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Swimming Solves Everything

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“You're not even trying to enjoy yourself?”

Jason squinted up at Roy. The setting sun was glaring behind the archer, red and painful and annoying as all fuck. He could only just make out the other man's features, his usually messy red hair wet and plastered to his head. Small grains of sand and tiny rocks clung to his pale, freckled skin, mostly his shoulders, arms, and knees.

“It's little hard to enjoy yourself after getting dumped, Harper,” he deadpanned.

“Hmm. First major break-up, huh?”

Jason glanced away. He nodded.

Roy whistled. “That's rough. No wonder you were so quiet on the way home. I mean I knew you were down in the dumps about Isabel and all, but... Wanna talk about it?”

Jason stared off in the distance at a suddenly very interesting tree.

“Oookay, guess not.” Roy snapped his fingers. “Hey, know what'll make you feel better?”

“You shoving your unwanted advice up where the sun doesn't shine?”

Roy snorted. “I'm sure that would, but unfortunately, I don't feel like sticking anything up there right now. You should come swim with us. Or even better! Surfing! Everyone loves surfing. Kori's got these killer alien board-like things that—”

“Paaaass.”

A seagull squawked in the distance, another one answering its call. Jason glanced back up at Roy, who was still standing over him for some reason. He could just make out what looked to be an odd cross between a pout and a frown on Roy’s face. Which could only mean one extremely painful thing: Roy was entering stubborn ‘best friend’ mode.

“Don't make me drag you,” Roy uttered with what he probably thought was a threatening voice.

Jason raised his eyebrows in mock-offense. “It wasn't my idea to come here, Harper. I wanted to get back to work. This whole island paradise thing was your idea.” Jason gestured to the deserted beach, the very same one that Kori had once called home. (And still did, on occasion. Though nowadays Roy often referred to it as 'their' home. It was sickeningly sweet, 'sickeningly' being the keyword.) Naturally, it was empty but for the two of them – three if you counted Kori off swimming with the fishes somewhere in the water. If he squinted, he could almost make out her dark red hair off in the distance.

A long pause, then, “So?”

Jason huffed. “So go enjoy your fun-happy-water time. Maybe there's sharks out there; I'm sure they'd love your company.”

Roy didn't respond. Which normally would have been welcome, if it weren’t for the fact that he had instead bent down and suddenly hoisted Jason up in his arms. Jason scrabbled at Roy's surprisingly strong hold, long legs kicking out gracelessly. How the hell Roy was lifting someone as big as him was beyond Jason, but the archer was somehow managing it.

“The hell!”

“Up you go,” Roy said with a grunt. He then began to carry Jason over to the shoreline. “You’ll be having fun in no time.”

“Put me down, Harper!”

“If you wanted down, you’d be down already.” Roy grunted a second time. “Stop flailing, you’ll scratch my face off if you keep doing that.”

“Good!”

“Big baby.”

The hushed whispering of the waves got closer and closer with each awkward step. Jason turned his head to gauge how close they were. He found out just how close when, seconds later, Roy dropped him straight into the water itself. The warm ocean engulfed him; Jason fumbled his way up, coughing at the unwanted water that had made its way up his nose. He scowled up at Roy, who was smirking down at him like he’d just performed some herculean feat.

“There! S’not so bad, now is it. Whoever said ‘you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’ obviously didn’t know what they were talking about.”

That did it. In a flash Jason leapt forward, grabbed the bottom of Roy’s swim trunks, and yanked.

Roy stumbled backwards and kicked a leg out, just narrowly saving himself from sudden nudity. “Hey! That’s cheating!”

Jason slowly stood up, water sloshing about him as he did. The water level barely even reached his knees. It was deep enough to get wet and to hinder regular movement, but not enough to completely stop him. Not that he’d let it stop him.

“Nah, cheating would be tricking you into turning around and then stealing your trunks. This?” Jason grinned. “This is revenge. But for you, I’ll be nice. You have till the count of three.”

Roy held up a finger. “Jason, I’m warning you – ”

“One.”

“—I’ll escape you and get my bow –”

“Two.”

“—and then I’ll become even more powerful than you could possibly ever imagine—”

“Three!”

Jason leapt forward. Roy let out a loud, undignified yelp and fell backwards in his feeble attempt to escape. From there it was almost too easy: Roy thrashed about, feet kicking and hands swatting medium-sized waves at Jason’s face, as if that could somehow stop him. Jason laughed and wrestled Roy into submission. He would deliberately make a show of going for Roy’s swimming trunks, only for Roy to shout, through his own laughter, some weird-ass obscenities at him and appear to struggle even harder to escape. Jason almost let him a couple of times, just to be a good sport, but mostly to keep things interesting. Roy never got too far away.

Jason didn’t know how long their little game of ‘vengeance’ lasted, only that they were interrupted by the annoying buzz of flies, the sudden cold at the utter lack of sun, and Kori floating over to them on her back, her feet gently kicking her way towards them.

She stared up at them while they caught their breath. “Having fun, boys?”

Still panting, Roy looked at Jason and said, “Are we?”

Jason’s eyes darted between the two. He waited to properly catch his breath before answering. “Get a fire and some smores going and I’ll consider it.”

His friends exchanged looks. Roy shook his head but was smiling despite himself. “Close enough. A crackling fire and delicious, gooey snacks coming right up.” He made to stand up – but then stopped. “Uh, but first things first: help me find my trunks?”

Kori sighed. “Oh, Roy.”