An Unholy Bargain
Normally, I simply ignore all the stuff from Chapter 5—because theMeatly made one stupid-ass decision too many—but there is one exception to that policy. And that exception...is if Henry created the loop himself.
Safe: C2 characters, C3 characters, Wally, Lacie, Buddy, Dot
Before we begin, I would like to dedicate this work to several other BATIM fans I have encountered during my time in this fandom:
Thanks for all the stories you’ve written, fanart you’ve drawn, and inspiration you’ve given your fellow Bendy fans these past few years. May your muses remain alive for many years to come.
Now, on with the show!
Henry had lost count of how many times he’d done this. Over and over he’d made the trek downward, fought the beast, then hit rewind. At first, he’d been the only one who knew there was a time loop in effect, but after a while, he’d allowed Boris and Alice to go back too. When they asked why he was putting himself through such torment, he smiled.
“If you can’t beat ‘em, make ‘em give up.”
Now he was ready to show them exactly what he meant. Two loops ago, he’d released Malice—or Lily (short for Lilith) as they now called her—so when the next loop started, she remembered everything, and after Henry promised she’d get answers at the end, she agreed to help them. As such, it was not two, but three creations of the Ink Machine who accompanied him as he approached the door to Joey Drew’s office for what would be the last time. Opening the door, the animator entered alongside his companions, and called out.
“Joey Drew, I’ve come to bargain!”
“Joey Drew, I’ve come to bargain!” Those words, Joey now knew, had been spoken by Henry more times than he could count. Every single time he entered the office, from his first attempt to slay the brutish monstrosity that was once Bendy, he said those same words. Over and over, the confrontation had played out the same—the Ink Demon would turn into his ‘Beast Bendy’ form (as it was doing now), Henry and his companions would fight and be forced to slay it, Joey would lecture him—and it would always end with Henry shutting his eyes, making a counterclockwise gesture, and everything rewinding back to the start.
“How? How are you doing this?”
“My little secret,” Henry said with a slight chuckle.
Beast Bendy snarled, eager to lash out at Henry, but Joey didn’t release him from the pentagram as he was too busy stalling for time, trying to keep the cycle from repeating yet again.
“You can’t possibly keep this up forever!”
“Are you really willing to take that risk?” Henry shot back. “I’ve already done this song and dance God knows how many times, and I’m willing to stay trapped in this loop until I get what I want. Killing me won’t do you any good either—at best, I’ll just come back again, and even if it sticks, no one else here knows how to undo it.”
“But...but what about your friends? Would you let them continue to suffer for eternity?”
“Pain’s an old friend,” Boris replied calmly.
“If we’re stuck here, then so are you,” Lily added.
“We’re not your prisoners—we’re your jailers,” Alice continued.
“And if I have to give up any chance of escape to keep it that way,” Henry finished. “Then so be it.”
“No!” Joey screamed, panic evident in his voice and on his face. “Set me free! I...I command you!”
“Do you honestly think you can order me around, like when I was working here?” Shaking his head, Henry folded his arms and gave his former boss a glare of defiance so intense, it almost made him tremble in fright. “No, Joey, I’ve come to bargain.”
Joey let out a defeated groan. “What do you want?”
“Let the Toons—all four of them—leave with me, and never bother us or any of the other Sillyvision Survivors ever again. Do that, and I’ll break the loop.”
The last lingering doubts about Henry’s plan evaporated a second later as Joey took out a small vial of acetone and poured its contents onto the floor. A mournful howl escaped the beast as ink began to pour off it, drawn to the puddle of solvent. In seconds, all that remained in the pentagram was a softly weeping Bendy. Nodding in satisfaction, Henry approached the little demon and gently picked him up.
“Come on,” he said, turning to his companions. “It’s time to go.”
Watching them depart, Joey fell to his hands and knees, head hung in despair. All his planning, all his manipulation, all his work had been for naught. Right from the beginning, his efforts had been doomed. Now the story had reached its end. Henry had won.
“So how many ‘Sillyvision Survivors’ are there?”
“Aside from me?” Henry started counting on his fingers. “Wally, Sammy, Susie, Norman, Shawn, Allison, Thomas, Grant, Lacie, Buddy, and Dot. Might be a few others, too, but if there are, we haven’t run into them yet.”
“Do...do you think Susie will like me, even after what I’ve done?” Lily asked worriedly.
“I’m sure she’ll understand,” Alice, now in her ‘traditional’ form, reassured her sister. “She knows what kind of man Joey was, and she knows that Henry’s a good judge of character.”
“You‘d still be in there if he didn’t see some good in you.” Bendy, seated between Boris and Alice in the back, nodded and jerked his thumb at the building they’d just left. “He wasn’t gonna leave that place without savin’ everyone he could.”
“That’s why I held off on allowing you to remember,” Henry added. “I needed to figure out who could still be saved.”
Lily allowed herself a small smile, reaching up to touch her newly healed cheek. “You know, it’s kind of strange not having gashes or scars any more. They were there for so long, I...sort of got used to them.”
“I’m sure it won’t be strange for long,” Henry said as he started the car. “And if you don’t get used to it, maybe we could get you a tattoo or something. Now, who wants me to put on some music?”
And so, with the morning sun rising off in the distance, the upbeat singing of the Jackson Five emanating from the speakers, and the knowledge that no one else would ever enter the old workshop again, the five of them drove away, leaving the house of twisted and broken dreams behind forever.