The first message Bendy sees is so distracting it ends up being a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The cycle has begun anew with the same old shtick; he waits in the ink for Henry to get near enough for Bendy to smell him, to hear his labored breathing and the vibrations of his heavy footsteps. At the end of the hall, he will emerge from the darkness and give chase, forcing Henry deeper into this unending maze to relive his nightmare over again.

Bendy can't say he hasn't wondered why they all still go about this the same way every time, but it's not like he can ask anybody around here. Sometimes he thinks he may be the only one here who remembers. It makes his ink boil in hot rage; this was supposed to be Henry's hell, not his.

So he waits and waits and finally Henry's footsteps sound outside his room. He can sense Henry pausing, probably reading the messages Sammy Lawrence has scrawled on the same walls for the millionth time. But Henry seems to be taking longer than usual; for an old man, he usually moves faster than this. There are no further footsteps down Bendy's corridor.

Oh, this is just great. What is he supposed to do now? It's not like he can just go tap Henry on the shoulder and tell him to hurry up.

Minutes pass. Bendy burbles his ink in irritation, fuming as the silence stretches. Finally, light as a feather, Henry taps on the boards of his doorway.

Let's get this show on the road, Bendy thinks for the thousandth time, former maliciousness faded now into something like resignation. He erupts violently into being, large enough to block out the lamps in his room and screams. Whether it's from the pain that manifesting so suddenly creates, or rage at Stein for leaving, or at Drew for keeping him here, Bendy has long since stopped asking himself. He throws himself forward, barely catching the back of Henry's shirt with the razor tips of his claws. Henry rounds the corner and disappears from sight, but Bendy can hear his wheezing still. He's slow in his old age.

Bendy lurches around the corner too, already resigned to slamming his head into the same damned pipe he always forgets until the last minute-

Over one of the old cutouts of himself shining in bright gold letters is the message "YOU MAY WANT TO DUCK NEXT TIME OLD PAL."

Bendy does not duck. When he falls, one of his horns gets stuck in the floorboards. Up ahead, he can hear Henry's yelp as the floor gives way.

The words twinkle at him from the wall.


The next message is in smaller letters but is no less bright in the dark old studio. It is also not meant for Bendy this time.

It's for Sammy.

Outside the old music room sits an unopened can of ink. Bendy has no clue how Henry would have been able to get his hands on uncorrupted ink, but then again he wasn't called the Original Creator for nothing. Beside the can is a tiny pyramid of bacon soup.

The gold letters run over the door to the music room and partially onto the wall beside it; Henry has large, uneven handwriting, especially in whatever paint he is using.


Bendy stops. Bendy stares.

Bendy is stumped.

(Bendy isn't even sure if Sammy Lawrence can eat at this point, to be honest.)

The old rage Joey Drew had instilled in Bendy has long since faded into a resigned state of irritation; he can't always be raring to tear an old man apart. But this new fashion of communication, this strange willingness to show kindness to two different monsters intent on killing him- Henry's really throwing him for a loop, here.

Hesitantly, Bendy reaches out and lays his claws on the door, over the 'o' in 'you.' Like an electrical shock, warmth surges up his limb. He pulls back quickly, growling and waiting for the pain to hit- before he left Joey had shocked him quite a few times to make Bendy compliant.

But the pain never comes. The warmth tingles back down to the tips of his claws, slipping away after a few moments and leaving a sense of- of-

There's a feeling of comfort, of familiarity- it is, Bendy thinks with a dawning sense of realization, what Henry himself was feeling, probably directed at Sammy Lawrence, when he wrote this.

Bendy lays his claws back on the words. The warmth starts right back up again (Henry could always be trusted to build something and make it work if he were given the right materials) and this time Bendy doesn't drop his arm until the comfort has lodged firmly in his chest.

There's another message and more bacon soup waiting in the hallway Bendy knows Boris frequents in search of food. Most likely, Henry passed by this hallway and recognized it as one that he would transverse later with the wolf in tow and so left himself some supplies.

The bacon soup is arranged in a smiley face.


The same warmth crawls into Bendy by touching the letters, but now the sense of comfort is replaced with friendship, and an almost fatherly affection. It sets off a low, burning want in Bendy, but for the life of him the demon can't understand why.

Bendy can admit, at least to himself, that he's getting a little desperate for answers at this point. The messages have begun popping up with alarming frequency and Henry seems to have become fantastic at hide-and-seek in the last few days. He's seen hide nor hair nor ridiculous sweater vest of the grandfatherly old man.

But the scrawls on the walls have still been coming and at an alarming rate. Henry seems to know that the Bendy statues are important to Bendy himself, because most of the gold writing that is directed to the demon he finds is centered in their hallways and alcoves. It's all pretty innocent stuff overall; reminders to rest, questions about if Bendy is in pain from his run in with the Projectionist- how does he know, Henry hasn't even met the remains of Norman Polk yet-, thanks for said run in and saving Henry from the Projectionist, a suggestion to take it easy on Alice every once in a while.

But as soothing as these light-hearted messages should be, they rankle at Bendy's skin. Ink. Whatever.

Henry should not be able to write these. He shouldn't remember the last cycles, and he certainly shouldn't be being kind to a monster that's actively trying to kill him. Joey Drew is rolling over in whatever godforsaken grave they finally buried him in.

The last message prompts a quick visit to Alice; it's entirely possible that Henry is with her and Boris at this point, although Bendy has to admit that he's been keeping less of a close eye on his old Creator's progress than usual.

At first, he only sees sparse messages here and there; a reminder or two for Henry himself to watch out for the rickety stairs and to favor his left ankle when the elevator drops. On the sign for the Heavenly Toys Room Henry has had an entire argument with himself about whether or not Alice would appreciate Henry leaving her one of her dolls.

Then, when he checks the room with all the dissected toons (it makes Bendy want to retch every time he sees it all, the stink of old ink and the sight of so much corruption roils his nonexistent gut and never fails to pull a whine out from between his teeth), Bendy is startled.

It seems like Henry had a full-on break down in this room. There is golden ink everywhere.

Beside the first dead Boris the Wolf is "SORRY." The word is sloppily painted, strokes out of line and trailing off as if Henry didn't have the strength or will to lift his hands away cleanly. Around the pedestal on the floor are smaller scrawls. Bendy has to lean closer to read them through the ink on his face.








And the last one, the only one that wrenches at whatever heart Bendy can claim to have, the smallest letters of all, "I NEVER SHOULD HAVE LEFT."

For the first time Bendy is scared to touch the letters. He knows without knowing how that this is the edge of some cliff- if he does this now, he will have an intimate knowledge of his Creator that he may come to regret.

But something makes him do it- the way the letters are jagged and trail off, the way Henry couldn't finish his apologies, or maybe, just maybe, it's the vague memory Bendy has of sharp blue eyes and an excited smile looking down at him when he was ink on paper all those years ago.

The words here don't elect a comforting warmth- they are the chill of winter, scaldingly cold and sharp like ice in the veins. Bendy grins and bears it.

Sluggishly, the cold inches its way up his arm like slow moving sludge; it collects like sewage in his gut and Bendy has the urge to vomit without the usefulness of a stomach to back it up. There is fear in this cold- these words are made not of friendship or paternal warmth but of regret and fear and so much sorrow-

Bendy doesn't come poking around Alice's floor again.

When he gets to the Projectionist's floor Henry has some serious thoughts on his interior design. If Bendy could laugh he would- he's never seen so much swearing at ink before, and in such a cheerful, twinkling color. Henry seems especially upset that his favorite sweater is ruined once again, but Bendy can't sympathize; he may be just a demon summoned to wreak havoc, but even he knows that puce, mint green and mauve do not a good combination make.


The message is scrawled at the base of another statue. Bendy has taken to circling the floor he knows Henry has just vacated for any new ink on the walls- although he doesn't talk to Bendy as often as he talks to himself, Henry has the habit of keeping up a one-sided conversation with every cutout and statue that he meets. Bendy has been asked several times to relay his thoughts on the taste, consistency and make-up of bacon soup.


Bendy cannot, in fact, get cold. But it's nice to see that someone cares to ask. He's never had that before.

These words feel soft. Linda's name in particular elects the feeling of being at home, along with a faint, well-known feeling of grief.

But mostly, Bendy feels that same familial warmth he found in Boris's messages. It's really grating on his nerves that he can't seem to find the writer anywhere these days.

"JOEY WAS ALWAYS THE VISIONARY," Henry tells him. The message is scrawled on the desk next to Drew's own recorder. He must have just listened to what the man had to say to Susie- before she mysteriously disappeared, that is. "BUT I WAS THE DREAMER. HOW ELSE COULD I HAVE THOUGHT YOU UP?"

The letters aren't exactly warm but they don't have the same sense of lingering fear that Alice's rooms did. Bendy can sense the same regret, but there's a kind of bittersweet tang here. He thinks it may be nostalgia.

Bendy is remembering more and more now- there was a time before he was a monster, before all the horror and pain and rage clouded his mind and made his ink run into his eyes. He remembers the faint feeling of happiness, of hands tracing lines and drawing a smile on his face. He remembers feeling safe in hands that are now gnarled and wrinkled and shake with fear when their owner sees what their creation has become.

The cycle is ending.

Bendy can feel it, and Henry definitely knows it, if his messages are any indication. They've been getting more and more infrequent ever since Allison and Tom found the Creator.

(The old anger flares in him at that- how could Stein just, just- throw him aside that easily? Then again, Allison and Tom never tried to kill him.)

"DO YOU THINK ANY OF THIS WILL CHANGE?" Henry asks an old cutout, and Bendy has no answer.

Henry is getting ever closer to the end, and there's nothing Bendy can do to stop him. Not without hurting the old man, anyway.

Bendy isn't so sure he can now.

He misses Henry on purpose this time when he rushes at him in the hallway and the arena. His demon form isn't as large, the ink can't seem to form together correctly to give him the same old height and bulk. His claws too are duller, shorter. His heart isn't in it anymore.

Henry seems off his game too- Bendy can see him stumble and fall multiple times. He fumbles the reel that will end it all. He slumps over on the steps to the throne in the last room. But Stein makes it there in the end.

Bendy can't seem to muster up any of the old hatred for him when he does.

There is golden ink on the fingers that stretch out to meet Bendy's when the End Reel starts playing.

Bendy doesn't scream this time- he's too tired. As his ink melts and sloughs away, as his limbs disintegrate before his very eyes, his True Creator holds him. Henry's voice is low and gravelly with old age.

"I never meant to cause you so much pain, old friend," he murmurs to the demon in his arms. Bendy feels like crying. "I wish I could have stopped all this-"

Bendy doesn't hear the rest as he returns to the ink.

The cycle has begun anew with the same old shtick; he waits in the ink for Henry to get near enough for Bendy to smell him, to hear his labored breathing and the vibrations of his heavy footsteps. At the end of the hall, he will emerge from the darkness and give chase, forcing Henry deeper into this unending maze to relive his nightmare over again.

Joey Drew forced them all to play their parts; Bendy and Henry are the stars of this stupid show.

Bendy is not going to be beaten down again.

He bursts forth from the ink too early- he can feel the reality around him shake at the deviation, the walls threatening to cave in, the lights flickering. Whatever magic Joey Drew used to trap Henry here doesn't like the change in script.

Bendy couldn't care less.

The boards have never seemed to break away more easily than now- his claws sink through them like a hot knife through butter.

The hallway outside looks strangely empty without Henry standing there. The gold of his first message shines a little less now, faded with the new cycle. Bendy ducks the pipe.

It doesn't take long to find Henry- Bendy seems to know the way without even thinking about it. It's only when he rounds the corner that he puts it together. Of course Henry would stop by his artist's desk. He always was a sentimental old fool.

There's no way Henry couldn't have heard Bendy coming with all the noise he's made- subtle, Bendy is willing to admit he is not. He's a demon not a ballet dancer.

Henry is running his hand over his snowy beard when Bendy slows to a halt behind his chair. There an old drawing of his cartoon self on the desk. Bendy wonders how long it's been there.

Henry doesn't turn to look at him when he speaks.

"I first drew you when I was seven years old, you know," he starts conversationally. His hands shake with arthritis when he strokes the old paper. "Of course, you were just a mess of scribbles then, but you were the first character I ever came up with on my own. I don't know if you remember that time, or even if you remember any time when you were on paper, but I do."

Bendy curls his claws carefully over the back of Stein's chair and listens. Some of his ink drips onto Henry's sweater- but it really is a terrible sweater anyway.

"I kept drawing all my life and I really had quite a range- stop me if I seem like I'm bragging, now- but I always came back to you. Joey was one of the first people I ever showed you to. I thought he'd be the most appreciative of a mischievous little devil character." Henry laughs at that and the sound is just like the warmth of his words. Bendy can't help but lean in a little, trying to leech all that friendfamilykindness away and keep it locked up, safe somewhere in his chest.

"You and he are ever so similar- or you were, before Joey changed." Henry shakes his head and clears his throat loudly. He seems to have a bit of trouble getting the next words out. He hasn't looked up from his old drawing. "I- he loved adventure and he was so ambitious- I'm sure I couldn't have gotten anywhere without him. But he became- possessive and jealous, I suppose."

One of Henry's hands lifts then and slowly, softly, his fingers lay across Bendy's claws next to Henry's shoulder. Bendy whines low in his throat but stays still.

"He wanted more, always more. And I- didn't. I didn't need more. I had him and I had you and that was enough for me."

Bendy knows Joey Drew like he knows himself; they have the same black, misshapen heart in their chests. That doesn't make listening to the next words any easier.

"But I guess," Henry sounds like he's forcing the words out passed a lump in his throat, "that you and I weren't enough for my old pal Joey."

Bendy whines louder now, and he lowers his head, bumping his horns- gently, ever so gently- against Henry's scalp. It earns him a low chuckle- it's distinctly wet and shaky, but Bendy will take it.

"I never knew what Joey was doing to you, you know; I didn't hear from anybody after I left. It was like I never met any of them. But you have to know, buddy, I never thought that Joey would- that he could ever-"

Bendy knows what it means when water leaks out of a human's eyes; he's seen it dozens of times, when any wayward urban explorer or old employee made the mistake of crossing his path. He knows that salt water from the eyes means fear and pain but he's never seen it mean sorrow until now.

Henry sobs and it's so quiet, it's almost worse because it's quiet, like he's holding it all in and this just slipped out and Bendy hates it. He's used to loud protests and screams and anger but Henry is quiet and still and in pain.

Bendy growls loudly and Henry doesn't even flinch; which is good, Bendy supposes, because he's not mad at Henry. It's Joey Drew he hates, Joey Drew who took something good from Henry Stein and twisted it to fit the mold Joey wanted it to. Joey took Bendy from Henry and then to top it all off he took Henry from Bendy.

This is his Creator. This is his.

Bendy curls over Henry in his chair. His arms are longer than Henry's torso is wide and he clutches at his Creator around the shoulders. He holds on tightly, everlasting grin pressed into Henry's neck. He's careful of his claws all the same- Henry has been caused enough pain in Joey Drew Studios.

Henry's fingers are soft when they light on one of Bendy's horns.

For a moment they sit there, Henry shaking silently and Bendy whining into his awful checkered sweater vest. But then- then Bendy sees something bright in the corner of his vision. Something that looks distinctly gold.

The ink from Henry's hands- he must have been painting new messages already and where in this fresh hell did he even get that shiny ink- has slid down Bendy's horn into the black ink over his face. Bendy lifts his face away from Henry's shoulder and shakes his head not unlike a wet dog. But the gold doesn't get flung away- instead, it spreads even more.

He whines again, this time in distress for himself and Henry reaches out to him, facing Bendy for the first time. His eyes seem younger than the rest of him.

"Hold on, buddy, let me-"

But Bendy doesn't let his Creator do anything. The gold it- it burns. Henry is burning him!

It's not his fault, a voice inside explains reasonably, he wouldn't know. It's never hurt before.

Bendy doesn't care.

He flails away, that warmth from all those times before now too much, too much and he's melting away, maybe this was all an elaborate trick by Stein maybe he and Drew are just the same-

They aren't. That same voice is stronger now and Bendy realizes with a jolt that it sounds like him- like the old him, on those cartoon reels. Henry Stein and Joey Drew aren't the same at all. Henry loves you.

That voice doesn't stop the melting feeling but it does lessen it somehow. It's not as painful to watch his limbs shorten and his claws slip away to reveal- white gloves?

The gold ink is everywhere now, slipping in streams down to his feet (no longer misshapen limbs but now rounded off and solid) up his chest (his bowtie is straight for the first time in a decade) and finally, finally, returning to his face. His smile doesn't feel as stretched now.

His eyes are clear. Bendy can't remember if his eyes have ever been this clear.

The burn dissolves with the gold ink, sinking down beneath the surface of his black body, igniting a pleasant thrum inside. Bendy thinks it may just be in the place where his heart should be.

He had stilled sometime during the process, when the burning had bled away to discovery. He looks around now at the destruction he had unknowingly wrought- Henry's desk has a slash in it from his claws, his cartoon self will now bear a tear in the shape of a facial scar. Henry's ink pot is smashed to pieces on the ground, yet another ink spill to lend the place some character.

Henry himself seems unharmed, thrown back in his chair against the wall by Bendy as he was. He looks a little winded and Bendy remembers how old his Creator is. There's a flash of panic for Henry's heart before he realizes what's different about this view of him.

He's looking up at Henry for the first time in years.

He looks down at his hands- pristine white gloves once again. Not a razor-sharp claw in sight.

"Bendy," Henry whispers, voice reverent. "You're back on-model again." He reaches out hesitantly and Bendy bounds forward, taking the man's hand in both of his. Henry never seemed as tall as he does now.

Bendy grins and it finally isn't forced. His heart (because that's what the gold ink was, it was all the good of Henry Stein and the memories of their lives together and Bendy is never letting that go) beats hard in his chest. He's finally warm again. Bendy hadn't even realized he was so cold.

"Henry, my old friend," he says and speaking seems a gift from above- a gift from his True Creator, "am I glad to see you again."