Spoilers: Whole series.
Warnings: Angst-o-rama. And violent thoughts.
Summary: My interpretation of Envy's backstory. Totally conjecture.
This is kind of an extended ramble I went on shortly after watching the last episodes of the series, trying to piece some of the backstory together in my head. I found it on the hard drive and turned it into a fic.
Having not seen the movie, I don't know if anything is directly contradictory. (Somebody let me know, please?)
Family, as a subject, has long been a matter of great importance to the eldest of the Homunculi, known as Envy. His memory is not what it was, and he confuses names, eras, and even the faces with regularity. But in his moments of clarity, in his deepest contemplations and unguarded dreams, he could tell you about all of them in flawless detail.
He could tell you why he hates them.
Envy rather likes to think about his father, Hohenheim Elric, usually by planning his grisly demise after a succession of prolonged tortures, each more horrible than the last. Even in the beginning he had been an unforgivable failure as a parent, who had neglected every responsibility he ever assumed. The man who broke every promise, who betrayed every confidence – his past would catch up to him one day. And then Envy would ensure that Hohenheim was repaid for his sins in full, preferably by some manner of creative evisceration.
Beatrice Elric, who went by the name Dante in this era, had been a constant presence for as long as Envy could remember. She remains his mother and his keeper, who looks out for his welfare and interests with tolerable results. He suspects this is habitual now, more than anything else. Surely any tender bonds of maternity have long since faded with the flesh she wore so many centuries ago. He stays by her side because she is powerful, because she is a means to Hohenheim’s end. Or so he tells himself. It is not wise to show his growing hatred of Dante to her face, not when she holds his cursed existence in her hands, ready to crush it into nothing at a whim. She is all Envy has left, and he can hardly wait for the day he will betray her to her fate.
It is with only the greatest reluctance that Envy thinks of Adelle Elric, who was the daughter of Hohenheim and Beatrice, born half a decade after their son, nearly a millennia ago. He remembers long plaited hair, shining gold eyes, and the burgeoning intellect that his father so patiently nurtured. He despised her for that, for engaging Hohenheim so easily, so naturally - the way he knew that a child should relate to its parent. As her dear older brother, he had his own limited affection for her, certainly, but he’d been secretly glad upon hearing of the accident at the river. For all of Adelle’s dazzling mental acuity, the little fool had clambered up on the dock too quickly coming back ashore from a boating party – slipped – and broke her neck.
The one member of the Elric family who he certainly thinks too much about is Karl Elric. Poor Karl. Unfortunate Karl. Bedridden since the age of ten, isolated and estranged from the rest of the world. His sister would come too often, nattering on insufferably about a life that he was denied. She would tell him all her pointless little fears and concerns, and he would smile mechanically at her, and say everything would be all right. His father’s presence was fleeting, and brought only habitual reassurances and awkward pauses. All too often he would hear Adelle and Hohenheim talking downstairs together: provoking each other, arguing, debating. Laughing, sometimes. He could hear everything, and it was almost too much to bear. In the end, it was only his devoted mother, patient and wise, who truly understood.
And then there’s Edward, who shouldn’t have meant anything to Envy, who shouldn’t have been more than a useful pawn to manipulate against Hohenheim. The younger boy, Alphonse, provokes little in him, but Edward – Envy’s hatred is beyond reason. The Homunculus considers that the boy is yet another precocious child leeching away Hohenheim’s attention, another fair-haired child in his rightful place. Dante thinks this is the crux of his obsession, but there’s more to it than that. It’s something to do with the boy’s eyes, which resemble Karl’s more than his father’s. It’s something to do with the way the boy’s face looks when he talks about getting Alphonse’s body back, or saving an innocent from harm.
Edward would’ve cried for her, for the sister he never knew. Like Hohenheim and Beatrice had cried. He wouldn’t have minded at all if she had been smarter or stronger, more accomplished or more recognized. Edward would have known how to reciprocate that boundless affection little Adelle offered, without even thinking. He would have loved her, the way he loves Alphonse.
And for that, Envy wants him dead.
Along with everyone he has ever loved.
**I should note that Karl and Adelle were the closest German names I could find to Cain and Abel without sounding too obvious. Adelle, despite having all the earmarks, is hopefully not too much of a Mary Sue. The only reason she’s female is because I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of *four* Elric brothers.