"My, my Edward, look at you. I almost didn't recognize you. You must have grown at least 7 inches since I last saw you. Five years has done you well. You've turned out quite handsomely." Granny Pinako stated looking over the matured man before her.
"Thanks. I was hoping for a growth spurt sooner or later." Edward replied as he scratched the back of his head slightly blushing at the comments.
"Please come in lets have a seat; there is much to discuss." Grandma Pinako said ushering him into the living room.
"Yes, there is. I have been gone for at least five years now; so much must have happened while I was away." Ed implied taking a seat comfortably on the couch.
"Many changes have happened sine your disappearance, but let me bring us some drinks first." Pinako suggested heading off for the kitchen adjacent to the room.
Ed just nodded at the retreating back of his adopted grandmother. He peered around the room noticing not much change in the house. The old rocking chair still remained in the corner but now a layer of fine dust graced its art full design. The wooden floors were all intact but they seemed to be missing their usual gleam. He frowned a little at this. Winry always kept the house sparkling clean; she'd have a spasm if she had found a trace of dust anywhere.
Memories of his past started to reel through his golden amber eyes. In his earlier years he and his brother would come over and play with Winry and her puppy right in the middle of this wooden floor. After their mother died this house became like their home. He remembered how he and Al would sit up late into the night sprawled out on the slick floor studying alchemy by the light produced from the fire within the mantel. The fireplace now looked lifeless and cold.
Edward leaned up against the arm of the couch a small smile curving the edge of his face. His more recent memories of the house started to materialize. Small clips of Winry fixing his automail arm in the very spot he sat now. The empty room seemed melt away back into the years before he left. He could almost feel the warmth of her body next to his, uncounsously he reached for his metal arm but instead of running his hand across the smoothly crafted metal he was met with air. He frowned slightly as he went and put his hand a top his left shoulder.
'My brother lost his life to return both my right arm, and left leg. I've lost part of what he gave his life unselfishly for. He will think me ungrateful for his deed. I knew what would happen if I tried to bring him back just as we did with our mother. I was prepared to sacrifice my own life to save him. The arm was a small price to pay to have my brother returned. As the older brother it is my duty, my responsibility to protect him at any cost.' Ed bowed his head slightly hiding his eyes beneath his bangs. His lips pressed together firmly creating a thin line below his nose. His face held controlled anger as he thought to himself.
'I hope Winry is still making and fixing automails. I am going to need a new arm.' He thought on a lighter note as his lips curled up into a light smile at the thought of her name.
"Looks like your going to need a new automail arm." Grandma Pinako finally said making known her presence had returned to the room once again.
Edward visibly jumped at hearing a sudden voice ring out in the room disturbing his thoughts. A ruby hue crept from his neck to his cheeks. Grandma Pinako would skin him alive if she knew who manly consisted of his thoughts.
Pinako had returned to the living room just as quickly as she had left. She arrived back into the room to find Ed deep in thought. She had called out to him several times but received no physical response indicating he heard her. She watched him closely. He was showing so many different emotions; so quickly it was hard to identify each one. Laughter, contentment, sorrow, anger, guilt, remorse, pride, and there it was love and longing. She smiled knowingly for it was the same expression her granddaughter had when she thought fondly of the "Full Metal Alchemist."
"Yea, I guess I'll be needing a new arm. The one I had in my dimension was not able to pass through to here." He sighed loudly.
"I was hoping Winry was still making automail. Is she?" Ed asked a little excitedly.
"Ah, no, not as much as she used too." Pinako said disappointingly.
"I see…The house feels different now. How long has Winry been gone?" Edward said depressingly.
"So, you've noticed the spark missing from this old place too. She's been gone at least two and a half years now. Her, the baby and Roze all up and moved to central." Pinako explained.
"Oh…Why didn't you go with them?" Ed started but suddenly realized that grandma had said something along the lines of a child living with Winry.
"WHAT BABY!?" Ed choked out in shock.
"No, no…Not Winry's but the child Roze had when you saved her." Pinako chuckled a little to herself knowingly.
She knew Edward would catch on to the word sooner or later. She had purposely said baby after Winry to see if her suspicions were true. And, indeed they were. She knew Winry had feelings for Edward that ran deeper than friends did, but Ed on the other hand was always so hard to read. His reaction though to this statement just told of the feelings he held for her granddaughter. She would be happy for them when the time came. He was a good boy and so far has turned out to be a great man.
"Why'd she move to Central?" Ed asked once his heart stopped pounding in his chest.
"After you vanished, Winry spent most of her time looking for you. When ever anyone mentioned your name or when he or she placed recognition of you in central it pushed her harder to keep looking. She would cry herself to sleep at night not wanting to believe you were dead. She missed you dearly Edward. One day we received a call from central it was President Mustang himself. He had recently come across some interesting documents that may have information on what exactly happened to you. With out hesitation she packed her bags and closed down the shop. Roze agreed to go with her partly because she blamed herself for what happened to you and Al. So they left two and a half years ago to central in their search for answers and a possible solution. Mustang got them jobs as secretaries for the state." Pinako said finishing what became of her granddaughter.
"I hate making her cry. She always said she'd hate to do office work. And I sure as hell don't know why Roze blames herself; it was not her fault. It was my choice that I did what I did!" Edward replied visibly shaking with anger.
"But they did it because of you. Don't you see, you mean a lot to them, so they are willing to be unselfish and give up the things they love in order to help. Winry has waited so long to see and hear from you again, not to mention Al." Pinako scolded the young man before her.
"My brother…Is he alright? Did he get his body back? I never got a chance to see him before I left." Ed asked snapping his head up to peer at Pinako's face, his eyes full of worry and hope.
"Yes, he did. He is completely back to normal. Although, when you re revived him, his body had not aged. He was back into his 10-year-old body again instead of being 15 like he should have. He has just now reached that age were you I assume are 21 now. One other thing that is suprising, he has no memory of the journey you boys were on. He can only remember up until you boys tried to revive your mother, even then he does not know the outcome of the situation." Pinako finished still puzzled as to why.
"That's good. I had hope he would not regain his memories. It was my fault he ended up loosing his body. He should not have to have nightmares of the things we saw back then. But where is he now?" Ed was proud he was able to restore his brother to his body once again and with out the horrid memories.
"He has vowed to learn alchemy in order to return you to this era. He is back with your sensei, relearning all he has forgotten in the alchemy ways." Pinako answered.
"Why would that fool vow to bring me back when he knows the consequences?" Ed stated as his anger rose toward his brother.
"Oh, calm yourself Edward. He is doing the same foolish thing you did." Pinako scolded Ed.
"That was different! It was my fault and my responsibility to make sure my brother was alive and safe!" Edward shouted back angrily
"With no regard to yourself you foolish boy! Not thinking about how it would effect the ones that love you!" Pinako raised her voice to the childish man.
"Again it was my fault my responsibility. I knew of the consequences and was fully prepared to take them on. As for people who love me I have none, all I had was Al." Edward seethed at the old hag.
"That's were your wrong you stubborn boy! The only reason Al vowed to learn alchemy that day was because of the person that misses you the most. He saw how hurt Winry was, when she found out you were missing most likely pursued dead. He couldn't take seeing her so miserable and heart broken all the time. He couldn't take hearing her at night sweeping in her room until she fell asleep or seeing the spark gone within her eyes. She was one of them that loved you, moron. What about the rest of us, you don't think we all love you. Your sensei, her husband, or me, Mustang, Hawkeye, Roze, or the many other people you touch the lives of. We were all affected in one way or another when you vanished." Grandma Pinako finished quietly.
Edward stood there speechless for a moment. He hadn't realized so many people cared. He had not even thought once about any of them before he sacrificed himself. He had not even thought of the consequence of his sacrifices toward others. It must seem as though he were being a selfish brat. He had especially not thought about Winry when he went through with it. He rushed into the deed without a seconds thought all caught up in the heat of the moment. Hurting her was the farthest thing from his mind, he would never mean too purposely harm her in such a way. Especial since he felt the same way towards her.
"Does she really love me?" His voice was but a cracked whisper.
"Of course she does, you would have to be blind not to see it. Even your brother knew she held no lover feelings toward him but she did for you." Grandma Pinako replied a little shocked, at the tone Edward had spoken in.
"I'm sorry…So sorry…" Ed fell to his knees hunched over visibly raked with unvocalized sobs.
It was only on rare occasions that Edward let his shields dropped surcoming to the pain he felt in side. And now Pinako was baring whiteness to such an event. He supported his body weight leaning on his left arm. His head hung lowly in shame; eyes squeezed tightly shut trying to regain control of the pain he felt. A few wet spots were visibly seen splattered on the wooden floor below the unprotected man.
"I know you are…Edward. I know." Pinako said cautiously trying to comfort the young man before her.
A while after Edward had calmed down he and grandma Pinako discussed the major events that followed in the years he had been gone. He also told her of the dimension to which he came from. He explained in detail what he had been studying and who his teacher was 'Kip.' He told her of his discovery of the wormhole and the rocket built to fly through space. He told her he was unable to use alchemy in the dimension and told her how his appreance and even name had changed as well as his fathers. He told her many that lived in that dimension once lived here as well. Pinako seemed to grasp most of the information Edward spoke of nodding frequently in response.
"The only thing I don't understand is to why the enemy would come here. I mean a lot of people can use alchemy, which includes the military. A few men wouldn't stand a change of taking control here." Edward sat puzzled by their actions.
"Perhaps there is something or someone here that can give them power. You said yourself you seemed to recognize on of the betrayers. Perhaps they too are from here and are alchemists as well." Pinako gave her suggestions as to why for she to be optimistic as to what a few people could do against an army.
"I'll just have to locate them and find out what their up to and if need be…" Edward clenched his fist in front of him tightly. There was no way he could allow someone to ruin this place like they had the other.
"Oh, be calm Ed. You just arrived and you're all ready set to go off on another goose chase and leave everyone again. Just wait a few moments you never know what they are going to do. Besides, do you even think you can still use alchemy? It's been over five years since you tried it." Pinako pointed out indicating his missing right arm.
"Oh, by the way grandma do yea think you could make me an automail arm? I promise I will pay you back as soon as I can." He asked sheepishly. He had forgotten to see if he could still use alchemy or not. It was true it had been a long time, he himself even wondered if he could still wheeled it.
"No." Grandma Pinako stated quickly.
"WHAT! Why not?" Ed screeched like a child.
"You didn't let me finish boy. I won't make you one because Winry has already made one for you. It's the best she had ever designed. She made it a few years ago incase you returned. It was something she could do to remember you. She put all her heart and soul into making it." Pinako said proudly going to fetch the metal arm.
"Wow!" was all he could say. She brought out one of the best looking automail arms he had ever seen.
"Yes, it is indeed wonderfully crafted. She found a new way to bend and melt a few different metals together. This produced a metal stronger than steel but yet flexible and light at the same time. No amount of pressure can brake it, no bullet can pierce it, and not fire hot enough to melt it." Pinako described all the qualities of the arm.
"She made this for me?" Edward asked dumfoundedly gawking at the arm.
"Yes, just for you. No one else even knows of its existence. She never made another automail from the same material." Pinako pointed out.
"Though, it looks as thought I'll have to add an extension to it. She designed it for your smaller body." Pinako said as she measured the length of his real arm.
"Small body…" Ed began to fume.
"Oh, hush! Now take off your shirt so I can measure the proper length I will need." Pinako scolded him as his childhood antics began to rise.
"Fine." Edward grumbled to himself as he lifted off his shirt.
Grandma Pinako realized soon after his shirt was off that he would need another surgery so the arm could attach to his nerve endings again. She remembered doing that same surgery to him when he was a young boy. The surgery its self is excruciatingly painful. Even as a young boy he handled it exceptionally well. Most grown men screamed in agony unable to bear the pain but Edward on the other hand never once screamed bloody murder; though, it had taken him some extra time to recover. She cringed at having to put the poor boy through it once again.
"Is something wrong granny?" Edward asked concerned when he noticed her staring at his missing arm uneasily.
"No, nothing Ed. I was only thinking about something." Pinako replied sullenly.
"Ed?" Pinako began to give him the news.
"Yes?" Ed answered back curiously.
"You're going to need another surgery so that the arm can reconnect with the nerve endings." Pinako stated bluntly.
"Oh, yes I know." Edward said knowingly.
"Then you know how painful it will again." Pinako added.
"Yes, I know, but there is nothing I can do about it. I need it. And I am prepared to take the consequences." Ed bowed his head respectfully.
"Alright then. Are you ready to begin the operation?" Pinako sighed showing her discomfort with having to do the surgery on him once again.
"Yes." Edward simply stated as he headed off in the direction of the old operating room.
Three excruciating hours passed as the surgery went on. Edward had to bite his lip several times from crying out in extreme pain. It felt as though he where being burnt alive piece by piece. He had faded in and out of concousness several times throughout the procedure. Pinako had debated on stopping on several occasions but Edward said other wise. The surgery was longer and more painful than it originally should have been do to the fact it was not a recent wound. Pinako had to cut through scared tissue as well as re-grown mussels and tendons in the shoulder to place the metal frame that would hold and connect the automail arm to his right shoulder nerve endings. By the time the procedure was complete five hours had passed away and both he and Grandma Pinako where covered by his blood. Edward sat, slightly leaning over his knees panting heavily, sweat pouring from his body. His body still racked with involuntary twitches from such a painful event.
"You must rest now Edward. Your body has been through enough shock today. You need to regain your strength for tomorrow, for you have lost must blood. I am surprised you held up so well most men aren't even conscious anymore let alone be able to move. Though, I shouldn't be surprised, you have after all had this done once before when you were young." Pinako praised the half-conscious young man before her.
Edward only nodded unable to speak. Grandma Pinako helped him lay in a more comfortable position on the bed. Once he lay flat on his back he began to slip into unconsciousness, half welcoming the forced sleep.