Difficult Situations

chapter 2. Mechanic

She was the only one attending his funeral, aside from the priest. She stood there, in her best black dress, sniffling into her handkerchief as the funeral rites were muttered, staring at his name inscribed carefully on the headstone, all flowing lines and curling script, realizing that this was all she had left of him.

She'd first realized she loved him when he was recovering from the surgery, weak but determined. She had watched him walk with his artificial leg, watched him learn how to use his automail arm, and admired the strength that would let him brave such pain so quietly. Two automail limbs should have cost him three years until recovery, but he'd managed it much, much sooner, thanks to his passion, his overwhelming desire to see his goal through. Somewhere in between that and the charm of him—even pale and weak and bloodied, he still gave out an aura of power and greatness—had drawn her to him, despite her misgivings. She'd given in to her urges, pressing a strong kiss on his cheek one day as he sat up in bed, and fled before he could recover from the surprise.

When she next saw him, he'd smiled at her, a little hesitantly, before drawing her to him and kissing her on the forehead. And then things got a little more hectic and her overalls were being undone and it was only the warning slam of the door closing downstairs as her grandmother came up the stairs, calling her name.

"I have to go," she'd said, softly. "You'll be leaving soon, your recovery is almost complete. What are the chances I'll ever see you again?"

"Not very high," he had replied, sadly. "I promise I will return when I complete my mission. I promise."

She kissed him and he kissed back, and when Pinako Rockbell opened the door it was to find her granddaughter and Colonel Frank Archer rolling around on the floor together in various states of undress.

She left in order to fetch the fire hose.