Genre: Gen (omg, where did that come from?)
Warnings: Spoilers up through Episode 22 and some for Episode 46
Summary: Edward's reflections on sin. Attempts to fill in the blanks of Episode 22 - Created Human
I apologize if this has been done before, but I haven’t seen it. It’s been brewing for a while and I finally got it down on paper.
“Really, your brother is a genius. He thought of that seven corner alchemic array at once. ...Edward was closer to the truth. He must have known that this way, one can activate the Philosopher’s Stone.”
-Shou Tucker, Episode 46
“I am not a normal alchemist.”
He said it and he felt dead inside. But it was true. He was not a normal alchemist.
His exhaustive travels had taught him this. Shou Tucker was a normal alchemist. Majhal and Lyra and Cornello and his father were normal alchemists. They sought the Stone, power, influence, with hunger. Gluttonously swallowing up whatever stood in their way, grabbing and taking and caring not about innocent bystanders.
Edward swallowed the bitterness burning a trail up his throat. Here he was, surrounded by that intoxicating, scarlet glow, ready to take life with the clap of his hands. But it was for Alphonse, and that was different. It was. Edward tried to swallow again, this time gagging on the vileness in his mouth.
It was different and Edward was different. Different because he wasn’t driven to this sin by his previous sins. He was doing it out of love. Out of concern and desire for his brother to touch and smell and taste again. Out of apology to Alphonse, to their mother, to himself, to all the others he had failed.
A vision of the charred outline of a dog-child burned into an alley wall skittered through his brain. It was the saddest, loneliest, most painful thing he had ever seen. He gritted his teeth and balled his fists and tried to convince himself that it would be counterproductive to jump on Tucker right this instance.
Tucker, the monster who sacrificed his wife, his daughter, his pet for what? For certification, for foolish pride. For the vain luxury of sitting in his office, alone, stroking his silver watch. For the airy feeling of a puffed chest and a swollen head.
Edward jerked as he saw himself sprawled on a church pew, a book in hand. “We’re the closest things to gods,” he heard himself say, an arrogant edge to his voice.
Gods. He’d been sitting in Cornello’s church. The bastard’s church whose anger drove him to manipulate a population into war. Whose wrath pushed him to lie to a fragile young girl who only wanted to be held by her lover again.
Tucker was watching him again and Edward was reminded of the night he had discovered Nina. He remembered himself sending fists of sincere, unbridled rage at Tucker’s face until the dog-child tugged on him and made him stop. That vomit was back in his throat as he wondered if he would have stopped on his own.
Tucker had been the worst kind of lazy. Taking the lives of innocents for his own gain. Sacrificing one life for another. Edward glanced at the shifting prisoners gathered across the room from him and quickly looked back down.
He was doing it out of love. Surely, someone would understand.
He wasn’t using his alchemy for greed, not like so many others he had witnessed. Not like Lyra. She had betrayed her town to become a thug for Yoki, to simply feel the weight of more gold coins in her pocket. To hear them clink against each other as she walked up, ready to create another cyclone for intimidation.
Edward gagged again and pretended to not think of himself as a thug for the homunculi, just so he could feel his brother’s flesh against his hand again.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Tucker ravenously licking his lips, hungry for more power, more, more, more, as if he hadn’t destroyed enough for his wants. He could see Tucker wanting to fill himself to bursting, beyond simple need, in attempts to erase that void inside that no physical, tangible thing could ever fix. Edward saw himself sitting before a table piled high with bowls of rice and demanding more as collateral.
He remembered that week. He remembered Aquaroya and the beautiful thief. He remembered straddling her hips after he’d caught her and trying to not stare at the cleavage pushing at her tight top. Was it the first time he’d noticed a beautiful woman? But it was different, wasn’t it? Different from Majhal, driven by lust and a ghost to destroy lives to bring back his Karin.
Edward scowled and felt the hair stand up on his neck. Tucker had always been envious of what he could do with such ease. That was why he was brought here. Envied him like Edward himself had envied the Tringham brothers. Like he had wanted the support of Mugear himself to carry out his research, like he’d envied Russell and Fletcher for having a father whom they loved enough to commit such atrocities...
Edward nodded slowly and choked again on his vomit.
What was one more sin?
The sinner swallowed, touched his hands to the floor, and watched the array morph and swell and shift. Seven points should do the trick.