collection: equivalent exchange
summary: a prompt requested by SammiRW on ao3, Winry performs maintenance on Edward shortly after they’ve begun their relationship. coupled with teenage hormones, Winry has bit off more than she can chew.
read on ao3!
“Alright,” Winry begins, gathering her tools from their storage, “pants off.”
Behind her, Edward squeaks. He’s acting far too weird, has been since she’d sprung the idea of a maintenance appointment on him this morning. She’s thankful that she no longer has to rebuild his limb from scratch—the worst that had happened was the busting of the shin’s outer plating after he had fallen from the roof. He’d been tasked with repairing the roof before the storm hit; without alchemy, Edward had been damn near useless, no knowledge of manual labor stored in his mind. Winry had handed him a hammer, an assortment of nails, and replacement shingles. He’d stood after finishing to examine his work, only to take one too many steps back. The crash could be heard from the kitchen, and Winry had run out to assess the damage. While Edward had walked away with nothing but scrapes and bruises, his leg had been less fortunate. It had frustrated her, sure, but she was thankful that he hadn’t destroyed it in a fight. If the only thing she had to worry about was him falling off roofs and hitting his thumb with a hammer, she’d count herself lucky.
She turns to face him, tools in hand, and finds him standing awkwardly with his arms glued to his sides. She raises her brow in question. “Hello? I need you to take your pants off.”
She watches his Adam’s apple bob in his throat. He offers a stiff nod, slowly moving his hands to the button on his pants. Her eyes follow, watching as he unbuttons and unzips. He hooks his thumbs in the waistband and pulls them down. He grabs the back of his shirt and pulls it over his head. Winry feels her cheeks begin to warm.
Okay, so maybe watching him remove his clothing wasn’t her greatest idea. She casts her gaze aside as he steps out of his pants, leaving them pooled against the floorboards, and hangs hist shirt on the back of a chair. He takes a seat on the observation table and lies down. Winry drags her chair to the side of the table and sets her tools down beside his leg.
He isn’t looking at her, choosing instead to stare at the ceiling. She notices his clenched jaw, and his hands curled into fists at his sides. Her eyes roam his body—his toned chest rises and falls with each breath he takes; the scar where his automail had once been installed is jagged, dark, and risen in some areas; his abdominal scar is similar, and every time she sees it, she remembers the story behind it and how close she came to losing him; she counts his abs—six—and follows the defined line where his obliques meet his transversus abdominis muscles, noting how it disappears into his boxers. She bites her cheek and quickly averts her gaze to his automail.
Her hands glide across the metal, beginning at the foot; she’s checking for dents that may indicate interior damage. She comes up empty, stopping at his port. The edge of the leg of his boxers brushed against the back of her hand. She pulls away.
“Alright, no dents. That’s a good sign.” She crosses that off of her mental checklist. “Have you noticed any stiffness lately?”
She eyes his face.
His eyes remain glued to the ceiling, brow furrowed as though he is in deep concentration. He chews at his lower lip—a nervous habit he’d had since childhood. He’s worried about something, but she can’t place what, exactly, that something is. Did he know of something wrong with his automail internally, scared of her reaction once she found it? No, he was getting better at telling her when something didn’t feel right. So, if not that, then what was it?
“Nope! No stiffness here!” His voice cracks, his face beet red. “Nope, nope, nope. Everything’s fine!”
She looks at him with disbelief, rolling her eyes. “You’re being really weird today.” She grabs her screwdriver and begins loosening the screw securing the plating, beginning at the thigh. “What’s gotten into you?”
“No, wait! Can’t you do my foot first? The toes—they actually have been squeaking!”
The twisting of her screwdriver stops. She stares at him, growing annoyed, but ultimately does as asked.
“They shouldn’t be squeaking,” she muses, bending each toe individually, “We just oiled the joints last week. Did you hit your foot against something?”
Her question goes unanswered. She bends the toes a second time, just to be sure. “Hello, Earth to Edward. I asked you a question.”
His quick mumbling catches her attention.
“…beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen—”
“—oxygen, fluorine, neon, sodium—”
She abandons her testing of his toes, glaring at him from her seat. “You have got to be kidding me. What is with you and the stupid—” her eyes trail down his exposed torso, again, following the v-line that disappears into his boxers. There’s something in there, though. Or, more accurately, there’s something threatening to pop out of the fabric. Her face feels extremely hot. “—periodic table…”
Leave it to Edward to get an erection during a routine maintenance appointment.
“—magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorus—”
God, he’d keep this up all day unless she stopped him.
“—sulfur, chlorine, argon—”
“—potassium, calcium, scandium—”
His recital stops halfway through the word titanium. For the first time since he’s laid down, he looks at her. His face is red and sweaty, and Winry wonders if she’s as red as he is.
“It’s normal, you know.” Maybe for typical, teenage male patients, but Edward wasn’t typical, and he wasn’t just her patient. “I mean, I’m bound to see you… get an erection eventually.”
She swears she sees Edward attempting to melt into the table.
“Don’t say that!” he nearly yells, sitting up. It draws her attention back to his groin. “It’s not like I wanted it to happen!”
Obviously. Most of her male patients didn’t want it to happen, but it had, anyway. It was a normal part of being a man.
“Stop making it so weird!” She forces herself to look back at his face. “It’s normal, Ed. You’re a sixteen-year-old boy. It’s bound to happen.”
“Not like this it isn’t!”
She sighs. Had she done something to provoke this? His previous examinations and installations had gone smoothly, save the instance in Briggs. To this day, she can’t figure out what had provoked him, then.
“You’re in that… stupid zip-up top with your stupid coveralls at your waist and you’re so close to my crotch…” His hands move around wildly. “And… and we’re dating now… and it’s… I can’t… Ugh!”
For the first time in her life, she covers her chest with her arms.
“Oh, so you’re blaming me?” she snaps. How was this her fault? She’d dressed like this for years and not once had he ever complained.
“Yes! No! I mean no! Nonono!” He shakes his head back and forth. “I just— you just— you’re just really hot and so close to my— dammit, Winry!”
This was the first time he’s called her hot.
She feels she should be as embarrassed as he is, but she isn’t. Instead, she’s on the verge of grinning.
Her arms fall to her sides. A smirk is all she allows on her face. “Hot, huh?”
“Shut up!” He turns his head away from her. “Don’t make me say it again. Not like this!”
She begins to laugh.
Edward’s head whips back around, and he looks to her with confusion. “This isn’t funny, Winry!”
“I’m not laughing at you!” she assures him. She grips his automail knee, leaning forward and laughing. “I’m laughing because this is what it took for you to call me hot! This is far from romantic, Ed!”
“Can you please shut up? I’m begging you.”
She wipes a tear from her eye and straightens herself. She grins at him, his face red, mouth twisted in embarrassment. “It’s cute, Ed.” She kisses his cheek. “You’re cute.”
He blinks at her before casting his gaze aside. “There’s nothing cute about popping a boner during your maintenance appointment.”
With her palm pressed against his chest, she pushes him back down against the table. His back hits with a thud. She grabs her screwdriver and returns to the plating above his knee. “Maybe not, but it’s okay because you’re cute, Ed. And it’s okay because we’re dating.”
He grumbles and covers his face with his hands.
“What isn’t cute,” she starts, removing screws one by one, “are the patients that get erections.”
He sits back up. Her screwdriver slips.
“Patients?! Who?! When?!”
She sighs. Maybe she should’ve kept that to herself.
“Forget it, Ed.”
“No! Do I need to be in here when you work on guys?! No, don’t answer that’s because I will be. And they’re getting thrown on their ass if they so much as look at you funny!”
x x x
True to his word, Edward stood watch across the from examination table, leaning against the wall, staring at her patients. Winry could only watch as Edward dragged poor young Jared out of the room by his ear, lecturing him on how he shouldn’t ogle a taken woman, let alone his mechanic.