Delectio: Cupiditas

Excessive desire—in all of its forms and expressions—was the very definition of sin, and once acknowledged and catered to, it tended to grow out of control, with many heads springing wild and savage from a singular base; one unlawful desire lead into another and yet again into another, snowballing and leading ultimately to even the most pure spirit and devotion degenerating into crumbling ruins of the human heart, black and haunted, always wanting and never being satisfied. It was said that the root of all sins was pride, but that was not technically true—the root of all sin was simple desire, voracious and perverted, feeding off of its self in an endless loop of destructive, selfish need, like the serpent devouring its own tail in its starvation.

There was no water to quench the thirst of one incapable of drinking, no food that can fill the belly of the starving who cannot swallow food, and to live without any hope of redemption, without any spirit and soul, was to live with nothing but the petty concerns of the flesh—growing, growing, preying upon the fragile shell of a human mind remaining in a soulless body until everything good that might have lingered from life was blotted out completely and nothing remained but hunger and insatiable lust.

Envy didn't know when he'd first gotten the idea into his head, but once it was lodged there, he could not escape it. Perhaps it was inevitable, seeing who and what she was, the light of her sweetness and gentle nature shining from her bright eyes, and knowing—not needing to see but only needing to know—what happened in the long, lazy Rizenbool nights under the cover of stars and the deep velvet skies. Knowing and imagining, his mind leaping into the gaps and filling them vividly and colorfully: her mouth, her hands, sighing and reaching to touch the body of her beloved husband, blissfully innocent of the past failures wound deep into his core, into his soul, unaware of who he truly was even as she opened all of herself to him, leaving nothing hidden from him in almost painful contrast to his deliberate deception and avoidance. In his mind's eye, he witnessed their coupling over and over again, seething with futile rage but unable to stop himself, savoring every detail of the images he constructed: the low burn of blush under her silky skin, her low breathy whimpers of pleasure, the her feminine scent mingling with his cologne and the smells of sweat and sex—

It wasn't fair that Hohenheim could so carelessly and unregretfully leave his first family and, instead of coming groveling back as was right and proper and good, settle down again and start anew, as though he could just forget his own past. As though he thought himself really finished with Dante and Envy, really thought he could ignore them and forget what had occurred between them. As though he could do without them, happily and self-satisfied, and settle down with this woman—No, to take advantage of and corrupt this sweet saint, for surely that was what she was.

She reminded him of those ancient statues down in the dead churches underground—the ones with the folded hands, their heads modestly covered with delicately sculpted marble veils, their blank stone eyes staring with mute sorrow and infinite mercy—and she offended him as much as those statues had offended him, and as he had systematically smashed each and every one of them to pieces, he was taken with the idea of taking her, of corrupting that pretense of innocence until she was even more pure, purer than ever since that contemptible bastard Hohenheim had touched her, pure and dark like a goddess of death, wiped clean of the stain of human life.

He'd erase every mark that man had made upon the world and burn his own seal in its place. Everywhere, every time. There was nothing that he'd had that Envy would not take away and make his own, and nothing was sacred. He'd do it even if it meant claiming the form he hated so much he'd forsaken it, a form so similar to one she'd known intimately with her husband that she might accept it in the wake of the bastard's abandonment of her and her children, when Envy actually almost felt something close to sympathy for her; he understood what that was like all too well.

But that had been too human, too foreign, and there were other, better ways for him to take the prize he craved so desperately, ones more fitting. He'd been almost giddy with joy to find that he wasn't the only one who wanted the woman on his agenda, and for once, Dante's plans lined up so perfectly with his that he could only laugh and wait impatiently, delighted beyond reason that she still, after all these centuries, could be so jealous of that bastard's other woman that she'd kill her for no other reason than that alone.

In many ways, Envy was her sin, after all, and they understood each other.

There was something so utterly and completely perfect about the tragedy Dante made of that woman's death—the lonely wife, inexplicably forsaken by her loving husband, dying by slow, painful inches, leaving behind two beautiful and talented children—and even more perfect about her rebirth at the hands of those two children. The bloodline ran true, and the bastard's spawn behaved just as Dante had predicted they would; unable to let their mother sleep in peace; they'd taken away their own innocence, their own childhood, and poisoned the memories of their mother. Envy knew that the eldest would never again be able to think of her smiling face without remembering the results of his foolish attempt to play God, and that was right and good. They deserved their suffering for what they'd done. The children would be punished for the sins of the father.

Envy only wished that they could have seen even more what had become of the precious mother that they'd risked so much for, wished that they could have seen her as she was after they, too, had followed in their father's footsteps and left her—torpid and apathetic, deprived of all emotion but that of never-ending, monotonous melancholy ennui, and constantly, endlessly, seeking some diversion, some stimuli that would bring the breath of life back into her undead flesh, something that would explain her strange new meaningless new existence.

Envy intended from the very beginning to be the one to give her what she needed, whether she wanted it or not. He'd carry her, kicking and screaming if necessary, down the path to her own enlightenment. He would be the crucible and the fire both, driving out any lingering impurities. She would eat her new life from his hand, and he would claim her while he could, still confused and accepting, and she would be all the stronger for it; neither one would come off poorer in Envy's plans.

He wished that those damned brats could see her as she was with him the first time, passively accepting his greedy, possessive touches with shivering skin, watching him with uncomprehending eyes that gleamed like polished amethyst, pliant under his hands and mouth. She didn't even gasp when his sharp teeth closed against the side of her neck, merely cocked her head to the side as if wordlessly inviting more though cold red tears slithered down her silent, grave face, causing him to laugh into the crook of her shoulder; he doubted she even understood why she cried, but he did, oh yes, he understood very well the source of the strange alchemical tears, and he thrilled to the knowledge, lifting his head to lick at the crimson trails and then press savage kisses to her yielding mouth.

If only they could see what had become of her, her hair darkened now by death, spilling over the dirty once-white linens, her pale skin so much paler, shining like a puddle of spilled moonlight underneath him, her full chest rising and falling in quickening breaths though her expression was still as blank as a bank of new-fallen snow. Her fingers crept up over his back and shoulders, her nails scraping like the feet of small frightened birds, fluttering over his cold body that did not sweat, not even now in the heat of rut and vengeful passion, before tangling in his hair and pulling him close, her eyes at last rolling closed and her mouth twisting, her cheeks still smeared with the warpaint of her red stone tears. He'd wanted and wanted, and now he had, and oh! she needed now, needed something to hold onto in the bewilderment of her rebirth and her grief of the loss of her human self and human life.

If only that bastard Hohenheim could see her, the new her, the one that looked up at the mistake he should have left to rot in the grave and saw something worth holding onto, saw something that she could understand now, something she could grasp in the dizzying wake of epic change though it was the direct opposite of who she'd been before, who she'd been in that time and place that she almost remembered but could not stand to think about any longer, in those memories that were brighter than the sun and which burned; she looked up at the demon forcing himself upon her uncaring flesh and saw his hunger for her, his pure selfish pleasure to take and to consume, and something within the hollow, echoing depths of her being ached and cried out, feeling flaring up hot and immediate for the first time since she'd awakened. Like the memories, this, too, hurt her, but it was a different and more welcome burn—like the sizzle of blood flowing back into a sleeping limb, the ache of a pinched nerve healing—and she embraced it, forging a new identity out of this heady and desperately desired sensation.

With a low moan, Sloth arched her back and lifted her hips, the Sleeping Beauty waking not to the kiss of a prince but to the cold rape of the covetous undead, and Envy laughed again, breathless and eager, feeling vindicated, feeling righteous. This is how it should be, that she should desire him in the end and respond to his roughness. He was taking her, but he took nothing from her; no, he gave and gave and gave, grinning wickedly as she tightened around him, actually welcoming instead of just tolerating, and she gave back to him a hundredfold. This was the body of the woman that bastard had loved so much, his darling little wife, and now it was his and he'd made her his little whore, made her want him and react even though she'd been as cold and unresponsive as the corpse she was, cold and sorrowing. But he'd taken her too-human despair from her and given her something else; her sons and the red stone might have rebuilt her physically, but it was Envy who gave her an understanding of who she was.

She was flesh without soul, and Envy's use of her was a revelation of the body. He spoke to her in a language that she'd never known before but now found that she understood perfectly, and she couldn't help but listen, entranced by the his angry, arrogant "words"—the way his teeth marked her white skin over and over, the rosette rings on her bouncing breasts and rounded shoulders disappearing in flashes of alchemical sparkles, the bruising grip of her hands—hard enough that it might have been painful, had she still been alive—on her upper arms, the viciousness of his thrusts that slammed him into her and the smoldering ache between her parted legs as her tensed body protested this treatment, unable to heal completely in the short span of time.

Envy's eyes gleamed like a hunting cat's in the low light, licking at the metallic taste of red stone on his lips, and he grinned wickedly; he had been too kind for too long, easing her into the dark waters with almost lover-like concern, but she was aware now and capable of taking more, and more was what Envy wanted, what he'd been eager for. He pulled at the alchemical power within himself and pushed outward, his lithe body shifting and twisting as it changed, growing and spitting off in long, slinking appendages that coiled cool and sleek around her limbs and slender waist, that roped around her breasts and throat and tugged at her hair, that filled her in every way conceivable. He possessed her completely; his reformed body stretching her to the point of straining as his cock lengthened and thickened, writhing against the walls of her achingly tight sex as like a living serpent trapped within her, and several of his new limbs pushed up into the cleft of her buttocks even as others nuzzled at her lips and then slithered into her mouth, toying with her tongue.

Her almost indecent cries were muffled against his morphed flesh, vibrating his rough-grained skin, and her sex was liquidy and pulsating around him in rhythmic little jolts, carrying his pleasure on the strong, swirling currents of a chilled primal ocean, and then she was shifting under him, her body changing as his had before, and he exhaled in a sharp bark of laughter. It wasn't the same as his—she seemed to almost melt, and then she was all around him, cradling him as they rocked fast and furious, the bed squealing in pain under the assault, and then he felt wet, pulsing tentacles slide over his body, exploring him with curious gentleness at first that gave way to harder caresses. He lifted her lower half off the dirty mattress, continuing to piston savagely down into her even as slid his knees apart and arched his pelvis up, offering himself to her willingly, and she did not hesitate to take him up on his suggestion. Her strange water-limb roamed up the back of his thighs and then plunged into him smoothly, their adjustable forms making the penetration easy and quick; Envy groaned as she stroked over the sensitive spot deep in him and the pressure built up even further, undeniable and chaotic.

She was dying again, dying under him and being reborn yet again, and her death throes stole his breath away, blazing pleasure such as he'd known few times before through his dead nerves and soulless body, and he couldn't hold back any longer even if he'd wanted. He twisted down against her fluid form, crying out and shuddering, jerking in uncontrolled thrusts as he climaxed messily, cold pinkish liquid spurting from the fleshy tips of his multiple appendages. They squirmed in post-coital quivers, churning the gel-like substance into a slippery, sticky foam before they retracted slowly back into his body as he shifted back into his usual form. This had been better than he'd even dared to hope, and as he sank down against her heaving chest, licking his lips and catching his own breath, he felt smugly grateful to have been proved so right and to have finally had such success outstripping those he hated most.

"Thank you—" Sloth whispered after a long, still moment, looking up at him through dark lashes clumped and thick from her dried tears, her own body once more solidly flesh and unerringly female as though she'd never deviated from it. Her face was not the face she'd had before, though it was no different in form than it'd been before; her expression was not that of the peaceful, pious female statues that had offended him so much when he'd seen her in life, and he raked his gaze over her again, glutting himself on the changes he'd wrought in her eyes and smile.

From saint to sinner, from mother to whore—She was far more beautiful in death than she'd ever been in life.

"It was my pleasure," he assured her

Revenge had never been so sweet.