—"That stuff is highly dangerous, you know."
The young man glances up from his work, focusing on the man in the doorway of the lab, and he smiles—a slow softening of his features, rich and sweet as warm honeyed milk—still swirling the questionable contents of the flask absently in steady flicks of his wrist.—He shrugs lazily, rolling his shoulder and waving his father's anxiety off with his free hand.—
"I know," he acknowledges, still smiling.—He had been working with the compound for a number of months, ever since he returned from his research trip in Xing, coming back with endless notes on various new alchemical processes and arrays, and tantalizing hints of a formula for immortality that he simply couldn't let rest.—"But there's something in this.—All of the oldest and most reliable sources all concern some usage of cinnabar.—We've been over this."
Hohenheim sighs, stepping into the lab, which is immaculate despite the flurry of activity that had been taking place since the whirlwind of his son had come back with the new foreign ideas driving his every step and breath.—The young man was zealous in his dedication to alchemy, and that zeal stretched even to keeping his workspace perfectly spotless.—"Lucas... "
"Don't worry so much; I'm careful!"—Lucas laughs, and Hohenheim's chest aches at the sound of it—beloved and familiar, his golden child's high-spirited song.—He didn't want to chastise the boy; he knew how much this meant to him.—He knew the darker side of his son's heart—the part that always felt that it wasn't good enough, that he couldn't keep up, that he would always live in his father's shadow and would achieve nothing on his own; he lived in the fear that he would always be riding Hohenheim's coattails, and both hated and loved the favors he got, not through recognition of his own work, but through the name of his father.—
It's not that Lucas was a bad alchemist; no, it was worse, for he was a good one, but even the brightest star was lost in the blaze of the sun, and Hohenhiem didn't know how to remedy the situation... his actions to get the young man's talent noticed was misinterpreted as Daddy's endless interference by Lucas and nepotism by others... but he was hurt and worried by the boy's crippling jealousy.—He had to move past that, or it would end up killing him... if not in body, then in heart.—
Wrath was cruel, and anger outrageous; but no one was able to stand before envy.