Ed had been the one who suggested making the doll for Winly, just as he suggested all their escapades in those early years. Alphonse had been perfectly happy to follow along, as usual, and the prospect had been exciting, really—their first work of alchemy, a present to Winly! Both were eager; she was their best friend, after all, and it was her birthday, and it would be an absolutely lovely doll—Ed drew it first so that Al could imagine it, too, and then together they planned the materials needed and researched the alchemy symbol that would make the right results. It was going to be perfect; Winly would take it to bed with her every night, Ed proclaimed proudly, because the doll would be that cuddly and lovable.
When Winly screamed in terror at the alchemic reaction, it was Ed who had been frozen with horror while Al rushed to the rescue, comforting Winly as best he could. But Ed had been the one to cry with frustration later that day, hurling alchemy books out the window, shouting that alchemy was no good if it made Winly scared. Al was the one who later recollected the books, and listened while Ed ran himself ragged unto exhausted sleep.
It was always that way, although neither realized it—even before Al had become an empty suit of armor, Ed had always been the one to feel intensely, to burn himself on the flame of life, while Al gently held him back from being consumed. And perhaps, in some horrible way, this was why Edward Elric was doomed from the world of romance. When Ed threw himself into the search for the Philosopher's Stone, he did it as he did everything—with the whole of his being, never looking back, never stopping to consider what might be left behind.
But he glanced behind himself for Winly, and it was a terrible, bittersweet thing. Ed wanted to love Winly, and he fought valiantly to do so, sending her letters each month and presents for her birthday. When she visited, when Winly came to fix his auto-mail, he would treat her to ice cream and buy whatever she wanted.
His devotion was fierce and sharp-edged. But it could not be the steadfast love, the eternal care that a wife craves from her husband. Edward, who could not do things moderately or halfway, could not provide so much stability.
And perhaps, in some horrible way, that was why Winly accepted Al's proposal of marriage.
Ed never asked.