“I can’t believe she said that!!” Ed howled as Al came back through the door.
“Said what, Brother?”
“That she would not marry someone shorter than herself,” Ling pointed out helpfully, and refilled the tumbler in Ed’s hand from a squarish bottle on the table.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE SAID THAT!!” Ed knocked back the drink with a grimace and toppled off the couch.
“Brother! What the heck is wrong with you?”
“Winry thinks I’m short, Al,” Ed sniffled, holding his glass out to Ling again, who promptly refreshed it.
If Al could have frowned suspiciously, he would have. Instead he relied on his expressive vocal stylings as he propped his brother upright. “What’s in that glass, Brother?”
“Comfort,” Ed sighed, looking pitiful, and knocked back the new drink.
“It’s Southern,” Ling added, pointing to the bottle.
Al picked it up by the neck, searching the label. “Brother, this is 100 proof!” He pointed an accusing leather finger at the Xingian prince. “You gave this to him, didn’t you! We have a plan tomorrow, a plan! Brother will be hung over, you have no idea what he’s like when his head hurts—”
“M’head already hurts,” Ed pointed out with a hiccup, slumping against Al’s breastplate.
Ling nodded sagely. “He did receive a wrench to the head earlier this evening.”
Al pushed Ed carefully off him and stood, bringing his formidable height to bear in looming over the prince.
“Out,” he said.
Ling opened his mouth to reply, but Al’s hand was faster, and fisted in his finely embroidered jacket to lift him clear off the ground. “OUT.”
Ling held up his hands in defeat, and Ran Fan re-sheathed her blade. Alphonse sighed out a breath he didn’t really have, closed the door on both of them, and lifted his muttering brother into bed.
“Al?” Ed murmured, looking up at him blearily.
“Yes, Brother?” Al replied, tugging Ed’s boots off.
“I’m glad I can sleep for you, and eat for you. I should sleep and eat more, you were too thin. Maybe I can drink for you, too!”
Al tucked the blankets around his brother, and if he could have smiled, he would have, very fondly. “I’m glad you can sleep and eat for me too, Brother. But let’s try not to kill my liver before I’ve ever tasted alcohol, okay?”
“’Kay,” Ed murmured happily, tucking Al’s big hand beneath his cheek like a teddy bear.
Alphonse wondered if the seams of the leather would leave a mark on Ed’s face in the morning, and decided it wasn’t worth making Ed give up this little bit of comfort for. He sat, and watched, and waited for morning, and Ed slept without dreams.