Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Pairing: Winry Rockbell and Rose Tomas
Theme Set: Alpha
A really fun project to do, this got us to do a lot of thinking and exploration, and combines a lot of different writing styles, from blatant minimalism, to stringy drabble-like sentences. Hopefully, this effort will bring more love to an obscure pairing. Warning for End of Series Spoilers.
There had been a thousand little speeches Winry had rehearsed for Granny, and a thousand recriminations at her own ridiculous shyness: she almost fell off her chair at the surprise, the sheer lack of drama, when Pinako said it might be convenient for Rose and her baby to just move rooms, yes? – more room for guests that way, and the simple comfort of acceptance was good enough to make her blink back awkward, glad tears.
#02 - Kiss
"The screwdriver!" Winry said, ecstatic from lack of sleep, "I could kiss you!" - and, surprising both of them, did.
#03 - Soft
The softest things Rose had ever known of in her life were down pillows, her baby's skin, and Winry's hair, and she was blessed with the privelege of sleeping with all three of them in her grasp.
#04 - Pain
Major Armstrong, however kind or familiar, had opened the door in full military uniform: Rose flinched at the sight of him, stumbled back a step as if struck, and Winry had had to dart in front of her for reassurance.
#05 - Potatoes
Winry had never been prettier than at the moment she was assaulted directly in the face with a projectile spoonful of mashed potatoes wielded by Rose's fussy son, and laughed merrily about it.
#06 - Rain
Even the rain was too cold for Rose's comfort, but on those dreary days, Winry made up for the lost warmth with a blanket, a long embrace, and a smile that could melt snow.
#07 - Chocolate
Winry laughed out loud when she first discovered that Rose had never sampled chocolate due to the item's perishability in her desert homeland, but she wasted no time in fetching some to fill her in on what she had been missing, and they spent some time employing several creative ways of consuming it.
#08 - Happiness
Cain’s first, clumsy steps, from the safety of Rose’s hands to the banister; the smile on Winry’s face, mirroring her own until the moment went from good to perfect; blue flowers awkwardly arranged in a glass of water, a welcome meal laid out on the table, and the sunlight sifted through Rose’s hair, brightening the edges; the steady sound of Winry’s breathing when memories nibbled at her in the dark; just being alive, some days.
#09 - Telephone
Everytime the telephone rang, Rose prayed it was Winry calling from Rush Valley, and even when it wasn't, she was elated at the thought that her call would be next.
#10 - Ears
Rose wasn't exactly thrilled about the thought of putting holes in her ears, but knew she had some catching up to do after Winry had already filled up her own with piercings and had moved on to the rest of her face.
#11 - Name
After so much time of just having called him "Baby", Winry suggested Rose name him after somebody important she would want to remember, and thus was christened Cain Edward Tomas.
#12 - Sensual
Visiting Rush Valley, late: Winry, half-asleep, homesick, lovesick, holding the jumbled steel in front of her as if it were human and warm, suddenly missing Rose to death and quite unable to explain to Paninya why she was fondling the automail, that it didn’t interest her that way.
#13 - Death
“Mrs Curtis-” Winry began, but couldn’t finish the sentence for crying; the handkerchief Rose slipped her was almost as welcome as her quiet sympathy when Winry went to pay her respects, alone, at the grave, and the embrace she enveloped her with, warm and quite alive, when she returned, filled with thoughts of the injustice of the world.
#14 - Sex
Rose was far too shy to ask for it, and Winry was too afraid of hurting Rose to initiate it, but they were in no rush, and the first time found them quite nicely.
#15 - Touch
Winry’s hands were careful around Rose; her delicate, thoughtful touch, never unwelcome, always expected, was like the way someone would hold a precious object, and those gentle moments were the closest Rose ever came to thinking of her body as truly sacred.
#16 - Weakness
Even with resolve not to let the absence interfere with their lives, they often couldn't stop from crying and holding each other upon mere mention of the Elric brothers.
#17 - Tears
Of the two of them, it was Winry who dealt with her emotions best of all: her sadnesses and frustrations would only linger for a short time before the floodgates burst and she said, did what she needed to, let the tide wash through her and out of her, carrying its bitter burden of salt; Rose could never quite cry herself better like that, though she was quick to speak her mind, and honest; both of them, still, carried memories and losses that an ocean of tears could not have erased.
#18 - Speed
Rose had, of course, simply been passing by the front gate when Winry knocked on it: admittedly, she was slightly out of breath, her skirt still hitched up in one hand and her face a little flushed, but that was just the heat; why would she have rushed from the top floor bedroom and scrambled down the stairs to greet someone who’d only been away a week?
#19 - Wind
Among the small things that Rose liked about Winry and never said: the way the wind ruffled her hair on a breezy day, and the way she brushed all the knots out of it, afterwards.
#20 - Freedom
The world wasn’t a fair place, the teacher thought to herself, lying awake, still embarassed: otherwise, why, on her very first day on the job, would her innocent request for the children to describe their parents have ended with little Cain Edward proudly and unabashedly telling the class he had two mommies?
#21 - Life
Each morning Rose woke, and counted her blessings – the clean, comfortable bed, pancakes and ham for breakfast, peace, safety, fine weather, and – most of all – the healthy, demanding wail of her baby, tugging her out of sleep, and Winry’s arm, casually flung across her body, the beat of her heart under the skin, just tangible as Rose’s fingers skimmed over her wrist, her warmth – until she was thoroughly reassured
#22 - Jealousy
Even when she never mentioned a thing, Winry could always tell by the look on Rose's face that she'd found another one of Shezka's old love letters.
#23 - Hands
Primarily skilled with screws and bolts, Winry's hands could also busy themselves in many other ways; among them cooking with startling precision, which she was good at, trying her hand at some mediocre crosstitching which she was not so good at, finding some miraculous zen technique in which she was able to answer the telephone, while jotting down messages taken, stirring a pot of formula and bouncing baby Cain on her right hip all the while, but Rose was particularly impressed at how, probably by virtue of her knowledge of the human nervous system, Winry employed her hands as ominous weapons when she slipped into the alter ego of a skilled and merciless tickle monster.
#24 - Taste
While their likes and dislikes tended to coincide, Rose decided, after spitting out a bitter mouthful of the stuff in disgust, that she'd never understand Winry's taste for morning coffee.
#25 - Devotion
Winry couldn't claim to be the perfect girlfriend; had never held a penchant for remembering important anniversary dates, for buying unneccessary 'just because' gifts, and wasn't much of a poet so thus wasn't very well versed in the art of sweet nothings, but she did change Cain's diapers without a fuss, and that was enough dedication to at least count for something.
#26 - Forever
Halfway through scolding the new puppy – so far, christened ‘Thing’ – as he trailed tomorrow’s supper in his jaws, Winry turned to Rose with an exasperated sigh– “If he’s like this now, what will we do in five years’ time?” – and was surprised to see her entirely serene: the we and the five years had given Rose a little start of pleasure that entirely eclipsed her annoyance.
#27 - Blood
When Cain saw Winry binding up her cut finger, he offered his own scraped elbow in comparison, declaring proudly that it was the same color on the inside; Winry nodded and the boy continued with the excitement of revelation, And the same as mommy's too; and Uncle Alphonse and Auntie Paninya and Joshua from down the road and Sarah who was really mean sometimes but kind of his friend anyway; they all had the same stuff inside like he and Winry did-- Winry could only stare in awe at the boy, who was clearly a genius, plain and simple-- they had been reasoning about how they would give him that talk when the right time came for years, and yet he had taught it to himself right then and there in a few seconds.
#28 - Sickness
The oddest customer they'd ever had was definitely a certain Lieutenant Kirschwasser, who had neglected to tell Winry that he was allergic to nickel before she fixed his leg, and had them worried to death through a three-day fever: of course, he had to come round at the point when Rose had her arms tight round a concerned and guilt-stricken Winry, and then ask hoarsely if they would just strip next, then he'd know he was in heaven; it was easier for the two of them, together, to laugh that off, and send him on his way without a limp, any suspicions or a care in the world.
#29 - Melody
The gramophone had lasted about as long as it took for Winry to decide how its mechanism could be improved, deconstruct it, and lose a vital widget behind the skirting boards; Rose didn’t miss the scratchy music it played much, but it cheered her when she heard the echo of it in Winry’s vague humming as she worked, for a reason she couldn’t explain.
#30 - Star
When it streaked across the sky, they held each others' hands and both wished upon it for the safe return of the boy they'd both loved so deeply.
#31 - Home
Alphonse promised in every letter that he wrote that he would find his brother and bring him home someday so they could be a family once again; all of them.
#32 - Confusion
"I'm sorry," Rose apologized with a blush, retreating her shaking, inexperienced fingers back towards her own body, "I've never done this before; I'm... not sure what to do..."; Winry giggled nervously in response, "Me either."
#33 - Fear
Rose had gone by so long in fervent belief that Winry was never scared of anything, that it was more of a humorous shock than anything to have her idolistic beliefs dashed at the sight of Winry standing on a chair, wielding a broom, shreiking, 'Get the hell out of my kitchen, you crawly fat eight legged little bastards!", and while the unnaturally large brigade of spiders that had emerged from under the floorboards was enough to scare her as well, even Winry's flustered insistence that it was only out of sanitary concern couldn't get Rose to stop from giggling, as she tiptoed over to Winry's chair and feebly attempted to lift her off and around the tiny terrors, and proved herself to be surprisingly strong in this situation, but expectedly levelheaded.
#34 - Lightning/Thunder
The storm had been terrible, the sky broken in half with white, forked lightning, the rain lashing the ground into churned mud, impassability, the thunder so low and loud that it seemed to rock the house: the look on Rose’s face as her baby lolled, feverish, in her arms, was enough to send Winry out into the dark without a word, barely shielded by a thin raincoat and boots, to fetch medicine from town.
#35 - Bonds
Rose's face darkened in fear when she came across the harmless find of a pile of ropes in the workshop, but the greater anxiety lie in Winry's mind, in the horrible sensation of having to wonder just what sort of horrible memory the girl could be harboring of them.
#36 - Market
People stared at them when they did their grocery shopping, absorbed in the rumours that absorbed the attentions of this rural town, but while Rose shyed away from their curious gazes in shame, Winry proudly grasped her hand and continued walking as normal.
#37 - Technology
Winry loves automail, and automail, in return, loves Winry; the Rockbell trade is the best for miles around, and she helps make it so, exactly and blissfully at home with the tools, tender and deft with the people she treats: Rose can’t make head nor tail of most mechanical things, but the newfound ease of movement and confidence that the automail blesses Winry’s clients with lets her understand what Winry’s work means.
#38 - Gift
There wasn’t really anything Rose could have bought as a surprise, and she was kept busy enough with Cain that she didn’t have much time to make anything, so, really, Winry decided, trying her hardest to finish each mouthful, the only option was cooking, and if the workings of the kitchen were slightly elusive to a girl from Lior, then a thoroughly burnt and lovingly cooked birthday lunch was the only option - anyway, it was the thought that counted.
#39 - Smile
As the baby grows older, and the shape of his face and the shade of his skin become more apparent, Winry can’t help seeing the looks of his father, whoever that was, in him – or, at least, of someone who looked nothing like Rose, nothing like any citizen of Lior – and takes to holding him more often, worried in some intangible way, watching his movements, waiting for something: it’s with great relief that she witnesses his first smile as he’s hoisted proudly up by Rose, and sees a quite identical expression on the faces of mother and son.
#40 - Innocence
Not many people would call both of them virgins, Winry thought, or at least not untouched in a technical sense: such an ordeal, still, couldn't take away the awkward purity of mind, quite apart from body and memory, that they shared, allowing them to grow deeper in love together.
#41 - Completion
Cain was aware that there were people and things that his family missed, and that Winry and Pinako were not exactly his mom and granny, but as far as he was concerned his existence was utterly complete
#42 - Clouds
It really had looked like rain: Winry had rushed out to rescue the washing, and Rose had followed right after to help her, balancing a baby and three pillowcases in her arms: they'd put half of the laundry in the basket before they'd looked up and seen a sky adorned only with harmless cirrus clouds, laughed so hard that Winry dropped all the towels.
#43 - Sky
The winter sky was huge that night, spreading out beyond the horizon all around her, invisibly - too black, too wide, and the size of the world in comparison to one person was almost like despair: there were unasked-for tears on Winry's cheeks, and a hole in her that nothing seemed to fill; only the light in the house behind her and the soft sound of Rose's voice, lulling Cain to sleep lifted her from the cold ground and to the back door again, hoping beyond hope.
#44 - Heaven
Rose had never quite lost faith, although in what she could no longer say: the thought of nothing after death was too much; Winry, unable to imagine a heaven, kept quiet and hoped only that she wouldn't outlive those she loved.
#45 - Hell
Rose had always been told that women like that would go to hell; the kind who sassed back to men, behaved immodestly, but most unnaturally, fell in love and lived with other women as God intended for them to do with men, and yet she felt no true sin could possibly bring this much joy to her life.
#46 - Sun
Rose was quite at home in the heat, managing to darken almost imperceptibly and get nicely warm and relaxed without getting burnt; Winry tended to sweat and get rather flushed if she had to be outdoors for too long, but she still hadn't meant it literally when she asked Rose to throw a bucket of cold water all over her, even if the result was pleasantly cool in a breathless and shocking way.
#47 - Moon
The moon was kind to both of them, flickered soft and silver across the room and cast patterns of shadow on the floor: Rose was thankful that she could see Winry quite clearly, could push that old and worn-out fear back with the reassurance of her remembered face, her hesitant and gentle eyes, could know that she was safe.
#48 - Waves
When it turned out Rose got sick from the rocking of the rowboat, they had to change plans and teach Cain how to fish from the dock instead.
#49 - Hair
If Winry hadn’t become a little tipsy at Sciezka’s Christmas party, perhaps none of it would have happened: it hadn’t really been a good idea to answer Lieutenant Ross and Sergeant Brosh’s whispered discussion on the dyed hair of the strange girl with her by practically shouting to them that it was all perfectly and completely natural; it was inevitable that they’d ask how she knew that in the first place, and equally inevitable that Rose would blush too hard for her to think of a plausible excuse.
#50 - Supernova
"It's beautiful," Rose said, and "It's a star exploding," Winry said, almost at the same time; they were quite happy to agree and watch it burning out far away, a bright dot in the sky, bittersweetly, together.