In Repose

By Yellow Mask

Spoilers: Practically nonexistent.

Disclaimer: I do not own FMA.

The train is rattling along its tracks, Ed and Al are on their seventh hand of poker, and Winry is listing against Ed's shoulder.

Ed's gaze flicks towards the mechanic, watching as her eyelids sag, then flutter and open once again, the universal gesture common to all trying to stay awake – from students drowsing in a lecture to a toddler trying to stay up past their bedtime.

But Winry's fight is in vain. No more than three minutes after her tired blink, she is resting almost completely against Ed, her breathing evening out, her body swaying with the motion of the train, deeply unconscious.

The train jolts, Ed and Al are on their tenth hand of poker, and Winry is slumped on Ed's shoulder.

Ed can feel the gentle wind of her breathing ghosting against the hollow of his neck. Almost without his permission, his head turns to watch the girl sleeping against him, unable to help himself taking note of where their bodies contact – her temple against his shoulder, her cheek on his collarbone, her breasts against his arm, the crown of her hair banked against his cheek and chin...

It tickles. The lemon-gold strands brush his skin with the rhythm of the train, each feather-light contact making his skin not-quite flinch, but tingle.

Ed watches and for some reason, finds himself unable to turn away. Like a rabbit in a cunningly-hidden net, he is caught unawares in the snare of the moment, trapped by the simple picture his exhausted mechanic presents.

There are dark circles under her eyes, and Ed wonders if she slept at all during the two days she worked on his arm. He can't remember, and it makes him feel vaguely guilty, through he isn't sure if he feels guilty for being the reason she didn't sleep or because he doesn't know if she rested or not.

Her mouth is half-open, and while she's not exactly snoring she is producing a faint, half whistling, half-wheezing sound, like a snoring puppy. A sharp, sudden draft of wind through one of the open windows makes her frown and mutter in her sleep, curling into his body as she instinctively seeks warmth.

Ed has the irrational urge to stroke her cheek just to see if she leans into the caress like a friendly kitten.

The train stops at a station, Ed and Al are on their twelfth hand of poker, and Winry is sleeping against Ed's shoulder.

Ed passes on his turn to deal, not wanting to shuffle the cards in case the movements of his shoulder jolt Winry awake. Though part of his shoulder seems to be going slightly numb, the weight of her feels like no burden at all, but more like a reassurance.

They say it takes a lot of trust for people to sleep together in the biblical sense. That may be true (it's not like Ed has any sort of experience in that matter), but he can't help but think it takes even more trust for two people to sleep together in the literal sense. There's such unspoken faith and confidence in Winry's unconscious gesture that Ed finds himself feeling warm, in spite of the faulty heating in the carriage.

But then again, he can't really recall a time when Winry didn't have faith in him. Even when they found out about Al's ticking timebomb of a body, she had asked him if he could restore Al before that happened. Not if he could restore Al, just if he could do it before rejection occurred. As though it never entered her mind that he wouldn't find a way eventually, just that he might find it difficult working under a time limit.

Sometimes, this trust frightens Ed more than anything else in the world. He can't remember ever having done anything to earn such devotion – even Al has doubted him, why doesn't she? What would happen if one day he proved undeserving of her faith in him?

That's what scares him. That one day, he might fail her and this quiet, constant trust in him will vanish. That he'll fail her so completely he'll never regain it again.

Winry mutters something cogs and gears and wiring, shifting against him and distracting him from his thoughts.

And now Al is chuckling in a knowing sort of way, and Ed thinks he should probably get back to their card game.

The train hisses as it starts again, Ed and Al are on their fifteenth hand of poker, and Winry is mumbling into Ed's shoulder.

Funny, Ed never really figured Winry would talk in her sleep. But she is, muttering and slurring into his shirt, nothing really intelligible, but he can feel her lips moving through the cloth that separates them.

The sensation of her lips moving against his skin – even through the material that separates them – is doing his concentration no favours. Al has won the last three hands with hardly more effort than one would put into a naughts and crosses game.

Ed's arm is going dead, but he makes no move to shrug his shoulders, to clench his arm or to do anything that might restore feeling into the limb. He is feeling strangely protective of her rest, unwilling to wake her or risk disturbing her – she needs her sleep, after all.

A very logical explanation for a very illogical action. Ed is aware he could gently slide her to the seat beside him – Winry could sleep sprawled out on the seat just as comfortably as she could on his shoulder – but for some reason he doesn't really want to identify, he's reluctant to break contact with her.

It have her resting on him like this. He's so often dependent on her, for repairs, for maintenance, that it's a welcome change of pace to have her dependent on him. It's making him feel...

Well, he's not sure exactly how it's making him feel, only that he likes it. Ed smiles to himself as he calls Al's bluff.

The train pulls into their station, Al is packing up their poker game, and Ed is rousing Winry from her sleep against his shoulder.

She mutters, coughs, emits a sleepy whine that makes Ed chuckle, and blinks slowly. Her eyes are unfocused and muddled with sleep, clearly questioning why he has interrupted her nap. Then she notices their respective positions and leans away, blushing like a ripening raspberry.

Ed has to consciously squash the urge to kiss her. They're in the middle of a train, they need to hurry to grab their bags, Al is right across from them and his brother would never stop teasing him if the first time Ed kissed the girl he loved was on a train...

So Ed goes with his second impulse. He smiles, gently brushes a lock of her fringe away from her dazed eyes and tells her what's been running through his mind since she first dozed off.

"You're kinda cute when you sleep."

Her face alone makes it worth saying.


AN: As promised, something light, fluffy, and pointless. Much nicer to swallow than that Equivalent Exchange trilogy (not that I'm not proud of that, but I'm sure all of us can agree this is much pleasanter reading). And thanks, as always, to LaughingAstarael.