Fullmetal Alchemist Fan Fiction ❯ Not So Distant Melodies ( Chapter 11 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Underneath It All 11: Not So Distant Melodies
 
 
Morning found both alchemists wandering around the same food court they had had lunch in the day before. They had just finished a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast when they came across five men all seated together but looking rather downtrodden. Ed studied them as they drew closer to the sad looking group and finally realization hit him. It was one of the groups from the contest. Ed leaned over to Roy and whispered, “I believe that’s one of the bands.”
 
Roy nodded, but before he could say anything Ed had strolled up to the men and struck up a conversation. There was no doubt in Roy’s mind that the young alchemist wanted to help them with whatever had them looking so melancholy. When Roy walked up to the table he heard something about an allergic reaction to wine, now the two singers of the group were out of commission and tonight was the final round of the contest. When he really studied the group, he noticed the two with the affliction were identical in appearance and dead silent.
 
“Can none of you guys sing at all?” Ed asked hopefully.
“I wish,” answered the dark haired man that had been telling Ed the tale. “Murray over there,” he began, as he pointed to a thin gangly fellow across from him and said man waved in response, “he does a few background vocals from time to time, but the rest of us couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.”
“Oh I see,” Ed replied.
“Do you think their voices will improve any at all by tonight?” Roy asked as he motioned toward the twins. With narrowed eyes, the twin with the short hair said a few words and even Roy had to admit he sounded horrible. There was indeed no way a voice like that was going to win anything tonight. Roy seriously doubted either man could even manage to sing if they tried.
 
“They were supposed to do a duet tonight because that’s the challenge the judges picked for the finale. So even if one of them did get better we would still be screwed.”
“What was in the wine?” Ed wondered aloud.
“Elderberry,” the longer haired twin croaked out, “Wine is usually made with just grapes but this one had blasted elderberries in it,” he finished hoarsely.
“I am so sorry fellows.”
“Yeah and we are in the number one spot too. Our whole town pitched in to get the funds together to send us out here because they believed in our talent. Now there’s no way we can get the third place rank we need to hang onto our lead and win this thing.”
 
Roy’s heart was really going out to the young men gathered at the table. He could only imagine how bad they must feel having come so far only to have it all come to a crashing halt over some berries. When he looked over at Ed the blond was rubbing his chin and thinking so hard Roy’s head hurt. A devilish look crossed Ed’s face before he excused them from the band and pulled Roy quite a few feet away. Roy didn’t know what Ed had in mind but he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to like it.
 
“I think we can help them Roy.”
“How?” Roy asked confused, “You know some medicinal alchemy?”
“Nooooo.” Ed replied as he drug out the word and began rocking back and forth on his heels trying his best to look innocent and doing a damn good job of it in Roy’s opinion.
“What do you have up your sleeve Edo?”
“We could sing the duet for them!” Ed answered in an excited whisper.
“We who?” Roy asked fearfully.
“Me and You of course.”
 
Roy backed away from Ed and began adamantly shaking his head no, “No dice, Edo. There’s no way in hell I’m doing that. What makes you think I can sing anyway?”
“Remember you told Al you were in the choir with Maes.”
 
Roy shot Ed a disapproving look.
 
“And besides that you sing in the shower, and at times when you’re doing crap around your house. Face it Roy I know you can sing.”
“Singing in the shower is one thing, doing it to win a contest is another, Ed”
Golden eyes looked at Roy pleadingly, “I know but I really think we could fill in well enough to get them the third place they need to win.”
“Ed…” Roy growled out.
“Oh come on it’s worth a shot, besides it would be ill of us not to at least try.”
 
Those beseeching golden eyes melted right through what little resistance Roy had when it came to Ed; and the General heard his own exasperated sounding voice say, “Fine Ed, we’ll give it a shot if the contest officials will allow it.”
 
Ed’s face lit up and he dashed back over to the group to run the idea past them. A few moments later, the dark haired fellow whom they found out was the drummer of the group named Josh and one of the twins sped off to track down the proper authorities. The rest of them went to where the band rehearses so Roy and Ed could begin to learn the song for the big performance.
 
* * *
 
Hours passed and both men were having a grand time with the members of Jade they were trying to help out. Roy was a bit reluctant at first but once he got comfortable behind the microphone, he was like a fish in water. The twin that had left with the drummer Josh had returned to say the judges said the substitution would be allowed as long as both the twins still did something during the performance. That was not a problem for Josh since he played bass guitar but his brother Noah was strictly the bands lead singer.
 
They were all distraught for a moment until Ed piped in and asked Noah if he played anything like the maracas or tambourine …something anything would do. His brother answered for him and croaked out, “He’s plays the harmonica.”
“Great!” Ed shouted as he grabbed some blank sheet music. He asked the band to play the song a few times and as they did so, he went to work writing in several parts for the harmonica. Once that was done they all put their efforts in trying to get it to sound good before the final show at eight.
 
Around six the pianist, Sherwin, stopped cold and said, “What about outfits for Ed and Roy? We are all dressed alike and it’ll look strange for them to be wearing shorts and t-shirts.”
 
Roy really hated to admit it, especially since they were all wearing dark green leather, but Sherwin had a point. Presentation was part of the package when you were trying to win something like this and the odds were already not in their favor. They needed no more obstacles in their way.
 
“Well,” Ed began as he stood and paced the room, “if you guys can find us the material we can make the outfits.”
“Two outfits in an hour and a half!” Mica, the other guitarist shouted, “How?”
“Alchemy,” Ed stated, “We’re no experts, but between the two of us I am sure we could manage.”
 
Roy had no idea how in the hell Ed managed to say that and keep a straight face. Ed just winked in Roy’s direction as three of the band members went in search of some material. They returned twenty minutes later with one of the guy’s spare outfits and an arm load of green vests, “We seldom wear the vests,” Noah squeaked out, “So I figured they would be the perfect things to use.”
 
After depositing the clothing on the floor, Ed asked if anyone had any chalk. He was surprised when Roy produced a stick from his pocket. When he handed the stick to a stunned looking Ed he said, “You never know what might come up,” Ed grinned at him and proceeded to draw two basic circles on the floor; as he did so Roy wondered how those circles were going to produce the outfits they needed. Ed looked up at him and motioned for him to get on the other side of the arrays. Roy complied and when he got down on his hands and knees Ed gave him a sly wink, smacked his hands together, and rubbed them as if he were revving himself up for the transmutation but Roy knew better. All this circle drawing was just a way for Ed to keep his cover. Not everyone knew what the legendary Fullmetal Alchemist looked like, but for him to transmute without a circle would be a dead giveaway even to the nearly oblivious. All of Ed’s posturing was also just a way for him to cover the clap of hands he needed, or preferred, to get things rolling. Roy also realized his presence on the other side of the circles was just another part of Ed’s elaborate ruse as well.
 
When Ed nodded at Roy, they placed their hands around the circles in unison and after a short flare of energy the pile of vests and spare outfit were no more. In their place laid two outfits identical to the ones the band wore.
 
A loud whistle rang out and when the alchemists looked up, the band members were staring in awe, “Nice job guys! That beat a trip to the tailors any day,” Murray said as he popped a stick of gum in his mouth. Everyone was mumbling in agreement as Ed and Roy picked up the clothing out of the circles.
 
With the excitement over, everyone decided to go over the song a few more times before they all left to change and head down to the park. Back in suite five, of Lou’s Inn two men swiftly showered before trying to work their way into some rather snug leather pants. After the pants were on, each of them slipped on a dark golden colored tank top and finished by pulling a green, button-less leather jacket over that. Roy hadn’t realized how close the tank tops were in color to Ed’s hair until the younger Alchemist had it on.
 
Ed started to fuss with pulling his hair back when Roy said, “Leave it down.”
“What?”
“You heard me. I’m voting for you to leave it down.”
 
Ed rolled his eyes and shook his head at Roy but made no more motions to pull his hair back. Roy noted that even after all these years Ed still had unruly bangs but it was something that made Ed…well Ed. With the outfit he had on, his long golden mane looked good down. The younger man really looked like he belonged on a stage. Roy on the other hand felt like he looked like a complete idiot; but he knew he’d come too far to back out now, “I still can’t believe I let you talk me into this, Edo.”
 
“Well believe it Roy, because we will be at the park and out on that stage in less than an hour.”
 
Roy sighed and stepped in front of the mirror. Once he got a good look at himself, he decided that he really didn’t look as bad as he thought. From behind him, he heard a soft whistle and when he looked at Ed’s reflection in the mirror the blond seemed to be looking down at something.
 
“Is something the matter Edward?” Roy asked as he cocked an eyebrow at the man’s reflection. Ed didn’t respond right away instead he kept his eyes trained somewhat down and began rubbing his chin.
 
“You know you should wear leather more often, it really does wonders for your, uh… physique,” He said with a smirk.
 
Roy could feel the heat rise in his face as he realized Ed had been standing behind him staring at his butt. When he turned to face him Ed was already laughing and moving toward the door, “Come on we’d better get going before we’re late.”
 
* * *
 
When they arrived at the park, the place was crawling with spectators, press, radio announcers, and journalists. Backstage the rest of the band was already there tuning their instruments. Shortly after their arrival, the same host from the previous night announced the bands and things got underway. They were slated to be the fifth band up and when the fourth band took the stage they all started to get a bit nervous.
 
When the host called their name, all of them threw their shoulders back and marched on stage with their heads held high, despite the butterflies in their stomachs. Each one of the alchemists grabbed a microphone and took up center stage. The song had a very short intro before it launched into Roy’s part.
 
Say Say Say
What you want
But don’t play games
With my affection
Take take take
What you need
But don’t leave me
With no direction
 
As Roy sang, Ed stared prancing around stage and soon Roy took the hint and started doing the same. When Ed’s turn came up the blond faced the audience and he put every bit of charisma he had into his part.
 
All alone
I sit home by the phone
Waiting for you, baby
Through the years
How can you stand to hear
My pleading for you
You know I’m cryin
Oo oo oo oo oo
 
…and the audience loved it. Back and forth, the two went singing the duet getting into the whole performance more and more with every note.
 
Now) Go go go
Where you want
But don’t leave me
Here forever
You you you stay away
So long girl, I see you never
 
Before long, the two alchemists were back-to-back singing their hearts out.
 
What can I do, girl
To get through to you
Cause I love you baby
Standing here
Baptized in all my tears
Baby through the years
You know I’m cryin
Oo oo oo oo oo
 
The crowd was going crazy. Noah’s harmonica part was blending in perfectly with the tune, and the band never missed a note.
 
You you you
Can never say
That Im not the one
Who really loves you
I pray pray pray, everyday
That you’ll see things
Like I do
 
Roy would be slow to admit it later, but he was really enjoying himself up on stage. He felt alive with the energy of the crowd and he loved it.
 
What can I do,
To get through to you
Cause I love you baby
Standing here
Baptized in all my tears
Baby through the years
You know Im crying
Oo oo oo oo oo
 
* * *
 
Meanwhile back in Central Maes is listening to the radio as he tried to complete his ship in the bottle project. He hadn’t been paying too much attention to what was on until a familiar voice wafted out the little brown speaker box on his craft table.
 
“Gracia come here! Come quickly, you’re never going to believe this but Roy’s singing on the radio!”
 
Thinking her husband out of his mind and imagining things, Gracia Hughes had a retort on the tip of her tongue as she entered the room until she too recognized the voice. Sure, it was possible they could both be mistaken but even she didn’t think so. She had heard Roy sing so often at military functions and gatherings when she first met Maes that she was certain that was his voice. It had been a while since she’d heard it, but she was still certain nonetheless. Gracia was about to ask a question when another unmistakable voice came through. By this time Maes was all but in knots with laughter, “I would bet the farm the other voice belongs to Ed love.”
 
All Gracia could do was stare wide eyed. She was dumbfounded. She couldn’t wrap her mind around how the two of them ended up on the radio.
 
* * *
 
Once the contest wound down and it came time to announce the winners, Ed, Roy and the members of Jade were on pins and needles. They just needed to place third in order for Jade to hold on to their lead in points and take home the grand prize; the prize being a sizeable amount of cens, an interview and cover shot with some big time magazine and a recording deal. The host walked back on the stage and thanked all of the competing bands and told them that regardless of the outcome they were all winners for making it this far. After his speech, a bouncy blonde woman came out on stage and gave him a sealed envelope. He opened it and after his eyes scanned the enclosed paper for a few moments before he stared announcing the bands that placed starting from third.
 
There were only five bands left at this point and when the third place name came out of the hosts lips it wasn’t Jade.
 
Second place for the night was announced and that wasn’t Jade either.
 
At this point, all of them were pretty sure they could hang it up. Ed had started giving his, I’m sorry we didn’t help as much as we thought, speech when the host screamed, “…and the winner of tonight’s round, as well as the contest, is none other than JADE!”
 
The band was so awestruck Roy had to shove them to get them moving toward the stage to get their hard earned and well-deserved prize. When they took the stage, the crowd leapt to their feet and cheered so hard nothing else could be heard. Once they were presented with their trophy, award and cens Murray took the microphone and gave a little speech of his own. He thanked everyone from their entire hometown, the audience, and the judges then last, but not least, he thanked the groups’ impromptu singers for the duet and waved Ed and Roy up on stage.
 
By this point in time, the crowd was yelling encore and the host said, “You heard your fans fella’s. What are you waiting on?”
 
The band members looked at Ed who in turn looked at Roy. When he shrugged his shoulders and said, “What the hell,” they all took up their places and gave the audience what they were screaming for.
 
Ed had never pictured Roy to be as comfortable center stage as he appeared to be at that moment. Ed himself had never performed in front of a crowd so large. Sure, he was on stage at Fidel’s on a regular basis but that was just a small pub in the middle of an even smaller town. This was an entire park in a major city jammed full of people. It was exciting as well as nerve wracking, but in a good way. From the moment, they set foot on stage Ed could feel his blood rushing through his veins. His heart was pounding in his ears and his adrenaline was pumping like no tomorrow…it was a rush and he loved every minute of it.
 
There was a nice sized celebration after the concert so by the time Ed and Roy got back to their room they were beat. They had had a great time but they were exhausted and they had to leave tomorrow morning headed toward B’Lina.
 
* * *
 
Bright and early Wednesday morning found first Lt. Heymans Breda walking into the office in Central with his usual load of newspapers from the surrounding cities in hand. Being the strategist that he is his superiors thought it money well spent to keep the officer informed with what was going on around him. Shortly after he took a seat behind his desk, Havoc strolled into the office, coffee in hand.
 
“Welcome back. How was the trip to your mothers?”
“Was nice, and as per usual she was excited to see her family’s only war hero.”
 
Breda chuckled and shook his head. Jean’s mother always did dote on her eldest son, “Have you heard from the Boss?”
“Not directly but I did get a call from Hughes this morning saying that he had come back from Resembool prematurely and was now on a road trip with the Chief,” Jean responded with a furrowed brow. He didn’t get to explore that thought further because the rest of their office mates began filing in.
“Wonder what happened to bring him back so soon?”
“Who’s back so soon from where?” Fuery asked with squinted eyes as he cleaned his glasses before placing them back on his face.
“The Boss,” Breda responded.
“Not sure, but from the tone of Hughes voice I take it something went wrong,” Jean said in response to Breda’s earlier question.
“Damn, I hate to hear that,” Breda said as he opened one of the many papers on his desk, “The Boss seemed so excited about his trip home.”
“I know and now to be stuck with chief stick in the mud I’m worried he’s not having such a great time. I wonder what kind of business they had to handle that required a road trip?”
“Hey the Chief’s not that bad,” Fuery cut in, “besides maybe it’s not a business trip at all, the Lt. Colonel is still officially on vacation.”
“True but the Chief isn’t,” Jean said with a triumphant smile. He didn’t want to entertain the thought of his Ed on a leisure trip with Roy.
“He was as of Monday,” Riza replied never bothering to look up from her paperwork.
“Oh,” Jean said as he sifted through his inbox, brows knitting together once again, “Well I hope Roy doesn’t bore him to death.”
“Uh…I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that. I think they’re both having a grand time,” Breda said causing all of the occupants of the office to look over at him in wonder.
“What makes you say that?” Falman asked, thereby voicing the question they all had in mind.
 
Breda didn’t answer he simply held up page four of the East Grinstead Times for everyone to see. Gasps rang through the office as all eyes fell upon a rather large picture of Ed and Roy back-to-back with microphones in hand, while on what appeared to be a stage with several other men no one recognized. The title above the photo read, Jade Wins the Second Annual Music Contest. Below the large picture of the two alchemists were several other photos as well as a column detailing the event.
 
Riza found herself blinking in shock. She had wished the two of them well once Maes had told her of his plans to get them on the road together; but even in the best of the scenarios playing through her mind she would have never seen this coming. A soft smile settled on her face as her eyes took in the looks on their faces in the photo. There was no doubt in her mind that the two were having some well-deserved fun. Especially after what Maes had told her about Ed’s unfortunate time in Resembool. Happy with the turn of events she went back to work.
 
Fuery on the other hand had made his way over to Breda’s desk wanting to read the article as soon as the larger man was done with it. Once the strategist handed to him, large dark eyes scanned the article greedily. When he was finished, he sought to hand the paper to Jean, assuming he wanted to read it as well. When the blond officer declined, Kain shrugged his shoulders and handed the paper back to Heymans.
 
Breda had watched the whole exchange and found his mind a bit unsettled by the look on Jean’s face as well as his actions. Filing it away with everything else the strategist observes, he went back to reading his papers.
 
* * *
 
Wednesday morning in East Grinstead was filled with laughter as Ed and Roy packed their things before they checked out. Ed was in the midst of doing his best impression of the band members faces after the host announced them as winners, when a knock sounded at the door. Roy tried to stifle his laughter as he made his way to answer it. When he opened the door, an older man stood there holding a large basket filled with fruit, cheese and wine. Stunned Roy could think of nothing else to say other than, “Can I help you?”
 
The man smiled broadly, as he introduced himself as Lou, the inn’s owner, and handed Roy the basket, “The redheaded young man that paid your inn tab early this morning dropped had this with him and asked me to deliver it to you once I thought you were up.”
“Uh…thanks,” Roy said still somewhat confused.
“Not a problem,” Lou said as he turned to leave, “I hope you boys consider staying here next time you’re in town.”
 
Once the man disappeared down the hall, Roy shut the door and sat the basket on the table.
 
“Did I hear him right when he said someone paid our tab?” Ed asked as he eyed the large basket of food.
“You did indeed,” Roy replied as he plucked the card out of the basket, opened it, and read it aloud.
 
Ed and Roy
 
We know what little we’ve done could never repay you both for what your kindness and generosity has given us, but please accept it anyway. Thanks again and if you ever find your way to the outskirts of New Optain please look us up.
 
~Jade~
 
 
“Wow,” Ed said as he looked into the stunned face of Roy.
“I know how you feel Ed. This was very thoughtful of them.”
“I’ll say, well let’s not have their generosity go to waste,” Ed chimed as he plucked a wedge of cheese out of the basket, “Oh cool, Pepper Jack, my favorite!”
“I didn’t know you liked spicy foods Ed,” Roy mused as he lifted an apple out of the basket.
“Yeah I do to an extent; this cheese has to be on the top of my list of favorites though.”
 
The pair finished off their snacks and left Lou’s Inn headed for B’Lina. The trip was a long one and once they finally reached their destination, they were ready to get out and stretch their road weary legs. Ed was behind the wheel at this point and pulled into a rather busy looking fuel station and shopping mart. When they got out of the roadster, Roy asked the younger man if he had any idea how to find Levi. Ed shook his head no and said his only plan had been to ask around. Roy shrugged at this thinking that it wouldn’t be too hard to find a person in a town this size. Chances were everyone knew everyone else in the tiny town of B’Lina.
 
Ed made his way around to the fuel pump and began gassing up the car, seeing this Roy offered to go in and inquire about a place to stay and get some drinks. As Roy stood in line behind a rather brightly dressed woman that was talking the cashiers head off and a man waiting rather impatiently behind her, a voice behind him asked, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
Roy turned around and found himself face to face with the man him and Ed were looking for. Roy grinned at the ponderous look on the man’s face and said, “Just the man we’re looking for.”
“I am?” Levi asked with confusion written all over his face as he continued to search his memory banks for where he had seen the man standing in front of him. Just as Roy was about to introduce himself, Levi shouted, “Ah-ha, I remember now. You’re one of the officers that helped me out when I broke down in Central!”
 
Roy nodded as he moved up in line as the talkative lady had finally closed her conversation with the cashier, “Indeed I am,” he responded to Levi’s revelation.
 
“Roy was it?”
“Correct again.”
“I might not be as young as I use to be, but given a little time I find most things are still in here,” he said jokingly as he tapped his temple.
 
The previously impatient man in front of the dark haired alchemist paid for his bread and lunchmeat and moved on. Now Roy’s turn at the counter he looks out the window to see Ed holding up two fingers indicating what their fuel cost was. He told the rather bored looking cashier this as he sat the two drinks down on the counter. He rang up Roy’s items and gas then without so much as a nod he motioned Roy out of the way and began to ring up Levi’s items. Once both men had paid they walked out of the busy store towards the car.
 
“Look who I found Edo.”
“LEVI!” Ed all but shouted as if he had found a long lost friend, “What a coincidence, you’re just who we’re looking for.”
“So I hear,” Levi, replied as he smiled at Ed, “What brings you boy’s out here to the sleepy town of B’Lina?”
“We’re on a road trip of sorts and figured we would stop in and see how you are faring,” Ed answered as he shut this gas tank of the car.
 
The two men made small talk with Levi for a while before closing their conversation and offering him a ride home.
 
Along the way, they asked him where the closest inn or lodge was. Levi knew of a few places right off the top of his head but he then said if they were looking for a room, they were more than welcome to stay with him. They tried to refuse saying they didn’t want to impose on the man especially with no notice, but Levi insisted. He said he lived by himself in decent sized farmhouse on the edge of town. It was soon decided that the two alchemists’ would stay with him. They made a stop at a local market for provisions before following Levi’s directions to his home to settle in for a couple of days.
 
* * *
 
The stay at Levi’s was interesting for the two alchemists to say the least. Ed had insisted on doing most of the cooking as a way to exercise what he had learned from Gracia. This left Roy to do the odds and ends…like milking Cleo, Levi’s cow. Now Roy didn’t consider himself a city boy by any means but he wasn’t necessarily comfortable enough with nature to be milking cows either. However, pride and ego can bring even the greatest of us to our knees, so when faced with the task Roy strode off without seeking any advice. As he strolled through the field with bucket in hand he thought, how hard could it be?
 
When he approached the innocent looking creature, his confidence grew. Cleo stood there chewing leisurely on some grass as Roy got down on one knee and placed the bucket beneath her udders. Cleo never missed a beat chewing so Roy simply grabbed an udder and pulled.
 
Before he could react, the once docile animal jerked to the side and kicked out with her hind leg. The next thing Roy knew he was flat on his back staring up at a pale blue sky.
 
Despite the lesson, this should have taught him, Roy remained undaunted. He sat up, dusted himself off and got to his feet. He walked back up to the bovine to try again. When he did the cow didn’t so much as spare him a backwards glance, before she lunged forward pulling Roy off balance resulting in him landing face first in the field.
 
Roy grumbled to himself as he got up on all fours spitting out grass. When he stood this time, he glared at the cow as he rubbed his chin. He needed to figure out what he was doing wrong. After a few moments of contemplation, an idea hit him and he approached the cow again. This time he petted the creature and spoke soothing words to her as he reached for an udder for what would be the third and final time whether he got the milk or not. This seemed to do the trick, as Cleo held still and in a few minutes Roy had the milk Levi requested.
 
Roy was all but strutting as he made his way back to the farmhouse shoulders squared in triumph. He was whistling a happy tune and swinging the bucket holding his liquid prize. When he walked back into the kitchen, the other two men froze in mid conversation.
 
“What in the hell happened to you?” Ed asked sounding shocked.
“From the looks of things he had issues with Cleo,” Levi said, as he looked Roy up and down, “have you ever milked a cow before today?”
 
Despite his best efforts not to, Roy flushed furiously. That was answer enough.
 
Seeing Roy that embarrassed had Ed hiding a snicker behind a fake clearing of his throat as he suggested Roy clean up before he sat down to eat. Roy wasted no time getting out of the kitchen and down the hall to the closest bathroom. Once inside the small wash room one look in the mirror told him why they were so shocked at his appearance.
 
Roy had a mud streak running the length of his forehead, his nose was beet red, his hair was full of grass, and his shirt was dirty as well as crumpled. With a sigh, he opted to leave the room in search of new clothes. At his current level of disarray, he figured it would be best if he just took a shower.
 
When a clean and changed Roy came out of the shower Ed was putting something in a serving dish and Levi was setting the table. It smelled heavenly and if the smile on Ed’s face was anything to go by the blond was pleased with how his cooking endeavor had turned out. Roy tried to help Levi with the setting of the table but the older man refused his assistance by saying, “You have done your duty my good man, and judging from the way you looked when you came in you put forth more effort than either of us.”
 
Roy could feel the heat flooding to his face and Ed’s cackling in the background did not help at all.
 
* * *
 
During the three days Ed and Roy spent at Levi’s they slept until naturally waking, both men spent many hours reading , talking, touring around the town and taking walks around the farm as Levi told them stories of his youth and travels. When it came time to head out toward Hayden neither man was ready to leave the peace and serenity they had found in Levi’s little farmhouse on the outskirts of B’Lina.
 
Regardless they said their heartfelt goodbyes, promised to visit again and headed for their final stop before returning to Central.
 
 
 
 
Insight
Slightly Out of Tune