Warning: This story is LONG! So have a good playlist ready. I prefer songs by Safetysuit, Goo Goo Dolls, Switchfoot, and Lifehouse =) (my playlist in down at the bottom in my author's note if you need one) Enjoy!
"I don't think I'll be able to spend one more night on this train," Edward muttered to Al. The train jolted and Edward's head smacked against the window he was resting against. "Oww! Goddamn it!" Al put down the three-day-old newspaper he was reading, and looked at his older brother. His lips were pressed into a thin line as he tried to stifle his laughter. His silver eyes lit up in the setting sun that was streaming through.
"So what do you want to do, then?" Al asked as he clear his throat and unfolded his crisscrossed legs. His knees popped as he stretched them out. "Get off at the next stop and stay at an inn?"
"Anything beats another night here. We've been on this thing for five days."
"What'd you expect from being all the way up in the north? Going to Central isn't exactly a one day trip."
"Yeah, I know," Edward sighed. "What's the next town we're stopping at?"
"Let me check," Al said. He rummaged through his tan colored trench coat pocket and pulled out a wrinkled, folded up map. He opened it and spread it out on his lap. "Where are we now?"
"We just past Lehane," Edward answered as he stared out the window.
Al remained silent as he scanned the map for the tiny dot that indicated Lehane. He twirled a few strands of his light brown ponytail around his finger, like he used to do to his mother's hair when he was a baby. His finger then stabbed the map lightly, and traced it along the railroad line. He then looked up at Edward and said, "The next town is Casanova—"
"No!" Edward said with a jump. "No, that town is full of the creepiest people I've ever met."
"Tell me about it. I almost got jumped last time by a bunch of women."
"What's after that?"
"After that, we go to…." Al traced the lines to the next location. He smiled brightly. "Rush Valley."
Edward's head snapped towards his younger brother's direction, his eyes growing wide. He then clutched his metal arm and bowed his head.
"She's going to kill me…." he muttered.
"Oh come on, Brother!" Al said. "We haven't seen her in months! I think it'd be nice to drop by!" He bent over and stuck his face in front of his brother's. "You could use a tune up. And you know how she gets if we don't show up once in a while—"
"Alright!" Edward growled. "We'll…we'll stop by."
"Good!" Al said as he leaned back in his seat. "I'm going to go see if I can use the train's phone. Hopefully someone's not using it."
"You still remember her number?"
"Of course," Al said as he stood up from his seat. He narrowed his eyebrows at Edward and gave a small smirk. "Why? You don't?"
"Of course I remember!" Edward said, feeling his cheeks burn up. The truth was, he couldn't remember the last two digits. "I was just making sure you remembered it."
Al rolled his eyes and started to walk to the door to the next car. Women and young girls that were aboard turned their heads as he walked on by, some of them blushing and giggling. When they looked at Edward, their giggles grew louder and their faces reddened even more. Edward smiled weakly, but frowned when he looked out the window again. He wasn't interested in them. Women weren't really in his top interests. His life was crammed with other problems, and he honestly didn't need anymore.
But he was going to be seeing Winryagain, who was probably going to give him a good ass kicking. She was the one woman in his life that he didn't mind. She was different, but he couldn't exactly say why, only that she was a complete automail freak. Though, there was something in the back of his mind telling him that that wasn't the only thing that made her unique. He felt his heart race faintly, faster than the usual beats per minute. He looked down at his chest, and raised an eyebrow at it.
"Cut that out," he mumbled to his heart. He looked around to see if anyone saw, but lucky for him, no one did. He leaned over and picked up the newspaper that Al had been reading, and opened the front page of the paper. There was nothing exciting that caught his attention. His mind was elsewhere, on a certain white hair blonde, who had sapphire colored eyes, and a killer figure—
Edward shook his head, ridding his mind of that thought. If he went any further, he would've wounded up thinking of her naked—
STOP! he shouted mentally.
What did catch his attention, though, was the sound of the giggling girls breaking the long silence that had been lingering throughout the room for what seemed like hours. He looked up and saw Al entering through the sliding door. He walked back to his seat without acknowledging the fact that there were women who wanted a piece of him.
"So?" Edward asked as he handed Al back the newspaper.
"I talked to Paninya, actually," Al said with a surprised expression. He brushed back his bangs from his eyes and opened the newspaper once more, picking up from where he left off.
"And," he said before going back to reading, "she said that Winry was actually…." His flushed deeply and he cleared his throat. "…about to go in the shower."
"Oh," Edward said as he blushed. His cheeks were as red as cherries. "Um, but what did Winry—?"
"Well, she caught Winry before she went into the bathroom, and she said it was fine that we come by. Paninya said that Winry had been working for a week straight, barely getting any sleep, so she's really tired."
"Ha," Edward chuckled, "some things never get old."
"I said we would get there just before night falls."
"Okay," Edward yawned as he stretched out his arms and legs. "Wake me up when we get there."
"Good luck trying to sleep," Al said as he put the paper up in front of his face.
Edward grunted in response, and pulled his feet up to lounge in his uncomfortable seat. But Al had been entirely right when he said good luck. There was no way that he would get any sleep with the way the train was rattling and jolting, along with the baby crying ever so often and the girls giggling and squealing. And when the train screeched to a halt at Casanova, it didn't make his luxurious nap any better. He lurched forward, and caught himself before he got thrown out of his seat. The majority of the women in the car—being all of them—got up to depart. Most of them leered at the brothers like they were a piece of meat. Al still didn't seem to notice, for he was still reading the paper, and Edward just closed his eyes.
Thank God Winry doesn't do that, he thought as he slouched in his seat. He pinched the bridge of his nose like someone would do if their glasses were irritating them. Once the women were gone, Al put down the newspaper and kneeled on his seat. He straightened his back, looked over his seat, and scanned the car. When he was done, he sat back down in his seat and sighed with relief. They were the only ones remaining.
"I thought you didn't notice," Edward said with an amusing smile.
"I noticed alright," Al muttered as he folded up the newspaper. His silver eyes were wide with fear. "I could feel them staring at me when I was going to make the phone call. I was afraid one of them was going attack me."
"It would've probably been one battle that you would've lost."
"I wouldn't doubt you there—"
The train's whistle pierced the air, and with a jerk, they started to move again.
"So what else to Paninya say?" Edward asked.
"Nothing, really. All she said was that Winry is really tired."
"That's what she gets for pulling all-nighters."
"She's getting the day off tomorrow, and then has to finish two more days before she can take her leave for a while," Al added. "I wonder what she looks like."
"Probably the same—"
"We haven't seen her in over a year, Brother."
"She probably looks the same," Edward restated.
"I don't know."
"She's the same like every other woman, Al."
"No she's not! She doesn't look like the women who were just on the train. She's much prettier than that."
"You don't think Winry is pretty?"
"What?!" Edward said in alarm.
"Wow, Brother, that's rather cold—"
"Come on, now!" he said as he sat up straight. "I didn't say that she wasn't pretty!"
"Oh, so now you think she is—?"
"I always thought she was pretty!" Edward barked. His eyes grew wide, and he slumped back in his seat, realizing what he had just proclaimed aloud to his brother, and to God, whom he didn't believe in.
"…Well, it was nice of her to say that we can stay under her condition," Al said as he changed the topic. He was trying his best to hold back his laughter.
"Condition? Al, she always tires herself out."
"You would assume most people would deny our request if they were like that. Who would want two teenagers crashing at their place for the night after working long hours?"
"You'd probably let them in."
"So what's your point?"
"My point is, is that Winry is a good person," Al stated confidently. "Aren't you excited to see her?"
"Um, should I be?" Edward asked as he raised an eyebrow. His heart started fluttering again, but he kept a straight face to hide it from Al.
"She's really the only family we have that's not really in the military."
Edward just turned his gaze out towards the window where twilight stained the sky. It wasn't that he wasn't excited to see her. Truth be told, he always felt like he was in his own personal haven, despite the fact that she would sometimes beat him bloody with her wrench. It's out of love, she would say. He smiled to himself secretly. When he saw Winry, he not only saw the pain that was going to be inflicted on him, but he knew that she would do anything and everything to make him brand new. No matter how many times he and Al went against her wishes—majority of the time—when she told them to be careful, she would always welcome them with open arms.
Just two weeks ago, he had talked to her on the phone—with static and all— telling her that he was in the mountains, freezing his beloved ass off. When she had asked him why he was there, he gulped rather loudly, and told her that a dangerous alchemist had escaped, who was being kept up there for safety purposes. His job was to help the military squad, who was up there, catch him. A typical job for an atypical alchemist. On cue, Winry started going off on him on how he was such a careless idiot. But then, like he predicted, she softened up and told him to be safe.
"What's on your mind?" Al asked him.
"Nothing much," Edward replied. "Just about a phone call I had with Winry few weeks ago—"
"Oh!" Al said with a smirk. "What did you tell her?"
"Just what we were doing—"
"Aw, that was nice of you, Brother—"
"Can it, Al," Edward growled. He used to tell him to 'Tin-can' it, but he couldn't do that anymore, because Al got his body back. It was just a good old knee slapper joke that made the both of them laugh. Corny, but in a depressed state they were in, laughter was an antidote.
"No, really!" Al said as he sat crisscrossed in his seat again. "I'm not making fun of you! It's just…."
"Just not like you to call her out of the blue."
Edward shrugged but caught his brother's gaze.
"…You don't like her, do you?"
"You're really trying to push my buttons, aren't you?"
"'Push your buttons'? Maybe when you smacked your head, your brain cells got scrambled—"
"Whadda mean by that?!"
"You're not acting like yourself!"
"There's a way I'm supposed to act?"
"No!" Al said defensively.
"Why do you think I like Winry?" Edward asked. "Do you like her?"
"As a sister!" Al's face was turning pink. "And she's a year older than me anyway!"
"One year difference. Big whoop."
"I don't know," Al sighed. "Maybe it's because when I didn't have my body, I didn't really focus on liking someone."
Edward stiffened and his eyes grew wide as his younger brother continued to talk. "I mean, who can love just a soul? Plus, you were always closer to her."
"Actually, I think you know more about her than I do. I never did have a normal conversation with her…."
"But you were closer to her on a different level…."
"She didn't play favorites, Al—"
"I'm not saying that she did. Even if I had my body for the years I had without it, she would still look at you differently than how she would look at me."
"Wait!" Al said with a nervous chuckle. "Hear me out. This isn't going in a negative direction! Was I jealous? Not really. I didn't let it get to me. But I knew that I would find someone else…someday."
"What makes you think I like her—?"
Al's eyes locked with Edward's, and they bored into his deeply. "Even though I said you were closer to her, you never took the time to stop once in a while. Brother, you should see the way she looks at you when you return home or whenever she sees you. When she looks at me, it's a loving way, but it's more family-like—"
"Well, you do stuff with her that I don't."
"The more feminine stuff, like talking all night, baking—"
"You're ruining the moment," Al muttered. His face flushed a deep crimson. "And so what if I like baking! Who else is going to cook for your ass?!"
"Ha, true," Edward snorted. One of them had to be the softer one, and Al was the chosen one. "And you talk about emotional issues—"
"Okay, okay! I'm sorry. Continue."
"The way she looks at you, though," Al said with a slight smile. "I've never seen someone look so happy before—"
"Happy? She seems like she's either going to beat me or cry when I come—"
"She's a girl. She's worries. Come on, Brother. Even though women are complicated, they're not that complicated."
"For you anyway," Edward mumbled. "Why did you bring this up anyway? Do you think that I like her? Are you sure that you don't like her?"
"Ed," Al said coldly. He rarely called Edward by his name; when he did, he meant business. "You see, I still have a lot to experience that I've missed out on all of these years. You, you've been through most of it, and I'm not ready to feel…." Al looked out the window as he closed his eyes. He gave a soft sigh and shook his head. "Never mind."
"Let's forget we had this conversation, okay?" he asked with a sad smile.
"Some things are better left unsaid." Al turned his gaze back towards Edward. "But you're smart. You'll probably get it later."
Edward did what Al wanted, and didn't go any deeper into the scratchy conversation. He didn't get what Al was trying to tell him. Had Winry told him something on the phone that he was keeping away from Edward? Al and Winry had always been close. Before Al returned to his natural being, he remembered the nights he stayed with Winry either at her home or in Rush Valley, and when she couldn't sleep, she would drag Al out of the room, and the two of them would talk all night, until Winry fell asleep at dawn. Edward didn't exactly hear what they were talking about, because he was trying to get some sleep himself, but he heard their muffled voices. Sometimes they would laugh, or talk very quietly; there was a time where Winry almost sounded like she was about to cry, but held it back, due to the promise she kept with Edward about crying tears of joy. When Al got his body back, there was a night where the two of them stayed up yakking up a storm. That's when Edward actually heard bits and pieces of their conversation, but he was in such a delirious state from lack of sleep that he couldn't tell if he was dreaming or not. But that's what they had talked about: Dreams. The few dreams that Al had dreamt since he gained life back. Winry, he imagined, sat there and listened to his every word, laughing and gasping at the visions he saw. She would then tell her dreams to him, but it was rather unclear to Edward, both articulacy and mentally.
While he and Al were stationed in the east for a while before heading up north, Al had used the phone several times, and spent hours talking on the phone to Winry about everything. Even without picking up the other phone to listen in on them, he could tell that Winry was happy to hear from Al. When he talked with her, however, he could hear the shakiness in her voice.
He couldn't see why Al thought that he and Winry were closer.
I've had my moments with her, he thought. He looked down at his hands and curled them into loose fists.
"Winry," Edward said as he grabbed her hands that were trembling. The gun was pointed right in his direction, and he was afraid that she might fire it. He looked her dead in the eye. "Let go of the gun—"
"I-I couldn't do it," she cried. "He killed my parents! Why?! You and Al could've gotten killed…why?!" Too many questions were going through her head; she was hysterical and scared.
It wasn't until Edward told her about her hands. As he pried her fingers gently away from the gun, he told her that her hands that were meant to save people, not to kill. Winry grabbed him and cried against his chest. Edward placed his arms around her, and let her sob. She had every right to, and shouldn't be ashamed of it.
"I gotta go…I'm sorry….Al is still fighting," Edward said as he handed the gun over to the officer behind them. The officer walked away with it, leaving them to their embrace. "We'll talk about this when I get back." He sighed and took off his red coat, and draped it around her. She finally looked up at him, her blue eyes were the size of the moon, and they were just as bright as the stars. "I'm sorry."
That was a long time ago. A very long time ago.
But Al didn't see that, Edward thought as he closed his eyes. Normally, Al wasn't around when Winry and I had our…talks….
She put all of her faith in him, even if he was reckless.
"Wait!" Winry yelled.
"HUH?!" Edward barked. Winry quickly took her earrings out, leaned over the rail of the staircase, grabbed Edward's hands, and placed them in his hands.
"I want those back when you get back to the fort!"
Edward saw how much confidence that she was putting in him; she wasn't ready to lose all of her faith.
"Al-alright!" Edward said with a nod.
She understood things about him that Al didn't know.
"I saw what was inside your watch…." she whispered. Edward let go of her, and she fell off his back and onto the floor. "Oww!"
"You forced it open?!" Edward barked coldly.
Edward turned around and looked down at her. Winry's head was bowed in embarrassment. He held out his hand, and she looked at him with astonishment. "You idiot." Winry took his hand and he helped her up. They both took a seat in one of the wooden chairs against the wall. "I haven't even told Al yet."
If Al wasn't there, how could he say that they were closer?
"Do you love Winry, Edward?" Riza asked him.
Edward spit out his tea back into the cup and started choking. He started babbling, the words coming out in gibberish. He could see that Riza was smirking as she took a sip of her tea. His face was burning up.
"Why do you ask that?!" he demanded.
"Look after her," Riza said calmly. "Look after the ones that you love and care for…."
He did care for her—he would do anything to not see her cry.
This was the safest place he could think of. He was actually supposed to be camped out down in the basement, but he couldn't stand being down there at the moment. He was about to take a bite of his sandwich, when Winry walked in her room. He froze; she didn't notice him at all. He suddenly felt very numb when Winrytook off her apron that was covered in grease and oil. She was half way of lifting her shirt over her head, when she turned and saw Edward hiding in the darkest corner of her room. The two of them stared at each other, which was the longest five seconds of Edward's life—
That is until Winry screamed.
He looked over at Al who was writing something down in his little black notebook that he carried around. "We should be there in ten minutes," Al said.
"Al, you're not mad, are you?" Edward asked quietly.
"Of course not. Why would I be?" Al gave him an assuring smile, one that was hard to deny.
For the rest of the ride, the two of them didn't say another word. Even when they got off and entered town, they stayed quiet. It wasn't until they didn't know where the hell they were going, which made them stop. She wasn't at the shop, and her boss wasn't there to tell them where she was.
"This is just great," Edward muttered.
"We can just call her—"
"No, we got this. Let's just ask…I'm sure someone knows where she lives—"
After asking five people, Edward was about to give up hope, until a kind woman with an automail arm told her that Winry lived closed to the outskirts of Rush Valley. The sun was about to be blacked out by the night; the brothers rushed to where the lady had pointed them to. Edward was almost stopped a few times by some people, because they knew who he was. What struck him awkward was that they kept saying, "Hey! You're Winry's man! Can I see your automail?" And then something else of how Winry was one of the greatest engineers the town has ever seen. Going on and on about how her style was very unique. The brothers high tailed it out before they were pulled in, their suitcase flying behind them.
"Geez," Edward growled. "Been away for a while, but the people haven't changed."
"WINRY!" Al yelled as he ran up the road.
Edward believed that Winry had a sixth sense: the sense of knowing that they were here. Because, as he slowly approached a small two story house—one looking similar to the one in Resembool—the front door opened. From what he could see, he saw her standing there with a smile on her face. He watched her welcome Al with open arms, folding him into a tight embrace. It was difficult to tell from far away, but she had grown up. Edward didn't recognize her at first.
"Hey there!" Winry laughed as she hugged Al tighter. She kissed him on the cheek, then held his face in her hands and smiled brightly. "It's so good to see you! You've gotten taller!"
"Ha, well, I can't help it," Al chuckled.
Just as Edward's foot scuffed against the gravel just before he reached them, Winry looked over Al's shoulder and her smile faded. Al turned around, and a small smirk slithered across his lips. Winry drifted away from him and went up to Edward slowly. She was only wearing a white tank top, black shorts, and a familiar red coat. She was ready to go to bed.
Winry didn't hug him, nor placed her hand on him. She just looked up at him; her eyes were like sapphires, glistening in the last burst of sunbeams that were dying. Edward had to stop himself from gasping, but his heart beating at mach two made up for it. He'd always thought she was pretty, but now, he saw her differently. There was something about her that made him stop breathing; was he surprised at how she looked? He was imagining in his head that he was kicking his own ass for leaving her behind. She was more stunning than ever. From over the long period of time that he'd been missing, he'd obviously missed out on how much she's grown. This little girl that he once knew had just transformed into this—this—
Woman, Ed, his mind told him. She's a woman now. Not a little girl.
"Hey, Winry," Edward said softly. He was dumbfounded that she didn't explode on him like she sometimes did. He could see the tears brewing in her eyes, but she held them back. He prayed that she wouldn't start crying. As he stared into her eyes, he felt himself getting lost in them, becoming spellbound. Now he wanted to really beat himself up.
"Hey, Ed," she said hesitantly; her voice was shaking. He could see a rosy blush dirty her cheeks. He tilted his head to the side. He was at lost for words. They were at the tip of his tongue, but he could barely speak. He took a step closer to her, almost close enough to brush past her. The gaze that they held didn't make talking any easier.
"I-is it okay if we…uh…crash here?"
"Of course!" she said with a smile. Edward's heart leapt and it made him jump; her smile was endearing. What was with him? He felt rather unusual. Odd. Awkward. He was never this nervous. Her smile made him speechless again. "You know that you're welcome home anytime—" She stopped talking, and her eyes grew wide. "I—uh—"
Edward's stomach growled rather loudly, and both of them stared at it. He felt himself blushing.
"I don't think Edward is just asking for a bed, Winry," Al laughed. Winry gave out a nervous giggle and looked up at Edward. She then turned so that she didn't have her back to Al anymore. "Come on, guys, I'll fix you something to eat. You two must be starving from that train ride. But first, go wash up—take a bath, a shower, whatever—and you're meal should be ready by the time you're done."
"I CLAIM BATHROOM FIRST!" Al yelled as he ran inside. Winry started to follow him inside, but stopped and turned when Edward didn't come after her. Every move she made, it made his heart jump all over the place. It was like someone was trying to jumpstart him.
"Something wrong?" she asked him.
"Uh, no," Edward said. "Everything's fine."
"Okay, well, come inside before it gets…well, it's already dark." She leaned against the door frame and folded her arms across her chest. "It's really good to see you again, Ed."
"It's—uh—" He wanted to say so much to her, but he couldn't. The words weren't coming to him as he gazed at her. "Um, uh…It's good to see you too."
"Welcome home." She went inside, leaving Edward standing outside on the gravel path. He looked up, seeing the few stars that were shining across the nightfall's sky. He couldn't believe that he found himself talking to the sky; talking to God, who he didn't believe was real. But, he just had to say it.
"God," he said with a sigh. "She's beautiful. She's so beautiful…."
Edward walked downstairs, all freshened up with his black shorts on and his dark blue t-shirt. The whole house smelt like apple pie. She was good. She was too good. He entered the kitchen, and there it was, sitting on the table. Apple pie.
"And I'll have that apple pie when I get back," Edward said to her with a soft smile.
"It'll be waiting," Winrysaid. She gave him a small wink, before he turned on his heel and walked down the road without looking back.
Winry opened the cabinet doors, and took out three plates. He eyed the symbol on the back of the red coat that she was wrapped in, and it was clear that she kept it for reasons that were unknown. Though it was big for her, it seemed like it fit her like a glove. When she turned around, she raised her eyebrows at Edward. His eyes couldn't help but trace her body, which made him blush; it was a sin to for someone to have a killer figure like her.
"You kept your promise," he said with a small laugh.
Winry just smiled and said, "Come on in, will ya? You feel like you're a stranger in this house, when you're not—"
"Whoo!" Al's echoed from the stairs. "I feel so much better!" He stopped beside his brother and said, "Wow, Winry! It smells good in here!" He made his way over to one of the wooden chairs at the table.
"Thanks, Al," Winry said with a smile as she placed a plate in front of him. Al's stomached growled deeply, just like Edward's had done earlier. "Ed, are you just going to stand there or are you going to come and eat?"
Edward came into the kitchen and sat in the seat next to Al.
"I was going to have this for dessert," Winrysaid as she gave them each a piece, "but Paninya had to leave early. When she told me that you two were coming, I stuck this back in the oven to try and keep it warm—"
"Winry," Al said as he wiped his mouth with a napkin, "this is delicious!"
Edward took a bite of his own piece and felt like he just went to heaven. The taste of sweet apples and a hint of cinnamon lingered on his tongue.
"This is really good," he admitted. It felt strange when the pie landed in his empty stomach. He saw Winry smile slightly just before she took a bite of her piece.
"I figured you guys wanted some after that train ride. Their food isn't the greatest," Winry said.
"Tell me about it," Al muttered.
After the whole pie was gone—Edward and Al devoured the whole thing—the three of them stayed in the kitchen for a while, catching up on what was going on. Winry was sitting on the table between them; it was her house, Edward figured, so she could do what she wanted.
"—I'm close to opening my own automail shop," Winry said. "I still need a year or two before I do that. I don't think I'm quite ready."
"Speaking of automail," Al said as he glanced over at Edward's arm.
"What?" Edward asked.
"Let me see it," Winry demanded as she held out her hand.
But Winry grabbed his arm, and held it up, inspecting it. She made a face and looked up at him. "What the hell did you do? Get mauled by a bear?"
"Whadda mean by that?" Edward asked.
"It's all scratched up!"
"It's still intact, though—"
Winry went over to the kitchen counter and opened up one of the many drawers. She pulled out a wrench, which frightened both of the Elrics. She probably had a wrench in every room instead of a gun. She went back over to Edward, raised the wrench and smashed it down on his automail arm. Some pieces went flying off; Al ducked onto the floor.
"WINRY!" Edward yelled.
"I gave you an arm that stood against a hit like that," she said as she pointed the wrench at him. "You've really worn this down."
"Well," he said as he rubbed the back of his head, "I haven't exactly been able to see a mechanic lately—"
"Yes you have," Al said as he got off the floor.
"Thanks, Al. Where the hell would I be without you?" Edward said sarcastically.
Edward then looked over at Winry, and her eyes were wide. It was rare to see her content than distressed.
"Picky about mechanics, aren't we?" Winry asked softly as she cast her eyes down. A gentle smile tugged at her lips. Edward felt her hold his metal fingers in her hands as she pretended to examine them. His heart was ready to burst out of his chest. "We better replace it before you leave. Al, go into the back room and get my black case, will you? It's tall, you can't miss it."
"Okay," Al said with a nod. He got up and left the room. Edward glared at the doorway his brother exited through when he heard Al whistling a happy tune.
What a pain in the ass he can be, Edward thought.
"So, you've had a chance to see other mechanics up north—mechanics who are probably more experienced than I am—but you didn't bother to get your arm fixed?" Winry asked.
"And why is that?"
"Why would I let any other mechanic touch my arm, when they don't know what I've actually been through?" His metal fingers folded over her hand lightly and Winry gaped. It was like an invisible pull was drawing him to her. It shocked both of them and they sure as hell didn't see it coming. "Besides, you're the one who put me back on my feet. I can't betray you by letting someone else mess with your engineering. You know how I like it custom made."
"Ed—" Winry began, but Al walked back in the room with the case that Winry had asked him to get. Edward quickly let go of her hand.
"That was quick," he commented, glaring at his brother secretly.
"She wasn't kidding when she said that you couldn't miss it," Al said. He set the case down next to Winry and she popped it open. Inside, was a shiny arm and a leg.
"Winry, you didn't," Edward said with awe.
"You're my best customer. Can't disappoint you, now, can I?"
"What's the deal with them calling you 'Ed's girl'?" Al asked with a rather smug smile. Edward glared at him again, but then looked at Winry.
"Yeah, what is up with that?" he asked her.
"Oh, you know…." she said.
"No, I don't."
"Care to enlighten us?" Al asked. It almost sounded like he was going to be on the verge of laughing up a storm.
"Because they know that—" Winry cleared her throat. "—that, um…well, when my customers see you in town, they know that you come to me. And, um, also, because they know that I do special, custom made armor for you. They're always interested in what I make for you, and that's it…."
"Interesting," Al said with a nod. "Very interesting. Don't you agree, Brother?"
"Indeed," Edward said with raised eyebrows.
"What the hell has gotten into you two?" Winry asked darkly.
"What are you talking about?" Al asked with a chuckle.
"Care to enlighten us?" Edward asked with a smirk.
"Care to enlighten me on what's going to happen to you if you mess with me?" Winry asked in a mocking way as she pointed her wrench at him.
"…No, I'm good."
"That's what I thought."
Al snickered and Winry glared at him.
"Don't think you're off the hook, either, Al," she said.
"Sorry," Al laughed.
Edward rolled up his pants leg and his sleeve, while Winry grabbed his leg, and Al got his arm. After disconnecting his worn out limbs, they lined up the sockets for the new ones. Winry looked up at him. Her eyes left a burning fragment in his mind. "Ready?"
"Yeah," he sighed.
Edward rested upon the sofa that he transmuted from the pillows in the guest bedroom that he and Al shared. He couldn't sleep. He thought he would be able to since he didn't sleep at all on the train. He wiggled his new metal fingers; they felt as light as a feather. When he scrunched his metal toes, they didn't squeak or creak; it was like they weren't even there. She did a good job.
No, she did an amazing job.
Better than amazing.
She always impressed him every time.
His heart was beating like a war drum. It just kept pounding away.
"What am I going to do?" he asked himself quietly. Al rustled in his sheets and Edward bolted up. He looked over at his brother, who just turned and flopped back down on the bed, facing him. He didn't move for five seconds, until he realized that Al was still sleeping. He smiled, figuring that his brother was dreaming: something that he wasn't able to do for years.
"No…I can't," Edward whispered. But as he looked at Al once more, he wanted to go to her room right now. "Psst, Al." When Al didn't respond, Edward picked up his pillow and chucked it at him. When it smacked Al square in the face, he groaned. "Al? Are you awake?"
"I am now!" Al growled. He sat up from his sleep and glared at Edward. "What do you want?"
"I—I—" Edward began. He then shook his head. "I don't know."
"Are you worried about Winry? Did something finally hit you on the head and made you realize her? Or maybe it was when you smacked your head against the wall on the train…."
"It's not about Winry—"
"Oh…then, what is it?"
"I just can't sleep."
"So you woke me up, because you wanted me to suffer with you?"
"I don't know—"
"Brother, I know that you normally don't lie, unless you really have to. I can detect when you're lying—it's like my sixth sense."
"What do you call that sense?"
"My 'He's Bullshitting' sense," Al said flatly. Normally Al didn't curse, but Edward knew that he wasn't amused. "Now, what's wrong with you? What about Winry?"
"…She's changed, Al."
"I told you so."
"I don't know what I'm going to do—"
"Okay," Al said as he rubbed his eyes with his hands. He turned towards Edward and took a deep breath. "Either you do something or nothing at all. It doesn't have to be something that's not you, you know? Do it or you'll regret it. It's simple enough. Now, can I go back to sleep?"
"Uh, sure. Thanks, Al."
"You're welcome." Al fell back down onto the bed, and rolled over, his back to Edward again.
Edward stood up and stared at his brother. Maybe he would take Al's advice for once and see what he was talking about on the train. And only those rare moments happens when they're alone. His heart wouldn't quit beating fast. He slipped out of their room and made his way down the hallway. When he made it to Winry's door, he took a big breath.
What the hell are you doing, Ed? he asked himself. This is stupid! Turn around right now—
Edward knocked lightly on the door.
YOU IDIOT! he shouted in his head.
"Quiet, you," he whispered to his thoughts.
The door opened slowly, and there was Winry, still in that red coat but also in something else. But Edward's eyes were drawn to her face than what she was wearing. There was a look in her eyes that made him want to melt. There were so many sentiments burning in them that it was hard to tell how she was feeling:
Too many opposites in one place. It was like she was battling mentally on what she was supposed to feel. There was one, however, that he was certain that she was feeling:
"Ed," she whispered.
"Is everything alright?" she asked as her eyes grew wide with uneasiness.
"Actually," he said with a sigh.
Oh for God' sakes, Ed, he thought. Stop being such a pansy!
As much as he wanted to turn and leave, his body was telling him otherwise. He planted his feet firmly on the ground, saying that he wasn't going anywhere. "I was going to ask you that."
Christ, that was cheesy— he noted mentally.
Winrythrew her arms around him tightly and buried her face in his neck. He could feel her tears dampen his skin as she cried quietly. This was the welcome that she wanted to give him outside but not in front of Al. This was something that the both of them didn't want Al to hear.
"Ssh," Edward hushed gently. Winry pulled him back in her room without letting him go and Edward closed the door behind him. She continued to sob into him, and Edward put his arms around her, trying to comfort her. "Winry—"
She looked up at him, her eyes shining like gems. That made him weak. He hated seeing her hurt. She had just stripped him of all of his armor by a mere stare. Her tears made it even worse. He reached up and wiped away one of them.
"Hey, now," he said gently. "You know I hate it when you cry. Tears of happiness, remember?"
"Win, please, don't." It was going to be challenging to stop her from crying. Crying cannot be ceased immediately, especially for her. "Ah, Jesus Christ…I'm sorry. Hey, everything is okay."
Winry cupped his face with her hands. For a mechanic, her hands were incredibly soft and warm. This was going to make him dissolve into a puddle. Her touch made his breath stop short and his heart race. He couldn't tell if it was the burning feeling of her hands on his cheeks or the fact that he was blushing. Winry was shaking her head, like she was doubting that she was actually touching him. But Edward leaned his cheek against her palm and sighed gently. "It's okay," he told her again.
He knew it was tricky for her to tame what she was holding onto on the inside. Her voice was very shaky, but he made out what she was asking. "Are you real? Please tell me that this isn't a dream…."
More tears kept falling from her heavenly eyes; she looked even more divine for her guard was stripped away also. She was always so strong around him. Edward didn't know how she was able to make his tough attitude fade away.
"I'm real," he answered.
"Thank God…thank God," she breathed. "I—I just thought that…that…."
"I'm here," he said. He felt like he was repeating himself but it was the only way for him to make her see that he was here in flesh and blood. That made her break down even more. Edward just hushed her gently and wiped away the tears that streamed down her face. "It's okay, Winry. It's okay…."
Maybe it would've been a better idea if he didn't wake Al and just stayed in the room. He was in a situation in which he felt like a complete jerk and he couldn't get up and leave her alone like nothing just happened.
He felt her wrap her arms around him again, pulling him in what felt more like a chokehold than a hug. He kept hushing her and telling her that everything was okay. He had to be serene with her, since she had been for him over the years. It was the least he could give back to her at the moment. But she was really killing him with her tears.
"Winry," he said. She looked at him once more and he dried her damp cheeks with his thumbs. "Please don't cry. I'm here, alright? I'm not going anywhere."
But he felt his pocket watch that was resting against his thigh in his pocket. He was going somewhere. He was cursing himself out in his mind. He hated lying to her. He didn't want to leave her behind and go off to God-knows-where of a location that will most likely be dangerous.
You're such a dumbass, his mind told him. How can you leave HER—?!
Winry held his face in her hands once more and tilted her head to the side. Edward's face was as red as the apples that went into the apple pie. He was not ready for this. He was not expecting this. Instead of what he thought was going to be a kiss, Winry put their foreheads together. Edward could see that her long eyelashes were soaked and had tears of their own dripping off of them. His arms wrapped around her slender waist again. As he pulled her close, he could feel the warmth coming off of her along with her instability.
"Everything is going to be okay," Winry assured. It sounded like she was talking to herself than to him.
"Yeah," Edward agreed, "everything's okay now."
Edward slowly opened his eyes; the first thing he felt was that his face was pressed against something silky and it was a white blond color. Winry's hair smelt like apples instead of the normal oil and grease that she worked with. He inhaled the scent deeply through his nose, letting it burn his nostrils. He moved his hands slightly, finding out where they were, and he felt them against something as smooth as baby's skin. It was her stomach. His arms were locked around her waist and her back was against his own abdomen. The red coat was blocking the skin on her back coming in contact with his exposed tummy.
From what he remembered, it was nothing but a quiet evening. There was little conversation, and to Edward's amazement, she didn't kiss him like he thought she would do. All they wanted to do was just sleep. Sleep and dream peacefully. Edward recalled that he just carried her to her bed, and she asked him to stay. They used to sleep next to each other when they were kids—plus Al—but this wasn't exactly a child's nap they once took. This was very different; instead of waking up to Al's foot in his face, he woke up lying next to his best friend in her bed. This wasn't exactly a normal morning for him.
Winry had drenched his shirt with her tears. He had let her cry some more, while attempting to calm her down. He'd taken it off before crawling into her bed, letting her curl up next to him. He figured out why she was scared. It was the same reason for why she always had uncertainties. Although, this time, she told him that she feared that he wasn't genuine; that he would just slip from her fingers again, instead of not being here at all. It was all a dream.
"Will you be here in the morning?" she asked as she held his hands.
He stared into her eyes that looked like glass. He and Al were supposed to leave right in the morning. But his heart—which was acting in a strange manner tonight—was beating rapidly again.
"Yeah," he said as he brushed her hair out of her face. "I'll be here—"
"Stay? Please?" she asked. "…Just for the night."
Winry gave him a nod. Edward bit his lip and nodded. He didn't know if his decision was right or not, but it made her smile slightly. She pulled him into another tight embrace and he held her like she was his.
"I just want to see if you'll be here," she said into his shirt. Through his tear stained shirt, her breath was hot against his skin as she tried to breathe without sobbing.
"I'll be here," he assured her. "There's no way in hell I'm leaving in the middle of the night."
Once his eye adjusted to the dawn's light that was streaming through Winry's window, he stared at her in awe. He had finally figured out what Winry was dressed in when she opened the door. She was in her underwear. She was old enough, he guessed, and she wasn't expecting anyone at her door in the dry hours of the night.
Winry wasn't a peaceful sleeper, but she was better than Al. Either she had a bad dream or she kicks in her sleep, because the covers were at the foot of the bed. That made Edward a little worried; had they done something and he didn't remember?
Nonsense, he thought. We just slept together—oh. Damn it. That didn't come out the way I wanted it to.
The haunting thoughts he had on the train of her naked were returning, but he quickly pushed them back into the darkest part of his mind, which had a padlock and a special, made up transmutation circle that sealed it away tight.
His old red coat that she was wearing was pushed back, exposing from her hips down to her toes. He slid his metal arm back from under Winry's, in which her hand was holding onto. She squirmed slightly, but not enough that she awoke. Her hand then placed over his fleshed hand that was still on her stomach. He placed a metal finger right before her knee; it was like poking a pillow, she was so soft. He ran his hand up her thigh slowly, intrigued by how smooth her skin was. Winry moved again as soon as his hand landed on her hip. Instead of skin, he felt her underwear.
"Why are you still crying?" he asked softly as he brushed one of her tears away. He propped his elbow up, and resting his cheek against his palm. She curled up in a ball and looked up at him.
"I'm happy," she said lightheartedly as she wiped her tears away with the back of her hand. "Tears of happiness, right?"
"I was scared that you weren't real, you know? And that I've already fallen asleep, and never got that phone call from Al that you two were coming. I honestly thought that I was dreaming."
"Why is that?"
"…Because I've had this kind of dream before…." Winry looked away from him, and stared at his chest. "And I thought this was one of those reoccurring dreams that sometimes happen." She squeezed her eyes shut. "Ed."
"Hmm?" he grunted.
"Are you sure that I'm not dreaming?"
He watched a tear leak from under her closed eyelids. It's been a while since he's seen her this vulnerable. Even if she grew up into a woman, he could still see a frighten child. Then again, he was just a kid himself. She told him that he was still a boy, not a hero. Children shouldn't fight in wars. It seemed like they grew up too fast. He wouldn't blame her for thinking that this was a dream. Time flew by when he and Al were away. Soon they would grow old and die. She thought that he was gone already.
"Open your eyes," he told her softly. Winry did as she was told and opened her eyes. She looked up at him again with wide eyes. "Do you still think that you're dreaming?"
She held his gaze for a long time. It seemed too long. She touched his shoulder lightly and then traced her finger along it, up his neck and then stopped right on his lips. He held back the urge to kiss them. Winry's hand was trembling when she withdrew it.
"I don't know."
"We'll find out in the morning now, won't we?"
"I guess we will."
"I'll prove to you that I am just as real as you are."
"Sometimes I think that I'm in some other world."
"Hmm," Edward said with some amusement. "Don't we all? I don't know what's reality and what's idealistic anymore."
"What's this to you?"
"…I'll get back to you on that in the morning."
He never took the time to notice how slender her waist was. He was not a genius when it came to women. That was the one thing that he would admit; the other thing he admitted was that Al was right: women weren't that complicated. Yet, he was becoming very curious. He knew a woman's anatomy by the millions of textbooks he's read, but this was something else. And it wasn't just any body; it was Winry's. He placed his hand back on her stomach and heard her giggle.
"What are you doing?" she whispered. She shifted in his arms by turning over to face him. The smile that was on her face vanished gradually. He heard her breathing becoming quiet, until there was no sound. Was she breathing at all?
"What?" he asked. "What's wrong?"
Had they done something last night?
"I know," Edward sighed. He was getting nervous and he started talking fast. "It was wrong from the beginning. Sorry, I didn't know what I was thinking when I came here. It was all Al's fault—"
Winry placed her fingertips to his lips to hush him. He instantly fell silent, like she put him under a spell. Her fingers brushed against his cheek and ran then through his bangs, pushing them out of his eyes. When he saw her smiling, he felt like someone's hands that had been around his neck finally let him go; he could breathe without any struggle. It was about time something made her happy.
"What?" Edward asked again.
"You're here," Winry said again as she took a strand of his golden hair that was resting on his shoulder and twirled it around her finger.
Edward bit his lip when Winry buried her face against his chest. There was a prominent chance that she would hear how fast his heart was beating. He couldn't understand why he was feeling like this now. There was plausible probability that this was going to ruin their friendship. After this, the outcome of them ever looking at each other the same will be destroyed by the images of them in this bed.
"I still don't know if I'm dreaming or not," Winry whispered.
"Because…in my dreams, you always stayed. None of this can be real."
"What do you think it tells you?"
"Since when do you believe in what dreams mean, Mister Logical?"
"I'm just curious in what you think."
"Well—" she said as she laid flat on her back. Edward watched her chest rise and fall slowly as she breathed.
Jesus, Edward thought. Her curves were elegant and soft. He didn't mean to be perverted but he couldn't help but to stare at her body, taking her all in. Besides the fact that she very open to him, she was also baring most of her skin. He couldn't imagine why she was so comfortable with him by letting him see all of her. She was staring up at the ceiling like she was in some sort of trance. "I guess they were telling me that you would stay." She turned her head to meet his eyes. "Even if it was just for the night."
"Is that your conclusion?"
"What am I? A science experiment?"
"What?" Edward asked as he narrowed his eyebrows.
"Conclusion?" Winry raised her own eyebrows. Edward scoffed.
"Okay, okay," he said as he rolled his eyes. "Am I real or just a dream?"
"What about your answer?" she asked, driving the attention off of her and onto him.
"I asked you if this was real or not."
"Uh," he said as he looked away from her. He laid on his own back and looked up at the ceiling. The apple scent from her hair was vivid. Her skin felt very much so existent. But the way she made his defense drop was unexplainable. "I know I'm real." He held out both of his arms, like he was trying to reach out to someone. He moved his fingers, flexing them and spreading them apart. He then put them back down, placing one hand on his chest and the other laying by his side. His heart beat riotously, like it was fighting against his ribs to jump out. He turned his head and saw that she was looking at him, waiting for him to answer. "But are you?"
"Why don't you think I'm real?"
Edward turned his head away from her again. He closed his eyes and instantly felt her disappointment. "You're not going to tell me, are you? Figures," Winry muttered. He peeked open one eye and saw her looking up again.
"It's not that I don't want to tell you," he said. "I just can't."
"It doesn't matter. It's not like you tell me a lot of things anyway," she mumbled.
The fact that she looked beyond beautiful and that he couldn't have her was driving him crazy. His stupid job was steering him clear of a feeling that was bleeding through him. The feeling of security and warmth; Winry was rather insane to still have some consideration for him. It was hard to believe that she invited him into her house—let alone her room—for the night.
"You know, it's funny," Winry said quietly. Her voice was just above a whisper. Edward glanced at her and cursed at the dawn's light in his head for shining its pastel streams on her, making her look so tempting. He wasn't thinking lustily but rather greedily; temptation to make him stay, because he wanted to be with her so bad. He was getting that invisible pull feeling again but he didn't know why he was so enthralled by her. "You never really called to tell me how it was going and just a few weeks ago, after months of not hearing from you, you just call out of the blue. And yet you can't tell me if I'm real or not?"
"You have me cornered, don't you?" Edward asked.
"What's with you, Ed?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're not…acting like yourself."
"First it was Al, now you?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Is there a certain way I'm supposed to act?"
He finally locked eyes with her, and every ounce of strength that Winry had left seemed to have faded. She was like glass; in a fragile state and easily broken. Was it her exposure that made him weak himself? He loved her strength; it's what made her different from the majority of women he's met. She had legs and she used them, standing tall with pride. But as she laid beside him, practically bare, with no wrench or any weapon to harm him with, or without any rage that he suspected would'vebeen built up inside her, ready to blow, her vulnerability made him fall hard for her. She was like gravity; he would try and go so high as to get the job done recklessly, but then she was in the back of his head, pulling him back down. And yet, she allowed him to do what he pleased. There was just something about her that made him come back to her; she was the reason why he would stay alive.
"No," Winry whispered. She turned on her side and curled up in a ball. "I've just never expected—dreamed in that matter—that you would be so…open."
"I'm going to tell you now, Winry: this is real," Edward concluded. "I'm saying that this not a dream."
"…Because I do have to leave soon."
"Of course," she whispered discontentedly. Edward dug into his right pocket and pulled out his pocket watch. Just as he was about to pop it open, Winry sat up and leaned over him. Though it was in one swift movement, it seemed like time had slowed down in Edward's eyes. He felt numb as she grabbed the watch from his metal hand. "Winry, give it back—" He tried to reach for it back but Winry leaned back, with one of her knees between his legs, and sat on her heels. Edward sat up and tried to snatch it out of her hands again but she clutched the watch to her stomach. He grabbed her shoulders and she tilted her head up enough for him to see her eyes.
He was afraid to touch her. He was afraid to attempt to get back his watch without getting rough and he would never hit her. Winry's battles were always tough for him to win; they were also hard to let go, for she was always left miserable and he usually felt guilty. In the end, no one would win the fight. He dropped his hands and watched as she sat up. Winry looked down at the watch and said, "Do you always let time ruin your dreams, Ed? Isn't there a time when you just stop it?"
Edward's heart stopped when she looked up at him. He was getting lost in her eyes, and it shut down all of his thoughts that were telling him to resist her. He was screaming her name in his head but he couldn't say it as he fell back down onto the bed slowly, while she leaned over him. His cheeks were stained with a red tint as well as hers. Out of the corner of his eye, past Winry's locks of hair that had fallen over her shoulders, he saw her hand lay beside his head, the pocket watch underneath her palm. He then looked back up at her as she brought her face closer to his. She stopped until her lips were barely an inch from his. He tasted her breath and also heard her breathing becoming shaky. She was just as scared as he was.
Edward didn't know if he wanted to wake up from this dream or keep sleeping until it was tomorrow. Lucid dreaming: it was his decision and this felt more like reality than reality itself. He remained motionless, waiting for her to make her move. He was not going to be a coward and turn his head. He wasn't going to fear love.
Winry closed the space that was meant to be closed between them a long time ago. She pressed her lips softly against his. As soon as Edward closed his eyes, he knew that everything would be okay. He felt like he was learning how to breathe again. It was like he had been caught in a storm, lost at sea, waves crashing over his head. He felt like he had been drowning, not able to breathe at all, until she pulled him out. He was awake and breathing; he'd never felt so alive before.
Winry parted from him and Edward held his breath. He was so used to living ten feet under that he never bothered to come up for air. She was the closest thing to heaven that he'll ever reach and he never wanted to climb back down the ladder to earth. What he would give up to make everything better. What he would give to stay in heaven.
What he would give to keep dreaming.
"I think," Winry began. She squeezed her eyes shut, holding back tears and shook her head gradually. "I think you should go…." She sat back on her heels and looked down at the pocket watch that was still in her hand. Edward sat up himself, and was about to say something, but she beat him to it. "Here—" She handed back his pocket watch to him and he took it with shame. "I don't want to keep you from them. I know how they hate to wait."
But you've been waiting longer than they have, Edward thought. He looked down at his watch and said, "No."
Winry's head snapped up and her eyes were wide with disbelief. Edward pushed his watch off of the bed, where it landed on his discarded shirt. He grabbed her face with his hands and said, "They can wait—"
He brought her face to his, letting their lips meet once more. He could understand why she said this was a dream: the sense of safety and love were too imaginary to live. His hands slid down her neck and across her shoulders, where he pulled off his old red coat that she was wearing and threw it on the ground, exposing her slender shoulders. He hadn't realized how strong her arms were; they were perfectly toned but not too muscular like a body builder's would be. He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer to him, until she was crushed against him. Her hands cupped his face as she kissed him fully on the mouth, instead of just mere contact. It took him a few seconds to get used to kissing; he'd never done this before. However, he was a fast learner, and it seemed like kissing came to him naturally. Not bad for someone who wasn't the best with women, he had to admit.
Edward pushed her down gently onto the mattress and parted for air. She deserved so much more than him; she was way too good for him. But Winry thought otherwise. It was finally clear to him now that she had been waiting to be with him, even if it was for a short period of time.
Winry kissed him again and he allowed her to pull him back down, letting her drown him with her kisses and her love. It was difficult to part from her lips; every time he wanted to part for air, he would just feel the urge to keep kissing her. The kiss grew deeper and it made it harder to breathe; the only problem was, was that he was kissing her like she was his only source of oxygen, and he wasn't ready to stop. This felt too good to be true. He didn't want to bleed to make sure that he was alive, nor did he want someone to pinch him to see if he was dreaming or not. His metal knee brushed up against her skin and he felt her shudder slightly from the coldness. Her eyes connected with his for a second before he kissed her deeply again.
Their breathing became shallow.
Their thoughts became cloudy.
Their hearts racing feverishly.
She was better than the Philosopher's Stone that could give him anything he wanted. But only for a price.
Winry had been waiting for him with a fee of time. She had the patience that he envied. She had the sense of love that he desired. She was everything that he had wanted, but was blinded by the deadliest storm known to man. He had to find some way for him to let her have her dream come true. One day. But it couldn't be today.
Edward kissed her forehead, trailed kisses down her nose, across her cheek and along her jaw; she was so soft and warm. Winry's breath caught short as his lips tickled her neck as he kissed it. He then placed kisses on her shoulder, pushing down her black bra strap to get it out of the way. Something clicked on in his mind telling him to stop. He just couldn't get carried away. Not now. Lust couldn't get the best of him. Love and lust were easily confused; he saw that there was much more to this moment than that.
When he reached the end, he buried his face in her chest, holding her like she was his possession. He pressed his ear against her skin and listened to her heart hammer way. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't do that to her. All she wanted was to kiss him and nothing more and that's what he stuck to. He wanted her more than anything but he didn't want to take advantage of her.
"I won't," he panted. "I can't."
"I know, Ed," Winry breathed. He felt her chest rise and fall as she caught her breath. "It's okay." She kissed the top of his head and stroked his hair, letting her fingernails run against his scalp. He could lay there all day to her doing that, for it felt so good. It felt better than morphine; he could fall asleep right now.
He couldn't let this carry on any further, however. He couldn't get trapped in this feeling.
Edward sat up slowly, leaving the lovesick melody of her heart beating. He turned and remained sitting on the edge of the bed, unbalanced at the thought that he had to go. He rested his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands. Winry didn't make a sound as he sat in a crestfallen state. He had to at least tell her that he was sorry.
"I'm sorry," he muffled. "I'm so sorry."
"I'm sorry for everything I've done that hurt you. I'm sorry for making you cry. I'm sorry for making you worry. I'm sorry for getting you involved with everything that's put you in danger. I'm sorry for making you wait. I'm sorry for leaving you—"
He heard the sound of the sheets ruffle and suddenly felt Winry's arms wrap around his broad shoulders from behind. Doubt started to rise; there was no way one could feel absolutely solaced. There was no such thing as security—
"Don't be, Ed," Winry told him softly. She held him close to her, her chest pressing against his back. Edward dropped his hands from his face. "You don't ever tell me that you're sorry. I'm not going to leave you. You and Al are the only two I have left and I don't want to lose you." She was quiet for a moment and Edward got a chance to take in her words. He was feeling even guiltier for leaving her. "I know that you're a good person, Ed, and that you mean well. You've done so much for me; more than I can ever ask for." Winry tightened her hold around him. "You know that I will forgive you no matter what you do."
Sometimes answers were more than a friend that he thought they would be. Hearing her say that made him want to cry. He'd been waiting for a long time for someone—anybody—to tell him that it was okay. That he was a good person. That he would be loved no matter what he did. But there was something else that bothered him. He would never admit it to her, because he was too scared to. He knew that she wanted to hear it, but he didn't have the nerve to tell her yet. Though, there was the sense that she already knew what it was:
He loved her. Oh, God, did he love her.
There will be a day where he would say it. Everything was happening too fast at the moment and he wanted to wait. There was something that he could tell her.
Edward finally relaxed into Winry's arms and tried to hold back his own tears. He hadn't felt this emotional since Al returned to normal. He turned his head in which the tip of his nose brushed against her cheek. He pressed his lips lightly to her skin and then closed his eyes.
"You're beautiful," he choked out in a whisper. "You're so beautiful."
Winry didn't have to say anything to tell him how thankful she was. It was that silent connection they had that spoke for both of them. It was louder than saying it aloud. Edward felt her head turn and then her lips on his forehead. Whether if it's reality or an incredible dream, he would still love her. She was the most incredible woman he's ever known; the most beautiful inside and out.
"I have to let you go, don't I?" she asked him quietly as they made eye contact.
"You don't have to," he answered. "But you do."
"…I better keep dreaming that you'll stay, huh?"
"One day," he said as put his forehead against hers, "you'll wake up and I'll be home. You just have to wait a little longer."
"Then you better go before I think that this is real," she teased.
"Kicking me out, already?"
"I have to, Ed. I'm sorry."
"…You don't have to be sorry with me either," he whispered. "You've been nothing but my saving grace, Win." He took her hands into his and kissed them. Her fingers intertwined with his and he felt her squeeze his metal hand harder than his fleshed one. "Thank you."
"Go," Winry said with a sad smile. "I don't think I'll be able to visit you guys when I take my vacation; you'll probably be on your way by then."
"I'll come back for you."
"I'll be here."
Edward stood up, feeling Winry's grip around him loosen. He then turned around and stared into her sapphire eyes. She gave him an assuring look, telling him that everything would be okay. He took her face in his hands and kissed her gently. Her lips were soft and warm against his making him melt again. It was amazing that Winry had been holding onto someone who was impossible to reach for so long, and yet, Edward was holding her and kissing her. She was so close to getting him but she wasn't quite there.
"Wake me up when you come back," Winry breathed when she drew away.
"Okay, Sleeping Beauty," Edward said with a smile. He was about to kiss her again, but Winry stopped him.
"You're supposed to wake me with a kiss, not put me to sleep with one," she joked. "Save it for next time."
Edward sighed and bent down to pick up his shirt. Once he put that back on, he kissed Winry's forehead. "Take care, Ed."
It was hard for him to leave her, but he headed towards the door, giving her one last look of farewell before he left for good. When he closed the door to her bedroom, he leaned against it, thinking about going back in. But he had to be strong and give her up for what would seem like forever. As he walked back to his room to get changed, he thought about what he was going to tell her when he got back. He was clearly determined that he was going to return and wake her up.
He wanted to come back so she can pull him out from the water in which he had been drowning in. He wanted to breathe again.
"Next stop is Central!" Al said as Edward exited the house fully clothed in casual clothes. He stared at his brother with raised eyebrows, wondering why he wasn't saying anything about him and Winry. If it wasn't for Al saying anything in the first place, he wouldn't have discovered how he really felt about her.
"Thanks, Al," Edward muttered as they headed up the road.
"For last night."
"What did I do last night?"
"You don't remember what you told me last night?"
"…Nope," Al said as he picked up his pace.
"You don't remember me going out of the room?"
"Was I snoring or something?"
"Al—" Edward said as he caught up to his brother. But Al was smiling with some amusement.
"It was sure nice of Winry to let us stay, wasn't it, Brother?" he asked. "I haven't slept like that in a long time. How did you sleep last night?"
"Great," Edward replied slowly. "Just great!"
More than great. He slept like a king. He slept like he was dreaming, because he was so comfortable. He was starting to miss holding her. If only he would've slept longer, or pretended to anyway. All he had to do was stay alive; simple enough, that's if he didn't have a job in the military.
It didn't take long for Edward to see that Al was playing it cool by not mentioning that he actually remembered everything. If they talked about what had happened, Edward might've gotten the urge to turn around and go back to Winry. They had to be so far away until he could bring it up. The faster they get their job done, the faster they can return. It still made him think about her. If he was bothered by the thought, word may just spread through the military that he actually liked a girl. Mustang would never let it go. He could just imagine how much humiliation he would receive; the teasing would never end—
"Winry sure grew up," Al said, trying to keep the conversation off of what he and Edward discussed last night. "She got a lot prettier, don't you think?"
Edward smiled to himself and then glanced up at the sky.
"She's beautiful, Al," he said quietly. "She's so beautiful."
I enjoyed making Al such a wiseass ;p
ANYWAY! Listen to thy rant real quick (it's quite insightful and maybe humorous):
I was very nervous about putting this story up, because really, after I kept getting reviews on Say Goodnight, I looked at this story and said, "...This is shit." No, you don't understand. I've written three other EdxWin stories. None of them had been published, because they are crap! Say Goodnight will probably be the only EdxWin story that I would every be proud of writing. And poor Josh (one of my many lovely and bestest (oh, snap that's write, I just used the word bestest) reviewers and friends) who had to listen to me bitch about this one-shot, saying how much I hated it, because I believed that it was too cliche and fluffy (two of my LEAST FAVORITE THINGS), finally told me, "...Ed can have a soft side, you know."
But here's the difference between fluff romance and romance (my opinion):
Fluff romance: OMG I LOVE YOU! (kiss/make-out/ and if you want to take it to the next level, then sex, then that would be a fluffy lemon, which would be called a strawberry short cake) (I've written lemons before...and I'm trying to keep away from the kind of fluff writing).
Romance: a beautifully written piece that actually has some emotion and/or meaning behind it.
I was attempting to go for option two, and I hoped that's how it came out as. Because if this is a fluff, I will cry. I was trying hard to avoid that. "...Ed can have a soft side." True, Josh, and thank you for telling me that or I would've not even bothered to post this story. I figured if Ed's father can love, so can Ed XD
Anyway, here's my other excuse of why this story is...different:
Safetysuit--Find a Way, Stay, What If, Life Left to Go, (and pretty much the rest of their album)
Goo Goo Dolls--Iris (perfect song for Edward and Winry), Better Days, Let Love In
Lifehouse--Broken, You and Me, Storm (the main song. When Winry first kissed Edward, this was the only song I kept playing for that whole scene)
Switchfoot: Lonely Nation, Golden, Dare You to Move, Learning to Breathe
Parachute: She is Love
Yeah, you can tell how many times I deleted scenes, rewrote them, deleted them again, just stared at my screen, did more writing, finished the story, deleted more stuff, added stuff...more staring at my screen, being sick in the process (no really, I got a cold XD), and then finally said, "...eff this, I'm just going to post it despite how Edward is acting. I might as well give him an estrogen pill." So you can tell how bothered I am with this one-shot, even though it's fanfiction. Josh especially knows how picky I am with my writing. Kudos to you, my dear, for listening to me bitch about it to you; you're the only one who understands XD
I hoped you enjoyed the story (and maybe my rant)! I'm praying that this won't turn out crappy...and just for the record, I like Say Goodnight better, but I still have as much love for this story, because I got a chance to play with my writing style, and make Al seem like a wiseass and Edward a little less stupid when it came to women XD It was one of those stories where you just wanted him and Winry to kiss...yeah...
And I was giggling throughout this whole story as well: Vic Mignogna and Caitlin Glass's voices (if you didn't know...the people who play Ed and Winry's voices): they're just so perfect. I love them. I just recently watched the FMA movie, and I haven't heard Winry's voice in forever, and I didn't realize how much I love her voice. It's not whiny; it's just amazing and rather soothing XD and I love Vic to death :D
The Very Edgy, Nervous, Sick (I have a cold XD), and Frusturated DivineRose2392