"Thanks again for doing this with us, Roark!"
"Of course! This'll be a blast."
Lucas and Dawn had decided to take a small vacation in Canalave City. While there, however, they met up with Roark, Gym Leader and friendly rival to the team. They hadn't seen Roark since they both had challenged him back in Oreburgh City so long ago for their first League badges, but it didn't take long for them to get reacquainted. After Dawn casually mentioned their unused Explorer's Kit, Roark insisted that he detoured them around a small chunk of the underground maze.
Roark was in the lead, though an excited Dawn was staying right at his side. Lucas kept his distance. Keeping him occupied was Shaymin, who decided to ride around on her actual trainer for awhile. She found it amusing how quiet he had turned as soon as they had made their way into the earth. Instead of helping Lucas keep his mind off of his obvious jealousy, Shaymin found herself staring at the rocky walls that surrounded them. They were constantly trapped on two sides by a solid wall, besides the rare moments that they went through an intersection. The air was very dusty, which was to be expected.
"So what are you doing here in Canalave?" Dawn inquired to the older man. "No challengers at the Oreburgh Gym?"
"Oh, if only that were the case," Roark replied, laughing. "Seems like there's always a new trainer out there, itching to get started on their journey...Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. No, actually, I was just taking a small break myself. I decided to come out here and see what Dad's up to."
"Ah, that's right. I forgot that Byron was your dad. Guess being a Gym Leader is a family tradition, huh?" Dawn nudged Roark's elbow playfully. "So when will the next one in line be coming up, hmm...?"
The girl got Roark to blush. He scratched his cheek nervously. "Well, um..." He finally coughed. "Lucas," he called back, conveniently shifting subjects. "So what's up? Talk to me. You fell silent all of a sudden. Or did the majesty of the air take your breath away?"
"Something like that..." Lucas groaned to himself.
Before he could actually get around to a verbal response, Dawn cut in. "You call this majestic? With all due respect, I can hardly breathe down here..."
Roark put his arm around Dawn's shoulders, slightly startling her. Shaymin forced herself not to laugh after sensing how high Lucas's tension soared. "That, my friend, is a small detail that you'll get used to," Roark assured her. "Who needs air when you have dirt?"
Lucas didn't share in the same good laugh that the other two humans did. Shaymin finally caved into his disappointment and frowned. She rubbed his cheek softly with her paw. "Shaymin, shay..."
"I'm fine, Shaymin," replied Lucas, forcing a weak smile. "Just a little tired, and like Dawn said, it's too earthy down here for me. Thanks, though."
Shaymin knew her trainer well enough to know when he was lying. She also knew him well enough to know that he'd never confess anything to her. She sighed heavily before returning her gaze forward.
"Ah!" Roark suddenly exclaimed. He dashed away from Dawn and stopped at a wall that they had been nearing. "See this?"
Dawn rushed over to his side immediately. "What is it?"
"This..." Roark began, rubbing his gloved hands around a protruding bulge in the rock. "is the reason we're down here. Ready to dig up some treasure?"
Dawn nearly exploded with excitement on the spot. "What? Really?"
"Sure! Let's see here..."
The Trainer set the Explorer's Kit on the dirt and backed away. That left their temporary partner plenty of room to get on a knee and begin rummaging through it, all while explaining its contents to a very intrigued Dawn.
Lucas knew he should have been paying attention as well, but it was hard for him to. He folded his arms for a second, looking on in disgust, but soon dropped the act. He started petting Shaymin as a light smile crept onto his face. "...She's pretty happy, isn't she?"
The feeling of warmness didn't last for very long. His previous emotion elevated to the top in seconds after seeing Roark hold Dawn from the back.
"So I hold the hammer like this...?"
"Right...Then just lightly tap it..."
Facing the wall, Dawn lifted a durable, but compact hammer into the air. She gently smashed its head into the rock, causing a bit of it to crumble. Roark was behind Dawn, holding her wrist, making sure she was doing everything correctly.
"Perfect!" he complimented. "In fact, I think I already see something shining in there..."
"Really?" Keeping careful, Dawn continued whittling away at the rock with the hammer.
Lucas's eyes turned off to the side. He couldn't enjoy himself. If Dawn wasn't clung onto Roark so tightly, he wouldn't have minded so much. "What's she see in him? Is she fangirling over Roark just because he's a Gym Leader? A Gym Leader who got crowned by both of us?"
The shout of excitement shook the boy from his thoughts. His eyes returned to Dawn, who was bolting towards him.
"Look what I dug up!" Once she reached her friend, she stretched her arm out and opened her hand, revealing a gem that wanted to sparkle; after a quick wash, it would be able to. "Roark called it a Sphere."
"Right," Roark agreed, appearing on the scene. He put an arm around either of their shoulders. "They're generally not worth much to a lot of people, but there are others that will jump off a bridge for those things. Green ones are a bit more on the common side."
"That's all right..." Dawn rubbed the item, attempting to clean it a bit. "I want to keep it, anyway."
"Cool. You know, there's a general rule people follow down here. If you find any treasure, chances are, there's more nearby. So, you up next, Luke?"
"Don't call me that." He quickly flashed a smile. "Sure."
"Great." Roark continued down the path. Dawn quickly gave chase. After a small sigh that he made sure to keep to himself, Lucas did the same.
As legend had it, they came across another bundle of rock that was jutting out more than normal. Lucas grabbed the hammer from the Explorer's Kit. As Roark stepped up to help him, the boy became uncomfortable. "I got this," he notified.
"Whoa. All right, then! Get us something pretty," Roark cheered, backing off a bit.
Dawn hopped forward and stole Shaymin off of Lucas's shoulder, deciding to prevent any strange accidents that may occur. She brought her into her usual hugged position and watched Lucas pound away at the wall, a smile on her face the entire time.
Her smile wasn't the only one. Though trying to hide it, Lucas failed miserably at blocking a grin. "Not a bad way to relieve stress," he thought to himself, picturing Roark's face at the receiving end of every hammer stroke.
"Having fun?" Roark wondered, arms folded. He'd taken notice of the odd smile the boy had.
"This is...better than I gave it credit for," Lucas answered, pausing briefly as the hammer collided with the wall. He reached into a tiny hole he had made and pulled his arm back out holding an object that looked similar to the one Dawn had found. His was shaded red instead of green, however. Having only moderate interest in his first finding, he handed the object to Roark to hold onto while he searched for any more treasure.
"Whoa!" repeated Roark, this time with more energy. He lifted the Sphere up to eye level to examine it. "We got ourselves a natural here. I was terrified the first time I made a grab for an item, but hey, you go, boy!"
Before anybody knew it, an hour and a half passed. Dawn, still with Roark's help, was the one that was digging the most. Though the small audience seemed to love to watch Lucas work, the few times he had stepped up to the plate was because of all the prodding Dawn and Roark had to do. He enjoyed the sport, but decided that he'd probably enjoy it more once it was just him and Dawn.
Another excuse Lucas had was Shaymin, who was sleeping in his ungloved hands. Though somewhat interesting, doing nothing but watching everybody else excavate made the Gratitude Pokémon rather tired. Every time he felt jealousy riding high, Lucas's attention turned to Shaymin. Her light breathing was cute enough to keep his mind busy.
"Phew..." Roark wiped away some sweat that had formed on his forehead. "All righty, I think it's almost time for a break. I'll just help you with that last one, then I'll be calling it a day." He bent down to grab some supplies from the Explorer's Kit. "I'll be staying here in Canalave for the weekend, so feel free to come get me anytime you want to hang out!"
"Thanks a lot, Roark, but actually..." Dawn rubbed her right arm with her left hand when Roark's gaze lifted up to her. Some dirt had managed to stick to her left cheek. "Would it be all right if Lucas helped me with this one?"
Eyes widened, Lucas heard his name and turned his head to the conversation, which he had tried tuning out. "What?"
Roark's head bounced back and forth between the two. "Huh? Oh, uhh...Sure! Of course. Fine by me. I'll go ahead and get out of here now then, 'kay?"
The Gym Leader gave a quick "Oof" as Dawn jumped forward and hugged him. "Thank you so much for showing us how to do this! We'll definitely be coming back down here more often!"
"Haha!" Roark beamed. "Another soul converted." After leaving Dawn's embrace, Roark turned to the remaining member and offered him a hand. "Or would you prefer a hug, too?"
Lucas forced one last smile before gripping the man's hand and shaking it. "Thanks again, Roark."
"Glad I could help. Didn't I say it was going to be fun? I'll be seeing you two later." With one last quick wave, Roark turned his back and walked away. His steps could be heard echoing in the sudden quietness of the mine.
Dawn giggled. She danced forward, leaping over the equipment that laid on the floor. After she reached her friend, she brought her head forward and planted a long-lasting kiss on his lips. After breaking off for air, she snickered once more as she rubbed under Lucas's chin, also keeping their eyes tightly locked with each other. "You're kinda sexy when you're quiet...but I think I still like the other you better. If there's something wrong that's making you so stubborn, tell me!"
Lucas grinned. His head turned to confirm that Roark had left. Seeing no one else around, he leaned forward and planted another kiss on Dawn. "Can't say that I've ever been better. Come on, let's finish this little trip up. I wouldn't mind some fresh air."
The black-haired girl nodded. She bent down to the ground to pick the hammer up before making her way over to the wall. Lucas came up behind her and grabbed her wrists, much like how Roark was training her. This mentor, however, lowered his head and gave Dawn's neck a soft kiss.
Dawn giggled as a small chill drove down her spine. "I don't think that has anything to do with mining..."
With a light groan of exertion, Dawn lifted the heavy hammer up and pounded away at the wall some more.