Brian awoke nearly blind, wincing at the slanting golden rays that sliced into his groggy eyes. He brought a hand to the side of his mouth and wiped the moisture away as the room around him came into view. He realized with a start, to his horror, that he was seated at his desk, in the back corner of Professor Preston’s classroom. The room was dark, and vacent of all of his classmates save himself. The rows of empty desks and chairs sat before him as he tried to orient himself. A small spot of drool marked the spot where his now-clammy cheek had lain on the desk. How long have I been here, he thought to himself. Thinking back, he could not recall what had brought him into the classroom, much less how he had fallen asleep so soundly during class. At this moment, though, the shame that his masters back at the temple would have felt at his behavior might have earned him cleaning duties for a month.
He mouthed a brief prayer to himself, asking forgiveness for his lack of diligence, as little as he understood of the situation besides. Extending his gangly legs forward, he found them both to be painfully lacking in circulation. With effort he pushed his chair back and attempted to stand upright. Just as he managed to prop himself up on his chairback as the blood rushed back into his legs and feet, the door on the opposite side of the room clattered open.
The voice was unmistakable: Evelyn. Her west-Hoenn accent was unique among his classmates. In the courteous way he had been instructed to use in situations like these, Brian attempted to take a step toward the girl who stood in the doorway. Pain like striding barefoot upon a Pineco spike shot from his toes all the way up his leg, and he flinched gingerly.
“I’m so glad you’re ok! “ Evelyn said as she walked towards him.
“It is good to see you as well. Perhaps you can tell me what I’m doing here? I’ve only just awoken.”
He attempted another step; it was discourteous to be approached by a classmate without approaching them the same way. As he brought his foot forward, it caught the leg of the chair that bore his weight, and slid beneath him. “Woah!” came the involuntary cry as he tried to catch himself, but his unsteady legs gave way. As he toppled backwards, Evelyn herself stumbled on the chair suddenly thrust into her path, and fell to the ground atop him with a yelp.
Brian managed to save himself from slamming his head against the tile floor, his back having taken most of the impact as he tumbled down. Evelyn, who had landed on him, slowly lifted her head and hoisted herself onto her hands and knees. The early sunset filtered through the short windows that lined the top of the wall behind him, lighting the face of the girl. Brian realized that she wasn’t wearing her bandanna, an accessory he had never seen her without. Her hair shimmered like wavy gold in the sunlight, and her clear blue eyes shone as they locked with his. A reddish splotch of blush began to spread on her freckled cheeks. Brian’s training had never prepared him for something like this, but for the first time, he paid it no mind. In his 17 years, all the flowers and sunsets and festivals with his clan, his family, his community, all of it seemed to pale in the sunlit face of this girl. In that moment, Brian knew, he had found what he had come down the mountain to find.