Summer vacation started with a flair. The first two weeks were spent on every daydream had between multiplication tables and Amestris history. The third week brought new games, more adventurous excursions and sillier dares. By the start of the four week, every kid in Resembool between six and twelve was bored out of their mind.
It was on that warm Tuesday that Cole Howard pushed Alphonse Elric into the lake. It was a hotter Wednesday when Edward Elric slipped a beetle the size of his thumb down the back of Rose Howard's dress.
Ed eventually apologized, but not before two camps had been formed. Cole bribed his new allies with free candy from his parents' store. Edward used alchemy to repair broken bikes and replace severed limbs back into teddybear bodies.
Cole's best friend dubbed their side 'Briggs Lions'. Edward's side laughed at their lack of originality and then fretted for two hours about their own name. Alphonse came up with the basics: Defense, because Cole's friends were bigger and meaner, Research, because nasty worms and wasp nests didn't grow everywhere, and Intelligence, because the enemy's bedroom location was needed when worms or nests were thrown through their windows.
The Drillers and the Lions battled for two weeks.
One doll ended the war.
Four boys (led by her older brother) stole Rose's favorite doll and pinned her shredded dress to her parents' shop door with an attached ransom note - four chocolate bars and a dozen pieces of candy. While Mr. Howard indulged her daughter with the odd sweet, it would take her weeks to raise the expected quantity.
Myrtle and Tina found little Rose crying at her doorstep, and an hour later all the girls of their class were gathered in the Howards' living room. Two hours later, after deliberating where the boys could have hidden the doll and how to recover it, W.R.E.N.C.H (Women's Right to re-Educate Nasty, Coward Hooligans - Winry's idea) was a reality.
No boy was spared.
Trisha entered her sons' bedroom with a puzzled frown. Pinako had said not to worry about the boys' unwillingness to follow her to the market for the last few days, or how they'd clung to her side the one morning they'd gone; those two would get back into trouble soon enough. But there was one less sheet hanging on the line, and Trisha needed answers. "Kids? Have you seen a -" Two pairs of golden eyes widening and the missing sheet half-hidden behind Edward was not an expected answer. "What are you doing?"
Ed and Al looked at each other, then nodded and showed her the scissors and sewing tools they'd managed to push under one of the beds. "It's a white flag," Alphonse explained, "We'll put it back together, mom. Promise."
Trisha blinked. Hadn't Pinako also told her about Winry teaching the other girls how to aim a wrench? "All right." She turned around and walked to the kitchen to start lunch.
Some things, a mother didn't need to know.