Title: Learning To Live
Word Count: 532
Warning/Notes/Disclaimer: Characters are not mine and I am not making any money off this. However, they do belong to Hiromu Arakawa/Square ENIX, MBS, ANX, BONES, FUNimation Productions, Ltd.
Ed approached Riza nervously. "Could I, uh, ask you something?" He rubbed at the back of his neck.
"What about?" Riza asked, wondering at Ed's nervousness.
"...Would you be interested in going out with me?" Ed asked in a rush, his cheeks vaguely pink. Riza's mind went blank for a moment as she tried to process what Ed just asked.
"Have you tried dating girls in your own age range first?" Riza asked carefully.
"Yeah. But... none of them saw me for me. Only my title, or rather, former title." Ed's shoulders drooped at that. "They just wanted what they thought I was or what they thought I should be," he continued. "And some of what they wanted, I had no interest in giving them." Now his cheeks were flaming with embarrassment.
Riza just raised an inquiring eyebrow.
Ed squirmed. "I was under the impression that first dates were for finding out what the other person was like and see if you'd want to go on another one. But several of them wanted to have sex. I don't even know them! How am I supposed to figure out if I want to do that with them if they want to have it right from the start? I don't know how the Colonel can stand having women flinging themselves at him like that, I really don't," he concluded, shaking his head.
"You're both... very different people," Riza said tactfully. "You're also both famous, so there'll be a certain amount of that, unfortunately."
"...Are you telling me that they just want to be able to say they had sex with the Full Metal Alchemist?" Ed looked distressed.
Riza decided it was time to divert his thinking. "Have you thought about asking Winry?"
"Winry?" Ed looked blank. "Winry is... Winry."
Riza took that as a 'no'. She made a last try; not that she thought it'd work, but who knew. "How about other boys..?"
Ed looked horrified. "No! Absolutely not!"
She gave up. "So. Why me? I'm a decade older than you are."
Ed fidgeted. "Besides the fact that I won't need to worry about being molested on the first date?" he joked weakly. He scratched at the back of his neck, trying not to twitch at her look of disapproval.
"Well, unlike them, you understand and are willing to understand what Al means to me. Also, I don't have to lie about stuff that I'd have to lie about with them." He gave her a dark grin. "Too bad most of the stuff that makes me interesting is stuff I can't tell people about if I don't want to end up dead."
He stared moodily into space for a moment. "What am I supposed to tell the ones who actually do try to get to know me like I want?" he asked softly. "There's just... too much risk involved. For both them and me." He looked depressed.
It struck Riza then that he was lonely. Although she knew better than to think that Edward would admit it.
"I suppose that does leave you with a problem," she admitted. She did her own staring into space for a moment, considering things. "And in answer to your earlier question, we'll see."