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The Devil You Know

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The whistle blows.

The score pinned to the board beneath the little print out of their logo reads 207, the highest score of the day.

David can't help breathing a sigh of relief. All the competing camps did well, and he wished them the best, of course, but he wasn't quite ready to subject any of the campers (or himself, for that matter) to the Woodscouts’ boot camp hell.

The Campbell Campers are given the trophy, (although they're not as enthused as David might've liked) and he and Gwen are given congratulations by Mr. Campbell himself, who disappears shortly after- the man is busy, after all, and David completely understands. He's just glad he was here to witness the victory of Camp Campbell, despite a struggling start.

He catches up with the group after a brief but, uh, exciting interaction with the Quartermaster’s pet(?) wolf.

“Everything okay?” he asks, joining Gwen by her side. She half nods at him, more an acknowledgement than an affirmation.

“I don't like the way Pikeman’s whispering with the judges,” she mutters, narrowing her eyes. David follows her gaze. Pikeman's over by the judges table, his hands splayed across the surface, saying something under his breath to them. One of them nods, looking at the others.

Pikeman straightens up, fixing his collar with a smile that David's immediately suspicious of. He glances over to them and begins to make his way over.

“Oh god,” Gwen murmurs, moving closer to David. “He's coming over, fucking Christ. You deal with him.” She steps casually behind David, making a half hearted attempt to look like she's engaged with the kids.

“Everything okay, Ed?” David asks, a wary smile on his face.

“Oh, absolutely,” Pikeman simpers, throwing a glance at Gwen that he seems to think is charming. “I was just conferring with the judges on some… unfair advantages.”

David frowns. “What do you mean?”

Over at the judges table, the bartender from the only bar reaches down and flips the scorecard for camp Campbell back, putting them…

In second place.

David blinks. “Wait-”

Pikeman nods to the judges and turns back to him. “I'm sure, Greenwood, that you'd agree, like the panel of unbiased judges did, that your little green-haired camper shouldn't have been given the points she was.”

“What?” David glances at Nikki, hanging back with the rest of the uninterested group. “Why not?”

“Well, it was quite malicious, wouldn't you say? A deliberate attempt to sabotage her competitors.”

“Sabotage?” David's face falls. “How is that sabotage?”

“She set a wolf on us. We could've been grievously injured.”

“Wait, but…” David swallows trailing off. He turns slightly, reaching out to brush fingers against Gwen's elbow. “Can he do this?” he asks quietly.

“Do what? What did he do?” There's a suspicious, disdainful edge to her voice as she turns, and she and David share a worried look.

“He says that the judges took points off because the other campers could've gotten hurt. Gwen…” David takes a breath, glancing at the scorecards. “He says we lost.”

“What? Oh, fuck no.” She stalks away and sets her palms on the judge's table, hunching over and speaking to them in a voice too low to hear. David watches, wringing his hands together nervously, and after a moment of what appears to be heated debate, she stomps back over and picks up the wooden trophy from where it's laying abandoned on the dirt. She holds it for a moment, her fingers clamped tightly around the handles. Then she turns and reels back, hurling the wooden cup at far as she can into the treeline. It gets a pretty reasonable distance, disappearing into a small thicket of bush.

She returns to David's side, her teeth gritted.

“Congratulations. If you want your trophy, it's somewhere in the woods. Why don't you go look for it and maybe get mauled by a bear?”

Pikeman smiles, obviously finding this unduly hilarious. “Oh, Gwendolyn. I know change can be hard, but I assure you, I think you'll find your new role quite enjoyable.”

“Nope.” She reaches into David's back pocket, ignoring the man's startled squeak, and retrieves his phone. Quickly, she dials something and steps away, pressing it to her ear.

David looks between her and Pikeman’s smug smile, tapping his feet out of nervous energy. After a moment, Gwen growls, redials, and waits again. One more time, and she practically throws the phone at David.

“Campbell’s not answering. David, this is ridiculous, we won,” she hisses.

“I- I know, but… what did the judges say?”

She crosses her arms. “They said…” She turns her head, her teeth gritted. “They said the decision was final.”

“Oh, my dear,” Pikeman sighs, cloyingly sympathetic. “I understand this is hard to take in. I promise, I'll put everything I have into making this change as pleasurable as possible for you.”

“Don't say that word.”

“First order of business, let's get you a uniform.”


“I hate this.” Gwen tugs at the uncomfortably high neckline of her ugly green/brown shirt. “I hate button ups. And this colour looks like baby shit.”

“It's not very foresty,” David agrees, looking down at his own new uniform. “And I have to wonder if long pants are really appropriate in the summer.”

“At least you get pants,” Gwen says with disgust. “I don't know how he did it, but these shorts are even shorter than my old ones.”

David's mouth flattens into a thin line as she tugs at the hem, trying to cover up as much as she can. She looks up. “What's with the face?”

He ducks his head. “I… I don't like why you're wearing it, but… well, you could make anything look good.”

“Are you seriously checking out my ass? Right now?” She puts her hands on her hips, but the scolding nature of her tone is softened by the smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

“I just think shorts suit you,” he says, sheepish. “I just wish it weren't the situation it is.”

“Yeah, me neither.” Gwen steps closer, pressing her front to his and winding her arms around his neck. David's own curl around her waist, and he gently sways the two of them. Hopeless romantic that he is, this sort of thing is second nature to him. “Listen… I had to tell Pikeman we weren't a thing, or else he wasn't gonna let you stay.”

“You did?”

“I'm sorry. Believe me, I would rather just both of us quit, but… I don't know, I feel like if we can just get ahold of Campbell, he'd be able to fix this. And I know how much the camp means to you.”

David sighs. “Ah… you're too good for me.” He nestles his chin against her shoulder. “I appreciate you staying. We'll fix this somehow, okay? I promise.”

“I hope so. I don't think I can stand Pikeman's nasal voice for more than a few days.”

David huffs a quiet breath of laughter. “Me neither. But…” His hands slide from her waist to her hips. “I could stand to see you in those shorts for more than a few days,” he admits, grinning.

Gwen returns the smile. “Down, boy.” A shrill whistle sounds from outside the cabin, and simultaneously their faces fall. Gwen sighs. “Guess we gotta go out there and make sure the kids don't die, huh?”

David nuzzles his nose to hers. “As much as I'd like to say no… yeah. We'd better.”

She squeezes him in a tight hug before letting go. She's not normally the affectionate one, but knowing she won't even be able to look at David without being scrutinised- it makes her miss him already.

He presses a kiss to her cheek and opens the door to their new hell.


Hell was not an under or overstatement. Pikeman, residing over them as their own personal Satan, spent the day snapping out orders to less than cooperative campers, needlessly rearranging the tents, and staring at Gwen's ass much, much more than was necessary or welcomed. The welcomed amount, of course, being none.

“I'm going to kick him.”


“Right in the nuts. If he actually has any.”

“Gwen, calm down. It's okay.”

“It's really not, David. He's been a little cunt to the campers, treated you like garbage, and I swear I can feel his creepy little lizard eyes on my ass everytime I turn around.” She tenses as he reaches for her shoulder, and he pauses, dropping his hand. “Sorry. Just… gimme a minute.”

“It's fine,” he assures her. “I know it's been a stressful day.”

He waits patiently for a moment, watching her work away at the knot of anger. She closes her eyes and counts to 10- a trick he taught her. She waved it off as stupid bullshit the first time but it works, she has to admit. She reaches for his hand and David gladly takes it.

“Dinner was almost a disaster. I don't know how you're still smiling.”

“When I was in highschool, I taught myself to smile when I wanted to say.. not nice stuff to people.”

“Really?” Her face splits into a grin. “So is that why you smile all the time? Cause you wanna yell at the little shits?”

“Of course not! I like being happy! It just makes it easier to stay happy when… The kids, or Pikeman, are being…”

“Themselves. Yeah.”

“Yeah.” David squeezes her hand. “I'm sorry. I get it, though. The way he's been looking at you today has me about ready to scuffle, too.”

“Every time I think I know all the ridiculous words you use, you go and say something like ‘scuffle.’ But it's cute, you getting all jealous.”

“Well, you're… y’know. Not his to look at.”

“Oh? Then whose am I?”

He smiles, pulling her into a hug. “I don't want to be presumptuous.”

“But if you were ?”

“I'd say ‘well, gosh, I sure hope it's me.’”

“And you'd be right.” She tips her forehead against hers and pulls his hands down to her ass. “Give me a reminder. It's been a long day.”

“O- oh. Of course.” Lightly, he flexes his hands, gently squeezing as he dips his head to trail kisses down the side of her throat. He hears her exhale, right beside his ear.

“I don't think we're gonna get long,” she mutters, borderline mournful. “Which is really fucking ugh cause I could've used some stress relief.”

David bites his lip, the implications warming his face. “Maybe tomorrow we can do a supply run in town…”

“We just got supplies.”

“Y- yeah, I know. But the car…”

“Ohhh. I get it. You devious whore,” she snickers, her hands crawling down his sides. “Sounds like a plan to me.”

The cabin door suddenly slams open, and the pair of them jump apart so quickly David nearly trips.

“Oh. Here you are,” Pikeman snivels from the doorway. “Why did you leave dinner so early, dear Gwendolyn? Is everything okay?” He eyes the faint red flush on David's face. “What were you two doing?”

“Um, we- we were-” David stammers, and Gwen crosses her arms.

“Uniform checks,” she monotones. “Like you said we have to do. Three times a day, right?”

David jumps on the excuse. “Right! Uniform checks!” Unfortunately, the thing about David when he's nervous is that even when he's telling the truth, it comes out like a lie. Pikeman looks suspiciously between them, but Gwen's deadpan, bored expression seems to convince him.

“Well, I've taken the liberty of ensuring the campers are in their tents. Early to bed and early to rise, that's the Woodscout way.”

Gwen reaches for David's wrist, looking at his watch. “It's 7:45. You sure it's early enough?”

“Of course. They'll need the energy.”

David worries at his lip. The campers won't be happy about that, and he doubts they'll actually get to sleep any sooner, confined in the tents or not. He feels like he should… Maybe quietly let them know that this won't last for long, and unofficially approve a little bit of curfew breaking. He and Gwen can keep Pikeman busy for an evening.

“Maybe I should- just make sure all the campers understand the new regime,” David pipes up. “And say goodnight.”

He meets Gwen's eyes and suddenly realises something. If he leaves, she'll be here alone. With Pikeman. She seems to have something of an understanding of what he was trying to do, so they have a short, unspoken conversation. Mostly with David glancing at Pikeman and then tilting his head towards the door, just slightly.

“Actually, David. You mind if I go? I want to… talk to Nikki… about…” she zones out slightly, looking for a reasonable excuse. “About the thing with the wolf. Before she goes to bed.”

“Right, of course. Well, good luck!” He gently coaxes her in the direction of the door before Pikeman can open his slimy mouth. “Give her a good talking to and we'll see you back here in a bit!”

Once she's gone, David turns.

“So… Ed.”

“Please, Pikeman,” Pikeman corrects. “It's more respectful.”

David clasps his hands together, his smile completely forced. “Oh, but after hours, we all work at the same camp, right? So, Ed. What do you like to watch?”

Pikeman narrows his eyes in confusion. “Watch?”

David gestures to the little tv in the corner of the room. “Gwen and I tend to watch things in the evening. Mostly sitcoms. She likes Friends and- the other one. Seinfeld, I think? But we've also got a few movies and my collection of The Joy of Painting, which I know sounds dull but I find it relaxing.” David may find himself feeling the closest thing to hatred he has, but that's no reason not to be a good host.

“Oh. I don't usually watch tv back at the base. We don't have one. It distracts from training,” Pikeman sniffs. “But I guess a little treat might be in order for a successful day. You may choose.”

David's smile remains admirably on his face, despite the fact that he'd hardly call this day a success. “Right. Okay. Seinfeld, then.” It's not at all motivated by the fact that David knows most of the cultural references will fly right over Pikeman's head. He sets the DVD to playing on the slightly fishbowled little screen and settles on the shabby little two-seater couch. He waves an arm at his own lemon and lime striped armchair. “Why don't you take my chair, Ed? Since you're in charge, and all.”

Pikeman grins, obviously pleased with this act of deference. He takes a seat as David flips through the menu, picking an episode he and Gwen haven't watched together yet.

Gwen shows up about halfway through the episode, not bothering to hide the chagrin on her face. She settles down on the other end of the two-seater with a sigh.

“Welcome back, Gwendolyn. How did everything go?”

“Fine,” she drawls, eyes on the TV. Pikeman seems like he's waiting for more, but she doesn't have anything more than one word answers in her right now. For him, at least, because when David turns his head to her and quietly asks the same question, one corner of her mouth lifts in dry amusement. “The kid highfived me,” she mumbles in return. David has to work not to grin.

They continue on like that, and David gets no small amount of satisfaction from every single moment that Gwen laughs at something onscreen and Pikeman just looks confused. It's before his time. A little bit before theirs, too, but not too much that they don't understand it.

Gwen snags a knitted throw that's draped along the arm of the couch and wraps it around herself. Over the course of an episode, she inches closer to David until she's resting on his shoulder, her eyes sliding shut.

“You tired?” he whispers. She gives a slight shake of her head.

“No. Just missed you. Figured I'd pretend.”

“Oh.” David's heart flutters. For now, Pikeman's still trained on the TV. David subtly shifts, pulling the blanket to cover them both. Underneath and unseen, his hand finds hers. It's like a glass of water after a walk in the desert, oxygen to a drowning man. He breathes out, settling back into the couch cushions.

She plays with him like they're lovestruck teenagers playing footsie under the lunchroom tables. Squeezing his hand, tapping little patterns into his palm, dragging her thumb lightly across the scar there. David shivers, thankful for the cover of the blanket. It's so terrifically hard not to turn his head and press a kiss to her hair, or just breathe it in, but this won't be forever. He keeps his eyes frontward facing. She won't leave his scars alone, but she must realise what that's doing to him, right? It's not like she hasn't abused their sensitivity before. He can't exactly ask her what she's doing, but maybe he could- maybe he can play her game a little. Call her bluff.

He draws his hand from hers and rests it on her thigh. She freezes. He can almost hear her internal “what are you doing.” He bites his lip to stifle a smile, letting his fingers glide softly along her skin.  He risks a glance at Pikeman- still watching the TV and then at Gwen. Her eyes are shut. She must be sticking to the sleeping act, but this close, the illusion falls apart; he can see the tiny line of tension between her eyebrows, and the way her eyelids are trembling ever so slightly, trying to stay shut.

“Stop,” she whispers. David ignores her, drawing looping patterns on the inside of her thigh. “David, you asshole.”

David smiles, watching some inane Kramer scheme unfold on the television. She can stop this anytime, if she really wants. A simple touch to his wrist, a gentle tap, and he'd back down. She's missed this, though, and even though it's barely been a day she's a little starved for contact, just like him. Something about spending an entire day in each other's company while having to pretend they're not together. And maybe there's something just the tiniest bit thrilling about doing something so risky while their “ boss ” is on the other couch.

He honestly hadn't meant for anything to go much further than that, though. But then his fingers had unintentionally brushed the hem of her shorts and she'd (maybe unintentionally) spread her legs just a fraction wider and… David's never had the best self control, but Gwen? A thousand times worse. So despite the terror and the utter sense of moral corruption, when she quickly pops the button of her shorts, David can't bring himself to say no.

It's a distinct kind of torture, this. For both of them. She's warm, and soft, and everything David misses, but what crawls down his spine and pools warmly in his stomach is the fact that she's already kinda wet. Maybe she had this in mind the whole time, or maybe she was just that wound up that all it took was a hand on her thigh. Either way, David has to close his eyes for a moment.

Her breathing is shallow and quiet, but he swears he's just attuned to it because to him it sounds loud enough to eclipse the canned studio laughter from the TV. Jesus, what is he doing? Touching her like this with their coworker in the same room. What happened to their decency?

He twitches his fingers, slips them a little deeper inside her, and she takes a quick breath that hitches in her throat. Ah. That's what happened to his decency.

It feels like they're living on borrowed time, like any moment now something's going to happen or Pikeman's going to twig and they'll be fired or sued or just generally shamed around town. Invisible pressure is building against a barrier that doesn't exist, and his heart rate jumps higher with every slow press of his fingers inside her. He spares a quick look to make sure Pikeman's still engaged in the TV before delicately pressing the pad of his thumb to her clit. She jolts, sucking in a breath that's loud enough to make David pause. When no loud accusations are slung their way, he relaxes. His movements are slow, a mockery of the speed she normally asks for. Each slow circle of his thumb or twitching upward press of his fingers is excruciating, for both of them. That being said, David has to admire her. Were their positions reversed, he's sure he would've given the game away by now. Maybe he's not as good at this as her, or she's just better at keeping her reactions quiet, but Pikeman would've heard him from a mile away.

Maybe he spoke too soon. “Hha h-”

David freezes. Gwen freezes. Onscreen, Kramer bursts through a door to audience cheering, and on the armchair next to them, Pikeman blinks with the slight sluggishness of someone who's politely bored out of their mind.

They got away with it.

Quietly, David shushes her. Her face doesn't change, but her hand finds his leg and briefly but sharply pinches the skin. He gets the message: Don't sass her right now. She shifts slightly, pressing her hips just a fraction harder against his hand, and David resumes his… activity.

He loses his concentration in it, in the silky slick warmth wrapped around his fingers. She shudders so beautifully, every little hitch of her breath like a bullet of heat to his stomach. As much as he dares, he speeds up. His one track mind is very much on the track and set in its path, so much so that he doesn't even realise they've reached the end of episodes on the disk till it's gone back to the title screen.

Pikeman’s droning voice breaks through the silent, soft but still nasal, and David nearly jumps, going still. He'd almost forgotten how bone-gratingly awful that was. "Seems she's fallen asleep."

"Oh, you're right," David murmurs, looking down at her tenderly. "I hadn't noticed." Like fuck he hadn't. Her breathing on his throat is making his skin prickle and her heart is racing . He can feel her trembling around his fingers, and her teeth are slightly gritted. She didn't appreciate his stopping, and honestly? Neither did he. Slowly, he starts up again. Gwen's nails dig into his leg, a panicked warning. Pikeman's looking right at them, for fuck's sake. David just smiles.

All trace of that smarmy sleaze falls from Pikeman's face, oozing off onto the floor like a slug. "What's your relationship with her, Greenwood?"

He really doesn't mess around, does he?

David raises an eyebrow. "Well, she's my co-counselor, of course."

"Hm." Pikeman's gaze narrows. "And you share a room."

"That we do." David smiles. "I'm afraid there's not room in the budget for a whole new cabin."

Pikeman doesn't seem convinced. "Does she fall asleep like this often ?" he asks, his voice low.

David plays dumb. "On the couch? Sometimes."

The corner of Pikeman's mouth twitches into a sneer. "Right. And do you join her often?"

"Oh, absolutely." David's grin is wide and toothy and just a little sharper than usual. "Gwen and I are very close friends."

"I'd like to get very close to her, myself," Pikeman snickers, and David's smile shrivels up.

Gwen jolts slightly, a tiny gasp escaping her. Her head turns a fraction, pressing closer to David's throat. Pikeman's gaze snaps to her, then up to David.

"She's just dreaming," David stage whispers, smiling. "It's okay." Another stifled breath rushes out of Gwen, staccato and stuttering. She looks tense, curled up close to David's side, and David looks at her. "Must be a nightmare," he quietly hums.

"What could she possibly be afraid of?" Pikeman chuckles. "I've never known a woman to be so... vivacious."

David doesn't reply, his eyes on her. She's still tense, her fingers curled into the blanket tightly. David can see her eyes twitching, trying to stay shut in something that believably resembles sleep. She's probably going to kill him for this, but it's worth it.

Pikeman quietly clears his throat. "Do you know if she's seeing anyone? Romantically, of course."

A sickly spike of anger drives through David's stomach and he fixes Pikeman with a steady gaze. "Relationships between counselors are against regulations," he recites.

"I didn't ask for regulations," Pikeman sneers, waving him off. "I'm a Woodscout. I know regulations. What I asked is whether Gwendolyn's currently seeing anyone or not. It's a simple, innocent question, Greenwood."

David's face doesn't change. "That's her business. I'm not at liberty to discuss my coworker's personal life," he tersely states. Beside him, Gwen presses imperceptibly closer.

Pikeman's sharp eyes bore into David's, venom dripping from them, but David refuses to back down. He holds his gaze, his face stony. "I can see you're defensive," Pikeman observes. "I might be inclined to believe you had feelings for her, if I didn't know better."

"But you know better."

"I hope I do, Greenwood. You wouldn't be thinking of breaking any regulations , would you?"

David can hear the challenge in Pikeman's tone, the underlying questions. It shouldn't be getting to him like this, and normally it wouldn't, but the way Pikeman keeps glancing at Gwen, his eyes hungry and lecherous- it burrows under David's skin and nests there, acidic. "Me?" He adopts a shocked face. "No! I would never go against the rules. Never."

Pikeman opens his mouth the throw another accusation but he's interrupted when a strangled whine erupts from Gwen's chest, quickly cut off. "Maybe you should wake her up," he comments. "She sounds... distressed ."

David shakes his head. "Gwen doesn't like to be woken up, nightmare or not." Although true, right now that doesn't actually apply.

Pikeman makes a thoughtful humming noise at the back of his throat and David has the sickening feeling that he's cataloguing the information. Taking it, rolling it over and and over in his head, thinking about his Gwen. It makes his skin crawl.

Pikeman shifts, leaning his head against his hand. He watches Gwen with something approaching affection, and David's struck with the inexplicable urge to bare his teeth. It's not that Pikeman's even doing anything. He's just looking at her. And he doesn't even know it, but he's watching her in such a vulnerable state, it makes David want to cover her up or shove him out of the room or something. "You know, technically you're both my subordinates."

David has to bite his tongue not to snarl. "You don't need to remind me. I'm aware."

"You know why you're still here?" Pikeman glances at Gwen. "Gwendolyn was adamant that if we wanted to keep her on staff, you'd need to stay too." He looks back at David, his eyes dark. "I don't pretend to understand why she cares about you. I assume it's some kind of brotherly affection. You're replaceable, Greenwood. Just so you're aware."

David's endless patience is quickly dwindling. "Appreciate it while it lasts, Ed," he smiles. "This camp belongs to Cameron Campbell, and he'll take it back eventually."

"Your casual tone isn't appreciated," Pikeman hisses. "As entertaining as your delusions are, I am your superior now and you will show me the proper respect."

"Sure, Ed."

Pikeman seethes, his hands clenching into white knuckled fists. Gwen shifts, curled closer to David with a soft huff of breath. For a tense moment, nobody says anything.

David idly looks out the window, resting his chin on the top of Gwen's head, and Pikeman sits stiffly in the chair opposite, watching them carefully. It's frustrating, because David can't go nearly as fast as he'd like to. The one thing that makes up for it is the anger he can see in Gwen's face, between pinched lines and gritted teeth. She's going to kill one or both of them very soon and David's very much looking forward to his demise.

Eventually, Pikeman leans forward, his voice low and quiet and poisonous. "Between you and me, Greenwood, I don't like you."

"Really?” David mumbles, having to resist the urge to roll his eyes, and Pikeman ignores him.

"I don't like you, and the only reason you're still around is because Gwendolyn wants it. But the second I think you're a threat to our relationship, you're out."

David feels her grimace against his shoulder. "I don't think you need to worry about that," he says, trying to stamp down the grin that's tugging at his mouth.

“I'm going to take your word for it, just this once," Pikeman hisses. "For her sake. I can take care of her better than you ever could."

David glances at him. "How old are you, again?"

Pikeman pauses, seeming to have lost his footing. "I don't see how that's relevant. I'm old enough."

"It was just a simple, innocent question, Ed."

Pikeman leans back, disbelieving. "Working with you is going to be very, very difficult, isn't it?"

David just chuckles.

Beneath him, Gwen takes a sharp breath and twitches, straightening up. She opens her eyes, squinting at David. Her voice is rough, and it's close enough to sleepy that she doesn't have to make an effort to pretend she'd been asleep. "What time is it?"

David checks his watch. "About 9:13."

She shifts away from him slightly, still under the blanket. "Okay, well, we should- we should go check on the campers. Lights out. David, come on." She stands up, pulling the blanket around herself. Quickly, while Pikeman's still distracted watching her, David crosses his legs.

"Surely Greenwood can take care of it," Pikeman suggests, standing up. He reaches up to place a hand on Gwen's shoulder. "You should get some rest , sweet Gwendolyn. You must be exhausted, to fall asleep on the couch like that."

Gwen jerks away. "Nope, I'm fine, never been better. Uh, but David and I- the kids are used to a routine and Space Kid cries if we don't both say goodnight, so," she turns to David, shooting him an urgent, 'back-me-up' look. He returns the look with one of his own, a little reminder of his own urgent situation. Gwen shrugs the blanket from her shoulders and tosses it at him, tapping her foot. "Come on, let's go ."

David folds the blanket over his arm and holds it nonchalantly in front of himself, standing up. "We won't be long, Ed! Counselor duty calls!" Before Pikeman can protest, Gwen's tugging him out the front door.

Gwen glances over her shoulder as they get further away, and she groans. "Ugh."

David glances back, and he's inclined to agree. Pikeman's watching out of the window, his gaze narrowed.

They can’t go straight for the mess hall, then. Instead, Gwen tugs David into Space Kid's actual tent. He seems least likely to actually care, and sure enough, he greets them with a smile and no questions.

"Hey, kid," Gwen hisses. "We're hiding from Pikeman. You good?"

"Ohh, yeah. That guy's scary," Space Kid agrees.

After a long moment, Gwen pokes her head out of the tent and glances at the cabin. Pikeman's no longer in the window. "Coast is clear, come on."

She tugs David away, and David barely manages to say "Goodnight" to Space Kid over his shoulder.

The pair of them sprint towards the mess hall under cover of darkness and slip inside. Gwen hasn't actually explained what she's doing, and David hasn't asked, but he's almost positive he knows.

She's impatient, shoving him into the store room and flipping on the yellowed lights. David's goofy smile falters at the dark, hate-filled look she gives him, advancing closer. "Gwen? Are you...?"

She crowds him till his back hits the wall, her hands on either side of him. "You. Fucking. Asshole ." She drags him down into a bruising, savage kiss, but before he can even relax into it she's pushing him away again. "I can't believe you," she growls. David's smile returns full force, unable to keep it down.

"I'm sorry," he tries, but Gwen doesn't seem to be buying it. "I was just.."

"Fuck off, you're not sorry. But you're going to be. Get on your knees." Her hands rest on David's shoulders, tugging him down to the floor. David doesn't resist, dropping to his knees in front of her. She pushes her shorts down her hips, impatient and hurried. David begins to get an idea of exactly where this is headed, and his mouth prickles with a sudden flood of saliva. She leans forward, looming over him. He tries to keep eye contact, but even he's not strong enough for that. Gwen doesn't seem bothered about it, going by her smug expression. "Alright, co-counselor , counsel me." He's apparently too slow to get things started because Gwen snaps her fingers. "Faster than that. We don't have all night, and if you think I'm gonna go to bed after letting you be a fucking cunt tease all goddamn night-" David hooks a hand behind one of her legs and tugs it over his shoulder. "There we go," she finishes, smiling.

David offers her a quick smile in return before pressing forward, swiping his tongue broadly along the length of her cunt. She's soft and swollen with the arousal that's been building up, and wet enough to make slipping his fingers back inside easy.

Gwen braces her hands against the wall, letting out a moan she's been holding onto for what felt like forever.

He's not as gentle as he'd usually be, but then again, he'd already been gentle for long enough tonight. He can read her well enough to know that if he slowed down even one bit, she might kick him in the head. Which is a very easy possibility right now. He keeps his mouth busy on her clit, alternating between the swipes of his tongue that pull sharp gasps from her and the gentle suckling that makes her moan, low and broken. His fingers are rough and ruthless against her insides, aiming exactly for the spot inside her that makes her legs threaten to buckle.

"That was so- fucking unfair," she pants between noises. "You just hh- had to get all touchy-"

If David weren't busy, he might be inclined towards the slightest of smirks.

Gwen's hips begin to roll forward, grinding herself against his tongue so hard she's practically pinning his head to the wall. "Ke-ep doing- just like that, just..." She trails off in a low, throaty growl, one of her hands knotting in David's hair to keep his head still. His hand is starting to get just a touch tired, but the adrenaline of doing this here is more than enough to keep him going.

Her hand tightens in his hair and it pulls a faint moan from him, vibrating against her cunt in a way that sends shivers of electricity down to the soles of her feet.

"Fucking- bastard-" she growls, breathless. "C-losssse, shit."

David keeps moving, the same speed. He's kind of figured out by now that "close" doesn't mean "speed up," it means "keep doing exactly what you're fucking doing or so help me god David you're going to wake up missing every genital you own."

Abruptly, Gwen goes silent, curling forward over him. She's trembling, too tense to even breathe, and her cunt flutters and contracts on his tongue, tightening with each wave of pleasure that's currently crashing through her. He closes his lips around her clit, gently suckling her through her end, keeping his fingers steady. It takes more thought that before, almost more than he can currently devote, because every single blood hot, tightening pulse around him is killing him. Without meaning to, his hips are twitching forward, just the tiniest movements he can't suppress.  

"Okay, okay okay," she breathes, and David slowly halts his movements, drawing his hand back. His fingers are slick with her, and he's pretty sure she won't mind if he goes ahead and, y'know, makes sure that doesn't go to waste.

Gwen's eyes are shut, her breathing beginning to slow. Beneath her, David's hand dips beneath his waistband, slick fingers wrapping around himself. He sighs, needy and ragged, and his breath ghosts against her oversensitive nerves. His other hand still clutches her leg, and he tilts his head up, just breathing her in. He loves the way she smells, especially when she's all wet and swollen and so achingly perfect. He could drown in it and thank her with his dying breath.

She gives him a few moments, just long enough for him to enjoy a couple long, slow strokes, from the base to the flushed head. She tilts his head back, pulling his attention to her face and making him pause. He gazes up at her, his eyes half mast and glazed, his face reddened. The perfect picture of ruination.

He swallows, his movements starting up again.

She draws back, steadying herself back on her feet. Takes a moment, since her legs are currently doing their best impression of two pieces of string, but she's good. She steps back into he shorts and pulls them up, quickly zipping them back up. "Come on, we should get back before that creep comes looking."

Again, David pauses, uncertainty crossing his face. "Um... But I...?" His eyes flick down to his cock and back up to her, finishing the question for him.

Gwen crouches down, and despite the fact that this brings her eye to eye with David, something in her expression makes him feel tiny. "Well," she smiles. "I guess it's not a lot of fun being teased like this, huh? You poor thing."

David's expression only falls further. "But I made y-you..." He can't bring himself to say it, even now.

She rolls her eyes. "You did, and I had to drag you out of the fucking room to get it. You were gonna leave me hanging."

After a pause, David shuts his mouth. No answer he gave right now would be good enough for her.

She stands up, her fingers wrapping around his wrist and tugging him to his feet. She starts towards the door, but David is steadfast, planting his heel firmly against the floor. She glances over her shoulder at his face, at the way his eyes are pleading and desperate. "Gwen, please," he whispers.

She pauses, and for a hopeful second David thinks he sees her hesitation, the flicker of her indecision in the way she bites her lip.

"Come on," she repeats, "Pikeman's gonna get suspicious."

She pulls harder, and David reluctantly steps forward, if only to keep from being toppled. "Gwen," he tries again, and Gwen doesn't look back, still pulling.

"Let's go, David," she practically sings, but her nails dig into his wrist and he knows that nothing he can say will change her mind. He knew she'd get him back for starting this, and suddenly it's a whole lot less funny. "Oh, and, might wanna holster your weapon," she adds, tossing a smirk over her shoulder. "In case someone sees."

With one hand and slumped shoulders, David tucks himself away. He knows he's lost. He lost when he started this.

Once they're outside the mess hall, she drops his wrist. She would have preferred not to, and he hates it too, but nagging paranoia made them worry Pikeman might be sneaking around, watching them. The pair of them creep past now-silent tents, back to their own cabin.

Pikeman's waiting, and he doesn't say anything when they return, but the suspicion on his face says plenty.

"Welp, I'm beat," Gwen explains, yawning for effect. "I'm gonna go to bed."

"Y-yeah, me too," David mumbles, looking a little worse for wear.

They brush their teeth in the tiny bathroom connected to their cabin, and out of Pikeman's unnerving gaze she steals one last kiss from David. Just as a reminder. David smiles tenderly, but she can still see the defeat in his eyes and it makes her  stomach tighten warmly.

The three of them get set up in bed and Gwen scrolls her phone for a while until Pikeman's nasal snoring begins to bother her enough to make her put in earphones. She's nearly asleep, still lazily scrolling her feed and barely absorbing anything. She doesn't hear the rustle of blankets, or the slight creak of floorboards.

A hand gently touches her shoulder and she jumps, twisting around to see David, barely illuminated by the light of her phone. "Jesus," she hisses, pulling out her earphones. "You scared the shit outta me."

"Sorry," David whispers. He glances behind him, at the shape of Pikeman's sleeping body. His snoring has lessened, thank god, now nothing more than some obnoxious breathing.

"What is it?" she asks.

David hesitates. "I, um... I can't sleep."

Gwen frowns sympathetically. "Is it ‘cause of him? I have a couple pairs of earplugs, you can borrow some if you want."

David shakes his head. "No, that's not it. I- I just can't."

"Real helpful, Dave. Look, if you really need it, I've got some meds that are pretty good for KO-ing me when I'm-"

"Gwen," David interrupts, pleading. "I can't because it- it hurts."

Understanding worms through her tired haze and settles in her mind. She can't stop herself from grinning. "Oh, man, really?"

David nods. "I need- I need help. Please," he adds in a desperate whisper. Gwen shifts, sitting up a little.

"How bad does it hurt?" David presses his lips together, groaning in the back of his throat. "And you really need it?" she adds, like he hasn't already made her aware. He nods again. Her grin stretches wider. "How badly do you need to come?"

David pauses. His brow knits together, his eyes narrowing just a fraction. "...You're enjoying this."

Gwen considers feigning innocence, but he knows her too well. "You bet I fucking am," she whispers, reaching up to yank him closer by the collar of his pyjamas. "You should've known what you were getting into when you started dating a sadist, and then fucking teased her." David swallows, hunched over her bed. Gwen isn't good at denying herself things, though, so before she releases him, she pulls him into a brief, heated kiss. When she breaks away, there's hope sparkling in his gorgeous green eyes, and Gwen's stomach flares with heat at the idea of crushing it. "You should really get some rest, David," she suggests, her tone light and innocent. His face falls.

"But... please, Gwen. It hurts," he repeats, like something making himself more pathetic is actually going to help his cause.

"Aw, you poor baby," she coos, patting his cheek. "Anyway, goodnight!" She lays back down and rolls over, facing away.

A moment of silence. She can still feel his presence, hovering at her bedside like a miserable spectre.

Gently, a hand comes to rest on her shoulder. It trails down, down her side and onto her hip where it lingers. "What do you want?" he murmurs. Gwen turns her head upwards slightly to hear him better and hums.


"What can I do for you? A- anything, please. I'll earn it." His hand twists in the covers, slowly dragging them down, waiting for her to jump in at any second and snatch them back. He drags it to midway down her thighs then his hand is moving back up, tracing lightly across bare skin, hesitating at her waistband. "I- I can use my fingers. Or my mouth. You don't have to do anything," he whispers, his voice shaking almost imperceptibly. "And I can just- just, your hand. Please, just a little, it won't take long."

She rolls onto her back, stretching with an obscene noise, making sure to arch in a way she knows must be killing him. "I don't know," she practically singsongs, "I think I need to sample the goods before I buy." Just to make sure he understands, she lifts her hips towards his hand.

David nods enthusiastically. " Anything." His fingers slip beneath her waistband, and Gwen closes her eyes, reclining back as he touches her, the tips of his fingers dipping shallowly into her and dragging lightly over his clit. David's breathing is ragged, roughened by arousal. "You're… wet," he breathes, nothing more than an animal observation given voice. Gwen smiles.

"I wasn't kidding when I said this is hot as hell, David. Watching you squirm and beg," she trails off with a quiet groan, lifting her hips towards the delicious pressure of his fingertips.

He's impatient, and she can't blame him, not really. She sure can enjoy it, though. "S-so," he stammers after barely two minutes. "Will you? Please?"

"Will I what?"

"Help me."

"Help you what?"

A grimace twists David's face. She's toying with him, batting him around like a cat with string. "If I say it, will you do it?"

Gwen shrugs. "Only one way to find out, huh?"

David sighs, the pure defeat in the noise a shot of heat straight to Gwen's cunt. "I want your h-help to... to come," he finally manages. "Please, Gwen, I'll do anything you want if you help me come. This is- it's killing me, it hurts, Gwen, please."

A shudder runs through Gwen's entire body, stopping at every nerve ending to intimately introduce itself. "Ohhh, wow. That's perfect." David gets that adorable hopeful look again, right up until she adds "but, still no." She rolls over again and mutters over her shoulder. "Night, baby."

The pathetic whine that escapes him makes her cunt flutter and tighten under a pulse of heat. "Gwen!"

She ignores him, and after a minute she's actually starting to wonder if he's crept away, but then the edge of her mattress dips. She looks over to find David, one of his knees braced against her mattress, one hand on the wall to keep himself upright and the other palming the obvious tent in his pyjamas.

Oh, no. He is not getting away with that. He thinks he can just jerk it over her and it'll all be good? The idiot must be really, really desperate to try something like that. "David," she says, low and dangerous. "I didn't just mean I wouldn't help you come. I meant you couldn't. Period."

David takes a breath that's so close to a sob, it makes her skin tingle. "Gwen, that's- that's cruel . I'm not even asking for anything anymore, just- please, for god's sake, let me just look at you."

The power rush she's getting from this is insane, the most addictive thing she's ever had, and she was a drinker in college. "Oh, honey," she soothes, drunk on their mingled arousal and the power she holds. "That's not cruel. This is."

Reaching up, Gwen knocks her thickest book from her bedside table. David's eyes widen in the fraction of a second that passes before it hits the floor with an ear-shattering thunk.

Across the room, Pikeman startles awake with a sharp gasp. David just manages to pull back before Pikeman's jolting upright with a slurred bark of "Status report!" A few tense seconds pass, and then Pikeman's sleep-roughened and yet somehow still disgustingly nasal voice reaches them. "Greenwood? What are you doing?"

Gwen answers for him, one small mercy. "David had a bad dream," she explains. "He couldn't get back to sleep so I was trying to help." It's such an outright lie and it rolls off her tongue like nothing. David bites the tip of his tongue, trying not to say something rash. Instead, he just nods his agreement.

"Nightmares," Pikeman sneers. "How very... unsurprising. Go back to sleep, Greenwood, and don't bother Gwendolyn any more. She needs rest."

David has to put physical effort into tearing himself away from her side, padding miserably back to his own bed. Every step is like walking against a current, trying so desperately to pull him back to her.

Pikeman watches him with a piercing gaze as he settles in. And then for a few minutes longer.

“Something I can help you with, Ed?” David asks, attempting to sounds unaffected.

“Keep your voice down. Gwendolyn is trying to sleep. I'm just ensuring you don't have any more nightmares to bother her with.”

David looks over at Gwen's shape in the darkness. “By staring at me?” He weakly jokes.

“Do you not feel safe under genuine Woodscout protection?” Pikeman snickers. David takes a feel breath.

“I think I'll be fine, Ed. You can go back to sleep.” He thinks longingly of the bathroom- a little safe haven he can escape to once the other two occupants of his cabin are asleep. It won't be anything close to what he wanted, but at least he'll be able to dispel the persistent ache in his lower half.

Pikeman reaches down to the duffel bag by his stretcher and retrieves a book with a little plastic light clipped to the pages. David's stomach drops through his mattress and down to the floor and he sits up and clicks the light on.

“What are you doing?”

“Reading. Go to sleep, Greenwood.”

David hesitates and shuts his mouth. He knows Gwen must be grinning her head off across the room. Okay. He can wait a little longer.

Ten minutes.


An hour.

Two. Goshdarn. Hours.

Pikeman never goes back to bed. He just sits there and reads, and occasionally David can feel his beady eyes move over him. Eventually, exhaustion overpowers the discomfort. David  drifts off into a dreamless sleep.

In the morning, the only reason David's able to even get up is because Pikeman's already up and out, and he doesn't like leaving him to his own devices around the camp. He forces himself up, and his eyes burn. With Pikeman out of the room, David doesn't bother moving to the bathroom to change. He ties his bandana last, glancing at Gwen's sleeping form with a mixture of love and playful resentment.

Pikeman's already in the kitchen, dictating a better diet programme to the Quartermaster, who is completely ignoring him. David follows his example and ignores Pikeman's curt greeting, stepping into the kitchen to help the Quartermaster prepare the food.

David's always prided himself on his ability to keep calm. More or less. Very few people managed to worm under the chinks in his armour. Max was one such. Pikeman, unfortunately, another. Pikeman's nasally voice breaks through his concentration, over and over, and David considers turning up the radio to drown him out.

And then he does, because he's tired, gosh darn it, and if he wants to listen to that one new pop song that's always playing on this station and cook then he's going to hecking do it. Pikeman makes a 'tch' noise, hanging around for a moment longer before turning on his heel and exiting the mess hall.

David's thankful for the break, but he can't shake that uneasiness when he's not keeping an eye on the guy.

"Kid's headstrong," the Quartermaster grunts, apparently in one of his rare conversational moods.

David sighs. "That's one way to put it, I suppose."

The Quartermaster grunts again. "Gives me th' creeps."

If something gives QM the creeps, it's really, really creepy. And honestly? He's right. Pikeman's a slimey little lech with some kind of authoritative fetish and every hour David has to spend near him, he only hates him more.

None of this, of course, David would ever say to his face. He just loudly thinks it.

"Y'want me t' take care of him?" Quartermaster offers, glancing at David with a dangerous glint in his eye.

David barely hesitates before shaking his head. "Thank you, Quartermaster, but that's not necessary. Something will work out." The Quartermaster grumbles but doesn't push the issue.

David quickly finishes up and leaves the rest to the Quartermaster, more than capable despite his hook.

He finds Pikeman out by the camper's tents, barking orders at a group of tired kids. He strides closer, a fire in his chest sparking up. "What are you doing? The campers aren't supposed to be up yet!"

Pikeman snaps his glare to David. "It's 6:30. They've had plenty of time to sleep. Woodscouts rise with the sun."

David crosses his arms. "They need more sleep than that, Ed, look at them! They can hardly stand up!" A couple of the campers nod, for once on David's side. Nothing like a common enemy to unite people. Even Max looks like he'd rather have David running things.

"They don't need it, they want it," Pikeman snaps. "They'll adjust."

"Camp Campbell has been running things just fine for years," David seethes. "These campers were not sent here for boot camp, with exceptions. They were sent here to learn."

Pikeman smiles greasily. "Well, now they're going to learn to be Woodscouts, aren't they?" He turns back to the huddled group of yawning campers. "Assemble into your troops!" The campers look at each other, confused. Pikeman grimaces. "Groups of 6, now !" The campers slowly mill around until they're more or less grouped together, and Pikeman nods his satisfaction. "Stay in your assigned groups and go to the mess hall for breakfast. No dawdling!"

Slowly and unhappily, the campers begin to make their way towards the hall. Max trails at the back, along with Neil and even Nikki, more subdued than usual.

As they pass by, Pikeman reaches forward and snags Max by the hood. "You." He drags Max back to his side, and David's fingers twitch. "I remember you."

Max squints up at him, his expression more hateful than usual. "I remember you too, pizza face. Congratulations, you've got a functioning long term memory. The fuck do you want?"

Pikeman stiffens. "You're just as insubordinate as you were, it seems. Even after all that training I wasted on you."

Despite everything, despite the hatred Max has showed him all summer, David can’t help a strange little spark of pride. Max isn't a Woodscout. He's a Campbell Camper.

Max sneers. "Your training was shit, and so are you." He's really, really not happy about being woken up this early.

Pikeman glares. "The Woodscouts have been in this business for longer than you've been alive. If I were you, I'd show some respect."

Max snorts. "If you were me, at least you'd have a dick bigger than your front teeth."

David has to bite the tip of his tongue to keep from smiling. He can't encourage this behaviour. It's awful, really, just terrible, and he should be telling Max to watch his language.

Pikeman's eyes go wide, appalled and angry. "You little brat," he hisses, then takes a breath to compose himself. "Well, it doesn't matter whether you respect it or not. You're dismissed."

"Excuse me?"

"Go pack your bags, then you may attend breakfast. I'll be arranging transportation for you shortly."

All the humour drops from David's face. "You can't do that," he interrupts, stepping forward. "You don't have the authority to send campers home."

Pikeman turns that sneering, smug look towards him. "I think you'll find I do , Greenwood, in extreme cases. This boy is unfixable, even for a Troop Leader like me. I believe that warrants expulsion."

"Hey, fuck you," Max snaps. "Just cause you can't do your fucking job right-"

"Unfixable?" David's hands curl into fists at his side. "Unfixable?" Pikeman narrows his gaze, standing his ground as David steps even closer. He has to look up to look him in the face, now, but he squares his shoulders and glares. "There is nothing about Max that can't be fixed. He does not need to be fixed. He needs guidance and positivity, Ed, and you-" he jabs a finger to Pikeman's chest, "can't handle that."

Pikeman squints up at him. He looks thoughtful. "I'll consider that a challenge," he offers. "I won't send Max home. But if, by the end of the summer, he's reformed by my methods, you resign."

David hesitates. "I don't think that's for me to decide." He looks down at Max. "Max? How do you feel about this?"

Max snarls. "You're both shitty. Send me the fuck home."

Tutting, Pikeman shakes his head. "That attitude is going to have to go. As well as this," he says, grabbing a handful of Max's hair. Max tenses up. "This unruly mop is shameful. We'll get you a nice, sensible buzzcut, hm?" His fingers tighten, yanking Max's head back, forcing him to look up. A sharp cry of mingled surprise and pain escapes him, and his eyes flick to David, almost pleading.

There's a sickening crunch as David's fist makes contact.

Pikeman releases Max, stumbling back with a cry of his own. His hands snap up to his face, covering his nose, and he looks up, horrified. David swallows, but his face is stony. Max skitters away, closer to him, his eyes wide.

"Jesus," he mutters under his breath. "Jesus, David."

David looks down. "I'm sorry you had to see that, Max," he apologises, his voice even but strained. "Why don't you join the others at breakfast?"

"Fuck no," Max laughs, his shock finally giving way to a wide grin. "I'm not missing this!"

David's mouth flattens into a thin line, but he doesn't push it. He's not in the mood. He didn't come, he didn't sleep, he doesn't. Have. The patience.

Gingerly, Pikeman pulls his hands away from his face and inspects the blood on them. It stains his face, drips over his mouth and chin, and as he snarls, David can see it smeared along his buck teeth.

"Your nose is bleeding," he says helpfully. "The Quartermaster has a first aid kit.”

Pikeman looks at him. His expression darkens. "You bastard."

David frowns. "Please, language. There are campers around." Behind him, Max snickers. It's a lot funnier when it's not being directed at him.

With what David assumes is some kind of nasal war cry, Pikeman lunges forward. David jerks to the side, nearly stumbling over, but at least he avoids the fist that was aiming for his face. Pikeman rounds on him, his expression murderous. It'd be intimidating if he wasn't an acne-ridden teenager with buckteeth.

David nudges Max away. "Max, I really think you should go," he heavily suggests again.

Max shakes his head, grinning. "This is the best thing that's happened all summer."

Pikeman lunges again, and again David has to jump ungracefully to the side. "Max, please," he tries one last time. "I don't want you seeing this- you might get hurt!"

Max makes an exasperated noise. "David, just fucking punch him!"

Pikeman's relentless, surging forward again, and this time David's not fast enough to move out of the way. The hit connects, catching him in the shoulder. David hisses, reeling back. He tried so, so hard to keep this civil, but Pikeman's standing in front of a giant red button and he's pushing it over and over. Max isn't helping, jeering them on from underfoot like this. Pikeman steps forward and nearly trips over him, and all of a sudden his fury isn't on David.

David feels like he's watching it in slow motion, unable to bring his body up to speed. Pikeman's hands are once again in Max hair and he jerks, tugs him to the side, throws him out of the way. Max hits the ground with a pained grunt.

That's it, really. The last straw, as the saying goes. It doesn't matter that Max is watching anymore. It doesn't matter that David's lived his whole life by the motto "do good every day."

What matters is Edward Pikeman lay hands on a child. On Max.

David doesn't even realise he's moving till Pikeman's collar is already twisted in his grip. "Ed." His voice is low and terrible, a calm before the storm. Pikeman's feet are no longer anywhere near the ground, his hands pausing where they were coming up to try and pry David away.

David takes a deep breath, and shoots an apologetic smile over his shoulder at Max. "Max, I'm sorry about this. Please, don't ever copy what I'm about to do. It's bad. In fact, maybe cover your ears." Max just stares, his arms hanging by his sides. David gives him a pointed look until he presses his palms to his ears. As soon as David looks away, he drops them again.

David turns back to Pikeman and the smile shrivels up. "Do you realise ," his fingers tighten, "what we are? No, shut up. I'll tell you. We are counselors. We are, for the summer, in loco parentis."

"Holy shit," Max mutters, getting to his feet. The look on David's face is... animal. Angrier than he'd ever, ever seen. Angrier, even, than the time he'd thought David was about to kill him. After that, Max had dismissed any possibility of David's murderous instincts, but suddenly he's not sure.

Pikeman opens his mouth to say something, his face beginning to pale, but David jolts him slightly to shut him up. "And in case you've forgotten what that means, let me give you a reminder." He releases Pikeman's collar and shoves him back. "We educate." He shoves him again. "We facilitate." Another shove, another stumbled step back. "We have fun. But most important, Ed?"

David leans in close, his eyes wide and wild.

"We don't. Touch. The campers."

Maybe he's said enough, but fuck, there's an ocean's worth of adrenaline flooding through his veins with hatred to match. "Max," David says without looking over his shoulder. "Don't look."

He winds back and swings.

Pikeman goes down hard, landing in the dirt with enough force to be winded. His nose looks off centre, fresh streams of blood beginning to pour from it. David crouches down at his side and Pikeman flinches. "Don't ever touch my campers. Do not go near Gwen. I don't want you in my camp, and if you insist on being here, I hope you know I will make your life as goddamn difficult as I possibly can."

He straightens up and looks for Max, walking over to kneel down in front of him. "Max, are you okay?" Gently, he turns his head from side to side, inspecting him until Max shoves his hands away with an annoyed grunt.

"I'm fine, quit it. I think you broke Pikeman's fucking nose, though, holy shit," he grins, glancing over to Pikeman, who's still sitting in the dirt, trying to stop the flow of blood. David winces.

"I'm so sorry you had to see that, Max. Please believe me when I say I would never, ever normally do that."

Max rolls his eyes. "I believe that."

David sets a hand on his shoulder, opening his mouth to say something else, but before he can-

"Jesus christ." They both turn their heads and stare. Gwen stares back, and David's stomach drops.

"How long have you been there?" Max asks, frowning.

Her eyes flick between them and the whiny, bloodied mess of a troop leader. "Long enough."

Max's grin widens. "Did you see David punch him? It was actually kinda cool, right?" (Right now, David's a little too mortified to pay it much mind, but that's going to make him smile all night. Max called him cool!)

"Yeah, I... saw." She gets closer, lowering her voice. "David, what happened?"

David stands up, dusting himself off. A faint splash of red begins to bloom across his face. "W-well, I may have gotten, um, carried away, and-"

"Oh my god, Gwen," Max interrupts. "You shoulda seen it! Pikeman was saying all this shit and then he pulled my hair and David punched him, and then Pikeman kept trying to hit him back and missing cause David was dodging and-" Max runs out of breath, and David can't help smiling. As adult as he acts, David adores these little reminders of how much of a kid Max can be. Max catches the smile on his face and clears his throat, visibly suppressing his excitement with a forced scowl. "Anyway, that dickweed threw me on the ground, so David kicked his ass."

Gwen looks at David, and he nods sheepishly. "That's about the long and short of it..."

A few feet away, Pikeman gets to his feet with a groan. His eyes are shining wetly, his shirt stained with blood. "Gwendolyn," he whimpers, and the sound of her name in his mouth is another drop of gasoline on the fire in David's stomach. "Do you see what he did to me?"

Gwen looks him up and down. "Kicked your ass, apparently."

Pikeman's (newly unsymmetrical) face pinches sourly. "He attacked me," he snaps. "Completely without reason."

Gwen throws him a doubtful look. "Sounds like there kinda was a reason, kid..."

Max scowls. "You threw me, asshole!"

Gwen looks at David again, at the dark look in his face. It sends a cold shiver down her spine.

Pikeman begins to limp closer. He seems like he's attempting to play on Gwen's maternal senses, but being as he didn't actually injure his legs, it just makes him seem that much more pathetic. David bristles as he approaches. "Gwendolyn," Pikeman tries again, his voice pleading. "Please. I would appreciate your assistance."

He reaches out to her, and David's hand darts out to wrap around his wrist, yanking it away, and Pikeman flinches. "Ed, remember what I said?" he says cheerfully, but with a threatening undercurrent that's, well… it might be doing something to Gwen.

Gwen pulls David away, leading him out of earshot. Max tags along, 110% here for any drama. "David, are you okay?" she asks, keeping her voice low. "I've never seen you this... snappish."

He shakes his head. "I'm fine. Just- just tired."

She frowns. "What's wrong? You didn't sleep?"

David looks at her. "No, Gwen," he says shortly. "I did not."

"Why not?"

David's look gets more intense. His eyes flicker to Max, then back to hers, full of meaning.

Oh, fuck, he means- oh, wow.

That frustrated.

David's mouth is pressed into a thin line, a stubborn blush on his face.

"Shit," she whispers. Max looks between them, frowning in confusion.

"Yeah. It wasn't fun," David mutters, keeping a weary eye on Pikeman. "And he just-" He clenches a fist, taking a deep breath. "I need to go calm down."

"Wait, what do we do with him?" Gwen asks, nodding over to Pikeman.

David sighs and pulls his phone from his pocket. He dials and holds it to his ear, listening to it ring. Someone picks up. "Hi, Quartermaster. Can I ask you for a favour? ... No, the opposite, actually. I think his nose is broken and I don't want Gwen to be the one to treat him," he explains, point blank. "Please? I'd consider it a personal favour. ... No, definitely not. Someone would notice. Just get him fixed up, please. ... By the campers’ tents. ... Thank you. Do you think you could watch him for a moment? Gwen and I are going to be busy." Max looks at Gwen and she shrugs. "Alright, thank you!" David hangs up and slips his phone back into his pocket. "Max, you get to breakfast, alright? And promise me you won't tell anyone what you saw."

"Oh, I'm telling everyone ."

"Please, Max! I can't have any of the campers thinking this kind of thing is okay to do!"

Max is already walking away, snickering. Everyone's going to have heard this story in about ten minutes. David sighs.

"So... what's with 'Gwen and I are going to be busy'?" Gwen asks after Max is out of earshot.

David licks his lips and takes her wrist. "Come with me." He leads her back to their cabin, uncaring of who sees. When they get there he locks the door and pulls the curtains shut, and Gwen perches on the desk, watching him appraisingly.

He turns to her, and she smiles, suppressing a shiver.

"I..." He swallows, stepping closer. Idly, his bottom lip catches on his teeth.

"You know, you still have blood on your knuckles," she points out. David looks down at his hand. "Is it weird that as gross as that is, it's... also kinda hot?" She chuckles. "I'm actually glad I caught the tail end of that whole thing. You can really throw a mean right hook, huh?"

David moves closer until he’s standing just in front of her, between her legs. His hands rest gently on her knees, sliding halfway up her thighs. "I hate him," he mutters, keeping his eyes cast down. "I hate him being here, trying to do my job. He keeps- looking at you, and I hate it."

Gwen's suddenly having a touch of trouble breathing evenly. "Jeez, David. You're never usually this possessive."

"Sorry," he sighs, leaning forward to rest his forehead against hers. "I think I- I'm just tired. Frustrated."

"I didn't say it was bad," she chuckles, hooking her ankles behind his knees and pulling him closer. He doesn't resist, allowing himself to be pulled flush against her. He knows she can feel him, feel how he's already half-hard just from being close to her. He's too tired to pretend to be ashamed. She takes a sharp breath. "So... frustrated?" David nods. She swallows. "Tell me about it."

He chuckles, turning his head slightly so he's breathing on her throat. "You really are sadistic, aren't you?"

She grins. "You bet your cute ass. Talk dirty to me, killer."

David laughs. "I don't think I killed him."


David makes an agreeing noise and draws teasing circles onto the skin of her thigh. "Well," he begins. "After you dropped that book, and I went back to bed, I tried to sleep. I really, really tried, Gwen."


"But I just couldn't." His fingers drag up her thighs, walking along the hem of her shorts. "It hurt. Like, ached. So bad, I almost considered taking care of it right there."

Heat introduces itself to Gwen, cunt-first. "Oh my god."

"Mm hm." David rolls his hips forward, just a fraction, just enough to remind her of what's pressing against her. "And y'know, it really wasn't helped by you. I could hear you falling asleep and breathing and sometimes you made these little noises and I- I still had your taste on my fingers... it was killing me, Gwen."

"Fuck," she breathes, bringing her hands up to clutch at his vest.

"That's what I'm hoping for," he murmurs, rolling his hips again.

"Wha-at makes you think I'm done teasing you?" she says, raising an eyebrow.

His hands travel up to her waist, lightly squeezing. "You're done," he says, in a tone that brooks no argument.

He's right, but she's a brat. She won't go down that easy. "You sure about that?"

David pauses. "Let me rephrase." He mouths at her throat before continuing, and a tiny, breathy moan escapes her. "What I mean is, I'd like for you to be done. And I think it's in your best interest if you stop being such a tease," he warns her, his voice low, "because I can return the favour. You remember what we did last night? Under the blanket?" She nods. "That," he explains. "Without the big finish. For, say, a week straight? I don't know, how long do you think you can hold out?"

An odd mix between a moan and a laugh bubbles in her chest. "David, I can barely hold out right now."

He smiles, wide and sunny and genuine. "Really?"

"Fuck, yeah. Watching you punch him, the look on your face, all this shit you're saying, you're using all the right ingredients for this recipe," she says, the corner of her mouth tugging up into an almost bashful smile.

"That's good to know," David hums. "Didn't realise you had such a thing for me getting mad."

She groans, rolling her hips against his, forcing mingled breaths from them both. "Why do you think I'm so into torturing you? You either beg or get mad and trust me, either one of those works."

"Good." David's fingers tighten on her legs. "Because right now, Gwen, I-" He shivers. "I have all this adrenaline, still, and I really, really need to... be with you."

Gwen smirks. "‘Be with me’? Really? Come on, say it properly." David presses his lips together with an unsure hum, and she clutches him closer. "Please? Come on, indulge me."

"Why should I?" he mutters. "I indulged you last night and look where it got me."

A breathy laugh bursts out of her. "You're really messed up about it, aren't you?"

David growls under his breath. "It hurt."

Fuck, the way his voice is so ragged and almost dangerous is just killing her. She feels like she's walking a highwire, halfway between success and something going very wrong. Still, Gwen never knows when to quit with stuff like this. "Well," she breathes, winding her arms around his neck, "I can fix that. All you gotta do is say it. Ask me like a grown up, Brother David."

She's not playing fair. She never does.

David's fingers are already at the waistband of her shorts, tugging them apart, pushing them down. She doesn't resist as he pulls them down her hips and off. He'll say it eventually. She knows he will.

Next is her shirt, unbuttoned just enough to be dragged over her head with more than a little urgency. His own shirt joins hers on the floor, till he can press his chest flush to hers, skin against skin. He's warm, burning like a furnace, like his anger is physically manifesting as fire under his skin and Gwen is more than happy to cling to it till she melts. He unbuckles his belt, pushes his pants down his hips just enough to be able to grind the tent in his underwear against her.

She tips her head forward, resting on his shoulder with a weak moan. "Come on," she pushes, "I wanna hear you say it."

David's hands trail up her sides, leaving goosebumps in their wake. "I don't know if you deserve that," he mumbles, turning his head and breathing in the scent of her hair. It's not fair that he's kinda good at this, actually stepping into the role of the top with ease. Maybe she needs to leave him edged like that more often, if this is how pushy and demanding it makes him.

She whines, cursing herself for how pathetic it sounds. As embarrassing as it is, though, it does something to David she definitely wants to repeat, makes him twitch and draw a sharp breath and dig his nails in. Fine. He wants to hear her beg? He's earned it.

"Please," she whispers, arching her chest against him. Short of throwing herself at his feet, she's going to do the best goddamn begging of her life. "Please, please, , sir, say it for me, I'll do anything you want," she says, the words spilling out of her in a rush.

David goes still against her. She can feel the sigh that rumbles low in his chest. "How am I supposed to resist that?" he mutters. His hips roll forward, grinding himself hard against her clit, sending sparks shooting through her stomach.

"You're not," she laughs breathily, "that's the point."

His fingers toy at the hem of her underwear, tracing it down between her legs. "You said anything..."

She nods, slumping back onto her elbows. "You can take out all that frustration any way you like. Sir," she adds after a moment. Gently, he starts to tug the fabric aside, but before he can really see anything Gwen covers his hand with her own. "If you say it."

Can't give him all the control.

David shakes his head, huffing out a small, dry laugh. "And here I thought I could get away with it." She grins as he tugs her upright again, pressing his mouth to hers in a slow, smouldering kiss. She melts against him, more than happy for him to take the lead in this.

"Fine," he growls. "Fine. Okay. Gwen, I want you to... to let me..." He pauses, shaking his head. "No, actually. Gwen, I am going," his lips brush against hers, "to fuck you."

Fuck. Wow. Oh, fucking- fuck. She slumps back onto her elbows with a ragged breath. "Please."

His fingers ghost over her cunt, covered by one single dark layer of cotton. "Do you think you'll need any prep?" he asks, ever the gentleman. She shakes her head.

"God, no, I'm ready as hell."

"Good." David hastily pushes his underwear further down his hips, and Gwen moves to follow his example, but his fingers catch her wrist. "Can you... leave them on?"

"O-oh, yeah. Of course." She drops back to her elbows, her gaze inescapably drawn down. If there was one word she could use to describe his cock, right at this moment, Gwen might have to go with 'impatient.' He's hard, incredibly so, flushed and twitching and needy . Oh, she's been ready for this for a while, and so has he.

He doesn't seem to realise how intently she's staring at him, seeing as how he's too busy doing the exactly same thing. He traces his fingers almost reverently down the hem of her underwear, pulling it aside. She must be a real sight for him to twitch as hard as he does right then.

She slips her fingers next to his, taking over so he can use his hands for other, equally as important tasks. Like giving himself a few quick strokes, hanging his head with a sigh. "Come on," she quietly urges, and David doesn't have it in him to tease either of them much longer.

One last time, he drags the pads of his fingers up the outside of her cunt, feeling the soft skin, the downy curls that she's no longer ashamed of. He dips shallowly inside and takes a hissing breath at the slickness that immediately surrounds his fingertips. "Oh, wow," he breathes, his voice shaking. She wiggles her hips, impatient, and David pulls his fingers away with a murmured apology. She closes her eyes as he gently spreads her open, her stomach flipping as she feels the blunt pressure of his head against her a moment later. Slowly, tortuously slow, he inches forward till the head is finally entirely inside. He pauses, his chest shallowly heaving. "Are you okay?"

She nods. "You don't need to wait. Just- go, okay? Now would be nice."

He grins. "If you insist."

His hands trail up her thighs, reaching around to her ass, and just as Gwen opens her mouth to say something suitably impatient, he sharply pulls her forward. A guttural, borderline animal noise rips from her throat at the sensation of suddenly being so entirely full.

"Still okay?" he checks again.

Gwen can barely manage a choked "Fuck," but it seems to satisfy David. Keeping his hips still, giving her time to adjust, he mouths at her throat, stopping to attack the spots he knows make her squirm. The suddenness of the whole thing sharply catapults Gwen from heavy breathing to straight up panting as she reaches up to cling to him, her nails leaving red little half-moons on his back. "Go," she huffs, before she can adjust. She doesn't want to adjust. She wants him to be rough and self-centered, she wants him to use her, fuck her instead of the gentle, loving sex he tends to like. "Go, go, fuck me, please ."

David tries to pull back, look her in the face and ask if she's sure but she won't let him. She clings to him, tries to slam her hips forward as much as she can in this position, purposely tightens around him.

And of course, being the professional she is, Gwen gets her way.

With a ragged whimper low in his throat, David draws back and snaps forward again, but he's still being kind. "Harder," she snaps. "Make it hurt."

Honestly, how is he supposed to say no to that?

His hands are tight on her hips, pinning her to the desk to keep her still as he bucks in with every ounce of energy and frustration he possesses. He hates to admit it, but she's got the right idea. This is exactly what he needed, exactly what his traitorous body had been begging for since yesterday evening.

She's going to be sore, a distant part of him registers, and he's only a little ashamed of the flash fire that tears through him at the thought.

Each thrust is breaking her a little more, forcing sounds out of her that she's going to be embarrassed of later. David's going to reassure her how much he enjoyed them, and it'll be entirely true, because every little gasp that tears from her throat is another step closer to death. An urgency begins to coil in his gut, mingled with notes of panic. Fuck, he can't be this fast, not now , but- god, she's killing him. He can't slow down, not for his sake, not for hers. He needs to make a decision now.

The tension in his lower half keeps climbing, coiling tighter and tighter. Okay, fuck it. He can deal with it, he dealt with the discomfort last night. He's not going to stop until she's begging him to.

He curls forward, her perked nipples brushing his chest as he fucks her. He doesn't warn her, doesn't think to- probably couldn't get the words out if he tried. The only reason she realises is because his hips stutter for a moment, a warmth spreading inside her that she's intimately familiar with.

"Di-id you just-?"

"Shh," he pants, "S'fine, just-" He finds his rhythm again, gritting his teeth as his fingers dig tighter into her hips. It hurts, it's torture, but right now it's mind over matter, and David's mind is stubborn. It's fine, he repeats to himself. It's fine, it's fine, just get through it. It's like trying to hold onto a live wire, trying to force himself not to recoil at the shock. But it's worth it. It's worth it for the way Gwen's trembling beneath him, for the way she's whimpering his name like a prayer.

Keep moving, keep moving. Slowly, the buzzing discomfort begins to ebb, until it's reached a point where it's actually almost good again.

"Fu-u-uck, David," she whines with a staccato gasp, slipping a hand between them to rub desperate circles on her clit. "Ple-ease, don't stop, okay, I- I'm really close-!"

David doesn't have the breath to reply, so instead he just nods. He keeps moving, bucking hard at an angle he knows (from lots of practice) hits her sweet spot dead on. She tenses up, a split second warning before her edge is hitting her with the force and grace of a car crash. All the air in her lungs is forced out of her in a vaguely 'David' sounding sigh as she curls forward, tremors rocking through her, tightening around him in fluttering waves.

David groans, his head dropping to press against her sweat-dampened shoulder. He fucks her through it, never slowing down, and his muscles are aching but something keeps him going because it doesn't hurt anymore, he doesn't want to stop.

Gwen collapses, going lax against the desk with a bodily sigh. "Jesus christ." And David's still moving. She looks up at him, her eyes still hazy with lust. "Are you...?"

He shakes his head. "Not done," he manages to grind out. But she knows he should be, she can feel his come dripping out of her as he fucks her but he's not done?

And it strikes her- this is exactly what she wanted. She's finished and he didn't even slow down to ask if she was okay, too focused on his own orgasm- his second one, Jesus fucking christ. He's treating her like a toy and her cunt gives an echo of an aftershock at the realisation.

Well, she did owe him.

Now that her thoughts are a little clearer, she smiles, lazily stretching out. Maybe she should help him out a little. After all, he kept fucking her after his first one, and that must've been sore . Such a gentleman, her David.

"Ohhh, my god," she moans in the filthiest voice she can manage. "Mr.- ah, Mr. Greenwood, sir."

David's breathing hitches sharply, and under his breath she hears him mutter a curse. "Shhhit," he pants, so quiet she almost didn't catch it. If she hadn't already come, that might've pushed her over the edge.

"What do you need?" she purrs, reaching up to run fingers through his disheveled hair.

David whines at the back of his throat. "I..  c- can you tell me, nngh- tell me you lo-ove me?"

Gwen pauses, because she hadn't actually expected something that... sweet. "Of course I do. I love you, David."

"...More. Please." Oh. Maybe not so sweet after all.

Gwen runs that request through her David translator and grins wickedly. She gets it now. "I know what you wanna hear, you fucker," she snickers. She arches up showily. "You wanna hear that I'm yours, don't you?" David casts his eyes away, and Gwen knows she's hit the nail right on the head. "Look at you, mister possessive. Luckily for you, you're right." She trails her fingers over his shoulders and down his arms as she talks. "I belong to you. I'll do anything you want, sir."

"Ff-" David bites his lip, his eyes screwing shut. She can see him, see how he's barely holding it together. He's trembling, creeping closer to that raw edge for the second time.

She winds her arms around his neck and drags him down, pressing his forehead to hers. "Please, sir," she murmurs. "Use me. I'm yours, whatever you need."

"Hhhgghhh- Gwen ," he gasps, and she knows he's there. "Gwen, I, fffffu-ck-!"

There it goes. His hips snap against hers and stay there. She can feel him twitching inside her with each pulse, feels the warmth filling her up. It sends a shiver up her spine and down to the soles of her feet. She takes a deep breath. "Jeez."

David seems inclined to agree, slumping forward over her, his chest heaving. "That's- never happened before," he manages between pants.

Gwen turns her head slightly. "Hm?"

"Twice," he explains, too tired to use any more words than necessary.

"Oh, yeah, wow. You really weren't kidding about being desperate, huh?" David just groans in reply, his weight increasing on her. "You okay?" she murmurs, drawing circles onto his back. "You look like you're about to pass out."

"I might," he chuckles, pulling himself back upright. "All that adrenaline is..."

Gwen grins. "Inside me, now?"

David bites his lip, his eyes flicking between her legs and back to her face. "Be right back." He darts to the bathroom, fetching a (specific) cloth and quickly returning. Gwen sighs and reclines as he cleans her up, gentle and caring, and it makes her feel worshipped. He always does that to her, makes her feel like she's precious and wanted.

He helps her pull her shorts back on, and she scoots off the desk on shaking legs to pick up their shirts. She turns his inside out and holds it out for him, helping him into it, and he does the same for her. "Why don't you go take a nap or something?" she suggests, straightening his vest. "You must be exhausted."

"I... am," he admits. "But I don't want to leave you alone."

"Pfft, I'm a big girl. I can take care of things for a bit." David still looks unconvinced, so she pulls out one of her secret heart-melting weapons and nuzzles her nose to his.

He smiles, his eyes sparkling. "Well... I guess so. I'll only take an hour or so, okay?"

"If I see you before lunch, I'll kick your ass."

"That's fair."

She leads him to his bed, pushing him down onto it and leaning in to kiss him. "I love you, okay? You don't need to worry. Things are gonna be fine." It's not usually her role to be the comforter, but today, she feels like David could kinda use it.

He beams up at her, adoration on his face. "I don't know what I did to deserve you."

"Something horrible, probably." She kisses him on the cheek. "Get some rest, you big sap. You fucked all your energy into me."

David chuckles, the blush on his face growing a little darker. "Sorry."

She playfully slaps his cheek. "Don't apologise, I'll kick your ass for that too." He smiles, and she pushes him down. "Just sleep, okay? I got this."

She turns to leave, and just as she's about to pass through the doorway David calls out. "I love you!"

She pauses, grinning at him over her shoulder. "You're an idiot."

Right before she closes the door, she adds, "Love you too."

While David's still able to keep his eyes open, he pulls out his phone and taps out a quick message to the Quartermaster. Don't let Pikeman near Gwen. A moment later, he receives an upturned hook emoji in return.

With that sorted, David burrows under the covers and closes his eyes.




Three days. Three whole tense days before Cameron Campbell picks up the phone, and even then, Gwen's pretty sure it's because she was using David's phone and not her own. After hanging up, she sprints to the mess hall, practically kicking open the door.

“David!” She's almost giddy. “David, listen!” She reaches out to him, and David automatically takes her hands, glancing uneasily at Pikeman, scowling in the corner through a fading black eye as he watches the campers have their lunch.

“Everything okay? What's wrong?”

She grins. “I just got off the phone with Campbell! He said he's gonna fix this, today!

David's face lights up, and Gwen can't help the writer side of her comparing it to a sunrise bursting over the horizon. (Those are the kinds of thoughts she doesn't tend to share with anyone, though. Too sappy.)

“You mean it? What did he say?”

“He said that he'd get rid of Pikeman for us and I'm not sure if that means he's gonna make him leave or kill him and dump his body in the lake but either way, I'm so fucking ready to be done with this!”

The smile on David's face barely falters at the mention of horrific murder. “Did he say when he'd be here?”

“No, he just said today. But still!”

David squeezes her hands tightly, and they grin at each other. Gwen never thought she'd be happy to have Campbell back, but in this one case, he is the lesser of two evils. In a sense.

Campbell takes most of the day to show up, and he gives no indication of an ETA. It's past dinner when he strides into the mess hall where all three counselors are cleaning up with different definitions of “clean.”

“What the hell are you two wearing?”

David straightens up, dropping the cloth he's using. “Mr. Campbell!”

Gwen grins, crossing her arms and leaning back against the wall to watch the show. Pikeman sniffs.

“Campbell. How unexpected. What can I help you with?”

Campbell sets his hands akimbo and stares down at him. “You can get out of my camp before any kids go complaining to their parents.”

Pikeman raises an eyebrow, running a finger along the edge of the serving window and inspecting the dirt. “Oh, Campbell. I've heard memory loss affects people of your age rather acutely, so maybe you've forgotten- you and I made a bet, and at the end of the day, I came out on top.”

“When I left, Camp Campbell had been declared winner.”

“There were some amendments to the score.”

“You didn't think to let me know before you weaseled your way in here and made my counselors wear these military knock off costumes?”

Pikeman rolls his eyes. “It's not my fault you left. If you'd been there, you would've known. You agreed to the terms of the bet, Campbell.”

Campbell hums, crossing his arms with a thoughtful expression. “Hm. That's awfully funny. Must be my senile memory, but I don't remember making any such bet.”

Pikeman narrows his eyes, suspicious confusion writ across his face. “What are you doing? Your own counselors witnessed it take place.”

“I don't remember witnessing anything,” Gwen pipes up. Campbell shoots her a look that she could almost read as some kind of approval. Closest she's ever seen to it directed towards her, anyway. She looks at David. “David? You remember anything like that?”

He looks between Campbell and Pikeman and shakes his head. “N- no, I don't think so…”

Campbell holds his hands out. “Well, I guess if no one remembers it happening, it must not have happened!”

The poorly disguised alarm on Pikeman's face increases. “That’s ridiculous. You can't just pretend you didn't lose-”

If only,” Campbell begins, striding closer, “there was some kind of physical proof. Say, a written contract bearing my signature, or even a recording of such a bet taking place.” He crouches down, eye to eye with Pikeman's snivelling apprehension. “A word of advice, sport. If you actually want people to stick to their word, get it in writing. You know what verbal contracts get you? Unreliable results and a reputation as a liar.”

Pikeman blinks, his mouth hanging open unattractively. “But- but you-”

I'm here to tell you to get out of my camp before I take you to court.”

He straightens up and turns his head. “You two.” David snaps to attention. Gwen remains with her arms crossed and a satisfied smile. “Go get changed into something more respectable.”

“Yes, sir!” David chirps.

“God, I never thought I'd be glad to get back into my camp clothes,” Gwen sighs, smiling. As she and David make their way towards the door, she lowers her voice. “Might keep these shorts, though.”

David chuckles nervously, opening the door for her. He glances back as she leaves. Pikeman’s protesting, but Campbell didn't get to be a successful business man by being outsmarted by teenagers. David has the utmost confidence that the camp belongs once more to Cameron Campbell.

He's so incredibly happy to get back into his clothes. He missed the bandana like a phantom limb, and Gwen takes the honour of tying it around his throat with an almost tender smile.

“You look like you again.”

“So do you.” He pulls her close, taking a deep breath. She even smells more like home again. “Thank you so much for fixing this.”

She shrugs. “Campbell's the one who did it.”

“You're the one who called him. I owe you everything, Gwen.” He tightens his arms around her and sways gently from side to side.

“I'll take you up on that tonight, after that little creep is gone, okay?” she murmurs, walking her fingers up his side. David's smile turns a little darker, the way she adores- a mixture of sheepishness, hope, and something a little too adult for her counselor Davey to show in public. “Come on, let's go break the good news to the kids before we get too wrapped up in each other.”

“Alright,” he sighs, and for once he almost doesn't sound completely enthused. “Let's go. I bet Max'll be happy.”

“Out of spite, if nothing else. Although, I feel like I've noticed him glaring at you less since Pikeman got here. Maybe Pikeman did you a favour.”

“Gosh, I really hope that lasts after he's gone! I still feel bad about letting him see me like that, but…” David ducks his head concedingly. “It does seem to have improved our relationship.”

“Well, you can be the one to tell him.”

She leads him over to the door and out onto the activities field. One by one, the kids take note of their uniforms and David's sunny grin and gather in front of them, passing curious looks amongst themselves. Max pushes his way to the front of the group, a genuine grin on his face.

“Tell me this means what I think it means.”

David looks at Gwen and then back to Max and nods, his smile defying nature to widen even further, eyes crinkling at the corners.

Max turns to Nikki, grabbing her by the overalls. “He's gone! That piece of shit is finally gone!”

She blinks. “But David's standing right there!”

“Not him! Pikeman!”

Nikki's eyes widen, metaphorical puppydog ears perking up. “Does this mean we don't have to wake up at 6 am anymore? Or do that stupid march every day!”

“That's right,” David chimes in, crouching down. “Ed decided to go back to his own camp. We're all Campbell campers again!”

“Oh, thank fuck,” Neil quietly sighs from behind Max's other side. David decides not to reprimand his language, given the situation. Noise ripples through the other campers as they begin to talk, turning to each other with bright eyes and their own personal excited tics.

Max releases Nikki and shoves his hands in his pockets, looking up. “Did you guys do it?”

David hesitates. “Well, Gwen did, really.”

Gwen shrugs. “I just called Campbell and he's throwin’ the guy out right now.”

“Oh. Well, still. Y’know. That's cool. So…” Max looks over his shoulder, but no one else is listening. “Yeah. Thanks. This is the shittiest camp I've ever been to, but it's better than being a woodscout.”

With effort, David doesn't make any adoring noises that might cause Max to withdraw back into his shell. However, that sudden rush of energy has to go somewhere, and he ends up grabbing Gwen's arm, maybe a little too hard. She understands, of course, but ow.

“We're glad to have it back,” she sighs. “Might be a shithole but it's our shithole.”

Max nods and then awkwardly pauses. “Anyway…”

David nods in return. “We're going to go make sure everything is going smoothly. Now that you're Campbell Campers again, you know what that means- free time!”

The kids cheer, several of them immediately flopping into the grass on a charge led by Nikki. Harrison bursts into a few card tricks, Preston drops to his knees with a cry, and Nurf punches the ground (but it's a happy punch, which isn't something David thought could exist but he's learned a lot about other people this summer.)

Gwen tugs him away. “Come on, I wanna make sure the creep doesn't raid my underwear drawer before he leaves.”

David's face turns horrified. “Y- you think he might?”

“It was a joke but a part of me says yes, so let's go.”

He isn't, much to David's relief. The whole two minute walk back to their cabin, he'd been working up the courage to decide that he'd punch Pikeman again if that turned out to be the case.

Instead, Pikeman's packing up his small amount of possessions with a pinched look on his face that only sours further when he sees the two counselors back in their proper uniforms. He has nothing to say to them, turning back to folding clothes. With a far-too-amused grin, Gwen flops down on the two-seater and beckons for David to join her. He scoops up the remote from the top of the little tv and passes it to her as he sits. She clicks her tongue, jerking her head back to remind him that he can actually sit closer, now. David scoots across the cushion and after a few seconds of indecision rests his arm across her shoulders. She sighs, settling against him like he's home.

They flip through the channels. There's nothing particularly exciting on Sleepy Peak's public access, and the idea of cable or, god forbid, a satellite dish at Camp Campbell is laughable. They settle on an old documentary.

With a rustle of noise and zipping up his bag, Pikeman indicates he's done. David looks at Gwen and stands up, and grudgingly, she follows. Pikeman marches over to door, his bag slung across his shoulder. He pauses when he reaches them, but doesn't turn his head.

“Good luck back at base, Ed.” David sticks his hand out for a handshake, but Pikeman merely looks at it with poison coated daggers in his eyes. David carefully withdraws the hand. “Uh, it was… nice to get to know you.”

Gwen elbows him in the side. “Don't be a liar, David, you know you're not good at it.”

“I'm being polite,” he whispers back.

Pikeman looks him up and down. Mostly up- David's tall. “Your campers will grow up to be lazy, intolerable ingrates and you, Greenwood, are the worst offender of them all.”

David chuckles. “Heck of a goodbye.”

Pikeman sneers, hiking up his bag. He turns back to the door, and an idea strikes David. A bad idea. An idea that's based on malice and possessiveness, instead of the foundations of goodwill and generosity he always tries to live his life on. But as bad as this idea is, it's quickly swelling, growing more appealing by the second as they follow Pikeman outside.

The window of time he has left to enact it is quickly shrinking. Any moment now Pikeman's going to march into the treeline and follow the trail that leads to the Woodscouts home base.

“Hey, Ed!”

Pikeman pauses, looking over his shoulder. David waves, slipping an arm around Gwen's waist and pulling her closer. “Just wanted to remind you to be safe out there! Make sure you have your flashlight and canteen, and watch for ticks!”

And then he does it. The bad, awful, rude and spiteful thing. He turns his head and kisses Gwen. There was no reason for that, no reason at all but pure selfishness, but David's only human, and now that Pikeman can't do anything about it, a little caveman part of him wants the guy to know. Gwen makes a muffled noise of surprise, but as always, she's quick to catch on, closing her eyes and falling into the kiss. After a few seconds, David breaks away and turns that bright grin back towards Pikeman like he hadn't just shown him up. The sheer rage on Pikeman's face would be intimidating on anyone else. He turns and stomps towards the woods, disappearing into the sunset-bathed treeline. It's quite picturesque.

“That was mean,” Gwen snickers, and David gently squeezes her waist.

“I know. But… gosh, I just had to. At least, it might stop him hitting on you every time he sees you now!”

“Which will hopefully be never again.”

David makes an agreeing noise and presses another kiss to her cheek.

“Let's go back. I want to take down that stretcher and check on the kids, and maybe thank Mr. Campbell if he's still here.”

Gwen tips her head against his shoulder. “And then we can mess around, right?”

David beams. “Oh, absolutely.”