Rated T for language.
First try at a Fullmetal Alchemist fic!
She hadn't meant to get this drunk.
Yes, the plan for her eighteenth birthday was to go to the neighbourhood pub and have a few celebratory drinks with her friends. But Winry had hoped the alcohol would only do so much as to leave her giggling, dancing, and having fun. Instead she now found herself cradling a toilet on the floor of the bar's dirty bathroom with a spinning head full of regret.
For starters, she had not expected so many people, both her friends and strangers, to buy her drinks. Maybe accepting all of them hadn't been the best choice, but Winry had told herself that refusing them would be rude. The truth however, was that she had honestly been enjoying the effects of the drinks immensely, and once the awful taste started to become unnoticeable, there was nothing to stop her. The other truth was that maybe she had felt a little sadder than she should have at the start of her birthday party, and the drinks were doing a great job of cheering her up.
Until suddenly her spinning head started making her feel sick instead of giddy and she almost threw up right there on the bar table when another shot someone bought her was placed in front of her. She could only stare at it while everyone chanted for her to drink it.
That's when Edward Elric had shouted over the cheers that she had had enough, and downed the shot himself before she could so much as reach out for it.
After that she had excused herself to go to the bathroom, and had miraculously managed to stumble there without falling over once. That was when her stomach had decided it had had enough.
Winry groaned as her stomach heaved again. Her forehead was sweaty, and her hair was falling out of its ponytail. She could barely see straight and she was pretty sure there was vomit in her hair. She was a mess.
Breathing in slowly and deeply, Winry fell backwards into a seating position with her back leaning against the door. She held her forehead in her hands and closed her eyes, trying to make the spinning sensation go away.
She wanted to go home, but her stomach dropped when she thought about what her grandmother might say if she saw her stumbling home like this and suddenly sleeping on the bathroom floor tonight didn't seem like such a bad idea after all. Tears started to form in her eyes as she thought of home and all the reasons that had convinced her it was a good idea to keep drinking came flooding back.
Home. Alphonse had already left home a month ago so that he could travel to Xing. And Ed... Ed had told her he was leaving soon too. When the boys had finally come home two years ago she had stupidly thought that was it - that they would be home with her for good now.
She should have known better, she thought as she angrily wiped a tear from her eye. She would always have to wait for them, be worried about them, and be clueless to when she would get to see them again. When Al had gone though, it had been okay. Yes she had been sad the day he left, but Ed was still there. Dealing with Ed leaving again had been a lot harder than her, and Winry wondered if Ed even realised the effect he had on her.
Swallowing, Winry reached out and fingered the diamond on the end of the silver necklace around her neck. Ed had given it to her only a few hours before. Winry wouldn't have thought anything of it normally – he had given her jewelry before (her various earrings) and thanks to his stint at the military he wasn't exactly poor. It was how nervous he had looked when giving it to her that made her question his reasons for the gift.
But if he did care about her like that why would he leave again without so much as a hesitation?
"Winry? Is there a Winry in here?"
Winry jumped slightly at the sound of her name. She didn't recognize the voice and the abrasive sound made her head pound. As she heard her name shouted again she managed a weak, "Yeah?"
"A blond guy outside just asked me to look for you in here," the girl said to her. "Friend of yours or should I tell him to fuck off?"
"Long hair?" Winry asked quietly. "In a ponytail?" Ed.
"Yeah, that's the guy." Winry heard the girl's footsteps coming towards her and she tried to stand up.
"He's a friend," Winry said. She quickly flushed the toilet and then started to fumble with the lock on the stall door. The girl caught her on the other side as Winry stumbled out.
"You okay?" Winry had no idea who this girl was, but she looked concerned nonetheless.
Winry only managed to shake her head in response.
"He's okay to take you home?"
As the girl lead her to the exit Winry suddenly realised what was more terrifying than having her grandmother see her like this: having Edward she her like this. Upon realising this she wanted nothing more than to pull herself out of this girl's arms and crawl back into her stall, but she didn't have the energy. Not to mention not being able to stand up straight by herself; the heels weren't helping.
The bathroom door opened and sure enough, there was Edward waiting for her on the other side. His face swam before her eyes and Winry looked down at her feet. She found the floor easier to face.
"Here she is," Winry heard the girl say. "She's not doing so good. You take her home and don't try anything funny yeah?"
"What kind of person do I look like to you?" Edward sounded angry. His raised voice made Winry's head pound and she groaned.
Winry felt the girl leave her side and she swayed on the spot. She grabbed Edward's arm to keep herself from falling and he helped her steady herself.
"You okay, Winry?" Edward didn't sound angry anymore, he sounded concerned and Winry was horrified at the fact that she suddenly felt like bursting into tears.
She swallowed and forced herself to hold back the tears. "No," she said meekly. "I want to go home. Can we go home? Please?"
"Yeah, we can go home," Edward said. "Can you walk?"
"I dunno," Winry mumbled into his arm. She felt Edward slide his arm out of her grasp and move it tightly around her waist. His grip was strong and he kept her close as the two made their way through the thick crowd to the bar's exit. The loud music was making her head throb and the dancing bodies around her were making Winry feel dizzy and sick again. Another wave of nausea washed over her and she started breathing in deeply again hoping it would pass.
Edward must have noticed, because he suddenly said, "If you're going to puke again, can it wait until we get outside?" Winry thought he sounded amused, and she was too tired and drunk to feel angry about it.
"How do you know I already puked?"
"I can smell it on you," Edward said. "You're kind of a mess right now." And she heard him laugh.
"It's not funny!" she groaned into his side.
"It kind of is," Edward said. He was brave when he knew she didn't have the energy to fight back she thought bitterly.
The two of them pushed through the door and the cool air from outside made Winry suddenly feel a lot better. But before Winry could savor it she remembered. "My purse! I left it inside the pub!"
"Relax, I'll go back and find it," Edward said to her. "Here, just sit here on these steps and I'll be right back. Don't move!"
Like she could even if she wanted to, thought Winry. She sat down on the cement stairs and as Edward hurried back inside she took her heels off and placed them on the ground next to her. The grass felt good between her bare toes.
The relief she felt from the cool air was short-lived as another wave of nausea washed over Winry. She dreaded the walk back home, and hoped Edward would get back soon.
Edward found the purse right where Winry had left it: on the bench the two of them had sat in earlier. A few of their friends were still sitting around the table, drunkenly talking and laughing. Isaac saw him approach and asked about Winry, but Edward just said she was tired and wanted to go home. He didn't really feel like explaining Winry's condition to any of the people here, though he figured they could guess pretty easily.
He pushed his way impatiently through the thick crowd of drunks, hoping Winry had listened to him and stayed put. He was slightly worried about the logistics of getting home with her, given that she didn't seem capable of walking by herself. In Central it would have been easy to call a cab, but they weren't exactly easy to come by in Resembool. He wished Al was here to help him.
Edward mentally started kicking himself for not paying attention to how many drinks Winry had taken. She had never gotten drunk before; she wouldn't have known her limit. Edward also didn't have much experience around drunk people. Winry had seemed fine earlier. She had been more talkative than usual, if that were possible, and more giggly than usual... And when she talked to him she had gotten closer to his face than he was used to, though Edward had convinced himself it was because the music was too loud to hear her otherwise. It was when she had started going quiet and stared at that last shot like he stared at milk he figured it was probably for the best that she'd stopped.
Probably a few drinks too late, Edward thought at he pushed the door to the pub open again. He was relieved to see her in the same place he'd left her though she was puking again. Edward exhaled deeply before walking over to her and sitting down on the step next to her.
"Don't make fun of me," Winry said when she could. "I don't feel well."
Edward laughed before he could help himself. "Yeah, like if it were me getting piss drunk you wouldn't be making fun of me."
"I didn't even say anything!"
"Yeah, but I know you want to."
Edward snorted. "Come on. I have to somehow take your drunk ass home. Do you think that's going to be easy? I should be allowed to try to make the best of this situation."
Winry groaned. "This is so embarrassing. Does anyone else know?" she asked, referring to their friends back inside.
"I said you were tired."
Now it was Winry's turn to laugh. "Yeah, like they're going to believe that."
"Are you feeling any better?" Edward asked.
Winry nodded. "I'm cold though." She started to shiver.
Edward didn't remember her bringing a jacket. He pulled off the white hoodie he was wearing and put it around her shoulders. "No puking on it though, okay?"
Winry hiccupped. "Okay," she said, though Edward didn't believe her. He noticed her heels on the grass next to her bare feet and stuffed them inside her purse before slinging over his shoulders.
Edward then stood up and held out his hand. "Come on. We've got a bit of a walk."
Winry was still unsteady on her feet, so Edward quickly gave up on trying to help her walk and hoisted her up on his back while he held her legs. He felt her head slump against his shoulder.
"Winry?" he asked. "Don't pass out on me."
"Mmmm," was all Winry mumbled.
Edward shook his head and began walking. The trip from the pub to their house was about a 20 minute walk, if one were sober and wasn't carrying anyone else on their back. At least it was mostly flat until the last leg.
Winry stayed quiet through most of the journey, until they got to the bottom on the hill that would take them up to the house. Edward's right arm was starting to ache and he was just contemplating taking a short break when he heard Winry mutter his name so quietly that if her mouth was not right next to his ear he wouldn't have heard her.
"You okay?" Ed asked, hoping she wasn't going to puke again.
"Ed," she repeated, a little louder this time. "Why do you have to leave me again?"
Her voice cracked in a way that was all too familiar to him and Edward froze. Yup, this was a good time for a break.
He let her down gently on the short wall that ran along the path and sat down next to her. "I'm not leaving you," he said quietly.
He heard Winry sniff next to him and he felt his stomach drop. "Then what are you doing?"
"Research in the west," Ed replied. "It has nothing to do with you."
"Oh. Okay." Winry said. Ed grit his teeth and held his hands together so tightly his knuckles were white. He didn't want to have this conversation. Especially not now, when Winry was drunk out of her mind. He didn't even know if she'd remember any of this in the morning.
"You know, sometimes you can be a selfish dick," Winry suddenly snapped.
"What?!" Ed found himself suddenly on his feet. All of his earlier unease was replaced with anger. "Are you fucking serious?! After everything I've done for you – for Al – - for fucking carrying you all night to your goddamn house - everything – you have the fucking nerve to call me selfish?!"
And then Winry started bawling and Edward's anger faded away into nothing.
"Y – y- you just tell me you're leaving with no idea when you'll get b-back a week before you go? You say it like it's not a b-big deal?! Am I n-nothing to you?! Do my feelings count for n-nothing?! Why do I bother waiting when it's n-never going to end?!"
Edward just stood there stunned. Winry glared at him through red eyes.
"You're drunk," he said finally. "Come on, let's go and get you to bed."
But Winry refused to move and before Edward had time to process what was going on he was sitting back down next to her and holding her in his arms while she sobbed into his chest.
No words of comfort were coming to his mind and Edward could feel himself start to panic.
"You're not nothing to me," Ed said quietly after a long silence. "Al left me to go to Xing. You think he stopped caring about me? It doesn't work like that."
"I know," Winry said to his chest. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I don't know why I said that."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Winry's sobs had calmed down a lot, though with a heavy heart Edward could still tell she was crying.
"I'll be back soon," he said finally, his chin resting on her head. "I promise."
"Ha!" he heard Winry's muffled laugh. "Like I'm going to believe that."
"A month," said Ed. "I'll be back to visit in a month. I promise."
But Winry was still crying. Ed hugged her tighter. "Winry please stop it. You're killing me. You weren't like this when Al left."
He suddenly felt Winry trying to pull away. He let go and was face with the glare of her bright blue eyes, filled with tears. "Al? Why would I be like this with Al?" She looked angry again, but there was more to her expression than that. Frustration? Fear? And then she said something Edward didn't think either of them expected.
"I'm in love with you, you idiot!"
Winry looked nothing short of horrified. Her eyes went wide, her jaw dropped, and she looked like she might be sick again. She looked like Edward felt. He found he could do nothing but stare.
It was Winry who finally broke the silence. "I am really drunk," she said. "I want to go home."
Edward could feel his cheeks burning and it took him a second to respond.
"Yeah... Yeah, okay. Hop back on."
Nothing was said between them for the rest of the walk.
All the lights were off when they got home. Edward was thankful that Pinako was asleep. All that was left to do was get Winry up to her bed. He kicked off his shoes and carried Winry up the stairs as quietly as he could. She had fallen asleep he realised when he sat down on her bed and let her off his back. He laid her down and carefully pulled her blanket over her. She was still wearing his jacket.
Edward exhaled sharply and looked away from her. He sat there for a few seconds, his mind racing with thoughts about what had just happened at the bottom of the hill. He couldn't take it anymore.
"Winry?" he asked quietly.
He got no response, and that gave him the go ahead. "I love you too," he mumbled quickly. "And leaving you is going to be really, really, really fucking hard for me. It's the reason I've waited so long to leave. And I want to come back and spend the rest of my life with you. I just have to do this first. And I'm so scared you won't wait for me again."
Edward paused to breathe. He glanced back at Winry, who gave no sign she had heard any of that. "I will try to tell you when you're awake and sober before I leave," he whispered. He got up off the bed and headed to the door. When he moved his hand to the door he realized he was shaking.
When he got to his empty room he slumped down on his own bed and slammed a fist into the mattress. He had two years to say something. He'd hoped a deadline would help him own up to his feelings but he had a feeling he was more hopeless than that.