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Insanity

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"Miss? Is there anything you need?"

Blinking several times and shaking your head, you came out of your stupor. "No, I'm all right. Just looking for someone." You smiled and brushed back your hair.

"Well then, if you need anything, feel free to ask me or any of the other staff."

You acknowledged his words with a smile and a nod before resuming your previous stream of thought.

Let's see. I've heard of them several times, but all I get is that they just left. A lot of locals have told me they travel a lot, but what good does that do me? It's not exactly likely that I'm going to just run into them! At this rate I might have to ask at the military office.

You shuddered when the image of the military building came to mind. You'd never liked the army very much, and now you were hard-pressed to find one of the hundreds - no, it was thousands- of members.

Sighing, you walked out of the shop, scanning the crowd; at the very least you might be able to find some military personnel outside of the local police. Of course, there were none. It was just a normal crowd of shoppers. Discouraged, you strained your eyes and that was when you saw it. Just a quick glimpse of a flamel against red fabric. You could swear you'd seen it, but they had disappeared into the crowd. Still if you hurried, you could catch them.

Your mind was racing. It was an alchemist; they could be able to give you some information.

That was, of course, if they weren't there for the same reason as you, but if that was so, they probably could still help you.

You ran down the street, blurting out "Excuse me!" and "Sorry!" with each of the many people you bumped or full-on ran in to, until again you could see it. Yes, it was a flamel; Perfect.

Barely thinking, you grabbed the person's - the alchemist's - shoulder, spinning him around. You froze in your tracks, shocked, before smiling as you saw his features: Golden eyes, matching hair in a loose braid, and a cocky smile that was quickly replaced by confused look.

Startled, he spoke bluntly. "What do you want?"

Still smiling, you barely heard his question, you barely heard when the armoured one - apparently his companion, you hadn't noticed him when you were focused on the flamel - gently, humbly reprimanded him. Your decision to chase was even better than you had thought. You’d found him. Your prey.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

He barely got the question out before you grabbed him, wrapping your arms around your neck and almost knocking him to the ground as you held him close against you. He, bewildered, struggled to breathe.

"I missed you so much, Edward!"

He pushed you away, gasping. "What the hell-?"

Recovering, he looked up barely in time to see your arm pulling back, ready to deliver a swift thwhap upside his head. He swung his right arm forward, catching your wrist in his palm and holding tight.

You weren't the strongest, but you had learned some self-defense and how to break grips. This, however, was unusual. Rarely was one grabbed by the fist that no amount of twisting would loosen. So maybe one of the other common ways to make him let go would work...?

You raised your right arm in the air, bringing it down into his inner elbow. Upon impact, a sharp pain shot through your arm.

"ANH! Jeez, what'd you do? No way..."

At least you hadn't been able to hit him hard enough to inflict serious damage upon yourself. Using the same hand, free although in pain, you pulled up his sleeve. It hitched and tore on a joint, but you were distracted by the glint of steel. You'd expected it, but you'd hoped you were wrong. His arm was prosthetic- well made, but not real.

"No way! What'd you do?" This time, the question was asked sincerely, not out of annoyance and pain.

"Why should I tell you? Who the hell are you?" He had released your hand, although he was still watching you closely, cautiously.

"Who are you?" you challenged, raising an eyebrow with disdain.

"Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist. Usually I try to avoid my military ties, but I'll have you know I could haul you in right now for attacking me." All that, with a goddamn smirk.

"Aren't you all high and mighty?"

"What is wrong with you?" he fumed.

"What? It appears well made... Pinako Rockbell?"

"Yeah, but what's it to you?" With a clap of his hands and a flash of blue, he repaired his sleeve where you had torn it away.

"Not much, really. I'm hardly an expert on automail. By the way, I think I have a better answer for the question I asked you."

The pair of them stared at you, clearly annoyed but nevertheless curious. They had probably forgotten your question by then.

"You are my brother. My dear little brother who didn't tell me that he was joining the military, let alone that he became a State Alchemist at a record young age for the century. Who never tried to contact me, despite how goddamn much I miss you. Who apparently also didn't tell me that he lost an arm? What'd you do, write me out of your life? You burned our house down after Trisha died... did I mention you didn't even tell me when your mother, the woman who took me in, was dead?" Tears gleamed in your eyes, above your disbelieving, almost sarcastic smile, for a second reflecting the black from the wall of a nearby building. It was darkening, you were glad to know less people were there to see. The armoured one shifted as though he wanted to comfort you.

"Dana?"

Edward's emotions were mixed. He reached toward you, as though to pet your shoulder, but hesitated as a more dominant part of his mind took over.

"Wh-what about you? You left us as soon as you could, I was only seven! You said you wanted to go! If you were there-"

"What if I was there?" you replied icily. "Trisha would still be alive? She was ill, Edward, and she'd been long pining away for Hohenheim." The words began to slip out more easily as everything that had nagged at you over the years surged to the front of your mind. "I'm not even her daughter, what could I do for her? When a friend of your father offered to take me in and teach me, I was glad that I'd be leaving her with less to deal with! What was I supposed to do? Stay? Keep taking money and food from an adoptive single parent who was ill and her little kids? Or do you feel one-upped because I'm not even related to Hohenheim and never showed much skill yet I got to be the one who received training? It was only because I'm older than you! I'm competent and I got to learn plenty of theory, but you were able to be a state alchemist without that, so why would you be jealous? I mean, maybe that's cause Hohenheim's your-"

"Mention his name again and you'll regret it!"

"Brother!" yelped the armoured one, a surprisingly young voice.

"Brother? Wait, Al, is that you? You're huge! I mean, you’re standing next to Edward, but you must be almost seven feet! I dunno, I guess I'm not that tall either...." You grinned your apology to Edward, he was gnashing his teeth. He always had been sensitive about his height. Of course, it was obvious why. He was five foot nothing- no, those boots added height. He was four nine, maybe four ten, but then, he'd always been short. You'd even teased him about it in your letters.

You frowned at the thought of your letters. You had wondered for a long time if they had burned with the house. Had your brothers even saved them that long? You'd started with regular letters, when you left, writing once a week. By the time you were twelve, it was once a month and by fifteen you sent only one letter a year, other than the cards for your brother's birthdays, and Trisha's too. She had no connection to you before she took you in, but once your parents were collateral damage, neither did anyone else. Her neighbour had brought you home and bravely plead your case. It was ironic that the same war, years later, killed the doctors who saved you, orphaning their daughter, Winry.

You still remembered some of the things you'd said in your letters, even shallow ramblings about the neighbourhood strays. When you got a little older, you spoke of "Uncle Morry's" patients, the weather and what you were learning. You always called Trisha by her name and she always understood: as much as she loved you, she was not your mother. Ed and Alphonse wrote you too, but Trisha signed a "love you" and a sweet note in her handwriting, so pretty and neat. When it disappeared, you still addressed her in the letters, so her sons could read them to her. Soon after, the responses got shorter, just affirming that your brothers were fine, not to worry. They rarely had the money to let you visit, by the time you were a teen you stopped altogether, but those visits had sealed the friendship with your siblings. Then finally, the already few letters ceased. Those that you sent were returned with notes saying that there was no one at that address, so you gave up. You didn't even leave "Uncle" Morry until adulthood, at which point you had gone to Risembool, your old home, and learned of your brothers' fate.

Somehow, you didn't even want to ask.

"Sister?" Al asked uncertainly.

You shook your head. "Sorry, I was just thinking."

"That's a rare and dangerous occurrence."

"Shut up!" you scolded, whacking Edward upside the head with a quick flick of your wrist. "It's been eight years, and you're still a brat. So Al, are you just tall and skinny or can you actually fill out that armour? It must be heavy." By now the crowd had dispersed, the darkness was causing some strain on your eyes. You stood in the dim yellow glow of a lamp.

"Um, well, actually..."

"Keep quiet, Al!" Ed snapped.

"Well, really! If you aren't going to let him tell me-"

"No!" Edward yelled, but it was too late. You'd swung open the chest plate of Alphonse's armour to see... nothing. No one was in the armour you had just been talking too.

"..."

"Are you all right? Sister?" Al's voice asked.

"Am I all right?"

"Dammit. The one person to see this and it's her." Ed looked worried too, although in a different way than Al.

"Am I all right? What did you do? Did you... no, it couldn't be true... where is his... did you- did you do a human transmutation?" You whispered the last part, your eyes wide, your whole body trembling.

Edward didn't answer, but Alphonse looked down, mumbling "I'm sorry" and sounding so genuinely remorseful that you could cry.

"Why the hell would you do this, Edward? What would you possibly trade Alphonse for?"

Edward was beyond furious, sweating and glaring. His argumentative side was gone, his voice was cold. "I wouldn't trade Al for anything."

"Then what were you doing? You even had all of Hohenheim's books, plus your simple common sense!" Your voice lowered as your anger subsided a little, giving in to anxiety. "Jeez, I read something about it- things I wasn't supposed to read- regarding this in Morry's library, but I never thought it would work and I'd never have tried it! What were you trying to do?!"

"What do you think?!" Ed snarled, Al cringing behind him.

"Trisha?" You paused and took a deep breath. "She was a wonderful woman and mother. I don't know if she could survive a second time knowing she had left you once. I'm sorry, Edward."

He looked stricken, but even more so when you asked your next question, scared but intensely curious.

"Did it work?"

He shook his head, a simple, sad answer.

"What happened? They mentioned something... some kind of monster in Uncle's books. Something hard to kill?"

"It's called a homunculus!" Again Edward's wave of patience had broken.

"The books said there could be a way to kill them, but that even knowing it, they were almost superhuman... or soldiers. I thought they were just a superstition no one cared about though...monsters."

Despite his frustration, Edward suddenly looked interested. “An actual method to kill them? Can you remember what they said?”

"Do you mean you did make one?"

"No. What we made was... it died. But we aren't the only ones who have tried. Can we please go inside if you don't know?"

"Wait, just let me think." You desperately tried to remember. It had been years since you’d read the books and you’d tried to repress what they had said out of guilt. Besides, the texts were all so complicated you had needed to rely on the notes and summaries written on the pages, notes Morry had written for himself to understand, and even with those it was hard to make out the meanings. You struggled to remember something written clearly. The book covers and titles were beginning to return to you. But what had they said? You could even remember the diagrams, but the text was lost on you.

Your head snapped up as you remembered a quote, one you had read and more than once, trying to work out what such a fantastic-seeming quote was doing in a scientific text.

“‘They cannot tolerate contact with the substance that is the body they were made to replicate. Contact with hair, bone, flesh or blood will weaken a homunculus significantly.’ But you can’t know that’s true, can you? And in any case, it’s gruesome, isn’t it, having to use flesh to kill it?”

“Well homunculi exist, so I’d wager that some of these other myths contain a grain of truth.” Contemplating this, Edward’s brow furrowed.

“Well, in exchange for my information, you’re going to let me stay with you, right? I can see that you need someone to take care of you. You’re only sixteen, after all.”

“No thanks. I’m good,” Ed answered quickly.

“Brother!”

“Yeah brother, why not? If I were at home maybe you wouldn’t have done something so stupid.”

Edward looked at you, obviously both annoyed and hurt.

“…Well, I’m coming.”

Fine.” Edward gave in surprisingly quickly. “C’mon, it’s late. Let’s go to the hotel.”

Heh. He’s stuck with me.

“Well,” Ed muttered. “Maybe she’s calmed down, lost some of her hype. It has been years since we’ve seen her.”

“What’s that Ed?”

“Nothing. This is our hotel.”

You had stopped in front of a rather dingy hotel. Not roach-infested bad, but definitely not four stars either. “What’s the military paying you?”

“Shut up. It’s the best they’ll let me charge to them.”

“Only because you keep charging everything to Central H/Q and getting caught!” Al teased, surprising you. He was usually a pretty humble kid.

“Sure Al. How much of my pay have you charged for donations to cat shelters this month? Maybe I wouldn't need to ask the military for so much.”

“That- that’s different! It’s charity!”

“And it’s not important if I’m hungry?”

It was nice to see the tension lessening, and to see the siblings you remembered. “Boys, boys. As funny as this is, I kinda want to sleep. You have no idea how much effort it was tracking you down.”

Edward looked over, for once realizing the time and energy you must have spent trying to find them. They hadn't been in Central long, it couldn't be the first place you’d been sent to. Alphonse apologized, leading you inside.

You swayed a little. “I’m so tired…”

“We’re almost there,” said Al. “Our room’s on the ground floor.”

“Hey, are you okay?” Ed now was steadying you, leading you past the desk. “Are you sick?”

“No, I’m fi-”


You woke up unsure of your surroundings. Cracking your knuckles, you looked around, making sense of everything. Your eyes came to rest on Edward, sleeping soundly on a bed parallel to yours. The events of the previous night returned, up to walking past the desk of the hotel. You figured that you must have blacked out. You were surprised, as you’d never done so before; you found it somewhat cool in some strange way that one could be tired enough to just drop like that.

After gathering your thoughts, you again looked around. It was a relatively small hotel room with two twin beds, the one you were on and Edward’s. Alphonse sat on the floor, although he probably couldn’t feel the difference. To no be able to feel the overall comfort of stretching out on a soft bed… yes, that truly was a sad thing.

Quietly, you rose out of your bed, signalling for Alphonse to remain silent. Although confused, your brother obeyed. You crept up to Edward, still in a deep sleep. How deep was it though?

You uncurled his fingers and lifted them by the thumbs, bringing them together in a silent clap. He didn’t stir. Perfect.

“ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN ELEVEN TWEEEEEELVE!” you yelled, smashing his hands together with each number before adding “Good morning brother."

“What the-? YOU! I’m gonna skin you!” Ed roared, lunging at you and, seeing as you had already fled across the room, falling.

You shrugged and hopped backward from him. Threats and insults were made to be absorbed quietly and responded to when the time came. “I get to use the washroom first!” you chirped, bouncing out the door before your brothers could say anything. You didn't mention the automail leg you'd seen.

When you walked back into the main room, they were arguing.

“Not like that. And a sense of humour? She only likes things if they cause others- especially me- pain!”

“That’s not true!”

“Yeah Edward, be nice!” you said, pouting, as you entered the room.

“That was fast. I thought women took longer getting ready in the morning.”

Apparently he understood the look you gave him, as he immediately corrected.

“You look okay this morning?”

“Better… I guess.”

“You look very nice sister,” Al corrected.

“Thank you.”

“Can we go now Al, or do you want to sit around chatting?”

“Whoa, slow down Edward. We’re not going to die if we stay for an extra second," you remarked, raising your eyebrows.

“He who hesitates is lost!” he countered before grabbing his bags and heading toward the lobby. You and Al gathered your belongings quickly and ran to catch up. When you met him just outside the lobby, the running had jogged your brain a little too much and given you somewhat of a headache. Your vision skewed a little when you stopped and you rubbed your forehead as you walked up to the desk.

Looking up, you saw a chandelier- out of use but still used as a decoration and very cool. Huge, too. You could hide in that thing. Hell, if you were there another night you could sleep in it! Very sweet. As you inspected it, you plopped down in a lobby chair.

After paying the bills, using the military funding, of course, Edward turned to you. “C’mon Sister, let’s go.

You nodded and hurried to get up, but you were stopped at the front desk.

“Go on, I’ll catch up,” you told Edward. “I’ll find you guys when I’m done.”

Ed shrugged and continued out the door, leaving you to speak to the clerk.

“Is there something I can do for you? Did he not pay enough?”

“Yes, there is, but certainly not what you’re thinking. I don’t need you, I’m married and you’re so young." As he replied, he looked straight in to your eyes, trying to put across the importance of what he had to say. "Look- you’re still young, you can still do something with your life! You don’t need to do this for cash.”

“I’m not sure I understand,” you replied uneasily.

“You are too young for this, you have so much potential. I can’t believe one would be doing this at your age! How old are you?”

“Twenty-one, sir, but I don’t know where you’re going with this…” At least, you hoped you didn’t understand.

“Really! You look younger, but I suppose that works to your advantage. I, however, can’t believe a nice, well-spoke girl like you would do something like this! No one should, but you surprised me by your innocent looks! Showing up, drunk, at a hotel with two men and passing out before you even reach a room. Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to call the police, but who knows what they could have done to you!” Finished, he sat back, taking a deep breath. “I’ve heard of a good shelter. I have a pamphlet here; I hear they even offer schooling.”

Though you had been following the implications, you were somewhat shocked. “You think I’m a whore?”

He obviously thought that you weren’t the best of actors. “I told you, I’m not going to call the police, you don’t have to lie."

“Well sir, what they may have done would certainly be a frightening prospect if your story were true, but it’s not. I was completely sober last night, if very tired. The two I stayed with are my brothers.” You laughed. “I sincerely hope my younger brothers wouldn’t have even thought about that. Thank you for your concern, but you’re mistaken. I wasn't drunk and I am totally unscathed this morning.”

After politely saying goodbye and turning around, you fought a silent fit of giggles. It was horrible, but it was also too funny. Luckily enough, by the time you reached Ed and Al outside, you'd regained your composure.

"What was that about?" Edward asked, annoyed.

"Oh, nothing. He just thought I was a tourist and was trying to sell me some junk. He was so pushy I almost couldn't say no." Your lie was weak, but it was probably better that they didn't know. "Let's catch our train.


For the first couple hours of the day, you saw no sign as to where you might be going. You walked down streets, heading toward the rising sun. When you began heading toward what seemed to be a forest, you noticed that there were no more side streets.

"Ed, you're sure you know where we're going?"

"Of course I do. Shut up."

Following this up, he began explaining the four homunculi he knew of to you, trying to make it apparent that they were a force to be reckoned with. He also warned you of an alchemist-killing serial murderer named Scar and to keep away from military personnel you didn't know. Apparently something odd was going on and the military was involved, or possibly even behind it. When speaking of this, Edward mentioned some strange holes and contradictions in the stories about the Ishbal war but refrained from straying to far into the topic.

So you followed him. If you kept track of landmarks, you thought you probably wouldn't get too lost. He led you into the wood and along the edge of a creek, following its bank until the sky began to darken, at which point your brothers set up camp; their shelter was more than functional. You held back from pointing out your surprise at their competency, especially seeing as they were allowing you to sleep with them.

When they finished with the efforts, you having sat and watched, thoroughly sore from the hike, Alphonse turned to you.

"Sister..." he started.

"Yes?"

Edward took over for his- your- brother. "You don't have to come with us. You shouldn't. You could be captured by the enemy, you could even be killed. I'm sure you're tough and I know you're not stupid, but that doesn't mean you have any chance of avoiding them."

You glanced at your brothers but neither looked up. You swallowed, sorry for causing this worry in them when they already had so many stressors and so much to deal with. However, they needed to understand. Therefore, you couldn't get overly emotional. You took a breath.

"And?" you challenged. "I could easily be taken hostage if I wasn't with you, I'd probably be captured in an instant. As for being killed? Well, in that case they couldn't use me against you, and it's not any safer away from you. I'd rather it was me than you. Besides, I'm your sister, not only do I want to look out for you, I'm just as stubborn as you are."

As they began to cook dinner in silence, you remained unproductive. After you ate, you followed them to bed. At first you noticed Edward snoring, but it didn't take long before you slept like a rock.

When you awoke they had left, exploring the forest for reasons you couldn't fathom. Sighing, you began doing your "homework," mentally reviewing the homunculi your brother had told you about. They all had superhuman strength and speed; they regenerated when harmed. What you had told Edward the previous day was the only clue toward how to hurt them.

First there was Envy, a shape shifter. He was cunning and cynical and looked like an androgynous-leaning-effeminate young person. He possessed immense mass for his size and fought mainly using martial arts, from basic punches and kicks to complicated and smooth Xingese techniques. His blood lust was obvious even to your military-hardened brothers. Using his shape shifting, he could transform his arms into stabbing implements by sharpening and hardening them.

Lust, a woman, fought using her fingernails. They lengthened into javelins to stab and swords to slash. She moved gracefully and, like Envy, was not one for painless killing. She looked young, with a figure akin to her name and often fought next to Gluttony, a simple-minded creature who could (and would) devour anything.

Last, there was Wrath. Edward seemed to dislike this one, and you were assuming it had something to do with the fact that he possessed a human's right arm and left leg, the same as those Edward was missing. Wrath, rather than having a highly supernatural power, had the ability to perform alchemy without a circle and seemingly surpass the Law of Equivalent Exchange. He could even transmute his biological arms and legs. Wrath was the only homunculus who seemed to be able to perform alchemy and Ed had also noted that he seemed more capable of forming emotional bonds than the other homunculi.

Logically speaking, there should also have been three more homunculi: Pride, Sloth and Greed, although there was as much of a chance that less than seven homunculi. Still, someone had to be pulling the strings and if it were you, you'd want all seven.

Noticing that your clothes were dirty and sweaty, you stripped and jumped in the creek. Rinsing quickly, just enough to feel nearly clean and somewhat cool, you got right back out of the water and began to dress.

"Well..."

You spun, clutching your clothes to your chest as you searched for the sound of the voice. You saw nothing, and, when you called out, there was no response, not even your brothers were within earshot. Writing it off as simply hearing things- you were still quite tired- you quickly forgot it and finished dressing and waited for your brothers to return.

When Ed and Al got back, you happily followed them and helped take down the camp, finally remembering to ask where you were going.

"Without a car, this is the fastest way from the station to East City H/Q. Mustang- the colonel we have to meet with- seems to be there for some reason. We'll get there today if the weather doesn't turn, we could've been there already if we hadn't stopped."

Pleased enough with the answer, you continued, and were even more pleased that before going nearly as far as you had the night before, the wood opened to town. It didn't take long to reach the military offices either, Alphonse and yourself following as Edward arrogantly stormed up to the colonel's temporary office. Upon reaching the room, you were left alone in the hall to wait.

"Shit, I can't hear..." you mumbled, ear against the door.


"So who's the girl, Fullmetal? Don't you think that mechanic of yours will be jealous?" Roy Mustang purred, smirking.

"Why would she be jealous, not like I'm with her anyway," Edward muttered as Roy and Al exchanged a glance.

"She's our sister, sir," Alphonse added, humble as usual.

"Oh yes. She's adopted, right? I saw her mentioned in your records. In fact, I think I've heard of her. How old is she now?"

"Six years older than me. Twenty-one. Why?" Edward replied uneasily, worried as to where the Flame Colonel, known for being a womanizer, was going with this.

"That's plenty old..." Mustang mumbled.

"Excuse me?" Alphonse asked, also nervous.

"Oh, nothing! No reason at all!" Roy chirped, an exceedingly bright, fake smile on his face. His acting was even worse than the Elric sister's.

"That aside, why'd you call us? We've been walking all day just because you said you couldn't tell us over 'possibly insecure' phone lines. I'm assuming you have a lead on the stone?" Edward was planning on letting things play out. His sister could take care of herself and he needed this information. For years he'd been searching for the Philosopher's Stone; it was a chance to pass over the Law of Equivalent Exchange. This was the only possible gamble at getting his brother's body back.

"Yes, and a lead on a group who have been calling themselves 'homunculi,' whether or not you are correct in believing that name. Someone- now deceased- told me of an ‘Envy’ who tried to get alchemical information from him. He saw them in western Central."

"Envy! Wait, now deceased? Don't tell me he was murdered!" Edward shook his head. "Why would they let him get as far as you?"

"I'm not sure, Fullmetal. Pay close attention; watch your back," the colonel advised, now entirely serious. "We don't need to lose any more alchemists."

"It's so likely to be a trap... but we have to check it out!" Edward thought for a moment. "You said Central right? West Central? As to say, where we came from, except farther away?" Ed's eye twitched involuntarily.

"I'm sure it will be worth it. Besides, if you were taller maybe you'd walk a little faster."

"WHO'RE YOU CALLIN' SO SHORT THEY COULD BEFRIEND AN AMOEBA?" Edward yelled, waving his arms spasmodically, Al desperately trying to hold him down.

"Anyway, that's all I know. Come one, I'll walk you out."


You looked up as your brothers walked out of the office with someone else, presumably the colonel. The colonel scanned his eyes up and down your body, making your brow furrow in disgust. Then, as if having come to a conclusion, he spoke.

"Call me if you want to try me. The offer's good for one night only."

Eww. Even if he was tall, dark, and handsome- the opposite of Ed, you thought and sniggered, losing your train of thought.

Even if he was tall, dark, and handsome, and rather young looking, he was old enough to be a colonol and your brother's boss.

He handed you a folded paper, probably containing his address and phone number.

You took a deep breath and plastered an extremely fake smile on your face. "I'd love to, but I need to be home for five. The kids can't be left alone for a minute and we don't have a babysitter planned. Edward and Alphonse are already busy, so unless you want to take it up with my husband..." You trailed off as all three of those in your company stared, struck dumb by your easily delivered lie. Seeing as you hadn't made up any names, let alone who'd been watching your children for the last couple days, you decided to quit while you were ahead.

"C'mon Ed; Al. That cab's waiting for us!" Oops, another hole, why hadn't you gotten a cab out? Oh well. You grabbed each brother's arm and dragged them around the corner, down the stairs and out of the building before collapsing into laughter.

"Did you see his face? I honestly didn't think he would believe me!" You broke off into gasps, nearly hyperventilating from holding back your laughter for so long before quite literally emptying your lungs all at once.

"So... you're not married and don't have kids?" Ed asked. He never had been entirely able to tell when you were kidding.

"Of course not! How old do you think I am, anyway? But I couldn't resist seeing what he'd do!" You broke off into a stream of giggles. It wasn't even that good of a joke, but having to hold the laughter in had escalated it.

Ed sighed. You always had had a twisted sense of humour, although you knew he had to admit that he liked to see the colonel stuck like that. A certain glee came with the suffering of superiors.

You couldn't help but feel a little sad as you walked toward the same forest you'd been through in the morning. The scenery was beautiful, the water clear, but it felt like a waste to have come this far for your brothers to have a five minute talk and leave again. You wished that you wouldn't have to sleep outside this night, but it couldn't be helped, could it?

As you walked down the trail and deeper into the forest, you realized that you didn't recognize much, although a lot of the scenery was identical throughout the forest. That was, save for certain landmarks. Landmarks you weren't seeing.

When you reached a fork you were sure hadn't been there before, you glanced at Edward. Frustration was etching deeper into his face, his fists clenched at his sides.

Fighting a severe urge to smash your face into a tree, you smiled at your brother. "Edward, are we lost? This doesn't look familiar."

He turned to you, extremely pissed. "That's because it isn't familiar! This trail's clearer and better marked than the other so we came this way! I just don't know which fork takes us to Central and which fork north!"

"Brother..." Al groaned, obviously siding with you.

"You didn't bring a compass either, did you Edward?" you asked, receiving only a glare to answer your question.

You looked at him, genuinely annoyed. Until now, you'd been playing, kidding. Now you couldn't believe it. "So you mean to say," you continued. "We're stuck in the forest with barely any supplies and no idea how to get where we're going?

Ed remained silent and continued to glare. Then, decidedly, he turned down the left fork. He didn't so much as glance back, forcing you and Alphonse to follow.

"Brother, stop this, it's crazy! Let's just go back to East City and restart! Or get a car!" Al whined. Nevertheless, he followed his brother.

"Ed, logically speaking, this path is more likely to take us north. I can even hear the creek in the other direction!"

He finally stopped plowing ahead, muttering "fine." He turned turning and headed straight through the forest toward the sound of the water, right through the bushes and branches.

"Crap." You hurried to catch up with your brother, following both of them through the trees.

Luckily, the sound of the creek aided Edward's less than perfect directional skills. You were extremely pleased to finally see familiar scenery and arrive at 'your' creek. Although you didn't mention it to your brother, you were relieved to recognize a gnarled stump on the bank.

After walking alongside it awhile, you again settled next to the creek, setting up camp identical to that of the morning. This time you helped set up, then filled a kettle to boil for lunch as they started the fire.

It was hard to believe it was already a day since the last time you'd set up your camp. It wasn't even dark yet.

Your brothers had left to scout for any threats (whatever that meant), leaving you alone. You sighed, realizing that your clothes were, yet again, sweat stained. They were also sticky with the sap of all the trees you had scraped by when Edward led you off trail. This realization made you feel gross overall and, remembering that your brothers wouldn't return for a while, you walked into a deeper part of the creek, clothes and all. Once cool, you removed your clothes, rinsing them and attempting to clean yourself, despite the lack of soap. Upon coming out of the water, you dried off quickly and pulled on your underclothes and pants, glad to have brought more than one extra pair after going through two changes in a day. You had just grabbed your shirt when you heard a familiar voice chuckling.

"Well..."

Clutching your shirt to your chest, you yelped, "Who's there?!" Regretting the second of blindness, you whipped your top on.

The voice laughed as you wracked your mind, trying to fathom whose voice this was and why it sounded so familiar. You brain was screaming deja vu but you couldn't pinpoint when this could have happened. It felt like a lost dream.

Again the voice- it was completely androgynous, which was comforting in that it could be a woman who'd seen you- laughed, then spoke. "I don't think my name's important." The voice had become more feminine and, in a way, familiar. Continuing, the voice edged closer. "I suppose that, if you want, you could call me Winry." As the sentence finished, a young teenage girl stepped out of the thicket, her long blonde hair tied up in a ponytail.

Your jaw dropped. Winry Rockbell was here in the woods, taunting you? She was a former neighbour, a close friend and potential love interest to your brothers. It was her mother who had brought you to Trisha, why would she attack you? You never been the best of friends, but of course you hadn't disliked each other, let alone to the point of hate, let alone killing.

As Winry laughed maniacally, gleefully, something in your head clicked. Duh, it was Envy. He could shift to look like anyone, why not make you falter by assuming the form of someone you knew? Ducking to the ground, you transmuted a dagger from the combined metals of stones in the creek. Instinctively, your body jerked as though to pounce at the homunculus, but you hesitated. What if there are more?

"So you've figured me out so fast?" he asked, shifting to a different form, his voice changing mid-sentence. His form was now that of a feminine young man with long black hair, separated into downward, rather arboreal looking spikes, particularly due to the hair's green tinge. His voice matched his physique, deeper then it had been but still containing its effeminate quality. He smirked. "You can call me Envy. No, I don't need an introduction, I know who you are. You're the reason we're here, or perhaps I'm the reason you're here. I mean, someone had to send that lure to Mustang. And that Edward would bring his sister? Brilliant!" Envy grinned lewdly before continuing with an obviously sexual undertone, "So, was the colonel good? I mean, they say he'll go for most women and most women for him. And you..." he trailed off, thin eyebrows raised.

You blushed a deep crimson. After years of living with your 'Uncle' who wasn't even a blood relation of the Elrics and staying up nights attending to people in need, despite age or gender, even being assigned to bathe long-term patients, rumours of you being, most crudely put, the town whore, an easy fuck, and so on, had spread around the small town like wild fire. Leaving was the one thing that made searching for the Elrics seem pleasant. "I'll fucking kill you!" you growled upon regaining your self; you jumped at him, dagger extended.

In an easy motion, Envy twisted and pinned you to the ground, holding closed the palm of your tattooed hand. As you struggled in vain, he lowered his mouth to your ear. "Well, isn't this nice?" he whispered, lips grazing your skin.

It had become any girl's nightmare, whether or not they believed in monsters and homunculi. It was unlikely that he would do anything, you told yourself, but it brought your mind flashing to every lecture you'd ever been given on why not to walk alone and every horror story on why you shouldn't speak to strangers. You remembered your attempts to disarm Edward, but how was any of that useful when facing against a monster with infinite strength? All you could do was scream.

"EDWARD! Get the fuck back here!" Luckily enough, you brother happened to be getting close and, despite what sounded like anger coating it, he heard the urgency in your voice and came racing through the brambles to return to you.

When he saw Envy over you, Edward froze. He looked so shocked and lost; his blank face was almost comical. Then, as if having come out of a trance, he snapped.

"Get your dirty hands off my sister, you bastard!" he roared, knocking Envy off you whilst transmuting his forearm into a blade.

"Hey," Envy said affably, "It's not as if I particularly like your family either." His tone changed, now more dark and, ultimately, serious, but now in a low enough tones that you could barely make out what he was saying. "Especially her, not even a relative, but so very welcome to him..."

You had no idea what he was talking about, but before you had time to dwell on it, a dart whizzed by your face. Spinning around, you saw a woman- a pale, voluptuous, brunette- standing a distance away. This time, you comprehended. Lust

You turned to attack her but Alphonse was already there, dodging surprisingly well with his bulky body. Edward wasn't fairing as well against Envy, not able to quite meet his graceful martial arts. You hurried over to attempt at helping but really couldn't do much.

Without warning, Envy changed his path, charging toward you, and you saw that he was aiming not to kill but to injure, to disarm, to- your mind froze- to capture. His stance finally made you comprehend the motif for attacking: to take the alchemist's sister hostage. It was exactly what Edward had feared. Somehow you managed to dodge his lunge; he turned back to Edward, who already was spattered with various cuts and beginning to fair worse.

Feeling utterly useless, you did naught but watch, until finally Envy propelled at Edward, arm extended as if to stab clean through his chest.

"Slow down, Envy."

"No! EDWARD!" you screamed, running forward and throwing yourself between Envy and your brother.

Time passed in slow motion as you sprinted at your brother. A piercing, fiery pain went through your neck as the outer flesh was impaled, then pulled out sideways, a puncture wound tearing into a gaping slit. It was an odd sensation, a painful type of tickling, when your flesh was stretched, this time off your leg. The pain hardly deterred you, adrenaline carried you forward. Warm blood- your blood- ran down the cold skin of you neck; at least Lust had now turned back to Alphonse. Maybe she had been aiming to stop, not kill. And if she wouldn't kill you, then Envy-

You reached Edward and time flew forward. Your legs didn't stop running, you would have ran right past if something hadn't snagged your stomach, jerking you to a stop. A pain in your gut flared, burning, then faded to nonexistence. You turned, glad to see your brother standing nearby, safe. Of course they wouldn't kill the hostage to get to him; that fact had just saved Edward, although you ached a little now.

"Sister!" Alphonse yelped, his brother's jaw gaping. Both of them looked terrified.

Must've surprised them. But why couldn't they see something so obvious? You started to reply, but the words caught in your throat. You coughed, bringing up salty red blood. "What?" You looked down at your stomach; your brothers seemed to be looking at it.

When your gaze reached your stomach, you fought nausea. An open hole seemed to reach all the way through; you could see light on the other side, obstructed by torn tissue and throbbing organs. You could see that your spine was still intact and, in a way, you were lucky about the blood loss. It would keep you from hysteria, at least for a while, and save you from the pains of a longer death caused by the ruptured innards.

You coughed, more blood rising to your lips. The thick metallic flavour was beginning to taste worse and worse by excess. After a hacking fit, your throat becoming raw enough that the blood seemed to sting, you again tried to speak. "Fuck... aww man." Your words were separated by chokes that wracked your whole body, your spine burning every time you shook. Mentally, you were beyond scolding yourself. You had not once used alchemy in that fight and had barely helped. Not only had you killed yourself, but you could have- and perhaps had- killed your brothers.

"Envy. Let's go. There's nothing left for us here. The others won't be happy." Lust turned and left, not glancing back. "I told you to slow down."

"Too bad, I don't regret it! I hated her; I wanted her dead! Let her rot." Envy had vicious emotions playing on his face. He took a last look at Edward's face before following Lust, a toothy, violent smile on his lips when he saw the alchemist's stricken look and you laying there, dying.

You shuddered, but not because of your wounds. Envy's feelings were obvious; he wanted to hurt you more.

Edward had fallen by your side. "No... it's not true! My sister now... mom was already taken away, now her? It's not fair!" Tears streamed down his face. "I can't save anyone." He shook you. "It's not real... tell me it's not real!"

"It is real, brother." Fading from blood loss, you smiled." Goodbye, Edward... Alphonse."

Edward grabbed you, hugging you to his chest. You were still losing blood fast, although your heartbeat had slowed. Coughing, you sprayed blood on Edward's back. He shook his head at your attempted apology. You were getting paler and paler, pain and blood loss making you struggle for consciousness and fight for speech.

"Edward... I loved you. Trisha... Alpho-" Your body again shook with coughs, but this time you were more intent on finishing than apologizing. "I love you... family. Take care of Alphonse... yourself." Exhausted, you closed your eyes, struggling for breath as you leaned to your brother.

Barely able to whisper, you made one more attempt. "I'll... miss..." Another spasm ripped through your body as your lungs attempted to eject the blood.

You relaxed against Edward, no longer struggling. At last, Al screamed.


Several hours had passed. Alphonse wasn't able to cry his nonexistent tears longer; Edward had held back all that was possible, although he had no way of refraining while he'd washed the blood away. Now his hands and face were clean, if that meant anything.

"Al. Let's go." He hoisted his sister's dead weight to his shoulders, biting his lip. "You know what we have to do."

"Yes... Even if we're all she had, she still needs a proper burial and a funeral."

Edward didn't reply. Alphonse could think that. It was better he didn't know- that way, he wouldn't be hurt.

This time, Edward knew he would do it right.

Chapter Text

Moaning, you opened your eyes. You were being carried in someone's arms; that explained the motion that had awakened you. Blinking back the light, you saw that a boy, blonde, was carrying you. He looked strangely familiar. A chill was overcoming you, and upon looking at this boy's arms, you realized they were both metal, automail. But that wasn't right, was it? You shook your head, trying to clear it, but you couldn't remember if it was right, or why he looked familiar. Exhausted, you rested.

A time later, you opened your eyes again, now fully conscious and, looking up, you saw not who you had at first, but another man, with long, black hair and a tight shirt exposing his stomach. Seeing that you were now completely awake, his cold arms disappeared from under you.

"You're awake. Walk yourself," he said, grinning as you rubbed your back, still wincing at the impact.

"The fuck was that for? Who are you?"

"You don't remember? That's good."

"Who are you?" Panic was setting in, confusion overwhelming as questions raced through your head: Where am I? Who is he? ...who am I?

"All right, impatient one. I'm Envy. And you, girl, are Insanity."

"What do you mean? How would you know who I am? Why don't I?" Tears were threatening to spill as you searched for something- mentally and physically- to grasp. Finally, you landed on the one familiarity: Envy. You stared at him, desperate as you clutched his wrist. The recognition, be it so small, was a comfort to you.

He looked down at your streaming eyes with disgust. "Why do I always get assigned jobs like this? I doubt those lazy asses Sloth and Pride are doing a thing. This is the most boring kind of 'dirty work.'" He snapped his wrist out of your grasp, distaste obvious on his face.

"I don't understand, why am I with you, and why are our names like that? What's going on? I'm so confused." The panic hype had left you, now you were just deteriorating into a frightened pile of nerves.

"Shut up before I hurt you. I don't owe you any explanations. God, I hate when they get all emotional."

"Bring it on!" You could tell there was something strange about him, but the implication seemed to be that you were like him. Even if he knew more and had more experience, you wanted to find out for sure. What harm could he really do to a girl with no memories? On the other hand, who were 'they-'

Laughing, Envy jumped at you. You snapped out of your thoughts and blocked, lashing back with your fists. Envy dodged easily, responding with a roundhouse kick to your ribs. He waited for you to stumble back to your feet before attacking again, this time knocking you down by your head. You again stood, a little dazed. He allowed you to clear your head, still laughing at your challenge. Attempting to fake left before again swinging at him, you were caught by his fist in your gut, knocking the wind out of you and sufficiently stopping you. After that, you gave up and were quiet.

"Winner," the bastard said, smirking as he knelt next to you.

As you glared back at him, thinking up colourful phrases to call him, you realized your apparent lack of injury. Besides that, you were still, miraculously, energized. "After all that?" you whispered to yourself.

You flinched as he took your left hand, unfurling your fingers in a surprisingly delicate manner and touched it to a tattoo above his hip. Your temple blazed.

"Do you know what this is?"

Although familiar, the tattoo looked wrong. A snake devoured its own tail.

"This symbol," Envy explained, "means that I am a homunculus. So are you. That is why you don't remember anything and that is why I didn't kill you just now. So, are you going to come with me to meet the others, or am I going to take you there?"

"I don't know if I want to come... but I suppose I might as well." You averted your eyes. "I mean, I don't know what else to do."

"That's boring," said Envy, rolling his eyes. "Oh well, I guess they'll have more use of you that way. I don't think we need another Greed."

"What do you mean, 'use?' Is that the only reason you found me?"

"Do I have to explain to make you come?"

After a second of hesitation, you nodded. "Yes, actually, you do." You stopped walking. Even if it was only an illusion of power, you would have some say in what happened.

"Great," he said, grinning widely. You smiled too, waiting for his explanation. Your civil wait was short lived, however, as he twisted behind you, grabbing your wrists and holding strong. "I refuse. We're going," he purred. "Now."

You planted your feet on the ground, leaving furrows as he pulled you. He paused only to tie your wrists with cord from some unseen pocket. "No! Let me go! I don't want to!" You threw your body sideways hard, landing heavily on your shoulder. It took an extra second for you to rise without your hands, but Envy didn't take advantage of it. He simply watched you run. Rather than pursuing, he disappeared into the woods.

You were scared and mortified. He had been a psycho, and you had almost followed him home, based on some superstitious tattoos. He had even tied your hands and dragged you, and you were sure that once the two of you were off the road, he would do even worse. You kept running, wondering whether he was following, and how long you had gone for- and how long you would. You almost yelled with excitement when you found a house. Safety.

A man stood in the yard, looking normal enough. You jogged up to him.

"Excuse me! Please, someone's chasing me! He tied my hands up and I got away! Please help me!" You felt stupid, but he had to take a bound and panting girl seriously.

The man was quiet yet fast, and he let you into the house, locking the door behind himself. Inside the house was his family: A young and quite adorable boy sitting with what appeared to be his sister and mother, and all bore a strong resemblance to one another. All three were quite pale, with dark hair and purple eyes. Actually, they all kind of resembled... you swallowed, and turned back to the door.

This had to be the crazy man's house. What were they going to do to you? You turned to the man who had let you in- with a tan and kind eyes, he didn't really bear any resemblance to his family. "Excuse me, I'm sorry to have imposed but he doesn't seem to be coming. Thank you, I think I'll be heading home now."

He grinned. "And where would that be?" Your eyes widened as the man changed, his skin paling, eyes narrowing, and hair growing. His voice changed to the effeminate one that you had woke up to. "You know, you took the long way to get here. If you'd just come with me, you wouldn't be so worn out now."

Giving up, you collapsed onto a chair, dumbfounded. "I don't get it. You really are a homunculus. But there are so many of you, why do you need me?" You couldn't remember anything before awakening, so you were resolved to dealing with this crazy turn as the blows came.

"We need you as much as you need us. Another to help in our common goal: power."

"No, Envy," said the woman you'd proclaimed the sister, her sultry tone a tad sarcastic. Or was it just angry?

Though confused, you nodded.

"Don't worry, you'll understand soon. You haven't been around long enough to see the pains of being one of us, of seeing scraps of the past, not ever understanding why this happened. We can't even die."

"Envy." The mother figure was warning him, but she seemed angry already- and perhaps not so happy about his goal, either.

He ignored her. "Sloth, Lust, Wrath, this is out eighth: Insanity. I suppose the head whore ran out of sins. Where is Gluttony, anyway?"

"Pride had a... meal for him. They will be back soon enough." She turned to you. "I am Sloth. This," she gestured to the sister, an hourglass beauty, "is Lust, and the boy is Wrath. You look sore... was Envy hard on you? I told you to play nice, Envy. Didn't I, Wrath?"

Wrath nodded adamantly, and you noticed that the innocent looking boy-monster had two mismatched appendages, one arm and one leg tan and healthy against his white body. Envy muttered something unintelligible, but obviously profane.

"I'm all right. Besides, I challenged him. He just didn't really go easy on me. Then he frightened me and I ended up here." You were hoping that with your honesty, he would take some blame back.

"See, Sloth? She just up and ran off when I said I wouldn't tell her our secrets. Now will you get off my back?"

"I'm sure that's not all there was to it. You're a bad liar, Envy. Are you perhaps jealous of the new one's attention?" Lust's cat eyes were narrow, but she smiled. "That will be your downfall, you know."

"Why would I lie about that stupid girl?"

"Hey!" you growled.

"What?" Envy grinned. "It was just a joke. I wouldn't say that about you." He smiled innocently, and his face almost glowed. You blinked. It hadn't seemed like a joke, but with a face like that...

"Envy, stop using your looks on her. She's new here." As if having read your mind, Lust turned to you. "Don't let him trick you, girl, he can look however he wants. You should know better after the first stunt he pulled, but I suppose I should know you're not exactly... innocent."

You looked up, a little surprised, confused, and strangely disappointed. Obviously she had meant innocence about the stunt earlier, you thought, but even accounting for all her words sounding like sex, you felt it was not running off she was criticizing. Was there something between her and Envy, maybe? Of course, they would go together, she was a Barbie, and he was quite nice too...

"Lust, you little slut, shut your mouth." The corners of Envy's mouth twitched. He had been looking for a reason to criticize her.

"Envy! I'm hurt... do you say these things in jealousy of my conquests? Or,” she leaned back, arching until her curves were somehow more apparent, “are you seducing me with your dirty talk?"

"Lust! Envy! Enough. I can't stand your bickering, I already have to babysit Wrath. Pride will be back soon, so I hope you each have something good to tell him." Sloth was obviously both annoyed and familiar with the pair's flirtatious behaviour.

"Mommy," Wrath whimpered, pouting. Sloth moved to him. "Of course I'm not angry at you, darling. Look what you've done, Envy, you've frightened him."

You were somewhat shocked still, by this strange group. The polar relations between them were distressing, but Sloth seemed to have put herself in charge. Envy could transform, could the others? Could you?

Chapter Text

Winry shivered, trying to refrain from cricking her neck. She had been bent over the wiring she was working on for hours, and messing up this solder would mean redoing the whole thing. One last tack, and she was done. She leaned back, pushing away a few stray strands of hair.

"Winry!"

Startled, she almost dropped the hand onto the floor.

"Winry? Look outside, looks like we'll be having company!"

After carefully placing the automail on the centre of the table, fidgeting and centering it, Winry loped, half walking, half hurriedly hopping, toward the balcony door. Down the road, she could just barely see a familiar grey suit of armour and young man looking off the bridge.

She jogged down the stairs and went start a kettle for tea, but couldn't find it. She turned to ask her grandmother Pinako and blinked in surprise to see that she was already pouring the water into a pot.

"You don't think you're the only one happy to see those boys, do you? It must have been a year since we've last seen them," Pinako scolded, emphasizing her words with a wooden spoon. Someone knocked. "Ah, here they are now." She bustled away to open the door, just as the old dog started barking.

"Fourteen months," Winry whispered.

"You're not just going to ignore me, are you?"

She spun- Edward was already in the house. He smiled, arms out, and almost fell down with the force of her hug. About to scold him for not writing, Winry frowned. As an automail engineer and Edward's mechanic, she had an almost innate sense of a body's balance, particularly his, and it was wrong. She stepped back- so was his smile. His eyes were downcast, and though peaceful, his face did not look happy.

"I was hoping you'd have time to make a new arm for me. I only have a couple weeks, or they'll take me back to get a pre-made one from the military hospital."

"You broke it already! I made it extra-heavy so it would be strong this time, it should have lasted a lifetime!" She rubbed her temples. He was always getting himself into trouble, wasn't he?

"Actually," Edward and Alphonse began together, then Alphonse let his brother continue.

"-it's for my left arm." Before she could question, he pulled away his coat to reveal a cheap prosthetic arm, like a mannequin's, strapped to his shoulder. "I know you'll have to work out how to do the nerves on this side, but I really don't have much time."

"What did you do?! Edward!" She caught a brief glimpse of his wide eyes; perhaps he had forgotten that his injuries did not only effect him. He patted her back rather mechanically with his right arm as she held him, as though he didn't know what to do.

She stepped back to rub her eyes, and when she looked back up, he had already disappeared into the parlour for Pinako to take his measurements.

Chapter Text

Doubled over, you wheezed, clasping your cramped stomach. Envy's blunt foot swung into your head, sending you rolling. You stumbled to your feet. "Stop, stop."

He did, rolling his eyes heavily. "What now? Don't you want to learn anything?"

"All I'm learning is how to take a beating." You turned to Sloth, who had been quietly observing your sparring. "Why do I have to fight with him? He won't let me get a second breath in, and he doesn't have anything crazy to do like Lust and Gluttony anyway."

She opened her mouth, but an even sterner voice spoke. "Certain people tend to fight us hand to hand. Bullets won't hurt you, and you won't be fighting against us. We don't know if you have any skills yet, and we won't find out unless you're pushed. Now get up. There are no breaks when you are fighting for real."

You flushed, then nodded at Pride, embarrassed that he had seen your outburst.

Envy laughed when you leapt at him and sent you flying backwards once again. This time, his kick threw you further back, whacking your back against a boulder. You grimaced at the sickening snap of your spinal cord and the uncomfortable tickling ache of regeneration. As you mended, you stared at Envy. It was hopeless. If you survived this "sparring," you would still end useless should someone attack you.

"Hey. Stop whining!" Again he threw you.

Whining? You had just been regenerating. You glared.

"Sure you were. Get over it and fight."

You missed, then missed again, and again. He had stopped his offensive moves, but he moved too fast for it to matter. You were panting and your eyes tearing from exertion, yet he still kept dodging and did not seem to tire.

"Damn it, stay STILL!"

He did, and you landed a blow square on his Adam's apple.

You grinned and began to laugh. You had finally managed to touch him, and knocked him right down. He hadn't even reached to defend himself.

You frowned. Why hadn't he?

"Get up, Envy. Thanks for letting me land it, that was... surprising, and maybe the confidence boost will help me go again."

"He didn't fake it."

Slowly and rather unsurely, you turned to Pride. "How did he not fake it? I can't have hit him that easily."

"You told him to be still, and he did. Try concentrating a bit harder."

Stop. He stayed put. You felt yourself blush the tiniest bit- of course, he wasn't moving in the first place. Swallowing, you tried again.

Come here, Envy.

He frowned at you, then took one wobbly step-- you laughed internally, he always tried to look so lithe. He took another step, then soon was walking smoothly, as though his legs were naturals at moving of their own accord, though he didn't struggle. He stopped before you and glared daggers into you.

"I guess we're done practicing. Find another guinea pig next time." He flounced away, looking ready for a long sulk. He was quite obviously not used to being bested.

The other homunculi dispersed and you walked back into the house. Hopefully Envy would feel better tomorrow. Even if he wasn't the most fun companion, you had become his charge, and it was unlikely anyone else would help you practice, let alone take you into the town to try out the humans.


"Envy?" you called into the meeting room. No, he wasn't there. You looked back up the stairs, and hesitated. Each homunculus, including yourself, had its own room, though they were rarely used for anything except costume changes. Posing as a happy and well-to-do family outside of a small town meant having a reasonably large house, whether or not it was useful. Usually, unless a meeting was scheduled or visitors from the town were coming, Envy would leave, scoffing at all the comforts mortal humans needed, when he could spend the night doing anything he wanted. From the lowest floor, all you could see was his closed door.

With a deep breath, you began ascending the stairs. If he wasn't home, it would be your first time with the house to yourself. And if he was home, well, at least you would find him. At his door, you listened for breath, then slowly turned the knob and let it swing open.

Envy laid on his back, dressed in his typical tight gear, hair splaying fantastically in every direction, head rested on his muscular arms tucked behind it. He looked straight at the ceiling, motionless, cool and pale. Your breath stopped, then your weight shifted as you leaned forward to take the scene in.

The floorboard creaked.

Envy threw you into the wall.

"What are you doing in here? Get out." He dropped you into the doorway, pushed you out with a foot, and slammed the door.
You sat, spread on the ground and stunned, staring at the door.

It was even more surprising when he opened it again.

"Come in here."

Not wanting to risk another fight, you followed. Maybe he'd let you explain that you wanted to go to town while the others were gone.

"I was just wondering-"

"Try it again."

"Try what? Sneaking in?"

His shoulders lifted by his weighty sigh of exasperation could have lifted houses. "The mind thing. Do it. I'll sit on the bed. Make me do something."

You looked at him, and thought to yourself: up.

Nothing. You shook your head to clear it-- you were still a bit shocked from the fall--then took a deep breath and concentrated again. Get up, Envy.

Still nothing. GetupgetupGETUP!

He clenched his head and for once, he was the one doubling over. "You didn't have to yell it! Shut up!" As quickly as he had crumpled, he rose and passed you a sly, though genuine grin. "You can't get me anymore. Try your parlour tricks on someone else, little girl."

You were frustrated that you had failed at your only unique skill, but at least feeling smug was the sort of thing to put Envy in a good mood. Pride's words echoed in your head; you would not be fighting homunculi anyway.

"Everyone is out. If we go to the town, I can do just that."

He grinned approval. Suddenly it didn't sound like such a good idea after all.

Chapter Text

There was something nice about being in town. It was crowded, but you had spent the last week with no real company. Envy led you down the street, not letting you stop under the the pastel awnings and smell the food stands. You followed him into an alley. In one leap, he was atop the building. Your jump lacked the feline fluidity of his, and you stumbled on your landing, but you made it. You were finally learning to homunculus.

Together, you looked over the side. You pondered how no one ever seemed to look up.

"That one."

Envy was pointing at a lady in a bright orange sun hat. Easy enough to find and follow. Then, without warning, he dropped into the crowd, changing as he fell and blending in upon landing. No one seemed to notice. He started following the orange lady.

Stop. She froze. The man behind her collided with her back, and it looked like she was apologizing. What else could she do? Hypnotists always made them cluck like a chicken. You shrugged internally. Do it. Cluck. Keep on going.

The foot traffic was beginning to form a ring around the woman, some watching, some hurrying their children by and trying to keep a distance. You had lost sight of Envy, but focused on keeping the woman going as the police approached her, finally relenting as they began to drag her away. She looked confused, though you couldn't really see her face. She pulled away from the police with a shriek- to her, you supposed, it just seemed like the military police had up and kidnapped her.

"I still have doubts as to whether that will be useful, but at least you used it properly."

Drop dead, you thought. He didn't. You looked up at him, all posture and pose, and concentrated harder. Hop.

His hands lifted like a squirrel's before him and he began to bring his feet together, then stopped and smacked you upside the head.

"Stop trying that stuff with me. My mind isn't that weak."

You experimented with a few more civilians, then a member of the police, once he had resumed his position. By the time it was easier, your mind hurt and you could barely control yourself. That, you supposed, was where the name came from.

"It's getting dark. Let's go home."

Although you couldn't quite focus on him, you gaped. He had referred to you as a collective and decided to take you home before you got any weaker, all in one sentence. You teetered even walking slowly and didn't land your jump down. Perhaps it was a bit too late for that.

You put your weight over his shoulder and let him lead you back to the house. Though you had already learned that homunculi didn't sleep, nor did you need it, you lay on the bed and closed your eyes. When you opened them, a deliciously rich smell was wafting over you. You sat up, took the chalice from beside your bed, and sipped.

It was earthy, coppery, thick like syrup-- and delightful. You drained the cup, licked the rim and, feeling rejuvenated, stepped into the hall to look for more. No one was there, so you went back downstairs and searched the cupboards to no avail. The others still were gone- Sloth and Pride were probably in Central, Wrath would be with Sloth, and Lust and Gluttony were somewhere, probably together. They seemed to go off on their own a lot.

Maybe Envy was home still, and if he was, maybe he would get you another drink. You walked up the stairs again, then hesitated at his door. Not knocking seemed like a bad idea, but on the other hand, Envy didn't seem like he would particularly care to let you in if you knocked anyway. If he didn't, you wouldn't know if he was home.

You knocked. Nothing.

Feeling reassured, you turned the knob and stepped in.

Envy had taken a page from your book; he was on his back, one knee up, one leg straight, arms casually crossed on his chest, and breathing slowed. Even feigning sleep, he maintained his cold-but-elegant demeanour.

Avoiding the creaky board, you crept in, closing the door and twisting the knob into place to silence even the click of the mechanism. You took a step closer, then stopped. You were there to borrow him and ask a favour, why put off the inevitable? Then you looked at his arms, and felt the tops of your cheeks grow hot. A minute couldn't hurt, and every delicate detail of his face and smooth, sinewy body agreed with you.

When he switched his legs in one languid movement, stretching the outer and slowly relaxing the inner, the smooth glide of his muscles made your breath hitch.

He opened his eyes. "What are you doing here?"

"I was... I was just wondering if there was more of that red drink. It was really good."

"We're out. Lust will bring more whenever she gets here."

Ignoring his annoyed glare, you sat on the edge of the bed. "Well, it really helped. Woke me up. Thanks."

The blush was beating every effort you could to cool it down, so you stared into your feet. At least he would probably just assume you were as uncomfortable expressing gratitude as him.

"You're warm. I can feel it from here. Why would a homunculus be warm?"

Now you could feel your entire neck flushing. You pressed your chin even deeper into your collar.

You could feel his eyes burning into your scalp. "Come here."

The confidence and cockiness that led you to his room gone, you shuffled across the bed and, at another gesture, turned to face him.

Envy leaned forward, and you sat still, petrified. Either he would kiss you, or swallow you whole, and you weren't sure which would be worse.

His forehead was cool against yours. "You're sick. Go lay down, Sloth will deal with you when she gets back here. Should only be a week or two."

"Cruel," you muttered, trying to stand. You hadn't realized how tight your knees had closed until you separated them. Maybe you were sick.

When you flopped back onto his bed, Envy leapt up, his usual mask of scorn replaced with concern.

"You're not actually sick, are you? Of course I'd be training the homunculus that gets sick, of course. While the others aren't here to blame, as well."

You shook your head, sitting up straight. "No, I'm just dizzy. Maybe it was the wine." You stood back up, feeling much more solid on your feet, if still hot.

He scanned your face again, then nodded. "That's red water for you. You should have seen Wrath's first time." Again he touched your forehead, this time with the back of his hand; you leaned into it, sucking in the cool.

You felt airy, overconfident, and unreal as you took his hand and pulled him back toward the bed. His easy acceptance and follow-through made you feel even further above reality, but the force with which he pushed you to the floor grounded you. Envy was very real.

His lips were hard, but smooth, and though you felt he'd bite clean through your own, the vigor and thorough nature in which he took them more than distracted you. His chilled body was solid against you, and any androgyny the form he called cute exerted was cancelled by his smooth chest and his heavy rutting against your raised hip. For every part he was solid and cold, you were heated and malleable, eager to let him lead; eager to see what it was you had been so drawn to. Each time his hand glided across you, raising bumps both from the chill and your attraction, each time a nip became a fraction deeper, and each time he reasserted himself, gripping your wrists with bruising force, transforming you as he would himself, your curiosity was relieved yet piqued more. Each time he answered it, you pushed back harder, struggling only to push him on.

"Hofng!" Envy's exclamation was both headed and footed by thumps.

Before you could still your heart, focus your eyes, or comprehend why you were suddenly so sensationally deprived, you were sealed into a dark, small box. As you scrabbled at the walls, searching for strength you knew you had, your fever returned, and for the first time, you fell into a true sleep.


Roy Mustang's eyebrows were in a familiar furrowed line across his forehead, and for once he was dumbstruck. Eventually, he lowered his gaze, massaging his temples. He looked up to Edward. "What is this?"

Turning away, Edward closed his eyes. He had not intended to let this 'little problem' out of his hands for a second, let alone weeks. He was lucky as hell that he had heard the military police talking about strange occurrences in Amhirn, and luckier to have been there at all. He knew it was pure luck that he had re-contained the situation; that was the most frustrating part about it. Edward turned back, but his brother was already speaking for him.

"It's a hom- we think it's a homunculus, sir."

"Why does it look like your sister? And really, why is it in my office?"

Ed took his place. "I wasn't sure if we could take this elsewhere, Sir. It is rather delicate to bring higher, isn't it?" Mustang looked curious, and his look strengthened Edward's resolve. "You've already heard about my arm, right? That Scar destroyed it?" He removed his gloves, showing off the matched automail appendages beneath.

"Dammit Fullmetal! Didn't you learn from the first time? The laws of alchemy are laws for a reason." Alphonse faltered and Mustang continued with less emotion. "If anyone found out about this, we would all be imprisoned for a very long time. Have you ever needed to visit an alchemist's cell? They immobilize you completely and keep you until you rot away. This is serious, Edward. Human transmutation is not a toy-"

"I wasn't playing!" Edward snarled, thoroughly incensed and dizzy with feeling. The guilt and fear were enough before Alphonse had convinced him to include Mustang.

Mustang sighed, then clapped his hand onto Edward's shoulder. "Then tell me what you were doing. What happened, Edward?"

Uncharacteristically dutiful, Edward relayed his story:

Alphonse had wrapped the body and arranged to transport Dana to Risembool while Edward remained in a stupor. When they arrived, Pinako Rockbell had arranged a quiet funeral.

But they hadn't buried Dana's body. A near perfect facsimile, but not the real thing. While Alphonse had done more than a tragic youngster's duty in preparing for their homecoming, Edward had brought home the ingredients to make a replacement. With his sister's real body, her heart and brain still intact and wounds patchable, he had returned to the woods, far from any possible bystander.

The transmutation failed. Though the body pumped some air through its lungs and blood through its heart, no sister entered it. He had transmuted a perfect body and returned life, but the soul he had asked for wouldn't connect to it.

He omitted the pacing, the crying, and the frustration from his tale, but felt his lip tremble and forehead flinch as he told them of the quick job to put the creature out of its misery. He had then quickly and alchemically dispersed her body into its components to blow away in the wind. Other than his own blood, no evidence remained of the transmutation.

Mustang kept his voice low. "If you destroyed what you created, then what is this?"

"We have met others before, and we've never killed one. I think... I think this is what I left behind, returned to form."

"If they are that hard to kill, how have you subdued this one?"

Edward's cheeks grew hot. "Her and Envy- another one, maybe her trainer- were... they were distracted. We were in and out of their place fast, but she fell unconscious almost right away anyway."

"Are you sure she's alive? She's cold."

"Of course she's alive! They're all pale and cold!" Despite his defense, Edward checked the box. Yes, she was alive, breathing lightly. She looked almost exactly as she had sleeping in his hotel room before anything had happened. If it was her, he reminded himself.

"Can you watch her for a while? I have to do some reading." For the first time, he smiled. "She gave me a nice lead on the homunculi just before we met you last."

"Don't leave her long, Fullmetal. I didn't plan to stay here tonight."

"Then we'll come back with our books."

Chapter Text

You rubbed your head, groaning. The fever seemed to be gone, but you were far from comfortable. Clearing your throat, you looked around and felt your eyes widen with shock. You were crammed in a little crate- thankfully lidless- and Envy was nowhere to be seen.

That was right, you had been interrupted. Now you were in some sort of office, and someone dressed like Pride was behind the desk. So it was military people who had come for you, and without Pride's permission. Sloth hadn't taught you much about ranking yet, but you knew Pride was at the top. You stilled your breath, hoping they hadn't noticed you yet.

A young voice continued, apparently they had not seen you. "The people from Amhirn told us that a family lived up there. A nice, normal woman, her husband, a couple kids, and her brother from the military visiting now and then. It doesn't add up to a homunculus lair. I don't know what they were doing there, though."

The one behind the desk nodded. "I'll look up the address. The 'military brother' might end up another victim. They keep pretty thorough files on everyone, a sibling's address should be easy."

Gulping, you tightened your fists. If Sloth had to move the headquarters on account of your capture, she would not be forgiving.

"Brother!"

You hadn't sensed a third human presence, but a heavily armoured man (or child, as it sounded) pointed at you, drawing both of the other men's eyes along.

"So she's awake. Perhaps she can tell us what they were doing in Amhirn."

Drop, bastard. He fell to the ground, but a shroud of flames engulfed you. You screamed; you watched your flesh char black and fall away, fat boiling, muscles blistering and blackening.

In a split second the flames stopped again, just as suddenly as they had happened.

"Is she dead?"

Your ears were gone; you weren't sure how you understood.

"If she is, Roy can help us with the others."

Your bones and ligaments gave a great shudder, clattering against the hard floor. Slowly, you were regaining feeling, sitting up, and then unblemished again.

"This... this is power." You grinned with a madness living up to your name. Throwing the blonde boy against the wall, you laughed at the imprint he made. "I can do whatever I want, Colonel Mustang" you purred, flicking his name plate.

"Not if I keep you burning! Let's see just how many lives you have."

"Colonel no!" The little one was up again. "I want to know what they were doing in that family's house. I want to know what they are doing."

"Well," a familiar, silky voice interrupted. "I'm afraid she won't have time to answer that. We were a little busy, you know." A military uniform and crew cut blending away, he stood just within the door.

"Envy," the armoured one hissed.

"Fullmetal, Fullmetal's Brother, and the Flame Colonel. What I wouldn't give to find you all so neatly together under better circumstances."

"What were you doing there, Envy!"

Envy's grin was too wide, lips splitting nearly to his ears to reveal pointy little teeth. "I thought you could tell, Fullmetal. We were using their beds. Now, I think your pretty sister and I have something to finish, alone, unless you want to watch."

He didn't wait for an answer, he just pulled you out the window. Unprepared for a homunculus fall, you shrieked, but did not splatter. Within Envy's arms, your landing was a soft roll. Rather than pausing for an iconic pinning scene, Envy dragged you to your feet and ran. You dodged through alley's and over gates, then followed Envy's leap onto a train. There, he reclined.

"Envy." You still were trying to stop panting. "Envy, what was that about 'sister?'"

He rolled his head toward you. "No one told you? Edward Elric, the Fullmetal runt was your brother, by adoption at least. The armour one is his younger brother. They're the ones that tried to transmute you. Sloth too, actually. You guys are the youngest around; I think Wrath is the only other one whose creator is even alive anymore, and that was years ago."

"They did what? Wait, Sloth's related to me? Wait, wait, how old are you, Envy?"

"Too many questions, that's your problem," he sighed. "I'm a lot older than you, to put it mildly. I was about your age when the bastard transmuted me; he abandoned me like this. At least I don't have to look anything like him."

"If they made us, why are they 'bastards?'"

Envy growled at you, making you shuffle back. "Because they abandon us. They take us half back to life, but without memories, without anything to live for, and they leave us. Lust was supposed to be a lover, you a sister, I would have been his son again. But when they find out we're not what they wanted, they call us monsters and toss us away. Did you see what your brother, your own flesh and blood let them do to you?"

You had gotten quite the sight of what the flames had done to your body, and your stomach turned just thinking about it. For a while, you were quiet, but as you neared 'home-' the house was visible from the train- you asked again. "So what did they do? And who is Sloth?"

"Sloth was their mother. She also fed Dana, your old form, for a few years. You were the second human transmutation by Edward Elric."

You shivered with anger. Your power trip over, you were beginning to feel Envy's sentiments about the half life you were living, and you let it consume you.

"He knew this would happen to me."

"He did. He dragged you back from the pearly gates and into this particular branch of purgatory. This is our stop."

Following his leap off the train, your landing was perfect, and your anger still heavy. The house wasn't far; in there you could do some yelling.

Slamming the door behind you, you entered to pace the kitchen, wringing your hands. You felt like a coiled bundle of muscles, sinewy and ready to spring. Mid step, Envy caught your eye, and you stared at him. He looked you up and down without subtlety, but with a look of appreciation.

"You are much prettier when you act like a homunculus. I don't think I realized until now just how pretty you were... or how Lust lost her appeal."

You glared.

"Oh grow up, you're not surprised, look at her. Look at me. Are you getting angrier? You look like it. Maybe you'll get cute enough to look like me."

"You're a little bitch, Envy."

He laughed. "Is that it? Didn't you realize before now?" Envy straightened up and wiggled his shoulders, lifting his chin. He looked absolutely proud. Then he faltered. "What, you're not going to get any more angry?"

"I'm angry enough at those kids. Why would they do this? What kind of god would bring someone to life just to watch it burn to death?"

"They're not gods, sweetie. They're self-centered little brats. But they have proven useful, so try not to act out your revenge just yet." His condescension was almost palpable.

You gritted your teeth. "I know that. If anything they would be demons, but that's us, isn't it?"

"Tch. Who cares? ...oh, you look a little upset. You should see your eyes now."

"What?"

Without any illusion of care, Envy kissed you, pushing your mouth open, then scraping your lips with his teeth.

You flinched, then flinched again at the wave that coursed through you, forcing Envy to stumble back.

"You and your little trick again. Tell me you don't want me, then."

"I shouldn't have to. You shouldn't have grabbed me."

"Kid-" the patronizing tone had returned, "we are homunculi, not grade schoolers. Do you really expect me to respect your space? Your body? Is it even really your body to begin with?"

All the angry words in your head stuck in your throat and he interrupted before you could get them out.

"Or maybe I just thought you would like to continue from earlier, and really I wouldn't rape pretty, angry homunculi- as good of an idea as that would be." He caught your weary look, and returned a grin. "As much as I like hurting, I'm not going to hurt my colleague, or whatever you are. Even if you get angry enough to fledge into a real beautiful homunculus like me, you will be safe."

You didn't need to project your thoughts, they were clear on your face: you were disillusioned and unsure.

"So what's it going to be? Don't tell me you're just going to run around the house yelling until all that anger's out."

With a firm hand, you pulled his mouth back to yours, and he indulged you gladly. Somehow, you fell to the floor with him, and your lips were bleeding before you convinced yourself to pause long enough to pull your shirt off.

"Now," you paused to kiss him, "don't get any ideas. I can't stand you."

"Oh, I can tell."

"Just undress, bitch."

He laughed. "That's a good word, isn't it? Very me." His already tight top disappeared into his skin. "Fun trick, hm?"

You ignored his words, pulling him over your body, more interested in his smooth, pale chest. His nipples hardened, and you kissed his neck, sliding your hands down to his hips. He allowed you to remove that garment yourself, then dropped his mouth to your breast as you slid both hands over his ass, pulling his hips down to yours.

You felt yourself pulse again, and expected Envy to back off, then realized that the pulsing was internal, and heat grew in your cheeks.

All his weight on one elbow, Envy pressed his hand between your legs, spread the lips of your vulva, then played with your clit with quick motions and slippery fingers. He varied his pace, and your pulsing grew more frequent and each time seemed to fog your mind. Occasionally he'd pause, just long enough to feel you ask for more.

Although his play was making you light headed with pleasure and delicious energy, you were growing impatient.

Either by sheer timing or some moment of understanding, Envy penetrated you, first with two curved fingers. You gasped, then reached for his cock, not ready to wait.

He let you guide him in, but as he pumped into you, fucking your reason away with your anger, the nips and snapping of his teeth intensified again. Paralyzed but shaking with his strokes, you felt the skin flay away from your throat, peeling back as he licked at the raw muscle.

The difference between pain and pleasure disappeared as finally you came, built up energy wracking your body until you shuddered against him. He held your body immobile, still hard inside you, and let your body massage him.

He pulled out. "Too bad you're finished already."

"We can keep going," you mumbled, already contradicting yourself as you let your body relax onto the floor.

Envy laughed yet again.

"You didn't come, did you?" Your head was beginning to clear already, and you stared upwards. He was dressed already. The ceiling was pretty. He hadn't softened when he pulled out, but maybe that was part of his talent; he was already shaped the way he wanted.

"I can only kill you so many times in one day. You didn't think it was the pumping that gets me off, did you?"

You shuddered, but let him pull you to your feet. Your blood stained the floor a brackish brown, but was slowly retreating into your veins. Then, the carpet was clean.

"It's a shame, you look so satisfied now. It's almost human."

You knew he was insulting you, and you felt the value of the barb. Yesterday, you hadn't known just how or why human were such scum to the homunculus. Yet you found yourself grinning- after all, he was telling you yet again that you had been beyond desirable.

Chapter Text

A few days passed in a blur of sex and pain. For what he said about preferring the rip and tear, Envy sure didn't seem to mind the sex part. In fact, he seemed to forget quite quickly that you needed to be angry to turn him on- though a dirty look certainly didn't hurt.

The control he had over his body, to give you fluid, deep thrusts could almost make you euphoric in itself, but when he thought about it, his hands and mouth were more than competition. Much of the time, however, just his cock was for you- his hands would please him.

Feeling him run a fingernail under your skin and down your sternum, you were well aware of that. Even as you were flayed, even as he reached in and cracked you open, you didn't mind. That was the exchange for elation, and though you didn't like to look, the exchange had become more than an obligation of shared pleasure. As he learned to relish your body, you were learning just how refreshing a little- or a lot- of pain could be.

Though you gasped when a rib poked rather sharply, the snap of the cage was more freeing than any cricking of your back or knuckles had been, and the feel of Envy's tongue was fascinating. Slippery, soft, wet, it gave you better ideas. You pressed on his shoulder, and Envy seemed to share your opinion, as he lowered his mouth without hesitation.

Between your moans and breaths, you let a small giggle slip forth. With his sadistic glee over you and snide remarks at any comment, it was rather ridiculous to see him licking you. An intense shiver shook your body when his fingers penetrated you, and the notion of silliness was washed away under the feel of his mouth and hand.

He flickered his tongue on your clit rapidly, to the point where it was nearly vibrating, and rather than pummeling you, he bent his fingers and rubbed firmly.

You came, tightening around his hand as he milked you of energy. Panting, you glared at him. For all the pleasure that had overtaken your body, and the intensity of it, he had rushed you through. Your body shuddered again, and you lay back, drained.

At first you felt like kicking Envy when he moved back between your legs- you were sensitive, stimulated, and worn- but you hesitated, and in that moment he took you, pressing you back together where he had torn and startled you with a deep kiss. Filled, you were no longer in a mood to object. Instead, you pushed just as aggressively back at his mouth, tasting your own blood, but also his own sweet mouth through it.

Holding you by your breasts, bruising but beyond your caring, he continued to fuck you, at first so that you could feel each stroke follow through, then building upon himself until fast or slow, it just seemed constant, yet still unique and detailed. You could feel the head of his cock on every ridge within you. Feeling yourself growing hot, you moaned, pushing your hips back against him. With his token grin, he pulled out, earning himself another glare, though a noise more disappointed and confused than angry came from your throat to accompany it.

He did not leave you disappointed long. His slender fingers entered you again. With one hand, he spread your lips, distracting you with his still too fast tongue until he worked the rest of his extended fingers and folded thumb in. He continued working your clit, lifting your body to his mouth with the free hand as he twisted the other just slightly.

You felt both enveloped and filled; surrounded and held by the warmth of his mouth, but set sturdily upon his wrist, where he played with you with easy control. Waves of heat rose from your chest to your face. You lost track of your moans. Envy did not stop.

Crying out and shaking, you pulsated around his hand, held off the ground just enough so that your body could do as it wanted without restriction of the bed. Though you could not see it, you knew Envy was grinning as he slid his hand out, wiped the slippery fluids off on your leg, and set his face down again.

This time you knew you were too done for more, but before you could kick him, he gave you a nip. Ah yes, the exchange.

You relaxed. For all his selfishness, he could refresh you this way, and though it too made you sensitive, it was nothing like the numbing-but-tingling aftereffects of orgasm.

He bit into your thigh, just below your groin, and licked. Against your better instincts, you looked down, just in time to see a spurt cover his face in red, so that only his eyes and shark smile showed his colours. His smile grew wider at your stare, then disappeared as another spurt of blood blocked your view.

Gross, but somehow, good. You lay back, letting him continue. He started with the little nibbles- not cannibalistic, but to break the skin, then proceeded forward to wrap you around his finger, nearly literally. He bent and broke you, though he left every limb almost as straight as it belonged afterward- mutilation was not, after all, pretty, just enjoyable. As he broke you open again, air chilling your exposed thoracic cavity, you took a deep breath to fill it.

He slapped you.

Before you could react, he slapped you again. Then he grabbed you by the shoulders and shook, until suddenly, you pulled together.

"No." Though not shouted, hardly even said out loud, the word was strong, and Envy stumbled backward.

Your staring contest was broken off by a sudden knock at the door.

Envy started out, then turned back to you. "Go to your room." Over one lithe step, he was clothed and skinned as the mild man you had met when you first reached the house.

You curled your lip into a snarl, but the pounding at the door grew louder. Unnerved, you left.

He had acted as though he had the right to treat you like a child, you fumed. What the fuck had he been doing, slapping you, then talking down to you like that. However his sadism worked, that was not part of it, that was not even part of his almost affectionate jeering. You were livid, and your heart pounded. Trying to reassess the situation, you wondered why you hadn't forced him back immediately, but found yourself quickly distracted.

The knocking had continued, but it was no longer knocking, it sounded as though the door might be broken down. That was more than a diversion from your anger. Thankful for the position of the door, you settled yourself on the floor of the room, watching through a crack as Envy opened the door, at first a crack to look out, then with his hands raised, as any middle aged man would when the military police arrived at his door.

"What seems to be the problem, officer? I'm sorry, I was arms-deep in the back yard."

"Are you the owner of this house, sir?"

"Why yes, I am. How can I help you?"

"Enough, enough. He doesn't match our description, let me talk with him."

With a quick breath, you almost slammed the door.

It was Pride's voice unmistakably, but he spoke like a kindly old grandfather. Another soldier protested, but Pride let himself in. "You can search the house after we talk. Major Stromm's brother-in-law deserves our respect." He closed the door.

"Is Insanity still here? You haven't let her off and get captured or run away yet, have you?"

The noise Envy made was suitably inhuman and ripe with disgust, but he flicked his wrist toward the stairs. You pulled back from your looking spot, hoping Pride didn't see you first.

Apparently he did, as he called you to get up and come down.

"I have a job for you two. Go to Dante, she had news we couldn't speak of over the phone. Do not let her undermine our cause. Get our message and get out. It seems your brother may have wandered away from Lab 5, and I don't suggest you linger there."

Envy made another annoyed sound, but seemed to feel Pride looking through him, and did not protest.

"Good. Now get her out of here before those idiots try to inspect the place."


The vigor with which Envy dragged you straight out into the woods and away was like that of a parent with child. Though you did not resist, you stumbled behind him while his knuckles whitened around your wrist.

"Hey. Hey, Envy."

He ignored you.

"Envy stop."

It worked, he froze. Regaining control, he narrowed his eyes and curled his lip. "What."

You let the anger come back. Apparently it was visible, as his brow raised and softened. That didn't do much to quell your own annoyance.

"What the hell was that earlier? You can't just fucking shake someone."

"I can do whatever I want," he hissed. "Why don't you focus on not bleeding?"

Sputtering both on your newly-opened throat and many not so clean words trying to bubble up through the fresh blood, you watched him disappear in one leap. It took a few seconds to bring yourself whole before following him, curses now flowing freely. The word you shouted with the most vehemence, however, was his name.

"Envy! You bastard, get back here! Fucking cunt. Envy!"

"Well, you're doing fine this time, if wordy. Tch."

You glowered up at him. He looked so smug in his tree. "What are you doing? Get down here."

He landed inches from your feet, leaving a deep imprint in the dirt, before taking the step out to look down at you. Although he was clearly trying to scowl and start an argument, he did a little shoulder shuffle and seemed to barely hide a smile over his cleverness in being tall.

"You almost bled out playing with me, I wanted to make sure you could survive in the wild."

"What are you talking about?"

His exasperated sigh exasperated you. "Do you not pay attention? Were you sleeping? Am I really that bad?"

"If your next word isn't answering my question you'll be blank-eyed and clucking until this time next year."

He raised his eyebrows, but didn't seem ready to challenge your abilities. "A little nip here, a little blood there, and then you stopped mending and kept bleeding. You're pretty ungrateful to someone who saved your life. Three times now, too."

"I was not dying." But you weren't completely sure.

"Sure, the blood was just flowing for fun."

You rolled your shoulders, trying to abolish the sudden stiffness you felt. Envy wasn't the most truthful person you ever met, but this didn't feel like a scheme. Stiffening more, you remembered how he had overtaken you so easily.

"Now, now. You can't always be the picture of strength, that's my job, right along with beauty."

His words, though hardly comforting, soothed you. That was him, this was normal.

Your perception seemed to shatter again as he pulled you, frozen, into an embrace. For his thin body, he was sturdy to lean on and firm around you. For a moment he held you there, then, still steadying your shoulders, he pushed you back and held your gaze.

"You aren't allowed to die. Understood?"

With some difficulty, you nodded. Your eyes felt wet.

He smiled at you, and it looked almost genuine. "You're one of the better partners I've had, and we haven't even killed anyone yet. Let's go, the old bitch will be waiting for us."

You couldn't quite tell if he was talking about sexual partners or mission partners, but you took his hand and followed his lead. He seemed to sense his way around the trees as he sped through the wood, and you flew along behind him, wondering if you'd ever learn to run like that.

After running the day through, Envy slowed, and you looked around.

"Are we there?"

"No, I just got tired of running." He jerked his head sideways. "There's a town over there- let's see if we can find some entertainment."

He was right, and the night market was bustling with activity. At some point you left him, looking through the wares and wandering by yourself, until you noticed some rather pretty jewelry and stopped to inspect. Large garnets reminded you of the red stones and Envy's tattoo. It took a moment to remember that you had the same one; you didn't look at your own face much. You fingered the pendant, but it was didn't suit you anyway.

"That's too big for you, it would just make your chest look weird. Here, try this on instead."

You glared at the woman. She fastened an emerald necklace around your neck, not quickly enough for you to miss the much larger price tag. You looked in the mirror and almost gagged. The green brought out a sickly colour in your pale skin. At least the garnet would have gone well.

"Now, see home much better this choker looks? You really should add more colour to your wardrobe, look at all that black. Maybe the topaz, I have this lovely beaded belt, hand made."

Struggling to undo the emeralds, you felt a snap and watched the woman's lips pucker into a small O.

"Well, I can get you a new clasp for that if you purchase it."

"It's your ugly necklace, you put it around my neck."

"Those are real emeralds! See the colour? That means they've never been heated or anything, they're natural, you wouldn't believe what they cost me!"

"Well, they look like glass to me." Envy reached his pale hand out, plucked the necklace out of the woman's hand, and picked at one of the stones.

"Don't bother, she already broke it, and she's buying it. Or are you going to be paying? Perhaps you can get something more her colour while you're at it."

"Ah! A sliver!" Envy held his finger up, a drop of blood running down to his hand, then pooling and compounding in the crook of his thumb. "Are you sure these are emeralds?" He held up the stone, broke into five menacing-looking points.

"My emeralds! What did you do? Emeralds are hard, they don't just shatter!"

You watched as Envy shook the necklace and two more emeralds fell out of their settings, into his palm. He pinched one between his two bloodied fingers, pushing down until it disintegrated into dust.

"You weren't planning on charging her for stones and jewelry like this? You can't swindle us just because we're from out of town."

"Those are emeralds!"

A crowd was gathering, and several rather large men were approaching.

"Envy..."

"Shh, the fun is only beginning." He continued to haggle with the woman.

"What are you doing? You have a problem with my wife? Milly, this guy giving you trouble?"

"Yeah, I am. She's selling shitty fake stones."

Both man and wife sputtered.

"My wife sells the stones that I mine. There something you want to say to me?" The beefy man loomed over Envy, and his friends began crowding around.

Envy seemed unswayed. "Yeah. Either you or your wife's a swindler, and you're both bitches."

One of the men shoved you aside. You shoved him back, then gasped as he rolled to the ground, piling into a heap.

"What're you playing at!?" he snarled, as the gem husband yelled at Envy; "get out of my sight!" Then, they both swung.

Instinct took over and you ducked, then crashed your own fist into his soft belly. With a crack, his back hit the brick of the building behind him. He dropped.

The crowd was beginning to shout, and a few people ran over to check on the fallen man. You looked around wildly as screams filled the air. You smelled fire. Finally you caught Envy's eye. The man he had fought was on the ground, not bleeding, but seeping blood from the head. He wasn't going to stand again. The jewelry lady was shrieking in hysteria.

"Having fun?" Envy called. He didn't seem to be hitting anyone else to kill, instead enjoying beating them back. "Don't you want to practice?"

You weren't sure if you did, but the crowd had progressed to a torch-and-pitchforks mob. When you looked back to Envy, he was gone, but the woman didn't seem to notice- she was still shrieking.

"Stop!." All but one or two of the villagers froze, and those still didn't rush you. In the moment of stillness, you regained your bearings and thought you saw Envy on the rooftops. You leapt up, banking off one side of the street to spring onto the roofs on the other.

"All this over some rocks?"

"Humans are stupid, aren't they?"

You began to nod, then looked at him, furrowing your brow. "Then why do we want to be them?"

"Speak for yourself. Or Lust, at least. They attacked you, are you just going to leave them like that?"

You furrowed your brow harder, and Envy gave you a queer look.

"What, you don't enjoy this? You're going to have to get used to killing them eventually. Take your time though, whatever you like." He waved a hand dismissively, but his face was easy to read. He was mocking you.

This time you didn't speak aloud. Burn this place.

The mob began to move, swinging their torches to the side, brushing each building as they stormed their own city. Not all the buildings caught immediately, but it took but a few minutes before the city was alight.

You felt the warm glow on your cheeks and looked to Envy, the orange reflecting off his translucent white skin.

"Can we keep going now?"

A baby cried, the flames roared, and you flinched.

"Are you okay with that?"

"Yes. I'm not so okay with fire yet." You shuddered again, remembering the image of your blackened hands courtesy of the Flame Alchemist.

"Good. Even Sloth is weak about children, and she has been killing for a while. It is not far to Dante's from here, if we walk we can be there tomorrow."

You followed him into the cool wood, where the light filtering through the trees flickered like flames for some distance before fading to that of the full moon. It would be a long evening.

Though the village was well out of sight, the moon was still high when Envy stopped.

"How does it feel to be a real homunculus?"

Shrugging, you replied honestly. "Kind of bad. Killing people wasn't something I signed up for. "

He grinned, exposing jagged teeth. "No, this isn't the military." He took your hands. "But think, think about this power. See how they bent to your will? How you fell that guy with one blow?"

Again, you shrugged.

"Insanity. We live off humans. Get used to it."

Shaking your head, you just stared. "What do you mean?"

"Don't you know what your delicious red water was made of?"

You felt nauseous.

"What are you, vegetarian? Everything lives off something else dying. We're just a bit more direct about the death part. And remember how you felt when you drank? Don't you feel like that now?"

"I'm not a vampire."

"Did I say it was blood? It's much more refined than that. Not that I would know."

You snorted.

"Not that I would know about the process. I am rather familiar with blood. Now come on, stop feeling guilty, and really feel. Feel that power. Do you really want that badly to be a human, guilty of sin? You're the only one of us not named for it."

Something was welling from an untapped spring within you, and you tried to quell it. Despite your efforts, your chest began to swell in pride, and you felt exhilarated, like something was awakening from bonds. You were full and hard, lacking vacancy or space to fill with anything else.

"See, you want it."

You pulled away from him, only realizing for the first time that he had a grip on your shoulders. "Am I a monster? I feel disgusting."

"I'm a monster. Do you hate me?"

He stooped to your eye level, not letting you break contact. His violet eyes were hypnotic; you shivered. In one flare, the feeling encompassed you again. It faded, but did not leave.

Your bones and ligaments gave a great shudder, clattering against the hard floor. Slowly, you were regaining feeling, sitting up, and then unblemished again.

"This... this is power." You grinned with a madness living up to your name. Throwing the blonde boy against the wall, you laughed at the imprint he made.

You had been high with power at the military office, and it had been great. How had you let that memory slip your mind? Relaxing a bit, you tried to explore the feeling, but you just felt full, and like you couldn't stop grinning.

"Now you know why I smirk so much- and why those weak ones don't. You have to embrace it, be what you are, grow stronger and more able." He was smirking, but his shark teeth out again, and it grew into a wide, face-splitting smile of madness.

And your madness was greater. You felt as though your density doubled as you laughed, laughed, and finally released a primal screech into the echoing forest.


"We're here."

You gaped at the house Envy had brought you to. Alone atop a hill, hidden among tall trees, it was even larger than the one you shared with the homunculi. Glancing back, sure you had seen something in the corner of your eye, you went to the doorstep. For once, Envy stood behind you.

An old woman came to the door, and you couldn't help but stare. Was this the ever-powerful Dante, that Pride feared and Envy subjected himself to? She smelled as though she was already dead.

"Old woman, this is our seventh, Insanity."

The gaze she returned to him was cold and severe, but she spoke to you without vehemence. "It has been a long time since I saw you. How have Envy and the others been treating you?"

"It's been good, ma'am. May I ask when we met?"

Her smile wasn't so bad. "Before you woke, I fed you red water, then called for Envy. And beside that, I saw you once when you were very small."

"Really?!"

She didn't elaborate. "I have more red water for you downstairs. You can take a car if you wish, I hear the other was wrecked. Be more careful with this one.

"I'm not the one who crashed it."

"Hush."

Envy hushed, and you stole another look at Dante. What did she have to make him answer to her?

"Did I hear something about a fire in Pine Grove?"

"Yes, we had fun there."

"I told you," she growled, "not to slaughter without asking me. I had plans."

"Well, plan elsewhere. They're probably all gone by now."

She looked ready to strike him, but her voice was steady. "Be careful in the woods, Envy. You never know what might be lurking."

"Wasn't there a reason Pride asked me to come? Or should I go back and ask him how much he wants to live?"

"Sit, sit. Have a drink." She poured a glass of red water for each of you, and, surprisingly, for herself.

"Your assassination of Maes Hughes has Mustang and some others expecting military interference."

"Is that all? We know that, and we expected it."

"No. Fullmetal and his brother are on their way here. They'll have some interesting information, I'm sure. Think you're ready to attack a kind, old alchemist woman?"

"I've been ready for that a long time."

"One inch of a real attempt and you will be gone."

"Tch. You're no fun." Envy yawned. "I hear something about Greed and some fun from Lab 5. Know anything about it?"

"Weren't you there? I didn't think anyone else would so brazenly blow apart the walls."

"I was playing with Fullmetal, I didn't get to see my little brother."

You watched the conversation with rapt attention. Having not met this 'Greed' yet, you were curious that he seemed to make Envy nervous. Maybe there was something to learn.

"It's true, he's not sealed up anymore. It doesn't seem like he'll be much trouble, you know he gets rather distracted by the more human things. Might take him a decade or two to get in our way. Deal with him after Fullmetal."

"And I was in such a hurry to catch up."

Dante smiled, and it almost looked real. "He wasn't the best creation, was he? Go load up the car, I would like to catch up with Insanity. Here's the cellar key."

Envy gave you a look you couldn't quite place, then waltzed out the door.

You tilted your head at her. "He can drive?"

"Oh, Envy can do a lot of things. Although he's not a very reliable specimen, he can be useful. But we're talking about you, dear. I suppose you've heard about the Elrics, then?"

"I think so. They're my relations?"

"Adoptive brothers. I'd watch out around Envy, if I were you."

"What? Why? Besides the obvious, I mean."

"He didn't tell you? Oh dear. Well, the Elrics belong to a Hohenheim and Trisha Elric. Envy belonged to a Hoenheim Elric and his lover, some 200 years before that. I suppose you can guess which one had a father?"

"...Edward and Alphonse."

"Exactly. And you were adopted by him, no less. Imagine how it would feel to be abandoned, then have your father not only accept his other children, but a complete stranger. I'd sleep with one eye open if I were you."

You thought back to your walk home from Central.

"Too many questions, that's your problem," he sighed. "I'm a lot older than you, to put it mildly. I was about your age when the bastard transmuted me; he abandoned me like this. At least I don't have to look anything like him."

"And this Hohen... this Elric transmuted Envy?"

"Good thinking. Now, I can't have arguments within the homunculi, you see what happened to Greed."

You hadn't, but you nodded.

"Ah, here comes Envy again. Remember what I said- keep your eyes open. Come drink, Envy. You'll have a fun evening when Fullmetal gets here, and that should be just about now."

As though by magic, knocking rattled from the front door.

Chapter Text

At once sounding her age, Dante gasped as Envy lifted her by the collar of her cardigan. She struggled as he slammed her on the wall. The force he used made you start, but the woman didn't look harmed, so you closed around them, trying to look threatening.

Look big, you told yourself. Alchemists were like animals, right?

Dante yelled a piteous 'help,' and almost instantaneously the door was thrown open, the brothers through, and Edward pulling a spear from the floor. They looked might sturdy, and Alphonse was mighty big.

You dodged a spear thrust- the practice with Envy was paying off- then leaped back.

Yes. Fast. You felt your eyes glaze and vision fade. Ah yes, the red water. This time, you felt powerful, the dizziness was translating into too-easy steps instead of confusion, and you whirled back to Edward, only to dodge again, until you felt a spurt of blood on your neck, cool as it ran down your shoulder, but it just spurred you on. Time seemed to race, but as the high lessened, you realized Edward wasn't moving anymore, just gaping at you.

Envy's cackle rattled over the room. "Looks familiar, doesn't it? Just like when you let her die."

Focusing, you could see that Edward was shaking, and Al had hesitated, looking to his brother.

Somehow Edward pulled himself together and ran straight to Envy, automail blade extended. Al took a defensive stance, but did not mimic his brother, so you watched. As Envy swung his own sharp arm forward, you felt a deep pull in your gut. The sick-dizziness returned.

Jerking his arm aside at the last moment, Envy missed and Edward's blade drove in, slashing out to the side. A flash of blood spewed from Envy's side, then he hopped backward.

"Come on, we can come back for the old woman."

By the time you reached the car, Envy was healed and solid, saving the upholstery. That was probably good, you thought. It was a long drive home. In the driver's seat, Envy looked younger, more masculine, and had a little brush of mustache. He was wearing common looking clothes, though a tad nicer than those he usually displayed undercover.

You didn't have long to remark on that, as Envy floored it, pitching you back into your seat as he peeled down the mountain road. For a few seconds it was exciting, but as the road grew curvier you shut your eyes more and more often.

"Shit!"

Twisting to grab the back of your seat, you hung on tightly as he slammed on the breaks and skidded to a halt, ending with a small bump.

"What was that?"

"Shit."

You followed his gaze out with windscreen. A man was standing there, dressed in black clothes with a fur collar. Another rich eccentric in the woods, you thought.

Envy rolled down the window and stuck his head out. "Get off the road."

"Oh, sorry Sir, but I have to inspect all the cars coming down from the woods."

"Piss off." Envy started the engine and started inching forward. The man didn't move.

Again he floored it and again you were pitched back, then with a great crunch of metal, you were thrown through the windshield. You felt the glass hit you, then give. A couple bones cracked as you bounced off the ground and into a tree. If it hadn't hurt, it would have been refreshing.

Using the tree you'd smacked off, you climbed to your feet and turned back. The front end of the car was bowed, almost split in two. The man from the road was bent down to the driver's side. After taking a moment to relieve yourself of the snapped parts and blood loss, you walked over with slow, small steps.

"Oh, who's this? Someone new?"

Through some miracle of machinery, the engine choked itself alive and sat running. You hurried for the side door. Before you reached it, the man clapped his hand over your arm

"Now babe, what's a girl like you doing with this guy?"

"Get in the car."

The man laughed. "You think you're going to leave? Envy, what do you think I am- I can smell that red water from here."

"So you do know who I am." As you had grown accustomed to, Envy's voice shifted with his appearance. "What are you doing in this neck of the woods, Greed? Paying a visit? Run out of girls?"

"You know that never happens. I heard there might be something interesting around here." He released your arm, putting his hand on his hip. "You wouldn't happen to know something about Lab 5 in Central and some 'Elric' brothers, would you? You always know something about explosions."

You stepped into the car, but while he kept it idling, Envy didn't leave.

"I hear Kimblee is with you now. He would know more than I do."

Greed grinned, showing his pointed teeth. "Kimblee was rather tied up at the time. I must admit, it's humble of you to defer. Let's make a deal."

"I'm listening."

"You tell me what it is you know, and who this is."

"And what for me?"

"I'll let you keep this red water, and I won't delay you further. I'm sure Pride is waiting for you."

Envy leaned back in the driver's seat, looking skyward.

"You couldn't take it if you tried. But you'll find out soon enough anyway- This is Insanity. She's our seventh, since you hardly count. Those Elrics are the alchemists who made her and I'm sure they could tell you something about Lab 5. You should continue up and find them."

"Oh, they're visiting Mme. Dante? Well, that's good to know. I think I'll take these anyway, though."

With a snap, the rear door opened behind you.

"Did you really expect locks to help, Envy? Now, let's just pack this up."

Without pause Envy had slid through the car and out to Greed. With a hardened arm he swung and hit. As his arm shattered, you flew out the door, aiming your fist between Greed's glasses. The impact rattled your bones over again, as did hitting the ground; you'd inadvertently thrown yourself back. Your head popped back, and as it cracked on a rock, everything became both vivid and blurred. Greed's face was smooth, grey and monstrous.

By the time you were standing, Envy had regenerated and was dodging around Greed, though Greed was not moving. His whole body had gone grey, with red streaks much like those Wrath wore.

You joined Envy, but though you could soften your blows to keep yourself unbroken, you couldn't penetrate Greed's shield.

He laughed. "You think you can penetrate me, the Ultimate Shield?"

Envy snorted and muttered something, but you couldn't hear him.

Finally he moved on offense, but the window was too small. In one motion he smacked Envy down from his leap, in the next moment his side was guarded and you bounced off.

Envy crunched into the dirt and didn't rise.

Circling Greed, you tried to keep your eye on your partner, but you were wearing down as well. Your head felt heavy and dull and your muscles were aching faster than they could heal. Greed's laughter continued, swirling around you. Either the sound or the pain made you sway, and all you could think was shut up. It hissed through your mind, but you kept your head up, then locked eyes with Greed. This was it; he was going to come for you.

The sound stopped and you stumbled.

You hadn't even tried. Maybe the shield couldn't block non-physical attacks, or maybe he didn't expect it, but you had shut him up.

Lacking the concentration to silently chase him, you shouted your thoughts as they came.

"Stop! Drop it, drop it! Get the fuck away from him." Your voice was becoming less frantic, and hearing yourself soothed something. "Turn around. Go into the woods and stay there."

He obeyed.

Once Greed was out of site, you jogged to Envy's side. His skin was cool and smooth as usual, but his body looked off, twisted just enough to see. He was breathing.

The car was still idling. You had only seen two automobiles, it and one in Central's military district, but driving didn't look difficult. The doors were still open.

With an eye on Envy and your ears open for any sound of Greed, you carried the barrel of red water under your arm and stuffed it back into the back seat.

Envy still hadn't awoken, so you reached under his arm to pull him up. At least you couldn't hurt him more.

The great weight startled you, and though you pulled hard, Envy wouldn't budge. You had tossed grown men to the side during the fire, but Envy's waifish figure was immovable. It was as though he was anchored into the ground.

"Shit." Greed was not going to be gone forever, and he would probably defend himself more this time. For a moment you sat with a hand on Envy's forehead, then pulled it back, confused. It had seemed natural, but Envy would not be feverish. Glancing to the wood where Greed had left, you thought you saw a flicker, and some branches snapped audibly.

You brought back one of Dante's barrels and pulled the cork. Though you had rolled the hole to the top, some water leaked out and ran down the side. The woods seemed to grow louder. The thick, ancient smell clouded your mind, but licking away the drip sharpened it. Cupping your hand, you poured some more and splashed it at Envy's mouth. As he stirred, you readied more. With the second swallow, he rose.

"What happened? Where'd that old freak go?"

Although you felt his annoyance and your own urgency, you felt a dumb smile pulling your cheeks. He was okay. You replaced the cork as you replied.

"He's in the woods somewhere. I don't know when he'll be back, but something's out there."

"Then let's go. I don't think this body could take much more fighting today." He flicked his hair over his shoulder, though as he spoke it fizzed and shortened. "Get in the car."


"Envy, slow down. I don't know if it'll kill me, but I don't want to find out what being crunched in a metal box feels like."

You watched as he stretched his pale leg out, levering his toes down to the brake.

"Shall we stop?"

"Don't you dare. I already went through the screen once today."

"Well, let's hurry up and get you home then; you must be exhausted."

"What did I say about being crunched?"

"Tsh, you're no fun. What did you think the plans were for tonight?"

You whacked him upside the shoulder, then jerked back into your seat as he swerved.

"Ah, no, distracted driving," he simpered. Then he took a hold of the wheel and ground it down.

The car spun, spun, and seemed ceaseless, although Envy had imitated a rag doll and released the gas as he was tossed around. The whirling gave you a sense of weightlessness, but you also felt as though your stomach was about to be mechanically emptied. Finally the car skidded to a rest against a clod of dirt. Braced in every possible direction, you panted heavily before snarling to Envy:

"What the hell was that?"

"Oh, what can I say? That encounter with Greed left me a little tense. I wanted some fun, and look at this car- Fast fast fast, and already wrecked. Just perfect to play with."

Though you weren't sure how or why, you felt laughter bubbling from your lips, and laughed until you were bent over a cramping stomach. When you looked up, Envy wore his shit-eating grin proudly.

"I knew you'd see it my way."

"I still think I know something funner. Do a lot of people end up on this old road home, do you know?"

"No, sadly. No one to play with like we did on our way here."

Gripping the lever, you cranked your seat back, then reclined it hard, forcing Envy out of the back.

"Hey, are you feeling tall or just mean today? I need my leg room."

"You need to come sit here."

"Do I?"

He obliged, stretching and leaning back on his hands in the passenger seat.

"Suppose you're right, I do deserve the comfy seat and a chauffeur. Keys are in the ignition."

"I'm not driving you, Envy. Come on," you leaned over his lap, teasing at his too-tight shorts. "Hips up."

Arching his back, Envy allowed you to remove his garment, daintily pulling his bare feet through as you lowered it. Pushing between his legs, you made yourself comfortable on the floor. It wasn't roomy, but it was room enough. For a moment, you just looked at him, a warm blush on your cheeks. You tried to shake it off.

"What are you doing?"

You looked at his face. "I think this is the first time I've seen you in the daylight, not during a horny, violent frenzy."

"Is that a problem? I can start up a frenzy for you."

"No, I like... you look good. Your clothes don't leave a lot to be imagined anyway, but you look good." You reached forward, then paused. "Can I suck you off? Normally I'd just assume, but I've never seen you just... like this."

"Yes, mm. Show me what you can do without me distracting you with blood. I need some release if you want me to give you a slow drive home."

Thankful for the light, you took his cock in your hand. He was already excited, but hardened in your grasp, the pink head exposed when you pulled back his foreskin. That, you thought, was surprisingly human. As you slipped your tongue over and around, licking at the delicate knot facing you before pulling him further in, you stopped worrying about surprises, instead on seeing just how much you could make him moan without bleeding.

Holding his balls, you licked down his shaft, but kept working the head with your free hand. He groaned deeply and you shivered. You wanted to feel the vibration of his chest, but kept your hands low.

"'San... Insanity!"

His exclamation shocked you out of your work. Not once had he called out a name before.

"Don't fucking stop now." His eyes were narrowed, but not mean.

Dipping your head, you continued to suck, bucking your neck as you tongued every ridge, then took his testes in your mouth, lipping at the cool elastic skin as you pumped his cock by hand, trying to clench away your own sexual rancor in your fist. Envy was watching you, face unreadable but chest heaving as you finally sucked him again.

He called your name again, and you gasped as his cock jerked, and with a second pulse sent a jet of cum into your throat. You swallowed quickly, eagerly, and licked away the straggling drops until he was clean.

For a few minutes, both of you panted. As with fighting, sex with other homunculi was something that seemed to truly, if temporarily, wear you down. You wondered briefly if sex with a human would be as fleeting as fighting them, and resolved to somehow find out. That, however, wasn't that matter at hand.

"Ready to drive me home?"

"Insanity, if you do that again, we won't be going anywhere."

You raised your eyebrows. "So, you liked it? Even though all you did was lay back, and I didn't bleed once?"

"I don't want to keep letting you have all the fun... but that went well. We'll see, maybe I'll let you again." He stretched. "Mm, I'm starting to wake up. Is it my turn now? You should take a turn with yourself. Actually," his voice turned to something familiar, but you didn't recognize it until you looked up, "would you like to try?"

"Don't do that, Envy, it's spooky," you told yourself. "Do I really sound like that?"

With a shrug, he fizzed back to his regular form.

"Then let me play a bit too. Come on," he took your hand, "let's play doctor."

You giggled and followed him, then winced at your laugh. Had you ever laughed so high pitched before? He hadn't seemed to notice, although he did notice your distraction. With another peel of giggles, you hit the ground. The thump on your back was graceless and again you felt very conscious of yourself. You couldn't recall seeing another homunculus just smack onto the dirt. The moment of awareness awoke you from the fun, and you stood up.

"Hey, no, we can't just leave the car. Greed already tried to take the red water."

"You taste better, but fine. I'll cut you to pieces later. Deal?"

"Deal."

"Perfect."

Automatically, you put out your hand in joking formality, but you felt a strange chill as he clasped it. Envy was never warm, the closest he came were those strange moments of near-niceness, but this was different. He wasn't just cool to the touch, you were chilled to the bones.

All you had agreed to was his sadistic fun, but you wondered if you really knew what you were agreeing to and what, exactly, a deal with a homunculus entailed.

Chapter Text

"Why do we spend so many days on the train?"

"Because," Lust replied, slipping the door shut, "otherwise we would have to walk."

Once you heard the compartment door click, you pulled at the itchy collar of your shirt, forcing the buttons open. It was nothing like the homunculus costume you usually wore, and in the rush to meet the train, you had layered your clothes. You felt constricted.

"Where's Gluttony, anyway?"

"In the cargo hold. I told him not to taste anything, so he should stay in that crate."

"He's really obedient to you, huh? Is that why Pride assigns you two together so much?"

She pursed her lips, then closed her eyes and leaned back, apparently uninterested in answering. Shrugging, you unbuttoned your shirt, then stretched, grateful.

Envy, in a new 'random civilian' look, slipped into the compartment, closing the door again.

"Keep your clothes on. Or do you want to show off to the conductor?"

"I have my shirt on under this. I can't wear both."

"So get changed, like you were supposed to this morning."

You weren't inclined to stripping before Lust, but she still hadn't opened her eyes and you were beginning to feel trapped in your own skin. Scowling at Envy, you quickly pulled off both shirts, and put the scratchy blouse back on.

"Happy?"

"Oh, I am, but mostly because I'm looking forward to today."

"What are we doing in Risembool, anyway? Isn't it just some backwoods place?"

"You haven't paid much attention, have you? It's where the Elrics were from."

"So why are we going there?"

Lust sighed loudly, then answered for Envy. "Dante sent Pride a letter after you visited her, asking him to get some alchemic notes, so Pride has told us to get those notes. According to Colonol Mustang, Edward will be on the other train to Risembool."

"Never mind her, she just wants to be in the fancy cabin. The ride won't be long from here."


"This is where they lived? I thought they'd be from a military housing subdivision or something."

"Didn't you just call Risembool 'backwoods' earlier?"

"Well yeah, but that was before I knew the teenage army boy lived here. I figured I was mistaken."

Lust tightened a scarf over her hair. "Don't look at these people too much. They might recognize you."

You nodded, but spared a final glance over the fields. "So, is this wear I grew up?" Now you kept your eyes on the dirt road ahead of you. "Is it the Elric house that we're going to?"

"There isn't an Elric house to go to. The twerp covered that job for us- look, you can sort of see it still."

Following his gesture, you saw a rough rectangle where the grass didn't grow, stained and charred, marred with some rotting lumber. Purple fireweed poked up from between the cracks in the ground. Somehow, you felt lonely.

"So it is gone, then."

Envy laughed. "Don't get all sentimental. It was never your house."

He had lapsed back to his androgynous voice, but you were rather sure that he was not the most conspicuous member of your quartet- certainly not when Gluttony was around, bursting from the shirt someone had pulled over him.

"I guess you're right. Maybe my body was there, but that isn't me, is it?"

Envy seemed about to bite you, when Lust interrupted.

"We're here. Envy, go look for their mutt and keep it quiet. I'll find the old woman and the girl. Come, Insanity."

She didn't need to call on Gluttony for him to follow her up to the front door of the house. They really were out of things; the lock had not even been set.

"Gluttony, see if you can smell the girl. Insanity, search the house."

"You're really getting bossy, aren't you, Lust?"

"Either you disagree with Pride's plans, Envy, or your voice is carrying quite loudly from the back yard."

You paused and watched as she turned to face him.

"There's no dog. Maybe he died."

"Lust..." Gluttony called. "I can't find anything to eat."

Again you split up, searching the house and finding no one.

"Maybe the Elrics are out with them as well. See if you can find a suitcase or a journal of notes."

"Yes 'm." You wandered upstairs and inspected the three bedrooms you could find, but the search was fruitless. The women's rooms were filled with books about automail and robotics, as well as pointy screws on the floor, you quickly found out. The guest room was untouched, with a tightly made bed and no sign of suitcases or occupants.

When you stepped out the door, you found yourself face to face with Edward, and jumped back. Laughing a little, you stepped out again, lifting the photograph from the wall. It had been well printed and framed, a portrait of several children.

Edward was immediately recognizable, but it took a moment for you to register who the second blonde boy would be, scarcely over eight years old and with no armour in sight. Two little girls were in the photo as well, one holding a wrench- that had to be the one here- and another who looked familiar as well. There was an old woman standing to one side of the photo, and a pretty young one on the other, her hand on Edward's shoulder.

"That woman."

Although Envy only ever seemed to use two tones, overly playful or overly cold, his voice sounded icier than you had ever heard. You thought better than to look at him.

"Is this the girl we were looking for?"

"That wrench one, yeah. Not that dull looking one. Give that to me."

"Wait, Envy, I'm looking at it."

He yanked, you spun, and although you stumbled, both you and the photo in-frame remained intact, You found yourself face to face with a mirror. Envy was behind you, no longer disguised, his face downward but his eyes looking out, and livid. A couple times you blinked, then looked at the picture again.

"This is me, isn't it?"

"Give me that!" This time, he pulled it from your grasp, and with one swing of his arm, he shattered it against the wall.

"What are you doing? I wanted to learn something!"

"That isn't you. That is a little parasite that weaseled her way in with the Elric family, right under Hohenheim's nose, with the help of his whore wife."

"What are you talking about?"

Of course, you knew what he was talking about. Dante had told you. True to his name, Envy was dangerously jealous of this family.

"Envy! Come downstairs, we need your skills."

He muttered "what now?" under his breath, then went along, brushing past Gluttony on the stairs.

"They're on their way. Think you can handle the grandma?"

Envy looked out the window, cursed, then with an electrical buzz, shrunk into a wizened old lady.

"Get out of the way," he hissed.

Lust followed Gluttony upstairs as you stuffed yourself into a closet, adjusting the vents so you could watch.

"Edward! Alphonse! What a nice surprise. You haven't hurt that arm again, have you? How is the other?"

Fascinated, you watched as he pulled back his sleeves, revealing gleaming metal. You had seen him do combat with half, but not seen the automail in its fully shone glory.

"Not yet! I even oiled and polished it so you wouldn't have to. Where's Den? Call Winry down, I know she's worried."

"Oh, they're just out for a little walk, she'll be back soon."

For Envy's sake, you were glad there was no automail maintenance required. Edward already looked a bit bemused, taken aback by Winry's absence.

"Okay then, I'll just run upstairs and put my bags down. It's been a long trip!"

"No, no Edward! Sit down, we can take your bags up later. Have some tea."

Envy bustled away, toward the kitchen.

"There now, the kettle is on. Would you like some cream, dear?"

"Pinako, are you feeling okay?"

"What do you mean, dearie?"

"You know I don't like milk. I think that was half of me and Winry's arguments growing up!"

"Oh, dear. I guess I am getting a bit forgetful. Don't look like that now, I won't give you milk again. Now, did I hear you had made some discoveries in that fancy military library up in central? Did you come home for a little study break?"

"I guess you could say that, Pinako. I've got my notes right here, we thought some fresh country air would do us good."

"That can't be all, for such a big trip!"

Alphonse spoke up for the first time since greeting the Envy-Pinako. "We've heard of a great alchemist near here. If he's still around, we might be able to exchange notes."

"I'm so proud of you boys, always well on your way toward your goal. Can I see those notes of yours, sonny?"

"I'm not sure they'd mean a lot to you, Granny Pinako, but they're in my case here."

"Well, let's have a look. Have those higher ups of yours, that horse-fellow, have they given you any promotions lately? You deserve one, for all this work. You could be Fuhrer some day."

There was a beat of silence, then you held your breath as in one smooth motion, Edward clapped, drew his blade, and plunged it through Pinako.

"...why?" she croaked.

"Pinako would have never offered me milk, but I could get past that. I know she would never encourage me to do one more thing for the military. I should have known something was off with Den gone. To whom do I owe the pleasure?"

"Oh, surely you know."

Envy cackled, stretching upwards into his true form, then stretching again, languid and catlike, it would have been graceful if not for the first through his gut. Healing and sucking up blood rapidly, Envy's wound closed, and he gripped Edward's emerging arm in both hands.

"Now come on, squirt. Show us those notes, and the real Rockbells won't be hurt."

With a sickening rip, Edward pulled his arm back, bits of Envy's flesh still adhered to it. You watched intently as they sparred back and forth. Some of Envy's moves were those he mimicked to practice with you, and others were entirely new. His dancing barrage of attacks seemed as though the very walls surrounding him did not contain nor hinder him.

He and Edward were both bleeding in minutes, Alphonse doing his best to launch a defense, but failing. His armour seemed to lock him down, along with, perhaps, the fear of destroying his family home.

"Enough."

From the top of the stairs, Lust's nail reached through to Alphonse's armour, and under the helmet.

"Your notes, Fullmetal. Otherwise, your little brother here can see inside of Gluttony."

"Can I eat him now, Lust?"

"Edward! Don't give them to her!"

Edward clapped and hit the floor, shooting spikes in all directions. Before Lust could react, the weakened ground rumbled and crashed. She fell, freeing Alphonse's neck.

"Al!"

"I'm okay!"

"Get out! No excuses. I can handle these on my own, don't let them take you hostage again."

"But brother... be careful, brother!" With a couple clunks, Alphonse was out the door.

"Now Envy, it should take your friends a while to get out of that crevasse. How can I convince you to get out?"

"Convince me? Oh Edward, come on, boy. Look at me." Envy was walking with Lust's stature, hips dipping and shoulders high. "If I wanted you dead, you would be. You'd be as dead as that little parasite I swatted dead in the woods, you remember her?"

"What did you do to her!? Where is she?"

"You mean Insanity? She's fine, I'll tell her you send your regards. Your sister, I imagine, is rotting in hell. You know, it's not very pleasant; I've seen it."

Edward struck out again, but Envy dodged, then grabbed Edward's wrists, holding them above his head.

"You'd be a lot less troublesome without these, you know."

Taking her cue in perfection, Lust sent a single nail through Edward's raised arms, then pulled upward. Bits of wire and bearings clattered on the floor.

"Brother!"

"I'm fine, Al! Stay there!"

"Insanity, can you work with that thing?"

Pulled into the moment and overwhelmed, you struggled to concentrate, but despite the urgency, you focused. Move, you told him.

Alphonse took a shaky step forward. Edward was struggling to get to his feet.

"I can do this." You slipped out of the closet, and though you weren't sure why, you spoke aloud. "Get your new notes, Alphonse, and bring them to me."

"Al! No!" Rubbing against a wall, Edward managed to stand, and took just as shaky a step toward his brother.

It seemed almost too easy. Without his hands to perform alchemy, the Elric boy was immobilized. His brother was not as weak willed as you expected of some brawny show in armour, but he bent for you. In only a minute, he had brought a stack of papers from their suitcase, along with a journal.

"You bastards! Give those back!" Edward was outright yelling.

"Hush," Lust hissed. "You'll wake the neighbours."

"You won't even know how to use those notes anyway! Al, come back!"

Envy smirked. "If we can't, we always know where you are, don't we? You can come visit your little girlfriend and fill us in."

The Elric boy's face had gone red with anger. "Keep the Rockbells out of this!"

"Sorry, but I just haven't got time to negotiate. See you later, kid. Oh, there is one thing that I know how to use. Good job, Insanity."

Pushing with only the tips of his fingers at the small of your back, Envy drew you in. With his second hand casually holding your breast, he kissed you, arching you backward as he did.

Surprised, you still clutched the notes against yourself as you kissed him back, gently taking his lips in yours with small nips. Envy replied opposingly, sinking his teeth into your lip, though only enough to bring a trickle of blood. Not one to be outdone, you pushed harder against him and dropped the case to pull his hips to yours- Lust could handle a crippled alchemist easily anyway.

Envy clearly still wasn't used to your enthusiasm, as his response was immediate and strong. You pulled your mouth away.

"What was that, about you using me?"

His gaze flickered over your shoulder, and you turned to see Edward, still leaning on the wall, eyes wide and completely blank, jaw loosely unhinged.

"Whether or not I use you," Envy replied under his breath, "I know how to play with him."

"Brother?" asked the younger Elric.

You wiped a trickle of blood from your chin.

"If you are finished now, I will take those notes to Pride." Beckoning to Gluttony, Lust took the briefcase you dropped, leaving the papers for you to gather. With her blouse straightened and her hat replaced, she looked innocuous as she strode out the door.

Envy glanced at a grandfather clock, which had miraculously not fallen through the floor. "We should go too, the train is coming soon. Well Fullmetal, I'm sure you can clean this up, can't you? It would be rude to let the Rockbells come home to an untidy house."

Chapter Text

Edward pulled the train's window open, then collapsed to his seat, breathing heavily. Wind roared into the booth, and at first he couldn't hear Alphonse.

"Is there something wrong with the air, Brother? I'm sorry, I couldn't... tell."

"No, it's fine. I just wanted some fresh air."

He continued breathing deeply, trying to expand his chest. It had felt constricted all day, more so after sitting in the compartment for so long.

Alphonse shifted in his seat. "Do you think it's the new automail? Winry was worried about it being heavy, but I don't think she wanted to tell you, even when she repaired it."

"I'm fine Al, I just wanted the fresh air. Pinako told me last time, but look how strong my shoulders have gotten." He was thankful for an excuse to shed his outer layers. "My chest, too. No need to worry now."

Pinako also had been more aware of the real problem than Winry, or even Alphonse, and had insisted Edward stay a full day after his wiring had been fixed. With Alphonse and Winry busy in the yard, she had kept Edward in to talk and have tea. It hadn't helped much, but Edward was grateful to her for trying to calm his nerves.

Edward stretched, laughing nervously. Even though there was no way for Alphonse to emote anything but deadpan on his face, Ed could tell he didn't believe him. Sobering up, he changed the subject as he folded his coat.

"Do you think it's time we go through Dana's things?"

"I guess we have to sometime. Do you want to?"

"No, but I can't stop thinking about it. What if it's true, and all we need is something from her body? To... to end this."

"Edward, no! We can't kill her!" Alphonse's voice rose in a crescendo of hysteria over the short phrase.

Watching the door, Edward gestured downward. "Quiet down, Al! What if someone hears you?"

"We can't murder her, Edward!" Although still frantic, Al had lowered his voice. "She's there, she's alive, there has to be a way to help her. I know she recognizes you. Maybe Izumi would know, or Dante."

Edward replied with a genuine laugh. "Maybe we should try Izumi first- I doubt Dante will be thrilled to see us after last time."

"That wasn't our fault!"

"I think I'd still rather see Teacher. It went pretty good last time... most of the time. Besides, she learned from Dante anyway, didn't she?" He sighed, noticing his chest as a bit less tight. "It's just too bad we lost those studies."

"I'm sorry, brother."

"Al! Don't be, they made you- I don't know how, but they made you. That's why we're going to find them; they can't do that to you. And once we do, we'll go see Teacher, with or without those notes."

"I don't think I want you to do this just for me," Al replied in a very small voice.

Edward pretended he hadn't heard.


"Envy! Insanity! I don't care where you go, but get out of the house."

"What, why?" you replied, just as Envy, always eloquent, snarled: "Piss off, I'm busy," without looking away. Your gut squished as he pushed you harder into edge of the wooden table. Pushing back, you rolled over to face Sloth and adjusted your clothes.

Sloth glared at Envy, but answered you. "Fullmetal and his brother are on their way here, for some reason. You cannot draw attention to this base again, and if they call for further military assistance, you will regret it."

"What about Lust and Gluttony?"

"Don't whine, Envy. Lust isn't the one who drew attention to us last time. That was you."

"We're leaving anyway. Someone has to get these papers to Dante."

"Why can't we do that, instead of being kicked outside like dogs?"

You stared at Envy. Not once had he volunteered for non-violent work, or even gotten through it without complaint. Apparently his jealousy wasn't limited by target or reason.

"Because I've never wrecked a car."

"Whatever. If I'm not here, who will answer the door, and stop Fullmetal from just searching the place?"

"Pride will be here, to tell them a full search has already been done. He's on his way to visit with Dante anyway, so I suggest that if you really are so disturbed you take it up with him. I have to go back to work. Make yourselves scarce."

Envy shrugged and raised his hands. "Can't say I care enough to argue more. Insanity, looks like we'll have to make our own entertainment."

"Don't we always?"


"So, what do you want to do?"

Envy was walking around in his own clothes. They would draw more attention then yours if you got to town, but you knew he didn't care. If somehow he did, he could always change.

"I was thinking we could fuck with Fullmetal a bit."

"Sloth would kill us!"

Snorting, Envy looked at you. "She's just a baby, and it's not like she could actually do anything. Nothing can kill us- or do you think I'd lock you up like Greed?"

You stopped for a second, unsure if you had heard correctly. "You shook me for bleeding out on you, what do you mean 'nothing?'"

Envy turned away, grinding his toes into the ground. "That was different. You were new, and had hardly had any red water or stones, and you were bleeding a lot."

Although you were sure there was something in his discomfiture to tease him with, you kept walking, giving him a minute of privacy before asking: "How old is everyone, if she's a baby? Other than you, is it by what they look like? Or is that how they become more powerful?"

"Well, I am the oldest and certainly the most powerful, but that's not entirely how it works. Pride gets to lead us, because right now, he has the most ties to control whatever conspiracies we have going on. Despite being a baby- the youngest, after you, Sloth was in the best place to assist him, so even if she's basically useless and powerless, she's powerful like that. Lust and Gluttony are about the same age, but they have different kinds of power and intelligence. Greed is the oldest after me, but he was weak enough that I locked him up, and he stayed that way until Fullmetal blasted him out, well over 100 years later. And of course, Dante really pulls the strings."

"What about Wrath?"

"He's different, somehow. I don't know where he came from, but he was powerful when I found him, even though he hadn't had any red stones yet. He can do alchemy, or something- That's probably why Lust avoids him, it's so human. But he's always either wild or a baby, so it's no use anyway."

"Huh." It wasn't that new of information, compared to what you had inferred over time, but something in you thirsted to learn and be useful. Whether or not it was fortunate, however, something else in you was thirsting more.

"What was it you wanted to do to Fullmetal, then?"

Envy's eyes widened and his face lit up. "Thank you, now this will get interesting. Of course, the best way to fuck with Fullmetal is to fuck with you, in any sense of the term. You seem to be enjoying that so far, aren't you?"

You were lightheaded, and you weren't sure why.

"Wait, Envy, is that it?" It was silly, you'd even told him, at some point, that this, whatever this was, wasn't something done out of liking.

"Hm?" He stopped, apparently realizing that you were a few paces back and immobile. "You don't look well."

You blushed. Envy's touch was light and cool as he led you off the road to sit down.

"Do you seriously only stay around me to fuck with Fullmetal?"

"As though you even look like him. Don't be silly. I mean, there's the bangs and some mannerisms but-"

"You know which kind of 'fuck' I mean."

"No, it's just a delicious bonus."

It had been a while since you had noticed his voice or cadence. After a while it had become normal, but today, it stood out. You wanted to hear more.

"Is this anything?"

Envy didn't answer, and you wondered if he understood the question. He wasn't a romance-driven creature, not even on the nights he spent talking with you, nor for any sex, no matter how much or little violence was added. When he spoke, you were more startled by his voice than his answer.

"It's something."

Chapter Text

You watched from the bushes as Edward passed.

"Did you change your mind?"

"No. I don't want him running into the house armed and dangerous. Besides, Pride would be so annoying if that happened. He'd probably try to keep us inside for weeks... but that wouldn't be the worst thing." Wrapping his arms around your waist, Envy pulled you closer, pressing the side of his cool smile against your ear. "We'll get him on his way out."

"Where do you think his brother is?"

"Probably hiding in the city. The pipsqueak won't want us playing tricks again, no matter how good you are at them."

Releasing you, Envy sat down, his back against a tree as he looked up at the sky.

"Come sit with me."

As you set yourself beside him, Envy effortlessly slid you onto his lap. When you tried to twist around to see his face, to read him, he held you firm.

"Be still. Please."

You were still, but more from shock than respect.

Unsettled, you rested your shoulders against his chest. He radiated- or was it the opposite- through his thin shirt and cooled your head. After a few minutes, you tilted your head back and looked straight up. Envy's eyes were shut and his face was calm. Unsettling indeed.

You let yourself doze for a while. It was only as Envy seemed to grow restless that you asked him for his plans.

"I am so happy you asked. The plan isn't much of a plan, it's an goal: traumatize him. Ruin him. I think that will work whether you respond or... resist, even without my kind of play."

With a few hops, Envy was high in a tree, watching for Edward, ready to signal.

"I think we should be spontaneous. We are at our best- or, maybe our worst- when we're spontaneous."

"I like your thinking. Can I start by killing you?"

"That's not very spontaneous, but," you looked up to him, wearing his own smirk on your face, "it would hardly be our best if you didn't."

"You're starting to sound excited, Insanity. And here I thought I'd have to convince you."

"I can embrace the idea of fucking with the brat who made me this- even if it led to our fun. I'm doing this to get revenge for both of us."

Not to mention for the chance at some especially invigorating games with Envy.

"Marvelous. He's coming, get on the road."

You did.

"Now, when he gets close, run."

"Why?"

"Trust me, I'll explain later."

Edward crested a little hill and appeared before you seconds later, then froze.

You had little to do but watch him approach. Using any tricks or even speaking could alarm him out of his steady approach, and you were not ready to lose this, not after all that time waiting and thinking and avoiding spoiling things by getting too many plans ready. You waited until he was only a few paces away, his weapon bared and defensive, but with no visible intention to jump you, then ran.

After only ten, twenty feet, a sharp pain snagged in your gut, forcing you to stop. Your limbs flew forward without your core, then snapped back. From the corner of your vision, you saw Edward freeze. Directing your sight to him, you could see eyes bulging, and the unconscious looking rise of his weaponized arm. You became aware of a pleasant cold against and throughout you, and rolled your eyes forward again, and almost moaned at Envy's bloodied body. You couldn't seem to move your head.

"DANA!" Edward screamed, lunging forward.

Envy threw him onto his back, then lowered you to the ground, his occupied hand scratching your shoulder blades, elbow folded into your abdomen. He retracted, then reached through your thoracic cavity, tickling and prodding his way up and finally making you squeak as he shoved through musculature, until finally he could squeeze your trachea from under your skin.

"Please," he said. "Make him watch."

Closing your eyes, you found Edward's consciousness, and grabbed it with your own. You pushed him to his knees, then told him.

Watch us. Don't dare to look away.

As soon as you nodded affirmation to Envy, he pinched hard, cutting off your air. He released, but it stuck closed.

"Are you dead yet, Dana?"

You couldn't control your body's fight for air, although you didn't know how much you even needed it as a homunculus. The perforation of your lung allowed for little suction, and after twitching and twisting, you still had nothing.

"Still moving?"

The tip of Envy's free finger was sharp against your throat, and you almost fought to get away. Before you tried, he punched through, and you felt air suck through the newest bleeding wound. Your panic ebbed away.

Your spine and the hole through your back had already closed, but Envy kept your gut open, slithering his fingers between your organs, occasionally pausing to squeeze them as though testing for ripeness.

He laughed. "She's certainly wet in here, Pipsqueak. Now what should I do with her?"

Envy braced his hands between your ribs. You watched his arms as he split them with an echoing crack.

The caresses along your lungs made you shiver, both from nerves and excitement. The lower part was only newly healed. A sickly feeling washed through you when he touched your heart; his fingers were not as smooth there as they felt on skin, but when his tongue caressed it, you gasped.

He continued the careful licking inside you and used his hands to work your top up, exposing your breasts as he rubbed them, gently at first but, with your moaned encouragement, pulling at the nipples and slapping them down.

With a sudden rush of passion and strength, you forced Envy onto his back.

"I think," you said, your voice low, "you're forgetting the point."

You cut your own slit up from the top of his low skirt to the bottom of his cropped shirt, then licked up it.

"Mm, you taste like red water. I think this should come off- is it real?"

"Of course."

Envy arched his back as you pulled away the flimsy top, then again when your lips touched his nipple. He moaned audibly as you added teeth to the process, and you could finally feel a bit of heat from him, if only in the quickly swelling area you were straddling. You cut deeper and felt a surge, both from him and yourself.

Leaning up, Envy nicked your pants, then tore then away, pressing himself up against you.

"Oh, so those weren't real?"

His only answer was a deep groan as you slid your wet lips against his head.

You impaled yourself on his cock and rode him slowly, carefully, finding all the precise points where pressure made both of you shudder and moan. When you hit a pattern between them, you struggled to control yourself and picked up the pace, encouraged by Envy's escalating cries and his long nails digging deep in your hips.

Your first orgasm caught you off guard. You milked it for all it was worth, slowing your pace to rub even more specific places, but you looked over Envy at the watching alchemist. You had felt the lapse in your attention, and sure enough, Fullmetal had tried to get up, to rush you.

"Get on top of me, Envy."

He moaned as you pressed into his chest with a cracking weight.

"But, this-"

"Don't you trust me? You'll like it."

Envy needed no more convincing, and with a twist, threw you heavily on your stomach. You had to catch Edward again, but the impact was worth it. More worrisome than losing Edward was what he used the second to yell.

"Alphonse! Get out of here!"

With Envy you looked to the suit of armour.

"He can watch too, can't he, Insanity?"

"I don't see why not."

Envy dug his fingers deep into the flesh of your ass, until you felt rivulets of blood, cooled by the air, running down your leg. With his grip, Envy jerked you forward and back, throwing you like a rag doll as he penetrated you over and over. He switched to one-handed fucking and, with saliva-and-blood-wet fingers, rubbed the sheathe of your clit in time with his rapid thrusting.

Closing your eyes, you concentrated hard.

You heard Envy gasp and sputter, then his weight went off balance. Although he had stopped, you could feel his cock throbbing, pumping his hot cum into you.

"You little traitor." He pushed deep into you one least time, then pulled away. Using both arms, he threw Edward over his shoulders- his landing did not look as fun as yours. Envy wrapped his arms around you and, to your surprise and delight, laid one cool kiss at the base of your neck.

"I knew you'd like it. Maybe I'll release them now- oh, actually." Your eyes drifted toward Edward. "Now do me."

The impact of Edward's metal arm and the length of it was luxurious, and the look on his uncontrolled face was glorious as you let yourself fall on it, limp.

You released them.

"Edward! Dana!" Alphonse ran as fast as his armour could carry him and pulled Edward out of you, with a sensation almost as satisfying as when he had penetrated you.

Envy looked at Edward disapprovingly. "I was planning to spend some time licking her, Shorty. Now look what you've done." He walked over, completely unimpressed by the bloody and weapon-brandishing alchemist, and touched your face. "It's not easy having a good time."

You lost any facade of control and jumped him.

The two of you connected and disappeared into a singular flurry of blood, scraping, biting, moaning, and fingering.

"Uhn, yes, just milk me, force me to cum and dr- ah!"

Your own moans were similarly mixed between rambling, moaning, and cries of pain, and the sensations were punctuated by each sharp rock you rolled over.

When you finally stopped and stood up, you were exhausted, shaky and completely unsure of how much time had passed. Envy looked little better. Looking around, you found that Alphonse still held Edward back, and that the ground was splattered in red, with occasionally dotting of white or watery cum.

"Looks like you didn't even have to ask them to watch, 'sanity."

"That is the opposite of my name."

"I'd better come up with a better nickname for you, then. Hey Pipsqueak, I'm tired, do we have to fight right now? Good, I'm leaving."

Envy faded into the woods, but you watched for another few moments.

Under his breath, Alphonse seemed to convince his brother not to pursue, and led him away. The only words you caught were spoken as they walked away: "It's time we found Teacher."

You didn't follow them, and instead followed the deer trail that Envy probably had taken. He was laying on a moss floor, still visibly exhausted.

"What took you so long?"

"I watched them leave. Can we go home?"

He got up and put an arm around your waist.


"Red water, where is the red water? Must be some up here."

"You don't get red water when you fuck yourself up, Envy."

"Piss off Lust, I'm about to collapse- ah, here it is. I'm going upstairs."

You didn't make eye contact with Lust. You were still unsure about the rules, and weren't ready to start a confrontation, especially when you too felt weak.

Envy took your hand, then pulled you closer, so that your arm wrapped around him as his rested on your shoulders. He pecked you on the head, again startling you, then brandished the bottle.

"Let's go relax."

Stumbling over your feet by that point you leaned into him and made your way up the stairs, but not without hearing one last comment.

"Children."

Chapter Text

The exhaustion stuck with you for several days, and for the time, you worried that you would be summoned to work or fight.

No messages came. On those days that you bothered to go downstairs, Lust and Gluttony were always home as well, seated at the dinner table with the shutters closed or outside, Gluttony devouring trees, amongst other things, just beyond the first screen of greenery.

When Sloth came by, her face was drained despite showing no physical fatigue. She carried Wrath past, nodding briefly at the three of you as she headed upstairs. Envy hadn't left his room since the you had returned home from your caper, and Sloth made no effort to see him. Curious, you followed her upstairs, where she settled Wrath in one of the other rooms, and set a bowl of red stones next to him.

You could smell the stones. Envy had mentioned them, but you had never seen or sensed them before. There was a crackling feeling when you inhaled the scent. The aroma lacked the body that red water had, but there was something about it that made you want to crush the real thing between your jaws. Your mouth watered.

Sloth shut Wrath's door, not acknowledging you or the still fresh and bright scars that ran up and down your body, peeking out everywhere your clothes did not cover. You heard her leave, and Lust locking the door behind her.

You laid down on your bed, but you did not sleep any longer. The smell of the red stones permeated your bedroom, even though Wrath slept several doors down. It filled your mind, you could not sleep for anything. Your brain felt foggy- no, smoky; smothering and stinging and impossible to navigate. The sensation overrode you, until all you knew was that thinking hurt, and that you needed those decadent red stones before anyone else could take them. It was already night, but you drank the scent through every pore of your body. There was still time.

Once you entered Wrath's room, your vision clouded even further, until smog blocked out all but your track to the stones and stung your eyes when you turned away.

In a rush, you reached the red stones. You fumbled your grab; the bowl flew off the nightstand and shattered, scattering the stones across the room. On your hands and knees, you scrabbled around, picking up cuts ranging from tiny to ghastly, tracking blood along the floor until you had a fistful of stones and glass. Panting heavily, you raised your throbbing arm.

A force hit you with the weight of a bull, denting the wall behind you and throwing your hard earned handful to the floor. Stumbling to your feet, you felt a roar rising in your throat, but it was knocked out in a wheeze as something thumped deeply into your chest and another pounded straight into your gut before hooking upward toward your lungs again.

You couldn't think of anything but to breathe, and very quickly you lost that liberty too, as stone hard tendrils wrapped your body, crushing into your stomach, compressing your chest, and blocking your mouth. Your ribs ached, but even deeper in your core, you ached for the stones thrown so unceremoniously away.

Someone was shouting, shoving past you, knocking things over. You squinted through the smog. They seemed to be ebbing with life, pulsating and growing as they picked up and shook something. A lamp came on, and seemed to pierce the smog. Your vision was still cloudy, but you could make out the shape of Envy, but... bigger? He looked different, wrong, and he was shaking something that flopped like a piece of meat.

Something crashed, shaking the entire room.

The thing that bound you released, dropping you to the floor. Stretching out your neck, you bit into a large chunk of red stone, macerating the crystals before swallowing, and hacking repeatedly. Your vision cleared, and your thoughts seemed to somehow align.

The Envy-figure approached you, lifting your head first, then pulling you up into a sitting position. He seemed to unconsciously caress you with his supporting hands as you looked up at him.

"Envy?"

His eyes were bloodshot, you could feel something flowing through him, and his teeth were bared in a wide, deep jaw, but it was Envy. His skin was nigh-translucent.

He poured the dregs of a bottle of red water into your mouth. You choked, but found yourself able to sit up and assess. It was Wrath's room, and red stones and glass still covered the floor. Wrath himself appeared to have been thrown flat against the opposite wall, and was now crumpled on his bed. He started to stir, and Envy snapped in front of your face.

"Insanity. Control your damn head."

Your balance was back, so you sat up straighter, nodding.

"Are you together enough to deal with this?" He waved a hand at Wrath.

Swallowing, you looked around again, and forced yourself to think harder. Rather quickly the events of the last several minutes were becoming clear, and you found that you were indeed able to gather up your thoughts and center yourself.

"What should I do?"

"Make him forget this happened before Sloth shows up with another surprise. And come visit me after, you're still not even healed."

He slipped out the door.

Wrath was moving, but still asleep. You pushed forward with your mind, and an odd sensation of wrapping around his own occurred before you spoke.

"Hey Wrath, remember how you got so excited about playing that you threw me on the wall when I told you to rest? You knocked over your bowl of candy, and were so upset you threw yourself back again?"

You repeated the story, imagining it as you did, trying to see and feel it from Wrath's perspective- would he believe it was a memory if it was from yours? He was very young, but it still seemed unlikely. Again and again you reminded Wrath of his actions, until he blinked slowly and opened his eyes.

"...mommy?" He blinked a few more times. "Oh, 'santy!"

"In-san-i-ty," you repeated back. "Wrath, do you remember what happened?"

He looked around the room, then froze his gaze upon the debris scattered on the floor.

"Please don't tell Mommy!"

You smiled gently. "Of course I won't tell Sloth, but you need to clean this up. I can't fix the walls myself, and we have to do it before she gets back, don't we?"

Wrath touched the wall nearest him, and the dents smoothed back to the normal wall finish. Some stalagmites he had drawn up from the floor remained, but he fixed them as well. Last, you helped him to sweep all the glass together, then he repaired the bowl. You watched as he made a game of gathering every last stone.

"Good job, Wrath. I'm sorry I just watched you for most of it- my back's still a little sore from that throw. Try to get some more sleep, honey."

Upon closing the door behind you, your sweet smile disappeared, and you felt a lascivious grin draw your mouth wide.

You were in Envy's room and upon him before you realized it- pushing him down, nipping, tugging, then biting the elastic skin of his neck, tearing at it.

What came less naturally was his solid push backward; he held you firmly apart from him.

"Hungry, aren't you?"

"I was just exci-"

You paused, only then beginning to note your surroundings. The air in Envy's room was heavy with the salt-copper scent of blood. With the shades drawn, the dark of the room was all encompassing, yet you had an odd feeling of being watched.

"What did you do in here?"

"Never mind," said Envy, pulling you forward to straddle his lap. "I thought you might still be bleeding, but 'excited,' I can handle."

Pulling back, you shook your head. "No, something feels wrong. I'm letting some air in."

Envy tsked at you, but you felt him shrug before you stood up.

The floor was sticky.

The fresh burst of air as you shoved the window open through still-shut curtains almost seemed pungent in its contrast to the room. You breathed deeply.

"You don't even have to breathe. Are you happy now?"

Having parted the shade, you turned to him, then froze. Dismembered homunculi littered the floor, their pallid skin sagging against the boards. Those who were torn apart disturbed you, but others had deep, circular marks. Bite marks. You backed toward the window, hoping Lust and Gluttony were behind the evergreen wall.

"Who are they...?"

"Who cares; they're only humans."

You prodded the nearest with your foot, studying its face as best you could without bowing. It was deathly pale, dark haired, drained of blood, but he was right- it was only a human.

"Where did they come from?"

"The town, why do you think I've been avoiding Sloth? Where have you been, we'd have fun."

Breathing easier, you stepped back into the room. "You need to clean this up- what have you been doing with them?"

"I know, but I just can't seem to separate Gluttony from Lust."

You shuddered at the thought of Gluttony opening his mouth in such a small room.

Envy caught your eye, and made a strong guess. "I would not be in here while he fed, of course. All the more reason to get Lust away, if we're not supervising the whole time."

"We?"

He grinned. "Unless you plan on finding Sloth very quickly, you're as much a part of this as I am. Besides, didn't you want to know what I was doing with them."

"It looks like you've been eating them." You grimaced.

"Do you have any red water left? Then back off. You were desperately craving it not ten minutes ago."

"Is that it, then?"

Envy's face lit up. "Oh, no, not at all," he said with a rare liveliness. "They're a wonderful sport- but that's not just it either, I only hunted the first few."

"Then? Why are half-" you checked the floor- "more than half of them older men?"

"That's just who seems to take the bait- some of them were very rugged, handso- that is, strong, when alive, so don't worry, I'm not looking for the easiest ones. I've been showing at the taverns here and there- and not just the shady ones, as you can see." He indicated a pile of the better-dressed types. "I can disguise myself as anything- or anyone, anyone- this one time, I made myself look so innocent, like a younger- anyway, they won't miss her;" he waved his hand again.

"Anyway, it's funnest just being myself. They all want to see what's in the thin little waif's pants. Sometimes they get a taste, but for the most part I just slaughter in the woods before I dirty myself."

"You're fucking them. Fuck you."

He rolled his eyes. "It's hardly even masturbation, and even less since I can't even come to them."

You felt your lip curling, and it twitched as you tried to quash it.

"Insanity, wake up," he hissed. His voice was bestial in frustration. "They're just humans. Look at yourself. They are not us. Why is fucking some threatening to you, when I know you like slaughtering them like cattle."

"That's not-"

He waved his hand yet again, and you looked to the mirror he had indicated- his only full mirror.

With only corpses to compare to, you felt that you looked quite human, but you felt your stomach churning at some small detail that you couldn't pinpoint. Your eyes?

Stepping closer, you brushed your hair away from your temple and the telltale ouroboros. It was odd, but countless humans had tattoos.

Studying your face more closely, you realized the cloying difference- while the pale, drained humans were waxy, bloated, and drooping, your pallor was attached to young, fresh, and very much alive muscle tissue. The harsh scars you knew had marred you only hours earlier had tightened after your snack, leaving you with a map of faint, razor-thin lines that seemed to be fading before your eyes. Your mouth did not sag, nor had a jowl appeared where gravity pulled. The dark eyes were not human either, but it was the life throughout your corpse that dragged in the wrongness, the true unnatural, the monstrosity.

Raising your eyes, you watched Envy walk up from behind and wrap his arms around your waist.

"You see?"

You leaned against him. You felt dizzy.

"You're not human."

You ran a hand through your hair, trying to break eye contact with your mirror image. Not human.

"You are better."

He paused.

"You are perfect."

Chapter Text

Envy cleaned out the room, leaving the corpses outside for you to lure Gluttony to. You were impressed with him for not only accepting that you didn't appreciate his proclivities, but for turning it into an evening of productivity. With the corpses eaten and blood mopped away, window open to ventilate and dry the room, things were almost normal.

And all you had to do was drink a little of the human blood.

It wasn't so bad, just a lighter, saltier, version of red water. Envy seemed surprised, as though he had been expecting to have to convince you, despite that it was now clear that you had chugged some in Wrath's room as you returned to consciousness. It seemed silly- you weren't human, why would he have to work to convince you?

In fact, his idea of fun was starting to appeal to you, now that he, no longer carrying the residual scent of his bedroom's contents, appealed to you himself. Jerking your head to indicate it was time you two got out of the house, and led him in silence to the village, only upon reaching it turning to him and telling him:

"So, show me what you do?"

His jack-o-lantern grin glowed under a streetlamp.

"Watch me and follow- but first, I get to dress you. You don't have to be as good at disguise as me, but we don't need a witch hunt arriving on our doorstep. Lust would just shove me out the window at them anyway."

It didn't take long for Envy to change you around a bit. A stunning blow to some passerby afforded you some along with and a new belt, purse and jewelry to set off all the homunculus-black you wore. Envy tore your sleeves and reworked your outfit and hair, until at the very least, as he showed you by becoming you, you did not look like your everyday self.

Envy changed little about himself, just tinting away his pallor, neatening up his hair, and changing into a tight shirt and pants, rather than his work clothes.

The bar he took you to was underground, smoky, and dimly lit. The clientele were varied; older men sat at the bar, chatting, a few couples were at tables, some people were playing billiards, and lounging about that area were younger folks-

You faltered. There was one much older folk there as well, surrounded by tightly dressed, large-busted women, one of whom was none-so subtly grinding on his lap.

Greed looked up from his harem, and waved at you with a small smile before returning to his business.

Nodding, you moved on. Envy seemed uninterested in Greed as well, reinforcing your understanding that none of you were in the mood to create a spectacle. Leaving a generous tip on the water you ordered, you settled at an empty table, rummaging through the purse you had acquired.

Several tables away, Envy already had a few suitors around him, and you did not miss when a sandy-haired man dropped something into his drink.

"Feeling jealous? You can come with me."

Mildly startled, you looked up to see Greed.

"You're not exactly what I'm looking for, and that's especially considering that I am hungry."

"Oh, Envy's getting you into his bad habits? He is one terrible influence of a brother. Well, if you're not interested in joining us, how about I pick your brain until someone gets jealous? What are you drinking?"

You studied him carefully. Though he had a shit-eating smile, he didn't look devious, just bored. His crew weren't far off, but they seemed thoroughly disinterested, instead keeping Greed's romantic interests corralled until his return. Just one lean woman with short hair was still watching.

"It could work. Water."

"I'll order you something tastier. It's not as though we have to worry about overindulging."

Whatever it was that he brought you was tastier, but you regretted allowing him to question you- not because he had found anything useful about your group of homunculi, but because he would not back off with questions about you and Envy.

"So, has he fucked your heart yet? Because-"

"No, and please stop asking," you said, rubbing your face. "Don't you have other ladies to bother? ...Wait, what do you mean 'yet?'"

He laughed at you from behind his shark grin. "Just because the only decent looking folks in this town are ladies doesn't mean I wouldn't- well, you would understand, just look at him, any day."

Your cheeks felt a little pink. All this time, the only one you had guessed at was Lust.

"Oh. I suppose this was before you defected?"

"Before, after, whenever we weren't trying to kill each other, really. He didn't make a pass at me that last time though, you must be something special. Anyway, when he fuc-"

"Urgh, are you just relaying your sex life to me as questions? Just stop, please."

"But he's so-"

"Can't you see the lady is upset?"

A young man stood at your shoulder, glaring daggers at Greed, who held his hands up.

"I'm sorry, didn't realize she was taken. Don't worry, she's all yours."

You watched him return to his old spot and flop into his nest of women, who had been sulking and looking bored, but now seemed pleased.

The newcomer immediately took Greed's chair.

"You don't have to talk to me or anything, I just wanted to keep any other creeps from sitting down for a moment."

You had found your mark.

"Oh, not at all, please. He's so creepy, he has all those chicks but he had to hit on me because I was alone and vulnerable. I was really really scared."

"I'm so sorry to hear that, should I talk to security?"

"No, I just want to forget it."

"Well, at the very least, I'll walk you home, if you're leaving alone."

"Well thank you. I wasn't planning on leaving yet, but with that offer, I just might." You cocked an eyebrow.

He turned red before you.

"Oh! Oh, um, I wasn't implying- I mean if you want to, you're very pretty, but I just wanted you to get home safe. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't plan on sitting with you longer if you let me-"

Not only had you found a mark, but an easy one at that.

"No offense taken, it was my idea, remember? It's a bit of a walk though."

"That's fine, but... if this goes okay, will I see you again? If it doesn't that's fine, but I'd really like to get to know you better."

"Of course, I'm not a one-night stand sort. Besides, you'd go through everyone in this small town pretty fast that way. Maybe if we were in Central."

Standing up, you noted that Envy was gone, and briefly wondered which way he had went, and with whom.

Your 'date' chattered as you walked through town. Encouraging him throughout, and occasionally throwing in little lies about yourself so he didn't feel as though he was talking over some kind of wrongness, you made your way westward, leading him off by a block to avoid the possibly still unconscious woman from before. He told you all about his family, his apprenticeship, and how he liked to help out a certain doctor friend of his. He had a litter of kittens at home to his big tabby cat, who his little brother visited every day.

He finally reached a silence when you got to the edge of the woods.

"Where now?"

"Oh, um- I live up the hill, this way's faster, and less likely to get the neighbours' attention. I am still living with family, so-"

He waved you off. "No need, I get it. Besides, the woods are romantic.

Thinking back to your earlier trysts with Envy, you couldn't help but agree.

"You little faggot, crossdressing freak!"

"You didn't seem to mind it when you were feeling me up in the bar. Look at this rage hard-on of yours, fella."

You stopped.

"Oh shit."

"Does this happen much out here? Maybe we should take the path, neighbours be damned, or you could come home with me."

"Don't you dare leave!" you hissed.

"I won't leave." Your accidental command had made him seem almost robotic, but it set you up all the better.

"Actually, ignore that fight. Otherwise, back to normal."

"What fight?"

"You little-"

Apparently Envy was kind enough to help confirm your command's efficacy.

"Did you hear that?"

"No? Hear what?"

You smiled- you were definitely getting good. "Just an owl. You were right though, look at those stars! The woods are so romantic."

Quite gently, you kissed him. With Envy's scream-fight in the background, probably only avoiding escalation due to Envy's quick reflexes, you slipped your hands up under your suitor's shirt.

He was so much bigger than Envy, all in sheer size. His chest was broad, and he had quite an amount more height than you. His arms were thick; for all they had to be weaker than Envy's or even your own, he had to be strong. You felt like a snake, for he was warm, and you couldn't help but tighten the distance between you. You hummed in pleasure.

"I'm glad you like what you're feeling. May I?"

After helping him remove your top, you twitched a little in surprise as he picked you up, backing you against a tree, to taste your nipples. You pushed down on his shoulders, and he lifted you further to wrap your still-clothed legs around his head. He breathed heavily against you, kissing through the fabric. You dug your fingers into his skull, and he looked up inquisitively.

You sighed.

"I'm sorry, you seem like great fun, but my kind of fun is a little different."

Blood started to run around your fingers, and he gasped. Dropping from his shoulders, you bit deeply into his arm.

You stopped and looked at him. Your breath caught in your throat and you spat out the hunk of meat.

"What am I doing?"

"You- you're not human!"

He dropped you, but didn't yet flee.

You wiped the blood on your hands off against your stomach.

"I'm practically human."

Envy's direction became silent, except for the sounds of ripping and occasionally loud, open-mouthed chews.

Your catch ran, and you sat down. What was going on with your head? Humans, although lesser pawns, weren't for eating. Beautiful torturous sex was something to inflict and receive with Envy, not some brat.

"Hey little monster, it's quiet, are you having a problem?"

For all Envy was singsong about your potential troubles, he had clearly seen enough issue to wander from his prey.

"Where is he?"

"I let him go. Why did you talk me into this, I was having a better time with Greed's weird shit."

"Oh that little- Wait, let him go?" Gaping, for once at a loss for words, Envy stared off toward the city.

You winced. "Oh fuck. I told you I needed some real red water. He can't be too far yet, he's only human, I'll-"

Envy was already gone, leaving you muttering.

"...I'd have taken care of it myself."


Though it hadn't been long since their last visit to Dublith, Ed breathed a sigh of relief at returning to the quaint town. As much as the idea of seeing Izumi was terrifying, the town was a break from those filled with huge offices and military station, not to mention suspected humunculi.

Nevertheless, he was surprised when Izumi did not greet him with a sparring match, but instead led him and Al into the house without event. It wasn't until she had left them at a table while she prepared lunch that he asked what was going on.

She walked up, then hugged him from behind as she sat.

"I heard about your sister. You two need to learn to grieve, without making bad decisions or bottling it up until it becomes a grudge. Do you want to stay with me a while, away from the military?"

Al stood up so quickly that he knocked the chair over and nearly bonked his head on the ceiling.

"I think I'll go for a walk, I don't need to eat lunch anyway so-"

"Stay," Edward and Izumi growled in unison, complete with matching death glares- well, nearly so. Edward knew his could never outmatch the terror that was Izumi.

"Edward, tell me why Alphonse is fleeing."

Hand shaking, Edward handed her a folded sheet of paper from his pocket. He did not plan on telling the whole sordid tale yet again.


Sitting by Envy's window, you heard him drop the body on the ground outside and whistle at Gluttony. The distinct sound of the front door opening followed quickly, but it was a long time before you heard him ascend the stairs- lighter than Gluttony, without the flowing rhythm of Lust.

"Thought you might be in here."

He shoved a sealed glass bottle into your hand.

"Wine?"

"Not quite. Don't ask me where I got it, and do not tell anyone- anyone - that I gave it to you."

Chapter Text

Envy took a swig from the dark bottle, then forced his lips over yours, massaging your neck with stabbing thumbs as he spat the liquid down your throat.

By instinct or the force of his rubbing, you swallowed in one gulp, then shivered. You tried to open your mouth and question him, but Envy stopped you with another rough kiss, this time void of the mystery fluid. A moan rose from deep in your throat as he pushed your shoulders back, tight grip unrelenting, and shoved a leg between your own.


The Elrics watched their teacher's face twist in horror, anger, and frustration. When she met their eyes, both flinched.

"How could you- have you learned nothing? How did you get the idea that- no, why did you do this. What if Alphonse's soul had been sucked through the door? Doesn't anyone who is actually alive matter to you? What is wrong with you boys? Alphonse, you will never take a risk like that again or I will forbid you from using alchemy! And Edward, you- you! Why don't you two learn?"

Edward met Izumi's glare with complacent but unblinking eyes, then turned to Al, who was covering his face and clearly would have been sweating through his clothes, had he had them or a body to wear them on. Al was also the one to speak first.

"I'm sorry Teacher! It happened so fast and I didn't know what to do and then the body was gone and the funeral was over and Edward got asked to compile research and she showed up again!"

"Al, calm down, you have nothing to apologize for. Teacher, let him go now, he wasn't involved and I don't want him to know the details of what was done- what I did. Someone might-"

"No, you just don't want him to hear what you did!"

"Actually Teacher," Al whimpered, "I really don't want to know. I'll help Sig in the shop, if it's okay."

Izumi sighed, but relented, waving Alphonse out of the room. She stood to secure the door and window after he had gone.

"He needs to rest and forget this, even if it's only for a few minutes. Drink your water, Edward, and tell me what you came here to say."


"This," Envy told you, "will remind you just how strong you are and how much you are unlike humans. They are nothing to us, to you. You are perfection."


Ed gingerly probed with three fingers. The heat rising from Izumi's slap mark was imperceptible to his cold automail, but the light touches, while numbing the pain, also caused his cheek to twitch.

"I deserved that. It's a wonder that Mustang didn't beat you to it."

"It's good to hear someone at the military has some sense!"

She took a deep breath.

"Edward, why did you think having a body would help? You saw Wrath and you know his story; you were already proven wrong before you tried it again."

"I-"

"Yes, it was certainly about you, wasn't it?"

"I didn't think. I was only concentrating about my own failure and combating it, nothing that I learned since. I was stupid. I am stupid."

Izumi sighed deeply for what seemed like the hundredth time.

"You're not stupid. A stupid person couldn't do a human transmutation, calculate formulas, arrange to steal a body, and create even pseudo-life with the speed or accuracy you did. You are foolish, and you don't think, but it's nothing to do with your intellect. You could probably teach me, if I was willing to hear anything further on the subject but how to defeat them."

"Actually!"

"Actually?"

Edward gulped back his enthusiasm. "I don't know if it's true or not, but Dana had read something about defeating homunculi before... before this. I don't remember the exact quote (and she couldn't really either), but it stated that homunculi are incompatible with their human bodies. If their remnants are within close proximity, they can be killed."

Izumi's range of emotions played on her face with more intensity than before. Doubtful, hopeful, pleased, then straight back down into a deep anger, accentuate by her fist thumping on the table.

"Do you realize, Edward, what that means for you and I?"

He met her eyes with his own steady gaze.

"I would say 'hope,' but I don't think you agree."

"No, not hope. Because neither of us have any remnants."

"I've thought about that though. Not before Dana- I mean, Insanity- revealed herself, itself, but I left Dana's possessions with Mrs Hughes in Central before the funeral. If, I mean, when, when I go back, she might have a comb or something. Even if it's not enough to kill her, I think it could at least be enough to weaken her for containment."

"And how do you feel about that, Edward? You told me about releasing Greed. You're the one who has observed a captive and escaped homunculus. Do you think it's safe? Do you think it's humane?"

"There's nothing humane about it, but it isn't humane to let Insanity keep torturing people, or messing with their minds."

Finally Izumi looked more concerned than angry. "Edward, what is she doing? Is this why Al is so-"

"I don't want to talk about it."

"It isn't about what you want to talk about, Edward."

"I mean- I mean... please, Teacher. Let me finish talking about this. Al might want to be here, or really not want to, and we should ask him first."

She nodded acquiescence.

"It's not humane, but it would keep her from hurting others. I think it would work, Greed was locked up for a long time, and it was only because of explosions that he ever got loose. We could transmute an even better chamber, and more secret from the other homunculi- after all, if they locked one of their own up, they might be able to break another out, especially now that one has alchemy-"

"That brings me to my other question. What of the child?"

"Wrath?"

"My homunculus. What about him? I don't have a lock of his hair, I have no remnants of his body, he was born and transmuted."

"I don't have an answer to that," Edward admitted quietly, before piping up again, somewhat shakily, "but Al had a thought."

"Should we bring him in?"

"I'll tell you, just remember that it was his idea. What about you, Izumi? He has- had- the blood of you and Sig. And Al pointed out, he was a lot less volatile when he was in your house. I mean, he still had the uncontrolled alchemy, but he was not violent, and didn't transmute much at once."

Edward looked up to Izumi yet again, then looked away. Her eyes looked disappointingly heavy, and he had an idea of what she was thinking, but she would never try it. Her voice was normal and calm when she spoke again.

"I think it's time we bring Alphonse back. I need both of you to tell me what happened since- after all, you came here for advice, didn't you?"


You laid flat on your back as Envy licked a combination of blood and ejaculate of your thighs, breathing thick through his nose.

"I know you're not spent yet," he hissed, his tongue glazing over your clit in an impossibly gentle way. You thrust into his mouth by reflex.

Groaning deeply, he obliged, rutting against your leg as he did.

"Here I was thinking of all the things I want to do to you," he mumbled into your skin, "but here you are, taking control, reminding me of all the things you could do to me. Mm, I want your," he gasped as you dug your nails into his side, "yes, your everything sharp, my blood, your piss, your, your-" He cut himself off with a yelp when you instead pierced his cock. "That, do that again, mm, use me..."

"It's tempting," you said, releasing him, "but you told me this would show me how strong I was, and we are going out before it wears off."

"Fuck, let's go out to the woods and you can test it on me."

"Enough!" you snapped, and Envy snapped to attention, in multiple ways. You did your best to hide the shiver you felt when he looked so ready. "You will take me out now, and when we are done, I will do whatever I want to you. If it goes well," you kissed his cheek, "I might even take your ideas into consideration.

Envy did nothing to hide his prurience.


"I don't understand, Edward, I need something more specific than 'messes with your mind,' especially if you want some way to combat it."

"Well, Teacher," Alphonse started, missing the look Ed has shot him, "she can make you do things. They stole research from us by making me get it for them. It was like a voice kept repeating in my mind, telling me what to do."

Izumi looked at Edward. He was sitting lower in his chair than usual, slouching, scowling, and visibly fuming.

"Is that all?"

"What do you mean 'is that all?' None of the other homunculi can do that! It can't be explained by alchemy or anything else!"

His teacher smacked him on the head, lightly this time.

"It is a big problem. But I don't think being forced to deliver documents to them would leave both of you so reluctant to talk. Your brother was there for this part, and you still weren't happy to bring him in, and I've never seen Alphonse look this sick, even when you were kids. So I'll ask again: is that really all?"

"...no."

"Al, you don't have to talk about it."

"No, brother, I will. But I think you might want to mention the- you know, when you- that first."

Edward paled, then mumbled a few words.

"What was that, Edward?"

"I said," he replied more audibly, "she made me stab her. Right through the-" he gagged, "-right in the way Envy did, when he killed Dana in front of us."

"And now you're wondering if she remembers, and if this is revenge for you not saving her?"

Edward nodded.

"I've met a few homunculi now, and I think it's safe to believe that they don't remember much, except impressions. In fact, she might be confused enough that you could get through to her, before she gets even deeper entrenched with their pack."

Crossing the room, Izumi stood between the brothers, then draped her arms over their shoulders, pulling them close.

"You can go rest, if you want. Especially you, Edward, at least Al had a break from talking earlier. It was not your fault, and I doubt it was even her idea."

Izumi felt her shoulder growing wet with Edward's tears, and tried to pull him closer, but he jerked backward.

"It wasn't. We haven't told you everything- I don't know if we've told you anything yet, Teacher." He blotted his face on his coat sleeve. "It's Envy."

"Envy... the shapeshifter?"

"He's- he-" Edward stopped and took a breath. "He has taken an interest in her. Even before he was a homunculus; he tried something with her, and he killed her in cold blood, I heard Lust scold him because she was supposed to be a hostage, and he said how he hated her."

"You knew he killed her already Edward, why is this bothering you now?"

"I've never seen them apart. I've seen him tear her to shreds, I've seen him... do things to her, he made her kiss him the first time we saw each other, she keeps dying in front of me, over and over again, even before they made me kill her."

"She is a homunculus, Edward. You've seen what they're capable of."

"He's desecrating her body! If her mind is still there at all, he's torturing it out, corrupting it!"

Edward sprinted out of the room. Alphonse sat back down.

"Do you still want to tell me what you think, Al?"

"Ed's reading into things too much, and he didn't even get to- I don't want to tell you, but I said I would. I thought he'd be here to support me."

"Go on, Al. I'm here, I won't be mad. Really."

Alphonse seemed to gulp. "It is Envy, but Ed only just got into things. She made us- or maybe he made her do it, maybe Ed is right- they-" He stopped.

"They were being... hedonists."

"How do you know that word?"

"Teacher please, that's not the point. They were having... having sex, and doing a lot of things to each other. They made Edward stab each of them, and they... they came. They forced Edward and I to watch, and I feel dirty and gross and scared, but Edward has been really wrong since it happened. He knows how they used him, and he still can't believe Insanity isn't Dana. He suggested we defeat her, but you saw him today, he defends her."

"And you, Alphonse? What do you think of Insanity?"

"I'm scared of her, but... I still want to try something else before killing her. This may be what she is now, but Ed has a point about Envy orchestrating her death, and not having left her side since."

"I see. I know you can't sleep, Al, but try to meditate- you do remember how, right? Meditate, try to clear your mind or at least focus on something else."

"Yes teacher. Please though, check on Ed."

"I will."


"I understand the effort you went to, Envy, but the effects didn't least very long by the time we were here."

"Actually," Envy said, with his cheshire grin, "we've been here for-" he generated a watch, "five hours now. It's hard to tell since this is all lit by torch, of course. Are you feeling satisfied?"

Hearing the time that had passed, you felt it catch up with you as you considered. You had tested your powers in a number of ways, worked on your sparring, healing from the disgusting splats on the wall and floor Envy could break you into, and you felt strong.

"I think I actually am."

"Are you up for one last thing?" Envy asked, lasciviousness slipping back into his voice.

"I could be convinced."

"After all, you did say you might take my suggestions."

Chapter Text

A long greasy man with long greasy hair hung before you, head down, his hands raised in wooden stocks that were chained to the ceiling in the center of the alcove. If he were even an inch shorter, he would not be able to balance on the balls of his feet as he did.

"I don't get it. More practice? I thought we were moving on to something more frivolous. "

"No more work. This is for fun." Envy walked up and punched the man in his gut, causing him to wheeze as he swung from the chain, trying to plant his feet again. "Oi, show your face, won't you?"

"Who's there," the man snarled, his scratchy voice grating on your ears. "Here to torture the Crimson Alchemist some more?"

"Zolf J. Kimblee. It's been years; I haven't seen you since Ishval. How about I take off the blindfold, and you tell me why Greed's stuck you down here." Envy removed the rag from Kimblee's face without waiting for an answer.

"How do you know Greed?" the man asked, blinking in a rather pitiful way despite how rough he spoke.

Envy's grin kept getting wider, unnervingly so.

"You could say he's like a brother to me."

"Your brother has some trust issues, but I won't be here for long."

"Yeah, that's probably my fault. I might have something to do with this dungeon kink of his, too. I bet he'll find you fun. Well," Envy said, prodding Kimblee. "That is, if he comes back. You look pretty vulnerable up there, with your hands locked away from anything. And if I know anything about Greed, it's that he is wont to distraction."

Eyes adjusted, Kimblee glared at Envy. "You're homunculi. Who are you? Which one's the girl?"

"Don't worry your pretty head about it. I have some ideas, if you're both agreeable."


Although you consented to Envy's convoluted plans with enthusiasm, you were still unsure how exactly you had reached the situation you were in, riding Envy's face while Kimblee watched, cock throbbing but impossibly far from his reach.

That didn't mean you weren't enjoying it.

"Yeah, eat me you dirty little- ungh, yeah, you worthless, sexless, excuse for a homunculus." You slapped him. "You can't even get off without involving humans, can you?"

He tried to respond, but you pushed against his mouth harder, drowning it out.

You groaned as your body tensed and relaxed voluntarily, taking a full minute before you were ready to breathe and speak again, though you didn't release his mouth.

"Hey Kimblee. You know it is a piss slut?"

The prisoner's breath hitched, barely audible over Envy's thick moan. You watched the homunculus' cock twitch, squeezing out a heavy drop of precum.

You stood, letting Envy up on his knees, before shoving him toward Kimblee.

"Maybe if you beg, he'll give you what you want."

Your charge knelt at Kimblee's feet, panting and dripping, eyes wet with desperation.

You spotted a spare bit of chain in a corner, and you grabbed it, bringing its length down on Envy, his spine dropping in briefly. "Beg him."

"Oh, you big, strong alchemist," he whined, flickering his tongue up Kimblee's thigh. "Crimson Alchemist, Hero of the Ishval Eradication," he mouthed at Kimblee's balls, "please, please let me drink your piss."

If it weren't for the arousal pumping through you, it you would feel like you had stepped out of the scene. But you were aroused, and your clit throbbed as Envy's lips encircled the tip of Kimblee's cock.

Envy's eyes widened, and he started swallowing rapidly, occasionally sputtering, but not stepping away from his task. His cock was slick and pulsing as he finally pulled away, coughing a bit as the last few drops hit the floor, the smell making your face twist as he turned to you, his eyes again wide, showing his eagerness to please.

"You want a reward, Envy?"

He crawled toward you on the floor. "Yes, Insanity, please, Insanity."

You pushed Envy back with your food. "Fuck him. Get him off. Then maybe- maybe- I'll let your filthy mouth near me again."

Envy hurried, still on all fours, to Kimblee, then let his shape shifting assist. You tried not to look at the places where his body stretched and twisted as he held himself aloft by the man's chest, hanging as he pounded his cock into Kimblee's ass.

In the middle position of the power exchange, Envy's usual mannerisms began to slip back into place, his whimpering moans replaced with hearty growls as he invaded Kimblee's body. You allowed yourself to step back from the scene, to be the voyeur for once.

"Has he done this to you yet? Has Greed even gotten a chance?"

Kimblee was struggling now, though he didn't protest.

"Answer me or I'll slit your fucking throat."

Suppressing a groan, you closed your eyes to listen to their filthy back and forth, penetrating yourself if shallowly, rubbing your clit and feeling your body respond deeply.

"N-no!" he spat, after brief trouble. "But Greed probably isn't a sodomite, like you, faggot."

"You talk to much," Envy snarled, slithering and twisting around Kimblee until, with grotesque arms, he was fucking Kimblee's face, spreading his ass and trying to force four, then five fingers in. "And you clearly know nothing of your new master; soon you will be grateful that we loosened you up first."

The prisoner shouted garbled words against Envy's cock, the only intelligible phrase being "not- hulp- master."

"You think you're without a master right now? You think this will end? I might leave soon, but Greed doesn't have equals."

Again he twisted, sinking his ass over Kimblee's cock, but stretched around to bite the man- none so gently, you noted as blood ran down Kimblee's side- while he was at it. Kimblee cried out when he came. Envy separated from the alchemist, spun the chain to expose Kimblee's ass, and picked up his monologue, humping faster and harder as Kimblee grew visibly overstimulated.

"He only has pawns, like you," Envy paused, shuddering, and pulled Kimblee down as he pumped his cum into the prisoner.

"And betters, like me."

"I can't help but disagree on that last point."

Greed's familiar voice seemed to be echoing from a far away hall, but you started hard, wondering just how close he was and how loud Envy had been. You had been busy committing the scene to memory in graphic detail to worry about being heard, or even getting off in the moment, though you still were flushed with desire.

"We'd best get going. Hey Kimblee, point him in our direction, and if he remembers to come down again, don't forget to tell him all about what we did. He'll know either way, but it's better from your mouth."

You dragged your feet getting up, but dressed quickly

"Why are you trying to get caught? I already had to drive him off once, and the next time, he was... well, it was safe, but he was gross."

"Are you too tired? I had plans, but if you don't feel like you'll survive them..."

"I'm the opposite of tired, I'm jumpy and fucking horny. Let's get out of here and deal with that."

"I think you'll like this plan, I promise. But if you don't want to fuck Greed with me," he was interrupted by your sputtering, "I can take you home."

"You better not be joking. I am so- wait, I know there's two of us and one of him, but-"

"It's perfectly safe. He's nearly as depraved as I am, and unlike me, he is sorely lacking someone who can survive our sort of play. But here, have another sip if you really want to be sure."

You swallowed a gulp from a tiny flask Envy had apparently kept concealed somewhere, and he did the same.

"Not a drop left. He is going to be furious."


Envy clearly hadn't even begun to exhaust himself on Kimblee; as soon as Kimblee was out of site, he slammed you against a brick wall, knocking several teeth out of place.

You shoved him back and spat blood at him. "You'd better be clean, that human was disgusting."

He stepped back with a sly smile, spread his arms and parted his legs to let you inspect him.

Somehow, he was cleaner than he had been when you entered the dungeon.

"I'm feeling more agreeable. Where are we, anyway?"

"Near Rush Valley; we're well west of Amhirn. These underground dungeons are widespread and well hidden. And we should probably shut up, we're closer to the surface than we have been since getting here. You never know who will hear."

Rolling your eyes, you planted your back on the wall. "I know for a fact that you don't care who hears us, but if it's so important, shut up and fuck me. I have been uncomfortably wet since I got off your face."

"You've been incredibly wet since you got off on my face, you mean." He took your hands as he stepped closer, pressing into your hips with his own bony ones, and took a deep bite from the flesh of your shoulder.

He held back even as you groped and pulled at him, slamming your back into the wall again- you heard your skull crack- when you stopped struggling. He held you with bruising force, even as he turned and spat your blood down the stairwell you had come from.

"Now he'll definitely find us. He's been looking for those fucking bottles since before I even locked him up. And since you insist," he gave you a wolfish grin, "let's have some fun while we wait."

"Get those clothes off, unless you really want to- and think you can- top us both. Greed is more strong in his preferences than I am.

You stripped down quickly while his clothes sunk under his skin. You hoisted yourself up to wrap your legs around him, sinking your nails, then your hands, into his sides until he twitched. Even his kidneys were prone to sensitivity. Squeezing them, you enjoyed his rare shudder of discomfort.

"I- I believe I was on my way to your collar bone."

Envy hitched you up enough to slip his cock in and fucked you against the dark brick wall as he resumed pulling your shoulder flesh away in his teeth until your clavicle was freely exposed. He snapped his jaws around it like a dog, but the growling was his own. He picked up the pace as you dug deeper and higher into his sides, your weight hanging from his rib cage. His lukewarm blood ran down your arms, dripping from your bent elbows.

Flaying and gutting him was turning into an art, and the feel of flesh in your grip caused chills as much as his own work burnt you.

Your gasps and gulps as Envy made quick work of you combated only him in volume, and as such, you wouldn't have noticed Greed's arrival if it weren't for the way he shoved Envy into you, crushing your chest and, you were pretty sure, cracking a few of Envy's ribs.

"So, what have you invited me to this time? I do like how you've exposed yourself. I might even forgive you for messing with my things."

"Eat me."

"With pleasure."

A small cough was forced from your lungs as Greed again pushed Envy toward the wall, this time not in a violent shove, but a firm pressure on Envy's lower back, as you observed over his shoulder when he lifted you higher. You pulled your bloody fingers from his back, and settled them instead on the back of his head, wrapped in his thick hair as he buried his face between your legs, thrumming his tongue against you.

The view did nothing to discourage you. Envy's lean, taught muscles were a treat in of themselves; though you had plenty of time to observe in the dungeons, it was rare that you watched him during play. The image was perfected by Greed, still clothed and bespectacled, with his tongue running up, down, around, and into Envy's spread asshole.

With a gasp, you shut your eyes, tangling your hands deeper in Envy's hair. He had concentrated himself on your clit, sucking you in a miniaturized mimick of your own fellating tactics. Your breathing ramped up, faster and rougher as you approached orgasm.

His tongue wide and flat, Envy drew a deathly slow lick from your wet hole to your clit. Opening your eyes, you felt your heartbeat quiet a bit as you adjusted. Panting, you asked, "Was that supposed to edge me, or ruin me?"

The answer, and his amusement, were muffled between your thighs, until Greed grabbed his erection, and Envy's neck arched backward, a startlingly loud moan broken by hitches of laughter. It took him a minute or so to regain composure and nip you on the soft skin of your inner thigh.

"It depended if you came or not, didn't it?"

"Enough talk," Greed interrupted, and pulled you down from Envy's shoulders.

His kiss was as deep and confident, but softer than even the most bloodless of Envy's rough, halting kisses and embraces. Greed's was firm, full. His thick cock pressed against your ass, unnaturally hot, as he spun you around, pushing you to your knees. Intentionally or not, he dug his fingers deep into the skin of your back, then raked four lines down alongside your spine.

Looking over your shoulder, you saw Greed manhandling Envy in a similar way, dragging Envy into position beside him.

"Clean her up."

You lost sight, but felt Envy fall against you, then his face and tongue sliding heavily over your back, as though he was being dragged by his hair. Now and then the pressure would relent, then Envy would cough roughly, spattering your back before Greed pushed him to continue, with words and the weight of his hand, until Greed finally deemed you clean enough.

Greed rolled you over with his foot, looking down at you.

Envy spat on the ground.

"You look bored, Insanity. Didn't you enjoy your bath?"

Your cheeks flush under his sneer, and not solely in discomfort.

"She likes humiliation, doesn't she, Envy?"

"I can't say I've asked, but she does look a bit hot, doesn't she? What do you think, 'San?"

"I know," you growled, "that I like it when someone actually fucks me, instead of standing around."

"Sorry," Envy replied, looking a little softer. "I thought you wanted to give up control this round. Let's change things up, then."

You were certain your face couldn't grow any redder.

"No, I do want this, I just also want to do things."

He grinned. "Good," he said, kneeling beside you, and putting his hands on your shoulders, "because we will be busy."

Something in Envy released, and a ridiculous weight pressed your shoulders into the floor, smooth from countless prisoners passage underground, but still solid. Your left shoulder blade cracked. He broke it; he crushed it to dust- both the bone and the mortar surrounding the brick beneath, and didn't stop until your shoulders were well below floor level.

You wiggled and kicked under him, straining against his ridiculous weight. With the right timing, you could have used your mind to escape, but struggling was far more interesting; you wanted to make him fight for it.

Your shoulders stung as they tried to mend themselves while still being crushed against the slick brick floor. Envy's weight would relent when your skin healed over his own, causing him to rip his own hand free, splattering your neck each time.

Envy was hard again, sliding his cock up and down your opening and over your clit. He groaned and faltered when you managed to land a kick in the soft tissue of his side.

Greed grinned above you.

"Already that close, Envy? You must really like this one; you always held on longer with me."

Without responding, Envy pounded you harder, his grip on your shoulders tightening as he finally penetrated you.

Your eyes slammed shut and a guttural moan escaped your lips.

"I think you need some help."

Your vision flickered on long enough for Greed to move behind Envy and become obscured by the latter's chest. You moans grew louder with the anticipation, and Envy continued to fuck you with a fury, until he cried out, cutting all movement before breathing heavily and turning around with a vicious glare, one that thankfully did not pass over you.

"You couldn't even spit, or anything?"

"You couldn't be something more slippery?"

Without turning back toward you, Envy picked up thrusting again, but you kept watching. He had moved enough that you could see Greed over his shoulder, staring down at Envy and occasionally flicking his eyes up to meet your own with a wicked smile.

You couldn't see how Envy's face changed- and probably wouldn't want to, in the midst of his penetrating your body, only that his hair was briefly grey, and that Greed's expression became one of outrage.

He punched Envy in the jaw.

Envy came.

You scowled at both.

"You fucked up little-"

"Oh you know you want-"

Their potential bickering was broken before it began by your rough pull on Envy's arm, knocking both off balance and down onto you.

Envy was not one to refuse you; he resumed play, with more intensity than before. He bit into your breasts, exposing pink tissue marred by rivulets of blood; he somehow slid his arms under your back and became busy with your spine.

He repositioned himself, hands digging deeper into your thighs, disappearing in the warm skin and causing strange ripples in your nerves.

His accomplice spat on him, and you watched over Envy's back as he licked at you. With at least a facade of gentleness and ease, Greed smeared the saliva and slipped his fingers into Envy's ass.

Envy's cock was rock hard against your leg and throbbing, even before Greed began rubbing his own cock against Envy's vulnerable hole. Envy's groans were muffled by your body and Envy's own busy mouth, but Greed made no effort to obscure his own loud, lusty moan as he sunk himself deeper and deeper.

One of Envy's bloody hands was back on your breast, pulling viciously on your nipple as he fought harder than before to suck and lick you to orgasm, and his efforts were working but slowly. He slipped his fingers into you, stretching your pussy around them until he saw fit to enter you. Too many well aimed strokes had you edging but not able to fall, until you saw Greed straighten up, grip Envy's hips, and jackhammer him.

As if the image weren't enough to take in, Envy whimpered- he whimpered- against you. He couldn't seem to stop his little cries, but as Greed's pace accelerated, so did Envy's. Though you refused to look too closely at what you knew would be a grotesque form, you felt every movement of tongue, his alternating suction, every action he took, as he continued to fuck you. Even as he was plowed into the ground by Greed, he pushed you through one orgasm, then another, then into your own whimpering of overstimulation, with a vengeance.

After a few slower, harder pumps, Greed pulled Envy back by the hair to look at you, your pussy still throbbing, and laughed.

"You're soaking."

With a lighthearted shove, he knocked Envy out of the way, moving forward until the knee he knelt upon was rubbing your vulva, making your squirm, though not nearly as much as you had with the rapid stimulation.

To the side, you saw Envy engaging in some self masturbatory sequence. Laying on his back, he plunged his hands through the flat expanse of his stomach and down into his pelvis, where you saw occasional ridges appear when his knuckles grazed his skin. He moaned, but quietly.

Greed followed your gaze, and snorted.

"Get him to let you watch when he really gets going, when he isn't already used and spent. And wait here a moment, would you?"

You relaxed, finally unencumbered, then pulled yourself out of your imprint and laid next to it on a cooler spot of floor.

No longer feeling like watching, you listened to Greed whispering dirty words to Envy, the last of which were: "Good boy, sometime I'll have to get a collar for you."

Something inside you throbbed, and for a second, you considered the pros and cons of having a homunculus' quick refractory period.

Greed's thick semi bounced off your face, slightly bloodied, and your opinion was made.

You couldn't deep throat him, it wasn't so much that he was long as that he was dense and girthy, and your throat simply wasn't that wide, even when you pulled on your jaw, cracking it open enough to protect him from your teeth. Unlike Envy, he couldn't adjust, but you made up for it, you thought, in the way your tongue circled his head, danced on his frenulum, and lapped the precum away. His moans cemented your opinions.

"Mm, like you're hungry for it, babe."

Somewhere, Envy cackled. Greed didn't relent.

"He," Greed said, thrusting to meet your mouth, "might need a fight to get off. I would rather have people give themselves to me."

You were too busy working him and swallowing fluid to reply. Envy was more silent than before.

"I think someone is jealous."

Opening your eyes, you blinked out the fading sun, and made out Envy's form, glowering from some distance away. It was his own idea, but you still felt a touch of guilt.

Either precum or saliva- both, probably- ran down your chin as Greed pulled you up. He lay back, putting your hands on his chest, daring you to pull off his shirt.

"Call him, if you want. I'll get to enjoy his being bitter either way."

You beckoned Envy, just as Greed took hold of your hips, guiding you until you straddled him, the tip of his cock just barely nestled in your labia.

Greed wrenched your hips down, hard, and started railing you from below, just as Envy reached you. He pulled you back gently, arching your neck so he could kiss your forehead.

Then he spat into his hand, gripped his cock, and guided it sharply into your ass.

The sensation was too much, to intense on too many spots. You came, and tears ran down your face as you tried to control your body.

The men, somehow, thrust harder, well in sync to keep you constantly full.

A smaller orgasm rolled through you, but with it, you grew even more sensitive, especially when Envy reached a wet hand around your waist and started rubbing your clit.

You were crying out, then, stuck between the two homunculi and their heat. The scents of your bodies were mixing in the air, some strange but not unpleasant melding of the three of you. Your head rolled back, and tears streamed by your ears, chilling you, with no more sunbeams to dry them up.

Just as you screamed another orgasm, Envy came, and as you came down, you felt him pulsing inside of you.

Without pulling out, he wrapped his arms around you and knelt, supporting your weight above Greed, who seemed to be losing himself, writhing as he thrusted up into you.

Envy kissed your tears away, he wiped your cheeks and nibbled at your ears, and he let you lean back against him, but he did not let you go, not until Greed, finally having lost all composure, came in you, crying out roughly before slowly pulling back as cum leaked around his softening cock.

"Fuck," he said.

You agreed, but couldn't seem to focus enough to say it aloud.

Envy lay you on the ground, holding your hand until you started crying again.

He held you firmly against his chest after pushing your hair from your face, and letting his own shorten to a messy shoulder-length, preventing anything from tickling you or otherwise adding to the stimulation.

Greed eventually stood. He approached slowly, and at your nod, sat down, firmly rubbing your shoulders until the crying stopped.

Petting your hair, he looked at your face, but avoided your eyes.

"That was intense, wasn't it," he said, almost crooning.

"Hey, you never helped me when this sort of thing happened."

Greed laughed, a release of tension that you had not realized was there.

"You were the one corrupting me. Some 'brother' you were."

Your wind was coming back to you, and you straightened up, trying to clear your head. Envy braced your back as he argued with Greed.

"You're still just a kid, trying to have everything you want and never share."

"Adults don't have to share, although this was one time that I am happy we decided to. Be glad I don't need either of you to myself."

Envy's leap to standing almost knocked you on the ground. The loss of support unbalanced you, but you stood too, ready to fight if Greed resisted.

Envy closed the gap quickly and tried to punch Greed in the mouth.

Greed's skin darkened to gunmetal; Envy's arm crunched into it.

"You know that if I wanted to, I could take you, Envy."

"Then it's a good thing for both of us you prefer something a little older," he hissed through bared teeth.

Greed's dark fist clenched as he pulled back to return Envy's blow, but relaxed again as he seemed to change his mind.

"I can't help wanting someone more powerful. What else could satisfy me? Now goodbye Envy. Insanity, yet again it was a pleasure to see you. Have yourselves a safe trip home."

He disappeared around a corner, and the sound of his steps faded away soonafter. Envy had been correct, though- Greed had made no motion to return to or check on his hanging charge.

You turned to Envy.

"Was that a threat?"

"Who knows?" Envy replied, shrugging into a languorous stretch. "It doesn't matter, you had him under control easily last time. After your practice on the Elric brats, he's no threat."

Surprised at the praise of your ability, something the other homunculi never offered, you nodded.

"Let's hop a train eastbound. I'm exhausted."


The woods around you were dense with bushes and silent, as though the birds had left. Perhaps they had, the scent of your blood had probably already drawn carnivores. Every now and then, you thought you saw one out of the corner of your eye, but when you looked, it would only be a bush rattling in the wind. It didn't matter, no predator could face you down, even with you and Envy so exhausted, and in none of your previous forest forays had an attempt ever been made. The sharp nose of a hunter, you thought, could easily sense the wrongness in you.

Little energy had returned to you by the time you saw a train go by, still too far and too fast to catch from your deer trail. It was still far enough off to hear the wind over its whistle.

Envy made no attempt to speed up either, but he walked in a comfortable silence beside you, until you asked with the little stamina you had regained, if it was really safe to have let your guards down so far around Greed, especially when worn to the point of exhaustion.

"It's not a problem. He's a fool, he has some supposed set of 'ethics,' and attacking us just then would break them. Besides, he might not show his exhaustion, but he hasn't fed since he escaped, it was in Dante's message. That's why he was so desperate the first time you saw him."

Nodding, you settled back into silence. Although you knew you had walked some distance, the rails seemed no closer- not that it mattered, with no guarantee another train would come anytime near the one you had seen.

You jumped at a particularly loud crash, spinning around to see that the wind had blown down a water-heavy and rotten tree.

Envy touched your shoulder.

"Let's rest. It's not a storm yet, and you're already jumpy."

You looked toward the tracks. If you took a break, you wouldn't make any progress. If you didn't, the progress you did make would be just as grueling or more.

Envy sat, and you joined him so that you could lean on each other, backs to a tree, shoulders together.

"I should have saved the last of that red syrup for after, or skipped out on Greed. I still think, sometimes, that you're green and learning your powers, not practiced and regularly learning new tricks. Sloth has been around for ten years or so, and she still has little to show for it, after being given her 'lucky' position in the Fuhrers office with Pride. She has rank, but no talent. Even Gluttony at least knows what he is capable of. I forgot how fast we could learn."

Still unaccustomed to homunculus praise, you nodded.

"I figured anything you made it through, I would be more than fine after. But no, you're tough."

You pushed the side of your head harder against his and rolled your neck, giving him a sort of backward nuzzle.

"I wouldn't tell Pride or Dante this, though."

"Why-"

Envy clapped his hand on your mouth.

"Someone's coming."

He called into the woods, "Greed, if that's you, we're not up for it!"

A swift shadow moved through the bushes.

"Are you still sure he's that trustworthy?"

Envy smiled toothily, but shrugged. "It has only been me in the past."

The shadow already too close, and you grabbed Envy's wrist, indicating his view back toward it.

"That's not Greed."

"No, I am not."

She stepped into the light. Ropes of brown hair hung down her back from, and she wore a sleeveless white dress.

"Is this the Winry girl? I thought she was more Elric-aged."

"No. I am Izumi Curtis. Where is the boy?"

You looked to Envy. "She doesn't mean Kimblee, does she?"

"We don't have the pipsqueak," Envy snarled. "Keep him in your site if you're worried."

"I am looking for what you call 'Wrath.'"

Envy's glance toward you was subtle, but you caught it. His eyes narrowed slightly, as though he was mildly concerned, and you looked down, remembering as suddenly as he had that you were covered in blood and still-healing wounds. Your body was so injured and obviously vulnerable, and Envy looked haggard despite his better appearance; it was doubtful that she would avoid conflict

"He's nearby. Why? I doubt he'll fix the damage he did to your house."

"I need to find him." Izumi turned her head down, shading her eyes from what little light remained, but she kept her intense eye contact with both of you, even as you stood.

"He'll be around soon enough, right along with Lust and Gluttony. Sure you can take us all on by yourself?"

Izumi paused, and listened, before opening her mouth again.

You had trouble catching what she said over a small voice that seemed to come from a ripple in Envy's shoulder.

"Can you fight? Tap once if fine, twice if not, three times for unsure."

"No, he's not nearby. There are voices around here, but not his."

Swallowing, you tapped the back of Envy's arm thrice quickly, and saw him try to hide a wince.

A tiny hand from his back tapped three times into your palm.

"Even if he is not here, Edward and Alphonse's mistakes are my responsibility as well. I should have taught them better."

With no further warning, a cube of stone with one open side appeared next to Envy, followed by a square fitted to it slamming in.

His body made an awful squelching sound riddled with snaps in the second it took for his body and bones to be crushed.

"Stop," you yelled aloud, pushing all the will you could behind it.

The woman didn't stop. She dragged bars, thick bars of metal and stone, from the ground around you, closing you in, tighter and tighter until you had only inches of space.

"The boys still think you could know yourself again, but I know they're wrong."

Hanging from her belt loop was a blade, and Izumi pulled it free, wrapping a brownish plait around the pommel.

"I think, if I sink this to its full depth, the hair will be close enough to render you harmless."

With all the strength in your mind, you tried to push Izumi back, to make her remove the braid from the sword- you were unsure how you were so certain, but you knew it was at least as dangerous as she claimed it to be, and you had to stop her.

She smiled softly.

"I am no stranger to mind games. If only the boys had trained their minds as much as their bodies and their memorie-"

With a shudder, the stone block beside you rumbled, then broke apart.

Envy slammed into the bars of your cage, hard enough to shatter a few, enough to slip out of.

"You're okay!"

Despite your almost involuntary cry, you kept moving. The rest you had taken was enough for that, and hopefully, that would be enough to keep yourself uncaged.

"She's resisting me, Envy."

"You know enough ways to kill someone with your bare hands," he called back from his position, circling Izumi, "you don't need it every time." Again he looked uninjured, but he was slowing and stumbling every time he stepped out of Izumi's eye line. You hoped he was keeping the facade up when he stepped too far past your peripheral vision as well.

Dropping your mental attack, you charged Izumi in that moment, hoping that if it was before either of you fully processed Envy's words, you could catch her by surprise. Your hand was flat, ready to plunge into her mouth and out her skull, and she was well within reach.

With astounding grace, Izumi dodged less than a second from impact, and slammed her hands into the ground.

"Please Izumi," called Edward's voice, "she's just defending herself."

A stone coffin, with walls many times thicker than the previous cube, formed in a clearing, and simultaneously Izumi drove a hexagon of as-thick material across to crash into place, and at the same time still, a loop of vine hooked Edward's ankle and dragged him into place.

This time, any noise from the body was drowned out in the resulting boom of the thrown stone.

The seams shut, the final seal sucked from the ground and filled any spaces from the bottom up.

Before you could cry out, straps of organic matter blocked your mouth, then wrapped your ankles and wrists and snaked up your entire body. You gnashed your teeth on the woody fibres that held your mouth.

"I take no pleasure in culling animals, but I am relieved to be able to help Edward with this."

"You just killed Edward! Izumi, Envy snuck off with his injuries, we could have all been safe. Let him out, he could be okay!"

"I may not be a gleeful killer, but I am not stupid either, homunculus."

"No, I'm telling the truth!"

You weren't, but your tears were real.

"If it were Ed, he would be dead before he knew it. I know opening that chamber would allow Envy to heal, but as it is, he is compacted and sealed in; he couldn't reform even as an insect, and not even a homunculus has the sheer strength to break those walls. I'll make sure you can't plead an alchemist into it."

She approached you once more, raising the blade with firm precision to pierce your heart.

Your mind went blank. Instinct took over and you struggled against the bonds, but Izumi did not relent, and your panic, and your pathetic squirming- you knew it was pathetic already, somewhere in the back of your head where thoughts still floated- took over.

The cold metal at the tip of the sword froze you, and just as it broke the skin, Izumi ready to shove with full force, two final thoughts took over your mind.

"No."

"No one will save Envy."

You weren't sure which was stronger, your sense of self preservation or your ever-deepening feelings for Envy, but you shook and watched wide-eyed as Izumi was blown backward, as though a wave of force had shot from you, and now lay on the ground, a heavy splash of blood on the rock next to her.

Without Izumi's control over their growth, you were able to tear the woody strapping away.

Immediately you threw yourself against the wall of the monument of a coffin. Several bones broke, including a femur. You had thrown yourself with more strength than you thought possible, but it had made no impact on the stone structure.

You then realized that your body had moved from slow healing to none.

Chapter Text

Painfully aware of each new scrape upon your knees, you scrabbled over disturbed dirt and broken stone to Izumi. You could feel the scent of blood on your pallet; you could taste it before you found the source.

Turning the body, you found a seeping wound on the left side of her forehead, muddied from her fall. A few feet away, the spray of blood on the edge of a stray stone proclaimed the cause. You brushed the mud away, but gave up. Something felt wrong, deep in your organs, and unlike the many times Envy had done something worse to your insides, you weren't recovering.

Ignoring the grit of mud and dust, you sucked at the wound, and felt some of the scrapes on your palms closing, but nothing else progressed. Desperate, you scratched at the wound until blood flowed anew, and drank more, chipping at the wound with your nails to keep the blood flowing, until that internal ache began to subside.

"So you really are picking up Envy's bad habits."

Jerking yourself upright, you looked up at Greed, locking eyes with him as he shifted from his gunmetal grey form back to himself.

"I heard a commotion; where has Envy gotten to? Did you two have a spat over me."

You didn't react, you couldn't, you didn't have the strength to. You glared, but his gaze had left your own, so instead you followed it, settling on your calf, bent to the outside. He had finally stopped talking.

"You don't have any red stones, do you Greed? That's what I really need right now. My leg isn't healing."

"I might have something at my place, but nowhere close. Where is Envy?"

Closing your eyes, you took a slow breath, then pointed.

With the little strength you had regained, you opened a more viable cut on Izumi's arm. Her head wound had closed anyway. As you drank, you tried to ignore Greed, but caught some of his rambling.

"This looks familiar."

"Why does this look so familiar?"

"The old bat's nowhere near here."

All interspersed with various knocks and calls for Envy.

Finally, when your leg had not only straightened but also had stopped hurting, you spoke up.

"He can't hear you. What's left of him is crushed in there."

You started to shake.

Greed popped his shield up quicker than you thought he could, and took a swing at the hexagonal stone.

Not even a chip broke away.

"At least I know it's not me now," you muttered. "She said only an alchemist could open it. Too dense for any of us homunculi."

"She's an alchemist?"

"How did you think she trapped him; of course she's an alchemist."

Greed still hadn't lowered his shield.

"Is she alive?"

"She held Envy and I off, I don't think you're going to convince her to fix it. So, I don't see why she has to be, if that's what you mean. Actually-"

You grabbed a rock.

"Don't-!

On your downward swing, a sudden shock reverberated through your arm, splintering you ulna and crackling your radius.

You looked up and saw Greed, still shielded, now angry. Your arm was healing, but slowly

"Don't kill this one. Dante won't appreciate- what's this?"

Greed picked up the sword.

He unwound the hair from its handle.

Instinct kicked in. You stood and backed up, well out of the sword's radius.

"This yours?"

You shook your head sharply, almost losing your balance.

Greed extracted a lighter from his vest pocket and burnt the hair in front of you, watching each strand curl and turn to carbon. When it was finally burnt, he dropped it, and kicked some dirt over where it fell.

Stumbling forward, you touched to the ground on one hand. It was like something had switched in you, and things were moving very quickly again. Wind howled through the trees, and rain fell around you- when had it started?

Greed's heavy footsteps approached, and you accepted his calloused hand. He pulled you to your feet.

"I knew that was your hair; couldn't be Envy's."

"What happened?" you asked, looking around again. Another tree, this one green and healthy looking, cracked and fell in the wind, bouncing off the stone that would be Envy's tomb.

Greed hoisted Izumi over his shoulder.

"Your remains are still connected to you. Leave them with someone you trust next time."

He touched your cheek with a cool hand, then turned away, still carrying the alchemist.

"Since when are you evasive?" you shouted after him, but he disappeared into the shadow of the wood.

You were alone.

Thrice more, you tried to break the stone blocking Envy within, and thrice more, you waited for your injuries to heal- still slower than some red water or stones would have given, but far faster than the time you had spent near Izumi- near the hair.

In between attempts, you reached out with your mind, trying to force Envy to reform, or even just to answer you.


You bounced of the wall for the umpteenth time, and hit the ground again, fairly certain that nothing in your torso- certainly not your ribs, lungs, or clavicle- had survived the impact.

Flat on your back, trying to refill your lungs, you barely noticed a shadow laying across you, and didn't comprehend it until you inhaled a tablespoon of red water.

Sputtering as much as you could with so little air in your chest, you rolled onto your side and stared up at Greed, who looked down on you as a trickle of the ruddy fluid ran down your cheek and dripped onto the ground.

"If you're just going to waste it, maybe I shouldn't have brought anything."

Swearing as much as you could while stumbling to your feet, you grabbed the vessel from Greed and swallowed it in a few gulps. Blinking, you felt as though you were emerging from a dream, as your head rapidly cleared and your bones stopped aching.

Greed looked you up and down, taking inventory of the patches of damp, sticky, and dried blood that coated your skin and clothes, as well as your skin that was exposed from new tears in those clothes. He lingered at your chest, flicking his eyes to your lips and back down six times over.

"Had a bit of a nosebleed, didn't you?"

"Yeah, and that's the only reason you were looking."

You were flushed with frustration, exhaustion, and the exhilaration of red water; you were glad he probably couldn't see it behind the itchy patches of scraped up blood that had dried on your cheeks, worse on the left, more having dripped down from the eyebrow. You had cut it when you switched sides to ram and lost balance. Looking down, you noticed that indeed, your chest was covered in several layers of blood from several instances of smashed nose. Nevertheless, you were pretty sure it was the torn strip of fabric that left your right breast almost hanging freely, with a stripe of pale, clean skin, that had caught his attention.

The blood and memories made you ache all over again, and you peered into the cup Greed had given you, as if staring hard enough would produce more red water. Then, you refocused.

"This doesn't look like I should have drank from it."

Greed rolled his eyes. "It was sitting on Dante's counter, perfectly clean."

You eyed the wide opening and thick rim of what was almost certainly a beaker, then handed it back.

"Thanks for coming back. I didn't expect it. I didn't really expect you to help the first time."

"Oh, I can't let anything happen to someone Envy likes. It would ruin our fun. Of course, I try not to get rid of anyone he hates, either."

"How considerate," you muttered, turning to look at the stone monument again. "If you'll excuse me-"

"Before I go," Greed interrupted. "Calm down. You're just going to hurt yourself. Sit down for a minute, and really think about what you want, and the best way to get it."

"Easy for you to say."

"It is." Greed looked at you, flashing a sharkish grin. "After all, it is my specialty."

Chapter Text

Greed was all for kidnapping someone- some alchemist- who he was somehow positive could punch the stone block down to dust, but you were beyond involving any more outsiders, especially alchemists. An alchemist was what had gotten you in this situation. He did, at least help you clean up, so you would be less suspicious and tear-soaked when you kidnapped- borrowed- Wrath.

You could only hope that Sloth had returned to Central.

On the train, you played more games of Stella-Ella-Olla than you ever had at once, or at least, you were pretty sure you hadn't. In fact, you were reasonably certain that you'd never played so many games in a row, or for the full duration of a train ride before. All this, and you weren't even sure how you know any of them, only that the constant stream of activity kept Wrath from asking too many questions.

He did pick up with them again once you started through the woods.

"Where are we going?"

"Why won't you talk to me?"

"Why couldn't mommy-" he stopped himself- "why couldn't Sloth come?"

That one gave you pause.

"You're calling her Sloth now? I don't think I've heard you say that before."

He blushed a little.

"I can call her that. It's her name."

"Of course," you answered, "but it's new, that's all."

Staring holes into the ground as he walked, Wrath continued following you a ways before finally speaking up again.

"Pride told me I'd never be strong if I kept calling her that. He said his human child was more mature to me, and that I had better grow up and stop keeping her at the house."

You nodded- you didn't really approve of Pride's comments, something felt off putting about him addressing the boy that way, but you didn't know what to say.

Wrath, apparently uncomfortable with the silence, picked up again.

"It's okay, I can be better! Maybe I can prove that this time. I've been working on alchemy whenever, mom- she- Sloth has time to watch. She can't do alchemy, but she really seems interested in it when I do, she even takes notes! Hey, is that why I was allowed to come along this time? Because I'm improving? I've never gotten to go with you or Envy before, if it's not Sloth it's Pride, or maybe Lust, or her with Gluttony, but never him without her, I don't think they trust either of us alone, you know? Even if it's alone and together."

Continuing to nod along, you picked your way through the bushes. This felt way longer with a child in tow.

"I think Envy's allowed to go out alone, so I don't know why I've never gone out with him. I mean, you always do- wait, are you allowed out alone? Is that why I'm here? Did Pride say we could both go out without someone older if we were together? That's so cool!"

It has to be close, you thought to yourself. It better be close.

"Is it weird without Envy though? Do you know where he went? Because it was both of you when you left last time. He doesn't really like me, I don't think, but I think he's so cool. I can do alchemy and Pride and Sloth really love that, but he can totally change himself. At best I can merge with some things, but he really can be someone different when he wants. I might never even get to grow up but he can change whenever he wants!"

You had stopped nodding, but his voice grew louder in your ears.

"Is it weird though? He must change in front of you a lot, I'd want to change myself all the time,"

"No," you answered, hoping to break his stream of consciousness. "No, he really likes being himself, whatever himself is."

Wrath was quiet for a moment, and breathed deeply, as if in thought, before picking up again, as fast as he'd been talking before.

"Wow, I hope I'm that confident someday. Is it cool being around him? I would bet it is. And he seems to really like you, too, I wish he liked me. He's so nice to you though, it must be weird and lonely not having him along today, huh? Maybe if we're lucky he'll join us again when he's done what he's doing. Hey, are you crying, 'Santy?"

The tears had been flowing for quite a while already. You hadn't known Wrath looked up to the older homunculi so much, and it would be cute, if he wasn't constantly feeding it into your ears while you wondered if he could even be revived.

"Hey are you okay? What's wrong? Hey?!"

You couldn't answer him, and you didn't snap out of it until he finally said something you wanted to hear.

"What's that? In-san-i-ty!" he stretched the word out long, not whining, but enunciating every syllable, the full word new to his lexicon. "What is that big square thing?"

You drew a breath sharply, but exhaled slow, finally there, finally able to make a move and maybe even save him.

"That's what I need you for."

Chapter Text

Staring up at the formidable wall of stone, you began to doubt the efficacy of your plan. You were small next to the block, and Wrath several heads smaller.

"Well, what do you want me to do? Blow it up?"

"No-!" you blurted, then took a breath. "No. I need a more gentle approach here."

"Is this why I've had to train so hard lately? Is it a test?"

"It's not a test, and, uh, I'm pretty sure this isn't exactly what Sloth or Pride had in mind. But it'll be a good way to show off that practice!"

"Are you sure you're okay? You're talking really high."

Wrath was staring at you with his enormous eyes.

You sighed. A little truth was probably better than lying too much.

"I'm upset, and frustrated."

"Wi-"

"Not with you."

Still not explaining exactly why you needed his service, you laid out your plan for Wrath. The whole block had to be liquefied, or powdered, or otherwise completely and evenly destroyed. The particles, however, had to remain what they were, and it was very important that they all stayed together.

"Is that why you couldn't just have Gluttony eat it?"

"That is one reason."

The kid knelt, putting his hands against the wall. Nothing happened at first, and you were watching the building intently, giving it many up-and-downs, enough so that when you looked back to Wrath, you started. His arms were the grey of the monument up to the shoulder, and his forearms had disappeared within the block.

"Are you-?"

"Shhhhh, 'Santy. I'm concentrating."

You watched as his arms sunk deeper, then as he leaned back, drew out of the stone, dragging flaking remnants along with them. The shape ebbed and flowed, occasionally bubbling out at the sides or top, and at other times, sucking into Wrath. The distortion seemed to go on for ages, but it was hypnotic, enough that you were not bored, nor distracted by your worries for Envy.

The pulsing quickened, and sand began to pour down the edges of the monument, and as they ate closer to the center, more and more particles fell, clumped together and stained a deep brown. You tried to focus on the waterfall of sand sliding from the top of the thing, especially as chunks of what looked like rawhide began to join the bloodier sand clumps.

Wrath was sweating, and had not opened his eyes. Just as you opened your mouth to check in with him, he spoke up.

"Is it working?"

You touched the back of his neck, trying to lend him strength.

"You're over half way there, maybe even three-quarters."

Three quarters was a pretty generous fraction, but you didn't want him to concentrate on how much he hadn't yet done, especially as the process was finally speeding up.

Eventually the last of the sand hit the ground. Wrath was drenched with sweat, heaving with every breath, balanced on his hands and knees.

Gently, you laid him on his side to recover, and you hoped it would be quick- Izumi could be coming back at any moment, you weren't sure how injured she was, where Greed took her, or how fast a still-alive human could heal.

Raking through the sand with a stick- this would be a nice time to have Lust around- you tried to gather the various 'bits', but gagged and gave up upon finding the crushed remains of a slender white finger.


You sat by the mound of sand, and waited.

Wrath somehow knew better than to ask questions this time- once he woke up, he made himself scarce, though it sounded like he was chasing squirrels or something through the brush. It was probably more of a racket than he would have made by talking to you, but you appreciated his effort.

Looking to the sky, you frowned. It was getting late, and the last evening train departed Dublith pretty early, according to the map you'd checked when you took Wrath. If Envy didn't reform soon, you'd have to gamble- leaving Envy alone and low-powered if- when, you told yourself, when he returns; that or keep Wrath overnight or longer and hoping no one noticed or asked questions about his absence.

The kid seemed to be having a good time, enough that you doubted he'd guess, let alone mention, that you'd done anything wrong; it was Sloth you had to worry about. Sloth, and Greed, who you'd been told wanted to take Wrath, and Izumi, if she came to finish you off and also take the kid. Three people to avoid didn't seem so bad, unless you considered that two of them knew exactly where you were.

Losing Wrath would be a lot worse than just keeping him away when Sloth might want him, especially with at least one of the triad of threats wanting to destroy him.

No grain of sand had so much as wiggled.

The woods had also grown suspiciously silent.

"Wrath?" you called. "Wraaath?!"

You recognized a lopsided gait coming up the path, and relaxed.

"Come on, we have a train to catch!"

"Sorry!" said Wrath, directly behind you.

"Holy-"

Freezing before you could utter any profanity, you turned back. If Wrath was here...

The figure on the path was now in sight, running toward you, its steps much louder than Wrath's.

Clamping a hand on Wrath's shoulder, you knelt, level with his face.

"Wrath, hide."

You held tighter as he tried to go.

"See if you can get on the train. If anyone sees you, hide again. If you miss the train, stay hidden. Do not come back until I call you. If I don't, wait for the next train without military on it and get home. Now go!"

He crashed into the bush, but once out of site, he was silent. You weren't sure if he'd hidden close or if he'd improved, and you didn't have time to worry about it, as you rolled to the ground, dodging two heavy blades.

"What did you do to her!?"

You barely made it back to your feet in time to avoid a hard metal fist, and leapt back.

"What?! To who? I thought you were here for-" you caught yourself. "For a different reason."

With Edward talking and Wrath out of the way, you were ready, or readier, at least, to engage in the fight.

"To Izumi! Why do you have to hurt-" he threw a punch- "everyone-" and another- "that I-" a third- "care about?"

Back on the offensive, Ed was backing you against a tree, until you kicked him in the gut. You couldn't help but remember that Envy loved using that particular move.

"I DON'T! Why do you humans have to-"

You'd knocked the wind out of him, but Edward was back on his feet before you could even finish yelling at him. Still, you didn't back down, forcing him back, over the sand filled with your treasure.

"Why did she have to kill him!? We weren't even looking for her!"

"You tried to kill her!" Edward pushed forward again, barely missing your neck with his blade, and you stumbled.

"She tried to kill me-!"

You gagged on your last word, and fell back, scrabbling at your neck.

"How do you like being controlled?"

The surprise wearing off, you felt your neck with more intention. It was manacled to a stone block, much smaller than Izumi's. You were glad to note it felt nothing like the one Wrath had reduced to sand.

He clapped his hands, and your wrists were dragged toward the ground.

"I'm taking you home, and I'm fixing you if it's the last thing I do."

"It WILL be!" you snarled, before thrashing your head back, shattering the stone you were bound to. In one step, you reached Elric's neck, massaging it in your own two hands.

"I destroyed your creepy little lovelock, you're not catching me weak again. If you want me to answer for Izumi, who's not even fucking dead, you will answer for what she did to Envy, and I'm strong enough to enjoy killing you slowly. And you'd have avoided it, if you or your teacher were strong enough to destroy me when you had the chance."

Edward grinned, though his face was rather purple.

"I'll think about that later," he rasped. Then he severed your wrists, and turned to run as you shook them, trying to make them regenerate faster.

Not ten feet from you, Edward face planted. Hands basically back you charged over pinning him, chest down and grabbing him by the hair.

"Just for that, I am going to crush that tiny little face of yours first."

"All this, for little old me?"

You whipped your head around. Envy was sprawled on the sand, one hand wrapped loosely around the boy's ankle.

"Even the pipsqueak isn't this clumsy. Go ahead, finish him."

Each word you tried to form stuck in your throat. Wobbling, you instead stood up, and aimed one last kick hard into Elric's side. He was heavier, but hardly any larger than Wrath, you noticed.

"Go," you told him.

He pushed himself up, but didn't stand.

"GO!" you screeched, "before I finish you off! You are lucky!"

He stared at you for a moment once he was on his feet, but turned and began his walk back to town.

You watched him leave for what seemed like forever, until finally, Envy broke your trance.

"What, not even a 'welcome back?' Finishing Fullmetal off would have been a good present too."

Looking at Envy, you found you had no more tears to shed. Instead, you gazed upon him with dry eyes.

"Don't look so surprised. You know firsthand that I'm-" he popped his brow- "durable. Aren't you going to come down here? I'm not quite ready to stand yet."

He was right- one of his legs had still yet to reform, though there seemed to be a slow ooze toward it.

Kneeling next to him, you pulled a few red stones from your pocket.

"I borrowed these from Wrath. He's also responsible for destroying that thing."

Envy devoured the crystals, but rather than standing, dragged you down to lay beside him.

"Poor thing," he said in his distinctive voice, dry and pitiless. "Your throat must hurt from all that yelling."

"Poor me, but what about you, did that hurt? You were trapped for hours."

"Hours are nothing when you've lived hundreds of years, hurt is nothing when you've died a thousand times before. I'm impressed that you got me free so fast."

"I don't think I could have waited longer."

You swallowed, suddenly feeling your fear and loss again.

"Hush," he said aloud, pulling you closer, bringing your head to rest on his shoulder. "I'm here now, and it looks like you did well on your own."

"I had help," you admitted. Volunteering it was less embarrassing than him finding out later.

"I know, from Wrath, but you're the one who got him."

"And from Greed. He came on his own."

"That big sap. He just can't admit he's the most loyal, even if he's the most treasonous."

"I have to call Wrath. He's hiding somewhere."

"Leave him be. I'm only just whole, and and I have lots of things I'd like to do with your h-"

At first you pushed him back, but then you allowed him to kiss you deeply, pushing you back to the sand and growing hot against you over several long minutes, before you pushed him again, this time more gently. You glanced down at his bulge.

"Try to relax that away. The kid's somewhere around here, and we're getting him home before I indulge myself."

"It has been a long day," Envy agreed. "But it'll be longer if we have to take the train with Wrath."

"I know. I came here with him myself. On which note- Wrath!?"

A few minutes passed before your heard his crashing, but eventually he appeared before you.

"Did you miss the train?"

"Nope, there was a delay. And mommy, I mean-"

"You can just say it around me."

"Well, maybe." he said, pausing. "But anyway, she says I shouldn't go on trains alone." He yawned. "I'm really tired though."

You nudged Envy. "He is a little human, right? This might be the right time to do this."


Only Envy could disguise himself, but you and Wrath managed to get on the train without too many odd looks at your clothes, eyes, or pallor. You weren't the only ones who were exhausted, and thankfully, true to your guess, Wrath had passed out almost immediately when he sat in your booth.

Beside you, Envy yawned, and you shot him a sharp glance.

"Are you okay? That isn't like you at all."

"Mhmm." He dragged out the sound.

Still a little unsettled, you pulled him sideways so you could lean on each other.

"In fact," he said, though he seemed barely lucid, "I feel incredible."

Chapter Text

Inertia woke you as the train slowed in approach to the station. You glanced out the window, confirming this was Amhirn.

Envy, eyes still closed, combed his hair with his fingers, pushing it off his face before making eye contact and looking down to Wrath.

The kid was still asleep on his side, clinging to Envy's lap, with a thin line of drool dripping down his cheek, pooling on Envy's leg. His breath was rough, but you marveled at the bit of colour in his face.

"Something's wrong with him," Envy said, and you looked again.

There was more blood in his cheeks than you had ever seen on any part of yourself or Envy. Even Pride, who was passably human, was never this dark, though you weren't sure he'd ever blushed.

You ended up carrying Wrath home, noticing along the way that he was uncharacteristically warm, and by the time you'd walked up the hill home, you couldn't tell whether it was his sweat or your own soaking the back of your shirt.

Sloth was in the doorway already as you approached the house, her tight smile colder than you had ever seen, her eyes wide and wild in anger.


Fortunately, maternal instinct and the need to help Wrath won out over Sloth's desire to obliterate you and Envy, and you were even spared most of her shouted lecture, as she had her hands full manhandling a barely-conscious Wrath into the car.

Unfortunately, she did find a few seconds to spare before leaving, wherein she gave you and Envy your next assignments. Separate assignments.

You knew better than to argue with her when she was making that face, and you also knew that by somehow getting another homunculus sick, you had probably caused the most trouble any of the group had ever brought on each other, so much so that you actually felt a little guilt, not only that which was justified from hurting Wrath, but in having undermined the other adult homunculi's lives.

So, you felt rather numb as Envy kissed you goodbye. His looking like a rather severe bespectacled young woman at the time did nothing to help the already heavy disconnect you were feeling from your community, who were already distant emotionally.

By the time reality was returning to the forefront of your senses, you were already well into Amestris' eastern province, yet still distant from Xenotime, where you were, apparently, going to be seeking out a spring of red water. Even with your scarce knowledge of alchemy and what, exactly, red water and stones were, you were pretty sure such a thing was impossible- but then, maybe Sloth, or perhaps Pride, or even Dante, had wanted to send you on a fools errand. Perhaps, you thought, they had just wanted to get you far from Envy, who was headed southwest, possibly even crossing the Creta border. Xenotime, according to the map on the train, was pretty far north of East City, somewhat nearer to the larger and more industrial New Optain.

At least, you told yourself as the train pulled into the latest station, you could get there without changing trains, and this one was remarkably low on military personnel so far.

You looked up, and realized you had jinxed yourself. Outside the window was a sea of deep blue uniforms, some of their wearers rushing onto the train without letting other passengers unload, and you could hear some scattered remarks, though most civilians were wise enough to keep them short and mumbled. Tying a driving scarf over your hair and letting it messily tent over your eyes, you hunched sideways, leaned against the wall of your compartment, and hoped no one would want to bother an unassuming sleeping woman.

As the scattered footsteps settled, you glanced out the window, and saw, as the train pulled away, that the uniformed presence was gone. Either there had been some suspicious activities at the station or-

Someone knocked on your cabin door, and you dropped back into the hunched position.

- the train was now crawling with soldiers.

When you didn't answer, the person at the door knocked harder, paused, then knocked harder still.

You hoped a real human would be able to sleep through all that noise, because you didn't feel like finding a new plan on the spot.

The intruder slid the cabin door open, then slammed it fully wide and stepped inside. You heard him inhale as though about to shout.

"What is all this racket, Private?" you heard a voice snap from behind him.

He stammered for a second, then found his nevertheless nervous military voice: "No response from the woman in this compartment, sir! She appears to be sleeping, sir!"

"After that display? Make sure she's actually alive and get going!"

"Yes, sir!"

You tried to breathe naturally as Private Whatever approached you, and after seeing your chest rise and fall, he slipped back out, silent. Finally, you took a deep breath and relaxed.

Outside the door, you heard someone, this time a woman, accosting the private.

"Where is the information for these passengers?" she asked.

"Passenger, ma'am! There is just a woman, but she is sleeping, ma'am! Colonol Mustang asked me to perform a welfare check, ma'am!"

She made an exasperated noise, but said "fine, Private. Continue checking passports for this car, then join the others checking the cargo."

"Yes ma'am!"

"Fuery, please check this cabin. There should only be one passenger, so there will be time before our meeting."

"Of course," replied a different male voice, and just as you crumpled back into a sleeping position, he entered.

He knocked on the door frame, and when you didn't stir, he approached, footsteps soft, but calling out:

"Miss? Miss, wake up. I am Sergeant Fuery from Central Command."

You didn't stir at his order, but when he placed a hand on your shoulder, you started hard, then gaped at him.

"I'm sorry to wake you, miss. I am Kain Fuery, and I need to check your passport due to a security breach at Calx."

Fuck.

"I don't have a passport, sir. I have never left Amestris."

At least it was true.

"May I ask where you are traveling to?"

You scrambled for a lie, and came up with "New Optain."

At least it wouldn't throw you too far off course to get off there.

"Business or pleasure?"

"Busine- pleasure! Definitely pleasure!" Now to seamlessly cover that fumble: "But I was asked to bring back some supplies for, you know, work. Can't be all business or all pleasure can it?"

"And what kind of supplies will you be bringing back?" asked Fuery, scribbling so constantly on his clipboard that he must have been transcribing your every word, yet seemingly unaware of your terrible, flustered answers.

"Stones- I mean- yeah, stones! My boss wants to see if we should order stone from the east, since it's all the same in the south, so I am bringing back samples. We lay stone paths and make chimneys and stuff, of course."

"-and builds chimneys," Fuery muttered to himself as he finished the last sentence on his clipboard. "Well miss, I think you can relax."

So he did notice.

"If you're going to New Optain you will be well away from the border, so I don't see you having any further issues traveling without your passport. And even if you get checked again, as there may well be checkpoints on your way home, our military always supports Amestrian business. To finish up, I need your name, address, and the contact information for your workplace. This is so we can double check the passengers if this train was affected by the security breach, and it should help if you get held up with that load of rocks. So, name?"

You had rehearsed this one. "Gretchen Müller"

"Okay Miss Müller, and your address?"

"Ah, um, this is a little embarrassing. But I'm moving, and I haven't found a place for when I return yet."

"It's okay, these things happen," he said, smiling, and you noticed that he was shorter than you, and that his face was rather kind. You wondered whether he actually was friendly, or if this was supposed to be disarming. At least it was nicer to look at than the scowls of bitter old soldiers, Pride included.

"I could give you my work address," you suggested, kicking yourself internally. You had no idea of addresses outside Amhirn.

"If they'll hold your mail for you, that would be perfect. This is all in case we need to alert you of anything or ask questions about anything suspicious on the train. What is the address, and may I have your boss and the business's names?"

"Uh, Ted Schmitt, at Ted's Stones... work. And it's Ted's Stonework, one-three-eight-two, Alum Road, in Rush Valley," you replied, trying not to pronounce a question mark at the end of the statement. "Or, 'Gretchen Müller, care of...' that."

You had no idea if there was an Alum Road in Rush Valley, or if alum was even a thing an automail mechanic would use. You hoped he wouldn't know either, and especially hoped he wouldn't wonder why a business in a city that already imported all kinds of metals and stones needed to send someone to New Optain in person.

"One last question, Miss Müller. Do you have an address in New Optain? Perhaps your hotel room, or if you're staying with a relative?"

"No, I brought cash, I plan to find a hotel when I get there."

"Perfect," he said, smiling. "I'm running late now anyway, glad there's nothing else to take down. Sorry for disturbing you, and have a good night."

When he closed your door, you took that deep relaxing breath again, just as you had after the first private. Sloth would want to know about your newly planned detour, and to report it to Pride, but even she wouldn't insist on hearing from you on the insecure rail telephone line, and that meant you had more than twenty-four hours before you would need to deal with all that. Soon, you fell asleep, this time for real.

Chapter Text

After far too long cooped up in your compartment, having to waste money on food to avoid suspicion and deal with a full, stinking garbage can full of said food as a result, as the train staff were either too busy with the military or too afraid of them to spend any time checking on other passengers, you were finally nearing New Optain.

It hadn't taken long for you to infer that Colonol Mustang, the haughty state alchemist who had once attempted to burn you to ash, was amongst the higher status military members aboard the train. The young sergeant, Kain Fuery, still far too helpful, had confirmed it for you that afternoon, dropping off a card with his information and his boss's, so that you could use it if your load of rock samples brought any suspicion on your way back to Rush Valley. He checked on you regularly, and had delivered one of the meals you had later tossed- this one literally, into flock of crows.

You would be glad to be rid of him.

Mustang was, apparently, too busy with whatever was happening with security to check on you, so you were hopeful that you could disembark without being seen or recognized by him- and soon enough, you did.

Mere meters from the station, someone grabbed your shoulder and you spun, fists out, mind half-cleared before you recognized Fuery.

"Sorry to startle you, Miss Müller, but you forgot your bag. Traveling light?"

Taking the bag from him, you looked back toward the locomotive.

"You're missing your train, Sergeant."

He glanced over his shoulder, and you took the second to compose yourself.

"I was asked to wait here, with the rest of my team, for the next train. The Führer asked us-"

"The Führer was on that train?"

That absolute bastard Pride. You would bet Fuery's life that Sloth had timed your trains just so, even as she fussed over Wrath. The only half-decent thing about it was that you no longer would need to report your detour through New Optain; Pride would know by now, and the others soon enough.

"Yes, that's part of why there were so many of us. He still has twice his normal guard, so don't get any ideas about kidnapping him," he told you, winking. "The rest of us were extra security, until we could be sure the train itself hadn't been tampered with."

You wondered whether you had been unwittingly used as another guard to Pride, or whether you'd been slipped on his route so that he would know if you left your mission.

"Führer Bradley say we were to get off and stop trains here for inspection for two more days. I was thinking, since I was given the night shift, perhaps we could have dinner this evening, before I have to start."

His awkward, though confident, date request was the last thing on your mind as more blue-swathed soldiers exited the station, and several seemed to be heading straight for you.

"I think your friends are coming, Sergeant Fuery."

"You can call me Kain. I mean," he added, confidence faltering, "If you would like to."

"I have plans tonight, Kain. Maybe tomorrow. Looks like your boss really wants to speak to you; I'll give you some privacy."

With that, you pulled your bag onto your shoulder and hustled away, turning at the first road you could, and hoping no one was suspicious enough to tail you. That was the kind of luck that came with this trip. If they did, you'd have to somersault back and forth across New Optain to lose them before you could even think about heading for Xenotime.


"Your friend sure left in a hurry. What'd you do, ask her out?" asked a blonde, a cigarette dangling from his lips.

"The Colonol scared her off! And no! I asked her to dinner-"

"Called it."

"I was asking her, Havoc, so I could help her find a place-"

"Yeah, a place where you could-"

"Enough, Havoc."

"Yes, sorry, Hawkeye," the man replied, taking a drag from his cigarette.

"Thank you, Riza," said Roy Mustang, stepping into the room. "If anyone should be asking Sergeant Fuery about his girlfriend, it should be me."

Fuery stood up, and Hawkeye had raised her hand, as though to hit Mustang from behind.

"She doesn't have a place to live. She's from Rush Valley. My sister needs a housemate in Rush Valley. And now Miss Müller's probably not going to talk to me again, because you all came up and scared her off."

Taking a seat behind his temporary desk, Roy sighed. "If I knew it was about rent, I wouldn't have bothered you. She looked very familiar though- where did you meet?"

Fuery finally seemed to relax at this. "In cabin 502, sir. She was traveling alone on the Führer's train. She seemed a little nervous of the military, so I went out of my way to keep some of those over enthusiastic privates, not to mention you, away from her."

"I am excellent with women-"

"There is no sign of any way to eavesdrop, as long as we keep the phones down, Colonol," Riza interrupted.

Mustang didn't bother to pick up the thread of his sentence. "Thank you, Hawkeye. It's no wonder more and more people, especially those traveling alone, are getting more fearful. Still, she looked so familiar... too young to remember Ishval, though, and too pale to be Ishvalan or Xingese herself. She kept her hair covered, what colour was it, Fuery?"

"Black, and I didn't see her eyes well, but they were dark, if that's what you are thinking, Colonol. And her features looked Amestrian."

"And her passport?"

"I know it doesn't look good, Colonol, but she was traveling without one. She's never left the country."

"If you see her again, find out why she's afraid. We need to know if anyone is harassing civilians, especially if she knows who, and whether it was sanctioned."

Kain nodded. Roy hadn't seemed to react at all about the passport, and Fuery replied more honestly for it.

"I don't know if I'll see her again. She hadn't found a hotel yet, and if it's the State that's got her nervous, I don't think she'll answer the door if any of you come calling. And she said she was busy, so she'll probably only be there at night, when I'm working at the station."

"So in the days, you will visit the hotels and ask for their guest lists. You can sleep in the early mornings. And try to be quick, I need as many of you here as possible. Something big is going on."


Having weaved through the streets of New Optain for several hours, you finally took to the rooftops, checking the ladder behind you once you reached the top, then looked down from all sides of the building.

The few military blues you could spot were far off, toward the train station. For once something had gone well, and, in a moment of nostalgia, you tried to test your range. They'd have to do something big for you to see it from so far. Something like start a fire.

No, you thought, sighing. Mustang would know about your powers by now, and fully unhinged behaviour from his peers would serve only to put him on the hunt.

Satisfying yourself with making one of them walk in a wide circle, you wiped your brow. It had taken more concentration than you expected- your head throbbed once they had done it, and you hoped it was due to the distance, and not lack of practice.

It would be really nice to keep practicing from the rooftops, just like when Envy-

Your breath hitched. Envy.

You still weren't quite used to the idea that he was okay, not after what happened. Especially without even a moment to consume red stones or water, after the attack that had decimated him, and he had been weak even before that. It had now been longer since Envy reformed than the time he had been undone, but your time with him since felt so short that it could be fake. So comfortable, it could have been a dream.

Had Wrath really become sick and feverish, or was that fake or dreamt as well?

Following the rooftops to the edge of town, you left without practice.


You never stopped walking and, despite your best efforts, never stopped thinking during the days it took for you to head straight North.

At first, you couldn't escape the idea of Envy being destroyed. Even once you felt certain that he had indeed escorted you and Wrath to the house, as otherwise you couldn't have seen Sloth and been sent on this wild goose chase, you couldn't leave alone the idea of him, still weak, being sent almost certainly to a border war.

But even as you couldn't stop thinking, that passed as well. Your mind whirled with thoughts of Dante, Pride and Sloth, the military presence on your train, and the Elric brothers, who seemed so much more familiar than your several fights accounted for. You know they were your- Dana's- that they were somehow in relation with you and, as Dante had told you, with Envy, but you still didn't know what that meant. You couldn't even be sure how Dante came into this whole thing, if the Elric brothers had created you and Sloth, and this Hohenheim Elric apparently made Envy, and Izumi made Wrath. That, and the time you spent with Envy had taught you that none of these "allies," and certainly not Edward, Alphonse, or the military, even those apart from Pride, were to be trusted.

Dante couldn't just be a red water source, either, or you wouldn't be seeking it in the northeast- that was, if red water was really what you had been sent for.

Both the view and scent of trees and moss broke, as what you had expected to be a clearing or a deer trail opened out into a road running roughly perpendicular to your path. You could hear a car coming, but so far the road was empty. It was paved, but it was nothing like the roadways that often ran aside the train tracks, many-laned and busy with shipping trucks.

The woods had been silent, and you couldn't be sure how far off the vehicle was by sound alone, so you scaled a tree. It wasn't far at all, so you lept back down and started following the road eastward. It seemed to be curving slightly North, so you assumed that would be your best bet, even if you weren't picked up.

After a few minutes you heard the car round a corner, and you turned around to wave.

The driver slowed immediately and stopped next to you, rolling down his window.

He was undeniably handsome- dark haired, tan, with strong features and a sharp jaw, and stunning blue eyes, not to mention that he was the first man you had seen in some days without a military-approved haircut.

"How on earth did a girl like you end up out here in the bush? Do you need a ride, hon?"

Plastering on a sweet smile, you lied.

"I've got to visit some relatives in Xenotime, and the train was completely full of soldiers. Not enough room for even one more passenger, they said."

"And you've been hitchhiking this far? I can't say I'm going to close to Xenotime, but I can drop you at the next train station and you can hope for some better luck."

Your face fell.

"You're sure, sir? I'm a bit nervous on trains already. The family always stayed close to Rush Valley growing up, you know? But it seems my great aunt is sick."

This time, you had enough time to come up with the most basic lies, not to mention that Gretchen Müller might as well have unexpectedly headed to Xenotime. As much as you would like to keep that persona separate from your own reasons for travel, it would work better than having her simply drop off the map in New Optain, if Fuery or anyone looked into it- and you could bet he would.

"Sorry, Miss, but the station is the best I can do. Xenotime isn't close and I need all the fuel I got."

"I can buy the gas."

He laughed. "You can't have an idea what it costs, honey. Wouldn't drive all the way to Lior any other time, but I want to be ready to get out of there if I need to."

"I can buy the gas," you repeated, pushing into his mind, and at the same time, revealing one wad- far more than enough, you were sure- of the bills you had been sent with. Your prod would get you into the car, of course, but the money, you hoped, would mean you wouldn't have to concentrate on him the whole ride.

"You can buy my gas," he repeated, then popped open the passenger door. "How could I say no to someone offering so politely? Get in."

You did, setting your bag in the back seat.

"Why are you going to Lior, of all places?" you asked, genuinely curious.

"Well," he said, starting the engine, "word is, there's some sort of rebellion happening."

"So are you helping?"

"Who would I help? Soldiers probably have a few state alchemists on hand, and I'm surely not volunteering myself as a victim to them either. But, soldier or rebel, plenty of people will be needing things, and I'm a born salesman with a trunk full of 'needs,' and nimble fingers besides. Got a friend with a trailer full meeting me as well."

"I see," you said, looking out the window. "How far is it to Xenotime by car?"

"Not even an hour. There're some steep hills along the way; you'll be glad to be driving them instead of walking. Not a lot of cars come this way anymore, but I am trying to avoid some passpoints."

You nodded, though you weren't sure if he saw it. There was too much else to contemplate. None of the stories about the homunculi quite added up, and you wondered who was lying, and of those, who was lying intentionally, and who had been lied to.

After what certainly felt like a full hour, the driver- Carl, or so he told you- pulled over.

"Out of gas?" you asked, lips pulling into a mild grimace.

"Nah, hon. We're a little ways from Xenotime, and I think I'd like to see some of that money now. You know, just for security, so you don't just take off when we get there."

Eyeing him warily, you slipped a hand into your pocket, producing, again, a single wad of cash.

"How much?"

"How about, you pull what you'll be needing for your train ride home outta that, then get out of the car?"

"Fuck yourself."

You tried to reach for the back seat, but he blocked you.

"I've seen what you're carrying on hand, and I can bet there's plenty more in that bag. I know you aren't visiting a relative with all that. Come now, I'm not unreasonable. Pull a few hundred for your hotel too. Go on."

"You aren't getting anything now, asshole," you told him, and with an effortless shove, pushed him into the steering wheel while you grabbed your bag. "And the bag's empty, idiot."

Stepping out of the car, you opened the bag, showing him the gaping maw into nothing but its lining fabric.

"I suppose I'm walking the rest of the way then, and you'll be figuring out how to get enough gas to reach Lior."

"Now you stop there!" he snarled, stepping out of the car. "I'm not about to be so merciful to someone so rude. You can give it to me now, or give it to me at Xenotime. I'll be there first, ready to tell the town about that bitch who took my money and ran after I gave her a ride."

"Would you just fuck off? You should just be glad I'm leaving you alive."

He snorted. "Tough talk for a girl alone in the woods. I'm not going to hurt you, I just want a bit of that cash you've go-"

A crack echoed up and down the road. You were fairly certain his jaw was broken, and he'd have a pretty nasty goose egg after the way he hit the ground. Shaking out your fist, you glanced down. He looked pretty unconscious, but you could see him breathing.

With one solid kick, you dented deep into the front end of his car, then stuffed the driver- you really doubted Carl had been his real name now- back into the driver's seat. Then, though it took some effort- the brake was on, and it seemed best to leave it that way- you pushed the car off the road, up against one of the trees. The forests, if they could even be called that anymore, were much sparser here.

If Envy were there, you probably would have kept the car, but neither he nor Lust, and certainly not Sloth, had taken the time to teach you to drive yet. Instead, you thought of your cover, and sat next to the car, weaving a new story into his head.

His picking you up, and most of the drive, those were fine. It was just nearing here, when he slowed down, that you needed to ad-lib.

I was getting ready to pull over and mug Gretchen, you narrated, when I realized that actually, all those bills were pretty low. And on note of pretty, Gretchen was very. I started to worry about how I'd get enough gasoline even with all that money, and I couldn't help but steal a glance at her, and it seems I jerked on the wheel a bit, and somehow accelerated, and-

You include some of your own memories of Envy's terrible driving, of smacking your face on the dash, and on that note, you opened the driver's door, grabbed the man's nose, and crunched it hard to the side. A nosebleed would make it much more believable. You gave his head one last back against the steering wheel, for good measure. That would keep him out for a while.

To finish off, you scrounged a paper and pen from his glove compartment, and scrawled a note:

I've gone for help! Here is the money I owe you for gas! Thank you, and help is on the way!

It was perfectly nervously redundant. You folded it in half and, neglecting to add any cash to the fold, left it on the seat. Of course Gretchen would have paid him, if that whole theft attempt hadn't occurred. When he awoke up, he would just have to conclude that someone reached him before the rescuers.


Xenotime was closer than you had expected, and you wasted no time in stopping into the hotel tavern and letting some men know that you had been hitchhiking, and that you had been miraculously unhurt when the driver swerved off the road. You also introduced yourself as, of course, Gretchen Müller, and hurried off to 'help your great aunt' before anyone could ask exactly who your great aunt was.

"She's on my mom's side!" you had told them as you wove through the pub's patrons. None of them knew a single Müller, apparently. You nearly tripped over a little girl as you hurried out the door.

Back to walking.

You passed through the town in silence, hoping to remain unseen on the now-dark streets, especially as you passed an enormous building, with high fences and razor wire. There was light in the windows, and though the guard posts were unmanned, it wasn't worth the risk to rush.

On the far side of the complex, you stripped off your travel clothes, right down to your homunculus blacks, the red nodes along your body and your ouroboros tattoo now fully visible. You stuffed the excess clothes under an interesting boulder, then continued toward the mountains.

As you breathed the cool air, you finally found your mind clearing, the stifling wonders and the fog travel had brought on finally backing away. You wondered if it was the fresh air, or if this was perhaps the reason most of the homunculi never seemed to wear "normal" clothes.

Something you couldn't quite place- a feeling, or perhaps it was a sound or a smell, still too far off for you to really be conscious of it- led you up a path, clearly used before, but not recently, and to a boarded up mine shaft.

Here, you still weren't sure how you sensed it, but you knew that what you sensed was red water.

You tore out the highest boards and slithered your way into the shaft.

A copperish smell flooded your senses. It was most certainly the entrance you had been looking for. Your head seemed both to spin and clear, and your stomach twisted. You had done a lot since you last strengthened up. Inhaling the thick air, you felt trance like, and your eyes and nose began to burn.

Stepping heavily, one foot, then the other, then the first foot again, you plodded deeper into the tunnel, a faint glow in the distance leading you, and the entrance eventually disappearing from behind you without one glance back.

Your shoulder scraped along the side of the cavern as you struggled to maintain your balance. It didn't quite feel like you were going to fall, but it was like sleepwalking, and you knew you couldn't stop your sloppy march into the unknown. If you stopped, if you rested or took a breath, you would never get yourself going. If you laid down, you might never move again.

The cavern twisted and turned, and if you were conscious, you would be aware that it made little sense as a mine, but instead you scrabbled up some places, and slid down others, and never stopped to think, until the glow before you seemed bright enough to blind.

Stepping through the bright opening, you found a lake of red water before you, glowing bright, and opaque enough that you couldn't quite see into it.

With a cupped hand, you scooped up a sip, and winced as you swallowed.

It was undeniably delicious, much more than the red water and stones allowed at the house, but unlike the strangely delisious and strong bottle that Envy had shared with you, it burnt at the back of your throat, bitter and caustic.

Choking, you reached for another sip.

"We thought," said a voice, not far behind you, "that we were done with you homunculi."