Cross-Dressing and Other Extreme Sports.


"No." the refusal was clear and firm and it echoed faintly about the office, not surprising seeing as everyone else had all but lost their voices after hearing the requirements for the latest mission. Roy Mustang let out an almost imperceivable sigh that gently ruffled the papers sitting on his desk and silently wished for some aspirin... or alcohol, whichever would get him through this faster. Given the choice he would have left the mission sitting innocently on his desk for someone else, anyone else, to do. It was demeaning and ridiculous on so many levels that it wasn't even funny but he simply didn't have a choice. There was quite literally only one person who could complete this mission with even the smallest chance of success and that person was standing on front of him trying to burn holes in his head with the sheer force of his glare alone.

"If there was anyone else-" he began only to be cut off as Edward Elric furiously uncrossed his arms and slashed them through the air as though to destroy even the concept of the mission at hand. He was practically humming with pent up anger and looked about seconds away from an explosion of epic proportions.

"No!" he snarled. "Do I look like a fucking girl to you? No... just no! N.O. I'm leaving!" he turned abruptly on his heels and stamped towards the door, his hands curled up into tight fists at his side. Roy really wanted to let him go, really honestly wanted to let him leave without a word but he couldn't, there was too much at stake. He took in a breath and gave the folder on his desk a disdainful glare before speaking, his voice carrying just as much as Edward's in the ghostly silence of the office.

"Fullmetal... stop-" and then when Edward ignored him "-that's an order! There are people's lives at stake here so we don't have the liberty of letting you throw a tantrum!" Edward finally stalled, his hand on the door handle and his shoulders taunt with barely veiled tension. Roy smoothed out his expression, if he let him know about his own disgust with the mission then there was very little chance that Edward would agree to it.

"Your not... you can't be serious!" Ed choked, still not turning around, but he had stopped trying to leave so Mustang took that as a good sign and forged ahead. Using Ed's better nature in order to coerce him into a situation that was downright degrading was far from enjoyable and it was harder to keep his face impassive as Edward finally turned to look at him, his eyes swimming with a mix of nausea and betrayal.

"I am deadly serious, every second we waste here could mean another life lost. So far, no less than nine girls have been reported mission and eight of those have turned up dead. Usually this sort of thing would be left to the police but we suspect alchemy is involved and you're the only person we have on hand who could have any chance of catching the perpetrator before he or she strikes again." Roy said, trying to impart the importance of the mission to Edward through sheer force of will. Many things had changed after Bradley's death but the civilians distrust of all things military was not one of them.

It was more than enough to aggravate his already pounding headache. Despite the fact that the police had been handling the investigation up until yesterday the public was still blaming the military for not catching the killer. The very last thing they needed so close to the PR disaster that was the Promised Day was the public's distrust. They were doing everything they could to try improve relations with the civilians but it was hard going, so many years of mutual distrust and disdain was in no way easy to just push aside, especially considering the way their new Fuhrer was acting.

In all honesty Roy couldn't say he blamed Hakuro, per say, for being a little paranoid the past few months. He probably would have been a little wary himself of venturing out into the city after the way last Fuhrer had met his end if he hadn't had a hand in it but it was giving the public a bad impression. Especially seeing as Bradley had been rather well liked by the civilians, despite being head of the institution they lay the blame for nearly all of their troubles on, and they had been devastated after his death.

Hakuro just wasn't living up to their expectations and now with the rumours of the new serial killer on the loose the Military were at something of a turning point with the civilian population. They could either get through this and learn to work together or they could end up even worse than before and, unfortunately, this all seemed to hinge on Ed throwing away his pride and taking the mission.

"There has to be someone better! I mean, me as a spy? You know me! I'd blow up at the wrong person or say the wrong thing and fuck everything up!" Ed ground out, his eyes pleading, and Roy couldn't help the small wince that made it's way onto his face. It certainly said something about how little Ed wanted to take on the mission when he deliberately insulted his own abilities. True, the Fullmetal Alchemist was hardly know for being subtle but in this case he would simply have to be.

"There is no-one better. We could send an adult but the perpetrator is expecting that, he or she is expectinga spy to show up and any adult appearing out of the blue, no matter how solid their alibi, is going to be viewed with the utmost suspicion. It has to be someone younger and you are the only young person with the skills necessary." he replied tiredly as Edward floundered for a moment, searching for a reason to exclude him from the mission.

"But-" he began frantically, clutching onto straws.

"No buts. There is no-one else. An officer will be accompanying you but he will not be involved in the main part of the investigation, his job will merely be to relay the information you uncover to my command where we'll decide what we can do with it. Please try to understand this Fullmetal, this is an important mission, not just for the protection of would-be victims but for the military's overall relationship with the public. Frankly speaking this could make or break us." Roy said firmly and wasn't surprised to note that he felt no satisfaction when he read the defeat in the slump of Edward's shoulders.

"... Fine. But... no, it's fine." he muttered, looking for all the world like he wanted to just run away and hide somewhere until the entire situation went away. He crossed his arms again and started to pace the length of the office, ignoring the sympathetic eyes on him.

"What about Al? What's he going to do? There's no way in hell I'm taking him with me and he's not strong enough to make it back to Risembool on his own!" Edward said finally, his stance defensive as he paused in his pacing to shoot a particularly nasty glare in Mustang's direction, no doubt blaming him for the entire situation.

"We can look after him." Fuery piped up, looking like he wished he hadn't spoken as Edward whirled around to focus his glare on him.

Hawkeye spoke up as well, diverting Edward attention as she moved forward to lay a sympathetic hand on the youth's shoulder. "He's still in the hospital, correct? Then we can check up on him whenever he needs us." she assured. All of them had grown fond of the two boys over the years and even if Edward hadn't been going away they would have stopped by to see Alphonse of their own accord. It wouldn't be much trouble to organise a rota and visit him in shifts.

"He wont be left alone." Breda agreed and Falman nodded and added his own platitudes as Edward flopped gently onto Hawkeye's vacated chair. It looked like all the fight had simply gone out of him and Mustang nudged aside the small swirl of guilt he felt as he tossed over the mission file and brought the impromptu meeting back on track. "Yes, Alphonse will be well looked after but you will be, for the most part, on your own during this mission so you'll need to be prepared." he murmured the last piece more to himself as he wondered just howthere were going to be able to do this. Edward heard him anyway and flushed a dark red, half anger half shame.

"Prepared? What... how am I going to...I don't look like a girl!" he protested and, after giving him a long look, Mustang had to agree. Edward was undoubtedly male, his shoulders were too broad and his arms too muscled to be mistaken for those of a pampered female and while his face was perhaps a bit slimmer than your average male's there was no way, under normal circumstances, it could be mistaken for that of a girl's. There was also the matter of Edward's voice, it was far too deep to ever be considered girlish and his attitude was too brash and generally insensitive to mesh well with any woman outside of the military.

"You're going to have to. There are some people from the Intelligence division who might be able to help but it will probably take several days to get a hold of them an at least a week for them to make you even remotely pretty..." Mustang trailed off with a pensive frown, ignoring Edward's affronted look. After a few moments the outraged look faded into something akin to embarrassment as Edward realised he was getting angry over notbeing called pretty. It had become almost second nature to take affront to every second thing that came out of Mustang's mouth, especially as even his compliments were either veiled in, or swiftly followed by, disparaging remarks about either Ed's height or general uselessness.

"You mean people have done missions like this before?" he asked, curious despite himself. It was Hawkeye who answered once it became clear that Mustang was too caught up in his own thoughts to even hear what was being said as he shuffled papers around on his desk, no doubt searching for the numbers of the people who were supposed to be able to help.

"There are times when espionage is necessary but generally soldiers only disguise themselves as others of their own gender, this is going to be something of a first for all of us." she said with a small sigh, her eyes sympathetic but otherwise firm. Edward wasn't entirely sure what to feel. Anger, certainly, but he'd tried that and getting angry had only somehow led to him agreeing to dress up like a girl so obviously that hadn't worked. There was no way in hell he was going to beg and if people were actually being killed then it didn't seem like he had much of a choice. He didn't like it but he got the feeling that he wasn't going to be allowed to refuse.

He looked down at the file in his hands and after a few moments of trying to will it out of existance he gave up and started to flip through the folder. It was thin enough, only around fifteen pages inside and six of them were taken up by photos of the victims and smaller shots of what looked like arrays. Nine young girls, probably around his age, all wearing the same school uniform and smiling happily out at the camera. Something cold settled in his gut as his eyes rested on one of the pictures, she was a pretty blonde girl with pigtails but something about her smile reminded him unpleasantly of Winry and abruptly Edward knew that he was going to end up going along with this.

Mustang, the manipulative bastard, had probably added the pictures into the file on purpose to sway Ed to agreeing because they seemed out of place compared to the cold, clinical information printed out in the rest of the file and they had been stuck down onto paper of a different quality than the rest of the pages, the difference was subtle but definitely there.

He scowled at the page and then flipped back to the front of the folder and began to read through it. According to the information given a private boarding school in the west had been plagued by a serial killer who, over the course of the past two months, had abducted nine students and killed eight of them. The victims varied in looks and social cliques but all of them had apparently been very well liked and reasonably intelligent, which meant that they wouldn't have simply gotten into a car with the killer because he offered them candy or anything like that. They'd all been abducted from the school, not the nearby town which would have been easier as apparently the students were allowed to visit the town on the weekends, a privilege which had been revoked due to the killings. They'd also all been returned to the school after their deaths and autopsies had revealed alchemical arrays carved into their stomachs, which is why he was currently stuck with the predicament he was in.

Thanks to the police investigations it was clear that someone either in or linked with the school was committing the murders and in order to catch them the school would have to be infiltrated. That, of course, had led to the problem Mustang had mentioned, if the killer really was connected to the school than any person suddenly showing up would be seen as a spy, instantly. Unless that person was a student. The boarding school, St Lira's, was rather prestigious and even with the murders dragging down their reputation they still got applications from young girls all across the country. So a new student would be viewed with much less suspicion than a new member or staff or too-curious parent.

That was where Edward came in. Due to the dangerous nature of the mission, and because alchemy was involved, sending in a non-alchemist was out of the question but there were no other alchemists around who either fit the age criteria or who could pass as a female. Edward viewed himself as the later but despite the fact that he was in no way, shape, or form a girl he was still being roped into this. He was never ever going to be able to live this down and, with a pitiful groan, Edward dropped the folder to the ground and buried his head in his hands.

"Stop whining Fullmetal. This is going to be a tough mission for all of us, not just you-" Mustang began only to be cut off by a furious Edward.

"I'm not whining you heartless bastard! And I don't see you being forced into a skirt!" he fumed, his eyes blazing at the implication that he was getting upset over nothing. Cross-dressing was not nothing.

"It's a dress, well pinafore, actually." Mustang corrected absently and then tilted his head to the side to avoid the paperweight, it was Breda's, that Edward had thrown at his head. It made a sickeningly loud crunch as it connected with the wall behind him, narrowly missing the window. "Don't you dare destroy my office with your little tantrum!" he snapped angrily, eyeing the damage to his wall and wondering how much it would take to repair it.

"Don't call me little!" Edward yelled back, standing now with another paperweight, this time Fuery's, in his hands. Hawkeye stepped immediately between them and they both fell silent, watching nervously as she tapped the butt of her gun and exhaled softly.

"Edward. Sir. If I hear one more word out of either of you I will make you regret it."Her expression was calm and her tone polite but when she spoke it sent a small shiver of fear down both of the alchemists spine's and they sat back down without another word.

Edward, for want of something to do, picked back up the file even though he had no desire to see the smiling faces of the now deceased schoolgirls and Mustang went back to searching for the phone numbers. The silence of the office was broken abruptly by the shrill ringing of the telephone and they all jumped slightly at the sound. Mustang looked warily up at Hawkeye, as though asking whether or not the no-speaking ban could be momentarily revoked, and then answered it after she gave him a deadpan look which Edward took to stand for 'Of course you can answer it, idiot'. Except this was Hawkeye he was talking about so she'd probably tack a 'Sir' onto the end of it. Wisely Edward chose to keep his musings silent as he worried the binding of the folder until it was cracked and the glue became unstuck.

After exchanging the basic pleasantries Mustang's face went a notch paler as he listened to what the caller had to say. He occasionally murmured in agreement to whatever the other person had told him though judging by his expression something bad, probably worse than bad, had happened. Edward frowned and leaned forward in his seat, hoping to catch what was being said but unable to hear more than faint squeaking from the other end of the phone. Eventually Mustang hung up, his eyes hooded. He folded his hands on the desk and gave Edward a quick assessing look before speaking, his voice unnaturally solemn.

"The ninth girl's body was found on the school grounds an hour ago. They checked, she also has a transmutation circle etched onto her stomach." he sighed and ran a hand through his hair in an uncommonly human gesture. "I know I said we would have a little more than a week to sort this out but given the circumstances I think we're going to have to be ready to go within the next few days. Fullmetal, I'm calling Intelligence today so by tomorrow you'd better be well adjusted to your role in this mission, I wont put up with any more complaining." he said with a hard tilt to his mouth.

Edward almost gave into the impulse to throw another paperweight at him, almost, as he heard the condemnation in the Colonel's voice. How dare he act all high and mighty, as though he would react any better to being all but ordered into wearing a dress. He stuffed the bitterness down though because no matter how ass-ways Mustang was telling it he was, in a way, right. Nine innocent girls have been murdered and they couldn't afford any distractions. Though that didn't mean that Edward was any more comfortable with this than before, if anything it only amplified his discomfort. The lives of the rest of the students at St Lira's now depended on how well he could keep his composure and not let it slip that he was both male and from the military.

And, fuck, wasn't that going to be harder than it sounded. While he was the first to admit that he was hardly the epitome of a good soldier, in fact he was almost certain that if someone looked up the words 'Worlds Worst Solider' in a dictionary his picture would be right next to it. He point blank refused to follow any order he didn't agree with, had absolutely no respect for authority, and his moral code was something that had no place in a military organisation but he'd also spent nearly all of his teenage years under the influence of soldiers and had come to expect certain things from the people around him.

Rank, for instance, was one thing he freely admitted he took advantage of. When he was younger he wasn't really aware of the fact that he outranked a good chunk of the military but, as he'd gotten older, awareness of the sort of power he possessed over the lower ranks had crept in and he'd become perhaps a little too comfortable with people doing what he told them to do. Granted he didn't flaunt his power like he could but he still used it whenever he could to make things, missions and everyday life, easier for him.

Along with his rank came a rather large amount of, mostly undue, respect that he'd also kind of come to expect from people. He didn't like it when people were suddenly nicer to him because of his name but it did come in useful from time to time and he would miss being able to dangle his pocket watch on front of people and gain access to things, books and places, that he usually wouldn't be able to. In every other investigation, the privileges that came with the respect people held for him and his rank had been a huge boon but he wouldn't be able to use either his name or rank to influence the people at St Lira's.

And then there was the fact that, while he was usually allowed to do what ever he wanted around here as long as he got the job done, on the mission he would have to follow the rules that the school had set down for it's students in order to avoid becoming the object of the killer's attention. Of course, he had no problem with breaking one or all of the rules in order to catch the killer but for the most part he would be bound to the same code as the rest of the girls because being stuck in detention for the entire mission was hardly going to help him solve the case.

Suddenly Edward froze, his fingers tightening spasmodically around the folder in his grasp. He'd completely bypassed the main problem in favour of freaking out over the fact that he would be required to wear a dress. And, yeah, that was a huge point because, seriously, a dress! But in his resulting horror he'd forgotten that his own schooling had pretty much ended the day his mother died and he had no idea what was going to be on the curriculum.

Pinako had tried to keep him in school and Al, for the most part, attended but Edward had been to engrossed in his research and too determined that school wouldn't be able to teach him anything he didn't already know to trudge through hours of mind rending boredom. Most mornings he'd leave with Alphonse and Winry and then double back once he was out of sight and spend the day reading up on alchemical texts in his house. Then, about a half hour before school cut out he'd sneak back around and meet up with Alphonse and Winry.

Of course, it didn't always go that smoothly and sometimes he'd forget the time and arrive back too late or sometimes Winry would tell on him. And then sometimes Pinako just marched him down to the school herself and made him get the teachers to sign his books to make sure she knew he'd actually attended. Though after a time Edward had become something of a master at forging signatures and went back to skipping school as he just scrawled the appropriate teacher's name on a piece of paper and was done with it. PT meetings had been a bitch though as Pinako always found out that he'd been ditching and she'd ground him from doing anything alchemy related for up to a month.

As a seventeen year old he'd be in one of the higher, if not the highest grades and he would be expected to know everything that had been thought in the lower grades. If anyone realised that he had roughly all of about four years proper education under his belt he had no doubt that questions would be asked. Questions that couldn't be answered without breaking his cover.

Edward stifled an aggravated groan as he unclenched his fingers from the, now thoroughly battered folder, and cleared his throat to get Mustang's attention.

"What is it Fullmetal." he sounded irritated and strangely tired and he didn't even look up from the files he was reading. Edward scowled, the least he could do was pay proper attention, especially seeing as it was his fault that Edward was even here in the first place. If it hadn't been for Mustang requesting his return to work two weeks ago then Edward would still be recuperating in hospital alongside his brother. He'd suffered some fractured bones and internal bleeding during the Promised Day and that, coupled with the almighty energy drain that resulted from bringing Alphonse back, had him floating in and out of consciousness for about a week or so. Not that it had prevented Mustang from dragging him back once he'd been told that Edward could go a full day without collapsing.

On the one hand he couldn't blame Mustang for wanting to have every able bodied soldier he could trust working on fixing up the city after the chaos that was the Promised Day. On the other hand he wanted to wring the smug bastards neck for even thinking that he'd be in any way okay with leaving Alphonse for an indeterminable amount of time while he went off cross-dressing across the country. His brother had been back in his real body for five whole weeks now. Five. And three and a half of those weeks had been spent in a coma as his body went through a kind of shut down as it adjusted to all the new sensations.

Alphonse had to wear sunglasses all the time because his eyes were so sensitive and then he couldn't see anything if the light got too dim so the lamps in his room had to be adjusted accordingly. Al hadn't been able to eat anything more substantial than weak broth and even that was pushing it as his taste buds reached violently to anything that wasn't water. Edward had been frightened to even touch his brother in case he accidentally hurt him and Alphonse had been stuck somewhere between elation and horror as even the slightest of sensations threatened to send him back into a coma. How could Mustang even think that Al was ready to be left on his own.

"Fullmetal? Fullmetal! What is it? You've been staring at me for the past five minutes and I doubt it's because your recent venture into cross-dressing has opened your eyes to my dashing good looks." Mustang's voice broke through the fog of Ed's thoughts and he didn't even think before his hand shot out and grabbed the old mug Breda used to keep pens in and flung it Mustang's direction. He watched with no small amount of satisfaction as the mug, pens and all, collided with the arm Mustang had raised to protect himself and elicited a pained cry from the man.

The quiet click of Hawkeye opening the safety catch on her gun holster made Edward freeze and Mustang slowly unfurl his fingers from where they'd been pressed together, poised to snap and singe off Ed's eyebrows. Mechanically Edward turned his head so that he was looking at the irate Lieutenant as she calmly took out her gun and, ignoring the two alchemists, began to clean it. It was a very deliberate sign, the gun was out and the next one to break the peace would get a bullet in their head. Edward gulped and then remembered why he had opened his mouth in the first place.

"Colonel-" he whispered, wincing as Hawkeye gently set the gun down on her desk with a small tap that somehow managed to echo thunderously around the office and then took out another from a second holster at her back and began cleaning that one too.

"-It's about the mission-" He stopped again as the second gun was place down on the table with a slightly louder tap and a third weapon was taken out. A bead of sweat ran down Edwards cheek as he weighed the pro's and con's of aggravating an already annoyed Hawkeye. There were no pro's and Edward slumped in his seat and eyed the Lieutenant carefully. Perhaps if he were to ask for permission to speak he might be allowed to talk without fear of being killed. Unless she killed him for asking permission. But this was Hawkeye, surely she would see sense.

"Lieutenant Hawk- ARGH!" Edward yelled as a bullet slammed into the wall mere inches from his head. Hawkeye stared at him impassively, the gun in her hands was smoking gently and Edward swore he could see evil in the darkness of the gun's barrel.

"For gods sake Lieutenant! Let the man talk!" Mustang yelled with an exasperated look on his face. Though, Edward noted with some glee, his hands were shaking gently and the one holding the pen was making unintentional lines all over the page. Hawkeye had the grace to look embarrassed as she holstered the guns and sighed a little sadly, as though to guilt the two into making them feel sorry for making her angry. And Edward was sorry, just not enough for him to refrain from shooting her an angry glare.

"I was trying to tell you that I don't know jack shit about anything they'll be trying to teach me at St Lira's" he bit out, his eyes still unnaturally wide as a part of his mind tried to deal with his close brush with death. Mustang frowned contemplatively and folded his hands on front of him as he digested the information. This had the potential to be very disruptive to their plans. On some level he'd known that Edward's education had been less than complete but it hadn't quite sunk through in his urgency to get the mission over and done with.

"As a matter of curiosity just how much schooling did you receive prior to joining the military." Roy asked, being careful to keep his tone light. Edward had a knack for knowing when someone was pressuring him and wouldn't react favourably if Roy tried to press the information out of him. He watched with growing horror as Edward shifted uncomfortably and then shrugged as though to say ' fuck it '.

"About two, three years? Maybe a bit more or a bit less." he muttered finally and a ball of dread coalesced in the pit of Mustang's stomach. "Two or three years." he echoed numbly and a part of him was waiting -hoping- for Edward to pipe up and yell 'Surprise! Fooled you' like it was all some kind of sick joke. He could see, in his mind's eye, the percentage of this mission's success dropping rapidly and barely managed to keep his discomfort off his face. He'd known it was going to be hard but this was ridiculous. Edward was intelligent, Mustang would grant him that, but there was only so much a human could take in within a short space of time and if Edward's training was split between primary school basics and learning how to act like a girl he was going to end up screwing one or both of them up.

"Well, this certainly puts us in a difficult position. You shouldbe proficient enough in science and biology so at least those are two subjects we wont have to worry about. And for English I suppose you could just say that you studied different texts. Your history's as good as it'll ever get and I reckon that you know more about the geography of Amestris than the teacher considering your travels. I suppose you'll just have to wing everything else." Mustang muttered with a small frown creasing between his eyebrows.

Edward silently marvelled at the novelty of Mustangtelling him to 'wing' anything but outwardly nodded to show that he was listening. Everything about this mission just rubbed him the wrong way and some small selfish part of him just wanted to up and leave and forget about it. But he couldn't quite get the image of the smiling girl out of his mind and there was no way he could ever live with himself if he left the school to it's own devices. Obviously something was up with St Lira's and if he had to wear a dress to get to the bottom of it then... then he'd be wearing a dress.

This time Mustang said nothing as Edward reburied his face in his hands and rubbed tired circles into his temples as though nursing a headache. He suspected that he'd have taken the news the exact same way had he been in Edward position and was silently thankful for the fact that he had never and hopefully would never be required to wear woman's clothing in the name of duty. Idly he thought of the ease at which Grumman had disguised himself as a woman before the Promised Day in order to pass along information and wondered whether or not he'd consent to giving Ed pointers.

"There's nothing more you can do here today." he said finally, uncrossing his hands and writing down an address on a spare piece of paper. There was no way they'd be able to do this in the office, not only was it not big enough but any amount of abnormal activity would be viewed with suspicion from the higher ups, everyone was still far too wary of him and his motives after his part in the Promised Day. He flicked the notepaper over the Edward who caught it deftly with a look on confusion that cleared as soon as he read what was written on it.

"Meet up with us hear tomorrow at seven am. Don't be late." Roy ordered, trying to remember just where he'd put those phone numbers as the searching of his desk drawers turned up blank. It was entirely likely that they'd been thrown out and if that was the case then he'd have to search them out personally and that would end up garnering the attention of those whom he'd rather be left in the dark. While he highly doubted that the killer had anything to do with the military he wanted to keep Edward's part in this as quiet as possible, both to prevent possible leaks and to preserve the alchemist's pride. God knew Ed would probably murder him if he let the information about him cross-dressing out to the general public.

"Fine." Edward huffed as he got to his feet and tucked the folder under his arm, his expression still torn somewhere between murderous and disbelief. "And, for the record, if so much as a whisper of this gets out I'm going to kill you. Slowly. And I'm going to enjoy it" he said conversationally as he left the office and slammed the door shut behind him. If he was a lesser man Mustang might have resorted to banging his head against his desk, as it was he simply ran a hand down his face and turned to face his men, all of whom were suddenly engrossed in their work.

"Make sure none of what transpired today escapes this office." he told them and was rewarded with terse nods as all of the information pertaining to the killings and the mission where gathered up and locked away in the small second drawer on Fuery's desk. The drawer was nearly always kept empty for situations such as these, after all, if someone was searching for important information it would be one of the last places they'd think to look. Perhaps this mission was not exactly the most important file to ever pass through the office but it's secrecy was top priority for the mean time.

Outside the office Edward stood with his back to the door, his eyes unseeing as he gripped the edge of the folder hard enough to leave indents on the pads of his fingers. He hated everything about this entire situation and even worse was the sinking feeling that, even if he tried, he wouldn't be able to get out of it. Far more than just the lives of the students of St Lira's was at stake here. If what Mustang was saying was true, which Edward doubted just on principal, then preventing more deaths came in second place to catching the killer.

The public wanted a name and a face to put to the murders, they wanted someone to take the blame and, at this moment in time, that blame was being laid at the feet of the Military. If it came between catching the killer and preventing another death Edward knew without a shadow of a doubt what he would be expected to do and it sent cold tendrils straight down his spine. He wouldn't be able to let a person die if he could help it, even if it jeopardised the mission, but somehow he doubted that, if the time came, he'd be given a choice.


A/N: And there you go. The very first chapter of my very first fiction. I feel so accomplished. XD
This is a little bit AU in regards to how the whole Promised Day fiasco went down, as I've no doubt you've already noticed. Hakuro is the Fuhrer instead of Grumman because I needed someone weak willed and whiny at the top for the sake of the story. Falman stayed in Central rather than going back to Briggs and Havoc has not yet returned to Mustang's command. Also Edward regained both limbs and retained his alchemy because, instead of giving thatup in exchange for Alphonse, the gang set a trap for Father and Ed used him to power the transmutation.

I know, I know, it's completely out of character considering Ed's "Anything-That-Can-Talk-To-Me-Despite-All-Evidence-To-The-Contrary-Is-Human-In-My-Book-And-Thus-I-Shall-Not-Kill-It." philosophy but let's just pretend that he had a momentary lapse of judgement. I've read a good few Fem!Ed and Cross-Dressing!Ed stories and, to be fair, they were all pretty awesome but in a lot of them he seems to be pretty fine with the fact that he has to wear girls clothes despite having never shown any predisposition for cross-dressing in the cannon. If I were a guy who was suddenly ordered to wear a dress in public I'd not only be unbearably embarrassed but I'd also be pretty damn furious. Not happy. Not curious and not utterly accepting.

And he's always, always, always turned gay. Does Cross-Dressing automatically make a person homosexual? Really? It's just like, Ed puts on a skirt and suddenly he gets this overpowering urge to screw Mustang [because it's always Mustang] on his desk despite being totally and completely straight beforehand. Skirts are not magical objects, they cannot affect a person's sexuality. And I wouldn't even mind that because I kind of like Yaoi but it's just not realistic. I mean, even if Ed did realise that he had feelings for other guys I have no doubt that he'd spend at least a chapter freaking out over it. But he doesn't, nope, he just starts blushing and thinking, quite happily, about the aforementioned screwage-on-desk without once having even a minor breakdown about his sexuality suddenly doing an about-turn.

Ed probably wont be gay in this. I say 'probably' because I am a Yaoi fangirl and everything I write or draw inevitably turns into rainbows and sparkles and sweet boy-on-boy luvin'. I will however endeavour to keep Edward as straight as possible in the roundabout that is this fanfiction and if I do slash him I'll try to make it believable and pair him up with someone fresh like Breda or something. =]

Thanks for reading and I'd appreciate it if you'd drop me a line about what you thought about the chapter.

Good? Bad? Ugly? Let me know.

-Little Madam.