Getting Ed turned back over so he was lying on his back turned out to be even more of an ordeal than getting him on his tummy. Making sure the gauze wasn't moved out of place took a little bit of patience along with the various tubes. Then the table had to be moved. This last bolt was the most difficult. Al pulled the table out a couple of feet so both mechanics could fit at the head of it together. It then had to be carefully lowered another 9 cm or so for easier reach. Al watched as they levered it into place, then passed Winry a roll of soft tape. Ed's head was very gently taped to the flat hard surface it was resting on. Then came the hunt for the right spot.
Granny's hands poked and prodded at the clavicle. Al was sure the treatment would leave more bruises. When she was finally happy with her she gestured something to Winry. Two silver clips were pulled off of a nearby tool stand. The first was very carefully placed directly over the clavicle, the skin pulling almost painfully so the bone stood out in sharp relief. The second clip looked worse. It was positioned sideways right on the end, the wings digging into the trachea and sternum. The skin was pulled so tightly Al was afraid the bone would burst out with Ed's next breath. When the next breath passed and no bone popped up he was a little relieved. The bit mark was drawn right on the head of the bone. It wouldn't leave much room for bone around the bolt. He could understand now why this one was the worst.
Granny reached for the drill, then seemed to pause in consideration. Wordlessly she passed it to Winry whose eyes grew wide. Looks were exchanged which Al couldn't interpret before Winry set her jaw and narrowed her eyes. She nodded once, to herself or to Ed Al couldn't tell, then set the bit. The sound was the worst of all as Winry kept the drill on low while going through the bone. It seemed to take forever to pass through. Blood was running freely down Ed's chest and neck, but Granny didn't move to wipe it. Al wondered if he should, and then decided against it. The tip of Winry's ponytail was slowly turning red beside Ed's head. Al looked away disgusted. He knew he couldn't bear to wash his brother of his own blood later.
When the drilling finally stopped he looked back to see the blood finally being mopped up. Irrigation and suction were started so the wound was clean. Granny carefully inspected all of the ridges with a pen-light.
"The fourth ridge, dorsal edge is a little bent in. Grab the long file and fix it."
He watched as Winry picked up another long pick like piece with a little round mirror on the end, then she grabbed what looked like a tiny dolly. She inserted both pieces into the hole and began to tinker a little. Al looked on in interest. When she was finished Granny shined the light in and checked again.
"Looks good, let's flush it once more then you can do the bolt."
Winry nodded and let loose a small stream of water. More sucking followed but it was mostly clear with little flecks of red. Satisfied with their cleaning job, Granny grabbed the tongs. The hot bolt was again fed onto the drill and then Granny moved back. Winry didn't even notice as she focused on getting the exact perfect angle. She narrowed her eyes one last time, and then hit the switch. The little machine started up in high gear and she quickly ground the bolt home. Skin was pressed and dimpled with one of the metal clips bouncing free of its bone perch. Al could have sworn he saw a tear fall on Ed's cheek before she turned off the machine. Winry looked up with a broad smile.
"Good work. Let's clean up and go eat."
Ed was wiped clean of any last traces of blood. His bags of nutrients and wastes were changed as Al helped sweep and wipe down equipment. Looking over at Winry he followed her ponytail as it whipped around in the air. It still had his brother's blood in it. Gross. I wonder if I should tell her. In the end he opted not to as he followed her and Pinako out of the room.
It wouldn't be until later that night, as he was taking out the trash, that he thought of blood and hair again. There had been blood in Ed's hair. He fidgeted for a few minutes outside, wondering if he should bring it up before heading back in. He walked back to the surgery room planning on just taking care of it himself when he noticed that there was a light coming from under the door. He carefully opened it a crack, grateful that Granny kept all of the hinges in the house well oiled. Ed was propped up on a stack of pillows laid over his legs. His eyes were still closed, the breathing apparatus still in, and he looked completely limp. Winry sat on a stool to his left, a rag in her hand and a bottle of her shampoo on the floor beside her. Somewhere he could hear water trickling. He was about to go in when he heard her whisper.
"I'm sorry, Ed."
Quickly backpedaling, he shut the door as quietly as he possibly could and went to find Den for a game of fetch. I'm sorry, too, Brother.
Authors Note: 11/08/07 Fixed a typo in the first paragraph. Made a few changes to the last paragraph to make positions and actions a little easier to imagine. Thanks Ishte for pointing these things out.