Random one-shot I decided to do on a whim. Hope you guys like.
Fullmetal Alchemist and its characters belong to Hiromu Arakawa
"We should be able to make it back to Xing by two months at longest." Mei Chang informed, looking at a train schedule as she walked along side two other figures carrying a large body bag.
The two people beside Mei nodded, not saying a word to the girl as they made their way over to get their tickets for the train. Those two people were none other then Prince Ling Yao and Lan Fan, both of whom were from the same country as Mei herself: Xing. As a matter of fact, Ling Yao happened to be Mei's older half-brother. Something they both had learned of during their time in the country Amestris. However, finding out they were related was hardly even a small fraction of the real shocking things they had discovered and encountered during their few months in this strange land.
It had been a week since the end of the Promised day. So many casualties and horror had been reported throughout the country. What Father and the homunculi had done would forever be remembered by the people who had to face off with such terrors head-on. Ling Yao was one of those people.
He had come to Amestris for one thing and one thing only: to obtain the secret to immortality; And in his hand, he held that very thing in the form of a red crystal-like shape in a small jar. He had gotten what he had come for. But at what cost? During their time there, Lan Fan, his best friend and one of his most trusted bodyguards had lost her arm. Then there was Fu, Lan Fan's grandfather and his head body-guard, who had lost his life protecting the prince himself. Finally, there was Greed; The homunculus who had taken control of his own body for the longest time but had actually turned out to become one of his closest and true friends. Now he was gone too. If it had not been for Greed turning Father's body into an unstable carbon and Fu giving his life to stop King Bradley, Ling was sure that this country he was about to leave would be no more. Yes, so many terrible things had happened and the prince of Xing would never be able to forget. Never.
"Young lord, the train is about to leave. We should board at once." Lan Fan suggested in a stern manner.
Ling held his head down as he had for the past hour and simply nodded as he watched one of the train attendants load Fu's dead body into the cargo with the other supplies. They figured it would be best to travel back to Xing by train, instead of by desert. After all, they had to escort a dead body back and things wouldn't be pretty if they tried traveling through the hot sands of such a terrain with a corpse in a black bag for God knows how long.
Without speaking another word to one another, the three Xingese people boarded the train. Once they had gotten on, the three paused and looked around,
"It's insanely full..." Mei started, looking at all the people with her small panda on her shoulder.
"Probably from what happened a week ago. People must be scared and are trying to flee the country." Ling thought aloud and then shrugged, "Lets just get to our seats. I'm sure we could all use a rest right about now."
The two girls smiled with the prince as they made their way over to the chairs at the far back of the train. However, once they got there, the three noticed something odd,
"Wait a minute...This can't be right." Mei frowned, looking from the tickets and then to the seats, "We bought three tickets but they're only two seats left. How can that be?"
Ling looked back around and then down at the seats, "Hmm...I'm sure the conductors didn't realize there was such little room left at the time we bought our tickets. It looks like there isn't much we can do about it now so lets-"
"Understood, your highness." Lan Fan spoke, bowing to her prince. Ling rose a brow in confusion,
Lan Fan stared back at him, not removing her mask, "I will go and sit in the cargo car. This way, you and princess Mei can sit and relax."
At that moment, the bodyguard turned to walk away but was soon grabbed by her lord,
"Wait, Lan Fan. That's not fair to y-"
"Please, young lord. Do not concern yourself with me." With that, the bodyguard gently slipped her arm away from Ling and made her way to the cargo car.
Ling sighed and fell down into his seat followed by rubbing his eyes, tiredly. Mei saw this after she took her seat and smiled at her brother,
"We should probably try to get some sleep..." She stated, her panda mimicking her sitting down.
Ling faked a smile and nodded. The two leaned back and soon fell into a deep sleep.
'This isn't so bad...' Lan Fan thought to herself, taking a seat beside her grandfather's body bag in the middle of the cargo car.
The bodyguard sat in silence as she felt the train start off to its destination. An hour passed, and soon the girl could feel sleep trying to overcome her but she quickly shook it off.
"No, I can't fall asleep. If the prince happens to need me..." Lan Fan's eyes wandered over to the body bag beside her. Her eyes lost its emotion and a sudden heart ache took over the woman of Xing.
She continued to stare at the black bag for the longest time but snapped out of her trance when she realized what she was doing.
'I cannot think about such things during our trip. If I do, I will just become a hindrance. I think I have burdened Master Ling far too much with myself already...'
Lan Fan looked down to her metal arm and flexed its fingers, remembering back to when Ling had to risk his own life to save hers. What a fool he was. She was just his bodyguard, nothing more. She couldn't even protect him so she deserved to die.
If Fu were alive at that very moment, Lan Fan was sure he would slap her for thinking such things. In fact, he had slapped her when he had found out about her losing her arm. Now, Lan Fan wished more then ever to be slapped by the old man. She was beginning to feel sorrow for her grandfather try to overcome her again, but she wouldn't allow it. She COULDN'T allow it,
"Grandfather died protecting the prince. I'm sure it's the way he would have wanted to go so I shouldn't feel such useless emotions as sorrow and anger..." Lan Fan's eyes found their way over to Fu's body bag once more and this time, she felt a strange feeling appear.
'Grandfather...isn't here anymore to slap me when I feel such ridiculous things...'
At incredible speed, Lan Fan jumped up from her seat and shook her head fast. Sighing, Lan Fan sat back down but this time, she made sure her back was the thing facing her grandfather, not her face. Within a matter of minutes, the bodyguard had fallen asleep.
"Ugh, that was such a long train ride~" Ling complained, rubbing his back with an arm.
The three descendents from Xing had been on the same train for the past day and finally, they had arrived to the next town, ready to board yet another train. The young lord cringed at the thought of sitting on one of those things again but he had to admit, it was much better then traveling through the hot desert.
"I got our tickets for the next train," Lan Fan informed, returning to Ling and Mei with three slips of paper in her hand.
Ling smiled, taking his ticket, "Thank you, Lan Fan."
"Yes, thank you..." Mei Chang mumbled a little awkwardly. In truth, she and Lan Fan had not spoken much to one another since back a few months ago when they got into it at Dr. Knox's house. Now that they were traveling back to Xing together and things seemed to stand differently, it would be nothing but awkward between the two women.
"Well, we better get to our seats so we can make sure there's enough room for everyone this time-" Just as Ling took a step forward to make his way to the transportation vehicle, the man fell to the ground in a flash.
"Young lord!" Lan Fan cried, leaning down to her prince in distress, "What is it? What's wrong, young-"
...Both Mei and Lan Fan sweat-dropped. Ling chuckled nervously to himself and smiled at the two,
"So very hungry...lets grab some food really quick, okay?"
With the prince's collapse, it was decided the three would get a quick lunch before boarding the train for the next destination. The three loaded Fu's body onto the train and went off in search of a restaurant that was near by. After about five minutes of searching, the people from Xing managed to come across a small cafe and dined for ten minutes in there. However, what was suppose to be a peaceful lunch between them turned out to be quite different from how Lan Fan had expected.
"Lan Fan." Ling started through chewing his food.
Lan Fan turned to her prince, dabbing her mouth with a napkin, "Yes, my lord?"
Ling ceased his chewing and lowered his head slightly before continuing, "I've been meaning to tell you...Well, I..." The twelfth son of the Emperor clenched his knee with a hand as he felt the anxiety he had felt earlier that day come back to him, "I'm sorry."
Mei looked from her brother to Lan Fan who noticed the bodyguard's eyes widen in shock. Even though she hadn't been traveling with them long, Mei knew exactly what it is Ling was apologizing for. Thinking it would be best to give the two some time alone, Mei informed them that she would go board the train as she was done eating and with that, she left. Meanwhile, Lan Fan stared back at the prince with utter surprise and bewilderment,
"Sorry? Whatever for, your highness?" Lan Fan had a feeling what it was about and mentally kicked herself for what she had just said. She knew as well as Mei did actually, just what it was Ling had apologized for; And frankly, this was the last thing Lan wanted to talk about at that moment. Despite her feelings, she allowed her lord to continue and answer the redundant question,
"About Fu...I told you what exactly had happened during our fight a while back. Bradley was able to pin Greed and I to the ground and it was because of our slow reaction that Fu was cut up the way he was. It was also because of that he was killed in the end. I realized I hadn't said sorry to you yet...but, I figured now would be a good time."
Ling looked nervously over to his bodyguard to see her reach for her mask. He quickly stopped her hand with his hand and clenched it tightly with his own, "I'm so sorry," He repeated, his expression growing as sad as it had when he had first found out about the old man's demise.
The woman felt her lip begin to tremble and snatched her hand away from Ling's. Then she grabbed her mask, placed it back on, and rose from her seat. As Lan Fan turned away to leave the cafe, she lowered her head and clenched both her hands into fists that hung at her sides. In a quiet tone, she replied, "You have no reason to apologize to me, young lord. What happened to grandfather was not your fault. Please remember that."
Without saying anything more, Lan took off out of the cafe and towards the train. Ling sat back in his seat as he finished his food. Well, TRIED to finish his food at least. Half-way through a bite of his salad, the prince felt tears come to his eyes and he rested his face into a hand as he cried silently to himself for five minutes. Afterwards, he payed the bill and followed after his bodyguard and sister to board the train...
It had been a week since Ling and the others had left Central city. They had actually made quite good progress in that time. In only those seven days, the three of them had rode three trains, crossed more then ten cities, and now were traveling across the borderline separating Amestris from the other countries to the East. However, they still had a while to go before they reached Xing. But as things seemed to be going, it was possible they would make it back to their homeland before the estimated two months.
"It's getting late. Should we set up camp for the night?" Mei asked, turning to her older brother with a questionable look on her face.
The long haired man turned to the little girl with a small smile, "Yeah, I think that would be wise. Lan Fan!" Ling called out to his subject who had gone ahead of the horse carriage to scope for danger.
At hearing her prince's voice, she returned to the carriage just as quickly as she had left,
"Yes, my prince?" She asked, bowing to him when she saw he stopped the carriage.
Getting out of the vehicle and jumping to the ground, Ling smiled at his bodyguard, "It's getting dark so Mei suggested we set up camp for the night."
Lan Fan nodded in agreement and helped the two set up their campsite. After all was finished, the three sat, eating dinner. The bodyguard smiled when she noticed Ling and Mei talking to one another about past experiences and other things, like a brother and sister should. Ever since they had begun their travels, Ling had really tried to be a big brother to Mei Chang; And in that time, the two had progressively grown closer.
"So you found this panda when you were little?" Ling asked, stroking Xiao-Mei's tiny head with a finger.
Mei smiled brightly, nodding at the prince and hugging her panda gently, "Yup. Ever since then, we've been like sisters. We've become really close and..." As Mei went on with her story, Lan Fan noticed Ling's smile beginning to grow in size, causing Lan Fan to feel a bit of relief for the first time in a while.
Ever since the old man's death, Ling had not quite been himself. He had pretended to be but Lan Fan knew her prince far more better than that. The bodyguard knew the smile on Ling's face now, was the first real smile he had had ever since a week and a half ago.
A real smile...Why did those words seem to hurt the bodyguard's chest so much?
Rising from the ground, the woman of Xing put her mask back on and looked over to see both Ling and Mei eye her with a puzzled look,
"Lan Fan? What are you doing?" Ling asked his faithful subject as she turned her back towards him,
"I am going to go scope for any danger..." She replied in a cold tone. Ling rose a brow highly,
"Danger? We're in the middle of no where so I think we'll be alright..." The prince frowned when he saw Lan Fan shake her head and start to walk away, "Wait. You've been scoping for danger all day so why not take a rest?"
The woman turned slightly back to him and mumbled, "I'm fine. Please allow me to do my duty as your bodyguard, young lord."
Without allowing her prince to speak another word of protest, the girl vanished in a flash; Leaving alone a very confused Ling Yao and Mei Chang.
Mei frowned and looked over to the body bag that sit to the side of the campfire, "Hey...wasn't Fu your bodyguard's grandfather, Ling?"
The man sat in silence for a moment before turning to his little sister and nodding, "Correct. Fu was actually more then just Lan Fan's grandfather. He raised her from birth, I believe."
Mei's frown fell into a pitiful stare and she held her black eyes onto the bag, "Raised her? Then that means they've been together all her life, right? That must be so hard...To lose someone whose been with you your entire life. How sad."
Ling suddenly felt his stomach do a summer-salt and he could feel tears burn in his eyes again. Only this time, his heart also ached a great pain he hadn't yet experienced. The prince clenched his chest with a hand before rising to the ground and walking over to the campfire. As he stared down at the flames, the smoke from it caused a tear or two to drop off his cheek, down into the burning wood.
A few miles away, Lan Fan roamed around the large wasteland that surrounded her. She hadn't really thought before she had taken off from the prince like she did. She just left; Using the old 'I'll scope for any danger' excuse to get out of staying where she had. She had used it many times before. Especially when Fu was alive. For instance, when they had first crossed the Cselkcess ruins during their journey to Amestris, Lan Fan had used the very same excuse to get out of being alone with the prince. She had also used it back during her training in Xing. She could fully understand how Fu had picked up on it but she couldn't figure out as to why Ling had not realized it was more then just 'her duty as a guard'. Oh well. Not that it mattered. As long as she could get some time to herself, it was fine if Ling realized her true intentions or not.
The bodyguard of Xing looked around to see a loan rock placed in the middle of the terrain. The woman sighed and decided to take a seat on the rock for a little while. Once she was settled, Lan Fan looked up at the sky to see a million stars looking down on her. A small smile soon found itself creeping up the girl's masked face as she began counting the gorgeous little lights in the nighttime sky. She remembered back to when she was a little girl and her grandfather had told her all sorts of stories about the stars and the different constellations. Watching the night sky with her grandfather had become one of her happiest memories in her lifetime; Heck, even eventually Ling had begun such a tradition with her and Fu as she grew up. Now things were different. Instead of Fu being there like he should have, the woman of Xing was forced to watch the stars above all by herself...
"Stop it." Lan Fan scolded herself as she ripped off her mask and slapped both of her cheeks with her hands. Only the impact from her automail hand caused her to hit herself a little harder then what had been first intended. Moaning a little in pain, Lan rubbed her now-red cheek with her real hand and glared back at the mask that now lay on the ground in front of her.
"Damn." She cursed, standing up and picking up her mask. The girl stared at the mask for a short while and then felt a sudden surge of anger run through her body. Before long, Lan gave into her emotions and threw her mask at a near-by tree. With a loud clunk, the mask fell from the tree's bark and to the ground. Lan Fan huffed to herself and resat herself back onto the rock.
"What the hell is wrong with me?" Lan Fan rested her head into her hands as she felt the familiar feeling of anxiety come back to her that she had felt during the train ride, "Why do I keep feeling this way? It's pathetic. I cannot allow myself to get so upset. Especially when I must protect the young lord..."
All of a sudden, a flood of memories appeared in Lan's mind. All were from the day Fu died. She remembered how she had finally made it to the main gate of Central only to see her grandfather fall to the ground dead in a pool of his own blood. Then she remembered how upset Ling got when he had realized the truth of what had happened. Perhaps she hadn't quite understood the full truth of what had happened to her grandfather during the Promised day but now that things had settled down, more and more anxiety filled the girl's heart every time she thought of her grandfather.
"Why...?" Lan Fan rubbed her temple with her automail hand and tried to stop thinking about Fu. But the harder she tried not to think of him, the more she ended up doing.
The teen rose to the ground, taking in a deep breath, and walked over to the tree where her mask laid. Again, she picked it up from the ground and slowly dusted it off. When she was finished, she held her eyes on the mask for what seemed like hours,
"Everything around me reminds me of him..."
Lan Fan remembered when Fu had first given her the mask. It was right after she had completed her bodyguard training when she was thirteen. That seemed so long again and yet, at the same time, it didn't. How Lan longed for those days to come back again. Just one more time she would have liked to relive them. Back then, she could lick any problem and keep her focus on her goal no matter what. But for some reason, this time, her determination to protect Ling wasn't enough to keep her mind off what it really wanted to be thinking of.
"Grandfather is gone. He's not coming back so it's pointless to even bother myself with thinking about him. Like the young lord said, he died with a smile on his face..." Lan Fan pictured the old man's rare smile in her mind that she had seen countless times over the many years they had spent together. Eventually, Lan ended up smiling too. But it wasn't long before she suddenly felt the strange sensation of her eyes burning. The same burning feeling that she had experienced during the train ride a few days ago.
Once again, the mask fell to the ground with a thunk. Only this time, Lan Fan didn't toss it to the ground in anger.
Within a matter of mere seconds, the girl dropped to her knees and began huffing and puffing as the strange burning sensation took over; Knowing what the familiar feeling that had been approaching her was, Lan Fan covered her mouth and shut her eyes tight, suppressing the oncoming tears. In the end, she succeeded and then, she laid on the ground in an attempt to calm down even more.
'What a...damn fool I am...' Lan Fan thought as she laid on the ground, mourning the one person who had always been there her entire life. The girl realized something at that moment. For the very first time, Lan Fan realized that he really was no longer there; And he never would be again. No matter how badly she wanted Fu to be, the old man would never return to her, ever again...
Back at the camp sight, Mei had fallen asleep with her panda resting in her arms. Ling stared down at his sister with a warm smile as he covered her gently with a blanket he had found in the carriage. The prince of Xing looked back at the campfire to see the flames beginning to fade. He knew that they would eventually die out soon and hoped his bodyguard would make it back before then so she had some light to see. Not that it mattered. She had been trained to move around in the dark after all. That was one of the first things Fu had taught her during her training days. Thinking back on it, the young man realized that Fu had not only taught Lan Fan about fighting and about life but the old man had served as a teacher to him as well. Oh, how Ling missed that stubborn old fool...
"But I think I've cried enough over it, haven't I, Fu? I just hope you're resting peacefully now; Finally taking that eternal rest you have deserved for so long..." Ling looked up at the beautiful, star-lit sky; his smile intensifying as he did so, "I think your granddaughter probably feels the same."
Ling chuckled to himself as he pictured the old man's reaction to his words. He could see Fu's face all too well, it was almost disturbing. He defiantly had spent a lot of time with the old man over the years; Just as Lan Fan had.
...Even so, the future Emperor of Xing knew Lan Fan had been the person closest to Fu. Despite what he had told others, Lan Fan was his precious granddaughter and they both loved each another very much. Fu was the only family she had and Lan Fan was...Wait.
Ling's smile fell off his face in an instant at suddenly coming to a horrible realization that he should have come to long before now.
"Fu was...Lan Fan's only family. Up until now, the only time she ever showed remorse for him was when Greed and I fought Bradley back at Central. But what about now? Why hasn't she..." As Ling thought of his bodyguard and how she must have been feeling during their trip, more and more anxiety built up inside the man; Almost to the point that he wanted to explode.
Jumping up from the log he had been sitting on, Ling opened his eyes and looked around in a panic; Hoping to spot his bodyguard returning from her scoping mission. When he saw no figure lingering there in the surrounding darkness, he realized the long amount of time Lan Fan must have been gone and without another thought, ran off from the camp sight to search for his friend.
"Agh, this is downright pathetic!" Lan Fan spewed in a loud, annoyed tone as she slapped her face with both hands again. She had to keep suppressing the tears. For as long as it took, she HAD to. She knew that crying wouldn't help anything and overall; It was horribly weak. To break down and sob; Or even have the URGE to want to cry like a child over the loss of one person; How ridiculous. How dumb, she thought, now angry with herself for even thinking of such things. She had learned the risks of being a bodyguard long ago so seeing as how Fu got killed while on duty of protecting the prince should have come as no surprise nor should it have upset her so.
"I must pick myself up and get back to camp or else the prince will..." Just as Lan Fan tried to stand up, froze on spot, terrified by her own words.
Ling. She remembered back to the many occasions Ling had mourned Fu ever since his demise. Every time he had done so, Lan Fan would either remain silent or tell him the simple fact that Fu wouldn't have wanted him to upset himself so. However, despite everything she had told the young lord, it made no difference to her. SHE still felt the anxiety, sorrow, and guilt over her grandfather. SHE could not bring herself to just accept it and move on. SHE had said all those comforting things to the prince and it had, on occasion, worked and cheered Ling up for a short time at the very least. As for her though, it just made her feel worst about the whole situation but she ignored her emotions as she so very often did, and went on working as a bodyguard. If there was one thing that had not changed during their time in Amestris, it's that her prince's safety took priority over anything and everything else.
Just as she had done before, Lan shook away the sad, empty feeling she held in her heart and began walking back the way she had came. She had to make it back to camp or else the prince would bother himself with her and go searching; Which, wasn't at all necessary. She couldn't possibly bother him anymore with herself; especially not with something as preposterous as emotions. That was the last thing Lan Fan wanted to do after she had already been such a burden to him during the whole incident in Amestris. Getting attacked by King Bradley and having to have Ling save her life was far more than enough.
As the young woman of Xing walked on down a path, she felt her mind begin to wander and eventually, it soon made it over to the metal limb that she now possessed. A smile finally formed on her face as she felt the cold metal with her real hand and ran the flesh up and down the hard material.
"Grandfather was so furious with me when I lost my arm. He even slapped me; And what he said was just..." Lan chuckled to herself as she rarely ever did when she thought back to the old man's explosive reaction to discovering about her lost arm;
"You fool! How could you let yourself be attacked so easily like that? You are a failure as a bodyguard of Xing!"
He had seemed quite angry at first, and she confessed that she believed he was for a split second. But when she noticed the elder take hold of her armless sleeve as his expression turned sad with regret, the previous thought had gone away. In the end, she had just apologized for cutting off her own arm, which, if had been kept, would have proven to be useless anyways; The matter itself had caused the extremely rare caring side of Fu to come out. Not that she minded though...
Just like a glass window that was slowly breaking, Lan Fan suddenly felt another crack appear in her heart. Soon the crack spread and it felt as if tinier cracks were appearing. The process continued and soon, the girl felt as if her heart would shatter at any moment and she clenched her chest hard as she pushed away her thoughts that she had been burying deep in her mind.
The bodyguard of Xing felt her knees suddenly become weak and she dropped to the ground once again in an instant. The teenager could feel her eyes begin to water as she thought back to the Bradley fight and how she saw Fu fall to the ground in his own pool of blood at the moment of her arrival to the scene. The more Lan thought about it, the more she felt sick. Eventually, she was having an inner conflict with her mind,
'Stop. Stop it...STOP. I won't let that weak side of me win again- !' But Lan Fan's thoughts were soon interrupted by a very familiar voice,
Just as she had expected, there behind her was none other then the young prince. He seemed to be sweating and panting, pointing out to her that he most likely had been running. Worried for his well-being, Lan Fan found herself standing up and rushing over to him as fast as her legs could take her.
"Y-Young lord, are you alri-"
"Never mind me!" Ling started, grasping Lan's shoulders firmly with his hands. As the fifteen-year old stared back at his bodyguard, he opened his eyes slightly and his expression fell from exhausted and worried to regretful and sad, "Are you alright, Lan Fan...?"
She blinked a few times, puzzled as to why her prince would ask her such a thing. Then it dawned on her that his concern must have been due to the fact she had been gone from the camp sight longer then what was expected. Lan faked a smile at the young lord and nodded. However, despite her initial saying she was alright, Ling's expression didn't change to what should have now been relieved. Instead, his face grew slightly angry and even more full of concern.
"Don't lie to me, Lan Fan." He demanded, opening his eyes wider in a serious manner. Ling clenched her shoulders harder and looked her dead-straight in the eye, "Are you alright...?" He asked once more, this time his tone a little full of annoyance.
For some reason unknown to her, Lan Fan felt her heart crack more at the prince's grip and she suddenly felt like crying again. But she couldn't. She WOULDN'T. She'd sooner kill herself before she'd be caught in such a weak state in front of the Emperor of Xing's son. Trying to get released from his grip, Lan made an attempt to move away but Ling shook her gently,
"Answer me!" He shouted, surprising Lan Fan with his tone.
"Young lord, what are you possibly..."
"It's been nearly two weeks since his death and you haven't cried once." Ling swallowed and looked away for a moment, "Okay, you cried a little back in Amestris but that was for a mere second. My point is you're keeping it all bottled up, aren't you?"
Again, the bodyguard blinked as she stared at her prince for what seemed like forever. Finally, Lan narrowed her eyes and removed Ling's hands off her shoulders. Without answering even a word in regards to Ling's statements, Lan Fan began walking off in the direction Ling had come from; Claiming that it was very late and time for them to get back to the camp sight before Mei awoke to find they had both disappeared. Ling simply brushed the matter aside and tried to ask her again, but nothing would work. Finally, Ling's patients had been lost and he took his spot in front of Lan Fan with arms spread out; Telling her she could go no further until she finally answered him.
"Lan Fan! As your prince, I order you to answer my previous questions! No lying either. If you lie, I'll-"
"Young lord, the camp..."
"Forget about the camp!" Ling snarled in a very unusual pissed tone, "I know what you're doing, Lan Fan. It took me a while to realize it but only because I've been too damn busy worrying about myself and everything that's happened. I apologize deeply for that and now, I just want you to stop holding it all in..."
Lan Fan could feel her eyes lose the emotion in them and her face go white. In a low tone, she mumbled, "I'm f..." but she couldn't finish her sentence; Not this time. She could no longer lie; Especially now that Ling seemed so angry with her. Instead, the girl clenched her automail hand with her real hand and fumbled with its fingers as she held her head down.
Not raising her head to look at him, Lan Fan could hear Ling speak to her in a more gentle tone then before. His new tone, however, only seemed to make her hurt more and suddenly, the girl wished she were deaf.
"Lan Fan...I won't fault you or fire you if you cry. Just because you're my bodyguard doesn't mean you aren't entitled to having emotions and expressing your thoughts." Ling started towards his guard and soon, he stood very close to her. She still would not look up so Ling took this as a good opportunity to repay her for all that she had done for him in the past.
The man of Xing wrapped both his muscular arms around the bodyguard's waist and pulled her close to him so that her head was resting against his chest. This action caused the girl to blush extremely but she didn't try to pull away. How could she, when Ling held her so very tight with his toned arms? Even so, it was beginning to get harder and harder for the warrior of Xing to hold in the long built-up tears she had been keeping inside since the Promised day. However, no matter how badly she wanted to, this time, there was no stopping it. This time, she just couldn't bring herself to compose herself and hold in the hidden away emotions any longer.
Not mumbling even a word of warning, Lan Fan gave in and began sobbing violently into the prince's chest. As she cried, her automail hand found it's way to his back and she clenched his shirt hard with her metal fingers. Ling pulled Lan closer to him and stroked the back of her head as softly as he could manage; Careful not to accidentally pull her hair or release her bun from its hold. As a few more minutes passed, Ling felt Lan Fan's cries become slightly quieter. Certainly, this couldn't be all of the tears she's been holding in, he thought to himself as he opened an eye to look at the girl in his hold,
"Lan Fan," He begun, breaking the embrace and pulling her away from him so he could caress one of her tear-stained cheeks, "You..." But Ling paused when he noticed Lan Fan break away from him completely.
"I...I apologize, Young lord," She begun, wiping her eyes hard, "It was disgraceful for me to-"
"He was your grandfather, Lan Fan." Ling spoke, his expression sad and distant as he looked at her with his dark, blue eyes.
Lan Fan flinched at his remark and she trembled as more tears built up in her eyes. Ling began to walk towards her again, most likely to repeat his earlier actions. But Lan Fan wouldn't let that happen again.
"P-Please, prince...please...please, excuse me..." Lan backed away a few steps and sunk to the ground followed by burying her face into her hands. Once she had sat down, the prince heard her mumble, "...he's really gone...Grandfather is..."
Ling stared at Lan Fan, now with the urge to cry, himself. Shaking off her request, Ling walked over to her and leaned down to her on the ground. Ling then reached into one of his pockets, pulled out a handkerchief , and began dabbing her cheeks with it.
"You always push yourself so hard, worrying yourself over me..." Ling handed Lan Fan the handkerchief and continued, "But you need to worry about yourself too, Lan Fan. Don't keep your emotions all bottled up for my sake. It only makes me worried and you hurt even more. And I'm sure Fu wouldn't like it, either."
Lan Fan sniffled loudly as she looked at the ground, "Forgive-" But Ling silenced her with his finger to her lips,
"Don't apologize for stuff like this either. There's no need."
Lan Fan put the handkerchief her prince had given to her to her eyes and blushed darkly when she felt Ling brush some of her bangs out of her face. Smiling, Ling rose and helped Lan up as well. Taking his hand with hers, the young man of Xing planted a very soft kiss on his bodyguard's cheek and looked back at her,
"Tell me, Lan Fan. Do you feel better now that you've cried?"
The warrior thought for a moment and suddenly realized that the pain she had felt earlier on had disappeared. She felt better then she had since the Promised day. Hell, she felt better since the day before they arrived in Amestris for the first time. She felt relieved, calmer, maybe even a little HAPPIER.
Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, Lan Fan blushed at her prince before bowing in thanks, "I-I do, young lord." When she stood back up, she noticed him smiling warmly at her and she blushed even more causing him to laugh.
After he had finished chuckling to himself, Ling breathed a sigh of relief, "I'm glad you're feeling better. Fu would have haunted me forever if I hadn't come here to comfort you. Hell, he would have haunted you if you had kept holding all those tears in." Now the both of them were laughing together and for once in many months, the couple from Xing truly felt happy again.
"We should probably make it back to camp..." Lan mumbled, fumbling with the cloth she held in her hands.
"Yeah." Ling agreed and turned to head back, "Let's hurry back before Mei wakes up and freaks out,"
Just as Lan Fan opened her mouth to giggle again, she felt the warm hand of Ling clasp her real hand and gave it a little squeeze. As the two headed back to the camp sight, the thought of her grandfather came over Lan Fan's mind, but this time she felt neither pain nor sadness nor regret over his death. Instead, she prayed he was resting happily in Heaven and looking down on her and Ling as they returned to the very place they all called home.
Authors comments: I've had this fic in my documents manager for over two weeks now. Finally got my lazy a** to finish it lol I hope it isn't too bad. I should have gone into more detail over how Lan Fan felt over Fu's death but I honestly just wanted to get this finished. Please review guys~