So I took a look at my old stuff and nearly lost my cookies!
This is an old idea with new life breathed into it. Basically all the same plot, some things were removed, others added in their stead. Overall, a polished version of my 3 part story.
I'm sure new readers will enjoy it it and fans of the old story will like the new angle.
I'm sure you'll love it! XD
Also, if you have to, be ruthless with your reviews. I find that's the best way to improve. (No flames, have come class XP)
Chapter 1 - An Old Friend
"One, two, three, four, five...six, seven, eight, nine, ten," Ed counted all of his fingers and smiled.
"How many more times are you going to do that?" Al laughed. He looked at his brother laying down across the seat in front of him, arms straight up in the air. Their cabin car was expensive and big enough to stretch out in.
Once again, the brothers were on the road again, back to Resembool. After retrieving their bodies it was time to settle down some roots back home. They decided to live with the Rockbells, until the time to move on was once again upon them. But for the now they rested, rejuvenating their weakened bodies.
Edward sat up and rested his elbows on his knees. "I've got years to catch up on," he said, sitting up and rotating his right shoulder. Stretching once, he laid across the seats in the opposite direction so he could see out the window. "Wake me up when we can see the station." They were still several hours away from Resembool and he needed some sleep before facing Winry. He wasn't expecting her to be cross over losing his automail, rather he was expecting her to 'run tackle' coupled with a hug. He figured he would also have to explain what happened, so rest was needed.
"Okay, brother," Al said as he cracked open his book and took up the paragraph where he had left off. The page was marked with a yellow, silk covered bookmark he had found amidst Ed's things. Only minutes ticked by when he could hear Ed's heavy breathing of deep sleep begin. The times they spent in Central weren't easy, but now, it was time to lay back and relax.
A knock came to the door breaking Al's concentration. Upon opening it, he could see a petite girl with bright green eyes staring at him, up at him rather. "Yes," he said politely.
She held up a basket filled with small fabric bags tied with different colour ribbons. "I'm selling herbal medicine to help fund this trip. Could I interest you in any?"
Al didn't quite know what to say. "Sure. What's there?" he asked, looking into the wicker basket.
"Let's see what I've got left," she said, rummaging through the bags. "Sleep aids, motion sickness, morning sickness, stress and pain."
"Motion sickness," he spoke blindly. "My brother's not feeling well, I'm sure it'll help." Al had a tendency to be too nice for his own good.
She smiled and handed him a bag with a blue tie. "Here you go, eight Cenz, please," after completing their transaction she thanked him and walked to the next private room, uttering the same shpeel.
He shut the door and heard "I'm not sick," from Edward who spoke from his seat, arm draped across his eyes. He was peering out at Al through a small space between his arm and cheek.
Al turned around and tried to look as innocent as possible. "She needed the help," was his excuse.
Ed raised a skeptical brow at his sibling. "She didn't need to think I was sick." he pointed out.
He looked at the herbal medicine in his hand and tried to gather some words, but nothing came to mind.
"Was she cute?" Ed asked abruptly.
Confused "Why do you want to know?" he inquired.
"You haven't gotten use to having your body back," he said with no further explanation.
Al took his seat. "What are you talking about?"
Ed sat up. "Hormones," he explained in one word.
"I'm not a dog in heat Ed," Al tried to defend his honour.
"Yet you hold eight cenz worth of proof," the older of the two said smugly with a semi-hidden smirk.
He looked at the bag and recalled the emotion he felt after he opened the door. Seeing her face sent him into panic for some reason. "That's not it, brother," taking his seat and pulling his book out again, he ignored his Ed's taunts.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of Al," holding his a hands palm up he shrugged. "even I got a little glossy-eyed at that nurse," Ed referenced the pretty blond nurse who helped him with his physiotherapy. "She had warm hands," he said, rubbing his lame shoulder where the nurse massaged.
"Kind of reminded you of Winry I suppose," Al diverted the attention away from himself.
Ed got defensive. "That's not the reason..." he said hoping to follow it up with good excuse, but failed.
"I knew it," Al said in triumph. "So what are you going to do about that?" he asked, lowering his tone. This was a private matter.
"What do you mean 'What am I going to do'? She's my mechanic, it's easier if things just stay simple between us," folding his arms, he turned his attention out the window to the trees zipping by.
Al knew his brother still had feelings for Winry, it was no doubt. Getting him to admit it however was like finding the philosophers stone at the bottom of a cereal box. "Why?" catching his brother off guard he smirked. Al was glad he successfully diverted the attention back to his brother. Al could see that Ed gave up on his nap to scowl for a while.
"It just is," Ed relaxed from his tense pose. "Hey, Al," he began.
"Yeah?" he said looking up from his reading.
There was a long pause. "Nothing."
After finally reaching the Rockbell house Ed's prediction came true; Winry gave them a running hug. Once they were done brushing the dust from their clothes they made it in the house to see Pinako. Another face glad to see them alive and well.
"Now what?" Winry began tuning up Ed's leg as soon as the pleasantries were over. It was business as usual in the garage.
"Al and I want to travel," he began.
Winry scoffed. "That's all you ever do," she said looking down at Ed's knee joint, frustrated. But at what? At the knee or the ass attached to it? "I'm going to have to take it off." With a quick hand she popped off the outer shell of his knee joint and attempted to lift the locking mechanism. It was stuck. "It's a little hard." She pushed up with more force.
"Here, I can get it off." Ed looked at his right hand, it's soft peachy flesh taunting him. "Or not..."
Winry stood up. "I'll just oil it up and I'm sure it'll do the trick," she reached into a nearby drawer and took out a small oiling can. "Here, I'll just stick it in there," she injected some lubricant to the locking pin. Slipping the lock out of place she removed Ed's leg. "Told you I could get it off. I still have the spare, you want me to get it for you?" An uneasy ear was listening from the other side of the door; it walked away after using the contextual clues to figure out that what was happening, wasn't actually happening.
He nodded. "Alright." Ed didn't like the spare, but there was no choice after how damaged his leg got in the fight with 'father'. He was fortunate that it stopped functioning when it did, in the hospital. He took a fall and managed to take Al down with him when it did.
Attaching the spare was easy, it wasn't automail, it was just a 'dumb limb' with an ankle and knee joint. Ed referred to it as a glorified peg leg. He walked on it with a limp, but still made it to the garage door. "Think it'll be done by tomorrow?" he asked.
Winry thought. "Maybe," she began to examine the inner joint only to have it crumble apart in her hands. "...Give me a few days to cast a new ball joint and rod."
"Days? Never took you that long before," he said smugly.
"Yeah, but we also have other patients that were here before you. And now that you're not in a rush to go anywhere, I can get you to wait." She gathered the broken pieces of the rod used to make Ed's synthetic shin bone.
"...thanks," that said, he walked off.
Normally Ed would have argued with her, but he didn't. 'Maybe he's going to stay home a little longer this time.' Winry smiled warmly as she picked up the last fragment to bring to the kiln.
The next couple of days went by without incident. It seemed the peaceful days of summer were plenty. So was the food, out in the kitchen he could see Al talking to Pinako from across the table. She was up on her stool preparing food. He rubbed his hands together. "Are we having stew?" His favourite.
"Yes. Be a dear and go pry Winry away from the workshop," she said while brandishing a large cleaver, bringing it down on a head of cabbage and cutting it perfectly in half.
Unnerved by the motion Ed obliged the request and walked down the hall. He could hear Winry welding from the other side of the door. He knocked. "Winry? Supper," He said and heard Winry shut the torch off. When she opened the door, Ed could see she was working hard, she even broke a sweat. "It's almost time to eat."
She bit the index finger of her glove and pulled it off. they were new gloves, so one was too slippery to pull the other off. "Thanks," she pulled the remaining glove off with her free hand. "I need a shower." She walked past him.
"Winry," Ed began but stopped.
Winry stopped and looked at him, he was rubbing the back of his neck, signalling tension. "What's on your mind?"
He stammered with a few syllables before coming up with "I want to talk to you."
"About what?" she said, now quite nervous. They were already talking, so that meant Ed wanted to talk seriously.
"Later on...Go clean up, you've got oil on your cheek," he said taking his leave. Winry couldn't help but notice his hunched forward neck, making her think she wasn't going to like the conversation. Throwing her gloves on a nearby work bench, she locked up the garage. She also remembered to get a shower before eating with the rest of the crew.
The smell of supper permeated every corner of the country house. It was time to sit down to Al's first meal with everyone. He had been eating well the last couple of days, but this was the first time everyone had the time to sit down all together. It was also the first bowl of Pinako's stew he had since he was eight.
There came a knock to the door right before Al even reached for his fork. Pinako held up a hand. "You kids eat, I'll go see who it is," she laid her own bowl down and went around the corner to open the door.
They couldn't hear much, it was muffled. When Pinako finally came back in the kitchen, she was holding a small brown felt bag tied with white ribbon. "Who was that?" Winry asked, as she took the bag from her grandmother was handing her. She examined it.
"A young lady who was selling medicine door to door," as soon as he saw the bag in Winry's hand, Al shot up from his seat. "Hmm?"
"Is she still out there?" he asked, not waiting for a reply, he sprang for the front door.
"...I bought some valerian root. You should take some before bed to help you sleep," she said knowing full well Winry's sleep habits grew sporadic during the busy months.
"Thanks granny," she looked in Al's general direction. "What's up with him? Did he want something from her too?"
Ed shrugged. "Apparently she's too cute to pass up, if that's her. We ran into her on the train selling her medicine," Ed didn't budge, he remained at the table to finish his food, but kept a sharp ear out for what his sibling was saying.
"Ooh," she too stuck her ear in the same direction as Ed. Pinako followed up with a rather large hearing device, a curved phonograph speaker.
She was at the end of the driveway when Al called to her. He stood in front of the little sales girl as she walked up to him. "Long time no see," he said awkwardly. "Did you manage to sell much?"
The red head stepped up to the door to hear him better. "Yes, enough to stay at a little bed and breakfast down the road. Then it's back on the train again," her hands slapped her thighs. Her composure signaling she wasn't looking forward to it, or she didn't have enough money.
"Did you already make reservations?" he saw her shake her head. "Why not stay here? We have a spare bed."
"I'd hate to impose," she really wanted to though. Funds were tight.
"Don't be silly, we see patients come and go everyday," Pinako said as she appeared from behind Al. "Save your money for your trip."
She looked behind her and let out a sigh. "I guess I'm in no position to refuse kindness."
They let her to the front door frame and heard the most disturbing of noises. "What in the world was that?" the little old lady turned to face the newcomer.
The girl had a hand over her stomach. "It's been a while since I ate last...and the lovely smell in here isn't helping."
Without wasting anymore time, they invited in the guest to the kitchen for some delicious stew. Pouring a bowl before she had time to refuse.
Ed set his eyes on her and he sat up straight. He thought to himself for a moment. "Wait a second. Do I know you?"
"Maybe. I'm Aria, from Glade," a large farming community in the south. "Its usually pretty busy there, so I might have run into you before. What's your name?"
"Edward Elric and this is my little brother Alphonse. We travelled around a lot, you would probably remember him as a suit of armour."
Aria gasped as her eyes lit up. She covered her mouth with her hands. "My god, I do remember you two!"
Ed looked at her with curiosity. "I don't remember you having red hair though," it was true, Ed recalled it was brown.
"I dyed it this colour before I moved." She held a strand of the bright red coloured hair.
"I also remember Al being a bit sweet on you. I guess he just didn't recognize you on the train," he said in an attempt to get a rise out of Al.
"I don't remember her, brother," Al said abruptly.
Ed raised an eyebrow at Alphonse then looked at Aria, who now looked hurt. "What do you mean? We spent three days there. I had that fever. You and her talked until the sun came up. Come on Al," he tried to jog his memory.
"I don't remember a thing...actually, I barely remember anything when I was in that armour," he looked worried, as did the rest of them. "I mostly remember lab five, the hospital when Winry visited and our fight...only a few things when we were up north. Then the fight with 'father'."
Edward seemed disappointed, all the memories they had together had vanished. For what reason?
"It's alright guys," Winry spoke optimistically. "Maybe if we talk about the past, it'll bring some memories back." she suggested.
"Good idea," Ed said as he got up to rummage through his luggage. Removing his black book he opened it and skimmed the pages and stopped on one near the front. "Do you remember me getting my automail?"
He nodded. "Yeah, I also remember bringing you to the house. Roy visited us shortly after."
Things began to look up. They went through the years up until they reached Glade in the spring of 1913. Al had remembered a chunk of things he thought he forgot. It seemed like the trauma of getting his body back just suppressed his memories temporarily.
"We arrived in town early morning, had been walking since the sunrise. Went to the local kiosks, bought bread, honey and some vegetables. Started feeling dizzy," Ed read his jot note from the day they met. Looking up occasionally to see if Al was having a breakthrough. "Needed to lay down, went to a local hospital. Ran into merchant, bought ginger root extract."
Alphonse squinted his eyes, trying hard to remember.
It may have been unintentional, but Aria looked very determined. The thought fluttered through her head. 'Please don't forget out promise!'
If you know what it is, please don't give it away. Be a good sport. :)
Reviews are encouraged.