Meet You In Paradise: [AU The struggle for life is often in vain. But Paradise is there to meet us after death. Edward must learn this lesson for himself, and through the memories of those who have perished. Only then can he be freed from this raging guilt…


A/N: This started out as an oneshot but I decided to break it up a little because it was kind of long. You never know, maybe I'll get a better response this way. I've decided to make it T just for the violence. Also, there will be Biblical reference.

There is slight EdxWin but nothing dramatic. A bittersweet 3-shot, if you will.

Meet You in Paradise

Part 1

-

Disclaimer: I do not own FMA

Hearts of the Innocent

-

"Oh, its a cold, cold stone wall
One hand, one face against the wall
I watch the people and they're each weighing their private losses
And the cold sweet morning air surrounds a crop of blank white crosses.

I'm reading, I'm not believing
That they're all just names on a wall
Once living, they were once breathing
Now they're, they're all just names on a wall
Just names on a wall…"

--

The ground gave a violent shudder and Winry caught hold of a bedside bar to steady herself. The trembling ceased and she quickly righted herself and proceeded with the care of the patient before her. A man whose name remained unknown to her, gave a guttural shriek, clawing at the bloody gouge in his eye. Debris to the socket and a bullet to the thigh. A lesser set of wounds she had seen all evening but no less serious.

Several pairs of hands that she did not recognize held down the man's flailing legs and arms while she pried the bullet out of his thigh, dousing the wound in peroxide to help prevent infection, and quickly bandaging it up.

Bloodied to the elbows, the task was taken over by another when the sound of her name was heard above the bustling commotion and the agonizing cries of men.

"Winry!" Riza, the head nurse of the sect called to her. "Another bed! A shot to the abdomen, a seared leg, and a hit to the head—possible concussion."

Before Riza had finished the brief orientation, the young nurse had already scrubbed her hands and was setting out the pallet when two worn soldiers came hauling in a man by the legs and the armpits, and one whose mouth was full of an assortment of colorful words. Winry winced. Three years of this taxing occupation had hardened her stomach so that it did not clench at the metallic smell or swim at the sight of blood. But at the sight of this man her stomach had undoubtedly dropped and bile rose to the back of her throat.

Landmine victims were always the worst. Though the man was fortunate enough to have kept his arm and leg, they had been reduced to a bloody mass of shattered bones and shredded cloth. A brutal gash to the belly revealed the lining of the gut that, gratefully, had not been punctured. There was a cut to his brown but was not as serious as his other causalities.

"Take me back!" the man roared. "My brother is still out there!"

Such a display of vile rage was not an uncommon sight from wounded men whose mind still lay on the battlefield. As practiced, his demands were ignored in favor of his wounds.

Winry attended to the man's brow while Ashley and Sarah, two fellow nurses of her sect, attended to his lower body. Soaking a soft cloth in warm water, she wiped away the years dirt and the gore away from his face with the same tenderness and compassion she gave all the wounded who came in here. Wild, piercing amber eyes found hers and she gasped.

"Edward!"

The battered solder's eyes were confused as they darted across her face.

Shaken to the core, she helped him nonetheless. "Winry,"

"Win-ry?" Recognition finally flickered in his burning gaze—as did his disbelief. Neither had expected this reunion. Neither had expected a reunion of any sort. And this was the last place Winry had wanted to meet up with her childhood friend. No words were exchanged but Edward's glorious eyes suddenly turned pleading. He grasped her blood coated hand.

"Winry, please, Al's still alive. They left him because they thought he died. Please, Winry. He's just down the ridge by the river. He's practically right outside the door of the medical tent…"

His desperate pleas broke her heart and the knowledge that Al was dying shattered it. The war had not been kind to either of the brothers.

"What can I do?" It was an honest enough question. What could she do? Winry was no soldier, she was a nurse. What he asked of her, as much as she hated to analyze the meaning, had been undeniably cruel. There was no way she could survive long enough to make it to Alphonse.

Edward strained a look at her as if to say, are you serious?

"You can go after him!" The soldier demanded, outraged.

"Let's tend to your wounds first. Settle down." Her voice sounded terribly indifferent; a tone she adapted to to protect her and to keep her emotionally distant from her patients

His eyes grew wild with anger and Ed struggled against his bindings. "Don't you care?" he spat thoughtlessly into her face. "Alphonse was your friend—my brother!"

His words were like a fist that connects solidly to the gut, leaving her breathless and in agony. The bustling activity in the oppressive medical tent increased. Riza, who had been watching the exchanged closely, finally intervened.

"Winry," she said with a glare at Ed. "Take bed forty-four. I'll take over here."

Still trembling, Winry quickly turned her back to leave. And emotional distance from that man was impossible. She fought against the tears.

Watching her fading form, Edward Elric cried out in a voice filled with such desperation that she had never before heard and was momentarily shocked. Winry reluctantly faced him only to be greeted by the utter hopelessness darkening his orbs; anguish riveted in the lines of his face.

"Alphonse is dying." he whispered. "Please…"

Winry made it to her cot before she fell prey to the numbness of her legs and collapsed with a strangling sob.

Alphonse was still out there, was still alive. But he was dying, and Edward Elric had thrust Al's fate into her calloused hands by his desperate request. Hell, they were in an active zone and he wanted her to brave it for the sake of one man when she had been drafted here to save the many.

Her first initial instinct and desire was to dash through dangerous territory to go to Al for how could it not? He was her dearest friend. But Winry had given her promise, her duty, her very life into nursing theses broken soldiers back to health and giving them temporary relief in a hell-hole of fear. If Winry were to die out there, then the staff would be down yet another nurse. They were already short handed enough as it was.

Unintentionally, her eyes fell upon the small, leather-bound journal the Elric brothers had given her on her eighteenth birthday under her cot. She reached for it, coddling it like precious silver in her lap. She opened it.

"Paradise is to be the ultimate instrument, fulfilling God's desperate intent that we love each other. The music people… they give thanks for the gift and reflect the love."

She placed her hand over her mouth in an attempt to hold back a sob.

"Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom!' And he said to him. 'I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise." – Luke 23:43

The many endless debates she and Al had on the subject of Paradise and the many of God's promises came back to her in a flood. Her arms wound tightly around her breasts, as if holding in the emotion would prevent her from feeling the excruciating pain of decision or the overshadowing sense of fear threatening to break her.

Winry made her decision within a matter of seconds and hurriedly scribbled down the last of her thoughts in the final pages in her journal, knowing that this could be her end. But her resolve held steady.

Al was her friend. She would not let him die alone.


Please Review!