Spoilers: Not if you have been keeping up with Cartoon Network
Alternate Universe: Yep. Here are the specs for it: Al is not a philosopher's stone, Ed is still wanted by the military, Ed/Al's dearest daddy is still in this world (and so is Ed for that matter) Other than that, I think things work out alright.
Warnings: I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking there will be some yaoi in later chapters. Either way, this chapter is free of it.
Disclaimer: I think you know this one by now…by definition, if I owned FMA, it would be impossible to write FANfiction for it. Plus it would be written in Japanese.
In the back room if one of the lesser military libraries dedicated to alchemy, one person searched through the files. A dim flashlight was the only illumination he had, any more light and he would risk discovery. The room was small, only a closet really, and the files had a thin layer of dust, a clear sign that they had not been looked at in years. This was the third night he had searched through that room, looking for tiny scraps of information. Officially, the records that he looked for had been destroyed, but first hand experience told him that the military's records were not always correct. If those files would be hidden anywhere, this would be the location.
Footsteps echoed through the hall outside. They came to a stop in front of the store room. There was no use in turning off the flashlight; the person outside the door already knew he was here. The tiny room offered nowhere to hide and not enough room to stage a fight. He tensed as he heard the sound of the door unlocking. The door swung open to reveal a large figure blocking the door. The large figure switched on the room's light.
"What are you doing here, Envy?" The large figure, now recognizable as Pride, asked.
"I'm surprised you recognized me, normally only Dante can do that when I am in disguise. What gave me away? It has to be pretty obvious for someone as dense as you to figure me out."
"You didn't bother to change your face." He answered flatly, he knew better than to insult Envy or allow the elder homunculus to get under his skin. He had both seen and felt the effects of Envy's rage and had no desire for a repeat performance. "Tell me, what are you looking for in there?"
"Your job is to make the military do whatever we want, not to watch my every move. If you have any interest in keeping that job, you will keep your mouth shut, understood?" Envy grabbed one file off of the top of the cabinet and pushed out of the room. He did not have the file that he needed, but he had separated this one out earlier because the information was somewhat relevant.
Pride watched him walk down the hallway until he was out of sight. After the elder homunculus had turned the corner, Pride closed and locked the door behind him. He wanted to know what file Envy had taken but was not brave enough to ask him. With a deep sigh, he turned and headed for his office.
He knew that Sloth would still be hard at work looking over the written tests for the state alchemy exams and notes on what they had said during the interviews. They were looking to see who would be the most likely to produce the stone, once they found that person they would ensure that they received their certification. It was the same process that had gotten Edward Elric his pocket watch.
"Sloth," he said calmly as he walked in the room. "I need you to get the index of the files stored in storage room A-14, find out which one is missing. I need to make a phone call."
Envy's behavior did not make sense, if he had wanted the file he would have simply asked Pride or Sloth to get it for him. There was no need for him to every sneak around the military, unless Dante had forbidden him to find that file. The very idea that Envy was starting to turn against them made him shutter as he picked up the phone. One quick call should be able to clear it up, hopefully.
Envy hurried through the back streets of central, military uniform still on. He knew that this was not the best place to be caught in that, but he did not have a choice. The only thing that he could to was hurry to his hideaway.
His hideaway was an old apartment building in the less traveled areas of central. Local lore said that one of the rooms in it was haunted. Every person who tried to rent it was frightened away by a sickly looking creature that did not respond to pain the way that normal people did. Eventually the owner of the building stopped trying to rent it and allowed the room to fall into disrepair. Envy was proud of his accomplishments.
The apartment was well furnished, but not well maintained. Many people had simply left their possessions in the room when they fled, leaving Envy enough items to make it look like a normal apartment if he ever desired. Naturally, most of them were still in their boxes. He preferred to stack them up rather than open them and find out what they held, he had no use for most of the things inside anyway.
Tonight two of those boxes acted as a table for Envy to spread out the contence of the file over the cardboard. Over twenty of written documents were accompanied by many photographs. The documents were of little interest to Envy, but the photographs were what he was looking for. He gathered them up and slowly went through them, examining them one by one. They showed the inside of a house that he vaguely remembered. It was not an exceptionally large house, just big enough for the two people who lived there. The big draw to the house had been the large basement, which had been converted into an alchemic lab.
His hands froze when he got to the final photograph. He just looked at it, taking in every detail. A boy, probably in his late teens, was lying in bed. Just from the look on his face Envy could tell that he was dead. His eyes were open and empty, his skin was sickly pale, and a small amount of blood had dribbled from his mouth. His blonde hair was splayed on the pillow behind him and a blanket was pulled up to his neck.
Envy traced those features with his fingers, memorizing every feature of this boy. He didn't have to read the report to know what he had died from, he knew that all too well. He knew a lot about the boy. His name was Edward Elric, he had been the first child of Hohenheim of Light, and there was now another that carried his name. He had died of accidental mercury poisoning when he was 18, and his father had attempted to bring him back to life.
Photograph in hand, Envy moved into the bedroom. There, covered in a sheet, a full length mirror sat in the corner. Ever since the incident with Hughes, Envy had used it every time he transformed into a person for the first time. This time he watched as he transformed into what he had originally looked like. Somehow, he felt more comfortable in this body, it was difficult to explain. It just felt right.
He felt a familiar weariness creep into him, he had been fighting it off for several days now. It seemed to come after every time he changed his form. He sank down to the floor, trying to focus on the world around him, not allowing the blackness that was forming around the edges of his vision to take over. Until recently, he had been able to change from shape to shape as much as he wanted and never feel anything.
It first it had been minor, he felt lightheaded if he transformed several times in a row. Now only change left him on the ground, unable to stand for several minutes.
Pride hung up the phone and looked for something to kick. He had called Dante to tell her about Envy's strange behavior. He worried that Envy's loyalties could be changing, but Dante refused to even think about that. In his opinion, she trusted the homunculus too much. Envy was possibly the most dangerous among them. He could change what he looked like, infiltrate any attempt at security. If he decided to go against them, Pride did not know how he could defend himself. Envy knew where Dante stored the remains of all of the other homunculi, he could destroy them if he wanted to.
Sloth stepped back into the office, carrying the notebook with the indexes for storage rooms A-12 through A-16. "There were three files missing. One is about a small town's attempt to use alchemy to fight off the military, the second is a list of who applied for state certification and who received it for a certain year, and the other one is about the alchemy related death of an 18 year old."
"Thank you." Pride muttered, not understanding the connection. He had only seen Envy take one file, the two other ones must have been missing beforehand. In any given storeroom there were several files that were not accounted for.
"Is something wrong?" for a moment it seemed as though Sloth cared, but Pride pushed those thoughts out of his head. Homunculi cared for no one but themselves.
"I want you and Wrath to avoid Envy until I figure out just what he is up to."
"Do you really think he would attack us?"
"I can't say. He has been loyal to Dante since his creation, but many things have happened lately, who's to say that someone hasn't made him a better offer. Just keep away from him." With that, Pride left his office to go home and see his family. Even though he did not truly care for them, he had to keep up appearances and his wife was already beginning to suspect that he was having an affair with his secretary.
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