There were lines that should never be crossed and things one should never wish for, and sometimes even the best of intentions were not enough—sometimes, indeed, they meant nothing at all—and there were times that which is done in the spirit of repentance was more unforgivable than the sin itself.
Ed's chest hitched and his Adam's apple bobbed in his sore throat as he swallowed a bitter, despairing moan, and he raised his head to look across the dirty floor, wiping the grit sticking to the side of his face against his equally grungy shoulder, staring at the shining silver steel of his unattached limbs lying in the dust. His whole body shook from strain and he stank of sweat and blood; his face was shoved against the ground again, and he twisted in the strong grip of the one holding him, snarling and sobbing and half-choking on his own breath.
The fight had been knocked out of him hours ago in a ritualized waltz of flying fists and whirling kicks, of words more devastating than the physical attack—words which tore deep into him and stole his breath away, stripped his defenses away. His opponent wore him down steadily, smiling the whole while as he watched him with bright slitted eyes, playing him like a tomcat toying with a cornered rat; while not particularly patient, he didn't mind the dragged out duration of the fight—the eventual outcome was assured: Ed slowed down, bled, stumbled and shook from muscle fatigue—showed human weakness—and he did not, recovering from every wound the blond managed to inflict on him with a crazily broad grin, and he mocked Ed with this ability as he'd mocked him about everything else, every contemptuous word dripping from his lips a weapon.
The eventual outcome had been assured from the moment the fight had started, and they both had known it...but the fight itself was only the beginning formality, and Ed's defeat was not enough to satisfy either of them.
Once a cycle of abuse is initiated, it is all but impossible to break out of it. The human mind is hard-wired to seek out that which it is accustomed to, even—no, especially—if that that which it is used to is pain and suffering... It seeks out that which it understands in part because it is comfortable and familiar to it and in part in a misguided attempt to right the original wrong through the dim echoes of it in similar situations.
Envy had laughed when he knocked him over at last, falling on him like the predator he was, his fingers hooked into claws, and the homunculus stripped him bare savagely, exposing his bruised body and raking his eyes and hands both over it possessively, licking his lips; Ed shoved at him weakly with trembling hands, fighting back with a burst of adrenalin-fueled energy, but Envy pushed him down against the dirty floor carelessly, and, with a snort of annoyance, pulled at his automail arm with his inhuman strength until Ed screamed in agony and flailed under the port with his free hand for the release mechanism.
"Now the leg, Shorty," Envy had purred in a low, velvety voice after flinging the useless arm away from them and then leaning in to lap the salt-sweat from Ed's fingers, his tongue rough as a kitten's, and for a brief second, the alchemist considered resisting—stupidly, futilely resisting—but then he exhaled sharply, breathing a jagged "Fuck you" into the Sin's face, and reached to detach his other steel limb.
Envy laughed again.
Penance was personal and, to those who did not understand it, completely irrational; didn't life punish sinners enough without them actually seeking out more and actively embracing mortification of the flesh? What deep-rooted psychological problems drove one to the complete inability to forgive one's own self, to move forward out of the past, and at what point did the self-flagellation preformed out of a desperate need for atonement and absolution become nothing more than an addiction to masochistic masturbation?
Ed could not justify his actions to himself anymore, much less imagine trying to explain them to his younger brother were Al to ever find out about this.
The Sin had flipped him over as though he weighed nothing at all and one sharp, bony elbow pressed down between his shoulders, forcing his nose down until Ed saw sparks drift across his vision from a lack of air, and he'd kicked the alchemist's thighs apart negligently, settling between them and lifting Ed's hips up onto his own legs, rubbing against him lewdly. He used his own strange non-blood as lubrication during these affairs—Ed knew this because Envy had told him once before, gleefully whispering into his ear as the blond bounced on his lap that he was being fucked with infinite wasted human lives—coating his slender fingers in the heavy, slippery fluid and then sliding them into Ed slowly, painting his sensitive skin with the red-water tainted liquid and snickering as his toy writhed against its burn.
He savored the way Ed's skin flushed under its tan and under the dark bruises blooming from their earlier fight, teasing him as he pulled his fingers almost completely free and rubbed the pads of them against the sensitive, nerve-rich opening and then soothing him with gentle caresses that probed deeper and skirted the spot he knew would make the blond really squirm. This was as much of a game as the fight itself, though it didn't last nearly as long; Envy didn't have the patience to deny himself the pleasure of the warm human body for too long before he wrapped both hands around Ed's slim hips and leaned over to drive himself into the boy in a quick smooth motion.
He spoke as he thrust, his voice soft and laced with venom; he knew Ed's emotional vulnerabilities even better than he knew his body, and there was nothing more rich than fucking the boy over both ways at once, grinding his arrogant nose into the floor with each forward rock and reminding him of the monstrosity that he'd made of the mother he'd loved so much...but no, he giggled, it wasn't even for the love of his mother that he fell from grace, was it? Envy knew better. No, Ed's real sin had been simple hubris and, oh yes, something else that made this ironic, something which made the Sin's cock twitch and his pace quicken...Ed's own inescapable envy of the famous genius father who'd abandoned him.
Nothing was sacred to Envy; his amused androgynous voice fell around Ed like a rain of knives as he pounded into him, tearing up everything and taking malicious joy in every shiver he managed to provoke from the blond. He whispered savagely cutting words of use and abuse in the military, wondering aloud how Ed explained the marks of his "penance" to his colonel in the stifling hush of abandoned offices when the older man traced over his subordinates' finely-built body, kissing the scratches and bruises with sensual lips and murmuring laughable words of protection and love as he, too, took his turn violating the blond...and though he felt guilty lusting after a boy half his age, he was able to turn a blind eye and console himself with the false premise that their relationship was acceptable—no, mutual—because Ed never said actually said the word no.
"I've watched, Ed," he purred smugly, "He's sweet to you, and though you grumble about it, you never fight and always come for him like a good little boy...but you can't stomach it, can you? You play along because you need the information he gives you, afraid that denying him will shut you off from the clues you so desperately seek for your precious brother, and maybe you've managed to even convince yourself that it's not that bad—just close your eyes and play along and it doesn't even hurt; it doesn't bother you; it can't touch that core of determination deep inside of you and what does it matter anyway, this use of your body?...your brother's body suffered the ultimate rape because of you and your pride, so it's fitting to pay with your flesh for what you need to get his back, isn't it? Oh, such a noble and self-sacrificing older brother! And no one needs to know how you slide out of your colonel's arms hating yourself more than you think you can stand, hating the way the burn of his kisses haunts your skin and hating the fondness of his lingering touch, hating him for the way he can't understand that you can't shake the feeling that you are unworthy and you wish to God that he'd just hurt you and call you out, call you the sinner that you are. No one needs to know that you stagger away afterward to vomit yourself dry and sometimes use the ammunition closets because you can't make it to an empty bathroom.
"And I love the way you lie to your brother, never letting on that anything's wrong. You suck it up and take it for the team all the time in so many ways, you little whore, but you know that nothing can ever make up for what you've done to he whom you love most, and you know that you're too debauched to ever lay a hand on his real body in good conscious even if by chance you do manage to succeed, don't you?
"I love your dirty little secrets, Ed... And you should know by now that you can't hide things from me." Envy nipped at the skin between the alchemist's shoulder blades, drawing both blood and a hoarse, sobbing groan from him. The fingers of his hand dug at the hard floor until his nails broke, and Envy rolled his eyes in the pleasure of Ed's body tensing up and squeezing his cock. His thrusts became faster, careless and edging on frantic, and though he knew he had to be hurting the boy, his human toy arched under him, gasping wildly. "'S why you'll always come back to me, come back to this. I see through you. I give you what you want."
If a person's pain threshold is sufficiently high, the pleasure derived from the endorphins it releases may outweigh the normal discomfort, even to the point of literal addiction, and that prolonged and repeated exposure to pain both blurs the boundaries between self and the tormentor and simultaneously makes the victim crave individual instances of pain as a reminder of their own distinctive identity and personhood.
Ed sometimes wasn't sure if the voice he heard was actually Envy's or if it was that of his own guilty conscious.
Sometimes he wasn't sure if the distinction really even mattered.
Envy gathered his legs under himself and unexpectedly jerked away from Ed, and the blond warbled another groan, sounding painfully disappointed. The homunculus grabbed his shoulder roughly; his fingers grated against the edges of metal on the exposed port and pinched the raw ends of nerve connections, and Ed gave a short shriek, his head dropping and lolling limply for a second—long enough for Envy to roll him easily over onto his back—before he regained consciousness, his heavy lashes fluttering up to reveal a vague and unfocused gaze.
The Sin straddled Ed's belly, his pale thighs splayed out around his torso, long fingers caressing his chest, drawing cool wispy trails in the sticky layer of sweat-soaked dirt covering him, and then he rocked back on his heels, grinning as he felt the blond's cock stir interestedly against the curve of his buttocks. He gave a little teasing wiggle of encouragement.
"Give and take, Shorty. Give and take." A shiver worked its way through Ed's body, and he turned his face away, biting at his lower lip, and Envy chuckled, twisting his hips and rubbing the alchemist full hardness. His hand dropped to his own red-strained erection and slowly stroked; it wasn't fair for Ed to be the passive victim...no, no. He had to be an active participant in his own repentance. "This isn't just about you, remember? I get what I want out of this, too..."
Envy slid down on Ed's cock easily, his shifting body morphing around the hard organ in ripples that made Ed's back involuntarily bow up off the floor as he pushed up into the pleasurable sensation, submitting completely to simple hedonistic enjoyment. It wasn't like he even had a choice anymore...no, he never had from the beginning, had he? He wasn't sure anymore; the boundaries between willing and unwilling, torment and temptation, decision and destiny had shifted, blurred, inversed themselves, and finally dissolved.
"Yes..." Ed's eyes opened wider, great glassy pools of gold lit up from within as though the sun shone up through the bottom, over-bright in the darkening room, and despite the earlier abuse and the fatigue settling deep within his muscles—or maybe because of it—he began to pump up into the Sin in earnest. His head rolled back against the floor as he threw himself whole-heartedly into this effort, grinding his teeth and gutturally growling.
Envy thought that he'd never looked more beautiful.
The homunculus sucked a useless breath into his dead lungs, leaning back on Ed until his long hair tickled them both, and he rode his blond toy eagerly, meeting his hard thrusts with skillful jerks of his own hips, panting broken, unintelligible weapons of words still, though clearly Ed was beyond hearing or making sense of them and he himself was beyond forming them into coherent sentences.
"Sinner..." he hissed suddenly, and it was like the breaking of a dam under flood waters: Ed bucked up with a sharp cry, his fingers scrabbling at the ground, his body convulsing violently as his orgasm twisted through him, wringing him out, and Envy ground down against Ed's groin in response, snarling the word over and over as he flexed and tightened around his twitching cock, milking him for all he could get out of him before a shuddering jolt wracked down his own spine and exploded in his belly and he spilled warm and wet over his own hand.
The whispered word seemed to hang in the humid air like smoke, and Ed's breath caught in his throat, tangled in a low moan. What wasted, futile effort! In the end, his repentance was ephemeral—as useless and foolish as chasing the wind; even when it seemed he'd caught up with it at last, it slipped between his grasping fingers, laughing at his pains and taunting him into another attempt, slowly exhausting him.
There were lines that should never be crossed and things that should never happen; there were times that which was done in a fumbling attempt for atonement was more unforgivable than the sin itself.
The road to hell was paved with the very best of intentions.