This prequel covers the lives of all seven Homunculi and their creator. It starts out rather boring, describing Father and his feelings in great detail, and then just dives into the lifestyles and interactions of the Homunculi. This takes place before Wrath's birth, because it's before Father tries making human-based Homunculi. To be specific, it takes place 70 years before the story begins in 1914. It should be 1844, which I may or may not mark in chapters in the future. It gets much better later on, and I'm considering re-writing earlier chapters when I get the hang of everyone's personalities. Let me know if I make any simple mistakes, such as saying "Greed lied" when Greed never lies. I'll fix them immediately. Here's a major note I forgot to address: People change over time. The Homunculi are intentionally OOC at first. The point is that they used to be a certain way, and certain events and decisions shaped them into who they are today. I just wanted to clear that up real quick. I'm not being weird and making them OOC to suit my biased perceptions of them. I'm guesstimating what they may have been like in the past. Okay. With that, I bring you Artificial Bonds.
Chapter I: Father
Father was serenely perched on his tubular throne, posed to be in deep thought. He occupied the vast chamber alone, its ceiling stretching on endlessly and its borders far from visibility. Detachment from his children helped him cope with Empty Nest Syndrome. He tried not to feel too bothered by the absence of his six beloved creations. He sent them out on errands, and would probably be home for dinner. After all, he equipped them with immortality and lethal biological weapons - they should be fine. His parental instincts, although buried deep in his psyche, were softly yearning for them.
All day, he would sit and think. That's all he would do. He seemed to be constantly tired, probably in effort to conserve energy. Most of his incredible abilities were exhausted from being lended to his children, who often desperately needed his help for daily maintenance. Usually they ran to him for small problems, though sometimes the situation became severe. Nurturing them for hundreds of years was draining his energy. It was a nuisance for his own health, and yet, he couldn't live separately from them.
In his lonesome train of thought, he became distant for the great majority of the day. Morning, afternoon, evening, night - what was time anymore? Conditions were relatively constant underground. Silently, he cradeled the empty void where his offspring emerged from. Indeed it was more of a metaphorical than a physical void, yet it was nonetheless unbearable at this point in his life. He was still young, vital, and protective - his paternal instincts were deeply rooted.
"Come to me, please..." He pleaded internally. He was still filled with emotions, though they had drastically decreased when he decided to divide himself into six portions. It was so hard to part with them. He reached his hands out into the black nothingness... because he forgot to turn on the lights. He sighed. Perhaps it was night after all.
A small child emerged from that darkness, bearing strong resemblance to its father. It tiptoed very silently, approaching with a calm, proud stance. "Did you call, Father?"
Father quickly glanced over at the child, his eyes beaming with surprise. "Pride, come to me." He pleaded, stretching out his arms to receive him. In response, the young boy happily ran over and embraced him tightly. Both of them were composed of the same substance: pitch-black darkness. Internally, they felt the familiar warmth of their similarities.
"Father, you're strong..." Pride said softly, probably in response to feeling the source of his own power. Father had much greater darkness, and he was capable of much more destruction. In comparison, Pride was indeed a small child.
"You'll grow, Pride." Father assured him, running his fingers through his son's short hair. "Aren't your shadows growing?" He asked, glancing around to find them. They were retracted inside Pride.
"Very slowly," Pride frowned, extending them as far as they would go. They barely made it to the back door of the room. Father stared blankly. "I don't know how to grow up..." Pride's lip quivered.
"Patience..." Father said softly. "Some day, you'll be as big as your old man."
"Think so?" Pride beamed.
"Know so." Father smiled.
"I love you so much, Father." Pride sighed, wrapping his arms around him once again. "All I want is your happiness." Pride, the firstborn, was made exactly in Father's image. He was murky and black, capable of generating shadows through which he could see, with the aid of multiple eyes. At the core, that was Father's true form. However, Pride differed in that he was created to be more human.
"My true happiness is far off into the distant future." Father sighed. "Therefore, all I have right now is my short-term happiness."
"What would make you really happy, right here and now?" Pride asked, standing tiptoed to look into his father's upcast eyes.
Father glanced into the distance, "... Seeing your siblings."
"That can be done." Pride smiled faintly. He didn't think too highly of those born after him. "They're not far. They're working towards your ultimate happiness. You know I am, too." Pride had the deepest, most sincere wishes for Father's success.
"Bring them." Father commanded, recoiling back onto his throne silently.
Pride grinned, turned around, and left the room.
Several hours passed, and Father was starting to grow desperate. He grasped onto his long pale hair, stirred in his long cloaks, and flowed down torturous thoughts. How obvious the internal void was, how wide that hole gaped, how empty he felt... It was only recently that he begun to remove pieces of himself, and yet he still had enough self-awareness to realize what he had done. He wasn't completely numb yet. He remembered how much he gave away when he created his children...
His self-confidence and self-esteem left together at the same time. His first loss was the way he used to uphold himself, and sometimes boast about his epic nature and grand achievements. Next, he lost his desire to live, his burning passions for achievements, and his sense of caring about life. It was followed by losing his selfishness - he became rather selfless, and soon careless, to the point of neglect. Almost instantly, he lost interest in his life's focus, his coveting of perfection, and his strive for achieving an elevated state of being. Much later, he lost relaxation, his ability to calm down and control himself, and his patience. Finally, he lost the will to eat - to replenish himself from all this energy loss...
... That probably explained his exhaustion. He hadn't fed himself in weeks. He was slowly losing purpose, and even though his children were intentionally corrupted in nature, they seemed to feel much more alive than he was. He suffered quietly, touching the scars of where his liveliness once was, where his purpose ought to be. Soon, he would be jaded and destroyed, to make room for the godly being that would arise from his vessel.
"Return to me, please..." Father cried inwardly. "I cannot bear the thought of killing you for my own selfish reasons. I cannot absorb you back in this state. But I need you to be with me right now..."
At that lingering thought, Pride entered the room with his five siblings following closely. The entire family was here, reunited even if for a mere moment. "Father..." They whispered softly, and individually amongst themselves. They had never seen him like this. He was far from defeated, but he was not happy. This greatly displeased his children.
"What happened, Father?" A beautiful young woman stepped forward, her long black hair framing her face and neck. Oh Lust, the second-oldest... Identical to her younger siblings, she didn't have much darkness inside her. Quite the contrary, she was warm and lively, much like a burning flame. She had her share of his nurturing instincts, since love kindled protection. Love...
"Hold me..." Father pleaded, holding his arms out. Lust swiftly approached, and wrapped her arms around his frail figure. She was so warm, he began to shiver realizing how cold he previously was. She probably noted the temperature difference.
"Father, you're freezing." She said, brushing his long hair out of his face. "Are you ill?" Her eyes were fixated on his facial expressions, etched with concern and urgency.
"Yes..." Father admitted after struggling to keep his weaknesses inside. He preferred his children to view him as all-powerful, although the reality is that he wouldn't achieve this state for another hundred years. Until then, he sometimes needed to be cared for, and in turn, he cared for his beloved children on a daily basis. They gladly returned the favor. He knew that. A small smile crept on his lips.
Lust glanced over her shoulder. She was clearly staring at the third-oldest, Greed. He was slack, leaning against a wall and observing passively. He seemed disinterested, perhaps even bored. It was common for him to portray this behavior, but it was becoming more threatening over time. He didn't react much - he didn't seem to be a participant. He felt resented by his father, which played a key role in him wanting to keep his distance. He said nothing, but shot a resentful glare back at Lust. His eyes read, "How dare you look at me that way?" Lust didn't back down. Her gaze was hardening. Greed stirred slightly - only she could bring a reaction from him. After all, he had a weakness for beautiful women. He finally broke the stare and glanced at something else. Lust grinned in triumph for winning yet another staring contest.
"Don't just stand there like an accessory for his robes! Do something!" Envy, the fourth-oldest, became outraged by Lust's lack of actions. His frame was distorted with intense anger. It was very much like him to become over-protective of Father, second only to Pride. He was created to be deceptive, with the appearance of being strong and independent, though deep down, he was extremely dependent on his father. Dependent, because he coveted what he didn't have... which was everything.
"I'm trying to keep him warm." Lust grimaced at her younger sibling. "Your yelling isn't going to help much." She tossed her hair over her shoulder, and leaned against Father. He was slowly gaining warmth, and his shivering stopped a while ago.
With heavy footsteps, Envy marched over to the throne and leaned over it. "Is there anything I can do, Father?" He asked in a raspy tone.
Father's eyes glanced around. He lifted his index finger and pointed at a glass on a table. "That - can you bring me that?" He asked weakly.
Envy nodded in response, quickly marching over to the table, snatching the cup, and promptly bringing it to his father. He held his thin, skeletal hand out, his bony fingers clasping the rim. Father reached for it in an eloquent fashion, and responded, "Thank you, Envy."
"No problem." Envy said, casting a look of seldom-seen worry. The only person he could sincerily worry about was his father, whom he deeply admired and emulated in every way he could. He was enraged that he had a reputation of being second to Pride, and, well, second to anything.
Father didn't even twitch when he summoned water molecules from the surrounding air and materials. His glass was filled to the brim, and he began to drink. Lust was still holding onto him carefully, stealing his coldness away and taking it into herself. Soon, she was shivering, but she didn't seem to mind. Finally, Father spoke, "I can't walk. I'm too weak. Can I be carried down the stairs to the basement?"
"Hey, Sloth!" Envy shrieked at his younger brother. The fifth-oldest was sprawled out on the floor sleeping, face-down as usual. He was breathing very heavily, and his siblings were wondering how they hadn't noticed it earlier. "Quit your snoring and get up!" Envy marched over to the slumbering giant.
"I don't think it's wise to agitate him." Lust commented, glancing down at Envy's foot, which was prepared to deliver a massive kick.
"Get up, you useless twit!" Envy delivered that kick straight into Sloth's muscular arm. It was the equivalent of hitting a rock. It had no effect on Sloth, and Envy was doubled over in pain, grasping onto his leg and screaming profanities.
"You're so melodramatic..." Greed chuckled from the sidelines. He finally spoke after such long silence. "Envy, do you always have to be a ticking bomb?"
"Greed, do you always have to play annoying narrator?" Envy shot back.
"... Ouch." Greed frowned. "Calm down, bro."
"NO!" Envy shrieked. He went on to talk so fast, nobody could comprehend a word he was saying.
"Who tickled?" Sloth finally lifted his head up and looked around the room. He was itching the place that Envy had kicked with all his might. "Not nice. Sloth was sleeping."
"It lives." Greed yawned, already bored with overreactive Envy.
"That would be Envy." Lust responded to Sloth. "He had a favor for you."
"Favor?" Sloth asked, slowly getting himself up with his massive, muscular arms. "Envy? Favor?"
"Father's sick." Envy breathed, trying to calm himself down for his father's sake. "He needs to go downstairs to the basement, to find an elixir. Can you carry him, Sloth?"
Sloth stared blankly at Envy. He glanced over at Father. He looked back at Envy. He looked at the stairs. He looked back at Father. He stared blankly at Lust. He turned around to face Greed. He stared up at the ceiling and started to rotate in circles.
"SLOTH!" Envy raged.
"What?" Sloth's attention span quickly ran out whenever Envy spoke. "Favor? Envy? Favor?" He repeated.
"FATHER. STAIRS. NOW." Envy yelled.
Now that was something Sloth could understand. He crawled over to Father and easily lifted him up out of his throne. Father perched himself up on Sloth's shoulder, and placed his arms around his thick neck to keep his balance. This giant was over twice the size of his siblings, and even his father. Unfortunately, his mental capacity wasn't very much, since most of Father's intelligence was lended to his siblings at that point. However, he was getting smarter every day, and his siblings were able to teach him new things... like fetch.
"Wait..." Father said softly, looking around the room and doing a head-count. "Gluttony... Where's Gluttony?" He pleaded desperately.
"He came in with me." Lust said, scanning the room for his presence. "I don't know where he wandered off to." She walked around, her high-heels clicking when they hit the floor. "Gluttony!" She called out. "Gluttony! Where did you go?"
"Gluttony has been sick, too, Father." Envy commented passively. "Do you think you two caught the same bug?"
"I think there's a connection..." Father said to himself. He held out his arm and pointed into the distance. "Go. Find Gluttony." He commanded.
"Here I am." A small head emerged from downstairs. It was peeking from below, two blank eyes staring forward, and a wide-set grin sweeping across its face.
"Gluttony, what are you doing down there?" Lust was prepared to scold the youngest sibling. "What did I tell you about wandering off without me?"
"... To not to." Gluttony said softly, placing a small finger in his mouth.
"Father told me to protect you, and so help me, I will!" Lust raised her voice. Gluttony cowered further down the stairs, holding his small arms up in anticipation of being struck.
"Calm down, calm down..." Father said weakly. "Everybody downstairs."
So I just finished reading the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series this month... It's pretty awesome. I've also watched Brotherhood, but I haven't gotten around to the original 2003 anime. (I hear the story is very different from the manga canon.) I got intrigued by the Homunculi and decided, "Hey, why not write a humorous prequel about them?" Usually when I write, I end up with huge paragraphs and lengthy descriptions. To prevent this, I usually split my large chapters into two or three parts. That way, they are shorter and easier to read in one sitting. The antagonists of Fullmetal Alchemist really pique my interest, and I know I was quick to reveal summaries of their potential backgrounds, but it had to be done. This will be a really long story, and hopefully an interesting one. The overall theme is pretty obvious. They're a typical, normal family filled with psychotic geniuses and superiority complexes. Let me know what you think by clicking the review button. I'd appreciate it very much!