Title: Better Left Unsaid
Author: Jordanna Morgan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Archive Rights: Please request the author’s consent.
Characters: Winry, Edward, Alphonse.
Summary: Winry stops arguing with things she can’t change.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I’m just playing with them.
Notes: Written for the prompt word “Shoulder” at Fan Flashworks. It was written on a very tight deadline, so it’s rather rough, but here it is.
Better Left Unsaid
As usual, when Winry found the Elric brothers on the doorstep, it was only because Edward needed something fixed.
“…I can’t stretch my arm back all the way,” he explained sheepishly, moving his automail arm to demonstrate its hindered range of motion. True to his claim, it froze up at the shoulder joint nearly three inches short of where it should. There was no outward sign of battle or wear on the steel plating, but that meant nothing; Ed could just smooth over any dents and scrapes with alchemy. What he wouldn’t dare to do—fortunately—was try to tamper with the complex moving parts within, where the real damage lay.
He trusted only the Rockbells to do that. Time and again, it was a need that brought Ed and Al home.
At least there was that.
In short order, Winry had installed Ed on a stool in the workshop, where he sat biting his lip and avoiding her eyes. While Alphonse hovered anxiously, the mechanic removed the plating from Ed’s upper arm. She carefully proceeded to probe into its mechanisms with a pair of forceps—and it took her only moments to find the obstruction that was impeding Ed’s movement.
“Hey, there’s something caught in the gears here…”
Getting hold of the foreign object with the forceps, she eased out the small lump of misshapen metal. She held it up to the light for closer examination; and when she realized exactly what she was looking at, her breath caught and her eyes brimmed.
Ed turned his face away from the girl beside him. Even Al bowed his helmet, shifting his spiked shoulders with a discomfort that was not physical. Neither of the shamefaced brothers said a word.
For a long moment, Winry hovered on the brink of outburst…
And then she took a slow, deep breath.
There were a dozen things she could have said—but she had said them all before. They never changed anything. Ed would never be swayed from the choices he had made for his life.
All Winry could do was be glad that this time, only unfeeling steel bore the damage.
In silence she turned to the work table. She swallowed hard and squared her shoulders, and kept all the screaming of her heart closed up inside her.
Somehow, her hands did not shake as she dropped the spent bullet in a jar.
© 2017 Jordanna Morgan