Chapter title: The Path to Glory
Word count: 2162
Pairing: None, Envy-centric
Rating: PG-13 for graphic details
Warnings: Spoilers for end of series
Summary: A story starting at Envy's origins, before he became a homunculi.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, obviously. They belong to their respective owners, and I will not profit monetarily from this piece.
A/N: I tried to include as much canon detail as possible, since this history is being written partially to expand my grasp of the character. There will probably be more, but whether or not I post it depends on the sort of response I get. Several chapters will probably be like stand-alone pieces, with their own beginning, middle, and end, but not encompassing the entirety of Envy's history. Comments are ♥. ^_^
Quick Edit: Unbeta-d. Just so you know. ;)
Envy was once human, as all homunculi are. He was born of mother Dante and father Hohenheim. His father was the first human to produce the mythical “philosopher’s stone” approximately 400 years ago. Envy’s original human form died as a young adult of mercury poisoning, presumably either from toxins in the environment or an accident. He was loved by both mother and father, enough that his father attempted human transmutation in order to revive him. Unfortunately, the procedure was a failure and the result was Envy himself. For the purposes of plot solidarity, this writer will assume that Envy was a child at the point of the creation of the philosopher’s stone, and that the mercury poisoning was indeed an accident in the laboratory. Also, I have given him a human name. ‘Damien Elric’.
Mother had told him to stay away. Damien could not help himself. The bright lights of an Alchemical equation sparkled in his imagination in a way no other thing could. He was fascinated by his father’s work. Alchemy had coloured Damien’s life for as long as he could remember. Ever since as a three year old boy he had seen his father consulting and performing alchemy with the ‘mystic’ known as Nicolas Flamel, he had been fascinated. His father Hohenheim had told him countless tales of his adventures. ‘Hohenheim of Light’, as other adults called his father, had produced toys out of sand, metal, gold, before his very eyes, all produced within that bright blue light and marked with a tiny seal on the bottom; the snake wrapped around a cross. Damien loved his father more than anything in the world, and he hoped he would be able to follow Hohenheim’s footsteps someday. Of course he had to see his father during the greatest adventure of all, and thus he had snuck out of their mansion to the center of the city.
It had begun two weeks ago, with the sealing of the borders of the city. Damien had been strictly told to stay indoors, and each of the servants had been checked by the Xing doctor on staff for presence of the disease. Only one maid had to be dismissed. Damien watched her go. She was crying, and the adults took all her things out to be burned in the courtyard. Mother forbade him to go outside, and he satisfied himself with listening to their conversations from the other side of doors.
They spoke of the ‘Black Plague’ which took the lives of many of the denizens of the city. One man was administered a potion from the Xing doctor, and told he would be able to travel around the city in safety. Damien had seen it. It was a creamy light blue substance in a crystal vial, kept in a safe. One teaspoon would protect him for 24 hours, and he would need to take off all his clothing to be burned, and administer himself to an hour-long bath in scalding water before he could come back inside. This seemed a useful gem of knowledge, which Damien stored for later.
Aside from that, things seemed to happen as they normally would. Damien still had a bed-time. Damien still spent time with his tutors, learning mathematics and language and of course science. The tutors stayed over though, so he couldn’t escape his schoolwork to play. Ten days passed like this, before he was able to overhear another good conversation.
The servant man had returned for the last time, and approached his father, bowing. “The preparations are complete, master. The circle has been drawn.” The circle? What did the man mean? Damien wondered if he meant an alchemy circle.
His father nodded, tossing the servant a jingling bag. “You have been faithful, my friend. You’ll have a few days to gather your family and leave the city before I complete the equation.” What equation? Hohenheim turned, letting out a sigh. “This is for the good of the people. Their sacrifice will light the way to a new era. You have four days, friend. On that night, I shall create the Philosopher’s Stone. I wish you well.” And with that, he entered his study. The servant sighed and shook his head. Then he turned and left.
The Philosopher’s Stone. This was a subject often discussed by his father and his friend Nicolas. If Father truly meant to create it in four days, he would certainly want to be there to witness it.
Four days passed. All the servants were sent out of the city in carts, himself among them. He cried out to be able to stay with mother and father, but was told he wasn’t to stay. She kissed him, black curls falling across his forehead, filled with what cold love his mother had to share. “We’ll come for you in a few days. It’s not for long, trust us my child.” He watched sadly as his mother turned away, followed by apprentices and associates to the town center. The cart trundled along solemnly, and Damien resolved to escape as soon as he possibly could.
Dusk was coming closer. Damien had overheard his father discussing their plans. As he remembered, it was to be performed on midnight, on this night when the full moon shone brightly overhead. At that point, the bright light of science would absolve the city of its sins, pulling the dying and the criminal into the bloody depths of hell. From there, he would forge all these pieces together into the blood red stone. Though he didn’t understand all of this, he knew it meant he would have to make it back to the city by midnight. The servant watching over him had fallen asleep; evidently the rattle and bounce of the cart did not bother him the way it bothered Damien. Slipping down, he began to run, hoping none of the others would turn back to watch.
Dusk had settled long before he arrived at the center of the city. Damien knew that, in order not to ‘catch the plague’, he would need some of that potion from two weeks ago. First, he slipped into mother’s bedroom and borrowed a hairclip. Then, he made his way over to the Xing doctor’s room. Slipping the hairclip into the lock, he deftly picked it. This was a talent his mother did not know he had. It was but one of many he had learned from other boys on the streets, and which he used to gain knowledge he should not have. Damien opened the door, slipping into the room.
The safe was locked also with a padlock, opening with a key. Easily enough, Damien broke it open. Indeed, within the safe the crystal vial contained the odd blue liquid. Damien popped off the lid, and swallowed an amount he thought to be equal to a teaspoon. It tasted vile. Damien swore to himself that if he ever became a doctor, he’d put an end to vile medicines. Snapping the cap back on, Damien placed it gently into the safe and pushed it shut. Moving that thing had been quite an accomplishment for an eight year old boy. Steeling his heart, he left his home for what felt like the very last time, and proceeded to head towards the center of the city.
Bodies littered the streets. The dying lay alongside the dead, their feeble cries rose to the heavens in a lament against God and his cursed lies. They laughed insanely, choking themselves on their own bittersweet remorse. “Sinners are we, cursed before God, banished forever from his ephemeral light.” Fear struck the boy’s heart, as he fled time and again from the emancipated, the helpless, and the dead whose eyes remained fixed eternally upon the heavens. Every so often, Damien thought he heard out of darkened alleyways the smashing of glass, the screams of women, and the maniacal laughter of the lawless looters. So this was the plague mother had wanted him to avoid.
The city wound around and around itself, wrapping around a great church within the center. White marble stones covered fully four city blocks. Two great bronze doors marked the entryway into this building, two great angels emblazoned upon the doors and allowing entrance to all faithful. Overtop the doors there hung a crucifix. The poor stone prince of Heaven hung from it, his eyes peering sadly upon the sinners of the city, granting refuge to those who wished to make peace with his father. The building rose up high out of the earth, surmounted by a great clock-tower, which now read 11:45pm. Damien had made it just on time. Slipping through the slightly ajar door, he began to search the building.
The dead here were numerous. Even priests it seemed had been caught, lying dead among those they had tried to save. Approaching the altar, Damien saw a light moving away slowly from a doorway to the left, and he hurried through it. The light kept moving away, and Damien followed. Down a spiral staircase, now. Into what appeared to be a wide ballroom, at the front of which was a stage. Why was such a thing found in the basement of a church, anyways? Briefly, momentarily, Damien imagined himself dancing in the center of that room. He swung a mystery girl about himself, to the sort of classical music his mother enjoyed at dinner parties. Then the song stopped and he leaned in for a….
Damien stopped himself before he went any further. Not even in his dreams would he kiss a girl. He looked around. It was dark. The lamp-bearer had left him behind.
Damien felt his way around, searching for a door. To the left of the stage was another door, leading into a spiral staircase. This one seemed to be lighted by flickering candlelight, originating at the bottom. Damien slipped quietly down the staircase, and peered into the room.
Seven individuals circled his father, three of which he already knew. One was his mother, another the doctor from Xing. Yet another appeared to be father’s friend Nicolas. Further beyond that lay the still living bodies of plague victims. Many cages were lined against the walls, where humans caged as animals screamed for mercy. His father seemed to ignore them all, and raised his hands over his head. He clapped once, and alchemical light shone throughout the room.
Damien watched as the bodies of the dying and caged vanished before his eyes, tearing into their respective molecules within the light of the alchemical transmutation. The ground began to shake, as a sinking feeling settled in Damien’s belly. The matter released from their blood coalesced above father’s head, solidifying and growing into a perfect sparkling seven-pointed gem. The gem hovered, glimmering, before his father for a moment before dimming and falling to the ground; shattering to pieces. Hohenheim fell backwards to the ground, his mother throwing herself over him crying.
The scene which had played before Damien shocked him. What had happened to the people who had been there? Had his father used Alchemy to change their lives into that stone? Didn’t that kill them? Was father a murderer? On top of that, was he dead? A thousand questions went unanswered, as tears began to stream down his face. The ground continued to tremor, as if waiting for some signal to move.
Mother stood, a glowing shard in her fist. Her sobs had ceased suddenly, as if she had realized they would not bring father back. Turning, she faced one of her associates; one Damien was not familiar with. The ground continued to shake. She rushed to him, tears continuing to stream down her face, her eyes wild. From her hands sprung the glow of an Alchemical equation, and the man fell as if stunned. The ground shook harder, threatening to bring the world down around them. Shards of plaster dropped from the ceiling. The man stood, holding mother’s hand gently as father once did, and he began with mother to gather the remaining shards of stone. The ground seemed to give a great hiccup and the bottom of Damien’s stomach dropped away from him.
Damien’s eyes opened to that of his mother’s dark curls and the strange man. He rubbed his eyes, looking beyond them. Odd, where was the sky? He stood, brushing away their worried faces, and looked down. He was standing on a cliff, over which could be seen the ruins of the city. Dust hung in the air, causing him to cough until he retched. Damien was impressed. If his father had this kind of power, he wanted it too. He resolved, therefore, to make Alchemy the center of his life as soon as it was possible for him to do so. With it, he would become strong; stronger than his father had been, and surpass him. He would create his own stone, to prove how great a son he could be.