Written: September 2005
Disclaimer: I dare you to sue
Summary: The fluff, it buuuurns!
Author's note: Happy Birthday to my friend who asks for the coolest presents. Like this fic.
Dedication: To Arif, duh. Thanks for giving me a challenge.
“I feel so bad for the kittens. Their poor mother...”
Ed looked to his side, up at Winry and tried not to grimace. The words kittens and mother immediately flashed that gruesome image of his own mother through his mind. Winry couldn’t be thinking of that, though. She would never want to remind Ed of that incident, of course not.
“Ed, are you cold?”
Al proceeded to place a kitten on his brother’s head. The elder of which cracked a smile after a second and rushed to get the creature down. They had grown over the past week; their eyes were open, their fur was plentiful and sticking out in every which way. Now each teenager held one, Ed and Winry each in their arms. Al literally had one in his arm; Ed had removed a panel and stuck his jacket in the hole to make a comfortable and safe bed.
Their walking slowed and died as Ed removed the tiny claws from his braid with an unwanted grin marring his bad mood. But that’s what Al had wanted. He gave a high, contented chuckle.
Soft mewling gradually filled the air, little paws kneading wherever they could reach. “Daddy says we have to feed the kitties!” came a far-away voice. As the little girl approached them, she held up one small bottle of milk, waving it. “Can you help me bring them back, big brother?” she asked Al sweetly. But Ed noticed something about the girl’s speech. Her mouth stayed closed the whole time.
And her voice was coming from the back of Ed’s neck.
“Ed, for god sakes, calm down!” cried Winry in a grainy voice, yelping as his right arm snapped against her wrist.
Yellow eyes widened as he reached out into the dark to take her arm. As his left one found it, he slid from the soft bed onto the floor. A thump and a clang sounded. Winry knelt down to him, holding her wrist still. “Was I talking in my sleep?” He groaned at the pain blossoming in his lower chest.
A glare came back at him. “No, actually, but you were thrashing like a maniac. I’m surprised I was the only one who heard you banging around!” She hissed and bowed her head.
“Winry, give me that.”
“No, it’s just a bruise. I’ll be fine.”
His disentangled his arm from the sheets and took her arm again. It had already begun swelling. With his right hand, Ed snatched the glass of water from the nightstand, set it on the floor in front of him, and clapped. The glass overflowed with ice cubes.
He wrapped a clump of cubes in sheet and held them to her wrist. “Where are the cats. Where’s that girl?”
“Are you crazy? We left Risembool over a week ago! Do you even know where you are?”
He mentally kicked himself for not noticing the stale smell before. “A hospital,” he said quietly, spotting her grim nod from the corner of his eye. “Sorry.” His hand motioned weakly at hers, and he was already sorry for waking her.
“Are you okay? You were having a nightmare and fell out of bed.” But he could tell she already knew the answer.
“Yeh, my ass broke the fall.” Another groan, and he hunched. Right, that’s why he was there.
She swung the ice lightly at his shoulder with a weak smile. “Good.”
“I didn’t think you’d—“ His own coughing cut him off, hands gripping around Winry’s arm as he turned toward his shoulder. Each contraction felt like getting kicked again.
The ice fell to the floor as she reached for his shoulders, ignoring her own injury now. “Careful, Ed! Your ribs are still healing...” He shook, falling forward until his head rested on her shoulder.
“So how are you?” he wheezed softly, holding her arm in his lap.
“You moron. Don’t talk.”
“Winry.” She produced a wrench and tapped the back of his head with it. “You win,” he whispered. Her cheek moved against the side of his head; he felt her smile.
“Take better care,” Winry said firmly, setting her hand back down on the floor, on the sheet of ice. “Of yourself. Ed.”
Her chest fell, and Ed nuzzled closer. “Hm?”
“Fall asleep on me and you get an automail jaw too.”
“Hmm.” And he was sure she could feel his smile, groggy as it was. Pushing him off would be nearly impossible without using her wrench. Or disconnecting his arm for that matter. But pushing off would be nearly impossible because of the smell of his hair, the warmth of him. The warmth of her blood rushing to her wrist.
And yet she found herself laughing. “You’re so stupid.” Her hair had been taken down long before, now falling forward over them as she crooned her neck, screening them from the world. Made sense, though, to protect someone stupid from getting hurt.
“Let’s go back to see those kittens.” His voice unknowingly cracked, too tired too have been any lower.
“Get better first.”