Title: The best woman in all the worlds.
Author: Madoshi (Edik_lyodoedic)
Rating: I have no idea what all this rating deal means but there is no sex and violence here. But there is probably a lot of angst.
Characters: Winry, OC.
Contest: it speculates on the life of the Elric brothers after the movie. So there’re a lot of spoilers.
The text is under cut
Note: 1. John the Wanderer is an OC from the series of short stories “Elements of broken lives” which I’m planning to begin pretty soon. He belongs to me and… please, don’t hurt him, he’s very soft and gentle
2. The extract of Ed’s diary is written in Russian only because I was too lazy to write it in English… And I always wondered why there is a song in Russian in the TV series. There is a slight reason, because Amestris resembles Russia a bit (I mean all those military forces… that’s how our history could have developed). And then I thought about the possibility that there could be several languages in Amestris, may be English as an official one, and, besides German, Italian and Russian (it’s because of the names). May be, Spanish too…
The best woman in all the worlds.
“Is that better?” she asked in a very polite voice.
“Mmm… I’m not sure. Did anything change at all?”
“Well, than, may be…”
“Oh-oh! Oh, shi-it, that hurts!” he clenched his teeth trying not to burst out screaming, And it was only his left hand below the elbow. Here he saw people whose whole arms and legs were replaced with mechanical ones. He couldn’t imagine what pain they went through.
“I’m sorry, it’s always like that” she frowned. “Can you move it?”
“Yeah, I guess. At least now I can feel it quite well”.
He tried to clench his fist, but his new steel fingers only trembled slightly. The feeling was… unusual and rather painful.
“It will take you several months to get used to it”, said she. “But then it will be almost like a hand you were born with. Believe me. Everybody learns, sooner or later. The quickest case I saw was a boy of eleven. He got used to two automails in less than a year, though I’d swore it would nave taken at least three”.
“That makes a good hope”, he smiled. “Thank you very much. And sorry for my Chinese”.
“I mean, sorry for my being rude”.
“Nothing. You‘re very polite for a client who gets his first automail. People usually think that pain stopped when they lost their limb, and they are not prepared to feel it any more. But pain never ends…”
“Oh yeas, you know. You survived a lot, but your heart reminds kind, I can see it in your eyes. That’s why I let your stay when you didn’t want to tell me your name”.
“I just didn’t want such a great woman to be in trouble. Knowing my name is dangerous, I’m afraid”.
She ignored the compliment.
“By the way, about your name… Please, tell me something I could put in my blanks. It’s a mere formality, but I can’t just write something like “John Dow”. I need something less…”
“Suspicious?” he raised a brow.
She smiled a bit, but that was all. They got acquainted a week ago and he never saw her laughing. Even when he told her that she was beautiful. To tell the truth, he got used to the fact that women’s reaction to his compliments was… um, at least it w a s. Ok, this particular woman was married, but “married” doesn’t necessarily mean “cold”. Oh, he didn’t intend to do something inappropriate, he just wanted to make her laugh. He liked her and was eager to see these blue eyes lit with joy. Is this a crime?
‘Name… I think, John will do. And the other part… what about Elric?’ he said the first word that came into his mind.
She raised her eyes and gazed at him motionless. Then she slowly sat down in a chair and asked in a freezing tone:
“What do you know about them?”
“About whom?” he tried to make some time. He already realized that this name reminded something to her, but what exactly? It couldn’t be a mere coincidence and at the same time it couldn’t be anything else. No way! It couldn’t be that the Elrics were also from this world! Or..?
“The Elric brothers!”
“Brothers..?” The Elrics he knew were a married couple with an eighteen-year-old daughter. “It’s a misunderstanding…”
And the thought stroke his mind. It really was a misunderstanding. But the misunderstanding was completely his.
When General said: “those Elrics… they were my best” he didn’t mean a family of agents from Paris who disappeared the day before. He meant The Full Metal Brothers… Of course, very little people knew their real names.
“You’ll better explain”, her voice was trembling but he felt an unusual strength in it. “…or I’ll call my friends from the military forces, and…”
“No, I’ll…” he waved his hands and stood up from his chair. He was intensively trying to find some way out of this awkward situation. Some peaceful way. He never liked to fight, especially with women. Especially with beautiful women. And this one was extremely beautiful. Nobody would ever say she is in the end of her thirties, so shining her complexion was and so graceful she moved. Only her hair, golden and white, and the wisdom of her eyes could betray her real age.
“I’ll tell you, of course! I’m from a very different place, you know…”
“Different world. Am I right? Who are you?”
“Just a… wanderer. No family. No name. No past. I’ve been traveling a lot. I’ve been changing a huge amount of worlds. Can you believe in it?”
“Yes. I can”, she put her hands on her knees. “I suppose I have nothing else but to believe you”.
He realized that she was aware about the existence of other worlds but it was surprising how she managed to attend to this knowledge so fast in her everyday life. She’s probably thought of it a lot.
“When I said that pain never ends, you said you understood,” she continued slowly. “Then you understand what is to wait. And what is not to wait. You know, when I was a little girl, there lived two boys in my neighborhood. Two brothers. Really strange ones, but still I loved them very much. I lost my parents when I was six, their mother died two years after. My granny took care of them. We were close like real siblings. The younger brother was an extremely nice guy, the older… oh, he was selfish, arrogant and self-impudent. But also a very kind person. I had a dream we would live together forever. But they had to leave pretty soon…. I always waited for them… I wanted them to have a home to return to. And they always came back, and then they always left again. At last they left for good… for a different world. I don’t know exactly why… I don’t understand anything in alchemy. But I was told that they had to… the price for our being together appeared to be too high after all”.
“You loved the elder one?” he asked softly.
“I loved them both. But… yeah, I guess, one of this feelings was quite different. Never mind. That is a piece of my youth. A shard of my precious memories. The best years of my life. So please… help me collect the shards, dear wanderer”, a bitter smile appeared on her lips. ”I just want to know how they died. ”
“Died? Why are you so sure…?” he definitely didn’t take her any hints.
“I felt it about two weeks ago. Strong grief, a very depressing feeling. I woke up in the middle of the night crying. At first I couldn’t understand what had happened, then I figured it out. Two days later, it repeated, but it was weaker that time, like an echo. I understood that it was Al. So don’t be afraid I’m going to faint or something”.
He felt relieved. He had to let people know about the death of their relatives and friends rather often, and it was never easy. He always wondered why there are so many hearts separated by different worlds. Why such things should happen so often?.. God gave no answer to his prays. And he had no ideas why he personally was chosen to end up stories of all different people he met in all these scattered universes. This woman’s story was sad but not unique. But damn it all, it still was hard to say, no matter how often he faced such a situation.
“Well… then I’ll just tell you, what I know, OK? But it’s not so much, I’m afraid. In the world I was before a very big war had broken out. But the war was coming to an end, when I left. Not to a very good end but it was better than we could hope in the beginning. I took part in the French “Resistance”… a guerilla movement. We were good guys if you know what I mean”.
She nodded, but he strongly doubt she really grasped everything. For her words “French”, Nazi, or “nuclear weapon” didn’t make any sense. But it didn’t matter as she was not interested in the catastrophes of that world. She just wanted to hear what had happened to the people she loved. So he went on trying to miss all the unnecessary details.
“The leader of my detachment was called The Full Metal Edward… some people said that it was because of his steel leg, but it wasn’t an explanation why his brother was also called “Full Metal” sometimes. We didn’t know their real names. I never even talked to Mr. Edward, as I was in this detachment not a very long time. But everybody adored these brothers. They were… just terrific. And sometimes, perhaps, terrifying. They could do everything what was possible and far more. The General appreciated them very much. And… I’m afraid, I don’t know how Mr. Edward died. I lost my hand several days before and was taken to… something like hospital. But I spoke to his brother… He was put at the same hospital and, though his wounds were very bad, he lived about two days more. Once he talked to me… The doctor allowed me to stand up the day before and I came up to his bed. Somehow he knew that I had visited many worlds. He said it was evident for everybody who passed the Gate, and I understood he’s from another world too. He advised me if one day I find myself in a country called Amestris, I must get in touch to an automail mechanic named Winry (he was not sure about the last name) and make a good automail. And asked me… if one day I see you I should give you his brother’s diary… He gave it to me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t save it… it was accidentally burnt. Only one page left..”
“If you know about me why didn’t you tell me everything at once? “ she asked firmly.
“I didn’t want some bad memories to be revived. I… you just looked so calm… so… happy… you have three children and a husband…”
“I’m a widow. I’m afraid I have a bad luck with men”.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know…” he murmured feeling incredibly ashamed.
“And I have only one daughter. Those twins are not my sons. I saved them during a little civil war five years ago”.
“So why didn’t you intend to fulfill Al’s last will until I asked you myself?!”
“I just didn’t want to cause your more pain. OK, they say that the last will is sacred… But as far as I live, I can see that only life is sacred and the happiness of living ones. Dead ones are gone. Living ones are here. I didn’t want those beautiful eyes to be full of tears”.
“Give me the sheet”.
“You said that one page left. Where is it?”
He took the thing from the inner pocket of his jacket and handed It to her. It was wrapped into another peace of paper. She unwrapped it. He didn’t know what was written there, not because he didn’t see (it was impossible not to look at it under all the circumstances), but because he didn’t know the language. He couldn’t even recognize the letters.
He could only hope this language was familiar to her. He already understood that here in Amestris people talked in three or four different languages.
The contents of the page was:
13 июля ‘29. Жара. Как мне надоело тут торчать! Ненавижу Италию. Слишком яркое солнце, слишком бурный темперамент у местных жителей. И слишком небезопасно. Конечно, следовало бы привыкнуть к тому, что мы все время под прицелом, но, честно говоря, порою начинают сдавать нервы. Надеюсь, Ал скоро развяжется с этой идеей фикс и мы сможем убраться отсюда куда-нибудь, где попрохладнее. Только не в Совдепию, упаси боже! Больше не возьмусь ни за одно дело в России, даже если Старик снова попробует давить на то, что мы единственные из его агентов знаем русский. Скорей бы уж братец уговорил Бьянку убраться отсюда подобру-поздорову. Хорошая девушка, но не настолько, чтобы подвергать из-за нее опасности наши шеи. Если бы не Ал, я бы тут лишнего дня не задержался. Но ведь моему братцу как втемяшится что – так хрен выбьешь. И это еще меня он называет упрямым! В любом случае, не понимаю, что он нашел в местной красотке. Конечно, его телу восемнадцать, но мозги-то вроде постарше будут. Ладно. Полагаю, я никогда этого не пойму. Ведь лучшая женщина во всех мирах – это все равно…
[Here Ed complaints that they’re stuck in Italia because of a girl Al wants to save. And he says he doesn’t understand why his brother liked her, because “the best woman in all the worlds is…” and here the extract is over]
And here the page ended. The edge was burnt a little.
“Why didn’t you tell me everything a week ago?” she whispered. “Why didn’t you give it to me?..”
“I’ve already told you the reason… May be I was wrong. Forgive me”
“You were surely wrong. You were terribly wrong. A whole week!..” she kept silence for a while, and he felt as if all his words of comfort were sealed on the tip of his tongue. “So, I believe,” she went on, “my work is completely done. In this booklet you can find the description of all the necessary exercises. Please, be careful when doing them”.
She didn’t say “get out”, but he understood everything perfectly
And he had nothing to do but turn round and leave this place. However, staying in the doorway he heard her voice:
“I’m sorry… Wait a minute, please… Did Al say anything else to you? You know, there is nothing in this page, only a meaningless extract… How did they live? What did they do? Were they happy?”
“I don’t know. I truly sorry, but I… I’ve told you, I didn’t even know their real names! And… I heard that Chief Al was married, but his wife died awfully long ago. That’s all. And… about happiness… he was smiling when I told to him”.
Better than nothing. He decided not to mention that it was a very sad smile.
‘No wonder”, he felt a smile and tears in her own voice though he couldn’t see her face. “They both always smiled even when they were coughing blood. But.... how did you find me here? Did you intend to or was it a coincidence like with the surname?”
“No, I wanted to look at you in order to decide whether to tell you or not. Chief Al described you to me. He said that you should perfectly match his brother’s definition, though he personally once met a girl who matched it too”.
“The best woman in all worlds”.
“Good by, my perfect lady. It’s high time…”
“Please, wait!” she interrupted him. She was probably somewhere between anger because of his previous silence and despair because of his leaving without telling her more. “I can’t let you go like that! Could you… May be you could stay for dinner and tell me…”
“I’m sorry”, he still stood in the doorway with his back turned to her. “All the stories must end at some point. I… I’m terribly sorry. But it’s really high time I left this world. I can’t stay even for an hour. I’m escaping, you know”.
“Then… good luck. Drop in for a dinner if you’re here again”.
He felt like a criminal when he stepped on his Way Between this time. When he left, the best woman of all worlds was trying to hold her tears behind his back.