The Cures of a Gift
The gift of foresight never stopped being a curse.
When Noah had been little, her mother had often told Greek myths around the campfire– One such myth was of a Trojan Princess, Cassandra. She had the power to know what was to come, but to never be believed when she warned her loved ones of impending doom. She died like that, far from the home she was unable to protect. Alone, and unloved.
Noah's was a much slower death, but a death none the less. Edward had returned to her world. She remembered now how overjoyed she had been to see him clambering out of the war machine, followed in quick succession by his brother, Alphonse, whose nie-identical twin she had been cradling in her arms.
He had been dead. Shot down for aiding Edward. She had danced at his funeral. Different from the gift of Princess Cassandra, Noah's cure was, with a touch, to know the thoughts and fate of any man. Alfons Heiderich's thoughts and fate had ended. His touch told her nothing.
And now, many years later, she wondered if it would not have been better if she had died that fateful night as well. For the gift of foresight was the curse that kept on giving… just like human affection.
Like a poison with a flow but no ebb.
It injected itself into her mind every time they touched. How her heart had swelled to be touched, to be held, as Edward held her. Such warmth was hitherto unknown to her. She remembered the first time she had lain with him, remembered the rapture, knowing that he had returned to her, knowing that she was his and he was hers.
It had been a mere flicker that first night, his body pressed flush against hers. Had she not been so attuned to every new sensation she might have missed it altogether. A flash of blond hair, blue eyes, the faintest whiff of motor oil, and a pearl of laughter. Edward had grabbed hold of Noah's hips and buckled into his peak, words of love and adoration spilling from his lips. And she remembered for the first time in an age the name that Edward had whispered in his sleep the night that she had betrayed him to the Thule Society.
Noah wondered if over time she had grown an immunity to the poison or if it had tainted her from within. Either way, she was dying. And how Edward had tried to stopper it up, seal the flow, when even he began to realize what was transpiring. How he tried to fill his mind only with the warmth he had for her, his beautiful Roma. How he, in all the goodness and integrity of his heart, attempted to extract the venom of a snake that had coiled around them both.
And how it made everything all the more painful, for all of the carefully arranged fondness that she felt when she touched his skin could never equal the searing flashes of raw ardor he felt for the girl with the grease-smeared face and the laughing eyes. Even all these years later. Even a world away.
Noah remembered how, as time passed, she began to shrink away from his touch, as all those around her had always shrunk away from hers. She remembered when she demanded for the first time that he wear his mechanical arm and leg in their bed, so that in their intimacy she might touch nothing but full metal.
She remembered the pain, guilt and hurt that flashed through his beautiful amber eyes, so unlike any color in this world of hers, before mutely turning, and strapping the appendages on.
Noah now felt someone sink onto the side of her bed. The mattress creaked.
She opened her eyes blearily and looked up into her husband's face, filled with all of the concern and care that a woman could ever want– were she not cursed with a gift such as Noah's. They had lived a full life together, had many children, and had traveled much. They built a family together. Edward would most likely live on for many more years.
He resembled his father now more than she could ever tell him, though his beard had flecks of grey that Hohenheim never did. Carefully, painstakingly, without grazing her, Edward placed a hand on either side of the hospital bed, and smiled reassuringly down at her. She reached up a wizened hand and, for the first time in an age, placed it upon his cheek.
Astonishment washed over Edward's old and haggard face. His eyes filled with tears and fervently he took her hand into his own and kissed her palm again and again.
Touching and holding her in a way that no other man ever had. Overwhelming her senses with the fear he felt at losing her, the affection he had for her as the partner of his life and the mother of his children. She smiled through her own tears and, though she knew the consequences, she gripped more tightly onto his hand, wanting to hold it once more. She did this though she knew the visions would amplify tenfold in the act. Noah braced herself for what would follow next– for who always followed next–
All sensation left her fingers. She blinked up at her husband. Darkness was shrouding across her eyes. Realization struck her and the tears poured from her eyes afresh, into the many wrinkles on her face. The poison could harm her no more. The curse was lifted.
The sensation of touch had left her, as all other sensations would soon do. And with it, her gift had left her as well.
She closed her eyes and, holding to her heart all of the emotion and love that her Edward had passed to her with those gentle kisses, knowing now that nothing could pollute them ever again, Noah Elric passed from this world, her devoted husband by her side.
This story was inspired by the movie, "Conqueror of Shamballa," and the subsequent OVA, "Kids."