All Wrapped Up
by. Poisoned Scarlet
To say that Alphonse was disappointed was an understatement. When the knock had been struck, he had raced to the door and threw it open, hopefully watching his brother and Winry walk inside. His eyes had first caught the bags in Ed's hands and he immediately assumed Ed had taken Winry out shopping since he could make out the shapes that stuck out awkwardly from inside them.
"Wow, brother! That was really nice of you to buy Winry all those things," he beamed, oblivious to the sharp hurt in the mechanics eyes and Ed's downcast gaze.
"These... aren't for Winry, Al," Ed heaved a sigh, placing the bags down and wringing his flesh hand out, which was white from lack of blood circulation.
"Oh, well," Al looked hesitant, flicking his eyes to Winry frequently. "Then who are they for, brother?"
"Fuery," Ed said, feeling less than pleased at how easily the lie had slipped through his lips.
"Sergeant Fuery?" Alphonse echoed in puzzlement.
"Yeah. He's—fixing up some communication devices for Mustang," Ed made up on the spot, recalling how much time the young man spent working on radios and other curious inventions. "So, er, he asked me to pick up some things for him..." He avoided the intense stare from his younger brother. Why would you need tongs to fix a radio? his eyes seem to convey.
"I'm going to bed," Winry said suddenly, rousing Ed from his guilty thoughts. He turned quickly, opening his mouth only to close it again, knowing it wouldn't do him any good if he asked her to stay a moment more.
"Good night you two," she smiled, fatigue dwindling its usually energizing effects. Alphonse bid goodnight politely, elbowing Ed to do the same.
"Oh, yeah, night."
The instant her door shut, Al's scolding began. "Brother! I told you you couldn't come back in until you and Winry settled your differences!"
"All I heard was that you wouldn't let me back in if I didn't have Winry with me," Ed responded, dropping into an armchair heavily.
Alphonse was silent for a moment. "Those are for her, aren't they, brother?"
Ed closed his eyes. "I already told you, they're for Fuery." He heard bags crumpling and he snapped his eyes open. "Hey! What're you—"
"I didn't know Sergeant Fuery knew how to use an ironing hammer," Alphonse squinted his eyes at his brothers flush. "Or that he needed an anvil." He held out the pick-up receipt in his broad iron hands. If he could smirk, Ed was sure it would be smug and probably irritate him to kingdom come.
"Alright, what the heck do you want to know?" Ed hissed, keen on keeping his voice low no matter how much he wanted to yell. He was pretty sure Winry was not asleep; not yet, at least.
"Why did you lie to Winry." Al crossed his arms in a motherly fashion.
Ed groaned. "Next question."
"Fine!" He snapped. "Because.. because... This is all that bastard Colonels fault, you know!" Ed accused feebly, dropping his chin into his flesh hand as his brother took an unneeded breath and shook his head. "He told me that I had to make it up to her since no amount of time would cool her off so that's where me being broke at the moment comes in."
"Broke?!" Alphonse yelped.
"Not so much anymore," he answered dismissively, remembering the cash transaction. "But now I don't know what the hell I'm suppose to do with all this junk!" He gestured to the bags and bags of tools. "I don't even know what half the stuff in those bags does!"
"... Yet you still bought them?"
"I have a good memory, Al, and I distinctly recall that Winry uses this crap all the time back in Resembool," he mumbled back, ignoring the giggle from his little brother.
"I know it's far-fetched but you can try to give it to her?" Al offered hopefully.
"No," he deadpanned.
"But, why not? It's not for Sergeant Fuery and you just told me it was for her!" Alphonse frowned. "Why not do what you had intended to in the first place and give it to her?"
Edward opened his mouth, pink dusting along his cheeks, when a knock sounded and Al stood up from his kneeling position to answer the door.
Nothing had Ed prepared for what happened next.
"Hahh?" Ed let his mouth fall open when the timid Sergeant walked inside, the slight smile on his face only highlighting the uncertainty in his black eyes. He pushed his glasses up and saluted Ed.
"Colonel Mustang asked me to pick up something that belonged to me," Fuery smiled halfheartedly. "Whatever that may be."
"You... you mean the tools?" Ed sputtered, the bags beside him flashing like a neon sign. Fuery's eyes lit with recognition and he nodded, looking even more sheepish than before.
"Yes... that." He marched forward and lugged the two bags up, puffing his cheeks out in exertion. Though his arms were skinny and wiry, Edward could clearly tell the man could hold his own as he carried the heavy bags to the threshold of the front door without so much as a groan.
"Thanks!" Fuery chirped, trotting out of the apartment and closing the door behind him. Alphonse stood in the middle of the room, looking lost, while Ed stared at the door with incredulous eyes, mouth still agape with shock.
"Wait a second," he scowled, realization striking him like a brick. He bolted to the door and threw it open, screaming: "HEY! I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR—MMPH!?" Ed shoved Alphonse's hand away from his mouth.
"Brother! Shh! Winry is sleeping!" Al glanced to her door, which was ways down the hall.
Ed grumbled but relented, eying the door only once before retreating back to the springy armchair. He ran a hand down his face. "Why would Mustang call Fuery to pick up the tools I specifically bought for Winry?" he growled, shooting Al a glare when the boy giggled again. Why did he find this situation so amusing?! "Unless... Roy, you goddamn romanticist son of a bitch!" He swore explicitly, ignoring Alphonse's gasping admonish for his language.
"What did Colonel Mustang do this time?"
"He's going to wrap the things!" Ed groaned. "With frilly, possibly pink, paper and bows! Holy cow, that will ruin my reputation!" His face paled several shades.
"I didn't know your reputation meant more to you than Winry..." Al huffed, miffed on her behalf.
"Shuddup, Al!" Ed snapped, slamming his automail fist into the boys chest. Alphonse only sighed. "You don't know how hard I worked on my rep! It's bad enough people always mistake you for the Full Metal Alchemist..." He scowled heavily as he recalled all those times people had turned to him in shocked awe, and nearly blew a blood vessel when he remembered what most said once they regained their vocals.
"I'm not short, damn it, not short at all," he muttered to himself, balling his fists. "Just vertically challenged..."
"Um, brother, may I ask what are you going to do now?" Al asked, sounding a bit sheepish. "Because Winry got a phone call a couple of hours ago from mister Garfiel. I think she's leaving tomorrow..."
"What?!" Ed groaned and ran a hand through his hair. "Tomorrow?! Why so soon? She usually begs for us to let her stay, what's the difference this time?"
"She only came to check up on your automail," Al reminded, earning a look of annoyance from Ed. "I think she was going to stay for a few more days but after what you said..." he trailed off, leaving the elder alchemist to momentarily drown in his own self-disgust.
Ed parted his lips to speak but froze when he felt a heavy weight shift within his coats pocket. He gripped the top of his coat, feeling the shape of the old wrench he had bought from the old man fill his hand. A rakish smile erased the previous despair and he hopped to his feet, feeling his automail leg strain against his rash movements.
"All hope isn't lost yet, Al." He continued to grip the wrench hidden beneath the coat. He could feel her other wrench – the one he had bought her all those years ago – bounce in his trouser pocket. "I'm going to bed. Night, Al!" He started for the hall and nearly faltered when he reached her door, frowning when he heard a sharp intake of breath. He brushed it off as the wind and hurried inside his room, slamming the door behind him while Alphonse tilted his head curiously.
The next day, at the peak of dawn, found Ed comparing both wrenches on the floor by his bed. He perused them as he contemplated his future moves. The wrench he had bought Winry all those years ago had obviously seen better days – it was chipped and slightly rusty; strong but worn out. The one he had bought was in no better condition; probably worse considering Winry actually took care of her things.
Her wrench was long and wide, though he noticed that the handle had been snipped off clean, something which struck him as odd. It looked as if someone had hacked right through it with a saw. The one he had bought from the old man was much, much smaller – probably less than half the size of hers – but built thickly and in one piece.
His first thought was to simply combine the two to form one. But that would make the wrench too big to work with so he discarded the thought. His next idea was better: simply use alchemy to fix her old wrench back to it's old glamor and repeat the process with the new one he had bought. But he brushed the thought away once more; he wanted to do something a bit more extreme.
So his third and final thought ran along the lines of both his previous ideas. He would fix her old wrench, cut the new one he had bought in half, with alchemy. Then he would combine the smaller portion to Winry's original wrench, using the extra metal to strengthen the iron and fix the chopped end of the tool. He would erase the scratches and rust and possibly make it better than before.
Of course, equivalent exchange made everything more difficult. The wrench would still be a bit too thick to manage and could possibly interfere with her work in the long run...
He decided it wouldn't really matter unless Winry was extremely exact, which he knew, from being raised with her, that she wasn't.
He clapped his hands together and pressed them against the smaller wrench, separating it into two equal pieces. He grabbed Winry's wrench and clapped his hands once more, pressing the bottom portion of the smaller wrench into his palm and his other hand into the bigger wrench. He carefully molded the metals together, relishing the sensation of deconstruction and reconstruction; the absolute power of manipulation as he broke down molecules to their most basic atoms and rebuilt them to shape the tool into sharper perfection.
Once he was done, he smiled and lifted the wrench for observation. He had fixed the tail of the taller wrench and thickened it enough to add resiliency. The wrench looked visibly better, most of it's scratches and rust covered by the extra layer of iron he had added. His eyes strayed to the top of the wrench, where there was the most damage from being used time and time again to screw in bolts and induce cranium damage once in a while.
Blue sparks illuminated the room for another half hour before a knock interrupted his work. He almost shoved the wrench down his shirt, fearing it was Winry. However, luck was on his side and Al's voice rang out perkily.
"Brother! Wake up, it's time for breakfast! Winry cooked us some bacon and eggs and even pancakes! She added those tasty blue berries you like so much!" He coaxed.
He tried to make his voice sound sleep-clouded. "Gimmie' five minutes!"
He heard Al's heavy footsteps slowly dim and he clapped his hands once last time, shaping groves into the handle of the wrench so it was easier to hold. He gripped it tightly in his hand, smiling when the sun hit the metal and it shone brightly.
Of course, his smile soon dropped altogether as he allowed himself a few seconds of self-pity.
He was basically encouraging her to smack him in the head! Now she had a better grip on the device to blame for all the stitches and knots his skull had suffered through over the years. He sighed and tucked the wrench in his pocket, frowning when he could clearly see its outline. He opted to storing it underneath his pants waistband instead.
His hand briefly touched his loose hair as he stood up and stretched.
He needed a new hairband as he quickly braided it but left it alone.
When he walked into the kitchen, Winry had indeed created a meal to remember. He nearly drooled when he caught the tantalizing smell of freshly brewed coffee and sausage links.
"Good morning big brother!"
"Good morning, Ed," Winry smiled slightly, shaking her head when he only mumbled back a reply and attacked the cup of coffee with vigor. He drained the cup in one, long, gulp. He needed the caffeine – he hadn't slept well, hardly at all, last night.
"That's the stuff," he sighed, raising a brow at Alphonse's laughter.
"Rough night?" Al asked knowingly.
"You could say that," he replied, deciding to pour himself another cup instead of digging into the meal presented to him. Winry was already half-way done with her own dish. It took him no time at all, however, to catch up to her even though he had eaten twice as much as she had.
Once they were both full and satisfied, Winry stood and collected the dishes, still abnormally quiet. Alphonse glanced at Ed, who was focusing on the bare wood of the dining table. He rose his eyes, both brothers exchanging silent messages.
Al's reply was less than satisfying, though.
"Do it now," he whispered, gesturing to the kitchen which was alive with the homey clatter of dishes and glasses.
Ed chewed on his lip, nervousness clawing his insides. He had spent nearly two hours shaping and perfecting her wrench and spent the entire night planning on how to give it to her. And he knew he had to give it back to her soon.
His hands fiddled with the metal buckle of his jacket.
He had do it sometime.
He might as well get it over with now.
Determined, stomach churning with anxiety, Ed stood and picked up his empty mug. He gave Al one last glance, who shot him two cheery thumbs up. When he turned back, he felt even more anxious than before.
His hands felt clammy and cold and his insides were a tangled mess. He was just going to give her her wrench back! But he knew that thought held no basis. He most likely altered their friendship with his tactless words, if her indifference and detached friendliness meant anything. He had gone out looking for her, worried out of his wits for her safety, only to end up in Roy's less-than-capable hands and spend nearly five months of salary on pure mechanical nonsense.
He paused a few steps behind her, watching as she slowly washed the dishes.
If he had altered their friendship before then this was overkill.
The wrench in his waistband seemed to double in weight and he had half a mind to grab it, place it by her, and run out of the kitchen before his mouth said anything his brain did not agree on. Then he thought that maybe he should have gift-wrapped it?
Well, too late now. He thought, swallowing.
"Is there something you need, Ed?"
Her quiet voice shocked him out of his thoughts. He lifted his eyes to her own wary ones and felt a sharp stab of concern at the puffy pink of them. She looked like she did not get a very good nights sleep either and she had woken up early to cook a huge breakfast, which only ratcheted his guilt and drive to make things right again.
"Mug," he cleared his throat. "Here's the mug." He cautiously stepped forward and placed the mug under the running water, flinching when his arm brushed her own. He moved back quickly and she resumed washing.
"Anything else?" She sounded mildly curious to why he was just standing there.
Ed resisted a sigh but indulged in scratching his cheek self-consciously. His automail hand reached behind him. "You dropped this yesterday," he said, once she had finished and dried her hands on a rag. He handed the wrench to her, swallowing nervously when she only stared at it.
Then her eyes lit up and all that anxiety slowly leaked away.
"T-That isn't my wrench," she stammered, though she took it from his grasp; holding it as if it were some antique, prized, artifact.
"Yes it is. Its the exact same one I gave you when we were eight, remember?" he smiled, growing comfortable with the situation despite the gnawing in his stomach that warned him not to get more arrogant. He couldn't screw this up now.
Good. I was right, Ed thought, as Winry flipped the wrench over and traced a finger up the replenished spine. I don't need to gift-wrap Winry anything. He allowed a weary smile. I doubt she'd even appreciate it anyways. It'd end up ripped up on the floor like any other thing.
"What.... what did you do to it?" She whispered, lifting her bright azure eyes. It eased several knots of tension when he saw her beaming face. Good. She liked it. Phase one complete.
"I fixed it with alchemy," he revealed proudly, reaching into his front pant pocket to pull out the other half of the wrench he had used to fix up her old one. "I bought this in downtown yesterday when I saw it. I remember you telling me about it and how this brand was better than most wrenches on the market. I combined them and added an extra layer of iron to your original wrench, which is why it looks better than before. Its also stronger and I fixed the handle so it's more manageable. I extended the bottom and sculpted it as it was before... before whatever happened to it happened....are you okay?" His voice had declined to a whisper and he paled, panic welling inside him.
She looked ready to cry again.
"Wait! Wait! Don't cry!" He rushed, stepping forward and holding out his hands in peace. "I'm sorry for messing with your wrench! I should've asked you first but I figured you wouldn't mind! Winry?" His voice was nearly pleading. He grabbed both sides of her shoulders as she tried to suppress tears. "Winry, whats wrong? What did I screw up now? It really is the wrench, isn't it?" His tone was laden in guilt. "I'm sorry! I shouldn't have—"
"It's not the wrench, Ed," she whispered, pressing the tool close to her chest. "This is probably the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me."
His cheeks burned red automatically at her words and he scrambled back, ducking his head instinctively to hide the rising blush. "S-So..." Here came the loaded the question; the one that decided his fate. "...will you forgive me?"
He lifted his eyes to find her smiling. But it was a different smile, one that made his stomach give a little lurch and his heart pick up pace. It was soft and fond and, for lack of better word, affectionate. Her azure eyes were dancing like the fireflies he used to capture in Resembool for her; they glowed with smothering affection.
Though this affection seemed highly different than any other he had been submitted to. This affection made him even more recluse than before, tugged at something under his breastbone and urged him to return the affection with something equal to it. But he didn't, instead he just swallowed and flashed his eyes to the right, not sure why he liked this smile better than any of the others.
"Ed, if you had any common sense you would have known that I forgave you a long time ago," she smiled, laughing at his baffled face. "You know I can't stay mad at you longer than seventy two hours! If you were the so-called 'genius' everyone talks about you'd have figured it out by now, idiot!"
This... felt like a trick.
But she was happy now! He was forgiven and he could now move on with his life.
"Well, what if I wanted to make it up to you this time?" This was why he wanted to ditch the wrench and run away. His mouth was always acting on it's own, wild and reckless, ignoring his brain when it screamed in alarm. He wasn't suppose to say that! He was suppose something along the lines of 'oh' or 'really?' or 'whatever!' or just change the subject, for Truth's sake!
She stared for a moment. "Ed... you're—sort of creeping me out with all this..." kindness, Winry added mentally, but Ed caught on quickly.
"What, me showing some sign that I actually care for you is automatically marked off as creepy?!" He growled, defensively crossing his arms across his chest. The blush across his cheeks burned deeper. "That's the last time I ever do something nice for you!"
"No! I didn't mean it like that!" Winry amended, tightening her hold on the wrench. "You just... actually tried making it up to me. Or apologizing for your actions. Actually," she narrowed her eyes, "you never apologized for what you said before! You just gave me my old wrench back!" She was allowing him to easy way out again. Winry felt that Riza knew her better than herself.
"Ahem, the apology was your new and improved and possibly better than any other tool out in the market, wrench," Ed said smugly, allowing a smirk to dash his features. He sobered up right after, resolutely holding her gaze. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that – it was wrong of me. You aren't just good for making automail, you're much more than that. You make a killer apple pie and you're possibly the strongest girl I've ever known." He paused, thinking about that. "Aside from Master. She doesn't count because she's a demon in human skin. Oh, and Hawkeye."
The blush on Winry's face made her look... cuter. Ed frowned at this thought. Since when had she become cute?
"W...why doesn't she count?"
"Who? Hawkeye? Because she's Colonel bastard's best friend," he answered breezily. "Anyone with half a brain would know that Roy is one annoying son of a—"
"Ed!" Winry warned.
"What?" he mumbled, ignoring the look of irritation fleeting her face.
"Well, I like Colonel Mustang. He isn't so bad," she said, and laughed when Ed cast her a scandalized look of horror.
"You better be joking," he threatened, the half smile on his face rendering the threat harmless as she only laughed harder. "Or I'll take back that wrench of yours."
"You can't! It was mine in the first place!"
"But I bought it for you, so technically I am it's original owner. Plus, now it has half of the other wrench I bought so it's wholly mine."
"You gave it to me!"
"It's still mine."
Winry puffed her cheeks and gripped her wrench in mock-threat. Ed, however, instinctively flinched back, murmuring: "Damn it! Why'd I make it strong enough to withstand a ton of pressure?!" He shut his eyes and waited for the blow that would surely rattle his brain.
However, all he was met with was a sudden gust of fresh lilac and machine oil. He opened his eyes and glanced down at Winry, who embraced him tightly and buried her face in his chest.
The blush in his cheeks would be made permanent if this kept up.
He stiffly lowered his arms to the side as she squeezed him.
They twitched once, twice, three times, before raising to rest on the small of her back tentatively. She pressed closer to him, eliciting a surprised squeak from the boy. He tried to focus on the task at hand: trying to hug her back, because something deep inside of him told him it was the right thing to do and his instincts never failed him before. But it was hard when he could hear his brothers poorly concealed giggles coming from the living room...
But soon, his muscles relaxed and he grew comfortable with the rare physical contact. It was then, when he rested his cheek above the rim of her ear, that it struck him.
He was taller than Winry.
It was slight, perhaps only one inch, but he was indeed taller than her.
Until she fully stood.
His hope crashed and burned when she stepped even closer to him. They were both the same height – he possibly being half an inch smaller – but this revelation was enough to appease the alchemist, who dropped his forehead on her shoulder and inhaled. He could feel her warmth consume him, comfort him, and the sheer softness of her body was nice as it pressed up against him.
Who knew hugging felt so... good?
Why hadn't he tried this before? She'd basically thrown herself ar him and he never tried! Why had he waited so long when all he had to do was wrap his arms around her midsection to experience this burst of euphoria? To prove his point, he tightened his hold around her waist. Just the familiar way their bodies molded to one another – the memories from their childhood attached to this specific hold – was enough to urge him to continue; to close his eyes and lean into the embrace.
But at the same time, it was not the same. The embrace signified change. It was not the innocent exchange they shared when they were children. This was different, felt different, and stringed along a myriad of emotions he had yet to identify. The sweet, unique, scent of hers was never enough for him to inhale and the soft skin which brushed against his cheek felt wonderful.
This was different.
He opened his eyes, staring at the pale white of her shirt with passive realization.
Their relationship, the friendship he worked so hard to maintain, was not the same anymore. It was different. It had altered somewhere between the beginning of his journey to now. He did not hold the same feelings he did when they were younger; that uncomplicated platonic vibe. He felt something else now, holding her, breathing her, and somehow he knew that he had gotten himself into trouble the moment he had dared to wrap his arms around her.
Because now that he had felt her, he would need her.
More than before.
In a different way than before.
It was stupid of him to ever think of her as 'just his mechanic' because she simply wasn't.
She never was.
She was the girl his mother had introduced him to years ago, before he could even speak; the grease monkey from his past; the obsessed-with-anything-metal girl he'd taunted and mocked for half his childhood. And, for some time, she had been the sister he never had. And now, she was something else altogether. Something he didn't want to mull over as it would bring along dangerous thoughts.
Like if she meant more to him than before, she'd be in even more danger.
If she meant more to him than before, she would be inexplicably dragged into this mess he got himself into – the recently discovered Homunculi, the Philosopher's Stone, the dangerous enemies he had acquired along the way.
If she meant more to him than before, he would be vulnerable. More than previously thought, because now he knew he couldn't bare it if she was hurt because of him.
Edward leaned his head up from her shoulder and dropped one arm from around her waist, raising it to clasp around her upper arm. Winry slowly lifted her head, boring her crystal blue eyes into his own burnished gold ones. They stayed like this for a long while; gazing into each others eyes before Ed flicked them away to the side, focusing on the pale white of the wall.
This had gone on for long enough.
He had to stop before he did something stupid again.
"Uh, here!" Winry said suddenly, handing him a red hair tie she had took off from her wrist. "I don't have black ones.. I hope you don't mind."
"It's fine, thanks," he murmured, quickly tying his hair and ignoring the fact that he could feel her breath brush against his lips. He noticed how red her cheeks had become and, for a moment, thought that perhaps she had gotten sick, before logic caught up with his floaty emotions and screamed that she was actually blushing.
"The train to Rush Valley will be leaving soon," he cleared his throat, thinking that if she was blushing then perhaps he had done a good thing? "We should probably get going..."
She blinked and tilted her head, an action which caused unwanted thoughts regarding her recently-discovered adorableness to appear. "What train? I'm not set to leave for another two weeks." Her eyes became uncertain. "Unless you want me to..."
Ed stared long and hard at her, trying to detect any deceit, but all he saw was plain confusion. He slowly dropped the severed wrench in his hand and pinched the bridge of his nose. His eyes flew open to reveal dark and malicious golden orbs and he snapped his head to the kitchen arch, grinning manically when Alphonse gasped and ducked away.
"I'm sorry!!" came Al's fading yell as he ran away.
"You get back here, you liar!" Ed roared, gently pushing Winry away as he heard the front door slam. He bolted after his brother. "ALPHONSE! WHEN I CATCH YOU I'M GOING TO TRANSMUTE YOUR LOIN CLOTH INTO A SKIRT!!"
Winry stayed behind in the kitchen, a light blush adorning her cheeks, and crouched down to pick up the neatly sliced wrench. She fingered the old metal and brushed her hands over the familiar brand mark.
She slipped it into her back pocket, surveying the wrench Edward had custom made for faults. She found none except for the width, which she was sure she could sand down a bit when she got home. She wrapped her hand firmly around the handle, smiling when it was easier to grip than before.
"Riza was right," she mused, listening to Ed and Al's distant yells as she wondered into the small living room and curled up on the springy armchair, lifting her legs to drape over the hand rest and snuggling into the material. "Keep your head down and voice low and they fall for it before you know it," she giggled devilishly, touching the eyes she had rubbed for five minutes straight to acquire their pink, lightly swollen, look.
She placed the wrench across her stomach and closed her eyes, a smile dancing on her lips as she heard Ed and Al's raucous behavior just outside the four walls that contained her...
"Uh, Sir?" Sergeant Fuery asked nervously that very same morning, pushing up his spectacles as Colonel Roy Mustang quickly jotted down some notes on a spare sheet of paper. "I believe that paper is apart of a report, sir."
Roy glanced at the words on the page and pushed the paper aside, grabbing a blank one from the pile beside his large stack of paperwork and restating his previous words. The instant he did, he tore the paper in half and gave the bottom portion to Fuery, who scrambled to take it in his hands while holding at least fifty pounds of iron merchandise. He had kept the bags in his office for the time being, as instructed, and now Mustang had called for him to tell him part two of this master plan he had no idea about until now.
And even then, he still didn't know why it included a bunch of tools.
"I want those bags sent to Resembool, the Rockbell household," Roy commanded, taking out a small receipt and handing it to him right after. Fuery eventually gave up trying to juggle the bags and the address Roy had given him and reached out to grab the other piece of paper once he settled the bags by his feet.
"So what do I do with this, sir?"
"Change the order so they may send the anvil to the Rockbell Household," Roy said, sitting back in his chair. "They may charge you. Whatever the charge, I'll just deduct it from Full Metal's salary add it to your own paycheck."
"Are you sure that's fair, sir? Shouldn't you consult this with him first?" Fuery asked, only to take back his words when he caught sight of the Colonels thirsty eyes for vengeance.
"What was that, Sergeant? Did you say something, I believe I did not hear you," he flashed dark eyes to Fuery, who trembled in place and hastily took back his words.
"N-Nothing, sir!" He saluted, dragging the tearing bags of merchandise behind him as he left. "I'll be sure to change the order and deliver these bags to the Central train station, s-sir!"
Roy smirked. "That's what I thought you said." You better have made an improvement in your relationship with Winry, Ed. Roy eyed his paperwork. He better have. Then he could blackmail him into doing his work for the next few months.... years... decades...
I did give you the love of your life, Roy chuckled evilly, bordering on a cackle. That is something no one can pay back! So, life-time paperwork for the alchemist it was! He let a triumphant smile slid onto his face as he sank in his chair and crossed his arms behind his head.
Yes, nothing felt better than having a pipsqueak subordinate do all your paperwork...
Suddenly, he heard a click.
A shuffle of clothes.
A small noise of irritation.
Mustang snapped his eyes open and ducked, the loud bangs of gun shots penetrating the wall making his ears ring. He shakily peered over the edge of his desk, eyes wide as Riza Hawkeye stood before him, stoic and perfectly composed as always, though the annoyed sparkle in her uniquely colored irises gave her away instantly.
"Sir, I do believe you have some work do." She ground her teeth in an attempt to be polite. "I would get working on it if I were you – some of it is very late."
Roy swallowed and sat back in his chair, smiling shakily. "Yes. Of course. I'll get right on it!" To prove his point, he picked up a stack of work and quickly began to read through it, flickering his eyes up to her repeatedly as she stared long and hard.
Satisfied that her superior was doing at least some work, she settled back to her desk across the room. Once she heard the distinct scratch of pen on paper, she took out her own pen and read over her own set of work.
A crumple interrupted her thoughts. She frowned and lifted her hand, staring at the medium sized baggy underneath. She glanced at Roy, who only continued to scrawl his signature where insisted, and tentatively prodded the bag. She unfurled it and sucked in a sharp gasp when she reached in and took out a brand new gun. It came equipped with its own cartridges and the metal felt light and smooth under her palm. It was designed to fit in small place and it was the new E-900 model she had been eying for the past few weeks, as the previous model she owned was starting to lock on her.
Her eyes immediately flashed to the Colonel, who was, by now, resting his chin on his palm and smiling rather guiltily.
Riza lowered her gaze back to the gun, allowing a rare smile to light her face. She carefully placed the gun beside her.
"Sir, bribing is strictly against policy rules." She watched Roy's face fall and mumble something she did not catch. "However," she watched him perk up, "I suppose a small break now and then would be okay."
Roy grinned and stood up, pausing when Riza held up her palm. She quirked a brow. "Finish it first then you can go on break."
Mustang groaned and plopped back down, snatching his pen and childishly glaring at her. Without further ado, he quickly signed his name and read up some more before repeating the process.
Riza let her smile soften as she glanced at the polished weapon, the engraved R.H. on the side that made it unique and special in its own way.
Roy Mustang sure knew how to charm a woman, even if the pink bow on the brown baggy was a little too much.
"Phew!" Winry sighed, dropping her toolbox on the ground beside her and resting her elbow on the top. She smiled as she looked up to her house. The chimneys were puffing out black smoke, indicating that her grandmother was most likely melting some metal.
The rest of the two weeks in Central had passed without incident.
Edward had gone about like the intimate embrace had never happened, annoying Winry for a few days before she sighed and accepted the fact that it was Ed-like behavior to just ignore such moments.
He had, however, before leaving, actually wrapped his arms around her when she hugged him goodbye like she always did. It was different and the amount of pressure he put into the hug her left her literally breathless no matter how short it actually was. It was almost like he was trying to fit several missed hugs into one. He had let go too fast for her tastes, grumbling a goodbye and sending a sharp punch to his giddy brother.
She boarded the train feeling woozy and lightheaded and, she winced when she thought about this now, most likely sporting some dopey smile.
She tripped twice over some bags when she entered the train.
She was just grateful Ed and Al weren't there to see the ungraceful falls.
"Granny! I'm back! And guess what? For once, Ed's automail wasn't totally busted up," Winry recounted as she walked into the living room and threw the toolkit on the couch. She raked a hand through her hair as she walked into the basement, where she knew her granny would be. "And Alphonse really liked the polishing oil you sent him! It has his armor all shiny and new! Granny?"
"In here, Winry!" she heard her granny call, and she smiled as she stepped into the workshop located in the basement.
The sight she was met with had her gaping.
"Wh-what's all this!?" She stuttered, looking at the clutter of new tools, still with their scratched out price-tags on them, get critically analyzed by her grandmother.
"Came in a couple of days ago from Central," Pinako replied, affirming another tool to the steadily growing pile beside her. "It's from Ed. Did you ask him to buy all of this stuff for you? A brand new anvil just came in a few hours ago."
"N-No! I never asked him to buy any of this!" Winry said, walking forward to snatch a box of screws from the pile. "I didn't even know he—oh." A smile slid onto her once-shocked face as she recalled the conversation Ed and Al had when she announced she was going to bed. She had been listening intently to every word they said, even though some of them were too muffled to hear, but she had caught on enough to know that those bags were actually for her. Even though she hadn't known the reason she did catch the "...Roy, that goddamn romanticist son of a bitch!" that made her laugh.
Ed sure was creative with his words.
And now she understood why he had said that, as she eyed the pink bow getting torn off another box of nuts by her granny.
"Hmm, well, tell the pipsqueak he's got horrible taste in bows," Pinako nodded her head to the pile of pink and frilly bows and rolls of wrapping paper that lay tore up and overflowing inside the trash bin. "Short in stature," she heard her granny murmur, "and he comes short in style as well."
Winry only laughed, grabbing some bows and flipping them around in her hand. "I think I know what happened." She laughed even harder at the thought of them coming over and granny putting him down for his pitiful attempts at wrapping. "Colonel Mustang sure is dramatic."
"Hmm? What does that dog have anything to do with this?" Pinako asked, raising a brow as her only granddaughter struggled to keep her laughter at bay.
"Oh, nothing, grandma," she giggled, spying an ironing hammer and rushing over to it to pick it up and feel its weight. "Hey, this is the hammer I've been wanting for a while now!... What's this?" She peeled off the blue-red bow and threw it with the rest on the stack. She noticed many other things also had bows and wrapping paper around them. "Are all of these actually wrapped, granny?"
"Yep," she grunted. "Been tearing these damn things off for the past week now."
Winry sighed. Poor Fuery. She had heard Sargent Fuery barge in and take the tools back to his apartment, as Ed's roar could've woken the dead.
"Well, one things for sure," Winry said, warily, eying all the bows that still had to be ripped off. "Bow ties and wrapping paper definitely don't work well on metal."
"You got that right," Pinako snorted. "Pipsqueaks gonna' get an ear-full when he gets back!"
Winry just smiled, the wrench he had transmuted safely in her back pocket.
At least he hadn't wrapped that one.