Author's Note(1): I'm not entirely sure about the timelines, as I am all playing this by ear but I hope I get things right. Here are just important notes everybody has to consider before reading this.
Fullmetal Alchemist timeline – the story is set after the FMA movie, Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa. I just altered it a bit, making Alphonse stay in Amestris instead of him joining Edward in Germany. At least that way, it would give Ed another reason for him to find ways of going home again. If I am correct, both Ed and Al have an age difference because of the whole incident of Al getting his body back.
Sailor Moon timeline – this happens way after the Sailor Moon Stars series.
Author's Note (2): It's been ages since I updated this story! A thousand apologies. Life has been keeping me busy. I'm back in school, this time in Shanghai, China and things have been quite busy for me. I'm hoping to get back on track though, getting life into perspective and maybe getting back on the literary field.
As for this story, I'm looking forward to seeing the progress of the characters. I'm kind of giddy to see some action between Edward and Serenity. Though I'm hoping that I am able to keep the characters 'in character' as much as possible.
Thank you so much for your kind reviews, guys. So, for everybody's enjoyment, here's chapter four!
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters mentioned. All characters mentioned in the story are rightly owned by the creators.
It was a week before Serenity saw the Elric brothers again. Having not seen Al for the past week, the blonde deduced that the two brothers spent without a doubt the past week catching up on the lost years between the two.
"Hey, Serenity," called Al, as he and his older brother Edward walked down the hill. He hurried down the hill, leaving Edward behind. Grinning, he ran up to the blonde as she walked down her front porch.
"Hi boys," greeted Serenity, as both neared her house. Al ran up to her and offered her a brief hug.
"Hi," Ed greeted as he joined the two and watched his brother hug the woman. He faintly wondered how close his brother had become to the woman in his absence.
"Where are you two off to?"
"We're going into town," supplied Al, looking excited at the prospect of going to the market with his brother. "We're running low on food and Winry and Aunt Pinako are running low on bolts and other supplies,"
"Sounds like business is good for Winry and Aunt Pinako," said Serenity, as the three began walking down the path towards town.
"Where are you going, Serenity?" asked Al, noting that she was walking with them.
The blonde held up a wicker basket. "Need to buy food and I'm running low on milk. Some of your cats keep visiting my kitchen, asking for milk,"
"You should take care of all those cats you pick up along the way, Al. They can't keep running to our neighbor asking for milk," said Edward.
"It's alright, really," assured Serenity, offering Edward an easy smile. "They keep me good company,"
"They keep you good company to the point where they use up all your milk," pointed out Ed, as they rounded a corner.
"Sorry about all the cats, Serenity," said Al, looking a bit sheepish.
Serenity smiled and ruffled Al's hair. "Don't worry about it, kid,"
Silence lapsed over the trio as they walked down the worn path towards town. They passed green fields and small houses, and greeted familiar neighbors along the way.
"It's definitely been a while," mused Ed, while taking in the scenic view of the green slopping field with wild flowers next to them.
Serenity watched him taking in a deep breath and a small smile played on his lips. "Has a lot has changed since you were gone?" she asked politely, as Al walked ahead of them busy talking to a young boy who was also heading to town.
Ed shrugged and looked straight ahead. "Not much. But I think I really missed home,"
"Nothing beats being home, right?"
Ed looked at the woman next to him, and faintly wondered if he heard a hint of sadness in her tone, and nodded slightly. "Right,"
Serenity smiled, blue eyes shining. "But I'm sure you've seen a lot of beautiful places during your travels, right?"
Ed stuffed his hands into his pants pockets and shrugged, not really thinking too much about the places he had visited. They were more just pit stops than anything else. "I guess, I've been to a couple of nice places," he said as an after thought.
Serenity smiled. "I would love to hear of the places you've been to some time," she said, looking interested.
"Have you traveled around Amestris before?" asked Ed.
Serenity shook her head. "No, when I arrived I just settled for Resembool. I got a good deal for the house and that's where my adventure ends," she said.
"But before Resembool, where did you come from?" he asked.
Serenity shrugged, "Just around,"
"Around?" Ed looked confused.
"Around," Serenity confirmed, smiling sadly and turning away from the confused Elric brother. "We're here," she announced as they finally arrived in town, hoping to change the topic.
"Do you need help with your groceries, Serenity?" asked Al.
Serenity, under the still confused gaze of Ed, shook her head and offered the brothers a smile. "I can manage. Thank you for the company boys, but I'll be on my way now. I'll see you two around,"
And with that, she turned on her heels and walked down the cobblestone path of the town of Resembool. Her small form easily disappeared into the crowd and before long, the boys lost sight of the young woman.
"Serenity's nice, isn't she?" asked Al, as he and Edward headed towards the automail supplies shops.
Ed briefly looked over his shoulder, faintly wondering if he could still catch sight of the strange blonde. "She is. Though she's a bit strange," he noted, turning to Al. "Before coming here, where did she come from?"
Al shrugged, unsure. "She didn't say. She doesn't talk much about where she came from or her past,"
"Odd," said Ed.
"Serenity's really nice. She's been really nice to me, to Winry, Aunt Pinako and to everybody else. She looks lonely sometimes though, living alone in that house. That's why I always visit her, to keep her company," supplied Al.
Ed nodded, he silently was thankful that the young blonde woman was around to have taken care of his little brother while he was away. "She doesn't seem like a bad person," he concluded.
Al beamed. "Nope, she's not,"
"Need any help?"
Serenity turned around, surprised, and nearly dropped the basket of apples in her arms. She stared at the older Elric brother, who somehow managed to creep up behind her without her noticing.
Before the filled basket could drop from her arms, Ed easily caught the wicker basket with his right hand and took the basket. He set the basket down on the grass and offered an easy smile to the surprised blonde. "I take that as a yes," he said.
"What are you doing here?" asked Serenity, giving Ed an incredulous look before bending down and picking up an apple that fell from the basket. Straightening, she sent Ed another curious glance before walking towards another apple tree and checking if there were any fresh apples that fell from the tree.
Ed shrugged and followed her, walking around the small group of apple trees that grew in the outskirts of the forest. "Al and I forgot to buy something in town yesterday, so he went back to buy some bolts or screws. Since he's gone, Aunt Pinako insisted that I should pick wild flowers for her table décor. Apparently, she picked up flower arranging as a hobby while I was gone," said Ed.
Serenity chuckled softly and turned around, leaning against the trunk of the apple tree with an apple in her hand. "Somehow I can't imagine seeing a grown man pick flowers," she mused.
Ed shrugged. "Me neither,"
Serenity rubbed the apple against her blouse, polishing it clean before deeming it clean enough for eating. Satisfied, she bit into it. "That still doesn't explain how you found me here," she said.
"While I was doing manual labor trying to pick flowers, I saw you walk into the forest. So I followed," supplied Ed.
Serenity walked past him and dropped two more apples into the basket, before deciding that she collected enough. "You shouldn't have. I'm keeping you from your manual labor," she smiled playfully over her shoulder before bending down and picking up the basket.
"Here, let me," Ed came up next to her and easily took the basket from her. "What are you going to do with all these apples? Bake an apple pie?"
Serenity chuckled. "Well, sort of," she said as they began to walk out of the forest. "I want to see if I can pull one off. My culinary skills are not that good, and since I've been living on my own, I need to improve or else I'll end up starving myself to death,"
"Is that what you usually do?" asked Ed, as they approached her house.
Serenity looked at him, confused. "Do what?"
Ed briefly looked at the basked of apples he was holding then offered her a smile. "Do experimental cooking most of the day?"
Serenity chuckled and opened the backdoor of her house for him. Just like the Rockbell's house, her backdoor lead directly to the kitchen as well. "No, I don't," she said. "You can put the apples on the counter, next to the sink so I can wash them later. Thanks,"
"So what do you do? Where do you work?" asked Ed.
The blonde faintly wondered where all these questions where coming from, but paid not much attention to it. "I sometimes babysit, sometimes I tutor kids, I do this, I do that," Serenity shrugged.
Quite honestly, she really did not need to work at all to earn a living. With the amount of valuables she had stored in her subspace pockets, she easily would trade off the gold and other precious metals she owned for the local currency. However, these were things the older Elric brother did not need to know. And besides, Serenity would admit that working was still a bit fun – back home she didn't do much work.
"So you babysat Al?"
Serenity gave it thought before shaking her head, chuckling slightly. "No, I don't think so. He just comes over when he gets bored or when I ask for help. He helps a lot when things go awry here or when things are broken. He's very good at alchemy," she supplied.
"He is," agreed Ed, while watching the blonde pull out two cups from the cupboard. She proceeded to heat some tea.
"Then again, I get the feeling that we sometimes babysat each other," she mused, putting to the kettle on the stove.
Serenity shook her head and smiled softly, expelling the thought. "It's nothing," Straightening, she smiled at Edward and changed the topic. "Al says that you are exceptionally good at alchemy. He idolizes you,"
While noting the change of topic, Ed grinned proudly and straightened. "One of the best," he puffed out a bit.
Serenity raised an eyebrow at the display and giggled, the sight was more endearing than being totally pompous. The kettle whistled, signaling that the tea was ready. Turning back to the stove, and leaving Ed in his self-glory, she picked up the kettle and proceeded to pour tea into the two waiting tea cups.
"Here," she handed him one of the cups and nursed her own.
Ed thanked her and silence fell upon the two as they drank tea. Serenity seemed too caught in her own thoughts, while Ed silently surveyed his surroundings being in the blonde's house for the first time. Her kitchen was small, slightly cluttered and surprisingly loaded with a lot of food for a small woman. From where he stood, he could see a bit of the living room and dining area, both were minimally decorated.
"Nice house," Ed cleared his throat, growing slightly uncomfortable with the silence. He watched her look up started being pulled out of her reveries.
"Thanks," Serenity offered a smile. "It's a bit big for me, but it serves its purpose as a house," She shrugged.
"I was wondering," said Ed, putting down his cup on the counter and watching the blonde. "How has Al been these months?" While not evident in his facial expression, worry shone in his golden eyes.
Serenity stared at him, slightly surprised. "Al?" she repeated. She faintly wondered why the sudden question but concluded that it might be because he was worried over his little brother and it had been months since his absence. That, and she faintly felt his guilt.
"You did spent a lot of time with him, I suppose," said Ed.
"I guess Al spends a lot of time here," mused Serenity. She shifted her body weight and leaned against the counter, placing her tea cup on the counter. "When I moved here, Al and Winry were the first people who welcomed me. From what I heard then, you recently left and both of them were rather sad about your departure, Al especially," she began.
Ed averted his eyes, guilty.
Smiling at him sadly, Serenity continued. "When Al felt lonely, he'd usually come here. And we'd just talk," she said. Looking at her teacup sadly, memories filled her mind. "I guess at some points, we helped each other in dealing with our loneliness,"
"You?" he looked surprised.
"This house is too big for me, Ed," she looked at him sadly. "Where I came from, it's hard to getting used to,"
"Where you come from?"
Picking up their empty teacups, she smiled sadly and turned her back to him. Placing the cups into the sink, she placed both hands against the sink and leaned against it with her back still turned to him. Looking out the window, she watched the trees sway outside. "Where I came from," she began. "I think, that's a story for another time," she sighed softly and blinked back the tears. Looking over her shoulder, she smiled at the intent blonde man. "Don't you think?"
Ed was stumped, but said nothing. He silently thanked the woman before him, for having taken care of Al for him, in his absence. But at the same time, he was left intrigued by her secrecy and the sadness that practically emanated from her. He was sure, he thought, she had her own skeletons in heir closet – just like him and Al.
Author's note: Please review! Thanks.