Title: By Any Other Name
Disclaimer: I do not own FMA make no money from writing this fic: like everyone else has said, if I did, it wouldn't have ended yet... *bows to Arakawa*
Rating: PG-some mild "grown-up language" and concepts.
Summary: Winry and Ed reflect on the name of their new son.
Warnings: None, really, since this was written before the manga ended. Could be potential spoilers for chapter 108, so read at your own discretion.
This fic is a follow-up to It's The Thought That Counts, a continuation of the Domestic! Ed/Winry fanfic I wrote for the 2010 Ed/Winry Fire and Ice Challenge. So many readers have asked me to continue with this theme, and given the ending of the manga, it seems natural to pick up where the manga left off, but the main reason I wrote this is because I wasn't going to saddle an Elric baby with the name of Yurey. Of course, both It's The Thought That Counts and By Any Other Name were written well before the end of the manga, yet I seemed to have lucked out and tuned into Arakawa's wavelength; they dovetail perfectly with her ending.
Largely beta'd by myself with occasional help from ibshafer; feel free to point out any mistakes I might have overlooked.
I came up with the concept for this fic on May 9, 2010, Mother's Day, so it seems even more appropriate to dedicate this story to my sister, the picture of a homemaker, of being a mom, and a fellow FMA fan, who passed away in January 2010.
By Any Other Name
Winry looked out the frosted windowpane to the approaching dusk beyond the glass barrier. Snowflakes no longer fell from the heavy grey skies as dusk approached but the land was entirely covered with a white blanket, obliterating all landmarks and leaving the world with a smooth, seamless cover. Despite the cold, Winry felt warm and content although tired; the cold outside couldn't reach warm coziness of the room inside the sunny yellow house in the foothills of Resembool. Aside from her wedding day and the return of Ed and Al nearly whole and healthy, this was one of the best days of her life.
The tiny bundle she held in her arms started to whimper, bringing the new mother's attention back to her newborn son, and Winry carefully tucked the crying infant into the crook of her arm to offer him her breast. The baby fussed for only a moment more until he realized his pleas for a meal had been answered and Winry winced as her son eagerly latched onto the offered nipple; although he was only hours old, the teeny boy already had one hell of a suction.
"Hey, take it easy," she cooed quietly, "There's plenty more where that came from!" Winry smiled as the baby's eyelids flickered opened for a second at the sound of her voice, giving her a glimpse of his brilliant gold eyes. "You haven't been around long enough to pick up any of your father's bad habits. You must have inherited this one genetically." She tenderly swept back the few, very wispy strands of white-blond hair from the baby's forehead with her fingertips and the tiny boy responded with a small shudder of pleasure.
"Inherited what habit from me?"
Winry looked up with surprise at her husband's baritone voice. Ed had just entered the makeshift maternity ward, carrying a tray bearing a bowl of soup, a chunk of home baked bread, and a glass of milk. He looked as tired as she felt, with strands of his normally well-groomed hair sticking out haphazardly and dusky circles under his eyes. Although Winry was fairly certain her husband didn't hurt near as much as she, it was clear he also needed rest.
"Your tendency to be obsessed with my breasts," she shot back with amusement as she looked down at their son again. "Although he really has no choice; he has to eat."
Ed huffed, stopping at her bedside to place the tray on the nightstand, "I'm not that obsessed with your…boobs." He blushed as rolled his eyes, "Am I?"
"You most certainly are. They're off limits for a while. And so is any sex," she added as an afterthought. She pulled the edge of the receiving blanket further up on the baby's face, helping him to feel more secure.
He responded by jutting out his lower lip in a pout. "Duh. I already know that," he muttered as if his wife had stated the most obvious fact in the world and rearranged the items on the tray so Winry could easily reach them.
His tone softened. "Here. Granny made you some chicken soup."
Winry heaved a soft sigh. "I'm not really hungry. I'm too tired. And sore." She straightened her back a bit to help ease the knots that had developed there over the long day, "I don't feel like eating right now."
Ed sat on the edge of the bed near her hip, facing her, and fussed with the blankets, trying his best to better cover her while being careful of the baby. "You have to eat, Winry. You need to keep your strength up and you did lose a lot of…fluids today." He shuddered as if recalling a massacre. "Besides, you need to eat so you can make food for him." He smiled warmly as he tipped his head at their son, who was nodding off now that his belly was full.
Winry glanced down at the baby as his mouth released its death grip on her tender, chapped flesh. With slow, patient care she wiped the corner of the sleepy infant's mouth with the hand towel she had used to modestly cover her exposed breast. She then tenderly folded the newborn back into his receiving blanket, tucking him in for warmth.
"Okay, I'll try to eat a little." She offered the tiny bundle of blankets to her husband. "Here. Put him in his cradle. He'll sleep for at least two hours now that he's eaten." She rearranged the front of her nightgown to cover herself once more as Ed lifted the infant from her arms.
Ed took the baby from her, as gently as if handling a soap bubble, and carried him around the bed to lay him down in the cradle for the evening. A warm, quiet joy filled Winry's heart as she watched her husband grin down at the baby as he tucked him in; there was an unfamiliar softness, a hushed joy in his eyes, different from the affectionate looks he often bestowed upon her but just as full of love. This was new, something she had never seen in him before, and Winry knew deep in her heart that Ed would be a patient, doting father despite his initial misgivings.
The smell of food reached her nose and drew Winry's attention back to her late supper. She carefully pulled the tray onto her lap and her stomach growled as the scent of hot chicken broth and warm, yeasty bread generously slathered with fresh butter wafted up to greet her nose. Winry took a moment to breathe in the rich aromas before testing a spoonful of the chicken and homemade noodle-laden soup and relished the savory broth as it covered her tongue. Suddenly ravenous, the young woman began to wolf down her food, barely taking time to chew each mouthful.
"Hey, slow down or you'll make yourself sick," Ed admonished in a hushed voice, sitting on the edge of the bed again.
Winry looked up as the bed shifted under Ed's weight and eyed his hand with suspicion as it reached for the last bite of her bread. Her hand flashed out and slapped his away. "Mine," she proclaimed. Winry picked up the morsel and shoved it into her mouth.
Her husband glared at her, flapping his injured hand with exaggerated pain. "I thought you weren't hungry," Ed groused without anger.
Winry quickly chewed then swallowed her prize. She took a long draw from her milk to chase it down and lowered the glass to see Ed's grimace of distaste; he didn't even care to watch other people drink the opaque substance. "I changed my mind." She made a show of turning her head away from him, chin up, arms crossed defiantly over her chest and Ed chuckled at her playful gesture. Winry looked at him and blinked in surprise when she saw his mouth pulled to one side in a playful smirk and his eyes sparkling with amusement.
"Good, I'm glad," he said with affection. "Finish up. You to need rest while you can, too."
A surge of gratitude filled her and Winry returned his smile before polishing off the last gulp of both her soup and milk. Ed took the tray once she finished and rose to place it back onto the nightstand.
Winry lay back onto her pillows, shifting to get comfortable again. "Yes, Ed?"
"I know I said we should name the baby after your father, but I've been thinking…" He seemed timid, not returning to her side right away. Instead, he hovered over the tray, fingering the soiled hand towel she had dropped over the empty dishes.
"That Yurey might not be the best name for him?" she asked, certain that was what he was trying to say. She'd been thinking along the same lines as him all day and had been reluctant to bring the subject up in fear of upsetting her husband. The astonishment on Ed's face when he turned to look at her was priceless; she could almost guess he was wondering if she were a mind reader.
He gave a feeble nod of agreement. "Yeah… I-I mean, there's nothing wrong with your dad's name, but…I don't know…it just doesn't feel right."
Winry let out a long sigh. "I agree. Yurey isn't a very…good name, not for our baby. I mean, I love my Dad, but his name is a little unusual." She shrugged and observed Ed from the corner of her eye. "How would you feel about naming him after your father?" she asked, already knowing what his answer would be.
"Hell, no!" he said a little too loud. After a quick glance to see if the baby had awakened, Ed repeated softly, "Hell, no." He shook his head, emphasizing his point, "There's no way I'm naming him 'Von'. Or 'Hohenheim'."
"Because you are still angry with him?"
The young man's eyes went unfocused as he stared out into the snowy darkness on the other side of the window. "No, I'm not angry with him, not anymore, but that name wasn't given to him by his parents. It was given to him by that thing. I won't name my son anything that bastard came up with."
Winry nodded in understanding. Not long after the brothers had returned home, they had told her the incredible story about Hohenheim and his beginnings as a slave without a name. Of course Ed wouldn't want to use his father's name, but she had to ask to be absolutely certain.
"Have you given any thought to what we might name him?" she asked, keeping her voice quiet, neutral, wanting to give Ed the first opportunity to name their son.
Ed shook his head again, causing his long bangs to shift across his face. "No, not really. I never knew my grandparent's names; my Mom was an orphan so she never knew her parents."
"I know my grandfathers' name but neither of them are any better than my Dad's. They're too old-fashioned." Winry sighed. "We have to think of something. We can't call him "Hey You" for the rest of our lives."
Ed chuckled at this and returned to her side. He lifted the edge of the blanket and slipped into bed to slide up next to his wife. The pair squirmed and shuffled briefly until they were able to fit together comfortably and Ed propped himself up onto an elbow so he could look down at her. "The only other men that even came close to being a father figure to me are Mr. Hughes and Mr. Curtis. I don't think Maes or Sig would work, either." He slipped a hand onto his wife's where it rested on her now flat stomach and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"How about…we name him after you?" Winry ventured as she nestled further into the blankets and against her husband's warmth. A coarse, derisive chortle was her answer.
"Do you really think it's a good idea to have another 'me' running around?" he groaned.
"Why don't you name him after your brother?"
Ed's eyes rolled again, "I can hear Al giving me the lecture now; 'Brother, why would you name your son after me? If I have a son, I wouldn't be able to give him my name, and besides, you should name your son after yourself.'"
"Why not Edward Alann'?"
"Alann'? That's different."
Winry nodded in agreement, "I remember the name coming up in a novel I read several years ago. I always liked it and if we name him Edward Alann', he's named after his father and, in a way, his uncle."
Ed's gaze turned inward, thoughtful, for a long moment. "Or maybe Alann' Edward? Middle names aren't that common, so his name would be unique."
Winry smiled, content with both the name and Ed's participation in naming their son. She slipped her hand free of his and reached up to touch his cheek and coax him closer. The kiss was sweet, affectionate and Winry was reluctant to let it end when Ed eased away.
"Alann Edward Elric, it is," she proclaimed, "We can call him 'Al' for short and 'Edward' when he misbehaves."
"Just like you do to me," he mock-grumbled then a cheeky smile split his face, "Which means we'll both run for cover when you yell."
Winry tittered quietly, amused by his false annoyance, and then yawned as sleep beckoned. Comforted by Ed's body heat and exhausted by the day's events, she felt her body slowly relax and her eyelids fluttered as she struggled to stay awake. "Good. Then I'll only have to yell once to keep both of you in line." Ed swam in her vision as she began to lose her fight to stay alert. Ed smiled down at her tenderly and kissed her forehead before settling onto the bed next to her.
"Get some sleep, Win. I'll be right here if you need anything." His arm slipped across her middle and he touched his head to hers.
Her husband's affectionate voice coupled with his touch lulled her senses and Winry's eyelids became too heavy to keep open. "Thanks, Ed."
"And thanks for my birthday present this year."
Present? She hadn't had the time or energy to make him anything, especially with the baby's due date so close to the same time as Ed's birthday.
"W-wha present?" It took all her effort to get the simple question out.
"What else? Our son. He's way more awesome than a sweater."
Winry would have laughed out loud if she had any strength left. Instead, a fading smile crossed her lips. "You're welcome."
Content, Winry fell asleep within Ed's embrace with the soft sounds of her new son sleeping in the cradle next to her.