Disclaimer: I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist.
Snapshots of Them
Their wedding ceremony was a small, simple and brief one. Of those that were present, there were Pinako, Alphonse, Mustang -- Edward would have preferred to have left him out, but Winry wouldn't hear of it --, Hawkeye, Fury, Havoc, Breda, Falman, and other military personnel, Gracia, Elysia, Izumi and her husband, Armstrong, and, well, a bunch of other people.
It wasn't very surprising to anyone, seeing those two finally walking down the aisle. Edward stood, fidgety, at the front, peering anxiously at the back doors. Al couldn't remember seeing him this intense since he'd taken the state alchemist exam. Tugging on his brother's arm to reassure him that everything was all right, Al could see the faint outline of someone standing in the doorway. In lieu of her real father, the man walking Winry down the aisle was none other than Roy Mustang.
It didn't look like it, but Alphonse was smiling. Winry looked breathtaking, and he could see the effects she had on her brother. She hadn't lost all of the weight she'd gained from her pregnancy, but no one paid attention to it. Her figure had filled out as a result; motherhood suited her.
They reached the front, and Winry gave Mustang a quick hug. "Thank you," she whispered.
He only waved her off, grinning. "Take care of her, you hear?" to Ed.
Edward snorted, "You don't have to tell me."
Nobody -- at least, not Al -- paid attention to the vows or to the priest. All the attention was on the young couple. Everyone had known that it would just be a simple matter of time, but no one had expected it to happen so quickly. Trisha Nina Maes Elric, as they had chosen to name their child, was resting on her great-grandmother's lap.
Then, the final words, "You may kiss the bride."
Edward grinned and lifted the veil. Winry beamed.
Their lips met, and cheers erupted.
Despite being a married man, Edward hadn't given up on his journey to find the Philosopher's Stone. It wasn't so much for him as it was for Al. He could live with automail, but he knew that no matter Al denied it, he wanted out of that suit of armor.
And Winry understood this.
Nevertheless, it hurt them both whenever he had to leave.
"Come to Central." Mustang's voice was crisp over the line.
"What? Why?" Edward knew that as a state alchemist, he was a "dog of the military," but he was married now, for crying out loud.
"Don't question me." Mustang rolled his eyes. "You know what? I'll come over there to get you."
Ed furrowed his brow.
He sighed exasperatedly as he slammed the phone down on the hook. Winry gazed at him curiously, holding Trisha in her arms.
"I have to go," he said, voice hollow.
Her heart plummeted. But she couldn't say anything.
"I see." Nothing had changed. Just because they were married now didn't mean that he was going to actually start staying home for longer periods of time. No. All this meant was an extra commitment. And... that he had someone to come home to. "Will you be back soon?"
His voice was firm and strong. "I'll be home as soon as I can."
His wife smiled. "I know you will." Her smile faltered. "When are you leaving? Now?"
"...I don't know," he answered honestly. "Mustang said he'd get me."
"So... you can stay here for a bit longer?" Her voice was hopeful.
Edward smiled. "Yeah."
But the precious time they had left before he was to depart always went by too quickly. Mustang arrived at the front door, carriage waiting. Hawkeye, as always, loyally stood beside him.
"Come on, Fullmetal. Let's go."
"You should go," Winry whispered. "It's got to be important if he came out to get you." She was lying. She didn't want him to leave. She wanted to stay like this forever, with his arms wrapped around her.
"Just a little longer," he mumbled into her hair.
Tears were beginning to form. She pushed him gently away. "The longer you stay, the harder it will be when you leave," she told him, quietly. "You should go."
He saw her tears and realized she was right. He kissed her, slowly, and then smiled.
"I'll be back soon."
Winry smiled back. "I know."
From the window, Mustang almost felt pity rip through him. "Mmmph. Too emotional." He stated, gruffly.
Hawkeye arched an eyebrow. "You want to let him stay, don't you, sir."
"That doesn't matter," he replied, seeing Edward emerge gloomily from the door. "Let's go. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can get him back, and we won't have to deal with a lovesick newlywed."
Hawkeye smiled slightly, but said nothing.
The first time Trisha got sick, neither Ed nor Winry could sleep. Late into the early morning hours, the two of them stood, on opposite sides of the crib, watching anxiously over their daughter. Pinako had reassured them that it was only a fever, but neither of them could sleep. They were both sitting on eggshells.
"Why don't you get some sleep?" Ed asked.
"Why don't you?" Winry challenged him.
Edward scowled. "Stubborn."
"Same to you," Winry replied. "It's only a fever. She'll be all right. We gave her the medicine. Why don't you go to sleep?"
"Why don't you?" Ed shot back, using Winry's previous tone of voice.
They engaged in a staring contest, and Winry lost. She always did. There was no way she could hold out against those golden, piercing eyes of his.
"C'mere," Edward suddenly said, gesturing for her to stand closer to him. Too tired to argue, Winry obliged and stood close to him, no more than a few inches apart. He slung an arm around her shoulder. She leaned her head into his chest.
They stood that way until morning.
Once, when Pinako got up in the middle of the night, she saw a light on in Ed, Winry, and Trisha's room. The door was ajar, so she strode over to it to take a peek. She shook her head, but the corners of her mouth twitched up nonetheless: Trisha was sleeping peacefully in her crib; Edward was sitting on the rocking chair, Winry curled up on his lap. They looked remarkably cute together.
Pinako stepped out of the room, turned off the light, and closed the door.
Their first argument as a married couple -- obviously, it couldn't be their first argument ever -- left the house, literally, in tatters. Winry was steaming, Edward was furious, and Pinako and Al had whisked Trisha away from the violence.
"Do you know why they're so angry?" Alphonse asked the elderly woman.
Pinako sighed and rolled her eyes. "Knowing those two, it could be anything."
In her arms, Trisha wailed.
Eventually, a crowd gathered around the house. Pinako had crept back in earlier to grab a few items for lunch -- the fighting hadn't ceased -- and now she sat, feeding Trisha spoonfuls of baby food.
"What in the world is going on?" one of the women asked, undoubtedly hungry for gossip.
"Who knows?" Pinako shrugged carelessly.
"They're both very angry," Alphonse observed. "I haven't seen them this angry since the time Brother threw Winry's wrench in the lake."
The house shook forcefully. Something had just been thrown. The villagers winced.
"Shouldn't we -- intervene?"
Al and Pinako shook their heads simultaneously. "Nothing's making me go in there," they stated bluntly.
"But at this rate, nothing will be left of your house!" someone cried.
"And if we go in there, there will be nothing left of us," Pinako deadpanned.
Eventually, the crowd dispersed, and by three o'clock, it was just Al, Pinako, and Trisha again. Trisha gurgled, squealing happily, completely oblivious of her parents' little predicament.
The house quivered.
And out stepped Winry, looking triumphant. Beside her, Edward scowled, but was in no condition physically hurt.
Although she wasn't sure she wanted to know, Pinako asked anyway: "What happened?"
"I told Ed that we ought to rearrange the furniture in our room," Winry explained happily. "But he was too lazy to do it. So I made him."
Pinako and Alphonse would have liked to ask more, but thought better of it.
It finally happened. There had been times when even Edward in his resolute determination doubted the existence of the Philosopher's Stone. What if it had just been some idiot's sick idea of a joke? What if it wasn't real?
Blood trickled down his shoulder, his back, his legs. Beside him, his brother, physically ten-years-old, supported him with as much strength as he could muster.
"Brother," he whispered.
"I'm fine, Al." His voice was hoarse and weak. He blinked his eyes open, but everything was too hazy to see clearly. "Where are we?"
"Close to Central," came the reply. "I'm taking you to see Mustang."
"Can we go home?" The request was so simple, so meek.
"We will. We have to see Mustang first."
"We need to go home as soon as we can." Edward coughed. "To see... I want to show her..."
"We will," Alphonse repeated. The steps outside the military building were longer than ever. There was the first step, then the second, third...
"Hey, what's a kid.." Havoc frowned. "Fullmetal Boss?"
"This is Edward Elric," Al cried out, grateful to see a familiar face, "and I'm Alphonse Elric. We... we need to see Mustang, please!"
"I..." Havoc withdrew the cigarette from his mouth, "Alright, let's go." He picked up Edward with ease -- even though he had grown quite a bit, he still hadn't reached Havoc's height -- and started.
"His arm," he said, blinking.
"Please take us to Mustang," Al repeated, certain that he was the one to talk to first.
They reached Mustang's office, where Havoc promptly deposited the half-conscious alchemist. Mustang, for once, was at a loss for words, and settled for, "Wow."
"He needs help," Al said, "please help him!"
"Right." The tall, dark-haired man stood up and strode to the door. "First Lieutenant, please take these boys to the hospital."
"Yes, sir." The blonde started to take Edward under her arm, but he refused to budge.
"You have to go get your wounds treated first," Mustang told him, not unkindly.
"No." The Fullmetal Alchemist struggled to stand up on his own, but failed to do so. "I have to... I have to go home..."
"Do you think she'd want to see you like this?" Mustang's voice was low, but not harsh.
There was a pause. Muffled sounds.
"Edward.." Hawkeye said softly. "You're bleeding all over. You're covered in blood, and with cuts..."
"What?" Edward opened his eyes. He rubbed at them with his left hand --
-- and, as a result, got blood smeared all over his face.
His vision cleared, just a little, and he looked down at his leg. It was there, but it was weak, and he couldn't stand on it for long. Then he took the chance and stared down at his right arm..
It was twisted.
"What..?" He sunk down to the floor.
"I'm sure that if we get a doctor to look at it, he'll be able to fix it," Alphonse offered.
"Edward, please come with me," Hawkeye said.
Mustang strode over to him, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, and threw him over his shoulder. Even Hawkeye looked bewildered at this display.
The Flame Alchemist glanced back at them. "You coming?"
"Yes, sir." Hawkeye regained her composure, and gestured for Alphonse to follow.
And while Edward lay, unconscious, in the hospital room, Hawkeye went to the nearest payphone and dialed the number hastily scribbled on a crumpled sheet of paper.
"Hello? This is Riza Hawkeye speaking." A pause, and a small smile formed on her lips. "Miss Rock -- no, Mrs. Elric." She closed her eyes, and the smile widened, just a bit, as she listened to the younger girl's reply. "Edward... is here." Another pause, longer. Hawkeye cut her off. "He's in the hospital."
Out of the corner of her eye, the blonde Lieutenant saw her superior emerging from Ed's hospital room, running a hand through his hair.
"I don't know what his situation is," Hawkeye said, sounding a tad regretful, "but I'm sure he'll be fine." Another stretch of silence. "He was bleeding all over." Winry asked her something on the other end of the line. "He has his real arm and leg back. But his arm is twisted." She stopped, unsure of what to say next. "Yes. Of course. That won't be a problem." She hung up.
Roy was waiting for her. "What did she say?" he asked.
"She was very worried, of course." Riza reached up behind her head. She'd tied the bun too tightly; it was beginning to hurt her face. In a quick, deft movement, she slid out the clip and her hair cascaded, falling into curls at her shoulder. "And she said she would be here as soon as she could."
"I see." Roy exhaled.
"What's his condition, sir?" Riza carefully concealed the worry in her voice.
"Extreme loss of blood. His leg is very weak, nothing a little rehab won't cure. His arm is broken, twisted. He'll have to wear a cast for a prolonged period of time. But he'll live." There was definitely more than just a little relief in his tone as he said that.
Hawkeye relaxed visibly. "I guess," she murmured, "somehow, when we weren't looking, he snuck into our lives and became more important than we ever would have thought."
Roy looked up at her. "He thinks of you as his mother. I can tell."
Surprise crossed her face. "He thinks of you as his father. In a way."
The expression on his face was priceless. "Well. How about that."
Riza reached up, clip in hand, about to put her hair up in a neat bun again. But a warm, strong hand encircled hers and grabbed the clip out of her reach. She gazed at him questioningly.
"Keep it down," was all he said.
And when Winry finally did arrive -- Trisha was left in the care of Pinako back at Resembool -- she was a mess. Nobody blamed her, and quietly let her into Ed's room. Edward was awake, but still very weak.
She knelt at his side, talking to him, forehead creased.
He smiled, weakly, and told her that he'd done it.
From the small glass, see-through opening at the door, Riza Hawkeye saw. And she knew that everything would be all right, and all would work itself out in the end.
On one occasion, Ed, Winry, and Trisha had paid Gracia and Elysia a visit. Elysia took excruciatingly gentle care with Trisha, and the adults smiled kindly down on them.
"How have you been, Mrs. Hughes?" Winry asked. When they looked around they still saw framed pictures of Maes Hughes, the man who had done so much for them.
"I've been good," Gracia replied, smiling. "How about you two? How's married life treating you?" Her eyes traveled to Edward's arm, still in a cast.
"Not much different," Edward answered, jokingly, "she still nags me all the time. She still yells at me all the time. But she doesn't hit me with her wrench as often, since Trisha's around."
Winry glared; Gracia laughed.
"It was really sweet of you to name her after Maes," said Gracia, a wistful smile appearing on her face. "I'm sure he's very honored."
"I know it," Ed replied.
The rest of the afternoon was spent eating snacks, and simply making conversation. When it was time for the Elrics to leave, Gracia stood at the front porch, waving goodbye. She could see their silhouettes, Winry pushing the stroller, Edward bending over to fluff a pillow.
"They're really cute, aren't they, honey?" She whispered into the sky.
Edward and Winry were overly protective of their only daughter. Which was why it had caused such an uproar when the couple had turned their back on her for a second at the grocery store, and had turned back to find her gone.
"Trisha?" Winry called out, apprehensively. "Trisha?"
"Hey, Trisha!" Edward ducked underneath the tables and stands, "Trisha!"
And finally, "TRISHA NINA MAES ELRIC!"
But there was no answer to any of these calls.
"Al!" Alphonse stared at the disheveled forms of his brother and sister-in-law, "Have you seen Trisha?"
He shook his head. "No.."
"Dammit." The Fullmetal Alchemist scowled.
"Ed!" Winry was near tears, "we have to find her!"
"I know!" And they took off.
Fifteen minutes later, the phone in Central rang wildly. Mustang picked it up.
"It's from Edward Elric, sir," said the operator.
"Go on," Mustang said, boredly. What had happened now?
"MUSTANG!" The dark-haired man held the phone away from his ear. Hawkeye glanced curiously at him.
"What, what? You don't have to scream, Fullmetal."
"I don't know," snapped Mustang. "I don't have time for this --" Edward's words suddenly sunk in. "Wait a minute. You're telling me that you lost your daughter?"
"WHERE THE HELL IS SHE, DAMMIT --"
"Fullmetal," Mustang said, briskly, "I don't have your daughter."
Considerably softer tone.
"I'm not going to send out my men to look for your daughter," said the Flame Alchemist, rolling his eyes. "Find her yourself."
Muffled yells from the phone.
"You're the one who lost her. Find her yourself." And he replaced the phone on the hook.
Then, eyeing Hawkeye, Havoc, Fury, and Breda, "You guys feel up for a trip to Resembool?"
"What if she was kidnapped?!"
"I'll let the poor sick bastard have it, that's what," Edward growled.
"But who would want to kidnap her?" Alphonse reasoned, "it's a fairly small town, and everybody knows who Trisha is. No one would dare to kidnap her."
"Where did you last see her?" Pinako asked.
"The...The bread aisle," Winry answered, furrowing her brow. "We looked everywhere. In every aisle."
Then the front door burst open, and in walked the military. The door had been ripped off its hinges, but that was on the bottom of everyone's priority list. Hawkeye cradled a sleeping Trisha in her arms.
"Trisha!" Her parents breathed a sigh of relief and ran, hearts pounding. "Oh, thank God.."
"Where was she?" Al asked.
"In the toys section." Breda slapped a hand to his forehead. "In that big toy chest. Playing with the balls and the dolls."
"We looked like a bunch of idiots, prying that thing open and trying to fit in there." Havoc fumbled for a cigarette.
"Thank God.." Winry repeated, breathless, kissing her daughter's forehead.
Mustang had planned to lecture them -- losing their own daughter, causing so much trouble -- but upon seeing Edward and Winry huddled over their sleeping daughter's form, fully relieved that she was all right, he decided...that perhaps that lecture could wait.
"This is really, really nice," Winry said, eyes closed, leaning against Edward's taller, stronger frame. They sat at the edge of the lake, bare feet in the water. Trisha was wading near the shallow end, where the water only came up to her waist.
"It is," Edward agreed. Back then, he'd wondered about how it would feel like to spend endless, lazy, summer days like this with her. And now, he could, and it was amazing.
"Did you ever think we'd end up this way?" Her cheeks were rosy.
"Like what?" he teased.
"As husband and wife," she answered, pointedly, eyes sparkling. "With a daughter."
He laughed. "Yeah."
She sat up. "You did?"
"Mm." He nodded. "Couldn't tell you why. Just knew."
The blonde automail mechanic ran her hands over his right hand. It felt smooth under her touch. It was still weak, but it was his arm, and it was what he had worked so hard for.
"You're gone through so much," she murmured. "Did I really help you out at all?"
He squeezed her hand tightly. "More than you'd ever imagine."
Later that day, when Al came to get them for dinner, he saw the three of them, Edward, Winry, and Trisha, wrapped in each other's arms, sleeping. He took the empty checkered picnic blanket and draped it over them. They'd gone through thick and thin, and in the end, had still ended up with each other.
He smiled, and let them sleep.
Whatever lies beyond this morning is a little later on
Regardless of warnings
The future doesn't scare me at all
Nothing's like before...
End of "Snapshots of Them." Coincidentally, it's also the End of the Whole Story.
The song used is "Simple and Clean" by Utada Hikaru. I've had that song stuck in my head lately. This chapter had less intimacy, I think, but that's because in this chapter, it was primarily other people looking at Ed and Winry, thus the title, "Snapshots of Them." See? I actually thought things through! XD Snuck a little Roy/Riza in there. Could you tell?
Naruke-chaaaaaan! XD So glad you reviewed! Heeheeeee..; Takari-san, your name looked SO familiar as I was reading through my reviews. So I clicked on your name, skimmed through your story list, and then I realized... YOU'RE the one who wrote some of the CUTEST NejiTen stories I'd ever read!! ::is ecstatic::
THANK YOU, ALSO, TO EVERYONE WHO REVIEWED.
AAANNND... ::dances:: my computer is back, virus-free!