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Roommates - Ch. 21 (The Standard of 93-A)

Feb 2nd, 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. 21 (The Standard of 93-A): http://i.imgur.com/DEPqh5s.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. Questions or comments? Drop me an ask at http://roommatesau.tumblr.com/
  8.  
  9. ---
  10.  
  11. You awkwardly sip your coffee mug full of cold milk, letting it cool your irritated throat. Between your shouting match upstairs and then your little breakdown outside in the street earlier, you're not exactly hitting on all sixes right now. You don't even remember when the last time was you got a solid night's sleep, which can't be doing your immune system any favors.
  12.  
  13.  
  14. Oh, and of course, there's also the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as your exhausted mind tries to process the realization that you've gone way, way too far this time.
  15.  
  16.  
  17. Leaving 87-B with a cloud over your head was one thing, but you can at least take solace in the fact that the situation with Mangle was an isolated incident. Nothing more than an honest mistake. You knocked, you thought what you heard was permission to enter when it wasn't. You weren't trying to be a creep or a voyeur. Mangle blew things out of proportion, and you tried to apologize but it never really did quite work out before you had to leave. A little time, a little distance, and Mangle would have been right back to plucking the strawberries from your pancake plate like nothing had ever happened.
  18.  
  19. As for what transpired upstairs earlier, well, there's no excusing any of it. You know you're in the wrong on this one.
  20.  
  21. Cheeky's look of absolute betrayal still gnaws at you. Replaying the scene over and over again in your mind, you wish you'd had the good sense to back off the first several times you were warned, but instead you chose to escalate. In hindsight, you idly wonder what you were hoping to achieve out of that entire exchange.
  22.  
  23. "You can't help being broken like the rest of us."
  24.  
  25. Bonnibel's words come back to haunt you, and you don't want to even give credence to the notion she might be right.
  26.  
  27. More than anything else, what's bothering you right now is your temper. You're noticing that anger has slowly started to get the best of you multiple times lately; your near-meltdown in the toiletry aisle with the condom boxes last week, shoving Bonworth to the ground a few nights ago, and then screaming at your roommates earlier tonight -- well, your former roommates, anyway. You almost wish you could afford a shrink, but the last thing you need right now is to be popping pills like Bonnibel.
  28.  
  29. You know you're not that far gone.
  30.  
  31. Raised voices from across the house draw your attention. Easing yourself off of the kitchen barstool you've been seated at for the last twenty minutes, you gingerly approach the kitchen's swinging doors to peer out into the apartment's common area. Propping one of the doors open just a crack, you recognize the distinctive set of violet ears poking out from above the couch as belonging to Beanie. Standing in the living room beside her is Chichi, the cupcake-toting hen you mistook for Cheeky.
  32.  
  33. Opposite both of them is a tall, stocky brown bear clad in khaki pants and a button-down dress shirt with rolled-up sleeves. Curiously, a black porkpie hat is perched atop his head. By process of elimination, you assume that the bear must be the "Mr. Fred Fazbear" you've heard name-dropped a few times. If he's anything like Faz, you're already intimidated. As you learned tonight, Faz can be scary as hell when he wants to be, even in spite of his injuries; this guy, on the other hand, looks as if he could snap you as effortlessly as a twig.
  34.  
  35. You nervously poke your head out the doorway, straining to listen to their conversation. Every once in a while Beanie twitches an ear or raises a paw in response, but for the most part Chichi and Fazbear are the ones arguing. He's standing with his back mostly to you, arms folded as Chichi aggressively makes her case. The short, pudgy bird appears to be the most animated entity in the room, but you can't quite make out what she's saying from your vantage point. You suppose it doesn't really matter as you have a good idea of what the discussion entails; she's pleading to secure you a bed for the night in a household that isn't full of people that hate you.
  36.  
  37. A sudden rustling noise in the hallway draws your attention. You peer around the corner and catch a glimpse of light reflecting off of something in the darkness at the end of the hall. A single disapproving eye hovers above rows of gleaming white and gold teeth, leering at you from behind a curtain. The hairs on your arms and neck bristle, and you hastily duck back inside the kitchen, all but slamming the door. You shiver, rubbing your arms in an attempt to get rid of the sudden onslaught of goose flesh.
  38.  
  39. Short of heading out into the living room, you're not going to be able to hear any details, and you're in no hurry to meet whoever that was at the end of the hallway. Chichi was pretty adamant that you "stay in the kitchen for a bit and calm down", and you feel as though you've rocked the boat enough for one evening. Hastily gulping the rest of your milk down, you gently place the mug in the sink before retreating back to the barstool, climbing up on top of its threadbare cushion.
  40.  
  41. With nothing else to do but await the news, you slump against the kitchen counter, burying your head in your arms.
  42.  
  43.  
  44.  
  45. Something soft brushes against your face, rousing you from your slumber. Lifting your head slowly, your field of vision's flooded with a faceful of bright yellow feathers. Immediately, you jolt awake, nearly tumbling off the barstool in the process as you try to reorient yourself. Chichi draws her wing back with a smile while you scramble to wipe the drool from your mouth with the back of your sleeve.
  46.  
  47. "Careful there, sleepyhead," she titters. "Can you come here for a few minutes? Mr. Fazbear is ready to talk with you."
  48.  
  49. Nodding numbly, you slowly lower yourself to your feet before following Chichi into the living room where Beanie and one Mr. Fred Fazbear await. The slender rabbit raises a half-hearted paw in greeting, not even bothering to glance away from her handheld video game as you enter.
  50.  
  51. "Hey, Mike. Feel better after your little siesta?"
  52.  
  53. "Not in the slightest," you mutter groggily. Smoothing out your stained shirt, you try your best to make yourself presentable for your hosts. "Um, hi."
  54.  
  55. Fazbear looks you up and down like a customer eyeing a cut of meat in a butcher shop. "Have a seat," he demands after several seconds of awkward silence.
  56.  
  57. "Er, if it's all the same to you--"
  58.  
  59. "Wasn't a question," he responds stiffly, placing one of his massive paws on your shoulder and forcing considerable weight onto your frame. Your comparitively small body immediately buckles under his push and you tumble backwards onto the couch next to Beanie. She doesn't even react as you collapse beside her.
  60.  
  61. Once you're seated, Fazbear seems even bigger and more imposing than before. Thick, dark circles under his eyes imply a weariness that makes even Bonworth look spritely, though you have no idea whether it's from fatigue or just a generally low tolerance for bullshit. Or both.
  62.  
  63. "I've been made aware of your situation," he intones, lowering his sizable bulk onto a large, well-worn leather ottoman next to a matching easy chair. Placing one of his paws on his knee, he leans forward to look you in the eye.
  64.  
  65. "And what would that situation be?" you ask hesitantly. You almost feel like you've been sent to the principal's office after a day of misbehaving in class. Considering the way your evening's gone, you suppose that isn't too far off from the truth.
  66.  
  67. "I'm told that due to various circumstances you're unable to find lodging for the night," Fred replies.
  68.  
  69. Chichi tucks her wings up and gingerly plops herself on a nearby "nest" of blankets, looking for all the world like an adorable little bird attempting to hatch an egg. Cute as it is, you hardly have time to be amused given the current tone of the room. Turning back to Fred nervously, you nod.
  70.  
  71. "Th-that's correct," you manage. "I'm normally -- I live in 87-B, uh, with Chiclet and the others, but Marion needed to move a new tenant in there so I've been staying with Bonworth, but, uh..."
  72.  
  73. He waves you off dismissively. "I've already spoken with Marion. As for THAT business," he says, pointing a finger in the direction of the ceiling, "I don't know what all went on upstairs, but I sure as hell could hear the shouting down here."
  74.  
  75. You glumly lower your head. "I kind of lost my temper."
  76.  
  77. "And with it, your bed," he snorts, folding his arms. "You seriously don't think I'm fooled by your hat-in-hand game, do you? I've heard about what a hothead you can be."
  78.  
  79. Taken aback, you turn to Beanie for some kind of support, but she shrugs.
  80.  
  81. "You seem like an all right guy, Mike, but I'm not about to side with you against my brother," she says pointedly, finally lowering her game to look at you.
  82.  
  83. "That's fair. I wouldn't expect you to," you sigh, deflated.
  84.  
  85. "Then you have more character than I've been lead to believe," Fred announces. "Fine. You can stay the night, but I'm going to lay down some ground rules."
  86.  
  87. You place your arms in your lap. "All right, I'm listening."
  88.  
  89. "First off, I don't care what time you get up, but you're in bed, lights out, by 12," he says, jabbing a finger at the clock. "I work full-time, and I get up early every morning. Last thing I want is to hear a racket while I'm trying to sleep."
  90.  
  91. "Reasonable enough," you reply.
  92.  
  93. A mandatory curfew's kind of hokey and old-fashioned, but you're not really the type to stay up too late anyway. Besides, it's just for the one night. After some rest you figure you'll go fess up to Chiclet and she'll let you come back home in the morning. Sure, she might give you guff, but you know she's not the kind to put you out in the cold since going back to Bonworth's obviously isn't an option.
  94.  
  95. "This isn't a bed and breakfast, so the fridge is off-limits. And of course, this should go without saying, but I don't want you going anywhere near either of the girls' bedrooms while you're here."
  96.  
  97. Beanie scoffs incredulously, startling you. "Seriously, Fred? I'm a big girl. I can look out for my own virtue, thanks."
  98.  
  99. Chichi huffs from behind Fred. "And what if I wanted to show Mike some of the neat stuff in my bedroom like the quilt I made?"
  100.  
  101. Raising his paws, the hefty bear lets out an equally hefty sigh. "Whatever. No funny business, though. While you're here, under my roof, I'm responsible for the both of you."
  102.  
  103. Beanie turns her game system off, setting it aside. "You sound just like my brother," she remarks dryly, folding her arms in defiance.
  104.  
  105. "Good," Fred approves. "Your brother was one of the finest men the company had, a model employee. I take that as a personal compliment."
  106.  
  107. A shiver runs down your spine. Bonworth? The company? Your eyes widen as the realization hits you. "By chance, Fred, do you work at a place called Jeremy Human's?" you ask, looking him square in the eye.
  108.  
  109. "It just so happens I do. I'm the regional manager, actually. Why, you familiar with it?" he asks, suddenly all-business.
  110.  
  111. "We BOTH work there," Beanie interrupts, shooting him a look. "In fact, I'm on night shift, so I gotta head out in just a few hours. I should probably go get cleaned up and get some caffeine in me."
  112.  
  113. "I can't say I've had the 'pleasure' of a visit yet," you mutter as Beanie gets up from the couch, stretching. "I sure would like to see what it's all about for myself, though."
  114.  
  115. "Best pizza pies in town," Fred proudly boasts. "Largest operational arcade in the tri-county area, too. Over fifty cabinets and consoles."
  116.  
  117. "Tonight's not really the best night for it, but maybe I'll take you on a ride-along this week," Beanie says. "You should see it in the day. Trust me -- much better than at night."
  118.  
  119. "Oh, one of those places that's spookier when the lights are out?" you ask. "Like a school or something after hours?"
  120.  
  121. "You have no idea," she replies grimly before heading down one of the side hallways to the bathroom.
  122.  
  123. As soon as she leaves, Fred rises from the ottoman and motions for you to follow him. "All right, that's enough chatter. Follow me, I'll show you where you'll be staying."
  124.  
  125.  
  126.  
  127. Situated at the end of two parallel hallways is Fred Fazbear's personal office.
  128.  
  129. Well, calling it an "office" might be giving it too much credit. It's really more like a walk-in closet with a desk, a futon and not much else. There's a door on either side of the room that leads out into each hallway. The apartment itself is longer than it is wide, and curiously "industrial" -- the walls are made of brick that was lazily plastered over in spots. Exposed pipes and thick bundles of wire run the length of the ceiling, and there aren't many windows in the place from what you can tell.
  130.  
  131. "Not to be rude, but, uh... I can't help but notice this apartment doesn't look like any of the others I've been in," you observe in your friendliest, most measured tone, hoping you don't come across as nervous as you feel. You suppose the emotional impact of the day and the unfamiliarity of a foreign bed with people you don't know does have you feeling tired and unnerved, but you try just the same to shake it off.
  132.  
  133. Fred grunts in reply, handing you a tattered blanket and a pillow to make up your bed with. "Whole thing used to be a warehouse, or something. Apparently the landlord owns the entire complex, but there were only eight buildings originally constructed as actual apartments."
  134.  
  135. He doffs his hat, rubbing the thick brown fur atop his head. "A few years ago Marion bought the land we're sitting on. He converted the lower level of this building and built a second set of apartments up top to accommodate the need for housing in this area."
  136.  
  137. You nod. "That's kind of cool, actually," you reply, genuinely fascinated. "It's certainly more spacious than either of the upper-level apartments I've been in. I guess the rent's probably more expensive as a result, though?"
  138.  
  139. "We get by," Fred says, apparently uninterested in making any further small talk. "Anything else you need?"
  140.  
  141. Your shoulders slump as you realize you left everything upstairs. "My bags," you murmur, dejected. "I, uh... I left them at Bonworth's along with my coat, and my toothbrush, and..."
  142.  
  143. He irritably waves you off. "Fine. I won't make you go up there," he growls.
  144.  
  145. Turning on his heel, he trudges down the east hallway, scratching his side as he goes. Once he's gone, you take a moment to breathe, looking around the stuffy, confined space you're going to be crammed in for the evening.
  146.  
  147. A large, heavily-used wooden desk takes up the majority of the office. Upon its surface is an old-school conference telephone next to an equally archaic computer. A cheap plastic desk fan provides a small amount of air circulation, gently riffling some loose leaf paper in his outgoing tray. Mounted on the wall above the desk is a bulletin board with papers and photos, but it's too dark to really make any of it out.
  148.  
  149. You're feeling pretty stifled in here; even the bedrooms you had to share with Freddy and Foxy were several times this room's size. You fumble gracelessly in the dark for the light switch, hoping it'll alleviate some of your growing claustrophobia. To your dismay, however, the switch only serves to activate a flickering, dim lamp in the right-side hallway.
  150.  
  151. "Chain overhead," Fred bellows from across the house.
  152.  
  153. Sheepishly, you shut the hall light off before pulling at the string dangling from the ceiling. A lone lightbulb hanging from a flimsy cable illuminates the tiny room, filling you with marginally more comfort.
  154.  
  155. The bulletin board you were curious about has a number of polaroid shots and faded corporate memos pinned to it. You study the corkboard for a while, curious to see if any of the photos feature anyone you've met so far. Not unlike Chiclet's own collection of pictures, these are all labeled with brief notes or dates such as "Summer '08" or "Groundbreaking event at the new location", but a few of them have slightly more tongue-in-cheek captions.
  156.  
  157. After a few minutes of skimming the photos you manage to find a few relatively recent pictures of Beanie and Bonworth, including one of Bonworth standing next to a bored-looking Beanie, both wearing matching "Jeremy Human" polo shirts and black dress pants. Checking to see if the photo was taken before Bonworth's accident, you pluck it from the board. As you do, another picture partially obscured behind a memo falls loose and flutters to the ground.
  158.  
  159. Stooping to collect it, you note that this second picture looks as if it may have been shot using a different camera entirely. It's somewhat faded, so you're forced to hold the picture up to the bulb for a closer look. The scene is blurry and poorly focused, probably having been taken by someone inexperienced with cameras. What you can discern is that it looks to be a picture of a large party room with a dozen or so employees gathered around a table, most likely commemmorating an event at the restaurant. Perhaps an after-hours office party?
  160.  
  161. Though the photo itself is of poor quality, you're surprised to pick out a familiar-looking duo; a curvy yellow-feathered chicken in mechanic's coveralls and a tall, broad-shouldered bear with a wide-brimmed hat. After a few seconds of intense scrutiny, you also make out a shadow that appears to be a small fox in a waiter's outfit, toting a tray of drinks over its head.
  162.  
  163. The table they're standing near appears to be covered in neat rows of party hats and paper plates, and at the seat of honor at the long end is a vaguely humanoid silhouette. Mesmerized, you study this weird being, desperately wishing that the photo was of better quality. Interestingly, the "special guest" is predominately cherry red in color, with a tall hat and large, gaping black eyes. Most unsettlingly, a fiendish grin appears to be plastered across the surreal creature's face.
  164.  
  165. If you didn't know any better you'd say you were looking into the eyes of a demon ripped straight from the pages of a Faustian tale.
  166.  
  167. The sound of the front door slamming draws your attention, so you hastily pin the photos back to the bulletin board and hurry to take your seat on the futon. After a few minutes, Fred lumbers into the room, dropping your bags unceremoniously at your feet. Chichi quickly squeezes in behind him, holding your jacket.
  168.  
  169. "Sorry," she giggles. "I think I got a few feathers on your coat."
  170.  
  171. "Hey, no problem," you offer as you accept it graciously, sharing an awkward chuckle with her as one such feather flutters down onto your leg. "Thanks again for everything. I really appreciate you guys letting me stay the night."
  172.  
  173. Fred grunts something under his breath, wordlessly heading off into the depths of the apartment from whence he came. Chichi watches him go before turning back to you with a sheepish shrug.
  174.  
  175. "You know, um, Mr. Fazbear's not joking about lights out," she says, trotting towards the doorway. "It's already half past nine, so if there's anything you need to take care of before bed, I'd suggest getting it done."
  176.  
  177. "You know, I think I'm good," you reply, spreading out the blanket on the futon. "Right now I'm just kind of tired, so I'll call it a night here."
  178.  
  179. Chichi nods. "Oh, all right. Well, good night then!"
  180.  
  181. You reach a hand out to her, and she accepts it from across the doorway with a smile. You give her wing a gentle squeeze. "Hey, thank you for going to bat for me earlier, and... also for the great cupcake."
  182.  
  183. She gently squeezes your hand back, puffing up her chest with pride. "Just happy to help someone in need. Sleep well, Mike."
  184.  
  185. "Thanks. You too, Chichi."
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