|Fit to Serve
Author: dorcas PM
Addressing the little part where Ling got shot at the gate. Ranfan apologizes to Greelin. Rated for just a little language.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Lan Fan & Greed - Words: 2,199 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Published: 09-17-11 - id: 7390031
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I really love the shounen action aspect of Fullmetal Alchemist (Disclaimer: which I do not own), but there wasn't a whole lot of time for the kind of fun Arakawa could've drawn, so we have to make do. Sorry about not being in practice. Some of the dialogue I've already uploaded on deviant-art, in case you like illustrations too.
Quietly steaming twenty paces away from the bizarre group of wildly gesturing and gabbling Amestrians, Ranfan analyzed the situation. Her grandfather was already making his way to Central, having ordered her to act in accordance with Fullmetal's plans. Privately she thought the blond was less of a planner than a schemer, but that was all the worse for this "Father" behemoth of an enemy. Edward Elric always aimed to tear down his opponents with devastating single-minded determination; that was possibly how he had gotten this far on his journey.
'Not totally single-minded,' she mended, not having to glance in the direction of the enormous dome to sense the combined ki of the homunculus known as Pride. Sharing space with that creature was the younger Elric Alphonse, who had concocted and gone through with a plan neither of his remaining family members might have been willing to think of themselves. Edward was just selfish enough not to consider an option endangering those important to him, not even in the midst of battle. It was a flaw, she knew, to be unwilling to sacrifice, but it because it reminded her of the prince she had to allow him it as a merit. She would never acknowledge her respect for the brat who manhandled the young lord, but her orders were to follow his lead, so she would have to make the best of it.
But she was angry. To be so near to the young lord after six long feverish months and not to be able to stick to him was unacceptable. The monster in possession of his body had used a vulgar term to address her, so she hadn't thought thoroughly enough about turning to the Amestrians' conversation and leaving her back to him. She had thought she would be able to sense his movement—well, she had been distracted. Master Ling had always had a knack for stealing away from meetings he wasn't enthralled in… but she was positive this decision had not been his own. She growled under her breath. That monster had stolen away her master's body from the scene faster than she could say "Philospher's Stone". It was enough to tempt her to let loose a barrage of grenades on the encircling foliage.
"Alright everyone," boomed the gorilla chimera called Darius, snapping her out of her broiling reverie. "We'd better get moving if we don't want to miss the opening act."
The group marched in a line formation toward Central, Hohenheim second behind Fullmetal, with Scar and Ranfan bringing up the rear. She had no doubts that the scarred muscle-head was a dangerous man, having heard of the warrior-priests of Ishval, but then, she was a dangerous warrior herself. Neither of them spoke, unlike their companions, who had launched into the nervous chatter that precedes great battle, and Ranfan was glad for it. She had no need for knowledge of whatever his motivations might be; watching him pad along silently before her, she sensed he was against their enemies, if not with Amestris. With nothing on her mind besides finding the prince, Ranfan prepared herself calmly for what was lurking under Central would bring.
And all of a sudden he was where she was. 'As if dropped from the heavens,' she thought tremulously while blurting out the customary "Young Lord!" and straightened up while holding the scarred, bloody and uncovered man steady. 'No, that's not right,' she rectified blearily, blinking to get her bearings. The shaft of thin light in the center of the room revealed no easy ways down. Greed must have taken the prince's body down below for his plan, she realized. Her grip on the scarred man turned slightly stiff as she thought of the prince going head to head with the most powerful force in Amestris, possibly the world—without his guard by his side! How much more shame would she be made to bear?
She heard Greed's derisive farewell comment and knew then that she couldn't go on blaming him. For whatever reason, the homunculus had fought alongside the prince, had heard the Briggs men's plea and stood for them. She didn't know what kind of grudge Greed might have had against the Fuhrer and homunculus Wrath and didn't care to know, but she could see that something had changed. The Greed she had met earlier this day might have taken a moment to laugh unrelentingly at the fallen, but there he was, with a fixed gaze of disgusted relief slid over the features of the prince. Even if the young lord was trapped within his own body, Ranfan decided she couldn't know whose decisions had been acted on in the past few hours, or whether there was some sort of reconciliation between the two. In any case, she concluded, though she didn't like admitting it to herself, it was the prince's choice to accept Greed, and therefore her place a royal guard to follow the outcome of it wherever she might be led.
But now she had her chance; she hadn't thought she would be getting one at all what with all the brawls to come. Pursing her lips, she swallowed her hesitation and faced the scarred man on her mechanical arm. "Excuse me," she muttered quietly as she led him haltingly to a wall. "I need to have a word with that man there, if you'll be all right?" Scar nodded his consent and she set him gently down before approaching Greed from behind in a stout march.
She stopped two yards away, standing to attention with her shoulders out stiff and legs snapped together smartly, feet pointed together. However, the moment she did that she immediately found she had no idea how to proceed. She sensed that though the form before her didn't move, hands akimbo, she had his full attention because of her reckless stomping. "Um-" she blurted without thinking, and becoming flustered in a matter of nanoseconds mended sloppily, "—m-Monster! I require an audience with the young lord!" And just when she had decided to be civil toward him! She cursed herself.
He grunted and turned his face so his right profile met her determined stare. "How rude! Little girl, I'll say it again: I'm Greed."
"Please relay this message to the young lord, Greed." She could afford a small bob of her head. This was important.
The homunculus sighed, his eyebrow expressing annoyance. "Shoot already."
"I failed to protect the Young Master. I request removal from position immediately following the outcome of the present situation."
Greed blinked at the wall he had addressed, then moved his hands from his hips to his pockets and glided over her way. His unfamiliar aggressively puzzled expression caught Ranfan off guard, and she looked away as he reached her. She felt the stale air part as he inclined his head down to hers in order to peer narrowly at her. "What the hell are you on about?"
Fiercely resisting the urge to call the whole thing off and assure him it was a fluke, Ranfan swerved her glare to her own feet instead of off into space. "At the gate—" She took a deep breath, but couldn't hide the waver in her voice. She had never been able to, with the young lord in such proximity, that's why she had always been glad Grandfather held the superior rank and right to speak directly to him before she would have to…she had to be steady. "When we were at the gate, you, I mean Young Master was shot."
"Oh, right," murmured Greed, tipping his chin back and exposing the neck not covered. "I died that time," he said, in the tone Prince Ling might use when recalling a vicious indigestion. "So what? I—we came back right away, didn't we?"
"There was no excuse for my negligence, sir," Ranfan stumbled on, not acknowledging the voice she was answering. "I am not fit to serve."
"Well you won't be for very long, the way you trash your own body like that," returned Greed. "The kind of moron that doesn't recognize her own limits won't get anything done. That altruistic honorable save-everything-that-moves attitude just brings trouble, you know."
"Apparently I only have enough honor to do that much," said Ranfan in a lower tone, growing gloomier by the moment.
"Like I said, who needs it at all? What I meant was that it's your job to keep yourself healthy. The part of your arm that's left was getting totally screwed; it's no wonder you couldn't do anything." He paused, spared a glance my way and continued flatly. "I want my minions at their best. Maybe you should sit the rest of this out, meet me later."
"I have committed to this battle," she seethed quietly, "and I will not go back on my word." For that to drive home she met his eyes sternly before dropping her gaze. "In any case, I failed to protect the young lord not because I was in pain, but because I was…distracted." The silence that followed caused her to add hastily, "A guard's emotions should be inconsequential during battle time, regardless of circumstances. How can I perform my duties with my judgment clouded so?" What she wasn't saying lay writhing in her mind: And later, how can I protect you if my eyes are only for you?
While she was explaining herself, Greed's arms had been folded, the Ouroboros tattoo peeking out from the other side of his wrist. Now he lowered them. "Would you just stow it already?" The long, smooth face looming above her was all irritated impatience. "This guy," he said, thumbing the center of his chest in a gesture that looked to be often practiced, "says he doesn't wanna hear another word of it." He let his hand drop and straightened up. "And I agree!"
'Ah,' she couldn't help thinking despite her bewildered and totally off center state, 'does this mean the young lord has been able to hear me all this time?' One second. 'And does that mean, then, the young lord has been able to hear all the uncharitable, belligerent, ungrateful and otherwise entirely unattractive words I have been slinging at the monster—at Greed—all this time?' Two seconds.
That was the time it took for Greed to suck in a monumental breath and burst out in his infuriatingly blunt way, "Your freakin' Granpa died, kid!"
'Of all the tactless…!' Ranfan felt herself go slack-jawed at his insensitivity, bringing it up so soon after the fact. The young lord, raised studying politics, would never have been so crude! But, if she looked at it freshly, this was the first time Greed had not been speaking of her bodily well-being. It was strange to see that he, no longer a monster, perhaps never a monster, knew of matters of the heart, given his nature. She was surprised to find she was not angry at him, that in fact, there were the beginnings of gratitude for what he was saying.
"And you can forget about quitting." He scoffed. "Like I'd even let you. 'Removal from position', she says… gimme a break!" With that, he turned dismissively and took a breath to head toward the only other occupant Scar, who had been carefully glaring at the fallen homunculus during all this. A brief pang of embarrassment went through her. Here they were mentioning the death of her grandfather as if it were the one great tragedy of her life in front of an Ishvallan extermination survivor. Well, there was nothing to be done to quell her nerves on that line, so she would just have to settle.
Before she could think to put her mask back on, Ranfan smiled. 'My prince is too greedy to let me go,' she thought warmly, comforted. She wondered if she could live with this.
Meanwhile, inside said prince's body…
"What is it, brat? Spit it out. Aren't you grateful I put a stop to it right then and there?"
"You could have been nicer about it!"
"Excuse me for handling it like an adult!"
"You sounded a little like Ed, to be honest."
"One more crack like that and I'll sniff her panties, you being unable to get in on it, smartass."
"Ranfan does not wear panties."
"...! By which I meant, of course, she wears genital covering equipment suitable for the movement required in her line of work..."
"No comment." Geez, what a teenager.
"I heard that!"