[Alfons Heiderich/Edward Elric; PG-13] The Chemistry Of Happiness Character/Series: Alfons Heiderich/Edward Elric ; Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) Rating: PG-13 Notes: Sequel to I Am Beautiful With You. Title: The Chemistry Of Happiness Author:yuuo Word Count: 2448 Summary:I've always known Edward was a nut.
I've always known Edward was a nut.
That wasn't particularly newsworthy to anyone who'd met him at least once; he was an erratic genius with a vibrant personality.
Did I say 'vibrant'? Probably closer to 'vibrating', since, while he had his moody periods, it wasn't uncommon for him to be flitting about and so full of energy that he practically vibrated off the spacetime continuum. Especially now that we were in his home world, away from the grey and gloom of mine.
Now- oh now. Where in Munich I would sometimes wake up to find he'd hit the bottle too hard instead of coming to bed, or he'd stare at the rain for long hours with an unbroken melancholy, he now was so full of energy that I almost could almost lose track of where he was or what he was doing at any given time. I was doing better now that the bronchitis that'd plagued me in Germany was going away, but even mostly recovered, less than a year later, I still didn't think I could keep up sometimes. Fortunately, his brother and sister-of-sorts could and did, which left me with a much needed break to sit back with Sheska and Grandma Pinako and relax.
Edward was proving hard to handle sometimes.
At least I had help.
His automail fascinated me. The power source that Winry described, a machine that could harness the body's natural metabolic processes to convert to mechanical energy, was nothing short of amazing. How had my world not discovered this? We could fly, Edward's world couldn't. 'Alchemy' was Edward's only guess, and while Winry looked annoyed by that, she didn't deny it.
I asked her later while she seemed so upset by that idea, that automail had flowed out of alchemy, and she shrugged it off with a comment about his alchemy and her mechanical skills sometimes being at odds with each other. I didn't quite understand that, and Edward waved it away with a roll of his eyes and a muttering about weird girls and machine freaks.
I warned him to remember he loved a so-called 'machine freak'. I won't say what he did to make up for that.
It was about eight months later, after he'd recovered from the worst of his automail surgery- how that man could heal so fast, I didn't know -when he started acting... well, nutty, even by Edward's standards. He started getting jittery, like he'd had too much coffee. He talked too much, couldn't sit still, constantly wandering around and getting in Winry's way. And in mine, as I often worked with her.
It seemed the only times he was calm, he was staring off at me like he was pondering some great mystery about me. It made me nervous, because that look usually meant I was about to get dragged into an Edward Idea, like his idea about-
Well, there's no need to go into where and what happened on that one. Needless to say, it was crazy, stupid, and ended up very worth it. I think if our coworkers had known, they wouldn't have been terribly happy with us.
I warned him that I wasn't going to get into any trouble with his family after I'd caught him doing it about a dozen times. He merely sipped his coffee and went back to bouncing his foot in agitation.
What was going through that man's head?
His brother actually told me to start locking up Edward in our room to work off his excess energy before he drove everybody insane. I didn't exactly turn down that idea, though none of us were sure if it was actually helping or not. I suspected that if nobody could tell, it probably wasn't. I still benefited, though, so even though we were all getting driven up the wall, I still came out ahead.
The answer to what was bothering him finally came another month after that. I went into the kitchen to start lunch, only to find that Edward had two stacks of sandwiches that he was putting together, along with a few sundries, such as what looked like his mother's potato salad, some crisps, a container that I couldn't see into, but the smell made me think baked beans, and small holders of what I assumed were condiments. There was a picnic basket on the counter beside him.
A picnic? He hadn't said anything about it, and when called on that, he shrugged, nervousness radiating off him like a furnace. Spur of the moment, just the two of us, he said. When I asked about the others, he reminded me that they were hardly helpless, I didn't have to be their housewife all the time. He immediately apologized for snapping. I hadn't thought he was, no more than any other time someone pointed out a flaw in his thinking, and I hadn't been particularly hurt by any sting in his tone. But he insisted. I accepted it for his sake, then started nosing around the food.
I'd been right about those baked beans. Good. Edward didn't make much in the way of fantastic food, but he had a few recipes he'd mastered, and that was one of them.
Al wandered into the kitchen just as Edward finished packing our food- he wouldn't let me help, the silly beast! -and didn't seem at all surprised that we were leaving. He told us to have fun, giving Edward a grin that I can only describe as 'shit-eating', causing me to worry about what Edward was up to that I didn't know about.
Edward turned red, flipped him off- good grief, Edward -and then grabbed my hand and hurried us out the door.
He slowed down as we got away from the Rockbell home, although it took prodding from me to remind him that we weren't escaped convicts to get him to do so. I loved that man, but sometimes...
We walked at a sedate pace up towards the mountain, although Edward was clearly wanting to go faster. I didn't let him, saying that unless we were on a time table, there was no point in wearing ourselves out just getting up to the rolling part of the mountain, near the stream. We stopped in the area where trees and stone had given way to softer earth and grass, but still high enough to look over the hills and valleys of Rizenbul below. It was one of my favorite views, one of our favorite spots ever since my bronchitis had nearly cleared up and I was free to explore the area more.
I couldn't help a small smile as Edward started spreading out the traditional red and white checkered blanket. Naturally, he turned down help, and spent several minutes fussing at it to be 'right', which translated as 'perfect' when Edward was talking.
I still wasn't exactly sure what he was thinking, but I was starting to wonder if he intended on seducing me right there in the great outdoors. I wasn't sure how I felt about that, and I could be wrong about what he was after, so I decided to put it aside and play it by ear. Despite how I come across to others, I have my own wicked streak, so I wasn't immediately against the notion.
And Edward just loved to find trouble, in all its forms.
Once the blanket was 'right', Edward invited me to sit first and give an appraisal to his choice for locations. With a fond shake of my head, I took a seat, folding up my legs to just look out over the land. It sprawled lazily, green rising and falling, the midday sun illuminating some of it to a vivid green that was almost too intense to look at, shadows darkening other areas into a softer, deeper shade. Patches of sheep herds dotted the hills, and some farmland patch-worked its way farther away, until it disappeared over a far hill. The hill with Edward and Al's home from childhood rose up to nearly meet us, one of the closest to the mountain. The house and tree themselves were still burned remnants, sad and stark against the beauty that surrounded it.
They were planning on fixing it after Edward and I were both fully given a bill of clean health. Then the two Elric brothers would fix the place with alchemy, and boy, was that a transmutation I wanted to see. Then, presumably, the Elric brothers and myself would be moving in to that perfect location. I nearly couldn't wait.
I didn't answer for a few seconds, taking all that in, the green hills and the sky such a bright shade of blue that, to my memory, I'd not seen before moving to Rizenbul. Birds twittered, bugs buzzed, and the river bubbled and giggled somewhere to our south before it slowed to wrap around the hills below. I took in a deep breath, clean and earthy air filling my almost perfectly healthy lungs, then looked up at him.
"Sit, Edward. It's perfect, just as every time you take me up here."
Edward's shoulders relaxed, as if using that 'p' word had been what he was waiting for, then he plopped himself down next to me and pulled the picnic basket over to us. He was still a bit worked up, though, as he started chattering about what he'd packed for lunch, as if I hadn't seen myself at the house, as if he was hoping for that same assessment of the food that I'd given of his location choice.
What a silly creature he was, and I informed him of that assessment. The food was fine, it was all stuff I'd tasted his attempts at making before, and it was all good. It was hard to screw up sandwiches and crisps, after all. And I was pretty sure that potato salad had been made by Winry.
I decided not to point that out in my assurances.
After he almost knocked over the salt, moving too fast to watch what he was doing, I put a hand on his and made him still himself for a moment. "What's this about?" I asked, keeping a light grip on his automail hand. It was smooth, cool to the touch, though time out in the sun would change that. "You're ready to fall into pieces. Spit whatever idea you have out before we eat, or you won't be able to at all."
I'd clearly put Edward on the spot with that gentle demand, and he pulled his hand away and fidgeted for a few seconds. Then he took in a few deep breaths, reached into his pocket, grabbed my hand and dropped something on my palm. It was warm, smooth, clearly metal, and I let it sit there until Edward finally released my hand to study it.
"I'm no good at this, but that's yours if you want it."
He sounded like he'd gotten some of his courage back, now that his gift was in my hands and not his.
I looked at it, a plain gold ring. There was nothing spectacular about it, but being given a ring with that much energy behind it made it clear what it was for, what the 'if you want' meant, and that this was what he'd been planning that had everyone going up the wall from his craziness.
The man had just proposed to me.
I suppose that should've shocked me less than my earlier thought, given his behavior, and how much more likely facing a rejection of a life-long commitment was to make him act that way, but marriage had been so far away from my scope of awareness, with the laws and norms I'd grown up with, that it just hadn't occurred to me.
"This is going to fit on my left ring finger, isn't it?"
Edward looked so red that I couldn't help but smile. "That's the idea. You gonna keep it or not?"
What a proposal. "Oh, Edward, only you could propose by saying 'you gonna keep it or not?'" I laughed. "I never thought about marriage, but it seems we won't be the only same-sex couple around here."
Edward huffed. "You still never said 'yes.'"
With an exasperated sigh, I tried on the ring. It was a bit snug, but that could be fixed, I was sure. I decided not to make note of that just yet, grabbing Edward by the shirt collar and pulling him into a demanding kiss. The strength with which he returned it was like a shockwave, and I was forced to part, though I didn't want to. I asked him if that was 'yes' enough, because I certainly had already intended on spending my life with him anyway.
Every muscle in his body must've melted from relief, as he dropped himself on his back, head on my leg, with the brightest smile I've ever seen him sport, bar when we first came here and he saw his brother for the first time in two years. That smile was the sun, the brightest star in the sky, warm and gold and reminded me of the taste of honey. I could've sat just like that until our food had gone bad, but his stomach reminded us that the food would go bad if we didn't get to it.
I laughed, then strained to get the ring off. "This can be resized?"
Edward watched with concern at the trouble the ring caused as it finally wiggled loose of my finger. "Yeah. I thought your finger was a bit smaller than that, I guess." Then he grinned. "Didja see the inside?"
The inside? I hadn't, confessed to such, and searched the inside of the ring for whatever was hiding there that had Edward looking proud of himself. Not smug, but proud. That was nice to see. His smugness could be annoying, but his pride lit him up like a firework.
On the inside of the ring was a chemical equation I'd never seen before, 'C10H12N2O'. I read it off, then looked at him for explanation.
"Serotonin," he said. "Probably not a chemical you're familiar with, but it's the neurotransmitter in the brain that's associated to happiness."
I took that in as I looked down at the inscription again, deciding to ask later how he knew about brain chemistry so well, and focused on his explanation itself. Associated to happiness.
Oh Edward. A beautiful, wonderful, silly and frustrating human being, and how I loved him.