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Outside, the leaves rustled, falling from the trees and racing away in the autumn breeze. The gibbous moon seemed to rise through the branches, the brilliant light of it shining through the windows of the house. The wind whistled outside, heralding the approach of winter, inside the bedroom everything was cozy. Candles offered a continuous, albeit flickering light, the beeswax sweetening the air.
Winry rested on her stomach, her cheek resting on her crossed arms. “I can’t believe I’m letting you paint my back in ink.” Opening her eyes, she twisted to look over her shoulder.
“Hey, don’t move!” Ed glared, pointing at her with the end of the paint brush. “This is exacting work! And it’s not painting. It’s writing.”
With a sigh, Winry laid her head back on her arms. “You know I won’t even be able to see whatever you’re writing, right?”
Ed mumbled something in response. She couldn’t tell whether he was agreeing with her or not. “I saw this in Xing,” he said.
“The last thing you saw in Xing,” and Winry stopped, feeling her cheeks heat up. She remembered all too well what had happened with those Xingese clothes. Granny still hadn’t let them hear the end of that, though she hadn’t shared it with the rest of Rezembool, at least. Behind her, she could hear a soft swiping sound, of Ed preparing the block of ink with the brush. Something cool and damp moved over her calf.
“Don’t move!” Ed’s hand wrapped around her ankle, holding it in place.
“The ink is cold, Ed!”
“Hmm.” Letting go of her leg, Ed leaned over her, blowing warm, moist air over her calf. Her skin prickled and Winry let out a soft gasp. “Hmm!” She could hear the grin in Edward’s voice. The brush continued moving over her skin, Ed following each stroke with a slow puff of his breath. “Stay still,” he warned her as the brush traced the curve of her hip.
The brush made designs on her back. Ed kept warming her skin and drying the ink. Winry tried to keep from shivering at the feelings running through her body. Her nipples tightened in reaction and she clenched her toes, trying to distract herself from the warmth building in her belly and sweeping lower. It was hard not to flex her hips.
Ed lifted the brush. “You’re wiggling.”
Through gritted teeth, Winry asked, “How. Much. Longer?”
“If you’d stop moving,” Ed took the time to blow another gust of warm air over her spine, “I’d get done faster.”
“You sound like Al!”
“Nng!” He tapped her backside with the brush handle. “Al better not have ever seen you naked.”
“You mean since we were five and took a bath together?” Winry turned her head as far as she could, grinning toothily at Ed. He showed her his teeth in return. Feeling a little less tense, she settled in place again.
The brush swept over her back, Ed reminding her again to stay still. His breath ghosted over her spine and shoulders, warming her and making her skin pimple at the same time. Sucking her lower lip between her teeth, Winry hoped he’d be done soon.
“There.” A soft clatter let her know Ed set the brush aside. Fingers stroked up her ribs, making Winry squeal and squirm.
“Ed! Don’t be a jerk!” She pushed up on her hands, glaring at him.
“Just wanted to let you know I’m done.” Stretching himself up and off the bed, Ed grinned at her over his shoulder. “Don’t you want to see what I’ve done?”
Winry huffed. “How?”
Ed offered her his hand and, with a narrowing of her eyes, Winry took it. He guided her up off the bed, positioning her so her back was to the dresser mirror. Before she could open her mouth, Ed held up a finger. He grabbed something from the table and held it up in front of her. “Take it!”
The hand held mirror reflected the reflection of her back, and Winry squinted, trying to see what Ed had done. The designs he’d drawn made it hard for her to read, the tiny mirror made it worse, but she kept working at it, her mouth dropping open when she got it. “Really?”
Grinning, his cheeks flushed, Ed nodded. “I wanted to wait ‘til you got your journeyman’s licen – oof!” Winry cut him off with a hard hug. He wound his arms around her upper shoulders, bending down to give her a kiss.
Someday, years from now, Winry would tell their kids about how their dad made up for his first proposal at the train station, by writing a second proposal on Winry’s back. “He didn’t think about how long it’d take for the ink to wear off,” she’d say, “so I had to wear that proposal for two months.”
Ed would laugh, kiss her, and lean his forehead against Winry’s and say, “It was worth it.”
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