So, I recently rewatched this show and Ling and Lan Fan are like my favorite. So I wrote this fluffy snip. I had a great time though. Hopefully the characters are at least sort of IC.
It wasn't very often anyone from Xing would see a family of Amestrians trekking through the desert. Even with the new trade routes implemented under Emperor Ling Yao it was still uncommon for any Amestrians to come to Xing for vacation.
Then again, most Amestrians weren't personal guests of the Emperor himself. Edward Elric moaned as the horse he was riding dragged its legs through the sand. "It's so hot... My automail is burning me," he complained.
"Shut up, Ed. We're almost there," chastised, his wife, Winry. The toddler strapped to her shoulders in a sling laughed at the irritated expression on his father's face.
"Well, why is this desert so God-damned huge?!"
"Edward, how many times do I have to tell you, don't swear around the children!" Winry growled, her wrench appearing from nowhere.
Ed laughed uncomfortably. "Yeah, Daddy, don't swear round us," giggled his five old son from the wagon behind him. The boy's younger sister laughed in agreement.
Ed turned around to glower at his son. "Be quiet, you little brats."
Winry screeched and pounded Ed over the head with her wrench, leaving a large red welt and nearly knocking Ed from the horse. "Don't talk to the children like that! If you keep it up they may gain your manners."
"Hey! They know I love them!"
Alphonse Elric sighed as he rode along beside the bickering couple. "Must you two always argue?" he asked, mostly to himself because Ed and Winry definitely weren't listening.
"Don't worry, Al," chirped Mei Cheng, no, Elric, from beside him. Her new name was still taking some getting used to. "They're just tired. We'll be there very soon and it will be wonderful to see Emperor Ling and my other friends."
Al nodded and offered his new wife a happy smile. The couple had gotten married earlier that year. Emperor Ling had been too busy with his duties to make the journey, but Mei and Al had promised to come back to Xing to visit as soon as possible. They planned to stay in the Eastern country to study for some time. Ed and Winry had agreed to join them to visit their old friends. Mei was very excited to be home again.
"Um... miss... is everything okay?" one of the guides asked timidly, as he watched Winry repeatedly try to hit Ed with her wrench as he held his hands up to defend himself.
"Augh... WINRY! I'm sorry, okay!" he shouted.
Mei merely smiled at the man. "Yes, it's quite normal actually."
The guide sweat dropped. "Oh... yes, of course," he mumbled before he quietly returned to his post, thankful to be rid of the strange group soon.
About half a day later, the party had finally arrived at the Imperial Palace. They were escorted inside by a group of stern-looking Imperial guards. Some curious servants watched the family walk by, but no one dared question why a group of Amestrians were being treated with the highest honors and welcomed like royalty. It wasn't actually that uncommon to see an Amestrian anymore, after the new trade routes had been open.
Ed looked around the palace, silently impressed. "For a guy who can't even afford to buy his own food Ling has a pretty nice place here," he mused.
At the end of the hallway two large doors encrusted in gold were pushed open and the group was ushered inside. In the back of the room, sitting high on his throne, sat Emperor Ling Yao. His bangs covered one eye and he watched them with a stoic expression, his ornate robes adding to his powerful aura.
"Wow..." Ed mumbled to his wife who only nodded in reply. The children all looked at him in a mix of awe and fear, for once their curiosity keeping them quiet.
"Please stand outside. I'll be fine," Ling's voice boomed in command. Some of the guards looked a tad uncertain, but they obeyed their emperor's orders without question. His royal advisors followed them, some of them looking a little peeved, but no one daring to say anything. Only a single figure, who Ed recognized as Lan Fan, stayed obediently at her lord's side.
The emperor stood up and took two steps towards them. Then, suddenly his face split into his characteristic goofy grins.
"Ed, it's so great to see you!" He jumped gracefully down and began to shake Ed's arm enthusiastically as the former alchemist's face went white with annoyance.
Then he turned to Mei and Alphonse. "Oh, sister, Alphonse congrats on your marriage!" he cried.
Al blushed. "Thanks, Ling-" But his response was cut off when the Emperor of Xing engulfed the newly married couple in a hug.
Al blanched with surprise, "Uh..."
Mei, on the other hand, hugged him back happily. "Thank you, brother."
Ling turned to the children. "Wow, you guys have really gotten busy since I last saw you. I can never keep up with how many kids you have."
Winry blushed and laughed uncomfortably while Ed rolled his eyes. "I see you haven't changed that much after all," he said dryly.
Ling grinned, just as he was tackled from behind by the three children and knocked to the floor with a grunt.
Edward began to laugh maniacally, "See, those are my kids."
Lan Fan finally emerged from the shadows to make sure Ling was alright. She watched as he tried to squirm free, her mask hiding her amused expression.
"Hi, Lan Fan," Winry greeted cheerily. The masked warrior merely bowed her head in greeting.
Ling was still grinning as he tried to peel Ed and Winry's daughter from his arm. "You know, now that Mei and Alphonse are married that means we're kind of related."
Ed froze, shocked, doing the math in his head. "I-I never thought of that. It can't be... but if Al is my brother and Mei is your sister." He dramatically fell to his knees. "Noooo!"
Ling finally managed to stand back, still smiling goofily, "Brother, calm down," he said as he set a hand on Ed's shoulder.
Ed barred his teeth. "Don't call me that!" he screamed. He turned to try and punch Ling but he was knocked to the ground by a timely kick from Lan Fan.
Ling didn't even acknowledge Ed as he fumed on the ground. "Come, I'll give you a private tour of my home," he said with a smirk. They all followed Ling from the huge throne room, Ed dragging his feet and pouting in the back.
Later that night, after the children had been put to bed the group of friends sat in Ling's lounge to catch up.
"Yes," Alphonse was saying. "The Bross's just had their first child. They are doing very well.'"
"Huh, I had no idea," Ling answered. "Lan Fan, remind me to get someone on sending them a basket of flowers."
Lan Fan, who was standing silently by the door, nodded. "Yes, my lord."
"So, how's Mustang doing now? I haven't heard from him for a while. Are there problems in Central?"
Ed rolled his eyes. "No, the General is just as busy as ever, but he seems to be doing alright." Then his eyes lit up as he remembered a hilarious story he had forgotten to tell his wife. "Eh, Winry, you're never going to believe the rumor Armstrong told me at Al and Mei's wedding."
Winry raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"He said there's a rumor going around that Hawkeye is having a baby." At this statement Ed began to die of laughter. The others stared at him uncertainly, but no one seemed to find it as hilarious as he did.
"You didn't know?" Mei asked, confused. "She was pregnant during our wedding."
Ed and Al fell over out of their chairs in surprise while Ling just grinned.
"How do you know that?" Winry breathed, shocked as well.
"I can sense it. You can feel the new life. It-it's like being around a homunculus, but much more beautiful."
Ed growled. "But, how could that be...?"
Winry rolled her eyes at how dense her husband could be. "Really, Ed. You remember the military's policy on relationships."
It took Ed a moment to come to the conclusion she had. When he did growled in anger and jumped to his feet. "That bastard! When I see the General again, I'm gonna-" WOMP "WINRY!"
His wife just glared at him and flipped her wrench over in her palm. "Shut up, Ed. You're going to wake the children." She then returned to the earlier gossip. "I'm guessing they're keeping the matter a secret because of the military's policy."
Ed didn't respond, but slumped in his chair and grumbled to himself. "I'm going to get some air," he sighed. He got up and turned into the halls of the palace. He thought he was alone with with his thoughts when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Instantly, he turned to meet the threat, but calmed down when he saw Lan Fan standing there, her mask pushed up to reveal her face for once.
"Edward Elric, I need to speak with you," she said softly.
Ed blinked. He'd never really had a private conversation with the warrior before, but her voice sounded urgent. "Sure, but you don't have to sneak up on me like that," he added, slightly irritated.
Lan Fan didn't apologize. "Follow me. We must speak in private. I don't want my lord to notice I've abandoned my post."
Ed rolled his eyes. "I'm sure Ling doesn't really mind. You aren't his slave."
"I'm his loyal servant and it is a disgrace for me to leave my place at his side for even a moment, but this is important," Lan Fan breathed.
Ed scrunched his eyebrows in concern at the urgency in her voice. "What's going on?"
Lan Fan led him to a room and shut the door behind them. She glanced around quickly, just to be sure it was empty and then spoke. "I need you to speak to the Emperor."
"Are you aware that it is the tradition in this land for the emperor to take one concubine from each clan to produce an heir?"
Ed nodded silently. He had known but it was a little weird to think about Ling having fifty wives. He tried to push the thought away.
"Well... the daughters have come from all over Xing but my lord refuses to see them. Therefore, he has still failed to produce an heir and the clans are growing restless."
"Wait, I thought Ling was a popular emperor. Hasn't he improved many aspects of your society."
Lan Fan blushed with pride at Ed's statement. "Yes, he is a very good emperor and cares very deeply for his people. But it is his duty to produce an heir."
Ed's eyes narrowed. "Are you saying you want me to convince Ling to...'produce an heir'? he asked, dumbfounded.
Lan Fan nodded. "Yes," she breathed, her voice full of conviction.
"Wait... so you expect me to..." Ed blushed. "There is no way I'm doing that!" he hissed.
Lan Fan stared up at him. "You and your wife have only be married six years and already you have produced so many children. I thought-"
Ed's face was getting redder and redder. "I do not want to talk about me and Winry's... no, tell your emperor yourself," Ed grumbled, flustered.
Lan Fan shook her head. "I can't. I'm his servant. But you are his friend. He listens to you. Please, Edward, you must try. The fate of our people rides on this."
"Are you kidding me...? You're his friend too, Lan Fan," Ed hissed. But he looked down at Lan Fan's desperate eyes and he realized there was no way he was going to be able to say no. "Fine," he sighed. "I'll see what I can do."
Lan Fan smiled at him before sliding her mask back into place. She bowed before him. "I am eternally grateful." And with that, the girl hopped away, disappearing into the shadows.
Ed groaned. "How did she get me to agree to that?"
The next day, Ed excused himself from his family and wandered through the palace, until he arrived at Ling's private office. Lan Fan stood outside the door, nearby to her master as always. He could feel the woman's eyes on him as he walked by. Ling was busy doing paperwork but when Ed entered the room he glanced up and smiled. "Hi, Brother, what do you want?"
Ed's eyes narrowed. It took all of his restraint not to angrily kick him over the head. "I have to talk to you... alone."
Ling's eyes opened curiously but he nodded. "Okay." He dismissed his confused advisors and shut the door behind them. "What's this about, Brother?"
Ed glared at him. "Will you stop calling me that?" he hissed. Ling laughed, but waited for him to continue. "Anyway," Ed sighed. "I really don't know how to say this or anything... Lan Fan wanted me to talk to you."
"About what?" he inquired cheerily.
"About... about, ah, hell, she wants you to have sex with your concubines," Ed finally hissed, deciding to cut to the chase.
Ling's eyes opened in shock before he nodded. He looked down at his desk, his eyes concealed by his bangs. "What did she want you to do?"
Ed shrugged. "I don't know... but she sounded desperate."
Ling laughed darkly. "Lan Fan is right. I am going against tradition. Believe me, all of my advisors have been reminding me of the importance of the Imperial Harem." He made a fist and shook his head in frustration.
"But it isn't what you want?" Ed asked.
"I'm greedy, Ed. Even now, I always want what I can't have..." he sighed as he glanced out the door, where Lan Fan was undoubtedly posted.
Ed realized his meaning immediately. "Why don't you tell her?"
"Have you tried?"
"Ed, she's the one who sent you here to convince me to take the concubines."
Ed didn't know how to respond to that so he stayed silent.
"You don't understand. Xing has much more tradition than Amestria. If I were to break it, I could be risking alienating many of the clans. Our country does not need any unrest. She's right. I'm being selfish and foolish." He stared at the table, deep in thought.
"Ling..." The Emperor glanced back at his friend. "I know you didn't ask my opinion, but that sounds like a damn stupid tradition. And why would you keep stupid traditions?" Ling raised an eyebrow at him but kept listening. "I think the foolish thing would be to make yourself miserable just to keep a tradition that causes nothing but rivalry and dissent among your people!"
Ling looked up at Ed, his eyes wide open for once. "You're right. I didn't ask your opinion." Ed growled and slammed his hand onto Ling's desk, sending papers flying everywhere. Lan Fan flipped into the room only to see Elric and the Emperor having a silent staring contest.
"I would appreciate if you left me alone for now," Ling said calmly.
"I was just going," Ed spat as he stormed past Lan Fan without looking at her.
The next two weeks were spent with Ed and Ling keeping their distance from one another. Winry chastised him for holding grudges and not being able to control his temper, but Ed refused to tell any of them what had come between him and the emperor.
"Yeah, Ed has been acting so strange recently," Winry mused to Mei and Lan Fan. The three girls had decided to go exploring in the Imperial City. It took some convincing to drag Lan Fan along, but she came after a while.
Lan Fan was silent and stared at the floor guiltily. She hadn't meant to hurt her master's relationship with Edward.
Mei shrugged. "Ed argues with everyone. I'm sure they'll make up soon."
"Lan Fan!" The three girls turned around to see Ling walking quickly towards them.
"My lord, is something wrong?"
Ling shook his head. "No, and I know I told you to take a break, but I need to talk to you." The urgency in his voice alarmed his vassal.
"Yes, of course." She turned to her friends and bowed low. "I'll return as soon as I can."
She hurried after the emperor who led her into an abandoned room.
Ling stared at Lan Fan. "I talked to Ed."
Lan Fan's breath hitched. "So, you'll do it?" she asked softly.
Ling eyed her expressionlessly and shook his head. "No."
"But, my lord, you-"
Ling raised a hand to cut her off. "Ed told me what I needed to hear. I don't need to follow some age old tradition that tears the country apart. I'm not taking fifty wives, no matter what anyone else thinks."
Lan Fan gasped softly. "Your majesty..."
Ling grabbed her shoulders. His eyes were intense and his expression almost angry. "And you want to know why? It's because I couldn't give a damn about any concubine that tries to seduce me. I just want to marry you."
Lan Fan tried to pry herself free. "Stop..." she mumbled softly.
"No, Lan Fan, you have to listen. I'm in love with you."
Lan Fan shook her head. "No... please... you can't," she breathed.
"Yes, I can, I'm the emperor of Xing and-"
"We risked everything to get here!" Lan Fan exploded. "The entire clan risked so much, sacrificed so much." Ling gritted his teeth, thinking of Fu. "You will perform your duties as emperor. I cannot be your wife because I am your servant. It doesn't matter what either of us wants." A tear threatened to fall from her eye but she turned away from him before he could see.
"So... are you saying you want this too?" Ling asked dryly, smirking.
"Stop!" Lan Fan moaned. "I want to protect you."
Ling stepped around her and gently touched her face. "You have protected me for so long I doubt you would stop even if our roles changed. The Imperial harem has done nothing good for this country. And it will make us both miserable. So I'm changing it," he asserted, his eyes wide open and barring into hers.
"Who would respect you if you married your servant?" she asked desperately.
"I don't give a damn. Why would I marry fifty woman who I mean nothing to instead of the one woman who cut her own arm off to protect me? You're a fool if you think I'd care about what other people will think."
Lan Fan looked at the ground, at a loss for words.
"Fine, Lan Fan. If you really don't want this... If you really don't feel the same way, then we can forget this ever happened. I won't bring it up again. But if you choose against me, make sure it's because it's your decision," he growled. "Not because of society or some stupid tradition, but because of the way you feel!"
Lan Fan wiped the tear from her eye as she stood in silence. Finally, she turned away. "I am sorry, my lord," she breathed, her voice hitching.
Ling nodded and walked quickly out of the room. Lan Fan stood there and let her head drop into her hands as she tried to calm herself down, yet for some reason she couldn't stop more and more tears from falling from her eyes. She continued to try to compose herself until she sensed two figures approaching.
"I wonder what happened to her?" she heard Winry Elric sigh as they turned around the corner.
"There you are. The emperor passed by ten minutes ago and-" Mei was cut off when she noticed the warrior's swollen eyes. "What's wrong?"
Lan Fan wiped desperately at her face. "It's nothing." But Winry had already gently grabbed her automail arm.
"Lan Fan, what happened?" she questioned, her eyebrows scrunched together in concern.
"Nothing... Let us go." Lan Fan pulled her arm free and walked out the room, ignoring the other women's concerned expressions.
Winry and Mei followed Lan Fan quietly, shocked by her behavior. They didn't know what to say. "Are you sure nothing's wrong, Lan Fan? Ling did seem really upset when he stormed by. You can tell us if you need to," Winry encouraged.
Lan Fan clenched her fists. "I...I..." She shut her eyes, trying to ignore the guilt clawing at her stomach. She couldn't marry him. She had to protect her emperor. Surely her grandfather wouldn't approve of this. But did she want to? Her heart screamed a resounding yes. It would be a scandal, an outrage, could possibly ruin her lord's entire rule but... but... She remembered all they had been through together. How he grown from a scrawny spoiled boy to a strong, selfless ruler. She had loved him for so long but she had long since pushed the feelings away as irrational and pointless. But now...
Her resolve broke. Her eyes snapped open and she darted away.
Mei and Winry both jumped in surprise. "Hey, wait, what are you doing?" Winry cried as the two women chased after her, but she didn't hear anything they said over the intense beating of her heart.
Meanwhile, Ling found Ed researching in the library. "Hey, Ed."
Ed raised an eyebrow. "Hey."
"I talked to Lan Fan."
Ed's peeked out from behind the book he was reading curiously. "Yeah? What happened?"
Ling merely bowed his head, his bangs covering his eyes.
"Oh..." Ed mumbled, trying to think of something to say.
Suddenly, Ling tensed. Ed looked up just in time to see Lan Fan hurtling towards them. She stopped in front of them, breathing heavily, while they both eyed her with confused expressions. Before either man could say anything she grabbed the back of Ling's head and gently pressed her lips to his. Ling's eyes opened wide in surprise at the kiss, but pulled her closer and responded almost immediately.
Ed gasped and fell to the floor, gaping at them.
The couple were still in an embrace when Winry and Mei turned the corner. "Lan Fan, what are you-" They instantly fell silent when they saw the couple with Ed twitching in horror beside them.
After a few blissful moments Lan Fan pulled away. "I am in love with you is well, my lord," she said softly, her cheeks turning red as she became aware of their audience.
Ling grinned stupidly. "Call me Ling." He might have wanted to kiss her again but they were cut off by Winry and Mei squealing in delight.
"I thought you said it went badly," Ed muttered.
Ling merely shrugged and smirked at him, his arm still resting on Lan Fan's good shoulder. His bodyguard was growing increasingly embarrassed by the attention.
Winry noticed her discomfort. "We'll see you later," she giggled. Both she and Mei grabbed one of Ed's arms and dragged the still sputtering man from the room.
Once they were gone Lan Fan smiled up at her emperor. "Forgive me for my earlier reservations, my lord."
Ling shook his head and pulled her to his chest, pressing their foreheads together. "You idiot. There is nothing to forgive. And, like I said, call me Ling."
Lan Fan blushed, but sighed contentedly, leaning into his chest. They stood there in an embrace for several moments, neither saying anything.
"You realize that once we make this decision there is no going back to way things were before?" Ling asked as he rubbed circles on her back.
Lan Fan's breath hitched, but she nodded, eyes wide with conviction. "I will continue to protect you my... Ling." She blushed heavily after saying his name. It felt strange on her tongue after years of referring to him by his titles, but also wonderful.
Ling grinned. "Fine, but you have to be okay with me protecting you as well."
Lan Fan smiled easily and leaned into his chest. The couple enjoyed a stolen moment before they both had to return to their duties.
Three weeks later when it came time for Ed, Winry, and their family to say goodbye.
"I guess we'll be coming back to Xing sooner than we thought," Ed laughed. Ling grinned as he subtly squeezed Lan Fan's hand.
"There's a lot to be done before then. But you'll be the first people we invite. Thanks for kicking some sense into me, Ed."
The Amestrian shrugged. "Someone's gotta do it." He and Ling smirked at one another as each raised their fists in their silent demonstration of friendship.
After the family left Lan Fan went back to her role as bodyguard and Ling to his as emperor. Breaking thousands of years of tradition wouldn't be easy. There definitely would be many people who would object and it may take a lot of compromising to convince all of the tribes not be angry. But Ling didn't regret his decision. Maybe he was selfish and greedy but when he met Lan Fan's eyes across the hall and swore he could see her smile even behind her mask he knew it would be worth it.
So, yeah, ignore the inconsistencies and stuff because really this is just blind fluff. I love LingxLanFan and EdxLing bromance so much. And the idea of Ling having fifty wives always creeped me out. I just really needed to write some fluff. Maybe someday I'll write more FMA fanfiction. I had a really good time writing this. Review if you have time.