velvet mace


chapter 5.

The blond drew up a map of the house with strong, sure strokes, then began marking it up with dozens of circles. "I think this is everything, but I might have missed a few." Edward lifted the pencil and tucked it behind his ear. "We did these so long ago, it's hard to remember, and Greed installed some of them when we weren't around, but I think this is most of them. Probably. I hope." The boy was babbling.

Roy couldn't blame him. He was tempted to babble, too. Only, what would come out of his mouth was something on the line of: "I'm so sorry. I just fucked up. Greed hurt you so badly and I've just made things worse and I'll find someway to protect you somehow and oh, God, I can't believe I just fucked a little boy." But even though his mind was racing in circles, he kept his mouth shut.

Ed stood up from the desk and handed him the map. "Do you—want me to stay? Or shall I leave." Ed's eyes were on the floor.

"I think I'd sleep better if I were alone," said Roy. Truthfully, he wondered if he'd even be able to sleep at all, his stomach felt so queasy. The boy obediently stood up and grabbed his clothes.

Roy felt a sudden jolt of adrenaline. "Wait—you said you'd tell me the best way out of here. I need to get this note back as soon as possible."

Ed looked up and met his eyes. God, how can pain look so beautiful, it wasn't right. "I suggest you eat that note, Roy. Really. Or tear it up and flush it. Don't even try to leave. If you do everything Greed tells you to, and you do your job well, maybe he won't punish you too hard when we get to Xing and he finds out you lied to him. If you make yourself really useful, and really—pleasant—he might even forgive you."

No way. There was absolutely NO WAY he would ever do such a thing. Roy was not some beaten teen; he was an experienced military man, a powerful alchemist and a leader. Pandering to that monster out of fear was unthinkable. In fact, the next time he met Greed, he vowed his gloves would be on, and immortal or not, the creature WOULD go down.

"I WILL get you out of here, Ed," Roy said. "I promise. Things are not as dire as you think."

Ed just closed his eyes. His face smoothed, but Roy knew it was with resignation not relief.

He prodded again. "You promised you'd tell me how you escaped."

"No," said Ed. His eyes opened and looked at Roy very sadly. "I never said that. But if you are going to try to escape, I suggest you find an excuse to leave the building. Any excuse. Then when you are out the door, run like hell. Maybe if you are quick enough you'll get away." He sighed. "But this is pointless, because you WON'T get away. I really wish you wouldn't try."

Suddenly, Roy felt Ed's arms around him again. "I'm sorry. It's my fault you are in this trouble. I was being selfish. Greed loves me, and I shouldn't spurn him like this. Al was right, we will always belong to him. I should just accept it already. Now you are involved, and I hope you can forgive me."

Roy pulled the kid away, carefully, because he didn't want to hurt the child's feelings, but firmly, because Ed's touch reminded him too much of the sin he'd just committed. The memory of their lovemaking made Roy's skin crawl.

"You do NOT belong to him," said Roy firmly. "And you are not selfish. Don't feel guilty for getting me involved—this is my job, Ed. I can take care of myself." he smiled, because it was true. "You just worry about yourself for now. I'll be back with the rescue party soon. Until then, hang in there."

Ed gave a weak laugh. "Yeah, I'll do that." He dressed quietly and then left.

Roy took a shower, and scrubbed himself roughly and thoroughly. The dirt and fluids rinsed away quickly enough, but try as he might, he couldn't wash away his self disgust. The night kept replaying in his mind like a skipping record. The touch, the taste, the feel of the boy's skin under his hands, the tightness and warmth around his sex. It was wrong, but it had felt so good. He hadn't wanted to do it, but he had, and he really had no one to blame but himself.

No, that wasn't true. This was Greed's fault. Roy thought of the purple eyes, slit like a snake's. The sharp row of teeth, the way the thing's head had reassembled itself. He was a monster, in every sense of the word. A monster straight out of childhood nightmares.

I'm not fifteen, thought Roy. I should not be afraid of the boogieman. I will not be his victim, and I won't let those children be his victims either. I will destroy him. I will burn him until he's ash. I will burn him until even the ash is gone.

Find an excuse to leave the house and run, that was Ed's half-hearted advice. Yes, he'd do that, but he wouldn't be running from Greed. He'd be running TO Hughes, to get this information in the Lt. Colonel's hot hands as fast as possible.

As he thought of that, the world finally seemed to straighten out. He shut off the water and dried himself, then slipped between the slippery sheets. Even though he was certain he would never sleep in Greed's house, he did, and his dreams were full of cleansing flame.

"Wake up, Mr. Roy."

Roy's eyes flew open. He was sleeping naked under slippery sheets in a strange, cavernous room. He turned and saw Greed standing at the side of the bed, smiling. Roy's flesh prickled all over and his stomach lurched. "I—" said Roy. "What time is it?"

"Almost eight in the morning. Breakfast will be served soon," Greed sniffed the air and Roy felt even more exposed. How good was this creature's sense of smell? Could he sense what Roy had done? "Did you have a pleasant night?" Greed's smile was suggestive.

Roy blushed and clutched the sheets, wishing they weren't so thin and wishing he'd put his clothes back on. The fabric clung to him like skin, revealing the curves of his muscles, even the tuft of pubic hair around his sex was clearly defined. He had never felt more vulnerable in his life. It was an ugly feeling. "It was fine," Roy managed. "I'd like to get dressed."

Greed's grin broadened. "But of course. I'll leave you alone. Breakfast will be in fifteen minutes. Don't be late." Then he left.

Roy let out a sigh of relief, but not trusting that the homunculus would stay gone, he quickly shrugged on his clothes. He slipped his hand into the pocket and felt the reassuring presence of both the glove and the note.

Breakfast, and then I'll make my break. Just a few more minutes, I can hold out for that.

The meal was elaborate and varied. Potatoes cooked with spiced meat and fresh herbs, eggs scrambled with cheese and mushrooms, sausages and bacon, toast and jam, blueberry muffins still warm from the oven. The same group as the night before gathered about the table. Ed and Al ate with amazing appetites, downing large portions and moving in for seconds. Roy took a sample of each dish and moved them about on his plate. His stomach informed him that it was on strike and he was in no mood to argue with it.

"You aren't eating," remarked Greed, disapprovingly.

"I'm not much of a breakfast person," he said.

"It's the most important meal of the day," said Greed. "And I don't believe in starving my employees. Do eat." There was no threat in his voice, and yet Roy knew that this wasn't a suggestion.

Roy took a bite of the muffin. It was sweet, light and absolutely mouthwatering, and it went down his throat like a jagged rock. Greed nodded.

I'm jumping through his hoops now, Roy realized. Just like the others. I'm cowed. He found himself again wishing he had NOT asked for Ed the night before. Not only hadn't he saved the boy, he'd squandered his own innocence.

Perhaps Ed was wrong. Nothing in the negotiations the night before suggested Greed had any unnatural interest in Roy. Perhaps the teen was merely infecting him with his own paranoia. Perhaps leaving was as simple as just shaking hands and walking out the door. It was a hope.

In any case, Roy had had enough. He had to get out of here while he still had some shred of dignity left. He pressed his napkin against his lips and cleared his voice. "Thank you so much for your hospitality, Greed. I will inform my patron of how well I was treated. Now, I think I need to go."

"Oh, but we haven't time for that," said Greed surprised. "I thought you understood the time pressures. I will need your help as soon as breakfast is over. You do remember agreeing to work for me, don't you?"

"I said I'd help you with your transition to Xing," said Roy, feeling a stirring of panic. "And I will, but there is something I need to do."

"What is that?" asked Greed.

Ed was the only person at the table not looking at him. Roy felt uncomfortably conspicuous. "There are some things that I left back at my hotel. I need to fetch them."

Greed seemed to relax. "Of course. Of course, go fetch your things. Martel, be a dear and help Mr. Roy carry his belongings back here. We are short on time, so make sure you don't dawdle."

Roy swallowed and looked over at Martel. She was extremely pretty. Even the tattoo that curled over her shoulder and up to her face seemed to heighten her beauty rather than detract from it. Roy would never have guessed that she was a chimera. Under ordinary circumstances, he would have been pleased to have her company, and would have used the time to flirt. But not now.

"I'm sure she has more important things to do, I will be quick," said Roy.

"Not at all," said Greed, his violet eyes narrowing suspiciously. "I insist."

Roy swallowed and nodded. Ed was right, but he hoped that running would not actually be necessary. He hadn't run FROM something in many years.

Martel pushed away her food and stood up, immediately ready. "Shall we go?"

Roy nodded.

Ed finally looked his way, but those beautiful amber eyes were reserved, and whatever the boy's thoughts were, he hid them well.

"I'll be back," Roy said directly to him.

"I know," said Ed.

Martel took him out a different way than he'd come in. Above the door was another of those dangerous sigils. Roy cleared his mind as best he could. How finely triggered was that array? Could emotions themselves be enough to set it off? He tried not to betray his feelings as he walked beneath it, but found that he was holding his breath when he reached the other side.

Roy stepped out onto the pavement, feeling giddy with relief. He was out. Free. If he never returned, that would be JUST FINE with him. He continued walking, feeling his body grow lighter with every step he took.

Martel matched his stride.

"I don't have a lot of things," said Roy. "It's really unnecessary that you come with me."

"I have my orders, sir," she said.

He continued to walk. He couldn't have Martel following him back to Headquarters; they would need the maximum amount of surprise for the raid. He had to ditch her. If she'd been a normal woman, he wouldn't be worried, but he had no idea what her capabilities were. Ed said she could uncoil like a snake—What on earth did that mean?

The streets were sparsely populated at this time of day, but he could stand it no more. As soon as he had an audience of more than one person, he did exactly what he vowed he wouldn't. He ran fast as his legs would take him.

Martel easily caught up to him. He felt her hand seize his shoulder, pushing him against the brick wall of a building with bruising force. She held him pinned with ridiculous ease. "Sir, I suggest we return to the house."

Roy looked around, his witnesses were staring in his direction, but that didn't seem to have any effect on her. He tried to escape her grip, but her strength was amazing—far stronger than it should have been.

Chimera. Monster. Of course, she would be strong and fast. But he had a trump card as well.

She grabbed his upper arm and started pulling him back towards the house. "Let's go," she said in an icy voice.

Roy pushed his hand in his pocket and slid the glove on one handed with practiced ease. He then pulled his hand out and snapped.

Martel went up in flame. She screamed and let go, batting at her hair and skin. Roy didn't hesitate; he ran madly down the first ally he came to, then up the next street, over a fence and down the other side, through a back yard and out again. People stared at him as he ran, but he wasn't taking any more chances. He kept going until fifteen minutes later, he dared take a breath.

He spotted a public phone and dropped a coin in it, dialing the number with shaking fingers. "I need a car to pick me up." It took him a moment to figure out where he was. "Be quick." Though his heart hammered and he jumped whenever he saw someone come into view, Martel never appeared. He had lost her. He was free.

Maes Hughes looked at the map and whistled. "That's pretty deadly. In fact, I think it might be just a bit too deadly. You said they were planning on bugging out? They know about our investigation?"

"I don't think they know about the investigation," said Roy. "But Greed suspects there will be one. I know the place is deadly, but we need to move fast. I don't want to leave those boys in there any longer than I have to."

"You say they are geniuses."

"Greed thinks they are. I know they must be powerful alchemists to have created those original arrays. Greed claims they are Hohenheim's children, and I don't doubt him."

Hughes eyes widened. "Is he still alive? I didn't realize he had children."

"I don't think anyone had, but Greed." Roy sipped his tea. It was course and bitter compared to the tea he'd been served in Greed's house, but nonetheless it tasted marvelous. "Those poor children are being abused physically, emotionally and—" Roy's voice caught a moment. "Sexually." He suddenly vividly remembered the feel of Ed's mouth on his cock. Roy squirmed uncomfortably, trying to shake the thought from his head.

"That's no good. Listen, Roy." Hughes looked concerned. "Are YOU ok?"

Damn, Hughes was perceptive. "I wasn't expecting it to be as tough an assignment as it turned out to be, but yes, I'm fine."

"Hmmm," Hughes didn't seem convinced. "You know you can talk to me, and if you saw something that disturbed you, it would probably be a good idea that I know."

Oh, it probably would be, but there was no way, absolutely no way Roy could tell him that he'd been emotionally coerced into a sexual act by a child half his age. A child who only came up to his chin, and that even after a shower, he still felt dirty. That he hated himself.

Hughes sighed after a moment and crossed his arms. "So is this everything?"

"I'll type up a report as soon as I get to my office," said Roy. "But I figured you'd want the gist as soon as possible."

"Hmmm, you are right," said Hughes. "Looking at this, I'm not sure I can justify a raid of the building. Not everyone can control their thoughts as well as you can, it may be better to observe and then catch them when they run."

Roy agreed, glad to move the discussion off in another direction. "It will be soon. Greed seemed to be in a hurry."

Hughes' brows descended again. "Listen, Roy, the way you got away this morning. Do you think you could be in danger?"

Roy shook his head. "I can take care of myself, Maes."

"Well, don't loose your gloves."

"I don't intend to."

There was no time to go back to the house and change, even though his clothes were not proper, Roy had things to do. Not only did he have the report to write for Maes, but he had paperwork a mile high of his own. He had not expected to stay the night at Greed's. Hawkeye would not be pleased with him.

He hurried to his office, passing the rest of his men in the outer office. They stirred and stared in surprise by his lack of uniform, but he gave them a look that made them all scramble back to their jobs. All but 1st Leuitenant Hawkeye, anyway. She would not be put off by mere intimidating eye contact.

"You are late." She looked him up and down. "And out of uniform, sir."

Roy spun on her, ready to lay in with uncharacteristic fury. The pent up emotion of the day was ready to spill out and he was in no mood to be lectured like a naughty child over paperwork and a uniform. Useless, trivial things. He met Hawkeye's glare with his own and she did something she had NEVER done before.

She backed off, her eyes widening and softening.

For a moment, the light brown of her eyes looked almost golden, and her face became eerily like that of Edward's. The parallel took Roy's breath away and he stumbled back, blood leaving his face.

"Sir?" she said. "Are you alright?"

Roy put a hand out on the nearest piece of furniture, the edge of a filing cabinet, and steadied himself. He forced his features into their typical reserve, and drew himself back up.

"Are you sick?" she asked.

Hawkeye would grill him if he gave her half an opportunity. "No, I'm fine. I didn't get as much sleep as I'd like last night, but other than that I'm fine. I was doing a favor for Hughes, a little undercover work, that's why the lack of uniform."

She already knew this information. In fact, she had known about the undercover work before he had, because that was the sort of person she was. "I was under the impression that it would take you only a few hours to do."

"It turned out to be a far more complicated job than anyone expected. I ended up staying the night. Now, if you don't mind, I need to get to my work. I'd like to be able to knock off early and catch up on my sleep."

Hawkeye relaxed. "Of course."

For once, Roy was glad for the paperwork. It took up his attention, without actually requiring much thought. Time went by quickly, to the monotonous clack of the typewriter. Not only did he have today's paperwork, but he had a goodly amount left over from the day before. Between that and the report he'd promised Hughes, it was nearly seven p.m. by the time he finished.

He handed Hughes' report to Hawkeye. "Please drop this by his office on your way out," he said. He didn't want to meet Hughes again. He was all questioned out for the moment. What he needed was food and sleep and it was a toss up which one came first.

She took the report, but then hesitated. "Is there anything you want to talk about, sir?"

"Nothing. Really. I'll see you tomorrow, in uniform and on time." Aside from the chase, the day had been so crushingly normal that Roy's heart was somewhat at ease. He found that he could mostly forget the night before, and the notion that Greed would actually desire to enslave him seemed utterly absurd.

Roy thought back over his conversations with Greed, and was more certain that the possessive looks over breakfast were merely figments of his own paranoia, spurred on by Edward's dire predictions. The kid could have been lying. The kid was probably disturbed, living in that household. Who knew how accurate anything he said was.

Roy covered his face. He hoped at least SOME of what Ed had told him was the truth, because he'd based his report on what the child had said to him. It made his stomach ache.

Sleep. Definitely, that would come first. Food could wait. In the morning, when he was well rested, he would be able to examine the situation more clearly.

His normal driver picked him up and took him the normal route back to his house. Roy picked the mail out of the box like every other day, then stepped up the cement path with long strides.

Roy put his key in the lock and turned, reassured by the click of the lock. He stepped in and closed the door, dropping the mail and his key in a basket. He touched his chest to undo his coat, then stopped and laughed, feeling the tank top under his fingers.

I REALLY must be tired.

Still chuckling he walked into the kitchen. A glass of water and an aspirin, that's what he needed. A drink and then straight to bed.

He put one foot on the linoleum floor and froze. Adrenaline hit his bloodstream before his mind could process the scene. His gloves were on his hands, and without a trace of hesitation he snapped.

Through the flame he could see the outline of a man. The outline walked calmly across the room with steady steps.

Roy's eyes were huge, he was concentrating all his might on maintaining the fire, but he could feel the figure beneath not catching, even though the air around it was orange with flame. He could feel the heat before it reached him, searing and painful. The hair on his outstretched arm began to crisp.

Abruptly, he stopped the flame just as the hands grabbed his shoulders and pushed him back with incredible force. Roy cried out in pain, feeling his skin begin to blister where the hot hands pressed. Sweat streamed down his face, into his eyes and he blinked away the sting. What held him was not even remotely human.

It was black as pitch but for the eyes and the strange red design etched on its flesh. The hands on his shoulders were hard as marble and Roy stumbled backwards step by step, out of the kitchen and into the hall and then back against the wall. His head hit the corner of a picture frame and sent it falling to the floor. Still, the thing pressed him, flatting him against the wood paneling. Its hands slipped down his arms, closed tightly around his wrists and pulled them up over his head. He felt his shoulders momentarily dislocate then pop back into place. As one hand held both his wrists, a finger—a claw —slid under the fabric of his glove and pulled.

The spark cloth ripped like tissue paper. The creature continued to pry and tear until first one glove, then the other lay in useless shreds on the floor. Satisfied that he was disarmed, it stepped back.

Its skin grew lighter and seemed to melt into ordinary flesh. Greed's regular features formed.

Roy could only stare.

"Well, now. You got me pretty good there," said the homunculus, still holding his wrists in one hand, almost casually. Roy attempted to break the grip, but to no avail.

"I really feel quite the fool. You got me in my own house, fooled me with that silver tongue of yours." Greed took his face in his free hand and stroked Roy's chin, then ran a finger over his lips.

"I'm a big man, Colonel Mustang. I'll admit when someone's got me. Congratulations. I've been well and thoroughly HAD." The hand strayed up to Roy's hair, smoothing and stroking it, playing with it in a casually intimate fashion.

"In fact, you took me in better than anyone ever has. Are you proud of yourself? In less than four hours, you went from complete fucking stranger, to treasured friend. You embarrassed me in front of my loved ones, in front of the very people who I need to respect me the most. And you know what? You did it so easily."

The hand slid down again, running over one ear, pinching the lobe for a moment, then drawing a line down the carotid artery to his collarbone. "I don't think you hardly even worked at it, did you? I think those lies came so smoothly, so effortlessly. I bet you were laughing inside the entire time you were in my house." Greed smiled. "Admit it."

"No. I wasn't laughing."

The hand continued down, over the fabric of his shirt, down to a nipple. The fingers came together, pinching him hard enough to make him gasp.

"You loved it. You LOVED the way I danced to your tune. You sat there and smirked the entire time, knowing what a complete ASSHOLE I was making of myself. Tell me, did you have a good chuckle with your friend Hughes over me? Did you tell him how I GUSHED over you, in front of my family? Did you tell him how FUCKING GULLIBLE I was?"

"No," said Roy. He tried to squirm away again, but the hand on his wrists tightened until he feared his bones would break.

"You know, I really hope you did. I hope you enjoyed every last FUCKING moment of your farce, I really do. Because you know what? That's the last time you will EVER get the better of me."

The hand continued lower, over his stomach muscles, making Roy suck in his breath.

"Equivalent trade. That's the rule you alchemists love so, isn't it. You got me and now it's time to pay up for the privilege, and let me tell you, it's going to be damn fucking expensive. You are going to pay, and pay, and pay, and pay, until I'm so damn tired of hearing your screams that I kill you out of sheer boredom."

The hand slid down to the waistband of his pants. Roy felt a tug as Greed loosened the belt. Roy kicked. His foot connected solidly with Greed's shin and the Homunculus, caught off guard(,) let go of his hands and stepped back.

Roy didn't wait; he ran, feet almost slipping out from under him. The front door never seemed so far away. Suddenly a figure stood right in his way, catching him in a firm grip. Roy stared up into Dorchet's eyes and a moment later, Greed's hands were on him again. "Tie his wrists," Greed ordered.

Roy writhed, but between the two of them, they had him thoroughly pinned. Roy screamed, only to find hard fingers suddenly thrust into his mouth, pressing his tongue down.

"You know," said Greed almost casually. "I considered cutting off that tongue of yours. That sly little devil did most of your work for you, but I don't think I will. I think I'll let you keep it, so that I can train you to say some new words. Words like 'Please' and ‘Master.' I imagine I can put it to other uses as well, my ward enjoyed the way you used it on him. I have quite a few family members who might also enjoy its feel."

Greed laced his hand in Roy's hair and pulled, forcing Roy to bare his throat. "Edward was a pretty good fuck, wasn't he? I should know—I trained him myself. I love that kid, and I gave him to you. You have no idea what a privilege that is. I don't let just anyone fuck him, but I let you because I FUCKING BELIEVED YOUR LIES." Greed slammed Roy's head down against the floor so hard, Roy saw sparks.

Suddenly, Greed's hands were gentle again, stroking his hair, the side of his face in an almost loving fashion. "I'm sorry, my anger got the better of me. It wouldn't do for me to bash your brains out in your own hallway. You have days, weeks, maybe even months of pleasure to give me before I'll smash your brains in. I don't want to get ahead of myself here."

Greed stood up, and Roy was momentarily released. He pushed himself up weakly against the floor. The door might as well have been a mile away. Dorchet put an end to his struggles with a single hand to the back of his neck.

"Did I give you a headache, sweetheart?" Greed asked. He reached into a sack and pulled out a bottle. "Let me take care of that. Do you know what this is?"


"My stock in trade. Opium. Take this and you will feel no pain for a while. It also causes dizziness, lethargy, apathy, and loss of motor control. It will make you nice and pliant for transport." Greed admired the bottle a second, then put it on the floor next to Roy.

"Fuck you," said Roy.

Greed ignored the insult. "Now opium, my friend, can be administered in a number of ways," He touched Roy's throat and traced a vein. "It can be injected." He touched Roy's nose. "It can be smoked." The finger went down to his lips. "But you know, it wasn't your veins or your lungs that wronged me. It was your sweet, beautiful, kissable mouth. So I think I will have you drink it."

Greed reached into a sack and pulled out a funnel attached to a length of rubber tubing.

"No!" said Roy attempting to pull away again.

"Dosage is important, Roy. Too little and you won't get the proper sedative effect. Too much and it will kill you. So, this is a little thing I use when one of my charges is less than cooperative when taking his medicine. Dorchet," The chimera pulled Roy to a sitting position and then pulled his head back.

Roy clenched his teeth, but Greed merely pushed on his cheeks until his mouth opened. Roy felt the rubber snake over his tongue to the back of his mouth. He gagged as it brushed the back of his throat, and then choked as it slid further.

"Swallow, swallow, swallow," said Greed. His hand rubbed Roy's throat, and Roy swallowed. The tip of the tube in place, Greed continued to push it in deeper. Roy had no choice but to continue swallowing until he felt it all the way in his stomach. He tried to bite the tube but Greed's fingers pressed his jaw open.

Greed screwed the top off the vial with one hand and then poured the contents into the funnel. Then he waited.

It didn't take long before Roy began feeling the effects. The world took on a glassy appearance and his muscles seemed to lose tone of their own accord. Roy struggled to focus on anything.

Greed smiled benevolently at him, then yanked the tube out of his mouth. Roy felt pressure but no pain. He was falling sideways, barely able to stay oriented.

"Get the sack," said Greed. Dorchet laid him on the ground. Roy didn't move as the two slid him into a canvas bag. The top cinched shut and he felt himself be hoisted up. Roy was bounced around for a while, then put down. He heard the lid to the trunk of a car being slammed shut.

He fell asleep to the vibration of a car motor.