A/N: (Guess who's now in the Camp Camp fandom.) Okay, anyways, this author's note will explain some things about the fanfiction.
Edit: 08/12/22: Yuni is an OC made specifically for this fic. She DOES NOT represent me, the author, in any way, shape, or form. I say this because I want people to know that, in terms of ships, I AM NOT shipping a caricature/persona of myself (a young adult) with the canon characters, nor do I condone such practices.
Yuni is ten, just like the rest of the campers. She was initially to be a way of bypassing the "No X Readers" rule on this website, hence the lack of descriptors for her character, but I see now that this would be wholly wrong. I originally started this fic when I was a minor, so I didn't see the harm in readers my age finding themselves in Yuni. But now that I am an adult, the idea falls to the wayside and becomes basically illegal.
And no, the characters will not end up in relationships or be doing anything you'd find elsewhere in a story with older characters. These kids would have mutual crushes at most, and any big "romantic" gesture would just be the two of them holding hands or smiling at the other. So to summarize...
I am not Yuni. Yuni is not representative of me. She is a ten-year-old camper sent off to Camp Campbell to participate in Journaling Camp. This PSA-type author's note was drawn-up after I was made aware of a Camp Camp fanartist drawing and shipping their OC with Max, which would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the artist was an adult and the OC was a self-insert aged down (at least from what I can glean off of other people's info.) It made me think of how this fic could come off as the same thing when that was never my intention.
If this does meet with backlash, which I hope to avoid by making this author's note, I will not hesitate to delete the fic.
When Yuni writes in her travel journal, those notes will be in bold, so hopefully that makes reading the fic a lot clearer. Hope you enjoy!
"Stupid fucking summer camp, stupid dad, stupid sun, I hate it here..."
The girl kicked at the leather bus seat in front of her, much like a child would when throwing a tantrum on a plane ride. She punctuated every complaint with a harder kick until she was told to quit it by the bus driver.
Yuni Lumin-Dara. A ten-year-old city dweller who was being sent away to Camp Campbell for the summer. Granted, she had specifically asked her father for "anywhere, just leave Mother out of it." If she knew it would've come to this, she would've chosen to spend another horrid three months in her mother's stuffy office.
"At the very least..." she mumbled, letting the sentence trail off. At the very least, her father had allowed her to take whatever she wanted with her. The rolling suitcase that laid to her left had all the essentials: clothes for the stay, toiletries, charger, charging bank, running shoes, money, house keys, Swiss Army Knife, forged Will and Testament, and water.
Her prized possessions were already on her person. The phone she got for her eighth birthday equipped with all the premium apps she could ask for, the headphones with active noise-canceling, and the Journal.
The Journal had been a gift from her father. It was one of ten. He always gave her a journal on her birthday, but what made this one special was the note that came with it.
Happy Birthday to the best decision I ever made~!
The big one-O now, huh? Don't think I forgot how old you were!
I won't be home for a while, so I thought I'd give this to you early.
Happy birthday, Yuni.
He was out for a week on business and wasn't home to wake her up for breakfast. The small box had been neatly wrapped and placed on the kitchen island, containing a simple, leather-bound book inside. It was the only piece of her father she had that week; a week that entailed suffering with her mother while he was gone.
The bus lurched to a stop, abruptly dragging Yuni out of her thoughts by slamming her face into the tacky seat leather. She could smell sweat and old gum as she pulled away.
"Are you okay?" A wobbly voice asked.
Yuni huffed impatiently, forcibly grabbing her things and shoving the stranger aside. "Not anymore," she answered over her shoulder.
"Kids are here." Yuni heard the bus driver say as she walked off the bus. She caught a glimpse of a hook and dug around in her pockets for her pen.
Hook hand. Cool, but probably dangerous. Must be a veteran or some cocky bastard. Also probably hates his job.
The girl smiled at her first few notes, flipping to the cover and writing "Fucked Up Summer Camp" on the "Title" line. Before she could continue to appreciate her work, a sudden weight latched onto her back and shoved her to the ground.
"What the fuck!?" Yuni shouted as the weight lifted. She stood up and dusted herself off, checking for any cuts. Her pastel purple cardigan was looking more gray-brown than anything.
"Oh yeah, smell that nature! That's the good stuff."
Yuni looked up to find her assailant, a little girl with bright green hair pulled back into pigtails save for the tuft in the front. She had half a mind to jump her back, but the city girl was caught off guard by the tall man crawling out from under the bus.
"Well, hello there girls! You two must be Nikki and Yuni. My name is David, your camp-"
But before David could finish his sentence, Nikki had promptly bitten him. David screamed and flailed his arm around like one of those inflatable things in front of car dealerships, trying to get Nikki to let go. Yuni couldn't help but watch on in morbid curiosity, snapping a picture before opening her journal to document the moment.
Under a page labeled "Nikki", she wrote:
This bitch is crazy! She's got a strong ass bite to her too...
Under "David", she wrote:
Probably the twink that works here. He looks stupid.
"Um, excuse me?" Yuni could hear behind her. She turned her head to see who it was, finding the stranger from earlier.
He was a tall, lanky boy with fluffy brown hair and hands that perpetually curved towards his body. He realized he was being watched by the girl from earlier, averting his gaze to the adult with a child dangling from his hand.
"Is this Science Camp?" Yuni had to bite back a triumphant laugh, opening her journal instead.
I fucking knew it, this dude's a nerd! I just know his hands are cold. It's like Jeremy Heere come to life. Wonder if he plays video games.
"Um... What did you-" The boy began to ask. Before Yuni could confirm his suspicions, David continued with his introduction.
"And you must be Neil." There's another name for the book! David finally shook Nikki off as the girl goes to correct Neil. She explained to him that this was actually Adventure Camp (unless her mom had been lying to her again.)
"But my father signed me up for Journaling Camp, whatever that means." Yuni pointed out. She turned to squint at David, eyeing him up some more. "I think we all got scammed..."
The adult seemed to sweat, although whether it was because of the summer heat or nervousness was anybody's guess. "Now, now," he chuckled uncertainly. "I assure you all that you have not been scammed. You three will be happy to know that Camp Campbell is all of th-"
The bus had suddenly jerked forward, barely missing the three campers as it aimed for David, who screamed as he was pulled under once again. The bus doors were still open and the three kids peered inside to get a look at the perpetrator.
The hook-hand guy from earlier stepped in to retrieve another kid, one who was complaining about his stupid prepubescent legs. He wore a blue sweater despite the humidity and his hair was a wild bush of black curls. He crossed his arms while dangling on the very obvious murder weapon, keeping a scowl on his face that trailed David's own as he was lowered back to the ground.
"Was he on the bus?" Yuni whispered to Neil who was watching on with similar confusion.
"I don't know."
"Not today, child." The new campers could hear the old man say. "Only one driving this bus is me."
David, after picking himself back up from under the vehicle, sighed a breath of relief at the lack of major injuries. "Thank you, Quartermaster."
Yuni flipped back to the hook-hand pages and wrote down "Quartermaster" at the top, intriguing Neil who still stood beside her.
"You're on your own now," Quartermaster continued, pointing his hook at David threateningly before reaching into his pocket. He held up a small bottle of what looked to be poison. "Going on break, be back for the bus at noon."
Yuni, still on the page, wrote in a new tidbit:
Drinks poison. What the fuck is going on here...
"Max, you are not leaving my side for the rest of the day." Yuni looked up from her journaling to find David squatting down to eye level with the bus kid. His name must be Max, she deduced. She wrote his name on a new page.
"We'll see about that, camp man." Max retorted.
Neil had left Yuni's side to go talk to the new kid. She followed close behind, prompting Nikki to come along as well.
"So what's your deal?" Neil asked, shooting a quick glance at Yuni to see if she would open her journal for the answer.
The other boy sighed, his arms still crossed. "I'm just a kid trying to survive out here, Neil." At the end of his statement, Max put a hand on Neil's shoulder, patting sympathetically. It only seemed to fuel the science camper's anxiety.
"Now, let's go check out the camp, kids!" David struck a pose before leading them forward.
The four kids quickly learned to tune the counselor out, following behind with small strides. David seemed too busy with his Camp Campbell appreciation boner to notice that the kids had fallen behind.
"So, you said your dad signed you up for Journaling Camp?" Nikki began the conversation. "Sounds boring."
"I mean, yeah? I guess? I don't really know what it means either, I just had my father pick for me." Yuni shrugged, trying her phone once more. Ever since they got off the last highway, her service had been shit. She hissed at the lack of change, shoving the device back into her pocket. "Isn't there any damn Wi-Fi in this fucking place..."
"Well, we are in the woods. I don't think they expect us to have gadgets that connect to Wi-Fi. Or at all." Neil deadpanned, groaning at the logic. He could understand where she was coming from; he knew he would be facing tech withdrawals once Camp Campbell came into view.
"Well I like it!" The green-haired adventurer exclaimed, taking another deep breath. "I can't wait until we go on our first mission. I'm hoping for a lion's den!"
"I don't think there are any lions here, Nikki." Neil responded, earning a disappointed whine.
"Man, I already wanna go back home." Yuni sighed, once again trying her phone.
They could hear a short laugh coming from the leftmost side of the group. "You can say that again." Max finally spoke up.
"Shit was way easier back in the city." Yuni pouted. "But there's no way in hell I'm going back to my mother."
"What's wrong with-" Neil was interrupted yet again by yelling. Somehow the quartet had found their way to the mess hall just behind David. The doors were flung open to reveal a scene that Yuni had previously thought could only be replicated by cartoons.
It was chaos. The obvious thing that struck Yuni as crazy first was the kid hanging onto the ceiling fan by some lousy duct tape job. Her double take allowed her to recognize the costume as an astronaut get-up before her attention was shifted to the woman throwing silverware in an attempt to get the kid down.
Yuni, scrambling to whip out her phone and take a picture of the moment, heard the name "Gwen" being thrown around and made a mental note to write all of it down later.
Looking at her picture (dodging forks in the process), she quickly labeled the rest of the kids. The obvious bully was the big kid standing by the wall with a menacing grin on his face. His hand seemed preoccupied with a switch of sorts, no doubt the controls for the ceiling fan. The tall girl in the back gave her chill, big sister vibes, so she was probably the oldest. The kid in the foreground with the Shakespearean collar thing looked like a "prissy gay," as some of her old city friends would say. Yuni couldn't quite place the other three kids, but she figured she'd find out soon enough.
"What is going on here?!" Yuni was brought back into the present moment at the sound of Neil's panicked question.
She watched as Max pulled the Science Kid closer on account of his height. "I'm telling you if we leave right now, I can hot wire that bus." Well!
"Why didn't you say so earlier!" Yuni flashed her most practiced smile at Max, who quickly turned his brooding gaze to her when he realized she had been eavesdropping. "I'll meet you all back at the bus!" Yuni's eyes filled with mischief as she stepped back and watched the boys get swept away by Nikki's excitement. She slipped back out the double doors without further distraction, making a run for the entrance where she knew the bus was parked.
"You think I'd miss the opportunity to welcome our new Campbell campers to Cameron Campbell's Camp Campbell?" Cameron Campbell, (businessman, philanthropist, adventurer), gestured a large hand towards the children in front of him. David's gaze followed suit, finding only three of the four campers from earlier. He began to sweat nervously.
"You have for years, sir." Gwen, the other counselor, deadpanned. She quickly took notice of her co-counselor's look of panic, lifting a brow with suspicion. "Everything alright, David?"
"Uh-" David was forced to speak, "Yes! Everything is just great! But, uh, I think the kids may have taken Yuni away...?"
"You mean you lost her." Gwen could barely hold in her disappointment.
"Well, that was fast." Campbell sighed, turning to climb back into the attic until this all blows over. So much for hiding from the authorities...
"Wait, you guys have lost-" Neil, for the third time that day, was interrupted.
"Hey, brawny guy? This is Adventure Camp, right?" Nikki called out before the big man could make his escape.
"Aside from what I was going to say," Neil shot a quick glance at Nikki that went unnoticed. "So far, every attempt to answer our questions just raises more questions!"
"Hey, good for you! You're starting to catch on!" Max sarcastically remarked. "That other new girl had the right idea."
"What do you know, Max?" David bent down to give the troubling camper as best of an angry face as he could muster. The kid mirrored back with an angrier one.
"I know that once she's out of here, you're out of a job." Max made it clear that he had glanced at Campbell while uttering the damning statement.
"Davey! Kids! Grace!"
"Go out there and find this other camper immediately!" The sound of screeching tires and some doors being shut were beginning to scare Campbell into his fight-or-flight mode. "NOW!"
The group was shoved out of the mess hall with a prompt slam of the double doors. Although the search began for the counselors, the escape was on for the campers!
Luckily for Yuni, none of the other kids had bothered to introduce themselves to her after they were dispersed from the mess hall. She decided she could wander around the camp grounds for a bit, which was definitely not a ploy to mask how lost she was.
She found paths leading to the Counselors Cabin, the lake, the tents where the kids must sleep in (bleh...), the outside amphitheater, and what she could only assume to be the play area?
Now that she thought about it, none of the other kids in the picture looked to be in either Adventure or Science Camp, except for maybe the little astronaut guy. Were the other kids just sent out into the open play area while the other camps were doing activities? That sounded like a chore. She wasn't going to be staying out in the sun all day while the others got to do their thing...
While she was on the topic of camps, she quickly jot down some personal info for both Nikki and Neil, including physical traits and their camps. She created the Gwen page in the meantime and put down "counselor" as occupation for both her and David.
"Alrighty, think that's enough. Now to get back to-"
"HEY, NEWBIE!" A voice in the distance shouted. From where they were coming from, it sounded more like Yuni's name than it did "newbie." The girl in question turned around to find the other three campers from before running over to her, the kid with the blue sweater taking the lead.
"GET TO THE CHOPPER!" Yuni could hear Nikki yell in a silly accent.
"SHE MEANS THE BUS!" Neil corrected afterwards.
She didn't have to be told twice! Yuni quickly dusted herself off and stashed her belongings away, releasing the suitcase's handle from its lock and making a mad dash for the Camp Campbell entrance.
It was difficult to run as it was, but trailing her rolling suitcase behind was even more work. The other three campers caught up to her much faster than she anticipated, which she colored at. Was she that out of shape? Thankfully, it seemed that they noticed her little dilemma and slowed down a bit to match her pace.
"And what exactly is the plan once you hotwire the bus?! I don't think any of us know how to drive!" Yuni had to ask. Initially, the hotwiring idea was impressive and a quick fix to her problem, but when she had the time to stop and think about it, climbing back onto the bus and laying low until the Quartermaster came back seemed like the safer option.
"Don't ask, just go!" Max yelled back.
There were rounds of gunshots heard in the far distance that none of the kids had any time to turn back and look for. Yuni had no earthly idea why there would be gunfire here of all places, but maybe Camp Campbell was just built really close to a hunting range or something. The other three figured that Cameron had probably been found out.
"MAAAAAAAAAAAAAX!" Came another voice behind them. David was fast approaching with Gwen at his heels.
"Shit!" Yuni cursed, glaring at her suitcase. So much for bringing the essentials.
"Hurry up! The bus is right there!" Neil called out. Sure enough, their yellow getaway was just within reach. Yuni pushed her legs harder in order to overtake the pack, ignoring the bursts of effort traveling from her heels up to the rest of her legs. "They're right behind us!"
The city girl managed to haul herself and her luggage up into the bus first, realizing that the key to the bus was still in the ignition. Turning the key, the bus rumbled to life under her. "Guys, let's go! The key's still in here!"
Before Yuni could move to help Neil up into the bus, she looked up to see David reaching a hand out to grab at Max's hoodie. Not knowing what else to do (lest she give herself up), Yuni simply screamed, "NIKKI! MAX!"
Nikki, as far as Yuni could tell, turned back and made the split-second decision to throw something in David's direction, knocking the counselor down. Gwen followed suit, tripping over David. The distraction was all they needed for the others to hop onto the bus, the last two stragglers laughing as they go.
"Damn, Nikki! What the fuck! What the hell did you do?" Yuni smiled genuinely. Her voice was filled with excitement, contrasting the typically negative words. Nikki offered her a hand to high-five, which the city girl instead fist-bumped on instinct.
"All in a day's work for an agent of chaos." Nikki responded, checking out her nails nonchalantly. She moved into the bus to take her seat next to Neil who had taken the initiative to cradle Yuni's baggage on his lap.
"Remember this face, David," Max called out to the small pile of adults from the bus entrance. "'Cuz you'll never see it again!" The boy in blue turned on his heel, slamming the bus door shut to face Yuni in the driver's seat. "Floor it!"
Yuni, with a little bit of trouble, was only able to man the wheel standing up in order to reach the pedals. Max laughed maniacally beside her as she wobbly maneuvered the bus towards the open road ahead. But, as soon as they had taken their first few steps (miles? What was the vehicular equivalent for steps anyway...), the bus came to a complete stop.
"What!?" Max started abruptly. "Why the hell did we stop?!"
"I don't know!" Yuni frantically answered. Taking a look at the dashboard told her all she needed to know. "...We're out of gas."
Before Max could unleash his fury, the sound of a police siren is heard from outside the bus. Neil yelped at this, Nikki giggled, Max groaned, and Yuni kept silent. A tall man in a sheriff's uniform rapped his knuckles on the bus door, a silent demand to open it.
"Are you children aware of the crash you've just caused?" Sheriff Sal began once all the kids were evacuated. Clearly, they were not aware, judging by the varied reactions to seeing the secret police car's broken windshield. The point of impact wasn't immediately obvious, but Yuni swore she couldn't feel a thing. And car crashes were supposed to be rough!
"Mother's going to massacre me for this..." She mumbled to herself.
Sheriff Sal sighed in disappointment, nudging the kids in the direction of his automobile. "C'mon. Back to camp with the lot of you."
"I'm getting real tired of having to come up here, David."
Everything was towed back to Camp Campbell where said counselor was being written up. With Mr. Campbell gone, he naturally had to be the one to take the fall.
"I know, Sal." David responded meekly, his shoulders slumping further in shame.
"We were so close!" Max was flexing his hands back and forth into fists. It was taking all his effort not to glare daggers into their failed getaway driver. "Nice going, newbie." He murmured lowly instead.
"Like I didn't already ask you about what we were supposed to do before we got on the bus." Yuni replied in kind. "I don't wanna hear it, asshole."
Neil scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment, ashamed that he also hadn't thought about the issue of driving before deciding to bail. "Well, I mean in hindsight none of us really know how to drive." At the glare he received from Yuni, Neil quickly tacked on, "B-but you tried and you did great!"
"Yeah, honestly kids, how far did you expect to make it?" Gwen spoke up, if only to break up the tension with some dry humor.
"Imma be real, I've just always wanted to go on a bus joyride." Nikki smiled. This place may not be just Adventure Camp, but today definitely filled her adventure quota for the day!
"Well kids," David sighed, write-up in hand. "I hope we all learned something today."
Max stepped forward, pointing a confident finger at his most hated adult. "Oh, no. I hope you learned, David. I hope you learned that before today, you only had one little bastard to deal with." To the best of his ability, the small camper slung his stupid, prepubescent arms around the new kids with a smirk on his face. "But now you've got four."
The boy in blue reclaimed his arms and quickly shoved them back into the big pocket at the front of his hoodie. "Let's go, guys. I'll take you to our tents."
Nikki whooped and cheered, following along in her still adrenaline-fueled state. "This is gonna be awesome!"
"This is gonna be awful." Gwen supplied without missing a beat.
"Oh, come on Gwen! Look at the bright side!" David's grin was right on the brink of splitting his face open. "Max made not one, not two, but three new friends today!"
A short, curt laugh is heard off to the side and the counselors turn their heads to find Yuni still standing by, majorly lagging behind the others. The young girl turned her head slightly, giving David and Gwen a brittle smile.
"Accomplices. I don't think that guy does friendship." Without another word, the girl continued on her way, dragging her suitcase behind her.
"Uh, should... Should we be worried about that?"
"David... Who cares."
Valuable; knowledgeable about the camp. Keep a very close eye on him.