This is my stupid idea on what could possibly happen to make Ed not blow up when someone calls him short. I was pretty subtle, so if someone doesn't get it let me know...

"You're not getting away from me!"

Edward Elric jumped from rooftop to rooftop with his brother Alphonse at his side. The man they were after had just attacked the two, a scorned follower of Cornello. As the civil war began to bubble and the people were divided, there was a small group that blamed none other than the Fullmetal Alchemist for this hardship, for exposing their prophet. The attack had only been as simple as tossing a stone, but Ed had been widely known for his temper. In defense, the man took his blade and swept it at a rebuilding house. In turn, the structure crumbled while taking a hit on the older brother's right arm. Alphonse lunged his body forward in a knee-jerk reaction to protect his brother from the debris, but he had already performed alchemy to protect himself. The wall behind him transformed to a giant hand which caught the falling stones.

"Brother, can't you just let it go? It didn't even hurt you, we've been chasing for too long!"

"No way, Al! This jerk's gonna get what's coming to him!"

Unknown to the two, the flash of light from the alchemic reaction brought the attention of a young girl about the age of Edward. Though she donned a simple top and skirt, it was in entirely black as was her lips. One glance and she knew the two boys as the stories have been told of their exploits over the years – which left the obvious reason for the chase. The fault of the latest uprising left them unpopular in this area in particular, it being a refuge for those attempting to escape the casualties of war. Oh, how the reputations are shattered amongst times of war. She stepped out onto her porch and slid around the corner of her building for a better view.

The man stood in awe at the alchemist's power. The Ishbalan's knees trembled as he fell to the ground, almost ready to surrender. Then, however, pride for his people over took him and he crawled away just enough to become hidden as the brothers straightened themselves.

"Great, all these heaps of rock … where'd that desert moron head off to?"

"It's all for the better. We need to make our way to Resembool."

A gun shook in the man's hands as he aimed it at the boys. The girl could see everything from her angle and, as impulse would have it, she ran straight up to him and kicked the gun out of his hands. She followed it up with a kick to the groin for good measure. The moans of pain brought the Elrics' attention to the defeated Ishbalan, a smirk rising on Edward's face as he quickly put together the situation.

"Heh. Thanks. But, we really didn't need the help, you see – "

"Yeah, you're the Fullmetal Alchemist. Trust me, people know you. It was just an instinct, I guess." Her deep black hair fell lightly against her shoulders, contrasting against her sea-green eyes.

"Well, you seem to know enough about us. What's your name?"

"Illira Hedrick, but I was talking to the one in armor."

Edward's eyes shifted up to his little brother's – or his helmet at least. Such a tall suit of armor gave the wrong impression of their age and status … it got rather annoying. Al spoke up for his big brother, saying, "No, it's not me! He's the Fullmetal Alchemist."

Ed smiled with his hands on his hips; his given name as a State Alchemist had always given a sense of pride. If anything, it was a good source of intimidation had the previously mentioned temper not been enough. Illira seemed troubled, confused more than anything; she turned to address the person of namesake. "Oh, I'm so sorry. When I heard the name … it's just that, well, he's metal … and in comparison … you just seem so small is all."

Al held his breath, readying for what was about to come.

"Ah, it's ok. Common mistake."

If Al had a mouth within the hollow shell encasing his soul, it would have dropped. A girl called Edward small. Not an untrue statement, being around the height of four foot-nine at the age of fifteen, but a statement his brother ranted about the most. At this point, he stopped paying attention to their conversation. In any other time he would be called short, to say Ed went on a homicidal rampage would be an understatement! Ever since their attempt at human transmutation left him short two limbs, Edward's growth had been stunted. For him to be so calm … it went against everything he knew about his brother! Was this really his brother? What shapeshifter did he know? Did Envy somehow take his place? No, Envy has known Ed long enough to know of his temperment issues. Had he outgrown the urges? That couldn't be it either. If he ever did stop with the angered rants of his height, Ed wouldn't have progressed so suddenly; the change would have been gradual. How could this happen? Nothing made sense anymore!

Shaken, but not so that he was out of consciousness, Al began to listen again just in time to hear Edward say, "Well, I'd sure like to get to know you. You wanna walk and talk with us? It'll be a while before we're able to leave this sand trap on foot."

With that, Al began to piece it together. Illira looked guiltily to the ground, the moonlight not failing to shine on her obviously flawless light skin.


She reasoned, "Actually, I shouldn't be out right now. My little cousin moved in with me – the cutest little girl you ever did see – and I should be with her while my parents are out tonight." Ed brushed through his hair with his gloved fingers, blushing slightly, and attempted to think of more to say.


"Ah, too bad. I get it though. But, who knows? Maybe I'll make my way through this sweaty hellhole some other time!"

She nodded. "Ok, bye!" Then, she simply turned and left. She crept back to her house where a girl around the age of four leapt into her arms. The toddler snuggled into her guardian's chest as she let out a small yawn. Both brothers felt warm at the loving sight. Edward had not even had time to turn back to his armored partner before he spoke.


"Yeah, Al?"

"… did you not hear – "

Before the younger sibling could finish his thoughts, the sound of a trash can falling attracted their attention. The Ishbalan had apparently recovered from the neutering blow and was attempting an escape. In a good mood for some strange reason, Edward casually walked over to him. "Ok, I think we both get that messing with me was a bad idea. How about you just get out of here and we forget the whole mess? Deal?"

The man nodded and scrambled to his feet. He brushed himself off, nervously never taking his eyes off such a powerful 'dog of the military'. Seeing sincerity in the blonde's eyes, he said, "Thank you. You're not such a bad little guy after all."

Al felt proud of his older sibling at the compliment, but that smile soon faded as he saw Edward visibly enrage at the word 'little'. Apparently, there was a certain key factor in how not to make him mad … but this that factor wasn't present right about now. This time was in fact so much like the last times that Alphones would swear that, had the scene be a cartoon, Ed's head would nearly explode as steam erupted from every opening on his skull.

"Oh no …"


And thus, the cycle of chasing a random man across a city for hours at a time continues. The balance is restored once again.

"Brother! Please, you did so good last time!"