Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever (no matter how many stars, 11:11's, or four leaf clovers I wish on), own thee characters. Pat Rothfuss does. Lucky him...
Ben whistled as he prepared for a long day at the inn. Ever since the roads had become safer once again, his inn had become busier than ever. He started by wiping down the counters and warming up the stove. It was startling how quickly he had fallen into this lifestyle. Ben had always thought of himself as a traveler. He was not meant to stay in one place, though after meeting Lyra, who was now his wife, he had changed dramatically. 5 years ago, if they someone had told him he would be married and settled down by now, he would have questioned their sanity. But now here he was, entirely domesticated.
After he had left the Ruh, Lyra and him had been swept up in a whirlwind romance and were married by the spring. Ben took over the business, and soon their little brewery was one of the most prosperous inns around. He was content with his life, but he often reminisced about the days when he used to travel the world. He missed it, the sense of adventure, the feeling of danger chasing at your heels and the thrill of not knowing where you'll be sleeping at night. Sure the loneliness was hard to bear on some days, but more than often, there was a straggled traveler or a traders group to share the roads with. And after he joined with the Edema Ruh troop, well, his life had been a constant source of amusement.
He often thought fondly of Kvothe, the little E'lir, and compared him with his son, Kevon. Kvothe was one of a kind, he was sure of it. He would grow up to be someone great one day. Though it had been 6 years since they last saw each other, he never ceased to wonder what had happened to the boy. It was like a constant nagging he had at the back of his mind, always wondering. Every time a troop came around, he would hope against hope that it would be his. But it never was. He often entertained the idea of Kvothe making it to the University. How would he do there? He was like a bright, unpolished diamond amidst a bed of coals. Though standing out quite dramatically, there is still quite a lot of work left to do until he was ready to shine.
The faint sent of something burning wafted towards him from the ovens. The pies! The pies they had left over from the night before had been left in the oven, and he had forgotten to take them out before warming up the ovens! His musings forgotten as the duties of innkeeper clouded his mind, his thoughts were left unfinished and his questions were left unanswered, as they always seemed to be with anything concerning Kvothe.
Kevon ran up the road, towards the Inn with his friends were hot on his heels. After a long day of helping out on the fields, they were all looking forward to a cool cup of apple cider that Ben always makes for them on days like these. He seemed to know what they needed, whether it was a word of advice or something to drink. Kevon could barely remember a time before Ben. Ben was his father, in every sense of the word except that he was not his blood. But that didn't matter a lot to them, what mattered was that Ben was the one he ran to when others made fun of him, the one he asked for help on his homework, and when he felt lonely? Ben was there. Ben had always been someone he could trust and Kevon didn't want that to change. Ever.
As they burst through the doors of the inn, Kevon saw that look on Ben's face again. Before, he used to see that pondering, thoughtful look on Ben's face almost every day, but as the years passed, Ben wore that look less and less. Yet whenever Ben was alone or when Kevon asked Ben a question about his past, that look would re-emerge. Kevon had his theories, of course he did. But he was scared to ask Ben. He was scared that whatever made Ben smile ever so softly like that would also take him away from Kevon. And he didn't want to lose Ben. So he kept his mouth shut, and pushed the questions to the back of his mind.
Kevon paused by the door. Should he interrupt Ben's thoughts? But it was already too late. Ben had seen them.
"Hey kids! I have some freshly made cool apple cider ready!" all the kids crowded towards the bar, dropping a copper penny onto the table as they collected their drinks. Kevon hung back and waited for all the kids to move away. The inn wasn't as busy as usual, so he hoped that Ben could teach him some stuff.
"…Until this point, barter was the most common method of trade. Some larger cities coined their own currency, but outside those cities the money was only worth the weight of the metal. Bars of metal were better for bartering, but full bars were inconvenient to carry." As Ben rambled on about the history of currency, Kevon tried his best to look awake. But after another 10 minutes, his eyelids began to droop and his head started the slow process of falling forwards.
"Hey! Am I interrupting you?" Kevon jerked up, now wide awake. Ben was scary when he was mad. Kevon peered at Ben. Ben was smiling. Kevon released a sigh of relief.
"No, it's just, you went over this weeks ago, can we please learn something new?" Ben smiled and was about to reply when that look appeared on his face again.
Though he had never before asked Ben what he was thinking about when he seemed lost in his thoughts, he was insanely curious. This time, he couldn't hold back. The words burst through his mouth before he could stop them.
"What were you thinking about Ben?"
"What were you thinking about Ben?" Ben looked up at Kevon, the shock visible in his eyes. Was he that obvious when he got lost in his memories? Ben started to panic. What would he say? That he missed freedom? That he missed travelling with the troop? That he was reminded of Kvothe by that simple statement? In the end, he went with the latter
"Nothing. You just reminded me of a student I used to teach"
Kevon looked down, shrugged and continued to bug him to move faster with the lesson. For some reason, Ben was slightly disappointed that Kevon had dropped the question so quickly. He would have made Kevon laugh for hours with anecdotes about his times with the troop. Like that time when they were doing a play for the city of Tebant, Trip accidentally mixed up the makeup containers and everyone had to act with a blue face. He chuckled at the memory.
Kevon turned to look at him weirdly. But sighed and went back to his work a moment later. Clearly he was used to the oddities that Ben sometimes displayed.
Later that night, as Ben was managing the bar, he heard a name, a name he hadn't heard in a long time from a snippet of conversation from Old Miller, the local gossip. He was telling a story to the others.
"And so Kvothe ran, chasing the beautiful Felurian in to the forest …"