Penny Drop
S J Smith

Disclaimer: If you recognize any of these characters, you know I'm not making any money.

Summary: It's good luck to pick up pennies.

Rating: K (anyone can read)

A.N.: Happy Solstice, Leni. And thanks to COM for the edits. :-)

The weather in Rush Valley was pretty close to perfect; a little breezy with a warm, not hot, sun shining, so they didn't feel sticky walking along the streets. Winry's excitement at being in a town known for its automail mechanics wasn't quite catching – Ed was mentally tallying up how much money she'd spent already. Not that he didn't have the money and she did ask nicely before badgering some shop clerk to go and fetch something else off the wall or in a cabinet or behind the counter. Still, he hoped she'd leave them enough to get something to eat and some rooms later tonight.

Winry was in front of Al and him, her arms straight out at her sides, twirling around with pleasure. Ed thought she looked kind of pretty, her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkling at the things she'd already seen and with hopes of more delights to come. She paused at a street corner to wave them on. "Come on, you two," she said, making a face at their slower pace. "There's so much more we need to see yet!"

"We're coming, Winry," Al said.

"Yeah, it's not like Rush Valley's going anywhere," Ed said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

"But the shops might close!"

"They'll open again tomorrow, Winry. We have a little time to kill before we catch the next train." Ed watched as Winry all but danced across the street.

"She's really happy, Brother. This is a nice thing you're doing for her," Alphonse said.

"Yeah, well, I just hope she doesn't use up all our money." Ed sighed in exasperation.

Winry stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, stooping down to pick something up. She held it out to them as they caught up to her.

"A penny?" Raising his eyebrows, Ed said, "Winry, I don't think that'll get you anything in this town." He shrugged. "Or anywhere, for that matter."

"Come on, Ed. It's good luck to pick up pennies." Winry shook her head when he rolled his eyes. "I know you don't believe it."

He smirked at her. "It's just a superstition."

Ignoring Ed, Winry held the coin between her thumb and forefinger, squinting at it. "You know," she said, "my mother told me if you find a penny on the ground, someone owed you a kiss." She laughed wistfully at the memory. "It's silly, isn't it? But she'd always show Papa the pennies she'd find and he'd always give her a kiss for them."

Far too innocently, Al asked, "Who do you think owes you a kiss, Winry?"

Turning to him, her hands on her hips, Winry said, "Just because my mother believed that doesn't mean that I do."

But Ed noticed she flushed as she said it and then whirled around, not letting them see her face. And she tucked the penny into the pocket of her skirt, her fingers lingering there for a few seconds as she skipped ahead of them.

"So, Brother, are you going to kiss her?" Al asked when Winry seemed entranced by something in a shop window and was ignoring them.

"Kiss her?" Nearly choking himself, Ed managed to keep his voice under control but he knew that his own color was rising. He grabbed his brother's arm, forcing him to a halt. "Al, this is not the place or the time to be talking about kissing girls."

"Even Winry?" Al managed to sound far more sly than a boy of fourteen should.

"Especially Winry." Glaring up at the helmet far above his head, Ed said, "I don't have time to think about girls. We don't have time to think about girls. Not until we get our bodies back. Maybe not even then. Who knows what'll have happened by then."

Al watched as Winry talked animatedly to yet another shop clerk, the young man seemingly charmed by the pretty blonde. "You can't wait forever, Brother," he said. "There are some opportunities that shouldn't be missed."

"Yeah, well," Ed said, shaking off the pensive words with a bright smile, "there's still a time and a place for everything." He gestured with his head for Alphonse to start walking. "Come on, Al. Winry looks like she wants me to pay for something expensive. I think she thinks I'm made of money."

Al said nothing in reply, just clanked alongside him and Ed's smile faded, hearing his brother's comments in his mind. Maybe Al was right but Ed couldn't think about it, not now. Not while he still needed to return Al to his body. Once Al was completely human again, then maybe he could worry about girls.

But for a second, Ed thought about all the change in his pockets and scattering it out for Winry to find.