He knew it wasn't his beloved wife, his gentle Gracia; the intelligence officer was by no means a stupid man, not gullible—quite the contrary! His hawk-like eyes were keen enough to note a missing mole even when running for his life, injured, and mentally organizing shocking new information; it was his ability to observe and truly see, his nimble mind's innate skill for puzzles and complicated equations, that had gotten him so deeply that there was only one solution—elimination.
But it was his all-too human shock that froze him to the spot, staring at Envy's new transformed body in an almost stupid expression of fear, horror, and disbelief, that was truly his downfall.
Not fast enough this time, Lieutenant Colonel, the Sin smirked, tossing the gun to the side and rubbing at his freshly reconstructed throat. The slice hadn't hurt; it had simply been annoying, a reminder that not all humans were stupid and that his carelessness could have made this task a little more... difficult.
Hughes had been a thorn in their sides for a while, always poking his nose into places it didn't belong, disguising his photogenic memory for detail and twisty mind under an affable facade of pushy sweetness, seemingly inoffensive yet always digging closer and closer to a truth that no human should ever know. Treading nearer to forbidden grounds than was safe.
And today he finally stepped over the border. Such blatant trespass would not be tolerated, and Envy was only too grateful to be the one to finally put a bullet between the bastard's ribs.
It was more than the Lieutenant Colonel's nosiness, though. That was an irritation, but it wasn't personal, and the smoldering rage that had seethed behind the soft smile as he had pulled the trigger had been more than personal.
He wanted Hughes to know how many lines he had crossed in his lifetime.
Envy shifted forms again, energy cracking around him, hating the body he wore even as he loved it with painful, aching familiarity. Hated the cocky smile even as it slashed across his face; hated the gold bangs that hung against the curve of his cheeks; loved the ungainliness of mismatched limbs, the horror scrawled in scars over his shoulder and back—like father, like son, he thought, smile twisting savagely. The same mistakes repeated over again. Ontogeny recapulates phylogeny.
How many times had he occupied this skin, staring at the wide, determined gold eyes that were and were not his in the mirror, watching his face even as he slide a hand down to touch himself with strong callused fingers so unlike his own long, slender ones? How many times had he locked eyes with reflections of him until the he reached the brink of the yawning need inside him and climaxed, spilling hot and wet over his half-brother's hand, closing his eyes tightly against the image and crying out names that burned his tongue.
Too many. Far too many.
Envy stepped over to the prone human, smiling arrogantly with Ed's stolen lips. Hughes glared up at him, mouth working as his lungs sucked blood; he coughed, shuddering, and some of the thick redness splattered his face. He shook his head even as he choked on air and shredded tissue, a vigorous denial of the creature before him wearing his friend's appearance and of his own unfair, untimely death. "No," he formed the word, wheezing it out. "No... "
The homunculus sneered, stepping over the Lieutenant Colonel's bloody mess of a chest and crouching down, the black leather pants grazing his military uniform and displaying to the dying man exactly how much the Sin was enjoying his last, pathetic twitches. "Yes," he hissed, drawing it out. He reached out and stole away the rectangular wire-frames, leaning in to drag his—Ed's tongue—over bloody, blueing lips.
Hughes panted for breath, bubbles of blood forming with each terrible, slurping gasp; and though his green-amber eyes were beginning to dull, they still shone with aggressive awareness and intelligence and a profound hatred for the thing leering down at him. Envy was pleased and enraged all at once, and his emotions slammed sharp spurs into him.
"Life's a bitch, isn't it?" he snarled, a scant inch from his prey's nose. Envy watched the fox-fire of human life burn lower, then flicker, waver, and gutter out with cat-like fascination, drinking in every second of Hughes' pain and anger and regret hungrily. He savored the moment. It wasn't everyday that he managed to destroy something this valuable to Ed.
The Sin leaned down to press a delighted, passionate kiss to the slack and cooling mouth of the man below him, then sprang away and back into his "own" form, admiring the cold snowfrost of moonlight shining in the half-coagulated blood and illuminating the officer's proud, noble face, before swinging around and trotting away, the light breeze raking through his hair.
There. Now the brat was back to being a poor fatherless bastard. Yeah, him and the walking tincan both.
Fatherless, just like their other brother.