A/N: Alas, the wedding. I decided to change things up, this is the first chapter in which it comes from Edwards POV. I must say this story keeps morphing into something more than I ever planned...it just can't end it, not yet anyways!
The violins struck up their cord as the audience rose to their feet, their heads turning to witness the woman walking through the archway. The beautiful ivory gown flowed out like silk, the long terrain following her every step, slow and precise as they were. His clammy hands and shortness of breath were forgotten in the instant she turned her gaze on him. Even with the gauzy veil shielding her face, there was no hiding her beauty. Instead of standing beside him, his brother had taken the honor of escorting his bride down the aisle. Once they were in front of him, Edward couldn't help the choked up feeling that came over him. It dawned on him as Alphonse pulled her veil back and kissed her on the cheek that this was the single greatest moment of his life.
There were no guests, no priest and certainly nothing else of any true consequence in his mind besides the woman in front of him. He had no need for any of the things around them; he had eyes for only her. The idea that she had once walked up the isle to someone else had taken his jealousy, but it was impossible to feel jealous about something when he had all that he wanted in front of him. He supposed it was something of a miracle that they were even standing together. It had seemed like fate was conspiring against them for quite a period of time.
When it came down to reciting their vows he waited with baited breath. He would never admit to her that he had practiced his vows to his bemused brother more times than was truly necessary.
Holding onto her hand, he pushed his nerves down and spoke from his heart.
"I Edward take you Winry to be my wife, my best friend and the woman of my heart. I vow to help create a life that we can cherish, inspiring your love for me and mine for you. I vow to be honest, caring and truthful, to love you as you are and not as I want you to be, and to grow old by your side as your love and best friend. I promise to love you for eternity, respecting you, honoring you, being faithful to you, and sharing my life with you. This is my solemn vow." He recited lovingly.
Once he slipped the ring onto her finger he watched as she grew teary eyed, the extraordinary beauty only amplified through her happiness.
"I Winry take you Edward to be my husband, my partner in life and my one true love. I will love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live."
When she slipped the band around his finger he wanted right then and there to whisk her off her feet so that it might just be the two of them. When the priest finally finished up the ceremony he was only briefly aware of the audience as he was permitted to at last kiss his bride. It was teasing to have to let her out of his embrace to walk back down the aisle.
The awaiting carriage sat ready for them, the horses adorned with fresh fall flowers. After helping her in, he couldn't contain his excitement as he bounded in after her. He didn't care that their guests might be expecting them to wave, he pulled her close to him unable to live a second longer without kissing his wife.
"Are you happy Mrs. Elric?" He whispered as they parted at last.
His face went slack as he noticed her misty eyes begin to overflow, trails of tears running down her face. A deep pain surfaced within him as he watched her cry. "My love, is something wrong?"
She shook her head, kissing him hard on the mouth before sitting back to wipe her eyes. "I am crying because I am happy." Her brilliant smile was enough to reassure him as they spent the rest of the ride in each other arms with the occasional kiss.
As they rode through the streets of the town back to his father's estate he noticed briefly a large gathering of British soldiers outside old man Watson's tavern. He eyed the sight as they passed by, his curiosity only stifled by the small sigh of content that came from his wife as she laid her head on his shoulder.
Forgetting about the scene he kissed her on the forehead.
"Must we attend our reception?" She voiced sullenly.
Edward chuckled, he was glad to hear she was thinking along the same lines as him. "Love, you stole the words right from my mouth." He teased, "But I do believe we must attend, that Armstrong is an intimidating man, I don't think after all his work he would allow us to sneak away so easily."
Winry groaned, her face still beaming. "I shall count down the minutes, nay seconds until we are alone again."
Edward felt an unfamiliar wave of lust seize him as he thought about them being alone at last. "You are reading my mind." He added in a low and husky voice.
Wanting to prolong their time together a little longer before he must share her with their guests, he advised the coach driver to perhaps take the scenic route. With more time on their hands Edward wasted none of it, his hands already feeling the inseparable need to touch her. It should not have come as a shock to him that she was all too willing to let him.
When the coach came to a sudden stop Winry pushed him away gently with a sigh. "We have the rest of our lives." She reminded him with a coy smile.
Frowning he pulled her back into his arms. "Why wait?" He added with a hint of deviousness.
She slapped him playfully on the arm, "Come on, they must all be wondering where we are."
As they made their entrance the room silenced at once, the musicians halting their play. His father gathered their attention, his gaze on the newlyweds.
Ed knew his father was trying to make up for lost time and though he would never admit it aloud, he wasn't sure he still harbored the same ill will as he had before. Prior to the wedding he had been to his dismay of great help and kindness. With Winry's prodding he had stopped his outward expressions of dislike for him as of late.
"Welcome guests, family and friends. Today I am a proud father and a lucky man." He gestured towards Winry and Edward. "Winry, my dear, it is my deepest pleasure to have you join our family."Hohenheim smiled and Edward found himself shocked, the man never smiled. "Edward, my son, you have made me a proud father today. I wish both of you all the happiness in the world. If there has ever been a tale of love conquering all, I believe we could all do well to follow in your example."
Edward was stunned, that had to be the single most fatherly thing the man had ever said to him. "Ruddy bastard." He mumbled halfheartedly under his breath.
Winry squeezed his hand, "You two." She chuckled softly.
He was not one to dance; the art form was of a particular loss to him. So how he was currently whirling across the dance floor was strictly and unequivocally his wife's doing. However he wasn't about to complain, having her in his arms was pleasure enough to avoid his usual ill disposition towards the matter. Especially when he produced several daring moves that led her short of breath, but flushed with happiness. This was why he had married her, he wanted this, and he wanted to be the one to make her smile. When his younger brother interrupted, he begrudgingly allowed him to take over. The brief moment of rest looked rather orchestrated as his father managed to miraculously appear by his side. That clever brother of his would not be able to hide in his wife's arms for long. He would make sure to ream him out for allowing him to be stuck in his father's presence.
"I suppose I should thank her." He voiced as they watched Winry and Alphonse dance across the floor.
Hohenheim sipped at the glass of whiskey in his hands. "For loving you."
This kind of conversation was not one which he had ever hoped to have with his father. "Every day I thank whatever force turns this world that they brought her to me."
"I'm sorry." His father spoke solemnly.
Edward wasn't sure where he was going with this. "What for?"
"I loved your mother dearly, I am sorry I could not keep her here for the two of you. She would have been proud of you."
Edward sighed, he wasn't in the mood for this topic, and it was suppose to be a happy day. "If you loved her, why didn't you come back?" He stared at Winry, who shot him a brilliant smile as she turned on the floor. "I could never leave her, I tried, but in the end I couldn't. So I want to know how it is, if you love her like you say you did, that you never came back for us."
The man looked much older than he had as he took another swig of his drink. "When I found out your mother was ill, I could not fathom what I should do. I knew that if I were to come home I would have to watch her die; I knew both you and Alphonse would blame me for not taking care of her. So I spent those days searching for a cure." He took another sip, his expression shifting to the floor. "I do not know the number of dead ends that I hit; I only know that when I received word of her death, I could not bare it any longer. Forgive me; I could not bare to see what my failure had done."
Edward thought of Winry and how he might feel if she were dying. What crazed state of mind would he be in, would he act as his father did? No, he knew what he would do. Perhaps it was a product of watching the mistakes of his father, but he knew he would have stayed by her side.
"I do not have it in me to forgive you father…at least not today. I will never understand why you chose your path, but it is useless to live in the past." It pained him to do so, but he knew it needed to be said. "Thank you for everything you have done for Winry and I, we are in your debt."
The older man looked as if he could cry, but he cleared his throat and turned his attention back to his glass. "No my son, it is I who is in your debt."
As the night wore on Edward found himself dancing once again with his radiant wife. His feet were growing tired and he felt more and more anxious as the time flew by. While one of his father's comrades began a rather loud and boisterous discussion of politics and grievances against the governor Edward found the attention at last being drawn away from them.
Not wanting to waste the precious opportunity he quickly whispered into her ear and away they went. With several guests taking up residence at the manor for the occasion they had rented a room at the inn in town. While waiting for the coachman to harness the horses for their trip into town he decided a night stroll would be a suiting endeavor.
With her arm twined through his, they walked in blissful silence, both content to just be with one another.
"So Mr. Elric, was keeping your promise everything you thought it would be?" Winry asked in reference to their childhood.
Edward didn't need to ponder the answer to that question. "Marrying you was an easy promise to hold onto." He kissed her on the forehead. "Keeping it was easier my love."
He could have stayed out there under the stars with her for longer, but the carriage must be ready. Not wanting to keep the coachman waiting was certainly a reason for heading back, but he also was looking forward to what the night had in store for them. As they headed back, he watched as Winry's face paled.
"What is it?" He asked confused.
Her grip on his arm tightened, "Did you hear that sound?"
They stopped walking, his ears perked in wait for what had frightened her so. Sure enough he deciphered the unquestionable sound of gun fire. His features twisted, it could be of sport, but he had a sinking feeling that their happiness was about to be cut short.
Approaching the manor he felt the realization hit him like a ton of bricks. "Stay here." He ordered his wife.
Winry's frightened expression changed at once, her eyes narrowing. "Till death do us part my love."
Edward frowned but didn't try and dispute it, she was a stubborn woman and he would probably be better off with her then without. As they hurried inside he could hear the shouts and the resonating of raised voices along the corridors. Hurrying forward they found themselves at the mercy of several armed soldiers. One look confirmed his suspicions, they appeared to be the same soldiers he had seen outside the tavern.
Stepping forward, he acted as a shield as he stepped in front of his wife. "What is the meaning of this?" He spoke harshly.
He looked around to see his father's grim face, one of his comrades holding a gun. Alphonse looked red in the face, like he had been yelling. This greatly disturbed him; his brother was never one to lose his temper.
An officer stepped forward, his eyes shrewd and calculating. "We will be in need of your accommodations, if you proceed to act in a treasonous manor I'm afraid we will resort to force."
Edward looked around, it seemed like everyone was alright. The gun powder smell in the room alluded to the trigger of their weapons however.
"I am afraid our home is full, as you can see we are celebrating a marriage. Surely you could find accommodations else ware?" His father pointed out with carefully concealed disdain.
The officer looked irritated, "It is a disgrace to the crown that you have allowed your lush guests to fire shots into the air to scare us away and deny us the right to a place to stay. You will either comply or you will be arrested."
He should not have been surprised that it was Winry who spoke next. "It is our deepest apology for the actions of our guests. Permit me to say however that your intrusion upon our celebration was not of the wisest decision. We do not have the room to house your soldiers, might I suggest the Kingsley residence a few miles east?"
The officer studied her with interest, his face betraying the shallow thoughts of his mind.
Edward stiffened at the look he was giving her, putting his hand protectively on his shoulder. "We can offer you transportation, but I'm afraid that is as far as our hospitality will allow for the moment." He added wondering what had conspired in the time they had taken their walk.
The officer looked at the witnesses all around them and the gun held by the man beside Hohenheim.
"This will be reported." He announced curtly, his options limited with the amount of people in opposition to his soldiers.
When at last the soldiers were gone, Edward could feel it coming. The room erupted in disgruntled and angry voices. This was not the first time that soldiers had arrived unannounced and unwanted into the privacy of someone's home. He had heard the stories of what some of the soldiers had committed in the town, it was no wonder his father refused to allow them to stay.
He confronted his brother in concern. "Al, are you alright?"
His brother let out a deep sigh. "I don't know it happened so fast; the soldiers were just as drunk as some of our guests. One of the men tried to corner that man's wife. "He gestured to the man with the gun. "Next thing I knew he had managed to take one of their guns and fired it at them."
Edward cringed, "I didn't see any blood…"
Alphonse shook his head quickly, "He didn't aim to shoot. It was more of a warning, but then things just spiraled out of control. I'm sorry brother." He added as an afterthought.
Edward frowned, "What are you sorry for?"
"This is your wedding night, I should have done something to stop this from happening."
Winry who had been silent at his side shrugged her shoulders. The concern still evident on her face though he could tell she was trying to hide it. "I'm afraid Edward and I are ringers for danger, it must follow our every step." Her face fell slightly as she looked up at him. "I suppose this means the night is void?"
Edward exchanged a look with his brother before deciding. "No, we won't let a bunch of high strung soldiers ruin this."
One of the workers of the manor looked sheepish when Edward asked if the carriage was still waiting for them. "My apologies Master Elric, but you have lent out the estates carriages to the soldiers."
Cursing under his breath he felt the anticipation of the night wear off. "I'm sorry Winry, looks like we are stuck here."
"Nonsense." Winry held her head in stubborn opposition. "I know for a fact that there are plenty of horses left for travel."
Despite the ordeal he found himself grinning widely as they waved to the remaining guests before taking off. The large mare didn't seem at all perturbed by the weight of both Ed and Winry. While he had envisioned a different scene, he had to admit that holding her as they rode through the night was the adventurous twist that had been missing. He had given up on hoping for a normal life, there would always be some kind of misadventure in their lives. But as he helped her down from the horse and through the doors of the inn, he knew he wouldn't exchange it for the world.
As he carried her over the threshold to their room, he couldn't stop his heart from racing. He found himself dumbstruck as to how in the world he had ended up with this beautiful girl as his wife. She looked nervous but expectant as she let him kiss her, his hands tangling in her hair.
"I love you Mrs. Elric." He murmured into her long locks.
She radiated perfection as she smiled back at him. "I love you Mr. Elric."
He couldn't describe the feelings that assaulted him as he stared, lost in her blue eyes. There was no other moment in his life he could compare it to. Winry turned around slowly, to allow for him to undo the ridiculous contraption women liked to call fashion. He heard her chuckle as he fumbled with the intricacies of the design, his mind foreign to its many mysteries.
When at last they were undressed he stared at her blushing face. She tried to cover herself up but he gently pushed away her hands. "Don't." He breathed softly.
Her chest rose and fell rapidly and he knew she was as nervous as he was. Seeing her laying there he felt lust, but he also felt an engulfing sense of gratitude for whatever caused her to love him. "You are the most beautiful creature." He whispered lovingly as he traced the curves of her body with his hands.
Her eyes closed in pleasure at his touch. She kissed him deeply, her eyes full of adoration. "Will you make me one more promise?" She asked breathlessly.
He kissed her shoulder blade in affirmation.
"Promise me forever."
At those words he held her head in his hands, a fierce love filling his ever pore. "Forever love."