A/N: How come all my stories end up longer than I intend? I meant this to be a short, somewhat fluffy, drabble-ish oneshot … and it ended up a thousand words long. I ramble too much.
Oh, and the SpongeXSandy-ness in this is not extremely overt. I find subtlety and the implied more interesting.
Curing Scientist's Block
Sandy sat at her picnic table, head in her hands. She sighed and lazily glanced around the treedome.
Her eyes fell on something metallic peaking up from the grass. It wriggled, getting bigger and bigger. Suddenly the metal triangle burst forth through the grass. Sandy watched curiously as a yellow head poked through.
He stared at her silently and expressionless for a moment, and then blushed slightly. "Darn it. You spotted me."
"Kinda hard to miss ya tunnelin' through there like that."
SpongeBob hopped through the hole and dusted himself off. "I was gonna sneak up for a surprise karate attack. But I guess it's pretty hard to tunnel stealthily."
Sandy lowered one arm, but kept her head propped up with the other. "It's alright. I can't do any karate today anyway."
"Why not?" he asked, approaching the table.
"I'm supposed'ta be workin' on a new invention for my bosses," she said. "They sent me a memo, askin' where masterpieces of 'banana-peelin'-robot' caliber were."
He looked around. "So where are they?"
"I haven't invented them yet!" said Sandy, sitting up. "I got scientist's block."
"Ooh, what's that?"
"It ain't a good thing. It's like the scientist's equivalent of writer's block," she said. "It means I can't think up anything to invent."
"Aw, come on, Sandy! It's easy to think of ideas! That's the easy part. Inventing is the hard part."
"Not for me."
SpongeBob rubbed his chin. "Hmm. I bet I can think of some ideas for you. Let's see …"
"Don't bother, SpongeB—"
"I know!" he interrupted. "How about a driving boat?"
"They already got those, silly."
"I meant one that drives itself!" said SpongeBob. "That way I don't have to worry about passing my boating exam anymore!"
"You'd still crash it somehow …" she muttered.
SpongeBob didn't hear her. "No, wait. I got it! How about you take two things that are already invented, and put them together to create something new?"
"You mean like a spork?" She narrowed her eyes. "I gotta think of somethin' better than a spork to impress my bosses!"
"How about a device that comes up with ideas for you?" he suggested sheepishly, looking backwards.
"I already got that," she replied. "It's called my brain. The problem is that it ain't cooperatin'."
"No wonder you can't think of anything! Don't just use your brain, Sandy. You gotta use your …" SpongeBob clasped his hands together, then pulled them apart. The action formed a rainbow. "Imaginaaaation!"
"Holy moly!" she exclaimed, widening her eyes. "Do that again!"
"Um, okay …" He made the rainbow-forming hand gesture once more.
"Amazing! You have the ability to form refractive light from your fingertips! This is a marvelous discovery!"
"You're missing the point!" said SpongeBob. "I'm trying to show you how to use your imaginaaaation."
"Come on, SpongeBob!" Sandy said as she grabbed his hand. She tried to dash off, but started to run in place when SpongeBob didn't move. His eyes were fixated on their hands. "Let's go! We can tap into that incredible brain energy'a yours!"
SpongeBob looked back up. "But …"
Sandy finally ran hard enough to pull him along. "This'll solve all my problems!"
Sandy lowered the metal helmet into his water helmet and over his head.
"Um, Sandy? This won't hurt, will it?"
"Naw. Unless the electricity shocks ya 'cause of the water." She saw him tremble. "I'm just kiddin', silly! Everything's secure, don'tcha worry."
The helmet was connected by cord to a metal console. It contained a large monitor in the middle. Sandy sat down in its chair, watching the display. "This here screen will show all your thoughts and ideas."
"But I already told you my ideas!"
"I know," she replied. "But this device can tap deep into your mind, and pull up things you normally couldn't think of due to blockage."
SpongeBob tilted his head slightly. "Blockage?"
"Yeah, you know. The every day stuff that gets in the way. Clouds your brain an' stuff. Makes ya not think right."
"I don't have anything like that!" he said quickly. "Why would you think I have something like that? I don't! There's nothing I'm hiding! Who said that? Because I'm not!"
"Whoa, there! Take it easy!" she said. "I know you don't have any real issues or anything. But we all have a little something."
She strapped the eye goggles onto her face. "You ready?"
"I'm ready!" He said his catchphrase as a reflex, then realized his mistake. "No, wait! I'm not re—"
It was too late; Sandy pulled the lever. The machine hummed to life. SpongeBob felt the helmet on his head dig deep into his brain, pulling up his thoughts.
Sandy looked at the screen. The word 'FEAR' appeared in all capitals, the font dripping at the bottom like running ink. "Shee-oot, SpongeBob. You need to relax. I told ya nothin' bad will happen."
The monitor's image began to disappear with a fade out effect. It started to slowly turn pink. Two figures in the middle began to materialize.
"Sandy!" said SpongeBob, blushing red. "Don't look at the screen!"
She faced SpongeBob. "Why not?"
"Just don't! Please?" His pupils dilated. "I'm begging you, please!" he sobbed.
Her back was to the screen. She hesitated. These were his innermost thoughts, after all. Perhaps it wasn't her place to see them.
Sandy closed her eyes, faced the console once more, and flipped the switch. The machine powered down.
The device's helmet raised itself, and SpongeBob sprung from the seat. "Phew!"
"Sorry, SpongeBob," said Sandy. "I guess I was so excited about maybe gettin' ideas from you that it slipped my mind that your thoughts are personal."
"It's okay," he said nervously. The sponge inched slowly backward to the exit. "I actually thought of another idea for you."
"Fix the helmet thing," he said.
SpongeBob had reached the door. "Well, I gotta go, see ya later!" he said in a rushed tone, then quickly closed the door behind him.
Sandy walked back to her mind-reading machine. "That was strange. I thought the helmet worked just perfectly. Let me check …" She powered it back on. After closing a few error messages regarding its improper shut down, its last image appeared back on the screen. There the two were: smiling, blushing, and holding hands. But the glaring detail of SpongeBob's fantasy that caught Sandy's eye was the lack of a water or air helmet for either of them on the monitor.
"Huh. Guess he meant a different helmet."