This is it.
I can't believe it! It seems like only yesterday when December was months away on the calendar. Time sure does fly, eh?
Terrasina Dragonwagon: Lol! The cuteness is consuming, eh? Wow, you got more dressed up than I did! I saw this really sweet Gryfindor tie at Hot Topic, but I couldn't get it. :( Anyhoo, thank you for your lovely review! And a whole butt load of more thank yous for sticking with this story! I hope you have a stupendously merry Christmas!
Eighth Deadly Sin: Lol, thanks! I had to stick Izumi in there somewhere, even if they did just mention her. Thank you! for the awesomely awesome review. Thanks thanks, thank you for reading this story too! I hope you have a wonderfully wonderful Christmas!
akai-ryu: Aw, you're sweet! Thank you soooo very ubberly much for the review! Your kind words are so greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading this fic, and I hope you have a great, awesome Christmas!
And without further adieu, here's the last chappy. Please enjoy:D
Ed could've sworn he heard music playing, but as he was hovering between the states of not being fully awake yet not fully immersed in slumber, he couldn't be too certain. He wondered if he should complete the transition into consciousness, but saw that as too much of an effort and rolled on his side.
A hand softly grazed his cheek, a yawn caressed his ears. The bed shifted as though an extra weight occupied the same space. Ed curiously opened his eyes, checking to see whether he was drifting off in dreamland or awake in reality, only to see sapphire orbs blinking at him. A small meep! squealed as a suggestive bedroom voice crooned,
Let's get it on…
Shocked by the enigma that they had slept in the same bed together, Winry sprang upright, accidentally knocking Ed to the floor.
Oh, let's get it on…
The television was mysteriously turned on. Winry brushed her bangs out of her eyes, piecing together last night's events. Oh, she thought, we must've fallen asleep while we were watching adult swim last night…
"And that was Marvin Gaye, number four on Classic Love songs of all time," the host of the countdown said, an eye patch concealing the entirety of his eye. "I'm Pride Homunculi, telling you to stay tuned for the top three!"
Ed submerged from the depths of the floor, distraught from the crash-landing. "Ow, damn. Gee Winry, that's a wonderful way of telling a person good morning. The hell was that for?"
"Sorry," she apologized, surprised how he could be as sweet as honey for one act, change parts and throw on his brash attitude. She shook her head. Well, that's Ed for me. He might as well be labeled as one of the world's own natural wonders.
"Yeah, yeah," Ed took the condolence, throwing a pillow at her to spice up the awkward mood. Ready for war, Winry tucked a few cushions underneath her arm before a high-pitched ring screamed into the room. The two of them jumped, fleeing downstairs to where calamity broke loose.
A thick cloud of smoke blackened the kitchen, the smell of something burnt and crisp crudely invaded their nostrils. The alarm was deafening, shrieking wildly as Roy immerged from the black mist, shouting a shout against the vociferous scream.
"Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!"
"What happened?" asked Winry, swatting away the pungent odor.
"He over did the ham," Al responded, sweet juices running down his arm as he bit into an apple.
"He's no Chef Boyardee," Julia said, plugging her ears to block out the blare of the smoke alarm.
Ed glanced at the blackened meat sadly. "Mustang, playing with fire is an idiot's sport."
Roy let that one slip and fanned the smoke out, a useless attempt to hush the alarm and clear the area of any evidence.
"What going on in here?"
Roy froze as he saw Riza, who seemed wondrous of the turmoil unleashing in the kitchen.
"He murdered the ham," Ed said, pointing a finger at the accused for effect before scurrying off with the others to the safety of the living room.
"I'm so sorry!" Roy apologized, shielding himself with the potholders. "Don't hurt me." He waited for the worst to come, a slap in the face or a scolding yell, but when none came, he opened his eyes.
Riza was analyzing the damage done to the ham, speculating it thoroughly with a positive outlook. "I think we can fix it."
"Really?" Roy said, incredulous at being spared. "I mean… you're not mad at me or anything?"
"Don't be stupid. Whenever there's a problem, there's always some solution." She searched the cabinets and picked out a few cans. "But I could use some help though."
Right away, Roy rushed to her side, aiding assistance to her ham recovery effort. Meanwhile, the others gathered around the tree, marveling at all the presents hidden beneath wrapping paper. It was tempting to sneak a peek, but no one wanted to ruin the surprise, especially with Christmas drawing so near. A nameless authority made it forbidden for anyone to open a gift until the stroke of midnight, leaving Ed, Winry, Al and Julia to find some means of entertainment for the time being.
They raided Roy and Riza's video collection, pulling out numerous holiday-themed movies. Half-way through White Christmas, culinary inspiration hit them, leading them into the kitchen for some baked creations.
"Riza?" Winry tapped her friend on the shoulder. "Do you have any flour, eggs, milk?-"
"In the fridge and in the cabinet next to it," Riza replied, not looking up from the ham.
"Is it ok if we make some-?"
"Yes, yes." With that, Winry scurried off to help the others in the cooking preparation.
Roy stood by solemnly, utensils tucked away in the pocket of his "Kiss the Chef" apron, waiting for any instruction from Riza.
"Knife?" she held out a hand.
He gave her the tool. "Here."
Riza cracked her knuckles and tied her hair back. "Alright then, let's get to work."
On the other side of the kitchen, sweet delicacies of gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies were in the works. Instructed by Julia's cooking expertise, the trio obediently followed orders.
"How much is a pinch of salt?" Al quietly asked his brother.
Ed shrugged. "Why don't you ask your girlfriend?"
"But… She scares me when she's in charge…"
"Alphonse!" Julia said with the ears of a fox. "I heard that."
Al hung his head, proceeding with what looked like a pinch of salt. "Sorry…"
"Hey Ed," Winry scrambled some eggs, "do you have the flour yet?"
Ed, who was careful with the exact precision, shook his head. "No, but gimme a sec."
"Before my thirtieth birthday would be nice."
Ed scowled. "Cooking is science: accurate measurements are needed if you want something to turn out right."
"I don't think so," Winry begged to differ. "Cooking is an art form; your paints are your ingredients, the utensils your brushes- you don't need accuracy and precision!"
"Yes, you do! Cooking is scientific."
"No, it's art!"
"It's both!" everyone shouted to end the brawl. Ed and Winry scowled at each other, using glares as a defense mechanism now that they had been silenced.
"Good grief," Al poured some milk with the flour and eggs.
"You two fight so much, it's gone beyond the limits of normality," Roy informed.
Riza nodded, smirking as she said, "It's as though you two are already together."
Even though they had turned the deaf ear, Winry and Ed blushed, the spotlight of truth shining on them. But they kept quiet, and cooked without a word.
Once the cookie dough was set, the culinary team got to work with the cookie cutters. Still occupied with the ham, Roy and Riza contributed to their portion only.
"Oops," Winry picked up a can of soda she had accidentally dropped on the floor, setting it next to Ed, who had snuck more then enough chocolate chips into his mouth. He was thirsty, but saw the soda as deliverance for his dry mouth.
"Hey Ed, hand me that coo-" Winry stopped. "Wait, don't open that can!"
Ed frowned but did it anyways. The pop tab snapped, the soda fizzed, squirting anything close enough with its sticky substance, including the entire front of Winry's shirt.
"Oh dammit," he quickly got rolls of paper towels, rubbing the spots that were soaked. "Sorry, I didn't mean to." He continued dabbing, unconsciously unaware of the fact that he was touching her chest, but a slap in the face brought him to that reality.
"You pervert!" Winry yelled, storming out of the kitchen.
"Huh? What the hell did I do?" Ed asked, dumbfounded. Everyone shook their heads.
"Let me tell you this brother," Al said. "A way to a girl's heart is not by doing anything you just did."
Still bewildered but as equally humiliated, Ed rushed out the same way he came in.
Riza tutted. "Just when they were warming up to each other."
"I wish they'd stop doing something to ruin it all," Al sighed.
"They're relationship is like a stack of cards," said Julia as she put the cookies in the oven. "One wrong move and the whole thing will fall apart.
But Roy did not want to hear all this negativity. He saw the glass as half-full, proclaiming," Yeah, but the Secret Mission is still in effect. We still have until Christmas eve."
Father Time tampered with the clocks, or at least that's what it seemed. The hours moved by slowly, creating momentum with each tick. Even at three-fifteen, Christmas felt like a lifetime away.
To keep the time moving faster than it actually was, the six of them did anything to keep themselves occupied. Christmas movies led to snowball fights and unfinished snowmen, but they had to surrender to the frigid weather. Fleeing inside, Roy took out his PS2, popping in the only game he had, a Dance Dance Revolution, which everyone happily played.
"Hey," Winry scrutinized the room, "where's Ed?"
Ed had mysteriously disappeared and no one knew where to. He left without a word, returning with the same demeanor. Lips sealed, he kept quiet, choosing to remain silent despite the pestering.
"Fine, if you're not going to tell us anything," Winry huffed as he headed upstairs. "I'll be in the room watching TV."
"No, wait! Don't go in there!" Ed grabbed her arm, preventing her from further ascension.
She raised her eyebrow suspiciously. "Why not?"
"Because… because I saw cockroaches in there. Yes! Cockroaches- tons and tons; they're all over the place."
"Oh, I think Edo has a secret," Roy snickered, cursing as he lost his rhythm on the DDR.
Winry sighed. It was a hopeless cause to get any information out of Ed as he was under some oath of silence, so trying to would be a waste of time. Apprehensively obliging, she went back to watching the others stomp on the dance pad.
Dinner came by swiftly, a joyous feast for an equally blissful occasion. The ham looked like something that could be seen in a Honey Baked Ham Store catalog; every spot that had been burned was gone, crackling glaze sweetened the tender and soft, succulent meat. Homemade cookies of gingerbread and chocolate chip, mouth-watering apple pies and other delectable goodies added to the banquet.
"Hey!" Riza said, catching the four minors trying to get a swig of champagne. "Not until you're twenty-one!"
Ed, Al, Winry and Julia groaned and dispersed from the bottle of sparkling wine, settling for a cup of apple cider instead.
Plates filled with food, glasses filled to the brim, the six of them gathered at the table, pausing briefly for a toast.
Roy raised his glass. The others followed suit. "To Christmas!"
"To a happy and prosperous new year!" Riza added.
Al joined in. "To our days at the North Pole!"
"To new friends and comrades!" Julia proclaimed.
Winry looked at Ed from across the table. "To love."
Ed returned the glance with a toast of his own. "To the true meaning of Christmas."
There was a clunking of glass cups together then a long swill. Everyone seized their forks, knives and spoons, waiting for the final instruction from Roy.
With a lunge to the ham, he declared, "Let's eat!"
T'was the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring- not even a mouse. With the time nearing midnight, everyone sat tight, the hands of the clock the only thing in Roy and Riza's sight. Al and Julia sang songs of jolly holiday cheer while next to the fireplace where Ed and Winry, sitting ever so near. Just three more minutes to go as gracefully to the ground fell the snow. But I'm not very good in poetry, oh no, so back to the story we go!
"Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock."
"Roy, stop doing that," Riza scolded as she sipped some of her champagne.
Roy tapped his glass. "Bah humbug…"
"Silver bells!" Julia and Al chorused, prancing around the living room. "Silver beeellllsss! It's Christmas time in the city!"
Ed pricked his thumbs together, anticipating the hour. He mentally went over Winry's present, what he was to say, hoping nothing would slip from his mind. Next to him, Winry was doing the exact same.
"T-minus 2 minutes," Roy counted down.
Riza got up from her seat, heading upstairs. "I'll be right back," she said to Roy. "You stay right there- don't move." He nodded and watched her go, spotting a glint in her auburneyes.
"Ring-a-lingggg!" Al bellowed, ringing a bell. "Hear them rriiinnggg!"
"Soon it'll be Christmas day!" Julia twirled around, landing on the sofa. Al spun around, fueled by a natural high of happiness mixed with sugar and an over dose of apple cider as he collapsed on the floor.
"Al, are you sure you didn't have any wine?" Ed asked, thinking that his brother was a bit on the tipsy side.
"Soon it'll be Christmas ddddaaaaayyyy!" Al hollered, throwing a candy cane at Ed. "What are you talking about? Does it look like I had alcohol?"
"Yes," Roy, Ed and Winry simultaneously replied. Julia gave a silent response and merely nodded.
Al pouted. "Wow, you guys are mean. I'm just happy because it's almost Christmas!"
Roy looked at the clock, exclaiming. "One more minute everyone!" He slipped a hand in his pocket, making sure the velvet case containing the precious ring was secure and intact. "Riza! Come on, you're going to miss everything!"
"I'm here, I'm here," Riza scurried down the stairs, clad in an oversized bathrobe, her red heeled shoes poking out through the cotton. She ignored Roy's inquisitive stare, but winked at him flirtatiously, a signal that he was in for some surprise.
The clock struck midnight and everyone exploded. It was as though New Year's had come early with the confetti thrown and shouts of celebration in full blast. They danced, sang, things one would never see them doing in the eyes of the public. Once the excitement settled itself peacefully in the group, they proceeded towards the tree.
"Ok, so who's first?" Riza randomly pulled out a box with a pretty bow. "Ah, Roy this is yours from your Secret Santa."
Roy eagerly took the present, reading the handwriting scribbled on the card he recognized to be Al's. With haste, he tore off the paper, opened the box and took out a pair of white gloves. "Holy hell! Are these the gloves that create fire?" he asked, slipping them on.
Al nodded. "Yeah, you just snap and viola!"
Rubbing his fingers together, a flame combusted out of nowhere, hovering above the glove before diminishing into nothing. Everyone 'oooed' and 'awed,' clearly fascinated by this gift.
"Thanks Al! I mean, really! Where did you get these?" Roy snapped, lighting the fireplace.
"At the As You See It on TV store."
"But don't get carried away," said Riza, looking at the gloves precariously. "You might burn everything."
"Yeah, like the ham," remarked Ed, sniggering. He quickly took that back as Roy feigned a snap.
The rest of the presents were distributed before it got too late. Julia received a charm bracelet made of real diamonds, an extravagant gift from Al, whose never- ending sweet charisma brought a wave of 'aaawwww!' In return, Julia gave him a massive box containing parts for a suit of armor.
"No way," Al tried on the helmet. "I've been wanting this all year!" He pulled out a long, blue loincloth. "What's this for?"
Julia shrugged. "Decoration I guess."
"A suit of armor needs a loincloth?" Winry asked, tapping the metal.
"I guess so, but I still love it," Al tenderly kissed Julia. "Thank you, Jules."
"No problem, Phonsey."
Ed shook his head, embarrassed from his brother's evident affection. "Phonsey…" he laughed to himself. From Roy, he received a bag of shrimp as a holiday joke. ("Haha Mustang. Very funny.")
Riza presented her gift for Al, which was the sequel to his book 101 Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthy and Happy. He took it ecstatically, flipping through the pages of the new edition called 202 Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthier and Happier.
Slightly blushing, Winry handed her gift to Ed, finding it very difficult to even look at him. "Here, this is for you." Four pairs of eyes watched intently, fingers crossed, praying to some unknown power for the Secret Mission to end with a happy twosome instead of broken hearts.
Ed lifted the top, peering inside to where a pocket watch nestled among the tissue paper. It was timepiece he had secretly wanted for a while.
"Open it," she said, clasping her hands together.
He felt its smooth surface, before fumbling it open. Something was inscribed inside, engraved were the words, Don't forget- A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.
"Edward," Winry started, summoning enough courage to continue. "I've been friends with you before I could even pronounce your whole name. Our friendship means so much, but I'm risking the chance of letting it slip away with what I am about to tell you right now."
"You can do it!" Riza urged on, thumbs up.
"Just tell him!" Julia encouraged with Roy and Al acting as back-up supporters. Winry looked over her shoulder, but they were gone as though they were not really there at all.
"Go on," Ed said, his full attention set only on her. "I'm listening."
It was now or never, confess or forget. Two options, one choice. Winry took a deep breath. "Ed… I know that the watch isn't much, but I'm giving you one more thing: my heart. What you do with it is entirely up to you. You can stomp into the dirt or let it sink to the bottom of the ocean, but it's not longer mine to keep. It's been yours ever since I realized I cared for more for you than just as friends, and I can't take it back even if I wanted to."
He didn't smile. He didn't frown. His face was a vacant lot with no emotion to fill it up. He said nothing, nothing at all to occupy the empty time and space.
Winry cleared her throat. Boy, did she feel stupid now. "So… so what I'm trying to say is… my heart is yours. If- if you don't feel the same way, and laugh at my face, my feelings for you won't be any different…"
The silence spoke for itself, the only sound was the fire' cackling and the ticking of the clock. If a rock was around, Winry would have gladly hid under it, secrete herself from the idiocy mocking her.
"So yeah," she stupidly said. "Have- have a merry Christmas, ok?"
"Wait," Ed abruptly spoke up. "Your secret Santa still owes you a present, but first, I need you to close your eyes."
"Close your eyes for me. Please." Apprehensive, Winry did as was told. "No peeking either."
Despite herself, a grin escaped. "I won't."
Taking her by the hand, Ed led her upstairs, checking every now and then that not a single peep was snuck as they entered the bedroom.
Soft scents of buds and petals welcomed them graciously into the room; sweet fragrances of nature blossoming bloomed in the air. The aroma was alluring, grabbing hold of Winry and not letting go.
"Do you remember when we visited that floral shop and you told me about the significance of a flower's color?" asked Ed.
The instance replayed in Winry's mind. "Yeah, why?"
"Well, open your eyes to find out."
It was as though she had wakened up to some fairytale dream. Bouquets of roses, magnificent flowers of forget-me-not pink, yellow, blue, red and white bewitched the entire room into transforming it like something one could only envisage in the outskirts of imagination. Winry tried to think of something to say, but words were a renegade, abandoning her to fend for her own.
"Wow…" was all she could think of.
Ed grinned. "I was really having a horrible time at picking a gift for you. You've known me long enough to say I am one of the worst gift-givers in the history of all time. Forgive me if this sounds dumb, but, I wanted a present that would be able to tell you more than my lips could ever speak." He paused briefly. "Do you remember what you said? What you said about a pink rose?"
Winry nodded. "They stand for a crush..."
"Friendship…" she walked around, looking at the bright array. "Blue for someone special… red and white for…" Her heart quickened.
"Love, wasn't it?" he asked, ignoring the thumping of his own heart. "Even though I sounded highly uninterested when you told me all this, it didn't mean I wasn't listening. But… I couldn't pick just one type of rose that would show you something I've been meaning to tell you for a long time." He heard her gasp slightly.
He handed her a yellow rose. "Friendship, the first baby step to our bond. Even though we argue a lot, I s-still care about you." Placing a pink and blue flower in her hand, he continued. "After knowing you more and more, that care turned into a crush, and… I realized that you were someone special to me, when I realized," delicately, he placed a white and red rose behind her ear, "that… that I'm in love with you."
The words linked fantasy with reality as an undecipherable aura surrounded them both. A smile came to her lips; a smile with such radiance, Ed had never seen her look so beautiful as she did at that moment.
"Winry," he gazed into her eyes, "Would it be a crime to tell you I love you?"
Unable to contain the happiness any longer, she leapt into his arms. "Only if I didn't tell you I love you back."
"Kiss her!" Al's voice careened into the room, accompanied by Roy's.
"Kiss her already, you idiot!"
Perplexed, Ed and Winry turned towards the door but saw no one there. "The hell…?"
Grinning, Winry tapped his nose. "They're right, you know." She gestured towards a sprig of mistletoe mysteriously hanging above them.
Laughing and not caring how that got there, Ed gazed into her eyes as he caressed her cheek. He traced the outline of her lips with his finger before expressing with a kiss the joy and complete bliss that could never be put into words profound enough to describe.
Winry smiled as she entwined her fingers with his, whispering gently in his ear, "Merry Christmas, Edward."
The small audience outside the door burst into a quiet applause. "Aaaaawwww!" Riza and Julia squealed as they shut the door quietly, leaving Ed and Winry to themselves. "That was so cute!"
Roy high-fived Al. "Secret Mission: get Winry and Ed together-"
"Success!" Al declared. "Hey, are we ever going to tell them about that?"
The four of them pondered. "Nah!" they said, chuckling as Al and Julia headed to their room.
"Oh, Roy," Riza tugged at his sleeve, pulling him back. "I still have to give you your gift." She led him downstairs, forcing him to sit on the couch. "Prepare to be dazzled."
Roy sat up straight in his seat, full attention set on his object of affection as she turned on the radio. Pulling out a Santa hat, she discarded the bath robe; clad only in a red tank top, matched with the tiniest red skirt anyone was capable of wearing.
"This one's for you," she pointed at him, singing, "Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me" Oh Lord, Roy thought, I'm in trouble. "I've been an awful good girl. Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight." Her voice reached his ears like a music symphony.
Big, big trouble.
She moved her hips, placing the Santa hat on the top of his head. Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight. Hurry down the chimney tonight."
Standing directly in front of him, she leaned forward, her lips dangerously close to his. "And hurry down the chimney tonight…" The song faded as she placed a butterfly-kiss on his lips that made him ask for more.
Roy was grinning. "I was dazzled. Blown away. Stupefied," he said, already out of adjectives for a correct description. "Riza, you should consider wearing something like that more often."
Chuckling, she pulled the brim of the hat over his eyes. "I'll think about it."
Satisfied with her answer, it was Roy's turn to dazzle her. He told her to sit on the couch, the moment of truth hidden inside the velvet case in his pocket.
"Riza, you know that I love you more than anything on the face of this earth," he started. "You are the quintessence of my well-being, my angel when things get tough. I don't see myself with anyone else other than you, and that's it why I am asking you this."
Taking out the box, he got down on one knee, his face reflecting a bona fide epitome. He opened the case, revealing a diamond encrusted ring set for engagement. Riza's eyes widened, already knowing the answer as he asked, "Riza Hawkeye, will you marry me?"
"Yes!" she exclaimed, nodding her head, the pinnacle of happiness bringing forth tears of joy. "Yes, I will!"
Wiping away the tears, Roy placed the ring on her finger, admiring the way it perfectly fit. "Riza Mustang. That has a nice ring to it, don't you think?" He pulled her into a kiss, passionate and true and sealed with love.
"I love you," Riza whispered, eyes sparkling.
Roy wrapped his arms around her, holding her close as she rested her head on his chest. "I love you, too."
They sat by the fire, arm and arm so that you couldn't tell where one began and the other ended. Together, they shared this moment in time, ready to take on anything life was going to throw at them, knowing they would succeed as long as they had each other.
"Tonight was a good night," Julia said, arms linked with Al as the two of them sat at the foot of the stairs. "Everyone's together, and that makes me happy."
"Yeah, but what about us?" he asked, tinkering with the charms dangling from her bracelet. "Don't we get a special ending?"
"Of course we do," she nuzzled against his collar. "Everyone deserves a happy ending."
Al grinned from ear to ear. His lips caught hers in a kiss, and this time, they wouldn't be done for a while.
And so concludes this tale with each person learning a new morality to bring with the next year, a new love to share with the arrival of the many new years to come. The twelve days of Christmas was only a little fragment in their lives but the pieces of memories made would certainly last for a lifetime.
And that's it! I can't believe it's over, but don't fret. This won't be the last EdWin fic I make. Promise! I might- keyword might- make a sequel to this, but I'm not sure. We'll just see, I guess.
I would like to thank all of you lovely reviewers. You guys certainly made this fic worthwhile. Thank you for encouraging me with this story- it would be nothing without you all. I love you all!
Oh, and before I go…
AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!