Title: Two Bits (Rejected Branded Chapter 6 – see Author’s Note below)
Disclaimer: I don't own these people, they own themselves and are just nice enough to let me spin them around the page now and then.
Summary: Shave and a Haircut…and confession time…
Warnings: some kissy-face stuff, nothing explicit
Genre: Fullmetal Alchemist; Humor/Romance
Feedback: Yes, please…
A/N: OK, so here’s the story. (Yes, there’s a story before you can read the story…) I wrote this as a part of the Branded series, way back in the beginning, before I had really gotten too far with it – it came to me so I wrote it – and, well, you might know how insane Learning Curve got, full out slapstick and silliness, and this here story, well… it’s more sweet than silly. Truth is it just doesn’t seem to relate to the rest of the series anymore. But it’s a nice story. On its own. And really, it stands alone just fine. So! So I offer it to you now. You need not have read the rest of the series to understand it. The only thing you need to know is that Ed and Winry are, finally, finally!, together. If you like, you may consider it within the context of the Branded Series and if you do so, know that it falls next to last in the storyline, after Branded, after Kiss and Tell, after Learning Curve, after (Re)Conditioned Responses (in progress), after the yet-to-be-written Even Steven, before Mustang gets his sex manual back. It contains no spoilers of itself, btw, so if you want to go back and read the series now, you’ll still be mostly surprised. (Other than the fact that they’re together.) OK, enough talking, on to the story…
1. Branded [COMPLETE] Ed finds Winry’s signature on him
2. Kiss and Tell [COMPLETE] Al tries to get details out of Ed
3. Learning Curve [COMPLETE] Ed and Winry do the deed…until they get it right
4. (Re)Conditioned Responses Winry tries to break Ed of his aversion to milk
5. Even Steven E
6. Two Bits [COMPLETE] Shave and a Haircut… and confession time…
[complete] 1. Branded – In which Ed finds Winry’s signature on his automail…
[complete] 2. Kiss and Tell – In which Al tries to get some details out of Ed, who, it turns out, doesn’t…
[complete] 3. Learning Curve – Ed may be a prodigy, but the best lessons can be the hardest to learn…
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2770990/4/Branded - part 1
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2770990/5/Branded - part 2
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2770990/6/Branded - part 3
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2770990/7/Branded - part 4
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2770990/8/Branded - part 5
http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2770990/9/Branded - part 6
http://ibshafer.livejournal.com/12221.html - part 7a
http://community.livejournal.com/ed_winry/316637.html - part 7b
”Ed. Stop squirming.”
Edward huffed once, shifting around in the chair like a 5-year old at the barber. “Is this really necessary?”
Hefting the tool in her right hand, she passed it between her fingers like a pro.
“Yes, it is…”
Ed rolled his eyes. “The last time you had your hands in my hair, you nearly pulled half of it out by the roots.”
Winry quirked an eyebrow. “See, and I’m remembering it differently, ‘cause the last time I had my hands in your hair, I seem to remember you weren’t complaining too much…” She fixed him with a meaningful look and was rewarded when he flushed a lovely shade of pink. “’Sides, you’re staring to look a little scruffy.”
She bit back a laugh, watching him battle it out over which word he was going to react to…
Edward, for once, too the high ground.
Who’re you calling scruffy-looking,” he asked, sounding deeply insulted. Gold eyebrows pinched together, he peered out from behind his wet bangs.
“You, you idiot,” she said, but her voice was soft and her hands were on his face and when she kissed him, she made damn sure he knew she meant it.
Ed’s answering moan was involuntary and barely audible, but it made her toes curl just the same.
She pulled away from him slowly so she could see the look on his face; sweetly blessed, eyes still closed, lips parted, breath coming in quiet, but ragged pants.
No matter how many time she saw it, she’d never get enough of it; she relished every tiny, little sign of her affect on him. After all those years of thinking he was ignoring her…
She brought him round with a kiss to the end of his nose, her hands still cupped round his face, stroking his skin idly.
She caught him staring at her and realized she was rubbing his chin rather roughly.
“What?” His voice held a hint of fearful confusion, but with her hands still squeezing his cheeks, the word just sounded silly, more “wert” than “what.”
Annoyed, (she knew Edward hated sounding silly), he pulled back and away. “What’re you thinking, Winry. You’re making me nervous…”
“Well…” She leaned in, rubbing her cheek against the side of his face. “Yep, definitely.”
Now he looked downright afraid.
“Edward, when was the last time you shaved?”
An hour later, he was sitting next to the upturned basin in a puddle of soapy water, growling under his breath, water dripping off the end of his aquiline nose, his face dotted with tiny scraps of tissue.
Tissue dotted with blood.
How was she to know she was supposed to have his face differently than she did her legs? Skin was skin, right?
Of course, her legs weren’t bloody right now and Edward’s face, most definitely, was…
She felt awful.
She felt incredibly awful…but it would not do to let Ed know that.
He would never let her live it down…
Taking a different tack (‘distract him until he forgets what he was upset about,’ which she’d fond, on occasion, actually worked), she just shook her head at him.
“You are such a big baby!”
Plastering on her best patronizing look, and she had more than one, she roller her eyes at him, being careful to stay out of arms’ reach. (She was grateful that she hadn’t let him talk her into adding the extra plates to her forearm the he’d begged for last year. It would have allowed him to extend his hand almost a foot beyond his normal reach. Somehow she’s just known she’d regret that one some day…)
As if on cue, Edward scowled at her, face flushing with offense.
”Who’re you calling a baby?”
It was working almost too well…
Pretending to lose her patience, she stared him straight in the eye.
“How many years have you been on this earth, Edward?”
He stared back at her, utterly confused.
“Is this a trick question?”
She let out a small sigh through her nose.
“Yes, idiot. It is… Now answer it.”
He gave a nose sigh of his own.
“You know I’m seventeen, Winry.” Edward pressed his lips into a thin line.
“So, what – you’ve been talking since, well, pretty much since the day you were born, and you’ve been asking that question…pretty much since the day you were born…”
The look on his face said that Edward didn’t see where this was going and he wasn’t happy about that; his brow started to gather dangerously.
“What question are you talking about, Winry,” he asked, voice a low rasp.
Nonplussed, she continued. “The “Who’re you calling a – fill-in-the-blank!?” question.”
She took in the anger collecting itself on his face, considered dropping the whole thing, decided the pay off would be worth it, and went on.
“Without fail, every single time it’s asked, what is the answer to that question, Edward?”
Armed folded against his bared chest, a prodigious frown on his face, Edward did not reply.
“You… The answer is always you! So, why…why do you keep asking it?”
She couldn’t hold it any longer, finally allowing herself a giggle as her face softened.
“You silly, silly, beautiful boy! You are so incredibly brilliant and yet time after time, you set yourself up for that. Why? What do you have to prove, Ed?”
She wrapped her arms around his bristling body, momentarily taken aback by his stiffness, but she had no intention of taking his body’s “no” for an answer; she held on, hands stroking his smooth back until he gave up and gave in, relaxing against her with a heavy sigh.
“You like making fun of me…” he muttered, but his hands were on her waist and his breath was warm on her neck.
“No, Edward. I like you.” She pulled him closer, pleased when she heard him gasp at the sensation.
She held him that way for a moment, enjoying the feel of his chest rising and falling against her own, thrilled when his fingers traced her spine through the fabric of her shirt.
Sighing, she pressed her lips to his neck, kissing him softly, then drew away.
“You have no idea how perfect you already are, do you?”
When she saw him blush, she kissed him again, this time on the mouth and the way he held back, as if suddenly unsure of himself, even after everything they had so recently done in this very house, made her press more fervently against his tentative lips, trying to convince him of her words with her tongue and her breath and her passion.
“Why do you have to be everything, all at once, Edward? Why do you have to be six feet tall?” She saw his eyes go wide, but she kept going. “Why do you have to solve every mystery? Right every wrong? Have the answer to every question?”
She drew away and held him at arms’ length, taking him all in. On the surface, she saw the strong features of his face, his wide amber eyes, full lips, his long, smooth neck, broad chest, skin almost golden, almost glowing… She imagined she could see his passionate heart beating in his chest, that she could hear the wheels turning in his brilliant mind, trying to work out every problem there was, trying to redeem himself for the pain he’d brought to the ones he loved, trying to make it all right...
The thought of this, and the sight of him, made her shiver unconsciously.
She saw him smile in answer and run a warm hand up her arm.
Which made her shiver again.
“You couldn’t be more perfect than you already are, Edward.”
His face softened, the flush deepening and, suddenly shy, he looked away, smiling.
She had the sort of epiphany you have when you realize the time, the time you have been waiting for is now; the time was right.
“That’s why…” She faltered for a moment, then bolstered by the sight of him before her, continued. “That’s why I love you, you idiot…”
“Stop calling me an idiot,” he said softly, still blushing, but his eyes dancing with mirth.
“Make me,” she breathed.
And he did…