Taken Away: Chapter Eight
"Welcome, welcome!" Al exclaimed with pleasure as the two less than happy troopers arrived at the door, slightly soaked by the now pouring rain outside. "Cheer up! We have three people now and the patron is here to meet you, where is your father Ed?" Al looked between the two sour faces and sighed slightly.
Today was an extremely big day for all of them. Al had cleaned conscientiously for the past three hours to make the house absolutely perfect for them and their guests. Their sour faces weren't going to help the situation. He had noticed that they were an odd couple from the first time they had entered his house, and he had hoped that they wouldn't be distracted by any of their lover's quarrels.
"Edward's father has just been caught up with some work, but he will be along later sometime. Maybe not even tonight, he has to organise some things…" After Winry had answered him as politely as she could she returned to her 'stay away from Edward' mission, and took a step to the side.
The three of them stepped forward into the lounge room to be greeted by an old man and his young daughter. It had taken less than a handshake for Edward to realise that this man had a terrible dark secret about him. Edward watched the patron's greedy eyes with suspicion as they scanned Winry with desire. And he'd paid extra close attention when the Parton had extended his hand to Winry and kissed her gently when she offered it back.
It was when Edward turned his attention to the prettily decorated daughter of his that he took a step back into Winry, which he instantly discovered, was a big mistake.
"If you touch me again, I'll stick my wrench through your stomach without hesitation." He could almost feel the anger pulsating through her body and increased the distance between himself and her by quite a lot. He didn't quite exactly feel up to the task of playing gentleman to this man's daughter that was definitely 'alter Rose' and put on a slightly sulky face as she was introduced to Winry.
"Hi I'm Rose." The bright pink hair blurred his vision for a moment as he had been too focused on how he was going to explain himself to Winry. He flinched slightly when she shoved her hand in has face.
"So you are Hohenheim's famous son… wow, you certainly do have wisdom about you."
When Edward decided to finally look up to meet her eyes he blushed at her admiring gaze upon him. He could almost feel Winry's eyes watching him like a hawk from the corner and diverted his attention to the lovely lamp in the corner of the room instead.
"And it most certainly is a shame that you cannot be here to see the professor Sir. But he most definitely will be helping us with the project." Al piped up, taking the opportunity to show off the wonderful prize on the team. Professor Hohenheim, it sort of did have a prestigious ring to it.
"Why, most certainly, Professor Hohenheim and his famous son Edward. I know your father Edward, and I am most reminded of him by you." The Patron briskly walked past Winry as if to completely ignore her and grabbed hold of his daughter. "It's time to go Rose!" Edward and the rest of the group watched with disgust at the violent way he treated his own daughter and blinked when she stopped slightly to gaze at Edward.
She gave Edward a huge smile before walking off with her father. "Let's go out sometime okay Elric?" She bowed politely and with that the tension instantly eased from the room.
"Wow… he is extremely rich. I think we did well." Al said with certain vigour, watching as Winry merely looked away with tensed fists. Al swapped an amused face with Edward's gloomy one when they both noticed her intense anger and frowned. Edward was about to sarcastically mention that she was always fuming about something but decided against it. He realised it was probably his guilt speaking.
"I don't like that stupid girl or her father! Did you see the way they were looking at me? And did you see the way she was looking at you! Oh but I bet you enjoyed that after all, since I'm not good enough. Perhaps if I dressed in a puffy pink stupid dress like her I would be." Winry pointed to her man's jacket with a sarcastic expression on her face. She was a tomboy, always had been.
"Winry, you are getting angry at me when I haven't even said anything… please can we just forget about that argument?" Edward slapped his metal hand to his forehead without even thinking about the consequences and hissed at the sudden pain. It didn't compare to Winry's death stare though, and her new found infuriation caused him to instantly forget the actual physical pain.
"Why don't you just go out with your new girlfriend?" She turned towards Al who looked slightly exhausted by the whole thing and stomped her foot. "Well where is my room? Do you expect me to stand here all day with him?"
"Uh of course not…" Al replied with slight confusion, hoping he had gotten the answer right. The amount of tension in the room was enough to snap his house in two.
"Winry, I don't even know that stupid girl! She doesn't know me either, how can you think we are already interested in each other?" Edward whined, giving Winry a pleading look. "Be reasonable Winry! You can't get angry at me if she was giving me some look, which she probably wasn't!"
"Like I care, you can do what you want. You obviously don't know when a woman is dropping hints!" Winry headed towards the room Al had pointed at with caution and slammed the door behind her, leaving Edward with his head in his hands and a huge sigh.
"She really is pissed at me… just because I said I don't remember! Gah! I have stuffed up big time now."
"Ah… I see you two have some problems with your relationship…" Al patted Edward on the back and sighed. "But cheer up Edward, we need to start working soon, I don't want either you or your girlfriend to be in this mood. Couple troubles can really get you down." Al took his hand away when Edward groaned with annoyance.
"Do we really act like a couple that much? It's all the fighting isn't it? Only couples do it! We act like an old couple!" He flopped down onto the couch and sighed at the realization. Every fight they got into was soooo pathetic, it was enough to make him want to sink into the couch and disappear. "We aren't one though okay? We are just friends! We just fight a lot, it's all her fault."
"Well if you are going to look at it like that then you will keep fighting. I'll go make up some lunch."
Edward thought on his comment before continuing to sulk. Winry could be terrible when she was angry, and this time he knew he had deeply hurt her. Hurt her so much that she had put on this frustrated front to try and hide what was going on inside. She was probably crying now… this time the fight wouldn't disintegrate unless he tried to talk to her. He wasn't afraid of actually talking and apologising anymore was he?
"Now Ed, since you have come all this way, why don't I shout you a drink?" Al grinned at him before picking up his winter coat and some cash off the bench. He went to walk towards the door, however paused. He turned around to see Edward glancing between Al and Winry's room, both with longing.
"Don't worry about Winry Ed. She wants to be alone. Give her some space and come out." Al nudged his elbow in the direction of the door. He had been up stressing late last night making preparations to meet the Patron. Now that he had been successful with the patron and had acquired a team of highly skilful men, and woman... he guessed, it was time for him to celebrate the way all Germans did with a big beer, or a few.
"I just got to tell her she will be insanely mad if she comes to find us and we are gone..."
Al walked over to Ed's side swiftly, and linked his arm with his. Edward glanced at his face for a second and suddenly forgot Winry. Brother...
"Leave her be," Al hauled Ed towards the door, rapidly picked up Edward's warm winter clothing, and threw it over his shoulder. "Let's just celebrate that we have found each other. We have come together on this project and have a super rich patron." Al laughed steadily at the dumbfounded expression plastered across Edward's face. "Your dad warned me that you had lived in London most of your life."
Edward flinched as he was pulled out into the street that was settling down as the sun started to set.
"I have a lot to teach you about the differences between how the German's say thank you for their blessings, and how the British do. A whole ten kegs of beer difference." Ed sighed at Al's comment and mumbled under his breath 'I don't remember you being such a drinker Al'. Then again his twelve year old brother back home wouldn't be would he? And his previous brother that had his soul stapled to a giant suit of armour never got the chance to take it up either did he. Ed smiled, he had gotten accustomed to drinking with the German's, he had do keep up with the appearances after all. Perhaps a drink would calm down a bit.
"Come on Ed, I know a great place it's just up here!"
"So where exactly is she from?" Al asked before turning his intrest to the waitress. He slapped a some money down on the table and hailed for her attention?
"Another beer?" She called out from across the room, dashing to the table to collect his money. Al shook his head. "Two thank you miss." She took down the order with a rushed scribble, sighing with exasperation as a rowdy drunk ran past violently and caused her notepad and pen to fall to the ground. Ed watched sympathetically as she bent to pick it up and gave the two a small smile before running off again. Al once again turned his attention back to Ed.
"Who?" Ed asked forgetting who they had been talking about.
"Winry!" Al protested. "I really think you have had too much to drink Edward." He added.
"Winry is from..." He was about to say that she was his childhood friend, but remembered that His father had told some important people she was from somewhere... where was it again? He decided she could be his childhood. Yeah, she had just been living somewhere else while he was in London. That was it. "She is my childhood friend, from Berlin. We got split up ago about seven years ago when I went to London." He was a bit tipsy, but then again so was Al and he thought that comment would suffice. He did know however that he didn't just needed it to suffice, he needed it not to cause trouble with anyone either.
"Oh, a Berlin beauty as we call it here."
Edward waved his hand. "She is beautiful isn't she?"
Al cracked a smile. He had taken Edward for someone who was a little introverted. It was funny to see him in this state. But Al was glad he had taken him out for a drink. If there was one thing that was important, it was to get drunk with your work partners in the aspiration to get to know them much better.
"Yeah, I have had like 50 crushes on her, don't tell her that though." Edward's head drooped down to the table.
Al sighed. "I thought she was just a friend?"
"Yeah she is, just I haven't seen her for so long. Last time I saw her she was just a child..."
"So when did you lose your arm?" Al suddenly cut in.
Edward had to think about how to answer that as well. He knew that if he strayed too far from the truth the story would be too long and elaborate to remember later on. He wanted to avoid that as much as possible. God he just wanted to be in a bed right now, with Winry, with a woman. Looking around at all the bar hostesses Edward had only gotten wandering eyes. He knew how he got when he had drunk something. He turned into every other babbling man, that's why he tried to avoid it. He really wanted Winry right now, and the thought disgusted him. He was disgusted, and intrigued at the same time. She was a woman, living with him, who was beautiful. Why did he take that for granted? Warm bed... he felt his body tingle.
"Yer um Al... What?" Ed took another beer from the woman and gulped it down.
"Ed I don't think that's such a goo-" Al stopped as Edward fell unconscious on the table. He was alive and thriving again however a couple of seconds later.
"You ordered it bastard," Edward called out after his comment. "Winry gave me my auto mail!" He perked in. "I have it on my leg as well."
"Yes Ed, I know but my question was when did you get it?" Al pushed his own beer to the side after seeing the state Ed was in. If he let himself go any further in, the two of them wouldn't be able to make it home.
"I was seven, and I prefer not to talk about how I got it. But if your wondering, Winry's grandmother was a freak for all things mechanical. Winry has been helping on work with my arm from a young age. One day, she was able to make them herself."
Al nodded and grabbed his coat from the chair he was sitting on. He had learnt some information of Ed, but tonight wasn't the time to be asking him any more questions. Especially if he expected a coherent answer.
"I love her..." He heard Ed mumble from the table. "I fucking love her, I'm so fucking stubborn about it."
Al raised his eyebrows. Just friends? He was sure that they weren't when he had first met them. But after getting too know their situation better he realised that it really was a trap they had both got themselves into. They were childhood friends; to imagine anything different was much too strange for them. Even if deep down their hearts lied with each other. Al knew every man had needs. Had Ed ever even been with a woman before.
"Come on Ed." Al pulled him from the table, but to his astonishment Edward seemed quite able at holding himself up.
"She hates me now, I have to fix it."
"No, you have to get sleep because we have to fix some other things around the house tomorrow morning."
Edward followed Al to the door who was currently waving goodbye to the staff.
"Come again!" The girls waved with enthusiasm. Ed chucked them a toothy smile before being pulled out of the bar by Al.
"Man, I have to tell her I love her."
"I don't think she will really take to that well Ed," Al added after pushing his boots underneath his pants. Ed leant against the bar's entrance as Al toyed with his socks. He needed to make sure they were right for travelling home through the snow.
"Wasn't it supposed to be melting?" Ed muttered to himself, taking the initiative to start the walk home. Al was quiet behind him.
"My dad told me I loved her. It's just so fucked Al. Everyone knows me as someone who doesn't get close to people. My dad will think he has won if I admit it." Ed sighed.
"Yeah," Al agreed, he knew well the front Edward put on already. He was so tight he didn't even realise that there was the slightest chance he could have opened up after a few drinks. Alcohol was amazing...
Edward turned to face him suddenly. "You know I trust you Al."
Al furrowed his eyebrows.
"You have one of those faces." Ed placed his hands firmly on his shoulders. "Like a brother."
Al paused for a moment. "You really want my advice on it Ed?" Al waited until he nodded.
"I know you're planning to go into her room when you get home. Just try and break things to her without sounding like your drunk and horny."
Ed fell silent.
Reflecting on himself on the walk back home was the best thing he could do to soothe his mind. Was he just drunk and horny? Was any of this going to benefit Winry? Most of all would he even remember it in the morning?
When they reached the warm comfort of the dimly lit home Ed informed Al that if he needed him, he would be in Winry's room. He stood outside her door for the longest time, hearing the softest sobs come from inside, she was still crying. Maybe it was because she realised she was alone in the house. Man he felt even worse now...
If he knocked she would run to lock the door for sure, and then his hope would be lost. So he gently opened the door and peered inside. There she was, on the bed, head in pillow, snivelling.
He closed the door behind him and tiptoed to her side. As soon as he sat down on the bed she sat up with a start and tried to haul herself at him angrily.
"Don't you even knock?" She yelled, struggling to punch him in the face since he had taken hold of her wrists. "You are the worst! You can't do this to me! Where have you been Edward!"
"Al made me go out for a drink Win, to celebrate you know traditions here are hard to break." In that moment she smelt the beer on his breath and cringed away. What was he trying to pull?
"Ed let me go..." Winry quietened down slightly.
"I just want to talk!" He tried to shield himself and hold her wrists at the same time, and sighed with relief when she gave up. "Please, it's really hard for me to come in here and do this Winry. So don't hold up your defences. I'm sorry okay, I'm sorry that I said those horrible things to you, I'm sorry that I left you."
"You think you can treat me like crap and just come back in here and-" Her words were silenced as he pulled her towards his chest. She felt his arms wrap around her waist and widened her eyes against him, waiting for what he had to say next. Is this how he acted when he drank? She was frozen.
"This is what you want isn't it Winry?" His voice was deep, and she gulped.
"I don't even know why I say some things… I just do… I realised this time that I was stupid and…"
"They really did hurt my feelings Ed. You can't just come in here and hug me and think it will be better." Even though she had tried to sound annoyed at him, she hadn't pulled away from his generous embrace.
"I do remember what I said to you okay? Things are hectic at the moment and I haven't kept up my end of the deal. But our friendship has survived many more things Winry; we can get through this together. We will return home, we will." The contact had already soothed her, to know what it felt like to be hugged again. She wasn't home anymore where her grandmother would come in and hug her at night, or where she could enjoy a warm hug with Rose and her son. She had felt so
alone in this world. His touch was like lightening dancing on her skin compared to contact with other people. She suddenly felt her eyes glaze over.
"I thought that I would be so lonely…" Winry closed her eyes and took in the man's scent. "Who could I run to? Who could I just go and be held by? I never thought you would take on that role for me."
"Well I will if that's what it takes."
"Somehow, this makes it all better."
He looked up at the ceiling with a blush as she nestled into his chest and took handfuls of his shirt in her hands. "I'm going to have to borrow some of your clothes to work in, is that okay?" Winry asked him. He had noticed it too. How alive he felt again, like when they touched they were half in this place and half in the place they longed to be. He wanted to kiss her. Was it the alcohol after all?
"You're warm." She smiled widely and rested her head delicately on his shoulder, her hair intertwining with his as it fell down his back. "Promise me that you will never say anything like that again…"
"Like what?" He cocked his head and didn't realise her link her fingers with his.
"That you forgot one of our most precious promises." She held his hand tightly and closed her eyes, with intentions to stay with him like that for a while.
The three started on rockets straight away the next morning. Ed was the one to last rise from bed. But when he had, Winry was pointing out a mistake to Al down in the basement. He yawned before rolling his eyes at Winry and his clothes. She gave him a shy smile and waved when he entered the room, which he gladly returned. They had gained a mutual understanding of each other yesterday and he had a feeling that they weren't going to be arguing without an actual reason anymore. But didn't he say that all the time? He hoped they could keep up their deal for once. It would make everyone's life so much more stress free.
And he still remembered the burning urge he'd had to lay with her last night. He couldn't push it away and suddenly he felt like he was pursuing the woman in a way.
"Listen Al, I know that car wires go here on that part. But this machine wants to fly not drive; do you understand why we link it to this instead?" He gently nodded with a slightly furrowed eyebrow, as if he was trying to take in every detail Winry was telling him. How could a woman possibly be better than him? Winry knew that was what was going through his head. But she felt like she had a kind of power over him, and she liked it.
She placed the piece of metal down on the desk next to Edward and grinned. "Right Edward?"
"You're the expert." Edward took a sip of his coffee and sorted through the available tools on his own portion of the large desk.
"But you said yourself it takes more than reading books." She whined.
"Well we have plans to follow Winry, but we are going to modify and go along with things. It's difficult to understand." Al raised the papers in her face and watched as she glanced at it with admiration.
"I love a challenge… something like this really gets me excited." Her eyes turned to slits as she thought of what she would do with the precious machine when she had completed it for good. Her own offspring. Part of herself. Something she could most likely destroy the world with. Edward and Al exchanged looks of exhaustion when an un-expected guest appeared in the room.
Rose slid her hand along the stone wall as she walked into the brightly lit work area. Her dress slightly dragged on the floor and she tried to suppress a disgusted look as she picked it up slightly to avoid the accumulating dust on the ground.
"Are you sure you should be working in such dirty conditions?" Rose turned to ask Edward who was staring with disbelief along with Al and Winry.
"How did you get in here…?" Al asked with slight confusion after bowing. No matter how upset he was that she had just waltzed into his house without being invited he had to hold his tongue. She was the patron's daughter, and he was the reason they were just getting by.
"Well the door was unlocked…" Her eyes scanned the room and her competition and she seemed to relax slightly after noticing Winry's matted hair that was pulled into a lazy pony tail.
"You can't just waltz into someone's house!" Winry disputed, stepping forward from behind Edward. Edward hit her lightly on the arm to remind her who she was talking to only to be met with a heated glare. He shrunk slightly and let her take the stage, this was a fight between two women and he didn't want to get involved with it.
The first thing Rose's eyes came across was the resemblance in Winry and Edward's clothing. What relationship were they having if he allowed her to wear his clothes? The rich woman fumed with jealously and felt her fists tense on her dress.
"Is it up to you? You tomboy! Who wears men's clothes anyway?" She argued, sticking her nose up at Winry slightly. Winry felt the anger boil deep inside, and knew that if she didn't get to take it out on this girl that she would be taking it out on someone she didn't want to be taking it out on. So she got ready for battle. "You could be a man couldn't you? Men's clothes and working on mechanics, why you are the worst girl I have ever come across!" She said with pride that Winry didn't know existed in stereotypical girls. Who in Germany could possibly be proud of being nothing but man's slave? Not Winry that was for sure.
"Oh why you!" Winry leapt forward with pulsing anger, ready to bash her fists into any part of the girl she could focus on. Edward instantly reached out and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her back towards him.
"Winry!" He protested, doing his best to keep grip on her as she struggled in his arms with aggravation. "You don't know your place Winry!" Edward whispered. The look on Rose's face made Winry want to pounce even more. She had taken Edward's action as a gesture to protect her! He wasn't trying to protect Rose from Winry. He was trying to protect Winry from going to jail! That's what she thought anyway. No way would Ed be doing this for Rose's sake. Still that smug look remained pinned on the girls face as she observed Edward keeping a tight grip on the struggling girl.
"Let me go!" Winry grabbed her tools from the nearest desk and began hurling them in her enemy's direction. "You just think your Miss It don't you? With you stupid UNREASONBLE DRESS! As if I would be seen working in that you dumb, dumb prissy! Mechanics isn't a male's job! It's a job for whoever is smart enough, that obviously isn't you, why don't you go back to fluffing your dress!" She yelled with absolute infuriation, Edward could see the anger in Winry's colour and tried to calm her.
"Winry! That's too far!" Edward whispered under his breath only to look behind his shoulder at Al for help.
"Why don't you cook for them? Or bring them tea or something!" Rose replied after a moments wait. "They are probably starving!"
"Because Edward can get his own damned tea! He isn't retarded!" Winry slapped Edward's hands away as they were not needed to control her anymore. She crossed her arms over her chest and shut her eyes with a heavy intake of breath. She isn't worth it!
"Worst type of woman!" Rose muttered under her breath, daring to take a step too close to Edward after he had released the savage monster. Winry instantly snarled at her as she gave Edward a flirty smile. "But I didn't come here to waste all of my time on her, Edward." Rose
smiled, giving Winry an evil side glare as Edward held out his arm to keep her away from Rose. "I meant to inform you all of a ball being held at my house, my father would of course like to introduce you to some important people so if you could all come…"
Winry had stood up straight now and looked up to exchange curious glances with Edward. "A ball?" She asked. "Like where you dance and take a partner…?"
"Yes, and actually Edward I'm free and a woman can't go unaccompanied of course."
"I'd be happy to take you!" Al took the liberty of answering, and he stepped forward with a smile.
Rose did not bother to keep the disappointment from her face and merely muttered thanks to the gentleman. Edward blinked at the odd behaviour going on in the room, and noticed Winry sigh with relief when Rose turned to leave. That was weird. He had just found out that Winry could get really violent against women who insulted her. That Al was amused by the arguing and wouldn't step up to say anything at all to help him. And that he himself was just a generally confused soul when it came to women.
"Make sure you dress like a woman Winry!" Roze snarled before slamming the basement door shut.
Winry stomped her foot and sent her wrench flying through the air, which Al skilfully dodged.
"OOOOOH! I can't believe her! Just watch I'm going to look better than anyone there!" Edward placed a calming hand on her shoulder, still dazed from the fast happenings. "And you! Don't you have something to ask me?" She pushed his hand away and stepped backward so Edward could see the length of her.
"Uhhh?" Edward scratched the back of his head with deep thought. "No?"
"Ugh! You are so clueless! I can't go alone! So I have to go with you! Are you going to take me or not?" Al seemed shocked at Winry's words and stepped forward to lower her hand.
"Winry… you can't ask the male, that's taboo. You can only give hints…"
"Do you think I give a crap about your taboo crap?" Winry whined, placing her hands firmly on her hips. She was obviously annoyed and Al wasn't going to push her.
"I guess not…"
"Well this male is clueless so I have to get the job done don't I?" Winry whispered back into his ear. Edward sighed and crossed his arms over his chest.
"I was going to ask you of course, just when my mind was a littler clearer. I probably would have realised you needed a partner sooner or later and there is no-one I'd rather go with than my best friend."
Winry had nothing to say to his reply and merely shuffled back to his side to work on the project. The sound of metal tapping metal was all that could be heard from that basement for a long time.
And if he could say that seconds were the same as minutes and minutes were the same as hours, he would… but he freaking couldn't! How long did it take a girl to get ready? Especially Winry? He had waited for seconds, and minutes, and now it was bordering 2 and a half hours. The girl could only try his patience so much before he stormed down the hallway and barged into her newly cleaned room with a very unimpressed look on his face. Possibly a couple of horrible words he shouldn't speak around a lady urging to get out of his mouth also.
"I wouldn't have agreed to take you if I knew you were a compulsive Winry!" Edward yelled from the couch, with his leg crossed over his other.
He was doing anything to keep himself amused… like looking at the white ceiling, which didn't prove to be the way to go about killing boredom. He tried twirling his hair around his fingers, but that phase didn't last long either. He was sent to the very point of insanity that he had just tried to shut his eyes and fall asleep. If Winry could take one hour delicately womanising herself or whatever it was the other sex did, then she could wake him up after she was finished!
"Freaking hell three hours I swear…" Edward mumbled to himself, picking up the magazine next to him. Not to say he hadn't noticed it yet, he had flicked through it about a hundred times. But a hundred and one wouldn't hurt.
"Are you really that impatient?" Her voice came from behind him and it instantly made him want to turn around and strangle her.
He turned around with an angered force surrounding him, muttering profanities. "Two hours what the HELL where you…" his eyes trailed to her and actually noticed her before he even had a chance to finish the sentence. After that he was at a loss. "…. doing?" His jaw dropped with absolute astonishment as she walked up to the back of the couch and bent to his level.
"Why I was working on some auto-mail stuff of course." She winked and patted his head before meeting him at the front of the couch. It took him a few minutes to register her migration. But he turned his head with a slight blush when she did. Her chest was very strategically exposed. It would be enough to give him nosebleeds for the rest of the night.
"You mean you worked on stuff in there while I waited…?" His voice wasn't even upset, not even the slightest bit raised or angered, merely calmed. But his eyes betrayed the reason why.
"Well the party doesn't start for half an hour… and we can walk there in about twenty right…? I didn't want to have to go to spend extra time with that stupid girl," he completely tuned out, hair down to her hips; dress accentuating her curves, lips painted the slightest pink, enough to make any guy anticipate her kiss. He couldn't believe his childhood friend was standing in front of him like this! In that dress which she looked gorgeous in… oh no he didn't just think that. He could only to blush a brighter red as he watched her lips move without hearing what was coming out of them, completely bewitched by their slightly curvy shape and soft look. "so in the end I really thought I was better off not saying anything after all that, right Edward?" She bent down slightly with a smile and extended her hand.
"Uh… yeah…" He kindly rejected her offer and stood on his own two feet. Making sure he had his balance before even attempting to walk forward a few steps.
"Aren't you even going to compliment me?" He heard the tapping of her impatient heel behind him and suddenly felt extremely guilty. He was so busy trying not to think about how good she looked that it probably came off like he was ignoring her completely. "I did spend an hour on it!"
"You really do look great, Winry." He held out his arm for her to take a hold of only to be walked past with a 'hmph' as a reply. It was a new habit of hers if he could guess. The gown slightly dragged along the ground with her movements. So she delicately lifted it up and waited for Edward to stumble his way towards the front door.
"It doesn't mean anything now. You're probably just saying it." The way she tightened her hands around her dress told him she was hurt. But what could he do now? He would try again and hope that she wouldn't be in a bad mood all night.
"Winry, I always think you look nice. But tonight you look really nice. I mean not that you don't always look really nice, but I guess I just think you look nice okay?" He took a deep sigh and placed his hand to the doorknob before giving it a slight push, only to be interrupted before fully opening the door.
"You think I always look nice?" She finally wrapped her arm around his after realising they may be battling some strong winds.
"You admit that?" She looked up at him with slight surprise and paid attention to his hands to make sure he was locking his door on the way out. His father was already waiting for them both at the ball.
"Why would I lie about it?"
"I don't know it just doesn't seem like an Edward thing to say!" She stuttered after the cool breeze hit her shoulders. She instinctively pulled Edward closer and dug her head into his arm for a moment.
"Well you don't know me then." Was his stupid argument. Of course she knew him, she knew him better than anyone in the world. This was probably only the second time in her life that he had ever commented on how nice she looked.
"Winry, where is your coat? I don't want you walking around that exposed in the streets of Munich anyway."
Winry raised her eyebrow at his comment and shrugged. "I couldn't find any of yours lying around…"
"Winry! Didn't we buy you one of those women's coats?"
"But they are so ugly Edddy!"
"Don't call me that already!" He let out a breath of frustration and began taking his heavy brown one off. "Look, take it then?" He extended his hand to her which held the jacket and gave her a soft smile. She shivered instinctively and knew it wasn't from the cold.
Winry reluctantly held out her hand to take it before jerking it back. "But then you will be cold…"
"I don't care, not as cold as you anyway."
"But I'd rather be cold than you be cold…"
"Well I'd rather be cold than you be cold!" He replied with a gentle smile. "You can pay me back some time later okay? But just take it tonight…"
She eyed him curiously, judging the situation before she pulled the warm coat that smelt like him to her chest and sighed. After having her dressed properly, the two set off for the ball again, wondering just what type of night was in store for them.
Winry stayed close by Edward's side as they entered the ridiculously large building. So many people out on the streets right before this beautiful building were dying or starving. Yet as Winry's eyes searched the ceiling's many jewels and art pieces, she couldn't help but notice that no-one really cared.
The place was mostly filled with old men who were very interested in Hohenheim's works and Edward's education. Winry noticed the shakiness in his voice as he had to make up a background of education in London.
But after realising that his old man and Al were conversing very close to Winry and himself, he just pointed the men in their direction. If they wanted to talk about his father, Edward would clearly state the fact that his father was right across the room. If they wanted to talk about his funding and research and how Al got to where he was today, then Edward promptly pointed them in his direction.
"So your father has acquired a top position I hear Edward…" The university professor's eyes travelled down to Winry before returning to Ed. Winry felt Edward's grip on her arm tighten and looked up at him with surprise. He grabbed a drink from the passing waitress and downed it before turning to reply to the man.
"Yes, he is just over there if you would like to talk to him." Edward pointed in his father's direction with the hand he wasn't spending on Winry, his eyebrows furrowed in annoyance.
"Actually I came over to ask you're lovely lady here for a dance since you haven't been getting much use out of her…" His fake smile reached across his whole face and Winry was just about to protest with disgust when Edward spoke up. Winry guessed that the extra drink had given him the confidence he needed to say what he was about to.
"She isn't something to be used! And NO you cannot dance with her, goodnight!" Edward pulled Winry in a different direction and began to run with her down the corridor, before more harassing men came to pick up where that man had left off. Winry giggled as he pulled her into a spare room and let her go with a breath of relief.
"My, my Edward…" Winry flung herself against the wall next to him after a tiring run and smirked. "Taking your lady to a secluded room to get some use out of her I see?" She raised an eyebrow and let out a breath she didn't know she was holding when he merely laughed in reply.
"Give me a break Winry, I didn't want to see anyone else's hungry lusting face any more. If it wasn't information they wanted, it was you!" He flung himself forward and observed his surroundings with curiosity.
"Well everyone wants me Edward; they are only human after all. You had your fair share of admirers too."
"And I didn't dance with them did I?"
"No, very impressive. You scored some points for ignoring the rest of the female population in the room." Winry was cut off as Edward started walking into the room. She followed him promptly with timid steps.
"I wonder whose room this is…" He wrapped his lazy arm around her shoulder and squinted.
"I think you have had too much to drink Edward." Winry sighed, trying to back away with him. "You are definitely too friendly… Who knows what will happen if we stay in this room."
"I'm always friendly!" He protested, allowing himself to be dragged back to the door by Winry.
"We can hide somewhere else, but I really don't think we should be in here!" Winry whispered in a hurry, a sudden rising feeling of worry brewing inside her. Edward however didn't seem to be listening, he simply continued to pull her towards the bed.
"What are you trying to do to me?" She squealed as she approached the bed with reluctant steps. However his grip on her hands was far too strong to try and break free from without reasoning with him.
"I just want to lie down for a moment!" He complained. "My head is spinning."
"Okay okay!" She let him fall down onto the bed and sat next to him with her hands in her lap. As he shut his eyes for a moment she looked around the room with worry. She knew someone was going to catch them out, possibly a guard, or someone important. Then Edward would blame her for not keeping him under control because he had been drunk.
"Hahaha Winry, do you remember the first time when we were fifteen that we had a drink?" Edward rolled his head from the side and pulled on her hair for fun.
"You couldn't even walk, do you remember that?" His laughter filled the room and only continued to worry her.
"Of course I remember…"
"It was just us that night. I think I was upset and we ended up drinking a couple of your grandma's old crap." He began giggling at the memory. "Sheesh it tasted like shit but we kept drinking it anyway!"
"And I woke up with the biggest headache, Edward." Winry poked his stomach slightly, forgetful of what they were doing in this room.
"And we fell over each other so many times…"
"Yes that was awkward wasn't it?"
Winry felt his arm wrap around her and felt herself being tugged down to his level. He rose slightly to whisper in her ear.
"But you so wanted me." He whispered softly into her ear, pulling her down onto the bed with him. She let herself fall into his arms with a blush and opened her mouth to protest.
"I did not!"
"Yeah you did."
"No I didn't Edward!"
"Fine, fine." He rolled his head to the side and shut his eyes for a moment. Winry's nervous feeling soon returned. He really knew how to let himself go when he was drunk.
"Edward we really shouldn't be here, I haven't drunk tonight and I don't have the calm sense about me that you do!" She slapped his prying hand away from her hair, and turned to face him with a serious look on her face. She wasn't playing around anymore, and by the obvious dazed expression on his face, he didn't' know what the hell he was doing. "I'm serious Edward! This is probably that girl's room! We shouldn't be in here!"
"It's not like we are hurting anything… I'm just lying here for a while… Can you massage my back Winry…?" He begged. "I promise I will give you one later, or maybe tomorrow."
Winry knew how much he loved his backrubs but right now was hardly the place or the time. Besides he was always slightly tipsy or happy when he asked for one. It was like the barrier between them had been shattered and she could finally place her hands on him without him spazzing out.
"I'll give you one at home!"
"I need another drink"
Winry scoffed at his remark. He hardly needed anymore of that.
"Well let's head back to the party! I'm sure I can find you some." She sat up only to be pulled back down next to him.
"I'd rather stay here with you…"
"Edward! You will fall asleep! Besides how would you like it if I just barged into your room?" Winry slapped her forehead as a smirk played across his face and let out a breath. Honestly, usually it was him being the serious one.
"Hey Winry, remember that time when we used to play in the mud?"
"Of course Edward! But it isn't the time for playing in the mud now."
"Oh I think it is."
"You are an absolutely crazy drunk! I never knew this!" Winry stood from the bed with frustration and began walking to the door. "You can sleep here by yourself!"
"I'm not drunk! Just happy…"
"Oh yeah I can tell that mister! Now get up before you fall…! Edward!" She ran toward his aid as he tripped on his rise from the bed.
She tried to support his fall and fell silent when she felt his arms wrap around her waist firmly.
"Edward… what do you…?"
"Did I ever tell you that you how beautiful you are Winry?"
"Yes…" She felt her arms go limp as his embrace tightened.
"I'm sorry I have been a pain tonight…" He whispered into her ear.
"Can I repay you?"
Winry thought on his suggestion for a moment. "Well you could…"
At that very moment the door flew open and the couple jumped apart with a start.
"Oh Edward there you are! Someone said they saw you running down here."
Edward seemed confused by the new arrival into the room and swayed slightly. "How about we go for a dance right?" Rose took hold of his hand and looked towards Winry whose blush had still not faded. A Winry, who looked extremely angered and interrupted. "What are you doing in my room?" Rose waited for a moment.
"Trying to escape from people who ask us to dance of course!" Winry spat back. She was just about to invite Edward out onto the dance floor herself… why did timing have to totally go against her?
"Well you want to dance with me don't you Edward? Oh looky, you can actually look beautiful Winry!" Rose let go of his hand and brought her hands together under her chin with that sparkly gaze Winry knew Edward couldn't resist. He threw an apologetic gaze in Winry's direction and let Rose pull him out of the room. Winry instantly ran after them and watched from the shadows as Rose wrapped her arms around Edward's neck and pulled him close. He was so drunk she didn't even think he could tell the difference between her or Rose.
"Wine please!" She grabbed a shot from the closest maid and gulped it down, feeling like she could break the glass with her own bare hands as she tensed them over it, watching the couple get closer and closer with the beat of the music.
"It looks like our partners ran off with each other…"
Winry turned her head to notice Al watching Edward and Rose with slight amusement. This didn't amuse her though, Al was always amused by something, and it pissed her off, especially tonight.
"He had to do it Winry… she is the daughter of our patron, if she wants to dance with him-"
"Like I care what he does!" She turned her head to the side and grabbed another glass of the poison that was going to hit her like a brick in the morning. She had been so controlled up until a minute ago… when it came to Edward! "He is so stupid!"
"You like him don't you?" Came the abrupt question from the smug looking Al who had won. The blush that crept across Winry's face told him the truth no matter how much she wanted to deny it.
"God." Winry tried to sustain the protest building up inside of her as she watched Rose mindlessly play with Edward's pony tail. Edward hated it when anyone did that. Yet sometimes he urged Winry on, he loved it when she ran his fingers through her hair. The expression on Edward's face told Winry he wasn't liking the fact that some stranger was playing with his hair… but he wasn't stopping her either. Winry felt her jealously rise to dangerous levels. Boiling point levels. "Hey! He only lets me do that!" Winry threw the glass to the ground when he didn't stop the girl from touching intimate places on his body and stormed from the room.
She threw the building doors open. Yes that's what it was, it wasn't a home it was a stupid heartless building that had just ruined her night!
"Wait Winry!" She was about to scream with disappointment when she turned her head to see the voice was not that of Edward's. Al was running after her with an extreme speed. She turned back to the front and continued to storm off.
"It's a long way from finished yet!"
"Well obviously Edward is happy with his new bride, he doesn't need me there! He can go flirt with princess all he wants!"
"Winry I don't think he was doing anything, he was forced into the situation."
"I don't care!" She crossed her arms over her chest and sniffed slightly, feeling anger turn to bitter tears. "I don't care! I just want to go home…! That place isn't my world anyway… Rose is right, I don't belong there. I can't be anything like a woman."
"Look it doesn't matter, I don't care! I am just sick of trying so hard for everyone!"
"I'll take you home…"
"Sure whatever…!" She lowered her head. "I didn't even get to dance with him…"
Al turned to her with sympathy and placed his coat over her shoulders. It was going to be a long night.