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Renewed Faith

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The animatronic stood in the corner beyond the door, waiting. His blue optics tracked the movements of his prey. His strike had to be perfect, at the exact moment the stupid security guard finally lost power.

The little brat had the gall to try and be different from the others. He was sweet to them, greeting them every night before he went into the office and telling them jokes from behind the windows. He was polite, introducing himself the first time he met each of them and bidding them good night every time he left. He was insufferable.

The animatronic knew that the humans that came after hours were incapable of being good. They were all evil, and they all planned to hurt the little ones.

They had to be terminated.

Mike shifted uncomfortably, probably feeling eyes on him. He finally glanced down at the power bar. His face paled significantly. Tears filled his eyes, and he quickly looked up and glanced around the office as if to find something to save him from his fate. When he inevitably found nothing, tears streamed down his cheeks.

He sniffled and wiped his face on his sleeve. His phone was retrieved from his pocket, and his kept dialing someone's number even as the lights went out.

Freddy was used to seeing men begin to grovel for more time, sobbing at their lost lives, trying to fight their way back outside. He had never seen someone make a call before. He watched the human curiously, his music box playing the longer version of the song that preceded most security guards' deaths.

"Hey, Holly?" Mike smiled sadly as he spoke into the phone. "Yeah, it's me." He sniffled again and looked into Freddy's optics. "Yeah. It has been awhile. Hey, I just wanted to say... I love you, sis. I know I don't say it enough, but I do." He blushed at the response he received. "Well, I want to ask, could you tell Mom I love her?" He gave a miserable chuckle, more tears leaking from his eyes. "No, I can't call her myself, Holly. I gotta go. Thanks for everything, darlin." He hung up on the panicked reply that echoed through the phone.

He set the device on the desk. Brokenly, he hummed along to the song as he removed his tie and unbuttoned the first few buttons on his shirt. On the third button, he finally dissolved into weeping. The soft sobs were muffled by his hands, and he courageously met Freddy's optics again.

The bear had watched the whole display as stoically as possible, refusing to believe that Mike could be different. Even if he was kind, sweet, polite, and considerate, he was still a security guard. And security guards hurt children. Security guards were evil.

Mike had to be terminated.

The music ended, and Freddy victoriously stepped inside the office. Mike made no moves to get away from him; in fact, his shoulders slumped slightly in resignation. His eyes dulled.

Freddy gently picked him up by the back of his neck. It wouldn't do to break him.

Maybe, if he was careful, Mike could stop being a security guard and be a friend. Bonnie and Chica had been working on a new suit for the "endoskeleton" in the office ever since he first said hello. Hopefully, Mike would still work in the suit, and then he wouldn't be a security guard anymore.

Freddy held Mike's legs in his other hand and carefully carried him to the back room. The suit had been laid out on the work-table. Mike struggled for a moment at the sight of it before going even more limp than before.

The bear gently set the man on the table and began to connect wires and pieces. He ignored Mike's pained sounds at each insertion. Soon, he was ready to be put in the suit.

Mike shifted again and made a raw sound when the wires and metal shifted beneath his skin. A broken sob forced itself from his chest, causing him more pain.

Freddy moved to the first piece and tried to figure out to fit Mike inside. He held it up to the brunette's arm, connecting the other ends of the wires and pieces. He was ready to slide the arm inside when a familiar bell rang through the pizzeria.

"No!" The animatronic growled, his awareness slipping away. He tried to fit Mike's arm in the piece, but he was too rough. Mike cried out in pain and began to cry even harder just as Freddy finally faded away.

-[]-

Mike was still sobbing noisily when the manager found him. The older man gasped quietly before his face fell with sympathy.

"You poor boy," he hushed and smoothed Mike's hair away from his sweaty forehead. "Why don't we get rid of this and get you cleaned up?" The smaller man shivered, soaked in his own blood and sweat.

"P-please... I-I don't- Holly- I-I... Please..." The brunette whimpered and began to tremble.

The manager gently removed the metal pieces, setting them back beside the empty suit. When all the bloody parts had been removed, he wrapped Mike in his jacket and led him back to the security office. He ignored the way Mike's breath hitched.

"I'll go call Tim," the manager sighed. "You haven't met him yet, but he's the paramedic we always have on standby. He'll be here soon. You can wait in here. I have to finished prep-ing for the birthday in-" he glanced at his watch. "-thirty minutes." He sighed deeply. "Thanks for everything you do, Mike."

The manager left.

Mike sat in the office's lone chair, pulling the jacket tighter around him. He stared blankly at the wall for a long moment. Tears continued to run down his face. Everything hurt.

Eventually, Mike reached for the phone he had left on the desk. Messages were still coming from Holly, questioning the cryptic phone call and why he wasn't responding and wanting to know if he was okay. There were a few messages from his mom, demanding to know why he was scaring his little sister and worrying them all.

Mike thought about telling them he was okay.

But that would be a lie.

"Sorry for worrying everyone. I'm alive." He sent instead.

"What happened?!" Holly texted back.

"Nothing. I was just thinking about you." Mike assured.

"Oh. Well, you scared the tar out of me!"

"Sorry."

Mike set the phone down. He pulled the jacket around him again, trying to ignore the haunting music that was stuck on repeat in his mind. Subconsciously, he began to hum. He rocked back and forth, staring at the wall again.

A figure appeared in the hallway. Mike let out a silent scream and hid between the wall and the desk. He trembled like a leaf in a hurricane, a terrified whine building in his throat.

"Hey, hey," a calming voice soothed. "You're okay. I'm not going to hurt you. You're safe. Hey, my name is Tim. What's your name?"

"M-Mike," the brunette whimpered. He wrapped his arms around himself. "Please don't hurt me again-"

"No, it's okay," Tim reassured. "I promise not to hurt you, okay? I won't even touch you." Mike nodded quickly and hid his face in his knees.

A long period of time passed before Mike cautiously looked up. The man in front of him had neat, black hair and warm, brown eyes. His features were very gentle, and his hands were stuffed in his pockets.

"There you are," Tim smiled. "I'm here to help you, alright? I'm going to get you cleaned up."

"Y-you'll stop if I say?" Mike confirmed weakly. Tim nodded.

"Of course. Can I see your arm?" The dark haired man gestured slightly with his elbow. Mike slowly extended his arm. Carefully and making sure Mike saw every movement, he lightly held the appendage and began to examine it. "Alright, it doesn't look too bad. Is there anywhere that hurts most?"

Mike silently held out his other arm, the one Freddy had tried to smash into the suit arm. Tim pressed his fingers against a part of the swelling flesh. Mike whimpered softly and withdrew back into the corner.

"I'm sorry," Tim apologized gently. "It looks sprained, possibly with some fractures in the wrist. We'll have to get you set up with a cast." The brunette nodded shakily. "Okay, let's get you cleaned up and bandaged."

-{[(•)]}-

Mike wasn't ready for work, but the manager hadn't been able to find anybody else. And the pizzeria had never been without a night watch.

So, wearing a new uniform and a black cast, Mike made his way into the pizzeria. He swayed a bit, faint from blood loss and emotional stress. Underneath his clothing, most of his body was wrapped in gauze and bandages. Fortunately, Tim had given him some pain medication.

The brunette quietly stepped in front of the stage, avoiding eye-contact. "H-hello," he stuttered. He moved to the curtains and repeated a similar greeting to Foxy. Then he quickly disappeared into the office.

He still had a few minutes before his shift, and he figured it would be best to see how he would work the cameras with a cast. Carefully, he tried to pick up the tablet. His shaking fingers weakly held on, the whole device quaking, before he fumbled and the tablet fell to the ground.

Frustrated and terrified, his eyes began to burn. Quickly, he tried to pick up the tablet again. His bulky cast sent the stupid thing spiraling into the hallway. The bell announced the start of his shift, and he quickly knelt beside the tablet, trying desperately to pick it up.

Again and again, he got a shaky hold on it, only for it to fall from his fingers. Tears dripped slowly on the linoleum floor. A frustrated cry escaped him. His shoulders trembled under the strain of the past week, and he pressed the heel of his palm into his eye as he tried to stop the overwhelming emotions. The arm in the cast didn't move.

So absorbed in trying to get it together, Mike didn't see Freddy appear at the end of the hall.

Since Mike's escape the previous night, Freddy had been acting strange. Bonnie and Chica had noticed, even though the animatronics weren't fully aware during the day. The bear seemed almost... moody.

Midnight had struck, and an unspoken command had hung in the air. Only Freddy was going to catch this one. Even Foxy had resigned himself to staying in the Cove for the night.

Mike took a few deep breaths before carefully grabbing the tablet with his good hand. When it didn't fall, he pulled it against it chest and went to go back inside the office.

"What's this?" Freddy demanded and spun the guard around. Mike gasped and dropped the hard-earned tablet, missing the slight crack as it hit the floor.

"I-I-" he stuttered. He was petrified, unsure of how to answer. Freddy growled and gestured sharply to the cast.

"What happened?" He seethed. Mike had to glance down at his cast, thinking for a moment.

"I-I- W-When you tried to s-shove my arm in the su-uit-" Mike gasped quietly. He struggled for a moment with the memory, missing the flash of regret that flew through Freddy's eyes.

"How bad?" The animatronic questioned gruffly. A hint of shame colored his tone.

"W-what? I-I don't-"

"How bad?" Freddy growled. His paw tightened on Mike's shoulder, making the man wince. The pressure loosened after a moment, but the treat remained.

"S-sprained," Mike whimpered. "Some small f-fr-fractures in the wrist." His legs trembled beneath him, and Freddy had the strangest thought of picking him up.

Instead, Freddy made an angry sound and released the brunette. If the bear tried to put him in the suit now, his wrist wouldn't heal and his arm wouldn't function properly. Freddy wanted to be friends, and Mike had to work perfectly as an animatronic or it wouldn't work! Mike would always be angry at him about his malfunctioning arm, and Freddy wouldn't have that.

Hearing the angry animatronic, Mike winced and shifted anxiously. If he moved for the office, would Freddy snap at him? Should he just stay there and see what would happen?

Freddy needed to know how long he had before he could make Mike an animatronic. He reached out and grabbed Mike's good arm, twisting it carefully this way and that to see if he could get information about the injuries. It was impossible to see anything through these bandages...

Mike made a surprised sound when the animatronic grabbed his arm, and a slightly pained one when Freddy began to remove his bandages. Gently, he tried to pull his good arm away and push Freddy back with his cast.

"N-no, Freddy, s-stop-" he choked, fighting weakly. The bear stopped with a growl, glaring down at the tear-filled blue eyes. "P-please, you're making it w-worse..."

Like he had been burned, the bear ripped back. The animatronic bobbed up and down for a moment like he was breathing heavily before cautiously reaching out. He began to wind Mike's bandages again. He paused each time the man's breath hitched.

When he was done, he noticed the guard's swaying. Irritably, he guided the brunette to the office chair and pushed him into it. Mike stared at Freddy's feet for a moment before slowly looking up to meet his optics.

"W-Why are you doing this?" He questioned quietly, voice strained.

"Security guards... are evil. Must be... Eliminated," Freddy declared, still bobbing. "Mike... You're better. Want to... be friends."

"T-then why are you trying to kill m-me?!" Mike questioned, furiously wiping his eyes.

"Security guards... are evil. Must be... Eliminated. Hurt children," Freddy repeated angrily. His optics flared with rage, remembered the little ones who had been hurt.

"I don't want to hurt anyone," Mike pleaded quietly. He hesitated for a moment. Then, he lightly rested his hands on Freddy's arms, which were crossed over his torso. He took a second to let himself settle, his thumbs rubbing gently against the old brown fur. "We can be friends without you stuffing me in a suit."

"No!" Freddy snapped and yanked away. His optics flashed black, and he raised his hand to strike. Mike whimpered and ducked, covering his head. Instead, Freddy controlled himself, spinning and slamming his hands against the desk instead.

"Why not?!" Mike cried and looked up again. His arms lowered from his head, but they remained level with his chest, ready to defend himself if necessary. Freddy stayed where he was, towering over the desk. "I'm a security guard, but I won't hurt anyone!" The animatronic roared, shaking the building, but still didn't move. Mike flinched and hunkered down in his seat.

The two males remained frozen, unsure how to proceed. Freddy wanted to be friends with Mike. He understood that being put in the suit would be painful, and it was mean to hurt your friends. But what if Mike was tricking him? Security guards were evil and the man might just be trying to escape his punishment.

Mike also wanted to try being friends with Freddy. He didn't understand why the bear was so against all security guards or why he was so interested in being friends. But he understood that Freddy was just following his programming and had really been trying. Thinking back on it, Mike realized how much the worse the night before could have been.

Phone Guy had made it sound like the animatronics would just force him into the suit without any preparation...

"Y-you were being gentle," Mike concluded, remembering the way Freddy had carefully inserted the wires and had checked over his arms. "T-thank you..." The memories washed over him again, making him shiver, but he tried to view them with a more hopeful eye.

Freddy had been careful. He had picked him up lightly, cautious not to exert too much force and snap his neck. He had set him on the table without hurting him. He had even been soft in a way, with the gentle piecing together of the suit around him.

"F-Freddy," the brunette tried again. He unsteadily moved to his feet. He leaned around the bear's arm, trying to meet his eyes. "I-I can't be your friend if you put me in a suit-" The animatronic cut him off with an angry growl, but Mike carefully continued, "-I would die! P-Putting me in a suit would kill me, even if you are very gentle about it!"

Freddy stopped growling and turned his head the other way.

"Please, Freddy. I want to be your friend, but I can't just become an animatronic," Mike begged. "I'm only human, and we don't work the same way you do-"

"Humans smaller... Hurt easier..." Freddy muttered. Internally, his thought processors were whirring. How could Mike be a human and a security guard at the same time? Security guards were monsters. Humans were like little ones and their parents. Mike couldn't be a human and a security guard... Could he?

"Exactly. I know, you hate security guards and think they're evil. There must have been something very bad that happened here for you to think that. But being a security guard is just a job! It doesn't make anyone bad or good," Mike explained hopefully. Freddy shifted, whether in thought or from anger the brunette couldn't tell. "Do you want to know what I did before I became a security guard?"

Finally, Freddy turned to him, curious about his life before they had met. The bear noticed Mike's unsteady stance and made him sit again. The guard submitted to the treatment, pulling his legs up and criss-crossing them on the chair.

"Before I came to work here, I worked at a Baskin Robins," Mike stated. Freddy showed no signs of recognition, and the man realized he had never been outside the restaurant. "I served ice cream. Every day, kids and teenagers would come in, and I had to scoop up their ice cream and put it in cups or cones for them. I remember, there was this group of little boys, brothers, I think. They're dad had the hardest time getting a hold on them. The youngest one always wanted Rocky Road." Mike let himself drift in the sweet memories for a moment.

"You left?" Freddy asked. The bear was surprised. Making kids happy every day? Why would anyone want to leave a job like that?

"Ah, no," Mike frowned sadly. He fiddled awkwardly with his shoe laces. His blue eyes bore holes into his lap. "There... There was a girl there. My age, very pretty, very smart. She liked me, and... And she kissed me."

Mike shifted uncomfortably.

"But she had a boyfriend," he finished.

"Why?" Freddy demanded. It made him angry to see Mike so upset.

"They weren't happy together," the brunette sighed. "She wanted to see other people, but she didn't tell him first."

Freddy understood teenagers and their fickleness in relationships. A few teenagers who had come to the restaurant as a child would come back with their new boyfriend or girlfriend. Soon they'd be back alone and miserable.

"Anyway," Mike breathed out deeply. He hadn't told anyone about this before, and it was harder than he thought. "I knew she had a boyfriend, so I pushed her away. She didn't like that... So she went to our boss and told him that I had tried to... hurt her." Mike didn't know if the animatronics knew about rape, and he wasn't going to be the one to tell them.

"My boss fired me, and it tarnished my reputation..." Mike sighed. He pulled lightly at the loops of his shoe laces. "I've been struggling to find work ever since. Then I saw an ad about this place. The pay wasn't great, but I needed the money. It was just a bonus that I used to come here as a kid. I loved this place..."

Freddy watched the way Mike's shoulders slumped and his face became tinged with sadness. He wanted to reach out and wipe that sadness away. Instead, he tried to lower himself to the brunette's level.

"It's okay," he stated simply. Mike looked at him searchingly.

"Can- Can we try being friends... without the suit?" He requested. "A-and if it doesn't work out, and you still think all security guards are evil, then... then you can stuff me in a s-suit."

Freddy watched the brunette. It was obvious that the man didn't like the deal, was scared to even be offering it. But it was something, and the animatronic recognized the attempt at friendship for what it was. He could already feel the bond between them growing, and he hated to think of what would happen if he did have to put Mike in a suit.

The bear nodded, accepting the deal, and Mike offered a weak smile.

"Okay, so... What happens now?" The brunette wondered.

"Friends talk," Freddy pointed out simply.

Mike nodded and replied, "What should we talk about?"

"Likes," the animatronic attempted a smile, which was extremely unsettling, but Mike thought it was kinda cute.

"Ummm, okay. Favorite color! My favorite color is blue," the man suggested.

"Silver," Freddy replied. Mike puzzled over the answer, remembering that there weren't many silver things in the restaurant.

"Yeah? And why is that?" He finally asked.

"Not gold," Freddy huffed, looking away. Mike was confused by the irritable answer, but he wisely decided not to press.

"Um, alright. Favorite song!"

-{[(•)]}-

Three more days passed in a similar manner. The man and animatronic chatted every night from midnight to six. Freddy made sure Mike rested and took his pain medication. One night, Mike and brought some tools and tried to make some repairs on the old bear, but the mechanics were too complicated. The most the brunette could do was fix his joints so they didn't ache quite as much when he moved.

But, inevitably, as with all good things in Mike's life, it was not meant to last. Freddy had a few damaged parts he wanted to take care of, but he was anxious to let Mike in the back room. What memories could be triggered? Would the man have a panic attack? Would he suddenly not want to be friends? So, the animatronic forcefully made it clear to Mike that he was to stay in the office. Freddy would only be a few minutes, and then they could go back to talking.

Mike say quietly by himself, humming lightly. These days with Freddy had been good. It had been a while since he'd had someone to talk to. The incident with Alexa at the Baskin Robins had scared a lot of his friends away, and his family had been so disappointed they wouldn't let him explain. They still talked, but sometimes there was a lot of painful tension. Even if he didn't do anything, life was difficult for someone who had been charged with assault or attempted rape.

All that to say, Freddy was very nice for an animatronic, even if he was a bit burly and gruff. He hardly ever spoke more than two or three words at a time. Mike mostly chalked that up to a damaged voice box. In fact, Mike had almost forgotten about their deal, so happy to be friends was he.

The brunette made a surprised noise when Bonnie suddenly appeared in the doorway on his left and Chica in the one on his right. He anxiously looked back and forth between the two, wondering what was going to happen. Were they going to stuff him in a suit? He had become friends with Freddy, but not the rest of them. Of course, they wouldn't get very far if Freddy was still in the back room.

"Um, h-hello?" Mike waved slowly with his good hand. He gave a flustered smile, still looking between the two, very large, very close animatronics.

"What did you do to Freddy?" Chica snapped. Mike flinched; he was incredibly unprepared for the harsh tone, though he should have expected it or something similar.

"I-I didn't-" he tried to protest quietly.

"Shut it," Bonnie rolled his eyes. "He stays back here every night, all night, and he won't let us near you. We know you did something to him."

"R-really-" Mike repeated.

"He's been acting funny lately, humming and not snapping at the children who try to touch him," Chica added. "What was it, you stupid endo? What did you do to him?"

"W-we're just friends-" the guard pleaded helplessly. He had no idea what was going on. Were they concerned? Angry? ... Jealous?

"Ha, no way," Bonnie snarked loudly. "He's always been aggressive with endos like you. He hates you. There's no way he'd be friends with you."

"Yeah," Chica peeped. The machines shared a look before stepping closer, making Mike even more nervous. The man shrunk down in his chair, subconsciously trying to make himself less of a target.

"Just tell us the truth." Bonnie growled at Mike's hesitation and grabbed his cast. His metallic fingers exerted a light pressure, but Mike felt like the bones were fracturing again. "What. Did. You. Do?"

Mike made a pained sound and ducked his head, weakly attempting to pull his cast from Bonnie's grip. The rabbit tightened his grip, and the brunette cried out.

A deep growl resonated through the office.

Bonnie and Chica darted away instantly. Freddy was standing in the left doorway, shoulders puffed up and arms out. His fists clenched spastically, making him the very image of restrained anger.

"Don't. Bully," he snapped. Bonnie and Chica immediately retreated down the hallway. Mike was left alone with a very angry bear.

As gently as possible, Mike shifted his arm closer to his chest and cradled it there. His eyes flooded with pained tears, but they were gone again before any could fall. He wiggled uncomfortably in his office chair. The throbbing pain was making him dizzy again, and he felt unsafe to be unprepared in this place after such an attack.

"Hurt badly?" Freddy finally questioned.

"N-no," Mike whispered. He obligingly held is arm out, knowing the animatronic would need to inspect it. Really, the bear could be such a sweetheart sometimes.

Of course, Freddy jumped at the chance to make sure Mike was alright, growling when he noticed indents in the cast. He dropped the man's arm and stormed out into the hall.

"MEETING!" He roared. Footsteps scrambled to reach a certain destination. Freddy stepped back into the office and carefully pulled Mike to his feet. The brunette made a soft sound and swayed heavily. Frustrated, the bear scooped Mike up with one arm and started down the hall.

It appeared Fazbear meetings were in the dining hall.

It didn't take long for Mike to realize the significance of the location. It was neutral ground for all of them. No one was in specific power. The stage would have supported the three main animatronics, the office would have supported Mike, and Pirate's Cove would have shown support for Foxy. It was a wise choice, and Mike wondered if Freddy was much more intelligent than he seemed.

Bonnie, Chica and Foxy sat on one side of a table in the middle of the room. Freddy placed Mike down and sat next to him, but he appeared dissatisfied with the arrangement and quickly pulled the small man into his lap. Mike blushed and felt a bit like claimed territory, but if he would be safe from the others, he'd endure anything.

"Freddy, what is going on?" Bonnie demanded. "Why are you... friends with the endoskeleton? Why did you defend him?"

"I told ya he would, heartie. But no body listens to ol' Foxy. No, a'course naw," the red animatronic beside him grumbled.

"Shut it, sailor," Bonnie snapped back.

"Not endoskeleton. It's Mike," Freddy announced. Mike had to hold back a fierce giggle at the statement. The animatronics seemed to have an obsession with the phrase 'It's me' that had haunted his nightmares, and to hear it twisted around like that... It was lifting to say the least.

Instead, Mike shyly waved to the other animatronics and whispered a quiet, "Hi." Chica stared at him with a dropped jaw, exposing her nasty teeth. Bonnie glared viciously, clearly not believing the story. Foxy just fiddled with a loose strong from his suit.

"Introduce yourself," Freddy encouraged in that deep voice of his, and Mike glanced up at him with anxious blue eyes. Something in the bear's face seemed to settle him, and he gave a nod before turning back to the others.

"Hello," he greeted meekly. "Um, I'm Mike Schmidt. I'm the night watch who was hired to take care of this place after hours."

"Night watch?" Bonnie frowned, glare lightening slightly. He leaned back and stared at the ceiling. "We've never had a night watch."

"Yes you have," Mike corrected. His eyebrows furrowed in sympathy. "The last night watch, he left me messages on the phone. There's a glitch in your programming. After hours, you don't recognize humans; you think they're endoskeletons."

"Because they were," Bonnie argued, leaning forward aggressively. Foxy lightly placed a hand on his shoulder to hold him back. "Otherwise, bad things would have happened when-"

"They break," Chica interrupted. Her head was angled down, a sign of despair. "Every time we put an endo in a suit they break. Why would that do that unless-"

"Don't say it!" Bonnie cried. Suddenly, he looked much less angry and more frightened. "We would... We would never hurt a human! They're endoskeletons! They're just made wrong!"

"But why!" Chica yelled. "Why would they send us poorly made endoskeletons if they knew they would break when we put them in a suit? That doesn't make any sense!"

"Mikey's explanation makes more sense, heartie," Foxy whispered in the rabbit's ear. His head dropped shortly after, and his shoulders moved up and down like someone's would when they were crying. "We killed the security guards."

Freddy nodded solemnly, admitting the crime they had committed. Sadly, his arms wrapped around Mike and pulled him closer.

"You... You knew, you fat geezer!" Bonnie shouted and stared directly into the older animatronic's optics. "You let us kill them! Why would you do that?! We're... We're supposed to take care of humans, make them happy... And we... We killed them!" His eyes began to shimmer, and his shoulders hunched inwards. "I'll never be able to look at a kid again..."

Mike stared at the suffering animatronics for a long moment, wondering if there was anything he could do. They really hadn't known what they were doing, and he clearly remembered having to convince Freddy that not all security guards were evil. They could never get back the men who had been killed... But they could stop this from happening ever again.

"It's okay," Mike comforted. He pulled out of Freddy's grip slightly to lean across the table and put his hand over Bonnie's. "You couldn't have known, and no one blames you."

"What we did was wrong!" Chica wept. There were no tears, but she wept.

"It was. And there's nothing you can do to fix it or bring those guards back," the brunette admitted the hard truth. Foxy made a desperate sound. "But you can try to be better."

The room went still.

"We can?" Chica asked, and she sounded so hopeful, Mike's heart broke.

"Yes. You have to remember that the people in the office are just that. People. Even if they look like endoskeletons, you have to recognize them as human and treat them nicely," Mike instructed firmly. It was important for the animatronics to remember this. "During the day, you can be respectful to all customers, even if they are annoying or don't follow the rules."

"We're not allowed to wander around anymore," Bonnie mumbled dejectedly. "How are we supposed to interact with the humans?" Mike frowned slightly.

"I'll talk to the manager," he declared. Foxy looked up, clearly shocked.

"Ya would do that for us, lad?" The pirate questioned. Mike nodded. The animatronics seemed to settle after that, though they still looked miserable. The security guard calmed, and he leaned back. His body gradually relaxed until he was resting heavily against Freddy's torso.

"Sorry... For earlier," Bonnie muttered. Mike nodded tiredly, and the rabbit excused himself from the table.

"I'm sorry too, Mike. As much as it hurts... Thank you for telling us the truth," Chica added. She patted him lightly as she walked by, neither of them missing the way Freddy's arms tightened minutely.

"Thank you, matey," Foxy stated clearly. He sighed and leaned back in his seat. "This ol' place has been tired. We're not as young as we used to be, and it's showin'. The kiddies just don' look at us the same no more. We needed someone to set us straight. You done right." The fox quietly retreated to Pirate's Cove when he had finished his little speech.

Mike and Freddy sat in silence for a few moments, enjoying each other's company. Eventually, Mike shifted around to face the animatronic.

"You're friends are nice," he commented. "Scary, but nice." He turned around again and let himself doze on Freddy's chest.

-{[(•)]}-

The next two weeks were interesting.

Mike and Freddy still talked all night long, and the animatronic hovered over him like a macho mother hen, but sometimes, one of the other animatronics would join them. Chica brought the brunette pizza and cake. Foxy would regale them with one of his infamous tales. Bonnie still gave Mike attitude sometimes, but otherwise, he was pleasant company.

Mike was no longer afraid when he came to work, and after a few days, he laughed. Actually laughed. He might never remember what had been so funny, but the deep, belly-aching laughter had turned his whole world upside down. He felt safe enough to enjoy himself and laugh.

He had talked to the manager, as promised. The man had said he'd consider letting the animatronics roam again, and three days later Bonnie was chattering about the children he'd played with that day.

-{[(•)]}-

It was the week before Mike was going to get his cast removed. He arrived ten minutes early to work, as always, late breakfast in tow. The brunette happily made his way through the pizzeria. He didn't need to greet the animatronics because he would probably be seeing each of them some time tonight. At the office, he lightly placed his bag on the desk and sat down in the comfy chair. He pulled out his phone, texting Holly and playing games as he waited for the others to awake up.

He never noticed the shadow lurking in the doorway.

-[]-

Freddy powered up the screaming.

"N-no! Stop it! Only F-Freddy-" A loud sob. A struggle. "Only Freddy can put m-me in a suit! W-we had- had a deal!" Another sob. "Please! H-help! FREDDY! HELP!"

Freddy had been confused and disoriented, but the desperate cry for help brought him back to the situation at hand. The bear charged down the hallway, moving faster than he ever had before. Foxy peeked out of the curtains as he ran by, and he could hear Bonnie and Chica running behind him.

What Freddy saw in the office tore his metal insides apart and made his rage grow infinitely.

Mike was struggling weakly on the ground. A gash in his forehead was bleeding sluggishly, and his cast arm was cradled against his chest as he tried to push his attacker away with his good arm. One of his legs was stuffed halfway in a suit. The attacker was standing on his other ankle.

Golden Freddy towered over the man.

Mike sobbed helplessly, his struggles growing weaker. Golden Freddy was holding a suit head, the one Bonnie and Chica had created. The dark bear tried to shove the suit over Mike's head. At that, Freddy let out a truly animalistic roar and tackled the other bear to the ground.

Golden Freddy roared right back and pushed the younger animatronic off him. Neither noticed Mike ducking under the desk, as Golden Freddy hit Freddy with a supernaturally charged punch. The brown bear went stumbling back, but he quickly righted himself and punched the older animatronic in the chest, directly above where a patch of sensitive circuits would be.

Golden Freddy emitted a deep groan, and Freddy wasted no time hitting his joints and weak points. The old animatronic tried to hit Freddy with another powerful punch, but he dodged. The older bear retreated into the hallway, where Freddy tackled him to the ground. The younger animatronic knelt on his gold counterpart and continued punching. When Golden Freddy was too disoriented to react, the brown bear ripped off the suit head and attached the endoskeleton underneath.

Golden Freddy let out a piercing shriek before going still.

For good measure, Freddy reached behind the animatronic's head and pulled out the motherboard. The thin green circuit snapped easily between his fingers.

Freddy bobbed up and down, strained from the fight. It had taken a lot of energy, and he was damaged where the evil bear had managed to hit him. Running his finger over his suit, he could feel the dents in his suit. He would have to get a new one from the back room...

From the office, Mike let out another frightened cry. Freddy realized he was still sobbing, and the bear quickly moved back into the office. Chica knelt in front of the desk, trying to reach Mike so she could take care of him. The terrified man just shrieked again and huddled further under the piece of furniture.

"Let me," Freddy muttered to the chicken, and she obligingly left them alone. The bear carefully lowered himself as far down as he could go until he was eye-level with the brunette. Mike sniffled weakly before looking at him. The man let out a more hopeful sob and lunged at the bear, trembling.

The man buried himself in Freddy's chest, trying to hide in his fur. The bear carefully wrapped his arms around the smaller body. The two males sat in relative silence for a long time; the only sound was Mike's gradually quieting sobs.

"What happened?" Freddy finally asked, mechanical voice portraying his worry.

"I-I was waiting for m-my shift to st-start, a-and he came, and I-I was nice! I didn't d-do anything, promise! H-he attacked me first, e-even though I just t-talked to him! I-I didn't- I d-d-didn't-" Mike whimpered, hiding his face again.

"Okay," the animatronic soothed. "Then?"

"I-I thought he was nice l-like you!" The brunette pleaded. "B-but he attacked me, and I h-hit my head, I think, and- and... And h-he tried to put me i-in a suit! A-and I remembered..." The man began to cry again. "Remembered before... Before we were f-friends! A-and you tried to h-hurt me too!"

A wave of shame washed over the bear. Sympathetically, he rubbed Mike's back, trying to give him back the warmth they had felt for the past few weeks, the pleasant friendliness.

"B-but I remembered we w-were friends," Mike continued in a whisper. "A-and you take care of me, and I c-c-called for you. Y-you came! B-but the yellow one h-hurt me a lot before that..."

Freddy looked down at the blue eye man and realized he was shivering. He also wasn't making much sense anymore, and he looked like he was on his way to falling asleep...! The animatronic remembered what he knew about concussions from the time a little one had hit their head at a birthday party.

"Don't sleep," he ordered gruffly. Mike trembled and looked up at him with dazed eyes.

"W-what?"

"Do not sleep," the old bear growled. The brunette nodded tiredly. "Chica!" The chicken quickly appeared in the doorway with a first aid kit. "Fix him!"

The bird knelt beside the boys and carefully began to treat Mike. When she came to his ankle, she let out a little hiss in sympathy. She set it as best she could, trying to ignore as Mike cried out and gripped Freddy's suit. Eventually she came to the elephant in the room- the leg that had been stuffed in the suit.

"Freddy," she begged. "Please, I can't- I can't fix this."

"Manager," the bear demanded. "Tim."

"I like Tim," Mike commented in a fragile voice, sagging heavily against the brown animatronic even as his hand held to the fur tighter than thought possible.

A familiar bell rang through the pizzeria.

"No!" Freddy worried, trying to hold on tighter to his human. If he left, what would happen to the man? Mike made a concerned sound just as Freddy faded away...

-[]-

The manager found Mike trapped between Freddy's stiff arms, standing upright on stage. The brunette was fighting weakly and pushing against the bear's chest to escape the cage of his arms. When the man finally noticed the manager, his face lit up bright red.

"Freddy," he hissed at the animatronic. "Let go." He pushed futilely against Freddy. "The manager is here!" The bear's arms loosened minutely before tightening again. "Uh. A little help here?"

"Mike, are you bleeding?" The manager asked, staring at the bandages wrapped around his forehead. "Is your leg in a suit?!"

"He he, maybe? They think I have a concussion too," Mike giggled.

"They? No, that's not important. I'll call Tim again," the manager sighed and retreated.

Half an hour later, the dark haired paramedic walked in the front doors. He blinked at Mike's predicament for a moment before laughing lightly.

"I have to say, you're one of the luckiest ones I've taken care of," the man grinned as he stepped up on to the stage. He faced Freddy with a slightly anxious wave. "Hey, Freddy. I need you to let go of Mike now." The animatronic didn't move. "It's Tim. I need to treat him. You want that don't you? For him to be safe and get better? That's why you won't let go, isn't it." Slowly, the bear's arms loosened and released the security guard.

Mike let out a little groan at the loss of support and began to slip to the floor. Tim caught him and eased him down. He examined the injuries that had been treated first, making sure they had been taken care of properly. He carefully felt around Mike's head, checking the level of concussion he had. A few other tests proved that it wasn't too serious, and the brunette would be fine with some rest.

Just as Chica had, Tim came to the leg in the suit and stopped.

"Are you... Are you sure you want to remove this here? It will be really painful without proper medication," he stated. He carefully examined the extent of the damage, wincing.

Mike sat up slightly to look at the leg, paled significantly, and laid back down. He nodded weakly. "Just... Just get it over with..." Tim took a deep breath and began to take the suit apart, trying to free the leg without causing more damage. After removing the main plating and exterior metal pieces, the man let out an upset noise.

"I've seen worse here before, but this will take much longer to heal than your arm," the paramedic frowned. "In fact, you'll probably be scarred for life."

Mike nodded solemnly.

"You'll probably have a limp as well. The muscles and bones are crushed in several places, and they might heal incorrectly. I wouldn't recommend walking on your own for a year or more," Tim finished gravely. He carefully removed pieces of the suit from the smaller man's leg.

"I'll have to get a cane or some crutches or something," Mike sighed. He shifted in discomfort and winced when the dark haired man gently pulled another piece out.

"You'll definitely need a cast for this. What color do you think you'll want?"

"Dunno. How long do you think I'll have it?"

"We'd have to change it out regularly to make sure you're healing properly."

"The navy one looked nice. I'll try that one out, and if I don't like it I can always get a different color."

"Yeah." Tim cautiously pulled on a deeply embedded piece, making Mike cry out. "I can give you a shot of pain mess, but you'll probably fall asleep."

"Actually, that sounds wonderful right now," the security guard agreed with a deep sigh.

"Alright." The paramedic pulled out his medications, measured a dose, and carefully injected it into a vein. As the medication took effect, Mike gradually melted into the floor, the pain washing away to be replaced with a light cloud of drugs. The brunette giggled a little before he finally succumbed to sleep.

-{[(•)]}-

When Mike was ready for work again, he considered coming in with a wheelchair. It had been easy to move around his apartment without one, and it would be interesting to see Freddy's reaction.

Instead, the man just packed his usual bag and walked through the front doors on crutches. Despite it not being midnight yet, Freddy instantly made his way over and scooped the brunette up into his arms. The crutches clattered to the ground with a clang. Bonnie and Chica joined the duo, greeting Mike with as many words as they had in their data banks.

Foxy hurried to them when he heard the commotion and managed to get a hug despite Freddy trying to hog Mike all to himself. The guard laughed at the playful chase that ensured and happily let himself be passed around so everyone could get a hug. He was worn out after a few minutes, and the four animatronics say at the middle table in the dining room.

Once again, Freddy held the man I his lap.

Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy excitedly talked about everything that had happened in Mike's absence. The brunette listened to them chatter as he leaned against the old bear. The quiet duo drew strength from each other and the happiness of their friends.

When the other three animatronics finally ran out of things to say, Chica retreated to the kitchen and returned with a small "Welcome Back!" cake. There were some birthday candles on it that the animatronics made him blow out. When Bonnie asked him what his wish was, Mike winked and said, "If I tell, then it won't come true."

The animatronics enjoyed Mike eating the cake since they couldn't have any themselves. Foxy began to tell all the wild tales he had come up with since Mike left. Bonnie played a song he had written. Chica even pulled out her recipe box and tried to teach Mike all her secrets without actually taking him to the kitchen.

Even when the night finally ended and Mike had to hobble back to his apartment, he couldn't help but think that even though he had lost one family, he had finally gained another.