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lykomancer

Solve et Coagula


"Edward." Hohenhiem tried again, nudging his glasses up to pinch the bridge of his nose and rub his weary eyes, infinitely patient despite everything. It was late, too late, and he'd spent the entire evening at the kitchen table poring over the heavy tomes he'd dragged home from the Society library—he hadn't expected to find anything new or useful, but he was studiously thorough in his attempts anyway—with only a short break to fix a cup of tea and a sandwich which had promptly disappeared down his son's greedy throat the moment his attention wavered from the food to the text before him. He'd given up on the idea of eating with a heavy sigh; his sandwich had probably gone to a better home in any event; Ed needed more fuel than most people to keep the fires of his determination and ambition burning hot.

But the fire had flickered down as the evening progressed and the coals were swept under a bed of ash for the night; Ed's gold hair spilled across his own pile of papers and books, a pencil still gripped loosely between lax fingers, his cup of tea half-drunk and cool. His breath was deep and steady and there wasn't even a hesitation in it, not even a miniscule tightening of his brow or a quiver of the thick fringe of lashes as his name was called for the third time in less minutes. He slept deep, his mind understanding that he was safe enough here that he could allow himself this luxurious vulnerability, not even disturbed by dreams.

Hohenhiem sighed, and then pushed out of his chair and stretched as he got up, cracking his back with a soft noise of discomfort. It wasn't fair to take what consolation Ed could find, whether in waking or sleeping, and it was far past his own bed time; they both should have been in abed hours ago instead of burning the midnight oil in their separate but equally futile searches. He flicked the overhead light off, relying on the dim, distant glow of the living room lamp to guide him, and slowly, carefully, gathered Ed up into his arms, cradling him close to his chest. The boy finally stirred at this, eyes fluttering and rolling open briefly, a garbled protesting groan slipping from him—he wanted to continue his research, the endless reading and calculations from which he hoped to find the key to unlock the Gate from this side so that he could return to the world he knew and understood, his beloved brother and the friends that had become more family than his actual family during his travels—but he was not awake enough to truly formulate a proper complaint, and thus his head lolled sleep-limp against his father's chest, aurum eyes falling shut again. Hohenhiem smiled, lowering his head to nuzzle his lips against the strands of blonde hair that was so like his own, so like and yet brighter, more polished, glowing within with that blaze of youthful vitality that had burnt down to a low warm, flickering candleflame within his own heart ages ago.

Edward was so much determination, so much strength and intelligence, so much pain and heartbreak, so much amazing that it seemed to take everyone's breath away—Hohenhiem had seen it; he had seen over and over and over the way that people reacted to his son—and he was not immune to the lure of it... was, in fact, perhaps more susceptible than anyone else. There was love wound deep into Ed's core of being, from his very conception to the current passion that drove him so furiously, and it radiated out from him like the song of the sirens, sweet and savage and seductive. There were days that Hohenhiem thought his heart would break from mingled pleasure and pain; that voiceless melody haunted the close air of their small house like the scent of his cologne water, intangible and absolutely unignorable.

Ed reminded him of days long-distant, slow honeyed summer evenings and hot starry nights sticky with humidity and love, oh love—the curve of bodies right fit snug together, hushed heated words hanging in the dark air, luminescent as the fireflies that flirted in the tree leaves outside the bedroom window. He reminded him of everything that was no more, that brief interlude of sweetness claimed in the Rizenbool countryside for a few years; Ed was the only thing he had left from that dream-time, and Hohenhiem thought that maybe, just maybe, Ed was more than enough compensation for all that had been lost.

He carried him up the stairs that creaked no matter how careful the placement of one's feet, and then hesitated in the hallway between the two doorways, looking into one dark room and then into the other thoughtfully. He knew that he should just take the boy into his own room, tuck him in like he had before when Ed had been so much smaller, kiss him on the forehead like a good father, and then retire to his own lonely bed; he knew that was what logic dictated so clearly, but... He brushed his lips over Ed's forehead again, arms tightening around their burden; he was reluctant to separate from the warm body pressed to his—the first to come so close since he left his wife a decade previously—pressing away the haunting memories of past mistakes, errors of foolish pride, lost moments and opportunities.

It was electrifying, terrifying, overwhelming to even contemplate, making his stomach flutter and turn like a diving bird and the fine hairs on the back of his neck prickle, but...

But here was one opportunity that he wouldn't—couldn't—let slip by. Not again. Not for another night.

Hohenhiem turned into his room, nudging the door further open with his toe, and crossed the space to the bed in the dark, relying on motor memory to steer him true. Ed's breathing was still slow and steady even as he was lowered to the cool surface of the eiderdown quilt, undisturbed by the thoughts that twisted in his father's mind, weasels chasing their own tails with sharp teeth and blood-red eyes, and Hohenhiem had to work the young alchemist's fingers from their deathgrip on his shirt before he could let go completely... Not that he wanted to. Not that he did.

His broad hands skimmed over Ed like a whisper, undoing buttons and laying the crisp cloth of his shirt open, and his breath caught for the briefest of seconds at the silken-soft heat of the revealed skin and the harsh contrast of dark scarring and ugly steel on one shoulder. Another one of his own mistakes scrawled in human flesh. He should have been there; he should never have left Rizenbool... If only he had just confessed everything. If only he'd admitted his sins. If only he'd been brave enough to face Trisha's wounded eyes when he spoke of the past.

If only, if only, if only.

Ed stirred, lips pressing together and a vulnerable mumble vibrating in his throat, and Hohenhiem froze instinctively, feeling old and foolish and terribly guilty even though he'd done nothing wrong.

Yet, a voice in mind murmured insidiously, a terrible voice that he'd managed to block out successfully for years; what had roused it from its slumber now at this most inappropriate time? Nothing wrong yet. But you're skirting it, aren't you?

Hohenhiem sucked a breath over his teeth, turning away from the prize on his bed briefly until he was sure that there his face evinced nothing, but Edward quickly settled back down, head rolling against the pillow and rubbing against it in an almost kittenish cuddle. Hohenhiem's thumb traced over the hard edges of the prosthetic limb and he sighed again, shaking his head, and then reached for the exposed tie holding Ed's hair back, loosing the knot with skilled fingers and shaking the blonde locks free. It caught the dim moonlight even more than the metal arm did, shining with its own life; in repose, Edward's sweet face resembled Trisha's a great deal but for this crowning glory of gold.

Beautiful. Though he'd created many things, great and terrible and minor, over the centuries, and worn many forms, nothing could compare to the masterwork he'd created with this body and the simple alchemy of love and lust. The palm of his hand brushed against the still childishly-rounded cheekbone, and he drew in another sharp breath as Ed involuntarily turned into the touch, pressing his face against the warm callused skin with a sleepy sigh, breath ticking the hairs on the back of his wrist. He tugged the boy's open shirt off with his free hand, pushing the fabric back over his flesh shoulder, and then tugged it out from under his weight and off of his other arm with some work.

Edward grumbled softly, eyelids fluttering rapidly open and closed, revealing glimpses of his uncomprehending, muddled gaze. "'m fine... Not tired... " He yawned and rolled over, turning his back to Hohenhiem and curling his arm under the pillow. "The curvature of space-time and the warping of space within the Gate seems to indicate that... " his voice, indistinct to begin with, trailed off into a light snore. Hohenhiem smiled faintly, brow creasing. The boy was bright. Sometimes dangerously so. But he worked himself far too hard and that was alarming; Hohenhiem worried the boy would burn out completely before he ever got a real opportunity to shine.

He sat down on the edge of the bed, pressing his back against the curve of his son and slowly pulled off his own clothing, folding the vest and shirt and placing them by the nightstand neatly, folding his glasses next to the unused lamp, unbinding his own long hair. He glanced over his shoulder, hesitating another moment before standing up again and removing his pants and adding them to the pile; he sat back down, arm curling over Ed's hip to do the same for him, and he tugged at the stubborn fastening holding the offending article of clothing in place, waiting for the volatile young man to wake up and demand to know what in the hell his father thought he was doing.

But Ed only groaned low in his throat, stretching slightly like a petted cat and wiggling against the hand working his fly open. It was almost indecent, the way he moved, and Hohenhiem's fingers stuttered nervously, trying not to feel the way the strong muscles flexed and the young body responded to his touch. Trying to ignore the way that his hand moved of its own accord over the bulge that beginning to tent out the fabric. The way his fingers pushed the front of his pants open, seeking direct contact with bared skin. Edward squirmed against the quilt and groaned again, a deep, aching noise that swept through him like an electric current, and he found that he couldn't isolate himself from this moment any longer... He was here; his actions were responsible for dragging those tempting sounds from parted moist lips, and he found himself wanting more of them; he wanted to taste the vibration of heady sound spilling from the younger man, and it didn't matter if it was wrong, what other people might say. The only thing in any world that mattered was here on the bed with him, love of his love and flesh of his flesh, beautiful and hungry and wild and so much a stranger to him—he'd practically been no father at all and that made this...

Trembling, Hohenhiem eased the rest of the way onto the bed, pressing close against the outside curve of Ed's body, wrapping himself around him comfortably, his arm still thrown over the peak of his slim hip, blunt-tipped fingers outlining the firm flesh of his arousal in slow, tentative strokes. Ed whined softly, grinding back against his father, and Hohenhiem stiffened, licking his lips nervously, then shook his head and resumed his exploration, a little surer, a little harder. He had been waiting for the boy to wake up and shove him away roughly, to start yelling, flushing beautifully and indignantly... but it was clear that things were not playing out that way. He shifted his weight, sliding his free arm under his son's body, lifting him bare inches and pulling him close against his chest, palm pressed flat to the steady throb of the strong-willed heart that pounded beneath its sheath of skin and muscle and bone, and his face fell naturally into the crook of his steel shoulder and soft neck.

Edward made another rich noise, moving his hips almost eagerly, then hissed—a strange, foreign sound, very much awake—causing Hohenhiem to startle back quickly, heart in this throat.

"Fuck... " Ed moaned, dragging the word through the sheets slowly, his fingers clenching in the pillow. "This... This probably isn't right. Hell, I know it's not right. Don't fuckin' care, though. Just don't stop... ." He wiggled appealingly again, pants sliding down his tanned thighs in jerky motions.

Hohenhiem's broad hand slipped across the smooth revealed skin, pushing the cloth down easily until the younger was able to kick the offending article away from him and off the bed, and then Ed rolled onto his back, staring up at his father challengingly. He met his eyes, and noted how his gaze did not drop to the dark patches of gangrenous rot that decorated his torso and arms, and there was something terribly appealing, almost painfully understanding about that; Ed knew what it was to wear the evidence of one's own sins, and he knew the shame and hurt, the awkwardness and vulnerability, of showing one's scarred body. Gold touched deep bronze, and Hohenhiem nodded; Ed was far more perceptive than most people, and that was reassuring, liberating.

That made this...

That made this more than permissible; it made this right, despite what Edward had said. No one else in any world could understand; no, they would be driven away, horrified, overwhelmed, or else try to find excuses, or pity, brushing everything off as though it didn't matter or as if a little honey could balm deep, killing wounds. No one else... none but each other; the universe—or God, if one believed in such a thing—had left them nothing else.

Hohenhiem sat up, gripping Ed's far hip for balance and guidance in the dark, gaze never wavering from the cat-yellow one that regarded him, glowing in the pale lighting, and settled a knee between the boy's sprawled legs, pushing the prosthetic one open a little further, and Edward growled softly, arching his back to drive himself impatiently up into the hand still clutching him, the body hovering over his.

"Hurry up!" he commanded, half groaning, half still growling, as though he wasn't sure if he was pleased or annoyed with the unrushed movements of the older man's hand over his groin. He jerked his flesh leg around Hohenhiem's waist, hooking him in the bend and dragging him down against him roughly. "I don't care if you just want to touch or want to fuck me, but just hurry up and get on with it!"

"Patience really is a virtue, Shorty," purred a new voice from the shadows, and both on the bed froze completely, eyes wide as they stared unseeingly at each other, both recognizing that voice, that mocking faux-cheerful tone, that playful nickname. The previously unnoticed intruder unfolded from the darkness by the door with the soft whisper of cloth brushing cloth, the light pad of bare feet on the carpeted floor.

Ed was the first to recover, wrenching himself up from the mattress with a snarl, teeth bared like an animal's as he glared furiously over Hohenhiem's shoulder. "You... !"

"I see that some things never change." Hohenhiem's low, quiet words cut off Ed easily. "Your timing is, as usual, impeccable." He laid his hands flat on the bed, pressing down to disguise the way that they shook, and he didn't look up but remained staring down at the wrinkled spot on the bed where Ed's prone body had dug a comfortable niche into the quilt.

"You are absolutely right for once; some things never do change, do they?" Envy stepped closer to the bed, and Hohenhiem could hear the smile in its voice, and it made his skin crawl. It was here; it had followed him even here, not letting even the Gate separate them; it had all the determination of one of his sons still, even after. . . . "There's something about this that's terribly familiar... Hmmm. I wonder what it could be?" The creature barked a soft laugh, stopping at the foot of the bed; Hohenhiem didn't have to look to know, and Ed's feral growl reverberated in his ear as he lunged up against the heavier body holding him down.

"Shut up!" the boy ground out, shoving futilely at his father. "What in the hell are you talking about, 'familiar'? You sick bastard, you think that... "

"I think that this wouldn't be the first time dear old Dad has gotten overly friendly with one of his sons," Envy sneered, trailing his hand over Hohenhiem's bare shoulder lightly, twirling silky strands of gold in its long, slender fingers, and Hohenhiem shuddered under the almost-caress, gritting his teeth and tensing.

"Wh—What?" Ed fell back a few inches, enough space between them now that the elder could see the shocked, horrorstruck look scrawled on the boy's face.

"You aren't my son!It wasn't like that!I didn't know!" Hohenhiem finally twisted around to face Envy, reaching up to knock him away, but the Sin was faster, pale hand a white blur in the starlight as it struck its creator hard across the slope of his cheek and pounced forward. Its weight thrust Hohenhiem back down against the still-stunned Ed, and Envy used its momentum to shove them all back against the mattress, the bed hitting the wall with a resounding thud.

"Sick motherfucking bastards... " Ed cursed colorfully, writhing at the bottom of the dogpile, struggling to push his father off of him, yelping when a hand caught in his hair and yanked.

"Fatherfucking, actually, from the look of things." Envy laughed, driving a knee down into Hohenhiem's back and grappling for a more substantial handle than Ed's hair. "But you nailed with the 'bastards' part, I think. That's just what we are."

The younger blonde lashed out with one foot, grinning savagely at the hard expulsion of air from Envy's lungs, then yelled again as the homunculus retorted with another tug on the handful of blonde hair, shaking its half-brother furiously before its wrist was seized in an crushingly painful grip by Hohenhiem. The older alchemist fought to get his free hand under him to lever himself off of Ed, panting for breath as the younger man's other foot caught him in the solar plexus; Envy snarled and rolled sideways, then slammed its shoulder into Hohenhiem's ribs, knocking him clear of Edward's thrashing and half onto his back. Despite this, the elder maintained his hold on the Sin's wrist, and Envy was dragged across the bed, bucking and yelling inarticulately; the dark, wool coat it was wearing ensnared Ed's legs and muffled his kicks, but younger blonde sprang up, wrapping his hands around Envy's neck. The Sin shrieked like an angry wild cat and battered Edward with sharp backward jabs of its bony elbow until he fell away, howling in outrage and pain.

Envy's free hand darted into its pocket, and then there was something shiny dangling from its fingers, glimmering in the thin light like a ribbon of silver water. Hohenhiem recaught his breath, fingers digging into the Sin's wrist harder, grinding the thin bones together—it wasn't fair, really; Envy was barely human, even now in this world, and Ed was in the peak of physical condition, but Hohenhiem's body was almost twice the age of his son's and falling apart, and it wasn't used to this level of abuse. He grunted as the homunculus' knee slammed into his chest and the violet eyes gleamed down at him malevolently, the shining thing disappearing above his head; there was the cool touch of metal around his own wrist and the distinctive sound of a lock snapping shut. Envy grinned, showing far too many teeth, and plowed its fist into his face, twisting its captive hand free. It cocked its arm again, intending to strike another blow, but Ed had recovered and flung himself at Envy, and they tumbled off of the bed into a heap of limbs and guttural noises.

Hohenhiem glanced over the edge of the bed and then sighed, rubbing his throbbing face with his unbound hand. He then turned his attention to the chain wrapped double around his wrist and securing it to the rod-iron headboard posts, feeling for any slack or weakness in it. He was unsurprised to find none of either.

"I didn't know it was... I didn't realize who you were, Envy," he said calmly, attempting to justify the Sin's previous allegation, as if he didn't hear the blunt sounds of hand-to-hand combat on the floor beside him, the breathy curses and hard panting for air, the occasionally louder squeal or snarl. "You were shifted into another form, as I'm sure you very well remember. Furthermore, you were the one who seduced me, so I'd thank you not to get so self-righteous against me with your accusations." He paused thoughtfully, tugging at the restraint, metal clanking against metal. "You must have been awfully desperate for my attention to resort to that kind of nonsense... " But of course it had been; that was an unspoken given that Envy had been desperate, wildly jealously desperate, and it had wanted to hurt Hohenhiem, hurt him as much as it felt that it had been hurt... though that was nonsense, too. How could a being with no soul feel emotional pain?

"Stupid b—bastard," came the rough gasped response from the floor; Envy sounded like it wasn't winning this fight as easily as it thought it should, considering Ed only had one fully-functioning arm and no alchemy, and Hohenhiem knew that it was getting angry at the limitations this world forced on its strength and the power that fueled its own body. "Stupid... You should have known!You should have!" Something hit the edge of the bed hard enough to slide the metal frame across the floor a few inches, something that had, when Hohenhiem turned to look, a mass of mussed blonde hair; Ed sucked in a deep breath and groaned, curling over his ribcage. Envy stood up, sweeping his only long dark strands into place with all the finickiness of a grooming cat. Sometime in the battle, it had lost his coat and a good amount of the clothing it had worn underneath had gotten torn, revealing pale stripes of flesh the color of snowfall, and, glancing down at the shredded mess, it gripped its own shirt and ripped it off, letting the rag flutter to the floor.

"You should have know that it was me, no matter what I looked like," it said again, reaching down to yank Ed up by his hair and throw him across his father like a ragdoll, and then it collected its coat from the floor, fishing through the pockets. Hohenhiem stroked Ed's bruised face, drawing out a frustrated whimper of pain, then pushed him off of him and onto the bed. "Flesh of your flesh... " Envy echoed its creator's earlier thoughts, and the resonances made him blanch, recoiling as though it had hit him again. The violet eyes narrowed and then the Sin crawled up onto the mattress, a second chain and lock dangling from his hand.

Hohenhiem kicked at Envy as though it was a stray animal on the street, and the homunculus growled and sprang forward, fighting against the older man's strength in its attempt to wrest his arm back and up to join the other one, using its advantage of good leverage to finally win. It pinned the fold of the older man's elbow down with its knee, ignoring the way that he bucked under it, and Hohenhiem felt the metal bite into his wrist as the chain slid around it. He jerked violently, hissing, but Envy snapped the lock shut with a smug little grin and then wagged its finger at him, clicking its tongue against the roof of its mouth, and touched his nose.

"You know," it began, looking over at Ed, who glared wordlessly at it, his arm shaking as he reached to scrub the blood from his mouth. "I've been waiting for this moment for a very, very long time, and I think that killing you immediately would really be a waste." Envy was still grinning, broader than ever, eyes sparkling like the cold stars in the deep violet sky visible through the sheer curtains. It shifted its weight back from its knees onto the balls of its feet, and reached out to stroke Ed's hair almost tenderly, almost possessively. The young blonde glared daggers at it and smacked it away; Envy's other hand cracked the boy across the face nonchalantly. It gripped Edward's jaw and leaned in close, studying the furious churning in his gold eyes, the disgust and rage in the twist of his lips, and then it smiled, apparently liking whatever it was that it read on his face, and it closed the distance between them and licked a smear of blood from the corner of his mouth. Ed snarled and bit at the Sin's face. Envy laughed and bit back. Their teeth hit with an audible noise, and Envy groaned, tongue visibly darting into the young man's mouth, jabbing inward and then rolling over his lips wetly; Ed's savage, bloodying bites only seemed to excite the homunculus more, as evidenced by the way its hips rocked rhythmically against Hohenhiem's bare hip, grinding its erection against the warm human flesh mindlessly.

"Do you mind?" the older alchemist snapped, attempting to kick at Envy again and succeeding in doing nothing more than rubbing against it harder and in just the right way... or so it seemed by the homunculus's sudden increase in volume. He was really beginning to wish that he wasn't naked in addition to being chained to the bed; there was something incredibly, horribly, attractively wrong about his son and the creature that had once been his son piled on top of him and against him squirming and moaning, their mouths shearing against each other, so hungry and angry and hateful that their kisses were mostly teeth, but hot-blooded and passionate enough that their biting was still identifiable as something close to kissing, and that it was clearly arousing not just one but both. He saw the way Ed's fingers clawed at Envy's shoulder, digging in until blood welled up around the tips; the gesture was violent, savage, but it still pulled the Sin closer rather than shoving it away. He could feel the flutter of Ed's thighs against his own, the heat rising from the boy's groin even as he snarled into Envy's dark hair when the creature tipped his face up with its nose and suckled down his throat, leaving deep red marks and oozing nips in its wake.

There was something wrong about the way the pair of them fit together, both so zealous and determined and strong in their own way and on their own paths—Envy wasn't human, wasn't his son any longer and hadn't been for centuries, but suddenly, contrasted with Edward, Hohenhiem could see the lingering traces of the boy's personality, so similar to Ed's and yet gone sour, spoiled and putrid, twisted into darkness and decay.

Was there still beauty there, growing out of rot and waste? Not the same as his deceased son's, of course, but something different, something terrible and fell, as even the Christians of this world claimed that the Adversary of their God, Lucifer the light-bearer, had been the highest and most lovely of all the angels before he was thrown down and cast aside? Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in the forests of the night; what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?

There was something wrong about the silver and gold of them overlapping and mingling, dark and light, each possessing a touch of the other in a way that allowed them these moments of understanding, interlocking like the Xingian two-fish symbol and bound together by mutual hatred and the similarities that ran in their shared blood—the blood that was running so freely from their lips and chins and jaws and dripping down to splatter warm and wet against an ugly discolored spot of gangrene on his leg.

"Shorty... " Envy breathed against the boy's collarbones, and it reached up to pluck Ed's hand from his shoulder, pulling his blunt nails free from its flesh. "Ed... " It lifted its head, shaking its hair over its scratched-up shoulder, and with a quick sideways smirking glance at Hohenhiem from the corner of its cat-slitted eyes, it buried his face in the crook of Edward's neck, murmuring something softly in his ear.

Ed shook his head, a look of pure revulsion cramping his bruised and bitten face as the Sin spoke in a low sliding whisper. "No way in hell, you sick, twisted son of a. . . !"

Envy rotated the arm it held up and back, twisting its half-brother around as it yanked on the flesh limb until they switched positions—Edward was pulled over his father's leg and was thrust roughly into the space between them that Envy held open with its knees, and the Sin settled in easily behind him, forcing his arm up until Ed's fingers tangled in his own hair and the boy shrieked in pain. His poorly-made steel prosthetic dangled limply, no use to him at all, and the homunculus pushed the young blonde down over Hohenhiem with a lavish grin.

"Now, now, Shorty," it said cheerfully, "I've made you an offer you simply can't refuse!You see, you can either play along willingly—more or less, anyway—and live through the night... or you can pretend that you don't want it, resist, make me force you to do it anyway, and then kill you because you've pissed me off. I'm not particularly invested in either outcome, but I thought you might be. And, I have to admit, the idea of seeing you freely fucking your own father is almost as amusing and satisfying as the idea of gutting you both and pissing on your corpses." Envy tugged on Edward's arm again, reinforcing its position of power, and its other hand curled over his hip, sliding first over Hohenhiem's tense leg and then over the younger man's, dipping between his thighs to toy with the hard length jutting out from the blonde curls. "Don't tell me that you don't want this, you little fucking slut... Not even twenty minutes ago you were moaning for your daddy like a whore, and two minutes ago you were all but creaming the bed for me. You might as well just do it my way; at least that way, in the morning, you can tell yourself that it wasn't you who did it, not really, because the decision was forced on you by me." The homunculus shifted, grinding the two humans together until Ed whimpered and Hohenhiem made a strangled gasping cry of protest.

"And if you enjoy it, Shorty," Envy addressed Edward, face cradled against the young blonde's, but its grin and gaze was entirely for Hohenhiem, "it's ok; you don't have to admit it. It can be our dirty little secret."

"Nnnn... !" Ed still wanted to protest, still wanted to fight, even though even the slightest tensing of his battered body earned another sharp yank on his arm. Tears involuntarily pooled on the bottom rim of his large gold eyes before spilling down, joining the blood decorating his father's body, and his face was ravaged by anguish and thwarted, futile rage. His body shuddered under the ministrations of Envy's hand, and he didn't lift his gaze to Hohenhiem's, flushing so deeply that he almost glowed in the dark.

Hohenhiem shook his head and tried to lift his hand to stroke the boy's miserable face, wipe away those angry tears, but the chain around his wrist stopped him short, clanging loudly against the bedframe. He winced at the jarring noise, then shook his head again. "If that's all you want... " He lifted his bronze eyes to Envy's pale form, blurry in the dark without his glasses. "You're even more pathetic than I had thought, but at least your price is low." He ignored the Sin's insulted hissing intake of breath and relaxed against the quilt, tipping his hips up slightly. "It's alright, Edward. It's alright." He pitching his voice low, soothing; he understood that this was most definitely not alright, but it seemed they had little choice, and as fickle as Envy could be, there were some things it seemed to value more than others, and its own amusement ranked high on that list.

It never killed its best toys.

Envy's mouth twisted, losing its pleased arrogance, and its eyes narrowed to furious slits. Seemed it didn't like that much, but it was getting its way and that was enough for it for now. There was already enough sadism here for it to glut itself on, and it would make sure that there would be more; its cup would run over before the night ended. It guided Ed into the crease between the elder alchemist's legs with its hand and the overbearing leverage that made even its slight weight hard to fight against, and then rocked forward, driving the young man awkwardly into the tight ring of muscle.

Both humans flinched as the sudden entry, and Envy laughed softly, regaining his smile at the pinched expression on Hohenhiem's face. Its hand pulled out from between the two warm bodies below it, and it quickly undid its own pants, cussing under its breath at the time and effort that one-handedly divesting itself of clothing took. The sound of the zipper was loud over everyone's harsh breathing, and Ed stiffened under Envy's other hand, glancing over his shoulder.

"Wh—What do you think you're doing?"

Envy wriggled out of his remaining clothing, kicking it onto the floor, and then shrugged, the motion causing Ed to whine as pain shot up his aching arm to take up residence in his shoulder. "Did you think I was just going to watch, Shorty?" it asked amused and incredulous. "You've got to be joking." It ran its hand along the blonde's bitten jawline, giggling as he winced, and then dropped its blood-filled hand to its own straining arousal. It pushed Edward forward easily, tilting its head and purring softly as the two humans simultaneously gasped, and prodded its sticky-wet fingers at sensitive flesh, using the blood as lubricant to open the boy up briefly. A shudder rolled through Ed, but as bad as that was, it was nothing compared to the Sin's first over-eager thrust that drove the three of them together and slammed the bed against the wall.

Ed wailed, torn between violently contrasting poles of pleasure and pain as he simultaneously took and was taken. It hurt, it fucking hurt!, and he knew that it had to have hurt Hohenhiem even more by the way the older man tensed and threw his head back, teeth bared against the cry that vibrated in his throat... but at the same time, it felt so damned good, the velvety heat recoiling around him, muscles massaging his erection, gripping him firmly; the Sin's answering hardness buried in his own body, rubbing him from the inside out...

Hohenhiem panted hard, eyes rolling shut. He could hear the banging of metal on metal and he realized that he must be struggling against the chains on his wrists again though he hadn't even been aware of it. The only things he knew for sure were the burning, ripping pain jagging through him, and the bitter regret that this evening had ended up this way, so different from the sweet intimacy it had started out with. His mistakes dogged his every step, and there was no rest for the wicked. There was no forgiveness, no matter how much repentance; there was no justification for a sinner, and sanctification was a distant dream.

Envy would never let him forget that the price of pride was destruction, and that those who infringed upon God's domain were damned.

Envy groaned luxuriously, stretching against Ed and grinding in deeper, soaking up every whimper and whiny gasp like clotted cream and comb honey, then withdrew slowly, clearly savoring Ed's tightness. It pulled the younger blonde against him, chuckling under its breath at its creator's cutting hiss, and then thrust again, propelling them together again with a full-throated cry of pleasure. The homunculus established a hard, wild pace for the three of them, each thrust of its narrow hips driving into Ed and lifting his pain-numb arm high against his back, shoving Ed deeper into Hohenhiem which drew ragged gasps from the bottom and high-pitched mewling cries from the middle, and cracking the rod-iron bed frame against the wall.

Hohenhiem ground his teeth against vocalizing the pain wracking his body; he wouldn't give the creature that much satisfaction, but his face was pale and running with sweat from holding back. He wanted, more than anything, to be able to reach out to his son, to stroke his fingers feather-light over the boy's tear—and blood-stained face, to ease his pain and guilt, to soothe him through the simple familiarity of gentle touch, but Envy had taken even that away from them, and that made him angry. The homunculus had the upper hand now, but that wouldn't last forever... The friction pulled at him, burning with something that verged on pleasure, but he could feel the blood painting his thighs and the sheets below, like some mockery of the wedding night loss of a blushing bride's virginity, and he couldn't open his eyes unless he wanted to look into the intent inhuman face of the incubus riding them so furiously, licking up their emotional distress and physical hurts and growing fat on the spoils of their hearts.
No, he didn't dare look up. He wouldn't give Envy that much recognition either.

Edward squealed again, his whole frame tensing and shaking as it was pushed and pulled in the ravaging rhythm. His head hung low, blonde bangs dripping down to brush against his father's chest, tickling over the his taut nipples and rotting skin, and more hot tears fell from his eyes as he was rocked forward, hips jerking helplessly; his mind was screaming at him, but his body had taken over, mindlessly performing the instinctive actions in an attempt to get this over with as soon as possible... but he was having a hard time ignoring the sparks of pleasure swirling up through him like embers from a woodfire, making incoherent noises fall from his mouth. Envy curled around the boy as it pounded into him, nuzzling the sweat-soaked golden hair out of its way and catching the back of his neck in its teeth like a breeding tomcat, muffling its own hungry cries in his flesh and blood, and the hand not wrenching on his arm slid around his rib cage to drag its nails across Ed's muscular chest, leaving burning red trails across his skin.

"N—No... !No!No!

Salty wetness poured down Ed's face from the corners of his eyes, from the heated slick of his skin, and it stuck his hair to his reddened cheeks, clumped his eyelashes; his brow furrowed and mouth opened in a pretty pink circle. His back bowed in and his hips pumped furiously as he came, crying out as though he was in more pain than pleasure from the act, voice wavering and thick with tears. Hohenhiem barked another rasping yell against the younger man's face, squeezing down on the liquidy heat that suddenly filled him, soothing some of the pain of his violation, though there was no balm for his aching heart.

Envy champed down harder on the flesh between his teeth, jaw flexing at it tried for a better grip and breath whistling as it pounded its last punishing strokes into Ed, indifferent to its toy's high-pitched squalls and weak thrashings as it shuddered and bucked in its own climax. It tossed its head, long dark hair spilling down its back, and it yowled gleefully; its grip on Ed's arm tightened for a moment, and he saw white for a moment, sure that the Sin was going to dislocate his shoulder... but then the hand holding him mercifully slid away, as did the weight crushing into his back and the invading length of its sex as Envy lolled bonelessly backward, gravity pulling it onto the floor. It laid still there, panting for breath and wearing a small pleased smile—its expression was odd, though, untainted by the smarminess or smugness that was almost Envy's trademark. The Sin looked strangely at peace, vulnerable even.

Edward crumpled forward, hissing as blood flowed back into his arm and trying to work the throbbing stiffness from it. He rolled away from Hohenhiem—who heaved a relieved sigh and twisted his chained hands in a wordless request to be set free—and off the bed, staggering a little as his legs readjusted to being unfolded and holding up his body. He reached down to snag the black wool coat from the floor; it took him longer than it should have to find the small silver keys, as his fingers were swollen and pins-and-needles numb. He wiped his tear-stained face against his own shoulder, wincing as the motion reminded him of the love-bites the homunculus had left in a like a ring of roses around his throat, and then he glared at the creature lying so contentedly on the floor.

The thing was humming. It was laying there on its back, nude but for the starlight bathing his slender form and the darker smears of blood and come on his groin and long legs, arms folded behind its head, tucked into its wild hair, and it was humming to itself, watching Ed with its slitted violet eyes and seemingly indifferent to his furious gaze and the keys dangling from his fingers. It was still smiling, even as it shifted its attention to the man still leashed to the bed.

"Knew who it was this time, didn't you?" it asked mildly, nothing more than simple curiosity evident in its tone, but the blow was sure and swift; Hohenhiem flinched, finally turning his head aside on the pillows, gritting his teeth. "I just wanted to make sure there were no misunderstandings," it continued, still quite calm, though more and more of its teeth were showing, gleaming white in the darkness.

Ed snarled and started toward the relaxing Sin. "You son of a bitch, how fucking dare you... ?"

"Edward." Hohenhiem interrupted him, holding out his chained wrists. "Forget about it. It just wants more attention; any kind of attention will do. Ignore it."

"Oh, you fucking bastard!" That finally provoked a real response from Envy, and it bounced to his feet, glowering indignantly, only to be floored again by a swinging steel limb cracking across its jaw, and then Ed tackled it, fully intent on throttling the life, unlife, or whatever else out of it while he had the advantage.

"Edward!" The elder Elric's voice snapped like a whip, driving the two adversaries to a brief halt. "I said to leave him alone. Envy's gotten what he wanted... " This caused the Sin to cock a thin brow up curiously, lips twisting in a sneer even as it lifted a hand to rub at the purple knot swelling on his face; it noted the unusual use of a personal pronoun and it wasn't sure how to respond to that kind of flattery. "Haven't you, Envy?" Hohenhiem leveled a flat, unamused bronze gaze at the homunculus.

Envy cocked his head to the side and grinned maliciously, wagging his finger at his creator, ignoring Ed as he crawled up onto the edge of the bed and unlocked the chains from his father's wrists. "Not yet, Dad," it shot back perversely. "You still haven't answered the question. You knew who was riding you like a cheap two dollar whore this time, didn't you?

"It was your son. Again." It laughed, clutching its slim stomach. "It's nice to see some consistency in your treatment of your children, you know."

"Get out!" Ed screamed, fully ready to try to fight the homunculus again despite his bone-crushing weariness, the injuries from every other entanglement with Envy, and the nausea rolling through his stomach. He was starting to shake from the shock, and the real impact of the night's events hadn't yet hit him... but it was lingering in the back of his mind like a hungry tiger, waiting for the right moment to pounce and begin shredding his vulnerable conscious. He twisted up from the bed, but was stopped by his father's hand on his prosthetic wrist and the small shake of the dark blonde head.

Hohenhiem's expression curdled slightly as he regarded Envy, and his clenched teeth were visible as his lips pulled back in disgust, and that was enough to make the Sin chuckle softly as he snagged his coat from the floor and slipped into it, rubbing at the growing goose-egg Ed had marked him with once more. It shrugged, then, as if the matter was of no importance, and strolled to the bedroom door.
It paused there, outlined in the dim lighting thrown up the stairs from the perpetually burning living room lamp. "Well," it said shortly. "I did say that if you behaved that I'd let you live through the night, and I must say that there's something satisfying knowing that the pair of you will be burdened by your human guilt from tonight for a long time, knowing that you'll be thinking about it over breakfast in the morning as you try to make friendly chatter with each other, knowing that it will haunt your minds at the worst possible times. Each accidental brush against the other will make the blood rise to your faces, and you'll be able to see the hurt and need and shame reflected in each other's eyes... " Envy paused, licking its lips, and then it shrugged again. "Yes, that's enough for me for now, but don't think for a moment that I'm done with you. I'll be back again. This was too much fun for me not to be." Envy grinned broadly and snapped off a saucy little salute; the previously unnoticed blood-red armband was nearly burgundy in the low lighting, but the black broken cross on the snow-white field showed up dark as a brand, dark as sin.

The symbol of the Reich.

Hohenhiem stared at the empty hallway for a long silent moment after the creature had gone, absently stroking his son's tangled hair and murmuring useless, comforting words to the trembling young man.

This was Gehenna, the hell on the outskirts of the Jerusalem from which they had been exiled and to which they could not return; those who challenged God were always punished, and there was no hope for redemption in this cruel, violent world, not now, when the rumblings of war shook the very foundations of the world, and there was a demon like a roaring lion walking to and fro on the face of the earth seeking to devour everyone and everything in his path... an angel fallen from grace into a personal Hell so complete that it knew nothing else but destruction and pain.

Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the Lamb make thee?

Hohenhiem shook the strange foreboding thoughts from his head and got up from the bed, muttering something to Ed about fetching bandages and ice, antiseptic and tea. He knew that he wouldn't sleep tonight, not after... This would not happen again, Hohenhiem thought, no matter how much power the homunculus gained in this world, no matter how cocky the damned thing was—its very pride would lead to its downfall. This would not happen again. He had plans to make. There was no rest for the wicked.