Title: When in Xing
Author: vanillavinegar
Rating:
K+ (for non-explicit nudity)
Summary: Al sees a play in Xing. (sort of Al/Mei)
Warnings: SPOILERS for the end of the manga/Brotherhood, implied nudity, lack of seriousness
Disclaimer: Fullmetal Alchemist and all associated characters, settings, etc., belong to Hiromu Arakawa-san. The only profit I make from this work of fiction is my own satisfaction and, possibly, the enjoyment of others.
Author's Notes: Originally written for fma_fic_contest on livejournal, for Prompt 82 – "What is SHE doing here?" This fic has pretty much zero basis in reality. However... Have you ever noticed how Ling and Lan Fan seem so casual about being shirtless, even in front of strangers? That got me to thinking...

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Al was uncomfortable. He was enjoying Xing, really he was, and as emperor Ling knew – and could provide – all of the best his country had to offer. Tonight, this meant the theatre – a famous play, Ling had said.

He swallowed.

A very famous play.

He blinked, trying to make the motion last longer than normal without being obvious.

A very famous play which so happened to have a very long conversation between a nobleman and a concubine. That took place in the nude.

Al could feel the heat rising in his face. For once, he was grateful that the emperor – and his guests – sat in a section that was private and dark; sure, it meant he couldn't see the rest of the audience well, but it also meant those around him couldn't see how red he was. Ling, for one, would never let him live it down.

Were they still talking? He glanced down at the stage and then away again, ears burning. How long could one scene last? At least Brother isn't here. For a moment, he amused himself by imagining Ed's horror at hearing that his baby brother had attended such a performance. Can't let him know or he'll try to baby-sit me the next time I leave Risembool.

He had almost forgotten his embarrassment when he heard the door to their reserved box open. Al turned his head and was horrified to see Mei duck under the guard's arm, her pet panda perched, as ever, on her shoulder. What is SHE doing here? This – this isn't appropriate! Not for a young girl like her! He ignored the fact that Mei was less than three years his junior. She must not've known what we were seeing. No doubt she'll leave when she notices. Maybe Ling'll make her leave. The princess quickly bowed to Ling, whispering what looked like an apology for her tardiness – Ling flapped his hands dismissively, then grinned as he pointed towards Al.

He faced the stage again, trying to look as though he hadn't been staring at Mei. The concubine was gesturing dramatically, long hair doing nothing to hide her state of undress. Al bit his lip, jerking his eyes away, just as Mei plunked into the seat next to him. "Alphonse-sama!" she squealed in greeting, thankfully in a whisper.

"Hello, Mei," he managed. "Um—"

"Oh, this is my favorite part!" She leaned forward, missing the way his jaw dropped. "It's so romantic." Xiao Mei copied her fluttering eyelashes.

"Yeah," Al squeaked. "Romantic." Mei sighed, resting her chin on her folded arms, and Al stared at the ceiling desperately.

It was going to be a very long night.

THE END