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"Do you have it all memorized now?" Trisha gazed expectantly into a pair of solemn blue eyes. The little girl nodded.

"Uh-huh. And I won't forget it,
ever," she promised, swinging her legs as she perched on the edge of the bed.

"Good girl," said Trisha, a weary but proud smile on her lips. "I knew I could count on you. And remember," she added, leaning forward and raising her eyebrows mysteriously, "you can't tell
anyone about this, not even Ed and Al. It's our special secret, alright? Can you keep it safe for me?"

"Of course I can!" The words were hot and stubborn, filled with childish passion. "I promise I won't ever tell an-y-one. Cross my heart. 'Sides," Winry muttered as a resentful afterthought, "they never tell me
their secrets."

~ -:- ~

They never told her their secrets, instead burying themselves in dusty alchemy books and the mysteries of the universe, driven by blind desire and false hope...and now they have paid the price for it. Ed is eleven and Al is ten, and they are all broken and empty and far too old.

Night has fallen. Grandma Pinako is fast asleep, and it is Winry's turn to check up on the two. She sees Alphonse sitting alone by the window and gently touches his arm as she passes, feeling the cold surface of hollow metal against her skin, a bitter reminder of last night's chaos. She still hasn't gotten used to the fact that the living, breathing, laughing boy she knew is now a suit of armor, a shell; warm skin and round, happy face replaced by unfriendly spikes and sharp corners.

Just what terrors had happened yesterday, in the house next to hers? She may never fully know.

"Winry?" His voice is a metallic echo, tinged with fear. The two eyeholes in his helmet glow with a reddish light, alien and strange. "Will...will brother get better?"

She stops, turns and manages a small smile.

"Of course he will," she reassures him, sounding more confident than she feels. "Me and Grandma are doing everything we can. It'll just take time, that's all. The fever hasn't broken yet." She speaks slowly, choosing her words with care. "You guys have been through something pretty awful, and I don't think either of you will recover from it overnight. Let's just...take it slow for now. Okay?"

Before Al can answer, she hears a faint cry..."Mother!"...and suddenly every dark thought is swallowed up by one: Edward.

Winry rushes into the dimly-lit sick room and sees him in bed, covered in bandages, the blankets rumpled and sweated through as he sobs and struggles feebly against the clutches of a nightmare.

"No, I...I didn't...don't take him, please don't take him, please..."

She is at his side in an instant, as if by reflex, and she smoothes back his blonde hair and whispers, "It's okay, shhh, it's okay..." (But it isn't okay, and she doesn't know how to make it okay, because fixing automail is one thing but fixing people is another.) Edward moans and turns his head on the pillow, drifting in and out of consciousness. Noting the burning temperature of his skin, she reaches for the pile of fresh washcloths on the nightstand, dips one in a pan of cold water and lays it across his forehead.

"Winry," he chokes.

"I'm here," comes the soft reply. It takes every ounce of willpower to keep from crying herself...because now it's her turn to be the strong one.

His breathing steadies somewhat, but tears still run down his sleeping face and the demons still hold him in an iron grip, spilling desperate pleas and apologies from his lips.

"Al...mom...'m sorry..."

Her heart clenches anew. Miss Trisha...what might she say if she could see her boys now?

Her "little geniuses", she called them; rewarding them with shining eyes and kisses and praise for every lovingly-made trinket they crafted for her. It was Equivalency at its finest - mother's smiles for their art. Her affection stirring theirs. Love freely given, received, and given again in a never-ending circle. Winry knows very little about alchemy, but that much she understands.

She also finally understands why her heart had felt so uneasy when she'd first caught Ed and Al with an alchemy book under that tree, years ago, when they still had everything to lose.

And she understands how the world goes cold and empty and dark when the star you orbit around is snuffed out, never to return. She knows all too well how one would give anything to get it back, and how horribly it hurts when you can't. And a chill whispers over her when she realizes that put in Ed and Al's place - put within reach of any glimmer of hope to see her own parents again - she'd probably end up missing some limbs, too.

But she hasn't. Ed has. Both of her best friends have lost themselves, and she has no idea how to find them again, and she desperately wishes Trisha were here to make everything better, to do what she can't...

"Winry, there's something very important I need you to do for me... I'll be leaving in a little while...and they will miss me terribly..."

Her eyebrows furrow as the woman's voice brushes across her memory, gently silencing her fears. Something important...what was it? She closes her eyes, trying to bring the blurry words into focus.

"There's a song...when Ed and Al are scared or sad, it helps them feel better and go to sleep..."

A song...? She remembers the lacy afghan spread across Trisha's lap and the breeze making the bedroom cutains dance.

And since I won't be around, I need you to sing it for me...for them...they will need you..."

She remembers swinging her little-girl's legs from the edge of the bed and feeling a cool, soft hand on her arm as the mother sings to her...and she remembers singing back, and swearing she will never forget...

THE song. The lullaby. The small, shining piece of herself that Trisha had passed on, for Winry to give away at just the right time.

"Are you ready?"

Yes. If there was ever a right time, it was now.

Taking Edward's single hand in both of her own, the girl hums a few faint notes under her breath, wracking her brains for the melody and the words for the first verse. And finally, haltingly, she begins to sing:

Courage, dear
I am here
Rest in my love


There is soft clank just outside the door, and she knows that Alphonse is listening.

Breezes sigh
Diamond sky
Moon shines above...


She feels Ed tighten his grip on her left hand, pulling it a few inches closer to him. The lines of pain in his face start to fade and he breathes a shuddering sigh.

You are in my keeping
Now it's time for sleeping
Be at peace and listen to my voice
I'll send you dreaming


"...'love you," he murmurs, the words slurred and weak – though whether he is speaking to her or his mother, Winry isn't quite sure. Perhaps...both? She brushes a wet strand of hair out of his face and continues.

Hush now, let your fears go
Be brave, heed no shadow
Though the clouds be dark
Still there are stars forever gleaming...


She trails off for a brief moment and studies him. The stump where his right arm used to be is still bleeding a little, but the bandages are fresh and clean. There are light bruises, here and there (probably caused by Al's clumsy haste when he first carried his unconscious brother to safety, the unfeeling metal arms still unaware of their own strength). But they will heal soon.

His eyes are shut and relaxed. His chest now rises and falls in a deep, steady rhythm and most of the tension has left his body. A shadow remains on him, though it is not quite as dark as it was a few minutes ago. And for now, it's the best she can do.

The girl leans over him, presses a soft little kiss to his forehead, and the last stanza becomes a promise:

Day will dawn when night is done
Slumber now and wait for sun
Ever by your side...I'll...stay.


~ The End ~
Yes, I'm a HUGE Ed x Winry shipper, but this story isn't necessarily "romantic". (Unless you want to interpret it that way. Though personally, I think they're a bit young for romance in this story...) Anyway, they're TOTALLY canon in the manga...and honestly, I can't think of anyone who could be more perfect for each other. They have such a great relationship. (And I'm a sucker for childhood/best friend romances.) :D

And yes, I made up the lullabye. Well, the lyrics anyway. The tune is a short, beautiful little piece off the Fullmetal Alchemist soundtrack. You can listen to the song here:

[link]
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:icondbzfangirl404:
dbzfangirl404 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Bravo im crying with how great it is
Reply
:iconmoon311:
Moon311 Featured By Owner May 27, 2014
OH. MY. GOSH. It's so sweet I can't even explain how sweet this is x3
Reply
:iconorchidstar98:
orchidstar98 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Omg. So beautiful... I love it X'D
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:iconcassierockslps:
CassieRocksLPS Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
T^T ITS SO BEAUTIFUL!!! *Sobs sob*
Reply
:iconfallendreamers1:
FallenDreamers1 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
that is an amazing lullaby - I made the um tune for it, I guess, in my head so if you don't mind i might use it someday. Good job on the story, too. Really cool.
Reply
:iconaleixi:
Aleixi Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012
d'awwww!!!! so sweet!! well done on the lyrics, theyre so good! how long did it take you to come up with them anyway?
Reply
:iconlillsworld:
Lillsworld Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:D <3
Reply
:iconneonsplash:
NeonSplash Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I-I want to cry. That was beautiful, even though I hate Winry. xD That's saying something-- it takes a lot to make me emotional over Winry stuff. xD Great job. x'3
Reply
:iconjasmine-aayla:
jasmine-aayla Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
Woah! This is beautiful!! I'm so glad I read the artist's comments first and listened to the song while reading! I'm a huge EdWin shipper too and this was amazingly written! :love:
Reply
:iconthestoryneverends:
TheStoryNeverEnds Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, I love this! It's so very sweet, in an innocent, childlike manner. I love how you left the nature of the emotion between Ed and Winry at this time open for interpretation.

And let me just say, this was well written. You did a good job. Particularly this metaphor: A chill whispers over her.... Gave me chills, it did.

Overall, good job. =D
Reply
:iconfluffyfox79:
FluffyFox79 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
so nicely written
Reply
:icongmoney1992:
Gmoney1992 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2011
Wow amazing story right there I love it :)
Reply
:iconchibiegonspengler:
chibiegonspengler Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2011
i listened to the music well i read and i almost cryed
Reply
:iconpanda-saxophonist:
panda-saxophonist Featured By Owner May 2, 2011
Very good friend.
Reply
:iconsoulstealer121:
SoulStealer121 Featured By Owner May 2, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, this is awesome. :D
Reply
:icontemarikristine:
temarikristine Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2011
AAWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!! that is so cute, write another one like this i like how winry is acting like his mother but in a wife type of way if that makes sense>.< any way loved it
Reply
:iconsticky0-0:
STICKY0-0 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This was great! I really enjoyed it, especially the lullaby. =D
Reply
:iconblissfulgold:
BlissfulGold Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2011   General Artist
Oh my goodness; just wow.
:heart:

I feel so warm and gushy after reading this.
You're an amazing writer.
:faint:
Reply
:icontaytotott:
TaytoTott Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Mmm, yeah. The story made me wanna cry and the song made me wanna cry. Stupid iTunes doesn't have it. >:( How disappointing. But I loved it. It was one of those stories just kinda yanks on your heart a bit, if you know what I mean, and one of those that make you go "Awwww..." without intending to. I loved it.
Reply
:iconkolidescope:
kolidescope Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2011   Filmographer
:D The lyrics go to Beaming Sunlight? That's so awesome!!

I like it. I don't usually fave fanfic drabbles, but this is an exception..
Reply
:iconholycowworshipper:
HolyCowWorshipper Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Hobbyist
Oh Dearheart! :')
I didn't see that you wrote it so when I came to Courage, dear I was all "Oh...my god.... ;__; I didn't see that coming...". I still know the lyrics by heart, at least while listening to the melody.
And you fit it perfectly in here, and the story was so wonderful! I ADORE the idea of Trisha doing this! ADORE! You made something beautiful here, you sure did.
Reply
:iconblackwolf75:
BlackWolf75 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2010  Student Digital Artist
OMIGOSH
I told before, I love this.
You really should write a Royai fanfic.
Pleeeeeaaaassse???
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2010  Student Writer
Haha, thank you! :hug:

Hmmm...tell you what. Before December ends, I will write a Royai Chistmas giftfic just for you. How's that sound? :D
Reply
:iconblackwolf75:
BlackWolf75 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2010  Student Digital Artist
YAAAAAAY :dummy:
Reply
:icongoldenwing57:
goldenwing57 Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great lyrics! I could actually imagine that as a lullaby as I listened to the music.
Reply
:iconpan-zareta:
Pan-Zareta Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent work.
Reply
:iconkittyfox77:
kittyfox77 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2010
Perfection! Made me wanna cry and smile at the same time, so I did!
Reply
:iconsupahfrog:
Supahfrog Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2010
That was so sweet <3 I loved it!
Reply
:iconphoenixtorque:
PhoenixTorque Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I love this line
>>(But it isn't okay, and she doesn't know how to make it okay, because fixing automail is one thing but fixing people is another.)

<3 It just strikes me as very Winry, and very... I don't know. It just stuck.
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Writer
Haha, thank you! I'm glad you liked it, and I'm especially glad to hear that line sounded so Winry-ish. (You know...I think I'm a bit partial to that line myself.) :) To me, Winry isn't just his love interest or his reason to come home in one piece. She is his strength, his refuge; the one who loves him when he can't love himself and fixes him every time he breaks...in more ways than one. I tried hard to include those undertones in this story. (And I guess it worked!) :D
Reply
:iconmendystar1:
mendystar1 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG. You are THE BEST. Seriously. <3
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Writer
*warmfuzzies* Thank yooouuu! :heart: :D
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:iconmendystar1:
mendystar1 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem. :heart:
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:iconhvk:
hvk Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Angst with hope is the best.

This was a deeply sweet short story; making me feel all warm inside.

Thank you for that.
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Student Writer
Thank YOU for the wonderful comment! I'm glad to hear this touched you. Whenever I'm able to touch someone through my stories, it means I've fulfilled my mission as a storyteller. And that feels great. :)

Yes, angst with hope is the very best. Hope without angst is shallow, and angst without hope is just plain depressing. You need both to create a meaningful, gripping, inspiring story. Like FMA. (Thank you, Arakawa!) :D

Cool signature, BTW! I have a little brother with autism and he's the awesomest little brother anyone could ask for. :heart:
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:iconhvk:
hvk Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know what you mean; as a writer, it feels so nice when people can honestly say that they've been emotionally affected by your work.

Angst, by itself, is even childish; thus why people like Zuko from Avatar are labeled 'emo', even though they have serious problems. However, character like him and the Elric Bros. do SOMETHING about their issues, and they keep going.

Let us all thank the great visionaries like Miss Arakawa and Sir Pratchett; they are what awesomeness dreams of being.

Thank you! It's funny; I've been told by my mom that she brags about people all the time about them, and she always gets initial pity when the autism tagged is mentioned. I think people think too much about the disabled when they hear autism, and they don't think about an actual PERSON. Just a label. It's cool to know that you have such a cool little brother.
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:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Writer
Yeah, you can't angst for no reason without looking totally stupid and pathetic. Edward Cullen is a prime example. He's constantly brooding and angsting for no reason. "Oh WOE IS ME! I have a godlike body and superpowers and I'm immortal and I play Epic Vampire Baseball and the only thing sunlight can do to me is make me glitter like a disco ball. MY LIFE IS HELL." *eyeroll* He could learn a few things from the REAL Edward. You know, the one who can glisten in the sun and make it look badass? ;P And YES, haha! All hail the Almighty Cow of Awesomeness! *bowage* :D

You know...people probably wouldn't even know that my brother was autistic if nobody told them. I mean, he still has his various quirks, but he's come so far over the past few years and he's such a sweet, quiet kid. And so clever. He can take apart a ceiling fan and put it right back together again, no trouble. (He LOVES spinning things. I made him a fan video for his birthday and he loved it...)
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:iconpirate9000:
pirate9000 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010
awww talk about kawaii it almost made me cry it's so sweet
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Student Writer
Thank you ~ :hug::heart:
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:iconblackwolf75:
BlackWolf75 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Student Digital Artist
I love it! Not a EdWin fan, but nonetheless, it was a beautifully written story. :D
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Student Writer
Aw, thanks! I'm glad you were able to enjoy this, even if you don't ship them. That tells me I did something right. :D And like I said, this doesn't HAVE to be seen as romantic. Who says true love has to be trapped in that category? Just look at Ed and Al, or Roy and Hughes. :)
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:iconblackwolf75:
BlackWolf75 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, brotherly love! I'm more of a Royai fan, so.... But still, a great story. Love doesn't always have to be shown as romance, just caring for one another. :3
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:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Writer
Very true. :) That's one of the countless things I love about FMA...it shows EVERY side of love. Focus on just one facet, and you miss the beauty of all the others. But FMA gets them all.

Hey, that's cool. :D I'm a Royai AND EdWin fan 'cause they're both equally awesome to me (and they share some similarities, if you look closely). I'm more of an EdWin supporter though, because it's such a misunderstood pairing. Too many people just look at the surface and see it as a cute, awkward, teen love, she-throws-wrenches-at-him-so-they're-meant-to-be kind of thing and they don't realize how much more there is to it. I tried to shine the spotlight on that a little bit in this story.
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:iconblackwolf75:
BlackWolf75 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Exactly. That's the awesomeness that is FMA.

I'm a supporter of Royai only, I guess it's because I never really liked childhood-friend sort of love. I dunno. :shrug:
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Writer
Hey, that's fine. To each their own. :) I'm picky when it comes to romance; I only like it if it's a childhood or close friend thing, a knight/princess thing or a geek-gets-the-girl thing. And even then, it has to be portrayed just right for me to dig into it.

Come to think of it, FMA has a little of all of those. Hee. :D
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:iconblackwolf75:
BlackWolf75 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010  Student Digital Artist
True. so true.
Reply
:iconlink-fang-ilia-max:
link-fang-ilia-max Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thats an awsome job on thoe yrics! amazing story!
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:iconandykimiko:
AndyKimiko Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sioooo cute!
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:iconpwnedbypineapple:
PwnedByPineapple Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I LOVE it!

So cute and sad. I 'awwed' several times.

I, too, adore EdWin, even though I normally don't care much for romance. FMA is great for having awesome pairings. (EdWin, Royai, LingxLan Fan, etc.)
Reply
:icondearheart42:
Dearheart42 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2010  Student Writer
Haha, thank you so much! *warmfuzzies*

And I'm EXACTLY the same way. I'm usually not into romance at all (or at least I'm very VERY picky about it. I despise chick flicks and high school drama)...but in FMA, the pairings are too awesome NOT to go crazy over. :D Arakawa is such a genius. Every character she creates and every relationship she builds - whether it's romantic or not - is so well developed and full of depth and meaning. It doesn't matter which couple you love most...they're all equally wonderful and equally deserving of adoration. :D (And whoever thinks EdWin is just another typical "teen love" thing obviously has NO understanding of the pairing whatsoever...)

...I know I talk too much. Sorry. xD
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