That Girl
by.
Poisoned Scarlet

Summary: Edward learns the meaning of "think before you say" in the most unconventional way possible.
Rating: T, for language.
Pairing: Ed/Winry.
Genre: Humor/Romance.
A/N: It's funny how these plot ideas work out. I was thinking about writing a one-shot about Winry's earrings, which she gave to Ed, and Ed's red coat, which he gave to Winry, and make something completely sappy and gag-worthy out of it. But somehow it became this. I honestly can't explain how this happened but I'm glad it did! Its just a random piece of fluff for the soul :D
Story Notes:
Post-Brotherhood. This is around a year and a half before the proposal at the train station, keep that in mind, so I assume that Ed and Winry have managed to push aside their differences and begin a relationship.

I think it started a little like this...

Disclaimer: I do not own Fullmetal Alchemist.


"Brother, honestly!" Al complained, as Edward shoveled spoonfuls of food into his mouth. He glanced down at his own plate, only half-way through, and sighed in exasperation when he looked at his brothers plate to see him already on his second portion. "It's barely breakfast! If you keep eating like this, you'll get fat and then Teacher will kick your butt!"

"Teacher?" Ed repeated, swallowing a mouthful of food. "She's not our teacher anymore! She dropped us, remember? So that means I can do whatever I want and she can't do anything about it!" He grinned, downing a glass of orange juice.

"Al has a point, Ed," Winry added, washing her own plate as she had woken up early and eaten before any of them. "If you keep gorging yourself, you're going to be fat in no time!"

"Since when did I care about getting fat?" Ed shot back.

Al smirked suddenly. He leaned to the side, beckoning his brother to draw closer to him. Ed frowned but complied, leaning down to hear what his brother had to say. "If you get fat, you know that Winry won't like you anymore, right?"

"What? No way, you liar!" Ed accused, scowling.

"No, it's true," Al continued, gravely. "Don't you remember, Ed? She said she didn't like guys who were shorter than her...or fat."

"For your information, Alphonse," Ed began, snidely, "I do remember that conversation and not once did she say anything about not liking fat guys!"

Al swallowed down his laugh to say his next words: "But no girl likes overweight guys, right?"

Ed scoffed. "You shouldn't judge a guy by his body mass index!"

"Whatever you say, brother..." Al trailed off, standing up to walk to the sink. He dropped his plate under the running water and smiled at Winry, who rose a brow and glanced back at Ed, who was slumped in the chair and focused on his own plate, brows scrunched.

"What's wrong with Ed?" she asked, voice low.

"Oh, nothing, "Al smiled, innocently. He had discovered, one of those days spent in the bathroom, staring at himself because he was still in disbelief at having his body back, that he had an honest face. It was very difficult for him to scrunch his face into something other than happiness or sadness – for example malice or rage like his brother was so adept in expressing.

But that did not mean that the younger Elric did not have a mean streak. He used his childish face to its full advantage, tricking Winry into worriedly gazing at Ed after a few more sly words.

It's been four months, Al thought to himself. One of them has to make a move and if Ed won't, then I'll have to somehow convince Winry to make him do it! "Neh, Winry?"

"Yes, Al?"

"I noticed that you don't wear the earrings brother bought you anymore," Al started. Winry touched her right ear for a moment. "You don't like them?"

"Of course not! I love them!" Winry quickly said, catching her bottom lip with her teeth. "I'd never take them off...actually..." Her eyes strayed to Ed, who had stood up somewhere between their conversation and was stretching out his arms over his head; face still ponderous. "I gave them to Ed so he could hold onto them when we were in Briggs."

"You did?" Al blinked. His brother never told him that. "Why?"

"I wanted to make sure...he came back to me alive," she murmured, her eyes still trained on Ed, who didn't so much as glance at them as he disappeared into the hall. She turned off the faucet water for a moment, towel drying her hands. "He still hasn't given them back to me."

"You should go ask for them," Al suggested, noticing the apprehensive glimmer in her usually chipper blue eyes. "I bet he forgot all about them!" Was that what he kept gazing at when we were at Briggs? Al thought curiously, smiling encouragingly as Winry hesitantly followed Edward down the hall. He always hid it when I tried to look. If it was so, then his brother was making more progress than he had initially thought.

I've got to see this! He decided, hurrying after Winry. He silently strode through the living room, peeking out of the blinds and quickly scanning the outside patio. There was no one there. He proceeded to head upstairs and stopped when he heard voices drift from Edward's room.

"...around here somewhere!"

"Ed! You better have not lost them, you idiot!"

"Calm down!" Ed snapped over his shoulder. "I haven't lost them, you gear-head, they're safe and sound somewhere in my stuff, alright? Just be patient while I look for 'em!"

He heard Winry harrumph.

Alphonse tread carefully toward the door, noticing it was ajar, and quickly moved to the other side; where he could clearly see his brother and Winry through the crack. He saw Edward was rummaging through his old suitcase and Winry had made herself comfortable on his bed; sitting with her arms crossed over her chest.

He noticed she was fidgeting with her shirt and he smiled a little at her nervousness.

"Aha!" Ed shouted suddenly.

Winry sprung up on her feet.

"Here they are!"

Al saw Ed sink back on his knees and take out a red handkerchief. It was folded in a neat square and it was probably the only piece of clothing that wasn't either wrinkled or dirty. He carefully unfolded the flaps until only her silver earrings remained in his palm.

Al chuckled quietly to himself when Ed kneeled on one knee and rose them up to her, a small smile on his face.

He noticed Winry's hands were a little shaky and her face had become a light shade of pink. She reached down and took the jewelery from his hand, picking each one up and individually snapping them back in place on her ears.

Ed stayed on his knee.

Alphonse thought his brother couldn't get any denser.

"So what brought this along?" Ed asked, standing up and dusting himself.

"What? I can't ask for my earrings back?" Winry answered snappishly. "They were mine in the first place, you know!"

"No—you—I just mean you didn't look like you wanted them back before!" Ed stammered, scowling at her defensiveness. "You don't have'ta go biting my head off!"

Winry looked like she wanted to say something back to that last statement but instead she sighed and rubbed an earring between her fingers; not used to the weight yet. "Sorry...Al brought it up downstairs so I decided to just get them back now. I sort of missed them."

Ed's scowl faded. He flashed his eyes to the hardwood floor, brows creasing together to reveal his troubling thoughts. "Sorry...I should've given them back the instant I came home."

"No, it's alright," Winry smiled. "At least you didn't loose them. I was half-expecting you to give me some pathetic sob-story on how you lost them to prevent from getting hit on the head with my wrench," she slipped the wrench out of her pocket, grinning at Ed's pale face.

"You actually thought I lost them?" Ed gawked. "What the hell—you were planing on giving me a beating anyways, weren't you?"

"Well, you didn't loose—!"

"I knew it! You evil mechanic! You're evil! Just like every other woman I've met!"

"...EVERY OTHER WHAT! YOU MEAN YOU'VE MET MORE?"

"Of course I have!" Ed scoffed, the statement absurd in his ears. "And you're just like every one of them: evil, conniving, and somehow having a pleasure for beating me black and blue!"

"You mean to tell me," Winry began, menacingly. Edward stood his ground, glaring into her equally enraged eyes unflinchingly, "that you've been with other women?"

Ed rose an unimpressed brow at her predatory stance. "Didn't I already make that clear? Yes—OUCH! OUC—WHAT THE HE—UGH—NNGH—I'm s-sorry! It hurts—AHHH!"

Al silently watched this act of violence, eyes round with horror as Winry bashed his skull in with her wrench. After another whack, she backed away, wrench held in snow-white hands, the fury etched on her face seemingly permanent. But the fury eventually melted into mild pain and Al felt extremely horrible for the tears that welled up in her eyes because of his tactless brother, as Edward clutched his head and every other body part she managed to bruise with her tool-of-choice.

"You're unbelievable!" she shouted, thickly, and stomped away from him with tears trailing down her cheeks.

Al gasped and scurried into the bathroom right across from the room, holding his breath until he heard Winry's footsteps retreat downstairs, where he was sure she was going to hole up in the basement workshop and loose herself in her work.

He sighed heavily, thinking it was right for him to follow them upstairs. He walked out of the bathroom and peered into his brothers room, thinning his lips when he saw Ed groan and roll on his side, clutching the side of the mattress as he hauled himself up into a sitting position.

"Brother," Al said, making his presence known.

"Al! Thank goodness you're here," Ed grunted, holding his head. "Winry just fucked me up with her wrench again...what's her damn problem? I didn't do anything to deserve this—!"

"Didn't do anything to deserve this?" Al snorted, entering the room and plopping down on the edge of his brothers bed. "Edward, do you even think about what you say half of the time?"

"How else would I be able to say it, Al?" Ed bit back, lowering his hand from his pounding head and wiping off some of the blood on his pants.

"I'm not sure, Ed, but I think you fully deserved it," Al replied flatly.

Ed's jaw dropped. "You were there! You saw it! What did I do that made me deserve getting beat on the head with a damn wrench!"

Al heaved a sigh. "Brother, think. Think back to the conversation—"

"No thanks, that's something I'd rather forget," Ed muttered, interrupting him.

"Edward!" Al snapped sharply. "Stop it and listen to me!" The serious gleam in his brothers eyes sobered Edward up. He ignored the sharp jabs in his head and shoulder and paid attention to his younger sibling, who took a few breaths before continuing: "Winry doesn't hurt you because she likes it, okay?" He gave his brother a warning look when Ed opened his mouth to rebut. "Believe it or not, sometimes you actually need a good whack on the head and don't try to deny it because you know it's true."

"Alright, that's all fine and dandy but I really don't know why I deserved this beating," Ed stressed, a little calmer now. "Was it because I called her an evil mechanic?"

Al shook his head. "Try again."

Ed frowned and reviewed the conversation in his head. He did this various times, mostly cutting out the part where everything became an explosion of fireworks as her wrench fell down upon him, but he really couldn't see what he had said wrong. There was wasn't really anything else that tipped him off that he deserved a smack on the head...

"You really can't see it, can you?" Al asked, voice softer.

"Honestly, no," Ed answered sincerely, that troubled frown still on his face. "I mean, the only things that I see that could account for me deserving this are when I called her an evil mechanic and compared her to the other women I've met during our journey."

"There," Al pointed out, with a wry smile. "That last part."

"Comparing her to the other women I've met?" Ed creased his brows. "Is she sensitive about being compared to other people or something?"

"No, brother, really think about that last line," he pressed, knowing his brother would be able to figure this out by himself if he gave it enough time. "What if Winry told you you were just like all the other men she's met?"

Ed's eyes flashed darkly. "What? She's met other—oh."

Al smiled kindly, shaking his head with a soft snort of laughter at his brother's expression. The realization of his words was like a brick to his face, he was sure, but what really made him sure that his brother had learned his lesson was the flash of pain that crossed his face right afterward.

"She wasn't...crying...was she?" he asked, lowly.

Al decided it would do no good to lie. "She was."

Edward's eyes lowered to the floor. His hands clenched, that same ripple of guilt and self-disgust spreading through his chest. He had promised himself and he had promised her that the next time he made her cry, it would be out of happiness. Whether she knew it or not, the promise still stood strong today. It was a self-vow to keep her happy and it pained him to know that a simple, misinterpreted, sentence could shatter his promise so easily.

"I hope this teaches you to think before you say something," Al said after a few more moments of silence. "Colonel Mustang didn't just tell you that to annoy you – he told you that because he knew from past experiences that one thoughtless sentence could ruin everything."

Edward ground his teeth, avoiding Al's expectant gaze. He remembered that day. It had been a few days after his entitlement of 'Full Metal' and he had bumped into Mustang on the streets. He had said, quiet snobbishly: "well, well, if it isn't Colonel Shithead," and he had answered, not offended at all: "you should watch what you say, Full Metal, it might get you into more trouble than its worth."

The words were quietly accepted by Al, with an "I know" from Edward, which prompted Mustang's amused: "Although, no one would be able to hear you anyways..." which commenced the eye-rolling shouting match between the two.

"Wait, where are you going?" Al called after him, when Ed abruptly stood and walked out of the room; face set determinedly.

"To make things right again!" he said over his shoulder, jogging down the stairs.

"She's in the workshop!" Al's voice floated from upstairs.

Edward made the beeline for the workshop. He stood before the oak door; closed and appearing bigger than he last remembered. He swallowed, hand unconsciously touching the sensitive bumps in his head; a product of Winry's wrath. He steeled his nerves after a few more seconds: there was a reason why he had been honored with the codename Full Metal.

It wasn't because of his steel prosthesis, either.

He tentatively knocked. There was no answer. He tried again, adding: "Winry?"

"Go away."

He dropped his hand to the side. He heaved a deep sigh, wrapping his right hand around the door knob uneasily. He was risking further injury but he knew that leaving it alone wouldn't help him in the future. He had learned long ago that putting these things off only made things worse – and it wasn't like he'd be able to withstand the guilt of knowing he made her cry again for long, anyway.

"I'm coming in," he warned, pushing the door open—only to have it pushed back. He grunted, as Winry tried to close the door.

"Go away, Edward!" she shouted. He noticed, with another ripple of guilt, that her voice sounded thick...like she had just finished crying...

"No!" he yelled, wedging his metal foot between the door and the frame. "Not until I fix this!"

"Ed, I really don't want to see you right now!" she pushed the door back with equal force, voice wavering.

Ed sighed sharply and had half a mind to simply ram the door open with his shoulder. However, that would entail Winry most likely getting smashed and he knew that would not only risk serious injury on her side but it would forever haunt him. Hurting Winry physically was another thing he vowed to he would never do or let anyone else do.

"Could you please just listen to me?" Ed said, pushing the door back a little. "I didn't mean it like that, alright?"

"Edward, get your foot out of the way! You'll dent it!"

"You misunderstood what I was trying to say!" Ed continued, ignoring her and shoving his foot further into the room. "I didn't mean it like you thought I did!"

"What does it even matter?" Winry shouted, although the push on the door weakened.

"It matters because—I didn't mean it like that!" he repeated hastily.

"So?"

"So...stop crying!"

"I am not crying!" Winry shrieked. "So just drop it and go back upstairs!"

"You are crying!" Ed snapped, accusingly. "I can hear you right now! You're crying."

Winry shut her eyes, preventing further tear-flow. She took a long sniffle, earning a "see!" from Edward, but she ignored that. It had been painful to think that Edward had been with other women. She had never really put much thought into the idea of Ed having his way with other girls. She wasn't as arrogant to think that she would be the only one to be with him but it still hurt to hear a clear confession from the object of her affections.

And being compared to them had only made the twist in her heart sink deeper.

"Winry, please," her efforts to keep him out faltered at the pleading-note in his words. "Please stop crying. I'm an idiot, okay? I'm an asshole. I'm a dumbass—just please stop crying."

He stopped trying to push the door open and she let it click close, resting against the wood silently. She quietly scrubbed the tears off her cheeks and swallowed down another bile. She still didn't want to let him inside but she wasn't as cruel as to just leave him out there without another word.

"I'm fine, Ed," she assured softly. "It's okay. I'm not crying anymore."

She didn't hear anything for a few seconds. Did he leave? She leaned off the door and stared at it for a moment, nodding to herself and going back to her desk. However, right before she could sit down the door slammed open and Edward stalked inside before she could even blink.

"What...?"

His eyes traced the dry tear streaks down her cheeks silently. His jaw clenched. His eyes fell to the floor in apparent guilt. "...I'm sorry."

Winry sat down and turned away from him, blinking away forming tears. She wasn't usually so emotional but she supposed everyone was allowed a few moments of weakness, right?

"It's okay, Ed," she sighed, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "You're not in trouble anymore. You don't have to apologize."

"I do!" Ed blurted, looking away when Winry turned to look at him. "I mean, I do have to apologize. I wasn't thinking when I said that...I didn't mean what it implied. I just meant you reminded me of Teacher or General Armstrong."

"Why?" she decided to ask, albeit cautiously.

Edward's lips quirked up. "You all seem to have a dictator-like way of handling things...actually, to be honest, just people."

"Dictator?" Winry scoffed. "Beating sense into you doesn't make me a dictator."

"You're right, it makes you brave," he smiled at her. "Not many girls have the guts to beat their best friend until they bleed."

Despite herself, she chuckled softly.

"I didn't mean it like you thought I did," he began, more confidently upon catching sight of her soft smile. "Who do you take me for? Mustang? Besides, there really aren't any other girls I'd like to be with except—" he stopped suddenly. His face colored red at the near-confession.

"Except...?" she prompted, slightly hopeful.

"U-uh..." He cleared his throat, eyes wide. He didn't really think his apology would lead to this but now that he really thought about it, he shouldn't have been so surprised. "E...except...well, um..." He swallowed hard, breathing very deeply as he thought about what he could say; what it could start...

"Ed...?"

"Th-there's just this girl!" he decided start with but groaned when he saw the flash of hurt on her face. "No! No, not like that! I mean, damn it..." He ran a hand down his face in exasperation. "There—okay, that really won't help the situation." He wracked his brain for anything that would right his previous words. "It's just...I've never really thought about being with anyone else except—er—ah—that girl!" He pointed at her suddenly, face beat red; eyes wide with uncertainty and fear.

"That girl...?" Winry repeated, pointing at herself unsurely.

"Yeah—but—I didn't—okay, that came out weird." He steeled his frying nerves and said, clearer: "I meant you."

Winry suddenly laughed. Edward stared at her stupidly for a moment before his embarrassment became of epic proportions and he covered it up the best way he knew: by getting angry.

"What the hell are you laughing about?" he snapped, the heat on his face growing worse. "Winry!"

"I-I'm not laughing at you, Ed!" she giggled. Eventually she covered her mouth to muffle her giggles, looking up with sparkling blue eyes. "I'm just relieved."

"Relieved?" Ed repeated, anger put out by the sight of her dancing eyes. The previous embarrassment and fear suddenly seemed a little melodramatic at the sight of her warm smile. It was as if all of his doubts had really been unnecessary...

"Yes, that's all." She smiled in assurance, standing and walking up to him.

Edward stiffened, watching her approach him with a sense of trepidation until she grabbed his and led him to the door. He allowed himself to be walked out, unable to help but notice just how warm and soft her hand was in his larger one.

"I also know a guy that I'd like to be with," she said softly.

"You do?" he frowned out, not liking where this was going.

"Yeah!" she beamed. She rose one finger and, with a cheeky grin, pointed at him. "It's that guy!"

Edward looked at her finger then at himself. "M-me?"

"Mmhmm," she giggled.

Edward didn't really know how to feel about that. He was not feeling angry or disappointed – he was feeling something close to glee burst in his chest. However, no matter how idiotic his doubts had appeared, they were what they were: doubts.

"But...are you sure? I mean... I eat a lot."

Winry furrowed her brows, a funny smile on her face. "What does that have anything to do with this?" she asked, a laugh in her words. "You've always been able to devour a whole pot of stew all by yourself! It's just what makes you you."

"Yeah, but, Al said that you didn't like fat guys..." he trailed off, grounding his teeth when she burst into hysterical laughter once more.

She clutched her stomach, using the wall for support as she tried to regain her composure. Edward, meanwhile, crossed his arms moodily and scowled at her laughing; rolling his eyes irately when she wheezed in air only to burst into another fit of giggles.

"E-Edward! Have you seen yourself in the mirror lately?" Winry managed to pant out, as she clutched her aching stomach. "I don't think you even qualify as fat!" She reached forward and poked his abdomen, not disappointed to feel it rock-hard. "And even if you do gain a few pounds, that still won't stop me from liking you, silly!"

"It won't?" Ed asked, just to make sure.

"No!" she smiled brightly. "I'd like you even if you became a big short mush of lipids...okay, maybe not," she added, laughing at his peeved face. "I'm kidding! I'm kidding! But it makes me curious...why do you think you're fat, Ed?"

His cheeks tinted red. "Al told me you didn't like men who were shorter than you...or fat."

Winry rolled her eyes. "And you believed him?"

"Didn't you say so when we were kids?" he groused.

Winry walked beside him, craning her head to look up into his surprised eyes. "You aren't so small anymore, are you?" She straightened and patted her stomach, proceeding to the same with his. "And you and I are about the same but it's understandable that you'd be bigger than me – you're male."

He pondered this for a fleeting second, as she smiled up at him. "I guess you're right," he admitted, cracking a smile of his own. "That was kinda stupid, wasn't it?"

"Yep. And I never said anything about me not liking fat men," Winry decided to throw out there, causing Ed to pause as she shut her workshop door and walked into the kitchen.

"So you do?"

"Well, I don't want to be mean but, not really," she laughed, sheepishly. "But I never said that when we were younger. I said that I wouldn't marry someone who was shorter than me and then you threw a fit."

"Yeah, that's what I remember, too..." Ed frowned, ignoring the last bit. Then it became clear to him. "Al lied!" he gasped, in realization.

"Seems so," she mused. "I wonder why..."

"I don't know but I'm not going to let him get away with it," he growled, furious he had been lied to so easily. "I'll teach him what happens when he lies to his older brother!"

"Oh, pipe down, Ed. I think he meant it with good intention."

"How is lying to me good?" he snapped.

"How else would you ever come to terms with the fact that you like me?" Winry shot back smugly.

Ed blinked. "I-I don't like you!"

"You don't?" She rose a skeptical brow. "That's why you said you can't see yourself with anybody else, huh?" she said sarcastically.

His face flushed. "You said the same thing, too!"

"Yeah, but I came to terms with it a long time ago," she said loftily.

"Oh, yeah?" he challenged.

"Yeah."

"When?"

"When you promised me that the next time I would cry, it would be out of happiness," she revealed without a seconds hesitation. In all honesty, it wasn't like – she didn't like him, she loved him. The emotion she had planted in her heart, he had fertilized, and she had helped grow, was something that had been happening far longer than she would have ever imagined.

Ed was quiet for a moment. "...Alright, you win," he sighed.

"When did you figure it out?" she asked, out of curiosity.

Edward pulled up a chair and rested his cheek against his palm, gazing out of the screen door across from him thoughtfully. He wasn't very good in expressing his emotions using words. He was no smooth-talker like Roy Mustang or no charmer like Jean Havoc. But he supposed that this was one thing he could do right...even if it wasn't a smidgen romantic because he was used to scientifically dissecting his memories for clues; a habit he had attained because of all the information retained in his memories regarding the Philosopher's Stone...

"Ed!"

"Huh?"

She took off her ears, the earrings Al had chosen out but he had given her to, and pressed them into his palm, looking up in hesitantly. He watched her retreat back to the stairs, shouting: "Hold those for me! I'll be waiting for you back at the fort!"

He squeezed the earrings she had entrusted to him in his hand, an emotion close to heartache making it harder to breathe. "A-all..." He wanted to say something; something other than what was going to come out of his mouth. He wanted to leave her with something of meaning, because his chest hurt with images of Scar doing unthinkable acts and never seeing her again. "...right."

He didn't want to leave her. He didn't want to leave her in the hands of a criminal, a murderer, a ruthless Ishvalan who could no longer be considered human because of his savage acts upon humanity.

The earrings dug into his palm the harder he clenched his hand and he watched her follow the guard up the stairs silently; blankly.

He wanted so badly to rush up those stairs and bring her back with him, crush her to him and tell her she'll never have to see that murderer again. He wanted to get rid of her pain; wanted to help her cope with it. He wanted to—

His eyes widened.

The tension in his shoulders relaxed, he dropped his balled fist by his side, and he continued to stare up the stairs; the last place he saw her before she disappeared to go with Scar.

I-I love her, he thought in wonder, the words easier to say than he had first thought. All of those precautions he had taken to assure her safety, the times he fought with her and laughed with her, all of that terror he had felt when she held that gun and nearly shot the man she was now bravely trusting her life to...the fear and utter despair at the thought of losing her...never seeing her bright smile and sparkling sky blue eyes again...

"I love her," he said, so softly no would hear it under the ruckus of guns reloading and soldiers barking out orders from behind him.

"Sir! We have to evacuate the building immediately!" a soldier alerted him, snapping him out of his daze. "Kimblee is nearly here!"

He stored the earrings in his front pocket, clapping his hands and alchemically closing it to ensure they wouldn't fall out if things got rough. "Yeah," he said, stonily. "Let's go."

"When you gave me your earrings," he finally said. "I think that was when I realized that you weren't just my mechanic...because I guess that was when it occurred to me that I might never see you again."

Winry rubbed her arm, remembering that day all too clearly. Scar had firmly assured that he would first die than let harm come to her. She had accepted the vow with a stiff nod and had allowed him to pick her up and begin the play, repeating over and over in her head that this wasn't the last time she would see Edward.

"But nothing happened, right?" she smiled a little. "I'm still here!"

Her cheeks heated against her will. His eyes had become very soft, warm, and his smile could melt the metal she threw into the furnace within seconds. She had never seen such an expression of affection on his face and she hoped she would be the only one to see it in the years to come as he stood up and cracked his knuckles.

"Yeah...you're still here. You'll always be here," he whispered, a little to himself than her, "if I can help it."

"Wh-where are you going?" she called, when he disappeared into the hall after one last look at her.

"I'm going to beat up Al!"

"But—!"

"Oh, Alphonse!" Edward's sickly sweet voice floated from upstairs, where she vaguely heard Al's confused response before choked laughter boomed throughout the house. "How'd'ya like that, little bro?" came Ed's maniacal crackle.

"B-BROTHER! I CAN'T BR-BREATHE!"

"If you can talk, you can breathe!" was his clever response, before the roles reversed and she heard Edward's laugh resound through the house.

She chuckled to herself, remembering that out of the three of them, Al had always been the most susceptible to tickle attacks.