A/N: (SPOILER ALERT) For those of you who don't know, there is a rumored episode where SpongeBob supposedly admits he has a crush for Sandy, or shows it, or something like that. Well, I love filling in unwritten stuff like that, so this is my version. There are references to "Tea at the Treedome" and "Ripped Pants" so if you haven't seen those episodes (or don't remember) you may be a little lost at parts.
(END SUPPOSED SPOILERS)
For the record, I hesitate to call myself a SpongeXSandy shipper. I do like the pairing, but it's not my favorite. This is probably the only one I'll ever write…. especially considering romance is so NOT my genre. Okay, enough boring author's notes, and onto the fic….
Surfaces of Love
SpongeBob snuggled up in a jellyfish-print, fleece throw blanket in front of the television. He was petting Gary in his lap, who purred with each stroke.
"Don'tcha just love watching TV in your jammies, Gary?" he asked with a grin.
His show abruptly stopped, and a news reporter appeared on the screen.
"This is Perch Perkins live from the scene. There's a lot of seismic activity going on behind me, where you can plainly see—"
"Are you kidding? I love pie! Probably more than a man should!"
SpongeBob had changed the channel. "Bahahahaha!" he laughed. "I love this show!"
"Nah, I'm sure it wasn't that important, Gary."
Gary slithered over to a lamp and twisted his eyestalks into a strange pattern in front of it. On the wall appeared his shadow, which he had shaped into a number with his eyes.
"Four?" SpongeBob scratched his head. "A four out of a shadow? You're FOUR…. shadowing? I don't get it."
For SpongeBob, every day was a holiday. April Fool's Day, Valentine's Day, Lief Erikson Day, or some other one he made up. The next morning was no exception.
Originally he'd planned for it to be 'Place Garlic Bread Around the House to Ward Off Vampiric Sea Urchins Day'—yes, the idea was a lie of Squidward's—but a raid through the kitchen forced a change in the sponge's plans.
Not only was he fresh out of garlic bread, but his food supply in general was dangerously low. So instead, he declared today, 'GROCERY DAY.'
And that's exactly what he merrily shouted at the top of his lungs as he burst through the doors of the Barg'n Mart.
The clerk could only wince in annoyance.
Several minutes passed as he pranced about the store shopping, skipping, and singing about 'GROCERY DAY.'
Finally he slowed down to check his list. "Watercress… check. Sea biscuits… check. Sea cucumbers … check. Guess that's it!" He rounded the corner a bit too quickly and bumped the shelf with his cart. A couple pickle jars fell off and smashed on the floor below, covering it in pickle juice.
SpongeBob glanced around nervously, and then quickly brightened. "Clean up on Aisle SpongeBob!" he said cheerfully as he absorbed the liquid with his body. "Bahahahaha!"
SpongeBob paid for his items and left for home, struggling to carry all four grocery bags at once. Every time he picked one up, he dropped another. A cartoony light bulb appeared over his head with a ding. Realizing he could use another light bulb around the house, he yanked it out of the air and put it in one of the bags. Then he got an idea.
Using both his arms and his holes, he began to juggle the bags. He threw them up and then used his pores to blow upwards, holding it in the air slightly longer. Cautiously, he took a step, then another, until he finally got the rhythm. Eventually he was able to happily walk down the street and juggle the bags at the same time without missing a beat.
On his way home, he passed by the treedome. Any other time he would have stopped to chat, but he was a bit too preoccupied at the moment.
Suddenly he was upturned and the bags came crashing down.
SpongeBob, now on his back, blinked. "Ohhh….. what happened? I thought my rhythm was perfect." Now with literal egg on his face, he got up.
There was a sound that SpongeBob couldn't quite place. It was like a rumble but… lower.
The ground shook once more.
SpongeBob looked between his feet at a crack creeping along. He warily lifted one leg, letting his eyes follow the snaking break in the seafloor. Another rumble and the ground on one side of the crack jutted upwards. This went down the line and through the treedome.
The dome turned nearly on its side. It was revealed that the polyurethane continued on the bottom— the ground and grass they normally saw was over top of it. This was lucky for Sandy, for if there was no bottom, water would have entered by now and drowned her.
But she was still in danger, as her dwelling was hardly penetrable, especially from an underwater earthquake.
The quake continued, worsening—effectively ruining the seafloor. The treedome was bending, its breaking threshold fast approaching.
SpongeBob gasped and rushed over, jumping from one raised ground piece to another. Miraculously, he still managed to juggle the groceries. "Sandy!" he called. "Are you in there?!" There was no answer as he arrived at the metal hatch doors and threw on a water helmet. Rushing in, he barely closed the door behind him before the treedome finally snapped out of the ground completely, and floated upwards to the surface.
With a frown, SpongeBob pressed himself against the glass. He saw the ground below getting smaller and smaller.
After a sudden little bump, it stopped. They'd reached the surface.
The sponge took a few guarded steps, looking around fearfully.
SpongeBob turned around to see Sandy hop out of the tree.
"That quake was somethin' fierce!" she said.
SpongeBob dashed over with a grin. "Sandy, you're okay!"
"'course I'm okay! Takes worse than a number on the Richter scale to take me down!"
"But the treedome…..!" He gestured around with his arms. "It's floated all the way to the surface!"
"Well it is full'a air, silly. Must've broken its hold on the bottom."
They both looked down to the murky water below. So much mud and sand had been upturned that it was impossible to see anything.
"Oh, no! What's happened to Bikini Bottom?!" asked SpongeBob in a panic. "I gotta go see!" He made a dash for the door.
"Ya can't!" Sandy jumped in his path and he bumped into her.
"….. there's no power, duh! And the doors are electric—how else do you think the water drains like that?"
"No power?" SpongeBob bit his lip.
"No way is there power all the way up here. We ain't connected to nothin'."
"If the doors won't open, how will we get down?"
Sandy rubbed her chin. "Hmmm….." She was a scientist, and her sharp mind should have easily solved this problem. SpongeBob expected her to whip up an idea so clever, and hopefully amusing, that they would carry it out over a serious of events to a satisfying conclusion in about eleven minutes. But today was a little different than his normal episodic adventures.
The squirrel grinned and pulled out a glasscutter. Carefully, she etched a small hole in the side of the dome. When she'd completed the circle, she pressed her hand in the middle and the piece slid out. It slowly floated to the bottom, but they only saw it momentarily as the muddy water concealed it.
A bit of water began to leak through the newly formed hole. "There! We're saved!" she said proudly.
SpongeBob looked at the hole. "Um, Sandy? I—"
She covered his mouth. "Lemme explain, SpongeBob. With this here hole, I've created a slow leak. It'll take a while, but the treedome will eventually fill with enough water to float back down. We just gotta wait it out is all."
"That's brilliant, Sandy!" His face fell. "Wait… why don't you just make a BIG hole so we'll float down faster?"
"Ain'tcha ever heard of pressure?!"
He blinked. "Well… there was this one time… at the Goofy Goober Nut Bar—"
"No, silly! I mean water pressure. If'n we go down too fast, the dome will crack under it and I'll be homeless! I told you the first time we met that it weren't easy gettin' the treedome underwater. Y'all remember, right?"
SpongeBob remembered that day. He was far too concerned with his flesh drying out and slowly suffocating than what she'd said. "….uh, sure, Sandy!"
"I'm gonna check around and see how well this place held up. Don't go too far!" She laughed. "That was a joke, seein' as how we can't go anywhere anytime soon." Sandy walked off towards the tree.
SpongeBob bent down to collect his grocery bags.
The spongy perfectionist took each food item out one by one, sorting them by expiration date. It turned out to be quite fortunate he'd gone grocery shopping just before this predicament, as they now had plenty of food.
"Let's see… strawberries, they'll expire in just a couple days… Twinkies, a couple years….." During this boring task, his mind began to wander. He thought about what Sandy had said just minutes earlier—about his first visit to the treedome. That had been a very strange day for SpongeBob. A friendship was quickly budding, but the air issue put a damper on things for a while. Somehow he still managed to try and go about the situation as usual—he pretended he wasn't slowly dying from lack of water. He'd risked his life, now that he thought about it, to impress her.
He'd never realized that until now. In fact, he hadn't given it much thought. Whether it was because of his short attention span, or a lost interest due to the water/ air issue, or something else remained unknown to him. SpongeBob remembered being jealous of Larry that infamous day at the beach of the ripped pants incident, but after that, things sort of cooled off. It was peculiar how what seemed to be a crush seemed to dissipate without reason. Their relationship stayed a healthy friendship, but in reality nothing more.
As he finished sorting the food, SpongeBob couldn't help but wonder why this turned out like it did.
'We could be tighter than bark on a tree.'
Those words from Sandy echoed in his head. She'd said that when they first met. 'What did she mean by that? Friends or….. something more? Maybe she meant…..'
SpongeBob's thought train derailed as her shadow fell over him. He looked up and smiled. "Hey, Sandy!"
Sandy had her hands on her hips. "I checked everythin' out. Stuff's all knocked over, but nothin' too bad. Only structural damage I saw was a bunch'a dents in the dome's surface. You wanna smooth things out?"
"Huh? ……OH. Smooth out the dome."
"Yeah….." She hesitated. "But I'm not quite sure how to go about it… most are really high up….."
His face brightened. "We could make a game out of it!"
SpongeBob could make a game of anything. When he washed dishes, he pretended the washcloth was a rescue ship come to pick up lost sailors: the food grease and crumbs left on the plate. When he dusted around the house, he pretended he was repetitively summoning a genie whose mystic, cloudy fog enveloped him over and over. And when he cleaned up Gary's used newspaper…. well, let's leave that game to the imagination. Or, more specifically, SpongeBob's 'imaginaaaaation,' as he pronounced it, complete with the rainbow-forming hand gesture.
"Well, shoot! That's a great idea, SpongeBob!"
Tossing his water helmet aside, he tightened himself into a ball. "You can throw me up at the dents and that will knock them back into shape!"
"But what about your helmet? Won'tcha dry out?"
"Psssh," he scoffed, giving a little wave. "I'll be fine. I'm tough enough to be without it for a little bit."
Sandy eyed him warily. "You sure?"
"Of course!" For some reason, SpongeBob wasn't thinking things through.
Sandy shrugged and started to dribble SpongeBob like a basketball. "You ready?"
SpongeBob tried not to let her see him wince. "Yeah!"
"Alright!" She tossed him upwards hard against one of the pushed-in dents high in the side of the treedome. He hit with some force, knocking it smooth.
"Owww…" he said quietly, up in the air. He didn't want her to hear.
Sandy caught him as he fell back down. "That worked perfect! Only about a dozen or more to go!"
"Gr-great…." He wasn't sure why, but he concealed his pain. In reality, being thrown against the wall hurts—it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. That was ironic considering Sandy actually was a rocket scientist. However SpongeBob was, in a way, glad. He was trying to impress her again, not unlike that day at the beach when Larry came. But just like his weight-lifting charade proved a misguided attempt, once again he was treading down a path that didn't match his skill set. He was no macho guy, and this act was leading him to expose his low threshold for pain.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Three more down.
"How're you holdin' up, buddy?" she asked, his sphere-like body falling back into her arms.
"Pr…pretty...good…" he panted. "This doesn't hurt at all!" His spongey body was starting to dry up.
"You sure?" She frowned. "You don't look so good."
"Are you kidding? It takes worse than a number on the Richter scale to take me down!"
"Uh… SpongeBob? Do you know what the Richter scale is?"
SpongeBob couldn't answer. He was too taken back by the sudden tightened grip around his body. Sandy's tensed hands squeezed the sponge and pulled him a little closer to her. Now nervous, SpongeBob couldn't help but pop back into his normal shape.
This startled Sandy, who pulled away her arms and stepped back instinctively. SpongeBob fell to the ground. He was confused about what just happened and why Sandy had tensed her grip, but he got his answer as he followed Sandy's gaze upwards.
A crack was formed on the surface of the treedome. The force of the repeated pummeling had been too much, and now the break was developing and branching off almost like a spider web.
"The treedome's about to shatter!" she exclaimed, her eyes widened in fear. "We gotta fix this fast!"
She didn't look back as she dashed off, leaving SpongeBob lying on the ground.
SpongeBob sighed. He lay on his back, now in a certain ever-growing puddle. The gushing leak was beside him. The water felt refreshing, a welcome comfort as he tried to heal from the failed dent-fixing attempt.
"I messed everything up," he said to the hole. "It was my dumb idea. I never should have suggested it."
There was momentary silence.
"And she just ran off. Grabbed some epoxy and a slingshot and fixed it in no time. She doesn't need me."
He hung his head. "I was just trying to impress her, and now I look like a fool."
For a while, he didn't say anything. The leak was solace, but he wasn't feeling himself. Normally he was the chipper optimist. A sunny smile on his face was practically his attire. But not today; something inside of him was affecting his usual cheerfulness. Something that felt like sting rays fluttering around in his stomach.
SpongeBob sat up. He could feel eyes on him. "S-Sandy?"
He glanced around the treedome—eerily peaceful.
"… are you there? Because—"
A foam-covered hand came down on the sponge's head.
"Take that, SpongeBob!" she said with a smirk.
He blinked. "You wanna play karate? Now?"
"Well, sure! Why not? Thought it might cheer ya up, seein' how you look a little glum. Just 'cause we're stuck don't mean we can't have some fun."
"Okay, but what's that?" He pointed up.
Her eyes followed his hand. "What's what?"
Now having donned his own foam karate gear, he leapt towards her with a battle cry.
Sandy dodged his attack, causing him to fall face first in the dirt. "You gotta do better than that!"
"Oh, I will!" he replied, spitting out some dirt.
The two lunged at each other, slapping and karate-chopping in all directions. SpongeBob, losing, broke away and ran off.
"You can't outrun me!" said Sandy, grinning.
"I can try!" He rounded the tree.
In a seemingly impossible way, she jumped in his path. "Told ya! You're slower than a tortoise with a walking cane on a Sunday mornin'!"
"…..yeah? Well, your karate kicks are as gentle as…. as….." He hesitated. "…as a baker's dozen of tiny baby pipefish nuzzling a bag of caramel!"
For a moment, she stared back, devoid of emotion. Then she burst into laughter.
SpongeBob frowned, wondering how he'd embarrassed himself this time.
"That's the funniest thing I ever heard!" she said, wiping away a tear. "That's why I like you, SpongeBob. You always make me laugh."
SpongeBob blushed deeply, averting his gaze.
"Hey…. all this karate is workin' me up quite the appetite. You wanna break for somethin' to eat?"
SpongeBob ran his hands under the leaking hole. He needed to wash them off somehow; he didn't realize it at the time but his palms had become very sweaty talking to Sandy.
Her words were running through his head: 'That's why I like you, SpongeBob. You always make me laugh.'
He thought back to the day at the beach. He'd gotten her attention by being funny. It was silly things: making fun of Squidward, pretending to have pepperoni and sand pizzas, and later ripping his pants. Ripping his pants had worked, but he just didn't know when to stop and ended up spoiling it.
If only he could do something like that again and not ruin it. Make her laugh and freeze the moment, instead of beating it to death.
"Maybe I can…." he said to the hole. "I am going to be funny! That'll get Sandy's attention."
He scampered over to the tree.
Up the tree, Sandy was making some sandwiches and humming to herself. She was just about to add some hot sauce—she added hot sauce to almost everything—when SpongeBob entered.
On his water helmet he'd drawn a funny face with a handlebar mustache. "Good afternoon, Miss Cheeks!" he said in a snooty voice, smirking.
"SpongeBob? What're you doin'?" she asked, cracking up.
"I'm not SpongeBob. I am Mayor Snowglobehead from Snowglobetown." He continued speaking haughtily. "And I have come to plead to you, a renowned scientist, for your aid. As you can plainly see, I am a snow globe…. person thing. But alas, it is too warm here and I have no snow in my dome-of-a-head." With his hands, he gestured toward the water helmet. "Can you remedy said situation?"
At this point, Sandy had nearly fallen to the ground with laughter. "Maybe… this's the problem." She held up the hot sauce bottle, playing along with SpongeBob's silly game.
"My dear!" He pretended to twirl the drawn-on mustache, smudging the marked glass. "Nonsense! Hey, are those sandwiches? In Snowglobetown, all sandwiches are snowwhiches. Spelled without a t. Additionally, we have snow-schools, snow-government, and snow-jobs."
Sandy's laughter began to slow.
"And when we want to buy novelty souvenirs, we have air globes." SpongeBob broke character and laughed. "Bahahahahaha!"
What started off as perhaps something humorous in its own random, silly way took a familiar turn. Once again, he stretched a joke too far.
"Alright….." said Sandy, no longer smiling. "…. I get it…."
Realizing he was making a fool of himself, he stopped. 'Oh, no… not again!' he thought. SpongeBob turned red. 'I can't let Sandy see….' His eyes darted around for anything to conceal his flushed face, and they fell upon the hot sauce bottle. It wouldn't hide the redness, but it could do the next best thing: give an excuse for it.
Not thinking, he picked up the hot sauce bottle and started to chug it like a soda. About three gulps in, he gagged as his mouth felt like it was set aflame. The water in his helmet came to a boil so quickly you could make pasta.
"SpongeBob! Are you okay?!"
He didn't have time to answer. By this point, he was literally blasting out of the tree like a rocket, leaving a trail of smoke behind him. He crashed outside on the grass, stopped, dropped, and rolled over to the hole.
For a long time, SpongeBob simply held his mouth up to the hole, sans water helmet. He needed the water to cool off his mouth.
But it wasn't enough. He leaned harder, and harder, and… his face broke through.
His entire head was on the other side. After squeezing his arms through, he waved them, grinning. "Hey! I'm halfway free! I'm halfway free!" SpongeBob looked back to his 'captain's quarters' and legs. They could easily squeeze through as well. But if he did, he'd be leaving Sandy all by herself to wait out the leak.
He eyed it, around him. Why didn't either of them realize he could squeeze through? He could change shape, after all…..
He debated pulling the rest of his body through and jumping. He'd float down, go back home, see the rest of his friends, see Gary again, go back to his job… all the things he missed. It would be so easy to jump…
"Hey, SpongeBob!" he heard her voice call from the tree. "It's gettin' late. Don'tcha wanna come inside?"
SpongeBob pulled his head back through the hole and landed in the puddle. "Coming!"
There are few things to do when one is stranded with no power. In fact, it could become quite boring.
So SpongeBob suggested they play a board game to pass the time. But not without making an awkward, unfunny joke about it being a board/ bored game, of course.
They settled on Scrabble, a board game classic. Forced to play by candlelight, it was a challenge.
SpongeBob squinted at the game board and bit his lip. If the dark wasn't bad enough, he was also terribly distracted. The whole situation—being up in Sandy's room, at night, in the dark—was making it difficult to concentrate.
SpongeBob looked up to Sandy, his tongue tied.
"I know what you're thinkin'," said Sandy. "That it's an acronym? Don'tcha worry, it's an acceptable word. 'specially down here. Ain't even in capitals."
"R-right." That wasn't what he was thinking.
He looked down to his letters: SZCHQUR. After a wince, he tried to think of his play. Tentatively, he scooped up four of the letters. He was going to do the word 'RUSH,' which ironically suited his mood at the moment, but then he looked back at the remaining three letters. The C caught his eye.
For a moment, he wondered if it would be too awkward to use the C. But a little voice in the back of his head said…. 'go for it, it doesn't have to mean anything.'
So he played the CRUSH.
Sandy looked at the word. "Certainly hope that doesn't come true!"
SpongeBob froze, his eyes wide. He could feel his heart rate rise.
"That'd be terrible, the dome collapsing after all," she said. "Don't you be jinxin' us, playin' a word like that!"
SpongeBob laughed nervously. He'd forgotten the other meaning of 'crush.'
The game went on and on. They were running out of words, and constantly having to stop and consult a dictionary. Things were getting boring.
SpongeBob yawned and looked over to Sandy. She'd fallen asleep, right in front of the game board.
"Sandy?" he said, testing how deep her slumber was. "Sandy?"
There was no response. He wanted to get some rest himself, but everything about the situation was too uncomfortable. Finally, he retreated back to the leak.
"I think I blew it, hole," he said, back outside of the tree. "She'll never think of me as anything more than a friend."
He sighed and lay in the puddle. 'Guess I'll sleep here tonight.'
The sun's rays creeping over the horizon fell on his eyes, waking him. He squinted them tighter, not wanting to get up yet. He'd had the most wonderful dream….
However, he remembered where he was: the hole. It must have leaked a large amount of water overnight. It should have been enough to sink them down some towards the seafloor.
SpongeBob opened his eyes and looked around. The puddle he lay in was bigger, but not by much. However, what really caught his attention was the position of the treedome: the surface.
'The surface?!' he thought frantically. 'We're still at the surface?! Why haven't we sunk any?!'
Pacing, he began to talk to the hole. "How is this possible?! I mean, I knew it was a small hole but…. come on… this'll take days or weeks…. who knows?!" He narrowed his eyes. "Sandy should know. She's a scientist."
The metaphorical gears in his head started to turn.
Turning back to the hole, he took a good long look at it. "Why didn't she cut a bigger hole?" 'Right, pressure.' But something still didn't sit right with him. His mind ran over everything that'd happened so far, all the things she said: water pressure, dome will crack, she'd be homeless, it weren't easy getting the treedome underwater….
He paused. 'It weren't easy.'
Wouldn't she have had the treedome pressurized already if she lived underwater? Wasn't that what she meant about it not being 'easy'?
Perhaps there was something about this that didn't add up. In fact, the whole situation seemed a little fishy, if you forgive the nautical pun. Sandy was a scientist after all; couldn't she have figured something out that worked faster than a slow leak?
'Was it possible…. she didn't…. well maybe…. could she have prolonged this? Why would she want to keep us stranded longer than necessary?'
SpongeBob wondered if Sandy had withheld her scientific talents for a reason.
He didn't know. But he was going to find out now.
Cuffing his hands around his mouth, he called up to the tree. "Sandy!"
After a moment, she appeared by the window, rubbing her eyes. "Mornin', SpongeBob. Y'all up early."
"Put your air helmet on!"
"Why?" she asked.
"Please?" he pleaded. "Just do it for me!"
"Okay…" she replied cautiously, then disappeared from the window.
SpongeBob took a deep breath. Pulling out the glasscutter from before, he leapt up and cut a large, circular hole in the side of the dome. Water burst through, filling up the domicile. It began to sink back down to the bottom.
He looked down at the ground fast approaching, holding onto his water helmet. Finally, it settled on the seafloor, briefly upturning some sand.
Sandy rushed out, the air helmet safely on her head. Frantically, she ran over to and out her hatch doors. With quick expertise, she connected some wires and pushed a few buttons.
SpongeBob watched in awe. She knew exactly what she was doing. Like she'd planned this—like she knew this would come all along.
There was an electrical whir as the power was restored. The pull of a lever caused the water to quickly drain out of the dome. The place dripped from all around.
Sandy approached SpongeBob, taking off her helmet. For several moments, they said nothing to each other. It was a long, awkward pause. SpongeBob didn't know what to say to her; he just looked at her with questioning eyes, wondering if his suspicions were correct.
Finally, Sandy broke the silence. "….. those dome surfaces sure are tricky," she said hesitantly, looking away.
SpongeBob didn't know what dome she meant—the treedome or the helmet. The answer made all the difference in the world to him.
But he decided to take a chance and assume the latter. He had thought of an answer to the 'trickiness' problem.
He whipped out the glasscutter, and cut a small hole around his mouth. The second the glass circle popped out, he leaned up on his tiptoes and pressed his lips against hers. They held the kiss for several seconds as a little bit of water trickled from the hole. SpongeBob's heart raced and his face flushed again, his mind paralyzed with a million thoughts at once. Throughout this whole treedome ordeal, he'd grown apart from his sunny disposition. Now, as he locked lips in a moment of bliss, he could feel his chipper self returning.
Finally, they broke away, gasping a little. The water began leaking faster out of the hole, not unlike the hole Sandy cut into the treedome's surface earlier.
The water was soon drained from SpongeBob's helmet. Thus, he was forced to make a trip outside the dome, which thankfully landed almost exactly where it had been before.
Sandy was right; dome surfaces can be tricky. But fortunately, there are solutions, no matter how brief.
A/N: Yes, that's the end. I hope everyone "gets it"… I didn't want to have to spell it out.
Reviews are appreciated :)