A/N: Hello all who inhabit Fanfiction and are visiting my page. I humbly thank you all for coming here, and if you are wondering why I am being so gracious and welcoming it is because I do not know what else to put on this Author's note!

So…I guess I'll end it right here?

Thank you and please review. (Ho ha, that rhymed.)

Disclaimer: I do not own FMA or FMA Brotherhood. Nor do I own the lyrics to Ling's Theme, "No.1 King". If I did, I would spend my hard-earned cash on a vanilla bean frappe. WHICH, IS AWESOME.


Bring Me to Life

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|Just like that, everything; disappear in a cloud of smoke. |

Chapter 4

Loyalty

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She had fallen asleep with a nostalgic sense of warmth enveloping her. Two strong arms that draped over her bare shoulders, and a tight chest fitted squarely against her back. As if the cot could barely withstand a single person's weight, it had to endure the night with two people.

Whether or not the person she nestled together with for warmth was aware of just how inappropriate it was to do such a thing, it happened, and Zhen Ji actually thanked the young boy.

Her dream for that night was peculiar. She couldn't make anything out, but somewhere near the end of it, something painful took over her, and the end of the dream was quite cold and lonely-feeling.

Zhen Ji was feeling the same way currently; cold and alone. Which was odd, since a special boy practically held onto her for dear life. Honestly, was he so spoiled that he couldn't handle sleeping on the stone floor? Zhen Ji's own prince was just like that.

Her eyelids fluttered open. Two dazed, hazel eyes attempted to adjust to the dark room. The only light came from outside their cell, from the hallways. From her lower position, she stared at those ceiling lights through the iron bars.

Hold on. She was on the ground?

"…Uh…" Zhen Ji pushed herself off of the ground, folding her legs beneath her. She wasn't nearly alarmed enough to notice, but the pleasant snoring that erupted beside her managed to stir the girl to her senses.

The monster behind those snores—Ling—had a wry smile on his face, and his eyes didn't look very different from when he was awake. All in all, he was asleep and apparently very happy he ended up with the bed at the end.

She scowled upon seeing this, and proceeded to slap the rival prince. Though as she raised her hand beside her head, although she had a stress mark, Zhen Ji stared powerless at his sleeping face.

Hmm…cute.

Her pale complexion went rosy, and the girl's visage was all the more flustered. Her lips parted in shock and she went cross-eyed for just a moment. Unfortunately for Zhen, the exact same time she was keeping up a rather unattractive, bashful face was the same moment when Ling's "eyes opened".

Even though his smiling eyes remained smiling, it would appear he was talking to her, "…Um…Zhen? Why are you raising your fist like you're going to hit me?"

As his words hit her, her expression went to normal, and she rested her arms beside her body. She could have went off on him for pushing her off of the cot, but knowing her place, the girl shook her head, "If you wanted to sleep by yourself so badly, then you didn't have to feel sympathy for me and urged me to take the cot…Prince Ling." She breathed out his name and title.

There was a reason, too. Truth was, Zhen didn't want to mention Ling sleeping with her. Hopefully he wouldn't mention it either, but knowing him, he would label it as "not a big deal".

Well, it was. To her.

The happy-go-lucky fifteen year-old sprung up from his sleeping position, giving her a look that vaguely read "puppy dog", "I'm sorry! I couldn't help myself! It was so cold down there," he wrapped his arms around himself and shivered.

Standing before him, she retained no fragment of humor or forgiveness; just poise and seriousness, "…It looks like Ling needs a few pointers on being royalty." The girl struggled a strained smile and shrugged her shoulders, glancing away from him, "…and some insight on personal space…" [1]

Ling leaned his head to the side, bewildered, "Hm? What are you talking about, Zhen?"

The Xingese retainer faced him again, waving her hands before her and exclaiming, "Oh, nothing~ Nothing at all~"

Absolutely nothing.

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"43 bottles of beer on the wall, 43 bottles of beer~"

"You take one down, pass it around, 42 bottles of beer on the wall!"

"42 bottles of beer on the wall, 42 bottles of beer~"

"You take one down, pass it around, God, someone get me out of here- right-now!"

"Zhen…that's not how the song goes…"

The shorthaired girl launched herself at the bars, shaking them helplessly. Pretty soon, streams of tears trailed down her face as she whined, dropping down to her knees, defeated, "I don't care…"

Ling, whom was seated on the cot, facing the wall, inquired Zhen Ji, "Oh? You're tired of singing already?"

It was almost pitiful, but at the same time comical as the girl whined, "I just want to get out of heeeerrrreeee…" she gave one more shake to the bars.

Ling didn't look very convinced, but as he turned his attention away from her, retorted, "Is that your way of telling me you don't like my singing? Anyway, so do ninety percent of the other prisoners living here. But I don't see them complaining." For some reason, he sounded faintly offended.

She craned her neck at him, having the mind to glare but not finding the place to, "…That's because the cells are at least 3 yards apart."

"Maybe. But at least I get to see how cute you are when you're vulnerable and defenseless."

A tingle ran up her spine. Like a marionette, she slowly creaked her neck to glance at him. He wasn't even looking at her as he said something to sly. He was focused so much on that stupid wall.

Regardless, Zhen spoke her thoughts, "Eh?…What was that supposed to mean?"

Ling didn't respond immediately. In fact, a few moments had passed with her watching his back before he stirred. It was as if he just realized what he had just said. Almost right after his stirring, Ling turned his torso over, looking red in the face, "Um, that didn't mean anything!" He turned back towards the wall, "Forget I said anything."

Zhen Ji raised an eyebrow. Then she discarded her previous thoughts and changed the subject, "…What are you doing anyway?"

His change of disposition was tangible in his new tone, "Since you wanted to get out of here so much, I decided to take action. Especially after you told me that I make my servants do all of the work—"

"You do," she added bluntly.

"—I'm going to be fixing the problem I made."

She crawled closer to the cot, hearing scratching noises. Keeping her body low as she drew closer, her form slowly raised as she reached the bed, almost like a lion peering out of the tall grass. Though a lion would never suspect a young boy using a sharpened toothbrush to claw his way through a cement wall.

Her eyes went wide like saucers before going half-lidded—unimpressed, "…Ling…"

"Yeeeessss?" It was an elongated reply, full of pride and hope. He hoped she would praise him on his ingenuity.

"You know they're not going to give you another toothbrush, right?"

The light his face gave off extinguished, but the innocence he always gave off remained, "Oh…well, that's fine; Zhen will let me use her toothbrush!"

"…" As she hung her mouth open slightly, footsteps from the outside of the cell emanated. Giving Ling one last look of stupidity, Zhen reached the bars and struggled to find the best perspective.

Her pupils bounced along, and she did see people passing through another hallway, shouting, panicking. Pretty soon Ling joined her, discarding his toothbrush to squeeze alongside her, "Wait, what do you see?"

Zhen relinquished the position to the big male as to not have to be so closely confined with him (Not that she'd ever been very close to him before). "Looks like trouble. The Amestrians are holding weapons," she paused, "…and if you listen closely enough, I think I hear gunfire."

"Oh, there's a riot going on, how exciting!" Ling exclaimed, fist pumping. Zhen didn't catch his fist pumping, and if she did, she would have lectured him on acting more his title. A prince.

The blue-black haired girl peered from behind him, the sounds of gunfire and voices becoming less distant, "Maybe they'll let us out of here…"

"Come on! Is that all you've got? You prison guards are a real letdown, honestly."

"Alphonse?" Ling quickly assumed, expression becoming serious. There was only one person the two Xingese knew had a metallic voice, and Ling thought maybe the Elrics had found out about their imprisonment and came to help.

He smiled, sweetly and graciously. Ling was so flattered they'd go out on their right mind to break him out!

"Hello, sweetheart!"

A girly squeak came from the both of them, regardless of gender, as they bounced away from the cell gate.

The mechanical being, which consisted of a devilish looking helmet and beady glowing red eyes, voiced, "That's not a very polite introduction! Then again, every time I meet somebody new, I cut them."

As Ling clung to Zhen's ankles like a cat, the girl, who was also rather frightened, stuttered as she asked the being, "W-what do you want?"

"What do I want?" He repeated, looking in some other corner of the hallway, "…Absolutely nothing! I was just passing by, and I'm on my way to rescue a really pretty lady who's gotten herself tangled in business that shouldn't involve her."

With the cowering cat clawing her ankles, Zhen peered at the man through the bars, "A pretty lady? You're trying to break someone out?"

"Oh yeah~ I just couldn't help but notice another helpless-looking girl within all those ugly prisoner faces."

At this point, Ling unwrapped himself from Zhen's ankles, "Hey! I'm not ugly! He just called me ugly. I'm not ugly—I'm cute; right, Zhen?" From beside her, he looked upon her for explanation.

The only girl gave him an uncomfortable look, while the armored being pushed himself against the bars, "Zhen? That sounds foreign. You two look foreign. Are you not from here?"

At the sight of the armored being pushed against their bars, Ling shuddered and squeaked again as he clung to Zhen. The former gave him a disappointed look before answering the intruder, "We're from Xing. My full name is Zhen Ji and this scaredy cat's name is Ling Yao. And who are you?"

His beady eyes glowed an even more malicious maroon red, and the fact that he raised one of his (unusually clean) cleavers unnerved the two foreigners, "They call me…Barry the Chopper!"

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As soon as the hollow being let the two of them out, Zhen Ji considered running away screaming, and leaving Ling to die (Which is, of course, an exaggeration). Though an obnoxious sense of loyalty came over her, and she felt that although Ling seemed to lack responsibility and was portrayed as a goofy, innocent, (and outspoken) bottomless pit, Zhen needed to take responsibility of him.

The last thing she thought she would be a part of was an Amestrian prison break out. Back in Xing, people were—

"It has more stripes on the outside!"

"Ling…"

"What are you talking about, foreigner?"

"A tiger! It has more stripes on the outside." [2]

"It's a Xingese joke. And Ling, what about Ed and Al? We're not just going to leave them confused like that, are we?"

Ling was fanning a fire. They were outside (Save for Barry, who was watching them from a window of his apartment) smoking fish after parting with Maria Ross. After that huge explosion, Zhen didn't know if the lady was dead or not, but Amestrian matters were never her problem.

Her only objective was to keep an eye on Ling, and dispose of him if she found him troublesome to her own clan's affairs. Lately she'd been interested in them (The Philosopher's Stone, obviously), so she didn't find the need to sail her knife down his throat.

Speaking of knives, Zhen Ji had retrieved her own from the evidence case back at Central Prison.

"Oh, I'm sure they'll be fine. We'll see them soon," the prince took a bite out of his smoked fish, "…Hey! How about tomorrow? I haven't seen them since Ed called me ugly so I kinda miss them." His cheeks puffed out, filled with the cooked seafood.

Zhen Ji discarded the thought that he didn't even offer her any, "…What about this Barry the Chopper guy? How are you going to help him?" The girl paused, from her standing position; the smoke blew in her face and made her eyes watery, "…Why are you going to help him?"

Ling looked up from his squatted position, noticing tears swelling up on Zhen's face, "Aw, Zhen are you crying? Why are you crying? Are you…jealous?" His last words finished with tingles on both their ends.

Her pinkish eyes grew wide before she wiped the burning tears away, "No, you…" she paused, "…stupid! The smoke got in my eyes," Zhen rubbed them, turning away.

He laughed, though it was inaudible to Zhen's ears; they succumbed to her pounding heart. "Have you seen Barry? He was shot in the face and yet he's still alive; he's hollow!" Ling rubbed his chin, "He's immortal, see?"

"See? He's the same as Alphonse. They both don't radiate a flow of chi. If you're so interested in Barry, then why didn't you pester Alphonse this much?"

"Well…I never got to see Al get shot in the head with a twin-barrel, so…"

"…" Zhen looked down, grim and morbid.

"…" Ling stopped chewing, just observing her quietly. There was something troubling her. He knew it because he was a gentleman, and gentlemen know these things.

The girl focused her attention at the apartment Falman and Barry were in. Many things crossed Ling's mind. He could do something funny…or charming…or just scare her—anything to get the secretive girl to open up to him. Despite keeping up a smiling face, something was up and she was hiding it.

He remembered when he found out that she was his doting stalker. Their first encounter was a duel, which he won. What surprised him was that when he asked her to work for him, she didn't complain. Which was weird, since loyalty between Xingese clansmen was unrivaled.

"…Say…Zhen. You're not as perky as when we first met."

Hazel eyes discerned him from a peripheral vision. They were wide.

But as she studied the prince, he looked pretty gloomy as well. His face dropped, and he stared hopelessly into his lap, "…Do you…hate taking care of me?" Zhen Ji still stared at the young man, "…You did say all you've done is baby-sit me."

Immediately upon seeing his somber expression and pitiful face, Zhen Ji hurried to him, hugging him lightly and comforting from behind, "H-hey, don't be sad! It's okay if you break the rules a few times as long as you have someone you trust picking up the pieces, right? Right?" She sounded worried, and almost motherly.

From within her sisterly grip, he squeezed one of her arms for a sense of ease. She hadn't stirred from the gesture, but she wasn't able to witness the sly smirk that covered his face, "Hm…I guess. Since I trust you and Lan Fan, there isn't anything I can be scared of!" Just like that, his depression disappeared in a cloud of smoke, only to be replaced with satisfaction and glee.

The mention of Lan Fan threw Zhen Ji off guard, and she slowly loosened her hug, "Um…Lan Fan?"

Vibes of evil and malice radiated from behind her, and the blue-black haired girl quivered at the sight of the furious bodyguard clad in black. It was Lan Fan, and behind her was old man Fu. The other girl glared daggers at Zhen, and the former slowly unraveled her arms from Ling, whom only greeted his loyal servant.

"Impressive response time! I have a job for you two."

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"You know, when you were hugging me, it kind of reminded me of something…"

"R-really? What did it remind you of? You looked sad, so I thought I'd comfort you, that's all."

"Let me think…oh, yeah, it was when I was sleeping in my room back in Xing…"

"Sleeping?"

"Yep! All of the blankets were being dried out, so it was cold. I was hugging something."

"And so…"

"You remind me of a cat I had once. I used to hug it all the time."

"…Oh! A…cat. Right. That's reassuring."

"Why are you blushing, Zhen? Are you getting jealous again?"

"Ling."

"Haha! It's cute. You look so cute! Am I making you nervous? Huh? Am I?"

"…"

"…Haha…wait. Why are you raising your fist like you're going to hit me again, Zhen?"

He must have been sleepwalking when he climbed onto the bed, then.

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[1] – Ling is pretty touchy…even in canon.

[2] – Lau is my favorite character from Kuroshitsuji. It's only natural I'd like him the most, and only natural he'd remind me of Ling! Or Ling reminds me of Lau. I probably didn't get the joke right, but regardless, it's random and something Ling would say.

It was short and sweet because Bring Me to Life is more of a tool I use to bring up my mood. I'm not depressed or anything, but I owe you guys for not updating last week. I wanted to update both Rapacious AND this story, but it took me all day just to type out this one. See, I usually spend free time I have during the week to brainstorm, but I've barely done any of that so I just made this chapter fluffy and humorous, but at the same time tying it to the FMAB plot.

Anyway, I'll attempt to update Rapacious tomorrow, and thank you for reading this!

Please review. I hope Ling wasn't too...OOC.

Thank you for everyone who has already reviewed by the way~ Love you guys. Don't be afraid to leave a comment or something.