Author's Note: Hello everyone! This idea for a short scene wouldn't leave me alone, so I decided to write it down. After all, nobody ever got hurt by a one shot, right? (horrible pun, I know) Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading it. The story takes place after current events in the manga (post Chapter 58), and there are spoilers for Chapters 5, 15, and 48, as well as Episodes 7, and 25 of the anime. Oh, and this is my first time writing a fanfic... ever. So please take this into consideration, mmkay? Reviews and comments are very aprpeciated, and will make me smile :)
Also, I've finally edited and polished this story for your ultimate enjoyment :P But sorry for that double Author's Note, I canNOT seem to fix it…
Something You Can't Prevent
"Go ahead then," he said, his head down, face hidden by his bangs. "I've earned it."
As she was about to walk out of the room to get her favorite article of doom, Winry stopped in her tracks, in sudden realization. Shocked, she looked back at the boy sitting on the couch. He had never believed in the law of the wrench, let alone voluntarily subjected himself to the said punishment. But as sweet as such a victory should be, she felt no satisfaction.
That's why it's hard to say who was more surprised when her arms wrapped themselves around his neck, as she silently scooted next to him.
Well, maybe Ed was a bit more startled (and pink on his cheeks). Especially after he cast a quick but scrupulous glance around and found no wrenches, or other potential weapons, in the near vicinity of where they were currently situated. So this wasn't a trap.
"What's that for?"
"For always taking the entire blame on yourself," she answered quietly into his neck. "For not realizing that you can't save everyone," he couldn't help but feel a well-known pain in his chest at this, "but that those you did save will always owe their lives to you."
And although the pain was still there, Ed found himself relaxing in her embrace.
After they sat in perfect silence for a while, Winry suddenly hugged him even closer to herself, and spoke so softly, as if she was pouring her entire heart into her next words:
"For thinking that I would hit you with a wrench when you least deserve it."
That's when yet another thing happened that shocked both of them, though this time it was Winry's turn to blush. For Ed had wrapped his hands around her waist, albeit lightly. For the first time since they were kids, he actually hugged her.
She felt tears fighting their way to her eyes, both at his sweet gesture, and at her own sorrow. It hurt her tremendously that a wonderful person like Ed had to go through so much pain in his life. ALthough she was secretly euphoric that he was showing her even this tiny bit of affection, she knew that he was acting this way only because he was suffering so much.
"It's just that…"
She snapped out of her thoughts when she heard his doleful voice.
"I just… feel like I've failed everyone."
Winry pulled back from him a little, to see his face. Although he was looking away, she saw that his golden eyes were full of pain, guilt, and regret. Feeling a new wave of tears coming, it took all of her strength to continue fighting them back.
"I still haven't given Al his body back," he went on, avoiding her gaze, "and I got many people hurt because of what I'm doing."
He stopped, as images of Nina, Hughes, and possibly countless others who have been affected by his actions, flashed across his mind. Why hadn't he seen it coming? Why had he been so careless? Why had he put his loved ones in danger?
Before Winry could say anything, he went on, still looking away:
"I've failed my brother, my friends, and other people who counted on me."
Under normal circumstances, this would be the very moment Winry smacked him across the head with a heavy, metallic object for being the idiot he was right now. However, as this was somehow different from all the other times he had confessed in her – which, in itself, was rare enough not to ruin the mood – she rejected that possibility. He had too much on his head already without another aching bulge, and she genuinely wanted to take his pain away, not add to it.
As she lost the battle against her emotions and felt her cheeks slightly dampen, she spoke up, unsure of her own voice:
"You haven't failed anyone, Ed." Surprised at how strong she sounded, she went on, more boldly this time:
"Al knows you're doing everything you can to restore him to his old self and he loves you for it."
He was now looking at her, though still avoiding her eyes, and she thought he was going to interrupt her. However, when he just looked at her expectantly, she went on:
"And those people who got hurt, chose to stand by you because they believed in you. They knew the risks but decided you were worth it. And many still do. You have not failed anyone."
If she thought this was going to make him feel better, Winry was in for a surprise. He finally turned to her, and she saw that his eyes were even darker and gloomier than before. At her apparent confusion, he smiled sadly and said:
"I've failed you."
Puzzled, and starting to get frustrated with his excessively melancholic hero complex and absurd guilt complex, she frowned and started talking, perhaps too harshly than she would've wanted:
"Me? What are you talking about? You know I've al-"
"I promised I wouldn't make you cry tears of sadness again," he cut her off, touching her damp cheek with his left hand.
Damn, she cursed herself silently, for she almost let out a heart-breaking sob, which definitely would not help in the current situation. And there it was, that sad smile on his face again.
"I can fight lunatics and homunculi but I can't keep a simple promise." Then, he added, as if realizing that she might not remember what he was referring to: "I told you I'd make you cry with happiness."
Winry sighed and closed her eyes for a few seconds, before she opened them again and spoke:
"Edward, I am happy. I haven't been this happy in months," she told him, smiling shyly. "You're alive and here with me, and that's all that matters."
They were now tying in the blushing match, and both were momentarily finding the opposite wall or that little dirty spot on the rug surprisingly fascinating.
"I'm just trying to make you see that you're putting too much responsibility on yourself, and you know how… sometimes I can get a bit too… emotional." He smirked at that, and although her tone suggested he bite his tongue and better not say what was on his mind, she couldn't help but smile broadly. "It doesn't necessarily mean you've done something wrong. So don't beat yourself over something you can't prevent."
She noticed him frown faintly. Finally, having apparently come to some sort of a conclusion, he smiled at her – a real smile, this time.
"Then maybe I can at least make it stop."
And as he leaned in and kissed her softly, Winry mentally high-fived herself for not getting her wrench earlier.
And as he pulled back, uncertain of her reaction, Ed mentally high-fived himself for kissing her when, for once, she was completely wrench-less.
Not that it would be a threat, he judged from her tone of voice, and from the beautiful smile that now adorned her face, and that topped any other smile he had ever seen her wear:
"Yeah, I think it might work."