He didn't want to admit this, but being on the road again made Edward happy. He knew Winry had noticed it too—she had relaxed once they began to travel together, crossing the country to get to Dublith; it was beautiful and green, and they both finally relaxed, away from that house, and those memories. He had forgot to think about his father for the longest time, and even Al's youthful misbehaving was far away in his mind.
He was looking forward to the trip.
When they bedded down in the sleeper car, he lay there on his belly, writing in his journal—reflecting on past entries and paths no longer tread. It didn't bring him down, those memories. He simply reflected on them, put them aside, and then recorded the days events.
At least, he had been; his pen skipped the page when Winry slid in beside him; it had been, originally, an idea to save money—Edward didn't have a rich stipend anymore, and the automail mechanic didn't believe in spending frivolously. So, having her tuck in beside him in generous bunk had seemed like a good idea at the time.
At least until he reailzed how close the bunk was. She remained oblivious, throwing hre hair over one shoulder; on her belly beside him, she studied the streak of in across the page, and arched a brow. "Did I bump you when I got in the bunk?"
"Oh, no. Just slipped." It was the truth, but it sounded lame upon Edward's lips; the way her eyes hooded, she seemed to think so, anyway.
"What were you writing about, anyway?"
"Just the trip," he said, closing the book around the pen, and tucking it into the nook provided by the bunk. "Nothing exciting, really. But I like to record everything. Menial details, even. You never know when you're going to want to look back and remember a name or a resteraunt or something like that."
She nodded, before she took her pillow. "What do you want to remember about this trip?"
"... Let's see... It's not the first time I've gone to Dublith, and it's not the first time I've gone to see Izumi-sensei; but it is the first time we've traveled alone..." He tapped his fingers against his chin, and then glanced over. "So that's a good thing to remember. Our first journey, just us." He had the decency to look rueful, as he allowed an admitance to slip free, "I do keep wondering where Al is, though."
She laughed at him then; and clucked her tongue. "Oh, Ed... He'll be fine. And so will we." She reached up, then, and smoothed his hair back; he smiled for her, basking in the moment. She was smiling and laughing, and for once, so was he, without having to hide something or batter away some sadness with a bit of false cheer.
It was good, really good, to be home.
He set his head on the pillow then, his eyes open, and they looked at each other, not six inches between noses.
"I'm glad it worked out like this," she said quietly. "I'm not happy that Izumi-sensei is sick, but—I wanted to see you smile like this..."
"It'll be okay. I—just need time, Winry." He refused to let his mood cloud. "But—we'll have times again, like this."
"Will we?" She looked at him oddly. "Just like this?"
"Yeah," he said, not understanding her question. "Just like this."
She looked at him a long moment, and for a second, confusion bred hestitation; she chased it away with a very straightforward motion, closing the space between them again, as she had on the train, before, to kiss him. This time, though, it was not just a pass of her lips over his, but a press, more insistant then before, and once he'd gather his thoughts, the press had become a coax, and he wondered if he really ought to be closing his eyes like a time like this, when he ought to remember how she looked, just like that, her eyes closed and her expression caught in sweetness
He closed his eyes anyway; it was better to remember the slight part of her lips, the warmth and dampness on his mouth as they shifted, just a little, to kiss properly, for the first time.
Adolescence returned to him in a rush, roaring in his ear with blood that picked up from some darkened and forgotten corner of his heart. Sixteen had not been a good year—but it had been whirlwind wild and that's suddenly what expanded in his chest, some crazed force unleashed with a sudden skip, his heart mimicing the pen on the page. He was kissing Winry Rockbell; Edward Elric, obsessed alchemist, eccentric, who knew that his baby brother knew more about what drove the girls crazy, was finally kissing Winry Rockbell, kissing her properly, not just being kissed and dumbfounded, but kissing Winry Rockbell.
It was over a little too fast; like most thing in his life, it came and went with disregard to his timetable, and he felt her draw back. They opened their eyes at the same time; a pair of flushed faces, matching perfectly. It had affected her as much as it had him. He was afraid to move—if he did, might he fly apart, crazy reborn teenage flesh and automail steel?
She shifted; not taking her eyes from him a moment, to reach up and undo the bunk's latch—the curtain fell with a clacking like the tracks beneath them, and he could only manage to blink a little more.
"I want," she said to him, very slowly, as if she were having trouble finding the right words, "Just a little privacy, Ed..."
Rushing toward their destination, Edward found himself rushing toward something else entirely. She reached for him, then, and drew closer, her eyes hooding again, and on instinct, he tilted his head to recieve her; his hand on her side, hers on his shoulder, they moved toward a slow entanglement.
He hoped their destination would be as satisfying as the journey there.