He lay there panting, doing his best to make out Winry's voice over the sound of his body's failure to contain the pain. Bits and snatches were all that came to him. "Scrape away some new scar tissue" "Drill directly into the bone" "Wires cut and connected" "Burned" "Closed" He gave up. Every now and then he would hear Al's voice cut in to have something clarified. The gauntlet was comforting on his arm. How he loved his brother in this moment. The pain shooting up and down his body as the diagnostic machines did their work was nothing in comparison.

He was tired of this. He needed to be recovering so he could go to East City, meet with that soldier, and fix Al. All of this talking was just getting in the way. He blindly grabbed towards Winry's voice, ignoring the pain that shot through his chest with the movement. She gasped as he connected with something and Al quickly regained his hand, pulling it back down. He didn't care what he grabbed or that he'd been restrained. The voices had stopped. "Just do it."

"But Brother!-"

"Ed! You-"

He jerked his arm away, the movement silencing his companions again. The wash cloth that had lain over his eyes was thrown weakly away. "Just do it!" He glared up at them both until a small "tsk" from the doorway caught their attention.

"You heard him, girl. Let's get it started." His eyes closed in relief and he ignored the fussing around him, letting his limbs go limp as they tied them down again. Soon he would have his arm and leg. Soon he would be walking. Soon he could see Al's smile again. He listened as Al's armor squeaked with movements. He didn't want his brother to see this, but he didn't want to hurt him again by having him leave. He was on the verge of reaching out for Winry again when he heard whispers.


"Sorry……..can't bear…watch……bad enough…..unconscious……sorry."


The clanking of metal footsteps exited the room, leaving him behind with very mixed feelings. He gave up his attempt to sort them out as her face moved into view. As she moved closer he felt squashed down feelings and a newly ignored truth bubble up to the surface. He sighed as her face moved beside his, some of her hair falling on his cheek. The bubble almost popped as he felt her lips graze his earlobe. "Al's upstairs getting your room ready. He's going to take you to it when we're done here." His hand shot out as she started to move away, trying to slow her going. "Winry, I…I…" He strained, but the words wouldn't come. Her hand gently covered his as she moved back to his ear again. "Its okay, Ed. I know." He shook his head, but it was over as she very firmly moved back. The last tie was tightened over his hand as he felt a piece of tape come across his forehead, marking him immobile.

"Here we go, boy." Hands gripped his leg and shoulder. He heard bandages being cut through and torn away. A new pain lanced through him as both wounds were prodded at, then a jolt as the wires were seized. Twin whining noises started making his teeth grind uncontrollably. Veins stood at attention all along his body as the sound came closer. An empty dread flushed through him as he felt something bump into the open wounds and then begin to drill. He groaned through his clenched teeth, the vibrations as the new wounds were made causing the wires to shake sending more shocks through his system. He felt a warm wetness run down his side as the whining noises moved up to a higher pitch. The sound of something alive splintering reached his ears. His eyes bulged as he screamed through locked lips, the realization at what was splintering breaking through his mind.

The machines shut off and his jaw unclenched until the cold hit him. He tightened back up, shivering just a little, shoulders hunched. His stomach muscles writhed as more wetness ran down his side, tickling through the pain. For a moment all sound stopped and he heard a leaky faucet somewhere, the ping of water echoing off tile. Then it was gone and a sucking started. It was muffled, seeming to come from somewhere inside of him. He pushed away the thoughts and summoned images of his brother. Images of the people he loved flashed through his mind as the whining noise started up again. He kept them, shuffling through their faces like cards until the machines shut off for the last time.

"Ed." He snapped his eyes open at his name. She was looking down at him again, her face almost directly above his. "We're taking a small break. The holes for the screws are drilled. Do you want me to tell you again what we do next?" He tried to shake his head no, forgetting it was strapped down. She was able to interpret the movement anyways. "Okay. Granny went for a smoke. If you want some water open your mouth." He closed his eyes and opened his lips obediently.