dying like a living ghost
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Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Five Nights at Freddy's
Vanessa A. | Ness & Gregory (Five Nights at Freddy's)
Vanessa A. | Ness, Gregory (Five Nights at Freddy's)
Additional Tags:
Not Canon Compliant, Post-Canon, ish, Whumptober 2023, Whump, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, Touch-Starved, Gregory has PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Five Nights at Freddy's), Gregory Needs a Hug (Five Nights at Freddy's), And He Gets One!, Implied/Referenced Child Abuse, Mental Health Issues, Panic Attacks, Touch-Starved Gregory (Five Nights at Freddy's)
Part 9 of whumptober 2023
Whumptober 2023
Published: 2023-10-09 Words: 1,858 Chapters: 1/1

dying like a living ghost


Gregory seems to be confused for a good moment, and Vanessa starts thinking maybe it wasn’t the best idea, to do it so soon, and then realization dawns on his face.

“... Vanessa.”

Day 9: Polaroid | Mistaken Identity | “You're a liar.”


so ...... part 2 of i've got that rotten apple core feeling !!! starts right after the end of that part, so i definitely recommend reading it first

dying like a living ghost

Vanessa is frozen in place. She recognizes the red–white–blue color scheme of Freddy’s room, glowing neons and pieces of merch scattered around the room, she’s all too familiar with the Pizzaplex, but she certainly feels like an intruder. For a good moment too, as if her body can’t even react to what Gregory is saying. To what is happening around her. As if it doesn’t want to react. Shutting everything, everyone out, like lights going out in a storm.

She remembers her cousin having fever hallucinations. Vanessa might have been ten, twelve at maximum at that time, her cousin not much younger than her, and a horrible virus has swept through their school. Vanessa came out of it with a minor cough and a runny nose, but her cousin took it much harder. She still remembers the terrified screams, beginning for her mom to come and take her away from the monsters that tormented her.

It’s much harder to convince someone that monsters don’t exist if said person has seen the monster in its face.

“Gregory, please–” She tries, but he only briefly looks at her general direction – his eyes are unfocused, pupils swallowing the irises whole. Like a hungry wolf eating its prey. He’s shaking all over, trembling violently, feet halfway still in a blanket pooling on the floor, and almost throwing himself against a wall.

“Vanessa! Van! Van!” Gregory chants, like a madman, like those are the only words that will save him. Like she’s the only one who can save him. Like he needs her. He’s still raging against the wall, almost tearing his way through it, fingers sliding off, nails ripping away parts of the colorful wallpaper. “He’s here! Please!

Vanessa suddenly starts moving, and before thinking about the possible outcomes, reaches out and grabs Gregory’s arm. Gently, but still hard enough for him to feel it.

“Don’t touch me! Get away!” Gregory roars and starts kicking, punching wildly, desperately trying to get away in any way he can think of. His tiny nails are blunt, but he manages to even draw blood with how hard he’s trying to peel her hand away. One of the punches hits Vanessa in the jaw, and she can hear the click of her teeth smashing together. Ghost of a bruise settles there, but Vanessa is nothing if not determined.

“Gregory, it’s me!” She kneels down right next to him, grabs him by both arms and makes herself look into his bloodshot, teary eyes and tries to get it through the veil of panic. “It’s me, Vanessa!”

“You’re a liar! Get away! Help! Help me!” He pushes back, against her with all his might – hands and legs and even feet, as much as a scrawny tween can do, he does. He kicks and punches and pushes, tries to rip her work shirt. And Vanessa fights back, cautious not to until he tries to bite her and Vanessa is left staggering back, away from the couch and carpeted floor.

His eyes are wide and frantic as they look around the room, glassy and foggy, hands tearing at his hair and Vanessa feels rendered completely useless. Not for the first time in her life, but fucking God, doesn’t it hurt. She feels like a small child lost in a mall, waiting for her parents to pick her up.

“Vanessa! Help! I’m sorry! I’ll be good!”

She kind of wants to slap him out of this.

After a few minutes, hours, days, centuries, whatever hell time is, moving like a snail and racing alike to a rabbit at the same time – rabbit rabbit rabbit booms in her head like church bells – he seems to be calming down. Or running out of energy, based on how he’s slumped against the wall, tucked into a little pitiful ball of sobs and gasps. He still seems panicked, but the ferocity of it has lessened, now turned into that painful, sucking feeling Vanessa knows all too well.

“Vanessa…” He attempts to say one more time, but his voice is hoarse enough to sound like an old smoker. Then he coughs, wet and dry at the same time, loud and long enough to be painful. Vanessa has to push down the burning hot, gut–wrenching feeling in her stomach and remind herself that Gregory needs to calm down before she can go in. Something is wrong, very wrong, and he’s trusting one person to fix it. And he can’t reach that person. She can only imagine how being a child, a literal child and going through this must feel.

She lets them sit in silence for a few more moments, punctuated only by Gregory’s exhausted sobs and gasps. Like a fish out of water, catching its last breaths. A wounded animal. “Gregory?” Vanessa tries to keep her voice low and soothing. Like her mom used to do when Vanessa was little and scared of storms, hurricanes, darkness and Freddy Krueger jumping out of her closet at night.

No reply. Not even an acknowledgement that something happened in the room “Rory?”

“Vanessa?” He says, but doesn’t raise his head. As if he doesn’t want to have hope. Vanessa’s heart might audibly break a little. “Vanessa?!” His voice gets increasingly desperate, shaking even worse, like a kitten who fell into a puddle, and she can’t take it.

She shuffles towards him. Audibly dragging her feet along the carpet so he will hear her approaching. “Hey, Greg, I’m here.” All reaction she gets is a violent hic, shaking his entire body, so she tries again, “Don’t worry. It’s alright.”

Gregory blinks a few times, staring at her with huge, dark eyes, eyebrows drawn upwards and lip almost pouting, and then another bout of hysterical crying begins.

“Please— I can be good, I will be good. I can do it. I can do it.” He sniffles violently, his entire body shaking with it before he looks up to Vanessa with a look of utter despair on his face. Or maybe he’s looking straight through her, with how glassy and dazed his eyes are, red and puffy and looking somewhere far away. “Just get me to Vanessa. Please. I’ll be good. I swear.”

Gregory starts digging his fingers in the sleeves of his pajama shirt. Vanessa swears internally, Freddy threatening half–jokingly to electroshock her every time she swore around Greg and Cassie clearly worked, and taps her Fazwatch. “Freddy.”

“Officer Vanessa?” The animatronic’s voice booms from the creaky speaker. As much as a robot’s voice can be, it’s dripping with concern and perhaps something she can described as both relief and fear. “Is Gre—”

“Bring me a polaroid from my office.”

Freddy stalls for a moment. “A polaroid?”

Vanessa nods, mostly to herself. Who is she trying to convince? Her, Freddy, Gregory, someone else? “Yes. Any of them, just have me and Gregory both. They’re on my desk and cork board.”

“Alright.” Freddy sounds substantially less worried, and the sound of his metal paws hitting the floor reverberates through the shitty speakers of Vanessa’s Fazwatch.

Freddy’s in his room in no time. He holds up a great distance from where Gregory and Vanessa are having their stand–off, and then slides the stack of polaroids across carpet with near–surgical precision. They stop when they hit Vanessa’s bent legs.


“Anytime.” He says quietly, still looking at the pathetic ball of Gregory curled up between the wall and the couch.

And then walks away. She can still hear the shifting and buzzing of machinery as he moves.

Vanessa sighs quietly and rubs her face. It’s going to be one hell of a night. She can feel her own panic building behind the wall of thoughts, no matter how hard she’s trying to ward it off. She just hopes the migraines won’t come after it.

“See this?” She pulls out the polaroid from the top of the stack. Waits until Gregory’s eyes focus on her hands, then on the polaroid, and then when he gives a slight nod. He’s staring at her with bleary, tired eyes, looking for a reason why she is doing this to him. “Who are they?”

“Gregory and,” He sniffles suddenly, “Vanessa.”

“Good job. Who’s this?” She pulls out another polaroid. It’s one from the birthday parties Gregory had snuck into – him in a little Happy Birthday Jackson! hat, Vanessa in the background, supporting the wall, with work policy–enforced bunny ears on her Security Guard hat.

“Me and Vanessa.”

“You’re doing great, kid. Now,” she puts the stack of polaroids away, with trembling hands, and turns back to Gregory. He’s watching her with wide eyes, analyzing every move, watching and observing, in case— “Who is this?”

She points at herself.

Gregory seems to be confused for a good moment, and Vanessa starts thinking maybe it wasn’t the best idea, to do it so soon, and then realization dawns on his face.

“... Vanessa.”

She smiles gently, hoping it looks as soothing as she thinks it does. Gregory is still looking at her, eyes dark and wide and terrified, but he doesn’t try to uncurl from the very uncomfortable position he molded himself into. She doesn’t try to prowl, pick him apart.

“Want a hug?” Gregory nods, and then almost breaks into tears. Looking at Vanessa like he’s looking for confirmation, praise, anything to indicate the reaction to his needs. She presumes it’s something he doesn’t get hugs every day – she wouldn’t be surprised if he went without them for a very long time – and so she makes the first move, sliding towards him on her ass.

Gregory tentatively puts his head on Vanessa’s shoulder – where her collarbone meets neck – and then shifts, uncomfortably, until he’s nestled above her chest. His hair is wet and sticking to his forehead, curling at the ends, and Vanessa tries to smooth it down, and she can feel how soaked his pajamas are from sweat.

Vanessa puts her chin on his head, gently, so as to not disturb the fragile peace. A melody she barely remembers and is almost entirely making up as she goes starts filling the room. It’s gentle and calm, slow and like honey on her ears. She can’t remember the words, but the melody is engrained in her mind, from sleepless nights her mom spent singing it to her.

She feels Gregory’s tears wet her Fazbear Entertainment–issued hoodie. She lets it go unspoken about.

Her humming hitches briefly when Gregory digs his fingers into the the fabric of Vanessa’s hoodie, but one small sniffle from his brings her back into it.

“Your fingers are bleeding.” Vanessa notices thoughtfully after a moment. His little fingers, black paint – presumably done by Cassie – is chipping off, and beneath it his fingers are almost doused in blood, pooling out from beneath and sides of nails, smearing around his hands. She would have noticed it if she wasn’t almost sure he was asleep and tried to peel him off like peeling skin off an orange.

And then he released her hoodie. Just to reclench harder.

“Sorry.” Gregory mumbles out sleepily, and Vanessa soothingly hums out an approving noise.

"Don't be."


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