I'M BACK! :D
Hello to all of my new readers and a welcome back to my previous readers as well!
So, I've had this story in the making for over a month now (maybe two) and I hope plenty of people will be as excited about it as I am! There are a ton of pairings in this story (about 90% of them will happen later on in the story) and here they are:
EdWin, (a bit one-sided at first) eventual Royai and HavBec, some MaesXGracia, future AlMei and LingFan, hints of DennyXMaria, possible FureyXSheska
Before you start reading I'd like to thank my amazing friend and Beta Dani for her help on this story! :D
Now, without further adu, I give you chapter one!
"Don't look so sad Win," Winry's father said with a small smile, looking at her through the rear-view mirror. "You're going to have a blast. I know it."
"How do you know?" Winry asked grumpily as she played with a lock of her long, pale blond hair.
"Remember I went to medical camp for four years and I had an amazing time there!" he exclaimed. "You'll have fun here too."
"Yeah dad, that's great and all but that was camp," Winry added with a small kick to one of her bags that sat on the seat next to her. "A camp that was only two months long and only a half an hour away from all of your friends and family and civilization. This, however, is not a camp. It's boarding school and it's hours away from all my friends."
"That was before cell phones and before all those chat rooms were created on the internet so it was like I was isolated from all of my friends too Win. I made new friends and I was fine. I'm still friends with a bunch of them too; you remember-?"
"Dad, I don't want new friends," Winry said, cutting her father off mid-memory lane rant. "I liked the ones I had back home."
"Winry honey," her mother said, turning in her seat to stare at her daughter in the eyes; a sympathetic smile on her face. "I know this isn't exactly fair-."
"You can say that again."
Her mother gave her a stern look and Winry anticipated a good telling off any moment now; she dissevered one by now. She had been absolutely awful for the past month to her parents after they had delivered the 'life changing news' to their daughter.
Sara and Urey Rockbell were two of the best doctors in the hospital were they worked in town. They had been happy and contempt with working on and saving people from the area but inside they needed more; a change of scenery.
Well Africa, it turns out, seemed to have nice scenery for the Rockbells.
After much consideration, the two doctors decided to take a few years' hiatus and help to work in relief efforts in Africa and after even more consideration, they decided to leave their sixteen-year-old daughter Winry back home in the states. Needless to say, Winry was not as pleased when they told her about their decision and her displeasure only increased when her parents gave her their ultimatum: move to her grandmothers house in Richmond, Virginia some eight hours away or go to boarding school.
"But I have friends here! I can't just leave them!" Winry instantly cried out when she heard the news. "I can't move that far away!"
"You could always go to the Boarding School we suggested," her father supplied.
Winry would have loved to laugh when he said 'suggested'; they had been plugging this boarding school ever since she was twelve and began to dismantle all of the appliances the small family owned. Along with this new obsession with tinkering with mechanics, Winry began to change from their some-what mild mannered little girl to a ruff and tumble tom-boy of a teenage girl who seemed to rebel against the norm. Her mother had always been a little worried about her obsession with machinery but her father was less worried, saying it was her grandmother's genes pumping through her.
"Yeah, like it's any closer than moving to Granny's," Winry spat; she didn't want to be held up in some boarding school while her parents ran around Africa without her!
"A whole hour closer," her mother supplied.
"A whole seven hours drive from home," Winry hinted heavily; she'd been trying to hint to her parents that she wanted a car and she felt like this was a perfect time to try and get one out of them.
"Winry, Amestris Academy is one of the best schools on the East side of the country!" her mother exclaimed. "You could do great things there."
"I'd rather be doing great things in Africa," Winry growled before sliding out of the room.
It was just not fair at all. Her parents would get to fly across the world to another continent and do amazing things while she would be stuck here, in this Academy doing nothing but bookwork.
I bet they won't even let me take a shop class…Winry mussed quietly as she stared out the car window at the quickly passing scenery.
She still had another hour in the car until they reached the school. Her parents had downturned her idea of flying, for they would be leaving the following afternoon and 'wanted to spend as much quality time with her as possible until then'. Winry's response was to take her along if they wanted quality time.
"Here we are!" her father sang happily as they pulled along the large wrought iron gate that seemed to encase the school campus.
They had only just passed a watchman before crossing a large bridge; it appeared that the school was either cut by or surrounded by a large river.
Perfect, Winry thought. I'm trapped here.
Her parents had produced a map of the school a few days prior to their departure but only now was Winry eager to look at it. After She had located the crumpled paper underneath one of her bags, she was instantly annoyed at what she saw. Winry was right to assume that the river ran back farther and created half of the campus's border around the east and north sides. The front of the campus was guarded by the large gate they were driving along now. Most of the western side of the school campus was covered by a large forest. On the map it showed where the exact school border was; Winry wondered if there was actually a tangible border or if it was just thick foliage guarding her from the outside world.
Finally, Winry's car stopped and she was sure her stomach dropped a foot when her parents began to disembark from the car.
"Winry," her mother said as she opened of the passenger door Winry was not currently leaning against, "You can't sit in here all day. Come on."
Winry would have loved to retort something snotty back to her mother but found that at the realization that this was really not all for show and she really was going to be stuck here, Winry's voice seemed to have died somewhere in her throat.
Giving in to her mother's sadden look, Winry got out of the car and followed her parents towards the large grey building that stood right behind the opening of the gates. She noted dully that there were two large security cameras sitting on either side of the gate, swiveling back and forth slowly to capture everyone and anything entering and leaving the school. Her mother gripped onto her hand reassuringly as the came closer to the building.
As the family slowly made their way towards the building, Winry took the time to look around the surrounding area. Only a few teens littered the near-by area, but then again, Winry was not surprised as it was over a whole week until the term started. This was something else Winry found quite annoying; it was an entire week before school started, so why would anyone actually be here? Her parents kept commenting on how this would be a great time to make some new friends but what was she going to do until anyone actually showed up?
Winry only noted that they had entered the building when the hot air quickly changed to air that was almost too cold. The floor was made of marble and a lady at a desk sat squarely in the middle of the circular room. Large hallways went out from this room, all labeled different but equally boring things: Administrations Offices; Board Rooms; Headmaster's Office; lavatory. The lady quickly perked up at the sight of them walking towards her.
"May I help you?"
"Yes, we're here to speak to the headmaster? Our daughter's coming into the school today."
The lady peeked around her father and gave her an overly perky smile which Winry only returned half-heartedly. After being pointed down one of the many hallways, they arrived in front of the office after only a few short moments.
"Come in!" said a cheery but old male voice from inside.
The room was probably bigger than her room back home had been. Dark wood panels stuck to the walls while cherry-colored plush carpeting covered the floor. Near the back of the room sat a large mahogany desk with a large and cushy-looking black chair. In front of the desk was a large black couch to match the Headmasters chair. In the middle of the west wall, an old fireplace stood, looking as if it hadn't been used in years.
"Hello!" chirped an old man who stood in front of the desk; Winry had to assume was the Headmaster.
He looked to be around his sixties with a balding head, mighty grey mustache and grey hair, with kind eyes framed by a pair of circular wire-framed glasses. The man was short and lean and was dressed in a crisp deep blue suit.
"Please, come and sit down," he said pleasantly before he turned to walk to his own seat.
Sara and Urey exchanged pleased smiles before they followed to join their daughter, who had already sat down in the middle of the couch. The Headmaster waited until all three of them were seated and comfortable before he began.
"So, let me be the first to welcome you to our school Winry dear," he said with a pleasant, crinkle-eyed smile.
Winry gave him a pleasant-enough smile in return. She got a good feeling from the man, he had an odd grandfatherly feeling from him and he seemed to radiate only good vibes. She never really remembered any of her grandfathers, either deceased or too far away to visit frequently, but this, Winry thought, is what a grandfather should be like.
"Thank you Mr.…?" Winry said after a moment's pause and a small jab in the ribs from her mother.
"Grumman. And your welcome," he added before turning his attention back to Winry's parents.
Winry drifted off during this part in the conversation and turned to stare out the large window behind the desk. His window was facing the river, a great view too look at but with nothing really interesting after you stared at it every day. She only realized that they were talking to her when her father gave her a good tap on the head.
"He's going to go show us you're dorm room," Sara said with a smile but Winry could see the stern look she was giving her in her blue eyes.
"W-what?" Winry asked in confusion; she was pretty sure that this was not normal behavior for a Headmaster of a large school.
"Oh it's no trouble," Grumman said with a small wave of his hand, as if he knew what was going through her head. "You see, my granddaughter attends here and she is in fact in on the same floor as you! I haven't had a chance to say hello to her so I thought that, since I have some free time, now was as good as a time as any."
The walk to the East Dorm took about twenty minutes; Headmaster Grumman gave them a tour of the surrounding land as they made their way towards the dorm. Just a bit behind the Administration building was a large, three story building closely surrounded by a few small buildings.
"Ah, yes that is South Dorm. Each dorm has three buildings for classes and then a fourth for a separate library and although just because you live in East dorm does not mean all your classes would be in the east buildings. There is also a cafeteria near each dorm. You may also join friends from other dorms and go to their cafeteria too."
Just passed South Dorm, Winry could make out a large sports stadium and two-story building about half the length of the South Dorm. Grumman informed them that the building was a workout room and sports gym where indoor sports games might be held; he added that there was another building just like it on the very north-west side of the campus. As the group began to near another small building, Grumman happily informed them that they had just passed one of the East Dorm classrooms. Winry could clearly make out the large, four story structure in front of her but as the began to walk towards the front door, she noticed something strange-looking
"Headmaster," Winry felt weird calling him Mr. Grumman for some unknown reason, "what's that thing?"
A large, dome-structure popped out over the land, intriguing Winry. She could make out something that looked like another small building near it. Was it a dorm? Because if it was, it was a very odd looking one.
"Ah, that is Central Dorm," he said with a small grimace. "Strange, I know. The last headmaster decided to renovate every dorm but only ever got to Central."
"Do you plan on continuing with it?"
"No. Not until it is necessary. All of the dorms are up to code and contain both excellent heating and air conditioning so I see no reason why I should tear down a piece of history."
"Well then why did the other Headmaster do it?"
"Hmm…I'm not sure. But all that's it's done is put a nice big debt onto this school and give the students of Central an unnecessary feeling of superiority." He then turned around to look at Winry directly. "I like to think that all of out students are equal, human beings. I make it so that all students must go to another dorm area for at least one class for a reason; I want my students to mingle and co-exist with other students. But that damned building has made it hard for some…"
He then turned and began to walk towards the entrance of East dorm. After a moment of staring off at the round walls and the dome of Central dorm, Winry followed her parents and Grumman inside.
An old and ornate archway sat in front of the doors, creating a small awning before the door. As Winry walked under it, she could have sworn she caught someone or something sitting on top; something the color of molten gold caught the light and shined in her eyes, impairing her vision. Whatever it was, she could not tell.
After passing through a vestibule, they entered a common room of sorts with two old televisions in opposite corners, a pool table, and an air hockey table, several vending machines, along with many comfy chairs, rickety tables, and clearly used couches. Three teens sat in one of the corners in front of a television and waved to the Headmaster.
"This is where you and friends can hang out Winry," he added as they began to walk down a hallway that branched off of the large room. "It's opened at all times of the night and day but you should remember to be courteous of the other people in the building if you are down here at an odd time."
"I will," Winry said with a small smile and a nod.
"Good. Now down this hallway there is our laundry room," Winry poked her head into the plan room to see that yes, it was a laundry room with ten washers and dryers, "and we do have a small kitchen in here incase you feel the need to make something." The room next door had three beat up looking stoves and an industrial sized sink.
Down the hall was a set of steps next to an old elevator. Winry had been informed earlier that her room was on the third floor of the building; they entered the decrepit elevator after Grumman made a mention of his aching knees.
The third floor hallway had off-white colored walls with shiny wood floors. Large handmade banners and posters declared welcome back to a new school year while other laminated signs held reminders of dorm etiquette such as no drinking of alcohol, smoking, overly loud behavior past curfew (eleven o'clock at night), or any sexual activities would be permitted; Winry noticed that a few people had already begun to write over the laminated signs with ideas of their own. The hall was very quiet but Winry could faintly make out a few voices and a few different cords of music from different rooms. Finally they arrived at Winry's designated room; room 314.
"Now if you'll excuse me," Grumman said as he motioned to the door across the hall from Winry's, "this is my granddaughter's room. I'm sure she'll be happy to meet you Winry."
She nodded and leaned shyly in the doorway to her room. Grumman knocked three times on the door and instantly received a reply of "coming!" from a young female voice.
"Hello Riza dear," he said with a warm smile as the door opened.
Riza, it turned out, was also sixteen years old and had shoulder length blond hair as well. She had odd, round amber eyes with her hair cut to create feathered bangs across her forehead. She was dressed in plain blue-jeans with a black tank top, a white dress shirt unbuttoned and thrown over it. She was just about Winry's height but with a slightly curvier body, Winry noticed.
"Grandfather!" she exclaimed in surprise at the sight of the man but accepted his hug none the less. "What are you doing here? I thought we were going to meet for tea this Saturday?"
"Oh we still are but I had some free time in my schedule. I was just escorting one of our newest students to her room and since its right across from yours I thought it might be nice to see you."
"Oh, alright," Riza said. Winry couldn't help but notice that she looked slightly uncomfortable with her grandfather and she kept shooting nervous glances down the hall and at Winry.
"This is Winry Rockbell," he said, stepping back out of the way for a moment, "and this is my granddaughter Riza Hawkeye."
"Hi," Winry said nervously.
"Hello," she said with a pleasant nod before turning to her grandfather. "Um, I just got back today so I really need to get my things in order before Rebecca shows up tomorrow."
"Oh yes, Becky the wild child," he said with a chuckle. "Did you get over here alright?"
"Yes I did grandfather."
"Am I wrong to assume that your father did not take you here?" he asked in a slightly disapproving tone.
"You are not wrong," she said with a sigh. "But it's only a fifty-minute cab ride; I've been doing it since I was twelve, I was fine."
"Alright then, go on and finish your organization."
"Goodbye-oh and it was nice meeting you Winry," Riza said with a tight smile before disappearing behind her door.
Grumman continued to chuckle for a moment to himself before he turned to face Winry and her parents.
"For some reason, she doesn't want her little friends to know that she is the granddaughter of the Headmaster," he said with a shrug. "Silly girl. But, please enjoy your time here. I believe your bags have been delivered here already and I'm relatively sure that your roommate has not arrived yet."
"Thank you so much," Sara said with a smile.
"Oh it was not trouble."
"Bye," Winry said quietly.
He gave them all a small wave before he turned and departed down the hallway, whistling. Winry took a deep breath before she placed the small key her parents had passed to her on the way to her building into the keyhole and opened the door.
The room was plan and simple. Two bunk beds sat pressed against the west wall. On the opposite wall sat two wooden desks pressed against each other; each built with curved privacy walls. To the right of the desks was a tall cupboard looking thing; when Winry opened it, she found empty shelf's made to store food items. Across from the cupboard was a small door that led to a dingy-looking bathroom containing a tiny shower, toilet and sink with a grimy mirror. Next to the bunk beds was a large wooden wardrobe; when Winry opened it she found that a piece of plywood separated the entire wardrobe down the middle; even the draws were divided. In the corner opposite the bunk beds and next to the desks, sat a small, fingerprint smudged mini-fridge. Right in front of the beds lay a heap of luggage; Winry's things.
"Well this is pretty nice!" Urey exclaimed. "You've even go your own bathroom; that'll be nice and convenient."
Winry did have to admit to herself that yes, a bathroom was a very nice thing to have. The room was a lot nicer than she had ever expected. Winry had expected communal showers and rules against even eating in the rooms. Maybe this would not be as bad as she anticipated.
"Let's get to unpacking," her mother said with a smile.
But Winry did not want to unpack all of her things. She got the feeling that her roommate had been coming to school here for a while, as most kids did, and that might mean she had preferences to bed or desk sides. Maybe she would ask Riza across the hall if she knew the girl who would be rooming with her. For the mean time, she entertained her parents with putting things on a side of the wardrobe and placing some personal items on a desk near the window. The only things Winry felt comfortable unpacking was her brand new coffee pot that her father had bought her as a going away gift and placed that on top of the fridge along with a few snacks she wanted to bring and placed them in the cupboard.
"Well, I think it's time that we should be going," her mother said sadly about an hour later.
Winry immediately ran forwards and embrace her mother tightly. As soon as she had laid eyes on the school all of her annoyance and anger had disappeared and was replaced by fear and nerves. She had never done anything like this before and she just wished her parents realized how hard this was going to be for her.
"It'll be okay sweetie," Sara whispered as she stroked her daughters' hair; Sara knew that her daughter had begun to cry or was at least close to crying now. "You can call us everyday and every night, no matter what time it is; we'll try our best to pick up our phones."
Winry nodded before turning and reaching out to her father to join their hug. He gave her a tight squeeze before he started to soothingly rub her back.
"Please call us tonight and tell us that you have everything," Urey said. "We can always drop things off at the Post Office tomorrow morning before we leave but it'll be hard to send you something you forgot after that."
"Uh-huh," Winry sniffed. She had plans to triple and quadruple check her things again once her parents left anyhow.
"And you remember your pin number right?" her mother asked.
"Good. And remember not to go on too many shopping sprees," her mother joked. "We'll put money into your account every month but if you run out, it's your fault okay?"
"We love you so much Winry," her father said, looking down at her. "We're not sending you here because we don't trust you or because we don't want you to come with us."
"We know you'll have a great time here," Sara said. "And if you really do have a bad time here, you can call Granny and she can transfer you out and you can stay there with her."
"Why can't I just stay at Paninya's apartment?" Winry asked for probably the hundredth time this month, thinking of her best friend back home.
Her friend had offered to let her stay with her but she lived in an apartment by herself in a bad neighborhood that her parent's did not feel safe letting their only daughter live in. Truthfully, Winry did not feel so safe living there either but knew it would be her only chance to continuing living in the town.
"You'll be fine Winry," her mother said, completely ignoring her request; which was understandable since she stopped saying 'no' two weeks ago, Winry didn't expect them to let her but just thought she might try again.
They continued to hug their daughter for several more minutes before they departed, teary-eyed and repeatedly sending 'l love you's and 'I'll miss you's back and forth until her parents turned the corner in the hall, leaving Winry alone.
Poor Winry, :'( I'd be pissed and sad if I had to be dumped at some boarding school while my parents got to go traveling.
I'd like to make a note that in Novemeber, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins and I will be awfully busy with my own novel so some of my fanifcs may suffer; this one will not. I have a few chapters stock-piled for this story so that my update will be regular. For those who are new to me, my updates (lately because of school) are between two and three weeks.
So, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought about the chaper! : )