Butterflies and Moths
Author – D M Evans
Disclaimer – not mine
Rating – FRT
Characters – Garfiel, Winry/Ed
Series - manga
Spoilers/Timeline – no direct spoilers unless you don't know who Winry's training with in Rush Valley. Set some time after Winry gets her apprenticeship.
Summary – Sometimes young boys just need a little prodding…with a sharp stick.
Word count – 2990
Author's Note – thanks to S J Smith. This is sort of a sequel to Dreams of Gold and Silver since so many people asked for it but it's not necessary to read that one to understand this. They're stand alones. I won first place!
It was work, a long and involved process, being pretty, that is. It might be easier for Winry. Surely she faced a simpler path to beauty. Garfiel looked at his reflection and saw how much work he still had to do. Tonight was a special one, after all. He had to turn the caterpillar that woke up this morning sweltering in his bed into an ethereal butterfly in time for Carsten's showing tonight.
Fake eyelashes with sparkly beaded tips, carefully painted eye shadow, blush to bring out his cheekbones and the sweetest plum lipstick that Gitta down at the Curl Up and Dye swore was the newest hottest color, all went into his labors. Glancing up at the clock, Garfiel saw he was running early. Smiling, he dabbed on some rose and sparkling wine perfume, a saucy little cocktail that spoke of romance, and slipped into his deep blue gown with the ruffled hem and the jet bead 'bib' spraying over the bodice in a star pattern. He slipped his necklace that dangled his mother's wedding ring over his neck and put on his jet dangles and his metamorphosis was complete. Cocking his hips this way and that, Garfiel nodded at his reflection. He was pretty.
Slipping on his bejeweled sandals, Garfiel went out to his shop where he promised he'd meet Winry. He was surprised when she was so easily convinced to go to Carsten's showing. She had even rounded up Paninya to go as well and he appreciated the effort. If the show flopped, his lover would be inconsolable.
Winry had already made it back, looking much better than when she had dragged toward home early in the afternoon. It had been a busy morning and Garfiel swore the thermometer was just a hair away from exploding mercury out the top, it was so hot. The fans in the shop only managed to push around hot, dusty air but without them, it was nearly impossible to breathe. The place still stank of stale sweat in spite of all the candles he burned.
Winry's make up consisted only of a bit of lavender eye shadow that matched her sundress with its flirtatiously short hemline. Garfiel felt jealous that she could look so pretty with so little effort. Winry let her long hair – which she kept threatening to shave off in order to survive the Rush Valley heat - loose and flowing. "You look lovely, sweetie."
"Thanks, Mr. Garfiel. Carsten is going to love how you look tonight," she said, swinging her legs as she perched on a stool.
"I certainly hope so." Garfiel lightly patted his painstakingly curled hair.
Before Winry could answer, someone pounded on the door hard. His apprentice cocked her head at him. Paninya would have just come in unannounced. Winry hopped down and went to answer the door. A little blond girl, braid swinging, stomped in followed by someone lumbering around in armor. Garfiel blinked, the beads of his thick fake lashes bouncing on his cheeks. Oh, not a girl upon second attempt to see through the spangled fringe, it was the little boy Winry was sweet on.
"Edward?" Winry took a step back, her mouth gaping.
"Sorry we didn't call," the big one in the armor said. What was that boy's name, Garfiel wondered. "But Brother managed to break something and we were only a short train ride away."
"Al's right. See?" Ed held up the metal plating for the palmer surface of his arm. "It fell off."
Garfiel was about to say something about automail just not falling apart but the look on Winry's face said he should just sit back and watch this like theatre. He'd have his own chance at the boy or what was left of him.
"My automail doesn't just break, Edward. What in the hell did you do?" Winry growled, grabbing the piece away from him. The armored brother backed away fast. Garfiel didn't blame him.
"There was a…" Edward trailed off, a look of sheer panic in his eyes. "You really look nice, Winry. Have you ever worn make up before? You really should….I mean, no, that came out wrong."
Winry's eyes dilated and she swatted him with the piece of metal. The young boy yelped. Garfiel and Al took to hugging the walls while Winry swatted her friend all over the shop. Edward alternatively screamed her and his brother's names while he used the remains of his automail arm to shield his head. That left that cute little bum of his wide open and Winry took full advantage of it.
Finally, Garfiel waded in, deftly catching her wrist. "Now, now, Winry. We have a date tonight. You wouldn't want to get all sweaty. You can beat him some more tomorrow."
Winry shook free, tossing the slat of metal onto a work bench. "Oh, I will," she snarled.
"You're going out with…him?" Ed's voice was a tight squeak.
Garfiel and Winry rolled their eyes in concert. "As lovely as she is, my date is waiting for me at the art show. I'm just accompanying Winry and Paninya there."
"But I need to be…" Ed started then quelled, seeing the fire in Winry's eyes.
"You don't need to be anywhere, young man." Garfiel wagged his bejeweled finger at the boy. He caught Ed's face between his hands, leaning close. "Now you listen to me. Winry works hard every day and she is finally going to go out and have some fun. She spends far too much time worry about you as it is."
"You never call. You never write. What sort of friend are you? If I was Winry, I would have put my dainty foot in your ass and booted you all the way home," Garfiel said. "Do you know how often she mopes around here, thinking about you? If you did, you wouldn't be such a bad friend."
Out of the corner of his eye, Garfiel saw the bigger brother slinking toward the door, making an awful clatter. Edward stared, red faced, his mouth flapping around like a fish's. Winry seemed stuck between amused and horrified. "And as if neglecting this beautiful young lady weren't bad enough, you keep breaking her automail. The only time you show up is when you need something. I'd ban you from my shop if Winry didn't care about you, bless her heart."
Garfiel stopped when a camera flash washed over him. Winry stood there with her camera and that's when he realized that without context, this would look very much like he was about to kiss this boy to death, especially with the way his hands had squashed Edward's face, making his lips pucker.
"Winry?" Edward whimpered.
Garfiel let Edward go.
"I am sending this to the colonel so he can see how you spend your time, Edward," Winry threatened.
"But Winry…that's cruel," Ed pouted, his shoulders sagging. "I guess that's his point about me." He jerked his head at Garfiel, braid swinging. "I don't mean to be. I have reasons!"
"I know that, Edward." Winry popped the camera back into her purse. "But he's also right. You should at least write, you, too, Alphonse." She glanced back over her shoulder. "And I'm not making you an arm tonight. I'm not pulling an overnighter for you. I don't care if the whole of Amestris' army is riding over the hill and needs you to lead the charge, I'm going out and having fun tonight, Edward."
"Winry," Al said in a small voice. "Could we go with you? To make up for everything?"
Ed hunched in on himself. "Al…an art show?"
"Alphonse, that is an excellent idea," Winry said. "Edward, clean up, put on nicer clothes, you're coming with."
"But I don't have any nicer clothes with me," Ed whined, looking at his little suitcase.
"Then I'll get you something out of Mr. Garfiel's closet," Winry replied, folding her arms in a no-nonsense sort of way.
Garfiel laughed. "Sweetie, I don't have anything that tiny."
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING TOO SMALL TO WEAR A SLIP?" Heavens, that boy had a set of lungs. Ed glared then added tightly, "Size isn't the problem here."
"Find nicer clothes or I'm dressing you as one of the girls." Winry poked him in the chest. "And they best not all be black clothes."
"You can alchemize your wardrobe," Al reminded his brother.
"Winry, you have bigger problems than his sad taste in fashion." Garfiel pointed a finger at Ed's exposed wiring on his arm. That would never do.
She nodded. "My maker's mark is on this." Winry grabbed Ed's arm, going to pull it off.
"No!" Ed yanked back so hard he nearly ended up on the floor. Garfiel remembered the impetuousness of youth well. "I need it to fix my clothes because I am not going in a skirt. You can take my arm off when I'm dressed."
"Don't worry, I will," she promised.
Garfiel figured he had done what he could for his young apprentice, she could handle things from here. He sashayed toward the door. "Hurry him along, Winry. Our ride will be here soon."
"Not a problem," she replied in a tone that suggested it wouldn't be.
"Carsten, these are Winry's friends, Edward and Alphonse." Garfiel swept a hand toward them but Edward's gaze wasn't on the art but rather the buffet table Carsten had arranged for his showing. Winry nudged him. The boy's eyes widened upon taking in Carsten. Well, the little thing better not play on both sides of the field, or at least not on Garfiel's field. Garfiel eyed his lover, his insides fluttering. What a handsome man he was with that fall of golden hair and all those wonderful muscles. All around them Carsten's art, pieces of scrap metal given new form, just added to the beauty of the place.
"Pleased to meet you," Carsten said, dancing from foot to foot. "Wish it was on better circumstances but the doors will open any minute and I'm so nervous." He took a deep breath, calming himself. "Winry, Paninya, you two look lovely."
"Thanks, Car," Winry grinned as Ed tapped her shoulder.
"Winry, is it me, or does he look like Armstrong, only with a full head of hair," Edward said.
"And a more narrow chin," Alphonse added.
"Yes, he does," Winry agreed.
"That's a good thing, I hope," Carsten fretted.
"How could it not be? You're exquisite." Garfiel jumped in before his lover could start worrying about that, too. "Why don't you kids help yourself to some food while Carsten and I make sure everything is absolutely ready?"
They didn't have to be told twice. Garfiel spent some time talking Carsten off the ceiling before giving him a kiss and sending him off to meet his hopefully adoring public. Once people started arriving, Carsten went into artist mode and there was little Garfiel had to do other than circulate around and keep the conversation flowing. After a while, he saw Alphonse talking intently to Carsten about one of the pieces of art. Winry and Paninya were deeply involved in a conversation with a woman Garfiel didn't know, leaving poor Edward moving about the room, trying to hide from mechanics who had spotted his empty sleeve. At least the boy had found a Xingese collared black jacket and a dark blue shirt, a color that did look good on him. Finally, Edward came to roost toward the back of the gallery, looking dejected. Garfiel took pity on the kid and headed his way.
"Mmm, sparkling wine and flowers," Ed murmured, still staring at his feet but sounding hopeful.
"Sorry, no. My perfume," Garfiel said, sitting next to him. The kid's eyes got huge again. What pretty eyes they were, too.
"Winry isn't here," Edward said.
"I know that and she's not going to be unless you shape up," Garfiel replied. "But I'll help you." He held up a hand, cutting off Ed's sputtering protest. "I know the girl, maybe not as well as you, but I'm also older and wiser for the mistakes I've made."
Ed settled nervously, still looking ready to bolt but at least willing to listen "Yeah?"
"I wasn't trying to be mean when I yelled at you for never writing or calling except when you need her for something. It really does hurt Winry."
Ed looked away. "I know but there are people who want to hurt me, who would hurt her if they knew about her."
Garfiel waved his hand. "These people, if they're serious about hurting you, they know your past. They would make a point of it. They already know about her. Trust me, most of my patients are soldiers. I know how they think." Garfiel sighed. "All you're doing is keeping her in the dark, exposed to danger she doesn't know could be coming."
Edward looked aghast at that but said nothing.
"Or at least tell her why you're shielding her. She's a big girl. She can make some of her own decisions. Don't insult her by making them for her," Garfiel said.
"How is this helping me keep Winry?"
"Okay, let's try a different tact with you since cold truth isn't working." Garfiel studied Edward's face. "Or it is but you don't want to talk about it. So let's try this from the romantic side of things. That's where I excel if I do say so myself." Garfiel twisted a finger in his necklace, making his mother's suspended ring sway. He ignored Edward's eye roll. "Call her, Edward. Write. Don't talk about the bad stuff. Just let her know she means something to you. Hell, you can address them to me at the shop, let those meanies think you're dating me." He slapped Ed's knee.
"Okay, I can try that," Ed said, popping up as if to run.
Garfiel hauled him back down by his belt loops. "I'm not done, boy. Just look at you. You're a mess but we're going to transform you into something more, something more handsome. Just look at me." He patted his perfectly coifed hair. "I'm a master of the metamorphosis. I can turn your pig's ear into a silk purse. I know you can't just swing by and take her out whenever you want but you could send a gift or two. I know you state alchemists are well paid and I'm not talking just for her birthday. Send her surprise gifts, flowers, maybe a little jewelry. You could even just send a book that made you think of her. We girls like things like that."
"Ah…uhuh," Ed babbled, squirming.
"You could even ask for her tool wish list. Our tools are very expensive, well, some of them. A good mechanic builds his or her tool box slowly."
"Winry would like that," Ed said, rubbing his chin. "That's good. Thanks."
"Now for clothing. It makes a good gift but you have to know what your girl likes. Don't just go for the trampiest thing in the store just because it makes you all hot and bothered," Garfiel said and the boy went red to his hairline. "Make sure she would like something like that first. Always ask about perfume before buying. There's nothing worse than getting a gift perfume that smells horrible and you feel obligated to wear it."
"Winry doesn't wear perfume."
"She's wearing night-blooming jasmine tonight," Garfiel countered and Edward pouted, casting about as if he could smell the girl from here. "So, gifts, clothing, perfume, that just leaves when you actually do visit. We all know you're a busy State Alchemist but blowing into town and leaving as soon as she attaches your automail is rude. Make some time for her. You spend all this time rushing around to meet your goals and you'll meet them only to find you're all alone in this world and everyone's moved on without you," Garfiel said, noticing Edward's unhappy look. "One or two days will not kill you. Take her out or at least don't pout and fuss when she suggests it. Look at your brother. Did he fuss about coming here?"
"But Al likes art."
"Carsten hates automail shopping but he goes with me quietly because he knows it makes me happy. The point is, Edward, it's a give and take. Take her for a walk around town, go to a movie, go dancing."
"I can do that."
Realizing he was at the end of the boy's patience, Garfiel decided to wind it up. "So what are you going to do to improve yourself and keep Winry happy with you?"
Ed held up his hand and his opposite shoulder twitched as if he wanted to use the currently missing hand to tick off the points. The boy scowled. "I buy random gifts and I occasionally buy stuff she actually wants. I write when I get a chance and when I'm here I don't act like an ass."
Garfiel sighed. "Close enough."
Edward's eyes brightened. "How about I make something for her as a gift?"
"A girl would treasure that, well anyone who wouldn't is just a materialistic bitch and not worthy of you and we both know that's not Winry." Garfiel patted Ed's knee. "Make her all the gifts you want. I think you're well on your way, Edward. You're transforming from a caterpillar into a…" He shot Ed a critical look. "Well, you'll never be a butterfly with that attitude. You're becoming a moth."
Ed snorted. "Guess that means I should go pay some attention to her now."
"Very good idea."
Edward didn't thank him but Garfiel didn't think he would. Getting to his feet, he headed off to see how his own love was doing, content that he had just done a very good thing for his darling apprentice.