bijoukaiba: So, just so you all know, I don't own Scooby-Doo or any related characters. Because if I did, there would have been an actual ending to the incredible The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby-Doo series.
Shall We Dance?
This couldn't be happening.
Not to her.
Not to Daphne Blake.
Not on Valentine's Day. Or night, rather, when the big dance was being held.
She'd always gone to every dance held at Central High School, and always with Fred Jones. They weren't exactly sweethearts, but were caught in an awkward relationship stuck between "close friends" and "dating". They had always been that way, ever since they were freshmen.
"You're asking someone else out?" she had asked.
"Sure, why not? I mean, why not try something different? We've always gone together to these dances for the past few years, wouldn't you like a little change?" Freddie replied.
"... But what if you don't find a date?"
He had winked and told her, "Trust me, I will. I know exactly who I want to ask. I won't say who, though! That's part of the mystery..." he grinned, amused.
"But what about me?"
"C'mon, you're Daphne Blake, the reporter for the Central High Times! You've interviewed a lot of people, and I know some of them must have been guys. Ask around, you're bound to find someone!"
But 'asked around' she had, and had found no one.
She sighed, pulling the straps of her dress onto her shoulders. It was sleeveless, and it reached down far enough to barely sweep on the floor. This was pleasing, as she didn't want to accidentally step on her own gown with her pearly high-heeled shoes and trip. The dress was in a lovely shade of forest green, with a pale green sash around her waist to neatly complement it. Unlike most girls who preferred to wear their hair up to these parties, she had left her hair down, abandoning her usual headband. She looked herself over in the mirror, pausing to tuck a few strands of hair behind her ear. No make-up for her; she was blessed with natural beauty, and applying it would take some time, which she was running out of.
"Daphne!" her mother was calling her, tapping her knuckles against the door. "Darling, your ride's here! Don't make the driver wait!"
Case in point.
She opened the door, stepping out in her new dress. Her mother clasped her hands together with a sigh, admiring her daughter's appearance.
"Oh, honey! You look lovely!" Mrs. Blake glanced over her shoulders, down the stairs. "I wonder where I left the camera... I'd love to get some pictures..."
"Maybe when I get home, okay? Sorry, I'm just in a little bit of a hurry..." she apologized, giving her mother a quick hug before dashing down the stairs, slightly awkward in her heels.
The sun had almost set, giving the sky a dark blue-violet hue, with a few stars already dotted the sky. Stepping out the front door, she noticed a limousine idling in the mansion's driveway. Once the chaffeur spotted the young lady approaching, he opened the door for her and offered his hand to help her in. She took it and scooted her way inside, taking a seat inside the limo.
"Central High School, I believe?"
He shifted gears and began the drive to her high school, about a fifteen minute trip.
Daphne sat on one of the sofa-like seats in the back, her eyes wandering over the mini lights and the other leather upholstery seats across from her. There was smooth, rose-colored carpeting underneath her feet, unlike the Mystery Machine, where there was no fancy upholstery or lights and simple, dark carpeting with a few stains from one of Shaggy and Scooby's culinary experiments.
Great, another upsetting memory.
Daphne, as well as her friends, were now in their senior year at high school, meaning that everyone was heading for college soon. As a result of their inevitable separation, they were getting closer and closer to splitting up "Mystery Inc." Even if it meant going out on the weekend to investigate suspicious circumstances and catch a criminal in some sort of monster costume, there was always some new thrill to it. Even when she ended up getting captured and frightened, her friends always came through for her in the end.
But next year... Velma would be heading southeast to start studying to work with NASA, and Freddie would be heading to the northeast to study literature in the hopes of having a few mystery novels published. And Shaggy would... well, she wasn't sure what his plans were, but odds were he wouldn't be attending college near here. Daphne wanted to pursue stardom in acting, but thought having a start in journalism would be a great way to get noticed. A local newpaper had already caught interest in her articles for the Central High Times, so she was planning to stay put and attend drama classes part-time as she worked with her reporting.
"Miss Blake, we've arrived," the chaffeur informed her.
"Oh, thanks," Daphne remarked abruptly, slightly startled.
The sky was now black and plentiful with stars, but already Daphne could see lights from the cafeteria where the dance was going on. She smiled and picked up her pace as she made her way onto campus. Out in the courtyard, a few couples could be seen in each others' arms or friends chatting about the evening. Some students even preferred to be alone, silently admiring the stars.
At least this wasn't a 'no date, no dance' event.
She opened the doors to the cafeteria, looking around the large room. All the tables and chairs had been set aside for the evening, and now the room appeared much larger. An upbeat tune was playing, and everyone was having a good time out on the dance floor. A crowd of students filled the area, an almost even number of boys and girls. Daphne ducked her way through the crowd, looking for familiar faces... there was Joe and Amy, from English last year... Neal and Maria from Physics this year... and over there...
A surprised gasp escaped Daphne.
In a black suit with matching black pants was Fred, and he was dancing with a girl in a red-orange dress that Daphne soon recognized as Velma. The song that was playing ended, and all the students applauded. Daphne made her way over to her friends, a smile on her face.
"Jinkies! If it isn't Daphne!" Velma laughed as she embraced her friend, "When did you get here?"
"Just a few minutes ago," Daphne replied with a smile, then turned to Fred. "So she was your mystery date..."
He grinned and rubbed the back of his head modestly. "Well, she's also a close friend, plus she mentioned the other day that she'd only been to a few dances, but never the Valentine's one. So I said, 'Velma, we've got to change that! Going to the Valentine's Dance is a very special memory for anybody in high school! I'm available, if you'd like to go.' And you certainly didn't hesitate, did you?" he addressed Velma as he finished his statement. She didn't reply, but her freckled cheeks were flushed with red color.
"So, who's your lucky guy?" Fred asked.
"Oh, I just decided to go alone." Daphne lied. Velma, however, could tell that his question had left her feeling uncomfortable.
"By the way, the refreshments table is over there," Velma commented, pointing it out. "They've got great punch, just in case you get thirsty. They'll probably start playing a new song any second now, so it might be to your advantage to have a drink so you don't get worn out."
Daphne smiled, feeling a little better. Maybe there'd be a few of her female friends hanging out there to chat with. She thanked Velma and made her way through the crowd to get a drink.
Cookies, crackers, chips and various fruits and vegetables (the latter two were practically untouched) were available on large plastic platters. Daphne wasn't very hungry, but she did want to sample some of the punch she'd heard about from Velma. There was a young man pouring a cup of punch for himself. He was about to put the ladle back into the bowl, when Daphne tapped his shoulder.
"Excuse me... could you please get me some punch?"
"Sure!" he said, turning to her.
Daphne blinked in surprise when she recognized his face and voice.
The beatnik was dressed in a green top with a black tie to accompany it. He wore black slacks and opted for black wingtips for his shoes. He had also, much to Daphne's surprise, smoothed his hair down with a side part.
"Like, hey, Daphne!" he greeted her with a grin. "Having fun tonight?"
He took a paper cup and poured her a glass as she replied.
"Mmm, it's been okay. I saw Fred and Velma,"
"Yeah, like, I did too. They looked nice tonight, and Velma seemed really happy. But weren't you, like, going out with Fred?" he asked, handing her the cup.
Daphne took a few sips, then lowered it from her mouth. She swirled the punch around in the cup, thinking about how to answer. "Sometimes it feels like that, but he's never actually asked me out on an 'official' date. We're close friends, of course, but we're not close enough to really be sweethearts. I guess my answer would be no."
Shaggy felt his heartbeat speed up a little bit. It had probably been in junior year, when they were lab partners in chemistry, that he had first started to develop feelings for Daphne. This year, he had been lucky enough to share three classes with her, and she wound up sitting near him in all three of them. They had gotten to spend a lot more time together than they had the previous three years, and he could no longer deny that he was attracted to her. Her smile, her voice, the hints of violet in her eyes...
He broke out of his train of thought.
"I asked what you plan to do after you graduate," she repeated calmly. She also had a lot of patience with him, another thing he appreciated.
"I didn't really want to go to some big, fancy university. It would, like, cost too much. I'll probably just stick around here at a local school."
It made Daphne smile to think that at least one of her close friends would still be nearby.
"What do you plan to study?" she asked.
"Like, can't decide. I'm stuck between culinary arts and being a vet," he replied.
"Like an army veteran?" she asked again.
"No way, man! Make love, not war! I mean, like, a veterinarian. But that would take more time, more classes..." Shaggy groaned. "And, like, more homework and more money..."
"I say go for it," she encouraged him. "If you work really hard, I'm sure you could do it... and Scooby would be so proud! Besides, I think Dr. Rogers would be a nice title for you."
"Dr. Rogers, huh?" he laughed. "Well, maybe I'll think about it some more... like, what about you?"
"I'm also staying here. I really want to be an actress, so I'll start taking some drama classes. In the meantime, I might work with the newspaper as a journalist." she commented.
"Then I'll be, like, your most loyal reader!"
"Thanks," Daphne replied with a small laugh.
Shaggy stood there quietly, unsure of what to say next. The only noise around him was the confused chatter of students, questioning why the music hadn't resumed playing.
"So... you look really nice..." he finally complimented.
"Thank you. So do you," she returned politely.
He couldn't figure out what else to say. He had always been the timid one when it came to chasing criminals, and he was apparently the shy one as well now.
"Ladies and gentlemen," one of the chaperones announced. "We apologize for the delay. We have corrected the technical difficulties, so we can resume the music."
A cheer arose from the students.
"This next song is especially for everyone who brought a partner to the dance,"
A slower, more melodic tune began to play, and the lights faded to a blue color. Couples around the room were in each other's arms, slowly dancing in time with the music.
"Not for me," Daphne sighed. "I came alone."
"Yeah, like, I never could find anyone to go with. So I usually just stayed at home with Scoob. But he finally said to me, 'Raggy, rou're roing roo ruh rance.' So I took his advice... and, like, here I am." (Translation: Shaggy, you're going to the dance.)
Daphne laughed at his impersonation of the the Great Dane, but otherwise she didn't reply, watching the couples longingly. Of all the nights to be feeling lonely, it had to be Valentine's Day. Having Shaggy with her definitely was comforting, but it still couldn't fill the empty part of her heart that wanted to be out there dancing with someone special.
If there was one thing Shaggy disliked more than monsters and ghosts, it was seeing someone close to him feeling upset. He could see the longing, the loneliness, in those violet eyes he adored so much.
"Do you, like, want to dance?" he asked her softly.
Daphne looked up at him, surprised.
"What did you say?" she asked.
Shaggy held out his hand to her.
"Shall we dance?" he offered again.
She looked down at his inviting hand, then back into his eyes. Shaggy was an honest person with a heart of gold. He would never pull a joke on her.
Daphne smiled and placed her hand softly into his. He led her onto the dance floor, making their way past a few couples. Shaggy had never really had a formal dance like this before, except for a few lessons his mother insisted that he took before entering high school. With her hand already in his, he positioned his free hand against the small of her back as she placed her free hand on his shoulder. Finding the rhythm in the music, he finally placed his left foot forward, leading her in the dance. He was very conservative with his moves, taking only small steps at the risk of stepping on her foot.
It all seemed like a dream, an illusion. The couples around them - even Velma and Fred - practically vanished. To Shaggy, it was all about her. All about him. Them. Together. He relaxed a little bit and flowed with her in time to the music.
Daphne's loneliness melted away she danced with him. Looking back, it surprised her that she had never considered to ask him out. She had gone to a few other of her male friends, but why hadn't she asked him? She shook those questions out of her mind. Why did that matter now? What mattered was that she was with him now, having a wonderful time. In fact, the idea of meeting up with someone unexpected and sharing a dance with them seemed like something out of the movies. It actually seemed rather...
The thought of it made Daphne smile. It surprised her that the idea of the romance didn't make her as happy as the idea of sharing it with Shaggy.
She leaned forward, resting her head against his shoulder. Shaggy was a little surprised, but he gently pulled her a little closer to him. Both of them were wishing this moment could last forever.
Then the music slowly grew softer and the students began to applaud.
The song, the moment, had ended much to their disappointment. As Daphne gently pulled herself away from Shaggy, she could see Velma wink at her from over his shoulder.
Fred's eyes followed Velma's gaze, and made a little 'o' shape with his mouth when he saw what had tickled the clever girl's interest.
"I get it. It seemed really weird that you suggested that she get something to drink out of nowhere..." he remarked.
Time flies when you're having having fun, and for everyone attending the dance, the night and the rest of the dance didn't last very long. For students who hadn't driven to the dance, they were now waiting for their rides at the front of the campus.
Shaggy and Daphne had been inseparable that night, and now he was standing with her as they awaited her limo. He had driven over, but since she had taken a limo, he decided it would be polite to wait until she had gotten a ride home before he left. Waiting would also mean less traffic when he did leave.
Besides, even if he would just see her again in school on Monday, he wanted this night with her to last as long as possible.
Ironically, just as he had been thinking this, he spotted the limo making its way to the front of the school.
Everything had gone so well for him this evening. It had really helped his confidence, and now he was feeling a little less shy than before. Of course, he wasn't going to spill his whole heart out - that would have been too much for him - but he could at least take the first step to admitting his feelings.
"Do you, like, have any plans next weekend? 'Cause there's this great new ice cream place a few miles from school..." Shaggy invited.
"I'm busy on Saturday and Sunday..." Daphne mused, going over her plans in her head, then smiled. "... But I'm not doing anything Friday night..."
Shaggy grinned. That was all he needed to hear. Of course, he'd have to remember not to order any onions, just in case...
"Thank you for the dance," she said to him, watching as the limo made its way through the driver's circle.
"You're welcome. Like, anytime," he replied, placing a friendly hand on her shoulder.
The limo finally pulled up, awaiting Daphne.
"My parents always hold a special masquerade ball in autumn," she commented. "So, if you're still in town and want to go, you're more than welcome to. My parents like animals, so Scooby'd be more than welcome to come too."
"Wow, would I! I'm, like, already looking forward to it."
The chaffeur was calling for her. "Miss Blake! Miss Blake, where are you? I'm here to take you home!"
"Wonderful. But you owe me a dance when you get there," she 'demanded' in a teasing way.
Both of them laughed.
Daphne leaned up and gave Shaggy a quick kiss on the cheek, then made her way over to the limo.