This is after events in No Laughing Matter, I'll keep things as vague as I can to avoid NLM spoilers. And Happy Valentines Day, are you lonely like me?
This is the fastest I've ever written a story...
"...With Jeff." Hoodie read from the list in his hand. The black haired man next to me may as well have yelled.
"Why do I have to be with damn Nina?! These people, if I should even call them that, are trying to kill me I swear." I pulled my light brown hair away from my eyes and pinched my lips. Everyone in my boss' and Slender's division had been paired already with someone else. Except for me and Brian.
"And you're with me Lavender." BEN whooped from the hallway, he had already been trying to set up instances for Brian and I to spend time together. Like sabotaging jobs and making one of us trip into the other. Why couldn't he have "drowned" a little older, maybe even have had a different boss than me?
"Go drown in a lake, maybe a prettier girl than your mother can save you!" Wow, a little harsh there me. Oh what's the point anymore...! Everyone split into their assigned pairs to go to their locations for Valentines Day. I stepped to, I guess "our", black metal door. Even though it was really Hoodie's boss' estate we were mostly kept at. Felt way more like a prison, the entire place, but Hoodie said I'd get used to it in a few months.
I still want to go the fuck home and hug my brother and friends, never letting go.
"Hey Lav, here's the paper you're going to nee-" I grabbed the paper from Brian, not bothering to look at him. I hated being there, not Brian, BEN, or any of the other Proxied people I worked with normally. I hated the Order.
"Can we please just get this over with?" My voice breaking pitch as I stared at the corner. The metal sheet creaked on its hinges, Brian stepping outside to the red-tinted dimension that smelled like iron. Following the crunch of his feet, I kept my eyes downcast to avoid any sort of contact with the other inhabitants. I couldn't help but think about what my brother and friends were doing, if I was still even considered "missing" anymore or if I was just considered dead. I'd usually be cutting out paper hearts with Matthew while Tara gushed about whatever guy she was with during this time. She'd always try to find me someone so we could have her dream "double date".
Then this shit had to happen. The dreams of everyone around me, my dreams and my entire future, just torn away and destroyed. Everything I worked for-
"Lavender! Snap out of it." I shot my burning eyes up, sniffling back everything I was feeling. Somehow along our walk we had crossed the barrier dimension back into the human world. I looked at the day-lit sky for the first time since I'd been inducted. I felt the sun and the cold wind of Earth for the first time in... Seven months? Eight?
"Where are we Brian?"
"Does it really matter? You were thinking again, making yourself upset." I cracked my right knuckles, crossing my arms and lowering my eyes to the snow. I never thought I'd miss snow, playing with my brother, screwing around with Steph, Dessirae and Tara. That's what "you only miss the sun when it starts to snow" means. Only wanting what you don't have any- Brian clapped his gloved hands in front of my face making me jump.
"Hey..." He held my shoulders and turned me towards him. "Come on, we only have today to have independent thought for the next few months. You can make yourself sad tomorrow." He said through his mask, even though he didn't need it. Why was I wearing mine as well? At least he left his voice altering collar back at Slender's place.
"Remind me again why they allow us to celebrate 'human' holidays if they hate the human race with a burning passion?" I started down a shoveled trail that lead to a frozen over lake that had couples skating on it. Along the shoreline were bright blue painted cottages on white stilts. Some of them were built back into a hill that was on the West side, that wrapped around to the East. I started to smell vanilla and Tara's fruity perfume, the kind she always wore during Valentines Day. I shook everything out of my head, all my memories were painful.
"Well what I know is- is that since the Order has been proxying a lot of humans these past few decades, they've found that if a human is completely out of their mind, they can't function properly or the way they want them to. The Order picked certain people because they liked who they were, but had to break them apart in order to get inside and control them. Long story short, most humans grew up with these holidays and special occasions, so it's a part of who they are. It just keeps the system running smooth.
"And the Order takes these days as planning time, so no Proxies around means more secrets are safe." I forced myself to smile, but I only felt more and more pain.
"So in other words, don't question it?" Brian made a sound of agreement. We reached a main road from the fur trees, the lake farther away now. He hooked his hand around my left arm, pulling me towards the housing area. We had walked in the now really cold wind for another fifteen minutes, my lightweight gold leafed "Phantom of the Opera" esc mask not helping at all.
I watched from the loft window the couples skating on the ice. Brian and I had been at the house for about an hour, but had absolutely no contact since walking through the oak door. The place was beautiful, it had a clean kitchen, the living room decked out with an oak coffee table, open fireplace, fur rug. I haden't looked at the bedrooms yet, but they just had to be as nice as the rest of the house.
My ears twitched as a door closed below me, Brian sighing, then everything save for the laughing going on outside went quiet again.
Why have I been such a jerkoff? Yeah I hate who I am now, but so does Brian and he doesn't shun anybody. I focused on my reflection in the glass, whoever was looking back at me, wasn't me. It was a disgusting murderer in a mask that covered half of her face and hid both her eyes. And whenever her eyes did show, they just gave away everything that she ever regretted.
Clenching my fist I tore off the mask, snapping the elastic band and throwing it across the loft. I felt below my left eye, feeling the risen and tough skin where Jeff had cut me when he first fought me. I remember when Dessirae said it'd scar. Or maybe it was Steph. Kaitlyn? I closed my eyes and moved my hand down to my mid back. I lifted the shirt and felt where my green and violet Phoenix tattoo would be. Maybe I got this after Alexis did herself away... Everything of who I was had started to fade away. I could barely remember what my friends looked like, or what Matthew looked like at all.
"It's all just a cruel joke!" I gritted my teeth in hurt. I breathed in then out a few times before lifting my head. Maybe I should do something nice, make myself feel better. I jumped from the window I was sitting on, and climbed the steep stairs down towards the kitchen, where all the supplies I needed, were already there.
"-fuck! Why does it look so simple?!" I heard Lav whisper shout to herself from downstairs. I sat up from where I was attempting to take a very rare nap for the past fourty-five minutes. I tried to blow some air from my lungs, only to be welcomed with a cloud of warm fog. Right, you still have this stupid mask on. May as well take it off, she's already seen you without it anyway. I pulled the black wool off my face along with my gloves, ruffling my sweaty hazel hair.
As quietly as hiking boots could be, I snuck halfway down the stairwell, peaking down into what little I could see the disaster of a kitchen. Lavender stomped by, apparently already having her mask off, rubbing her eyes and leaving cocoa powder on her cheek. I jumped the last of the six stairs, landing with a decently quiet "thump". I waited until her back was turned to sneak the papers she was reading off of the flour covered island counter. I ducked on the side opposite to her, glancing at the yellowed sheets. One of them was the list of things that I liked that I handed her earlier. The other was a recipe for plain chocolate cupcakes.
"So she did read the list." I muttered.
"Of course she did or else she'd look like an ass." I looked up, and Lav's face was leaning over the counter above, her hair getting dusted with white flour. She was trying to look scornful but her eyes were laughing like the little kid she was at heart. I turned so my back was off of the counter wall, leaning back on my hands.
"So what changed your mind?"
"About what?" She stood, her green shirt front covered in more flour and cocoa powder. I also got off the floor, standing an inch or two above her. She hid her hands behind her back, trying to look innocent.
"Come on, I know what you're up to."
"Then why're you asking me questions?" I could see she was planning something by the smile her freckled face was giving. Those green and amber eyes were shouting mischief. I was about to answer when she chucked two fistfuls of flour at me, coating my hair and right side of my face. She curled over laughing.
Where did this Lavender go? Fun and little kid-like, not a care to give. I jumped, picking her up and carrying her outside, throwing her in the snow.
"Hey Brian what was that for?" I smiled and shrugged, picking up an armful of snow.
Brian picked up a huge, I mean huge armful of snow. I dodged it before I was buried, then I made a sharp turn, tackling Brian down, pinning his hands by his head.
"I win." I said, the both of us with big, goofy grins on our faces.
"Or have you?" He threw me off, about to switch our positions, but I stood and pushed him back on the snow. I started to run back to the house, knowing he would start chasing. I was almost at the steps when I was pulled back by my waist and hugged close to him.
"Where do you think you're going? You're not winning that easy!" I tried to turn and push away from him, but my laughing made my arms wobbly. "You still have cocoa powder on your face."
"And what are you going to do about it?" I managed to turn myself around to face him.
"This." He grabbed my face, licking my cheek.
"Eww Brian you're gross!" I pushed away, wiping my face off and pelting him with snow.
If only everyday could be like this...