Random, sad little-big angsty drabble-thing. In three parts. Scoob has to learn about death the hard way. Friendship, romance, angst. You get it :-) Don't own Scooby Doo or Death Cab for Cutie. Now. Enough already. Why are you still reading this? I thought I told you to go read the story! No? Oh, sorry. Well. Go read!
I've smelled this place before, I know it. Hm... What is it? Linoleum. Vomit and medicine- yum! And salt. Tears? Oh yeah, I got it. A hospital.
"Ra rospital, Raggy!" -a hospital, Shaggy!- I bark at him. He looks down at me, but he's not happy.
"Yeah, Scoob," he whispers. Aw. What's wrong? And who else would be proud of me? Velma! Of course.
"Relma, we're rin a rospital!" -Velma, we're in a hospital-
"That's right, Scooby," she says softly. She lays her hand on my head. That's nice, but she's sad, too. What's wrong? I glance over at Daphne. She's the saddest! She's crying into her hands. She never cries. Why would she be crying now? Hm. Let's see. What makes me cry? Scary ghosts. No food in the fridge. Stubbing my toe. Ah, that's it!
"Raphne rurts?" -Daphne hurts?- I ask. Velma glances over at her and nods. That's easy, then! I prance over to where I know they'll be. Sure enough, on the table next to the smelly magazines, is a little box of bandaids. I pick it up carefully in my mouth and carry it back to Velma. I lay it on her lap. Maybe she'll give me a Scooby Snack! But she just looks startled.
"Thanks, Scoob," she says quietly. Her glasses are fogging up. "But Daphne hurts where nothing will help." She lays her hand over her chest. I don't understand. How can nothing help a boo-boo? If nothing else, there are those little white pills they take sometimes.
A doctor comes out of a room a little ways down the hall. He looks between my three friends, unsure of where to go. Shaggy glanced over at Daphne and Velma, then stood up and walked over to the doctor. I follow him, like always, but this time, unlike always, he tells me to go back to the girls. So I trot back as Shaggy and the white-coated man talk quietly. Then the other man leaves and Shaggy comes back over to us. He stares at each one of us for a moment, then slowly, shakes his head.
Daphne starts sobbing, and Velma's crying, too. Shaggy wraps both of them up in an enormous hug. Like a sandwich! Yum! I wanna join!
"Raggy! Re roo!" -Shaggy! Me too!-
"Of course, Scoob," he whispers. "How could we forget you?"
Daphne drops down, wraps her arms around my stomach. She buries her face in my neck and I can feel her tears sliding down my back. Did I do something? I want to hide, my feet ache just staying here, but I can tell that she needs me now. I don't understand this. What's going on? And where's Fred?
"We need to go," Shaggy tells him. Velma looks up at him silently, red rims around her eyes. She nods and he slips an arm around her shoulder, then looks down at Daphne and me.
"Daph?" he asks. "You ready to go?"
She doesn't respond. She only shakes harder. Shaggy bends down and wraps his other arm around her, pulling her to her feet.
"Come on," he says to me. Tears drip down his face, too. What's wrong with them all? He leads the girls outside to the Mystery Machine. Good, we're going for a drive! But no, Shaggy looks down at the girls.
"Want to stay here tonight?" he asks. "Cuz I can't drive."
"Sounds good," whispers Velma. All three of them clamber into the back of the van and I leap in, right behind them. Velma pulls out the cot folded against the wall. I leap onto it. Shaggy gives a dry, bitter laugh and pushes me off. What did I do? I whimper. I want them to be happy!
"Sorry, Scooby," says Velma, wiping her face. They open up another one, then stand and stare at each other for a few seconds. Suddenly, Daphne's knees buckle and she's on the ground, arms wrapped around herself, whole body shaking.
"Raphne?" I ask. Above us, Shaggy and Velma exchange a look. -Daphne?-
"I don't know," says Shaggy hoarsly. "What do I say?"
"What is there to say?" asks Velma hopelessly. She drops down beside her and wraps her arms around her. I give Daphne a big lick. That always helps! Shaggy climbs silently over into the front seat. I look, torn, between him and Velma and Daphne. Then I vault over the seat after him. Maybe he'll tell me what's going on. And I still don't understand where Fred is!
"Raggy?" I ask. "Rhat's wrong?" -Shaggy? What's wrong?-
He looks down at me and I'm amazed to see tears dripping off his long nose. I shrink back, afraid. I'm not afraid, except for ghosts. But there's something wrong with all of them!
"Rere's Red?" I ask. -Where's Fred?-
"Fred's not coming back, pal," Shaggy whispers, hiding his face. "What're we gonna do now?"
I peek over the seat. Velma's helping Daphne onto one of the cots. She pulls a blanket over her and climbs onto the other one. Velma stares blankly up at the ceiling, not moving. She doesn't sleep. Daphne's sobs echo through the van for ages, and when they die off, she continuously whimpers and cries out in her sleep.
"Raphne's raving ra rightmare!" I bark. "Rake rer rup!" -Daphne's having a nightmare! Wake her up!-
"I would, Scoob," says Shaggy. Like Velma, he hasn't slept. "But reality is worse than any nightmare right now."
How could this be worse than a nightmare? Nightmares are scary, and right now, there's not even any ghosts! And why won't Fred come back? He always does.
I curl up on the passengers seat, miserable. The last thing I hear is Daphne, shrieking as she awakes, then I drift off into a cold sleep.
* * * * *
It's been three weeks since the hospital, and Shaggy was right. Fred hasn't come back. We've just driven around, all over. It's great! New dogs, new smells, and lot's of new food! But none of them care. Shaggy drives now, and he acts happy, but I can tell it's just for the girls. He still cries at night, when he thinks no one hears him. But Velma does, I know. She barely sleeps now. She's pale, a stark contrast to the dark circles under her eyes. She lies awake most of the night, listening to Shaggy cry and Daphne scream, trapped in nightmares.
Daphne almost never talks. She still wears purple, but now it's dark, almost black. Her hair lies limp and she hasn't smiled or laughed yet. She almost always has tears streaking her face and is opt to start sobbing at any moment. Velma or Shaggy just lead her back to the Mystery Machine and hold her until she falls asleep. She sleeps the most of anyone, but she still seems exhausted. None of them will play with me.
I'm lying drowsily, munching on a hot dog, when Shaggy's phone rings. I'm up in a moment, growling at the little metal creature that dares to make such a noise. Shaggy pats my head as he picks it up.
"Hey, it's Shaggy," he tosses off lazily. As he listens to the person on the other end, his face goes white.
"Alright, thank you," he says at last. As he shuts his phone, he beckons Velma over they talk in hushed voices, glancing over at Daphne occasionally. She's just looking out the window, but all of a sudden, she turns around.
"I want to go," she says. They stare at her."It's his funeral, isn't it?" she asks.
"Yes," Velma agrees. "Are you sure?"
Daphne nods, determined. "I can handle it."
A funeral. Hm. I feel as if I've heard it before, but I can't quite remember. But if Daphne is willing to go, it must be fun! That'll be good for a change! But I still wonder where Fred is. I miss the way he scratched behind my ears and bought me food and played with me. Wherever he is, I wish he would come back. He's one of my friends and he belongs here, with us.
We start driving again the next day. After several hours, it starts to smell familiar again. This is a town a little ways from Coolsville! Are we going back? Maybe we'll see Fred again! We stop at a strange little hotel. The beds are all lumpy and the food is gross (though not gross enough for me to not clear out their kitchen) and it smelled funny. But for once, all three of them slept soundly and the woke not looking as bad as usual. Maybe this is a good sign. Maybe they'll be happy again!
But when we get back into the Mystery Machine and continue on our way to Coolsville, the car is completely silent. I look around at all of them and they have the same look they get when we set a trap to catch a ghost. Fear? Maybe, but only Shaggy ever gets scared. Though neither of the girls have acted normally lately.
We pull up to the curb and Shaggy checks his watch. "Like, right on time."
"I wish they had given us more than two days of warning," says Velma. No one moves. Then, surprisingly, Daphne stands up.
"Let's do this," she says, clambering out of the car. She looks back. "You two coming?"
They exchange glances and follow her. I hop down after them.
"Ris rhis re runeral?" I ask. -Is this the funeral?-
Velma looks down at me. "Yes, Scooby. Keep an eye on Daphne for us, okay?"
"Rokay!" I exclaim happily. A new job! -Okay!-
We walk into the church. Inside, solemn piano music plays on a speaker. Everyone was standing around in black, talking in hushed voices. I recognize almost everyone here! Old high school friends stand around akwardly. And over there, crying, are Fred's parents! He must not have told them where he went, either.
"He would hate this," Velma says wryly, a sad smile curving over her lips. "The black, and the music..."
Shaggy was dressed in his normal baggy clothes, a black bow tie crooked on his chest. Velma's only wearing an extra black necklace. Only Daphne's actually dressed in black, a pretty dress that sweeps to the floor. It looks a little like really dark chocolate. I lick my lips. Yum... chocolate.
A priest walks up on the small stage at the front of the hall. "Attention, please."
Everyone takes seats in the uncomfortable chairs placed all over. My three people sit together, Daphne in the middle. I lay down by their feet, looking up towards him.
"We have gathered here today to mourn the death of one of our comrades, Fred Jones." What? Death? I've heard that before, but I never knew what it meant. Some sort of long journey, I had thought. Or a deep sleep. Or both. I've seen dead squirrels and birds before, asleep on the pavement. Is Fred in some sort of hibernation?
"Freddie was a son. A friend. A leader. He meant something different to everyone of us in here, whether he was a dedicated hero or a mentor. Whoever he was to you, we will all miss him greatly." The man keeps talking, but I have trouble staying awake. His voice is slow and low, and before I can stop myself, I yawn. The people in the row in front of us turn around and glare. Velma shushes me softly and I force myself to pay attention. The man is coming to the end of his speech, however.
"And now, we're going to have a special presentation, made by his cousin."
A young woman walks up on stage. She has blond hair, just like Fred's. She pulls down a white tarp, covering the wall behind it. Up in the first row, a man fiddles with a labtop. Suddenly, a big picture appears on the tarp! It's a baby. The face looks a little bit familiar. The man presses play and it begins.
The song playing is I Will Follow You Into the Dark, by Death Cab for Cutie. It was one of Fred's favorite songs.
Love of mine,
someday you will die,
but I'll be close behind,
Ill follow you into the dark
As the pictures progress, I realize who the baby was. Fred. It shows pictures of a laughing toddler, playing in the leaves. Sitting on his mother's lap. Holding onto his father's hand. Then, as he became a kid, a new kid enters most of the pictures. A little brown-haired girl in big glasses. Velma. The two of them on a see-saw. Looking proud, with lunchboxes and backpacks. Giggling in the sand on the beach.
No blinding light,
or tunnels to gates of white,
just our hands clasped so tight
waiting for a hint of a spark
Now, Fred looks like a middle-schooler. Rumpled hair in a school picture. Holding a soccer trophey and looking proud. Sitting in a treehouse, his legs dangling out, a mystery book in his lap. Velma's in fewer pictures here, just one of them, sitting under a table. There are adult legs and high heels and long dresses around them, but their clothes are rumpled and they're sharing a piece of cake. Above me, Velma is crying.
In Catholic school, as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
and I held my tongue as she told me, son
fear is the heart of love
so I never went back
Fred in high school. Velma appears again, a dorky teenage girl in turtlenecks and high socks. Shaggy's here too, now, looking same as ever. And Daphne, pretty in her customary purple. I'm here too! I remember this! All of us, outside of our high school club house. Fred, with his football teammates. His arm around Velma's shoulder as she clutches her books to her chest. Handing Daphne flowers, after her first high-school play. Him and Shaggy, tossing a football back and forth. Patting my head. I whimper, without knowing why.
You and me have seen everything to see
from Bangkok to Calgary
and the soles of your shoes are all worn down
the time for sleep is now
it's nothing to cry about
cause we'll hold each other soon
in the blackest of rooms
We're adults now. Standing outside the Mystery Machine. Fred looking proud, holding a mask. Shaking hands with some boring old important person. Him and Shaggy with their arms slung casually over each others shoulders. Him and me and Velma, talking seriously at a table in some cafe. Him with his arms around Daphne, both laughing. Happy.
If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied
illuminate the 'no's on their vacancy signs
if there's no one beside you when you're soul embarks
then I'll follow you into the dark
The slide show ends. There's a little bit of scattered applause, then silence. I look up. Velma and Shaggy both have tear streaks on their cheeks. Only Daphne's face is clean. She sits perfectly still as the priest reclaims the stage.
"Now, we will have the body viewing." What? Body? That's like a person, isn't it? Is Fred coming back? But I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.
People start to file up to the stage. They stop to peer into a long brown box, resting on a table. My unease grows.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" asks Shaggy. She looks like she's about to speak, but just settles for a nod. Velma takes her hand and they start towards the stage. Shaggy glances down at me.
"Want to go up, buddy?" he asks.
"Ro!" I bark, shaking my head hard. There's something wrong about that box. It smells a little like Fred, but... off. -No!-
"Come on," he says, standing up. "We won't forgive ourselves if we don't." I follow him unhappily up. He stands next to Daphne and Velma as they slowly make their way up the steps.
Up by the coffin (how do I know that word?), they stop, looking down. Velma lets out a noise like a whimper. I put my paws on the table in order to see. Inside is Fred.
He lies still, his eyes closed, in a black suit. He looks like he's sleeping, but suddenly, I'm not sure. He smells so off, and he doesn't move at all. He's just like the squirrels. For the first time, I truly understand that he's not waking up or coming back.
I send up a howl. I know why wolves howl at the moon now. As the noise flies away from me, I feel as if I'm flying out of my body. Maybe leaving the saddness behind, too. I cry louder. I want him to sit up and tell me to be quiet. Laugh as I knock him over with my over-eager hug. But I know, now, that he'll never steer the Mystery Machine or tell us to split up.
Shaggy shushes me, pulling me off the stage. Velma follows but Daphne seems unable to move. She stands, staring down into the coffin. She raises her hand halfway, as if she wants to touch him, but she holds it right above the coffin. Then she lowers in back to her side, turns, and takes several small steps off the stage.
Fred's mom and dad make their way over to us. The mother is crying with her husband's arm around her. The dad stands back silently as the mom makes her way forwards.
"Thank you," she whispers. She talk to all of us, but her eyes don't leave Daphne's face. "You were his reason for living. You were... you were..." She breaks down sobbing and her husband leads her away.
"I can't be here anymore," whispers Daphne. Her voice cracks. "Let's go."
They walk out of the church without speaking to anyone else. Shaggy climbs behind the wheel of the van. Daphne sits beside him, stares straight ahead for a second. Then she dissolves into the tears- the all-too familiar tears- she had held back during the funeral.
"It's okay," murmurs Shaggy, wrapping his arms around her. He stares over her head at Velma. "It's gonna be okay."
After what seems like forever, Daphne pulls away.
"I miss him," she says. "So, so much."
And all of a sudden, I do too.
* * * * *
We solved our first mystery since Fred... died. It was hard, as Velma took charge. We didn't work together as well as normal, and Shaggy almost forgot to be scared. When Velma told us to split up, Daphne couldn't quite keep herself together and was crying softly as the two girls walked away. But we did it after all, and as we unmasked the creep, Velma had the biggest smile on her face she'd had for a long time.
We're at a restaurant now. Celebrating. And actually, we're all happy. reasonably so, anyways. Shaggy orders twenty cheeseburgers for the two of us to share, and we both feel like eating. Actually, we not only feel like eating, but have to order three helpings. And as Shaggy piles ketchup, mustard, onions, relish, lettuce, pickles, mayo, and hot chocolate on his last one, the best thing yet happens. Daphne, watching him with an incredulous expression, laughs.
We all freeze, staring at her. A bit of chocolate drips onto Shaggy's tongue, frozen with the sandwich almost there. Daphne looks as shocked as everyone else, then jumps to her feet and walks out of the diner. We look at each other.
"I'll go," says Velma. "It's a girl thing."
She follows her friend out the door, and I follow her. I glance back and Shaggy is sitting, his mouth still open, staring after us. Then the door shuts.
Velma and I clamber into the back of our van. Daphne sits on the floor, something in her hands. We sit on either side of her, almost but not quite touching. She's holding a picture of Fred, just him, smiling, and a small, silver necklace. She stares sadly at them but her cheeks are dry. She runs her thumb along the line of his cheek in the photo.
"I loved him," she says softly. Past tense.
"We all did," says Velma.
"Not like I did," she whispers. "I loved him so much, it hurt just to look at him sometimes. The best I ever felt was when I was holding his hand or in his arms. And after all the ghosts and monsters, you would have thought that I'd have had the courage to tell him. But I was a coward, afraid to say three little words. The three words that would have made all the difference."
"He knew," Velma says, putting her arm around Daphne's shoulder. "He knew, and he loved you too. I know he did."
Daphne raises the necklace to her lips and kisses it lightly, then wraps it around the picture and turns to me. "I want you to take these far away and bury them. I don't care where, but somewhere that if I ever look, I won't find them. Can you do that?"
"Res," I answer softly. I know how important this is. I take them in my mouth, more carefully than I've ever held anything before. Then, before she can change her mind, I bound away. I run out to a special spot in the forest. I always come here to bury anything special to me- you know, sticks and shoes and stuff. Flowers spring out over the ground and smooth, white rocks dot the grass in between them. I go to the very center, where the sun almost always hits, and start to dig. I dig and dig and dig and dig until I can't physically dig any more. Then, very carefully, I lay the picture and necklace inside. I stare down at them a moment. -Yes.-
"Roodbye, Red," I whisper. Then, very carefully, I push the dirt back in, until you can't tell there was any digging. I admire it for a minute, then pull up several orange and blue flowers. I lay them on top, and then, to make sure they don't blow away, I lay a rock on top of the stems. I nod, satisfied, and run back to my friends.
What did you think? Loved it? Hated it? Made you cry? Made you burn your computer? Let me know! REVIEW! Thanks for reading and push, don't pull, on the exit door.