AN: Any chapters in this story were originally written for the FMA Fic Contest on LiveJournal, unless otherwise noted. This first one is based off a 4koma, so there might be possible spoilers.

Prompt #62~Quiver: A Lesson Learned

"Lieutenant, how old are you?" Ed asks.

The office becomes deathly silent the moment those words leave Ed's lips. It seems like a perfectly innocent question, but he quickly realizes just how wrong he really is when he sees the expression of pure horror on Lieutenant Hawkeye's face.

"Damn it! She must be sensitive about her age!" Ed realizes as the color completely drains from his face. Beads of sweat begin to run down his skin, and his heart thumps vigorously against his chest.

"Hurry up and run away!" Colonel Mustang shouts as he cowers behind his desk.

Unfortunately, Ed's legs refuse to cooperate, and he's unable to move. He clenches his hands shut when they begin to shake.

For one agonizingly long minute nothing happens. The silence is suffocating and the fear is palpable.

Then Lieutenant Hawkeye's expression unexpectedly reverts back to normal. Ed can't tell if that's good or bad. He gulps nervously.

"I'm going to pretend you never asked me that, Edward," Lieutenant Hawkeye says softly with only a tinge of anger in her voice. She gathers a stack of reports in her arms and heads out of the room.

The door slams shut behind her, and Ed heaves a sigh of relief.

Mustang extracts himself from his hiding place, crosses his arms, and glowers at the young alchemist. Ed merely offers him an apologetic look. How could he have known that the Lieutenant is so sensitive about her age?

AN: Reviews would be loved!

The title "Ad Meliora" is Latin for "toward better things". It seems fitting to me because most of the characters in FMA are striving for something better, e.g: a better future, a better life, etc.