The clock read 11:00 PM.
Lucas was no stranger to late nights. Professor Rowan often entrusted him with the lab on his usual late night assignments. Tonight was no different.
Lucas rubbed his eyes under his spectacle glasses. He was staring at this PC for hours now. Waiting for the light spots to leave his vision, he glanced at the clock again. “Close to midnight,” he muttered to himself.
He stretched his joints for a moment. Home was minutes away. He could spare some time to finish this lab report. Surely by now, his folks must already be asleep. His sister was probably going to give him flak about staying out late again.
Lucas leaned in his chair, staring at the ceiling from the thought of tiny spitfire lecturing him about getting enough sleep. He looked back at the unfinished report. It was probably about halfway finished. Mmm...just a few more minutes, he thought.
Before he could get back to typing, an eerie presence appeared behind him. He felt a pair of hands on his shoulders yet he didn’t flinch. In fact, he was well acquainted with the specter.
He always forgot that she had a spare key.
“You should be home,” she stated it as a fact rather than opinion. Dawn circled around him, plopping herself on his desk. From the dim light of his laptop, he makes out her face; serious and stoical as she normally was.
“Just working a little late tonight, that’s all,” he responded, his eyes already glued themselves back to the screen. “It’ll just take a second.”
“That’s what you said last time.”
His brain flashed back to the time he was manually dragged back to his house. To this day, his sister never let him live that down. That day, he learned the petite girl had monstrous upper body strength.
A nervous smile inched across Lucas’s face. “Right...well.” Dawn expectant glare tore through him. “10 minutes is all I’m asking here.”
She took a moment before she replied, letting the cutting silence leave him anxious.
“Nine minutes, 58 seconds.”
That was a ‘go for it’ by his standards.
He worked in peaceful silence, his companion offering periodic reminders of his dwindling time. She was eerily punctual, knowing the exact minutes and seconds. As such, Lucas decided it was best to abridge what he could. Dragging anything on would result in unfinished work that would’ve bothered him all night.
In between typing, Lucas’s eye fell on his impromptu clock for the night. She sat unabatingly at his desk, seemingly unbothered by the fact that she was wasting time she could’ve spent sleeping in her comfortable bed at her comfortable home in her comfortable town. The again, she was a Pokemon trainer; comfortable never quite fit in the description as much as people thought.
Dawn had always been something of a mystery to him, ever since they first met. A stark contrast from the impatient ball of energy that he had first seen her with. Her tendencies ranged from an unnerving stare to a distant disposition. Lucas had been one of the very very few to see her show any semblance of emotion beyond that. He saw increased vigor when he battled alongside her. He saw her ire, her anger when she learned that his Pokedex had been stolen. He saw her concern when she stood against team Galactic at Lake Verity. All those factors led Lucas to the conclusion that Dawn did indeed hold him in fond regard.
“Your face is red.”
Lucas jumped in his seat. His head turned away so hard, he was surprised he didn’t get whiplash. He readjusted his glasses as they nearly flew across the room. “Oh, i-is it?” his muddled brain frantically searched for an excuse. “It must be a bit chilly out tonight!” He counted his blessings for Sinnoh’s natural climate.
Dawn’s piercing gray eyes burned through him. Her daunting gaze suggested that she didn’t believe him, but she must not have wanted to pry further.
Lucas’s typing slowed to a halt. “Dawn?” the girl perked up, her eyes once again focusing on him. “Not that I don’t mind your company, I actually appreciate it, but why are you here?”
Dawn’s face quietly sank into her scarf. Had it not been for the darkness of the room, Lucas would’ve sworn she blushed.
“I was passing by,” she answered, facing away from him. “Three minutes, 26 seconds.” she fidgeted with her fingers rubbing her thumbs together.
Lucas long since removed himself from his work. She was a horrible liar. “Did you-Were you checking on me?”
She didn’t answer right away. Lucas scrutinized her. The scientist in him allowed his curiosity to get the better of him no matter the situation.
Lucas sank into his seat, an embarrassed smile played at his lips. His eyes glossed over the unfinished lab report; it was merely just recordings and documentation of a quaint, uneventful day at the Professor’s lab. Not really much to be losing sleep over, yet here he was doing exactly that. Lucas closed the PC and thus the lab went entirely dark.
Dawn curiously eyed him as he stood from his seat. “You still had three minutes.”
“It can wait. I’m sure the Professor wouldn’t make much noise that his report on Grotle’s foliage won’t be finished tonight.” Lucas smiled, wiping the sudden drowsiness from his eyes. He caringly held out his hand. “It’s kinda late, do you want me to walk you home?”
Lucas didn’t see but Dawn’s eyes widened as her face retreated back to the secrecy of her scarf. She softly grabbed his hand and prayed he didn’t mind when she entwined their fingers.
He didn’t. In fact, he couldn’t have enjoyed it more.