AN: This story came into fruition while drinking a ton of margaritas and started as a joke sprung from a conversation on teachers that my friends and I thought were attractive in high school. From there it went out of control with statements like, 'Call it Phys. Ed' since Ed will be a teacher and have him substitute for the gym teacher to meet Winry.' As much as that idea was funny, it would be inappropriate considering the implications of improper conduct with a minor, so instead this story is set in college and is much less light hearted than the aforementioned counterpart. In this AU, throw out any previous history with characters, because they don't have one here! In any case, I did NOT plan on writing another fanfic for a while and especially one that will probably be a long multi-chapter however this idea will not leave me alone so...enjoy!
Disclaimer: I have no rights to FMA!
Groaning in irritation, Winry reached over groggily to silence the blaring sound of her alarm. Sitting up slowly, she rubbed her sleepily hooded blue eyes while squinting into the bright light of morning. She had been up far too late the night before working on her latest design for automail, she was sure that if she could have a bit more schooling she could make her brain child succeed. If she was able to turn the sketch into reality, she would be considered a prodigy, undoubtedly. Stretching back to relieve some of the tension from her overworked body, she finally got out of her large, fluffy feather bed.
Walking into the kitchen, she went to the coffee maker to start brewing a pot of her deliciously strong pick-me-up. In fact it was the one thing she splurged on. Since she had no family to help support her during college, her financial situation was precarious at best. However upon walking around the area just off campus, she had been lucky enough to see a bookstore/pub with a help wanted sign in the corner of the window. Finding that little treasure of a job was like going shopping and finding that last perfectly cut little black dress on sale in your size. Pouring herself a relatively large mug of the heavenly scented dark liquid, she sipped gingerly allowing the fumes of the rich aroma to wake her. This recently found addiction actually made her smirk, she remembered being around fourteen when her father had first offered her a cup of the steaming drink and she had all but spit the vile concoction out at the time. Interesting how in such a short period her taste could change so much. Actually, it was alarming just how much in her life had changed in the past few years.
Growing up, she had the most incredible childhood with the most warm, loving parents anyone could ask for. They were strict, yet utterly supportive of her aspirations and let her follow her heart's pull for all things that involved automail and it's effect on the body. Even at a tender age of five, she could recall her love for taking apart mechanical devices around the house and putting them back together, usually. A large influence on this hobby turned obsession, was her grandmother. Granny had been a certified automail engineer since long before she was born, and quickly saw the latent talent that had become visible in her granddaughter. Every summer when school let out, Winry would go learn the trade from her well known and much sought after relative. In fact, she had become so skilled that before she was twelve, she had already begun to accumulate her own customers. With the supervision of her mentor, she crafted some of the most uniquely advanced parts ever made. Pride was evident in every line of Granny Pinako's wrinkled face. However the summer of her sixteenth birthday, tragedy befell the happy family.
Recalling the night they had received the news, Winry's eyes became watery with tears. Granny had answered the phone like any other time, but after a long minute of listening to the person on the other end, her voice had become gravelly and soft. Looking to her in concern, Winry knew something was not right by the piercing worry in her eyes. Soon after Pinako replaced the phone onto the receiver, she grabbed a tissue and blotted her eyes as she turned to face her confused granddaughter. Gently, she relayed the fact that her parents had passed away. Eyes instantly prickling with tears, she was completely numb with shock to the news. There was no way that it could be her parents. She had just seen them a few hours before when they dropped her off to stay for the school break. A terrible thought had blindsided her as it was wont to do over the following years. If she wouldn't have gone to her Granny's house, her parents would have been safe at home with her.
Wiping the stray tears that had leaked from her eyes, she headed to the bathroom to get around for her first day of college. She knew that her family would be proud that she was finally continuing on in her education after taking a year off when Pinako passed away shortly after she graduated high school. She smiled as she quickly showered and dried herself. Wrapped up in a large towel, Winry headed to her room to find something suitable to wear. Flipping through hangers upon hangers of t-shirts and button ups, she thought it was ridiculous that she could own so many clothes and none of them seem right. Since it was warm and her legs were clean shaven, she chose to wear a knee length, flowing, sleeveless dress. Hugging her in all the right places, the fabric alternated in different shades of blues and greens, from seafoam to light blue to sky blue with a bit of off white to break up the progression of color.
Walking back to the bathroom, she let her long silvery blonde hair air dry since it was naturally straight and began applying a hint of make up. Lining her upper eyelids and brushing on some mascara, she was nearly done. Her sapphire blue eyes staring back at her, she thought about her upcoming classes with a tinge of anxiety and excitement. Sliding an almost nude lip color over her full lips, she appraised herself in the mirror and concluded that she was ready to leave.
Grabbing a couple of granola bars, her packed to the brim with books, messenger bag, and keys, she headed out the door. She was going to be early, but her mentality was that of, 'better early than late' and even though she had only made the walk a couple of times, she figured she would have time to stop and get some tea before she headed for the university.
There was a great shop directly off campus and if she kept up the pace she had maintained every other time, she would have no trouble popping in quickly. As she rounded the corner, she saw a handsome, golden haired, young man in a wheelchair attempting to pick up his books and papers that had been scattered over the ground. Reaching down to help retrieve the miscellaneous sheets, he began thanking her profusely. Looking up from where she was crouched, she noticed he had the most beautiful and strange green-gold eyes she had ever seen.
"Not a problem at all!" She responded flustered by his uniquely colored, kind eyes. Smiling broadly at him she extended her hand to shake his and his warm, firm grasp accepted hers in return. "I'm Winry! What's your name?" Why did she sound so nervous?
"Hello, I'm Alphonse Elric, it's nice to meet you. Are you going to Uni here?" Uni was what everyone in the world seemed to call college here, it was odd to her, but apparently widely practiced.
"Yes, this is my freshman year. I was going to come last year but I had recently lost my grandmother, so I decided to take time off to settle her business and establish myself elsewhere. Do you go to college here?" Blushing, she couldn't believe that she had just told him all of that, he probably only wanted to know if she went to school there, not her life story.
"That's awful, I'm so sorry Winry. I'm a freshman too, though actually I'm a year behind as well, but for different reasons." Gesturing to the wheelchair by way of explanation, he too seemed nervous after he pointed this out. Before she had a chance to allay any worry or apologize for whatever had happened to him, he began speaking again. "I'm heading to class so I'm not late, but I hope that we will have some classes together and can talk again." His bright smile had returned, as he started to turn away from her.
"O-okay, well if you stick around between day and night classes, do you want to have late lunch or early dinner together?" Stuttering the words like an idiot, she waited for his response.
"That sounds great! I will see you here then!" Happy for the genuine excitement in his tone, she was already looking forward to talking to him more later.
"See you later, Alphonse!" Waving her goodbye, she was getting ready to enter the small cafe, when a gloved hand reached for the door handle before she could even register it, nearly knocking her out of the way. Sputtering in surprise, she saw a flash of golden hair tied in a ponytail, brush by her without so much as an, 'Excuse me' or 'Move' said on their way by. Winry was never mean spirited by nature and had always been a fairly courteous person, but she found herself offended and angry by this impolite behavior. Walking in after the person, she went to tap the shoulder of the instigator, intent on giving them a piece of her mind. Noting the ponytail, she spoke before her fingers had physically touched them, to get their attention.
"Excuse me miss?" Speaking in a sharp tone for her, Winry waited for the lady to face her. However, when the 'lady' turned to meet her steady glare, she was shocked silent by the man in front of her having the most strikingly stunning face. For the second time that day, she was looking into the most uncommonly colored, honey golden eyes she had ever seen. Was this whole campus littered with gorgeous men? Well, he would have been gorgeous if not for his hard eyes, and flat frowning mouth. Eyebrow raising at her lack of words, Winry searched for what she had originally been ready to say, coming up depressingly empty. She felt a furious blush rise to her cheeks at having referred to this man as a woman. In an almost uncivil tone, he spoke.
"As you can clearly see I'm not a miss, so what do you want?" Instantly the heat of her former irritation doused any attraction she may have been momentarily confused with. His cocky demeanor was enough to put her off alone.
"I was just going to tell you that it is bad manners to push past people when they are in front of a door without at least grunting a warning ahead of time." There. She felt better already, crossing her arms over her chest, she stared at him, waiting for an apology. All but rolling his eyes at her, he gave her his back again, moving forward with the flow of the line. What a complete ass! Tapping him on the shoulder, she gained his attention once more, which would have been exactly what she wanted if not for again being assaulted by his piercing amber eyes. Doing her best to ignore them, she pressed her case again. "Do you not realize that it is rude to behave that way? You could have knocked me over or hit me with the door." Just then the line moved and the employee asked if the man wanted the usual, to which he just shoved money forward in response. So apparently he was always a jerk, no matter the occasion. Returning his face to hers, he gazed levelly at her and answered.
"Well, you aren't on the ground and the door didn't hit you." Picking up his drink, an arrogant grin spread over his lips as he continued speaking, "So I guess you are going to be just fine then." Without waiting for her reply he walked briskly out of the little shop, taking a good portion of her day's patience and good mood right out with him. Stepping ahead, she placed her order doing her best to be extra nice to the man behind the counter for the lack of courtesy shown by the last customer. As she took her tea, she thanked him before rushing out. Now she barely had any time to make it to her first class at less than a jog. That damn stuck up, brutish man! This was all his fault! Rushing up the massive steps, she tried visualizing the map to the school and where her class was. Heading down the packed hallway, she paid careful attention to the numbers on the doors for 503, which should be her biology class.
Thankfully, she found the large room and slipped in the door with a few minutes to spare. Quickly assessing the remaining seats, she sighed in resignation that they were nearly all at the front of the class. Winry was an excellent student, able to put up with even the most insufferable of uninteresting topics but she preferred the anonymity of the back row. She liked to prove herself through hard work and good test scores, not from being called on incessantly because she was within eyesight. Setting down her cup and bag, she began pulling her course materials onto her desk. In high school she had always done well in biology, so this would hopefully be no different. As she took her seat, she caught a bit of the conversation going on within the single row of desks in front of her.
"I can't believe we are in HIS class, apparently he is practically a genius and gorgeous to boot." Shaking her head, she hated idle gossip, however found herself engrossed in their chatting out of boredom. Class should have started by now, but the professor was late which was her biggest pet peeve and part of the reason she didn't mind getting somewhere early.
"Yea, but I heard he has something wrong with him that isn't visible right away, like a deformation or something. I don't care how good his face is, if his body doesn't match. I just can't believe he is only 21 and so accomplished." Glancing briefly in their direction, Winry made a mental note to avoid these women. People generally couldn't help the hand they were dealt, it was depraved to judge someone based on something out of their control.
For instance, look at Alphonse. He was in a wheelchair and was a good looking, friendly guy. She glowered at the idea that someone would find him inadequate solely from circumstances he probably couldn't help. Tuning the women out before she heard anymore vile statements tumble from their mouths, she noticed the girl on her left side was already a good ways into the book for that class. Huge wire glasses framed her big, coffee colored eyes and brown, shaggy hair was trimmed to just under her chin. She was adorable, in a distinctly smart way. Catching the clock, she couldn't understand how someone would be ten minutes late their first class of the new semester. Irresponsible. They must be irresponsible. Scolding herself, she conceded that there were numerous legitimate reasons that they could have been delayed, so she should really give them the benefit of the doubt. The door opened wide as a man entered the classroom, to her utter disbelief and complete annoyance, it was THAT man.
"Hello everyone, my name is Edward Elric. I am your Biology 101 professor." Walking over to the board, he scribbled his name loudly with a piece of chalk. Wasn't that Alphonse's last name? Now that she thought about it the two did look very similar. After setting down his own bag, he finally turned to face his students. Golden eyes assessing the room and then widening momentarily in surprise at his recognition of her sitting in the very front row of his classroom. A wide smile crossed his face, as she was sure he was ticking off all of the possible ways he could and would pay her back for her bold anger this morning. Sighing yet again, Winry wished she had sat anywhere else but in the place she had. Pulling away his measuring gaze from her expression of 'what I wouldn't do to be invisible right now' back onto his stack of syllabuses, he quickly separated them into stacks that could be passed down each of the rows.
Of course being that she was on the end of the row meant she needed to take them from him. "This is a copy of the syllabus, a complete list of everything we will go over and due dates. The second paper that will be coming around will be a seating chart, I'm not asking you to move just to write your name on the chart according to where you are sitting now. Just a fair warning though, I am no good with names, so don't think I'm rude if don't get your name right." Taking care to enunciate an almost direct quote from their conversation that morning, he was letting her know subtly that he would be giving as good as he got for the next hellish semester.
As he stepped next to her to hand her the stack, her hand touched his accidentally and she noticed how oddly hard his own gloved hand was. Then it hit her, why would he be wearing gloves in the middle of summer? Flashing her eyes to his, she saw him scowl at her observation of this and he quickly moved on to the next row. He was fitted with automail, he had to be! She could hardly suppress her excitement. Recalling her classmates former words, she found herself completely fixated on his movements from there forward. There were only a few automail shops in the country and she found herself wishing she could ask him about his. Dropping the seating chart on her desk so he wouldn't have to risk unintended touch, she speculated that he thought she would be judgmental of his missing limb. Oh, why did they have to start out on such a bad foot? All she wanted was to talk to him about it. Unfortunately this was class and he didn't like her anymore than she liked him, so she may as well pay attention to what was going on. Writing her name carefully on the seating chart, she passed it and the stack to the girl with glasses next to her.
The hours passed by faster than she would have guessed. They reviewed some basic things that she had covered in high school, and she was glad to find she remembered more than she thought she would after taking a year off. Talking about biology was interesting as it had been for her before, of course it helped that she found herself fascinated about the way Professor Elric explained things. He was excited about the content, which seemed to be enough to hold the rapt engrossment of the class as well. Besides his enthusiasm for the material, she had found it hard to ignore his handsome features. No wonder there were almost as many women in the class as men. Watching his motions carefully, she saw that he was favoring his right leg to take the weight off of his left throughout the entire morning. She wondered if he had been properly taking care of the mail she was almost positive he had there as well, or if maybe he had grown recently and needed an adjustment. Either way, class was ending and she couldn't help her body's flight for the door when it was announced. However, a voice she already knew too well caught her off guard.
"Hey, you..." He trailed off searching for the seating chart to find her name, successfully. "Winry Rockbell." Stopping in her tracks, she just knew he was going to call her out on her behavior at the coffee shop. To her surprise, his eyes were glued to the paper in disbelief and a hint of something else, regret or sadness maybe? She wasn't sure why but she was equally shocked to find that she didn't like that look marring his face. Standing in the silence he had left between them she waited for whatever it was to pass. "Um, nevermind Ms. Rockbell." He seemed to breathe over her name as he said it, with that same haunted expression before turning to pack up his things. She was going to leave, but then her mouth preceded her brain and she couldn't stop the words that came out of her mouth.
"You know, you really should get that checked out Professor Elric. If you let it go much longer it will only get to be more painful." When he stared open mouthed at her for her forwardness, she got nervous and began to babble. "Also I'm sorry about this morning, I was a bit pushy and you were right, I didn't get hit by the door or anything so it wasn't a big deal." An incredulous look crossed his face at everything she had just said and after pausing for a moment, he finally responded.
"I see, so you are sorry now that you know I have a disability? Though I am impressed at your picking up on it so quickly, I do not need or want your sympathy Ms.-" Eyes flashing bright in anger and embarrassment that he had taken her kindness so wrong, Winry cut him off.
"I'm not offering you either, I was only trying to tell you that I was sorry we got off on the wrong foot, and that speaking of, you should get your mail examined you -" Stopping herself abruptly before she gave him a piece of her mind after just apologizing for the first instance, she picked up her bag from where it was slumped on the floor and continued again. "It's none of my business how you do or do not take care of yourself, you are not my patient, so it's not my problem. Excuse me for being too intrusive, Professor." Without another glimpse in his direction to see whatever smug or offended look she had left him with, she huffed angrily out of the door. Maybe she could just transfer to another teacher, at a different time. Granted, she would have to change the rest of her schedule also, but it would be well worth it, she just didn't think that spending three hours, three days a week with this man was going to work. Especially after admitting to herself that she really had over stepped the invisible line that separated teacher from student, and honestly, she didn't want to have to meet his molten eyes again.
Brushing off the whole situation, she figured she should leave to meet with Alphonse for late lunch, and then go back to the office and see about switching her schedule around. That was a good plan of action, and as her stomach growled in agreement she headed off in the direction of the coffee shop.
AN: 3/23/2016 I am currently going through and fixing this story chapter by chapter in an attempt to reconnect to it and improve it along the way. Please review if you notice anything that I have missed or just want to tell me what you like/dislike.