[identity profile] you-legwarmers.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] wl_fanfiction
Title: Ten Days (Day 1)
Genre: Friendship; drama
Rating: PG-13 for now. Probably R later.
Characters: Ryan, Colin, Jeff, Greg, Wayne, Brad
Pairings: None yet! ;) I know Rycol will be there eventually
Summary: Surviving ten days in the wilderness is hard for one person. But it's next to impossible for six.
Disclaimer: No offense intended, ever. I'm not related to nor am I affiliated with the men of Whose Line.

The winding and empty roads eventually segued into narrow dirt paths, barely wide enough for the bus. They hadn't seen an inch of gray pavement for approximately half an hour.

"I've officially lost all service," grumbled Jeff, stuffing his phone into his pocket.

"You know, there's this thing they just invented about six million years ago, Jeff. It's called face-to-face interaction," Ryan said. For once, being a technological recluse had its advantages. He and Colin had been playing poker with Greg and Wayne for the majority of the three-hour trip. Ryan was the only one not going through Internet withdrawal.

Brad appeared to be asleep, curled up on the single seat, head periodically bouncing off the rattling window.

"I don't know if he's still napping or if he's suffering a concussion at this point. Full house." Greg turned his cards toward the other men.

"Straight," countered Wayne with a smirk, abandoning the poker face.

Ryan threw the cards down. "Fuck. I'm out."

Colin sighed. "Me too."

The bus was slowing down.

-----------------------------------------

"It's a tent, Brad," said Jeff. "It's not that hard."

"They couldn't have included the instructions at least?" Brad snapped, stumbling over a tent pole.

"They seem to be doing well," commented Greg from the side. "Fuck, these glasses don't help shit. Can you read this?" He handed the map to Wayne.

They'd arrived to find several boxes of supplies and a disassembled tent waiting for them on the ground. Tall, thick trees of many varieties gave the area plenty of shade. It was a warm day, and the sun was bright, a small blessing for anyone who'd be sleeping outdoors.

The bus was long gone, leaving them basically stranded. Their only instructions were left on a single note "Two nights, here's everything you'll need, including the camera. Very safe area. Bus returning Wednesday, don't worry about it. Best of luck! Dan."

After cursing their producer for the thousandth time, the six of them had decided to sort through the boxes. Ryan and Colin found food, water, fishing equipment (though there wasn't a lake to be seen), matches, and all the typical bare-basic stuff one would use for camping. Except it was multiplied by six.

Wayne and Greg found five sleeping bags and one inflatable mattress ("Thank fuck for that" was Ryan's comment), a very vintage-looking yet surprisingly sturdy video camera, and a map of the area.

Jeff and Brad were left with the tent, much to their chagrin. Colin watched them, amused.

"Shouldn't we be filming this? The ten people who watch us regularly would just eat this up." His familiarly dry tone made Ryan snort.

"You really want us to subject ourselves to that crap?" he asked.

Colin replied, "Do we have a choice?"

Ryan's eyes narrowed in question. "Why should we let the execs boss us around?"

Colin lightened with sudden realization. "Are we trying to get fired?"

"Do they have anybody else to do what we do?"

"Have they looked?"

"Not recen- damn it." Ryan laughed. "Am I ever gonna win that fucking game?"

"Probably not," Colin admitted. He shuffled several cans around in the box, trying to decide what would be easiest to prepare for a meal. Not that there were many options to start with. The box was packed with canned vegetables, fake meat, dried jerky, and whatever else wouldn't spoil yet was still guaranteed to taste terrible.

"They give us any cigarettes to go with those matches?" Greg plopped down on a rock next to Colin.

"Afraid not, Smokey Bear. I barely even trust us with the matches, actually." Colin eyed Brad and Jeff pointedly. They had abandoned the tent and were now fencing with the poles.

"Hey, how old are you guys again?" Wayne shouted. Jeff glanced over briefly before resuming the duel.

"Is this what they expect us to film? Because it's too fucking cutesy for me," said Greg. "Nobody could watch this for ten minutes without turning into a pile of melted marshmallow."

"Oh sweet, there's marshmallows?" Brad dropped his pole. Jeff shrugged and joined the rest of the group.

"Speaking of food, what time is it?" None of them had phones on them (Jeff had practically had to have his pried from his hands, being forced to leave it on the bus) and the only one who regularly wore a watch was Colin, who'd left it with the other valuables, afraid of losing it.

"It's either ten A.M. or three P.M., give or take a few minutes," Greg answered, squinting at the sun.

"We left at eleven, Greg," Wayne pointed out.

Greg shrugged. "Well, there you go, then. Not my fault I'm the only one who can read the sky."

"We're never gonna get that damn tent up by night," Brad informed them. "If you hadn't already figured that out. Anyone opposed to just bailing on the tent and doing this the old-fashioned way?"

Greg gave a signature eye roll; Wayne and Jeff just shrugged. Colin stole a glance at Ryan, wondering whether that would present a problem for his back pain. But Ryan didn't even seem to notice. He was looking into the distance at nothing in particular.

There was a strange sort of silence for a minute, one that none of them could rightly define. Not awkwardness; not really. (They'd been in more intimate situations with one another, after all.) It was almost a bittersweet feeling. Normally it would have seemed random, and they all would have joked about it, but this was unspoken and understood. The mood had changed, and they all felt it enough that there were several moments of silence.

It was quiet all around, except for the sound of the trees brushing their leaves against each other. It was such an ordinary thing, a background noise really, but the feeling it evoked was peaceful. And right. As if the breeze had consciously decided which branches should be closer together. One giant web of treetops forming a canopy above the ground. Not completely blocking the bright sun, but instead offering a shelter for those who needed a moment in the shade.

------------------------------------------------

The food was edible, but not much else could be said for it. The tent poles were shoved back into their box and the air mattress inflated with a battery operated hair dryer-like device. They had a sufficient fire going thanks to Jeff's in-depth knowledge of pyrotechnics. None of them wanted to know why he was studying that and no one asked.

Despite the nap he'd taken on the bus, Brad was the first to fall asleep. "Figuring out that asshole of a tent was draining," he claimed. Jeff without his phone was surprisingly mellow. He gave up on trying to fit his 6 foot 5 frame into one sleeping bag and finally unzipped the bag, making a blanket, and curled up on top of the tent fabric.

"I'm glad they're happy, cause I'm gonna be up for at least three more hours without my usual relaxation methods," Greg griped.

Wayne shook his head. "Nah, I was just saving this until at least two of y'all were out. Not enough for six, so they're some unlucky suckers." He pulled a good sized bottle of Grey Goose vodka out of his bag. Greg looked at Wayne with absolute reverence.

"They're going to find this thing in the morning," Colin pointed out after each had taken a shot (or two in Greg's case).

Ryan shrugged. "First come, first served."

"If you know what I mean," Colin added. Then he laughed, shaking his head. "God, I still don't totally get that game."

Wayne, smiling, handed him the bottle. "Strengths and weaknesses, man. We all have them."

"And your weaknesses are?" Greg retorted sarcastically.

"Hey, I can't keep a straight face half the time. Colin's got the deadpan delivery thing down, not to mention he's a god damn genius--" Colin looked up, surprised, but smiled.
"Ryan takes more physical crap than anybody else and he can get away with pretty much any joke. Greg can put the most useless knowledge to good use and his voices are spot-on." Wayne was on a roll, so he continued when nobody stopped him. "Jeff's the ladies' man and basically a taller and whiter me with slightly less vocal talent. Brad's a giant child half the time, but he's probably the most versatile one too. Uh, let's see..." He racked his brain for past and lesser-known performers.

"Chip's smooth as hell and probably the only one who didn't insult everybody for laughs," Greg offered.

"Heather's easily the funniest woman we've worked with and she made me decide we need more female comedians on the show already," Ryan stated. This seemed to surprise the rest.

"Didn't know you thought so highly of her," Greg said. "I mean, of course she's good. I haven't done many gigs with her, but..."

"Exactly," said Ryan. "There's never been more than one woman performing with us at a time."

They were quiet for a second. "Fuck," Greg commented. "True."

"We'd never get to grope each other if there were," Wayne declared, breaking the tension. "And where would that leave you two?" He gestured to Colin and Ryan, who had absently moved slightly closer to each other during the conversation. Wayne stood. "And with that, my friends, I bid you good night. Enjoy the vodka." He made a dramatic exit, something only Wayne Brady could accomplish in a forest while getting into a sleeping bag ten feet away.

Greg chugged one final hit of vodka. "You kittens have fun. I'm gonna..." The last part of his sentence was less than intelligible as he stretched out next to Jeff on the thin tent covering. He didn't even bother with the sleeping bag, mumbling "...warm..." as Jeff unintentionally became a body pillow.

Ryan was laughing. "Tell me again why it's us everyone is always shoving together?"

"Got me," Colin shrugged. "Shit. Greg spilled the bottle. Assuming it wasn't empty already."

Ryan wasn't paying attention to the vodka. He was gazing at Colin. "I'm serious. It's always been like this, with the fans assuming we like to fuck each other during every commercial break."

"You mean we don't?" Colin teased, eyes wide and dark. He shifted into a more serious tone. "People see what they want to see, you know? I can't say there's not a reason for it, because obviously we--"

"We radiate sexual tension?" Ryan smirked.

"No, shut up for a second." Colin was urgent, listening intently. "You hear that?"

"Do I hear you obviously trying to change the subject? Yes."

"I'm fucking serious, Stiles. Listen. It's sounds like a train or something."

"Why the fuck would there be a--" Ryan was cut off by the sight of an unmistakable brightness in the distance. The connection was made and suddenly everything surged into chaos.

"Shit! Get up! Now!"

"The fuck is going on?" shouted Greg.

"There's a fucking forest fire, genius!"

Everyone was awake at that.

"We need to run!"

"No, asshole, we need to hide!"

"You don't hide from a goddamn fire! Call 911!"

"There's no phone, you idiot!"

"SHUT UP!" The men turned to Colin, who was stuffing cans of food into one of the small drawstring bags. "Calm the fuck down. Everybody take a bag, two of you fill it with just water bottles. Jeff, fill yours with the first aid stuff. Everybody else grab food. Then we're gonna run. Don't think, don't bother with the campfire or anything else. Just run."

Too stunned and filled with adrenaline to speak, they did what Colin had instructed as fast as possible. The fire was more visible now, smoke just beginning to taint the air.

"Okay, now hurry up!"

There was nowhere to run that could be safe from a wildfire. No lake, no roads, no valley in sight. Nothing in sight, actually; it was pitch dark. None of the men bothered to speak; running wasn't something any of them besides Wayne was particularly accustomed to, and most of them were winded after five minutes or so. But they pushed on, like desperate animals in a cage.

"Ow, fuck!" The sound of sticks snapping and skidding across dirt caught their attention.

"What was that?" Brad cried, jerking to a halt.

"Don't stop; keep going!" Colin shouted, waving his arms at the other four. "We'll catch up!"

"Are you fucking crazy? You keep going!" Ryan winced.

Colin ignored him. "There's plenty of distance right now. Is it your back?"

"No, my leg. I fell on a rock or some shit." He spoke through gritted teeth.

"Can you get up?" Colin let the tall man lean on him for support. The leg looked painful but not useless. "I hate to tell you, but you're gonna have to keep going for as long as we can."

Ryan grimaced. "I figured. Or I can just turn around right now and--"

"Stop," said Colin furiously. "Whatever you were going to say, don't fucking say it. I don't care if it was a joke; it's not the time. And if it wasn't a joke, I don't want to hear it because--" He paused for a breath, anger and fear choking him.

Ryan didn't answer. He only put the weight back on his injured leg, and despite the pain, continued to run.

------------------------------------------

It went on.

It was nearly an hour before they all agreed that they had outrun the fire, and if they hadn't, they were too exhausted to keep going anyway.
Each of them had tripped over something in the dark at least once, and Greg, being slightly inebriated, had managed to land on his side, suffering at least one minor puncture wound and several painful bruises. He hadn't allowed anyone to look at it yet.

They were all resting, backs against rough pine trees. Wayne was bandaging at Ryan's leg, which appeared to have a sprained ankle as well as a long scrape running up the calf. Colin was keeping his distance from Ryan-- metaphorically, of course, since they were all gathered in a cluster.

"They're not gonna find us," Jeff kept saying.

"Shut up, Jeff," groaned Brad, who was pacing, rubbing a throbbing headache.

"We're fucking lost."

"Davis, I'm telling you, shut up," snarled Greg.

"We're lost! Nobody's looking for us, we're fucking dead!" He was losing it, slowly becoming hysterical.

Colin, of all people, who was never physically angry, slapped him. Jeff lay down in the dirt, exhausted, and cried. Under any other circumstances it would have been comical, but this was the least amusing situation they'd ever been in.

Because Jeff was right. They were lost. And since everyone they were close to assumed they were on a two-night camping trip, safely arranged by their producer, who himself was sleeping in his own perfectly safe house with no reason to suspect that his colleagues were in danger...

Well, why should anyone have been looking for them?
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