Set post-manga, no spoilers
Winry was more than surprised when she opened the door to find May Chang standing there with her little panda looking anxious where it sat on her shoulder.
"I heard Alphonse is being taken care of here," May said before Winry could ask.
"Emperor Ling sent me to see that he makes a speedy recovery so he can visit Xing," she explained (a sour look on her face at her first words), holding out a roll of parchment to Winry.
"We have an extra room if you want to stay here," Winry offered as she broke the seal on the paper.
"Only if I wouldn't be intruding," she replied.
"Ed might not be happy, but he doesn't have a say in the matter," Winry said more to herself than the May.
Xaoi May growled at the mention of Ed.
May peeked in Al's room as Winry gave her a tour of the second floor. From her quick glance, she could already tell he was looking much better than when he'd emerged from the gate. His cheeks weren't sucked in and his face had color to it.
"He went for a long walk today. It must have tired him out," Winry said from behind May.
May quietly closed his bedroom door and followed Winry to the kitchen. A pie sat on the counter, cooling.
"Did you make that?" she asked.
Winry nodded. "Al really likes apple pie, but I have to watch it to make sure Ed doesn't sneak it," she explained.
"Will you teach me?"
Winry grinned. "I think I have just enough apples for one more."
Winry sighed as she surveyed the mess that May left in her wake.
Cinnamon and sugar seemed to dust every single surface of the kitchen, apples peels littered the floor around the trashcan, and smudges of dough stuck to the countertops.
May closed the oven door and turned around. "What's next?" May asked.
"Next, we clean," Winry announced, grabbing the broom from its spot in the corner.
May gave the broom an unsure glance. Sure, she'd seen one before, but the only time she'd used one was when a skirmish with one of her younger siblings had made it to the palace's kitchen.
Winry propped the broom back up against the wall. "Actually, we'll start with the counters first."
May nodded and eagerly grabbed the dishtowel Winry was reaching for.
Al woke to the sound of Ed's voice echoing in his ears. He squeezed his eyelids tight together, wondering if Ed was ever haunted by the same nightmares and how his brother had been able to shake them from his head.
When he opened his eyes, Ed burst into his room.
"Brother?" Al barely managed to get the word out before Ed was at his side.
"Whatever you do, don't eat it," Ed hissed in an urgent whisper.
"Edward!" A growl from the hall.
Al sat up in bed, barely able to get a glimpse of Winry before he spotted the wrench flying across the room.
Ed rubbed his head and turned to snap at Winry.
The momentary distraction gave Winry just enough time to get in front of him and shove him out of the room.
"Don't, it's got to be poisoned or something," Ed cautioned as he struggled against the mechanic.
Al gave him a bewildered look, utterly clueless about Ed's warnings.
"Don't listen to him," Winry reassured Al, giving him a smile once she managed to get Ed into the hallway. "You've got a visitor," she half-grunted, half-shouted to make herself heard over Ed's loud complaints.
Al rolled his eyes as the pair disappeared from sight. He was sure whatever was going on would lead to more of the flirtation that both of them denied existed when it was brought up.
He yawned as he smoothed the blankets his bed. He hadn't expected his early morning walk to make his so tired. His eyelids drooped as he waited for his visitor.
He opened his eyes and straightened up.
"Sorry, they said you were awake," she apologized, standing just inside the doorway.
He smiled. "No, it's okay," he waved off her apology and gestured for her to come in.
May ducked her head and hurried into the room.
Al's gaze flickered to the little panda resting on her shoulder and then to the plate of pie she held in her hands. Seeing her eyes search the nightstand next to his bed, he stacked the books littered across its top into a neat pile. "There isn't much to do when everyone's set on keeping me in bed," he apologized as she set down the plate at the edge of the nightstand closest to him.
Al watched as Xiao May ran down her arm and inspected the book titles just as intently as May.
May straightened when she felt Al's eyes on her. "Winry taught me how to make apple pie. She said you like it," she explained, pushing the plate of pie closer to him.
He nodded and picked up the plate.
"I've never really cooked before," she blurted out nervously.
He smiled over at her as he brought a forkful up to his mouth.
For a moment, it was delicious, but then all he could taste was the burnt crust.
"It's good," he told her, convincing himself that he was only half-lying, because it would have been good if hadn't been burnt.
"Really?" she asked eagerly as he brought another bit to his mouth.
"Mhm, delicious," he reassured her, wondering if she'd heard Ed's opinion.
She grinned, and he decided seeing her smile like that was worth suffering through burnt pie without complaint.