Twisted Story Arch Masterpiece Theater Presents:
A Haze of Whine and Roses
A/N: Warnings: There's a little Rose-hate going on here, thought I should tell you. Also, these chapters are nice and long, so pace yourself, take bathroom breaks at the dotted lines, and eat a good hearty breakfast before starting out.
Rose: That obnoxious emo girl from Lior
Jay: A Military dude
"Silent" Bob: Another Military dude
Tom: Yet another Military dude
Polly: A cockatiel the Jay and Bob and Tom team found
The Stork: Forget what you learned in health class
The Baby: Rose's kid
Lyra: Rose's personal translator, Dante's other ex-assistant (the one who doesn't vomit blood)
Scar: A really cool guy. He wears his sunglasses at night.
Ed: The token main character
Al: Everyone's favorite enchanted suit of armor
Hoenheim: Not actually a name, but a bad Scrabble hand
Dante: So you know there are going to be seven levels of Hell in this fic.
Sloth, Wrath, Pride, Gluttony, and Lust: Concerned citizens
And Including The Following Anime (in order of mention):
Chrno Crusade, Evangelion, Gundam Wing, Azumanga Daioh
Sister Rosette. The nun with the gun. The demon-slayin', Vegas-goin', building-destroyin' Holy Sistah with a 'tude.
This is not her story.
This is the story of a small, insignificant character from a town of morons who went on to become one of the longest-lived minor characters in the history of FullMetal Alchemist.
But this isn't Winry's story, either.
This is the story of Rose. More whiny than Ausuka Langley Soryu on the rag, more clueless than Duo Maxwell and Heeno Uue exploring their feelings, more spacy than Osaka on horse tranquillizers, able to make small children cry with a mere smile, what's that in the sky? It's a bird—!
(Camera pans right to Rose, holding up a smoking rifle aimed at the sky. She blows smoke off the barrel, and walks off again.)
Did I mention she doesn't like birds?
Recon Squad 7, Jay and "Silent" Bob and Tom, was a fairly representative sample of the Military. That is to say, they were corrupt, they were incompetent, and they didn't want to wander around Lior any longer than they had to.
"Can we go home yet?" groaned Jay, kicking open the door to the shop they had been living in until they got their orders to return to the climate-controlled glory of Central.
"You're the leader, you tell us," snapped Tom. "What do you want this time, Bob?"
For Bob was pointing excitedly at the corner of the room they had just entered. It was occupied, by a youngish girl with brown hair (unusually highlighted with... pink?), tan skin, and large, frightened eyes.
"Eep!" she squeaked as Squad 7 trapped her.
"Well, well, well," said Jay, menacingly, of course, "Looks like we've caught ourselves a spy."
"Do ya think she wants to play a game?" Tom leered suggestively.
Rose squeaked again.
"'Cause we've been trying to get together a round of bridge..." the solider explained, pulling out a deck of cards. "Do you play?"
Rose shook her head, whispering, "Gambling is a sin."
The Squad members groaned. "Oh, Lord! It's Ishbala all over again!"
"Why can't we attack a city that isn't full of religious nuts for once?"
"Why do you have to attack cities at all?" Rose gasped, finding her voice, "We are a peaceful people! We have never harmed you!"
Jay, Bob, and Tom exchanged troubled glances with each other, made uneasy by this young woman's sincerity. "Toss her in the back room with your pet parrot, Bob," Jay finally ordered. "The last thing we need is self-righteous speeches from a whiny spy."
Bob grabbed her by the shoulder, but Rose fought back in a panic. "Parrot?" she asked desperately. "What parrot?"
"Oh, Polly," Tom explained casually as Bob led her away. "Bob here found her flying around. She's a good bird."
Rose lost her battle and soon found herself locked in a dark storage closet. Behind her, something rustled, and she turned slowly to face it...
"Polly wanna cracker?" asked a huge, oversized pink cockatiel, leaning towards her.
Rose screamed at the top of her lungs and threw all her weight against the door, frantically yelling, "LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! I'M AFRAID OF BIRDS!"
"Let me out, let me out. I'm afraid of birds," mimicked Polly.
"HELP ME! For the love of whatever power you believe in, DON'T LEAVE ME IN HERE!"
"Help me. For the love of whatever power you believe in, don't leave me in here," echoed the parrot.
Forcing herself to calm down, Rose managed to convince herself that she had to conquer her fear now, not just for her own sake, but for the people of Lior. She smiled at Polly. "Nice Birdy."
"Nice Birdy," echoed Polly. Rose became more confidant.
"Hello, I'm Rose."
"Hello. I'm Rose," said Polly, who decided on the spot that "Rose" was a fun word to say, so she decided to try it again. "Rose." Fun. "Rose," she whispered in a low moan. Fun!
"AAAAAAAAH!" screamed Rose.
"Rose," whispered Polly.
"GET AWAY FROM ME!"
"Get away from me, Rose."
"Keep back, Rose."
Wait, Rose switched to voice-over, which Polly couldn't mimic. If I don't say anything, that bird will keep quiet! Rose curled up in a corner, away from Polly.
"Rose..." moaned the parrot. Rose defiantly kept her mouth shut.
It was nine long months before Jay and Silent Bob and Tom were finally granted permission to return home. Cleaning out their stuff to leave, Bob stumbled upon a door to a storage closet that they had forgotten about completely. Inside, there was a ring of blood around the upper half of the room, and feathers surrounding the huddled figure of Rose.
"What the hell happened in here?" Jay asked.
There was a bird on the fan. So I turned it on. Rose tried to explain coldly, only to find that her voice had disappeared after not talking for months. Use it or lose it.
Unsure what else to do with her, they released the oddly-silent, very traumatized young woman, with a vague warning 'not to do it again'.
Hmm... gotta make it look like they did something really awful to me, Rose thought as she wandered home, trying to come up with a good reason for her absence, as well as a way to rally her people around her. Well, they did do something awful to me, but no one cares about my weird bird phobia.
Suddenly, she spotted a bird winging over the street, so she picked up a brick and knocked the feathered menace out of the air. It landed almost directly on top of her, so she kicked it away with her foot. A stork. She kicked at the bundle it was carrying.
The bundle started crying. A baby.
She hadn't killed just any stork. She had killed The Stork.
Oh well, thought Rose, cradling the new baby, who was a little bruised, but otherwise fine. Rose checked the ID tag on its wrist. Hmm... to Sig and Izumi Curtis... Eh, never heard of them, she finally shrugged, crumpling the tag up and tossing it over her shoulder.
"ROSE? OH MY GOD! ROSE!"
Lyra! thought Rose, turning towards the voice.
Lyra grabbed her joyously by the shoulders. "Rose! We thought you were dead! What happened? Speak to me, girl!"
Rose smiled and hugged her friend, adjusting the baby a little. Lyra jumped as she noticed the new arrival.
"Whose baby is that?"
Rose kissed the infant's forehead lovingly.
"Rose," Lyra repeated, a little louder and more impatiently this time, "where did the kid come from?"
The baby started crying, and Rose rocked it back to sleep.
"What happened to you, Rose?" Lyra asked, only to have a baby handed to her as Rose embarked on a long and complicated game of charades to explain her adventure.
Lyra, who had always sucked at charades, had no clue what was going on, but she sensed an excellent opportunity to create a terrific legend, to her advantage if at all possible. "So, you were minding your own business... no, even better! You courageously went to the troops to convince them to leave us in peace, when they captured and tortured you... we'll let them figure out where the baby came from, use their imaginations, and when the child was born, you escaped heroically, but were so scarred by the horrors you witnessed, you lost your voice!"
Rose shook her head and went back to doing "sounds like", but Lyra stopped her with a broad wink. "Rose, that's so tragic," she said in a loud, slow voice, "it's good that I can understand you, so we can take your message of bravery back to the people... hopefully they'll pay good cash for it."
Rose's smile showed that she understood.
"Hey," Lust pinned Scar and Ed's respective weapons to the wall with her Death Fingernails to get their attention. "Do you want some help with the whole Philosopher's Stone thing? Because we're looking for it, too, and Glut and I have been doing some research, and,"
"No." Ed and Scar said in unison.
"What is it with men and accepting help from women?" Lust asked herself. "Gawd, and people wonder why I don't like humans."
"Here! Take this locket!" yelled Scar, tossing a handy piece of jewelry at the Sin.
"Are you trying to bribe me into not help— AH!" And Lust fainted and had to be carried off by her little (utterly adorable, I might add) sidekick, Gluttony. A little stunned, Ed picked up the locket.
"Ew! Gross! There's... human hair in here! Oh, that's nasty."
Offended, Scar snatched his necklace back. "Shut up. It's soaked in Wash-Away-Your-Sins scented soap, and it's saved my life several times."
Rose (plus child), who was never far from a main character, and Lyra, who recently was never far from Rose, stepped out of the shadows.
"I think," Lyra informed them mournfully, "if Rose could talk, she would invite you in for tea and crumpets." Scar sighed sadly. Ed looked confused.
"Rose... is a mute now?"
Scar and Lyra nodded, sadly.
Ed jumped in the air. "WHOOHOO! Rose can't talk, Rose can't talk!" he cheered, doing a little victory dance.
Rose tugged angrily at Lyra's sleeve. "Rose says she can still hear." Rose tugged again. "And that you're being an inconsiderate bastard." Rose tugged again. "And you look exactly like your father."
Ed burst into tears and glared at Rose. "TAKE IT BACK!"
Rose glared at Lyra, then tried to tell Ed, via sign language, that she hadn't said that, she didn't even know his father, for Pete's sake! Ed wasn't buying it.
"Um... did you offer us some tea?" Scar asked Lyra.
"So, we're going to evacuate everyone, lure the troops in, and blow the whole army to Kingdom Come!" Scar finished passionately as the group had their tea and crumpets. "Thus simultaneously creating a Philosopher's Stone and ridding the Earth of the twisted, depraved scum that make up the Military!"
Ed raised his hand timidly. "Um... I'm kinda in the—,"
Lyra, Scar, Rose, and even the baby ignored him.
"Serves them right," growled Lyra.
"Hey!" Ed tried again, "I'm in the Mili-,"
"The worst of mankind, wiped out!"
"That's unfair, I know some really nice—,"Ed interjected.
"The entire world will rejoice!"
"And a lot of them have families," Ed started.
"Death to all Military Dogs!"
"GUYS!" Ed butted in, "I'm a Military Dog, remember?"
The rest just cheered. Or, in Rose's case, smiled.
"It's like I'm not even in the room," Ed whispered in awe. It was clear he had no way of stopping their planned massacre, so he pacified himself by remembering that all the "Military Dogs" he was friends with were first-rate slackers, and all had long lists of spare excuses to avoid any actual combat. (Please note that in the show, Roy and the Mustangettes all conveniently arrived a day late for the battle.)
And several days later, Ed found himself accompanying Lyra, Rose, and the baby out of Lior via a giant tunnel. (Hey, why not?)
And Wrath found himself accompanying Sloth to what he was convinced would be certain death for her. "This is really dangerous. If Angry Mommy found out that Other Daddy asked you to do this, he would kick Other Daddy's ass!"
"Watch your language," Sloth scolded automatically.
"What if he attacks you? You aren't going to have the heart to kill your own—,"
"That's not your problem. Now be quiet."
Lyra, surprisingly, left Rose's side to walk by Ed (who was brining up the rear). "So, FullMetal. What do you plan on doing once we're out of Lior?"
"Oh, I'm going right back. To look for my brother."
This was not the answer Lyra had hoped for, but she went with it. "It's sweet how you two watch out for each other."
"Um... thanks?" A sweat drop appeared on Ed's brow. He wondered if it would be polite to ask her to take a few steps away from him.
"But, don't you ever get... lonely?" Lyra asked coyly, "After all, other sixteen year old boys would have... other things on their minds..."
"Hey!" Ed objected, catching her drift. "I could have any number of beautiful fangirls if I so chose!"
"I know, but you don't choose. That's what I'm saying." Lyra edged a little closer and shrugged seductively. "I was just going to offer to make you breakfast tomorrow. Sort of a date thing."God, does he look yummy, thought Dante... Lyra (Lyra, duh... sorry, don't know how the Dante got in there... .:Nervous laughter:.) "Should I call you... or just shake you?"
Ed burst into panicky laughter. "Look... Lyra... you're a nice girl," Rose's baby started crying, and Ed almost collapsed in relief. Saved by the brat!
"Crap. A baby. And I'm out of Advil," muttered a puddle of water that had been stalking them, unnoticed.
"A baby?" shouted Wrath, who had also been stalking them unnoticed, and who hadn't had his nap that afternoon and was getting cranky. "I hate little kids!"
Lyra was the only one who laughed at the irony of this statement, but she thought Ed kind of wanted to.
Determined to shut the infant up, Wrath dashed towards Rose (who made no move to dodge him or anything), but Ed stepped in front of the little homunculus and pushed a hand against his forehead, stopping the kid in his tracks. "Ha! You're even shorter than I am!"
"Edward! That's not very nice," admonished the maternal and hauntingly familiar voice of Sloth.
Ed pushed Wrath over for safety and spun around. "I should have known... Equivalent Exchange. No gain without sacrifice. But no sacrifice without gain. We did bring something back that day..."
"And then set me on fire," sighed Sloth angstily. "I'm an unwanted child."
"Oh, cry me a river," growled Ed, rushing at his creation, screaming "I would say something dramatic right now, but I can't think of anything appropriate!"
Wrath's worse fears were coming to pass. It occurred to him that if Sloth died (and he was convinced that Ed was capable of killing her), he was going to end up with either Envy, Pride, or Lust.. or God only knew who else they could bum him off onto. "Hey! Leave her alone!" Ed didn't hear him, as he was busy screaming himself. Wrath picked himself up and prepared to jump Ed from behind.
Edward! thought Rose as loudly as she could, Edward! Look out! That creepy little kid is going to kill you! Of course, Ed couldn't hear her, either. Well, I suppose I could stop him, he's what, ten? ... No, I'd better let the menfolk deal with it... oh, be careful!
"How can I get in your pants if those stupid homunculi kill my hot little bishie?" yelled out a distinctly female voice.
Ed and Sloth stopped fighting. Wrath stopped running. Rose turned to stare, horror-struck, at Lyra, only to find Lyra staring back.
"Rose! You talked!"
"I thought you said that!"
Lyra shook her head. "Listen! You're talking!"
Rose turned as red as her namesake. "I didn't mean to say thatout loud, though."
"Don't worry," Lyra whispered, turning back to the battle. "I understand. Perfectly."
Back in actual action, Ed found himself surrounded by his indestructible enemies. "Um... girls?" he called over his shoulder as Sloth tried to wrap some water around him, "little help?"
"Sloth, we'll give you ten bucks to rip his shirt off!" Rose and Lyra called, waving their money around to prove they were serious.
"That," Sloth puddle-fied quickly to avoid Ed, "is wrong on so many levels, I can't even,"
"Ten bucks?" Wrath asked. Their noses bleeding in fangirlish delight, Rose and Lyra nodded.
"Hey! No corrupting my child!" ordered Sloth, scooping up Wrath and carrying him a safe distance from the rest, just as Ed remembered his sweet alchemy powers and turned the floor the two Sins were standing on into spikes.
"AH! Hey!" yelled the now trapped (sort-of) homunculi. "No fair!"
"Edward! Edward, are you all right?" Rose gasped hoarsely, running to the aid of her new hero.
Ed smiled bravely. "I'm fine." Rose smiled adoringly at him, and he gazed back. For a moment, they were lost in each other's eyes.
Lyra stepped protectively between them. "Well, time's a-wasting, let's get a-going," she growled, grabbing Rose by the arm and leading her away from Ed.
Back in Lior, Scar, Al, and Lust (who was having a teenage identity crisis and hanging out with the "wrong" crowd to piss off her family) decided to find out what happens when you put hair spray cans in the microwave.
At a nice hotel within walking distance of historic downtown Lior, Pride (played by King Fuhrer Bradley) and Gluttony were fully intending to watch the creation of the legendary Philosopher's Stone, the climax of years, no, centuries of hard work and careful planning... but, Gluttony turned on the TV, and within minutes both were deeply absorbed in the rerun of a football game between two minor college teams neither had ever heard of.
"Five! Four! Three!" cheered Scar, Lust, and Al, having the time of their lives as they watched the microwave sparkle. "Two!"
Lyra successfully lead her little group into fresh air, sunlight, and safety, but no one was paying attention to her, anyway. Rose had broken away, and she and Ed had spent the entire journey completely immersed in each other and their conversation. (In actuality, Ed was just avoiding Lyra... nothing to do with Rose, I'm sure, don't worry, fangirls.)
Ed was the last to emerge from the tunnel. He stretched gratefully, and froze. "Our sin committed, and our sin to bear!"
Rose stared at him uncertainly. "What?"
"Our sin committed and our sin to bear! That's what I should have said... I gotta go kill that homunculus, I'll be right back." and he started back into the tunnel.
"Wait! Ed, come back!" pleaded Rose and Lyra.
Ed turned around and placed his hands on Rose's shoulders. "I guess I won't be seeing you anymore, Rose."
Rose shook her head, a sad smile on her lips. "Oh, don't talk like that, Edward."
"No. No, I'm never going to see you again. Ever." Ed stated bluntly, leaving once again. Hey, a boy can have a dream.
Rose sobbed relatively quietly. Lyra was in a horrible mood, especially after Ed had so pointedly blown her off, but she was getting an idea, so she wrapped her arms comfortingly around her fellow Edophile. "There, there, dear. You've learned the best lesson a girl can. Never get involved with an Elric. They're all heartbreakers. Poor child, come on, I'll take you back to my place and get you some Ben and Jerry's, and we can watch Chick Flicks and cry and bitch, ok?"
"Lust! Lust!" Gluttony cried joyously, just glad to be back with his favorite Sin, especially after spending the night with Pride... "I missed you so much!"
Lust half-smiled from her seat atop a pile of sand that was the remains of Lior (that was one powerful microwave). "I missed you too, dear."
"Do you have the Stone?" Pride wheezed, coughing up some sand.
Lust giggled and cleaned some grit out of her nails. "Nope."
Pride's smile didn't quite die... mortally wounded is a better word. "Nope?... what do you mean, Nope?"
Once again, Lust giggled, the carefree giggle of the truly insane. "I don't have it."
Taking deep breaths and trying to remain calm, Pride nodded. "Ok... nothing to worry about. It has to be around here somewhere... we'll just start looking..."
"Look all you want," Lust whispered eerily. "You'll never find it. Never never never."
"She's lost her mind," Gluttony whispered in awe.
"There's rosemary... that's for remembrance..." Lust muttered to herself as her mind wandered around its own little world.
"Your mother's going to kill you," Gluttony observed.
A similar thought had occurred to Pride. "Forget mom, Sloth's going to kill me."
"Remember, Wrath, this wasn't your fault," Sloth lectured her charge as they returned to the train where they were to meet the others. "And the important thing is that we have the Stone. Rose doesn't really matter."
"If that's true, then why do I have to wait in the other car while you tell them that Rose can talk?"
"Well... um... because I said so."
"Ok, Glut, we can spin this," Pride muttered, frantically thinking up a cover story. "After all, I'm the king of PR." Gluttony stared uneasily at Lust, who had found a part time job as a wall ornament. He was quite clearly wondering how you could 'spin' this. "Just remember, Rose can't talk. That's what's important."
Sloth took a deep breath and prepared to break the news to her superior.
Pride took a deep breath and prepared to dodge all responsibility.
"The important thing is, (we have the Stone/Rose can't talk)." they stated in unison. There was a long pause.
"You didn't get the Stone, did you?" Sloth sighed.
"Rose can talk, can't she?" Pride sighed. "Rock-Paper-Scissors for who tells Master?"
Not wanting to think about that, Sloth dug through her pockets, but couldn't find her watch. "What time is it?"
"12:30" Lust replied, greatly amused when Sloth screamed and jumped in the air. "This is fun. We should do this for Halloween next year."
Ed stopped at the Wall o' Spikes he had constructed earlier, and decided he would have to turn back. "Hmm... wonder how Al and Scar are gonna get through... oh well."
He didn't have to worry. Scar had mysteriously disappeared, and Al had decided to go home to show off his new tattoo/glowing interior for Winry.
"Wow, Lyra, I just can't get over what a sweet pad you have," Rose exclaimed, taking another sip of tea and gazing in awe around the high-ceilinged, cathedral-like "breakfast nook" of Lyra's well-hidden mansion.
"Oh, why thank you. It used to be an old temple, and I snatched it up for a song when the religion it was dedicated to went under. A couple hundred years renovation, and," A huge crashing sound from the next room cut her off mid-laugh. "Excuse me a moment."
In the foyer, Gluttony, Wrath, and several assorted furnishings were lying in a twisted heap of debris. Directly above them, Sloth was clinging to a wall fixture she had grabbed hold of with one hand when the stack of furniture had collapsed, and nailing Lust to the wall with the other, using spikes that looked suspiciously like they had been taken from one of Lyra's favorite antique sculptures.
"There, all secure now?" she asked, dropping lightly to the ground.
"Yeah, thanks a lot," Lust snarled sarcastically.
"What the hell is going on in here?" hissed Lyra, coming down the sweeping entrance stairs (hey, is this a great temple or what?).
"Pretty Mommy screwed up," Wrath explained from under a bureau.
"Well, keep it down! I've got company!"
Had you asked Lyra (and Rose did), she would have gladly told you of her complex, state-of-the-art security system, which ensured that only she and a select six others could enter her property.
While she was explaining this boastfully, one of her most despised enemies was walking casually into the room where Lust was still hanging rather hopelessly, Gluttony by her side, too short to be of much assistance.
The newcomer strutted around, looking as though he used to own the place and was rather happy with what the present owners had done with it. He pulled out his watch.
"The time's 6:28," Lust told him helpfully, greatly amused when he jumped six feet in the air.
"AH! I'm sorry, Lust, didn't know you were alive there."
Lust tried to shrug. "Easy mistake to make, creepy stranger who knows who I am."
"Well, with a figure like that, who else could you be?"
Hoping he would unstake her if he thought she was interested, Lust tried to adjust herself to show maximum cleavage. "And who might you be, handsome?"
"Hoenheim of Light," snarled Lyra, re-entering on the stairs holding Rose's baby. "Step away from the seductive homunculus."
Lust giggled. "Is it even legal to name your kid Hoenheim?"
"Not for about two hundred years," Ed's father shrugged, turning back to Lyra. "So... Dante (A/N: didn't see that one coming, did you?), you're looking well."
"You too," replied the girl coldly, whispering to Gluttony on the side, "Where's Envy?"
"He went on a road trip..." Gluttony whispered back, "sorry, I forgot to tell you."
Lyra/Dante (Motto: With our powers combined, we are Lyrante!) relaxed immediately. "Oh, good."
"I was just in the neighborhood," Hoenheim started.
Lyrante raised an eyebrow. "Really? I wonder why."
"Actually, because I took two trains and walked for a day," he admitted, "but the point is," he stopped and glanced around the room. "Envy isn't here, is he?"
Lyrante shook her head and Hoenheim relaxed immediately. "The point is, after several centuries of therapy,... We do a lot of body hoping," he explained for Lust.
"Yeah, yeah," sighed the wall hanging indifferently, "You two were romantically involved, broke it off rather badly, Philosopher's Stone came into play somewhere, unnaturally long lives, we can figure it out."
"Oh... right then," Hoenheim remarked, looking a little put out that he didn't get to go through a more detailed version of his life. "Well...after several centuries of therapy and a few drugs, I'm over our relationship, and I wanted to come out here and tell you that."
"Excuse me?" gasped Lyrante, "You're over our relationship? You're the one who abandoned me and Envy for some trollop you met at a bar! Womanizing is certainly your thing, isn't it? From what I hear, you ditched your last wife and two kids,"
"SHUT UP! You don't know what you're talking about!"
"Jerry! Jerry!" chanted Lust sarcastically, wishing someone would notice and unstake her.
"Anyway, I see you've been busy yourself," observed Hoenheim, nodding pointedly at the baby.
Lyrante smiled wickedly. "It's not mine... but I have been doing some research, and there is an interesting connection between the Portal and new life..."
It was probably a brilliant theory, but she never finished it, because at that moment, Wrath screamed at the top of his lungs and fell off the chair he had been sitting on.
Hoenheim and Dante started at him for a second, and decided they had no comment.
"So, as I was saying, an infant," Dante stopped talking, annoyed. Half a century of developing this innovation in alchemical science, the least the heartbreaking bastard could do was listen to her. She turned to glare at Sloth, whose modest arrival had captivated her audience's attention.
Sloth nodded slightly to apologize for interrupting. "Hey, Lust, can I borrow this—,"
"Lipstick," Sloth sighed, advancing on the man, wrapping herself around him and liquefying in such a way that he had no clear chance for escape. "Hoenheim of Light..." she purred, "I haven't been so flattered since Mustang tried to pick me up at the company picnic." She twisted her neck around to face Lyrante, growling, "Is it just me? Am I some kind of magnet for these weirdos?"
"Look, shut up," snapped Lyrante, clearly jealous.
Just at this moment, Ed burst into the room (so much for Dante's flawless security system), and did the biggest double take of his life. His father, whom he hadn't seen or heard from since he was a toddler, was being suffocated by a half-aquatic version of his mother, who, last Ed checked, was dead, Wrath was hunched in a fetal position on the floor humming "Imaginary" by Evanescence to himself, the alchemist formerly known as Lyra was getting ready to toss Rose's baby up in the air and looking more demented than ever, Lust was being crucified, and Gluttony clearly wanted to run and hide, but where would that leave Lust?
"There isn't a caption in the world I could add to this scene to make it better," Ed declared out loud.
Back in the breakfast nook, Rose had broken into Lyrante's opium stash, so she was a little out of it, plus she was wearing a dress circa 1500, which was making it very hard to move. Still, she decided, using what was passing for her brain, that maybe she should go see what Lyra was doing with her baby in there, and what all the noise was about.
"Oh! Edo-kun! You returned!" Rose cried joyously, forgetting her child and cuddling up to her favorite little alchemist. "Are you all right, my beloved?"
Ed struggled desperately.
"Edward! Is that your baby?" Hoenheim gasped.
"Oh, way to jump right back into parenting, dad," Ed growled, disentangling himself from Rose. "And you! Get away from me! I've barely even spoken to you before!"
"But... but, Edo-kun!" cried Rose, bursting into tears.
"Gawd, even I'm not this whiny," muttered Wrath.
Her head throbbing, Lyra approached the sniveling girl and shoved the baby into her hands like a pacifier. "Here. Shut up."
Rose stopped crying briefly. "My baby," she sighed foggily, then burst back into tears, destroying the eardrums of those around her. Would no one stop her reign of terror?
"AK! Damn security code! Mom must've changed it!" growled someone right outside the door. Rose gasped in a particularly obnoxious manner.
"Hurry! She's torturing them!" cried a woman.
"Maybe if I take Envy's birthday and divide by Pride's anniversary... anyone have a calculator?"
"Fuck this!" yelled a third voice gruffly, and with a poof of alchemy, the wall exploded. (There goes the security system.)
"Duck and cover, Edward, sweetheart!" yelled a woman. Ed hurried to obey as bullets flew over his head. Rose cried out one last time and tossed the baby in the air, just before the shrapnel ripped her to shreds. Wrath jumped up and caught the infant before it could fall into the line of fire. (Hey, it's not the kid's fault his mother is... well... Rose.)
Ed and the others who had hit the floor risked a glance up. There, before them, heroically framed in the rubble, holding their smoking weapons, was an impossible group, Scar, Hughes, Trisha, and a woman Ed vaguely remembered as Marta (She gave him and Al a ride once, he was pretty sure), headed by Greed.
"You folks all right?" Hughes asked, pocketing his handgun.
"I don't think Rose is..." Gluttony observed.
"That was the idea," Greed sighed, staring at the remains of Rose. "We've been watching forever, waiting to see her go."
"And then it dawned on us," Hughes shuddered. "She was never going to die."
Trisha wrapped her arms around her stunned son. "What if she had ended up with one of my poor babies?"
"So we took matters into our own hands," Scar growled.
Marta shouldered her semi-automatic casually. "I would have made such a more interesting supporting female character than her." Everyone nodded in agreement. There was a bit of an awkward pause.
Dante and Trisha began staring at each other suspiciously. "Lab partner my ass," Ed heard his mother whisper under her breath.
Dante had reached her own conclusions. "She's not that great. Guess that's why you ditched her, huh, Hoe?"
Trisha pulled out the rifle she used on Rose. "Don't tempt me, old hag."
"Bitch, ba-ring it," snapped Dante, going ghetto with a clap of her hands.
"Oh, it's already been brought," snarled Trisha, failing to be intimidated by cheap magic alchemy tricks.
"Yo' man so old, he got an autographed copy of the Bible!" Dante jibbed. (The audience turned briefly to Hoenheim, who flushed and denied it.)
"Might want to be careful, Dante, you get one more face lift, and your nose'll fall off, just like Michael Jackson!"
"Is that what happened to your son's arm?" smirked Dante. The room gasped. Say what you want about the men, but insult one of the kids...
Trisha's eyes narrowed. "You want to talk about our sons? Let's talk about our sons," she growled, tossing the rifle away and lunging for the throat.
Dante staggered backward, and both women stumbled over the edge of a 10 foot crater in the floor (complements of Envy and his uncontrollable temper). Greed took a step forward, as if to look over the edge, but decided it was too dangerous.
Oblivious to the tension, Wrath was holding the baby like it might explode. "Hey, does someone want this kid? Mommy?" Sloth shook her head. "Grandma? Mrs Edward's Mommy?"
"Two years is a one night stand when you're 400, you know!" Dante shrieked. "Hey, easy on the breasts! They're the nicest set I've had for a while!"
"You bring a whole new meaning to the phrase, 'why buy the cow', don'tcha, now? Leggo my hair, you antique!"
"I don't think they want it either, kid," Hoenheim reported to Wrath. The boy immediately turned with the baby to Sloth's prisoner, who immediately tried to struggle, pleading, "But I'm a horrible father! Look at Ed and Al!"
Wrath did just that, turning to Ed, who also backed away. "I've got dad's genes!" he exclaimed, for the first and last time ever.
"I'm not good with kids," laughed Lust nervously. "And you know better than to offer it to Gluttony." ("Thanks, Lust," Gluttony mumbled sincerely.)
Without any living options, Wrath turned to Scar. "No," the man stated bluntly, no explanation, not even blinking.
"My wife wouldn't like it," Hughes explained sadly.
Greed and Marta were cornered.
"Heh heh... um... parenting isn't really my thing..." Marta explained, dodging past Wrath and the diapered menace. Greed glared at her.
"Thanks, Marta. Thanks a bundle.. Look, Wrath, can't we talk about this, son?"
"You could give it to Izumi," gasped Dante, clawing her way out of the pit, only to be pulled back down again. "I have her addressssssssssssssss!"
Ed, Wrath, and Greed shuddered, and Greed finally relieved Wrath of the infant. "Are you joking?" he asked, "Envy is a better mother than that woman!"
"Do you know what a pathetic parent you must be, when ENVY is more nurturing than you?" Ed asked. "Hey, why don't we give the baby to him?
"Oh, there's a good idea," Wrath snapped sarcastically. "Why don't you just kill it and save it some suffering?"
"Well, whatever you do with it, hurry up!" Marta broke in, already leading Scar and Hughes out the door. "We're going to miss Lost!"
"Lost? Did she say Lost?" Trisha and Dante stopped fighting and clambered out of the hole, to be joined by everyone else, who were also leaving, to go back to Greed's new pad to watch their cable... except for one...
"Uh... little help here?" Lust called after them.