This is a short story I wrote—the first one, actually—for my Left 4 Dead/Young Avengers idea.
In this specific story, Teddy has been a Hunter for a while and is “stalking” Billy, who is a Witch, from a far. They have never met. Teddy keeps a distance to protect Billy, as he has a crush on him but is too embarrassed to ever try and get close enough to him to start a conversation.
This story is not connected to any of the other Left 4 Dead/Young Avengers stories; it stands by itself and is sort of a “What If…?” idea.
I hope everyone enjoys it as they have all my other stories! I dedicate it to all my loyal readers, rebloggers, and followers!
Title: Said I’d Protect You…Sorry I Failed
Fandom: Young Avengers/Left 4 Dead
Disclaimer: I do not own Young Avengers or Left 4 Dead
Warning: Uh-uh. I am not giving any warnings this time. You’ll have to read and find out! :D
Summary: AU. He was beautiful to him, but he could never go near him. So he protected him from afar and made sure nothing hurt him. He was caught up in a fight and failed to protect him in the end. So he got revenge for him.
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As the crescent moon rose into the air, stretching the black night far across the city, the boy crawled out of the shadows. His hair was so dark compared to his pale skin, black as the sky above him. His few clothes—a torn T-shirt and a ruined pair of jeans—were matted with mud. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he wobbled down the thin trail leading to Central Park.
No one approaches this helpless teenager for one reason: the red and black claws he possesses instead of fingers. This innocent boy could tear anyone apart with a single swipe. A single second of no-control, and he could be the most dangerous creature out there. But he rarely attacks, unless he is disturbed from his ritualistic sobbing.
Despite this, even if he is the most dangerous one out there, there is one who still sees him as something else: someone who sees him as utterly beautiful.
At the top of a run-down building, Teddy sat in his dark hood, training his hidden eyes on him. Watching him. Listening to him. Waiting for the perfect moment to jump down and make his presence known, to finally work up the courage to speak to the boy who has captured his unbeating heart.
Unlike those all around him, he found himself captivated by this boy. In the eyes of the others, he was just another monster that killed any and all who dared disturb him.
But in his eyes, he saw a beautiful teenage boy, possibly a junior or a sophomore at the very least. To others, the sounds of this creature’s sobs were meant only to lure unsuspecting Survivors to their graves, to lull them into a false sense of security so it could pull them in and gut them mercilessly. To Teddy, his mournful sobs were genuine—a plea for help, for companionship, to have someone come and stay at his side and make the monsters go away. The others are hesitant to believe that of him, especially after watching the way he loses his mind when he is startled by anyone or anything.
And Teddy would love to be that boy who answered his cries. But he knew he couldn’t. He was a monster unfit to sit beside the boy of his dreams—if Infected could even dream—and wipe away his tears, not fit to tell him that everything was going to be okay. Teddy was a killer, a Hunter.
So the best he could do was watch him from a far and protect him.
“Stalking the Witch again, Ted?” Eli walked across the roof slats over to Teddy’s side. He was Infected, too. A Smoker. Half of his tall, lean body was covered in bumps and dark boils; a long frog-like tongue hung from his mouth and wrapped like a rope around his forearm, to keep it from dragging on the ground and tripping him. Smoke emitted from his body in a hazy mist. He had a cigarette in his other hand, lit and half-burnt away.
“I am not stalking him, Eli,” replied Teddy with an off-hand snarl. “And I told you, and Tommy, that before.”
His hand rested on the ledge of the building, half in the gutter, ready to jump to his side at a moment’s notice.
Eli shrugged and coughed up a thin stream of smoke. “What else do you call slinking around on rooftops in the dark to watch one single boy over and over again?”
Teddy’s sharp azure eyes never left the boy below, who was now on his knees, crying his eyes out. “I’m not stalking him,” he said. “I’m just protecting him.”
“Protecting,” Eli mocked, rolling his eyes. “So, tell me. Isn’t it about time you pay the Witch a visit and, I don’t know, talk to him? This has been going on for three weeks, Ted. You can’t keep stalking—I’m so sorry, protecting—him like this. Isn’t it about time you let this kid know he has a guardian?”
Teddy took his gaze off the weeping Infected and glared at Eli. “Why does everyone call him a Witch? He’s not a Witch! He has a name, just like you and me and Tommy and all the others. His name is Billy Kaplan.”
“And just how did you find that out if you didn’t talk to him?”
“Tommy told me. Billy’s his brother.”
Eli’s eyebrows lifted up. “I didn’t know he had a brother. He’s never said anything about it before.”
“That’s because Billy doesn’t remember him. He doesn’t remember much about his human life.” He turned back to the Witch—Billy—as he finished speaking.
Eli shoved his hands back in his pockets. “Something pretty horrible must’ve happened to make him forget so much. Think that’s why he cries?”
Teddy shrugged, because he really didn’t have an answer.
Eli leaned against the ledge of the building, looking over at Central Park below. He trained his eyes on his hooded friend’s obsession. He wobbled about while he sobbed relentlessly into his red claws. Eli peered over at Teddy to see the Hunter’s head on his folded arms, a look of admiration in his eyes—watching the Witch, his witch, from afar.
The gunshot rang through the dark streets.
Eli and Teddy turned to the sound, hearing more after. Lights flashed in the alley a few blocks over.
The Hunter raised his head and sniffed the air, snarling and baring his claws. “It’s those Survivors again.”
Eli nodded and began to hop over to the next building. Teddy stole a glance back at Billy once more. He was still walking away, crying into his claws. Hesitantly, Teddy turned away from him and ran after Eli.
When Teddy finally made it to the alley and landed on pavement, Eli stood atop the abandoned building directly above.
“Those Commons have no idea how to be sneaky,” he called down to Teddy with a disgusted grunt.
When the Commons were down to a minimum, Eli made his move. A quick screech, and he snapped his long tongue down at the black-haired girl of the group. She kicked and screamed, punching at his tongue to get free, but that didn’t stop Eli from dragging her up to the top of the building.
The leader of their group—that brown-haired kid named Nat or Nate or Nathaniel or something—shouted “KATE!” and shot at Eli.
The bullet broke through half of his tongue and dropped it to the ground along with Kate. Eli reeled back and coughed in agony, letting a snarl in the direction of the Survivors know that their attack hadn’t deterred him.
While they were distracted by Eli, Teddy crawled through the horde and snarled. He stalked his prey, the kid that shot his friend. He let a loud screech escape his throat as he leapt through the air, but the other boy—Jonas or something—caught on and swung the barrel of his gun at the Hunter. It worked. Teddy was smacked across the face by the metal object and sent flying into the wall. He collapsed to the ground and stayed silent, not wanting to be shot at while the Survivor guys finished off the Commons.
Once it was all over, they recovered and chattered together. The girl called Kate glanced around and said, “Hey…where’s Cassie?”
The three Survivors froze when they heard a noise. Teddy listened for it too.
“GOD DAMN IT ALL..!” the leader named Nate or something yelled.
The three Survivors hurried off in search of their comrade, screaming her name loudly.
Teddy tensed and hurried to his feet. He leapt onto a building and ran to Central Park as fast as he could without a second thought. He was so busy with the attack that he hadn’t noticed the blond girl leave the group. He was so busy with the attack that he hadn’t noticed the sobs from Billy weren’t moving away anymore. His mind was racing as he passed the three Survivors shrieking “Cassie! Cassie!”
But none of that mattered to him now.
Because Billy wasn’t crying anymore. He was growling. He wasn’t sobbing. He was screaming hysterically.
He was startled.
Teddy stopped on the ledge where he always watched him from. He was not there, no longer in his line of sight. Billy had wandered into the park. The Hunter leaped off the roof and landed on the cobbled ground. It hurt his leg, but he ran anyway. He rushed as fast as he could toward his frantic screams and distressed shouts.
The Hunter landed on top of the Obelisk, looking for his weeping love frantically. Relief finally came as he looked over a few trees. He could see Billy—barely, but he knew he was there. His worries were reborn when he heard his frenzied shrieks. He was screaming at something.
He hopped off the Obelisk and ran in Billy’s direction, dodging bushes and thick trees. He was close enough to see the orange glow of his beloved’s eyes grow wide in fright but too far away to see what had distressed him.
And then Billy crumpled onto his stomach with a cry.
Teddy stopped. He was a mere three feet from the edge of the clearing, from being seen, from distracting the Survivor, from being able to protect him.
Billy’s body lay motionless as the blond-haired Survivor laughed in a nervous hysteria.
“I…I got him… I got him! I got the Witch!”
There was that disgusting word again. That horrible word that they kept calling him. That terrible nickname he did nothing to deserve. A cruel title he probably never wanted in the first place.
How dare she call him that…AFTER WHAT SHE DID…!
He howled, eyes tinted with crimson anger, and hurled himself out into the clearing.
Before the blond girl had time to react, to raise her gun and shoot him too, the Hunter pounced on her with a strangled bellow.
He started to tear into her chest with his claws, screaming incoherent shrieks of pain and sorrow, rage and hatred. He hated her for what she did to him. He HATED her! The blond girl screamed and flailed to get him off, but her friends were too far away to hear her cries. Teddy screamed and ripped into her, tearing through lungs and bones and muscle. He just couldn’t stop. The punches the girl delivered to his face and arms did little to stop him. When she went near his face, he bit three of her fingers off and spat them aside. He barely registered her screams of agony over his own.
Even after the Survivor was already dead, the Hunter continued to rip into her. He just couldn’t stop. His blood thirst rose as his very soul, if he had one, demanded a gruesome revenge.
He stopped abruptly after bitter tears blinded him, running down his pale cheeks. He got off the fresh corpse he’d created and staggered over to Billy.
His once weeping beloved’s limbs did not move as Teddy came near, nor did his chest rise. The blood that poured from the bullet wound in his head soaked into the emerald grass below him.
Teddy hesitated, hands hovering above his weeping boy’s body. Part of him wanted to seize him and embrace him tight, but the other part was too afraid to touch him. If he touched him, it would force him to accept the cold truth.
Billy was dead.
For good this time.
The thought shocked him out of his stupor. He turned Billy over and laid him on his back. His glowing orange eyes stared at the sky, seeing everything but nothing. They were dry—no tears spilled down his face to stain him with sorrow. Teddy’s trembling fingers closed his eyes. It made him look like he was sleeping, if Teddy ignored the bullet hole in his forehead.
“I’m so sorry, Billy.” His voice cracked as he began crying. He sat at his side and whispered, “It’s okay now. I’m here.” He reached down, placing his hand on Billy’s cheek. “I’ll never leave you. I’ll always be here for you. I promise.”
He stayed by his side, feeling it was the only way to be forgiven for his failure to protect.
He stayed and didn’t really care or pay attention when the Survivors approached. He didn’t care for their screams—especially the one named Nate or Nathaniel or something and the one named Jonas or something like that—when they saw the lifeless body of the blond girl they both seemed to adore. He didn’t listen when they fell at her side in hysterics. He didn’t pay attention when they turned to him and saw him sitting still beside his fallen love, crying his eyes out. His didn’t lift his head when they fired their guns, enraged and craving revenge as he had been minutes ago.
He collapsed on the ground next to the corpse of his Billy. He put his hand on top of Billy’s elongated red claws, the ones he seemed to hate so much, and gave them a gentle squeeze.
I am so sorry I couldn’t save you, Billy. Forgive me…?
For a moment, he thought he felt the claws twitch beneath his hand to answer his pleading touch. He really did feel the forgiveness that he wanted. He felt that he’d known Billy all his life, that Billy knew him too, and that they were happy together. He imagined the smile he never saw before, and it was beautiful. He imagined what he looked like as a human, what he looked like when he wasn’t crying, what it would be like if they’d gotten the chance to be together.
The red claws under his hand twitched and shifted their positions so it was on top of Teddy’s.
He barely had enough strength to lift his head enough to see Billy turn his head, slowly, and open his eyes. Dull orange peered into blue for the first time. The moment went on forever, with Teddy unable to make a sound.
Then Billy smiled and closed his eyes.
And before the darkness claimed him for good this time, Teddy felt truly happy for the first time since the Infection.