Not too long ago, it had seemed as if there wouldn’t be any two ways about it. Ed would be coming back to Xing with him, even if Ling had to drag him there himself. It would have happened, but looking at Ed now, in the dark hospital room where only the moonlight from outside showed Ling the new bruises and scars that covered his lover’s body, he highly doubted that Ed would be leaving with him to Xing any time soon, if at all.
It wouldn’t have been such an issue, the Emperor wouldn’t press the matter of Ling’s failed mission, and he should return home before his father passed away.
So now, Ling had two options. He would either leave Amestris with Ed or without him. And, truth to be told, he really didn’t want to wake the sleeping beauty on the bed, much less ask that beauty to continue being his lover and leave with him after what Greed had done. After what Ling had done. He doubt Ed would ever find it in his heart to forgive him, Ed was Ed after all.
The decision was much easier than Ling would have thought. It was the best for the both of them. He would leave for Xing alone, with not even his dreams of becoming Emperor to keep him company, and Ed would stay and recover. Alphonse had his body back now, and the homunculi had been pushed back and weren’t a big threat at the current time. Ling was sure Ed would continue to live without him. Though that thought stung a little.
His fingers brushed over Ed’s flesh arm, as he said his goodbyes. “It was fun while it lasted, but I am afraid I must be going. So this is goodbye.” His fingers found Edward’s hand, and he gave it a quick (and very gentle) squeeze, before standing up and turning to make his exit out the window behind him.
It was then that something unexpected happened. Edward woke up. Ling heard a weak, hoarse growl that sounded like a dying animal’s last retaliation, and turned back just in time to see the arm he had been caressing earlier flop helplessly at Ed’s side while his golden eyes glared up at Ling.
Ling gulped. This was what he had been trying to avoid.
Then Ed spoke, Ed, whose vocal cords had just about been ripped out by Greed, spoke in a voice that was small and cracking. Ling could barely hear him as he said, “Come here.”
Whether it was out of love and devotion, or pity, Ling did as Ed asked. He sat in the small, wooden chair that waited by the side of the hospital bed for visitors. He felt Edward’s eyes on his; they drilled into him, burned holes in him. He looked away. It wasn’t as though he could say anything, because it wasn’t really fair. Ed could barely speak, nonetheless do his usual bout of ranting and raving. Which only left them with an awkward silence that neither had been aware of until now.
Ed’s arm jerked again, and Ling jumped as Ed’s hand grabbed the sleeve of his black over coat. It wasn’t the alchemist’s usual death grip, in fact, Ling was shocked because he barely felt Edward’s tug. But he had felt it, and he followed as Ed tugged him down, closer. Ling’s head was closer to Edward’s chest; he could feel Edward’s heartbeat along with feeling his lover’s hot breath on his neck. Ed’s hand still gripped his coat, and he felt that grip tighten as Ed said, “Don’t you even think about leaving me again.”
There was a definite threat in that statement, Ling’s toes curled at how menacing Edward could be even bedridden and sick, but there was also a ridden desperation in the statement, and it was then that Ling felt as though his own vocal cords had been ripped out of his throat. Breathing became hard, and his heart sank to his toes.
Greed had taken them both away from each other for nearly half a year, and no he had just announced his leave. How could he be so cruel?
Ed wanted him to stay, after all that had been done; Ed was- in a way –forgiving him. The chances of them being lovers again were slim, but now Ling had a bit of hope, and if Edward told him not to leave, then he would stay.
He didn’t even dare to look out the window behind him, where he was sure Ran Fan was waiting anxiously to leave. Instead, he pulled up the same wooden chair as before, and sat in it, while at the same time he found himself petting the hand that clung so desperately to him. With a smile, Ling said, “Wouldn’t dream of it.”