This is the last chapter of my FNAFiction that will go up before I leave on my vacation. Hopefully, there won’t be any interruptions to my upload schedule while I’m gone, but if there are, that’s the reason. Anyway, Chapter Ten just went live on Fanfiction.net and Archiveofourown.org and I warn you now, it’s the longest chapter in the book. For that matter, it’s one of the longest in any of my books. I probably should have broken it in half, but I just couldn’t see where, so I kept it as is, a million pages long. You might want to pack a snack before reading. An excerpt, you say? Why yes! Here it is.
“Hello?” Ana swept her phone’s light across the stage, but it was empty. “Anyone home?”
A metallic rattle in the kitchen, as of pizza trays being shifted, followed by footsteps. Ana turned her light that way and Chica raised her arm, not in a wave, but to shield her eyes. Ana lowered the beam of her light.
“Sorry,” she said. “Is Bonnie around? I’ve got—”
Ana blinked. “What?”
Chica’s upraised arm spasmed and her head rocked back on her thin neck. She righted herself, more or less, her fingers still tremoring in one hand, and said, “RUN-N-N AND PLAY. RUN AND P-P-PLAY. HEY RUMBLE! HEY T-T-TUMBLE! SOMETIMES IT JUST-T-T FEELS GOOD-D-D TO RUN RUN RUN…AND PLAY.” She shook again, her arm snapping out and smacking hard into the doorway. One of her few surviving plastic wing-feathers broke off and dropped to the floor.
Ana put her toolbox and pack down on the table that had been her bed’s canopy the last time she was here (the garbage bags that had been her mattress were still there; ripples of scum showing where rainwater had seeped in, collected, and evaporated away) and went over to pick the lost feather up.
She knew right away there was no reattaching it. When she took Chica’s hand and turned it to get a better look at the underside of her arm, she could see a whole row of jagged stumps where other feathers had snapped off. She could also see deep cracks in her plastic skin, exposing grimy metal bones and clots of time-blackened machine grease. The smell wafting out of her was putrid, so much worse than she remembered Bonnie being, as if something had crawled inside poor Chica and died.
“You okay?” Ana asked.
Chica looked at her, her paint-flecked eyelids heavy over her eyes, giving her a weary, sorrowing stare. “WE ALL DO BAD THINGS SOMETIMES,” she said. “BUT IT HELPS…IT HELPS…IT HELPS TO SAY I’M SORRY.” Then she walked off down the hall, laughing to herself and saying, “IT’S TIME TO EAT! HEY, FREDDY! COME AND SEE! WE’VE GOT A BIRTHDAY GIRL! LET’S EAT!”
Okay, well, never mind. If Bonnie didn’t turn up on his own in a few minutes, she’d go find him. This place was big, but hardly infinite.
Ana went back to the table and brought out her lantern, which did a fair job of showing her just how hopeless this place was, in case she’d forgotten. She turned it all the way up anyway, holding it over her head as she tried to determine the best place to work. There weren’t a lot of bests left in this place, so that was what she was still doing when the door to the West Hall behind her banged open and Bonnie lurched through it.
He saw her and froze, one arm and both ears twitching. “It’s you,” he said.
“It’s me,” she agreed, setting her lamp down. “Miss me?”
“What-t-t are you d-d-do—DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS, KIDS?—doing-ing here? You-You-You…Why d-d-did you…”
His head cocked as if listening. A moment later, Ana heard it too: the tinkling, playful sound of music well back in the hall. Several bored nights haunting old cartoon clips on YouTube had led her to its name—the Toreador March, from, of all things, an opera called Carmen. Pretty much every cartoon ever made that set itself in Mexico sampled something from that opera, usually the March. She hummed along for a bar or two as it drew louder, nearer, and Bonnie twitched again and looked at her. The lights where his eyes should be flickered as the cameras there irised open and shut, as if with uncertainty. “You’ve g-g-got to g-get-t-t out—OUTSIDE WHEN THE WEATHER IS—out of here.”
“Yeah, yeah. The restaurant’s closed, I remember.”
“No, th-th-that’s not…” He limped in the direction of the East Hall, where the music was growing steadily louder, then turned back to her as fast as he could turn, which wasn’t, very. “G-G-Go. Get-t-t out of here. N-N-Now.”
“What’s the matter, Bon?” she asked. “You don’t look very happy to see me.”
That stung. “What the hell, man?” she asked, trying to laugh it off. “I thought we were friends.”
“Yeah. So d-d-did I.” He started toward her, his ears rotating back and lying flat as he came. “You m-m-made me think a lot-t-t of thing-ing-ings that night-t-t and th-th-then you t-t-t-took—” A hard spasm interrupted him. He grabbed at his lower jaw to steady it as he shivered, still trying to talk. “You t-t-t-too—TO THE EXTRAPYRAMIDIAL TRACT—you t-t-took my—MYELINATION ARTIFICIALLY INDUCED—damn it! It d-d-doesn’t matter, j-just-t-t-t go!”
“But I didn’t take anything. Oh wait, you mean this?” Ana opened her pack and brought out his lunchbox.
Bonnie’s cameras locked onto it. He went silent, except for the hum and click of his internal parts, and still, except for the sporadic tics and tremors glitching through him.
“I wasn’t going to keep it,” said Ana, setting the lunchbox on the table. “I didn’t even mean to keep it this long, but I had a lot going on and, you know, priorities.”
Slowly, Bonnie let go of his jaw and lowered his arms. He took one step, then another, then limped the rest of the way across the room. He looked at her, then at the lunchbox, and as she removed the two sections of his face and began to unwrap their protective sweaters, he picked it up, only to slam it down immediately with a startling bang. “Where is it?”
“Jesus! Right here, keep your ears on!” Ana held up the larger piece, the one with his reconstructed eye-sockets and the sculpted round peaks of his cheeks, edged all around in the deeper color of his head and body just as Chica finally came into the room from the hall, with Freddy in tow.
Freddy’s gaze went straight to Bonnie’s face and the music accompanying him stuttered and died. He looked at Ana—in that first moment, his eyes seemed to be dark sockets with only tiny points of silvery light at their centers, but it must have been a trick of her peripheral vision, because when she looked at him, his eyes were normal—then at Bonnie. “WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?” he asked heartily.
Bonnie did not speak or move or look around.
Freddy grunted, glanced at Chica and held up his arm in an obvious stay-here gesture, but shuffled closer himself, his head cocked and eyes narrowed.
“ARE YOU OKAY?” Chica called. “WHAT’S GOING ON, GUYS? HI, BONNIE! HI, BONNIE! WHAT TIME IS IT? ARE YOU HUNGRY? LET’S EAT!”
“Well?” prompted Ana, since Bonnie was only standing there. Did he even recognize himself? She shook his muzzle free of the restraining arm of its sweater and held it up in front of the other piece so he could see both of them together.
He still did not react.
“The nose wasn’t in the lunchbox,” she apologized. “I had to improvise and I warn you right now, I am not a fabricator. It’s just a hacky-sack, painted black and kind of smooshed down. So…yeah.”
No response from Bonnie.
Across the room, Chica tapped her fingertips together and said, “IT’S SO GREAT TO SEE YOU!”
Freddy looked at her, then at Ana. His answering grunt was more of a growl. Otherwise, he did nothing.
“I know it looks weird without the fuzz,” she said, rubbing the now-smooth plastic surface of his muzzle. “It was getting everywhere and fucking up the glue, so I just took it all off. I’d have put it back, but I don’t know how to flock, even if I knew where to get some. That’s me, you know. If you’ve got the parts, I can slap ‘em together, but when it comes to arts and crafts, I haven’t got the first fucking clue.” She waited, watching him with an uneasy frown as he continued to just stand there. “So,” she pressed. “What do you think?”
Nothing from Bonnie, nothing but the click and hum of his internal parts. Waiting for her to say something he could react to, Ana supposed, so she thought and said, “I made it just for you!” in her best Chica-impersonation.
At once, Chica clicked hard and said, “THE SECRET INGREDIANT IS PEANUT BUTTER,” but Bonnie still didn’t say anything. His hand rose in twitches, like the ticking of a clock-hand, and lowered again without ever touching either his face or his muzzle.
“You f-f-fixed it,” he said in a static-filled whisper.