Title: Sewn Up
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Characters: Noa, Edward, Alphonse.
Setting: First anime, post-Conqueror of Shamballa.
Summary: Ed is the reason why Noa has to do a lot of sewing.
Disclaimer: They belong to Hiromu Arakawa. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Just a morsel of Ed/Noa fluff, written in part for the prompt knitting/sewing/crochet at Cotton Candy Bingo. As the plot of this ficlet required alchemy to be absent, it is one of my rare works that specifically follows the CoS canon.
Even removed from his native world and the power of alchemy, being a Hero of the People was still in Edward Elric's blood.
His gift for finding or simply attracting trouble was as uncanny as it had ever been. There were surviving remnants of the Thule Society, who still wanted to kidnap the Elric brothers for their knowledge. There were the mad scientists, with schemes ranging from ingenious to ludicrous, who they met while pursuing their own assorted avenues of research. And always, there were the common bullies and thieves they simply had a way of stumbling across. Day in and day out, it seemed there was constantly someone in Ed's path who needed to be forcefully taught the error of their ways… and Ed still thoroughly enjoyed doling out such lessons.
Noa clearly understood this state of things long before she married Ed. The very first time she laid eyes on him, he was rescuing her from being sold into servitude—so who could better appreciate his heroism? She would never begrudge his aid to others who might be in need, just as she once was. Even more importantly, her perceptive gift allowed her to feel the goodness and courage of his heart whenever she touched him, and she loved that. She would never wish to change the noble soul in him.
There was really just one irritating downside to his penchant for thwarting villainy.
"Oh, Ed, not again," Noa groaned, as Edward and Alphonse came through the door of their apartment, looking decidedly the worse for wear.
The two of them—Ed in particular—looked as if they had just been violently introduced to a muddy puddle left by the morning's rain. Ed's clothes were stained with a number of filthy brown splotches. Three buttons were missing from his half-open shirt, and the right sleeve was split raggedly down much of its length, exposing the steel of his automail. By contrast, although a bruise was developing on Al's left cheek, his clothing had escaped with only a few damp, dirty streaks.
Ed quickly raised both hands in a helpless, apologetic gesture. "We couldn't help it! When we walked into the grocer's, we found a couple of those Lucarelli thugs trying to shake down the place. They didn't exactly like us telling them that was illegal and all… so we kind of had to take the discussion outside."
His devious grin betrayed the truth that he was not, in fact, very sorry at all for the stimulating exercise. Confronted with such gleeful mischief, Noa could only shake her head, rolling her eyes.
"And look!" Ed continued hastily in self-defense, pointing at the two paper bags in Al's arms. "Old man Gonzales appreciated it so much, he gave us our groceries for free!"
"Translation: he let us keep what got knocked off the shelves before we wrestled those guys out the door," Al corrected. "So, uh… you might want to wash the vegetables especially well."
Noa heaved a deep sigh—torn between the conflicting desires to kiss Edward breathless, and to knock him soundly on the head.
It wasn't the dust-up in itself that dismayed her. If the boys had been defending the grocer from the extortionist hoodlums who were trying to move into the neighborhood, she couldn't blame them a bit. Quite to the contrary, she wouldn't have expected any less of them.
All that really bothered Noa was that Ed went about these things in a way that made more work for her.
"Honestly, Ed. Of course it's wonderful that you helped Mr. Gonzales—and I'm proud of you. But… you do realize, don't you, that it's already the fifth time this month you've come home with your clothes torn up?"
Blushing pinkly, Ed dropped his gaze to his torn sleeve.
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry about that." Awkwardly he tugged at the torn fabric, as if trying to pull it over the visible steel underneath. "Those guys did put up a pretty good fight—"
"And yet somehow, Al always manages to keep his clothes in one piece," Noa pointed out archly.
Her husband's expression twisted indignantly. "Al doesn't have parts made of metal!"
"Not anymore I don't," Alphonse quipped.
Ed gave Al a simmering look, and he cleared his throat uncomfortably, moving off toward the kitchen with the grocery bags.
As his brother retreated, Ed turned back to his wife, with a look of much more earnest apology. "I really am sorry, Noa. It's just—fighting with automail can be a little rough on clothes. And… I guess, sometimes, I still kind of forget that I don't have alchemy to fix them with," he admitted sheepishly, dropping his gaze.
With that one glimpse of wistful vulnerability, the urge to smack Ed instantly vanished. Noa's heart melted, and she was almost overcome by her other desire; but she resisted the sudden impulse to take him by the shoulders and pull his mouth down firmly against her own. Instead she halfway turned aside from him, thoughtfully pursing her lips.
"Just because you can't use alchemy here, it doesn't mean Equivalent Exchange isn't still important." She eyed him speculatively, although she knew the gleam in her eyes would give her away. "If you can't stop doing damage to your clothes… Well, I guess you're just going to have to pay a price every time you need me to sew them."
Her lover caught on all too quickly. His brows shot up, and Noa was certain she saw a glimpse of amused anticipation in his eyes as he queried: "Oh yeah? …What kind of price?"
No longer trying to conceal her own crooked grin, Noa leaned close to his ear, and whispered exactly what she had in mind.
Ed twitched and made a small choked noise. When she drew back from him slightly, he stared at her for a moment, with his lower lip between his teeth and his wide eyes full of approving admiration.
"You've got a deal," he declared, a bit huskily… and without another word, he swept her into his arms, picking her up off the floor.
"Ed!" Noa gasped in surprise, instinctively trying to hold herself away from the muddy patches on his clothes.
His golden eyes danced brightly as they met hers, mischievous yet intent. The dark smile that spread across his face was more richly promising than any words could ever be.
"You should know by now…" he murmured against her lips, with a low and eager heat in his voice. "I believe in paying in advance."
As Edward carried her away, Noa was well aware that her first intentions had backfired. Offering him a bargain with such favorable terms meant she would only have more sewing to do from now on…
But just at this moment, she could no longer see any downside to that after all.
© 2014 Jordanna Morgan