AN: Don't know why, but my brain wanted to dedicate an entire chapter to Nurf's backstory, so here we go! I lack self-control, so I posted this without doing my usual editing and revision, so if you see anything I need to fix, let me know. Or don't. It's your life. No associated episode for once.
Nurf remembers the day his parents split. It was the day he saw both the best and worst side of his mother.
Nurf's father was an angry man, who married an angry woman, who gave birth to an angry son. Nurf grew up in a household where the only way anyone knew how to show affection was to stop hitting when the other person fell over rather than when the other was unconscious.
While his parents never laid a hand on him, Nurf watched every fight they had. Every well placed punch that left his mother bruised and his father's fist bloody.
Once his father started drinking, things only got worse.
Not to say that his mother couldn't dish it as well as she could take it, but Nurf was always her main concern. Elise Nurfington dropped out of high school at 17 to have him, and had no family or friends to turn to. Despite how angry her husband made her, she couldn't leave him. He was the only thing that kept her and her son off the streets. Despite everything he did to her, he was the only thing that kept their "family" together.
It all came to a head one night when Mrs. Nurfington was teaching 4 year old Nurf how to make pasta.
His father stumbled in through the door, drunk as ever.
Little Nurf had been given a bowl with water so that he could copy what his mother was doing without getting burnt.
Nurf's hands had always been large, but this didn't stop his inexperienced hands from fumbling and dropping the bowl.
Nurf's father heard the crash and rushed into the kitchen. Seeing the broken bowl and the 4 year old beside it, in his drunken rage, Mr. Nurfington raised a hand to his only son.
Nurf honestly can't remember much after that hit. Maybe his father had hit him so hard it induced amnesia. Or maybe the trauma made him forget.
All Nurf could remember was a brief moment when he lifted his head and saw his mother, a red, rage filled aura around her, grab the nearest knife. At that moment, Nurf had never felt more terrified of his mother. At that moment, he'd never felt more in awe.
Nurf can't remember anything else after that point other than yelling, punches being thrown, and more dishes breaking.
And then a sudden silence, only filled with the sound of his mother's ragged breathing.
When next Nurf awoke, he was in their car, and his mother said they were moving. Like the wonderful mother she was, she'd even remembered to grab his favorite blanket during her rushed packing. Wrapped in its warmth and feeling the weight that even the "Invincible Nurf" couldn't resist, the young boy was lulled to sleep once more, content to go wherever his mother chose.
Looking back, ten year old Nurf can recognize how his home life may have skewed his worldview.
After that night, Nurf and his mom moved around a lot. Never in one place for very long. She always signed him up for school wherever they ended up, recognizing that education was important, but rarely did he get the chance to stay a full semester. Constantly being the new kid made him an obvious target.
Too bad for those idiots. They didn't know that Nurf's parents had imparted a very important lesson unto him.
Give as good as you get.
Kids stopped messing with him after the third kid went home with a bloody nose.
At that point, Nurf was the king of whatever school he went to. No child dared to challenge him, and the teachers were too busy trying to get in contact with his mother to do much about it other than fix up the poor child's injuries.
The bullied became the bully, and Nurf would use everything his parents had taught him to make it stay that way.
Their nomadic life came to an abrupt end when the punch he gave to his third favorite punching bag hit a little too close to his temple. Humans are really fragile creatures, as Nurf would later learn, watching that kid get rolled away in an ambulance. Too much blunt force trauma to the head can put someone to sleep for a long time.
This "attempted murder" case opened Pandora's Box as it were. He couldn't escape the consequences of his actions, and neither could his mother.
His mother was taken away, kicking and screaming, by 8 police and multiple sets of handcuffs, and Nurf suddenly found himself in a behavioral correctional facility, a newly minted ward of the state.
Seven year old Nurf didn't know when everything had gone so wrong.
The facility they put him into did little to contain his rage.
The therapists that were assigned to him just didn't get it. And, being the seven year old that he was, he couldn't articulate it, either.
The feeling in the pit of his stomach that screamed that he shouldn't be here.
The other children there were like him, but not. They, too, had been taken away from everything they'd known and placed there for the safety of themselves and others.
But they didn't have that little spark inside them that Nurf had. That his mother had.
"Mother was a monster too, just like her father."
"Took ten guards armed to the teeth and an agreement to be allowed to call her son weekly to get her into the cell. Have to actually honor the agreement. Only thing keeping her docile."
"He hasn't been receptive to "self-help" videos. Not a good match for the armed forces."
"The Scouts Program is understaffed. Sending him while they're struggling with conditioning the Zelus kid. Sending this one would split their attention. Can't risk it."
Years went by. He'd be transferred after an "incident," go through what his case worker called "the honeymoon phase" at his new placement where everything felt like it was going to be better, and then something would happen. He'd get angry. Someone with too fragile bones and too little strength would try to intervene. Said bones would break, and the cycle would start over again.
After three years of the same old thing, everyone was just about ready to give up on him.
And Nurf… He just wanted his mom back.
Everything changed when his case worker introduced him to his new therapist.
She was a lovely lady, who smiled warmly but was never afraid to be stern when she thought it necessary. Tough as nails despite being as breakable as a glass bowl.
She didn't have that spark in her, but when he looked in her eyes, it felt like she could see his. She saw him in a way no one but his mother had, and that made all the difference.
She was the one who was able to put Nurf's feelings into words. To help him make sense of that insatiable rage inside him.
She taught him how to bottle that rage and let it out slowly. How to pull his punches, rather than try to stop the punch from happening in the first place.
For the first time since he'd last seen his mother, Nurf felt in control of himself again. He knew his strength, and he was the one who decided when to use it. It was no longer some knee jerk reaction to an unseen trigger.
It was her who suggested that he be allowed to leave the facility and go to Camp Campbell for Behavioral Correctional Camp. It was her who was able to convince everyone working on his case to let him see his mother again after three years of only phone calls.
She was wrapped to her neck in chains and handcuffs, but Nurf didn't even notice because when he all but ran to her side, his mother smiled at him like she always did. That almost smirk of hers that lit up his life for the first seven years of his admittedly bleak life. The smile that told Nurf that he was the light in her life, and that everything would be okay.
He sniffled and pushed down the tears that threatened to run down his cheeks as he wrapped his arms around her, chains and all. He breathed in her scent, no longer stained with tobacco but still hers. And he felt her presence around him, giving him the hug she couldn't.
"Imma get better for you, sweetheart," she said, "You gotta do the same okay? NO more busted skulls, got it? Get yourself settled and grounded at the queer little camp o'theirs. That lady said you'd be able to visit every month, so we gotta be on our best behavior, 'k?"
And all Nurf could do was nod. He'd do anything for her.
He'd make her proud.
Stepping foot at Camp Campbell for the first time, Nurf was taken aback.
Unlike every other place he was sent since he was placed in state custody, this one felt… right.
The air he breathed wasn't stifling. There was ample room for him to just be. Like he did when he was younger. Even though he felt really fucking sick on the bus ride over, stepping onto the dirt path felt like he was returning to his childhood home.
It was a novel feeling. One Nurf knew he would never get enough of. Even as days passed and he felt the camp grounds themselves with the snake-tongued twerp's presence at the forefront, Nurf never felt shackled like he had moving towns around in his youth or at any of the correctional facilities he was placed in.
Nurf Nurfington felt like Camp Campbell would be the perfect place for him to finally get better.
He wanted to make his mother proud, after all.
AN: I kinda took Nurf's backstory into my own hands, didn't I? After finishing this interlude, I skimmed Nurf's Wiki page and realized that I had a few things wrong with how his past is implied in the show verses what I'd written, but I'm sticking with this. In my universe, Nurf's dad was killed by his mom instead of abandoning him, but Nurf's memory of that moment is foggy at best. I didn't really mention his body image issues because I wouldn't know how to begin with that, but just assume that they're mostly the same.
I know that this chapter is a bit of a divergence from my usual episode-centered writing style, but tell me what you think. Should I write more backgrounds for campers that didn't really have an episode dedicated to them (lookin' at you, Preston)?
If you have any questions about what the heck is going on in this story, leave a comment. If you don't have questions and just want to say something, leave a comment. If you want to bash on my horrendous writing, leave a comment! All comments are welcome in this household!