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Overheard In Vents

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Freddy was useful for carrying Gregory through the densely populated areas of the Mega PizzaPlex, that the boy couldn’t deny. Without the main attraction’s help, he would have been caught by one animatronic or the other. What didn’t help was Freddy’s low battery life. At least it was better than if they’d powered him down entirely, but he’d still moan about it.

For one, Gregory wouldn’t be crawling through a vent from parts and services just to get back to him behind Rockstar Row. It was one thing to run from Chica around the kitchen at full sprint, but he did not want to crawl for his life inside the metal tunnels of the ventilation system again. The other animatronic may have been scary, but the smaller, nimbler DJ was creepy as all hell.

He was thankful then when there was no sight of the toy-sized bot as he crawled slowly towards his destination. For just a little, he could let his guard down if he ignored the voice coming from close by.

“The Best. The Best. The Best. The Best. You are the best.”

Roxanne Wolf’s self-belief was… well, it was annoying, but he preferred it to the insults she’d slung his way a few too many times. At least they weren’t all true. Even so, he could tell the ego that the wolf, as big as her hair, had was fraying at the edges (also like her hair, Gregory noted with a little smirk).

“No, the best would have caught him already. I need to be better! Faster! More Aggressive! He’ll never know what caught him. I need to get out there!”

If only he wasn’t listening in right now. He can barely hide a groan of frustration at her resolution to work harder at catching him, though Gregory wasn’t sure she’d been holding back at all either. It really was just psyching herself up for this.

A door hisses as it opens, Roxy turning on the balls of her feet as she returns to the hunt, a renewed sense of determination running through her circuits. Annoying, yes, but it would be hypocritical to knock her stubbornness in this situation.

-

He hated vents with a passion. Not only were they too small for him to crawl through comfortably, but they were also warm to the touch and it all just bled into him, making the poor boy work up more of a sweat. Just what did Freddy have access to, he was the face of the whole PizzaPlex, but he had less access than even the wet floor signs…

With a great sigh, Gregory could only push the thoughts from his head. Freddy had helped, no doubt, even if he’d been the reason the boy had had to find a way down to parts and services the long way around. At least he recognised where he was now, even if something else was drawing him elsewhere.

“Get a hold of yourself, Roxy. What are you doing? Weren’t you going to do something? Focus!”

The shout, a command to herself Gregory assumed, drawn towards the closed off draught excluder between the vents and Roxy’s green room. By far, she’d been the one trying hardest to find him, even attempting to sniff him out whilst he hid. The boy had found himself wondering if she could do it or whether it was some weird feature someone with too much free time had snuck in.

Peering through the gaps, it was clear something was going on inside, the wolf nose to nose with her reflection as claws scratched the edges of the mirror in her tight grip. Neither she nor Gregory had come through the night looking the same as before, she was now covered in a thin layer of grime and dust, from the utility and maintenance areas. Maybe Fazbear Entertainment should have invested in less security and more cleaning bots.

“You’re Roxanne Wolf! You’re not a loser! You don’t need luck! You can do anything you try to do! Everybody is watching… everybody… watching you… You can- No, you will capture that kid. Not Chica, not Monty, not Moondrop, not even Freddy! They’re relying on you! Your friends are expecting you to catch him. Don’t disappoint them. Don’t be a loser…”

Maybe if he hadn’t been chased around so much, made to run for his life, he might have had some sympathy for her. Whatever she was doing, she wasn’t leaving her room… or wasn’t until there was a distinctly unmetallic knock. Vanessa.

“Roxy! Did you find Greg- I mean, did you find the kid?”

It seemed to their surprise the security guard had stopped by to ask the animatronic in person. From his vantage point, he can see her knock several items of make-up across the floor as she turns to the door, looking quickly between it and the mess, no time to clear up.

“I will find him. He can’t hide from me.”

“Haaa… Thank you. I’m glad at least one of you is going to be helpful tonight. Freddy’s been running around like a maniac and the others keep getting given the slip. I can’t believe it’s taking this long, he’s real lucky I haven’t found him again.”

One heavy sigh later, the guard is on her way out. Maybe now was the time for Gregory to make a move to, but not without hearing the animatronic not so far away give a deep breath and a few muttered words of self-belief.

“It’s not your fault, that kid is just lucky…”

-

Why in the hell was that room on fire!?

Roxy’s eyes. That’s why he was here right now. Yes, it’d taken something really stupid and dangerous, but it was the only chance he had, right? She didn’t have weird programming that’d cause her to eat garbage, she wouldn’t randomly hang out on the catwalks three stories up… she did jump in front of a moving vehicle, though.

Not how he expected that one to go. Better come up with a good lie to explain how many scrapes and knocks he had right now, Freddy wouldn’t like it one bit.

Slumped against the wall just next to the vent, he finally could get some fresh air, away from that fiery room and the dusty tunnels under the raceway. It felt good to be out of there… even if that rest was accompanied by horrific wailing, sniffling, and sobbing.

“Gregory! Where- Where are you? I’m not done yet! It’s just us here, nowhere to run! I don’t need eyes to find you… just give up… okay?”

No. No was the answer to that one. He’d escape and he wasn’t going back, he didn’t care if Roxy got caught in the flames...

“I can’t lose… All my friends are still looking, Freddy, Chica, Monty… they’ll find us, and you won’t be able to run anymore… I’ll get out of here! You- you can’t go anywhere… you can’t… don’t leave…”

Nope, still didn’t care. He’s going to stand up and walk away any moment now, leave her behind in the dust. She’d find her way out, Chica did after all. She was mostly broken parts anyw-

“Please don’t go… I don’t want to be lost… I can’t leave… everything is overheating… I can’t find the doorway, there’s fire everywhere… Chica…? Monty? Are you there?”

Gregory hated these animatronics. The boy stands, fists clenched, eyes scrunched shut as he takes off running. Sorry Freddy. Sorry Roxy…

-

When Gregory gets back to Freddy, he can’t look at the bear. It’s only by the surprise of what Roxy’s eyes could achieve that he lets the events of the last hour replay in his head. He had to leave, right? Almost 6AM and now he could go. Freddy is quick to move on and it takes a second for no words to come to Gregory’s mouth, letting him know about his friend. Let the bear go be the hero to someone else.

They sprint through Rockstar Row, ignoring the absence of the wolf in her own green room, Moondrop jumping from ledge to ledge as they stalk the pair. It takes all his willpower and attention for Gregory to continue running, heading straight for the front door, nothing much else to do by leave, escape, disappear…

Freddy cannot leave, but Gregory can. That’s why his head says, but something else tells him he can’t. Something nags him hard, and so he doesn’t.
When Roxy sprints directly at them in the Atrium, screaming as loud as her systems would allow, giving Gregory the fright of his life, that nagging feeling is as far away from his mind as possible, but he feels a little relief.

“Give me back my eyes!”

Still not sorry.