Lust Evans was Edward's babysitter of choice whenever his mother would go out for the day or night, because she was pretty, she was smart, and she was one of the nicest teenage girls he'd ever met in his eight years of life. She only lived a couple neighborhoods away, so she was usually available to babysit when needed.

Of course, Trisha had a back-up babysitter just in case, and Edward didn't like him one bit.

Whenever Lust was too busy to babysit, Trisha called up Roy Mustang, the fourteen-year-old that lived a few houses down the street, which usually perked Alphonse up—he'd taken a liking to Roy, always more than excited at the prospect of him coming over to babysit him and his big brother.

"Okay, boys," Trisha said, straightening out her dress and grabbing her purse, "Winry's mom, dad, Pinako and I are going out tonight, and Winry will be staying over here while we're gone, so that means you'll need a babysitter. Don't worry about Envy; he's spending the night at a friend's house."

Edward looked up at his mother from the LEGO space shuttle he was building and asked, "Is Lust gonna be here soon?"

Trisha shook her head. "Sorry, sweetie, but she had already made other plans for tonight. It wouldn't be fair to her to make her break them to babysit. Instead, Roy's coming over."

"Yay!" Alphonse squealed, hugging his stuffed bear to death and bouncing up and down.

"No!" Edward groaned. He crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.

Their mother smiled, ruffling Edward's hair before dropping a kiss on his and Alphonse's foreheads to bid them goodnight. Not long after, the doorbell rang and Trisha opened the door, smiling at the messy-haired teen standing in the doorway. "Oh, Roy!" she said, stepping aside to let him in. "You're right on time. There's money for pizza on the kitchen table and other information on the index card taped to the fridge. We'll be back around eleven, and the kids need to be in bed by nine-thirty."

"Sure thing, ma'am," Roy replied, and Trisha left.

Alphonse tapped on Roy's arm and said, "Me and Winry are gonna be in my room 'til dinner, 'kay?" Roy nodded, and Winry grabbed her friend's hand and ran upstairs, leaving Edward alone with Roy.

Awkwardly, Roy stood behind the boy and looked at whatever it was he was doing. "What are you building, Ed?"

"None of your business, jerk," Edward responded, adding another piece to his space shuttle.

"There's no need to be so short with me."


Something in Edward was on the verge of snapping as he gripped a LEGO hard enough to leave a mark on his hand and growled, "Don't. Call. Me. Short."

Up in Alphonse's room, he and Winry were coloring in pictures of dinosaurs with Winry's new 64-pack of Crayola crayons—with the sharpener, no less. Alphonse always loved Winry's crayons, and when he and his brother were younger they used to fight over who got to share her crayons with her, which evolved into who was going to marry her when they grew up. Eventually, Alphonse won that battle, but was promptly rejected by Winry, who said he was "just a kid." She also rejected Edward by saying that she didn't like-like boys that were shorter than her.

Just as Alphonse was about to put the finishing touches on his awesome Stegosaurus, he heard a loud and angry, "WHO ARE YOU CALLING SO SHORT HE COULD USE A LEGO AS A STEP STOOL?" drift up from downstairs and figured it was best to go check out the situation.

"I'll be right back, 'kay, Winry?" Alphonse said, standing up and heading toward the door. "I just gotta make sure that brother doesn't kill Mr. Roy. Or get himself hurt... again."

When Alphonse walked down the stairs and rounded the corner, he saw Edward, trying to charge at Roy, and Roy, holding Edward back by placing his palm on the boy's forehead. Edward, who looked unmistakeably angry, flailed his arms comically as Roy kept his would-be attacker at bay and Alphonse attempted not to laugh hysterically; that certainly wouldn't help the situation. Putting on a straight face, Alphonse rushed behind his brother and captured him in a big bear hug, despite Edward's incessant wiggling, dragging him away from Roy.

"Al!" Edward grunted, squirming more and more in his brother's death grip. "Let me at him!"

"Okay, brother," Alphonse said, never one for disobeying Edward, and released him.

Roy practically shrieked, "Hold him back! Hold him back!"

"Okay," Alphonse said, never one for disobeying authority, and grabbed Edward by the back of his shirt.

Edward was, predictably, less than pleased with this. "Let me at him!"

"Hold him back!"

"Let me at him!"

"Hold him back!"

Winry, who had come downstairs once the screaming had commenced, slapped herself on the forehead with her palm before dragging it down her face with a noise that was quite similar to 'ugh, men.' "Um, guys?" she said carefully, coming down another step. "Guys?"

"Why are you holding me back, Al?" Rage.

"Because Mr. Roy told me to!"

"Why are you letting him go, Alphonse?" Fear for one's life.

"Because brother told me to!"

Growing tired of the idiocy, Winry plugged her ears with her fingers and downright screamed, the sound shrill and nails-on-a-chalkboard enough to make Edward, Alphonse, and Roy stop right in their tracks. After she'd run out of air in her lungs—a good minute, minute-fifteen later—she crossed her arms over her chest and gave each of them The Look that her mother gave her father when he said or did something he found funny and she didn't. "How come you guys just can't get along?" she asked, cocking her head to the side and giving them a look that clearly said, 'I'm adorable. Listen to me.'

Recovering from the traumatic effects of Winry's scream, Edward pointed at Roy accusingly and said, "He started it! He called me short, which I'm not!"

"I did not call you short!" Roy defended, matching Edward's glare with one of his own. "I simply said that you were being short with me, after which I said you have a little bit of a temper problem. Nowhere in there did I call you short, though maybe you misheard me because the sound waves couldn't travel down that far!"

Gasping, Edward narrowed his golden eyes and muttered, "Cheap shot."

Roy smirked. "Couldn't resist."

Before Edward could move to sock the poop out of Roy, Winry cleared her throat and said, surprisingly softly, "Alphonse, can I talk to you for a bit in the other room?" Alphonse nodded, and just as Winry left the living room she turned back around and growled, "Don't. Start. Anything."

Sulking on the couch and death-staring Roy, Edward picked out key words from the dialogue Winry and Alphonse were having in the kitchen, like 'dinosaur,' 'stupid-head,' 'too touchy,' 'really a nice guy,' 'steams my clams,' and 'dinner-time.' By the time the two were done and had come back out, Roy was asleep on the couch opposite the one Edward was on while the blond busied himself with seeing how many M&Ms he could land in Roy's open and snoring mouth.

He was up to sixteen when Winry smacked him upside the head and Alphonse woke up a confused Roy, who chewed what was in his mouth and swallowed, no questions asked and no answers given. Rubbing the back of his neck, Roy looked over at a grinning and unequivocally adorable Alphonse who just blinked and asked, "Mr. Roy, can we have dinner soon?"

"Sure," Roy replied, running his tongue over his teeth in an attempt to find out what he had eaten as Edward cackled maniacally and Winry smacked him with her favorite plastic wrench. Roy grabbed a pad of paper and a pen. "What do you want on your pizza?"

"Pepperoni!" Winry piped up, momentarily pausing her beating on Edward to answer. "I want pepperoni, please!"

"But I don't like pepperoni pizza!" Edward whined, rubbing his head where Winry had hit him and pouting quite noticeably. "The pepperoni makes the pizza too greasy and then it makes more of a mess and then it's hard to clean up and making a mess on the carpet results in Mommy Having Words with me and Al!" Edward was, by this point, close to flailing. "I don't like Having Words with Mommy! It's not fun!"

Softly, Alphonse said, "I... I like pepperoni, too. Can we get pepperoni? Please?"

Roy said, "Sure," just as Edward stomped his foot and vehemently protested having pepperoni on his pizza.

(Not that anyone cared that he didn't like it—he was outnumbered three-to-one.)

Later, after the pizza had been eaten—Edward just sulked and picked off the pepperoni, dumping them on Winry's plate instead—and the trash had been taken out, the middle Elric child decided to get back to his plans of finally besting The Shelf. Oh, he had a plan now: he was going to try to vault off the couch and make a quick smash n' grab.

It was genius, just like him.

He backed up a good distance from the couch he was planning on using and got a running start, bare feet padding against the carpet before he reached his destination, put one foot up on the cushions, moved his other to the top of the couch's backrest, and leaped for it. But he found himself trapped when a rather large fishing net came down upon his head and caused him to come crashing down on the couch.

Glaring at Roy from between the netting, he said, "What gives, you jerk?"

Raising an eyebrow, Roy waved the index card with instructions on it around and replied, "The card specifically says that 'nothing is to be taken down from the shelf in the living room, whether you or the kids do the taking down.' Clear as day."

"Well..." Pursing his lips, Edward thought of a lie quickly. "Those are old directions. They changed just a little bit ago."

Roy blinked, face blank as he turned the card over and read it aloud. "'No, they didn't. Don't listen to Edward.' I guess that's figured out."

Fishing net still covering him, Edward slumped face-first into the couch and sighed dejectedly, inwardly calling Roy mean names and swearing revenge the next time he had to babysit him and Alphonse. He was perfectly content with lying there until bedtime, but Winry decided to come skipping into the room with a grin on her face and a crayon in her hand.

"Hey, Edward!" she chirped, stopping in front of the couch and waiting for him to acknowledge her.

Edward lifted just his head, giving her a Look. "I don't wanna color. Go bother Al."

"But he's already—"

"Go away!"

Author's Note: I originally had the entire conversation between Alphonse and Winry, but this chapter was already too long so I left it out. Here it is, if you want to read it.

"What do you wanna talk about, Winry?" Alphonse asked, sitting down at the kitchen table as she came back from no doubt threatening Edward and Roy. "Is it about brother and his... temper?"

She rolled her eyes and sat down next to him. "Isn't it always? But yeah, it's like I can't even color in a dinosaur without him getting mad at someone for saying something they didn't and he always takes things out of context and it's just...! It's just really, really annoying! He's such a stupid-head sometimes!"

Alphonse nodded, patting her hand and replying, "I know brother can be a little bit too touchy about being kinda short, but it's not as though he does it on purpose or anything. He's just not very good with 'expressing himself through a productive outlet,' or so Mommy says. But for some reason, he just doesn't like Mr. Roy. Which is weird, 'cause Mr. Roy is really a nice guy; brother just won't give him a chance."

"I noticed that, too," Winry said, balling a little fist up and shaking it in irritation. "I just wish Edward would be nice to people every once in a while! Ooo, that boy just... just... just steams my clams! Ugh! It's like he makes it a point to make everybody he comes across mad or something!"

Still patting the back of the hand that was palm-down on the table, Alphonse nodded in agreement again and said, "Well, it's almost dinner-time, so we should probably go tell Mr. Roy what we want on our pizza."

Winry calmed herself and followed Alphonse out of the kitchen and back into the living room, where Edward was tossing M&Ms into Roy's mouth because he'd fallen asleep and was snoring. Sighing, she smacked him upside the head while Alphonse walked over to Roy and shook him gently to wake him up from his nap.