The Walk

Ed yawned and stared out the window of Rockbell Automail; he was bored. And irritated. And...well, there was so many emotions bubbling their way to the surface since Hohenheim's return, he didn't feel like leaving the room. The Elric boy was tense always now...especially since Al had become the...

He pushed other thoughts out of his mind; this was important. He needed to figure out what they were going to do. They had searched so long to find it, and now they had it and...he was at a standstill. He didn't know where to go.

An automail arm lashed out and hit the pillow; this was immensely annoying. Of the many things that he did not want to deal with at the moment, several were coming back to bite him. Ed hit the pillow again, and let the steel hand rest on the soft, feather-filled pillow. He bit his lip and wondered if he'd ever have that arm back again.

Probably not.

Edward flexed his hand a few times, listening for the soft click of his metal joints. Every once in a while, he would notice the noises that his automail made, particularly if he walked barefoot across the floor, or was sitting on a train, bored out of his mind.

Click, click, soft whir, click.

The whir came when he flexed his elbow joint, and what functioned as muscles completed their tasks. It was strange really, this false arm. He brought his flesh hand over to feel the grill across his forearm, tapping lightly on the steel. For all the talk of connecting nerves, for all that pain; he could feel nothing but the dull vibrations his tapping caused.

Al had asked him more than once what it felt like. Ed touched his two index fingers together and pressed them together.

"This one," he'd hold up his left finger, "is awake". He'd hold up the automail one and say, "Do you remember what it felt like when one of your feet fell asleep?". Before, Al would nod yes...but the last time he'd asked, he did not remember. Ed bit his tongue and tried not to let his worry show.

Click, click, soft whir, click.

It was almost a pleasing rhythym.

Click, click, soft whir, click
.

The Elric stared out the window at the tent his father had put up in the yard. For a moment, he wondered why the man had ever left.

And then he looked away; he figured if Hohenheim had wanted to return, he could have at least come back when Trisha had passed. If he was any kind of father, he would have come back then.

Click, click, click, whir.

"Edward?"

Said Elric looked up; Winry was standing at the door, wrench in hand. She hefted into her other hand, which made Ed flinch involuntarily. Winry smiled.

"I'm not going to hit you Ed.Granny wants you to take Den for a walk."

Ed pushed away from the window.

"He's your dog, you take 'im," he brushed off the request.

A hit from the wrench later, and he had the leash wrapped around his automail hand. He left his jacket and overshirt behind; it was a pleasant day, and there was no real reason to wear them in the first place.

Winry kept pace alongside Edward and the dog, and smiled.

"What're you so happy about?" Ed asked, keeping tension on the leash. Either Den had gotten stronger, or he had gotten weaker since the last time he had been back home.

"It's nice to see you acting like a normal kid for once."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You're sixteen, Ed...and for once, it's nice to see you act it," the Rockbell explained, reaching down to pat Den on the head. She reached over and patted Ed's head too, smoothing the hair on the top of his head. An involuntary blush flashed across his cheeks, and he looked away.

"You're going to make a dog joke now, aren't you?"

"Why Ed, why would you think that?"

The Elric sighed; Winry really was trying to help him relax. He grinned and loosened his hold on the leash.

"Oh, I have my reasons."

"Do you, now?"

Winry laughed, and Ed laughed. For a moment, there were no homunculi, no plots, no dead comrades...just two very old friends.

Ed let go of the leash, and Den turned right around to jump on Ed. The boy remained standing; something he could not have done a few years prior. He laughed once more and rubbed Den's belly. He gently pushed the dog away and let it run towards the river.

"Don't go near the crawfish, Den!" Winry cried, then yawned.

"It can't be that late, Winry...," Ed pointed to the horizon, where the sun was setting. "It's maybe..what, seven?"

Winry shrugged, and tucked a lock of hair behind her left ear.

"Remember Ed?"

"'member what?"

"When we were younger, you, me, and Al; we used to sit down here by the river and just play? Nothing at stake; heck, half the time, you two were arguing!" Winry laughed quietly, "it was nice. I think you argued over who could run fastest..."

"Or who could swim best"

"Or who could win in a fight?"

"Or who was going to marry me?"

Ed sneered.

"I still don't remember how Al won that one..."

"You mean those, Ed," Winry corrected, "it happened more than once."

"So? I still don't...hey, whose side are you on, anyway?"

Winry shrugged playfully.

"I think he actually gathered up the courage to give me a kiss on the cheek."

"I coulda done the same...," Ed grumbled.

Winry made no notice of it.

"You used to get so mad at him...," Winry giggled, which set Ed blushing madly. Why did that affect him so much?

"...wrestled him to the ground once, and you went home with a black eye," she finished. Ed blinked.

"What?"

"...Ed, are you paying any attention at all?"

"Sure! Al wrestled with me because I didn't like 'im winning."

"He could still beat you now. I might be able to beat you," Winry flexed an arm in jest.

"Prove it"

"What?"

Ed braced himself.

"Come on, try and pin me to the ground."

Winry grinned.

"You're on, Elric!"

She charged right at his stomach, but he dodged. Winry narrowed her eyes and faked another charge, and grabbed Ed's flesh arm. With deft manipulation, she twisted it behind his back.

"OW!"

"Told ya, shorty," she quipped, and pulled Edward backwards, then forwards, pushing the automail leg out from under him. Ed managed not to fall, and Winry ran backwards, towards the ruins of the Elric house.

"Now you're in for it!" Ed laughed clear for the first time in a while. Winry shook her head and circled the Elric.

"Not a chance, boy!".

The two tossled for a while longer, before Winry got the upperhand. She held the crux of the automail arm in her hand, and threatened to pull it backwards; knowing the weak points of her design certainly helped even the odds of her victory. Ed pulled away, but Winry sent the boy to the ground spinning.

Ed hit the ground back first, but as he fell, he managed to pull Winry down with him. She flailed momentarily, and he lost his grip, but the impact from the soil forced Ed's eyes closed. He felt a soft thud on either side of his head before he opened his eyes.

Only to have a blush blossom across the bridge of his nose. Winry had ended up avoiding hitting the ground by going down hands first. Unfortunately, she ended up very close to Ed's face...mere inches away.

"Uh...Win.." Ed's mouth dried up, and he tried to force the blush from his face. He looked down to see her straddling him (unintentionally, of course), and the blush deepened. It certainly didn't help that she had come along dressed in a pair of slacks, and, of all things, that blasted band of a top.

Winry tried to move; she shouted at her arms to move, but they would not. In fact, they seemed to give out slowly beneath her.

The whole thing couldn't have taken more than maybe a minute to occur, but it felt painfully long. Ed tried to push himself to his feet, which, he realized as he did it, was not the wisest thing to do.

But he could not help himself as he brought himself closer to Winry to tenderly press his lips to hers. He felt her bristle at the initial contact, but as her arms slipped around his neck, and her weight pressed against his upper chest, he never wanted to move again.

No more was Winry just an automail mechanic to him; in fact, he wasn't sure he hadn't ever thought of her as always more than that.

...

... ... ...
Al walked as noiselessly as he could towards the riverbank; that's where Pinako had sent Ed to walk Den. He glanced up the hill at the remains of his old house, and saw two shadows there.

Not wanted to cause any trouble, he crept towards the ashes of his house. It was quiet for a spring night. He wasn't noticed as he snuck around the side.

What he saw would have sent him blushing if he had a body.

Ed was holding Winry around the waist, too close for her to be inspecting automail, and Winry was pressed against Ed's body, and her lips were pressed to Ed's.

Al could not help the squeal that left him. The two seperated and immediately paled.

"...weren't doing ANYTHING!" Ed yelled, while Winry dashed for the house. Al clamped his hands over where his 'eyes'.

"I SAW NOTHING! I SAW NOTHING!"

Ed could not reply, and started for the house, and his guest room, when Al shouted, "Nii-san!"

The elder brother turned to gaze at the younger. Al had Den at his heels.

"I always knew you and Winry would end up together!" he shouted before bolting past a confused and thoroughly embarassed Edward.

Click, click, whir; nothing compared to the beating of a human heart.