A/N: Just a little Ed/Win silliness with Alphonse-love on the side. :) Just because I felt like it, and EdWin is too cute, and FMA is too awesome, and I just feel like torturing Ed a little bit.
Maybe I'll come up with a better title later :P
Disclaimer: FMA isn't mine. But really, its doing great in Arakawa's hands, so it's alright.
Some Weird Fascination
She was fighting against the density of the thick dough, a wooden spoon gripped tightly on her fist while her other arm held the tin bowl, balanced between the kitchen counter and her stomach. She mixed the ingredients, trying to soften the paste, her lips tightly pressed as she struggled.
All the while, his younger brother stood behind her, watching with interest over her shoulder at her work in progress. He knew Alphonse's mouth was probably watering –this would become one of Winry's apple pies, after all –but that wasn't the reason why Edward stared from his spot at the kitchen table.
His hands were on her hair again.
From the moment he got his body back, Edward had witnessed how his brother discovered, or rediscovered, the use of his missing senses. Every smell and every taste was a whole new thrilling discovery, as if he where perceiving each for the first time. Retrieving his body had come with a downside, of course; it had been severely weakened, and with the recovery of his senses also came the painful recovery of the body, which he had been able to feel and suffer.
Even so, Edward had watched as the little guy was able to overtake all of the obstacles of his recovery in favor of the positive things that came with it and that he so seemed to enjoy. And with that, he had turned into a completely average boy for his age, making those around him burst not only with happiness, but with more relief than he'd ever know, too.
"How is it?" Al asked, bending a little over her shoulder. Edward couldn't help but scrutinize as his hands kept running down the curtain of Winry's hair, falling down so softly it was hard to imagine how Alphonse managed to do it so absent-mindedly.
"It's almost soft enough." The way she let him do it just as absent-mindedly was also mind boggling, for a reason.
"I'll go get the apples, then!" He finally let go of her hair, and Edward studied the exchange that followed between narrowed eyes. Al planted a quick peck on her cheek from behind, to which she shrugged her shoulder a little too late with a small giggle. After a few seconds it was only him and Winry in the kitchen, and she was back at fighting against the mixed ingredients as if nothing had happened.
Alphonse's senses had not only allowed him to discover new smells and flavors, but also how things felt against his skin and his body. Being naturally warm and affectionate even from within his suit of armor, after he had finally gotten rid of it he had basked in looping more people into hugs than any other normal person would have. And that included Winry.
It shouldn't then surprise him, Edward thought, how easily it came for his brother to act as affectionate as he felt towards the girl, not hesitating before hugging her or before planting quick, innocent kisses on her cheek. Alphonse was like that. He knew it, and so did Winry, and so did everyone.
He, on the other hand, wasn't like that at all. He knew it, and so did Winry, and so did everyone. If he ever dared to hug her out of the blue, much less kiss her, just as innocently as Al did, God knew it would consequently end with a wrench tossed at his head with the aim only the mechanic could manage. Things were like that, and although he sometimes wished he could get a little bit closer to Winry, it had never been any kind of problem.
That is, until Alphonse developed a fascination with Winry's hair.
He wasn't sure when it exactly began, or how. Edward had just slowly started to realize that Alphonse spent great deal of his time with Winry running his fingers through her hair. It didn't matter if she was bent over some automail or if they went grocery shopping, or if the three of them were simply chatting the night away, Al always managed to get at least a hand on the white-gold tresses, and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy it when he did. It intrigued Ed how he could just bring a handful up to his face, and after he did he would tell her how nice it smelled and they would laugh and it would all be so natural.
And Edward, being the curious alchemist he was, couldn't help when his curiosity piqued at this.
"Everything alright, Ed?" Her voice snapped him out of his reverie, and he realized they had been submerged in complete silence for quite a while. The dough was probably softer now that she seemed to be mixing it with much less effort than before. Her blue eyes stared questioningly at him from over her shoulder.
"Yeah, fine," he nodded, faking his certainty and hoping she didn't notice his reddening cheeks.
"Can you help me with something?" she asked, apparently not noticing his brief discomfort. He nodded again, standing up from his seat at the kitchen table while she set the bowl and the spoon on the counter and carefully raised his flour-covered hands. "Can you grab my hair with that hairclip?"
His eyes widened involuntarily, flickering between hers and the aforementioned object she was pointing at with her dirtied hand; the hairclip that had been discarded by none other than Alphonse.
"Yeah, just get it off my face," she said as if it was the most normal thing in the entire world. She turned her back to him, gesturing carefully with her now white hands, smeared in flour, butter and dough. "It's getting in the way and I can't work. Just pull it into a ponytail, or something."
For a moment he was a little too baffled to react, staring almost hypnotized at the clear blond hair cascading down her back while she expectantly waited for him to fix it, her dirty hands already back on the bowl and spoon but unmoving.
He took the hairclip from the counter; it was large and brown, exactly like the ones he had seen Hawkeye wear on duty, and for a fleeting moment he remembered the bandana Winry wore to gather her hair while working on automail, which had been so constantly discarded by Alphonse lately that Ed had actually not seen it for a while.
With utmost care he started gathering her hair between his two human hands, as if he was scared to damage it in some way, and it was so soft that he wondered why in the world he hadn't given a second thought to it. Using his index fingers, he gingerly pulled back the few, long strands that fell on the side of her face and interfered with her baking. She went back to slowly mix the bowl's contents as soon as her hair was out of the way.
His fingers lingered more than necessary against the hair, letting them slide away as they caressed his rough fingers. Soon enough, the hairclip returned to the table and, with both hands completely free, he let the silky tresses slip between all of his fingers, this time more confidently, but careful to still pull it into a ponytail.
He didn't need to bury his face against it like Al did to get small hints of the sweet smell of her hair; he had absolutely no idea what it was, something flowery perhaps, but he found himself more captivated with it as the ponytail became more and more unnecessarily perfect. And still, he kept fixing it, his fingers leaving traces on the gold silk as he dared to bury them further in, and the smell of whatever her shampoo was made of delighting his nose. It just felt so nice against his hands; it ran so very softly between his fingers in a way his hair never had and never would.
He was positively entranced by it.
And then she let out a sound that snapped him out of it. It was a blend between a quivering, soft sigh, and a feeble, almost imperceptible moan in the back of her throat. The low sound was enough to make his eyes widen and his muscles freeze in his current position.
In that second, he realized many things, and none of them were particularly helpful; he had somehow inched so close to her she was practically pressed between him and the counter. The bowl and the wooden spoon were completely still on her hands, and seemed to had halted their labor for quite a while already. And from behind he could see how red her neck and the tips of her ears had gotten, triggering his own blood to rush up to his cheeks.
For a moment he stood frozen as what he had been doing –and what it had caused on her –downed on him, his hands grabbing all of her hair into a ponytail he had yet to finish doing, his face heating up by each passing second. Eyes widened in both horror and embarrassment, and with a speed he didn't know he could manage, he took the clip from the counter and finally closed it around her hair. He then jerked away from her so quickly he bumped against one of the chairs and almost knocked it over.
"Done!" he said a little too enthusiastically and a little too squeakily as he steadied the chair, trying to hide his flushing face behind his bangs, although it seemed pointless, given the current state of his vocal chords and his hammering heart.
"Thanks, Ed," she said lowly, her voice quavering at the end. From the corner of his eye he could see her resuming her task of mixing the dough, this time way more forcefully than when it had been a thick paste. He supposed she was shrinking against the tin bowl on purpose.
"Got the apples!" the cheery voice of Alphonse reached his ears from the hallway, like a misplaced whiplash on their current situation, and Edward didn't know if he was grateful he was finally back or not. Soon enough he was entering the kitchen, carrying a basket full of bright, red apples in his hand.
"What took you so long, Al?" Winry demanded maybe too desperately, although he couldn't blame her, setting the bowl with the spoon and walking over to the youngest Elric.
He simply shrugged before answering, "I wanted to get the best ones." He handed her the basket, which she took with her smeared hands, and he stole one of the apples before she carried it away from him.
Alphonse stood behind her again, as he so often did nowadays, this time gazing at her wipe her hands on a dishtowel –couldn't she had done that before? –and start slicing the apples. He bit into the one he had nicked and glanced back at her now fixed hair, running his free index finger down a strand, before turning away and gulping down the chewed fruit.
Edward, who had been staring at all of this from the same spot he seemed to have been rooted on, hand still glued to the chair, didn't like the little smirk that had formed on his younger brother's face as he walked away from both him and Winry.
"That's a nice ponytail you did there, Brother!" the boy called before giving his back to him and exiting the kitchen, and the tone of his voice told Edward that maybe he knew a little too much.
Horrified, he was sure he was as red as any of the apples on the basket by this point, and slowly turning to the blonde, he realized she had become completely still, the knife halfway through one of the fruits. She was probably just as flushed as he was, and she met his eyes for the briefest of seconds, giving him time to confirm that she was in fact maroon, before turning back to the apple and finish slicing it the rest of the way.
Without a word, he stomped out of the kitchen and up to the room he was occupying, damning both Alphonse's weird fascinations, and his stupid curiosity for actually leaning toward one of them.
Yes, her hair was very nice and all –and soft, and it smelled sweet and made him feel nice –but that was beside the point. For the moment he just needed to be alone and recite the periodic table to himself.
El Fin! Everyone in favor of Al getting his body back soon say 'aye'!