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Ficlet: Amestrian Breakfast

Title: Holiday ficlet #1, Hanukkah: Amestrian Breakfast
Characters: Ling, Ran Fan
Rating: G
Word count: 531
Setting: Fullmetal Alchemist, mangaverse, probably before or just after the Ling gang first meet Ed and Al in Chapter 32.
Summary: Ling likes exploring. Ran Fan spends a lot of time grinding her teeth.
Notes: First in a series of seasonal FMA ficlets, each vaguely inspired by a different winter festival.
Disclaimer: Not mine. All hail the Great Cow!



He's in and out before the late winter dawn, and she can't quite believe that he's given her the slip again. It's a bad habit of his, to make use of his talent and training like this: to guard him properly, she will one day end up having to give up sleep entirely. He motions upwards, and they go to sit on the roof, so as not to disturb her grandfather.

The prince waves his paper bag at her, and pulls a pastry out with an air of triumph. "Doughnuts!" he says. "I got them at the flower market, it opens ever so early. I tried one on the way home, they're a bit like yóu tiáo, and I know it's unpatriotic of me but I actually think they're even nicer."

He breaks a bit off his ring-shaped pastry and holds it out in front of her mouth, as if he was feeding a cat. She looks at it and ponders the correct response to the situation. Here is another of his bad habits: he often surprises her with some action that's so far beyond correct, polite behaviour it will take her some moments to work out the proper response.

He carries on holding out the pastry scrap. "The powdery stuff is sugar," he says helpfully, as if that's the problem here. His smile, as always, goes all the way up to his eyes.

Well, Ran Fan will look like a fool if she sits here like this, and to open her mouth for the scrap would be so improper it's quite impossible. The only way to preserve face is to take the pastry in her fingers and pop it in her mouth. So she does.

It's delicious. The dough is crispy on the outside, and still warm. The sugar crunches between her teeth. It's not quite as nice as good yóu tiáo. Her young master can occasionally verge on being a little too open-minded. No food can ever be quite as good as the food of your homeland.

Ling grins, gets out another doughnut, and offers it to her with his free hand cupped under it to catch the sugar. There's something about the courteousness of the gesture that feels wrong, as if he's putting them on an equal footing. Yet another bad habit. Considering that her master is one destined to be the most just and deserving occupant of the august throne for generations, he has an awful lot of bad habits.

She hesitates, trying to work out the best thing to say. "You take things too seriously sometimes, Ran Fan," he says. "Have a doughnut."

What else can she do? She takes it from his hand. Does he know what he's doing here after all? Is there a lesson she can't see, something about kingship and humbling oneself? She takes a little bite and looks at him sidelong. He's shamelessly licking the sugar off his own fingers. Hmm, perhaps not. Perhaps it might be possible that she does take herself a little bit too seriously, sometimes?

They sit together in silence and eat their odd, Amestrian yóu tiáo, and watch the little town waking up in the foreign sunrise.

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
enemytosleep
Dec. 28th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
Aw, this is so sweet. I love improper LIng with his offering to feed her and treating her like an equal, and I love grumpy RanFan who doesn't always know what to do with him. He so would love donuts, too. XD
bob_fish
Dec. 28th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Yay! Not too fluffy (the fic, not the doughnuts)? Ran Fan doesn't like fluff either, it makes her suspicious. XD Ling would love doughnuts, yes. And I've had yóu tiáo (in Singapore), doughnuts are indeed even nicer.
enemytosleep
Dec. 29th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Ling was very fluffy, but RanFan's sourpuss kept it all in check. XD I'm not really a donut fan, myself, but would so totally eat them if Ling offered to feed them to me.
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 08:17 am (UTC)
Ling so frequently is when he's not in badass mode, only the beatings and potential beatings inflicted by his victims can dissuade him. He'd snog glomp Ran Fan if he thought he could get away with it.

I love doughnuts, but mainly if they're warm, or the custard-filled kind. Oh, and churros with hot chocolate. H and I ate a lot of those on honeymoon.
adraekh
Dec. 28th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
Ran Fan's totally on the dot here. Yóutiáo >>> doughnuts. No contest whatsoever.
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
You know what, I'm with Ling, I like doughnuts more! Maybe I haven't had good enough yóu tiáo?
adraekh
Dec. 29th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
Man, you definitely haven't had good ones then. Western doughnuts are way too sweet, IMHO.

Yóutiáo is amazing with shi-fan, seafood, and century eggs. Just sayin'.
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 08:54 am (UTC)
Ah, you see, I've got a terrible sweet tooth. Fudge, Indian sweets - right now I just had a couple of spoons of dulce de leche out of the jar with my morning coffee. Bad bob.

I've had congee but never quite got into it. My sister-in-law lives in Singapore, so next time! Maybe I'd like the smooth stuff better than the soupy rice grains version?
adraekh
Dec. 29th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)
I approve of the coffee, but not so much the dulce de leche. XD

Possibly? I'm pretty much down with any type of congee, since I grew up on it. Also, I attribute my survival following my wisdom teeth extraction to shi-fan in particular.
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
I should give it another try! Soupy things in general are good, especially when feeling under the weather. I like rice, I like soup, I like porridge, it should be a shoe-in. Plus in Singapore they have all these pick-n-mix congee places where you can pick your own delicious topping. I was too busy stuffing my fat face with dim sum or noodles, but there will be a next time.
evil_little_dog
Dec. 29th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
Awww, Ling, you can be so cute sometimes. And poor Ran Fan, wondering just how she's supposed to deal with you.
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 08:47 am (UTC)
Ling's a sweetie. But kind of high-mainenance. Ran Fan is a saint for not kicking him in the head. I bet she looks forward to sparring matches with him, though. For, uh, many reasons, now I think about it.
evil_little_dog
Dec. 29th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHA.

*imagines Ling 'allowing' her to pin him - then grinning up at her cheekily*
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
*snort*

Bad Ling. BAD.
evil_little_dog
Dec. 29th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
Ling: *bats eyes*
cornerofmadness
Dec. 29th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
aw that's fun and sweet
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)
Yay thanks!
became_fire
Dec. 29th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Aww that was sweet! I like little snapshot moments between characters. And I love doughnuts! So the combination wins for me :)
bob_fish
Dec. 29th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Yum, doughnuts (and yóu tiáo). Thanks!
pheonee
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
Eek! I just found this and it is adorable, zomg. I love the nuance you've thrown in, and you really nailed their relationship dynamic, which is just adsdjh;shd EXPLOSION OF FEELINGS every time.

I jumped a bit when the pinying got thrown in, but in a good way! Ah, lumps of plain dough deep-fried in oil scooped fresh from the sewers, served soft, crisp and steaming hot with gelatinous soy milk...hell yeah traditional Northeastern breakfast. xD


ps. Though I'll have to disagree with the yóu tiáo = doughnuts thing, since yóu tiáo are a savoury food and doughnuts are sweet. It's kind of like comparing French toast with pancakes. (I refuse to pick between them.)

pps. I wish I was kidding about the sewer oil. x______O
bob_fish
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. I love writing these guys.

Glad the pinyin wasn't too jarring. Hee hee at the oil fresh from the sewers thing. My experience of yóu tiáo is in Singapore, where I have family. Doubtless the oil used by the stalls there is tested once a week for cleanliness by hygiene inspectors (I'm not kidding either - dodgy street food stands proudly display their government hygiene certificates XD). Yeah, I knew they were savoury, but Ling's never had doughnuts and I figure he'd compare them to the nearest deep-fried doughy thing he knows. I'm enjoying how much discussion of yóu tiáo and doughnuts is happening in the comment thread to this fic. XD

Funnily enough, I actually would compare French toast with pancakes - similar ingredients, cooking method, place in a breakfast, etc. And now I'm hungry. XD
madame_lust
Aug. 20th, 2010 08:52 am (UTC)
Awwwww...that's so cute!!! =^_^= I can imagine Ling trying to feed Ran Fan. She can be really really uptight, though.
bob_fish
Aug. 20th, 2010 08:55 am (UTC)
She can be! And Ling sometimes just has no concept of personal space.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )