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Camp Skaia

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You grip the paddle in your hand lightly, dipping it into the water and doing your part in helping push the boat along. The canoe moves quickly across the glassy surface of the lake. As you glide further and further from the camp, the sounds of screaming and splashing kids gets fainter and fainter. The growing silence is nice now, but you know that you'll miss it in the coming weeks once you're back home in Washington.

"So what'd you drag me out here for again, Egbert?" Dave asks, his bored tone dragging you out of your thoughts.

"For fun!" you reply happily, turning back at him over your shoulder. You flash him a grin and he huffs unhappily in your direction, folding his arms with some difficulty over the bright orange life jacket he's wearing. He hates being out on the water. You were kind of hoping he would make an attempt to at least be subtle about it, but such is not the case. "Oh come on," you say, "we go home in a couple of days, you know! I thought getting some time together before we left would be a great idea!"

He frowns and slaps his paddle against the water- sending the cold liquid in your direction. "Yeah but this sucks. See you're all wet and unhappy now. Now lets go."

You roll your eyes. As if a little water would be enough to deter you! Besides, you just got out on the lake- it would be lame to head back already. "We're not going back yet! I don't want to look back on this moment and have the memory only last ten minutes!"

"Don't start getting all pre-nostalgic on me, bro; we haven't even parted ways yet. At least pretend like you're not gonna get all melancholic the second you leave the camp. I mean I know it's going to be hard getting over your first, great summer romance but give me a break over here." He leans back a little bit, quirking an eyebrow over those stupid shades of his.

You just give him the most unamused look you can muster and turn back to face forward. "If anyone's going to be doing that it's going to be you and you know it!" You begin paddling again, and you hear him following in suite.

He's not as terrible at canoeing as you expected him to be, but after the first couple of minutes, he managed to figure out how to avoid going in circles. It's probably a good thing that he got the hang of it, too; you can't imagine that Dave Strider would dare stay out on the water in a boat he couldn't control. Or control at a slow pace, anyway. You had to promise you wouldn't go too fast. You're pretty sure that he's secretly terrified of falling out of the canoe, regardless of whether or not he has a life jacket on.

He has denied the claim thrice already.

"In your dreams, maybe." Dave says with a snort. And then he starts going into this long winded speech about how 'that'll never happen because I'm Dave Strider and I'm awesome, and blah blah blah blah'.

You tune him out after he makes some terrible pun about 'pining after someone at camp, haha get it John? Pining, like pine trees. Anyway...'

Over the course of the couple of weeks you've gotten to know Dave, you've learned that he likes to have conversations with himself- though he likes to play it off as talking to someone else nearby. That's fine with you just so long as you manage to ignore him. Because you're pretty sure he could go on forever if someone would let him.

As the two of you near the opposite side of the lake, more logs seem to peek out above the water's surface. You put most of your focus on the wood so you can push away from it if your boat should get too close; the last thing you need is to listen to Dave gripe for the next day about how you let the canoe tip over. But then, something catches your eye.

Dave's in the middle of explaining some sort of highly complicated, and irrelevant metaphor when you cut him off.

"Hey, look!" you exclaim, resting the paddle inside the boat so you can move to the edge. "A turtle!"

He isn't as impressed as you are, though he ceases his paddling as well. "You interrupted me for a turtle? Come on."

You get on the floor of the canoe, on your knees, and lean over the edge slightly to get a better look at the small, green reptile. "Oh, but Dave, he's so cute! Look at him!"

"Dude, no, I'm not gonna look, and you need to get back in the boat."

"I am in the boat, though!"

"Hands and arms inside the canoe at all times, John, come on."

The boat has come to a standstill at this point, and your new turtle friend is only an arm length's away from you. "Oh, but I can totally reach him from here!" You lean forward just a little bit more, stretching out your arm and rocking the canoe- much to Dave's displeasure.

"No, really, get back in the boat now."

You can hear a little panic in his voice, and it just makes you roll your eyes. "Just lean the other way, then! It'll balance out." You don't look back to confirm it, but you're pretty sure you can hear him clambering about to follow your suggestion, grumbling under his breath unhappily.

With your bare stomach over the edge of the boat and your tongue stuck out slightly in concentration, you carefully ease forward- fingers stretched out toward the animal. "Almost... got it...!"

And then the turtle jumps into the water.

Instinct takes over and you practically lunge forward in an attempt to catch it before it can get away.

Dave lunges for you before you can topple out of the boat.

The canoe tips and you both are sent flying into the water.

You resurface a short second later, thankful that you decided to wear your swim trunks out instead of a pair of shorts, but sad at the same time that you're still turtle-less. Dave floats unhappily a couple of feet from you. You can feel his glare even from under his dripping shades. You offer a sheepish grin and a shrug. "Sorry?"

"I'm going to fucking kill you."

Despite, you can't help but laugh.

You don't laugh for long, however, once you realize it's practically impossible to get back in the canoe from in the water without tipping it again. The two of you push it back to camp.

Dave never goes out on a boat with you again.