Childhood Friends


She was chasing him through the overgrown grass waving around a wrench in her hand when it hit her, not the wrench, but the realization that she loved him, broken auto-mail and all. She laughed with her entire being. Her whole body shook with the sudden laughter. Her weakened hand dropped the wrench onto the soft ground with a dull thunk. The sound caused her friend to stop running, and ask what she was laughing at. After quelling her laughter she reminded him that they used to play tag in the very same field. To which he replied that the only difference now was that she ‘tagged’ him with her wrench. That being said she remembered the reason for their presence in the field, retrieved the wrench, and smacked the boy she loved over the head with the tool she adored.

Family


Al found himself listening to Ed’s “We’re the only family we’ve got” speech again and decided it was finally time to put a stop to it.

“Brother, stop!” he commanded, raising the arms of the metal suit of armor in which his soul resided. Ed was fazed by the anger in his bother’s voice and paused in his speech. Al took full advantage of the pause, “What about Aunt Pinako? She took care of us, and Teacher, she treated us like her own. And if you even try to deny that Winry is family then…then, I’ll call her and let her know. Brother, she cares about us, worries, and helps when she can. She may lose her temper and cry sometimes, but you can’t say she isn’t family. She hopes we can restore our bodies just as much as you and I do, and if that’s not family I don’t know what else is.”

All Ed could muster was a quiet, “You’re right,” before he went back to the book he had been reading. Truth be told, he knew Winry was family, but sometimes it was easier for him to forget, so he wouldn't have to convince himself that leaving her behind wasn't the same as what his father did to his mom. So, he could go on telling himself that it would be better if she didn't know what kind of mess they were tangled in. Maybe when it was all over he could sit down with his patchwork family and tell them the journey he and Alphonse had.

Remembrance


Aside from their clothing there were only three things they had not burned to the ground along with their house.

They were photographs. Al held onto one of himself, Ed, and their parents. He kept it tucked away in his metal body. Ed kept the one of himself, Al, their mother, Pinako, and Winry. It was currently taped inside the back cover of his travel log. Winry had the one of both complete families enjoying a picnic and laughing. This wasn’t with the other pictures she put up on the cork board, but kept in her room, framed. In hope that one day they could have moments like that again, even if both sets of parents were missing. One day she would see both of them smile like that again, a real smile free of sorrow and guilt. One day she would smile like that again, a smile free of concern.

Dog


Aside from their clothing there were only three things they had not burned to the ground along with their house.

They were photographs. Al held onto one of himself, Ed, and their parents. He kept it tucked away in his metal body. Ed kept the one of himself, Al, their mother, Pinako, and Winry. It was currently taped inside the back cover of his travel log. Winry had the one of both complete families enjoying a picnic and laughing. This wasn’t with the other pictures she put up on the cork board, but kept in her room, framed. In hope that one day they could have moments like that again, even if both sets of parents were missing. One day she would see both of them smile like that again, a real smile free of sorrow and guilt. One day she would smile like that again, a smile free of concern.

Library


Aside from their clothing there were only three things they had not burned to the ground along with their house.

They were photographs. Al held onto one of himself, Ed, and their parents. He kept it tucked away in his metal body. Ed kept the one of himself, Al, their mother, Pinako, and Winry. It was currently taped inside the back cover of his travel log. Winry had the one of both complete families enjoying a picnic and laughing. This wasn’t with the other pictures she put up on the cork board, but kept in her room, framed. In hope that one day they could have moments like that again, even if both sets of parents were missing. One day she would see both of them smile like that again, a real smile free of sorrow and guilt. One day she would smile like that again, a smile free of concern.

Always Right


Riza Hawkeye walked around the property searching for her mischievous dog, Black Hayate. She made her footsteps silent when she heard voice carrying on the wind over the small hill she was climbing. She couldn’t quite make out the words spoken, but she could tell from the soft tender tones that it was an important conversation—a private conversation. Upon closer inspection she could see that the two blonds were sitting in the tree, facing the setting sun, and holding hands.

She could make out their words now. The first to speak was Edward. “I’ve missed you,” he told Winry.

All Riza heard for a few minutes was the rattling of the leaves in the wind, and then Winry spoke, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Riza smiled at the sight of the two adults sitting in a tree like children professing their love for each other. The moment was broken by Hayate clawing at the tree barking at Edward. Riza sighed. Edward threw an apple, and the dog chased after it. Riza walked back down the hill in the same silence she had climbed it in. After she got a good distance away she let out a high pitched, loud whistle. Hayate was at her heels in an instant the apple in his mouth.

Riza thought back to the time Edward had practically choked when she asked if he like Winry. She laughed. Hayate yipped along with her. From the first time she had seen Winry and Edward, all those years ago when she had accompanied Roy to first meet the boy, she had known they were right for each other. If she understood Alphonse and Pinako properly they always had been, just like Roy and herself. Maybe Winry would catch the bouquet at their wedding. Surely Edward would get the hint.

It's Kind of a Fight


Al heaved a sigh and went about the complicated task of explaining what was happening to the Tringam brothers as Ed and Winry continued to thow insults at each other.

“Kind of?” asked the youngest Tringam with his head cocked to the side.

Al sweat-dropped as he caught the reflection of light from the wrench Winry produced out of thin air.

As usual Edward’s eye grew wide at the sight of the shiny metal object and he took off running. Al buried his face in his hands, still relishing in the feel of his real body, and growled.

“You were saying?” the eldest Tringam commented.

“Well, it isn’t really a fight. They act like this every time they meet after a long absence. This tradition, ritual, custom, whatever you prefer to call it is their way of avoiding the truth that they actually missed each other. It’s how they have chosen to show their affection for each other. It’s easier to leave, or be left behind if you think the other person is irritating.”

The brothers looked at Al, then each other, and then back at Al.

“That’s disturbing,” they said in unison.

Al slumped his shoulders in defeat. They weren’t ever going to get it. Instead of continuing his task of explaining the strange behavior of Ed and Winry he herded the two inside with the promise of Pinako’s cooking.

No Problem


She had no problem creating arm after arm for him. She didn’t mind the work. She even found satisfaction in making the best automail possible for him.

However, what she did have a problem with was not knowing how he broke it time and time again. She always got the abridged version of his fights.

She tried explaining to him that she could possibly make better automail for him if she knew the true amount of strain he was putting on it. He would just give her a sad smile and say he didn’t want to put her in anymore danger.

-------


He couldn’t believe Winry was there. At first, he thought it might be Envy, but sure enough it was her. No one else knew about the special oil she had promised to buy for Alphonse the last time they had seen each other.

Kimbley’s hands were resting on her shoulders. After his initial shock Ed tried to keep his face stoic behind the iron bars.

No problem, no problem, no problem, I can get us out of this, I can fix any problem that comes my way, it’s no problem, he chanted in his head trying to remain calm.

He clenched his fists around the iron bars. It was no problem. He’d kill Kimbley before he could even think about harming Winry.

Only


He hated Roy Mustang for more than one reason. It seemed that every time he saw the arrogant bastard he found a new reason to add to the list, and his most recent visit was no exception.

Ed tossed the manila envelope with the stupid coded report on Mustang’s desk with a satisfied smirk on his face. He had worked extra hard on the code for this one, it was going to take Mustang at least a week to crack.

Mustang peeked into the envelope and smirked. “Oh, I didn’t need a report for last week. I need one for the week before,” he told Ed and slid the envelope back across the desk.

Ed mumbled curses under his breath and snatched the documents back. When he glanced back up at the bastard he was still smirking. “What?” Edward snapped at him.

“Edward, you brought Ms. Rockbell with you today?” Mustang asked.

“Yeah, what's it to you?” Ed asked, impatient to leave.

“Doesn’t the way some of the men in the halls stare at her bother you? Or are you too short to see the way their heads turn in her direction?”

“She’s only my mechanic!” Ed howled, not even hearing the jab at his height.

Roy laughed, “You’re free to go Fullmetal.”

Ed slammed the door and entered the bigger office where Al and Winry were waiting kept company by Havoc, Breda, Fuery, and Falman. Ed saw Winry chatting away happily with Fuery. He growled. “Come on Winry, Al, lets go get something for lunch,” he snapped.

Winry gave Fuery a weak smile and waved. She glared at Ed as he pulled her away. “What was that about? I was talking to Fuery about the new wiring I’m going to put into your leg and arm,” Winry hissed.

Ed let go of her and mumbled and apology.

Al stayed back to apologize to Fuery for the rudeness of his older brother. He caught up to them just before they left the building.

Back in the office Havoc was the one to speak. “Only his mechanic, huh? That sure seemed like jealousy to me.”

Love or Like?


Trisha looked down at the blond boy pulling at her skirt. “Yes, Edward?”

“Auntie Pinako says you love Daddy even though he’s gone. How do you know you love him, not just like him?” the boy asked trying to say it all in one breath. Trisha laughed at her son and picked him up. “What’s so funny?” he asked clinging to her.

“Nothing, you’re just a little young to be asking questions like that. Most boys don’t care about love at your age,” she explained tapping him on his scrunched up nose. He was growing up too fast for her liking.

“Are you gonna tell me, or do I have to find out from Winry? She said she’s gonna find out first.” He crossed his arms.

“Well, I suppose love is when you like a person so much you want to be with them all the time, but you also understand that you can’t always be with them, and it might hurt you to be without them, but you have to let them have their own space to do what they have to. Also, it’s when you like them even after you know everything they’ve done wrong, all their faults, odd behavior, strangest wishes, and darkest secrets. You just know when you love someone. Sometimes you like someone for a long time, and then you start to love them.”

“Like me and Winry?” he asked.

“So, you and Winry are in love?” She laughed again and held him high in the air.

He nodded vigorously. “I don’t ever want her to go home, but I let her even if it makes me sad,” he paused for a moment and frowned. “I don’t think Winry loves me.”

Trisha held back her laugh and pulled him into a tight hug. “Why not?”

“I asked her to marry me, and she said no,” he confessed.

She ruffled his hair. “Don’t worry about that. Winry is a smart little girl. She just said no because you’re too young. I’m sure she loves you.”

Ed pulled away and smiled at her. “You’re right. She’s just making sure we get all the alone time we need so that when we get married we’ll never be apart.”

Good Luck Charm


Edward listened carefully as Winry explained that the rabbit’s foot tied around her wrist was a good luck charm. He’d never heard of such thing before and was fascinated that something so strange could bring good luck.

The next day when they were playing together Winry saw a piece of chalk tied around his neck and asked about it.

“It’s my good luck charm,” he stated proudly and held it up for her to look at more closely.

Winry scoffed, “That’s not a good luck charm, you dummy. A good luck charm is a rabbit’s foot, or a four leaf clover, or a horse-shoe, and even a penny you find on the ground, not a stupid piece of chalk.”

“Is too! I can make anything I want with this!” she shouted and stamped his foot.

“Nuh-uh.”

“Uh-huh.”

They went back and forth like that progressively getting louder each time until Pinako and Trisha heard their shouts and made them apologize to each other.

Years later Ed would remember the incident and scoff at himself just as Winry had done. That was the same piece of chalk he had used when he tried to bring his mom back. Or was it good luck? After all, both of them were still alive.

Practical Joke


Al snuck into the closet and waited in silence. He reflected on how much easier it was to be stealthy now, than when he been bound to the suit of armor. He wondered how long he would compare the ways of his real body to that unfeeling prison. It had already been over four years, and he still did it on a daily basis.

He heard the door close and a body collapse on the bed. He was about to jump out of the closet screaming to scare Ed, but Winry’s voice stopped him in his tracks. She was giggling.

“Ed, stop! I thought you said we were just going to take a nap,” Winry said.

“We’ll take a nap, but first-”

Al covered his ears, this was the worst practical joke gone wrong ever. He lifted a hand away from his ear. He could hear them kissing. He cringed.

Winry’s voice, “Later, I’m so tired. Let’s just get some sleep.”

His brother whining, “Win.”

“Not in a house full of people,” she told him.

Al cheered silently for Winry’s morals. He clapped as silently as possible, placed his hands on the closet wall, and escaped into the next room over. He decided not to hide in closets ever again.

Just Between Us


As much as he said it didn’t hurt Winry knew he was lying.

He was too young to have so much automail—no other meachanc would have done it, but Pinako and Winry did.

Winry was the one at his bedside after the procedure. She was the one who was there to force him back down into his bed when her tried to push himself too hard. The one who answered his cries for his mom when he had a fever and couldn’t remember what had happened. She listened to his fears about not being able to get around very well, about not being able to get Al’s body back, and about Al blaming him for what had happened. Those memories of times when he had slipped and showed his fears were hers alone. Something she was glad to have, and to keep just between them.

Worry


It was one of those bleak cloudy days when most people stayed inside where the promised rain would not dampen them. The impending rain made it a slow day for business.

It was these types of days Winry didn’t like. No matter how long she took to complete the tasks at hand there was still time for her to get lost in her thoughts and worry about the two boys who left her time and time again. These expeditions into her mind always told her she would worry about both of them until they were fully restored and probably after that too. She smiled when she realized she would worry about them until she died, no matter how far away they were.

From Now On Too


He wasn’t used to having to worry about Winry. It used to be easy to protect her. Avoid the truth here, omit a few details there, and she would be safe.

Now that Bradley was using her as a hostage against them he’d have to tell her the truth. She’d be safer if she knew who to avoid. She would know who she could really trust. If she knew she’d try and stay out of it. From now on she’d know the truth too.

Memo


He didn’t know why she always did it—worked herself so hard day and night for three days just to get him back on his feet. Each time he had gotten his leg and arms fixed she would reconnect him, do the usual checks, clean up, and then go to sleep.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to tell her goodbye, again, but he didn’t want to wake her up.

Just like all the other times she was still in her greasy over-alls with the bandanna that had been loosely tied over her hair hanging limply from her head. She was lying face down on the bed, as if it took everything she had left just to make it to the bed before she collapsed. He removed the bandanna and covered her with the blanket she hadn’t quite pulled over herself before falling asleep. He then scribbled a quick note that he left on her dresser with the bandanna under her prized wrench. The one he was a little too familiar with for his own good.

Winry bolted out of bed at the sound of the front door slamming. She knew she wouldn’t be able to catch up to them, so she ran out to the balcony and called to them.

Ed and Al turned and waved to her. Even though she couldn't see his face she knew he was grinning that stupid smile of his. She watched until they disappeared down the road a blob of red and a glint of silver on the horizon.

Winry fingered the note left on her dresser. It said the same thing as usual a thank you, good bye, and don’t work too hard. This one had one of his trademark drawings of himself. She pulled a little metal box, her first real toolbox, out from under her bed and added the note to the collection of others.

Calendar


here were many ways that she wasn’t like other girls. She didn’t fret over her hair, nails, or clothing. Unlike other girls of her age she hadn’t even recognized Ed as a guy until recently. The phrase “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” didn’t apply to her unless they were encrusted in a wrench, used as claw tips in automail, decorated blots, or enhanced the appearance of her screwdriver.

The one exception was her love of dogs. Hung on the wall above her workbench was a calendar with a different puppy pictured for each month.

Winry was working on a new design for his arm when she looked up at the calendar depicting a group Chocolate Labradors fighting over a checkered blanket. She remembered the way Ed had acted like he had just happened to see it and bought it for her, but Al told her he’d actually been looking for something for her. When Ed had given it to her he simply thrust it in her hands mumbling ‘reminded me of you’ as he walked past her to the workroom to get his adjustments done.

She looked back down at the specs on the table with a smile on her face.

Relaxation


He didn't know if he would call his rest relaxing, it was more like recovering, but it was rest.

She watched him lay there drifting in and out of the painless sleep. When his eyelids fluttered open he clenched his jaw to endure the dull ache only to fall asleep a few moments later.

She didn’t know if watching over him while he rested could be called relaxation, but it certainly didn’t demand as much concentration as working on his automail did.

His head was slightly propped up on her thigh, but not quite in her lap. She moved his bangs away from his head every so often, just like Trisha used to do when he was sick.

Pinako walked into the workshop to check on their patient, but the sight of Winry’s head hanging down in sleep, and Edward’s soft snores resulted in her retreat. She found a couple blankets in the hall closet. Stealthy as a panther she covered Ed with one of the blankets and draped the other around Winry’s shoulders. On her way out of the workshop she cast them a knowing glance and turned out the light.

Unimportant


It wasn’t something most people knew about. It was a random, childish, unimportant quirk of his.

She stirred the sugar into her ice tea noiselessly with the long metal spoon. His method was quite the opposite. In a room full of people he would quickly catch the attention of everyone with the racquet he made. He did not mix the sugar into the cold refreshment in a graceful manner. Instead, he stuck a straw into the glass and filled it with bubbles of air.

She couldn’t help but smile every time he did it, because it proved to her that his innocence and inner child had not completely vanished during his journey.

Mystique


Ed watched the shifty eyed Xingese prince waiting for a good enough reason to throw the annoying prick out. He didn’t trust this guys, especially since he seemd to be stalking them, and he had already racked up bill twice what Ed did himself when he ate.

What the prince asked Winry puzzled him enough to make him leave the room. He watched from the hall in amusement as Winry fingered her wrench and turned down his marriage proposal again. What the prince saw in a mechanic geek like her was a mystery to him.

-------


Al sat beside Winry regaling her with their first meeting of Mei. “She was disappointed by his stature, but I guess she had a huge crush on him. She was fantasizing aloud about him proposing to her and making all of her worries go away on the spot.”

“I guess she hadn’t heard the real stories about him. The stupid alchemy freak would just increase her worries,” Winry mumbled under her breath. She shot the Xingese princess, who was now fantasizing about Al, a disturbed glance. She couldn't understand why Mei had been so fascinated with Ed. The only thing she could think was that Xingese women had the strangest taste in men. Whatever attached her to Ed in the first place was a mystery to Winry.

Unaccustomed Things


He wasn’t used to the way his body was reacting now that he had admitted to himself that he loved her.

Everyone else had gone to sleep, leaving the two of them to play Rummy in the cold room. His eyes repeatedly wandered to her bottom lip as she chewed it while deciding her next move.

Due to his lack of concentration she quickly won the round, and they were picking up the cards. Both of them pulled away at the slight graze of hand contact. Ed was fixated by her teeth nibbling on her bottom lip again. “What?” she asked finally catching his gaze.

He shook his had in response. She leaned over the table and saw the sheen of sweat on his forehead. “You’re sweating, do you have a fever?” she asked, reaching out to feel his forehead.

“No I…I…I just think I’ll uh, go to bed now.” He pulled away, avoiding her hand.

“I probably should too,” she said, standing along with him.

She reached to check his temperature again, but he ducked away not wanting to know what the strange reaction he’d get from contact would be.

She frowned and followed him down the hall to their rooms. He barely heard her ‘good night’ as he quickly closed the door behind himself.

She gazed at his door with a crease marring her brow. It was odd for him to not to say good night after she did. The door slowly opened, and she turned away, so he wouldn’t know she had been staring. She looked back in his direction when he whispered her name. He was smiling the goofy smile she loved to see as he bid her good night. Winry’s lips returned a smile similar to his, and she closed her door wondering how long it would take to get used to the unaccustomed side effects his smile had on her.

Waiting


e went to bed hating himself for leaving Winry like Hohenhiem had left his mom-waiting.

He drifted off thinking of all the times he’d watched Trisha stare off to the horizon alert for Hohenhiem’s form to blot out part of the sky.

His dreams took the form of memories buried in his subconscious.

He smiled in his sleep as the memory of Trisha holding him close and telling him about love bubbled to the surface of his mind. Her words echoed in his mind. “Well, I suppose love is when you like a person so much you want to be with them all the time, but you also understand that you can’t always be with them, and it might hurt you to be without them, but you have to let them have their own space to do what they have to.” Something lightly tugged at his mind, a question of the understanding his four-year-old self had that had grown muddled over the years. The image melded into one of Winry chasing their train until the platform ended, to a lantern lit on her balcony, to her waving to him and Al from the same balcony.

He woke up with thoughts of Winry and Trisha on his mind.

He wasn’t surprised to find her waiting for him in the small common room of the tavern. He joined her for a quick breakfast, and over the meal of bacon and fried eggs wondered how long she’d wait for him.

Ten Years Ago


Winry added the new photograph to her collection. She had always enjoyed collecting pictures. She smiled a weak smile as the thought that her collection could actually trump the one Maes Hughes left behind drifted through her head.

Staring at the part of her collection she had on display she thought back to her days of longing to see those carefree smiles again. Her smile went from sad to content as she looked upon the truly happy faces of Ed, Al, and herself. ‘Who would have thought we’d all be at this place in our lives ten years ago. Back then it had seemed like there was no way everything would turn out so well during those times, but everyone was so resilient.’

Her thoughts were interrupted by the pounding of running feet on the floor, and a voice proclaiming, “Mommy, Mommy, Daddy breaked his automail again!”

Winry sighed as she pulled the golden eyed, golden haired child up in her arms. “He did! What happened this time?”

“He falled out of the tree when he tried to fix the swing,” she announced.

Winry walked out into backyard with their daughter balanced on her hip. Ed gave her a sheepish look. “You’re always telling me not to do things the ‘easy’ way,” he explained his reasoning for not using alchemy before she got angry with him.

She rolled her eyes and beckoned for him to follow her to her workshop. Maybe things hadn’t changed too much over the past ten years, he could still be dense, but at least he was happy now.

“I’m going to put you in charge of making sure Daddy doesn’t do anything stupid like that again, okay?”

“Hey!” Ed protested.

“Okay,” the little girl agreed with an enthusiastic nod.

That Time


t was one of those moments ingrained in the memory of everyone present. One where she could say, ‘Remember that time when…’ and everyone who had witnessed it would know exactly what she meant.

She stood to his side and watched him gather the pieces of the inn keeper’s broken radio into a neat pile. He closed his eyes in concentration, clapped, and then brought his hands down. Before they reached the radio he sneezed, but couldn’t stop his hands from connecting with the mess of parts. A blue light erupted, but when it faded nothing had changed-the radio was still in pieces.

Winry stifled her laughter as another sneeze came from him.

“Maybe I should just let the mechanic-”

Ed indignantly cut him off, “No, sorry, the sneeze interrupted my thoughts.” He wiped his nose on his red sleeve. The inn keeper cast him a weary glance.

Ed went through the motions again, this time without the sneeze. After the blue light faded the radio was looking as good as new, and the inn keeper was praising Ed with a pat on the back.

A great metal gauntlet weighed down Ed’s left shoulder as they walked to their rooms. “The look on your face when he suggested Winry fix it was priceless,” Al laughed.

“It really was,” Winry agreed, allowing herself to laugh with Al.

“Stupid cold,” Ed mumbled, sulking between them.

A Suddenly Remembered Instant


She opened the door with a scowl on her face, “Wha-”

The word hung unfinished while she studied the single yellow daisy he held out. Her foul mood vanished along with the scowl.

She remembered when she used to walk along the river with Alphonse and Edward. They always splashed around the bank while she gathered daisies that grew close by. She loved the weed of a flower ever since she had first seen it, and explained her love to the Elric brothers many times. Daises were always cheerful, no matter what. They were tough and strong, no matter how much farmers tried to rid their fields of daises, the flower always popped back up.

A week after she had been informed of her parents’ deaths Edward had climbed into her bedroom through her window-she hadn’t come out to play since she got the awful news. After stumbling awkwardly into the room he pulled a hand-picked bouquet out from his back pocket and handed it to her with a lopsided smile. That had been the first time she smiled after her parents’ death.

This was the first time she smiled since learning he became a state alchemist.

Rejected


Al observed Ed watch Winry as she laughed at the brunette’s joke. Ed crossed his arms over his chest and grumbled to himself, “Thinks he’s a funny guy, huh?”

Winry pulled out her wrench and handed it over the guy she was conversing with. “Isn’t it great? The weight is balanced perfectly, and it adjusts to the size bolt I’m using. Oh, and look at the design stamped into it!” She pointed out each aspect to her new friend. Al had to hold back a laugh when Ed started to scowl.

“Though a wrench is handy, I prefer my screwdriver,” he said pulling the object from his back pocket.

Al watched his brother give a bone-chilling look to the mechanic and cough to get Winry’s attention, but she didn’t even look their way. Al rolled his eyes when Ed began to tap his booted metal foot. “What’s so great about him?” Ed.

Al half-smiled and said, “Brother, she’s just having some fun talking about mechanics.”

“She talks about mechanics all the time with us!” Ed replied.

“Yeah, but we don’t know anything about it,” Al explained.

“Well, I don’t go wandering off talking to female alchemist,” Ed snapped.

“Brother, that’s because you’ve only met one female alchemist, and she was a thief,” Al responded in an equally exasperated tone.

Al followed Ed's glance over to the two mechanics and saw Winry tracing the engravings on the screwdriver. “That’s it!” Ed hissed. He stomped over to them and pulled on Winry’s arm. “We’ll miss the train if we don’t leave.”

Winry shot the guy a smile and handed his screwdriver back to him. “It was nice meeting you Joseph.”

“The pleasure’s all mine, Ms. Rockbell. Here, give me a call some time,” he said as he held out his business card to her. Ed grabbed it out of his hand with a scowl and walked away with Winry.

“Could you have been ruder?” she asked, hitting him upside the head. Al chuckled as he joined them

“Much,” he answered and pretended to tuck the card into his back pocket, but let it drop to the floor.

Joseph’s face fell as the card fluttered to the cement. He didn’t even get a chance to be rejected.

Love Triangle


Once they got to Rush Valley Winry asked Edward for Joseph’s business card. She watched through stormy eyes as he “searched” his pockets for the item, but turned up empty handed. “Sorry Winry, it’s not there,” he told her, barely able to hide his smug smirk.

“Edward Elric, I can’t believe you lost it. Maybe I should take that journal of yours and misplace it!” she said. She knew something was off about his excuse of losing it on the train. She looked over at Al ready to question him, but he slid out the door the minute her eyes landed on him.

Al wasn’t able to fully escape. Garfiel stopped him from leaving the shop. “Isn’t that cute, they’re having a lover’s spat,” he remarked, his eyes shinning with laughter. “So, what happened Alphonse?”

“Uhm, well, Winry met this guy, Joseph, at our last stop, and he studies automail, so Ed got jealous and interrupted their conversation. Before Ed had the chance to drag her away from his competition, the guy handed Winry his business card, but Ed swiped it from his hand. Now, Winry wants to call Joseph and ask him about a new design she is working on, but Ed has conveniently lost the card,” Al explained, hoping his brother wouldn’t find out he told Garfiel.

“Ooh, a love triangle, how delightful,” Garfiel squealed, clasping his hands together. Al shook his metal helm back and forth, and waved his hand trying to get Garfiel to lower his voice.

Winry stopped herself halfway into throwing her wrench at Ed when she heard Garfiel’s comment. Ed finished the job by slipping and banging his head on the metal workbench from his surprise at the exclamation.

Winry dropped her wrench and kneeled at Ed’s side. “Are you okay?” she asked, pulling his hand away from the bump forming on his forehead.

Al poked his helmet into the room to make sure Ed was okay, but as soon as his brother’s condition was confirmed he ran for it. Winry barely heard Al saying he would be at the cliffs practicing alchemy as he booked it out of the shop.

The Other Side


Al clapped his gauntlets together and pressed them against the wall of the cliff. The blue light died away to reveal a dirt replica of what he remembered the door of truth to look like. He quickly undid it as he heard the familiar gait of his brother walking up the path behind him.

“What’cha doing?” Ed asked as he kicked a rock towards his brother.

“Just practicing,” Al said. He clapped and pressed his metal hands to the ground. Ed stared at the dirt statue of a kitten with mild distaste written on his face. “Why’d you do that brother,” Al asked.

“What?” Ed asked. He had no idea what his brother was talking about.

“You lost that phone number on purpose, didn’t you?” Al clarified.

“What if I did?” Ed asked, kicking another rock.

“Brother, look at it from a different point of view. From an outsider’s eyes, Garfiel's for instance,” Al paused at Ed’s glare.

“So you did tell him,” Ed hissed as he rubbed the spot where his head had collided with Winry’s work bench.

Al laughed nervously and got rid of the kitten statue. “To anyone else it seems like jealousy,” Al said and walked down the dirt path Ed had just walked up. He decided to let his brother think about the idea for a while.

Ed sat down with his back against the wall of dirt. He traced a transmutation circle into the dirt in front of him. It was one he remembered from when he was younger—from when his mom was alive. He put his hands down on the circle and picked up the dirt figurine of a horse. He gripped it tightly and watched it crumble back into chunks of dirt. He didn’t move from that spot until the sun set. He followed the dirt path back into the town. He smiled when he saw the lantern hanging in the window of Winry’s workshop.

Ed knew he didn’t have to be jealous—Winry would never hang a lantern to guide anyone else home.

[/center]Horizon[/center]

Winry tinkered away on her newest project in her second-story bedroom above Garfiel’s workshop. The light of the lantern hanging in her window threw odd shadows around the room, especially when the wind caught it.

She smiled at the thought of how much Ed would enjoy the apple pie she had baked while he was gone practicing his alchemy. She could smell the dinner Garfiel was cooking. It was the stew she’d given him her Granny’s recipe to months ago. She knew he was making it because she had, at one point or another, told him it was one of Ed’s favorites.

It was when Garfiel peeked into her room and announced that dinner was done that she began to worry about the eldest Elric. His never-quenched appetite always guaranteed his speedy return at dinner time. She looked out her window for a sign of him on the horizon. It took a few minutes, but her eyes spotted him on the dark path from the cliffs, ambling into town.

She smiled at him even though he couldn’t see it. She didn’t mind watching him leave as long as she got to watch him return home on the horizon.

To Be Hurt/To Heal


Edward wasn’t paying attention to Al as he ripped into Scar. He would have stopped if he had—he didn’t want her to be hurting, again. She was the one who cried for him, the one who bore the pain he had to shove aside, and this time he was going to hurt for her. Her wounds from her parents' death had already healed—they didn’t need re-opened.

He failed in that one task. In his usual fashion he’d opened up his mouth when he got worked up, and she’d heard him. He wanted to take that minute back as much as he wanted to take back the time they’d tried to bring their mom back.

All he could do was try and convince the shaking, crying Winry to put down the gun she was pointing at Scar. He had to make her understand her hands weren’t made to kill. She had her parents’ hands—hands that healed and gave people their lives back.

As Ed felt her tears drip down the collar of his jacket he realized that sometimes it took someone who was hurting to heal others.

Precious Things/Treasures


Ed grumbled to Al in their native tongue while the shopkeeper proceeded to chat up the girl that had walked in after them. His connections ports ached from the coldest winter he had faced so far in this alchemy free world. Even Al was becoming impatient with the man.

Ed switched from tapping his right foot to his much heavier left one. He was satisfied by the annoyed gaze the shopkeeper sent his way. When the shopkeeper still hadn't ended his conversation Ed began to drum his glove-clad metal fingers on the glass display case.

Ed smirked as the woman shot him a peeved glare, paid for her cans of oil, and left.

When the shopkeeper finally gave them a disgruntled greeting Al placed his hand on Eds shoulder-his real one-and took care of the conversation with the shopkeeper.

Back at the inn Al teased Ed, "I never thought you'd be so concerned about automail maintenance. I thought your were going to tear that man's head off."

"Don't pretend he didn't deserve it," Ed said, popping the lid off the can of oil and carefully pouring it into his squeaky joints. "I can't afford not to. Winry isn't here to make new automail," Ed defended himself. He put the can of oil down and started to polish the dull metal. "Besides, I don't want to have to go back to the archaic artificial limbs of this world."

"Those things you had did look pretty bad," Al commented, remembering the shabby, plastic limbs his brother had when he crashed back into Armestris.

"Pretty bad is a vast understatement," Ed laughed. They were silent for the remainder of the night. Ed's thought had drifted to the girls whose hair was fine as gold and eyes reflected the perfect summer sky. What he hadn't told Al was that his automail was precious because it was the only concrete connection he had left of its creator.

Magic


Al couldn’t describe exactly what it was that hung in the air that night. He couldn't say it was love, because the evening started out horribly.

Ed had almost refused to go to the annual spring carnival, claiming he had research to do. To which Winry called him an alchemy freak, and he called her a mechanics geek. Then, Al tuned out the usual insults that were thrown back and forth until Ed was hit square on the head by a wrench. After which, Ed forced Al to take a walk with him by the river, so he could cool off. During their walk Ed asked Al if he wanted to go to the carnival. Al nodded enthusiastically.

What Al didn’t know was that Winry had reminded Ed that it was Al’s first carnival since getting his body back.

Ed grumbled while he followed the grinning Al and delighted Winry as they walked to the carnival.

When Al suggested a ride Ed gave him money for tickets, but refused to go on with them—claiming his head hurt. Al noted the guilty expression on Winry’s face as she looked back at Ed when he dragged her to the line.

Ed watched his brother and childhood friend grin and wave at him every time the ride spun them in his direction and his own frown cracked.

They didn’t get Ed on the roller coaster, but Al knew what buttons to push to when they walked up to the ferris wheel.

Just as Ed was about to excuse himself from the ride Al said, “Don’t tell me your afraid of heights.”

Ed had to hold back the rude retort that was bubbling in his throat, but instead he stomped over to the line. Al knew it was the perfect time to let the carnival’s magical night air get to work—the compartments on the ride only held two people.

While Ed and Winry were still none the wiser to the situation Al had jumped up and taken the seat next to a girl his age named Emily when the attendant called for another single rider.

Al didn’t have to watch them to know Winry sat on his left side clutching his real hand while her face was buried in his red coat when the two were at the very top of the ride. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust the machine—in fact she had helped with the maintenance for many of the machines the day before—but she had a fear of heights.

Al dismissed himself from the two when the ride ended and joined Emily’s group of friends for the night. He and Emily encountered the pair many times that night—most of which Al saw at least one of them looking at the other with longing. During their last encounter Emily saw Ed’s famous rage.

Ed participated in a contest of strength and finished in second place. The announcer joked that he would have won if he wasn’t so tiny. Needless to say Ed used more than a few choice words to make the announcer regret his comment. Winry picked the toolset that sat on the booth as her prize. Ed looked at her and asked what kind of prize that was. Winry shot him a glare and reminded him that Risembool was a farming town—they relied on well kept machinery.

The next time Al bumped into them was when the carnival was closing. This time Al found himself bringing up the rear of their group. Ed held Winry’s toolset in his right hand while his left arm encircled her waist. Her head rested softly on his shoulder, and their walk was a strange sway from standing so closely together.

Later, as Al was going to his room to get some sleep, and possibly dream of Emily, he heard hushed voices from deep inside Winry’s room. He silently entered her room and found Ed and Winry sitting on the balcony holding hands.

While he retreated and walked to his room he considered the possibility that love had been hanging in the air, but disregarded it, because love had always been there between them—it just took a bit of magic for them to see it. Magic was in the air.

It Isn't Anxiety


Pinako sat back in the chair with her feet dangling over a foot from the ground as she watched her granddaughter fret about their workshop. Winry bounced from one project to the next with twice the speed she normally had—tinkering here, welding there, and even reworking a few things. Pinako continued to watch, not wanting to jump into the controlled chaos that was Winry working. She finally hopped off the comfortable chair and ambled over to Winry when the blonde knocked over the box of bolts. She swiped up the bolt Winry was reaching for. “Why are you so anxious?” she asked her granddaughter.

“It’s not anxiety,” Winry argued as she attempted to pick up another bolt, but Pinako got it before she did.

Pinako dropped the quarter inch bolts into their place in the box and looked at Winry sagely. “Well, no matter what you want to call it, I can’t have you fall asleep during the ceremony. Go to bed.”

“But, I’ve still got Mr. Jones’ order, and the bolts, and-”

Pinako cut her off, “Your customers all knew you’d be gone for a while when they placed they’re orders. If they really need it they’ll be satisfied with my work. Besides, if they can’t wait or compromise then they don’t deserve your skill. As for the bolts, you’ll just knock them over again.” Pinako shoved Winry out of the room and bolted the door behind her.

-------


Ed sat on his bed with Al next to him.

“Is this real?” Ed asked as his eyes remained fixated on the suit hanging on the closed door of his room.

“Of course it is,” Al said as he elbowed his brother in the ribs.

Ed glowered at him and reciprocated the action. “What if I can’t make her happy?” he asked, finally looking away from the suit and to his brother’s face.

Al laughed and clapped his brother on the shoulder. “If you can’t make her happy no one can.”

“I’m going for a walk,” El mumbled as he got up from the bed. Before closing the door behind him, he turned to Al and thanked him.

-------


Winry almost stumbled down the stairs when she looked up and saw Ed on the landing two steps above her. Ed grabbed her arm and steadied her. She had forgotten he was at the house since all the woman had shooed him off claiming it was bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other the day before the wedding. She checked her watch—1:30 a.m.—she smiled as she realized it was their wedding day. “Thanks,” she said shyly even though her brain was telling her she had no reason to be shy.

“No problem,” he responded and let go of her arm. He walked past her down the stairs.

“Where’re you going?” she called to him.

“For a walk,” he answered, looking over his shoulder at her.

“Oh,” she replied. She didn’t move from her spot on the stairs.

“Do you want to come with me?” Ed ventured and held out his hand to her.

She nodded, joined him at the bottom of the stairs, and placed her hand in his.

After their walk under the cloudy sky that a few stars peeked through they returned to their room—their anxiety assuaged—both of went off to their separate rooms for the last time and fell to sleep.

Ordinary


When Ed thought back on days spent with Winry his spirits always rose. It wasn’t the days they had adventures, nor the days she spent working on his auto-mail that put him in such a good mood, but the days that were unremarkable. It was the days he watched her work, engrossed in the piece of metal she was crafting for another customer, days they went to the market, days they spent hours at a time sitting on a train, when they talked of subjects of no importance (whether grape or strawberry jam was better), and when they just kept each other company in silence. Those were ordinary, everyday things that when remembered made each day a little brighter.

Until We Meet Again


Winry held the pocket watch to her chest as she watched them walk away again.

-------


“Hold onto it for me,” Ed told her as he pulled the state alchemist watch out of his pocket and placed it in front of her on the table.

“No,” she said, pushing it back towards him.

“Consider it a promise.” He shoved it back to her.

“A promise?” she asked.

“That we’ll be back. Keep it until we meet again. I’ll be back for it.”

Winry didn’t need a further explanation. She knew exactly what the watch meant to him-she'd opened it before-and decided to do as he said. She put it into her coat pocket and nodded. “Until we meet again.”

Ed smiled.

Silver Watch


It wasn’t until they were on their way back from Central that Al noticed Ed’s watch was missing, but before Al got worried Ed told him he’d given it to Winry hoping she would fix it. It wasn't necessarily a lie. He knew she’d realize the second hand was too fast and fix it, but she wouldn’t know he was the reason it was ticking to quickly.

-------


Winry couldn’t sleep with the silver pocket watch on her dresser driving her up the wall. The ticking sound was irregular. After listening to it for twenty minutes she came to the conclusion that the second-hand clicked with movement one and a half times per second, adding on a full second for every two seconds, adding half a minute to every minute, adding thirty minutes to every hour. She growled at the realization that his watch was completely off, no wonder he’d been late when they'd arrived the last time. She turned on her lamp, opened the watch, and glared at the time-7:57. She scoffed as she read her clock-1:32.

She pulled on the dial to stop the watch. Her eyes wandered to the plain silver inside that she knew read ‘Don’t Forget: 3 Oct. 11’. Her eyes widened in surprise as she saw something else etched into the once flawless metal just below the date. She ran her warm thumb over engraved letters W-I-N-R-Y.

She fell asleep holding the silver watch over her heart.

Nowhere but Here


When Winry first stood in front of their cell bundled up in her winter clothing Ed’s spirits plummeted. His blood boiled when he noticed Kimblee’s hand conveniently resting on her shoulders. Ed knew how Kimblee’s alchemy worked. If he thought his temper had flared then it was even worse when he was given his orders. It was a smart move for them to dangle her right in front of him to make sure he did what they wanted.

His mind about her presence quickly changed when Winry forced them to let her tag along to find Scar. She’d even devised a plan to make sure she wouldn’t get separated from them. When she finally tumbled out of the hollow armor that was Al he realized he wouldn’t want her anywhere else. Here he could watch and protect her, and as she’d shown them she could help. Besides, it was comforting to have someone who supported and trusted them.

Please/Request


Edward Elric could handle many situations much better than people twice his age, but there was one thing he could never cope with—her blue eyes brimming over with tears. He’d made her cry enough over the past few years that he could hate himself for a lifetime. That was why he promised he would make sure she was crying tears of joy the next time she shed tears because of him.

Now he found himself panicking as her eyes grew moist at his explanation that she was being used against them. He’d even stuttered when he pleaded for her not to cry. He was pleased when he saw her eyes take on the glow of fierce determination they usually held when she was working on a challenging new design.

Selfishness/Egoism[b]


He works so hard for what he wants—to restore his brother’s body. People may call the path he is on selfish—trying to fix his biggest mistake without regard for what happens to those around him. Maybe they even call him egotistical for thinking he can actually achieve his goal at such a young age and for refusing help from most people.

They’re all wrong—she knows those who doubt him or put him down are wrong. She knows how much guilt he feels about his brother’s metal body. She knows he won’t do anything the immoral to right their wrongs. He refused help from others, because he didn’t want them to get tangled up into something that might take their lives. She won’t deny being called a “young genius” gave him an ego, but she had to admit that he was pretty good at what he did—his ego was only a little worse then hers when it came to automail.

[B]
Irrational


Ed quietly tiptoed up to the three girls sitting at the edge of the dock with their feet dangling over the steady flowing water. A scatter of white and yellow petals drifted in the slow summer current.

“What’re you doing?” he shouted from the edge of Winry’s shadow.

A bunch of daises fell into the river as Winry and her friends jumped at his booming voice. “Ed!” Winry groaned—drawing out the short name into two syllables.

Smirking at his success he asked his question again. Winry shook her head as her cheeks flushed while the other girls looked between the pair and giggled amongst themselves.

“We’re playing loves me, loves me not,” the auburn-haired girl supplied. Ed tilted his head to the side in confusion, and she explained further, “You start by saying he or she loves me, and pull off a petal. Then, you say he loves me not, and you pull off the next petal. Then, you keep doing that until you get to the last petal. Like this.” She demonstrated for him. “When you get to the last petal, what you said when you take it off is true.” She pulled off the last petal on her daisy while she said, “He loves me not. So, that means the person I was thinking about doesn’t love me.”

“That’s stupid,” Ed laughed. “All you have to do is pick flowers with an odd amount of petals and who ever it is will always love you.” Ed left them to their irrational childish game.

The next morning Winry found a bunch of daises on her balcony. She didn’t notice until later that night that they all had an odd number of petals.

We're Equals on this Ground


“Alchemy geek!”

“Mechanics freak!”

The two blonds stares at each other with electricity flickering dangerously between them.

Al sighed and left the room before his metal shell conducted the unwanted energy.

After their exchanged insults sunk into silence both crossed their arms, huffed, and walked to the opposite ends of the room. They fumed in their separate corners for a while—too stubborn to admit the other was right—and sat staring at the ground.

Both of them were so immersed in their work that during an average day not an hour went by that either of them didn’t think of their professions.

When they had been younger both of them had read books adults even had trouble understanding. Each of them studied under great teachers, and became experts—geniuses even—in their separate fields.

Neither of them knew that they were changing the world by helping those flocking to them.

Al snuck back into the room. Ed sat in a rather uncomfortable chair while he read a volume of alchemy journals. Winry was hunched over the coffee table studying a new automail design. Al didn’t interrupt, but observed them.

At first he only saw annoyance in the stolen glances, but he also noticed that the looks got softer later into the night. He chuckled when the timing worked out perfectly the thirteenth time.—Ed had just looked away from Winry and busied himself in his book just as Winry started to lift her eyes towards him. A different kind of electricity flew back and forth between them.

After they both went to sleep Al let him mind wander to unasked questions—How could people so intelligent be so oblivious to the obvious-but then he remembered the answer. They were both equally stubborn.

Proof Of Theory


ike all good scientists he believed in proof. Good, hard, concrete proof was key to supporting all theories.
“So you want me to mention Winry while I'm talking to him?” Riza asked Al.

“Yes please,” Al responded. “Then, just let me know what his reaction is.”

“Reaction?” Riza asked, unsure of what kind of reaction he wanted to know about.

Al moved the metal helm up and down. “You know—does he get made or does his attitude seem to change.”

“Okay,” Riza agreed with her mouth quirking up to one side in amusement. She didn’t know what the youngest Elrics’ intentions were, but he seemed up to no good, a rare occurrence for him.

[center]-------


Gracia hesitated at Al’s request. “Alphonse, why do you want to know her reaction when I say Edward’s name?”

“Mrs. Hughes, please? It’s just a theory of mine, and I need proof, but I can’t do it on my own. Please?” Al begged.

Gracia sighed and grabbed a triple layer cake from the counter before agreeing. Al took the cake from her, insisting that it wasn’t a hassle for him since he couldn’t feel the heat of the candles anyways. She didn’t argue, and followed him out to the backyard where everyone was waiting to sing happy birthday to Jean.

-------


At the end of the night Al interrupted Riza’s chat with Roy. He ignored the annoyed glare Roy was aiming at him. Riza gave Roy an apologetic smile and made sure Ed wasn’t in hearing vicinity.

“I asked how she was getting on in Rush Valley, and he started to smile when I said her name, but by the time I had finished my question he made it into a scowl, and muttered something about her being more possessive about her work,” she said just above a whisper.

“So he smiled?” Al asked.

“Yes.”

“Thank you Lieutenant Hawkeye.” She gave a quick bow of her head and turned back to her conversation with Roy.

-------


Al clattered into the kitchen with a tub full of dirty dishes from the party. Gracia directed him to the sink. She waited for his question. When he finally asked she reported her findings, “She smiled, until I mentioned his most recent automail repair.”

“Thank you,” Al told her.

“It’s no problem, but I'd like to know about your theory.”

Al gave the living room a quick glance and saw Ed was asleep on the couch. “Well, Mom used to tell me that when she first started to like Dad she smiled when ever someone said his name. Then, she told me when she knew Dad liked her because one of her friends had said he smiled when ever someone said her name. Ever since then I always thought that when people like someone they smile when they hear their name. I wanted to test it,” he explained.

“So, I suppose this is your proof?” Gracia asked.

Stronger, Stronger


Winry was hunched over her notebook furiously flipping pages.

-------


Ed wanted to get off the couch he was watching her from and see what was keeping her so occupied and quiet.

-------


Winry glanced at the notes about the latest mixture of metal she had heard about. Most of the notebook was covered—either in her own writing or clippings from newspapers and magazines. She turned each page with the shake of her head and soft murmur, “Stronger, I’ve got to make it stronger.” She was looking through a clipping about steel when inspiration struck her. She moved it to the back of her desk, and pulled a collection of notebooks from the top drawer on her left. She spread them out on the desk, and then she opened the drawer below if for a new notebook and pencil.

She chewed on her pencil as she re-read the entry in her metals book. “Titanium—mix with small portion of molybdenum to strengthen like steel—add thin plating of chromium to exposed pieces,” she mumbled to herself while writing down the way she would mix the metals and wrap the titanium-molybdenum mixture in chromium. He’d have trouble breaking his new automail.

She closed the metals notebook and opened one labeled connection ports. Each page had an illustration of different pieces for connection ports she had designed, or one she had come across over the years. When she finally figured out which design she wanted to use she used another page in the new notebook and made a rough illustration of the changes to the model, labeled its source of origin, and wrote a short description. The process was repeated until she finally finished with a sketch of the new arm and leg all the pieces would construct.

-------


During dinner she discussed a few details with Pinako, and made a few minor changes in the notebook. When her newest design for stronger automail was finished she put away all of her notebooks. She gave it one last glance over and was proud when the calculation in her head presented her with a lighter weight than the arm and leg he had hooked up at the moment.

-------


Ed watched her curiously through his downcast eyes that weren’t soaking up any of the coded alchemical research in his book. She crossed the room with an excited smile. Ed looked at her properly when she tapped him on the head with her notebook. She pulled the alchemy book out of his hand so quickly he hadn’t even been able to begin to tighten his grip on it before she had it in her hand. “I’ve got a new design for you, it’s going to be amazing,” she told him—her eyes glittered with excitement as she thought of the finished product.

-------


Before he knew what was going on the notebook was in his still opened hand, and she was walking away. “Thanks?” he mumbled. He didn’t know if she realized he wouldn’t be able to understand half of what she had scribbled down. He smirked as he realized he could make stronger transmutation to his automail if he knew more about it. He opened the notebook and began to read the first page.

-------


When he finally closed her book of notes his appreciation of her work had grown stronger. It only took him a few moments to find her asleep in her room. He covered her sleeping form with the pile of blankets she had tossed aside during the warmer part of the night. He left the notebook on her dresser and whispered, “Thank you.” He walked out into the hall and jumped when he saw Al’s hulking form watching him from the staircase.

Al laughed at his brother’s expression. “Don’t sneak up on me like that,” Ed hissed.

“Sorry, I just thought I shouldn’t disturb you two.”

“Disturb what?” Ed asked with a louder tone.

“Shh, you wouldn’t want to wake her up after she worked so hard all day,” Al cautioned.

Ed huffed in irritation and stormed into their room with Al close behind.

Vexing


“Mom, what’s vexing?” Alphonse asked as he climbed up onto her bed.

Trisha ruffled her youngest son’s damp hair. “You boys never cease to amaze me. Did you find that word in one of Dad’s books?” she asked as he snuggled up to her. He looked up at her and shook his head. “Where’d you learn it?”

“We played tag by the river with Winry today, and Brother chased her onto the dock, and then he pushed her in the water. When she climbed out she yelled at Brother, but he was laughing at her because we could see through her dress that she was wearing pink underwears. He was laughing so hard he didn’t see her walk up to him. She pushed him in. Then, when he asked why she did it she told him to stop vexing her and went home.”

“Did you ask your brother what she meant?” Trisha asked when he stopped to take a breath.

“Yeah, but he was mad, and wouldn’t tell me.” Al explained.

Trisha sighed—at least she knew why Ed had been so sullen during dinner. “When you vex someone you make them angry, so do you know what vexing means?” she asked.

Al covered a yawn as he nodded. “Making someone angry,” he answered.

“That’s it my little alchemist,” she congratulated him and gave him a kiss on the forehead. Al smiled at her praise and buried himself under her blankets. “Are you both going to keep me company tonight?” she laughed.

“Prob’ly. Brother got in the bath when I got out,” Al’s voice trailed off into another yawn. Trisha watched one of her greatest accomplishments drift off to sleep and waited for the other one to join them.

Ed walked into her room a few minutes later drying his hair with a towel. Trisha folded down the covers on her left side, and Ed quickly filled the space beside her.

“Did you have fun playing tag today?” she asked him, and laughed when he scowled. “You shouldn’t tease Winry about her underwear, or she’ll get you back one day,” she advised him.

His scowl deepened for a moment as he thought over what she said. “She’ll never see my underwear,” he huffed while crossing his arms. His arms unfolded and fell to his sides when he caught his mom’s ‘stop being so stubborn’ look. His scowl disappeared and he wriggled closer to her. She heard him mumble an ‘okay’ before he too fell asleep.

Follow & Followed


Al cheered when he heard they were finally going on a date.

-------


Edward gulped as Winry took his hand in hers. She had seen him in nothing but boxers before, and he hadn’t cared. Now, he was fully clothed and seeing her just smile at him was making him blush something furious, dammit. He was suddenly thankful for the early winter snow. He could blame his rosy cheeks on the chill in the air. He was also grateful that they were both wearing gloves. If they weren’t surely his sweaty hand would have made her walk away in disgust.

Ed was startled to hear the, all too familiar, sound of his brother’s armor clunking behind them. He sighed. He thought they had lost him earlier.

Al quickly ducked into an alley and behind a dumpster as Ed looked back at the spot he had been standing seconds before.

“Is he still following us?” Winry laughed.

Ed watched the puffs of warm air leave her mouth and float in the cool air. He involuntarily licked is lips as he stared at hers. How he wanted that warm air to be his.

Her question was lost on his ears. He pulled her down the street—turned right, right again, and then left. They were in an alley they used to have snowball fights in when they had been younger.

Winry was laughing again, her cheeks red. “Ed, where are we going?”

Ed came to a full stop and looked at those puffs of hot, sweet air again.

Winry was pressed between the a fence and Ed. Her eyes were wide. Ed had never looked at her like that before.

He twirled a lock of her blond hair around the gloved index finger of his left hand. “Grease monkey,” he whispered into her ear.

Her breath hitched. “Alchemy geek,” she responded and bit her bottom lip.

They both laughed, adding to the carbon dioxide in the air.

She looked away, unable to face the hungry look in his eyes.

He softly tugged on the lock of hair in his hand--just enough to bring her attention back to him.

He didn’t have a long way to duck his head before their lips met in their first kiss.

Look Up, Look Down


It had been a few months since she’d last seen him, but here she was in a military facility fitting him with new automail again. Not because he’d broken it, but because the sub-polar weather of the Northern border.

It wasn’t until he got off the surgery table and started moving the metal joints around that she noticed she had to look up ever so slightly to make eye contact with him. She had noticed his few inches of growth while she was making the new leg, but she hadn’t realized he would finally be taller than her.

If Ed’s thoughts hadn’t been as preoccupied by the current situation he would have noticed that his eyes were slightly downcast as he remarked on the light weight of his new mail.

When he finally did notice the change of view he was too surprised by his desire to duck his head and kiss her to make a big deal out of it. They continued on like nothing had changed.

Smiling Face


Dr. Rockbell sat in his little office jotting down notes in the chart of his previous patient. He turned to the right and smiled at the three heads of blond hair approaching on the road. He vaguely remembered his wife saying Winry was going to visit them for lunch.

A few minutes later there was a knock on his office door. “Come in,” he called as he jotted down his final notes in attempt to finish before the door opened.

A nurse stepped in with a silly smile spread across her face. “Your consultation is here Dr. Rockbell.”

Dr. Rockbell only needed a raised eyebrow to ask his question. The nurse stepped aside to reveal Edward.

“Ed, what’s wrong? Is it your mom again?” he asked as he ushered the nurse out of the room and knelt before the boy.

Ed shook his head and fiddled with a piece of chalk in his pocket.

“Did you come to get a shot?” Dr. Rockbell ventured.

“No,” he said shaking his head furiously. “I have a question. Can I sit down?”

“Yes,” Dr. Rockbell knew better than to ask if that was the only question he had and moved aside to let Ed make himself comfortable. He had seen the Elric boys walking with Winry, and assumed he had just missed his wife telling him about the two accompanying her, but when Ed looked so nervous standing there he had assumed the worst. He wondered what was going in in the boy's mind since he had already nullified the worst possibility. Dr. Rockbell sat down in his own chair and waited for Ed to speak.

“Dr. Rockbell, Sir. Mrs. Dr. Rockbell said you asked her dad for his blessing before asking her to marry you. Do I have your blessing to marry Winry?”

Dr. Rockbell was speechless. He would have laughed, but the boy was too serious for him to let it out. He considered the answer carefully. If he said no the boy’s spirits would be crushed, and if he said yes the boy would start planning for a wedding.

“You have my blessing,” Dr. Rockbell began, “but you can’t get married until you’re older.”

Dr. Rockbell watched Ed relax in the chair.

Ed nodded and smiled in response.

Dr. Rockbell smiled back. His favorite thing about being a doctor was the satisfaction he got from seeing a patient smile when they recovered. Another knock sounded on the door, and his lovely wife entered the room.

“I wondered where the third towhead was,” she said as she ruffled Ed’s hair. “C’mon you two it’s time to eat.”

Ed raced to the small lunch room ahead of them and plopped down next to Winry.

Untouchable[center]

Winry warned the man that she was going to connect the nerves, but he just kept talking.

“Come—oww—Winry,” he grimaced at the pain of reconnection, but determinedly continued, “you always say you’re busy, but I’ve never seen you go out.”

“I am busy,” she replied as she checked the joints on his leg.

“No, you’re just working. I’ve never seen a mechanic work as much as you do. Take a day off and come enjoy the nightlife with me,” he tried to persuade her.

“I get my best work done at night,” she told his as she wiped her hands off.

“It can’t be as much fun as a night out.”

“I love my work.”

“You know what they say—all work and no play makes for a dull girl,” the man said as he got up and tested his leg.

“If I didn’t work so hard you’d be going to another mechanic Mr. Jones.”

Mr. Jones paid his bill in another room while she cleaned up.

He left after a quick exchange of good nights muttering under his breath about her being as untouchable as a flame.

Winry pulled off her bandanna and made her way up to the top of the shop where she was staying. Ed was waiting for her in the hallway. “Hey Win, do you want to go swimming tomorrow?”

Winry gave him a tired smile and replied in the affirmative. She wasn’t completely all work and no play.

Desire to Monopolize


hey were finally back after two more years spent on the other side of the gate, and he would be damned if he didn’t tell her how he felt the minute he saw her.

He wanted to be with her for the rest of his life. He didn’t want her to love anyone else, not even Den or Al. He wanted to have her all to himself until he died. His heart’s desire was to monopolize the blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman for the rest of their lives.

Antipyretic


Winry lay in her bed stripped down to a tube top and underwear—both of which clung to her due to the sweat that drenched her body. She had been alone in her room for nearly a half hour—she didn’t want them to worry about her. It was only a fever—she’d be fine.

-------


Edward trudged up the stairs—forced to go check on Winry. He wouldn’t admit it, but he was worried. His mom’s illness had started out with a fever.

He didn’t panic when he saw her skin slick with sweat and flushed with heat. Instead he checked her forehead and grimaced—he probably could have fried an egg on it. He was about to leave her when she grabbed his metal arm.

“Feels good,” she said as she put his metal hand to her forehead. “Sit with me for a minute,” she demanded while pulling on his arm.

“Win, I need to get a cold bath running for you,” he explained, gently pulling away.

“Just a minute,” she pleaded, stubbornly refusing to let go of his arm.

“Just a minute,” he conceded and let her pull him closer.

She was sitting upright now. She made him plop down beside her on the bed. In an instant he was flush up against her heat radiating body—his right arm draped around her shoulder and her head leaning on his shoulder. She was quick to throw her legs over his, so hers could soak up the chill of his shorts-clad left leg.

Ed was glad she wasn’t in any condition to notice she wasn’t the only one flushed. He sat still for what felt like an hour, but only ticked out to be one minute on the clock that hung above her dresser.

She started to complain when he slid her legs off of his. “The metal’s going to soak up your heat soon. Let me go get that bath started.”

This time, she didn’t not attempt to stop him as he left her grasp.

He called down the stairs for Pinako and Al. After he explained the situation Pinako called for a doctor while Al gathered all the ice from the freezer.

Ed started the bath water, plugged the drain, and went back to Winry’s room. Without a second thought he scooped her up with his left arm under her knees, and his right arm supporting her back. She instinctively circled her arms around his neck.

She gave a sigh of relief as he lowered her into the slowly rising cold water. When the water reached her shoulders he turned it off and took a seat on the toilet.

He smoothed back the hairs that had escaped from her hastily pulled back hair and whispered, “Don’t leave us.”

He was stunned by her mumbled reply, “You still need me.” He hadn’t thought she could hear him.

“We still needed Mom,” Ed said—this time quiet enough that she couldn’t hear him.

Al rushed in with a bowl of ice cubes and added them to the water. Pinako joined them soon enough with a doctor on her heels. All the doctor could tell them was to call again if her fever didn’t break in the next few hours.

-------


Ed was more than ecstatic when he checked her forehead for the seventeenth time in three hours and noticed she had cooled down significantly.

I Won't Surrender


Edward and Alphonse sat on the highest branch of the flowering apple tree. Both were proud of their accomplishment—something none of the other kids in their town had dared. From their perch at the top of the tree on the highest hill in the town they could see the whole town.

Both were wondering where their neighbor had gone off to. It had been strange when they didn’t find her at home—all of them were supposed to prove to everyone else that they could climb the tree, but when they went to get her Pinako had told them she ran off with other boys from the town.

Ed could see her blond hair from his spot and nudged Al to look in her direction.

“What are they doing?” Al asked.

“They have her doll,” Ed explained, pointing to the taller boys who threw an object back and forth between them—just above Winry’s head. “C’mon, let’s go help her.”

The two boys climbed down the tree—a little more slowly than they had scaled it—and were at Winry’s side in minutes.

“Give her back her doll,” Ed demanded.

“No, you shrimp,” called the dark-haired boy.

“I wouldn’t say that if I were you,” Al warned the boy.

“Like we’re scared of you shrimps,” yelled another boy.

A vain in Ed’s neck throbbed. “Give her the doll back, and I won’t use my chalk,” he compromised.

“Like we’re afraid of a little piece of chalk,” the two boys chorused.

“Size doesn’t always matter,” Ed retorted, sticking out his tongue.

“Just hand over the doll,” Al suggested. Winry was still sniffling behind them. “And apologize,” he added.

“No, way. She’s got to show us what color panties she’s wearing first,” the dark-haired boy explained.

Ed had enough at that point and started to draw a circle on the ground. Soon both boys were encircled by fists of dirt. Ed forced the doll out of the dark-haired boy’s hand and smirked. “I never surrender,” he told them. He presented the doll to Winry and she took it with a mumbled thanks.

After giving her heroes a hug she turned to the still trapped boys. A malicious glint filled her eyes as she pulled her arm back, and she sent her doll hurtling towards the dark-haired boy—it hit him square on the forehead. She picked up the doll and did the same to the other boy. “Next time you do that I’ll find something heavier to throw at you,” she threatened.

The boys gulped and nodded.

The trio walked away—the boys flanking Winry on either side. When they were far enough away Ed drew a circle and let them fall back to the ground. Winry looked back with a worried expression on her face.

"Don't worry, I'll protect you," Ed told her as he threw an arm over her shoulder.

Outcome of a Fight


“Edward! Alphonse! Come here, now!” Trisha called a little more forcefully than she would have liked while she searched the house for her two troublemakers.

“Mom, we were helping Winry,” Ed explained, jumping to his feet when she found them in Hohenhiem’s study.

“Helping her beat up the Fredrick brothers?” she asked with her hands on her hips. It was rare for her to lecture them about fighting with people other than each other.

“Yes, no, they started it,” Al answered.

Ed pinched his brother to quiet him. “What he means is they wouldn’t giver her stupid doll back until she showed them her underwear,” Ed elaborated.

Trisha’s face twisted into one of displeasure. She didn’t want to know what Mr. and Mrs. Fredrick were teaching their children, but they had no right to be angry at her for Ed’s and Al’s misconduct—it was nothing compared to their boys’.

Trisha got to her knees in front of Ed and Al and held out her arms to them. They both ran into her embrace without a second thought.

“I’m so proud of my little men defending their friends,” she said into their golden hair.

“I told Dr. Rockbell I’d always protect her,” Ed said when they pulled apart.

“I’m sure you will,” Trisha replied, ruffling his hair.

Ed gave her a sheepish smile and opened his mouth again, “Mom, can you throw like Winry? I don’t ever want her to throw something at me—it’s scary.”

Trisha laughed. She didn’t know why he was asking, but imagined that Winry could protect herself if need be. “Just be nice to her, and she won’t throw anything at you,” she informed him and ushered the two off them off to their beds.

[Qiock Mouth


Al watched the scene unfold with a distant amusement. His brother had always had a quick mouth—quick to say something stupid, quick to make up excuses, quick to insult, and quick to get them into trouble. Luckily, his brother could not drag him into this one.

Ed was standing in front of Winry holding his automail hand out for her to inspect. Winry hadn’t pulled out her wrench yet, she thought it was just regular maintenance so far. Al stepped back a few feet at the tell tale vein that started to throb on her forehead—she knew it wasn’t a regular check up.

Ed pulled his arm back and waved his left hand in front of him. “It’s not what you think!” he explained.

“Oh, then what is it, because to me it looks like you broke your automail, again!” she shouted, slamming her wrench in her hand. Al followed the metal—up and down, up and down—while he listened for Ed’s explanation.

“It’s not broken…I just didn’t put it back together properly.”

“How’d it come apart? I knew it the minute I saw you—you broke it!” she shouted while pulling her arm back.

“I did something wrong when I transmuted it back,” he admitted after swallowing several lumps in his throat.

“You transmuted my hard work! You idiot, how dare you alter my precious babies!” She had the wrench ready to throw.

Ed started running—he knew when he was in too deep.

Al watched the characteristic exchange. His brother had a quick mouth, and an even quicker pace (Especially, for someone with such short legs), but Winry had an even faster pitch, and before he got far Ed had a pounding head ache.

Diffused Reflection


It was Al’s request that they all go swimming at the lake, and how could they possibly turn him down when he went on about how much he loved feeling the cool water against his skin—dancing around him every time he dove in.

It was the two brothers and Winry—just like old times, before they got themselves tangled into the mess of the philosopher’s stone. The walk there was pleasant enough—the ripe spring air perfect to walk around laze about all day. That was what the plan was—to swim in the lake and relax at its edge all day. Den followed behind them with a large basket held in his mouth.

When they got to the lake it was Al who scaled the highest tree and leapt into the middle of the lake. Both Ed and Winry heaved a sigh of relief when his head bobbed to the surface. It had been a while since they had been to this lake—life had kept them all busy until now—so they didn’t remember how deep it was.

Ed climbed up the tree behind Winry, making sure she didn’t slip, and helping her when she did. She stood at the middle of a thick branch and looked into the wind-rippled water below. Ed watched her as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath—she always had to encourage herself to jump no matter how much she enjoyed the feeling of the freefall before she hit the water. He switched his focus to her hard to see reflection in the water. It moved with each ripple made in the lake and distorted images, but it didn’t remove the happiness in her face as she dove, and her reflection grew with each millisecond ad she got closer to the water.

Winry pulled herself to the surface and swam out of the way. She watched Ed’s face take on his ridiculous smile as he curled into a ball during his descent. Water splashed everywhere when he finally hit the lake. The wakes formed made Al and Winry bob up and down each time they passed. Ed pulled on Winry’s ankle as he broke to the surface of the water. She screamed as she was pulled down about a foot, and then swatted at Ed when his head popped up beside her.

Al was behind them, and though he couldn’t see their faces the ever-breaking reflection of the lake gave Al a clear view of the playful, carefree smile the two shared before starting a splashing fight.

No Speaking


t was a simple, kind gesture-the silence they shared.

Each time his auto-mail had to be worked on he would have to go through the painful process of reconnection, something grown men passed out from. During this time of pain there would be no speaking. He didn’t want her to hear the pain that weakened his voice. He didn’t want her to worry.

She didn’t start a conversation, because she didn’t want him to hear her voice crack with sorrow and concern. Instead she ran her fingers through his hair while he clenched the armrest as tightly as possible with his real hand.

Hair Cut


She braided his hair with practiced hands. She was gentle-only tugging on the locks when he complained that he could do it himself—acting like weaving the three clumps of hair together burdened her. It happened almost every time she performed the simple task.

This time was no different from every other time. He sat on the bed in front of her claiming he didn’t want her help—she gave a warning tug—and he was quieted. His hair was a few inches longer than last time she had her hands on it. It reached the middle of his back now. She briefly let her mind wander to his reason for keeping his hair long.

Like the inscription etched into his pocket watch the length of his hair acted as a reminder. He never cut it—not since they tried and failed to bring their mother back. She was the only one to make the connection—he’d told her when she’d finally had the courage to ask.

Having long hair of her own she knew how cumbersome it could be when working or on hot days. There were many days when she had come close to finding a pair of scissors and cutting off her own ponytail. She imagined he had them twice as much with all the traveling and fighting he did. She knew he would keep his hair short if his conscious allowed him—after all, having his hair long made him look more like his father, and he hated that.

As Winry twisted the red hair band into place she mused that she would be just as happy and Ed and Alphonse would be when he finally got rid of his long hair. For now, she was content with braiding his hair when they were together. One day he would return without the braid hanging over his shoulder.

Differences


There were many differences between Ed and Winry.

He hates milk. She loves it.

She loves mechanics. He thrives on alchemy.

He hides his emotions. She wears hers on her sleeve.

She’s a civilian. He’s a dog of the military.

His preferred weapon is a blade made from his automail. Hers is a wrench.

Despite the list of differences that could go on foever, they are also similar in many ways. They are both confident, stubborn, loyal, hard working, studious, protective, easy to anger, and most importantly they love each other—not matter how much they both deny it.

Study


Study-stuhd-ee- v.


1. To apply ones mind purposefully to the acquisition of knowledge or understanding of a subject.


Even when he was younger he was greedy for knowledge. He read every book on alchemy he could get his tiny hands on. After he completed reading the works in his father's office he checked out stacks of books from the library in town. Trisha often found him fast asleep with the book still grasped in his hands. All of his research came in handy when he decided to become a state alchemist.

2. To read carefully.


He left his travel log in her work shop once. She couldn’t stop herself from flipping through the pages and reading about his days, but it was all in code. One that she had to go through word by word to figure out each word’s meaning. When he tiptoed back into her workshop in the darkness of the early morning he found her with the open notebook under the folded arms she rested her head on.

3. To memorize.


It was simple really, for him to memorize all the alchemic arrays. All he had to do was know the basics, and from that he could create any array he needed. He could manipulate anything with the simple combinations of arrays—not that he needed to use chalk drawn arrays anymore—but it was always useful to know if his arm wasn't functioning properly.

4. To take (a course) at school.


If they had both continued with school (not that they needed to) they’d be in completely different classes. Her interests would have been math and biology. His would have been chemistry and philosophy. They would have grown apart, as children with different interests often do.

5. To inquire into; to investigate.


Every time he came back or she went to him to fix his automail she always asked how he’d broken it, but no matter how many times she asked he never gave her a real answer. Did he expect her to accept a shrug in response? Maybe if he’d tell her the truth for once she wouldn’t have to use her wrench on him. Maybe if he told her the truth she really could make the mail perfect for him, or at least as perfect as prosthetics could get. Maybe one day when she asked he would tell her everything, and she wouldn't have to go through the trouble of asking everyone else what had happened.

6. To examine closely; scrutinize.


He didn’t know why, but one day while she was tinkering away on his arm he found himself staring at her. Sure, he’d stared before—he was a guy, and she showed a fair bit of skin—but he’d never stared at her like this. His focus was her face. The way he could see the metal reflected in her oceanic eyes concentrated on the automail. He’d never noticed before, but when she got to a bolt or screw that was particularly difficult to tighten or loosen she bit her lip. A line of concentration was etched in her forehead as she blindly reached for the proper equipment on the table behind her—letting her hands find it by feel. She never once had to put a tool she grabbed back because it was the wrong one. From her face he looked down to her nimble hands running along the metal pieces like it was an extension of herself. From her fingers he looked to her arms, where toned muscles twitched with the commands sent from her brain. He’d never noticed the muscles that had formed in her arms. It was strange to think that she could probably deal some serious damage with her fists if she needed to. His eyes found her face again, and as she took a minute to wipe the few beads of sweat off her forehead she looked up at him and smiled. His mine wadered to the various times people had question his relationship with his childhood friend.

7. To give careful thought to; contemplate.


She never thought much about her love life before. She was busy, too busy for any kind of relationships other than the client-mechanic kind. Something changed when she saw him walking away. All it took was for her to notice how broad his shoulders had become—how much he was growing, not only in height, but he’d matured as a person—and she realized he was her love life. She’d never thought picking on him over the years was flirting, but as she thought about it she knew it had been. Eventually she came to the conclusion that she’d loved him all along. It was a feeling she had grown so accustomed to that she didn’t even know what it was like not to love him. All she knew was that no matter how many times he had to leave her she would love him until the day she died.

Dozing


Winry and Alphonse were not above playing pranks on the napping, eldest Elric brother. Actually, Al might have been, but with Winry’s determination and need of his assistance he could not keep himself out of the antics.

Winry dug around in the box of fireworks that Pinako had purchased in town. She read the label carefully on each variety before she grabbed a brick sized bundle of firecrackers.

Al looked through all the drawers in the kitchen and workshop for a lighter and something to use to extend the wick of the firecrackers. He joined up with Winry at the tree Ed was sleeping under the shade of.

Winry showed the set of 360 attached fireworks to Al. He held up the thin string he’d found, and Winry tied it on to the 2 inch wick provided on the brick. She tiptoed up to Ed with the firecrackers held behind her back. She stared at his boxer and t-shirt clad form with and evil grin and nudged his flesh shoulder with her bare foot. When he just lolled back to his position, metal hand on his partly exposed stomach and flesh arm over his eyes, she walked what she judged to be five feet away from him and set down the fireworks. The string was only added about six inches to the wick, but it gave her enough time to get behind the tree with Al.

Edward had been in the middle of a very good dream. It was one that he’d had many times before, but could only remember for a minute after waking up. In his dream Al was standing next to him—the gold of his hair quite the opposite of the silver suit of armor in which he’d been stuck. Winry was waiting for them at the train station. She had her wrench waiting to welcome him, but when she saw Al emerge from behind him her mouth hung open as she dropped the tool to the ground.

TATT TAT TATTAT TAT

Ed woke from his dream with a start. No, the word start does not sufficiently describe the look of fear on his face at the loud explosion echoing in his ears, or how quickly he was on his feet and running away from the sound. He was at the tree panting when he realized Winry and Al were there too. He was about to ask her what had happened when he saw one of those new video recorders in her hands, and then he noticed she was laughing. He was sure Al would have been shaking in mirth if he had his real body.

Al saw the look of revenge in his brother’s eyes and took off running. That left Winry leaning against the tree, out of breath from her laughter. Ed was quick to grab the wrench out of her pocket, and the machine from her hands. He chucked the wrench into the field as far as he could and set the recorder on one of the gnarled tree roots.

Winry had her breath back now. Her eyes widened when she couldn’t find her wrench to defend herself. He had her trapped against the maple tree. The murderous look in his eyes was enough to paralyze her in her spot.

“Winry,” he growled.

“You should have seen the look on your face,” she laughed nervously. She’d been on the receiving end of his revenge before, and it wasn’t pretty. After searching for a way to escape her mind only came to one conclusion.

She leaned forward and kissed him. She pulled away just as he responded, grabbed the recorder, and took off with a peal of laughter.

Ed sulked as she played the reel of film for Pinako and Al to see later that night. Both Winry’s and Ed’s cheeks heated up at the last bit of the film. When Ed had set the camera down it was at the perfect position to catch her bold move.

Intuition


Women’s Intuition was something Pinako Rockbell had plenty of. That was why at the birth of her poker friend’s son she knew he was going to play an important role in her month-old granddaughter’s life.

-------


Now as she sat down waiting for Winry to set up the projector something twinged in her mind. She knew this film was going to be one to save into the archives. She looked over at Ed sulking in one of the armchairs. For a moment the shadow of unease around him faded as he looked at Winry, and it was replaced by something she had known was going to eventually be there—attraction.

-------


It took Ed a few minutes to recover from his shocked state after she pulled away from him, and by the time he did she was already running away. All through the rest of the day he couldn’t look at her properly. He got a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach each time she turned to look at him, and ended up turning away just before their eyes met. Now, as he watched her lining up the film to feed properly he wondered if she liked the short kiss—if she would do it again—would she if he trapped her?

Winry had been trying to avoid him after the incident at the tree, not only did she not want to admit that the kiss had been too brief, but she didn’t want to know what he thought. Throughout the day she thought she’d felt his gaze on her, but he was always looking at something else when she turned her attention to him. She refused to acknowledge what had happened if he wouldn’t. And somewhere she was afraid he still wanted revenge for her little stunt with the firecrackers. She didn’t think showing the film of his reaction to the firecrackers while he was still there was wise, but Alphonse had already told Pinako about it, and she was adamant about seeing it right away.

-------


Pinako recovered from her laughter over Ed’s reaction at the same time the on-film Winry did. Winry got up and was about to turn off the projector when Pinako pointed out that the film was still running.

Winry watched in horror as she noticed the camera was still on when Ed put it down, not only was it on, but it was resting at the perfect angle to capture them from below.

Al’s gave a gasp of surprise as he saw the kiss that had transpired. He looked at his brother and took note of the red color rising to his face. He hope it was embarrassment and not anger.

Ed sunk deeper in his chair, and, despite his hatred of the word small, wished himself so miniscule he wouldn’t be able to be seen with a magnifying glass.

Winry jumped off the couch and quickly stopped the projector. She busied herself with taking it apart and packing it up.

Pinako looked back and forth between the blushing blonds with a smirk. Her intuition was never proven wrong.

Hospital


eing their first time Ed panicked until they got to the hospital. He didn’t know what to expect when they finally got there. It was a whole two weeks before her due date. Winry sat calmly in the wheel chair taking deep breaths while they waited for her to be carted off to a room. Ed paced back and forth mumbling under his breath about how they should have had a bed ready quicker.

Less than ten minutes later she was lying down in a gown in a hospital bed, breathing just as she had been advised. Ed talked with Alphonse as he got into his own special suit for the delivery. “If you need anything we’ll be out in the waiting room, let us know when it’s over,” Al said before he turned away from Ed to go back to the waiting room.

Ed took a deep breath and walked into the room. Winry smiled when she saw him. Ed grinned back, and tried not to let her see his fear.

He gave her his left hand to hold onto until she started squeezing it so hard he thought she was going to break it. During the short break between contractions he removed his left hand and replaced it with his metal one. Winry was too distracted to notice the change in the texture and temperature of his hand. Her contractions were almost on top of each other, and she gripped his hand as tightly as she could. He took the proper breaths with her, and the doctor encouraged her to push.

When she released Ed’s metal hand the doctor handed her the small baby wrapped in a bundle of pink cloth. She passed her over to Ed, and that is when he realized something was wrong with his right hand, but he didn’t let her know. He carefully handed the baby back, and told her he was going to get Al and Pinako.

He let Pinako lead the way back to the hospital room and gave Al his hand to examine. “What did you do, Brother?” Al asked when he saw the crushed fingers.

“It was Winry. She was practically crushing my other hand so I gave her this one to hold. She’s gonna kill me,” Ed explained.

Al laughed. “Yeah she is.”

The girl dubbed Ann Mei Elric was passed around the room, and when Winry finally admitted to being tired Al and Pinako left. Winry watched Ed hold their daughter for a while before she realized he wasn’t using his right hand to hold her at all. “Ed, what happened to you hand?”

He shrugged.

“Let me see it,” she demanded.

“You need to get some sleep,” he told her.

“There’s no way I’m going to go to sleep with you holding our daughter if you hand is broken. Let me see,” she hissed.

Ed cradled Ann close to his chest and held out his right hand for Winry to look at it. “Imagine what you could have done to my real hand,” he joked as she inspected it.

“Like I could have crushed you hand,” she scoffed, but gave him a sympathetic look. She grabbed the emergency bag they’d brought with them and dug around for a pen and notebook. She made a list and handed it to him. “Give me Ann. Now, go call Granny and read her this list. That’s all she’ll need to fix it. Until then, you can’t hold Ann.”

Ed pulled the little crib the hospital provided next to Winry’s bed and snatched the paper from her hand. “If you get tired you can put her in here. I’ll be back,” he told her. He gave both the women in his life a kiss on the forehead and left the room.

Every Day


He’d been gone a long time, and after getting back the first thing she did was what she did every day to make her living. She took him into her workshop and checked the leg and arm she’d given him two years before. It was well taken care of, something she hadn’t expected until she thought back to the pathetic excuse for limbs he had when he returned the first time.

But, it had been two years, and without the proper maintenance she could tell the gears had began to grind down, the wires had stretched too much, and the metal needed completely taken apart for a proper cleaning. His arm and leg weren’t broken, just worn. All she needed was a day or two to take them apart, replace a couple small pieces, maybe rewire it, and with a quick polish she’d be done.

-------


Ed sat at the kitchen table with the temporary limbs hooked into place. He thought back to the ones his father had made, and how these were much more comfortable than those horrid things. Winry pulled the finished apple pie out of the oven. Al had made her promise not to make him until his brother was with them, and she was ready to fulfill her promise.

For once, Ed’s mind was not on food, but on the person who’d made it. There was only one good thing he could claim to get out of that other world—their variety of precious stones was wider than that of his own world. He was sure the piece of jewelry in his pocket was something no one would be able to claim they saw every day. The blue of the kyanite matched her eyes so perfectly that people would wonder if it was reflecting them. He’d had it set in titanium, a metal she’d often raved about the durability of.

Ed was pulled from his thought when she tapped him on the shoulder with a fork. “Earth to Ed, Al’s waiting for you to taste it,” Winry chuckled.

“Sorry, I was just thinking,” he said and gave a nervous laugh before he shoveled a forkful of the delectable pie into his mouth. He grinned, he hadn’t had something so good since the she baked during their travels, before Al was back in his body. Ed didn’t noticed the looks exchanged between Pinako and Al as he finished his slice of pie, but soon enough he was alone in the kitchen with Winry. He started to clean off the dishes while she put the remainder of the pie away.

She could feel his eyes following her, and she suddenly felt like everything was back to normal. It had been a long time since Edward Elric had waited cautiously for her to pull a wrench on him. When she looked at him he looked away quickly and continued scrubbing the dishes. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing, I was just—”

She cut him off, “Don’t worry, I know it’s not your fault your automail isn’t in top condition. All you could do there was try to take care of it. It will be done within two days.”

Ed was silent—she’d gone off on a subject completely different from what he was thinking about. She stood next to him, and turned on the faucet to rinse off the bubbly dishes he’d washed.

“Hey Win, do you remember that time the three of us went to you parent’s office, and I took your sandwich?” he asked.

Winry nodded, it had been her favorite sandwich, grilled cheese—and a good thing it was, because he didn’t like milk—and when he bit into it he spit it out within seconds. She remembered teasing him about it the whole walk home.

“That day I asked your dad for permission for something, and he told me I had to wait until we were older. Well, I don’t think I can wait much longer. I know we already spend a lot of time together, but we’ve also spent a lot of time apart. What I’m trying to say is Winry Rockbell will you spend every day with me for the rest of our lives?” he asked as he got down on his flesh knee and held the ring out to her.

Winry, was shocked, and didn’t break out of her wide-eyes amazement until the sink ran over with water and started to drench her pants.

Both of them laughed a nervous laugh. Winry knew how she wanted to respond, but she couldn’t get her mouth to form the three letter word. “I..you..uhm..wow…” she fumbled.

Ed stood up and turned off the neglected water tap. “If that was a no, I’m pretty sure you’d have your wrench out by now,” he said, sliding the ring on her finger.

Maybe it was the cool metal against her skin that calmed her nerves, because suddenly she threw her arms around him, and her mouth was working properly again. “Yes,” she finally answered.

Straying


Ed and Al were at Pinako’s, waiting until they could proceed with the last bits of their plan.

Ed went over the details of taking down the homunculi in his head over and over again as he lay in his bed feigning sleep. Soon enough his thoughts strayed to other things like the way she kept looking at him during dinner, like she’d never see him again. The fact that instead of trying to kill him with her wrench when he showed up on her front porch soaked through she'd hugged him. She’d even taken greater care when re-connecting the pieces of automail than she’d ever done before. His mind wandered to more obscure things, such as which different colors and how much of each he’d have to mix together to get the same shade of blue as her eyes. He compared the color of her hair to different people he’d encountered and decided the only one whose hair had ever been the same color was that of her own mother.

Eventually he was pulled out of his thoughts by a blanket being placed over him. He was going to keep up his façade of slumber until he heard her voice.

“I don’t know what I’ll do when you really gone,” she whispered to herself.

He considered letting her exit the room, but he couldn’t, not with the chocked-up sound of her voice in his ears. “Win, come here,” he said sitting up.

He could tell from her movements that she was brushing away tears before she turned around to face him. He sat up and moved over on the bed, giving her room to sit down next to him, which she did.

“You know that no mater what I’ve said about my home being gone that this is my home right? I’ve got to get Al’s body back, and no matter what happens after he’s back in his body I plan on coming back home. So don’t cry, I plan on coming back,” he told her, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

She responded with a nod and weak squeeze back, and after a few minutes of silence she got up and left him to his once again straying thoughts.

[/b]
Departure
[/b]

Winry was tired of not getting a proper goodbye when he left. Sure, she got his notes, and woke up in time to see them disappear down the road, but that wasn’t enough. She wanted to hear him say it.

She couldn’t recall one time when he’d been the one to say it. The times she’d gone to Central to make repairs she’d said it, and his only response was a wave as he walked away. What was so hard about the two syllable word?

After talking to him she’d gone to her workshop to clean up, and before she knew it her eyelids were heavy with the need for sleep. That’s what she got for staying up two nights to finish his leg and arm as quickly as possible.

After a quick shower she grabbed some blankets from her room and crept downstairs. Her plan was foolproof.

-------


Ed was shocked when he didn’t see Winry asleep in her room. He jotted down a quick note, but intended to make sure she wasn’t in some sort of trouble before he and Al left. He checked the balcony—not there—the bathroom—also a negative—Pinako’s room—nope—kitchen—no luck—workshop. “I found her,” Al called, his voice breaking with laughter.

Ed ran to the living room and saw Winry asleep in front of the door. He smiled at the sight of her lying there wrapped up in her blankets. “I don’t want to wake her up,” Ed told his brother.

“It doesn’t matter, you’ll have to if you want to leave,” Pinako, woken up by the commotion, said from her spot at the top of the stairs.

Ed hesitantly got down on his knees and shook her shoulder. He was glad she wasn’t a heavy sleeper like he was. She woke up almost instantly and yawned. “It worked,” she crowed triumphantly as she stretched out her limbs.

“I guess so,” Ed muttered, getting to his feet.

Winry shed her blankets and took the hand Ed extended towards her to help her stand up. When she was on her feet she didn’t let go, but pulled him into a hug. “You’re not getting off easy this time,” she whispered to him. She released him and also hugged Alphonse, he may not have been able to feel it, but it was the thought that counted. “I’ll walk you guys down the road,” she announced, slipping her feet into the shoes she left by the door.

They walked in silence, the sounds of their feet almost nonexistent on the soft dirt path. Once they got to the spot were they usually disappeared from her sight on the balcony, they all stopped. She embraced them again, longer than the first time, and told them to be careful.

Ed puffed out his chest. “We’re always careful,” he informed her. Winry rolled her eyes. “So, uhm, we’ll see you later,” he told her, using his real hand to rub the back of his neck nervously.

She smiled as she realized he’d wormed his way out of saying goodbye, and she told him to come back in one piece. She stood and watched the sunrise before going back home. The first thing she checked was the spot on her dresser where he usually left her a note. She unfolded a blue piece of paper and read it.

This isn’t goodbye. It’s see you later. –Ed

Winry grinned at the new understanding she had of Ed’s goodbyes. She refolded the paper and tucked it away with the others in her little toolbox.

Different Roads


As soon as he left to join the military the roads they took in life split apart. He was constantly gone, traveling the country searching for more information about the philosopher’s stone. She stayed in Risembool and worked had on her automail trade. It was one of the few links she still shared with him. At times she felt guilty for being happy that he needed automail, but it was the only thing that made him visit. Because of his lost limbs he needed her. No matter how far away his travels took him their paths would always cross due to that need. She found that after the anger of seeing his automail mangled melted away her joy at seeing him seemed to outweigh the guilt about said feelings.

He never told anyone, but sometimes, when he knew he could win with a broken arm, he weakened the metal a bit, just enough so that he’d need a repair. He did feel guilty for purposely straying from his search, but when he saw her, even if it was just for a day, he felt rejuvenated. He needed their different roads in life to converge just as much as she did.

That Time Once Again


Like all siblings the Elric brothers had their pointless squabbles, and like a good friend Winry was there to help put a stop to them. She didn’t take sides, but told them to shut up and suck it up or she’d make them regret it, and neither one ever doubted she would. Every once in a while she had to mediate a real argument, such as the one about Ed joining the military, but she hadn’t expected to have to get in the middle of one of those arguments again.

When she first arrived at the infirmary Al had been unusually silent and tense. She knew trouble was brewing when Ed didn’t know what was wrong. The two brothers’ always knew what the other was thinking. It was when she finally got back to Ed’s room after visiting with Elysia that everything Al was holding back burst.

She didn’t want to believe what she was hearing, but the moment Al accused Ed of lying to him, and brought up the idea that he wasn’t real, just a thing that Ed planted fake memories in, she was furious. She watched in horror as the words spilled from Al, and then as silence overtook the room when Ed processed Al’s words.

She called to Ed as he left, but he didn’t turn back, so she fixed her glare on Al. “You, you idiot!” she shouted as she pulled out her wrench and hit him over the head. She knew it wouldn’t hurt him, but it certainly did the job of stunning him. Winry didn’t know exactly what she was saying as her mind replayed Ed’s words after his first automail surgery. He’d been so guilty with the thought of what “he’d” done to Al, and he didn’t think Al would ever forgive him. When she finished yelling at Al she forced him to go find Ed and apologize.

She wiped away her angry tears as she followed Al to the roof of the building with Hughes on her heels. A nostalgic smile lit her face as she listened to them talk about the various fights they’d had growing up. One day they’d look back on this and laugh again.

Search


“My brother would have lost his metal arm if it wasn’t attached. Don’t roll you’re eyes at me Mei, it’s true. Once when we were traveling back to Risembool to get it fixed, he disconnected it in the middle of the night, and when he woke up the next morning he couldn’t find it. Where do you think he put it?” I asked Mei as she looked at me skeptically. “In the bathtub! He must have put it there while he was half asleep thinking we were already at Winry’s and that he was setting it in her workshop.” I paused to laugh at the memory of Brother practically tearing the hotel room apart. “So, if he can loose something that big, imagine what he could do with something this tiny,” I said, holding out the wedding band to her.

“He lost the ring?”

“Not necessarily, he just forgot where he put it. I kept telling him to give it to me last night, but he’s as stubborn as ever, and insisted that he didn’t need me to hold onto it. We had everything laid out, and ready to go this morning, but he forgot where he put the ring. We searched every room in that house high and low. It wasn’t until he brushed his hair out of his face in irritation that I noticed the odd color on his pinkie finger. He put the ring on his automail hand! I think all those wrenches to the head might have affected his memory,” I explained to her while I dropped the ring into my pocket.

I looked at my watch and my eyes widened in horror. The wedding was officially taking place an hour late. My hands went up to my tie, but Mei’s were quicker, and honestly my hands weren’t used to the loops I had to make with the fabric to get it right since I hadn’t been able to practice while in the suit of armor. At least I’d made progress since I’d gotten my body back, at first I couldn’t even tie my shoes without fumbling. I smiled and offered her my arm as Pinako ran past us and into the front row of seats set up in the garden. That was the cue that everything was ready. Apparently Winry knew Brother was going to be late and had refused to finish getting ready until he was there.

I smiled at Brother when Mei and I parted at the alter, but his eyes were fixated on the area we had just come from where Winry stood, beaming, in her long white gown.

Not Know


As Al watched the two staring at each other across the campfire he wondered how they could not know. If it was obvious to him, shouldn’t it be to them? He could only handle so much of watching them steal glances at each other all day, and flirt playfully when they climbed up the mountain paths to find the perfect place to make camp.

He knew he was usually a calm person, and he didn’t mind being around the two, in fact he loved to be with his brother and childhood friend, but even the most level headed person can only stand so much when it come to two people being so oblivious to their feelings for each other.

Al growled as Ed tore his eyes from Winry yet again and stared into his cup of hot chocolate. Ed glanced up at Al with a raised brow when he heard the uncharacteristic behavior his brother emitted. “Ed, can I have a word with you?” Al asked standing up and walking a ways down the path.

Winry gave Ed a questioning look, to which he shrugged. “Uh, we’ll be right back,” he told her.

Al pulled Ed along the path until he was sure Winry wouldn’t be able to hear them. He let go of Ed’s wrist and threw his own hands in the air. “I can’t stand this anymore. Why don’t you just tell her how you feel already? Don’t tell me you don’t want to because you don’t know if she feels the same way, because anyone can tell she does. So, we’re going to walk back over there, and you’re going to go for a walk with her. Go to the beach, and with the stars and moon as witnesses tell her how you feel, because if you don’t I’ll wait until you two fall asleep and row the boat back to Dublith without you two in it, and I won't come back until you two have admitted your feeling for each other,” Al finished, and set his brother with a stare the proved he meant business.

Ed stood there stunned, his mouth flopping open and closed until he finally conjured up the word ‘okay.’

Al walked him back, and sat down where Ed had been previously. He watched the two walk away with a proud gleam in his eyes.

Share


“Ed, you have to share!” Winry pouted, stomping her feet on the ground. They were playing in the abandoned mill again, and Ed claimed he found a treasure.

Ed slid the strange bolt into his pocket and shook his head. “No, I don’t have to. I found it, so it’s mine,” he said, clamping a hand over the pocket she was now trying to get at.

“I’ll tell your Mom,” she shouted, her fingers trying to pry his away from the fabris of his shorts.

“Go ahead,” he shouted back, gently pushing her away from him, and sticking his tongue out at her.

“Fine then, I will,” she hissed, and stormed out of the mill.

Ed took the bolt out of his pocket and realized it wasn’t a bolt at all, it was a ring, with tiny little purple gemstones glinting in the dim light of the rundown mill. It didn’t matter to him that it was one of the dinky ones the people sold on the street corners in town for mere pennies, it was perfect. A frown marred his face as he thought of his promise to the late Dr. Rockbell—it was later now, but he knew that he’d meant he should be even older before they got married. He dropped the ring back into his pocket to save for that day in the future and quickly found a tiny screwdriver on the floor of the mill.

“Winry! Winry!” he called, trying to catch up to her.

She turned around and glared at him. “What?” she snapped.

He shuffled his feet and sheepishly offered her the screwdriver. “Here.”

She beamed as she examined it. “This isn't a treasure it's a key," she explained, forgetting about her mission to go tell on him. "C’mon Ed, let’s go back and find the treasure chest it opens!” she exclaimed as she pulled him back in the direction of the mill.

Every Once in a While


Every once in a while he found himself having thoughts about his childhood friend that he clearly shouldn’t have, for those thoughts meant she wasn’t just a mechanic or friend, but something more. At least it only happened every once in a while, and then it only lasted for a brief moment.

Like the time he’d broken his arm at lab five, and she’d worried that it was her fault he got injured. At that point in time his brain had actually linked her with the word cute, but as soon as he told her it wasn’t her fault, and she started yelling, the connection flew out the window.

Another time, was when she’d delivered that baby in Rush Valley. Afterwards she’d sunk to the floor, and he had to carry her because she was so worn out from the effort. The way she’d looked at him when she admitted she couldn’t walk was adorable, and he couldn’t resist smiling at her faint blush. For a moment he’d considered her the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen, that was until she admitted to opening his watch.

Then, the time she was working on his new frigid weather automail, he stared at her as she focused on the metal limbs unable to look away from her face. There was something about the way her face was set with concentration that he found irresistible, but then she’d mentioned how nicely Kimblee was to her during her ride from to train station, and his thoughts were taken over by everything Riza had told him about Ishbal. Then his memory backfired on him, and he had to recite the periodic table in order to get Riza’s accusation that he loved Winry out of his head. Every once in a while he knew what Riza had said was true.

-------


Every once in a while, Winry found herself having to deflate his ego. Not only was he a teenage boy, but he was also a state alchemist, so his ego often received twice the inflation of that regular teenagers or state alchemists faced. She found that it was her duty as his friend, mechanic, and a good citizen of Armestris to put him in his place. If a small puncture was needed she found that all it took was a swift smack over the head with her wrench. If his ego had doubled in size she would have to get someone to beat him in a game of some sort. If his ego got so big it smothered everyone in the room with him she’d have to make a comment about him being so small she couldn’t even hit him with her wrench.

Then again, every once in a while she found herself having to talk with him to boost his confidence. After all, he was just a teenager who’d lost both his parents, one to death and the other to abandonment, committed a huge mistake, almost lost his brother, lost an arm and leg, and found himself still searching for a way to correct his mistake.

Insect Repellent


Al knew he couldn't just stay at the camp and wait to see if Ed actually admitted his feelings to Winry. No, he had to follow them. He pulled a light jacket out of his duffle bag, and took a moment to add another layer of bug spray to his exposed skin. From their time spent on the island during their training Al knew how much the bugs liked to prick at his skin in search of food.

He didn't follow them on the path, but went through the forest following the sounds of their voices. He took their talking as a good sign, but he couldn't quite make out what they were talking about. He watched them from the edge of the forest when they stopped at the shore.

-------


Ed dug his hands into his pockets, fell into step behind her, and let his answers to Winry's questions became shorter and shorter as he focused all of his attention on the exact words he wanted to use. Soon enough they lapsed into silence, listening to the sounds of the animals in the forest to their backs, and the crash of the waves in front of them. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. After looking at the stars for a moment he took a step forward.

-------


Al watched the entire thing in amusement. His brother really had the worst timing possible. Just as Ed started to take a step closer to her she began flailing and hit him right in the face.

-------


Winry had been enjoying the lulling sound of the waves crashing when something buzzed in her ear, then something pricked at her neck, another at her arm. She squeaked and swatted at the bugs gathering around her. "I hate mo-Ed!" she cried turning around when she felt her hand connect with him. She looked down at the blond sprawled across the sand and laughed.

"Think it's funny, do you?" he growled, giving her a fierce glare. She tried to hold back her laughter, but failed miserably as it grew louder. "When you've recovered, give me a hand, will ya'" he said, the frown clear on his face, even from where Al stood.

She took a couple deep breaths to calm herself, and then stuck her hand out for him to grab. Ed's frown changed into a smirk as his fingers locked around her wrist. She let out a squeal as he pulled her to the sand with him. "Next time you should wear insect repellent, genius," he teased.

"Next time I'll use a wrench," she retorted. Ed scowled, but shifted closer to her. He moved his fingers from her wrist and intertwined them with hers. She looked over at him and smiled as she gave his hand a light squeeze.

-------


Al decided to give them some time to themselves and slunk away in complete stealth. He knew that he didn't need to spy on them any longer to know they both knew how the other felt.

Hand Made


With Winry stuck in town making an emergency maintenance visit to one of her customers Ed was left at home alone. He didn’t mind having the day to himself. It was a seldom luxury. Usually Al or Winry would be with him at all times.

-------


The first part of the morning he found himself asleep on the couch with Den lying on the ground under his hand hanging off the side of the furniture. When he woke up he grabbed one of his newest alchemy magazines, skimming it for interesting ideas. He gave a brief smile at the mention of his and Al’s names. The first part of the afternoon passed quickly, but as the weather got cooler time seemed to be going more slowly, like it was beginning to freeze with the weather. When the sun started to sink in the sky he ran out of quick snacks, and actually looked through the cupboards and fridge for something to make for dinner.

Dinner could be easy for him to throw together with alchemy, but it never tasted quite the same as something hand made. His flipped through the pages of one of Winry’s cook books and located the ingredients for stew. He stared at the jug of milk with disdain, but added it to the gathering of ingredients on the countertop and got started making the broth that the vegetable he needed to chop would go in.

He ate little bits of the vegetables as he cooked the stew, but stopped when he noticed the bowl of freshly picked apples on the table. She would never be able to say he couldn’t cook if he could make an apple pie. He finished putting all the vegetables and meat into the broth and let the concoction simmer over the fire. Then, he flipped through the book again and got to making an apple pie.

-------


When Winry got home her stomach growled with pleasure at the smells filling her nostrils. She didn’t even set her equipment in her workshop, but dumped them by the door and went straight for the kitchen, where she found Ed placing a pie on the counter. She just stared with her mouth gapping open, unable to believe what she saw. He hardly ever cooked, and when he did it usually meant she was going to find out some bad news. “What is it this time?” she asked.

Ed turned to face her with a smile. “Stew and apple pie,” he stated proudly, unaware of her actual meaning. “No alchemy used at all,” he added when she didn’t say anything.

“No, I mean what are you trying to hide by making dinner?” she explained, her voice taking on a tone that indicated she meant business.

“Nothing, I was bored. Can’t I do something nice for no reason at all sometimes?” he asked, his tone reflecting hers.

She didn’t answer, but washed her hands and set the table.

While they ate she talked about the emergency repair on old client needed, and he told her about his experience of making food without alchemy.

-------


Later that night as she laid next to him in bed her fingers traced his metal fingers, her own handiwork, and she noticed they were a little sticky. She made to bend them and winced at the squishing sound she heard. She looked at Ed in dismay. Next thing he knew she had dragged him into her workshop, disconnected his arm, and took apart the hand.

He grinned sheepishly at the little bits of dough that she cleaned out of cracks and wedges in the pieces. “You’re impossible, you know that,” she told him, softly hitting him upside the head with her wrench.

“Hey, it’s not like I did it on purpose,” he claimed, rubbing his head.

“I’m not putting it back together until tomorrow,” she said, and she dumped the pieces into a cleansing solution that wouldn’t rust the metals.

Winry walked back to their room, and as she felt Ed sink down on the mattress next to her she said, “So that was your plan to get out of cooking, huh?”

He rolled onto his left side to look at her. When he determined she was joking he smirked. “How’d you know?”

“I know you better than anyone else, Edward Elric, even better than your brother does,” she boasted, scooting closer to him. He took the cue to roll onto his back again, and pulled her closer with his left arm. Their playful banter continued on until she fell asleep with her head on his chest.

First Snow


Ed looked up at Winry and grinned. Her hair was damp from melted snow, her cheeks rosy from the cold air, and her eyes sparkled with joy as she laughed.

It was the first real snow of the year, and as with every other year they’d bundled up and went out to have fun in the white fluffy substance. Now Ed found himself on the ground, having been pegged by many snowballs from the united efforts of Winry and Al. If it had been one on one he would have been able to hold his own, but their joint effort was something he couldn’t beat. Instead of getting up to get his revenge he stayed laying there with his back on the cool crunchy snow. After a few second he moved his arms from his sides up as far as he could then back, and pulled his legs apart then back together.

Winry and Al plopped down on both sides of him and followed his example. It was something none of them had done in a long time. Ed was the first to get up, and frowned at the angel marred by his handprint. Al was the second to get up, but he didn’t mind the hand print in his angel, he loved his handprint. Ed saw Winry starting to get up and stuck out his hand to help her up. When she was on her feet she turned to admire the perfect angel, sans handprint.

She smiled mischievously and circled around to the heads of the snow angels. She locked eyes with Ed as her foot drew horns on the head of his angel. Al laughed as she walked away.

“Like you’re a perfect angel,” Ed shouted as he scooped up some snow. When she didn’t turn around at his comment he threw the ball of snow at the back of her head.

Before Al knew what was going on he was in the middle of a snowball fight so heated he wouldn’t have be surprised if the snow melted. Dodging the snowballs he quickly made his way back inside the house and made some hot chocolate. When he looked back out the window he saw Ed capture Winry from behind as she bent over to gather up some snow. He scooped her up effortlessly and spun her around until he got so dizzy he toppled over with her in his arms. Al decided to give them a few more minutes before taking a tray of hot chocolate to them.

Someday


t was a bit of a tradition between the two families, a time for the adults to socialize while the children played together. Every Friday night they gathered at one of the houses and played a couple rounds of cards. Sara and Trisha left the game to check on Winry, Ed, and Al. Like all mothers of children of the same age and opposite gender they often caught themselves looking for signs of a crush between the two. Both Trisha and Sara knew they were over analyzing the habits of their children, but both of them hoped that someday their families would be united through the pair getting married. When Pinako figured out their thoughts she told both of them to stop thinking about it, because she knew someday it would happen.

She’d seen many people grow up during her years, and she could tell that they were meant to be together. “But don’t push it, things like that take time,” she told them, and forced the two to sit down at the table. This time Pinako excused herself to go watch the little ruffians. When she got to the room she found all three of them asleep. Ed was in the middle of the bed with his brother curled up on his left side and Winry on the other. Pinako grinned at the way Winry clutched Ed’s arm like she did with her doll at home. When she went back to the poker game she looked at Sara and Trisha and said, “Someday.” The two women understood, but the men looked between each other confused at the meaning of the single word.

Telephone


When she was younger she’d been embarrassed by her feelings for him. She knew she’d be teased if anyone ever found out she more than liked him. She pushed her feelings to the back of her mind, until she’d almost forgotten how she really felt about the annoying boy that came back every once in a while to get his automail fixed.

Behind every time she’d ever hit him with her wrench or told him off for breaking his automail was concern, concern that ran so deep she had nightmares about how his automail had wound up in such poor conditions. Every time she studied new ways to create automail or found new ways to strengthen it her motivation was her buried feelings. One day as she watched him grow smaller while the train she was on chugged away her feelings rose to her thoughts, and she wondered if she’d ever get to speak those words she always left unsaid. It was so natural to keep them locked up now that she didn’t know if she’d ever let them spill from her mouth.

Unsaid


When she was younger she’d been embarrassed by her feelings for him. She knew she’d be teased if anyone ever found out she more than liked him. She pushed her feelings to the back of her mind, until she’d almost forgotten how she really felt about the annoying boy that came back every once in a while to get his automail fixed.

Behind every time she’d ever hit him with her wrench or told him off for breaking his automail was concern, concern that ran so deep she had nightmares about how his automail had wound up in such poor conditions. Every time she studied new ways to create automail or found new ways to strengthen it her motivation was her buried feelings. One day as she watched him grow smaller while the train she was on chugged away her feelings rose to her thoughts, and she wondered if she’d ever get to speak those words she always left unsaid. It was so natural to keep them locked up now that she didn’t know if she’d ever let them spill from her mouth.

Equal


There wasn’t really much Ed could do while waiting for the parts Winry needed to finish his new arm and leg. He’d already visited his mom’s grave, gone into town for anything Pinako or Winry needed, and sparred with Al for an hour or two.

Now, he sat in Winry’s workshop talking to the customer she was giving a scheduled maintenance check to. He found out he was a farmer, a middle aged man supporting his family, who’d lost his hand when their horse got frightened and threw him off. He’d fallen into the wire fence with such force that he still had scars across the rest of his body. He was only able to continue his job because of the automail hand Winry had made for him. The next customer was a woman. Winry later told him that she was twenty-six. When Ed talked with the woman, she was missing the same arm as him, also from the shoulder down, she told him that on her way home from the construction site she worked at she’d been cornered by four men that she’d been harassed by at work. When she tried to defend herself they’d beat her arm to a bloody pulp with the hammer from her tool belt. All the men were in jail, and thanks to Winry she was able to return to the job she loved.

Ed listened to many other stories that day, and when he went to bed that night he knew that she helped just as many people as he did, if not more, and most the time she helped them for life. He hoped that everything he did for others could one day be equal to what she was doing for her clients.

Are You Drunk?


Winry was having fun at the traditional Christmas Eve party Maes Hughes and his family held at their house. She had just finished off a glass of eggnog, the kind Elysia couldn’t drink, and her cheeks were starting to feel a bit warmer than usual as she flitted about talking to Maria and Schiezka. She kept on eye on Ed sitting at the table with Havoc and Breda, who were passing him drink after drink, all alcoholic, intent on getting, as she had heard Havoc say, Fullmetal fully wasted. She checked on him every so often, just to make sure he was still coherent, at least she wouldn’t have to drag him back to where they were staying, since he and Al had the guestroom on the second floor of the Meas’ house.

-------


Winry was carrying Elysia to the staircase to put her to bed with the story as she’d promised when Elysia spotted her favorite uncle talking with a woman who was leaning against the wall that ran up the side of the stairs. The girl’s eyes drifted upward and brightened. “Uncle Roy, you’re under the mistletoe!” she giggled, pointing for him to see.

Winry turned and found Riza’s eye wide in shock as she looked up at the offending piece of foliage hung from the ceiling with care. Everyone was watching the pair, even Elysia had clambered out of Winry’s arms to get a better look at what was going to happen.

Winry smiled as Roy pulled his subordinate close and planted a chaste kiss on her forehead. She could hear the collective sigh of disappointment from the others in the room, all except for the two who burst out in slurred song, “Roy and Riza sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-hic-N-G.” The words died suddenly when Roy and Riza turned their attention to the table where Breda, Havoc, and Ed sat.

“I’ll take Elysia up,” Gracia said, pushing Winry in the direction of Ed. “I think he’ll need more help upstairs than she will,” she chuckled.

“Drunken idiot’ll need more help than he can get,” Winry muttered, marching off towards Ed. “I thought you were watching him,” she said to Al, who was sitting across from his brother.

“I told him to stop, but he doesn’t listen to me,” Al explained.

Winry heaved a sigh, she knew he wasn’t lying. Ed had picked up the shot of whiskey Breda slid down the table to him, but Winry pulled it out of his lax hand. When he tried to grab it back she downed it and set the empty glass on the table. “No more for you,” she told Ed.

“One more,” he negotiated.

“No, I bet you can’t even stand up on your own,” she accused.

“I can,” he replied, already sliding the chair back and getting to his feet without mishap.

“You can stand up, but I bet you can’t make it up the stairs,” she challenged.

Ed huffed indignantly, and slowly made his way across the room. He stumbled a few times, but made it to the stairs. He leaned against the banister and stared up the stairs doubtfully. The depth of the steps was beyond him. He didn’t know everyone’s attention was on him.

“What’s wrong Ed, the stairs too much for you? Don’t tell me your little brother will have to carry you up them,” she taunted, emphasizing the word little.

He inflated his cheeks and glared at her as he found and climbed the first step. Winry smirked at the success of her tactics.

With that done Maes got everyone’s attention by announcing the start of the gift exchange. He shoved two bags into Winry’s hands as she climbed up the fourth step behind Ed. She knew she’d picked Ed’s name, and she could tell from the red and black of the other bag that Ed had gotten her name. She knew it wasn’t just a coincidence, Maes always had something up his sleeve.

Ed stumbled at the fourth step from the top. Winry balanced him and moved the bags to one hand. She took his left arm and moved it across her shoulders, supporting him in the final steps. “I made it,” he declared at the landing.

“And now you’re going to make it to your room, too,” she said, already leading him down the hall.

“No, I’m gonna go back down there,” he argued.

“You’re drunk,” she said flatly.

“Nuh-uh,” he said, shaking his head and swaying at the vertigo it caused. She shot him a disbelieving look. “Maybe a little,” he admitted sheepishly.

“A little drunk is what I was before I had to drag you up here,” she said, pushing him through the door to the guestroom.

“You’re drunk?” he asked, turning to face her.

“A little, but nothing compared to you,” she said, setting the bag with his name on it on the bed next to him.

Ed shook his head again, he didn’t know when he’d sat down on the bed, but he had. “What’s that?” he asked.

“Remember the gift exchange?” she asked, sitting on the other bed in the room with the red and black bag in her hands.

“Yeah, I forgot,” he admitted, picking at the tissue paper in the bag next to him.

“Open it” she prompted.

He pulled out the golden tissue paper and looked inside. A black, leather bound notebook sat in the bag. He pulled it out and flipped through the empty lined pages.

“I noticed your travel log was almost full,” she explained.

“Yeah, I’ve only got a couple pages left, thanks. Open yours,” he said.

She carefully tugged the black paper from the bag and set it aside on the bed. She pulled a red bandanna with black wrenches stitched along the edges of it out of the bad, and one of those ridiculous dog calendars he always insisted on getting her. She’d never admit to how much she like the calendar, but one always hung in her workshop. “Thanks Ed,” she told him, tying the bandanna on her head like she always did when she worked and smiling at him.

“It’s nothing,” he said, he blamed the heat of his cheeks not on her gaze, but on his alcohol consumption. He rubbed the back of his neck with his hand, and noticed his hair had come out of the usual braid at one point or another during the night. He pulled a hair tie out of his pocket and made to braid it back up in order to avoid eye contact, but his fingers weren’t as nimble as usual.

“Why don’t you let me,” Winry suggested, already standing in front of him. He stubbornly gave it another attempt, but she took over for his disobedient fingers. Her relaxed to the feel of her fingers brushing the tangles out of his hair, and his neck tingled at the brief contact it had with her fingers as she swept the loose strand of hair into the braid. “You’re hair’s getting long,” she commented as she took the hair tie from his hand and twisted it around the end of his hair.

“Thanks,” he mumbled as she climbed off the bed.

“No problem. Now, get some sleep,” she ordered grinning at him.

He took off his coat and hung it on the bedpost as she walked out of the room with her present in hand. He fell asleep with his scalp still tingling from her touch.

Paradox


Ed was asked about the “real” relationship he had with his mechanic more than he wanted to hear. The first person to question it had been Mustang, and from there all his subordinates, even the reasonable Riza Hawkeye. He told himself over and over that he didn’t like her, that she was just a childhood friend, but his quick blush, stammering, loss of words, and choking on what he was drinking told people otherwise. It was exactly what they were all looking for when they asked—him denying their claims of there being something more to the relationship, and at the same time contradicting himself through his actions.

Jealousy


Winry was not jealous, there was no way she could be jealous. Just the thought of it boggled her mind.

“Win-ry,” the sound of broken, accented English pulled her from her musings.

Winry blinked a few times and looked at the woman sitting across from her in the train. “What Noah?” she asked.

Noah smiled in delight at finally pronouncing her name properly, and then frowned as she struggled with her next words, “We get drinks?” Noah said, turning to Ed who nodded in encouragement.

“Al and I will go get them,” Winry replied with a forced smile, dragging the younger Elric out of the compartment with her.

“She’s getting better. You know she’s always wanted to meet you. She’s seen you in Brother’s dreams, but don’t tell him. He doesn’t know. There was one time he got so caught up in everything that he didn’t talk to us for days so I let her read him,” Al panicked after his slip up. He knew how much Ed hated having his mind, as he called it, violated.

“Why didn’t you teach her English before?” Winry asked, not paying attention to his little spiel.

“Well, we didn’t count on bringing her with us, but she followed us, and it was too late to stop once we started,” Al explained. “We didn’t teach her before, because the less she knew the better.”

“Four waters, please,” Winry told the man behind the counter in the dinning cart. She accepted Al’s explanation. It was the same tactic they had used to protect her all those years ago.

They walked back to their compartment in silence. Winry tried to keep her thoughts off the way Ed smiled at Noah when she got her English right.

Al wasn’t stupid—he knew exactly what was going on. Winry was jealous, Noah was excited, and Ed was nervous.

Winry sat down and frowned as Al directed a question to Noah in the strange sharp language they called German. Noah’s face brightened, and not a minute later Winry found herself alone with Ed.

“You took better care of your automail,” she broke the silence, examining his metal arm.

“Yeah, I had to without you there to fix it,” he admitted.

“I’m glad it came back in good shape,” she said, dropping his arm back on his lap. More silence drifted between them.

“Why’d you wait for us?” Ed ventured.

“I knew you’d be back. You told me you would,” she confessed.

Ed didn’t respond, but put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer to him. She didn’t resist, and rested her head on his shoulder.

When Al and Noah got back from the tour of the train Al rummaged through Winry’s bag for her camera, and he took the first picture of what would be many of Ed and Winry together.

More


“More, you want more? You've had just about half of it, Joseph” Winry said, staring at the blond boy in disbelief.

“But it was so good,” he replied, giving her his best grin.

“Maybe later, after everyone else eats,” she said. Joseph looked at her with hopeful eyes.

“Where’s everyone,” Winry heard someone call over the closing of the front door.

“Kitchen,” Winry called, moving the boy’s hand as he tried to get at the spoon to refill his bowl.

“How was work, Dad?” the boy asked, tackling his father with a hug.

“Good, Al and I were able to get that new bridge up without any problems,” he replied, messing up the boy’s short blond hair.

“What’s for dinner Win, I’m starved,” he said, walking up behind her and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Stew.”

“Did you know it has milk in it? It’s so good Dad, you won’t believe it,” the boy said, eagerly waiting to get more of the soup.

“You know, it’s the only way your mom ever got me to drink milk when I was growing up without having to persuade me,” he said, taking the bowl that Winry had filled for him and sitting at the table. Winry laughed at the way Ed described her method.

“Can I have more now Mom?” Joseph asked, holding out his bowl to her.

“He eats more than you ever did, and you were eating to nourish Al’s body too,” Winry remarked as she ladled more of the stew into the Josephs bowl.

“When are you going to really tell me about why you had to nourish Uncle’s body?” Joseph asked as he joined Ed at the table.

“I’ll tell you more when you’re old enough to know not to make the same mistake we did,” Ed said, casting a glance towards Winry.

“When will I be old enough?” he asked.

“When you’re old enough,” Winry answered, joining them at the table with her own bowl of stew.

With Three Years' Eyes


When Sarah wasn’t working at their office she was often at Trisha’s house watching the children play together. It was during one of those days that the two mothers noticed something about their three-year-olds.

Winry and Ed had gotten along fairly well during their terrible twos—teaming up to get what they wanted, only arguing when they failed to get what they wanted. Now they had grown beyond that stage, and another one was developing.

-------


Sarah looked up from the stack of photos Trisha was showing her when she heard Winry’s shriek, “Mom, Ed pulled my hair!”

“She poked me!” Ed called out.

“He tripped me!” Winry argued. Now both women were staring at their dirt covered three-year-olds.

“It was on accident!” Ed defended. “We were playing tag.”

“Both of you need to apologize to each other,” Sarah said sternly.

Both of the blonds mumbled a quick sorry.

“Now, you two will just have to play inside for a while. Why don’t you color,” Trisha suggested, already rising from her feet to get them the paper and crayons. She gave Sarah an amused grin as she led the two into the living room. Sarah picked up the photographs and followed them.

Once they got settled on the hard wood floor Sarah watched them while Trisha went to go check on the napping Al. Sarah watched as the two colored to their hearts content, but every once in a while she heard the strokes of a crayon stop, and when she looked at the two one of them was looking at the other.

When Trisha joined her she spoke to her in whispers about the behavior, and after a few minutes Trisha saw it too.

“Who knew it started out at such a young age,” Trisha chuckled as she watched Ed and Winry quickly move their eyes back down to their own doodles after they made brief eye contact with each other.

Things Left Undone


Edward had a list that kept him going, always searching for a way to return home from the war-torn world he was residing in—things that needed to be done.

He would put a tombstone up for Hohenheim, next to Trisha’s. His father had helped him over the past two years, and even gave up his life so he could be with Alphonse again.

He would pay back Roy Mustang. Sure, he was a Colonel with a god complex, but he didn’t seem that way anymore, and he hated being in debt to anyone.

Most importantly he would find the girl with sky-blue eyes who had carried a new arm around for him for two years. She had always seemed to know what he needed, even if he wouldn’t admit it. He would find her and promise never to leave her side again. Everyone had been right, she was more than just his automail mechanic.

Parents


As they walked into the old barn Winry remembered their first trip there. She didn’t know if Ed remembered, most of his memory was taken up by formulas and research, and more than half the time she found he didn’t recall a lot of his brief childhood as she and Al did.

They were young, and all that mattered at the time was having fun. They’d protested about going every step of the way, but their cries fell on determined ears—ones that wouldn’t buckle at screaming. Everyone told them they would have a good time, everyone was going to be there, and it’d be much better than a night spent at home. They walked glumly into the huge barn that had been transformed into a dance hall for the night.

Both were intent on proving that they weren’t going to have a good time, but Al was already off playing with the group of kids his age. Edward and Winry sat on the bench complaining about the punch when the first record was started. Winry was silenced by the beautiful combination of strings that started the number, and then she noticed all the parents had gotten to the dance floor and were spinning around the barn with patterned steps each couple gave their own unique twist to. She soon lost count of all the different songs that played and dances that were danced. When she heard the first song come back on she noticed Ed was staring at her. “What?” she asked.

“You want to try?” Ed asked. Winry nodded, and soon the two of them were stumbling around, exaggerating the moves of their parents. Both couples were soon throwing in new steps to watch in delight as their children tried to mimic them. Hohenheim twirled Trisha around, and much to his surprised Ed determinedly executed the move without trouble. Sarah laughed in surprise as she was dipped, brought back up, and continued dancing in one fluid movement.

All the other adults on the dance floor had stopped to watch the children with eager eyes and smiles of wonder. Ed tried to dip Winry, but the two wound up on the floor in a puddle of laughter. The parents exchanged looks and soon their dancing continued around the hysterical blonds in the middle of the floor.

When Ed and Winry finally made it back to their bench they looked over at Al who was charming a pretty little redhead into dancing with him. Of course their dance was merely the act of spinning around each other as fast as they could until their heads were spinning too much for them to continue.

Winry found that same bench in the corner the minute they walked into the barn, this time without protest, and she sat down, Ed and Al flanking the sides of her. Al was the first to leave the bench and find a dance partner. She watched as he changed partner every dance.

Ed knew his brother had left them alone, but he didn’t watch Al’s movements. His eyes were focused solely on the blonde woman beside him. She wasn’t the type to pester a man about dancing with her, she was content with getting lost in the highs and lows of the music notes and closing her eyes to hum with them. After a few moments she did close eyes hers and a soft hum emerged from her throat. He closed his own eyes and slumped back against the wall listening as she matched the music. His eyes snapped open when the hum was broken with a laugh.

Winry opened her eyes and scanned the crowd as the first song she had ever danced to sounded from the record player. She quickly found the honey-blond of Al’s hair and smiled as Al approached a redhead dancing with another man. The man nodded to Al, and in a moment he was spinning the redhead around while the other man plucked another woman from the wall of the barn.

Winry was brought out of her amused state when Ed tapped her on the shoulder. “Would you like to join them?” he asked just as shyly as he had all those years ago.

She nodded, and let him lead her to the edge of the wooden dance floor, installed just for this one night of the season. It was just like all those years ago, except they weren’t stumbling or stepping on each others feet, they had a grace about their movements that they had acquired over the years. When people noticed them they stopped and watched in awe, especially the older couples who had been witness to their first attempt at a waltz. Ed found the perfect spot in the music and twirled Winry away from him, only to pull her back with the same movement as soon as his arm was fully extended. Then, as the song came to an end he tilted her backwards in a dip, and smirked at the surprise in her eyes, evidently he did remember their first dance. She laughed just like her mother had when he pulled her back up to him.

They weren’t on the dance floor all night, but every now and then Ed led her across the floor, amazing others with his knowledge of the steps. Really, it had been something his mother had instilled in them. She taught them to dance after that night at the barn, claiming all boys should have a basic knowledge of dance. Both he and Al had never forgotten those lessons. Now he used it to his advantage, claiming Winry as his dance partner for the night, and no one present missed the meaning. Winry was his, and he was hers. It was something they had always known, even if the two hadn’t.

Unconscious


Ed was a heavy sleeper, and always had been. He also kept a strange sleeping pattern—late to bed, early to rise, and eager to take naps during the day. That was why she wasn’t surprised to find him passed out on the grass under the old oak tree. She knew the warm sun and cool shade had called out to him as he walked by. How could he resist the weather that was perfect for afternoon naps outside? Den had also given into the tempting warmth and slept curled up in a ball next to Ed’s flesh leg. Winry put her blanket down on his other side let the cool breeze sing her to sleep.

Al was the next to wander across the trio, and he smiled at the sight. It was something he didn’t get to see everyday—Ed and Winry next to each other with peaceful, content expressions on their faces. He briefly wondered if they had fallen asleep like that, or if they had unconsciously shifted closer and closer to each others’ warmth until she was encased in Ed’s arms. He picked up the blanket that was fluttering in the wind and gently covered them with it—it was getting colder out with the sun sinking in the sky, and he didn’t want them to get sick.

Change


He was back for good this time. She could tell his years away had changed him, but it didn’t seem like a bad change. He looked happier.

The arrival of the Ed and Al effectively cut the Fall celebration short. People wanted to flood them with answers, but a stern look from Al kept them away.

When Ed and Winry finally reached each other the first thing out of her mouth wasn’t a ‘hello’ or ‘I've missed you’, instead she practically shouted, “You’re taller.” The instant she heard the words fill the air she clasped her hands over her mouth and waited for his reaction.

He laughed and wrapped his arms, one her metal creation in pristine condition and one flesh and blood, around her. “Does that mean you’ll marry me now?” he whispered into her ear.

She nodded into the crook of his neck in reply, and for the second time in her life cried tears of happiness for him.

Point of View


Whenever they went to Rush Valley Ed was constantly looking over his shoulder. He didn't know what it was about the town, but it always felt like someone was watching his every move, and he could swear people were talking about him. It seemed every time he walked into a crowded room people quickly averted their eyes and lowered their voices to whispers. More than once he had actually been jostled unnecessarily on the crowded streets.

What he didn't know was that Winry's customers knew all about him, some even went as far as to ask their friends in Central about the teenager. They always booked quick maintenance visits on the same day he would be at Garfiel's so they could keep a close watch on him, and make sure his appointments didn't last an unreasonably long time. Garfiel was always eager to have his shop full of customers, and he even told them his theory that the two were in love, one which all the customers didn't want to believe, especially the men who weren't too old to think of her as a love interest.

After that they saw him as more than the teenager who caused their appointments to be canceled when he came into town. They were scrutinizing his every mannerism and deciding if he was good enough for their Winry, but all they saw him as was an arrogant, trouble-making, disrespectful, hormonal teenager. One of the men had even heard Winry and Ed arguing. Ed never found out why he got so sick after eating lunch at the inn that day.

From then on Ed had to put up with being tripped on crowded streets, having anyone in Garfiel's shop give him the third degree, and occasionally having a bolt or screw thrown at him. When he realized only Winry's customers were giving him a hard time he told her about it, and she told him he was imagining things.

That was until she realized that every time he was in town her customers would mysteriously lose little parts from their automail that he claimed to have had been hit with. That was when Winry had a meeting with all of her customers sans Ed, and told them she didn't mind them watching out for her, but they had to promise to stop throwing things at him or else she'd throw her wrench at them.

During Ed's next visit he noticed that the only thing thrown at him was hostile glares.

Parting Gift


When Ed woke up to Winry staring at him he tried to get away from her as quickly as possible. She was giving him a look that reminded him of the one she always had just before she clobbered him with a wrench.

Winry had walked into his room with every intent of shaking him out of his sleep and then going to her workshop to clean up from the previous night, but then she saw how peaceful he looked and couldn’t bear to wake him up. There was something about him that made her stop and stare, and she even began to wish she was under that blanket with him, especially on such a cold morning. She didn’t notice when his eyes first opened, but then he moved, inching his way closer to the wall and out of her reach.

Ed took his opportunity to back away from her when she didn’t move, but as he did he realized that her glare wasn’t a glare, but a content gaze, it was much different from her “you better run” look. “Winry?” he asked, not moving from his spot next to the wall.

“I’m tired,” she said. It wasn’t a lie—she really was tired from working on the new arm and leg for him the previous night. The only reason she was up early was to go with Pinako into town to pick up a few more of the wires she needed for another customer, but Pinako and Al had left before she got up. Before he could respond she pulled up the thick blanket he was laying under and climbed into the bed next to him. He’d made just enough room when he’d moved over to the other side of the bed.

Ed was about to tell her to go get some sleep when she laid down right next to him. For a moment he didn’t now what to say or do, but as heat of her body mingled with his he turned onto his side and wrapped an arm around her. She smelled good, like she’d just had a shower, most traces of the machine oil scent gone, that meant she’d at least gotten some sleep since connecting his arm and leg. As he thought about the calming smell of fresh lavender he kissed her, and before he realized what he was doing she responded. Their inexperienced lips were hesitant and slow, but after they broke away from each other for air they met again, this time pouring more of the emotion into the kiss. Her hand tangled in his hair, and his hand rested on the strip of flesh her shirt exposed on her side. They quickly pulled apart when they heard the front door slam closed.

“I’d better go clean my workshop,” Winry said, shooting out of the bed with a mixed look of longing and embarrassment at almost being caught kissing him.

Ed nodded as he watched her leave his room, and then he began to pack everything he would need for the quick trip Central, if he was lucky he’d be back in a few day’s time.

When he finished packing, and found out Al was ready to go he wandered into Winry’s workshop and watched her sorting the tools into their proper places.

-------


Al stared at his brother as they walked to the train station. There something was odd about Ed’s appearance, aside from his smile. After a few minutes of staring Al asked, “Brother, why are you lips all puffy?”

Ed paled at the question and quickly answered, “Uhm, Winry accidentally hit me with a wrench?”

Al laughed in response. “Accidentally, huh? What’d you do this time? I can’t believe she got you right on the lips!” Ed was trying to come up with a good answer, but Al stopped walking right in front of him. “Brother! You kissed Winry!” Al said, turning around to face him, his eyes wide with surprise. When Ed’ only reply was to turn a light shade of red Al grinned in triumph, it was the only answer he needed. “Finally,” he said as they got to their platform.

-------


Ed tuned out Al’s questions as the train pulled away from the little Risembool station, and he drifted off to sleep thinking about his early morning parting gift.

I Want to Have


One question danced in her thoughts and took them over—thoughts that plagued her mind and pulled and tucked away emotions.

She looked up from her project of setting throwing knives into the forearm of one of her newest creations and glared at the door that connected her workshop with Garfiel’s. Her growl of frustration was met by the moan of metal against metal—she’d given the screw one too many twists.

“What do I want? First of all, I want to have my thoughts focused,” she grumbled as she turned the screwdriver left to correct her problem. When she finished she put away all of her tools and hung the unfinished arm on the wall with care. She couldn’t work when her mind was a mess—a mechanic’s mind had to be clear, one mistake could cost someone their life.

She pulled open the door of Garfiel’s workshop. “I’m done for the night,” she called, ignoring the questioning gaze of Garfiel. She stormed up the stairs to her room and tried to send her thoughts in a different direction. After a few minutes of pacing to try and figure out what else to think about she sat down at her desk and pulled out a pen and paper. She could write to Granny, maybe that would take her mind off other things.

Dear Granny,

I’m doing fine in Garfiel’s shop. The people here like my work, and I have a list of customers that grows every day. I’m still going to Dominic’s every other day to learn more from him. He said he didn’t want an apprentice, but when I’m there he shows me what he’s working on and answers questions I have. Today was a bit slow. I got an order to install throwing knives into an arm for one of my customers, so I kept my schedule clear.

Garfiel is always asking me strange questions about Ed and Al. Today he asked me how many children Ed and I want to have. Ed and I? Can you believe that Granny?

Winry crumpled up the paper and tossed it in the trash can. Her thoughts had already been infiltrated by Garfiel’s question again. It was no use trying ignore it, she wouldn’t tell Garfiel her answer, but she could think about it.

As she sat there staring at the blank sheet of paper she indulged in thoughts of watching a boy and girl running around in front of a big yellow house playing tag, and then she thought of Ed holding a baby with a fuzz of blond hair and big gold eyes. Being a father would definitely teach him patience.

“Winry, you have guests!” Garfiel’s voice sing-songed up the stairs, pulling her out of her fantasy land.

Winry looked from the sheet of paper she’d been unconsciously doodling her thoughts on to her bedroom door, which had just been knocked on. “Come in,” she said, her eyes glued to the door. Garfiel said guests, and Winry immediately thought she meant Ed and Al. She blushed for a moment as she remembered the doodles on the paper and threw it away with the letter.

Her smile faded when Paninya poked her head into the room. “It’s early for you to be done for the day,” Paninya quipped as she opened the door the rest of the way and walked in the room.

“Hi Winry,” Al said as he climbed up the stairs and walked into her room. “Brother is still downstairs. Garfiel said he had a question for him.”

“No,” Winry groaned, burying her face in her hands.

“What is it?” Al asked.

“He’s going to ask how many children Ed and I want to have,” she mumbled, her cheeks tinged pink.

“So, how many?” Paninya asked with a smirk.

Winry’s answered through gritted teeth, “We are friends—we’re not going to have children.”

Her answer was echoed by Ed’s shouts, “Have children? What the hell! She’s just my mechanic, why won’t you believe that? We’re not going to have children!”

Winry could barely make out Ed’s steps as he ran up the stairs over Paninya’s howling laughter.

Al didn’t miss the way Ed and Winry locked eyes when he entered the room.

Control


Ed was back in Rush Valley and he didn’t get hit by a single flying object on his way to Garfiel’s shop, but he did feel the many eyes that followed his movements. When he entered Garfiel’s shop he was relieved to be rid of all the malicious glares on his back.

No one was there to greet them, but Ed could hear Garfiel’s equipment running in his workshop, it sounded like he was melding something together. Al went up to Winry’s room, but Ed didn’t follow him. He wanted to get his wrenching over as quickly as possible.

-------


Winry had just finished connecting her newest customer’s new arm, and he’d screamed at the pain. Her back was to him as she wiped her hands and started to put her tools in the cleaning solutions. She froze when two hands gripped her waist and forcefully turned her around.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she spat in the man’s face and searched her pockets for her wrench.

“You just put it away, honey,” he said, knowing exactly what she was looking for.

Winry brought up her knee to try and get his weak spot, but he squeezed her knee with his metal hand. “I know that trick too, give up already. This will be a lot less painful if you do,” he said, watching as she winced at the pain he was causing her.

“I’ll scream,” she hissed.

“No one would hear you over that racket,” he replied, taking her wrists in his metal hand when she started to hit him. Winry knew it was the truth, but she still screamed as loud as her lungs would let her. His grip on her wrists tightened, and her scream faltered as she winced again. His other hand came across her face in a hard smack. His head was moving closer to hers, and she clamped her mouth shut.

-------


Ed gave the people looking in at him through the windows a glare, and then stormed into Winry’s workshop. His golden eyes narrowed at the sight before him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing!” he yelled as he crossed over to the man Winry was struggling against. He took control with a curled metal hand and aimed a punch at the side of the man’s head.

“f*!@ing bastard,” the man howled as he turned to face Ed.

“Bastard, I’m not the one attacking her,” Ed yelled back, landing another punch on the man, this time at the place of his connection port. The man cried out in pain and doubled over. Winry grimaced at the crunch of Ed’s automail—it was definitely broken. With a clap and a flash of light Ed’s metal arm extended to a blade, and he held it at the man’s throat. “You better get the hell out of here, out of this town, before I decide to kill you,” Ed spat, holding back the urge to kick the man. He transmuted his arm back to it’s sorry state while the man ran towards the door.

Winry found her wrench and aimed it at him, hitting him squarely on the back of the head as he exited her workshop. “Thanks,” she said, giving Ed a weak smile.

“Are you okay?” he asked, looking her up and down. There was a red handprint on the right side of her face, her wrists were turning purple, and she wasn’t putting as much weight on her left leg as the right, and when he looked closer it looked like she bit her lip.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she replied, pulling up the sleeve of his coat and looking at his mangled arm.

“You can yell at me all you want tomorrow. Right now you need to sit down and rest,” he said, pulling the workbench over to where she stood. She nodded and sat down, staring at him until movement in the doorway caught her eye. Standing there was a group her most frequent customers.

“Don’t worry, Greg ‘ll never come back. We added a few more bruises to what you gave ‘em.” The oldest of the group said, stepping into the workshop.

“How’d?”

Ed’s question was cut off by the older man, “We’ve been keeping an eye on you, but it seems we should’ve been watching that creep more closely. If you hadn’t of come here today who knows what would have happened. Thank you for protecting our Winry.”

Ed wanted to scream and yell at them for ever thinking he would harm her, but he knew it wasn't the time. “No problem,” he said, and they filtered out of the shop one by one.

The old man was the last to leave, but before he did her turned to Ed. “We approve of you now, but that doesn’t mean you can go breaking her heart,” he said and left without another word.

Ed stared at the man’s back dumbfounded.

Kiss


Garfiel didn’t know what happened, but when he opened the door connecting his workshop to Winry’s he saw Ed sitting next to Winry with her head hung and his arm slung over her shoulders.

He may not have known Ed very well, but he knew enough about the alchemist to know such close physical contact between the two meant something had happened.

Ed looked up at the sound of Garfiel’s footsteps, and Garfiel could tell by the look in the boy’s eyes that something horrible had happened. His first guess was that something had happened to the boy’s younger brother, but the sound of the Al’s voice coming from the other side of the workshop proved him incorrect.

“Brother, what happened?” Al asked, sinking down on his knees to be eye level with Ed and Winry. “I saw people chasing someone out of the shop from the window.”

Winry shook her head and pushed Ed’s hand off of her shoulder. “Did you have a question?” she asked Garfiel, getting to her feet and walking over to him with a slight limp.

“Dammit Winry, don’t act like nothing happened! That guy just attacked you!” Ed shouted.

Garfiel and Al looked between the two waiting for Winry’s response. She ignored Ed. “If not, I’ll be going to bed for the night,” she said, walking out of the workshop before Garfiel could respond.

Ed started to go after her, but Al put a metal hand on his shoulder. “Giver her some time, Brother,” he said firmly.

Ed sat back down on the bench with a sigh and explained what had happened to Al and Garfiel.

-------


Winry climbed the stair slowly. She laid down carefully on her bed and rolled up the leg of her pants to survey the bruising on her knee. After a few minutes she closed her eyes and let her mind shut off in sleep.

-------


“I’m going to go check on Winry,” Ed told Al, and left his brother alone with the cooking Garfiel.

When she didn’t answer his knock he slowly opened the door of her room and poked his head inside—she was asleep. He let himself into her room, closing the door behind him, and sat down next to her on her bed. He noticed she had rolled up her pants to above her knees and saw the red and purple coloring of her left knee. He clenched his hands, furious that he hadn’t gotten there in time to stop the bastard from hurting her. She twitched, and he looked up to her face. The handprint on her cheek wasn’t visible anymore, but she was sweating.

“Win, wake up,” Ed whispered, shaking her shoulder. He called her name a second time before she woke up, and when she did she shot up, bumping her forehead with his.

Ed reeled back, his hand clutching his forehead, and she stared at him with wide eyes as she rubbed her own forehead. “Sorry,” she mumbled.

“It’s okay. Are you okay?” he asked looking at her wrist and knee.

“They’re just some bruises,” she said with a forced smile, avoiding eye contact.

“I don’t mean the bruises. I’m talking about you, Winry. Are you going to be okay?” he repeated, nudging her chin up, so she couldn’t avoid his gaze.

Her breath hitched when she realized how close his face was to hers. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from his. The light and warmth of his golden orbs drew her in, and she couldn’t speak. She didn’t know if it was his doing or hers, but one of them or perhaps both of them leaned forward. Somehow the gap between them had been closed, and their hungry lips collided. Her arms went around his neck, drawing him closer, and his went to her hair, gently tugging out the band that kept her hair up. Then, Ed realized what was happening and pulled away. “Winry?” he asked, unsure of what exactly had just happened.

From his tone she could tell she had been the one to initiate the kiss and she looked down, studying the flowered pattern of her bedspread, a blush staining her cheeks. “Sorry,” she said meekly.

“What? Why?” he asked, surprised by her sudden withdrawal.

“It’s just…after what happened I realized I didn’t want…I didn’t want my first kiss to be with just anybody,” she confessed, the crimson color of her cheeks spreading to the rest of her face.

Ed smiled in response, but quickly realized she couldn’t see his face. He put his hand under her chin again and guided it upward until he was staring into her blue eyes. “I didn’t either, and I don’t want my second one to be with just anybody either,” he told her, moving his hand from beneath her chin to her neck and leaning in, initiating their second kiss.

A Place to Return To


He’d burned down their house when he got his silver pocket watch in hope that it would remove all temptation to give up on his goal and return home. On their journey he often found himself helping people and when they left people those people they had helped they left another home. Those people always told him that they could return, and some even hoped the charismatic pair would. Out of the places he’d come to learn he could always return to there was only one place he was ever tempted to go, one place he would ever call home, one person who was home. It was the girl eyes of the sky and hair of the sun. The only girl who made him back down. The girl with an aim to rival that of the best sharpshooter in the military. The one who always tried her hardest to make his automail better each time he broke it. The girl who drove him crazy—in both a good and bad way. Everytime he saw her it was harder to leave, so he pushed himself leave as son as possible. After they got Al’s body back wherever she was would be the place he’d return to and stay.

Let's Go


Pinako’s smirk faded as she watched the blonds grow increasingly uncomfortable. She quickly glanced out the window, and upon seeing that the sun was still fairly high in the sky she jumped out of her chair. “I just remembered I’m all out of vegetable for the stew tonight. Al, let’s go into town to pick some up from the market,” Pinako said already heading for the door. Al gave his brother what would have been an apologetic look if he had his human body and disappeared out the door behind Pinako.

Ed kept his eyes glued to the window, and after he saw the wagon heading down the road with Pinako at the reins he dared to look over at Winry.

Winry turned from her fussing with the projector and gave Ed a nervous laugh, not quite meeting his eyes.

He couldn’t look at her, he had to turn away. “I can’t believe that’s on tape,” he grumbled.

“Well you’re the one who put the video recorder there,” Winry said matter-of-factly.

“Don’t act like it’s my fault, you’re the one who kissed me!” Ed shouted, finally standing from his seat.

“You cornered me against the tree!” she argued, taking a step closer to him.

“You could have used your wrench or kicked me, or something. Besides, you’re the one who woke me up with firecrackers a few feet away from my head. I could have gone deaf,” he rebutted, taking a step towards her every few words until she was backed up against the wall.

“Well, if you hadn’t been sleeping in the middle of the afternoon I wouldn’t have done it!” she shouted back, jabbing her finger at his chest.

“Well you…you…” Ed fumbled, but when his eyes locked on hers his mind went blank.

Winry’s mind was searching for another way to place the blame on him. She didn’t know he hadn’t even come up with a complete sentence since she couldn’t hear anything over the pounding of her heart and her own breathing which had gotten considerably heavier when her back hit the wall. Her face started to deviate from it usual alabaster to a rosy color.

Ed’s eyes gleamed for a minute and his metal hand went to her back pocket, while his other arm blocked her escape route.

“What are you doing?” she protested.

He held her most prized possession in front of her face and smirked. “Getting my revenge,” he said.

For the briefest moment the irrational part of Winry’s mind thought he was going to hit her with it, but her logical side mocked her for even thinking he’d hit her. She gulped when he tossed the wrench over his shoulder, and closed her eyes when he planted his metal hand on the wall beside her head.

Her body tensed for a moment when she felt his soft lips on hers, and then she relaxed and responded to his kiss.

Ed pulled away exactly two seconds after he felt her lips start to move against his. Without opening his eyes, for fear that he would go back to kissing her if he looked at her, he turned away from her and walked towards the stairs.

Winry stood there stunned, watching him make his way towards the stairs. Her eyes scanned the floor for her wrench, and when she didn’t see it she looked back up at Ed as he climbed the stairs. The wrench taunted her from the back pocket of his pants. She gave a low growl and followed him.

Implicit Rules


Ed smirked when he heard Winry’s growl and footsteps following him up the stairs. He listened to her practically run up the stairs, and when he knew she was within arms reach he spun around to face her.

Winry retracted her arm when she saw him twisting around and scowled. His smirk grew at the way her lips turned down and eyebrows rose in frustration. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. After a few minutes of staring at each other she broke the silence with the exaggerated tapping of her foot. When Ed joined in tapping his metal foot she huffed in annoyance. “Give me back my wrench,” she demanded holding out her hand for said object.

Ed shook his head and started walking backwards to his room.

“Not fair,” Winry pouted, re-crossing her arms.

“Life isn’t always fair,” Ed countered as he crossed the threshold to his room. Once inside, he threw himself on his bed, and stared up at the ceiling with his arms under his head.

Winry marched in the room right after him. “I’m not leaving you alone until you give it back!” she stated and sat down next to him.

He just shrugged his shoulder in response and closed his eyes.

Winry reached over and poked him in the ribs. Ed didn’t respond. She poked him a second time, and then a third. Ed cracked open an eye. “What are you doing?” he asked.

She didn’t reply, but went to poke him again. Ed was ready this time and grabbed her wrist before she reached the sore spot. She wasn’t daunted by his attempt to stop him, and before he saw it coming she scooted closer to him and used her other hand to poke him in the same spot. She laughed when he winced.

Ed sat up and gave her a glare of his own. “C’mon Win, stop,” he said, using his metal hand to restrain her other hand.

She squirmed in his grip for a second and said, “All’s fair in love and war.”

As soon as she said that every single rule Ed had ever thought existed between them flew out of his head. He found himself gravitating towards her for the second time that day. Her lips remained frozen against his until he released her hands and found her waist, pulling her closer. He pulled away for a quick breath. Winry looked at him with inquiring eyes, but her question was lost against his lips.

Ed’s mind was caught up in the moment until he felt her hands slowly moving down his back. He didn’t break off the kiss, but his body tensed as her hands inched closer and closer to the wrench. He relaxed when he felt her hands clasp together at his lower back and focused at the task at hand--actually, the task at mouth.

Secret


Ed was furious, no, scratch that. Ed’s wrath surpassed that of a woman scorned. He could deal with the way everyone on Mustang’s team always implying that his relationship with Winry was more than platonic, but what he could not stand was the way everyone seemed to find out all of their assumptions had been correct.

-------


When he handed in his letter of resignation to Mustang the man had the most infuriating smirk on his face. Ed had been surprised not to hear any short jokes from the Flame Alchemist, but when he was walking out of Mustang’s office he found out why. “Give your girlfriend my sympathy,” he called as Ed was closing the door. Ed didn’t satisfy him with a response, and he couldn’t deny the girlfriend part.

Everyone in the outer office looked up when Ed slammed the door shut on Mustang’s laughter. “What?” Ed growled at the four sets of eyes staring at him.

“Get in a fight with your girlfriend?” Havoc quipped.

“No,” Ed snapped, muttering, “At least I have one,” under his breath, causing Breda, who was on his way into Mustang’s office, to snort with laughter.

“This picture of you two together is really cute,” Fuery said, pointing to a photograph on his desk.

Ed snatched it up in a heartbeat. “Where’d you get this?” he asked, waving the photo of him and Winry asleep on the train in front of the man’s face.

“I..I don’t know. I just got back from lunch and it was sitting there,” Fuery stuttered, waving his hands nervously in front of his face.

Ed glared over in Havoc’s direction. Havoc simply shrugged his shoulders. Ed looked over at Falman. “Beats me, but Fuery’s right, you two make a cute couple,” the older man said.

Ed stormed out of the office and started to pocket the photograph, but he collided with someone and the photo went fluttering to the ground along with a pile of paperwork.

“I’m sorry,” Ed said, scrambling to find the picture. He hands were inches from it, when the person he’d collided with got it. Ed finally looked up, and saw Hawkeye.

A seldomly seen smile crept on her face. “You should put this with the other photos she has up at her house,” Hawkeye said, recalling the first time she’d ever met the girl and boys in Risembool. “Do you think I could get a copy? I’d like to put this in my photo album. You two look so happy together.”

“Fine, have that one,” Ed huffed, handing her the papers he’d straightened and making his way down the corridors.

He was stopped once by Schiezka. She congratulated him and told him to give Winry a hug for her. When he walked past Ross and Brosh the two had stared at him until he stared back, and he heard them say something along the lines of finally after he got a few steps past them. The worst part was probably when Armstrong spotted him. “Edward Elric, I’m so delighted to hear you and Miss Rockbell are finally together,” he’d boomed in that voice of his, and then captured him in one of his infamous, bone crushing hugs. Ed didn’t have the breath to say anything when Armstrong released him and remarked on what a cute couple he and Winry made.

Ed quickly spotted the head of dirty blond hair on the steps in front of HQ and plopped down beside him. His eyes widened when he saw the very same picture he’d let Hawkeye keep in Al’s hands. “Al,” Ed hissed.

Al looked over at him with wide eyes. “What? You didn’t say it was a secret.”

“You didn’t have to go around telling everyone and passing out those damn photographs!” Ed shouted, earning himself a few worried glances from the uniformed men and women going to and fro from the military base.

“It’s just they asked how Winry was, and how the trip back to Risembool was, and I just had to show them, Brother,” Al said.

“You couldn’t have waited until after I had my meeting with the bastard?” Ed asked, his anger already fading.

Al shook his head. “No, Miss Hawkeye told me I couldn’t have the cat in the office since one of their new guys is allergic to them,” Al said, opening his coat to show Ed the cat curled up against his chest. “I forgot how soft a cat’s fur is,” Al said, scratching the calico behind its ears.

At that all of Ed’s remaining fury dissipated, and he smiled for the first time since he’d entered the building. “C’mon, let’s go home,” Ed said, ruffling his younger brother’s hair as he stood up.

“The cat too?” Al asked eagerly.

“Yeah, the cat too,” Ed replied.

Don't Forget


She didn’t know how many times she told him not to forget to write her during their travels, but he never did. She after the fourth repair on his arm, she decided to get him a set of envelopes. She put the proper postage on each one, and addressed them to herself.

“Don’t forget to write to me this time. I do worry about you, and don’t tell me not to, because I will until after you come back for good, and I’ll probably still worry about you after that, someone’s got to do it for you two if you won’t,” she explained, whacking him on the head with the stack of envelopes.

“I won’t forget,” he promised, taking them from her and stuffing them into his coat pocket.

“Al, if he won’t send me a letter than you should,” she said, looking up at the suit of armor.

“I’ll try to Winry,” Al said.

-------


As Ed watched the platform disappear into the distance he took the envelopes out of his pocket and stared at them. He never forgot to write, it was just that he never knew what to write. “What am I supposed to say when I write to her?” he asked. “Should I tell her about the homunculi that want us to create the stone? Do I tell her about the secret ingredient?”

“Brother, she just wants to make sure we’re okay.” Al answered.


-------



After they reached Central and checked into a hotel Al took one of the enveloped from Ed’s coat and he found paper and a pencil in Ed’s little suitcase. While Ed slept Al wrote a brief letter to Winry just to let her know they arrived in Central, and told her about Ed’s plans to get some research done in the library. He took it to a post office before Ed woke up.

The next day while Ed was in the library he claimed to be off searching for another book, but he was really writing to Winry, and he even stuck the sealed envelope in with the library’s outgoing mail before he returned to the table he and Alphonse had piled high with books.


-------



Winry smiled at the two envelopes in her hand. Her plan had worked better than she’d hoped. She laughed when both letters said almost the exact thing.

I'm Home


Ed grinned at the yellow house getting bigger and bigger with each step he took. He looked over at Al and saw his own expression mirrored on his brother’s face. He was thinking about the look Winry would have on her face when she saw him and then Al.

He was the first to step into the house. “Winry, Auntie!” he called, waiting for the two to come out of their favorite place in the entire house—their workshop.

“Ed, Al?” Winry called as she made her way to the living room.

“Yeah it’s us,” Al called back, standing behind his brother.

Ed grinned when he saw her finally enter the room in her usual working attire, her hair was a bit messier than usual and she had a smear of oil across her cheek. “I broke my arm,” he said, holding up the mentioned limb for her inspection.

“Ed,” she groaned, her hand reaching for the wrench in her pocket.

“I got my body back,” Al stated, stepping out from behind his brother.

Winry didn’t say anything, but she smiled and tears started to form in her eyes. While she was hugging Al, Pinako entered the room and grinned at the sight in front of her. “Where’s your shiny watch?” she asked as she surveyed Ed.

“I don’t wear it anymore. I only joined the military to restore Al’s body, and now that that’s done I’m not the military’s dog anymore,” he replied. “Mustang let me keep the watch, said it wasn’t any good to give to another alchemist since I ruined the inside of it.”

“He’s not such a bad guy after all, huh?” Pinako asked.

Ed was about to respond, but Winry crushed him in a hug. For a minute he didn’t know how to respond, but then his arms wrapped around her and returned the embrace, his metal arm not functioning quite as well as his real one.

“So you’re staying this time?” she asked in a whisper so that no one else could here.

“Yeah, this is where I belong, Win. I’m home,” he said, pulling back and wiping the tears and smear of oil from her face. He could deal with her happy tears any time.

Confession


Al surveyed the scene with amusement and delight. He knew they couldn’t see him from his spot on the roof. He had fallen asleep, but his mind was so used to wandering all night that he frequently woke up in the middle of the night, and more often than not he found that feeling the cool night air on his skin while staring up at the stars often helped his mind ease back into a calm state, so he had climbed onto the roof from the attic window. Why was he in the attic—the other thing that woke him during the night was his brother’s snores, so Pinako had told him to use the attic for his room.

-------


His attention had been turned from the stars to the balcony that led to Winry’s room when he heard her laughter. Now, he watched as she lightly smacked Ed on the arm, and in response Ed put his arm around her.

Al scooted closer to the edge of the roof—he had been waiting all week for the awkward tension between his brother and childhood friend to be put to a stop, and he was elated to see that it was finally coming to an end as he watched them leaning against the railing of the balcony.

Winry leaned her head back on Ed’s shoulder and closed her eyes. Ed was staring at Winry with such intensity that Al was sure he was finally going to admit it, but Ed quickly diverted his eyes as Winy opened hers.

-------


“Ed, do you remember when we used to make wishes on the stars?” she asked. She waited for Ed’s response, and when he nodded continued, “Do you remember when you told me that wishing on stars was stupid and would never work?”

“Yeah, sorry” he answered, guilt creeping into his voice.

“It’s okay, I would have figured it out sooner or later,” she said. “I know it isn’t the stars that grant wishes, you have to make those come true on your own, but once just, for old time’s sake, close your eyes and make a wish with me,” she requested as she turned around to face him.

Ed looked down at her and nodded, it took all of his will power to close his eyes to the image of her looking up at with her blue eyes sparkling liked the stars.

When Ed opened his eyes back up she was still staring at him, and he wondered if she’d even made a wish of her own.

“What did you wish for?” she asked.

“Wasn't it you who said it was bad luck to tell your wish?” Ed asked

“Remember, stars don’t grant wishes, so it won’t make a difference.”

“I didn’t wish on a star,” Ed confessed.

“Ed!” she whined as she smacked him lightly on the arm again.

“Why should I wish on a star if they can’t make my dreams come true? Shouldn’t I wish on what can make my dreams come true?” he asked with a smirk on his face.

“And what would that be?” she replied, crossing her arms and giving him a defiant glare.

“You,” he said, tilting his head down ever so slightly to rest his forehead on her. Her eyes searched his for a moment, and then she gave in as his mouth moved against hers.

She wrapped her arms around him and clung to him for dear life, because she was sure that at that moment she could and would float if he didn’t keep her anchored down.

-------


Al slowly found his way back to his bedroom window with a contented heart, maybe now he would finally be able to get some sleep.

Let's Hurry Over There


The morning after Ed’s confession Winry got an urgent call from Rush Valley. She was needed back in Garfiel’s shop as soon as possible. Winry handed over her only customer for the week to Pinako, and left that same day. Ed and Al went to keep her company on the long train ride. Al noted the way the two seemed more comfortable around each other, and more than once he saw their fingers twined together.

-------


Winry got to work as soon as she stepped into Garfiel’s shop, one of her favorite customers had gotten his mail leg into a pretty bad state when a horse had gone mad—he was lucky only his automail had gotten trampled. While she worked, Ed and Al followed Paninya around the town chatting with familiar faces, and explaining over and over that Al indeed was Al.

-------


When they got back to Garfiel’s shop dinner was ready, and even Winry’s customer sat down to eat with them. The customer was an older man. Ed didn’t know his name, but he recalled him as being one of the men who had helped him drive off the man, Greg, who had tried to force himself on Winry. The old man who had told him not to break Winry’s heart. That night after he kissed her they’d just talked until she fell asleep, and the next morning she hadn’t mentioned the kisses. He wondered if she ever thought about it.

Ed and Winry were pretty much silent over the course of dinner, relying and the other four to carry on the conversation. Al didn’t have to look at the two other blonds to know they kept stealing glances at each other—it was exactly what they had done the entire train ride. Paninya sent him a questioning glance when she noticed their behavior, and he only shrugged in response, but the smile on his face betrayed his knowledge. Paninya smiled back at him mouthing the word ‘finally’ to which he nodded.

Al nearly choked on his food a few minutes later when he heard Garfiel squeal in delight. “What is it?” Paninya asked, sliding the pitcher of water towards Al. He refilled his glass, but waited for Garfiel to say whatever was on his mind before taking a drink.

“You two are just so cute,” he exclaimed, looking from Winry to Ed. “Are you two finally a couple?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” the old man muttered before Ed or Winry could answer, but neither of them denied it.

“I just thought I’d ask,” Garfiel pouted, and then an instant later he was beaming again. “So, how many children do you want to have?”

Winry and Ed both paled at the question. “We’re not going to have children,” Ed shouted. His eye softened when Winry looked over at him. “For a while,” they said in unison.