On another note: this is my twentieth story!

Chapter One

A girl with long, dark brown hair stood near a door, wringing her hands nervously. Her military-provided uniform, which had once been pressed to perfection before her nerves got the better of her, was dark blue and she'd altered the length of the skirt to allow her more room to maneuver her legs. The new length also showed off something she would have never gotten in her life before.


She had thirteen in total. The two on her legs were of a dragon and a snake. The dragon started at her left ankle and wound up her leg to her knee, and the snake went the opposite way on her right. The girl had taken a bold move by opting to wear wedges instead of boots with her uniform, but she was something else.

Because, you see, seventeen-year-old Tohru Honda was about to take the State Alchemist exam.

"Honda!" barked a soldier from the door, making her jump. "You're up!"

Tohru ducked her head and walked past the soldier, and he smiled a bit at her. No way she'll make it.

As she stepped into the room, she couldn't help the nervous gulp that her throat took. The room was huge, full of everything an alchemist could want. Tohru had already passed her oral and written tests, but this one was the kicker. The practical exam.

The one that could make or break her.

Behind the glass, she could see Colonel Mustang, Lieutenant Hawkeye, and a boy that was probably a little younger than her in a red coat. Tohru took a deep breath, steeled her resolve, and looked at them. "My name is Tohru Honda. If you'll allow, may I take a moment?"

Before the men could answer, Hawkeye said, "Go ahead."

Tohru nodded once in thanks and started to shrug out of her jacket, showing off more of her tattoos. On her right shoulder down to her arm were an ox, a rabbit, and a tiger. Down her left arm were a horse, a chicken, and a lamb. Her right hand boasted a monkey, and her left had a boar. The neckline of her chemise underneath also partially revealed three more tattoos on her collarbone: a rat on the upper right, a dog on the upper left, and a cat just where the cloth started.

Hawkeye, Mustang, and Ed gawked at the motley of tattoos on her body. "How old is she?" Ed demanded, his golden braid lifting as his head shot around to look at his superiors.

Mustang regarded the report on Tohru as the girl tied her long hair back. "Tohru Honda, seventeen. She appeared on the streets of the capitol a few months ago and a baker took her in. Not much is known about her past." He ran a hand through his midnight-black hair as he chuckled. "This should be interesting." Hawkeye nodded in agreement, a slight smirk on her face.

Tohru's sweet voice rang out again. "I'm ready to begin."

"Proceed," Mustang commanded.

She took another deep breath. She muttered something under her breath, touched the dog tattoo on her collar, and touched the same hand to the ground. It suddenly erupted and a high, thick wall of earth surrounded Tohru. A second later she appeared over the top of the wall, standing on a continually growing snake of earth. She then calmly stepped off the tongue of the snake. All three observers started a bit before Tohru landed safely on another pair of animals—a rat and a cat, both with their paws outstretched. She smiled a bit at her own creations before all four animals melted back into the ground, depositing her safely in her starting position with her hands clasped behind her back.

They gaped at her. Then Mustang turned to Ed. "What do you think, Fullmetal?"

The alchemist thought for a moment, rubbing his chin with his metal hand. "She seems fearless enough. That could be a problem, though. She seems polite, and if no one knows about her, she must not have any family, so she has nothing to lose." He looked at Mustang. "I think she's worth a risk."

The colonel nodded. "Miss Honda, you are dismissed. You will know your result within a few days' time."

She bowed, her ponytail flopping over her shoulder. "Thank you." She then collected her jacket, folded it neatly over her arm, and left the exam room.

When Tohru was back on the street, she leaned against a building and put her hand on her chest. "Kyou...Yuki...Shigure...everyone...wish me luck..."

"Who're you talking to?"

Tohru jumped out of her skin and turned to the source of the boyish voice—a person wearing a suit of armor. "Uh, just myself," she stuttered. "Well, no...some old friends of mine that I may never get to see again. I miss them dearly, but they're really far away."

"Are they dead?" the person in the armor asked, voice soft.

"N-no! We just got separated about a few months ago."

"You seem pretty young to be in the military."

"What?" She looked down and realized that, yes, she was still in the uniform. "Uh, no! I just took the State Alchemist exam. My name's Tohru Honda, by the way."

The person held a hand out to her. "I'm Alphonse Elric, but you can call me Al."

While she took his hand, she gaped. "Elric? As in Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist?"

The armor seemed to smile. "Yep! He's my older brother."


Both teens turned at the sound of a rather annoyed voice. "Brother!" exclaimed Al. "Did you oversee Miss Tohru's exam?"

Ed's ears perked. "Tohru Honda?" He craned to look behind Al and, sure enough, Tohru was standing there, fiddling with her hands. "The tattoo chick!"

Tohru's eyes widened. "You're Edward Elric?"

Ed braced himself for a statement on his height, but instead Tohru's eyes seemed to have picked up some stars. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Fullmetal Alchemist, sir! If I may ask, how do you think I did?"

Ed paused to think for a moment. "Impressive, if I say so myself. How long have you been doing alchemy?"

"Two months or so, I think."

Both brothers' eyes bugged out—well, Al's did metaphorically. "Two months?" They chorused, disbelievingly.

"Yes," said Tohru innocently. "Where I come from, alchemy is believed to be mythical, not a science. Here, though, it's rather easy." Then she looked to the clock tower and gasped, putting a dainty hand—the one with the monkey—to her pink lips. "Oh, it's my turn to make dinner! I'll see you guys later, I guess!" She took off, and Ed tried not to stare at the expanse of her creamy legs that was revealed by her skirt.

Al looked at his brother after a moment. "Do you think she'll pass?"

"She already did," Ed said. "C'mon, I'm hungry."

So, what do you think? OMFG, TOHRU HAS TATTOOS!

Please review~