You'll Never Walk Alone – by BandGeek99
Was supposed to be a short drabble-esque one-shot... But it grew. Please enjoy it anyways.
In honor of Valentine's Day.
"You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel (Rogers and Hammerstein)
"If I Loved You" from Carousel (Rogers and Hammerstein)
"A Heart Full of Love" from Les Miserables (Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg)
Blonde hair lit like fire against the afternoon sun as Edward Elric trudged across the valley near Resembool. He was wandering aimlessly, taking a break from dealing with the military, with Ling and Ranfan, with the Homunculi, with Winry, with his own brother, even. He just needed solitude, a break.
The state alchemist paused, taking a moment to think about where he'd ended up. The old Parker place, huh? Figures. The old farm had been abandoned long ago when old man Parker died and his sons and daughter left for East City. Edward vaguely remembered playing in the old barn with Winry, Alphonse, and some of the other village children when he was younger.
Sighing, Edward trudged towards the old farmhouse where a swing hung on the porch. The chains and wood creaked under the foreign weight, but Edward didn't pay attention to it. The sun was beginning to disappear behind dark, foreboding clouds. He glanced up at them and vaguely registered the fact that Pinako had said something about it going to storm that afternoon (something about feeling it in her bones). Falling rain, however, was the least of his worries at the moment. Isolation, this hour or two alone, was all he really cared about. They were wonderful, irreplaceable, almost comforting.
These moments, he realized, were all too few. He rarely had a chance to collect his thoughts, to doubt himself, to doubt their own mission. He knew if he did it while he was with Alphonse he might crush the younger boy's heart. He might accept the fact that there wasn't definitely a way.
But his need to have those moments to doubt, to mourn, to be alone, was slowly increasing. The hurricane Edward called life was beating up against his boom and he thought that the wind and rain might eventually break it. He could feel the wall breaking, a tear or two escaping his carefully built dams.
He didn't know how long he stayed out there alone as the storm clouds gathered. He didn't really care. He relished in the solitude of the moment, of the pain he could freely express away from the prying eyes of his brother, of Mustang, of Winry, of everyone.
It was a long, long while of just Edward and the rain until a sound other than the creaking of the swing's chains and the water pouring all around him broke the miserable serenity.
"You're going to rust, you know."
He looked up blearily, seeing Winry standing in the rain under an overlarge umbrella. The old mutt that had been around since time immemorial whined and wagged her tail at the sight of the eldest Elric sitting in the rain.
"Hi, Winry," Edward greeted, forcing himself to smile. "What brings you out here?"
"Looking for you."
"Ah. I see."
She approached the porch, dropping the umbrella underneath the overhang and sat down next to him on the ancient swing. It was sheer dumb luck that kept the damn thing up, but the mechanic either didn't notice or didn't care. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong, what makes you say that?" Edward said, grinning as best he could.
"You were crying, I can tell." She had done enough in her own lifetime to know. "Please, Ed, tell me what's wrong?"
He sighed and looked blankly at his feet. "Just a lot of stuff, Winry."
She didn't press him but gently wrapped her arms around his automail and stayed quiet.
Neither teenager moved, nor made a sound, but after a while, Winry began to hum.
"What's that?" Ed asked. His brow furrowed, recognizing the tune but not being able to place it.
"It's that song we used to sing all the time when we were little. Remember? The one about the lark? Your mom taught it to us," she said, rubbing the automail with her cheek.
"…right." He fell silent.
A few more moments of silence ensued before Winry finally said, "I don't know what's bothering you. But you can't keep hiding it from us, or pretending that it's gonna go away."
"Who said I was doing that?"
"Nobody did. I'm just letting you know that it's alright to tell me or Al or Granny about it."
When you walk through a storm, keep your chin up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
"It's going to get better. You and I both know it."
Edward remained silent, his golden eyes trained on the rain soaking the horizon.
"You're going to make it. Don't ever doubt yourself."
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
It baffled him that she seemed to know exactly what was bothering him. But then again, it was Winry. She had known him practically since birth and, every once in a while, had the uncanny ability to know precisely what he was thinking.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
"I know," he murmured, his eyes sliding shut and his flesh hand reaching across him to rest on top of one of Winry's. "It's gonna be a long road, huh." It was a statement, not a question.
"You'll make it." I've never doubted it for a second. "You always have."
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone.
She smiled into his automail. "Just promise me you'll both come home, alright?"
Edward nodded. "Promise."
"You get Al's body back, and I'll be the best mechanic in the world so that your automail will always be top-of-the-line. Okay?"
A comfortable silence settled between the two of them for a long while before Winry spoke again.
She sang the last line of the old song to him.
"You'll never walk alone."
He smiled, his doubts and fears packed away in the dark depths of the attic of his mind, forgotten for the time being. Standing, he gently pulled Winry to her feet and pulled her to his side, picking up one of her hands as she released his arm.
Den whined from her spot on the welcome mat.
"Come on, let's head back," Edward said, grinning widely and honestly. "Al and the old lady are probably wondering whether or not we fell off the face of the Earth."
Winry gave a small laugh. "I don't think they were too worried. We have an excellent guard dog." Her free hand somehow found Den's head as she padded along close to her mistress.
Ed laughed. "Whatever you say, Winry."
She shoved him playfully with her shoulder. "Watch what you say, midget."
"I'm not a midget, I'm taller than you, damn it!"
Winry's eyes twinkled happily. "Yeah, yeah, shut up."
Edward continued a rather toned-down version of his fabled "short rant" as he walked hand in hand with his mechanic back towards her house.
After a short while, the two fell quiet again until a look of realization dawned on Edward's features. A sly grin crossed his face and he ever so quietly began to sing his own little tune.
"If I loved you, time and again I would try to say
All I'd want you to know.
If I loved you, words wouldn't come in an easy way.
Round in circles I'd go."
Winry gasped ever so lightly, shocked that he remembered the song. After all, the last time she'd heard it was almost three years before Trisha Elric died.
Edward gave her a pointed look, as though he were expectant of something, and she obliged to his silent request.
"Longing to tell you but afraid and shy
I'd let my golden chances pass me by…
Soon you'd leave me.
Off you would go in the midst of day,
Never ever to know…"
Oh, he'd never know how true those words were for her.
Ed joined her for the last two lines of the song.
"How I loved you!
…If I loved you."
The two broke into fits of laughter at the poor harmony they attempted on the last note, ignoring the rain pouring around them.
"I can't believe you can remember that," Winry said in between bursts of giggles.
Ed shrugged, still smiling. "It was Al's favorite."
"He always was the more sentimental one out of the two of us."
The two continued in the rain, umbrella forgotten, Den trailing behind.
"Do you remember that other song that your mom taught us?" Winry asked.
"A heart full of love,
A heart full of song…"
Edward's mind clicked and he picked up where Winry left off.
"I'm doing everything all wrong!
Oh, God for shame!
I do not even know your name.
Won't you say? Will you tell?"
Oh, the sad truth in those words. He never did what he knew would be right for a… relationship.
Winry continued the song for all she was worth.
"A heart full of love,
No fear, no regret…"
"I'm the Fullmetal Alchemist," Edward sang, substituting his own name for the name in the song.
"And I'm Winry." It didn't fit, but neither of them cared.
"Winry, I don't know what to say."
"Then make no sound."
"I am lost."
"I am found…"
Each felt they truth of the words, unbeknownst to the other.
I could never tell her. She wouldn't want me as a lover anyhow.
He can't know. I'd hold him back.
They fell silent, trudging along through the rain.
Resembool never felt darker.
Winry kept her eyes trained on the muddy ground and felt her heart nearly jump out of her chest when Edward lifted her face towards him and kissed her. She was in awe, and when he pulled back, she gave him a questioning look, as if asking, "What the Hell are you thinking?"
"It was now or never," he said decidedly.
She smiled and stood on tiptoes to return the gesture.
Neither of them would ever know that Pinako Rockbell and Alphonse Elric stood watching in the windows of the automail shop, plotting a match-making scheme. But even if they did, neither of them would have cared.
Just an instant in the rain made up for everything else.
…Well. This turned out to be way cheesier and way longer than I expected.
I went manga-verse this time because, for some reason, Edward seems much more mature than he does in the original 2003 anime. But I did throw in a little short rant, to make him Ed. :)
Sorry for the OOC-ness, Happy Valentine's/Singles' Awareness Day, everyone!