To appease you all in waiting for the next chapter of My Love, My Soldier, a song fic inspired by the song Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Hearts of the Innocent
Summery: Meeting the Prince was only one chapter in the life of Cinderella. The chapters before and after are just as spectacular as the night of the Ball. Her story will never truly end…
Disclaimer: I do not own FMA
"She spins and she sways to whatever song plays, without a care in the world. And I'm sitting her wearing the world on my shoulders. It's been a long day and there's still work to do, she pulling at me saying 'Dad, I need you. There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited. I need to practice my dancing. Oh, please, daddy, please?' So I danced with Cinderella while she is here in my arms…"
It was a father-daughter ritual for Winry when she was a girl, to place her grasping hands into the hard, calloused palms of her father and to place her feet atop his shoes and to follow his every step and to twirl and sway. He'd come home from work tired and worn, though her child eyes would never fathom the reasons, and he'd give her his weary smile and lift her high into the air and spin her around like she was the only person who mattered. He once called her Cinderella and told her that her dancing was getting so good that he caught wind that she was going to get a personal invite to the Ball at the Castle.
"Will you come dance with me, daddy?" she had asked.
"Of course," he had told her with sparkles alighting in his eyes. "I want to be the first to dance with Cinderella."
The much anticipated dance had come on her fifth birthday party. Her parents had decorated the outside patio with white Christmas lights and wildflowers so that when night had finally fallen it had made the back yard look like an outdoor palace. And so in a beautiful gown and in front of all her friends, Cinderella danced with her father. Her smile could have joined the stars that night, and looking back, Winry recognized that time as one of the happiest moments in her life.
But a few months later, her father stopped coming home and Cinderella couldn't dance for the longest time. When her granny would play music, she'd catch herself swaying and burst into tears. But there was no Father or Mother to comfort a crying Cinderella.
"So I will dance with Cinderella while she is here in my arms. I know something the prince never knew. I danced with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song…"
So as the years continued, Winry became a woman she knew her father would have been proud of. She grew morally firm and independent and strong of mind. But most importantly she possessed a kind and caring heart that spilled over with compassion. Winry had even managed to find her Prince and as it so turned out, he wasn't very far after all.
She married the obnoxious little boy who lived next to her; the one who use to scoff at her fantasies of being a princess and would makes faces when she said she liked to dance for fun. Edward Elric. But the man he grew into wasn't half as bad as the little boy she knew.
The year they married was the year Cinderella finally had the courage to attend the Ball alone; the greatest feat she'd ever accomplished, for by doing so she was able to meet her Prince.
And she was able to dance again.
It had been a long night and her limbs felt leaded by some invisible weight. Winry propped herself on her elbows and squinted into the darkness and to the vacant space beside her. The only traces that Edward had actually made it to bed that night was the wrinkles in the sheets and the valley in his pillow where his head lain.
Securing a robe loosely around her, Winry made her way through the dark hallway, walking quietly on the cold tile, heading towards the soft glowing of a nightlight that was coming from the living room.
Her heart both swelled and clenched and she leaned against the threshold, watching as Edward held their baby girl in his arms, swaying and stepping to the silent music. In his eyes was a shinning, uncomprehending love of a father for his daughter and Winry saw that the tradition started by her own father was born again. A new Cinderella was born, taking the place of the old so the story could start anew.
She continued to watch as he leaned forward to place a gentle kiss upon the baby's face and then resumed his swaying.
"Winry, are you okay?" He looked up at her in confusion and she was startled to realize that tears had been quietly streaming down her face.
"Winry?" he asked her again. He had stopped his soothing movement.
"I'm fine." She whispered quietly, walking toward her family. She looked down at Sarah, stroking the soft wisps of her hair before placing her own lips upon the child's brow. She then looked up to her husband and reached for him, caressing the side of his face and running her fingers through his golden mane.
"Thank you for this."
He looked at her with his intense amber irises that told her more than words ever could. When their little girl shifted he looked down, adjusting her in his arms and gave her the comfort of his touch.
"I remember how you looked at your birthday party. When your dad last danced with you, I mean. You looked like a princess…you were so happy. When I got older I decided that I wanted to see the same expression of joy on my daughter's face." He looked at her and smiled sadly. "I'm starting early."
Winry laughed brokenly through her tears. "She's going to be a regular Cinderella."
"Yes, and I'm going to be the first to dance with her. She'll be just like her mama."
"Are you trying to make me cry?" she reprimanded him but there was no force behind it. Ed cocked his head to the side and leaned toward her slowly.
"Of course not, love. I'm just remembering the precious gifts of my wife and daughter; I'm not going to take them for granted."
"That's good because I'm sure the moment we blink Sarah will starting school…middle school…high school. She'll be in college and married before we know it."
Ed winced and Winry had to hold back a chuckle. "Don't worry. You'll be a good daddy."
"I wonder if this is what the parents of Cinderella felt like."
Winry's expression sobered. "I wouldn't know. It's been so long since I was Cinderella."
His gaze sent shivers down her spine and he told her to wait for him as he went into the back to put the now sleeping Sarah back into her crib. He returned a few moments later, hands free to do as they will, and grabbed her wrist gently and pulled her to the center of the living room.
He smiled and gave a sweeping bow. "Could I have this dance, Cinderella?"
"And I will dance with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song. 'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight and she'll… be… gone."