Chapter 4: His Proposal
Disclaimers: I do not own anything Fullmetal Alchemist-credit goes to the amazing Hiromu Arakawa-aside from these random moments that pop into my head just to satisfy my thirst for more FMA.
Winry placed his jacket on the back of one of the empty kitchen chairs. Ed took the hot water off the stove and brought it to the table as Winry gathered two cups and some cocoa.
"There you go," he said after filling up her cup. He pushed it toward her and then slid his closer and poured some water into it. Winry handed him a spoon and after getting some cocoa, passed that along as well.
They sipped in silence. Winry held the cup in both hands close to her face. She was still shivering and her nose was slightly pink from the cold. Ed brushed the back of his fingers along her cheek.
"How are you warmed up already?"
"Gloves. They do wonders for your hands, I hear." He laughed and took a swig. Winry rolled her eyes. "Give me your hands."
"Uh-uh. They are staying glued to this cup."
Ed held out his hands and impatiently snapped his fingers until she finally relented. He pulled her hands to his face, covering her hands with his own.
Winry's face instantly blushed. "Uh, you could just give me your gloves, you know."
A minute later he pulled her hands away. He released one hand, but her other still rested in his.
"How's that? Better?"
Ed was about to let go of her hand when she slid her fingers through his.
"This helps, too," she added quietly. She avoided his glance. He looked at their intertwined hands and swallowed. His thumb absentmindedly ran along her finger. Eventually she placed the tip of her thumb against his and he moved them back and forth.
"Yeah, it does," he agreed.
Winry smiled and when she glanced at him, he noticed her eyes were shiny. Tearful. He cocked his head. One side of his mouth slid up into a gentle smirk. He sighed loudly.
"Why are you crying?"
She laughed, blinking back the tears.
"Because you never do."
His smirk melted away. He gave her hand a squeeze. "Because I don't have a reason to be sad."
"Who says I'm crying because I'm sad?"
He gave her that argument.
"Al told me something the last time I talked to him," Ed said, once again marvelling at their hands together.
"Hmm, what was that?" Winry took a sip.
"He told me that, since I sort of proposed to you, if I didn't give you a ring when I got back, he was going to transmute my soul to Den's doghouse."
Winry choked on her hot chocolate.
"What?" she gasped.
Ed reached into his pocket and pulled out a little black box. He placed it on the table. Winry instantly grabbed it and held it up to her face.
"Wait, are you going to do the one-knee thing?" she asked, her eyes sliding over to him. He rolled his eyes.
"If you want me to."
Her eyes slid back to the box and she pressed her lips together in a happy little grin. She shook her head. Suddenly she looked at him.
"Am I supposed to look at it now?"
"Only if you want to," he muttered, offended she even asked.
"Of course I want to," she squealed. His annoyance faded away. "But...I'm afraid to."
"Why?" he asked, deadpan.
"This is huge, Ed. This is really huge."
"Yeah...so? You plan on dumping me already?" he asked in mock horror.
"Well that's the thing...I, uh, haven't really been telling anyone we were...you know..."
"Seeing each other?"
"I talked to Al about that," Ed said as he crossed his arms and dropped his chin onto them. "He told me everyone wants us to be together so badly, they are more bothered by the fact we haven't officially announced anything yet."
"Oh. I guess that makes sense."
Winry sent Ed an icy glare without warning, which brought him back to Briggs and Major Armstrong's cold looks of death. He stared back innocently.
"Is that why you got me this?"
His expression fell flat. "Open the damn box already, Winry."
She gulped and nodded. Her eyes squinted nearly shut and she brought the box right up to her nose. Bit by bit, she pried the lid off and then gasped.
It was perfection in a box.
The metal looked exactly like Ed's automail. Her automail. There were two bands side by side that would wrap around her finger. The top of the ring made her light headed. The two bands met in the middle, but curved off to the sides so that there were two curls in front and two curls in back. Simple, yet so beautiful.
Her hands were shaking-not from the cold-as she slid the ring out of its snug bed and tried sliding it on her finger. Ed's hand shot out, though, and he grabbed it quick.
"Now this part I am going to do. You'd drop it anyhow," he muttered. She ignored his comment. His warm hand held her left hand. With his other hand, he held the ring between his thumb and forefinger. Carefully, slowly, he slid the ring onto her finger and gently pushed it back until it sat perfectly. It glinted in the light.
"I figured I've worn enough of your automail. It's about time you keep some for yourself. I saw this design while I was researching in the west. I sent Al a sketch, had Granny send some scrap metal to him, and had Al make it. He said he used Lan Fan for sizing, so I hope it fits alright."
"It's perfect," Winry breathed, her voice thick. She waggled her fingers, her eyes glued to the ring. "It's perfect," she repeated.
Ed grabbed her hand and held it up to his face. He stared at the ring on her finger and felt his heart swell with pride. He had always had a feeling he would be with Winry, but there were times he felt she deserved better. After regaining their bodies' back, his second to-do was to repay Winry for always fixing him up and supporting him. Pinako, too, but he had to do something really special for Winry. And just like she said, this was perfect.
He gave her hand a kiss and blushed when he noticed Winry's face redden.
Their first kiss. In a way.
He released her hand and pushed his chair back from the table. Winry frowned.
"Where are you going?"
He walked over to her, held out his hands and waited for her to follow along, before helping her up. He pulled her into a hug and kept her tight. He buried his face into her hair and breathed deeply, revelling in how calm he felt. Thank goodness for that, because he had been freaking out about what was going to happen next.
He let Winry back up no more than a few inches. His arms were still wrapped around her waist and her hands were on his chest. They slid up and around his neck as she stood on her tip toes and smiled at him. He smiled back. Both of their faces were burning, but they ignored that detail and leaned forward, closer and closer, until they closed the gap between them permanently.
Ed marvelled at this new sensation building inside him. He had only felt echoes of it before now, that achy feeling everytime he thought about Winry or left her or made her cry.
When they needed a breath, they relinquished their holds on one another. Ed's forehead rested against hers and they breathed deeply for a few seconds.
"Winry Rockbell," Ed said, bringing Winry back from dreamland. Her deep blue eyes watched his fiery golden eyes. "Will you please marry me so I'll always have a home to come back to? Where ever you are," he whispered, "is home."
Tears flowed from her eyes and she nodded. "Yes," she mouthed, too emotional for words. Ed smiled and pulled Winry into another hug, spinning around.
"About damn time."
Ed almost dropped Winry. Winry shrieked. Both froze and looked into the dark living room. There in the shadows, two orbs reflected the light from the kitchen. A second later, Pinako walked through the doorway. Winry sighed and bent over to catch her breath. Ed glared at Pinako.
"Don't you know it's rude to eavesdrop?"
"Don't you know it's rude to not get my permission first?"
That caught Ed off guard.
"Actually, I was more with Al on this one," the only lady chuckled. "I would have beat you to a pulp if you hadn't officially proposed on return. I'm going to bed. Don't be too loud," she added with a twinkle in her eyes.
Ed and Winry frowned before her words clicked into place. Winry's mouth dropped open and she paled before blushing her deepest red yet. Ed glared horrified at the old woman. Both of them then put at least three feet between them and began tidying up the kitchen just for something to do.
Pinako laughed loudly and turned to go back to bed.
"That dirty old-" Ed began.
"I am not sleeping in your room," Winry declared.
"I didn't want you to sleep in my room," Ed snapped back. Truth was, the idea hadn't entered his brain. He hadn't thought that far ahead with his plan.
They glared at each other.
"You can sleep in my room," Winry said firmly. "But don't even think of trying anything, pal, understood?"
Ed felt his entire body blush.
"Uh, Winry...I don't know...don't you think...I mean..." he sputtered. Winry fought back a laugh, but failed. She burst into laughter and thought back to when Ed had first proposed to her and how both of them had acted like such idiots. Ed didn't even pick up on her laughter he was so concerned with the next course of action.
"Silly," she said when she was right in front of him. He blinked at her. "I just want you to hold me, alright?" She stepped closer and tucked herself against him. Edward tried to calm his erratic heartbeat. He felt like he was going to have a heart attack.
"Right," he breathed shakily. "Right." His arms wound around her and she visibly relaxed. He did too.
That night, after awkwardly changing in separate rooms, Ed finally walked back into Winry's room. She was in her normal shorts and a t-shirt. He was in his normal boxers and a black tank. Silently, she crawled into bed first, scooting over to leave him enough room. He took a deep breath and traipsed to her bed. He sat down, turned, and lay down on his back. He focused on the ceiling until he felt Winry's hand move across his chest. Her hand was shaking again, so he felt a little better. She tugged on him and he finally turned onto his side. They faced each other without touching. Ed reached out his hand and touched hers. She moved a little closer to him. Her leg nudged his automail and eventually draped over it.
Before they knew it, they were tangled together, just holding one another, and listening to the other breathe, feeling the other's heartbeat. Eventually Ed's eyes drooped shut and he let his mind wander to what would happen in the future. Their wedding. Spending every night with Winry.
His eyes flashed open and he saw Winry was fast alseep, a small smile on her lips. He brushed some hair from her face and her eyes fluttered, but then shut again. He smiled.
"I love you," he whispered. She didn't budge. He closed his eyes and this time whatever crossed his mind didn't scare him. It comforted him, knowing he and Winry would figure it out together.