S J Smith
Summary: Edward comes to a realization regarding Winry.
Disclaimer: In no way am I in any way, shape or form Hiromu Arakawa.
A.N.: Much thanks to D. M. Evans for the edits.
A.N.2: Future!Fic; post Promised Day.
The 'Boom Town of the Broken Down' was not Edward Elric's favorite place to visit and, despite being the current residence of Winry Rockbell, it had not been his idea to come to Rush Valley. Instead, his father, Hohenheim, had come up with the brainstorm to rent a little house right in the middle of the town, thinking that it might be a good idea to get Pinako Rockbell out of Rezembool and to Rush Valley again. Edward had no clue what was going through his bastard father's head to invite the midget granny to Rush Valley and so far as he could tell, the only good that came out of it was the hyena mechanics who usually buzzed around him begging for a looky-loo at his automail were terrified of Pinako.
Winry, on the other hand, was thrilled to have her grandmother so close again. So thrilled, she'd invited Pinako to Garfiel's place and that, as far as Edward was concerned, was a disaster. He and Alphonse had been run out of Mr. Garfiel's shop by the stories Pinako and Garfiel were telling. There was no way Edward wanted to hear sex stories from either the hag or the shirtlifter. He couldn't believe Winry stayed there. She had to be nuts. That sort of stuff could scar her for life. And that little thief was there, too, soaking up all of that…gah! Edward didn't even want to think about it.
Unfortunately, even the bits of stories he had heard stuck with him, and dug malicious claws into his brain. Edward found those voices repeating in his head at the worst possible times, like when he was lying in bed late at night, unable to sleep, listening to Alphonse snore in the bed next to him. The idea that any girl…that Winry…might even consider doing that made his body do stupid things. The fact that she'd listened and seemed interested in knowing was even more destructive to Edward's mental well-being. Especially when his imagination seemed to have no qualms about playing out little scenarios involving Winry…doing things…to him. It was enough to make him walk around Rush Valley just to have those hyena mechanics harass him.
Except, right now, it was late at night and the only thing he could do was head downstairs and into the library that his father had managed to dig up – and Edward thought that was quite literally what Hohenheim had done – there were books on alchemy that had been written back when Amestris was just a dream in that bastard homunculus Father's creepy eyes. Unfortunately, Edward had discovered that when these sorts of thoughts took over his brain, the written word really didn't do very much for relieving his…tension. Well, there was a way, but it was kind of weird. Thinking about all the fights he'd been in with the homunculi definitely distracted him enough that his body would cool down. Or worse, react in a completely different way but hopefully, Alphonse would be awake by then and they could spar until Edward was exhausted.
In the next bed, Alphonse muttered something, rolling onto his back. Edward glanced over at his brother, smiling faintly. Al had his body; he'd even regained his health and muscle tone, though that had taken some time, good food and Xingese alchemy. Not to mention a lot of rest. When his soul had been reconnected to his body at the Promised Day, Alphonse had nearly died. If Hohenheim hadn't been there…well, Edward didn't want to think much about it. At least his father had done some good, though it had seemed it would be touch and go for a while. Alphonse's body finally seemed to catch on, though, and now he was fine.
Edward blinked, eyes widening, hastily rolling over on his side. Maybe Al's body was too fine. He was getting erections. Why the hell did Edward have to be looking over there when that happened? How could he erase that sight from his memory? Gah! That was almost worse than midget granny and Winry's boss exchanging blow job techniques!
Alphonse made a sound and Edward jerked in horror. That wasn't Winry's name, was it? He tilted his head as much as he could without actually looking over at his brother – really, he didn't want to see anything else. Al didn't like Winry, did he? Well, Edward could understand if he did – kind of…Winry was, after all, their oldest friend and a girl and had some really amazing boobs – not that Edward was looking or anything, just they kept getting stuck under his nose when Winry was working on his automail. But if Al liked Winry….
Gnashing his teeth, Edward flopped onto his back, blocking the sight of his brother on the next bed by covering his eyes with his flesh arm. Of course, that didn't blot out the noises Alphonse was making, the funny little hitches to his breath and the faint moans. And the bedsprings were creaking! Dammit!
Edward sat up abruptly, grabbing his pillow and pitching at Alphonse's head. "Can you keep it down!"
"Mmmn?" Alphonse woke slowly, as if reluctant to leave his dream.
"You're talking in your sleep!"
Alphonse smacked his lips, rubbing his eyes with his fingertips. "Was I?"
Edward could just see the ghost of a smile on Al's face. "Yes. About Winry!"
With an explosive snort, Alphonse glanced down at his crotch then back at Edward. "Jealous?"
"No!" That came out loud and hot enough that Edward winced in reaction to someone banging on the wall or the door or shouting that he'd better shut up.
As it was, Alphonse gave him a knowing look. "Is that so."
"I'm not jealous." Edward hissed his answer, motioning at Alphonse to give him back his pillow.
"Really? So you don't mind if I think about Winry and?" He glanced toward his crotch again.
Edward growled, "No!"
"No, you don't mind?"
"No, I do mind and Winry probably would, too!" He reached across the space between the two beds, snatching his pillow back.
"Winry," Alphonse leaned back, wriggling a bit to get comfortable, "might take it as a compliment."
Edward desperately tried to come up with an answer to that besides garbled nonsense sounds. Unfortunately, Alphonse wasn't finished yet.
"I mean, you certainly called out her name enough times while we were on our journey."
The knife slid home so effortlessly, Edward didn't even realize he'd been wounded until he saw his brother's knowing smirk. "I-I didn't!"
Alphonse snorted indelicately. "And I know those hard ons weren't from your interest in Colonel Mustang, not when you'd moan things like, 'Not the wrench.'" He smiled, a wicked, evil curl of his mouth. "So, Brother, tell me. What was Winry doing with her wrench in your dreams?"
His face felt like it was on fire. Edward couldn't even speak. Words, even to protest the implications Alphonse was making, failed him. The only things to escape his mouth were high-pitched squeaks.
"Yeah." Wriggling again, Alphonse laced his fingers behind his head, grinning at the ceiling. "That's kind of what I thought she was doing." He shot Edward a lecherous grin. "Too bad it's never happened in real life."
"What?" The word exploded out of Edward's mouth. "How – I mean - " He fought to get control of himself, realizing he was clenching the lightweight blanket in his fists. "How do you know?"
Alphonse snorted. "Brother, if you had sex, everyone would know." Before Edward could open his mouth, Alphonse went on. "You'd be…well, I think you'd be…a lot happier." He unlaced his hands to fiddle with his own blanket. "That's what Granny says, at least." Those last words came out in a rush. "And Dad agrees with her."
"What?" Bad enough that Alphonse knew about those dreams he'd had about Winry, how much worse was it that the bastard and Midget-Granny were talking about him having sex?
His brother wasn't done yet. "And they've got a bet going." Alphonse stared, his gaze fixed, on his fingers twining into the blanket's hem. "On you."
Edward snapped his jaw closed with an audible 'click'. "Do they."
That brought Alphonse's head up and, even in the dim lighting of the room, Edward could see the panic written on his brother's face. "What are you going to do, Brother?" The worry was already changing to something else. "You're not going to seduce Winry just to get back at them, are you?"
Giving Al a scathing look, Edward snarled, "Winry's an innocent in all this." He ignored the little voice in his head trying to remind him how she didn't run when he and Al had or just what she might've learned sitting at the hag's knee.
"…are we talking about the same girl?"
Edward's jaw tightened. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing!" Alphonse waved his hands in front of his face though Edward could tell his brother was hard pressed not to start laughing.
"Al." He drew out the single syllable, stretching it out to three.
"Just that…Winry?" A nervous snicker squeaked out. "She's not…as innocent. I don't think! I mean, she's had boyfriends. Have you even had your first kiss?"
Boyfriends? Plural? When had that happened? No, wait, how had that happened? Firmly squelching the very obvious reasons on 'how' that might've happened – just look at Winry and there were plenty of reasons how and why she might've had a boyfriend or even more than one and Edward realized that terrible squealing sound was coming from his metal hand and forced his fist to unclench. "How many?" The words sounded as if they'd been run over a cheese grater.
"Boyfriends." So he'd know just how many people he needed to kill. Or at least maim. Beat up. What-the-hell-ever.
"Aheh." Alphonse scrubbed his hand through the hair on the back of his head.
"Al." Edward said it quietly but the question carried in the little room all the same. "How. Many?"
"Um…I don't know, I never asked? It was something Paninya said."
Paninya? Who knew what that little thief might've filled Al's head with. How would she know if Winry had a boyfriend or even more than one? Oh, wait, she lived here in Rush Valley and, with her perching on walls and crap, she probably heard every last bit of gossip in the entire town.
"You know," Alphonse broke into Edward's thoughts, "you could just ask Winry about her boyfriends." He jerked his hands up protectively at the teeth-gnashing face Edward presented him. "Don't bare your teeth at me, Brother! It's not my fault you have the romantic know-how of a slug."
"A slug?" Edward almost howled but remembered, at the last second, who else might be sleeping in the house. "I'm not a slug!"
Alphonse's response was to raise first one, then the other eyebrow.
Grumbling, Edward gritted his teeth. "I'm not."
"You still don't know the first thing about romance."
Edward snapped an obscene Xingese gesture – heh, sometimes Ling was useful – his brother's way. "I do, too!"
Nonplussed, Alphonse wriggled on his bed, getting comfortable. "You don't. You're going to fail miserably and Dad and Granny will laugh. And Winry will be embarrassed. And," a gloating tone took over, "General Mustang will use you as an example of how not to treat women."
Moving before he even realized he was out of the bed, Edward kicked Alphonse's bedframe, sending it – and Al – crashing into the wall. "Gah! He will not!" Standing over Alphonse's wrecked bed, Edward growled at his brother. "Because I know how to treat women! And I'll prove it and wreck that bet!"
Spinning on his heel, he stomped out of the room, not hearing Alphonse snicker, "That'll be the day."