As One to the Other

She tells the girl that she would be glad to see her again, someday. It seems to be the right thing for the situation, to give a small phrase of hope in a house that seems weighted down by gloom.

Her commander sits assured and confident in the rickety old cart. When she questions him, he says, with utmost confidence, that Edward Elric will come to East City, and then to Central, to become a State Alchemist.

A year later, he is proven correct. She would not have believed herself, remembering the catatonic, pale child in the wheelchair: her most generous estimation had placed at least three years before the boy would emerge from his mind enough to interact properly with the world, let alone move freely with his new automail limbs.

She wonders if the little girl–Winry, she’d named herself–helped at all. Eleven years old was not too early to apprentice, not for a line of work as thoroughly detailed and involved as automail installation and maintenance. However, she does not ask, not even when Edward and Alphonse disappear for a week, and return with an air of certain fatalistic determination.

“They’ll go far in this world, First Lieutenant,” her commander says, without her asking. “Someday, I may even have competition for the top.” He chuckles at that, but she sees the weighing and the calculation in his eyes: the Elrics are young, but they will bear watching, and the proper caution when the time comes.

It takes less than a year to learn his faith is not misplaced. Edward begins amassing a reputation for himself with single-minded determination. His eyes, like Colonel Mustang’s, are aimed at a goal that can only be reached through unwavering determination.

Nearly two years pass before she hears Winry Rockbell’s name mentioned again.

It is afternoon, and the Elric brothers have recently returned from a mission. Edward is rubbing at the join of automail and flesh, complaining of the ache, and his brother suggests going back to Rizenbul.

“Auntie Pinako will be glad to see us,” he says, as they walk by. “And then Winry–”

Edward says something else, but Hawkeye stops, and considers. So the girl did help to create Edward’s automail. The revelation does not surprise her.

On the day Roy Mustang first left home to become a soldier, bright-eyed and straight-backed and convinced he could change the world, she chose to follow without second thought. With sure hands, she picked up the weapon she despised, prepared to kill.

Nearly two years before, in Rizenbul, Winry Rockbell sat on her grandmother’s small couch, with the pinched expression of a child forced too soon into adulthood. Too young still to properly follow, as Liza herself had, she could only grieve for the anticipation of distance.

Hawkeye picks up the next file. The words she uttered as encouragement have now, in her mind, become a prediction.

Colonel Mustang resembles Edward more than either will care to admit, years rewound and fast-forwarded and tangled somewhere in between. So it does not surprise her that Edward must have his own support–his brother is too much a part of him, so close and involved with the ultimate goal, so there must be one other person who knows him best.

Perhaps Edward will be surprised, the day the girl arrives to stay. Perhaps Alphonse will be as well, though Hawkeye suspects he will be less so. Liza Hawkeye herself, however, knows it is coming. So until that day, she will take care of the Elrics as best she can, while watching out for Colonel Mustang, because as one to the other, she understands.

She knows.

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