Title: The Sweet Trade
Characters: Um... pretty much everybody
Warnings: Little known terminology (that I will define at the bottom), Unbeta'd, written and typed at roughly three am (I seem to do all my work on this fic around that time... ^~^;;).
Chapter 1 - The Reluctant Pirates
Chapter 2 - Mutiny of the Mouth
Chapter 3 - Of Old Pirates
Alphonse glanced up from the pump he was manning as his older brother slogged to the deck, soaked and exhausted. Fuery took up residence at Alphonse’s side of the pump to give the younger boy a break, which he thanked the man for before trotting up to his brother, who had seemingly hung himself over the railing to dry, his arms and head hanging limply over the edge while the rest of him slumped behind the railing.
“That’s dangerous, you know,” Alphonse said, indicating Edward’s position.
“Push off,” Edward muttered back. “I can swim.”
Ignoring the retort, Alphonse leaned his arms on the railing and rested his chin on his hands. “Did you hear where we’re going?” He asked excitedly.
Edward scowled out at sea. “Aye. Port Royal. Let me find a container for my joy.”
Alphonse shot him a look. “Come on, Brother. It’s been a long time since we’ve been-“
“Don’t even think about it, Al.”
Edward abruptly stood and rounded on his brother. “That… place is not home, Al. To you, maybe, but not I.”
Alphonse frowned. “Why do you hate that place so much?”
Edward looked away at that. “Too many bad memories,” he muttered. “Plus, how can I be proud to call the wickedest city on earth my home?”
Alphonse sighed. “We’ve had this exchange before. You can’t choose where you were born, Brother.”
Edward scowled at him before flopping himself back over the railing. “Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
Alphonse stared at the side of Edward’s head for a moment, choosing his words carefully. “Is it… is it because of father?”
He got the expected result. Edward glared darkly at the sea. “I told you not to mention that… that bastard… ever again, Alphonse.”
Instead of backing down, as he usually did at that reply, Alphonse chose to push on. “Why do you hate him so much?”
Edward slowly rose and stared darkly at his brother. “Because you were too young to remember when he left us and mum to fend for ourselves in a city like THAT. She died because of him.”
“You can’t blame that on-“
“Yes I can, Al.”
“How can you-“
“Do you even know how we managed to have enough money to live on, Al? Do you?”
Alphonse fell silent. He knew what the best, and only, job that someone as young as their mother could hope for. He looked back out to sea, trying to break his brother’s angry stare.
Edward saw what Alphonse was thinking, and sighed. “I’m sorry, Al. But I have my reasons. He left us all to be a damn pirate, and we never heard from the dog again.”
“That’s why you don’t like pirates,” Alphonse quietly mused.
“Not entirely, but it’s one reason, yes.”
Alphonse looked back to the crew as those on the pumps worked to keep the ship afloat, Fuery and Falman conferred over a map, possibly to choose the fastest and safest route to Port Royal, Hawkeye was checking the cannons, as they were likely to face some opposition near the ports, as expected among pirates, and Mustang was looking over everyone, making sure they all did their respective jobs. “What about these pirates?” He asked tentatively.
Edward grudgingly lifted his head and followed his brother’s gaze. He looked over them for a moment before shrugging and hanging himself back over the railing. “They seem like perfectly normal sea rats, but we’ve been more or less pressed into service. Not like I have much choice. Adding that I don’t know many of them well because I spend most of my time belowdecks.”
“What about Miss Rockbell?” Alphonse asked. “Surely you’ve gotten to know her well.”
Edward snorted. “Unfortunately.”
Edward scowled at Alphonse. “Well, what?”
“What do you think of her?”
“I think that if I don’t dance the hempen jig from the law, she’ll kill me herself someday. One can only hope that either will happen sooner.”
Alphonse rolled his eyes. It was obvious that all his brother planned to do while abovedeck was dry off and sulk, so he left him to his thoughts and jogged off to help Hawkeye.
Edward glanced back at the direction his brother had run off to before looking back out to sea. He considered feeding the fish now, but he was pretty sure that Winry herself would drag him back aboard and punish him for even trying in addition to whatever bumps or bruises he would have sustained beforehand. Plus he had his brother to think about.
He sighed and buried his face in his arms. “Jolly Roger, indeed. I’m sure he’s having a grand laugh at me right now.”
"I can swim." - Believe it or not, most seagoing men at the time couldn't swim, so most that fell overboard drowned.
“Do you even know how we managed to have enough money to live on?" - In a place as seedy as Port Royal, the best job most women could hope for was usually prostitution. The boys' mother was most likely forced into it to be able to take care of them.
"Sea rats" - Pirate slang. Another term for a pirate.
"Dance the hempen jig" - More pirate slang. To dance the hempen jig was to be hanged.
Jolly Roger - One of the theories as to why the pirate flag had that name was that it was a reference to Old Roger, which was another name for the devil. Edward's (emo) interpretation of the flag name is because he's pretty sure the devil himself is laughing at his streak of bad luck lately. ^ ^;;