Years later Ed would look back and say that this was the worst part of automail surgery: when his nerves were fused with the wires in his ports.
The bolt in his collarbone to secure the framework, yeah, it looked bad, but he'd been heavily under the influence of some choice narcotics at the time. And when they'd removed the fragmented remains of his shoulderblade and replaced it with a steel plate and ball for a rotator cuff, that had redefined his concept of pain, even if he was high as a kite for most of it.
But nothing compared to the wiring. He had to be fully conscious, for that, had to be able to speak and tell the Rockbells if he could feel what they were doing. Fucking right he could feel what they were doing, they were fucking around with his nerves! That's what nerves do! They feel things!
"That's the point, stupid," they'd said, and explained that they needed to be sure they were hooking him up right or they could irrevocably destroy the nerve connections and his chances at ever having a functional arm and leg again. That shut him up.
The third day of wiring, Ed began to puke up blood from the strain, and Granny Pinako announced that it was time for a break. For once, Ed did not complain.
And so it came to pass that Ed spent a few days in a fuzzy cloud of drugs and stupid with nothing to do but stare uselessly at the ceiling. And with a healthy amount of morphine flowing through Ed's veins, it was a fucking weird ceiling.
It was blinking at him. (He wasn't sure how, it didn't have eyes, but it was.) Ed scowled at it and it blushed to be caught staring. Then it melted in sticky gray globs that dripped down to the floor in wet strands.
Ed craved marshmallows.
"Wh'r you looking at?" he mumbled. Winry, who was busy prepping equipment for when wiring resumed, turned to look at him.
"Ed, who are you talking to?" she asked.
"Tha' bastard there," he slurred and pointed up at the ceiling-goop with the arm he didn't have. Winry narrowed her eyes. Then she set down the pineapple she was carrying and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Ed," she said slowly, "There's no one in the room but us." She picked idly at the pineapple without taking her gaze off him. Ed wondered what the pineapple ever did to her. Then he remembered that the pineapple was Al.
He'd damned his brother to a life as a fruit. Who even did that? Why did he have to use a pineapple? And why did they have a pineapple farm in the basement? Ed whimpered in pain. He should have chosen the toaster.
"'N Al," he said. "Wh'r you doin' to Al?" Winry looked at him quizzically but kept picking at pineapple-Al, scratching her sharp little fingernails along his sides and digging dangerously close to the fruit punch seal that tied his soul to this world. "Stop, dammit!"
"I'm not doing anything!" she said snappishly and dug her nails further into the spiny skin of the fruit. The tips of her fingers pierced through and Ed's eyes bugged out in horror and he screamed, thrashed wildly against the straps that bound him to the bed in a desperate bid for escape.
THAT caught her attention and she rushed over and started poking at his wires, holding the pineapple in her mouth for safekeeping while her hands dug into Ed's skin instead. Al for whatever reason spoke no protest against this inhumane (infruitmane?) treatment but instead was humming "Amestris the Beautiful" while the melted ceiling sang along, albeit off-key. Al's pineapply spines cut through Winry's lips and cheeks like so many porcupine quills and there was fruit punch everywhere.
"Al! AL! 'S Al, 's Al, don' hurt him!"
"Ed, Al isn't even in the room!" PineappAl piercing her face did nothing to impede her speech, and of everything in the situation that confused Ed the most. You can't talk normally with a whole pineapple in your mouth. You just can't. "Where does it hurt, Ed? I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong."
"'M not hurt," Ed protested weakly. "Al. Righ' there, y'r hurtin' him." Al chose that moment to cease humming and burst triumphantly into song, belting out the start of the third verse in an impressive tenor. How could Winry not notice him?
She gave him a soft, pitying look, the kind reserved for birds with broken wings and botanists with pollen allergies. "Al isn't in the room," she said with slow deliberation, "He's in your room right now, reading. Do you want me to bring him here?"
In the background: "...thine alabaster cities gleam / undimmed by human tears! / Amestris! / Amestris!"
Al's voice had never been that deep, Ed decided. Something was very wrong here. "Yeah," he said, defeated. "Get Al." Clearly, this was the wrong pineapple.
"AL! Get in here, your brother is being weird!"
"Coming!" came the reply and yes, that sounded much more like Al.
The door opened and in walked –
The biggest pineapple Ed had ever seen!