In the exact moment she struck, she felt a stinging sensation in her left side, followed by another scream from Avery. Where her knife landed was not in the boy's stomach but through his left hand. His fingers tightly gripped around the blade and became saturated with the blood pouring out. Jane peered down at her side to see why it felt pained and was met with an unexpected sight. Imbedded in her side was a small knife clutched in Avery's right hand.
"You..." Jane growled, her voice seething in anger.
"One thing you can't expect from Jeff is a back-up plan," Avery replied. "Although he was kind enough to give this to me in case something were to happen on my way back home."
"You're just full of fucking surprises..."
"You could say that."
Avery pushed Jane over and rolled on top of her before removing his knife. She tried to pull out her own blade but Avery had managed to loop his fingers around the handle. Each feeble attempt to pull seem to slice the edge further into Avery's hand, but he refused to let go.
Jane wrapped her free hand around Avery's throat and began to squeeze tightly. Although stunned and quickly loosing his ability to breathe, Avery retaliated by stabbing Jane's wrist. She screamed and tightened her grip before slowly loosening it as pain shot through her hand. The proxy twisted the knife deeper inside her wrist until he felt she could not use it anymore. Jane's arm dropped almost immediately as Avery pulled the blade out.
With Jane's knife still stuck in his hand, he made it seem as though he were trying to wedge it from Jane's grasp. Determined not to let her new pesky rival have it, she kept her fingers fisted tightly around the handle. Biting his lip, Avery pulled both the knife and Jane's arm outward, extending her limb fully. Before Jane could bend it, Avery plunged his knife into the inner area of her elbow. She let out an agonized cry and reflexively bent it uselessly.
Without realizing it, Avery had managed to slip Jane's knife out of her hand. He gave a finial twist into her arm before pulling his weapon out and attending to his hand. He gradually loosened his grip on the blade, letting out a strained groan before successfully removing it. He threw the knife behind a few trees and brought his attention back to the girl beneath him. To prevent her from fighting back, Avery grabbed Jane's hands and pinned them to the ground. She gazed up at him with a scowl, Avery returning her stare.
"I am really getting tired of you showing up and interfering with my life," the boy said dryly. "Do you not understand how infuriating that is?"
"You were the one who decided to associate with that bastard."
"No, not really. It wasn't actually my choice to deal with him."
"Then why do you work with him?"
"You know what? I think I'll let you in on one or two secrets so you'll have a better understanding of things. For the record, I don't take orders from Jeff. I answer to someone higher and far more terrifying than either of you."
"What are you-" Jane stopped herself mis-sentence as she recalled the night she carved into Avery. When Jeff showed up out of the blue and attacked her, she didn't have time to see what dragged Avery away. All she could see within the darkness was something that looked like a snake coiling around the boy and quickly dragging him behind the trees. It was just as peculiar as it was frightening.
"Are you saying that the thing that dragged you away that night is what you take orders from?"
"Oh, Jane. If you only knew the half of it. But I'll make it a little easier for you. This little 'Mary-Sue' act I put up for my classmates is so that no one will look to me as a suspect when people start disappearing. To be honest, I don't even like anyone in this town."
"What about your family? Does your father even know you do this?"
"Jane. I haven't seen my father or my mother in seven years."
The girl's eyes widened and her mind wandered to one of several questions she wanted to ask him.
"Did that thing have anything to do with that?"
"Pretty much. But, unlike you, I could really care less what became of them or what they think may have happened to me."
"How could you think that way?"
"It comes with being his servant. You throw away the life you had and devote yourself to him. Hanging on to such things is useless. It'll only serve to weaken you and eventually destroy you."
"You are no greater than Jeff."
"Is that supposed to offend me? Because I don't really care what someone like you has to say about me."
"Why are you even telling me this?"
"You went through the trouble of explaining your past to me. I may as well be honest with you for once. Don't take that as an excuse to continue coming after me."
"Then why did you decide to fight me today?"
"Because you annoy the shit out of me. Look. I don't care what you and Jeff get into but keep me out of it."
"What makes you think I'll simply leave you alone?"
Avery looked at her as a small smirk twitched across her lips. He had only one thing to tell Jane for her to understand that his death would not exactly be for the best. Of course, he wasn't really sure how she'd take this bit of information.
"I lied when I said Jeff wouldn't care if you killed me," Avery answered, sounding slightly vague and random to Jane.
"You know? Jeff can be a real asshole most of the time. He bugs me with his constant pranks, interrupts me when I'm studying, and rarely gives me time to myself. So, I can see why he can be a pain in everyone's ass.
"But, even though he pisses me off half of the time, I do enjoy having him around. Plus, he's pretty helpful when it comes to fighting, and coming up with creative ways to kill someone. And, I don't know why but he never ceases to make me feel like some pathetic teenage girl with a crush on her older classmate."
"Wait... You are not saying what I think you are, are you?"
"What? You didn't think a sadistic murderer with a face badly scarred beyond recognition could ever have affectionate feelings for another? I can't speak for him but it feels 'right' when we're together. So, yeah, Jeff would probably be very pissed if you killed me."
"What in the hell do you see in that thing?"
Avery grew quiet for a moment before smiling and letting out a small laugh.
"Honestly, I'm not really sure. But I'm thinking it's because he doesn't look very human anymore. That's the best explanation I can come up with."
"I know. I don't need to be reminded."
Avery let go of Jane's wrists and tried standing again. Although he had a hard time getting back up, Jane made no effort to trip or attack him. She felt he told her everything he needed to say and, despite starting the fight, he wouldn't try to further injure her. Even so, the situation and the information she obtained from him were both awfully peculiar. Never again will she meet such a strange human being as the boy who could barely stand above her.
"So that's it?" Jane asked with curious eyes. "You're not going to do anything else? Not even attempt to make me bleed out?"
"I don't really care what becomes of you, Jane. From what I can see, you can handle yourself well. There's no point in trying to kill you if you're just going to get right back up. Just leave me alone and keep me out of this little feud you and Jeff have."
"You don't even care if I end up killing him some day?"
"He can take care of himself. All I have to worry about is if there are enough bandages and stitches to patch him up next time."
"What gives you the idea that I'll leave you alone for good?"
"Because, if Jeff doesn't get to you, you'll have to deal with my master. And, trust me, you don't want to know what he'll do to you."
A glimmer of fear showed on Jane's face for a second before she grimaced up at him.
To tell the truth, Avery had exaggerated a bit in his previous statement. Although Slenderman took the time to make sure his proxies were capable of following his every command, it did not affect him when one of them died. Avery once made a statement to Jeff that Slenderman and the proxies were like a colony of ants; many defend the queen but it makes no difference who dies because there are numerous others at her disposal. Even if his strongest proxy was killed, Slenderman could always train newer additions, and push the more important jobs on the second strongest.
Avery limped his way back onto the trails, using the trees to support himself as he walked. Before too long, he was back at the clearing with the tunnel. He could see Jeff standing in the tunnel and exiting once he noticed Avery. Feeling elated to see a face he adored, he got ahead of himself and tried limping quickly over to the scarred killer. As expected from such excitement, he lost his balance and fell to the ground. Jeff rushed over to Avery but stopped once he noticed the various wounds. Realizing what must've happened, he clenched his fists and put on a more agitated expression.
"What did that bitch do?" he asked angrily.
"She didn't approach me first," Avery explained rather calmly. "I did."
"I know. It was stupid. But I wanted to get something across to her."
"Don't you understand the danger you were in?! She could've killed you!"
"I know that! I had to take the risk!"
"Nothing is worth confronting her! She would have no trouble killing you as I would my victims! Can't you see she's just as cold-hearted as I am?!"
"Jeff! I was trying to make sure she wouldn't involve me in this fight between you two! That's why I was trying to find her!"
"I don't care! You have no idea how worried I was about you staying after school today! I'm constantly wondering whether you'll come back alive or not!"
"I'm sorry, okay?! I'm not used to taking others' feelings into account before I do things! I wasn't trying to worry you or make you upset! I'm really sorry, Jeff!"
Jeff became silent but stared at Avery for a moment while he tried to let his anger recede. After a few minutes, he took a deep breath and rubbed at his temple. He then wrapped Avery's right arm around his neck and gripped his waist.
"Let's just get you to Medic so he can fix you up."
While helping Avery to stand, Jeff hadn't realized what the cause of his limp was until he noticed the agonizing look on Avery's face. This further irritated him but he pushed this back so that he could help Avery return home.
In Medic's office, Jeff sat on a bed across from Avery while the elder proxy stitched the gashes on his shoulder and leg. Medic also expressed concern for his partner looking for trouble and coming back like this. Although he was slowly becoming fed up with being patronized for his decision, Avery took in everything Medic said to him.
Once finished, Avery was told to lay down and rest for a moment, preferably until it was time for dinner. He turned his head away from Jeff so as not to meet his unblinking gaze. Avery was starting to feel regret over confronting Jane, and being told how dangerous this idea was didn't make him feel any less of a fool. He was sure the scarred killer would never let him live this down.
He felt a hand slide down his face, pushing part of his bangs out of his eyes. Avery turned his head to see Jeff sitting on his knees next to the bed. Through the eternal smile and burned off eyelids, the proxy could swear he saw what looked like compassion on Jeff's face. He was staring into one of the very rare faces Jeff made other than hatred and insane joy.
"I'm just glad you're safe," Jeff muttered while lightly tracing his thumb over Avery's right eyebrow.
"I'm sorry for scaring you like that. Honest."
"I know. It just surprised me that you would do something like this."
"She was just getting on my nerves. I wanted to make sure she wouldn't get me caught up in your fight."
"Well, I think it's pretty clear that she can't be taken out that easily."
"I wasn't trying to kill her. I was going to weaken her so she'd listen to me without fighting back."
"That didn't go too well, I see."
"Actually, I was able to restrain her at one point before talking to her."
"How did that turn out?"
"Well... I think she'll leave me alone for now one. Although she's kind of aware of a few things."
"My master, who I really am, and that we're in a relationship."
Jeff stared at Avery for a moment, making the younger teen uncomfortable. Then, Avery saw as the corners of Jeff's lips (at least where they used to be) twitched upward several times. The serial killer let out a strained chuckle before bursting out into laughter. All Avery could do was raise an eyebrow and wait for him to explain his sudden uplifting mood.
"I wish I had seen the look on her face when you told her that we're dating! I bet she wanted to throw up!"
"You mean you're not worried she could try to use this against you in some way?"
"I am. It's just hard for me not to laugh at the idea of what her reaction must've been like."
Avery watched Jeff as he calmed down from his manic laughter. The proxy reached out and placed his hand over Jeff's, the gauze and bandages disabling him from feeling most of the killer's pale skin. Jeff lightly gripped Avery's hand and sent a content smile his way. Avery's cheeks lit up in a soft pink blush.
"I don't think I can trust you alone anymore," Jeff stated, his voice more mocking instead of serious.
"Truthfully, I don't blame you."
"Well, I think Slendy will know how to deal with you. He should probably know about what you told Jane, too."
"Yeah. That might be a good idea."
Jeff leaned forward, pushed some more hair out of Avery's face, and kissed his forehead. Avery's face grew slightly darker and he felt the need to wrap his arm around Jeff's neck. As he did this, Jeff moved down to kiss Avery's lips deeply. Their hearts hammered in their chests, Avery's pumping a little faster than Jeff's. The proxy felt at peace like this despite feeling pain where his wounds were stitched.
Pulling away, Jeff had to resist laughing at how red Avery's face was. He smiled down at the boy whom he's grown to care for through each passing day. Although Avery was way too serious for his taste, he admired the ferocity he showed during training and in battle. He enjoyed that determination in him but could see that Avery's downfall could lie in his short temper some day. His mortality worried Jeff but he figured he'd find a solution to this one day if their love was not short lived. But, deep down, he cared for the proxy and felt that he would deal with this small issue when it came.
For now, he needed to help Avery walk to the dinner table. The boy would need a crutch to help him walk for a while, and he has several more injuries that will take longer to heal. The cut in his cheek will leave a pretty nasty scar but Jeff found himself anticipating how it would turn out. One thing he could agree with Jane on is that Avery should smile a little more often. With this new scar curved across the left side of his mouth, he will appear to have an awkward grin forever etched into his skin. To Jeff, it may as well only make Avery more attractive to look at.
Soon, we will both look beautiful, Jeff thought contentedly as he helped Avery to his seat.
That's the end guys! I hope you enjoyed this story and the crazy adventure these guys went through. This was really fun to write but it took me some time to get all of this together. Carry on everyone!