Title: Quality Time
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: December 20 , 2011
Rating: K
Warnings: None.
Disclaimer: "Fullmetal Alchemist" belongs to Hiromu Arakawa, Square ENIX, Studio BONES and various other parties.
Author's Note: Any continuity. Written for the prompt "Ed + Books = OTP".

The familiar, welcome scent greeted Edward Elric as soon as he pushed through the door, negligently waving his silver watch at the guards. It brought him to a standstill in the entryway where he spent a minute pretending to collect his thoughts while breathing in the tempting aroma.

The ruse probably didn't fool the librarians. And, it certainly never fooled Al. Because the librarians knew alchemists. Al knew him. And, both parties knew the look of someone loitering just so he could savor the scent of books.

But, today, Al wasn't there to smile that smug smile of his. (Al's lack of a human face was inconsequential. Ed could feel his little brother's smirks and smiles.) Instead, Al had elected to do his own research, hunting down a bookseller who was rumored to carry some particularly rare alchemy texts. And, he had none-too-subtly hinted that a certain temperamental elder brother might sabotage his efforts at sweet talking the man out of said books. Which wasn't true because Ed was a great negotiator. He just liked to negotiate loudly. And, sometimes, with his fists.

Well, whatever. That meant today would be just Ed alone with a few hundred thousand books and no one to nag at him about rumbling stomachs or eyestrain.

Ed's golden eyes lit at the prospect, and he angled himself toward the stacks on the right.

The National Library in Central held more books than he had ever imagined before he left Resembool. More books than an average person could read in a lifetime.

Good thing he wasn't average.

No, if they contained anything tangentially related to alchemy, Ed meant to get to them all. Even the ones written by idiots. Because, sometimes, he needed a good laugh.

Today, he would start at "Ha". With any luck, he would reach "He" by lunchtime.

Finding Maximillian Haakenson's "Applied Theory of Solid Matter Transmutation", Ed opened it and spent a few seconds savoring that heady aroma of paper and glue one more time before diving into the text. Today was going to be a good day.

Hours later - lunchtime, judging by the rumbling from his stomach - Ed had surpassed his planned goal and was well into "He". Books were piled around him in a loose semi-circle, and a scattering of notes was more or less collected by his left elbow.

There had been blissfully few distractions. Only a couple of librarians in the last few minutes who had come to nag at him about something. Probably re-shelving the books. The answer to which was, "No," because he was going to re-read two of them, but he wasn't sure where they were and couldn't be bothered to dig them out until he finished his current text.

He was on the next to last page of Norman Hevener's "Secrets of the Green Lion" when the lights went out.

"A power outage?" Ed groused. "I haven't gotten through the conclusions yet!"

For a minute, he waited for the power to come back. When it didn't, he huffed and set about handling the matter on his own.

It was ten o'clock that night when Al finally found him, reading by the light of a small, slow-acting transmutation on the stone floor, stomach rumbling, eyes bleary and face set in a relaxed smile.