It was late in the evening, and not many customers came at this time, save emergencies and 'special guests'. Pinako Rockbell was sucking contently on her pipe while her nineteen-year-old granddaughter, Winry Rockbell, was in her workshop, toying with a few new automail ideas. As usual, business had fallen to a slow pace with the setting sun, but they didn't really bother to close. Winry sensed someone at the door before a sound was made. She looked quickly at the clock on the wall before turning to her window.
The heavily set crashes that rattled the door gave away that this was not just some ordinary, stupid emergency. It was proof that Alphose Elric was standing outside the Rockbell home, most likely with his older brother, Edward, standing beside him. "I'll get it!" Winry shouted, flying from her workshop to practically rip the door off its hinges. "Al! Ed!" She hugged them both tightly and let them inside. Her smile faded as she took note of Edward's bashed automail arm. "What the hell did you do now?" Edward turned and glared at her before collapsing onto the nearest couch in exhaustion.
"I broke it." He groused plainly. When Winry asked him how he ignored her and asked snappishly, "Are you gonna fix it or not?"
Winry looked to Al, who, instead of explaining, merely sat beside his brother with a sigh. Winry groaned. She didn't bother asking again. She knew they wouldn't answer. They never did. She didn't even know why she bothered anymore. Instead she looked Edward over in silence, grumbling over his shattered arm with distaste. "Well, whatever you did you completely demolished your arm." Edward made a sound of exasperation.
"I already told you that." He said sourly.
Winry ignored him. "We're going to have to take it out of its port. Your leg doesn't seem that bad off. A few dents to buff out... maybe a little extension." Edward smiled at that, stretching his legs a little to see their differences in height.
Winry's bitter frown had melted into a sympathetic smile. "You know, this gives me a perfect opportunity to try out my new hypersensitive automail." Winry said eagerly, "It's only a prototype, but if it works correctly, it'll feel. Just like a normal arm! It'll take a bit longer to fix up, and it might hurt a little more putting it into the port-" Edward made a face at this. "-Oh, but it's worth it, Ed! I promise! It'll be just like you have your real arm back!"
Edward could see she was getting overly-excited just talking about it. He was afraid to say no at times like this for fear of his skull. He smiled nervously and nodded. "Sounds great, Win…" He said assuringly, distractedly massaging his mechanical wrist, "I guess I'll give it a shot."
Winry grinned wildly at his response. "Oh, thank you so much, Edward!" she grinned, taking her screwdriver to his metal arm and beginning to tinker animatedly with it. "It'll be so worth it. I promise! And it'll only hurt just a little bit more to put it on, not much more at all. If it hurts too much, tell me, and I'll try and fix it so that it isn't such a pain next time."
"Okay. Wait, what if-"
"It'll be worth it though! You'll be able to feel things as though with real fingers!"
"You already said-"
"And it's not like it'll feel pain, or any of that."
"I sort of guessed you wouldn't-"
"You'll just be able to feel things you touch with it. Like a kitten or something."
"A…a kitten?" A pretentious smirk crept over his face.
Winry blushed, feeling a little foolish for saying something so feminine. "Oh, I dunno. But it's one step closer to the real thing, right?"
Winry paused in her ramblings, truly curious of his answer. "Right?" She asked again, more pointedly this time. Edward glanced at his shoulder to see that she had finished removing his arm.
"No." He said finally, "But I guess it's better than nothing." He avoided looking into her penetrating blue eyes as he stretched his arm of flesh and bone and opened his mouth in a wide, fake yawn. "Ah, well, it's been a long day. Al and I are gonna call it a night, okay?" Winry glared at him, but he didn't see. He looked over his shoulder and flashed her a smile that made her forget her anger.
"If you want, we'll help you make breakfast in the morning." Winry rolled her eyes. This she highly doubted-at least from Edward-but it would be best not to say anything argumentative tonight while he was tired and irritable.
It was almost noon before Edward rose from his sleep, leaving Al alone to help with breakfast, and the washing of the breakfast dishes. They had all been expecting this, and the Rockbells prepared lunch while Al was out visiting his mother. Winry was setting the table when Edward finally tumbled town the stairs. The clothes he had been wearing the night before were wrinkled and obviously slept in, and he hadn't bothered to fix his hair before coming down.
"Nice of you to finally join the living, Edward." Winry said softly. Edward blinked dumbly at her and let out a loud yawn, scratching sleepily at his scalp. "Al's outside. Would you like to join him, or do you want something to eat first?" Instead of answering, Ed sat down heavily on the nearest chair and began to shovel food into his mouth. Winry sighed and sat beside him, taking a polite helping of rice and eating it quickly.
Edward acknowledged her presence slightly, with a glance in her general direction, before continuing on his own meal. When he finished he seemed to be awake enough, and had busied himself with braiding his hair after leaving the table. "Are you not going to meet up with Al?" Winry asked as gently as possible, taking the dishes from the table and carrying them to the kitchen.
She heard Edward let out a quiet sigh. She was still trying to decipher whether it was out of sadness or irritation when he answered, "Not today." Winry made no point that she didn't particularly approve of his response. Instead she told him that she could be found in her workshop and began to work on Edward's new arm. She took a deep breath and released it, preparing herself before starting. It had to be perfect this time. If it was perfect, maybe this time he would stay.
Deep in her heart, she knew this would never happen. Even if Edward were to finally be satisfied with his own automail parts, he'd still search for the stone if only for his brother's body. No matter how perfect Edward's limbs were; Al would never be happy stuck in that suit of armor. But still, she tried. She tried her hardest to keep him with her in Rizenbul. If only for just a few more days. "Alright," she whispered to herself, "let's get to work."
She had only been working in her shop for an hour or two when she heard Edward call her name. "I told you I'd be in my workshop!" She shouted at his faraway, slightly urgent voice. A moment later the older of the Elric brothers appeared at her door with a smug grin on his face.
"I knew that. I was just making sure you hadn't gone out for a break or something. Silly me; ever thinking you would take a break." He told her snidely. Winry didn't reply, and continued to rattle about with her tools. "I was just curious…how long do you think this arm will take? I know you said it would take longer," he added quickly at the slightest sign of a frustrated sigh from his childhood friend, "I'm…I'm fine with that. I mean, I haven't been put on any calls. But I'm just wondering. How much longer?"
"I dunno, Ed." Winry stated simply, almost completely involved in her work, "If you keep interrupting me it'll be longer." Edward frowned. He left into the hallway with a sarcastic, half-assed apology and didn't return until he called her to dinner. She tried to say she wasn't hungry, but was rudely interrupted by a loud, impatient gargle from her stomach, and Ed dragged her to the table. By the time he'd gotten her out of her workshop, Al had returned. He did not ask his brother why he didn't visit their mother, and instead helped Pinako ladle the food onto the plates before sitting down in front of his empty place setting and fiddling uncomfortably with the napkins and silverware.
They talked lightly about local goings-on and current conditions as they ate. Or at least Pinako and Alphonse did. Edward and Winry both seemed impatient with their own food-intake speed, although for separate reasons. As Edward wolfed down his third helping, he turned to see Winry leaving the table. "That girl is obsessed." He stated matter-of-factly before taking a large bite of watery vegetables. Pinako nodded, but before she could open her mouth to add, a high pitched scream cut through the air like a newly-sharpened blade.
As if on cue, Edward leapt from his seat and rushed to see what had made Winry let out such a desperate wail. As he raced down the hallway, Pinako smiled. "So are you, Edward," she said too softly for even Al to hear.
"What? What is it? What's wrong?" Edward asked breathlessly upon reaching Winry's door. As he leaned against the door frame to catch his breath, he noticed that she was pacing about the room on her hands and knees, looking desperately under benches and desks. "What are you looking for?" he snapped crossly, suddenly aware that she was in no great danger.
Winry glanced up at him, looking extremely worried. "I can't find my wrench! I left it right here!" She shrilled hysterically, pointing frantically to an empty spot on her workbench. Edward automatically put his only hand to his left ear to try and lessen the noise.
"Alright, alright. Don't go insane just yet. I'll help you-" He stopped abruptly when he saw something small glint from the corner of his eye. He turned to see her favourite wrench, simply fallen from its pedestal to rest in the shadows on the floor. "Is this-?" before he even got to finish, Winry snatched it from is hand and threw her arms around his neck.
"Oh, thank you! I thought I lost it for a minute there."
"Trust me, you did."
Winry would have reacted violently to this rude remark had she not noticed that Edward's arm was sitting loosely around her waist, as if he himself didn't notice it was there. For a fleeting moment, the thought passed through her mind to stay that way, just for a little bit longer, but she ignored it and pulled away. "Thank you." She said again, grinning widely at him and returning to her work. She had turned so quickly that she hadn't noticed the light pink colour brushed over Edward's face.
When Edward returned to dinner looking somewhat dazed, Pinako simply took her pipe between her lips and stated, "She always jumps to conclusions when she misplaces things." Edward nodded shortly and stared at his food. His stomach had inexplicably felt too unsettled to continue eating.
The next morning Edward woke early to walk to his mother's grave. Den was still sleeping in the new sunlight, so he decided to go alone. It was too early for most to be out and awake, so the walk to the hill was very quiet and peaceful, and he appreciated the lack of distractions and old acquaintances. When he reached his destination, he saw a small bundle of flowers placed next to her tombstone, and guessed Al had placed them there when he had come to visit the day before. Edward opened his mouth, wanting to say something, but his voice was cut short, and all that came out was an indignant growl. "Damn it." He finally said, "We were so close."
He felt the familiar sting of tears beginning to crawl, and shut his eyes tightly to keep them from showing. This couldn't happen again. He wouldn't let it. He thought about walking back, but his tears kept pushing, building up behind his eyelids. He fought angrily against them, but he knew he wouldn't win this time. Instead took a seat in the grass and let the tears fall. Just this once. Just this last time. "I'm so sorry." He whispered, "I didn't for want this to happen, please don't be angry with me..."
No one is angry with you, Edward." For one wild moment, Edward was convinced that it was the grave that had spoken these words; some invisible spirit of his mother that had softly placed a hand on his shoulder and reassured his fears.
"Winry." He murmured, more as a confirmation of reality than a form of greeting, "What are you-?" He noticed that she had tears in her own eyes before the realization set in that he was still crying himself. He hastily wiped his few tears from his cheeks as Winry sat beside him and answered his unfinished question.
"I heard you get up and I…I noticed you hadn't taken Den with you. Grandma warns you against being alone…I wasn't trying to impose, I just-" Ed flinched as he heard her voice crack. She wasn't supposed to be crying. This wasn't her mother. She hadn't had any part in the attempt to bring her back. Why was she crying? "Edward, no one is angry with you for what you did." She repeated, tears still streaming readily down her face. "You were only kids, and you just wanted your mother back…it was just…it was just a mistake."
Edward stared back at her. "If no one is angry with me I wouldn't have to deal with this." he shot at her, brandishing his arm. Winry bowed her head and sniffed. After a moment, she nodded. He immediately felt bad for saying it so harshly, but didn't apologize aloud.
"That's…that's true. B-but…" He waited for her to finish, but she didn't say anything. She finally lifted her head and was shocked to see she looked angry, glaring at him as if wanting him to speak. He said nothing, and simply watched the tears still flowing from her eyes. His hand twitched involuntarily, reacting to his desire to brush them away. He ignored the urge and got to his feet, holding out his hand. His stunned silence seemed to please her enough to help the anger melt away. Instead of taking his hand she stood on her own, and let a teary smile grace her features.
"All this time…I thought you couldn't cry." She said warmly, placing a hand on his shoulder again. For a split second, there was an atmosphere in the air that felt as if she were going to do something else, but the feeling passed as she started her way back down the hill.
After a moment, Edward cast a glance to his mother's tombstone and gave it a reminiscent smile before following after Winry's retreating back. They walked through the door to be cheerfully greeted by Al, who forced a wooden spoon into his brother's hand and said, "You're up early enough to help with breakfast this morning, brother!" Edward's face fell and he looked fiercely at the spoon as if this was all part of its evil plan.
"Great." he mumbled, stalking towards the kitchen with a sudden droop in his step, spinning the spoon nonchalantly in his fingers. Winry giggled at his reaction before following him to help.
The moment she finished breakfast, Winry disappeared back into her workshop. The boys watched her go silently, Edward still absentmindedly plucking at his food. "Brother?" Edward turned around to see Al staring intently at him. "Are you finished, brother? Granny wants to clear the table." In response, Edward pushed his plate away and sat deliberately on the couch. He listened to Pinako and Al washing the dishes for a while before he got up and followed after Winry.
"Win, why don't you let Pinako mess with it for a while?" Winry turned around to see Edward leaning against the doorframe with a smile. Instead of saying anything, she tilted her head in question, wondering why he was suddenly in such a cheery mood. She was about to ask when he answered for her, "I'm bored, and Al's not being the best company today. He's being kind of moody. Let's go for a walk." Winry cast a look at Edward's arm before nodding and following him outside.
"You're bringing that wrench?" He asked nervously, "What for?" Winry looked at the chipped old wrench in her hands and shrugged. Edward noticed she was being quiet, but said nothing about it. "I'm not sure if I want you to bring that along…" Edward said slowly, his hand automatically reaching up and touching a scar left on his scalp from his last encounter with that particular tool.
Winry rolled her eyes. "I won't smack you with it." She promised, "I just like to carry it around. It's like a security blanket." She smiled affectionately and cuddled it against her cheek like a soft pet. Edward made a face.
"A security blanket?" Edward said it sarcastically, but he had a kind smile on his face. Winry opened her mouth to defend herself, but Edward shook his head. "God damn it, Winry. You treat that thing with more love than you show Den."
She clutched the wrench to her chest like an offended mother would hold an insulted child. "I do not! It's just like…like a really good friend…that's all." Truthfully, she always nuzzled her wrench in hopes that it would feel something like Edward's automail hand brushing against her cheek. This was something she would never tell anyone.
If it showed on her face that she was nervous with this particular subject, Edward didn't say anything. He gestured her outside and they began to meander about the grassy fields. Edward enjoyed the feeling of the sun against his face; he hadn't really felt it in a while, due to all the stormy and cloudy weather he'd been traipsing through lately. He turned to see Winry smiling at the sky, as if she were sharing a joke with the clouds. Apparently it had been a while for her, too.
Ed let out a sigh and fell back onto the grass, feeling Winry drop beside him. "I'm glad you're back, Ed." Edward didn't want to upset her and say he'd be leaving soon. He honestly didn't even want it to be true himself. He nodded.
"I'm pretty glad to be back, you know? Even if it is only for a while." He bit his lip as if to take it back. He couldn't help himself. It was habit. There was a long silence at his response, and for a moment he was worried Winry would break her promise and bash his brains in with her wrench. As he prepared to feel metal against his skull, he heard her let out a sad sigh.
"Did you get call?"
"Erm…no. Not yet."
"Then how do you know how long you'll be here?" Agitation now laced her voice.
"I don't, really." Edward admitted softly, a frown tugging at the corners of his mouth, "I'm just, you know…guessing. Being a D-"
"Yeah, I know, 'A Dog of the Military.'" Her bitterness was growing rapidly, almost as if she were spewing venom with her words. Edward sat up to see an offended scowl on her face and a wild animal hiding behind her usually cool blue eyes.
Edward wanted to say something to defend himself, but he couldn't think of anything to say. "Sorry." He muttered quietly, falling back onto the grass. Winry just groaned. She was used to him acting this way; she didn't even know why she was still hurt. She got to her feet and started to walk down a small dirt path. She heard a dull rustling as Edward got up quickly and followed her. Winry pretended she didn't notice.
"You're limping." She announced after walking beside him a while, lightly tapping her wrench against Edward's automail leg. "Why don't I add those extensions now?" Edward looked down at his leg and smiled, letting out an exasperated grunt.
"You don't understand the term 'break' do you?" Winry laughed, shaking her head. "Yeah, okay. I guess it's better than you hiding all alone in your workshop. At least you'll be with me." Winry blushed in answer, wondering if he had meant to sound as flirtatious as he did. She stole a glance at his face to see he looked completely indifferent, as if he were completely oblivious to the fact that he'd even spoken aloud. She smiled to herself, but said nothing. They started walking back to the shop in silence, the gentle tinking noise of Edward's steel leg the only sound besides the occasional chirp of birds.
Winry always got flustered taking the measurements for Ed's leg, but after what had happened on their walk, she felt a fire on the back of her neck spreading up her face. She found herself unable to concentrate. Her hands were shaking slightly as she led the tape measure from his ankle to his hip. "Uh, Winry?" He was staring at her, waiting for some sort of response. Had he been talking? No. No, he was glancing from her face to her hands. Oh, shit.
Winry ripped her hands away from him and gave him a cheeky grin. "At least we know you're not shrinking!" She laughed awkwardly, roughly patting Edward on the head. He probably would have reacted had he not been so embarrassed. His face was getting redder with every passing second. Winry clapped a hand to her mouth. "I er…I meant in height." She brandished the tape measure, trying desperately to explain. This was getting positively mortifying. Abort, abort! "I gotta go…erm-get the…get the…the…" What the fuck was she getting? "EXTENSIONS!" She practically screamed. Edward flinched at her sudden volume and nodded mutely.
He watched in shock as Winry spun on her heel and disappeared down the hall. His face was still burning from the accidental contact. He knew it wasn't on purpose, but foolishly wished that it was. He looked down at his legs, twitching his mechanical foot slightly. He hadn't noticed how much he'd grown. From the looks of it, he'd grown more than an inch since the last time he'd gotten extensions. His mouth broke into a wide grin. "Shrimp, my ass."
"You're still too short to be so full of yourself." Edward's face darkened at the words, and looked up to see Pinako holding a toolbox. He opened his mouth to ask, but Pinako answered too quickly. "She said she really needed to finish your arm. You don't mind if I finish this little job, do you?" Again, Edward tried to speak but the old woman cut him off. "Of course you do. I know I'm not as attractive as my granddaughter,-" Edward felt his blush returning and sneered at her to hide it. She chuckled "-but you know, I'm not as easily rattled. I'll finish faster. Stretch your foot, please." Edward shut his mouth and said nothing, waiting for his face to cool down.
"All done." Ed broke his blank stare from out the window and turned to see Pinako raising herself to a standing position, apparently finished with his leg. "We mock you often, but I suppose you are growing up." The woman laughed, taking a drag from her pipe. Ed stood up, for a moment feeling a little over-balanced, like a sailor stepping off of a boat onto dry land. "Would you like to check on Winry, or should I do it?" Edward frowned at her, his face involuntarily heating again. Pinako grinned evilly. "I'll let you do it, then."
"Old hag." Edward grumbled under his breath, walking uncertainly towards Winry's workroom.
"Pipsqueak," Was the old woman's automatic response. Edward felt his eyebrow twitch. He turned to fight back, but she had already disappeared outside. Edward took a step towards the door, contemplating going after her, but instead turned back around and stalked down the hallway. Edward was almost to Winry's door before she turned the corner unexpectedly and came barreling into him. She let out a soft grunt and fell on her butt, clinging tightly to what must've been Edward's new arm. She didn't look fazed by the collision. Instead she stood up and grinned at him, handing out the arm.
"You want it put on now, while Al is out?"
"Al is out?"
Winry nodded. "Yeah. He went to visit your mom again." Edward nodded, deciding to seize the opportunity and taking a seat on the Rockbell's old couch. Winry quietly began to reattach his arm, working so swiftly that she didn't speak. Edward watched her trying to be as gentle as she could, her small pink tongue poking from in between her lips as she concentrated.
Edward smiled to himself when she hesitated. He knew she didn't want to hurt him, and she was no fool as to how painful automail attachment was. His smile grew just slightly when he felt her squeeze the remaining flesh of his shoulder. "Here…" She took his natural hand and held it tightly, "Just squeeze my hand if it hurts too much, okay?" He wanted to tell her he was old enough to stand it on his own, but looking at her caring smile, he realized that he didn't want to stand it on his own. He gave her a nod.
Edward took a deep breath. "Ready." He answered so quietly that Winry had to lean in to hear him. She wanted to tell him not to be scared, but was worried he'd be offended by her treating him like a baby. As an alternative, she gave his hand a compassionate squeeze. She knew he noticed by the slight, calmed smile on his face. "Ready." He repeated, stronger this time. Winry inhaled deeply herself before finishing the bond.
Flames engulfed the air and seared into Edward's shoulder. He felt for a split second of an eternity as if the devil himself had taken a poisonous bite from his flesh. He wasn't sure if he cried out or not, but he felt burning tears of pain running from the corners of his eyes. He heard Winry let out a yelp and released her hand, fearing he was clutching it too tightly. To his surprise, he felt her grab it back and hold onto it tightly. "Are you okay?" For a moment she sounded too far away to hear, even if he had answered. "Edward, are you okay?" She sounded next to him now, and worried. "I'm so sorry…I'll try and make it less painful, I promise. I knew it would be too much…I'm so sorry…"
Edward forced out a soft laugh, the intensity already fading to an aching throb. "It's alright. It's not that bad." He heard Winry laugh bitterly and mumble something like 'boys', but he disregarded it. He flexed his hand, making sure all the nerves were connected well. They were, as always.
She didn't wait much longer before flashing him a pearly grin and squeaking girlishly, "So try it out! Does it work? Can you feel textures and heat and everything?"
Without thinking, Edward lifted his new metal arm and ran it tenderly over Winry's reddening face. The pleasing sensation of warm skin met his metal fingers "It's perfect." He whispered, feeling fairly lightheaded. He felt his heart beating uncharacteristically quickly as he leaned closely into her.
"Brother, does your new arm work?" Edward flew backwards at the sound of his brother's inquisitive voice, leaving Winry feeling faint and nervous. Al trampled loudly into the room, casting a friendly, naive smile-or at least as friendly a suit of armor could smile-to Winry before turning back to his older brother. "Do the sensors work, brother? Is it like a normal arm?" Instead of elaborating, Edward nodded, trying frantically to stifle his apprehension. Apparently, it worked, because Al clapped his hands, completely unaware of his older brother's trembling.
"That's great! Did it hurt as badly as Winry had warned?" Again, Ed said nothing, but gave a shake of his hair, trying to answer the younger Elric's questions as simply as possible. "Good! Should we start heading back to Central tomorrow morning, then?" There was a short pause as Edward glanced up to see Al's expectant face, his empty steel hands now drooping at his sides.
"No." Both friend and brother looked positively shocked by this reply. "Why don't we stay a little while, Al? I know you always want to, and now I guess we can, considering we don't have any calls to answer or-" Al had abruptly grabbed his brother in a tight hug, cutting off whatever he was going to finish his statement with.
"Oh, thank you, brother!" He shouted excitedly, "How long do you think we can stay?" Edward struggled to be freed, especially his right arm, which was still sore, but Al didn't seem to notice and kept his forceful hold on him without fail.
"Erm…" Edward tried to answer, but the level of air in his lungs was rapidly lowering, and words were becoming difficult. "I-I don't…"
"Stay as long as you want, guys!" Winry cut in, her own bubbling joy getting the better of her. "You know grandma and I don't mind. Why don't you stay here until you get a call?" Al let go of his brother and transferred his strong arms around Winry's tiny waist.
Edward took a minute to breathe before saying, "Damn it, Al, don't kill her." Winry was dropped beside him on the floor as Al repeated another three 'thank you's and flying outside to tell Pinako. There was a tense moment of silence between the two before Edward was suddenly tackled to the floor. "Shit, what is with all these extreme hugs around here?" He barked, propping himself on his elbows and rubbing the almost positive lump growing from the sudden contact with the floor. He opened his eyes to see Winry beaming brighter than he'd seen in a long time.
"Thank you." She smiled, her soft blond hair cascading over his chest and tickling his neck. He'd meant to say something, to sit up, to quit blushing like an idiot, anything. But instead he brought his hand back to her face and closed the space between them in a chaste kiss. It only took a moment for Winry to regain her senses enough to kiss him back.
The kiss didn't remain innocent for very long. It seemed like only a second before Winry tugged hopefully at his jacket, signaling for him to shed it as quickly as possible. He followed this order without resistance and fell flat against the floor with a quiet thud. Edward's shirt was gone by the time they heard the front door open. The two froze, remaining absolutely silent as they heard Pinako's sharp voice pierce the air. "Well, I'm glad to hear he's sitting still for a moment. I suppose that's a sign of maturing. It's about damn time." Winry bit her lip in an attempt to hold back laughter, and Edward shot her a glare and clapped a hand over her mouth.
"To be honest, I don't understand. Brother is usually so eager to get back to Central…I wonder if he's alright." At the sound of Al's response, Edward jumped, keeping his mouth shut tightly to hold a nervous yell inside him. He sounded frighteningly close.
"Oh, Edward's fine," Pinako responded, ominous laughter colouring her voice. "I'm sure Edward is just fine."
Edward frowned. "Does that woman know everything?" He spat resentfully under his breath. Winry, her mouth still covered by Edward's left hand, nodded her head and softly mumbled something that sounded like 'it gets annoying sometimes, doesn't it?' Edward didn't have time to answer. The sound of nearing footsteps had him quickly to his feet. Before he could grab his shirt or jacket, Winry had his wrist firmly in her grasp and was leading him out of the room.
"Win-" He started insistently, but Winry wasn't listening. She dragged him stealthily away from the other two and up the stairs. Edward's eyes widened as she pushed the door back to reveal a bedroom. Weather it was her bedroom, Pinako's, or just some random guest room, he wasn't sure. And when Winry met his lips again, he realized that he didn't care. He let her hands crawl up into his hair and let his braid loose so that his hair fell flatly just past his shoulders. He shivered slightly when he felt her begin to play with it, teasing the back of his neck with thin, nimble fingers.
Winry didn't even notice she was moving until she felt Edward drop underneath her, pulling her down on top of him until her legs were straddling his waist. She felt his hands pulling softly at her top until it suddenly went over her head and was thrown unceremoniously to the floor. She leaned down and placed her lips briefly at the base of his neck, forcing him to let out a loud groan. She dropped her hands to the waist of his pants and ripped them away, tossing them to where they could keep her shirt company. Edward pushed her away suddenly, catching his breath before finally admitting, "I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" Winry's face fell. She felt her heart stop beating. Self-conscious doubt began to devour her thoughts. Did she do something wrong? Did he not love her enough to do this? Did he even love her at all? What was wrong? "Sorry for what?" She felt Edward's heart thumping erratically against his ribs and wondered if hers was beating that loudly. Was that it? Was he scared?
"I should never have lied to you."
"L-lied? When did you lie?"
"When you asked me if I liked you, and I said no."
Winry stared at him a moment, thinking how obvious that statement was at this point in time. She paused, trying to think of when this even occurred. It didn't sound familiar to her at all. Suddenly it clicked into her memory. "Edward…" She said softly as she ran through the details in her mind, "We were seven." She looked at him, her brow furrowed, trying to see if he was joking, but to no avail. He looked so serious that it frightened her. "Edward?"
"I know it was a long time ago. It was still a lie." Winry felt a smile tugging playfully at the corners of her mouth. She tried her hardest not to let out a laugh, worried that he may take it the wrong way. Of all the things to apologize for, something like this seemed almost pointless. Almost. "I know it sounds stupid, but that's all I can think about right now. It just keeps going through my head again and again. I made you cry that day."
"Ed, I was sev-"
"It made me feel like an ass."
"You are an-"
Winry smiled again, trying to hide the roll of her eyes. "It's alright, Ed." She said quietly, trying to muffle her laughter, "I forgive you." She lowered her head to kiss him again, and he took her mouth almost greedily in his, his real hand reaching into her hair. She was taken by surprise when his right hand jumped to touch her cheek and ran down to the base of her neck. The feel of the cold metal cooled her burning face and sent a pleasurable chill down her spine. He felt so much better than that damn wrench.
His hand left her shoulder after an instant, and Winry felt it graze her leg. She let out a gasp of desire and shock, scaring Edward into pulling it away. She pulled away from his lips just enough to whisper timidly against his mouth, "No…" he replaced his hand after a moment's hesitation, lightly moving it upward until it toyed with the hem of her skirt. Winry felt his left hand remove itself from her hair and settle on the other side of her waist. She let out a squeal of surprise when she felt the bedspread press suddenly against her back. Edward smiled coyly and put his lips against her ear.
"Or would you rather be on top?" Winry opened her mouth to reply, but all that escaped was an inaudible moan when she felt Edward's lips against her neck. A rough, arousing sound reached her ears, and it took her a moment to realize Edward was laughing.
Winry wanted to ask what he thought was so damn amusing, but couldn't seem to regain control of her vocal cords. She felt his warm breath quickening against her neck as his left hand glided up her skirt and pulled it away. Winry felt words travel to the tip of her tongue but bit them back, afraid of what Edward's reaction would be. She felt heat against her neck and wondered if it was Edward or a blush of her own. Her head was spinning as she wrapped her arms around his neck and tangled her fingers in his hair. This felt so surreal, like a dream she'd been having for years and still hadn't gotten used to.
She looked up to see Edward's eyes boring into hers like the glowing eyes of a cat. They looked so confident and strong that she almost didn't notice his shoulders shaking. She tried not to make a point at his show of vulnerability, but couldn't help but raise her head to plant a soft kiss on his right shoulder. As he looked at her again, the sureness was gone, replaced by a strong sense of bewilderment.
Winry didn't know what he was so perplexed about until she saw his eyes waver towards his automail. She raised her arm and settled it on his right shoulder, pulling him down to her mouth until their lips were almost touching. "I love you." She said quietly, feeling suddenly more assertive about voicing it, "I love you just like this." She felt his eyes searching her for deceit as she took his right hand, caressing her fingers against his palm.
Edward opened his mouth to speak, but shut it again and simply gave her a nod, lacing his steel fingers with hers. Winry suddenly realized how dark the room had gotten, and she glanced out the window to see the sun had fallen behind the horizon, finally grown tired of its twelve-hour stand. Edward followed her gaze and smiled. "You want me to tuck you in?" He asked smugly, an arrogant smile dancing on his lips.
Winry quirked an eyebrow, giving him a half-smile. Edward took that as an answer and removed their final resisting articles of clothing. He must have felt her hands tensing in pain as he entered her, because he leaned down and brushed the hair from her face, gently kissing her cheek before pressing his lips to her ear. "I love you." he murmured hoarsely, "I've loved you since I've known what love is." And immediately, the pain was gone. Winry felt his hands in her hair, on her face, on her chest, almost as if they were trying to absorb her. In response she ran her hands over his arms and chest, feeling heat radiating off of him.
She felt dizzy and her stomach was throbbing with what felt like a million butterflies just aching to be released. "E-Edward?" She said shakily, petting his sweaty hair from his face. She wasn't sure if she wanted him to respond after he replaced his lips against her skin. She shuddered at the feel of his teeth grazing her neck. She opened her mouth to speak again, but Edward took it as an invitation and enveloped her lips with his. She was beginning to worry that her heart might beat out of her chest. The butterflies in her stomach were turning into giant birds, beating heavily against the inside of her until she let them go. She bit softly at Edward's lip to keep from screaming his name.
Edward, however, was unable to contain himself, and let out a vociferous moan with her name tied loosely around it before collapsing heavily beside her, their hearts' speeds gradually returning to normal. Their hair twisted together and fanned out around their heads like a soft golden halo. Winry felt his right arm drop hesitantly around her waist and pull her close, so that she could feel his breath falling subtly against the back of her neck. Just before she fell asleep, she felt him place his lips there in a kiss.