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Sepia-Toned Loving

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They ended up having to opt for a night in.

Not that anyone minded. Sandy had a small science presentation earlier that morning and had spent the rest of the day tinkering with her inventions. And she planned on taking her friends out for a night on the town. Though she had to wait until Spongebob got off from work and she had no idea what that would entail. The plan was to meet up with Patrick and go meet Spongebob at the Krusty Krab after his shift. So once she was done with her last bits of experiments for the day, she set off for Patrick’s rock.

When she got there, she gave it a hearty knock.

“Patrick!” She called. “Cmon we gotta go rustle us up some fun!”

Almost as soon as she was done talking, the rock opened up to reveal Patrick stuck to the underside of it. She could see that he had had a busy day of doing nothing. She could also see that he was beaming and held something new clutched to his chest.

“Whatcha got there, buddy?”

Patrick squealed. “Sandy!” And leaped off of the rock with as much grace as he could and landed in front of her. He held his find in the air as if it were an ancient relic.

“I was just digging through my stuff and look what I found! It’s a magic box!”

“That’s not just a box, Patrick, it’s a tape! Give it here.” And Patrick passed it over so she could observe it.

It was, in fact, a movie. A science fiction movie at that. On the cover a giant sea monster ravaged a town while what looked like two normal fish making out in the foreground. She flipped it over to read the back.

“Hm. This doesn’t seem to be scientifically legitimate.”
Patrick was still beaming. “I don’t know what any of that means, but I think it looks like fun!”

Sandy smirked. “Well maybe we can watch it after I take y’all out. I bet ya I can beat ya in a clam eating contest.”

Patrick smirked back in playful competition. “Oh you’re on.”

Suddenly, she punched him in the shoulder and sped off towards the road.

“Cmon, slowpoke! Last one to the Krusty Krab is a rotten clam!”

Patrick gasped. “I don’t want to be a clam!”

They mostly kept up with each other, neck and neck (Sandy was going easy on him) and planned on making their entrance loud and clear. Lucky for them though, Spongebob was already outdoors locking up and they had to skid to a stop in order to not trip over themselves. Well, Sandy was successful; Patrick ended up face-planting.

He was more than happy to see his best friend than he was in pain.

“Spongebob! Are you ready for a night on the town?”

Both of them anticipated his classic “im ready! I’m ready!” Instead, spongebob stretched, cracking his back and emitting a groan.

“Sure,” he said with a little less gusto than usual. “Where are we headed?”

Patrick eagerly awaited her answer but Sandy frowned. Now that she had a better look, Spongebob appeared exhausted. His arms hung low and there was a shadow lingering under his eyes. He flashed her a bright smile and Sandy raised an eyebrow.

“Well I was gonna take y’all out for some clam competition and kar-ah-tay practice, but you look more run down than a cowboy after a survival disco rodeo.”

Spongebob merely shrugged. “I’m fine. C’mon we don’t want to be late to the party, do we?”

Before he could take more than two steps, Sandy stopped him in his tracks with a hand on his shoulder.

“Hang on a minute, Squarepants. You can’t hide from me. Are you gonna wear yourself down to dust for the sake of a good time? We can have just as much fun indoors. Don’t you agree, Patrick?”

As if on cue, Patrick held up his movie find in the same fashion as earlier.

“The sea beast awaits!” He bellowed.

He handed it over so Spongebob could have a look and the boy grinned skeptically at Sandy.

“Are you sure the scientific inaccuracies won’t keep you up at night?”

Sandy laughed. “I’ll be fine. It looks like a good time.”

With that, they set off for the pineapple but didn’t get 20 feet before the two noticed how badly Spongebob’s shoes were dragging against the ground. Patrick hated seeing his little buddy hurting, so he picked up the pace a bit and squat down in his path.

“Here, buddy. Climb aboard.”

Spongebob gratefully did just that, wrapping his arms and legs around his friends body.

“Thanks, Patrick I needed that.”

Sandy smiled sadly but earnest.

“What you need to do is let us know when you’re feeling too bogged down. That’s not good for you, Spongebob. I won’t stand by while you run yourself into the sand.”

Patrick nodded. “Yeah me neither.”

Spongebob blushed, overwhelmed by the love from his friends.

“Gee thanks, guys. I’m sorry, I won’t let it happen again.”

As they traveled, Sandy had asked him what had made today so particularly grueling. Apparently, today had been a lot more busy than usual. Tourist season. And to top it all off, Squidward had to leave in the middle of the day for an appointment, which left Spongebob working both shifts at the same time.

“That cheapskate Krabs needs to hire another employee,” Sandy muttered.

“Oh I don’t mind,” Spongebob replied. “I got to greet every single customer today. Mr. Krabs even gave me a nickel bonus.”

To any other fish that would have sounded like a personal hell, but Sandy knew Spongebob was being genuine. He just loved his job too much.

They spent the rest of the walk home swapping stories about the day. Sandy’s presentation went smoothly and Patrick found a bit of other cool knick-knacks hidden away in his home. Spongebob loved hearing about their days.

When they finally reached the pineapple, Spongebob had to hop off of Patrick to open the door for them. They piled inside and once the door was shut, Patrick launched himself onto the sofa.

“Ahhh home sweet coconut” he cheered. Then, he proceeded to strip his shirt, shorts and shoes off so that all that he had on was his undershirt, underwear and socks.

Sandy put her hands on her hips. “Patrick, this is a pineapple and you live under a rock. Literally.” He shrugged in response.

“Maybe. But I feel more at home when I’m with you guys.”

Spongebob was so touched he felt like he was gonna explode. To keep from happening, he ran off toward the kitchen.

“I’m going to feed Gary,” he called back.

Shuffling into the kitchen, he flipped the light switch on and fumbled around for the pet food. He gave Gary’s bowl a plentiful amount and at the sound of it, the snail scuttled out into the light. He meowed and munched happily, signaling to Spongebob that he could go back to his friends. He pet him sweetly and shuffled back into the living room with some snacks for his friends.

Upon entering the living room, he saw that Sandy had undressed herself as well and was snuggled back against Patrick’s stomach between his legs. She had popped the tape in but paused it, waiting for their friend.

“Here, Spongebob,” She said, patting the area in front of her. “Come take a load off.”

He let go of a breath he didn’t know he was holding, took off his shoes and pants and crawled toward his friends. After getting close to Sandy however, he found that he really didn’t feel like turning around to face the television. Instead, he pillowed himself onto Sandy’s chest and threw his arms onto Patrick’s legs. Just when he thought he couldn’t get anymore comfortable, Sandy began to card her fingers through Spongebob’s hair. He felt tingly and safe and warm.

He could barely see the television, but ultimately decided that wasn’t a problem. The dramatic music of the opener started up and he felt Sandy’s body shake with laughter.

“Oh boy.”

From what he could pick up, a scientist struggles to decide between two girl fish who happen to be friends. However, things get complicated when he accidentally turns himself into a sea monster bent on destroying the town. He loses plot in his sleepy haze but it sounded like Patrick was enjoying it.

“Roll like a tidal wave, sting like a jellyfish,” he echoed in aw in between popcorn bites. Sandy rolled her eyes.

“Oh that’s a load of barnacles, molecular fission does not happen like that. He would be killed instantly.”

Spongebob chuckled at her dissatisfaction. His laughter dissolved into a yawn and he may have imagined it but he felt a comforting squeeze at his shoulders.

It’s not just the scientific aspects that get to her. She groans rather loudly when one of the girls makes an unbelievable fool out of herself.

“Oh Neptune, what does she think she’s doing!? Open your eyes, girlfriend!”

Spongebob’s eyes snap open from a closed position he hadn’t realized he assumed. No one had noticed though. The screen had both of his friends captivated. He wished he could enjoy what they were watching, but he was just so exhausted. Maybe he could at least stay awake for the commentary.

At this point, there was a lapse in Sandy’s words. All that filled the air was the sweet swelling music accompanying whatever was happening on screen. His eyelids dropped against his will and he rubbed at them in a feudal attempt to stay alert. Alas, he could not keep them at bay and surrendered as they dropped shut for the last time that night. Falling limp, his fingers snagged on Patrick’s waistband as he drifted off to sleep.

On screen, one of the girls turns out to have been evil the whole time, and she had sabotaged the scientists concoction at the start. Both Patrick and Sandy’s mouths gape open in shock at the plot twist.

“Whaaaaaat??????”

An epic fight evolved on screen while the viewers try to absorb what happened.

“Haha now there’s punching!” Patrick bursts, pointing at the screen. Sandy shakes her head.

“But that doesn’t make sense! They said it themselves! They were gal pals!”

Patrick patted her head affectionately. “I guess you don’t know everything about girls then.”

Sandy rolled her eyes. “Don’t make me come up there, sea star.”

“Oh yeah? What are you gonna do, gimme a karate smooch?”

Sandy blushed, wanting to question him on what exactly a “karate smooch” was when she decided she needed reinforcement.

“Spongebob, tell Patrick that this girl drama plot is unnecessary.”

Patrick scoffed. “No, I’m the right one!”

When they didn’t receive a response, they paused their verbal scuffle.

“Spongebob?”

Sandy looked down at the boy and immediately zipped her lips. Spongebob was totally dead to the world, save for his signature snore. His cheek pudged where it rested upon her chest and it wouldn’t be long before he started to drool. It happened whenever he didn’t sleep on his back. But she couldn’t disturb such a sight.

“Spongebob?” Patrick tried again when Sandy nudged him as best as she could.

“Hush it, Pat! He’s asleep.”

Patrick tilted his head to confirm just that. His buddy was totally asleep and if he couldn’t see that, then he could definitely hear the snores.

“Oh. Sorry,” he whispered, feeling bad about arguing with Sandy. He proceeded to rest his chin on her head. “Do you think we should turn off the movie?”

Sandy might have said yes, but she felt comfortably toasty sandwiched between her two friends. Getting up would be such a waste. She also knew that if she roused Spongebob now, he’d just be cranky.

“Nah we’re good like this. I gotta see that crabby Cathy makes it in the end.”

Patrick narrowed his eyes. “Heyyyyy I thought you said this was a bunch of mumbo jumbo....wumbo.”

Sandy shrugged. “I mean it totally is, but if you’re enjoying it, I guess it ain’t so bad.”

Patrick grinned and nuzzled his chin against her head.

“Hooray it’s not so bad!”

Sandy shushed him and pointed at their predicament, but Spongebob barely stirred. Patrick grimaced.

“Sorry.”

Resuming their programming, Patrick was silent for the rest of the night, save for a few whispered quotes here and there.

Sandy loved to rag on it. The science in it was a load of barnacles. She tried to not take it too seriously but she couldn’t help it.

“This is the worst science fiction I’ve ever seen!”

She was alone in that thought, but not alone in company. And that had made this totally worth it.