By the River

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Bright sunlight filtered gently through the canopy, warming the air and casting brilliant shafts of sunlight across the clearing. Tiny butterflies fluttered unconcerned across the bright patches liberally blessed with wildflowers, the little babbling brook, and the shaded stone that sat beneath a ancient oak, cool with shadow and icy water of the brook.

Tentatively, almost as if it's owner was afraid, a hand pushed back the foliage to either side of the clearing and a face peeked out, scanning the clearing with uncharacteristic caution before it emerged, taking the rest of it's body with it. Now, the boy was impatient, tapping his foot and checking a non-existent watch constantly.

"Neh, not been waiting to long, have you?"

At the cheerful voice, the boy whirled, his impatient expression changing to a brilliant smile, "Not that long, where have you been?!"

"Well, you know women, can't get away when they're hell bent on making you stay around and admire them."

The boy rolled his eyes and clambered onto the stone, giving his friend a hand up. The next moment was filled only with silence as shoes were untied, socks pulled off, pant legs rolled up, and feet dipped into the water. They sat together comfortably, as if secure in the knowledge of each other's presence, in the assurity of company and compassion in the storms of life and time.

Brushing back golden brown bangs, the boys companion quirked a smile, "How many do you have now?"

"Six," was the prompt reply and the badges proudly displayed, "You?"

"Seven." Even though they knew the other's progress almost before it occurred, it was nice to walk over the well worn paths of conversation, adding another familiar marking on it with each passing.

"Always ahead of me."

"Gotta keep it surprising."

The boy rolled his eyes, the sapphire depths flashing with good humor. The other winked roguishly.

"As if you don't love a challenge." The boy's laugher was enough for his companion as they grinned at each other, equally amused. After a moment, the dark head turned back to contemplate the water, choosing his words with care.

"Meet in Cerulean City this time? The little café by the port?"

"Sure," his more-than-friend replied easily, "No skipping out on the bill this time. No gym battle is that important."

"Gary, Gary, Gary, me abandon you to the bill? Surely you jest!"

"Awww ... your all," a dramatic pause as the golden haired boy pushed his companion into the water, "wet!"

Waving his arms wildly, Ash tumbled into the little brook, becoming intimately aquatinted with the aquatic life. He pushed himself out of the water, spitting a minnow back into the liquid, to glare at the innocent looking boy still on the rock.

"Wet? Did I say wet? I meant sexy when soaked."

"..."

"You're real cute when you blush like that."

Whatever further discussion would have followed was cut off by Ash jerking Gary into the water and starting the water fight to end all water fights. Then the rock was not so cool and dry ... in fact, it got down right steamy.

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