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Roommates - Ch. 40 (The Unwelcome Visit)

Sep 28th, 2016
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  1. Roommates has moved! You can now read it at Archive of Our Own: http://archiveofourown.org/works/11250126/navigate
  2.  
  3. Roommates - Ch. 40 (The Unwelcome Visit): http://i.imgur.com/PO6eXfR.png
  4. Inspired by Weaver's Five Nights at Freddy's Apartment AU: http://i.imgur.com/LnDJVNL.png
  5. Part of an ongoing series written for the /5N@F/ General Discussion Thread at /vg/.
  6. Sincerest thanks to Weaver (http://tgweaver.tumblr.com/) for all of the invaluable assistance in writing, proofreading, and editing this story as well as for illustrating the chapter title cards.
  7. Additionally, thanks to Systemeth (http://pastebin.com/u/Systemeth) for proofreading and editing this chapter.
  8. Questions or comments? Drop me an ask at http://roommatesau.tumblr.com/
  9.  
  10. ---
  11.  
  12. Spending so much time with sentient animal people makes you wonder if it's caused you to develop some animalistic traits of your own. Maybe it's wishful thinking -- maybe it's Stockholm syndrome -- but you can't deny that you're catching yourself appreciating certain facets of life in ways you never would have back home.
  13.  
  14. Case in point, as you hop around from apartment to apartment, you're beginning to take note of the scents and smells you've come to associate with each one. 87-B's an eclectic potpourri of cozy scents -- Mangle's collection of lotions, and of course Frederick's cooking both come to mind, but even April herself is not unpleasant to be around, with her earthy musk reminiscent of smoke and springtime rain.
  15.  
  16. Until just recently your current temporary residence reeked of trash and unwashed laundry. Now that your newest roommates are making an actual effort towards cleanliness, Bonbon's playful blue raspberry shampoo has replaced the lingering odors of garbage and expired food in the halls. Of course, not ones to be left out, both Goose and Mango are devoted latte and tea enthusiasts so it seems like the coffeemaker and kettle are always running whenever either one of them are awake. The plump hen and shortstack vixen frequently meet throughout the day to sample and discuss various aromatic flavors.
  17.  
  18. Even the usually sterile, hospice-like environment that is home to Bonworth and his housemates has its own unique olfactory signature. The strong lemon-scented cleaners used to keep the bathroom and kitchen immaculate (which helps Haddock and Faz avoid infection) can be smelled clear to Cheeky's room, and of course, Cheeky herself is no stranger to liberal application of perfume to go with her makeup.
  19.  
  20. And though you haven't been gone all that long, one thing you'll readily admit you've missed as you step inside into Fred Fazbear's home is the scent of Chichi's baking. Today's no exception -- you'd recognize that mouth-watering smell of homemade, oven-baked sugar cookies anywhere.
  21.  
  22. The bird in question greets you with her usual warm smile, though it seems somewhat strained today. The molting process looks like it's been taking its toll on her feathers since you last saw her -- small patches of skin are visible around her neck, wrists, and even her face. She's wearing an oversized sweater and a long skirt in an obvious effort to hide it.
  23.  
  24. "Thanks for stopping by, Mike," Chichi says as you hang your coat at the rack by the door.
  25.  
  26. "No problem. I'm sorry I haven't done so before now." The two of you exchange a brief hug in the foyer before she steps back into the living room. "So, you look like you're doing better from where I, uh, ran you over."
  27.  
  28. Chichi nervously titters, blushing as she presses the back of her wing to her forehead. "Oh, stop! That was an accident, don't beat yourself up for it. Besides, Dr. Rabbinson looked me over and said I was fine. Just a little bump -- why, I don't even feel it anymore!"
  29.  
  30. "I'm certainly glad to hear it." The two of you hover awkwardly in the living room; Fred clearly must be at "work" while Rackham and Beanie are otherwise occupied. Poor Chichi's probably doing everything she can to stay sane after what happened at Jeremy's. You wouldn't be surprised to find out that the stress is accelerating her feather loss.
  31.  
  32. "Um, how is she?" you ask, tilting your head towards Beanie's room. Chichi wipes what's left of her wings on a towel, pondering the question.
  33.  
  34. "Mmmm. Mopey, lethargic. Trouble sleeping. Her days and nights are still mixed up." She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds before letting go. "And of course, the nightmares."
  35.  
  36. That's something about this apartment you didn't miss. "Yeah, I can relate. Though I've been pretty fortunate. Mine've mostly settled down since I moved out." You can't help but wonder if there's some correlation between the two.
  37.  
  38. Chichi gives you a quiet nod, rubbing one of the thin spots on her arm self-consciously. "I'll go let her know you're here, then, if you want to have a seat...?"
  39.  
  40. "Sure. Thanks, Chichi."
  41.  
  42. Kicking your shoes off, you pad over to the couch and nestle into the corner seat while Chichi nervously teeters off to go rouse Beanie.
  43.  
  44. The last time you sat on this piece of furniture, you were borderline delirious -- hallucinations and false sights hounded your nerve-wracked, trauma-addled brain. Everything felt like it was out to get you. Today, however, the atmosphere feels like it's changed completely. Whatever negative pressure was weighing you down has lifted. Now, you couldn't be calmer and more in control of your mind and your emotions.
  45.  
  46. Everything's going to be okay.
  47.  
  48. A yawn from behind you signals the arrival of one Bonita Rabbinson, who unceremoniously plops down at the opposite end of the couch from you.
  49.  
  50. "Hey," Beanie greets disinterestedly. Her eyes are bloodshot and her fur is disheveled. You don't even need your newfound heightened awareness of smell to tell that she hasn't had a shower in days. She's wearing a pair of baggy flannel sleep pants and a skin-tight wifebeater, and one of her ears is pressed flat against the back of her head while the other's stiff as a board. In her hands is the same video game you saw her with the very first night you came to stay here, the upbeat electronic music softly piping out of its speakers heavily contrasting her gloomy demeanor.
  51.  
  52. "Hey yourself," you respond, turning to face her as Chichi excuses herself from the living room. You nod to the hen as she passes by, a gesture she returns with a hesitant smile.
  53.  
  54. Beanie fishes around in her pocket and produces a crumpled, worn scrap of paper, pressing it firmly into your hands. "Here."
  55.  
  56. As you accept it from her, your expression falls. It's the HumieCon ticket she received from Bonbon.
  57.  
  58. "Why are you handing me this? I've already got one," you joke despite knowing exactly what the gesture entails.
  59.  
  60. "I'm not going," she replies flippantly, her voice devoid of what little energy it usually possesses. "I don't feel up to it. Give it to someone else."
  61.  
  62. "That's a shame. You're gonna break Bonbon's heart, you know," you return, setting the ticket aside on the coffee table as she buries her face in her game. "She's been looking forward to all of us going. Talks about it every day."
  63.  
  64. "She'll get over it." Beanie continues to tap and button-mash away mindlessly, purposefully avoiding eye contact with you. You toss a glance over your shoulder at the kitchen where Chichi fretfully watches from behind the swinging saloon doors.
  65.  
  66. Biting your lip, you run through a number of possible conversational prompts in your mind, ruling each of them out one by one. The truth is you still don't know Beanie well enough to have any idea of what'll pull her out of the doldrums, but you want to help while simultaneously avoiding overstepping your bounds. After several minutes of awkward silence with the only noises being the game's music and Chichi's occasional rattling of pots and pans in the kitchen, you feel the overwhelming need to do SOMETHING just to break the ice.
  67.  
  68. "You know, we should hold another game night soon. Maybe like what we did at your brother's apartment?"
  69.  
  70. She tilts the screen of her video game down just a touch to look at you out of the corner of her eye.
  71.  
  72. "Yeah, I mean -- I think it'd be kind of nice," you continue, acting like you didn't notice. "Maybe after the convention? Think the others would want to get together and do something like that?"
  73.  
  74. Beanie snorts before returning focus to her toy. "Maybe."
  75.  
  76. "I think so. Hey, Chichi -- we're gonna have a game night!" you holler at the kitchen. "Probably next week after the convention or so! Would you be up to baking some cookies for us then?"
  77.  
  78. "Sure!" she calls back. "What kind of game?"
  79.  
  80. You lean over and tap Beanie's knee in an effort to engage her. "Chichi wants to know what kind of game," you blithely repeat. This gets a reaction out of the acerbic rabbit, who now fully diverts her attention to you, fixing you with a withering glare.
  81.  
  82. "You know I can hear her from here. I'm LITERALLY sitting right next to you."
  83.  
  84. "What kind of games could we do?" you ask again, deliberately playing dumb. "Video games? Tabletop stuff? I'm asking for a friend. A friend of mine wants to know, since she might be joining."
  85.  
  86. Beanie's visibly fighting against a smirk, dragging her paw down her face. "We'd probably play Strongholds and Sapiens."
  87.  
  88. "Strongholds and Sapiens!" you immediately call out to Chichi with overwhelming enthusiasm while Beanie groans.
  89.  
  90. "Ooooh. Okay! Yeah, I can do that," the hen shouts back before disappearing into the kitchen. "Maybe I'll make my snickerdoodle cookies!"
  91.  
  92. "She's going to make cookies, Beanie. Snickerdoodle, sounds like."
  93.  
  94. "Oh my god. You might actually be a complete idiot," Beanie mutters.
  95.  
  96. "I get that a lot."
  97.  
  98. "Mike, why are you here?"
  99.  
  100. Sighing, you let your smile relax as she stares at you, her video game left forgotten in her hands. You gently ease the gadget from her grip, folding its screen shut to put it into standby mode. She doesn't protest, instead leaning back against the couch's armrest to focus on you with her sleep-deprived eyes.
  101.  
  102. "I was worried about you. Still am, actually."
  103.  
  104. "I'm fine."
  105.  
  106. "That would explain why you smell like a homeless person then," you gently quip. "A topic I'm well-versed in, by the way."
  107.  
  108. Beanie folds her arms, visibly trying to muster up the defiance she herself isn't even feeling. She draws a deep breath in through her mouth and exhales heavily through her nose before replying.
  109.  
  110. "Alright, Mike, yeah. I'm scared to death, okay? I can't close my eyes without -- without seeing Fritzine standing over me in the lab clutching a damn jigsaw, ready to dissect me and sort me into her collection."
  111.  
  112. You repress the urge to voice agreement or chime in with her. Right now, it's not about you; you've got her talking and that's all that matters at the moment.
  113.  
  114. "And even though I'm home and I'm safe, you know? That's like -- the thought of what could've happened if you hadn't shown up to save me is gonna be with me for a long time, Mike, and I just..." She sniffs, raising the back of her paw to her eyes to stem the flow of tears. "I wish I'd quit a long time ago, but like -- I hate running from things. I'm not a quitter. And then there's, you know..."
  115.  
  116. "You hung in there for Fred's sake too," you murmur softly, recalling his words about the restaurant chain being his brother's legacy.
  117.  
  118. She nods, sniffling. "Yeah. And most nights it w-wasn't so bad. I had a knack for keeping 'them' away. Jeremy had only shown up once in my office, not long after I first started." You actually already knew this from when Rackham told you as much the night you ordered pizza in for everybody. Beanie having to call in sick, being completely unable to sleep -- doesn't sound all that different from right now.
  119.  
  120. "That's why I offered to take you in on a ride-along, you know," she continues. "I never thought it'd be -- never expected to have another close call like that."
  121.  
  122. "I understand."
  123.  
  124. "I'm sorry, Mike." She hangs her head dolefully, shoulders shuddering as she talks. "I really am. I thought maybe you could kind of see what it was all about. I knew it might be scary and a little dangerous, but I really thought it was something we both could handle."
  125.  
  126. You wrap your arm around her shivering body, drawing the lavender rabbit close to your chest. She nods numbly, leaning in as you gently rub the back of her head.
  127.  
  128. "I wanted to see it for myself, Beanie," you reply. "You just provided an easy opportunity for me to see the place first-hand, but I'd have eventually gone there with or without you."
  129.  
  130. "Maybe, but I still feel like shit for putting you in danger on my account. Twice, especially after I forgot about the restaurant being closed for remodel--"
  131.  
  132. "Hey, no, quit that." She looks up into your face, her entire countenance exuding remorse; it's blatantly obvious that she's genuinely rattled by this entire turn of events. "I'm not gonna let you carry that burden. You think I didn't know there was SOME kind of danger attached to that building? I could tell just by everyone upstairs that something was going on there. Yeah, the animatronics came as a surprise, but we made it out, didn't we?"
  133.  
  134. "I still--"
  135.  
  136. "Nope. Don't tear yourself up with 'what-ifs'. We're here, we're alive and well. We're the ones that got away. That's all that matters."
  137.  
  138. Scoffing, Beanie wipes her face with a nearby tissue pulled from a dispenser on the coffee table. "Alive, yeah. Well? No, not so much."
  139.  
  140. "Hey, I'm not THAT bad." You take her paw, pressing it lightly against your bruised ribs for emphasis. "These'll heal. And my leg's already much better."
  141.  
  142. "I mean what happened the other night," she mumbles.
  143.  
  144. "Who, Goldie?" Beanie flinches visibly at the mere mention of his name, jerking her hand away from you as her eyes widen in terror. "Hey, look. For whatever it's worth, I mean, it's not like I'm -- like he's haunting me, or whatever."
  145.  
  146. Beanie lowers her head, processing what you're saying. "But you really have seen him," she whispers. "It's not just me."
  147.  
  148. "Tall, stocky gold bear with fancy purple duds? Looks pretty much like the spitting image of Fred?" you offer. "Yeah. He was actually pretty normal -- that's why I really didn't think much about it at the time."
  149.  
  150. "So I'm not -- I'm not crazy then. We really did see the same thing."
  151.  
  152. You think back to your conversation with Bonworth and Cheeky this morning. Both of them seemed pretty quick to remind you that it's 'not real' and that you shouldn't 'feed her delusions'. Unfortunately, that puts you in an impossible spot -- either you admit you've completely lost your mind, or you give Beanie false hope and possibly undo years of therapy. Neither of which seem like particularly viable options.
  153.  
  154. "I don't know what to tell you," you carefully reply. "But he seemed real enough to me that I was willing to humiliate myself in front of everyone to prove it. Whatever the case may be, at least you and I are in the same boat together."
  155.  
  156. "Alright then," she says. "Thanks, Mike."
  157.  
  158. "Mmhm."
  159.  
  160.  
  161.  
  162. The two of you sit in shared silence for a while, Beanie propped against your side. You close your eyes as you feel the rise and fall of her chest pressed next to yours. Even in this world, it seems rabbits are still fragile creatures. Not in a million years would you ever have guessed just by looking at her that Bonbon was the most "together" of all of the bunnies you'd meet during your stay in these tenements.
  163.  
  164. "I still want you to know I'm sorry," she murmurs drowsily.
  165.  
  166. "I'll accept your apology on one condition," you respond with a smile, looking down at her. "You have to go to HumieCon."
  167.  
  168. "I-- I guess. I mean, I'd already planned--"
  169.  
  170. "...dressed as my sidekick, Balloon Boy."
  171.  
  172. She narrows her eyes at you, jerking her head up in alarm. "That little troglodyte from that stupid cartoon Bonbon likes? Ugh, no! You're a monster, Mike!"
  173.  
  174. "Hah! Yeah, no, I'm just kidding. I wouldn't wish that fate on my worst enemy."
  175.  
  176. Stroking her chin, Beanie grins mischievously. "I would. I'd totally make Bonbon go dressed as him."
  177.  
  178. "Okay, yeah, that IS pretty tempting."
  179.  
  180. Chichi walks out into the living room with a small plate of warm sugar cookies and two mugs full of hot cocoa, depositing them on the coffee table with a wink before heading out to run a delivery. Beanie quickly consumes the lion's share of cookies, only stopping to apologize after realizing she ate five of the six Chichi brought out.
  181.  
  182. "All that sugar's gonna have you climbing the walls," you joke.
  183.  
  184. "Sorry. I haven't, um... eaten much lately." She blushes, wiping a few stray sprinkles from her muzzle.
  185.  
  186. "Hey, I've got an idea. How about you go get a shower, pack your bag, and come stay over at Bonbon's place with us till after the con? I think a change of scenery'll do you some good, maybe lift your spirits."
  187.  
  188. "Bonbon's? Dude, her apartment's a disaster area," Beanie gripes. "I don't see HOW that's gonna 'lift my spirits' at all."
  189.  
  190. "I dunno. I think you'll be pretty pleasantly surprised."
  191.  
  192. She gives you a dubious look, cleaning some of the excess sugar from her paws with another tissue. "If you say so. I guess I can go rinse off and throw some stuff together. I started packing my con bag but never finished."
  193.  
  194. "And here you were trying to pawn your ticket off in a fit of melodrama when you knew in your heart you wanted to go," you reply, clicking your tongue in mock disapproval. "For shame, Rabbinson."
  195.  
  196. "Pfft. Don't be an obnoxious little Schmidt," she retorts, easing off of the couch and heading for the bathroom.
  197.  
  198. "Wow. Rude."
  199.  
  200. As she thumps down the hall, you stand up and stretch your legs, gathering the empty mugs and cookie plate to return to the kitchen. While you wait for Beanie to finish showering and packing her bags, you might as well pitch in and help Chichi out by cleaning up after yourselves; after all, it's the least you can do since she took the time to fix you both a snack. Plus, considering the baker most likely had to leave in a hurry to deliver her order, she'll probably enjoy coming back to a tidied up kitchen.
  201.  
  202. You hand wash the dishes off in the sink before depositing them in the drying rack on the countertop. Not much point in starting the dishwasher for two mugs and a plate, after all. The rest of the kitchen's actually surprisingly clean -- Chichi must have been neatening up as she went along. There are still some loose items that could stand to be returned to their proper spots in the pantry, though -- containers of flour and sugar, some hand tools, and a mixing bowl that appears to have been unneeded.
  203.  
  204. You scoop the baking supplies up and carry them over to the pantry, nudging the door open with your foot and turning the lights on with the tip of your elbow. Chichi's pantry is as organized as ever -- she really does take extensive pride in her kitchen. It's heartwarming to see someone who loves their work so much. Maybe she takes after Fred in that regard?
  205.  
  206. You begin offloading the supplies one at a time into the pantry, taking great care to not to drop anything; you don't even WANT to imagine the potential fallout of a half-gallon plastic container full of sugar hitting the floor and exploding. Once you've finished returning everything to the pantry, you close the door and reach for the light switch only for the bulb inside to stay lit. Frowning, you flip the switch a few times to no avail.
  207.  
  208. Huh. This is something new. You've seen lights that won't turn on before, but ones that won't turn off? Maybe you're flipping the wrong switch, or maybe some iffy wiring is keeping the light on when another, different switch has to be turned off first. Scratching your head in befuddlement, you turn around only to realize you're not alone in the kitchen.
  209.  
  210.  
  211. "Mike."
  212.  
  213.  
  214. Goldie Fazbear stands in the middle of the room, staring at you with a plaintive expression upon his face. He's hunched over slightly, arms hanging loose at either of his sides.
  215.  
  216. "No." Your voice is barely above a whisper as chills run from your neck to your feet. Your entire body feels putty-limp, as if you could just flop onto the floor and die right here on the spot. "No, not again. You're -- you aren't real."
  217.  
  218. "Mike," Goldie repeats more forcefully. There's a fever pitch to his tone, as if he's panic-stricken. You can sure as hell relate. That's got to be why he's appearing in front of you again -- some deep-seated psychological fear or something you haven't overcome. He's a manifestation of your own anxiety.
  219.  
  220. "I'm not seeing this." You squeeze your eyes shut. "I'm not -- I'm NOT crazy."
  221.  
  222. Hands pressed against the sides of your head, you try to walk past him. As you attempt to flee the kitchen to the safety of the living room or even outside, your knees buckle and give out underneath you. You lurch forward only to be grabbed right before slamming face-first into the cabinet.
  223.  
  224. Ice-cold arms covered in coarse, bristly fur haul you to your feet, one wrapped around your torso while the other's gripping the collar of your shirt. You open your eyes to see Goldie's disfigured visage mere inches from your own face.
  225.  
  226. Goldie's once-pristine fur has since faded to a pale olive color. His head's tilted at an unnatural angle, his jaw hanging detached from the rest of his skull, jowls ripped in half as if his face had been sliced apart by a hacksaw. His eye sockets are empty, dark pits that seem to draw you in like black holes. His left ear is completely missing, bits of sinew and muscle dangling from an open wound where it should have been.
  227.  
  228. Opening your mouth, you try to scream, but no sound comes out. Your body begins to shake and convulse involuntarily in his grip as you stare into the endless voids where his eyes should be. Goldie's broken jaw opens even wider, and a noxious stench like the smell of death escapes from the back of his throat in a dry huff as he begins to speak to you.
  229.  
  230.  
  231. "YOU HAVE TO STOP IT"
  232.  
  233.  
  234. In the fraction of a second it takes you to blink, he's gone.
  235.  
  236. When you finally come to your senses, you're laying on your side on the cold kitchen floor, sweat dripping down your face and back. Even though you feel like you're freezing, you're still panting heavily.
  237.  
  238. The lights are out in the kitchen pantry. All of the supplies and ingredients are neatly put away; the only thing out of order in the entire kitchen is the shell-shocked human in the middle of the floor trying his damnedest not to have a coronary.
  239.  
  240. The sound of clicking across the floor draws your attention; you wrack your brain trying to place the noise before you realize what you're hearing is the sound of high heels or pumps. The saloon doors swing open and you hear a male voice gasp.
  241.  
  242. You crane your neck to look up at Rackham standing over you. He's wearing a bright yellow jumper dress with a white confetti-print blouse underneath. His dress is clearly padded around the bust, though to his credit he at least fills the hips out nicely. Orange high heels and matching lipstick meticulously applied to his muzzle serve to complete his ensemble.
  243.  
  244. "I heard someone screaming-- Mike?!"
  245.  
  246. "Rackham...?" you cautiously return.
  247.  
  248. "Why are you drenched and splayed out on the kitchen floor?" he asks warily, blinking his eyeshadow-covered good eye.
  249.  
  250. "Gee, I don't know," you rasp, rolling over to face him. "Why are you wearing drag?"
  251.  
  252. The two of you have a brief staring contest as both of you inwardly try to decide who's in more of an awkward position at the moment.
  253.  
  254. "So, um, I never saw any of this," Rackham finally says.
  255.  
  256. "And I never saw any of -- whatever's going on there," you return, gesturing uselessly to his 'costume'.
  257.  
  258. He nods quickly, raises his good paw to his muzzle to cover a nervous cough, and slowly backs out of the kitchen only for one of his heels to snap off as he trips over the threshold. You wince as he tumbles backwards through the swinging doors, falling on his ass out in the hallway with a loud thud.
  259.  
  260. "Oww! Dammit!"
  261.  
  262. "You alright, Rackham?" you call out from the floor.
  263.  
  264. "Uggh. I-I'm fine, Mike," he groans shakily before picking himself up and limping away to the safety of his room.
  265.  
  266. With a grimace, you grab onto the kitchen counter and hoist yourself to your feet. You only wish that was the craziest encounter you'd had in this very room today.
  267.  
  268. Brushing dust and crumbs from the kitchen floor off of yourself -- as well as a few stray yellow feathers that managed to embed themselves in your shirt -- you walk over to the kitchen sink and wash your face, slicking water through your hair as you try to calm down. After drying off on a paper towel, you straighten out your clothes, heading into the sanctuary of the living room.
  269.  
  270. Apparently your timing's perfect, since Beanie's seated outside, having since showered and changed into her day clothes. On the floor next to her feet is a small backpack and a rolling suitcase, both of which appear to be crammed to bursting.
  271.  
  272. "You ready to go, Mike?" she asks, seemingly much more alert. "I gotta tell you, I am feeling a lot better. I'm glad I let you talk me into this."
  273.  
  274. Tossing a nervous look over your shoulder at the kitchen as the saloon doors swing shut behind you, you force a smile at her.
  275.  
  276. "Y-yeah. Me too."
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