Her irritation flared as she heard the screen door slam and the familiar sounds of armored footsteps. Sighing she set aside the kneecap she was working on polishing and reached for her trusty wrench. She could hear the greeting fight starting already. Maybe it would be better if she just hung out in her workroom, let Ed come to her with whatever he broke. Hearing Al's voice and her grandmother thanking him caused her ears to perk up. Granny had actually sounded sincere. Maybe they had brought something interesting. Letting her curiosity get the best of her, she headed towards the door. Den shot through before she could get it completely open, knocking her off balance a little.
"Haha, Winry. Bowled over by a dog!"
She glared at him before taking a deep breath. "You idiot, can't you use a phone?"
"Uh, hi Winry." Al nervously stepped between them. "It's not too bad this time, honest. And we brought you some folk medicine from the last place we were."
Her eyes slid over to where Granny was sniffing at something in a jar and she felt her curiosity flare again. Feeling a little forgiving since they brought home an interesting gift she laughed. "Thanks guys! Did you get a chance to try it out, does it work? What about around your automail while it was raining, does it help those aches as well? How expensive is it to craft? Where did it come from? Were there any reports of allergens with it? Who was mostly using it?" She broke off as the brothers backed away. "Okay, I get it. I'll look at it after Granny examines it."
She smiled widely as the brothers looked relieved and then her look darkened again. "I know you didn't come just to give us new medicine. What broke this time?"
She snickered as Ed inched behind Al. "Well, um…you see, Brother kind of got in a couple of fights. It's not too bad…." He trailed off as she approached. Lightning fast she reached out and caught Ed's right arm, yanking him from behind the giant armor. With a haughty sniff she pushed the sleeve up on his red coat.
"Ed! How could you do this? Uh, the casing is all bent up and are these dents from bullets?" She stared wide-eyed at him, inches from his face as he hung his head a little. She shook his arm and his eyes met hers. With a rueful grin he shrugged. She rolled her eyes in an exasperated reply before yanking him into the workroom. Granny accidentally shoved some of the poultice up her nose as the door slammed.
"Geez, Winry, stop freaking out. I came straight to you and didn't try to alchemize it or anything this time."
"Well, at least that is something." She gathered her supplies before glancing back at him. "Strip down already. I'd like to at least assess the damage before we eat."
"Cool. I am pretty hungry. The last town we were in had horrible food." She chuckled over the sounds of clothing being removed. She waited until he had made himself comfortable in the exam chair before she headed to her worktable. Putting her stuff down, she repositioned her headband and got comfortable on a stool beside him.
"I hate it when you sit on the stool."
She laughed again. "Why? Does it make you feel even shorter?" Her giggling continued as his face turned into a rare pout.
"Come on, Winry, lay off." She noticed as his arms gripped tighter across his chest and she stopped giggling.
"Okay, okay, I'll stop. Give me your arm." She pulled on the metal appendage, wondering what had gotten into him. His left arm came farther up as the right extended. "Ed come on. Just relax already so we can get this done."
She gasped as his arm fell away, revealing a severely bruised torso. His face jerked away from her, studying the floor beyond his left hand.
"It was nothing. These will heal quick."
"That doesn't answer my question."
"It was just a fight. No big deal. Quit giving me the third degree."
She smiled as he flinched and goose bumps rose up on his skin as she traced the outline of the bruise closest to her. "Does it hurt?"
He sighed and turned back to her. She watched him hesitate, hoping he wouldn't lie. "A little, but nothing like when they were made." She felt tears well up in her eyes and his expression turned to one of old sadness. "Winry, please don't cry. They really aren't a big deal." She couldn't help it as a solitary tear rolled down her cheek. She closed her eyes as his face turned dark. He was hating himself again and she couldn't stop it. His hand, gently cupping her face made her eyes shoot open again. The pad of his thumb traced the tear-track. His right hand jittered in her lap, distracting her from his stare.
She took a deep breath and moved back, not seeing the disappointment cross his face. "Well, if they are still hurting a little, I do have something for them. I don't know if it's better than what you brought…"
"Do I have to swallow anything?"
"Then it's better." He smiled broadly and she returned it. Digging around in the drawer next to her, she found the cream she set aside for when she bruised her hands or arms on the heavy machinery.
"Here it is." She held it up, but he made no move to take it. Hesitating for a second, she screwed off the top. "Show me where it hurts." She smiled again as he gestured to a nasty bruise on his shoulder. As she spread the balm on, she chanced asking more question. "How did you get this one?"
He seemed surprised that she asked, but she could feel the tension easing in the muscles she was touching. He looked at the floor again, avoiding her gaze. "It was a fight. He caught me off guard. It was a kick. These little ones," he gestured with his right hand to his chest, "are just from debris."
"And your automail?" A guarded look crossed his face and she could tell he was lying again.
"More debris." She moved on to the next bruise before she decided not to call him on his lie. Maybe she could weasel it out of Al later. For now, she'd just fix him up and hope that when he returns home injured from his next adventure both boys will be whole.