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Roommates - Ch. 3 (Bon Toast)

Nov 29th, 2015
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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. 3 (Bon Toast): http://i.imgur.com/mI4jwS1.png
  4. Inspired by Weaver's Five Nights at Freddy's Apartment AU: http://i.imgur.com/LnDJVNL.png
  5. Originally written in November of 2015 as a greentext request for the /5N@F/ General Discussion Thread at /vg/: https://boards.fireden.net/vg/thread/123411224/#123531070
  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. To your credit, the movie you picked was a hit with the others. Of course, you're not particularly surprised. They obviously lack the appreciation for fine cinema that you do -- alas, a burden you carry that seems more curse than gift these days. Nevertheless, you manage to somehow bolt Bonnie to the couch for close to two hours, giving you ample time to study your new roommates while they're (mostly) distracted by the tube.
  12.  
  13. Chica's the one you've easily had the most exposure to so far (in perhaps more ways than one -- you seriously wonder if she even OWNS any pants). You've gathered that she's your typical former college party girl who's had the weight of the world thrust upon her shoulders and, as a result, has been forced to grow up fast. Not too much of a surprise, given the other occupants of this apartment -- she's by far the most level-headed one here.
  14.  
  15. Her eyes say "hello" and "help me" at the same time. She's probably had to call the shots for so long that it likely wouldn't hurt to have one more responsible person helping out around the apartment, and you realize that position is going to fall to you by default. You desperately want to tell her that you're anything BUT leadership material, especially after what pushed you into this whole setup -- but then again, maybe it's time for you to grow up too.
  16.  
  17. Freddy's bizarre and eclectic, but earnest. He seems like a stranger in a foreign land, not only in his speech but also his mannerisms and tastes. Nevertheless, throughout the course of watching the film you've noticed him get up and tend to things that have needed doing, such as taking care of multiple loads of laundry that clearly aren't his and neatening up after Bonnie's messes. He's eager to help, selfless, and very agreeable, and despite the language barrier between the two of you, you get the feeling he's going to end up being a great friend.
  18.  
  19. Bonnie herself is a neurotic, unstable, manic mess of a girl. There's nothing about her that seems balanced -- from the way she walks to the way she speaks. You can see why she's on such heavy medication. Any time a character in the movie raised their voice or there was a loud noise, she seemed to practically retract into the couch, even going so far as to dive behind a cushion at one point when a car alarm went off outside.
  20.  
  21. She quivers like a leaf in a hurricane and doesn't eat enough to keep a sparrow alive, going by the fact she ate maybe a tenth of the food on her plate. Her clothes are baggy on her stick-figure frame, and it's not just because she's juxtaposed against Chica who's almost hanging out of what little she's got on.
  22.  
  23. Out of all of your new roommates, the one who bothers you most by far and away is Mangle. The flirtatious jokes and fluttery eyelids seem like a front for someone with a lot to hide. At one point during the movie, Mangle irresponsibly offered Bonnie a glass of wine, and when Bonnie refused, you noticed that despite how thirsty she seemed to be her juice glass didn't empty out the entire film. However, thanks to Mangle probably spiking her drink, Bonnie also seemed to calm down considerably by the end of the movie, her cheeks glowing like Christmas lights by the time the credits began to roll.
  24.  
  25. You find yourself more than a little off-put by this; on the one hand, Bonnie VERY clearly needs to relax -- on the other, it gives you insight into Mangle's character that stirs up long-repressed feelings in you. For now, you decide on the path of least resistance, vowing to call the fox out loudly and firmly should it happen again.
  26.  
  27.  
  28.  
  29. Somehow, bedtime comes sooner rather than later. Bonnie tries a few times to make small talk with you, but it's obvious that she's still too nervous even after a "soother". You generously make the excuse that you're tired from walking all day, knowing full well she's going to stay up for at least three hours talking to Chica about you behind your back. Mulling it over, however, the thought doesn't particularly bother you. There's no telling what's going through her head right now, seeing as how even someone completely stable would be stressed by having a new person thrust into their household dynamic. Bonnie probably just needs to vent since her whole routine's likely been thrown off.
  30.  
  31. Slight correction. Everyone's routine, now that you dwell on it. This is as alien for them as it is for you.
  32.  
  33. Throwing yourself on the proverbial grenade, you fall back on your time-tested strategy of smiling and evading.
  34.  
  35. "Thanks for having me, everybody, but I think I'm going to get some sleep," you announce.
  36.  
  37. "Oh, I can tell you're going to fit right in," Chica replies, raising her own wine glass to you in a mock toast. "Have a good night, Mike."
  38.  
  39. "G'night, Mmmmike. Nice to meeting you," Bonnie hiccups from behind her pillow. As you begin to head off, you catch sight of the rabbit leaning over to Chica.
  40.  
  41. "Shica, you think he's -- mmm -- amanomin-cally correct?" she stage-whispers far, far, FAR too loudly to be subtle. Mangle cackles at this, winking at you as you pass by. Your stomach flip-flops.
  42.  
  43. "Mike, dear, sleep well. I'm right next door, just a hair's breadth away if you have need of any of my services," Mangle offers.
  44.  
  45. You don't.
  46.  
  47. Freddy stares blankly at you as you walk out of the common area, so you dip your head in his direction and pantomime laying your head on a pillow. He nods in realization and moves for the hall closet, pulling fresh linens and a pillow from a plastic bag inside. You follow Freddy to your shared bedroom, where he motions to the bunk bed.
  48.  
  49. "Lequel préfères-tu?" Not quite understanding his meaning but getting the gist, you shrug, and he pats the top bunk, inclining his head to you as if to seek permission.
  50.  
  51. "All right," you reply, nodding your head exaggeratedly to convey agreement.
  52.  
  53. Freddy changes the sheets on the top mattress, then drapes the blanket over it gently before handing you the pillow.
  54.  
  55. "Mettez-vous à l'aise."
  56.  
  57. "Thank you," you reply, which is a phrase he's likely heard enough times to understand the general meaning of. He smiles ever so slightly at you before he closes the door behind himself, leaving you alone. With little else to do, you climb the ladder and crawl into bed.
  58.  
  59. Despite not feeling too particularly tired, you're asleep not long after your head hits the pillow.
  60.  
  61.  
  62.  
  63. You stir as the beams of light filter through the curtains. Glancing at Freddy's wall clock, it's just a little after 7 AM. A bit later than you're used to sleeping until, but you figure you needed the rest. After all, it's the first time in a little over three days that you've woken up on a surface other than asphalt while covered in a material other than newspaper.
  64.  
  65. You're entitled to a little bit of comfort, right?
  66.  
  67. Freddy himself is already awake and presumably working in the kitchen. You notice the bathroom isn't occupied, so you dive for it and freshen up hastily before heading out into the kitchen to see if Freddy needs a hand.
  68.  
  69. "Bonjour," he says. You start to greet him normally, then stop yourself.
  70.  
  71. "B-bonshore?" you reply hesitantly, searching his face to see if you made sense. He stops what he's doing and glances up at you, a smile playing at the corner of his mouth.
  72.  
  73. "Bonjour," he repeats.
  74.  
  75. "Bon-jore," you try again, a bit more confidently. He decides this is close enough and points toward the kitchen clock's "AM" setting.
  76.  
  77. "Bonjour," he says before pointing to where PM would be. "Bonsoir."
  78.  
  79. "Bonswah?" You mime the pillow motion.
  80.  
  81. Freddy ponders your meaning for a moment before he shakes his head.
  82.  
  83. "Bonne soirée," he says, repeating the same motion. Pointing to the PM slot again, he turns back to you. "Bonsoir."
  84.  
  85. You're not at all grasping this insane Martian speak, but that's not going to stop you from trying. You pull a piece of paper off of the notepad by the telephone, jotting down approximations of what you've been told along with what you think are fair translations. You'll get the hang of it yet.
  86.  
  87. After you try a few different ways to offer help with the kitchen, Freddy insistently motions for you to take your seat at the table, so you resign yourself to at least cleaning up a little. You meant what you told Chica yesterday and you're not about to let her catch you slacking off. You start with grabbing a rag from the kitchen and dusting Mangle's pawprints and makeup off of the chandelier. And speaking of the devil, right on time...
  88.  
  89. "Good morning, boys," Mangle announces proudly, popping out of the air vent directly overhead the dining room. The vent cover bounces off the table and onto the floor, clattering to a stop like a manhole cover in an old cartoon. You're glad you relieved yourself before you came in here because if you hadn't, you'd definitely be doing so right now.
  90.  
  91. "Bonjour," Freddy replies without even looking up from slicing bread. As soon as your heart settles back into its usual spot in your chest, you stare up at Mangle with bewilderment on your face.
  92.  
  93. "Bon-- uh, I mean, good morning. What are you DOING up there, Mangle?"
  94.  
  95. Mangle's eyes roll two complete rotations, as if YOU'RE somehow the weird one.
  96.  
  97. "I prefer crawl spaces. Helps me to get around more easily due to my, mmm, condition."
  98.  
  99. "Which is?" you ask, earning you an ireful stare.
  100.  
  101. "Don't be vulgar, Mike," Mangle chides theatrically. "A gentleman never asks and a lady never tells!"
  102.  
  103. "Which are you, then?" you reply, folding your arms.
  104.  
  105. "Now you're just being rude, Mike." Mangle sharply glares at you, teeth gnashing almost imperceptibly. "I'll let you make it up to me with one of those pastries from the counter. Just toss it up here."
  106.  
  107. You sigh and pluck a scone from a nearby tray, gently lobbing it in Mangle's direction. A clawed paw darts out of the vent behind Mangle's head, spearing it in mid-air before retracting quickly inside.
  108.  
  109. "You're a dear. I'll be in my room, if anyone inquires," the fox angrily huffs.
  110.  
  111. "I somehow doubt that anyone will," you mutter, replacing the vent cover after Mangle thumps off into the distance. With a sigh, you finish wiping down the table, cleaning off the dust that was shaken loose from the vent.
  112.  
  113. "Good morning, Mike," Chica announces from behind you. She's a bit better attired this morning, wearing a pair of yoga pants and a cutoff tee. Following closely behind Chica is Bonnie, who hasn't even bothered changing out of her baggy nightgown. She murmurs something inaudible and flops onto the table, yawning loudly.
  114.  
  115. "Not a morning person, I take it," you comment, pouring her a glass of milk. As an afterthought, you add a silly curly straw from a packet nearby before handing it off to her.
  116.  
  117. "I love curly straws," Bonnie hoarsely whispers by way of reply as she sucks down the milk in the glass.
  118.  
  119. "Of course she's not a morning person, when she keeps everyone up until two AM," Chica playfully gripes, poking Bonnie in the side with a feathertip. "I don't think I've ever heard you talk that much. What did you HAVE last night?"
  120.  
  121. "Just grape juice," Bonnie insists. "Is it starting to ferment? Maybe we need a new bottle."
  122.  
  123. "Anyway, Mike! Today we were thinking of going shopping!" Chica claps her wings together, which amusingly doesn't sound like a clap so much as the sound of two sponges plopping together thanks to her feathers absorbing the blow. "Our deposits were made this morning and we need to restock on a few toiletries as well as get you hooked up with stuff. Anything else you need? Socks, toothpaste, condoms, underwear? Probably could use some clean underwear, right? What size do you wear? Boxers or briefs?"
  124.  
  125. You blush slightly at her rapid-fire discourse.
  126.  
  127. "Just the items on the list are fine for now," you reply. There are a few personal effects you wouldn't mind having besides just basic toiletries, but you're not about to ask her to get them for you. "Actually, should I go with you? I'm totally free today and I don't mind going at all."
  128.  
  129. Chica shakes her head. "Nuh uh. Bonnie and I always handle the shopping, don't we, Bon?"
  130.  
  131. Bonnie's already face-down on her table mat, snoring. You gently tuck one of her ears back, only to nearly cry out in pain when it snaps forward on its own, slapping you on your arm with enough force to leave a welt.
  132.  
  133. "Right! Okay, cool. The stuff on the list. Can do," Chica says obliviously as you clutch your stinging arm. "So! What's your deal, Mike?"
  134.  
  135. "My deal?" you choke. "Like, what do you mean specifically?"
  136.  
  137. "Well, I mean, I'll tell you yours if you tell me mine," she replies. "Or, no, wait -- how's that saying go?"
  138.  
  139. "I'm not... really sure I follow," you chuckle awkwardly. "Are you asking why I'm here, or...?"
  140.  
  141. "Something like that. Like, okay, I mean, how did you end up here? What's so terrible about you that you were forced into low-income housing with enough roommates to rival the average sweatshop family?" Chica suddenly snaps her teeth shut, rubbing her scarred lips slightly. "I mean -- wow, that came out wrong."
  142.  
  143. "You're saying 'I mean' a lot again, Chica," Bonnie murmurs as she lifts her head back up.
  144.  
  145. "Augh! I am, aren't I! I mean-- it's... no, wait, just -- uggghh! He's new blood and I'm just so curiooous!" Chica moans, twisting her napkin back and forth in her wings.
  146.  
  147. Before you can reply, Freddy sets a plate of some kind of buttery, decadent-looking toast covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar in front of you, and you're not sure you've ever seen anything that looks or tastes so delicious. The bread tastes like it was coated in egg and pan-fried, and it's so rich that one piece feels like it's enough to carry you all day, so of course you'll end up eating four slices so you can hate yourself immediately afterward.
  148.  
  149. "Oh, it's good, isn't it?" Chica says as she voraciously tears into hers. Her partial lips and lack of beak means she has to eat with one hand under her mouth, since she doesn't seem to have much to catch the food with in case it falls out while she's chewing. It's simultaneously repulsive and fascinating, but you do your best not to stare.
  150.  
  151. Bonnie's not eating anything quite as rich as this strange, exotic, eggened cinnamon bread. She settles for a bowl of cold cereal -- some cartoony kid's brand with marshmallows that have the same consistency and flavor as the packaging they come in. You notice her spending more time separating the marshmallows and the regular pieces from each other with her spoon than actually eating them.
  152.  
  153. "Um, well," you begin when Chica looks back at you expectantly. With a sigh, you decide on a very severely abridged version of your past. "Haven't been able to quite find steady employment since a work related injury I suffered about two years ago. I never finished school and most places didn't want to take a chance on me, so I eventually resorted to living on the streets and in shelters."
  154.  
  155. "Wow, Mike," Chica mumbles.
  156.  
  157. "I won some money from a class-action settlement with my employer, so I eventually found my way here. Now I'm just looking for a steady job so I've got a plan B when the checks run out."
  158.  
  159. That's close enough to the truth that it's plausible, and Chica ends up buying off on it.
  160.  
  161. "And your skin? I mean -- sorry, your -- well, your lack of, um, fur?" she asks nervously.
  162.  
  163. You blink at her.
  164.  
  165. "I hate to break it to you, but I've always been like this," you chuckle.
  166.  
  167. "You poor thing," Chica murmurs, pulling your head into her chest.
  168.  
  169. "Okay, let's not do this," you gasp as she squeezes you tight, but she can't possibly hear your muffled voice.
  170.  
  171. "I'm so sorry to hear that, Mike! Ohhhh, the teasing must have been horrible when you were a kid. Man, it's a huge wonder you aren't scarred for life."
  172.  
  173. Coming from the bird with literal scars, you're not sure how to feel about that, so you just sort of laugh nervously as you try to wrench yourself away. Eventually you pry yourself loose from her iron grip, wheezing a little for air.
  174.  
  175. Bonnie gives you a tearful gaze. "Mike, it's okay. You're still kind of cute. You can't help being broken like the rest of us."
  176.  
  177. Your smile's getting more forced by the minute. "So how about you, Chica?"
  178.  
  179. "Oh, crap -- it's almost 8! We'd better hurry if we want to get to the thrift store when they open. All the best stuff gets picked over by resellers," Chica announces. "Bonnie, go get dressed and meet me at the bus stop outside."
  180.  
  181. Frowning, you carry your plates to the sink as the girls race to leave the apartment. Glancing back at Freddy who's engrossed in the morning newspaper, you check your notes and then reason out what you hope comes across as a compliment.
  182.  
  183. "Freddy?" You point to your empty plate and then rub your stomach. "Bon, uh -- bon toast?"
  184.  
  185. He smiles back at you, tipping his hat slightly.
  186.  
  187. "Merci."
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