It had been a long day, and though Alphonse Elric didn’t have a body that could feel fatigue, his mind was desperately craving rest. They’d spent all afternoon checking out rumors of human alchemy at local churches, and in the interest of finding out whatever they could, had had to sit through several hours of religious readings and parables.
Al complimented himself on having a much higher tolerance for such things than his brother. After half an hour of holy children’s stories, Edward had looked like he was going to go insane; an hour later he very nearly bit through his automail trying desperately to keep from shouting what nonsense it all was. Al simply sat quietly, but even he had to admit that four hours was a little much. Now, he was just looking forward to sinking back against the wall and letting his mind drift restfully.
Ed had already gone to bed, having completed his nightly ritual of “complain, eat, complain, sigh bitterly, and complain some more”. Al thought that watching his brother go through this routine was rather like watching a dog turn around two or three times before laying down to go to sleep. It made no real logical sense, but as near as he could tell, it was an ironclad, immutable fact of nature.
Out of habit, Al shook his head in amusement. He sat down on the bed opposite his brother’s and tried to clear his mind. He didn’t sleep – not exactly – but if he could, sort of, concentrate on nothing, then he could sink in deeply enough to dream. It was like meditating when he and Ed were training with Sensei; only now, it was his only option.
Still, he thought. It’s not so bad, really.
With what had, over the last few years, become a practiced ease, Al sunk into unconsciousness, his thoughts fluttering around the periphery of his awareness like moths around a flame.
Moses tromped up the mountain, greatly irritated. He combed a calloused hand through his long golden hair and sighed heavily.
“How the hell do I always get stuck running errands like these? I swear...this God character is just out to get me,” he muttered.
I HEARD THAT.
Moses snorted. “Yeah, I’m sure you did. You just have your cronies everywhere, so you know every move I make.” He slouched back against a rock and glared vaguely upward. “So, why did you make me climb all the way up the mountain again?”
FOR SHITS AND GIGGLES. A pause. OH, YES. AND FOR YOUR ORDERS.
Moses arched a brow. “I don’t suppose you’ve been kind enough to write them down for me.”
OF COURSE. YOU UNDERESTIMATE ME. Moses jumped as a fiery bolt, accompanied by a loud snapping sound, leapt out of the clouds and carved a nearby boulder into something much smaller. NOW...WHERE SHALL I BEGIN?
“Stone?! You expect me to lug stone tablets back down the mountain? With all your wisdom and infinite power and whatnot, you couldn’t have deigned to produce, say, paper?”
WELL, OF COURSE I COULD. Moses could’ve sworn the clouds grinned smugly at him. BUT THAT’S NOT VERY FLASHY AT ALL, NOW IS IT? ANYWAY, WHERE WAS I? OH, YES. COMMANDMENT ONE: THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.
“How about after you?” Moses smirked. “Y’know, so long as they don’t infringe on your grovel-time, or anything.”
HAR HAR. I’M LAUGHING MY CELESTIAL ASS OFF. Another bolt of fire flashed out of the sky and engraved the words onto the tablet. NUMBER TWO: NO IDOLS. NUMBER THREE: DON’T TAKE MY NAME IN VAIN...
“No idols? But why not? And haven’t you considered that this is a really bad time for that? The Aramaic Idol finals are next week, and the starving hordes of ex-slaves are really looking forward to it, God damni -- “
Moses yelped as a fire bolt spat up from the rock he was leaning against and neatly singed his rear.
YOU’RE NOT VERY GOOD AT FOLLOWING ORDERS, ARE YOU, PATHETIC LITTLE MORTAL?
“Who’s so short that deities want to squash him like a bug?! Huh?” Moses fumed and brandished his fist at the sky.
TRUST ME, YOU DON’T WANT TO GO THERE.
Growling, Moses bit back a few more curses. “Fine! Just get on with it, already. It’ll take me all night to get back to camp, at this rate.”
FINE. FOUR: DON’T WORK WEEKENDS. THOU SHALT NOT BE BITCHY BECAUSE THEE...IS IT THEE, OR THOU? I CAN NEVER GET THE HANG OF THIS WEIRD HUMAN SPEECH...THOU SHALT NOT BE BITCHY BECAUSE THOU FORSOOK THINE DAYS OF REST FOR OVERTIME.
Moses yawned and waved a hand in the air. “Yeah, yeah, what else?”
FIVE: DON’T GIVE YOUR PARENTS CRAP; THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING, AND WITH A KID LIKE YOU, THEY NEED ALL THE HELP THEY CAN GET. SIX: MAKE A CONCERTED EFFORT NOT TO KILL ANYONE. He paused. EXCEPT BRITNEY SPEARS. BUT YOU WON’T FIND OUT ABOUT HER FOR ANOTHER FEW THOUSAND YEARS, SO I’LL JUST ADD A FOOTNOTE. SEVEN: DON’T SCREW AROUND. I DON’T LIKE COMPETITION. REMEMBER WHEN I WAS ZEUS?
Moses rolled his eyes. “Don’t we all?”
EXACTLY. MY TURF. AHEM. EIGHT: DON’T STEAL THINGS. KLEPTOMANIACS ANNOY ME...I LOSE MORE PAPERWEIGHTS THAT WAY, DAMMIT. NINE: DON’T BEAR FALSE WITNESS. THERE’S A REASON THE RHYME GOES “LIAR LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE.” DO YOU REALLY WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT IT IS?
“Not particularly.” Moses picked at his nails and wished for this to be over. It was abominably windy up there, and he was getting dust in his eyes. “Is that it? How many of these things are there?”
ONE MORE. DON’T BE JEALOUS. ENVY’S CUTE AND ALL, BUT HE REALLY GETS ON MY NERVES.
“I...see.” The nasty look on Moses’ face faded into a sort of calculating benevolence. “I don’t suppose you’d considered...ah, never mind.” He turned to go down the mountain.
“Aw, it’s nothing.”
NO, WHAT IS IT? DON’T MAKE ME READ YOUR MIND; IT’S SCARY IN THERE.
“Well, since I’m being such a nice guy and lugging these heavy commandments all the way down to the people, couldn’t you maybe put another one in there? About not making fun of people’s height?”
...YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.
Al sat forward with a start, terror surging through his mind.
A dream! It had just been a dream! He made a small noise of dismay.
Where did I get an idea like that? Ed doesn’t even believe in gods! Al shook his head and sank back down to the bed. I really need to get more rest!