Against all odds and expectations, Kate, Lauren and Charlie finally managed to find a way to defeat the Slenderman once and for all. Thanks to Charlie and CR's combined knowledge, the surviving trio was able to piece together just how exactly the Slenderman had come to Oakside Park at all. They still didn't have the full origin story for the demonic entity, but they now knew that some of their ancestors had foolishly summoned him over using black magic. In particular, it had been a woman named Frida Matheson, who had used some sort of spell book to bring him over out of sheer curiosity alone.
"Talk about curiosity killing the cat," Lauren remarked coldly as she, Kate and Charlie managed to slip back into the old chapel just outside of the remains of the Matheson family farm. This was where Frida had done her dark deed all those years and years ago.
"Curiosity took all nine lives too," Kate agreed with a frown. Charlie, meanwhile, ran to and fro, almost looking like a spider as his thin, spindly limbs moved in a blur. He was collecting various objects from around the area in order to recreate the exact circumstances his ancestor had used when she first summoned the Slenderman about a century ago. It was his hope that they could use the spell book and ritual, but do it all in reverse, and send Slender far, far away. It was a risky gamble with absolutely no guarantee of success, but all of them were so desperate at that point that they decided to go full speed ahead with the idea.
Several minutes later, then, while Charlie began to read from the ancient and accursed tome Frida had found, the entire chapel filled with a pearly mist. It was the ghosts of all of Slender's other victims. The one leading the charge was none other than Frida Matheson herself.
"The woman who started it all," Lauren failed to hide a look of disgust, disdain and dislike as Frida and the rest of her slain family slowly rose up from the chapel floor to fill the room with their eerie, ghastly essence. Frida gave Lauren a humbled and apologetic look, bending her glowing head in agreement with Lauren's harsh remark. But then she turned towards Charlie, face morphing into a look of genuine softness. A pearly hand reached out to stroke his disfigured head, and then two more followed suit. These belonged to his parents.
Even though Diane had died away from Oakside Park, her spirit was forced to reside there after her death, in eternal wait for her son. Charles, of course, was there as well, and he looked just as proud and pained as his wife and ancestor to see Charlie again, in this condition. Charlie acknowledged their encouraging caresses with a small flick of the head, but since he was too busy reading the spell to send Slender away, he didn't dare look away or talk to them directly. Lauren and Kate, meanwhile, stood guard over him, prepared in case Slender or any of his eviler proxies came along to try and stop them. And sure enough, they did.
The moment that ethereal breeze from the spell book had started to fill the haunted forest, Slender teleported himself and his loyal legion right to the source of the strife at once.
"CHARLIE!" his thunderous roar was so horrific and terrifying that even the ghosts cowered in fear as their killer burst into the chapel, head almost touching the rafters as he angled his faceless visage down at the one trying to get rid of him. But even though the ghosts trembled violently in terror, they stood strong over the three living beings who were trying to undo this nightmare.
Kate and Lauren looked close to fainting as well, but they both stood defiantly over Charlie with the other ghosts. Slender and his goons attacked, then, but after years and years and years of torment and torture, the ghosts finally rebelled. They found the strength and courage to fight back against their tormentors, nothing left to lose now. Led by Frida and CR, they dealt with Slender directly. Kate and Lauren, meanwhile, took on all of Slender's loyal and bloodthirsty proxies. Toby was among the lot, severely injured, but so angry and vengeful that the pain meant nothing to him compared to the chance of getting revenge against the two idiotic girls who had defeated him so thoroughly only a few hours ago. The battle was very wild and bloody, to say the least, but Kate, Lauren and the ghosts were so sick and tired of running and hiding that all of their anger was finally unleashed here and none of them held back at all. At long, long last, their rage was finally being put to good use, and it did not fail them.
Thanks to the combined effort of the brave and desperate ghosts and girls, Charlie managed to finish the ritual in time. The pentagram on the chapel floor began to glow hellishly before collapsing into a black hole lined with dark red veins of fire. The hole began to suck Slender inside. He thrashed and fought, the tantrum terrifying even his most loyal henchmen, but for once, the demon was powerless. All he could do was writhe and convulse as he was dragged helplessly into the endless pit to Hell. But his thrashing was powerful enough to bring the entire chapel crashing down on all of their heads. In his dying throes, Slender continued to lash out at any and everything that came too close, including his own pet slaves. He killed them left and right, dragging some of them with him while throwing others ahead of him as if he could please the hungry pit by sacrificing his own men first. They panicked, but Slender was stronger. He continued to bellow, static blinding and deafening everyone else in the area as earthquakes shook the entire forest.
But then at last, Slender was finally all gone, totally sucked into the endless black pit. The moment he was sucked in, the hole sealed up until only a faded, stained pentagram remained, the floor restored once again. And once the hole sealed up, all the storms shaking the forest ceased at once. The world went totally and perfectly still and silent. Not even any of the proxies remained, all of them dead. Nothing but pools of blood remained of them. The ghosts had vanished as well, disappearing the moment all the noise did. Frida and CR had been two ghosts to lunge into the pit after Slender, shoving him into his grisly demise even faster. Now it was all over. Everything and everyone was gone, except for Kate, Lauren and Charlie, the only survivors. But all of the supernatural and paranormal aspects of the park were over and done with, for good. With the ritual done, the surviving trio wasted no time in finishing what Slender had started. They destroyed the rest of the chapel, and Frida's spell book, until nothing remained but ash and dust. Now it was finally, truly over. The forest was totally back to normal once again.
"So now what do we do?" Charlie garbled, suddenly feeling much weaker. His proxy powers had followed Slender to the grave. He was still irreversibly disfigured, but he was no longer any parts demonic.
"We go home," Kate replied, having suffered the same sudden loss of powers that Charlie had. She looked on the brink of passing out, having fought against all of Slender's evil proxies with quite a lot of vim and vigor. Lauren didn't even speak, even more drained than Kate because she had been fighting without the help of super strength and speed. But through her exhaustion, she managed to weak smile at her two companions.
"We did it," she gasped wearily, swaying a little. "We won..." and the two of them managed a smile right back at her...
In the days to come, then, the trio took up residence in Kate's house once again. With the threat of Slender gone, all the haunts and horrors surrounding the area were lifted as well. Kate felt safe in her own home again.
"But it's not like I have much of a choice," she growled, voice still very distorted. She gestured to herself with a dry and very toothy smile. Even though she was no longer a proxy, she was still very badly disfigured. She knew full well she would not be able to show her face in polite society again for a very long time. Even if she would someday make a full recovery, that day was going to be years and years away.
"Guess we'd better call the realtor and cancel my appointment," she continued to joke dryly, heading towards her house's phone. With Slender and all of his electromagnetic interreferences gone, all of the power to the house was back up and running smoothly once again.
"Ummm, actually, you probably ought to let me do that!" Lauren said quickly. Although her voice was pretty raspy, hoarse, weak and wounded too, Kate's was far worse.
"Ah, true," Kate gave her a razor-toothed smile before handing her the phone. Charlie, meanwhile, just looked entranced to even see a phone. It had been so very long since he had seen any sort of creature comfort...
So Kate's house was no longer on the market. Now and forever, that little surviving trio became a patchwork family, and Kate's mansion was their new base, for better or for worse.
"Don't worry, we will turn this prison into a sanctuary," Lauren promised as she took a good hard look at the mess they called Kate's house. Since no one had been in it since Lauren explored it a few days ago, it was still a crazy and wild battlefield. Furniture and Slender drawings were still everywhere. They had a lot of cleaning up to do. And it wasn't even just the house, it was them as well. All three of them were badly injured, but two of them already knew they would never be able to set foot in a hospital.
"I think Charlie and I would give all the doctors and nurses heart attacks," Kate remarked dryly as she inspected her horrifically mutilated face. "And I don't really feel like explaining how and where I got all of these wounds!" she added, thinking darkly back on the very first time she ever met Slenderman. In all of the doctor and therapy sessions to follow, no one she ever spoke to believed that she had been haunted and hunted by a tall, thin, spectral figure in a suit and tie with tentacles as long and thin as the rest of his spidery limbs. Kate couldn't entirely blame them, but she knew that if they didn't believe her before, they wouldn't believe her now.
"So any and all recovery is going to have to happen here," she sighed in resignation as she crashed on her couch. Charlie curled up at her side, worrying over the fact that he would never make a full recovery. Kate hadn't been proxified for too long so, one day, she would be able to get her old looks back. He, however, was too far gone. Even if his mind was back, his body would be forever stuck in that zombified form.
"Don't worry," Lauren promised the pair as she knelt down beside them, holding a makeshift first-aid kit in her arms. "We can fix you guys either way..." then she began to tend to their wounds, gentle, kind and maternal. Charlie had practically purred, having never felt so loved in his entire life. Lauren's gentle and caring hands were better for him than water might've been to a man dying of dehydration. And Kate also looked as if the weight of the sky (not just the world, but the entire sky) had been lifted from her shoulders as Lauren gently cleaned her up. Then once they had been somewhat tended to, they returned the favor, quick to force Lauren onto the couch to patch her up as well.
"Don't worry guys! I'm fine!" she protested embarressedly as Kate and Charlie competed to see who could give her better care faster.
"Nonsense!" Kate replied as she began to wrap up some of Lauren's injuries in gauze.
"It's our turn to take care of you!" Charlie agreed as he brought over water and ice packs, tossing them on Lauren before rushing away to find band-aids. Despite herself, Lauren watched the little zombie boy totter away with a smile on her own face. Even though he was still nightmarishly ugly and scary to behold, Lauren honestly found him quite adorable. Kate was watching Charlie dart away with the same warmth and affection as Lauren. Kate had already promised to herself that she would do her best to give Charlie the life he never had. She already new he would never get his body back, but she was still determined to help him. She knew what it felt like to be proxified, after all. It was something they could bond over.
In the days to come, then, the trio continued to live together in Kate's mansion. It was large enough to easily house all three of them, and it really did become a prison turned into a sanctuary. That place of bad memories and old nightmares was fixed, cleansed and reborn into a safe haven, a place of peace, safety, happiness, growth and life. That place that had once haunted Kate, and had once been a place of such death and despair was becoming a place of freedom and joy. The drawings of Slender were scrubbed from the walls, furniture was salvaged, proper graves for all of Slender's victims were made just outside the property line. Everything else was restored and refurbished. The sunlight shone through the clean windows and smiles found their way onto the faces of the three residents once again.
Life in the house was happy, albeit strange. And sometimes, the trio would even go back to visit the restored Oakside Park. With Slender gone, the horrors of the park had vanished as well and all that remained was serenity and nature. It became the trio's secret project, to restore Charlie's old home. Obviously, they weren't able to do too much, but they were able to salvage some of his old toys and treasures while also helping fix up the house. It was still burned up, but it was no longer in any danger of collapsing.
"Thank you!" Charlie had literally fallen to his knees in gratitude when Kate and Lauren took him out to his old home to reveal that they had cleaned up parts of the house and added a few new boards to keep the house from literally falling apart at the seams.
So the forest became their dominion as well and the trio would sometimes just take long walks and romps through Oakside, it too going from a prison into a sanctuary. Sometimes, Kate would have them race through the forest paths even though she always won. (She really did deserve the nickname of "Chaser"). Other times, Charlie would take them to explore his farm. And Lauren would lead them around through the trees, just exploring and hiking. They played games, camped and picnicked in Oakside, living without fear. The forest did not scare any of them any longer and they began to see it as their own personal playground. With Slender gone, there was nothing left to fear. The mines, though still abandoned, were no longer all that dangerous, and the radio tower became a proper memorial to CR. He, too, had a headstone outside of Kate's house, even though his body remained within the tower.
"I wish he could've been with us," Kate murmured once as she stared up at the radio tower spire peeking up over the treetops.
"So do I," Lauren replied, sharing in Kate's sadness. She may not have known him very well, but she also wished that he still could've been alive. He would've loved this life, this peaceful existence with Kate, Lauren and Charlie. And he deserved to have had it. It was only the monstrous Slenderman who had kept him from ever getting that happy ending.
"But at least he and all the others are at peace now," Charlie tried to lighten the mood as he, too, stared up in reverence at the radio tower, thinking back to the night when all the ghosts came together to avenge themselves and save Oakside.
"At least they are at peace now," Lauren echoed gently, squeezing both Kate and Charlie's hands in her own. They squeezed back and managed a smile, finally turning away from CR's unofficial monument and heading back home...
"Hey, I'm going to the grocery store again today, anything you want me to get?!" Lauren called out as she made her way to the door.
"Oreos and Chips Ahoy!"
"Jello and pudding!"
"Ice cream and cake!"
"Chips!" back and forth, in a childish manner, Charlie and Kate both placed their requests. Kate was almost fully back to normal (though her teeth would never really properly be fixed. Lauren did manage to sort of smooth them out, but they were still jagged, uneven and unnaturally sharp) while Charlie looked the exact same as he had when Lauren first stumbled upon him all those years ago, but both of them were in much greater spirits than ever before. They laughed and joked as they ran over to bid Lauren farewell. Since she was the most normal and healthy-looking of the trio, she was the one that connected them to the outside world to go get their groceries and other necessities.
"Ok, and what do you guys want for real food?" Lauren asked teasingly, crossing her arms and smirking as they ran over to her.
"That is real food!" Charlie cried.
"Healthy food is disgusting!" Kate agreed.
"You all need to keep your strengths up though!" Lauren tried to argue sternly, but she could not stop a giant smile from spreading across her face. God, she loved these two adorable dorks!
"We were proxified!" Kate shot back with a playful frown, crossing her arms as well. "We deserve to indulge in unhealthy junk food!"
"You can't keep using that as an excuse for everything!" Lauren chided her friend with an amused smirk.
"Watch me!" came the sassy and self-satisfied replied. Lauren swatted Kate's arm and Kate pretended to hiss in pain before playfully elbowing Lauren right back. It really was just like old times. Of course, all three of them still suffered from PTSD, but in between the nightmares and flashbacks, there were playfully little moments like this when memories of the past became real and happy again.
"Don't get into too much trouble while I'm gone," Lauren warned as she grabbed the car keys and headed out.
"We'll be sure not to throw any parties!" Charlie promised with a wink. Kate nudged him with a grin while Lauren pretended to sigh tiredly.
"Kate! You're a bad influence!" she said. "Charlie used to be a good little child until he met you!"
"Nonsense! I'm the awesome big sister!" Kate replied in mock indignance. "You're just the stuck-up mom!"
"Wait, why am I the mom?" Lauren frowned.
"Did your previous remark about what kind of food we should eat not answer that question for you?" Kate teased, raising an eyebrow playfully.
"Ah, true, fair enough," Lauren grumbled. "At least one of us needs to be the responsible one!" but there was a tiny spark of amusement in her eyes as said this. With that, she finally took a step outside.
"Bye mom!" Charlie and Kate both shouted in unison, waving at her from the doorway.
Lauren huffed over her shoulder but as she turned towards the driveway, the rising sun warming her face, a smile of true serenity spread across her face. Life had definitely not turned out the way she'd expected and it had been very, very, very far from easy, but she honestly wouldn't have changed it for anything in the entire world. This was her happily ever after. Maybe it wasn't very conventional or expected, but it was hers, and nothing would ever come between her or it ever again, and that was a promise!
AN: Here's another happy ending AU to "So Often Are We" where everyone lives and escapes before moving back into Kate's house and this one goes out to Woodmr13, the best Slender writer and fan I've ever met!
(Honestly at this point, the only way I can think to make it any happier would be if all the ghosts managed to resurrect and all the proxies managed to recover as well once Slender was sent back to Hell. But that would've been a bit unrealistic, so this is where it'll stay. With just our little Arrival trio finally earning their long-awaited happy ending).