"I want for things… to always be like this."
Ash glanced over. Misty had abandoned painting her toenails, leaving one foot half-done and was staring vacantly into the campfire.
"Like this." Misty shifted her weight and turned to face him, resting her cheek on her shoulder. "Us. Travelling. Having adventures. Eating by a campfire, sleeping under the stars. Like this," she repeated. Ash smiled and stretched his arms behind his back.
"Yeah, this is the life! But you'd better make the most of it." He gestured out at the valley behind them. The nightlights of Blackthorn winked and wavered in the distance. "My last badge!" Misty made a non-committal sound in response and returned her gaze to the fire. Undeterred, Ash continued. "Yeah! You'd better get your cheerleading outfit out and prepare to bow at the feet of a Master!" Misty rewarded his cheek by sticking her tongue out and lay back against the grass, her shins and knees illuminated orange by the campfire, her torso and face in shadow.
Ash's upside down face loomed into her vision.
"What's up with you?" he asked, settling down at her head. "What's with the mood?"
"I'm not in a mood," Misty retorted, tiredly, closing her eyes to him. "I didn't mean to cause an argument. I was just saying." Talk ceased for a few minutes and she focused instead on the soft tearing noise as Ash ripped up clumps of grass and made a pile by her ear.
"I know what you mean, I guess," Ash finally said. "Plus, it's a bit scary not to know what we'll be doing in three months time."
"Oh, I know what you'll be doing," Misty smirked. "You'll be licking your wounds after being knocked out of the League in the first rou- hey!" She yelped and sat upright, brushing blades of grass from her face. Ash crossed his arms and stuck his bottom lip out petulantly. "Alright, I'm kidding, of course I'm kidding…"
Misty sighed and settled down cross-legged at Ash's side. After a second he unfolded his arms and leant back on them leisurely. Behind them lay the warmth of the fire, the stack of dishes left over from dinner, a haphazard pile of belongings and the clearing where the rest of their companions lay sleeping. Ahead the lights of Blackthorn flickered like a mirage.
"Well," Misty smiled, "at least you know I'm not going anywhere… I can hardly make it home without a bike!" Ash groaned and tilted his head back.
"Yes, I know, I know, I'm stuck with you for life," he grumbled good-naturedly. Misty's smile broadened.
"Well, I'm sure you could use some trainer winnings from the upcoming League battles to pay for a bike…" she pressed, teasingly. Ash smiled, keeping his focus on the skies.
"But then I would be lonely. And there would be no more nights like this."
"That's true," Misty said simply. "And I really like these nights on the road." She tilted her head up to match his and the two fell into a companionable silence, gazing up at the dashing of stars spreading over the sky as the night grew late.
o 0 o 0 o 0 o