Ash twisted and turned in bed, his humiliating defeat against Brycen still plastered in his mind. As he lay contemplating strategies, he felt the temperature abruptly drop, signalling the start of another of Iccirus city's flash snowstorms. Pulling his blanket up to his chin, Ash felt an unexplained surge of excitement, knowing well enough what a snowstorm at night would mean. Sure enough, a few seconds later, Iris stood at his bedside, compulsively clutching a distraught looking Axew, and shivering violently. Ash mechanically shifted to a side on his bunk, and patted the empty space beside himself, which Iris promptly filled.

Sighing in irritation (or was it contentment?), Ash reminisced on when they'd first fallen into this routine. It had been the first night they had arrived at Iccirus city, the same day Ash had been pummelled by the city's gym leader. The night had been exceptionally cold, and he woke up in the night to Iris shaking his arm. She'd innocently asked if she could sleep next to him, and called him a kid when he'd hesitated, which was of course a sure-fire way to get him to accept. For several weeks before that night, Ash had been struggling with his feeling's for Iris, and having her use him as a teddy bear, worked wonders on his hormones. Since then they had slept like this on three different occasions, not a lot, but enough to ensure that Ash would spend the entire next day pointedly trying not to think about Iris's soft, warm body pressed against his own, and trying to ignore the knowing glances Cilan would give him.

Ash was broken from his thoughts when Iris gave another violent shiver. For a while Ash was tempted to wrap his arms around her, and coo gentle reassurances into her ear. He had to remind himself that this was Iris; strong, independent, wilful Iris, who had spent her life without a shoulder to lean on. At this moment, however, she chose to give a sudden sneeze, and the last of Ash's resolve abruptly faded. Wrapping his arms around her lithe waist, he pulled her close, and felt her twitch slightly. Expecting her to explode any second about how he was a pervert, and a total child, Ash was, to say the least, surprised when he felt her loosen up and practically melt into his arms. For a while they lay there, close enough that he could feel her now relaxed breathing, until he worked up the courage to do something that he'd fantasized about for weeks. Pushing his nose into her long thick hair, Ash took a deep breath, inhaling her scent, a mixture of fresh grass and pine trees, which reminded him of all things free and wild, like Iris herself. It occurred to him that of all the things he was and was not allowed to do to/with a girl, that Delia had lectured him about, this time of physical contact was pretty high on the forbidden list.

Once again Iris snapped him out of his thoughts, when she unexpectedly turned around, her massive chocolate brown eyes staring into his own with a hint of expectation (expecting what?). He awkwardly realized that their mouths were about an inch apart, and he had to resist the urge to plaster his mouth over hers. That last thought left him bewildered and more than a bit confused. Kissing was something that typically disgusted him to the core, whenever he saw it on TV or in a movie. Why on earth was he getting this yearning all of a sudden?

Yet again Ash was broken from his thoughts, this time by the first sound to grace Iris's (shapely, beautiful) lips all evening, not surprisingly, a frustrated sigh. Placing her hands on Ash's shoulders, Iris pulled him, if possible, closer to herself, in the process gently brushing his lips with her own. At this point bells were ringing in Ash's head, telling him to push her away, something made impossible by Iris's freakishly strong grip on him. What remained of Ash's drive disappeared, and he let himself, very aggressively, be kissed by her. After all, they exactly where he'd been fantasizing they'd be; in each other's arms. After she felt she'd suffocated Ash enough, Iris pulled back, a light blush tainting her cheeks, and snuggled her nose into the base of his neck, as if trying to bury into his throat. She sniffeled a few times, leading Ash to believe that she probably had a cold, and that by morning, so would he. Still Iris's Vulcan death cuddle was too difficult to break (not that he was trying, really).