((This is a rpg between two people))

Myeshin was a very busy city. Shops lined the cobblestone streets, where people and goods-carts vied for the space to move. There were no cars, horses, bikes, or any other form of personal transportation. Above the shops were apartments and studio spaces, and sometimes additional shops as well. The people themselves were many and varied, from native Dazains to fey and offworlders. The air above the thoroughfare was filled with tiny demi-fey and the occasional Caerus. Besides the crowds and the slight smell, there was a great din from so many people and ware-hawkers in one space. Noonday sun glared down upon the street, keeping only the small side-streets in shade.

One such offworlder was a man (though at first glance, one may argue that his gender was distinctly female), with a pretty head of purplish hair, golden eyes glinting in the matching golden sunlight. He had a suave air about his stride that carried his regal person with an impression of weightlessness, as if he were very well capable of taking off from the cobblestone street and joining the demi-fey in the sky. And, despite the diversity of the inhabitants (whether those simply passing through or those who actually lived there year-round), it was clear that this outlandish being was very new to the area, and of some as-of-yet unknown race. His character in its entirety was as-of-yet unknown to those who passed him by. But that would soon change, surely.

Slightly down the street and to the left, a dress-wearing person with short blue-green hair was arguing with a bread merchant over a baguette. Even indignant, his carefully crafted female persona remained in place, due in part to the fact that his voice had never broken. The high-heels on his feet gave him an extra inch or two of height, moving him from "unusually short" to just "short".

The stressed tones of the arguing customer and merchant snagged the golden-eyed stranger's attention. Though he knew that he had no business meddling with others' affairs, he couldn't help but be intrigued by the…small person's…seemingly animated character. He casually meandered up to the bread merchant's stand and stood behind the turquoise-haired being, towering over his (or was he a she?) short height. He politely cleared his throat, attracting the attention of the two. "Is there a problem?"

On cue, both the unhappy customer and the bread merchant looked at the stranger. The bread merchant said something like, "No, no problem," while shoving the baguette at the short person and shooing them both away. Frowning, the heel-wearing person stared dubiously at the baguette, then at the golden-eyed person.

Said person smiled warmly, though somehow still managing to give off a chilling vibe, and began to walk away. The turquoise-haired imp, baguette in hand, trailed after him, calling, "Wait!" The man stopped obediently and turned to face the smaller person as he shouldered past a brightly colored passerby, his high heels clacking on the cobblestone.

The golden-eyed one of the two extended his hand in greeting. "What's your name?"

The boy seemed confused at first, then shook his hand. "My name is Ashley, and yourself?"

"Iris. " Iris let his hand fall to his side and tilted his head inquisitively, sending a lock of purplish hair spilling down his shoulder.

Ashley grinned. "It's nice to meet you. Would you like some bread?" He offered the baguette.

"Likewise." Iris regarded the baguette with something akin to disgust. "Erm, no thanks."

Ashley raised an eyebrow at Iris's reaction. "Suit yourself." He tore a piece off as he began walking and glanced back at Iris to see if he was going to follow.

Iris idly glanced around the crowded area and shrugged. Hands tucked behind his back, he strode along on Ashley's heel. "So, what is there to do around here?"

Ashley swallowed his mouthful of bread before answering. "Almost anything. This is specifically the arty district, but there are many others. There are lots of good performances and classes, since all the famous people come here at least once, to say they have."

Iris hummed contemplatively, nodding. "Classes, you say? Classes on what, in particular?"

"Anything!" Ashley gestured vaguely with the baguette. "I took one on cooking curry, myself."

"Anything, hm?" Immediately Iris' mind was inundated with ideas, each more outrageous than the previous. "What about lessons on how to walk a tightrope?"

"Oh!" Ashley smiled. "I can do that. I'm sure there are lessons, or you could get an apprenticeship at a circus (that's what I did…)"

Iris cast the imp a sidelong glance. "Hm. No, I don't want to get an apprenticeship." He stared after a goods-cart that rolled by for a moment until it disappeared into the crowd, then added, "I don't work under people."

Ashley rolled his eyes. "Then how are you going to learn anything?" Like his name, Ashley's appearance was androgynous, bordering on girly. He had a pretty, youthful face, and eyes that were a mix of orange and blue-green. At first, second, and twenty-fifth glances, he appeared to be completely female, if a bit flat-chested.

Iris corrected the imaginary flaw in his perfect posture, feeling that his pride was somehow threatened. "I don't need other people to teach me; I'm perfectly capable of teaching myself." With that, he folded his arms resolutely across his chest, unintentionally tainting his regal demeanor with the faint impression of a sulking child.

Ashley suppressed the urge to laugh and smiled crookedly instead. "Your loss." In contrast to Iris, Ashley's mien was relaxed and at ease. He wound through the crowds with skill, violet summer dress swishing around his legs.

A glare lighted Iris's golden eyes, but it was fleeting. Something about Ashley made it inexplicably difficult to stay angry with the imp, he noted as he watched the shorter one weave around the people. "So," Iris said, "do you know where we can see some sort of musical performance?"

Ashley grinned at Iris as he walked backwards. "Sure! They're everywhere. What do you want to see?" The ease with which Ashley conducted himself in high heels was truly inspiring.

Iris eyed said heels curiously, before returning his attention to Ashley's youthful face and saying, "An orchestra, perhaps? Something with string instruments."

Ashley nodded, still smiling. "Sure, but what kind of music? Classical? Because you can do a lot of things with stringed instruments."

Iris nodded. "Yes, yes, I know. Well, I guess classical is good. We do have all day, right? We could always see other performances later." He smiled genuinely.

Ashley smiled in amusement. "Am I your tour guide? Anyway, regarding style, it actually might be harder to find classical in this city, but I'll see what I can do..." So saying, he turned around to be facing forward and glanced as far over people's heads as he could manage to scope out their surroundings. "There's a theater square some blocks away, and they're likely to have more options..."

Tour guide, Iris mused. It would appear so. Shrugging it off, he nodded. "Let's go, then," he said, and started in the designated direction.

About ten minutes later, after battling their way through the never-ending crowds, they reached their destination. Ashley climbed up on a fountain in the middle of the square and squinted around at the signs.

Iris also glanced around at the signs, until he realized that they were in some language that he couldn't read. Pondering on this for only a moment, he decided he'd have to learn the language one of these days. After all, he had a lot of time on his hands. He looked over at Ashley, who, with the aid of the fountain, was now on eye-level with him. "So?"

One of Ashley's eyebrows rose sardonically, as if to say "so what?" but he didn't say anything. His eyelashes were long and thick and purple, in contrast to his paler hair. His eyebrows were also a dark purple color, and there was a faint amount of makeup on his face. "Weeell, there is a symphony orchestra playing over there," he pointed, "and one could assume they'd be playing classical music."

Iris smiled, barely exposing white canine teeth that were perhaps a bit large by human standards. "Then shall we head that way?" He offered his hand to help Ashley down.

Ashley smiled graciously and accepted Iris's hand, stepping carefully down off the fountain and returning to his previous unfortunate stature. "We shall."

Iris let the imp's hand slip from his as they walked side-by-side towards the designated area.

The venue they had chosen had a gaggle of people standing outside it, waiting for the doors to open. Ashley led Iris over to the line for tickets.

Iris glared at a green-haired creature that pushed hastily past him as they joined the line. He ruminated the idea of starting a hit-list of sorts to eliminate all of those who annoyed him, but then decided it was a rather silly idea. He didn't have the patience to go around and do away with all of the many, many people who would find their names on his list. "How much are tickets?" he asked, then.

"Hmm?" Ashley glanced up from fumbling around in a little wallet, then shrugged. "I don't know."

Iris rolled his golden eyes. "Well, then..." He glanced around and noticed a sign. Blinking, he realized that there were several different languages scrawled across the poster, and in a dialect that he could understand, it said: FREE TICKETS. "Ahhah, well that solves that." He grabbed Ashley's hand again and pulled the imp through the line to the front, where they promptly proceeded into the area where the performance was being held.

Stumbling after his taller companion, Ashley shoved the wallet into some pocket and found his feet. The theater was of medium size, with many seats and some kind of shiny pipe acoustics.

Iris tried not to let the infantile personality that sometimes took residence in his head get distracted by said shiny pipe acoustics and found two empty seats up front, taking one and pulling Ashley down beside him. "Have you ever heard them play before?" he asked, gesturing to the stage where there were nearly thirty empty chairs and thirty-seven lonely stands situated.

Ashley crossed his legs comfortably and settled into his chair. "Not this one, no. I'm sure they're good though."

Iris hummed thoughtfully and tapped his fingers on his armrest. He wasn't a very patient man. Fortunately, the orchestra filed on not long after and prepared to begin. Iris smiled as the conductor raised his baton.

Iris's smile grew as he heard them play. "Yes, they are very good," he said, more than satisfied with the start of the performance.

Ashley nodded and smiled as well, settling back in his seat and closing his eyes.

All too soon for Iris's liking, the performance was over, the silence ringing through the audience a mere preface to the ardent applause that began to fill the air. Iris clapped along with the others, and he considered demanding on encore. But he then decided against it, seeing that this world was not his own, and he knew somewhere in his subconscious that he didn't even have a shred of the control he was accustomed to having. The likeliness that they'd perform again just because he requested it was minimal.

Ashley stretched and yawned as the applause died out and people began shuffling out of the building. He turned to Iris and quirked a brow. "Did you like it?"

Iris looked up at the sky briefly before answering, "Yes. Very much." He remained seated even as the rest of the audience began to depart to their respective destinations. Perhaps the reason for his remaining was that he, himself, had no such destination at that moment.

Ashley yawned again, appeared to consider napping on the seats, then stood and held out a hand for Iris. "Shall we off?"

Iris nodded and took the imp's hand, rising to his feet. "So where to next?" After watching that last performance, he was anxious to see what else this place had in store.

Ashley shrugged idly and led Iris along by the hand. "Are you hungry?"

Iris wouldn't admit it, but he was. The reason he wouldn't admit it was because he highly doubted that they would find a restaurant that suited his appetite. It was a very specific appetite, after all.

Ashley raised his eyebrows at Iris and walked backwards, still dragging the other along by a hand. "Well? Any thoughts?"

"Oh... um..." Iris felt stupid for a split-second that he'd forgotten to respond, then answered, "No, I'm fine. Are you hungry?"

Ashley smiled, a laugh in his eyes, and shook his head. "I had some bread, remember? (Did I lose it?) What do you want to do now?"

Iris swung their hands back and forth for a moment before replying, "I don't know. You pick."

Ashley rolled his eyes, still smiling. "What if I pick we go swimming in the lake, with the water demons? Would you come along then?"

Iris laughed genially, saying, "That sounds like a lot of fun. Let's go!" He tugged on Ashley's hand.

Ashley grinned impishly. "If you say so!" So saying, he turned and started running down the street, pulling Iris with him.

Iris gasped as he stumbled with the sudden acceleration, but hurried along behind the (surprisingly fast) imp nonetheless. "So, where is the lake?" he asked as they rushed through the crowd.

Ashley laughed. "Seven miles this way!"

"Uh...... Okay, then." Iris shrugged and continued running with Ashley. He let go of the shorter one's hand and said, "I'll race you!" He'd never felt so infantile. But he didn't really care.

Ashley laughed in delight and ran faster.

Iris was very determined not to be outrun by the imp, and so also ran faster. However, he didn't notice the cart blocking his path, and promptly crashed into it.

The vendor shrieked and many people jumped back as the cart exploded, spilling many large melons onto the ground and plastering the area with orangey fruit guts. Ashley stood a ways away, clutching his knees as he tried to regain his breath and not laugh at the same time.

Iris himself had to contain his laughter as he watched the vendor trying to save what few melons weren't destroyed. Of course, when the vendor turned on him with a murderous glint in his eyes, the amusement ceased. Well, almost.

Displaying Dazain hospitality at its finest, the vendor descended upon Iris with angry yelling and waving fists. Ashley laughed helplessly.

Iris glared at Ashley. "Why don't you help me? You know the customs of this place better than I do!"

Ashley gasped and coughed as he tried to control himself. The vendor crossed his arms and glared evilly at Iris.

Iris got to his feet and dusted himself off. He found that the three-inch height advantage that he had over the vendor boosted his confidence a bit. "I'm...uh... sorry for knocking over your cart..." Iris bowed deeply and then glanced back at Ashley, silently pleading for help.

Ashley cleared his throat and strode forward, waving calmly at the vendor and speaking over his complaints in the rolling archaic blend of old Verlyn and Dazain that was spoken on the islands.

Iris breathed a sigh of relief and turned to spare the on-lookers a glare or two. Though he didn't mind attention, he didn't like people looking at him as if he were some fool to be pitied or laughed at. In fact, one couldn't say there were many who would like that.

After some arguing, Ashley placated the vendor with some money and tokens to a brothel downtown. Affronted, the vendor shooed them away and went back over to his cart to bemoan his sad fortune. Ashley rolled his eyes and snagged Iris's arm as he started walking away.

Iris sighed heavily. "Okay, no more racing." He peered ahead down the road, trying to see over the heads of the crowd. "So, how far to the lake?"

Ashley mimicked his sigh and hooked their arms together. "Possibly... a day or two, walking. But we can catch a trolley if you like."

Iris nodded. "A trolley sounds good to me."

"Great!" Ashley grinned and continued strolling down the street. The farther they walked, the less crowded it became.

Finally, Iris thought. He really didn't like crowds, being used to his commodious castle, where the other inhabitants tended to avoid him unless forced to confront him under his own orders. Needless to say, he was always in control of the people around him. Though here, things were quite different.

As the crowds thinned and the buildings gave way to more residential and family-owned shops, people gave the couple more than just passing glances. Soon, however, they reached the start of the trolley line. Ashley stepped up to the ticket booth and bought them both tickets, then led Iris over to a bench to wait.

Another passerby glanced at the two oddly, and Iris glared. With his golden eyes, glares tended to be very intimidating. The person looked away, much to Iris's contentment. He turned to Ashley and asked, "So, how long will it take by trolley?"

"Hmm." Ashley folded his hands on his lap, one arm still hooked through Iris's. "Probably around an hour or two, if it comes soon."

Iris briefly wondered why it didn't bother him that Ashley was constantly leading him around by his hand (or arm or whatever limb seemed to be accessible at the point in time), but then shrugged it off and looked around. "It's better than the few-day walk."

"What, you don't like walking? It's good for you. Put some hair on your chest." Ashley giggled in a very un-manly way. A few people glanced over at them but seemed to assume that one or both of them were girls and didn't give it much thought.

Iris narrowed his eyes and glanced down at his chest. Ashley's claim only reinforced his decision to take the trolley; he liked his body as hairless as possible, thank-you-very-much.

Ashley laughed at Iris's expression. Off in the distance, a trolley trundled towards the station.

Iris rose to his feet, forcing Ashley to do the same. When the trolley rolled to a stop in front of them, he stepped on, still connected at the elbow to Ashley. Needless to say, Ashley was consequently pulled on behind Iris.

Climbing up the stairs somewhat awkwardly, attached at the side as they were, Ashley slipped in front and pulled Iris into a two-seater. Several people got on behind them.

The trolley started its journey, bumping over the cobblestones. Iris grew accustomed to it quickly. He looked out the window at the passing scenery and asked, "So, how about you tell me a little about the things we go by? Like a tour."

Ashley looked at him and snorted. "Yes, Master. Shall I bring the tea out now? Maybe some crumpets?"

Iris smirked. "Tea and crumpets? No, I'll pass."

Ashley sniffed. "Suit yourself." The trolley moved quickly despite its apparent antiquity and soon they were moving outside of the city and into the countryside.

Iris decided he was not going to get a tour, after all, so he just enjoyed the scenery in silence, arm still laced in Ashley's.

Ashley yawned and rested his chin on Iris's shoulder, peering out the window from there. The area was mostly wooded, with a couple of houses placed about. Most of the faeries and wild animals had the sense to keep away from the tracks.

The time passed slowly. Iris felt himself dozing off, which was unusual, but not at all unwelcome. Before he knew it, he'd fallen asleep.

Making himself more comfortable against his sleeping companion, Ashley yawned again but did not sleep. With eyes half-open he watched the towns and trees go by.

Soon (or so it seemed), Iris felt himself waking up. The first thing that caught his eye was the sunset painted over the landscape. "Are we there yet?" he asked, yawning.

Ashley sighed quietly, eyelids fluttering. "Mm… almost." He didn't move from where he was half-sprawled over the seats, using Iris like a pillow.

And of course, Iris didn't protest. He began playing with Ashley's hair, making little braids. Sloppy braids at that; Iris had never been very good with that sort of thing.

Ashley yawned and closed his eyes. Unfortunately for his nap, the trolley pulled up to the waterside station at that moment and the conductor announced their location as the last stop. With a long-suffering sigh, Ashley attempted to get up. Attempt, being the operative word.

Iris smiled fondly and picked the imp up, carrying him bridal-style. The passengers filed out of the trolley. Iris was unprepared for the sight that met his eyes as he stepped onto cobblestones, with the sunset reflecting off of the water and the general peace that encompassed the area. It was very nice, he decided easily.

Ashley did not protest, and settled comfortably in Iris's arms. The town was a small fishing community, with an active dock down the narrow street. The few people out stared openly at the trolley passengers that obviously weren't coming home.

"So, where to?" Iris asked, looking around at the homely inhabitants of the fishing community.

Ashley pretended to not hear him for a moment, then yawned and opened his eyes. "I thought we were going swimming?"

Iris rolled his own eyes. "I know that, but I mean, where exactly are we going swimming?"

One of Ashley's arms flopped out and waved vaguely in the direction of the lake. "Over there somewhere."

Iris muttered, "Well, that's helpful." He flashed on the idea of simply dropping Ashley and demanding he lead the way, as he obviously knew the area much better than Iris himself, but decided against it. Though he was reluctant to admit it, he'd grown rather attached to the imp. He began off in the vaguely designated direction, passing some fishermen on their way home who waved welcomingly. It seems that the people here are much more friendly than the ones in town, Iris mused.

"Most normal Dazain people are pretty friendly... We're actually in Irashin right now, and they're usually very generous... You can stop here." Ashley yawned after his short monologue and let his eyes close again.

Iris wondered briefly if Ashley could read minds. Then, he did as he was told, the concept of which was still fairly alien to him. "Are you going to swim or just sleep?" he asked, looking down at the imp cradled comfortably in his arms.

Ashley murmured indistinctly and let his hand flop uselessly a bit. "I'll get back to you on that one..." he managed at last.

Iris sighed and went down to the shore, laying Ashley on the grass. Taking a quick look around, he decided now was as good a time as any to sate his protesting stomach. He said, "I'll be back in ten minutes, at the most," not certain whether or not Ashley was conscious enough to understand him. Then, he disappeared in search of a meal.

Ashley mumbled quietly and curled into a ball. He was asleep almost instantly.

As promised, Iris returned ten minutes later. The sun had completely set at that point.... and Ashley was still apparently asleep. Iris smirked and wiped his mouth.

Ashley twitched slightly in his sleep but didn't wake. He had rolled onto his back at some point and looked almost as if he would go tumbling down the small hill and into the water.

Iris shook his head and picked the imp up again, laying him a little ways away from the edge of said hill so as to prevent the possible tumbling down into the water. That done, he decided he might as well go swimming himself. So he stripped of most of his many, fancy layers and went down to the shoreline, sinking into the water.

Ashley woke as soon as he was moved, but did not alert Iris to this until the other had gotten into the water. Stretching and yawning, Ashley rolled over to face the lake and blinked blearily.

Iris ducked his head under the lazily rippling water and resurfaced, pushing his soaked, purplish hair out of his face.

Ashley watched him sleepily but made no move to get up.

Iris gave a characteristic smirk before sinking back beneath the glassy surface. This time, he didn't resurface, but materialized behind Ashley, picking the imp up off of the ground and tossing him into the lake.

Ashley yelped in surprise and accidentally swallowed a good deal of water as he hit the lake. Gasping, he surfaced and coughed a lot, treading water quickly. The words "you" and "bastard" could be heard in between nasty bouts of coughing.

Iris just fell to his knees, clutching his stomach as he laughed harder than he could ever remember laughing before.

Ashley sputtered some more and swam slowly to the shore, where he proceeded to drag himself from the water to lay on the grass like a beached whale. When he'd gathered enough strength, Ashley pulled off one of his platform shoes and threw it at Iris's head.

Iris cursed sharply as the offending shoe collided (quite painfully) with his head. He glared at the imp, rubbing what was sure to be a bruise by tomorrow and growling something incomprehensible that sounded like, "Why you... little... demon-child..." Then, he stood resolutely and stomped towards Ashley, picked him up, and dove back into the lake with the imp held captive in his arms.

Ashley squirmed weakly and held his breath underwater, alternately clinging to Iris and trying to escape.

Once in the water, Iris let Ashley go and swam a short distance away.

Ashley surfaced once more, coughing and spluttering and looking like a drowned rat. He spent a moment recovering and treading water, then swam over to Iris and splashed at him in a pouting manner.

Iris just laughed and splashed back. "You're too cute," he said offhandedly.

Ashley scowled at him. "And now my clothes and shoes are soaking wet, no thanks to you. I hope you're prepared to buy me new ones. And dinner."

Iris let out a breath that fell just short of a laugh and said, "All right." As an afterthought, he said, "Maybe I should invite you to come and visit my home some day, in exchange for you showing me around yours."

"Maybe you should." Ashley coughed and started swimming back to shore. "Are you hungry yet?"

Iris smirked and followed, gliding easily through the water behind Ashley. He answered, "No, I just ate. While you were asleep, that is."

"Oh, how kind of you." Ashley dragged himself out of the water and over to his other shoe. Removing the one still clutching sadly at his ankle, he shook them out and flopped backwards onto the grass. "Waiter, I would like a cup of hot chocolate, thank you."

Iris smiled and flopped unceremoniously down beside Ashley. "Very well." He held his palm up, his skin looking even whiter in the light of the moon, and a collection of some unidentifiable sort of dust materialized there. Soon, however, it took on the distinct shape of a mug filled to the brim with (what one would assume to be) hot chocolate. Iris handed the steaming cup to Ashley with a self-satisfied smirk.

Ashley stared at Iris's hand blankly. "Why thank you, oh kindly and godlike sir." He took the cup and sipped at it experimentally. "It's not bad, but it could use some cinnamon."

Iris gave Ashley a very deadpan look, radiating a don't-push-it aura. He said, "I am not very kindly, nor am I godlike, though if you'd like to think so, by all means..." He tucked his hands behind his head and lay back against the grass. If truth be told, Iris wasn't kindly at all, well, at least not to most creatures he met. The way he saw it, others existed only to serve and amuse him, or so was his view before meeting Ashley. At the moment, though, he preferred the harmonious coexistence the two of them had to the usual tyrannical control he was used to.

"Right." Ashley sipped at his drink, then fumbled with one of the two decorative belts crisscrossed around his hips and produced a little spice shaker. Turning it upside down, he shook some cinnamon into his cup and tried it again. "There. See? Perfect."

Iris shrugged, going back to his star-gazing. He noted that the constellations were very different from the ones he had back home.

Ashley sighed and rolled onto his stomach so he could drink his hot chocolate at the same time. "So, where are you from?"

Iris thought for a moment. "A small land that's at the center of a planet divided up into four countries. There's the Northern Country, the Southern Country, the Eastern, and the Western. People from each place don't cross the borders much, so to someone in the Eastern lands, the Western Country could be just a myth. My castle is in a sort of no-man's land in the very middle of all four countries."

"A no-man's land, you say?" Ashley sipped at his drink some more. "So people don't bother you much?"

Iris shook his head. "No. The only people who live in my castle with me are the people I decide I want to live in the castle with me."

Ashley nodded. "That can be nice, sometimes. If you don't like too many people." He finished the hot chocolate and put the cup down. "I find I go stir-crazy if I see the same people every day and no one else."

"That's why I'm always bringing new people to my castle. The old ones tend to drift off and entertain themselves, but are always willing to serve me if called upon." Iris nodded resolutely.

Ashley smiled at Iris's pronouncement. "And what do you do to entertain yourself?"

Iris rolled his golden eyes around, scanning the unfamiliar sky. "Depends on what mood I'm in. When you have an eternity to live, you rarely find yourself short on time."

"Hm." Ashley's smile faded somewhat. "You'd think that, wouldn't you?"

"Mmhm." Iris cast Ashley a sidelong glance. "So, what about you? What do you do to entertain yourself?"

"Oh, lots of things." Ashley spread his hands expansively. "I like to learn new things, meet new people, visit new places..."

"Sounds exciting," Iris murmured.

"It is." Ashley pushed the cup aside and folded his arms, resting his head on them and looking sideways at Iris. "Do you like it here so far?"

Iris's eyes strayed from star to star, tracing the alien constellations again. They were slowly seeming less and less alien. "Very much," he said softly. "It's very...pretty here. And natural. And....warm." A cool breeze swept over the water then, icing Iris's wet skin.

Ashley smiled and ran his fingers through the grass. "There's no place quite like the Maianern... I find myself drawn here, again and again..."

"I can see why," Iris murmured. The peaceful mood was nice, he decided. Such moods were often rare in his life; he always found himself restless, always in search of something that he knew he wouldn't be able to find, partly because he didn't know what said thing was. He sighed and felt his eyes slip closed, and soon he was fast asleep.

Ashley watched him sleep for a moment, then yawned and curled up beside him. Soon he, too, was asleep, and the only sounds were the crickets and night birds (and maybe a faerie scrambling in a tree in the distance).