Hi there, Inuchron here. This was just a plot buny that came into my head after i got annoyed that there weren't more fics detailing the problems of Ed's automail. It might not be totally on topic, but for my first piece of fanfiction, i thought it was a good attempt.
Warning: There shouldn't be any spoilers in here, but if you're looking for EdxRoy, you'll have to look elsewhere. EdXWin all the way!
Disclaimer: If I owned FMA, i wouldn't be here. Me no own (incase you didn't get it).
Anyways, on with the story...
"Hurry up Ed!" Shouted Winry. "By the time we get there all the good ice'll be gone!" Her voice carried down the snow-covered hill to the small figure at the bottom. "I would be faster but this damn leg is too heavy!" Winry huffed a sigh and waded her way back down.
Ed was stood doubled over, panting hard and red faced in the knee deep snowdrift and reached up with his remaining arm to wipe away the sweat that threatened to drip into his golden eyes. His automail arm was currently back in the Rockbell house as was his leg, both being in such bad shape Winry had forced Ed to remove them- much to his annoyance. The replacement leg Winry had supplied him with was an old model and as such, was much, much heavier. "Goddamn leg" Ed muttered between breaths.
"If you insist on breaking the best automail I've ever made, then you can live with the consequences" Winry jabbed his side with an accusing finger, causing Ed to twitch. "I didn't break it, some nut job miner with a serious case of the crazies did."
When he got his breath back, Ed stared up the steep slope and his mouth hung open. "No way in hell am I getting up there!" There was another jab in his side as Winry frowned at him. "You promised to come with me as an apology for the automail, so you have to get up there." Ed set her with a dark glare, sun gold meeting steely ocean blue. They stood like that for a minute before Ed looked away. "Fine woman, but it's gonna be lunch by the time we get to the top. You'd better have brought some food."
"Not to worry Ed." Winry smiled cheerily at her glowering companion and pulling out a selection of snacks from her bag, "I've thought of everything."
Just as Ed predicted, the sun was in its midday axis by the time he'd managed to limp and haul himself to the top (with a little help from Winry, but so help her if she ever told Al). However, he still wasn't allowed to rest as Winry dragged him through the dense trees in search of the frozen lake she'd been told about. "Almost there!" She chanted
"Winry, I swear if you say 'almost there' one more time, I'll overlook the fact you're a girl and hit you…hard."
"You'd hit an innocent girl?" Winry turned to him and gave him the most pathetic look she could manage. She looks kinda cute like that…ack! No! Not going there! Ed's cheeks went redder than they already were and he was silently thankful that something ahead had caught the girl's attention so he could hide his blush. "hey Ed, you hear that?" She whispered. The two teenagers stood still so they could listen.
At first Ed could only hear the eerie silence of the snow covered forest and entertained the idea that Winry had just been hearing things but then there was the sound of laughter and people, a lot of people nearby judging by the volume. Winry let go of the hand she had taken hostage and pushed through the prickly branches of a line of fir trees. Ed stood staring at where she had disappeared and waited for her to come back, unwilling to walk any further than he had to with such heavy automail. "Ed!" He jumped, the muffled sounds from behind the trees were almost scary in the silent forest. "Ed come on! We found it!"
Winry's head reappeared through the fir branches, a small mound of snow falling on to the wool hat she wore. Ed huffed then pushed through the branches himself and was dragged downwards by Winry pulling on his arm. The pull and his own fatigue caused him to slump into a thick snowdrift next to a happy Winry. "Look Ed, it's so pretty."
And indeed, the lake was pretty. The water was completely frozen over, turning the dark, murky water into a soft shade of ice-blue and there was a thin covering of snow on the surface from the small shower they'd had the night before. On the ice were children of all ages, sliding, slipping, sledging, and a few of the older ones had even brought along skates and were showing off their skills in the middle, where the ice was thicker.
"Come on Ed, this is what I wanted to come for." Winry stood and brushed herself off before offering her hand to help Edward raise himself. As soon as he was, Winry once again held his hand in a vice-like grip and pulled him to the lake's shore. Winry was halted as Ed dug his heels in. "What's the matter Ed? Worried you'll make more of a fool of yourself than me?" She mocked, knowing how prideful the short alchemist could be. But as she looked at his face, she saw the slightly worried glint in his golden eyes. "…Are you sure the ice is thick enough?" He asked quietly. That was when Winry realised Ed wasn't afraid of going on the ice, but falling through.
It was a rational enough fear, after all, not only was Edward currently missing an arm, but also the spare leg he wore was extremely heavy and he would more than likely drown if the ice were to break under him. She gave him a reassuring smile and stepped onto the ice. Making a few jumps and stamping her foot without falling through, Winry beckoned Ed to join her. "If it breaks, I'm going to haunt you until you die." He said, semi-serious as he made a hesitant step onto the ice.
When there wasn't so much as a creek, Ed's confidence seemed to come rushing back and he skidded to Winry, sliding past her with a big grin on his face. "Beat that!"
Oh yes…thought Winry as she watched Ed slide and twirl on the ice…it's ON!
The sun was getting low in the sky, and slowly, the younger children began to leave in little trickles until it was only the older children and teenagers left. Edward and Winry were collapsed together under the protection of the firs, their energy spent and a warm feeling of contentment surrounded them, even as the cold of the snow seeped into their winter jackets.
Their competition had been a furious one, each trying to out do the tricks of the other. There had been falls, but those were forgotten in memory, though remembered by the wet patch on both teenager's thick trousers. "Today was really fun." Ed mumbled to Winry, too tired to sit up and speak to her properly.
"Yeah, we should do it again next year, if you're around…" Winry regretted saying that last part as Ed turned his head away from her.
"I can't promise anything Winry, you know that. Our search for the Stone is getting more dangerous now, and I'm not sure where we'll be next year." There was a small sound of disappointment from Winry that Ed tried to stop. "But I'll do my best to get here, you know I will. I won't…I mean, we won't forget about you, even with our quest." Winry sat up and gave the boy a warm smile, a small blush on her cheeks at his slip. "It's okay Ed, I'll always be waiting for yo-"
"OI!" Interrupted one of the boys still on the lake. Winry and Ed both looked around just in case they were mistaken and the call had been for someone else. "No, I'm talking to you two!" The boy shouted again.
"Who the hell is that?" Ed growled. That git just ruined the moment…. Winry's eyes were squinted as she tried to make out the boy. He had flame red hair and pale, pasty skin with a smattering of freckles over his nose. There were also a few scars littered across his face and his brown eyes were glittering uncomfortably. There was a moment of shock as Winry realised who it was. Oh no… "It's Zeke." She gasped.
"Zeke?" Ed was watching Zeke with distrustful eyes as the boy sauntered towards them. Ed almost wanted to laugh as he realised the boy was sticking his chest out, trying to intimidate them and a smirk settled on his lips. He looks a bit like the colonel…but he lacks Roy's aura of leadership. Thought Ed.
"He's new to Resembool." Winry began. "His family moved here a few months ago from Central. His father used to be a state alchemist but his licence was removed because of something he was researching. Zeke's been causing trouble for everyone because he thinks he can push us 'country hicks' around just because of who his father used to be." Winry stood and narrowed her eyes.
Taking the hint, Ed also stood, using a branch to help pull himself up. "What d'you want?" Ed ordered. Zeke stood on the edge of the ice and simply grinned and put his gloved hands in his pockets. "I've heard about you." The boy's voice was all over the place, like it hadn't cracked yet. "You're the Fullmetal Alchemist, hero of the people." Zeke made a nasal snigger as his gang slowly formed up behind him. "What a joke. My father says it's a disgrace to the military that someone like you became a state alchemist." Ed tensed and his hand curled into a fist. "I mean, surely there are height restrictions for the army and you're just a tiny sp-"
"WHO YOU CALLING SO SMALL HE COULDN'T BE SEEN EVEN UNDER A MICROSCOPE?!" Ed seethed. Winry put a calming hand on the cold metal of Ed's empty shoulder port in an effort to stop any fighting. Unfortunately, this just brought Zeke's attention to the empty sleeve hanging at Ed's side. There was another cacophony of sniggers as Zeke took a step forward. "So, what father says is true then. No arm, no leg, barely able to take care of himself without a horde of people there to catch him if he falls. Pah, the hero of the people is just a glorified cripple." The laughter was louder this time and Winry could feel Ed start to tremble. Oh Ed….
If there was one unwritten rule that everyone abided by - even Colonel Mustang who usually thought himself above such rules - it was don't call Ed disabled, and never call him a cripple. His pride wouldn't be able to take it and secretly, Winry knew Ed had a sensitive self-esteem that could be easily broken and needed to be handled delicately, no matter how aggravating it may be to those who were trying to help. Yet, here was Zeke, a total newbie to Resembool who had never known Ed and didn't know how delicate he could be, cruelly laying out his flaws for all to see and poke fun at.
"Don't you dare say that to Ed!" Winry shouted, stepping in front of Edward, as if she could shield him from the hurtful things Zeke had said.
"Why can't I? It's a free country. I can say what I like. It's not my fault cripple boy there can't take a joke…and what are you? His mechanic?" Zeke turned to his gang. "See? He can't live without someone there to keep him running. I bet if she left, the great Fullmetal Alchemist would d-" Zeke was cut off by a swift fist connecting with his jaw.
Winry pulled her fist back and rubbed away some of the tears collecting in her eyes, the cold made them itchy, but she didn't care. All she cared about was protecting the trembling figure behind her. "Don't you…EVER…say that again you filth!" Zeke stood back, fingering his jaw as his gang stared at Winry. There was a sudden sense of foreboding in the air and Winry realised she had just made a big mistake. "You hit me." It was a cold statement, said without emotion. "I don't take kindly to being hit." Zeke ran forward and grabbed hold of the arm Winry'd used to throw the punch.
There was the sound of flesh hitting flesh as her face turned to the side, a red mark beginning to form where she'd been slapped. "Now look what you've made me do, I've had to touch your ugly face. I'm going to have to wash myself over and over to get your smell of my skin, and hitting me? That's not very lady-like. I bet you aren't even a woman." Zeke began to smile. "Why don't we check to make sure? Hold her!"
Winry struggled as hands grabbed onto her arms and screamed when Zeke began to undo the button's of her coat. There was a growling sound and Zeke went flying onto the ice, in his place, a boot belonging to a very, very pissed off Edward Elric. "You BASTARDS!" He screamed. He punched and kicked at the people holding Winry until he was able to pull her out and into his chest. She curled up and clutched hold of his red jacket tightly and made small choking sounds as he ran his hand in circles over her back.
Suddenly, Zeke was back, blood running from his nose an a bruise forming on his jaw from the combined efforts of his victims. "Okay, now I'm mad!" Zeke grabbed Ed's collar, tearing him away from Winry and pushed him onto the ice. Ed stumbled on the slippery surface but stayed standing. "You think you're mad?!" Ed shouted.
In an instant, both boys were locked together, fists flying and curses being shouted in all directions. The surface under them was shiny from where the boots of so many children had melted the ice and their reflections shone back at them, mirroring the angry dance both boys had created. Winry watched, mesmerised.
Zeke was stronger and taller than Ed, but it was obvious that he had no experience in hand-to-hand combat, and that was where Edward excelled. However, Ed had only one arm to block and attack, and the weight of the replacement limb was slowing him down to where the boys were just about evenly matched. In a second, things had stopped as the blue lightening of a transmutation lit up the slowly darkening clearing.
"I win." Panted Ed. His hand lay over a hastily scratched array and Zeke was bent over, trapped in a hand made of ice. There was a stampede of feet as Zeke's gang rushed to help their leader get free from his icy prison and Ed backed away, heading back to Winry with a worried frown. "Winry!" He called to her. "Are you okay?" The girl in question gave a hesitant nod. "I'm okay! What about you?"
"A few bumps and bruises. Nothing that shouldn't heal in a couple of days."
"HOLD IT!" Zeke shouted. Ed froze and turned. Zeke had been quickly chipped out of his ice prison and Ed's eyes widened. At Zeke's feet was another array, and the boy was ready to activate it. "Ed! RUN!" Winry screamed. Ed couldn't run though, he was tired and weighed down. "This is payback!" With a shout, Zeke pressed his hands into the array.
There was silence for a second, then the sound of cracking ice filled the area. "Oh no…" Winry gasped. From the array, tiny cracks bean to slither outward toward Ed, water seeping up to engulf the chips as they were broken off. Ed's heart began to thunder as he turned and tried to outrun the alchemic reaction, but his limping gait was terrifyingly slow. There was a moment, as the cracks surrounded him, that Edward caught Winry's eye and held it before suddenly, he was gone.
"EDWARD!" She shouted looking at the watery abyss Ed had fallen into. "ED!" She ran to the edge where water had began to lap the shore and scanned for any sign of the blood red jacket Ed had been wearing. She could feel panic begin to rise when there was nothing. "Hahaha, that showed him" Zeke gloated, walking safely off the thick ice he'd left alone, having transmuted only the ice on Edward's half of the lake. "The bugger'll be up in a minute and we can take a picture to show the whole village."
"Yeah, he's gonna be up for air any second." One of Zeke's lackeys supplied. They all gathered near where Winry was stood, shaking.
"He sure is taking his time." Zeke mumbled, a slight tone of worry creeping into his voice. Winry turned, her eyes wide and unseeing.
"His automail…" She whispered.
"What about it? I bet he's got some air supply and is just trying to freak us out." Winry bent down and threw a rock at Zeke, missing his head narrowly.
"Automail is really heavy…"another lackey spoke up.
"Yeah, and people with it don't usually go swimming." And another.
"It's because you can't swim with automail." Winry whispered. Her face had gone pale. "Edward can't get to the surface, his automail is dragging him down."
"D…does that mean…?" Zeke was stuttering, all blood gone from his face as well.
"Yeah, Edward's drowning."
Dying isn't so bad was the conclusion Edward's brain had come up with. Everything was slowly going foggy as he inhaled yet more water and he could feel an odd pulling sensation in his lungs as they begged for oxygen. He could see the shimmering surface above him and reached for it, kicking his legs and pushing water with his arm, but he could never reach it, it was always too far away, he was being dragged down. Kind of like the philosophers stone…he thought.
If I could reach it, I'd be saved…but sinners aren't meant to be saved, they go to hell. The silence of the water pressed onto his eardrums and the cold of the water sapped his energy. He let his arm go limp as bubbles escaped his mouth in a silent sigh. Bright colours popped in front of his vision. Winry's still up there…she needs me.
His vision was going black and the pulling in his lungs had stopped. He felt so sleepy. Al still needs me. It felt as if time had stopped for him, and he couldn't see anything anymore. I have promises to keep…people depending on me. The pulsing of blood in his ears was slowing down. I'm so sleepy though… There was barely a pulse now, a slow drumbeat in his ears. Mmm…Winry will take care of Al for a while…I can go to sleep, they'll understand, just sleep for a while…I'll see them when I wake up…just a small nap…night Winry…and then there was nothing but silence.
Winry could feel herself getting hysterical, Edward had been under for more than a minute, that wasn't good. She needed to find him and get him out quickly before he shut down. She paced the shore, her mind franticly thinking of what to do, but any thoughts were hampered by the prevailing fact that Edward was about to die. Zeke stood behind her, shaking and suddenly, "I'm getting out of here!" He wailed. There was a burst of movement as the whole group of them disappeared into the forest, leaving Winry completely alone. Cowards!
That was when she decided her course of action. Her fingers danced over the buttons of her coat, ripping them out of their holes and throwing the coat under the firs to use later. Then she was pulling off her gloves, hat and scarf, trying to get as many clothes off as possible to help her in what she was about to do. When she was down to just her t-shirt and the leggings Pinako had forced her to wear under her trousers, she strode towards the water. She gasped as she waded in as the cold sapped her of breath. If I'm out of breath already…She steeled herself and dove under the water, muscles screaming out from the cold. She opened her eyes underwater, hoping to spot that infamous red coat.
She had to come up for breath three times - the butterflies in her stomach getting worse and the thought that she would be dragging up a corpse growing – before she spotted a flash of red to her left. EDWARD! She gulped down a deep breath and dove under.
He was just floating there, ghostly still and pale, the tiny currents in the lake causing his golden yellow hair, so like his eyes, so swirl about him. His lips were a frightening shade of blue and his eyes were slightly open, but they were unseeing and lifeless, like the fire inside had gone out. Winry grabbed onto his arm and pushed up from the bottom, feeling the pull of the metal grafted onto Ed's body but fighting against it and she gasped as she reached the surface. "Don't worry Ed, I got you. Just hold on"
Winry held Ed close as she flipped onto her back and swam towards shore, no longer caring that she was freezing or alone. As soon as she was able to stand on the bottom, she dragged Ed onto solid ground and let her doctor's instincts take over.
"Right, first check if he's breathing" Winry leant close to Edward's blue lips and pressed her ear close. "Not breathing. Right then, heartbeat." She grabbed Ed's hand and pressed her fingers into his wrist. "No heartbeat either." Her eyes began to tear. "CPR needed." Placing both hands onto Ed's chest she began pumping. "1…2…3…4, 2…2…3…4, 3…2…3…4, 4…2…3…4…" She pinched his nose and covered his mouth with her own, blowing air into his lungs. She pressed an ear to his lips. "Again!"
The sun had gone down and the moon was out, and Winry was pumping Ed's chest and breathing into him, refusing to give up. "There's no way in hell am I letting you die." She hissed at Ed's lifeless body. "Al still needs his big brother and you promised to get his body back." She gave him another breath. "I still need you to be around and be a stupid jerk." Another breath. "I need you." She sobbed. Another breath. "And you still owe me money for that automail!"
Suddenly, the fire returned to those golden eyes and Ed made a gurgling sound as he tried to breathe. "ED!" Winry quickly rolled him onto his side. She couldn't believe it. He was breathing again. She grabbed his hand as another gush of water was expelled from his mouth. He had a heartbeat. More water, but he was okay. Winry smiled. He's okay…
As soon as Ed had finished throwing up water, he was unconscious again, and Winry was left painfully aware that the two of them were soaked and unprotected from the cold. "We're going to catch hypothermia soon." She mumbled. She knew that the best thing to do would be strip Ed of his clothing and wrap him up in the dry clothes she had discarded earlier, but she was also soaked, and she didn't have enough clothing to cover them both. "Time to improvise."
She'd stripped off her t-shirt and put on her wool jumper and replaced her leggings with the trousers she'd discarded, pulling on her socks and shoes over numb toes. With Ed, she pulled off his red coat and shirt, wrapping him up in her coat, scarf and placed the hat over his sodden hair, leaving him trousers alone. "I just hope nothing vital of yours gets damaged." She giggled. There was still a hint of hysteria in her voice. "Mmm…Winry?" a soft voice, sore and scratchy caught her attention. "Edward? Are you awake?" She peered at him and saw that his eyes were open and staring up at her, though they were unfocused. "I'm awake." He whispered. "I'm cold too."
"That's why we need to get moving. Come on Ed, we need to get home and I can't carry you there."
"…I'm tired…" Winry freaked slightly. She knew that someone in the cold shouldn't be allowed to go to sleep, but she couldn't remember why.
"So? The sooner we get back home, the sooner you can sleep, alright?"
"…okay." Winry put Ed's arm over her shoulders and after the count of three, they were standing. "Ed, you're heavy."
"It's the leg"
"Well put it to good use and support yourself with it, that's why I gave it to you." Ed made a small noise in the back of his throat before placing some of his weight onto his own feet. "There we go." Winry cooed. "Now don't fall asleep okay? I won't drag your lazy butt back to Granny's. I'll leave you to freeze. Now get moving."
The walk up to the lake had taken them at least half an hour (not counting the time it took for Ed to get up the hill), and it had taken Winry and a half-dead Edward half an hour to simply get out of the forest. They had to stop to catch their breath, and now, Winry was beginning to suffer from the cold.
Her teeth were chattering and thick snowdrifts were beginning to look cosy and inviting as a place to stop and lay down for a while. She knew they couldn't, laying down meant never getting up again. She felt the weight on her side increase and harshly pulled Ed's arm. "D-d-don't you dare go to s-s-sleep." There was no response apart from the creak of the metal as Ed once again put weight on the automail leg. They began walking again, Winry could see the crest of the hill from where they stood. "We're a-almost to the h-h-hill. J-j-just a bit further, almost there."
"Winry?" It was like a forced march. They couldn't stop to rest. They couldn't stop at all. Ed's little questioning voice was a welcome relief to Winry as the silence had been getting to her, and the cold. She couldn't feel her toes anymore. "What Ed?"
"How are we getting down the slope?" His voice was so slurred that Winry had to have him repeat himself several times before she understood. "We'll slide down, I'll find us some wood and you can transmute it into a sled and we'll slide down." There was silence again. "Winry?"
"Can't feel fingers."
"Can't draw circle. Would…dangerous"
"Ed, use f-full s-s-sentences." There was a trace of worry for him in her voice. She'd remembered a fact that, if the brain was starved of oxygen for too long, there could be brain damage. Ed had been underwater for almost 4 minutes. Long enough for something to go wrong. She kept them walking towards the hill and tried not to think about it.
"Alright Ed, this is t-the hill. I-if we can't s-s-slide down, we'll just w-walk."
"Heavy." He muttered as Winry dragged them to where the hill began to slope.
"What's heavy?" Ed didn't reply, but he refused to move.
"Heavy…fall…blood." He whispered. Alarm bells in Winry's head started ringing. Heavy fall blood? Edward wasn't even coherent any more, that was more than enough proof that something in his head was damaged. "It's a-alright, we g-g-get to Granny's, s-she'll w-warm us up and w-we'll c-check you f-for damage." Ed shook his head, but didn't seem to have the strength to talk. "One step at a t-t-time."
Winry took the first step and pulled Ed into moving, he took a step with is flesh leg, but when it came to moving the automail, Winry's balance was compromised. Ed was already falling, the swing and the weight of the leg combining to pull him forwards. He was trying to warn me of this, was the last thing Winry was able to think before she too was falling.
It was a nightmare ride of snow and rocks that cut and made things bleed and turned the world upside down before the two bodies finally came to a stop at the bottom of the slope. Winry tried to get up, tried to get to her knees so she could at least find where Ed had fallen, but her body refused to obey. All it wanted to do was lie there and rest. "Winry." It was Ed's voice. He was calling to her.
"Bleeding…ripped." Ed's bleeding. Winry turned her head in the hopes she could see him and was surprised at how close he was. She reached out to him. "What's bleeding?" she questioned quietly. By the moonlight she could see his eyes were closing.
"Leg…ripped." Then she noticed there was something warm pooling around her hand. Looks like water…but it's red…ah! Winry's gaze travelled to Ed's legs and sure enough, that was where the blood was coming from, staining the white snow that surrounded them. Winry guessed that the scars on Ed's leg had been torn open by automail pulling at the port, and the cold water had probably caused the scar tissue to become more delicate.
She had to bandage the bleeding quickly, or she might still lose him. She tried once again to get her body to move, but there was still no response. "Sorry E-Ed, but I c-c-can't do anything." She turned her head away to stare at the sky. All that trouble…and now we're going to die.
There was the sound of rustling and suddenly, Winry felt something pressing against her side and she felt warmth begin to flow through her. "Ed?" She turned back to him and saw that he'd dragged himself to her using his one arm and was huddling against her in an effort to warm up.
However, Winry also had the dark though that maybe the blood coming from his leg was what was really warming her up. "Not…alone" He mumbled before his eyes closed. Winry smiled and felt tears prick her eyes. Positioning Ed's arm around her, Winry stretched herself and placed one, small kiss on Ed's blue lips and closed her eyes. "Yeah, not alone."
Al hurried about the house as fast as he could, worry evident even through the helmet of the suit of armour couldn't show such emotion. "Do you think they'll be okay?" He asked the tiny figure beside him.
"Of course, they're both strong people." Pinako took a puff of her pipe as she rattled a bottle of pills. "And it was lucky you found them when you did."
"Yeah, but it was scary. Finding them cuddled together like that and their lips were blue! And brothers leg…"
"It will mend, as soon as the infection clears up but he may have to stay off it till the scars heal over." Pinako opened a door and led Al inside. It was Winry's room. "She just has a rather bad cold and a bit of frostbite on her fingers and toes. Nothing some warm food and lots of water won't cure."
Pinako checked her over and re-did the bandages around the frostbite. Al was surprised at how gentle Pinako was. Usually ( or maybe it was just with Ed) she didn't really give a damn about a patients comfort, but now…maybe it was because she'd almost lost the last part of family she had left? "Right then, let's go check on your brother."
The two of them moved down the corridor and opened the last door. From within, the sound of laboured breathing and delirious muttering could be heard. "Edward's got it worse. Some lake water must've got into his lungs. He's got a pretty bad infection there, along with the infection in his leg. I think there's also a chance that the water messed up the inside of his shoulder port, but we'll sort that out when he's better."
Alphonse helped Pinako raise Edward into a sitting position and pour some medicine down his throat. Ed gave a murmur of disapproval before dissolving once again into delirium. "We should let him rest for now." Before the two of them left, Pinako draped a cold cloth over his eyes to help control his fever. Al could see it again, the uncharacteristic gentleness Pinako seemed to have when treating Ed and a small ray of happiness shone through. We really have a family after all.
Winry woke to a pounding headache and a nose that felt like it was on full flow. She grumbled and turned to her side in search of tissues and, finding none, she sighed. "If this is heaven, why aren't there any tissues? And if it's hell, why aren't there demons dancing around with pitchforks?" Then, came the sudden revelation that, maybe, she wasn't dead. That she'd somehow survived that catastrophic day at the lake.
She bolted upright and checked her body. Bandaging round hands and feet, frostbite, killer headache and runny nose, a cold. She pinched herself and squeaked at the pain. "This isn't a dream…I'm alive! Wait…" Slowly dangling her legs over the side of the bed, Winry stood and staggered to the door, her feet painful to stand on and her legs weak.
Opening it, she checked the corridor and saw no one and she could hear people downstairs in the living room. "Granny Pinako and Al probably." She made her way along the corridor, opening each door until she reached the end. "This has to be it."
The door creaked when she opened it, causing her to flinch. When she went through, she could hear the rattling, laboured breaths and mumbling and was instantly by Ed's side. "You made it too." She smiled. Ed's head turned towards her, golden hair out of its braid spread over the pillow like a halo and the flannel covering his eyes fell to the bed.
Winry picked it up and felt how warm it was. Finding the bowl of cold water Al must've been using to help his brother, she dipped it in, wrung it out and placed it over his eyes again. He continued to mutter little things and Winry couldn't help but think it was sweet.
She sat and watched him for a while, changing the flannel when it got too hot (wiping it across her own hot forehead once in a while) and stroking his head when he got too loud. Eventually though, her own sickness began to make her tired. "Sorry Ed, I'm going back to my bed for bit." She cooed to him and stood, making her way to the door.
Just as she was about to leave, Ed said something that made her stop, "alone." She turned to him and saw his arm was reaching out to her, though there was no way he could see or know where she was. He was muttering again, but his arm never moved. Feeling guilty for leaving him, she turned and went back to the bed, clasping his hand in hers. He squeezed her hand and she squeezed back.
A smile spread on his face through the fever and Winry decided that if he wanted her with him so badly, he was going to have to scoot over and make room. She shoved him over a bit, then crawled under the covers. Ed's words ceased and he seemed to settle down, the only noise was his harsh breaths. Winry moved his arm so it was draped over her and she snuggled against him, glad for his warmth. "Not alone" He smiled.
"No," Winry stretched up again and placed a kiss on his lips. "Not anymore."
Winry's cold had cleared up after 4 days and she'd got to work repairing Edward's damaged automail. Every night she would sneak back into Edward's room and share his bed, calming him through the worst of the deliria and simply enjoying the few hours of intimacy it allowed her.
After another 6 days, Edward was well enough to stay awake for more than two hours and Winry ran through an array of mental tests to make sure that there wasn't any lasting brain damage ("How would you tell?"-Al). Apart from a slight slur, there was nothing wrong and Winry assured him it would go away with time. He was also well enough to have his automail returned to him, though not without having the ports checked thoroughly for any water damage.
Luckily, he managed to get away with just having a few adjustments on the leg port (so that it didn't pull too much on the healing scars) and was walking about in no time.
During the day, it didn't seem like much had changed between Ed and Winry from before the accident. However, at night, he still allowed Winry to share the bed with him. Having her with him felt almost…natural.
Al had been happy for his brother and had taken to spending nights in the living room (where he was covertly tending to a group of stray cats). Pinako had at first been slightly worried about what may happen, but after watching them together, realised that her granddaughter was perfectly safe and that she had nothing to worry about.
Then came the day for the Elric brothers to continue on their search for the philosophers stone. Winry had been teary eyed as they parted, but was happy when Ed turned back and gave her a brief hug. "By the way," he'd whispered into her ear. "I owe you two kisses." Winry had blushed madly, causing Ed to laugh as he ran to his brother. "See you soon!" Al shouted as they began walking away. He looked down at his older brother, and suppressed a chuckle upon seeing he looked lonely already. "Maybe sooner than you think!"
So there you have it!
If you liked this little(er...big) one-shot, then give me some love and Review! Flames will be used to toast Furbies and marshmellows.
I haven't had anyone beta this, so if you see some grammar or spelling mistakes, please tell me and i'll try and fix them.
Thanks for reading! - Inuchron