murder of crows

A Brotherís Advice

When the phone rang, Alphonse knew it was Edward calling to check up on him. There had been explicit instructions about what he was supposed to do and not do while he and Winry were away.

One of the things he wasn't supposed to do—namely, his girlfriend, Natali—rolled over and elbowed him as the phone continued to jingle urgently, demanding attention. "Get the phone. He won't stop calling until you pick up and tell him you're being a good little boy."

"Was I good?" he asked, even as he sat up and found his boxers on the floor, tugging them on.

"Better then good, Al." She sounded pleased enough, so he kissed her hair and went down the hall to get the phone.

"Took you long enough!" Edward never started out phone calls with 'hello'. Alphonse blamed Roy Mustang for this habit, somehow.

"I just woke up!"

"Late night?" Edward's tone was suspicious.

"Not at all. But it's a perfectly good day to sleep in. What are you doing calling, anyway? Aren't you supposed to be on a train?"

Edward began to account the story of train robbers, earning a good-natured chuckle from his younger brother. He couldn't say much to the idea; he knew very well his brother could take care of himself, and a bunch of thieves were hardly anything for him to worry about.

"But—that's not what I'm calling about," Edward finally said once the tale was told. "I—something happened, between me and Winry."

Alphonse dropped the phone. Natali poked her head out of the bedroom at the noise and gave him a look. He was trying desperately not to giggle. "So... sorry. That just took me off guard. Did you say something happened between you and Winry? Did you get in a fight? Just say you're sorry, Edward. It works wonders."

"That isn't what happened! We didn't fight. At all. Quite, ah, the opposite," Edward's voice had risen in pitch, a tenor of nervousness foreign to it coming down the line. "We... in the train. If we hadn't been interrupted...—

"What do you mean, interrupted."

"I mean interrupted!" Edward hissed. He spoke in code like any alchemist, but this time it wasn't his arrays he was hiding, Alphonse was certain. He was also certain that if he gave in and laughed, Edward would hang up and never speak to him again.

"So. Uhm. You were on the train getting—ah, comfortable—with Winry."

A hesitant "... yes," was Edward's reply.

"And then the robbery happened and you... "

"Got put up at a motel for the night." There was an intake of breath and then a mumbled, "N... nothing happened after that."

"Because... ?"

"It... was... just a better idea not to! I mean, she... I... I don't know what I'm doing!"

Alphonse bit his tongue; Natali had padded down the hall to slide her arms around him, leaning against him as he spoke to his brother; she wore his shirt and not a stitch more—a fact fine by Alphonse.

"Edward. I'm not going to tell you that you did anything wrong or right. That's up to you. What... did you want to tell me other then you and Winry are finally—getting past whatever it was that was holding you two back?"

"What do you mean,—-holding us back'?" Edward's voice was shrill; Alphonse bit back a groan. He was fifteen, nearly sixteen! Why did he know more about girls then Edward did?

"Nevermind. Simple questions, then: Do you love her?"

Edward made an indignant squawk on the other end of the line.

"It's a simple question, but you should tell her the answer one way or the other before you do anything... you two might regret it."

"And have you done anything regrettable while we've been gone?" Edward shifted his tone from nervous to suspicious again.

Alphonse looked down at Natali and smirked, and she replied with a satisfied grin. "Ah, not at all, brother."

"If you're certain."

"I am! I've been very good." Alphonse replied as Natali nodded, letting her hands wander, letting him know how good he was.

"Alright. Well, I'll think on that." There was a—-but' in Edward's sentence; Alphonse patiently waited for him to continue, "But I may call again. Don't dawdle in answering the phone if you're just going to laze about all day!"

"Yes, brother."

"We've got to go get out train. I'll call later."

"Alright. I'll wait for your call."

"Alright. Have a good day, Al!"

"Give Sensei my love."

"I will. Good bye!"

The line was cut. Alphonse finally let out the breath he was holding, and all the laughter with it. Natali supported him as he leaned into her, breathless with it.

"Oh, you should hear him!" He sighed. "He doesn't know what to do with women at all. You'd think being around the Colonel would have taught him something. Even I learned things from Mustang!"

"Is he as cute and awkward as you were?" Natali asked as she tugged him by the arm, leading back to the bedroom.

"Probably worse." Once in their room, he divested her of clothing again, drew her close, and climbed back into bed, gentle touches the precursor to foreplay.

"Then he'll be fine," Natali sighed. "You do alright. Better then alright."

"Ed and I are much different," Alphonse said, kissing down her neck. "He gets wrapped up in things, forgets the big picture for all the tiny details. And he's never been a guy that opens easily." He paused, and then added, "And he's a virgin."

Natali's head shot up. "You're kidding, right? Your brother's way to cute—someone had too have grabbed him somewhere."

Alphonse shook his head, and kissed her once. "Nope. He told me over his first birthday home, he'd never even been kissed."

Natali just stared at him for a moment, before she settled in, her hands sliding down to find ticklish spots to tease. "Then," she said, "Here's hoping Winry's got what it takes and knows what she wants."

"I'm pretty sure she does, Natali. I'm pretty sure she does..."