Win or Lose

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It was that moment of quiet. The utter silence that follows or precedes a great event. For him, it was the conclusion, the finale to his small career. In a way it disturbed him, as if some great constant in the universe had been ripped out and the wheels left to spin just slightly off time. But that was familiar too, that constant, his self-proclaimed rival, was always unpredictable ...

So he stood here in the slight shadow of the doorway, awaiting the call to the podium and his prize -- another badge -- while everyone cheered and celebrated just outside. Something detached itself from the darker shadows behind him, the warm feeling of another's breath against the back of his neck.

"You win."

It was a whisper, just a tiny release of breath, more a sigh than a whisper, but he heard and accepted it. Reaching out, their hands touched briefly, fingers intertwining nimbly. He could feel the medallion caught between their bodies, oddly comforting even as it dug into the most awkward of places, comforting because it meant he was near, just beyond sight ...

"You let me win ... "

Soft laughter sounded in the stillness as lips brushed across his temple and teeth tugged at his ear, "Maybe ... maybe not."

And with that, his rival slipped back into the shadows, leaving behind only the memory and promise of touch as Ash stepped out of the doorway and into the light.

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By the River   |   Pokemon   |   Fanfiction