Media: FullMetal Alchemist
Disclaimer: I own nothing 'cept (perhaps) the story idea.
Summary: Ed, Al and Winrey are returning home in the rain, and lying on the dirt road is…Envy? Why is he there? And what is it he's trying to tell them?
A/N: Really, this idea came about while I was sketching Envy during class (hey, we had a free day and I didn't have any friends in there. What was I supposed to do?). I shared the story idea with my "story buddy" and she said it was good, so here it is. Hope you enjoy!
Listen, You'll Understand
The sky was a dark grayish blue, casting the lush countryside in shadow. Water dripped from the thick gathering of clouds, collecting in large puddles in the soil and the dirt road. Occasionally, the rain would lighten up and the shadows would lift from the pastures, but these breaks never lasted for very long.
Walking along the dirt (or mud, rather) road were three characters huddled underneath a single umbrella, the person holding said item wearing a hulking suit of armor. The smallest of the three, a boy in a red cloak with long gold hair, would mutter something occasionally and glare at the droplets of water falling in front of his face. The other two would nod, the teenage girl saying something in return.
After a few minutes of this, the person in the suit of armor stopped and pointed down at the road ahead. "What's that?"
"Huh?" the other two responded in unison, looking up at him.
"That black thing up ahead," he added, walking forward again. "Don't you see it?"
"I think so…" The red-cloaked boy stepped from under the umbrella, gold eyes narrowed in concentration.
Just that moment, the fluxuation in the clouds happened and some light "faded" the shadows enough for the form to be revealed.
Laying there on the road was a human-like shape, the body laying on its side and dark hair mostly covering the being's face. It was still too dark for the three teens to see much else, but the ground beneath the body was darker than the surrounding areas (though not caused by shadow).
"Is it a person?" the blonde girl asked, leaning forward slightly as the fluxuation changed again into shadows.
As if to answer her question, the person began to stir. The slenderness of the body hinted feminism, and so did the length of the hair and the clothes being worn, which were now visible due to the fact the person thrust him/herself against a wooden fence, panting and coughing badly.
The taller of the teens stiffened, nearly dropping the umbrella. "It's a homunculus!"
The smaller straightened up and his face darkened, clapping his hands (one of which transformed into a metal blade). Pointing his weapon at the person's throat, he demanded, "What are you doing here?"
The androgynous being's breath slowed and became more stable, a grin spreading on the being's pale face. "Nice to see you, too, Fullmetal." The grin widened as he noted that the boy brought the blade closer to his throat and even let out a low chuckle. "Go ahead. See how many times you stab me before I finally die."
It was then that the blonde boy noticed a huge, deep gash in the homunculus' chest and a cut running along one side of his face and over one eye. It was also that moment that the boy in the suit of armor spoke up.
"Brother," he said, looking down at the red-cloaked blonde. "I remember reading something by a John Collier about homunculi being immortal."
The smaller sibling hesitated, pulling his blade away yet not returning his "hand" back to normal. He gave the weakened homunculus a "I still don't trust you" look.
The only female in the group, who looked as if she felt sorry for the homunculus, asked gently, "How long've you been alive?"
"Winrey," the blonde boy whispered warningly, shifting his gaze from the homunculus to his female companion.
The grin faltered and shrank to a smirk. "Too long." Although he said it with a slight chuckle, the note of sadness could still be detected.
"'Too long'," scoffed the red-cloaked boy, half glaring at the injured being. "I would've thought you'd like immortality."
The dark-clothed being started laughing but quickly stopped and clutched at his chest, blood dripping from his mouth and breathing becoming ragged again.
The taller sibling looked down as if a sad thought had entered into his head. This was soon to be proven as he asked quietly, "Am I any different from a homunculus?"
Winrey and the red-cloaked boy looked at him in surprise, and even the homunculus tilted his head to look at him with his good eye.
"Unless my Blood Seal is removed or damaged, I remain immortal," he explained, looking toward his brother. "And since I've been affixed to this suit of armor, can I really be called 'human'?"
Gold eyes softened considerably and he even look sad, his voice conveying the same emotion as he whispered, "Alphonse…"
The homunculus, however, scowled at the one addressed as Alphonse, anger flashing in his purple, snake-like eye. "You have no idea how lucky you are, do you?" he hissed, exposing fang-like teeth. "You have no idea…" Dark hair covered his face once more as he looked away and bowed his head slightly. "How it feels…to feel death's painful grip yet never succumbing to it, to feel unable to move when you don't eat or sleep, to feel the limitations of life yet never getting away from it…" He seemed to want to say more, but a coughing fit caught ahold of him, blood spraying from his lips.
The rain that had seemed to be forgotten intensified, soaking both the red-cloaked boy and the homunculus (though they were both pretty wet to begin with).
"Ed," Winrey said softly, looking from the injured being to the blonde boy. "Are you going to do something?"
Ed, who still looked a little surprise from the dark-clothed being's outburst, looked toward his brother and friend. "Yeah," he answered, kneeling down and grabbing his arm. "C'mon, Envy," he ordered, pulling him to his feet.
The homunculus, addressed as Envy, staggered a bit before he found unexpected support from the shorter boy. He gave him a curious, almost startled look, holding his breath to hold a steadier gaze.
Gold eyes remained steady. "With one move, you can knock me down and kill me," he said, slinging Envy's arm over his own shoulders. "But I can do the same to you," he added as he put his other arm around the homunculus' waist and gently pressing the blade against his stomach. "We're on level ground."
A strange spark lit up the injured being's eye, but the eye-contact was quickly broken as he could no longer hold his breath and was gripped by another fit of coughing. He was saved from dragging Ed down by Winrey, who came up on his other side and also slung his arm over her shoulder. When he finally overcame the fit, he gave her a similar look.
Alphonse held the umbrella above the other three, seeming not to be bothered by the rain.
-about 1 hour later-
Envy lay on a bed with white bed-sheets and a white blanket draped over him up to his chest, which was now bandaged. There was also a bandage over his left eye. His breathing was slow, almost as if he were sleeping.
Standing nearby the bed were Ed, Alphonse and Winrey, the latter standing closer to the head of the bed.
"Whoever created Envy made him very human-like," she commented as she placed a damp cloth on the homunculus' forehead. "Weakness from loss of blood, even a fever! Someone must've put a lot of effort into him."
"No joke," the blonde boy commented back, re-braiding his hair after somehow drying it. He was no longer wearing his red cloak, but instead a black sleeveless shirt and light-brown shorts. Without the sleeves covering his right arm, you could clearly see that it was metal instead of flesh. Same for his left leg. "Wonder who it was, though."
Alphonse leaned forward slightly. "How bad's his fever?"
"It's one hundred and three," she reported, picking up the thermometer thoughtfully before placing it back in the medical kit. "I don't know much about homunculi, but judging on how human-like he is, I'd say that's a pretty bad thing."
The sibling in the suit of armor nodded while the blonde boy sneezed.
"Uh-oh," Winrey started, giving her friend a worried look. "That doesn't sound too good."
"I-I'm fine!" Ed stammered hurriedly, raising his hands and smiling nervously. "Really! Just a cold, nothing to worry about!"
Envy stirred, letting out a low moaning hiss before opening his undamaged eye. "Fullmetal?"
Ed stepped forward. "Yeah?"
"You are still here…" The homunculus sounded tired, but he tried to get up nonetheless.
"Oh, no," Winrey scolded gently, lightly pushing him back into a lying position. "You stay right there."
Grimacing, he grudgingly obeyed, flinching when she lifted the damp cloth off his forehead.
Gold eyes were trained on the injured being, flashing with questions. "Just…how can a homunculus…" He rethought his question and started again. "Is what Greed told me about killing homunculi true?"
Winrey gave him a startled look and Envy smirked.
"What exactly did he tell you?" he asked, purple snake-like eye sliding toward the boy.
"That you need the remains of the 'original' homunculus to weaken it, use a Flamel Array to seal it and you can do away from there," he responded slowly, noting the almost horrified look from the only female in the room. "That's what he told me. Is it true?"
Envy nodded feebly, turning his head to his right and looking out the window at the rain. Flinched slightly when Winrey placed the damp cloth back on his forehead.
"Is…is that what happened to you?" Alphonse asked nervously, fidgeting a little.
Purple snake-like eye contemplatively watched a drop of water streak down the glass before he gave an answer. "Let's just say Master wasn't too happy with me."
The three young teens exchanged alarmed glances.
If they were all listening, they wouldn've heard a faint gasp from the hallway where an elderly woman was listening to their conversation.
"So…" Ed drawled, looking away for an instant. "If this 'Master' of yours hadn't harmed you, would you be out here?"
"Not likely," the homunculus sighed, looking up at the ceiling.
A brief pause ensued before Fullmetal asked another question.
"Will you recover from this?"
"I'm injured," the androgynous being responded in agitation. "Not dying."
"Of course…" Gold eyes shifted toward bright-blue ones, the girl "owning" those azure eyes giving him an angry, warning look. He shrugged helplessly, his metal arm clanking faintly from the movement.
The sibling in the suit of armor spoke up here. "Who were you…back when you were human?"
An awkward silence followed, each of the three teens exchanging glances.
Finally, Envy whispered, "Are you sure you want to know?"
"Does it matter?" Ed asked back, placing his real hand on his hip. "You aren't human anymore, and you've told me you don't care about becoming human again."
The elderly woman just outside the door leaned further against the doorframe, dark eyes narrowed in concentration.
After a few more minutes of silence, the homunculus sighed tiredly and closed his eye. "When I was human…back before Xerxes became the Great Desert…I was just a boy, with a caring mother. Though my father was there, he was always busy studying and very seldom spent time with me and my mother." He paused, his head tilting toward the window. At first, it seemed as though he had passed out, until he started talking again. "One day, I…got into an accident. That was the first time my father ever put aside his work for me. But…but the accident poisoned me. Mercury poison, if you must know. My parents fought to keep me alive, but I didn't make it…"
Winrey put her fingers to her lips, eyes wide. She then laid her other hand near his shoulder as if to offer him sympathy. The other boys bore somber expressions.
"My father regretted not spending time with me when I was alive," he continued, his voice even lower than before. "And together with my mother, they performed the taboo of alchemy –human transmutation. I don't know why…but he left soon after I, Envy, was created. She…took care of me, even though I wasn't her son anymore. But, over time, she began to treat me less and less like a son and…more like a servant…"
The teenage girl looked at Ed, but he didn't look back.
Instead, he asked Envy, "So, your master…was originally your mother?"
The homunculus' head turned sharply and his eye opened suddenly as if he were just startled awake, a furious scowl on his face. "That bitch is not my mother!" he growled, flames shooting out of his eye. "Say that again and I will kill you."
There was a pause before the blonde boy whispered his apology. Another few minutes and the injured being seemed to have calmed down a bit.
Winrey removed the damp cloth off his forehead, dipped it in a bowl of cool water, wrung out the excess and gently placed it back on his forehead. "Feeling better?"
"Some," he sighed, looking out the window into the rain again.
Ed let out a loud sneeze, rubbing his nose afterward and looking rather annoyed.
"Brother," Alphonse started, putting his hand on his brother's "armored" shoulder. "Get some rest before that cold gets worse. I'm serious," he added after his sibling gave another loud sneeze.
Just then, the elderly woman stepped into the room. "No arguments, Edward. Now, come on and I'll make you some tea," she said as she began to exit the room.
The blonde boy sighed. "Coming, Aunt Pinako," he grumbled, trudging along after her.
He turned back toward Envy.
The androgynous being was looking up toward the ceiling, a serious look on his face. "This conversation? It never happened."
Fullmetal tilted his head to his left. "What conversation?"
The homunculus smirked, turning his head back toward the window, closed his eye and seemed to have drifted off to sleep.
-the next day-
Gold eyes stared blankly ahead of them, deep in thought. A flicker of worry temporarily lit them, but it faded after a split second.
Edward jumped, jerking his head toward Alphonse. "Huh?"
"You were spacing out again." The sibling in the suit of armor handed his brother a tissue after he sneezed. "Anything you want to talk about?"
The blonde boy blew his nose before answering. "It's about Xerxes. According to the history books at the Library, that city was destroyed in one night…almost four centuries ago."
The taller sibling stiffened, a small gasp of surprise faintly echoing in his armor. He then looked toward the hallway leading to the door that led to where Envy and Winrey were. "…did it say anything on what happened?"
"No." The smaller boy stumbled into a fit of coughing, causing Alphonse to straighten in alarm.
Pinako walked into the room, a steaming mug in her hands. "Drink this, Ed," she said, holding it out to Fullmetal. "You'll feel better, afterward."
Ed cautiously took it, taking a sip. "That homunculus is older than I thought he was," he muttered, getting that "spaced-out" look again.
"Brother," Al said, regaining his sibling's attention. "Please stop spacing out like that. You're starting to scare me."
"Oh…" He gave his brother a slightly surprised look, which changed into a sheepish smile. "Sorry, Al."
Just then, something broke through the window, bringing in the bright sunlight to reflect off the shard of broken glass. It was a boy with black hair, pale skin (except for his right arm and left leg, which didn't really seem to fit his body very well), dark clothes and purple, snake-like eyes.
The boy smirked. "That's right, Alphonse," he hissed, exposing fang-like teeth. "So I can assume Envy was here, too."
"He's down the hall, last door to the left," Ed directed, motioning to the hall with his thumb.
"Thanks for the cooperation," the homunculus chuckled as he leapt into the hall and kicked open the door.
Winrey whirled around in alarm, stepping in front of the bed. "Who are you and what do you want?"
"I'm here for Envy," he answered, calmly walking into the room.
Envy looked past her at the boy. "It's okay, he won't hurt you…so long as you stay out of his way."
She looked between the homunculi with uncertainty, slowly stepping out of the way.
"You look bad, Envy," the younger homunculus commented, pulling out a small pouch from his pants and beginning to open it.
"It's not that bad," the androgynous being responded with a slight smirk. "What'cha got there, Wrath?"
Wrath grinned as he pulled out a round, red object from the pouch. "Red Stones," he answered as he slipped one into the other's mouth.
Waiting a few seconds, Envy tore the bandage wrapping his chest off and watched the gash close. Sitting up and tearing the bandage off his left eye, he smirked at the boy. "Got any more?"
"Plenty," he answered, giving the older homunculus the pouch.
The teenage girl, seemingly forgotten by the homunculi, gawked at how greedily Envy consumed the Red Stones.
When the regenerated being was finished, he leapt off the bed with ease and landed just in front of the door. "What are you looking at?" he asked when he noticed her staring at him. Without waiting for her response, he waved for Wrath to follow and walked into the living-room where the brothers and old woman were.
"Envy?" Wrath gave the other homunculus a strange look as he observed the other holding the doorknob. "Aren't you going to kill them?" He waved his left hand toward the other three non-homunculi.
Alphonse trembled in his seat, Edward tried to stand up and Pinako had him remain seated.
Envy looked at each of them, giving Fullmetal a somewhat thoughtful look. "Naw," he answered with a shrug, opening the door and preparing to step out.
"What!?" The younger homunculus gawked at the older, bewildered.
The androgynous being looked at him boredly, the sunlight giving his hair a mossy-green shine. "There are too few people here, and there aren't very many relatives outside the area. Even if we did do a little business here, there wouldn't be a very big chain reaction, assuming one occurs. It'd be a waste of time," he finished, walking out onto the porch.
The younger followed behind him, even more confused. "But what about your revenge? According to what Master told me –"
"Shut up," Envy ordered sharply, giving him a swift kick in the gut that sent him flying. "And don't you dare even think of talking 'till we get back to Master. Got it?" Waiting long enough for Wrath to nod fearfully, he was about to start walking away except he noticed some movement at the door. He smirked when he saw it was Edward standing there, still draped in a blanket, with Alphonse standing behind his brother. "If we meet again elsewhere, you're mine." With that, and a venomous grin, he turned toward the road and started walking, the younger homunculus a safe distance behind him.
"I wouldn't expect anything less," Fullmetal muttered, watching them go. He then fell into another fit of coughing, nearly falling over except his brother caught him.
"Come on, Brother," Alphonse said gently, partially carrying Edward back into the house. "Let's get you back inside."
A/N 2: Oh, before I forget, there's something I kinda need to tell you;
Parts of Envy's past is actually based on the Manga rather than the Anime. Van Hohenheim used the citizens of Xerxes to create his Philosopher's Stone, a few centuries before the story begins. Also, the reason why Envy was unable to regenerate himself was because he didn't have any Red Stones in his stomach. Just sorta to help clear things up.