There was one thing that Edward had missed above all others during the time he'd spent in Central throughout the years.
It wasn't the wide green fields that he recalled from childhood or the heady smell of new grass. Nor was it the way he could walk for miles along the dirt of the roads near Riesenburg and not see another living soul. It wasn't even the fact that everyone knew his name in the tiny town in which he'd been born—his real name, and not just the title that the military had given him.
And the boy had missed those things, certainly—had felt a certain twinge of longing for the past despite almost reckless efforts to force himself ever-onward. But the one thing he'd most felt the lack of was something much simpler.
Because, for all the years he'd spent traveling from city to city, chasing after what many had called a futile dream, he'd missed the fall of night.
True night, and not one washed out by city lights. A night where the rise of the moon was pale and spectacular, where the tiny pinpricks of starlight crowded away the blackness and left a creamy trail in their wake.
Because the country sky at night, so clear and bright and perfect, held the memories of a half-dozen separate occasions from years gone by. The recollection of entering the little bedroom that he shared with Alphonse and seeing his brother already there, perched up on the windowsill as he peered out at the darkened world beyond.
The sound of a voice he loved more than anything in the world, hushed with awe: "Brother… come look." An expression he could barely see in the dimness of the room. "The moon's almost full." A small, soft hand taking him by the arm to urge him nearer.
Two young boys, crowded up against the glass of the window long past their bedtimes, peering up, mystified, at the inky vastness of the sky.
The memories dispersed with a touch—a hand on his arm. And the fingers were longer than they had been, the palm broader, but his brother was as warm as he'd recalled.
And in the silvery light that the moon shone down on the dirt road, Alphonse's expression was radiant.