Title: Touch
Author: Jordanna Morgan (librarie@jordanna.net)
Archive Rights: Please request the author’s consent.
Rating/Warnings: G.
Characters: Noa, Edward.
Setting: First anime. After Conqueror of Shamballa.
Summary: What she marveled at was the fact that he was freely willing to touch her.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I’m just playing with them.
Notes: Written for the prompt “ostracized from society” at Hurt/Comfort Bingo, as a wild card entry. I almost never write fanfic that accepts the events of Conqueror of Shamballa, but I have sometimes thought that Noa’s mistreatment by her own people would be an interesting point to examine. The prompt gave me an opportunity to do so.

 

Touch

 

What Noa marveled at about Edward Elric was not that he came from a different world, or that he had two mechanical limbs.

It was the fact that he was freely willing to touch her.

Fortune-telling was a familiar stock in trade for the Roma; but at least for others, there was nothing supernatural about it. Those who practiced the art relied on keen observation and psychological tactics, drawing out clues about what their customers wanted to hear, in order to tell them exactly what would please them. They merely play-acted the part outsiders expected of “Gypsies”… yet they knew nothing about the ugliness and pain that truly lurked in so many people’s souls.

The fact that Noa could glimpse it—that she could merely touch another person, and see the dark hidden things inside them—was disturbing and threatening even to those who pretended to have such powers.

Noa had discovered her gift at a very early age: too young to comprehend that this ability made her different. She didn’t understand why other people would become angry or frightened when she revealed what she saw in them. By the time she realized it was safest for her to hide her visions, it was too late. She had become invisibly branded as a freak, treated as if she was somehow leprous and unclean.

So she lived in loneliness, shunned and isolated, even by her family… until the other daughters of her own household betrayed her, and tried to sell her to a mad German cult that wanted to use her gift for evil.

It was Edward who came to her rescue.

Even before she touched him, she knew he was different, too. Others of her world, even those outside her culture, would never have bothered to fight for her. In the eyes of most fair-skinned city dwellers like him, she was only Gypsy scum, looked on with suspicion and disdain.

But the eyes he looked at her with…

His eyes were a color she had never seen before, a sparkling yellow-gold like topaz. His face was beautiful, and his smile was sad, and he spoke to her with more kindness than she had known in years.

She confessed her gift to him. She didn’t really know why. She should have been afraid he would fear it and push her away, just as everyone else had.

Yet he only smiled with a rueful sweetness, and offered her his left hand of living flesh… and asked her what she saw.

Vast blue skies over rolling green hills. Deserts and forests and cities—but not soulless cities like the ones she knew. A thousand colors, just like his eyes, that were more alive than any in her world. Dimly-glimpsed faces that lingered in echoes of affection; and most vividly of all, an empty suit of armor with a gentle human soul.

And monsters and battle and blood… but those things were only shadows. Ed’s memory had pushed them to its edges, clinging instead to the beloved and beautiful parts of the world he had been torn from, and still dreamed of returning to.

Perhaps others there would not be afraid of Noa, just as Ed wasn’t. In that world, there existed already a power like magic: alchemy. Perhaps in a society that accepted such a wonder as part of its everyday life, her gift would be nothing remarkable by comparison.

Edward’s yearning for that place infected her. She thought she must have gone a little mad for a time, and when the Thule Society sought her out again… When she learned it was their intent to open a gateway to that precious world, and she weakened…

She wondered, afterward, how Ed could ever forgive her.

He did forgive her. Without a word, he touched her hand, and told her all she needed to know.

“…Let’s go home.”


© 2013 Jordanna Morgan