Poisoned Scarlet

Z is for Zero-Defect

Al knew he had been thinking about it for a long time.

Ever since his brother had managed to start something with her, it had been lingering in the back of his mind; the sleepless nights proved it. The idea had only grown the more time he spent with her and the more he realized that she was not just some metal-obsessed junkie with a temper problem but an actual intellectual being that had a deep-set passion for the prosthesis he used to stand on his own with.

The curiosity to know her (to really, truly, know her) grew along with his desire to spend most of his days with her, Al would say from what he had observed. It had been small, slow, in the beginning; sometimes he would linger around the house, reading a book or napping or having brief conversations with the girl. But then it change into something greater.

He started hanging around her, even if he wasn't speaking to her – just knowing she was there had been enough. Then he had begun to initiate conversations, then he begun to observe her expressions; her reactions. Edward had told Al that this growing curiosity to know her was just the scientist in him but Al wasn't too convinced.

Eventually...he was spending all his free time with her.

Pinako had said it was about damn time.

He thought the same.

Though he wished they'd just push their pride aside and go out already!

If it wasn't Edward who was searching for her, it was Winry. If it wasn't Winry, it was Edward. Eventually, Al and Pinako had just decided to let them work for it instead of answering their annoying questions of have you seen Winry? or where's Ed?

It had soon progressed into a relationship when Al noticed that Winry and Edward no longer hung out where they could keep an eye on them.

And if that didn't convince him, when he accidentally walked into a rather heated lip-lock session sure did.

He never went to look for them again.

However, the questioned remained: what happened next?

"You can't just keep her as your girlfriend forever, you know." Al pipped up, the nights shadow obstructing his view of his older brother. He squinted at the darkness, barely managing to catch Edward's body shifting until he was on his back; one had strewn over his forehead and another over his stomach.

"I know that," Ed replied, irksomely. "I just started dating her like two months ago! Calm down, Alphonse!"

"We both know that you wouldn't want to be with any one else," Al stated bluntly. "So whats so bad about getting this over with early?"

Edward was quiet for a moment. "W-well, what if she doesn't...want to go that far yet?" he began, awkwardly. "I mean, I may want to spend the rest of my life with her but what if she...doesn't?"

Al shook his head, a small smile gracing his face. "Ed, trust me when I say that she'd be more than thrilled to be the next 'Mrs. Elric'," he chuckled softly, imagining his brothers pink face in his mind. "Surely you know that she waited for you all of these years, right?"

"...She might've mentioned something along those lines once," he muttered. "But that doesn't mean she'd want to tie the knot, Al."

"It's traditional that the male of the relationship proposes first," Al sang out softly, so as not to wake anyone else in the household. "Of course, Winry has always been the more dominate one soo..."

"What?" Ed shouted, before lowering his voice to a hiss: "You take that back, Al! Are you calling me soft?"

"Not at all, big brother."

"Alphonse!" Ed snapped. "You better be joking or else you're gonna' get it tomorrow!"

Al rolled his eyes. "Focus, Ed," he said instead, rolling on his back as well and gazing at the ceiling; at the strange shadows cast by the large tree that was rooted right beside the window, tree branches bending to the winds command. "There are a few things that I want to do before I can settle down," he began. "What about you?"

"Same," he replied, a conflicting note in his tone. "I have an idea of what you're talking about, too. But what does this have to with asking Winry...that?"

"It has to do with it because she won't wait forever," Al answered. "You and her might be dating as of now but when you leave again, and for a while at that, do you really think she'll spend another few years waiting for your sorry butt to come back? Winry might love you with all her heart but even she can grow tired of waiting for a guy who's always going along with the wind currents."

The silence that followed told Alphonse he was considering it; thinking it through with analytical focus. His eyes almost fell closed when his brothers soft chortle woke him up again.

"When did you get to be so poetic, Al?" Edward joked, letting his eyes leisurely drift to the comfortable form of his brother. "You better watch out or else you'll get the rep for being the Full Metal Alchemists' gay brother."

"Hey!" Al frowned, mildly offended. "Just because I can empathize with women and I actually have manners doesn't make me gay, you know!"

" just makes you a wimp."


"I'll ask her," he said abruptly. Alphonse turned to face his brother, who was still gazing at the ceiling; a new determined sparkle in his amber eyes. "She's perfect. I can't really see myself liking another girl like I do her so there's really no reason for me to wait any longer, right?" Edward revealed softly, his brother hanging onto his every word. "She's the most amazing woman I've met and I highly doubt any other girl can top her...she also makes a killer apple pie," he rolled onto his side, exhaling a sigh. "If that doesn't convince me, what will?"

Al grinned, his excitement leaking into his next words: "Aww, that was so sweet brother! You love her so much! That's so cute!"

"AL!" Ed snapped. "What'd I tell you about being a pussy?"

"ED!" Al snapped right back, smile turning downward into a scowl. "That's not very nice, you know! I was just showing you how happy I am that you're not repressing you emotions again and coming off as a numbskull with the table manner akin to that of a monkey!"

"Who're you callin' so vulgar he'd make Roy Mustang look like a knight and shining armor!" Ed exploded, grinding his teeth as his brothers snorting laughing drifted through the room.

"You'll never change," Al laughed. "I'm glad."

Edward's irritation cooled at the sound of his brothers fond laughter. He turned back to the ceiling, which was now lighter than it had been a few minutes ago. His eyes flashed to the clock that was situated across from him and he managed to make out the time: four fifty six in the morning.

It seemed that sleep could not claim both Elric brothers that night but Edward didn't really mind.

His thoughts steered to Central, to that jewelry shop he had frequently passed by whenever he walked toward Central HQ. There was an array of promise rings and engagement bands but he had only briefly taken the time to survey the rings during his trips...

None of them caught his eye, however. If he was going to propose to the girl of his dreams, he might as well give her a ring worthy of being daydreamed about, right?

Ouch. Too much thinking, he sighed inwardly. "I'm gonna' go take a piss."

"Just a forewarning, brother: if you're going to actually marry Winry, you might want to keep those types of comments to yourself."

"What're you talking about? Once she's mine there's more of a reason for me to make those types of comments!"

Al pinched the bridge of his nose. "Why did I let you win again?"

Edward stopped by the threshold of the door, a sneaking smirk making its way on his face. "Obviously because I'm better!" His voice softened a bit: "And because out of the two of us, I've always had a thing for her."

"I did, too, once."

"Once," Ed stressed. "If you still did, I guess I'd have to kick your ass," he humored.

"Would you?"

Edward traced the inside of the door frame with his finger, seriously contemplating it. "To me, Winry is the best thing that's happened to me in a long time. She's waited long enough and now that I managed to keep my promise to you, it's about time I made another promise to her...sorry to say, Alphonse, but this is one thing I just can't let you have."

Alphonse felt a proud smile tug on his lips. "That was exactly what I wanted to hear."

Ed drummed his finger against the frame for a moment. "You can forget about her now, Al – go hook up with that annoying bean-girl; I hear Xingese make killer stir fry!" He snickered as he left, his little brothers spluttering only making him laugh harder.

A/N: It's over! Oh my gosh, it's finally over! I kind of wish it was longer because I adore writing mini stories like this! Its a big break from writing long stories, that's for sure!

I am seriously contemplating taking up the Ed/Winry 100 themes challenge but as of right now, I've got nothing in that collection so trying to start it now, so late into vacation, would mean that it probably wouldn't be updated as frequently as my last two collections were. I already had a 6 chapter head-start with this one so it was fairly easy to have dates in which I'd update since, even if I didn't have inspiration for it, I'd have enough to keep my schedule going.

Breaking News: I got an idea for another collection XD I'm posting it up, I've already written 6 chapters in this short time-span! So it's going on here! Its the 100 themes challenge with a twist and, er, it probably won't be 100 chapters shall see, just go check it out when you have some time!

Thank you all for your supporting reviews! I'll miss 'em, that's for sure :D