TITLE: Caricature of Human Intimacy
Author: Youko Fujima
PAIRING: Ling/Alphonse (both as a girl and as a boy)
RATING: NC-17 overall (this chapter is R)
WARNINGS: Overall, non-consensual sex, sexism, molestation (in large numbers), gender-bending, etc
AL'S GENDER IN THIS CHAPTER: FEMALE (this fic consists of half-and-half Al as a boy and as a girl)
BETA: circe67, thank you!
SUMMARY: How do you treat a piece of flesh offered up from a foreign land if you have never been trained in morality?
WARNINGS: THIS FIC IS RATED NC-17 OVERALL. THEREFORE, YOU ARE NOT OF AGE AND IT IS ILLEGAL TO LOOK AT THIS IN YOUR STATE/COUNTRY, PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS.
The first thing that Ling noticed after the out-of-place arrangement of his third brother dragging Alphonse along by the arm was the fact that Alphonse was, strangely, a girl. By both Ling and Ran Fan's calculations together, Alphonse should have reverted back to a boy that day. In fact, Ling had originally planned to go to the palace dresser's after the morning audience was over in order to pick out the next set of male clothes for Alphonse. But the sight of him still stuck in her female body and Bai hauling her in, struggling and slapping uselessly at his hand shocked Ling.
"What is the meaning of this, Third Son Bai?" the Emperor asked before Ling had the chance to voice his discontent. It was probably a good thing in retrospect, since Ling's choice of conveying his displeasure at that moment narrowly consisted of his broadsword or his fist. It would not have gone well in the court in front of his siblings.
Bai grinned again and turned his attention to Ling for a split second before he yanked Alphonse in front of him, her hair spilling over her face as she hung her head in shame. Shame of what? Of being captured? Of being held by Bai? Ling was unsure.
"This wench here," Bai sneered, "was trying to run away."
A collective gasp ran throughout the room, stirring a series of hushed murmurs of disapproval as Ling felt his blood go cold and hot at the same time.
Ling stepped out from the crowd of siblings and looked straight-on at Bai, challenging him with his glare. At Bai’s side, Alphonse kept her head lowered, her arm still trying to twist out of Bai’s grip, causing her skin to be chafed into a raw red. Ling sneered at Bai, and crossed his arms lest reach for his sword.
“And how can you prove that she wasn’t just taking a stroll around the courtyards? You have no reason to subdue her,” Ling demanded. Bai shot him a look that was so amused, Ling felt sick to his stomach. His worst fears (or at least dreaded anticipations) had finally come true, even though he tried to not let it faze him. He knew that Alphonse was definitely going to attempt to run away one day; it was just a matter of time.
“Don’t embarrass yourself any further, Twelfth Brother Ling,” Bai laughed, “I do not think attempting to scale the eastern walls can be considered a leisure stroll.” Ling sucked in a sharp breath at that information and turned his disbelieving, betrayed and embarrassed glare onto Alphonse, who felt the brunt of it and turned her head away sharply. Bai barked out another laugh and grabbed her by her shoulder, pulling her body upright and twisting her arms behind her back so that her face could be seen. Fear and humiliation coloured her eyes as opposed to the usual fire of defiance that Ling was subjected to every day and night within the confines of his own room.
“Excellent Father,” Bai turned to the Emperor, his sneer becoming a child-like smile asking for approval, “It is now apparent that Twelfth Brother Ling is incapable of keeping this specimen. It has been here with us for more than two months and yet Brother Ling still has not been able to wring even a single piece of information from her. I propose that you please delegate the task of maintaining her to me, and I promise that you will not be disappointed.” He pulled Alphonse’s wrist upwards on her back, tightening the strain of her elbow and upper arm hard enough to dislocate, wrenching from her a cry of pain. From his angle, Ling could see that Bai was already hard from holding her and from her screams, his erection straining underneath his long overshirt and rubbing against the small of her back. He felt immediately sick at the prospect of handing Alphonse over to him and he turned quickly to the Emperor and dropped to his knees.
“O Excellent Father, please forgive this lower son’s lack of filial devotion,” said Ling, his hands flat on the carpet in front of his bowed head, “It was entirely my fault that the specimen has run away, indeed, but don’t you believe that to give her to a new keeper, after she has gotten used to my quarters, would only be a step back? My traditions and mannerisms are so different from Third Brother Bai’s that it would only shock her into silence even more.”
“Don’t make excuses for yourself, Ling,” Bai shouted, walking forth and giving the girl a jolt that caused her to writhe in pain. His foot was so close to Ling’s face that it seemed almost like he was trying to restrain himself from kicking Ling on the ground, “I do not think that there are culture and mannerisms in fucking that—"
“Enough!” the Emperor boomed, tired of their antics, “How dare the two of you quarrel like simple children in the Grand Hall, in front of your Father, no less? And using such crude language… I am disappointed in both of you,” He ran a hand through his long black beard and considered the situation at hand, then looked at Ling with a critical eye, “Twelfth Son Ling.”
Ling bowed his head lower, if that were at all possible. “Excellent Father,” he responded. He could feel his hands shake beneath him, the humiliation astoundingly piercing.
“I am disappointed indeed that you had not been able to get any information from the specimen, however,” he glanced disapprovingly at Bai, “I have also heard some rather unnerving rumours about you, Third Son Bai, and therefore, until I am able to investigate this further, I do not think that you should be trusted with the specimen. I will allow Twelfth Son Ling to keep it—but only until its next reversion. If by then you still fail me, Twelfth Son Ling, then I will have to take it from you and let the medical staff dissect it, as per the original terms.”
From behind him, Ling could hear Alphonse groan in disgust and he shook in his place, but, he was glad to have dodged the punishment of having to hand Alphonse over to someone else. Still, he felt his humiliation roil inside him, turning into anger and threatening to erupt. He quickly gave another humble bow of his head to the Emperor, murmuring his thanks for his Father’s wise and merciful decision, then stood up quickly to grab Alphonse’s arm, freeing it from Bai’s grasp.
“Don’t touch what is mine,” he growled quietly as he exited the grand hall, hauling Alphonse behind him, ironically, in quite the same fashion that Bai had brought her in.
Their trek back to Ling’s chambers was quick and silent. Ling walked so quickly that Alphonse had to jog to keep up, occasionally calling for him to slow down, but he didn’t listen. Or rather, he didn’t hear her due to the blood rushing to his head. He just wanted out of the corridors and back in his room quickly.
Once he had reached his chambers, he shoved Alphonse into the room, and disregarding the fact that Ran Fan stood there with a look of concern, he backhanded Alphonse square across the face, the sheer force of his strike sending her crashing into the heavy wooden frame of the box-bed. Ran Fan’s eyes widened and she curled her toes in her shoes to prevent herself from rushing to Alphonse’s aide.
“You just embarrassed me in front of the entire court and my siblings!” Ling shouted in Xingian, his anger so great that he did not even think to speak in Amestrian. Across from him, Alphonse continued to keep her head down, though she did reach up to touch her stinging cheek, pursing her palm there since her own skin was cool. Ling marched over to her and glared down at her.
“What in the world do you want from me, doing that to me?!” he barked, this time in Amestrian to make sure she understood, “You should be thankful that the Emperor decided not to give you to Bai, otherwise you’d be passed about to maybe all of the brothers of the court!”
Her curtain of blonde hair fluttered a bit when Alphonse breathed out a dry little laugh and finally lifted her head to look at him through her gold screen.
“I think you, of all people, should know most what I want,” she answered, her voice already weary even though it was barely noon, “but then again, you would also be the last to know.” At that moment, she seemed so broken and even smaller than before, that Ling’s anger instantly deflated from him and he crouched down to study her, checking to see if there were any signs of violation. She pushed against his shoulder when his hand rounded under her skirt and pressed against the underside of her crotch, feeling if there was any wetness. He unfastened her shirt to make sure there were no bruises and then, much to Ran Fan’s shock, he pressed his lips firmly to Alphonse’s, taking full advantage of her gasp to thrust his tongue in to taste her. The kiss did not progress that far, though, for he was immediately shoved away by Alphonse, who wore a completely scandalized expression, but Ling was not so much bothered by her rejection as he was relieved.
“Thank the stars,” he sighed, sinking to the ground in a sitting heap, “he did not put anything strange into your mouth,” Then, he added darkly, “Otherwise I’d have to cut it off.” Sighing again, he stood up, motioning for Ran Fan to sit at the table since he needed to talk to her, and then hoisted Alphonse to sit on the bed. When he met no resistance from her, he nodded and went to fetch a cold towel to press to her swollen cheek. Alphonse accepted the towel with a small nod, but her expression did not change as she pressed it gingerly to her cheek, hissing at the contact. Ran Fan poured a cup of chilled tea, which Ling handed to Alphonse to just sip and hold in her mouth to alleviate the swelling inside as well. Alphonse kept her head down and absently swung her dangling feet about, the box bed high enough for her feet to not reach the floor. Ling gave her a look of concern at her silence and lack of fight before pulling out a chair at the table.
“Why were you trying to run away?” he asked when he saw that she swallowed the tea inside her mouth. He glanced at Ran Fan, who looked all too apologetic at the situation.
“I was frightened,” Alphonse answered slowly, “more so than I have been during my stay here.” She was being more agreeable than usual—the dissection threat as well as Bai had shaken her up considerably and Ling could see that her pupils were contracted in fear. Whatever had frightened her had also mixed with the threats of her impending future.
“What happened?” Ling asked, reaching over to take the towel from her that had turned warm. He poured the chilled tea over it to cool it again and applied it to her face once more, glad that she did not flinch away; she was too frightened to. He quirked his eyebrow when she did not answer but instead placed her hands on her belly.
“Does she have a stomachache?” he asked Ran Fan then.
“No, Young Master,” Ran Fan answered solemnly in Xingian. Her own cup of tea sat untouched before her, “As you can see, when she did not revert back into a boy today as we had calculated, she became worried, and thus I took her pulse since she refused to have someone the medical staff summoned.
“When I took her pulse, I realized that something was… not quite right, and I called for Mister Fu.”
Alphonse looked ill as he picked up words from Ran Fan’s sentences, the colour in her face drained out steadily as the events of the morning unfolded.
“And?” Ling urged his attendant on. Ran Fan sucked in a deep breath and glanced at Alphonse before she continued.
“We both noticed that there was a very strange flutter to her pulse,” Ran Fan said, “and when we told her what it might hint, she panicked and ran for it. We did not anticipate for her to be so fast to reach the eastern walls, nor did we know that she was going to be intercepted by the Third Prince,” She bowed her head in shame and apologized, “For that we are very sorry.”
For a moment, Ling considered the situation that Ran Fan had relayed to him. When Alphonse had been ill with a fever as a boy, it did not seem to make him go hysterical, but he could not think of an ailment that would make the mere mention of it strike absolute fear into her heart now. He turned his head to look at Alphonse, hoping that she would fill something in, but she merely leaned over and placed the towel onto the table, followed by the half-finished cup of tea.
“What was wrong with her?” Ling asked finally, feeling the air grow stale, “Why is she still a girl, even?”
“It would appear, Young Master,” Ran Fan said, her voice sounding so forced, as if she was the drying towel and that Ling was attempting to wring drops of her, “that she is perhaps pregnant.”
Next to them, Alphonse groaned on the bed. Ling looked from her, then to Ran Fan, then to his own reflection in his tea. He put his hand to his face, running it up his forehead and raking his fingers through his hair before running his palm back down to cup at his chin, his fingers rubbing at his cheek.
To be continued.