I believe this is one of the mushiest EdxEnvy oneshots I've written to date. Considering that this is the second (published) one, and the first one is posted under angst (if I remember correctly), that's not much of an accomplishment. But I can always pretend.
Dedicated to lost cause331 for being the 400th reviewer on my multichaptered fic, Side by Side. The request was for Ed and Envy to be in a relationship, someone to flirt with or harass Ed, and Envy to rush in and save him, but get yelled at for trying to be Prince Charming. I'll let you be the judge of how well I followed it. And... I'm debating whether or not I should apologize in advance.
The Crimson Killings
Living life on the edge, as it were, Ed and Envy have a hard enough time already. But when a serial killer starts stalking the seedy streets of East Area, Envy knows they're in a lot more danger than before. Still, apart from the mysterious Crimson Killer, it's business as usual for both of them. [EdxEnvy, AU, oneshot]
It's odd, for Envy to be accosted by a woman. And she looks too nice for this district, too - clean cut dark blonde hair, serious brown eyes, a professional type of speaking. Has to be a cop, FBI agent, whatever. Undercover. No doubt.
He fidgets, sticks his hands in his pockets, and wishes his scarf would do a better job of keeping out the cold. "What do you want?"
"I just want to talk." Her voice is firm. Calm, but firm. Envy eyes her warily. No one comes to this district 'just to talk', cop or... otherwise. The only reason people still frequent Central's shamefully run-down East Area is because they want something. Drugs, sex, information - whatever.
But if the lady really is a cop, Envy would be one hell of an idiot to walk away. "Talk about... what?"
She pauses, obviously wondering how best to broach her subject. Envy watches, fidgets some more, shifting from foot to foot. He really wants to get out of the cold - head back to his shithole of an apartment or someone else's; doesn't really matter as long as he can get warm. "Well?" he prompts finally, puffing out a sigh that is white from condensation. "What would you like to talk about?"
"The murders," she replies. "The Crimson killings. You know what I'm talking about."
"I know what you're talking about," Envy repeats, wishing he didn't.
"Then -" She cuts herself off, bites her lip as though it's a big deal to talk about. Hell, the horror stories Envy's heard are probably worse than whatever she is planning to question him about. Worse times a hundred. The Crimson Killer - it's all over the papers, the news. He was. Eight dead, possibly nine, and it's becoming even more of a hazard to trawl for customers.
"Then what?" he asks, wishing she would just get it over with. "I'm cold."
She gives his outfit a cursory glance. Not that it is provocative in any way, not like his summer clothing. Just nicely fitting black pants, a black jacket, a striped scarf he got as a present way too long ago. He learned long ago that it's mostly the way you present yourself - your posture, gestures, whatever - rather than what you wear. "I was hoping you'd have some information for me."
"You guys probably have a helluva lot more information than whatever you think you're gonna get from me," Envy replies. "And don't ask me to tell you who picks me up. If it were Crimson, I'd be dead. Plus, I can't even remember half the time." He leans back against his streetlamp, looking bored. "Besides, you know what I do for a living. Nothing's for free."
The cop lady frowns at him, reaches into her pocket to maybe pull out a wallet, maybe a gun or pepper spray. Quickly, Envy raises his hands in a 'calm down' gesture.
"Hey, hey, I was just kidding. Chill." He doesn't want to take money from a cop. Greed's already in enough trouble as it is, and if Dante finds out... He shudders, and it's not just because of the cold. "I really don't know anything."
"If you're sure... We know he's male, probably Asiatic, drives a red car." The lady looks uncertain again, her eyes darting up and down the street. Seeming to make a decision, she firms her lips and reaches into her pocket again (Envy looking on warily) to get a pen and a small notebook. "Here, then, take this. And make sure to call if you see anyone suspicious hanging around. I'll make sure we check them out."
The slip of paper turns out to be a phone number, 884-6609. Envy pockets it without thinking about whether or not he'll actually need to use it. "Uh, thanks."
"You know, with a serial killer on the loose, this isn't the best place to be, er, doing business."
Envy sighs. "Yeah, yeah, I know."
"It would make more sense to take a break, and... start back up later."
"Then... why -"
His patience wearing thin, Envy shrugs and shuffles a few steps away. "Person's got to make a living, honey," he replies, the sarcastic, saccharine endearment effectively ending the conversation. And later, when the cop walks away and he's alone again, he mutters under his breath - "And the rest of us can't get jobs busting people like you do."
Half an hour later, he deems his shift over. No one's been coming here lately, what with all the bad publicity. Envy never thought that attitudes about the East Area could get any more negative than they already were, but he hadn't counted on serial killers.
He's glad he doesn't have many real friends among the 'residents' of Youswell Park. It's creepy enough, seeing blurry photos of the horribly burnt bodies of various acquaintances. You get to know a lot of people in a business like Envy's and he's just glad he was smart enough not to make many emotional attachments.
Edward is at his usual place, sitting by the dilapidated fountain in the badly paved courtyard. He wore his hair down today and it falls across his shoulders in soft golden waves. No matter how many time's he's touched it, Envy's always surprised at its softness.
In deference to the cold, he's wearing a cream-colored sweater. It's different from his normal long, dark red coat - maybe he's making an effort not to draw too much attention to himself. It probably doesn't work, though. Ed is so good-looking that any clothing makes him attractive.
So absorbed is he in Edward's appearance, Envy doesn't notice his companion until he is raising his hand to wave. The man is of about medium height with dark hair pulled into a stringy ponytail and although he's clean-shaven, his smile that looks more like a smirk than anything. Instantly, Envy is wary. He tries not to judge his customers by first impressions - after all, when you go out and hire a prostitute in the first place, you've gotta be pretty desperate in one way or another - but this guy is giving off bad vibes like there's no tomorrow. He's more than fifteen feet away but the sleazy atmosphere is already making Envy bristle.
This guy means business. And not the good kind of business, either. Envy's instincts are screaming, in unison, BAD NEWS. He fidgets, then ducks behind a tree to watch. If the customer really is legitimate, Envy doesn't want to be guilty of disrupting Ed's business. Hell, it would practically be robbing him.
But he'll watch, just in case.
The man's car is parked nearby, a red Camero with its lights still on. Like he was planning to grab Ed quickly and make some kind of dramatic getaway. Envy glares at the car.
"Yeah, well, this is more of a side job than anything," Ed is saying to the prospective customer with an awkward laugh. Wincing, Envy shakes his head. The kid might be beautiful, but his delivery needs a little work.
Freaky Guy's reply is inaudible, which makes Envy even more nervous - especially when Ed's reaction is closer to very thinly veiled disgust and mild fear than anything that would be expected from a seasoned streetwalker. There is nothing good about this situation, and nothing good is going to come of it, he can tell that much already.
Suddenly, a thought strikes Envy with the force of a wildly swung two-by-four. He gives the car a sharp glance again, and the policechick's words echo through his mind.
"We know he's male, probably Asiatic, drives a red car..."
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
Keeping an eye on the pair, Envy fumbles in his pocket, unfolding the crumpled paper with shaking fingers. He dials the number as fast as possibly, cursing under his breath. "Shit shit shit ohshitohshitohshit..." It seems like forever before someone picks up the phone.
"Agent Hawkeye here, who is this?"
"Er..." Envy's not sure how to identify himself. "It's me."
There's a slight pause. "Who?"
"Me. The, uh, guy you met in the park. You gave me your phone number." He tries to speak as quietly as possible and keep the conversation innocuous, so that in case he's overheard it will seem like a simple chat between lovers. "I... see something you might be interested in."
"What? Really?" There's real excitement in her voice now. "You mean-"
Envy cuts her off. The man - the possible killer - is leaning closer toward Ed, who's giving that golden, smoldering look from underneath his eyelashes that means he's really turning on the charm. "Yes. Yes. Here. It's close to where I met you earlier."
Apparently, she can't tell that he's uncomfortable and trying to be discreet, because her next question is more professional and also harder to evade. "Can you tell me what he looks like? I need as exact a description as possible."
"Right." He takes a few steps away from the couple, needing to distance himself for privacy but unwilling to leave Ed all alone. "Medium height. Stringy hair. Ponytail. Yellowish skin. Clean-shaven. White shirt and black jeans. Red Camero." His voice is terse from tension.
"License plate number?"
After sending several surreptitious glances over to the fountain to make sure the man isn't starting anything with Ed - thankfully they're still just talking - Envy cranes his neck to get a look at the back of the car. "BXC-449."
The policewoman expresses her gratitude using a tone of mingled joy and disbelief. "Thank you so much. What's your name? We'll have to mention it in the case report."
"No, you really don't. Just call it an anonymous tip." Breathless, he shuts his cell phone. They're standing now, and the customer has Edward by the elbow. This can't be allowed to continue. Swallowing, Envy strides out from the covering of the trees and clears his throat. "Excuse me."
Both of them turn, and Envy meets the man's gaze. It's acidic and yellow and his heart is pounding in his throat. He needs to get Ed out of this situation. Hell, he needs to get himself out of this situation, too.
"What do you want?" Edward asks, his gaze bewildered and verging on angry.
"You, honey," Envy replies, disentangling the pair's arms and placing his hands around Ed's waist. Then, to the customer, "He's mine tonight. Back off, bitch."
He can feel Edward tensing under his hands. The blonde is gripping his forearm, his nails gouging crescents into Envy's skin even through the fabric of his shirt. "What are you doing?" he hisses into Envy's ear, furious.
Envy ignores him, engaging in a staring match with the smirking man. Finally, he turns his piercing yellow gaze away, and winks at Ed. "I see you've got yourself a pretty persistent boyfriend," he says, and his voice sends shivers running up Envy's spine. "Call me Kimbley. I'll be back." He blows a kiss and turns to his car.
As the red vehicle speeds away, Envy lets out a deep breath in relief and hugs Ed tightly to him, feeling the blonde's taught muscles under his hands and breathing in the scent of warmth and cinnamon. "Thank God," he whispers into the long golden hair.
Edward is still - stunned - for a moment, and then, angrily, he twists out of Envy's grasp. "What the hell was that for?" he asks, practically yelling. His voice echoes eerily in the empty park. "You fucking bastard! You know how slow business has been lately!" He's panting, fists clenched, shouting, and Envy tenses, ready to block a strike he fears will be heading his way. "He was a fucking customer! Hell, he was the first fucking customer that showed up all night, and you fucking scared him away! What the fuck?" Breathing hard, he shoves Envy away from him with both hands.
The teenager stumbles backwards, nearly catching his heel on an upturned chunk of pavement and just barely saving himself from a nasty backwards fall. "Look, Ed," he says, raising his hands in a conciliatory manner. "I'll... I'll give you what that guy would have."
The blonde is still glaring daggers. "His name was Kimbley."
"O-Oh," Envy says, slightly taken aback and wondering why a crazed serial killer would have such an ordinary (more or less) sounding name. "Then, I'll pay you what Kimbley would have paid. But -" he raises a hand in a hasty effort to cut off Ed's protest "- not to have sex with me, or anything. Let's not even go back to the - the Devil's Nest." The tremor in his voice and the way his outstretched hand shakes a little make him realize exactly how frightened he really was. He takes a deep breath. "Come on. You want to see your brother, don't you?"
He begins to walk away, thrusting his hands into his pockets and stepping away from the fountain. When he doesn't hear Ed behind him, he turns. The blonde is still standing there, lips slightly parted. "Envy..."
"Yeah?" It's cold and the combination of his leftover tension and the low temperature are making him shiver where he's standing. He wants to get somewhere warm. Somewhere home.
"What..." Not wanting to raise his voice, Ed takes a few steps forward. "What the hell are you trying to pull, Envy?"
A shrug. "Nothing." Glancing back and deciding to risk it, he reaches out and grabs the blonde's fingers, wondering at their warmth. Ed hisses a little, probably because Envy's own fingers are freezing, like little blocks of ice. "Come on. Let's get back to Al."
The wheelchair-bound Alphonse doesn't know anything about Edward's night job, or if he does, he knows better than to bring it up. To all intents and purposes, he is under the impression that Edward works the late shift at a family-owned diner, and Envy is alternately his coworker and his classmate from school. (Their stories change, so maybe Alphonse thinks both. But Envy dropped out of school at least a year ago.)
At the moment Alphonse is wheeling around the small, cluttered kitchen, putting together a late dinner of instant noodles, with two extra packs because Ed eats a lot and they have company. Even though Envy protested, Al insisted on feeding him as well. The kid has got a heart of gold, Envy thinks, and he wonders what would happen if he knew where the money was coming from.
Ed's in the shower - he hears the rush of water through the thin plaster walls of the small, dilapidated apartment - and so Envy clicks on the TV. He grabs the remote, balanced precariously on top of a cushion, and begins to channel surf.
Cartoons: he's not really in the mood.
Soap operas: nothing like real life.
A crime drama: too disturbingly close to real life.
Eventually he settles on a news network, partially because it's the only serious show that isn't fake and doesn't give him the creeps, and partially because the backdrop behind the idiot of a news anchor is the park from which he and Edward just left.
"A strange new twist in the 'Crimson Killings' was revealed only a few minutes ago as the police took a mysterious man into custody. Although we cannot provide you with his name, this thirty-four year old is apparently a suspect in the devastating serial murders that have racked the East Area and are forcing many of its residents to live in fear."
Although he rolls his eyes at the dramatic nature of the anchor's statement, Envy can't help but agree with him. The killings had hindered all sorts of illegitimate business enterprises in the East Area, and the Devil's Nest hadn't been pulling in nearly as much profit this quarter. Which made it bad for Ed, and Envy, and Dante and Greed, and all sorts of other people Envy didn't want to think of at the moment.
Envy leans back against the couch (it's too cluttered to let him actually sit on it) and puts his feet up against the coffee table, so he's snug and safe in a sort of cramped, huddled way. The anchorman clears his throat and shuffles the papers on his desk, and the scene on the screen changes to blurred, shakycam footage of a police car speeding up to the station to discharge three officers holding a man between them.
One of the officers is the blonde chick Envy met at the park. He only recognizes her because her dark blue suit jacket and skirt contrast so greatly with the pale shirts and white pants of the actual police officers. She's talking into her cell phone, and he notices the way he turns her face so it won't be caught on camera. In contrast, the handcuffed man stares boldly at the video camera, and even with the crappy, pixilated footage, Envy can tell that his eyes are a sickening, acidic yellow. Kimbley, then.
The camera turns to follow the cops back into the police station and Envy watches as well, seeing Kimbley being hustled inside and the doors shut behind him. Well. That's that for that.
The anchorman seems to think the same thing, because when he is shown again he is wearing the self-satisfied media expression that Envy hates. "This mysterious man has been taken into questioning, and Police Chief Bradley is refusing to give any commentary on his suspected crime, other than that it is very serious and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved. We can only cross our fingers and hope that this is the real Crimson Killer, being brought to justice."
Even though he's sneering at the man, Envy still nods. They can only hope.
"In other news..." the anchor continues, and Envy hears the sound of Ed's shower stop. When the blonde steps out of the bathroom in a rush of steam with his dripping golden hair hanging down and wetting the shoulders of his t-shirt, the television is off. All he sees is Envy, knees scrunched up almost to his chest, gazing up at the ceiling with a pensive expression.
"What's up?" Ed asks, running a hand through his hair to try to get out some of the moisture while padding into the tiny living room. His feet are bare.
Envy lolls his head to the side, looking up at Edward with a dull expression. "What? No yelling?"
The blonde shrugs. "Hey, I trust you." (Envy tries to ignore the glow of pleasure that suffuses him at that simple statement.) "We've been through a lot together, right? And... I figure that you had your own reasons - however ridiculous they are - to do something like that."
"Yeah." Giving a crooked smile, Envy flicks a sidelong glance to the television, with its blank, fifteen-inch screen. "I had my own reasons."
Whatever questions Ed might have asked are forestalled by Al's cheery, "Dinner's ready!" from the kitchen. Envy stretches out his legs and reaches up a hand and Ed grabs it, hauling him up. Taking advantage of the small contact, Envy wraps an arm around him and holds him close for a second, giving him a small peck on the lips.
Although he blushes, Edward doesn't complain, so Envy knows it's all right.
And then, when he sits down to a chipped bowl full of noodles with the Elric brothers, and watches them smile at him and sometimes smiles back, Envy knows it's all right. In fact, it's more than all right.
When Ed finally clears off the couch and sits down, and Envy winds up next to him, so close that their thighs are touching, he knows why it feels all right.
Because it's almost like home.
So. Well. How's that? I keep having the feeling I could make so much more out of this little alternate universe than just a oneshot. But I refuse, so don't even bring it up. Please.
Anyway, I hope it was up to snuff and all. Reviews are appreciated, constructive criticism is adored as usual. I would love to hear from you!