Genre: romance, ANGST
Rating: PG-13--R (graphic descriptions of wounds)
Spoilers: none, set about mid-series
Word Count: 1077
Summary: Al shows up at the Rockbells' with Ed in his arms, Ed near death...
Notes: This is my very first FMA fanfiction, so I started with something easy but very angst-ridden. I'd like to expand the whole story and write additional chapters with more complexity and additional characters later. Constructive criticism and compliments always welcome and wanted!
She heard the muffled groans coming from his room. Cracking open the door, her heart swelled as she saw him lying there. Carefully, she crept towards his bedside, padding lightly across the floor. His breath came in puffs through clenched teeth, golden strands of hair clung to his damp forehead. Burning agony was painted in every line on his face. Even in sleep, Edward could find no peace. Winry gazed down upon the tortured body that trembled and jerked with fever and nightmares. Kneeling beside him, she raised her hand to brush away the silken strands of hair from his furrowed brow. His eyes were pinched shut, his sallow skin slicked with sweat and caked in blood. Gently, she pulled the tangled sheets down below his shoulders. Despite seeing it time and time again, the horrific sight always startled her.
Tears pricked her blue eyes as she beheld the torn landscape of his flesh. When the two brothers had arrived the other night, Ed cradled in Al’s metal arms, Winry had helped Granny Pinako detach Ed’s shattered automail and bandage his terrible wounds. They had done all they could, and now they could only wait. Winry and Granny had drilled Al for details as to what had happened, be he remained infuriatingly vague. Those two never had a straight answer when they would arrive at the front door haggard, battle-scarred, and looking for a hot meal. However, neither Winry nor Granny had seen Ed in such bad shape since that fateful night almost five years ago.
Now, Winry surveyed the damage. Ed’s automail port for his left arm was exposed, leaving a gaping hole and an array of dangling, colorful wires where his arm had once been. She traced her eyes along the pearly-white webs of scars that tentacled out from beneath the metal automail sheath an down to his shoulder and chest. Her gaze then traveled down to the fresh gash that ran from one side of his belly to the other. The slash looked as if it were made by some razor-sharp lance or knife, and Granny had marveled at the fact that the boy had not been disemboweled on the spot. Along with dozens of additional wounds, there were the terrible burns. The burns were at least second-degree and extended in a blast pattern that covered the entire left side of Ed’s body. Already, fluid-filled blisters had bubbled up on his skin, which had turned a violent crimson. Ed’s chest heaved as he floated in-and-out of consciousness, his left hand desperately gripping the bedclothes, turning his knuckles white. The gauze bandages had already begun to be saturated with blood and ooze. Winry knew that they needed to be changed soon, but she also knew that doing so would cause Ed extreme pain. She felt her insides twist with pity.
“It’s what I deserve.” Winry gasped at the sound of Ed’s voice, feeling the blood rush to her cheeks in shame. Ed’s amber eyes were glassy with fever, but as bright as ever, and now their light settled upon Winry like two flames. Winry hurried to pull the sheets back over his body. “No,” Ed croaked, “Look at me, this wreck of a body. I’ve earned every bit of this.” For the first time, Winry’s eyes met his. The tears welled up and spilled over onto her flushed cheeks.
“Oh, Ed, no,” she whispered, her words barely audible, “No, no one deserves this.” Ed’s eyes glowed with bold determination, though searing pain was not hidden far behind.
“Hey, Win,” said Ed, attempting a pain-choked smile, “I’m sorta’ thirsty.” Winry scurried up on her feet and rushed to fill his glass from the pitcher that rested on the dresser. She could feel his eyes on the back of her neck as she filled the glass. Clumsy with embarassment, she leaned over, attempting to raise his head to drink.
“No,” he declared, “I can get up myself.”
“But Ed! Your automail is gone and your other arm—“ Ed glared at her. With agonizing caution, Ed tried to move his blistered left arm.
“Damn it!” he hissed through his teeth. Tears glistened in his furious eyes. He swallowed harshly and attempted to catch his breath.
“Please, Ed,” Winry pleaded softly. Without a word, he locked his stony glare on the ceiling as she slipped her slender arm behind his muscular shoulders. She felt his body stiffen and his breath stop as she carefully lifted his back. He never made a sound despite the excruciating pain that seared through him. As Winry lifted the glass to his lips she silently wished that just once he would cry out, that he would only lay down his pride just long enough to rest. She watched as he gulped the cool water and then collapsed back onto the pile of pillows.
“Heh, I’m a regular train wreck, aren’t I?” Ed let out a weak laugh, rosy shame filling his cheeks. Winry bowed her head and busied herself, dipping a washcloth in a nearby basin of fresh water.
“Your fever might be breaking,” she said as she placed the cold cloth on his forehead, avoiding his probing gaze. “I should go, you need sleep.” Winry rose, but as she turned to go he called to her.
“Could...could you just stay with me a little while? Until I fall asleep?”
She was still facing the door. She pressed her eyes shut to prevent another flood of tears and slowly turned back. His face shined up at her, but it was different than before. Suddenly, she saw him as he once was, lying in that same bed five years ago: a little boy, scared, lonely, and in pain. His brilliant eyes pleaded with her, his mouth turned down in a grimace of pain and fear. Without another word, she delicately lied down beside him, on his right side as to not accidentally touch his burns. He turned his face towards her’s and their foreheads met. Winry gently stroked his long, golden hair until his eyelids drooped and he was again lulled to sleep, this time more peaceful than the last.
Winry crept out of the bed and tip-toed to the doorway, glancing one final time at his sleeping form. He looked so frail, so weary; yet, he was so very strong, stronger than she could ever be. Silently, she shut the door...