Title: Every Day

Title: Every Day
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Author: havocmangawip

Editor: anat-astarte

Disclaimer: This all belongs to the rightful copyright owners and not me. I wish it did!

Spoilers: None if you read WIP. If you aren't up to at least chapter 40 of the manga then there are some.

Author's indulgence: There was much listening to-
The Lucksmiths- "Sunlight In A Jar"
Ben Folds- "The Luckiest"

Rocco DeLuca "Colorful"

"Every Day" Dave Matthews Band

Finally... I've been working on this one since February 12th. Real life and writers' block fought me at every turn. Enjoy!

Every Day

When I awoke, Jean was already out of bed. I looked at the snowflakes that collected on our window, then curled up in the warm spot he'd left and played possum for a moment, hoping he'd come back to me. I heard him bustling about in the kitchen. I sighed contentedly, curled up under the duvet and burrowed in his pillows, and just listened to him.

As much as I wanted to spend the whole day with Jean, I had made plans with Laura. I never was one to make friends easily, and Laura had become my closest friend next to Gracia. We had both been so busy, me with my records work and her with her studies, that we hadn't done anything together in ages. Laura and I made plans to have lunch and then go to our favorite full service salon later in the day while Jean was at physical therapy- which worked out beautifully so Jean and I could both sleep in now before his session and before I met up with Laura.

I heard a clamor in the kitchen and bolted upright. I jumped out of bed, shivering as my bare feet hit the floor, and grabbed my robe from the chair. Jean was cussing a blue streak, and I'd barely gotten my robe on by the time I reached him to make sure he was okay.

I'd planned the whole day perfectly. Sciezka had warned me not to make a fuss over Valentine's Day because it was a "commercial holiday that just sells chocolate, flowers and poorly written sappy cards". I had to admit, I was pretty surprised. Who isn't into Valentine's Day? But she kept on, elaborating her point by saying, "Why should there be just two days a year dedicated to love? Valentine's Day and White Day are ridiculously overrated. I'd rather just spend the day with you and let the followers do their thing."

I was put off at first, since I'd never had a valentine as amazing as Sciezka, but I knew when she put her foot down it was smart to listen. Or at least not argue about what was supposed to be love's holiday, and it would buy me time to figure out how to make it just as special for her too.

In a stroke of brilliance, for me anyway, I enlisted Laura's help to get her out of the house so I could prepare for a romantic night in.

When Laura invited Sciezka out for lunch and an afternoon at one of the poshest salons in Central for "the works" she said she'd "have to think about it." My plan had hit it's first snag already. Time to investigate and adjust accordingly to get this mission back on course.

"Wow, sweetheart," I said, pretending to overhear, "Sounds pretty nice, most girls would jump at the offer." "But Jean," she protested, "I have too much work to do. I've got three case files to copy before the end of the month and one of them is a rush job for Monday. Besides, all that is too decadent and too expensive."

We weren't rich, but it was her adorable modesty kicking in. "But you've barely seen just Laura in ages and I bet she could use the pampering as much as you." She relented and called Laura right back. Phase one was complete.

Making pancakes and eggs was my favorite way of starting the day. This time I was distracted, going over my plan and thinking of what her reaction would be when the phone startled me. I dropped the pancake I'd been flipping. As I tried to catch it I hit the handle of the pan I'd had the eggs in.

"Shit!" I tried to catch that too, but I missed. I was just lucky that the hot cast iron clattered to the floor instead of my lap.

Our eggs over easy were now over hard cold tiles and the damn phone was still ringing. By the time I'd grabbed a pot holder and picked it up off the floor the ringing had stopped. I grumbled and started wiping up the mess and thought I had everything under control.

That is, until I smelled something burning.

"Oh fucking hell!"

I rushed back to the griddle. The damned phone started ringing again and the pancakes were a black, smoking mess. Damn it all! I'd tried to stay quiet with the first mishap. I didn't want to wake Sciezka or startle her.

That's when she came in, barely covered by her robe and looked relieved when she saw it was a minor mishap and not an emergency room grade catastrophe. Once she was sure that everything was fine, she answered the phone. .

I had turned off the stove and made sure I hadn't set anything on fire, but the air was still thick with smoke and I waved my hands like an idiot, which I surely felt like at the moment, until it started to clear. If I hadn't been so pissed about our ruined breakfast I would have laughed. She had the phone cradled against her shoulder, one hand holding her robe together and the other pointed towards the floor in a gesture that I'd come to recognize as, "You better get that floor as spotless as Julia does, buster."

With that, she smiled and turned her full attention to the person on the other end in her best telephone voice.

"Hi! What time are we meeting again?" she asked enthusiastically.

I took a wild guess and figured it was Laura.

I could hear the chipper stream of girlspeak through the phone, even from across the room. Sciezka paused and nodded, listening to every word and then said, "No I haven't been outside yet. You say a foot of snow?"

After a lot of uh-huhs and oh yeas and mm-hmms, she hung up, stepped around the mess on the floor and said, "That was Laura and there's nearly a foot of snow on the ground." She shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest. "I take it you haven't been out for a cigarette yet Jean?"

I shook my head no; my full concentration had been on making a romantic breakfast so far, complete with heart shaped pancakes. I even had the mold- I asked Julia to pick me up for me weeks ago.

Sciezka looked at me, her green eyes almost burning a hole in my head that would have made catching the hot pan in my lap feel like a summer day, and asked, "Are you all right? I heard all the noise and came right out. You're sure you're okay? You had me worried."

I set the dishtowel on the counter, grabbed a corner of her open robe and pulled her onto my lap. She smiled. I suppose that answered her question. I was fine. We hadn't had a morning alone in over a month. I nibbled her earlobe but breakfast was still ruined and was distracted again.

"Hey don't stop, that feels real nice Jean. Are you sure you're all right? Should we get you checked out?" she asked her voice full of concern again.

"Breakfast...looks like its better suited for that little mutt Fuery took in...I used the last of the eggs and I think we're out of milk. If the snow is that bad outside I think we're stuck here too."

She kissed me hard and then replied, clearly exasperated, "We'll live. There's plenty to eat here. However, privacy and time are in short supply lately."

"Point taken," I whispered in her ear and got back to where I'd left off.

Her stomach growled and I chuckled. Grinning she said, "Coffee and toast is more than sufficient. There may even be some powdered cream in the cupboard. We haven't done a crossword puzzle in ages either."

She got off my lap and sauntered into the living room. I moved to follow her but she turned around and said, "I'm getting some more clothes on. It's chilly out! Make some toast please? Have a cigarette too. You're edgy."

Aw man! Just when I was hoping I'd get to get them off, she wants to put more on! Damn breakfast disaster is already throwing a monkey wrench in the day!

I had no idea why he was so preoccupied with breakfast. It wasn't like he didn't know his way around the kitchen. In fact, since Ed and Al came to stay he cooked almost every morning.

Those boys need a balanced breakfast!" I remembered he had said, "The boss is high energy and we need to build Al up!"

He almost sounded like Major Armstrong when he went on like that. I didn't argue, since he took after his mother in that respect. It would be pointless. When people need feeding it's her first priority, his too. Jean's a good cook and is so comfortable in the kitchen now. He'll whistle and sing loudly, miserably off key. Besides, he's cute when he's in nurturing mode, and I sure do love him for it when he pampers me like he does.

That said, I miss how things were in the beginning. It was just us, lazing on the couch, drinking coffee and working the crossword puzzle. That's my idea of a perfect day. Me, Jean and not much else at all. That was all made better if we'd just made love and had a shower together and then made love again.

I put something more on, since I was chilly in just my robe and then got the book of crossword puzzles I'd bought. We missed out on the morning paper most of the time, so it was easier this way. Jean came in with coffee and toast. I took it from him and he got settled on the couch. I curled up next to him and we did the puzzle as we ate.

Crosswords again. The best part is cuddling up with Sciezka while she happily scribbled the words in the tiny boxes. She's better at it than I am, and the only reason why I know as many answers as I do is because the paper repeats the same clues every couple of weeks or so.

I love how closely Sciezka's body fits with mine. She sat cross-legged and leaned against me on the couch, nestling in the crook of my arm. She'll elbow me gently in the side when I get too quiet. I nodded off a couple of times since I'd gotten up so early. I was comfortable and next to my girl, of course I felt dozy. The second time she caught me she suggested I go take a nap in the bedroom.

I complained, "It's not even noon yet!"

"Go ahead and try to protest Jean! You and I both know you've been pushing yourself again. Between classes, teaching and therapy you're looking for trouble," she scolded and tilted her chin to emphasize her point.

"Will you at least come with me?" I replied, waggling my eyebrows suggestively.

"Later... and it wouldn't be very restful if I went with you and you know it."

"Are you sure you won't join me?" I asked, trying not to beg.

"You go rest. I'll get some work out of the way so I can have you to myself tonight without feeling like I'm slacking off."

"If I go now would you take a shower with me when I get up?"

She shook her head, teasing me, then laughed with that sexy sparkle in her eyes and relented. "That could be arranged," she purred, "Now hurry before I change my mind!"

It was good to know she still has it as bad for me as I do for her.

He can be so stubborn sometimes. He does too much and pretends everything is all right even if he's in pain or exhausted. Jean sometimes reminds me of a child who is dead tired but refuses to go to bed because he'll miss something. However, that is one of his most admirable traits even though it gets him into trouble. He smiles and laughs so easily, despite everything. I feel utterly adored whenever I'm near him. Being with him is really like a fairytale. We've been together nearly a year and I love him more every day. Sometimes he'll poke fun of himself saying to someone, "Search me, I don't know how I managed to win her over either. Shh! Don't tell her that you know... she might come to her senses."

I feel the same way. If this is a dream I don't want to wake up.

Once I was sure he was asleep I went into the kitchen and tidied up a bit. It was a relief when I saw that he'd forgotten to wash the pots and pans from his botched attempt at breakfast. If he'd remembered he'd probably still be messing with them. Once I was finished I poured myself another cup of coffee and went into the library to work. After transcribing several pages of court martial testimony from Ishbal I took off my glasses and laid my head on the desk so I could rest my eyes.

I snuck up behind her to massage her shoulders. She jumped so quickly I thought she'd hit the ceiling.

"Eek Jean! Don't do that!" she shrieked.

I grinned and shrugged my shoulders. Once she'd gotten over the shock she leaned over to kiss me saying, "I take it you slept well since you're up to your usual shenanigans."

"Yes ma'am," I replied, kissed her back and then saluted sloppily.

"Want me to fix some lunch?" she offered.

"If you're finished with your work, that'd be great. I wouldn't want to tear you away from it. It must have been fascinating... to put you to sleep that fast."

"That's very funny, Jean. I was just resting my eyes and gathering my thoughts."

"You should have taken a nap with me. I can tell you're worn out too, 'pot'."

She rolled her eyes, annoyed on being called out about working too hard with the old 'pot and kettle adage' and then said, "If you had some self-control I would have, but you would have found some way..."

Can't argue with her when she's right. "Truce?" I asked as I took her hand and then kissed it.

Her smile she gave me told me everything. It was the one reserved just for me.

I kissed her hand again and said, "You know, you're just as incorrigible as I am."

She couldn't argue much about that either.

When I caught up with him again he was in the kitchen, bent over, surveying the contents of the icebox.

I put a hand on his bare back, startling him with their coldness. He bumped his head when he sat up.

"Oww that smarts! Your hands are like ice!"

"What's for lunch?" I asked, trying to sound completely innocent. Two could play his game.

"I'm relieved you care so much about my well being," he answered, trying to sound like I'd hurt his feelings.

I surveyed his condition quickly and once I was sure he didn't have any cuts or bruises teased, "Like you always say, it's only your head."

He grinned at me, turned his attention back to the ice box and said decisively, "We're out of just about everything. So it's sandwiches. Take it or leave it. Though we do have bacon, so if you'd fry it up, we can have BLTs."

Jean was exceptionally capable in the kitchen - except when it came to controlling grease spatter and handling heavy pots of boiling water. Usually Edward would fix bacon in the morning if Alphonse wanted some, and both brothers would be in the kitchen making pasta and frying up chopped meat since they both adored noodles with meat sauce.

Since moving in together we'd become a well oiled machine. While I cooked the bacon Jean prepped the lettuce and tomatoes at the table. When the bacon was almost done he got out place settings and made the toast. By the time I had drained the last slices he had everything finished. He even had drinks ready and waiting. That's my man, prepared down to the finishing touch.

Thankfully lunch went off without a hitch. Nothing very fancy, but it all tasted great. Anything would have been better than the breakfast fiasco. The day hadn't started out like I planned, but at least Sciezka looked pretty pleased. The traditional flowers and chocolate and romantic strolls in the park may not be her thing, but I wanted to make this day special for her even though she'd say she wouldn't want me to go so much out of my way. But like I keep telling her, when it comes to my girl nothing is too much out of my way.

All that matters to me is that she's happy. There's no such thing as too much when it comes to her.

Once we'd cleared away the lunch dishes Jean did some stretches on the rug in the living room. Watching him move like that quickly made me decide that my work would keep for one more day. I put away the file I'd been working on, chose a book I'd been meaning to read and could never seem to get to before now, and made myself comfortable in the big chair. There was something so satisfying about curling up with my favorite poems on a cold day. Especially while watching my sexy man move around on the rug like a graceful cat.

Every now and then I'd watch Jean without him realizing it. Like now, he was concentrating so hard he didn't notice. The muscles in his arms and chest are fascinating to me.

His physique intrigues me. He's agile in his wheel chair, pushing the rims with firm and efficient strokes, gliding over the pavement. I can barely keep up with him unless he slows down for me. His arms are very developed, twice as big around as mine and every muscle stands out. That strength shows when he pulls me toward him, like I weigh nothing. His chest is rock hard from physical therapy and transferring from place to place. When I rest my head there he's warm and yielding, but his heart beat is as strong as he looks as it thumps against my ear.

The tendons in his forearms stand out and the muscles strain when he lifts weights. He works with Jim several times a week and still devotes hours at home to making himself stronger. But if I stroke the tender skin on the inside of his arm Jean relaxes, going limp like a wet noodle. I just love that.

His hands are steady and strong, just like while tearing down and cleaning his side arm. He usually hates being still, he likes being constantly in motion. He'll twirl his pen as he studies, sometimes sticking it in his mouth and trying to smoke it. But now he is calm and intensely focused. He's stretching now, and his palms are facing the ceiling. He's got calluses now from the rims of his chair, but his hands are large and they look small in comparison. It's funny, as skilled as he is with his hands he'll still sometimes get clammy palms when we're together, and even now he still gets tongue tied and blushes when he's shy or nervous. I watch him massage his twitching muscles now, with such patience and precision. It's hard to remember that these are the same fingers that twitch when he's anxious. But when they're steady like this I remember how just holding his hand, with his fingers twined with mine, can soothe me.

His jaw tightens as he stretches into a new position, just like when he comes across a curb that's too high or stairs and I can tell he's fighting back the urge to curse. His eyes harden but then he quickly glances at me, and they soften and light up and his smile gets wider along with mine as I smile back and blow him a kiss.

In between sets I snuck a quick look at Sciezka. I was hoping to get a glimpse of her "studious face", her upturned nose crinkled in concentration, hunched over a book. She's so intense sometimes and her enthusiasm for information is contagious. Instead I found her watching me, her book open, but apparently unread. The silly grin on her face would be more appropriate if I was wearing it. I must have caught her daydreaming. That was cute too. A year ago I wouldn't believe she was prone to it. She seemed so fiery at times, yet guarded.

When I'd decided I'd done as much physio as I could handle in one session I scooted over to where she was sitting. I was getting better at it or at least less awkward when I was out of my chair. So good at it in fact that I startled her when I propped an elbow on the ottoman to steady myself and asked, "What's got you so fixated?"

She gasped, adjusted her glasses as they'd slid down the bridge of her nose and then stammered, "Just some poetry."

"Is it any good? It must be to have you so engrossed."

"Oh it's great! The rhyme scheme, meter and alliteration... are all excellent. I highly recommend it."

I moved closer, took the slim volume from her and as I showed her the cover replied, "It must be. You had it upside down."

As she stood up abruptly, nearly losing her balance in her hurry she exclaimed, "I'm taking a shower!"

It would have to be a very cold shower if Jean and I were going to get anything else accomplished the rest of the day.

He came into the bedroom, shirtless and glistening with sweat.

"Came to put something more on," he said, with that gorgeous boyish grin that I fell in love with.

I thought he'd come to ask me if I needed company in the shower. Truthfully that's what I wanted, and was hoping he'd make the first move. I was feeling frisky after watching him and his sweat slicked glistening muscles did need to get clean.

He grabbed a grey sweatshirt from the drawer and quickly put it on.

"While you shower I'm going to start shoveling the front walk."

I was about to protest and invite him to join me in the shower after all. Just as I was about to speak, then the phone rang. He hurried to the kitchen, answered it and came back smiling.

"What has you looking so happy? Who called?" I asked.

"I've been saved by the bell. That was Julia, wondering if we had supplies to hold us until we get dug out."

"That was so nice of her. She really didn't have to. What did you say?"

"We have enough to last a few days, plus canned goods. We're set for firewood, plenty in here and a whole cord out back and candles if the power goes out."

"What about the shoveling? I don't think you should... "

"Believe me; I wasn't looking forward to that either. Julia is having her husband send over one of the neighbor kids. She says they are going door to door, trying to strike it rich."

"So they're profiting from the foul weather?"

"Nothing wrong with that... I got my pocket money as a kid doing odd jobs. I was always looking for wood to chop, snow to shovel and gardens to weed."

I pictured a much smaller, messier version of Jean and it fit perfectly. I must have been too quiet since he asked, "Cens for your thoughts?"

Shaking my head to clear it I replied, "Sorry... I was thinking of how you must have looked way back then. Your mother needs to send more pictures."

"Please don't. I promise I'll show you when we visit them next time."

I kissed him on the cheek and then said, "I'll hold you to that promise. I'm going to go put some money in an envelope and tack it to the door. Young boys who are that industrious will be sure to find it. That way when they get the job done, we won't be interrupted. Would you please draw a bath for us?"

As the tub filled I lit some candles, added scented oil and Sciezka's favorite bath foam. Soon the room smelled of tea and coriander. I only knew that because of the label on the bottle. I was beginning to wonder what was taking her so long. When the tub was full I turned off the lights and got undressed. I wasn't worried, she'd probably gotten sidetracked. In fact I was somewhat relieved, since I'd be able to get into the tub on my own and she'd join me later. Transferring in front of her wasn't embarrassing; however, getting into the tub is awkward looking at best and I don't like to be seen that way if I can help it.

I'd been soaking for a couple minutes when Sciezka finally came in. She was smiling and her face was dirty. After untying the drawstring of her soft flannel pants she let them drop, unceremoniously so they pooled around her ankles. As she stepped out of them she kicked them out of the way and then peeled off her t-shirt. For someone who often tripped over her own feet when she was preoccupied, she was so graceful. The way she arches her back, arms overhead to stretch as she undresses never fails to undo me. I can't get enough of her.

I'd tried to get a fire going in the grate so I would surprise Jean after our bath. No matter how many times I watch him methodically stack the logs, littler sticks and wadded up newspaper I never get it quite right. The paper will catch and flare up brightly, but the kindling doesn't burn. That was the case today. I tried poking at it with the tongs and moved the logs around. It only made a smoky and sooty mess. I finally gave up, deciding it would have to wait until we'd finished our bath.

The only light in the bathroom came from the many candles placed around the room, on every available surface. He's so thoughtful when it comes to the little details. I could tell he'd added bubbles to the bath... Xingian tea, coriander and a hint of bergamot. I'd chosen it since I wanted to smell it on him, while he was in Central and I was in Rush Valley. I pushed that thought out of my mind. We were together now and with all the sacrifices and bravery of all our friends we'd never be apart again.

We'd both been so busy, our little house full of friends and family. We almost never got a whole day alone together in complete privacy.

Better not waste it, I thought as I got into the bath, opposite Jean, so I could get a good look at him. He only looked better wet, the candle light highlighting the contours of his body. I leaned in for a kiss and he grinned.

I closed my eyes and instead of his lips my face met with something wet. When I opened my eyes he was still smiling and held up a filthy washcloth.

"What is that?" I asked, slightly irritated that I hadn't been kissed yet.

"I think it's soot and it was all over your face!"

He rinsed the washcloth, wrung it out and passed it over my face a few more times.

"There, all done. Now get over here," he said.

I held out my arms. She came closer and I pulled her towards me. She sighed contentedly as she nestled against my chest. For a while we just soaked, enjoying the quiet and each other's company.

Then I had an idea for how Sciezka could still have her spa day. I looked down at her face and saw her eyes were closed and she was smiling.

"You awake gorgeous?" I whispered in her ear and lingered there awaiting her reply.

"I'm awake, just making the most out of our time alone. Don't get me wrong, my plans with Laura would have been fun. But today, right now? It's perfect. I don't have to do anything but relax with you."

"Would it be too taxing for you to sit up?" I teased.

"For what? You'd have to make it worth my while," she purred suggestively, sounding much more alert.

"That's later, as much as I hate waiting. I figured I could try to make up some of the pampering you're missing. Shampoo you hair, scrub your back... maybe attempt a pedicure?" I offered.

"I like how you think."

As I washed her hair I gently massaged her scalp ,and was careful not to get soap in her eyes I kept working my fingers through the lather using some of the relaxation techniques Fuery had been reading about and taught me and Riza a while back, and Sciezka purred like a kitten.. She tipped her head back, thoroughly relaxed and murmured, "So much better than the spa."

Then I gently rinsed it out and did the same with the conditioner.

We stayed in the tub until our fingers started to prune and the water cooled off. We got out of the tub and I said, "Get into something comfortable and pick out a color for your toes while I take care of a few things in here."

She grinned, a few beads of water still on her shoulders, as she finished toweling off and teased, "I'll pick two, one for me and one for you. That's the only way I'll allow it."

"Wait... what?" I asked. "So you're saying you want to paint my toenails too? That's not exactly my kind of fashion statement sweetheart."

"C'mon, it'll be fun. I'll even go with a subtle color. You'll hardly notice it's there. I don't think pale pink would be too noticeable. Besides, how many people other than me see you barefoot?"

"I'll have a hell of a time explaining it to Jim at therapy or Ron at the pool."

"You can pick any color you want for mine and I'll make it worth the trouble."

"Really?" I asked. "Convince me."

"The boys will still be in Xenotime this weekend. Friday night we'll have dinner at Pane Fresco and then you can be in charge. Anything you want."

"I'm in. I'll meet you in the living room."

While Jean was in the bathroom I put on some of my more risqué lingerie and then covered up in his robe. I hoped it would give him ideas. He wasn't the only one who could plan surprises.

I went into the living room, set the polish on the coffee table, flame red for me and petal pink for him and then went to pour the wine.

He was rearranging the logs and kindling in the grate when I returned to the living room with two very full glasses of white wine.

Once he had the fire going he joined me on the couch. I insisted on painting his nails first, so he wouldn't have a chance to back out.

Just as I was ready to start he asked, "Are you sure you aren't hungry? I could fix something quick... "

I raised my glass, took a sip and then said, "I'm fine. I don't think you're hungry either. I think you're stalling."

He smiled sheepishly and then admitted, "Maybe, a little bit. If Breda ever finds out about this he may question my sanity."

"If this makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed, I suppose I could let it go this time... "

"No, I'll do it! Besides, they already know I'm crazy about you, so let them think whatever they want."

I stood up, kissed him and then started painting.

I watched Sciezka carefully brush the pale pink onto each toe, slowly and skillfully. For something that would never be on public view if I could help it, she was fastidious. Her hands moved with feather light precision. It probably would have tickled, if I could feel it. I decided not to think about that. This was supposed to be fun. Besides, today was Sciezka's day.

"Do you think that anyone will notice that they're painted?" I asked when she switched feet.

"They'll only notice if they make a habit of inspecting your feet. It's barely visible."

"Hopefully Jim won't tease me too much. He's really the only person besides you who sees my feet. He'll get a laugh out of it sure... but I bet he's done some pretty goofy things for Gracia."

Sciezka smiled slightly, her features unreadable, like she was up to something. Then she twisted the cap back on the polish, set it down and as she stood up she looked puzzled.

"Is anything the matter?" I asked, concerned since we'd been having such a good time.

"Oh no, nothing... I'm just trying to figure out where I should sit so you can paint my nails. I don't want you moving until yours are dry."

"We should be able to find something that works. It's not exactly alchemy."

Those green eyes of hers sparkled with mischief as she sprung into action, stepping onto the couch cushions, wobbling a bit and narrowly missed stepping on Master Havoc. I winced at the thought of it. Once she regained her balance she placed her hands on my shoulders to steady herself and then bent over to kiss me.

I broke the kiss for a moment to ask, "Just how is this balancing act going to work?"

She rubbed her nose against mine, in what Elysia called a "bunny kiss" and then sat down on the back of the couch and wiggled her toes, just inches from my face.

It didn't take Jean long at all to polish my nails. His hands were steady and I figured his dexterity came from stripping down and cleaning his weapons. He can do it in the dark as quickly as he can in good light. I got down from my perch, sat in his lap and then checked his polish to see if it was dry yet.

"Can I move now without mussing it?" he asked.

"Not yet, but soon."

"Let me know when. I just hate it when I smear my polish. It's such a bother," he trilled effeminately, pulling at his hair like he was arranging an imaginary spit curl.

"I don't sound like that. None of the women I associate with sounds like that. Honesty, Riza and Gracia would give you a talking to if they heard that."

"What about Garfiel? I thought it was a rather good imitation."

"I'll give you that. He'd leave most of the polishing work to Winry because it chipped his manicure."

We'd set up camp in front of the fire on the Xingian rug. Sciezka had made a point of taking off her glasses and placing them on the coffee table.

As we finished our wine we were quiet. We didn't need small talk to take up space. Our silences were comfortable.

"So why were you so hot to make today special anyway? It's not our anniversary or anything like that, is it? You were awfully preoccupied with breakfast," she said suddenly, pulling me out of the cozy silence.

"You mean you don't know what day it is?" I asked and then wondered if she was playing coy. Did she really not know what day it was?

"Of course I do. It's February the fourteenth. Yesterday was the thirteenth and tomorrow will be the fifteenth."

"It's also a holiday," I hinted.

"It's a snow day. Sure, but that isn't a recognized holiday. Maybe we should make it one?"

I simply shook my head and grinned. She really didn't know.

"An attempt at breakfast in bed and heart shaped pancakes? Oh, Valentine's Day! I remembered as soon as I saw those pancakes! I didn't think you went in for that. One day and only one day to express your feelings is not enough. We do it every day"

"You are right about that... with my luck with women before. I usually ended up eating chocolates alone at home, watching the expensive flowers I'd bought wilt. All alone, cursing my bad luck while my date was being entertained by Mustang."

"So this is your first real Valentine's Day?"

"Not the first, but definitely the best."

His eyes went wide as I stood and untied the sash of his robe. Standing over him I let it pool around my ankles and he looked me up and down.

"You were busy while I was lighting the fire."

"Maybe I was. I thought that on a cold night you'd appreciate a little lace and satin. That and I figured out what day it was while I was washing the breakfast dishes. I'm impressed that you tried to make heart shaped pancakes. Now how should I repay you for your thoughtfulness?"

"This is definitely the best Valentine's Day ever."

"Ditto. Now get those pants off.."