Title: Present and Unaccounted For
Author: S J Smith
Disclaimer: Arakawa owns all. I'm just playing in her sandbox.
Summary: Winry didn't protest much, beyond smacking him on the shoulder, a token response. "You stink!"
Note: Written for the Live Journal community, FMAGiftExchange, for the prompt of 'Edward/Winry; strange toys'. Much thanks to D M Evans for her help.
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The train whistle drifted along with the summer breeze, a reminder that there was a world out there, beyond Rezembool. Edward straightened from hoeing the garden, pulling a bandana out of his pocket and using it to mop his forehead. Winry ought to be coming home soon. She'd gone into town earlier, expecting a package from Rush Valley. He'd offered to go with her but she'd pointed out there were chores that needed doing and they wouldn't get done of if both of them left the house.
There were still times when Edward missed his ability to do alchemy. He could get so far in the process but when it came to actually making the transmutation occur, it was like there was a blank spot. He couldn't do anything more, just feel the lack of something. He and Alphonse had talked about it – Alphonse voicing the wish he'd given up his ability, as well – he might've been able to get Edward's leg back with that offer – but Edward was happy his little brother had use of alchemy. Traveling in the strange lands of Xing, Al needed all the help he could get. Edward somehow doubted Ling's good word would keep Al completely safe, and while Jerso and Zampano were decent enough guys, they probably didn't hang around Al all the time. Alphonse was an Elric and Elrics, as Winry liked to point out whenever either of them returned, bruised and battered and wanting her to take care of them, were nothing but trouble.
Tucking the bandana back in his pocket, Edward turned his attention back to the garden and the weeds growing among the plants. At least this time, he'd come home without needing any extra care. Not that Winry hadn't given him some any way. He hid a smile, despite there being no one around he needed to hide it from. Winry said the old bat had gone to Rush Valley – a last hurrah before she officially retired and let Winry take over the Rockbell automail business. All Edward knew for sure was Winry would've never made those kinds of sounds if anybody might have heard them. And she probably wouldn't have let him make the noises he made, either, now that he thought about it.
He grunted, wishing his body could've waited until Winry got home to start reacting this way. But now that he was remembering the very enthusiastic welcome home he'd received, it was hard to even consider weeding the rest of the garden. "Stupid," Edward told a certain part of his body in particular. "She's at least an hour away." Because it wasn't just a straight walk into town, not if someone was out in the field – and there was always someone out in the field who wanted to talk. Edward could hear it now, "I heard Ed is home! Are you two coming to the barn dance tomorrow?" "Is Ed Elric staying with you? When are you two getting married?" "You shouldn't wait too much longer! You need to give Pinako some great grandkids!"
Edward gnashed his teeth, his fist clenched and raised. He had proposed to Winry, and she'd agreed to marry him. He'd even brought her a ring home during one of his visits. It wasn't that they hadn't talked about actually going through with the ceremony, either! But first, Winry wanted to get her master's certificate, and Al needed him to come to Xing, and the bastard thought he might want to take a look at some newly discovered alchemic texts someone had dug up in Xerxes, and then there was his trips to the West…seriously, it wasn't because he didn't love Winry.
He couldn't even begin to say, once he'd realized what loving Winry meant, how much he missed her, every day while he was traveling. And Edward was pretty sure there wasn't another woman in Amestris – maybe not the world – who'd be willing to let her man wander off without really knowing when he might show up home again. At least now she had that master's certificate, Winry might consider traveling with him. Edward really liked that idea – he wanted Winry to see Xing, and the West, and go south with him. She wanted to, too – but Edward could tell she was having a hard time letting go of her machine shop. They couldn't take it with them, after all, unless they were going to travel by wagon, and that would take forever.
Well, they'd figure it out. It was part of the reason he'd come home this time – so they could talk about finally getting married, and maybe going to Xing or wherever Winry might want to go for their honeymoon. Edward hoped she'd be okay with taking a long one – there was no way Xing was a quick trip, after all, and Al would insist on taking them all over the country if he had his chance. The last time Edward had gone to Xing, he'd been there nearly six months, and that didn't count the journey there and back. And they didn't even get to all the places Al had wanted to take him!
Hearing the old dog bark, Edward grinned. Den only barked like that for family. Winry was home. He went back to work, not wanting to be scolded for not finishing this chore, at least, even though there were others they needed to get done.
"Hey, Ed!" Winry's voice came from the back porch, a welcome respite. "Come inside, I've got some iced tea made." There was a pause as he turned around, and Edward noticed she was holding something in her hands. "And we have a package from Al from Xing!"
Well. That meant Winry would let him take a break. Setting the hoe aside, Edward jogged to the porch, leaping up the steps and grabbing Winry's shoulders. He crushed her against him, giving her a resounding kiss, the package cutting into his chest. "Mmph!" Winry didn't protest much, beyond smacking him on the shoulder, a token response. "You stink!"
"It's the sweat of my labors!"
"Your labors stink!" Winry shoved him off of her, waving her hand in front of her face when she'd managed to push him back. "Go get cleaned up and we'll open the package."
Edward wanted to argue, maybe kiss Winry some more – and it was probably bad he'd thought of that second, he realized – but he'd listen to her request. This time, at least. "All right." It didn't stop him from twining a strand of her hair around his fingers and kissing her noisily on the cheek. "But only because you asked nice."
He didn't linger in the shower, no matter how wonderful the water felt. Winry and a package were waiting. Cleaned up, hair hanging damply down on his shoulders, Edward ran down the steps to the living room. "I hope you didn't open the package yet!"
Winry glared at him from the sofa, pointing at a glass of iced tea on the table. Edward grabbed it and downed half of it in two swallows before dropping heavily onto the sofa next to her. Their shoulders rubbed together and Edward made a playful grab for the package. Winry jerked it away, showing him her lower lip in a pout, which just made Edward lean in and catch it between his teeth, giving her lip a quick nibble.
"Ed!" Winry shrieked when he stole the box and leaned back.
"It's addressed to me!" He pointed at the name on the label.
"Me, too!" Winry stabbed her finger at her name.
"My name is first!"
Winry slapped at the package, making Edward fumble his grip. "Only if you're reading the label upside down!"
"Hey! You might break whatever's in there!" He shook it anyway, ignoring the disgusted sound Winry made. Dropping the package in her lap, Edward fished out a pocket knife, thinking it was so much easier when he could just clap and transmute his arm. He cut the string on the package and slit open the paper wrapped around it. "There."
Paper went flying as Winry ripped it from the box. Edward watched as she pried open the box, moving aside the stringy padding to find a folded piece of parchment. She passed the letter over, continuing to dig in the padding.
"Dear Winry and Ed," he read, "I'm sorry I won't be able to make it home for the Sheep Shearing Festival again this year. How many years has he missed?"
Winry rolled her eyes. "How many years did you miss?"
Edward decided to ignore her question, skimming the letter. "Al says he's going to try to make it home before fall." He waved the page, making it flap. "Unless we want to go to Xing and meet him?"
"Did he say that?" Winry reached for the letter and Edward pulled it out of her reach.
"No, that's me, asking you if you want to go to Xing."
Winry's eyes widened. "Ed?"
"What are you asking?"
Edward sighed, rubbing his forehead. "I thought I was asking if you wanted to honeymoon in Xing. If you don't want to go…?"
"No, no, I want to go!" Winry tossed the box to climb into Edward's lap, lacing her arms around his neck. Giving him a quick kiss, she leaned her forehead against his. "I want to go to Xing." Her eyes lit up and she hugged Edward hard enough to strangle him. "Do you have any idea the mechanics the Xingese have?"
Drawing her closer, Edward really liked the way their bodies fit together, even if it'd feel so much better if they were naked. If Winry kept wriggling like she was, well, maybe clothes would be lost and even more fitting together could happen. As if Winry came to the same conclusion, she threw her weight sideways, dragging Edward down on the sofa with her. The box crashed to the floor, the contents rolling out onto the hardwood. Edward soon followed, Winry falling on top of him. He groaned as Winry scrambled up off of him, racing for the stairs. Snatching at her ankles, Edward missed grabbing her, rolling onto his side and managing to get to his knees.
"Winry!" Her laughter echoed through the house. Edward hauled himself to his feet to chase after her, kicking the box as he went.
Den sneaked into the living room once the door upstairs to Winry's room slammed closed. She sniffed, smelling something unusual, and trailed the scent to the box halfway under a chair. Pushing her whitened muzzle into the box, she found the gift Alphonse had sent, a cylindrical item, slightly bowed in the center. Den shoved it with her nose, her ears cocking up. It reminded her of a bone, with the way it was larger on both ends. She picked it up, testing it against her tongue, mouthing it. It was almost like a bone, a little cooler.
Picking it up, Den trotted outside with it, leaving the note behind in Alphonse's handwriting. It would be some time later that Pinako Rockbell found it, reading the words, Brother, Winry – I hope you have a lot of fun with this. There are entire temples devoted to sexual practices here in Xing. When you come to visit, I'll take you to one. Love, Al.
Pinako could only guess what Alphonse had sent the kids. Den had buried her prize all too well. And it wasn't until Edward and Winry actually arrived in Xing that they found out exactly what Alphonse had sent them.
Edward's horrified scream seemed to echo all the way back to Rezembool.
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