Al stared at Ed's back as they trudged through the country side. It was a beautiful day, all Spring-y and colorful. And Ed was really mad. Pissed would be the word he wanted to use, but he didn't like the word so he didn't use it. But Ed was ready to explode at any minute. It was obvious from the hunched shoulders, the balled fists, and the little growling noises that managed to sneak through his clenched teeth. He was staring at Ed's back, but he knew the teeth were clenched anyway. Ed's yellow braid was twitching with each stomping step.
Al sighed, his metal feet lifting easily. It was always so odd to him that he could move the metal suit as easily as he did his old body. Sometimes, it was a blessing and others...well, that was NOT something cheerful for such a pretty day. Building up his resolve, he ventured to talk to Ed. "Ed?"
"Aw, come on!"
Al frowned (or would have if the helmet made any facial expressions). "Just once more? Please?"
Ed sighed and stopped, shoulders drooping. Al knew he'd won then. "Okay, but this is THE LAST TIME!"
Al smiled (again with the helmet thing) and said, "Okay, go!"
Ed rolled his eyes and said dryly, "Is it a person?"
"Is it an animal?"
Ed's eye was beginning to twitch irritably. "Is it living at all?"
Al thought about that. "Hmm, nope!"
"Is it the fence post?"
Ed was starting to get really mad. The tick looked like it was gonna jump right off his face! "Is it the river?"
"No," Al answered. He was staring RIGHT AT IT!
"Is it the tree? That stupid puffy cloud? The sun?" Why was he getting so frustrated with this game?
"No, no and no. It's very obvious, brother," Al said, hoping his brother would get it this time.
"If it's so obvious, why can't I get it?" he railed, throwing his hands in the air dramatically.
"I can't answer that. It's not a yes or no question."
"ARG!" He didn't say a word for a long time.
Al was beginning to think he might have given up when a very tightly squeezed out, "Is it the ground?" came from his tightly clenched teeth.
"ARRRRR! What the hell is it!"
"Are you giving up?" Al asked, a little disappointed that he would.
"NO, I'm not giving up! This game is so stupid! Where did you get it from anyway?"
"Oh, that nice girl in the last town! It's really fun, and not as hard as YOU'RE making it!"
Ed stopped dead in his tracks, fists shaking now. "I'M making it hard? YOU'RE the one with the stupid answers!"
"They're not stupid! They're very good answers because you haven't guessed one yet."
His older brother continued marching on, still growling. "Is it the rock?"
"The back pack? The cantene? My SHOE?"
"No, no and no."
"The milkmaid's apron? Her bucket? How about that other stupid cloud puff?"
"No, no and no. Hey, that one looks like a rabbit!"
"STOP DISTRACTING ME! Is it the tree leaves?"
"The little farm ahead?"
Ed was quiet. Just two more questions left, Al thought. He was enjoying this. Five times straight that he'd won...looks like he was adding on a sixth.
"Is it the wagon?"
Quiet again. Then, Ed turned slowly to look at him. Uh-oh! He knew that smile! It was the one that said he'd figured it out...and didn't like the answer. The tight one full of false amusement. "Hey, Al, it wouldn't happen to be my coat, would it?" All sugary sweet and nicely said. Not good at all.
Al started edging around his brother, metal suit clanking. If he could sweat, he would be. Ed followed him in a tight circle, that smile still plastered to his face. "Uh...yeah?"
"YOU PICKED THAT THE LAST FIVE TIMES IN A ROW! DON'TCHA KNOW YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO CHANGE IT!"
Al yelped and took off running down the muddy road, Ed chasing him and shouting the entire time. Until he tripped and fell face first into the mud. Al stopped running and looked back. "Brother? Are you alright?"
"Don't worry about me, worry about yourself! I'm gonna leave you out in the rain ALL NIGHT! Just as...soon...eck...as I get...up! Damn it!"
Al started laughing as his brother struggled to get up out of the sticky mud, face completely brown and hair sticking up everywhere. Ed tried a couple more times before laying down very still. Then, his shoulder started shaking, his head going from side to side. He was laughing! "Hey, Al, can you give me a hand, please?"
Al went back over and lifted his brother clear of the mud, setting him down. He was laughing, too. "Sorry, Ed."
"I'm not playing that game again," came the reply through the laughter. They continued walking on, a snicker slipping out every once in a while from either one.
And that was all Al had wanted to do; make his brother laugh.