i've got that rotten apple core feeling
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Teen And Up Audiences
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Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Five Nights at Freddy's
Vanessa A. | Ness & Gregory & Cassie, Vanessa A. | Ness & Cassie (Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: Ruin DLC), Vanessa A. | Ness & Gregory (Five Nights at Freddy's), Cassie (Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: Ruin DLC) & Gregory
Vanessa A. | Ness, Gregory (Five Nights at Freddy's), Cassie (Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: Ruin DLC)
Additional Tags:
Not Canon Compliant, Post-Canon, Kinda?, Whumptober 2023, Whump, Hurt/Comfort, Found Family, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, Separation Anxiety, Protective Vanessa A. | Ness, Vanessa A. | Ness Needs a hug, Platonic Relationships, Panic Attacks, mentioned luis cabrera, mentioned cassie's dad, Blood and Injury, Head Injury, Freddy Fazbear's Mega Pizzaplex, Fever
Part 7 of whumptober 2023
Whumptober 2023
Published: 2023-10-07 Words: 2,685 Chapters: 1/1

i've got that rotten apple core feeling


Silence. It bores into Vanessa’s ears, trickling into them like water from an unsecure tap, more and more, whistling and ringing and her heart is beating even harder, because Gregory won’t respond and it’s so dangerous out here, at night, and he knows it, and he knows it firsthand and he’s not like this because he’s smart so something must have happened.


Day 7: Alleyway | Radio Silence | "Can you hear me?"


part 1 of 2 !!! part 2 will be day 9 fill -- polaroid | mistaken identity | “you're a liar.” and will pick up immediately where this part leaves off !!!

i've got that rotten apple core feeling

Vanessa sighs heavily and taps her smartwatch once again. Remind her to never make deals with two rowdy preteens, please. She already has enough issues, and now the two headaches that have apparently adopted her as their unofficial babysitter, however ridiculous that sounds, aren’t where they agreed to meet up. It’s getting fucking late, and if she doesn’t meet the sleep requirement made by her support team, they all will have some problems.

“Gregory, Cassandra, it’s time to stop playing games. I know you’re there.” No reply. She sighs, massaging her temples with irritation. The silence of her smartwatch’s speaker seems to be mocking her. “I will be waiting at the entrance. You’ve got fifteen minutes.”

Fifteen minutes trickle by, as Vanessa alternates between taking care of her and Luis’ widget pet and scrolling through the latest news mindlessly. There’s no sign of Gregory – not even the awful screeching of his Freddy sneakers he refuses to get rid of on polished floors, no faint ghost of a giggle from yet another prank Vanessa will have in her face in the morning. There’s no Cassie either, and those two are almost inseparable nowadays. Cassie leaves things behind her like a slug leaving a trail, so Vanessa usually can track them down quick and easy.

There’s no Gregory nor Cassie, and despite everything, it’s a terrifying thing.

Vanessa switches to the Pizzaplex map, where their icons – little Freddy face and a heart – are usually roaming somewhere, getting ready to jumpscare her once again.

Now, they’re gone. Nowhere, even when she carefully looks at every floor, every room and corridor, every pixel, it’s just dark blue background with light outlines and not a whisper of either of them.

Sweat beads at her temples, wetting her hair. It’s never like this. They never just drop out of sight unprompted. They know better than to just disappear. They know how Vanessa reacts to stuff like this. (She shouldn’t put so much trust in the hands of two mischievous preteens, but still. They’re not exactly normal preteens either. Especially Gregory.)

“Gregory?” Vanessa’s heartbeat grows increasingly panicked, harder, quicker, badum–badum–badum in her chest like a hammer striking against metal. It pulsates in the back of her head, filling it with bone–chilling goo. “Gregory? Can you hear me?”

Silence. It bores into Vanessa’s ears, trickling into them like water from an unsecure tap, more and more, whistling and ringing, raging like an ocean, and her heart is beating even harder, because Gregory won’t respond and it’s so dangerous out here, at night, and he knows it, and he knows it firsthand and he’s not like this because he’s smart so something must have happened.

Her own legs carry her to the secret passage in Daycare, where she knows, while her mind reels and screams like a wild wolf findfindfindfind

“Vanessa.” Cassie’s voice is weak and small and scared, so unlike her, and Vanessa’s heart constricts painfully. “I’m scared.”

“It’s alright.” She whispers back. It definitely doesn’t feel alright. “Feel around for my hand, I will pull you out.”

“Ness.” That nickname, said in a tiny, terrified voice, feels like a gutpunch, but Vanessa is nothing if not strong, and she needs to be even stronger now. She gathers all of her strength, and then she feels Cassie’s cold, clammy hand clasping around hers. There’s definitely blood, sliding along their conjoined hands, warm and cold, wet and crusted.

“I’m pulling you up in three. Count with me.”

A wet sniffle, followed by a shallow, barking cough. “Okay.”

Vanessa braces with one last breath, trying to calm her nerves and focus completely on pulling Cassie up with one hand. “One, two, three–!”

When Vanessa pulls with all of her might, Cassie seemingly bounces off the rock wall with her feet, because Vanessa feels as if her arm is pulled back out of its’ socket and then snapped back, with the weight of Cassie’s her entire body leaning on it, other hand coming to assist it, and she pulls, pulls so hard she’s certain she’s fucked up all of the tendons in her right arm,

But her efforts are all worth it when she falls back and hears a little body thump next to her, against the gravel, releasing a shallow, choked up huff.

Vanessa blinks. One, two, three times. Closes her eyes, runs hands over her face. Oh fuck.

“Vanessa.” Cassie’s quiet voice tears through her entire being suddenly, like an electric bolt, and Vanessa springs up, searching for Cassie with her hands flailing and eyes frantically trying to get used to the darkness.

Her hands finally fall onto Cassie’s back. Both of them jump off, before Cassie falls back into Vanessa’s arms. She sobs, shaking harder than an old train engine, as she crawls up to her chest like a baby animal searching for its mother's warmth. Vanessa scoops her up and tucks her as close as humanly possible, rocking back and forth, hopefully soothingly. Tears and snot and probably blood too wet her shirt, and it will be a pain to get off, but she doesn’t care. Cassie is terrified, and grasping at the straws, fingers curled deep in the cheap fabric of Vanessa’s uniform, crawling closer and closer, as if she’s trying to get inside Vanessa.

Vanessa remembers her high school anti–teen pregnancy campaign (as if her nerdy, Tumblr user teenage self would have the chance to become pregnant) where she had to take care of a baby doll that would scream continuously for a week. She got a B in it, for some reason, even though she fought the urge to slam it against a wall multiple times. She didn’t get how the two girls in front of her talked about their fake babies so genuinely. Like her mom used to do. Almost gushing over their bad quality striped onesies and fake, lifeless eyes.

Now, she presumes, she kind of gets it. How the feeling comes in powerful waves, like a tsunami coming back before the real tide comes, Cassie is so small, and defenseless, and Vanessa will do anything for . It’s a weird feeling. Both grounding in reality.

“It’s alright, sweetheart.” The nickname falls from her tongue easily. Like it was always meant to be there, and Cassie sobs harder, almost silently wailing now, agony and desperation and pure fear and pain mixing together in a fucked up cake batter. She has her face slammed against Vanessa’s shoulder, and her cries gradually calm down, with slow circles rubbed on her back by Vanessa and a low, hummed melody.

“Do you–” Vanessa starts when she thinks Cassie is able to think clearly enough to respond. She swallows hard, and prays to whatever entity is watching that nobody will die tonight, “Do you remember where Gregory went?”

Cassie tears away from her shirt with a wet sound. A smack of dry lips. She has tear tracks all over her face

“When it started following us– He was running in front of me, and he yelled at me to–” She sniffles rapidly, catching a few breaths in quick succession, almost hiccuping. “--to hide, and he’ll run and distract it, so I dropped in the first cave I found, and I tried to roll over but I fell, and Gregory– Gregory, he– he ran further, and he went ahead of where we are, and I heard something fall–” She inhales rapidly, almost choking on air, “Vanessa, I’m so sorry–”

“It’s not your fault, okay?” She says, despite the thick, dark bile of guilt guilt guilt coming up to her throat, wrapping around it like a vicious snake. Please don’t let it be true, don’t let him be dead, he needs to be back. “He told you to hide, didn’t he?”

Cassie sniffles and shifts to bury her face in Vanessa’s shoulder yet again. Puts her head there like a baby who missed naptime. “I could’ve ran after him.”

A deep–settled, familiar feeling of thick guilt settles in Vanessa’s stomach, just where Cassie is pressed against her. She could. She could run after him, but she could as well die, both of them could be dead, and Vanessa could do something more. All those faces, twisted in last screams, last breaths, last pleadings flash through her mind. Despite not sharing most consciousness with Vanny, she shares memories. All of them. And Afton liked to torment her, making them appear at the least expected moments. Blood, blood, so much blood, blurry, lifeless eyes and parted lips, and–

“Cassie?” Gregory’s glitched voice springs out of Cassie’s cracked Fazwatch, and both of them flinch like a gun has been pointed at them.

“Gregory!” Cassie almost yells, raising her arm to her face, but one look at Vanessa shushing her has her quieting down.

Vanessa leans down. “Gregory, it’s Vanessa and Cassie here. Where are you?”

There’s silence for a moment, and Vanessa thinks it might be just a last stroke of luck, before the glitchy voice comes back. “Further than you are, in like, under a big metal beam. There are a few blue trash bags outside.” He falls quiet for a moment, but speaks up once again, “I think– I think I hit my head.”

Ice stops Vanessa’s blood immediately. Head injuries aren’t good, especially in children, especially below twelve – she’s not sure if Gregory is even able to board public transit without a guardian – especially when you’re way below the weight requirement for your age, and especially in dark, wet trash tunnels of underground Pizzaplex. From Cassie’s wide eyes, she can see she’s thinking the same.

“You hit your what?” She doesn’t receive a response, only heavy breathing on the other side. As if Gregory is panting into his watch, trying to stay on the line. Calm down, Vanessa, you panicking isn’t going to help anybody. In and out. In and out. One hundred, ninety–seven, ninety–four– “Okay, don’t move, we are coming.”

Well, it turns out Fazbear Entertainment doesn’t prioritize secret entrances, or the gigantic system of tunnels under the mall – which she isn’t sure they’re even aware of, because knowing them, they would turn it into a flashy children’s labyrinth – because the gap between stone walls, described by Gregory, is barely big enough for Cassie to squeeze through. Much less Vanessa.

Cassie looks up to her with wide eyes. Even in the darkness, Vanessa can see the way she looks up at her. Searching for an answer, a clue, reassurance, promise, anything. Vanessa’s stomach churns painfully

“Cass,” Vanessa starts, but she gets cut in before she can continue,

“I’m scared.”

The statement seems to be almost too big for her mouth. It doesn’t fit. It’s blocky and bothering, and Cassie spits it out like she can’t wait to get it out.

Vanessa purses her lips tightly. “I know. It’s a lot. But it’s very important too.”

Cassie’s eyes spring to meet hers, and suddenly there’s a strange determination in her. Like Vanessa’s words broke some kind of a dam, and now it’s all there, vulnerable and present and brave and real.

Cassie throws herself at Vanessa’s neck briefly before disappearing between the walls. Vanessa tries to balance on the verge of consciousness and the state she passes time in, staring off into a black trash wall and still listening for any sounds indicating Cassie and Gregory are coming back. (Or not.) She vaguely hears shuffling and hushed voices, and the shuffling comes closer, starting to sound more like stomping of shoes on squelching trash bags, and when scraping against walls comes, Vanessa springs up and turns her flashlight towards the gap.

Gregory appears first. Streaks of blood decorate his face, reminding Vanessa of the Jesus paintings she saw at church as a little girl – adorned in a crown of thorns, fat beads of red blood sliding down his thoughtful face.

Gregory always sports a decent tan, even going into light brows on his nose and cheeks, lightening only on his palms, but now it seems like all color has gone away from his skin, and it’s white as chalk, glowing in the light of Vanessa’s flashlight. Like a fucked up halo, a fallen angel.

“Hi.” His voice is quiet and raspy, as if he swallowed sandpaper and now is trying to talk. He looks like a pitiful creature – even more so than when she first met him, when all of his clothes hung off his frame and She’ll force water and honey tea into him once they get out of there.

“I’m sorry.”

“What are you sorry for, Greg?”

“You said to not leave where you can’t see us.”

“You didn’t know it would happen.”

Gregory blinks at her, like he can’t quite believe her, and then drops.

Vanessa’s body reacts before her mind does, and she catches limp Gregory just before he hits the ground. Cassie gasps loudly behind her. He’s strangely light as she picks him up and starts automatically making her way to the exit – either that’s her adrenaline and hysterical strength talking, or she needs to shove even more food down his throat, because his metabolism is absolutely unbelievable. He feels lighter than a newborn.


“Is he going to be okay?”

Vanessa looks down at his pale, lifeless face, and finds herself not being able to respond.


Gregory gasps when he wakes up. Vanessa is standing in the small kitchen annex, trying to portion the honey so he won’t complain about it being too sweet – little fucker, of all things hating sweet tea. Cassie has gone to her house with her dad, holding onto his hand tightly and almost falling asleep, Angus apologizing profusely to Vanessa for making her take care of her for so long.

“Van?” Gregory, albeit muffled and distant, sounds scared, and Vanessa’s heart thumps painfully in her chest. She forces herself to stand still, refocusing on pouring honey, knowing that both Freddy and Chica are there, that Cassie’s dad is on speed dial in case anything more happens, that she can feel his pulse against her wrist. and that they’re all safe and sound. Cassie, Gregory, Vanessa, Angus and Luis. Cassie, Gregory Vanessa and– “Van!”

When she hears the distinct sound of something banging against metal, she immediately abandons her task and starts sprinting. Until her lungs start to hurt and then some more, spit flying out of her mouth and almost colliding with a wall, pushing Monty to the side and ignoring his concerned voice as she pants, her mind replaying Gregory’s terrified screaming, any screaming, high and low and slowed down and fast like a montage in a bad horror movie,

She barges into Freddy’s room just in time to see Gregory flailing a microphone stand violently, Freddy backing out with his arms still outstretched, Chica on the other side of the room, staring at the bizarre scene. When she slams the door open, all three heads turn to her.

Gregory looks awful. His face is red, presumably from a fever he shouldn’t be having, hair sleep–tousled in all directions, a crease on his cheek from a pillow, deep, dark circles under his eyes, and looking definitely like a pathetic little cat, holding the gigantic – in comparison to him – microphone stick and attempting to strike Freddy, the indestructible, child–safe metal machine.

“Hey, it’s alright, it’s alright!” She doesn’t give it another thought before running in between Freddy and Gregory. The little boy stares at her like she’s some exotic animal on display in zoo. Like he can’t believe his vision, but at the same time, there’s so much fear and pain between his dark eyes. Vanessa tries to remember anything that helped him, helped her or Cassie come down from their panic attacks, when nothing seemed right. If he’s having fever–induced hallucinations, they’re royally fucked. “Kid, Greg… It’s me. You’re safe. You are safe.”

He stares at her for a good few moments, panting and breathing frantically.

“I want Vanessa!” He looks at her wide, terrified to the bone eyes, and a cold realization washes over her.

He doesn’t recognize her. Doesn’t recognize anyone.



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