The story opens with Envy contemplating/planning suicide, only for it to be narrowly averted by meeting Ed, Russell and Ling. It goes on in a typical fashion for about seven chapters, and then things get weird.
While the plotline itself is purely original, it's full of Continuity Nods to Fullmetal Alchemist and its 2003 anime adaptation, as well as Shout-Out s to everything from Les Misérables to Spider-Man to... Judy Garland? It also has Loads and Loads of Characters, having used almost every character from both Fullmetal Alchemist canons.
The suicide thing is self-explanatory, but the story also touches on a lot of other stuff like abuse, crossdressing, sexuality, homophobia/transphobia, gender, mental health issues of various kinds and countless other controversial topics.
This fanfic provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Envy's parents, Dante and Theophrastus, are pretty terrible.
- Adaptational Villainy: Inverted. Dante and Theophrastus (aka Father) are awful parents, but still a far cry from the warmongering nightmares they were in canon.
- Ascended Extra: Russell Tringham shows up in all of three or four episodes in the 2003 FMA anime, and none of them are manga canon. Here, he's a main character.
- Berserk Button: Don't mess with Lust in front of Envy. Also, don't lie to Russell.
- Big Brother Instinct: All the main characters have this to some degree - Envy is very protective of Wrath, even if he's not quite sure how, Ling's got a ridiculous amount of family members but seems to be particularly protective of the twins, Mei, Rukia and Ran Fan. Ed tries to do this for Al, but he's often the one who needs it more. And Greed is the perfect example of how this trope can go so HORRIBLY wrong.
- Break the Cutie: Wrath, pre-story. And, after chapter 21, Elysia counts as well.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Ed, Ed, Ed. Despite clearly being quite intelligent and intuitive, he has terrible marks. Al is the same. This is actually pretty consistent with canon, where they never actually *went* to high school.
- Broken Pedestal: Happens to Envy (and Sloth to a smaller degree) when Lust gets sick. Happens on a MAJOR level a short time after when Greed starts abusing Wrath. It's implied he's doing something similar to Sloth now.
- Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: "What do butterflies dream of?" is the first line of Envy's poem-slash-suicide note in the first chapter, and is referenced a few times throughout.
- Call-Back: "What do butterflies dream of?" is a huge one, but most of Envy's notebook entries are subtly referenced in later chapters.
- Characterization Marches On: To the point where the author went back to early chapters and edited lines to make sense with the more consistent characterization later on. Ling is the most susceptible to this, coming across as kind of a Jerkass at first and then later turning into a sweetheart who's just kind of bad at dealing with tricky situations.
- Chekhov's Gun: Within the first two chapters, the missing page in Envy's notebook. Envy's notebook in general. Ed's knife. Martel's knife.
- Childhood Friends: Ed and Ling.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Rose. When she first met Envy, the first thing she did was taste his hair.
- Creepy Child: Wrath qualifies, even if he's thirteen and probably too old to count. Hard to blame him after Greed but it's still creepy.
- Dead Fic: The fic hasn't been updated since June 25th, 2019.
- Disguised in Drag: Envy and Wrath for Part 2 and 3. Envy pulls it off scarily well (in a Continuity Nod to the anime). Wrath...not so much.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Ling, apparently, does this a lot. But he's also a very happy, very silly, very flirty drunk...which is not so different from his usual self.
- Everyone Can See It: Ed and Envy. Literally, EVERYBODY can see it - especially when Ed gets all protective.
- Family Theme Naming: Envy bemoans this on a constant basis - they're Lust, Greed, Envy, Sloth and Wrath...the children of Dante. This is taken from the anime, but considering that Dante is a celebrity, it's not so farfetched, even if it is horribly cruel.
- Gayngst : Big time - but it's well done. The fact that the author is a rare example of a male fanfic author may have something to do with this.
- Incompatible Orientation: Envy insists that this is the case for him and Ed - Ed's gay and Envy is obviously completely straight. He's had a girlfriend, you know. In light of recent events this is not really holding much water. It's still gay if you're dressed up as a girl.
- The Lost Lenore: Martel for Envy.
- Named by the Adaptation: Father, the Big Bad from the manga and depicted here as Dante's husband, obviously couldn't just be addressed as "Father" the whole way through, so his name is Theophrastus here—it's a nod to the manga, wherein "Theophrastus Bombastus" was a name Father suggested to Hohenheim back when the latter was a nameless slave.
- Official Couple: Ed and Envy, Russell and Ling...and (apparently) Wrath and Elysia.
- Romantic False Lead: Rose for Envy, and Roy for Ed. And Martel is a posthumous example.
- The Charmer: Ling is charismatic, friendly, drop-dead gorgeous and all-around bewitching. There's a reason he's slept with about half the school.
- Unholy Matrimony: A sort of meta example. The story pairs up the Big Bads of the two story versions, Father from the manga and Brotherhood anime (named Theophrastus here) and Dante from the 2003 anime, so they can fill the role of Envy's parents. They're not depicted as the megalomaniacal monsters they were in canon, but they are pretty horrendous parents.