Title: Peace in the Place

Author: S J Smith

Rating: K+

Summary: Rose can't stop herself from watching Winry.

Note: Written for the LJ community, FMA_Slashfest, for the prompt: Any/Any (Any Canon): innocuous exposure as a turn on (wrist through sleeve cuffs, back of neck, etc.)

Disclaimer: If you think I own any of this, I've got some bog land in Indiana to sell you.

WARNING: One-sided relationship, but definitely girl/girl.

There was something about Winry that seemed so peaceful, even though, when she mentioned it to Alphonse, he'd laughed. When Rose frowned, and asked him why he thought it was funny, he said, "You don't know her very well." But then his voice turned wistful, and he said, "She's a good person. Don't get me wrong. And she can have a calming influence on people, I guess. But she's not peaceful. Just wait 'til she loses her temper, you'll see."

So that sounded enough like a challenge that Rose had to take it up. She told herself that she was just watching, because Winry could use someone to look out for her. It didn't matter that Winry had Al, and those two men, Jerso and Zampano, and Mr. Hohenheim, too. Even the strange little man, Yoki, seemed taken with her in some way, and the Ishbalan man was always very aware of Winry when she was around him, though Rose thought the same thing about Winry and her knowing where the Ishbalan man was, too. (There was something there between them, but Rose didn't want to - wasn't about to – pry into that. The people who had arrived in Liore after the Elrics exposed Father Cornello, after the second battle to save Liore, were more interested in rebuilding than tearing down, and welcomed, no matter what their past.)

Rose had offered her apartment for a place that Winry could stay, and the younger girl had accepted readily enough. "It's been a while since I've been around any women!" Winry had laughed. "I love Al, but sometimes, that much testosterone can be too much!" At the time, Rose had nodded, and wondered why her throat went dry and her breath caught at Winry's laugh, but now she knew.

It had started out so simply, too, innocent, even. They'd been washing dishes, well, Winry washed, while Rose dried. She'd passed Rose a plate, water dripping off of the delicate bone of her wrist, and Rose was hard pressed not to trace that wet trail with her tongue. She'd flushed, and taken the plate, mumbling something when Winry asked if she was all right. Focusing on the chore didn't help, either. She was too aware of Winry's presence next to her. She was so little, and cute, and Rose could smell her, and feel the heat radiating off her body. It made something deep inside her twitch and clench, and Rose had to bite her lip to keep from running her fingers up the back of Winry's back.

The chores all done, they sat in the living room, Gold Star Theater on the radio. Winry had a tiny small on her face, and a dreamy expression in her eyes. Picking up some mending from a basket she kept nearby, Rose made herself look at that rather than the flex of Winry's hand, resting on her thigh.

"Can I help with that?" Winry's voice interrupted her thoughts, and Rose had to blink a couple of times to understand the question.

"Oh, I…yes, that would be very nice of you." Rose handed her the basket, pointing out the pin cushion and needles and thread. "I was trying to get some of the kids' clothes mended for them. They're so rough on their knees."

Winry threaded a needle, biting off the thread, and making Rose swallow at the sight of her teeth, and the way her mouth moved. "I remember! Ed and Al always needed patches, well, me, too, when I'd wear pants." She got lost for a few seconds in a memory that Rose envied, if only for the way it made Winry smile. "We all learned to sew because Granny got tired of doing all the patching!"

"The boys know how to sew?" Rose couldn't imagine it.

"They did." Winry shrugged. "Now they'd probably use alchemy instead." She twisted her wrist, and Rose dragged her eyes away.

She could tell herself it was that she hadn't been around any girls for a long time, but Rose knew she was lying to herself. These sorts of feelings, she hadn't felt like this since before, since her beloved had been alive. Maybe it was because there'd been so much hardship, and she craved something simple. Maybe it was the way Winry had been so surprised at being asked if she was Ed's girlfriend. Or maybe, it was just the way she turned her wrists, and shook back her hair, and smiled at everyone.

When Alphonse came one morning, and said that it was time for Winry to go, Rose nearly protested, but she kept her mouth shut. Winry ran around, gathering up what little things she'd collected, and Rose watched her, trying not to laugh. Trying not to cry. "What about your clothes?" Winry asked, stopping halfway through the door.

"You can keep them," Rose said. "I can always get some more."

She told herself the wistful smile wasn't really for her until Winry came back into the room, and hugged her. "Thanks for letting me stay with you," she said, "I won't forget it."

Rose hugged her back, ghosting a kiss over the crown of Winry's head, and then, before she could do anything else, Winry was out through the door, waving back over her shoulder and yelling at Al to wait for her.

Going to the window, Rose looked out of it, catching sight of Winry and Al, meeting up with a pair of men in military uniforms. She couldn't quite tell, but she thought Winry turned her head up and back, and Rose raised her hand, putting it against the window glass. "Don't worry, Winry," she whispered, "I won't forget, either."

She already could feel the peacefulness leaving her apartment, draining away with Winry's absence.