The Nostalgia Gambit

Tonight was the night, you decided. You had had enough. One night of this shit was far more than any sane man could handle. You’d endured four, and you were fifteen minutes away from upping your count to five. Foxy was giving you so much trouble that you were only barely able to slam the door in Bonnie’s face. If things continued this way, you’d either have to resign and pray for a new job to stay off the streets, or be promoted to a performer the hard way. You weren’t quite sure why you hadn’t resigned yet, actually. Dying out in the cold would beat this.

At any rate, you had a plan for tonight, and a letter of resignation drafted for if that didn’t work. And a will drafted for if that didn’t work. Watching the clock almost as much as the video feed, you noticed Freddy’s stealthy approach. The time was 5:50. Perfect. As if on schedule, Freddy came almost out of nowhere up to the rightmost door, which you closed on impulse. You took a deep breath, then opened it.

Almost as if in shock, Freddy waited a moment before lumbering up to you. God, the stench was unbearable! You took a moment to wonder if business would pick up if they washed the damn things. There was ample argument for either side of that. However, the bear of the hour had more pressing matters to tend to than your opinion of his odor.

“There you are, pal! It’s about time you let me in! Come on, we gotta get you suited up! There’s no time to lose.” Would this work? COULD this work? If the animatronics were even remotely malevolent or hostile, then you were fucked good and proper, and it was your own damn fault. However, if your nostalgia and tiny, rational inner voice were to be trusted, then you may have just made the best decision of your career. It all depended on this.

“Alright, alright, let’s go. But first, can we talk for a minute?”

“I don’t think we have enough time for that, buddy. The suits are all the way on the other side…” No! FUCK no! This had to work! You decided to respond to his goofy vernacular with your own.

“Please, ol’ friend, just a minute? We can walk and talk, even. I just gotta tell you this before I get my suit.” A pause followed, grew, filled the room. Damnit, you thought to yourself, listen! Please, please, please… The very real possibility of failure, and the hellish torture that would come with it, occurred to you, much more terrifying than before. You felt tears beginning to streak down your face for the first time since you broke your arm in high school. Freddy took note of this, and finally broke the silence.

“Aww, don’t be sad… Of course we can chat! That’s what friends are for, I s’pose. What’s got you down?” Oh, thank God. No, seriously, you fully intended to start regularly attending church because of this. Fuck it, you’d even tithe and volunteer and brake for nuns and whatnot. You still had a ways to go in terms of convincing Freddy, but FUCKING SHITDICKS

Out of nowhere, Bonnie had snuck up behind you and tapped you on the shoulder. Goddamnit, you were planning on getting Freddy alone! You had no idea how to read Bonnie. You still weren’t even positive you could tell if he was a boy or not. However, it seemed that God heard your inner resolves and threw you another bone. Freddy turned around and chided the newcomer.

“Now, now, Bonnie! I told you not to go scaring people like that!”

“Sorry, Freddy. I saw the two of you talking, and I just couldn’t help myself! What’re you two up to?”

“We were about to have a little chat, and I think it might be best if you gave us some privacy for this.” Wait, actually. Bonnie- and even Chica and Foxy- should probably also be around when you convince Freddy. You weren’t sure how to get through to each individual bot, but if Freddy was sated, they should all be.

“Actually, Freddy, I think Bonnie and the others should hear this, too. It’s better to get something off your chest when you’re surrounded by friends, right?”

“Right you are, matey!” OH CHRIST WHAT

Apparently, Foxy and Chica were sneaking up on you as well. As you turned around, they emerged from the shadows and entered the office through the left door. Damn! How the fuck were you going to survive another night if you kept up the way you were going? The sneaky bastards had really brought their A-game. You didn’t even hear their approach. However, now wasn’t the time to worry about that. You forced a big, cheesy smile and got on with it.

“Glad to see the gang’s all here! Now, I just wanted to show you all something reeeaaaally important, okay?”

“I thought you were telling us something…” Oh come now, Freddy… Well, worst case scenario, his shenanigans might stall until 6 AM if this didn’t work.

“Maybe it’s show and tell!” Chica chimed in. You might have laughed if you were younger. And not potentially about to die and/or piss yourself. Possibly both, in reverse order.

“Yarr, that be enough chatter from the deck hands! Let’s hear it, laddie!” Foxy had a point- if this took too long, the only result would be a stall-out until 6, and the next night would be particularly unbearable, with your foes trying to be even more buddy-buddy with you.

“Thanks, Foxy. Alright, everyone take a good look at what I’m about to do…” You were not looking forwards to this, but you had no choice. Reaching into your pocket, you grabbed the knife you carried for self-defence and slashed your left palm, immediately wincing and mewling in pain. The animatronics stared. Were they all watching? You hoped so.

“Okay, so you all saw that, right? I cut myself, and now I’m bleeding. See, it’s all over my hand.” And all over the floor, too. You’d have to clean that up later.

“I don’t understand, pal. We never bleed…” Freddy, please, don’t do this to me. Don’t be that big dumb bear I grew up loving and laughing at. You’ve gotta understand me this time.

“That’s right. If I was a- if I was one of you, I wouldn’t be bleeding. But I am bleeding, because I’m not.” You exhaled, hard. Would it sell?

“Wait… Can I see that thing?” Chica said, approaching. You fought your instinct to step away hard. Best to act like they didn’t bother you, probably. You didn’t want to offend. After a moment, you realized that she meant your knife. What was she going to do with it, stab you? Oh God, was it worth handing it over? Then again, not doing so would be uncooperative. Friends aren’t uncooperative, and for your plan to work, you’d all need to be the best of pals. You gingerly placed it in her outstretched- hand? paw? Whatever. She held it up, inspecting it, before speaking.

“Hey, is that pizza sauce?” OH SHIT. NO. GOD NO. PLEASE DO NOT RATIONALIZE THIS, CHICA. To your horror, the others began to chime in.

“It kinda looks like it…”

“Fine trick, matey! Ye fooled me, even.”

“You really had us going, but we don’t have time for pranks. Come on, bud, we’ve gotta get you suited up!” Maybe it was the light, but you could’ve sworn that Freddy’s face suddenly went from cheery demented killing machine to something somehow worse.

“No, please! No! I haven’t even been near the kitchen. You all know I haven’t left this office all night! I’m begging you, listen!” The desperation in your voice must have been particularly telling, as all of the animatronics stopped talking. You were caught somewhat off-guard, but you knew you had to keep your tempo going.

“Let me tell you the story of a little boy, a human one.” The fuck? Whatever, more words needed to leave your mouth, preferably now. “He was six years old, but unlike most little boys, he was very sad. His parents were getting divorced, and they yelled at eachother a lot. He felt really bad, like he needed to do something about it, but there was nothing he could have done. One day, though, it was his seventh birthday. He had been begging to go to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria for a long time, but his parents usually said no because they couldn’t afford to bring him. However, today was special, and they let him go as his gift. He wasn’t sure what to expect, but he ended up having the best pizza he’d ever had, and when the band personally sang Happy Birthday to him, it was the happiest time in his entire life. He even got to have fun at Pirate’s Cove after, battling the giant octopus as part of Captain Foxy’s Crew.

“Sadly, the next day, his parents finally divorced. He went back and forth for a while, but he eventually went to go live with his mom in another state. He always wanted to return to Freddy Fazbear’s, but the drive was too far, and she didn’t make enough money to cover it. He never got to go back, and he was really sad about that. When he grew up, he moved to his old town to live with his dad for a while, but it turned out that his dad was long gone, and he didn’t have a way to get back. He found an apartment and a part-time job and did what he could to raise money to go back to his home. He was really lucky then, you see, because he noticed an ad in the paper that Freddy’s was hiring! He was really excited to be able to go back, even if it was only a night shift where he probably wouldn’t see his old friends- you guys. But then, that’s when we had our misunderstanding.

“I’m the boy, you see. I was so happy to see all of you again! The only problem is, you guys think I’m one of you. Well, I’m not, and it wouldn’t matter except for the suits. I know you guys think I need to go in one, but look at me. I’m bleeding and I’m crying. Have any of you ever cried? Well, maybe you’ve been sad, but have real tears come out? No, because you’re not humans. I am, and if you tried to put me in a suit, I would die. There’s too many sharp things and stuff in there for me to fit. If I die, I wouldn’t be able to spend time with my old friends like I always wanted, so please, stop trying to put me in the suits. Come on, let’s have fun and play like we did that one night instead! What do you say?”

Absolute silence. Tears continued to stream down your face. Your palm hurt like hell, and it sure wasn’t done bleeding, either. None of the animatronics moved an inch. Was it already 6? Did none of your impromptu speech actually matter? Would you be subjected to your nightly hell again tomorrow? Worse, could they have taken it in and not cared? Did your duty to perform overcome your will to live in their eyes? Either way, you hadn’t won. Sobbing outright, you fell to your knees, surrounded by your would-be killers. Your life wasn’t great, sure, but you would have at least liked a less tormenting death. Maybe one that didn’t occur in your childhood heaven. Footsteps shuffled towards you, but you didn’t bother looking. You didn’t want to know, honestly.

A hand brushed by your head. A quick glance revealed Freddy’s palm-up hand-paw, held expectantly by your own. Giving into despair, you grabbed it with your own, allowing yourself to be pulled up. You stood there, head down, ready to be escorted to your suit. You watched Freddy’s feet approach, uncaring that you were certainly going to die, when suddenly you felt yourself pulled into a tight embrace.

Startled, you looked up to find Freddy giving you the biggest bear hug of your life. Seconds later, the others joined in, forcing you into the middle of a big animatronic sandwich. You sniffled, fearing to accept that things had taken a turn for the better, just in case they hadn’t. You’d had high hopes for your plan, originally, but it was a terrible one. They were just robots, after all. They had no empathy, no emotions, likely no memory of what had been the best day of your life. Expecting them to show mercy just because you had visited during better days was beyond foolish. Maybe you should just take your knife back and end it yourself…

Unexpectly, the animatronics began to harmonize. It started inaudibly, but the volume steadily grew. By the time their tune passed a whisper, you were crying debatably harder than you ever had before.

“Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday, dear Mike

Happy birthday to you!”

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