All I Want For Christmas
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Also, I have not actually seen the final episode but I know what happens. Merry Christmas and R/R.
It feels strange to be standing here. The odd thing is that I've been doing this for a year now and it's only now struck me as strange. A year since the grave was created, two years since he first disappeared. I still come here even though I know somewhere inside me that he's still alive and out there somewhere. But I still come to the unoccupied grave of Edward Elric because it's the only place where I can feel truly connected to him in some way. He would understand that, I think, and even if he didn't he knows that I'm way too stubborn to be talked out of this little habit.
I stare fondly at the grave and pull my coat around me tightly as the winter winds whips through my hair. It's a few days before Christmas. I still have to go into Central and buy a few gifts for my grandmother and for Al. I made everyone a list of things to get me but there was one important item left off of it for an equally important reason. What I would like for Christmas more than a state-of-the-art toolbox or a new screwdriver set is for Edward Elric to come home. It's a stupid, childish wish but it's the one thing I really want most for Christmas. I sigh and stare at the markings on the headstone, producing the bouquet of white roses and setting them gently next to the marker.
"I know you're not in there," I tell the grave, "but it helps." Ed never came back from Lior. The military picked up Al and brought him back here to us but they couldn't find any trace of Ed. Al couldn't remember things either. Something about the Gate, that was all he could say. I think I nearly broke down after that. Winry Rockbell, automail mechanic extraordinaire, couldn't fix herself. The irony of it is what probably hurt the most but the one thing that kept me going was some voice inside me that kept telling me he was alive. I couldn't accept the fact that he might be dead and I still can't. But that doesn't mean I don't miss him more than anything else in the whole world because I do. Maybe I even miss him more than my parents.
"It'll be Christmas in a few days," I tell the grave, "Al's excited about it. You know he always used to love Christmas." I hate doing this, hate pretending that he's dead. Everyone else gave up hope. The military exhausted all their resources. Roy Mustang only calls a few times a year now and it's just to say the same thing. There are no leads, no traces, nothing. So after a year, the military wrote him off and had a grave and a funeral service for him. But Edward Elric wouldn't be buried in some military cemetery along with other countless and faceless soldiers. Edward Elric was buried next to his mother on the same hillside where he and his brother had made their promise and started their journey. Roy and I both lobbied for it to be that way. I'm surprised we agreed on it.
"I wish you'd come home," I tell the empty grave, "I guess you're used to hearing me say that. I always mean it though." I do always mean it. Life's not the same without Edward Elric around. Al misses him, the boys in the military miss him, and even my grandmother misses him. I miss him most of all. I remember the day of my parents' funeral. He presented me with a bouquet of wildflowers and gave me the biggest hug I've ever received. Not too long after that, I gave him the same gift when his mother died. We've always been there when the other needed someone the most. Now I don't even know for sure whether or not he's still alive.
"I miss you," I tell the headstone. I feel my eyes begin to water. I've tried so hard to fight off my doubts and believe he's still alive but every day I find myself giving in more and more.
"I missed you too." The voice is too familiar, slightly cracked as if any minute its owner might break down. It can't be him. I have to be hearing things. I find myself slowly turning around, bracing myself for whatever might come next. There's a brilliant light, fading but still dazzling my eyes. I watch as a figure steps out from that light and as it fades I find myself gazing into eyes that are brilliant amber. For a second, time seems to stop as I see Edward Elric standing behind me. Then I feel myself collapse into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably and praying to God that it's really him holding me and it's not just a dream.
"Sorry I couldn't get home sooner," explains Ed, "The Gate took me somewhere else, to another world, and it took forever to get the damn thing open again without alchemy."
"Ed, can you for once just not explain things to me?" I ask him.
"Sorry," he apologizes sheepishly. He just holds me for a few minutes while I gather enough of myself to feel secure away from his arms. I finally step back and stare at him. He's gotten a little taller and his hair's longer but it's still the same Edward Elric.
"Is Al alright?" asks Ed, "Is he back at the house?"
"He's fine," I tell him, "He can't remember much of when he was in the armor and he's still a little kid but he's fine."
"As long as he's back to normal it works for me," says Ed with a smile as he holds up his hand, "Looks like both of us came out fine."
"You had me worried sick," I tell him teasingly, "but I guess that's nothing new for you, is it?" God, it feels so good to do this with him again.
"I go through all this trouble to get home for Christmas and you still nag at me," retorts Ed, "Typical." Both of us smile as I hug him again.
"You were the only thing I really wanted for Christmas," I whisper to him, "I love you, Ed."
"You too, Winry," he replies quietly. He looks past me now and I can tell he recognizes where we are. He moves past me and kneels down at his mother's grave.
"I'm sorry for all this," whispers Ed, "I'll try to do better." He gets up and turns back to me.
"Will you stay?" I ask him.
"Forever," replies Ed, "The military thinks I'm dead. I won't bother to tell them they're wrong."
"That's a first," I tell him sarcastically. He grins and I see his amber eyes light up with a mischievous glint I've missed for too long.
"Win," says Ed, "I still need a mechanic to help with all the broken stuff inside me."
"Forever," I tell him, "I'll never leave you, Ed. I'll stay with you for as long as you stay with me." He nods, taking my hand in his.
"Let's go home," says Ed, "I need that."
"Sounds fine to me," I tell him as we walk hand-in-hand down the hill and towards the house. I put my head on his shoulder, reveling in the fact that he's here with me now. Toolboxes and screwdrivers and all that other stuff make nice gifts for someone but there are some important things that make even better ones. This Christmas, I finally got the one thing in the world I wanted the most and now that he's back I'm never letting go of him.