Full of Change
S J Smith
Summary: Scar, in the aftermath of the Promised Day.
Written for the prompt, "automail dysfunction" for the LJ community, fma_fic_contest.
Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Holstein. Or any other milch cow.
* * *
The girl sounded cross and, if her lowered brows and tightened lips were any indication, the boy – the Fullmetal Alchemist – was in for it. Brandishing a screwdriver as if it were a weapon, the girl attacked the boy's automail leg.
"Hey! Go easy on that!" His yelp fell on deaf ears, the girl continuing her onslaught over his vehement protests.
"If you'd just take care of your automail," she said, the words potent with dire implications, "this wouldn't be such a problem, Edward."
He snarled right back, all teeth and glaring yellow eyes – a cornered sand cat, right down to the electric bush of his hair. "I'm sorry." Sarcasm, a lot of it. "I got into a fight trying to save the country and make it safe for everyone. Like you told me to."
The girl slammed the screwdriver onto the makeshift hospital table, making it groan. Her glared matched the boy's. "And I warned you – how many times, Ed? – that this northern weight automail isn't as dense," she rapped her knuckles on the boy's skull, earning a 'Hey!' for her audacity – "as the old automail I made for you. It can't take that kind of stress!"
"Then you should've switched me back when I was in Rezembool!"
They were nose to nose now, faces red and eyes glinting and, if this were anywhere else, he might've tried to slink away. As it was, the girl had seen him, well, more accurately, took one look at his missing arm, and announced loudly that he needed automail and as soon as she finished fixing whatever Edward Elric had destroyed, she'd talk to him.
He told himself the girl hadn't forgiven him for what he'd done to her parents. There was no way she could, anymore than he could forgive Kimbley for destroying his own family. But the girl's compassion was sincere and the gleam in her eyes warned him (even if that hard-headed alchemist boy ignored it) that she would get her way, no matter what.
"…what if something had failed you in a fight!" She trembled and he recognized it for what it was; fear, even if it was after the fact. "I know how you bust up my automail! I try to make it strong enough to keep you safe!" Her voice escalated as she spoke, her hands clenched into fists so tight, her knuckles had gone white.
The boy's mouth hung open, his expression dazed. "Winry." He reached out to her with his flesh hand, stroking her crown. The caress slipped down to the back of her neck and the boy pulled her close, their foreheads touching.
Scar had to turn away then, giving them their privacy, as much as could be had in this hospital room with a world passing by the doorway and guards standing outside. Guards waiting on him, to make sure he wouldn't harm one of their alchemists. As if he could, now that his arm was gone. This boy had gone on, even missing an arm and a leg, letting nothing stop him. And the girl, despite the loss of her family, had matured into a young woman who would have made her parents' proud. Glancing back, he watched as the alchemist's fierce determination warmed into something far more tender, the boy's fingers stroking the girl's flushed cheek.
He knew love; remembered it from so long ago, when he had a family. He wished, for an instant, then set the wish aside. The world he'd known was changing. The girl wanted him to have automail (the last thing he had of his family – no, no, don't think of that). The boy didn't look on him with loathing anymore; instead, with a faint, grudging respect. They were a few out of many, though, and he didn't doubt the military would want him punished for killing so many of their men.
"Mr. Scar!" A cheerful voice brightened the room, the kids jerking apart. Mei stepped into the room, her face wreathed in smiles, that cat-thing on her shoulder. "I've been looking for you!" She barely flicked a glance toward the boy and the girl though the cat growled at the sight of the alchemist. Scar almost smiled at that. "I had to see you before I returned home." Her bright expression dropped slightly as she approached, lunging forward to give him a hug. "I will miss you, Mr. Scar."
Startled, he remained still for a few seconds, staring at the girl clinging to him, her little weird cat clutching at his neck. Something within him remembered and he buried his face in Mei's sweet-smelling hair, wrapping his remaining arm around her.
Things were changing. Maybe even him.
* * *