Title: 2,000 Miles
Summary: Two thousand miles and more ghosts than that to haunt them.
Spoilers:Post series, so yeah. A little bit of an alternate ending. No movie though. Doesn't even exist.
Rating: PG - NC-17 This chapter: PG-13 for language.
FMA does not belong to me and I make no profit from any of these tales. Any further archiving of my fiction is strictly prohibited unless cleared by me.
6. The Hitch
Fresh out of town, the dark car speeds up to compensate for the long journey ahead. Dark clouds roll by ominously, painting the world in grey, the greenery of surrounding forests and fields standing out in stark relief. The air is thick and hot despite the clouds and Ed wishes that it would just rain and get it over with.
It hadn’t taken long for them to get back on the road. Ed had kept the journal Winry gave him in his coat pocket hoping to please her. Occasionally, he catches her looking at it out of the corner of her eye with a frown. Eventually, the afternoon humidity becomes too much and he drapes the brown coat over the seat of the car. Still, her sideways looks continue.
“What?” he finally asks, annoyed.
“What, what?” She asks, startled.
Ed rolls his eyes; he isn’t in the mood to play oblivious with her. She keeps looking at him and frowning and he wants to know why, so he asked.
“You’ve gotten thinner.”
“No I haven’t”
Winry isn’t convinced, “Ed, come on, that shirt is hanging off of you.”
Ed dismisses her. It only looks big because it is a size too big.
“I know what size it is,” Winry snaps, “I bought it for you last year and it fit perfectly then.”
The back of Edward’s head hits the seat. They just left town and there isn’t another for at least a day. He isn’t in the mood to argue about his weight all the way there and he curses the east in general for being so rural.
A spot in the distance begins to take shape and he lifts his head, leaning forward in his seat to get a better look.
“Win, look.” He points to the figure in the distance.
“It’s a hitch hiker.”
Edward tells her to stop. Winry looks at him like he is crazy.
“Come on, there might not be another car for hours and it looks like it might rain. She could be stranded out here all day.”
The car is fast approaching the woman at the side of the road and Winry is not slowing down.
“We don’t know if we’re even going the way she’s headed.”
“Doesn’t matter, just stop.”
The car screeches to a halt just past the hitch hiker, throwing Edward forward into the dash. Dust billows around the woman by the road as she hesitantly looks toward the car. As she begins to approach, Edward rubs his head and hears Winry mutter, “Serves you right for not wearing your seatbelt.”
The car door opens and the woman climbs into the back seat. “Thanks for stopping.”
“Are you kidding, not a problem.” Winry smiles brightly at the girl and ignores the looks Edward throws her way.
“Where are you headed?” He asks.
“Robis.” Winry laughs, “Isn’t that near Central?” She pointedly asks Edward.
“You guys…aren’t headed that way?” The girl looks from one blond to another.
“Of course we are.” Edward says, tight-lipped to Winry. Turning back to the girl, he plasters on his most charming smile and feels a deep satisfaction at the scowl Winry directs at him. “Don’t mind her. She’s just cranky because she’s been driving too long. By the way, I’m Ed and that’s Winry.”
Winry has always been a slightly violent person. She doesn’t know exactly where she gets it from – although she suspects it’s from the influence of Granny – it’s just always been there. Luckily though, she’s never really gone as far as to seriously hurt someone – despite what some short (yes still short. For a guy anyway) alchemist may have to say. She’d always had that level of control. Well, that control is being pulled very thin right now because of one thing.
This girl is everything Winry hates about the female species. Well, Winry thinks, she doesn’t hate all of woman-kind; she just hates some of the stereotypes and behaviors most feel like they need to exhibit in order to get what they want.
Take Moura for example.
On the outside she is kind of cute. Short brown hair tucked under a little hat with a bill on it. Long tan limbs protruded from her tank top and shorts and of all things she has a long colorful scarf wrapped around her neck.
The scarf is just enough to mildly annoy Winry, but the girl is in serious danger every time she opens her mouth. She is bubbly and agreeable to the point of being annoying. She doesn’t have any opinions of any kind on anything of any consequence and when she does finally pipe up with her inane opinions, the subject is so empty and vapid she may as well have said nothing at all. And her laugh…Every time she laughs – which is often – Winry’s knuckles turn white and her teeth clench together.
The worst thing though, is that Ed is falling for it. He is even feeding into it.
Maura laughs again, and Winry is reminded of donkeys. She turns to her passenger and sees that he is smiling at Moura, turned sideways with his left arm thrown over the back of the seat. Moura leans forward and touches his arm. Winry doesn’t hear what she says as the world starts to tunnel in on that gesture and to her ears it sounds like a hurricane has blown through the car. Ed laughs and that sound brings her anger down.
What is going on here? Why does Maura get to see this side of Ed? Does the twit even realize the significance of that smile? Of that laugh? Does she know that it’s been so long since she’s heard it that she thought it was gone for good?
Why is Ed suddenly so…dumb?
Ed is certain that if he had plastered on even a tenth of this act during one of the military balls the Colonel forced him to attend, he’d have made it to General by now. Moura is a terrible flirt, and Ed, who knows nothing of flirting, relies on every bit of experience in manipulation that he has to keep her going. Turns out the two are remarkably similar.
The greatest part is Winry’s reaction to the whole thing. If she thinks he missed the set of her jaw and the tight grip on the wheel, she is mistaken. As fun as it is though, after a couple hours of it, Ed is getting exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to keep up this type of front. He needs a break.
“Winry, can you pull over?” She shoots him one of the nastiest glares he has ever seen and he is compelled to explain, “Bathroom.”
As Ed’s back disappears into the tree line, Winry and Moura step out of the car to stretch. Winry watches the hitch hiker carefully, not fully trusting her not to follow Ed into the woods and try to molest him. Current behavior in mind, she also wouldn’t put it past Edward to go along with it.
“So, is Ed your boyfriend…or something?” Moura asks.
Or something, Winry wants to answer. Instead she says, “He’s a friend.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
Winry wants to smack that half-happy, mostly dumb look off the girl’s face. She can see just what that girl wants from Ed and she doesn’t like it one bit. Edward is…Edward. He deserves better than some stupid girl with her stupid scarf and stupid wannabe beret. Winry knows her type all too well. She doesn’t want Ed because of his heart or his mind. Ed was easy on the eyes and fit to boot. Also, not many people had cars of their own yet. Moura probably believes them to be wealthy. And if Moura ever found out his last name, she’d play that up too. A girl like that would never be good for him.
She needs to warn him, and if things keep on going like they’ve been, she needs to do it soon.
“You know, I think I’m gonna go too. Can you watch the car?” She asks Moura and takes off before she can even get an answer.
A girl like that would chew Ed up and spit him out, and poor, girl-retarded Edward wouldn’t know what hit him. No, if Winry had to describe the girl for Ed it would probably be someone completely opposite of Moura. Someone smart and caring, who understands all that Ed’s been though, knows where his limits are and understands that he is not as tough as he likes to act. For a moment, Winry muses that she’s just described herself, but decides not to dwell on that thought for long. Right now, she’s got a boy to save.
“Pst…Ed.” She calls, not wanting to catch Ed with his pants down.
“Over here,” He calls back and steps around a tree still buttoning up his fly.
“We need to talk.”
At that name, a dopey grin spreads over Ed’s face and his gaze sweeps dreamily somewhere over Winry’s shoulder, “Moura? She’s great isn’t she?”
“If by ‘great’ you mean a great big hussy.”
His eyes snap back to Winry’s face and his tone gets defensive, “What? What’s your problem?”
“That’s funny, I was going to ask you the same question.” Winry’s fists clench at her sides and she takes a step toward Edward, who wisely takes half a step back, “Have you gone completely retarded? That girl only wants to jump your bones and you are just going right along with it.”
Recovering, Ed stands his ground and crosses his arms defensively. “So.”
“So? SO?!” Winry takes a step at every word and soon winds up barely nose to nose with Ed.
“Yeah. So.” Ed answers and turns away from her. He waves a dismissive hand as he takes a few steps away saying, “we’re adults now Winry. I see no reason why we can’t indulge in a little meaningless sex.”
“Oh listen to you Mr. Pimp.” Winry throws back at him causing Ed to turn and glare. “Come on, this isn’t like you at all. The Ed I know wouldn’t be able to listen to that girl prattle on for five minutes, let alone long enough to get her in bed.”
“And your point?” His eyebrows draw together in a ‘V’ shape, annoyed.
“My point is that you are completely unrecognizable to me today!” Winry drops her voice an octave, poorly imitating Ed’s “‘I see no reason why we can’t indulge in a little meaningless sex.’” Returning her voice to normal she scoffs, “Please Ed, you’re as virgin as they come.”
Ed scowls at her,“Yeah, well not for long.” At that he storms out of the forest and Winry is left with her fists balled at her sides.
A hurricane all her own, Winry follows his example and rages down the path a few feet behind him, making plans for the biggest cock-block the world has ever seen. She nearly runs over Ed.
“Winry, where’s the car?”
Uh oh! Looks like our characters have hit a bit of a hitch in their plans! Get it? Hitch? Like the name of the chapter?! Yeah! I’m so cleaver sometimes I astound myself. /sarcasm.
So, yeah, Ed’s acting a bit of a jerk in this one, but well, he does that sometimes doesn’t he. Don’t worry; he’ll repent in the next chapter. He’s going to go back and forth emotionally for a while until he evens out. Right now, he’s at that stage where…uh, it’s hard to describe how I see it in my head but think of it like a swinging door that’s been held down. Once its let go it swings around a bit before calming down and returning to a restful state. That’s the best I can come up with and that’s how I experienced it. I really like some of Winry’s line’s in this one. I had a lot of fun writing them.
For those of you wondering where this story is going…don’t worry, I have the whole story planned out. We’re working towards Ed’s full recovery and as on any road to recovery he’s bound to stumble once and a while. We’re really close to a turning point in this story though, and there will be more action to come in future chapters. (What? You didn’t think I’d have him wandering the country side all apathetic and emo for the whole story, did you? C’mon this is Ed we’re talking about. He is a trouble magnet.)
Anyway, I realize that I still haven’t responded to reviews on the last chapter, but that in no way means that I didn’t appreciate them. I’ve just been really busy lately. Please don’t let that stop you from leaving them for this chapter. They are always appreciated.