Hello again, and welcome back to the fic! 19 reviews thus far; I'm very happy! Unfortunately, this is the last chapter. However, I am beginning work on a sequel. Don't know for sure what I'm going to call it yet, though.
So, without further ado, on with the chapter!
Disclaimer: I, SakuraLetters, own nothing here but the plot and the baby. Fullmetal Alchemist belongs to the brilliant Hiromu Arakawa, not me. Carrie Underwood owns the song "Temporary Home", which provides the inspiration for this fic. Pre-chapter quotes come from the middle of the song.
We're not afraid because we know this is our temporary home.
-"Temporary Home", by Carrie Underwood
The apartment wasn't much, but it would do, Winry decided as she set her suitcase down. Erika took off like a rocket, checking out their new home with an almost comedic amount of energy. A simple two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment in an average neighborhood with running water and electricity, plus it had a small shop area on the ground floor. It was perfect.
"Wow! Mommy, look! I can see a park from here! Can I go, Mommy? CanIcanIcanI?" Erika asked, practically bouncing off the walls.
Winry laughed, "Maybe tomorrow, sweetheart. It'll be getting dark soon. Now, which room do you want?"
Not surprisingly, Erika rushed into the one with the view of the park. Having spent the first years of her life in an urban environment, Erika loved looking out a window to see colors other than the various shades of tan, gray, yellow, and red that had made up Rush Valley.
"Mommy, when can I meet Mrs. Hughes and Elysia? You said that they live here, right? Oh, and what about Miss Riza? Can I meet her, too?"
"Calm down, Erika. Maybe we can visit Mrs. Hughes tomorrow."
Erika stopped bouncing off the walls, but what she now lacked in movement she made up for with her mouth running at a hundred miles a minute. Winry smiled as her daughter launched into a rant about some lady and her husband she had talked to during a rare moment when Winry was asleep. Half-tuned out as she set about opening a few boxes (she was bound and determined to get at least two boxes unpacked tonight) Winry was thankful she had had the boxes shipped here ahead of time. However, she froze when Erika launched into a description of the couple.
"The lady was really pretty, Mommy! She had yellow hair, just like you and me! And she had orange-ish eyes, too! Her husband had black hair and black eyes. They said they knew Daddy! They were really nice, too—"
Winry bit back a groan; if her suspicions were correct, her daughter had already met Miss Riza, and Roy Mustang. Still, Winry tried to convince herself that there could be dozens of people with similar coloring.
However, as Winry found out the next morning, her suspicions were, indeed, correct. That much she could gather when she opened the door to see Riza Hawkeye and Roy Mustang.
"Winry, how are you?" Riza asked, a smile on her face.
"I'm doing just fine, Miss Riza."
"Actually, it's Riza Mustang now." Riza lifted up her left hand to show a wedding ring.
"Congratulations! How long?"
"Oh, about ten years next Friday."
Winry's jaw dropped. "Ten years? But, you never—"
"Miss Rockbell, there was a fraternization law," Roy explained, jumping into the conversation. "If we hadn't kept our marriage a secret, we would have been executed. We've been keeping it hidden since the end of the Ishbal Civil War. We decided to go public when Olivia abolished the law."
"In other words, we had another wedding. We wanted to invite you, but we really had no idea where you were. You left Resembool without notifying anyone as to your destination," Riza finished. "Contrary to popular belief, the military is not omniscient."
The fact that the entire conversation had gone on at the door finally hit Winry and she moved aside. "You guys can come in, if you like. Sorry about the mess. We just got here ourselves."
"Mommy! Are we going to go see Mrs. Hughes today?" Erika asked as she rushed down the hall. She stopped and stared at Roy and Riza. After a few seconds, a smile spread on her face.
"That's the nice lady and her husband, Mommy!"
"Erika, this is Miss Riza, and her husband Roy Mustang."
The little girl's eyes got wide. "You're Miss Riza? Mommy said you're very nice! She was right!"
"Is she Fullmetal's?" Roy asked in a softer tone as Riza and Erika chatted.
"Yes, Ed is her father," Winry said with a nod. Something about Roy seemed…off, to say the least. His eyes were clouded and unfocused, which was highly unusual for what she knew of him.
"I'm not in the military anymore, Miss Rockbell. It's just Roy now."
"What? You quit?"
Roy chuckled, "No, I had no choice. After all, what good is a soldier who can't see?"
"You're blind?" It made sense now, Winry thought; the cloudy, unfocused eyes, Riza lightly leading him around (barely noticeable to those who didn't know them), why he had to ask that Erika was Edward's daughter (anyone who had ever met him could tell straight away that Ed was the father), everything. Now she only had one question: "When did that happen?"
"It was during the fight against Father, the 'Promised Day'. I was forced to open the Gate and had my sight taken away because of it."
The Promised Day. The day that took not only Edward but Alphonse away from her forever. There were so many questions about it that Winry wanted to ask—who was Father? What exactly happened in Central? What happened to Ed?—but now was neither the time nor the place to ask.
"Mommy! Miss Riza said that she and Mr. Roy were going on a picnic with Mrs. Hughes and Elysia and some other people too! Can we go too? Please, Mommy?"
Winry blinked, and then looked at Riza. "Is that why you two came up here without calling?"
Riza smiled—she was very pretty when she smiled, Winry thought to herself—"Technically yes. It was Gracia's idea, actually. Roy and I would have come to visit you anyway, after all we so happy to have heard from you, but this seemed to give it a bit more, ah, legitimacy."
"Plea-se, Mommy?" Erika had on her puppy dog pout, one that Winry never seemed quite able to resist.
"Alright. We can go. Now go get your jacket, young lady. It's a little chilly outside." Central was defiantly chillier than Rush Valley had ever been, and the spring air still had faint wisps of winter.
"Okay, Mommy!" Erika skipped off, making excellent use of the unbelievable energy little kids are famous for. She was back almost as soon as she had left, a two-tone green windbreaker hastily thrown on, and she was all but dragging them out of the apartment.
Honestly, Winry had no idea where exactly Erika got her talkative streak—Ed most certainly was not one for words growing up (he usually preferred fists) and Winry had never exactly been a chatterbox—but she decided to just chalk it up to the almost insane amount of energy the little girl had. Erika just couldn't stay still for more than a few seconds, and even then it was a challenge.
Winry hadn't seen her friends in Central in years; she hadn't realized how much she missed them. Of course, when Armstrong ambushed her with a bone-crushing hug (like always), Winry remembered that there were defiantly things she missed less than others.
"Alex, darling, she's turning blue in the face."
Armstrong released Winry. "Sorry, Miss Rockbell. I haven't seen you in a long time and—"
"It's fine, Mr. Armstrong," Winry said with a smile, glad to finally breathe again. Erika was staring at Armstrong, her mouth wide open and her eyes wide in astonishment. What she said next nearly caused everyone in the group to die of laughter.
"Mommy! You didn't tell me there are giants here!"
"Why, hello Miss…"
"Erika! My name's Erika!"
It was really great catching up with some of her old friends. Armstrong was married now to a pretty woman with dark red hair, brown skin, and dark green eyes named Sabriel and had a son roughly Erika's age. Turns out Roy and Riza also had a son about the same age as Erika. Winry had been stunned into silence when she heard what the kid's name was.
"Edward Maes Mustang," Riza said as the parents watched their children playing not too far away. "We had decided to name our first son after Hughes, and then when Edward…disappeared—" Winry involuntarily flinched. "—we decided to name our first son after him too. Edward Maes sounded better than Maes Edward, so that's what we decided on."
Winry could see why Riza and Roy had settled on the name they did. Edward had Riza's eyes, that same amber color that was so close to her Ed's gold, and Roy's black hair. The tears came unbidden, and Winry didn't try to stop them. For the first time since Erika's birth, Winry wasn't crying because she was sad, and it felt great.
Coming to Central was turning out to have been a great call.
I know you guys wanted to see Ed come back in this chapter, but unfortunately, this story didn't allow for it. Besides, it's a pretty over used plot-twist, don't you think? Trust me, I would like to see Ed come back as soon as possible, don't worry: he's far from gone.
Also, to clear up any confusion, I am following the manga, because that's were most of my experience with FMA lies. As far as background for this universe goes, Ed managed to do something that somehow reversed the transmutation Father had performed, hence why Winry and everyone is alive. Chapter 104 really messes with your head! T.T
Also, as far as Roy and Riza's kid goes...yeah, I just couldn't resist. ^.^ Both he and Armstrong's son will have big roles in the sequel (bet you can't guess how!)
Well, hoping to see you all again in the sequel,