Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. R/R because you love Ed and Winry.
The wrench collides with my skull, the clunking noise deafening me for a few seconds. There are times when it's better to simply shut up. As my brain becomes scrambled by the blow, I attempt to contemplate this notion. We place a great deal of importance on words. They are, after all, the way in which we communicate and express ourselves. But sometimes, it's better to let the actions speak louder than the words.
"That was for being an insensitive, ungrateful jerk!" shouts Winry as she stomps out of the room, "Maybe when you grow up and start caring about other people I won't have to bash you over the skull anymore!" I rub the spot on my head where she hit me. Why the hell does she have to do that? Last time I checked you don't try to give people you care about a concussion.
"Fine," I mutter to the empty kitchen, "Last time I ever drop by to say hello." I turn on the faucet and plug the sink. While the sink's filling I grab a cloth from a drawer. I give my hands a little clap and transmute the water in the sink into ice. There, instant ice pack.
Inwardly I'm fuming right now. I'm the ungrateful one? I'm the insensitive one? Does she even care about me or just that damn automail she's so proud of? Does she even know how hard my life is? She must not or else she'd understand. She'd understand that I have obligations that keep me busy. I have responsibilities. I have to fix my mistakes and get Al's body back. But does any of that matter to her? No, she'd rather I just stay here so her precious automail doesn't get all bent out of shape.
I apply the ice to the spot on my head where she hit me. The cold helps calm things, numb things. My anger subsides, reason replacing emotion. She just doesn't understand. She doesn't understand that I can't stay here, that I can't love her like she wants me to. I know she loves me. I see it in her eyes. But I can't give her the same amount that she gives me. There's no equivalent exchange between us. The reaction isn't balanced so it ends up exploding.
I sigh and put my head on the kitchen table. Why can't she see things they way I see them? Why does she always want more than I can give? It's like we're speaking two different languages. I stop for a moment. Communication's important, words are important. But sometimes what you don't say is as important as what you do say. Maybe I'm the one who's wrong. I love her so why can't I admit it? Because the truth is that it'll get in the way. I'll always be thinking about her and it'll distract me from doing what I have to do to set things right again. So I leave it unspoken, my feelings for her, but that causes more damage than speaking them ever would.
"Ed?" I look up and see her standing there. Her eyes are downcast, her voice low and timid. Certainly not the Winry Rockbell I know.
"Yeah," I reply, still applying the ice to my head.
"I . . . I'm sorry that I hurt you," says Winry as she looks up at me. She's been crying, I can tell. Her eyes are moist still.
"It's nothing, Win," I tell her, "You shouldn't feel sorry. I'm the one who's sorry." The lump in my throat confirms the fact that I have swallowed my pride. I'm arrogant; I know that it's one of my biggest faults. But she fixes that wrongness inside me, sometimes whether I want it fixed or not. For that, I can stand a little pain.
"You mean that?" asks Winry, "I mean you're not just saying that to make me feel better?"
"Winry," I tell her as I stand up and take her hand, "I know how much you care about me. You must because you still stick by me even through all the fights we have." I watch her blush shyly and nod.
"I love you, Ed," says Winry, "and I'll wait forever for you. But you hurt me sometimes when you act like the way I feel doesn't mean anything to you. Can't you see that I'm scared?"
"Of?" I ask.
"Of you getting hurt," says Winry, "Of you dying. Of you . . . you. . .."
"Leaving and never coming back," I finish. She nods, trying to hide the tears in her eyes. I stare at her for a few seconds. It clicks in my head now. Actions speak louder than words. Actions help communicate feelings. I wrap my arms around her, kissing her gently on the cheek.
"Ed?" says Winry in disbelief, "What?"
"I love you," I tell her, "and when this is over I will come back to you."
"I didn't know," says Winry, "I always hoped you did but I didn't know for sure." I nod. What you don't say or do is as important as what you do say or do. The awkward pauses, the dead silences, the moments where you want to say something but the words stick in your throat. All of them are wasted opportunities to tell the one you love something that they need to hear so desperately.
"Let's just enjoy the time we have together here," I tell her, "It's always too short to be wasted on stupid fights."
"Yeah, you're right," replies Winry as she kisses the spot on my head where she hit me. I feel my face redden reflexively and find an excuse to suddenly study the floor very intently.
"You're cute when you're apologetic," says Winry playfully.
"You're cute all the time," I respond. She smiles. There's an old rule that silence is golden. Most of the time it's true but there are moments where silence is twice as destructive as any string of words could be. In the end, it's better to leave nothing unspoken, especially to the people you love.