EDIT OF THE FUTURE: Hold it right there, reader! This is Shocotate from 2017 speaking. Turn back now, I wrote this when I was 15. Please, go and read some of my other stuff instead.
Anyway so this is an origin story (so original…) even though the first chapter probably won't imply that (the flashback starts on chapter 3, but don't skip this part, you'll miss Mrs. Bradley in chapter 2!). So this starts just before Greed encounters Pride in chapter 74 (I think I've turned rather bitter since Brotherhood cut that scene…). Since I really wonder how Pride used to interact with the other homunculi or what he used to be like when it was just him and Father…
Well I've said too much… on with the fic before I spoil the whole plot!
But before I forget
FMA belongs to Hiromu Arakawa.
Oh and I'll be using the British English spelling of things
Chapter One: A Family formed from Sin
Acting was easy, after so long he was rather used to it, humans were easily manipulated: smile, pretend to read, drink tea, ask about Edward Elric, talk about impossible childish desires and ambitions, any number of these in succession would convince anyone he happened to meet that he was just the overly optimistic son of the Fuhrer and nothing more. Even before he had begun this game of house he was more than adept at imitating a child, to unassuming humans he would never be regarded as anything other than such, which often led him to unwittingly slip into his expected persona, it had become quite the habit.
Maybe that was why he enjoyed the times when he didn't need to act, the times when he could act his age and be treated as something other than a child. Such times were few and far between, finding a time when he wasn't being intellectually tortured by his tutor or stalked by numerous bodyguards was rather difficult, for the latter he opted to instead walk around briskly and aimlessly until he could no longer see them hiding behind walls in the corners of his eyes. After two years of it he could understand why Wrath often had to resort to climbing through windows or simply failing to turn up to escape his duties as the country's leader. Though he could see the resemblance in their situations he held no sympathy for his 'little brother'. Nameless pawns in uniforms were nothing compared to her, if anything Wrath had- by far- the easier task.
The tapping of shoes on concrete echoed throughout the tunnel, causing agitated growls from the chimaeras above, he ignored them, musing about her, he'd surely be scolded when he returned 'home', he was fully aware of what she was capable of, that was why Wrath had chosen her. While he disliked getting scolded (for obvious reasons) his face was calm, confident in the knowledge that once again his innocent appearance would exploit her maternal instincts, saving him from any real punishment, besides, he would never admit being cautious of a human.
The world's a big place; I don't think you understand that Selim…you mustn't run off like that, what if something where to happen to you? Well…I'd never forgive myself…
That's what she'd say. He smiled, reasoning that he perhaps liked getting 'scolded' from time to time, since it usually ended in her doting on him and making him promise never to 'run off' again. He'd undoubtedly break that promise, but that was part of her role as a mother, he considered himself the perfect child, he just had more important things to attend to, that was all. Having never had something to call a 'mother' before the eldest homunculus wondered whether their false relationship could survive if she ever found out the truth about her 'family', probably not, but then again, she never would, before that happened the promised day would arrive and then all of Father's plans would come to fruition- and that was all that mattered.
He glanced around, apparently Greed was patrolling around Father's lair, but he had seen no sign of the younger homunculus, he had always cared more about his own best interests than Father's. He could recall when Greed was born, the third if his memory wasn't deceiving him, after Lust and before Envy, embodying Father's own sense of avarice, lasting a mere hundred years before considering himself too restrained and promptly leaving. This 'new' Greed was proving himself to be at least tolerable from what little he'd seen of him, but he saw it as only a matter of time until he ended up betraying Father again. Of course, he was above such an ungrateful, selfish thing as running away from his creator.
A large door was now all that stood in front of him, he'd been musing for far too long, he forced a blink, he needed to look perfect for Father, couldn't be caught half asleep. He checked his new clothes for dust and his shoes for blood, an audience with Father deserved nothing but the best, which had been conveniently provided him by the Bradley family's tailor (not bad… for a human, he admitted), fitting clothes for a homunculus, matching the colour scheme of those of his 'siblings', a black suit with a crimson tie. He wasn't too fond of this custom attire, having become so used to wearing shorts, but such an occasion had called for it, to which he could excuse the mild discomfort the pants brought.
Somewhat satisfied, he slowly pushed open the door, shadowed hands tugging at the bottom of his pants' legs, others running sharp fingers through his hair- making last minute adjustments.
0 * 0 * 0
It seemed that all his preparations had been in vain as he gazed upon Father's slumped form, he sighed, his shadow twitching irritably
Father didn't sleep very often, but when he did he could sleep for several days, but the homunculus would never so much as think him lazy, Father was without such human emotions and habits, he was always preoccupied with something, he deserved a rest more than anyone else.
The homunculus heard faint echoing footsteps from behind, he ignored it, feeling rather disheartened, strange for him, he thought. After a moment he decided the noise to be marginally more important and he pushed the feeling aside.
"Well this is a rare sight; you almost never come by…Pride"
He tried to turn, but seemingly unable to, he could feel something else, something deeper than disappointment, he couldn't place it nor name it, but his first thought was that it was wrath- no, it couldn't be that, feeling that was impossible, he had left all emotions he didn't require with Father, who had in turn cast them aside. Wrath simply did not –could not- exist in him, there was no wrath, or lust, or envy, or gluttony, or sloth or-
"Greed." Pride quickly discarded the thought, turning to face the younger homunculus, slipping into his usual façade, though it wasn't required he decided to consider it 'humouring' his 'little brother' "please do not forget that I have to keep up appearances."
"I guess, so what's dad up to?"
"Heh, two rare things in one day." Greed paused, joining his older brother in observing their creator "Hey, Pride." Pride stared up with doe eyes, his voice still that which he used in the outside world
"What is it?" Greed leaned in closer, voice lowering to almost a whisper "What do you think dad's dreaming about?" Pride didn't answer, he knew that human based homunculus could dream, so it was no surprise that Greed did. The first homunculus was prone to the odd dream as well, but had never considered that Father could dream too, it perplexed him.
"Regular homunculi dream too don't they?" Pride dropped his act instantly
"Do not put us on the same level as Father, Father is…Father is…" he hissed, but quickly regained his composure; Father wouldn't be pleased if he woke to see his children fighting, even if it was Greed's fault.
"What? I didn't mean- Okay okay, fine, I know. Father's far superior. But ain't like Father's a human…so, he must be a homunculus, right…Big bro?" Pride remained silent, the innocent sparkle in his eyes gone, replaced with a soulless glare, he turned his back on his 'little brother', eyes sliding shut with a sigh.
"Well, I had best be returning to Wrath's wife, I pray that I don't accidentally tell Father of your remarks today the next time I come to visit…Greed." The malicious tone was no longer present, but the threat was clear, with a scowl Greed scoffed slightly, before turning to leave in the opposite direction
Back to patrolling then I guess…
0 * 0 * 0
Pride smiled to himself, strangely amused, he wasn't sure why, he hadn't spoken with Father, he'd 'quarrelled' with Greed, and he was currently walking to his imminent scolding, he had nothing to be pleased about. He stopped, opening his eyes wide; hoping to have changed them back to their usual ten-year old, vibrant, optimism filled, sprightly, innocent appearance. A quick glance of his reflection in the murky sewer water confirmed his assumptions somewhat, but he'd need to check again when he arrived upstairs.
Pride quickened his pace, if he was gone for too long she wouldn't hesitate to turn all of Central upside down to find him, he'd need to think of an excuse before he got back, she probably wouldn't give him time to explain himself, but he always wanted to have one should he need it.
The homunculus Pride looked all the world like a child, a large grin plastered to his youthful face, smart new clothes and perfectly combed hair securing his status. The Fuhrer's son and nothing more. The image of a flawless child. The distorted shadows around him dared to defy such an image, but even they were disposed of with a simple thought, his smile widened further, he knew what he'd been doing…
Selim Bradley was merely returning to his mother, he had wandered off by mistake and had lost track of time, the boy would tearfully apologise to his mother, and she would make him promise to not run away again, she'd smile and comfort him, make him tea and tell him stories to cheer him up, at least till father came home, when and if he did.
Acting certainly was the easiest of tasks.
A/N: Mrs. Bradley must've had a pretty fiery temper for her to get away with slapping Wrath…No wonder Wrath chose her then.
Sorry about Pride taking Greed's line the wrong way, since I wrote it and upon rereading the line took it wrong myself, giving birth to Pride's outburst ^_^'
Reviews appreciated, I'll try to update more regularly on this one.