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An Unexpected Development

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An Unexpected Development

Shaggy was scared, very scared. 

In and of itself, that was not an unusual situation.  In fact, being scared was what Norville “Shaggy” Rogers was well known for…well, that and being hungry.  However, hunger was the last thing on his mind right now because of the all-consuming fear that had settled in the pit of his stomach.  There was simply no room left in there for food.

~~~~~

The night had started normally enough.  As usual, the gang’s investigation had led them to an old cemetery.  Therefore, Shaggy knew exactly what would come next:  Daphne would be briefly captured, Fred would set a trap, he and Scooby would reluctantly act as live bait, and the bad guy would be captured and unmasked.  Then, Velma would explain the solution to the mystery.  Afterwards, they would all go out to eat to celebrate.  That’s how it worked.  In fact, that’s how it had always been.  Everybody had their part to play and they had done it for so long that they now all worked together as smoothly as a well-oiled machine.

However, this comfortable routine had been completely upended on this particular case by one simple action.  The Headless Phantom had captured Velma instead of Daphne!  She had gone to research the names and dates on some of the headstones to help prove her theory, but she never returned.  When the gang went to look for her, Scooby had followed his nose and led the others straight to the tombstone of Axe Revenant (aka the Headless Phantom).  Shaggy then found Velma’s glasses laying in the dirt next to it.

Without Velma there, the rest of the gang was in shock. Since one of the cogs had been removed from the Mystery Incorporated machine, the machine ceased to function.  Daphne didn’t understand what had happened yet, so she couldn’t take over Velma’s usual job.  Without Velma’s hints and guidance, Fred didn’t know what kind of trap to set or where to put it.  Without Fred’s trap, Scooby and Shaggy didn’t need to be live bait.  Therefore, they all just meandered around for a while without direction or purpose.

~~~~~

Velma’s unexpected abduction was also what had made Shaggy so afraid.  When Daphne was taken during a case, Shaggy usually felt uneasy…but it was nothing like the gut-wrenching turmoil that he was experiencing now after finding Velma’s glasses!  The thought of her alone and helpless was bad enough.  However, Shaggy knew that she couldn’t see at all without her glasses.  Therefore, the knowledge that she was practically blind in the grip of a madman – that was just more than he could take.  Regardless of whether that madman was a real phantom or just a man in a mask, fear for Velma finally snapped something inside of Shaggy and he cried out.

“Like, we’ve got to find her, Scoob!” His voice cracked as he spoke to his furry friend.  Scooby jumped up and placed his large paws on Shaggy’s chest and rubbed his big brown head against his friend’s cheek as he tried to comfort him.  Therefore, neither of them noticed the significant look that Daphne gave Fred to finally goad him into action.

“Try not to worry, Shag.  We’ll save her.” Fred said, getting the hint, as he came up beside him to put a friendly hand on Shaggy’s shoulder to comfort him.

“That’s right, Shaggy.  Remember, she’s our friend, too!”  Daphne said as she came up to his other side and wrapped her arm around him.

“Like, thanks, guys.” Shaggy replied.  The comfort of his friends gave him hope.  This feeling flooded his being, strengthened his spine, and he suddenly knew what he had to do!  He had to rescue Velma!  Therefore, he pulled away from his friends and they watched in amazement as he uncharacteristically took charge of the situation. 

“Scoob, see if you can pick up Velma’s scent nearby.   Remember, she smells like vanilla – specifically like deliciously cold vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day…”  Then his voice trailed off as the thought of being close enough to her again to catch a whiff of her delightfully yummy scent threatened to overwhelm him.

“Right, Raggy!" Scooby exclaimed before he put his nose to the ground and sniffed enthusiastically.  He was worried about Velma, too, and would do everything that he could to find her.

 Meanwhile, Daphne looked at Shaggy closely and then smiled as she finally figured out what was really going on with him.  Jeepers! He likes Velma! she realized. Oh, they will make such a good couple!  she thought happily. In fact, she felt like squealing with joy for her friends.  However, she knew that now was not the time.  They needed to rescue Velma, first.  Plus, she noticed that Fred, of course, remained oblivious.  That was not surprising, however - especially since he was usually a man of action instead of emotion. 

“I’ll go and get the emergency trap bag out of the Mystery Machine,” he said, proving her right.  “We might need it in case we have to capture the Phantom.”

“Like, no way, man!”  Shaggy all but shouted.  “There’s no time, Fred.  Look!  Scoob just picked up her scent!”  His tone became more frantic.  “Like, lead the way, Scoob.  Let’s get to Velma before it’s too late!” With these words, Shaggy took off after his best friend towards the other side of the cemetery.

Fred gave Daphne a shocked look.  “They didn’t even ask for Scooby Snacks,” he said in a bewildered tone.

“Oh, Freddy!” she said, shaking her head in amusement.  “You just don’t understand.  This is obviously a matter of the heart – not the stomach!”  She then took off after the gangly young man and his dog. 

Fred stared after her for a moment in disbelief while her words sunk in.  “Wow!” he finally exclaimed out loud. “Shaggy and Velma?  I sure didn’t see that one coming.” He then shook his head before following after the rest of the group.

“Since splitting up to look for clues is what got Velma captured in the first place, let’s make sure that we all stick together this time, Gang!” he directed as he caught up with the rest of them when Scooby paused to regain the scent trail.   Then they all set off together in the direction that the Great Dane indicated.

~~~~~

Scooby finally led them to a large mausoleum in the oldest section of the cemetery.  In spite of its age, it was still in relatively good condition.  However, there was evidence that the entrance had recently been disturbed since the door was slightly ajar.  Daphne, the gang's fashion expert, pointed to the ground in front of it.

“Since when do phantoms leave footprints?” she asked.  “I know that these don’t belong to Velma.  These prints are from heavy boots - around a size 11, I would say.  They are much larger and have a completely different shape than the size 8 Mary Janes that Velma usually likes to wear.  Therefore, whoever took her must have carried her in there!”

The thought of anyone, phantom or not, carrying his Velma somewhere against her will made Shaggy angry enough that he actually felt the adrenaline coursing through him.  It made him want to charge straight in - no matter how dangerous the situation might be.  That had never happened to him before!  Normally when faced with a “fight or flight” scenario, his body automatically chose the second option. He didn’t even have to think about it.  His feet just started running and the rest of him went along with them.  However, now as the adrenaline flowed, his body prepared for battle instead!  Therefore, he just went along with the unfamiliar feeling as he barked out, “Fred and Daphne, stay here and be prepared to catch anyone who tries to escape - man or phantom.  I’m going in to save Velma!”  He ignored their shocked looks at this extremely uncharacteristic behavior.  He didn’t have time to worry about what they thought right now, though, because Velma needed him.  Instead, he turned to his best friend.  “Like, watch my back, Scoob.  I’m going in!”

~~~~~

Shaggy quietly explored almost the entire mausoleum with Scooby just a few steps behind him.  Scooby spooked at the sight of the coffins placed around the tomb, but the new single-minded Shaggy just ignored them.  He was more concerned with how slow it was going and how long it was taking because it was so hard to see in the dim interior.  However, finally he heard a sinister male voice and he strained to hear both what it was saying and from where it was coming.  He was finally able to pinpoint the sound and slowly made his way towards it.   

“It will be completely dark soon, my little blind bat.  Your friends will then have to call off the search and leave the cemetery.  You and I will be able to have a little fun then, yeah?” 

His implication infuriated Shaggy and the adrenaline started flowing again.  Therefore, he automatically strode into the side chamber from whence the voice came. He heard a startled “Who the hell are you?” before he lashed out and felt his fist connect with the man’s jaw.  Despite Shaggy’s lankiness, all of his anger and fear had been channeled into that punch.  Consequently, the man hit the ground hard – apparently unconscious.  Scooby growled and then went to sit on the man’s chest to keep him still – just in case! Only then did Shaggy allow himself the luxury of looking around the small room.  He saw Velma tied up in the corner and rushed towards her.

“Like, I am so happy to see you, Velms!” The sound of his relief flooded his voice. 

 “Jinkies!  Is that you, Shaggy?” Velma asked in shocked disbelief as he removed her gag and untied her. “What happened to the Phantom?  Did you just knock him out?  He was twice your size!”

Shaggy answered only by gathering her into his arms and holding her tightly.  “Are you alright?  Did he like…hurt…you?”  Shaggy heard his voice crack with those last few words, but he needed to know.

“No, not yet,” she whispered back.  “He only touched me to tie me up because I kept kicking and scratching him.  I would have done more, but I just couldn’t see.  I lost my glasses, Shag.”  At these words, Shaggy reached into his pocket and pulled out her missing eyewear.  He gently slid them into place, but he didn’t remove his hands from her face.  Instead, he just reached down to lightly caress her cheekbones with his thumbs as he leaned in to kiss her.

He immediately realized what he had done and pulled away in horror.  Velma doesn’t even know how I feel about her, yet.  Now I have ruined it! he thought to himself frantically.  “Like, I’m so sorry, Velms!” he said aloud.  “Like, I was just so relieved that you were okay that I just…mmph!”  His words were suddenly muffled as Velma crashed her lips back onto his.  Her kiss wasn’t gentle, either.  It was demanding and passionate and he just couldn’t believe that it was happening!  Velma is kissing me! he crowed victoriously to himself before his brain stopped functioning completely as he lost himself in that amazing kiss!

An indeterminate amount of time later, they had to pull away slightly from each other in order to breathe.

“Zoinks!” whispered Shaggy in breathless awe as he leaned his forehead against hers.

Even though it was now so dark in the mausoleum that she couldn’t really see his face, Velma couldn’t help but to smile at his tone. “I couldn’t agree more, my knight in baggy armor,” she replied. 

“Hey! Like, what’s wrong with my baggy clothes?  They are like, comfortable, Velms!”  He said this jokingly, just trying to lighten the mood – especially since he didn’t quite understand what had happened.  Velma had just kissed him, but what did it mean? he thought.  He felt completely confused, a little scared, and very happy – all at the same time.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your clothes, Shag…or with the man wearing them.   I think that they are perfect for him…and he is perfect for me!  In fact, I have thought so for quite a while now!”

“Like, really?” he asked in stunned disbelief that someone like her might actually want him, too.  “Because I am not strong…or brave…or smart…or…mmph!” he started to say, but yet again he found himself silenced in the most pleasant of ways! Suddenly, he realized that Velma made him feel as if he was infused with all of the qualities that he had just listed – and many more, as well!

Just then they heard the police sirens.  Daphne had apparently called the authorities on her cell phone as soon as they realized that Velma was being held in the mausoleum.  Therefore, Shaggy and Velma reluctantly relinquished each other’s lips and pulled out of their embrace as they prepared to go and face the rest of the gang.  As they walked back towards the main chamber, Scooby was the first one to greet them since he had been guarding the still unconscious “Phantom” the whole time.

“Good boy, Scooby!” Velma greeted him as he almost knocked her down with his enthusiasm.  “Apparently, Shaggy was not my only hero today.”

Shaggy couldn’t help but to smile as he tightened his hold on the petite brunette beside him.  She considers me her hero! he thought proudly.  He then turned to his faithful companion. “Yeah, thanks, Scoob - old buddy, old pal!” he said gratefully.  The next thing that he knew, Scooby had bowled him over and had covered his face in doggy kisses while Velma stood there laughing!

Just as he disentangled himself from his affectionate dog and stood up with Velma’s help, the police entered.  They were led by Fred, and by the glow of their flashlights, Shaggy noticed Daphne’s look of pleased approval at the sight of him and Velma.  Shaggy then realized that they were still holding hands, even though Velma was now talking to one police officer while the other one cuffed and led the newly revived Phantom out of the murky mausoleum. 

Once they were outside, where there was still some dim light left, there was a quick unmasking and Velma revealed the phantom to be none other than Peter Revenant.  He was Axe’s great great nephew, and he was after the family treasure that was rumored to have been buried along with Axe in the cemetery.  After the usual vindictive “and I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids” speech, Shaggy had finally had enough!

 “And our dumb dog, too… yeah, yeah, like, we know…we have heard it all a million times.”  He then turned away from the man to smile at Velma.  She had come up next to him and wrapped her arm around his waist.  He threw his arm over her shoulders as he turned to face the rest of the gang.  “Like, can we go get something to eat now?” he asked plaintively.  “I’m starving!  Like, rescuing my girl is hungry work!” 

“Now there’s the Shaggy that we all know and love!” exclaimed Daphne with a laugh.  “I was beginning to wonder…”

"Well, like, I don't think that we will be seeing that other guy again anytime soon!" exclaimed Shaggy as he looked down affectionately at the girl in his arms.  "At least, I hope not - because my Velms would have to be in danger for me to be, like, scared enough...to not be scared...and act like that again!"  

While the rest of the gang laughed at that, Velma leaned even closer to Shaggy.  “I don’t know…” she whispered, her low voice intended for his ears only.  “As much as I love this one, that other Shaggy was pretty darn sexy, too!”

Immediately, Shaggy felt the tips of his ears and his cheeks blaze at the mention of sexy.  However, at the same time, his heart sang out at her use of love because he knew that he felt the same way about her, as well!  He had always had a soft spot for Velma.  She had always been there for him.  No matter how busy she was, she had always been willing to stop to help him, to explain something that he just didn't understand, or to just give him a smile or a hug when he needed one. Velma was also the one who made sure that there were plenty of Scooby Snacks on hand for when he and Scoob needed a little last minute courage.  He was perpetually in awe of her intelligence, as well, and he enjoyed hearing her explanations of the solutions to the mysteries that they investigated.  Plus, he couldn't even count how many times he had caught himself staring at those cute little freckles across her cheekbones.  In fact, he now finally realized that he had been at least half in love with her for years - ever since they had met!  However, it had taken the crisis of her kidnapping in order to make him finally act on those feelings.  

Therefore, he looked at her with excitement – who knew where the future would take them now that they were together!  Well, he knew the first place, at least.  “Like, let’s get back to the Mystery Machine while the others finish up here,” he suggested, just as a yawn overtook him as his adrenaline rush suddenly wore off.  Velma nodded tiredly, as well.  Getting back to the comfort of the van for a few more quiet moments together suddenly seemed like a really good idea.

~~~~~

A short time later, Fred and Daphne arrived back at the Mystery Machine.  It didn’t take long for them to notice that Shaggy and Velma were cuddled up together in the back.  Apparently, the stresses of the day had proven too much for them and they had fallen asleep in each other’s arms. 

“Oh, aren’t they just adorable?” cooed Daphne as she covered them up gently with a blanket.  She then slid into the front seat next to Fred. 

“How do you think that this…unexpected development…is going to work out?”   Fred asked, gesturing towards the sleeping couple behind them. 

“Oh, Freddy… Haven’t you ever heard that opposites attract?  They will be fine!” Daphne responded confidently. She was thrilled that their best friends had finally found love - with each other!

In a moment, they were joined by Scooby Doo who, after checking on the couple in the back, jumped into Velma’s usual spot.  He then eagerly stuck his head out of the window in typical doggy fashion.  Finally, as the van drove away from the cemetery, he felt the breeze blow across his snout and he happily called out into the night, “Scooby Dooby Doooooooo!”