scimitarsmile

Menu

chauni

Between Pluto and God

chapter 5.

The following three weeks had been lonely, quiet in the
little apartment, leaving Edward to mill about in the silence of living alone.
Envy hadn't come home, hadn't shown his face; oh, why would he have done that?
Why would he have come back to a place where everyone hated him, back to a place
with his dreaded enemy, why, why, why? Ed kicked a shoe that had been lying
at the door, hanging his head. He didn't want to admit the worry that had sunk
into his bones, that the painful way the rickety building settled at the deepest
point of the night would wake him up. It gave him too much time to think, to
dream of Al back home, sitting there alone without anyone to watch out for him
(Winry, Auntie, they didn't count, they couldn't do it in the same way that
he could). He didn't want to admit that the anger had ebbed a few days after
the new human left, didn't want to admit that sanity had eased its way back
to the forefront of his mind, had broken down the barriers in the way.

He didn't want to admit forgiveness.

Even Niels Bohr wasn't cutting it at the moment.

Making tea had filled the emptiness (especially tea with
a dash of some Russian drink that the neighbors had imported called "vodka"),
and now it was filling that same emptiness when there was a resounding knock
on the door. The golden head jerked up while he grabbed a towel and pulled the
whistling pot from the burner, turning it off before he ran towards the door.

About time that idiot had come home! About time that asshole
came home to apologize! Throwing open the door, he yelled, "What took you so
long? Did you get lost?"

"Hello to you, too, Edward."

The alchemist took a step back, deeper into the room, his
chin tilting up a little at the unexpected parent standing in the doorway. Hohenheim's
hair was pulled back into the typical loose tail at the nape of his neck, the
immaculate clothes drawn over his body while the long, brown overcoat was draped
over his arms. His lips were curved into a small smile as he walked into the
flat, closing the door gently behind him.

"What are you doing here?" Edward shot, his steps
loud as he stomped his way into the makeshift kitchen. Was that disappointment
he was feeling? Was that... sadness? "I thought it was too dangerous for you
here."

Hohenheim dropped the coat onto the cot off to the right
of the main room, before taking a seat on the edge. His smile relaxed as he
saw the books, the blueprints, the way they were picked through, the pages dog-eared.
"I hadn't seen Envy in quite some days. I thought I had better make certain
that he hadn't killed you, you know."

"So kind of you." Forgoing the special ingredient in light
of current company, Edward brought out two mugs filled with tea, handing one
to his father before taking a seat on the opposite, undisturbed cot that had
long since gone cold. "What were you doing watching my home, anyway? Are you
some kind of pervert?"

Hohenheim neatly choked on the sip of tea he had indulged
in, one dark blonde eyebrow arched. "Pervert? No! I was just protecting my investment."
He was almost afraid to ask. "Investment?"

"If he killed you," he explained, "who would make those
lovely fried cheese and onion sandwiches for me?"

Hohenheim ducked the book that narrowly missed his head,
trying to hand out a peace offering grin and receiving only a glare in return.
He resolved himself to leaving the banter alone; his son was apparently not
in any sort of mood to battle wits and sarcasm back and forth. "Where did he
go?" came the inevitable question, and he tried to ignore the wince/sulk/glare
package that it earned him.

"Dunno. Don't care."

And Hohenheim knew better, knew better to take that from
anyone, but even more from his own son. Something had happened. Something big.
"Edward, if you need to talk..."

Amber eyes shot up, near glaring in their narrowed slits.
"About what? I already told you nothing was wrong, an—"

"No, you didn't."

"Shut up!"

And that was the cue for silence. Hohenheim found something
interesting at the bottom of the mug, and the only way to get to it was to drink
through all the tea that was hiding it from him. Edward pulled his feet onto
the bed, toes curling over the edge as his thighs were tight against his narrow
chest, chin resting on his knees. The warm mug was limply held between his fingers,
tipping enough to threaten the brown liquid within the depths.

Silence was a wicked queen, and the usurper was Hohenheim's
delicate clearing of a sweet throat, before casual words dripped in.

"So, about that cheese and oni—"

The older man barely had enough time to duck out of the
way of the flying cup, tea arching through the air like a smoggy rainbow. "Go
to—"

"YOU!"

Head's swiveled, turning to gaze at the figure in the doorway,
at the open doorway. But, but it had been closed before, Edward had heard
it, Hohenheim remembered doing it, and now, now, this person was standing in
the portal, staring with betrayed, flaming eyes, knuckles white as they gripped
the molding. Knees were shaking, apparent even beneath the loose brown pants,
and heavy boots slowly stomped their way inside.

Dark eyes were forming slits, easing down to near nothing
amid the rage, the betrayal. His small chin tipped up, high up, while the dark
strands of hair slithered down his back, lying lightly against the gray coat
which was brushing the back of his knees. "You said you didn't know where he
was, shorty," Envy hissed, slamming the door shut behind him. "You said you
hadn't seen him. Yet, here you are, having tea. How...quaint. Familiar."

Edward didn't wait to see if the old man moved, didn't
bother with trying to protect him; Hohenheim was strong enough to do it on his
own as far as he was concerned. He, meanwhile, uncurled his legs, lept to his
feet, and sprinted the few paces that it was to where Envy stood, his knuckles
white with his anger. His fingers, metal and flesh alike, curled around the
other's narrow shoulders, trying to restrain him, trying to calm him, trying...trying
to say...to say...

"What are you doing here?!" Ed yelled, his face close to
Envy's. "Where have you been?!"

Envy's hands rose, slamming against the ones pinning him,
and he threw Edward back a few steps, an act that brought a bit of satisfaction
to the sin's eyes. "Don't have the nerve to ask me that! Don't have the nerve
to act like you give a damn when you've been hiding him, dammit! When
you lied to me, betrayed me!"

Hohenheim rose to his feet, facing his creations with something
akin to dismay, to sadness. His hands spread, he shook his head, the golden
tail swinging like tails of comets. "Please, li—"

"Shut up, old man," came the unified scream, and
defeated, the father took his seat once more on the bed, bending forward to
clean up pieces of the cup that Edward had thrown at him.

"Let me pass, shorty," Envy growled, his hand finding the
cloaked depths of his pocket and pulling forth a kitchen knife he had swiped
from the downstairs office on his lonely way up those steps. "Let me finish
this! I've waited a lifetime for it; I've earned it!"

Golden eyes widened at the gleam of the weapon, but evened
as they drew up to Envy's hard gaze. One metal arm shifted up, ready to protect
himself if it came to it. "Death isn't something you earn!"

"Well, I suppose you earn your own death the day you're
bo—"

"Shut up, old man!" came another united scream,
and Hohenheim couldn't help the little smile at how much alike they were. Probably
not the most important of thoughts when one was someone here to kill him, but
it was amusing nonetheless.

Envy tried to dodge around the golden boy, but was blocked
again. Frustration bled from every pore, permeating the air with its tension.
"Let me by! Let me fix what he did to both of us!" Edward looked back at his
father, at the man who sat there, who had come to make sure that his cheese
and onion sandwiches wouldn't be something of the past, and sighed as he turned
towards Envy once more. It was...his father. Regardless of what he thought,
what he felt. Regardless of the past and the yellowed memories of pain. Regardless
of abandonment and loneliness. "I can't," he whispered. "I can't, Envy."

There was no more talking, not when his prize was so close,
not when it was all within reach; this was the moment for action alone. The
knife swiped down, sparking on the metal of one upturned arm, a shower of small
meteors that faded away into oblivion. Edward shoved him back a few steps, but
that was nothing more than a momentary jarring as Envy jumped forward once more,
pushing that knife down forward, into that automail arm. Another set of sparks
danced into the air, along with the broken tip of the weapon.

Envy stared at it for a moment, like all the hopes and
dreams that he had were gone with that little sliver of steel, before looking
at the creator, the Him, the one who did this all to him. The world blurred
while colors ran together from the aggravation, from the pain and the hate and
the...the...

He dodged around Edward in a blur, pouncing onto the bed
while hands slammed Hohenheim back onto the cot. Fingers tightened around the
other's throat, squeezing, dipped into flesh, bruising it, purpling it. His
lips were screwed up into a painful rendition of a smirk while his eyes flared
with their burning tears.

"I won't let you do it to me again," he hissed. "I won't
let you leave me again!"

Hohenheim's hand found his forgotten tea mug as the pain
in his throat was getting the better of him, making the world fizzle, fade.
If he died, he knew he deserved it, knew he should have so long ago, but it...it
wasn't time. Not now. Not now, no, no, no. Not when his son needed him.
Fingers curled around their purchase, and he swung his arm up, up and somewhere,
some place that was brighter. He could hear the connection against his attacker's
skull, the hard, dull strike and the shattering of the ceramic, the rain of
sharp edges down on his hand.

He could still see Envy smirking at him, the blood running
down his face and mingling with the tears, with those lips as they chanted their
mantra. "Never again, father. Never again!"

Strong mismatched hands found the new-human's shoulders,
yanking him off the creator, pulling him out of reach. Hohenheim rolled onto
his side, wheezing heavily, hands cushioning the blackened throat as his cheeks
faded from blue to a harsh red. Envy wriggled and writhed in Ed's grip, trying,
trying to finish the job, trying to finish what was started so long ago, dammit!

"Let me go! Please! Please! It'll make the voices stop!
It'll—"

The whisper at his ear was soft, was kind and almost pitiful.
"No. I can't. Understand that, please." Strong hands moved from the shoulders
to the waist, wrapping around it like a hug, and maybe that was what it was,
for the sin stopped his struggling and fell loose in the group.

"Don't deny me this," he pleaded. "It's all I ask, Edward."

His name. His name on wet, bloody lips. Edward turned his
face away, his lips in the long, dark hair. "I'm sorry. I can't."

Envy fell forward, his eyes closed, his head shaking back
and forth. "How can you do this to me? How can you, of all people—"

"There he is!"

Ed's head jerked up, along with Envy's, and even Hohenheim's
eyes glittered with something akin to curiosity among the wheezing and struggling
breaths. Men of green uniforms, of military rank and stern faces, filed into
the room with storming steps. They didn't stop until ten men had filled the
room and the hallway, threatening to break the edges, and the policeman from
the jail incident some time ago headed the awaiting group. Are you sure,
he had asked, and Edward had said yes.

He was still sure, he was slowly finding.

"That's the one," the officer said, pointing at Envy who
had turned in those arms, poor Envy who stared with confused eyes.

We weren't that loud, were we? Ed briefly wondered
before letting go of the sin and standing between him and the strangers. What
a mess they must have looked like, with Envy's face a half-mask of blood, his
own body creaking with metal, and Hohenheim lying on the bed, disheveled and
bruised. Not that it mattered; this was their business and no one had a right
to intrude.

"What are you doing here?" Edward asked, backing up a pace.

The cold eyes of unknown men found Envy as he peered over
Edward's shoulder. "We checked your credentials and address after we released
you from jail; no one has ever heard of you. Until we can find documentation
of where you are from, 'Envy', we will be taking you into the custody of the
German army under the charge of spy and immigration laws. Please come willingl—"

"No!" Edward yelled, his head shaking even as Envy laughed
a little under his breath. "No, you don't understand! You can—"

"This isn't up for discussion," a soldier said, before
waving the men over. They flanked the duo, two of them tearing Edward away from
Envy, grabbing him by the arms and dragging him towards the bed. Slamming the
alchemist down onto the mattress by the waist, they pinned his natural arm high
on his back, high until it was near up to his shoulderblades, threatening to
break it. He cried out, cried out, even as he heard a few of the soldiers get
knocked back by Envy, heard their crashing into walls and floors alike.

But even Envy was finally captured, was pulled by arms
and bound, his yells cracking as they bounced throughout the small room. "Don't
let them take me! Don't let me lose him yet, shorty! Don't let me lose
yo—"

"Let him go!" Edward screamed, kicking before he felt a
fist connect to the back of his head and the world went dark.