Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist or any of the characters therein...but boy, do I wish I did!
A/N: So here it is, the companion piece to I Sense You There. While this piece will be similar to the previous one where each chapter will have one of the five senses as its central theme, there will be much more romance and good ol' fluff in these oneshots. I Sense You There was meant to show the budding romance between Ed and Winry. I Sense You Here is meant to see their strong attraction come to fruition.
There really was nothing more beautiful in the world, Winry decided, as she stared down at the bed. Alphonse Elric, back in his own skin, was tucked snugly between the cotton sheets, his eyes closed as he slept. With unblinking blue eyes, Winry watched the slow easy rise and fall of the boy's chest, unbelieving of just how much she had missed watching him breathe.
He could breathe.
He could sleep and dream and eat and touch and smell…he was whole.
It had been nearly a month ago when Winry had received a delightfully exhausted phone call from Edward, informing her through yawns and sighs that the Promised Day had been stopped, that the homunculi and their creator were dead, that Van Hohenheim was also dead and that both he and Al had been returned to their original bodies.
No more suit of armor.
No more automail arm and leg.
When Winry had asked why Ed sounded so tired he told her that he and Al were in the hospital recovering and that he was full of all sorts of strange drugs that were keeping him drowsy. When Winry had yelled at Ed, demanding why he would strain himself for something so stupid as calling her, he responded with a simple 'I wanted to tell you that we're alright…and that we're coming home'.
It was the first time Ed had called to tell her he was coming home.
Winry started baking apple pie that evening.
Naturally, the happy homecoming was delayed. It seemed that wherever Al's body had been for the last five years it had suffered without a soul, having become terribly emaciated, the bones of his ribs sticking out disturbingly against his weak pink flesh. The Central doctors kept the boy under strict observation, pumping his body with a steady supply of nutrients as well as conducting several tests to assure that all of his organs were functioning properly. As for Ed, his right arm and left leg were returned to him horribly malnourished and suffering from atrophy so his muscles were given regular electric shocks, steroids, and a great deal of physical therapy.
Both Ed and Al called Winry everyday, promising that the day of their arrival was soon in coming and Winry would soothe their worries by assuring them that she wasn't angry that they weren't able to come home sooner and that getting well again should be their first priority.
The extended wait only made their eventual return that much more exciting.
It had been a thrill to see the brothers, Ed walking a little unsteadily and Al perched on his brother's back, making their way up the dirt road towards the welcoming yellow Rockbell house. Winry had rushed out happily to meet them, her wrench, so often used to welcome Ed home, had fallen in the grass as Winry hurried to hug the brothers, her arms stretching out to grab both Ed and Al. The younger Elric laughed aloud and grasped for Winry's head, his fingers getting lost in her blond hair, his lips kissing her brow as tears traveled down his cheeks.
Ed, of course, had blustered and complained throughout the reunion, partly because he was caught in the middle but mostly because Winry's breasts were pressed rather distractingly against his chest. When Winry released Al she immediately took Ed's right arm in her hands and forcefully pulled up his sleeves, letting loose a delighted squeal when she touched warm pale skin.
The way she had looked up at him, her eyes fairly sparkling, her face tinted pink with a tell-tale smudge of grease on her nose, and her mouth open just a little as she took in great gulps of cool air, Ed was terribly tempted to kiss her.
And why not?
After all, she wasn't in danger anymore and part of the reason he had spent five years away from home was so he could come back to her…be with her…
The moment was perfect, and it was perfectly ruined when Pinako approached the trio, a wheelchair before her and Den barking excitedly at her heels, effectivly destroying the mood. Al, naturally, began to bounce up and down, causing Ed's back to crack in his exuberance. Soon Al was placed in the wheelchair, Pinako pushing him up the path and Den furiously sniffing and licking Al as they went. Winry had laughed, the sun catching her hair in such a way that it appeared that the rays were trapped between the strands. She quickly took Ed's hand – his right hand – in hers and pulled the elder Elric along.
After tea and sweet-cakes Pinako announced that she would be making stew for dinner, much to Ed's delight, and that the three friends could sit and catch up. It had surprised Winry immensely when, as soon as Pinako was out of earshot, both Al and Ed began to tell her everything from the moment they decided to return their mother from the grave until they found themselves standing at the Gate and finally put an end to their quest. The story was long and terrifying and there were times Winry wished they wouldn't tell her the details, but after being left in the dark for so long she couldn't help being touched by their desperate need to share everything with her.
They had barely finished their tale when Pinako called them for dinner.
Supper was a grand affair, not only with a heaping feast but also with several Resembool residences peeking in on the group. They claimed to be checking to see if it was true that the Elrics had returned, but as everyone who came was offered a plate of their own, Ed became convinced that everyone was trying to get their greedy hands on the stew that was rightfully his.
After all, he'd earned it dammit!
Ed's temper quickly bottomed out, however, when he noticed that Al was nearly passing out in his food. Even though Al had been returned to his body it was as if he had been in a coma for five years and so was still rather frail and not able to keep food down very easily nor stay awake at great lengths or handle too much excitement. Worried for his brother, Ed roughly pushed all of the visitors out of the Rockbell kitchen, much to Winry and Pinako's chagrin, and carried his brother up to their old bedroom.
Al fell asleep in his brother's arms long before he was ever placed under the warm cotton sheets.
It was well after midnight when Winry found herself looking up from Al's sleeping form as Ed entered the room, a slice of cold apple pie in his hands.
"Another one, Ed? You've eaten three quarters of the whole pie." Winry commented.
Ed just rolled his eyes and took a seat beside her, their chairs so close together their knees were pressing against each other.
"Well, you did make if for me, right? Besides, you make good pie."
"Was that a compliment?" Winry asked with great surprise.
"Why not?" Ed responded as he chomped on a mouthful of pie.
"Well, you've never complimented me before."
"What?" Ed hollered, crumbs spilling from his mouth. Winry gave Ed a smack on the chest and an annoyed glower as she jerked her head in Al's direction. Checking quickly to be sure his brother was still sleeping, Ed returned his own annoyed stare to the girl sitting beside him. "What do you mean I never compliment you?"
"Well, you don't."
"Didn't I say your apple pie was delicious back…well, before." Ed stated, not wanting to put words to that horrible time in their past.
"You were just saying that to comfort me." Winry explained.
"How the hell would you know why I say anything?" Ed demanded. "I may have been trying to make you feel better, but I still meant the compliment."
"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't." Ed grumbled as he took another bite of pie. "I also told you, you were the best automail mechanic in the country."
"You've never told me that!" Winry exclaimed, her cheeks going pink at his admission. When Ed seemed to realize what he had confessed, his cheeks also began to flush, but he tried to keep casual and slumped in his chair as he munched on his slice of pie.
"Didn't I? Well, I know I've said it before and I meant to tell you, so I guess I'm telling you now."
Winry couldn't help staring at Ed, her jaw dropping just a little as she watched him nonchalantly eat his pie…his lips rubbing together…his tongue darting out to catch the crumbs on his chin…
"What are you staring at, woman?" Ed asked, his voiced sounding gruff and uncomfortable. He always hated it when she stared at him.
"I was just thinking that you'd better start watching your diet." Winry answered quickly. She fidgeted in her chair, feeling utterly foolish for how she was acting. True, she was in love with Edward Elric and had been for a long time, but really, daydreaming about his lips and tongue…
It was natural, Winry knew this, but it still felt terribly awkward to think of her and Ed kissing…touching…making out…making lo-
"What's wrong with my diet?" Ed demanded, dragging Winry away from her amorous thoughts.
The young woman sighed, wishing Ed would just shut up so that she could indulge herself in her fantasies that were really quite new and thrilling no matter how awkward she might feel about them later. However, having over-indulgent hormone induced daydreams about your true love who just happened to be your best friend, who just happened to be sitting so close to you your knees were touching, might not be the most opportune time or place. Instead, Winry did what she always did when she was flustered around Ed.
She teased him.
"Well, Ed, now that you're no longer eating for yourself and Al, I would think that you'd cut down on the pigging-out. But since you've been here you've eaten half a pot of stew, nearly a dozen buns, two pieces of sweet-cake, half a plate of string beans and nearly one whole apple pie. I bet you were stuffing your face at the Central hospital, too."
"What are you trying to say, Winry?" Ed growled as he stuffed the rest of his pie in his mouth with cocky defiance. Winry smirked and gave Ed's belly a few gentle pats.
"Is that a spare tire I feel?" she inquired innocently, her voice full of mirth. In truth, him sitting beside her, his hair askew and unwashed, his shirt dotted with dried gravy, with his right arm resting on the back of his chair and the toes of his left foot drumming against the wooden floor, Ed had never looked better.
"Shut up!" You don't know what you're talking about." Ed snorted.
"Hmm…I see Al sleeps just as deeply as you. You know," Winry whispered as she leaned over the bed to stroke Al's fine hair, "I'd forgotten how much you two look alike. Same hair, same eyes and nose…same snore."
"Pft!" Ed sighed, even as his eyes traveled to the bed to watch his brother sleep. "Even after a month, sometimes I can't believe we did it…but then I look at him and it's like the last five years have just been one long nightmare and now we're finally awake. You know, we couldn't have done it without your help." Ed whispered.
"But I was made a hostage to keep you both in line. How was that helpful?" Winry wondered.
Ed was quiet for a moment, watching as Winry's fingertips played with Al's short hair. He felt his chest swell as he watched the two most important people in his life, both alive and well and happy. It was an image that he wanted to engrave into his memory just has he had engraved that personal message into his pocket watch, so that he would never forget this moment.
Winry's face was so gentle and calm and Ed was so used to seeing her either angry or sad that he had almost forgotten just how soft his friend could appear. He noticed differences though, having not taken the time to truly study her face since those long hours of recovery from automail surgery five years ago. Gone was the childhood roundness of her cheeks and chin to be replaced with defined curves that gave her a more mature, womanly appearance. Her nose, always rather cute, was still cute, but a little more pointed, a little sharper. Her blue eyes were still large and shinning, but the lashes were longer, darker, and curled just so.
Then there was her mouth…Ed wasn't so sure he should be thinking about her mouth or lips or tongue because that would cause his brain to simply shut down and be led down the path of hormonal indulgence and while that would certainly be a wonderful way to pass the time, there would be time for that later. Right now, Ed had to get a few of the more important issues out of the way so that there would no longer be anymore misunderstandings between himself and Winry.
"You were more helpful than you realize, Winry." Ed said softly.
"How?" she persisted, refusing to be satisfied until Ed answered her properly.
Ed couldn't help smirking at Winry, taking another moment to admire her as she stroked his brother's hair.
"You gave us a place to come home to."
Winry looked up at Ed, her expression one of gentle shock. Taking one long quivering breath, she finally succumbed to the one thing she had been fighting ever since Ed had called her from Central hospital one month ago.
Ed had nearly jumped out of his chair when he saw the tell-tale glimmer of tears build up in the corners of Winry's blue eyes before the salty water slid in thick lines down her cheeks. Immediately, he began to panic, berating himself for saying anything to the girl next to him in the first place. This was why he was never very nice to her.
Nice meant tears and tears meant bad.
Still, Ed felt that since he was the one to make Winry cry he should try to comfort her. Even though he couldn't figure out why she would cry over him being nice to her, Ed swallowed his pride, as well as his nerves, and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"Tears, Winry? Why?"
"Tears of joy, Ed." Winry managed to croak out through her blubbering. Dumbfounded, Ed leaned forward and used his left hand to wipe Winry's tears away, his face a contorted expression of concern and his golden eyes glowing with hope.
Winry sniffed loudly before taking Ed's hand in hers and pressing his warm ungloved palm against her cheek.
She adored the hot blush that made his nose seem to glow.
"These are tears of happiness, Ed." she explained as she nuzzled her cheek against his palm, her tears pressing into her skin and dampening the flesh. "Just like you promised."
That night, Ed and Winry kept vigil over Al's slumbering form. The younger Elric woke up the next morning with the dawn, chuckling to himself when he saw his older brother and their best friend asleep at his bedside, their arms around one another, Winry's head slumped against Ed's shoulder and Ed's head nuzzled in Winry's long blond hair.
It was good to be home.
So, now that everything's over for Ed and Al, Edward can finally focus on his love life or, and perhaps more importantly, that funny tingly feeling he gets inside whenever he's near Winry.
Basically, this chapter has set up that the feelings Ed and Winry have had for each other before are still present and stronger than ever. The next chapter will show Ed taking some action to appease his longing heart and frustrated libido.
Reviews are greatly welcomed and appreicated. No flames, please and thank you!