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Fan Fic / Phylactery

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Phylactery is a Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic in progress by Shade40.

Six years after the Promised Day, Selim is Homunculus and child. As he studies alchemy, Selim realizes it is possible to resurrect his family. The Homunculi deserve the same second chance that he was given, but while they struggle to embrace their newfound humanity, an unknown player comes with a deal that divides them. Post-FMAB with bits from 2003 series. It is "for Homunculi-lovers" according to the author.



  • And I Must Scream: It's mentioned that Selim wanted to bring Father back but all his attempts failed (and it's less than likely the Elrics would've let Selim try bringing him back with the others even if it were possible, as Selim didn't even mention the idea in front of them until he was explaining it to the others). Father is still trapped somewhere beyond the Gate of Truth and there's no way to get him back from it.
  • Ascended Extra: Lily (Mrs Bradley) gets a great deal more screentime and characterization in this fic compared to canon.
  • Avenging the Villain:
    • Envy wants to do this for Father by getting revenge on Amestris, but as Selim points out, that's impossible in their new powerless state - not to mention that Selim has turned over a new leaf and wouldn't harm humans for Father's sake anymore.
    • Lust is upset that none of her family seemed to care enough about her to do this after she died. While she's satisfied that Mustang himself was spared to be used later as a candidate for the greater purpose of their goals, she's miffed that they didn't even take Revenge by Proxy on her behalf. Envy, the one who did call for Mustang's blood as soon as he found out what'd happened and only begrudgingly stood down on Father's orders, is at a loss for words from hearing Lust feel this way.
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  • Awful Truth: That King Bradley was secretly the homunculus Wrath and both Lily's son and husband were lying to her the whole time she knew them. She hasn't been told the full truth even six years after King's death and her finding out about Selim, and Selim intends to keep it that way to spare her the pain and sense of betrayal the poor woman would feel.
  • Back from the Dead: The premise is that Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth and Greed are all revived from the dead.
  • Bad Liar: Lily kept her son's secret about the return of his memories, but is generally an honest and open person. Which is a problem when the homunculi start needing her to lie about who they are and where they came from, since she gets completely out of her depth with career manipulators like them. Luckily, she's liked and trusted enough in Dublith that, for now at least, people take her at her word even if it doesn't make sense.
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  • Barred from the Afterlife: Part of the reason why Selim was able to resurrect the others. Since they were never human, they weren't part of the natural lifecycle and their souls didn't move on.
  • Big Brother Mentor: This time around, Selim is trying to help his younger siblings through the growing pains of becoming human he's already gone through. He's also better about teaching them more things in general without being a Jerkass about it as he would've been in the past, but Envy just thinks he's being an obnoxious know-it-all like always.
  • Big Fancy House: Where Lily and Selim live now. They moved out of their house in Central to get away from the military's constant surveillance of Selim. At least Lust and Greed approve of the luxurious upgrade from the underground lair.
  • Brainy Brunette: Black-haired Selim is a Child Prodigy who treats studying alchemy and other complex subjects almost like a hobby, plays piano, and has aspirations to beat Edward's record by becoming a state alchemist even younger (officially anyway) than his teacher was at the time. Meanwhile, Lust is studying alchemy while at the same time concealing her plans from those who'd stop her and also manipulating everyone around her to help keep Amestris unaware of the homunculi's return and to keep the Bradley household peaceful.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Envy acts like, and is treated like, a male example in current day, and Lily reveals to Selim that she'd been this herself when she was younger.
  • Broken Pedestal: Revealed to be the root of Greed and Envy's Sibling Rivalry; Envy actually used to look up to Greed, but after he unknowingly killed one of Greed's human friends, Greed went into a rage and refused to forgive him. The big show Envy makes out of "hating" Greed now is implied to be a cover for how much it upset Envy.
  • Brought Down to Normal: All the Homunculi have become humans and thus, lost their powers after being brought back.
  • Butt-Monkey: Envy, who is often the butt of the joke courtesy of his older siblings, and is the first of the resurrected homunculi to experience unpleasant human occurrences like nightmares and sickness. It pisses him off enough to threaten to reveal the Awful Truth if Selim, Lust, and Greed don't start treating him with more respect.
  • Came Back Wrong: Lust and Envy regard their resurrections as humans in this vein compared to being homunculi.
  • Canon Immigrant: The fic borrows several characters original to the first anime adaptation and finds new ways to write them into a fic set in Brotherhood.
    • Dante was Izumi's teacher in alchemy who turned out to be that series' Big Bad, lived hundreds of years via body-snatching, and was Hohenheim's previous lover and the mother of Envy's human incarnation. Here, she was a citizen of ancient Xerxes who befriended Hohenheim, and a member of a group of seers who served the King of Xerxes. At this point in the story, it's unknown what happened to her when Xerxes met its fateful end.
    • Lujon was taught alchemy by Lust so he could try to save his village from a horrifying disease, and create a Philosopher's Stone for the bad guys in the process. He fell in love with Lust during their time together. In Phylactery, he's the alchemist in Dublith Lust goes to to further her knowledge of alchemy by manipulating him the way she does it best, so she can ultimately use that knowledge to create new Philosopher's Stones.
    • Lyra was a state alchemist who originally worked with Yoki, then began studying under Dante before Dante stole her body and killed her. In Phylactery, she is introduced as a villager in modern-day Dublith, and like Dante, she claims to be a fortune-teller. As of yet, her motives and connection to Dante (if any) has not been revealed.
  • The Charmer: Greed, whose natural friendliness and easy charm make it easy for him to get along with people. In the present day, he quickly patches things up with the widow of a man he once attacked in front of her in their own home, and makes friends with a crowd at the bar after nearly getting into a fight with one of them for them disparaging the Devil's Nest gang.
  • Condescending Compassion: Envy immediately believes that his newfound humanity is the Elrics pulling this on him. Selim insists that it's not.
  • Cool Teacher: Edward and Alphonse have become Selim's teachers in alchemy. Greed also gets recruited as Selim's combat teacher.
  • Covert Pervert: Lust is a more fitting name for her here; in canon it didn't seem to fully reflect Lust's own personality, but here it is revealed that she is lustful but has developed very strict self-control over her own desires because early on Pride refused to let his sister lower herself to having sex with humans. Instead Lust gets her thrills by enjoying the lust she brings out in others - but still finds herself checking Greed and Edward both out, longing to be around "real" men, and when Selim is explaining the ways in which diseases can get passed she's the one with her mind in the gutter.
  • Death of Personality: Subverted. Brotherhood ended with this as Pride's fate, but Phylactery reverses it so Pride's memories resurfaced and he was essentially brought back after about a year as a human. Still, Pride has changed so much from it that Lust starts thinking of the "old Pride" as dead and stops fully obeying and respecting him.
  • Easy Amnesia: Greed still hasn't recovered all or even most of his memories from his first life. Even a stroll down to the Devil's Nest doesn't bring anything back. Author notes seem to indicate he'll never get them all back thanks to Father's memory-wipe on him, and that the little he does remember is only his first incarnation's friendship with the Devil's Nest gang through the sheer Power of Friendship.
  • Evil Genius: Lust takes up the slack in the scheming department with both Father and Pride out of commission, and with Envy's help secretly plots to return to their former state as homunculi.
  • Evil Is Petty: Envy hates for others to be happy when he isn't — so he likes to prove how he doesn't need what they have by turning their sources of happiness against them to use to ruin their lives and kill them. He singles out his murder of Maes Hughes as something that he particularly enjoyed for this reason, since Hughes so adored his family and they so adored him. Even now that Envy is a human himself and unable to kill anyone, Selim worries he'll reveal the Awful Truth about Lily's husband to her purely to ruin the happy memories she has left. (To his credit, Envy's own internal narrative reveals he doesn't actually intend to since he honestly is warming up somewhat to Lily, and is only threatening it to twist Selim's arm about getting more respect.)
  • Exact Words:
    • Greed makes a point of never lying when he can help it, but if he wants something badly enough, he's fine with twisting the meanings of things far enough that he can do as he likes even if it's not what the other person meant since he doesn't think of it as lying.
    • In a more insidious example, Selim is still so convinced of his power and rank over his siblings that when he warns Lust and Envy that he's on the humans's side now, he expects that to be the end of it since he's made it clear he won't tolerate them scheming to get their powers back and can't conceive of them not following his orders. Problem is, he worded it as "You'd have to keep [your plotting] a secret from me too" — so Lust does as he said by hiding her plans from him.
    • Also Lily's way of addressing fears that Selim's memories as Pride could return. When Grumman was warning her that Selim could start showing signs of his old personality coming back, she had promised to "make sure that'd never happen" — that is, to make sure he'd never show that his memories were returning, not that she'd hand him in for it.
  • Good Parents: Lily. Despite what uncomfortable truths she learns about him, she loves Selim fiercely and unconditionally. So much so that when he regains his memories as Pride, thanks to her unwavering love, his newfound respect for human life causes him to pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Happily Adopted: Selim by Lily. She's not his creator and he has four hundred years on her, but he loves her as his mother regardless.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Pride/Selim has already undergone one in the first chapter, Greed pulled his back in Brotherhood, and the story seems to be pushing for the rest of the Homunculi doing so as well. Gluttony and Sloth seem set for this, since they were mostly only evil because they were doing what they were told, but Lust and Envy are more resistant to change.
  • Hidden Depths: Given to all the (living) homunculi thanks to the focus they get. Pride was never as invincible or unconcerned with his siblings as he pretended, Lust hides a lot of doubts and fears from her family to be a good example to the others, like Pride Greed isn't as uncaring about his family as you might think and he's as upset as the others by the news of what happened to Father despite their relationship, a lot of Envy's behavior comes from him wanting to get attention and respect from his family, Sloth is a talented artist with a fondness for listening to music, and Gluttony turns out to be an excellent cook when given direction to learn.
  • Humanity Ensues: The Homunculi, after being revived. Envy and Lust are very not pleased when they discover this.
  • Incest Is Relative: True to their scene together in the source material, Lust and Greed start flirting and commenting on each other's attractiveness as soon as they meet proper, despite Greed no longer remembering their previous interactions in his first incarnation. Lust doesn't intend to actually act on it because she finds more pleasure in stringing him along and making him look foolish, and none of the other homunculi care since that's how Lust and Greed have always acted with each other.
  • Insane Equals Violent: In early chapters, Lily fears this is the case with Envy and Gluttony.
  • Jerkass: Envy may be forbidden from outright killing anyone and bringing the military down on their head (along with the retribution of the Elric brothers, Selim, and Greed), but he still has plenty of ways to be a jerk to anyone not named Lust (and sometimes, even her). In later chapters, he's making some progress in being ever-so-slightly less of a jerk, but even then can be genuinely Innocently Insensitive since he's not used to being nice.
  • Killed Off for Real: In chapter 5, Selim reveals that they couldn't bring Wrath back because he used to be human, thus bringing him back would require actual human transmutation. On the other hand, Selim suspects he wouldn't want to be brought back anyway because Wrath had died satisfied with both how he lived and how he died.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: When she's first resurrected, Lust is even more out of the loop than the others — while they'd all been dead for years, Lust had died much earlier in the story and missed out on plot developments the rest already knew about, like Greed coming back in a new body.
  • Mama Bear: Even knowing her son could regain his memories from his first life, Lily vowed to protect him, even though that meant lying to the Amestrian military. One old woman without any combat abilities or alchemic prowess, willing to take on the wrath of the government, all to protect a son not even human.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Lust returns in fine form in this fic, effortlessly manipulating Pearl and Lujon for her own ends and even managing to calm down and deceive an angry Pride. Twice.
  • Masquerade: The truth about Fuhrer King Bradley has stayed hidden from the general public and even his wife. After the homunculi get brought Back from the Dead, they must also keep their resurrections secret or they'll surely be hunted down and killed again, for good this time.
  • The Mole: After learning Pride has no Evil Plan to return them all to homunculi and save Father, Lust and Envy start plotting in secret to create new Philosopher's Stones and do just that.
  • Momma's Boy: Selim positively dotes on his mother, just as much as she does him. He seethes any time Envy (or Greed) makes him look bad in front of her, and defends her against Envy disparaging her. When Envy suggests killing her so they can make Philosopher's Stones, Selim is so furious that he reverts almost completely back into Pride and the resulting verbal lashing leaves Envy terrified and cringing.
  • Morality Pet: Lily, who is such a Morality Pet to Selim that she actually managed to have him pull a Heel–Face Turn through the power of good parenting and now the rest of Selim's siblings are developing varying levels of liking for her. The woman's got a knack for winning homunculi over.
  • Mythology Gag: Has a lot of winks to the first anime adaptation that came out in 2003. Most important plot-wise are that Lily, Selim, and his siblings are living in Dante's Big Fancy House in Dublith, and that Canon Foreigners from the first anime get brought in in new roles inspired from the old series.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Mrs Bradley's canonical first name was never given in the source material. As she is a main character and occasional narrator here, the author gave her the first name "Lily".
  • No Periods, Period: Averted with Lust, who menstruates for the first time in her very long life now that her newfound humanity has given her functioning reproductive equipment.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Envy has some outdated ideas on the difference between men and women and ends up offending Lily with his blunt take on what he thinks is her "job". The author, who added Envy being sexist because they thought it'd be funny to have a shapeshifter have sexist notions like that, explains it in the chapter notes as him having trouble grasping the nuances between genders early on, so his family overexaggerated gender roles in their explanations to him.
  • Reality Ensues: A LOT of this occurs.
    • For starters, the Homunculi can be brought back without human transmutation because they weren't human to begin with and their souls work differently. All of them except Wrath, who was originally human himself.
    • When Envy asks Selim why he didn't just try to avenge them and their father after his memories returned, Selim reminds him of all the reasons why that wouldn't work—he no longer has his powers, his body is that of a small human child and the government was already watching his every move to make absolutely sure he doesn't relapse. Additionally, there was no way he could try and recreate Father's plan on his own, again, in his weak, powerless body and with government security being tighter than it ever has been.
    • When Envy tries to call out the Elrics for being stupid to trust him or his newly revived siblings and suggests that they'll try to kill them for revenge, Ed calls his bluff and Envy quickly realizes that he outclassed—Ed is still a strong fighter even without his alchemy, Al still has alchemy and will almost certainly retaliate if they hurt his brother and Greed is siding with the Elrics and still plenty powerful even without his Ultimate Shield. Conversely, Lust no longer has her Ultimate Spear, Gluttony and Sloth are both useless without their bottomless stomach and super speed/strength respectively and Envy himself was only ever capable of fighting when he could shapeshift, which he is no longer capable of, meaning that the Elrics are at an advantage no matter what.
  • Redemption Equals Life: Having his life spared and then raised again by Lily has genuinely caused Selim to change and be worthy of his second chance. He wants to give his family the same chance, so he resurrects Lust, Greed, Envy, Sloth, and Gluttony as humans in the hopes that they'll ultimately come to see things his way and get to live in peace among humans as well. He would've tried to give the same chance to Father and Wrath if it weren't impossible.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Greed and Envy, who never seem to stop bickering. Envy does it because he wants attention and seemingly Greed's approval but goes about it in completely the wrong way by pestering and antagonizing Greed whenever Greed says anything. As a holdover from his forgotten first life, Greed responds in kind by insulting and taunting Envy any chance he gets.
  • Team Mom: Lily to the homunculi, since they've never had a mother and most of them act like teenagers or children anyway. Gluttony even follows suit after Pride and starts calling her "Mother."
  • That Man Is Dead: An interesting case; Selim does not like being called "Pride" anymore and goes by Selim. However, technically speaking, "Pride" really was dead until Selim's memories returned. Additionally, the official story for the Promised Day in-universe is that "Selim Bradley" died during it—Selim is considered by the public to be a separate child entirely, when in fact, he's the same person.
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • The reason the plot kicks off is that Selim realizes that while he loves his mother, he also loves and misses his original family, the other homunculi, and risks his own life to bring as many of them back as is possible so that they can get a second chance as well.
    • Although they were on opposite sides by the end and tried to kill each other, even Greed feels some sadness when he learns that Father really is gone for good. And while Greed is understandably apprehensive at first about being cooped up with the family who hated him and hunted him down for betraying them, he gets along with most of them and the whole reason he's hanging around instead of running off to see Ling is that he's trying to protect his family from being found out. Even with Envy, whose relationship with him is the most venomous, his internal narration reveals that he does care about his little brother.
  • Token Good Teammate: Greed, among the revived Homunculi, though Gluttony sort of qualifies too (more because he's too dumb to know any better than anything, though). Sloth might also be this, but it's less because he's "good" and more because he doesn't seem to care. Luckily all three grow fond enough of Lily to help her out.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In-Universe, Envy thinks this of Lily because of her human sentimentality and optimism. When he realizes she hasn't pieced together yet that her husband was in on the conspiracy with Pride, even though Selim was supposed to be from King's family, he gets into a confrontation with Selim arguing that her being Too Dumb to Live is actually going to get all of them killed.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: By the start of the story, Pride's taken a huge level in kindness as Selim, having grown a sense of empathy and become a far more caring individual under Lily's nurturing. Even his own brothers and sister who've known him for centuries are shocked by the difference in him. To his own dissatisfaction though, he's not perfect at it and can still fall back into his old ways of thinking and be quite condescending to his siblings out of habit.
  • Unwanted Revival: Envy is upset when he finds out Pride really had no Evil Plan in mind when bringing them back, and thinks Pride was selfish in forcing them to live as humans when he knows they wouldn't be happy like that.
  • Villain Protagonist: The main characters of the story are five of the homunculi, who spent hundreds of years manipulating and murdering people while instigating wars and bloody conflicts for the sake of their plan to eventually sacrifice the whole country. Two of them aren't even willing to entertain the idea of staying human, and are gearing up to sacrifice more people to make more Philosopher's Stones and return themselves to normal.
  • Woman Scorned: Lust was never stood up by anyone before Havoc, and she was pissed even before she found out he "stood her up" because he was about to get into the underground lair with Mustang, Hawkeye, and Alphonse; turns out she does not take kindly to the implied insult. To a lesser degree, she also dislikes it when men don't seem interested in her, even when she's not out to seduce them.

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