Ernst leans over his desk earnestly, calculating trigonometry homework that piles up next to him. He sweats softly in the schoolhouse's heat, damp patches spreading under his arms. His coal scratches over the rough paper.
The door creaks open and an angle of sunshine cuts across the dusty floor, illuminating Ernst's canvas bag lying haphazardly in a heap. Hanschen stands tall in the doorway, his figure dark in shadow against the bright daylight.
"Hello there," drawls Hanschen lazily. He presses his hand against the door frame.
Ernst looks up quite suddenly. Breathing heavily, he says "I didn't see you there."
"Or perhaps you were rather engaged in your school work. How- interesting," says Hanschen confidently. "Care to explain to me?"
Ernst's cheeks pinken.
"We learned it. Just…today. You know the- the formula. That we learned today? Yes, I think it was today."
Hanschen smirks. "Why yes. I rather forgot. Though perhaps," he adds, "I had other subjects with which to amuse myself." He closes the door and strides in, pulling an empty chair out of a desk with gusto and sitting down. His boots rest against the floor, chunky black leather with torn laces.
"Usually no one comes here after classes." Ernst looks down rather ashamedly, though he does not know why.
Hanschen laughs sharply. "Certainly not the brilliant and effervescent Melchior Gabor, whose unlimited talent and startling intelligence glows like a star in the night sky."
"You're jealous, Hanschen."
"Me? I should believe not. The boy has perhaps two weeks until he is expelled for another 'profound' theory of his."
A gentle wind blows by, rattling the brittle window panes. Ernst looks up at the dusty glass.
Hanschen continues. "And if Melchior had any of the genius which he supposedly possesses, he would not spend so much leisure time with our favourite hero Moritz."
"Don't be cruel," Ernst chides pathetically.
"What a couple. I do say they contrast quite nicely. Like Zeus and Ganymede, they are."
Ernst turns his gaze to Hanschen's face, taking in the messy yellow hair, curved nose and teasing lips.
"Don't say that. Melchior has his sights on one of the girls. And anything less is just plain, just…" He falters.
Ernst giggles nervously, glances down and then up against and feels all thoughts of trigonometry disappear from his mind.