Touch

Something between a grumble and a moan vibrated from Edward's throat as he stared longingly at the book tossed atop his belongings on the other side of the room, his arm hanging stiffly over the edge of the bed as though reaching out for it. It wasn't fair. After all he had done for Winry she had to go and swipe his book away from him and toss it somewhere he couldn't get it without getting up. And he didn't want to get up because then he couldn't get comfortable in the same way again. It just wasn't going to happen.

He wasn't about to wake Winry up either. That would be bad, he'd learned quite well before—and winced slightly at the memory. She may have been an early bird most of the time but if she didn't need to get up she did not want to be woken up any earlier than she was ready for. Unless it started getting too late, Edward would leave her alone.

…It would be really nice if he could use alchemy to make the floor work like a conveyor belt and bring the book to him. However, as the circumstances deemed it, such was no longer an option. And he supposed even if it was, the people on the floor below wouldn't appreciate it, nor would the people in charge of the hotel downstairs. And he didn't want to pay more for this trip than he already was. He wasn't a cheapskate like everyone teased him for; he was being smart... even if he did have enough money to last him the next few years without hassle.

Defeated and annoyed about it, Edward flicked the sheet off of him and kicked the blankets off his feet and rolled off the bed. He looked back at Winry; still sound asleep and undisturbed by his movements before trudging onward. He had to go to the bathroom anyway…could pick up the book on the way back.

The rooming arrangement—while he wasn't complaining now—had been absolutely unexpected up until the previous afternoon. He knew—knew!—that one room with two separate beds was what he had asked for when he called in the reservation and had been thoroughly ready to march back downstairs and give those people at the desk a piece of his mind; or as Winry had put it: "make a scene." The calm manner Winry carried out toward the situation hardly helped his flustered state even though she assured she understood it was a mistake. And it wasn't because he was angry… well he was, but… That was not an impression he'd wanted to make! All he'd wanted was to do something nice for Winry—albeit had been Al's idea in the first place—not think he'd brought her here just to get laid! He wasn't Mustang!

Now that Edward thought about it in hindsight though, he had to wonder why Winry hadn't nailed him for the mistake that wasn't his fault. Ah, well, as the saying went, never look a gift horse in the mouth. Besides, after they got back last night she hardly seemed to care—she hadn't made any move for the couch—and he'd needed that book to calm himself down, but he'd come around.

Edward chuckled to himself. In the end, the day hadn't been a bad turnout at all.

In an abundantly better mood, Edward flopped back onto the bed with his book and picked up where he'd last left off. Time passed like nothing as it always seemed too when reading. He didn't even noticed Winry had woken up and rolled over and was watching him intently. Only when distantly heard her voice questioning why he had the very thing she'd taken away from him had he started to realize.

And it was when Winry had hooked her foot around his leg and he felt it rubbing up and down the length of his shin that Edward had really started to pay attention.

In the moment of his confusion Winry managed to snatch the book away from him again, not that he really cared anymore when her hand glided over the side of his face and pulled him down to her level for a slow, long kiss.

"I was waiting for you to notice but you were taking too long." Winry smiled, her foot still rubbing his leg and cool hand pressed to his face.

Edward grinned back. "Sorry."

"I'm used to it. Besides, I don't really mind. It's actually kind of fascinating watching you. You look so focused with your eyebrows scrunched up like your trying to figure something out." She giggled.

Taking the time to just look at her—because really, there was no rush—and watch her flush at the attention he was openly centering on her—it was cute to see Winry get embarrassed—Edward finally asked, "What do you want to do for the rest of the morning?"

Winry slid her hand down, placing it on the sheets between him and unthinkingly he followed the urge to grab it and feel her fingers beneath his. "How about breakfast? I thought I saw a nice little café across the street from the park yesterday."

"Then we should get going."

Nodding, a few seconds later Winry moved to get up but was held back when his hand failed to let hers go. "Ed, I can't—"

Edward took his other hand and put it around her neck, fingers barely sifting past the brim of her fine hair and pressing his lips against hers for a second time that morning, once again slow and soundly. When he broke it, he touched foreheads with her, staring straight into her eyes. "You look beautiful."

Before last night, he never imagined himself ever saying something like that to her. Just the very thought of it would make him stutter and redden. But now, seeing her still-sleepy looking eyes and the smile she shone at him, and the morning sun radiating a glow behind her… the last thing he could do was keep from denying the truth; a truth that she deserved to know.

And it made something within him flutter as he realized that the sight of Winry was something he wanted to wake up to more often.

Winry blushed profusely and lowered her eyes shyly, trying vainly to hide a smile. "Liar, I just woke up."

Edward didn't argue, although he allowed a small chuckle before letting her go get ready. There was no need. He already knew that she knew he had meant every word.

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"This is your fault!"

Winry shook her head and sighed, leaning against the car window she was staring out while Edward fumed over being late for their train because Brigadier General Mustang had showed up at the café for his own brunch and "just couldn't resist wasting their time." Personally, she hadn't really minded the surprise despite her companion's indignant claims that this time was meant to be only for the two of them and not for social visits. In a way, it was kind of sweet; but it was impractical too. There were too many people residing in the large city that would no sooner recognize Edward than a stray cat in the alley. And as Edward had put it earlier, "it's just my luck that it's him."

At least Miss Riza had been with Mr. Mustang. That had helped a little.

The car came to an abrupt stop and no sooner than that had Edward grabbed there things and was pushing her to go.

According to the clock on the dashboard it was eleven fifty seven.

"Come on, Winry. We gotta go!"

Winry leaned forward, hastily jutting out: "Thank you so much for the ride."

"It's not a problem, Winry." Riza's ease was a contradiction to the rush they were in but not unpleasant.

"At least someone knows how to show some gratitude." Roy offhandedly and bemusedly commented.

Edward growled. "Shut up! Now come on!"

"Alright, alright," Winry fumbled for the handle and stumbled onto the sidewalk, only able to yell out one more thanks before Edward was slamming the door and pulling her into a run by the wrist.

Once they were past the entrance doors their train was starting to depart. That only spurred Edward on faster and as was usually the case, she was hard pressed to keep up, even with the sparse crowd populating the station.

Winry was never the fastest runner, at least not compared to him.

And as she worked at trying to keep up, Winry could almost see how this was going to go. It was almost like déjà vu, really. Only instead of watching Al hauling Ed up onto the caboose with an arm of steel, it was going to be Ed hauling her up with a considerably weaker flesh arm. One little mishap—slip of the fingers, feet… and one or both of them would be hurting.

"You better not drop me!" Winry yelled ahead just as Edward landed on his feet and turned around to hold out his hand to her.

"I won't! Just come on!"

And when the platform had run out, Winry did, keeping her eyes open and locked on the one person she would trust her life with, panicking when gravity began to have its way with her despite how close she was.

All she could do was squeeze her eyes shut and hope it wouldn't hurt too much.

The pain… it never came.

She felt Edward's hand latch around her arm firmly, the grip almost painful under her shoulder—but nothing compared to what she was imagining—and yanked her up. Desperately, Winry swung her other arm around and caught the fabric of his shirt to hold onto and steady herself, too afraid to move on the narrow strip they were now safely standing on. The moment had been fast and precarious, and despite how pathetic it might have been, all she could do was cling.

"I really don't want to do that again." Winry mumbled into his shoulder, finding relief from the sudden rush of adrenaline in the feel of his arms holding her close, even under the hot summer sun.

Edward laughed and motioned her towards the door. "Well, next time don't invite Mustang over to the table."

Winry grumbled despite the smile crossing her lips. She took her bag from him and led the way inside the car. "I thought at least someone deserved to know you're still alive. Lord knows you do such a fantastic job at doing that much."

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Edward felt her chest shake with silent laughter against his back. "What is it?"

Winry shook her head. "Nothing, just remembering the last time you carried me like this. Remember, when we first went to Rush Valley?"

Traveling straight through without stopping, they would've made it back to Resembool by eight in the evening. But two stops had been made along the way, throwing their destination time off by almost four hours. Winry had been asleep when the train did finally arrived and had weakly argued that she was capable of walking on her own, that the exhaustion would wear off once she got moving again. It had only taken ten minutes into the forty minutes walk back home for her to concede and accept Edward's offer of a ride on his back.

"Yea, what of it?'

"I'd said it was weird that someone smaller than me was carrying me and then you said you'd drop me for saying that. And now you're bigger… I don't know. I thought it was funny." Winry yawned.

He smirked. "I might drop you anyway. I could swear you've been trying to break my back today, first with catching the train and now this."

"Baby." Winry teased. "The exercise isn't gonna hurt ya… it'll keep those muscles toned. You're gettin' lazy."

"Says the woman hitching a ride."

"You offered."

"You accepted."

Winry stayed silent for a while, thinking. Behind a yawn she halfheartedly rebutted, "...Well, you're still getting lazy."

Edward only rolled his eyes.

The remainder of the way home stretched on in silence. At some point—he was unsure exactly when—Edward noticed that Winry's breathing had slowed and supposed that she had fallen back asleep, her grip around his waist tightened. The night concealed the small smile that tugged at his lips. He had noticed the same thing months ago when Winry had been sick, like she was making sure he couldn't get away without her notice.

He guessed he couldn't really blame her for that. He had tried to often enough in the past.

But I'm not going anywhere now.

Edward would have preferred not waking Winry up when they finally got back to the house, would have rather just taken her upstairs to her room and left her there. But unfortunately, he couldn't do that without a key and the front door was locked.

She mumbled drowsily. "We there yet?"

"Yea, but the door's locked. Do you have a key?"

Her eyebrows furrowed and she lifted up her head barely. "…No. I thought you had one?"

"I didn't think we'd be getting home so late."

Winry laid her head back down and Edward could feel her lashes tickling his neck as she blinked. Then she sighed heavily. "What about the basement?"

"Thought of that. I'd rather not kill myself getting around there in the dark."

"Mmm…then I guess we're stuck out here." She stated simply, frankly. Winry twisted her head around to face the porch. "I guess it's a good thing we got the porch swing, isn't it?" She kicked her feet and he let her get down, stretching his back as she flopped down onto the swing and folded her legs up. Setting their things down, Edward followed suit, not phased at all when she curled herself against him.

"You aren't mad?"

Winry tilted her head up at him. "Why would I be mad?"

He felt rather dubious. "…Because we're stuck out here?"

"Nah." She smiled and pulled herself closer to him. "I don't mind enjoying this trip a little longer."

"Oh." And after a moment, he smiled too. Kissing her atop the head, he finished, "Yea, I guess it's not too bad after all."

Tomorrow, he made the mental note as he drifted off to sleep as well, Winry warm and long since fast asleep. He'd have to call Al and thank him for the idea.

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It feels… incomplete, like all I'm doing is trying to lengthen the chapter. Actually, that was what I was doing, and I don't know if that was a good idea. I think the first part alone… or maybe just the first two parts… are enough.

Life's full of chances. This is just one, insignificant one I'm going to make.

Regardless, sorry if I disappointed you with the lack of smut. I tried working with it, honestly, but it just wasn't working for me. That's why it's taken me nearly six months to finish this chapter. Besides, I did say in the summary this was supposed to be sickly sweet, not… you know—even if I did break that a few times ;)

Thanks everybody for sticking this one out with me and for all the reviews, alerts, favorites. I really appreciate it.