Chapter 1: Their Return
Disclaimers: I do not own anything Fullmetal Alchemist-credit goes to the amazing Hiromu Arakawa-aside from these random moments that pop into my head just to satisfy my thirst for more FMA.
AN: This is my first attempt at publishing anything on this site. I'm an avid reader of many fanfics, namely anime/manga fics. =D Hopefully the characters aren't too OOC. This "story" focuses on the life and times of Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell after the Promised Day. There is no set storyline among the chapters and I may or may not rewrite this to make it more coherent and complete. As of right now, I'm not planning on expanding this...this story is merely a collection of random moments. : ) I'm a little anal retentive, so the chapters will be in chronological order. If you want more, please let me know, though I make no promises on when I'll update/publish...ha. Sorry.
Pinako stood on the porch having just witnessed Winry tackle the boys to the ground. Her customary pipe fell from her lips and clattered down the steps.
They were whole once more.
"Al...Al," Winry kept repeating, touching his arm, brushing his hair. The three clambered to their knees and just stared at one another.
"Pinako!" Alphonse shouted when he saw her standing there, shocked. She blinked, huffed, and smiled.
"Come here. Winry baked a pie earlier today."
Al grinned widely and jumped up. Den barked and bounced around, carefully staying next to Alphonse as he wobbled up to the house, up the stairs, and through the door.
Edward's small smile couldn't compare to the happily dazed look in his eyes.
"I'm so glad you're home," Winry whispered. She was playing with her hands and avoided looking at him.
"Yeah, we finally did it!" he laughed.
Though Al's transformation was obvious, Edward knew Winry wasn't going to ask what was on her mind.
He moved his gloved right hand into her line of vision. She noticed and took a shuddering breath. Her brilliant blue eyes questioned his fiery gold ones. He nodded, keeping his face void of emotion. While her eyes trailed back to his hand, he kept his on her face.
His chest was suddenly warm and achey, like Den was laying on him. Winry glanced at him again, her fingers inching closer and closer to his right hand. The pressure in his chest increased and he finally realized why.
He was afraid of her reaction. The last few years, her automail had been their constant connection, and while he still had his automail leg, Winry didn't know that yet. She would assume he was entirely whole again-like Al. She had always supported him and Al in regaining their original bodies, but now he was anxious. Had she been completely honest?
Ed mentally berated himself. Of course Winry would be happy. He couldn't do Alchemy anymore, so it wasn't like the military was going to haul him off on stupid missions. He was a regular teenager. Finally. He winced and Winry flinched.
"Nothing," he muttered. Alchemy. His constant was gone. His instincts were useless now. Navigating the "regular" world hadn't really crept into his mind just yet.
Winry's fingers grazed the soft white material and Edward's thoughts snapped back to the present. She pinched the cloth just above his middle finger. She apparently refused to touch him until the glove was removed.
Winry sighed and dropped her hand. Her face followed suit and she looked to the ground.
"What's wrong?" Edward asked, impatient. His doubts from before flooded his mind.
"I...don't know...if I can handle the truth."
Edward rolled his eyes. The truth. Truth. Right.
"Well, the truth is always there regardless if you can handle it or not. The real question is what do you want to be the truth?"
Edward's voice softened, betrayed his fears, and Winry looked directly at him. Her eyes were wide as if caught doing wrong.
"What are you saying, Ed?"
He swallowed and felt his heart drop. She wanted his automail to be intact. It was written all over her face. She looked guilty, too.
"I'm saying take my damn glove off, Winry. It doesn't matter anyhow." He looked away.
"The hell it doesn't," Winry snapped. "This," she gestured to his right arm, "could change everything!"
"In case you haven't noticed, I'm not the one who lived in a tin can for the last few years. I don't care how my life has changed. My little brother's back," he added in a whisper. He looked toward the house and saw Pinako's hair bob up and down while she passed the window.
"I know," Winry agreed, offering a gentle, but nervous laugh. She followed Ed's gaze.
"What could change?" Ed asked after a minute or two.
Winry turned back and saw that Ed was staring at her expectantly. She blinked quickly and looked away. Ed didn't miss the tinge of red across her cheeks. Inwardly he smiled a bit and felt his own face warm.
"I'm not going anywhere, Win. Not for a while anyhow-"
"What?" she demanded.
"I've...been given a long-and well deserved-break. Central doesn't want to see my face anymore than I want to see theirs."
"You're really not leaving soon?"
He shook his head. He held up his hand again.
"Only one way to find out."
"You could just tell me," she muttered.
"Takes all the fun out of it." He flashed his cocky grin and waggled his fingers.
Winry rolled her eyes. "Fine." She raised her hand and Ed saw her shaking. She was really nervous about this, which made him cringe all the more.
He had promised she would cry happy tears if ever she cried again because of him. He didn't feel too excited about the prospect of breaking that promise so soon. He had done far worse by Winry, but still. He made good on his promises. Winry would never be the exception to that rule.
Again, with her left hand, she pinched the tiny bit of material just beyond his finger. This time, though, she tugged gently. Edward didn't move a muscle. She had to do all the work this time. He took a breath just as Winry did too. They glanced at each other.
"It's like opening a present," Ed offered. Winry scoffed. "What?" Ed retorted.
Winry just shook her head and pulled again. Ed could feel the cloth slide against his skin and he welcomed this sensation. His right arm was annoyingly desensitized. Winry shut her eyes tight.
Ed opened his mouth to complain, but then he noticed a single tear trail down her cheek and his chest started aching all over again. Happy tears, happy tears, he kept thinking. Wishing.
The glove finally slid off completely and Winry shakily laid it down on her lap. She then raised her hand again. She sniffled and covered her mouth with her other hand. More tears leaked down her face. Ed's eyes even started to well up, but he blinked them away. He slowly moved his hand closer to hers, which hadn't moved at all aside from the convulsions it was having. When their hands were barely an inch apart, Winry's hand darted forward.
She gasped as Edward's fingers laced with hers.
Her hand was warm and rough, but comfortable. While his left hand was used to this to a certain extent, his right hand wasn't, so it was a pleasant surprise.
Winry leaned forward a bit and cried harder into her hand.
Ed gave her hand a squeeze and she squeaked a timid laugh. She straightened up and brought his right hand closer. Opening her eyes, she just stared at their intertwined hands. She shook her hand free and pushed his jacket sleeve up, her fingers trailing along his smooth, flesh arm. Ed took a deep breath.
Winry's eyes darted up to his collar. She brushed his fingers along his collarbone, pushing his shirt and jacket out of the way and her mouth dropped open when she realized his right arm was all back. Scars-new, angry pink ones and battered old ones-still tattooed his right shoulder, but he had it back. Flesh and blood.
Without thinking, Winry moved toward his leg and as soon as her hand rested on his knee, her face fell. She finally looked at him.
"Best of both worlds," he murmured, putting his hand back in hers. Winry watched his face for a long time before bouncing between his hand in hers and his leg.
"Best of both worlds," she repeated. "And you're not leaving soon."
"Because Central doesn't want to see you."
"No," he said again, though this time concern coated his response.
"Al has his whole body back."
Ed stared at her. When her eyes locked onto his, they were burning and angry.
"What did you do to get him back?"
This time Ed's face fell a little.
"How did you get your arm back?" she asked. Ed's thoughts flashed back to a couple months ago, battling Father, seeing Al's crumpled and broken suit of armor...using Alchemy.
"How did you get Al's body back?" she asked louder.
Ed smiled sadly at her. He then brought his hands together and touched the ground between them. Winry gasped and then froze. Her eyes flashed between his face and his hands several times before he saw the resolve.
"No," she mouthed.
"It was the only way."
"But you're an Alchemy freak!" she blurted out in disbelief. "Alchemy is your life!"
"No, it's not. It wasn't. Getting Al's body back was my life. Alchemy was just my way of doing that-"
"No!" she shrieked. "Edward, you love Alchemy! It's like taking away everything automail-I'd die without automail...!"
He smiled at her as she continued to rant. He glanced up and saw Al peering out the window, his lips moving to words Ed couldn't hear. He nodded at Al and Al nodded back before turning again to Pinako. He was no doubt filling her in on their most recent adventures.
Ed sighed and started to get up, but Winry held tightly onto his right hand. Her rant ceased, replaced by new sobs punctuating the silence outside.
"Come on. We should go inside."
Winry nodded and Ed pulled her up. She handed him his glove, which he tucked in his jacket pocket. He kept holding her hand-or else Winry refused to give it back-and they headed toward the steps.
They both stopped. Ed waited.
"I am crying because I'm happy."
She forced a smile and looked at him. He sighed.
"And I'm happy with how this all turned out. Like I said, best of both worlds."
Winry's smile faded. "You still have automail."
"Yeah. Definitely puts a dent in my plans," he said as he stretched his arms above his head. Winry glared at him. He held his hands up in defense and laughed. "I'm kidding. I have no plans right now."
Before he knew it, Winry jumped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. She buried her face in his jacket and cried. With every exhale, she pulled him tighter and closer. Ed stood ramrod straight, his arms lamely at his sides.
After a moment, Ed began to relax. He let his head rest against hers, his arms slowly wound around her waist, and he smiled into her hair.
"Come on, already. Granny and Al will think we're skipping out on dinner. I'll tell you everything after some food. I'm starving."
She nodded and pulled away, wiping her face on her hands. Ed brushed his fingertips-of his right hand, of course-against her cheek, gently rubbing some tears away. Her face reddened amusingly and he couldn't help but grin at her for it. She slapped his hand away and turned to walk up the stairs.
Ed followed in silence. At the doorway he paused and waved Winry on. He could hear Pinako crying and laughing and Al telling of Ed's huge sacrifice, which now didn't seem so big. Yeah, it'd take him months, probably even years, to truly accept giving up Alchemy, but that didn't mean he couldn't research it more, help Al practice it, teach others about it.
He gazed down the path toward where his old home was, his old life. New beginnings were in store for him and Al. For Mustang and everyone else at Central, too. Even for Winry and Pinako. He was in no hurry to go out and find trouble. Eventually, like always, it would find him and he'd deal with it as it came, with Alphonse, Winry, Pinako, and the whole Central gang all with him, no doubt.
His mind flickered to Winry again. Her cheek had fit perfectly in his hand. He sent a thankful smile up to the sky before turning around and shutting the door behind him.