(A/N: So I had an itching to post something, but since the next chapter of my Cyberchase fic isn't quite ready yet, I whipped out this from my notebook. It's just a one shot, but I'm seriously considering turning this into a longer story. It will be under a different title, of course. But any who, a little bit of fluff for you all!)

Summary: Joni Savage, Santiago Rivera, and fluff. A short one-shot.

Disclaimer: "ClueFinders" is owned by the Learning Company, NOT ME.

Safety Net

A Santiago/Joni Fanfic

by Jill Diamond

Joni whipped her flashlight out of her backpack and switched it on with a touch. Bright light explored all over the walls of the ancient cave, revealing their secrets of glyphs printed for miles. The redhead adjusted her glasses back up the bridge of her nose as her and Santiago's jaws dropped in awe.

"Whoa..." Santiago mused as he moved further into the cave, occasionally tracing a glyph with his finger. "Do you recognize these, Joni?"

"Nope." She moved next to her friend and fingered the glyphs of her own, the flashlight casting a golden glow on her hand. "But I bet Leslie could translate them."

"And then Owen would translate Leslie!" the two chimed in unison, followed by peals of laughter.

"We really need to get those two together," Joni sighed, progressing down the earthen path.

"Yeah, but until then, LapTrap will keep them from killing each other." Santiago zipped his yellow hoodie up closer to cope with the cooler temperature in the cave. "Speaking of which, we'd better check in with them." He produced the familiar red radio from his pocket and adjusted the dial. "Owen? Leslie?" But all that came from the other line was static.

"Is there something up with the radio?" Joni asked innocently over her shoulder.

"It's not the radio!" Santiago declared, smacking the device a couple of times. Joni knew he always got defensive when it came to his little gadgets, so she decided to drop the subject. He motioned for her to bring the flashlight closer, and as she did he pried the back off the radio, revealing the mass thicket of multicolored wires. With careful fingers, he disconnected and reconnected certain ones and tugged at certain others so that they did not curl inappropriately. "There we go." He replaced the back and gave the radio another slap.

The static still sounded, but it waved in and out between another sound, a voice, that at this point was nearly incomprehensible.

Joni's free hand jumped out and grabbed Santiago's shoulder – a sign telling him to listen.

"(bzzt)...all your mysteries...(bzzt)...And another thing! My batteries are so low, I can't even register they're powering my circuits! Just think, if you kids would have stopped for five minutes-"

"LAPTRAP!" Joni and Santiago cried.

The heated rant from the other line ceased. There was a bit of rustling, and then Owen's voice spoke.

"Dudes, what'cha got?"

"We think we found something. You know the cave we said we would investigate?"

"Are you two inside there now?" Leslie piped up. "No wonder the connection's malfunctioning."

"Yeah, we're in here," Joni said, "and we found all these strange symbols who-knows-how-many-years-old carved into the wall."

"Oh, great!" LapTrap moaned over the signal. "Thousand-year-old graffiti artists!"

"LapTrap! Get a clue! This could be a key part to solving this mystery!"

"They're probably picture glyphs from the native inhabitants of this area. If they could be translated, they would probably reveal a lot about their culture."

"Which would explain all the crazy 'curses' everyone is yapping about," Owen added.

"That's what we were thinking. But we have no way to translate the glyphs."

"I'll bet I could figure it out!" LapTrap exclaimed, positive for once in his existence. "I am, after all, a turbo TURTLE! Dr. Pythagoras didn't revise my programming twenty-six times for nothing!"

"LapTrap, you rock," Joni said with a smile.

"Okay, Joni and I will meet you back at the square-"

"Oh, do we have to? We just started exploring!"

Santiago was about to protest, but the poor light of the cave made Joni's pupils dilate heavily, making her puppy dog face all that more irresistible. Joni Savage was like a loose cannon, jumping into each new mystery head first with bells on. But when she put on those eyes, the usually shy Santiago was rendered even shyer. With a sigh, he pulled the radio back up to his mouth.

"You guys head for the square. We'll catch up." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Joni's smile widen considerably.

"Alright, dudes. We'll touch bases later." And with that, the static returned over the radio. Santiago twisted the dial, shutting the gadget down, and shoved it in his pocket.

"Thank you, Santiago," Joni hummed somewhat smugly. The boy was thankful for the dark, as his cheeks now flushed scarlet.

"Yeah, you keep saying that when we run into cave monsters," he mumbled, more to himself than to the redhead. But his sneakers scraped against the earthy floor and caught up with her pace.

Unlike many of the caves they had scoured in previous mysteries, this one simply stretched in a straight line, with no forks or connecting tunnels. As they walked, Joni continued to shine her flashlight on the walls, pointing to certain glyphs she thought looked interesting. Santiago wouldn't have said this aloud, but at this point he was anxious of how far they were now in the cave, and Joni wasn't showing any intentions of turning back. He just kept walking in silence, hands shoved in his pockets and head nodding at his friend's comments.

Joni had her flashlight turned upward, admiring the stalactites on the ceiling, but then her foot slipped, and she screamed as she felt nothing supporting her. She started to tip head-over, but she felt two arms reach fast around her stomach.


Santiago was stronger in those two seconds than he had been in his whole life. He tugged the redhead back to safety, falling on his own backside in the process. But he was more concerned with his friend's well being.

"Joni, are you okay?" Anxiety dripped in his voice as he helped her to a sitting position. She shook a few bangs from her eyes and locked them with Santiago's for a moment or an eternity – which ever ended first – then began to grope around for her flashlight.

"I'm fine, but what just happened?"

She found her target and shone its light at what would have been her deathbed to reveal a large pit, nearly the circumference of the tunnel chamber they were in now. Santiago patted his chest, as if to calm his heart rate.

"That was close."

But Joni kept staring at the pit, her brow gradually furrowing more and more until her friend knew something was bothering her. She began to crawl out of his lap and towards the large hole.

"Joni!" Santiago scolded in an "are you crazy?" tone.

"No, look at this thing!" Joni retorted, gesturing to the rim of the pit with her free hand.

He was confused as to what she was getting, until he noticed the strange pattern of indents that lined the interior of the hole.

"It...it's man-made," he declared, getting to his feet.

"Exactly. No simple erosion or water could do that." Joni rose upright as well, the flashlight still pointed at the hole.

"So either somebody really likes digging-"

"Or something's down there." The redhead reached for Santiago's hand, holding it tightly in hers. "Come on, we've got to meet up with the others." And with that, she nearly dragged him out of the chamber at a blinding speed, but stopped almost as quickly as she started, and thrust her flashlight in Santiago's hand. She slipped her backpack off her shoulders with ease, and pulled her camera from one of the smaller pockets.

"Shine the light on the wall, could you, Santiago?"

Santiago did as he was told, and Joni immediately started taking snapshots of the different glyphs that filled the cave walls.

(A/N: Yeah, I didn't wanna write "The End" in case I make this into a multi-chap with an actual plot. Reviews make me feel fuzzy. Bai!)