Disclaimer: I do not own FMA or FMAB, which is pretty obvious because no awesome author who could create FMA would go so long without updating. ;_;

Chapter 36

I have something I have to tell the both of you.

Truly, those words were the first words breathed by the devil himself.

How else could they hold the power to cause Edward's heart to thump painfully in his chest? How else could they cause him to be drenched in a cold sweat?

He looked at Al, seated neatly on the floor next to him. The younger Elric brother fared no better, for his head had a duplicate of the same large lump on Ed's own head. These had been 'gifts' from Winry, delivered cleanly by her wrench, when the two Elrics had kept on fighting each other, trying to untangle themselves from one another, even after her announcement.

Now the young mechanic sat across from them, her knees pulled up to her chest. Her mouth opened and shut a few times, her eyes darting from Ed to Al, then away, and back to Ed and Al. Clearly, she knew what she was going to say, but didn't have the slightest clue of how she was going to say it.

"Winry…?" Ed prodded gently and nervously. He was worried he might get another smack on the head. Or two. Or three…

She sucked in a deep breath. "You guys are leaving again soon, right? Back East and West, I mean."

Edward and Alphonse exchanged a glance. "Well… yes," Al answered softly. "I mean, we've loved hanging out with you again, but there's still so much to learn about alchemy, and even just about lands outside Amestris in general."

"He's right," Ed added. "There's still more we have to do."

Winry nodded. "I know that. I've always known that." She gave them a small smile. "I think I knew that even before the two of you did."

Al returned the smile. "I can believe that."

At the same time, Ed huffed, "Yeah, right."

Al glared at his older brother, then continued. "Why are you bringing this up now, Winry? We can stay for a few more days. More than enough time to finish cleaning up Edward's mess, at the very least."

"Hey, it's not as if I tried to set the house on fire! All I wanted was to cook some eggs!"

"Now that's just sad."

"You little…"

"I'm not the little one here, Brother."

Ed snapped. "Don't think that saying 'brother' will get you off the hook, Brother!" In an instant, he had tackled his younger brother and was fighting to pin him to the ground. Again.


Winry let out a very long, irritated sigh, gripping her wrench in one hand as the two brothers yelped in pain. "Man, you really are a bunch of children! Especially you, Edward! Now do you see what I can't let you go alone?!"

The Elric brothers froze.

"…What?" Ed forgot about the fresh, throbbing lump on his head. "What did you say?"

Winry blinked, going back over her words. She flushed. "I… that is…"

Edward pushed himself up off of the ground and off of his brother. "Winry-"

"I said that I can't let you go alone!" Her face was red and she was looking at the ground, avoiding their gazes. "That's what I was going… to say…"

Ed stared at her, his mind blank. He couldn't quite wrap his head around what she was saying. He couldn't understand, couldn't process. Alchemy was simple. Just a bunch of chemicals in the right order and in the right amount. But what was the right order for something like this? He had a feeling that if he said the wrong thing, everything would blow up. But what was the right thing to say in this kind of situation? And what if she wasn't saying what he thought she was saying? What then? Would he be disappointed or relieved? He couldn't be certain. All he could see were images flashing just behind his eyes.

Al cleared his throat after a minute of this tense silence. "Winry… um… I don't quite follow you."

Winry smiled slightly. "I think I just said that I was going to go with you. I just… I'm worried." Her gaze flickered to Ed. "I'm worried about you, Edward. You never write, never call. The first time I see you in six months and you've completely destroyed your leg, somehow. What if you got your leg destroyed when you're out in the middle of nowhere and you can't make it back here to get it fixed? What then? So… can… can I go with you? Y'know, to take care of your automail."

Ed knew that she was waiting for him to say something, anything. But all he could do was sit there, his eyes wide. Even if he knew what to say, he didn't think he could say it. His mouth was numb, as was the rest of his body. The images behind his eyes kept on flashing, one after the other. Some had red in them. Others had glints of silver. None were exactly happy.

Winry's shoulders slumped at his silence. He had already given her more than enough of an answer. "Ah… never mind… I guess… I just… I don't know… I guess I got ahead of myself." She stood up and brushed off her pants, offering them a shaky smile. "You two can go back to wrestling or whatever you were doing before I interrupted you."

Al started to follow her. "Winry, that isn't-"

"No, no, I got it." She held up one hand, that weak smile still plastered on her face. "I spoke without thinking. Forget it." She quickly opened up the door and left, shutting it behind her quietly.

Al turned to Ed. "Well?"

Ed blinked once, twice, but remained silent.

Al frowned and knelt down in front of his older brother. "Hey, c'mon, snap out of it." He shook Ed by the shoulders. "Hey, answer me!"

Ed looked at Al, but he still looked dazed. "What… what just happened?"

"You just totally rejected Winry."

"Wait… what?! I… I didn't!"

"Sort of," Al conceded. "Kind of. In a way."

"But… I didn't say anything!"

Al shrugged. "That look on your face said enough."

Ed stared at him. "What, exactly, did I look like?"

Al thought for a moment, biting his lower lip. "Kind of… horrified. Scared. Almost as if you couldn't stand the very idea of her going with you, as if the very thought of it pained you." Al looked Ed in the eye. "Frankly, Brother, it almost looked like you couldn't stand the thought of her being with you. Which I know is a complete lie in fact, it's probably the opposite with you two but I'm just telling you what I saw."

Ed would have blushed, but he was too busy paling. "No, that's not what… it isn't like that! Al, you know what I mean, right?"

Al scoffed. "I never know what's going through that stupid head of yours. But if I had to guess, I would say hot air."

Ed punched Al in the arm, but his heart wasn't really in it. "Hey, show your elders some respect." His words were directed at Al, but his gaze was aimed at the door.

Alphonse sighed. "So when are you going to talk to her?"

"I… I don't know…" Edward stared at the door forlornly a moment longer before his head snapped towards Al. "Wait, why do I have to go talk to her?!"

"…Are you serious?"

Ed flushed and averted his gaze. "W-well… Not as if I have anything to say, really… right?"

Al hung his head. "Oh, poor, poor Winry… I feel so sorry for her… She has to deal with you… forever…" He wiped an imaginary tear away.

Ed's face reddened. "What do you mean by that?! Wait, no, never mind, don't answer that. You'll just say something weird or creepy."

Al sobered up. "But in all seriousness, you should go talk with Winry. You probably really hurt her feelings."

"What?" Ed looked at the door again. "But… she never lets anything get to her! You know her! If she was offended by something I said, she'd just whack me with that darned wrench of hers and yell at me!"

"That's true, but this is different, Brother. This is serious, and it's you. She asked if she could travel with you. Maybe you don't get it, but that's a huge deal. And then you acted as if you were disgusted by the thought of traveling with her."

Ed shook his head violently. "No, no, no! That's not it! I don't know what I looked like, but I didn't mean anything like that!"

Al gently nudged Ed with his elbow. "Then go tell her that."

Edward clenched his fists. "But…"

Alphonse smiled. "Don't worry, big brother. Just say what you really meant. I know that you probably didn't mean anything super offensive or horrible."

"I could do without the probably, thanks." Ed took a deep breath. "Fine. I… I'll go talk with her… maybe…"

Al rolled his eyes. "No, definitely."

"Yeah. That's what I said. Definitely maybe."

"Definitely yes."

"Definitely yes… someday."

"Definitely yes now." Al punctuated this with a threatening glare and a very hard, sharp poke to Ed's upper arm.

"Fine, I got it, I got it," Edward mumbled. He climbed to his feet and stood as tall and as straightly as possible. "I'll go talk to Winry. Now."

...hello again... *cough cough* it's... ahahhaa... been a while, hasn't it...

No excuses. *deep bow* me very, very sowweh... ;_;

I would apologize for the rest of this Author's Note. but that would just annoy a lot of you.


I wuz talking with a guy co-worker while we were working, and he goes,

"so what's your favorite anime?" (we had already established that we both like anime, though he doesn't like it nearly as much as me. XP)

me: "ughhhh... don't ask that of me... please... I can't decide! but A favorite would definitely be Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood! ^-^"

co-worker: "oh, yeah! I saw that one... that chick in the giant suit of armor is pretty cool."

me: "*trying to think of who he means* ...wait... you mean Al?"

co-worker: "yeah! the chick in the giant suit! *obviously thinks I'm stupid for forgetting the chick in the giant suit*"

me: "...Al's a boy..."

co-worker: "What?! no she ain't! she's a chick!"

me: "no... no, Al is definitely a dude."

co-worker: "no she ain't! have you heard her voice! SHE'S A CHICK!"

That went on for a little while... I don't think I ever convinced him that Al is a boy. XDXD poor Al...

so hopefully that story made you laugh and you forgive me! YAY! ORANGE JUICE FOR ALL! ^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

I really




hope you enjoyed this chapter! I HOPE IT BROUGHT SUNSHINE AND ORANGE JUICE INTO YOUR LIFE! Because writing this for all y'all definitely has for me. ^-^ It's been a real joy! Really! And the reason why I haven't updated as much is... because... I kind of don't want it to end. ;_; urgh... but... here ya go... one of the last chapters...

Please R&R! ^-^