Rite of Passage

S J Smith

Summary: Written for the LJ community, FMA_ihop, for the prompt, Ed/Winry, Hohenheim catches them in the act and decides he has to do SOMETHING fatherly.

Disclaimer: Hiromu Arakawa might smack me o the head for writing this.

Rating: Teen-adult

A.N.: Unedited. Hopefully amusing, none the less.

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He really hadn't expected to open the door to the storeroom and see that - his eldest son tangled up in the arms (and legs) of Pinako's granddaughter. Still, it was something like looking in a mirror – Hohenheim remembered all too fondly – and with some embarrassment – some choice encounters with the Panthress of Resembool. "I beg your pardon," he said, sending the teens careening in different directions, the girl scrambling to pull her top down and Edward jerking his trousers up.

"You bastard!" he hissed, realizing who'd caught them at their play, hands freezing for a second before zipping his trousers closed. Edward shielded the girl best he could in such a tiny room. "What are you doing here, spying?"

"No, I was looking for the broom." Hohenheim gestured to the tool, propped on the wall nearest Winry. "But you can both finish getting dressed and get out of there."

Redfaced, Winry peeped at him through her bangs, half-hiding behind Edward's shoulder. His son seethed and bubbled like a boiling pot. "Here's the broom, old man." He glanced back at the girl, taking her hand and leading her out past Hohenheim. Before they could disappear down the hall, he blocked their passage. "What?"

"Well, Edward, I just think that there are things we need to discuss, the three of us." Hohenheim smiled beatifically in the face of his son's immediate, flaring rage. The boy really was too much like him at that age. At least Alphonse had inherited his mother's sweeter nature, though, from the eyes he'd been making at that pretty little dark-skinned girl with the automail legs, Hohenheim wondered if he should corral them, too, for this little talk. Well, maybe next time. Edward would be disruptive enough. He shooed them to the tiny den of their rented house, closing the door behind him. The girl was still bright red as some of Pinako's prize tomatoes, though Hohenheim noticed she clenched his son's hand in a deathgrip. It made him smile. "Please, sit down."

Edward led her to the couch, sitting stiffly and drawing her down next to him. Hohenheim could see his son's jaw flexing; could hear the boy gritting his teeth. Better cut him off before he exploded. "Now. I have to say, I'm both surprised and not surprised to see this."

"Huh?" Winry blinked her pretty eyes, obviously confused.

"Well, you are both of an age where certain…explorations are to be expected. But I really wouldn't have thought Edward would be the first one I found in such a circumstance."

"What's that supposed to mean?" He leaned forward, all bristles and sharp teeth.

"Er, only that Alphonse seems to be progressing faster than you at this stage?" Hohenheim shrugged, only seeming to make Edward more furious.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? Al doesn't even have a girlfriend!"

"Ed, shh." Winry winced, rubbing her ear at his shout. "Remember I'm sitting right here."

He settled reluctantly, though he appeared to be mollified by Winry's hand on his thigh. Oh, yes, Hohenheim thought, the soothing touch of a woman. Of course, there was the arousing touch as well – no, better not mention that just yet. Perhaps he needed to speak with his sons at some point when Edward wasn't likely to yell. Then again, Edward didn't seem to talk without yelling. Hohenheim wondered briefly what might happen if he got his sons drunk, then decided, perhaps that would be a very bad idea. Edward might get it into his head to transmute all of Rush Valley to suit his tastes and, while Hohenheim thought the town could use a little fixing up, he wasn't sure that anyone would appreciate rows of dragons and gargoyles besides him.

"We'll talk about Alphonse some other time," he said firmly. "Right now, I'm more concerned about the two of you."

"There's nothing for you to be concerned about, old man," Edward sneered then yelped as Winry's hand tightened on his thigh. He turned his irritated glare on her, not that she paid any attention to it.

"Why, sir?" Such pretty blue eyes. No wonder Edward was smitten.

"Winry!" Edward hissed. She squeezed his leg tighter, making him yelp and swear under his breath but he subsided with a pout, folding his arms and looking away, as if he didn't care any more about any part of this conversation.

"Well, because Edward is my son and while I've been remiss in my fatherly duties, I know that I should have had a certain discussion with him, about men and women, and how men should treat women." Hohenheim could hear Edward's breath whistling out of his nostrils, reminding him of a tea kettle about to sing.

"Oh?" There was an arch little note to Winry's voice, as if she thought Edward really ought to be paying attention.

"Well, yes. I mean, there're the obvious ones, that he should always look his best and should always be clean and neat; should always speak in polite tones - " Hohenheim was interrupted by the "Oof!" that escaped Edward when Winry's elbow connected with his ribs.

"The hell, woman?" he snapped.

"Just making sure you didn't fall asleep."

"How could I with you jabbing me with your elbow?" Edward made to move but she still had hold of his thigh. They had an argument with their eyes and facial expressions – completely nonverbal, all over in the space of five seconds, with Edward returning to his sulk and Winry beaming over her triumph.

"Is there more, Mr. Hohenheim?"

"There's always more, Winry." She really was a sweet girl. She'd be good for Edward, calm him down, maybe. Control him, most likely. Not that Edward seemed to realize – or if he did, he didn't seem to mind all that much. Hohenheim was sure the sulk had more to do with him than Winry winning their spat. "When choosing a place to meet up for your…assignations, it would behoove you both to be prepared." He removed his glasses to clean them, looking over at them without the lenses in the way. "I do hope you have protection?"

Edward gargled out nonsense, his face turning a brilliant hue while Winry's eyes seemed to swallow her face.

"It's very important, you know. Especially considering Pinako Rockbell might decide to keep your testicles as a warning against any other young man approaching her daughter with ill intent."

The high-pitched shriek came at the same time as Edward's hands slamming protectively around his crotch.

"And really, Edward, a supply closet? Of all the places to have chosen…I know there aren't many rooms in this house, but surely you're more creative than that?"

"Her idea!" he babbled. "She dragged me in there!"

Winry had the good grace to look sheepish at Edward's admission rather than horrified, letting Hohenheim know his son was actually telling the truth. "It was the only thing I could think of! He and Al share that bedroom and I couldn't ask him back to my place with Mr. Garfiel there." She rolled her eyes dramatically. "He'd be offering more suggestions than you would, sir."

"Winry!" That shriek should've broken glass and, as it was, left Hohenheim's ears ringing.

"You know it's true, Ed!" Her pout could have rivaled Edward's. They really were perfect for each other.

"But do you have to say it out loud! I don't want to think about what that man might offer as suggestions!"

"You might like them!" A pause. "In fact, you did like that one that I did."

Edward lost all coherency of speech at that comment, his eyes growing huge in his face, jaw flapping but no sound coming out.

Winry nodded decisively. "And he's told me a few other things that boys like. So be nice to my mentor." She turned back to Hohenheim. "Protection, clean, neat, better place than a supply closet. Anything else?"

He chuckled warmly, getting to his feet. "No, I think you have it under control, Winry." Heading for the door, he added, "That couch is plenty big enough for two…but Edward, remember to transmute any stains out of the fabric, all right?"

Fortunately, he got the door closed before Edward's shoe hit him in the head.

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