Characters: Ed, Al.
Rating: PG, tops.
Word count: 502
Summary: Elrics. Long train journey. Boredom. What's the worst that could happen?
Notes: Set three years before the start of the manga, when Ed's about thirteen. Happy October 3rd, all!
Ed fidgeted, and looked out the window at the fields rushing by, and thought about train seats. Why did they make them so damn uncomfortable? It made no sense. Were cushions expensive? Why didn't they build them better?
"Seriously," he said, "what's the point? They make your ass numb after five minutes."
"If we'd booked earlier, we could have gotten second class seats instead of third," Al said, without looking up from his book.
"I was gonna!" Ed said. "Only I found that book and it distracted me."
"It's pretty interesting," said Al, mildly, still not looking up from the book in question.
Ed gave him a narrow look. He'd barely gotten a look at the book so far; Al had taken advantage of the fact that reading on trains made Ed sick as a dog: he'd swiped the book straight out of Ed's coat pocket the minute they'd sat down.
"I bet it'd be really simple to double the thickness of one of these cushions," Ed said.
"Or you could just put your coat under your butt," said Al.
"Think like a scientist," said Ed. "Improve stuff! Be creative!"
Al looked up and put his head on one side. "They sound sprung," he said, testing one with a finger. "If you don't want shards of loose metal everywhere, you'd need a tripartite formula: leather cover, springs, and a little push to move the stuffing."
"Wouldn't be that hard."
"No, but you'd need to puzzle it out first." Al's way of saying: don't clap this second, you'll blow up a cushion.
Ten minutes later, they had three pages of scribbled circles in the back of Al's notebook, a broken pencil, and a tentative working theory.
"Right," said Ed, cracking his knuckles.
Al cocked his head sceptically. "You sure?" he said.
"It's for science," said Ed.
"And everything that's for science is always a really good idea?" said Al drily.
"It's an empty carriage!" said Ed.
"Great, so it's only you who gets blinded by flying metal springs if this goes wrong. How about I do it?"
"You'll have to draw it out! It'll take too long!"
"So? We've got three more hours until our st -"
Ed had already clapped.
Expense Claim Form CB1, filed by Maj. Edward Elric, Oct 14 1912
650 cenz, getting a railway carriage cleaned. Reason: I vibrated all the soot off but the railway guy said it still smelled weird and that there were bits.
210 cenz, new leather pants. Reason: used spare pants to repair leather train carriage seats.
50 cenz, shitty overpriced railway coffee. Reason: wanted coffee.
300 cenz, bribing a railway guy. Reason: getting him not to call the cops.
158 cenz, ribs and slaw, Old Amos' Rib Shack and Quality Lodgings. Reason: you sent me here, pay for my food.
199 cenz, one twin bed room at Old Amos' Rib Shack etc etc. Reason: see above.
TOTAL: 1567 cenz.
Additional comments: Receipts and bills attached. Can I also submit this form as my six-monthly portfolio demonstrating research activity? I totally did it for science.