Series: Brotherhood/the manga
Word Count: 987
Characters: Ed/Winry, Elric little ones~.
Summary: He is a wanderer, not made for settling down. Isn’t it funny how one stubborn woman and two beautiful children can change everything?
Warnings: spoilers for the end of Brotherhood/the manga, some angst, and some fluff (I had to have a balance!)
Notes: I knew how I wanted this fic to end but I didn’t have a clue as to how I was going to get there. >.>; It worked out, though. Won second place at fma_fic_contest for prompt 81, Papa!Ed.
There is the urge to move, all of the time. To remain stationary would be against his nature. Stillness makes him restless, and restlessness makes him morose. He doesn’t know how to fit himself into any vision of domesticity; he doesn’t know how to remain static.
He wonders, on nights when he is stuck somewhere between sleeplessness and a strange dreamscape, how four walls – with plenty of space between them – can make him feel almost claustrophobic. He wonders how he can feel choked when he has plenty of air to breathe.
He begrudgingly admits to himself that perhaps he’s inherited more characteristics from Hohenheim than he initially believed—characteristics which aren’t physical in the least. Hohenheim was always travelling too, wasn’t he? This wanderlust and this desire to obtain knowledge are undeniably in his blood.
In his opinion, it’s just one more thing that he can blame on his father.
She worries about him, of course, and he knows that she keeps her concern thinly veiled behind her courage and her cheerfulness. She tells him that if he didn’t travel around like he does, he would just be boring.
And even while he stands here, steps away from boarding his train, part of him longs to stay here with her—part of him doesn’t want to leave at all. Though she’s smiling, he can tell that there’s some part of her that doesn’t want him to leave, either.
He promises her that he’ll be back soon (and he will); in his own reckless, awkward, unconventional way, he informs her that he has every intention of marrying her one day. His proposal isn’t grand or even very romantic, and she looks at him like he’s insane (perhaps that is an accurate assessment), and then chastises him for thinking about everything in terms of alchemy.
Old habits die hard, though.
Sometimes, they never die at all.
He makes good on his promise, and is back in Resembool within the span of three months. Within the span of four months, they are happily married, and within the span of seven months, he’s packed his suitcase and has headed out again—east this time, so he can meet up with Al and it can be more like old times.
He wants to take her with him, but she refuses to leave; she tells him that her place is here and that someone has to tend to the house while he’s gone. She promises – ever faithful – that she will wait for his return. He – as always – promises that he will be home soon.
She handles his constant comings and goings with a fair amount of grace and seemingly endless patience, but he grows to learn that sometimes even the deepest of wells run dry.
She greets him at the door one evening after he’s been away for nearly two months, and she looks nothing at all like her usual self. Her eyes are red and there are tear stains on her cheeks; she is trembling even though it isn’t chilly.
He drops his suitcase, automatically reaching for her, and she throws her arms around him, burying her face against his shirt. The tears resume as she asks him, “Do you have any idea how much I worry about you?”
Guilt cuts through him, sharp and painful, and he gathers her closer to himself. “I’m sorry.”
“Isn’t this enough?” she asks through her sobs, and he feels his heart break a little.
He wishes that he could tell her, ‘Yes, it is’.
(But he can’t.)
He glances at his suitcase, feeling torn. In a sense, he despises himself for always wanting to go when all she’s ever wanted him to do is stay.
Things change gradually. He leaves their home less and less; he helps her with the housework, and he invites Al (who has apparently grown out of all this traveling business) over for dinner frequently.
He and Winry laugh together and they learn together. They spend the hours of early morning making love.
Every now and again, he glances out the window at the soft green grass and the endless blue sky, and he feels a little pang of nostalgia. Restlessness kicks back in from time to time, but it’s okay—she doesn’t let him remain restless for long.
She can be quite distracting, whether it is intentional or not.
(He suspects that it is).
She becomes pregnant with their first child, and he is equal parts terrified and elated. He stays glued to her hip for nine months, and he holds her hand while she goes through the whole process of labor and childbirth in spite of the fact that he feels like he might pass out or throw up (or both) at any moment.
Their son is a warm little bundle in his arms, and he cradles him carefully, smiling down at his wife, who is resting in bed. They share a moment of silent triumph: This child is theirs, and they brought him into the world together.
His suitcase now sits upon a shelf in their closet, gathering dust.
A few years later, they have a daughter. He thinks that she is as beautiful as her mother.
And somewhere along the way (between picking up their son’s scattered toys and changing dirty diapers and waking up in the middle of the night to feed their daughter), he’s learned that marriage and child-rearing are adventures in and of themselves.
He can’t remember where he tossed that damn suitcase, but it doesn’t matter—he doesn’t need it anymore.
He’s learned (slowly but surely) that he doesn’t need (or want) to go anywhere else at all.
Ed ruffles his son’s hair, strokes gentle fingers along his daughter’s forehead, kisses his wife, and his heart is content.
He’s finally realized that there comes a time when the roaming heart settles… When it learns that all it’s ever wanted has been here all along.