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Giving and Taking

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Hey, hey, said Greed. What's going on here?

Beneath Ling, Lanfan shuddered and covered her face, metal fingers shining dark against her skin, slick with sweat and gleaming. Her knee pressed against his thigh, and she shuddered again, tight around him. Ling took in a breath, then let it out harsh through his teeth.

Greed stirred in Ling, rising with interest out of his blood, his bones. Amusement rolled through him: Greed, laughing.

Didn't know you had it in you, brat, said Greed.

Not now, thought Ling, not now, not now. Go back, he thought, to wherever you were.

Selfish, said Greed. Trying to keep her all to yourself.

Not now, thought Ling.

Lanfan plucked lightly at his shoulder, her fingers trembling, the skin rough on his. Years of knives and flash bombs, swords and rope, had worn her hands. Her calluses scraped across his skin, down his arm. Where she touched him, he burned.

"Y-Young master," she said, her voice soft against her metal palm. "Young master." She petted his arm and said, "Please—"

She shifted beneath him, her knees light against his hips, and he slid down. Beneath her hand, Lanfan whimpered; beneath him her hips snapped, just slightly, rising against him. He pushed into her again, and again, and when she made a sound into her hand, when her strong flesh fingers stilled on his back, he wanted to take that metal hand from her face.

So do it, said Greed. You've got hands; use them.

I will not do that to her, thought Ling. If Lanfan wishes to hide her face from me, then that is her wish.

You're naked, said Greed, and you've got her under you, and that's what you're worried about? Humans.

Ling thought of the mask thick on her face, of her collar pulled up over her mouth and her hair combed black before her eyes. The redness in her face when he looked on her, the clumsiness of her hands. Then he thought of her grace in shadows, her voice ringing sharp through her mask, her fingers drawing at a knife, the straight line of her shoulders.

Beneath her hand, Lanfan made another small sound, swallowed between her teeth. Her knee pressed hard against his side; her fingers bit into his shoulder.

Ling stilled. His hips ached. He knotted his fingers in the cloth beside her head.

"Lanfan," he said. Hesitantly, he touched her arm. Her skin was hot against his hand. "Lanfan. Are you all right?"

The automail lay still across her face, but her hand at his back trembled.

"If this is hurting you," said Ling, "then we can stop. I don't want to—"

"Young master," said Lanfan, and she swallowed; her throat worked. Sweat shone upon it. Ling closed his eyes.

"Whatever young master desires," whispered Lanfan, "that is his to take."

"Lanfan," he said, and then he pulled away from her.

At his back her hand tightened; her nails dug into his skin. Her hips rose, hard against him.

Ling stilled again.

Inside him, Greed stirred, nearer now than before.

Here's some friendly advice, said Greed, since it's obvious you're new to this: give the lady what she wants.

"I don't know what she wants," said Ling.

You really are new to this, aintcha? marveled Greed.

And beneath them, her face hidden by the stretch of her fingers, the width of her palm, Lanfan swallowed again. She shifted, pressing close to him, her hips hard, her hand on his back pushing down.

"What young master wants," she said. "That is what I want."

Still he hesitated: she was so bare beneath him, her face red where it showed between her fingers. He would not take from her what she did not want to give. He would not, no matter Greed's want inside him, no matter his own. Greed kindled, hot beneath his skin.

"Please," said Lanfan.

Greed rolled through him and Ling's hips snapped forward; he drove down, into Lanfan who cried out, soft, between her fingers and pulled at his shoulder, pulled him nearer to her. He pushed again, Greed a hot and laughing thing twisting through his arms, his chest, the length of each leg. Lanfan rose against him. Against them.

Ling's breath shook in his throat, and when he reached down to Lanfan, to drag his thumb across her breast, to trace the flat and shuddering line of her belly, then to touch lower, he didn't know if it was Greed stretching through him or his own desire which drove him. He wanted.

Greed's pleasure lanced his belly, a sure stroke through Ling that left him clinging to Lanfan even as he pushed deeper. Her fingers spidered across his nape, twisting in his hair. She said, "Young master. Young master."

Ask her to say your name, said Greed. That's what you want, right, Ling?

Ling took a deep breath and swallowed it. His arms trembled beneath him.

"Young master," said Lanfan, her voice a whisper. "Young master. Young master."

What he wanted. What he wanted from her—

It's what I'd want, said Greed, his want unmistakeable. I always love that, when they call out my name. It's not much, but damn, it feels good.

Ling bit his lip and turned his face away, into her throat. Lanfan twisted, rising against him. Her fingers tugged at his hair.

'Course, said Greed, his smile dragging at Ling's mouth, this young master stuff's kind of fun, too. But it gets old, doesn't it? Makes you want more.

"Greedy," Ling panted into Lanfan's throat.

Greed laughed and it spilled off Ling's tongue. He bared his teeth, trying to hold it in; he bared his teeth against her neck.

Lanfan said, "Young, young ma-master," and her voice cracked at the end of it. She brought her leg up, slung it across his waist, her heel biting into his spine, and tightened around him. Ling choked on his breath and thrust again. He closed his hand around her hip, fingers brushing her thigh, the crease inside it, the ridge of bone.

Greed spiked through him again, like a fever. Was that his pleasure or Greed's? Lanfan whispered something, lost between her fingers. He licked his lips once and tasted the salt on his lips, the salt on her neck. He kissed her there because he wanted to kiss her; he wanted to taste that stretch of skin. He wanted that.

He twisted, kissing the hollow of her throat, the harsh angle of her collarbone, the small curve of her breast, which trembled beneath him.

Why don't you let her on top next time? whispered Greed. Sharp girl like her, she'd like that. Being in charge, taking what she wants from you. Fun for you, too.

The thought of it flashed through him, a wave of heat pricking at his skin: Lanfan bent over him, the shivering plane of her belly before him, the minute jolting of her chest above, her dark eyes on his. Taking what she wanted.

You want that, too, huh, Ling? drawled Greed. You want a lot of things. More, more, more. Humor flickered somewhere deep inside Ling. I like that about you. You're a greedy little bastard.

Ling said, "I don't," but he couldn't remember what. Lanfan tightened and tightened around him, drawing him closer to her. Her fingers worked at his scalp. She whispered again, the words lost.

Greed thrummed in Ling's belly, in his mouth, hot between his legs, heavy in his breast. She's greedy, too, said Greed, fond, possessive, this girl. Real strong, too. If she were loving anybody else, she'd be leaving bruises.

Ling exhaled hard through his teeth, into the shadow of her breast.

You don't like that, do you? said Greed. But don't worry. She won't want anybody but you and me.

"You're very," Ling gasped, clasping her hip to his, "sure of yourself."

I'll forgive you 'cause you're young, said Greed. He grinned through Ling, teeth sharp on Lanfan's flesh. Trust me, brat. I know what I'm doing. And if you ask me real nice, there's a few things I could teach you. If you really wanna make her scream...

Like a stream, they flowed through him: fleeting snatches of memories, sudden vivid impressions: Greed (Ling) bent between a woman's (Lanfan's) legs, his mouth on her, flesh slick against tongue and teeth, her thighs spread wide and trembling beneath his hands—

I'll save the rest for later, said Greed.

Lanfan picked at his neck, her clipped nails scratching down to his back. She whimpered into her palm.

Ask her, demanded Greed.

Ling pushed into her once more and said, "Lanfan."

Ask her, said Greed, his want running restless in Ling's blood.

"Lanfan," said Ling, "Lanfan. Let me see your face. Please. Please."

Her fingers tightened over her face, the metal shining. Her heel pressed into his back and he drove down again, then caught himself.

"Please," he said. His chest felt too thin. He needed to breathe. He needed to be closer. "Lanfan. Let me see. Let me see your face. Please."

Her hand twitched, the fingers curling, then straightening, then curling again. Slowly she lowered her hand. Her face was red, flushed with sweat and the heat of automail, dark with embarrassment. Her eyes shone and she looked at him, then away. The corner of her mouth was sharp, her lips thin, pressed together.

He kissed that sharp corner of her mouth and breathed, "Thank you. Lanfan. Thank you," and kissed it again, then the softening swell. He dragged on her lip and dropped another kiss, then another and another, on her mouth, her chin, her reddened cheek, then her mouth again.

Within Ling, Greed's pleasure licked at him; too much, it drowned him; it flooded him. Ling bit at Lanfan's lip, stroked his hand down the inside of her thigh, and rocked into her so his hips bruised against hers.

"Oh," said Lanfan in a small voice, "oh. Young master," and her hand in his hair was a fist, and her legs at his waist a clamp dragging him down against her, deeper into her. She buried her face in his chest and moaned, "Oh. Young master."

Ling dug his fingers into her thigh and pressed his mouth to her jaw and gave to her what he could.

Later, in the dark, Lanfan hid her face in the crook between his shoulder and his throat. Her hair fell black across her face. Ling stroked her shoulder, the scarred stretch of flesh which showed where the automail was welded to her bone, her metal arm.

Next time, murmured Greed, deep within Ling, I want her calling out for me.

"You will have to ask Lanfan that," said Ling.

Greed laughed.

I'm a gentleman, he said. I always ask.