Written by: Areku-chan
Disclaimer: I do not own any share of Fullmetal Alchemist. Copyrights are to its creator and associates. Thank you for the wonderful series/manga. I do not own any share of Fullmetal Alchemist. Copyrights are to its creator and associates. Thank you for the wonderful series/manga.
Author notes: This story takes place a little after the movie. There may be traces of spoilers here and there, so I believe if you haven't seen the movie and want to discontinue reading on. Or if you don't care about spoilers continue. Thank you for reading! I enjoyed the FMA series and writing this. I hope you enjoy reading this too.
Edward's eyes opened lazily, the bright light of morning stinging. He blinked when his ears picked up the sound of breathing. Edward sat up in the thin padded cot. His body was heavy with stiffness but he ignored it all he could think about was Alphonse. Had he actually come back to him yesterday? Or was he just waking up from an everlasting dream and imagining the noise?
The dream (if it was a dream) had seemed so real. All in one day Germany and Amestris had opened the link between worlds. Germany invaded the foreign world creating trouble and trepidation resulting into a semi-war. Passing through the ever-familiar gate Ed found himself back where he belonged and his brother alive and well. Together they teamed up exactly how they use to and blew out the match that was lit. Edward ended up back in Germany oblivious to his company. All he could remember was seeing Alphonse climbing out of the mouth of his old suit of armour, he couldn't even describe the wonderful expression sewn on his face. He was completely happy and safe.
Edward gazed upon the sleeping form of Alphonse. With a serene smile his mind was plunged into thoughts. For four long years they had seen and been through so many hardships. Each day they had fought so hard and now Ed was looking at living poof of equivalent exchange. Everything became worth the price seeing his younger brother sleeping (which he hadn't done in four years.) He can grow up, explore his emotions that make him human and above all else, he can live. The heavy weight on his right shoulder he had grown accustom to now, in fact Edward couldn't care about it anymore. If he spent the rest of his days with metal appendages he would do it willingly, because even though they caused him pain and were icy to warm skin, they were all that he had left of Winry.
"She misses you too!"
Those words were burned inside his mind and each time the memory resurfaced his body numbed. The sincerity in Al's voice when he told him sent chills through his flesh. Winry misses him. His face saddened. All of these years his mind was focused only on Al and never her feelings. Now here he was in Germany split in two. One half was thankful and content that Al was back and the other half was regretting his actions towards his childhood friend.
There was a time he could recall when Ed, Al and Winry were together in Rush Valley. Al was away at the time leaving Ed and Winry alone in a room. Winry sat across him on top of her calves with her hands clenched in her lap. From his advantage he was unable to see her face, which was hidden behind a veil of hair. He could just remember the sound of her sobs and the shaking of her body as she said in a hoarse whisper. "I want to become a better mechanic for you." She was so upset and all Ed could do was sit there and stare. He should have reassured her maybe even hold her. Anything to show how her crying affected him, but Edward was always shy towards her. Sure he felt shy around Rose too, but it was a different kind of shyness one feels towards a stranger. Ed knew Winry all of his life. It amazed him how he use to be able to hold Winry and swing her in a circular motion when they were children, but could barely touch her nowadays. He couldn't even if he wanted to now. He would never see her again. She's gone for good.
Edward lay back down upon the stiff cot. He couldn't figure out what hurt more, someone you love departed from you through death or separated from you and still alive, without any methods of contact. It was true; the full-metal alchemist had fallen for his personal mechanic. Never did he understand the feelings. He always cast them aside thinking about her only as a friend. Well he lays thinking about her and even seeing her inside his dreams at night. He couldn't pin an exact date when he started feeling these affections towards her. Maybe he had always felt this way? Was it possible?
A light sneeze cut his train of thoughts. Eyes pinning to the source he saw Al shifting under his covers. Honey golden eyes met with chestnut. His brother's face lit into a smile.
"Good morning, brother" Al's smile drifted into curiosity; his head tilted, indicating he was analyzing his expression. "What's wrong?" he asked worriedly.
Edward forced a smile, replying, "This cot is so uncomfortable."
"Oh, I'm sorry! Tonight I'll sleep on it instead."
"But then you'll be stiff too. I'm just going to have to buy another bed" Edward said, relieved his brother didn't call his lie.
Winry tinkered with the metallic limb of Den. She smiled at how calm he was being. He always just sat there in such a manner, as if he were saying, "I trust you." Bending the paw up and down to see if it moved accordingly, Winry made one final adjustment.
"There, all finished" she declared. Letting go of the mechanical arm, she allowed Den to test out the adjustments. The dog hopped down from his position on the kitchen chair and walked around on the floor. "Well Den, I think it will be fine." She smiled at the sweet inclination Den's head had made at the sound of his name. Her eyes wandered from the black and white dog to the clock. 2:16 in the afternoon it read.
"Wow, you just sat for two hours straight. You deserve a treat."
The mention of treats threw Den into an excited frenzy. Tail wagging he danced on his hind legs at her heels. Winry dropped her feet on the ground just about to leave the seat when a knock sounded on the oak front door.
Curiosity flooded inside. Who could that be?
Digging around in her pocket she found a biscuit. Dropping it on the floor for Den to eat she advanced to the door. Hands grasping the handle she pulled the door forward.
"You're doing it again!"
"Doing what?" Edward inquired over a sip of coffee.
"Spacing out" Al declared with his worried expression again. "Were you always like this for three years?"
Edward averted his eyes to the cup of coffee gripped in his metal hand. The steaming liquid inside was idle. Had Edward's mind always been idle to things around him such as the liquid inside this cup? It was true he supposed. He tended to think more about his other life in Amestris than the one in Germany, but why was he still? His brother was back and alive which was more then he could express his gratitude for. He should feel complete. Yet Edward sensed a lost puzzle piece.
"I guess I'm still surprised I found you." Edward smiled, pinning his eyes back on Al, "or rather you found me."
Alphonse lifted his own cup of coffee. He wasn't sure if his brother was telling the truth, but what else could be troubling him? Then he figured something out.
"You never received your equivalent exchange"
Ed shook his head. "Sure I did, I wanted for you to have your body back"
"Yes, but brother, so did I. You worked hard for me and I worked hard for you and myself. Yet here I am with my body and you without your arm and leg."
"Its okay Al. I can deal with this, I couldn't deal if you were still trapped in a suit of armour."
Alphonse slammed his coffee cup on the table, his expression torn with sadness. "You think I can deal? If I had stopped you from carrying out that transmutation that night-" his sentence cut out. Tears streaking down his warm cheeks.
"Aw Al, don't cry" Ed left his chair and headed over to his brother. Edward pulled him into an embrace.
"Don't be sorry Al," Edward answered hoarsely. Little to Alphonse's knowledge (because of his position) he did not see the tears escaping down Edward's troubled face.
The two brothers roamed the streets of Germany. A wrinkled newspaper was crunched inside Edward's fist. Al and him were job hunting. The money Alfons Heiderich left him for the apartment's rent was starting to shrink, and in order to remain off the streets and have money to travel it was essential the brothers find a job. Edward gazed up towards the large clock displayed on a building's surface while Al searched the street for Lima's Bakery. At the end of the street in the corner was their target.
"We don't have very much time until night falls. Lets hurry up and drop off our information," Edward replied. His brother nodded in agreement. Together they advanced closer to the bakery's doors. The building was rich in appearance, glass doors with gold painted letters written across, translating the words "Lima's Bakery." Golden knobs that shined stood forth from the glass surface. The exterior of the doors were wooden borders also painted gold. Surrounding the doors and windows were creamy white bricks. From Ed and Al's position on the opposite side of the door they could see that inside was just as fancy.
"They must get good service" smiled Al. "That or their cakes are thousands of marks."
Edward laughed at his brother's theory. Grasping the polished handle he pulled it forward. Alphonse slipped in followed by Edward.
People were sitting at tables drinking coffee and eating Berliners. The fumes of delicious cakes cooking dazed the senses and bubbled empty stomachs. In display cases locked away behind a thin sheet of glass were lines and lines of pastries. It was no wonder the place was so wealthy with pastries like those.
"Maybe we shouldn't work here"
"Why do you say that?"
"We'd use our cheques on pastries every payday"
Al laughed. "A fat brother, that's all I need to lug around"
Edward and Alphonse decided not to apply and emptied back into the streets. That trip had been useless, but on the other hand they now knew where to get good pastries. Alphonse scratched the back of his head; it was in need of a shower tonight. His eyes were locked on the passing buildings. Being in Germany for only a limited time he wasn't completely aware of the routes. So, whenever he could he would try to memorize as much as he could.
Edward on the contrary to his brother was more accustomed to the sights and streets of Germany. Of course he had inhabited it longer thanks to his father and Alfons. It still bothered him to realize they are dead. All of it seemed to belong in a nightmare and not reality. Okay, sure Edward always disliked his father, but he never really knew him. It was no longer his place to judge.
The two were coming up to an intersection of the road where cars drove passed and people crossed. To the right was the street they needed to take.
Sighing out of his thoughts, it was time he locked the pain away and moved on. Like a flash of light that caused your eyes to blink or a memory found deep within, a sudden figure in the crowds of people made the retired full-metal alchemist halt in his tracks cold.
Alphonse walked ahead two steps before he realized the solitary sounds of footsteps which were his own. Turning around he saw Edward his face riddled in shock and disbelief.
"Edward?" he questioned turning around to see what Ed was staring at when to his sight he spotted a tall and slim girl with pale blonde hair.
Winry shivered. Back home it was a lot warmer than it was here. She scanned her eyes upon the new and unique buildings. Everything here was similar to what she was use to. It was true Winry had ventured through the gate into Germany with only a suitcase full of precious treasures, her grandmother and dog.
Earlier that evening when Winry answered the door she found Roy Mustang on the doorstep. Inviting him in, he informed her about a certain deal that was required for her agreement. Inside Winry was curious to know what a military soldier wanted. She could only come to one conclusion. If it were an order for weapons for the militia it would result in an automatic 'no.' However, on the contrary, the deal was not what she expected.
He initiated the conversation saying, "I believe you know the reason why Ed and Al are no longer here in Amestris?"
Winry averted her eyes. Details were vague so she didn't know exactly what commenced. A tender memory of her best friends caused her to smile bittersweet. "I never received the exact details. All I know is they are heroes."
Roy closed his eyes and nodded. His eyes opened, "they have passed through the gate into new territory. Together they are exploring a way to close the gate permanently. I am to close the gate here. The results will separate our worlds forever."
"I see." Winry answered. "Why haven't you closed it here yet?"
"This topic leads me to my deal. It's a difficult deal so be cautious about your answer." Roy flashed a smile, the type that told oneself they knew something the other didn't.
Winry raised an eyebrow for him to continue.
"The deal is, I will let you cross through the gate if you promise me to take care of Edward and Al. They're so reckless by themselves."
Winry's eyes grew three-sizes. Her instant thought was 'of course I would!' but what about Grandma Pinako and Den?
"One second, what if the gate is closed on their side already?"
"Well, truth is they can't use alchemy over there. To close a gate in such limited time isn't practical"
Winry nodded, "I don't suppose you would let me bring my grandmother and Den?"
Roy smiled warmly. "Why wouldn't I?"
Locked in his state of disbelief Edward couldn't take his eyes off Winry. Was he dreaming again? She couldn't possibly be here! The gate had been closed in Amestris! Pinching the flesh of his arm he discovered he wasn't asleep. But almost as he began to celebrate his gut was shot to the floor. What if she was one of the familiar faces in Germany like Hughes? She won't remember him. She won't even know his name.
The crowd died down to reveal not only Winry's double but Pinako and Den's too. Apparently the Den in this world had a prosthetic too. Edward blinked. Hang on a second that type of prosthetic was definitely not available around here! He compared the dog's limb with his own metal appendage. The style matched perfectly.
Before Edward could even think he yelled as loud as he could "Winry!"
Alphonse, who had been standing dormant, initiated the chase towards the girl at the end of the street, Edward tailing only inches after him.
"Winry!" Alphonse called.
The girl with pale hair spun around to pin her eyes on the second familiar voice. When she heard the first call of her name she believed imagination was deceiving her. Tears swelled in her eyes at the image of both Edward and Alphonse. The dormant seed in her stomach bloomed into bliss.
"Edward! Alphonse!" she answered, waving her arm. Racing towards the brothers in a rush she couldn't help but think she was stuck in a fairytale. When she was younger she was able to tell fact from friction immediately but at this point in time, everything seemed deceptive and veiled by a curtain of fortune.
Edward began to slow down in pace once within a few metres of her distance. Winry's face stretched in a genuine smile. Colliding into both boys she held them close. Edward's cheeks flamed and a beautiful shade of red painted them. Alphonse embraced Winry back with a bright smile gracing his face. Still smiling too she allowed the warm drops to cascade from her eyes and along her cheeks. Den's barks boomed as he rejoiced their finding.
Home just wasn't home until all of them were together.
The friends caught up over a large supper. Throughout the meal Winry described how she managed to cross the link to their world and who helped her. Pinako commented on how tidy the apartment was and how she didn't know whether to be worried or scared. Den slept peacefully on a mat in the corner. Edward explained the fight against Eckhart in the aircraft and Alphonse told them about sneaking into Germany hidden inside a suit of armour.
There were so many stories and so many questions that they carried on into the hours of night. Pinako had gone to sleep a few hours ago. She was sleeping in Edward's bed. It appeared Ed needed to buy more than one more bed now. As for the three childhood friends, each one sat in a chair around the kitchen table. Alphonse's eyelids were fighting against the heavy doses of sleep while Winry and Edward still chatted. Eventually Alphonse lost the battle and dozed off into slumber still seated within his chair.
Edward threw a side-glance to his brother. It didn't surprise him that he was asleep since midnight was far behind them but he was a little surprised he wasn't tired. He pinned his eyes on Winry who was sitting opposite him watching Alphonse sleep with a smile curling her lips. Her eyes met with Edward's for a split second, golden staring into ocean blue, both looked away with glowing cheeks. Winry loosened her hair out from behind her ear to veil her blush while Edward locked eyes with the floor. The room had suddenly grown deathly silent.
"A-Al told me you missed me," Edward replied quietly in a nervous tone. "Is that true?" he asked still gazing at the floor.
Winry's blush darkened. Her tongue became tied and butterflies intruded her stomach. Had it been as hard to ask that simple question, as it was to answer? And then Winry thought, why was she making such a fuss over that question? So what if she missed him? Friends could miss friends.
"Yes" she answered. Another pause followed.
"I missed you too" came the nearly inaudible voice.
Winry smiled behind the curtain of hair. "How is your automail?" a hand drew her chin up. She blushed more, she never heard him leave his chair or the footsteps. And Edward never touched her so intimately before.
"Good" he continued, "of course, I can only expect that from the best automail mechanic in the world" Edward smiled bending down and capturing her lips in a lingering kiss. He felt her eyes widen in astonishment. Hell! he was just as surprised as her. But he always felt that way being around this girl. He felt nervousness, consolation, loyalty and affection. To Edward this was the easiest way of showing his true affections. It was easier than saying that three simple words even.
Edward pulled away from the kiss, still holding her chin delicately. Winry was at a loss of words. She had always dreamed that one day him and her would be together, but she always thought they were only just dreams. Dreams were what the heart desired they never come true. And yet, here she was.
"Edward" she whispered a blush reforming. Edward waited for her to continue her sentence; worried she hated him for rushing in when he was oblivious to how she felt about him. The breath (he didn't know he was holding) released at the touch of her hand upon his face. The small delicate hand caressed his cheek as her face reached towards his; she paused and whispered quietly "I love you too" before enveloping his lips. Edward smiled in the kiss holding her close and feeling her clasp her arms around him in return.
Where they were that's where they belonged. Together, her and him, until the last pieces of sand fall.
Edward's eyes opened to a new day. He blinked quickly and snapped up from his position on the floor. Was Winry here? Did yesterday really happen? Padding hurriedly he ignored the pains in his body from the harsh floor, he had a destination and he was going to get there. Carefully he twisted the knob of his bedroom door and peeked in through a crack. A slender girl aged 18 with ocean blue eyes and pale blonde hair laid upon the cot next to her grandmother. Her face was peaceful has she was still lost in slumber.
Edward shifted to close the door when he heard the girl softly mumble "Edward." He opened the fissure again to see her still asleep. She was dreaming about him.
Blushing, he left the hallway and exited down the staircase. His mouth was screaming for something to clench his thirst. Entering the kitchen he grabbed a glass and directed it under a water sprout. Gulping the liquid down he gazed towards the bread pantry. Nothing.
"I guess I can slip out and get some bread," he muttered aloud to no one in particular. Searching the apartment for his wallet. He found it lying forgotten on a chair. Pocketing the wallet he exited the house, locking the door behind him just in case.
It was a beautiful morning. The sun shone high and a gentile warm breeze comforted the people bustling through the streets. The air was thick with assortments of smells from restaurants and bakeries. Children laughing and adults inquiring products reached Edward's ears. The 18 year old man spotted the bakery he usually bought bread. The bells chimed as he passed the threshold. A small family was at the counter purchasing three different kinds of bread. Edward smiled as if he knew them all his life because the family in front of him were known as the Curtis' back home.
"So, how old is he?" the cashier asked beaming.
"He'll be a year old in two months," replied the familiar voice of Izumi. Edward could see the bundle of blankets formed around a small body in her arms. He was happy that Wrath got a second chance in this world. Though Wrath was definitely named differently here for obvious reasons.
"He's adorable," the cashier answered, stroking the baby's delicate face. The baby laughed from sensitivity grasping his small hand around her finger. "Awwww, what's his name?"
Sig's eyes met with Edward's. Ed pinned his eyes to the window of the tiny bakery. This wasn't the true Curtis' he knew back home. For all THIS Sig knows Ed could be a stalker. That's all Edward needed to do was get on their bad side. That was a dangerous place to be.
"We named him Raymond"
"Oh! That's a darling name" the cashier remarked, her eyes pinned to Edward. "Oh, Mr. Elric! I'm sorry for the wait. Let me just finish up with these customers and I'll be right with you."
"Take your time" Edward answered politely.
"Daddy!" a young boy of seven groaned. "I don't want to go to sleep yet! I'm not even tired!"
A metal and a flesh arm placed the boy in his bed. Taking a seat on the edge he looked into his son's eyes.
"Christopher I let you stay up an extra hour. You have school tomorrow remember? It won't be so bad, you'll be able to take out another book"
The boy settled. He tugged on his sheets. Edward now aged 29 stood up and helped tuck him in.
"Yeah, I finished Die Morgenlandfahrt. It was a cool book"
"Oh really, what other books are you considering to read?"
Christopher shrugged. "I'll see tomorrow"
"You're still up?" both father and son pinned their eyes on the source of the sound. Winry entered her son's room. Oil splatters stained her clothes. She wiped her hands before bending over and kissing Christopher on the forehead.
"Have a good sleep"
After wishing him goodnight the couple left him to his slumber.
During the nine years Alphonse had met a girl named Hannah who shared many things in common with him. She loved cats, was very shy, and liked to read. They were now married and planning to start a family soon. He bought a house near his brother's in the country.
As for the gate that linked worlds it was now broken on each side. Alphonse and Edward had left Munich for two years to find the uranium bomb invented by Huskisson. Edward told Winry to stay because he was extremely worried for her safety. The uranium bomb couldn't be underestimated. Edward visited her once and a while to update her and enjoy her company. When Al and Ed found the bomb they searched for a place to conceal it. There wasn't any way they could destroy it without results from the after effects or destruction. Edward had gazed at Alphonse. Right away Alphonse knew what he wanted to do.
"No brother! What if it passes through to Amestris?"
"Alphonse, Amestris is no longer attached. Winry said Roy was in the process of closing it right after her arrival. No one will get hurt."
Alphonse had sighed in defeat.
And so the frightening gate they'd grow familiar with was annihilated. The uranium bomb locked deep inside the darkness filled with eerie watchful eyes. Ties to Amestris were shredded forever.
Edward and Al returned home. Winry was smiling and happy to see them again. Her stomach showed a small bulge and she informed Edward he was going to be a father. He felt so content, excited and proud. When Christopher was born he knew he was a complete man. It almost seemed surreal as if this wasn't his life. His son was beautiful it seemed fitting he have a beautiful name. He kissed Winry who was tired from labour.
She was the sliver that would never be cast away. Always she would remain with him because she had fallen and locked too deep within his heart.