Title: Concubines, Death Threats, and Other Anal Things About Ruling a Country
Pairings: Ling/Ran Fan, Riza/Roy mentioned, possible implied Ed/Winry
Summary: Future set in Xing, Ling is the Emperor. One of the merits (possibly the only merit) of this fic is that Ling is aware of his own stupidity, which makes things a lot easier for basically everyone involved. This is the first chapter, and is kind of serious, and fluffy. The rest of the fic will be much more lighthearted and humorous, for the most part, so don't worry.
Concubines, Death Threats, and Other Anal Things About Ruling a Country
“You wanted to see me, Your Highness?” Ran Fan said, bowing before the Emperor.
“Ran Fan,” Ling answered, “how many times must I tell you to call me Ling? I’m going to forget my name if this keeps up. ‘Your Highness’ this and ‘Your Eminence’ that; it’s driving me insane. Ran Fan, you’re closer to me than anyone else, yet you talk to me as if we’ve never met before. I’m still the same person I was before, just with a country.”
“I cannot act any other way,” she responded. “You are the Emperor and I am not.”
“And that’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.” He stood up and walked over to her. He smiled a bit. She looked at him confused. Suddenly there was a loud knock on the door to the large throne room, and a great deal of talking could be heard from the other side. He sighed. “I knew I should have done this somewhere else,” he muttered. “What is it now?” he yelled.
“Your eminence, the concubines are here,” came the voice of a very nervous sounding attendant.
“Damn, I completely forgot about them,” Ling said, annoyed. Inwardly, Ran Fan scolded herself for feeling happiness over his statement. “Could you tell them to leave?” he yelled.
“Erm, with all due respect Your Highness, I don’t think so, but I can try,” the attendant answered. There were a few seconds of complete silence from the other side of the door. Then the doors burst open and fifty women flooded in. It was immediately obvious that the women were the daughters of the chiefs of their respective clans. All were dressed in flattering, somewhat revealing, traditional Xingish gowns, made of pure silk. Ran Fan suddenly felt very unworthy of being anywhere near Ling. These were the women the Emperor was meant to be surrounded by, not her. They were beautiful, rich and noble. And she was not.
“I’m sorry,” she said to Ling. Leaving him completely bewildered, as she turned and made her way as quickly as she could out of the room, each woman she passed making her want to run faster than the one before, by the time she got to the doors she was ready to run faster than she ever had before.
Ling tried to follow her but her movements were more agile than his own and unlike her, the women were trying to halt his progress. By the time he saw her she was already opening the doors. “Wait! Ran Fan, don’t go!” he yelled. She paused for a moment, then threw open the doors and ran out. It was the first time in her entire life she had disobeyed one of Ling’s orders.
Ran Fan didn’t look back. She heard the doors to the throne room slam shut behind her, which she took as another running incentive, quickening her already extraordinary pace. She ran. She ran from the room where Ling was surrounded by beautiful women who were everything she could never be. She ran from Ling, whose kindness had only ended up hurting her eventually. She ran from the difference between the anticipation of an event and it’s actual happening. And she ran from the tears, which she knew would be waiting for her as soon as she stopped.
She reached her room much sooner than she had expected to, almost passing by it. She nearly fell over as the inertia from the sudden stop pulled on her body. She shut and locked the door behind her, looking around at the room for a moment. It was so much larger than any room she had ever lived in before, and it was beautiful, incredibly so. Decorated in dark reds, blacks, and pale silvers; all the furniture was made of cherry wood that had been lacquered black; and all the fabric was silk, the curtains, the bedspread, the sheets; the bed itself was perfect, soft, but not overly so, firm enough to feel safe and supported, the pillows were the same, and it was huge, too big a bed for someone as small and unimportant her. Ran Fan felt her legs shaking from the running and an incredible shot of pain in her left leg. She collapsed onto her overly-comfortable bed and felt tears in her eyes. She grabbed a pillow and hugged it close to her.
As much as she knew that this was how things were supposed to be, that Ling belonged with women like that, she couldn’t help thinking it wasn’t fair. She was the one who had given her arm to save him; she was the one who would give anything, even her life, for him; she was the one who loved him. And she was the one who would have to stand behind him, as if nothing had happened, when it was all over. Her stomach somersaulted at the idea of it. More tears sprang into her eyes and ran down her cheeks. Normally, Ran Fan didn’t see the point of crying. She had always thought that if someone had a problem they should try to fix it, but now she realized that when one couldn’t do anything about a problem, crying was helpful. So she let the tears come, for lack of anything better to do.
* * * * *
It took Ling at least a minute to get through all the women and to the door. Once outside he looked at his clearly overwhelmed attendant. “Where is Ran Fan?” Ling asked.
“I’m not sure, Your Highness,” the attendant answered. “I think she was going back to her room, but she was running really fast, she’s probably there by now.”
“Keep them,” Ling said, gesturing to the door, “in the entrance hall until I get back. I’ll be back as soon as possible.” He took off running in the direction of Ran Fan’s room before the attendant could say the words “Your Highness” again. Once he turned the first corner, he realized there was no point in him running. She was a faster runner than he was and she had gotten a head start. He might as well walk; he needed to think over exactly what he was going to say. Ling found himself outside her door in what seemed like a few seconds.
He stared at her door for a few moments, his mind told him to knock, but something else told him not to. If he had learned one thing in Amestris, it was that his mind was not the most dependable of devices. He tried to open the door, but discovered it was locked. Again, his mind told him to knock, and again he ignored it. He took out the master key; the key that only the Emperor or Empress could have; the key that opened all the doors in the palace; the key that he knew it was only a matter of time before he lost; and unlocked her door. When he opened her door, he saw the last thing he was expecting to see, Ran Fan crying.
Ran Fan looked at him with a look of shock mixed with abject horror. “Ran Fan,” he said confused, “what’s wrong?” He closed and locked the door behind him. She tried to get up, but between the shock and exhaustion her legs felt like gelatin and they crumpled beneath her. Ling put his arm around her and linked his free hand with hers, helping her back onto her bed. “Are you alright?” He sat down next to her.
“Oh no, I’m so sorry,” Ran Fan said. “You shouldn’t be here with me.”
“Do you want me to leave?” Ling asked.
“No!” she replied, “It’s just that you should be back there with them.”
“Why?” he questioned.
She looked at him, the seemingly endless patience she had for his cluelessness beginning to run out. “Because they’re royalty, and you’re the Emperor, and I’m a servant.”
“Doesn’t make their company any more enjoyable,” he answered. “Now, more importantly, what’s wrong? Why did you run? Why are you so upset?”
“It’s nothing, it’s not important,” she responded.
“It is something, and it is important,” Ling said. “That’s what I say, and I am the Emperor, therefore it is, right?”
“I-I’m just not feeling well,” she said.
“Yet you were able to run the way you did?” he asked. “Strangest illness I’ve ever seen. Ran Fan, don’t do this. Don’t lie to me. Just tell me the truth.” He looked at her, squeezing the hand he still held in his own.
“The truth wouldn’t do you any good,” she said, pulling her hand out of his and looking away from him. She felt another tear run down her cheek.
“I don’t care, I want to know,” he argued. “I’m sure you’ll feel better, please just tell me.” He turned her face to look at her and wiped the tear away.
She took a deep breath, determined not to say anything, but it all just came pouring out before she could stop it. “I-it’s just that I’ve been working for you for as long as I can remember, doing everything I could to help you, and I’d give up anything if I thought it would benefit you. And as much as I tried to deny it, it wasn’t for you to accomplish your goal, o-or to help the Yao clan. It was behind I loved you and I still love you. I helped you get this because it was what you wanted, not because it was what I wanted. What kind of woman would want the man she loved to sleep with fifty women? I knew I’d never have you and I knew this would happen, it’s just that knowing this day would come was so different than standing in that room surrounded by women with money, and beauty, and power and I—”
She stopped, she blinked away the tears that had continued fall, the tears that Ling had continued to wipe away. She looked at him in absolute horror. “Oh no. No! No, no, no, no, no, no! I should not have said that! Please just forget I said that!” He looked at her, confused for a moment, and then smiled widely.
“Is that all you were worried about? I thought I’d done something to upset you,” he said. Ran Fan couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She hadn’t been expecting pity, but she hadn’t been expecting complete selfishness either.
“Glad to see I’ve cleared your conscience,” she snapped sarcastically, too hurt to control her tongue. She jerked herself out of his grip.
Ling’s eyes widened as he realized the tactlessness of what he had just said. He sighed. “Oh Ran Fan, that’s not what I meant at all. I’m so sorry. I’m such an idiot, but you know that by now, you’ve been putting up with me since you were born and that’s really saying something. Anyway, before I get distracted again, just let me explain. This time I have a reason for being like this. It’s the same reason I asked you to come see me today, and it’s the same reason I chased after you when you ran away.” He stood up grabbed her hands, pulling her up with him. Her legs ached a bit, but were more stable than they had been before. He let go of her right hand and pulled something out of his pocket. He smiled at her nervously and took a deep breath. Ran Fan felt her mind shut down as Ling sank to one knee. “Ran Fan,” he said, his voice both excited and nervous at the same time. “I-I love you. And I want to spend my life with you, I want you to rule Xing with me. Will you marry me?” He held out the ring that had been in his pocket. It was beautiful, white gold, with a diamond in the center, and three small rubies framing it on each side.
There were a million things she knew she was supposed to say; that Ling shouldn’t love or marry someone like her; that no one would accept it; that it was probably wasn’t even legal; but she couldn’t say any of it, the only thing she could say was, “Yes.” Ling looked as if he could have exploded from sheer happiness. He placed the ring on her finger and snapped clasps on the auto-mail around it. She had never noticed that the auto-mail on that finger was different than the others. “How did you—?”
“I had Winry make it like that, it’s not an uncommon request, but I consider it one of my greater uses of foresight,” Ling answered, standing up. He took her other hand, holding both of her hands in his own; he pressed them to his lips. She stroked the side of his face lightly, as he wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer.
“Why?” she whispered. “Why when you could have all of them would you choose me? I’m a servant, and they’re beautiful and rich and have all they’re limbs and—”
“You’re beautiful,” he answered. “More beautiful than any of them could ever be. And you don’t seem to be missing any limbs. I know for a fact that you have your left arm, I just sent Winry the payment for it.”
She smiled for a moment then looked at him a little concerned. “But wait, didn’t Ed already pay Winry for my auto-mail?”
“Oops. Oh well, I’m sure she’d get the money eventually,” Ling answered. “Maybe I’ll send Ed a letter… nah, I’ll just wait and ignore his messages until he threatens to kill me, then Roy can arrest him for threatening the leader of an ally nation.”
“I’m sure Roy would enjoy that,” Ran Fan answered, smiling widely. Ling suddenly realized he hadn’t kissed her yet. He pulled her a little closer and did so. Ran Fan felt her legs weaken and she fell backwards onto the bed with Ling on top of her.
“Are you alright?” he asked. Her lips pressing against his was the only answer he received.
Okay, so that was chapter one. Review and tell me what you thought. There’s more and I would like to know what everyone’s opinion on that fact is.
-Dende-sama was here.