Playing with Envy and anime-Wrath and all the snappy-explodey fun I can grab. Non-angsty, dark in places, weird throughout, no real plot but twisty enough to make corkscrews cringe with some mommy...
PG-13 for light swearing and boys kissing. Shonen ai.
Notes: Playing with Envy and anime-Wrath and all the snappy-explodey fun I can grab. Non-angsty, dark in places, weird throughout, no real plot but twisty enough to make corkscrews cringe with some mommy-love and amateur manipulation on the side.
Dedicated to absolut_artemis for her birthday. Standard disclaimer applies, characters not mine.
Dante, surprisingly, had been the one to have doubts. She'd been a mother, but children made her secretly uneasy, reserved. Wrath hit too many Uneasy buttons with a hammer--he acted like a two-year-old teething when he wasn't tearing things apart.
"Don't worry about it," Envy had said with something less than disdain, something approaching actual reassurance and a nearly-genuine smile. Silly humans and their little doubts--Dante was different of course, but it still amused him. "We don't have to control him--we just have to unleash him at the right moment. It'll work out /fine/."
Right now, watching and listening (being with Wrath was always a multi-sensory experience) as buildings collapsed, exploded, or were smashed by about seventy-pounds of screaming and spitting homunculus, Envy felt quite unnecessary.
True, he had been the one earlier doing all the work, spying and switching forms, casually chitchatting or just eavesdropping in inconspicuous places while Wrath had seethed passively, ordered not to do anything, go anywhere, or kill anyone until Envy said.
"Until Envy says, until Envy says," Wrath had chanted quietly while he paced up and down the tiny (teeny tiny small/) space he'd been ordered to stay in by /Envy/, who thought just because he was /older it was okay to order him around, it was okay for him to do whatever he liked and who was just, just, just another girl running around in a skirt and tank top!
Now that Wrath was 'free', all that frustration and bottled fear of claustrophobia came roaring out. Not that it took a lot to frustrate Wrath. Without Sloth next to him, he lived up to his name pretty well.
Pretty damn well/, Envy mused, long lean legs crossed as he leaned against one of the remaining buildings, arms folded over his stomach and index finger tapping, tapping, pebbles raining down and smoke clogging the sky as he started to realize that Wrath was a little /too good at what he did.
Huh. Wrath/. Wrath was a stupid kid--a stupid whinny brat with a /mommy/-complex who was terrified of doors. It was only because he stole the shrimp's arm (another mommy-complex; stupid shit-bags and their stupid mothers) that he had /any power--it wasn't his. It wasn't his by right/. He'd just stolen it and it could be yanked from him at /any second (Envy mentally estimated how hard it would be to cut the appendages off with minimum amount of work). That didn't count. The arm didn't count, the leg didn't count. That was /cheating/.
Wrath combined all the destructive power of alchemy, the ability to destroy and change and recombine what couldn't be destroyed and make marvelous explosions, without a matrix or even a handclap. Wrath wasn't much of a killer, not a frequent one like Lust or Envy, but he was a small efficient walk time-bomb. He was harder to catch than most of the homunculus (with the possible exception of Sloth, the bitch) because of his ability to blend into his surroundings, to meld with stone or metal for a shield (like Greed's almost, traitor) or sink into the floor or walls.
As a homunculus, he was nearly immortal.
Wrath, under the right hands and right mind, could be very, very dangerous. Very, very useful. Their master had seen that, eventually, and she'd become somewhat fond of the kid, as Sloth had and Gluttony got along with everyone because he was too stupid not to, and even menopausal Lust had been tolerant of Wrath.
Envy wasn't aware of it, but his teeth were crunching, grinding as his expression hardened. His finger wasn't tapping anymore--his hands were clenched.
Huh. Wrath/. Wrath. Indeed. And who had been the one to find him? /Who had been the one to bring him over, to enlist him, before anyone else did? Who had done the real work and not gotten the credit?
Homunculi did breathe. He wasn't sure why, he didn't understand the exact rules of alchemy and biology that made him move, but they could speak and so needed to breathe. Envy's breathing had gotten tighter, strained.
Wrath was replaceable, overzealous--there was a shrill enraged shriek several meters away and a building sprouted tentacles for no visible reason, piercing its neighbors--obnoxious, loud, and inefficient. He was only good for demolition work, he didn't have the finesse or control of anything else/, and just about /anyone with enough dynamite could do what Wrath did. There was nothing special about him--Envy could do the same thing. Envy could do the same thing and /better/, because he had practice and tact.
Wrath was also ugly. His skin was mismatched, disfigured, he stank of the living, of human /filth/, his hair was a mess, a hairball of lint and tangles and probably spit too, and his clothes...well.
His clothes were 'borrowed' things, just like the rest of him. Wrath wasn't /real/--bits of debris rained down, auspiciously missing Envy-he didn't /matter/, he could be /replaced/.
He wasn't even a real homunculus/--he was a /freak/. He was a hybrid, a monster, and he /deserved to have all his bits...
Not there anymore.
Envy smiled to himself.
Everyone had a weakness. No one was perfect--no one else was perfect, everyone had some flaw or weakness he could exploit, could show them up with. Everyone else had a weakness that made him better than them, and that included furry little Wrath.
The ground shuddered then exploded as a gas leak went off under the city, taking out several blocks at once. Through it all, weaving in and out of the crashes and explosions and pained panicked screams, was Wrath's annoying little voice shrieking and swearing.
Envy wasn't sure where the kid had learned how to swear. It wasn't good swearing-playground stuff, substandard swearing. It fit Wrath perfectly, insofar as that was possible on his skinny gawky body.
Envy was skinny, yes, but he also knew he was gorgeous. He was an appealing sort of skinny--Wrath was just gawky. And ugly. And not very good at anything.
Envy went back to tapping his index against his elbow. There was a screech of tires to his right as a car (what was left of the car, bits of it were on fire) came tearing around the corner at a ferocious speed. Envy raised his eyebrows, wondering if he really felt like doing something about them, or if it was more comfortable to just lean there. It was tough choice. After all, he'd done his work for the day, everything that came after was--
The car roof flushed out as a dark blob plummeted through it, the car skidding and fishtailing in the middle of the road before tumbling over until it came to a gradual stop that would've been more impressive if it hadn't been rocking gently, angry animal sounds coming from within.
Envy frowned prettily, I was going to do that...
Well. Not so messy. Or loud. I was going to do that better.
He continued to tap his index irritably, ducking sharply when bullets rang out and punctured the wall over his head. The vehicle's metal frame warped, a man shouted, and the engine exploded. Envy blinked unsteadily, afterimages flaring up behind his eyes, and a dark snarling ball of fur shot out, nearly crashing into Envy. Bits of its hair were on fire, or lightly singed.
"--hell are you waiting for! Damn it she said we were take the whole thing down not get a suntan c'mon lets go before they bring the fucking army down on our heads what're you waiting around for c'mon let's go--"
Envy rolled his eyes, stretching his arms over his head luxuriously until he heard a satisfactory crack/. He heard Wrath growling, not really a /deep sound, nothing really impressive from that tiny young body, more like a wet cat growling after being shaved bald.
"Wha-at?" he asked in the familiar mocking singsong tone. He leaned back again and looked at Wrath along his nose. "We were told to destroy the government building--not the whole city. Can't you do anything right?"
Wrath was a bit like a candle--sometimes he burned, sometimes he flared, a whole lot of times he simply sputtered, but he did go out all at once, looking disappointed.
"But...but I thought we were--"
Envy hissed softly, struggling for the patience he hated having, then grinned. "Yeah, yeah--you thought this, you thought that, and guess what? You thought wrong." He pushed himself off the wall, taking the younger homunculus by the shoulder and steering him gently forward. "Let's just get out of here--"
Wrath shoved him off with a putout growl, still jumpy with energy and bottled frustration and the added disappointment too. For a second Envy looked surprised--it was only a kid, a stupid kid, not worth his time, but then again if he let him treat him like that /now/, what would happen later?--then threw him a scornful, deprecating look and cocked his head. He sighed, feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders.
"No, no, you're still not doing it /right/--if you really wanna kick someone's ass, you do it like /this/--"
And it was a satisfying clip. Envy didn't have Greed's strength, but neither did Wrath and he had even less defense. The car spun in the street gently, bits of mortar cascading down the kid's tiny shoulders after being shovel-punched into a wall. There was even a rough outlined crater in the brick, like a snow angel.
"See?" Envy called out with a big smile. "Not hard at all!" He laughed and waved, "See you at home!"
He was still chuckling under his breath, traipsing lightly through the rubble, still hearing movement throughout the city, knowing that they'd been seen and not caring. Who cared what they knew now? At this point? Everything was moving along smoothly, the project almost in its final stages, all that mattered was--
He jumped lightly, a movement that seemed to come effortlessly from his ankles up as Wrath dove into the space he'd occupied and turned on his heel to leap after him. He actually laughed out loud--finally! The kid was so predictable, so easy to manipulate it was barely even fun/! If he didn't go overboard in everything he did, running through walls at the top of his lungs as Envy darted through windows and up stairs and down sheer drops, he wouldn't be /any fun at all.
Still, one had to make do with what one had, and at the moment all he had was Wrath to torture. Envy could adapt--he was good at improvising.
Besides, it wasn't like the kid was even a /challenge/. The closest the kid got to actually catching him, much less hurting him, was when a hand reached through a wall and pulled his hair, which turned out to be not a good idea at /all/, as Wrath's pained scream and half-severed arm could prove.
Wrath pulled himself out of the concrete rooftop--a mix of air, portland cement, coarse aggregate, sand, feeling his body melt with the atoms and molecules briefly, caressing over and through what made him /him/--and then he was out. He wasn't thinking clearly; he rarely did. Envy had started it anyway--it was his fault.
It wasn't until later that he realized he shouldn't have started it--Envy never played fair. Envy never really played/--he did things that looked like playing, that looked harmless and friendly, but he was always the only one to come away okay from it. It was part of the fun for him--knowing he'd tricked you into thinking he wouldn't hit /that hard, that he didn't hate you that much (and what reason did he have to hate Wrath? What'd he ever done to him?) and then strike without mercy.
It was true that there were few people that Envy really hated, but he hated them so much that he had plenty of leftover hatred to spread around.
Hands grabbed him from behind, and he spun around snarling.
As far as Wrath was concerned, the world stopped.
He recognized Sloth as his mother; the one who wouldn't hurt him, who wouldn't let him be hurt, the one he could always run to when he wasn't sure where he belonged or if he was alive or real or right or just lonely, the one who would always hold him and make him feel better. The one who always could make him feel better, no matter what. If the world fell apart, if it suddenly exploded and their master died and all the humans vanished and only Wrath and the one he acknowledged as his mother were the only ones left, he would be all right, because she was there. As long as she was there, it would be all right.
He didn't hate the Other one--he loathed her. He avoided her at all costs. He couldn't hate her--he would've liked to--but she felt too familiar, rang too many bells in his memory. She reminded him of too many things he didn't want to remember, and he would probably always run from her, as long as he could.
Lips touched his forehead, very gently.
"Sweetie," Envy murmured gently, his body female and adult, dressed in the dark spaghetti-strapped evening dress Sloth preferred to appear in. "You've got so much to learn."
Wrath twitched, eyes bugging with pain and fear. Envy wasn't Lust, but he could still shape his arms into something like lances, something sharp and deadly. He grinned as he pulled the sharpened point out of Wrath's abdomen, grating on the broken edges of the kid's ribcage and coated with dark purple entrails and red blood, and if the kid had fought back he might've had a chance. But it was his mother looking at him, holding him, and he didn't do so much as frown.
Sloth never smiled like that: surprised and pleased, but it looked nice on her, pleasant, and Wrath was laid in her lap gently, sitting down while his body reformed itself, dying slowly but not enough to knock him out. The younger homunculi were always the easiest to wound, but he hadn't been aiming to kill.
Post-opportunity, something went 'bang' inside Wrath's head, and he struggled, "Envy!"
"You shouldn't fight with your older brother," Sloth interrupted. Fingers caressed the side of his face and he stilled, "You're taking too long. Our master sent me to retrieve you--she isn't pleased."
Sloth smiled again. "Don't worry--it's nothing serious."
Wrath relaxed; she was still stroking his cheek, watching what was visible of his face through the mass of hair with mild interest. "Better now?"
He nodded, leaning into her hand. Blood dripped from her fingers--her nails were slicing gently through his skin, through his cheeks, prodding the flesh underneath curiously.
"Stop it," Wrath held her hand, not pushing her away, but holding her still. He didn't even grip all that tightly.
"...You shouldn't do this." Wrath got up, off her lap, but didn't move more than a few inches away from her--their knees still touched. He knew, and he couldn't bear to be too far from her. "It's not..." he struggled, scowled, then shook his head rapidly, frustrated and lost. "It's not! Don't do that!"
Envy grinned, wearing his usual look and spiky hair, leaning forward and leering in his face. "That's half the fun, squirt. If everyone played fair, I'd win all the time."
He expected a punch, a wild swing, and was set to dodge the moment the kid twitched. He hated getting hit, hated getting hurt or being in any kind of pain--hated it with a passion.
Wrath, surprisingly, looked down and away. He had the attention span of a small animal and had forgotten about his earlier anger as quickly as it had come. That had been nice, but Sloth never treated him like that. She tolerated him, was coolly efficient and polite, but she wasn't affectionate--she didn't touch him, didn't hold him, when she didn't need to. Sloth acted a little less human than Gluttony did--Gluttony, at least, had needs. Sloth could sit in a room without anyone or anything to do, and do nothing without complaint for years. Sloth didn't need anyone, didn't need anything. She definitely didn't need him.
Sloth would never treat him like that, if he didn't demand it from her. She wouldn't realize he needed it.
That had been nice.
Envy scoffed dryly, "You really are something. Huh.../Wrath/. We should've named you Loyalty or something, Obsession maybe...why her? What makes her so special? She's just another working girl."
Wrath's fingers tightened around his arm--his tanned one, the living one. He didn't answer.
Cold fingers caressed the underside of his jaw, the dark spikes of Envy's hair swinging as he tilted his head toward him. "I could give you what you want. If you were nice to me."
If you were loyal to me.
"You're not my mommy."
"I could be. I could be anyone you wanted--if you were nice to me. That's not so much, is it?"
No. It didn't sound like a lot. It didn't sound bad at all, until you remembered Envy was a liar, through and through. Wrath's tanned fingers tightened on his arm, and he refused to look.
Fingers pulled his jaw, tilted his face in the right direction, and Wrath's eyes went wide as his body froze again, feeling small explosions go off in his eardrums as--against all biological reason--a blush came over his cheeks.
Envy was kissing him.
Gently, of course. Very gently, very soft, making it very clear that this wasn't going to hurt, that this could feel very nice if Wrath let it, and then Envy let his eyes close. And if Wrath had been inclined to hit him, Envy wouldn't have been able to stop him. If Wrath had tried to hurt him, he probably could've and continued on hurting him, and it was that small show of faith that held his body still, better than Envy could've done by force.
Eventually, Wrath let his eyes close.
It was cold. It was cold and soft, like new snow in the mountains far from clumsy feet and tires that would turn it into a muddy slush, smooth as new steel and just as inorganic and unalive. His breathing hung still in the air, frozen in a single peaceful moment.
Eventually, Envy pulled back, looking extremely satisfied and conceited and not at all like he was about to stab him again. Wrath's eyes snapped open. Bits of Envy's body--his chest, narrow stomach, pelvis and thighs--strolled past Wrath's wide eyes as he stood. He didn't move back, and his short/skirt hung about two inches from Wrath's nose. Wrath didn't look up.
"But you're a boy."
Moron. Envy rolled his eyes scornfully, trying to keep the contempt out his voice. How far would this idiot actually believe his lie...?
"Only when I want to be. That doesn't matter--I can be anyone I want." He was silent a while, watching closely. "Right?"
Wrath really was an ugly little thing, he couldn't help thinking. Ugly and small and unkempt, but that didn't mean he couldn't be useful, couldn't be used. He just had to pushed in the right direction, but it could be so much more efficient to simply /pull/.
"I...guess so. But..."
"But what?" Envy's grin was wide and pearly white as he stretched his arms behind his neck.
"It's..." Wrath stood, still holding his arms across his chest, eyes still lost. Wrath was very new, very fresh, and consequently, not very smart. He didn't have any time to learn anything in his first life, and was barely more than a few months old in his current existence--there was a lot of things he didn't know, that he didn't understand, but as he looked at Envy, even he could admit he was kind of attractive. In a spiky, pale, half-in half-out kind of way.
But there was something...wrong with Envy, something strong but so carefully hidden you never noticed it. Wrath understood about hunger, about need--Envy's grin always held traces of hunger, but it wasn't needy hunger. It was a hunger with teeth--it was a hunger that tore.
Wrath inhaled deeply, thought, then stuck his hand through Envy's chest--not puncturing it, but melting with it, integrating with it. It was hard for him to make things combust, mostly because he had no idea how alchemy really worked, what made some elements like each other and hate each other, but he concentrated really hard, rearranging things, and sure enough, Envy exploded.
Wrath stood still, temporarily stunned. His hand wasn't hurt. He wrapped his arms around himself again, and shivered. His lips still tingled.
"I wouldn't mind you being a boy, but...um..."
"I just don't like you much."
Wrath stood still a while longer, watching the bits of sinew and flesh that had been Envy slowly slither closer to each other, becoming a rough lump on the rooftop that would, sooner or later (probably sooner) develop a sentience that would be Envy, and he probably wouldn't be very happy.
No/, Wrath thought, /Probably not happy at all.
A/N: What I was doing while I was supposed to be studying. Hah, yes, we're all familiar with that one, right? Excellent! On to dinner now!