Edward never says that he loves her.
But if they were out, and he had said something that made Winry bite her lower lip, shift her weight and look away, he'd hold her hand, and spare her a tender look.
And she'd take that, along with the resigned sigh that went with it.
All of the other young men who worked at Central flaunted their girls. Well, at least they certainly seemed to. While Edward ignored them with ease in the past, as of late, he couldn't do anything but notice. Look at Mary, look at Jane; look at Sue. Isn't she so amazing? Look at how proud I am to be with her.
With Winry, there were no public embraces, no kissing hands or warm introductions.
When Alphonse teased him, it was primarily out of exasperation. Some happiness.
Longing, and maybe jealousy.
Just a bit.
It's not like anyone doesn't know.
Shut up, Al.
Like Edward couldn't keep his reservations.
Or feign them, Alphonse would add.
It's not like she had demanded anything from him.
They had come back.
He had come back.
She had baked an apple pie, which they had partaken together for Alphonse as promised, to celebrate the long-awaited marriage of his disembodied voice to his withered body.
They meant every bite.
Later that night, in private darkness of the downstairs hallway, Winry advanced, pressing the edge of a pan against Edward's chest.
He had kept his promise.
And Winry had baked him an apple pie, and kept it warm.
Edward blamed his shot nerves for the rushing kiss that followed the fevered silence.
When she's in the kitchen, Edward doesn't come up behind her, wrap his arms around her waist, and tell her how beautiful she is.
Despite how his breath catches when he reaches the bottom of the stairs.
He'll simply stride out the door, to play with Den or find his brother Alphonse as Winry's gaze cast down to her menial task.
Pretending to ignore him.
Sometimes, even a wrench to the head won't solve anything.
Edward unraveled slowly.
At times, even in the company of others. Sliding her hair across her shoulder with drifting fingers, brushing his knuckles against her back as he conversed, his hand encircling her waist.
Not averting his gaze when he spoke to her.
Winry can only clutch at something, maybe his arm, the rail of a nearby staircase, or the back of a chair, recalling the conversation she had had with Hughes so long ago.
Internalizing it, she had endured.
Through her strained patience, she could keep going.
This time, when Edward comes down the stairs, he moves to her side, palm easing onto the curve of her hip, but doesn't draw her close. He rubs his temple against hers, before pulling back to discreetly smell her hair.
Dust and sunshine.
Winry places her hand over his, and cranes her neck, pressing back.
Edward murmurs something.
But not about her.
He asks how long her grandmother has been out on errands, that he'll go out and buy groceries soon, and while regarding the chopped vegetables, she asks him, just to make sure, if he likes garlic or not.
Moments later, Edward withdraws.
His breath hitches.
"I… I, uh…."
She stares, holding her breath with wrung hands, and the weight of her gaze crushes his will.
Swallowing thickly, Edward settles on a painful, hasty smile, and kisses her.
Like it was a worthy distraction.
Like he could get away without saying anything for so long, when her own feelings were so miserably obvious.
Winry can't take it, and throws her hands up.
In the kitchen, they fought.
Having exchanged blows, she finally gripped the edge of the counter, and sobbed.
Edward couldn't believe or take himself, either.
That night, after some heartfelt fumbling, tripping up the staircase, and losing themselves, they made their way to Winry's bedroom.
Urgency stole the way of trepidation.
Beneath him, Winry was moaning, drowning, gripping onto him, and his stomach suspends, he's doing everything right, he's doing everything right and she's loving it.
He was so tired of seeing her cry.
She tore her fingers through his hair, groaning with the strength of his thrusts, and Edward gasped unwitting words onto her neck.
Their movement slowed, haggard pants punctuating the silence.
Neither of them had come.
Her hands seized his scalp, caught, her thoughts tumbling.
"What… what was that?"
Edward struggled to catch his breath.
He hadn't meant to say it.
Edward swallowed clumsily, something giving way in his chest.
He nearly shouted, voice cracking.
Breath blasting hot and true across between them, their heartbeats pounded.
Clutching his shoulders and tousled hair, Winry ground against him, threw her head back, and laughed.
The next time she was in the kitchen, Edward stayed, cleaning off the table and putting the dirty dishes in the sink. Filling the basin with steaming water, he scrubbed beside her.
After Edward squeezed out the last bit soap from the exhausted dispenser, Winry ducked down into the cabinet and rummaged for an extra bottle. She placed it atop the shelf above the sink, took a soppy plate from his hands, and rinsed it.
Edward was huffing into the soaking sink, his brows furrowed and suds all the way up to his elbows. His grip slipped and he splashed himself all the way down his front with an angry howl.
Winry's heart fluttered as she laughed at his expense.
After taking another one of his plates and inspecting it, she rubbed a stubborn speck of food off its surface, and Edward scowled as she plunked it back into the soapy water with pleasure.
His trailing sleeves were a sodden mess. He rolled them back up impatiently, and pushed his bangs out of his eyes with agitation.
Warmth expanded in her chest.
His hair was ridiculous, frayed and plastered across his forehead with suds.
Winry drew her thumb across the curve of a clean bowl.
"I love you, too."
Edward stopped scrubbing.
Winry couldn't help her thrilled, brimming smirk as she turned away to rinse another dish.
Pretending she didn't notice the stare or his slack jaw.
After the strongest silence that had ever passed between them, Edward closed his mouth.
He released the plate and sponge, closed the distance between them, and devoured her.
Of course he's known.
And he decides, as their eyes meet, mirthful and wet, that he can handle that.
The next time he sees Winry in the kitchen, she's folding the crust on an apple pie.
He stands behind her, his hand over her belly and rubbing his temple against hers.
Kneading her hips and drawing on her earlobe with his teeth, Edward murmurs, and this time, it's about her.