By: Brittany (Kuroneko-sama07)
A/N: OK, I can't believe I'm attempting to do this... I'm writing a chapter fic! God, I hope this isn't a complete fail. xD Anyway, this is set post-manga/Brotherhood. After returning from his travels in the west, Ed and Winry begin to explore their changing relationship as well as the trials and tribulations that come along with it. And honestly, don't expect some huge, intricate plot here - this is really going to be mostly slice-of-life. But I'm not going to let it get boring, I promise!
Also, the title as well as the story was inspired by the song "Better Together" by Jack Johnson.
This is mostly EdWin, but there will be slight AlMei to come. Also, that T rating may have to become a M at some point... not 100% sure of that, but we'll see! Anyway, please enjoy chapter 1!
Chapter One - "There's no combination of words I could say"
"I'll give you half of my life, so give me half of yours!"
Just the memory of those words coming out of his own mouth were enough to leave Ed flushed and embarrassed. He still couldn't believe he had actually said that. God, he was such an idiot, throwing equivalent exchange at her like that! He really was an alchemy geek, as she so loved calling him, and he couldn't even perform it anymore!
Sighing, he leaned his head against the train window, mindlessly gazing at the blurring landscape. How long had it been since he had last seen her? He really couldn't remember. He'd been traveling in the west for almost a year, but he had checked back in with her a couple of times for leg maintenance.
Winry had spent most of the year finishing her apprenticeship in Rush Valley. She had mailed him a letter a few months ago happily announcing her accomplishment, and Ed couldn't help but smile when he received it, especially when he read her postscript: "I miss you". That's when he had decided to start wrapping his trip up. Although he had been keeping very busy with meeting new people and learning new things, he'd be lying if he said his thoughts hadn't trailed to her more than just occasionally. No, he definitely missed her. He constantly thought about her and wished that she had been with him seeing those new sights.
Hell, here he was on a train to see her and he couldn't stop thinking about her. This had to stop. If it didn't, he'd be a blushing, stammering idiot when he finally got off the train to see her. Think... think about something else! Alphonse! Yes, Alphonse was to be on his way back to Amestris in a few weeks. Ed couldn't wait to see his brother again and hear about everything he'd learned in Xing. But...in his recent letter, Al had mentioned that he might be bringing the little bean-sprout girl back with him who, according to Al, was no longer the size of a bean-sprout. Apparently, as Al had gushed in his letters, Mei had quite the figure now. Well, regardless of what Al said, Ed thought there was no way any girl would have a figure as nice as Winry's.
Ed abruptly shook his head as unwanted images of a scantily clad Winry filled his mind. Well, they were wanted but not now! Not when he was on a train filled with people who may or may not be mind-readers.
His thoughts trailed back to that fateful day at the train station, and this time her words were ringing in his ears.
"You want half? I'll give you all of it."
Was she serious? He didn't know why he still wondered that; of course she had meant what she said. But, what did she really mean by that, exactly? Ed's thoughts went to the small, velvet box that rested safely in his suitcase. He hoped she meant what he thought she did.
When the train blew its whistle and slowly pulled into the station, Ed sat up groggily, realizing that he had dozed off. Seeing the familiar surroundings through the window, he knew he had finally made it back to Risembool. The train came to a complete halt, so Ed grabbed his belongings and dashed out onto the platform. He didn't try to find Winry in the small crowd; she had no idea he was returning, so she wouldn't be there.
As he began his trek up the winding dirt roads leaving the train station in the background, his nerves started taking over. Suddenly, he regretted not letting her know he was coming. What if she wasn't even there? She had said in her letter that she would be returning to Risembool, but that was a couple of months ago. Her life didn't revolve around him after all, did it? Ed desperately tried to shake his nerves off as he began nearing the old yellow house. Of course she would be there. This was her home, and it was his, too.
Den spotted him coming up the road and instantly ran to him, barking and wagging her tail so enthusiastically that her whole bottom was wiggling. Ed laughed at the greeting, ruffled her hair, and then decided to race the old dog up to the house. Den beat him there.
Panting slightly and chuckling, Ed made his way up the steps on the front porch only to be met with Granny Pinako who had just stepped outside for a smoke break.
"Well, well, look what the cat dragged back in," Pinako said with a smile as she took a puff on her pipe.
Ed, who had been wearing a smile when he first saw her, now frowned at the elderly woman. "Nice to see you, too, you old hag."
Pinako just chuckled as she continued to smoke. "Well, you're just not as fun since I can't make fun of your height anymore."
"Damn right, you can't make fun of me anymore!" Ed shouted but a small smile was now creeping onto his face. "You're just mad 'cause you look like a dwarf next to me now."
Pinako snorted but before she could shoot back with another insult, a wrench came flying down from the balcony above and smacked Edward on the side of his head.
"Ed!" came Winry's sharp yell. "How many times have I told you to call first? We're really swamped right now, and -"
"Relax!" He yelled back, gripping his head in pain. "I'm not here for maintenance!"
"Oh," she replied quietly, feeling a little guilty now for throwing the wrench at him. "Well, you still could have called!"
Yawning and feeling full from dinner, Ed lazily plopped down on the bench on the front porch and watched the sun fall beneath the horizon.
"Ed, did you feed Den already?" Winry asked as she poked her head out the front door.
"Yeah, Granny told me to earlier."
"Oh, alright. Just making sure." For a minute, she stood in the doorway and just looked at him. Frowning, she moved out onto the porch and sat down beside him. "Are you sure you aren't here for me to check on your automail?"
"I'm sure! There's nothing wrong with it!" Edward frowned as well. He knew what she was getting at - she wanted to know exactly why he had returned unannounced and she wasn't going to let it go until he gave her an answer that satisfied her.
"Well, I still want to check it before you leave again. Just in case," she said calmly as her gaze turned to the setting sun. Ed couldn't believe his ears - was she actually letting it go? He didn't have to explain himself any further? He could just leave it at that, couldn't he?
No... He had to say something. She thought he was just visiting, and his conscience couldn't just let her believe that when it wasn't true.
Inhaling and returning his gaze to the horizon, he began, "I'm not leaving... at least, not anytime soon." As soon as those words were spoke, he could feel Winry's eyes on him, and he was glad he had looked away before speaking. Sometimes he just couldn't handle those eyes, and this night - with the crickets chirping in the background and a multi-colored sky surrounding them and their close proximity to one another - was one of those times.
"Really?" she asked excitedly as she took his hand in hers and squeezed it. "Oh, Ed, I'm so glad! I... I've missed you." She spoke that last part softly, but Ed caught it and he couldn't help but to bring his eyes back to hers. Winry inched closer to him and laced her fingers with his, and Ed gently squeezed her hand in return. He couldn't keep the slight blush from rising onto his cheeks as he leaned in closer and kissed her lightly. Even though this wasn't the first time they had kissed, it still seemed that his heart skipped a beat with every time. He would never tell anyone, but he silently hoped that that would never change.
He pulled away and rested his forehead against hers. "I've missed you, too, Win."
A/N: So, not much happened here, but there should be more excitement in the next chapter - Al and Mei should be returning! Anyway, I'm honestly not sure how far this story's gonna go. I have the next 2 chapters mapped out, but after that, it's kinda up in the air. I'll just have to see where this story takes me! Well, thanks for reading! Please tell me what you think and I hope you'll look forward to the next chapter!