Fred Jones, Where are you?

By Toki

All was quiet in the halls of the house the Mystery Inc gang called home. Shaggy as usual was holed up in the kitchen, which over the years have been expanded on to resemble more of a industrial kitchen rather then one that was to feed four mere people and a canine. Then again, Shaggy and Scooby where far from mere man and dog. At least their stomach's weren't. Velma also as usual could be found in her make shift study/lab that she had converted the basement into. Though part of it was left open to Daphne's dark room for all her photography things. The only two left un-accounted for was Daphne and Fred.

Wandering the halls of the upstairs, Daphne found herself wondering where Fred had gotten himself too. Usually he was somewhere around the house, but he seemed to be missing from the Mystery Inc residence. Not in his room, not in the garage working on the van, not even in the living room lounging on the couch watching a game. He was nowhere in the house. Concerned, Daphne turned to the one person she knew could help her find him, and that was Velma. Not that she didn't trust Shaggy, but from the sounds coming from the kitchen, and years of living with those two, she thought it safer from entering at the moment. 

Knocking lightly, Daphne made her presence known. She found out the hard way one time that sometimes it was better to knock then tap Velma on the shoulder while she was working on something. It could be volatile what ever it was. And she was not going to wait for her hair to grow back again. Once she had knocked and heard some form of acknowledgement from inside, Daphne poked her head into the basement door and peeked inside. Seeing the girl bent over a book, she saw it was safe to enter. Shaking her head, she walked closer to the girl. She was so bright at times, and yet stupid other times when she got caught up in something. Flicking on the lights, she brightened the room. This cause a slight flinch and squinting from Velma, as she adjusted to the light. Placing her hand over her eyes to shade it from the sudden illumination of the room. Daphne placed her hands on her hips as she looked down at the hunched over girl on the chair looking back up at her.

"You really shouldn't be reading in the dark." Daphne lectured the younger girl. 

"Well, when I started I had adequate lighting from the sun." 

Velma said in her defense. But she knew Daphne was right. She marked her page and placed the book down so she could address her full attention to Daphne. It was rare for Daphne to come down while she was working on something, so it had to be of some importance

"What's wrong Daphne?"

Velma inquired. Daph pulled over a chair and sat down.

"Have you seen Freddie today? I haven't seen him since breakfast."

Daphne said concerned. He didn't even leave a note or anything telling where he was. And this wasn't the first time this had happened. Usually she didn't think anything of it, but since it was happening on an off she thought maybe she should be concerned. Where could he have been going with out her knowledge? Velma thought it over, placing her finger to her chin.

"Besides breakfast, I did see him pass by one of the windows earlier today. But he hasn't come back that I'm aware of. Maybe he just went to the store?"

Velma offered the idea. Daphne shook her head.

"But the van is still here."

This was an interesting development. Velma was definitely intrigued to figure out where he went. The detective in her always up for a mystery, no matter how large or small it was. 

"Hmmm... have you asked Shaggy and Scooby where he might have gone?"

Velma asked. Daphne shook her head. 

"The guys, from the sound of it, are working on another culinary masterpiece. I just hope they clean up this time."

Daphne sighed. Some of their rather unique creations tended to leave long-standing stains on the pots and pans that created them. Right now was not the time to enter into their territory. Velma got up and paced a bit, hand still glued to her chin. She took inventory of what they knew already.

"Well... we saw him at breakfast. And he didn't seem to be acting funny like when he gets when trying to buy gifts for any of our birthdays... And he passed by my window, which would mean he was heading towards town, and yet he had not taken the van to do so. And no note was left that we are aware of. Hmmm... I think we should search the house a bit more, maybe he left a note and you didn't see it."

Daphne nodded and got up off the chair. Leading the way up the stairs, she made way to the first floor. Velma shut off her lights downstairs and followed. She caught up to Daphne and gave a look to the kitchen. 

"I might try asking the guys if they know. Just in case." Velma told Daphne.

"Your braver then I." Daphne said with a laugh.

Velma gave a small laugh before she headed to the kitchen door. She pressed her ear to the door and fixed the position of where the two culinary goof balls where located. As long as they were not near the door, she could probably manage to duck anything before it flew her way. At least she hoped. Giving one last look to the waiting Daphne, she screwed up her courage and peeked inside. Thankfully, today nothing was gathering air mileage across the room. She cleared her throat to get their attention. It didn't work at first, so she tried again, a bit louder this time. This time Scooby noticed her.

"Raggy! It's Relma. Hello Relma!"

"Like, Hi Velmster, what can we make you? A bit of tuna and bacon noodle casserole? Or how about turkey lasagna? Or maybe..."

Velma had to interrupt him before he vocalized the whole Italian menu they had been tweaking. It could possibly go on for days if she let him. 

"Thanks but no thanks Shaggy. I was just wondering if you seen Fred today?"

"Fred? Well not since breakfast. You sure you don't want something?"

"No thanks Shaggy. Maybe later."

She said pulling her head out of the doorway. She turned back to Daphne and shook her head.

"No luck. They guys haven't seen him either. Though they are having fun with pasta. I just hope they don't upset the mob with what they are doing to classic Italian dishes..."

Daphne chuckled and pictured Shaggy being chased down by a Italian crime bosses for messing with his rigatoni. One of the reasons they were restrained to their kitchen and not allowed in restaurant kitchens anymore. Daphne shook her head to repress that memory, as funny as it ended up. First things first. To find where Freddie had gone. 

They took to searching the house. While Velma took the first floor, Daphne checked upstairs. Making her way around, Velma found nothing out of the ordinary. She moved upstairs to help Daphne check around. The last room they searched was Fredís. For a guy, it was a relatively neat and well-kept room. A few scattered things here and there, but compared to Shaggy's room, this place was almost hospital clean. They nodded to each other and stepped into his room. They were here to generally look. Nothing more. But it didn't take long for Velma to notice something odd. 

"Hmmm... Whatís this?"

She picked up a glasses case that seemed to have fallen behind one of the dressers by Fred's bedside. Daphne came over to see what the younger girl had found.

"What is your glasses case doing here?"

"They aren't mine... It's too small to fit glasses like mine in here. Look."

Velma took off her own glasses and compared it to show Daphne the size difference. After she thought it was long enough, since she could not see Daphne's face to judge her reaction, she placed her glasses back on her face and turned to Daphne. 

"I think we found our first clue."

Daphne looked clueless.

"But why would Freddy have a pair of glasses. He doesn't need them. His vision is perfect 20/20, like mine."

Daphne defended Fred even though he wasn't there to defend himself. Velma could have argued that it was perfectly fine to wear glasses but thought better, now was not the time to argue. They needed more clues.

"Let's see if we can find something else to maybe tell us where he went."

Daphne nodded at Velma's idea and went back to work searching. They went top to bottom and could not find anything else. Daphne was about to give up as she flopped on the bed when she spotted a bit of paper sticking out from under his bed. She picked it up, but couldnít' figure out what it was from. 

"What you find?"

Velma asked coming over to look at what was in Daphne's hand. It took her a few seconds before she recognized the bit of paper.

"Oh, it's a library card. Not the one that you get into the library with, but the one they stick in the back of the books to mark the date when you have to bring it back. And with the looks at the most recent stamp, the book was due back today."

"You mean Fred's at the library?"

"So it might seem, is that to hard to see?"

"Well, I know he's smart, but he wouldn't have to hide going to the library from us, would he? Maybe... Maybe the owner of the glasses dropped the card and their glasses and he was going to bring it back."

"But that doesn't account for the glasses case still being here."

"Maybe he just wanted a reason to go back and see her.... HER! Oh Fred... You're seeing some glasses wearing book worm!"

Daphne was getting all upset that her Freddie was seeing someone else. It took her two seconds though to recover and notice what she had said. By that time Velma had locked on a hot glare to the older girl.

"And what's wrong with being a glasses wearing, book worm?"

Velma held no spite to Daphne, she knew at times her emotions over ruled her mouth and she said things she didn't mean. It didn't mean that it didn't have to be corrected though. Velma waited for it to sink in and for Daphne to apologize. It came soon after. 

"I didn't mean it like that... well... I did, but I didn't... I meant the girl going out with Freddie, not the glasses wearing bookworm thing. I... I... oh dear..."

Velma sighed. She forgave the girl before she put her self into a wreck trying to ask for forgiveness. Daphne at least meant well.

"It's ok Daph. I know you didn't mean it. But watch what you say next time; also it's an insult to Fred too. He's more of a man to go and spend time with someone without first telling you. I think you mean more to him then you give him credit for."

"Your right, but this still confuses me."

"Well the only thing we can do is to head down to the library to figure this mystery out."

And that is just what they did. Heading down to the library, they had also found that Fred's bike had gone missing. It explained his way that he had gotten to the library down town. Hopping on their own bikes, Daphne and Velma peddled off to the library. Their suspicions were concluded when they had found Fred's bike at the library, telling them their hunch was correct. Entering the library, Velma got a lot of quiet greetings as she walked into the library. Daphne looked over to her.

"Here often?"

She said softly with a bemused grin on her face. Velma blushed a tad.

"On occasion."

As the blush faded, Velma tugged Daphne to follow as she headed to the front desk. After a short conversation with the lady sitting there, Velma had gotten word that he was over in one of the other sections by the back. Daphne, being more lost in the library then she was in all those spooky houses they usually were in for mysteries, clung to Velma so she wouldn't get lost. The younger girl chuckled. But the same could be said for Velma and malls. Velma always got lost in the mall compared to the mall savvy Daphne. Waving to and fro, Velma found her ways through familiar walls of books she had come often to read through on rain days. The library was a second home; she knew all the nooks and crannies. She was not, however, paying any attention when she turned around a corner and almost tripped over where Fred was sitting. 



They both said tad bit to loud. Shushing could be heard signaling that they were too loud. They both flinched and toned down their voices.

"What are you doing here?" Fred hissed under his voice.

Velma didn't hear his question at first as she noticed he looked good in the glasses that had slid down his nose. He noticed where she was looking and rushed to put them away in his pocket. Velma looked at him oddly.

"Why do you hide them?"

Fred looked up and blushed.

"Well, when I was little, I had made fun of you wearing your glasses... I thought you might make fun of mine..."

He said talking down to the glasses, fiddling with them in his hands like a bashful child getting caught doing something wrong. Velma smiled.

"Come now Fred. You know me better then that. But why did you hide the fact that you came here?"

Velma wondered, Fred still spoke into his glasses in his hands.

"I was afraid that Daphne would make fun of me... Make fun of my glasses and the fact that I come here to read. It's hard being the leader. I know you guys all look up to me, so I felt that I had to know things too. At least I thought that at first. Then I actually liked reading. So I came more often. Thankfully you found me. I thought you might eventually. I'm just glad Daphne didn't find out. She's not with you, is she?"

Velma had forgotten about Daphne, where had she gone. But thankfully in the second it took to think that, Fred had not looked up from his glasses. So she lied.

"No, I had found a book receipt and thought it might have been one of mine, so I thought to bring it back. But I had no books, so I thought to return it, and the lady at the front desk told it was your and that you were back here."

It was not all a lie, just the lack of the truth. But she thought it might have been better if she not tell it all. She just hoped Daphne stayed out of sight, and didn't get to lost. Fred sighed in relief.

"Thanks. Can you not tell her?"

Velma nodded to him as he looked at her. 

"Yes, I promise I will not tell her. But you really shouldn't keep this from her. She's more flexible and understanding then you think. And she might be worried if you keep taking off like that. Reading is nothing to be ashamed of."

He listened and nodded. 

"Yeah, I guess your right. Thanks."

With everything settled, she had to satisfy her curiosity.

"What you reading?"

"Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie."

"Oooo... Good one. I won't spoil it for you."

"Thanks... And Thanks for not telling. I'll think about telling her."

"No problem Fred, and enjoy the book. I might get one myself now."

Velma waved goodbye and turned back around the corner when she found Daphne hiding. She took her by the arm and pulled out of earshot of Fred. 

"What did you hear?"

Velma wondered, if she heard everything, she wasn't lying to Fred if she told, because she didn't tell her, she had heard it herself.

"Awww... I never knew. This makes me like the lug even more." 

"See, it wasn't some Book worm in glasses stealing him away from you. He was the book worm in glasses."

Velma couldn't help but chuckle. Daphne joined her and then added.

"He looked really cute in those..."

"Let's not tell him you were here and let him tell him, himself when he's ready, ok?"

Velma asked, Daphne nodded in response.

"That sounds for the best."

Agreed, Velma led Daphne out of the library and back to heading home. Many hours when Fred had arrived home, Daphne caught him and asked him where he had been gone all day. Having taken Velma's words to heart, he told her and waited for the humiliation that never came. She just prodded him of titles he had been reading. He felt even as bold to show her his glasses, which she thought was adorable on him. She even asked if he would take her next time to the library, as she hugged and clung to his arm. He shrugged and didn't question it.

"Who knew reading could be this much fun?"

Little did he know it was a bit on her own benefit as well. 

"This way I can keep an eye on him."

Velma watched the two and signed as she headed to the kitchen to see if it was still in one piece for dinner.

The End


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