Chapter 1: Henry Hallucinates
So, I saw this post and I wanted to write something for it.
Henry couldn’t believe he was coming back to the studio after all these years. He hadn’t left on bad terms, but at the same time, he hadn’t expected Joey to want him to come back. Part of him was kind of worried the studio had been shut down. He hadn’t heard anything about the studio in years.
“I guess it’s now or never.” He muttered. Then he opened the door. He was immediately assaulted with the smell of ink. It was so strong he was sent reeling, stumbling inside and facefirst into a puddle of ink. He ended up breathing in some of the ink, which made him a little lightheaded.
“When did the studio get this much ink?” He muttered, getting to his feet. He swayed a little as he stumbled towards the back of the studio. He had to find Joey. If Joey was even there. The studio looked decrepit. He rounded a corner and came face to face with a monster.
Joey hadn’t been having a great day. They were behind on their deadline and his psychiatrist had switched his meds so he was feeling a few side-effects. He hated to admit it, but he needed Henry. His old friend should be arriving any day now. They weren’t getting any younger so it would be good to have someone else to help him with running the studio. He was on his way to ask Sammy about the new songs when he ran into Henry.
“Oh, Henry!” His face lit up. “It’s so good to see you!” Henry, on the other hand, looked terrified.
“Henry, what’re you talking about?” Joey frowned. “You got my letter, right?”
“Get away from me!” Henry stumbled back, starting to run for the door.
“Henry, wait!” Joey ran after him. “The floor near the door is-”
“A little unstable…” Joey winced and stopped just short of the gaping hole near the front door. “Oh dear. I’ll have to get Thomas to fix that.” Thankfully, the mattress they’d set up was still there. It had cushioned Henry’s fall and the former animator got to his feet, still swaying, and ran away. Joey sighed and headed for the staircase. When he found Henry again, his friend was wandering through the music department and screaming whenever someone came near him.
“Henry.” Joey adopted a calmer, more soothing voice. “You need to calm down. No one is going to hurt you.”
“Get away from me, Bendy!” Henry screamed.
“What the fuck is going on here?!” Sammy came storming out of his office. He stopped when he saw Henry. “Oh, Henry. What are you doing here?”
“Sammy, why do you look like that?” Henry asked, horrified.
“Why do I look like what?” Sammy said slowly. “I don’t look that different.”
“You’re all made of ink, Sammy.”
“I’m all made of- Joey, how much ink has he inhaled?” Sammy looked at his boss, clearly very concerned. Oooh. That made more sense. Henry was covered in ink.
“Let’s….restrain him,” Joey said. “Norman, could you come here?” He didn’t particularly want to do this, but Henry was clearly a danger to himself and to everyone around him. He grabbed one arm and Sammy grabbed the other, with Norman taking Henry’s feet, all of them dragging him upstairs to where Joey had previously tried to experiment with living ink. It was mostly used for storage now. Henry fought them every step of the way, kicking and screaming as they strapped him to the table.
“Sammy, oh God, stop! I’m not a sacrifice!” Henry yelled.
“Henry, sir, you need to calm down,” Norman said his tone like that of a parent. “You’ll be unstrapped when you can control yourself.”
“OH GOD! NORMAN’S A FUCKING CAMERA!”
“Jesus Christ,” Sammy muttered. “We really need to clean up. Where’s Wally when you need him?” It was then that Wally stuck his head into the room.
“Hey, guys. Why is Henry strapped to the-”
“AND YOU TURNED WALLY INTO A DOG, YOU BASTARDS!”
Wally looked at his coworkers in confusion. “Is…Is he okay?”
“We think he inhaled a lot of ink,” Joey explained, running a hand through his hair. “So, he’s probably hallucinating pretty badly.”
“We heard shouting, is everything okay?” It was Susie and Allison’s turn to pop in next. They’d been in the recording booth when Henry had entered the music department and had heard the yelling and seen everyone leave.
“What the hell happened to your face, Susie? Or…are you Allison?” Henry whispered. Allison and Susie exchanged a look.
“We’ll come back later.” They said before making a beeline back for the music department. Sammy nudged Wally in the ribs.
“Brings back memories, doesn’t it, Franks?” He said with a smirk.
“Hey, that was ONE time,” Wally went bright red. “And I didn’t know there was LSD in those brownies.”
“That was certainly an…interesting day.” Norman sighed. “You kept trying to fight everyone with your mop.”
“IT WAS ONE TIME!”
It took awhile for Henry to finally stop hallucinating, and he was extremely embarrassed when he did. He apologized profusely for all the trouble he’d caused to almost everyone in the studio.
“It’s fine,” Joey assured him. “We’ve all gotten high off ink fumes more than once.”
“We need better workplace safety,” Sammy said.
“I’ll work on it.” Joey nodded.
“So…What did you want to talk to me about?” Henry asked sheepishly. Joey relaxed a little and explained.
Chapter 2: Sammy Halucinates
Sammy ends up hallucinating because of ink fumes.
This is for you @magicalmonsterhero
Having Henry back was nice. Granted, Henry wasn’t back full time, but he visited a lot. It made everyone’s job a lot easier, and Joey a lot happier. Sammy himself was in a particularly good mood that day. Until that is, he ended up falling into a pool of ink at the bottom of the stairs. He slipped on a stair and fell into the pool, submerging himself. Immediately, he began to flail, swallowing some ink. His head felt light as he managed to pull himself from the ink. Everything looked different. He felt different as well. He looked down at himself and screamed, startling the entire music department.
“I heard screaming, what’s going on?” Susie came running out. When she saw Sammy kneeling on the floor, covered in ink, she had a feeling she knew what was going on.
“Alice?” Sammy looked up as she approached.
“Oh boy.” She sighed. “Sammy, what do you see?”
“Everything is covered in ink. Even me.” Sammy murmured. “I’ve become a monstrosity. But He…He will set us free.”
“What’s going on?” Wally asked, walking up.
“Sammy’s hallucinating because of the ink,” Susie explained. By this point, Sammy had gotten to his feet and had started painting a pentagram on the walls. Wally snickered. He definitely wasn’t going to let Sammy live this down. Especially not after Sammy had continued to give him grief over the brownie incident.
“Do you need me to restrain him?” Norman asked from his booth.
“Let’s…wait,” Susie said slowly. “Maybe he won’t do anything.”
As it turned out, hallucinating Sammy wasn’t nearly as afraid or nonviolent as Henry had been. He kept trying to tie people up to ‘sacrifice’ them to Bendy. He did this to Henry as well when Henry dropped by to visit. Henry had heard Sammy was causing some trouble in the music department, so he headed down to check it out.
“Sammy?” He called, descending the stairs. “Are you here?” Everyone had warned him against going after Sammy, telling him how dangerous Sammy currently was. But Henry was stubborn and Joey was busy dealing with Grant’s annual financial report. Henry started to look around the music department, only to be hit on the head with rolled up music sheets. It didn’t knock him out since it was just paper, but it had kinda hurt.
“Sheep sheep, it’s time for sleep.” Sammy sang. There was a far-off look in his eyes, as though he wasn’t really seeing Henry. He obviously thought the music sheets were some sort of weapon.
“Sammy, what the hell?” Henry asked. “I come to visit and this is ho-”
“Ssssh.” Sammy put a finger to Henry’s lips, grabbing Henry’s wrist. “Do you hear him? He’s above us.” Henry could hear something, but he had a feeling it wasn’t what Sammy was referring to.
“I can hear Grant,” Henry said flatly.
“Come with me, my sheep.” Sammy tugged on Henry’s wrist. “You’ll be a wonderful sacrifice for my Lord.”
“Sammy, no.” Henry tried to pull away which made Sammy frown and hold on tighter.
“Sammy.” Henry sighed as Sammy tried desperately to drag him away. It was like playing with his sister’s children.
Sammy really was trying, but Henry was a very sturdily built man and Sammy was no weightlifter.
“You are a very heavy sheep,” Sammy said through gritted teeth. “Come on, cooperate with me.” For that, Henry dug in his heels a bit, making it even more difficult for Sammy.
“Sammy.” Joey appeared at the top of the stairs.
“He’s down here!” Henry yelled.
“He’s not hurting you, is he?” Joey quickly descended the stairs.
“He hit me with some papers, but that’s it.” Henry shrugged. “He’s trying to ‘kidnap’ me, I think.”
Joey sighed. “Sammy?”
“My Lord!” Sammy immediately let go of Henry, stumbling back a little. “You’re here.”
“Come on, Sammy.” Joey moved closer, taking Sammy’s hand in his. “I think it’s time for you to go home.”
“No! My Lord! Stay back!” Sammy began to back away or tried to at least.
“Sammy, calm down. I’m just taking you home, you’re clearly delusional.” Joey said, gently trying to guide Sammy towards the stairs.
“I am your prophet! I’m your- AAAAAAAH!” Sammy collapsed to the ground and began to cry.
“Why the fuck are you yelling?” Henry asked.
“He’s unmaking me!” Sammy sobbed. “I’m melting!”
“Could…Could you get Susie?” Joey asked, staring at Sammy. “I’m deeply uncomfortable right now.”
“Yeah, I got it.” Henry left to go find Susie, leaving Joey with the openly weeping Sammy. Sammy didn’t cry in front of a lot of people, so it was weird to see him crying on the ground, still mostly covered in ink.
“Hey, uh, it’s okay.” Joey awkwardly patted Sammy’s back. “You’re not being unmade. You’re fine. Everything’s fine.” When Henry returned with Susie, she immediately gave Joey a withering look.
“Why is Sammy crying?” She asked.
“He thinks I’m unmaking him,” Joey said. “I think he might think I’m Bendy? It’s making me very uncomfortable.”
“Alright, I’ve got this.” Susie rolled up her sleeves and knelt in front of Sammy. “Sammy? Sweetie? Can you look at me?” Sammy looked up at her and reeled away.
“False Angel! Why are you here?” He spat. Susie gave him a deadpan look. This was going to take awhile. Eventually, they did get him to sit down in his office and agree to stay there, at least until the hallucinations wore off. Susie was put in charge of babysitting him. They were still there when Wally dropped by. Susie sat at Sammy’s desk while Sammy was sitting on his cot, staring at his hands as though they held the secrets of the universe.
“Why is Sammy staring at his hands like that?” Wally asked.
“He looked down like five hours ago and realized that he has five fingers and he hasn’t moved since,” Susie replied, yawning.
“Man, he really got hit hard, huh?” Wally leaned on the doorway.
“Mm hm. I’m actually surprised this doesn’t happen more often.” Susie looked back at Sammy, who’d finally looked away from his hands.
“Boris! You need to run!” He said, eyes wide and voice urgent. “The False Angel will destroy you.”
“Oookay. I’m gonna gooo….” Wally backed away slowly.
When the hallucinations did wear off, Wally was there to give Sammy a gloriously hard time about it.
“I’ve been cleaning up your weird messages for hours.” The janitor groused. “Did you have to write all over the studio?”
“I’m going to kill you, Franks.” Sammy said, head in his hands.
“You wish.” Wally just grinned.
Chapter 3: Everyone Hallucinates
Everyone starts tripping balls. Everyone except Henry.
moonfireshadow said: This is so adorable omg, okay but to add onto this: imagine everyone tripping all at once. Like everyone but Henry is high as a mofo and he is just trying to keep everyone from hurting themselves (Norman really shouldn’t be carrying his projector around while knee deep in ink, he could slip!)
So here goes.
He should have known it would happen sooner or later. Henry had been trying to get Joey to clean up the studio, and it was certainly on his friend’s list, but there just hadn’t been time. And now a bunch of pipes had burst, everyone was covered in ink, and everyone was hallucinating. Henry had entered the studio that day expecting to have a nice chat with Joey before going to check on the animators. Instead, he’d entered an ink-covered hell.
“What the-” Henry just stared at the scene before him. Sammy was painting Dreams Come True on the wall, Wally was trying to scratch himself like a dog, and Joey was limping along, grinning like an idiot. All of them were covered in ink.
“Fuck me.” Henry muttered, running a hand through his hair. He could tell this was going to be a rough day.
“Henry…” Joey turned and tilted his head upon seeing Henry. He limped over and wrapped his arms around the shorter man.
“The traitor has returned!” Sammy cried, throwing his hands in the air.
“And we’re back to this.” Henry sighed, patting Joey’s head. Joey shot Sammy a warning look and Sammy backed off. Wally immediately perked up, going over and hugging Henry as well. Joey growled at the janitor. Wally immediately backed up.
“Okay, uh, I gotta go.” Henry tried to pry Joey off of him. Joey only held him tighter. In the end, Henry had to settle for Joey being glued to his arm as he went and checked in on everyone else. Allison and Susie were on Level 9, holed up in Alice’s area. Susie was going on about being Alice Angel while Allison cowered behind her.
“The ink demon!” Susie gasped when Henry and Joey entered. “Why did you bring him here?! He’ll send us back!”
“We can’t go back.” Allison echoed meekly.
“No one’s going to unmake you.” Henry put his hands up. “Everything’s fine. I’m just making sure you’re all alright.” Joey growled at Susie, who stumbled back, holding Allison close.
“Joey!” Henry flicked his ear. “No! We do not growl at people!” Joey pouted, making a whining noise and nuzzling Henry’s shoulder.
“Yes, I love you too. But you can’t growl at people.”
“He is rather rude,” Allison said. Joey glared at her, clinging harder to Henry. Henry sighed and gently dragged Joey out of the room. Next was Norman, on floor 14. Immediately, Henry began to panic. The room was flooded with ankle-deep ink and Norman was lugging around a projector.
“Norman!” Henry yelled, scrambling down the stairs. “What are you doing?” Norman turned to him and, for a moment, Henry thought Norman might still be normal. Unfortunately, his eyes had the same glassy quality the others did. He turned away and began moving once more.
“Norman! Put that down!” Henry tried to wrestle it from Norman’s grip. Norman held firm, making little grunting noises as he pulled back against Henry. Joey remained latched onto Henry’s back. He wasn’t really helping, but he wasn’t hindering either. He was just kind of there. Eventually, Henry was forced to give up. Norman continued to slog through the ink, projector in hand. Henry groaned to himself.
The rest of the day was spent frantically trying to make sure no one ended up hurting themselves. Joey had suctioned himself to Henry’s side and refused to leave him be. This made Sammy very jealous, which ended up with Henry being ‘accidentally’ tripped more than once when they were on the upper levels. Wally never failed to come to Henry’s aid, behaving quite a lot like Boris. Susie and Allison both stayed in their area, shrieking whenever Henry arrived with Joey. Henry tried not to bother them too often. When the hallucinations wore off, they all agreed never to speak of it. Henry was more than happy to just go home.
Chapter 4: Bertram and the Butcher Gang
Time to include some new characters!
Anonymous asked: If you are taking Requests, could you do an Ink Fumes AU fic surrounding Shawn, Lacie, and Grant as the butcher gang? If not, then just keep up the good work. Your fics are awesome to read.
You’re in luck! I was just thinking of writing that scenario! Also including Bertram as well because I couldn’t resist.
Henry had, perhaps naively, thought that the fume related shenanigans were at an end. It had been months and no one had experienced any hallucinations. By this point, Henry was almost back full time. Joey had changed for the better, and Henry felt much more comfortable working with his friend. Although he did often have to remind Joey to take his medication. Anyway, it had been months and no one had tried to attack anyone because of hallucinations. There had been a few scuffles between Wally and Sammy, but that was normal. Henry was starting to get used to life at the studio again. Then it began once more.
It started with Susie. Again. Henry entered the breakroom to find Shawn holding a bag of ice up to a black eye.
“What happened to you?” Henry asked.
“Miss Campbell fell in the ink and started thinkin’ she was Alice again,” Shawn grumbled. “Kept grabbin’ my toys and tearin’ the stuffin’ outta them before tryin’ to stuff it in her face. Tied me up and called me a freak when I tried to stop her.”
“What? Again?” Henry stifled an internal groan. “I thought the pipes were fixed.” Thomas and his company had mostly managed to fix the pipes system so that they hardly ever leaked anymore. Thus the instances of ink based afflictions had gone way down.
“Mr. Drew was tryin’ somethin’ and it overloaded the pipes.” Shawn shrugged. “Dumped a buncha ink in the stairwell.”
Henry sighed heavily, rubbing his temples. “Guess I’m going to have to have another talk with Joey.”
Shawn shrugged, reaching for a cup of coffee with his free hand. “Don’t yell at him too much, he’s been havin’ a panic attack all mornin’ about it.”
“I’ll be gentle,” Henry assured him with a weary smile. He left for Joey’s office, hoping that this was an isolated incident and that there wouldn’t be any more ink based hallucinations.
Unfortunately, as he saw in later days, whatever Joey had done had wreaked some serious havoc with the pipes. For the next week, pipes would randomly burst, showering the unfortunate employees with ink. Thomas and his team were working around the clock to fix them, but there were still a few….incidents. Such as the day Henry came in and immediately heard people screaming about someone being stuck on top of Bertram’s octopus ride.
“Wally.” Henry caught the janitor by the arm as he tried to hurry past. “What’s going on?”
“Mr. Piedmont got doused with ink and now he’s on top of his ride,” Wally said. He looked like he wasn’t sure if he should be laughing or panicking.
“Uh…Not sure?” Wally smiled apologetically. “I mean, he’s like 60. Ya wouldn’t think he could do it.” Henry sighed. It was too early for this. He hadn’t even had his coffee yet.
“Do we have a ladder?” He asked, taking his glasses off and cleaning them. They didn’t need cleaning, it just calmed him down to do.
“Oh, yeah. I’m goin’ to get one right now.” Wally said. “You wanna come with me? It’ll probably take two of us to move it.” Henry nodded, putting his glasses on again.
Together, the two of them carried the ladder down to the warehouse where Bertram’s ride was stored. A large group of people had gathered to observe the commotion. Sure enough, Bertram was perched on top of the ride, spinning and screaming about how he was still here. Joey stood in the doorway, pale and picking at his cuticles. Judging from the bloody mess on his fingers, he wasn’t doing so great.
“You know that’s not good for you.” Henry stepped away from the ladder to gently force Joey’s hands apart. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, wrapping it around Joey’s bloodied hand.
“I know.” Joey managed a weak smile. “I just…This is my fault. I shouldn’t have tried to summon Bendy so early.” Given that everything was going well, Joey had gotten the idea into his head that he could somehow summon the characters into the real world. It…wasn’t going the way he’d thought it would.
“You can only beat yourself up for so long, old friend.” Henry patted Joey’s back. “You made a mistake and you’ve owned up to it. That’s all I can ask you to do.”
“Okay, Mr. Piedmont, let’s get you down,” Wally said, reaching out toward Bertram.
Bertram stopped yelling, tilting his head to the side curiously. “Boris? What the Devil are you doing down here?”
“Yeah, sure, I’m Boris.” Wally rolled his eyes. “We gotta get you down before you crack your head open, Mr. Piedmont.”
“My body is trapped inside this ride, there is no ‘getting down’,” Bertram responded as if this was completely obvious.
“You’re just sittin’ on top of the ride. C’mon.” Wally tugged experimentally on Bertram’s arm, only for the park designer to jerk the limb back.
“Don’t touch me!” He yelled. “I cannot have you corrupted as well!” Wally stared at him before looking helplessly down at Joey and Henry.
“Has anyone seen Miss Benton?” Joey asked, glancing from employee to employee.
“Oh…Uh…” One ride mechanic grimaced, rubbing the back of their head. “She, uh, she’s kind…busy?”
“Busy…how?” Henry asked slowly.
A few minutes later, Henry, Joey, and a group of employees were standing in the balcony above Research and Development, staring down at the three employees gathered around the trashcan fire.
“Is that a trashcan fire?” Wally asked, peering past Henry. “Man, I haven’t seen one of those in ages!” Immediately, Lacie, Shawn, and Grant turned to stare at them. Their eyes had the glassy quality that came with being high on ink fumes, and both Lacie and Shawn had improvised weaponry in the form of a wrench and a pipe. Lacie also had a prop pipe stuck in her mouth. Grant peered curiously out from behind the other two, looking rather innocent and adorable. It was strange to think of a 40-year-old man as adorable.
“Well, if it isn’t the little devil darling,” Shawn growled. His accent sounded…different. Like he was trying to not sound Irish.
“This be no place for the likes of you.” Lacie slapped the wrench on the palm of her hand. She sounded like a cartoonish approximation of a pirate.
“Hi!” Grant waved, a goofy smile on his face. He sounded…more or less the same, if a bit more childish.
“Hey. No. He’s the enemy, we don’t wave at him.” Shawn turned and whispered.
“Okay!” Grant said brightly.
“Let me guess, they think they’re the Butcher Gang?” Henry lowered his voice, looking over at the ride mechanic who’d brought them over. The mechanic grimaced, nodding meekly.
“Hey, how’d you guys set that fire?” Wally asked. “I’m never allowed to set trashcan fires!”
“You’d end up burning down the whole studio if you tried.” Someone in the back grumbled.
“Would not!” Wally insisted with an adorably cartoonish pout.
“Aren’t you and Bendy part of the fire department?” Grant asked, tilting his head to the side. “I know you guys put out a fire one time.”
“Boris sets more fires than he puts out.” Joey chuckled. “But, yes, we were temporarily part of the fire department.” Shawn and Lacie rolled their eyes, moving away a little so that Grant could talk to Joey and Wally better.
“Your voice sounds funny, Bendy,” Grant announced.
“It does sound weird.” Shawn agreed, narrowing his eyes. “You’re not tryin’ to pull some kinda scam, are ya?”
“You know what’ll happen if you are.” Lacie kept slapping the wrench into her palm. Joey hesitated for a moment, then smiled.
“C’mon, fellas, I wouldn’t do that to you.” He put his hands up, slipping easily into the persona of Bendy. “We were just wondering if you could help us with a friend of ours.”
“A friend of yours?” Shawn raised an eyebrow.
“There’ll be a catch, I expect.” Lacie snorted.
“You wound me.” Joey put a hand to his heart, feigning an offended expression.
“We just want to get him down before he cracks his head open,” Wally added. “Pretty sure it’d be bad if he just died.”
“Why do you need our help?” Shawn asked, just as Grant said,
“Down from where?”
“He’s on top of a ride,” Joey explained. “A big ride! I can’t reach and you know Boris is just a big scaredy cat.”
“I can go high places!” Grant exclaimed, his whole face lighting up. “Let me help!”
“Hold on.” Shawn pulled Grant back. “What’s in it for us?”
“Well…” Joey stopped, a sly smile spreading across his face. “I might be able to get you all some good food. I still owe you for that burger, don’t I?” Shawn and Lacie exchanged a glance, then nodded to one another.
“Alright.” Shawn folded his arms.
“Show us where the bastard be.” Lacie put away her wrench. Henry blinked, looking over at Joey in awe. Joey just smiled.
It still took a bit to get Bertram down, even with Shawn, Lacie, and Grant’s “help”. The Butcher Gang hadn’t exactly been created to be competent entities. But they did eventually manage to get Bertram to the ground. Once they all came down from their high, all four were mortified. Especially Grant and Bertram. Grant immediately went to his office and refused to come out, while Bertram just sat in the break room, staring into the distance. Lacie joined him, more to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid than anything else. Shawn felt better once Wally started teasing him because it meant Shawn got to tease him back about all his “Boris” moments.
“You handled that really well,” Henry said once he and Joey got back to Joey’s office.
“You think so?” Joey smiled shakily, collapsing into his chair. “I was a little worried it would go bad.”
“You did great,” Henry assured him. Joey’s smile grew a bit more confident.
“Thank you,” He said. “You really have no idea how good it is to have you back.”
“It’s good to be back.”
Chapter 5: FFS Norman
Norman's reaction to the ink fumes is...interesting.
Anonymous asked: Your Ink Fumes stuff is GOLD. Could you do another fic? Maybe about Norman?
Thank you so much! I do love writing in Ink Fumes. It’s always so fun. So here’s Norman! I hope you like it!
Normally, Norman was the one Henry didn’t have to worry about. He was calm, levelheaded, and patient. He didn’t get involved in any stupid shenanigans or black magic. Sure, he told some pretty awful jokes, but he wasn’t exactly the prankster type. When it came to decision making, there was no one better. This all went out the window when it came to the ink fumes, though. For some reason, whenever Norman was under the effects of the fumes, he headed down to level 14 and just trudged around with a projector on his shoulder. Level 14 had flooded months ago and they still hadn’t gotten around to draining it, so it was filled with ankle-high ink. This made walking around down there very dangerous. Especially when someone was lugging around with a giant projector on their shoulder.
“Uh, Henry?” Henry already knew what Wally was going to say even before the janitor said it.
“Let me guess. Someone’s tripping again?” Henry groaned, resting his head on his desk. He was almost done with his work too.
“Uh, yeah.” Wally smiled sheepishly.
“Who is it this time?”
Henry groaned louder.
“But, uh, he’s not on level 14 this time!” Wally added quickly, as if this would make it better. “So you don’t have to chase him through that weird maze!”
“What level is he on then?” Henry asked, turning back to face the janitor.
“The Bendyland level.”
“The- What? Why is he down there?” Henry frowned. “There aren’t any flooded areas down there.” Still, he got up and started making his way over.
“The Buddy Boris railway area flooded this morning.” Wally followed behind him. “Me and Mr. Connor’ve been workin’ on draining it but it’s been kinda hard.”
“How deep is the ink?”
“It’s just ankle deep. Not that bad.”
Wally kept talking, but Henry wasn’t listening. Dealing with Norman under ink fumes was always tricky. Norman didn’t communicate under the fumes, nor did he like interacting with other people. When he was approached, he’d yell and flicker the lights on the projector until the person went away. Usually, Henry just had to wait it out.
“Henry? Henry, are you listening?”
“Hm? What?” Henry snapped out of his thoughts.
“We’re at the elevator,” Wally said. Sure enough, they’d arrived at the elevator. Henry sighed heavily, walking in and pressed the button.
“I’m sorry.” He said. “I’m just tired.”
“Yeah, I feel ya.” Wally nodded. “So, uh, you want to hear the situation down there? It didn’t seem like you were listening.”
“Miss Benton’s been keeping everyone away from Norman right now,” Wally explained. “But Joey went down right after it happened and he keeps refusing to leave.” Henry groaned, massaging his temples. Norman never reacted well to Joey when he was on the ink fumes. Thankfully, he’d never gotten violent, but he did tend to chase Joey around while shrieking quite a lot.
“He hasn’t started chasing Joey, has he?” Henry asked.
“I don’t think so.” Wally shrugged. “Last I checked, Joey was just sitting on a bench. His leg’s hurtin’ him apparently.”
“Okay. Good.” Henry allowed himself a smile.
“That his leg’s hurtin’ him?” Wally scooted away from him a little, looking more than a little perturbed.
“No no!” Henry said quickly. “It’s good that Norman hasn’t started chasing him!”
They rode the rest of the way down in silence. When they got down to the Bendyland level, they found a small crowd had formed around the Buddy Boris railway.
“How many times do I have to tell y’all? No one’s allowed down here as long as Norman’s doing whatever he’s doing.” They could hear Lacie from the front of the crowd, sounding quite a bit more irritated than usual. Henry and Wally gingerly made their way through the employees to come out near the stairs.
“Oh, good, you’re here.” Lacie cast them a sidelong glance. “Joey’s on the stairs.”
“I’m down here!” Joey’s voice came from down the stairs. Henry approached the stairwell to find his friend sitting on the steps, cane laid across his lap.
“What are you doing down here?” Henry asked, sitting down beside Joey. He could Norman’s hunched figure at the other end of the room, slogging through the ink with that projector on his shoulder.
“I was worried about Norman,” Joey said. “His wife’ll kill me if he falls and breaks his neck.”
Henry snorted. “Yeah, she would.”
“So, uh, what’re we gonna do?” Wally asked, hunching down behind them.
“My best plan was just to wait it out,” Joey admitted, leaning back. “It goes away eventually, right?”
“Well, yeah, but Norman’s knee-deep in ink right now,” Wally said. “He’s gonna be flying high for a while.”
Both Joey and Henry paused, exchanged a look, then threw their heads back and screamed at the ceiling. Wally scrambled back and Lacie reached for her wrench, her body tensed for a fight. Norman’s head snapped around at the loud noise and he began to wade over.
“Why does he always have to choose the ink-filled areas?” Joey moaned, whacking his cane against the wall.
“Your guess is as good as mine.” Henry tugged at his tie as Norman stopped in front of them. His eyes were glassy, unseeing. He stared at them intently, then turned his attention to Joey. Wally jumped when Norman started screeching, but Joey and Henry didn’t.
“I’m too tired for this shit,” Joey muttered. Picking up his cane, he pushed the projector off of Norman’s shoulder. It landed in the ink with a simultaneous splash and crash. For a moment, Norman just stood there, staring blankly at Joey. One arm was still raised as if he was balancing the projector.
“Is he…Okay?” Wally whispered. Then Norman promptly laid face down in the ink.
“Miss Benton, can you get down here?”
Ten minutes later they had a passed out Norman in the infirmary. He hadn’t inhaled any ink, thankfully, but he did seem to be utterly exhausted. The studio doctor chewed them out once more for putting themselves in such dangerous situations, which was to be expected.
“Well, that was a new one,” Henry remarked as he helped Joey up the stairs.
“Just take me to my office,” Joey replied. “I need a nap.”
“Yessir.” Henry gave him a mock salute with his free hand.
Wally and Thomas managed to get the ink drained by the end of the day and Norman was sent home early to recover. His wife was less than happy to hear about the events that had transpired but was happy that no one had gotten hurt. Joey, meanwhile, went back to work on plans to get the numerous ink pipes out of the studio. He really couldn’t keep doing this.
Chapter 6: Jack Is Best Boy
Anonymous asked: Are you still writing about Ink Fumes? Could you write something about Jack Fain?
I am indeed writing about Ink Fumes. Mostly on request. Sorry this is short. Searcher!Jack doesn’t do much, so Jack under the fumes doesn’t do much.
Out of everyone in the studio, Henry had to worry about Jack the least. At least when it came to ink fumes. It was a relief to have at least one member of the studio, besides Wally, who didn’t try to attack any of the other employees when they were under the influence of the fumes.
When Jack had first fallen under the influence of the fumes, it had been during a very difficult week. Honestly, given he hung out in the sewers, it was a miracle he hadn’t succumbed sooner. In any case, the first time it had happened, it had been during a difficult week. Joey had caught the flu and was on forcible bed rest, which meant Henry was the one who had to run the studio. On top of that, Tom was in the process of renovating the ink machine, which meant there had been more burst pipes than usual, and they were coming up on a deadline. Needless to say, everyone was tired and on edge.
Henry had been on his 5th cup of coffee when Wally had sheepishly approached him. Henry just stared straight ahead, chugged his coffee, then promptly poured another one.
“What is it?”
“So, uh, the basement flooded,” Wally said. “More than, er, usual.” He’d taken his hat off and was wringing it in his hands.
“Oh, okay.” Henry breathed a sigh of relief. “No one’s ever down there anyway.”
“Y’see, that’s the thing.” Wally’s nervous smile grew wider and more nervous. “Someone was down there.” Henry stared at him for a moment, let out a long sigh, then grabbed the pot of coffee and drank the whole thing.
“Okay. Let’s go.”
They found Jack sitting quietly with Sammy. Just sitting quietly and humming. As soon as they entered, however, Jack let out a squeak and moved to the corner, attempting to make himself as small as possible.
“It’s alright, Jack,” Sammy said gently, keeping his voice low. “They’re not going to hurt you.” Jack whimpered but slowly shuffled out of the corner. He stayed near Sammy though, clinging to him like a child clinging to a parent.
“That’s actually really cute.” Henry couldn’t help but laugh. “I was worried he’d be violent.”
“I probably made it sound pretty bad.” Wally rubbed the back of his head. “Just, uh, just thought you should know that we got another person tripping.”
“Is he giving you any trouble?” Henry asked, turning his gaze to Sammy.
“Not at all.” Sammy waved his free hand in a dismissive gesture. “All he’s really doing is sitting here. He likes watching me.”
“Alright, well, tell me if he’s giving you any trouble.” Satisfied that there was no problem, Henry left to go back to his office. Wally followed behind, not wanting to bother Sammy anymore.
Jack while under the fumes was even shyer than Jack normally was. He tended to hide out in Sammy or Grant’s office or down in his little hidey-hole, avoiding everyone but the few he truly trusted. He was really quite adorable in the way he followed Sammy and Grant around like a little duckling. Henry was just glad he didn’t have to worry about him.