Chance Meeting. Set prior to BW086.
Dawn barely made it on to the subway.
The automatic doors behind her quickly slid shut, nearly catching her hair as they did. The train then began moving at a rapid speed, and she stumbled. Life in Nimbasa City sure did move fast; almost too fast for a small-town girl like her. Still, she was loving every moment of it. She had tickets to go see Elesa, the city's gym leader, in a fashion show that evening, and she was really looking forward to it.
She collapsed onto an open seat on the bench, wiping the perspiration off her forehead. She was taking a moment to collect herself, when out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a strikingly familiar shade of purple.
No way, she thought.
She turned her head to get a better look at the person sitting next to her, just to make sure she wasn't going crazy. He had his nose buried in a book, his dark eyes intensely focused on whatever he was reading.
"Take a picture, it'll last longer," he muttered without looking at her.
She wasn't going crazy. It was him. She hadn't realized she was staring, but she was embarrassed she had been caught.
"Paul?" she asked incredulously. She couldn't believe it. It had been months she had last seen him at the Lily of the Valley Conference in Sinnoh. It was insane. What were the chances of them happening to sit next to each other on the same train in the same city hundreds of miles away from their home region?
He didn't respond.
"What are you doing here in Unova?"
"What are you doing here?" He still didn't look at her.
"Me? I'm just doing some traveling, taking a break from my journey in Hoenn. My ultimate destination is Lacunosa Town in eastern Unova, to compete in the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup." She tilted her head. "Is that where you're headed, too?
"Are you competing in the Unova League?"
He turned a page.
"It's really none of your business," he began bluntly, "but I'm here to catch new Pokémon."
She blinked, bemused.
"Unova's an awfully long way to come to catch Pokémon," she commented.
"I lost to Brandon again," Paul replied plainly. "I need to explore other options."
"Oh, I see…"
She didn't know what else to say, so she just awkwardly sat there for a while, fussing with the end of her skirt. Her eyes flicked to him again. He didn't seem bothered, and she inwardly huffed. She was pretty sure awkward wasn't on the list of emotions Paul was capable of feeling. Silence was his forte. A conversation like the one they just had could end on such an inconclusive note, and he wouldn't bat an eyelash.
"What are you doing entering the Junior World Cup?" he suddenly asked, furrowing his eyebrows. Dawn nearly fell over, surprised he had picked the conversation back up. It was very much unlike him. "I thought you were a coordinator."
"Oh, I am," Dawn replied, after recovering. "I just want some battling practice. Hang on, how did you know I was a coordinator?"
"I watched your battle in the final battle of the Sinnoh Grand Festival," he shrugged.
"You watched that?"
"It was on," he clarified, attempting to downplay it. Finally, his eyes drifted away from his novel and toward her. "You were good. You lost, but it was still a good battle."
Dawn was taken aback. Had he just complimented her? It was a bit of a backhanded compliment, but it was a compliment nevertheless—especially coming from him.
"Oh, wow, um, thanks," she laughed nervously, rubbing the back of her head.
A voice came over the PA. The train was stopping.
"This is where I get off," Paul told her as he gathered his things, placing his book inside his backpack and slinging it over his head.
"Right," Dawn nodded. "Well, nice running into you."
Once again, no response. He stood up as the train began to slow down. Before the doors opened and he could leave, Dawn suddenly called out to him:
He glanced over his shoulder, back at her.
"If I'm so good," she began with with a coy, confidence-ridden smile, "then let's have a battle the next time we meet."
He looked at her doubtfully for a moment. Then, a grunt and a smirk.
"All right," he finally agreed. After all, he never backed down from a challenge.
And then he was gone.