The craving lingered, like a mosquito bite in the middle of the back. Edward could feel it. Like a bite it wouldn't stop itching. Something could distract him from it for a little bit but as soon as the distraction ended, the desire came back worse than before.
At first, he could sleep through it and he did sleep, almost all the way from Risembool to Rush Valley to drop off Winry. When neither Izumi nor Sig rose to their feet at the Rush Valley station, panic wormed its way up through Edward's body. His heart thundered and his mouth went dry as he clutched at Winry's arm. "Wait."
She hesitated, studying him for a few seconds. "Ed, this is my stop." She raised her hand and he almost flinched back but Winry carefully pried his automail fingers free from her sleeve. "I have customers I need to take care of and your leg to build."
He wanted to grab her again. Instead he forced his hand down onto his thigh. "Can I stay with you?" As soon as the question spilled out, Edward cringed. He didn't deserve to stay with Winry. He'd broken into her medicine cabinet – had stolen from her. Why would she want him anywhere near her home? Home is Risembool; a big yellow house on a slow rise, a dog watching over the chickens in the front yard and the smell of stew tickling his nose. The old hag's pipe smoke perfumes the air and Winry works on something from the sound of the grinding wheel. Edward shook off the daze, realizing someone had spoken. "What?"
Sig repeated himself. "You're coming with us, Ed."
"I'm sorry, Ed. I can't take care of you and work." Winry gave his shoulder a squeeze. "It'll only be a week, maybe ten days and I'll bring you your leg." The conductor shouted a warning the train would be leaving the station. Edward opened his mouth to argue but Winry went on. "You have a loaner leg and a crutch." Izumi managed to transmute a serviceable leg out of the one he'd all but destroyed. Of course, no one was giving it to him until they arrived at Dublith. "You'll be fine, Ed."
I won't, he wanted to say but the words clogged in his throat. Winry wanted him to go. He didn't blame her for not trusting him. He'd fucked up and caused her a lot of trouble. The train whistle piped out another reminder the train would be pulling out of the station soon, the sound of it jangling Edward's thoughts. He tried to sort them out to make an argument as to why he should stay in Rush Valley with her when Winry leaned down, planting a kiss on his forehead. "I'll see you soon, Ed." She turned to Izumi and Sig. "If you have any trouble, call me."
"We shouldn't, Winry, but thank you," Izumi said as Edward sank back into the seat. His heart pounded and his skin flushed.
"Goodbye, Winry," Sig said as she gathered her bag and slung it over her shoulder.
Winry bobbed her head to them then turned to Edward. "Bye." He croaked out something unintelligible as she spun on her heel and hurried down the aisle. When her head vanished behind the step railing Edward twisted to search for her out the window. The train whistle blew again, the engine jerking the train cars once then started pulling them out of the station. Steam curled around the station like a fog, hiding it for an instant before the movement of the train sucked the vapor away. The station receded but Edward saw Winry waving from the edge of the platform before the curve of the tracks took her out of sight.
"You should rest up, Ed," Izumi said.
"What?" Confusion reigned as he looked away from the window to her. His heart rate increased again at the expression on her face and he wondered if he could transmute a hole in the side of the train car and roll out of it before she could catch him.
"You have a lot of training to do when we get home," Izumi said. "So you should get in as much rest as you can."
Edward hoped he hadn't peed himself at the sight of her smile.
X X X
Larry didn't really care to eat at the mess hall but the food was cheaper than what he'd pay out on the street. He didn't really have time to run home and wasn't sure he wanted to, anyway. Miss Wagner was a peculiar woman, with appetites Larry didn't want to encourage, particularly in his own place. He'd reminded her this morning she had to be out of his apartment by the end of the day and had hidden a shudder at the look she'd given him. Miss Wagner's sex appeal not withstanding, Larry didn't know how Elric survived her. Some of the things she'd implied could've put a curl in his hair, like his aunt's old saying. Her leaving was for the best and Larry wouldn't be sorry to see her back going through his door.
Jerked out of his reveries, Larry waved a hand, his mouth too full of food to answer politely. First Lieutenant Breda settled across from him, setting a tray down with a huge sandwich, an apple, and a pile of green beans on his plate. Breda took a pull from the straw of his drink, making a face and yanking the straw out to drop it on his tray. "Paper straws. Like they do any good."
Larry wasn't sure how to respond to that, going with a noncommittal grunt. Picking up his fork, he stabbed some beans and shoved them into his mouth.
Breda hefted his sandwich and took a bite. Larry kept his attention on his plate, his aunt's reminder of it being impolite to watch other people eat ringing in his ears. Over the casual buzz of conversation and clink of utensils, Breda said, "I hear you've got a woman at your place."
Larry's fork clattered on his plate. He gaped at Breda for a few seconds. Heat climbed up his neck. How had Breda found out? "She's leaving today," he blurted. Realizing he'd leaned forward, Larry pressed his back into the chair. His head whirled. It wasn't against regulations to have someone in the apartment and he didn't live on base anyway. He didn't need to defend himself.
Breda chewed another bite of his sandwich. "Does she have something on you?"
"I'm doing her a favor." Larry heard how stiff he sounded and knew Breda did, too. Breda's reaction was to fork some beans into his mouth. "She didn't have any place else to stay." Why was he explaining? Larry wanted to clamp his mouth shut but the implacable expression on Breda's face seemed to encourage him to loosen his tongue and dig a deeper hole.
"That kind of woman can always find a place to stay," Breda said. He studied his plate and chose the sandwich again. Before he bit into it, he caught Larry's eyes. "I've seen the damage she can do. Don't let her drag you down."
Larry shoved his chair back, the metal feet squealing over the linoleum. "Thank you for the advice," he said as he picked up his tray. Appetite gone, Larry carried his food to the garbage pail to dump it. Whatever happened, Miss Wagner was leaving his place tonight. He creased his brow in thought. If he could get her out of Central City and onto Elric's trail, she'd really be out of his hair.
With a grim smile, Larry decided to pay a visit to the secretary pool. The women there always knew the gossip and even if the info was wrong, Miss Wagner could take care of herself, like Breda said. And if it was right, well, the Rockbell bitch deserved a comeuppance of her own for the way she'd treated him.
X X X
Elicia heard the telephone ring and ran toward it, Sheba chasing after her. Mother picked up the receiver before she could. "Hello, Hughes residence." Elicia made a face – she liked answering the telephone. It wasn't often the calls were for her, but it was fun hearing the voices coming through the receiver.
"Come on, Sheba," Elicia said.
Mother's said warmly, "Oh, hello, Winry!"
Stopping in mid-turn, Elicia ran back to Mother and reached for the receiver. "I want to say hi!" Mother frowned and Elicia folded her hands together. "Please." Sheba whined her own plea.
"Hold on, Winry, Elicia wants to talk to you." Mother gave her the receiver.
Putting it to her ear, Elicia said, "Hi, big sis!"
Winry laughed but something didn't sound right. "Hello, Elicia. What are you doing home from school?"
"It's the weekend!" Elicia pouted. How could Winry not know that? "When are you coming to visit? I have a bicycle now and I can ride it. And you should see how big Sheba is now!" Hearing her name, Sheba barked. "Shh, Sheba. She's smart. She can fetch!"
"I'll try to come see you soon, Elicia," Winry said. "But I have some work to do before I can come."
"Aw." Elicia pouted at the receiver. "But you'll come, right?"
Mother petted Elicia on the head, their signal she needed to pass the receiver over. Elicia sighed, missing Winry's answer. "I have to go now. Mommy wants to talk to you. Bye, Winry."
"Goodbye, Elicia," Winry said, and Elicia gave her mother the receiver. She waited a few seconds until Mother told her to run along.
"C'mon, Sheba." Elicia led her dog to the next room. She sat down next to the doorway, leaning against the wall. Sheba sat next to her, cocking her head. "Shh," Elicia said, pressing her finger to her lips. She wanted to listen to what Mother said to Winry.
"We're fine, Winry. Thank you for asking. But how are you?"
Elicia huffed. It was going to be one of those talks. Boring. Mother should ask when Winry was coming to visit.
"He's with the Curtsies? I'm sure they can handle him. You should take the time and rest. I know you were running yourself ragged at the hospital." Still boring. Elicia rubbed Sheba's ear. "You need to take care of yourself, Winry," Mother said in her 'listen up' tone. "I know you want to do everything you can to help, but you need a break, too." Her voice warmed. "Take a nap and eat something. Go out with your friends tonight. Some time for yourself – no one would begrudge you that. Not Ed especially." Mother listened, humming her agreement. "I miss him, too, Winry. It's hard. And some days, you don't want to even leave your bed or deal with anything. That's okay. You can let yourself have that. Just don't let it bog you down so you can't move." Another pause, while Mother sat in the telephone chair. Elicia heard the squeak of the leather cushion. "He wouldn't blame you, Winry. Al would know better. You're doing the best you can for Ed. No one can fault you for it." This time, Mother stayed quiet for a while. She surprised Elicia when she said in her kindest way, "Winry, I know how hard this is. If you have to back away and take care of yourself, do it. It's not all on your shoulders. Go and have yourself a good cry, take a long bath, eat something, and sleep. You'll feel better afterward." A longer pause. "Of course I'll tell Roy. You get some rest, dear. You'll feel better once you have." Mother chuckled softly. "Of course, Winry. I will. Goodbye."
The soft click of the receiver in its cradle let Elicia know Mother had finished talking. She peered around the door frame. Mother wiped her eyes with the handkerchief she kept tucked in her sleeve cuff. She smiled when she saw Elicia. "Why are you and Winry crying?" Elicia asked.
Mother held out her hand and Elicia went to her, Sheba trotting behind. Mother petted Elicia's bangs back. "Winry misses Alphonse."
Elicia remembered Alphonse but it was weird. Like he'd been really different when she'd first met him. Bigger. Like a big piece of metal or something. "Like we miss Daddy?"
"Yes, honey," Mother said.
"And Ed misses Al, too?" Elicia asked.
"Yes, sweetheart, he does." Mother petted Sheba, too.
Elicia thought about it. "We can't do anything, can we?"
Mother sighed. "No, nothing beyond being here when they need us."
"That stinks." Sheba barked at how loudly Elicia spoke.
"It does, Mommy." Elicia huffed. "Why'd Al have to die anyway?"
Mother picked her up and held Elicia in her lap. Sheba stood up on her hind legs, resting her paws on Elicia's thighs. "The same reason your Daddy did, sweetheart. Trying to help people."
Elicia snuggled back against Mother. That made Al a good person, she knew. "No wonder Winry and Ed miss him."
Mother held her tight. "No wonder," she said.
X X X
The Central City train station overflowed with people. Porters moved luggage from platforms to cars. Families hugged and kissed in greetings or farewells. Steam poured out of the engines, making the whole place feel steamy. Cinders littered the air, platforms and tracks. Josie watched an ember float by and land on a porter's sleeve. The man patted it out without a wince.
She didn't like it here. Too many people, all of them rushing around. Engineers and conductors checked on the engines. Some scraped spent coal out of the burner, others oiled the huge wheels, ducking under the engine to take care of it. Radio announcements and bells added to the noise grating on Josie's ears. She fisted her hands in her dress, ready to walk off the platform and out of the station.
"You're not scared, are you?"
Looking sideways at Storch, Josie curled her lip. "No."
"Good." He handed her a ticket. "You'll get on the six-twenty train on the twenty-first platform." He pointed at a platform down from where they stood. "I tipped a porter to make sure your bags are loaded on the train."
Josie accepted the ticket squinting at the letters. "Dublith?"
"That's where Lieutenant Colonel Elric's staying."
Storch didn't explain how he knew and Josie didn't care. At least Dublith was a familiar location, even if she'd never been there herself. Ed had talked about it before. Someone lived there, Josie knew, but she couldn't recall the name of the person. Storch took her elbow to move her out of the way of a family with three squalling children. Josie stared after them. The way her life had been going, they'd be sharing a car with her.
Announcements reverberated through the station. Storch's hand tightened on her elbow. "That's the boarding call for your train." Turning her, he began walking her along the platforms. "It'll be about a four-day trip to get to Dublith," he said. "You have the money I lent you?"
'Lent', not 'gave'. Josie nodded. Now that she knew where Ed was, it didn't matter. Ed would pay Storch back. As soon as he saw her, she knew he'd pay for anything. "Thank you for all your help, Lieutenant Storch."
He definitely had an attractive smile. "You're welcome, Miss Wagner." He touched his forehead as he released her arm. "Your platform and your train."
To her relief, the noisy family were still moving farther down the way. Josie offered some of that pleasure to Storch in her return smile. He passed her off to a porter who helped her board the car. Josie peered interestedly at the people she'd be traveling with, choosing a seat without anyone too near. She adjusted her dress and hat as she sat down, so the light outside the window would frame her. Catching a glimpse of Storch still on the platform. Josie kissed her fingertips and pressed them to the glass. Storch flushed bright red but he raised his hand in response.
Someone stopped in the aisle next to her seat. "Excuse me, madam." Josie turned from the window, albeit reluctantly, to meet the twinkling gaze of an older man. His mustache and hair were shot with white, but his shoulders were broad enough to take up most of the aisle. "Do you mind if I join you?"
Josie nibbled her lower lip, glancing out the window. Storch had turned away. "No, of course not," she said, turning back to the man. Reaching into her sleeve, she pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. "It would be good to have someone to talk to."
The man smiled and took the seat across form her. "I would be pleased to talk to you. I'm Jameson Pugh."
"Josephine Wagner." She switched the handkerchief to her other hand to take his. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Pugh."
"And a pleasure to meet you, too, Mrs. Wagner."
"Miss," she corrected with a hint of a tremulous smile.
Pugh's interest in her increased with that tidbit of information. His gaze passed over her in a rush, lingering on her left hand, her breasts, and her ankles. Adjusting his position in his seat, he smiled.
Josie smiled back. At least her trip to find Ed might be interesting. From the cut of his clothes and style of his hair, Mr. Pugh might even prove profitable.
X X X
Paninya showed up on the third night after Winry's return to Rush Valley, carrying a sack full of take-out food and another with two big bottles of Rush Valley Firewater, a dark beer brewed locally. Paninya unplugged the metal grinder to interrupt Winry's work and, not entertaining excuses, chivied Winry out of the shop and into the living portion of Winry's building. Once she'd popped the lids on the beer and put food on the plate in front of Winry, Paninya sat down and took a swing from her bottle. "Tell me everything."
Winry took a deep breath, inadvertently inhaling the scents of the steaming food. Her stomach growled in reaction.
"All right, Paninya said with a roll of her eyes, "eat something first, and then tell me everything."
After eating, and drinking half the bottle of beer, Winry pushed back from the table. "Everything?"
"All the dirty little details." Paninya swigged from her bottle.
Winry sighed. "There are a lot of them." She peeled the corner of the label off her bottle. "Ed's sick. Heartsick, head sick. He's all but killing himself."
By the time she finished telling everything that happened, Paninya had insisted they move to someplace more comfortable than the table. Winry curled up in her chair, her bottle empty. Paninya sat on the couch, her feet planted on the floor, a cold cup of tea on the table in front of her. She let out a low whistle. "What do you need me to do?"
Winry spread her hands. "I don't know what I'm doing, Paninya."
"Do you think you can pull him back?" The silence stretched on longer than Winry wanted. Paninya leaned forward, concern written on her face. "Winry?"
She sighed, digging her fingers into her hair. "I don't know, Paninya. I wish I did. He's miserable and so sick."
"You know, you've always taken care of him." Paninya stood up, coming over to Winry's chair and sitting on the arm of it. She draped an arm around Winry's shoulders, giving her a hug.
"Not when Al died." She rolled her head to look at Paninya. "If I hadn't been so lost." Winry sighed, lacing her hands together and tucking them between her knees.
"You were hurting, too." Paninya smoothed Winry's hair back and kept stroking it. Winry leaned into her touch. "I know it doesn't seem like the right thing to say now, with all this going on. I don't think it's too late for Ed. You've been strong for him in the past, right? You have to be strong for him now. And it'll help you both, I think."
She slid off the chair arm, retreating to the couch. Taking a sip of her tea, Paninya made a face and set the cup back down. "I guess the questions you have to yourself are these." She held up a fist, counting off with her fingers. "Does Ed want to get better?" She flicked up a second finger. "If he doesn't want to get better, what are you going to do?"
Edward had always been so driven. Winry knew there was a possibility he'd stay on this reckless path, chasing after peace – death, maybe – with arms wide open. Her stomach curdled at the thought of not hearing his gruff, brash voice any more. At visiting his grave rather than seeing the glint of his eyes and his sharp-toothed smile. If the only option was to imprison him – because Winry thought that might be the military's next step – could she visit him in jail? Yes, she nodded to herself, she could. Realizing Paninya waited for her answer, Winry said, "I don't want him to follow Al to the grave."
Paninya smiled. "I guess you have to come up with something for him to live for then." She rolled her shoulders when her feet hit the floor. "You know, I always thought Ed had a thing for you." Her attention drifted past Winry before Winry could even protest, going to the pictures on the wall behind Winry's head. Photographs of Winry's life, of her with her parents, and Pinako and Den. Of Auntie Trisha, the boys and her. Of Al and Ed, dressed in suits after the Promised Day. A picture of her with Paninya and Mr. Garfiel in front of her new shop, showing off the sign reading 'Rockbell Automail'. Elicia Hughes and her puppy. The last photo Winry had snapped of the old yellow house on the hill in Risembool.
Winry couldn't say anything about Paninya's comment. Once, a long time ago, she'd though she loved Edward. The picture she'd found in Edward's journal of them all together and the way Edward looked at her in it came to mind. At the hospital and at Pitt's, he'd needed her. Winry absently thumbed her chin. Something niggled at her, an idea, maybe a thought or an impression.
"I'm going home," Paninya announced, stretching her arms over her head to elongate her ribs. Once that was out of the way, she pointed at Winry. "You should take a long bath and get some sleep. You don't have to walk me out."
"You could stay. Your stuff's here from last time." There were times when Winry didn't know why Paninya just didn't move in. The spare room was filled with Paninya's projects and clothes.
"Hmm." Paninya grunted while Winry tried to bring to mind that lost impression. "I guess I could." Leaning down, Paninya slapped Winry's foot. "But I'm getting first crack at the shower!"
Winry waved her off, taking the teacup and her beer bottle into the galley kitchen. She upended the bottle into the sink next to Paninya's empty. Rinsing out the teacup, Winry set it aside to wash later. She drifted back through the building, making sure the doors were locked and windows shut up. The medicine cabinet caught her eye. She hadn't restocked yet – not being home to do it, mostly, and besides, she planned on making Edward pay for what he'd taken. Fingering the latch, Winry rattled it to make sure it remained locked. Izumi had transmuted the glass back to normal before they'd taken off after Edward. The faint marks of an alchemic transmutation were visible in the glass.
By the time Paninya had finished her shower, Winry had her pajamas in hand and her hair up in a twist to keep it from getting wet. Paninya yawned her way past Winry in the narrow hall. "Night," she called as she sailed into the spare room, closing the door behind her.
Moisture beaded to the bathroom mirror from Paninya's shower, the humidity fogging the air and window. Winry cracked open the window to disperse the steam before testing the temperature of the water. Adjusting it to her liking, Winry climbed into the shower. She shivered at the sensation of water streaming over her skin. When had she last bathed? With that question echoing around without an answer, Winry made sure to scrub herself clean.
As she rubbed a soapy cloth over her body, Winry pondered Paninya's statement. When they were younger, Ed had taken care of both Alphonse and her. He'd leaped in front of Scar to keep her from firing the gun and protect her from the Ishvalan. He'd done his best to protect her in Briggs Mountain, even if she hadn't realized at the time just how dangerous Mr. Kimblee had been. After rinsing the soap from her skin, Winry turned the water flow off and stepped out of the shower to dry. Rush Valley's night air was cool and dry and made Winry shiver. The faint breeze coming through the window tickled at the damp on her skin. She hurriedly dried and dressed, remembering to close the window before leaving the bathroom. The moisture would dissipate into the rest of the house.
It seemed like a very long time since she'd seen her bed. Winry pulled the covers back, settling in between the sheets with a sigh. Tugging the light switch chain, she let a small pool of light illuminate her bedside table. Edward's journal lay on it along with a couple of automail magazines and a book of the racy type Mr. Garfiel favored reading and often shared with 'his girls'. Taking a deep breath, Winry picked up the journal, letting it fall open to the photograph.
They all looked so young in it. Winry brought it up close to her face, trying to remember the day the picture had been taken. That summer after the Promised Day, because Al's cheeks were still hollow and his skin still pale. She studied it, wondering if Granny had seen the way Edward looked at her. Maybe she had but never said anything about it to Winry. Pinako Rockbell and Edward Elric respected each other but preferred shouting to expressing feelings. And Winry wasn't always home that summer, she had her customers in Rush Valley to take care of and had gone there a few times a quarter to make sure everyone received the best care she could offer. She could've easily missed a lot of talks they might have had while she was away.
Winry set the photo on the table, hefting the book in her hands. For such a little thing, it had a lot of weight, maybe because Edward had put so much of himself into it. She flipped to the first page. Edward's handwriting changed throughout the journal, from a childish scrawl to an intense, adult hand. Doodles littered various pages though Winry couldn't guess at what some of them were supposed to be. Edward's artistic skills were nothing to talk about, especially compared to Alphonse's. Winry paused on one page, staring at a little box house with a tree next to it. It reminded her of the house the brothers burnt down. She thought of the green grass growing over the remains of the Elric house. Edward's alchemy was impressive when he wanted it to be. Healing that burnt, angry reminder, it meant something. Winry hoped it meant Edward wanted to heal himself as much as he'd wanted to return the property to life.
Alphonse once told her alchemy journals were written in code. That each alchemist wanted to keep the secrets they'd learned close. He'd shown her his own journal once – something that looked more like the care and feeding of cats than an alchemist's work. She couldn't make head nor tails of it – and Winry would've never told him, but she'd been bored reading about the cats. She'd wondered if alchemists actually tried to bore their readers to death to keep their secrets though she kept that thought quiet.
Still, Edward's journal was different. His was a journey, written like a travelogue. She could read about places he'd been –Liore, Dublith, Briggs – and it actually kept her interested. Yes, there were some odd comments here and there. Winry thought they might be ingredients or something for a transmutation or side notes she couldn't figure out. Despite Edward sending her coded notes in class when they were kids, this was beyond her understanding. Still, his descriptions of where he'd been, what he'd seen, captivated her.
Winry didn't read all the way through. She skipped around the book, looking at the tabs marking certain pages. Reading those pages specifically didn't offer up much in the way of Edward's mind set though the writing on certain of the pages made her look twice. In one, she could tell he'd been agitated when he wrote it from the sharp angles and misspellings. She wondered if he'd gone back at any point to reread that page and then thought not – Edward would've fixed the misspellings in some way if he'd reread it. This page read about the Youswell mines. Alphonse had told her about them once but nothing more, Mr. Yoki later told her – told all of them – Edward had destroyed his little fiefdom there.
She came to the ripped page, the jagged tear going from the right edge of the paper and leaving behind a rough third of the paper. Winry fingered the soft tear, wondering why Edward had torn the page that way. No notes or doodles marred the page to offer a clue. No answer presented itself. With a sigh, Winry took out the photo again, studying it. Maybe Pitt was right. Maybe Edward needed to be weaned off of her, too, just like he needed to purge his body of its need of drugs. But she was right, too, with her explanation. Granny had left a lot of Edward's care to her after that night he and Alphonse tried to bring Auntie Trisha back. Edward had worn the first arm she'd designed herself. He'd always gotten her best work and that had never changed, no matter how she'd felt about Alphonse.
If he was addicted to her, there might be a part of her addicted to him, too. Winry shifted in her bed. She chewed on her lower lip, trying to counter that thought and realizing she couldn't. There was no part of her life she could think of Edward hadn't impacted of in some way or another. Her love of automail and mechanics – that had bloomed before he'd lost his arm and leg, but making him her best work, pushing herself to make sure he had her best pieces, that definitely proved her devotion to him. Up until Briggs, she had loved Edward.
Winry stopped at that conscious thought. She had loved Edward. She'd even thought about it on the train ride from Central City back to Rush Valley. He'd thrown himself in front of her, kept her from shooting Scar then ran off to help Alphonse. And afterward, he'd told her what he'd found out about Scar killing her parents. He hadn't told her about it before because he wasn't sure he had the entire truth. Like why he hadn't told her about Mr. Hughes' death. Edward had done his best to protect her, both physically and mentally, but both times, his attempt at protecting her backfired. Had he started pulling away then? Winry couldn't recall. She could still remember the weight of his red coat on her shoulders, how warm it felt when he left her with the police officers to go find Alphonse and Scar. How her heart had broken then at his leaving. But a part of it was rebuilt at the same time – Edward had cared enough to make sure she didn't do something that might've ruined her life.
Winry tucked the photo back in the journal. She couldn't look at it any more. Closing the book, Winry set it on her bedside table. It would do no more good to look at it tonight. She needed her rest so she could continue her work.
"So I can make you a new arm and leg," she whispered as she turned out the light. Winry rolled onto her back, lacing her fingers across her stomach. The sounds of Rush Valley filtered through even the closed window, the softened clang of metal workers shaping their wares, the continuous hum of grinders. The bar down the street with its music and laughter that would go until around six in the morning, when it would finally close up until around three in the afternoon when it would reopen and start serving drinks, music, and food again.
It was home and had been for years. Winry didn't know if she could live anywhere else but spending those days in Risembool, visiting the cemetery and the place where the Elric house had stood made her feel…not homesick but nostalgic. She knew she couldn't 'go home'. Granny's house was sold. Long gone, but Risembool still remained. And people still needed automail, wherever they lived.
And Edward wanted to go home, wherever that meant to him. Winry hoped that didn't mean Josephine. The woman would suck whatever soul was left in him and eat up the husk. Winry shook her head, feeling the frown starting. She couldn't think that, not now. She had to concentrate on her orders, getting her customers fitted with their automail, and then building Edward's arm and leg. Once she'd finished that, once she'd installed his new limbs, then should could decide what to do next.
"But not 'til then," she said firmly. Now she needed to close her eyes and sleep.
It just seemed like sleep was a long time coming.