We now begin the Homunculus Corporation Arc…by all rights, we could call this the beginning of the end…it's kind of like the night before the Promised Day.

Chapter 16

If ever there were a man that could be considered pure evil, the two of them would have to suppose that it was Commissioner Bradley. He had easily outplayed them, making them look absolutely foolish in the process. And I even kept my temper in check this time, Ed reasoned. It was a sigh from Mustang next to him that brought Ed back to the gravitas of the whole situation.

"That didn't go as planned," the detective stated bluntly. Ed glared at him sourly.

"Oh, shut it!" he snapped, folding his arms in a huff. "He's guilty. Whether he said it or not, I don't care; he's more guilty than…well, he's just guilty."

"I agree," Roy concurred with a shrug of his shoulders. "The only problem is, I don't think he's going to behave the way we expect him to from here on out. You saw that look on his face."

"You mean the one that was so intense it almost made me shit my pants? Yeah, kinda hard to miss that one, Mustang," Ed grumbled as the head detective scratched the side of his nose.

"I felt it was more like a look of withering condescension." Ed snorted; the two were essentially one and the same. "He thinks we're not even worth wasting his time on. We're so beneath him that there's not a thing we can do to stop him."

"Maybe he's right."

"That's not like you." This time, it was Ed's turn to shrug. "Like the commissioner said, we need to prove it."

"How exactly are we going to do that? !" Ed squeaked incredulously. Roy decided to lead the duo's procession out of the office as he answered.

"Not sure, but we'll start with a meeting of the group…Country should be a good place to have it. Hawkeye!" Hawkeye's eyes fixated on them as Ed came into the foyer. The secretary's desk was empty, but the older detective remained at attention. "You're coming home tonight, right?"

"That's correct, sir," she answered hesitantly.

"Good. We're going to Fullmetal's place."

"My place?" Ed spluttered in protest. "What's wrong with your apartments?"

"They're in the city. Meanwhile, Resembool's far enough away that we wouldn't have to worry about bugs or being overheard. Come on, Fullmetal, it makes sense." Ed grit his teeth in frustration. Not only was the bastard right, but he was probably going to have a hard time with Winry, too. With a sharp exhale of breath, the young forensics specialist abandoned the others as he strode out of the office.

He didn't once stop to look back and see if the others were following him, and only when he was in his car did he allow himself the chance to think about things rationally. Mustang was right in the fact that his house was the safest location for all this secrecy. After all, having shown their hand to Bradley this early only upped the stakes and the danger. The country was as far from danger as one could be.

A glance outside his car window gave him the sight of both Mustang and Hawkeye bidding a temporary farewell to each other. Sighing heavily, Ed rolled down his window and said as quickly as he could, "Be there at six…and bring some extra food."

Considering the conversation done, Ed snapped the window back up and started his car, peeling away from the pair. Once he was out of Central and on his three hour trip back to Resembool, Ed made his call to Winry. Her response was less than enthused.

"Ed, I'm busy at work right now, what do you want?" Winry snapped at him, causing Ed's teeth to clench all the more. Sure, but she wasn't busy enough to not pick up the phone.

"What do you say to taking off early, then?" Ed asked, his voice wavering between seductive and annoyed. He really couldn't decide what to do in this situation.

"If this is some lame attempt to romance me, it's a pathetic failure," she observed and Ed frowned. At this rate he wasn't getting anything done. "Let me guess, we're having more people over tonight."

"Well…" Ed's tapering silence seemed to be all the proof she needed before uttering a sigh.

"I hope you close this stupid thing soon," she complained. "I'd like to start having the house to ourselves again."

"Yeah…I'm sorry."

"Don't explain it to me, and don't apologize," Winry cut him off. "It's not like you're cheating on me, so I should be grateful. I'll head home after my next patient. See you then." The audible click that followed told Ed the conversation was over. Setting his phone to the side, Ed gunned the engine and didn't stop until he had reached his home where Winry was at work again, seemingly making another batch of stew, and Al was nowhere to be found.

"Are Al and Mei on a date or something?" Ed asked, popping into the kitchen. Winry spared him a quick glance as she answered him.

"No. At least, if you don't consider visiting your father a date," Winry told him with a frown. Ed himself repeated the frown. As if reading his mind, Winry quickly followed with, "Oh come on, Ed, give it a rest. Your dad's interested in your life and wants to be part of it, so grow up."

"I will when he does." Winry didn't respond, her silence a chiding remark to his own brand of childishness. Deciding he wasn't going to get anywhere with furthering their banter, Ed left the kitchen and went to the bedroom to change and wash up. Today was simply too long of a day. After a moment of hushed reflection, Ed decided his talents were best used in helping his wife in the kitchen until company arrived. The both of them worked as if in a dance, barely saying a word to one another and by the time the doorbell rang, they had all but mended whatever fences may have been broken over the phone.

"Damn…nice house, squirt," Havoc remarked with a low whistle as he stepped inside.

"Don't call me tiny!" Ed lashed at him, but the older detective remained indifferent, sniffing the air delightedly. The smoker's partner followed him in, clapping the young man on the back.

"Good to see you, Fullmetal, how've you been?" Breda asked, taking a brief moment to take off his blazer. Ed didn't answer, but Breda didn't wait around for one either, continuing on as if the question had never been suggested. "So, what's all this about? The boss called and said we were all meeting at your place tonight, but he wouldn't say why."

"Would it kill the guy to explain things?" Ed snapped, his scowl becoming more apparent. Breda shrugged, following Havoc into the living room. Giving off a sigh, Ed craned his neck for a view of the outside. Thankfully he saw two cars bringing themselves up the driveway. Deciding that his best plan of action was simply to wait, Ed propped himself against the wall and watched as the final four guests made their way up the path.

"Edward Elric! How glorious to see you again!" boomed the imposing form of Armstrong, and Ed gave the man a wave and a weak chuckle. "We are most gracious for the offering of your-"

"Yeah, yeah, just get inside." Armstrong readily complied, a despondent Feury bring up the rear behind him. "Hey, Sheska tells me that you two have really hit it off."

"Really?" the young detective asked with slightly more perk to his voice, causing Ed to laugh. "She say anything else?"

"Sure, just invite me to the wedding." Ed's comment seemed to only agitate Feury further.

"Fullmetal," Mustang acknowledged with a nod. The younger man grunted in response, shutting the door as soon as both the head detective and his ex-partner had cleared the threshold. Moments later, the entire group had settled into Ed's spacious living room.

"So, what's this all about, boss?" Havoc asked, innocuously taking a cigarette out. Ed's timely glare forced him to smile sheepishly and put the pack away as Mustang answered them.

"We've found Hughes' killer…or, at least, the man who ordered Hughes' death," Mustang stated plainly. A suppressed murmur flitted around the group until Armstrong spoke.

"If that's so, have you arrested him?" Armstrong asked vehemently, to which the head detective shook his head. "But…if you've found him-"

"It's Commissioner Bradley." That shut everyone up, giving Ed the time to survey everyone in the room. Armstrong's eyes were nearly bulging out of their sockets and Detective Feury looked as white as a sheet. Meanwhile, the other two detectives were exchanging glances. Breda recovered first.

"You're sure?"

"Fullmetal and I confronted him, and he all but challenged me to prove it," Mustang's eyes snapped to each one of them with a white hot gaze. "I intend to."

For the second time that evening, Havoc gave a low whistle. "You're talking about proving that Commissioner Bradley, our boss, is a murderer-no, a cop killer. Not exactly easy."

"If you want to back out now, Havoc, just give me the word," the head detective taunted.

"Hell no! Hughes was a great guy who deserves justice. I don't care if it's Bradley or the fucking president. I'm in!" Havoc responded triumphantly.

"If Hav's in, I'm certainly in no position to say I won't help."

"That's true…" Feury agreed. Only Armstrong remained silent, stroking his chin in thought. All eyes in the room turned toward him.

"We're going to a dangerous battleground, sir. Are you sure you can prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is guilty?" It was Mustang's turn to stroke his own chin.

"Well, to be honest, we may not have to go about it in that way," Mustang mused. "Ever since I talked with him, I've been thinking…all we really need to do is prove that he's affiliated with Homunculus Corp."

"What good will that do, sir?" Feury asked with a small stammer.

"Prove that Bradley's part of Homunculus Corp and then prove all the dirty things Homunculus Corp has done," Ed answered. "Any jury in the world can draw their own conclusion."

"Problem with that is the fact that to everyone else, Homunculus Corporation is perfectly legitimate." Breda observed. Mustang sat forward, folding his hands as a grin stretched across his face.

"But we know they're not. In fact, we know from our old friend Barry the Chopper that there are, or rather were, seven operatives quite aware of the dirty back dealings," Mustang explained. Hawkeye shot him an inquisitive look.

"How do you figure that, sir?"

"Deduction. We met Greed, who worked for them previously. Then there's the one who hired Barry: Lust."

"Seven deadly sins, huh?" Armstrong remarked. "So, that leaves five."

"One of them is probably Bradley, so we only need to find the other four."

"Talk about grasping at straws," Ed breathed out bemusedly. Mustang whirled around on him.

"You got a better idea, Elric?"

"Of course. Go after the stuff that's easy to find…like Bradley's financials." Ed's comment sent the room into thought, contemplating the young man's suggestion. "Think about it. A company as large as Homunculus with such a big secret; Bradley would want to keep those finances close to the vest, like, say, at his manor."

"Yeah, but I can't get a subpoena for that stuff. I don't have enough cause."

"I never said to get it legally…" Mustang's gaze narrowed on Ed, and the young man could see the situation playing itself out in the older man's head.

"I think Fullmetal has a plan…" Breda interjected. "Think about it: if we take those financials, Bradley will more than likely suspect you, so he'll send someone after you. Then you've not only got your proof on Bradley, but your dirt on Homunculus Corporation, too."

"Sounds pretty risky to me…" Feury said, causing both Ed and Mustang to frown.

"At this point, risky is the only option left to us, even if I don't like it," Mustang shot back. "The only problem is how we obtain those financials…I guess we could ask Greed."

"Greed's probably out of the country by now, and we both know he wouldn't go anywhere near Homunculus," Ed reminded the head detective. "Well, I guess there's nothing for it. I'll have to sneak in, then."

"Are you sure, Edward?" Hawkeye asked incredulously. "You're talking about risking your career."

"I've been risking my life since the start of this ting, so don't tell me I should be regretting it now!" Ed leaned back, his arms folded across his chest. "Besides, out of all of us here, I'm the only one who could really do it, considering that it'd be even more dangerous for you guys to do it."

"Well, you shouldn't do it alone. I'll help you out," Feury declared loudly and his companions stared at him with surprise. "Bradley's mansion is bound to have top-of-the-line security, but I can hack it. I can guide Ed in and give him support…and, it's about time I man up in this investigation."

"Well spoken…" Mustang approved with a small smile. "The only question becomes when. Sneaking in when the Bradley family is home could make things really ugly."

"How about tomorrow night, then?" Armstrong suggested nonchalantly. Hawkeye arched an eyebrow at him.

"That's a little fast."

"Not quite. Remember, my parents are holding a party over here in the east. I can very easily invite the Bradley family."

"That would seem suspicious to me, given what happened earlier today," Hawkeye commented with pursed lips. "Bradley would know you're tied into this."

"Is your big sister going to be there, Armstrong?" Mustang asked and Ed felt the familiar chill run down his spine. Armstrong nodded and Mustang started tapping his knee rapidly. "Tell her everything, and have her invite the Bradleys. It lifts suspicions from me, given that everyone knows that she hates me. It also fulfills my side of our agreement."

"Sounds like a plan," Feury affirmed and Ed snorted. How did he get himself into these things? Breda and Havoc both looked slightly unsettled at the idea and swiftness of the plan but Ed had always been one to strike while the iron was hot. Sure, he was grateful that each member of the team was worried about their safety, Hawkeye's calculating look only proved it, but at this point there were few options left available.

"Okay everybody, tomorrow night, Fullmetal and Feury will be in Central, breaking into Bradley's house. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be at Armstrong's party, trying our best to keep Bradley and any potential men of his occupied," Mustang announced, standing proudly. "Let's move quickly, but carefully; we only have one shot at this."

"Right!" Ed simply nodded in agreement. At that moment, Winry stuck her head into the room.

"Well, if you guys are all done discussing stuff, I've got dinner waiting in the kitchen." her words were met with outcries of joy and a flurry of movement. Ed turned back to look at Mustang whose eyes conveyed all that needed to be said.

Ed only gave him a confident smirk in return.


"Is that really all you're going to need to get in?" Feury asked in astonishment. Ed quirked an eyebrow at his companion, his eye briefly scanning the small amount of equipment below him.

"Should be enough," Ed explained. Feury looked at him with skepticism. "It wasn't like I could go to House Scaling Incorporated. I only had this morning to gather the things I needed before we were off to Central."

"Then are you sure you'll be able to do it?" Ed tossed him a scathing look and Feury held up his hands in defense. "Sorry I asked."

"The better question is whether you have everything we need." Feury cleared his throat and motioned to the laptop in front of him. Ed focused in on it as Feury clicked some keys hurriedly.

"At first, you'd think a top-notch security system like Bradley's would be hard to hack into, but it's so isolated that I don't have to go through nearly as many firewalls. Granted, I don't want to let them know I'm in the system, so I won't do anything until it's time to. That should maximize your window."

"What exactly is my window?" Another click and a composite of images appeared before them on the screen.

"There are four cameras, one on each side of the house, and security guards stationed at the north and south entrances," Feury said, pointing out each thing as he went. "Each camera rotates, catching the middle of the wall twice per minute. However, the corners, as you can see, are often picked up by the other camera when one is at the center."

"So I have roughly thirty seconds to get over the wall and across the lawn to the side of the building?"

"Yeah, can you do it?"

"Not a problem," Ed informed him confidently. "What about getting in?"

"A little more complicated." Feury quickly brought up a map of the Bradley manor. "There's a drawing room on the third story, south side, which according to notes has a faulty window, making it easy to break. Bradley never got it repaired…I'd assume because it was on the south side. In any case, that's still too far off from the mark: Bradley's home office, second floor, west wing."

"Then how the hell am I going to get in there?" Ed was puzzled but Feury made a calming gesture as he moved on with his explanation.

"The bedroom on the west wing has a skylight which won't trip any security sensors, and is always left open during summer unless there's rain. You can slip in, head to the stairs on the northern side, at the end of the hall, and into Bradley's office, second door down."

"Guess we should be grateful it's not in East City…what if the door's locked?"

"That's what I'm here for. A lot of the doors are electronically locked, but I can open them…you'll probably have less time though." Feury exhaled here and turned to the younger man. "Think you can do it now?"

"Still positive, but we stay connected the entire time in case something goes wrong." Feury gave him a grunt and a nod to indicate his understanding. "You sure know a lot about this stuff."

"Yeah…it started out as a hobby; you know, hacking into things with my friends on the weekends. But I always wanted to do some good with it." Feury pushed his glasses up before he went on. "I joined the academy at eighteen and went from there. Apparently, I might've been the youngest detective since Head Detective Mustang, but I had some family issues."

Ed sat there in silence after Feury's statements. The small hum of the computers provided and ambient sound that drew the forensics specialist to his own thoughts. Part of him was starting to doubt that he could really pull this off, but backing out now would have been foolish. "Hey, is Mustang a good boss?"

"The best." He could hear the admiration in the young man's voice. "He seems like he's only out for his own goals, but he always takes care of us. Why do you ask?"

"Just wondering," Ed answered him awkwardly. His eyes flitted to the camera images on the screen, showing the darkening grounds of Bradley's estate. His hand twitched impatiently; waiting was always hard for him.

"Hey, so is it true that you graduated from South University at seventeen?"

"Yeah…" he breathed out, blowing his bangs out slightly. "Sheska's talked about me, I guess."

"A-a little…" he confessed with a pink flush to his cheeks. "She says that she's good friends with your wife."

"Yeah, Winry and Sheska are good friends." Ed snorted as he remembered when he and Winry had gotten married. "I had already met Sheska when the two of us were getting married, so she ended up being one of Winry's bridesmaids. She was ecstatic."

"That sounds like her…" Feury admitted abashedly. Ed laughed at the man's discomfort.

"Yep…Winry even told me she was near tears when she called yesterday to tell her she was pregnant."

"Oh, congratulations." Ed gave him a great grin at the thought of being a father when a beeping interrupted them. "Looks like the Bradleys just arrived at the party. Ready to go?"

Ed placed his earpiece in and connected it to Feury. "Bring it on."

Feury said nothing, only attaching his headset and pushing the door to the van open. Ed took a deep breath and bounded from the vehicle, the older detective shutting the door behind him. After quickly scanning the street, Ed dashed in the direction of the estate, more specifically the western side. It wasn't long before he reached the imposing wall before him.

"Climbing over the wall now." Feury issued a confirmation as Ed went for his belt to grab the grappling hook he had once made as a teen. Thank you, Teacher, he thought. You may have been hell, but you sure taught me how to scale buildings…as I ran from you.

Thinking no more on the subject, Ed tossed the hook up and latched on to the top of the wall. He briefly tugged on the rope to make sure it was secure and planted a foot on the wall, beginning his climb. It took only a minute before he had reached the top, having found enough crevices to get him there. Ed quickly took the grappling hook and peeked his head over, seeing the bushes below. "Feury, how's the camera?"

"Hitting the southern corner." Wasting not a second, Ed detached his grappling hook and pitched it into the bushes. Only a few seconds later did Feury's voice come through his earpiece again. "Half a minute."

Ed hurriedly pulled himself over the wall and dropped below, combat rolling through the bushes below and into a running position. As if moving on instinct, Ed pumped his legs forward, quickly dashing for the brick lined western wall. Within twenty seconds he had made it to the wall and pressed himself against it as the camera continued to rove over the grounds. Now came the hard part. He quickly scanned the side of the building and noticed a drain pipe that stretched to the top, right next to some window sills.

Lucky me, Ed mused sardonically as he sidled along the side of the house to avoid being caught. When he reached the pipe, he planted his foot on the wall and grasped it. With a heave he began climbing the pipe. His heart was beating faster than normal and he feared that every squeak and groan of the pipe, no matter how miniscule, would attract all kinds of unwanted attention.

His hand clasped the edge of a second floor windowsill to pull him up when a cracking sound reached his ears. Ed immediately withdrew his hand as a small piece of the windowsill crumbled away, leaving him clutching desperately to the pipe. Steadying himself, Ed raised his left hand and dug into one of the small crevices between the bricks. The action made his fingers cry out in pain, but he persisted, pulling himself up the length of pipe. Mustang definitely owes me for this.

There were no more mishaps along the way, and Ed soon reached the roof of the west wing without incident. A quick glance showed him the open sky light. At least that had gone right. Ed treaded lightly across the roof and lowered himself as soon as he reached the skylight. A quick inspection of the room below revealed no one inside and Ed lowered his feet before dropping into the room. "I'm in."

"All right, remember, head for the northern stairs." Ed observed the furnishings in the room before making his way over to the door and into the hallway. The hallway was silent and empty, save for a clock ticking away down below. Ed breathed a little before he crouched low and scurried over to the very apparent stairs. Like the hallway, the stairway beyond was empty, but for some reason, Ed didn't feel relief at this. Nonetheless, he bounded down them as swiftly and silently as possible until emerging on the second floor. When he reached the second door, he was entirely unsurprised to find it locked.

"We're locked out."

"No worries," came Feury's voice. "I'm going to unlock all the doors in the house, at least then they won't head straight for the office."

"How much time can you guarantee me?" Ed asked in a hushed whisper.

"Five, maybe ten minutes."

"It's enough." Feury said no more, and less than a minute later there was a series of clicks down the hallway. Quickly taking his chance, Ed ducked into the office. Upon first glance, Ed noted how similar it looked to Bradley's office outside of the house. Passing over the various objects in the room, Ed's eyes settled on the bookcase in the corner. Bradley was not a stupid man, and certainly would not hide his secret files in such an obvious place as a file cabinet. So, Ed quickly went to the bookcase and began scanning the list of titles to the best of his ability in the darkened room. Of course, nothing stood out as being remarkably different from the others. A small sense of dread settled in his stomach, and suddenly he heard an audible click.

"Did you really think we'd be stupid enough to hide important documents in my father's office, Edward Elric?" came the smug voice from behind him. Ed stopped breathing for a moment as he registered that the person behind him actually knew who he was. He turned around, the lights flickering on with his turn. "I thought you were smarter than that, Mister Fullmetal."

"Selim Bradley…" Ed growled at the shorter figure before him. Selim smiled wickedly at him, holding the gun in his hand steadily. "You're part of Homunculus Corp? !"

"It is my father's business."

"You're only…what? Seventeen?" he snapped incredulously, not even caring about his volume.

"You were only seventeen when you joined the force," Selim stated with a shrug. "Besides, I know more about the company than any of those other idiots."

"You mean Lust and the others?"

"So, you know about Lust? I guess I shouldn't be surprised; you did make it past security." Ed eyed the gun in Selim's hand with caution as the boy chuckled. "I am Pride, or rather, that's my code name."

"How cute…" Ed breathed out sarcastically, causing Selim to scowl. "Well, can't say we ever planned for you to be our stumbling block."

"My father figured that you'd try something after you and Mustang came to visit him yesterday. Although, I am surprised you put something together so soon."

"So there's nothing here then? A wasted trip?"

"For you, maybe. For us, it only confirms the threat that the two of you present." Not even wavering, Selim dug into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone, calling a number on speed dial. Ed's eyes flitted around the room, looking for an escape route, but Selim's steady gun prevented him from taking action. "Lust, you can kill Mustang. We don't need him anymore."

"Wow, you guys are a walking cliché," Ed taunted as Selim flipped his phone shut. "Killing people who know too much is really predictable."

"We have to protect our interests, and both you and Mustang have learned way too much. Heck, I've never had to reveal my identity in the field, but I didn't want you snooping around places you shouldn't."

"Must be pretty convenient to have a child on their team," Ed snorted. "I bet there's all kinds of info that you can get and no one would be any the wiser."

"Isn't that why Mustang has you on his team?"

"Shut up! I'm not a child, and I'm sure as hell not going to be caught by one!" Selim's eyes narrowed dangerously towards Ed and he snarled.

"I've changed my mind," he said calmly. "I don't think I will kill you. Instead, I'll just shoot at your limbs and make you tell me everything you know." Selim lowered the gun's angle and Ed saw his chance. In the second it took the young boy to fire the gun, Ed dropped onto his butt and threw his left foot up. The bullet managed to hit its mark on Ed's foot and he swung his right foot into Selim's knees, causing the young boy to topple over.

Ed was up in a second and dashing out of the door. He heard footsteps quickly approaching and he swore loudly. Selim was behind him and the other security guards were closing in. This had been a doomed plan from the start. "Feury, please tell me you heard some of that."

"Most of it…" Feury responded hurriedly and Ed could tell he was agitated. The footsteps were coming closer and he quickly decided to take a gamble and head south.

"Tell Mustang everything!"

"But, Edward-"

"Everything!" he screamed. Caution be damned at this point; the whole house already knew he was here. A loud crack sounded behind him and a furtive glance showed that Selim had recovered and was shooting at him. Good thing the brat's a bad shot. "Look, at least tell him that Lust's gunning for him. He's got to be careful."

Ed rounded a corner as he heard more of Feury's babbled protests. Suddenly, he realized that he had turned into the south wing of the house and knew exactly where he needed to go. Another shot fired close to his head and Ed gunned it up the nearby stairs and straight for the double doors. Loud footsteps sounded from the other end of the wing as Ed bolted inside and slammed the doors shut, his back against them.

"Ed, are you listening?"

"I'm in a bit of a situation!" Ed warned, sprinting to a plush chair and dragging it in front of the door. He needed time; time he didn't have. "Just tell Mustang the situation and get the hell out of here!" Ed didn't wait for a response, simply taking out the earpiece and stomping it into tiny pieces.

A bang on the door sounded behind him, but the chair held firm. Disregarding his own pursuers, Ed ran to the windows and kicked at them with his automail leg, causing them to fall to the grounds below. A quick survey of the grounds showed no guards at the southern entrance. He was in luck. Ed quickly tossed his earpiece blow and climbed on the interior window ledge. With a large push of his hands, the curtain rod came crashing down and Ed set to work. Ignoring the bangs on the other side, Ed rapidly removed the curtains from the rod and took the rope that moved them.

As fast as he could, Ed tied the rope around his waist and set the curtain rod so that the walls acted as a stopper for it. Ed stepped outside as the chair in the room began to move. Sparing one last glance at the inside, he quickly began rappelling down the side of the house. He was one floor down when he felt the rope around his waist loosen and suddenly become undone. A brief panic hit him before he plummeted, hitting the grass violently.

A wheeze escaped him as he struggled to get up, feeling a pain in his right arm. As he stood, he saw that the source of his pain was a window shard sticking out. With a yelp, he removed it and set off for the south entrance, his feet carrying him as fast as they could.

Thirty feet…he hoped that Feury had already left. He didn't want him implicated in this too. Twenty feet…how had this turned out so wrong? How could they have ever predicted Selim to be involved? Ten feet…he was almost there. Five feet…a sharp jolt assaulted his side and Ed staggered to the ground, convulsing wildly.

A quick look confirmed that three security guards were approaching him, tasers in their hands. Selim was bringing up the rear, but the electricity surging through his body prevented Ed from focusing on him as he dismissed the guards. Ed's body started to give, and soon after his body lost consciousness.

Damn you, Selim Bradley, you smug little bastard.

Author's Note: I am terribly sorry for taking so long. To put it simply, life and writer's block hit me hard, so no surprises if the first part of this chapter is a little crappy. I tried to make it better but…well, I'd rather hear your opinions. Just remember, there are two sides to every story and we'll be seeing Roy's side to these events very soon. I'm starting on it soon, and I'm excited to write it. I hope I didn't lose any loyal reviewers, so please review as always.

On a related note, I received many anonymous reviews. I don't mind anonymous reviews but I prefer ones with signed in accounts, they're easier to reply and don't take up space.

Guest (Chapter 1): I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Actually, I've never watched NCIS and actually have based this story off of other shows like Monk, The Mentalist, Castle, etc.

hiya: Glad you're enjoying and I hope you also enjoy these other developments.

Madison (Chapter 4): Thank you very much for your feedback, particularly on Barry and the realism. On your note about Royai. This story contains Royai elements but is NOT a story about Royai. I have the characters labeled as Roy and Ed as it is their perspectives and their story, but Roy and Riza very much have feelings for one another in this story. I hope this clears things up and that you continue your readership.

Well, I think that's all…so, remember, review and Dare to Be Silly.