breakin' through the door (miss_arel) wrote in fm_alchemist,
breakin' through the door
miss_arel
fm_alchemist

  • Mood:
  • Music:

[Fic] Changed For Good - Chapter 5

hello, everyone! Your patience has been rewarded (I hope; I'll let you decide how good a reward it is.) I would have finished this earlier, but schoolwork, uncooperative muses, and a side-trip to Chicago interfered.

But anyway, here it is! Chapter 5 - The Full-Life Alchemist

Author: Miss Arel
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Section: (5/?)
Summary: Four years later, Ed and Al are still searching for what's been taken . . . but there's no rest for the wicked, either.

. . . Light fingers skated over the back of his neck, and Tucker jumped. “Hey!”

Envy giggled, smirking unpleasantly. “You’re too easily distracted, Shorty. How’re we ever gonna get that Stone if you can’t concentrate on your work?” . . .




Chapter 5 - The Full Life Alchemist

Alphonse Elric sat on the steps outside the Naden Inn (Naden’s largest building, and apparently the only one of any importance), waiting for his brother to come out. Night was falling, and the already empty streets were now totally deserted. It was kind of lonely; but he didn’t want to go into the tavern. He’d been quite firm about that. Edward had told him he was being silly, that no one would question his age, but Alphonse had shaken his head and insisted, no, the sign said no children under 16 allowed, Brother, and how was he supposed to stay human if he didn’t act like it?

Which was good and moral, but it also meant having to sit alone on the steps, watching the sky, waiting for Ed and the stars to come out, and wondering which would happen first.

He didn’t have to wait much longer; shouts of anger and at least one small explosion could soon be heard through the plywood walls, followed by yelps of pain and a triumphant cry in his brother’s voice – “Yeah, how do you like that, jerk!?” – before the tavern doors exploded outward and Edward stormed down the steps, straightening his collar and smoothing wood chips out of his orange hair.

“Let’s go, Al,” he snapped, sweeping past him and down the street in a huff, Alphonse doing his best to keep up.


*****
“Brother!” Al said in exasperation, finally catching up. “What was that all about?”

“Jerk kept trying to pick a fight,” Ed grumbled, pounding one fist into the other. “Stupid. Way too drunk to back down, but not quite drunk enough for me to feel sorry for him. Don’t worry, “ he added hastily, seeing the Look Al gave him, “he’ll live . . . it’ll just take them a while to get him out of the table . . .”

“Bro-therrrr . . .” Al groaned. “You promised you wouldn’t cause any trouble!”

“Hey, I was trying to be all calm and diplomatic, it’s not my fault Naden’s full of ass-holes.”

Al sighed. “I hope you at least found out what we want to know.”

Ed snorted, eyes narrowing. “Hardly. No one in there knows anything about the Stone; it was all some stupid rumor that got spun way out of proportion. And that jerk just kept feeding it for weeks, saying he was this great alchemist who’d made the Stone in his sleep . . . Aaaah!” he cried. “They ought to ban drinking, really! It makes people so stupid!”

Al didn’t say anything; he’d found it was easier to let his brother rage himself out, like a fire burning in an enclosed space; eventually it would consume all fuel and die down to a more tractable state.

They walked on in silence, under the stars. Naden was too tiny even for a train station; it would take them hours to reach the tracks.

“And that Mustang!” Ed snarled a minute or two later. “I’ve had it up to here with him!” He jerked a hand violently to the level of his chin. “I mean it’s been four years -- four years! – and what have we to show for it? Oh sure, he gets what he wants,” Ed added, “All’s well for the military, naturally, but so far not one of these so-called leads has gotten us anywhere!” He threw his hands in the air, the ultimate expression of irritation.

Al remained silent. The fact was, Ed was right. It had been almost four years since they had started going out on personal missions for Mustang, four years in which they had gone to many interesting places and met many interesting people, but found nothing at all that brought them closer to their goal. And meanwhile the military had found hide nor hair of Tucker . . . Ed had adjusted, had no choice, but Al could see what it was costing his brother, to be stuck in his middle-thirties when he should have celebrated his sixteenth birthday just a week ago.

Of course, Al also knew that Ed had much the same thoughts for him; it was what drove them on, the reason they still hadn’t given up, even after four years of dead ends.

But even Al’s patience was wearing thin.

“Maybe we should go talk to Colonel Mustang?” he suggested. “Ask him for some time off to search on our own, maybe?”

“Hmm . . .” Ed thought about it. “That might actually work. God knows we’ve earned some time off for good behavior . . .” A nasty smile crossed Ed’s face. “And if he doesn’t want to be helpful, I’m sure Hughes would be willing to lend a hand in getting him to cooperate . . .”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he’s mentioned something about photos, in the past . . .” Suddenly Ed went very white. “Aw, shit! Shit, shit, shit, we’re dead, we’re so dead . . .”

“What do you mean, Brother – “ but then Al remembered it, too. “Oh. Shit.”

Both Elrics looked at each other, speaking in unison: “We forgot Elysia’s birthday.”

“We’re so dead, “ Ed groaned.

They started walking much faster. Hughes would never let them hear the end of this . . .

*****
It was a sunny Sunday, the kind Maes Hughes had thought only existed in storybooks, with a perfectly clear sky and warm, streaming sunlight and a schedule that seemed to consist of nothing beyond sitting on the front steps, watching his girls play. Which was, of course, fine with him.

Nina and Elysia were playing with chalk; Elysia drawing spiral suns and stick trees and blobby little people; Nina, a meticulous hopscotch course (which would have been perfect, had she not drawn the ‘3’ backwards). They were giggling and laughing and enjoying the relaxed mood of the afternoon.

It hadn’t taken long – maybe a week – for Hughes and his family to adjust to Nina’s presence; after that, it was second nature. Hughes couldn’t imagine what life would be like without both those adorable little bundles of energy and joy; for one thing, he’d have a lot fewer pictures to show at the office.

Both girls were growing up beautifully; Nina would be eight in a little over a month, and was already tall for her age. Her chestnut-colored hair, carefully braided by Gracia that morning, hung ropelike over her shoulder, trailing on the ground and getting all chalky. Not that Nina really minded; She had a fondness for outdoor play and physical exercise that certainly hadn’t come from her natural father. Hughes liked to think it came from the late Mrs. Tucker, or maybe Gracia herself. After all, Gracia was such a playful spirit, and more of a parent than to Nina than either of the girl’s true parents had been.

Elysia, on the other hand, despite her sandy blonde hair and large green eyes, was indisputably her father’s daughter. She had turned four less than two weeks ago and already it looked like she would be the only kindergartner with glasses. And she was so open and affectionate, always trailing someone (either her mother, her father, or her big sister) from place to place, like a sweet-faced, shuffling shadow. And she had a laugh that could warm the coldest heart; or so it seemed to Hughes.

She had melted his a long time ago.

Of course, Roy would say she had melted his brain, too, but what did he know?

Hughes shifted his weight, resting his chin in his hand, smiling. Forget Mustang, forget the military; he would have been completely content to stay on that porch forever, watching his daughters grow up and not miss a single second.

“Papa!” Elysia called out, “Look! Look!”

Hughes did look, and smiled at the sight of two familiar figures walking up the path. Well, it looks like all the kids are home today.

*****
Hughes had once thought, back when the accident had first happened and Ed was still vulnerable, that perhaps it was too much, that the boy would be unable to cope with such a burden. He realized now that it was and would always be foolish to doubt Ed, or any other Elric.

Whenever he saw Ed (and it didn’t matter how many times it happened) he was struck anew by how well Ed had adapted to the body he wore; and not just well, but quickly, and wonderfully. After his conversation with Mustang that day, four years ago, Edward had attacked his situation with renewed resolve and determination. He had attached himself to Hughes over the following days, absorbing everything about adulthood that Hughes could possibly teach him. (Except for a few of the more, ahem, complicated matters, but hell, Hughes figured Ed should figure those out on his own). And then the boy had set to work, making Tucker’s body his body, and so successfully, too. Now when Hughes saw Ed, he didn’t think “Ed in Tucker’s body” or “Ed in Ed’s body”; but just plain “Ed”.

Ed had slimmed down some in the intervening four years, all the fieldwork Mustang kept him busy with melting off extra pounds and adding on wiry muscle. He had been growing his hair out, and now it was shoulder-length and gathered into a loose ponytail, reddish-orange bangs falling into his clear blue eyes. He had also exchanged Tucker’s large, round glasses for oval-shaped frames that much better suited the strong lines of his face. His style of dress was also distinctively Ed-like; as he walked up the path to Hughes’ house, he was wearing black boots, pants, and shirt, under a waist-length red jacket with his snake-cross trademark on the back.

After the switch, there had been some talk as to whether Ed’s title should be changed, now that he was the Full Metal Alchemist living in the Sewing Life Alchemist’s body. Nothing had ever come of it and so Ed still went by ‘Full Metal’, but Hughes personally thought a better name would have been ‘Full Life’; Ed deserved some sort of recognition for making the best of such an impossible situation. Not only had the boy survived, but he'd thrived, and it did Hughes' heart good to see him smiling as he approached the gate.

*****
Nina had noticed the Elrics’ approach; she immediately dropped her chalk and ran at Ed, launching herself at him with a cry of “Ed-papa!” Ed caught her, laughing.

“Oof! Nina, you’re getting too big for this.” Nina pouted, half-lidding her big blue-green eyes, but then Ed laughed and hugged her. “Oh, Nina, it’s good to see you,” he breathed, kissing her on the cheek and squeezing her a final time before setting her down so she could go tackle Alphonse.

“Careful, Nina! I’m holding a cake!”

Cake!?”

“They do grow up so fast, don’t they?”

Ed turned around and was caught up in one of Hughes’ fierce hugs. Edward rarely tolerated hugging, as a general rule; his mother, Al, and occasionally Winry had been the only ones with diplomatic immunity on that score. But a hug from Hughes was allowable; ever since the switch, Hughes had done his best to be like a father to Ed and Al, and though Ed pretended it was little more than an annoyance to be put up with, he really did appreciate it. And he was pretty sure Hughes knew that.

“Yeah,” he agreed, returning the hug, “They really do.”

Elysia was bobbing around her father’s legs. “Papa! Papa! Up! Up!”

Hughes did as told, leaning down and sweeping the little girl up into his arms. “Elysia, look who’s here . . .”

A kitten-like expression of delight spread over Elysia’s face. “Uncle Ed!” And that was when Gracia came out of the house with Alexander in tow, and then there was pandemonium, chaos fantastic, a storm of laughing and greeting and woofing, and Hughes’ voice rose above it all. “Everyone inside! You two, come on!”

*****
“Are you done yet?”

Tucker raised his head just enough to glare at Envy. “No.”

The Homunculus swung gracefully down from the rafters where it had been hanging. (Tucker had decided, after some consideration, that Envy was an it; able to be female as easily as male, it was hardly appropriate to assign just one gender to it.) Envy was, in fact, fascinating, perhaps even more so than the rest of his fellows; Tucker would have given a lot to be able to more closely examine a Homunculus like Envy, maybe even dissect it; surely such an investigation would be fascinating, and unprecedented by science.

Not to mention Envy would be a lot less annoying if it were being cut open on a table in Tucker’s lab, rather than prowling around and driving him crazy.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Envy suddenly stuck its head over Tucker’s shoulder, looking at the calculations on the scrap of paper.

“Of course I do,” snapped Tucker, drawing his Auto-mail arm over the paper, glowering at Envy, who just smirked and sat down on the table.

“Looks like random scribbles to me.”

“Well, good thing you’re not the one in charge of making the Philosopher’s Stone” –

Was what Tucker wanted to say, but for some reason standing up to Envy he found especially hard, and the best he could manage was an irritated glare before turning back to his project. Perhaps (he hoped) Envy would decide Tucker was no fun to tease, and go find some other amusement.

“Seven . . .” Tucker muttered, looking at the transmutation circle he’d come up with, “Seven, seven, why seven . . ?” Somehow seven was important to the transmutation; he’d figured out that much. But why? And why did he feel like something was missing?

Light fingers skated over the back of his neck, and Tucker jumped. “Hey!”

Envy giggled, smirking unpleasantly. “You’re too easily distracted, Shorty. How’re we ever gonna get that Stone if you can’t concentrate on your work?”

Tucker gritted his teeth and tried to focus. Originally he hadn’t minded being so short; it seemed a small price to pay for all the power he’d gained when he’d found himself with Edward Elric’s body. But after four years of being called ‘Shorty’ on a daily basis (by Envy, no less, who made nastiness an art form), he wasn’t so sure. And while he had all of the Full Metal Alchemist’s power (and stature, or lack of it) he had none of the boy’s rash courage. So he ground his molars and did his best to ignore Envy, like he always did.

He sincerely hoped the others would be back soon. Lust, Sloth, and Gluttony were off preparing the experiment, and no doubt Envy would have gone with them, except they had decided long ago that Tucker required a baby-sitter of some kind at all times. It was as if they feared he’d run away. Or blow up their hideout. Or something.

As if I could run away, he thought darkly, erasing with perhaps more force than was necessary and leaving dark smudges on the page. It’s not as if I have anywhere to run to.

He looked around briefly. Envy was gone. Thank God for small blessings, he thought, getting back to work. For a while he felt that he was making progress, but after ten consecutive, Envy-free minutes, he began to be worried. He started jumping at shadows, jerking his head around at the tiniest imagined movement. Pretty soon it was impossible to concentrate at all.

Sudden movement, out of the corner of his eye. He swung around to look.

Nothing.

He sighed, chiding himself for being so nervy, and turned back to his work once more.

BOO!

Tucker jumped nearly three feet, clamping down hard on a yelp of surprise, then whirled around, ready to smack Envy upside the head, and consequences be damned –

And found himself face-to-face with Nina. Well, Envy, really, of course it was Envy, but the sight still made him freeze mid-oath. His daughter, smiling up at him, blue-green eyes shining, hair neatly braided as it had always been, and that adorable little smile, her mother’s smile . . . Tucker was rendered speechless by the trick, and knew it was a trick, and hated himself for being frozen by it anyway.

Nina laughed suddenly. “Fucking idiot,” she said sweetly, and it made Tucker’s stomach turn to see Envy’s nasty grin on Nina’s sweet little face. Tucker was already halfway out of his chair, mentally preparing a transmutation, as Envy shifted back into its customary form, lithe and androgynous and pale, when he heard the sound of a door opening and closing.

“Envy. Tucker,” Sloth said calmly, approaching, “We’re ready to begin.”

Envy grinned and brought up a foot, knocking Tucker back into his chair. “You heard the woman, Shorty. Suit up!”

*****
Ed sat back in his chair, fighting the urge to fall asleep. It wasn’t his fault – it had been a long and tiring day, and the Hughes’ house was so warm and cozy and Gracia’s cooking was so good and Nina had fallen asleep in his lap, curled up against his chest. He forced himself to stay awake by stroking the top of her head, feeling her wavy hair soft under his fingers.

“So, what were you saying earlier?” Hughes asked. It was after dinner, and apparently Gracia’s turn to put Elysia (who had been delighted with the teddy bear and coloring books, to say nothing of the cake) to bed. Hughes and Ed and Al sat round the dinner table, chewing on words now that there was no more food available. “You’re gonna go ask Mustang for time off?”

“Well, kind of,” Al began.

“We want him to let us go searching for the Stone. On our own.” Ed said, frowning. “We’re tired of doing the military’s bidding without any kind of reward, not even a chance to go and explore on our own.”

“Yeah!” Al agreed fervently. “It’s not fair of Mustang to make us do all this work when we’re not getting any closer to our goal.”

“Bastard,” Ed growled, “He’s been using us like slaves.”

“Dogs of the military,” Al echoed.

Hughes looked at the two brothers, each displaying frustration and anger in their own distinct ways, and swallowed the last of the after-dinner brandy. “Well, good luck with that. So, let’s say you get what you want – where will you go searching?”

Ed blinked. “Uh . . . well . . .”

“To tell you the truth,” Al said, sounding very embarrassed, “We hadn’t thought that far ahead.”

Hughes just smiled, leaned forward, and patted Al on top of his metal head. “Well, I’m sure you’ll think of something.”

“Well, actually . . .” Ed said slowly. “I was thinking we might go to Ishbal . . . What’s left of it, I mean.”

Hughes attention immediately focused on Ed, like the beam of a lantern. “What do you know about Ishbal?”

Ed blinked, surprised at the intensity of Hughes’ look. “Uh, well, we know there was a civil war there a few years ago . . . and the story is the war happened because Ishbal got too close to the Philosopher’s Stone. And, I dunno . . . “ he shrugged, slightly embarrassed. “It just makes more sense for us to find the Stone buried in the desert surrounded by spooky ruins than in some backwards town in the middle of nowhere . . .”

Hughes laughed. “Well, that’s how the stories always seem to go . . .”

“Are there many Ishbalites in Central City?” Al asked. “We thought maybe we could ask them . . .”

Hughes couldn’t suppress the harsh bark of laughter.

“What?” Al asked, confused.

“You must not have researched the war very well . . .” Hughes wasn’t laughing anymore. “There aren’t many Ishbalites left, and the ones that are still around live in refugee camps. They have no love for the military.”

“Really?” Ed asked, looking downtrodden. Hughes nodded.

“In fact, just a few weeks ago – Oh, that’s right! You wouldn’t have heard of this!”

“Of what?” Ed and Al leaned forward at the note of excitement in Hughes’ voice.

“Well, about – I guess it was about a month ago – an Ishbalite tried to take out Central HQ.”

Ed stared, uncomprehending. “Take out . . . what do you mean, take out?”

“I mean take. Out. Destroy. Invade. Boom.” The Elrics still stared at him, dumbfounded. “I think his plan was to kill the Fuhrer; he got pretty close, too, and he killed a lot of people . . .”

Edward was shaking his head, trying to understand. “But – but – how?”

“Well –“ Hughes bit his lip. “I’m not exactly sure, actually; but I think it was some sort of alchemy. I mean, I wasn’t there, but witnesses said he could explode things just by touching them . . .”

“But I thought the Ishbalites didn’t approve of alchemy,” Al said, confused.

“Maybe he was an outcast?” Ed said, thinking out loud. “But, if that’s true, then why was he attacking Central . . . ?”

Hughes shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine; I don’t know either. But I do know he made one hell of a mess before they finally captured him . . .”

“What happened?” Al asked, craning forward.

“He killed at least a dozen people, including four Alchemists -- he seemed to be focusing on them – he killed Basque Gran . . .”

Ed laughed darkly, a low bark. “Ha. I like this guy already . . .”

Hughes waved his hand. “Yeah, I know, he shall be sorely missed, blah blah blah . . . but seriously, this guy took a huge chunk out of headquarters . . . and he killed some good people, too.” Hughes’ face had darkened, Ed noticed, and he regretted his brash words.

“. . . still . . .” Ed said a few minutes later, “if he was using alchemy, and it doesn’t sound like any alchemy I’ve ever heard of . . . maybe he knows something about the Stone?”

Hughes shrugged. “He probably does. But good luck getting to see him – He’s dead.”

What!?”

“He attacked the military headquarters and killed several military personnel, including a Brigadier General,” Hughes said, as if explaining something that was very obvious. “They don’t let you do that and live. I’m sure he was executed weeks ago.”

“Oh . . .” Al hung his head, despondent. Ed, on the other hand, looked angry.

“It isn’t fair. War isn’t fair.” The look on his face seemed old, too old for the 36-year-old face Ed wore, much too old for the 16-year-old inside. “Killing, over and over like that, life for life for life . . . It isn’t right. It's definitely not equivalent trade.” He looked down at Nina, stroking her hair gently as she slept. “Humans are so messed up,” he said, quietly, the softness of his voice not quite hiding the bitterness in it.

Hearing that statement from one so young, with such cold weariness, made Hughes want to get up and put his arms around Edward and comfort him like a father should . . . but of course, Edward wouldn’t have understood what he was doing, or why he was doing it, and would have gotten angry. So all Hughes could do was look at the tabletop, avoiding Ed’s face and feeling the silence weighing on them both.

It was Al who spoke next.

“Well, we should go to bed,” he said, rising, “we have to go back to Central tomorrow – right, Brother?”

Ed’s head snapped up. “What? Oh, yeah.” He lifted Nina carefully, placing her in Hughes’ lap without waking her. “Night, Mr. Hughes,” he said, “We’ll see you tomorrow.”

Hughes waved a hand at them. “Maes, Edward, Maes. Or would you like me to start calling you Mr. Elric?”

Edward cracked a little smile. “Yeah . . . sorry,” he said, rubbing the back of his head. “Maes . . . thanks. Night.”

“G’night.” Hughes watched them heading upstairs. He waited until he heard the door close, then poured himself another glass of brandy.

And another.

When Gracia came down later, Elysia safely tucked away, Hughes was halfway through the bottle, half-asleep and very unhappy.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” She took the bottle from his fingers, tucking an errant strand of hair behind his ear.

“. . . It hurts,” he said. “I wish I could stop it hurting . . .”

“What hurts, honey?” She stroked his shoulder blades, trying to comfort him, but he only shook his head.”

“Not me . . . them.” He jerked his head in the direction of the stairs. “It hurts them so damn much . . .” he put his head back down, clutching a sleeping Nina to him tightly, “And there’s nothing I can do . . .”

“Oh, honey . . .” she put her arm around him, holding him close to her chest. “Honey, you do so much already . . . “

*****
Suit up, they said.

The Homunculi had realized long ago that harboring a very wanted criminal was no minor thing. Pride and Sloth did what they could, of course, but calling off the search would have just made a lot of people a lot more interested in finding Tucker. So there was no chance of everyone forgetting about it.

It had been Lust’s idea (naturally; sometimes it seemed to Tucker she was the only one in the whole group with a brain) to hide him in plain sight; to make him look like one of their gang; so that any witnesses (which were rare to begin with; Lust and her compatriots were very thorough) would only notice one more pale figure in black and red.

Which meant, of course, they all got to have a field day with Tucker.

First to go had been the hair, because long blond hair was much too distinctive for a wanted criminal, and black hair would blend in much better. Tucker had been rather sad to see that silky blond hair chopped off with a sweep of Lust’s hand and toted away (though admittedly, he hadn’t had much time to grow, as it were, attached to it). But by now he was used to it, and it did look pretty cool: jet black hair roughly and unevenly cut, framing his face and just tickling the back of his neck. Tucker had never been too concerned about his appearance in the past, but as he looked at his face in the mirror, he had to admit he didn’t look half-bad.

There were other physical details, too. The pallor of his skin had been easy, as the Homunculi worked almost exclusively at night. Tucker didn’t know exactly how many times he’d seen the sun in the past four years, but he was sure it numbered in the single digits.

The eyes; well, they hadn’t been able to do much about the eyes, but again, as most of their work was done in shadow and darkness, very rarely did anyone get close enough to see that Tucker’s eyes were golden-yellow, not wine-dark and slit-pupiled, like those of his fellows. And those who did get close enough never lived long enough to speak of it.

The outfit, he had to admit, was pretty damn cool. Sloth had made it for him, with care and precision that convinced Tucker she must have been a mother, in some distant past. It clearly followed the same pattern as the uniforms the others wore: sleek and black with red streaks and stripes and discs tracing patterns over his body. He dressed himself in it now: sleeveless back shirt with diamond-shaped openings on his chest and back; sleek black pants; black boots; black glove (at least on the left hand; there was no hiding his Auto-mail arm, and a glove on that metal hand would look like lace on a train engine.) All of these, naturally, had the characteristic red lining and rimming, and when Tucker put it all on, he really did look like a member of the club.

And there had been one more badge, too . . .

It had been Envy’s idea. It probably wasn’t that necessary, but Envy was the authority with this group; when it put its foot down, the others all shut up and paid attention. Envy had taken Tucker to a back-alley tattoo parlor, and had the sleepy-eyed woman working there tattoo on Tucker’s back the same design imprinted on Envy’s thigh, and Gluttony’s tongue, and Lust’s throat and Sloth’s chest: The winged snake devouring itself; the Ouroboros.

It had hurt. A lot. And if it weren’t for fear of what Envy would do to him if he messed it up, Tucker wouldn’t have gone through with it. But the plain truth was, Envy scared the shit out of him. So he’d gritted his teeth and clutched the greasy tabletop as the needle stabbed in and out of his back, tracing the ancient symbol in blood-red ink.

Afterwards, Tucker had wondered what they would do about the tattoo woman. After he saw what Envy did to her, he never doubted his protectors again; nor did he question them. His survival instinct was much too strong for that.

The seal drawn on Tucker’s back seemed to amuse Envy endlessly; sometimes Envy’s fingers would skitter, spider-like, over the serpent on Tucker’s skin, and he would shiver and turn to glare at the Homunculus, but Envy’s smug face said it all: We own you. You belong to us. Our pet. And all of them treated him that way. Tucker could sense it; a condescension, a smugness that might have passed for affection, but in fact was little more than derision. Their pet alchemist.

Tucker didn’t like that; he didn’t like to think that he wasn’t his own man. Boy. Whatever. He stood up a little straighter and looked himself in the eye.

“I’m no one’s pet.”

Tucker saw black hair and black clothing and a would-be defiant young face that held nothing but fear. He knew he was lying. But he didn’t want to admit that just yet.

“Oi! Midget!” Envy’s androgynous voice rang out cheerfully. “You done primping yet? We’re going!”

Tucker curled his hands into fists and nodded at the mirror. They’d see, he thought. They’d all see what he was made of. After tonight . . . they’d have to respect him, after tonight.

If it worked.

He turned on his heel and walked out of the room, the reflection of the Ouroboros burning into the gloom.

End of Chapter 5



And now, the Special Bonus Art Section! That's right - pictures! ^_^ These are just my designs for both Ed and Tucker at this point in the story, to give you an idea of what I'm aiming for.
This is a basic drawing of Ed as Tucker; it's only partially colored, but it gives you a general idea.
These are some face shots for Ed. Some of these are calssically Tucker expressions; others are Ed expressions mapped onto the face. See any resemblance?
And this is the design for Tucker the Ed-monculus. It's done in Sharpie, so it's not REALLY fancy, but i think it's cute. (Coming up with Sin costumes is FUN!)

Thanks for reading! See you in chapter 6!


Missed a chapter? Well, they're all up on Skyehawke now . . . for easy archiving and access!
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Comments, critiques, and reviews are appreciated like you wouldn't believe.
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 14 comments