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ambre

Wasteland

chapter 15.

Instead he was tormented with the daze which so typically followed sex—that frustratingly human loss of passion which left one with the conviction that nothing had been accomplished save for a sticky stomach and a loss of some body fluids, as well as the addition of grime to assorted parts, and everything which had seemed reasonable and attractive moments before was now horrifying and unappealing, startling, and Envy didn't like feeling this way; he hadn't expected this! Out of practice should have easily bested inexperienced!

But here he was, growling, red dancing across his inner eyelids when he winced in surprise and hate, confused, and being towered over by that fucking pipsqueak, and even though he was trying to latch onto his usual anger, he felt drained—drained by his own humiliating accident, drained and dizzy and...and why had this seemed like a good idea a few minutes ago?

And how the hell could he tell the brat to go die without looking like a goddamned weakling who couldn't handle what he started?

"In fact, if I didn't know better," Ed continued. "I'd almost think you were turning into a human. Maybe you are one already."

When Ed looked up, the expression on his face was again not one Envy could decipher: hate, perhaps...exhaustion, mischief, curiosity...or none and all. While the air grew tangled with the mixing smells of metal and brine and hints of various other substances, Ed raised his hand to his mouth. A tongue appeared—a slip of pink in the golden-fringed blackness—and promptly licked the residue from his fingertips, and Envy watched, not knowing what to make of the action...although it did send a fresh spike of premature excitement to his groin, and he shivered gently.

"Hm. But no. That doesn't taste saline at all." He paused, smacking his lips, clearly off in his own little world. This time, Envy did recognize what he saw: thoughtfulness. Of all the fucking...! "I don't even know what it tastes like. I mean, you'd think...knowing what a homunculus is made from...that there'd be some fluorine or sulfur or something like that...maybe ammonia...but I guess it's like sodium chloride; compounds don't always retain the properties of their base elements—"

What the fuck was this? Why was the fucking kid talking about fucking chemistry instead of fucking him?

At once, the dizziness was forgotten, along with the sense of loss, and the anger returned—vicious, fast, refreshing—like an unseen geyser, and Envy embraced it, let it sink its fangs into his heart and mind, because this he could deal with and this he could use and this he could understand; it was good and comfortable and familiar, and as soon as it filled his body with fresh desire, he reached forward—between the sable valley of his parted legs—finding Ed's still very much engorged erection, grabbing it firmly, and pulling forward so hard that the pretty prey gasped and choked on a scream.

"You're just lucky I don't have my powers anymore, pipsqueak." He gave a small squeeze and stroked in slow, gentle motions, as if to offer contrition. "I've thought of ripping it off before, you know," he whispered, honestly.

And for that, he honestly expected the elbow that his face encountered.

And the hand around his throat, silencing a string of insults.

And the mouth over his, draining his breath from his lungs. Hot, urgent, thick as mead, and that tongue—pushing, shoving, digging, plundering—concealing the hate he wanted to express, the screams and whining and high-pitched snickering, and the homunculus could do nothing but moan against the crushing, bruising lips, helpless to stop Ed from swallowing the clamour; he had wanted this, had wanted everything from the boy, and he was being given to even as he was being taken from.

He was open, wide open, filled and fueled by need (by their mutual needs), and the lust was so raw, so primal and so physical and so deeply woven into all other senses that it became ravenous hunger and thirst all in one; there was no other recourse, nothing to do but snarl as his throat was pinched. The best part, by far, was that Edward had allowed this; he was giving himself freely, giving his lips and teeth while he stole the air between them, the tastes in every part of Envy's mouth, the miscarried and aborted words, poison and honey shared between asp and human.

"Finish it," was all Envy could say when the kiss broke, when automail ground against him, when he felt steamy breath on his face and tasted the pungent odor; he quavered, pulled his legs as far from one another as they'd go, and pushed into the touch. Ed's cock was almost there—right between Envy's legs, hot and large and as alive as a human could be, and despite the hate, despite everything, Envy couldn't help but laugh to know that the erection was for him, all his. "Fuck, Ed, just..."

"Now you shut up." Ed's expression was cold and remote in spite of the heat that accompanied the murmur. Envy still couldn't quite believe how warm he was. "Yeah...I'm gonna...I'm...you know..." His eyes widened.

Still can't say the words, can you? Still can't admit it to yourself? Envy would have smiled triumphantly, but a hand on his thigh caused him to feel perplexed, and he frowned. Broken fingernails moved over the ouroboros, and Envy looked down, watching, feeling arousal speeding back into his body.

Edward appeared strangely fascinated with the birthmark of all homunculi, but Envy hadn't the faintest idea why; all he knew was that the boy's hand was startlingly close to where he wanted to be touched. He squirmed and whined, throwing self-consciousness aside in favour of a loud expression of what was on his mind.

"...Remember what I said about not going easy on you?"

The words descended like a lead weight.

Envy had time to inhale once more. Then, everything shook, spun, tore apart, and a fusillade of pain shot into his wrist as the wire pierced the skin and peeled aside derelict blood vessels.

The blood had just begun to pour out when the Sin found his knees beneath him, skin broken by the wooden floor, breath gone in a frantic cry of panic and indignation.

His vision swam with dark spots; the world before his eyes traded gold for black, and his nose abruptly crashed into the wall. Before he could gather wits enough to wonder if it was bleeding or broken, Envy swallowed and struggled uselessly against the sudden flip in positioning, grabbing at the wall with his free hand before putting it beneath himself in an attempt to push to his feet. When that proved unsuccessful, he made a move to reach up in the hopes of freeing his restrained limb, but that action was curbed by something knocking his feet out from beneath him, keeping his weight supported by his knees and nothing else.

Exhalations became obscenities breathed through clenched teeth, whispered beneath closed eyes, and the irony that his form had taken on the appearance of prayer was not lost to him, but Edward was supposed to have been the sacrifice! Lambs were to be slaughtered; they weren't meant to climb off the pyre and assault the priest.

Instead, Envy felt a hand in his hair, dirtying it with greasy fingers and pulling backwards hard, causing him to moan loudly as he instinctively positioned himself accordingly, though his mind was screaming at him to fucking turn around and punch that goddamned good-for-nothing bastard's twat-leaked spawn, but he was crying out, screaming insults at Edward, though his own voice sounded as though it were an echo from the top of a mountain—far away, so far, and the homunculus saw his hand on the wall, fingers bent, nails digging, digging, digging.

He couldn't control the surge of pleasure and pain, the way his senses seemed to run in all directions and scream from inside and out, twisting his belly and heart and eyes and mind upside down and breaking everything and oh fuck; he smelled, felt Ed against him, behind him, lips on his face, in his hair, his ear, and words he didn't hear, couldn't hear, and then that hand was trailing down his thigh and up it. Envy wasn't sure if he was protesting or begging for more or if it even fucking mattered at all—if he was in control or if Ed was or if he was hurting or being hurt, because he was shaking—all over, every fucking muscle—and bleeding and hurting but he wanted this so badly that he felt empty without it, without that human life that had been taken from him, that was his, and he wanted it, everything, Ed.

And he didn't know what Ed thought, not at all; he couldn't even guess, but he had to want him too, because...because...because it was contagious, this need...

But he still had not finalized the act. Not yet.

Legs slipped further when Edward pulled, and Envy lowered his head, accepting, feeling the tongue that licked the sweat from the back of his neck, and he thought he was laughing, or on the verge of crying; it was hard to say, but all sounds were drowned by water, by white noise, and Ed's hand drifted up the curve of his ass, light as air. Envy looked up at the wire that held him in place, stone fluid sweat running down his temples—fake tears, fake sweat, fake body, but he was real and he had to be real and these emotions couldn't be imaginary, and then the hand altered places again, so that it was around his waist, beneath his bouncing navel.

Envy felt a forearm across his abdomen, stilling him, holding him as though everything would be okay, as though four hundred years of hate and fear and pain were all swept away for a moment, just a moment, and he melted into the touch, even though he didn't want to.

"A-are...are you really a virgin, Ed?" he heard himself ask, and he laughed scornfully after having posited the question; he wanted to say something else—some kind of an insult or some mocking words or anything to cut the kid, because it wouldn't do to just sit there and take it up the ass and be a complete bitch about it.

But his body was betraying him, although he did push the sneer to his lips, and he did grind his teeth into one another, even if he was sweating his body mass away. "I-if you fuck me badly, I'll..." Something with the words "balls" and "off", but the verb connecting the two got lost as Ed leaned over and pressed sloppy kisses onto Envy's cheek, then lifted his teeth to one ear and bit it furiously.

The kid was crazy. Nuts. Absolutely batshit.

And Envy knew it was his doing, because he'd pushed and he'd pushed and he'd pulled and he'd opened Ed's mind with a goddamned hacksaw, and now he was enduring the results. So twisted and fucked up and simply beautiful that Envy just lost it and arched up, shoving back into Ed's thighs and offering himself lewdly, gripping the wall as his grainy skin was pinched and caressed, as the semen was scooped off his belly and used to lubricate his dusty, dirty ass a little more, prostate stroked again in the process.

"Fucking...Edward!" he snarled. Enough with the beating around the fucking bush! Stupid, idiotic virginal little—"Goddamnyou— you finish-it-or-I-will-fucking-KILL-YOU-you-little-SHIT—"

"No. No, you won't do anything." Ed was so close that Envy could hear the sound of him licking his lips as he kept them near his partner's ear. "I'm...I'm...I'm calling the shots, y-you bastard..."

"...y-yes you are..." If you say so. A smirk. "So get on—"

"I...I will! In my own time!"

Envy bucked against him like an angry horse seeking to unseat its rider, letting the moist head of the boy's erection nudge against his ass, wetting the hole even more. Ed made a sound like a sob, screaming something incomprehensible, hand dropping as he fumbled to align himself properly, and it was about to commence; there was no doubt in Envy's mind. It was time to satiate them both—sinner into sinner into Sin, redemption through Sin, release and consecration—immortalization of the instant.

"...I really do hate you, too," Ed said, evenly. The statement was delivered with such a sense of calm that it was almost frightening. Envy wanted to snap in retaliation, yell at him, inform him that he didn't fucking care if Ed hated him or not as long as he would continue being with him, feeding his craving for attention, touching and holding and fucking him; this was...all he'd wanted, all he'd ever wanted...to be looked at, to be regarded by eyes like sunshine trapped in glass...

Ed adjusted their placement, tossing Envy's hair out of the way so that all of his back and ass were visible, up for display and easy to access. The Sin could only imagine how he must have looked, pale in the darkness, like the moon shining silver and peeking forth from the rain-filled clouds, as alive as a homunculus could be and so ready for what was about to transpire. Envy tagged the wall with inadvertent kisses, steadying himself as Ed grasped one thigh and pulled it aside, making Envy feel like an animal who would soon get mounted, though he supposed that was intentional on Ed's behalf, because surely looking him in the eyes would have been too intimate, and the little shit probably knew that putting him on his knees would piss him the fuck off.

Except that he couldn't even worry about being annoyed—not now. He was far, far too aroused for that.

"You know...your ass looks a lot different without that stupid skirt thing on it," Ed observed in his cool, detached, scientific way, and Envy thought he was going to fucking die all over again if Ed didn't end this and soon, because the strain was in his chest, in his belly, between his legs and across them and through them; his dead lungs felt like they'd been sucked into a vacuum, into nothingness, so he couldn't breathe, or think, except 'make me whole; make me whole; make me whole', which wasn't even fucking sensible. Words transmuted to warbles not so unlike the first birds stirring in dawn's distant gala.

And Envy knew he would've fallen into oblivion, if not for the wire, if not for the arm supporting him...though it was only skin and bone...nothing but...human...

"But to answer your question..." Ed's cheek was against Envy's ear, and his voice sounded too loud, or too saturated, as though each decibel was throbbing and ready to burst. Envy wondered if Ed was only shaking because he was, or... "Yes. I was."

Wha—? Question?

Hips shifted. Mind strangled lungs, throat, everything. Envy gaped and tasted dust; it was morning in the train yard and Envy realized he was being drowned by dust, not water, and pain and pleasure were blossoming in him, about him, throughout the shell of the body, everywhere; silently, he pleaded, pleaded, wanting to weep with hate as beads of sweaty, soapy something pooled on his lashes, and he felt so fucking disgusting with all the goo and heat, cum drying on his hypersensitive stomach, sand and gravel on his back, his legs; blood on his knees, wrist, splinters cracking nails. God, he'd have thought, if he had even believed in God. Enough! Stopstopstopithurtsburns—want you—all, all, teeth and bones, droplets...

And he imagined that he saw it. Death.

Cerise fluid on his hands, his arms, flowing, dripping, puddling...one human life...thousands of human lives...

"I was a virgin," Ed explained, presumably sensing that Envy no longer knew what was being answered, and then finally there arrived the first thrust—the first shove, and Envy didn't know if it was willing or unwilling anymore and why the fuck should that even be important? Pain shot up his leg as rivets and pins and pointy metal edges chewed his calf muscles, and Ed didn't ease off; no, if anything, he drove the automail into Envy's skin. Four hundred years of bile divided by sixteen years of repressed hate, multiplied by 'can't do a damned thing now, and you started this anyway'.

Envy bit the wood in front of his face, holding fast to its dark brown strips, fingernails sundering; pressure thundered over his hips like bursts of alchemy—(sizzle, crack, pop), but there was no inferno, only the sensation of being invaded, reformed. Teeth clamped down upon the Sin's neck, fraying, sinking so deep that he didn't know if there was blood as well as sweat coursing down his shoulder blades, down his sternum. Wasted lives everywhere; all over the place, he thought, and he laughed hard against the wall as the world spun off its axis and everything disconnected.

He'd been fucked before, but never with such a distinct absence of control, and his hips were being rocked—in and out and in and oh fuck it was so slow at first—drawing, dragging, long and steady and awkward, too hot, and shit did it ever feel goddamned gigantic when it was in you, but Ed wasn't his friend, nor someone who cared about him; why did he have to be slow, or careful, or tender? He doesn't, Envy realized in a wave of static fuzz, and another thrust embedded Ed so deeply, all the way to the base, right above the balls, even, and Envy arched and cursed and clenched.

And no—oh God, no—he was not—that little bastard was not about to fucking cry against him, because no! What the fuck was...was that a sob? But he didn't feel any tears—nothing, nothing but skin and muscles, abdominals against the small of his back, teeth on his neck, breath, and hair—like a sea, like drowning, Ed's hair and his own, like the sun sinking into night, and why in the fuck was he letting himself be fucked by a fucking cripple?

His breath betrayed him, abandoning him with each forward motion of the hips that were rolling into his, crushing him into the wall; he wanted to turn, to try to look into Ed's eyes, because he wanted more of him, but he was afraid suddenly, afraid of...afraid of...he didn't know what, maybe afraid of seeing the bastard's eyes looking back, but he felt and that was the important part.

You can't be...can't be crying, not yet, not yet, not until...

Prostate. Ohfuckingunrealdeityofchoice, prostate! Intense, stabbing, stabbing in the best kind of way, pace quickening—Shorty never did know a fucking thing about patience—harder, faster, bodies mixing, melding, closer, closer, homunculus and human and automail, and Envy was gagging from trying to make too many kinds of sounds at once and Ed was choking or wheezing or saying something—beside, behind, around him.

His hand gripped Envy's unbound wrist, then his forearm, elbow, shoulder muscles, brushed past his eyelids, nose, lips, neck, pinching a nipple, down the midriff, down, down...was he going to...? He was, and then the hand was there, squeezing, four fingers and a thumb, twisting, holding him, grasping and clutching and pumping in time with his hips—their hips—and blood or something like it was rushing to the surface; Envy didn't know if he was propelling himself into it or if he was being propelled into it by Edward, but the friction...it was...it was raw, perfect—agonizing strokes; over the tip, down the shaft, and it was amazing and good and hurting.

Tight. Everything felt too tight, unbearably so, and Envy didn't want it to stop—never, not ever; violent and cruel like life and death, but this he could understand, after an eternity of manic suffering and wanting and not having, it felt like living just to have, to be, filled by Ed's emotions, by his erection inside him, altering Envy's form more than anyone besides himself had ever done; it was like being ripped the fuck apart, heat impaling his insides, guts all in a knot, back arching like a rictus.

Joined, linked, bodies and souls, animus times two, and that fucking hand was still around his cock, bracing, clamping down, jerking shakily, rubbing the slick hardness. Envy dropped lower, gasping, chest sore, and his own hand slipped over Ed's, curling his fingers inwards; it was sick, so sick to be so wanting, so pathetic and needy, to let himself be enjoyed by Ed, Edward Elric, whom he'd just as soon kill as look at, but then their hands were together, fingers over one another, and murder didn't seem important, either.

Envy steadied himself, using the wall for leverage as he pushed back, flowing into the increasingly vicious thrusts; the Sin lifted his head and looked up, into the ebony corners, wasn't even thinking anymore, just tilting, pushing, trembling; the crescendo was—fuck—the crescendo was about to fucking hit, peak, climax, almostalmostalmost

Legs around legs, two into one, not equivalent exchange by any fucking means; Envy felt his own thighs strike the wall again, again, again with a dull thud, flesh slapping flesh, soggy sweaty sounds; brutal, Ed was so brutal, like he wanted to fuck him to death...and, Envy thought, he probably did.

Lilac eyes rolled back. Muscles shortened, cock twitched suddenly, and Envy tensed, knowing what came next—or rather who came next.

He winced, whole body straining; hair on his face, between his lips, in his mouth, and Ed was crying out, and there was liquid everywhere—like the world had melted, turned to slush, bones to water.

Orgasm struck Envy, slammed into him, every muscle—every single fucking muscle—screamed, and he screamed; lover's name bursting from his lips, voice high, shrill, like singing—and oh fuck, FUCK, he wasn't supposed to have said that, because it meant nothing, not a goddamned thing. Spasms hit, rapid succession, heartbeat thudding, and Envy felt his release pour over Ed's hand, over his own, streaming and hot, running past grimy fingers and dripping onto the dirty floor.

Envy inhaled, waiting for the emotions to dissipate, waiting to come down from his high, but Ed—what the fuck was wrong with him?—had not finished yet! Eyes went downwards, staring at the splatter of white on dark; Ed was still beside and in him, mewling, thrusting away and probably not thinking about anything but the physical aspect, because all else was burned away, but Envy had lost that luxury, or was losing it.

A shudder seized him, maybe further pleasure or sudden revulsion; what the fuck was with the kid's stamina? How could he still be going?

Oil. He smelled oil. Seemed to be in every pore. He realized that it was Edward; oh shit, he smelled like Edward! Their coupling had left imprints of Edward on Envy in every single place imaginable, marring his perfection, smearing him with Ed's taste and his stupid musky sixteen-year-old odor; Envy was drenched in that stench!

Then, next thing Envy knew, Ed's hand was in his hair again, yanking back, knotting the strands as soon as the stiff and sticky substance met with the follicles, and Envy growled in complaint, scowling when he became aware of how much his mouth tasted like Ed, and what the—? Sick! Nauseating. To feel him...to hear him still making those awful sounds...and this...it wasn't supposed to be like this!

Used; Envy felt used, degraded, debased, like a whore, like some dumping ground for body fluids, and it was shameful and humiliating and why, oh why, had he started this? He wanted to retch, to push Ed the fuck off, to rip his eyes out. Horrible. This was horrible, like an abyss, like hell, and he felt the grunts and the movements of that cock still in his ass, still driving him into the wall, taking advantage of him, getting ready to pop one off in him, just for sex, fucking, meaningless...

"S-stop!" His voice...oh, what the—? Sounded so frail. Weak. Whiny. "G-get out! Get out, get out, get out! Fucking bastard, you—"

But Ed didn't seem to be listening, didn't seem to be hearing.

Both yowled simultaneously as Envy found his mercy in the form of liquid heat gushing into him, flooding him. Envy cringed at the ugly feeling of enduring someone else's orgasm after his own had depleted his body of all pleasure inherent in the sexual act, but at least it was over, finally over...done, complete, finished...and maybe now...maybe now they could finally just be enemies again...

Maybe.

But Ed...

Didn't speak.

Didn't say anything.

Just pulled out. Pulled out with a muddy sound, like the heel of a boot lifting off the clammy earth. The warmth was gone, as was the pressure, the feel of bodies against one another, and the teeth. Floating. Falling. Envy slumped, holding his breath, waiting for Ed to depart from him completely. It was a cold, dark morning, and a wind was blowing throughout the train yard. Envy could hear it—the murmur of the wind—promise of mist and drizzle over the coming days; did it ever stop raining in this world?

The homunculus gulped.

No shivers. No shuddering. No hair on his back, no tortured breaths, no sobs, moans, groans, screams...nothing but quietness filling the void of infinity, out and out and out, echoing and inverting. And while the relaxation lasted, Envy didn't dare turn. Connected...they had connected, if only for one moment out of a million moments, and it was...inexplicable...and frightening; loneliness was scary and silence was peril, but—

He'd wanted his body touched. Nothing else.

And this was...

...he didn't know.

But it wasn't good. Definitely not good.

Envy licked his lips and reminded himself that he had incentive enough to rectify his embarrassing situation. He blinked away the sudsy mess that coated his eyes and reached his hand up to rub them, only to discover that his fingers were still covered with white wetness which irritated upon contact. He muttered an insult at nothing in particular as curiosity got the better of him and he tried to adjust himself—as delicately and comfortably as possible—into an angle more suited for looking at Edward, who had rather mysteriously vanished altogether after their little liaison.

The train car was less dark but no less dingy, with the morning looking as though it had been sprinkled by fine pieces of cotton. It couldn't be time for the sunrise, though, could it? Not yet. They hadn't been at this for that long, surely. They had to have an hour or so left before the sun assaulted them, but Envy was sore all over and he again felt fatigued; his mind was restless, but his body was eager for sleep. Need another fucking shower now, he thought, miserably. Salt and oil were upon his palate. Ed was always so earthy, organic, but the bite of metal tainted Envy's tongue, his injured leg, and various other parts of his body.

Ruined. He was ruined, and in the end, he'd sacrificed himself, and the irony hung on his heart and punched it into his ribs until hell called again. Something cold roiled within him, chasing away the heat of coitus, and he knew...this was how life would always be. Living was death, and the grave walked with him ever and anon...

...but for a moment...just a moment...he'd thought...

He watched as Ed silently went about twiddling some clothes whose textures and colours he couldn't quite make out, and Envy found himself thinking that the whole scene was distractingly methodical, as though nothing had just happened. The boy didn't turn, didn't look at him, didn't let him see his expression or the anguish he was supposed to be feeling. Didn't say a word, either. But he did seem to be in something of a hurry to dress himself, despite previously being perfectly content to sleep nude.

Denial.

Fuck.

The brat was going into denial already, wasn't he? Unacceptable! He couldn't just...he couldn't just fuck Envy and then pretend nothing had changed...even if they'd claimed it was for cleansing purposes, and even if it hadn't meant anything, he still wasn't allowed to just act so normal!

Envy wished he could say something. Wished he could broach the subject and not feel strange about it. But the sight of Ed casually dressing himself and blatantly ignoring him caused Envy's hatred to shoot right back up to its usual level, and sleepiness was abandoned in favour of resentment. There were so many kinds of anger and hurt that he couldn't even begin to explain everything he felt, but if there was anything Envy was adept at, it was siphoning off the trivialities of his emotions, trimming the fat, the whey, the details, and generally whittling life down to one fine line of concentrated hatred.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" He tried to sit up, hoping to maintain as much dignity as one possibly could maintain when their hair was sticking in about eight different directions. "Get over here and undo this fucking wire! I don't want to waste any more of my life cutting up my wrist in order to get out just so I can throttle you. You're not worth that sort of effort. And besides, you can't dress yourself anyway, you lousy cripple. You look ridiculous!"

Envy suspected that the last remark was a mistake even before Ed laughed—rather dryly, at that.

The chortle was like holding up a mirror by which his own flaws were visible, and even though Envy could not see himself, he suddenly felt even more self-conscious and ornery about the fact that Edward would dare mock him in such a tacit manner. It wasn't fair and he couldn't do a damned thing to stop it!

"You heard me! Let me go! You fucking bastard! Do you think you can just come here, wire me up, fuck me, and then leave me like this?" He kicked and beat his arm into the wall, causing the wire to make a small ringing sound. "You think you're so much better than me, but then you—"

"I don't trust you."

Ed never looked at him. He jerked the shirt over his head and struggled with the sleeves, then proceeded to lift the pants and work to tie or button or zip them or something, and Envy knew he shouldn't have, but he couldn't help saying it.

"So...did you have fun raping me, Ed?" The smile that touched his lips was deliberate, sharply-edged, and he knew his question would get the kid's attention even if nothing else did. Sure enough, Ed turned and shot him a withering look, eyes bright in the dim morning glow. "Well." Envy hummed. "Did you?"

"Rape? Envy, I—" But then he stopped, maybe seeing that arguing was pointless, and there was another moment of silence. A painful, deadly silence. Then, a brutal smile. "...Yeah. Yeah, I did. Now shut up and go back to sleep."

And Envy felt something inside of himself fracture.

"You're lying! I heard you...you sounded like you were going to cry. You're full of shit is what you are!"

Edward must've been upset. He had to be traumatized. He was just hiding it, of course, and that wasn't fair, wasn't what Envy wanted to see; he wanted angst and tears and he wanted to hear the boy say how wrong he was and how it had been such a mistake, because he couldn't be the only one feeling this way, and Envy had to have won, not lost, and he couldn't think...couldn't believe that he'd done himself in! How dare Ed...how dare he pretend that he was feeling fine, because he wasn't; he couldn't be.

"Maybe I am." Ed shrugged. "But I'm not going to talk about it with you, either way, because as you've pointed out, we're not friends, and as I've pointed out, I don't care about you. It meant nothing; you said so yourself, right?"

Envy fumed to hear his own sentiment thrown back into his face. At the time, it had seemed so true, but now it unsettled him in some way he honestly couldn't vocalize, and he felt alone...much more so than he'd ever felt before.

But he couldn't admit it, of course, couldn't say that he had been wrong, because he couldn't have been wrong, and he couldn't be wearing the evidence of what he had started, and it had to be Edward's fault because it was always Edward's fault.

"I wonder what your brother would think of you now."

It was the most galling thing Envy could think to say. He wanted Ed to react. Lash out. Hit him. Swear. Yell. Something. Anything. Why couldn't he just look at him again, goddamn it? It was awful—knowing you wanted something but not knowing exactly how or what or why, and all attempts at phrasing the want in a way a human could understand seemed to win Envy nothing more than further frustration.

Four centuries of drowning. Four centuries of trying to speak with a throat clogged by the limitations of soullessness, by inhumanity, by an inability to empathize.

But Ed didn't lash out, hit him, swear, or yell. He barely even regarded Envy, and that made Envy so infuriated that he tried to think of something even worse to throw at him. Before he could do so, Edward turned again, though his main focus still seemed to be on his clothing—as though Envy were a trifling annoyance, perhaps another of the insects that had been so commonplace back in the alley.

"Thanks, by the way, for giving me what I needed," Ed said after a lengthy pause, and Envy wanted to ask what that was, but he feared that the answer would not have been himself, and that was the only thing he wanted to hear. At first, Ed did not continue; he took a moment to run his fingers through his hair. It lay over his back, freed from its plait and as messy as if it were hay inhabited by mice. "Equivalent exchange. You were right about that."

Envy looked away. Sour phrases came to mind, but he didn't dare say anything. He didn't like where this was going; he didn't want to hear Ed talk about having been satisfied in any way.

He wondered who, if anyone, Edward had been fantasizing about.

"I mean..." Finally, Ed finished with his clothing and took a step forward. His feet were no longer bare, but the automail made such a soft yet telling sound when it touched the floor. Envy didn't know how he honestly hoped to fool anyone. "...I needed to face my demons...to look them in the eyes..."

You didn't look in my eyes, asshole, Envy wanted to point out, but he held back. To uphold his own sense of equivalency, he made certain not to face the boy. He had adopted his own mode of sulking, a theory which assumed that if Ed had something to say, then Ed could damn well come to him and say it. Envy wasn't about the give him the luxury of acknowledgement, not now that he was being spoken to.

In his mind, it all made perfect sense. He should be showered with attention, with love, but Ed didn't deserve either. All of their interactions could be based off and broken down into that simple formula.

"I needed to look into the abyss...see myself...accept things."

Out of the corner of one eye, Envy saw Ed standing before him—arm at his side, shirt lopsided, pants not fully closed, shadow by his feet and stretching a little, and even with all that, he still managed to look noble somehow.

"And I have. So thanks. Thanks for showing me that no matter how low I might fall, you will always be on a rung beneath me. Your existence gives me the incentive not to ever drop to your level, and as long as I have you here, I can remember myself...and more importantly, I can remember what I'm not...what I never want to be."

Envy looked up.

A sunbeam—maybe the first true sunbeam of the morning—skipped across Ed's face and caught in his eyes; gold glinted on gold. Tears shone white, but they never fell, and the teenager was smiling.

Liar. You're just like me. That's all I proved. You just can't accept...

A foot rose, struck the wire, severed it. Envy hadn't expected that, and it sent him toppling onto his side. He instantly rubbed his sore wrist, blinking in surprise at Ed's abrupt decision to free him. The homunculus guessed it warranted a reply of some sort, but exhaustion got the better of him, and by the time he regained his ability to focus, Edward had stomped out of the train car, and all Envy could think, bitterly, was, good; go puke your fucking guts up, cry your eyes out, and hate yourself.

And he knew Edward would. He just counted it as a shame that he wouldn't see it, but at least the assurance of his grief and guilt made for a nice tonic to placate Envy's nerves. He could've followed him, of course, but by this point, doing so would have been pointless. Envy had what he needed, and more to the point, he knew what he needed. The knowledge contented him...at least as much as anything could...

Equivalent exchange.

Envy sloped into the corner, scratching his head and trying to smooth his hair down a little. Equivalent exchange. Maybe it had been. But the more he considered it, the more he thought he didn't really want any sort of equality—feigned or not—with Edward. He still wanted to be with him, to have him in every possible way; that hadn't changed. In fact, if anything, it had grown more urgent than ever, because now he knew how good it could feel to be together with that useless shit smear of a human.

Ed still thought he'd won. It'd be fine to let him hold onto that delusion...for a while, at least.

After all, Envy knew what he was capable of doing when he wanted someone's devotion.

He shifted, purring delightedly at the memories. Dante could've told so many stories...if only she'd known...if only she'd been aware of why she'd had so many miscarriages, and why her lovers—including the predecessor of Greed—seemed to meet such unfortunate ends. Envy trusted himself to be sly as well as stealthy, and even if the night before had been painful, it really would be so much fun to take everything of Edward's, everything he loved, to force him to give Envy every ounce of his attention and love...and to give it all willingly, step by step...to be none the wiser throughout each nuance...

And Envy, dirty and naked and bruised as he was, laughed—and laughed, and laughed, and laughed...until everything sounded like screaming and sobbing, until he'd wiped the smudges away from his face, until he was grabbing his hair and pulling it.

All other sounds were gone, even the trains and even the birds; the first rays of morning broke over the gravity yard, white as winter rime, and the train car hung over its inhabitant's head like a shrine to honour a most unholy act.

Sunshine peeked in, golden, trapped in the world just as it was trapped inside of those eyes...and Envy knew it was going to be a beautiful day.