Chapter 14: Ghosts? In my Greek Mythology centered plot line?
AN: OMG I'm really starting to hate . I switched apps for writing my fics, and I think this freaking website got confused and decided to keep all the stupid formatting. Hopefully, this time the chapter will turn out right, otherwise, I'm gonna have to figure out some other way to post here, or stop posting here entirely. Now that my lamentation is complete, here's the chapter!
Season 3 Episode 5 Dial M For Jasper
David was being weirder than normal and that was a thought Max never thought he'd have. David was always weird. The counselor slept with a log for gods sake!
After the red head ran off in hysterical tears and Max got a hold of the picture in the older man's pocket, Max felt he could understand how David had gotten to that level of weirdness.
"What the hell? This is the kid we saw on Spooky Island. What's he doing in this old photo?" Neil's confused gaze met Max's.
And despite near limitless knowledge about godlings and the Greek mythos, Max had no solid answer. "There's got to be a totally normal explanation for this. Right?"
It seemed like Neil was also not feeling all that open minded to the extraordinary right now, based on his quick shut down of all of Nikki's theories. "Let's just go ask David."
Max yanked the other godling back to his seat. Did the idiot learn nothing from their outing to the town? It's never a good idea to try and interfere when David is so emotionally unstable. You either end up drawing the wrong conclusions and get scared shitless as he gathers murder supplies, or you get dragged into camping out not even a mile away from the literal campgrounds.
No, until they knew more, it'd be better to ask someone else about this.
For the first time in Davey's life, he felt like he could breath.
Ever since that trek in the woods with Mr. Campbell and Jasper, Davey felt like he'd finally settled here. The words he'd spoke to Mr. Campbell have never felt more true.
"You made me apply myself. And we saved Jasper! I finally feel like I reached my full potential and it's all thanks to you!"
His body didn't cramp and freeze whenever he used what he'd learned in art school about color theory to help Lacie (who felt like acrylic paint and chiseled stone).
His lesson's at archery camp that one summer were worth the nights of throwing up when he helped Samuel win the archery contest.
Davey felt like his purpose and his wish for freedom were finally in tune with each other.
Davey was really starting to love Camp Campbell, in a way that he never thought he would when he first step over that threshold onto the camp grounds and felt the pine trees sing.
He was helping the godlings thrive. And he was doing it his way.
Now, if only he could figure out what was wrong with Jasper.
Watching the blond boy's light up shoes literally light up in the fire, Davey felt his heart sink at the godling's jaded words.
"I wish this place would just shut down so that we can go home."
Go home? What home did Davey have that wasn't Camp Campbell? And so soon after Davey finally found a way to feel human in this inhuman body of his?
If Davey were completely honest with himself, he'd say that he'd rather die.
It wasn't perfect. Davey had no real control of how he could express his free will. He didn't choose the activities, after all. But it was more freedom than Davey had in his entire life.
Watching as the godling in front of him descended more into negative emotions Davey couldn't properly name, the automaton smiled. He'd been spending the past few weeks lifting the other boy's spirits up whenever he had some alone time with Jasper. Jasper didn't smile as much as he used to, but that just made the rare ones Davey was able to pull of out him even more special. And now that he could actually sleep through the night, he could finally remember all the techniques he'd learned at speech camp, making the whole process easier.
(Who would have thought his insomnia was just another way of guiding him to his purpose? That he'd get the chance to sleep and sometimes even dream once he started guiding and guarding the campers like he was meant to?)
But before he could open his mouth, Mr. Campbell walked up behind Jasper, and practically ripped the air from Davey lungs.
"Bad news, kids. The camp is shutting down."
Davey's thoughts screeched to a halt. He couldn't hear anything else except for the maelstrom whirling through his head.
Camp Campbell, shut down? Gone? Sold off?
The camp was Davey's whole reason for existence. The entire reason why metal, magic, and nature itself was hammered into the human shape called "David". Why his life was plagued with aching bones, stomach aches, and migraines.
If Camp Campbell shut down, what was all his suffering for? Why was he made?
Was his existence now useless?
Was he useless?
Would he be… disposed of, if he had no more use?
No. Davey refused. He didn't want to go though life listless and unarmored. Not again. He refused be be unmade.
He can't allow the camp to shut down.
Turning to the man who'd lead him to discovering the path to his purpose (a debt which Davey would spend his entire life repaying, if he had to), Davey asked desperately, "Mr. Campbell, isn't there something we could do to help?"
And with that, their quest to Regular Island began. With Jasper's hand in his, as he lead the other boy to the docks, Davey felt the impression of doorways and passages surrounding the godling intensify.
Usually, Max kept his distance from the Quartermaster. The man was a complete unknown. He wasn't human. But he wasn't a monster, either. He protected the camp just as much as he sought to bring it to ruin with his never ending ramblings on prophecy and rituals.
But Max and his friends had questions, and the Quartermaster was the only one with answers.
"Who is this kid?"
"Why did we see him on Spooky Island?"
"Are ghosts real?"
"Why didn't the pamphlet mention them if they are? Why is David so guilty about him?"
"Do you think his shorts are cool?"
"Did you bury his body, you sick fuck?!"
Ah, yes. Truly an interrogation technique of great renown. Shouting until someone gives a clear answer.
Looking back on the whole interaction, Max was certain that it had to have been Neil and Nikki's presence that gave him so much confidence to yell and and even blackmail Quartermaster. Let alone follow him into a storage closet with only one, inaccessible exist.
Despite the entire operation being kinda scuffed, he was able to get the information he was looking for.
"Jasper did disappear from camp one day. The last time anyone saw him, he went to Spooky Island. With David."
"Come on, it's gotta be around here somewhere."
Davey was trying his hardest to not curse like a sailor as he searched through the last available drawer in Mr. Campbell's office. He'd been searching for hours, and he still couldn't find that fuc- fudging folder. Surveying the room, in near shambles due to his search, Davey had to briefly wonder if this "idea folder" even existed!
Davey took a deep breath. Anger wouldn't solve this problem. If only he had some help.
"I've been down in the basement playing Pogs for hours."
Yeah, Jasper. I noticed. Davey thought glumly. He'd wanted to try and get closer with the godling on this little outing, so he could figure out how to make him feel better. But, as soon as they'd reached the mansion, Jasper had all but disappeared into the game filled basement.
Jasper continued. "If the fate of the camp really DID hang in the balance you would think Campbell would care enough to do this himself."
Davey could feel himself getting irritated. "You just don't get it, Jasper. Mr. Campbell's the kind of guy who sets others up to succeed." Davey knew that from experience.
Jasper got a weird look on his face, one Davey couldn't decipher. "That's wack, Davey. He seems more like the kind of guy to set you up to take the fall."
"You're the one who's wack!" Davey yelled back, unable to contain the roaring emotions anymore. "Just because you had ONE BAD DAY AT CAMP doesn't mean YOU have to ruin MY experience!"
(He didn't want to be useless. He didn't want to go through life without a purpose.)
Looking a the folder laying innocently in the hidden drawer, Davey felt like a door had just creaked open.
Max REALLY fucking hates Spooky Island. Not only is it not actually all that spooky (fucked up old people parties not withstanding, because Max has all but wiped that from his memory), but it is just one giant safety hazard. From the pieces of shrapnel scattered about the ground, threatening to put their tetanus shots to work, to the Platypus dogging their every step, to the literal chasms to the Underworld that are just sitting there, Max couldn't walk more than five feet before running into life threatening danger.
At least ghost hunting was apparently easier in real life than in the movies.
"Somebody say my name? That's right, it's me, Jasper!"
With how feral Nikki can be sometimes, Max was honestly surprised she didn't try pouncing on the kid when he appeared.
At least this ghost was more willing to give solid answers than most supernatural entities in Max's life. The godling much preferred one single story time session over years of subtle hints and thankless research in order to get answers.
Would still be nice if he could just gather the information and be done with this shit. But apparently, death is a natural buffer to such methods.
Why, why, why, WHY? Why was Jasper so against them saving Camp Campbell?
Why couldn't Davey have this one thing? A place of his own, where he didn't feel his insides turn every time he tried something new. A place where he could sleep and eat and live without pain.
"I don't want to get T'd off but if you were really my friend, you wouldn't try to ruin this camp for me."
"Campbell's clearly a bogus loser who just wants to use you, Davey." Jasper spat out in response. Davey wanted to cover his ears. Ignore ever word coming out of the godling's mouth. "And if you were really MY FRIEND, you'd want to help me put him away."
But if Cameron Campbell was gone, then the camp would be gone, too. And then Davey…
"Well, maybe we're not friends then, Jasper." Davey said, feeling something in his chest shatter, even as he raised his hand to point his finger and land the finishing blow. "I'm… telling on you!"
Jasper let out a gasp, his eyes filling with sadness, hurt, and something else Davey couldn't understand. "So, you've made your choice. Well, good luck getting back here in time. Once I get the evidence, I'll show everyone!"
But Davey didn't hear anything else after that. He was already making his way back down to the shoreline.
He'd deal with the ache in his bones and the tears in his eyes once the camp was saved.
Max… honestly didn't know how to feel after hearing how this ghost in front of him bit the dust. Instead of focusing on how his entire world view had been shattered again (Seriously? First gods and monster, and now this shit?), Max interrupts Nikki's ramblings to ask. "Wait, so David didn't have anything to do with your death? Then why are you haunting him? How are you even a ghost? I thought you'd be in the Fields of Asphodel by now."
"I'm not haunting him. After I died, my dad Janus snatched up my spirit before it could reach the Underworld and gave me a choice. I could either move on like normal, or I could become on of his Watchers and keep record of all the transitions that happen around Sleepy Peak." Jasper gestured towards his translucent body. "You can probably guess which on I chose."
He rubbed at the back of his neck anxiously. "It's hard for my ghostly body to travel outside the island when a transition isn't taking place so it was difficult to get his attention. I just mainly wanted to tell him… I'm sorry. I don't blame him for the things he said. I didn't know he… How reliant he was on Camp Campbell. We were both bad friends to one another. If you could tell Davey that for me, maybe I might finally find some peace."
Usually, Max wouldn't do something like that for free. But since Jasper obviously didn't have anything to offer in exchange, Max guessed he would do the kid this favor. I wasn't like he had anything else better to do.
(It definitely wasn't because he felt sorry for the guy.)
"I'm afraid not, Davey. The 'Ideas' folder was a dud. Camp Campbell is going to be shut down for good. Unless you could tell me what "Hot Dog Guy" means."
Davey's world collapsed. Camp Campbell was his goal, his purpose. If it was gone, then… What was he here for? Why had he suffered for the past four years?
Davey thought back through the years he spent in the foster system. Of all the failed attempts at normalcy and casual recreation.
He thought back to the day he realized just how far the gods would go to get him to accomplish his "mission." The moment where he laid limp on the floor of the bathroom in his most recent placement, curled up beside the toilet where his meager dinner sat stagnant in the water because he didn't have enough strength to flush before collapsing. Clutching desperately at his clothes as his stomach rolled, his muscles ached, and his ears rang with a shrieking C8 note.
He thought of that moment, and how desperately he wished. Wished for a place where he was free to do all that he wanted. Where any interest he had could be explored to the fullest. A safe place where a not-quite human boy like himself could go hiking, do art and crafts, board games, extreme sports, or put on a magic show or a play. Anything you wanted because you knew you were safe.
A place where the adults cared about the bruises you got (or noticed when you never got any despite all the times you've been cornered in the alley). Where they took the time to teach you about your interests, helped you perfect what you were passionate about. How to use your innate gifts without fear of making mistakes.
A camp that...
"A camp where you could do anything!"
AN: And there it is, boys (and girls (and all this in between!)!)! Jasper's death, Davey's obsession, and Max and crew being nosy for nosy's sake! It was such a struggle to write this chapter, though I'm not really sure why. Maybe it was the alternating POVs? Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it and that all the lore I snuck in makes sense. As always...
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!