This was intended to be longer, but I have a headache and allergies are starting to get to me. I hope you like this! (Intentionally written for 3-Oct-10 day.)

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By the time summer rolled around, they were still in Germany, albeit the northern part, so it was an improvement in travel. They would have reached Denmark sooner but due to the lack of money they had, cheap and/or free transportation was little to none. Traveling by foot was their best option or hitching rides with travelers was good, but this was on a rare occasion. The gypsy they were traveling with had moved on, finding another group of Roma and decided to travel with them, making traveling for the brothers all the more easy. Not that Noah wasn't a joy to have around, more so she was slow and it was like traveling with Winry all over again. Constant stops and all was the real problem.

Edward sighed as he seated himself on his bed in the cheap hotel they were staying at. They had saved up enough money walking by foot for a two bed hotel room and still had enough money for food surprisingly. The hotel had seen better days with its rusted window latch and rotting door frames, not to mention its pealing wallpaper and dirty tiles in the bathroom. But it had warm water and a place to sleep, and that was really all that mattered. Alphonse didn't mind much, saying he was used to staying in bad places when worse came to worse whenever he was kicked out of inns and such. Edward had laughed, saying Al was becoming more and more like him every day. At that, Alphonse blushed.

The door to their room unlocked and Ed sat up straight as Alphonse entered the room with a smile on his face. Edward still wasn't used to seeing Al as 14 no matter how hard he tried. His face was still a bit chubby and he looked so young for a 14 year old. Every time Al left to get something somewhere, Edward waited for the telltale sign of clanking armor to determine whether or not Al was back. And having Alphonse now able to sneak up on him wasn't fun in the least. He had nearly had a heart attack the first three times when Al came home shouting, "Nii-san, I'm back!" The first time he had ended up on the floor by his suitcase. That was the day they had packed to leave, after they had decided they were going to find the Uranium Bomb. The second time had been a similar incident, this one ending with Edward on the floor in a defense position. Alphonse had laughed, claiming that Edward was "too jumpy for his own good." The third time had been when Edward was reading on the couch in another hotel room in Berlin. He had, accidentally, smacked Al with the book and Alphonse, as sensitive as anyone would be with a book to the head, had cried. Edward apologized profusely to him and after that, only jumped once or twice whenever Al walked in the door.

"Nii-san, I found some place to eat," he exclaimed as he closed the door, making his way to sit on the end of Edward's bed. The bed protested, giving a slight squeak with the weight of two people on it. That was another thing wrong with this inn: the beds weren't at all comfortable. They were dirty and slightly damp, and whenever someone sat on one, there would be a cloud of dust that made anyone within ten feet of it cough.

Edward got up and quickly moved to the other side of the room so as not to get a lungful of the choking hazard. "Ok, we'll eat as fast as we can and then come back and sleep. I'm tired as it is." He placed his coat on and opened the door, motioning for Alphonse to follow.

The pub that was serving said food was open late. At least, late enough that no one was really eating at it anymore considering it was ten till midnight. They had struggled with finding a low priced place to eat wherever they went and Alphonse had suggested that they switch off every other night and try to hunt for a place that was still open. It took hours sometimes and on occasions they wouldn't even eat. Those times were few, and when it did happen, they didn't complain at all, leaving them to revel in the times way back when they were traveling to find the stone. "Remember the time when . . ." It was always a time to tell stories on those few nights they couldn't get a meal. Alphonse was just happy to actually recall every memory he had.

The pub was decent with the actual bar separated from the dining area. It looked fairly new with its brick walls and forest green door with clean windows and sign that didn't look like some half-drunk blind man painted it. It was obvious that the person who owned it was rich and probably owned a few other pubs in some places. When the brothers walked in, it was like they were standing in a box with a door on the right wall and a door on the left wall, a staircase probably leading to a flat on the second floor in between. One door had the German word for diner on it and the other a word for bar. The staircase was darkly lit with only a dim light at the top of it.

The place wasn't quiet, but it sure wasn't as loud as any of the bars Edward had been to in his lifetime. The sudden screams of amusement and laughter made the brothers jump, sounding like something funny had caught the crowd in the bar's side of the pub's attention. Then there was a bang, like a person had hit the wall right by the door and suddenly, a girl came rushing down the dark stairs in an ankle length, long sleeve lavender colored dress, her polished and laced brown boots making a clopping sound as she hit the bottom of the stairs.

"What is up with all this racket?" she hissed, although her tone said she was slightly amused by it all. "I told Mr. Erickson that I was trying to study and to keep as quiet as possible." Her chestnut hair reached just below her shoulders and was tied in a messy ponytail with the hair draped over the shoulder. Her hazel eyes gazed with an expression that would rival the light. She looked to be in her late teens, maybe almost twenty, and she was rather skinny. Her eyes fell upon Edward and Alphonse standing motionless in the doorway, Al almost in tears, and she smiled in an all too familiar way and asked every so politely, "Can I help you with something? You two look like you could use a good meal. I'll get the chefs to fix you something right away."

She opened the door on the left and walked in, smiling back at them as if reassuring them that it was ok to follow her. She stopped abruptly in the doorway and looked back at them with a toothy grin and said, "Oh, how silly of me! My name is Patricia Elrick by the way. May I ask what your names are?"

The similarity was uncanny.

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Feedback is appreciated!

~HV Twitchy