Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa
Characters: Edward/Alfons/Alphonse with guest appearance by Russel Tringham
Genre: angst, emotion, humor, religious themes, boys touching boys with a hint of incest
Notes: co-authored with tierfal because we randomly got inspired by this fanart by the Au Kreis doujinshi circle. originally posted on tumblr.
Summary: Alfons prays for guidance. What he gets instead is an offer from a demon who looks suspiciously familiar and a warning from an angel who could be an alternate universe twin. Whoever the third guy is supposed to be, he'll never know.
He didn’t even know why he was there. God was some strange, uncertain entity he’d stopped praying to when he was still in primary and ever since the doctors had given him the news, he had given up on religion completely. His roommate’s strong distaste for religion only intensified the urge to avoid church and yet there he was, sitting in a pew after more years than he could remember.
Mein Gott… he began, but already the image of Edward’s unamused features were coming to mind. And as displeased as the Edward in his head was, he still couldn’t stop but think of how beautiful Edward’s eyes were…
The problem was—well, the problems were too numerous even to estimate, but the primary problem was that he was too thorough to discount a possibility, no matter how slim. And so even if the likelihood of an omnipotent deity who actually responded to telepathic pleading was terribly narrow—as narrow as, say, for instance, Ed’s sharp hips looked every time he’d open a door just a few inches and then slipped right through—it was necessary to test the hypothesis.
He bit down on his bottom lip, closed his eyes, and concentrated.
I hope that such a sudden prayer does not seem presumptuous, and if it does, I very much apologize. If you are indeed all-seeing and all-knowing, then… I suppose you’re already aware that I need a sign. It just—it doesn’t seem worth it. None of it does. And if I am indeed a creature made in your image, whose life and well-being are precious to you, then you want to preserve me, correct? You want me to succeed. And I can’t, like this, as things are. I need help. I need something. Anything. Please.
What happened next came so suddenly, he wondered if maybe it was just the sign he was looking for. But even that seemed absurd because the image of the boy sitting next to him was like some kind of broken mirror, a distorted reflection. With his face, but eyes like Edward’s (if a shade darker) and maybe he was going mad.
Maybe that was it. The illness was beginning to affect his brain. He was hallucinating.
But no matter how many times he blinked, no matter how many times he shook his head to dispel the image, it never faded. The boy continued to smile at him, somehow both shyly and knowingly at the same time. It was so strange to see on nearly identical lips to his own.
He cleared his throat and attempted, unsuccessfully, to work his voice. He swallowed and tried again, and this time he managed a couple sounds.
The boy’s smile widened, lips parting—perfect teeth.
The throb of Alfons’s heart in his ears was very distracting. ”Are you—are you my guardian angel, by any chance? Because that might go a great distance towards explaining your appearance—not that you need to explain your appearance; there’s nothing wrong with your appearance; I happen to think I—you—we look quite nice, or at least not bad, certainly—”
“You’re cute,” the boy said. ”I see why he likes you.”
Yes, Alfons was mad. Bit of a shame. ”Why who likes me?”
The boy sighed fondly and crossed his legs. He was wearing fine white gloves; he drummed a few fingers on his knee. ”My stupid, gorgeous, fallen brother. He’s very fond of you, Alfons.”
“I resent that, Al. The ‘stupid’ bit, anyway. Don’t call your big brother ‘stupid.’”
Jerking his head in the direction of the new voice, Alfons was astonished to find one of the sources of his many troubles sitting right next to him. Sort of. It was Edward, but he was pretty sure Edward never dressed that way. All black suited and devious with red gloves and a Mephistophelean smile that suited Edward more than he cared too admit. If Ed did look like that on a daily basis, Alfons knew he would have been in a lot more trouble than he currently was. Though, at this point, he wasn’t sure how much more trouble he could be in, since he was already imaging things, blasphemous things, in church.
Scheiße… Was he already sinking into hell or was it just the heat in his face making it feel as if the temperature had risen quite a bit?
“Ignore him, he’s being a brat.” Alfons watched entranced as those lips curled a bit more and this devilish Edward leaned in to glide fingers under his chin. How did breathing go again? “He is right ‘bout one thing, though…”
“You are stupid,” the mirror-boy in white said, “if you haven’t taken him already. Look at his face; he’d sell his soul for it.”
“I would do no such thing,” Alfons said, not as loudly as he would have liked.
The whispering silk of those red gloves on his chin, on his jaw, on his throat—oh, what the hell; what was a soul good for, anyway?
Ed grinned outright, and a part of Alfons expected fangs, but all he got was the stretch of those soft lips and a burst of white heat in the pit of his stomach. “I was trying to say that you are, as it happens, ridiculously attractive.”
“Duly noting the extension of the compliment,” said the boy in white.
Ed leaned closer, leaned too close, breathed against Alfons’ cheek, eyes hot yellow and smoldering, and Alfons’ gut clenched. “So that sign you were praying for,” Ed said. “What were you hoping it’d feel like?”
“Er—” It was getting increasingly hard to think with those lips treacherously close, though some notion lingered that it seemed strange a demon (he wasn’t even certain he could call Edward that, even if it was this Edward and were those black wings he saw out of the corner of his eye?) would be able to stand on holy ground, in a church. But that thought only gave credence to the likelihood that he really was going mad.
If he was, he began to think, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. Kind of like the prospect of selling his soul. And with as little time as he had left, he had to make the best of it, right?
A quick glance in his angelic doppleganger’s direction didn’t make it easier to decide. The boy merely smiled again, leaning closer as well, though his shift in movement didn’t scream sex like every subtle shift the devil on his other shoulder made. His chin was set on gloved knuckles and Alfons could feel an elbow settle on the back of the pew behind him. He was trapped between heaven and hell.
“Traditionally, we don’t do this sort of thing at a time like this, but Brother insisted and I simply couldn’t leave him alone. He gets in too much trouble.” His mirror shouldn’t have been capable of smiling so achingly sweet. “And it’s my job to inform you of all the details so you know what you’re getting into, if you do sell your soul. I don’t suggest it, of course.”
Apparently, several things Alfons did not believe in were pertinent today—it was nothing short of a miracle that he had retained a few functional brain cells. “W-wait—am I selling my… soul… for… my life, or… to…” His face was on fire. He knew from more than a few Bunsen burner accidents over the years that hair was extremely flammable, which was disconcerting. “…to… be… intimate… with… Edward?”
Edward merely laughed—a low, rich, heavy sound which was equal parts unhelpful and arousing.
“I barely even skimmed the fine print,” the boy in white said. “Russell, would you care to enlighten us?”
Ed’s eyelids slipped halfway shut, and he drew in even closer, and his breath ghosted up Alfons’ throat. By all rights, Alfons should have been terrified to have those teeth there, but somehow there wasn’t energy left for another emotion. Edward’s palm spread over the center of his chest, emanating heat, and distantly he heard someone shuffling sheets of paper.
“You two are incorrigible. And lazy; this is your assignment.” A bit more shuffling. Ed’s mouth grazed Alfons’ skin just where his pulse beat hardest. “If I’m not mistaken, he can have both. It’s a seller’s market these days.”
“S- …Sellers?” Did they not get many offers for souls these days or something? He honestly couldn’t see why they wouldn’t with how successfully Ed had managed to ensnare and hold his attention. He could feel his breath hitch and his chest tighten, which wasn’t a very good sign because the tickle of a cough began to rise in the back of his throat and he really hoped it wouldn’t rise any further. Breaking into a coughing fit now would not be very appealing.
“Here, let me take care of that.” Before he could protest, his “angel” leaned over and gently nudged Ed out of the way in order to trail his fingers across Alfons’ throat. A cooling sensation followed those warm fingertips, better than any cup of tea with honey.
A pout formed on Ed’s lips in response and he shot a glare over Alfons’ shoulder, even as his hand slid downwards. “Cheater.”
The boy in white pulled away, but not before reaching over Alfons’ shoulder to tap gloved fingertips against Ed’s pouting lips. And Alfons found he was very uncomfortable between his legs. “I have duties to preform too, Brother. Besides, it was only a small miracle.”
Again, more papers rustled. “Ahem. You two wanted me here; are you going to let me begin?”
Alfons blinked as his doppelganger and Edward replied affirmatively in unison.
“So here’s the thing,” Edward said, long fingers trailing over Alfons’s shoulder and down his arm. “Souls are actually kinda boring, when it comes right down to it. They’re like your appendix, if your appendix saddled you with weird guilt complexes and a compulsion to be nice to old ladies and crap.”
The boy who looked like Alfons muttered something that sounded like Can’t believe we’re even related.
“If you give it to me,” Ed said, and now his fingertips dragged across Alfons’ chest and curled around his necktie, cinching up towards the knot, “I will give you everything you want. I know what you want, Alfons Heiderich. I can make you so, so happy—happier than you’ve ever been, happier than you could dream of. All you have to do is agree to give up some little wisp of quintessence that serves no other purpose than to make your life a hell of a lot more difficult. I promise I’ll take good care of it, too. And I will take very…” His eyelashes brushed Alfons’s cheek. “…good…” His breath was so moist against Alfons’ mouth that any and all capacities for intellection failed. “…care…” Their lips met, lighter than a breeze, lighter than a butterfly’s wingbeat. “…of you.”
The boy in white made a discontented noise. “Russell, make him play fair.”
“‘Make him’? That’s hilarious.”
Edward laughed softly. His breath tasted like chocolate, which was somehow unsurprising.
“Alfons, listen, it’s not that simple—don’t kiss him—”
“Why not? I think he wants me to…” The words all but fell into his mouth and Alfons had to swallow hard as another waft of warm, chocolate flavored air ghosted across his lips. He couldn’t stop himself as he licked them subconsciously, wanting to get more of that taste, and got rewarded with a brief feel of Ed’s slick tongue against his. Ed was right. He most certainly wanted Ed to kiss him and nearly hated his almost-twin for interrupting.
But before he could lean in closer, he was tugged out of Edward’s grip, pulled flush against the chest of the boy in white. He could tell through his shirt and the crisp white suit of the boy that he was just as strong and built as Ed was and that did not succeed in distracting him much. He pictured the same build of firm, toned muscle that he’d seen on Edward and shuddered. Arms wrapped around him to catch the red-silk covered fingers still curled around his tie and if he had thought he was trapped earlier, it was nothing compared to now.
There was a snort heard, coming from somewhere behind him, presumably the unseen “Russell”. It was followed by a muttered Weirdos. Biggest waste of time since the Crusades...
“Brother, let me have a chance, we agreed earlier.” Against his ear, he could hear the slight petulant tone of the one now holding him, coupled with cool air against his skin.
“Alfons, please listen because this is very important.” The arms around him squeezed gently, a careful and protective hold, so unlike the lascivious one Ed had had on him just moments ago. Even the boy’s tone was caring in ways he’d never before heard. He spoke with such passion and firm belief in his words that Alfons couldn’t help but give him most of his attention. The attention that wasn’t still snagged by the glittering golden eyes gazing at him. “What my brother isn’t telling you is that the soul is important. He’s not lying so much as twisting the truth. Because the soul is what defines you, makes you who you are, and most importantly, keeps you human. And you’re so very much human, an amazing beautiful human who would only gain a temporary form of happiness in exchange for an eternity of emptiness.”
“Temporary?” Edward laughed again, brightly, and tossed his hair. “This is all temporary, Alfons. You can’t take it with you. Might as well enjoy it while it l—”
“He’s a hypocrite,” the boy in white said, voice dropping to a lower register and sharpening so intensely that Alfons’s shoulders tensed. The grip of the arms around him only tightened. “He knows better than anyone that the soul is the important thing—maybe the only important thing. You’d be a puppet without it. You’d be a shell. You’d be shaped like you; you’d speak like you; you’d walk and talk and breathe like you… Well, I suppose you’d breathe easier. But you wouldn’t be you, Alfons. You wouldn’t be alive, not in the same way, not anymore. What good is happiness if you can’t feel it?”
Edward’s eyes gleamed, and his smile tilting into a smirk.
“Ed,” Russell said, “Please stop violating him with your eyes. I don’t think he’s actually hearing any of this.”
But he was hearing it, even with how fascinating it was to be watched by Ed. Even though Ed’s fingers were roaming across his chest again, moving over areas not covered by the arms holding him, dipping lower towards his belt. Not matter how much Edward tried to distract him (and he was doing a damn good job, making his hips buck a little as those fingers trailed lower still), he couldn’t ignore the slight plea in his mirror’s voice. So emphatic, as if not only his own life and soul depended on the decision. He doubted that was the case because part of him still thought this was all some sort of strange hallucination, and if it wasn’t, what importance was he to something so lofty and beautiful (was it narcissistic to think that?) as the angel behind him?
“He’s pretty fucking good, isn’t he?” His attention was captured again by Edward, who leaned over him despite the hold the other boy still had on him. As if he had no issue with nearly pushing Alfons into the boy in white’s lap and then climbing into Alfons’. Pressed between their bodies, Alfons had nowhere to go and no way to escape. That was, if any part of him still wanted to.
He watched as long, dark lashes lowered over Ed’s eyes in a slow, luxurious blink. And then Ed’s eyes opened again and he was watched from behind those dark lashes. The arms around him shifted their grip and they made Alfons realize that Edward wasn’t only toying with him, but the other boy as well, sliding blood-red cloth covered hands over pure white fabric until Alfons was encased in not just the angel’s arms, but Ed’s as well.
“That’s my little brother, for you. It’s almost unfair how he can win a person over with that bleeding heart of his. No wonder he’s always provoked the most sinful thoughts in me.”
Against his cheek, thanks to the chin that had hooked itself over his shoulder, Alfons could feel heat from a blush not unlike his own. Another snort was heard from behind him.
“I’m going to stop you right there, Ed. We don’t have time to discuss how you fell. We’re on a time schedule and Alfons needs to make a decision.”
“I don’t think I understand,” Alfons said faintly, hearing the tremor in his own voice as Ed settled lower into his lap. “What d-difference could I possibly make? Why me?”
“Because you’re brilliant,” the boy in white whispered.
Edward leaned his forehead against Alfons’s, tracing a single fingertip slowly around the curve of his ear. Warm silk; a flick of his eyes; a hint of a smile. “Because you’re one of us.”
“You have a little time left,” said the boy in white. “It’s not much, but you’re powerful, Alfons, don’t you see? You could do a lifetime’s work in a matter of weeks—you have before. You could build things that time will never tear down. That’s more than most people can say after forty years, after sixty years, after eighty. And you don’t…” He sighed, softly, pressing his temple to Alfons’s hotly-flushing cheek. “It’s not all or nothing, you know. You could try asking for what you want. Given that you’re dying anyway, you could try taking it. Everyone’s time is limited, if you think about it. Yes, you’re at a disadvantage; yes, you’ve been shortchanged; no, it’s not fair, not in the slightest—but you’ve made more from less, haven’t you? Don’t let him devour the essence of you just because you’re scared. You’re better than that. I know you are.”
Alfons could feel the boy’s heartbeat against his back. The boy’s arms cinched a little tighter around him, as though he was something rare, something precious, something to defend.
He looked up into Ed’s half-lidded eyes.
“I can take it away,” Edward said. “I can take away the pain, and the fear, and the inevitability. Say the word, and it’s all gone. You and I live forever. No rules. No consequences. No end in sight.” He curled the fingers of both hands in Alfons’s shirtfront, drawing them closer still; his smile was softer now, and his eyes were like sunlight on weathered stone, and his mouth hovered just a breath away— “And I will make eternity so very worth your while.”
“Time’s up,” Russell said.
“What?” The question fell from his lips with surprise. Already? How was he supposed to decide now? It wasn’t enough time, he never had enough time, and between the boy behind him and the boy in his lap, it was impossible for him to decide at that moment.
The futures he was offered were not something he could choose easily. His heart was torn in two, between the offer of a lifetime with Edward followed by an eternity with this decadently devilish demon in his lap, and the chance to achieve the goal he’d been struggling towards for so long, all on his own accord. Why wasn’t he given the chance to deliberate properly, weigh the pros and cons in a logical manner, and deduce the best solution like he would have with any other problem he faced…
But maybe that was how the divine worked. Something impossible to fully understand. The thought made him recall Edward’s bright smiling face on the afternoon they had flown their first rocket. That day they had managed to touch the heavens, if only by extension and for a brief period of time. Seeing that smile and knowing that one day, somehow, if he didn’t reach the stars himself, he’d certainly send Edward there, he had been happier than he could ever remember. He had a purpose, and somehow he felt as if giving in to the demon’s suggestion just to achieve that purpose was selling himself short. Edward would never approve, he was certain of that.
What did he really want? He wanted Edward. He wanted to touch the stars. But more than that, he wanted to see Edward’s smiling face again and know that he alone was the cause for that.
Not the power forged by a demon’s contract.
Not the grace given to him by an angel’s miracles.
If it was him alone, then even if he faded, he knew he would last forever in Edward’s memory. Wasn’t that enough?
As those thoughts began to coalesce and crystallize, certainty forming in his expression, it felt as if there was a shift in the atmosphere.
“Not bad. One of our fastest yet.” That had to have been Russell again. And before him, the smirk that had been on Edward’s lips was beginning to fade. He could have sworn he saw a hint of regret in those gold eyes.
“Is that what you really want?” Ed asked, making no attempt this time to distract with lust.
“I’m not sure what I want,” Alfons said. “But this is what’s best. And I think it’s what’s right.”
“He is one of you,” Russell said, and there was a scratching sound—a pen, perhaps. “Damned geniuses.”
“He’s not damned at all,” the boy in white said, nestling his cheek against Alfons’s jaw. “That’s the beauty of it.”
“Nah,” Ed said. He offered a thin smile, a sad smile—wistful, weak, resigned. He peeled off his left glove and ran the pad of his thumb slowly over Alfons’s half-parted lips. “This is.”
“I’m not giving up on you,” Alfons said. “I’m not giving up on your dream or mine, and I’m not going to die for nothing.”
“You were always going to amount to something,” Edward said. “It was just a matter of what.” He took Alfons’ face gently in his mismatched hands, and the kiss he laid on Alfons’ forehead tingled and then stung.
“Any questions?” Russell’s voice asked. “I’m only joking; I’d just say something obnoxiously cryptic if you even tried. I’d wish you good luck, but I know better.”
“I don’t need luck,” Alfons said. “Thank you, though.”
Against his cheek, he could feel the brush of cool lips, so much cooler than the lips that had graced his forehead seconds before. His doppleganger bestowing his own blessing, like his brother had bestowed a curse (if he could call it that, though he didn’t think he ever would, no matter how much the place on his forehead stung). And then, as suddenly as the trio had appeared, they were gone. He was left alone on the church pew with tousled hair, flushed cheeks, and an expression of somewhat bewildered determination.
“I don’t need luck,” he repeated to himself, shifting his gaze up towards the alter at the head of the sanctuary. He fell silent for only a second, then pushed up from the bench to slide towards the aisle, making his way for the exit.
The brisk air that greeted him as he stepped over the threshold was soothing in his lungs and cool on his face. It had been overcast when he stepped through the doors, but the clouds had broken while he was inside.
That’s all. Alfons slipped his hands into his pockets and smiled upward as he started for home. All I need is the sky, and this soul, and half a chance.
thanks go first of all to Au Kreis for their gorgeous fanart that inspired this. also to tierfal for even doing this with me, as sporadic and random as it happened. i can't tell you guys how much fun it was.
thoughts are always appreciated! ♥