"Yes, ma'am."

"Have fun and tell those boys I said to take care of you."

"Yeah, right. They can barely take care of themselves much less me. I'll be fine."

"Call me later and tell me when you're on your way home."

"I will. Goodbye Granny."


Pinako stared at the receiver for a moment before hanging it up. She had a funny feeling that this wouldn't be just a visit to Rush Valley, but a new journey. The last of her small broken family was gone. Something wet dripped on the back of her hand and she felt a tiny thrill of horror as she looked at the two drops. She felt the drops zig-zag down the back of her wrist as she raised the trembling hand to her face. The two tear tracks filled her with disgust.

"Get it together, old woman." She sniffed harshly, stilling any remaining tears. It wasn't like Winry was dead, after all. A furry head forced itself under her arm. She looked down into the warm eyes of her last companion. "Well, it's just you and me now, girl. Guess we should go pack up her room for her. She'll want her notes at least, no matter what she tells me." Pinako mounted the stairs, one hand at her lower back, the first victim of advanced age.

Opening the door, she had to adjust her glasses to see through the bright rays of sunshine streaming in through the windows. The light faded as she stepped in, perhaps even the sky was mourning her grand daughter's departure. She shook her head at the sentimental bit of nonsense she had allowed to slip into her consciousness and looked around. She felt a tremble come back to her hands and willed the involuntary movement to stop. Perhaps she should do this a little later. Dinner still needed to be made. Pinako stepped back, hand on the knob to close the door. Den whined softly at her feet and trotted away down the stairs.

She sighed as she closed the door and followed the dog.