Chapter One: Seasick
"We should've just crossed the Eastern Desert."
At least, that's what Winry thought Ed was saying. He was hanging half-way off the bunk he'd been assigned on the Wavewalker, the ship that was taking them to Xing. Plagued by nausea almost since they'd walked up the gangplank, Ed had visibly lost weight since they'd left Aeruego.
The bad thing was, it had been his idea to take the trip. He'd come home from his journey to the West, bringing with him photographs and gifts and stories that seemed almost fantastic to Winry. And then he'd found the letter from Al, begging him to come to Xing. How could Ed turn down that kind of offer? And she'd been willing to let him go – Ed really did seem at his happiest when he was packing to go somewhere. Granny said it was because Ed was selfish, Winry tried to take the opinion that Ed was easily distracted. Besides, better he get it out of his system now, before they really got married, right? It was only at the last few hours before his departure that Ed had realized he was leaving her alone again, and had suddenly decided they should go to Xing as part of their honeymoon.
"We're not even married!"
"We can get married. It's not that hard, just jump the fire in front of witnesses, sign our names in the registry and," Ed had shrugged and spread his hands. Really, it was as simple as that.
Winry had tried again. "What about guests?"
"Do we really need anyone but the old hag and Den?"
"What about Al?"
Folding her arms, Winry'd fixed him with a glare. "What about Miss Gracia and Elicia? Paninya? Mr. Garfiel?" She couldn't think of any of Ed's friends, though at least they shared the first two. Ed was kind of prickly for friends, after all. Pitt, he'd come, she knew; what about that commander? What was his name? Mustang? And some of the men Ed had served with. She'd mentioned them.
Ed had given her a curious stare. "I'm not a part of the military any more. I'm sure what I do with my life isn't anything they need to be aware of."
"You're a military hero!"
He'd held up a hand. "I didn't want my name in anything, remember?"
Well, no, she hadn't, but mostly because while Ed did talk about the things that had happened while he was trying to get Al's body back, he didn't talk about the military aspect much at all, except to sometimes shudder all over when someone mentioned Briggs and mutter about crazy brigadier generals with swords. "Fine!" Winry had thrown up her hands. "You get to explain when people ask why they weren't invited to the ceremony."
"Fine!" Ed had glowered back, teeth bared. "But by then, we'll be halfway to Xing, because I'm not waiting for three or four months for a wedding ceremony to be put together!"
In the end, Pinako's relatively cooler head prevailed. They could sign their names in the registry, and go to Xing, and wait until they returned before having the actual celebration. "Try not to get pregnant," she'd told them, much to Ed's gape-mouthed horror and Winry's blushes, "traveling while you're pregnant is awful, and traveling that far with a baby is pretty much worse."
So, after Winry had informed her customers she'd be gone for about six months, and they should alternately see Granny or Mr. Garfiel, Ed and she had signed their names, and packed, and headed south.
"South? Why not East?" Winry had asked.
Ed had waved his hand. "It'll be nicer on the ocean. Besides, I haven't sailed before! It'll be a new experience!"
Winry knew he'd regretted it as soon as they'd left the harbor. Even though the sailors had said the weather was fine, Ed and his stomach didn't take well to the open water. Winry had been sick the first day, but after that, she'd learned to keep her eyes on the horizon, and how to walk without succumbing to the pitch and the roll of the ship. Ed, on the other hand, was still miserable ten days out. The sailors pretty much avoided him, though Winry had heard them laughing behind his back. If Ed was feeling better, she was sure he'd have beaten the sailors up, and gotten them tossed overboard as part of their honeymoon, but so far, heaving and dry heaving seemed to be the best he could do.
Their room was so close, Winry almost couldn't stand being in it. The smell of vomit seemed to cling to what little furnishings were hammered into the walls and floors, and Ed suffered loudly when it came to his stomach. The captain took particular note of Ed's discomfort, offering mint tea and sugared ginger to combat the nausea, which seemed to help for a little while before Ed began puking again.
He looked horrible. His skin had a greenish cast to it, and he was pale all the time. His hair was brittle and tangled, despite his return to braiding it – well, Winry braided it for him, since Ed could barely manage to sit upright at this point. Dark circles ringed his eyes. He trembled, his strength all but gone. All in all, Winry almost thought he looked worse than he had after he and Al had tried to bring Auntie Trisha back to life. "You have to get over this, Ed," she told him, mopping his brow with a damp cloth.
He panted, staring up at her with feverish eyes. "When I die, don't let them throw me overboard," he pleaded.
"You're not going to die!" Though it seemed like he might, Winry wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of agreeing with him. "You'll get your sea legs soon, and you'll laugh about this." Ed sighed, obviously not believing her. Winry offered him a sip of mint tea, refusing to let Ed wither away. "The captain said we'd be sighting land soon."
"Really?" Winry felt bad at the way Ed brightened as he asked, "How soon?"
"I guess it depends on the wind." Putting the cup to his mouth again, Winry encouraged him to drink, despite the face Ed made. "You're dehydrated!" She pinched the skin on his forearm. It took a few seconds to lie flat again. "See?"
"I'll be okay once we get to land."
Winry wanted for a few seconds to let him believe they'd be landing, but, "The Captain didn't say we'd be stopping, Ed, just that we'd see it."
His dull eyes flicked from her to the porthole, and back again. "How much longer?"
"Another two weeks." She said it as gently as she could, prepared – hoping – for a flash of Ed's temper. Instead, he sagged into the bunk with a groan. Winry leaned in, seeing his lips moving. "Ed?"
"…Al'll give you a portion of my military retirement, he's good that way," Ed was muttering, "he wouldn't even need to see the register…"
"You're not going to die!" Wanting to smack him, Winry instead slapped the hard mattress.
"So you say." She caught a glimpse of Ed's dark humor when he spoke. "Don't get married for at least a year after my funeral, okay?"
"Gah! You're not dying. I know it feels like it." Winry thought Ed smelled like he was dying, too, deciding to keep that to herself. "But you're going to be fine. Your stomach will settle down, and you need to drink this tea!" She nearly sloshed out what was left in the cup when something went 'boom' and the ship rolled suddenly.
"The hell?" Somehow, Ed perked up, halfway out of the bed, still pale and green, but at least curious. "Did you hear that?"
The sound came again, a low boom, followed by a high-pitched hissing noise. Winry could just make out men yelling; excited, frightened shouts. Ed caught her hand as she started to rise. "Don't," he hissed. "You'll just be in the way up there."
"I have to see, Ed!"
They glared at each other, a stalemate, then Ed curtly nodded. "But you're staying behind me." Giving her hand a shake, he climbed out of the bunk, pulling on a pair of wrinkled trousers. "I hope," the words trailed off, and Ed looked grimmer than he had in a very long time. "Stay behind me," he warned again, waiting until Winry agreed before opening the door.
They crept along the corridor, hearing more of the booms. Ed mumbled something under his breath the entire time. Winry couldn't understand what he was saying but didn't want to ask for clarification, either. Her heart seemed to be trying to beat its way out of her chest and she let out a yelp when the ship shuddered, the engines that had been making a steady, low thrum the entire time she'd been onboard abruptly cutting off.
"Shit, shit. That's not good." Ed turned back to her, taking hold of her shoulders. "Winry, I think we're under attack." But the oceans, they were peaceful, weren't they? She wanted to ask that, but Ed was still talking. "- go to the engine room. See how badly damaged they are. Then meet me at the top of the stairs that lead out onto the deck. I'm going to see if there's anything we can do up there." He dragged her close, giving her a brief kiss that fortunately tasted like mint tea, then pushed her off. "Hurry!" Without even checking to see if she'd obeyed, Ed charged off, heading for the stairs that would take him to the deck.
Taking a deep breath, Winry composed herself before she started moving. She'd been given a tour of the ship and knew how to get to the engine room. It lay below the water level, with no windows to peer out at the fish swimming alongside. The engineer had told her it was to keep the mermaids from getting ideas, winking broadly as he'd said it. Winry ran down the stairs, hearing dismayed yells coming from down below. She could smell something, the salty, cool tang of ocean water, as she reached the right deck. Pushing on ahead, she looked into the engine room.
Water poured in through a hole in the wall of the ship. The men were trying desperately to cap it, but the force of the water pushed everything they tried to use out of the hole. Though the stream wasn't that big, Winry could see what looked like a crack starting at that hole, moving up along the wall. The ship shook again, and made an almost human-sounding groan. "What can I do?" she asked one of the men, who stared at her for a few minutes, his expression blank.
"No, the engines! What's wrong with them? Can we fix them?" Water rushed up over her shoes as the ship rolled. Winry grabbed the doorframe to keep from falling to the floor.
"If we could get the water under control." His expression was grim. "Depends on who's firing on us, miss. You'd better get somewhere safer. Passengers are usually kept for hostages."
The word didn't make any sense for a few seconds, then Winry stuttered, "H-hostages?" The engineer had already turned away, yelling at a couple of other men as they tried again to plug the leak. Realizing she'd get no more answers here, Winry started back up the stairs. The ship pitched again, nearly throwing her back down, but she grabbed the railing and held on. Regaining her balance, she ran up the stairs, hoping Ed was where he'd told her he'd be.
The sounds grew louder as she approached the upper deck. The shouts were clearer, as were the reports of gunfire. Wincing, Winry crept along the floor to the door that led out onto the deck, taking a quick peek through the window before actually making a decision to open the door. She could see another ship approaching fast. Bright flashes indicated gunfire, another loud boom followed by the Wavewalker rocking meant a cannon had been fired. Winry covered her ears, ducking back out of the way. Ed had to be out there in the middle of everything, she knew it, helping best he could. She bit her lip, remembering what the engineer had said. "I don't want to be a hostage!" she whispered. Not again.
The ship rolled and Winry caught sight of some of the sailors sliding off the deck and into the ocean. Her knees went weak at the thought of Ed going overboard. He wouldn't have a chance if he hit the water – his automail would drag him straight down. Pushing out the door, Winry scanned the deck for Ed. Heart stuttering when she didn't see him, she let out a sigh of relief at finally spotting him running up the stairs to the wheel house. Chasing after him, Winry sidestepped sailors, ducking when she heard gunfire. Wood splintered in front of her face and she squeaked, dropping to her hands and knees. She crawled the rest of the way to the stairs, peering over the railing before climbing.
The pirate ship almost blotted out the sight of the sea, it was so close. The men onboard screamed at the Wavewalker, guns and knives held triumphantly over their heads. Winry swallowed hard and ran up the stairs, not looking back at the pirates.
The wheel house was small, and the first mate stood inside, Ed braced on the railing running around the interior wall. Winry darted into the tiny room, made even closer by her appearance. "Ed!"
He startled, grabbing for her and hauling her against his side. "What are you doing up here!"
"I couldn't do anything in the engine room and you said to meet you at the stairs!" Now wasn't the time to get into an argument. Shaking her head, Winry twined her fingers with Ed's. "There's a hole down below the waterline in the engine room."
Eyes narrowing, Ed turned his attention to the first mate. The sailor raised his shoulders. "The pirates will be boarding. Don't resist. They'll take you as hostages."
"Hostages?" Ed's shout nearly blasted Winry's eardrums. "The hell with that! Why don't we fight?"
The door to the wheel house swung open again, Captain Delacourt appearing in the opening. "Because, Mr. Elric, we're outgunned and outclassed." He kept the door open. "I would appreciate it if you left my wheel house and returned to your cabin."
Ed gritted his teeth. "I can help you, Captain."
"Sorry, Mr. Elric. You may know how to fight on land, but it's a whole other world out on the ocean. We're taking on water. I'm surrendering so we don't sink. Get in your cabin, now, and leave me to do my own job." He looked ready to spit. "And put on a damned life preserver, both of you!" The captain opened a small cabinet and took out two vests, ignoring Ed's protests to push them into his hands.
"Ed." Winry tugged at his arm. He felt like stone, almost as stiff and heavy, and it was hard to get him out of the wheel house. "Ed! I don't want to be a hostage, either!"
"So…we do something." Ed stared at the pirate ship, so close to them Winry could make out individual faces. Handing her one of the vests, he shrugged his on, tying it and making sure Winry had fastened hers tight. He took her hand. "We have to - "
Something slammed into the ship, making it shake and groan. Bullets rained over the ship. Winry saw a flash out of the corner of her eye, her cheek stinging. Ed turned to her, reaching up, his eyes opening wide. The Wavewalker shuddered again and Ed toppled to the wooden deck. Before Winry could grab him, the boat rolled, making Ed crash into the railing. "Ed! No!" she screamed as he pitched over the side, falling into the water below.
If you want to read more, delete the spaces. ht tp : / / archiveofourown . org / works / 361627 / chapters / 586652, which is where the rest of the story is located. FFN would say it's "too violent/too sexual", and delete the story, and I'm too tired of that happening to fight with them.