(This story is part of the ”Developing Feelings Between Otter and Newt” storyline.)
Moonlight shivered over the water, giving it a sparkling display of light. Crickets and frogs gave their midnight concert. The warm summer wind played with the leaves of the trees near the riverbank. With soft splashes of their hands paddling through the river stream, two bodies approached the shore. The first one put a bundle of leather, and then his hands on the rocky shore and climbed onto the rocks. There he stood, his big suntanned body standing tall on the river shore. Water drops found their way from his hair, down his strong face and his broad, muscular chest. His long, brown hair was bound in one single braid and hung down his bare back. He was five hands and two turns old. Otter, wolf-blooded as he was, didn't count them, but he felt that the tribe considered him to be one of the grown-ups now. New Green Bliss, a handful of turns of seasons ago, was the beginning of a new world for Otter.
Otter looked at Newt, who was following him. The lad put one hand on the rocks. Otter bent over to reach out to his friend and give him a helping hand. Newt used the offered hand to pull himself out of the water. His young body ended up close to Otter's. The warmth of the young body gave Otter the shivers. The moonlight made Newt's flesh even paler. His body was showing the first signs that his childhood was nearly over.
Otter shook off his feelings and turned to the trees on the shore. Together, he and Newt walked to the big oak where the younger elf had stripped off his clothes before getting into the water. The oak stood old and tall at the riverbank.
Otter let the strings of his loincloth slip through his fingers, letting the soft, tanned leather drop upon the moss-covered ground. He had used it to contain the mussels they collected that night.
Both elves sat down between the roots of the old tree. Newt shook his head to get rid of the last drops of water stuck in his snow-white hair, flinging a spray of sparkling water drops. He smiled. The summer wind made goosebumps on his body.
Otter looked at his best friend.
**What?** Newt lock-sent.
**What what?** Otter responded.
Newt narrowed his moonlit, pinkish eyes just to get a better look at Otter's face. He stared into Otter's big amber eyes, which now had a golden glow.
**You’re looking at me, dear friend.**
Otter looked away and blushed. A strange silence took over for a minute or two. Then, Otter turned to his friend once more.
**Do ya’ want some?**
Otter nodded toward his catch of mussels. As he turned his head back, large pinkish eyes peered in his. Otter felt the blood run to his head for a second time. Looking away again would be strange. Otter hoped Newt wouldn't notice.
**Yeah, swimming makes me hungry,** Newt replied.
Otter pulled himself up and walked toward the river. On all fours, he searched with his hand between the rocks on the riverbank. There he found a rock with a sharp point. Otter sat up and looked at his findings. It was a piece of obsidian, but not a dark-grey or black-blue one as it usually is. This piece was dark-green, with sparks of purple. Otter looked at it from all sides.
**Hey, where are the mussels you’ve promised me?**
Otter walked back to his friend and leaned over to take two of the mussels from his loincloth. Then he started opening the mussels. After eating, both elves laid down on the moss-covered ground, enjoying the night.
**Newt?** Otter pulled himself up on one arm and looked at his friend. Newt looked at him. **Look at this shell.** He held the mussel shell in front of his friend. **Look at the inner shell. The pearly color of it looks like your skin.**
**Yeah,** Newt replied. **And the outer side is brown like yours.**
Otter looked at both sides of the shell and nodded. Two different sides, the one as pearly as Newt's skin and the other as brown as his, but one shell. 'Maybe like us someday.' For the third time that evening, blood rushed to Otter's cheeks, making him blush.
**Come, Newt, let’s get back home,** Otter lock-sent as he grabbed his loincloth and used it to hide his red face from Newt. As he gathered his belongings, he spied the rock he'd used. He picked it up and bundled it in his loincloth to carry home.
Newt also grabbed his clothes and then they both returned home.