Promises to Keep

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Since I did something about Winry, I thought I should do something about Ed too. R/R if you like equivalent exchange.

It's raining outside. I can hear it pattering against the glass of the window next to my desk. The wind is howling too. Not the kind of day you'd wanna spend outside. Not that I have much choice anyway. Being a state alchemist means you have to put up with bureaucracy and that means there's paperwork to do and reports to turn in.

I sigh and stare at the blank page in front of me. Another dead-end hunt for the Philosopher's Stone down the drain. Another chance to see that condescending smirk on Mustang's face when I turn in my report. Sometimes I don't even know why I bother. What's the point in trying so hard if you keep getting shot down every single time? I take the glove off my fake hand and stare at the mechanical fingers, wiggling them. What's the point of trying to get something if you have to give up so much?

Staring at the automail reminds me of something or rather someone actually. I look around the empty office to make sure no one's around and then slide open a drawer on my desk. It's stupid to feel ashamed of doing something as simple as looking at a picture. But still, I do feel a little guilty as I pull the picture out and stare at it. Maybe it's because I haven't seen the person in the picture in so long. Maybe the reason for that is my fault and that's why I feel so guilty. Seems like a lot of things are my fault these days.

I catch myself smiling as I stare at the picture of Winry Rockbell. The photo's pretty old, taken when we were just kids. But still, I like to look at it. It helps remind me of times when things were so much simpler. She wasn't my mechanic back then; she was just my best friend. It's weird how time can change all that.

I turn my attention back to the blank page on the desk and the work I have to do. There's always something I have to do. There's always somewhere I have to be and something I have to do. But it's never where I want to be or what I want to do. It's all obligations, paying up on promises I've made and have to keep. But where do I really want to be? What do I really want to do? I stare at the picture again and feel something inside me I tried so hard to bury get dredged up again.

I remember the days after I first got my automail. I couldn't do anything with it. Winry helped me learn how to work it, how to make it move the way I wanted it to. She was patient with me too. She never once yelled at me when I accidentally broke something or laughed at me when I couldn't walk a straight line. It's such a rare thing for someone to be patient with me. I know I have a reputation for being reckless and stupid. I jump to conclusions, I let my emotions get the best of me, I fly off the handle when I get frustrated with something. But she was patient with me and I learned how to be patient with myself.

Winry helped me heal too. I remember times when I was so sad about Mom that all I could do was cry my heart out alone in my room. I don't cry in front of people. It's just not something I do. But every time I went into my room and cried she'd catch me doing it. I remember her holding me and me crying into her shirt. She let me feel again, let me be a little kid after I'd grown up way too fast.

I feel so stupid for not keeping in better touch with her. But I have obligations and things I have to take care of. I have promises to keep. I can't just ignore it all because I love her. I do lover her though. I love how she's always there when I need her; how she can say exactly the things I need to hear from someone. I love how she smiles at me whenever I call her my mechanic because she knows she fixes more than just my automail. She fixes things inside me; things I didn't even know were broken to begin with. I wish some day I'd get the chance to tell her that. Maybe some day I can fix what's broken inside her. Equivalent exchange, you know?

I sigh as I put the picture away and look at the paper. I have work to do and promises to keep. It's a long road ahead and I can't just run back home where it's safe no matter how much I may want to. It's funny, really. I have a lot of promises to keep so it seems pretty stupid to make another one. I make it anyway. Wherever you are, Winry Rockbell, I promise I'll make it back to you for good some day.