A/N: WHEEE! NOW I GET TO SPEAK UP HERE! I am doing this because I want to preserve the mood at the end, but am not able to keep my big mouth shut! :D
Truth be told, I actually had like 97% of this chapter on my computer since like a couple of days after the last update, but that ending... oh my gawd. I literally spent like five hours total(in batches of ten or fifteen minutes, or one time for forty minutes straight) writing just ONE FRIKKIN PARAGRAPH OF THE END. OH MY GAWD. ED AND WINRY JUST REFUSED TO WORK WITH ME. plus, I kept on screaming and hitting my head against the wall in embarrassment. my sister once thought that I was being attacked by some stranger or something. XD but... well. HERE IT IS AT LAST!
I hope you all had an epic Halloween! My legs are still sore from dancing for like three hours straight two nights ago! :D Yay! Happy pain!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! ENJOY THIS CHAPTER FROM THIS HUMBLE, CAT-BREATH SMELLING FANFICTION WRITER! ^-^
Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist under any sort of circumstances. Well, I guess I do own the first three volumes… and they smell so frikkin good. Oh. My. Gawd. THEY SMELL AMAZING. If any of you have never smelled new manga (or at least gently used manga), you are seriously missing out on life. Go smell some. Now. *slurps orange juice* I'll wait here.
Stupid Edward. Stupid stupid stupid STUUUPID!
Winry glared at the ground beneath the balcony outside her room as if it had just went and destroyed her entire workshop, all of her current projects, all of her notes, everything. She was gripping her trusty wrench in one hand. It was her landline, her anchor. Without having something that she's known all her life to clutch hard enough that her knuckles turned white, she probably would have went on a rampage within seconds.
Well, she reasoned in her own mind, I've known Edward my whole life… So maybe squeezing that stupid little neck of his will help… Hehehe…
Granted, when she had first thing that look on his face-oh god, that look-she had just felt… broken. As if she wasn't good enough. She couldn't stand it. Her heart had felt dark and heavy. It hurt to breathe.
But now that she was out in the open hair, all of that self-pity and wallowing had turned into anger and… confusion. Mainly confusion, at this point.
Ed had looked appalled at the mention of Winry traveling with him, of being with him for that long. She knew that wasn't true. After all, they had just… shared a bed… for hours… and he didn't seem to hate it. Quite the opposite, actually…
Winry shook her head, trying to steer herself away from those thoughts, those memories. Her fingers curled around her wrench tighter.
So… she knew that he didn't hate her.
But then… why?
Winry sighed, and slumped onto the railing, her neck landing in a very awkward, painful position, but she didn't care. It felt kind of good in a weird, twisted sort of way. Her fingers went limp around her wrench and it clattered on the porch next to her. It never even crossed her mind to pick it up. She didn't even register the sound of footsteps coming up behind her.
"Hey, you don't want to lose this. How else will you cause me enormous amounts of pain and blood loss?"
Winry jumped a foot in the air and a foot away from the voice coming from her right as a glint of silver entered the corner of her vision. Ed was there, looking as startled as Winry felt. In one hand was her wrench.
She snatched it out of his grasp. "Idiot!" She scolded. "Don't sneak up behind me like that!"
"I wasn't sneaking! You just-" Edward's mouth hung wide open for a long, tense second, and then he shut it again with a sigh. "No, wait, I didn't come out here to argue…"
Winry turned away from him again, choosing to look out at the crystal blue sky, unblemished by any sort of clouds. "Then why did you come out here?" She couldn't stop herself from pouting a little bit.
"Um…" Ed let out a small cough. "I'm… I'm not really sure, truth be told…"
Winry's rage came back to her in an instant. Without missing a heartbeat, she slammed the wrench against the side of Ed's head as hard as she could. "THEN DON'T COME OUT HERE, MORON!" She raised her hand to hit him again, but he stopped her by grabbing her by the wrist.
"Winry, calm down!" As soon as she had taken a deep breath and the murderous glint was gone from her eyes, Ed let go of her and propped himself up on the railing while rubbing his head. Winry found herself leaning against the railing as well.
They stood there, staring at the same sky, the same sun, the same plains. They were right next to each other. If Winry took one half step towards Ed, she would be pressed up against him. Their elbows were almost touching but… not quite. They both had their eyes open, they both saw the world as it was, but yet, as they gazed at the same exact scene, they were seeing two different things. They were almost touching. But they weren't. And that was the same as not touching at all.
Hadn't they promised, six months ago? Hadn't Edward asked her to give him half of her life? Hadn't she responded by saying that she had to give him all of her life?
No, wait, that didn't matter, not anymore. Well, it did. But that was then, and since then, so much had happened. That promise was still their, still between them, but neither of them knew how to approach it, how to deal with it.
It's not enough.
Edward's body tensed up at the sudden question. "Why what?"
"You know," Winry said softly. "Why… not? Why can't I go with you?"
"I never said you couldn't," Ed pointed out weakly.
Winry laughed quietly. "You did. You just said it without saying a word."
Ed sighed and tilted his head towards Winry, just enough to be able to look at her. "It's not that I don't want to be with you or anything…" He was still facing her, but his eyes flickered away as a faint red blush dusted his cheeks. "Really, Winry, that's not it. I would actually love for you to come and travel with me, but… you…"
"It's too dangerous, right?" Winry rolled her eyes and muttered, "It's the same thing, over and over again…"
Ed's brow furrowed in confusion. "What? No. Well, I guess it is dangerous at times… But frankly, I'm more scared of what you would do to the West, not what the West would do to you." The corners of his lips turned up in a teasing smile. "I don't want to put all those innocent people in the path of your wrath."
Winry grinned and slapped him playfully on the shoulder. "Don't worry, I wouldn't kill people I don't know. Meaning that it's okay for me to kill you, obviously." After a second of silence, her grin slipped away. "So then… why can't I go?"
"Um… well… that's…" Ed quickly spun his head to face the landscape before them once again, but not before Winry caught a glimpse of his deepening blush. "It's just… You were always… here, you know?" He paused, hoping that that would be enough.
Winry patiently waited for him to continue. Seeing that he wouldn't get out of there with just that shaky statement, Edward took a deep breath and continued.
"Even when we were just kids, you were always here." A smile played across his lips. "I always knew that Al and I could run up here and you'd be here waiting, wrench in hand. Always." His smile grew slightly. "And when Al and I left, well… I guess… we could always come back here, and here you and Pinako would be waiting for us. Angrily, perhaps, but waiting nonetheless.
"And that's what you are to me, Winry," he said, turning to look at her, actually look at her. "You're always there. You're always here. You're what I can always come back to, no matter what happens, no matter how bad it gets out there, I know that you're here. And that helps me take my next step, you know? Helps me go on. You're… my lifeline."
Winry stared at him, speechless. She heard the words coming out of his mouth, but… she couldn't believe that they were actually coming out of his mouth. He had never said anything like that before in all of the years that they had known each other. I… I never knew…
Ed cleared his throat and turned away again, blushing as his mind caught up to his mouth. "I mean… of course… you can come with me, if that's what you want! Honestly, I'd love to have you come with me!"
Winry laughed, not quietly, not softly, but an actual laugh that erupted from her mouth. Ed jumped a foot in the air, startled by the sudden change in atmosphere.
"Wh… what is it?" He asked timidly, as if she was a wolf that was about to rip him to shreds.
"Nothing," she said, a wide smile spread across her face like butter spread on bread. "It's nothing, just… I never would have guessed that that's what you were thinking this entire time." She ignored his faint blush at the reminder and pressed on. "Most of the boys I've known-yes, I've known other boys besides you and Al, get over it-always say the same things over and over again: that I'm too weak, or that it's too dangerous or too hard or whatever. Frankly, it's as annoying as being tied to a chair and having your leg itch and you can't scratch it. Or like having a fly buzz around your face, but it doesn't go away no matter how much you shoo it. Y'know what I mean?"
"Yeah, I guess," Ed offered warily, still unsure of where she was going with this.
"But you…" Winry laughed again, this time more gently. "I never know what you're going to say next. You always surprise me. Sometimes it's a kind of weird surprise, or sometimes just annoying. But I know that whatever it is, I'll always be able to laugh about it, even if it's not right then." Her smile softened and her blue eyes glowed at Ed. "That's one of the things I really love about you, Edward."
Edward's eyes widened faintly. Winry's lips twitched into a quiet, knowing smile. She was tempted to look away from him so as to save him some embarrassment, but decided not to. It was her own little version of revenge for earlier, not that she was that mad anymore. She found herself staring into Ed's golden eyes. She watched as their eyelids slowly fell until his eyes were half-lidded. She marveled as the meres of gold became streams running along the rims of his pupils as they dilated until they looked almost like a cat's, even in the bright sunlight. She was far too lost in them to consciously notice that while they were still looking at her, they were no longer locked onto her own eyes, as they had drifted downwards instead.
She could tell that he wasn't asking her to respond; she could hear it, feel it, in his firm, hushed voice. But of course, she wasn't going to listen. She had just started to open her mouth to reply-even though she had no idea what she was going to say-when Ed's head dipped in towards her.
His lips brushed against Winry's, almost searchingly at first, before moving away just enough so that they were barely not touching. In that brief moment of separation, she let out a light breath, her shoulders falling a little; then, as if he had received his answer, Edward brought his lips to hers once again, though this time, he didn't break away for a very, very long time.
And for the first time in her life, Winry Rockbell couldn't think of a single thing to say.