Brock frowned at the two teenagers. He couldn't believe Ash was so naïve. Certainly Paul have been fooling him again, telling him he's sorry and stuff, and Ash foolishly believed him. His delusive words have put a veil above Ash's eyes so he couldn't see the deception hidden beneath them. Brock was about to rip off this veil and show his friend the truth.

Ash watched him approach him, mouth slightly open. He had never seen Brock so angry before, boiling inside him, ready to burst. He felt Paul's arms fall from around his waist.

"Why did you get back? Brock said scornfully, looking at Paul like he was a disgusting insect which must be crushed. "You think it's funny to play around with his feelings, don't you."

Paul looked several seconds at him, wordless. Then, a smirk blossomed into the corner of his lips. That moron was completely clueless.

"I…" he tried to explain himself, but Brock cut him off immediately. He misunderstood his smirk as a positive answer to his question.

"Do you even know how much he suffered?" he asked, his voice getting even louder, leaning more into Paul. Paul didn't back off, looking straight at the older man's face.

"I know, but…" Brock cut him off again. He was determined to keep him from saying anything that would poison Ash's mind more. He lied enough to him.

"But what? You were too much of a prideful bastard to soothe him. You were afraid that your pride would be smeared if me and Dawn would find out what's going on." Ash watched them in awe. What to believe? Brock was his old friend, he knew him since he was little. He knew he was wise and he was always right, but now he had a doubt. He was looking straight forward. He refused to recognize there actually was another part of Paul. He wasn't giving a second chance. And Paul. Inside him, he knew he meant it when he said he cares. He looked him in the eyes, and they were sincere. The feeling of their last kiss and the way he embraced him meant more than they meant before.

Right now, he didn't need Brock, or other friends, to take a right decision. "Brock, stop. Let him explain." Brock turned his head towards him.

"No, Ash. He had lied enough to you." Ash could tell Paul was getting more and more nervous. His left fist was tightened and his onyx eyes were looking fiercely at the breeder.

"But…" Ash began.

"Shut up, Ash!" Brock roared and Ash's eyes widened. What happened to his friend? He had never been rude to him or told him to shut up. His head dropped, looking blankly at the floor. He didn't like how things turned out. Everything went out of control and it was his entire fault. He should have never told Paul what he was feeling for him. He shouldn't have agreed to keep their relationship secret, without telling his friends. He knew from the beginning it wasn't going to turn out good. And look what it came to.

Paul's anger reached the maximum level. He may have expected Brock to not trust him, but he couldn't let him say anything bad to Ash. In a brief second, he pushed the breeder hard.

"Don't say this to him!" he shouted. Brock stumbled backwards, taken by surprise. He regained his equilibrium and sneered at the Veilstone trainer.

"Huh? What about when you were calling him pathetic and things?" Paul stomped his foot into the wooden floor. He had lost his patience. He wanted to make that short-minded see the truth, listen to him, let him explain what was going on.

"For goodness sake, I'm sorry!" He exploded. "I'm sorry for everything I said to him, I'm sorry for making him feel bad, I'm sorry for everything I have done! Are you happy now?" he shouted angrily, gesticulating hotly. Brock stared at him.

"What did you say?" he asked, like he hasn't heard the screams which almost shook the windows of the Pokémon Center.

"I said I'm sorry." Paul repeated, quieter now. Brock looked at him intensely, like he was trying to see inside his soul to see if he had said the truth, or it was just another lie.

"Brock." Ash said softly. "I trust him. I know he cares about me." Brock's head lowered. He felt a wave of guilt overwhelm him. Was it possible? Could Paul say the truth? Everything seemed so twisted, so wrong inside his head. But maybe he was the one misjudging.

"Then, I guess I have to apologize too." He said. Paul bit his tongue to prevent himself to say anything bitter to the breeder, but Ash just smiled.

"Don't worry." He said. "I know you are just trying to protect me." Brock nodded.

"Well, I have just exaggerated a bit." He stretched his hand towards Paul. Paul grimaced, but shook hands with Brock.

"Friends?" the former gym leader asked.

"Friends." Ash smiled. It was finally over. His arms wrapped around Paul's neck, his lips finding their way to his ones. They touched softly and both of the boys closed their eyes, enjoying every second of that wonderful moment. They were interrupted by a disgusted sound coming from the doorframe. They glared at Brock.

"Just one thing." He said. "Don't do this in front of me, okay?" Everyone burst out laughing, even Paul. He was, for the first time in his life, happy. He had finally found his place.

--

The End

I'm smiling like an idiot right now :)) I hope you liked it!

Tomorrow is my birthday!!!!!!! I'll finally turn 14 yay!!!! A review would be a perfect present :D

Until next time!

Bianca