A/N: I'm back! Someone read this? Please? It's very short, but it's not a filler chapter at least...
"That's it, I need a break!" I swung off my rucksack and let it crash onto the ground.
"No," replied Ash shortly.
"What do you mean, no?" I hissed, narrowing my eyes. We'd had the same argument for the last hour, and I'd had enough. I plopped on the ground but jumped back up when I realised there was a thick layer of mud on the ground, twisting around to see if there was any mud on my trousers.
I hated the forest. I'd loved it for the first few minutes after entering it, and hated it for the rest. It was cool at first, with all the greenery and nature, but that soon became very, very annoying.
Ash laughed. "Come on Jazz," he pleaded, using my name for once. "We have to win! You were the one who was so determined before, remember?"
I glared at him. "Nice try, but it's not going to work."
It was true. I'd been so excited in the van, that I'd been chatting happily and waving my arms about. Not a good idea when you're an over-enthusiastic water-bender. I accidentally let out a burst of water that hit Dan full in the face. The situation was made worse by Skye, Jake and Jace all deciding to blast his face with hot air at the same time, resulting in Dan looking like a full colour picture of Albert Einstein. Vicky took one look in the mirror and burst out laughing (which is a very dangerous thing to do while driving, I should mention). Needless to say, he was pissed, and demanded half of my biscuits stash to make up - although I managed to bargain it down to a quarter instead.
But the thing is, it was hard to maintain that level of enthusiasm when you'd been walking for five long hours! On top of that, Ash and I were now arguing about which way to go. Just what I needed.
"According to the map, it should be this way," he said, slightly frustrated. "But according to you, there's water that way." He pointed in the other direction. "That can only mean one thing..." Finally, he'd caught on. "The river's that way."
And he pointed the way he thought it was supposed to be.
I scowled at him. "Look, I trust my water-sensing abilities. I know there's water there, so either we split up from here (which is against the rules, by the way) and risk never seeing each other again." I hesitated. "Hey, that's actually not a bad idea... or we both go the way I'm telling you to go."
"You are so stubborn," he growled, glaring at me.
I glared right back.
We stayed like that for a few minutes before he gave up.
"Fine," he said. "But don't blame me when you get this wrong." He waited a second, and smirked. "Oh, and by the way, you look like you've soiled your trousers."
I got it wrong.
Ash followed my directions. I was sure of it, there was water very close by, and I was never wrong when it came to things like this!
"What did I tell you?" Ash gave me a hard look.
"There's... water here?" I replied meekly.
"There is water here. Only it's a creek, not a river," he said pointedly. "Which means-"
"We were both right," I finished for him quickly. "But you were more right. The good thing is: we can finally take a break. I'll be revived by the water too... I'm sorry," I trailed off.
"Fine," he sighed. "But next time, I'll be leading the way." I could've sworn I heard him add under his breath, "And it's ok."
"Thanks," I smiled, relieved.
I dumped my rucksack and walked into the (relatively deep) creek, glad to feel the cold water slowly replenishing my energy.
Turning around, I saw Ash sitting near the bank, leaning against his rucksack and studying the map.
I walked slowly back to him, and he glanced up at me as I sat down next to him.
"Where are we right now?" I asked him.
"I think it's somewhere over here," he said thoughtfully, tracing an area on the map with his fingers.
"So we only have a few more kilometres to go, right?"
He laughed. "Only a few more?"
"Yeah, well, it isn't a lot considering we've already walked about nine," I muttered.
"Touché. I think it's only about two more kilometres, providing we don't get lost."
"Ok. I guess we'd better start walking again then. Are you ready?"
"Do you even need to ask?" He cocked an eyebrow, standing up, and offering me his hand.
I snorted at his words, and just before I could take his hand, he drew it back.
"I'm only a gentleman to a lady, Gills," he winked. "And snorting isn't very ladylike."
I glared at him and got up unsteadily on my own. "You have got to come up with a better nickname than that."
"Ah, but you see," he began, lifting up his rucksack again, and helping me with mine. "I think Gill Girl is a lot better than... say, Gurnard Girl or Guillemot Girl, or even Gurgle Girl."
He thought for a second. "Hey, that last one kinda suits you," he grinned.
"No," I laughed. "Burner Boy is a way better creation. And did you swallow a dictionary or something?"
"How do you think I get such good grades in English?" He called back to me, walking ahead.
"By making me do all your work?" I jogged a little to keep up with him.
"There's that too," he smirked.
I rolled my eyes, and after a quick but long train of thought, remembered something I'd meant to ask Ash. "So you play the piano, huh?"
He glanced at me curiously. "How did you get from talking about English to music so quickly?"
"Complicated mind process," I said dismissively. "But who did you learn from?"
"My mum," he replied simply.
I nodded. "So you could play... since when?"
He laughed. "What is this, twenty questions?"
"Hey, it's better than walking in silence," I shrugged.
"Ok, ten. I learnt it since I was ten."
I blinked. "Wow. That's a long time. You must be good."
"I am," he flashed me a smug grin. "What about you? You seem to know quite a bit about music yourself."
"I play the guitar. My dad used to play too, and I always liked watching him play. So after he died, I decided to learn too. I didn't start as early as you did though." I smiled at a memory. "I still use his guitar."
"Oh," he said quietly. "That's..." He seemed to be struggling for words. "Touching. And sad too."
"Yeah," I smiled. "It's been a long time though. What about your parents though?"
His eyes darkened a little, the brown swallowing the golden. "I can barely remember my dad; I was really young when he died. My mum was everything to me, then. She was the only real role model I had. My uncle wasn't exactly a very nice man, so when my mum died and I lived with him... I was tempted to run away."
"But you stayed?" I asked softly.
He shook his head. "No, I left home, and he didn't even bother looking for me. That day in the mall, I was looking for someone. But I found you instead, and you took me back to your school."
I wanted to ask more questions, but I decided not to. To be honest, I was surprised that he volunteered information about himself, so I didn't want to push it.
"That sounds harsh."
"Yeah, well, I guess it's over. And if that didn't happen, I wouldn't have found you, right? There'd be no-one for me to annoy," he said, grinning cheekily.
"Don't I wish," I sighed, jokingly. "I'd be so much better off right now."
And of course, life had to pick that very moment to prove me wrong, by making me trip over a small log.
Ash caught my elbow, before I could fall to the ground.
"Yeah," he smirked. "I wouldn't be too sure about that."
"The camp!" I stopped gulping water from my water bottle and started to run down the long slope of grass at the campsite as soon as I saw it.
We had finally reached the camp! After forty long minutes, we were there!
"I know," agreed Ash, right next to me. "I would sing 'Hallelujah', but I don't have enough breath."
I caught sight of Skye's chestnut hair and Rachel's blonde hair, and ran up to the group of four, finally flinging my rucksack off my shoulders.
"Oh my god, I need to sit!" I panted, throwing myself on the ground beside Ash.
"Vicky and Jake aren't here yet?" I asked everyone, and Dan shook his head, grinning.
"I'm concerned for Jake's safety, now," laughed Ash.
"Oh, don't worry, Vicky's not really angry at him any more..." Rachel smiled.
We all looked at her.
"...Is she?" she finished, her smile faltering. "And... what happened to your trousers, Jazz?"
Please. Not this again.
Hey guys! I'm horrible, I know! I've been working on this for ages now, but I had to focus on school work too... please forgive me for the late update! Is it slightly longer or shorter than usual? I'm not sure, but let me know... It took me ages to write this! Do you like it? Or is there any constructive criticism?
So yeah, tell me what you think! Thanks to all my followers, and new reader, Veronica Fay! Please review if you're reading this! It will really encourage me! (I got kinda discouraged in the middle, because I thought no-one was reading...) Sorry again!