Fidget’s smile became more and more genuine, as Jimmy’s old demeanor slowly returned. He listened quietly to everything the younger automaton had to say. At the news about Fox, his smile fell slightly. “Boss told you a lot of things that weren’t true…” As he turned to unload another pancake onto Jimmy’s plate he was caught off-guard by the sudden tears.
He reached out, placing a hand on Jimmy’s cheek and swiping away the oil from his cheeks with his thumb, giving the boy a sympathetic smile. “I’m glad you like them, baby bird~.” He leaned forward, stretching himself across the counter and placing a kiss against Jimmy’s forehead. “None of this was your fault… you did nothing wrong. Boss told you a lot of shit that wasn’t true, and fed you a lot of cruel lies to keep you under his control… make you think and act like him.”
Pulling back slightly, he placed both hands on Jimmy’s cheeks, cupping his face and forcing Jimmy to look up at him. “But you’re not Boss… you’ll never be like Boss. You’re home now, you’re safe, and you’re with the people who really love you. The people who will make you pancakes at 4 am~.”
A small smile and a pat of his hand against Jimmy’s cheek, and he turned back to the stove; finishing off the last of the pancake batter to make one more serving comfort food, topping it off with extra syrup before sliding it across the bar to Jimmy.
"Is there anything else you’d like~? Maybe a milkshake, perhaps~?" A sly smile curled around Fidget’s lips, wiggling his eyebrows teasingly. He knew Jimmy was helpless to resist anything sugary. Mental and emotional trauma was near impossible to fix overnight, but Fidget would certainly try — and he would use every dessert and pastry in his arsenal.
He winced as Fidget first touched his cheek. Instinctively expecting punishment for crying. When nothing but sweet comforting words and that soft kiss was the only punishment he received, he broke down into more tears. Finally feeling safe to do so.
He gasped, eyes opening slowly as Fidget cupped his cheeks. His bottom lip trembled, threatening more tears. He nodded fiercely in Fidget’s grip. Slowly blinking and letting them fall. Opposed to Boss’ words and touch, Fidget felt warm. It didn’t make sense really. Boss was human, Fidget robot. Wasn’t it generalized that one was more empathetic than the other? And yet…
Furiously wiping his eyes and face on the bottom of his shirt, he waited for the last of the pancakes. He frowned sadly, realizing this was now the end of them. The end of this moment. His stomach was so full and his circuits were buzzing from the sugar high, but he wanted more. He wanted to eat two months worth of pancakes. They felt good. For once something felt good, and they were ending- until there was offer of a milkshake.
His eyes went wide and he slowly lifted them from his plate. That old sparkle back. “Can we?… and… maybe… we could watch cartoons… like we used to… before…”
Fidget was determined to believe that someone was staring back at him from outside, and it was making his skin crawl. Sleep deprived and emotional, he was seconds away from charging out the back door and running into the yard to chase phantoms.
He only pulled his attention away from the window when Jimmy followed him into the room and began to ask his onslaught of questions. He turned over his shoulder, giving the boy a smile and setting a glass of water down on the island bar in front of him. “Anything you can think of~.” He parroted back in a soothing tone.
At the over-complicated request, Fidget breathed a small laugh, reaching across the bar and petting along the top of his head again. “Chocolate chip, m&m pancakes with butter, syrup, and milk? I can do that~.” He waved a hand towards the stools lining the bar, “Sit down, Jellybean… make yourself comfortable.”
With the request made, he turned to the pantry and began to pull out all the items he would need. Pancakes seemed to be a popular late-night comfort food in the household. Though, Jimmy always was a bit more extravagant with the added ingredients than the others. Fidget was only ever happy to oblige and spoil.
Pancakes were fairly quick to make, and quicker to cook — however, Fidget took his time; only serving Jimmy one and waiting for him to finish at least halfway before making another. The programmed mother in him didn’t want Jimmy making himself sick by eating something so sweet too quickly.
Jimmy stared at the stools. Well he was told to sit, then it should be fine. Carefully he pulled himself up on one, sipping his water and rolling his eyes over the kitchen.
When the first pancake was done, he stared at it wide eyed. After a few silent moments he forced an awkward laugh. “I thought it… was gonna bite me or something.” He laughed again, never at his full strength, but it was a sweet sound nonetheless.
Like he was touching something divine, his hands shook as he cut it into pieces and into his mouth. Immediately he melted and that soft smile crept to his lips. “… Thank you.” He sighed happily, taking quicker and quicker bites. Thanking Fidget between each one.
Each bite managed to lift that ominous cloud off of him. His body felt lighter and the old Jimmy came back. Upon the third pancake and second glass of milk, he felt more talkative.
"…. Boss told me Fox was dead." He blurted it as the fact it was, no emotional break as he took another bite. "He said it was my fault… and I believed him… but… but he’s not. He’s here."
He sighed, swaying his knees side to side under the island as he rested his chin ontop of it. Chewing more pancakes. “It feels like… I’ve been sucked in a black hole for years…. I… I don’t even know what the date is… Or… or how long I was gone.”
Now he started to break down. The anger fading and the realization of the sheer extent of horribleness Boss put him through. Tears streaming down his face as he took another bite. “I love these pancakes.”
Fidget only broadened his smile, hoping Jimmy would mirror the expression, taking Jimmy by the hand and leading him out into the hall — pausing only to quietly shut his bedroom door behind them — and back to the living room. “Well then… we’ll just have to turn on some light, won’t we~.”
He released his hold on Jimmy’s hand only to move over to the lamps scattered throughout the sizable living room; clicking them on and bathing the room in a warm glow. Turning back to the skittish automaton, he kept the smile on his face, despite the tears still clinging to his own lashes. “Are you hungry? I could make you a snack.”
Fidget’s optics landed on the sick bucket, noticing what filled it and the smell permeating from within. Without waiting around for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, Fidget turned on his heel and retreated into the kitchen — given that the rooms were only separated by an archway, he would hear whichever answer Jimmy had to give, and he would likely appreciate a glass of water to get the burn of battery acid from his mouth.
As he moved about the kitchen to get Jimmy whatever he needed, he couldn’t help but stop and stare out the kitchen window; glaring suspiciously into the dark of the back yard. He was becoming paranoid now.
Still stiff and struggling to keep emotions in check, Jimmy allowed himself to be taken by the hand and led back to the living room.
He visibly relaxed once the lights were turned on. Sighing he rolled his shoulders forward. The shaking became less prominent and he didn’t seem as nervous.
With the question of food he thought it over. He could make a request? “Can… I ask for anything?” He questioned, following behind Fidget into the kitchen. Like the rest of the house, he needed time to explore it again. “Anything I can think of?”
He stood at the corner of the island, resting his hands on the marble. He wouldn’t dare take a seat on the stools. “… can I have… pancakes?” His eyes went wide, remembering the delicious breakfast treats. “With m&m’s in them? And chocolate chips? And syrup? And Butter? And milk?” As if some requests would be denied while others accepted.
He frowned, rubbing his eyes with both hands. Although the repairs were done, and the irritation of his infrared were gone, he occasionally forgot. And he would remember that painful red vision and what i meant. “You… used to make them… didn’t you?… on weekends, when we would visit.”
Fidget had long since closed his eyes, but had yet to actually find any sleep. Keeping his eyes shut seemed to stem the flow of tears that continued to bud over — however, he found that the room was now too quiet. Sure, Smokes still snored, and spoke in his sleep… but his body had gone silent. There was no rattling of faulty parts, the noisy whirring of his damaged fans, the hum of his core, or the wheeze of his bellows.
Instead, if Fidget pressed an ear against Smokes’ skin, the only sounds that greeted him were the soft intakes of breath and the beating of his heart. In his many years with Smokes, he had forgotten how quiet humans were. He hated it.
The silence made it all the easier for him to hear Jimmy’s entrance to his room, and the panicked words the sickly bot was whispering. The questions drew him out of his shameful contemplation, his optics slowly opening and drifting over towards the door, staring Jimmy down for a moment.
With a quick glance to Smokes, ensuring he was still asleep, Fidget unwound himself from around his husband; slipping out of the bed and striding over to the doorway with a soft smile. “I would never be angry at you… don’t worry, Jellybean, I’m still here~. I’m not going anywhere~.”
Fidget reached a hand out, wanting to pull Jimmy into one of his usual smothering embraces, but he stopped short — unsure if Jimmy would accept such affection, so soon after being freed from Boss’ cruelty. He settled on resting his hand on the top of Jimmy’s head, brushing it back over the shaven hairs. “Would you like for me to come sit with you on the sofa for a while~?”
The golden brass bot went rigid as Fidget grew close. Like the trained soldier he had become, he kept his eyes forward and his shoulders squared.
He blinked, surprised as that hand crept over the top of his head. He didn’t know how to react to it. He tried not to. In an attempt to keep back his usual bubbly and affectionate nature, his expression soured and looked more like one of his oldest brothers’. The tears in the corners of his eyes were the only indicator of his confusion.
"Yes… please…" His voice cracked. "I woke up sick… and… its really dark." He forced a sniffle, making his body stiffer. "Boss kept my room dark… I don’t like it."
Fidget gave a hard blink when Smokes demanded his usual attention, slowly beginning to move his fingers — cautious, as if Smokes might suddenly change his mind. When there were no sudden moves on his husband’s part, Fidget put more focus and dedication into the action, pouring all of his attention into the scratches in an effort to keep his mind off of other things.
He had barely begun when Smokes started to snore. However, he kept the movement up for a few minutes longer. Only once he was sure that Smokes was dead asleep with no chance of waking did he stop. Suddenly, his own idea of sleep seemed to elude him. His mind was far too busy.
Slowly, he scooted forward and pressed himself against Smokes’ back, curling around his husband and burying his face against Smokes’ shoulder; staring over it, out into the dark room, as his mind wandered back to the lecture he had just received. His arms snaked themselves around Smokes’ middle, holding the man close — his hands gripping on for dear life as oil began to well up in his eyes.
What if Smokes or Jimmy were captured? Smokes was right: it would all be over then. Gideon would win, with no third chances. Fidget blamed himself for Jimmy’s capture, Fox’s injuries, and Smokes’ rape. No matter how much he was assured that none of those things were his fault — no kind words lifted the guilt that had embedded so far deep into his shoulders, he was sure they would never lift again.
But if anyone were captured by Gideon now, there would be no denying it. It would absolutely be his fault. It would all be a ploy to get him under Gideon’s control, and he would have no choice but to submit. Because of his mockery, the odds had doubled — maybe even tripled — against them. They would need to be more than paranoid, now. Not even home would be safe.
The only indicator that his thoughts had broken him down — the only thing that disrupted the quiet ambiance of the room — was a sniffling of his nose as he stifled a sob, hiding his face away behind the very thing he feared losing above all else. The very thing that he now stood a very real chance of losing. And Smokes slept on.
The rest of the house shifted, unknowing of what transpired between the married couple. Fox, sure Jimmy was settled for the night, actually managed to sneak back to Benji’s room to get some shut eye and-… make the demon feel a little bit better.
Archer and Sang disappeared again, back to the Walter Manor. With the threat of Lazerous gone and the silence from Gideon, they felt it safe to return. Leaving the children to recuperate, with assistance upon request.
It was past the witching hour when Jimmy stirred. He woke up from a terrible nightmare. One that didn’t quite make sense, which only made it more frightening.
He vomited a few times, upset to lose the good food more so than the act itself. He’d grown used to the taste of battery acid in his throat. An emergency run to the bathroom fixed his other problem. The whole thing leaving him shaking and upset.
He wrapped his blanket over his shoulders and took the initiative to explore the house again. It was so familiar, but different at the same time. He paused outside of Al’s room, staring at the gap between her door and the carpet, as if she could squeeze through it and attack him for staring. It was once a safe haven, and now he didn’t know. He didn’t know about anything.
He moved quickly past Benji’s room. Terrified to upset the demon after being ripped from the wall by him. Even in his humanoid state, he was not a force to mess with.
He stopped outside Fidget’s bedroom door. Now this was a place of solace, of peace, of philosophizing about life and the virtues of good versus evil. Tears building in his eyes as he fought against the two sides of him. One, Boss’ voice, scolding him for even thinking of going in. The other, softer, more like his old self, commanding him to swallow his pride and walk in.
He couldn’t decide, and it made his head pound. With a whine he gave in, grabbing the door knob and slowly creaked the door open. He stood in the hallway, panting and covered in condensation, shaking and weak from the sickness. “I don’t want to make you angry.” He blurted, excusing his own actions. “I just… I wanted to make sure you were still here… You’re still here, aren’t you?….” He took a deep breath, whispering the questions again. “… you’re still here. Are you still here? I’m-.. I’m still here.”
Fidget turned his head towards the bathroom doorway as Smokes emerged, still standing dutifully beside the freshly made bed. At the question, he gave a quick shake of his head, keeping his posture submissive and his voice low. “No… I won’t leave… I’m tired too.”
Slinking forward and approaching Smokes, he gently took the towel from his husband and began to help the former automaton dry off. With no hair on his head to worry about, it was a quick process, leaving Fidget free to scurry away and retrieve a clean pair of boxers.
Helping Smokes dress, and then quickly stripping himself down to a pair of shorts, he guided Smokes to the bed; pulling the covers back and helping him onto the mattress. Were any strangers to see their interaction, it would likely be assumed that Fidget was built or bought for the purpose of serving Smokes.
Still, it was a prejudice that Smokes hadn’t yet faced personally, and the thought didn’t last long in his head. Before it had time to develop into anything else, he moved around to his side of the bed and climbed under the blankets.
Dropping down onto his side with a small huff, he kept his hands and knees tucked in close to his body, eyes lowered as the gears and cogs in his brain turned frantically; mulling over everything Smokes had said. Fidget had messed up, it was true, but Smokes had never expressed such a disappointment or upset in him before. He wasn’t sure what to do with himself, as a result.
Smokes drearily dropped his head as Fidget took his towel away. He shivered, feeling that chill up his spine like he never had before. He stared, awestruck, as goosebumps built up his arms.
He sighed, rolling into his hands as Fidget dutifully dried him off. Even as a bot he wouldn’t give as much focus to the task. He was thankful for the help. A yawn escaped him again, ready to fall asleep standing up when Fidget urged him to put on his boxers.
He stumbled to the bed, plopping down with a content huff. He could barely help to cover himself with the blankets. Fighting sleep as a human was so much harder than a robot. You couldn’t push it until battery was at 5%, humans faded more and more.
He yawned again, expecting head scratches. Half asleep he threw an arm back, finding Fidget’s wrist, and pulled it forward. Without much effort he merely dropped Fidget’s hand on the side of his bald head with a grunt. Trying to encourage Fidget to give him the loving affections he had grown to expect, even if he’d only be awake for all of 2 minutes of them.
don’t you hate it when you’re trying to eat and the pokémon sitting near you won’t stop staring at your food?
Fidget continued to shrink, further and further, the more Smokes continued his lecture. His hands wrung against each other continuously — fully living up to his namesake; since Smokes began to scold him, he found himself unable to stop fidgeting. Keeping his head hung low and his eyes averted, it was likely the most subservient he had ever been to Smokes.
At the mention of a shower, Fidget gave a quick nod of his head, turning on his heel and practically running to the bathroom. Immediately, he darted over to the shower and began to run water that would be at a comfortable temperature for Smokes’ new body.
Once it was finished and ready to go, he edged himself sheepishly back into the room, setting to work on prepping the bed for Smokes to sleep in — completely changing the sheets, blankets, and pillowcases. Removing any traces of the smog that would now be harmful to the lungs it once came from. He was quiet as he worked; keeping focused on his task and listening for any sounds of Smokes needing his help, from the bathroom.
With the bed remade and ready for sleep, Fidget stood off to the side; continuing to wring his hands and quietly waiting for any other requests or orders that might be given to him.
Smokes head dipped low as Fidget ran to prepare the room. He knew that frantic cleaning was a sign of unease, but he was too tired and too weak to help now.
With a groan he struggled to get to his feet, dragging them uselessly as he went to the bathroom. He stayed in the shower as long as he could. Lathering himself up and cleaning the top of his head and all the parts Fidget told him too. When he had finished rinsing he closed his eyes, letting the feel of the warm water lull him. He began to sway. The newly narcoleptic human unaware that he was falling asleep.
He hit the wall and sputtered awake. Forgetting where he was at the moment, he had thought he was still in the hospital. When he was greeted with the familiar sights of home, he sighed relieved.
Weakly he stepped out of the shower, barely pulling the towel around his waist. He stood, still soaking wet, in the doorway from the bathroom to their bedroom. Watching Fidget with a forgiving and tired smile. “If… I lie down… ya won’t leave will ya? At least… till I fall asleep?” He was feeling oddly cuddly. Still getting used to that feeling of living past death.