Today was the day they got a new camper. David had announced it a week ago and ever since then Harrison has been dreading this day. He hadn't been sure why until now. Harrison could pick up on it before the bus had even reached camp. He glanced at Nerris to see if she noticed and found her attention fixed on the door of the mess hall. He made his way to her and stood by her side. They ignored all the noise from everyone else.
"Do you feel it?" He whispered. Nerris nodded slowly, eyes never leaving the door.
"That's a lot of power, Harrison. And it doesn't feel like they know how to use it," she whispered back. Harrison nodded along. The power was wild and untamed, much like his own used to be. He's been slowly getting better at controlling it and half the time his spells actually did what they were supposed to. Harrison twirled his hat in his hands as he contemplated what to do about the powerful new camper.
"I can't get a read on what type of magic it is. They aren't an illusionist like me."
"They don't play D&D either. Although, if they did, I'm pretty sure they'd be a barbarian, and they're right on the edge of going into a rage," Nerris mused. The rest of their conversation was interrupted as David came bounding into the mess hall.
"Alright happy campers! Our newest member of the family will be here soon. Let's all head outside and give them a warm Camp Campbell welcome!" David herded them all outside and lined them up, going over the Camp Campbell song and salute one last time. The bus arrived before he could finish, and Quartermaster opened the doors.
"Bus is here," Quartermaster announced, lounging back in the driver seat. Everyone waited silently, except for David who was bouncing on his toes and squealing with excitement.
A short kid stomped off the bus. He was wearing a blue hoodie with the hood pulled up. His hair spilled out the front in thick black curls, shading his face. He stood there with his hands in his hoodie pocket and his backpack slung over one shoulder. He's tense, Harrison noticed. The kid took a step back as David began to sing, pulling his guitar out of thin air.
"Ooooh! There's a place I-"
"No." David sputtered to a stop and Nerf laughed at his discomfort.
"Not a fan of music. Noted!" David stashed his guitar, Harrison still couldn't tell where, and stepped forward holding out a hand. "My name is David and I'll be your camp counselor this summer! If you ever need anything you can ask me or Gwen!"
"Don't ask me," Gwen countered immediately and Harrison had to wonder when she showed up.
"Kids, this is Max. Why don't you all introduce yourselves?" David encouraged. They all started to speak at once. Dolf bounced up and down waving his hands. Preston bowed deeply as he introduced himself. Erid just nodded and leaned against the flag pole.
"I'm gonna be real honest with you, David. I don't give a shit who any of you are. I'm not gonna be in this hell hole long enough for it to matter. All I care about is knowing where to put my shit," Max said.
"Language!" David gasped. Max rolled his eyes and turned to Gwen.
"Where am I staying?" He asked her impatiently. She jerked her head towards the tents off to the right.
"You'll be staying in a tent with Harrison since he's the only one with a free bed." Harrison whipped around to stare at her in horror.
"You didn't tell me that!' He protested. He didn't want this new kid so close to him until he could figure him out. Max narrowed his eyes at him.
"You got a problem with me?" Max demanded, crossing his arms. David laughed and tried to ease the sudden tension with a joke that no one paid attention to. The air around Max pulsed with dark energy and Harrison hesitated. He glanced quickly at Nerris and she shook her head.
"N-no. Not at all. I'll show you where our tent is. My name is Harrison, by the way." He broke off from the group to lead Max to their tent. A hand on his shoulder stopped him and he turned to look at Nerris.
"You want me to come with?" She whispered, eyeing Max with suspicion. "We could probably take him on together."
"We aren't going to fight him!" Harrison hissed. "We're just going to figure out what he is. If it's dangerous we'll deal with it then." Nerris studied him for a moment and then turned away with a shrug.
"You're funeral, I guess," she said flippantly. "I'll be in my castle when you need my help." Harrison rolled his eyes and hurried to catch up with Max.
"Sorry about that," he apologized sheepishly.
"I don't care. What kind of camp is this?" Max asked. Harrison turned to him and watched as Max looked around at all the various camp stations.
"I'm not entirely sure. We're all here for very different things. My parents thought they were sending me to magic camp," Harrison said. Max snorted.
"Magic camp? You gonna spend the whole summer pulling rabbits out of your shitty hat?" Max sneered. Harrison raised an eyebrow at Max.
"Oh, I can do more than that." Harrison held out his hands and willed a small flame to grow. It's one of the things he's been practicing in his tent. He can control the fire as long as he doesn't let it get to big. Max stared at the fire with wide eyes before looking up at Harrison. His expression was blank, but his eyes were lit up in interest. Harrison blinked and for a split second he thought Max's eyes were glowing red. He shook his head and clenched his hands to extinguish the flames.
"Not bad, magic kid," Max said. "Now show me to the tent." Harrison led Max to one of the tents closest to the surrounding forest.
"This is us," he said, holding open the flap for Max to pass through. Max looked at the two beds before throwing his backpack on the one furthest from the entrance.
"Uh, that's actually my bed," Harrison said. Max stared at him as he hopped onto the bed and laid down on his back.
"And now it's mine. Funny how that works." Max smirked at him. Harrison contemplated pushing the issue but with Max's power level and control still unknown he decided not to risk it.
"Fine. I guess I can take the other one," he said, gathering all his things and moving them to the spare bed.
"I knew you'd see it my way. We might get along after all, magic kid."
"My name is Harrison," he reminded the shorter boy.
"Whatever. What else can you do?" Max asked.
"What?" Harrison was honestly surprised Mas was asking. He didn't seem like the type to enjoy magic tricks.
"Show me some more magic. What's the hardest trick you have?" Max sat up and crossed his legs as he watched Harrison.
"I'll show you another trick if you show me what you can do," Harrison offered. Might as well try to figure out what he can do while they're alone. Max glared at him, his power flaring briefly.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Max said coldly.
"Look, I'm not going to tell anyone. It's not my secret to share. But you have some kind of magic and it's pouring off of you. I had trouble controlling my magic at first, too. I accidentally made my brother disappear and now my parents are afraid of me and what I can do. It's why they sent me here. They thought I could learn to control it at magic camp. Whatever kind of magic you use we can help you figure it out," Harrison explained.
"I said, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about. I don't have magic. You don't have magic. Magic isn't fucking real." Max hopped off his bed and started to walk pass Harrison out of the tent.
"Wait!" Harrison grabbed onto Max's arm and two things happened simultaneously. Max flinched so hard he fell an the entrance of the tent. And Harrison yelped, snatching his hand back. He looked down at his hand and winced. It was bright red and stinging badly. Somehow, Max had burned his hand. Harrison looked at Max who stared up at him with a surprisingly vulnerable expression on his face. Harrison sighed and held out his uninjured hand.
"Hey, that was my bad. I shouldn't have-" Max slapped his hand away and scrambled to his feet.
"Don't fucking touch me again, magic kid. Keep you hands to yourself and mind your own damn business. If you want to pretend to have some magical powers, fine. Just keep me out of it," Max snapped before storming away. Harrison let his hand drop. He looked at his burnt hand and hummed softly to himself as he used his magic to heal it.
"So, he either doesn't know or he's afraid of it. This is going to be much harder than I thought," he muttered to himself as he left his tent. He needed to find Nerris. Looks like he would need her help after all. Harrison sighed as he trudged towards her castle. She was going to be unbearably smug about this.