High above, there was a half-moon hanging in the sky, and Edward glanced up at it before speeding his steps.

He had watched it rise through the window some three hours earlier, ignoring whatever extravagantly ceremonial bullshit the new Fuhrer had concocted in favor of watching the half-orb creep above the rooftops of Central. And though he suspected that Mustang would have a lecture in store for him about the length of his attention span—the man had only become more insufferable with higher rank—Ed simply hadn't been able to tear his gaze away.

Now, however, the boy simply wanted to be out from under it.

Because it was far later than it ought to have been, and well into autumn; his breath turned to fog as soon as it left his mouth, and the metal of the automail was becoming unbearably chill against his skin.

More than once already, Edward had regretted turning down the offer of a ride home, despite the fact that the little house he shared with Alphonse was nowhere near where Havoc lived—and even as he rounded the corner and the light in the front window became visible, he wished once more that he'd thought to agree.

Because he could have been home by now, Ed thought, irritated, and sped his pace once more. Could have been warm, and fed, and with his brother.

The last few steps to the doorstep were taken at something closer to a jog than a run, and he didn't so much as pause at the door, simply twisted the handle and pushed. It wasn't locked, of course—never was, when Al was waiting for him to come home from work—and so he let himself inside, the warmth of the room a welcome rush after the bitter autumn air.

Alphonse was sitting crossways in one of the low chairs that he'd reupholstered alchemically, a book open on his lap and a thick white mug balanced precariously on the armrest. He looked up as the door opened—glanced startled at the clock before realizing how much time had passed. "You're late."

"Fucking ceremony ran long," the boy groused, peeling off his jacket and letting it fall carelessly to the floor. "And winter's going to be a bitch this year."

"Oh?" Carefully, Al slipped a scrap of paper between the pages he'd been reading. "Is it cold out?"

"Freezing," Edward declared fervently. "And I'm hungry, and I missed you." The shoes came off next, one at a time, kicked to lay haphazardly where they fell.

"Brother," Alphonse pointed out, tone caught somewhere between amused and mildly reproving. "You're making a mess."

"Don't care," the boy huffed, and turned to face Alphonse. It took all of four steps to bring him to the chair that his little brother was occupying, and the automail hand closed around the mug's handle, setting it on the floor to avoid a spill.

"Brother," Alphonse began again, all fond exasperation, and opened his mouth to add more.

But by the time he got the whole word out, Ed had settled himself purposefully on the younger boy's lap, eyes narrowed in an expression that dared a protest, and the rest of what Al had meant to say was silenced quite effectively.

It wasn't a particularly long kiss, and the angle made it sloppy—but Ed threaded his flesh hand through short, fine bronze hair as he deepened the contact, and Alphonse had settled both arms around the smaller boy's waist by the time it had finished.

"Mm," Al said, as they pulled apart. "That was nice."

"I said I missed you, stupid," Ed explained, tone warm with lazy affection—bent his neck just slightly to nuzzle at the place where his brother's jaw met the line of his throat.

A single eyebrow quirked, infinitely expressive. "I love you, too, brother." The smile that played along the corner of those lips was full and teasing, beautiful.

Edward couldn't help himself; he leaned in to kiss it away.