winry, no!" Ed fell to his knees and screamed to the heavens, as if his sentiment somehow would carry through the air to his besieged friend as he envisioned his damned superior deflowering his best friend in his mind.

"Big brother," Al hissed, noticing everyone on the street stopping what they were doing and staring at the odd, screaming boy and the walking suit of armor. "What are you doing?"

Ed was almost shaking. It was his imagination. Winry would never do that. First off, even she wouldn't be so naive. She'd had a wrench or other impromptu blunt instrument of pain on her. She always seemed to when he was around. She radiated only wholesomeness and friendship, and no one would dream of looking at any part of her creamy and soft skin with anything besides feelings of general goodwill. If she ever had a descriptive tatoo, she'd have "Cute, violent, yet blatantly platonic female" written across her backend.

Not that Ed ever pictured her backend. Platonic thing, remember.

"We've got to hurry! Who knows what that bastard has done yet!" Ed raced down the streets.

"But big brother, we staked out his house, we've gone to every nice hotel in the area, they all said that Colonel Mustang hadn't been in today."

Ed's eye twitched. The fact that all the nice hotel proprietors knew Colonel Mustang by first name didn't inspire any confidence in Roy's gentlemanly nature. Ed would be darned to have anything happen to Winry during her trip to visit him.

"There were still addresses of other hotels in the phonebook. We can't visit every restaurant and they've probably already eaten by now. And Hawkeye said he never usually takes woman to his house until at least the fifth date," Ed reasoned but he still didn't know how Hawkeye knew that type of information. Best not to think of that, since he had already wasted too much time. "Her note said to concentrate on hotels and we are going to do that. It's the only lead we have."

"There, there," Al patted his brother's shoulder. "There is still several hotels we haven't checked and they all seem to be over on the East Side of town. Hm. I don't think we're gone there before." Al wondered. Lieutenant Colonel Hughes seemed to steer them clear of that section of the city saying that they didn't want to go there. But Al couldn't remember the reason why, just that he said they didn't want to go there. Somehow Al remembered that Hughes didn't seem want to want to explain why. "Um, Big Brother, maybe..." Al started but Ed was also hailing a taxi to take them there. A short drive later and a handful of fisted bills shoved in the driver's face, Ed was sprinting down the walkway with his little brother doing his best to keep up with a clamor and clank.

Turning a corner, Al was dismayed to see that he couldn't see Ed. Al looked around the grimy streets and the brightly colored signs with oddly proportion cartoon girls on them.

"So, you looking for girl, sailor?" The two women eyed Al with a predatory gleam in their eyes. In the dim yet harsh light of the streetlamp was not flattering to the layers of makeup on their faces. Al wondered vaguely if they were cold in those outfits. He also wondered why she called him a 'sailor' since he wasn't dressed like one.

"Actually I am, ma'am. She's this tall, with straight dirty white blonde hair and a blue dress. Her name is Winry. Have you seen her?" Al meekly inquired.

"Haven't seen her near this street corner. But why don't you forget about her." One of the older woman sidled up to Al and spiraled her finger over Al's chest. "Bet anything she can do I can do better."

"Really. Wow. " Al said innocently, completely unaware of any possible motives of the woman and began listing off the things Winry could do much to the prostitute's chagrin. "Well, Winry can repair automail, and she can bake a pie, and she can climb trees, and she can burp "Twinkle twinkle little star" and she can make French braids, and she can..."

It was then that their conversation was interrupted by Ed's spastic yell from inside the nearby building. "What do you mean, I can't look at the registry!"

"Look, kid, what kind of place do you think this establishment is?" The man behind the front desk sneered, fanning his corpulent face with a hand-fan in the summer's humid night air. His fat cigar puffing away wasn't improving the air quality either. "Our 'clients' want their anonymity. If they didn't, they wouldn't be going to a hotel that rents by the hour."

"Well, I'm not leaving until I find out some information." Ed gave a strained smile, slamming his palms onto the desk. The man leaned over, stared into Ed's eyes in a battle of wills as a thick stream of second-hand smoke assaulted Ed's lungs.

Seeing no flinching submission to confrontation, the front deskman leaned back into his chair and yelled over shoulder. "Hey, Terrance!" A sleepy anorexic-looking lanky, scruffy young man older than his years stepped out of the back. Ed was dismayed to see that he too was a chain-smoker. "You see a old man with a young girl?"

Ed quickly elaborated, over the front desk worker's shoulder, "She's a pretty young girl with an oval face, big, round, sky blue eyes, and a sleeveless blue and green sundress that goes down to her knees, and whitish-blonde hair. He's an 30 yr old man with short black hair and beady, evil, scheming eyes. Probably still in his uniform."

"Seems like this kid lost his girlfriend to some older military guy." The front deskman rephrased, looking over his shoulder at his co-worker.

"Winry is not my girlfriend!" Ed yelped. What was with everyone today? Trying to calm himself down, he tried to explain, "Look he's my commanding officer and I know he'll..."

"Oh, that's how it is," the front desk man sneered and rolled his eyes. "Correction. Shrimpy, here, lost his boyfriend to the some schoolgirl."


"It's a pity the boys couldn't have seen that musical with us. Ed would have complained it was pointless, though," Winry sighed. They went to a musical that was widely touted by critics and popular with the public.

Roy knew it was pure worthless pulp. A thinly veiled propaganda piece about a boy and a girl being torn apart by war and then reunited. Plus no real soldier would dance in blue metallic lame uniforms.

But the songs were catchy, as evidenced by the young Rockbell girl still humming one as she strolled along. Some vapid piece about the power of love overcoming all odds. As if that ever happens in the real world, Roy mused.

Roy watched the young girl as she leaned against the railing at the edge of the park. The evening breeze was a marked difference from the heat absorbed by the mass of cement and asphalt of the city. Built on a hillside, this small municipal park had what was the most extensive view of the city. There were few other tourist sites that the girl hadn't been to that Roy had resorted to this one. The only reason she probably hadn't been here before is that it required a small drive and Fullmetal and his brother hadn't gotten a car yet.

"I was in the Eastern Theater a decade ago." Roy edged into the silence cautiously. It was fairly common sense, since even ambitious Roy had to be in the military for a dozen years just to obtain his current rank. Nearly all the state alchemists were stationed in Ishval or in surround areas, trying to snuff out the fires of rebellion. "There were a couple of doctors there named Rockbell. They were quiet well known. Any relations of yours?"

Winry's bright smile dimmed nearly instantly. "Yes. They were my parents. They died there."

Roy mentally cursed. Despite him being braced for it, it hurt like a punch to the gut. But that was the reason, Roy Mustang came out here.

Roy had known Winry's existence even before he had received Ed's summons to all of this father's colleagues all those year ago. He still didn't know what the masochistic impulse that caused him to look up all the information on the Rockbells those many years ago. Then when Ed's letter showed up he used it as an excuse to journey to the Rockwell's hometown, Risenbol.

Even when his and Winry's paths crossed that very morning, part of why he had asked her out was morbid curiosity and the chance to observe of the damage he did to this girl. It wasn't his usually flirtatious maneuvering or even any type of atonement. It was just guilty self-torture.

"I'm sorry for your loss. It must have been hard for you." The words sounded hollow and tinny in Roy's ears. It was reflexive response but it was the only one he could give. He had hurt this young girl and she didn't even know it. It wasn't as if he could beg forgiveness since he sincerely knew he didn't deserve it.

"It's okay." Winry gave a brave smile. "I still miss them but I had Granny and the boys. I don't know what I what would have done without them."

And I took the boys away from you too, Roy added to himself. He was the recruiter that insisted that Winry's dear best friends leave their peaceful fields and join the military. Roy had even received several compliment from his superiors in his assessment for his recruitment of Ed when he passed the State Alchemist Exam, taking credit for the boy's innate talent Though she was unaware of it, somehow fate had decreed that there paths would have to cross again and again.

"Oh look, isn't it pretty?" Winry pointed at the multitude of lights blinking on in the approaching twilight, like a dense carpet of stars. A sight that was, no doubt, novel to a country girl. Roy ruefully noticed that he had only noticed the thick cloud of accumulating smog hanging over the city blotting out the real star. He noticed it every time he came here.

"Yes. It's real lovely."

Edward Elric went up the steps to his apartment with leaden steps and a heavy heart. It had been an exhausting evening at the local civilian police precinct. After that APB went out that there were a 'midget in an overcoat and a big guy with an armor fetish' harassing the red light districts' usual group of degenerates and perverts, it was only a matter of time until they were arrested. The hotel was sure to have insurance to cover the damages Ed did.

After finally convincing them he wasn't stark raving mad and didn't need to be restrained, by showing them his silver watch, they finally listened to his story that he wasn't the real, over-sexed letch on the loose. Unfortunately, the police then told him that there wasn't anything they could do. The age of consent was sixteen in this province so no charges of rape or molestation could be filed unless it was forced. And even if Winry had been under-aged (which she wasn't), a guardian or state agency had to file the report on her behalf. A good two days had to pass for them to declare it a kidnapping. But considering Roy was a colonel and a state alchemist, any case would most likely be deferred automatically to the military police.

"Don't worry, Big Brother," Al patted his older sibling gently. "I'm sure Winry is alright."

"I-," Ed paused. He knew what he needed to do. "I need to call Aunty Pinako." It was something Ed was dreading doing but it was his duty to tell his surrogate crusty grandmother that her flesh and blood granddaughter had been lured away by the insidious, manipulative charms of Ed's commanding officer.

Ed paused as once again the image of Winry clutching a thin sheet against her bare body, trying to hid her shame. Her red rimmed eyes overspilled with tears onto her burning cheeks as she accused him saying "Ed! If only you cared more for me than Perushing's Conversations!"

Unlocking the front door, he found their apartment filled with light and the sound of running water. A freshly showered Winry wandered into the living room from the bathroom, dressed in her pajamas and in the process of brushing her teeth. She waved in greetings.

In a mere second, Ed had closed the distance between them and was hugging her for dear life. "I'm so sorry for abandoning you to that bastard. If that he hurt you or forced you to do anything, I'll kill him for you! You heard me! I'll kill him!" Ed declared, pure conviction radiating his whole body. One of hand was forcing her head to rest on his shoulder while the other was against the small of her back, causing her to be desperately pressed against him. "And if you're pregnant, I'll still marry you! Al will marry you! We're here for you, Winry no matter what! I'm so sorry!"

Winry gave a muffled reply. It was then that Ed realized what he was doing. The color drained from his face and pooled into his cheeks. Hesitantly, he released her enough so he could look at her.

"Er'v gurt to schperit!" Winry said, in distress, her mouth nearly overflowing with foaming toothpaste. She retreated into the bathroom to rinse out her mouth. A half a minute later she returned confused, peeking at her best friend wondering if he was possessed and had she heard what she thought she did. "Now, what were you talking about?"

I think this story needs an epilogue.