Authors: enemytosleep and bob_fish
Word Count: 1250
Rating: PG-13 for goofy
Summary: Ling. Ed. Icicles. How many seconds will it take Ling to get himself into trouble this time, readers?
Notes: Set between Chapters 83 and 84, on Team Greedling's camping trip of doom the winter before the Promised Day. For a_big_apple's prompt, "Ed and Ling, "Edward, look at these beautifully formed icicles, let's do something fun with them!'"
ETA: Now with awesome, adorable art by rufina_110!
Snow was amazing. No, it really was. Ling had no idea why Greed had been whining about it so much. The Yao clan's land was warm: the closest Ling had come to snow before was summer desserts of shaved ice with plum syrup. He'd always imagined it would be like wandering through an entire field of delicious shaved ice. Of course, this was far less appetising when you were already cold. And snow didn't come ready-sweetened. Although Ling had tried it anyway, just because it was there. Ed had told him off for that a couple of times already.
"Ed, come and look at these beautifully-formed icicles!"
"I know what a damn icicle looks like," said Ed, tramping along with his pack. Ling supposed that once you'd seen snow so often, you must get a little jaded with it.
Ling reached out and broke an icicle off the tree he was investigating. It was rather rude-looking, it had to be said. He wondered whether people ever used icicles for sexual pleasure, in the colder countries. He supposed someone must. With any object roughly that shape, the general rule is that someone somewhere must have stuck it up someone else. It just stood to reason.
Ling waggled the icicle at Ed. "I just had an idea. Why don't you make us one of those little snow houses and I'll show you something fun we can do with these?"
Ed sighed heavily. "I'm going to excuse that comment on the fact that you probably have never seen snow or icicles before."
Oh dear. Ed was apparently not the mood for frivolity. Ling was. He'd been stuck in his own mind for days, and Greed had been in such a filthy mood. And now he was out, and Edward was there all pink-cheeked and alone, and there was snow.
Ling stuck the tip of his tongue to the icicle salaciously. Ed completely ignored him.
Ling stuck his tongue out further, and ran it up what he had decided was the underside of the icicle. He laved his tongue in a circle around the first two inches, making sure Ed got a good view of the show. Then he traced an imaginary vein down the underside with the flat of his tongue, and - ow. No, really ow. His tongue was stuck. He tried to pull it away, and - ow again. The cold air had frozen his saliva fast to the icicle.
Ed drew an exasperated breath. "This. Is exactly what I was talking about."
That wasn't nice! Ed was supposed to be a friend! With benefits! Ling stuck his tongue out further so Ed could better appreciate the problem, and made some vowel sounds while looking at Ed pleadingly.
Ed regarded him with a terrible, callous lack of feeling. "Did you know the best way to remove a tongue from a frozen object when you don't have access to heated water is to piss on it?" Ling squeaked unhappily. "I bet you could get Donkey Kong or Lion King to do it for you."
Ling stepped up his pleading look and tapped Ed on the shoulder. "'Oo ih wi'h al'emy!" Ooh, soft consonants. He'd done well to get that out, what with the icicle and all.
"Had a feeling you'd say that." Ed wiped his hands down the sides of his jacket, rubbed them together as if they were cold, then grabbed the icicle firmly with his automail hand. He was grinning like a maniac. It was not reassuring.
Ling widened his eyes as much as he could, looked scared, which wasn't difficult, and cranked the pleading look up to its maximum capacity.
"I haven't practiced flash steaming much," Ed continued with a possessed gleam in his eye, "hope I don't explode anything by adding too much pressure ... "
Wait, Ed was messing with him right? He had to be, he wouldn't risk damaging Ling's face. He'd never make emperor without an upper lip! No, but Ed wouldn't do that to him. He would never do a transmutation he wasn't sure of on someone's face - especially Ling's face! He wasn't like that. Ling put a hand to Ed's shoulder. "I 'rus' 'oo. Mm?" It was half affirmation, half plea.
Ed deflated a little. "Now I can't even fuck with you about it - stop giving me that face!" He looked down and assumed that grumbling tone that Ling knew meant he'd got to him. "I should just rip it off …"
He didn't. Instead, he tapped his fingers together lightly, and something tingling started happening to the icicle around Ling's tongue.
Ling congratulated himself on his own stoicism, and tried not to wriggle.
Ed rolled his eyes and looked away while whatever he was doing continued. Pretty quickly, more water dripped from the icicle, and it slipped right off, with no trouble at all.
Ling stuck his tongue out experimentally and poked it with a finger.
"Yes!" Ling threw his arms around Ed and hugged him tightly. "Thank you so much, Ed! You're the best! Then he murmured in Ed's ear, "I should check it's working okay."
"Then go lick that tree over there!" Ed squirmed in his arms and shoved him off.
Since their success rate that day was pretty good so far, Ling tried the big eyes again. "Please, Ed. It's so good to feel grounded in my own body. It helps me keep fighting." He looked at Ed seriously, because Ed tended to respond to serious.
"That's what you always say!" Ed snapped, scrunching his face and biting on his own lip.
Ling eyeballed him soberly. "Because it's true."
"That won't work." Ed was looking so serious now. Oh no. Was he having second thoughts? That wasn't fair. Ling needed that.
"Ed? What's wrong? Don't you want to anymore?"
"Do you have to say that so loud?" Ed looked frantically around the deserted, snowy field for the invisible people Ling could have given them away to. He lowered his voice. "Listen, you know I want to help you fight - and you know I don't always hate hanging out with you. It's just that sometimes it seems like all you're ever trying to do is get in my pants. That's not what this is supposed to be about, right? This whole trip, this whole struggle against Greed …"
"I know." Ling sighed and dropped his head. "Believe me, Ed, I haven't lost sight of my goals. I spend most of my time thinking about that. I -" Ling paused. It was so typical of Ed that he apparently had persuaded himself that focusing on his goals meant regarding all nice things as a distraction. Well, he was wrong about that. As far as Ling was concerned, these things were sustenance. Fighting with everything you had didn't mean you weren't allowed meal breaks. "I know exactly how much depends on our surviving this trip. Look - your country, your brother - those things are important. But the fate of half a million members of my clan depends on me too. I absolutely need to survive and get in control and take the Stone home to the Emperor." Ling put a hand to Ed's arm. "And you've got people waiting for you too, haven't you? But right now, our task is to survive. Yes?"
Ed shoved his hands into his pockets. "Fine," he said, in the most grudging tones possible. Of course his pride wouldn't let him sound too happy about it. "We can go make out now."
Art by rufina_110.