Disclaimer: don't own FMA, duh, whoever invented this was odd

AN: An idea that came to me and I thought I should get out. Nothing fancy; my first epiphanic one-shot, and my first WinryxRussel. I really do like this pairing. I'm not crazy about this story; it took me an hour or so to write while playing Mah-Jong, so it's definitely not my best quality. Tell me what you think. It's been so long since I've posted anything new; I'm so giddy at the thought of reviews.

He brushed her hair out of her face, softly and slowly so as not to wake her. She shifted slightly and whispered a name in her sleep. Months ago his face would have tightened, and he would have gotten up to sleep on the couch, and she would have asked what was wrong, never dreaming he knew what she thought he didn't know. Now he just smiled sadly and continued stroking her hair.

It was only ever in her sleep that this name was said, save for casual conversation during daylight hours. She made sure to never accidentally whisper it during foreplay, or moan it at the end. But Russel knew she thought it, that she imagined another's hands on her body, another's breath next to hers; so she never said a name at all, so that he wouldn't be the wiser and her fantasy wouldn't be shattered.

He had wondered, when they started out, why she always had that distant look in her eyes while kissing, why she never said anything personal when they made love. But eventually he heard her; she was asleep, but she said this other name so much more sweetly than she ever said his. He'd been hurt and outraged; he left that night and hadn't come back, refused to see her, refused to answer her calls.

He couldn't stay away, though, and through his desire he managed to convince himself that he could have been mistaken; he could have heard her wrong, or misread the tone of voice. So he came back to her, and never told her why he left. When he saw the look in her eyes, felt the passion behind her kiss, he thought for sure that it was him she loved. Until he heard it again; and there was no mistaking the name, no mistaking the breathless, longing whisper. He knew that he couldn't leave her again, though; she ate him up, was a constant thought whenever she wasn't there, which was why her lies hurt so much more. He only left as far as the couch.

And so it stayed, both of them pretending that things were different. The arrival of Edward for maintenance had nearly killed him, having to watch her touch him as she fixed his automail, having to see that look in her eye and know that it was more than the look she gave her mechanical desires. Edward knew something was wrong; maybe it was Russel's expression, maybe it was the lack of semi-good natured short jokes. But Ed didn't suspect why any more than anyone else did, and left none the wiser about Winry's fantasies or Russel's predicament. Too bad; he could have used Ed's advice. As it was, he kept humoring her and bullshiting himself. After all, he'd pretended to be Ed before, to get what he wanted, and compared to that, this was quite easy. All he had to do was pretend he didn't hear her when she talked in her sleep.

They both played pretend, happy in their make-believe. It was just a bit odd, Russel decided, that his whole life boiled down to a children's game.