Juxtaposition

S J Smith

Disclaimer: Er...no. Not...just...no.

Summary: In a galaxy, far, far, far away...with twains that just should never meet.

Rating: Is silly a rating?

A.N.: I offer apologies to both Mr. Waterson and Ms. Arakawa. Really. I do (bows in supplication).


It was a red wagon. That's all. A little beat up; banged up; paint scraped off. The wheels all worked, though, and it could be steered, if someone was strong enough. Billy Suttlemeyer gave it to them ('gave' wasn't really the word Billy used; he actually lost an arm wrestling match with Edward but he wasn't going to tell anyone he lost to a shrimp) and they took turns hauling each other home. Al, being littlest, was riding.

Edward stopped to wipe the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand. "It's your turn to pull me."

"I can't pull because I'm a tiger and tigers don't pull wagons. Horses pull wagons." Alphonse made a sound that Edward guessed might be a tiger's roar...if tigers looked like his little brother and were human and all.

"You're not a tiger!" Edward dropped the handle of the wagon to fold his arms, glaring. "You can't be a tiger."

"Why not?"

"Because tigers are big cats and you're a little boy." Sticking out his lower lip, Edward added (because Billy'd made him mad with the shrimp thing), "A very little boy."

"Uh huh," Alphonse was quick on the uptake, "an' that means you gotta pull me!" He bounced in the wagon, making the boards creak ominously.

Well, that hadn't gone the way Edward expected. His scowl grew darker. "You gotta pull. It's your turn! I said I'd pull halfway home and you could pull the other half."

"Nuh-uh." Lower lip jutting out in imitation of his older brother, Alphonse folded his arms, too. "Tigers don't pull wagons."

Edward shook all over with fury. "You're not a tiger! You're a boy! And it's your turn to pull the wagon!"

Tilting his chin up, Alphonse shook his head once. Solemnly. "Nope. Tigers don't pull wagons."

Growling, Edward leaped at his brother, knocking him out of the wagon and onto the ground. You'd think he was the tiger, with the sounds he made. But Alphonse was strong and wise - not to mention cunning and clever - and flipped his brother off. They rolled across the road, a cloud of dust following in their wake.

The fight went on, neither brother wanting to cry uncle or quits, each of them sure he was in the right. Finally, Alphonse sat on his brother's stomach, shoving a handful of grass in Edward's mouth, bouncing up and down and saying, "Horse, horse, horse, horse. You're a horse. You're gonna pull me in the wagon, 'cause that's what horses do!"

Edward spat grass, twisting his weight hard to the side and flinging Alphonse off. "Not a horse. Besides, horses are scared of tigers. Anyone knows that."

"You're a trained horse. Trained to pull wagons with ferocious tigers. Grrrrr!" Hooking his fingers into claws, Alphonse slunk toward the wagon, wriggling his butt like a cat about to pounce.

Edward rolled his eyes. "You look stupid."

"Do not! I'm a tiger. Tigers are keen." Alphonse's tiger-gold eyes narrowed as he glanced back over his shoulder at his brother. "Bet Winry likes tigers better'n horses."

Turning bright red, Edward shouted, "Who cares what Winry likes? She's just a girl! What does she know about tigers or horses! Besides, horses are stronger'n tigers!"

"Are not!" Alphonse bellowed, whirling around to pounce on his brother.

Watching from the house on the hill, Winry Rockbell shook her head, thinking that the Elric brothers were the weirdest boys she knew.


"Whatcha doin', Calvin?"

Trust Suzy to come around and ask stupid questions like that, when he was finishing up his masterpiece of an alchemy transmutation circle. "Nothing a girl would be interested in." Calvin jutted his chin out, ignoring her. She'd go away.

Of course, Hobbes had to do something dumb and say how cute Suzy was and that they ought to ask her to play with them. "She could be your mechanic, Winry. And everybody knows Edward looooooves Winry!"

"He does not!"

Suzy stared at Calvin. "Who does not?"

Hobbes didn't know when to shut up. "I bet when he gets a chance, Edward grabs her and hugs her. Maybe even kisses her! Whoo hoo!"

"Why would he want to kiss some dumb girl? He's got to save Alphonse!" The chalk in Calvin hands snapped, just like that, as he jumped to his feet, nearly landing in his transmutation circle.

"Well," Hobbes said, with that maddening grin, "the hero always kisses the girl at the end of the story."

"Then we'll rewrite the story! There doesn't have to be any girls in the story." Calvin shot a glare at Suzy, who sighed heavily in response.

"Fine. You play with your chalk and your stuffed tiger." Suzy whirled around, stomping off. She yelled over her shoulder, "I'm going home."

Calvin had already forgotten about her before she got two houses away, back to putting the finishing touches on his transmutation circle. "Now, when we get this right, we can get you your body back, Alphonse."

"I changed my mind."

"What?" Calvin stared at his best friend in disbelief.

Hobbes was grinning madly, his paws held up close to his face, like he was in love or something stupid like that. "I wanna be Colonel Mustang. Maybe Suzy can be Riza! Oooo, I bet Colonel Mustang kisses Riza. He's a hero, too, and heroes always kiss the girls."

"No girls! Didn't we just say that!" Glaring at Hobbes, Calvin folded his arms.

"I bet Suzy'd like Colonel Mustang better'n Edward," Hobbes grinned.

"Who cares what Suzy'd like? I don't care! She's just a girl! What would she know about alchemists, anyway!" He clenched his fists, practically vibrating with anger. "Besides, Edward's stronger than Colonel Mustang, anyway!"

Hobbes growled, his tiger-yellow eyes narrowing. "Is not!"

As Hobbes pounced on him, Calvin fought for his life. It really wasn't fair. Hobbes had retractable claws and a tail and fangs! It wasn't Calvin's fault he lost, with Hobbes sitting on his back, bouncing up and down, saying, "Colonel Mustang wins! And all the girls come down to give him a smooch!"

"They do not!" Calvin howled, rolling over and knocking Hobbes off his perch.

Suzy shook her head from the safety of her porch. Calvin really was the weirdest boy she knew.