I don't own FMA.
"What were you dreaming about?"
"What?" Ed looked up from his food and frowned at her.
"Last night? What were you dreaming about?"
"I… uh, nothing," he said quickly, shoving a big bite of spaghetti in his mouth so he could chew instead of answering any more questions.
Winry looked down at her plate. "You know how I told you that you were, um, talking in your sleep?"
"Whadda 'bout it?"
"Don't talk with your mouth full of food," she instructed absently. "It's just that…. There was something you said that I wanted to ask you about, but I don't want to demand answers out of context, so…" She trailed off tellingly.
"Well, that sucks," Ed grouched, "'cause you're not getting any information out of me until I get some info out of you."
"And what 'info' is that?" she asked, responding to his tone.
Ed rolled his eyes. "Guess."
"I could tell you the ratios of the metals in the alloy of your arm and leg; I could tell you the year in which Amestris was founded; I could tell you my favorite color; I could tell you the rules of soccer," she offered, playing dumb, "but none of that would be relevant, would it? If you've got a question, ask it already."
"I've got several questions. A whole damn list, actually."
"I'll go in chronological order, then. One: Why are you here? Two: Why have you not left now that you've found me and chewed me out, and does this imply that you have an ulterior motive? Three: What was it that you heard me say last night that has you so concerned? And four: Why the hell am I the only one out of the two of us that is concerned that you apparently slept like fifteen hours today—I'm sure I don't need to remind you that that is almost definitely a sign of illness, Little Miss Doctor-Wannabe?"
"That's a long list. I hope I remember all of them," she muttered. "I'm here first and foremost to kick your ass for leaving, and my ulterior motive is getting you to come back, though given that you seem to be doing legit work, I guess that's not feasible. At least until you're done, at which time I plan on dragging you back home by your earlobe to apologize to your brother, who is put out with you to say the least. I have no ulterior motives, that's just stupid. And I refuse to tell you the answers to the other two."
Ed frowned. "You gave me half of the answers I wanted—"
"Wanted," he repeated firmly, "and you only gave me answers I could have just as easily guessed. And yet you expect me to tell you the contents of my personal dreams, as if it's any of your business."
Winry put her elbows on the table and her head in her hands, sighing. "I knew it would be something like that. I guess there's no point in having this conversation."
"What're you looking all depressed for?"
"Because I wanted to know if what you were saying was true."
"I could tell you if it was true if you'd tell me what I said," he hinted.
"And what if you just blow me off like always?"
"Something was up, I could tell."
"You read too much into situations."
"You read too little into them," Al countered. "I'm surprised you didn't see it for what it was... after all, you make bailouts like that all the time."
"What are you talking about?"
"Ed, every time something comes up in conversation that you don't want to talk about, you retreat."
"No, I don't." But simply saying it couldn't make it true.
"Al said that too," Ed said softly.
"What? That you blow people off?"
"'Cause it's true."
"I wish it wasn't."
Winry rolled her eyes at his suddenly remorseful tone. "Bit late to be sorry about it, Ed."
"I know." There were a lot of things he was a bit late to be sorry about. At least this small thing was something he could change. "I swear I won't this time."
"...It was about you."
"Yeah. It was about you." He'd of course been glancing away when he'd made this confession, but now Ed looked over to gauge her expression. She seemed pleased, satisfied, which was from his perspective a very bad thing. "What are you thinking about with that smirk? Aren't you going to tell me?"
"Yes, I'll tell you. I'll tell you what I heard, but I don't know how you're going to react."
"Just say it, quick, before you change your mind."
"'I always knew it would be you, Winry,'" she quoted, distantly staring off somewhere past his left shoulder, then her eyes flashed to his face again. "Sound familiar?"
"I... uh... well, yeah..." he stuttered. "Don't tell me you heard my side of the entire dream?"
"Yeah," she said, looking sheepish. "It was weird but kind of funny, which is why I didn't want to ignore it and go to sleep. It was so funny, you have no idea... and I could tell when the version of me in your dream got mad at you, too..." She laughed, trying halfheartedly to suppress it and failing.
"What's so funny? How could you tell?"
"You kept saying 'ow!'" She covered her mouth with her hands and continued trying to repress her giggles.
Ed rolled his eyes, glad they were out of that 'tender' sticky spot. "Well, that explains how you knew I was dreaming about you."
She flicked one of her green beans (untouched; she wasn't in the mood for vegetables at all) at him. "Ass."
"Are we going alphabetically or is this just a coincidence?"
"Sure, alphabetical, why not?"
Winry hesitated, then scowled at Ed. "There aren't any insults that start with E. You cheater, you got the easy one."
"You started it."
"Well, crap." She pouted and ate in silence for a few minutes until the conversation restarted (on a different topic.)
Much to Ed's vexation, he hadn't noticed at first when Winry started holding his hand. I wasn't completely his fault—she had taken hold of his right hand—but he felt stupid for taking so long to notice, all the same.
They were walking back to the hotel for lack of anything better to do, and it was almost, but not quite, sunset. Ed had happened to glance down at a half-cenz coin on the ground when he realized that Winry was holding onto his right arm and of course he couldn't feel that arm, and she'd apparently taken pains not to jostle him so he'd notice. Then again, Winry was the only person in the world who could be sneaky enough to know exactly what he would and wouldn't notice when she was touching his automail.
Right now they were passing by a reconstruction project for one of the city's two courthouses, and she was saying something or other that Ed couldn't make himself listen to because he was so distracted by watching her lips moving as she talked.
He was distracted from that pastime by someone calling him from across the street.
"Fullmetal!" Two someones.
Glancing over, Ed saw Zachary Bogart, a heavyset man in his late 30s whose part in the construction was limited to his financial backing (because the government wasn't covering ALL the expenses) and the occasional design input, only as a token gesture really. Zachary was panting slightly and jogging behind the much taller and leaner John Fitzgerald, the slightly younger foreman of all the construction projects going on on this block. His left hand from just above the wrist were made of automail from a saw accident when he was younger, and he had a habit of tweaking with one of the screws while he talked.
"What do you need?" Ed asked, shoving his flesh hand in his pocket (the other was already occupied, of course.)
Both Zachary and John's eyes flicked to Winry, and Ed saw John's mouth twitch in a small smirk before they focused on Ed. "You're collecting figures for Central, right?"
"Yes, I explained that earlier when I spoke to you, Zachary. What about the figures?"
"We wanted to see if we could discuss them in some more detail with you, but if this is a bad time..." John twisted the loose screw absently.
Ed glanced at Winry, who was glaring at the poorly cared-for automail as if it was a personal offense to her, which he didn't doubt. "How long is this going to take, do you think? If it's only a few minutes then now is as good a time as ever. If it's longer we can get in touch tomorrow."
John continued twisting the screw, always the same screw. "It shouldn't be long at all, it's just that we need to get the budget reinvestigated, not your jurisdiction, I know, but we do need you to recommend it."
Ed looked at Zachary. "What's wrong with the current budget? I need more details."
Zachary motioned him a few feet away for the sake of privacy (not as if Winry wasn't a good secret-keeper, but Zachary had no way of knowing that) and John made to follow, but Winry stopped him with a hand raised. "Excuse me, how long has it been since a mechanic looked at that hand?"
John glanced down as if just becoming aware that he did indeed have a metal hand. "Well, my annual tune-up was due just before Father Cornello was sacked, but I actually hadn't had a checkup for about two years before that because the hand was working fine, so it's nearly three years, now... anyway, what does it matter to you?"
"I'm a mechanic." She patted herself down and produced a screwdriver from deep in her jacket pocket. "I designed, built, and maintain Ed's automail. C'mere, let me see that."
"His arm is a piece of artwork," John complimented, offering his left hand to her with confidence.
"Ugh, it's gotten so shabby," she muttered to herself. "What happened to your mechanic?"
"Mr. Solomon and his son were shot and both shops have been abandoned. There isn't an automail mechanic for seventy miles, and I don't have time to go that far out of my way for a hand that works fairly well as it is."
"That's no good," Winry said, seeming to become lost in thought. John was silent, watching her tinker, and Ed and Zachary didn't stop her when they rejoined the group either. Eventually Winry released John's arm, scowling slightly. "I don't like it, and there wasn't much I could do without any other tools, but your thumb ought to be opposable with your other fingers, so that's an improvement, and the screws no longer stick out at odd angles like that. But get yourself to a shop, okay?"
"Dang," John said, impressed, touching each of his four fingers with his thumb and watching with amazement the new lines of movement. "Ah, but I'm sure the Fullmetal Alchemist wouldn't settle for anything less, picky as he is with everything."
"Thanks." She smiled and quickly seized Ed's wrist to pull him away, hating the feeling of being put on the spot by compliments.
"You fixed his hand for free?" Ed asked.
"'Fixed' is a strong word. I wouldn't even call it functional."
"You know, they don't have a mechanic around here."
"He told me."
Ed had to force the pace to slow down because she kept speeding up for who knew what reason. "They could use someone like you around here, Win."
"I thought about it for like three seconds, then I remembered Grandma. And the fact that we're halfway across the country and there's no way I'd move that far away from home. For anything."
"Grandma would be fine without you. She ran the shop when you were in Rush Valley, and then with me and Al and them up in Briggs. And you know, you have to think about your future, too. You can't be planning on staying in Resembool forever?"
"Are you trying to convince me to set up shop here?" she asked, frowning a little.
"Not really, I guess... but think about it. There's no mechanic in this town, so whoever sets up shop first will probably get loads of business, and how convenient that it's in a city whose economy is perched on the brink of picking up hugely, once some of these projects get completed. Five years and this place'll be as huge as it was—bigger than it was, actually—under Cornello. Think about it."
"I am thinking, Ed and I think it's something to think about for the distant future. Maybe we should concentrate on the present. Or at most, the near future."
"Fine. What near-future events do you have on your mind?"
"Mostly, going home. Al's still there, and I haven't written yet... oh, they're going to be mad at me!"
"Relax." Ed nudged her with his elbow. "I never write home, and nothing bad ever happens to me."
"Ugh. You brat." She elbowed him back.
He dodged it. "See? Nothing bad ever happens to me."
Winry rolled her eyes. "'Cause you're sneaky and untrustworthy, not on your merits."
"I disagree." Ed stopped her and leaned in like he was going to kiss her, but didn't.
"Oh?" she asked to make him finish the thought.
"I think I get away with it almost entirely on my merits." Now he kissed her.
When they broke apart, Winry dared to grab his left hand. "C'mon, let's go back."
I think that's a nice note to end ENAT. It doesn't directly wrap up all the loose ends but the implication that they are now all wrapped up or will be soon is clear. Somewhat corny last line, but then, this fic was never too worried about corniness. I'm sad to see ENAT go, and judging by the reviews you guys are too, but luckily the stories in my head are far from over, and it shouldn't be long before ENATAgain is here. Expect a delay of a few weeks, I plan on getting pretty far ahead of the curve, plus I'll be writing oneshots to get rid of plot bunnies, and my oher fic, PARALELL, will get some more attention (I have some interesting thoughts for that one as well, but I won't go into detail 'cause I'm half sure y'all won't care.) Wave goodbye to ENAT and stand by for ENATAgain, (add me to Author Alert, that's my suggestion) and THANK YOU SO MUCH for sticking with me 'till the end.