"WHO are you calling a super-short BEAN!"

The Colonel's eyebrows went up, and he smiled. "Nobody in particular," he denied. "After all, I believe my exact words were, 'a microscopically short bean boy the size of a pin,' but the word 'super' never crossed my lips. Why do you ask?"

The younger alchemist fumed. "Look, you're not in any positions to be throwing stones here!" he objected. "You aren't exactly a towering six feet, yourself!"

"Perhaps not," the Colonel admitted smoothly, "but at least I can order a meal in the mess without needing a stepstool to see over the counter... or being asked what branch my parents work under."

"Colonel, you—not—short—ARGH!" He almost stomped his foot, seething with frustration, and the Colonel watched with delight. It was a definite disappointment when the younger man got himself under control, and chopped out a salute. "May I be dismissed, SIR?" he snapped.

"Why, certainly." The Colonel smiled with glee. "I'll have my next assignment for you in a few days, Flux. Until then, take some time off... and be careful when you go through the motor pool, because the driver may not be able to see you over the dashboard."

With a clenched jaw and wounded pride, the young man turned and stamped out of the room. Colonel Elric spun his chair around, chuckling evilly to himself.

It had taken some doing to find an alchemist in the military shorter than himself, and a little longer to get the kid assigned under him. But days like this made it all worth it.