Worksafe. No obvious pairings. Manga chapter 55 spoilers. 450 words.
Bad move, kid, Greed says, into the echoing space inside him, where the newest soul still roils, not yet assimilated. We can't afford to show our hand when we're still down here. Your friend has no patience, remember? No subtlety. And the old man must believe that we're on his side, if we're going to walk out of here a free man.
The prince from Xing throws images at him: some pretty girl in fighter's clothes, whole and happy on a long dusty road, dancing fast and agile through combat in a cramped alley, bleeding and mutilated in a tunnel in the dark.
Very nice, Greed agrees. She's worth keeping, no question. That kind of devotion can't be bought.
The new soul flares with something like rage.
No, hush. Greed keeps walking, down the tunnel, the captured alchemists behind him, Envy and the old man following after. We're walking in front because they don't trust us. Because we betrayed them last time, walked out on their plans instead of helping. We might be able to fight our way free of them here, but the victory wouldn't last. We were free for a hundred years last time, and we'll do better with what we've learned from our mistakes.
Yes, we. You're part of us. We are Greed. We have been many things before that, but those things are in the past. We are Greed, and we are not trustworthy. We refused to help once before, and we died still screaming our defiance.
He remembers the agony of melting, the dissolution of his entire being, and the new piece of himself quails, shrinks from it.
The old man must be convinced that he has re-made us in his image. He must think that we remember no lives before this one. His jaw is set, his teeth clenched. It feels good to have a shield to raise again, good to have a world to conquer, good to be free of the overbearing confines of the old man's self. We will lie, we will cheat, we will kill if we must. Nothing can be more important to us than that. Nothing.
The new part of himself writhes, reluctant to harm the alchemists, particularly the boy. Greed manages not to smile. He'd like to keep the boy around himself.
We'll avoid hurting them if we can. They could be useful. Envy hates them, and that's reason enough for us not to. It's so good to walk again, to plan and scheme and thirst for more. When we can ditch the old man, first we'll go find that girl. And then we'll see what it takes to become Emperor.
His new facet stops arguing.