Kay. This one's a little weirder than most of my other stories, but I thought I'd give it a shot. This was based off of an actual dream I had, though the dream was way weirder than this fic. As in Ed spent his time in the kitchen talking to dishcloths and making strange home movies. (Winry also bought the spice on Ebay) XD Hope you have fun reading this!
Still don't own FMA. Sadly, I do own my dreams, whether I want to or not…
"It's a rub for steaks," Winry told Ed and Al as she held up the small bag filled with a powdery substance. "It was a little expensive, so I wasn't able to get much, but the man said it was very good."
"Yeah, people always say that when they're trying to get you to buy something," Ed muttered under his breath. A small soft fist whacked playfully at his shoulder, and he grinned innocently at Al, who was trying to look stern but not pulling it off very well.
"Don't say things like that, Brother," Al chided, and then turned back to Winry. "That sounds really good. Are we going to have it tonight?" His stomach growled impatiently at the thought. It was his first dinner since before he had been armor, and steak sounded really good.
"No," Winry said softly, and Al's face fell with disappointment. "Sorry, Al," she said quickly after noticing his sad eyes. "But I don't know how to cook steak. I don't suppose you would?"
"No," Al sighed. He couldn't blame Winry, but he had really wanted that steak.
"Well, then I guess I'll save this," Winry said, standing up. "Don't worry Al, I'll learn how to cook steak before your birthday and we'll have it then."
"Okay," Al agreed with a sigh. At least would get the steak eventually.
"Hey!" Ed said angrily as Winry turned to put the spices away. Winry and Al both turned to look at him and noticed that his golden eyes were flaming with anger. "You aren't even going to ask me if I know how to cook steak?!" he demanded, making Winry flinch a little.
"Brother, whenever you try to cook anything you always end up burning it to a crisp!" Al laughed, surprised by Ed's reaction.
"Yeah," Winry agreed, laughing a little with Al. "Sorry Ed, but 'ash' isn't just a degree higher than 'well done.'"
"I know how to cook steak," Ed growled at the pair of grinning teens. "I won't burn it to a crisp like some idiot."
"When did you learn to cook steak?" Al asked, his eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"When you weren't around," Ed snapped back. "Give me those spices. I'll prove it to you!"
"Oh no," Winry said quickly as she held the spice packet protectively to her chest. "I paid a lot of money for this. I'm not going to have you just waste it just because your pride was hurt."
"I'm not going to waste it!" Ed said, impatiently stamping his foot. "I told you, I can cook steak!"
"I don't want to risk it," Winry told him. "I spent enough money on this to get a new wrench. I won't let you set it on fire."
"Oh yeah?" Ed growled, his eyebrows creasing angrily as he glared at Winry. "Well then, how about a bet? If I make steak that's as bad as you think I will, then I'll buy you a whole cabinet full of that rub."
"Fine," Winry agreed stubbornly. Even if she didn't want the rub, she knew she'd be able to sell it for a nice chunk of money. "And what if I lose?" she asked. Ed was silent for a moment as he thought over the possibilities.
"You have to buy me the alchemy book I saw in Central a few days ago," he told her. "If this spice is as expensive as you say it is, then they should be about equal in price."
"You were a state alchemist a few days ago," Winry said suspiciously. "So why didn't you just buy it yourself? I know that you certainly had enough money."
"Because I thought it was frivolous, and I had better things to do with my time than buying books," Ed countered. "If I had gotten that book, Al might still be stuck in that armor."
"I doubt that," Winry scoffed. "Fine," she said, holding the bag out to Ed. "You win. Now you better impress us. I don't want Al to have to choke down cinders for his first dinner."
"He won't," Ed snarled. "Now get out of here. I need the whole kitchen to work."
"No alchemy!" Winry said loudly as she and Al headed out of the kitchen.
"Puh-leese!" Ed scoffed at her. "Cooking is an exact art with it's own formulas and procedures! You think I'd foul it up with alchemy? Besides, Al would be able to tell if I used alchemy! Wouldn't you, Al?"
"Yeah," Al said slowly, not liking being caught between the two in their argument.
"Now get out," Ed demanded. "And unless you already have three steaks in the kitchen, then go get some! You can't have a steak dinner without steaks!" Al and Winry ran out of the kitchen and hurried outside the house to get Ed the meat he demanded.
"Brother?" Al said softly as he poked his head in the kitchen. Ed was busy looting through the cabinets and turned his head sharply to look at Al when he heard his voice. "We got the steaks you wanted," Al said slowly, holding out a package wrapped in white paper. Ed smiled, and then ran over and took the package out of Al's hands.
"Thanks Al," he said quickly as he ran a thumb over the top of the paper. "Listen, I didn't mean to snap at you earlier. I was a little tense," he said slowly. "You want to tell me what you want for your special dinner?"
"Um… okay," Al said slowly, bringing his whole body into the kitchen.
"Do you like salad?" Ed asked hurriedly. "I couldn't remember whether you did or not."
"Um…" Al scratched his head as he thought over the question. "I can't really remember either," he admitted sheepishly.
"Well, that's okay," Ed said slowly. "You can try it, and if you don't like it, then at least Winry will eat it. Now, what about mashed potatoes?"
"Brother, you should eat some salad too," Al scolded. "It's good for you."
"Yeah, and not calling me short would probably be good for most people's health, but they don't really like to do that, now do they?" Ed replied grumpily. "What about mashed potatoes?"
"I like them," Al said slowly, unsure of how Ed wanted him to answer the question. He was sorely tempted to reply 'Yeah, what about them?' but he decided not to. Ed was already on edge enough; he didn't need Al pushing him even more.
"Would you prefer mashed potatoes or noodles?" Ed asked as he put the meat on the counter and started to unwrap it.
"Uh, potatoes," Al said after a moment of thought.
"Okay," Ed nodded, seeming to agree with Al's choice. "And how do you like your steak? Rare? Well done?"
"Uh…Cooked?" Al replied nervously. Ed shot Al a look, so Al quickly added, "I don't know, Brother. Whatever you think I would like."
"Fine," Ed sighed, grabbing the meat and looking it over. "Then could you just let me work in peace?"
"Sure, Brother," Al said softly. He turned and walked out of the kitchen, where Winry was waiting for him. She had her arms crossed and a triumphant smile rested on her lips. Her entire body seemed to say, 'He's never going to make it.' Al winced as a large crash came from the kitchen, followed by a long list of profanities from Ed.
"Do you need help Ed?" Winry called, eyeing the door cautiously. She didn't want to have the kitchen destroyed in a night.
"No!" Ed called back. There was a slight pause before Al and Winry heard him cry out again. "An ant? What choo doin' in here?! There ain't no ants in this kitchen! Get out, foo!"
"Are you sure, Brother?" Al said slowly as another loud crash came from the kitchen.
"I'm sure, Al!" Ed called back cheerily, and then growled, "Die, you six-legged bastard freak of nature! Die!" Another round of loud clangs followed this order, and Al supposed he was trying to kill the ant with a frying pan.
"Ed…?" Winry said slowly as she glanced towards the doorway to the kitchen.
"I'm fine, Winry! Really!" Ed called back to her. "Dumb water! Why aren't you boiling yet?!"
"He's boiling water for steaks?" Winry asked Al with one eyebrow raised curiously. Al just shrugged.
"I'm going in," Winry finally announced. When Al looked at her as if he was about to try and tell her not to, she continued, "He's been in there for hours, Al. I'm hungry. I want something to eat." Al's stomach growled in agreement, and Al sighed.
"Okay," he said slowly. "But I'm blaming you if he decides to murder one of us."
"Why me?" Winry demanded, already heading towards the kitchen with Al trailing behind her. "You always win fights against him anyway."
"Yeah," Al admitted with a shrug. "But I'm still blaming you if he gets angry."
"Aw, come on, Al. that's not fair," Winry laughed as they both walked into the kitchen. They both suddenly stopped in their tracks at the sight before them.
Three complete dinners were sitting on the table. Ed had put arranged them on the Rockbell's good china, and the silverware gleamed in light coming from two candles in the center of the table. Each of the plates had a large steak placed on it, along with some mashed potatoes. Two of the plates also had salad on them, one with a larger helping than the other. Al figured that Ed had the one without salad, Winry had the one with the huge pile of salad, and Al had the one with the smaller pile of salad.
"Hey, What are you guys doing in here?!" an angry voice demanded from the floor. Winry and Al looked down to see that it was Ed, on his hands and knees and scrubbing at a mysterious red spot on the floor. "I wanted to clean up before you came in here!"
"Her fault," Al said quickly, pointing a finger at Winry.
"It's okay Ed, you can clean that up with alchemy later tonight," Winry assured him. "But I'm starving, and that dinner looks delicious!"
"Gee, thanks," Ed muttered, going over to the sink and washing off his hands. "I didn't even know what drink to put with it."
"You're worried about drinks?" Winry laughed. "You've got a dinner like that and you're worried about drinks? Besides, I think Gran has some leftover red wine." Al's eyes widened as he swiveled his head to look at Winry, and Ed smirked.
Ed grabbed the wineglasses as Winry grabbed the wine from a cabinet. They then all sat down at the table. Al was practically drooling as he eyed the steak in front of him. He quickly grabbed his knife and fork and cut off a medium-sized piece. He glanced quickly at Ed before popping it into his mouth.
"Oh…" Al sighed, his eyes fluttering closed. "That's really good."
"Maybe that's just because you haven't had food in years," Winry said quickly, cutting a piece off her own steak. She quickly put it into her mouth and had almost the same reaction as Al had. Ed grinned and turned to his own steak.
"Brother, why didn't you tell me you could cook?" Al said as he eagerly cut off another piece. "You always burned the food you tried to cook before."
"That's just because I didn't want you to know," Ed mumbled. "It's wimpy for guys to be able to cook. And speaking of which, neither of you are going to tell anybody about this," he ordered sternly.
"It's not wimpy," Winry told him swiftly. "I think it's actually pretty cool that you know how to cook like this, Ed." A slight blush hinted at Ed's cheeks and he nervously scratched the back of his head. He quickly poured a small amount of wine into his glass with Al watching him through narrowed eye.
"Relax, Al," Ed sighed after taking a sip and putting the glass back down. "I'm not going to get drunk off a little wine with dinner."
"Since when do you like wine?" Al squeaked out. Ed shrugged and took another sip.
"I can't believe that you made all this without alchemy," Winry said thoughtfully as she started chewing on another piece of her steak. Ed rolled his eyes and looked over at his brother.
"Al, did I use alchemy?" he asked. Al quickly shook his head and took a forkful of mashed potatoes. "There," Ed said triumphantly as he turned back to Winry. "You see? No alchemy."
"Yeah, maybe you didn't use alchemy," Winry said slowly as she rubbed her tongue against the roof of her mouth. "But you could have had it delivered in secret. I'm not going to get you that book unless you give me proof that you really cook like this."
"Fine," Ed growled at her, and then snapped his head to Al. "Chocolate or vanilla?"
"Vanilla?" Al said nervously. "What are you going to do, Brother?"
"Bake a cake," Ed growled as he stood up. "You guys eat your dinner and watch me." He commanded, and the other two nodded obediently. "I make a whole steak dinner and it's not enough. So now I gotta bake a cake on top of that," Ed mumbled as he started pulling out supplies. "You know, this won't taste as good if you're watching me," he told them as he started cracking eggs.
"If it's half as good as this steak, then it'll be excellent," Winry laughed. "I've got to see this."
"Eat your dinner," Ed sternly commanded Al, who was watching Ed with big eyes. "You just got your body back, you need to get all the nutrients you can." Al quickly nodded and went back to his mashed potatoes.
"What did you put in these potatoes, anyway?" Al asked curiously.
"A little garlic, a little cheese," Ed shrugged carelessly as he started to mix the dry materials in the cake. "Just some stuff." Al practically started gaping at his brother. This didn't seem like the brother he knew. He was drinking wine; he was cooking… Who knew if he'd even freak out if someone called him short?
The cake finally went into the oven sometime after both Al and Winry had finished eating. They had both watched him with wide eyes, surprised to see that he really did know what he was doing. He had once even tossed the spoon behind his back with one hand and then caught it with the other, unable to resist showing off for an audience. He then sat down as the cake baked, saying that he was going to eat his dinner now, and he was going to enjoy it, dammit.
He finished eating right before the timer dinged. His back was turned to Al the entire time he was frosting the cake, blocking it from view. When he finally turned around and let Al see what he had been hiding, Al was barely able to choke out the words that had been written on the cake in bright red frosting.
"Welcome home, Alphonse."
"Brother?" Al said softly later that night as he laid in his bed, his hands resting on his chest as he stared up at the ceiling. He knew it was late at night, probably sometime past midnight, but he still wasn't able to fall asleep. He supposed that he wasn't used to actually sleeping at night yet. Ed, however, was very used to sleeping at night, and was stretched out in the bed across the room from Al's bed. Al couldn't actually see him, but he could hear the deep breathing that told him Ed was deep asleep.
"Brother?" Al repeated slowly. He heard the deep breathing stop with a loud groan and a rustling of sheets. "Brother, are you awake?" Al asked softly.
"Yeah Al, I'm awake," Ed groaned groggily, his bed squeaking as he rearranged himself. "What is it?"
"When did you learn to do that?"
"Do what?" Ed asked, his brain not functioning properly yet.
"Cook like that," Al said patiently. "When'd you learn that?"
"I dunno," Ed sighed. "A year or two ago, I guess."
"Why?" Al asked innocently. Ed was silent as his breathing steadied again. "Come on, Brother," Al grinned as he turned to look over at the black lump on the bed. "I know that you can't fall asleep that fast. Why'd you want to learn to cook like that?"
"G'night, Al," Ed muttered. Al let out a frustrated sigh.
"Please tell me, Brother."
"A girl," Ed muttered. "I learned it to impress a girl." Al quickly clapped a hand over his mouth to stop himself form laughing. His brother had learned to cook just for the sake of a girl? Al wished he had known about this sooner.
"Who, Brother?" Al asked curiously once he had his giggles under control. Ed was silent, so Al decided to start asking instead.
"Was it Rosé?"
Silence. Al supposed that meant 'No.'
"Hmm… Was it Winry?"
Silence. What other girls had they known over the years?
"It wasn't Lust, was it?" Al asked, knowing that it probably wasn't true. He just couldn't think of any other girls.
Silence. No. Al slowly tried to think. Ed had said that he had learned about a year or two ago. So that probably meant that he had meant the girl sometime in that timeframe. Who?
"You probably wouldn't even know her," Ed muttered in the dark. "Her name was Kallie. She was just a store clerk in Central. She never really liked me that much, even when I learned to cook."
The room fell silent again, but Al knew from the pattern of Ed's breathing that he hadn't managed to fall back asleep yet. Al wished he could just stop thinking so hard and fall asleep, but he couldn't help thinking about the day's events. The memory of Ed tossing the spoon kept replaying in his head, and he couldn't forget the taste of that delicious vanilla cake. Maybe it had tasted slightly better since he hadn't had cake in years, but Al had a feeling that he'd probably never be able to forget that heavenly slice of cake, the surprise at his brother's talent mixing in with the taste of chocolate frosting.
"Brother?" Al said softly. He heard a grunt from Ed's bed, confirming that he had been heard. "When you were in that kitchen…" he said slowly, taking care in his words. He didn't want to push the wrong button and make it so Ed never cooked again. "It was amazing. It was almost like mom was alive again with the way you moved around that kitchen." Ed was silent, so Al breathed deeply and then slowly continued. "Remember the way she used to cook? Like there was that chocolate cake she made for your birthday once." Another grunt. So Ed was listening. Good. "You always wanted chocolate and I always wanted vanilla," Al laughed. "Black and white. It just shows how different we are at times. But we're still brothers, so we'll always be connected, right? No matter how many differences we may have." A small chuckle came from Ed's side of the room.
"Yeah. Always connected, no matter how far apart we may get. No matter how many differences we may have."
"Good," Al sighed happily. His eyelids finally seemed to want to shut, but he tried to fight it off for a few more minutes.
"Could you make pancakes tomorrow?"
"Sure Al," Ed grinned happily. He couldn't believe that he was finally hearing Al request certain food for breakfast, after so many years of traveling and searching and barely surviving. For once they were finally able to kick back and have pancakes for breakfast.
"And could you teach me to cook like that someday?" Al asked sleepily as he suppressed a yawn.
Yeah, it got a bit more sappy towards the end. I blame Sarah and all the books she loaned me. (points) It got me in one of those moods. You know… "Oooohhh! Ed and Al are sooooo… Oooooohhh! Brothers forever!" No, I'm not PMSing. This is more the result of me reading Joan Bauer books, writing fanfics and listening to Superchick late at night. 2 o'clock AM over here, and my dad's still on the computer, so I'll have to post this tomorrow morning. (yawn) But hey, at least I finished it.
This one's set the records for longest oneshot so far. Me and my crazy dreams. But hey, I got an even longer oneshot planned for later, and that one wasn't even a dream, just my normal brain functions. ;D