Title: Warmth
Author: Jordanna Morgan (librarie@jordanna.net)
Archive Rights: Please request the author’s consent.
Rating/Warnings: G.
Characters: Noa and Edward, with a small appearance by Alphonse.
Setting: First anime. Set in my Tiesverse, when Ed and Noa are married State Alchemists.
Summary: Ed has a solution for Noa’s dislike of the cold.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I’m just playing with them.
Notes: Just a cuddly bit of Ed/Noa fluff. Written for the prompts sharing body heat at Cotton Candy Bingo, and furnishing the home at Genprompt Bingo.

 

Warmth

 

All things considered, winter was Noa’s least favorite season of the year.

That fact was first established in her youth, as her nomadic Roma family wandered across Europe. During the winter months, cold air seeped through the walls of the wooden vardo wagons in which her people dwelled, while heavy snow mired the wheels to halt their travels for days. Although Noa was accustomed to living in close quarters, she was also an independent spirit, and it became rather tiresome to huddle together with her siblings for warmth night after night. Food was scarcer as well, both for the Roma and their livestock. There were many days when Noa had gone without, in order to leave more for the younger children.

After her fateful transformation into a dhampir and a hunter of vampires, Noa became immune to extremes of temperature. It was one of the few positive points of her condition; but in her mind, she was painfully self-conscious of the new kind of cold that resided in her own undead flesh. She did everything possible to keep her human Hunter comrades from touching her chilled skin, as if it would be a reminder to them of the taint within her. Even though they accepted and understood it, she couldn’t help but feel shame in bearing the physical corruption that forced her to draw sustenance from blood.

Even now, human once more, and living in an entirely new world on the other side of the Gate, Noa’s cordial dislike of winter remained. Its cold on her skin still reminded her of what she had been—and when the first snow fell, its whiteness dulled the vibrant colors she had rediscovered in the daylight that could no longer harm her. After years of living in shadows, she was hungry for the exotic brightness of her new home, and the intoxicating heat of sunshine. The coming of winter stymied those things she felt as if she had only just begun to enjoy.

She said nothing in complaint. Winter was simply another part of the natural cycle. In due time, it would pass, and the coming of spring would restore all the warmth and color she longed for. In the meantime, her duties as a State Alchemist were more than enough to occupy her.

And she had one other consolation, as well.

 

“I was thinking last night,” Edward announced at the breakfast table, on the morning after Central saw its first snowfall of the year. “…And I want to add a fireplace to our bedroom.”

Noa raised her eyebrows with interest. Outdoor campfires were a familiar part of her youth, but she had never lived in a building with a fireplace. Her only prior permanent residence was the Hunters’ headquarters in London, where the heating necessary for human comfort was provided by a mechanical air conditioning system. Still, fireplaces had always looked terribly inviting to her… and she did miss the smell of wood smoke.

Sitting across the table from Ed and Noa, Alphonse eyed his brother and sister-in-law before grinning slyly.

“Yeah… that sounds useful. Would you like some help with it, Brother? I’m free from Doctor Gregor’s lab for the day.”

For the next several hours, the two Elric brothers carried out an alchemic construction project. An ordinary work crew might have needed days for the job, piling up layers of bricks and mortar, and cutting a hole in the roof for the chimney to rise through; but with alchemy, the pair were finished before nightfall. Salvaged from a construction site, a heap of broken concrete chunks was soon transformed into a handsome fireplace of cream-colored brick, with a polished wood mantelpiece as a finishing touch. A few simple transmutations easily opened up the bedroom roof, and then sealed it closed again around the newly erected chimney.

Noa was more than willing to help—and also more than able, as a State Alchemist in her own right. Ever since her arrival in Amestris, she had worked hard to build strong skills on the foundation of knowledge she once absorbed from Ed’s mind. Yet when she offered to lend a hand, he only smiled and said that he wanted to do this himself… Well, except for Al’s help, of course.

So Noa contented herself with watching, as the new addition to their bedroom took shape. After it was completed and had been duly admired, the three went downstairs for supper and a quiet evening at home, as the sun set and the winter air continued to grow colder.

At a still-early hour, Alphonse yawned and excused himself, heading for his basement laboratory—after Ed admonished him not to spend all night lost in his research. It was advice that likely fell on deaf ears. When Al transferred his consciousness into his armor, his mind could work tirelessly while his body slept, and he lost track of time more often than not. He would probably still be rattling around down there at breakfast time.

As soon as they were alone, Ed extended his left hand to Noa, smiling mischievously. “Want to go test out the new fireplace?”

Noa very much wanted to, indeed.

Upstairs, in the bathroom that adjoined the bedroom, she brushed her long hair and touched her skin with light traces of perfume. Then she wavered briefly over the choice between her long flannel nightgown, and the little chemise of red silk that was Ed’s favorite. Already she could feel the snowy night’s chill setting in, and the flannel would be much warmer… but it was less than ideal for a romantic occasion. Besides, if the fireplace was effective, perhaps the chemise would suffice after all.

In short order, in her revealing scarlet silk, Noa padded into the bedroom. She found Edward sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, where a small but warm blossom of flames was already blazing. He was dressed only in his shorts, and his automail arm and leg were stretched out close to the hearth, permitting the shifting firelight to glitter brightly on the steel limbs.

He looked up at her, with a delicate smile; and when she saw the look in his eyes, her breath caught in her chest.

“I know you don’t like the cold—and everything it reminds you of. That’s why I wanted to build the fireplace.” In a seemingly absent gesture, he touched his automail forearm with flesh fingers. “I could feel you shivering a little in your sleep last night, and I got worried that my automail felt cold against you. And then I started thinking about the way Al used to warm up his armor for me on cold nights. And, well…” He drew his mechanical arm back from the fireside, flexing it thoughtfully. “I may not have as much metal to absorb heat as he does, but as long as I’ve got what I’ve got… I thought I could try to do the same for you.”

Tears brimmed in Noa’s eyes, and she flung herself at Ed. In the next moment, she was looking down at him sprawled beneath her on the rug, as he reached up to wrap his arms around her. The warmth of his body and his fire-heated automail poured deliciously through the silk that was the only thing between them.

“The rest of you is something much, much better than metal,” she half-laughed, leaning her forehead against his.

“The rest of me heats itself, anyway.” Grinning, he tilted his chin up to kiss the line of her jaw. Then he shrugged his steel shoulder. “Between that, and this, and our fireplace… I’m gonna do my best to keep you warm for the whole winter.”

Noa’s eyes sparkled. With an impish smile, she drew back from Ed, seizing his flesh hand.

“I think I can keep you warm, too,” she purred, as she pulled her husband up into their bed—deciding then that winter could be good for some things, after all.


© 2014 Jordanna Morgan