The light was dim as he opened his eyes, and for a moment he forgot where he was. Two doors appeared briefly and faded out to reveal shaded windows, brighter light shining behind the lace. The blankets were scratchy, but warm. His eyes surveyed the room, taking in the bare furnishings and the shadows on the wood. It looked slightly familiar. He couldn't help but smile as his eyes alighted on the figure in the chair next to him.
She was bathed in the patchy light through the curtains. Her hair looking like a patch of sunflowers caught in the moonlight. She was breathing deeply, her head bowed on her chest. She wore simple clothes and another blanket was around her shoulders. He wondered briefly if she put the blanket there or if someone else came in and did it. "Winry. Winry, wake up." He gently grasped her hand, mesmerized by the feel of her skin against his as she tightened her fingers reflexively. He grasped her knee, intending to shake her awake, and felt a thrill as her lean muscles tensed under his touch. "Winry, come on. Where is Big Brother?"
"What? Ed?" Al smiled as she slowly became aware and released her leg, taking up her hand again.
"No, Winry. It's me. Al. Where is Ed?"
He giggled as she pulled her hand free. Yawned and stretched; knocking the blanket to the floor. Al felt the thrill again as he watched her chest heave and he looked away with a blush. With a fist in her eye, she finally answered his question. "Ed's in the room across the hall. I made him go get some sleep. How are you feeling, Al?" She smiled as she said his name and he couldn't help smiling back.
"I feel good, Winry. Better than good, perfect even. But Winry, how about you? And what about, Brother? Did we do it? Does he have his limbs back? You were there, weren't you? At the gate I mean? To greet me? How? You're not an alchemist?! And Scar! What happened?!"
He watched in panic as she cringed under his questions, instantly feeling guilty, but with a burning need for answers. She fidgeted as his eyes bored into hers, and he could see the confusion and sadness waiting there. "Well, Al…" she started off slowly, hesitating and he grabbed her hand up again, squeezing with earnest encouragement. "I'm fine and so is Ed. I don't know how I was there, but I was. I don't know what happened with Scar, it was all just too fast."
Al took a moment to process the information, his own mixed recollections mixing with what she told him. Winry waited him out in silence and he could swear he saw a blush burning on her cheeks. He wondered if it was because she'd seen him naked, but dismissed the thought. Winry saw a lot of people naked in her line of work. An image from his dream, her and his big brother kissing, floated in his mind. Perhaps that was more than just a dream. He considered asking about it, but her averted eyes made him decide not to. Besides, she still hadn't answered his most important question. "But Winry, what about Big Brother? Did we do it, does he have his limbs?"
Al knew the answer before she spoke. Her distressed face said everything. He felt tears well in his eyes and awkwardly threw his arms around her waist, burying his face in her lap. He felt her fingers stroking his hair as she answered. "Ed says that he has everything he set out to reclaim."
He sniffled and spoke around his soft sobs. "But we promised…you…he promised…how can it be finished?!"
He sobbed softly, waiting for her to say something, but her only response was to continue running her fingers through his hair. After a little while, when his sobs died down to just quiet sniffles and silent tears he heard her begin to hum. The tune was old and familiar, but he couldn't say when he'd heard it before. Al closed his eyes, basking in her touch, her voice, her warmth and slowly drifted back off to sleep.
Author's note: I had all of my anonymous reviewers in mind as I wrote this, (particularly Edmame). I always feel bad that I can't send you guys personalized replies to your nice words...but then I always feel bad when I send a personalized response and it goes on forever. (I can't help but ramble, sometimes, haha.) Thank you so much for always reading and reviewing my stories.