So Close... and So Far

Part 2 - Closer


6:13 p.m.:


The thought of kicking him in the face wasn't all that appealing now. He flexed his foot, somewhat glad for the ace bandage. It was the massage that did him in, and kept him from kicking him just for the hell of it. "...yeah. Thanks."

"No problem, Shags."

Shags? Who in the world came up with that--oh, wait. 'He did.'

"Can you walk on it?"

If he couldn't, he was going to make due. There was no room for a sequel! "I'm fine."


"......if I say yes, you're going to tote me around anyway aren't you?"

Blonde locks falling in and out of his face didn't hide the smug knowing grin on that angular work of art. 'Man, he's such a jock,' he thought. After all this time, it still felt appropriate to associate that name with him. It was mainly because of the girth of those arms currently sheathed in nothing. Summer Days meant slow business, and it meant stripping for the masses. So instead of that long sleeved thing he tended to wear, or that short dress shirt, he wore a wife beater...and denim cargo shorts that were freaking LOW. And the idiot wondered why all these women tended to flock to him!


", how the hell do you manage to stay in shape?" he murmured. "'s unreal."

"Same way you stay thin," Freddy murmured. "Running away."

"You wanna live--"

"--You run like hell," he laughed silently. Shaggy laughed himself, absently patting Fred on the shoulder. It should always be like this; friends laughing with one another, conversing softly, having a moment. He nudged him lightly with the heel of his palm, waiting for the light jab he usually got for his trouble. It didn't come. He got something else instead, and he nearly died of blood rushing to his head.



"Like....what are you doing?"

"Wondering why the hell your freaking legs are so firm," he muttered. His right hand had taken hold of his left calf, right above where he'd finished wrapping his left ankle. He mindlessly let his fingers wander over the firm muscle, tracing the indents of perfect sculpture and the darkness of an old faded scar. Something about this particular scar never really rubbed him right. It was deep and jagged, tearing into the perfect muscle, its healing never right and damaging forever and always. He stopped his thoughts before he could go down that road and poked playfully at the smooth skin. "And shaved..."


"You swim? Since when?"

"It was part of therapy...and it kind of stuck."

Therapy. Now there was a word some people needed to hear. However, when it came to that scar, this sort of therapy wasn't something he wanted Shaggy to add to his past adventures. Another curious caress of known scar, and he settled for tracing the edge of the bandages. Shaggy relaxed a bit, curiosity piqued when he thought about something.

"Like...since when did you know first-aid?"


"Velma?? Oh...right."

"She does most of the patch work."

"What's the story this time? I thought she didn't trust you with anything or any part of someone else's body??"

"I think she got side tracked with the lay of the land," he snorted through a dry chuckle. In actuality, he'd managed to snatch Shaggy up before she could say anything. He was probably going to get an earful for it later...if she could catch him. " trust me, right?"

"Of course! You're, like, my best human bud!"

It was just like Shaggy to say something like that.


It was just like Scooby to tentatively poke his head in the door and see if things were all right. Shaggy grinned that grin he reserved for his best pal, the Great Dane that gingerly trotted into the room and sat down at their feet. Shaggy's nimble and thin fingers snaked out to rub Scooby's ear, quickly finding that spot that would have had the dog purring if he were a cat. He wasn't, but damn it if his staying power didn't tempt the whole nine lives thing.

"I suppose you want to limp to dinner?" Fred teased lightly. "Or...should I carry you again?"

Shaggy pretended to think about it. "How just help me along?" he mused. " my crutch."

"I suppose..."

"'re, like, still going to carry me, aren't you..."

In the end, it wasn't worth fighting over. Scooby walked out in front of them, snickering the whole while at Fred helping Shaggy along. He might have shifted his weight to take on the brunt of them both a bit, but it was the thought that counted. Scooby glanced at them from his lead. They were still bickering, but smiling at one another. Fred always seemed to lighten up when Shaggy was near, and Shaggy never seemed to pay much mind to anything that might have frightened him otherwise. They complemented one another. They had for years.

Scooby could only shake his head and walk off in search of that beef he smelt simmering down in the dining room. If dogs figured it out in one whiff, why were humans so slow?

Humans were the strangest creatures ever, he decided. Strange...and slow

6:25 p.m.:

They made it down into the dinning room where dinner was just being served. Shaggy's stomach groaned in appreciation. The man had a stomach like a bottomless well. Who knew where he put it all! The spread was as massive as they expected it to be. It was, after all, a known trait of Daphne's family.  Everything was done with taste and lavish, though in their eyes this was a small get together meal. Small meant a party of at least fifteen, with their five to add to the mix. So of course that table was long, and yes, they were seated near the head with dear old Uncle Liam.

Fred would have sworn this was another job if Daphne hadn't flagged them down.

"Guys...up here!" she called. "Come, sit!"

Two seats remained unclaimed in wait of them across from one another. Shaggy unwound his arm from around Fred's neck and made for the first one on the left side. Velma stood, helping them out by pulling Shaggy's chair out for him. He sat down in relief and excitement, rubbing his hands together in the presence of that wonderful thing called food. Behind him, Velma threw a questioning glance at Freddy. He shrugged, not knowing what that meant and slipped by her in time to claim her seat.

"Juvenile..." she muttered.

"Juvenile got your seat!"

Scooby was already seated on the other side of Shaggy. He looked at her and shook his head. It wasn't happening. She sighed and resigned herself to the sweet scent of Daphne's latest perfume and the promise that her allergies were going to be screaming at her later. She sat down as Daphne looked to her right, smiling at the two gentlemen seated at the first two seats. Uncle Liam was at the head of the table naturally, and grinned a little in spying them. Shaggy was too focused on the food to notice, and Fred was currently going over his finances in his head. Velma would have gone into her mindless equation mumbling if Daphne hadn't snapped them out of it with her fingers.

"No mind wandering tonight!" she chided. "We're here to have fun!"

"Like, no one's mind wandering," Shaggy said. "Like...we want to eat!"


"Before we do that, I'd like to introduce you to the marrying couple," she said. Of course. It was only proper that they meet those who were preordained to The Altar the next morning. After all, they were getting free food, room, and board! Eyes skirted to the front, and found no couple that suited wedded bliss.

"So, like, where are the lucky groom and bride to be?" Shaggy asked.

"Right here. This is Cousin Jarrod...and his fiancé, Darrel."

It was a good thing they hadn't been in the middle of eating. Shaggy mindlessly bit his tongue, desperate not to scream the loud "WHAT?!" going through his head. Fred jarred him out of his shock. His cheeks were aflame; his posture was relaxed and stiffened all in one. Someone had let his imagination get the better of him again. Lord knew what went on in that head of his. Shaggy nudged him and gave him a look that only made it that much worse.

" don't want to know," Fred murmured.

Jarrod, or course, was a red head. Most of the people in Daphne's family were by nature or by choice. His light blue eyes crinkled in amusement at the duo he'd come to know as Freddie and Shaggy. Fair skinned by nature (like most of the Blake's), his slightly freckled but strong hand rested over his prominent chin. If it wasn't for the suit and the posture, they might have assumed he was a lumber jack. He certainly had the build of one. Muscles were defined and hidden somewhat under the dress shirt he wore. The sleeves were rolled up giving them a good view of those massive things he called forearms.

Well, maybe to Shaggy, who suddenly felt the need to fold his thin arms in his lap. Fred didn't hide his impression. He absently wondered if them man trained for a living, or was naturally built that way. Velma was currently trying not to match Freddie. It proved to be of no use when he smiled and laughed deeply at the gang.

"You guys are definitely characters," Jarrod chuckled. "Don't forget, we derive from the Scottish lads now, eh?"

"Who could forget," Darrel grumbled playfully. "You like tossing anything and everything...and the skirt is a DEAD giveaway..."

"It's a Kilt, and yeah, it is. Mom should have known."

Darrel shook his head and laughed soundly at the smirk he was given. His tanned skin was a nice contrast against the fair skinned hand taking his. Jet black hair, highlighted only by subtle streaks of blonde, were the only clue they were getting as to his heritage. His face was a mix of masculine meets feminine, like one of those new pop stars that looked too good for his own right. Slender but firm chin; high cheekbones; sexy eyes...

Shaggy blinked a bit. Zac Effron came to mind, and he didn't know why. 'Like...Weird.'

His eyes were a strange mix of green and blue, brightening to a soft sea like color when he looked up at Jarrod. They could only imagine what color they were when they were alone...and then it was time to change that thought.

Darrel was tossed somewhere between Shaggy's height and Fred's build. He wasn't as built as either Fred or Jarrod, but he had a nice slender figure made for someone like Jarrod: easy to hold, and easy to lift. He, too, was dressed to kill in a sleeveless mock sweater tank, and from what Velma saw earlier, leather pants that fit him like a glove. He was eye candy through and through, and damned if everyone didn't know it. His slightly softer voice startled them a bit. They weren't expecting it to be quite that deep...or soothing.

Noting her friends’ reactions, Daphne smiled sheepishly at them.  "Did I happen to mention that they were two men, in love, and not taking a ‘no’ for an answer?"

They shook their heads. It wasn't the fact that it was two men. Oh NO. It was the fact that it was a BLAKE, and Daphne didn't care less.

Scooby didn't care either. He was hungry and he let them know with a paw slapping the table top. Up when one of the drumsticks and down his throat it went. They laughed and joined in, digging into the food so generously placed in lieu of the morning's events. 

Although Shaggy silently vowed to find out just what had Freddie blushing so much. It wasn't like him. 'Usually.' 

9:35 p.m.:

'Okay....I'm full, content, and why am I here?'

Shaggy couldn't answer his own question. Usually after dinner was the leisurely part of the trip. The exploring, or going to bed. Or being chased somewhere in the middle of all that. Yet, none of that happened. Right after dessert had been devoured, the gang had traveled to the outside of the Villa, into the back gardens where said ceremony was to be held. Velma, by then, was popping her first bout of allergy pills, already put off by the floral pollen seeded throughout the mansion. They traveled along one of several gravel paths leading into the heart of the garden, passing the range of exotic and succulent flora known by Velma but admired by the others. Fred couldn't quite keep his fingers from lingering on the petals of the many velvet roses, smiling to himself as they headed for the thunder. The ground quaked a bit more with each step, until they were before it and staring into the opening of an enclosed tent.

From the outside, it appeared to be nothing more than a blanket of white within the green of life sitting behind that building. Looking within, they found the means to let loose. People of all shapes and sizes were scattered within, most of them on the open dance floor and doing what they did best. Those who weren't grinding to the beat were sitting, standing, laughing, and talking, or watching the commotion that was the DJ flipping out another beat. The heavy Bass that was the backdrop thrummed heavily through them. Another popular song and one no one minded dancing to. Daphne stole Fred's hand and yanked him on the dance floor.

"And there they go," he murmured. Velma patted his shoulder lightly, offering what sympathy she could give. However, her interests were quickly skirted to a young man taking her hand and yanking her on the dance floor. It probably had something to do with that halter top...and a pair of hot pants she'd been conned into on a dare. The girl wasn't fat; she just dressed like it.

"It's like night and day," someone said. He looked to his right and spied the soon-to-be-wed couple standing aside him. They were still dressed in their suits, though casually and not for the sake of business. Jarrod whistled low and long, spying Velma doing her thing on the dance floor. Shaggy grinned a bit and relaxed. Velma was smart, yes, but the girl didn't know her true potential.

"Cousin Shaggy, was it?"

"Yeah. How's it hanging?"

Darrel popped him in the side before he could answer that. "Ow! Oh come on..."

"That was too easy for you," Darrel muttered. "I think we kept that Fred guy lightheaded enough."

Fred's impression of a tomato hit a world record of some sort at dinner. He could have been drunk and they wouldn't have known. "Yeah, well..." Jarrod shrugged, smirking faintly as he looked to the floor, "He's fun to tease...and obvious as hell."

"Like, what are you talking about?" Shaggy asked. "Obvious about what?"

"He's got the hots for someone...and doesn't even know it."

"'re, like, talking about Daphne, aren't you."

"No, like, I'm not," he laughed. "Wake up cous; he's so not digging the female lass." Shaggy canted a single brow at the laugh, questioning this man's sanity. If he wasn't blind, he was nuts. He had to be! Or diagnosed with one of those diseases famous people get richer for. Jarrod winked at him as he pulled Darrel along, joining in on the dance craze that had hit the room. "He's got his eye on someone else, kid!" Darrel called. "Trust us! We know!"

Shaggy let his mind wander a little too far and almost smacked himself. 'Velma? No, UH-UH!

But what if--

'Okay, NO. NO, NO, NO.'

His brain was about to be disowned at this rate. He kept a small sigh to himself and thought about wandering over in the direction of the food. His foot was feeling much better, and it wasn't too far of a walk. No one would notice if he slipped out of here once he'd collected his prize. They never did. Plan in mind, he took that first step, pleased when his left foot didn't scream in protest.

//This is sick...//

The rip of the chord didn't strike him to the uncanny events that were about to unfold. He was too focused on his plan to notice the DJ eyeing him in the distance. Someone else was eyeing him as well, a glint of malice in their eyes when the slender arm of someone else reached out and grabbed Shaggy.

"'s time to dance!" The DJ shouted. "Get your butts on the floor and show me what you got!"

The chord ripped again, repeating it three more times before the throb of that heavy bass overwhelmed him. The scent of heavy perfume mixed with the light musk of sweat drifted heavily in his nose. For a moment he could have sworn she'd be there before him, blonde hair swaying in time with her hips; those shapely legs dancing backward on those heels just for him. Instead, he found another woman, just as shapely and deathly with looks that could have any grown man drooling at her feet. Black streaked with the fire red that was her spirit called for fingers to stroke the wild mane, eyes wide with amber smoldered and set him on fire from within. Her red lips parted a bit; her tongue snaking out just so to lick clean the dot of champagne still lingering at the corner of her mouth. Her hand kept hold of his, pulling his somewhat clumsy frame forward and into the fray.

//Work like you're working a pole 
Shake it 'til you're shaking the floor 
Pop it like you're poppin' a cork

Oh, Don't stop, Don't Stop...//

Her body was fluid with the beat, steady in its rhythm and determined in its actions. Hips tempered only by the bare minimum anyone would call pants; they enticed, called, and sung their way into the minds of everyone staring at them. He found himself captivated...captivated by the thought that she must be drunker than he'd thought.

//Jerk it like you're making it choke 
Break it like you're breaking a code 
Drop it till you're taking it lower

Drop it, Drop it...//

She pressed herself close again, lips dangerously close to the underside of his chin. He could feel her warmth flowing through him, smell the sweet scent that was her laced through that interesting mix of champagne, chocolate, and something just as deadly as pure sin. Her eyes were filled with the promise that this was only the beginning. He swallowed thickly and backed up, falling into something twice as warm, harder than she would ever be. He relaxed, and promptly stiffened when it wrapped its hands on his waist.


//This is serious 
I'm delirious 
So oblivious// 

Fred let out an uneasy breath, forcing himself not to groan. Shaggy wasn't in those infernal brown things he liked to wear tonight. No. The young man had decided to change with the rest of them, and now...

"You wanna dance?"

Shaggy looked at him as if he was delirious. "Dance?!"

"Sure thing!"

"Fred, wait a---whoa!!"

//I could dance all night...//

The she-harlot was pulled back into the fray and left to seduce the unlucky man that had set his sights on her. Unfortunately for her, it was no one else but Jarrod, shaking his head and plucking her in her own. "Caitlyn...I swear," he sighed yanking her away from them, "You bring Sirens worry with that succubus act."

"He looked lonely," she smirked. "So, I offered my company."

Jarrod plucked her in the forehead again and pointed. "Not happening."

//As long as it's funky...//

Fred ignored her loud protest of shock, not in the least bit worried. He laced his hands with the slender smaller ones, grinning when she laughed and moved in time with them. Shaggy lowered his head a bit and couldn't quite keep it together when Daphne sauntered up behind Fred and grabbed his waist. He laughed, never quite noticing the blue eyes glazing over from behind. His ankle was still protesting the use of extreme dancing, but it didn't stop him or his friends from moving his hips. This wasn't so bad!

//This rhythm just makes me high...//

Velma slipped out from before him and grabbed Daphne, pulling the taller girl aside them and dancing like never before. Daphne gleefully joined in, leaving the boys to either watch or dance with themselves. Shaggy stopped for a second, finding it hard to concentrate with the heady scent of cologne and musk hitting him harder than the sweetness of that girl. He almost stumbled back, holding his head a bit when he spun to spy Fred over his shoulder.


"Let's keep dancing," he said. He smiled gently as he slipped his hands into Shaggy's, pausing long enough to place his head against the nape of his neck. He wasn't used to having all that hair there, and he wasn't used to Shaggy getting all this attention. He may not have known it, but that chick was one of several talking about him now. The last thing he wanted was for one of them to place their claws in him. After that whole mess...he didn't want to see his friend like that. "Let's have fun...and pretend we don't have to be or do anything."

//I'm like a junkie...//

Shaggy turned, unsure of when Fred had gotten taller, or when his eyes ever looked like midnight pools littered with stars. He nodded and for once moved the way he moved when he was alone. Fred quickly learned that even the meekest of people can put those with experience to shame, and was suddenly SO glad her invitation was denied. Hands still laced with his own, he didn't quite care what anyone thought when he pulled Shaggy closer and headed down to the floor.

Why couldn't people move like this all the time? 'Because I'd probably pass out...oh jeez!'

//I could dance all night...//


Part 1 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Scooby-Doo ~~~~~~~~ Part 3


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