Rain Go Away

S J Smith

Rating: Teen

Characters: Paninya, Garfiel

Summary: At the other side, there isn't always a rainbow.

Disclaimer: Sekritly at night, I dress in a cow suit and fight crime. Not.

Warning: Angsty.

A.N.: Thanks to D. M. Evans for looking this over.

The rain outside would turn the streets into mud, making it nearly impossible to get around. There are those who will do it – shopkeeps and grocers, mechanics and automailers. Maybe some day, Rush Valley would have paved streets but generally, the packed earth served the inhabitants and visitors well. It was only during the rainy season when there was a problem and that was soon resolved by the heat, baking the mud back into cement-like consistency.

Paninya didn't mind the rain. She didn't necessarily like it – it made her automail ports ache and twinge. She wanted to be a cat when it rained; find a fireplace and curl up in front of it, try to keep heat on her limbs to lessen the pain. That didn't always happen, though Mr. Garfiel's shop was kept warm for the comfort of his customers. And while Paninya wasn't necessarily a customer, she was welcome – now that she'd earned her keep by fixing the roof to the shop.

Rain usually kept all but the most die hard automail users at home. Paninya didn't like being alone so she'd taken the risk and rushed out during the downpour. Garfiel's place would be open – Winry took her apprenticeship seriously and would work day and night unless forced to stop – so Paninya had a place to go.

The scent of tea and flowers, machine oil and metal greeted Paninya's nose when she flung open the door, automatically pulling off her boots before Mr. Garfiel could warn her about tracking up his immaculate floors. The thick mud was already caked deep into the grooves of the soles and Paninya set her boots carefully on a drying rack set out just for this kind of weather. The heat would warm her boots, making them comfortable for the trip home – and much easier to clean once the mud had dried. Paninya hung her slicker on the hooks provided for jackets, her hands smoothing over her hair almost nervously.

"Couldn't stay away, eh?" Mr. Garfiel gave her a long look, making her flush.

"I was bored at home!" The excuse came out lightning quick and Paninya tried not to be too evident in her glances, wondering if Winry was back in the bowels of the machine shop.

Garfiel's expression took on a knowing cast. "You'll be bored here, too. She's gone." Paninya felt something run down her spine at those words, a sinking in her stomach as Mr. Garfiel went on. "Winry got a call from the military. She's gone to Briggs to take care of that boy." His kind eyes made Paninya's gut twist a little more. "I don't know when she'll be back, Paninya."

"Oh." A single syllable; acknowledgement, understanding all wrapped up in one tiny sound. Paninya tried to tell herself it was the rain that made her feel this way, that her dream wasn't being washed away with the water.

When the sun came out, it wouldn't hurt any more.