Disclaimer: Don't own it.

067: Childhood Friend

Neither can quite remember how it started. It might have been when each noticed the other holding on to that first hug a little longer than necessary. It might have been the brushing against the other in the hallway that was too accidental to have been a mistake. It might have been when they both realized he was taller than her.

They both could agree what was happening, though. Three childhood friends were finally reunited, and two of them were ruining it by being weird. The three of them, once inseparable, were now falling victim to teenage hormones.

Alphonse noticed the change first. He was in the best position, after all. He saw how every time Winry came in the room, Edward's eyes would not leave her. He saw how Winry seemed mesmerized by Edward's restored arm. He saw how both of their smiles were too bright, but how both used them to try and cover up the awkward silences.

Winry realized things were changing not too long after Alphonse. She noticed how the comfortable quiet she and Edward had shared during maintenance sessions was morphing into badly placed commas and ellipses. She had seen this happen before when she was in town with Nelly or Paninya. The other girls would stumble over their words when a cute boy paid attention to them (or in Paninya's case, she would hold up the boy's belt and ask if she could return it at dinner). Winry thought she was beyond such typically girly behavior, but everything was different for her when it came to Edward. Most of the time, she just did not know what to do. She would finally push out what she was trying to say, and then blush madly, knowing exactly how odd it sounded.

Edward was the last to know—not that this surprised either Alphonse or Winry. However, he cottoned on sooner than the other two would have expected. He did not care about the new punctuation in their conversations. What hit him was the way he would always touch the earrings she gave him whenever he thought of her. Winry's earrings, precious metal she had entrusted in him to keep safe, were always in his pocket. They felt smooth and cool when he would rub the silver with his right hand. These thoughts, he noticed, always seemed followed by a goofy grin which Alphonse or Pinako would point out with some eyebrow waggling.

All three of them knew the change was likely to be irreversible. Either Edward and Winry would get together in an explosion of fiery personalities, or one would back off before the other got the courage to do anything about it. These childhood friends were entering uncharted territories.