A/N: The prologue is actually something I developed a while ago, but lost! But I decided to go with what I remember from it. This will be a multi-chapter fic.
I guess all the hype for the prequel has me pumped. I was once nervous about it but I'm actually loving it now- now watch as that same prequel probably renders most of this irrelevant or ludicrous! :D
I aim to post at least once a fortnight bare minimum. I have an exam next Thursday really, but I plan to use some of my free time afterwards to write the next chapter. Thankfully, unlike most multi-chapters I've attempted this won't be too long. I have a much stronger idea of what I'm doing this time around and it's a simple story-line for the most part.
Characters: Sulley (main character) followed by Randall who is really the main driving force of the plot and Sulley's actions. I also upgrade a character called Betty from the original film to 'Mike status' as an important supporting character as it were but as we get like one line of dialogue from her in an advert, the only thing I can say I didn't pull from thin air is that she gets on with Sulley well enough. (Hey Sulley seemed pretty happy to see her in the advert so yeah they're friends too.)
Shipping? Mostly canon. However it's likely I may mention off-hand that someone is dating even if it seems entirely random. Because I can. Randall and Sulley aren't getting any romantic action in this, just as a heads up. This fic is pretty much platonic and about the family you can choose.
Summary: AU. Hearing a less than pleasant exchange between Waternoose and Randall makes Sulley more than a little concerned. But will offering the abrasive Randall friendship and support really change anything at all?
Warnings: Emotional abuse for Randall mainly as well as manipulation. Also Randall himself isn't always that pleasant to people because of it. Sulley and Randall are my favourites in that order and I tend to like to torture them too much when I write them. I think I may have issues.
Prologue (6 months before Boo).
It's sometimes unusual how its the little things, the little changes which can result in big ones. Of course, these changes aren't always good or even have the effect we necessarily want but it was interesting to think about sometimes.
Sulley might have never caught on or saw it were it not for Celia Mae getting those concert tickets nor would he have save for Mike making one extra error in judgement in his life.
When it happened, Sulley had been doing his best to remember the paperwork details Mike had given him with limited success as he paced the carpeted hallways. Some of these Departments were so far away, and those late on Fridays when it came to filing did not simply leave their paperwork on their desks for fear of Roz's wrath on Monday. He winced in the artificial light a little, a clear indication he'd been inside for too long and needed to see the sun. Thankfully it was close to summer. He wasn't sure even now how he coped in winter when sometimes you travelled both ways in complete darkness, even when a certain Scare Assistant remembered their paperwork before a "big date".
Somehow he doubted Mike's words of how it would "Never happen again!" This was hardly the first time this had happened or even the first time he's made that particular promise. He sometimes thought he should make a bigger deal over it and tell Mike his futile efforts of charming Roz probably took more out of him than just doing it properly would.
But, he reasoned, perhaps he was being unfair. It wasn't like this happened every week or even every month. And Mike really was a great Assistant. It was just more or less a guarantee that this happened a few times during the working year. However given the fact that the forms kept going to different departments and people every so often in order to 'aid communication and flow difficulties' (whatever that meant) it was sometimes hard to keep track of, especially when you weren't used to doing it on a regular basis.
Whatever happened to just using one or maybe two forms in case the first form caught on fire? That was what Sulley wanted to know.
Plopping the puce coloured form in Marketing's mailbox slot he got the impression he may have made a mistake when he saw a flash of blue forms at the bottom, but there was no way he was sticking his hand in that thing to fish it out. This was despite its deceptive gap size which made innocent monsters, even those with larger than average arms think they could do so without any problems.
Last time George had tried it had resulted in an embarrassing call to the Fire Department. Besides, it was a Friday afternoon. There was hardly anyone around here to make such a call in the first place if he got into trouble.
Or so he thought.
He only had one form left (which he thought was for the Statistics and Research Department nearby, or so he hoped).
He was just about to turn another corner (why did so many of these halls look the same?) when he noticed a very familiar figure whose tail was poking out of another hall way further down. Right in the hallway he wanted to go down towards as it happened.
Randall. Sulley sighed, stopped and went back around the corner he'd passed again. By and large he was a rather patient monster, but right now he wasn't really in the mood to deal with his rather abrasive co-worker. He was prepared to just wait until he walked by. Randall had a hair trigger temper that day for some reason with everyone, not just Fungus and Sulley had got right into his bad books that morning when he bumped into him in the entrance making him spill his coffee straight from the machine.
He'd offered to get him more but for some reason Randall seemed to take it as a personal insult- as if implying he couldn't afford a second cup of coffee himself. Or that Sulley was so 'confident' about breaking the Scare Record he was trying to flash all the cash he'd get from it- as well as the fact he'd recently won Scarer of the Month for the fourth time in a row. He'd been giving him the evil eye all day muttering about bonuses. All while downing more coffee than was probably advisable.
Having a co-worker mutter darkly over even darker caffeinated beverages was bound to put a foul spin on anyone's day.
All he wanted to do was get home, train a little and then maybe take Betty and the others up on their offer to go down to this pub-styled bar they often went to. Mike was always getting on his case to go out more anyway, and though he saw that changing as he got closer to the scare record, he maybe stood to have some fun, even if for Mike going out just once in three weeks would have given him cabin fever.
"Look I don't want to hear excuses, just meet your end of the bargain." Sulley snapped out of his thought process and froze.
Wait. He knew that voice. He heard it almost every other day.
"Mr. Waternoose?" he whispered to himself. No, it couldn't be. But sure enough as he briefly poked his head around the corner again, he could see the shadow with an all too familiar shape poking a finger at Randall's own form.
The crab legs clicked as they moved closer towards his co-worker. Sulley quickly retracted his head and for reasons he would fail to discern decided to continue listening.
"Look, I- can't rush this thing. It's just not ready yet. That's all there is to it."
"It's been almost two years now and from the start you said-"
"I had some setbacks okay?!" he snapped back.
There was a moment of silence. Sulley resisted the urge to look around the corner again but he also suddenly felt like he had to resist the urge to cringe on Randall's behalf. As it happened, Randall himself seemed to realise his mistake for himself, or maybe he did from Waternoose's expression. Sulley couldn't be sure when he couldn't see their faces.
"Sorry but, sir I really can't rush this thing, it's complicated, and more complicated than I thought. It might take a few months but-"
"Months?! I was prepared for a few days, maybe weeks, but months? What have you being all this time precisely? Loafing around on my dollar as per usual?"
"Yes. Months. Unless you want the damn thing to rip its face off or explode. I think that's something we'd want to avoid under the circumstances, don't you?" he snipped.
Sulley blanched at this. What on Monstropolis were they talking about? But it was what the CEO said next that really threw him. While he'd heard him frustrated before, and even have less than kind things to say about a certain Board of Directors, it did nothing to prepare him for what was to come:
"Don't you dare talk back to me: you worthless waste of space, after all I've done for you! After all the money I've spent on this? You guaranteed me results! Maybe I should teach you a lesson in-"
"No!" (Randall saying this more loudly then intended caused Sulley to jump in surprise.) "Look- I'll see what I can do alright?" he said lowering his voice again.
While Sulley had been becoming increasingly disturbed as the conversation had progressed it was what happened next which really chilled him to the core.
"Perhaps I was a little harsh." Waternoose said in a friendly tone, all too reminiscent of how the old CEO talked to Sulley himself. The sudden switch caused Sulley's fur to stand on end. "Just make sure you do your best Randall and try to be done on time. There's a good chap."
Whatever this was about, Randall's tone shouldn't have inspired much confidence, but for whatever reason Waternoose must have decided to drop it even if he wasn't particularly satisfied. He finally heard Waternoose step away further down the smaller hallway, likely in the direction of his office at the other side of the huge building.
Sulley had to resist the urge to breathe out too loudly as he heard him moving further away. He wasn't sure what would happen if he'd decided to come in his direction. He was still too stunned to move.
This doesn't make any sense. He thought, being unable to process anything further.
At first he thought about leaving without a word.
It wasn't something he was proud of but he was literally at a loss at what he could do. But knowing that he'd hate himself for it later if he didn't at least try something he made his way towards Randall. He moved as softly as he could before tapping him on his shoulder.
"Sullivan?" he said sounding startled, before narrowing his eyes as he looked up at him. "The hell are you doing back here?"
"I- just I was getting a form to the Statistics and Research Department." Sulley said awkwardly, holding it up.
Randall squinted at it.
"That's goldenrod Sullivan, it's Roz's. I- I don't think we even have an official Statistics and Research Department anymore. I think another Department swallowed it. I think it closed near after Spring Solstice- budget cuts. Or downsizing or whatever the hell they mean."
"Oh, well never mind then." He said awkwardly.
Silence settled on the pair of them. Sulley looked at his feet. Randall eyed him curiously.
"Aren't you going to leave?" Randall snapped, it seemed, still on edge as he glanced around him. "Or can't you get your legs to work?"
"I- it's just." Sulley swallowed. "I couldn't help over hearing…"
Randall's eyes widened at this. "What? Wait- You. Were you spying on me?" he accused, his fronds flaring he began raising himself up, using his lower legs to do so as he drew himself up taller.
"No, I- I just happened to be here and well. I heard things." Sulley said quickly.
"Like what?!" he hissed in reply looking at him dead in the eyes. "What the heck did you find out Sullivan?" He spit his name as if it was poison.
"That Mr. Waternoose- well, is he picking on you Randall?" Even at these words Sulley winced, it sounded so juvenile, but well there it was.
At this however Randall quickly deflated and turned away. "Oh that was it?"
"Well, I didn't understand anything else but I gathered that much."
Randall said nothing and for some time Sulley didn't either. Randall just flicked his tail left and right as they both moved forward. He began hitting the walls of the hallway with it in frustration.
"Stop following me Sullivan. I know you don't have to go this way anymore," he said flatly.
"I just wanted to make sure you're okay…. That was kind of brutal, just saying."
"Whatever." He said listlessly as he stopped at the lift, pressing a button marked 'Basement'. He crossed his two pairs of arms as he stared at the floor numbers lighting up overhead. "It doesn't matter."
At some other time and in any another situation Sulley may have believed Randall truly didn't care. But it was that earlier tone, the way he'd said 'No', the desperation hanging on just one syllable that meant he really couldn't let this be. Not yet anyway.
"Well. If you want to talk about it, then I just want you to know I'll be there."
Randall looked at him incredulously.
"It's what friends are supposed to do. And well, it helps sometimes." He shrugged.
"Are we friends?" Randall challenged. He seemed to almost scoff at the idea.
Sulley thought for a moment. He had a point.
"Well, maybe not but perhaps we should be. I mean…" he trailed off. "You look like you could use one."
Randall opened and closed his mouth several times as if at a loss as to what to say. Suddenly however he snarled. "I don't need your charity Sullivan." He snapped. "I'm not some damn karma project so your next damn life can be even easier."
He sighed a ragged breath as he took in Sulley's confused and slightly hurt expression.
Randall stepped forward towards the welcome escape, standing as close to the lift door as possible so Sulley wouldn't get any ideas about slipping through and joining him.
"Just go home Sullivan, this doesn't concern you." He pressed the 'close door' button hard. "This damn elevator, so damn slow…" he muttered to himself pressing it again and staring at it as if to shame it for its incompetence.
He looked up. Sulley began scratching the back of his head.
"Randall. I- well- I don't think you're worthless or a waste of space. I think you're pretty important here."
Randall simply stared at him.
"I just thought you should know that." Sulley said with a shrug as the doors finally slid closed.
As it descended Randall held his head in his first pair of hands. Anger, fear, confusion and even hope overwhelmed him.
He hated hope the most.