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Roommates - Mini #1 (Rough Start)

Feb 14th, 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 - Mini #1 (Rough Start)
  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. In my heart, I know that everything I've accomplished has been leading up to this moment. I've fought so, so very hard to get to where I am right now. Every waking hour has been a torturous battle. Every excruciating interaction lined with trepidation, every conversation laced with uncertainty. Enemies lurking around every corner, waiting to undermine all that I am, all that I've worked for.
  12.  
  13. Today, however, they're too late. Months of hard work comes to fruition, surreptitious favors meted out long ago finally repaid in kind.
  14.  
  15. It's my time to shine. This afternoon I become one with my sanctuary, my sacred chamber -- and even in its ruin, it is immaculate. Carpet that was once plush and vibrant has become soiled with age and water damage. Layers of dust possibly centuries old serve as the only decoration my throne room possesses, but in time it will be restored to its former glory. Under my reign, I'll see it done.
  16.  
  17. I lift the hem of my skirt as I slowly walk through the chamber of destiny to claim my throne as the hare ascendant, my faithful companions brushing aside stacks of indecipherable scrolls and crates full of long-disused tomes. Not long now.
  18.  
  19. "Steady as ye go, lass," Foxy calls out behind me.
  20.  
  21. Without even sparing him a glance, I sharply rebuke his improper manner. "Why doth thou speak as a buccaneer if thou art to be a knight in service to the crown, Sir Foxy?"
  22.  
  23. "Because girls love pirates," he hotly declares. "Haven't you seen all the pirate movies playing down at the theater? Besides, I'm not Sir Foxy, I'm Captain Sir Foxy!"
  24.  
  25. And just like that, the mood's gone. I flop down into one of the dented metal chairs in our new clubroom -- a nine by eleven space with little more than a folding table, a busted mini fridge and too many cardboard boxes stuffed with ancient textbooks to count.
  26.  
  27. "Now, now, Bonnie," Chica intervenes. "If he's having fun, let him. You know we need a fourth for our board game, and if he wants to be a pirate knight, I don't see what harm it'll cause."
  28.  
  29. "First, it's not a board game," I correct. Shoving my broken glasses higher up my nose, I reach into my bookbag. "Second, does it hurt too much to be period-accurate? After all, today's a monumental occasion." With a flourish, I present my pristine copy of the all-new 3rd Edition of Strongholds & Sapiens to riotous applause.
  30.  
  31. "Neat," Bonbon comments, still too busy exploring the space of the clubhouse. "Hey, you think we can use the pipes in the ceiling here for chin-ups?"
  32.  
  33. "Pretty art," Chica coos. "I like her dress, it's very lovely."
  34.  
  35. "That's a guy, I think," I reply. "Kind of hard to tell. Humans all look the same to me."
  36.  
  37. "Brought my own miniatures," Foxy interjects, tossing three green army figures onto the table. The paint applications are sloppy to say the least -- looks like he did it himself with a can of spray paint, and the figures don't even stand up. Probably the ones made with thin plastic one would find in a bag at the dollar store. And I'll just bet he didn't bring his own dice again this week either.
  38.  
  39. "Also I forgot my dice, so if anyone has some to spare that'd be great," he says. "But you gotta let me roll because I've got the magic touch."
  40.  
  41. "What happened to the LAST three sets of dice I gave you?" I snap.
  42.  
  43. "They're in my fish tank at home," Foxy protests. "They're all colorful and shiny so I thought they'd look like cool sunken treasure."
  44.  
  45. "Maybe squats?" Bonbon continues obliviously. "Hey, a mini fridge, I wonder if there's anything inside? Oh, sweet! A can of pop's in here!"
  46.  
  47. I grit my teeth, fishing around in my bookbag. "You guys don't friggin' take any of this seriously," I hiss under my breath.
  48.  
  49. Popping the tab on her likely eons-old soft drink, Bonbon takes a seat next to me. "Whoa, whoa, WHOA -- there's like half-naked humans in this game?" she asks with sudden enthusiasm, ripping the book from my hands and hastily turning pages. "I mean, I'm not into that kind of crap or anything. I'm just asking -- for a friend."
  50.  
  51. Chica pipes up from across the room. "Which friend?"
  52.  
  53. I wrest the gamebook from Bonbon's hands (gently, as not to scuff it, since the thing was almost thirty dollars). "Come on, guys!" I moan. "Do you have any idea how hard I had to shill to get this room for us? Do you have any idea how many diapers I had to change, or how many dozens of bottles I had to warm?"
  54.  
  55. The sound of a cigarette lighter flicking out in the hallway interrupts my passionate diatribe. My ears flatten against my skull as said lighter's owner trots into the room.
  56.  
  57. "What my baby sis is tryin' to get across to you cubes is that she done went and blew two months' worth of her babysittin' bread on that silly gamebook, so you best be treatin' her with respect." My older brother flashes us his trademark smile as he slicks his pompadour back with a switchblade pocket comb.
  58.  
  59. "Bonworth, I can handle my friends just fine. I don't need you to come wipe my ass for me," I sigh. "Shouldn't you be at track meet anyway?"
  60.  
  61. "Nah, baby bean!" he wheedles. "I'm gonna ditch class and head downtown for a root beer float with the posse."
  62.  
  63. "You're ditching class?" I echo. "Bonworth, it's four o'clock. Class is already out for the day."
  64.  
  65. He rubs the back of his head sheepishly. "I-I knew that, little bunny."
  66.  
  67. "Don't call me that," I uselessly shout after him as he skips out into the hallway to meet up with the rest of his hooligan friends. "Ugh. Where were we?" I ask, pulling out my spiral-bound notebook to start writing up character sheets.
  68.  
  69. Foxy drums his hands on the table. "Pirate treasure!"
  70.  
  71. "Humans!" Bonbon declares, bouncing up and down in her seat.
  72.  
  73. "Changing diapers?" Chica helpfully adds. With a flustered moan, I bury my face in the pages of the gamebook. It's going to be a long afternoon.
  74.  
  75.  
  76.  
  77. "For the last time, Sir Foxy, you're not allowed to use 'psychic powers to do the dishes'," I groan. "First off, you're a knight -- actually, a paladin -- and secondly, you've already spent most of your points in... 'pirate'? That's not even a thing!"
  78.  
  79. "An' I'm sayin' for th' last time, lass, me name ain't Sir Foxy -- it's Captain Pirate Sir Foxy!" he announces, waving his miniature minesweeper figure around.
  80.  
  81. "So what kind of features does my human have?" Bonbon interjects. "Like, how anatomically correct are we talking here?"
  82.  
  83. "It has whatever 'features' you want it to have," I answer, exasperated. "Just please don't tell me about them. Can we please just get moving along now? Dinner's in two hours and my mom'll have my ass if I'm not home by then."
  84.  
  85. "Oooh! No, you don't want to miss that," Chica interjects. "Dinner's the most important meal of the day, besides breakfast. If it's alright, I'll get us all started... can I check the room for traps?"
  86.  
  87. "Thank you!" I sigh, relieved. "Thank you so much, Chica. Yes, that's absolutely something your character can do. Go ahead and roll a D6 and we'll get started."
  88.  
  89. She tosses one of her pink dice across the table, and it turns up a three.
  90.  
  91. "Okay, here we go -- uhh... you don't find any traps in the room. What will you do?" I ask in my best stronghold master's voice.
  92.  
  93. "Well," Chica ponders, tickling the tip of her beak with a feather, "We should be good to go if I didn't find any traps. Come on in, everybody." Foxy and Bonbon move their respective miniatures across the table, and Chica follows in short order.
  94.  
  95. "Whoops, you step on a trap, Chica," I declare. "It's an explosive. Chica, roll for evasion."
  96.  
  97. With a faltering smile, Chica plucks another die from her bag and rolls a one. "I thought you said there weren't any traps, Bonnie?"
  98.  
  99. I tap the book authoritatively. "Sorry, Chica, but I said you didn't FIND any traps, not that there were none. I'm afraid you've been slain by the explosive trap so you're going to have to roll up a new character."
  100.  
  101. "I was really starting to like my character," she sniffs. "And that's it? She's gone forever now?"
  102.  
  103. I bite my lip apologetically. "Well, yeah, that's the point. It's fine, though, players die all the time. It's a rare character that can make it all the way to..." The words die on my lips mid-sentence as Chica's beak begins to quiver. "Oh, no, no -- Chica, stop crying, please," I plead.
  104.  
  105. She dabs at her watery eyes. "I'll be fine," she sobs, reaching a trembling wing for my notebook. "Just, um... give me a few seconds to put things in order."
  106.  
  107. Foxy whirls on me, giving me the stinkeye something fierce. "Are you sure there's nothing we can do for her?" he demands. I flip through the pages of the book to the section on what to do if a character dies, laying it out for him to read.
  108.  
  109. "Since Chica was your party's cleric, she's the only one capable of healing. Because her character died as well as the fact none of the rest of you know healing spells, I'm afraid the rules say she's not going to come back to life." I hate being the heavy, but damn it, it's our first session with a proper rulebook and not just made-up ones, and we're going to do this the right way.
  110.  
  111. "Well that's a simple enough fix then," Foxy declares as Bonbon boredly rolls her empty soda can back and forth across the desk. "Just move my points from 'pirate' to 'cleric' and I'll heal her up myself."
  112.  
  113. "Even if I could do that," you explain, "Resurrection spells are pretty high-level, Foxy. You could spend double the points you have now and you still wouldn't be able to learn anything to save her."
  114.  
  115. He cuts his eyes at me in a way that conveys he means business. "I'm sure we can come to terms on something, your highness," he spits.
  116.  
  117. I gulp audibly, making a show of looking through the pages. I already know the answer -- I was up half the night preparing for this session. I knew the room was going to be brutal. I knew they wouldn't be prepared, and I was going to relish in watching them crumble under my iron fist. I just hadn't figured Foxy's stupid crush into the equation, though.
  118.  
  119. "Okay, so... you're a pirate," I mumble. "Pirate knight. I mean paladin. Damn it, Foxy!" He shrugs, patting Chica's shoulder as she tearfully rustles her character sheet. "How about you look in a chest to see if you can 'plunder' something to revive Chica's character with?"
  120.  
  121. My childhood friend snaps her head up excitedly. "You mean I'm not dead yet?" she asks, pausing halfway through scribbling.
  122.  
  123. "No, you're still dead," I gently correct. Her headfeathers droop in response. "B-but Foxy might be able to find something since he IS a good pirate paladin. Why don't you roll for your pir--"
  124.  
  125. "I got it," he mumbles, grabbing Chica's dice and rolling them. "There we go! A twelve. That should do it, right?"
  126.  
  127. "You find a treasure chest," I announce, indicating its position on the stronghold map I drew up on cheesecloth last night. "It's right here."
  128.  
  129. "Yesss," Foxy hisses. "Let's crack that sucker open and -- I mean, uh... Avast, ye... noble steeds! Let us crack yon sucker open an' see what booty we doth can plunderest!"
  130.  
  131. I cringe at his hamfisted attempt to fuse medieval dialogue with buccaneer slang, but decide to throw him a bone. "Roll to open the chest."
  132.  
  133. "You serious right now, Bonnie?" he croaks. "I already found the chest. How hard can it be to smash the lock with my cutlass?"
  134.  
  135. "Roll to open the chest," I repeat. "It's the rules, Foxy."
  136.  
  137. "Oh my god would you just hurry up," Bonbon moans. "I wanna talk about my human some more. So does he have, like, a tail? I wonder what a human tail looks like... I mean, they're not usually depicted as having a tail, but if he DID have a tail I bet it'd be big and strong, right? The strongest tail."
  138.  
  139. "Humans don't have tails," I sigh. "There's nothing in the book or any other fantasy lore that would imply they do."
  140.  
  141. "But they have butts, right?" she gasps. "If they don't have butts that's a dealbreaker. I want my human to have a nice butt. I mean, what's a butt without a tail, right?" I'm seconds from jabbing my pencil in her eye if she doesn't shut the hell up.
  142.  
  143. Foxy begrudgingly picks the die up and rolls it again. It comes up a solid 20, and everyone at the table cheers aloud except for me. With a smile, I nod to him.
  144.  
  145. "Okay, Foxy, the chest opens up," I announce.
  146.  
  147. "I knew it!" he grins as Chica waits with bated breath for the good news, eyeing her fallen miniature. "So I got the medicine?"
  148.  
  149. "No," I reply. "The chest was unlocked, but it was trapped, and it explodes. Roll for evasion."
  150.  
  151. "You long-eared harlot!" he growls. "I'd have half a mind to come over there and yank those braces out of your head with pliers. What kind of game are you trying to pull here?"
  152.  
  153. Bonbon points to the die on the table. "Hey, Foxy rolled a 20, Bonnie. He gets a critical success, doesn't he?"
  154.  
  155. "What?"
  156.  
  157. "20 means critical success, right?" Bonbon asks. "So it works AND something really good has to happen, too."
  158.  
  159. I cringe. "...let me see that book." After flipping through a few pages, I notice that sure enough, a natural 20 is in fact considered a critical success.
  160.  
  161. "Clearly you knew about them, though, because you picked up on Chica's critical failure earlier when she triggered the trap," Bonbon continues.
  162.  
  163. "How'd you become so knowledgeable about this game in such a short time?" I ask.
  164.  
  165. "Fast reader," she replies with a shrug.
  166.  
  167. "Look, Foxy, I'm sorry," I insist. "My hands are tied! I wrote this whole thing up last night -- it's not my fault the chest was trapped. Well, I mean, it is in a metaphorical sense, but not in the context of you needing its contents right now. This and that are completely different."
  168.  
  169. "Whatever," he mumbles. Begrudgingly, he rolls to evade and of course it comes up a four. Even with his natural 'pirate-like' reflexes, he's no match for the trapped chest and ends up falling beside Chica's character.
  170.  
  171. "So it's my turn? Finally," Bonbon says as Foxy attempts to console Chica. I reach over and pat one of her wings with an awkward smile, but she doesn't really seem to be in the mood right now.
  172.  
  173. "It's on you now, Bonbon. One false step and you won't be able to rescue the queen," I inform her cautiously, gesturing to the miniature seated on top of the throne at the end of the map. "The other two can rejoin you at the next tavern as soon as they're finished with their characters, but not until then."
  174.  
  175. "That's not a problem. So here's what I want to do with my human," she begins, pointing to her character sheet. "I'm thinking I'm going to name him a REAL human-y sounding name. How about Filburt? That's a common human name, right?"
  176.  
  177. "Okay," I shrug. "He WAS Chesterfordshire a few moments ago, but now you want him to be Filburt?"
  178.  
  179. "That's right. Filburt Chesterfordshire," she confirms, penciling in her changes. "Son of Warburbon Chesterfordshire. They're both humans."
  180.  
  181. "Reasonable, considering that I'm pretty sure humans don't change species when reproducing." Foxy continues scowling at me as Chica gets up and waddles outside, presumably in search of the snack machines. I give him a sympathetic shrug, but stand my ground. A stronghold master has to be tough, and I know if I give any quarter I'll never have credibility as a serious game runner.
  182.  
  183. "So what's your first course of action, Bonbon?" I ask, prepping my notes.
  184.  
  185. "Oh, that's simple," she says. "I trigger the other obvious exploding trap you put in front of the throne so that we can end this stupid, rigged game and have some real fun."
  186.  
  187. I gawk. "How'd you know there was a trap in front of the throne?"
  188.  
  189. Bonbon grins as I lower my head in defeat, realizing I've just hung myself with my own confession. "Y-you think it's a stupid game?" I ask.
  190.  
  191. Bonbon tugs at her sweatband. "Nah, I guess the game itself's fine, but you had us spend all this time on making characters -- then you blew us up with magic, invisible traps before we could do something fun. The Queen herself is probably a bomb at this rate."
  192.  
  193. "Well I wasn't--" I start, but she quickly cuts me off mid-sentence.
  194.  
  195. "Like, instead of doing something fun together, you're just trying to kill us so you can 'win', and you're being kind of a hardass to boot. So now you made Chica upset and Foxy mad. PLUS," she continues, slapping the book's cover with the back of her hand, "even though humans are in the TITLE, they're not the best race! Which, I mean, HELLO? How wrong can you get? Oh, and also when you calculated Chica's roll you didn't factor in her active awareness bonus, which should have added to both her detection and evasion stats."
  196.  
  197. "Well, I can't say that I'm having fun," Foxy agrees. I nod slowly, folding the book up and tucking my map back into my bookbag.
  198.  
  199. "I guess that's it then," I quietly comment. "Well then, I'm sorry to have wasted everyone's time today. I'll just go tell Mr. Cawthon we're done with the clubroom for now."
  200.  
  201. Foxy rubs the back of his head as Chica comes back in with a package of gem donuts. "Where are you going, Bonnie?" she asks as I brush past her. "Wait, what'd I miss? Foxy, did you jump onto her?"
  202.  
  203. "It wasn't me!" he cries as Chica drops her donuts on the table. "I was just trying to see to it that we'd have a fair--"
  204.  
  205. "Foxy!" she chides. "Get up off your duff and go apologize to her right now."
  206.  
  207. "It's fine," I mumble, wiping my nose with the back of my sleeve. "I'll see you guys later."
  208.  
  209. "Being a bit of a buzzkill today, aren't you Beanie?" Bonbon asks.
  210.  
  211. "Bonnie, come back!" Foxy calls out in vain. I hurriedly depart the clubroom as the three of them break down into squabbling.
  212.  
  213.  
  214.  
  215. Fidgeting, I hover in front of our homeroom teacher's desk, clubroom keys still in my hands. The middle-aged beaver looks up at me from grading papers with a tired, yet warm-hearted smile.
  216.  
  217. "Hello hello, Bonita! How'd your game go with the other kids?" Mr. Cawthon asks cheerfully.
  218.  
  219. "Horrible," I answer. "I guess I overestimated their enthusiasm for it. I'm here to return the clubroom keys."
  220.  
  221. Mr. Cawthon shoves the stack of papers he's working on aside, peering over his spectacles at me. "So you're giving up, then?" he asks dubiously. I glumly nod, passing the keyring across the desk to him.
  222.  
  223. "I should've known I wasn't cut out for--"
  224.  
  225. "That's enough of that now," he interjects, standing up from his chair. "Bonita, I'm gonna tell you something, and I want you to listen. In the two years I've had the privilege of being your homeroom teacher, I've never known you to throw in the towel on anything! You're a straight A student, you put all of your heart and soul into your studies and you've never missed even a single day of class. What went wrong today?"
  226.  
  227. I fumble around with my satchel as he patiently awaits my answer.
  228.  
  229. "I got this new gamebook and I wanted to do some proper roleplaying with my friends since ordinarily we just roll dice and pretend, but it just... I didn't work out today," I explain. "I was so excited to put on a game for them that I stayed up most of the night drawing up maps and writing a story, but I went way overboard trying to make it challenging by adding traps and explosives and stuff. And, well, I kind of wanted to win my first game."
  230.  
  231. He nods, adjusting his glasses. "I can't speak for your friends, but what I do know is you wanted to make an after-school club work -- something above and beyond your studies. You pleaded with me and the other faculty members for the last two months to let you have your own clubroom, and you convinced me that you'd be mature enough for the responsibility. But now you're going back on your word after one bad game?"
  232.  
  233. My ears droop as he rattles the clubroom's keychain for emphasis, his expression softening. "Bonita, there's a real-life trap -- just like in your game. It's a pit full of people who've given up on making something of themselves. I've seen people walk into it all my life, and I know you're smarter than that."
  234.  
  235. Mr. Cawthon stands up from the desk and walks around to me, patting my shoulder softly. "Don't you fall into that pit, Bonita. Make everything out of yourself, even if it's just starting small with a game. Now let's see this book of yours."
  236.  
  237. Sniffling, I reach into my bookbag and hand him the stronghold master's guide. He thumbs through it, eyebrows raised. "Oh, this is the newest edition, huh? Mmmm. I haven't done any roleplaying like this since my own college days -- but I'll have you know I was quite the fighter/mage/bard."
  238.  
  239. "That's wild," I breathe in awe. "Your character was multiple classes?"
  240.  
  241. "Nope. I played three characters at the same time," he grins. "Our stronghold master and all the other players thought it was a riot because I'd use different voices for each one -- for instance, my mage was my normal voice, but my bard sounded like a surfer dude."
  242.  
  243. "You think you could maybe show me how to run a better game for my friends? I kind of went nuts making a map and... well, everyone ended up dying."
  244.  
  245. He chuckles. "Classic rookie mistake. It took me three full games of my own before I finally got the rhythm down for difficulty back when I first started. Tell you what, let's go get your friends. I'll be the stronghold master for your game, and we'll doodle you guys up a real simple map on some graph paper to get your group started. How's that sound?"
  246.  
  247. Foxy pokes his head out around the corner. "We're right here, sir. Bonnie, we're willing to give it one more shot if you tone down your crazy bomb chests."
  248.  
  249. "And maybe tweak humans so that they aren't completely busted wheels," Bonbon adds.
  250.  
  251. I look up at Mr. Cawthon, who raises an eyebrow. "They nerfed humans in this edition? Unbelievable. We might have to add some rules patches of our own."
  252.  
  253. "I agree to your terms," I say quietly.
  254.  
  255. "Plus, I want to play with you, Bonnie," Chica adds. "It's no fun when you're on the other side of the wall from us. As long as we're in it together, we can face any challenge, right?"
  256.  
  257. "Right," I reply as she glomps me with a hug, nearly knocking the wind out of me. "Ooof!"
  258.  
  259. "Now that's the spirit," Mr. Cawthon laughs.
  260.  
  261.  
  262.  
  263. "Seriously? That's how your first role-playing session went?" Mike guffaws as he thumbs through my battered copy of the 3rd Edition of Strongholds & Sapiens. "Holy cow, Beanie, I don't think that could have been any cheesier if you tried."
  264.  
  265. "What do you expect?" I snort. "It was a different time, Mike. We were kids, you know? Bright-eyed and optimistic. What, you mean to tell me you've never done anything sappy like that yourself?"
  266.  
  267. "Never," he chuckles. "There's more sap in a rock than there is in this guy."
  268.  
  269. I take the book back from him and slide it back onto my shelf, slipping my coat on. "You sure? What was that crap you were feeding me about missing pajama night over at Chiclet's?"
  270.  
  271. His eyes widen slightly. "Uh, no comment."
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