Aaah! I was going to post this before, but my internet has been dead for the past day for some odd reason.
Anyhow, I'm still two hours in time, so Happy Mothers Day, and gave an FMA fic in celebration. A bit of gen featuring Sloth and Wrath in all their angsty wibblyness.
Wrath's memories have come and gone in hiccups of time and space, forming and breaking and reforming his existence so many times that he can barely separate the incidents any longer. It's like having another self in a way, or so he has mused only briefly, having no time or patience for careful retrospect. Time for deep thoughts isn't a priveledge awarded to a newest servant; he is far too busy trying to learn his place, gain favor from Dante, and avoid fights with Envy. His only quiet moments are with Mama, and he would rather simply lie beside her at times like those; to soak in her closeness and feel like he has earned a place of belonging.
Her face grows soft when they are together; gentle in a sad and distant way, far separated from the cold indifferent exterior she wears at all other times. He can understand; that need to be something in front of others- he has displayed enough enthusiasm for playing the role he was named for, sometimes forgetting where the line blurs between his own anger and meanness and that which he plays just to show the others that he really can be strong like them. He still does play a part, in a way, with her, but it's only because he wants nothing nearly as badly as he wants to please her. If she ever shows a hint of approval at something he does, he latches to it.
"Do you remember?" She asks him, as he lies with his head nestled on her lap. It is one of those dropped out questions that she has the tendency to ask; one of those things in which she, in her reveries of deep thought, forgets to take notice that nobody else, much less Wrath himself, might understand the implication. She has grown a little better at it, but still has her slip-ups like this, and he tries very hard to guess at what she's saying before giving up and asking,
"What do you mean, Mama?" He doesn't look up at her, nor she at him, he knows, and the way she strokes his hair is mechanical and unattentive.
"Before," She says, just as vague, and he swears if he didn't love her so much he might find it in himself to be annoyed.
He turns his gaze upward, head still cushioned in the softness of her legs and her belly, and meets her with imploring wide eyes. She seems to notice finally, shaking her head and returning her hand to him with more attention, her musings more anchored, and she thinks for a moment, deliberating over how to phrase her question.
"You know..." She says softly, "What we are and the way we're born. The odd memories we have from a time we shouldn't remember..."
He frowns, and tries to make his face invisible to her, because he doesn't want to think about this, but he doesn't want her to know that. Lip pursed and fist clenched, grabbing a small handful of the fine black material of her dress, he responds non-commitally.
"Mm..." He shifts and breathes, somehow not finding rehearsed comfort in the routine of the mundane action as the others still do, "I remember... the gate..."
"I mean before that..." She presses, tucking a lock of messy hair behind his ear, and it feels almost good enough to make him forget that he knows she's thinking about her other life- the one that wasn't defective, the one where she had... "real" things.
They all have these lives, supposedly. None of the others care to talk about them, save perhaps Lust who occasionally speaks to Dante of her memories in scattered, muted confessionals; conversations he's told he musn't listen to because they're about 'grown-up' things. Gluttony can't speak much of memories; can't speak much at all for that matter, though he does occasionally talk of senseless things; of places and family members that don't exist, and unless he's just stupid and delusional, which is also a large possibility, perhaps that counts for something. Envy becomes angry and indignant when asked of such things; insists very loudly that he has no memories of any life besides his own, and Wrath has no claim to being intuitive, but he knows enough about anger and denial to understand that this must mean that Envy's memories are bad.
"I was... in water," he tells her, straining to recall what he can, if only for her. He doesn't like being reminded of the life he never got to have. Even the Gate memories are easier to deal with; terror and anger are more familiar than the deep hollow melancholy he feels when he's forced to think of whether the life he lost was even a proper life to begin with.
"Go on," she coaxes, touching his face gently, letting him know that he is safe and in confidence with her.
"I was in water, and... I was warm," He continues, hating the numb little ball that seems to have grown in him just from recalling these things, in the knowledge that they aren't his any longer, maybe never were, "And it was dark, but not like the Gate. I felt... safe... and I was alone, except I wasn't alone too." That sounds silly...
He looks up at her.
"Um... does that make sense?"
"Absolutely," She says, with that sad smile of hers that betrays just how deeply she understands what he means, perhaps more than even he does.
He feels smaller, weak and unstable, and he reaches for her hand, holding it where she has it settled against his cheek.
"Was I alive, mama?"
She looks at him and seems to be looking through him, through his entirety.
"Yes, very much so."
And that little knot inside of him is throbbing, fed by the uncertainty and the sadness and the wanting.
"Mama, I want to sleep now," He says burying his face against her middle and wrapping his arms around her, trying to hide from his insecurity, "Will you hold me?"
She only settles a hand on the back of his head, nodding slowly, and he can feel the way she changes, her form shifting under her clothes. Tendrils of warm fluid creep up and around him, embracing his body and then all at once enveloping him whole. He remembers to breathe in; knowing that it won't hurt like breathing water. Not unless she wants it to hurt. He trusts her and lets go of himself, doesn't need to bother to sit or stand or hold his head up because he just floats, curled inside her, familiar and safe. It isn't like the first times; when he hid inside of her, arms slipping in arms and legs in legs like a humanoid glove. It is an odd practice they have, one that must look ridiculous and senseless to the rest of the world. It doesn't matter, though. It just feels right.
Sloth hums, her voice coming from somewhere unknown, outside, and hearing the muffled sound feels so familiar he wants to cry. He is nodding off, eyes closed, body curled inwards, his thumb slipping towards his mouth in instinct alone.
"Love you, Mama," He whispers, though he doesn't know if he really even can speak here, "Don't ever leave me."
She doesn't respond, but holds him as he sleeps.