Winry supposed it was no surprise that the brothers came to visit her in Rush Valley while she was finishing up her apprenticeship with Mr. Garfiel. The surprise was their invitation to continue south with them to Dublith. “You ought to meet our teacher,” Alphonse said, and Edward nodded his agreement.
“Yeah, you can show her how to make a pie,” he said, nudging Winry with his elbow.
“And she can show you,” Alphonse hesitated, rubbing his chin. He still had hollow cheeks, but Winry could see such a change in him since they’d shown up in Rezembool after the Promised Day. He turned to his brother. “Well.”
“Nothing!” Edward barked out, and the brothers eyed each other, a silent conversation Winry knew she’d never be able to interrupt or figure out.
Mr. Garfiel let her leave again, and they went further south. The heat struck Alphonse like a blow when they walked out of the train station, and Edward quickly bought them all drinks so they could make it to the butcher shop. Winry couldn’t remember the woman the brothers were so in awe of, and looked forward to their meeting.
The fact that both brothers were suddenly snatched up by a slender woman, and thrown heavily to the ground, made Winry rethink that idea. “Why didn’t you warn me you were coming?” the woman shouted at the brothers.
“I ask them to do that all the time!” Winry said. “They never do! It’s always a surprise!”
Sitting up, Edward rubbed his head, while Alphonse groaned, picking himself out of the dust. “Surprises are more fun,” Edward whined.
Both women turned on him, sharp toothed and flaming eyed, “Not this kind!”
“Eep.” Alphonse hid behind Edward.
Edward tried not to breathe. “Y-yes, ma’am!”
The woman turned to Winry, smiling and offering her a hand. “Izumi Curtis. You must be Winry! I’ve heard so much about you.”
“It’s so nice to meet you, Mrs. Curtis!” Winry took her hand, feeling the strength in it, and the callouses. Mrs. Curtis worked, aside from teaching Elrics in manners. “I haven’t heard as much about you, but I’ve been wanting to meet you for a while.”
Mrs. Curtis put an arm around Winry’s shoulders. “Come in, come in. Would you like a cup of tea?” She guided Winry to the stoop, then stopped, remembering. “And you two!”
“Yes, ma’am!” Winry bit back a smile at the sight of the brothers, upright and stiff, waiting for their orders.
“You should run along to the market and get some apples.” Mrs. Curtis turned to Winry. “I understand you make an excellent apple pie.”
“Mm!” Winry nodded. “Ed, Al, make sure to get green apples. They make the best pies.”
As the door closed on the two women, Edward asked, “What just happened?”
Alphonse whined. “I think the thing we didn’t want Winry to learn from Teacher is being taught.”