A.N. This is kind of last minute, but hopefully it's at least decent. I'll probably look back on this one months from now and think of a million different things that would make it better. Like actual romance!
A Simple Gift
Winry had learned long ago not to expect too much of the Elric brothers on Valentine's Day. Especially Ed. Neither of them seemed to comprehend that the day centered on romance. And while Al's gifts at least made a stab at the love aspect, Ed's always ended up giving her…well, guy gifts. One year it was necklace of stone skulls and another it was a 'perfume' with a strong metallic smell. But no matter how strange or useless the gifts were, Winry treasured them all because they were from her dearest friends, her brothers.
Not that they acted much like brothers when Valentine's Day rolled around. Maybe it was hormones, but Ed and Al never failed to make at least five gifts each in an attempt to outdo each other and win her heart--or at least bragging rights. Inevitably, things would come to a head in a heated alchemy battle that no one could hope to break up. Anyone who tried would instantly be perceived as another rival and be taken down in seconds.
The memories of those hectic days had a way of making her smile, even long after Ed and Al were long gone. Now that the brothers were on their journey, Winry had learned to expect even less. They wouldn't be coming to the door this year, pudgy arms bearing outrageous gifts and cocky smiles in place. Not a phone call or a note would be sent her way and Winry would try her utmost to be okay with it. No expectations meant no disappointments.
Which was why Winry was utterly floored to see Al standing on the doorstep on February 14th with a one-legged Ed riding on his armored shoulders.
"Damn it, Al we're two steps away! Put me down already!"
"That's right we're two steps away," Al shot back bossily. "So there's no point in you getting down now. Hi Winry!"
Al ducked under the doorframe and leaned over to set Ed's automail leg against the wall. Winry scooped it up and trailed into the living room after the brothers, still too thrown by their appearance to even think of what to say. Al dumped his older brother on the couch none too gently before taking a seat himself.
"You could show a little gratitude that I even bothered to carry you, Brother."
"Everyone was staring at me!" Ed whined. "I looked like a little kid on your shoulders! The least you could have done was left me the dignity of getting here on my own…foot."
"Oh yes," Al said sardonically. "Falling flat on your face every two seconds because you're missing a leg would have been much more dignified."
Winry bit back a blissful smile at the nostalgic scene and laid Ed's leg out on the coffee table, grateful that she had already strapped on her tool belt. "What's the matter with your leg anyway? It looks fine to me."
"Brother jumped out of a three story window and landed on it."
"Al, you're giving her the wrong idea! Okay, so I'm in this building that's approximately three stories high…"
"Spying on the colonel, I might add," Al put in disapprovingly.
"Look, I swear I saw them about to kiss!" Ed yelled desperately. "They were like an inch apart! An inch! You know I'm telling the truth! Why else would they have gotten so angry unless that's what they were doing?"
"Gee, I wonder?" Al said sardonically and continued in a perfect imitation of Ed's voice. "Mustang and Hawkeye sitting in a tree…"
By this time, Winry had removed most of the casing from Ed's automail and she cringed at the sight of the broken wires inside. "Did you have to use the window, Edward?!"
"It was that or get shot and burned," Ed said without an ounce of apology. "Once I landed, I couldn't even move it."
"That's because you completely trashed the knee joint!" Winry snapped, holding out the ruined parts in accusation. "I'm going to have to replace it, which means I'll have to take the whole leg all apart. And we don't even have these wires in stock, I'll have to order them from Rush Valley. You two are going to be stuck here for a week, at least."
Ed ground his teeth in frustration and turned away with a sulky look. "Well there you have it. Happy freaking Valentine's Day."
Winry paused in the process of picking up the automail as all her anger just drained out of her. Despite the fact that Ed's voice was deeper and his tone clipped in anger, his words called up her memories of all those other Valentine's Days. When Ed and Al would turn up on her doorstep with big smiles and simultaneous choruses of Happy Valentine's Day, Winry! She raised her head and looked between the brothers in wonder. It was Valentine's Day and they were here. Not off on a dangerous mission, not chasing after a mythical cure for their bodies, but here.
And Ed and Al had brought a gift with them, even if they were completely unaware of it. They had brought themselves. And of course the chance to upgrade Ed's automail again.
What more could she possibly ask for?
"Welcome back," Winry said softly. She cradled the automail leg to her chest and set off for her workshop, sensing their eyes on her back the whole way. After she left the room, she heard the soft clunk of an automail fist tapping empty armor.
"Did we just piss her off or something?" Ed asked quietly.
A.N. Winry sends her love, Al offers transmuted roses and Ed wishes you all a Happy freaking Valentine's Day!