AGAINST ALL ODDS I AM NOT IN FACT DECEASED
in fact, I am doing pretty damn well which is why I'm finally here for some closure on my disaster children. also because apparently I'll never feel right about adapting this into an original fiction if I don't finish the fucking thing
TW: drug use, greed being greed, discussion of sexual violence, medication, mental health shit, listen this is still the same fic it's been since 2012 I think you know what you're getting yourself into. (that's a lie, it's a very different story now but it's getting an ending! woo!)
P.S. Ya boi doesn't have a tumblr anymore, but you can find me over at elliottdunstan on Twitter if you're curious about the Grown Up Writing I've been doing.
Part 4: Risu (Fracture)
Backed Into The Corner
Greed had gotten used to guilt. If he'd been Catholic, he would have gone to confession, but he thought religion was for chumps. He could have written about his sins to get them off his back, but then what? Never mind that he didn't have a creative bone in his body.
In fact, much to his mother's consternation, he wasn't a creative person at all. He was handsome, and that was about all he had going for him. He'd blown most of his inheritance on hookers, blow and guitars, and a few tats here and there. No wonder his parents wouldn't give him any more than that.
Lust had been the shining star. It hadn't mattered. And then, all of a sudden, it had.
He inhaled the acrid smoke from his joint, then blew it out into the air, throat aching slightly. Being high helped with the guilt, but not with the paranoia. He could feel it closing in, day after day, hour after hour, his past mistakes catching up with him. As it turned out, trying to have everything you wanted didn't come for free.
The smoke dissipated, and through the haze of the streetlights, a figure approached the house, emerald-green hair bright against the dark concrete paving. It was Envy, and he was alone. No cops. No Wrath.
"Well, well." Greed hung his arm off the porch, smoke still trailing off the end of his joint. "If it isn't the little monster himself." Part of him couldn't fathom why Envy would come back willingly. Part of him just accepted it – of course Envy came back. He was just as trapped as Greed was.
Envy didn't respond until his measured pace brought him to the bottom of the steps, and then he raised his head, staring up at Greed with burning eyes. "…Is anybody else awake?"
"Nope. Just you and me. Cops finally let you go? Or did you decide to come home to me all by your lonesome?"
"And little wildling?"
"Somewhere else. Safe from you."
Greed scowled, uncoiling his legs. "Don't be a bitch. I –"
"We both know exactly what it is you do." But Envy came up the stairs anyway, standing awkwardly in front of the two porch chairs and looking like he'd rather be anywhere but there. He was still wearing clothes clearly meant for a girl, although he'd gotten rid of the other accoutrements, and Greed looked him up and down appreciatively.
"You look pretty damn good in girl's clothing, I gotta say."
"You don't get to say anything."
"Oh, sit down already."
Envy did so. Greed pulled out another joint from his jacket pocket. "Want one?"
"I'm good. Thanks."
"Alright." Greed smoked some more, the two of them sitting in stiff silence. He hated how the gulf had grown between them – between all of them. It was always going to happen, he reasoned. He could blame a certain amount on their parents, but he was still the one who made his choices. But, hell. It was too late to change things now. And he might as well enjoy himself.
"Go ahead. Spit it out."
"You're going to have to be more specific, little monster. We have too much fucked up shit in our lives –"
"You are the fucked up shit in our lives," Envy spat. "Why your own siblings? You get laid all you want. It's not like you can't get anything you want. And you still hurt people."
"You don't understand jack shit."
"I sure don't."
"And what, this was your plan? March in here and demand answers from me?" Greed chuckled, watching Envy squirm in his seat. "Knew it. You can pretend to be a cute little punk all you want but you're still the pussy you always were."
"I'm not the one who rapes little kids because he feels bad about himself," Envy spat.
The half-burned joint crushed between Greed's fingers. "Watch it," he growled. "God. Everybody thinks they're so much better-"
"Did you kill Mr. Hughes?"
"The cop who was here."
Greed snorted, looking Envy up and down. He still looked like a fucking high schooler, clutching onto his bag straps like it was his landline. "What do you care?"
"That was Elysia's father, you –" Envy scoffed, shaking his head. "You don't care how many lives you ruin. Do you?"
"Welcome to the real world. Nobody gives a shit. And I didn't do it because I wanted to."
"Oh, so you feel bad about it? Too bad that doesn't fix anything, you cowardly sack of sh-"
Greed acted almost before his brain processed what he was doing. Between one moment and the next, Envy was suddenly clutching his cheek, and his hand was stinging. It wasn't a hard slap, but – hard enough.
No point in feeling bad about anything. Not anymore.
He grabbed Envy by the chin, and pulled his gaze back towards him. "We all pay for our mistakes. Yours was getting the fucking cops involved by running away. Jesus, what were you thinking?"
"I was thinking that you tried to rape me and that's a crime."
He snorted, stubbing out the remains of his joint. "Don't overreact. I was fucking with you."
"That's one way to put it."
"And you've never been curious?" Greed teased. Right on cue, he caught it – Envy's eyes glancing ever-so-slightly down, then back up again, embarrassed red flushing over his face. "I figure that's the real reason you came back. You want me to finish the job."
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" The incredulous tone almost made Greed consider backing off. Almost. But damn, Envy looked so good with green hair, wasp-waist wrapped in a belt…
"Says the flaming sissy."
"Shut your mouth," Envy threatened.
"Gonna tell me I'm wrong?"
"You're the reason I'm so embarrassed to even admit I like – that I might –"
Greed threw his head back in a laugh, the wood in the chair creaking dangerously. The laugh echoed across the street, and he wiped his mouth with the back of his mouth. "You still can't spit it out, can you? I bet you've sucked dick and still can't admit you're gay!"
"I'm bisexual, I know I am, I just –"
"You're late to the party. We've always known. Hell, even the girly clothing doesn't shock me." He snickered, although it really was only funny from a distance, or the depths of desperation. "There's a reason I tried to fuck you."
"Oh what, you're admitting it now? I thought I was overreacting."
"Never said that." Greed leaned forward and pulled his knife out of his pocket, twirling it in his hand. "I bet you're a better cocksucker than Wrath though," he said conversationally. "Why don't you put your mouth to better use than a bunch of empty posturing?" He flipped the knife open.
The fight dropped out of Envy's posture, and for a moment, Greed thought his little brother was going to start crying. It was a shame – he was enjoying the feistiness. But then Envy's eyes went to the knife in his hand.
It was only then that Greed remembered that he'd broken his other knife. That he'd been remembering. That he'd pulled this one from upstairs.
"Why do you have Martel's knife?" came the horrified question.
Greed dropped the knife, and in the split second of distraction, darted forward, hands closing over Envy's mouth and nose. "Shhh," he whispered, appreciating the warmth of Envy's body and feeling the way his muscles went slack as he passed into unconsciousness. Then his brother was in his arms, 110 pounds of dead weight.
He'd been preparing for something like this, although he hadn't expected Envy to deliver himself to his door. Duct tape. Zip ties. All of them in the satchel next to him. Then once he was done, he threw Envy like a sack of potatoes into the trunk of his car.
He looked down at him for a moment. It wasn't too late, part of his brain told him. He could still come up with a story. There was still a way out, if he lied enough, if he ratted out his parents, if – if if if.
But there wasn't. There was just him, and his brothers, and a gun.
Ed woke up wrapped in Al's arms, and couldn't decide whether or not to be embarrassed. It'd been years since they'd shared the same bed, and he was far too conscious that most brothers weren't this close. All the same –
All the same, he felt safe.
He looked down at his arms, at the fresh new bandages encircling them. The safe feeling began to trickle away, and like a shot to the gut, he remembered –
Envy. Envy was gone.
Please don't be dead… please, please, please. He hated God, didn't think God had anything good planned, but he sent up a prayer anyway just in case. Not after all this time, all this work –
(He's not a project don't make him a project)
(I just want him home)
He shivered, despite the warmth of the bed, then got to his feet, stumbling to the bathroom. The razors were gone, he noted; Al had acted fast. Probably for the best. His head still felt heavy, torn apart by opposing forces. He doesn't love you, give up – He loves you go after him – He needs you go protect him – He doesn't need you nobody does –
Ed stared down his meds. Fucking stupid things. A brief stint in the psych ward and they'd put him on them. Every morning and night, he swallowed them and they made him feel better, supposedly – but they couldn't fix things for him.
"Good morning," Hohenheim said from the hallway.
Ed grumbled something vaguely in Hohenheim's direction. Then, a moment too late, he realized that the bandages were in full view, and grabbed the hand towel from the rack.
Hohenheim just smiled sadly. "Bad night last night?"
"None of your business," he shot back. Jesus, it was bad enough that his best friend was missing. He didn't want the sperm donor who called himself his father asking questions about his cutting problems.
"I can respect that."
Ed frowned. "You don't seem –" He struggled to find a better word than surprised.
Hohenheim shrugged. "I might be useless, but I'm not stupid. I did research BPD when you told me about it."
Borderline personality disorder. The diagnosis he'd been saddled with for two years now. Aka, crazy bitch disease. He probably should have been more honest with Envy about it, but he'd had it under control. Thought he had. Until, of course, Envy had left and he'd turned his arms into mincemeat.
"Is, uh, Wrath okay?"
"Oh, yes. Misses his brother, but he's surprisingly well-adjusted all things considered. Reminds me a bit of you."
Ed burst into sputtered laughter. "Me? Well-adjusted?"
"Well, in a relative sense."
"You came home to a dead wife and me in the hospital."
"Better than you also being dead and the house burned down."
Ed rolled his eyes. It was kind of reassuring, in a way, but at the same time he didn't trust anything Hohenheim had to say. "Did you want something?"
"I wanted to ask if there was anything I could do to help."
"Nope," Ed said, too quickly. Then – "Wait, no, I…"
"What is it?"
"Your thing –" Ed gestured in the air. "Whatsit."
"Yeah, that. How did you deal with shit going badly? Like – you cover some really heavy shit."
"I'm honoured that you've bothered reading anything I've written."
"Shut up," Ed grumbled. "The point is, what do you do?"
Hohenheim scratched his beard. "…Well, I think I'm supposed to tell you to be patient and let authorities take care of it. But most of my work is in exposing corrupt politicians, so I don't think that's very good advice."
"No shit, Sherlock." Ed was still staring down his med bottle. Then, with a growl of frustration, he tipped his dose into his hand and swallowed it dry. He hated the stuff, but he needed a clear head.
Hohenheim walked into the bathroom, idly picking up one of the pill bottles with Ed's name on it. Ed grabbed it out of his hand, and Hohenheim held up his hands in a 'sorry' gesture. "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I find."
"Is that your parenting style?" Ed shot back.
"…I deserved that. I meant when fighting injustice."
"You make it sound so noble. I gave a friend a place to stay."
Hohenheim chuckled, then ruffled Ed's hair with a soft expression. "You'd rather bring a world of trouble down on yourself than let a bully get away with anything. I hate to break it to you, but –"
"God, don't you dare tell me I take after you."
"You take after your mother."
Ed started, glaring up at Hohenheim and waiting for the trick. He felt his heart quiver in his chest, desperate for approval even while he wanted nothing more than to be left alone.
"You didn't think you got that righteous anger from me, did you? I write about the bad things. Trisha stopped them. I'm proud of you."
Then he turned and walked down the stairs, whistling something to himself.
Ed's head hurt. It was hurting even more than before. Stay, go, do something, do nothing, DO SOMETHING.
Envy could go where he wanted, do what he wanted, but –
But the cops were involved. But he couldn't just sit back and hope that the cops would fix everything. But –
Ed picked up his phone, scrolled through his contacts, tried to come to a decision.
Then his phone chimed. A new text. For a moment, he thought it was from Envy.
SLOTH: I need your help
SLOTH: Greeds gone
SLOTH: And I think he took Envy with him.