A/N: My buddy Byzinha gave me this prompt - "Ed has to get glasses but he doesn't wanna because they make him look like Hohenheim, so Winry has to have a little chat with him" and I hope I did it justice. Thanks By!
Also many years ago I came up with so much of Ed and Winry's future, as well as their kids' futures, and I never really did anything with it, but there are some hints here just so my extensive timeline isn't all for nothing.
"Damned things," Ed muttered, readjusting his new glasses on his face and frowning at his reflection. They still wouldn't sit straight no matter how much he fidgeted with them, and he moved to take them off completely. "Damn, damned –"
"Ed? Are you all right?" Winry had been passing by their bedroom with a basket of dirty laundry when she heard Ed and doubled back. "You aren't taking your glasses off, are you?"
His hand slowly lowered and he glanced over at her, a slightly guilty expression on his face. "No, they're crooked. Just fixing them."
Winry put down the basket and went over to him. She trailed her fingers along his jaw and gently turned his face toward her. His gold eyes flashed behind the lenses, meeting hers and causing her breath to catch. She didn't understand why he'd been so moody ever since he'd gotten his glasses a couple days ago; he looked quite nice in them.
"There," she said, straightening his glasses for him. "Very handsome."
She put her hands on her hips and scowled at her husband. "Hey, if I say you look handsome, then you look handsome!"
Instead of responding, he went back to glowering at his reflection. His reaction worried her just a little. Normally he'd put up a fight. They were expert bickerers after all these years, and it wasn't like him to pass up a chance to argue with her, even over a subject as silly as his own handsomeness. Clearly something was bothering him.
"Ed, is something wro –?" she started to ask, but he answered before she even finished, his voice surprisingly vulnerable.
"Don't they make me look old?"
She couldn't help the giggle that escaped, but as soon as he glared over at her she did her best to stifle it behind her hand. Still, she couldn't stop herself from asking, "Is that what this is all about? I didn't think you were that vain."
"I'm not!" he cried, crossing his arms and turning away from her.
The gesture reminded her so fiercely of their children that she couldn't help but smile. For his benefit, she studied him closer, trying to see what he must be seeing. Yes, he had a few lines around his eyes and a little gray at his temples, but otherwise she thought he was aging quite well. In fact, she felt he'd only gotten better with age. Despite getting the cold shoulder she went over to him, put her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. He softened, a little.
"I don't think you look old at all. You only turned forty a few months ago, Ed. You aren't suddenly going to turn into an old man overnight."
He fidgeted with the glasses yet again, more of a nervous tick than anything she was beginning to suspect. Ed let out a long, drawn-out sigh. "I know. But with more kids out of the house than in, it feels like life is going by so fast these days."
Oh. Well. Winry pulled him in even closer. "You're missing them."
"So are you!" he cried, immediately defensive. "You start blubbering every time we put them on the train."
"I do not!"
"Yes you do."
"Well I'm not the only one!" she cried. Just because he turned around and walked off before the train ever fully pulled out of the station didn't mean she didn't notice him getting emotional too. The only difference was that he tried to hide it.
Their two oldest children had taken to alchemy at a very young age and over three years ago, at just sixteen and seventeen years old, had already been itching to take off and see the world. They'd become very gifted alchemists, and Ed and Winry felt they couldn't deny them the opportunity learn and grow even more, so they had to let them go. Then just last year their middle son moved to East City to start college at sixteen. They all came home for a visit every few months of course, but it just wasn't the same.
He simply groaned and made to pull off the glasses, but she grabbed his hand to stop him.
"Hey, you need those. You've been squinting at things for ages! How are you supposed to do your research if you can't read?"
"I'll use a magnifying glass."
"Grr," she growled in frustration. "Why do you have to be so stubborn?"
"If you haven't figured that out after 21 years of marriage, I don't think you ever will."
Winry rolled her eyes and went to stand behind him, slightly off to the side so she could still be seen by him in the mirror. She put her hands on her hips and studied him without saying a word, her gaze going up and down his body.
He chuckled at her intense stare. "What are you doing? Are you trying to make me keep them on with only a glare? Sorry, but that only works on the kids. Mostly."
"No, I'm trying to figure out what's bothering you," she said matter-of-factly.
Ed's eyebrows rose in surprise, and he stumbled over his words a little. "No, you were right, I look old now and it's reminding me that our kids are all grown up and how much I miss them –"
"See, you only admit something that sweet out loud when you're backed into a corner. There's more to this, I can tell. So why don't you just tell me what it is now so I can go about making you feel better."
He let out a long sigh, his voice low as he said, "That is what you do, isn't it?"
"Just one of the perks of having a partner for life." She kept her tone light and teasing, and from behind him her arms snaked around his waist and pulled him closer. "You always have someone to help cheer you up."
Ed simply nodded and stared down at his feet. Winry waited patiently for him to speak, and when it seemed like he might not say anything at all, he finally heaved another sigh and said, so quietly, "These glasses make me look like him."
Now that was surprising. She knew exactly who he meant by him, of course, and she even agreed that yes, he did look very much like his father. But she didn't quite understand why that bothered him. Standing on her tip-toes to easily rest her chin on his shoulder, she watched him frown at his reflection.
"That's okay, isn't it?"
"I . . . don't know."
She wanted to understand. "But you forgave him so long, Ed. Why does it bother you to look like him?"
"It's one thing to forgive him. Quite another to see him every time I look in the mirror."
She nodded her head and held him tighter. "He loved you. And Al and your mom –"
"I know," he said, his voice shaking ever so slightly. Ed rested his hands on top of hers where they rested on his belly. "I know that now. I have for a very long time. I know why he left and why it was so important for him to go, but . . ."
"He was still gone."
They stood in silence for a minute, her arms still wrapped tightly around him. Then she finally gave him one last squeeze and stepped away, not quite sure what to say. But just as she opened her mouth to try, he spoke.
"I . . . I don't think time worked quite the same for him as it does for the rest of us. When you're centuries old, it must drag on and fly by all at the same time."
Her brow furrowed, not quite sure what he meant, but he kept going before she could ask.
"I mean, I think a part of him was surprised when he saw me again after all those years. Surprised to find that I wasn't a little kid anymore."
She nodded. "That makes sense, even for someone who isn't immortal. I swear, every time the kids come home they look different."
He smiled somewhat wistfully at that, until his eyes landed back on his reflection. "You know . . . he was probably about this age when he got that immortal body. He never looked any older than this."
Winry went right up to him and gave him a kiss. "But you will. You'll get old and gray and wrinkly just like me. I've had you for forty years. I want you for forty more at the very least."
He laughed and looked at her fondly. "I'll try my best."
Taking him by the hand, she started pulling him away from that damn mirror. Sometimes physically dragging him away from his maudlin thoughts was the best course of action. "Now come on. I'm gonna start dinner soon, and we'll eat it with the two kids we still have left at home, and we'll listen to them tell us all about automail and that little girl next door, and we'll be happy and disgustingly normal."
"Sounds good to me."
She still led him out of their bedroom by the hand, and when he went to fidget with his glasses again she told him, "And leave those glasses alone. I like them."