The rain beats down endlessly, drowning out sound and sorrow. Anyone sane is indoors, yet two figures trudge forth along the rain-slicked road. They are little more than blurs through the downpour, one a tall, strong-built shadow and the other a short, thin one. Ghosts to the world of men, they say nothing to each other or to the empty darkness.
It is the shorter figure that finally comes to a halt, turning his face up to the rain. "... isn't there any shelter anywhere on the streets?"
The second shadow comes to a stiff halt and sighs, "Niisan, it's because we were kicked out of that one inn ..."
"Ah, I know, I know," nods the first, dropping his head again. "Ugh, this is annoying. I'd rather not be rude and change the shape of a house to make a canopy, but at the rate it's going, you'll rust." He throws an apologetic smile over his shoulder at the second figure and a little laugh. His golden hair is plastered to his head.
The second figure, apparently all in armor, offers a tinny giggle. "I'm more worried about you catching cold, niisan."
"Mm," grins the first. "Not so easily, Al ..." And he turns to the alleyway they are standing by.
In here it is less wet, and with a single clap of his hands, the blonde-haired boy creates an energy that mutates the brick wall into a brick-formed canopy over himself and the man in armor next to him. "I'll change it back in the morning," he says, yawning.
"I'll remind you," says the man in armor faithfully, clanking to a sitting position.
"Aaah," nods the boy, recovering from his yawn. But it is then that mewling can be heard from the other end of the alley.
It is the man in armor that clambers to his feet to follow the sound first; the boy puts two fingers to his forehead and sighs before he follows the other's lead. "Niisan!" exclaims the man in armor. "It's three kittens! Can't we do something?"
The blonde-haired boy's eyebrows lower and his gaze drops before he shakes his head. "We really can't, Al. What would we do for them?"
The man in armor's shoulders slump. "I don't mean take them along. Can't we ... take care of them? They're wet and lonely. Just for tonight, niisan, and then we'd let them go again. Just to get them out of the rain."
And the kittens mewl their approval, and the rain continues to abuse all five bedraggled figures. The blonde boy sighs. "Of course."
And the man in armor cannot smile, not so anyone can see, but he scoops up the kittens with such energy that his happiness is guarenteed. "I'll name you Black. And you, Stormcloud. And you, Patches." And he carefully dries off the kittens with the little dry patches on his tunic as he lays them under the canopy the blonde boy made.
The blonde boy follows, and smiles, but it's a bitter smile. "They'll miss father Alphonse come morning, you know," he says, slumping under the canopy and squeezing the water out of his braided hair.
The man in armor does not look up from where he crouches over the kittens, feeding them some bread from their suitcase. "Maybe. I'll miss them, too." He pauses. "Niisan, would you hold them? You can help them warm up."
The blonde boy look nonplussed, but before he can object, three kittens have been deposited in his lap, where they wriggle and burrow into his shirtline and under the edge of his red coat, still heavy on his shoulders with rain. "A-Al--"
"See, niisan?" says the man in armor, watching as the kittens find comfortable places in the boy's lap and start to fall asleep. "You're warm."
The boy's face falls at the words of the man in armor, and he looks away for a moment. But the man in armor settles himself against the wall by the boy. "Goodnight, niisan."
"... Goodnight, Al," says the boy. And as he falls asleep, the kittens in his lap purr contentedly.
In the morning, as the sun beats down cheerily to warm up the world after a day of miserable rain, the kittens are wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, next to half a loaf of uneaten bread.
The canopy remains untouched.
Ed: *sneezes* .... *sniffle* Lousy cold.
Al: *wails* I told you this would happen!