How long had it been?
How long had it been since Edward’s smile had been this sweet, this innocent, without the undertone of guilt and sadness? How long had it been since he looked this relaxed, this content, as if he had come home? When had he last smiled in his sleep, free of his nightmares, which used to bring him awake, panicky and in a cold sweat?
Winry couldn’t recall. She had known Ed all his life and she couldn’t recall a time when he hadn’t been angry or dealing with self-reproach and sadness. Ed had spent so much of his life and energy directing anger at his absent father and later internalizing his guilt over his brash decision to attempt human transmutation, the very act that had cost his younger brother his body.
One by one, he had somehow vanquished all his demons, the ones that had stalked him and Al as well as those living within him for so long. Now, after defeating the ones who had threatened Amestris and all that he loved, while also achieving his ultimate goal of returning his Al to his body, Ed seemed at peace.
What was Ed dreaming about, what was the source of his angelic smile?
As if in answer to her unspoken question Ed gave a contended little sigh and his smile widened. “Mom,” he breathed on an exhale and Winry looked upon Ed’s relaxed features with wonder. His past dreams of his mother usually ended with tears slipping from his tightly closed eyes and leaving him with a melancholy expression. A quiet, lingering sadness would fall over him whenever he woke from these dreams, yet this time Ed seemed happy; no, joyful, this time.
Winry felt her own eyes brim with tears, the tears of happiness she had promised him so long ago.
It appeared Ed had conquered the last demon still within his heart. At long last, he was at peace with his mother’s death and the botched attempt to bring her back to life. At long last, he was ready to move on and face his future without regrets or fear, a future that held her and the beginnings of their new family together.
Golden morning light streamed through the windows, bathing both them in a warm light, lifting Winry’s mood to a quiet joy. She leaned over the man she loved, blocking the light so he could remain asleep and stay with his mother a little longer. With a soft touch she stroked his soft hair back from his face, and Ed’s smile grew wider.
“Bye, Mom,” came his quiet, mumbled words, “And thanks.” Ed nuzzled deeper into his pillow, a gentle bliss suffusing his features.
A tear slipped down Winry’s cheek as she realized that Ed’s heart was finally free from the dark prison he had kept it hidden in for so long. She offered her own silent thanks to the kind, gentle woman for releasing his heart into her care, and for bringing this strong, loving, and very determined man into the world.
She would gladly take on the duty to watch over him for the rest of their lives.