Aurelia Combeferre wrote:A/N: Inspired by a crazy discussion on Abaisse. The LM characters (the younger ones) play Slender. I do not own the characters or the game they are playing.
“Why is it that every time you guys say we’re going to have an ‘all-nighter’, you really aren’t kidding?”
In response Bahorel smirked at Combeferre. “Because it’s better than having to wake up in time for class. Not that we are ever punctual anyway.”
The biochemistry student rolled his eyes dramatically before casting a cautious look on where nearly all of their friends were crowded around his laptop. He never could figure out how their entire Great Works study group, as well as one young tag-along could fit in his chaotic apartment, much less on the rickety furniture. Well, not all of them were on his sofa bed; Joly, Grantaire, Bossuet, and Prouvaire were crammed on that piece of furniture. Courfeyrac was seated on the floor, right in front of the laptop. Gavroche had somehow squeezed in there, and was looking over Courfeyrac’s shoulder. Feuilly was sitting a little bit away from the laptop, more occupied with the sketchpad he’d brought with him. Marius was curled up in a desk chair, watching everyone as if he expected them to erupt into something horrible. Now and then he said something to Cosette, who was seated on the desk as she pored through a magazine. Éponine was sprawled on a beanbag, apparently listening to music through her headphones, although now and then it seemed as if she was just staring up at the ceiling. The only one who had any useful material in front of him was Enjolras, who had piled up several books around him in a corner.
“Hey guys, it’s past midnight, don’t you think we should actually do some work on our paper?” Combeferre asked as he managed to squeeze in between Joly and Grantaire. He took one look at the screen and groaned. “Oh hell no, not that game!”
“I don’t get what’s so scary about it. You’re just supposed to find eight pages of someone’s notebook,” Grantaire chimed in.
“Eight pages of a visibly disturbed notebook,” Prouvaire whispered in a mock-eerie voice as he took one of the paper cups. “Hey Courfeyrac, pull the headphones out and turn up the speakers.”
“You sure? It is late at night,” Joly pointed out. “Can’t be good for anyone’s nerves to have the sound on at this level.”
“We hear worse on Friday nights. Do it, Courfeyrac,” Bahorel said. He had somehow slipped in next to Courfeyrac, effectively blocking Combeferre’s access to the laptop, but not his view.
“One round only. One round,” Combeferre said sternly as he sat next to the sofa. Well that was going to happen when pigs grew wings. He sighed as he saw the all-too familiar vista of a darkened wood, lit up only by a dim flashlight.
“How are we going to do this? Courfeyrac can have the mouse and Gavroche can have the keyboard....” Bossuet suggested.
“Hey I’m still here, you guys!” Bahorel protested.
“Won’t it make more sense to have one person just controlling everything?” Feuilly asked as he finished erasing a wayward line on his sketch.
“Nah, it’s more fun this way---hey, what’s that blinking light?” Bahorel said. “Courfeyrac, why are you recording this thing?”
“Turn it off, Courfeyrac!”
“Not doing it----hey!” Courfeyrac swore as Bahorel pinned him down in a wrestling hold. “No fair!”
“Hey, we have to keep moving!” Gavroche said, quickly taking control. The high schooler frowned as he managed to navigate through the woods until the thicket opened up to a dark path. “I want to keep the fence on my left,” he muttered.
“I thought you were supposed to move counterclockwise through the park when playing the game,” Cosette chimed in.
Marius gaped at her. “How would you know?”
“I’ve tried it,” Cosette said with a shrug.
“How’s that possible, your dad won’t even let you install games at your place?” Marius asked.
“You never checked the school computer labs?”
Marius sat back, aghast at the idea. Cosette patted his shoulder before going over to the computer. “Maybe you ought to try heading to the abandoned truck first,” she said, carefully easing into the space that Joly and Bossuet made for her on the sofa.
‘At least they aren’t starting off too hard,’ Combeferre thought. A rustling sound caught his attention and he turned to see Grantaire rifling through his backpack. He cringed as he saw his friend bring out a stack of paper cups and a suspicious looking flask. “Now?”
“Hey we’re going to need it the further we get in this game,” Grantaire said as he began filling up the cups. “Bottoms up everyone!”
Combeferre rolled his eyes; technically he couldn’t do anything to stop the majority of them since they were of legal age. He did make sure however to swat Gavroche’s hand away before the boy could reach for a cup. “I’m out of painkillers. You guys will just have to go get your own later,” he warned.
Courfeyrac, who’d managed to prevent from being utterly crushed by Bahorel, quickly downed two of the cups only to end up spluttering. “Yuck, this is warm!”
“After a while, you won’t notice!” Grantaire laughed as he dodged the cups Courfeyrac tossed at him. “Combeferre, can’t you rig up something to chill the booze?”
“I’m a biochemist not a mad scientist,” Combeferre said before he sampled the rather warm vodka. He frowned at the taste but managed to get it down anyway.
“There’s nothing in the truck!” Bossuet groaned dramatically.
“Maybe we should try those pillars,” Feuilly suggested, now putting away his sketchpad.
Prouvaire put down his glass. “Or the house.”
“No, Jehan, we are not going in the house!” Joly said emphatically. “We’re going to get heart attacks!”
“But what if there’s only one page left, and it is in the house?” Prouvaire argued.
“What makes you think we’ll get to seven pages?” Bossuet asked.
“Well if you guys are so smart why don’t you come sit here and help us out?” Bahorel asked. He grabbed Gavroche’s shoulder. “To the left, Gavroche. I’m pretty sure we’ll find a landmark there.”
“The rocks?” the boy asked.
Marius curled up further in his chair, shaking his head when Courfeyrac offered him some vodka. “Maybe we should get a walkthrough for this?”
“Pontmercy, no one uses a walkthrough to play Slender!” Combeferre said. What was the point of playing a puzzle game if one wasn’t going to come up with his or her own solutions? ‘Then again this isn’t a normal puzzle game’, he thought as Gavroche turned off the flashlight and the screen shifted, as if they were breaking into a run.
“I’m pretty sure the walkthrough exists,” Marius said defensively. “It would make things a lot easier.”
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Courfeyrac chided just as an ominous chord came from the laptop. “Oh my God, guys we’d better get moving----“ he said, quickly taking over the game.
“We’re so slow.....there’s a page, there’s a page!” Prouvaire shouted, pointing to the right of the screen.
“Where?” Courfeyrac asked.
“Right on the rock---not there, move back, over there!” Gavroche hissed.
“What does it say?” Feuilly asked, nearly tilting the laptop.
“I don’t care what it says, just get it already---Grantaire, you’re knocking over the mouse!” Bahorel said. “Okay we’ve got it, now run! Run!” he roared over the rising sound of crackling static from the computer.
“Hey, what key do I hold down again?” Courfeyrac asked quickly.
“It’s shift! Hold down shift!” Joly shrieked.
“Your fingers are on the TAB key!” Cosette warned.”Move it! Move it!”
Combeferre cringed as the distinct form of a tall, featureless man made its appearance in the woods. “Left! Left!” he shouted just as the screen began to clear up. He looked around and saw that Marius was curled into a ball, Joly was begging Bossuet to take his pulse rate, while the rest of the group was congratulating each other on their narrow escape.
“Oh geez, you almost got caught after only one page?” another voice drawled. Combeferre whirled around and saw that Éponine was now standing next to him, still clutching her headphones.
“Nice of you to finally join the party, Éponine,” Courfeyrac said, shooting her a grin.
“Yeah, it’s impossible to listen to anything with the racket you’re making,” Éponine said, snatching up one of the remaining glasses of vodka. She glanced at the laptop. “Have you tried the house yet?”
“Um, no. We’re not going there,” Grantaire said.
“You may as well get it over with, it only goes downhill from here,” Éponine said. She and Cosette locked eyes and she mouthed the word ‘amateurs’ to her friend. “You won’t want to go into that location later, believe me,” Éponine added.
“Yeah but I’d like to actually get more than halfway through the game for once,” Bahorel muttered over the continued sounds of crunching grass.
“Cross the bridge when we get there,” Bossuet chimed in.
Marius finally left his safe perch and shuffled over to where Cosette was still watching. “Whose idea was it to play this game?” he asked.
Various people pointed at Courfeyrac, Bahorel and even Grantaire. Marius sighed. “I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.”
“Morning. It’s already nearly one,” Combeferre said. This round was taking longer than he thought it would. “There, page 2,” he said, pointing to the screen.
“Here we go---got it!” Gavroche crowed.
“Don’t stop now, run, run!” Éponine cheered her brother on.
“Are we all supposed to take turns with the laptop?” Feuilly asked no one in particular as he slipped in to help Gavroche out.
“No way. I’m not doing it past page 4,” Grantaire mumbled. “Ooh, page 3, go get it Feuilly.”
“I don’t think I’ll even make it past the next one!” Joly whimpered. “What kinds of delusions fuel this sort of game anyway?”
“Go read Marble Hornets,” Combeferre said. While he couldn’t consider the series the most frightening thing he’d encountered, he couldn’t deny the delicious sort of chill it gave him.
Marius paled noticeably. “I don’t think I want to.”
“Get a spine, Pontmercy. How will you survive when we do have to face down the SWAT next week at the protest?” Feuilly snapped, passing the laptop to a rather hapless Joly, who nearly tossed it at Grantaire.
“This is walking through the woods at night---“
“Shhhh, I’m trying to concentrate!” Prouvaire said. Somehow he was now in charge of the laptop, and he was searching yet another part of the woods. “Hey, this page says, “Leave me alone”----“
“You stand around like that, the Slender Man is going to catch up---“ Cosette said as the sound of whooshing wind came from the game. “Don’t turn around Jehan, just move---“
“The screen is crackling.....no!” Prouvaire shouted, frantically smashing on the keys to the point that Combeferre despaired of the fate of the hardware. “Where on earth is he?”
“Why do you want to know?” Marius yelled over the ensuing mayhem. “I don’t think we’re supposed to look him in the face!”
“Marius, he doesn’t have a face,” Éponine pointed out as she sat down for her turn.
Bahorel burst out laughing. “I think we broke him,” he said, gesturing to Marius. “Anyone else want a turn looking for a page?”
“Speaking of turns....” Courfeyrac trailed off, glancing to the side.
“Courfeyrac, it might be best to leave Enjolras out of this,” Combeferre advised.
“Why, this game is easy!”
“Yes, but you have no idea how bad Enjolras is at computer games,” Éponine chimed in. “I should know, I’ve challenged all of you at least once.”
Despite this, it didn’t stop Grantaire from creeping over to where Enjolras was highlighting a passage in a book. “Apollo---“ he whispered.
“Before you ask, no,” Enjolras said, giving Grantaire the briefest glance. “I really have to finish getting material for my speech.”
“The rally is a week away.”
“It’s not for a rally, it’s for my Western Political Theory class.”
“Enjolras, come on, the game is getting scary---“ Bossuet begged.
“Not quite yet---“ Combeferre thought before realizing that Éponine had just found the sixth page. The music was rising, turning into an almost guttural growl over the continued crunching of grass. Before he could comment on this, he saw Courfeyrac get up and turn off the lights, eliciting shouts and protests from the entire group.
“There, we should have done this earlier,” Bahorel said smugly, pinning down Marius before the latter could rush to the light switch.
Éponine bit her lip as she shifted directions. “We really have no choice but to go to the house.”
“No!” Bossuet groaned. “What is it with you guys and the house anyway?”
“It’s the only place left,” Éponine said.
“There must be someplace else---Enjolras, really, we could use the help right now,” Joly said nervously.
“And why me?” Enjolras asked, putting his hands akimbo.
Courfeyrac grinned and put an arm around Enjolras’ shoulder. “Because you’re the fearless one. Every group has a fearless one.”
“This is ridiculous,” Enjolras groused even as Courfeyrac was guiding him to the couch. Before he knew it, Éponine had practically shoved the laptop at him. “What am I supposed to do?”
“Just get two more pages!” Éponine said before retreating behind the sofa.
“Two more---oh,” Enjolras muttered, getting a good look at what was happening. “Slender. Combeferre, what are the controls again?”
Combeferre sighed as he grabbed Enjolras’ wrist to guide his friend’s fingers to the proper keys. “There. You can guess which is forward and which is back.” It was just as fortunate that Enjolras was still sober; somehow it seemed as if another one of Grantaire’s flasks had materialized on the table, amid a growing pyramid of paper cups. Yet despite the rather inebriated state of the majority of the group, the only sounds that could be heard in the room were the computer’s howling and the occasional chord, only occasionally broken by a gasp or Marius’ whimpering as he crouched beside Cosette.
Enjolras’ eyes narrowed as the screen showed the yawning entrance of the house in the middle of the woods. “I take we’re supposed to go inside?” he clarified.
“Yes....” Grantaire trailed off. No one dared to say ‘no’ now. Nevertheless, Joly hid his face again but in Bossuet’s shoulder, Marius reached for Cosette’s hand, Éponine was biting her lip, Gavroche was leaning forward on Bahorel to get a better look, Feuilly had clambered onto the table, Grantaire and Prouvaire were elbowing each other while Courfeyrac clutched Combeferre’s shoulder.
“Enjolras, why are you just standing around there in the corridor?”Bahorel asked as they reached a bend.
“I have no idea where to go next--- wait what’s happening to the screen?” Enjolras asked.
Courfeyrac nearly dropped his glass. “Shift! Hold down shift!”
“What’s that supposed to do?”
“Just do it!”
“I don’t see----what is that?” Enjolras asked, his eyes going wide.
“You’re not supposed to look at him!” Prouvaire shouted over the increasing pandemonium in the room. Bossuet and Marius tripped over each other in their attempts to get to the door, Gavroche accidentally knocked over the half-full flask of vodka while Enjolras finally slammed the laptop shut, plunging the room into pitch black darkness.
Fortunately for Combeferre everyone was more than willing to stay around and help him explain to the concierge about why half the neighbours had called, reporting everything from a brawl to a murder on the second floor.
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