Title: The Great Outdoors
Series: 100 Original Fics
Character: Fox Maharassa
Prompt: 077 - What?
Summary: Camping is a. Very. Bad. Idea.
Word Count: 2090
Date First Posted: 11-02-2006
Date Revised: 01-06-2011
Notes: Collin POV. For some strange reason, this is one of my favourite Fox/Collin fics ever. I love their banter and all the strange stuff that happens to them. Poor boys just aren't that outdoorsy.
Feedback: always welcome, as is constructive criticism.
Also Archived At: LJ
"We are never going camping again," I swear fervently as I sit on the bank of a lake with a wet and shivering boyfriend. It goes without saying that our situation is all Fox's fault.
On a bizarre macho whim, he had decided he wanted to go camping. "Why?" I asked, slightly aghast at the thought. I remembered all too well forced attendance at Christian youth group camps.
"Why not?" he said, eyes sparkling with excitement. "Nature, the great outdoors, sleeping under the stars, fishing..." I didn't look convinced. "...sharing sleeping bags."
That idea had merit, but I didn't want to let him see that. "Look, if you have a desire to have sex on the floor, we can find another way." I folded my arms across my chest.
"It's not just about that," Fox argued. "It's a nice chance to get away and relax somewhere tranquil and secluded." He knew he was starting to sway me. It was certainly an appealing thought. "Look, how about we trial it. One night?"
I wasn't sure, but Fox seemed enthusiastic, and I stupidly agreed.
Fox raced around our apartment, happily packing half of it to go with us. Sleeping bags, tent, matches, clothes; everything he thought we might need. I got changed into a pair of khakis and a navy polo shirt -- isn't that what you're meant to wear on camping trips? -- and surveyed the two large duffels in the middle of our floor.
"So that's everything?"
"I think so."
"Nononono. Don't think. Do you have everything?"
"Yeah, yeah. Trust me."
It took almost an hour and a half to get to our particular destination, with time taken out for Fox to get bait. I stayed well clear and refused to carry half a pound of night crawlers in my lap.
"Maybe we should be somewhere with an established campsite," I suggested, looking around our secluded location.
"This is perfect," Fox assured me. I had to agree it seemed so. The location was so picturesque: A lake, wooded area, tall shady trees and yellow sunlight. Fall was beautiful. It was still warm, but the air tasted crisp and fresh, like biting into a ripe apple.
"The tent should go right... here." Fox stood on a spot proudly, close to the lake.
"Should we be this close to the water?"
"Yeah, it's fine," Fox seemed confident, so I left it at that.
"What do we do now?"
Fox stepped over our bags and went back to his car and pulled two large, old deckchairs from the trunk. "Now we relax," he said with a big grin.
He set up the chairs next to each other in the sunshine, near the edge of the lake. It was lovely, and warm enough for me to strip down to the bathing suit I packed and sunbathe a little while reading. Fox opted to kick off his shoes and nap beside me.
I had to admit I was having a good time. Mid-afternoon, Fox got up and collected his fishing gear and set himself up on the bank to catch our dinner. "I'll catch two or three," he said airily, "I haven't decided yet."
He seemed extremely optimistic, so I wished him luck and kept reading.
It wasn't until the sun began to set that I started to get concerned. We had no fire built, and the tent wasn't up. After getting re-dressed, I wandered over to the bank to check on Fox's progress. He stood there with his fishing pole, an empty bucket and a look of grim determination. I tactfully avoided asking how he was doing.
I touched his arm. "Hey, when are we going to pitch the tent?"
"Soon," Fox grunted, not taking his eyes off the water. "Give me another hour."
"Another hour? It'll be dark by then."
"It's ok," he tried to mollify me. "I'll be back soon. Promise."
I didn't want to argue with him. With time to kill, I took a little wander around my immediate vicinity. The sun was orange and pink on the horizon and fading fast. The bite in the air was becoming apparent, so I decided to return to the campsite and find a sweater.
Fox returned when the sun had almost completely set, looking angry and dejected.
"Not biting?" I asked tentatively.
"They're biting, they just kept stealing my bait." He came and sat next to me on my deck chair.
"Never mind," I nuzzled his cheek. "I didn't really feel like eating something that had been fed on that nasty-smelling bait. Besides, you packed other food... right?"
"Right. It's just more along the dessert lines, I thought I'd catch dinner." He still sounded disappointed.
"Dessert is ok. We'll manage for a night, I think."
Fox gave me a little smile. "We'd better get this tent up then, yeah?"
It wasn't easy erecting the tent in the dark. We had an electric lantern, but Fox still tripped over the tent pegs a few times. In the end, all was well and it seemed relatively sturdy. Fox found large stones and made a circular fire pit, while I rummaged in the blue duffel for some food. Grabbing a tin of pudding, I searched for something to eat it with.
"Fox, there is no spoon," I told him after a few minutes of fruitless searching.
"What?" he asked distractedly, perfecting his fire pit.
"Don't tell me you forgot to pack cutlery," I grinned at him. The grin faded when he gave me a supremely guilty look. "You forgot cutlery?"
"I... er. Yeah."
"How were we going to eat fish without cutlery?"
"Hmm. Good question. You wouldn't want to pass me the matches, would you?"
I frowned at him. "You're changing the subject."
Fox paused. "Yeah, I think that's what I'm doing."
"Smartass. How am I meant to eat pudding without a spoon?" I almost stomped my way to the black duffel and tugged on its handles roughly. A loud hiss emanated from it that sent me stumbling backwards, nearly landing on my ass. "Whoa!"
The bag seemed alive and pissed. It moved and hissed and spat at me. "What the fuck is going on?!" I yelled at Fox.
Fox was on his feet and had bounded the few steps over to me. "Shit! Snake?"
"I don't fucking know! The bag is hissing at me! What do we do?"
My best friend sprung into action. He stepped forward and made a careful grab for the handles. I didn't like that idea at all. The bag moved animatedly, and emitted more terrible sounds. "Fox! Put it down!"
"Trust me!" he said in a thick voice. If I hadn't been so worried for him, I would have killed myself laughing at the way he ran with the heavy duffel held as far away from his body as possible. It danced like it was alive.
Fox ran to the edge of the lake, and with the little leverage he had, he twirled like an Olympic hammer-thrower and threw it into the water. The bag landed with a sad splash in the shallower water, though it was deep enough so that it floated and bobbed. I ran up to him and we both watched the bag with rapt attention.
It was still moving. Just when I began to wonder what Native American gods I might've offended so that they cursed our bag, a hole near the zip opened out.
Black claws emerged, grey matted fur, dark, penetrating eyes. If I thought the raccoon that had been rifling through the packets of potato chips in the duffel was mad before it had been thrown into the water...
It looked pretty damned angry. The raccoon crawled out of the bobbing bag, its movement pushing the duffel deeper into the water. With noises that sounded a lot like it was swearing at us, the soaked creature swam to shore a good deal further down the bank and ran into the trees.
We both stared silently at the retreating animal for a few moments.
"Well, that was unexpected," Fox commented.
I gave him an incredulous look. "You think? Do you realise you just threw away half the supplies?"
"Don't go all sarcastabitch on me, Boss." He was using his firm tone of voice. "I didn't see you offering too much help when the bag was jumping off the ground.”
He had me there. I'd done nothing but stumble around and scream like a woman. At least he'd done something. "Yeah," I mumbled. "Sorry."
"S'alright," he shrugged.
The night was getting cooler. "Do you think we could start that fire?" I asked, hoping he'd forgive my snappiness.
The easy grin was back on his face; he was back to normal. "Sure, I w-- aw, hell." He looked mildly upset.
"What?" I asked worriedly.
"The matches. They were in there." He pointed towards the floating bag.
I sighed exasperatedly. No dinner, no utensils, no fire. Breathe, breathe. "Ok, let's consider our situation. We don't have a proper dinner, we've lost half our supplies, and have no fire."
"No blankets, either." Fox added.
"What?" I repeated.
His answer was to point to the lonely water-bound duffel.
"Great. No blankets, either." I rubbed the bridge of my nose, doing my best to be diplomatic. "Look, this afternoon was fun and all that, but I don't think it's the best idea we spend the night here. We're not exactly hitting home runs in the camping department." Fox's jaw was set; he was going to be stubborn with me. "Maybe we can try it again in the future..." When world peace is declared. "...but for now, why don't we just head home?"
Fox considered my words. After a long silence, he answered. "I suppose."
"Great. You take down the tent, I'll grab the rest of our stuff and load it into El Zorromobil, and--"
No sooner had I said that, Fox made a funny choking noise, the colour draining from his face. "Oh. Fuck," he enunciated.
"What?" I asked, my heart full of dread.
"The car keys," he whispered hoarsely, his eyes not meeting mine. They were watching that black duffel move further and further into deep water.
"They're not," I said in a too-calm monotone.
Without another word spoken, Fox ran past me and dived into the chilling water of the lake.
This leads me to my current situation. Fox sits next to me, soaked to the bone, clutching the equally soaked duffel to his chest. I pry the bag from his cold fingers and search the squelchy innards for his keys. They're still there, under a few water lilies that had floated in. The bag smells like rotting fish heads and wet raccoon. Disgusting.
I deposit Fox in the passenger's seat of his car and turn up the heat as far as it'll go. He watches me, teeth chattering, as I disassemble the tent as fast as possible. I load everything into his car and slide into the driver's seat.
I want to say something like 'I trust there'll be no more objections to going home', but Fox is miserable enough already without that little addition. Instead, I strip off my sweater and find an old tee in the back seat for him to wear.
Trying not to worry about him too much, I drive in the direction of home until we come to a little motel. Fox is still cold, and I don't want him to get sick, so we stop and get a room. The owners don't ask any questions about our bizarre situation, and I'm grateful. I shove him into a warm shower as soon as we arrive. I take it upon myself to rinse his clothes and dry them as best I can.
Twenty minutes later he emerges looking sheepish, but decidedly better. I'm already in bed, reading my book. Our sleeping bags -- thankfully not in that duffel -- are unzipped and also cover the bed. He crawls in next to me, ditching one of the pillows from under his head. I put my book on the nightstand and let him envelop me in his arms.
"M'sorry," Fox says.
"It's okay," I reply. I turn the bedside lamp off and we snuggle down together. It's quiet for quite a while, but neither of us is asleep yet. Finally, I cannot hold it in anymore.
"You realise, of course, I was completely serious. We are never doing this again."
"I figured as much."