Charlotte hobbled as fast as her little weighted feet could carry her back down the street in the gaze of the orange sunlight towards home. She could’ve tried to run, but her left knee joint was stuck; a little plastic pellet jammed between the mechanical ligament that prevented her from being able to put her foot down all the way.
She was holding her left eye with her large hand, a pellet resting in her sparking eyesocket with tears rolling down the purple streaks of her mask as she tried to get away from the sounds of jeering and cruel laughter from behind her.
“Go away! Go away!” she cried through her miserably smiling mask as she painfully continued on.
But that only encouraged them.
“Do it again!” screamed one of the kids to his friends, “Do it again, get it!” he cheered.
Charlotte yelped as she felt a sharp sting in her shoulder as another pellet ripped through her silky fabric as if it weren’t even there, striking her delicate metal interior with a painful tink sound that reverberate off her endoskeleton... and her soul.
Charlotte, even though she didn’t have any teeth to grit, felt herself stifling a scream out of sheer willpower; her robotic parts locking up in order to prevent any sound or movement that she could make or give, that would give the cruel children anymore reason to continue to shoot at her.
She could see the house, it was less than thirty feet away, but with a jammed knee, pellet in the eye, and being full of pure adrenaline and desperation to get there, it felt more like one thousand feet if not more.
Charlotte could feel eyes on her that she didn’t want there. She turned to see people gawking out of their windows with complete and utter befuddlement at what was going on; witnessing four children between the ages of nine and twelve wielding plastic rifles that they were firing at a lanky living puppet doll, that was yelping and whining as if were a real living thing in distress.
“Again!” screamed one of the children, a different one from before, cackling like a sick hyena as he watched his friend raise his toy rifle to fire another plastic bullet at the puppet’s other leg.
Thankfully, it didn’t get stuck in the joint like the other pellet had. But sadly, that didn’t stop the sudden shock from feeling it ping off her joint keep her from falling onto the concrete pavement; scraping her mask against the ground, Charlotte able to feel the paint be grated off one of her rosy-red cheeks as she skidded a few inches before coming to a stop.
The laughter intensified, and Charlotte felt her last shred of composure be knocked out of her as soon as she hit the ground.
Without thinking, she let herself go limp and the pain in her body go numb as she out a long painful cry, wanting nothing more than to curl up into a ball and just wait for them to lose interest in her like they were a pack of wild dogs. But there was noway she trusted them not to shoot her other eye out before then, and so, she continued onward towards home, crawling on her hands and knees, the screams of those horrible kids just driving her to keep going.
But crawling was becoming more cumbersome than just hobbling with her stifled knee. They were catching up to her the longer she crawled, she tried to crawl faster, but it was futile.
To get away she would need to get up, but getting up would require her to stop moving forward for a few seconds, allowing them to get even closer.
But if she just continued to crawl they would soon be right on top of her, then what?
Charlotte didn’t want to choose either, her mind was racing and her body stung from being violated with plastic bullets, so instead she chose a third open; scream.
“CHARLIIIIE!” her voicebox screeched like a choir from hell, dragging herself further forwards, staring desperately down the street for Charlie, or John, or Elizabeth to come pick her up and wisp her away into the safety of their walls to be held and protected and to be kept away from the little devils that continued to torment her.
One of them shot her again, and it bounced off the corner of her mask. It did no damage, but it came so dangerously close to Charlotte’s only good eye that she felt her whole body quiver, and she screamed again, “CHARLIIIE! HELP MEE!”
She covered her face with her arm to protect her eyes, dragging herself forward with the other, unable to see the path in front of her anymore as she tried to imagine the comforting image of one, if not all of her friends coming to come and save her from these terrible kids.
“Go away. Go away. Go away.” she chanted in a whisper. Even if she knew her words were in vain, she just wanted to hope, pray, that they would take some pity on her. She wanted to look them in the eyes and silently plead, but that wouldn’t come with the garantee that she wouldn’t lose them both.
“Please, help...” she uttered as she gave up on moving forward, leaving her outstretched arm laying on the pavement, balling-up her hand into a fist out of pure frustration. She didn’t understand.
How did it all come to this?
She just wanted to play. She didn’t want this to happen. She just wanted to be a real girl again, even if it was just a little while... how could something as innocent as that devolve into something as horrible as this?
Charlotte didn’t know, and she really didn’t have the time to think about it. She could hear the sounds of the imps encroaching in on her.
Charlotte sighed shakily, and closed her eyes to weep, waiting to be stomped out, or shot some more, or... what if they tried to drag her away?”
Charlotte’s breath hitched and she unballed her fist, reaching to brace herself against the ground, “John... Elizabeth...” her tears sank into the fabric of her arm, “please...”
All really seemed lost for a moment, before a loud ring of a metallic thump broke her out of her anguish-filled trance.
At first, she was scared that something inside her had finally broken or snapped due to the stress she was under, or due to the damage she had received, and was now was just waiting for an impending feeling of pain to envelop her. But after the second thump, and then the third thump, combined with the fact they were coming closer, and combined with the fact that the cruel laughter had turned into panicked screaming... the thing that was making that sound wasn’t her.
It was something else. And whatever it was, it was coming.
And it was coming fast.
It reminded Charlotte of Foxy when he would run during his attempts to chase people down, his bare metal feet against the hard tile, back when she was still housing the souls of the lost children at Freddy’s before they were separated all those years ago.
Charlotte uncovered her eyes to face what was in front of her, and almost screamed as the first thing she saw was an endoskeleton face coming right at her. But soon that fear turned to unadulterated relief, allowing her to find the strength to pick herself up from the ground to reach out, “Elizabeth!” Charlotte cried.
But Elizabeth ran right past her, and right up on the boy closest to her; the eldest of the group, and swiftly picked him up by the collar of his shirt like he weighed nothing. She lifted him up so he was eye-level with her skeletal face, causing him to drop his the toy gun at her feet as the other kids watched in horror.
The boy wanted to scream, but Elizabeth beat him to it.
The sound that emanated from Elizabeth’s iron jaws was nothing short of the most bloodcurdling thing that Charlotte had ever heard. It was loud, continuous, and was somehow both a baritone roar and a high-pitched shriek. She was making both sounds at the same time; the roar coming from her mouth, while the shriek came from somewhere inside her chest, creating a cacophony of metallic booming that made Charlotte want to continue crying.
The child that she was holding out in front of her didn’t seem to be screaming, but if he was, it was completely overshattered by Elizabeth. He was staring completely terror-stricken right into her inky-black eyes with his mouth agape, and with not a soul left behind his own eyes.
The other children had already run away, one of them dropping their plastic rifle in the process as they disappeared down the road screaming at the tops of their lungs. Charlotte was surprised she could even hear them over the sound of Elizabeth’s bellowing, that still, continued to ring through the street.
“Elizabeth!” called a voice from the direction of the house, Charlotte looking up to see both John and Charlie with their palms pressed to their ears just halfway down the street from her; Charlie was knelt down writhing on the ground, while John staggered back leaning against a parked car for balance, “Elizabeth stop!” he screamed again, gritting his teeth so hard he felt nauseous... or was that just the frequency messing with him?
Charlie gasped, “Elizabeth, please!” but she couldn’t even hear the sound of her own voice.
John gagged and fell to his knees beside Charlie, “Elizabeth!” he managed out through a world of pain, mustering up as much strength as he had to shout without vomiting, “SHUT UP!”
Elizabeth had no intention of shutting up, but her body however, did. Elizabeth had exceeded the threshold of how much strain she could put on her voicebox before she had even realized it; and after a few more seconds of her continuous screeching, her voicebox suddenly muted without warning, the baritone roar had ceased completely and soon after, so did the highpitched shriek from within her chest.
Elizabeth’s breath hitched, and out came a cloud of smoke as the top half of her body suddenly went limp like a toy that’s batteries had stop working, dropping the kid back down onto the ground despite both her hands still firmly holding onto his shirt’s collar.
The amount of relief that washed over both Charlie and John was nothing short of euphoric; feeling every muscle in their body suddenly come undone releasing enough stress for them to almost fall over, the spontanious ringing that continued to plague both their ears the only thing keeping them awake as they tried to orientate themselves.
The boy in Elizabeth’s grasp had managed to break from his petrified gaze, and tried to breakaway from her hands, every emotion that was frozen in time by that horrible sound coming blubbering to the surface all at once, and he too started to scream.
Charlotte watched as the kid tried to fight Elizabeth’s hands off him, contemplating is she should try and help before having her face suddenly swept up against Charlie’s shoulder; feeling such an overwhelming amount of relief and newly-found safety that she started keening, reaching around her ribs and clinging to her like a giant baby as Charlie tried to sooth her.
John stormed passed, still staggering as he took hold of Elizabeth’s arm, “Elizabeth, just let him go, just let him go!” he said firmly, trying to wrench the kid’s shirt free of her fingers, but she wasn’t budging, and for a moment didn’t even seem alive with how stiff she was when he tried to move her.
“Elizabeth.” he seethed through clenched teeth, and she suddenly jerked upright; raising her head up and opening her fists allowing the boy to fall away from her. As if John grabbing her had snapped her out of a state of stasis.
The kid hit the ground hard, but a few scrapes were far from the the worst of his injuries, and he ran, screaming with tears flowing down his face at a heavy rate. John just watched him go as he continued to try drag Elizabeth away who was further thrown off balance by her awakening, and fell forward into her knees, haggardly gasping as smoke continued to pool out from her chest and mouth like a chimney.
“Oh, for the love of-!” John reached under Elizabeth’s arms and pulled her up onto her feet, letting her lean her back against him for support, “Have you got Charlotte?” he said, casting his gaze to Charlie who was breathing heavily.
Charlie nodded to him, “Can you stand?” she asked the puppet, who was still trembling against her.
“Y-yeah, but I can’t walk very well...” she replied, shakily.
“Okay.” Charlie breathed, turning to John, “John, you take her, I’ll get Elizabeth.”
“Are you sure?” he asked, back bent and struggling to keep her standing.
“Yes!” she said quickly, “Just get Charlotte inside.”
“Charlie she’s heavy.” he protested. “look why don’t I-”
“John.” she said firmly, “Take Charlotte inside, please.”
John looked at Elizabeth, and then towards Charlotte who was staring pleadingly at him from the crook of Charlie’s shoulder, sending a wave of emotion over him as he gazed into her pain-filled expression, that only got worse the longer her looked.
He gritted his teeth, “Okay.” he replied, leaning forward to set down Elizabeth on the curb, resisting the urge to just drop the damn clown before he ran his way over to Charlie who pushed Charlotte into his chest as she turned to get to Elizabeth.
Charlotte buried her head into the neck of John’s open jacket, trying to hide herself from the world as she felt herself being lifted and carried off towards home, and for the first time in what felt like forever, she finally managed to calm herself down. But even as the general shock of the whole ordeal began to wear off, so did the adrenaline. The pain came back full swing and Charlotte whimpered.
“It’s all going to be okay, Charlotte.” John whispered, using his thumb to caress the puppets shoulder as he speed-walked up the street.
“John...” Charlotte said softly, “I’m sorry.”
His breath hitched, “What?” and tried orientating himself to maintain his grip on her, “What could you possibly be sorry for? This wasn’t your fault.”
“But it was.” she said weakly, “And, I’m sorry because, I thought that you guys left me and...” Charlotte paused for a moment as if speaking took effort, John able to hear her sniveling behind her mask as he just listened and walked onward, glancing over his shoulder for a moment to see if Charlie was somehow miraculously coming up along side him with Elizabeth, but they were both still just sitting on the curb downwind of him.
“and that, you weren’t coming to- to save me.” Charlotte continued through guilt-striken tears, “I thought, I thought...”
Charlotte’s soft-spoken cries both pierced John’s heart and sent a chill down his spine, he felt her tears against his neck and also a heavy weight in his stomach. He hushed her, “No, I wouldn’t do that, Charlotte, we wouldn’t-” John felt the words catch in his throat as he continued on autopilot, clenching his eyes shut as if to purge an unpleasant memory from his mind.
Don’t let go.
He shook his head, and let out a whooshing sigh, moving his focus on just making it towards home, “We will always be there for you...” he said, “Just, please tell us where you go from now on, okay?
“Yeah, I know now... I promise.”
“Great.” John replied, “You’re a good girl, Charlotte.” he was then silent for a moment. He hadn’t even bothered to question why she was even out here by herself during the heat of everything and just how far away she’d gotten in such a small amount of time, he’d seen her not ten minutes before in the house. He thought she was with Elizabeth.
“Why did you come out here anyway?” he asked her.
“I wanted to play with them.” she said flatly against John’s ear, “I just wanted to play...”
And the rest of the trip back to the house was silent.
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Why not more soft andreil headcanons
Neil enjoys watching horror movies. He's one of those people who can watch True Crime documentaries and still be able to sleep that night('cause he's got Andrew there and he's learned how to sleep more easily). On the other hand, Andrew hates watching horror movies. Coupled with the fact that he believes their apartment is haunted, there is no way he can fall asleep at night after watching one.
No matter what, these two will share a goodbye kiss. Even if they just had a fight, they will give each other one. The kisses always mean, "Stay safe, come back, I'll miss you," and on the off chance that something happens they want to make sure they have that.
Once, when they weren't yet on the same pro teams, the bus transporting Andrew's got hit. Andrew managed to get away with just a broken leg, but he was rushing to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible (even though he didn't have crutches or a doctor's approval or anything). Though Neil understood, he was out of his mind with worry for two days, only managing to relax after Andrew was back in their apartment.
("Ow..." "What? What is it? Do you need an ice pack? Heat pack? Painkillers? The cats? What - ?" "Neil, I just moved because I had a cramp - " "Want me to massage it?" "Through the cast?")
Neil is upset about not getting a duck, but that just means he's attached to the ducks at the lake they go to. He names them: Green Goose, Mother Mother, Baby 1, Destined to be an Eagle, Biter, Don't Get Close to That One, Sun Spot, Dinosaur, and Lucy.
They learn how to bake bread and, miraculously, they get it right on the first try? It's not too dry, it's completely baked, it tastes like bread...So they try it again. Andrew purposefully gives Neil a wrong measurement and only starts a flour-fight.
Neil sings while doing mundane things. Just random tunes he's heard on the radio while cleaning, making food, changing and showering. The only thing is, he's not very good at it. His voice is pitchy and it sounds more like he's yelling than singing. Andrew constantly complains about it, but Neil only grins and sings more if that's possible. Then, one night while Sir was recovering from being sick, Andrew got up in the middle of the night to hear Neil singing softly and petting her to calm her down. It turns out he's had actual talent the whole time.
When watching any show, Neil will comment on everything that happens. Andrew stays silent and actually watches, but he also remembers everything that Neil says, even if he isn't paying full attention to it at the time. So sometimes, when laying in bed about to fall asleep, he will suddenly remember that Neil said something like, "Parallel parking is technically not parallel because you park in a line with the other cars."
("Liquid is not by definition wet - " "Neil, shut the hell up - " "The ocean is a soup - " "Neil!")
They have a doomsday situation plan. Zombie apocalypse? They know what to do. Nuclear winter? Yep, all set. Sudden rise of an evil supervillain? Will never happen. AI takes over the world in a matrix situation? Uh, well...not quite yet. They can't agree yet.
Based on @superfluous-banality headcanon: They petsit Aaron and Katelyn's dogs when they went on their honeymoon. The dogs were brought to their apartment. The golden retriever wooed the cats immediately and they cuddled together. Neil alone was allowed to touch the chihuahua. It and Andrew spent the entire time glaring at each other until Aaron and Katelyn returned to pick them up. The twins decided to try to see if the chihuahua could tell them apart if they dressed up similarly. Long story short, it could.
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That's it I'm writing headcanons about Andrew power lifting
Feat. Neil staring
Before we get into Andrew power lifting, we have to talk about the types of power lifts. Cleans and deadlifts are, without a doubt, the best. After that are the squats - there's front squat, where you have the bar in front of you, and a back squat where the bar is on your nape. Then there's bench press - I know some people love it, personally I don't - and snatches. Snatches are evil. They're the absolute worst. But we'll come back to that.
Obviously, Andrew does bench press. That one is all arms: hands about shoulder width apart, lift the bar from your chest to full extension. You lay on a bench and your feet have to be planted to the ground. This one definitely shapes his arms and he can press a ridiculous amount. For this one you always need a spotter, which Neil takes full advantage of because he gets to be close and stare at Andrew all he wants.
Deadlifts. These are all legs and grip strength. Basically, you just lift the bar from the ground to your hips, so the weight doesn't have very far to go, meaning Andrew deadlifts a lot. Every time he goes to do the lift he breaks his one rep max. Are these Neil's favorite to watch? No, not really, but is it hella impressive how much weight Andrew can lift? Yes.
Let's talk squats. Andrew does a lot of them, which is why he has the thicc thighs. When you squat, you're supposed to go as low as you can, which basically means you keep your chest up and get your butt as low to the ground as it can go. Andrew does squats for days. He's a bigger fan of backsquats because it's more comfortable to have weight resting there and to stay straight as you go down. And, yeah, he squats a lot of weight.
(Neil's favorite are the backsquats too 'cause the way Andrew has to hold the bar makes his back look amazing)
Frontsquats are meh. The bar rests on your collarbones and it can hurt if you're not used to it. It's also more difficult to keep straight as you squat. Andrew doesn't have a problem with his form 'cause he's worked for a long time to perfect it, but there's nothing exciting about frontsquats.
(If he notices that Neil stares more when he does the backsquats, well, nobody says anything about the sudden increase in backsquats that he does)
There's jerks, which is when the bar is in position at your collarbones and you press it into the air. BUT you don't use your arms!! You use your legs/the rest of your body. Andrew likes these because it gives him an excuse to do standing bench press, Neil likes it because he gets to watch Andrew's arms move things.
Urg okay we're gonna talk about snatches. Snatches are not fun, your hands basically hold the bar at either end, and the goal is to lift it from the ground to above your head, like a jerk. But the form is difficult 'cause if you don't do it exactly right...you can't balance the weight and oope, there it goes. But does that stop Andrew? No, because he hates this lift too, so he just practices until he can do it flawlessly. Perfect form, perfect balance, and he can lift a lot of weight. It infuriates others and sends Neil swooning even if he doesn't get everything about power lifting. Andrew is VERY smug about it.
And now...the grand finale. Cleans. The greatest lift of them all. Andrew does these perfectly as well. Hands about shoulder width on the bar at most, you lift the bar from the ground to your collarbones, once again using your legs and body to move the weight. The bar gets dragged up your body and you need to thrust your hips just slightly to get it up. These lifts are great to do. Andrew doesn't do these as often as other lifts, and sometimes he'll add a squat or a jerk if the weight isn't too heavy.
But for Neil these are even better to see.
Whenever he sees Andrew do them he has to take five minutes because yeah. Andrew looks too good when he does cleans.
Bonus: sometimes bars leave small bruises on your collarbones that look like hickeys. Neil likes to kiss over these if he's allowed to and Andrew will roll his eyes every time, as if that doesn't do anything to him.
I have absolutely no regrets
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