Disclaimer: Pokémon isn't mine!

A/N: I..didn't know how to end this. Sorry. xD; I think Gardenia's cute because technically, I don't like ghosts either (Ghost Pokémon are an entirely different story though). :P

Thanks for reading!

Day 22: Write about any pairing.
Word Count:
1,528 words.

.: F. E. A. R. :.
~ This is not what she signed up for ~

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

It's okay, Gardenia; you've got this! You'll be fine. Just—

As if on cue, a loud banging sound echoes throughout the tunnels, causing the Eterna Gym Leader to jump fearfully with a small yelp before she clamps hands over her mouth; hardhat slipping down her face and covering her eyes. Gardenia quickly turns to look behind her, only to be reminded that she is alone and lost in the mining tunnels known famously as the Underground. Rubbing her arms for warmth as she hugs herself, Gardenia carries on with her trek because it was better than sticking around in one spot for too long. After all, she definitely isn't going to meet up with Roark's mining party that way.

"Oh yes, Gardenia," she begins berating herself quietly; casting glances from side to side. "You just had to say 'Sure!' when Roark invited you to the Underground. You thought it would be fun! …Well, this is not fun! I want to go back to the Gym and tend to the plants; I want to be under the sun!"

Another banging noise enters her ears and Gardenia once again whips around with tense shoulders, glaring down the dark tunnel. Even though there are guiding lights lining the wooden posts every fifteen feet, it does not deter the fact that she feels like the unfortunate heroine in a horror movie—and Gardenia doesn't even watch horror movies!

She waits to hear another sound—or even movement from the shadows—but nothing happens after a few seconds and Gardenia shouts in anxious frustration. "S-Stop it, whatever-you-are! If you want to come out, come out and get it over with!"

Honestly, she doesn't want anything to pop out. She attempts to prepare for the inevitable, but it still scares the Worry Seed out of her. Oh, where could Roark have gone to? Maybe Gardenia wouldn't worry so much if she had not 'accidentally' overheard some of the miners in Oreburgh City trading ghost stories about the Underground—that was her first mistake. Her second mistake was giving Roark permission to leave her side when he was told that a rare fossil was found in 'Sector 6A'. Granted, he left her with one half of his mining party, but due to Gardenia's spacing out when she tries her hand at digging for special rocks, she ends up in her current situation.

"It's cold…" Gardenia distracts herself. "I can't believe people actually like spending the whole day down here—"

For the third time in the last hour (she thinks), Gardenia hears the banging noise; the only difference is…it's louder than before. Also, it feels as if the ground is beginning to shake. Blinking a couple of times, the Eterna Gym Leader turns her body towards the sound and her eyes start to widen when she realizes something big and shadywas running down the tunnel…in her direction.

She takes a step back before doing an all-out run, almost crying at the top of her lungs. Her hardhat bobbles on top of her crown, so she uses one hand to hold it down as she runs. "Arceus, it's a ghost! The stories are true!"

Whatever it is that chases her, it's coming up fast and Gardenia's lungs are ready to burst with the lack of oxygen. Eventually, she hits a dead end and it's only then that Gardenia actually feels scared. Being in these tunnels is way worse than taking one step inside the Old Chateau. Her legs give way and she collapses to the ground as she presses her back on the cold, rocky wall. Heavy footsteps enter her ears and in her delirium, Gardenia is convinced that the 'ghost' calls out her name.

Panicking now, the Eterna Gym Leader quickly releases Roserade before huddling against the wall, burying her face in her knees. "G-Go away! Just go away!"

"Gardenia!" Suddenly, something grabs her shoulders and Gardenia realizes that light is shining on her face. She squints as her eyes adjust to the flood of brightness before noticing the familiar, looming figure in front of her. The voice is worried; slowly calming down from its own state of panic. "It's me; you're okay!"

Her breathing relaxes too, but now the jitters begin to take over. "Oh gosh…Roark?"

The Oreburgh Gym Leader nods once. Roark's Rampardos stands behind them, greeting Roserade with a confused tilt of his head to which Roserade gives out a half-shrug in her own perplexity. Oh wait: Rampardos was big and heavy…could it have been making the noises and chasing her through the tunnels? It makes sense; especially when Gardenia applies logic that ghosts don't have feet to make loud noises that shake the earth…

"Well, this is embarrassing—" Whoa, whoa, whoa! Why is Roark hugging her? And so tightly too? "H-Hey, I can't breathe, Roark…!"

He doesn't let up; much too distracted with his own thoughts. "Thank goodness, you're alright. I was so worried when I met up with the other team and you weren't there!" Roark pulls away, though he keeps her at arms' length. There's a frown on his face now and his eyebrows knit together. "How did you get separated from the others though? That's been on my mind the entire time."

Her cheeks take on a light shade of pink and Gardenia tries to laugh off her embarrassment. She waves Roserade over so she'd have a reason to cover her shaking by returning the Bouquet Pokémon to its Poké Ball. "I, uh, was trying to dig for a fossil like you showed me earlier, but I was so caught up with digging, I didn't realize everyone moved to a different area, you know? I probably misheard directions and went the other way… B-But it's all good now! I think I have these tunnels memorized like the back of my hand!"

"…Gardenia, even I don't have all the tunnels memorized," Roark deadpans, causing Gardenia to look away awkwardly. She hears Roark sigh as he kneels in front of her. "Either way, it's my fault you got lost and I'm sorry. The last thing I wanted was for you to experience a terrible situation like that."

She blinks and watches him deflate like a defeated Growlithe. Somehow, Roark looks cuter than he normally does—not that she always finds him cute. Well, that was a lie; he was good-looking in a boyish way, but... Okay, she admits to being in denial: Roark was a pretty handsome guy and Gardenia takes guilty pleasure in sneaking glances at him from time to time. Smiling, she tries to lighten the mood. "It wasn't that terrible…though I think you should rethink the idea of chasing me on your Rampardos next time because honestly, that gave me a heart attack."

Roark rubs the back of his neck sheepishly, giving her an awkward smile. "Ah, yeah… Sorry about that too. I ended up getting excited when Rampardos spotted you…"

"What's wrong?" she asks when he sudden stops talking before leaning forward and Gardenia's begins to panic in a different way. She presses against the wall as much as she could, but Roark simply continues invading her personal bubble. Eventually, she throws up her hands against his chest and turns her face away; eyes screwed shut. "W-Wait a minute, Roark! You're coming off too strong and I'm not ready—!"

"Old amber!"

…Old what?

Taking a peek, Gardenia realizes that Roark wasn't even focusing his attention on her, but looking past her towards the wall. Figuratively speaking, there are stars in his eyes and he looks exactly like an excited child in a candy store. Almost immediately he pulls away (Gardenia is pretty much frozen on the spot), snaps his fingers so that Rampardos approaches them, and digs through the sand-colored satchel that the Head Butt Pokémon carries in his mouth. As he pulls out the appropriate tools for excavating objects, Roark exclaims. "I can't believe it! I've been looking forever for old amber! What luck!"

"That's a Pokémon fossil…right?"

"Yeah—excuse me, Gardenia." He gestures to the wall behind her to which the Eterna Gym Leader inches away before getting back on her feet. She watches in mild curiosity as Roark begins digging at the wall with professional ease. "From what was recorded in the Kanto region, old amber supposedly brings back Aerodactyl to life! I've actually wanted to add one to my team for a while now."

"I see…" Well, Gardenia can't help but let the disappointment settle when she realizes that after the wild Psyduck chase, Roark is perfectly fine going back to doing what he loves best: fossils and stones. Still, it's pretty cute how excited the Oreburgh Gym Leader gets after discovering just one fossil. Rampardos whines under his breath and Gardenia looks over her shoulder curiously. From the look of it, Rampardos seems to be apologizing on behalf of his Trainer's obliviousness to Gardenia's feelings. Huh…Pokémon sure are intuitive. Smiling, Gardenia pets under Rampardos's chin, whispering. "It's okay. He'll have to thank me for the fossil anyways. I'm thinking dinner; do you agree?"

The Head Butt Pokémon snaps in agreement, causing Gardenia to giggle.

"Good—then it's settled!"