I'll warn you now, I'm my own beta, so any mistakes are my own.
Title/Song: Center of the Sun
Characters/Pairing: Ed/Winry, Roy's gang, the surviving Hugheses
I look into your eyes, and I am at the center of the sun.
And I cannot be hurt by anything this wicked world has done.
“Garfiel’s Automail, This is Winry.”
A slight hesitation, then, “Hello, Miss Rockbell. This is Riza Hawkeye. I’m afraid we’re going to have to ask you to make another house call in Central for Edward.”
Winry sighed; both in relief that that was all Riza was calling for, and in exasperation that Edward had somehow managed to break his automail again. “What’d he break this time and how badly hurt is he to be in the hospital again, since I’m assuming that’s why I have to come to him?”
Riza sighed as well. “Well, his leg is broken—his right leg, I mean—a few scrapes and bruises, but other than that, he’s fine… physically.”
Winry frowned. “Physically?”
Riza sighed again, this time somewhat gravely. “Miss Rockbell, I think you’d better sit down.”
Winry sighed as she got off the train. Hawkeye’s news had been harsh, and when Winry had called Pinako to pass it on, she seemed to have taken it well, and Winry still marveled at the strength of the old woman, even though her sadness was evident in her voice. Garfiel had given her the rest of the day off and with Paninya’s help the next day had all but thrown her on the next train to Central. She steeled herself and started walking. She’d shed her tears the night before and a good portion of the train ride over, but now she had to be strong. She had a job to do, after all. Shifting her tool case to her other shoulder and lifting her suitcase with her free hand, she walked out into the crowded station.
Armstrong was waiting for her as usual. He was a little more subdued than his usual gregarious self, but given the circumstances she could understand why. She waved to him before working her way through the crowd to him. He greeted her formally and took her suitcase for her with a small bow, then led her to a military car where they both climbed into the back seat. As soon as the car started moving, she turned hesitantly to the large man.
“How is he?” she asked quietly.
Armstrong shook his head. “He hasn’t improved much, Lady Winry. He has recently started eating again, but little else has changed since Lieutenant Hawkeye informed you of the situation.”
Winry nodded. “That’s about what I expected. Can we go to the hospital first?”
Armstrong blinked. “Shouldn’t you be worried about your lodgings, first?”
Winry shook her head. “I’ve dealt with Ed like this before. If this is anything like last time… I may not need to worry about that.”
Armstrong gave her a confused look, but didn’t ask any further, and the ride to the hospital continued in silence.
Roy Mustang was waiting for them outside Edward’s hospital room. Armstrong saluted, which Roy returned before dismissing the major. With a nod and a small bow to Winry, Armstrong left her with Roy, who sat down in one of two small chairs outside the door and motioned for her to take the other chair. When she did, he sighed and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees.
“I’m sorry to have called you here with such news, Miss Rockbell.” His voice was rough and Winry thought it sounded like even he had been crying.
Winry shook her head. “It’s alright, sir. But… can you tell me what happened? Miss Hawkeye only told me the news, not how he…” she couldn’t bring herself to finish that sentence. “… How it happened.” She finished lamely.
Roy sighed again, and he was quiet for so long, Winry thought he wouldn’t tell her, when he finally gathered his words and spoke, his voice low. “Some friend or family member of someone Fullmet-… Edward… put in prison a few years ago naturally had a grudge against him for it, and somehow had gotten hold of a stash of armor piercing bullets, presumably for his automail….” He took a deep breath and sighed again before continuing. “I won’t go into detail about the actual… confrontation, but in short, Edward took two hits on his right arm, one of which disabled it from the shoulder down, and one more hit on his left leg, which didn’t seem to damage the automail at all, but it hit with enough force to throw him backwards a few feet. He landed on his right leg wrong, and it’s broken, but…” He was silent again for a while, visibly gathering his thoughts again before going on.
“The fourth shot was aimed at his heart, but it never hit its mark. Alphonse took the bullet for him, but he took it in the back. Hawkeye managed to subdue the shooter after that, but…” his eyes clamped shut as he went on. “It hit him right in the center of the back. Armor piercing bullet… right through the seal.” He looked over at her from the corner of his eye. “I’m… sorry for your loss, Miss Rockbell. And that Hawkeye and I weren’t able to be there sooner.”
Winry blinked back the tears that had started welling up from the story, and sniffed loudly before offering Roy a sad smile. “It couldn’t be helped. It sounds like something Al would do… They’ve both always been idiots.” She sniffed again and wiped her tears with Roy’s offered handkerchief before looking back to him. “I know this is a dumb question, but how’s Ed holding up?”
Roy shook his head. “About as well as can be expected. Hasn’t said a word, won’t respond to anyone. He just stares out his window all day. He only just started eating again… not much else.”
Winry nodded. “Can… can I see him?”
Roy studied her for a while before getting up and opening the door for her. She shouldered her tool case again and walked in, only vaguely aware of Roy placing her suitcase against the wall near the door before closing it behind her.
The first thing she noticed was that Gracia Hughes was in the room as well, sitting beside the bed with her hand on Edward’s left arm. She looked up and smiled through her own tears at Winry, who smiled weakly back. Gracia rose from her chair as Winry placed her tool case on the floor at the foot of the bed, and pulled Winry into a comforting embrace.
“Just wanted to keep him company.” She said to Winry’s questioning gaze.
She nodded and smiled a little easier. “Thanks.”
Gracia nodded before leaving the room, closing the door quietly behind her and Winry could vaguely hear her speaking to Roy, but she wasn’t listening, she was too busy taking stock of Edward’s injuries.
There was a bandage tied around his forehead, holding a lump of gauze to a wound near his hairline, and a bruise that appeared to be on its way to healing on his left shoulder. His right leg was thicker from the knee down under the blankets from the cast, and his automail arm, undamaged save two circular holes, one on his upper arm and another through the grill on his forearm, hung limp at his side, unmoving save the occasional twitch or small movement of his fingers. The shoulder plate was also missing.
He was propped up to a sitting position, and staring dully out the window. Winry noticed an empty food tray on the table beside his bed, noting also that the small bottle of milk was still untouched, but she didn’t have the heart to nag him about it right now. She pulled up the chair Gracia had been sitting in before and sat down beside him, resting a hand on his arm. He blinked at her touch, but didn’t move his eyes from the window, and she was pretty sure he wasn’t even looking at what was outside, as his eyes were dull and unfocused.
“Ed…?” she called quietly, not expecting a response from what Roy had told her, but something in her said she had to at least try.
His eyes focused at her voice, but no other response.
His head lifted ever so slightly and he slowly turned to face her. At first, he didn’t seem to know her, but he blinked, and a flash of recognition crossed his eyes before he slumped forward and his head landed on her shoulder with a soft thump. She slid one arm around his waist and another around his shoulders. He wasn’t crying… heck, he wasn’t even moving, but she knew from what little movement he had made that he just needed comfort… something… someone, he knew that wouldn’t leave. As if to prove her thoughts, his left arm rose and slid around her back to grip her left shoulder, his fingers digging into her jacket as he buried his face farther into her other shoulder. He didn’t move any more after that.
Man... I'm sorry about Al. I don't hate him, really... He's actually my favorite character in the series (Ed/Winry just happens to be my OTP :P), but that was really the only thing I could think of when that song line was thrown at me. And I've seen this idea done a million times, but very few times has it been done right, so I'm gonna take a shot at it. ^ ^;;
Crossposted like whoah, sorry if you get it twice/three times.