Topazia: Hi, how you? I posted this story like....forever ago. (I've taken it down now.) It was fun writing it but after a while I completely forgot what I wanted to do with it. That and I have short attention span. I'm not afraid of admitting that XD It's been ages but I've just recently remembered how I wanted this story to flow. The original Roxanne story has been taken down and I'm going through and rewriting it for fun (and for those that love this fic almost as much as I do).
Disclaimer: Ed does not belong to me. He belongs to Roy....there I said it. Enjoy
Chapter 1: The whore
Alchemists are supposed to be for the people. It's one of the first things they teach you in the academy. We are soldiers for the people. They also teach you that to obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That one simple phrase is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange. Sounds easy right? It's not a overly complicated concept. Do not expect to gain something from nothing, and do not expect nothing to gain you something. That's how it was explained in training anyway. When you think of things in this way, the entire world follows this flow. If you give water to dry earth, vegetation will grow. The death of one thing can give life to another. It's all one big never ending circle.
As time moved on and I found myself in the real world, this principal didn't seem to exist anymore. I've seen enough death to last me a lifetime and not enough new life to ease the pain. Destruction was slowly becoming a everyday thing. And soon no one so much as batted a eyelash. Wars were necessary, there were for lack of a better term; for the greater good. When King Bradley stepped up to the plate he used this excuse to his full potential. The result was slow, but devastating; like a well made poison.
Ironically, after graduating from the military academy, I was given a job as a recruiter. Apparently our numbers were still short after one of the older border conflicts. That job didn't last long however. The Fuhrer signed a bill that allowed the military to use their state Alchemists as living weapons. The news came as a shock for all of us; though some took to the news better than others. We were mobilized, and sent out into the desert. It was on this day that we crossed that thin line. We were no longer Alchemists for the people; we were murderers.
The Ishbal war came to a bloody end as the sun begin to set sometime in July. The sky had already started to darken with the coming night, making the heavens above seem just as bloody as the ground below. A hazy fog had settled amongst the sleepy town of Ishbal, casting gloomy shadows over the battlefield. So many souls were lost and so many would remain trapped here forever. Gunfire echoed in the distance, the sound carried itself on the soft winds. Ratta-tat-tat-tat. The last body of the uprising fell to meet the dust. Cheers erupted from Central's army at their so-called victory. We had won. It was over. We were heroes; warriors of justice to the cause. If this was true and the fight was for a good cause, why did I feel like I helped create a holocaust? Nothing good could possibly come from something like this. It never did.
No mercy. Bodies of whole families lay littered on the ground like blood red decorations of death. Their faces were frozen into silent screams so horrible, it was a image I'd see in dreams for the rest of my cursed existence. Those were the lucky victims. Occasionally, when a soldier got too out of hand, the bodies were covered with so many holes they could only be described as meat. There were no faces to mourn over, only a overabundance of blood, flesh, and things I'd rather not describe. Adrenaline could be a bitch sometimes. So many people had died and most of them for simply stepping from the comforts of their own homes at the wrong time. Of course this wouldn't have mattered much anyway. Those who took refuge in their homes were slaughtered just like those fighting in the streets.
I've seen the soldiers do it. They'd quickly surround a house, weapons raised and ready before kicking the door down. Screams from the family within would waft from inside, leaking out into the city streets like a symphony of death. Occasionally a mad struggle followed when the soldier's prey tried to run. The solider would shoulder their rifle and aim for their target. Soon after, the anticipated shot echoed out into the air followed by an eerie stillness. It was a sound that seemed to send chills down the spine; cold chills that penetrated down to the bone. There were times when I truly believed nothing would ever make me warm again. Maybe in some way, we all felt this way. Sections of Ishbal seemed to glow as fires spread across the once peaceful city. The insides of people's houses slowly became engulfed in flames, often times with screaming inhabitants still in them. Childlike hand prints were forever encased on smoky window glass, their owner long since passed. In an instant, just like that the very homes that had brought them so much comfort over the years had became their graves. Gunshots, explosions, and screams slowly became constant haunting music that tortured the minds of all present. I've heard enough of it to last me the rest of this life and the next.
But it was over now. Supplies were packed up and prisoners were taken in for execution, which simply didn't make much sense, why not kill the poor souls now? All of their earthly possessions now lay in ruins back in Ishbal. We had won the war and now we would parade the evil Ishbalans through the streets for all to see. But perhaps a quick execution would have been more merciful, after all, what else was there? We were given direct orders to return to Central immediately and we did, like obedient dogs returning home with master from the hunt. The entire process was a blur to me. I don't remember cleaning up the camps, or boarding the train. Through the windows, everything looked the same as the world blurred by. If I slept I don't remember closing my eyes, and luckily there were no dreams. So this is what being dead tired truly feels like.
"Ah, nothing like home, eh Roy?" Maes grinned at me, taking a whiff of the night air as we unloaded the trains at Central station a few days later. It felt as if I hadn't been back in ages. You know that feeling you get in your chest when you visit some place new and exciting? It's the best way I could describe it. Stepping off the train, I felt happy. Ironically enough I hadn't really expected to come back to the old station. Just that thought alone made me glad to see it. There was a welcoming committee of soldiers waiting for us. They went to the train and started retrieving the luggage. We were told on the train that our bags would be delivered to us. First they would be inspected to make sure we hadn't brought home any dangerous bacteria. How nice.
"If that's the case we left home back on the battlefield. Before the stench of death, fire, and gun smoke their air smelled just like ours." I replied smugly with a shrug. Which was true, I had only been to Ishbal once before the battle had started. There was something pure about the place. Sweet smoke emitted from chimneys, signaling children to come in for dinner, the smell of wild flowers tickled the senses as the breeze carried the desert flower petals by. Life for them seemed to be frozen in a simpler time; a time period that we at one point or another seemed to have lost with industrialization, and steadily growing popularity of alchemy.
Hughes chuckled at the remark, draping an arm over my shoulders in a friendly gesture. Of course he paid me no mind; I had been making rude comments similar to this ever since we boarded the train for home. We wouldn't have made it as friends if he took everything I said personally. The war had left a lot of us scarred emotionally, at least those with souls. Not everyone found it hard to pull triggers during the war.
We waved to those we knew and left, starting a journey down the quiet streets. The night was still young and full of potential. Unfortunately, the only thing remotely appealing at the moment seemed to be my bed. Before long the tricky bastard lured me into conversation and had offered to buy me a drink. "There's a new place a lot of the boys had wanted to hit once we had returned home. It's called Angelic Perfection. It's supposed to have the best looking women on this side of the country." He stated, his lips already curving into a trademark grin.
Even I had to grin at that one. Shapely females prancing around in tightly clad outfits catering to your every need. Hell, the place sounded like heaven! Who in their right mind would turn down heaven after being sentenced to hell? There was just one problem with the equation. "So you're taking me to a whore house?" I asked. As my smile faded my sarcasm seemed to grow. It wasn't exactly something I approved of. True, natural male instinct and my own pure personality couldn't resist women. But all my female associates had decent occupations. Selling yourself for money was despicable. Surely there were other things you could do.
"No, no no; it's nothing like that! Come on, live a little!" Hughes chirped, slapping me on the back. "Take the stick out for just this time! Go because I'm asking you to go. You don't have to buy a lady if you don't want to." Eventually I nodded; something told me I didn't want to be alone with my own thoughts at the moment. A drink would most likely do me some good. The fact that Hughes was buying was a added plus. I'd get a few drinks, enough for a comfortable buzz, make it home, and then stumble into bed.
The small conversation continued until we reached the edge of town. A large three story Victorian house loomed ahead and we stared in awe at the architecture. From the outside there was no telling how many rooms the place could hold. It was painted a delicate white with light blue shutters. Warm light peaked out at us from behind heavily curtained windows and the sweet smell of burning candles and incense seemed to tease our senses as the wind carried it by. This form of entertainment was fairly new. The higher ups had only recently allowed the business to be created. It was still shunned by the majority of society so to avoid conflict the establishment was allowed to set up just outside the city.
With a shrug I ascended the stairs first with Hughes close behind. The steps lead up to a large porch, fenced in by professionally carved woodwork. From the outside it looked like a normal house. Who knows what we'd find once inside? The large oak doors were suddenly opened and two lovely ladies ushered us in, both wearing what appeared to be a mock form of business suits. The outfit consisted of form fitting shorts, a white undershirt, the suit's jacket and a black tie.
"Welcome To Angelic Perfection." They smiled, leading us both into what could be considered the living room I guess. We were led to a spacious sitting area. Plush couches lined the walls. In the center there was a coffee table with a few magazines on it. "Contact will not be made in this room. Free roam of the house is given to all guests and workers but play is to be preferably taken into the back rooms." The one on the left instructed handing us a fresh magazine.
"Orders will be taken at the counter." The one on the right directed us to a small desk were a young woman sat, tending to a few guests. "Enjoy your stay." With a soft bow, both women left us alone. It happened so fast, my head felt like it was spinning. Did they do that to everyone?
"How creative." I muttered flipping through the magazines; of course it contained the pictures of the 'workers'. With a sigh I tossed the booklet on the table and leaned back into the chair while Maes flipped through his. My eyes scanned the place out of plain curiosity. Despite it being what it was, the place had been made to look like a normal house. There were gold framed pictures dotted here and there on the walls. Every now and then you'd see a potted plant, flowers or decorations that gave the place a homey feel to it. Women walked around in various outfits accompanied by men and perhaps other employees, engrossed in casual conversation.
There were a few other men in the living room with us, thumbing through the books deep in thought. With a sigh I rolled my eyes to the ceiling. How pathetic, since when did picking a whore become a life changing decision? Oh well, can't say that nothing in particular caught my eye in the time that I had been sitting there. Yes, the women were very beautiful, gorgeous even. This place had all my favorite colors: blond, redhead, and much more. Despite the display my eyes traveled elsewhere, finally settling on a lone figure at the bar; a young boy. Out of all of the place's inhabitants this particular stood out for more reasons than I could count.
The young man was a blond, his hair had been tied into a thick braid that rested peacefully on his back. His pale face was covered by long graceful bangs that fell about his face like a veil. The only thing of his face that could be seen was his mouth and nose. His lips were slightly parted, moving slowly as if speaking in a dreamy haze; although no sound escaped them.
His body was curved and hunched over the bar table and the only movement that came from this still form was the occasional gentle stroking of the glass drink he held within slender fingers. Occasionally his head would lift to partake in small conversation, causing the wistful bangs to fall backwards from his face, revealing a set of dull golden eyes. They were the eyes of a person that had seen better days just like mines. Clad in only leather pants and a black undershirt the boy practically screamed perfection.
"You said something?" Hughes asked pushing his glasses further up on his nose. It was an old habit of his that usually meant he had learn or found something of interest. He never once looked up at me but kept his face buried in the magazine instead. At least he seemed to be enjoying himself. But then there was no situation that Hughes couldn't make comfortable. It was like his natural talent to be able to hold off the apocalypse with a reassuring smile.
"No, nothing." Came my reply.
"I think I'll pick this one if she's available." He grinned tapping the paper with his finger. "Gracia." I leaned in carefully, my eyes falling upon the figure he pointed to. She was a pretty woman with a soft smile and warm eyes. Her light brown hair shaped her face in a short bob that gave her a gentle and almost serene look. There were a thousand other places I could see her working and none of them even remotely resembled this place.
"She doesn't look like the type to work here." I muttered. "What made her work here." She had the look of a gentle teacher or something similar, a soft spoken nurse perhaps.
"That's what I want to know." Maes said slowly getting to his feet. He fumbled around in his pockets and handed me a wad of cash. "For the drink I promised and anything else you see. I'm going to the front desk." With a mock salute and a grin he turned and left me by myself. I couldn't help but watch with a stupid grin on my face as he paid for his lady. After a moment his chosen woman appeared to escort him away. What an idiot. Oh well, at least he was a happy idiot.
Of course after I had gotten my drinks I'd most likely leave and Hughes knew that. Whorehouses were uncomfortable places for me, as you must know by now I don't exactly like them. After he had disappeared my attention slowly moved back to the bar where the boy still sat. After a moment I got up and made my way in his direction. My sense of Civil duty just wouldn't let it rest. All parts of my mind screamed: this is no place for a child. Ignoring the counter all together, I made my way to the bar and took a seat beside him. Up close he seemed even younger, frailer somehow.
He appeared to be the quiet type, he never faltered even once since I sat down. In fact, he treated me like a piece of the scenery. I spoke first, curiosity nipping at me. "What's a kid doing in a place like this? Shouldn't you be at home?" There were so many children that had been displaced by our war. Kids that would grow old to hate everything that our military stood for and I didn't blame them. So why was this one here of all places instead of with the family that cared for him? Did he not have anyone waiting at home? There was an uncomfortable silence and for a moment I wondered if he even heard me.
The boy's grip tightened around his glass and he slowly raised his head to meet my gaze. His stare was vacant. They were cold and icy, leaving his face blank with the slightest traces of anger. "I'm no kid." He said softly. "I'm 20 and I can take care of myself without the help of you so called adults."
My eyes rolled towards the ceiling and I sighed. If I had 5 dollars for every kid that gave me a false age I'd be richer than the fuhrer by now. "You're still a minor kid." I made sure to put emphasis on the last word. "There's no way I'd believe you to be anything over twelve. By order of the law, you have to be eighteen to enter this place." Places like this no matter how sleazy they were generally didn't cater to teens, much less hire them. I think there was a law against it, or perhaps the other owners of these places still had some type of decency. Besides, no parent in their right mind would let their own child come to a place like this. It's not exactly the best place to absorb knowledge. To let complete strangers defile your body with their eyes for a profit just seemed plain wrong to me.
"You have no right to tell me what to do, stay out of my business." He muttered, returning his gaze once again towards his cup. "So, if you're not going to make a purchase. I'm going to kindly ask you return back to the waiting room or leave." I stared at him for a moment, failing horribly to keep the surprise off my face. So he did work here. Oh dear sweet merciful heavens was there no god?
It had to have been pure curiosity that made me dig into my pockets for the money Hughes left me and a bit of my own. Maybe it was his vacant stare, or his slumped posture that did it. Either way there was something that seemed to draw me to this kid. Perhaps pity or maybe I saw a bit of myself in him, maybe that's what made me do it. I sat the money on the counter and waited.
Without looking the blond snatched the money and pocketed it before downing the last bit of his drink. Stretching like a cat fresh out of sleep he rose from his seat and grabbed me by the hand. Together we passed the counter; he waved at the woman behind the desk and continued on further into the house. He took me through thickly furnished hallways and crowded rooms towards the back of the house were there bedrooms apparently were. We stopped a few times. He'd approach a door and tap on it lightly until a reply came back. Many of the rooms seemed to be full. He tapped again on yet another door and waited, when there was no reply he smiled. "Come on."
It was a small room and yet well furnished with a cozy bed and an attractive cherry wood nightstand. A small lamp on the stand illuminated the room in warm light. Along the walls there a few tall candle stands, the flames flickered cheerfully, making shadows dance around the room. Pictures of landscapes and other knickknacks decorated the forest green walls. To top it off the very same curtains that hid the house's interior from the outside were drawn closed. Nothing would be seen unless the room's inhabitants wished it. "Aren't those candles a fire hazard?" I asked.
He closed and locked the door, leaning against the dark oak with his hands in his pockets. "We're all adults here, right? Even a child knows not to play with fire, you'll get burned." His lips curled up into a smug smirk. "Or do I have to teach you?"
I'm pretty sure the look on my face wasn't very friendly; in fact, I made sure it wasn't but he never flinched. "No that's alright." He was either very calm or very arrogant, my guess was both.
"We're here so how do you want me," he stated dully with a shrug, "on my back or perhaps my hands and knees?" It was like a switch had been turned and standing before me was a completely different person. He stood a bit straighter but his posture was still relaxed, like he had all the time in the world. His eyes had suddenly come to life and the look deep within them gave me pause. I suddenly felt cornered by the gaze, it was uncomfortable. He stared at me intently; like he had found the world's richest chocolate and now it was just a matter of what to do with it. He took a deliberate step forward, putting a soft sway in his hips as he moved. I stepped to the side. He continued on, flashing me a smile before falling backwards on the bed.
He bounced for a moment before propping himself up on his elbows. Lying there like that, he looked like something you'd put on display. "You're serious?" I asked, unable to keep the surprise from my voice. As inviting as the invitation was, I preferred to sleep with someone on their own accord, not because I slipped them a wad of money. It was the one thing that seemed to make the whole situation just wrong. Well, that and the fact that this was indeed a child no matter what age he gave me.
"Well, you did pay me, so why not get your money's worth?" he replied evenly, his head tilted with curiosity. His eyelashes had lowered like a curtain over his eyes but that didn't exactly hide his expression. He looked like I had said something strange. The look clearly said: of course you'd sleep with me, you gave me money. "After all, I work here just like everybody else." Just like everyone else, huh?
"True, but why work here?"
His movements were fluid as he slid off the bed and sauntered back over to me. I was started to get that caged feeling again. I was in the military. I was the big bad killer and yet looking into his eyes it was obvious the roles had changed. This was his court now, his place of business, and his profession. He'd hunt me and do it well. There was only one way out, my feet walked me backwards until my back hit the door. There was a moment where he smiled, a triumphant smile, before he forced his small frame against mines. My chest ached and in that moment I realized I had been holding my breath. It released in a long, shuddering sigh. Everything seemed to loosen then. Why was I so nervous? He slowly wormed his way under my jacket. Careful fingers expertly worked the shirt from out of my pants and was rewarded with skin. "I work here for the same reason you went Ishbal." He whispered, tilting his head up to nibble at my collarbone.
That's right, Ishbal. That town of ruin would never be the same and maybe I wouldn't be either. I still felt shaky and every now and then my mind would revert back to scenes of death. This boy matched the height and size of some of the bodies left behind in the city. Damned why'd I have to think of that now?
"How'd you know that?" My voice came out as a soft hiss that seemed foreign to my ears. His soft touches and uncomfortable closeness was beginning to become painfully clear as the blood began to rush to intimate areas. He had the hands of a professional, a person who had been in this line of work for years. The very thought caused a soft pain of pity to form in my chest. I felt sorry for this kid. No one his age should have to be here.
"I guess you didn't notice, but your hands shook when I led you here, like you've seen something horrible." He muttered onto my skin. "There is a noticeable amount of calluses too. From handling equipment I take it. The skin under your clothes is covered with fresh scars." He traced a finger along one, resulting in a small shudder from me. "That and you still smell like gun smoke, just a little."
"Oh." He slid my jacket off and let it fall to the floor. All of my moral alarms were blaring at full blast. This was wrong, oh so wrong. I came here to discourage him from doing this. His fingers wound their way into my scalp, rubbing in soft soothing circles the made my eyes flutter. This kid was like a drug, an addictive drug that would slowly consume me whole. Each touch sent waves of sinful pleasure throughout my very being. I wanted him to stop but every sign of protest was rewarded with his hands tracing over my torso. Ironically he never once moved down to my waist. What a relief. I don't think I could take him pawing me there. My comfort level was already shot to shit.
That one thought brought me crashing down from cloud nine. That was right, he brought me here for sex. I couldn't stay here any longer. Each second wasted in his arms prompted me to action I seriously didn't want to take. He had a soft loving touch that seemed to draw me into a magnificent web of peaceful bliss and I was slowly becoming lost in it. Oh god, when was the last time someone touched me like this? His caresses were more comforting than sexual, although my body responded to both energies. When did I become so attention deprived?
It took two tries to steady my voice. When sound finally escaped my lips, it was just above a whisper. "No, don't."
"Why not?" he asked.
"I don't want to."
The boy tugged me off the wall, leading me towards the other side of the room. He smiled and gently pushed me onto the soft mattress of the bed. It was the last place I had wanted to go, but it seemed that all rationality in my brain had shut down. I didn't want to leave, but then I didn't know what I wanted either. "Please," he purred softly, resting his head on my chest like a content cat, "stay with me?" His pale and slender fingers gently stroked at the skin beneath my shirt. It was almost as if the scars fascinated him somehow.
On a normal day hearing this from a complete stranger would have made me very uneasy, but this kid was different. As I said a few paragraphs earlier I felt for him. He seemed like the type who was easy to pity and desperately needed it. Maybe that's what attracted me to the kid like a moth to a flame. I needed something to take of. My heart had probably had enough of ending lives; maybe it was time to save one. "I can't." I responded after a moment of silence. "I just can't." He blinked at me slowly. It wasn't a matter of him being confused anymore. At this point it was safe to say that we genuinely puzzled each other. It was easy to understand why. What type of a person goes to a whore house just to talk? The numbers were rare and few, if there were numbers at all.
"You keep saying that but you having left yet." He stated softly. "Why don't you just relax and let me do my job?" His eyes slowly traveled over to one of the pictures on the wall and remained there for quite some time as if transfixed by it. The only movement that came from him was a soft clawing as he hands clenched and unclenched around my shirt. Was he frustrated or just as nervous as me?
"Why should I?"
"Because," he whispered his head tilted slightly, causing the silky blond locks to veil his face again. "You're the first one to treat me like a person." It took a while for his words to sink in but when they did, they hit home. Working in a place like this you never really was considered a person. You were merchandise that was quickly sold off to the highest bidder. He stared up at me and his eyes had lost the confident glow they had started with. A deep emptiness and heavy knowledge was all that remained. We stayed that way until the minuets seemed to stretch onto eternity. Those eyes, that gaze; I'd lose my very soul to them.
"I've got to go." I said finally, gently pushing him to the side and sitting up. Child or not he was still a whore and one of the things I despised the most. The original plan had been to reason with him. Maybe after a talk he'd change his profession, but that didn't seem likely at this moment. "You can keep the money, I don't need it." It is said that curiosity killed the cat. I followed this kitten out of curiosity and look where it landed me. If I continued to lay there with him, who knows what would happened.
I tucked my shirt back into my pants and straightened my clothes and hair in the room's mirror. When everything was back in place I sighed. Some tedious habits never die hard.
His head lowered again and he nodded slowly, his eyes never raising to meet mines. Another pause settled between us and I stood there, watching him. "Thank you." he muttered after a while. 'You treat me like a person.' He had said. Who knows what others do to him. "I shouldn't have said that. It made you uncomfortable and-"
"Don't worry about it. I never came back here to sleep with you. I just wanted to talk." There I said it, the night was looking up. "Why are you working here?"
He never answered. His face had shut down, leaving him blank. It was time to go. After all, there was no reason for me to remain here any longer. He didn't want to talk and I couldn't make him. My feet carried me to the door. I picked up my jacket and draped it over my arm. "My name." That small sound stopped me. It was quiet and if I hadn't paused, surely I would have missed it. "My name, I never mentioned it to you did I? Ed, Edward Elric." He was staring again; I could feel him burning holes into my back. Taking a final glance back at the motionless figure on the bed I left. The name repeated itself in my head like a broken record.
Topazia: It's been forever since I've logged in. So much seems to have changed. It might be fun to poke around... I've started picking apart the other chapters as well. Chapter two should be up sometime in January. I noticed that it's easier for me to post chapters if I upload and edit them on the site. Then I like, have to post it right? lol shame on me.
This first chapter has only minor changes. I think the biggest difference is the fact that I didn't mention Ed's Automail. During their first meeting Ed still has his arm. I'll explain why in a few chapters. The automail leg is still there though. The second difference won't seem as big now. Roy actually meets with Ed to talk to him about his 'profession.' This was added because I felt their original meeting was too rushed and random (if that makes sense). This part will actually help develop a back story for Roy later. Also, once I got a review, stating that Angelic Perfection was more like a Geisha house. I know. Roy's just narrow minded. :3 Also, AP is one of those new businesses that isn't largely approved of yet. I'm hoping these changes in each chapter will bring about a better story. We'll see.
When writing a story, what keeps you from straying from it? I'm quick to stray from a idea, so if anyone has a few tips... :3
Also, my friends have talked me into blogging. Bleh, I NEVER blog. lol I mainly use mines for writing practice. If I could actually finish this fanfic, perhaps I could finish a book of my own? I won't be a lazy co-author forever! lol... I'll post the link for it on my author page. If any of the writing prompts (or anything else you see) I use helps you let me know.