Serious Play

"Daddy, you're not doing it right!"

Maes shook his head and beamed at his little girl. "What's the matter, sweetheart?"

"Pay attention. Your dollie has to come answer the door when I knock, okay?"

"Okay, got it."

They were both laying on the floor in the living room while Gracia made lunch. Maes enjoyed his days off to the fullest, and so did Gracia; it was his turn to play with their little girl when he was home, and he loved every minute of it. Usually. Though the guys at work would probably snicker if he showed them pictures of this. Elysia made her stuffed animal walk up to the invisible door, and then she knocked on the leg of the table. Maes made his doll open the door (or wave vaguely in the air), but this seemed to satisfy Elysia, who then proceeded to invite herself in and start a tea party.

She was such a clever girl, and what an imagination! Their living room was transformed into all sorts of fantastical places when she played. With an imagination like that, who needed alchemy?

"Dad-dy," she whined again. "Why isn't your dollie drinking her tea?"

"Oh, right, tea. Sorry, little angel." Maes was trying to concentrate, really he was. But his mind kept wandering. It was one thing to get distracted by cases at work, but this time, he had a lot more on his plate. Political intrigue had been interesting when he was a peon, far from the fray…but since he'd joined Investigations, it got uncomfortably close from time to time. Now, everyone was talking about Roy, and it wasn't all good. He had to figure out the best way to handle damage control…

…as well as make sure the doll nibbled on cakes and talked about the best way to bake them. Elysia was too sharp for him, though, and caught him every time he got a bit vague.

"Do you like playing with dolls, Daddy?" Elysia asked him, looking up with her big liquid eyes.

"Of course I do. I more than like it. I think spending time with you and Mommy is the best thing ever!" He smiled at her.

She was somewhat reassured, but not fully. "Then how come you aren't excited about it? Shouldn't you be excited if you like doing something?"

"Well, honey, sometimes Daddy isn't very good at playing. So, I have to watch you, so I can remember how it goes."

"Oh." She smiled at him. "Then pay attention! I'll show you just how to play!" Apparently, now the tea party was over and she was a magic fairy who could make anything happen to the dolls. Every time she clapped her hands, they had to do what she said. She burst into peals of laughter as he made the toys respond to her commands. It amused him that Elysia's idea of magic looked a lot like Ed's alchemy.

He wondered why it was that adults found it so hard to stay as enthusiastic about such things as children. At what point did worrying about work become more interesting than playing make-believe?

Unbidden, an image of Kimbley in Ishbal came to mind, and he shuddered. Maybe…maybe it was best that most adults lost that enthusiasm. It was okay for Elysia to take her dolls seriously, but watching the Crimson alchemist clap and rearrange his world was not something he ever wanted to witness again. With that, he put all thoughts of work firmly out of mind, and focused on the serious business of playing with his young daughter. For today, they would both be children.

Request for dreamer 1789:

Characters: Elysia and Kimblee

Prompt: 'it's all about toys and toying' - let's say as a start out point. Interpret however you like, not meant to be literally inserted into drabble.