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Apologist


He was, in his own way, just as lost as Edward in this world.

"Professor Elric, that's...quite the...unusual son you've got there."

"Nineteen, you say? He looks much younger than that."

Hohenheim's face twisted downward in a frown, only for a brief moment. "He's not short. Don't say that he is." Catching himself, he pacified: "Ah ha ha, that is, if you say that to his face... My son's very sensitive about his height, you see."

"His eyes are very strange, too. Brilliant gold... Yours, Professor, are a bit darker, dark enough to be believeable, but..."

"...But Edward seems almost ethereal."

He couldn't understand this world, this obsession with his son in the negative. Here he was revered, and Edward was condemned. There was a natural perversity in it that made him, instantaneously, loathe this place. This world of grays.

Hohenheim smiled sadly. "Oftentimes I find myself wondering just what I've done to deserve such a vibrant son."

"...'Vibrant' is one way of putting it." A cough, delicately into a gloved hand. "Now, Professor, I don't want to accuse your son of intolerance, but...having him curse at my students openly during a lecture is not behavior befitting of a young gentleman."

"Edward isn't a gentleman," the Alchemist of Light clarified, feeling a faint sense of bemusement, as well as...almost feeling lost, out of place. He was at place here with these drab men in their drab clothes with their droning voices, but...

"Oi! Come on, you bastard dad!" yelled Edward in poor German, taking the university steps two at a time and nearly toppling over under the weight of several history tomes. "Let's get going, already! I'm hungry!"

"...Your son is always hungry."

"Yes, well..." Hohenheim laughed and inclined his head as Edward started dragging on his arm to get him to move, while simultaneously managing to transfer most of his books into his father's arms.

Yes, well. He didn't owe these men explanations. He shouldn't have to apologize for his son; no, he wouldn't apologize for his son. He should be apologizing to him.

"A-Ah, Edward—"

"Listen," the shorter blonde cut him off, crimsoning a bit and looking away. "I know those old shits at the university don't think much of anything of me." Hohenheim stopped, letting his surprise register on his face, but Edward wouldn't glance his way. "I know they point fingers and whisper behind my back—things like 'Where do you think he lost his limbs?' and 'Why can't he settle down and be a respectable German?' but...but..."

He seemed at a loss for a moment—the two of them, at a loss with this entire world—but, in typical Edward fashion, he plowed on determinedly. "I...er... I'm t-trying to say I'm sorry, you bastard...f-for putting up with me. This is your place, and I don't belong here..."

For a moment more, Hohenheim stood rooted to the spot, transfixed by his son's high ponytail, squareish jaw, and saffron eyes—he could almost say he saw himself as a younger man, but he knew that was no sort of excuse. He had never seen this body in a younger form.

Inexplicably, he felt old. He started forward, brushed past Edward—took the time to drop a fatherly hand onto the shorter blonde's head as he walked by. "We'll have the bratwurst for dinner again," he said. "It's your favorite, isn't it?"

"I won't adapt. I refuse to get used to this place." Edward snorted. Hohenheim smiled.