A/N: Chapter 3 is up! -meanwhile is not doing any commissions OTL-
Regular = narrative/dialogue
"Italics" = thoughts/emphasis/actions
"Bolded" = writing
oOo = POV change
OTHER: No idea where I'm going with the Selim-Pride connection, but I needed to give a reason for Pride not to kill Selim D: Well, they're technically the same person, so if Selim can't regenerate than… ahh, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'LL TRY TO MAKE IT WORK LOLOLOL
YES, ROY IS THE TEACHER! Um. Uh. He doesn't know who Pride is because… it's the anime Roy? -totally bullshitted at this point- ORZ Well, anime and manga Roy both act roughly the same anyways…? :D;; -shot- His reference to Sex-Ed was shamelessly ripped off from the omake!
At this point, Truth doesn't want to acknowledge my existence anymore D:
How to Survive a Month with Pride
Day 2 - Wednesday
TIP 3 - Offering to share lemon-flavored ice pops with Pride does not increase your chances of survival. Writing informative essays about him also does not increase your chances of survival.
"What is this supposed to be? A fashion statement?"
Pride looked down at his clothing in disgust. He was in the nurses' office, wearing a blue, papery hospital gown - his normal clothes were folded nicely next to his pillow. He pinched at the gown; it creased. He would never understand why humans, foolish as they are, would dress ill patients in paper-thin dresses that provided no heat or comfort whatsoever. (They did, however, make decent paper airplanes.)
Pride sighed and slumped back underneath his sheets. His pathetic clothing wasn't his main concern at the moment, even though they were bothersome… somehow, he had failed to kill the strange copy of himself the other day. But even stranger….
He touched his cheek; it stung, and a small ridge met his fingers. It was still there.
Annoyed, Pride marched to the bathroom next to the nurses' office for the fifth time that morning. He slammed the door shut and turned on the lights, then pressed his face into the mirror.
There was a cut on his cheek. He poked at it and tried to regenerate his injured container, but it wouldn't heal. In fact….
"It sure looks like the cut that you gave Selim Bradley yesterday, doesn't it?" he heard Kimblee note in his mind.
"Be quiet." But Pride was thinking the same thing.
Selim straightened his tie anxiously. He was waiting in the hallway in front of Room 1, where he would be taking Language Arts… but in truth, he was dreading class. It wasn't only because he was afraid of meeting Pride again (although that was the first and foremost of his worries), but also because he was unsure of how private school classes with other students would be held out. He suddenly imagined the teacher and Pride throwing fruit at him and laughing at him - it didn't make him feel much better.
"You know, you can come in now," said a voice from inside the room. Selim jumped about a mile into the air before he poked his head inside and realized that the teacher was already in class.
"O-oh! Yes, sorry…." He walked quickly into the room and sat down in the first chair available. The teacher, who was a tall man with dark hair and a blue uniform, got up to the front and started writing on the board. Selim set his books down and stared at his desk.
Something was poking his shoulder from behind. Selim turned around.
Pride was sitting in the seat behind him.
Selim slowly turned his head back, trembling.
"Alright, class," the teacher boomed, slamming his fist on the chalkboard. Selim snapped his eyes forward. "My name is Mr. Mustang, but I'm not that old yet, so you will call me Roy the Awesomely Amazing Flame Alchemist! Now, I will be your Language Arts teacher for the month. There will be no dilly-dallying in this class, and the both of you will be expected to list to all of my orders without question. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," they chorused. Selim thought he recognized the name 'Mustang' somewhere… maybe it was someone his father knew?
"Good!" said Roy-the-Awesomely-Amazing-Flame-Alchemist. "Now, everybody take out your Sex-Ed textbooks!"
Nobody said anything. The distant sound of crickets chirping could be heard.
"But… but I didn't bring my Sex-Ed textbook today, sir," Selim stuttered.
"Me neither! What's Sex-Ed?" asked Pride in an unusually cheerful tone. It didn't sound cold or metallic like the voice Selim heard him use yesterday.
"What? What do you kids do for entertainment, then?" Roy-the-Awesomely-Amazing-Flame-Alchemist cried. When nobody answered, he sighed. "Fine, fine. I wrote some group-activity writing instructions on the board for you two. Meanwhile…."
The teacher looked around, then plunked down on his rolling chair, propped his legs on his desk, and began chatting with people on the telephone. Selim stared at him for a while.
"Do your work," Roy ordered in between his conversation with a girl named Elizabeth.
Selim, wondering if this was normal teacher behavior, nonetheless obliged and read the board. There were instructions for a group assignment:
1. Pick a partner in the room.
2. Use ten minutes to describe your lives to each other.
3. After you're done, write an essay about your partner (their lives, hobbies, etc.).
4. Exchange essays and write feedback to your partner's essay.
5. Nothing will be collected.
Pick a partner… Selim gulped. That… might be a problem.
His scratch did look exactly his own. Pride glared at the Selim-copy; did that mean they were connected somehow? There was no other explanation….
But on the other hand, the cut was sort of shaped like a… mushroom. Pride decided that it looked stupid and resolved to never make such a stupid-shaped scratch ever again.
"I guess… I guess we're partners," said Selim with downcast eyes.
"Right," Pride sighed disdainfully. He ripped a piece of loose-leaf paper from his notebook and took out a pencil. Selim copied him - just like a child.
"So, um… what are some of your hobbies?" Selim asked, looking at the board.
Pride considered the question. Well… since the paper wasn't going to be collected, and Selim already knew what he was, what was the point of pretending to be a normal kid?
"My hobbies include killing humans, eating humans, justifying how humans are foolish and pathetic…" he listed off, counting on his fingers. Selim gazed at him in horror. "…and… acting has it's merits, I suppose."
"O-oh… acting…." Selim started taking clumsy notes, to Pride's general amusement. "Well, my hobbies are reading and collecting acorns… do you collect anything?" he asked Pride.
Selim ducked his head and began writing. Pride didn't take any notes, confident that he could remember the simple quirks of a ten-year-old boy. "I mean, who collects acorns?"
"Uhm. Do you have any siblings?" Selim asked.
"Oh. Them," Pride said scornfully. "I have six siblings - I'm the oldest and most powerful, mind you - but Father found it necessary bring them to life. My one sister, Lust… she's not that bad, but she used to tote around Gluttony - he was an idiot, always dying and bothering Father all the time; well, I ate him. Envy, my fourth brother… sister… thing, was a real annoying brat… and every time he'd steal Lust's shampoo, he'd hide it in my room and run crying to Father whenever I threatened to kill him. Sloth mostly does nothing all day, a real waste of space, and Greed…" Pride stopped momentarily and glowered, "…is officially disowned. Oh, and my youngest brother Wrath pretends to be my step-father, but he's not that bad either."
The room went silent. Even Roy Mustang stopped talking for a second in surprise.
"You… you have an interesting family, Pride," said Selim finally.
"That's one way to put it," Kimblee nodded.
Several minutes later….
It took much longer than what Selim had expected to finish the question-and-answering part of the assignment - mostly because every time Pride made a comment, he had to recover from the shock - but in the end, he had finished a rather decent essay. Pride had a much more interesting life than he did… although he didn't know if that was a good thing. Here was his complete composition:
Pride is 369 years old. He was created by Father, who he says is too great to talk about with a human, but he lives with his step-mother Mrs. Bradley and his younger brother Wrath, who pretends to be his step-father. He has six siblings but he ate one of them and another one is disowned from the family. Pride can speak many languages and he also knows Moors code. His eyes can change color and they glow red in the dark, like glow sticks. He hates humans and a lot of other things. He likes acting and plus he collects souls. I think Pride is smart. He told me to take a hike but I am not good at hiking.
Selim put his pen down and smoothed out his essay.
"Are you done with your paper?" he asked Pride, whose head was down on his desk.
"I've been done an hour ago," Pride answered irritably, lifting his head. He failed to suppress yawn, to which Selim giggled at, but then Pride shot him a glare that shut him up immediately. "Haven't you finished yet?"
"Yeah, I'm done," he said, handing over his essay. Pride took it without much thought and gave Selim his own paper.
Selim looked at Pride's writing. It was printed neatly, not like his own handwriting, which was legible but clumsy. Pride's handwriting looked like his father's. Selim looked over at Pride, who seemed to be reading his paper with boredom; he occasionally eye-twitched.
He looked back down at the essay:
Selim Bradley, the ten-year-old son of the Fuhrer, is an otherwise unexceptional run-of-the-mill human child. He collects acorns, chestnuts, and other various oddities whenever he goes outside - which is an infrequent act by itself, because Selim is an official overindulged shut-in. His family life is no more extraordinary than his hobbies, so they will not be discussed in this essay. Selim keeps a treasure box entrusted to him by his father, but he has no clue as to what it is. More likely than not, it will turn out to be something with little to no significance.
Selim blinked a few times. He couldn't understand half of the words that Pride used… but it sure sounded like a smart essay.
"Hey, um, Pride?" he asked. "What does 'overindulged' mean?"
Pride didn't answer.
Sighing, Selim picked up his pen and began writing a reply. He had to make up a lot of comments because he didn't fully understand the essay… but feedback was supposed to be easy, right?
An hour later, he finally finished composing (or to be more precise, bullshitting) his feedback. Pride was sleeping on his desk again and Mr. Mustang was already packing up. He read it over:
Your essay was good. I liked the vocabulary you used, but I didn't know most of the words. I am happy you remembered my father's treasure and that I collect acorns. Your essay was very interesting to read. Plus, your handwriting is neat!
It technically shouldn't have taken him an hour to finish the paper, but he kept scratching out his comments and consulting the dictionary to get the basic gist of Pride's essay.
"Alright, class is over now!" said the teacher, slamming down his telephone. Both the students sat up straight and looked at him. "You have no homework for today. However, next Language class I expect you to bring your Sex-Ed textbooks. Is that understood?"
"Yes, sir," Pride and Selim answered in unison. Roy nodded at them and left the room, leaving them to do whatever they wanted.
Pride left the room as soon as the teacher was gone. Selim, putting his paper into his pocket and looking around the hallway, decided to go to the cafeteria to get something to eat - it was already 7:00 PM and he hadn't had dinner yet.
He walked in the cafeteria and asked for an 'extra-small-sized meal'; the servants gave him a very large plate of spaghetti, steamed vegetables, a tall glass of orange juice, and a huge wrapped lemon popsicle for dessert.
Selim managed to finish most of the 'extra-small' portion (he was still holding on to the unwrapped popsicle), but he decided that he'd better get a lot of exercise this month if he wanted to maintain his weight with these meals. He walked to the trashcan and threw out his napkin, then went to wash his hands.
"I wonder if Pride got anything to eat," Selim thought, remembering that he didn't come down to get dinner. "Maybe… he ordered it by telephone. Yeah."
After drying his hands, he looked at his popsicle - if he didn't eat it soon, it would melt. But if he did eat it… well, he'd better be thinking about that exercise program.
Selim took off the wrapper and realized that it was not, in fact, super-sized: it was a twin ice pop. It was bright yellow and had two sticks protruding from the end, with a crease in the center.
Selim blinked. With some difficulty, he snapped them apart - one ended up a little bit bigger than the other. He held one in each hand.
"These are probably made for sharing…." he thought, wandering back down the hallway to his room. "…But I don't have anyone to share with. Unless… Pride…?"
Selim opened the door and walked inside. Pride was already there, sitting in the center armchair, but he didn't look up when Selim entered. He hesitated, looking at the popsicles again. He owed Pride an apology for… for crying into his shorts, right? That was probably why he was angry with him….
"P-Pride?" Selim asked timidly.
Pride looked up at him. "What?"
"U-um…." Selim stammered, holding up the larger popsicle to him. "I brought one f-for you… and - and I'm sorry for ruining your pants…."
"Why would I want something like that?" said Pride, raising his eyebrow at the cold treat. But Selim noticed that he didn't look bored or angry… in fact, if he didn't know better, he would've said that Pride seemed almost confused by the gesture.
Pride seemed to notice this himself and scowled. "Please, I don't need ridiculous artificial products that you human children seem to live off of. Is that all you came to say?"
"A-ah…." Selim drew back, slightly disappointed - but at least he wasn't strangling him with shadows this time, right? He was about to leave him alone when a thought occurred to him. "Oh, wait, one more thing!"
It was the feedback he had written for Pride's essay. Pulling the sheet of paper from his pocket, Selim handed it to Pride.
"It's the Language assignment reply," he explained. Pride frowned.
"That thing?" he scoffed, looking over Selim's paper. "You're thoughtless. It's not even going to be collected." Pride scanned a few lines before pulling out a piece of paper from his own folder. "I don't need this."
"You did the feedback, too," Selim noted happily, taking the paper. Pride ignored him.
Selim walked to his own bed, sticking both of the popsicles in his mouth and unfolding Pride's reply. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all… Selim smiled to himself and started reading over the feedback:
Your essay about me was absolutely terrible. First of all, please learn how to use commas and proper sentence structure. Secondly, 'Morse code' is spelled M-O-R-S-E, not M-O-O-R-S. Finally, do not compare my eyes to your childish toys. Oh, and keep your opinions out of your essays. Your details were insufficient and unorganized.
All in all, to put it in words that you might understand, your essay sucked.
P.S.: I think you should learn the meanings of common expressions (i.e. "Take a hike") before you include them in your writing.
NOTES: Aww, Selim's a sweetie… and Pride's a meanie D: Also, I'm going to have one class a day to avoid over-writing a chapter… so yeah, they only get one subject a day? WELL, ARMSTONG RUNS THE SCHOOL ANYWAYS 8D
Ahh. Banana twin pops. I used to have them when I was little; they were the best! -used to be very bad at snapping them OTL- I'll try to put more action in the next chapter!
Rodrigo DeMolay: LOL I had run writing that part; ah, well. Selim will have blackmail info on Pride forever XDD Ohh, and I see! Yeah, I think most parts of the world call soccer 'football'… LOL it's only the US that uses soccer. And thanks again for the review!
Pumpkin2Face: ORZ Thank you so much! I love the Armstrongs and their 'for generations' quote XDD It'd be like them to have an extreme meal!
geororo: Thank you for the review! I'm glad you like the story so far! C:
Moofy-Fan: LOL I like writing the tips - they're so unusual and random… and probably wouldn't work for anybody except Selim XDD Oh, yes, I had to use the OVER 9000 joke! -is ruined by TV Tropes- Pride can't kill Selim anymore, luckily for him… so I guess they're closer to being friends now? -shot- And thank you for the review!
Zorva: Waah, thanks for the comment and the alert! I'm really happy with the idea… and hopefully it'll be the first story I actually finish! -brick'd-