Fullmetal Alchemist

By: Melissa the Damgel

I don't own anything of Fullmetal Alchemist. I just like playing with them and shoving them into situations we know we'd never see them in –and also I like seeing Ed and Winry play. …you'll know what I mean later! It's all for fun and kicks so don't sue! I'm not rich! Really!

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It Hurt So Much

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My Blue Eyed Lover

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Al stared wide eyed up into the gray, dismal sky as though it were the most brilliant sight he had ever beheld. A plane flew overhead in a rattling, tumbling ruckus that left few wondering what had just past above their heads. Al's eyes shone and his face alight with amazement and awe that such a machine existed. It was completely different from the flying machines that Eckhart had used. Her machines had used heat, helium and simple propellers to push the floating balloon and cab forward through the sky. But this! A plane that used an engine and was self propelled and could maneuver through the air with both speed and more grace than a bulky machine seemed capable of, it was nothing short of amazing to the young boy.

Watching his bother's amazement never got tiring. This had to have been the hundredth or even the thousandth plane Al had seen since they left Munich; but it put his heart at ease to see his brother enjoying himself like a real child rather than the responsible mini-adult Al truly was. Ed smirked suddenly and reached over, ruffling his brother's hair with a rough hand and a bark of amusement as soon as Al shouted and waved his hands and shoving his away. Ed chuckled and gave a little shove to the back of Al's head and caused his brother to take a few quick steps forward. "It's just a plane." He teased as he waved his hand, glancing across the street before he looked back to his younger brother, "Come on, Al. We have to find a place to stay. I really don't want to sleep in a ditch again tonight."

"Aren't there hotels here? This is a city, right?" Al hurried after his brother in a jog, his eyes scanning the area around him, looking for a sign or a building that resembled a hotel.

Ed waved his hand with a faint wrinkling of his nose. "Nah, not really. There are boarding houses, but hotels aren't really common in this world. Cheap ones, I mean. Seems like only the rich people travel. Anyway, we'll just have to look around till we find something." Ed explained, shifting his suitcase at his side to rest over his right shoulder with a rather graceful movement that belied the fact his arm was actually made of steel and wires.

Al nodded, following close to his brother as he gazed about this new world. "Where are we again? There are so many countries in this world; it's hard to keep track of them all."

"And the borders are changing every day too." Ed grumbled and shook his head as a scowl crawled over his face. "I still can't believe it took us a week to get into the Netherlands. I think we should just sneak past the boarders from now on. I hate all this red tape they are forcing everyone to go through." Ed griped then changed directions at the last second and tugged on Al's arm, dragging his brother left down another main street and his golden eyes immediately roamed the area looking for a building that promised at least a possible bed to sleep in for the night.

Frowning, Al shook his head, turning his shoulder to the side to pass a man and yet continue walking next to Ed. "Brother, we can't do that." He scolded and pointed at a building only to have Ed shake his head and they continued on. "You know what Mr. Hughes said, if the government catches us sneaking past their procedures, we could be arrested on sight, or worse, sent to a camp."

Ed scowled even as he looked down another street and sent small children rushing in the other direction with shrieks about a monster. "Yeah, yeah, yeah! Well, I can still complain, can't I? I think it's stupid…"

"Shh!" Al hissed and nudged his brother's arm. "I agree, but be quiet about it. We're in public. You know what he said about spies." Al whispered and looked over his shoulder at that very moment as though expecting to see two men in hats and dark glasses following them.

With another shrug, Ed continued leading the way, weaving his way through the streets expertly and leaving Al to follow in his current. "Whatever."

"It does matter, Brother. This world is at War and the people are particularly volatile right now."

Shaking his head, Ed took a sharp right and Al hopped back a step then continued following him. "This world is always at war. If it's not some small country, it's a city in the middle of nowhere." Ed sighed and frowned as he took a left at the corner, moving into the dingier side of the city were the luckily-employed members of society were located.

"Why are we stopping here again?" Al asked with a sigh. "We could have just taken the train-"

"Taking the train costs money and we aren't exactly rolling in the dough, Al. Our lazy father didn't think about any possibilities of me having to stay. All he saw was his 'noble' suicide." He frowned and stomped down the road.

Al paused and frowned at the retreating back of his brother. He knew Ed still didn't forgive his father for what he had done to their mother, but on some level he knew he had enjoyed being with his father for as short of a time as it was – though Ed still didn't forgive him for having run off again shortly after helping him build the make-shift automail.

"Hey, come on Al! Don't get lost!" Ed shouted, waving his hand. Al blinked in surprise upon realizing he had stopped walking as his thoughts fell upon their father. He still wished he had been able to meet him. He only vaguely remembered seeing his back, and then that one night their father had gone back to Rizenbul and he had talked with him late into the night. Well, he had done most of the talking, his dad hadn't really talked much other than to smile or make a small comment here or there. It was the only memory he held, and yet, it was empty with his father's lack of interaction.

"-in Norway. I heard a rumor that Adolf captured a heavy water plant there and he's using it to try and make a bom- are you even listening?" Ed asked, turning to glare down at his brother – he was going to enjoy that view for as long as possible.

"What? Oh! Sorry, Ed. I was just thinking." Al mumbled.

Ed raised a brow at his brother and studied him, but he shrugged off the unease and continued with his quiet ramblings to his brother. "Well, anyway, if my sources are correct, Huskisson is working there, helping to make another Uranium bomb; or something called 'atomic' bomb."

Frowning deeply, Al nodded, looking around the street, trying to look casual so as they wouldn't attract attention. "Are we going to sneak in or are we just going to storm the place?"

Ed grinned silly at his brother, "Have more faith in me, Al!" He snickered, "I was thinkin' we could sneak in."

Al smiled nervously, "But…"

"Yeah, yeah, it's heavily guarded and they are trained to shoot on sight. What's the big deal? We've gone up against homunculi and crazy radicals back home!" Ed reminded him –then winced as his ears processed what he had just said. He had called Amestris home again. He was trying to not do that anymore. For all intents and purposes, this world was home now. But, it was just so empty… so cold, and without…

Shaking his head, Ed sighed, "Anyway, I also heard that the British…" he paused to make sure no one turned to listen to them even as they continued to weave their way through the now thinly traveled streets, "…are also watching the place. They are trying to make the same thing, but the one difference is that they don't have Huskisson's prior knowledge. If Germa… er… if they give Huskisson the funding he needs to finish his work, he could create countless bombs and take out the world." Ed hissed at Al, crossing the street and taking a right this time down the next street, his golden eyes continually searching for a place they could possibly stay.

Frowning lightly, Al shook his head with a sad look in his warm eyes, "This is all so confusing. Why would he want to hurt so many people?"

Rolling his eyes, Ed shook his head and waved his hand at his side, "Duh, because he's crazy, Al." Ed pointed out, this time leading his little brother down an alley that looked promising –if dirty.

Shaking his head again, Al stepped onto the boards there were laid in the dirt and mud along the side of the alley to the side of a drainage ditch and watched the back of Ed's head as he followed him carefully upon the slanted and slippery board. "I don't think I would have understood this war even if I had been here as long as you where, Brother. I just… I just can't understand why these people fight against each other so easily and kill without regard. Don't they want peace? You'd think they enjoyed fighting and killing."

Ed stopped in his tracks and frowned deeply. He mulled over Al's words before he turned and sighed, his right hand moving the suitcase off his shoulder and back to his side, "I can't answer that, Al. They're history is different than ours, and their lives seem more miserable than back ho… back in Amestris. But at the same time, we have even done the same things they are doing now. Think about it, the war against the Ishbalans. We did the same damn thing to them as the German's are doing to the 'undesirables'." Ed scowled after saying that particular word.

"But the Germans are singling out races and groups of people to persecute. They are actively seeking out new people to… to… torture!" He waved a hand out before letting it fall back to his side to slap against his thigh in exasperation. "I heard the other day that they are starting to tell people that handi-"

"I know!" Ed hissed and glared. He had always hated being referred to as handicapped –a cripple, an invalid, disabled, lame- it made him feel like he was some sort of animal that the government wanted to put down and get rid of. And the German government was starting to do such a thing –killing off those whom they considered 'inferior' or 'imperfect'. It all had to do with that stupid Aryan idea.

Al's brows knitted together as he lowered his eyes, sadness and something else –something similar to fear and worry lingered within the silvery-brown depths of his eyes, "I'm just worried. Brother, if they find out…"

"They won't!" Ed hissed. "Why do you think I wear long sleeves and gloves? It's not a fashion statement; it's to keep them from finding out. I don't want to draw attention to myself. But we need to stop Huskisson. We messed up stopping him the first time; we need to finish the job."

Raising his eyes, Al studied Ed's face, taking in the stress that was beginning to mar his face more deeply –there were lines in his face he hadn't seen before. The years alone in this world had been hard on his brother. Al nodded then straightened up, his shoulders being thrown back as he smiled with determination. "Yes. We'll do it right this time."

Ed's eyes softened and he grinned silly as a small hint of the great weight he constantly carried upon his shoulders lifted, Ed straightened up and lifted his left hand, curling his fingers into a tight fist and snickered in triumphant delight "Yeah, we'll kick his ass right this time."

Al shook his head but continued to smile as he took a step forward, urging his brother's mind back into the task of finding a place for them to stay for the duration of their time in Amsterdam.

The brother's continued down the alley together, the aura hovering over them that seemed to lighten the heavy worry they both felt for the other. For all the fear Ed held for his brother's well being, that same fear was far deeper – and rightly so - that Al felt towards his older brother. With Germany officially at war with their surrounding countries, it was getting harder and harder to live, and it was becoming harder and harder to not be scared that Ed's arm and leg would be discovered. If he was exposed, would they throw him into one of those camps? Or would they take him to some lab somewhere and study him? Automail wasn't even a far-away twinkle in this world's eye; it simply didn't exist and if this world were to see it, fear would probably be the result of his discovery. Neither awe nor scientific advancement would bring the country into the mindset of trying to learn the secrets of building artificial limbs; fear, hatred, and destruction would be the deciding factors, and death would soon follow this young man with a metal arm and leg.

Tolerance was not a virtue in this world.

"Hey, Al! I think I see a place up ahead." Ed glanced over his shoulder, once again lifting his suitcase over his right shoulder as he pointed to a building with a sign in the window that said 'Room for Rent' in dainty handwriting.

Al dragged his eyes away from Ed's feet and looked to his brother's face then over to the squat, dirty building that leaned heavily to the left that Edward was pointing too. He didn't think he'd ever get past how poor this world seemed to be. Amestris by comparison seemed to be royalty! Here it was dirty, dank, even the sun didn't seem to shine as brightly. Even the poorest people in Amestris had enough to buy food and clothing for their families. It was so different and seemed so unfair.

Ed led the way to the building, dodging a horse and carriage and then an automobile before he made it to the other side and hopped over the ditch that differentiated between the road and the 'sidewalk' of old wooden boards in the mud.

Knocking firmly on the door, where it rattled and shivered from Ed's strong motion, Al joined his side and they waited quietly.

Al gripped his own suitcase more tightly at his side, feeling the wooden handle in his hand grow steadily warmer as his nerves flared. For some reason he was nervous. There was something about this building that made him uneasy.

"I'm coming!" A voice shouted through the small building. Shuffling and rummaging about could be heard before footsteps made their way to the door. A woman pulled the door open before she lifted her apron to wipe her hands dry. She looked to the two young men and smiled warmly as she lifted a small hand to push a few stray strands of blonde hair back behind her left ear. Her hair was tied back loosely at the nape of her neck and it tumbled over one shoulder and down the side of her threadbare blue and yellow flower dress and her old, graying apron. Her smile had never faltered as the boys gaped at her, instead, it seemed to brighten all the further as her now clean hands smoothed her apron down and her hands folded in front of her body. "Mornin', and how might I be helping you boys?"

The Elric brothers stood frozen, their eyes locked on the woman's face and their hearts hammered in their chests. Al was the first to breath as his mind only registered one thing, "Auntie Sara?" He asked, his voice quivering.

The woman blinked in surprise, her brows lifting and her lips parting as the smile fell faintly. "Excuse me?"

Ed snapped awake and smiled sheepishly, "Uh, sorry! You… you look so much like an aunt of ours!" He laughed nervously and scratched at the back of his head. "She died several years ago after an accident. Uh, sorry," he hesitated before deciding to just get to the point. "Um… I saw the sign in the window; about the room for rent."

The woman took a moment to digest their accents as well as their words before she relaxed faintly and she smiled, "Yes, the room. Come inside and have some coffee and we can talk for a bit." She smiled warmly and stepped to the side, motioning the boys inside.

Ed nodded faintly before he stepped inside with Al close behind. Al's eyes continued to stare at the woman with a mixture of awe and pain. He wanted so much to hug her like he used to do when he was little –but in a way, this world was yet again playing a cruel joke on them – this wasn't really their Auntie Sara, and he knew that! But it was so hard to look at her and not see the woman whom they had known for the first six and seven years of their lives.

The boys took seats around the small table that was literally only five feet away from the door. The chairs creaked under their weight and Al shot Ed a nervous look as his chair suddenly shifted to one side before remaining still after it settled to one side on its lopsided legs. He hoped this wasn't a bad sign.

Ed grinned silly and partially waved a hand at Al to not say a word.

The woman shut her door before she took the ten steps back to her kitchen and pulled three different mugs from a cabinet. "I don't have sugar or lemon, and with this war that is threatenin' to happen, sugar and fruits have become commodities as precious as gold. I hope black coffee is alright with yous sirs?" She asked as she glanced over her shoulder.

"That's fine. I like it black." Ed grinned silly –it was his only defense against the emotions welling up inside of him. This woman looked just like their friend's mother; it was just too much to handle, yet here they were, sitting in her kitchen and watching her move about and work with the same grace and ease that he remembered from his childhood when she used to get them cookies and milk after playing in the yard all afternoon, or when she was getting the table ready for dinner on those odd nights he and Al had been invited to stay for dinner.

"Just water for me, thank you." Al told her then smiled faintly again. He was recovering slowly; not as quickly as Edward had, but he wasn't sure he could. He had truly loved his 'Auntie Sara' as a little boy. She was like his second mother growing up. She boxed his ears just as harshly as his own mother when he and Ed had done something wrong. Of course, she couldn't replace his mother no matter how much he had adored her, but he had still felt her death harshly after Winry had told them she and Uncle had died.

She smiled and nodded to Al. She finished filling two mugs with coffee before she filled a third with water. She expertly carried the three mugs to the table and set them before their respective owner.

With a heavy sigh that said she had been working long before dawn had been a glimmer in the eye of many; the woman sat down and seemed to deflate, enjoying the feeling of sitting still for a breath or two before she smiled once more and took a sip of her coffee. "Now then, who might you two boys be?"

"I'm Ed, and this my little brother, Al." Ed explained, eyeing the coffee then taking a drink. Truth be told, he didn't like coffee too much, but tea wasn't as common the farther north they came. So he figured he might as well get his caffeine fix where he could get it. And besides; he didn't want to be rude.

"Edward and Alphonse Elric, Ma'am." Al answered again, glancing at Ed as though he should know to also include last names. "May we ask your name?" He turned back to her, a faint pink coloring his cheeks as he asked shyly.

She smiled, "I'm Sarah Madzhar."

Ed's smile faded just faintly but he smiled brightly once again, "It's nice to meet you. That's funny that you have the same name as our aunt."

A smile danced upon the woman's face. Her features were still soft and delicate, but there was a weariness that was eating away at her and taking her youth quickly with it in the form of lines and a thinning of he once full and rosy cheeks. "I was rather shocked to see you two on my doorstep; and then to hear you call me auntie! My heart nearly jumped from my chest! I do have two nephews on my brother's side, but they are only four and five. I momentarily wondered how long I had been away at work!" She laughed airily while blushing at the silliness of her words, but at the giggle Al gave her, a motherly spark flickered within her eyes and she looked to the boys again. She didn't relax just yet and her shoulder's remained stiff, but she did seem to lower some wall at the way she tilted her head. "Where are you two boys from?" She asked, taking another drink of her coffee.

"Well… no where really." Ed grinned sheepishly and scratched the back of his head and sending his ponytail waving about behind him. "We're sorta like vagabonds, traveling wherever we need to be. I was in London for a while, and we just got done traveling through Austria and Germany. We stayed for a time in France…"

Sarah listened quietly, though the stiffness in her shoulders returned more noticeably and clearly told the brothers that much of what she thought of them wasn't very high.

Ed shifted in his seat uncomfortably. "Err…" He began but didn't know quite where to pick up the conversation once it had fallen flat.

"Our father died a few months ago," Al interrupted smoothly, "and we've been traveling mostly. He was a Professor in Munich for the last few years. We didn't really want to stay in the city anymore, so we've been using what little money we have left to try and find a place we belong." Al explained smoothly without stuttering once.

Sarah's shoulders relaxed and she returned his warm smile though it was sad, "I'm sorry your father died. It's hard times now to lose a loved one." She explained, her eyes falling and her brows knitting together as sadness as thick as night seemed to settle upon her thin shoulders.

Ed shrugged slightly and looked to the side, not wanting to deal with it.

Al watched the woman for a moment and frowned sharply as he realized she had just lost a loved one as well. He looked to the table and nodded, sadness washing over him completely. He allowed himself to remember that he would never know his father –he had only spent one day with him that he could actually remember, and he had been a suit of armor at the time. It wasn't fair. He felt cheated in a way, though the pain was eased ever so faintly just knowing that his father's last words where for him.

Studying the brothers in silence, the woman looked to her coffee before she nodded as though shaking away the darkness she had created. She cleared her throat and offered them a weak smile as she straightened in her chair. "Well then, what do you two do? If you travel so much why come to Amsterdam?"

"…uh, we're scientists. We thought we would look around, get a feel for the city, and if we like it here, maybe see about finding a job here. We aren't very sure why we chose this place, but we might end up learning a thing or two from some of the scientists in the local university. Maybe do some of the rocketry we learned from Doctor Oberth back in Transylvania. Or we might end up causing more trouble than we're worth and get run out of town." Ed looked back to her and plastered that silly, sheepish and yet goofy grin on his face once more to convey with his face more than his words he wasn't sure yet why they stopped here.

Sarah lifted a brow and a half smirk crawled over her lips before she took a sip of her coffee, "Is that so? Well then, I might have to watch you boys." She told them before she set the coffee mug down with a weighty 'thunk'. "I charge five dollars a week for the room. If you would like meals included for the two of you, that will be ten dollars extra." She explained then frowned, lifting a finger to wag only once in the air before her hand dropped once more to her coffee mug. "With the prices of food these days, it costs more to eat than to sleep with a roof over ones head. And I'm afraid I only have the one bed, but I have enough quilts to make a right fine bed on the floor if neither of you wants to share the bed."

She paused and tapped her mug, looking to the boys then glancing towards the three doors off to right. She looked back to her coffee mug then back to a room that was pressed into the corner of the house. "Well…" She hesitated, looking rather nervous before she parted her lips to continue speaking, "I-I do have another room and bed. If you're willing to give me an extra three dollars a week, I'll clean that room out and let one of you boys stay in there.

Ed and Al both looked to each other, their brows raised high on their brows. This was less than twenty dollars a week! Granted it might have been expressive, if she wasn't correct about the food. Al clearly remembered a single apple back in Germany costing ten francs! The two brothers stared evenly back at each, talking silently concerning the price. How it was cheaper than staying in a boarding house, Al relaying they shouldn't waste their money, Ed stating through a flare in his eyes that she obviously needed the money, other before they even made a sound to discuss it, they both nodded first to each other and then to her with their golden and silvery hazel eyes shining in satisfaction at the older woman.

"Then I guess it's an extra three a week." Ed stated and sat up straight in his chair, a smug expression spreading over his face.

"Thank you for everything." Al said, bowing his head for a moment before he looked back to her and grinned as though he really was trying to get the corners of his mouth to reach his ears. It felt almost too easy! They just got off the train and here they were, sitting in their new home for rent and a warm dinner promised to fill their bellies tonight.

Ed stood suddenly and rummaged about in his pockets, mumbling under his breath till he found his wallet and dug through it, narrowing his eyes as he searched inside it till he pulled out two ten marks and held them out over the table to the woman. Sarah gazed up at him in confusion, but Ed blinked and hesitated before he grunted and shrugged his left shoulder and slapped the paper to the tabletop in front of her. "Uh, it's for the first week." He explained simply and shoved his wallet back into his pocket then once again took his seat and took another gulp of coffee.

"Mother! I'm home!"

Sarah perked up and turned in her sat towards the door before she looked back to Ed and Al, "Awe, that is my daughter, let me introduce you three." She said even as the door burst open behind her and her daughter came to a halt in the entryway.

"Daughter?" Ed and Al chorused in surprise – and Ed quickly had to mop at the spray of coffee across the table he had spluttered past his lips.

A nod and a soft smile were all Sarah gave the boys, choosing to ignore the mess Ed had caused. She stood and motioned her daughter in the doorway to come inside. The young blonde woman hesitated and entered the room cautiously. She wasn't nervous per say and appeared more wary and suspicious of the strange men in their home than frightened. Sarah's daughter straightened her back and eyed each young man in her kitchen before she leaned into the door heavily to shut it with her shoulder before she moved to her mother's side – only to be pushed in front of her with her mother's hands upon either of her shoulders.

"Edward, Alphonse, this is my daughter, Winifred. Winifred, this is Edward and Alphonse Elric. They will be renting the spare rooms from us." Patricia explained.

Alphonse's jaw slackened, "Winr..." He stopped himself and just stared. His stomach flipped and his palms grew clammy as he stared up into the face of his childhood friend – but it wasn't her at the same time; her eyes were too dark. Something exotic was within her dark colored eyes, something her mother did not have.

Winifred's face twitched upon hearing her mother's words, but she smiled faintly –forcing it out skillfully so it looked warm and genuine as she bowed her head a bit to them, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Edward and Alphonse."

Ed sat very still as he stared at Winifred; he felt his jaw had slackened and his eyes had widened faintly several minutes ago as he took in the young woman before him. He couldn't stop himself from staring at her. She looked so much like her…

It was only when Al nudged him awake with a kick to his shin did Edward stumble to his feet and bow a fraction of an inch to the girl. He felt his cheeks flare into color as he peeked back up at her from under his lashes. But upon closer inspection he noted her dark eyes, the faint slant of her nose, the darker tint of her hair and Edward felt his heart slow, his stomach drop back into place and felt a weight once more settle upon his shoulders as his face drained of color while a frown pulled his face down.

As much as it looked like her, it wasn't… Winifred might have resembled Winry, but she wasn't her.

Alphonse managed a smile and a little wave, "Pleasure to meet you, Winifred." He told her politely.

Winifred smiled faintly at Al before she looked back to Edward and nodded to him.

He froze as he stood there, staring at her face before he realized she was looking at him and he had been caught. His amber eyes darted away and he shoved a hand into his pocket then pulled it back out nervously. "…Uh… hi…" He stammered out, keeping his eyes lowered from hers before he sat back down heavily, the chair creaking under him.

He didn't know what to think, it was too soon to have found Winry's double.

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"You think they're done yet?" Alphonse asked, his arms behind his head as he stared up at the light blue afternoon with the hint of clouds floating in the sky. The two young men sat outside of their current place of residence, waiting for the women inside to finish cleaning out the extra room Sarah had offered for the extra three dollars a week.

"Who knows." Ed whispered, his head bowed down towards his chest as he stared into the mud.

The two certainly made a pair sitting outside of the faintly tilting home. One gazed up at the sky with all the hope and dreams that a young boy his age should have, while his brother next to him stared at the ground in dejection as his shoulders bowed upon the weight that many didn't see in a man till he was nearing the end of his days.

A yell startled the two young men and they turned their heads towards the door as something heavy was dropped on the floor.

Ed was the first to his feet followed quickly by Al as the two wrenched the door open together and poked their heads inside only to find Sarah staring at her daughter with a helpless but determined look on her face.

Winifred glanced over at the door and turned quickly, wiping at her cheek roughly. "I know it's just a room, but this isn't fair." She whispered harshly and turned away from her mother, heading back into the last room.

A frown fell over both of the brother's faces as they turned their gazes to Sarah and waited.

The woman pointedly ignored them and bent down, picking up a dressing box – the heavy object the boys had obviously heard outside – and she placed the necklace that had fallen out of it back inside before she turned, heading into what had to be her room.

Alphonse shifted his weight to his other foot as he looked to his brother, quietly asking him what was going on.

Edward never looked to his brother as he moved inside and made his way to the back bedroom where Winifred disappeared. He stood in the doorway, watching the young woman pull her clothing out of the dresser drawers and Ed's jaw clenched as he stared.

"Put those back." He growled, his golden eyes flashing dangerously as Winifred jumped in surprise and stared at Ed with shock and just a hint of fear and uncertainty.

"W-what?" She asked in a quavering voice.

Ed's fingers curled tightly upon the doorknob. "I said, put those back." He ordered and turned away. Trying to keep himself from stomping holes into the floor of the house, Ed stormed to the first bedroom door and forced Sarah to stop just inside of her doorway.

"Edward!" Sarah gasped and placed a hand to her swiftly beating heart. She couldn't hide her fear as easily as Winifred could and she took a step back from the young man blocking her only exit.

"Is that what you meant by clean out the 'spare room'? By kicking Winr… Winifred… out of her room?" Ed demanded.

Sarah's brows twitched slightly, but as she recognized the reason for his anger, the woman relaxed and her hand fell from her chest and let it fall to her side. "It's just a roo…"

A snarl cut her off as Ed took a threatening step forward. "It's not just some random room. That's her place. Put her stuff back, I don't want it." Ed stated, staring down at the woman.

Staring right back up at him, Sarah's thin fingers curled into a fist. "I can't."

Ed's brows knitted together in confusion, "Huh?"

"I need the money. An extra three a week will put food on the table that I wouldn't otherwise be able to provide for my daughter."

Rolling his eyes, Ed crossed his arms and stared back at the woman, "Look, aunt… uh… Mrs. Madzhar… I don't care about having an actual bed. We're not going to be here long and I'm not going to kick some girl out of her room." He stated and stared down at her, then frowned at the unsettled look in her eyes. "Just charge me for the blankets and we'll call it even." He told her simply and turned, stalking out of the room.

Al fled from the doorway as his brother approached. Ed jerked the front door after him – meaning to close it behind him – but he paused and frowned as he stared up at the top hinge. Ed wiggled the door a few times, taking note that the hinge caught on itself and grated against the pin. 'Probably rusty,' Ed muttered to himself. He shrugged the thought away and turned to close the door securely behind him, but he paused as Winifred's dark, brown and blue flecked eyes caught his.

The girl blushed faintly as she stared at him then nodded slightly, mouthing a 'thank you' to him before she fled back into her room.

Ed felt his cheeks flush as well and he quickly pulled the door shut – then scowled up at the hinge as the door caught on itself yet again and it took a quick jerk of his arm to close it.

Flopping down next to his brother, Edward muttered under his breath as he once again resumed staring at the dirt.

Al peeked over at his brother and shifted nervously upon the bench they sat on. He looked away but found his gaze being drawn back to his brother as he studied his fuming sibling.

"Hey, Ed?" His quavering voice was soft compared to the grunt Ed used to acknowledge him. Al looked down at his hands before he sighed, "You didn't give Winifred her room back just because she looks like Winry, right?"

The frown that had occupied Ed's face softened but his lips now formed a thin line. He looked away from his brother and crossed his arms, "Come on Al, give me a bit more credit." But his voice was weak, and even he wasn't sure if he should believe himself.

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Winry sighed, frowning deeply as she sat under the tree, waiting for Ed to appear. She was rather perturbed that her dream wasn't happening sooner. Maybe her mind had finally lost that heavenly dream world she had stumbled upon so many months ago. She prayed not. She didn't want to loose that yet.

Looking away from the shimmering surface of the water that flickered in the dying sunlight, Winry's breath came heavily as she looked to the grass at her side and she began to pick at the blades of grass, tugging them free of the soil only to discard and repeat her actions.

Maybe it was because she was still upset and feeling guilty for calling her grandmother and telling her she wasn't coming home.

That particular conversation had been horrible and gut-wrenching. She didn't wish to repeat it, but she did agree to return for her things – though it was really just so she and her grandmother could have a proper goodbye.

"Hey."

Winry jumped and twisted out in the grass, staring up at Edward with incredibly wide and startled eyes. "Edward! You scared me!"

Blinking and then twisting his face up in a look of confusion, Ed took a moment to glance about the area as though looking for something before stepping closer to Winry and squatting down next to her, "And who the hell were you expecting if not me?" He asked – and then couldn't resist smiling at her narrowed eyes and puffed up cheeks as he watched the steam rise within her as she grew defensive.

Her lips parted, about to scold him, or yell at him, or maybe even lecture him – whatever she was about to do, Edward was quick to stop.

Reaching out, Ed placed both his hands upon her cheeks with his thumb over her lips and he leaned closer to her and watched her narrowed eyes soften and shift from annoyed to curious.

Winry's cheeks slowly flushed and her lips parted faintly against the gentle strokes of his thumb. His amber eyes – those golden, fiery eyes that haunted her every step, even in the middle of the day – stared directly into her own as though he were trying to stroke her soul; and she was mildly certain he had done just that. She inhaled slowly, her lips parting just a bit more as she prepared to speak, but Edward interrupted her again.

"I just wanted to look at you." He explained, bowing his head closer, "I just wanted to look at your eyes and remember just how blue they are." He whispered.

A blush flared across her cheeks and Winry shyly peeked away from him, but Ed grunted in disapproval. Looking back to him and having her eyes caught by his desperately searching orbs, she decided this wasn't so bad and she lifted a hand and pressed her palms to his cheek, urging him closer. Edward obliged and descended upon her, drawing her into a delicate, gentle kiss that curled her toes and stole her breath, and all the while he stared at her through half lidded eyes and stared into her brilliant and warm blue eyes.

Yes, this really wasn't so bad after all.

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Author's Note:

…. I don't think I even should bother apologizing for how long it took me to get this out. I really am sorry – but my muse decided to take a holiday for this particular story. But that's okay; because I actually thought of a very-very good story-plot tie in for this, so I can't complain other than the fact I suck at getting out a chapter in a timely fashion.

And I did squat on research for this chapter. I have no idea what kind of currency they use in the Netherlands, so… I'm sticking with dollar bills… yeah. But… again, it all ties in later. I just need to get an old map that dates back to how Europe looked before WWII. I want to get my locations and war events right if NOTHING else. (for example, the rent. I have no idea what they charged back then, but hey, it's pre-war and stuff was expensive, so I'm just assuming they charged outrageous amounts of money.)

Hmm, and by a show of hands, who saw Winifred and her mother eventually showing up in the story? ;) teehee, yeah, I figured that was expected. But it's still fun - It's going to be even better in later chapters…. stops herself here so she doesn't ruin the plot.

Again, sorry it was late, but this chapter was actually kinda fun to correct after the muse hit me again. I have it mostly plotted out (a little of the middle needs to be weeded out, but it's on its way ;) ) and the ending is already decided upon and practically written in my head.

I really do swear that I'll finish this story (as well as any story I post on this site). I swore to myself that if I posted a chaptered-fic, I would finish it no matter what, even if I had to be a loser and post just a 'this is what was planned…' update just so you people know how it was supposed to end. It might take some time, but I'll finish it. I won't leave you hanging on any story! Promise!  this is my solemn vow! Really!

Oh yes, and special thanks to Leberinto de Cristal. You gave me a review, even after seven months since my last update, and really, you were the driving force in what recharged my muse. Thank you so much, without that review this update probably wouldn't have happened this soon. I'm honestly in your debt. Thank you for taking the time to review! It meant a lot to me and it kept me going. Thanks!

And with that, I hope I can get the next update finished in a more timely manner ;) thank you for being patient and I hope this chapter lives up to what you were hoping to see. And reviews are more than welcome, as are questions and suggestions. I'd like to hear what you think or what you would like to see!

Welp, till next time! I hope you enjoy!

Melissa the Damgel