Author's Note: Just a plot bunny running rapid. Not really romance but a fluffy moment between Ed and Winry.
Disclaimer: The only thing of Fullmetal Alchemist I own is an Edward Elric plushy.
Chapter 1 Which Way
Six years, no more like sixteen years. The change had been so abrupt; only this morning she'd been worrying and they'd been fighting, and now, though she still worried, she no longer was worrying about their immanent death as they were both within arm's length, sleeping as if the last six years had never happened.
The promised tears of joy still clinging to her lashes Winry Rockbell smiled fondly at the two Elrics; Edward's stomach showing and mouth hanging slightly open, Alphonse frail and child-like curled up peacefully in a tight ball. Each had claimed a couch to conquer, for once Al beating his brother's record time for losing consciousness. Naturally his big brother Ed had fetched him a blanket from the hall closet before following his little brother's example. Having neglected to retrieve a blanket for himself, Winry brought one out for him, draping it over the boy before heading to the kitchen.
Since the boys had left home, and even more so since meeting Gracia Hughes, Winry had developed the habit of baking when worried, so it wasn't entirely luck that she had made several pies on The Promised Day and continued to when no one had bothered to call with news of Ed and Al afterwards. Both boys had been lovingly chewed out for keeping her in the dark for over two weeks, but in light of the situation not even the fiery Rockbell had the heart to use her wrench. Once Winry had released them from her greeting embrace she made good on her promise of pie for Al and insisted tomorrow she'd make knish. Considering how much pie she'd made it wasn't a surprise that for once Winry was grateful Ed ate so much and didn't even comment on Al breaking his brother's speed eating record, they cleaned out the pie after all, so she kept her remarks to herself, carefully filing them away for later use.
Calmly the girl went about cleaning up the remains of their entirely pie-based meal, washing off plates and scrubbing out pie tins in a state of utter bliss. For all her assurances that they would without a doubt get their bodies back, she had been a lot more worried than she let on and a lot more relieved than she should have been.
Perhaps that was because a small part of her, one which had been getting larger the deeper into the government conspiracy the brother got, had never expected Ed and Al to come back, after all her parents hadn't. But the Elrics were different she'd always known that and the proof was clear as day sleeping on her couch.
Her now prune-like fingers fumbled for the faucet, lessening the flow to an ill regular drip she knew would stop on its own soon enough. It seemed to her as if the sun had finally come out from behind several years' worth of clouds, Ed and Al were alive and they were home all in one or rather two pieces. Drying her hands on the dish towel Winry headed toward her workroom, unlike the brothers she knew full well she'd never be able to sleep just then if she tried, might as well get some work down if she was going to be up anyway.
As she passed the living room her heart nearly stopped and the dripping of the sink grew very loud to her heightened senses. The couch was empty, vacant of any signs Edward had ever been there. For a single illogical moment Winry thought she'd imagined their homecoming before she let herself register the soft even breathing of the slumbering Al. Winry deliberately took a breath forcing herself to look for a rational explanation, the open patio door offered an obvious one.
"Hey," she called softly out the doorway to the blond on the steps.
"Couldn't sleep." He said shortly anticipating her question without turning around.
"Well that's a first," She teased, trying to lighten the mood, Ed's posture screamed of meaningful thoughts, when he didn't bite she changed tactics. "Okay what's on your mind Ed, you have that look?" Though she probably could have guessed by the way he was staring at his newly flesh and blood arm; as if he could unravel al the world's mysteries if he just looked hard enough.
Ed's eyes burned with frustration, "Ya know Winry," he said absently, "I've been so focused on getting our bodies back and the whole conspiracy with the homunculi I never really thought about what I'd do after. The only reason I joined the military in the first place was to find the philosopher's stone and now that I can't use alchemy I couldn't go back if I wanted to."
Joining him in staring at his hands she whispered a worry she had been harboring for years, "Would you, want to go back I mean."
His answer wasn't instantaneous but it hasn't hesitant either, "No, even if I still had my alchemy I wouldn't go back." Winry didn't show her relief only nodded in understanding, sensing he still had something else he wanted to say. "It's weird though, I'm so used to worrying that now that it's all over I'm worrying about not having anything to worry about." He gave a dry laugh.
"It's not that weird." She whispered with conviction, leaning back on her hands so as to avoid the intense gaze of the Elric beside her, "You've had a purpose for the last six years," sneaking a glance at Ed Winry noticed that for once the young alchemist was paying rapt attention to her every word, "and even before that really." The subtle reference to their failed attempt at human transmutation didn't make Ed blanch as it once would have. "It would be weird if you didn't feel a little lost after all that."
With a soft smile Winry turned her head to meet Edward's gaze which was blazing with knowledge as they always did when he was trying to make sense of a situation. Blue eyes lost in gold, gold lost in blue, each searching for their own answers in the other.
Ed was the first to break contact; Winry the first to speak. "Maybe, for right now you don't look at things long term, let everyone in central worry about the big picture. For now you can just look at things one moment at a time."
"Yeah, you're probably right."
Winry nearly fell over in surprise, Ed grabbing her elbow to keep her from colliding with the porch rail. "I am?" Ed gave her a look as if maybe she had hit her head after all, "I mean, you usually don't agree with me that easily, that's all."
Blushing slightly Ed turned away with a huff, "Normally I have a reason not to." He grumbled. For reasons unknown to the girl beside him Ed's face was reddening at a certain memory of a certain lieutenant saying a certain thing about certain feelings he may or may not have about his mechanic. Looking for any distraction other than mentally reciting the periodic table, which had failed before when it came to undesirable thoughts of Winry, Ed randomly asked, "When are you going back to Rush Valley?"
Winry stopped trying to lean around Edward to get a look at his face, "What do you mean?"
This topic of conversation was much more comfortable and easy for Ed to get a handle on, "with the homunculi gone you're not in danger of being taken hostage anymore so…" he shrugged letting Winry take the sentence where she would.
"I don't think I'm going back." She played with her hands nervously where they rested in her lap.
"But what about your training?" Edward nearly shouted as he stumbled over an appropriate response.
"Finished." Ed shut up immediately, "Before I went up north with Kimbly to meet you Garfiel said there wasn't anything more he could teach me." Pride shown through in her words obviously she was making an effort to stay humble made easier by the knowledge that she had been stupid enough at that time to willingly walk into a trap.
"Oh." All plausible responses flew from Ed's mind, "Congratulations?" Winry giggled at Ed's face, which looked as if someone had told him that the homunculi had all been an elaborate April Fool's joke.
"Why the face?" She puffed up as his expression turned from dumbfounded to incredulous. "Is it so shocking that I could finish my training early Edward?" She dared him to answer with her eyes.
Flustered and fearful of the unseen wrench he knew was there Ed stuttered an explanation, shaking his head furiously and waving his hands to ward off attack or misunderstanding. "No, no, of course not, it's just that-I thought-I mean-it's not like you can learn everything, you're not just done improving your automail right?" His right hand automatically came up to scratch the back of his head in nervous habit.
Instead of lobbing a wrench at him Winry laughed outright, "Ed, just because I'm not an apprentice anymore doesn't mean I'm going to stop studying and perfecting my work. You didn't when you left Ms. Izumi right. Mr. Garfiel just felt that I'd learned everything I could from him and thinks I'm ready to go out on my own and get more practical experience."
"Oh, right…I knew that." His hand came back down and he grinned sheepishly. "So you're going to open your own practice then?"
She shrugged, "Eventually, but there's no rush, Mr. Garfiel said that he would give me a recommendation whenever I want. He also said that I should-" abruptly Winry cut off with a blush as she remembered what her old teacher had implied she should do specifically regarding the blond former-alchemist.
"Uh…Winry? You in there?" Ed's waving hand before her face snapped the mechanic back to reality.
"Oh just that I should take a break and relax that's all." She explained frantically, a tiny bead of sweet condensing at her temple. They lapsed into a slightly awkward companionable silence. Neither would have been able to tell how long they sat there looking at the sky of Resembol. "I was thinking I'd stay here for a while." Winry's whisper seemed very loud in the night's quiet. "Granny could use my help around here, and it'll be nice to spend some time at home." She was careful to omit the other reason, affiliated directly with Ed she had for remaining in their home town.
There was another shorter lapse of silence, broken this time by Edward's heavy sigh. "Sounds like a plan, I could use some down time." Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell sat together like that until morning, both of them smiling like idiots on the inside.
I might end up turning this into a series of one-shots centering around the Resembol family and Ed and Winry as a couple, I'm not sure though so help me decide by leaving me a review(;