Chapter 1: Step One: Possess Them
Ling Yao had no idea what he did to piss God off enough to land himself Edward Elric as a roommate.
At first, when Lan Fan had moved out to live with and take care of her ailing grandfather, Edward had seemed perfect. He offered to pay more than his share of the rent “because he had the money, so why the hell not.” He didn’t eat any of Ling’s food. Hell, he wasn’t even around most of the time, either working or visiting his brother.
So yeah, Ling hadn’t minded the small, angry blond at all.
But then Edward got weird. Well, Ling suspected he had been weird the whole time, but after about a month, decided he was tired of hiding it.
It started with little things. He drew weird symbols on the walls, and when Ling asked what they were, he told him to “Fuck off,” and left it at that. Ling didn’t really mind, he’d gotten used to Ed’s filthy mouth and terrible personality, but it still left him curious.
Then he brought over a ton of old weapons. Swords, knives, there was even a bow. Again, this could have been written off as a weird hobby, and Ed’s eccentric-ness, but then Winry (Ed’s girlfriend, who had helped him move said weapons), warned Ling not to touch them under any circumstances. When he asked why, she just sighed and shook her head, telling him to ask Ed. Of course, Ed didn’t tell him.
Then Ed started coming home at weird hours, covered in blood, and sometimes, even his automail had been busted up (Ling always left when that happened because he didn’t want to be a witness to his murder at Winry's hands). He knew Ed was always ready to throw down, but Ling had no idea who or what Ed could possibly be fighting that could completely destroy automail like that.
He tried to sweep all of this under the rug, act like it was no big deal, and complained about it like it was a “weird roommate thing” to Lan Fan.
Lan Fan’s favorite theory was that Ed was a member of some cult. Although, she did genuinely believe he had an interest in the occult, and probably just enjoyed getting into fights.
Ling wasn’t so sure about either one of her theories, all he knew was that Ed was weird, and he had a feeling it was only going to get worse as time went on.
The icing on the cake though, however indirectly, was Ed getting Ling possessed.
Ling was fairly certain that topped everyone’s horrible roommate stories.
Ed got him fucking possessed.
“Hey, Ling. The fridge is fucking empty, you want to just go out tonight?” Ed asked as he slammed the appliance in question closed.
Ling glanced up from the paper he was writing. It was due at midnight, but that was a whole five hours away. “Yeah, sure.” He set his textbook aside. “Don’t you have work tonight, though?”
“Eh.” Ed grabbed his tacky red coat off the hook and motioned for Ling to hurry up. “I’m late half the time anyways. Besides, that damn bastard could do some work for himself, every now and then.”
That damn bastard was Ed speak for his boss. Ling wasn’t sure he’d ever heard him refer to the man as anything else. “I don’t know how you’ve managed to keep that job,” he said as he tugged his shoes on.
“I’m good at what I do,” he said.
“You work at an antique shop, Ed. It cannot be that hard,” he said.
“Tch. I’d like to see you try it.”
Ling rolled his eyes. Ed was probably just so grumpy because he had degrees in chemistry, biology, and engineering, but couldn’t find another job. Although, he never really seemed to be looking for one… “If you hate your boss so much, why don’t you just get another job? Aren’t you like a genius?” He’d graduated with three degrees by the time he was twenty-one, and acted like it was nothing.
“Since when do you care about my job?” he asked. “Fuck off.”
He raised his hands in surrender. “Alright, alright. Let’s just get some food.”
Because Ling was a broke college student, they ended up just grabbing some fast food, despite Ed’s whining. “I miss Winry’s cooking…”
“You’re just spoiled,” Ling said around a mouthful of french fries. “Me and Lan Fan live off this stuff.”
“And I feel sorry for you,” he said. He began to pick at the limp lettuce on his burger in disdain. “Honestly, Ling. Your life’s so damn boring.”
“No, really!” he said as he rested his elbow on the table. “You go to boring-ass classes, go to your boring-ass retail job, and occasionally you meet up with Lan Fan to go to your boring-ass ultimate frisbee league.”
Ling frowned. “What the hell made you think Lan Fan and I are part of an ultimate frisbee league?”
Ed’s eyebrows knitted together. “You’re not?”
“Well whatever the hell you two do together,” he continued. “My point still stands. It’s so fucking boring.”
“Well, I agree with you about work and some of my classes, but it’s not so bad,” he said. “To me, your life looks like an anxiety inducing chaos disaster, and I don’t even know that much about it, so I think I’ll stick with my boring one.”
Ed shrugged. “Alright, whatever. Just saying you could try spicing it up every now and then.”
“Mmhm, and how would I even go about that?” he asked.
“I don’t know, start a fight!”
Ling crossed his arms. “I would prefer not to get arrested.”
“Ask Lan Fan out.”
“Lan Fan is a lesbian,” he said.
“Try some witchcraft.”
“I think you’re self projecting your hobbies onto me.”
Ed threw his head back and groaned. “God, you’re so picky. I’m trying to help you out here.”
“How?” Honestly, Ed was a disaster.
He shrugged. “Eh, whatever. You get bored enough, you’ll figure something out.”
“I never said I was bored!” Ling exclaimed. “Some of us actually like stability in our lives. Anyways, we should probably head back to the apartment. I have a paper due tonight.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Ed shoved the last bite of his burger in his mouth.
They were on the way back to the apartment when Ed got his wish and Ling’s life became a lot less boring.
They were about halfway back, and Ed froze and grabbed Ling’s shoulder. “Oh, shit. Hey, I just remembered, I had to do this super important thing for Hawkeye. I’ll see you in the morning. Good luck on your paper.” Then he turned and sprinted back the direction they’d come from.
“Are you kidding me?” Ling muttered. Of course, it wasn’t the first time Ed had pulled something like that, but that was the most blatantly untruthful excuse so far. He had no idea what the weirdo was doing, but it definitely wasn’t running an errand for whoever Hawkeye was. “Whatever,” he sighed, and continued on the way home.
As soon as Ed disappeared among the people on the street, someone grabbed Ling’s shoulder, shoved their hand over his mouth, and yanked him into an alley.
“Shit, that’s not Fullmetal!”
“You dumbass! They look nothing alike!”
Ling thrashed against the person who held him, but they were strong. Way stronger than any human had any right to be. The further he got pulled away from the street, the more freaked out he became.
Am I seriously about to be murdered right now!? I can’t believe my last meal was a McDonald’s hamburger! He tried to scream, and the person shook him. “Shut the fuck up, what the hell are we supposed to do with him?”
Finally, one of the kidnappers stepped forward so he could actually see them. She didn’t look like a kidnapper. She was beautiful. Then again, Ling supposed anyone could look like a kidnapper.
The woman scoffed and rolled her purple-red eyes. “Still don’t understand how you mistook him for Fullmetal. You’re so goddamn stupid, Envy.”
“Shut up, you slut!” the one holding him shouted. “He smelled like Fullmetal, so I grabbed! We should just kill him.”
Ling’s eyes widened and his struggling renewed. He kicked his legs, pulled against the iron grip that held his arms behind his back, he even tried to bite at the hand over his mouth. It did nothing.
“Watch it, brat,” the voice hissed in his ear. “I’ll end you right now.”
“Cut it out,” the woman said. She leaned forward, as if she were inspecting him. “He looks pretty sturdy. And we still need someone to shove Greed into.”
“Seriously?” Ling could hear the eye roll in his kidnapper’s voice.
The woman glared at whoever held him. “Yes, seriously. Look, it’s either that or kill him, and at least this way, we don’t have to go hunt down a Greed replacement later.”
“Fine.” The hand finally pulled away from his mouth, but before Ling could scream, he was bashed over the head, and knocked out.
When Ling came to, he almost wished he hadn’t. He was strapped down to a table, in what looked like some giant, shifty basement. “Oh my god, Lan Fan was right about cults.”
“Ayyy! He’s awake!” A person leaned over him, and Ling recognized their voice as the kidnapper he hadn’t seen, Envy .
A few moments later, the woman appeared as well. “Well knock him out again,” she said. “I don’t want to listen to him.”
“Awww, come on, Lust! Dontcha want to have a little fun with him?” they asked.
She whacked them on the back of the head. “Just put Greed in him.” She turned and stalked off.
Envy stuck their tongue out at her.
Ling struggled against the leather straps pinning him down. “What the hell is going on?”
Envy snickered. “Whiny little human. Don’t worry about it. It’s not like you’re gonna be around for much longer anyways.” They patted Ling’s head, much rougher than necessary.
“What the hell does that mean!?” he demanded, still fighting against his bindings.
Envy’s grin made him shudder. “Lust!” they shouted. “Get whatever’s left of Greed from Father. You’re right. He’s annoying as fuck.”
A few moments later the woman returned a tossed a little vial filled with red liquid to Envy. “There he is. God, I hope he’s less obnoxious this time around.”
Envy rolled their eyes. “You know he won’t be. He might have had his memories erased but I’m sure his garbage personality is still there.”
Lust sniffed. “You’re one to talk about a garbage personality.”
Envy bristled. “Watch it, you hag!”
For a pair of kidnappers, they sure didn’t get along very well.
“Alright, hold still unless you want to lose your head,” Lust said. Then her fingers lengthened, turning into massive claws.
“What the hell?” Ling squeaked, freezing when he realized she was not joking about taking his head off at all.
One of her claws slashed a shallow cut into his neck. He winced, and clenched his jaw to keep from crying out.
“Give me it.” Lust’s claws retracted back to fingers and she held her hand out.
Envy handed her the vial.
Ling jerked against the bonds again. They were not putting whatever that was in him, no way! It had to be a drug of some kind (and he had to have already been drugged, because he refused to believe that woman’s claws were anything but a hallucination).
Lust uncorked the vial and dumped whatever was inside it in his wound.
Immediately, intense pain spread through his entire body. He screamed.
Envy leaned down to whisper in his ear. “See ya around, kid.”
That had definitely been some kind of weird drug and Ling was definitely hallucinating. There was no other way to explain the disembodied voice he heard.
As his body jerked and spasmed, some adverse reaction to whatever he’d been dosed with. Crazy laughter rang inside his head. He banged his head against the table, trying to dislodge it. “Get out! Get it out! What the hell is happening!?”
Envy’s deranged laughter joined the laughter in his head. “Oh, get a load of this bastard!” they howled. “Greed’s gonna have a good time smothering his soul.”
The pain in his head intensified, and he was so close to blacking out. So close. Maybe he should stop fighting it. Maybe he should just black out. The pain would stop, and maybe the crazy voice would too.
Yeah, that’s it, brat. Give up control.
Ling passed out.
He got little snippets.
Snippets of his body moving, even though he wasn’t controlling it. He (not him? He didn’t know), got flashes of screaming, blood, claws.
“Greed, what the hell are you doing!?”
More blood. More screaming.
Was he screaming? He thought he might have been.
Shut up, pissant.
He was definitely screaming.
I’m getting us away from my fucked up family. You got somewhere we can hide out?
Ling gained enough awareness to realize someone was talking to him. “What?” His mouth didn’t move with the word, but whoever he was talking to heard it, all the same.
Somewhere to go! So we’re not passed out on the street and getting arrested ‘cause we’re covered in blood! Let’s go, bastard! Come on!
“Uh… home?” he suggested. “My apartment?”
Works for me, the voice said. Tell me how to get there.
Everything started to get hazy again.
Hey! Much as I hate it, we gotta work together right now. So don’t go fucking tapping out! Tell me how to get to your apartment!
Ling managed to tell the voice the address. “Sorry… that’s all I got…”
Everything went dark again.
Somehow, someway, Ling woke up in his bed the next morning. He had himself half convinced the entire nightmare had been just that… a nightmare.
Then he saw the dried blood on his hands and clothes. “Oh no…” He couldn’t remember everything. He remembered those people grabbing him, them drugging him, and then those weird flashes that must have been some crazy acid trip. Right? Right?
Not quite, kid.
Ling slammed against the wall. “What the hell?”
Ling, right? Alright, listen, here’s the deal.
Ling madly glanced around his bedroom, but there was no one there. “I’m going crazy. I’m going insane.”
The voice cackled. Nah, not really.
“Who are you?” Ling demanded. “What are you?”
Name’s Greed, the voice said. And I’m a demon.
“Demon?” Ling squeaked, still pressed into the corner. “You’re a demon?”
Eh? You hard of hearing? The fuck did I just say? Greed snarled.
“I’m possessed…” he muttered, staring at his bloody hands in horror. “What did you do!?”
Relax, Greed purred. I just took care of my jackass siblings so we could get out of there. And yeah, you’re possessed. Unfortunately for both of us, we’re stuck.
“Go possess someone else!” Ling shouted.
The demon laughed. It doesn’t work like that, fucking moron!
Ling slid down the wall and grabbed his pillow. He was one move away from having a freakout. He was possessed. Fucking possessed! What was he supposed to do now!?
Then he remembered he’d had a paper due the night before, and somehow, being possessed became the least of his problems. “Oh shit, my paper!”
Chapter 2: Step Two: threaten to destroy their soul
Aaaaaand I'm already back, but I have no life, so what else is there to be doing
(Also, thanks for all the nice comments on the first chapter :D)
Ling managed to tune the demon out long enough to send his professor an email, more or less begging for an extension (that he was probably not going to get but he could panic about that when the time came).
He also had a voicemail from Ed. “Ling! Where the fuck are you?” He jerked the phone away from his ear. God, did he have to yell constantly? “I got back at three and left at five and you weren’t home! Whatever. I’m gonna be gone all day, but Winry’s coming by to pick up some knives for me later, so let her in if you’re around. She can pick the lock if she has to but that’s just a hassle.” The voicemail ended.
Well he sounds obnoxious.
Ling jumped, still not used to another voice in his head. “Could you cut that out?” he demanded. “Seriously, please go possess someone else. I’m sure there are plenty of nice bodies out there that are much better than mine.”
I told you, it doesn’t work that way. Fuckin’ wish it would, prick. You think I’m happy like this? Your stupid fucking soul is too powerful to consume.
“Shut up!” he hissed, clutching at his head. “Wait… what about my soul?”
Greed laughed. What, you thought I let you keep control of my body out of the goodness of my heart?
“It’s my body!” Ling argued, jumping off the couch to pace the length of the apartment. “And what did you mean about my soul?”
When demons possess someone, they absorb the human’s soul. Kills ‘em, and we get the body. Your fucking soul is too powerful for me to consume. So come on. What are you? A witch? Your apartment’s filled with wards and all kinds of shit. Only reason I’m good is ‘cause I got you.
“Oh my god…” Ling fell back onto the couch. “He’s really a witch…” He just assumed Ed liked the aesthetic! Not that he was doing actual witchcraft!
Come on, Greed prompted. Are ya a witch?
“No! I didn’t even know witchcraft was legit!” he shouted. God, this was so much to wrap his head around. Magic was real, demons were real, and he was smack in the middle of it.
Well you’re something. No regular human soul feels like this. Eh, whatever, I’ll chip away at it, so enjoy the control while it lasts.
“Hey! No, no, no, no! Don’t go messing with my soul!” Subconsciously, he kept looking around the apartment for whoever he was talking to, unused to having a conversation with someone he couldn’t see.
Tch. Not up to you. This body’s mine now.
Ling shook his head. “No, no way. There’s got to be some way to get… this fixed. Like… an exorcism. Yeah! Yeah, those are things!”
Somehow, he felt that Greed was rolling his eyes. You really think the Catholics got any of this shit right?
“Of course they didn’t…” he muttered. He groaned. There had to be some way. Maybe Ed would know. If he really was a witch, he had to know his way around this kind of stuff? Yeah, that sounded like a plan. He’d ask Ed.
Someone knocked on the door, and he nearly jumped out of his skin. “Jesus Christ!”
“Ling? Are you home?” Winry asked, voice muffled by the door.
“Oh hell…” Ling glanced down at his hands and clothes, still covered in dried blood. He’d been too distracted and worked up to remember to shower. That’d probably raise a few questions.
But Ed said she’d pick the lock, so it wasn’t like he could really ignore her. “One second!” he called. He sprinted to his bedroom, pulling his shirt off as quickly as possible and throwing a clean one on. He was all too aware of Greed laughing at him as he panicked.
He scrubbed his hands in the bathroom sink, managing to get most of the blood off his hands and arms, but was too distracted to realize it had splattered across his face and neck as well.
Finally he ran across the apartment to open the door. “Hey, Winry. What’s up?”
“Uh…” She gave him a weird look. “Is that blood on your face?”
Greed howled with laughter. You’re fucking awful at this kid!
“No…?” he tried, knowing she would never believe him. Winry was one of the smartest people he knew. He had a theory that she’d actually somehow absorbed all of Ed’s common sense through osmosis or something.
“Uh huh…” She stepped inside the apartment and started towards Ed’s room to retrieve the weaponry she’d been sent for.
Something feels off about her, Greed muttered.
“Would you shut up?” Ling hissed.
“What was that?” Winry asked, poking her head out of Ed’s room.
“Nothing!” he said, holding his hands up.
She frowned. “Are you feeling okay, Ling? You look… a little spooked.”
He waved her off. “I’m fine. I was just up late, is all. Schoolwork and stuff, you know?” He laughed, but it sounded very forced.
“If you’re sure…” She disappeared back into Ed’s room.
Ling wondered if she knew about the magic and demon stuff. She had to, right? She’d grown up with Ed, and was weirdly okay with all of his oddities. Not to mention she was the one who fixed him up when he got injured. It made less sense for her to not know. Maybe he should talk to her about this…
Wouldn’t advise that, Greed said.
“And why the hell not?” Ling demanded quietly.
I thought you were the witch, still not convinced you’re not, but if you’re not, I’d stay away from witches. They don’t take kindly to demons. And that girl’s got something witchy about her, so if you get her involved, it’s gonna end with me killing her before she can cause a problem, got it?
“I thought you couldn’t take control of me until you destroyed my soul,” he said.
It’s hard, not impossible. I could wrestle control for long enough to get rid of her, he said. But you gotta realize, kid. Witches don’t care if they gotta kill you to get to me. Your life’s on the line here just as much as mine.
“Demons lie,” he said. That was like a basic demonic trait, right? Lying to get what they wanted? If Winry and Ed could help him, of course Greed wouldn’t want them to, right?
I don’t lie. Never lied in my life. Not my thing.
“Oh? Then what is your thing?” Ling asked.
The name didn’t clue you? I’m Greed. I want everything. Money and women and power and sex and glory—
“Okay, I get it,” he muttered.
“Ling?” Winry asked. “Who are you talking to?” She closed the door to Ed’s bedroom, and twirled a pair of daggers in her hands as she approached.
Ling froze, like a deer in the headlights. “No one.”
Think you should stop lying, too. You fucking suck at it.
Ling had to bite his tongue to keep from snapping back a retort.
“You’re sure you’re okay?” she asked, concern obvious in her features. “You don’t seem like it.”
He nodded. “I’m fine, Winry. Promise.” He wanted so badly to tell her he was possessed, to beg her for some kind of help, but if Greed wasn’t lying… and witches really would kill him just to kill Greed, well… He didn’t want to risk it. He liked to think of Ed and Winry as friends by this point, but they really hadn’t known each other that long. Not to mention that Ed was a little unhinged, so…
“Well, okay,” she said. “Guess I’ll see you around, Ling.”
He spent the afternoon trying to find someway to shut Greed up, because he really liked listening to the sound of his own voice, but nothing he did worked. At one point he’d practically begged him to shut up, but the demon just laughed at him.
He was laying face down on the floor, resigned to his fate as a demonic vessel, when his phone rang. With a groan, he dug it out of his pocket and answered it. “Yeah?”
“Ling! Why weren’t you in class today?” Lan Fan demanded.
Oh hell, he’d forgotten about his class today! First his paper, and now his class! This damn demon was going to destroy his grades, that were just barely hanging on as it was. “Uh… It’s been a rough day.”
“What happened?” Lan Fan asked, voice shifting from accusatory to concerned.
Would she believe him? Probably not. And even if she did, Ling really didn’t feel like explaining. “Nothing.”
“Nothing?” she drawled.
Oh no. He knew that voice. She was going to kill him for lying.
“I’m coming over.”
She hung up.
He rolled over with a groan. It would be great if everyone would just leave him alone to have his existential crisis and subsequent meltdown in peace. “You know at this rate, I might just let you eat my soul.” He was not equipped to deal with demons and witches who wanted to kill him.
Greed hummed. I didn’t think you were someone who would give up that easily. It hasn’t even got bad yet.
“I beg your pardon?” How was this not bad?
No witches actually know about me yet, and my crazy family hasn’t hunted me back down. Envy and Lust are gonna be pissed that I shredded them like that.
“Oh my god… you pissed off other demons?” Ling demanded.
They pissed me off first. Killed me, tried to erase my memories. Fucking pricks.
Ling jerked into a sitting position. “Oh my god. Oh my god! I’m gonna die! I’m gonna get ripped to pieces! Why me?” He flopped back down onto the floor. “What did I ever do to you, God?”
Greed laughed. God doesn’t give a shit about what we do. Actually, it was probably your witchy roommate that got you fucked over like this.
“What?” Ling asked.
I’ll bet you anything Envy and Lust targeted you ‘cause you had been spending so much time with him. You reek of witch.
“Still don’t understand how you mistook him for Fullmetal…” he muttered.
What? Greed demanded.
“That’s what they said when they grabbed me. Lust was yelling at Envy for mistaking me for someone named Fullmetal,” he said.
You’re kidding me. You live with Fullmetal? That’s it! I knew that little blonde bitch seemed familiar. She works with him! Yeah, you better not tell him you’re fucking possessed, Greed growled. I do not want to deal with him right now.
“Wait, you know Ed?”
Greed didn’t answer.
“Oh, so now you decide to shut up?” Ling huffed and rolled his eyes. Stupid demon. “You’re useless, you know that? You’re just leaving me to deal with all the problems you create and freak out about all the different things that evidently want us dead!”
The apartment door swung open. “Ling!”
Oh. Ling had forgotten Lan Fan still had a key.
“What the hell are you doing on the floor?” she asked, walking over to stand over him.
“Having a great time,” he said. “Why? What’s up?”
She glared at him. “You weren’t in class today.”
He sighed. “That was actually completely accidental. I did not mean to skip. I swear!”
She growled, and he scrambled to his feet, deciding he didn’t want to give his best friend any advantages if she decided to tackle him. He hadn’t been able to win a fight with her since they were little kids. It’d only gotten worse since they started college and Lan Fan became a gym rat. Ling was pretty sure she could bench press him.
“Hey, Ed thinks we’re in an ultimate frisbee league,” he said. “Think we should join one?”
Oh my god, you better fucking not, Greed hissed.
Great. Of course he wouldn’t stay quiet for long.
Lan Fan rolled her eyes. “Ed thinks a lot of things. Ed thinks he has a right to say he’s average height. Now seriously, what’s up with you? You don’t look good. When was the last time you slept? "
Did it count as sleeping if you were knocked out by kidnappers, then blacked out while possessed and your body was used to fight other demons? Probably not… “I think I slept a couple hours last night.” He had no idea what time they’d stumbled back home. Sometime after five, according to Ed’s very loud voicemail.
“You think?” she demanded.
“Uh…” He took a step backwards. “Well… most of the night was a little fuzzy…”
“Oh my god, you went out and got plastered,” she said.
“No!” he exclaimed, wildly waving his arms. “Absolutely not! No, I did not!”
Honestly, you should have gone with that, kid.
Lan Fan narrowed her eyes. “Then what did you do?”
“Er…” He’d really dug himself a hole, hadn’t he? “Well…” While he was desperately trying to come up with a plausible lie, the apartment door burst open.
A blonde woman marched into the apartment. “Are you Ling Yao?”
Due to recent events, Ling immediately assumed this woman was here to kill him. So he grabbed Lan Fan’s hand and sprinted towards the door, that was barely clinging to its hinges.
“Ling, what the hell?” Lan Fan demanded as she tried to wrench herself out of his hold.
Feel like I should tell you that woman’s some kind of demon, Greed said.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, of course she is!” he whined. “I’m so sick of this already!”
The woman moved just as fast. She grabbed Ling’s shoulder and shoved him against the wall. She leaned much too close for comfort, sharp brown eyes examining him.
“Who the hell are you?” Lan Fan tried to pry the woman off him, but she didn’t budge.
Oh shit… She’s someone’s familiar, Greed said. She’s got witch scent all over her.
Ling pressed back against the wall as the woman sniffed at him. “Oh yeah,” she said. “You’re definitely possessed.”
“What?” Lan Fan stared at Ling. “Ling, what the hell is going on!?”
The woman backed off. “Name’s Riza Hawkeye. Winry suspected you might be possessed but were fighting back against it, so she sent me to come get you. Come on. Let’s go.”
“Uh…” Ling stayed firmly pressed against the wall. “How do I know you’re not just going to kill me?”
Lan Fan jumped to stand in front of him protectively. “You’re not going anywhere with him. You’re crazy!”
Alright kid, I’m not letting us get gutted by someone’s familiar.
Greed managed to shove him back into his mind, and just like that, Ling lost any control he had over his body.
It was terrifying.
He still felt it move, and could see and hear what was happening, but he couldn’t affect any of it!
Greed shoved Lan Fan away and stopped cowering against the wall. He bared his teeth. “Alright, Hawkeye, run back to whatever witch holds your leash and I won’t snap your fucking neck.” The voice that came out of his mouth didn’t sound like his own, it was much deeper.
“Wha— Ling!” Lan Fan exclaimed.
Hawkeye grabbed her and pushed her back. “That’s not Ling anymore. And I’m guessing you’re Greed, since you’re the only one of the Seven we haven’t seen in a while.”
“What’s it to you?” Greed asked. “I told you to fuck off and—”
Hawkeye sighed and pulled a gun out of her waistband. She pressed it against Greed’s, his, forehead.
Lan Fan screamed, and Hawkeye pulled the trigger.
Chapter 3: Step Three: get them involved in a secret witch society
Ling had never expected to get shot in the head. And if for some horrific reason he was, he never expected to live to tell about it.
Getting shot in the head was not a pleasurable experience.
At first, he hadn’t even realized it had happened. He heard the bang, felt his head crack open, and everything went dark for a split second. Lan Fan’s scream echoed in his head, and Greed was pushed back, giving Ling control of his body again.
By the time he recovered enough to scream, the pain had disappeared, and he opened his eyes to see Riza Hawkeye leaning over him. “Ah, nice to see you again, Ling.”
“What…” He pressed his hand against his head, not really sure what he was expecting. Had he actually be shot? There was no way, because he was alive. There was no wound, not even blood. So what the hell had that been?
She offered him her hand and pulled him to his feet. “Sorry about that, kid.” She tucked the gun back into her waistband. “Fatal wounds are the easiest ways to force back a demon that doesn’t have a strong grip on its host.”
“Wha—What is going on?” Lan Fan demanded, grabbing onto Ling for dear life. “You were dead! You were fucking dead on the floor! You had a hole through your head!” She touched his forehead, as if making sure there wasn’t a bullet hole through his skull.
“Ah…” He took a step back. “I don’t… I’m not…”
I can’t believe she fucking shot me point blank like that! Greed exclaimed.
“Well you did threaten to kill her,” Ling said. “By the way, how come you didn’t mention insane healing powers?”
I got stabbed through the chest last night by Lust, thought you figured it out, dumbass.
“No I don’t remember getting stabbed through the chest!” He exclaimed as he clutched at his chest.
“Ling, who the fuck are you talking to?” Lan Fan demanded.
Hawkeye narrowed her eyes. “He’s talking to you?”
Ling nodded. “He never shuts up, actually.”
Her mouth pressed into a thin line. “We really need to go. I never thought you would be possessed by one of the Seven when Winry told me her suspicions. This is… I’m not going to lie to you, this is looking pretty bad for you.”
“Please!” Lan Fan grabbed onto Ling’s arm. “Someone please tell me what’s going on!”
Ling sighed. She’d basically been told anyways. “Yeah, um, I might have gotten possessed by a demon.” He laughed nervously.
Her eyes widened. “You… you can’t be serious…”
Hawkeye eyed Lan Fan. “You are more than welcome to come with us, young lady. Your friend is likely going to need you.”
Don’t go with her, Greed said.
“Why not?” Ling asked.
Told you. She’s someone’s familiar.
“I don’t know what that means!” he shouted.
“Ling!” Lan Fan exclaimed.
Hawkeye hushed her. “He’s talking to the demon. Just let him be.”
It means she works with witches. God, how fucking dumb are you? She’s gonna drag us back to whatever witch she works for and then they’re gonna kill us!
Ling stared at Hawkeye, and he took slow steps away from her.
She already shot you once.
“I don’t know what he’s telling you,” Hawkeye said, evidently noticing the fear in his eyes. “But I’m not going to hurt you. Not severely enough that his healing factor can’t take care of, anyways. I want to help you. I can get Winry on the phone, if that would make you feel better?”
He shook his head. Greed had freaked him out over her, too. “I… I need help, but… I don’t…”
Fine. Go ahead. Get us both killed, fucking idiot.
Hawkeye nodded. “I understand. You don’t trust me. I’m sure he told you witches kill demons, right? But he also told you I’m a demon, too?”
Lan Fan gasped and Ling nodded.
“Right. So doesn’t that prove they don’t kill all demons?” she asked. “And you’re possessed by one of the most powerful demons to ever exist. We want to question him. He’s too valuable, not to mention difficult, for us to just kill. So you’re going to be fine. We can help you.”
“Ling… I think you should listen to her,” Lan Fan said. “I don’t think this is something you can figure out on your own, and I definitely don’t know anything about it.”
Greed snarled. Don’t you fucking dare!
“Okay,” Ling said. “I’ll go with you.”
The entire way there, Ling had to listen to Greed yell about how stupid he was. He was really doing wonders for his self esteem.
Hawkeye had put him and Lan Fan in the backseat of her car. “You can take pictures of me and the license plate,” she said. “It’ll probably make you feel better.”
Ling wasn’t sure how that would help them if they were already dead in a ditch somewhere, but the sentiment was nice.
I still can’t believe you took the lady’s candy, Greed said.
“You have no right to complain about what I do,” Ling muttered. “Especially after you conveniently forgot to mention I could survive getting shot in the head now!”
Lan Fan eyed him warily.
“Sorry,” he said. “Sometimes he’s hard to ignore.”
“No, no, it’s just…” She sighed. “How do you get into messes like these? This all happened because I wasn’t around! I’m supposed…” She shook her head.
“Nah, it’s not your fault. Just bad luck,” he said.
Shittiest luck I’ve ever seen in my life.
Ling grit his teeth. “Could you not… for five seconds. Just shut up, for five seconds!”
No, you went with the familiar, and got me shot in the head, he said.
“Hey, no! You got me shot in the head, not the other way around!” he argued.
Hawkeye glanced at them in the rearview mirror and chuckled. “I have to admit, you have adjusted to this fairly well.”
“Oh no, trust me. I’m freaking out internally,” Ling said.
Tell me about it. I’m pretty sure there’s a fucking siren going off somewhere in your head.
“So… you work with Ed, right?” Lan Fan asked as she stared out the window, most definitely keeping track of where they were in the city.
Hawkeye hummed. “Yes, in a way. Ed is… a little unconventional, and he doesn’t exactly play well with others, as I’m sure you know by now.”
“Yeah, no kidding,” Ling couldn’t help but mutter.
“But we do work for the same organization, even if he does mostly his own thing,” she said. “Winry works for us too, on occasion. She’s more of a freelancer though.”
“So… I don’t know if this is considered an invasive question or not,” Ling said. “But if you’re a demon, what happened to the person you’re possessing?”
She shook her head. “I’m not possessing anyone. This is my… well, not my true form, but close to it.”
“You don’t have to possess someone?” Ling wasn’t sure if he was asking Greed or Hawkeye.
‘Course I do. Think I’d be fuckin’ stuck in you if I didn’t? Greed huffed.
“There’s… certain ways around needing a vessel,” Hawkeye said. “However, I’m afraid it’s unlikely they’ll work for your demon. Greed is…” She sighed. “He’s had a few run ins with our organization in the past, and from what I’ve heard, he’d be against them.”
Yeah, and I don’t like you either.
“What happened?” he asked.
“I think it’s best if I let my master explain,” she said. “I’m just meant to get you. Technically, I’m not even supposed to know a lot of this.”
“Master?” Ling echoed.
Stupid bitch. That’s why you don’t work with witches.
Hawkeye smiled softly. “Oh, he’s not so bad.”
“What do you mean?” Ling asked, quiet enough that hopefully Hawkeye wouldn’t hear.
The demons who cave to witch authority? Greed scoffed. They bind them. She’s bein’ literal when she talks about a master. He controls her every move. She’s basically a slave.
“Oh…” That… didn’t sound fair. He obviously knew nothing about demons, and Hawkeye… she seemed nice enough, even if she was a little odd. It wasn’t fair that their options were death or slavery.
Greed was an asshole, obviously. But from the sound of it, other demons hadn’t treated him the greatest (if they really had tried to kill him and erase his memories), and he was on the run from witches. He was backed into a corner, just like Ling.
Hey! I’m doing just fine, don’t lump me in with you, brat! Greed snapped.
Ling scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Sure, whatever.”
“Uh… This is just a shifty antique shop,” Lan Fan said as they got out of the car.
“Oh my god…” Ling smacked himself in the face. “I should have known. Of course Ed couldn’t handle a retail job. He’d fly off the handle in seconds.” It was obvious, really. The insane hours, never showing up on time, his abrasive personality that would have gotten him fired in seconds. Ling really should have guessed he was a witch and a member of a secret society within minutes of meeting him.
Hawkeye chuckled. A little bell rang when she opened the door.
“Hi, Riza!” a woman shouted, leaning over the cluttered counter that contained the cash register. “Oooo, who’s this? New recruits?”
“Hey, Rebecca. And no. This is Ling and Lan Fan. They’re having a bit of… demon trouble.” Hawkeye motioned for them to come further inside.
“Oh?” Rebecca leaned across the counter. “You look like you haven’t slept in two days.”
“I haven’t,” Ling deadpanned.
“Poor thing,” Rebecca said. “Riza, you gotta help him out. If he got some decent sleep and brushed his hair, he might be kinda cute.”
Ling wasn’t sure if he should be flattered, or offended. “That’s not really a priority right now.”
Hawkeye rolled her eyes. “Quit flirting with him, Rebecca, you’re about a thousand years too old for him.”
Rebecca stuck her tongue out at her.
“She’s another demon?” Ling asked. She looked completely human! Shouldn’t demons look at least kind of other-worldly?
She’s a weak one, Greed said. Another familiar, too. I wonder who owns all these familiars. Usually groups of witches only own one or two, but I sense a lot here.
Ling frowned. “Own? You shouldn’t own other people.”
I own you, Greed said, and Ling could hear the smirk.
“No you don’t!” he argued.
Yeah, you’re mine now.
He frowned, deciding not to humor him with another response.
“Ooohhhh.” Rebecca nodded. “I see. He’s possessed. Alright, head on back. Mustang and Havoc are in. I’m sure Alphonse will be back soon, too. Oh! Winry’s still here as well.”
“Olivier?” Hawkeye asked.
Rebecca shook her head. “Nope! She left with Miles and Buccaneer about an hour ago. Said they’ll be gone a while.”
“Good.” She gave Ling a wary look. “She was the only one I was worried about.”
Lan Fan, who had previously been distracted by all the bits and bobs on the counter, tuned back in. “Worried about what?”
Hawkeye shrugged. “She’d want to kill him to get to Greed.” She headed towards the back of the shop, gesturing for them to follow.
Told you they’d want us dead, Greed said.
“Yeah, I didn’t really doubt you on that, man. I was just running out of options,” Ling said.
Lan Fan stayed pressed to Ling’s side, like she thought someone or something was going to jump out and attack him. “You better not die,” she muttered. “And tell that demon as soon as we get him out of you I’m going to kill him.”
Greed laughed. I like her.
“Oh, he can hear everything you say,” he said.
“Oh yeah?” she said. “Well fuck you, demon.”
Greed laughed harder, and even Ling started to snicker.
Lan Fan poked at a snow globe as they passed a shelf of them. “Wait, is this place actually a functioning shop?”
Hawkeye nodded. “Have to keep up the front. And it’s really easy to hide the occult in a place like this.”
“Oh my god, does Ed actually do retail work?” Ling demanded.
She shook her head. “No, Rebecca and Fuery do most of it. Occasionally Havoc will work some.” She pushed open the door to one of the back offices. “Sir?”
“Ah, Hawkeye, you took a little longer than expected. I was beginning to worry something had happened,” a man with dark hair said.
“Were you doubting my abilities, sir?” she asked.
He smirked. “Of course not. I was more concerned you’d killed the unfortunate soul.”
As if a demon that weak could kill me, Greed muttered.
“Ling!” Winry jumped out of a chair and hugged him. “Why didn’t you tell me something was wrong?” she asked. “Lan Fan, what are you doing here?”
“You know Ling can’t function without me,” she said.
Ling rolled his eyes. “Not true. And I…” He sighed. “He said he’d kill you if I told you,” he told Winry. And I didn’t want to risk you killing me.
Winry frowned. “Well, I will say it’s a relief to know you didn’t kill anyone.”
He shook his head. “No, that was other demon blood. I think.”
It was, so don’t have a break down over it, Greed said.
“Other demon blood?” Winry asked.
“Ah, Winry,” the man said. “Would you mind showing this young lady around? I have some things I’d like to discuss with Ling, here.”
Winry frowned and Lan Fan tried to protest.
“Havoc, why don’t you go with them?” the man said.
Ling’s eyes widened as the blonde man who had been hidden behind Winry stood up. He didn’t need Greed to tell him that this was a demon. The pointed ears, sharp teeth, and slit pupils gave it away. “Right this way, ladies,” he said, gesturing to the door.
Lan Fan still looked suspicious.
“Don’t worry,” Winry muttered. “Hawkeye and Mustang really do want to help.”
Ling did his best to give her a reassuring smile as she left the little office.
“So, Ling, right? I’m Roy Mustang, and I’m second in command here.” The man stood up from his desk and offered Ling his hand.
Ling obliged. “Yeah, I’m Ling. And I guess I’m here about… ah, you know… Greed.”
Mustang raised his eyebrows. “Greed?” He looked to Hawkeye for an explanation.
Great, fucking hate this bastard, Greed muttered. Damned fire witch.
“Is there anyone you get along with?” Ling asked.
No. I either own them or they’re my enemy. That’s how this works, he said.
Hawkeye ignored him. “Yes, sir. I spoke to him, for a few seconds. It’s definitely him.”
Mustang groaned. “This is going to be so much paperwork.” He fell back into his desk chair. “Alright, kid. How did this even happen?”
Ling shrugged. “I was walking home last night, and these two people grabbed me, Envy and Lust. Knocked me out, and when I came too they shoved this asshole in me—”
“And I blacked out. I got little flashes of Greed… fighting Lust and Envy? I don’t know, it’s kind of unclear. Hey, you mind telling me if that’s what actually happened?” he asked.
Yeah, I kicked their asses. What the hell else did you think that was? he snarked
Ling nodded. “Yeah, he fought Envy and Lust. Then I woke up at home. And yeah… that’s pretty much it.”
Mustang frowned. “He betrayed the other Seven?”
“Well, it’s not like he was exactly aligned with them to begin with,” Hawkeye said as she moved to stand beside Mustang. “I’m more surprised that he’s not dead.”
“What are they talking about?” Ling asked.
I don’t exactly get on with my family, kid. Thought you would have figured that out by now.
Ling frowned and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Be honest, is there anyway for me to get out of this mess?”
Mustang sighed. “Once a demon possesses someone, that’s it. That’s their body now. Removing them is about the same level of difficulty as removing a human soul from its original body.” He ran his hand down his face. “It’s a strong bond.”
Ling gestured to Hawkeye. “But she says that’s her actual body, so there has to be some way.”
You’re wasting your time, Greed muttered.
Mustang and Hawkeye exchanged a glance. “That’s because I chose to become a familiar,” she said. “As my master, Mustang’s magic sustains my true form. So unless Greed is willing to become a familiar—”
I am not, he snapped
“He said he’s not,” Ling said.
Hawkeye cut herself off and nodded. “I suspected as much. Aside from that, there’s not a way, especially with how…” She smirked. “Weak he is at the moment.”
“Great…” Ling muttered. “So now what? That’s it? I wait for him to eat my soul, or whatever?”
“No,” Mustang said. “I wasn’t expecting you to deliver one of the Seven right up to our doorstep. We can work with this.”
“Sir?” Hawkeye asked.
“I want to speak to Greed directly,” Mustang said.
Alright brat, hand over the body.
Poor Ling. He's just never gonna not be confused
Also I'm about to do some snazzy world building because I am incapable of writing anything without world building
Chapter 4: Step Four: force them into a supernatural turf war
Plot? In MY fanfiction? It's more likely than you think
Also get ready for the 320834019837 different POVs cuz anyone who's ever read anything I've ever written knows I can't stick with just one
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lan Fan still couldn’t quite believe what was happening.
She’d known Ling her whole life, they’d grown up together. He practically lived with her and her family, since his family… wasn’t exactly the greatest. He’d been a scrawny cry-baby when they were younger, making him an easy target for other kids. The only reason they stopped picking on him was because their classmates learned that targeting Ling, meant you had to deal with Lan Fan, and no one wanted to do that. She’d been protecting him his whole life!
It wasn’t that she thought he couldn’t take care of himself, especially now that they were older, but… Well, she couldn’t help but worry. He could be a little ditsy, and be entirely too nice to everybody.
They had lived together for the first two years of college, and it was great. Then her grandfather had gotten too old to live on his own (despite what he claimed), so she’d had to move out. Ling had assured her it was okay, especially after he found Ed.
But she couldn’t help but worry. Sure, they still saw each other pretty much everyday, but it was less than she was used to.
Turns out she was completely justified in her worry!
She left Ling to live without her for a few months, and he went and got himself possessed. Lan Fan hadn’t even believed in demons, and yet here they were, with one taking up residence in her best friend’s body.
She still wasn’t entirely sure how it had even happened, and even if she had been there, she doubted she would have been able to do anything to prevent demonic possession, but she still felt guilty over it.
Winry and the other demon, Havoc, led her through the antique shop’s different rooms. It was a lot bigger than it had seemed from the outside. Some kind of magic, maybe? Or just a good use of space?
“You doing okay, Lan Fan?” Winry asked.
“Hm? Oh yeah, I’m fine,” she said. She didn’t know Winry real well, she’d only met her a couple times, but she seemed like a nice girl, if a little odd at times. Lan Fan suspected that Ed just kept odd company, though, and anyone even remotely associated with him was weird. “It’s all just… a lot.”
“Guess I can understand that,” Winry said. “I grew up surrounded by this stuff so it was always normal to me. Might be a bit of a shock to anyone else.”
Lan Fan fiddled with the hilt of a sword on the weapons rack she was inspecting. “Guess you could say that.”
“Hey, don’t worry about your boyfriend,” Havoc said. “Mustang’ll figure something out for him.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” she said. Then she turned to stare at him. “So you’re a demon.” Obviously he was. He didn’t seem concerned with a human disguise like Hawkeye and Rebecca.
“Mmhm. I’m one of the younger ones though, only a couple hundred years old,” he said as he leaned against the wall and shoved his hands in his pockets.
“That’s young?” she demanded. How old was the demon possessing Ling?
He smirked. “Yep.”
She glanced between him and Winry. She knew they were just distracting her from… whatever that man had wanted with Ling, but maybe she could learn some things from them. “Alright, I’ve got questions, and as a witch and a demon, I’m guessing you’ll have answers.”
“I’d like to think so,” Havoc said.
Winry nodded. “Yeah, and unlike him, I can actually answer most of them, since I don’t technically work for these people, and I’m not under orders to keep my mouth shut.” She offered her a reassuring smile.
Havoc rolled his eyes. “You think I listen to those? What Armstrong doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
Lan Fan frowned. “Right…” At least they were willing to talk to her. “I guess first off, is who are you people? Obviously you’ve got a type of… organization, or something?”
“Amestris,” Havoc said.
“It’s an organization of witches that fight demons,” Winry added.
Her frown deepened. “But not all witches are a part of it, and demons can join?”
Havoc shook his head and dug a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. “Hell no, demons can’t join.”
“But—” she started.
“I’m a familiar, honey,” he said as he lit a cigarette. “I don’t have any rights, and just do exactly what I’m told or I get put down.”
Her eyes widened. “That’s awful.”
“So are demons. Honestly, this is the better option. At least the witches ain’t killing each other,” he said, before frowning. “Well, most of the time. Besides, I got lucky. Fuery’s a nice guy, decent master. I got off a lot better than most.”
“Still,” she said. “Are all demons evil? Or did a lot of religions kind of… paint you all with a broad brush?”
Havoc flicked his ashes off to the side and Winry glared at him. “Depends who you’re asking. Obviously I’m gonna say no, we aren’t. A lot of witches say we are, and familiars only keep themselves in check because of their masters. It’s a bit different in this branch of Amestris, so we’ve got a few witches on our side. Not a lot though.”
Winry sighed and leaned against the wall next to Havoc. “Not all demons are evil. The only reason I help out in this branch of Amestris is because they believe that. Well, and Ed.” She held her hand to her chest. “I’m a witch, but I’m not technically a member of Amestris. I never approved of them. I’m only mildly okay with this particular branch because of how they treat their familiars, and how much they protect regular humans.”
Lan Fan crossed her arms. “So what? Demons and witches both suck, but this place is the least sucky?”
Winry and Havoc exchanged a glance and shrugged. “I guess,” Havoc said.
“I’d say that’s a fair assessment,” Winry added.
She hummed. Leave it to Ling to end up friends with people like this. “So if not all witches are part of this… Amestris, are there other organizations?”
Havoc let out a breath. “Oh boy. Yeah, there are.”
Winry’s eyes darkened. “Most of them aren’t a fan of Amestris.” She glared at Havoc. “Because you guys are so damn aggressive.”
He shrugged. “I can’t help what the higher ups make us do.”
Winry turned back to Lan Fan. “But yes, there’s other groups. Drachma, Xing… Ishval, though they’re pretty much gone now.”
“But you’re not a member of any of them?” Lan Fan asked.
She shook her head. “Nope! I actually don’t do much witch stuff at all. I just stick with my automail engineering. Really, I only help out at all because Ed works here.”
Lan Fan nodded. “And all witches have familiars?”
Havoc laughed. “Hell no! There ain’t enough demons to agree to it, not enough witches that wouldn’t just kill them, and not all witches are powerful enough to sustain one of us. Only reason there’s so many around here is because this branch of Amestris is made up of only witches that have familiars.”
Wait… that meant… “Ed has a familiar?” She’d never seen him with anyone other than Winry or Ling. Were witches and their familiars supposed to be close? Or was she reading into it?
Winry sighed. “Yeah… he has one… Think you should ask him about that though.”
Lan Fan didn’t actually care that much, she was just curious. But now that she had all the basics, came the important things. “Okay. What’s going to happen to Ling?”
“Uh… I don’t know how to do that,” Ling said. Never mind the fact that he didn’t want to give up control of his body. If he did that, would he ever get it back?
Come on, you did it last night, Greed said. Besides, you heard the man. He wants to talk to me.
“Yeah, but how do I know you’re actually going to give it back?” he asked.
“Just let go,” Hawkeye suggested. “Almost like you’re going to sleep. Trust me, as soon as he has any foothold at all, the demon will do the rest of the work.”
Ling frowned and crossed his arms. “Promise you’ll give control back when you’re done.”
Greed growled. I’m still not strong enough to stay in control that long. Quit whining!
He sighed. “Fine.” He closed his eyes, and reached out for the feeling from earlier when Greed had taken over. He felt the other presence in his head brush up against him as he retreated into his mind, or soul, or wherever it was he went when Greed was in control.
Just like that, he lost the ability to control his body, and more importantly, his mouth. “Mighty fine woman you got there, fire witch.”
If he could control his hands, Ling would have smacked himself in the face. Please don’t make her shoot us again. I don’t care if it won’t kill me, it hurt.
Shut up, Greed said. I gotta have fun sometimes.
Hey, how come you can talk in your head when you’re in control? I sound like I’m crazy when I talk to you! he exclaimed.
You ever actually tried, brat?
Ling huffed and crossed his arms, trying to ignore the way he seemed to be floating in an infinite black void. He’d been too panicked to really notice where he was the last time Greed took over. Was this really his head? He knew Lan Fan liked to joke, but he had never imagined it was really this empty.
“So, Greed,” Mustang said as he interlocked his fingers and leaned his elbows on his desk. “I can’t say it’s a pleasure.”
“Tch. Don’t know what I ever did to you,” Greed grumbled.
I thought you said you didn’t like him, Ling said.
Yeah, that’s based on what I’ve heard, genius.
Mustang frowned. “You’ve had run ins with Amestris in the past, and you’ve not been someone we enjoy dealing with, even if you weren’t aligned with the other Seven.”
Greed hummed. “Yeah, think I remember one of those times. That fuckin’ Fullmetal brat was there, right?”
“Think you remember? One time?” Mustang demanded.
Greed shrugged and offered him a toothy grin. “Shit happens, ya know? What are you wantin’ with me? There a reason I’m not dead yet?”
I thought you said your family tried to get rid of your memory, not that they actually did it, Ling said.
They wanted all of it, got most of it, but I’ve got a bit left, he muttered. Enough to know I fucking hate those bastards.
Mustang sighed and glanced at Hawkeye. “Is he telling the truth?”
He ran his hand down his face. “Great. So you don’t know… anything about what the other Seven are planning?”
“Ah, so you want information,” Greed said. “I don’t know, I might know something.”
No you don’t, Ling said. Stop lying.
I told you, kid. I don’t lie.
“And what do you want for that information?” Mustang asked. Ling could tell from his tone of voice that the man was not happy about indulging Greed.
Greed shoved his hands in his pockets. “Not much, really. Just to be left alone.”
Mustang gave him a look. “You can’t honestly believe we would let you just walk out of here to do whatever you want, right? Especially not when you’re possessing the body of an innocent human.”
“Said it yourself, buddy. You don’t have a way to get me out of the kid’s body,” Greed said.
I’m twenty-one. I’m not a kid, Ling said.
Shut the hell up, that is to a kid, Greed said.
“And you’re not gonna kill me because I’m ‘possessing the body of an innocent human,’ so what the hell else are you gonna do?” he asked.
Imprison us, torture us, do weird witchcraft things to us. Ling counted each option off on his fingers.
You’re real annoying, Greed muttered.
Welcome to my world.
“Well, you got me there,” Mustang said. “I can’t kill you. But I’m willing to get Amestris off your back if you offer a little more than some information.”
Greed raised an eyebrow. “And what the hell would that be?”
“You obviously hate the other Seven. Help us work to get rid of them, and after they're gone, I’ll let you go do whatever you want,” he said.
“Sir?” Hawkeye’s eyes widened. She was clearly surprised by the offer.
He waved her off. “We pose you as a new familiar if anyone from another branch comes asking about you, and you help us hunt the Seven down.”
Greed frowned, seemingly considering the offer.
Hey! Wait! Ling waved his arms around. What about me!? This doesn’t help me out at all!
Shut up, Greed said. The adults are talking.
I am an adult!
“Say I take you up on this… I’m not working for you,” Greed said. “We just happen to want the same thing at the moment, so I don’t mind if we’re going in the same direction.”
Mustang nodded. “Of course.”
Are you kidding me? I have things to do! I can’t get involved in some kind of supernatural turf war! I still need to write my freaking paper, Greed! Ling shouted.
Greed ignored him. “And whatever witch you play off as my… master…” He practically spit the word. “Better not be annoying as hell.”
“We’ll get that figured out,” Mustang said. “Since every witch here already has a familiar. But are you agreeing to this?”
“I won’t stop you from going after my family with me,” he said. “They took something from me, so they’ve got what’s coming to them.”
Mustang nodded. “Glad to see we’re on the same page.”
Excuse me! What about me? This sucked! Ling would never take having control of his body for granted ever again. Shouldn’t he have at least some say in this deal? It was his body, after all!
“Oh, and one more thing,” Mustang said with a smirk. “As part of this arrangement, you leave Ling’s soul out of it. Don’t consume it.”
Ling almost cried with relief. He thought he’d been forgotten about in here!
Greed scowled. “Seriously? You expect me to go around sharing my body with a human?”
Mustang shrugged. “It’s that or I hand you over to the Amestrian higher ups, since you’ll end up killing him anyways. Besides, give it a few hundred years and you’ll have gained enough power back to manifest your actual body again.”
Few hundred years!? Ling demanded. What did that even mean? He’d be alive for that long? Kept alive by Greed’s powers while the demon used his body for God knew what!?
Yeah, I’m immortal, idiot. Means your body’s immortal so long as I’m in it, Greed said.
Ling laughed nervously, not quite sure what to make of that.
“Fine,” Greed relented. “I won’t mess with his soul.”
Well that was a relief. At least he could rest easy knowing the demon wasn’t trying to eat his soul anymore. Now he just needed to deal with… accepting that he was stuck with having a bodymate, permanently, it seemed.
Mustang gave him a curt nod. “Good. That’s all I wanted for now. You’re free to go.”
“Tch. I was leaving anyways,” Greed said as he left the office.
As soon as he was gone, Riza demanded. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”
Mustang sighed. “It’s the best, for everyone in the situation. Trust me, I don’t like it either. Ideally, he would agree to become an actual familiar, but it’s never going to happen.”
Riza frowned. While that may be, he couldn’t seriously be trusting Greed the Avaricious to keep his word. He was a member of the most powerful group of demons in existence, and he wanted everything. Sure, he might not be aligned with his family, and want them dead and gone just as much as them, but that couldn’t be his only motivation.
“I do want you to keep a close eye on him, though,” Mustang said. “Even if it’s not official, I am more or less leaving you in charge of him. As well as Ling, and the girl that came with them.”
She nodded. “Yes, sir.” Then she frowned. “Did you sense anything odd about the girl?”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“She felt like a witch to me,” she said. “Though if she is, she’s not aware of it.”
He shrugged. “It’s possible her family never told her what they were. It happens. If it’s true though, spending time around other witches and demons is going to activate her powers. How sure are you?”
“Fairly certain,” Riza said. Witches smelt vastly different from normal humans, and had a different energy surrounding them. “I thought I might have felt it from the boy, too, but it was hard to be sure, due to it being smothered by Greed’s power.”
He hummed. “Have Fuery look into their family backgrounds.”
She nodded. “Yes, sir.”
The door to his office banged open, and Edward Elric stood in the doorway, holding Ling by the ear. “Hey you bastard!” he shouted. “Care to tell me why the hell my roommate reeks like fucking hellspawn?”
rip to Ling's paper, it's never gonna happen, bud
Chapter 5: Step Five: finally agree to let them finish their paper
Ling really wished Ed would stop twisting his ear.
“Answer me, Mustang!” Ed shouted, finally letting go of Ling’s ear, but only to grab his shoulder and jostle him around. “Last I checked he was human!”
Ah, so all his screaming wasn’t my memories being corroded or some shit, he really is just that loud, Greed said.
Greed had lost control of the body this time when Ed had come out of nowhere, grabbing Ling and dragging him back to Mustang’s office. It was definitely a lot better than getting shot in the head, though.
“Good to see you, too, Fullmetal,” Mustang said.
“Ed, you probably shouldn’t yell at your superiors,” Ling said as he pried Ed’s grip off his shoulder.
“You shut up! You were dumb enough to get possessed!” he shouted.
Tell him it’s his fault, Greed said. I want to watch his head explode.
“That’s not very nice,” Ling replied.
“I’m not nice!” Ed and Greed exclaimed in unison.
Ling tried to hold back his laughter, but it didn’t work. He held onto Ed as he doubled over, laughing like a madman. It wasn’t even that funny, but the whole situation was just so ridiculous. He was standing in a shitty antique shop that smelled like dust and mothballs, listening to witches argue over the demon in his head. The demon that only he could hear. It was sad, so sad it was hilarious. Was this really what his life had come to?
Woah kid, you lost it already? Greed laughed. That sure didn’t take long.
“Oh, great!” Ed said. “He’s already fucking cracked. Fucking perfect. I’m gonna have to find a new roommate now!”
Ling forced himself to stop laughing. “Sorry, I think I’m just starting to realize how much this sucks.”
Mustang frowned. “Let him go, Fullmetal. I’ll explain everything.”
Ed gave Ling a concerned look, but nudged him out the door.
He shuffled out the door, fell into the first chair he found, and put his head in his hands.
These people couldn’t help him. He was stuck like this. Stuck listening to a voice only he could hear, stuck fighting for control over his own body. This was his life now. All because he was unlucky enough to end up with a witch for a roommate and get grabbed by two demons on the way home.
I’m not that bad, Greed said. By the way, you really should stop thinking so loud. I can hear it, you know.
Of course he could. Of course even his thoughts weren’t private anymore. “Tell me what I get out of this,” he muttered. “Because from what I can tell, all I’m getting are a lot of problems that aren’t even my own.”
I actually have a lot of powers, kid. There just hasn’t been a reason to use them yet, he said.
Ling scoffed. “Yeah? And all they’re gonna be used for is fighting those other demons, right alongside by body. I’m like cannon fodder to you! You’re going to get me killed!”
No I’m not.
“You’re not?” The disbelief was clear in his voice.
You forgetting that if you die, I die, too? You’re not that much of a pest, he said. Besides, like I told you before. You’re mine, and I protect what’s mine. I don’t easily let go of my possessions.
“Oh yeah?” Strangely, the words eased his worry, if only a little bit. Greed didn’t actually want him dead, which was a good thing. Though he wasn’t sure he liked being called one of the demon’s possessions.
Yeah. Now shut up about it. I’m not lettin’ you die.
Ling flopped against the back of the chair. “You know, I’m serious about that paper. It needs to get done.”
I don’t care about your paper.
“Yeah, and I don’t care about your stupid family,” he said. “So I tell you what, I’ll go along with working with these people, won’t be annoying about it all, if you return the favor and don’t completely mess up my life? That means no causing issues while I’m going to class, work, school stuff. Got it?”
Tch. You really think you’re in the position to be making demands? he asked.
He shrugged. “Who’s in control more often?”
Even if I don’t consume your soul, eventually it’s gonna be easy for me to shove you out of the driver’s seat.
Ling sighed. “Look, I’m trying to be nice here, figure out a little compromise to make this a little more bearable for both of us. Yesterday, I didn’t even know body cohabitation was a thing. You really should stop being such a prick.”
Greed didn’t answer.
“And you know… You really haven’t seen how annoying I can get yet. Even while you’re in control, I’ll make your life hell, if I really wanted to,” he added.
Fine, Greed relented. I’ll fucking leave you alone when you’re a school.
Ling grinned and closed his eyes. “Good! And I’ll leave you alone when you go fight other demons.”
“Hey! You’re Ling, right? Ed’s roommate?”
Ling cracked an eye open, to see another demon waving at him. “It’s nice to finally meet you!” he said. “I’m Alphonse, Ed’s brother. But you can call me Al.”
Oh great. There’s two of them.
“Brother?” Ling demanded before he could stop himself. This was a demon! The pointed ears, slit pupils, and sharp teeth didn’t really leave much up for debate.
“Ah, yeah,” he said as he rubbed the back of his head. “It’s a bit of a long story. It’s nice to meet you, though. Did Ed finally tell you about all of this?”
“Not exactly…” Ling muttered. “I uh, kinda ended up getting possessed.”
“Oh.” Al’s easy smile melted into a frown. “Sorry about that.”
He shrugged. “Not too much to do about it.”
“Is my brother around?” he asked, changing the subject.
Ling pointed towards Mustang’s office. “He’s back there fighting with his boss.”
Al sighed and shook his head, though his smile was back. “Of course he is. Well, thanks, Ling. I hope you get this all sorted out.” He waved and headed back towards Mustang’s office.
“What the hell?” Ling whispered as soon as he was gone. “His brother’s a demon? You know anything about that?”
What, you think I kept tabs on that Fullmetal brat?
“I don’t know. Didn’t you say you lost some of your memory? You might have,” he said.
Ling snorted. “You’re so touchy.”
He snickered. Greed really was very easy to annoy.
“What do you mean there’s no way to get him un-possessed!?” Lan Fan demanded.
Winry sighed. She really did feel bad for Ling and Lan Fan. They hadn’t asked for any of this, hadn’t grown up in witch communities. They’d had their lives turned upside down within the span of a few hours.
“Afraid not,” Havoc said. “Not if it’s Greed possessing him. Talk about a bad break.”
“But I thought you said you people could help him!” she said.
Winry had no idea how to comfort Lan Fan. She wished she knew the girl better. All she knew about her was that she was Ling’s best friend, and that they had grown up together. “They can,” Winry said. “Whatever solution they come up with is going to be better than just leaving him to figure this out on his own, even if it’s not… really what you guys wanted.”
Amestris specialized in taking situations that sucked and twisting them to be beneficial, even if it didn’t really fix the original problem. That was what they had done for Ed and Al, wasn’t it? This wasn’t that much different.
“But…” Lan Fan let out a choked noise, like she was trying not to cry. “What does that mean? Is he going to die? Is that demon going to just take over until there’s nothing of Ling left anymore?”
Winry glanced at Havoc, but the demon looked even less equipped to handle this than her.
She took a step towards Lan Fan and gently took her hand. “We’re not going to let that happen, okay? We’ll come up with a better solution. Ling’s going to be fine.”
Havoc glared at her, clearing not approving of lying to make her feel better.
Winry didn’t think it was lying, though. Sure, for the foreseeable future, Ling was going to be merged with a demon, but that was a far cry from dead. And she truly believed that not all demons were evil, and if Greed had already gone this long without hurting Ling or anyone else, well… she wasn’t sure she would call him good, exactly, but he could be much worse.
It seemed Havoc wasn’t the only one to doubt her words, however. “Don’t lie to me,” Lan Fan said. “I’m not stupid.”
Winry hummed. “Look, I’m not saying that things will go back to normal for you two, or that you’re going to get out of this unscathed, but we’re not going to let Ling die. Ask Ed and Al about what Mustang and his team did for them when you get the chance. It might help you have a little faith in them.”
“Whatever you say,” she muttered.
Throwing caution to the wind, Winry pulled Lan Fan into a loose hug. “I do say. Plus, Ed really likes Ling, even if he won’t admit it, and Ed’s a stubborn genius. Having him on your side will really help. He won’t let something terrible happen to Ling.” If he’s gone this long still looking for a way to get Al’s humanity back, he won’t give up on Ling either.
Lan Fan didn’t hug her back, though some of the tension in her body disappeared. “Yeah, okay. Maybe.” She pulled out of the hug. “I guess this is better than nothing.”
Winry nodded. “See.”
Hawkeye appeared around the corner. “Havoc. With me.”
He pushed off the wall and nodded towards Winry and Lan Fan. “See you around ladies. What’ve you got for me, Riza?”
“New orders. And Winry, take Ling and Lan Fan back home. If you don’t mind, stay with them until Ed gets home,” Hawkeye said.
“You don’t trust us to be alone?” Lan Fan asked.
“More like we don’t trust Greed to do as he’s told,” Hawkeye said. She disappeared back around the corner with Havoc.
“Come on, Lan Fan,” Winry said. “Let’s get Ling and get you back home. I’m sure it’s been a long day for you.”
“They’re putting us in charge of Greed?” Havoc demanded.
Riza sighed. She didn’t like it either, but she supposed she could see Mustang’s reasoning. “Rebecca and Al are in on it as well. It’s being kept on the down low, but Mustang thinks it’s better to have familiars around him, since we’ll be better equipped to handle him if this goes south.”
Havoc scoffed. “More like we’re living shields if he decides to double cross us.”
“You know it’s not like that,” she said. Mustang would never put familiars in dangerous situations just because they were familiars. Armstrong, maybe, under certain circumstances, but Mustang wouldn’t.
He waved her off. “Yeah, yeah, but old habits die hard. We were nothing but pawns for the Seven, and that’s all we are here too, they just dress it up a bit more.”
Riza frowned. It’d been years since she and Havoc had worked for Wrath. While she could kind of see where Havoc was coming from, it really was extremely different. “You’re more pissed about being around one of the Seven again than you are about the actual orders, aren’t you?”
“Obviously,” he muttered. “I don’t like them.”
“Me either. But I don’t think Greed likes the rest of them either,” she said. “He might be the thing that turns the tables.”
Havoc gave her a look. “Seriously?”
She sighed. “Well obviously I don’t know , but you have to admit, they didn’t like Greed either.” The wayward member of the Seven was a taboo topic among the Seven’s underlings, so they had never talked about him much, but they’d heard Envy and Lust complain about him quite often. Even Wrath and Pride had occasionally made snide comments.
He grimaced. “No, they didn’t.” He shook his head. “You know I’m not going to refuse, but I don’t like it.”
“Trust me,” she said. “I understand.”
Congrats to those of yall that called Al was Ed's familiar lmao
Chapter 6: Step Six: annoy them about their other friends
Greed didn’t lie, so he could admit he was intrigued by the brat he’d ended up sharing a body with.
Never mind his weird, overly powerful soul (that definitely couldn’t belong to a regular human, but that was a string to pull on another day), but he’d adjusted to this situation… relatively well, all things considered.
He was still pretty pissed at the kid for getting them involved with Amestris, but he could twist it to his advantage, eventually. He didn’t want to work with witches, and he definitely didn’t want to be paraded around as a familiar, but he knew Amestris was pretty powerful, and was definitely the organization that had the best chances of dealing with his siblings.
And he wanted his siblings dead, or at the very least, Wrath dead. That bastard had been the one to basically kill him, and kill his chimeras.
He’d stolen from him, and that wasn’t something Greed could overlook.
This is boring, he said.
Ling sighed. “Yeah, but it needs to get done.”
As soon as Fullmetal’s girl brought them back to the kid’s apartment, he’d gotten to work on that damn paper he’d been whining about so much. He didn’t know why he’d been so insistent on it though. It sucked, and he wasn’t even having a good time writing it.
You’re sure you don’t want to just drop out and let me take over? he asked.
“Shut up,” he growled.
Greed laughed. Ling sure did like to talk about how easy Greed was to annoy, but he wasn’t much better himself.
“Shut up, demon. Leave him alone,” Lan Fan said from across the apartment. She’d been leaned against the wall, glaring at them with her arms crossed, ever since they got back.
Tell your girl I like her, he said.
Ling shot Lan Fan a wary look, then said, quiet enough that she wouldn’t hear, “She’s not my girl. And don’t even think about it.”
Oh no? And why not? He wasn’t actually interested in the girl, he knew it would never happen, but it was fun to watch Ling squirm.
“First of all, my body. I get some say in who we decide to sleep with. And I say no. She’s my best friend,” he said. And Greed had to hand it to him, he was still typing out that paper, even if the last three sentences didn’t make a damn bit of sense.
Aw, you telling me that you two never tried anything? Even when you were younger, in high school or something?
He sighed. “We kissed once. Happy now?”
“What are you talking about?” Lan Fan asked.
“Nothing!” Ling said hastily.
She narrowed her eyes, but didn’t say anything else.
Oh yeah? Let me guess, you were twelve and wanted to know what it felt like, he said.
“Something like that,” he said. He began to flip through his textbook, clearly trying to end the conversation.
Greed wasn’t just going to let it go , however. Not when Ling was embarrassed about something. Explain.
Come on, he sang.
He slammed the textbook shut. “Why do you want to know so much?”
Because I’m bored, and there’s not much to do here except irritate you and needle fun facts about your life out of you, he said.
Ling groaned. “Fine! If you’re not gonna let it go… It was when she started to think she might be a lesbian, so she wanted to kiss me to see if she liked it. She said it sucked.”
“Ling!” Lan Fan exclaimed. “Why are you telling him that!?”
Greed howled with laughter as Ling tried to come up with some kind of defense. I bet that did wonders for your self esteem!
“Shut up!” he snapped, though he didn’t really seem that worked up about it.
Winry sighed from the kitchen, where she was making dinner. “Please don’t start fighting. If you’re already fighting before Ed gets home, I don’t even want to imagine what it will be like when he gets here.”
Aw come on, Greed said. Let me take over for a while, bet I could find some nice women. You seem wound up, you need to relax.
“Oh my god.” Ling threw his head back. “You’re some kind of slut, aren’t you?”
Excuse you, at least I’m not the family member named Lust, he said.
Ling rolled his eyes. “You’re not using my body to sleep around.”
He huffed and turned his attention back to his paper.
“Are you sure you don’t want help cooking?” Lan Fan asked, for about the millionth time. “I feel bad.”
Winry laughed and shook her head. “No, I promise, it’s fine. I like cooking.” Lan Fan really was a sweet girl, even if she could be a little intense.
“If you’re sure,” she said. Then she sighed. “Is it okay if I stay in here with you, though?”
“You don’t have to ask, this isn’t even my house,” Winry said as she finished chopping up the onions. “Is Greed bothering you?” she dared to ask.
Lan Fan shrugged.
Winry frowned, really hoping she wasn’t about to overstep. “You know, I’m not going to tell Ling if you want to complain about something.”
Lan Fan stared at her for a moment, before sighing. “It’s just… He’s having conversations with someone I can’t hear, can’t see. I don’t know what they’re talking about. And it’s weird. It’s almost like he enjoys them, and I’m just… left out.” She picked up one of the kitchen knives and began stabbing at the counter with it. “I know that’s a weird, shitty way of looking at things, considering what’s going on, but…”
Winry hummed. “Sometimes Ed and Paninya get jealous of each other.”
She dumped the chopped up onions into the pot of soup. “My boyfriend and girlfriend. It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but when I first started dating both of them, they’d get jealous of each other sometimes. I know it’s not really the same situation, like… at all, but after you’ve had a person to yourself and yourself only, I guess it can be hard to accept they’re close with someone else, too.”
“I didn’t know you had a girlfriend,” Lan Fan said, finally setting aside the kitchen knife to give the poor counter a break.
“Ah yeah.” Winry chuckled. “Paninya’s not much involved in this part of my life. She knows about it, but that’s pretty much it. She works with me at my automail job. I actually started dating her before I was dating Ed.”
“Hm.” Lan Fan tapped her fingers against the counter. “Thanks… Winry.”
She grinned. “No problem!” She should have known any friends Ed made, human or not, were bad at confronting their feelings.
“Plus there's the bad energy I sense from that demon,” she said. “It’s almost giving me a headache.”
Winry nearly dropped her spoon into the soup. “W-What?”
“You know, he just feels… bad.” She shrugged.
Normal humans shouldn’t be able to sense demons. Not even ones as powerful as Greed. Sometimes even witches had trouble learning how to sense demons, Winry couldn’t even do it most of the time. So if Lan Fan could sense him… “Oh.” She waved it off like it was nothing. “Yeah, demons have pretty bad energy.”
Just how powerful of a witch was this girl?
“So I’ve been informed that spending time with me was the reason you got possessed,” Ed said as they all sat at the dinner table.
Ling stared at him, determined to make his roommate as uncomfortable as possible with the situation. “Yeah.”
Ed cleared his throat, and tugged at the collar of his ridiculous My Chemical Romance hoody. “Sorry… about that…” He jerked, because Winry had definitely just kicked him beneath the table.
This sucks, Greed said. Why are you all so goddamn awkward?
“Gave you heartburn, did that?” Ling asked.
Ed glared at him. “Well look! It’s not like I’ve ever had to apologize for inadvertently getting someone possessed before!”
“Do you ever apologize at all?” Lan Fan asked.
Ed stuck his tongue out at her.
“Real mature, Ed,” Winry said as she shook her head.
Ling shrugged and grinned at him. “I hope you know I’m not actually mad, I just wanted to see what you would do.”
“Oh my god, fuck you!” Ed shouted. “And here I was actually feeling bad for you!”
Ling laughed, and it was joined by Greed’s laughter in his head. “Sorry, but I wasn’t gonna let an opportunity like that slip by. Although, I do have to admit, I kind of wish you had told me about all this before I had a demon in my head.”
“Dude, it’s not like I was hiding it, you’re just dense,” Ed said. “I never actually lied.”
“He does kind of have a point,” Winry said. “I came over to help him with complicated spells at least three times while you were home.”
“Oh my god.” Lan Fan slumped against the table. “Ling!”
They’re right, kid. That’s pretty bad.
“Oh don’t you start, too,” Ling muttered. “And it wasn’t that bad!”
Ed snorted. “Honestly, when I first moved in, I almost thought you were a witch, too. Because you didn’t question me warding the fuck out of this place, or any of the other weird shit I did.”
“I decided not to be nosy!” he protested.
“There’s a line between not being nosy and sticking your head in the sand, and you definitely crossed it,” Ed said.
“Wha—I’m the one who’s possessed, here! Stop making fun of me!” he said.
Even if they stop, I’m gonna give you hell for that. How the fuck did you not figure out something was shifty with Fullmetal?
“Being possessed doesn’t get you out of being called out for being a dumbass, Ling,” Ed said with a shrug. “Besides, I know plenty of stupid demons. Like the one hanging out in your head right now.”
Tell him I said he’s short, Greed said.
“Greed says you’re short,” Ling repeated.
Ed’s eye twitched, and Winry tried to muffle her laughter.
“Ling, if you ever don’t realize someone is a witch ever again, I’m going to kill you,” Lan Fan said.
“You didn’t notice either!” he argued.
“Yeah, but I didn’t live with him!”
Ling shoved a spoonful of the soup in his mouth. “This is very good, Winry. I understand why Ed bitches about microwaveable meals now.”
You know you don’t actually need to eat anymore, right?
“Shut up, I like food.”
“Aw, thank you, Ling,” she said with a bright smile.
“So… witches don’t actually cook children or anything, right?” Lan Fan asked as she stirred the soup around in her bowl.
“Uh… definitely not,” Ed said.
“You watched me make it!” Winry exclaimed.
Lan Fan shrugged. “Just thought I’d check.”
A few hours later, Winry went home, and Ling had gone to bed. After having been up for two days straight, he’d been about ready to drop.
Lan Fan watched as Ed covered the walls in even more runes, meant to mask Greed’s presence from other demons. She’d decided to stay overnight, not wanting to leave Ling alone anymore than she had to.
He didn’t even look at her. “Yeah?”
“Can I ask about your brother?”
Chapter 7: Step Seven: start to make them feel sorry for you via nightmares
For a moment, Ed stopped drawing, though he still didn’t turn to look at her. For a second, Lan Fan was worried she had overstepped.
But then he resumed drawing the runes. “What about him?”
“Well…” She rubbed the back of her neck. “Ling mentioned that he was a… a… you know…”
“A demon?” He shrugged. “You don’t have to act like he’s not. That’s what he is, so it’s fine for you to call him that.”
“Right…” She pulled her blanket tighter around her shoulders. “I’m guessing something happened there. And Winry said I should ask you about what Amestris did for you. I think she was trying to make me feel better about Ling, but didn’t want to talk about you herself.”
Ed sighed and finally quit messing with the runes. He tucked the chalk into his pocket and fell onto the couch next to Lan Fan. “Yeah, Al wasn’t always a demon. We fucked up when we were younger, made some stupid decisions. It’s how I got these.” He held up his automail arm, then tapped at his automail leg. “Amestris did help us get back on our feet, I guess.”
“Really?” she asked. “Because from where I’m standing, it just sounds like they’re using Ling.”
He hummed. “Yeah, that’s how they work. The branch I work for is pretty much the only decent one. Mustang’s a bastard, but he probably does actually want to help Ling. I wouldn’t have agreed to this whole set up if I thought there was a better option.” He leaned against the back of the couch and propped his feet up on the coffee table. “I’m not gonna lie, Amestris as an organization can be pretty fucked up. But for people like us, we don’t really have a lot of options. Sure, they’re using Ling as a means to an end, but it’s better than killing him, or leaving him to get killed by the other Seven.”
“That doesn’t really make me feel better,” Lan Fan said.
Ed snorted. “I didn’t figure it would. You’re a hard person to please, Lan Fan. Especially when it comes to Ling.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Yes? And?”
He shook his head. “I don’t mean anything by it. Everyone needs someone like that. He’s lucky to have you.”
She sniffed and turned her head away. All Ed had done was admit that this Amestris was just using Ling. They didn’t actually care about helping him.
Ed was silent for a moment, then took a deep breath. “We committed a taboo. Forbidden magic. Like, execution-level forbidden magic. We were just little kids. Mustang and Hawkeye found us by chance, before anyone else in Amestris did. They offered to help us cover up what we’d done, and if I agreed to work for them, Al could become my familiar, which would keep him safe from other witches, and we could get access to research materials that might help us get our old bodies back. Honestly, I don’t know what would have happened to us without them. So yes, even if they are getting something out of Ling, he's getting something out of it, too.”
“Well, damn, Ed,” she said. “Now I feel bad for making fun of you for being angsty and emo. That’s fucked up.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” he said. “But you get my point, yeah?”
“I guess.” She shrugged. “And it’s not like there’s another option anyways, so I don’t have much choice when it comes to trusting them.”
He nodded, and got back up to finish scribbling all over the walls. “Don’t go trusting anyone outside our branch though,” he warned. “We’re all fucked if they find out what we’re up to with Greed and Ling. Actually, we’d be fucked over a lot of things. Me. Al. Letting our familiars have a say in things and sharing classified information with them.”
“Duly noted.” Lan Fan snuggled into the couch and grabbed the TV remote, deciding it wouldn’t hurt to try and find something to watch before she went to sleep. “So are you guys really that weird for being decent to your familiars?” She didn’t like to imagine that demons were treated like work dogs, especially after interacting with quite a few of them and realizing the demon didn’t mean evil.
“Well, I don’t know about witch organizations outside of Amestris, or unaligned witches, but for us, oh yeah,” he answered. “They’re treated like living shields and weapons. It pisses me the hell off.”
“Yeah…” She flicked the TV on, and began to switch through channels. “I have one more question, but you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“That magic you did, that turned Al into a demon and took your limbs, are there many spells that can manage things like that?” she asked. Call her morbidly curious, but it was interesting.
“Oh no.” He shook his head. “It wasn’t the spell. God’s just a bitch.”
She snickered, having no idea he wasn’t kidding. “Whatever you say, Ed.”
Ling tossed and turned. Every time he managed to drift off, he got flashes of awful things. Blood, screaming, burning. He was so tired, but he couldn’t sleep. His head hurt.
Whatever this was, seemed to be putting Greed in a bad mood as well. I told you, we don’t need to fucking sleep. You’re just wasting time right now.
“Shut up,” he hissed. “If I don’t need to sleep anymore, why am I so tired?”
Because you’re fighting tooth and nail against me, he said. You quit and your stupid body will start accepting my power.
“Yeah, and then you take over.” He shoved his head beneath his pillow.
Not necessarily. Besides, the damn deal you were so insistent of only guaranteed you control while you were doing school shit. Free time is up for grabs.
“Please just shut up and let me sleep,” he begged. His eyes burned, and it would be so nice to just tap out for a few hours, to not have to acknowledge the demon in his head.
Greed scoffed, but he did stop talking.
Within a few moments, Ling managed to fall asleep.
But those weird flashes turned into nightmares. They were broken up, like pieces were missing, and voices were distorted. It was almost like watching a corroded video.
Blood pooled in the water, splattered against tunnel walls. Someone screamed. He gasped as a sword was shoved through him. His vision went dark, but the screaming continued. When his eyes opened again, he was in the water, surrounded by blood and broken bodies.
He wanted to scream, to move, but his body wouldn’t obey him. It was like watching a horror movie, but he was trapped in the main character’s body.
Everything went dark again, and when he came to this time, his limp body was being dragged through the tunnels. He was dragged past a woman’s corpse, her eyes wide and unseeing, and blood pooling around her broken body.
Ling shot up with a gasp, clutching at his head as the headache intensified. “What the hell…” With shaky fingers, he grabbed his phone to check the time. He’d only been asleep for about half an hour.
I told you we didn’t need to sleep, Greed said, his voice sullen.
Ling jumped, still on edge from… whatever it was he’d just seen. “Were those your…” He didn’t finish the question. He was pretty sure he already knew the answer.
We don’t need to sleep, he repeated.
“Y-Yeah…” If that was what Greed saw every time he tried to sleep, Ling didn’t blame him for not wanting to do that. “You can take over for a while,” he said. “Just don’t do anything too weird.”
“I don’t have a class until nine tomorrow, so you’ve got free reign until then,” he said. “It’s about two, so that’s seven whole hours. Just…” He sighed and shook his head. “Please don’t like, kill anyone, or do something like that.”
Wouldn’t dream of it, kid, he said. You know I don’t actually go around killin’ people, right?
“Well, it’s not like I know a whole lot about you,” he said with a shrug. “Just that your name’s Greed, you hate your family, and you’re kind of a prick.”
Ling hopped out of bed. “So are you taking over, or not?”
Just like that, Ling was shoved back into that dark void again. He wondered if he could sleep in here. Did it work like that? But… he wasn’t sure if he trusted Greed enough to let him run around without some supervision yet.
Greed yawned and stretched, then grabbed at the strand of hair that had fallen into his face. “I’m cutting this.”
No the fuck you aren’t! Ling exclaimed.
“Hey! You do swear!” Greed said. “You had me worried there for a while.”
You’ve heard me swear, he muttered.
“Never heard you say fuck, and compared to me, and the people you hang out with, you’re a regular saint, kid,” he said. “Now where’s the scissors?”
You’re not cutting my hair!
“Why not?” he practically whined. “It gets in the way! Besides, it’s my hair now.”
Ling crossed his arms. If anything, it’s our hair. And I like it long. If it’s really that annoying, tie it back.
About two minutes later, Ling really regretted his choice of words. I didn’t mean literally tie it! Did you just tie it into a freaking knot? I meant use a ponytail holder!
“Not my fault you didn’t specify,” he said as he dug through Ling’s closet. “God, do you not have anything besides bright colors?”
I like bright colors, he said. We’re not all edgelords like you and Ed.
“Wasn’t your girl dressed all in black?”
Ling sighed. I told you, she’s not my girlfriend.
“Did I say girlfriend?” he asked. “I said your girl. She’s yours, right?”
He frowned, and it took him a minute to decipher what Greed meant. She’s my friend? You know people don’t own each other, right?
Greed rolled his eyes, and finally shrugged on one of Ling’s tamer jackets. “Nah, she’s yours. Guess that makes her mine, too.”
Whatever. Ling decided this probably wasn’t an argument he was going to win with the incarnation of greed. That mean you’ll protect her, too?
“Yeah, I always protect what’s mine. And we’re getting some new clothes as soon as we get the chance.” He crept through the apartment, sparing a glance towards Lan Fan sleeping soundly on the couch.
So where are we going? Ling asked after they left the apartment.
“I could use a drink, it’s been a long couple of days,” he said.
Oh great. So you’re gonna leave me to deal with the hangover while I’m in class. Fantastic.
Greed laughed. “Sure.”
They lapsed into a comfortable silence. The streets were pretty much empty, and Greed seemed to enjoy the cool, night air. He meandered down the sidewalk, hands in his pockets, like he didn’t have a care in the world.
Hey, Ling said. So this… immortality thing, you mentioned earlier…
“Hm? What about it?”
I’m immortal? He didn’t want to have to wrap his head around that until it was confirmed.
He shrugged. “Guess so, since I’m not gonna bother your soul.”
Oh, that’s… huh… What was he supposed to do with that? What did that even mean? He was going to exist forever, melded with Greed? What were they even going to do for that long without getting bored?
“We’re gonna rule the world, kid. Trust me, I’m not gonna let us get bored,” Greed said, interrupting his train of thought.
Rule the world? Why?
“I want everything,” he said simply. “And I’m going to get it.”
Sure. Sounds good.
Greed snorted. “You’re a condescending bastard.”
Ling shrugged. If that’s what you say you want, then okay.
I’m just saying, who knows how long you’ve been around, and you don’t seem to have made much progress, he continued.
Greed rolled his eyes. “I don’t know how long I’ve been around. Maybe I was close at some point. Who’s to say. I’ve only got bits and pieces of the past few months.”
Oh… Ling hadn’t realized that much of his memory was gone. Were those mutilated pieces he’d seen earlier really all Greed had?
“Eh, it’s fine,” he said. “Can’t imagine they were all that interesting.”
He rounded a corner, and came face to face with a horrifyingly familiar woman. “Oh fuck—”
Lust’s claws dug into their chest. “Hey, Greed,” she purred.
Sorry for the longer wait between updates, I'm coming close to wrapping up the first part of my Fairy Tail rewrite, so I've been working on that (which, if you like FT, you should totally go check it out. It'll def keep you busy for a hot minute).
I hope you liked the chapter, and thank you so much for all the nice comments!
Chapter 8: Step Eight: get them stabbed
I can't believe so many people enjoy this, but all your nice comments definitely motivate me to update as often as I can. Thanks for all the love this fic has been getting! I just finished the first part of my Fairy Tail rewrite, so this fic will probably be getting updates more often again
As Ling was flung back into control of his body, he remembered what Hawkeye said. How fatal wounds were the easiest way to get a demon who didn’t have a strong grip on the body out of control. And at the moment, that was the worst thing he could think of. Not only did it mean that he got the brunt of the pain caused by Lust digging into his chest, but it also meant he was the one responsible for fighting the demon and/or escaping.
He stared down at the claws in his chest, cutting clean through him, mouth agape, too shocked to even scream. Blood soaked through his shirt and dripped down his torso, hot and sticky.
Lust yanked her claws out, blood flinging across the sidewalk as they retracted.
Ling gasped and clutched at his chest, gritting his teeth through the pain as he felt the wounds close up.
You gotta move, kid! Greed snapped. She’ll tear us to fucking shreds if you don’t! Unless you wanna fight her!
“Hell no, I don’t want to fight her!” he exclaimed, finally snapping out of his shock.
Lust’s eyes widened, before amused understanding flitted across her features as she began to laugh. “Greed, you fucking moron. You let the human live. Every time I think you can’t sink any lower…” She shook her head.
Arms up! Greed said. I’m gonna try something.
“What!?” Ling demanded as he took hasty steps backwards.
Just do what I say!
Lust lunged forward, her claws shooting right towards his face.
Ling squeezed his eyes shut and let out a very undignified squeaking noise as he jerked his arms up to guard his face, really hoping her claws didn’t just tear through them before shredding his face apart.
Her claws scraped against his forearms with an awful screeching noise, but he didn’t feel any pain. His eyes snapped open, and as Lust’s claws shoved against him, sparks flew across the dark gray material that coated his arms and hands, tipping off his fingers with a set of his own claws. “What the hell did you do to my hands!?” he shrieked, really hoping that this wasn’t permanent.
I just saved us from getting our eyes torn out. You know, a little appreciation would be nice, Greed said.
Lust huffed and retracted her claws once more, and Ling’s self preservation instincts finally kicked in. He turned and sprinted back down the street.
Hey, hey, hey! Turning your back on her’s not a good idea!
“What do you me—” His question was cut off by a scream as her claws dug into his back. Blood bubbled up his throat as he glanced down to see them protruding from his chest.
That’s why, Greed said, his voice far too calm for the situation they were in.
Before he could think too much about it, Ling grabbed one of the claws, praying that this did some kind of damage, and snapped off a section.
Lust howled and retracted the rest of her claws.
“Ugh! That’s disgusting!” Ling exclaimed, flinging down the severed body part as it began to disintegrate.
While she’s distracted, go for her heart! Greed commanded.
“What!?” he shrieked. “With was weapon!?”
Your hand, dipshit! Punch it right through her chest!
“Oh, no no no no no!” Ling whirled around, deciding it probably wasn’t smart to keep his back turned towards the enemy. “I can’t—”
Dammit, Ling! It’s not like it’ll kill her, and our asses are on the line here!
Lust snarled and attacked with her uninjured hand, though the finger he’d broken off was quickly regenerating.
Ling yelped and jumped backwards, just barely avoiding her claws. “It’d be really great if you could just take over, you know!”
I’m fucking trying, but you’re panic’s makin’ it harder. Your soul is going haywire! he shouted.
Lust lunged, and Ling knew he wasn’t going to be lucky enough to dodge again. Her claws shot towards him, but before they reached him, a wall sprung up from the ground, completely dividing the street in two.
Someone grabbed his shoulder. Ling screamed and reflexively whipped around to punch the person in the face.
“Oh, ow…” Alphonse Elric stumbled backwards, his hand flying up to try and catch the blood pouring from his broken nose.
And yet you couldn’t hit Lust like that, Greed said, and Ling knew he was rolling his eyes.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry!” Ling exclaimed.
Al waved him off. “It’ll heal in a moment. We need to go now. That won’t hold her back for long.”
Ling jumped as Lust shouted in frustration. Not a second later, her claws shot through the stone wall, barely an inch from his head. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Let’s go.”
Al took off down the street, Ling hot on his heels. “You okay?” Al asked. “How many times did she stab you?”
“Uh, twice, I think?” All he knew was that he was covered in blood. God, he should be dead. He would be dead if he didn’t have these insane healing abilities now. He realized his hands were still covered in that strange material. “Hey, can you get rid of this?”
About that, Greed said. It’s not really working.
You’re lucky I even got that to work while you were in control, he said. It’s gonna take a minute. Ever since those bastards nearly killed me, none of my powers have been working quite right.
“Oh my god!”
“Hey, Ed warded your apartment, right?” Al asked.
“Uh…” Those were all those weird symbols on the wall, right?
Yes, Fullmetal warded the place, Greed snapped.
“Yeah!” he said. “Yeah, it’s warded.”
Al let out a relieved breath. “Good. ‘Cause there’s no way we’d make it to an Amestris facility before she caught up.”
As soon as they got back to the apartment, Ling collapsed, laying face down on the floor. “We are never leaving here again. I cannot take this.”
Lan Fan started awake on the couch. “Ling?” she asked, voice groggy as she cracked an eye open. As soon as she saw the blood, she scrambled off the couch and kneeled down next to him. “Oh my god, Ling! Are you okay?”
He gave her a thumbs up. “Doing great.”
“What the fuck is wrong with your hands?” she demanded
Ling groaned and thumped his forehead against the floor. “Something I’m gonna deal with later.”
“He’ll be okay,” Al assured Lan Fan. “I got to him before Lust could do any real damage.”
The door to Ed’s bedroom banged open. “Could you people shut the fuck up? I’m trying to fucking sle—” He cut himself off. “What the hell happened? Are you okay, Al?”
Ling forced himself to sit up. “Lust happened. You know, I think I might be starting to hate your family as much as you do,” he told Greed.
I’d be concerned if you didn’t, kid, Greed said. They fucking suck. And she was one of the ones I didn’t actually mind too much.
Ling didn’t even want to think about Lust being one of the okay ones.
“Dammit, Ling,” Ed said as he marched over. “Why the hell did you leave?”
He held his hands up. “In my defense, no one said I couldn’t, and I wasn’t the one in control.”
Wow, way to throw me under the bus.
Ed snarled and leaned down to grab a fistful of Ling’s bloody t-shirt. “You got a fucking death wish, Greed?” He began to shake him. “You’re weak as shit right now and the other Seven are out for your head! I don’t give a shit what happens to you, but if you get Ling killed, I swear to god!”
Tell him to shut the hell up, Greed snarled.
Ling jerked out of Ed’s grasp. “No!”
“Excuse me?” Ed demanded.
“No, not you!” Ling said. “I was talking to— argh!” He clutched at his head. He was going to go insane living like this.
“Ed, give him a break,” Al said. “Nothing too bad came of it.”
“Only because you were keeping an eye on him!” he exclaimed. He pointed at Ling. “And you’re lucky it was Al! Hawkeye would’ve beat your ass for going out alone like that! Havoc and Rebecca probably would have, too!”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Lan Fan interrupted. “That witch organization of yours is spying on him?”
“Well,” Al said as he rubbed the back of his neck. “I wouldn’t exactly call it spying. It’s more for… stepping in with situations… like tonight.”
Spying, Greed argued. It’s absolutely fucking spying. Can’t say I’m surprised though.
Ed pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned. “Alright, alright. I admit, probably should have told you to stay put. God knows how bad you are with it, Ling.” He fell onto the couch. “I’ll give you some magic that’ll keep you hidden from other demons for school tomorrow.”
“Couldn’t have done that as soon as this started?” Ling muttered.
Ed glared at him. “And I probably should have mentioned that Al and the other familiars were going to be keeping an eye on you.”
“You think?” Lan Fan drawled. “No offense, Al.”
Al shrugged. “I assumed you knew.” Then he frowned. “Actually, even if you didn’t, Greed should have sensed me following you. And Lust.”
Everyone looked to Ling, like he had some kind of answer. “I don’t know! He never said anything!”
Think I fucking realized it? he asked. Shit, I didn’t realize it was this bad.
“Okay, okay. You’ve got class tomorrow, right?” Ed asked.
“Great. As soon as it’s over, I’m taking you and Lan Fan back to Amestris,” he said. “If Greed’s actually gonna help us out, or hell, if you’re gonna fucking survive this, we gotta do something about this. I figured he was weak, but this is fucking ridiculous. And Ling, you gotta learn how to defend yourself.”
Al nodded in agreement. “Lust was about to turn you into mincemeat, and that’s probably not the last time you’ll end up in a situation where you won’t be able to rely on Greed to fight.”
Greed huffed, but surprisingly didn’t argue against going back to Amestris so soon.
“I want to learn to fight, too,” Lan Fan said.
“I figured,” Ed muttered. “That’s why I said we should bring you. You’re caught up in this, I guess. It’s only a matter of time before something happens to you, too.” He stood back up and headed towards his bedroom. “Now seriously, keep it fucking down. I don’t get enough sleep anyways, this is the last thing I need.”
Al waved as he walked out the door. “I’ll be around if anything happens.”
Ling let out a breath, his shoulders sagging.
I do not like the idea of that Hawkeye lady stalking me, Greed said. Shot me point blank like that… I think she’d do it again for fun.
“I don’t know,” Ling said. “I thought Hawkeye was kind of nice.”
Lan Fan gave him a concerned look. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Stab wounds healed right up. Only hurt for a second.”
“That’s not what I meant,” she said.
He shrugged. “I just need a shower. I’ll be fine.”
She frowned, but settled back onto the couch. “Get some sleep, okay?”
“Sure, Lan Fan.” He didn’t tell her that he didn’t think he was going to be sleeping again for a while. The last thing he wanted was to see Greed’s nightmares again.
Don’t lie to her, Greed said.
“Look,” Ling said quietly as he shuffled towards the bathroom. “I know you’re like, fundamentally opposed to it, or whatever, but sometimes it’s for the other person’s benefit, not your own.” He’d already made Lan Fan worry too much with this whole situation. He didn’t want to make it any worse than it had to be.
She’ll figure it out eventually, you know, he said.
Ling sighed as he flicked the light on. “Well, then I’ll deal with it then.”
He stared at his reflection in the mirror. At his tattered clothes, the dark circles beneath his eyes, the blood that covered his entire torso. “I look like a Walking Dead extra.”
Greed snorted. You wouldn’t look half bad if you took care of yourself.
Ling rolled his eyes as he shrugged off the ruined jacket. “You’re the one who keeps getting me shot and stabbed. Besides, I’m a college student. All of us look dead.” Then he frowned. “And since when did you start to be nice? Stop it. It’s making me uncomfortable.”
Maybe I got tired of you calling me an asshole and a prick, fucking jackass.
“There we go,” he said. “That’s more like it.”
Chapter 9: Step Nine: make them realize they're a witch
Me: I'm gonna update more often!
Also me: *radio silence for two weeks*
I do have a little bit of an excuse though. Coming home for the holidays (disgusting), my dog had a medical emergency (panic-inducing), and getting stuff sorted out to return to university next semester (really gonna miss this break). Anyways, it's just been hectic
But I hope you enjoy the chapter nonetheless
Class with Greed was absolutely miserable, not that Ling had expected anything else. He was really going to have to learn how to focus with someone else’s voice in his head. Not to mention a few times he hadn’t managed to stop himself from replying, and the poor girl sitting next to him probably thought he was crazy.
He never thought he would be relieved to leave class so he could go to secret witch headquarters so he could argue with the demon possessing him in peace, and yet, here he was.
“What do you think they’re going to teach us?” Lan Fan asked on their way to the antique shop. “Magic?”
He shook his head. “I don’t think so? I mean, we’re not witches, so we can’t use magic, right?”
Still not sure you ain’t a witch, kid, Greed said.
“No, you shut up. I’m mad at you,” Ling said.
“Because you’re being annoying!” he exclaimed. “God! Just be quiet!”
“What’s he saying?” Lan Fan asked, leaning over. “Isn’t he always annoying?”
Ling sighed. “Yeah, pretty much.”
No, you’re just easily irritated.
“And he thinks I’m a witch,” he said. “Which is stupid.” There was no way he was a witch. True, he didn’t exactly know a lot about witches, or magic, or any of this, really, but he assumed that you had to be born a witch, not learn it. And he sure as hell had never used magic in his life.
But Lan Fan seemed intrigued by the idea. “Why does he think that?”
Ling shrugged. “I don’t know. Something about my soul being too powerful to be a regular human’s.”
Yeah, it’s fucking weird, Greed said.
“Not that I want to give that prick anything that might even resemble a compliment,” Lan Fan said, “But don’t you think he’d know what he was talking about?”
He gazed down the street, eyes narrowed. He supposed Lan Fan had a point there, even if it still didn’t really make sense to him. “Alright, so say I kind of believe you, about being a witch. Why haven’t I ever done magic before?”
How should I know, dumbass? It’s your life, not mine, Greed said.
Ling really didn’t know what he had expected from him.
“Care to tell me why I’m here, Mustang?” Ed asked, clearly not happy about being pulled away from whatever he happened to be working on that day. “Al and I were trying to track Lust back down before the trail goes cold.”
Riza frowned. As talented and powerful as the brothers were, she wasn’t sure she liked the idea of them trying to take on one of the Seven on their own. Especially not Lust. She loved to play with her kills before ending them.
“I have some questions about that roommate of yours. And the girl that’s always with him,” Mustang said.
Ed’s eyebrows knitted together as he leaned forward. “What about Ling?”
Mustang held his hand out and Riza handed him the documents Fuery had given her earlier, detailing what he could find out about the pair. It wasn’t concrete evidence that they were witches, but it was certainly some interesting information.
“Do you think he might be a witch?” Mustang asked.
Ed was silent for a moment, before he busted out laughing. “Ling!? A witch?” He leaned on Mustang’s desk, shoulders shaking as he tried to contain his laughter. “Fuck no! There’s no way in hell!”
“And why do you say that?” Mustang questioned.
Ed finally stopped laughing, and his eyes narrowed. “What do you mean? That guy’s as normal as can be! He doesn’t know jackshit about any of this.”
“There’s a difference between knowledge and ability,” Riza pointed out.
He frowned. “Alright, obviously you’ve got a reason for asking about this. What’s up?”
“I think they might be witches,” she said. “I sensed that power from Lan Fan, and possibly from Ling, but I couldn’t be sure due to it being smothered by Greed’s own powers.” She gave Ed a hard look. “Which is why we need to know if you’ve ever felt or sensed anything odd about him.”
“Well obviously not,” he said. “I just swore up and down he was perfectly normal.”
“Now I know it’s not exactly your strong suit,” Mustang said. “But could you at least try to think of anything?”
Ed growled, but surprisingly didn’t fire back a retort. He stepped back from the desk. “Look, not saying you’re wrong, but there’s really nothing weird about him. And if you’re this concerned about it, you’ve got more proof than just Hawkeye’s feeling.”
Mustang handed the papers to Ed. “Fuery looked into them. And their families have ties to Xing.”
“Yeah? So?” Ed asked. “Lots of humans are probably related to witches distantly. It’s not a big deal.”
“True, but beyond that, there’s no records of Ling and Lan Fan existing. They have legal documentation, but that’s it,” he said. “Up until about a year ago, it’s like they didn’t exist.”
“What?” Ed demanded. “What the hell does that even mean?”
“We don’t really know,” Mustang said. “That’s the issue. How long have you known them? Have you met any other friends? Family members?”
Ed’s frown deepened. “Several months. And no, I haven’t. I know Lan Fan has a grandfather she’s close with, but I’ve never met him. Ling’s never really mentioned a family at all. So what, you think they’re leading some weird double life or some shit?”
Riza shook her head. “No. Definitely not. I would be able to tell if they were lying, not to mention their reactions to all of this have been genuine. No, something else is going on here.”
“Well I don’t know anything about it,” he said as he left the office. “But they should be here any minute so they can learn enough shit to survive.” He slammed the door behind him.
Mustang frowned. “I wonder if he’s ever going to grow up.”
Riza shook her head. “Well that was useless.”
He hummed. “Well, it’s not like we expected him to know anyways.”
“It’s still all very odd,” she said. “Xing is a large organization, but I doubt they would let witches just slip through the cracks like that.”
“Doesn’t Al work with a Xing witch occasionally? Maybe he could ask her about it…” He sighed. “It’s a long shot, with how many witches there are in Xing, but you never know.”
“Whatever happened, someone would have to be very powerful to pull something like that off,” she said. “If their memories and existence have really been changed…”
“I know,” he said. “We might have just landed ourselves in a very complicated situation.”
“Ling, are you a witch?” Ed demanded as soon as he stepped inside.
“Oh my god, Ed, learn to chill,” Rebecca called from her spot behind the counter.
“Jesus Christ, no!” he exclaimed. “I’m not a witch!” Why was everyone asking him that today? Since when had he ever done anything… witch-like at all?
Ed backed off, not looking entirely convinced, but he said, “Well… okay… if you’re sure.”
Thought you were actually going to entertain the idea? Greed asked.
“Yeah well, I did for a few minutes, and it doesn’t make sense,” Ling answered.
Ed rolled his eyes. “You have got to learn how to reply to him in your head.” He motioned for them to follow him. “Come on. Ling, you’re with me and Al. Lan Fan, you’re with Winry and Havoc.”
Lan Fan groaned. “Why can’t we ever do anything together here?”
“Because I have to handle Greed’s fucking incompetence,” Ed complained. “Besides, Havoc specializes in weaponry, which is what you’re going to have to learn to use since you don’t have magic,” he told Lan Fan.
Yeah, fuck you, too, half-pint, Greed muttered.
Lan Fan sighed. “Great.”
“Alright.” Havoc handed Lan Fan a small dagger. “We’re gonna go over the basics first, since I’m gonna assume you have no kind of experience with this type of thing.”
She shook her head. No, she had not, in fact, ever learned anything about sword fighting in her entire life. Though as she passed the little knife from hand to hand, she couldn’t help but be disappointed. “This is just a knife?” she said.
“Well it’s not like you can use witch or demon weapons,” Havoc said. “You don’t have power. They wouldn’t work for you.”
“Why not?” She turned towards the weapon rack Winry leaned against. Those blades certainly looked a lot more intimidating and useful than the tiny steak knife she’d been handed.
Winry picked up one of the small swords, and the blade glowed as she touched it. “You have to have witch blood and power in you for them to respond. I don’t know if you could even pick these up.” But she frowned, almost like she wasn’t sure of what she was saying. “Or they might even hurt you.”
“Here.” Havoc pulled a pistol out of the holster on his belt. “Try this.”
Lan Fan frowned, but took the gun. As soon as her fingers brushed it, she yelped and jerked away, staring at the mild burns flaring to life on her skin. “What the hell?”
“It’s a demon weapon,” he explained. “Only meant to be used by demons.”
She grimaced. “That’s stupid. And why the hell would you make something like that anyways?” What if they were in a situation where there was no demon around to use it? What then?
Winry placed the blade back on the rack. “We didn’t. Demons were created for battle. Their weapons appear with them.”
Havoc nodded and slid the gun back into the holster. “Had that my whole life.”
“Wait.” Lan Fan tried wrapping her head around what she’d just been told. “Okay, that makes no sense for a lot of reasons. One, so what, are you born holding a sword or some shit? Two, I thought you said you were old, why do you have a gun? Three, who owns all the other weapons you use? And finally, does that mean witches are born with weapons, too?”
“God you ask a lot of questions,” Havoc said.
“You can’t say something like that and then expect me not to ask questions!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms up.
“Well, to answer one of your questions, no, witches aren’t born with weapons,” Winry said. “We do actually make those. We got the idea from demon weapons.” She eyed the weapons rack. “Though I personally don’t like them. I don’t see the point in the constant fighting.”
Havoc sighed and pulled the gun out again. It began to glow, before expanding into a bow. “This is its original form, since I was created to be an archer. Hawkeye was, too, actually.” He held the bow out and pulled the bowstring taut. “But we don’t use bows much anymore, given the times. Guns are a bit more practical.” He relaxed the string and let the massive bow morph back into the pistol. “And even though we’re created with them, weapons don’t disappear when a demon dies. So all the other ones we use we pulled off corpses, basically.”
“That’s sick!” Lan Fan exclaimed.
“Well it’s not like they’re going to be using them,” he argued.
“Still!” She shook her head. “And that doesn’t explain where the weapons came from in the first place.”
Winry sighed. “Demons aren’t born, they’re made, by the original Seven.”
Lan Fan turned to Havoc. “Wait some you were literally made to be one of those guys’ archers?”
He nodded. “Wrath, specifically. Hate that bastard.”
“So that means Greed has created other demons?” she asked.
Havoc shrugged. “Probably. At some point. Never met any created by him, though.”
“But then who created the Seven?”
“No fucking idea,” Havoc answered. “No one really knows anything about the Seven. That’s part of the reason no one’s ever been able to take them down.”
Lan Fan stared at the weapons rack. Ling wouldn’t be safe until the Seven were either gone or dead. She walked over to the rack, eyes locked on a beautiful katana.
“Wait, what are you doing?” Winry demanded.
Lan Fan grabbed the blade, and it began to glow.
“We’re mostly going to be working on helping Greed get his power back,” Al said. “So you’ll probably want to give him control for this.”
Ling prepared to give control to Greed, but Ed said, “Wait a minute, I want you to try something first.”
Aw, come on, Greed complained.
“What?” he asked. Surely making sure Greed could defend himself, and Ling by extension, was more important than anything Ed wanted to teach to Ling.
Ed grabbed a small sword off one of the many weapon racks in the room. “Just hold this.”
“Uh… okay?” Ling reached out and took the sword, marveling at how pretty the weapon was. “Why?”
“Hawkeye was right,” Al gasped.
“Right about wh…?” His question died away as the sword began to glow. Faintly, at first, but the light soon became blinding. Ling squeaked and dropped the sword.
Greed began to cackle. Told you you were a witch.
Chapter 10: Step Ten: help them through a mental breakdown (terribly)
Once again, thank you for all the nice comments! They really do brighten by day, especially while I'm home for the holidays. Also, my dog will be okay, he's just on medication for a little while now
“I’m not a witch, though!” Ling protested, staring down at the sword with wide eyes. “I’m… I’m just not!”
“Eeeehhhhh….” Ed bent down and picked the sword up. “This doesn’t really leave a lot of room for argument. Only witches can make these do that. Why do you think I never let you touch all mine?”
“I don’t know, just to be a bitch?” Ling suggested.
Greed laughed, and even Al bit back a snicker, earning a glare from Ed.
“No, it’s ‘cause these things hurt regular humans,” Ed said as he waved the sword around. “You might wanna take this seriously.”
“I am taking it seriously!” Ling argued. “But at a certain point, all of this is just so ridiculous.” He sighed. “It’s just… so much…”
I’m not that bad, Greed grumbled.
“Maybe if you didn’t come ‘buy one demon, get fifty thousand life or death problems for free,’ no, you wouldn’t be, but!” Ling snapped. He pointed at the sword in Ed’s hand. “That doesn’t prove anything, because it doesn’t make sense!”
I think fifty thousand is a bit much, Greed argued. How about fifty?
“Now’s really not the time for denial or breakdowns,” Ed said as he rolled his eyes. “We don’t have time for it.” He tried to hand Ling the sword again.
He shook his head. “Uh uh, no. No. I’m not a witch!”
“Why are you so against the idea?” Ed demanded, narrowing his eyes. “This is really where you draw the line?”
“Well you gotta put it somewhere!” he exclaimed.
“He does have a point, Ed,” Al said. “This is a lot at once. Maybe give him a minute?”
Ed looked like he was about to argue, but he glanced at Ling again, and his expression softened, if only a little. “Yeah, whatever. I have to go talk to Winry, I’ll be back in a minute. Al, come on.”
Al offered Ling a small, reassuring smile before following after his brother, leaving him alone to stare at the rack full of weapons that supposedly only witches could use.
This could be really useful. Means we can use demon weapons and witch weapons, Greed said.
“Demon weapons?” Ling asked. “Are you kid—No, you know what, I don’t want to know.” He fell against the wall and ran his hand down his face.
If you’re going to have a breakdown, I want control. You can cry while I handle some other shit, he said.
“You are so insensitive!” Ling said. “And you can’t just say it’s because you’re a demon, because you know what, a lot of them seem really nice!”
Being nice never got me anything, he said.
Ling grit his teeth. “You know what, fine! Fine! You get the body!” He gave up control, forcing Greed to take over, who was too shocked to actually take over himself.
He was done! Done with all of this. Done with getting possessed, with learning about a giant secret society of witches and magic users. Done with learning he was one of said witches. If he just tapped out, he didn’t have to deal with it. Thanks to Greed, that was an option he had.
“Seriously?” Greed asked. “Didn’t take you for the cowardly type.”
Ling ignored him. He was tired of being treated like some exciting, brand new plaything for every demon and witch that came across him.
“Well, whatever. I don’t give a fuck.” Greed shoved his hands in his pockets and sauntered off to go bother somebody else.
Lan Fan chose not to focus on the glowing blade, or the fact that it didn’t burn her like Havoc’s weapon had. She swung the sword a few times, experimenting with it. The balance was amazing, and it felt so natural in her hand.
“That’s… Uh… You shouldn’t be able to do that,” Havoc finally got out. “Unless…” He glanced at Winry.
Winry gnawed at her lip. “Lan Fan… you’re a witch, aren’t you?”
She shrugged. “Guess I’d have to be, huh?” She didn’t understand it, didn’t know how something like that should even be possible, but… the proof was right in front of her.
The glowing blade didn’t leave much room for arguments.
“Not only that.” Havoc leaned forward, inspecting the way she held the blade, the way she moved it like it was an extension of her body. “You… have experience with swords.”
She shook her head. “No, I don’t. I’ve never touched a sword in my life.”
“You very clearly have,” he argued. “No one who’s never touched a blade handles it like that.”
“I haven’t even done anything with it!” she said.
Winry shook her head. “He’s right. You’re more comfortable with it than I am, not that that takes a lot, but still. The way you swung it earlier, you had to have learned at least something at some point in your life.”
“But that doesn’t make sense!” she argued.
“Kid, I don’t think there’s a lot about you guys that makes sense,” Havoc said as he lit up a cigarette. “There’s a lot to unpack here.”
“Hey, where’s that Hawkeye lady? I wanna talk to her,” Ling said as he stuck his head inside the room. No, not Ling, Lan Fan realized. Greed.
Havoc bristled. “Why?”
Greed stepped inside the room, and Lan Fan hated the energy that radiated from him. She hated seeing her best friend’s body being used like this. Ling never had such a smug expression on his face. It pissed her the hell off.
“I wanna talk to her,” he said. “About Lust.” Then he grinned as his gaze shifted towards the sword in Lan Fan’s hand. “So you’re a witch, too. You just get more and more impressive.”
Lan Fan growled. “Give Ling his body back.”
Greed shrugged. “Nah. Actually, he handed it over willingly. It’s mine.”
Winry sighed. “Nice to see you again, Greed,” she said before Lan Fan could say anything else.
He narrowed his eyes. “We met before, sweetheart?”
“Briefly. When you had that little run in with Ed about a year ago,” she said. “I can’t say it was a pleasure.”
“It never is with you witches,” he said. “Now seriously, where’s the gun chick?”
“I don’t know,” Havoc said. “Not here.”
“Alright, alright.” He gave Lan Fan another grin before he left. “Ling says hi.”
Lan Fan’s grip on the sword tightened. “I hate him.”
I did not tell her hi, Ling muttered. Why are you such an ass to her?
Aw, come on, it’s fun, Greed said. She’s easy to rile up. What do you think about her being a witch, too? Quite the impressive woman.
Ling didn’t reply.
Greed rolled his eyes. Was he really going to sulk over being a witch? Didn’t make a damn bit of sense to him. He might not like witches, but power was power. If the kid knew how to use it, maybe he wouldn’t be in this situation.
Any witches or familiars he encountered in the halls skirted around him, sending him wary or hostile glances. Not that he cared. If his powers were working the way they were supposed to, he wouldn’t be anywhere near this damned place.
It took a few minutes, but finally he found Hawkeye. He wasn’t fond of the demoness, not after shooting him like that, but from the looks of things, she was one of the most competent members of this organization, and one of the few he might not mind working with, in all actuality. “Hey, gun lady.”
Hawkeye frowned, and excused herself from the familiar she was speaking with. “I’ll talk to you later, Sheshka.” She took a deep breath. “What do you want, Greed? I thought you were working with Fullmetal.”
“Brat ran off somewhere,” he said. “Besides, I wanted to talk to you. Which of the Seven made you?”
She grimaced. “Wrath.”
“Ah.” Not surprising that Wrath would create such a focused individual. It also didn’t surprise him that his creations would turn traitor. From what he could remember, Wrath was an absolute bastard. “I don’t suppose you want to get rid of some of them. I was thinking Lust, since that bitch wants to stab me like that, but I could get behind Wrath.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
He grinned. “What, you really think I don’t know how to kill them?” He hadn't offered them the information at the beginning, because he wasn't sure if they would just kill him afterwards, but now that he knew they wanted to protect Ling, he was perfectly fine with telling them how to kill his bastard siblings. And besides, maybe it would get Ling to stop pouting if they started getting rid of the demons who wanted to kill them.
Her eyes widened. “What? How!?”
“Greed! Come with me!” Ed said as he came up behind him, before grabbing his ponytail and tugging him after him.
“You fucking brat,” Greed hissed as he wrenched out of his hold.
“Ed! Wait!” Hawkeye said. “We were talking!”
Ed grimaced. “You can talk later. Armstrong’s back, and she’s gonna kick all of our asses for deciding what to do with him without her.”
Hawkeye paled. “I’ll go get Mustang.” Then she raced down the hallway as quickly as possible without actually running.
“Who the fuck is Armstrong?” Greed demanded.
“The death of us all,” Ed grumbled as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Give Ling his body back. He can be weirdly endearing at times, not that Armstrong will care, but he also knows when to keep his mouth shut, which is a critical skill to have around her.”
“Oh, so I’m guessing she doesn’t like you very much,” Greed snickered.
Ed glared at him. “Seriously! Give his body back!”
I don’t want control back, Ling said, finally speaking up again. I’m protesting.
Whatever you say, brat. “He doesn’t want to.”
“What do you mean he doesn’t want to!?” Ed shouted “Ling! Stop being a dumbass!”
Ed tensed up, before slowly turning around. “H-Hey, Armstrong. What’s up?”
Greed eyed the blonde woman at the end of the hallway, who glared at Ed so fiercely he stumbled backwards into Greed.
Ling laughed. This ought to be fun.
Chapter 11: Step Eleven: teach them how to kill demons
Guess who actually plotted this out and finished an outline???? This bastard! And not only for this fic, but for several other ones as well! Like holy shit, fucking outlines??? Who am I???
Anyways, I hope you enjoy the chapter :D
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Olivier Mira Armstrong. The woman in charge of this branch of Amestris, a witch so powerful she could sustain two familiars, and confident enough to keep the rest of the organization off her back.
Ling didn’t know a lot about witches, but after being in her presence for just a few seconds, he understood the branch’s panic over her dropping by unannounced. She stalked down the hallway, fingers tapping the hilt of her sword as she approached them. “Fullmetal.” She towered over them, despite being a couple inches shorter than Ling. “Care to tell me why you’re cowering behind the undocumented demon hiding out in my base.”
“Ah, you must be the lady in charge here,” Greed said. “I knew it wasn’t that fire bitch.”
Maybe you shouldn’t antagonize her, Ling said.
Shut up. That was a compliment. Besides, I thought you were protesting, he snapped back, before flashing Armstrong a toothy grin.
She scoffed. “Fullmetal. Answers.”
Ed laughed nervously as he peaked around Greed. “You know, I think you’ll really want to talk to Mustang about that one. This was all his idea.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Really?”
Ed nodded. “Yeah!”
She grabbed the back of Greed’s coat, proceeding to drag him down the hallway. “Hey! Fucking watch it!” Greed snapped.
“It’s better if you don’t struggle!” Ed called.
Greed wrestled out of her hold. “All these goddamn witches… Shootin’ me, draggin’ me around. Just fucking ask!”
Would you actually do what they asked? Ling said. You’re kind of a prick.
Yeah, I fucking know, you’ve told me that a lot!
Armstrong laughed. “So someone did shoot you? Good. Although I am a little curious as to why they didn’t finish the job.”
“Maybe I have something of value to offer your pathetic fight against my siblings,” Greed sneered.
“So you are one of the Seven,” she said. “Greed, I assume. I had my suspicions, but I didn’t think even Mustang would be that idiotic.”
Ling frowned. So even in this branch of Amestris the leadership didn’t get along? How was this organization still functioning?
God, he hoped not all witches were this bad. What did that say about him, if he really was a witch?
Shut up, witches ain’t that bad, Greed said.
Huh? I thought you hated witches.
Greed sighed. Nah, I’ve just dealt with the shitty ones. I mean, you and your girl ain’t that bad.
Ling didn’t answer, still not sure how to reply to anything that Greed said that wasn’t an insult. Nor did he want to tackle being a witch yet.
Did that mean he had powers? What powers exactly? Despite knowing that Ed and Winry were witches now, he still hadn’t exactly seen them do magic. Just the warding and sigils and that kind of thing.
I tell you what though, Greed said. I’m looking forward to this chick fucking Mustang up. That bastard’s too damn smug for his own good.
Ling scoffed. You’re one to talk about being smug.
Lan Fan winced as she listened to the yelling coming from Mustang’s office. Most of it was about making important decisions without Armstrong being consulted. What wasn’t was about the stupidity of working with Greed.
Occasionally, Lan Fan thought she might have heard Greed say something, but he was… surprisingly quiet.
“Maybe we should wait to tell her that you two are witches for a while,” Winry said.
Lan Fan grunted and crossed arms, before sliding down in her chair. “Is she really the one in charge here?”
Winry nodded. “She’s actually really good at her job. Everyone respects her.” Then she frowned. “Well, some are just scared of her, but I don’t think she cares.”
“She’s hot,” Lan Fan said.
“Oh absolutely,” Winry agreed.
“She good with that sword?”
Winry nodded again.
“Damn.” If only she were a few years older.
“Trust me, I know,” she said. “But don’t worry about it. She’s very analytical and practical. Once Mustang and Hawkeye explain everything, she’ll come around. Though… she probably won’t be happy about being undermined.”
“Hey, Winry?” Lan Fan turned to look at the blonde.
“I just wanted to say thanks, for… helping us out,” she said. “Thanks for trying to explain, and all that kind of thing. I don’t know what I might be thinking or doing without you.”
“Oh.” Winry’s smile was soft, and warm. “Of course, Lan Fan. We’re friends. Of course I’ll help you.”
“Don’t you want to know how to kill the Seven?” Greed asked. “I was about to tell your lovely little familiar, before I was interrupted.”
Armstrong and Mustang froze, mouths snapping shut with audible clicks.
Ling couldn’t help but laugh. The pair of them had been at each other’s throats for the past ten minutes, trading witty, back-handed insults. Greed had just been standing in the corner, watching. Ling had to admit that it was kind of entertaining.
“What?” Armstrong demanded.
“Mmhm, yeah.” Greed nodded. “I was going to tell you how to kill the Seven. Provided my head’s not on the chopping block, that is.”
Mustang waved him off. “I already told you no one was going to kill you. Not while you’re possessing Ling.”
“Oh no, I was talking to her,” Greed said as he pointed at Armstrong.
She glared at him, eyes narrowed. “So this is why you kept him around.”
All of a sudden, Ling really wanted his body back, and began to regret being petty. He had no doubt this woman would kill them if she decided that was the best course of action. She probably wouldn’t lose any sleep over it either. He didn’t have a lot of faith in Greed’s self preservation skills. Hey, can I—
Nope, you dug your hole, now lie in it, Greed said. It’s my turn for a while.
“Well?” Mustang asked. “How?”
Greed crossed his arms. “Seriously, lady. Not until I get a guarantee that handing over this info isn’t going to end up with me dead in a ditch.”
Please be nicer when you talk to her! Ling pleaded.
“Fine,” Armstrong said as she stepped back from Mustang’s desk. “Until I deem you a threat.”
“Fair enough.” Greed pushed himself out of the corner and sat down in one of the chairs, slouching down in a really uncomfortable way. God, didn’t that bother him? “So to kill a regular demon, you just kill ‘em, yeah? It’s a little harder than you witches and humans ‘cause of the regenerative abilities, but if you burn them, cut the head off, completely destroy the heart, they’re done.”
“We know how to kill demons,” Armstrong hissed. “But your particular group just doesn’t want to fucking die.”
Greed nodded. “Yep, we’re some tough bastards.”
Wait, so you’re saying if you were a regular demon, Hawkeye shooting us would have killed us? Ling demanded.
No, she knew what she was doing. Just one shot wouldn’t be enough to kill any demon, even a really fucking weak one, he said.
“We’re aware,” Mustang said. “Short of throwing you in a volcano, I think we’ve tried just about everything.”
Ling thought Greed might have winced, but he wasn’t sure. “Yeah, see, the thing is we’re put together a little sturdier than the others, a little differently. But what we’re made from isn’t important—”
Ling wasn’t too sure about that.
“What you need to know to take down my bastard siblings, is that holy magic’ll do the trick. Holy magic, and a lot of it,” Greed said.
“We’ve tried holy magic,” Armstrong snapped as her hand went towards her sword. “You think we were too stupid to try holy magic against demons?”
Greed snickered and shook his head. “Then you didn’t destroy the cores.”
What’s holy magic? Ling asked.
What the fuck do you think it is? Blessed magic, light magic, whatever the fuck you wanna call it, the opposite of demon shit, Greed said.
“The cores?” Mustang asked. “What, like your heart? I once burnt Envy to a pile of ashes and he was fine.”
Greed shook his head. “Not heart. Right now, my core is in this kid’s bloodstream. It takes a lot to destroy it. You have to kill them, over and over and over.”
“So kill them over and over again with holy magic and eventually they actually die?” Mustang asked.
Greed shrugged. “More or less.”
“I’m considering trying it out on you,” Armstrong growled.
He rolled his eyes. “You won’t. My vote is you try it out on Wrath or Lust though. Maybe Envy. God, I’d love to put Pride six feet under but that’s a fucking suicide mission.”
Armstrong and Mustang exchanged a glance. “Alright, I’ll buy into this for now,” she said. “But if this doesn’t check out, we’ll figure out how to kill the Seven via process of elimination.” She drew her sword and pressed it against Greed’s chest. “And we’ll be using you as the guinea pig.”
Greed grinned. “Sounds good, sweetheart.”
Oh my god, you better not be lying! Ling hissed.
How many times I gotta tell you, I don’t lie, Greed said.
Armstrong scoffed, but sheathed her sword once more. “Get out, demon. I have some other things to discuss with Mustang.”
Greed got up, cracking his back in the process. “Sure thing. See you around.”
If your core isn’t your heart, what is it? Ling asked.
Greed sighed. Don’t worry about it, kid.
“Thanks again for this, Mei,” Al said.
Mei smiled. “Oh, it’s no trouble! Of course, I doubt I’ll know who they are. Xing is a very large organization, you know.”
He nodded. “I know. I’m not expecting you to. It’s just… might as well try, you know?”
She laughed, before quieting. “It is odd though,” she said as they opened the door to the antique shop. “I haven’t heard of any Xingese witches going missing recently though. Or at least, not any that would just turn up like this.”
“Hey, Al!” Rebecca called. “Oooo, who’s your cute little lady friend?”
Mei waved. “I’m Mei Chang! I’m with Xing, but I’m here to meet with Ed’s roommate, see if I recognize him.”
Rebecca nodded. “Oh, okay! I think he just got finished getting chewed out by Armstrong. He’s around here somewhere.”
Al winced. Armstrong, huh? That was rough. Thankfully, she seemed to like him, so he’d never been on the receiving end of her wrath, but he’d seen plenty of times how intense she could be.
“She wasn’t that bad,” Greed said as he sauntered into the room. “Actually I kinda liked her.”
Mei’s eyes widened, shock and confusion quickly taking over her features.
“Mei?” Al asked.
“Ling!” she exclaimed, bounding forward to grab his hand. “Ling, where have you been?”
“Huh?” Greed pulled his hand away and took a step back. “Who the hell are you?”
Mei’s shock shifted to anger. “Get out of his body! Give him his body back!”
“Woah, woah, Mei, you know him?” Al asked as he moved forward and rested his hand on her shoulder.
“Of course I know him!” she said, still not taking her eyes off Greed. “That’s-That’s—”
“Ling says he doesn’t have any idea who you are,” Greed said, before patting Mei’s head. “Sorry, kid.”
“Wha— Doesn’t know me?” Mei demanded. “Ling, I’m your sister!”
Even Greed looked shocked by that, and Al couldn’t believe that this situation managed to get even more complicated.
Me? Drooling over General Armstrong via Lan Fan? Absolutely. But I'm gay and that's how it be