Chapter 18 - Settling In
Red's eyes opened as the van came to a stop, “We're here.” Goldie announced, as he switched off the ignition. One by one, the anthros got off the van, bringing their gear with them.
They were in a small clearing, with a small dirt road leading back to the road, and large pine-covered forests surrounding them.
Bonnie shivered, “Figures, the first day we get here and it's already raining...”
“Where are we heading?” Freddy asked, walking over to the others. Red adjusted his bow-tie and rubbed his shoulder.
“Well,” Goldie shrugged, “We look for somewhere to make camp.”
“Where at?” Clyde glanced at him.
“How the hell should I know?” Goldie replied, “Let's just go in a direction and see where we get to.”
“This trip is gonna suck..” Foxy whispered to himself. Goldie led the group away from the clearing and up a small hill. They trudged up the hill, pushing past a few shrubs and several fallen tree-branches.
“Is this a national park?” Chi asked, rubbing her shoulders.
“Nope,” Goldie responded. He climbed up a few more steps before reaching the top of the hill. He stopped for a second and panted, “No national parks nearby, either.”
“So we're pretty much in the middle of nowhere?” Bonnie was the second one to reach the top.
“It seems so...” Chica, Chi and Spring followed soon after. Clyde and Foxy made it a few seconds later, with Freddy dragging himself up from behind. Aiden and Red were helping him up the final part of the hill.
“Did all of you fail to remember that he's still injured?” Aiden said. Bonnie's ears lowered.
Freddy smiled a bit, “I'm fine,” He glanced at Goldie, “This is a pretty damn good lookin' area.”
“Damn right it is...” Goldie began walking forward slowly. They approached a small creek with a small waterfall above it. Where they were standing, was a small area beside the lake that would be perfect to set up a small camp.
This crossed Goldie's mind, “Not too far from camp,” He said, folding his arms, “Want to set up camp here?”
“I've got no problem with it.” Chica looked up. The rain was beginning to subside.
“Looks like we'll get some sunshine afterall.” Clyde grinned.
Freddy walked over to a small space and took off his backpack. He opened his backpack and proceeded to pull out a sleeping bag.
“I see ye neglected to bring a tent.” Foxy said.
“Yeah...” Freddy sighed, “I regret this decision already.”
“We can share.” Chica smiled.
“I've got a spare tent in my backpack,” Red said, “Just remember to bring your own next time.”
“Yeah, I will.” Freddy replied.
“At least the rain stopped...” Bonnie held out his paw and didn't feel any more water droplets touch his paw.
“Let's set up camp, then we can decide what we wanna do.” Goldie walked over to Freddy and put his backpack down.
“This space is only big enough for one tent.” Freddy measured.
“You can set up camp here. We might set up camp over the other side of the creek.” Spring said, glancing over at the opposite side of the creek.
“I don't wanna be here alone...” Freddy frowned.
“You don't have to be,” Bonnie grinned, “Mind sharin' a tent?”
“'Course not...” Freddy scoffed.
Foxy and Clyde shared grins, “This could be the day...” Foxy whispered.
“We'll see.” Clyde whispered back. Goldie walked back over to the creek and glanced at the other side. There was a much larger area there, perfect size for six or seven tents.
“Why can't we all just be in the same area?” Chica asked.
“Cause these two need private time, right?” Goldie grinned a little.
Bonnie and Freddy shared looks, “I think they need time alone. Not just for that reason though...” Aiden bit his lip, “They've both gone through a lot this week.”
Bonnie and Freddy were sceptical of Aiden's new attitude towards them, it worried them a little, “Well, come on guys.”
Spring opened his backpack and handed Freddy the spare tent. Freddy thanked him and the rest of the group walked over to the other side of the lake, leaving Bonnie and Freddy alone.
Bonnie grinned at Freddy, “You know...I have an extra tent. We could have separate tents...”
“Oh...” Freddy bit his lip, “If...you want to have separate tents, then, that's okay..”
“No no no…!” Bonnie quickly defended himself, “I was just kidding, man!” He chuckled nervously.
Freddy rolled his eyes and began setting up the tent. Bonnie breathed a sigh of relief, he almost lost his privilege to share a tent with his crush.
A few minutes passed before the rest of the grip had set up their tents. Spring had gone out into the nearby forest to gather some wood for the fire, while the others stayed behind.
Foxy and Clyde were watching Bonnie and Freddy. They were waiting for something to happen. Freddy finished building the tent. He sat back down on the ground and panted a little.
Foxy and Clyde shared looks, “Think it'll finally happen?”
“I can bet ye, somethin'll happen.” Foxy responded.
Spring came back a few minutes later with a hand-full of sticks, “I hope you made sure that they were dry...” Goldie said.
Spring nodded and threw them on the empty fireplace. The rest of the group approached the fireplace and began sitting around it. Goldie pulled out a matchbox and pulled out a single match.
He dragged the match against the side of the matchbox, and the match lit up in a burning flame. Goldie bit his lip and threw the match onto the fire.
“Let there be light,” Red commented, “Well, in this case, fire.”
“Should we invite those two over?” Chi asked, looking over at Bonnie and Freddy.
“Nah, lass,” Foxy held up his paw, “Leave 'em be for a while. They'll come over on their own accord.”
Bonnie grabbed a few nearby sticks and threw them onto a small fireplace. Freddy grinned and grabbed a couple of the sticks.
“Care to see Bear Grylls in action?” Freddy laughed a little.
“Oh god,” Bonnie held his head, “Terrible jokes…! Can't handle it…!”
“Oh, shut up...” Freddy smiled a little. He scratched the sticks together and placed one of the sticks back in the fireplace. He placed the bottom of the second stick atop of the first one and began rubbing it with his paws.
“I got this...” Freddy whispered to himself. A few seconds passed before a spark emitted from the bottom of the stick. A small fire began, and the fireplace lit up a few seconds later.
“Bear Grylls,” Freddy grinned, “Survivalist extraordinaire.”
“You're an idiot...” Bonnie crawled over to the fire. Freddy scooched closer to Bonnie and they stared at the fire, “But good work, Fred.”
Bonnie looked down at Freddy's lap to see him holding something in his paws. He was staring at his gold-studded earphones that Bonnie had given him.
“Did ya like them?” Bonnie looked up at Freddy.
Freddy nodded, “Of course!”
“What're ya gonna do with them?” Bonnie asked.
“I'd use them,” Freddy pocketed them, “But I wanna hear you instead.”
“I'll use them when we get back to town.” Freddy added.
Bonnie looked back down at the fire and rubbed his paws together, “When did you want to head back to the others?” Bonnie asked.
“Not for a while...” Freddy said, “I don't really want to talk to them. Especially with Red and Aiden being there...it doesn't help at all.”
“Well, I ain't goin' anywhere.” Bonnie grinned.
Freddy looked down at the fire, his smile fading, “I can't quite understand you, Bonnie.”
“What do you mean?” Bonnie asked, his smile fading alongside Freddy's.
“Right when our eyes met for the first time...” Freddy muttered, “I just felt like...I could trust you. With anything. I felt like you and I could...be something, you know? And I felt we could be really good friends.”
“And...we've reached that point,” Freddy smiled, “What I don't understand is...how you can...keep yourself together after all of these awful things have happened. How do you do it?”
Bonnie shrugged, “Cutting always helped but...it's never a good option...” He frowned.
“Bonnie...” Freddy paused, “Be honest with me.”
“Of course...” Bonnie looked over at him.
“Have you...done that, recently?” He asked, with a worried frown.
Bonnie's lip quivered. He looked down at his arm and rolled up his sleeve. Freddy sighed when he saw the cuts littering his arm. He suddenly grabbed Bonnie and held him tightly.
Bonnie was startled by this, but didn't move, “You need to stop that. Understand?” Freddy said, in a stern tone.
“It's not something I can just...stop...” Bonnie replied.
“It's like an addiction, I know...” Freddy glanced at Clyde, then back to Bonnie, “But it can be watered down.”
Bonnie pulled away from him and rolled down his sleeve again, “Please...” Freddy begged. Bonnie's heart broke a little when he saw Freddy's guilty expression, “Please stop...”
“I'm trying...” Bonnie muttered. Freddy went silent and he scooched away from Bonnie.
Bonnie shivered and rubbed his shoulders. It was absolutely freezing, even with the fire. Freddy kept Bonnie warm, so when he moved further away from him, Bonnie began to feel colder and colder.
“Cannonball!” Chica dived into the creek. She laughed and pulled Goldie in with her.
Spring and Chi grinned at each other and jumped into the creek after them. Clyde kissed Foxy on the cheek and jumped in. Foxy grinned and dived in after his companion, leaving Red and Aiden at the campsite.
The group laughed and began splashing each other. Clyde laughed along with them, before glancing at Freddy and Bonnie. He frowned when he saw that neither of them were exchanging words.
“Come on you two!” Clyde exclaimed, catching Bonnie's attention, “The water's warm!”
Bonnie glanced at Freddy and looked back at Clyde. He nodded and approached the creek. Clyde pulled Bonnie in and they shared a laugh. Freddy sat alone at the camp-site while the others had fun.
Red and Aiden glanced at each other, then looked over at Freddy, “I can't believe it's true...” Aiden muttered.
“He's gay, so what?” Red shrugged, “I hate him, but not for those reasons. I'm not that kind of guy.”
“What's your preferences?” Aiden questioned.
“I prefer women over any man any day,” Red folded his arms, “You seem to take pleasure in raping men.”
Aiden growled a little, “It was a damn joke, I never meant for any of that to go that far.”
“Be happy that Bonnie was polite enough not to report you to the principal,” Red commented, “That would've fucked up everything.”
“Yeah, it was a dumb move...” Aiden sighed.
“It's what stupid bullies like yourself do,” Red said, “You're the muscle, not the brains. And for good reason, too.”
Aiden bit his lip, “I'm useful, though.”
“You have your limits,” Red replied, “Like all of us.”
“Bonnie and Freddy didn't seem to like the fact that we're joinin' them on this little trip.” Aiden commented.
“For good reason,” Red sighed, “I'm trying to forge friendships, here. I want us all to be friends.”
“Then why am I here?” Aiden asked.
“Because Chica and Goldie insisted.” Red answered.
Aiden glanced over at Clyde. Clyde grinned jumped onto Foxy's shoulders. Foxy grinned and proceeded and nibble at Clyde's leg, causing Clyde to start laughing uncontrollably.
“I can't believe that we're so close to him and we still can't do anything...” Aiden clenched his fists.
“Keep it that way,” Red pulled out his phone and showed Aiden the picture he'd taken the night before, “We don't want to become targets.”
Bonnie caught Freddy glancing over at him a few times. He glanced over at Clyde and Foxy to see that they'd taken their shirts off, along with Goldie and Spring.
Bonnie grinned a little bit to himself and he took his shirt off, revealing his abs, but also revealing the cuts on his arm. Chica pointed at him and Goldie followed her gaze.
Soon, everyone's eyes were on the bunny. Bonnie was silent. He looked away and frowned. Before he knew it, Freddy had taken off his shirt and had jumped into the water with him.
“I'm sorry.” Was the first thing Freddy said when he walked over.
“No, I'm sorry...” Bonnie looked up at the taller bear, “You're only trying to help...”
“I know it's going to be...hard...” Freddy grabbed Bonnie's shoulders and smiled at him as their eyes met, “But we'll get through it, right?”
“Yeah, of course...” Bonnie said, stuck in the trance that was Freddy's blue eyes.
“Are you alright?” Freddy asked. Bonnie coughed and looked down.
Freddy knew that something was amiss, but decided to brush it away for a while. Afterall, they came up here to have fun, not to cause any further drama.
“Funny...” Freddy grinned, “We were complaining about how cold it was, but now we're shirtless.”
“Thank god that this creek is warm...” Bonnie looked down at the water, “It's beautiful in here. Like nature just gave us a...hot-tub, or somethin'..”
“You remove most of your clothes in a hot-tub.” Freddy grinned.
Bonnie blushed deep at the thought of seeing more of Freddy. He coughed and nodded, “Luckily that this isn't an official one, eh? I don't really wanna see everyone's junk flyin' around.”
Freddy smiled at Bonnie and splashed some water in his face, “Enough talk.” He said, in a playful tone.
“Now, we must battle...” Freddy added.
Bonnie cracked his knuckles and grinned evilly at the bear, “Come at me...”
Clyde and Foxy shared grins, “They're totally gonna do it...”
“Just give it some time...” Foxy whispered back. He kicked Clyde in the leg and the kissed again, “Let's continue?”
Clyde nodded and proceeded to splash his companion.
A few minutes later, Bonnie and Freddy crawled out of the creek and began warming back up in front of the fire, “Man, I would kill for a shower right now.” Bonnie commented.
“We just took a shower, pretty much,” Freddy said, “Almost fully-clothed, might I add.”
“I meant, a proper shower. Not swimming in a dirty creek that could have hundreds of thousands of diseases.” Bonnie shuddered at the thought of catching any god-awful disease from that potentially deadly creek.
“You're an idiot, Bonnie...” Freddy ruffled his friends hair and they shared grins.
“What's the time?” Bonnie asked. Freddy pulled out his phone and switched it on.
“About...ten am.” Freddy responded. He unlocked his phone and stood up.
“Crap,” Freddy said, “Fucking missed call.”
“From who?” Bonnie asked. Clyde and Foxy crawled out of the creek. They were both shivering. Foxy wrapped an arm around Clyde and they approached the main campsite, followed shortly after by Chi, Spring, Goldie and Chica.
“Dad...” He bit his lip. He growled and raised his phone above his head.
“No damn phone signal...” Freddy muttered, “How far is it back to the van?” He asked.
“A few miles, I think.” Bonnie responded.
Freddy dialed a three-digit number and stood there for a second. He rested his phone on his ear.
You have one new message. The phone spoke.
Message received; today, at 3:10AM. The phone continued.
Hugo began speaking during the message, Hey son, sorry about me calling so early. I wanted to wish you luck on your camping trip! I went out drinking with the guys, so I'm kinda screwed up right now. Call me if you need anything son!
Do you wish to call this person back? The phone asked. Freddy declined and sat back down.
“Looks like dad went out drinking again...” Freddy frowned.
Bonnie bit his lip and wrapped his arm around him. Freddy rested his head Bonnie's shoulder and they sat there, warming up, together.