He floated in a dark world. All coherent thoughts lost. His only company at first was the sound of strained breathing and a drum. He drifted, trying to place where the sound was coming from. Pain came to him next, followed by a feeling of loss. He didn't know what hurt or what he had lost, but the lack of knowledge only magnified the intensity. Light slowly returned to the world, a grey-reddish tinge; a metallic tinge to match the smell and taste. He started to question, yearned to remember who he was, what happened to him, where the pain came from. New sounds joined the strained breathing. Someone was crying. A horrible small whimpering mixed with groans. He hated it, wanted it to stop. He wanted to tell whatever was making that sound that it would be alright again, once the pain was gone.
Shortly after the new sounds started a cold filled his world. It was somewhat comforting as it broke up his attention; taking the focus off of the pain. His thoughts returned and he remembered who he was. The whimpers turned into small sobs as his memory came back and he recalled what he had lost. He became tired of the grey and strove to restore his lost vision. He needed to see. The aches became more pronounced as he swam towards complete consciousness, strove to open his eyes. He had almost given up, turned back when a light broke through. His eyes fluttered open to reveal a world of brown and metal. Al's hand. Sound followed sight.
"Brother, its okay. It will be alright." He was being spoken to. His attempt at speech was only a pitiful groan. Panic seized him again when he couldn't move. Something he hadn't been aware of stopped, a small comfort rubbing something sore.
"Al, I think he's awake."
"Brother?!" Excited voices filled the air above him as the metal hand moved away from his eyes. He squinted at the people causing the noise. Relief flooded through him as Winry ran a cloth over his face. She hadn't abandoned him. The people above him were concerned as he let out a few more sobs, of relief this time. He strained against the bonds holding him down. He wanted to touch her, make sure she was real, and he didn't care how much it hurt to do it. His breathing became more ragged, but he found his voice.
"Untie me." It came out broken. He barely recognized himself. Al's eyes flashed wide in alarm, but Winry went straight to his wrist, pulling him free.
"Its fine, Al. Could you do his leg?" The armor moved obediently if somewhat hesitantly. He ignored it, not wanting to reveal his weakness. Blue eyes met his as he stared at her. The bonds came free and pain lanced to his extremities. Blood flow had been restored; tingles, pain, and irritation attacked his freedom. He lost out to them; grinding the limbs down into the bed and biting down on a yell that almost defeated him.
"Brother, does it hurt that bad?" He swallowed down his irritation, panting to speak again, to give his brother some reassurance.
"Nothing I can't handle. We'll be on our journey and home again before you know it, Al." Anything else he wanted to say was cut short as the needles intensified. He shot a desperate look at Winry, hoping she could understand. Her eyes widened and she opened her mouth but Al cut her off.
"I'm going to go read." The voice sounded weak coming out of the armor; hurt feelings, but relief. He felt a little guilty until she spoke, breaking his thoughts.
"Al understands. Don't worry about it. I'll cheer him up later, I promise." He nodded slightly in response, the little movement sending waves of pain down his sore spine. He gathered his strength for the one thing he needed. Slowly, biding his time, he moved his hand. Grunts escaped him as each inch was a mountain of fire he forced himself to jump in, until finally his hand rested on hers. She smiled as her fingers were squeezed and he felt flooded in sunshine. His breaths came a little slower as the relieved sobs came back. He watched through his tears as she kneeled down beside the bed. Her other hand came up, brushing his bangs back off his face. He closed his eyes, basking in the comfort of her fingers sliding through his hair.
The sobs slowed and he began to drift again, riding on currents of pain and little comforts. He drifted until he felt her fingers wriggle out of his hand. He snapped out of the slight daze, panic seizing him again when he felt her fingers gently drift over his eyes, forcing his lids closed. "I'm here, Ed. I'll always be here, waiting on you. Just rest." He nodded and let his senses slowly drift. He thought he could hear her lightly singing, her hands alternately holding his and wiping his face, but it didn't matter. He floated; thoughts of her keeping him company.
06/09/07 -Author's note: That's it for this story. Only one more stage of surgery to go before Ed starts adaptation and recovery. Thank you to all of my anon reviewers and readers.