Also, this. I like this.
Benjamin Drew had had an...unconventional upbringing. He’d been adopted by Joey Drew and his partner Henry Stein when he’d been pretty young, along with two other children, Susie and Boris. He didn’t remember a lot of his early childhood, but he would have liked to say that it was good. Then came the TV show. Honestly, the show was arguably the best part of his life. He’d been a star! America’s Little Devil Darling! Joey and Henry had started the show together, casting Benjamin, Susie, and Boris as the leads. The show was about a little demon, his wolf best friend, and his angel frenemy. Benjamin had become Bendy the Dancing Demon, while Susie became Alice Angel. Boris stayed the same, which was just fine with him. For a time, Bendy had been a star. The world had loved him. He was America’s Little Devil Darling. He would be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy the attention. He’d had praise lavished on him all the time. As long as the show was successful, Joey was happy. As long as the show was successful, he loved them. For a time, everything had been perfect. Then Henry had left.
Henry had had every reason to leave, looking back. Joey was an overbearing and selfish man, downplaying his husband’s contributions to the show so that he could take all the glory for himself. After a certain point, Henry just hadn’t been able to take it anymore. He’d served Joey the divorce papers, gathered his things, and left the mansion. Looking back, Bendy wondered why Henry hadn’t fought for them. Why hadn’t he tried to take them with him? Joey had been bitter, of course, but the show had to go on. He still had his little stars, after all.
“We don’t need him!” Joey had said. “All I need are my little stars!” But they had needed Henry. Without him, the writing had suffered and the show’s ratings had plummeted. In retrospect, Bendy’s reaction to this had not been healthy, especially for a 12-year-old. His response to the plummeting ratings had been to set the mansion on fire and run. He didn’t know if his siblings or Joey got out alright and he didn’t really care. He just wanted to get away. He’d known he couldn’t stay there anymore, not while the show was failing. He knew what Joey was like when things didn’t go his way and he didn’t want to be there when Joey lost his temper.
For a little while, things were good. He could rely on the kindness of other people. He was America’s Little Devil Darling after all. He milked his cuteness for all it was worth. He was a cute kid, after all. Small and chubby-cheeked, with curly black hair. He managed to get beds to sleep in, food to eat, and even clothes to wear. He spun a story about running away from Joey’s oppressive parenting, a story of half-truths. People took pity on him. Until the story of what had happened at the mansion surfaced.
He found out about what had happened from a newspaper. He’d been headed to a new town when he’d caught sight of his siblings’ faces in the paper, standing beside Joey. The headline had made his stomach sink. “America’s Little Devil Darling Not So Darling!” He dug up what little money he had, paying for the paper and ducking into an alley to read it. The article didn’t paint him in a favorable light. It portrayed him as a degenerate young man who nearly killed his family. His stomach did twist a bit at the sight of Alice’s face. The fire had done a number on her, apparently. He certainly couldn’t go home now.
People weren’t so nice after that. Everywhere he went, people regarded him with suspicion and contempt. Soup kitchens and hostels would still take him, but he could hear them whispering behind his back. Everyone recognized his face and everyone hated him. At least until he hit puberty. Puberty had hit Bendy like a freight train. Apparently, Bendy was a late bloomer. Within the span of a couple years, he jumped over a foot in height and developed more body hair than he’d ever seen on anyone in his life. He was utterly unrecognizable once puberty was through with him and his voice had changed enough that no one would know it was him if he spoke to them.
He spent 7 years drifting from place to place, surviving as best he could. He got into various relationships with various people, but they never lasted. Something about him being a diva who wasn’t willing to put in any work. He didn’t mind so much. He got sex and a place to live for as long as the relationship lasted. That wasn’t so bad. It was the wandering that was the worst. When he wasn’t in a relationship, he lived on the streets. Bendy didn’t want to admit that he might be a little spoiled, but he had grown up in a mansion, his every need attended to by a host of servants. He’d had a privileged upbringing and he was used to a certain level of comfort. Luckily for him, he was about to find someone who was willing to treat him the way he wanted to be treated.
He met Sammy Lawrence shortly after he’d turned 19. Bendy was in a rather foul mood. He’d been kicked out of the last town after they’d found out who he was, (on his birthday too!) and had arrived in this one in the pouring rain, only to find himself coming down with a fever. He was hunkered down in an alley, nose running, barely able to see straight due to the fever and his lack of food. The only thing keeping him warm was a threadbare blanket he’d stolen.
“Are you alright?” Bendy blinked at the voice, looking up at the person addressing him. It was a man, he could tell that from the voice, but he couldn’t get a good look at the man’s face.
“Fuck off.” He mumbled.
“You don’t look so good.” The man knelt in front of him, reaching out and putting a hand on Bendy’s forehead.
“‘M fine. Go away.” Bendy tried to push the man’s hand away but ended up falling over and passing out.
When he woke up, he had no idea where he was. He was...He sat up and looked around. He was in a house. It was a relatively nice house at that, mostly clean and well kept. There were lots of books about music on the bookshelves around him, as well as pictures of a man he didn’t recognize. He was laying on a couch, covered with a well-worn blanket, and wearing a fresh set of clothes that he had not been wearing before.
“What the fuck?” He muttered. He could hear noises coming from an area he assumed was the kitchen. Someone was humming to themselves. Cautiously, Bendy got up and crept over to find the source of the humming. He found a man in the kitchen, singing as he cooked. The man had a lovely voice, low and melodious, but higher than Bendy’s own voice.
“Who are you and where am I?” Bendy asked. The man started a bit before turning around. He was certainly handsome. The man was a little shorter than Bendy, with tousled blond hair and a little scruff on his chin that Bendy thought made him look rather rugged.
“Ah! You’re awake!” The man smiled brightly. “Are you feeling better?”
“You didn’t answer my questions. Who are you and where am I?”
“It was probably a little rude of me not to introduce myself.” The man’s smile turned sheepish. “My name is Sammy Lawrence. You’re in my home. I brought you here after you fainted in the alley. You weren’t in the best condition and I was worried.”
“You...brought me here. Because you were worried about me?” Bendy blinked. “Do you kidnap homeless people a lot?”
“This is the first time,” Sammy said. “And only because of who you are.” Bendy felt fear lance through his body.
“Because...of who I am.” He repeated weakly.
“Of course!” Sammy beamed. “You’re Bendy the Dancing Demon! I loved your show when I was little! I guess you could say I’m a bit of a fan.” His smile turned rather sheepish at that.
“You’re a fan?” He’d been pretty sure he didn’t have any of those anymore. “You know I burned down my house, right? Accidentally ended up burning my sister and traumatizing my brother for life?”
“In my experience, people seldom do that without a reason.” Sammy turned back to the pan, where he appeared to be cooking some bacon. “Now, do you like bacon?”
“....Yeah, I like bacon.”
Bendy was a little suspicious of Sammy at first. No one had been nice to him in 7 years, after all. But Sammy did genuinely seem to like him, even extending the offer of letting Bendy stay with him for the foreseeable future. He was 21 and had a steady job and a steady income. He could afford to let Bendy stay with him. He was gone most of the day from Monday to Friday, letting Bendy have the run of the place. He even took Bendy out to get him a haircut and some proper clothes. Bendy wanted to ask why Sammy was doing all this for him, but he didn’t want to ruin a good thing, so he stayed quiet.
His life with Sammy was good. Really good. The composer pampered him as though he was still as important as he’d been when he was a child. He got clothes, food, attention. A lot of attention. Sammy doted on him, catering to his every whim. And Bendy would be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy it. It made him feel like he was someone again. Although, he and everyone else was painfully aware of just how far out of Bendy’s league Sammy was.
He’d been especially aware of this when Sammy had brought his friend Jack Fain over. Sammy and Jack had been friends since they’d been kids, making them almost as close as brothers. Bendy had been a little nervous when Sammy had mentioned Jack, worried the other man might take Sammy away from him. But it was clear from the first moment he saw Jack with Sammy that the lyricist had no romantic feelings for the composer.
“Thank you so much for coming over.” Sammy pulled Jack into a hug.
“Well, you don’t call me to meet your boyfriends too often, so I figured I should meet this one.” Jack laughed, patting Sammy’s back. “He must be something really special.”
“Oh, he is!” Sammy pulled back, nodding enthusiastically. Bendy hung back in the doorway, unable to stop himself from being nervous. He cursed his feelings. Sometimes he really hated being a human with emotions.
“He’s over here.” Sammy turned and gestured to him. Bendy awkwardly made his way over.
Jack tilted his head to the side, adjusting the bowler hat on his head. “Well, you’re a tall one, aren’t you?”
“This is Bendy.” Sammy put an arm around Bendy.
“As in...the one who burned down his house and ran away?”
“As in the one who was the star of The Bendy Show.” Sammy corrected him politely. “I found him a few weeks ago! He’s staying with me now!” Bendy was still confused by how enthusiastic Sammy was about him, and Jack seemed to share this confusion.
“So you two are...dating?” He asked slowly.
“Sort of.” Bendy shrugged slightly. Sammy had asked him to be his boyfriend after a week and Bendy had agreed. He figured he could do worse than Sammy.
“Well, if he makes you happy.” Jack smiled.
“Oh, he does!” Sammy nodded. “He’s wonderful, he really is.” They all moved to the living room, where Sammy and Jack did most of the talking. They both worked at different companies and were eager to trade stories from the last time they’d seen each other. Bendy sat there awkwardly, unable to join the conversation. Eventually, Sammy got up to go make tea, leaving Bendy and Jack alone.
“So, how are you liking it here?” Jack asked. He had an amiable smile, but Bendy could tell he was wary of him.
“It’s alright.” Bendy shrugged, leaning back into the couch. “He’s a good guy, I guess.”
“I suppose I don’t have to give you the shovel talk, do I?”
“I’m not going to ruin a good thing.” Bendy snorted. Besides, the guy had been nice to him when no one else had been. He’d feel bad about breaking Sammy’s heart. Jack seemed to sense this, laughing softly and shaking his head.
“Well, as long as you don’t use him.” He said, reaching out to pat Bendy’s shoulder. “I think you two make a fine couple.” Bendy could feel his cheeks beginning to heat up. He grumbled to himself, hunching his shoulders. Sammy returned a moment later with some tea for himself and Jack, and coffee for Bendy. As he listened to Jack and Sammy talk, Bendy couldn’t help but feel a little self-conscious.
Bendy knew Sammy was out of his league. Of course, he knew. He was a washed-up child star who’d committed arson and Sammy was a functioning adult who had a steady job and did things like taxes and paying rent. Sammy had his shit together. Bendy did not. Which was why Bendy was in no way going to do anything to jeopardize the relationship he’d built with the composer. Thankfully, Sammy seemed to be head over heels for him, so he didn’t have to do too much.
He still wanted to do something, though. Relationships went both ways, and if he wanted this to work, he had to put some effort into it. He wasn’t about to go out and get a job, though. He wasn’t that desperate. But he did little things to make Sammy’s life a little easier. He cooked sometimes, he did the dishes, cleaned. Little things. Because he liked Sammy. He liked Sammy more than he’d ever liked anyone else in his life. Sammy was a genuinely nice guy who genuinely loved him. So Bendy put in some effort to reciprocate.
They fell into a sort of rhythm. Sammy went off to work and Bendy would laze around the house, sometimes doing laundry or washing dishes, until it was close to dinner time, when he’d occasionally make dinner. Sammy was a better cook than he was, so Bendy only really cooked when he knew Sammy was too tired to do so or if there was a special occasion. It was...nice. It gave Bendy’s life a sense of normalcy that he hadn’t had in a long time. He was...happy. Not that he was about to admit it, though.
Then came the invitation from the TV host, and the start of a week of absolute pandemonium...
David Wright had been doing this for nearly 30 years now. He’d thought he knew what to expect from his guests. Usually, when he did surprise reunions for old TV shows, they involved a lot of crying and hugging. That was what he’d expected when he put together a surprise reunion for the cast of The Bendy Show. After all, Bendy hadn’t seen his siblings in quite a long time. Joey Drew had declined to come on the show, citing poor health, which in retrospect was probably for the best.
Boris was the first to arrive, bringing along an interpreter. David had heard the boy hadn’t spoken since the fire. Still, Boris seemed as polite and sweet as he’d always been. Boris thanked through his interpreter David for inviting him. He didn’t get out much apparently. He was excited to talk about the dog rescue he’d been volunteering at, signing so fast the interpreter could barely keep up.
Alice was next to arrive, turning her nose up when she saw Boris was there. Boris greeted her with a nervous smile and a signed hello. She huffed before greeting him as well, sitting down and folding her arms. So far, everything was going well. Although, David had expected a little more joy at the two of them seeing each other. Alice had moved out at 17 from what he understood. He’d thought she’d be happy to see her brother.
Bendy’s arrival was when things really went off the rails. For starters, he hadn’t shown up alone. He’d shown up drinking Starbucks with a blonde man hanging off his arm.
“YOU!” Alice immediately jumped up, pointing an accusatory finger at Bendy. David blinked. He hadn’t expected Alice to react with malice upon seeing her brother. Boris shrunk back as if anticipating the fight to come. Bendy rolled his eyes, his nose wrinkling in disdain.
“Hello to you too, angel.”
“Why is he here?!” Alice demanded, rounding on David.
“It’s a reunion,” David said, putting on his winning smile. “Aren’t you happy to see him?”
“Happy to- Why would I be happy to see that bastard?!” Alice shrieked. “He ruined the show! He took away my chances for stardom!”
“I’m pretty sure you did that yourself.” Bendy sauntered over to a couch, sitting down with the man on his arm.
“Why you-!” Alice gritted her teeth. “I am a delight! A star!”
“Sure you are. How’s your love life, by the way?” Bendy smirked up at her, putting his arm around the man. “This is my boyfriend, by the way.”
“Sammy Lawrence, nice to meet you.” The man held his hand out, smiling tightly.
“YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND?!”
“Mm-hm.” Bendy took a long sip from his Starbucks. “Do you?”
It only went downhill from there. Bendy and Alice didn’t seem interested in doing anything but fighting, which made Boris cower in a corner, and the man Bendy had brought with him only seemed to fan the flames of Alice’s anger. Things got even worse when Allison Pendle and Thomas Connor arrived. As soon as Alice saw Allison, she screamed that the other woman was an imposter and tried to attack her. Security had to separate the two of them. David just sat in the middle of it all, questioning all the choices he’d made that had brought him to this point. By the end of the week, nothing had been accomplished and many set pieces had been broken. Allison and Alice were found making out in a janitor’s closet near the end of the week, as well. Bendy found this endlessly amusing. Everyone involved was forever banned from the studio and begged to never contact David or anyone involved with him ever again.
Bendy was honestly rather delighted with the turn of events. There was nothing more fun than winding Alice up. She just made it so easy.
“Well, that was certainly interesting,” Sammy said as they headed out to the car. “I never knew how positively unpleasant Alice was.”
“Yeah, she’s a pill.” Bendy hummed to himself. “But that’s what makes it fun to mess with her.”
“I’m glad you had fun.” Sammy smiled. They headed home in silence for the most part. It had been a long week and both of them were pretty tired. Sammy punctuated the silence with occasional bouts of singing. This silence gave Bendy time to think. About Sammy. About their relationship. And he came to a decision.
When they got home and Sammy went to go make his evening tea, Bendy started talking.
“So, I’ve been staying here for a while.”
“You have.” Sammy nodded as he filled up the kettle. “What about it? Do you want to leave?” He sounded almost hurt.
“No no!” Bendy said quickly. “No, that’s not it. I...” He exhaled through his teeth. “Look, I know I’m not a good person, and I know probably don’t deserve you, but...” Bendy trailed off. “I like you. A lot. More than I’ve ever liked anyone else in my life. So...can I keep staying with you?” Sammy turned to stare at him for a moment before smiling softly.
“Of course.” He said. “You can stay as long as you like.”
“Thanks.” Bendy returned the smile. “I’d like that.” He had a feeling he was going to be here for a long time.