Title: kan, ya ma kan
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist
Theme no.: 1 (Once there was, and once there was not.)
Pairing: Ed/Winry
Rating: K
Notes: My first foray into the world of FMA. The majority of these are bite-sized pieces of fluff, all written for the LJ community 52flavours. Expect most of them to be manga-verse (I usually specify with the story), including this one, which is intended to be post series.

My thanks to JoJoDancer for beta reading this, pushing me into publishing it, and introducing me into FMA in general. Even if I am kinda bitter about how it's taken over my life.

1. Kan, ya ma kan
(Once there was, and once there was not.)

When he had free time – which was rare, and was to be treasured – he liked to go visit her in Rush Valley, usually paying for a room at a local inn to avoid raising too many eyebrows (Winry had many, many, large, tall male patrons who were, if possible, more protective than he was of her, though only concerned with in her "best interests") but sleeping in her tiny apartment anyway.

While he was there, if she could wrangle her own free time and he wasn't in need of immediate repairs or maintenance, she still couldn't stop working. She liked to try experiments on his automail – ideas that she'd been sketching out or drawing up blueprints to or had even started building. Within reason, of course. She'd long since agreed that anything involving hidden guns or knives or bombs in his automail was off limits, but new alloys or wiring or sensors were generally okay.

It was as touching as it was annoying; she trusted him enough to let him see ideas that she wasn't sure about, and he wasn't just any customer; he was Ed and therefore when she had a breakthrough he was the first to celebrate with her. On the other hand… he was also her personal guinea pig.

"Ta-da!" she trilled, sitting back from him and twirling the screwdriver between her fingers. He was sprawled across her couch in the living room of her apartment – which wasn't an apartment as much as it was an extension of her work bench; he regularly found tools in her medicine cabinet and refrigerator next to her toothbrush or the milk – eyes glazing over as she explained the new ventilation system she had installed on his arm in an attempt to keep it cooler in hot weather.

Then the next thing he knew the phone was ringing and he was frantically recalled to Central for some problem that only he could possibly help with ("Why again?" Winry demanded as he scrambled to find his suitcase, and all he could do was shrug helplessly) and he was rushing to the train station to catch the next train and Winry was shouting something at him through the window that he only caught the tail end of:

"-didn't give me a chance to remove it and that's my only prototype, so you better take damned good care of that arm, do you understand me?"

He smiled and waved and promised, swore up and down even as the train was pulling out, that he'd take care of the arm, and he'd come right back to Rush Valley as soon as he could get out of this military thing, and honestly, he was going to slug Mustang right in his fat face as soon as he saw him, and although the train station was just a dot on the horizon by the time Ed had finished his vow, he was pretty sure Winry had gotten the message.

And then bandits. Fucking bandits. Stalking up and down the aisles with their shiny guns, terrorizing two little girls with big blue eyes and long blond pigtails, and, even if he weren't a member of the military, how could he have sat there without taking any action?

It ended like it always ended. Goodness prevailed, and the bad guys were rustled up and hogtied in a neat little row for Mustang's inspection when he arrived at the station and the two little girls beamed at Ed and waved their thanks as their white-faced mother led them out of the station.

"Do you have to make everything so difficult, Fullmetal?" Mustang bitched, as usual, surveying the damage Ed had done and mentally calculating the paperwork his charge had amassed in an hour's work. "You can't even take a simple train ride from Rush Valley to Central without playing hero, can you?"

"Don't look at me like this is my fault," Ed snapped. "I wasn't even supposed to leave Rush Valley for another week. You're the one who insisted I get on that train."

"Well," Roy sighed, rubbing the back of his head. "At least you got here in one piece." Then his eyes glanced down at Ed's right side. "Mostly."

"Eh?" Ed followed Roy's gaze, and took in his mangled arm. He hadn't realized at the time, but when he'd transmuted his blade, he'd torn away and destroyed Winry's brand new ventilation system. The one that she'd just installed. The one that there was only one prototype of. The one that he'd vowed to take extra special care of.