Notes: Twitterverse drabble with Dawn. This is sometime after the Distortion World, but before challenging Sunyshore Gym.

Dawn blinked in surprise as she hiked up the first set of stairs leading south to Hotel Grand Lake. There was someone else coming from the east, and it didn't look like a construction worker... She stopped dead with her foot on the last step.

"Mister Volkner!"

The blonde looked equally surprised to see her. "Dawn."

"Imagine running into you here!" she said with a gtin.

"Yeah. I felt like some air."

"It's a good night for it!"

"Yeah. Not too cold."

"I was just on my way to the restaurant to battle some."

"Maybe I'll come watch."

Dawn sputtered, flustered. "If-if you want to, I mean, I'm sure it won't be all that interesting for a gym leader!"

"Heh." He smirked a little. "I've heard you're the new rising star of the region."

Her face went red. "Y-you have?"

"I have. So I'd like a chance to see for myself."

She fiddled with her coat sleeve. "O-okay, but no coming up with brand new strategies /specifically/ to beat me!"

That smirk again. "Deal." He lifted his hand towards the building. "Shall we?"

"Yup!" She turned, heading that way and trying desperately to hide her nervousness.

The patrons in Seven Stars Restaurant were as eager to battle as ever, and Dawn beat the first and second tables handily. Volkner was looking on approvingly. He put a hand on her shoulder, and she jumped before looking up at him.

"Why don't we team up?" he asked.

"If-if-if you want!" she replied, suddenly flustered again. Battling alongside a gym leader... She shoved down a passing thought about how great they must look, standing together in battle poses. In battle, they were just as well-complemented as she imagined. The final three battles were won in only a few rounds each. Dawn was grinning by the end.

"That was really fun!"

"I thought so, too." He was smiling, not just smirking. "Maybe you'd like to take a walk with me, Dawn?"

She felt her face flush. "If you want..." She burned hot with shock when he took her hand and led her out of the restaurant. They were headed down to the beach south of the hotel. Dawn racked her brain for something to say, but drew only blanks. Her face was still warm. She was sure she looked ridiculous.

"Um...y-you were really impressive in battle," she squeaked finally. "B-but I guess that's why you're the last gym leader, of course!"

He glanced at her. She met his gaze briefly before blushing harder and looking away. "Yeah, I guess so."

They kept walking in silence, stopping at last as they reached the shore. Waves lapped at their toes, but Dawn didn't notice. The moon was bright overhead, reflected in a thousand sparkling water peaks. Dawn was suddenly struck with a realization. This was a date.

"Um...Mister Volkner..."

"Hm?"

"N-nothing."

"Do you want to sit?"

"Um, sure."

He took his jacket off and spread it out on the sand, then sat down next to it. Awkwardly, she sat on the jacket, trying to remain as cool as she could. "Um...thank you."

"Don't mention it."

This was definitely a date. She chewed the inside of her cheek to keep herself from babbling incessantly. The moments marched on and they remained, looking out at the water. Dawn hadn't noticed as she did it, but she was closer to Volkner than she'd been when she sat down. And he...was he leaning towards her, or was that wishful thinking?

It was peaceful. If it was a date, Dawn thought it was the perfect one.

Her eyelids were becoming heavy. She hardly noticed it until her head tipped forward into her chest, and she shook herself back into alterness. It only lasted a moment, though. The sea was hypnotic.

And then, it wasn't a question anymore. Volkner slid his arm around her shoulders.

Date, she thought. Absolutely a date. And yet despite herself, she could not keep her eyes open.

She slid forward, resting her head on Volkner's lap. His arm was still around her. He brushed a wayward hair out of her face, and she thought, as she drifted off, that maybe the featherlight touch on her forehead was her first kiss from a boy.