Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of the characters contained within this fanfiction. It is the property of Hiromu Arakawa, Square Enix Co., Ltd.'s and Monthly Shonen Gangan. I simply worship and adore... sometimes I write fic.
Author's notes: This fic is set in a possible future. In my mind it's set in the manga-verse but I don't really think there's much in here that makes a difference either way.
Warnings: Hmm... none really. The rating is appropriate so if you've seen that you'll be prepared.
As always, feedback is highly encouraged! Hope you enjoy the fic.
Ed watched as Al ran about the garden. He darted about with an apparently endless supply of enthusiasm. Everything fascinated him now that he had been returned to his body. Al ran his hands across the bark of a tree, tore up fist fulls of grass and raised them to his nose, he chased after a butterfly and cartwheeled. Pinako fruitlessly followed in his wake, attempting to calm him down. Every few minutes Al would spin her around by the wrists or embrace her before something else caught his interest and he would be gone once more, eager to re-experience all his senses after so many years devoid of feeling.
A snort of amusement distracted Ed from Al's display. He glanced behind him to find Winry leaning against the door to the balcony, her tool kit in one hand. Ed grinned at her before turning his attention back to Al.
"I thought I told you to come down the the workshop." Winry walked towards him. She attempted to sound irritated but Ed knew she was just as thrilled as he to watch Al enjoy his regained body.
"I was going to come down when he went inside." Ed did not look away from his brother. He could hear Winry dragging one of the chairs to his side.
"He's been running around for hours as it is. I think he'll be out there until he collapses from exhaustion." She sighed happily, leaning out over the balcony to watch the spectacle.
"I better make sure he doesn't over do it." Ed rose to his feet before Winry pulled harshly on his left arm.
"You'll do no such thing!" She got to her feet and placed her hands on her hips. "You're dragging that arm around like a dead weight." She glared in the direction of his auto-mail arm. "Now, take off your shirt and let me do something about it."
Ed narrowed his eyes in her direction. "But Al-"
"But Al nothing." Winry crossed her arms over her chest. "Granny's taking care of him and it's time you took care of yourself."
Ed rolled his eyes, briefly contemplating arguing with her. Her outraged expression, however, decided his actions for him. With a heavy sigh, he used his left hand and began to pull at his shirt.
After his second attempt to remove it single handily, Winry sighed and took charge. Roughly, she took the hem and jerked it up over Ed's head. He pulled his left hand free, scowling as his braid caught in the shirt neck. Sparing no thoughts for his trapped hair, Winry tugged the shirt off his head and down the motionless auto-mail hand.
"Ow! Careful, Winry." He patted his head and adjusted his braid.
"Oh, don't be such a baby." Winry moved her chair so that it was positioned at his right side. "Maybe if you took better care of your auto-mail you wouldn't have to worry about getting your hair pulled." She took her seat and began rummaging around in her tool box.
Ed sighed and collapsed into the chair, adjusting his line of sight so that he could easily observe Al. He snorted in amusement as Al fell to his knees on the dirt road, picking up piles of sand and letting it run through his fingers.
Winry glanced in the younger Elric's direction before turning her attention to Ed's arm. She checked the socket for damage before she began to poke and prod the arm it's self, searching for the fault that caused it to hang limply at Ed's side. "What did you do to it this time anyway?" She asked, tucking a wayward strand of hair behind her ear.
Ed shrugged, leaning forward to keep Al in his line of sight. "Nothing much." He remarked. "There were a lot of things swirling around the transmutation circle, something hit it and it went dead. I wasn't particularly concerned with the arm at the time."
"Well what did you expect preforming alchemy in the workshop?" Winry lifted the arm in order to inspect the elbow joint.
"I wanted Al to be somewhere safe in case…" He trailed off.
"In case your math was off and you didn't come back." Winry tugged harshly on the metal arm, her voice clearly betraying her anger.
Ed sighed, turning his eyes from Al for an instant. Upon finding Winry glaring at him he quickly looked away. "I knew my math wasn't off." His reply was devoid of the usual arrogant tones he used when describing his talents as an alchemist.
Winry snorted in disbelief. "Then why didn't you preform the transmutation else where? If your math was perfect you didn't have to worry about Al coming back on his own."
"Winry-" Ed sighed. "I don't want to argue about this. Can't you just be happy Al's back?"
Winry shook her head but did not continue her line of questioning. "This will be easier if I just remove your arm." She looked up from the metal limb, her anger evident on her tense face.
Ed sighed and nodded. It was obvious that Winry wasn't going to let the subject end there, but she seemed to be letting it go for now. He angled himself into the position he knew facilitated easier disconnection of his arm. Winry grabbed the limb by the bicep, placing her other hand on Ed's shoulder. With a twist she removed the arm before pulling it onto her lap.
Ed watched her for a second before once more returning his gaze to his delighted brother. Pinako seemed to have succeeded in calming him down. He sat leaning against a tree with what appeared to be a rock in one hand. He was running his fingers over it, rubbing it against his face, chest, legs… revelling in the sensation. Pinako seemed to have gathered various objects for Al to wonder in.
Ed smiled as he watched his brother. His heart soared as he observed Al's delight with the world but even now he could not shake the guilt… The guilt at seeing Al so fascinated with the world he had been cut off from due to Ed's own arrogance. Ed had finally succeeded in giving his younger brother back his body but he could never repay the years lost or the pain and isolation suffered during his metal imprisonment.
"Got it!" Winry interrupted his introspection. He turned to find her holding a small screw in a pair of tweezers.
"That's what caused my auto-mail to fail?!"
"It was stuck in a conduction coil." She explained, tinkering around with the elbow joint once more. "It was preventing your nerves transmit instructions to the arm." She twisted the arm around and tested the joint before looking to Ed. "I reconnected the-"
"Yeah, yeah." He interrupted her, not keen on getting another lecture on the exact mechanics behind his artificial limb. "How long will it take to fix?"
Winry glared at him. "It's fixed now actually." She took out a cloth and cleaned the socket. "Do you know how lucky you are to have me as your automail mechanic?" She shook her head at his dismissive attitude. "A lesser mechanic would have had to take the entire joint apart. You would have been armless for at least a day."
Ed sighed, regretting his callous words. "Yeah." Was all he could bring himself to say however.
Winry sighed, once more placing her hand on his shoulder as she re-aligned the arm with the shoulder socket. "Ready?"
Ed nodded, his body tense. In his peripheral vision he saw Winry inhale deeply before connecting the arm. Ed clenched his flesh hand and gritted his teeth against the blinding flash of pain as the nerves connected. Inhaling deeply and rapidly, he recovered from the shock. Reconnecting his auto-mail was an experience he would never get used to.
"Okay?"As usual Winry attempted to sound blasé about reattachmentbut her concern still showed.Her brow was wrinkled and she bit her lip.
Ed took a shaky breath, before smiling crookedly at her. "Fine." He looked down to his metallic limb as he experimentally opened and closed his fingers. He grinned as they responded flawlessly. "Fine." He looked back to her. "Anyway, I won't have to put up with that for much longer." He grinned, stretching both arms above him and arching his back to relieve some of the tension in his spine.
"You know how to retrieve your limbs?" Winry asked breathlessly.
"Not exactly." Ed glanced at Al and Pinako before looking back to Winry. "But I got Al's body back so it should be easy."
Ed wasn't exactly sure how he expected Winry to react to the news. If he was honest he didn't really expect her to react at all. She knew he was on a quest to restore both their bodies, why would she react to him reiterating the fact? He certainly wasn't expecting the reaction he got.
Winry stated at him, her disbelief written clearly on her face. Her eyes were wide and she seemed to be unconsciously shaking her head.
"What?" He enquired, more than a little uneasy with her obvious emotional response.
"You're leaving again to go search for a way to get your arm and leg back?" She asked in disbelief.
"Yeah, of course." Ed replied defensively.
Winry laughed, the sentiment devoid of amusement. "You're kidding, right?"
Ed glared at her, his anger rising. "Of course not! I told you, we're getting both our bodies back."
"Ed, it took you over seven years to get Al's body back and you nearly got killed I don't know how many times! You can't be serious about starting all over again. You've got automail, you can function nearly perfectly. Why would you risk it all?"
Ed frowned at her before getting to his feet and exiting the balcony.
"Where are you going?" Winry demanded, following him into the room.
Ed turned to her as he opened the door into the hallway. "I don't have to explain myself to you." He spat, spinning on heal and making to exit the room.
Winry rushed forward, grabbing him by the wrist and attempting to pull him back into the room.
Yeah... not a great place to cut off this chapter but this section of the story was running into the 7000 word mark and it was really getting to be too much!
As always reviews are adored! Constructive criticism especially so.