Part 1 of the Ed/Reader Trilogy
“Ah. So this is Resembool.” You looked at the sign above you, tearing your attention away from it so you could get off the train without falling off the platform.
After you set foot on the platform, you stared once more at the ‘Welcome to Resembool’ sign. You smiled, putting your large sun hat on and starting your long walk down the dirt-filled road. Your hand gripped the strap of the bag you had over your shoulder as you continued. About two miles later, you took your water break. You took out your canteen and drank, your mouth greedily accepting the water that came from it. When you lowered the canteen, you saw a wagon in front of you; the man who was driving was staring at you.
“Yes? Am I in your way?” You asked. Then the man smiled.
“No, but you look like you could use a ride.” You smiled back at him.
“It would be nice, but I don’t have that much money. I wouldn’t be able to pay you for the ride. I would be broke if I payed you.” The man shook his head.
“It’s fine. No charge. Is there any place in particular you wish to go?” You shook your head.
“No. I’m wandering.”
“Well, get in. I’ll take you to town.” You climbed into the back of the wagon.
“Thank you very much.”
“No problem. We don’t get many new folks to visit. I hope you’re welcome here.”
You put your bag on the floor of the wagon and put your hat on top of it.
A light wind caressed your face, almost like it was Resembool’s way of saying hello. Grinning, you rested your cheek on your hand staring at the wide open plains in front of you. Specks of black here and there represented the residents and homes of Resembool. Their features grew clearer as the wagon came closer. The people smiled and waved at you; you returned the gesture and smiled gently at them.
After you got into town and said goodbye to the Cart Man, you decided to wander through the area and see if there was any place to stay. Soon enough, you found the local inn. Only problem was the inn didn’t have any rooms. Apparently, late spring to early summer is Resembool’s “Tourist Season.”
“And you’re sure there aren’t any other inns?” You asked.
The employee nodded.
“Yes ma’am, we’re country folk, we usually don’t expect many visitors and this is one of the few times that we get more than usual.” He explained. You sighed.
“Alright then. Thank you anyway.” You went to the other stores, buying food and other necessities. You were trying to find a place where you could buy a tent when you bumped into someone.
“Oh! I’m sorry.” The person murmured.
You looked at the girl you had bumped into. She was actually very pretty. She was wearing a grey jumpsuit and she wore a red bandana over her long blonde hair. Her gloved hands were pushing a lock of hair behind her ear when you noticed her light blue eyes and the multiple piercings on her ears.
“No, I wasn’t paying attention, it’s my fault.” The girl stared at you, then smiled.
“Alright then. It is your fault.” You frowned slightly. Who was this girl to think she could be so rude? The girl saw your frown and smiled sheepishly.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.” She looked at your clothes and belongings.
“Hey, you’re not from around here are you?” You shook your head. The girl smirked.
“Well then, you’re in luck, I have a guest room in my house. You can stay there with me.”
“Really? Great, thank you!” You smiled at her.
“Awesome, my name is Winry. What’s yours?” You gave her your name, pulling the rim of your hat higher so you could see better.
“Cool. Just follow me.” Winry picked up her bags and started to walk away. You ran after her, slinging your bag over your shoulder. It took some time to get back to Winry’s house. You couldn’t complain though. The walk was worth it when you saw a yellow house rising up before you on a hill.
“Is that your house?” You asked. Winry turned to you and grinned.
“Yep. That’s our little abode. My Grandma lives there too, but don’t worry she’s nice. Why?”
“Because it’s a beautiful home.” You took off your bag and plopped down onto the road. Winry looked at you with shock plain on her face.
“You do know that this road is dirty.” You took out your pad of paper and a pencil.
“Yeah. I know.” Winry stepped forward.
“What are you doing?” She asked. You said nothing for a moment, just continuing to draw.
“Could you go back to the position you were in before Winry?” Winry did so, turning her back to you, but still looking at you with a turned head.
“I’m drawing you with your home.” You replied to her previous question.
“The sun is just right over you and the house. I can’t miss this scene.”
“Is this an artist thing?”
“Yes. I guess you could say that.” You were going to ask her how she knew you were an artist, but you knew that with your sketch pad and pencil, what else would you be?
It was sometime before you stopped, probably about twenty minutes. You got up and dusted your pants off; you picked up your hat and bag when you were done.
“Did you finish it?” Winry asked. You shook your head.
“No. The sun’s changed position, so the shot isn’t good anymore. We’ll just have to keep doing this until I get the color of the sun in. Doing your clothes and hair will take some time too. I need the right shade on your hair.” Winry blinked.
“You don’t know what I’m talking about. Do you?”
“Nope. I have no idea.” You started walking again.
“Let’s go then. Your grandmother is probably worried about you.” Winry nodded, leading you up to the house.
When you were walking on the front lawn, you heard a dog barking behind the door.
“You have a dog?” You asked. Winry nodded.
“Yeah. Her’s name’s Den. Don’t worry though, she’s nice.”
“I hope so.” Winry stared at you.
“Do you dislike dogs?”
“No.” You stared back at her.
“It sounds really stupid, but I’m kinda scared of dogs.” Winry smiled.
“It’s okay. Den’s sweet. She won’t hurt you.”
You both walked to the door and Winry opened it.
“Hey Grandma! Den! I’m home!” A large black and white dog bounded up to Winry. You flinched, but fear was driven away when you saw that Den had an automail leg.
Winry and Den turned to you.
“Want to meet Den?” Winry asked. You looked at her and kneeled in front of her. You reached out, but before you could touch her, Den licked your face. You froze, but you laughed. Den licked your face again and you began to pet her head.
“See? She’s not so bad.” You smiled at Winry.
“Yep. You’re right. Den is a sweetie.” You continued to pet her, not noticing an old woman come out of a room beside Winry.
“Hello Winry. Welcome back.” The woman said.
“Hey Grandma. We have a guest.” Grandma turned to you.
“So I see.” You noticed the woman and you stood up. You introduced yourself, giving her your name.
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Pinako Rockbell.” She held out her hand and you shook it.
“A pleasure, Ms. Rockbell.” You smiled at her and she smiled back.
“Stay here as long as you like. We could use a new face here.” You grinned.
“Thank you Ms. Rockbell.”
“But there’s also the matter of payment.” You frowned.
“I’m sorry Ms. Rockbell, but I’m only an artist. I’m afraid I don’t make much money.” Pinako stared at you.
“Are you a good artist?” You chuckled nervously.
“Well, I think I’m decent at the very least.” You replied.
“Fine. Draw us six good drawings or paintings and you can stay as much as you want.” You didn’t know whether to jump for joy or be worried.
“She’s already started one Grandma. I’m sure she can do it.” Winry winked at you.
You couldn’t believe it. How could you be blessed with such wonderful people? You barely knew them, yet they were being so kind.
‘That’s it’ You told yourself.
‘I’ll give them the best work that I can do.’ Your eyes lit up with determination.
“Thank you very much Ms. Rockbell. I promise you won’t be disappointed.” Pinako nodded.
“Alright then. Let’s get your bed ready.”
The next afternoon, you had your sketch pad out with your pencil and you were drawing Den. She seemed to like the idea, taking the attention greedily. Those macho poses she was making weren’t helping much though.
“Look natural Den. A dog doesn’t act like that.” You chided her with a smile on your face. When she didn’t budge, you sighed.
“Look, if I draw you in one of these poses, will you act natural in my next sketch?” Den bobbed her head up and down in response.
“Fine.” Ignoring the fact that you were just arguing with a dog, you switched to a new piece of paper; you took your pencil and began to draw. Den was standing on her feet; her automail leg was lifted up, with the paw curling inward. Her head was turned slightly towards you. Her eyes looked forward at the wall next to you.
You continued to draw her, ignoring any noises that came from inside or outside. A sudden ‘wham’ and a loud yell, plus a series of screaming distracted you for moment. But you were able to keep your attention on Den. When you were finished with the outline, you showed it to Den.
“There. Do you like it?” Den looked at it. When she made no response, you continued.
“I’m going to be shading your fur and your eyes in. Then I’ll really be finished. Is that alright with you?” Den barked and wagged her tail in response. You smiled.
“Good.” You began to shade in Den’s fur and eyes, glancing at her from time to time to remember how her fur looked.
From another room, you heard the door open and voiced echoed throughout the room. You recognized Winry’s and Pinako’s voices, but there were three more that you didn’t recognize.
“So, where’s Den?” One voice said. It was male.
“Oh. She may be with our other guest. Be nice to her Edward.”
“Her?” That was all you heard before Den bounded out of the room, barking happily. You didn’t move from your spot, staring at the finished picture of Den. Then you turned back to the picture of Winry with her house. You had already gone back with her to that spot. You were able to get more of Winry’s body and more of the house into the sketch. You could only hope that Winry would be able to pose like that for a couple more days. She had already asked if you had a camera and you did. The only problem was that the sun was too bright for that particular shot. The sun would take up all of Winry’s face and her house would only be a tiny speck in the background. After you explained that to her, you could tell that she was less annoyed.
Speaking of Winry, you heard her calling your name. You stood up, putting down the sketch pad and brushing off your shorts. You walked over to the door, opened it, and went into the other room.
Winry smiled at you and turned to the three new people, more specifically, men, in front of you. Winry introduced you to them, then waved her arm in front of them.
“This is Major Armstrong, Edward Elric, a childhood friend of mine, and Al-,” Before she could get anything else out, the one named Edward narrowed his eyes at her and Winry kept quiet. You frowned and looked at Winry, then at Edward and the Major. That’s when you noticed a suit of armor in a crate between the two of them. You saw red eyes widen before they disappeared from the armor. You sighed.
“Winry, who is the third person? I thought I heard a younger voice.” You looked at the suit of armor and smiled.
“Whatever or whoever it is, I promise I won’t say anything.” When no one responded, you walked over to the armor and kneeled down in front of it. Edward and the Major didn’t make any movement. They were smart, you’ll give them that. If they did anything, you would be more suspicious. You leaned in and whispered,
“I saw your eyes. Will you at least tell me your name?” For a few seconds nothing happened, then a response as quiet as yours, if not quieter, came out of the armor.
“Alphonse Elric.” You smiled and stood up. When you turned around, the smile melted off of your face and you walked out of the room. You got your sketch pad, your pencil case, and your camera; you waited for the voices to resume.
“Al, did you say anything?” That was Edward.
“No brother, I didn’t say anything.” You resisted the urge to snicker. Alphonse sounded timid; he must not lie to his brother too often.
“Did she say anything to you?” Winry asked.
“No, I don’t know what she was doing. If I opened my eyes, she would’ve seen them.”
The rest of the conversation was lost to you. You had already climbed out of the window and jumped onto the porch. You ran down the porch and out into the countryside, not thinking about the idea that Winry might look for you in the house.
You weren’t running away, you just needed to find some place to think. You wanted to draw something.
It was past sunset when you walked up the front lawn to Winry’s house. You were surprised to find Alphonse in his crate outside the door. You saw his red eyes staring at you in surprise.
“Hi.” Was the first thing you said.
“Hello.” Alphonse replied.
“Why are you out here?” You asked.
“Brother thought it would lead to less confrontation if I was out here. He believes that you think I’m an inanimate object.”
“You don’t like lying to your brother do you?”
“No. I just hope this doesn’t become a habit.”
“I don’t think so. Next time he asks, just tell him that I know you’re alive. I doubt he’ll be angry for very long.” Alphonse nodded.
“Say, how did you figure out that I was alive? We figured a suit of armor wouldn’t be that suspicious.”
“I’m an artist Alphonse my dear. I have an eye for detail. As I said before, I saw your eyes. I also saw you twitch a few times.” Alphonse lowered his head.
“I see.” You stood up.
“I’m gonna come out here and sleep with you. I figure you wouldn’t be so lonely that way.”
“I would like that, thank you. But wouldn’t you be cold?” You shook your head.
“I don’t think so. Besides, I haven’t slept outside in a long time. It’ll be nice.” That’s when you noticed something. The armor in Alphonse’s left side was completely missing. No one was inside. You frowned.
“Al, you don’t have a body, do you?” Alphonse looked away.
“Yes. We tried-,” He saw you put your fingers on the mouth of the armor and shake your head. Al said your name cautiously.
“Alphonse, you don’t need to tell me anything. It’s none of my business. I think it will be better for the both of us if I just accept it for whatever it is. So, whatever you and your brother did, since you said ‘we’, I accept both of you for it and I hold nothing against the both of you. Understand?” If Alphonse could smile, you could tell that he was.
“No problem. Now, I’ll go put my drawings away, get my pillow and blanket, and I’ll come sleep with you.”
You went into the house quietly and did exactly what you said. When you put your head on your pillow, you heard Alphonse whisper again.
“Thanks.” You smiled.
“Once again, no problem. Let’s get some sleep.” You closed your eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Ed ran up the dirt pathway to the porch of the Rockbell home. Once he got to Al’s crate, he put his hands on his knees, breathing heavily. He looked at Al and smiled sheepishly.
“I couldn’t find her Al. So she must’ve come back here.” Al’s eyes lit up.
“She’s back brother. Look.” He turned his head to where you were sleeping.
Ed blinked. He stared at your sleeping form. Your hair was spread about the pillow, a few strands were on your face. Your mouth was opened slightly and your chest, according to your breathing pattern, was rising up and down gently.
“She’s sleeping outside? Why?” He looked at Al, then narrowed his eyes.
“Did you talk to her?” Al sighed.
“Brother, she knew I was alive anyway. Earlier, she had asked for my name and I gave it to her. Now, we just talked a bit that’s all.”
“So you lied to me?”
“Yes brother. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to ignore someone else, even if she might be staying here forever.”
“But what about the fact that you have no body?”
“She knows.” Ed groaned.
“But I didn’t tell her what happened to us.”
“Why? If she’s curious, why didn’t you tell her anything?” Al looked at you.
“Because she told me not to.”
“She’s didn’t want me to tell her.” Al repeated.
“She knew that I had no body, but she didn’t want to know why. She said it would be more comfortable for the both of us and also that whatever we did, she respects us for it. She won’t judge us for what we did, even though she doesn’t know what we did.” Ed stared at your sleeping form.
“That’s weird. Whenever someone finds out about us, they usually want a whole explanation.” But he smiled.
“It’s nice not having to explain anything for once.” Al looked at him.
“You better thank her and apologize to her tomorrow brother. I think she deserves our respect because frankly, we haven’t given her any.” Ed nodded.
“Yeah, yeah, I will.” He looked at you again and smiled.
“I’d carry her back up to her bed, but I don’t have my other arm.” Al chuckled.
“Too bad brother. You can’t play hero tonight. The maiden is here, but you can’t sweep her off her feet.” Ed growled.
“Very funny Al.” Then he grinned evilly.
“I could always sling her over my shoulder.” Al narrowed his eyes.
“If you dare do that, I’ll tell Winry.” Ed snorted.
“What’s she gonna do?”
“She’ll throw her wrench. Or worse.” Ed froze. Then he put his arm behind his head and laughed nervously.
“I’m going to bed.”
The next morning, you woke up before everyone else did, save for Alphonse who can’t sleep anyway. You wiped the morning dew off of your face and stretched your arms. You yawned and looked over at Alphonse.
“Good morning. Did you sleep well?” You smiled and nodded.
“Yep. I wasn’t cold at all. What about you Alphonse? Were you alright last night?”
“It was fine. I was glad to have you by me. Oh. You can call me Al too, it sounds weird to be called by my full name.” You stood up and started stretching.
“Good to hear it.” Al was silent while you were stretching.
“Um, why are you are stretching?” You laughed.
“Well, I’m traveling most of the time so I have to have my body ready at all times. But, since I may be staying here forever, it’s going to be weird not going anywhere. I’ll probably never get out of this habit.”
Al’s eyes brightened.
“Yeah. I only went to safe places though. I’ve never been out East, but I would like to if I ever get the chance.” Al nodded.
“That’s nice. Do you walk or go by train?”
“I usually walk, though I only use the train or a car if I have enough money.”
“I see.” Then the door opened and Edward came out, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“How are you Al?” He stopped and stared at you while you were still stretching. You noticed him staring and got up.
“Yes Edward?” He shook his head.
“No, it’s nothing.” At Al’s glare, he coughed and looked away from both of you.
“Um, I wanted to say sorry about yesterday. Our behavior wasn’t the greatest. Also, I wanted to thank you for not asking about our....losses.” He motioned towards the socket where his arm was missing and the prosthetic leg. You shook your head and waved away his apology.
“Don’t worry about it. Like I said to Al, it’s none of my business. As for your behavior, I’d be cautious too if I-,” You looked at Edward and froze. There wasn’t anything wrong with him, it was just that you were really looking at him.
I mean, You were actually getting a good look at him. He was dressed only in light blue boxers and a white shirt, but you were looking more at his face.
Edward happened to have a very beautiful face. His golden blond hair was tied back into a braid and his bangs fell curved along his face. His skin was slightly pale, but was rosy from the morning breeze. His lips were a light pink and they looked kissable. Edward’s eyes however, were probably the most beautiful you’ve ever seen, speaking as both a person and an artist. They were also a golden yellow, but you could see a flash of amber; you were certain that they were capable of showing all emotion, but at the moment, all emotions were hidden. You couldn’t take it anymore and your artist senses snapped.
With a large smile on your face, you walked up to Edward and cupped his cheek. Edward froze and you noticed the pink blush on his face.
“Edward, you have the most beautiful face in the world!! Your eyes are especially gorgeous!” Edward only blushed more.
“I’ve got to draw you!! I must!!” At this comment, Winry came out fully dressed. When she saw you and Edward, she smirked.
“Is this another artist thing?” You turned to her and nodded excitedly.
“Yes! But Edward is exceptional, I’ve never seen such a beautiful face like his before! Can I draw his face Winry? Please?” You made puppy dog eyes and Winry laughed.
“Well Ed?” Winry grinned slyly.
“What do you think?” Edward’s blush faded and he frowned.
“I don’t think so. We haven’t enough time. We’ll be leaving in two more days.” You gasped and pouted.
“B-but Edward-,” You gave him puppy dog eyes, but he looked away.
“Tricks like that don’t work. I need to get back to Central with Al.” Al looked at Edward with a smile in his eyes.
“C’mon brother, let her at least draw your face. That’s the trait she’s most interested in.” Edward blushed again. He looked at you and saw the stars in your eyes.
“Brother, you don’t have anything to do for two more days. Let her draw you.” Al repeated.
“You may be right.” Edward saw that your eyes grew hopeful.
“I can take pictures of you in addition to drawing you without a camera. That way I won’t bother you as much.” You added. Edward sighed.
“Fine. I’ll let you draw my face.” You jumped into the air.
“Yay!” You hugged him.
“I promise you won’t regret this! I’ll go get my stuff right now!” Not noticing Edward’s bright pink blush, you rushed into your room, got your sketch pad and returned immediately to Edward’s side.
“Well, let’s get started. You want to leave on time don’t you?” You looked at Edward and smiled.
“But first, I want to test something.” Winry smiled at Al and went back inside the house. You went over to Edward and took out his braid.
“What are you doing?” Taking the elastic, you tied Edward’s hair into a ponytail. You stared at him and smiled wide.
“There. You look older and more handsome like that.” Edward’s blush returned, though it was hardly visible.
“I’ll take a picture of you with your braid later. Here you can sit down on this chair. I hope you don’t mind my being close to you.” Edward obeyed and sat down on the chair. You took out your pencils and began to sketch.
By the time you and Edward took a break, it was noon and Edward was complaining about his neck aching. Pinako brought out some food and Edward began to scarf it down. You were showing your sketch to Al to see what he thought of it.
“Well?” You asked.
“It looks great. I’m sure it’ll be better when you’re done.” You smiled.
“Thanks Al.” Edward came over to you both, downing his glass of water.
“Can I see it?” He asked. You handed the sketch pad over to him and he frowned.
“This is all you have?” All you had was Edward’s hair and the outline of his face. You stood up and smiled.
“To catch a handsome face like yours Edward on paper, I need to take my time. I got the easy part done. Now comes the hard part. You have to hold completely still while I draw your eyes, mouth, etc.” Edward sighed and moved back to his chair and sat down.
It was literally after sunset when you were finished, Edward had asked if he could see it, but you shook your head, smiling.
“I’m going to color this and then I’ll show it to you.” Before Edward could say anymore, you ran into the house and up into the guest room. Good thing Winry put a curtain there so Edward and the Major couldn’t get a peak at you. You took out your paints and your paint brush. You put your sketch of Edward up on your easel and began to paint.
It was time consuming, but when Edward came in to bed, you stopped painting. You put the easel in the corner of the room so no one would try and look at it. You eased open the curtain to see Edward staring at you. You both blushed, obviously you were trying to check on him while he was checking on you. You recovered first and smiled at him.
“I’m not finished yet, but I will be tomorrow. I’ll take pictures of you as well.” Edward nodded, showing his understanding.
“Goodnight Edward.” You closed the curtain and got in bed. You didn’t notice Edward open the curtain, smiling at you. He got into his own bed, but he whispered,
When you opened your eyes, it was dawn again. Sheesh, you needed to remember that you didn’t have to wake up as early now. At least, not until Pinako checks our your sketches and paintings. You already showed her Den’s sketch and she said that it counted as the first one. Now you only had five more to go. Technically four since you still had that sketch with Winry and the house.
The first thing you did was check if Edward was still asleep. Yep. There he was, snoring like no tomorrow. He’s going to leave tomorrow, now that you thought about it. You smirked. You promised him that the painting would be done today and you were going to finish it outside. You got the easel, your paints and your paint brush; you sneaked downstairs to the porch where Al’s crate was. He turned his head when he heard your footsteps coming and his eyes brightened.
“Hey!” You put a finger to your lips.
“Sh! I don’t want your brother to wake up. If he’s as anxious to see this painting as I think he is, he’ll come find me as soon as he wakes.” Al nodded and watched as you set up your easel. Al’s eyes widened when he saw the painting so far.
“Wow! That looks just like him!” You smiled.
“I hope so. I’m only going to count Edward’s judgement since it’s his portrait. All I have to do is get the hair, the eyes and the slight pink of his lips. Then I’ll be done.” It seemed like an easy task to Al, but as he saw you at work, he realized that it wasn’t. The shading of his brother’s hair took a while, especially when you had to use a different amount of your golden yellow. The eyes also took longer than usual because you put some noticeable specks of amber in his eyes. Finally the lips were the second longest since you had to remember where the pink in his lips were. Not easy. When you were done, you stretched.
“Well, all done.” You grinned. It looked nice to be sure, but you were hoping that Edward would like it the most. Al had told you that he gets very proud when compliments are paid, but very grouchy when he doesn’t like something said about him. This portrait was a compliment to Edward and you hoped he would appreciate it.
“I like it. I think it looks just like him, even though he doesn’t have his hair in a ponytail that much.”
“How old does he look in this painting do you think?” You asked.
“Well, he’s fifteen right now, so...um, I think he looks eighteen to me.” You smiled.
“Just as I thought. I think he looks around eighteen too. Do you think we should show people who don’t know him this portrait? Or would that be too cruel to Edward?” Al had a smile in his eyes.
“It would be too cruel.” You chuckled. Then you heard the door swing open and Winry appeared. She was yawning as she came over to you two.
“Another all-nighter! We finished his arm, but man am I beat!” She froze when she saw the painting behind you.
“Is that Ed’s portrait?” You grinned.
“Yep. What do you think?” Winry walked closer to it and took a thoughtful pose. She had one hand under her chin and her other arm around her waist. After a few moments, she said,
“Well, it’s nicely done on some details, like his antenna in his hair.” You and Al sighed.
“But in his eyes, you caught only some of the emotions. I don’t see any sadness or joy. I don’t see anger or spite.” You frowned.
“Winry I think we could let her off on that. She doesn’t know Brother as much as we do. She doesn’t know what he’s been through, so how she capture those emotions in his eyes when she doesn’t know what he’s sad about? Or what he’s angry or joyful about?” Al replied for you. He was right. You only knew Edward for two days. How could you capture all those emotions when he hasn’t even opened up to you that much? You doubted he even trusted you. You could tell by his reluctance of you painting him. The door opened again and this time Edward came out. He was yawning just like Winry had.
“Hey Ed, your portrait’s done.” Winry said. You decided to look out at the horizon, instead of Edward’s reaction. After Winry’s critique, you weren’t as enthusiastic. You didn’t have much self-confidence. Criticism really got to you, even if it was constructive criticism. But you still took the criticism to heart, so you wouldn’t try to make the same mistakes again. You heard a small laugh behind you.
“I like it. If that damn Colonel saw me like this, he’d go nuts. I look way older in this.” The corner of your mouth twitched in a sad smile. Then you heard Edward call your name. You turned around.
“Yes Edward?” He gave you a thumbs-up.
“I like it. I think you did a nice job.” You walked over to the portrait with a calculating frown on your face. Edward’s smile faltered.
“Is something wrong with it?”
“I didn’t capture all of the emotion in your eyes. I should’ve done better.” You sighed. Winry slapped your back jokingly, laughing.
“It was just some constructive criticism. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.” You turned to her, a frown on your face.
“Winry, you’re not an artist so you wouldn’t understand. Yes, constructive criticism helps me do better, but if it’s something that was really important, like all emotions in the eyes, then I might not get paid if this was a professional job. If people don’t get what they want, they wouldn’t pay me the full amount for my work. Most people want life in their portraits, not dolls. This was a mistake that I shouldn’t have made.”
“Winry’s right. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, artist or no.” You turned to Edward, who was frowning at you.
“I think it’s a wonderful portrait. Doesn’t putting emotion into the eyes require knowing a person’s character? Well, you don’t know my character that much, so how could you put other emotions I have into the painting without knowing what I’m like?” A rueful smile made its way onto your face.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Edward clapped your shoulder, a grin on his face.
“But hey, if you’re gonna be here every time I come back, you will know my character. So, if you draw my portrait again, you will eventually get all the emotions I have into my eyes.” You smiled at him, a true smile just for him.
“Oh. Call me Ed. I’m more used to it.” You nodded.
“Sure. Oh! After you get your arm and leg back on, do you wanna take those pictures?” Ed nodded.
“Okay.” Then Pinako’s voice called out that it was breakfast time. Ed immediately swayed into the house, a happy grin on his face that made it look like he was drunk. He was probably drunk with hunger. You chuckled and followed him into the house with Winry.
After you all ate breakfast, Winry and Pinako went to get Ed’s arm and leg. This left you some time to get acquainted with the Major. More like with his muscles.
“Look at them! Aren’t they a wonder to behold? So beautifully sculpted! Don’t they make you want to cry with artistic joy at them?” As he flexed his muscles at you, you smiled at him. Ed looked disturbed beyond belief.
“Major, I’m a painter and sketch person. I don’t sculpt. I can’t give them any poetic justice. All I can say about your muscles is that you must have gotten great genetics in order to receive them.” This apparently was the wrong thing to say because the Major began to rant about his family lineage. Ed looked like he wanted to break something.
Luckily, before the Major could get too deep into his speech, Pinkao and Winry came back with the automail limbs.
“Okay Ed, get ready.” They attached his limbs to the sockets and put the cranks in so they could connect his nerves. Ed tensed up and so did you. You heard that most people scream when automail limbs and nerves were connected.
“One.” Pinako began.
“Two.” Winry added.
“THREE!!” They both shouted while they turned the cranks. Ed clenched his teeth and his limbs twitched with pain. He began to whimper as the twitching got worse.
“C’mon you two! Help move him to the couch!”
“No Granny, that’s okay. I’m fine.” To prove it, Ed got up and began to walk around, moving around his automail ankle to check if it was working fine. You got up and went upstairs to get your camera to take pictures of Ed. When you came back down, Winry was in the middle of telling Ed how it was less durable. However, Ed had disappeared, yelling to Al that he was going to fix him now. You ran out the door and glared at him.
“I thought we were taking pictures first.” Ed looked at you as the Major took Al out of the crate along with the bag that had his armor parts. While you and Ed were walking to place on the front yard where Al was, Ed replied,
“We’ll take pictures. I just want to fix Al and have our training session.” You raised an eyebrow.
You sat down on the grass next to Major Armstrong.
“Are you ready Al?”
“Can you get it done that quick?” The Major asked.
“Yeah, but it’s kinda tough.” Ed took off Al’s head.
“See that rune?” You got up so you could see it. It was very dark with a slight red tint to it.
“I have to put Al together without breaking that rune.”
“It looks like it was drawn with blood.” The Major said.
“Yeah, it’s my blood.” Ed replied. You twitched. Blood? What exactly was Ed doing when he drew that rune? As you thought of possible things to explain it, you decided that you still would rather not know. The Major looked as equally disturbed as you did. Ed clapped his hands and Al’s body regenerated with the parts on the grass, forming his leg and arm. Al flexed both limbs and Ed asked if they were okay. As Al gave him the affirmative, Ed grinned.
“Okay, let’s get started.” You backed away as Ed braided his hair. Then you saw Al flip Ed onto the ground, but Ed flipped back onto his feet and ran towards Al.
“Is this some kind of brothers’ quarrel?” Major Armstrong asked.
“I need to check if my arm and leg are working perfectly.” Ed replied.
“And I haven’t used my body in a while so I need to get my reflexes back.” Al added. You saw pink sparkles dance around the Major’s face. Then he ripped off his shirt and flexed his muscles.
“Let me help you in this mission!” As Al and Ed gave their fearful ‘no’s’, you backed up to the front porch. You decided that you would take some action shots of Pretty Ed. Wait a second, Pretty Ed? Where did that come from? Well, he was pretty in an artist’s point of view, so yes, his nickname is Pretty Ed. You took shot after shot as they took some time to get their movements right. You got more good shots in the beginning of the sparing match since their reflexes were still slow. Then as they got faster, you stopped taking pictures. They would be all blurry. When the exercise was over, Ed came trotting over to you, his skin gleaming with sweat. You threw at towel at him and it hit him in the face.
“Nice shot!” Al called to you jokingly.
“He should be glad it wasn’t a wrench for once.” You grinned back at him. By this time, Ed was cleaning his face, standing next to you.
“Did you take some pictures of us sparring?” He asked.
“Only a few in the beginning while you were still slow. As you three got faster, I stopped. I probably only got about five pictures.”
“I’ll put on my clothes real quick and then we can take some pictures.” You smiled.
After you two went outside and took some pictures, all of them were good by the way. After a while, Ed caught on to what you wanted from him, so you got some poses with his red jacket, some without it. You also got some pictures of him with just the black tanktop on. All in all, it was a very satisfying day for you. For now you had many pictures of Pretty Ed. Thus, you called your camera, The Pretty Ed Camera. Yes, you are that weird.
Now you all were at dinner and Ed was taking about why he was sparring with Al. Apparently, their teacher wanted to keep both their spirits and bodies in shape. The Major quickly agreed with them, ripping his shirt off to show his muscles as proof. While Winry and Pinako looked on disturbed, you, Ed, and Al continued to eat.
Now you were upstairs, looking for how many pictures you had left on your Pretty Ed Camera. You still had ten pictures, which meant ten more pictures with Pretty Ed.
You went downstairs, putting your camera into your pocket just in case a great picture opportunity arose. You saw the Major weeping outside the room where Ed, Al, Winry and Pinako were. You blinked.
“What’s wrong Major?” He sniffed.
“Those brothers care so much about one another! It makes me cry with tears of joy! They have been so blessed!” You sighed and walked into the room.
“Hey guys!” You smiled. Al put a finger to his mouth and pointed at Ed. You looked at him and almost squealed with joy at the sight before you. Pretty Ed was sleeping!
“He looks so cute!” You whispered to Al. Al looked at Winry. Cute?
“Can I take a picture of him Al please?” You asked. Al sighed.
“If you want...” You hugged him before he could get the rest of the sentence out.
“Thanks Al! I knew you weren’t so adorable for nothing!” As you stalked over to Ed, Winry and Pinako walked over to Al. They had slightly frightened looks on their faces.
“Did I put too much sugar in that chocolate cake?” Pinako asked. Al and Winry didn’t reply. You came back over to them when you were done, skipping along as you came closer.
“I think your artistic joy with Ed is turning into an obsession. You’re acting like a stalker.” Winry remarked. You pouted at her.
“But Winry, I can’t be a stalker! If I was, I would be taking pictures of Ed eating, showering, getting dressed, walking with Den and so on. If I was a true stalker, however, I would want pictures of Ed naked.” Winry and Pinako turned red.
“I’m going to bed.” They replied in unison as they made their way over to the door. Al turned to you as soon as the door was closed.
“Do you really want pictures of my brother naked?” He asked. This time you were the one to turn red.
“Of course not Al! I’m not that weird.” Al sighed with relief. But you weren’t paying attention to him. You were looking at the wall of photos by the door. Al walked over to your side, looking at the photos with you.
“Hey Al, is that you?” You pointed to a photo where a smaller Ed was. There was another boy, a woman, and a man who’s face was hidden by another photo.
“Yep. That’s me. That woman is our mom. The man holding Brother is our father.” You smiled.
“She’s very beautiful Al. Do I get to meet her?” At once, Al turned solemn and silent. You realized the grim truth once he didn’t give an answer. You turned back to the photos.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.” You looked for a different photo to distract him. Then you saw one with just Ed and Al.
“Hey Al, you two look great in this picture.” Al instantly responded.
“Yeah, we went fishing that day and Brother caught a fish. It was really fun. But my favorite picture is this one.” He handed you a photo where Ed, Al, and his mom were together.
“You guys look like the perfect family. I like your mom’s eyes. They’re a very pretty sea green color.”
“I think they’re more of an aqua blue color.” Al replied.
“If it’s not too much to ask, what was your mom’s name?”
“I see.” Then an idea popped into your head.
“Oh man! I’ve got the greatest idea!” You turned to Al and took one of his hands in your own.
“Before you guys leave, I need to take one last picture of you and Ed. Is that okay with you?” Al nodded.
“I promise even if I have to drag Brother along.” You grinned.
“That’s perfect.” You yawned.
“I’m gonna go to bed myself.” Al turned back to the pictures.
“Okay.” Another idea popped into your head and you grinned evilly. Tip-toeing over to Ed, you kneeled beside him and whispered,
“This is a thank you for putting up with my artistic craziness.” Then you brushed away Ed’s bangs and kissed his forehead. You crept away from Ed and Al, who was still looking at the photos.
Quietly opening and closing the door, you went back upstairs and got in bed. As you re-lived the memories of the day, you blushed slightly when you remembered the kiss on Ed’s forehead, which wasn’t so long ago. Before you got into bed, you looked at Ed’s portrait. The Major had apparently taken it back up to your room before Ed and Al got fixed. You decided that you were going to try to find the emotions Winry mentioned. You would find Ed’s sadness, joy, and anger. That way you could make a true portrait of his character. His character...Then it hit you.
“I’m going to make a Windows to the Soul portrait of Ed’s eyes.” You whispered. All you had to do was find out some memories Ed had so you could fill his eyes with those memories. You grinned.
“Beware Edward Elric, your soul is going to be the next addition to my famous collection.”
Al woke you up at dawn. When you questioned him, he put a finger to his mouth and motioned for you to follow him. You followed him onto the front porch where Al turned to you.
“Is everything okay Al?” You asked. He nodded.
“Yeah, I just wanted to know where you were going to take us. I also want to ask you a question.”
“Last night, I went around the house to check if everyone was okay. When I checked on you, you were muttering to yourself about Brother’s soul. You’re not going to do anything are you?” You blinked. What was he talking about? Then you remembered your last statement the previous night. You started to laugh as you realized how stupid and evil you sounded.
“Sorry Al. I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at myself. Anyway about your question. No, I’m not literally taking your brother’s soul. As an artist, my most famous collection is called Windows to the Soul. It’s a figure of speech for someone’s eyes. The expression is that eyes are like the window to one’s soul. I take a painting of someone’s eyes and draw certain memories or images from their life in them. They look cool when done. I was thinking I could do Ed’s eyes for my next piece of that collection.”
“Oh. That sounds cool.” You winked at him.
“I think it is. You don’t have to worry about giving me some memories. Winry was your childhood friend so I can get some from her.”
“Alright then. So, what about where you’re taking us?”
“I’m taking you two by the river. Don’t worry. The shot isn’t complicated. As long as Ed doesn’t complain about it, we should be done in less than five minutes.” Al took you back inside to where Ed was still sleeping. You sat down at the table.
“He’s not awake yet? With how early he went to bed last night, I thought he would’ve been up earlier than this.”
“Brother always sleeps this long. It’s really weird.” Al replied. You smirked.
“Maybe he’s sleeping off all the fat he’s getting from eating so much.” Al chuckled.
“You know that’s not nice.”
“Well, Pinako is probably up and making breakfast right now, so we need to wake him up now.”
“It takes a lot of work to get my brother awake.” You grinned.
“Nonsense. All we need to do is say something in his ear that he doesn’t like and he’ll be up in a heartbeat.” You walked over to Ed and kneeled beside him.
“Or should I get Den to kiss Ed until he wakes up?” Al laughed.
“That’s a good idea, but we don’t want Brother to be traumatized.”
“Or do we?”
“No we don’t.” You pouted.
“Fine. Be that way. Well, what does Ed hate?”
“He hates Colonel Mustang.” You raised an eyebrow. Then you moved closer to Ed’s ear.
“I don’t know who this guy is, but Ed, Colonel Mustang is here eating your breakfast.” Ed mumbled a response, but didn’t move. You frowned.
“That didn’t work. What else does Ed hate?” Al though for a moment.
“The only other thing I can think of is that he hates milk.” You smirked. You went into the kitchen where Pinako was indeed cooking. You got a glass of milk and went back into the room with Al. Getting close to Ed once again, you put the ice cold glass of milk on Ed’s cheek.
“Hey Ed, I have a glass of milk on your cheek and if you don’t wake up, I’ll pour it down you throat.” You felt Ed freeze and you knew he was awake. But he probably thought you weren’t going to do anything so he didn’t move. So you decided to make sure he got up. You poured some milk on your fingers.
“Hey Ed,” You whispered.
“I have some milk on my fingers and I’m going to put it on your mouth. If that doesn’t work, I’m just going to force the milk into your mouth.” Ed twitched, but didn’t move. You put some more milk on your fingers and sighed.
“Fine Ed. This is for your own good.” You reached out and started to trace the milk over his lips. But before you could put more milk on your fingers, Ed bit them. You winced in pain, but still stared at him with a dead pan glare. Ed responded with the same look.
“Brother! Let go of her! That’s cruel!” Al walked over to you and Ed, looking nervously at the two of you. Ed complied with his request and let go of your fingers. You wiped your fingers on your skirt while Ed wiped his mouth.
“That was disgusting!” Ed shouted. You smirked.
“Yeah, but I got milk in your mouth.” Ed turned pale for a moment, then glared at you.
“You’re really something aren’t you?” You grinned.
“It got you up didn’t it?” You began to drink the milk since you didn’t want to waste it. Ed gagged and walked away, muttering about getting dressed. As soon as he left, you burst out laughing. Al looked at you.
“What’s so funny?”
“It’s Ed. He’s just very amusing that’s all.”
After you finished laughing over the milk incident, everyone came down for breakfast. Ed was still muttering over the milk and whenever Winry asked what was wrong, he turned pink. Then Al asked Ed if you could take one more picture of them. Ed shrugged.
“If it doesn’t keep us from getting the first train to Central, then fine.” You smiled.
“Well then, let’s get moving.” You left the table and went to get your Pretty Ed Camera. When you came back down, Al was dragging Ed away from getting more food.
“You said we could give her a picture so we’re going to do it!”
After wasting two more minutes of getting Ed away from the food, you all walked to the river. By now the sun was high as you got the two brothers into the pose you wanted. You made Al sit down on the grass and made Ed stay standing up beside him.
“Okay Ed I want you to look straight ahead.”
“You mean at you?”
“No, you have to stare behind me. Pretend I’m not here.” Ed smirked.
“That’ll be easy.” Al wacked Ed on the head.
“Brother that’s terrible of you to say! Apologize to her!”
“No Al it’s alright. I deserve it after what I did to wake him up.” You quietly took your camera and put it back to up to your eye. You gasped silently at the two boys before you. Al had his arms in his lap and his head was lowered solemnly, staring at the ground. Ed, however, was looking to the side with a sad frown on his face. You smiled and whispered,
“Perfect.” You took the picture. Ed and Al looked up at you shocked.
“Wait! We weren’t ready! You need to take another one!” Al cried out as you began to climb the small hill back to the road.
“There’s no need. I got what I wanted.” You kept walking, deciding that they might need to talk alone. But you watched Al run ahead of you and Ed ran to walk beside you.
“Hey Al!” He yelled, but his brother kept running. You kept walking as Ed walked silently beside you. Finally you heard an angry sigh and Ed looked at you.
“I’m sorry about what I said. It was uncalled for.” You waved away his apology.
“It upset me, but like I said, I deserved it.” Ed didn’t reply. Looking at him, you smiled and grabbed his hand.
“Hey, don’t look so down. We need you to get back to Central in good spirits don’t we?” Ed chuckled.
“I guess so...oh!” Ed came closer to you with an evil grin on his face. When space between you was scarce, he gently kissed your cheek.
“That was for last night.” He replied to your red, but questioning face.
“Yeah, you kissed my forehead. I was awake then.” You flushed red again and turned away.
“Oh.” Ed chuckled.
“Hey, let’s get back.” He turned and started to run with you in tow. You stared at your clutched hands, smiling happily as you both ran back to the house side by side.
When you and Ed returned, Al and the Major were waiting with Pinako.
“So long Major.” You shook his hand; you already heard from Al about his bone-crushing hugs. Ed and Al were saying goodbye to Pinako. Apparently, Winry went back to sleep after eating breakfast.
“Goodbye Al.” You gave him a hug and he returned it.
“Goodbye.” You turned to Ed who was petting Den. You grinned.
“Bye Ed.” You tackled him, but you were able to keep your balance. He returned your hug, not saying anything. You wanted him to say something so you kissed his cheek. You snickered quietly as you watched the pink blossom on his face.
“We’ll see each other again right?” You pulled away from your Pretty Ed. He smirked.
“Maybe. Maybe not. I can’t make promises.” You smiled.
“Until we meet again.” Ed nodded.
End Part I
 I don’t know if anyone figured this out, but when Al’s eyes disappeared, it meant that he closed his eyes.
Well all done with Part I. I’m sorry if there wasn’t enough You/Ed action, but there will be in the last two parts. However, there was fluff. I hope you enjoyed it. By the way, with the issue of Den’s gender, I read in the Manga Art Book (I think) that Den is a she. That’s why I wrote that Den was a she. Please review. I hope it wasn’t too bad for a first time.