Rowan started to write another Elricest story (is still, in fact) that was started at 11 one evening. Needless to say, it was not perfect. She wanted to write drama- what came out was a soap opera. So while Definition of Sin is purposely written like a bad novel, Darling will be it's polar opposite- hopefully drama at its best. At least, she'll try.
Disclaimer: Rowan turns on her computer, opens Paint. This is no manga artist, and certainly no Hiromu Arakawa. Thank you for your time.
AC (Author's Claim): The OC in this chapter belongs to me, got it? Kenneth Morgan is mine! mine! mine! No taking, because I thought of him first! So yay, something here is totally and completely mine!
Note: Okay, I've only seen up to about Episode 41, so naturally, I have no clue how the show ends- so DON'T spoil the show, okay? Thank you in advance, it is much appreciated. For my story's timeline, when Ed was 16 and Al 15, they managed to get Al's body back. Chapter titles taken from the ending theme song "Kesenai Tsumi" (you FMA fans should be familiar with that, ne?)
Chapter One- Mayowazu ni
A telephone call:
"Hey, Winry. Remember when you said you wanted no surprises from us?"
The girl sighed and placed her hand on her hip. The wrench sat impatiently in her clenched palm. "Yes, Edward, what is it?" She frowned. "Don't you dare tell me that your arm's broken again, or I'll-" The wrench shifted eagerly in her grip.
"No, nothing like that. Actually, I just wanted to let you know not to expect your cash cow- as Granny Pinako put it- to feed you guys anymore!"
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Winry lifted the wrench up to her face, inspected the handle, rubbed it against her pants, then gripped the silver in her hand.
"I told you that one day I would no longer need you." A cocky laugh. Her hand twitched. The wrench so wanted to fly, it begged her, please, let me hit that head of hair, feel the grate against bone, please oh please oh please- "Yes, I could barely wait for that day to arrive, and now it's here. And I looked forward to never trekking out that far again, however-"
"Again, what the hell are you talking about?"
"-Alphonse was looking forward to eating some home cooked meal, so we're coming to Resembool. We'll be there in the morning, so keep an eye out for us. We might be harder to see than you think."
Winry gasped. "Wait. Al-? Eat-? You mean-?" A chuckle from the other end, the wrench hitting the floor with a pleasant clang, and her right behind.
"Winry? Winry? Hello-o?"
Two months later
Edward glared behind his brother at the girl on the other side, sticking his tongue at her when she saw him watching. She grinned back. "You look excited, Edward," she said.
Al looked over his shoulder just in time to catch Ed's glare, which quickly disappeared when he saw his brother glance at him. "Hmph," he snorted, pulling in the lapels of his suit and tugging his tie. "How did I let you talk me into this?" he whined. The other two laughed.
"Oh, brother, you know Winry. She got the call while she was working, and when she invited us, a little wave of the wrench and you were begging to come along!" Al grinned down at Edward.
"Oh yeah," he grumbled. "Now I remember. But how'd she get me into this suit?"
Al laughed. "I did that. You're a sucker for sad eyes, brother."
Ed glowered and crossed his arms across his chest. "Oh yeah," he muttered. "You two are a pair of evil, evil people. You should never have children-" a gasp and a sigh "-together."
Winry and Al glanced at each other and giggled. Winry blushed and Al quickly turned away from the girl. Ed looked over at them and rolled his eyes. "Idiots." They both smiled at that.
"So…who's getting married again?"
"Um, Alphonse Elric?" a young girl about fourteen years old, the bridegroom's niece from Central City, asked through her long curly eyelashes.
Al looked down into the shy, pretty face. "Yes?"
The girl blushed. "Would you like to dance?"
"R-really? Uh, sure!" He stood up quickly, a pleased look on his face, and led the girl towards the other swaying pairs in the middle of the conservatory where the reception was being held.
Edward sulked down at his plate as his brother abandoned him too. His eyes traveled from the cake crumbs on his plate to his gloved right hand resting near his fork. So he had lied to Winry, but only slightly. His leg was restored, but he could never get his arm back. That had been equally exchanged for Alphonse's soul, and unless he wanted to trade them back, he would be stuck forever with the automail arm. The leg came back with Al's body, once they sacrificed the same ingredients they had used four years before to bring back their mother. Of course, the second time they had the Philosopher's Stone and for once everything went smoothly.
Edward frowned at the limb. It was useful in his job as State Alchemist, that was for sure, and Ed had to admit, it was helpful having a transmutable arm in times of desperation, though the element of surprise had quickly dwindled over time. But sometimes Edward fervently wished that he could be normal, as much as Al now was. He resented the looks of dread, of horror, of misunderstanding. Why couldn't they leave him alone; hadn't he suffered enough for his sins?
Ed cursed under his breath. No, he didn't really care what other people thought. But sometimes it got lonely, being fullmetal.
Someone pulled out the chair next to Edward and sat down at the table beside him. Ed looked up and found Winry watching him intently. "Hello Ed," she breathed. Her face was flushed, her dance partner- different than the one who took her away in the first place- returning to his seat a few table away. "Why aren't you dancing?"
Ed smirked, shrugged, sat back in his seat and let his right arm dangle beside him. "I'm not much of a dancer," he said.
"You know, you can ask someone to dance. There are girls in here who would say yes."
"Maybe I'm not interested in them."
Winry sighed. "Are you interested in anyone, Edward?"
Ed smiled at the girl. "Not really."
Ed's eyes moved past Winry's shoulder to the dance floor, where Alphonse was dancing with an awkward grace, his face pink with embarrassment, the hue growing deeper each time he stepped on his partner's foot. Edward felt he heard their laughter, even from across the room.
Winry leaned forward in the seat, elbows indecorously leaning on the table as she twirled Al's fork around the cake left on his plate. Under her breath, she hummed along with the music, and Edward smiled when he heard that too. She was sharp, but Ed didn't mind. He knew Winry could care less too, and that made him smile.
"Say, Winry," he said, his eyes still seeing past her. "If neither of us get married by the time we're twenty, you want to marry me?"
The fork fell on the plate. Winry sat up. "What?"
"In four years, if you're not married, you want to marry me?" Edward turned his passive face to her, a question hanging on his eyebrows.
All she did was smile.
Four years later
Ed stepped off the train and looked around him. They weren't expecting him after all, because he hadn't called; sometimes surprises are nice. The sun was shining over the green spring grass swaying carelessly in the breeze. He smiled. A perfect day for a walk, and he could use the exercise after sitting down so long. Besides, he had walked further before. Ed walked down the stairs leading off the platform and began to follow the dirt path leading to Resembool, and perhaps, home.
When Ed approached the house, Den gamboled up to him and thrust his old head under Ed's right hand. Despite his age, he still knew Edward and wrestled his old body up to greet him. Ed patted Den on his head, then winced when he heard a shriek escape the house. The words were indistinguishable, but the voice unmistakable- Winry. Den's ears flattened against his skull and Ed heartily agreed with him.
Knocking cautiously on the front door with Den hiding behind his legs, Ed nervously prayed a smile and not a wrench would greet him. A puff of smoke from Pinako Rockbell's pipe was what he got when she answered the door, and a grunted hello. Winry's voice came from the back of the house, along with the sound of a couple dozen wrenches and who knew what else thrown about. Slowly, Ed entered the house. Den was nowhere to be found.
"I can't believe you broke it! My masterpiece! A state-of-the-art automail prosthetic and you throw it around like it's some cheap plastic model!" The speech was oddly familiar to Edward; he recalled many times when he smashed his arm around, though the time Scar smashed it to pieces was definitely the worst. "Well, where is it? Let's see if it's worth salvaging."
The sound of mumbling, then a scream and the satisfying sound of metal hitting bone. Ed reflexively rubbed the top of his head.
"You LOST IT! Do you know how much TIME it took to MAKE THAT? And you LOST IT?"
Well, Ed was satisfied. He never lost any of his limbs (and the one time he did, thankfully got it back.) So there was someone worse than him out there. It was comforting to know. Though Ed wasn't so sure about surprising Winry with his visit now. She didn't sound quite inviting.
Just at the moment, Winry opened the door and peered inside. "Granny, it looks like another all-nighter aga…" she trailed off as her eyes moved from Pinako to Edward. "Ed? What are you doing here?" She stepped into the room and engulfed him in a hug.
"Well, uh, just thought I'd stop by for a visit, since I was in the neighbor-" Ed started to say until Winry stood back suddenly and grabbed his right arm. She carefully examined the fingers, the joint, and each screw before dropping it and looking at Ed again.
"Just checking to make sure. I don't want two emergencies on my hands," she said with a smile.
"Speaking of, your emergency could use a spare leg for the time being," a young man said from the door way. He was clutching the door for support; he was missing the bottom half of his right leg, but other than that, he looked like a healthy young man. He had handsome brown hair that fell in his deep blue eyes, and a strong chin that gave him a princely air. And he was tall, Ed noticed with dislike.
Winry spun around and laughed at the young man. "I think you deserve to be punished for losing that leg of mine. Maybe I'll give you a pair of crutches until your new leg's made." The man laughed back, then hopped his way over to the girl- young woman, Ed corrected. She had grown and fit in the young man's arm, which Ed noticed when he leaned on Winry for support.
"You be my crutch then. See? You're the perfect size!" He grinned cheekily down at Winry, a gorgeous smile. Ed thought he heard angels singing and a ray of light shine down upon him.
Winry grinned back, then looked to Ed's scowl. "Oh, Ed, this is Kenneth Morgan. Kenny, this is Edward Elric. Ed and I grew up together."
Kenneth- Kenny, Ed noticed suspiciously- looked down with surprise at Ed. "Edward Elric? The Fullmetal Alchemist?" Ed nodded curtly. "Aren't you supposed to be taller?"
Ed could have killed someone then (and Kenneth seemed like the perfect candidate) but Winry intervened by pushing Kenneth back into the other room. "You just wait there while I grab you a spare." She turned to Ed and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Edward, promise to get along with Kenny? It would mean the world to me." Her blue eyes pleaded so kindly that he could not refuse. Damn, he thought as he nodded, Kenneth would have made such a lovely corpse.
Dinner that evening commenced the glaring match between Ed and Kenneth, with both determined to win. When Winry asked for the potatoes, both blindly reached for the bowl, their eyes locked as their hands fished around the table. Kenneth's longer arms hit pay dirt and Ed's glare intensified when Ken shot him a cocky smirk. Next Pinako asked for the string beans, which sat in front of Edward. The alchemist pounced on the plate and rudely shoved it towards the older woman, his turn to smirk. Kenneth shrugged, because while Ed grabbed the beans, he had refilled Winry's water glass.
But Ed was not to be outdone. When Winry observed that the chicken was cold, he coolly clapped his hands together and touched the plate, reheating the meat with a blue flash. Kenneth's eyes widened and Ed nearly won, but the brilliant show of alchemy merely lowered Kenneth's fine eyebrows further down his forehead.
Winry tried the best she could to create harmony at the table, but finding suitable conversation that would involve both men proved difficult. In the end, she turned to the only thing she really thrilled discussing: automail prosthetics.
"You know, Edward, that I modeled Kenneth's leg after yours," she said. "Of course, I had to make modifications, seeing how yours was the left leg and Kenny's is the right, but both of you lost your leg right below the knee, so it was easy to do the conversion."
Ken smirked at Edward. "Ah, so that's why they call you Fullmetal. A runt like you with such a heavy name; makes sense now."
Ed glowered across the table. "Not that that's very original," he said in return. "You're not the first to say that."
"So, you've got an automail leg, huh? Bet mine cost more, seeing how it needs more material," said Ken.
Edward opened his mouth to retort, but a look from Winry stayed his tongue. Finally, he shrugged and said, "Actually, I'm the Rockbell's cash cow; I'm the reason why business is so good."
Pinako laughed from her end of the table. "You've got that right. Banged up his arm so much, we never had to worry about money!"
"A prosthetic arm too, huh?" Kenneth said. "What'd you do? Get into a fight with a lion for calling you crumbs?"
Edward was finding it extremely tempting to transmute Ken's chair into a death trap, but sometime during the conversation, Winry had grabbed his right hand and was squeezing it tightly. He would have called it endearing, except she kept her eyes on Kenneth the entire time. "Well what about you?" he asked, choosing to ignore Ken's question. "How'd you lose your leg?"
Winry turned her head to Ed, her eyes shining. "Oh, it's a very interesting story! Go ahead, Kenny, you tell it so well."
Kenneth sat up in his seat and smiled at Winry. "Well, if you insist." He cleared his throat. "I was hunting in the woods one day when, in a thicket, I came across a little girl. She had been crying, for she had gotten lost in the woods and could not find her parents. I lifted the girl up on my shoulders and assured her that we would find her parents again. The girl gripped my hair in her little hands and said, 'Mr. Ken, I have faith in you!'
"So we set out to find the girl's parents. But dusk soon fell and we had not found anyone, nor any way out of the forest. So we had to sleep in the middle of the woods.
"Sometime in the middle of the night, I heard a struggle that roused me from my sleep and just in time, for a band of thieves lived in those woods and were kidnapping the little girl! I stood to chase after them, but discovered that one of the rogues had placed a bear trap at my foot, and when I tried to run after them, my leg got caught in the teeth! However, I promised the girl that I would bring her back, so I pulled the trap up from the ground and ran after them." Ken turned to Edward, a condescending smirk on his face. "I had decided that keeping the trap in would at least stem the flow of blood from the wound," he added, as though Ed had asked. "Anyway, despite my near-fatal injury, I managed to keep behind the thieves all the way back to their hideout. And there, I waited until all the lights went out and I knew they were asleep. Then, grabbing a dead tree limb, I crept into the den, knocked each thief unconscious, and rescued the little girl.
"I knew we had to get out of the forest as fast as we could, before the thieves woke up, so I placed her on my back and ran through the woods back the way I had come. By the first light of dawn, the edge of the forest was in sight, but the teeth of that trap dug deeper and deeper into my leg muscles. Collapsing to the ground, I sent the little girl ahead and told her to bring back help. She was reluctant to leave me, but I convinced her that it was the only way to save us both. The girl kissed my cheek and promised to return with help, and then I watched her little legs hobble towards salvation.
"So there I lay, for hours and hours, the blood pouring freely from the gauges in my leg- I was still wise, though, and left the trap in my leg, or else I would have drowned in my blood before long. I lay on the forest floor for eternity, until the sun had reached its zenith in the sky and past, and I thought I should be forsaken and left to die there, soaking in my blood. But the girl had kept her word, and just as dusk was creeping in upon me, she came back, her parents and a pair of hunters with her. They carried me out of the wood, but when they moved my leg, now throbbing with pain, I fainted and remembered no more.
"It was days before I opened my eyes again, and immediately I knew something was wrong. When I sat up in bed- the hunters had a cabin up in those parts and were very kind to me the entire time I remained in their home- I realized what it was. Where my legs ought to have been, I saw only my left foot rising from under the covers. And that's when I realized I had been so badly wounded that my right leg had been amputated. It was painful to see only that one leg, but I was thankful to be alive, and I knew there were worse things that could happen to me.
"I remained in the cabin with the two hunters for a month, just recuperating. But I thought my life, as I once knew it, was over. How could I live, without my leg? I admit, that first month was the moment of my deepest despair. But I moved on, and after that month was over and I had accustomed myself to moving around with crutches, I started to travel around the country, searching for some place to stay, but everywhere I went, no one would take me in, give me a job.
"That is, until I came to Resembool. It was an accident, actually! On the train, I met this major who told me about a mechanic who made automail prosthetics. It was a dream come true, to believe that I could have a leg again- walk again. I never knew that anything like that was possible. So I got off at Resembool, and with only a name to guide me, made my way to the Rockbells." Kenneth glanced over at Winry, a tender smile on his face. "They saved my life, this pair of amazing women."
"Hmm, and he's been staying here ever since, too!" Pinako muttered affectionately around her pipe. "Freeloader."
Ed leaned back in his chair, unimpressed with the young man's story. Though one aspect did interest him- "That major you met on the train. His name wouldn't happen to have been Armstrong, would it?"
Kenneth turned to Ed. "Yeah, that was him. Big hulking fellow; kept bragging about old Armstrong traditions and the like. Weird, but he did tell me about this place, so I'm grateful to him."
Ed nodded. "What a small world," he said.
"You know him?"
"Yeah," Ed smirked, leaning his head on the heel of his hand. "Escorted me out here once, when I needed some maintenance done. So, actually, you owe me for ever hearing of the Rockbells. The only reason Major Armstrong knows about them is because of me."
Kenneth narrowed his eyes at Ed. "That so? Well I say I would have heard of them anyway. Who needs you, with the reputation they've got?"
"Where do you think they got it from, huh? Everyone else's too chicken to get automail like mine; I'm the reason they're known! No one would have heard of them if it weren't for me!" They were starting to shout by this time, both rising from their seats.
"Oh, this is enough!" cried Winry, jumping from her chair and slamming her fists down on the table. "Will you both stop acting like children? Who cares where Granny and I got a reputation from. What matters is that you both heard of us and got fixed. That's all that matters. Now can we all just settle down?"
Ed and Kenneth glanced up at Winry, eyes wide and mouths hanging open, then they nodded their heads quickly. "Yes ma'am," they said in unison, then turned to glare at each other. Winry sighed.
The next few days Ed spent visiting his acquaintances and old friends in Resembool. Winry and Pinako were busy working on Kenneth's leg and Ed hated the guy too much to even think of spending his day with him. Besides, there were people that Ed had promised to see the next time he was in town. Den accompanied him on each trip.
Well, to be truthful, Edward did not really hate Kenneth, only the way Winry's eyes watched him, and the way he smiled at her every time they passed glances. He hated how Winry called him "Kenny," and the way her face lit up each time Kenneth stepped into the room. It wasn't exactly jealously; no, not that, even though Edward had come to Resembool for one thing only…no, it wasn't jealousy. He just didn't want to see Winry get hurt.
Besides, Kenneth reminded Ed too much of someone he once knew, someone who was of great irritation and nuisance to him. Ed didn't hate that guy either, but some memories were less pleasant than others. Especially the height thing. Edward prayed that Kenneth was older than him.
But not too old.
On the third night, while Pinako instructed Kenneth in his new automail leg- don't break it, be gentle on it, don't break it, polish it well to keep it in condition, don't break it, don't be rash with it, and oh, don't. break. it.- Edward pulled Winry into his guest room and shut the door behind him.
"Winry, it's been four years," he said to her questioning face.
She nodded. "I know, Edward. I take it, then, that you're here to fulfill your promise?"
Edward sat down on the bed and pulled Winry down next to him. "Look. You of all the people I know- I will ever know- understand me best. You understand me, and you accept me the way I am. You know my deepest secrets and my darkest sins. If I ever could marry anyone, Winry, she would have to accept those sins as a part of me, and love me despite them. If I could ever find someone who could- but the only person I know like that is you. That's why, if you'll have me, I'll marry you, Winry. I don't think I could care about anyone more."
Ed picked up Winry's hand in his metal palm and squeezed it lightly. "But that's not to say I'll love you the way you ought to be loved. You're my sister, Winry, if not by blood than in spirit. I can guarantee that I will always love you, but as a person loves their other half, their soul mate- I'm not sure I can promise that, Winry. So, I release you from your promise, if that's what you desire."
Winry gently wrapped her arm around Edward's smaller frame, pulling him close. "Thank you, Edward. I love you too, Ed, but I don't think I could ever marry you." She pulled back and smiled sadly. "I knew the moment I saw you in the kitchen why you were here, and I nearly hoped you had broken your arm again, because I understand automail so much more. It's more concrete, and I didn't want to break your heart, Ed. I don't think I could have done that, if you hadn't spoken first." There were tears in her eyes, something that made Ed's heart beat fast with fear. What if she started to cry again? Would she say she was doing it for him, because she thought he ought to cry for his lost love?
But Winry did not cry. Instead, she smiled and kissed Ed on the cheek. "Anyway, I can't marry you now. Kenny just asked me to marry him." She held up her hand, a small gold band encircling her ring finger.
"Does he love you?" asked Ed.
She nodded. "Yes, he does. And I love him, even more than automail, more than anything in the world!" Ed shook his head at her shining face. It wasn't necessary to say- he could see it in her face, hear it in the tremors of her voice, feel the love like heat radiate from their smiles. Still, he couldn't help but worry; the question came as pure instinct. After all, Winry deserved the best.
"Yeah, I suspected as much. Anyway, I'm glad you've met someone, Winry. And for what it's worth, I suppose I approve." Winry frowned, earning a rare laugh from Ed. "C'mon, you don't actually expect me to be happy, do you? He's a stranger, and he's been wooing my sister! Besides, you were always supposed to choose Alphonse," he said.
Winry laughed back. It was an old argument between the two brothers, who would marry Winry. She never knew who won, but she knew she could never choose between them. Apparently, so had Edward. "Both of you are like brothers to me. I could never choose one over the other. Besides, why Alphonse?"
Ed turned away, but Winry spied the betrayal of a smile at the corner of his lips. That little upturn of his mouth looked so sad. "Because then you really would be my sister. And I wouldn't have to worry any more…"
Ed stood up suddenly and walked towards the door. He placed his hand on the knob, then turned around. "I think we should celebrate your engagement! Dinner's on me tonight!"
Winry leapt up from the bed and laughed. "But only if you drink your milk!"
"Winry!" She giggled and threw her arms around his neck.
"You know I'm joking, silly. C'mon, let's go!"
The next morning, while the others were eating, Ed emerged from his room, suitcase in his hand, fully packed. Winry stood up, forgetting her cereal. "Edward? You're leaving already?"
Ed nodded. "Duty calls. I have to report into Central tomorrow, so I figured I'd get in today so I could get settled. Sorry I'm leaving on such short notice, but I got the call just last night."
Winry hugged Ed tightly, tears in her eyes. "You come back soon, okay Edward? We don't see enough of you." Ed gripped her shoulder tightly and gave her a grave smile. Then he walked through the kitchen door and was gone.
Winry sat back down and stared at her cereal blankly. Slowly, laughter bubbled up her throat and she quietly start to shake. Pinako glanced at her granddaughter, eyebrows up in skepticism. "What's the matter?"
Winry, still laughing, said, "I get it now. Ed didn't come here to marry me; he came to check up on me. And once he saw Kenny, he understood everything would be alright. Ed was just waiting for an opportunity to talk to me; he never planned to marry me." Pinako shook her head and Kenneth shrugged.
Winry stood up from the table and picked up the telephone. "I'm going to do something nice for Edward now."
Nobody knew that the Fullmetal Alchemist was coming into Central that day, so Ed didn't expect to see any familiar faces at the train station, and if he did, just by coincidence (though he did pray not to see Mustang.) But as Edward stepped off the train that afternoon, in all that bustle he saw the one face that made his heart stop.
Chapter One- Without hesitation
Friday the 13th! Sorry, that was random. I actually shall be updating this story on Tuesdays, not Fridays, hopefully weekly (depending on my laptop and it working), but next Tuesday, I'll be away, so actually, you'll have to wait for Chapter until the 24th. Please review if you liked this chapter! It's nice and long and juicy (erm, well, maybe not) so I hope to get nice, long (preferably not juicy- I like soda better) reviews too!