Author's note: Well, I told you there would be a LOT of new genres (like shows) so what've we got now? Tsubasa, Furuba, Digimon, and now FMA. Awesome start. I got the Special Edition of the movie for Christmas (finally...), which made me cry. And I bought the disc with the last episodes on it and cried when Ed died and when he disappeared and yes, that show makes me cry alot. I love it. Not the crying, the show. Problem is, I watch my shows at night and FMA gets my adrenaline running so I can't sleep. And stuff concerning the German Holocaust makes my blood boil and I get so angry at the lot of them for letting it happen and then I remember my grandmother, whom I despise, was born in Germany during WW1 and actually believes Hitler was right, so I just hate the whole subject. It makes me sick. What does that have to do with anything? Not much, really. I was just sad Ed and Winry were seperated for good. But maybe some day Ed and Al will get back without psycho Germans (no offense to the non-psycho Germans, pointing out I'm sorta German only because my Grandmother was born there) plotting to take it over. Well anyways, here's an Ed-Winry tribute one-shot.
'Bout time I said that, huh?
"Hey Gram! We're back!" Al, currently an empty metal shell due to the quick thinking of his brother when they tried and failed to ressurect their deceased mother, knocked on the sturdy wooden door of the Rockwell residence.
"Open up already! We're freezing and we practically ran all the freaking way here," Ed yelled, banging on the door. Al stared at his brother. "What?"
"Brother, you're being rude."
"They aren't opening the door!"
"They might be asleep."
"Fine," Ed pouted, sitting with his back against the door and his arms folded across his chest. "We'll just sit here and freeze and probably get dragged away by that crazy Armstrong before they answer the stupid door."
"If you say so," Al, the younger brother, sighed in defeat. He knocked on the door one more time for good measure, and then stepped away from the door and sat with his legs crossed, something Ed considered a difficult feat for a giant suit of armor. "Look! A light's on!"
"Edward? Al?" Winry's drowsy voice drifted towards them in the dark as Ed fell back into the open doorway. "Is that you guys?"
"Dammit Winry, of course it's us," Ed shouted angrily, standing up. He was rubbing his head where it collided with the floor. "Geez, who else would come banging on your door at this hour?"
"A drunken lunatic, maybe. Or someone who needs automail or something to kill you with. I might be willing to help them out," Winry muttered as she stepped back to let them in.
"Well you're just a dancing ray of sunshine," Ed muttered, obviously insulted at their less-than-happy welcome party.
"Sorry Ed, you know I'm happy to see you. It's just I've pulled three all-nighters in a row and I'm exhausted," she said, saying the last two words through a yawn. Looking behind Ed and Al at the door across the room she said, "Oh, Gram, did I wake you up?"
"No, this idiot did," she growled. But Winry saw the twinkle in her eye that said she was teasing him.
"Sorry, just that Lieutenant that was here with us before has gotten even more overprotective lately. I swear, he's driving me crazy," Ed sighed, too tired to make a come back. Al suspected his energy had been taken up during his shouting fit on the porch. "We wanted to get away from Central for a few days, so we hoped the midnight train out and practically ran all the way here in case he followed or something."
"It's only a matter of time, since he's come here before."
"What, you didn't have some psycho-dangerous mission planned for the next few days," Winry teased, pouring hot water into three cups with tea bags in them. "I'm glad you could squeeze us into your busy schedule."
"Hey, not for lack of trying," Ed shot back. "But we haven't gotten any tipoffs of illegal activity, and I don't have the energy to look for an alternative to the stone at the moment."
"That must've been a let-down, seriously," Winry said sympathetically. She handed him his tea with an apologetic look to Al. "Sorry Al."
"It's okay, I'd rust from the inside out or wash my seal off," he replied easily. "But just because we haven't been in mortal danger doesn't mean we haven't been busy."
"Oh," Pinako, Winry's elderly grandmother, asked. "Is that so?"
"Some protests in Central against something or other in Lior, I give up following that. Everyone wanted Lior off the map, and then all of a sudden we want to send the people back? Why, so they can discrimate against them again?" Ed took a long sip of his tea and set the cup down a little harder than intended, so that some of the hot liquid spilled and dripped onto the table surface. "Oops."
"It's fine, it'll dry," Winry shrugged, rubbing her eyes. "So what's so big about a protest?"
"I don't mean a peaceful protest with picket sinces, Winry," Ed sighed. "Alchemists were involved, not state alchemists. Just normal people, but they were using alchemy to topple some of the government buildings and a few small shops. No one was hurt badly, thank goodness. And we got the ring leaders, and then it disbanded. But they were going on about the government conspiring against Lior and that it was only a matter of time before they went after other cities...It was pretty stupid, but that doesn't mean they weren't serious."
"It was pretty amusing for a dangerous protest."
"Since alchemy is what destroyed Lior, yeah. But I had fun, strangely enough."
"Things had gotten too quiet. It's never quiet when we're in town."
Winry laughed. "You two are such trouble makers, you know that?"
"Yeah, I know," Ed smirked. He sat back on his chair so that only the two back legs were on the floor. "But for the most part it's turned out for the better." Ed yawned, stretching his real arm over his head. Pinako raised her eyebrows.
"Someone seems a little more tired than they're letting on."
"What? Nah, I'm fine."
"Well, I think what a pipsqueak needs to grow is sleep. That explains why you're still so short."
"Who're you calling short?!"
"Who do you think, midget?"
"Oh that's rich, coming from a shriveled old hag."
"C'mon Ed, before we wake the entire village," Ed intervened, putting a hand on Ed's shoulder. Ed shrugged.
"Fine, I guess it's not good for old people to miss their bed time. It messes them all up."
"Let it go, Gram," WInry sighed. "Let it go."
"Thanks for letting us in, Winry," Al's voice said from the edge of the door frame. Ed nodded, his hand in his pants pocket. He raised his automail arm half way into the air, bent at the elbow at a 90 degree angle, in acknowledgement.
"Like I'd ever leave you two out in the cold," Winry scoffed, but she smiled affectionately despite herself. "Now get to bed."
"Yes ma'am," the boys chorused together. They smirked at each other and headed into the next room.
"Ooh, those two," Winry scowled. "They're like little kids. Especially Ed."
"Yes, but they carry some heavy burdens. That they can even have a good time, like kids their age should, is a miracle." Pinako dropped the dishes into the sink with a plunk! and then left the room.
"Yeah, I know," Winry whispered softly even though there was no one to listen to her. "I know."
She sat down in the nearest chair to her, alone in the kitchen. She kept the light off so that no one would wake up, but she was wide awake now. She'd been hoping those two would come for a visit, it's just that she'd been having a very odd dream when they'd shown up. It was nervewracking, even though she knew she was being stupid.
She'd seen Ed falling, like off a tall building or something like the ones in Central. She'd screamed, and Al was beside her telling her they had to pay their price. She heard Ed scream as he hit the pavement, and whens he looked down, his pocket watch from the government declaring him a State Alchemist lay open at her feet, spattered with Ed's blood. And then Al told her it was time he left, and then he faded away, and when she went to put the pocket watch into her own pocket, her hand found a picture of Ed and Al playing, a picture she had framed in her bedroom on her nightstand.
Tears stung her eyes and Winry had woken up, shaking. And then she'd heard Ed pounding on the door like his life depended on it and she raced downstairs to make sure it was him, so she would know her dream wasn't true. She knew there was no way she could get back to sleep now. She was so jumpy, the sound of her large dog rolling over would send her through the roof screaming.
The kitchen clock ticked away the minutes, the hours. About two years later, she couldn't take her mind off the bloodstained pocket watch and she stood. Walking around the kitchen table, she poked her head into the room that the Elric brothers slept in when they were visiting. She could see Al against the wall, asleep in his bulking body of armor, but the couch on which Ed always slept was empty, the covers thrown back. Her mind wandered involuntarily to the pocket watch again, giving her spinning mind a suspicion as to where he had sneaked off to.
Winry tiptoed to the front door, removing her gray oil-stained sweatshirt from the peg and pulling it on over her head. She grabbed the flashlight from its pocket and slipped out the door before clicking it on. She shivered against the cold air and the frosty breeze. But the sky was crystal clear, and the stars twinkled gaily.
Winry pushed her long blonde hair away from her eyes and walked down the familiar path to what was once the Elric house, but was now a pile of rubble and the remains of some furniture that hadn't burned or decomposed properly yet. She could see the small form of the boy she knew in reality was her own age, even though she was still a few inches taller than him. He was standing alone, his hands by his sides. As she crept closer, she could see the pocket watch was held loosely in his automail arm.
She was only a few feet away now, and he jumped violently. Shoving the pocket watch hastily into his pocket, Edward Elric stared at her with eyes the same goldenrod as his hair. He was fully clothed, giving Winry the assumption that he hadn't been able to fall asleep either.
"Winry! Geez, you gave me a freaking heart attack." His real arm was resting meekly over his heart, and Winry shrugged apologetically.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't sleep."
"I thought it was you in the kitchen," he muttered darkly. "How'd you know where I was."
"I dunno, I checked to see how you and Al were. At first I was nervous because I hadn't heard you leave. But then, I guess you've gotten skilled at sneaking around. Otherwise you'd have died ages ago."
Ed smiled sadly. "Win, how'd you know I came here?"
Winry sighed and sat on the remains of the north wall, where they stood. Ed seemed to hesitate, like the decision to sit was hurting him, but he sat down next to Winry, looking at her in waiting for her answer.
"I'm not sure, I just had this really wierd dream before you guys came, and for some reason the part that sticks in my mind is your stupid pocket watch," she said, deciding he didn't want him to worry by saying she also saw him die and Al disappear into nothingness.
"So you thought about my watch," Ed summarized, sounding disbelieving. Winry scowled.
"Yes, I didn't think I'd stuttered."
"No, you didn't," Ed agreed. "It just seemed wierd to me."
"You weren't leaving out anything when you told us why you came here, right?"
"Nope, for once I wasn't covering my ass," Ed laughed.
"Seriously, Ed. Then why would you come to the house? I'd've expected you to go the her grave."
"Not if you couldn't think about your father there," Ed said darkly. "Since he's the one that left, after all."
"Oh, I see." Winry sighed, staring out over the remains of the house. "It's so strange, I don't come over here alone anymore. Afraid, I guess. I don't know. I can remember every detail about this house, except for your father's room since it was always closed. But I can remember the smell of each room, the dust on the mantle."
"Yeah," Ed chuckled sadly. "What I hate is that my last memory in this house is, well..."
"Your mother's deathbed," Winry whispered. Ed nodded, silent.
"Remember when you told me and Al we could never understand how you felt about your parents leaving?"
"Dying, you mean? Yeah, do you know how badly I feel about that now? I remember how awful I felt about yelling at Al, but I was afraid that I'd cry again if I apologized."
"Heh, it's fine. You know he forgave you on the spot, he was just a bit shocked. I just find it...strange. I'm not sure if I'm happy I was there when Mom died or not. I mean...She died when I was giving her the flowers she asked me to make. She never saw them," Ed choked. He blinked and was silent. Winry looked at her life-long friend with sympathy. She knew there were things he'd never spoken about, to anyone, and was secretly ecstatic when he entrusted her with his deepest, innermost thoughts.
Winry looked away, glancing down at the palms of her hands, the backs of her hands on her thighs, as she considered what he said thoughtfully. "I wish sometimes that I was there, so I could believe it. But then...the way they died, I don't want to see it in my dreams. What you must see is worse, I imagine, but to a seven- year- old girl, getting shot is the worst."
"Atleast Mom died peacefully...if only that had contented us back then," Ed sighed. He extracted from his pocket the pocket watch he'd received when he had become a State Alchemist. Winry's stomach flipped. "Winry, there was alot more to that dream, right? Well, I guess that's your secret. But I just wanted to thank you for keeping mine," he said, fingering the intricate design on the front.. "I know you did because Old Lady Pinako woulda mentioned it, or Al."
"Of course. Did you seriously think I would tell?"
"Nah, not really. I was just pissed you'd touched the watch."
"Mm, I remember."
"So let me in on your secret. I wanna know the real reason you came after me tonight."
"It's not the reason I followed you, it's the reason I knew where you'd gone," Winry corrected him calmly. She sighed, tilting her head back to watch the stars dance around the full moon. "It's the reason I ran as fast as I could to the door though."
"You took forever! What're you talking about?"
"Have you forgotten what it's like to navigate through my room? I tripped over a project I've been working on and hurt my foot, that's why it took so long."
"Oh, I'd forgotten you still work in your room."
"Mhm. Well, I picked up the pace when you started really pounding on the door though. I knew it wasn't Al, he's too proper," she teased. "But I was afraid something had happened...again. And you guys were yelling like your lives depended on that door opening, so that made me panic even more."
"Sorry Win," Ed said nervously, running a hand through his golden hair. "I guess we were just impatient. It'd been a long trip."
"I know, the stupid dream just had me on edge. I'd just woken from it when I heard you knock."
"Oh, bad timing on our part?"
Winry laughed. "Kind of, yeah."
"Are you gonna tell me about the dream, or are we gonna dance around it all night? We've been referring to it for the past ten, fifteen minutes," said Ed impatiently, his goldenrod eyes twinkling in the starlight. Winry bit her lip and sighed, eyes closed. She opened them again and look back at Ed. He looked a little worried. "Win? Is something wrong?"
"No, no. Of course not," she said hastily. "It's just...It seemed so real."
"The dream we keep referring to?"
"Yes," Winry laughed.
"Get on with it, already. We're growing old."
"Too bad you're not growing," she teased. She giggled as he hit her arm playfully with his real arm. "Alright, alright. I'm ready."
"Good." Ed raised one eyebrow expectantly, but he didn't say anything else. Winry stared straight ahead, across the grassy hills of her hometown, where she'd lived all her life.
"Well...we were in Central."
"By we you mean-"
"Me, you and Al. Now shush." Winry took a deep breath before continuing. "So you know that really tall government building, the skyscraper or whatever?"
"Well, we were in front of it, standing on the edge of the street by the gutters. And you said that "this was the price you had to pay" and the next thing I knew, you were on the top of the building. I remember yelling for you to get down, crying. And Al told me it was something you had to do. I thought it was stupid...I mean, you guys hadn't even done anything. And then you j-jumped..." Winry took a shuddering breath, fighting tears threatening to burst forth at any moment, before continuing again. She saw Ed jerk slightly, as though he were about to move his arm but decided better of it. He looked tense. "And I screamed, and I went to run forward but Al grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I couldn't understand why he would hold me back, he really loves you, Ed."
When Winry paused a second time, Ed squirmed a little closed, so they were right next to eachother. "And then? Don't tell me that's it, I know you better." Ed's tone was intended to be light, but his words were weighted by the serious edge to his voice.
"And I heard you scream...I guess you'd hit the...the...ya know? And I stopped struggling, I was just crying. Al let go of me. And I looked down and your watch was about six feet or so away, near the gutter. And it was open, so you could see the words written. And I picked it up and then Al said it was his turn, and he disappeared. I...I went to put your watch in the pocket of my jeans, but there was already something there. A picture. I looked, it was the one I have on my nightstand of you, me, and Al from when we were younger." Winry stopped speaking, but Ed was silent. "That's about it, that's when you guys woke me up." When he still didn't say anything, she turned to face him, her blonde hair falling casually into her eyes. She didn't bother pushing it away. "Ed?"
Ed was staring at her intently, his watch clutched in his hand. Very stiffly, almost as though he'd forgotten what he'd written in it, he pried it open with his thumb. "Never forget..." he muttered. Then he laughed, short and mournful. "Nah, I don't think I ever will."
"Winry," he said slowly, seriously, turning towards her. "Are you really worried about me and Al?"
"Of course I am! Someone has to be, and you two never write and keep in touch. Every time you come back, you're hurt or something. Any news we get from people coming from Central is about some stupid, dangerous, near- death experience you and Al got yourselves into last. And then there's the stone, I felt awful when you finally told us the truth about it, and there was really nothing I could do. And all you two went through before joining the state..."
Winry froze, glaring at him suspiciously. He was watching her with a very peculiar expression on his face. She wasn't sure if he was going to smile or cry or laugh or all of them. Winry's navy blue eyes widened in panic. What if he fell apart? What if he finally lost control?
"Of course Ed," she said consolingly, still fearful of his odd expression. "You know that."
"Yeah, I know." He looked away, back along the road that lead to Winry's house. "We may have burned our house, but I guess we still can come home."
"Ed?" She wasn't really sure what he meant, what he was really trying to say to her.
"I know the people at Central worry, thinking Al and I are gonna get ourselves killed doing something dumb, probably get them court martialed or something," Ed attempted to joke, but his voice was slightly strangled, like there was something caught in his throat. "I didn't really stop to think...I mean, I knew. Of course I knew."
"Ed," Winry laughed nervously, "you're rambling."
"I know...sorry. I guess I'm just tired. Thanks Winry."
"For thinking too much, worrying too much..." Ed looked at her out of the corner of his eye, a strange smile playing around his lips.
"You know Ed, if you want to cry, I won't tell Al."
"I can see it in your face," Winry said accusingly. "Your eyes never follow through with your lies, Ed."
"Don't. You can't tell me you never want to cry when you come back here. That's why you stay away so long, isn't it?"
"So I was right."
Ed sighed in defeat, staring down at his shoes. "Maybe."
Winry put her hand over his, and he jumped but did not pull away. Winry bent over a little bit in order to peer into his face. She could see tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. She could feel her eyes stinging as well, though she's not sure if they were old tears or tears with fresh origin.
"I promise I won't tell a single soul, living or dead."
"I know," he whispered, blinking and allowing two fat tears to roll down his cheek. "You don't have to tell me." He made no effort to brush them away. Winry smiled, her own tears breaking free of the dam holding them back, and Ed looked startled. "W-why are you..."
"Crying? I don't know. I'm happy and sad and scared and everything all at once. Happy you said you still have a home here, sad that I can't help you and that you and Al have all this weight on your shoulders. Scared of waiting and scared that one day the wait won't ever end. Scared of the things you two have to face. Everything."
"You're...crying for us?"
"Silly, isn't it? That's about the only reason I cry anymore."
Ed laughed shortly and smiled weakly. "Not so ridiculous."
"Since you two never cry for yourselves. You have no excuse, Al does."
"I never said I didn't...just..."
"At night when the dreams haunt you and no one can hear you."
"You're such a boy," Winry laughed, wiping her tears away with two fingers per eye. "Such a stupid boy."
"You're a metal head," he shot back.
"Military dog," Winry growled, knowing this had absolutely no effect on Ed. Sure enough, he sighed and shook his head slightly from left to right, as though he were disappointed in her.
"Are we done now?"
"Can't think of anymore," Winry teased, raising her eyebrow and smirking.
"Nah, too tired."
"Good, neither can I."
"Looks like I won tonight," Winry yawned, stretching. Ed rolled his eyes and stood up.
"That's just one day," Ed said somberly.
"Out of how many?"
"Shut up." He held out his hand to help her up. "Ready to go home?"
"You heard," Ed said shortly, smiling slightly. Winry blinked and took his hand. Surprisingly, he didn't let go when she stood up.
"You said home."
"Glad you caught on, finally."
"I told you, I always forget I have a home to come back to. I burned my house, not my home."
"C'mon, before Al wakes up." He smiled slightly as Winry fell in step beside him, her hair bouncing behind her on the wind. He tilted his head away so she couldn't see.
"Mhm. Wipe your eyes," Winry advised, clicking on the flashlight so they could avoid rocks hidden on the grass.
"Huh? Oh." Ed rubbed his face guiltily, and then he grinned.
"I don't think either of us are getting much sleep tonight."
"Um, dunno about you. I'm sleeping till noon...or five at night...or till next week."
"But then you'll miss our whole visit!"
"I've seen enough of you two to last a lifetime," Winry said in a would-be annoyed voice. Ed laughed, so she knew he understood she was only kidding.
"Nah, you'll never scare off your biggest source of income. I think my arm needs adjusting anyways, so you have fun with that." Ed laugehd as she rolled her eyes.
"Hm..." Winry contemplated this as she gently slid the door open. "Uh, hey Al."
"Where've you two been," Al demanded, clanking in from the living room. "I've been worried!"
"It's been two hours, Ed," she hissed out of the corner of her mouth. He grinned guiltily.
"Sorry, Al. We were busy."
"Talking," Winry jumped in, rolling her eyes. "Stupid boys. I'm going to bed."
"Hey Winry!" It was Ed.
"You don't have to thank me. Just come back home some day."
"We will, and then it'll be off to work again," Ed grinned, winking at his brother. Al looked from Ed to Winry and back again, saying nothing. He seemed to be speculating, forming his own conclusion.
"Same old Ed," she scoffed. But as she shut off the light, she smiled. They were finally home again, whether they were always here or not. And that, she thought, was more than enough for her.
Author's note: I know it's long for a one shot, but it wasn't worth dividing into two chapters. I love this story, I think it's definitely my favorite so far. I mean, there's not a lot of adventure, maybe, but it's sweet and cute and not too busy. And when I wrote this, it reminded me of a friend of mine and I cried a little even though he's not exactly Ed, like he's not orphaned or a member of the military (duh), but he would do anything at all for anyone he really cared about, and he's always there for a chat. I almost always know when there's something bugging him too, but that's getting a little off topic.