Some days, when Ed was on what felt like the opposite side of the world and there wasn't a single familiar face, he'd take comfort in knowing that the sun he saw was same the same sun Winry woke to every morning.
Then he'd remember his father and the man's ridiculous sappiness over Ed's mother even years after she'd been laid to rest and his face would burn. He'd look around as though expecting someone to pop out of nowhere and tell him something stupid, like 'devotion runs in the family!' or 'that sounds just like something Hohenheim would say!'
"Fucking ridiculous," he muttered, adjusting the travel bag on his shoulder as he waited on the platform, anxious for the next train home.
But the most ridiculous thing? That Ed couldn't be romantic, not even if someone was holding a gun to his head and demanding he spout sonnets.
He could think of all the pretty words he'd like, or all the ways he wanted to tell her, but it all came down to the same moment, the one in which his tongue would swell and his brain would forget language like yesterday's list of chores: Winry standing in the doorway, smiling down the front steps at him, Den running straight through her legs to nip at his feet and bark a welcome—and Ed standing in the front yard, staring up at her like she was just as untouchable as she was at twelve, no matter that they'd fall asleep together that night.
He knew it would happen that way. It always did, and the weight of the small box (purchased in Aerugo and made of the finest metals he could buy, all while cursing his lack of practical alchemy) in his pocket wasn't about to change that.
Three days on a train speeding east and all the pep talks in the world wouldn't change it, either, no matter how much the old man he'd been unlucky enough to sit by seemed to think it would. (That's what he got for fidgeting with the stupid box.)
Romance, he thought with a huff as he disembarked, set to walk straight from the Resembool platform and right through town until the Rockbell Automail Shop crept into view. He'd think out what to say the entire way, he'd decided. And then he'd march straight into the shop, take out the box, and ask her—
A horn honked loudly not three feet behind him, and Ed nearly turned straight into a wall trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Then, a familiar voice: "Ed! My god, I've been shouting for you to wait for the last five minutes!"
"Who else?" She was grinning at him from the front seat of a car, one of the newer models, like something straight out of a big city catalogue. "What do you think? Cool, huh? Grandma and I actually built it ourselves. We got the frame from a shop just outside of Rush Valley, and we decided to modify it based on the schematics we borrowed off of—"
Oh fuck, what was she doing there? That ruined everything!
"Ed," Winry said finally, leaning out of the window. She brushed her bangs from her eyes, the sun catching the metal on her ear. "What's with that look?"
"I just wasn't expecting you," he said mechanically, still standing directly in front of the car, frozen.
"Well, get in!" Winry leaned away, to the other side of the car, and pushed the passenger door open. "I still have food in the stove. Let's get back before the shop burns down."
Ed climbed into the car, on the verge of breaking into a nervous sweat. When Winry took off down the road, dust kicking up behind them as she nearly vibrated with excitement in her seat, nattering on about the modifications she'd added in the last week, Ed caught sight of himself in the side mirror: a stupid-looking grin nearly breaking his jaw, his eyes crinkled to match.
Ed remembered his father's face, the way the man had always looked at his mother (a stupid grin that always seemed at odds with his scholarly features), and wondered if maybe romance wasn't quite what he'd thought.
Back at the shop, Winry ran from the car, calling back at Ed to shut the doors and get moving, there was food to be had! Ed stepped into the grassy yard and followed her up the stairs, the weight of that small box in his pocket suddenly a great deal lighter.