Ed could do a lot of things to save his life.
He had, of course, access to the greatest skill in the world; the ability to understand the structure of an object, and also understand how to reconstruct that object into something different.
He wasn't allowed to use it in the kitchen, though.
"ARGH! This is just TOO much!"
"Niichan, if you can't do it you'll have to think of other options…" Alphonse suggested calmly…and was rewarded with the 'Ed-Glare-Of-Death ™.'
Hughes laughed from his vantage point, which was a chair in the kitchen Ed was 'renting' from him. "How about Alchemy?"
The 'Ed-Glare-Of-Death ™' was trained on him now. "I know damn well you've been bought by the enemy, traitor."
Maes Hughes shrugged his shoulders with one of his trademark grins. "Well…."
Winry had volunteered to fix (i.e., totally transform, upgrade and modify) his camera. I can't wait to see what that whiz has turned it into!
With it, he would be able to take even MORE pictures in better quality.
Who knows what else she could do with it? "Ehehehe…."
"Okay." Al tried again. "…How about just buying-"
"NO! NEVER!" Ed cried adamantly. Al held his hands up in effort to calm his brother. Ed turned back to the kitchen counter that was to be his base of operations. His eyes took on a maniacal glint, reminiscent of his master, Izumi:
"I…WILL NOT…LOSE…!" He growled.
How To Make Homemade Chocolate
By Advent Wing
Winry couldn't help it. She had a license technically. She was allowed to be 'friendly' with Ed. She had snuggling rights!
Besides, after getting over his initial embarrassment, Ed seemed quite willing, despite his efforts to remain aloof.
What he hadn't done though, was tell her what he really felt. About her. About them. About himself.
Not that she had tried to pry it out of him. She did believe that what Hughes said about Ed…that he preferred actions rather than words.
Still…she had always believed, that some things…have to be said aloud.
Let us be clear. Ed did NOT forget about White Day.
It was his duty to repay Winry.
No, not just duty, he wanted to. He wanted to show that he cared, even if he knew he shouldn't.
Bad luck for him though, as he was called to investigate an uprising in the Northern Borders. Maybe if he had explained the situation to Colonel Mustang, he'd get off easy.
After all, Hughes had suggested that the pyromaniac was probably facing the same problem with Riza.
But risk the Colonel laughing at his situation? Heck no!
So it was time to pay the Piper.
"I'm gonna get wrenched." He groaned.
Alphonse was a little worried, and peeved for that matter. If his niichan hadn't been stubborn (or shy for that matter), then this situation would have been fine!
…He didn't doubt Winry's taste for blood, either.
He sighed. She also knew they was coming, since Rizenpool was a stop on the way back to Central, and due to the fact that Hughes had let it slip that they'd be in the area.
He bowed his head gloomily.
They were sunk.
"…Ed." Winry began abruptly. "…You forgot."
Ed swallowed. He didn't think Granny Pinako would save his life but he glanced nervously around for her anyway. Al too, was nowhere in sight. Why that- wasn't he going to help explain? He glanced at Winry. Or at least bury my soon-to-be-mutilated body...
"…Ed." She continued, her (usually) angelic face rapidly becoming the exact opposite. "…Tell me you didn't forget."
I should have cleared the room of any dangerous objects. He thought to himself. The whole place was littered with painful looking tools. Why the heck is hindsight ALWAYS 20/20?
He wondered if he could transmute a shield strong enough to withstand her blows.
"Argh! Just shake your head if you didn't get me anything!"
Ed closed his eyes, braced himself, and shook No, I didn't.
Nothing but a sharp exhale of breath was heard.
He tentatively opened his eyes. "Sit down." She motioned.
He sat, a little amazed that he was still conscious.
"What happened?" she said resignedly. He spent the next few minutes explaining what had transpired, and even managed to blame Roy for his 'unapproachably cool attitude'.
"And why didn't you just grab something from the gift shop?" Ed paused at that. "Hmph." He answered with a snort. "Isn't it obvious?" He folded his arms and lay back on the couch, but a growl reminded he was on borrowed time.
"Ed…." Winry growled dangerously.
"It just…it just wouldn't feel right, okay!" He exclaimed, sitting up straight and then looked away quickly.
"Ed!" She yanked his braid. "Look at me!"
"Ow!" He had turned around, but still avoided her eyes.
Her gaze softened, and she got up from the couch.
"…Winry?" he asked, his gaze following her movement.
"Make me chocolate."
"You heard me. Make me chocolate."
Silence met her statement.
"You have three days. One day to rest up, one day to deal with Roy, and one day to make it. You come back here on the third day. Aren't I generous?"
His jaw dropped in disbelief. "B-but, Winry…you know I can't cook to save my-"
Winry spun around, saw his open jaw, and closed it with her finger. "Do it, or you won't be forgiven," she threatened, staring into his fearful gold eyes. She was serious. "I'll even give you the recipe."
He stared at her retreating back. "By the way," she called from the hallway, "Use alchemy, and I'll know."
He didn't get to see the wide grin on her face.
"What do you mean you don't have cocoa beans!"
Out of all the shops, Roy had to suggest this one.
"It's a good shop, one of the best in fact." Roy had said, his smirk in place. "I go there often."
However, rather than an elderly shopkeeper, a cranky guy with a body built like Armstrong greeted him.
"The bast- I mean the guy who told me about this shop said you'd have cocoa beans!"
"…I know guys like you. You procrastinated with your gift and now you're going to try and make homemade chocolate for your girl as compensation."
Ed glared at him fiercely, and growled through clenched teeth. "That's not like me at ALL!"
From behind him, Al sighed. "Well niichan, he does have it eighty-percent right…."
Ed repeated, louder. "NOT LIKE ME AT ALL!"
It seemed like a standoff had occurred between the two. Finally, the shopkeeper grunted, and backed away. He returned with a bag full of what might have been the beans. "If you want them, you got to do me a favour." Ed drummed his fingers on the counter impatiently.
"If you can fix this cash register that your friend's girlfriend shot up the other day, then I'll give you this bag. Truth is I'm having trouble keeping track of things without it."
Madam Hawkeye…shot up the register. Al and Ed thought in disbelief.
The both filed that mystery away to ponder over later.
"What! But we need the cocoa beans today! Where are we gonna find a replacement!" Al countered.
"NON-negotiable!" the behemoth growled.
"Al. Check for Hughes."
Al glanced out of the shop, and saw Hughes in a phone booth across the street. He gave Al a thumbs up, without pausing in his conversation.
"Um, I don't think he's watching."
"IN THAT CASE!"
A clap sounded, and bright flash of blue lightning signified the alchemic reaction. "Done!" Ed grabbed the bag, but a large hand stopped him.
"Hold on, shrimp." He said. "You still have to pay."
Ed had clapped his hands again, but was stopped by Al, who was barely holding him back.
"Um…Ed, don't you want help?"
"…It looks hard."
"…How many beans do you need?"
"…I'll check...It does say that before getting the husks off to wait for them to cool dow-"
"AL! I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!"
The kitchen was a mess, but they were done. Now all he had to do was get it to Winry.
He sighed as stared at the fruits of his labour.
Should I taste one? He wondered. Maybe, maybe not. He didn't want to know that what he made was crap, but he didn't want to give Winry horrible chocolates either.
Ugh…well, I can't hesitate…
"Sorry buddy! No time for that!" Hughes grinned as he pointed to the mess. "You barely have enough time left time to clean up, much less taste those things."
Ed and Al turned as one to view Hughes's kitchen. "My wife will be angry if you leave it." His tone of voice made them turn back to him.
"…VERY…ANGRY." He stressed.
The train conductor was used to seeing strange people in a train station. Of the hundreds and thousands of people he has seen in 17 years of loyal service, the sight of a short kid in a bright red coat, along with a hulking suit of armour, sprinting at top speed towards him shouldn't have been enough to raise an eyebrow.
Yet it did.
"GO GO GO!" cried Ed as he sprinted towards the departing train. The two brothers tore across the station, ignoring the startled looks of onlookers.
"Niichan waaaait!" cried Al as he struggled to keep up. For Ed, the fear of missing the train plus the idea of missing Winry's deadline gave him more than ample adrenaline to out-sprint Al.
"W-Which platform is it niichan?" Al asked.
"YOU MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW?"
"ALL ABOARD!" cried a conductor.
Ed paled. "Take a chance!" He exclaimed, and attracted even more stares by dragging Al behind him.
"NIICHAN! YOU'RE NOT THINKING CLEARLY!" Al protested. As he was dragged in, he asked the conductor, "Excuse me, is this the train to Rizenpool?"
"Last stop is Dublith, the train to Rizenpool has just departed," he said, pointing to a train that was just barely moving out of the station.
There was no time for words. The train was building up speed, but Ed managed to grab on to the handrail. "WHAT ABOUT ME!" exclaimed Al.
Ed clapped his hands, and transmuted the passing ground into a giant hand, which picked up Alphonse like an action figure and flung him onto the train.
"If…we miss this train…whew…we're dead anyway." He panted.
It was getting late.
Winry sighed unhappily. It was well past sundown, and still no sign of Ed and Al.
"Maybe…he won't make it?"
"W-Winry!" cried a familiar voice in the distance. "WAAAAAIT! "
She turned back and grinned as the panting pint-sized Alchemist ran up to her, and collapsed at her feet. "I guess I have more stamina in the end, huh Niichan?" Al commented from his side. They had sprinted from the Rizenpool station too.
"Late! You guys are L-A-T-E" she replied cheerfully. Ed gave her an exasperated look from his position on the floor.
"Heheh! Come on in!"
"See? Now that wasn't so hard? All you had to do was follow the recipe." Winry said holding the container of chocolates, as they sat on a bench on Winry's balcony.
"…Those choclates...there was more to it." Ed muttered, staring at the sky wearily. It was such a nice night. But what a crap day.
"I'm sure there was. I made them for you a month ago, remember?" Winry said, leaning forward to give him a peck on the forehead.
"You don't get it!" he complained. "Everything went wrong!"
"Well…if you insist, then the final test will be a taste test."
The colour on Ed's face drained away quickly. I…haven't…tasted…them…yet…
"Here's to Ed's Culinary Skills!" She cheered, popping one into her mouth.
As an Alchemist, I don't really believe in you, but I'm desperate. Help me. Ed prayed. "Winry?"
"Hmmm?" She chewed thoughtfully.
"How do they taste?" He asked tentatively.
"Well…to be honest," her face darkened as she spoke, "I'd have to try another one to decide." She grinned playfully as she grabbed the container.
"Hey! What the heck! I want to try them!" he cried.
Winry laughed, playfully keeping it out of his reach. He'd have to get on her lap to reach them. The thought made him stop. "What's this? You can't get the chocolates back from me?" she teased.
"Not that I can't, rather I won't." he growled, blushing hotly.
"Could it be…that you're…too short?"
"S-SHORT? I'll show you SHORT!" He grabbed her wrists and tried to wrestle the container away. The chocolates didn't really matter anymore. Winry, feeling the spark of competition ignite; felt the need to play along. It was a fun game. There didn't seem to be any rule but one: You couldn't get off the bench.
It was only when Ed had pinned Winry's hands together did their position really sink in.
"Edward. What do you think you're doing?" Izumi would be proud at the glare Winry had mustered up.
Stopping long enough to see where he was, Ed backed off, stammering apologies and 'I-told-you-so's. One second though, he was apologizing, the next second he felt Winry's finger at the tip of his lips, and a chocolate in his mouth.
"Always wanted to try that." She grinned shyly.
Hey, they don't taste that bad. He thought chewing thoughtfully. HEY! I can COOK! HAH! …Wait a minute.
"Hey! You didn't tell me whether you liked the taste!" He said, irritably. Winry leaned forward and caught him in a quick kiss. "Hmm. Not bad." She winked light-heartedly.
"…Okay…" he muttered.
Winry considered him thoughtfully for a moment. Would now be a good time to ask?
"Ed…I have a question."
"What?" he replied. Winry looked up to meet his gaze. "…How…how do you feel about me?"
The question had caught him off guard. "...Eh?"
"We're…closer now…right? And don't give me a half-assed answer!" She glared, an embarassed blush beginning to show on her face.
"You…want to know…how I feel...?" Ed stared into her questioning blue eyes. He swallowed. "Well…Winry…we…we've been friends since we were kids…" "Don't need to state the obvious, Ed." Winry's eyes narrowed.
"I know!" he exclaimed defensively. He didn't know whether it was the chocolate or what, but tonight…tonight he really wanted to tell her…but…. He averted his eyes. "Maybe…I care about you."
Winry looked at him sadly. "Maybe, huh?"
"N-no! Not maybe…." He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "Can't you tell by my actions! If I didn't…feel anything, would I be here?" Ed asked angrily.
Winry sighed. "Ed, some things…you just have to say them out loud." "Your feelings…"she whispered stroking his cheek, "…have a name…"
"Don't make me say it." He asked pleadingly. She stared into the eyes that held the emotion he was desperately hiding. "Everyone who I've loved have…."
Fear. He was afraid.
"Aishiteru," She whispered. Ed's eyes widened in shock. "I-I love you…there, I said it first." She couldn't look him in the eye. "Don't disappoint me…please?"
"I…with you…." He paused and took a deep breath. "Winry…I love you…and if anything were to…"
She stopped him with a gentle kiss. "Was that hard?"
"It was...harder than making that chocolate." He said, expelling a relieved breath. She smiled at that. "Ah? I thought there was 'more to it'?"
"It was just harder, all right?" he muttered remembering today's fiasco.
"We'll work on it. Daily." She said decisively. "Until…until it doesn't hurt when you say: I love you."
"…I can't stay forever." He said half-heartedly.
"Fine by me. We'll make tonight count," she whispered as she stared into his eyes, her voice soft, "And one day you will…won't you? Stay here?"
He pulled her close to watch the stars.
Al was having kittens! No, not literally! Who could resist spying on them anyway! This was his brother and their childhood friend! It was a night to be celebrated!
"Mwahahahaha!" he cackled evilly, then paused. "Did I do that right Granny?"
Granny Pinako smiled. "Well, the feminine version is more of an: OHHOHOHHOHOHO!"
Heh. She hasn't done that since she was a teen.
"Hmmm. Gotcha. Should I call Mr. Hughes?" He asked earnestly. "He said he'd throw a party at HQ if the plan succeeded!"
"Why not? It'd be good to let them know."
Al was happy. You could tell…even if he could not smile.
He just radiated that aura sometimes.
Yikes! That took me a while! Though I have to admit…I wanted to rewrite it and make it perfect when I saw your reviews!
Lord Kain: Thanks; cute was exactly what I was going for!
Cat: EdxWinry is sweet too right?
Outsane: I love Valentines Day because of the mass amounts of Valentines Day stories too!
Via-chan: Thanks for the chocolate! But I'm sorry; I can't accept the glomp…HOWEVER! I'll try to write better to pay you back!
Henrika: Al's a natural in matchmaking!
Paperback Rider: I hope I'll have more up, but yeah, this is it for now. It was my first fic too…kinda. I hope I meet your expectations.
Silent:tears:fall: What a bittersweet name. Btw, thank you for reminding me about explaining White Day!
Tough Critic: Well here it is!
Foxmagic: I've always loved those fics too. That's why I'm witting one. To know that you like mine is great!
Lady-Lyne: I've met many people don't like reading stories involving couples they don't like, and truly admire your tolerance for this fic. It makes me really proud that you like it. Thank you for the review.
Sailor-planet: Ed is lucky to have so many loyal fans such as yourself. Thanks for reviewing! (Catches wrench)
No-one-special: Oh YEAH? Says who! I hereby declare you special, so there. Thanks for reviewing. And there are plenty of good EdWinry stories. Try Tubo Ishi. Her stories are fantastic.
Sorrow's Raven: I'm only a newb, but thank you for the compliment. I can only get better (I hope)
Hikaru-Wings: Thank you! I'm happy that I make people laugh!
Tsuki Koorime: Well, there you go! This is White Day, where the males repay the females if they gave a gift on Valentine's Day. Sweet huh?
Wind: I always felt that I could never be a writer either. Why not give it a try? What have you got to lose? But even if you don't I'll try to write to meet your expectations.
Dark-butterfly13: Sorry, I took a while to get this out. Sumimasen!
Fullmetal Flutist: Thanks. I really hope it was!
Hellokitty-4-ever: I think the Alchemist Crest is cool too. I have it drawn everywhere!
Whew. Thank you to everyone who reviewed my first fanfic. It really gave me the drive to better this chapter, especially since my Exams are near….
An epilogue maybe? I want to do a long novel-like story (Or try to anyway), so I want to wrap this one up…I have an idea for an action/adventure story. EdWin of course. Hmm. I guess I'll think about it.
Ja matte ne