A/N: Konnichiwa, minna-san! I have finally decided to post the first part to my biggest fanfiction to date, yay! This was originally a contest entry I had planned for Otafest, but they... never had a contest... *tear* It's an EdWin fanfiction, and its set after the last episode from FMA Brotherhood. Before I let you read it though, I just wanted to say... this was definitely the hardest thing I've ever written. I grew as a human being after writing this. Everything that went on in this story, I experienced myself, and I feel like I matured because of that. So I really do hope you feel something from this story. That's my goal. I want to give something incredible to all those EdWin fans out there, because there beautiful relationship deserves to be celebrated. So this is dedicated to the entire EdWin loving community! Hope you enjoy! Tanoshinde kudasai!
Quick Note: Tadaima is a Japanese word said when returning home. It can roughly be translated to "I'm home" or "I'm back".
Waiting. She was good at it. A pro, one might say. And here she was again, standing, gazing off into the muffled, rain-framed distance. The clean-cut concrete ground of the station provided the perfect springboard for the rain; it was just smooth enough to constitute a slippery surface of rebound, yet mildly worn down by so many years of feet, feet that had been late, that had been casually strolling, that had been prodding and tip-toeing and shuffling and tripping and—and waiting—the rain just bounced off, with a sort of asymmetrical shiver, leading to its rapturous rupture.
Yet, she could've sworn… the rain was waiting too. There was a split-second, she was almost sure of it, where the rain, it would hesitate, hesitate midair, as if to check the horizon of train tracks for any sign of screeching iron horses, before it would sigh and burst into watery oblivion. How nice the rain was, to wait with her like that.
It was one of those days, too, a day where, despite the sky shedding tears of liquidy nourishment in sheets and sheets of never-ending continuity, the heat still lingered, pressed down on you, kissed your cheeks with a heavy, slimy dryness that couldn't exactly be described correctly with words. It was that kind of heat that could amplify your moods, magnifying them to a point of breakage, a point of 'to hell with it', making you forget reason and see reality as nothing but a bitch slap in the face, a real douche bag who thought it was funny to see you flushed and melted. Yes, that kinda heat could melt you into a moody canvas of runny makeup, flushed cheeks, and liquid-parched lips that wouldn't respond to any offering of saliva even if you glossed them heartily with it. The heat, essentially, made everything worse.
But still… she waited.
It felt deserted, really. No other life forms, aside from herself, roamed the Resembool Station's grey, muggy grounds in expectance of someone. Well really, who would wait for someone this late? Even the lights had had enough nerve to call it a night and metamorphasize the waiting platform into a graveyard of empty blackness. But she didn't mind.
Okay, she did mind. Maybe just a little. But she had been too dedicated to her role of waiting to snag the chance to raise supreme hell with the station worker. And besides, the tangible sort of loneliness felt kind of nice. It fitted the dull mood rather charmingly.
A murmur of life, artificial as it was, sounded from behind. She turned around, eyes widening against heat's pressing weight, and found herself devouring the sight of a train, stampeding with mechanic smoothness towards her. The jarring, ear-crushing melody of grinding metal was all it took to awaken a huge smile across her face; he was home.
The waiting escalated, sped up to a speed that it hadn't achieved for quite some time, as the train roared to an intimately distant proximity. It smashed right through the rain, slicing apart its skin of flimsy coherence as it glided past her, chugging and chugging quicker and quicker towards Winry, propelling itself closer and closer to her awaiting presence, closer and closer to the ending of her worn-out waiting game. But…
It wasn't slowing down. The train, it continued to careen past, continued to insist upon the metal track that it had a destination it needed to get to, one that was further than Resembool, further than Winry, further than the little station filled with the games of waiting she so desperately loved. The train had had no intentions of stopping. None at all.
"Heh…"Winry couldn't help but unleash a sliver of her gratifying disappointment. How long had it been now… a year? Something like that? Of course, she knew; her body had been programmed since the second he had left to keep a tab, setting the counter to tick off just how many cruel, hour-jammed days he'd be gone. That's right, the days had grown to despise her, and Winry despised them right back. They had enjoyed tormenting her with extra hours, hours that had forgotten what sixty minutes really felt like, amateur little time brats that thought it quite humorous to throw her into an even longer waiting game then she had initially prepared to participate in. She could feel them laughing now, the immature, hardly developed hours of the cold, newborn night. Who wouldn't laugh at her time-teased face?
A letter. That was all she had been granted, the only lifeline she had been offered to gobble up and treasure during her ruthless, never-ending waiting game. It had consisted of one sentence, made up of exactly four words, scribbled with haphazard care onto a dingy piece of lined paper that looked like it had performed a previous role to this one that had not involved it acting as paper. It had said:
07/21 00:17: Book me an appointment.
Of course, the numbers hadn't been included in the final word count. Winry wouldn't allow them to be considered a countable form of the English language. But, nonetheless, she had engraved those numbers, chiselled them with a shy sort of excitement into the depths of her memory. She had acted like a complete schoolgirl over the half-ass letter, quite truthfully. After going off on a complete tangent to every customer she had had at work that day, and after fitfully entering and exiting her room about sixteen times before finally deciding not to throw out the damn piece of carelessly composed shit, she had built up the courage to analyze it with the eyes of a zealously jealous teenager. And she could've sworn, although every fibre of her body was desperate to persuade her otherwise, that she'd seen something she had probably never been meant to see.
At the bottom of the note, hidden delicately beneath the crinkly expanse of paper, was a smudge, a lead smudge that could mean nothing less than the presence of an erase mark, a mark that represented the writer's diligent attempt to hide something from the reader's view that had obviously been too emotionally unnerving for him to see in his own uncomposed, disfigured writing. Because beneath that smudge, beneath the leftover lead dirt that the eraser had not been able to remove from existence, was the barely visible scratch of two additional words, words that housed such an intense package of emotional meaning, she was surprised they had even made it onto the paper at all. She didn't blame him for erasing them. Yet at the same time, she did.
After being fully shot down by the secret's emotional context, she had decided to shove it in a place where she'd surely never look again, blaming the gods for making her think he had ever written such a thing. It was so out of character, how could she believe it? Her eyes were evil. The heavens were evil, her mind was evil, and most importantly, Ed was still a prick. And so, she had continued her waiting game, a little more fired up than usual, with the mindset that she, Winry Rockbell, had been tricked into thinking she'd viewed something that had actually contained deep emotional meaning to it, written by the most emotionally inept idiot in the world. The nerve of fate sometimes.
So, in Winry's mind, those two words had never happened. And they most definitely had not been included in the final word tally, a fact that surely the author of the two unearthed words would've been very thankful to know. Yet somehow, the outright denial of a truth that she insisted was a lie but downright knew was a truth, unchangeable by fate and the stars and whatever other godly figures paraded around the heavens of fate, was very draining on her. Although she hadn't realized it at first, the black hole that had developed in her body shortly after his departure had begun to bloom, bloom into a toxically black black flower of tormenting loneliness and this never-ending feeling of black black emptiness. All she could feel was black. Black…. black… a shade of hurt, a shade of longing, a shade of hollow, endless misery… it festered deliciously within her, full of inspirational thoughts of separation, of being pulled apart from a force she had just barely discovered to be necessary to her life. There was no ending to the black hole. There was no beginning. No middle. And now, surely there'd be no conclusion…
A sudden jolt of her intuition heaved her back to the dreary, rainy presence of reality. Something was…
Her fingertips went completely numb. Her toes, her eyes, her mouth, everything had twisted into this spastic, frozen state of paralyzingly numb numb heat, a heat that was so cold it was hot, hot to the point of making one feel psychotically cold. She pivoted around, the rain swinging from her eyelashes like nervous trapeze artists clinging for dear life.
She couldn't help it. They just came. The tears, they slid from her eyes like warm little crystals that had melted from the unbearable mugginess of the air compressing her, careening down her cheeks with such fortitude, such endearing supportlessness, she could barely remind her legs to remain composed. He was there. Right there, standing before her. Hands stuffed in his coat pockets as if trying to look like he didn't care… face stuck in that mildly pissed sideways frown… eyes cast off into the distance like he had better things to do then stand there being greeted by a display of womanly waterworks... so typical. He hadn't changed at all. Yet…
Unable to maintain her look of 'I'm too pissed off at you to be happy to see you' charade, Winry felt herself fly towards his body, her arms twining around his back like magnetized vines. An overwhelming wave of his warm, comforting scent washed over her, painting her in the richness of his strength, the boldness of his charisma, the comfort of his presence; tenderly, with a sort of shy hesitation, she snuggled deep into his chest, her hands bunching up his coat in fitful, uncontrollably happy bouts of tightly clenched reception. And, by the time Winry felt his warm arms capture her in his own embrace, pull her ever so slightly towards him with a sort of protective, physical display of want, of attaining that strangely unattainable desire, her emotions had been drowned senseless, floating about her body like limp corpses of invisible seaweed.
"I missed you…" the words slipped from her lips with more of an instinctive necessity than a direct desire, forcing her to look up into his luxuriously rich gold eyes. "I…" her lips quivered, creating a squiggly mess of her mouth that could no longer contain the emotional rampage of potently-brewed cathartic attack she'd been preparing for twelve months and sixteen days.
"Why didn't you write me more? How's your leg? Did you oil it regularly? I bet you used the cheap shit that I always tell you not to use but you use anyways, and please don't tell me you got into any fights, you're supposed to be travelling not brawling with the locals, and did you happen to get me any souvenirs? Not that I care or anything, but I do happen to care about the crappy time you chose to book me for a maintenance appointment, I mean seriously Ed can't you ever think about other people even just once in your life? I've been worried sick about you and you have the nerve to send me some half-ass four worded letter, I mean how do you think I felt after reading that and after having to deal with your absence yet again, I don't even know why—"
"Winry," Ed placed a finger to her lips, his mouth curling into a sort of cocky, smart-ass smile. "Shut up for just two seconds, would you?"
The teasing gleam of his eyes did nothing to help her overjoyed irritation at him. With a yank that nearly ripped his arm out of its socket, Winry was leading Ed away from the station in a huffy march. "I'm not gonna shut up till you tell me why there was no train at the time you specified there would be."
"I never said what train I'd be taking."
"Well you managed to scribble down a time in your pathetic attempt of a letter to me."
"Who said anything about that being an arrival time?"
"Who said anything about writing four words and giving the most minimal amount of information EVER?"
"You assume too much."
"You assume too much!"
The bickering continued to rattle the stillness of the night, each one completely unconcerned about the people who might be trying to get some shut eye as they passed the random blobs of houses dabbing the landscape, their roofs smeared by the rain so as to resemble one long, mismatched sepia painting. Yet somehow, Winry felt lighter than she had felt in a long time. A very long time. It was like the bickering was code for what they really wanted to say, and, if you actually wanted to decipher it, you'd discover a lot of sap-coated, mushy-gushy phrases that both had no intentions of ever outwardly vocalizing to one another. It felt good, yelling at him again. It felt better than she had ever imagined. Not that she had been fantasizing about this day or anything…
"Oi, Winry,' his voice punctured her in a way she wasn't expecting, making it feel like her blood was all gushing out in a heated waterfall effect. "Didn't you bring an umbrella?"
Dammit. She had been too excited to remember such a trivial necessity. "Nope. I decided it'd be funnier to watch you suffer."
"Well, what about you?" the way his voice softened, ever, ever so barely, ignited some kind of spark at the tip of her spine, one that electrocuted it into a useless rod of nervous tissue that had lost sight of its true function. She turned, just enough so that she could eye Ed with subconscious curiosity.
"What about me?"
He walked up to her, as if an answer wasn't at all necessary, as if an answer would've destroyed the moment that was undoubtedly building and building and building, just building to a point where everything would topple over in some grand climatic crash and—
He was right in front of her now, staring down at her, her staring up at him, what a change it was now, to be casting looks of bashful longing into his eyes like this, looking up into the golden heavens of his irises, deep into the soul that rested just beneath those optical golden gates. Without fair warning Ed wrapped his coat around Winry, its heavy material pressing down against her shoulders and making her knees wobble ridiculously as she summoned every ounce of strength to continue donating her composure.
"Do you want to see me worried that badly?" Ed muttered, his eyes darting back and forth in their attempt not to look directly at Winry. "I didn't come home just to watch you get sick you know."
The shadowy flush of the night provided outstanding coverage against Winry's reddening cheeks. "I…" the words she felt she wanted to say weren't coming, they were burrowing in the nooks of her throat, cowering from the chill of the outdoor air where their existence could be made audible. "… thanks."
They began walking again, both either looking down at the mucky ground or stealing sly, witty little looks at the other one to check if they were looking at them, or maybe just to reassure themselves that they weren't in a dream, that the other really was still beside them and that they weren't waltzing through the world of unconscious night time fantasies that strike those who are separated for too long.
There was, however, a moment when Winry couldn't help herself; she just had to stare. She had intended to stare only for a second, but her eyes had decided that they quite liked resting on the image of Ed, that they enjoyed devouring the way his chest moved and the way he glared at the ground with this sort of hard-pressed look of determination. There was just something about him that she still, after so many years of knowing him, found so sensually intriguing. It was like, if she peeked for long enough, the thoughts and feelings cowering within his body would start to seep through his skin and reveal to her their true colors, their true gravity. He was just like a giant birthday present, that one that you just couldn't ignore no matter what you distracted your mind with—its mysterious tug would always keep you guessing at its contents, yearning to just shake it and rip it up and analyze its every little detail in grave, rabid consumption, till you became hysterically high off pettily manufactured surprise. Just glancing at him produced that bulge of childish desire within her, every time.
"Hey… Ed?" Winry spoke softly, almost so as to have her voice meld silkily with the tum of the rain. "I… I really am glad you're back."
The buzz of the rain, like the static symphony one hears when switching between radio channels, inserted itself into the silence boldly, as if trying to blur out the sound of his voice, that deep voice that always held that slight tone of retaliation. She waited, but she never heard it.
Instead, Ed took a few steps closer to her, in a way that suggested he was rather hesitant about all this 'welcome back' sap, but in a way that also suggested, ever ever so slightly, that he really did want to close that gap between him and Winry. Not just the physical gap. The intimate gap, the gap that they had never quite managed to overcome before his departure, the gap that would truly bond them in ways they liked to think about but, when it came time to act, lost their grace and cowered behind shields of defensive verbal bickering…
His hand slipped into hers.
She swore the rain intensified. Just a little. Or maybe she was mistaking the pounding of her heart against her chest for the pattering of the sky's tears against her skin. Her whole chest throbbed, it throbbed till it seemingly forgot how to throb and then, just as it stuttered in pain, unsure of why it was convulsing, of why it was so flustered, a thrombosis of emotions too hard to dissociate, too hard to peristaltically slosh away and out of sight, would attack and send the chest into a fuzzy hailstorm of self-perpetrated heart throbbing. The feeling of someone else's palm, gently kissing hers with its cupped warmth, had never left her so emotionally paralyzed.
The movement of their feet, their destination, the weather… none of that even mattered anymore. Just being beside him, holding onto him, experiencing the synchronization of each other's heart beats— it was enough to heat up her extremities, fire them into a state of fitful impatience that made them scream for sinful contact. Winry let her grip tighten; she could just tell, now.
"Just say it already Ed," she didn't bother making eye contact; the slight inflection of her voice had been a good enough hint, even for someone like him.
His eyes scoured her face. "Huh?"
Okay, maybe she'd overestimated him. "I know you've been wanting to say it to me. I can just feel it."
The way his fingers dug nervously against her own elicited a playful smile across Winry's face; he'd figured it out.
"I dunno what you're talking about," he looked away, the image of a soggy Resembool landscape obviously easier to ingest visually than her rain-stained face.
"Oh like hell you don't!" Winry leaned in, her eyes morphing into slits of devilish sky blue. "Would you like me to help you out?"
"Oh Ed," Winry purposefully raised her voice to an overdramatic volume. "It just hasn't been the same without you here! I've missed you so much!"
It was all she could do not to giggle as she watched his cheeks contract a feverish tint of blush.
"Okay here," she decided to make it a little easier on him. "I've missed you so much Ed, I dunno how I made it through without your aggravating pres—"
"Winry," Ed's voice, drenched in an unusually mature seriousness, cut through hers as if it'd been a block of sun-bathed butter. She glanced down at her boots, a tiny clot of bile searing her throat into a state of reflective regret.
"Sorry," the desire to say the word was genuine enough, yet somehow, it seemed out of context. Her heart practically tripped over itself as she felt Ed release her hand, leaving her ever so slightly isolated just a few footsteps ahead of him. She let it swing, back and forth, back and forth, as gravity offered it it's seemingly supportless support.
He was staring directly at the ground, shadow steeping his nose in a liquidless pool of rough inner tumult. The rain dribbled down the random strands of hair framing his face, panicked and lost, illuminating its gold hue with brilliant magnification. His mouth twitched a little.
"Are you… okay?" Winry asked hesitantly, unsure of whether or not the sound of her voice would make things better or worse.
Ed suddenly flipped his hair to the side, his golden eyes seeming farther off than they were due to the screen of distorting, nearly transparent rain. "I… missed you too… Winry…"
She didn't know anymore. Was it the rain? Her heart? Both? Why did everything seem so blaringly, blaringly loud? It was all so loud, so incredibly, outstandingly loud, loud, loud—
That wasn't the rain. She knew, that definitely wasn't the rain inching its way gracelessly, weightlessly down her cheeks. The rain wasn't warm like that. It wasn't the rain. It wasn't the rain blurring her vision, blurring her image of Ed standing before her, taller and more mature than ever, so insanely different yet so aggravatingly the same from how many years ago. The rain couldn't do that. It just couldn't…
"Ed…" Winry had lost full control of her voice, it came out in a squeaky, pathetically shaky mumble, but that was all she could manage to produce under the current circumstances, how else was she supposed to communicate in such rainy, watery weather?
Her arms were wrapped around him, pressing firmer than necessary into the muscles of his back, squeezing his tall, taller than her figure into her own as best she could before she even realized her id had completely summoned her body on its own. Burying her face deep into his chest, deep into the layers of clothing sealing off his pure, naked body, Winry forced all of her weight right into Ed's grasp, bowling them both into a tango of stumbling, fumbling feet, propelling them vigorously into the unsteady grip of gravity until neither could hold the other up, till both had lost all sense of balance and control—
They landed with a jolt, Winry's body lying flat on top of Ed's as he tried his hardest to recollect himself. The mud wheezed beside them, coughing up onto their limbs and clothes in dirty bouts of disturbance, but Winry didn't care. All she could feel, all she could hear, all she could see, could taste, could smell….
"Edward Elric…" her voice was hoarse and gruff, the words scraping past her lips like worn-out, torn apart secrets finally unleashing their weight. She went to speak again, went to exchange just the right amount of air for words, when Ed leaned forward and hugged her, pulling her closely towards his warm, toned body, clutching her so close she could feel his hair and his cheeks painting her with stale raindrops.
Words seemed so mundane now. So, so mundane. She couldn't think of any anyways.
Winry inhaled shakily, her muscles and bones loosening their grip and forgetting their purpose till she simply fell limp in Ed's arms, leaving nothing but her hands weakly holding onto his shoulders. This waiting… this big huge game of constant, never-ending, soul-wrenching waiting… finally… finally…
"I love you," she whispered the words right into his chest; she didn't know if she even produced any sound, didn't know if all she'd done was mouthed the three worded, three syllable sentence of ultimate cliché, outlining the words against Ed's chest with a ring of tears, rain and saliva – but it didn't even matter. The game was over. It was finally over. All over. No more waiting. No more being alone. It was simply…
A/N: I have nothing to say but... I love EdxWinry. *runs away and hides for eternity*
Reviews/faves/watches are ALWAYS welcome and greatly appreciated! I love you all! :'D Stay tuned, there's plenty more to come!