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"Your eyes are quite beautiful."

In the seat across from Ling, Edward's gaze turned sharply toward his Xingian companion, the picture of shock and incredulity. The landscape sped by through the window Ed had turned from; the train rattled gently every few moments. "What?"

"Your eyes," Ling repeated tolerantly. "I think they're quite unusual, and beautiful."

"...Oh," said Edward, nonplussed, faint color brightening his cheeks. Then those beautiful eyes narrowed. "What d'you mean by that?"

Ling summoned up utmost patience from the depths of his royal demeanor. Really, he couldn't expect Edward to catch on quickly to something like this. "I don't think I've seen anyone else with your eye color in this country," he supplied, flashing his most princely smile and lowering his voice. "It's very becoming. A lot about you is this way."

Edward blushed in earnest, slumping lower in his train seat and crossing his arms –- not, as Ling might have expected, flailing into a rage about being complimented with a word commonly associated with women. He snorted. "Yeah, well, your eyes are squinty and weird. A lot about you is that way."

Ling frowned. A lot about him was squinty and weird? He was a prince! If he could find even one thing appealing about Ed then surely the other boy could find at least twenty things appealing about someone of Ling's position.

Ed must have noticed his pouting, because he let out a long sigh coupled with an eye roll. "Tell me again why the hell I'm traveling with you?" he grumbled.

Ling grinned. Perhaps his conversation attempts hadn't been for naught. "Because you enjoy my company?" he suggested, leaning in as Edward snorted again, gaze shifting once more to the window –- but the corners of his mouth were turning curiously up. "Because you are in need of my physical prowess?" Edward turned redder, tightening his crossed arms. Ling hopped out of his own seat and slid in beside the other boy. "Because you wished to be in the presence of my princely good looks?'

Edward laughed aloud at that one. "You wish, you freak!" he yelled, pushing Ling away with none of his usual fervor. This, thought Ling, was certainly curious –- that smile was still struggling for dominance on Ed's face, and his eyes, staring resolutely out the window, looked more amused than angry.

"Oh, I do wish," Ling said lowly, pressing forward again. Edward jerkily tried to turn as far away from him as possible. "Being in the presence of your commoner's good looks is the reason I'm traveling with you." That was a lie -– he was traveling with Edward to steal his leads on the Philosopher's Stone and immortality. He couldn't however, deny that being in the presence of Edward's attractiveness wasn't a perk.

"Screw you," mumbled Ed, embarrassed, striking out blindly with his elbow -– Ling easily evaded, and decided against holding Ed to that statement. "Who's a commoner, you ass?"

Ling snickered and leaned back comfortably, tucking his hands in his sleeves. The train rattled again.

"You really think I'm good-looking?" Edward breathed after a moment, almost inaudible. He was still turned away, but his posture was more relaxed; his chin rested on his metal hand. Ling took this opportunity to scoot closer.


Edward hid his obviously pleased smile behind gloved fingers. "You're all right yourself," he said, even quieter.

Feeling self-satisfied, Ling settled in for the rest of the ride. Perhaps Edward was able to catch on to this easier than he'd thought.