Author's note: MLIA prompts strike again, this time in the form of a short Winry/Den owner/pet bonding time drabblesque one-shot while I try to not panic about my AP Geo presentation last period. Yay, finals week!


It was a beautiful day… except not really. The temperature was just right, but the cooling breeze that lifted Winry's hair away from her face had brought with it thick, dust-gray clouds that hovered low over the small town of Resembool and rain that threatened to fall at any minute. But regardless of the weather, Den was a big dog that needed to be walked regularly. She only hoped that the rain would hold out long enough for them to get back to the house.

"Den!" She pulled back on the leash just in time to keep the black-and-white out of the river, which was gushing ominous gray water, reflecting the stormy clouds above. "No, boy." She hated the idea of water getting into the auto-mail leg her grandmother had fashioned for the dog when he was still a puppy. Even if the metal supposedly didn't rust, Winry didn't want to take any chances with her precious childhood pet.

But Den kept pulling at the leash, barking in the way he barked when a familiar face knocked on the door of the Rockbell residence (although to be fair, most faces were familiar in such a small town). The bark wasn't angry and defensive, but excited and curious, and Winry peered around the dog while keeping a firm hold on the leash in her hand.

He was barking at a duck.

The duck was resting on the bank, webbed feet not yet submerged in water, and was looking up at Den with a bemused expression in its beady black eyes. It opened its beak and quacked once, and then again.

And Den barked back, his tone softer and calmer than it had been when he'd spotted the duck, and Winry frowned.

Quack.

Ruff.

Quack, quack.

Rrrrruff.

Quack.

Bark.

And then the duck splashed into the water, and Den stopped tugging on his leash and continued walking at a leisurely pace, as though nothing strange at all had happened.

"I swear, Granny," Winry had said when they got home – just as a few drops had leaked from the clouds – and she had detached Den's leash and hung it on its peg while he curled up on the kitchen floor. "It was like they were talking!"

"Really." Pinako chuckled around her pipe, amused by her granddaughter's imagination. "What would a duck and a dog have to talk about?"

Winry didn't have an answer, but she frowned down at Den with her hands on her hips and took her grandmother's question much more seriously than Pinako had intended her to. "I wonder."