Something So Wrong
Disclaimer – no one is going to mistake this as Arakawa's work. All rights belong to her.
Rating – PG-13
Pairing – Roy/Winry
Time Line – post series, mostly manga but with one key element taken from the anime, namely who killed Winry's parents (since it's just such a fun angsty thing)
Summary - How could something so wrong be so right?
Author's Note – This was written for Kashicat for her charity donation to firefiction. She wanted Roy/Winry. Hope this is what she had in mind. It's the first time I've written this pairing. Yes, both the title and the summary are taken from Atlantic Starr's tribute to cheating, though in this case cheating isn't the problem (title suggested by friends who prefer to go nameless to avoid the rotten tomatoes)
They were the ones left standing. Maybe that's what brought them together. Roy had no other way of explaining it. Riza had been gone five years now and he could not even think about her death. The pain was still that great. She died protecting him in battle with Pride and Wrath. They had been vicious, intent on paying him back for killing Lust and for helping the Elrics to thwart the master plan for turning Amestris' battlefronts into one giant array.
In the end, the homunculi and their "Father" lost and Ed got what he wanted, his brother back. Too numb from Riza's death at the time to rejoice, Roy wished he had spent more time talking to Alphonse. The boy had been doing so well, struggling to regain his body mass and strength when suddenly he failed. Al had slipped away so quickly there had barely been time to say goodbye.
Roy thought Winry and Ed would just follow Al into the grave. Roy had considered going with Riza. It was just all too much. They had suffered for so long for it to end so quietly. Al hadn't even looked peaceful in death. Roy remembered thinking the poor boy had looked cheated and angry.
Finally, Ed just drifted away. If he told Winry where he was going, she never shared it with Roy. Roy had heard rumors that Fullmetal was in Xing, studying their alchemy. Roy just hoped Ed wasn't thinking of trying to bring Al back. Ed knew first hand what could happen but that didn't mean his grief wouldn't rule.
Roy tried not to think about it since there was nothing he could do. He and Winry did the only thing they could: they moved on. He wasn't even sure how or when he and Winry started keeping company after Ed left. She reminded him of Riza. She probably looked at him and saw Ed. There was something wrong about that so he didn't think much about it either.
Respecting her talent, Roy gave Winry as much business as he could from the military, even though he had retired. He hadn't even tried to become Fuhrer. He left that to Olivia Armstrong while he and her brother opened a school of Alchemy. Roy had been so fed up with the military and politics and without Riza he had felt like he had nothing left to protect, at least until Winry became a fixture in his life.
She had appeared almost like a ghost one day, standing in front of a glass fronted shop on a street in Central. Roy had to look twice to realize that she wasn't Riza, with her hair pinned up in the back, wearing a tailored blue suit. She had been lost, looking for the school and Armstrong to tell him about a promising young girl, a granddaughter of one of her patients who had an interest in alchemy. With Armstrong recruiting in Briggs, Roy had talked to her. Maybe he would never know why he first asked her out, but Roy had his suspicions. He had failed this girl. He had ruined her life, took her parents, failed to save her 'brothers.' His actions and inactions changed the course of her life. It was his duty to make the rest of her life easier.
Roy kissed her shoulder as he got up from bed. Winry groaned something that was probably a 'let me sleep' as she snuggled deeper under the covers, trying to avoid the sunlight fighting to pierce the curtains. As he dressed quietly for work, Roy tried not to wake her. In the back of his mind, he wondered if he were in love with her or if she was merely his penitence. He wished he knew because he didn't want her to wake up and have him be one more thing in her life that she regretted. She deserved real love but he was in too deep now to just do the smart thing and back away. One day, maybe he'd finally get things right. Maybe his surprised for tonight would help.
She pretended to sleep as he got ready and left. Once Roy was gone, Winry sprawled on the bed, her mind in a whirl. The sheets smelled like him and part of her knew that this should make her sick. Ed would die if she told him but he had abandoned her one last time and she knew that he would never come back. He couldn't. His heart had been crushed and he had done the one thing he could do; leave her to grieve and move on. She just wondered how she had moved on to this place.
She had a clinic in Central as well as the one back home with her Grandmother. Every third week, she came here and spent her time with Roy. Winry never told Pinako but suspected her grandmother knew something was amiss. How could she explain this attraction? She slept next to the man who killed her parents, her body hot and sensitive under his touch. Winry had meant it when she said she forgave him and respected him, even before the brothers had accomplished their goal. She meant it still. So why did this occasionally feel so wrong?
Maybe because she suspected he used her to punish himself and that was a greatly uncomfortable feeling. Equally uncomfortable was the feeling that maybe, just maybe, he reminded her so much of Edward, of what Edward would have grown up to be, that she couldn't bear to let Roy go. She felt like she was living in some romantic tragedy fit for publication.
Heading into the shower, Winry trailed a hand over her belly, wondering would she ever have what some of her childhood friends had already; husband and children. Did she even want it? Could she see herself with Roy, raising his children? Winry had no answer for that. Maybe it was too early to be thinking about it. She should concentrate on at least being honest with her grandmother first before thinking about far future things.
As the hot water sprinkled down on her, Winry tried to pinpoint just when meeting him for cups of coffee, to talk about their lost loved ones, had turned into something more. Maybe it was the time he had asked her to the symphony when she mentioned she hadn't ever been before. Maybe it was taking a walk in the park to look at the autumn leaves, an invite riding on the tip of her tongue for him to come with her to Resembol to really see some leaves but never actually saying it. After all, what would she say to her grandmother? Was she actually embarrassed to be seen with him? Was Roy with her out of guilt? If there was a yes anywhere in there, then they needed to just end it. As she got out of the shower, toweled off and started to dress, all Winry could think of was, why did she have to think about this first thing in the morning? It would set the mood for the entire day. Roy had something special planned for tonight so Winry decided she should try to concentrate on that instead of her doubts.
Winry sat down across the table from Roy, wondering just what all this 'special' night entail. Roy had kept his plans infuriatingly secret. Why did she end up falling for men so hard to read and predict? Winry had to admit Roy knew romance, however. She couldn't have asked for a prettier setting.
Tucked away off the beaten path, the Xingese restaurant featured fountains adding a soft susurrus to the background; paper lanterns dangled from above, lending an exotic air. She wondered briefly if Roy had brought Riza here then banished the thought. They both had their ghosts. There was no point in summoning them now.
"I've never had Xing food before," she admitted. Roy had promised to cook for her some time but that damned alchemy school kept him busy. So like Ed, his nose in a book or lost in a game of chess or go, especially if Breda was visiting.
"I hope you enjoy it. Do you like spicy?" Roy asked, his eyes dancing
Winry's lips thinned, wariness creeping into her expression. "Food back home isn't very spicy. I'm not used to it," she replied diplomatically.
"Well, I'll steer you away from the spicy stuff. I like it, though. You can always try some of mine."
Winry agreed and sipped at her pale tea while they waited for their food. The soup with eggs floating like flowers in it was delicious, much more so than she thought it would when Roy suggested it to her. His brownish soup smelled pungent and tasted the same she decided when she stole a taste.
Winry eyed the wooden sticks that were brought to the table with trepidation, glad that there were forks and spoons as well. Her honey chicken was surprisingly good, another combination that she had been unsure about yet intrigued by. Roy's meal had a name she couldn't pronounce and he ate with the sticks so gracefully she was jealous.
"Try some," he urged and she forked a breaded piece of chicken out of the savory sauce.
"Sweet and spicy," she purred then stole another piece.
"Glad you like it. I can't quite cook this good but I can make some dishes," he said, smiling, obviously enjoying her delight in the meal.
"You'll have to prove that some day," Winry replied, smiling back.
"I will." He gave her the look that made her tingle in a variety of naughty places.
Winry enjoyed these quiet gentle times. Good food, interesting conversations, time to just be herself. These were the times when she tried not to think too hard about their pasts and just let herself enjoy their time together. Fried fruit and plum wine, another new taste treat for Winry, capped off dinner.
Roy told her some fairy tales from Xing as they walked along because she decided she wanted to know more about his ancestors' culture. Finally, he took her into the park and they settled near the pond. He draped his arm around her on the bench. "This is one of my favorite places in the city. The one thing I don't like about Central…okay one of the several things I don't like, is the light pollution. I like to see the stars and this is one of the few places that I can do that," he said, gazing upwards.
Winry did the same, her head resting on his shoulder. "I miss this sort of view, too. Resembol, you can see all the stars there."
"You were so lucky growing up there, Winry." Roy's hand strayed to his jacket pocket, rubbing over it absently. "I feel guilty for taking you away from your home."
Winry touched his cheek. "I'm not away from there, not completely, Roy. I'm where I want to be," she said, almost surprising herself with the sincerity of that. "I love my home and the Rockbell name is good enough that I could probably make a very good living working in Resembol, just like Granny did. It beats the cutthroat atmosphere of Rush Valley. With the Ishbalan war long over, you'd think some of the mechanics would have drifted off to greener pastures. I have competition here in Central, I suppose, nothing I can't handle."
He smiled at her. "I doubt there's much you can't handle, Winry Rockbell. You remind me…" Roy bit the sentence off, looking away, his hand straying back to that pocket.
Winry reached down and squeezed his hand. "I know I remind you of Riza, Roy."
He didn't look back at her. "I just don't want you to think that's why I'm here with you."
"It's part of it though, isn't it? Sometime I think I'm here just because you remind me of Ed and then I hate that thought because it just seems to make this all wrong." Winry squeezed his hand again. "It doesn't feel wrong."
"Sometimes I feel the same way, and then I add in, 'why is she here with me?' I did such horrible things to your family and I know you say you've forgiven me but I'm not sure those things can be forgiven. It confuses me but my heart keeps saying, this is where I belong."
Winry caught his chin and brought him around to face her. She brushed her lips over Roy's. "It wasn't easy to forgive but we both know the reality. You had a choice of following orders or getting shot as a traitor yourself. There wasn't going to be a good ending in that scenario, Roy. I suppose I could have just as easily hated you, even understanding the situation but Mr. Hughes thought so highly of you. You might have teased Ed, and that was an easy thing to do, I'll admit, but you looked out for him and Al. You did what you could to keep them safe and many of those leads Ed and Al tracked down were ones you gave him. I've known for years that under it all, you're a good man."
Roy smiled. "Thank you. I'm glad in a way that this came up. I think why we're together has been bothering us both."
Winry nodded. "You could say that."
He put his hand in this pocket. "I've been trying to figure it out, trying to decide if I'm messing up our lives by being here or if here is where I'm really meant to be. I kept going back and forth in my head. When I was in the 'meant to be' camp, I bought this." Roy withdrew a jewelry box from his pocket.
It was too big to be a ring and Winry felt relieved at that. She was certainly not ready for that step. "What is it?" Excitement threaded through her words.
"Open it," he urged, his eyes lighting up.
Winry opened the box, wishing he had chosen to give her this in the light because even in the dim light in the park, she could see it was so beautiful. On a silver chain, four silver boxes dangled. Each box had a four leafed clover cut-out with diamond shaped blue crystals inside of each cut-out. "Oh, Roy, it's beautiful."
"I fell in love with it and thought it really needed to be around your neck," he said. "I'm hoping I didn't go too far, too fast."
"No, no. I love it. Here." She turned, sweeping her hair up. Roy put the necklace on her. "How does it look?"
"Gorgeous." He leaned in, kissing her.
Winry slipped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. Maybe they both had their doubts but maybe it was time to let those go. She liked being with him. When the doubts quieted, she knew this felt good, felt right. When he broke the kiss and took her hand to lead her home, Winry knew this was where she wanted to stay.