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As usual, he could be heard swearing all the way down the hall.

"God damn it, Al!"

Edward Elric was the kind of guy that made everyone want to get out of his way, if they remembered to look down and see him. He strode down the hallway like a bull, not stopping for anything, and thus nearly bowling over several students as he forced a path to his locker.

Alphonse Elric was taller than his older brother, but lacked the commanding air (or maybe just the rudeness) to make such a swift path through the sea of students. He came to his brother's side panting a little, and hiked his backpack up higher on his shoulder while Ed threw open his locker with such viciousness as to slam it against the innocent adjacent locker. Al winced. "Now, brother, I'm sure that—"

"He grabbed my ass, Al!" Ed gestured wildly. "And it can't have been an accident, because he grabbed it. Like—like—" He started to reach for Al's buttock, then changed his mind as he realized exactly what it would look like if he was grabbing his brother's ass, and instead demonstrated on the air the squeezing motion he had evidently experienced. "Like that."

Al was having a hard time believing it. "I'm sure Mr. Mustang didn't mean to touch your, erm, behind," he said with a hopeful tone. (In actuality, he had not seen any such thing remotely like this occur, but Ed insisted. And it was easier to work with Ed on his terms in situations like this.) "Maybe you're exaggerating a bit?"

Ed gave Al a long, accusatory look before turning back to his locker and throwing books into his bag for the walk home. "Not much," Ed grumbled unhappily, and slammed the unfortunate locker shut. "He keeps smirking at me, too."

"Mr. Mustang smirks at a lot of things," Al pointed out as they started back down the hall in the general direction of Al's locker. "You should read too much into—"

"Al~! Ed!"

A blond blur came at them from around the corner at approximately 180 miles an hour, Al estimated—and then he was having the air choked out of him by a hug. "Did you have a good day!?"

It was Ed that answered, primarily because Al found it hard to breathe, much less speak. "Winly, Al's gonna faint from a lack of oxygen if you keep that up. Ow, hey!"

Winly's aim with a binder was almost as true as her aim with a wrench (which she kept plenty of), and Ed rubbed his forehead ruefully as Winly 'hmph'ed at him. "That's for cheating at poker at lunch," she said, releasing her hold on Al, at least a little.

"I didn't cheat," Ed said with the tone he used only when he had been cheating. Al nodded when Winly gave him a questioning look, and Ed squawked. "Traitor!"

"You cheated me out of my Cheez-its," Al informed him, "And turnabout's fair play." Al didn't like being deprived of Cheez-its. Ed tended to steal them when he ate his own bagful too early in lieu of a forgotten breakfast.

Al started for his locker again with Winly's arms still wrapped around his torso; Ed jogged to catch up. The crowds in the halls were thinning rapidly as people fled for the busses, and Al decided he was still grateful that he and Ed could walk home. Winly's home was a bus ride away, but it didn't matter, because she was probably going over to—

"And as if YOU can talk, cheating on me like this."

"Panina~!" Winly sing-songed the newcomer's name, who was leaning against Al's locker, and immediately released Al in favor of grasping Panina's hand and kissing her on the cheek. Al mourned the loss silently, and hid his blush of embarrassment by turning quickly to his locker and concentrating way too hard on the combination. It took him three tries to get it right.

Meanwhile Panina grinned, and blushed a little, although you could hardly tell under her dark skin; she threw an arm over Winly's shoulder. "Got my motorcycle with me," she declared, and there was a collective wish for sunglasses as Winly positively glowed with eagerness.

Ed snorted, a sulky mood having settled over him due to his less-than pleasant last period and the binder to the head courtesy the Winly Express. "Good, take her off our hands," he grunted, rolling his eyes, and Winly sent a caustic glare his way.

"Honestly, Ed, you're in such a bad mood," she snorted, before going back to glowing at Panina. "Is it running okay? You sure you don't need me to tune it up?"

Panina snickered. "It's fine. I swear, you only like me for my motorcycle." She turned her head a little gave Ed an arched eyebrow. "And you are acting a little funny, Elric, even for you."

"Hey!"

Al laughed nervously behind his locker door. "Brother says Mr. Mustang grabbed his behind today while he was at the blackboard," he explained as his blush slowly faded, and Ed scowled.

"I didn't imagine it," Ed snapped, "He GRABBED my ass!"

"—Mr. Mustang can't possibly be that desperate."

"—Would you stop insulting me, Panina!?"

"Anyway," Al interrupted, closing his locker, "We should be going home, brother, since we both have a lot of homework," he pointed out. He waved to Winly and Panina. "See you tomorrow."

"Yeah, see ya," Ed agreed, going back to sulking, slowly.

"Don't forget that you're taking me to get Milwaukee ice cream on Friday!" Winly reminded Al with a raised finger.

"Ah, I won't," Al promised eagerly, herding Ed towards the nearest exit.

He wasn't totally sure, but he was thought he heard Ed snicker under his breath. And that knowing smirk was definitely lacing Ed's face for well over half an hour.