The Holly and the Ivy: Advent

Winry Rockbell couldn't help feeling excited as the train rumbled down the tracks, the city of Central growing ever larger in her window. It had been a while since she visited the city, having been kept busy by the influx of automail work into Risembool. In fact, now that she thought about it, Winry realized that the last time she had stepped foot in Central had been that fateful day Edward Elric returned to Amestris.

It had been more than a year since that day, since Alphonse Elric had literally dragged his brother back through the gate and closed the portal into their world. Edward had been furious, incensed that he had not been allowed to play the hero and sacrifice his happiness for the people he loved. Alphonse had taken the resultant verbal beating like a rock, and when Ed finally paused for breath, Al had calmly slapped his brother across the room, informing him that safety of both worlds merely needed one gate permanently closed and guarded, that a door that led to nowhere was no door at all, that he was tired of his brother's hero complex making everyone around them miserable, and that Edward Elric was back home, and he'd damned well appreciate it.

The sudden outburst of temper from Al had shocked Ed into silence, and, upon their return to Risembool, Ed was like a ghost in the Rockbells' large house, appearing silent and begrimed after dark, and disappearing just as silently at dawn. Alphonse had been inconsolable, convinced his brother hated him forever. It was almost a full week before Edward returned one afternoon to drag Winry and his brother down to where their old house stood; there, a small, brand-new house greeted them, its freshly painted walls gleaming in the sunlight. When pressed about how he had managed to erect the dwelling by himself, Edward admitted that he had used alchemy to get the structure up in a single afternoon, but spent the rest of the week adding the various details by hand that made the house suitable for habitation.

Winry had been stunned to hear Ed's news; he had built the house for Al and himself, and he planned on splitting his time between Risembool and his duties as a State Alchemist in Central. Alphonse had been ecstatic to the point of tears, flinging himself at his older brother until Ed flushed bright red. Though Edward's words had complained about his little brother's sentimentality, Winry had seen the genuine gladness in his eyes, a look she had not seen since the Elric brothers' mother died.

"End of the line! Central Station!" the deep, resonant voice of the conductor announced as the train shuddered to a stop, jolting Winry out of the cocoon of her memories. She stood up and stretched, loosening muscles that had been still for far too long, before hoisting the large case at her feet onto her shoulders. She had somebody to meet, and a delivery to make.

Winry scanned the faces of the crowd around her, looking for a familiar one as she alternated between keeping her balance with the extra weight on her shoulders and pulling her coat closed as the sharp wind tugged it away from her body. So preoccupied with the task was she that she didn't notice the child running up to her until she felt herself tackled around the waist and a high, albeit muffled, voice squeal from her middle, "Big sister! You came!"

Looking down, she couldn't help but grin at the green eyes beaming up at her. "I promised you that I would, didn't I, Elysia?" she asked, giving the girl an awkward one armed hug while not dropping the case on her shoulders, "Now where's your mother?"

"Mama's over there," Elysia Hughes answered as she noticed Winry's predicament and let go of her waist. "See, she's waving at us."

Following the girl's pointing finger, Winry saw Gracia Hughes waiting about ten feet away, indeed waving to the two of them. "Come on, Elysia. I've got something for your mama, and if we don't hurry back to your house, I may drop and break it."

"How was your trip, Winry?" Gracia asked as her daughter brought the tall blonde over, "You look lovelier every time I see you."

"The trip was fine," Winry replied, her cheeks coloured by a faint red blush at the compliment. "Thank you for inviting me to visit."

"Let's go home," Elysia insisted, tugging on her mother's arm, "Big sister Winry's going to fall down!"

Gracia turned to Winry and her eyes widened, for the first time noticing the large case slung over the young woman's shoulders. "What in the world is that?" she asked, incredulous, "Should we get you some help with it?"

Winry shook her head and shifted the weight of the case so that she could offer Elysia a hand to hold. "It's a surprise," she answered with a wink, "I'll show you once we're at your house." Gracia couldn't help but give Winry a skeptical look, but accepted that the young woman knew her own strength, and led her visitor and her daughter towards home.

"I'm surprised you didn't ask Edward to meet you at the station," Gracia mentioned as the three of them made their way up the path to the house, "I'm sure he would have loved to see you."

Winry nodded, "I know, but I didn't want to bother him while he's working. I may give him a call later to let him know I'm in Central. Besides, he saw me two weeks ago when he went home." Elysia abruptly let go of her hand and ran the remaining steps up to the house, where she produced a key and unlocked the front door. "Elysia's growing up fast," she observed, "Her eyes remind me of Mr. Hughes; she likes seeing the people around her happy, doesn't she?"

Though it had been about five years since the death of her husband, there was still sadness in Gracia's eyes at the mention of him. "Elysia really does," she acknowledged, "She's Maes' daughter, through and through." She seemed about to say more, but at the sight of her daughter waiting impatiently at the door, she shook herself and smiled. "Let's get inside where it's warm."

The interior of the Hughes house was the same as Winry remembered; warm bright light flooded the house, and pictures of the three members of the family littered shelves and end tables. Even during her first visit to the house, Winry had thought the Hughes' home exemplified the family for it exuded comfort and welcome. It was as if the house was an extension of the three individuals who lived in it; their collective kindness was an almost tangible balm in the air when one stepped through the door.

"Why don't you show Winry where she's sleeping, Elysia, while I start on dinner?" Gracia asked as she helped the young girl remove her coat.

"My room!" Elysia exclaimed, bouncing on her heels, impatient for her mother to extract the warm coat from her body, "You're sleeping in my room, big sister!"

"Elysia, you helped me get the guest room ready for Winry this morning, remember?" came the gentle reminder from Gracia as she finished extracting her daughter from her coat.

Elysia's large green eyes began filling with tears. "But I want big sister Winry to stay with me!" she nearly bawled, reaching for Winry's legs as her mother hung up her coat.

Winry eased her heavy burden to the ground and leaned down to meet the girl's eyes. "But you and your mom must have spent so much time getting a room ready for me," she pointed out, "I don't want to let your hard work go to waste. Why don't you show me your room, and I'll stay with you there until you fall asleep tonight."

The compromise seemed to satisfy Elysia, and her tears disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. "Okay," she agreed, taking Winry's hand and tugging her towards the stairs, "I picked what comforter to use for your bed!"

Winry couldn't help but smile widely at the girl's quicksilver mood change. "Hold on, Elysia. Let me show your mom the present I brought," she laughed as she turned to Gracia, "Mrs. Hughes, remember how you admired the little oven in my house when you came to Risembool?" She bent down and unlatched the lid of the heavy traveling case to reveal the contents within, "I made you one just like it!" Indeed, staring back up at them from the travel case was the sleek metal face of an oven, its glass window polished to a shine.

"You really shouldn't have done that, Winry!" Gracia protested, though the smile on her face showed the young mechanic that she was pleased with the gift, "And to lug it all the way from Risembool to Central must have been so hard on you."

The blonde waved the older woman's arguments away with her hands, "It's me we're talking about, Mrs. Hughes! I built it as lightweight as possible without sacrificing functionality. It's got settings for every temperature you could ever need, and there's a light inside so you can see how your pies are doing from the window without opening the door, and the whole thing is made of—" Winry stopped abruptly and blushed; she always seemed to get carried away when she talked about mechanical things. "I can't think of anyone who deserves one more than you; you taught me how to bake, after all." With a soft grunt, Winry picked up the bulky contraption and flashed the Hughes females a grin. "Show me where you want this, and maybe we can test it out together while we make dinner." Elysia cheered and raced towards the kitchen while Gracia followed at a more sedate pace, keeping a worried eye on Winry as she brought up the rear.

"Yummy stew, yummy yummy stew for dinner!" Elysia sang out as she danced around the kitchen waving a wet carrot.

The doorbell rang and Gracia looked up in surprise. "Oh, that must be Jean," she exclaimed, "I almost forgot he was coming over tonight! Good thing there will be plenty of stew." She corralled her daughter and plucked the damp vegetable out of the young girl's hand. "Elysia, will you please be a good girl and open the door for Jean?"

"Okay," ever-agreeable Elysia replied, running out of the room. The sound of her feet scurrying across the house's wooden floor was interrupted by the sound of the door opening, followed by Elysia's loud squeal of "Uncle Jean!"

"Hiya, Elysia! Where's your mama?" a vaguely familiar male voice greeted the girl, and several moments later a redheaded man appeared in the kitchen. "Hi, Gracia! And who is—? Hey, it's the boss's girlfriend!"

Winry whirled around, blond hair flying, and almost dropped the carrot she was peeling in surprise, "Lieutenant Havoc! I didn't expect to see you here!"

"I ran into Jean at the grocer's last month," Gracia explained, "And he told me he couldn't cook to save his life, so I invited him to come over for dinner every once in a while. I can't abide the thought of the poor man starving." From the faint blush on Jean Havoc's cheek, Winry couldn't help but wonder if the man thought there was something more than simple kindness involved.

"So what brings you to Central, missie?" Jean asked as he swung the girl clamoring for attention up into his arms, "I didn't think the boss needed any repair work done."

Gesturing to the oven now sitting proudly on the countertop, Winry explained, "I had a gift to deliver to Mrs. Hughes. I'll call Edward after dinner and see if he'll have time to see me tomorrow."

"Don't worry, I can keep a secret," he teased, then added with a dramatic sigh, "Guess this means I can't skip out on work early tomorrow. The boss will dump all his work on poor old Jean so he can go gallivanting around town with his girlfriend."

"I'm just Ed's mechanic, Lieutenant Havoc," Winry reminded the older man with a grin as she resumed peeling carrots for dinner. Though Ed went on long ranting denials when anyone referred to her as his girlfriend, Winry knew that Jean Havoc meant nothing by it except friendly teasing.

"If you say so, missie," Havoc grinned, setting Elysia back down on the ground and rolling up his sleeves, "Anything I can help with, Gracia?"

"That oven of yours is a real marvel, Winry," Gracia said as she passed around the basket of freshly baked rolls, "I don't think I can thank you enough for building it and bringing it all the way here from Risembool."

"I'm glad you like it," Winry answered, a deep blush spreading over her face as she busied herself with her food. As she dipped a bite of warm fluffy bread into the savory stew, Winry added, "Besides, it's not the oven, it's the skill of the cook. And your cooking is delicious, Mrs. Hughes."

The sentiment was heartily echoed by both Lieutenant Havoc and Elysia, and the meal passed quickly in a flurry of amiable conversation. Before Winry knew it, the last spoonful of stew had disappeared, split between Elysia and Lieutenant Havoc, and Gracia had stood up to gather the empty dishes together. When Winry rose, her empty bowl in her hands, Gracia shook her head and waved the young woman towards the study. "Go call Edward and let him know you're in Central," she insisted, "Elysia, and I can take care of things in here. Besides, you and Jean are my guests. You don't have to clean up."

"I'll be quick about it," Winry promised as she headed towards the study.

"You should try the office first," Lieutenant Havoc informed her as he headed towards the kitchen with an armful of dirty dishes despite Gracia's insistence that he was a guest, "I would bet the boss is still there."

"Thanks," she answered as the man disappeared into the kitchen, Elysia at his heels with the bread basket. Once in the study, Winry picked up the telephone and dialed the number for Edward's office with practiced ease, leaning against the heavy wooden desk as she waited for the operator to pick up.

"Hello?" Edward's familiar voice answered, and Winry almost dropped the phone in surprise; she had not expected him to answer, though it was entirely possible that the operator had left for the night. "Hello? Hello, is anyone there?"

"Ed?" Winry managed to squeak out. "What happened to the operator?"

"Winry?" the surprise in his voice came through clearly, and Edward continued, "Is something wrong?"

"No, nothing's wrong," she hurried to reassure him as she ran an idle finger down the slick, polished surface of the wooden desk, "I was just calling because I'm in Central right now—"

"Should I come meet you at the train station?" Ed interrupted. Winry could make out some loud background thumps, and she suspected Edward had just leaped out of his seat and knocked over something in his haste.

"Calm down," she laughed, "I'm staying with Mrs. Hughes and Elysia, and I just wanted to see if you had time to meet me for lunch tomorrow."

"Of course I'll meet you tomorrow," Edward replied, "Havoc will cover for me; he almost begged to leave early today, saying he had a date." Winry couldn't help the soft laugh that escaped her throat, though she wondered again if the lieutenant was speaking the truth or if it was merely wishful thinking on his part.

"I'll meet you at your office. I've been curious about what your State Alchemist research office looks like." On the other end, Edward complained halfheartedly before relaying directions to the building, which Winry jotted down on a scrap of paper she found on the desk and tucked into her pocket.

"Was the boss still at work?" the redheaded man asked when Winry emerged from the study. He was sitting on the floor with Elysia in his lap, a toy lying abandoned in hers as she made another grab for the cookie he dangled above her head.

Winry nodded, "Thank you, and I'm sorry about the extra work you're going to have to do tomorrow, Lieutenant." At the sound of Winry's voice, Elysia's attention left the cookie and she got to her feet to tug at Winry's hand.

"Look at what big brother made for me!" she insisted, waving the toy at Winry.

"Big brother?" Winry asked in confusion before things clicked in her mind, "You mean big brother Edward? He got you a present?"

"He came for my birthday party," Elysia explained, "And told me he'd use alchemy to make me what I wanted for my present."

Gracia couldn't help but smile at the story. "Elysia, that was Edward's birthday party too," she reminded her daughter, "I've told you before, he was here the very day you were born."

"I know, Mama," Elysia answered blithely with the special brand of innocent insolence only preadolescent children possessed before turning back to Winry, "You couldn't come that time because you had lots of work to do, but I told big brother that I wanted you to be at my party. He said he wished you had been too, so he clapped his hands and made this for me." A wide grin on her face, Elysia thrust the toy into Winry's hands.

The toy was a doll, soft and stuffed with cotton. "Edward made this for you with alchemy?" she asked in surprise. She had seen the results of Edward's alchemy before and had always been impressed, however, the years of observing Al's work has also taught Winry that Edward was never one for fine details, but this doll was perfect down to the stitching.

The soft doll wore tiny black boots of stitched leather, a black skirt, a pale green shirt, and a black jacket. When she saw the face, Winry almost dropped the doll in surprise. "It's me!" she exclaimed, staring at the smiling doll's blue eyes. It was her face rendered into cuddly toy form; the doll's blonde hair was pulled into a ponytail save for the strands at the temples that she had never been able to make stay in her own ponytail, and the smile that peered out from the cloth face was her own, cheerful with a hint of steel beneath. The doll was even clenching a tiny silver wrench in its fist.

At her reaction, Jean Havoc began to laugh. "You've always been a sharp one, missie," the older man teased, "Didn't you recognize the clothes first?"

"I haven't worn that outfit in years!" Winry protested, unable to tear her eyes away from the doll in her hands.

"The detail's amazing, isn't it?" Gracia asked, "Edward's a wonderful alchemist, but I've never seen him get anything quite that detailed or accurate on a first try. He must have had the image of you fixed very clearly in his mind." Winry couldn't formulate a response to Gracia's comment, but the older woman saved her by changing the subject. "It's near bedtime, Elysia," she said, moving to rise, "Let's go get you cleaned up before you go to sleep."

Winry shook her head and handed the doll back to the girl. "How about I get you cleaned up for bed, Elysia?" she asked, waving for Gracia to keep her seat, "And you can tell me more about your birthday party this year." Elysia beamed and began to speak as the blonde led her towards her bedroom.

Following the instructions Ed had left her, Winry arrived at a small stone building, nondescript except for the green lion banner flying above it. There was little activity around the building; in fact, she was the only person in sight as she stood regarding her surroundings. A gust of wind whipped past, reminding the blonde that perhaps the lack of outdoor activity was due to the temperature, and she hurried towards the door, mindful of the bag full of wrapped purchases in her hand.

Inside the building, the air was warm, and Winry sighed in relief. Though Central wasn't much colder than Risembool this time of year, her morning of ducking in and out of shops, as well as the walk to Edward's office, had chilled her considerably. "May I help you?" a polite voice asked from behind her.

Winry whipped around found an older woman smiling at her from behind a desk. "I'm looking for Ed—, Major Elric," she said, tripping over the unfamiliar title, "He should be expecting me."

"Major Elric's office is on the third floor," the woman answered, gesturing to the staircase behind her, "Last door on the left." Thanking her, Winry made her way up the stairs and found the indicated door slightly ajar, giving her a glimpse of papers strewn on the floor. At the sight, she couldn't help but smile as she raised her hand to knock; some things just never changed.

"Come in," Edward's familiar, if distracted, voice invited, and she pushed the door open fully to find the young man sitting behind a desk, a pen in his left hand and a look of concentration on his face as he regarded whatever document was in front of him. Lieutenant Havoc stood in front of a bookshelf, several volumes in hand as he looked up to greet the visitor. At the sight of Winry, his face split into a wide grin, and he stayed silent, suddenly finding the bookshelf in front of him a source of endless fascination.

"Major Elric?" Winry asked, trying her hardest to keep the smile out of her voice.

At the sound of her voice, Edward's head shot up. "Winry!" he exclaimed, the work in front of him forgotten as he hurried towards her. "I was hoping you would come and save me from this paperwork."

"Ed, you're in uniform!" Winry said in surprise, suddenly noticing that her childhood friend was not wearing the brown coat and white shirt he favored since his return but the dark blue Amestris military uniform, complete with rank insignia and immaculately shined boots.

The young alchemist flushed pink and brushed at the sleeves of his uniform. "I am a State Alchemist, you know," he answered defensively, touching the silver chain at his belt, "Why shouldn't I be wearing the uniform?"

Winry smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "Don't get defensive," she soothed, "I'm just surprised. You never wear it when you come home."

"Of course not," came the immediate, and still defensive, answer. "This thing is uncomfortable. And these stupid flaps around the back get caught ineverything. I don't know how everyone around here deals with them," he continued, tugging at the offending panels of cloth in annoyance. Edward's eyes fell on the bulging bag in Winry's right hand and he asked, "What's all that?"

"I went shopping this morning," she answered, looking around, "Can I leave it here? I don't want to lug it around all day."

A hooded look fell over Edward's eyes as he answered, reaching for the bag, "Sure, I'll put it behind my desk." Before Winry could protest, he had taken the large bag and tucked it out of sight behind his desk. "Cover for me please, Havoc?" he asked the older man as he returned to Winry's side.

"Sure thing, boss," came the response as Havoc winked at Winry. "Have fun, and don't stay out too late." Ed made a face and glared at his subordinate, who merely continued grinning as he waved the two out of the room.

Despite the cold that kept Winry hugging her coat close, it was a beautiful day, with brilliant white sunshine and clear skies the colour of sapphire. "So Lieutenant Havoc took off early yesterday for a date?" Winry asked nonchalantly as Ed led her down the street.

The blond at her side nodded, his ponytail bobbing, "It's strange," Edward added, "He normally can't be stopped from talking about the woman he's seeing, but this time he hasn't said a word."

"Why Edward, I didn't realize you had such an appetite for gossip," she teased, digging her elbow into his side.

The glare he leveled at her would have been called deadly if it had not been accompanied by sputtering denials. "I just think it's strange!" he exclaimed. "I'm not interested in Havoc's love life!"

"Oh, then I guess it wouldn't interest you that he was having dinner with me?" Winry continued, her voice and face the epitome of innocence.

"What?!" The outburst was loud enough to startle the birds roosting on a nearby rooftop, and Winry couldn't help but laugh at Ed's expression, torn between revulsion and disbelief. "You—, Havoc—"

"So much for being not interested." When Ed continued to look like he was about to be sick, she explained with a light swat at his head, "He wasn't with me, stupid. He was with Mrs. Hughes."

At the news, Edward froze on the spot, leaving Winry a few steps ahead until she realized she'd left the alchemist behind. "Mrs. Hughes?" he echoed.

Winry shook her head and grabbed his hand, pulling him along by his automail. "Yes, but I don't know if she's just being kind or not" she admitted, "I don't think he knows either."

The admission coaxed a laugh out of Ed, and he looked around them in surprise; he had stopped paying attention to where they were going. "Back this way," he said, pointing behind them to a storefront adorned with a blue awning and two wrought iron tables out front. "Come on." Before Winry could answer, he grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards the restaurant.

Upon their entry, a heavyset man wearing an apron looked up and grinned. "Good afternoon, Major! There's a table free over there." he said, gesturing them to an empty table near the large front window.

At the greeting, Ed stopped and stared at the man in confusion, "You've never called me by rank before, Mr. Wirtz."

The man shook his head and gestured to Winry. "I saw that you had a lady with you and wastrying to help you impress her, Edward," he explained in exasperation, "But you just blew it." Winry couldn't help but laugh, and at the sound of her voice, the man winked at her. "Sorry about that, miss. I'm Daniel Wirtz, the proprietor; Edward comes in almost every day for lunch."

"I'm Winry Rockbell," the blonde answered, "I've known Ed since we were little. I've never been impressed by him, so you really didn't do any harm."

Edward gave a yelp of indignant protest at her words, but Mr. Wirtz merely laughed again. "Good to know," he said, turning back to the counter he had been wiping down when they entered, "You two kids sit down, and I'll come take your order in a minute. Edward can tell you what we serve. He's tried everything."

Muttering threateningly under his breath, Ed led Winry to the indicated table and dropped into a chair, shooting half-hearted glares at the proprietor behind the counter. "So, what do you recommend?" Winry asked, taking her own seat. "Hopefully something warm; I'm so cold I can barely feel my fingertips."

"The chicken pie then," Ed answered immediately as Mr. Wirtz returned, "Two meat pies, please. One chicken and one beef."

"Of course, Ed," the man replied, "And I'll have coffee out for you two in a minute. I know it's cold outside." He disappeared through a doorway into what Winry assumed was the kitchen, and she could hear the unmistakable bark of orders, though the words themselves were indistinct.

They sat in silence, Ed staring out the window, until the promised hot coffee came and Winry busied herself with adding cream and sugar, while Ed simply sipped his. "You know, cream makes it taste better," she teased. When there was no response, she frowned. "Ed, is something wrong? You know I didn't really mean what I said earlier about not being impressed by anything you do."

At the direct question, Edward blinked in confusion. "No, I know you didn't mean it," he answered, shaking his head. "Are you upset with me, Winry?"

Now it was Winry's turn to be confused, "Me? No! Why?"

Ed shrugged and looked distinctly uncomfortable as he recounted his reasons, "You didn't tell me you were coming into Central or ask me to meet you at the train station. And you usually make me take you shopping when you come, but this time you seem to have done it all already."

Winry sighed in relief at his reasoning; Edward could be surprisingly sensitive sometimes, and she had been worried that he took something she said the wrong way. "I didn't ask you to pick me up because I didn't want to bother you at work," she explained, "And I didn't tell you I was coming because I knew you'd come meet me even if I told you not to. I just came to Central because I wanted to give Mrs. Hughes a present." She kicked at his leg lightly and was rewarded with a faint metallic clink when she hit his automail. "And I do plan on making you take me shopping after this. I just started early because I don't want you to see your Christmas present, and it wouldn't be right for you to pay for my Christmas presents for Rose, Granny, and Al."

"What presents?" Ed asked as their food arrived. He paused to shoot Winry a confused look before digging into his meal.

"Christmas presents," she repeated as she broke the steaming crust of her pie with a fork. "When Rose came back to Risembool after her yearly visit to Lior to oversee how the military's reconstruction has been progressing, she started talking about how Lior was finally at the point where they could have their annual Christmas celebrations again. Apparently this Christmas is an old holiday tradition in Lior. Rose said no one remembers what it originally was, but its been celebrated for as long as anyone can remember, a big winter festival for people to see friends and give gifts to the people they care about."

"They're celebrating something they don't even remember the reason behind?" Ed asked, skeptical, "What if this thing was some kind of festival where they sacrificed babies?"

Winry frowned and kicked the alchemist's metal leg again. "You're missing the point, Edward," she admonished, "It's hard to travel to Lior in the winter with so much desert in the way, so Rose can't make it back for the festival. And you know even if she could, she can't stand being there for very long anymore. So I promised her we would have our own Christmas festival, and you're coming home next week to help celebrate."

The tone of her voice brooked no argument, and Edward sighed. He didn't mind the idea of spending a week back home in Risembool, nor did he mind the idea of celebrating this foreign holiday. But to acquiesce without argument was bad form around Winry; she would start to expect it. "I'll be there as long as I don't get traveling orders," he answered, letting a fair bit of grumbling enter his voice.

"And don't forget to bring a gift for Rose," Winry added. At his glare, she smiled and changed the subject, "This chicken pie is really good, Ed."

Edward returned the smile, but did not let himself be distracted by the attempted change in subject. "Didn't you say you bought gifts for everyone else too?" he asked, "And was that gift you brought Mrs. Hughes a Chrimtas present?"

"Christmas," Winry corrected, "And yes, but I didn't tell her that. I just thought it would be nice to do something for her." She smiled and continued, "And I bought presents for everyone because it wouldn't be fair to just have presents for Rose. Granny and Al were a little skeptical about the whole thing, but I think Rose and I have convinced them."

Ed couldn't help but smile at the way her face was illuminated by the talk of celebrating this foreign holiday; it was a look he had previously thought exclusively dedicated to talk of machinery. "Don't worry, Winry," he reassured her, "I'll be home for Christmas."