Ice cream had never been a favorite of Edward Elric's. He never could understand how a food that relied so heavily on milk for its taste and texture could be considered so great. But, since many fond childhood memories seemed to revolve around summer nights filled with sticky fingers, bowls, and popsicle sticks, ice cream came highly recommended on his list of snacks.
What he remembered of ice cream, more than the taste, was how messy it had always been. Winry would always cry if any of it got stuck in her hair because it either meant a tangled mess for her parents to comb or a lock cut off by the scissors. Their mother had often chided them when they returned home for the night with faces and hands covered with ice cream goop. Ed tried to avoid going home like that as much as possible since they would be forced to take a bath to clean up; Ed hated baths more than milk.
Maybe not more than milk, but it was a good start.
Ice cream provided access to memories he had thought long lost; memories of green fields and golden skies lit by the setting sun. Memories of a whole family, of a mother smiling willingly and readily for her two sons. Although it wasn't Ed's favorite snack, he would suffer through it because it seemed to make everyone else happy.
He had always thought that the sticky goop that ice cream made when applied to your skin was the worst part about the treat, including the milk part; he had never been able to eat ice cream without making a mess. But that had been when he was young and innocent. That had been before. Now Edward Elric no longer tried to eat ice cream and this time his reasoning did not include milk.
The first time he had tried eating ice cream after had been a mistake. It had been a spur of the moment idea that had nearly cost him his life. Sticky fingers were a nuisance with regular hands and arms but with metal joints, it could be the death of him. He made sure never to eat it again outside of headquarters.
The next time he had ice cream, he had to deal with Al watching him. Ed thought he could deal with that but when the questions started – "Is that strawberry?" "Do you remember when Winry..." "Ah, remember how mom used to...". So he had given up ice cream; it tasted bitter when he couldn't share.
So when Lieutenant Hawkeye walked into the office licking a small ice cream cone Ed could only stare, somewhat in distaste – because it still had milk in it – and somewhat in envy. For a whole half an hour he stared at her, watching as the ice cream was whittled away beneath her tongue and the cone nibbled on as it was reached.
"Is there something you needed, Edward-kun?" Hawkeye asked without taking attention away from either work or ice cream.
"Eh – uh...no." He picked up a pen and tapped the papers in front of him, trying to refocus his attention. But there was a soft crunch as Hawkeye bit off another bit of cone. He stared again.
"Are you sure there's nothing wrong?" Ed jerked at the question, rubbing the back of his neck as he looked away.
"Lieutenant Hawkeye," he paused, thinking of the correct wording and failing, "don't you find ice cream annoying?"
"Annoying?" She asked, briefly flicking her eyes in his direction.
"Well, because it makes such a big mess and gets in the way of work."
"It is, a little. But," and here she paused to finish off the last bit of ice cream, taking her time to chew, swallow, and lick her fingers, "I don't give up what I like simply to accommodate what I don't. Have a good day, Edward-kun."
With that, she picked up the papers before her and headed out of the office.
When walking back from the library that night, Ed stopped by a small shop and bought some ice cream.