There was nothing quite like an early summer night. The sun was setting and it was soon enough in the season that the heat was minimal. Blades of cool grass were still a deep green, and they blew gently back and forth in the light breeze.
Loud, clanking footsteps sounded in the darkening field, "Look at all of them, brother!"
A large armored figure ran about the grass, creating aimless designs as his form split trails in the tall stalks. His laughter echoed in the metal suit each time he beheld the small, quick flashes of light as they danced through the air and over the swaying meadow.
Behind him another man walked slowly, in contrast with the armor's jog. Draped over his arm was a red hooded coat, and over that hung a black long-sleeved jacket. A loose ebony tank top covered his torso and an opposing pair of tight leather pants dressed his legs, the ends of which extended into heavy boots.
Edward wiped stray hairs blown to his face by the wind with his hand; watching with a gentle gaze his younger brother swiping clumsy hands at bright floating specks. He placed his coat and jacket on the ground, slipping off his gloves as he followed; making a mental note of the location of his clothes.
"Brother!" Alphonse exclaimed, his hands clasped lightly together. "I caught one!"
"Cool, let's see him," Ed replied.
Innocent excitement had him bouncing a little as he eased his hands open. In his leather palm, a timid firefly sat; flashing his light slowly.
"Good job, Al, you got a good one."
"His light flashed the fastest, I could hardly follow him!"
Edward chuckled, "You always did go for the hard ones."
The insect began to move gradually across his fingers and Alphonse twisted and turned his hand to keep a path for the bug to follow.
After being with his brother for so long, Ed could tell almost instantly when Al's mood where changing. "Hey," he began with a soft smile, "what's the matter?"
Al looked down at the bug in his hand, "In the summer time, we'd always go out and catch fireflies. Their legs always tickled like crazy whenever they walked like this. Sometimes, if I stood still enough, they'd come up and land on my nose. The second they landed, they'd start walking again, which would tickle even more…and then I'd sneeze, scaring them off."
"Yeah…I remember that. You'd always get so dramatic when they flew off," the soft smile returned as he placed his hands behind his head. "Then I'd just ruffle your hair and hand you one of mine."
Al nodded, his soul smiling sadly at his memories.
That was something else Edward just knew; his brother may not have had a physical body, but he could tell without a doubt when he was smiling.
"Tell you what," Ed said, punching his brother playfully in the arm, "by this time next summer, there'll be so many fireflies on your fingers you'll be laughing for days."
Al turned to his brother, smiling again without a hint of sorrow in his soul.
As if on cue, the lightning bug flew off at that instant. They watched his light flicker quickly as he glided, then disappear within a large clump of grass.
"Aw…" Al mumbled, scanning the horizon uselessly for his departed companion.
Without a word, Edward turned to the field. He paused, taking a pre-pouncing stance, and then leaped into the air, arms outstretched. His hands cupped together when he touched down, "Al, lean down for a second."
"Hm?" the young armored alchemist complied.
Innocent excitement had him smiling when he eased his hands open. In his palm, a timid firefly sat; flashing his light slowly.
Edward kept silent as he placed the firefly meaningfully on his younger brother's metal shoulder. Then, using the other hand, he made a ruffling motion on top of his head.