Title: Apples
Beta: Unbeta'd
Summary: Mangaverse; drabbly. Ed, apples, and his red coat.
Warnings: Language, minor spoilers for Chapter 85, and biblical angst (I kid you not, run away if this is not your thing). Otherwise, read with care.

People liked to ask him questions. Questions about his arm, questions about his leg, questions about his fucking eye color ("What's wrong with my eyes?" in a low bristling voice), and questions about his height like there was something wrong with him, like they weren't the long-legged freaks of nature, the fuckers.

And questions, always questions, about his coat.

"Hey, boss, I've been meaning to ask you. What's up with your coat?" from Havoc one day as he was driving them back from the library.

And, of course, the colonel, in that snide, offhand way of his that made Ed want to shove an automail fist right into his smug, smirking face. "Fullmetal, perhaps it's time you changed your wardrobe? If you must insist on avoiding the uniform, at least pick a less noticeable shade and possibly a better-fitting piece of clothing." (And then Ed had exploded into a rant, because of course Colonel Shit was making a comment about his height again, the bastard).

Even Al, when Ed'd first picked the coat up in the nearest town and transmuted the flamel symbol onto the cloth. "Brother . . ." he'd said in that long-suffering, tinny voice of his.

And now, this – Greed eying him with a frown and a raised eyebrow as Ed snatched up the new jacket. "What's with you and red?" he asked.

Asked it like it was something Ed had chosen on a whim, and he wanted to gnash his teeth together and snarl, because, dammit, he didn't wear red because he liked the color (which he did, it really was a badass color and it did get his blood boiling, but that was beside the point). He wore red because it was his reminder, his burden, his sin.

Red, the color of blood and gore staining the floor, seeping past bandages and drying on the inside of a hollow suit of armor. The color of the sunset and lost hope – the color of sin.

It'd hit him after the surgery, during his rehabilitation. He'd picked up a book about long-dead religions to deal with the pain. Dead tired, but the lances shooting up his nerve endings were keeping him wide awake and gritting his teeth in agony, so why not? Grab the most boring book you can find and try to lull yourself to sleep, and what was more useless or boring than ancient religions that nobody believed in anymore?

Except there'd been that one legend that'd stuck with him. About how all of humanity sprang from a couple named Adam and Eve, both created by God and stuck in the Garden of Eden. (And of course, it'd always disgusted him to know that God created Eve out of Adam's rib? Ew, seriously, who thought up these stories?) A few days later, and God kicked them out for eating an apple off the Tree of Knowledge.

Dumbass myth, but he'd dreamt about apples soaked in blood that night, handed to him by the Truth in exchange for his ribcage. And then he'd taken a bite out of them and tainted himself forever.

And after that nightmare, it'd never escaped his mind, always lurked somewhere in the background. Red equated with blood equated with sin. It was only after he started reading up on the Philosopher's Stone that it became equated with the sunrise and hope too.

So . . . red – a gaudy, garish red. None of that washed-out, half-assed pinkish-red. He liked it solid and real, brash and tasteless, because this was who he was. A cloak of blood-red sin hanging over his shoulders, almost dragging to the ground, because it reminded him of his past and his failures – because it reminded him of his future and his dreams.