My very first LingxLanFan fic! I was just bored one day and here's the result! Thank you boredom! (Though the title is just totally random...)
This is post-manga, set before they go to Amestris, just my interpretation of their lives back in Xing. Might not be dead on about they place they lived in but gimme some credit ;3 I tried to keep them as IC as possible while also adding in some fluff. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own FullMetal Alchemist or Brotherhood :(
The crisp air was carried throughout the village on a cold breeze that seemed to chill every person in the entire country of Xing to the bone.
For the past few days, the atmosphere had been heavy with the threat of rain, and all morning today, the clouds had been darkening and looming in the distant horizon like a predator ready to pounce on the little village. Most of the townspeople were either indoors or closing up their small shops on the street corners and flipping the signs on the windows to CLOSED.
Everything was gray and dull as the huge clouds scudded across to block out the blessing warmth of the Autumn sun's rays.
Nothing stirred in the town after a few moments, as though all the people were waiting in unrushed urgency for the oncoming storm.
An intangible anxiety hung in the air now as the last of the birds cut their songs short and the last of the stray dogs scrambled into an alleyway to seek shelter.
For a brief moment, all was silent; even the wind had ceased for an instant.
Then, without warning, the clouds exploded into merciless downpour that harshly assaulted the roofs of the people's homes and flooded the dirt roads in mere seconds. Puddles expanded into small ponds, flowing through the streets and swelling the gutters into overflowing waterfalls.
Only about a half an hour earlier, the 12th young prince of Xing, Ling Yao, had vanished from the mansion of a house that he lived in after announcing that he was going to go to town to 'pick something up' from the market. Considering the fact that he had not been back when he was expected, the servants began to get worried. Yet the second he was considered late, a dark figure dashed out of the mansion's doors and disappeared into the rain.
LanFan raced through the town, her eyes like a hawk's as she searched for the missing prince. "Honestly, Young Master, must you always miraculously somehow get into some kind of trouble every time something like this happens?" she growled under her breath. "I can never have a moment of peace with you around."
Her dark, onyx eyes flickered through the small forest surrounding the town as she went, and she winced as a tree branch struck her across the face. She cursed inwardly at herself for not having worn her mask, but she had hurried out in such a rush that it had not even occurred to her. She stopped dead when she saw movement in the undergrowth, but then continued quickly on her way as a squirrel darted away from the brush.
She snorted in frustration as she scoured the alleys of the village to find them all vacant of the absent prince. The rain began to pour even harder, and thunder crashed overhead and she cursed again. Checking the village one last time, LanFan had no choice but to give up.
She worried about him, for she was not sure if he was smart enough to get out of this weather or if he would be sitting cross-legged somewhere playing solitaire in it.
She halted her pace enough to catch her breath before casting one last glance over her shoulder, and then heading back toward the mansion.
Only when she had taken the time to realize just how hard it was raining now did she begin to feel cold as the water leaked off of her tied, black hair and the mud splashed beneath her feet.
The trek home felt ten times longer than when she had set out, and by the time she had returned, she felt more exhausted than she had in quite a while. She coughed once as the mansion came into sight and quickened her pace until she was out of the rain and pushed against the doors. She slipped into the small, dimly lit breezeway and removed her muddy shoes and sighed once more.
Then, she noticed a pair of black shoes placed neatly against the wall with not a spatter of rainwater about them. She blinked once and let out a relieved breath that was also rugged with a hint of irritation. She was about to wander down the hallways to confirm her conviction when an inane voice sang out behind her.
The girl jumped and spun around on her heel, her damp socks slipping on the freshly waxed wooden floor.
His face was so close and she was so startled that she tripped backwards, and Ling only just reacted fast enough and caught her in time before she collided with the floor. Her heart was thumping like mad from her shock and everything happened so fast that she needed a second to get her bearings.
"Oops. Sorry." Ling straightened up and let her regain her balance.
"Young Master!" She exclaimed. "Where did you go off to? You didn't catch cold, did you?" Her shocked expression automatically switched to concern, her eyes stern and serious as she looked him over. Yet she discovered that there was not a single drop of water to be found anywhere on him, and his trademark smirk and squinted eyes told her that he obviously had not the slightest idea what turmoil she had been in for the past hour searching for him.
"Calm down, LanFan." He chuckled. "I wanted to go out but just decided not to at the last moment and before I knew it, it was pouring and I was feeling extremely lucky that I hadn't gone."
He seemed quite proud of himself.
LanFan's jaw dropped a bit and she clamped it shut quickly, her dismay momentarily overpowering her respect for her master. She opened her mouth and was about to explain her predicament, but let her breath out in a sigh instead and changed her words.
"I'm glad to know you are safe, Young Master." She murmured, bowing her head as a small wave of dizziness overcame her. Suddenly the lighting of the room was sickening to her and she could not wait to collapse into her bed later that evening. "Please, go and get some rest." She told him, brushing past and starting to head down the hallway to her room. But a pat on her shoulder halted her in her tracks and forced her to turn back around to face the young man.
"LanFan, are you okay?" Ling asked, his childish smile a thing of the past as intense concern crossed his face and his eyebrows narrowed. "You were looking for me just now weren't you? I apologize. I should have informed you that I was here before you left."
LanFan was appalled that she had let herself be apologized to by the prince of her country. Her mouth was agape once more and she was at a loss for words due to the pure horror she felt toward herself for her carelessness. In her haste, all she could think of to do was step back and lower her gaze, bowing her body and avoiding eye contact as she spoke.
"N-No, Young Master! It is my own fault for not being aware of the situation. I've brought this upon myself due to my own negligence. Please don't concern yourself over someone like me." She begged, not knowing if she would ever be able to forgive herself for all of this. She timidly dared to raise her eyes, prepared for any anger that would be thrown her way, but when she stole a glance at his face, she found him holding back laughter.
"Oh, LanFan, you're far too serious." He patted her shoulder again and she gasped.
"Young Master, I'm filthy from being out in the rain, please don't dirty your hands." She fretted.
"Nonsense." He said sternly. "It's my fault you were out in the rain in the first place." He corrected.
"No I went out on my own volition, assuming that you-"
"LanFan!" His sharp tone made her jump, and hot tears started to form behind her eyes, but with all her might she pulled them back. "I don't want to hear another word of this!" Then his voice softened. "Please, just let it go. It's fine. Now go get a change of clothes and some sleep."
"But Young Master-" She tried to object.
"I know what you're going to say already. But I'm not sleeping until you get some sleep." He smirked triumphantly. The girl opened her mouth to protest further, but the look he gave her silenced her and she bowed her head.
"Very well." She caved. "You would like it if I were to retire now? Even though the dusk is only just upon us?"
"Very much." He assured. "Now go on." He dismissed her. "You look as though you're going to be sick." He noted, leaning against the wall and folding his arms across his chest.
"I'll take that as a complement." She forced a weak smile. "Good night then, Young Master." She told him in a low voice. She quickly covered her mouth as she coughed once before turning around and limping down the hallway, yet still trying to appear unfazed.
As she trudged down the hall toward her quarters, she felt the 12th prince's narrowed eyes boring into her back like a cat would to a mouse.
The lights in the hallway suddenly appeared too bright to her and LanFan stumbled, leaning against the wall for support as another wave of dizziness crashed over her. She thought she heard Ling call her name but could not hear correctly over the painful sounds of the coughing that erupted from her throat seconds later.
She felt her weight giving in to gravity, and her vision swirled nauseatingly before it went completely black.
When LanFan next regained her sense of sight, she found herself staring at a pale green ceiling.
She had to blink several times before she was sure of what the situation was.
Next she got back her sense of touch, which was odd to her for she could not recall the clothes she had previously been wearing to be so comfortingly soft. She tried to imagine what it could be that felt so nice against her skin, and she finally concluded that it was indeed a robe, which she had hardly ever worn before. Even as a young girl, she had rarely had the privilege to wear such things, for then the comfort would make her soft, when she had to be vigilant and ready, even while she slept.
Then she realized she was in a bed, and the next realization nearly made her pass out once again, for it was not her room she was in: it was Ling's.
She quickly threw off the sheets covering her body and sat up, so fast that she nearly startled the young prince at her bedside out of his skin.
"Young Master!" She gasped.
"L-LanFan!" he tilted his head to one side. "What-?"
"Y-Young Master!" she cut him off. "Wh-Why am I in your room? I am merely a servant!" she cried, her onyx eyes still wide with panic and distress.
"LanFan, calm down!" he soothed. "You fainted and my room was just closer. I had some of the other servants dress you in something warm. You got sick from being out in that storm all evening." He reminded her.
"That's not the point! I'm not of royal blood! I am not worthy to be in such a place! In Young Master's room…!" If her grandfather knew, he would kill her! She had been raised knowing that she was a mere existence to the prince, someone who was easily replaceable and unworthy of his companionship, someone she should die for in an instant and without a second thought. To be treated by him in such a way was like a sin to her. "I can't be in here!" She wailed.
"LanFan!" Ling barked as she tried to make a move to get out of his bed. She froze and her eyes widened as she looked at him. The look she gave him made Ling think she would die of a heart attack at any moment now. "You're being too hard on yourself. Perhaps it is how you were raised, but you're sick and what kind of king could I ever grow up to be if I let my subordinates get ill without proper treatment?"
"LanFan. Get back into bed. That's an order." He knew it was the only way she would listen.
She hesitated, her mind racing as she pondered whether she should obey everything she had ever been taught or the man that was her ruler.
As she remained frozen, contemplating, Ling sighed and stood, going over to the bed. "Come here." He said softly. He placed his hands on her shoulders and she flinched visibly. "Come now, I'm not going to beat you." He chuckled lightly.
Gently, he pushed her back down onto the bed, her long, freed hair pooling out onto the pillow like a black puddle and Ling pulled the blankets back up over her. But now that she was aware of her surroundings, the usually stoic and serious person Ling had come to know was as jittery as a rabbit in a dog pound.
Ling took his seat on his chair at the side of the bed and moved as close to her as possible. "Now give me your arm." His voice was gentle.
Unsurely, she slid her arm out from under the sheets and he rolled up the sleeve of her robe and pressed two fingers against her wrist. He frowned at first but then gave a small smile. "Calm down." He told her. "It's okay. You have my full permission to be here, LanFan. Just relax."
Finally able to calm herself, she obeyed her master, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She was self-conscious of his fingers measuring her pulse and she soon began to fret once again, knowing that he should not be troubling himself over someone like her. She cracked her eyes open to stare up at the ceiling, knowing this was the longest moment of her life.
Finally, the prince removed his fingers and a calculating expression crossed his face. LanFan slowly recoiled her arm and looked at him curiously. "Your pulse is a bit quick, but I don't think it's anything too serious." He concluded at last. Then, he reached forward and rested his hand on her forehead. LanFan held her breath until he took it away. "And you have no fever, which is good. So if you just get some rest for now you should be fine."
"Young Master-" Her voice was hoarse now and before she could go on, her body was assaulted with violent coughs.
"LanFan!" Ling was automatically at her side and he gingerly help her to sit up straight. Her shoulders heaved and her lungs and throat were on fire, for it felt as though she would expel everything she had ever consumed all at once. But Ling held her up and traced gentle circles on her back, slowly repeating her name over and over again in the most comforting way he could offer. She continued to cough and it pained him to have to watch the scene as much as it pained her to suffer it.
Finally, her fits began to die down, but only because she had hardly any voice or energy left to cough. Ling assumed the only reason she did stop was because she was nearly unconscious again.
He drew his fingers through her silky black hair and carefully patted her back. The girl was hunched over in his arms, and she was disgusted at the poor, pitiful being she was. Her gasping breaths soon died down to nothing more than ragged wheezing within a moment, and her stomach felt like it had just been struck by a tree. When she was finally able to re-open her eyes, Ling was presenting her with a glass of cool water.
"Drink. Slowly." He ordered and she could do nothing more but nod weakly. She grasped the glass with shaky hands and he supported her posture as she drained the liquid that flowed over her throat like a blessing in disguise. Ling placed the empty glass back on the small table next to the bed, and turned his attention back to the girl. Her breath had returned to normal for the most part and she closed her eyes like a dog that was about to be struck by its master as he tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "
Now, are you alright? Don't speak yet." He added quickly. So LanFan gave a tiny nod, shamefulness returning to her eyes. She bowed her head to hide the rush of blood that stirred within her as she realized that his arms were still around her. "Good." The boy nodded. "Then lay back down." He assisted her as she leaned back, and he pulled the sheets up over her once again. "I'm sorry." He sighed. "Once more, this is all my fault for not informing you of my location."
Immediately, she attempted to sit up again and Ling mentally cursed himself.
"Sh! Remember what happened the last time you tried to talk?" He pushed her back down. "Now please, just lie down and rest."
"…Would that…make you feel better, Young Master?" she rasped.
"Very much." He replied with a small smile.
"Alright. And if it will keep you from worrying over someone like me, would you like it if I were better by tomorrow?"
Ling sighed, for he disliked her degradation of herself, but replied nonetheless.
"Very much." He nodded.
"Then I shall be 100% by midnight." She promised.
"No need to rush. You need to relax, LanFan. Take that as an order from me." She gave him the tiniest of nods before inhaling deeply and then letting it out as her eyelids closed. "I'll sleep here." He announced from his chair.
"Unacceptable." LanFan's eyes shot open once more.
"What if I said I liked sleeping here better than sleeping on the bed?" he challenged playfully.
"You may say it, but would you mean it?"
"Are you doubting me?"
LanFan was silent.
"Good. Now would you like if I stayed by your side for the remainder of the night, if it was no trouble to me?" he added. "Be honest."
She closed her eyes and let out one last breath before she lost consciousness one last time.
A/N: Hope you liked it! (Sorry I focused more on the people than the settings since I just made them up ^^) I may have to write for these two more often!