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Uninvited Guests

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There were many different ways to get Edward Elric out of bed, most of them futile. Alarm clocks, stripping the sheets off the bed and attempted suffocation were all in the seasoned veteran's repertoire. Usually, the highest success rate was awarded to the combination of breakfast and coffee; and that was only reserved for weekdays. On the weekend, no power on this Earth could move Edward from his nest of blankets and pillows.

Today's exercise in rousing alchemists came when Edward awoke to approximately thirty pounds landing somewhere on his lower chest, driving all the oxygen from his lungs in one fell swoop. He did not have the time to recover from that surprise attack before a new assault began on his other senses. "UNCA ED UNCA ED WAKE UP WAKE UPPPPPPPPPP!"

There were definitely better ways on record to get Edward out of bed, he knew that for a fact; but sheer confusion and shrieking, excited five-year-olds were a pretty effective method. Not only did it rouse Edward from a sound sleep, but from the muffled, incoherent muttering from the other side of the bed it had gotten Rian, too.

Sarah rolled off of Edward (who was still trying to re-inflate his crushed lungs) and flopped dramatically over the large comforter-covered lump that was Rian Martin. Sarah was very good at this, she targeted the very edge, where tufts of dark hair were barely covered by the heavy blanket, and effectively dropped her entire weight on Rian's head. "Riaaaaaaan," she exclaimed, draping herself over him so that Edward only saw her rear.

Edward sat up on his elbows, still not entirely awake yet; and stared at his niece, completely perplexed. "How-" Edward barely managed to get out when Winry magically appeared in the open doorway to the bedroom, wielding a whisk in one hand like a saber.

"You two better be decent!" she barked, sweeping into the room to scoop Sarah off of the bed before she could actually burrow under the covers between Edward and Rian. "If you're not wearing any pants under there I'm gonna take it off with a wrench, Ed!"

Without another word Winry flounced out the room, Sarah tucked under her arm.

Rian emerged from under the covers, having been laying face down he managed to avoid the word of the five-year-old's pile-driver. "What just happened?"

"I… am not entirely sure," Edward said. "We didn't take a vacation to East City, did we?"

"Not unless we took your bed crappy old bed with us," Rian dropped face down into the pillow on his side of the bed.

"Hey, this bed isn't crappy."

"Says you." Rian's voice was muffled. "I thought this was gonna be a stay-in weekend," he complained. "Just you and me and that case of hard cider Havoc left behind."

"I'll get to the bottom of this," Edward said, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Before he could actually get OUT of bed, however, he noticed a pair of eyes peering from around the door frame.


* * *

"I was wearing boxers," Edward sulked, sitting on the floor against the wall in the kitchen. He was dressed now, a button-down shirt and some trousers, his long hair still down. Alphonse was sitting next to him, trying very hard to hide his amusement and mostly failing; while Sarah sat on Edward's other side and aped his sulking pose with the exaggeration of a toddler.

The flat was small, and the table that he and Rian ate at could seat four at best; when it was pulled away from the wall. That was, of course, if he had any idea where the other two chairs even were. Rian sat at the table with Thomas; who was eating a stack of pancakes gleefully. "I can't believe I got put in time-out in my own home," Edward said loudly. "I want some pancakes."

"People in time-out don't get pancakes," Winry responded in the same tone of voice without turning away from the stove.

Edward stuck his tongue out at Winry. "Rian wasn't wearing any pants either!" he protested.

"Then you should have got dressed faster," Winry said matter-of-factly. Rian grinned cheekily at Edward and pointedly took a big bite of his stack of pancakes. Edward glared at him, before turning the glare on his younger brother full force.


"Sorry we let ourselves in," Alphonse said, not sounding sorry at all. "I meant to call, but it was hectic getting the kids on the train, and Winry thought it would be a fun idea to surprise you."

"Yeah, surprise us," Edward repeated. "And what, precisely, were you planning to do if you caught us at an-" Edward glanced at Sarah, who was watching him intently. "Inopportune time?"

"Watch Winry unleash hell on you both," Alphonse said cheerfully.

"Gee, thanks, Al," Edward said sarcastically. Sarah gave up on looking pleading and just crawled insistently into Edward's lap. Edward ignored her for the most part, aside from shifting her so she would not sit uncomfortably. "I'll ask again. What the hell are you doing here?"

"It's All Hallow's Eve," Alphonse explained.

"Mooooom, Uncle Ed said 'hell'," Thomas said indignantly from the table.

"He's allowed that one," Winry said, carefully giving a plate of pancakes to Sarah. She balanced it on her knees and then gleefully started feeding Edward.

"Are you going to go guising?" Rian asked.

"Yup!" Thomas kicked his legs, the tips of his toes barely brushing the tile. "Have you ever been guising, Rian?"

"Not quite," Rian said. "Our village was too small for proper guising, and the houses too far apart. But we'd have a big bonfire festival in the center of town to chase out the evil spirits, and a huge feast to celebrate the harvest. The kids had to perform songs or tricks to get candied nuts and sweetmeats for dessert."

"That sounds amazing," Winry said, leaning back against the counter. "Resembool really didn't have any sort of tradition like that."

"Da said that the original settlers of the village brought all the traditions down from the mountain people," Rian said, chewing on a bite of pancake thoughtfully. "We had a lot of lore about witches coming down off the mountain, and how to protect ourselves from them." He laughed at Thomas's wide-eyed expression. "I don't think that you guys have much to worry about from witches," he said.

"Mom, can we go guising with Rian?" Thomas asked. "I want to hear all the stories about the witches!"

"Hm," Winry looked at Alphonse. "I thought you were going to take them guising."

"Nah, it's all right if Rian wants to take them. Brother and I have plans."

"Wait, we have plans? Edward looked between Alphonse and Winry. "Are you guys here because you needed babysitters?" he asked incredulously.

"I'm going to the costume ball with Sheska," Winry said, dropping some dishes into the sink.

"You're going to a costume ball?" Edward asked. "As what, a giant- uh," Edward faltered at Alphonse's stare and shut up.

Winry gave him a dark look. "Sheska and I are going dressed as dancers in a Sultan's harem," she said. "Al helped me with my costume."

"I bet he did," Edward muttered.

Alphonse elbowed Edward in the kidney.

"Mama looks pretty in her costume," Sarah announced. She tugged on Edward's bangs with one hand to get his attention. "But I'm gonna be a PRINCESS," she exclaimed.

"She's a princess every year," Thomas said scornfully. "I'm a pirate," he told Rian. "Not some sissy princess."

Sarah clambered off of Edward's lap before he thought to stop her, and she kicked Thomas's chair forcefully. "Princesses are not SISSY!" she exclaimed. Alphonse scooped her up and sat her on his lap, but she struggled to get out of his arms. "I'll kick your ass!"

"Sarah!" Winry said.

Sarah went limp in Alphonse's arms. "Unca' Ed taught me that," she pointed at him.

"What!" Edward said, framed suddenly for something he was not sure he even did in the first place. "I did not!"

Alphonse stood up, Sarah still in his arms. "Let's, ah, go work on your costume," he said, hauling her off into the den.

"Don't die, Unca' Ed!" Sarah called over Alphonse's shoulder. "You gotta see my dress first!"