I watched as Jake came towards me, he paused as I took a step away from him, I hated that guy and Jade expected us to hug each other? This wasn’t some sort of marriage restoration camp,
“I’m not the man hug type of guy,” I said, “shake?” I asked instead, anyone could handle a good old British handshake. I was pleased we weren’t all French otherwise I’d be kissing the dude. I took his hand, he squeezed mine tight, I squeezed back and we shook, subtly having a who-can-crush-who’s-hand-the-hardest competition. My hand had a shock of pain up it and I glanced at Jade, she looked smug in the corner watching Jake, I wanted to show her I was the bigger man and plus my hand was killing me. I pulled Jake into a hug and smacked him on the back, Jade did a happy clap and began to speak,
“United we stand, united we will win, united we will conquer the Black Ones, united we will prevail!” she cried, I clapped along with the rest of the psyched-up group. She turned to Jake and I had to look away, I grabbed a bowl of apple and sat down heavily next to Zoey, she smiled at me and kept eye contact. “Hey partner,” I attempted a southern American accent, which is very hard when you have a French one over the top, she burst out laughing and chocked a bit on the stew.
“Wow, if I ever need anyone to teach me an accent, I know where to come,” she grinned, I rolled my eyes.
“Sleep well?” I asked, she shook her head,
“Too many thoughts in here for sleep,” she pointed at her head, “plus it was like zero degrees!” she complained, I put my arm around her and pulled her closer,
“I’m warm blooded,” I said simply taking the spoon in my left hand and attempted to put it in my mouth, I was one of those people who had a strong right hand and a weak left hand, I missed my mouth and got apple on my cheek. Luckily she wasn’t looking, I wiped it off and gave up trying to operate my left arm, it was clearly a hazard, I watched the rest of the camp, it was strange everyone had seemed to pair up. William and Lucinda, Jake and Jade, Ben and Eve and surprisingly Ellie and Luke, Zoey caught me looking at Jade,
“You like her don’t you?” she wasn’t making fun of me, or accusing me, it was just a simple statement,
“No,” I said quickly, “I guess slightly, I’m real messed up right now,” I said truthfully,
“I think we’re all pretty messed up, me included, let’s just be messed up together?” she offered,
“Sounds good to me, you know like Jade said you and I are compatible and we make a fabulous team, and even though I’m not in love with you or anything…” I trailed off, “yet.” I said glancing at William and Lucinda, “I still feel protective of you, although you’ll probably be the one defending me, I will always care for you more than the rest of them,” I said, she nestled her head against my shoulder,
“That’s all I can ask for,” she replied quietly.

“Okay guys, we need a plan…” Jade said, I looked over to her,
“We need to get our bearings, we need to get out of this stupid shell and we need to practise our fighting,” I said, some people nodded. I pushed Zoey away gently and stood up,
“I have just the plan!” I smiled and waited for the rest of them to stand up, “you see we all fight well, some better than others, some have powers which help fighting others help to warn people.”
“What’s your idea?” Jake interrupted, I narrowed my eyes at him,
“Boys verses girls,” I said,
“No!” William roared, I look at him,
“Why? Because it will be hard fighting someone you love?” I asked looking at him with piercing eyes, “This will be a test, if Jake can fight Jade, if you can fight Lucinda, that will be harder than fighting the Black Ones. The ultimate test, we’re going to create an ambush, helping people like Jade and I to use are skills too, girls head east and we’ll head west, form a battle plan and begin to hunt us down at midday?” I offered, the girls seemed happier than the boys; we formed groups, girls and boys, “Rules.” I said, “No actual injury, the winners will be the ones who capture the flag!” I picked up my coat, “here’s your flag,” I passed my coat to them and Eve removed her cardigan and handed it to us. “Right we want to capture my coat; you want to get this…” I looked at the item of clothing,
“Cardigan,” Eve smiled, I nodded.
“Everyone clear? Any questions?” I looked around, “good, let’s set out!” I cried, we turned our backs on each other and headed off.
“This is going to be hard,” Ben said, “They have good fighters,”
“We have Marc so we can find them and then we have William, Jake, Ben and me to fight, we’re bound to win!” Luke grinned,
“They have Zoey and Eve, Eve will be able to run around us and capture the flag,” Ben said,
“We’ll have people guarding it,” William added.
“Yer! William can like woosh! And blow Eve away!” Jake cried,
“Shush! Jade will still be able to hear us!” Ben warned. I smiled as we formed our game plan, I wasn’t usually arrogant but this idea was a good one.

The End

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