Series: Fullmetal Alchemist, animeverse
Summary: Winry, Ed and automail. Oneshot missing scene.
Spoilers: The entire anime series, though no specific references, and the movie.
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Fullmetal Alchemist. This is intended for fun and in no way intended for profit. All copyrights belong to their respective owners.
Author's Note: This was supposed to be a missing scene that focused Winry and Ed and their connection through automail but it blew up on me and turned into romance. Unbeta-ed 'cause neither of my betas have actually watched the movie yet.
Part of Me
He removes his clothes first; coat, shoes, vest, shirt and pants. She watches him out of the corner of her eye and tries to concentrate on the new automail as she takes it out and readies it. Sheska moves away as he begins to undress, pretending to be interested in the ruins to give him, give them some privacy. Winry wouldn't have asked her to leave, but finds that she's glad that she did.
Ed looks older, Winry notes, but that only makes sense. She feels older too and wonders what she looks like to him. He situates himself on the ground beside her in nothing but his boxers, gooseflesh in the cavern air, but not embarrassed. They've known each other too well for too long for that.
She starts on his leg first. She has to admit that the replacements are good for what they are, but she cringes, thinking of anyone having to live with them. She cleans the socket and attaches the new leg, doing everything but connecting the nerves. She moves on to his arm.
Gently, she unbuckles and removes the harness across his chest. His skin shows red beneath it, even calloused in some places from years of use. She tries to be cool and professional, but her fingers brush against his thigh and shoulder and she has to press against the desire to spread a hand over his chest. She wants to feel his skin and his heartbeat and the beginnings of hair underneath her palm.
They say nothing as she works, but she can feel him watching her. She's fixed and replaced his automail many times over the years, but it's different this time. She hasn't seen him for years and then one of the first things they do is this. It feels intimate in a way it never has before. It doesn't matter that they're sitting in a dead city, that there are machines flying overhead or that Sheska's standing ten feet away. This is automail she's spent years crafting and perfecting. They are as much an extension of herself as they will be a part of Ed. She looks up at him and because he's watching her their eyes meet. The instant stretches and she knows that while he may not put the same words to the emotion, he feels it too.
There's another explosion overhead and the moment breaks as he looks upwards. Regret spills from her. For a second he saw her, maybe only her, but now he's back to looking at the future and all he must do.
He's going to leave her again, she can feel it. She doesn't know how she knows, but she does and is sure. He's always going places where she can't follow and this time will be no different. She goes back to working on his arm.
It doesn't take long before everything is ready and all that's left is to connect the nerves. Before she does however, she pauses.
There's a smudge of dirt on his cheek from the crash and with her thumb she brushes it off. Then a smaller speck. And a smaller one and smaller one until she gives up pretense and just runs her fingertips over the arch of his cheekbone. His eyes turn to her as her touch lingers, something like a question forming in his gaze.
When she was younger she was never sure what name she should attach to what she felt for him. It wasn't as simple as friends, but the closeness wasn't quite platonic like siblings. It was what made her never want to see him hurt and want to fix it whenever he was. It was the emotion she forged into every piece of automail she made for him. Keep him strong and keep him safe. Now she's older she knows what it is. It's never mattered that it does no good to want someone who's gone.
The hug was going to be her only weakness, her only moment of showing him how much she missed him, but he's looking at her and is close enough for his breath to feather against her skin and she wonders why she ever bothered to have pride where he was concerned. Her hand on his cheek moves back to curl behind his neck and she pulls him forward into a kiss. He starts and his breath hitches, but he returns it, his left arm wrapping around her back to pull her awkwardly closer. The first kiss turns into a second one and then a third and soon numbers don't matter as his lips move against hers.
If she were able to think - she can't, everything is too full of him for any other thoughts than how much she's wanted this and for how long - she'd marvel at it. She never thought he'd let himself get stopped in a moment. But he has and it's with her. The acceptance of the gesture makes something in her chest ache. When she pulls him closer he responds in kind.
Gently, gradually they slow, breath evening and touch softening. His arm around her back loosens and they disentangle unhurriedly, the need to press closer lessening. First her hands pull away, one and then the other, then their lips and when they separate he breathes her name. His fingertips are light against her back. They trail with a ghosting contact down her waist and hip and thigh until they're gone.
Later, the touch promises. Later, after this, when we have time, but Winry knows Ed and knows how the world works and doesn't think that there'll be a later.
She can't tell which one of her many emotions is showing on her face, but Ed's expression softens and he leans forward to kiss her once more. It's simple and short and the only point of contact between them. When they pull away a feeling lingers, still muting the world around them. Everything is soft and almost seems better than it was just moments ago.
There is something different between them now and while it's neither the time nor place to deal with it, she know that if there is a later for them he won't deny it. Neither will she.
She busies herself for a moment with a few last second adjustments and then reaches to connect the nerves. Ed shifts, his demeanor sharpening as she does. She offers her shoulder to rest his hand on, and he takes it, bracing himself.
"Ready?" she asks. It the first words either of them has spoken since she started.
Ed nods and takes a breath.
She connects the leg first - his fingers clench painfully - and she quickly reaches and connects his arm as well. The place where he's holding her will be bruised later, she can tell, but doesn't care.
He hunches over, curling in pain. That's one thing she'll never be able to help with. She rests a hand on his hair, smoothing it. The grip on her shoulder loosens, but doesn't move away. Eventually, he forces his breathing even and straightens. Silently, she hands him his shirt. He takes it and their finger brush as he does. Metal against skin.
They move away from each other for the last time, separating more completely than before. Their moment has run its course and it's time for them to be in the real world again.
He shrugs on his shirt and she smiles when she sees that the motor control is fine enough for him to fasten buttons with only his right hand. She moves to gather her tools while he finishes getting dressed. Sheska comes back over as Ed rolls up his pants leg and his sleeve so Winry can make a few final adjustments.
"All right," Winry says as she finishes, pulling away. "Try standing up."
Ed makes an offhand comment about the pain, only proving that it still hurts more than he'd admit and does as she asked. Despite this, his motions are sturdy and determined.
Winry shifts to put away her screwdriver, but she pauses to watch Ed as he moves and tests his leg and arm. She feels pride to see that they do fit, and fit well. They may not be his real limbs, but he still has a grace and a strength and, at least to her, he looks whole.
Thoughts? Comments? Criticism? Favorite lines? Love to get reviews.