tobu ishi

Mater Familias

"I was your mother once," Dante told him with an air of great drunken magnanimity one evening.

She was well into her second bottle of wine by then, and wobbling slightly as she waved her glass in that elegantly civilized way of hers. She never did care much about her kidneys. They were usually the first organs to go, anyway.

"You were a charming little brat back then," she added, blinking vaguely into the last drops of her glass, redder than deadly tincture. "Pity about that thermometer."

I stared at her, trying to decide if she was just screwing with his head. Then again, all homonculi had to begin somewhere. It wasn't like we knew enough to call her bluff.

I thought of the way she curled her pinky like a queen when she held the stem of her glass, wrapped her rotting flesh in silks and crinolines, chased her useless pills with dry martinis and a splash of formaldehyde for luck. I remembered the day she'd taken this most recent body, the pitiless reptilian look in her eyes as she drew the circle in blood over the heart of the bound and screaming girl. If this delicate, violent monster was Envy's mother, it explained quite a lot.

Come to think of it, he was the only homonculus she'd ever kept around this long. Maybe blood did run deep, even with a bitch like her.

"Is that so?" he sneered. "Well, I guess it could be worse. Who's my old man, then? Or don't you know?"

She laughed at that, bitterly, tossing her long golden ringlets. They bounced like springs. I wondered if he had their movement memorized, or mine, just in case, for the most accurate reproduction. "Ah, excellent question. You remember Hohenheim of Light, don't you, love?"

His wine glass cracked in his fist, and the wine ran down his wrist like poison.

It's odd, how after forgetting everything important about my own life, I can still remember the exact second Envy decided to kill his father.