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Move Up, Sly Fox

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You couldn't believe your luck. When your parents died, you had expected that to be the end of it. You didn't belong to a wealthy family, or even with a well off family. You had been lower/middle class, family living paycheck to paycheck, but never falling behind on bills or unable to put food on the table. You never expected your parents had managed to put aside anything for you, let alone 70k. You had never known about the funds, not until the bank called you a week ago to set up a transfer to your checking account. 

Thanks, mama and papa. You guys were gonna get me to the city the whole time, weren't cha? A burst of gratefulness enveloped your soul as you thought fondly of your late parents. You had gotten your looks and smarts (and your awesome voice-if you do say so yourself) from your mama, while your papa had taught you to work hard, be honest, and value integrity.

Since your parents had passed away, you took to farming. It was hard work, but that didn't bother you any. You loved being outside. You had a decent sized garden where you grew okra, yellow squash, snap beans, turnip greens, and acre peas; You were also lucky that you had managed to grow some fruit trees. Every year, you got a great harvest of peaches, oranges, and lemons. You would take up your harvest to your local farmers market and talk with your neighbors while you sold your produce. Knowing that you were about to leave, it got you teary-eyed. As much as you knew it was time to leave your little bit of country land, you also knew that you would miss it. Last farmers market, only three days about, you talked with your neighbors. You were basically giving them your farm, but in return (as no one in that area had much money), they were going into Ebott city with you to help you get a job at one of those fancy grocery stores. They knew the owner, and he was needing someone with some experience with produce. 

With all your clothes packed, and some pictures of you with your folks, you climbed up in the hay cart next to your neighbor. He was an older man, in his fifties. His name was Randy, but everyone he knew called him Grumps. You figured awhile back that it was most likely to do with that he didn't like to be bothered if it wasn't something important. He had taken a liking to you though. You knew how to work and not just chit chat your life away, instead you sang while you worked, which didn't bother him none. He always said you were better than a radio and he didn't have to worry about you breaking, even if you got bumped around a bit. 

"You, uh, you're really goin', are ya?" Grumps drawled out, a bit awkwardly. 

"Yessir, ya've known fer ages tha' I couldn' sit still none." You said. Living out in the country had put within you a deep drawl. No matter how much you tried to reel it in, you just couldn't get rid of it entirely, not unless you were singing. But, no matter, could be worse things than sounding like a lil country bumpkin. 

The cart began to move, Randy having tapped the horse ahead of you into a brisk trot. He rode you down familiar country roads, before taking a left at the far fork. It paved out in about a half-mile up the road. It was the only way into Ebott from your farmland, and you wouldn't get there for another hour or so. 

"Ya best come on back an visit wit us a spell. Gran ain't gonna 'ppreciate ya traipsing 'round no big city an forgitten where ya come from." 

"Y'all'ill see me in na time at all, don't chy'all worry too bad. Hell, I'll even write cha every month or so. How's tha' for ya, Grumps?"

"Hmm. Why dun ya sing me tha song ya like so much? 'Bout that scarecrow and flyin'? Tha way when ya git famous and high-headed, I'll r'memba how ya always been."

"I ain't gonna git no high-headed, ya old coot. But fine. Born t' Fly is it, Grumps." With that, you began to focus on the lyrics.

 

I've been tellin' my dreams to the scarecrow
About the places that I'd like to see
I say 'friend, do you think I'll ever get there?'
Aww, but he just stands there smilin' back at me

 

As you sing, you keep your eyes on the surrounding country side. Despite what you said, you weren't sure when you'd come back, or if you ever would. Your eyes land on that old oak tree out on the Waldren's land, it bent over and gnarled up. You had spent many hours out on that tree, climbing on that one. That's where that Waldren boy, Myron, had pushed you right out and off one of those tall branches and you had a broken leg. He wasn't strong yet then, so you had gotten him to get you one of his ponies so you could get home. When his daddy had seen you, he made sure his son got punished for it. Not only did his own chores get harder, but afterwards he had to come over and do all your chores as well. He learned well he best keep his hands to himself then. But that had been a long time ago. Now, he wasn't around, not since he and his buddies went on that fishing trip. Apparently, he fell in and right into a gator's open mouth. You weren't sure you believed it, but it was better than everyone suspecting everyone else. 

 

So I confess my sins to the preacher
About the love I'd been prayin' to find
Is there a brown-eyed boy in my future, yeah
He says 'girl, you got nothin' but time.'

But how do you wait for heaven
And who has that much time
And how do you keep your feet on the ground
When you know
That you were born, you were born to fly

 

A bit further up the road, you noticed that Grumps was tapping his foot, enjoying listening to you one last time before you left. You were gonna miss this crazy man. He had basically taken over raising you once your parents were gone, kinda like a godfather. You had always had an easy understanding with the cantankerous man beside you, even when others didn't. His wife often joked that he loved you more than he did her, but you knew that wasn't the case. His wife was infertile and when he raised you, you literally were the kid that they could never have. 

 

My daddy he is grounded like the oak tree
My momma she is as steady as the sun
Oh, you know I love my folks, but I keep starin' down the road,
Just lookin' for my one chance to run

Hey, 'cause I will soar away like the blackbird
I will blow in the wind like a seed
I will plant my heart in the garden of my dreams
And I will grow up where I wander wild and free

 

Yeah, you were really gonna miss this place. As you sang, you felt your eyes being to prickle and your throat want to close up. You were getting close to tears. You were leaving the only place where you were safe, where you were surrounded by people that loved you. But it was time for you to go your own way. Gran and Grumps would always be happy to see you, and you knew that they'd be praying every single night for your safety, success, and happiness. The tears gently flowed from your eyes and down your cheeks, but you didn't let it stop you. 

 

Oh how do you wait for heaven
And who has that much time
And how do you keep your feet on the ground
When you know
That you were born, (you were born, yeah), you were born to fly

So how do you wait for heaven
And who has that much time
And how do you keep your feet on the ground
When you know
That you were born, (you were born, yeah), you were born to fly

 

The rest of the trip was silent. Grumps hated idle chit chat, but the silence was comfortable. You two had sat together like this for a long time in the past. At the very least, it allowed you to get your crying out of the way before you guys actually separated. About forty-five minutes down the road, Grumps finally spoke.

"Ya know, girly, yer folks are mighty proud of ya. Gran an I are super proud of ya. Ya've been nuthin' but a blessin." His hand came to rest on your knee and your arm tucked around his shoulders. Buildings started popping up on either side of you, and before you know it, you felt like you were in the heart of the city. 

"Keep yer eyes out for Sylvester's and Sons Grocery. Tha's where ol' 'Vesty'll be. Think I mentioned it, but he an I were in school t'gether a million years ago. He went out with yer Gran, b'fore the good lookin' coot as ya so called 'im," a wink flashed across his wrinkled face,"stole her away." You let out a snicker, amused at his attempt of a joke, and patted his arm. 

After that, you kept your eyes out, looking for anything that looked like the grocery store you had heard so much about. About fifteen minutes of looking, you notice it on the left side of the street. You point it out eagerly to him and he steers his horse towards the front of the building. 

"Go git 'em, lil fox. I'll watch yer bags." 

"Thanks, Grumps!" You hugged him fast, stomach flipping nervously in your stomach as you clamored down from the cart. I hope I-no, I WILL get this job! Ya got this! You held your head up high, and walked confidently into the large building. You immediately spotted someone in a uniform that matched the sign outside. As you got closer, you noticed that the name Sylvester's and Sons embroidered on the left side of the shirt, but there was no name tag.

"S'cuse me, sir, but I'm lookin' for a Mister Sylvester. Do ya have a minute t' help me find 'im?" The man turned to face you fully. He was older, not too much taller than you, and was starting to get pudgy around the middle. He had a kind face, and a long silver beard. 

"Tha's me, mah dear. Ain't see ya in here b'fore. How can I help ya?"

"Oh, hello, sir. I'm here for tha job openin' in ya produce section. My Grumps, Randy, said ta talk wit ya 'bout gittin hired."

"AH! His lil fox, yes, he's told me all 'bout ya. Let's head ta mah office, git this paperwork and stuff finalized." He waved you along after him and he walked you into a glass windowed cubical. You sat in the chair nearest the door as he walked around to the other side of the desk in the middle. The chair was pulled out from under the desk, and he gave a grunt of pain as he sat down and started digging through some papers in a drawer. Finally, he found the one he was looking for. 

"'ere, fill out ya name, ya date o' birth, position, available hours, preferred working hours, and how much ya wanna git paid. Once you git tha' done, we'll negotiate price, and then ya can 'ave a tour 'round tha store." You began to fill out the form as he continued talking, " Once yer done wit tha tour, I'll introduce ya to yer department manager. Ya a'int got a problem with blacks, do ya? If so, ya won't wanna work 'ere." You shook your head as he spoke. While you had never talked much with people whose skin differed from yours, you figured that they were people, too, and ought to be treated like people. You finished filling out your paperwork. 

"Three dolla's an hour? Ya sure ya don' want more?" A blush crept along your cheeks and you spoke, "Well, sir, I ain't never worked for no big store b'fore. I wasn' sure wha was a fair price ta ask fer an I didn' wanna interrupt ya speakin'." 

"Tell ya what, yer Gran and Grumps raised ya well. Yer a polite kid, I'll double ya offer. Just so ya're aware, ya git two raises a year. One every six months. I'll come 'round and give ya an exam of sorts, ya pass, ya get more money, ya fail, ya stay the same. Since ya ain't a manager, ya'll cap out at twelve dollas. If ya get promoted to manager, ya'll get up ta thirty dollas depending on how long ya wark 'ere. But if ya get promoted, ya'll only get one raise in a year, that sound fine by ya?"

You nodded eagerly, "Yes sir, tha' sounds mighty fine. Thank ya so much for tha chance ta' work here, sir!" You smiled up at the older man, excitement racing within you. I got the job! That was so easy! I can't wait to start working here! 

He stood up and you followed his lead. He showed you around the store before he stopped in the produce department. You took a breath as you walked through the door behind him. Inside the back room, you saw an older skinny man moving boxes onto carts, getting ready to take the items out onto the floor. Sylvester waved him over.

"Eddie! Come 'ere, will ya? I got ya a lil helper! She'll be getting yer cut stuff done in tha mornins! She starts tomorra." As he spoke, Eddie, walks over to ya and shakes your hand. His hat didn't quite sit right on his head, it looked like he had it too tight almost, but you didn't mention it, instead you smiled up at him, though he was no more than 5 inches taller than you. 

"Hey, girl, so I guess I'm your manager. What do ya know about produce, lil lady?" 

"Quite a bit, sir, I've been running my own small farm fer a few years now. Whatever I grow is sold at the farmers market outside of town." 

"Good, so ya know about fresh checking and selling. What do ya know about cutting fruit?"

"Can't say I've done much of tha. But I guess it depends on wha I'd be cutting."

"Ya gotta handle cutting yellow squash, zucchini, asparagus, and bell peppers. Ya're gonna have to shuck corn into three and five packs. And as far as fruit is concerned, you're looking at watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and pineapple."

"Tha' sounds fairly simple. Ya got a booklet so I can go over how ya want ya stuff cut?"

Eddie nodded and started digging through some papers littered over a metal table. He finally found the booklet and handed it to you. "Study that, I want ya here at seven in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ya got me, lil miss?

"Yes sir, I look forwards to working with ya." You shook his hand again and you followed Sylvester outside of the department. He led you up to the front of the store and told you to wait. He walked back into his office and you could see him digging around for something. You looked away to study the interior of the store a bit more. It was basically a giant square shape. Pillars were scattered throughout the store to support the ceiling, and the shelves were all about 6 feet high. You were able to count about fifteen aisles, not including the product that was on the walls of the building. In a little corner of the store, embedded in the wall, was a door. It seemed to lead to the large window next to it, with the sign Apothecary above the window. This place has everything short of clothes! It's so cool! 

An 'ahem' behind you brought you back to attention. You turned around to see Sylvester was behind you holding a bright red dress shirt with black lettering. You suspected it looked just like his. 

"Here is ya uniform. Wear whatever slacks ya've got that'll match. No holes, no stains, don't have them too tight. We may be country folk, but this is still a respectable business. I expect ya ta look sharp, lil fox. Have yaself a good rest of ya day and welcome ta the team. Tell Randy 'hey' fer me." He gave you a warm smile with the shirt, and you took both from him. You were so ready to begin a new life!

You walked outside and Grumps was still there, waiting for you. 

"I got it, Grumps!" You said with a huge goofy grin. He smiled and reached over as you climbed up, ruffling your hair. "Also, Mister Sylvester says 'hey'." 

"Yer a good kid. He'll take care of ya. Now lets go to your new place." He clicked his tongue, and the horse began walking again.

"I ain't got a place yet, Grumps! Wha are ya talkin' 'bout now?"

He guided the horse further into town, through some tight alleyways, and you were soon at a all six-story building. 

"I got ya a place, lil fox. I ain't drivin' yer flighty ass inta town everyday. Girl, ya crazy. Now git down and git some of yer bags. We're goin' up ta' the fifth floor and this place ain't got no fancy elevator." You couldn't help but groan just a bit. You hated stairs with a passion, but you supposed he had still helped you out. You didn't have to find a place yourself now, which was most definitely a plus. He grabbed your two heaviest bags while you grabbed all the rest and slowly you began your trek up the stairway. It only took you five minutes to get up to your floor, but it had felt like so much longer. You were winded and had honestly began to sweat a bit. 

"Yer room is 523. Sign says it'll be ta tha left." And indeed it did. Rooms 500-525 had a left arrow while rooms 526-550 had a right arrow. Even better, it was only two doors down from the elevator so you didn't have to cart your stuff all the way down the hall. Grumps took a key from his pocket after he put your bags down on the floor and unlocked the door. The apartment was on the small side. There was an open area in front of you with a little kitchenette off to the left of the room. A door on the right side led, you suspected, to your new bedroom. You didn't immediately go to look though. You first had to get your bags inside the threshold of the door. You let Grumps go first, seeing as how he had your heaviest bags. You followed him inside and dropped all your bags against the wall. 

"Well, lil fox, ya know I don' do byes. I'll see ya soon. Now give ya Grumps a hug for the ride back. I won' have ya ta sing fer me now, aft'all." He slowly drawled and opened his arms.

You stepped up to him and within his strong embrace.

"I'll miss ya, Grumps. When I'm famous, I'll get ya one of them fancy turntables and all my records, then I can sing for ya whenever ya want me to!" You said with a smile on your face.

He ruffled your hair, took one more look at you, gave you the key, before turning and shutting the door behind him. You could hear his heavy footsteps walk down the hall. You would really miss him. Ok, I gotta unpack my bags and see what I'm gonna have to buy here soon!

You first unpacked your cot. You had figured that you wouldn't have a bed yet, so you brought your cot. It was one of the last things you had that had belonged to your dad, and you made sure to take really good care of it. You set it up in the rightfully suspected bedroom. The next bag you pulled out had all your coat hangers, which you immediately put inside the closet in your room. After that, you spent the next hour and a half hanging up your clothes before unpacking your pictures. You couldn't find a place to hang them up just yet, so you spread them out around the baseboards of your bedroom. Once your bags were unpacked, you picked up your key and wallet, and headed out to the hallway, locking your door behind you. It had already gotten late in the day, about four-pm and you were ready for some supper. 

It was easier to go down the stairs, and at the bottom in the lobby, you spoke with the woman behind the desk. 

"Hello ma'am, I'm kinda new ta tha town. Where's a good place ta git a bite ta eat?"

"Make a right outside the door, take another right three blocks down, then left another two. On your right is a lil bar and grill called Grillby's. It's got burgers, fries, and alcohol." The short lady behind the desk said without looking up. 

"Thank ya, ma'am" You said. She ignored you that time. 

On the positive side, while she may not have been all that talkative, she gave super clear directions, and you made it to the bar in twenty minutes. There was a sign on the door that caught your attention: Songbird Wanted. Apply inside, have musical number in mind.

You couldn't believe your luck. You performed a quick vocal warm up before walking inside the door, excitement and nervousness eating away at your insides. You timidly walked up to the bar, it was your first time in a place like this. Outside hadn't been much to look at, dirty plaster walls with some old brick on the side, bright orange neon sign reading Grillby's in a simple cursive font. Inside, however, was completely different. It was warm and rich, all the tables and chairs were a lovely mahogany wood, and the bar and it's stools were polished to perfection. It was still early, so there was no one really inside, but there was a bartender polishing a (clean?) glass. Perhaps the most shocking, however, was that the bartender seemed to be on fire. It occurred to you upon seeing him that the flaming bartender had to be one of the monsters that you had heard about. You have never met one out in the country side. Seeing one now was kind of disconcerting, but you didn't want to offend him, so you put a smile on your face.

"Hello there, am I ta reason tha' y'all're tha owner of this lovely bar?" You asked

The flame elemental gave you a nod as he looked at you.

"I'm Grillby." His voice crackled. I could probably go to sleep listening to him talk. Sounds just like a fireplace...Wait! You can't think that! That's so rude! Shame on ya! You mentally chastised yourself then noticed that he was still staring at you.

"Nice ta meet cha, Mister Grillby. I saw tha' poster ya got on ya door. Was wonderin if I could try my hand at it?" He nodded.

"What song?"

"I was thinking of tha opening number from tha musical, Chicago. Ya know tha song, All That Jazz."

Another nod, and he made a gesture towards the stage at the back of the room. You steadily walked up to the stage and walked up the stairs (god more stupid stairs) to stand in the middle. He pulled out a record and slid it into the turntable. A catchy jazz tune started up, trumpet soloing before a sudden 5, 6, 7, 8! You took a moment to compose yourself, allowing the overture to give rise to the lyrics within. Your started dancing to yourself as the tune continued. Finally your queue came up. Your voice low and sultry, you began: 

 

Come on babe
Why don't we paint the town?
And all that Jazz

I'm gonna rouge my knees
And roll my stockings down
And all that jazz

Start the car
I know a whoopee spot
Where the gin is cold
But the piano's hot

It's just a noisy hall 
Where there's a nightly brawl
And all 
That 
Jazz

 

You looked at Grillby, trying to find a sign of his approval, but it's hard to read a face made of fire, so you continued, not noticing a sprinkling of people beginning to come in through the door. 

 

Slick your hair
And wear your buckle shoes
And all that Jazz

I hear that Father Dip
Is gonna blow the blues
And all that Jazz

Hold on, hon
We're gonna bunny hug
I bought some aspirin 
Down at United Drug
I case you shake apart 
And want a brand new start
To do that jazz

 

You begin to notice that the room is filling up, but you pay the people no mind. You can't afford to get nervous and stage-fright now. Your heart swells, and you know you can do this. So far, people are all watching you, so you comfort yourself with the thought that if they didn't like it, they wouldn't be watching you or paying you any mind.

 

Find a flask
We're playing fast and loose
And all that jazz
Right up here
Is where I store the juice
And all that jazz

Come on, babe
We're gonna brush the sky
I bet you luck Lindy
Never flew so high
'Cause in the stratosphere
How could he lend an ear
to all that Jazz?

 

Excitement builds within you, some people have gotten onto the dance floor and are seeming to enjoy themselves with the live music. You pour your pride and excitement into your voice, nervousness completely burned away. You've got this cat in the bag. Time to finish this.

 

Oh, you're gonna see she sheba shimmy shake
And all that jazz
Oh, she's gonna shimmy 'till her garters break
And all that jazz
Show her where to park her girdle
Oh, her mother's blood'd curdle
If she'd hear her baby's queer
For all that jazz

And all that jazz

And all that jazz

Come on babe
Why don't we paint
The town?
And all that jazz
I'm gonna
Rouge my knees
And roll my
Stockings down
And all that jazz

Start the car
I know a whoopee spot
Where the gin is cold
But the piano's hot
It's just a noisy hall
Where there's a nightly brawl
And all that jazz

No, I'm no one's wife
But, Oh, I love my life
And all that Jazz!
That Jazz!

 

You belted out the ending, and then stood on the stage at then end, catching your breath. Suddenly the room was filled with applause and whistles. You smiled at your crowd and took a bow for them, before getting off the stage and walking your way back up to Grillby. Or, well, that was your goal. Every two feet, humans and monsters would stop you and tell you what a wonderful job you did. They asked if you were applying and when you said you were, they would let you go, only for you to be grabbed up by someone else. It took you a sold 15 minutes to walk to the other side of the room where Grillby was quickly and expertly mixing drinks and cooking. He saw you as you sat down at the bar and passed you a slip of paper. Reading over it, it was a contract, and you were more than willing to sign. You passed it back to him and he stuck it into his vest pocket. 

"Do you want anything to eat or drink?" He asked you.

"Can I just do some fries an some sweet iced tea?" You drawled out. He gave you a nod before dipping into his kitchen. You put your head on the bar for a minute, relaxing at the loud sounds around you. You can't believe that you had gotten two jobs in a single day. You felt like you were on a role and that nothing could stop you. Perhaps soon I can even purchase a bed! A grin sneaked across your face and a chuckle escaped your lips. It had been a wonderful day.

"That was a pretty good performance there, kitten. You set the standards pretty high, bar none." A deep baritone came from your right. You lifted your head and looked over, but no one was there. 

"Other side, sweet cheeks." You looked behind you and to your left, but there was still no one there. 

"Ah ah, try again." You looked over at your right again and on the stool was a tall figure. A hat hung low over their face, and they wore a burgundy pinstripe suit with a black dress shirt and a white tie. You could see their chin and notice that they were pale and they had black gloves on their hands.

"Um, were ya talkin' ta me, sir" You asked hesitantly. The figure nodded and reached for a bottle of ketchup, downing a sip (and making you cringe) before removing his hat. His head was smooth but there was something that set you off that you couldn't place. Until you figured out that you were staring at a skeleton.

"What'sa matter? Never see a bonafied skeleton before?" You could only shake your head, but you tried to squeak out at least a verbal answer. Why were you so nervous?

"N-no s-s-sir. I-I've neva m-met a m-monster 'fore t-t'day."

"Really? That's pretty humerus." He said with a grin. His head rested on his hand, skeletal fingers dancing against his cheek bone. He had a half-lidded gaze, and cracks that ran up the right side of his face, starting with his eye and cracks running down from his left eye, connecting to a sinister grin. 

At that time, Grillby, came forwards with your fries and tea, setting them before you. He didn't speak to the skeleton beside you, only passed him a full bottle of ketchup and a bottle of fireball. 

You jumped when he spoke again. "So will I be seeing you here anytime soon, kitten?" You nodded and tried to smile at him, though he frightened you on a deep level.

"I think so. Grillby had me sign a contract b'fore ya spoke ta me." 

"Yeah, odds are you're hired then." He looks down at his watch, before grabbing his hat and placing it back on his head, "I'll be seeing you around, then. Sad to say, I've got a job tonight, though I'd much rather stay in the company of a little vixen, like yourself." He purred at you. 

A blush passed across your face and you choked down the fry you were eating. His deep laugh echoed behind you and when you turned to look at him, he was no where to be seen-his ketchup and whiskey gone as well. 

You downed your tea and finished your fries.

"Grillby, how much do I owe you?" You asked, but he merely shook his head. You frowned, but thanked him. It had gotten fairly late. How did I spend four hours there?  You wondered. 

"Can you work Monday-Saturday, 6pm-2am?" Grillby asked you. You nodded yes and walked out of the building, promising him you'd be back the next day. You walked back to your new apartment without incident and back up to your room. You had no more energy left, so you crashed on your cot, setting an alarm for five in the morning, before drifting off into sleep. It had really been a wonderful day.

Chapter Text

You had been in deep slumber, most likely dreaming about the most wonderful things: food and music. Sadly, it couldn't last, and your alarm shrieked to life, causing you to groggily rise from the dead. It was one thing that you knew you did, even without Gran and Grumps telling you. You totally slept like the dead. Once your eyes closed, you were lucky (if you could actually call it that) to hear that god-awful alarm. With a groan, you stood from the cot, stumbling to your closet before pulling out your black slacks. You grabbed a change of underwear and your most comfortable bra before walking into the bathroom. Clothing plopped on the side of the sink, you turned on the shower before stripping. The water was still cold, so to pass the time, you brushed your teeth, getting rid of that horrendous morning breath. Once you rinsed your mouth, you got into the now warm water, allowing it to fall down your body, stealing away the remnants of sleep. 

You got out once you had finished washing your hair and your body and reached for the towel you put on the rack the day before. It was thick and plush against your skin, and there were some days that you wished you could stay wrapped inside the soft cocoon of fabric. You got dressed in your new uniform then towel-dried your hair. You had never owned a blow dryer, but wet hair never bothered you unless it belonged to someone else, then it was totally gross. You fought down a shudder at the thought before walking into your little kitchenette. You didn't have food in there, yet, but you opened your cupboard and pulled down one of your glasses. You fixed yourself a glass of water, and then another, before walking back into your bathroom for your hair brush. Pulling it through quickly, making sure all the tangles were out before you grabbed your wallet and keys, along with the fruit cutting guide you had been given. 

It was quiet in the hallway outside your apartment, anyone with any sense was still in bed. Double-checking the lock on your door and determining that it was indeed locked, you made your way down the stairs and out the front door. The sun hadn't yet risen, though the dawn was beginning to approach. The sky was slowly turning from its rich navy to a softer and more relaxing teal. Slowly, you made your way through the edge of town and down the still not fully familiar streets until you came across Sylvester's. The watch on your wrist showed that it was still early for you to be there, nearly thirty minutes actually, and you wished that there was an open place between the tall buildings so that you might get to watch the sunrise. Sunsets were lovely and everything, but there was something about greeting the new day, the new light, that made you happy. Instead, though, you took to watching some of the crows in the empty lot. It always amazed you that they were as smart as they were. When you get your first paycheck, you're gonna buy a loaf of bread, just so you could feed them in the morning. Despite this not being home just yet, it filled you with a tranquility, it filled you with peace, and you felt a content smile briefly grace your lips. 

The time finally came for you to walk into the store. Upon pulling at the door, you realized that it was still locked, so you knocked. Eventually, Sylvester heard you and let you inside. 

"Good morning, lil fox! How ya doing today?"

"I'm doin' great, thank ya! How are ya doin this fine mornin'?" 

"Betta th'n bad! 'Ere, sign ya name an the time on this 'ere clock righ' 'ere on the board when ya come in." He said, pointing at a clock on the wall before continuing. " Ya got a short shift, just five hours, so no breaks unless Eddie lets ya. Policy is that ya get a half hour for a six hour shift and a hour break for anythin' longa' th'n ten hours. Ya're welcome to try the fruit ya cut, make sure it's good and all that, but be reasonable. Don't go 'round eatin' a whole half melon or somethin' like that. Good luck, I'll come check on ya later. Eddie is already back there." With that, he walked off to do other prep work for the upcoming day. You made your way back to the produce backroom to see Eddie writing down something on a piece of paper, a box overflowing with product behind him. As you watched, you realized that he was counting the items behind him and recording everything, you could only assume he was discarding the product. You took a step forwards and were rewarded with the earthy stench that was rotten potatoes. Yup, definitely discards, you thought, holding back a gag.

"Mo-morning, Mister Eddie." You said brightly, hiding your discomfort from your new coworker. 

"Morning, girl. Don't mind the smell. You'll get used to it soon enough. Anyways, get you a hairnet on." You did as he continued with his instructions, "there is a large cutting board on the sink, grab that and whichever knives you feel most comfortable with. You'll need the ice cream scoop as well. Your production guide is over here by me, grab that, record the amount of cut fruit out there on the floor. Make sure you grab anything with today's date on it. Then come back here and I'll talk you through the rest."

"Okie dokie." You said. He spoke clearly and simply. The only thing you didn't quite understand was why you'd need an ice cream scoop to deal with fruit, but you figured with how long he'd be here, you shouldn't question it. You did as he asked with the station set up and grabbed the guide from beside him. On the floor, you found the cut fruit section, and while some of the product names didn't make sense to you (why was it called a snack pack?) you found that the labels on the actual product matched with the guide name. Nothing was out of date, and then you moved to the cut vegetable section. There, you found a package of mixed squash and a package of sliced bell peppers out of date. They were pulled to the back and you showed Eddie your production guide.

"This column here has three numbers, it shows the production for a slow day, an average day, and a fast day. It's gonna be a slow day. Monday's always are. Copy down the numbers in the low section under today's production. The one exception is the snack packs. Those always sell at least eight a day. Make somewhere between eight and twelve, ten is most usually the sweet spot. I recommend getting the veggies out of the way, shouldn't take more than an hour to get those done." While he spoke, you were sure to make little sounds of agreement, letting him know that you were listening to him. Once he finished speaking, you decided it would be best if you followed his recommendation, as much as you'd like more time on the clock, you weren't being paid to stand around and do your job slowly. 

You walked over to your station, placing the guide on the table. Let's see....three sliced squash, two three-pack whole squash, four sliced zucchini, one  three-pack whole zucchini, three sliced mixed squash, and five three-pack mixed squash. Doesn't look too hard. Wait..why do they want it cut like this..? Maybe Eddie knows...

"Eddie, why'd' they want tha squash ta be cut at a diagonal and not straigh' down?" You asked him, genuinely curious as to why they explicitly asked for diagonal cuts. You personally didn't think that it would matter, though you thought that a normal straight cut would make it cook easier and would result in less throw-away. 

"No one knows that, girl. Some corporate fellow that works with Sylvester wants it that way. Thinks maybe if you do it up fancy, you can get people to buy it, I think. This ain't coming from me, but the guy's a dumbass."

"I gotcha. They wan' it more complex when they ain't tha ones havin' ta do tha cuttin', righ'?"

"That sounds right to me."

With that, you fell into a comfortable silence with Eddie. Occasionally, you'd hear him grumble about something. Once it was something about Sylvester's partner, another time it was something about being the only person who actually did work in the department despite there being others. You held in a smile, he reminded you about Grumps in a way, but you kept it to yourself. A bright idea suddenly hopped into your head as you were working. I wonder if he likes puns...

"Hey Eddie, ya may wanna squash" you began, holding up a yellow vegetable for emphasis, "those negative words of yas." You winked at him, showing him you were only teasing. 

He looked at you a moment before letting out a bark of laughter which immediately made you feel good. 

"That was pretty good!"

"Wha' can I say, other than I like ta produce the freshest of beets." With that, you drummed on the cutting board with your hands, shit-eating grin beginning to take over your face. 

"Girl, you crazy. I like you. Now move your hands like you're moving your mouth and I'll like you even more." He said, still snickering. You chuckled a bit before returning to your work. You finished with the cut vegetables in roughly forty-five minutes, and you finished shucking the corn in another twenty minutes. You figured that that would be your least favorite part of the job. You had never enjoyed eating corn and you most certainly didn't enjoy shucking it. It made your hands hurt, but you weren't being paid to complain, so you ignored your dissatisfaction. 

Finally, you began to work on the cut fruit. You had to make snack packs, honeydew bowl medium, cantaloupe bowl medium, watermelon bowl medium, mixed melon bowl medium, mixed fruit bowl medium (which was basically the mixed melon but with blueberries and strawberries in it), watermelon slices, and watermelon quarters. You decided to start with the simplest ones first, the slices and quarters. You had done many of these in the past with Grumps. He always liked the slices, said that they came with a nice handle and weren't too messy. You disagreed though, watermelon never failed to get everything super sticky. Smiling at the memory, you continued with the other cut fruit. Since your cutting board was already wet with watermelon juice, you decided to work on the watermelon bowls. The sheet said to cut the ends off the watermelon and then peel it. You thought it kinda strange, but eventually there was a watermelon on the board, rind in the trash can next to you. A slice down the middle and it laid down easily. Your knife made quick work of the half, first cutting the columns, then the rows, before cutting it in half. You filled the plastic bowls next to you, and the left over watermelon chunks were put in a metal pan. 

Once you finished with the watermelon, you rinsed the cutting board before doing the same with the cantaloupe and honeydew. The left over fruits were then placed in the refrigerator to chill and you began to work on the snack pack. The snack pack had pineapple, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, and kiwis. First step according to your handout was to cut off the top and the base of the pineapple and then cut the skin from around the edges. So far so good, didn't seem to be too complicated. Next was to slice it into quarters, and then lay them down on the side so you could cut the quarters into little triangles. They laid down on each other, creating a domino effect of sorts. Strawberries had their tops cut off and then placed on the opposite side of the styrofoam tray. Grapes, followed by blueberries filled the center, and then slices of kiwi sat on top. You thought that they looked pretty. Eddie took a moment out of whatever it was that he was doing to take a look, muttering a quick 'looks good, girl' before returning to his task. 

Once you finished that, you pulled your chilled fruit from the fridge and put them into the small bowls. You made sure to leave some room with a few of them, as they were going to become your mixed fruit bowls. After you finished your cut fruit, Eddie waved you over to a boxy machine. 

"Here, just type in what it is you want to price and set it on top of the scale. It'll print you out a tag which you stick on the top right corner of the trays and over the middle lip on the bowls. Your cuts themselves look pretty solid. Well, once you price everything, go stick them on the shelves and then clean up your mess. Talk with Sylvester before you go out, he'll let you know if you can go."

"Yes sir, thank ya."

You did as he said, worried about the scale and if it would be easy to operate, but after your first few ring-ups, you found your fears to be unfounded. You walked your work out to the shelves and then found your boss sitting in his office, talking on the phone with someone. You gave a hesitant knock and he stood to let you in, holding up a finger to let you know that he would get with you in a moment. He hung up the phone a few minutes later, having mentioned a payment that he was going to make by the end of the week. You didn't pay that much attention to it though, it wasn't any of your business after all. 

"How's it going, lil fox?" 

"I'm all done, sir. Mister Eddie told me ta show ya wha' I did and find out if ya're gonna let me go fer tha day."

"Let's go check it out then, yeah?" He asked, moving past you to the door. You trailed behind him, just barely keeping up with his quick pace. He stopped at your cut vegetables first. He didn't say anything and moved on to the cut fruit section next.

"Not bad for your first day. But there's two things for ya to work on next time, on your corn, leave more of the husk. It looks nicer with a bit of green on the yellow. Looks almost like a suit, yeah? And for your cut bowls, make your chunks just a little bit smaller. It fills up the bowl better so the customer can have more. Other than that, your slices and quarters are solid. Keep up the good work! I'll see ya tomorrow!"

"Thank ya so much! I'll see ya in tha mornin'!" You said, smile on your face. 

It was then that your stomach made a strangled noise, and waving to your boss, you began to walk down the aisles. It was probably a good thing. You definitely needed food for your apartment. You grabbed a basket ans started at one end of the store. Once you got your dry goods, your pasta, rice, salt and pepper and various other seasonings, you walked back over to the produce department, picking up oranges, apples, and cherries. You'd need vegetables for the nights that you would cook, so you picked up broccoli, squash, acre peas, and some mustard greens. Smiling at your choices and unable to think of anything else, you strolled past the meat section. It's so pricey. I know I just got all that money, but I shouldn't squander it. I'll get some when I get paid...you told yourself. Eyes forward, you moved into the dairy section, picking up a half gallon of milk, a tub of butter, and some cheese. On the same aisle, you found the bread and some peanut butter and blackberry preserves. That should be enough..I do have to carry all this home, after all. You took your selections up to the front and finalized your purchases. The food was carefully put inside two large paper bags and you scooted them off the counter and onto your hips. You didn't want your food to spend too long out of refrigeration, so you sped-walked the entire way to your apartment. 

It was still early when you finished putting your stuff away and changing out of your uniform for a more comfortable outfit, so you grabbed your notebook and pen, deciding to look for a nice park within the area. Going downstairs into the lobby, you found a different person sitting at the front desk. This time, it was a younger man.

"'Scuse me, sir, but do ya know where I could find a nice lil park or somethin' of tha like?" He nodded but didn't look up to you, instead grabbing a piece of paper and writing down a series of instructions on it. Huh, I wonder if he can't speak...

"Here." He slid the note to you and returned to whatever it was doing. 

"Thank ya, sir." His eyes slid over you, making you feel a tad uncomfortable, before ignoring you once again.

Well, that was awkward... You brushed the experience from your mind, looking down at the note which was now in your hand. A right on Jefferson..left down Duval..follow that then make a left onto Cascades...ok, simple enough. You followed them to a 't', taking your time as you looked at the unfamiliar buildings, getting a feel for the lay of the land. People walked hurriedly down tight sidewalks, darting down alleys or into store fronts. Cars zipped by on the busy roadway. You seemed to enter into a garden district as more and more frequently you found windowsill plants and little gardens at the base of stairs and railings, vine-like tendrils creeping up the wrought iron delicately. You were able to recognize petunias, marigolds, touch-me-nots, and roses, as well as various types of wildflowers that you had seen but never had been able to learn the name belonging to them. The heady scent of confederate jasmine and honeysuckle took over your sense of smell, and when you turned a corner, you saw that they had entirely taken over a side of the corner building, mixing beautifully with each other, white and yellow of all shades in a speckled fashion. Its so pretty and it smells so nice... You smiled to yourself and continued on your way. Despite missing your humble countryside, you were really enjoying the city and all it had given you so far. I'm so lucky! 

It took about forty minutes, but you eventually made it to the park, and it was gorgeous to you. The grass formed a thick carpet for at least ten blocks, trees grew tall around the edges, a pond in the corner, with a little gravel path going around the perimeter of the park. Benches were scattered here and there, and you saw so many more flowers. Buttercups were scattered throughout the grass in little patches, near the pond was a mulched portion, blended with tulips, hyacinth, and daffodils. There were some flowers you had never seen before, balls of purple flowers on tall green stalks, reaching to your chest in height. A low hanging tree had red flowers with a elongated purple center, and towards the ground, only about three inches from the grass, there grew little pink balls with white tips. You felt like you stepped into a special haven, meant solely for you to enjoy. You found a grassy patch near the unusual flowers and laid down, careful not to harm any of the exotic plants. You opened your notebook to a blank page, beginning to sketch the individual flowers in plain black ink. You'd come back another day once you picked up some more drawing supplies.

You finished sketching the flowers in that particular area and got up. Walking to the other end of the park, you noticed more flowers, though a tall blue flower with a dark center called you towards it. It looked ethereal and you had a strange feeling that it shouldn't be able to grow here. That didn't stop you from doodling it though. You looked over your new sketches before you found a spot under a tree, preparing to get a few landscapes done. It was then, though, that you noticed just how busy the park was. People walked all over, kids played together, either tag or hide-and-seek. But what shocked you most was all the monsters. You didn't realize that monsters could come in so many different forms. Some tall frogs were jumping around, tall humanoid bunnies and cats stolled around, basking in the sun, relaxing in the shade, chasing after their kids. It made a strong feeling of contentedness and happiness fill your heart. Suddenly, you could almost trick yourself that racism and the whispers of hatred you had heard about monsters didn't exist. It was so peaceful here, that you could make yourself believe you found Heaven if you tried hard enough. You wanted to try.

A cry brought you out of your shallow daydream. About twenty feet or so in front of you, a young monster had tripped and fell on their face. You got up, abandoning your notebook and pen beside the tree and made your way to the fallen child. You crouched down next to them, barely processing the fact that they looked like a little goat.

"Are ya ok, lil one? Let me help ya up." You gently picked them up, wiping the dirt from their clothes and the grass flakes from their furry face. Tears flowed down their cheeks and you saw that they had scraped their knees, despite the extra fur padding. 

"Ya're okay, sweetie. It's jus' a lil scrape. I'll tell ya wha', I'll help ya feel better, alright?" You grinned at them and they nodded. Gently, you put your hands on their knees before saying what you had always heard from your parents. 

"Pain pain, go far away, never ta return another day! Burns, bites, scratches, and scrapes, ya're banished 'til another date!" With that you tapped the kid on the nose, a 'boop' escaping your lips and causing the kid to giggle, his tears long forgotten.

"Asie! Asie! Where are you, little brother?" A high-pitched voice came from around some bushes.

"O-over here, Chara!" He then turned to you and patted your shoulder. "Thank you for making me feel better, miss. It doesn't sting now like it did." 

"Tha's good ta 'ere. Be careful, alrigh'? Don' need ya fallin' anymore and hurtin' that handsome face of ya's." He flushed a soft pink and you let out a giggle. As you said that, a little girl poked her head out of the bushes and ran up to the little goat.

"Did she hurt you, Asie? Let's go get Auntie Frisk!"

"No, she helped me! I fell and she made the pain go away!" He defended you. Chara gave you a weird look, like they weren't entirely sure that they believed their brother." At this time, another voice caught your attention.

"You guys, you can't go running off where Sans and I can't see yo-" Their voice caught in their throat as they made eye contact with you. "Who are you?"

You stood and walked over to them, introducing yourself to the young woman and the taller figure standing beside her, hat deep over his face where you couldn't make out any of his features.

"I was sittin' over yonder under tha' there tree and I noticed the kid tripped. Was jus' makin' sure tha lad was alrigh'. He seemed ta scrape his knee a bit. Are ya his momma?" 

The young woman, who had introduced herself to you as Frisk, visible relaxed and a light smile made its way across her tan skin. 

"Thank you for helping Asriel. And to answer your question, no. I'm more along the lines of their aunt. This is my friend, Sans." A grunt of acknowledgement reached your ears from the taller person as Frisk continued. "We brought them out to the park today since their parents couldn't do it. They kinda got away from us." She made a chuckle, though it sounded more embarrassed than humorous. 

You gave her an understanding smile as she nervously played with her bangs.

"No kiddin'" You punned out, eliciting a bark of laughter from Frisk and a deep chuckle from the still hidden Sans. 

"Anyways, it was lovely meetin' ya lovely folks, but I gotta git ta headin' back. I got work in roughly an hour an' a half and at least a forty minute walk back ta my place. Y'all have a good day." You waved goodbye to Chara and Asriel, who had started running around again as you picked up your notebook and pen. Setting off towards home, you began the long walk, eager to begin your first night at Grillby's while simultaneously hoping you see Frisk again. She seemed like a nice person and you were ready to make some friends. Sans, you weren't too sure about, but then again, he hadn't said anything to you. Oh well. No skin off your teeth. With that, you put a skip in your step and hurried to your new life. 

 

Chapter Text

Getting back home took significantly less time than it did for you to get to the park. But this time you didn't really focus on meandering down the streets of the city, instead you had set your mind on getting home and getting to Grillby's. You were dressed in simple, but nice clothes. You weren't sure if you should dress closer to a waitress or a singer, but you figured that you'd be doing more of the former. Settling on a white button up shirt and formfitting black slacks, you locked your apartment door and walked down the stairs. You didn't believe you'd get any acknowledgment, but you waved to the person in the lobby and told them to have a nice night. They ignored you and you tried not let it get to you. 

The streets were cast in that special light between late afternoon and dusk. It kind of made everything look more yellow in your mind, but it almost reminded you of home. After all, it wasn't like you were under a different sun. You chuckled to yourself, winding down the streets. Most of the buildings seemed to be working on closing up, with the exception of some restaurants that you passed. It wasn't too late in the day, but you guessed you had found a more quiet section of the large city. 

You arrived at your second job quickly enough. Your eyes glanced at the clock over the bar. 5:55pm..still early but too close for comfort. I need to leave earlier tomorrow. A smile on your face, you waved to the busy flame behind the bar. He was currently mixing a drink for a figure hunched over in front of him. Approaching, you noticed large teeth but little else. It sent a shiver up your spine, but didn't let it show. It was still rather busy though, you were impressed that Grillby managed everything on his own.

"Hello, Grillby! How 'bout we git this show on tha road?" He nodded at you and made a gesture for you to come around to his side of the bar. You followed his silent command, and when you made it to the other side he motioned for your to go off to the side. After pouring the drink for the customer, he walked over to you in a brisk pace. There was a turntable, which he pointed out to you, and quite literally thousands of musical tracks for you to choose from. How does all this stuff fit in here? You couldn't wrap your head around it, but there was no time to ask about it. You could always ask about it when you were closed for the evening. 

"These are the selections for your songs for the bar. Feel free to sing any of these. You can keep them more upbeat or somber. Sing at least two a night, alright?" He crackled at you. You nodded and began looking through them. He looked at you, face guarded. You felt his eyes on you and you began to feel uncomfortable, but as you were about to say something, he nodded, more so to himself, and left you to look through the selections. It is my first night here...let's do more upbeat tonight. You quickly found two selections that would be perfect for your needs. Pulling them out, you laid one beside the turntable for later and the other you put on the table itself. You let Grillby know and you made your way up to his stage. Getting settled behind the curtain, you heard Grillby over the speakers throughout the building. At least, you thought it was him. It was his voice, but more energized than you believe it could get. 

"Alright ladies and gents, mon and man. Please cast your eyes towards the stage! In her debut performance, this little vixen is sure to impress. Allow me to introduce our lovely singer, Miss Fox!" With that, the sound of a piano filtered in over the speakers and you stepped out on stage. Luckily, there wasn't a large opening so you began singing into the microphone along with the song.

 

 

If I had the money, let me tell you how it’d be,
I’d take over the country, everyone would bow to me,
Sit up in my palace, and baby you would be my queen,
We’d run this ship together, just you wait and see…

We’ll be royalty

We'll be royalty

 

It was then that you watched a familiar group of humans and monsters walk through the door. The smallest one, looked up at you, and a smile spread across his face. You watched as he pushed his way to and through the increasingly crowded dance floor before making his way to stand in the middle right before the stage. You winked at him, making his furry cheeks flush a soft pink and continued with your song. 

 

I know we’re broke right now,
girl, I guarantee that I will work this out,
Yeah, see I’ve got this plan,
Are you in or out?
I need to understand
Trips to Rio, five star meals,
Girl, don’t quit on me now,
If I gotta beg or steal, no big deal
Oh let me break it down

If I had the money, let me tell you how it’d be,
I’d take over the country, everyone would bow to me,
Sit up in my palace, and baby you would be my queen,

We’d run this ship together, just you wait and see…

We’ll be royalty 

We'll be royalty

We'll be royalty

We'll be royalty

 

Little Asriel was almost swooning before you and it was hard to hold in your laughter. He was just too adorable. You were kind of worried though. The dance floor was super crowded and you didn't want him to get stepped on. But you kept singing. It wouldn't be too much longer until the song was over.

 

So would you cover me,
If I gotta take out any enemy, yeah,
Cause it might get ugly,
Planning things that you don’t wanna see

You’re ‘bout to party with stars, fancy cars,
Girl don’t quit on me now,
If I’ve gotta rob or steal, no big deal
This is how we’re going out

If I had the money, let me tell you how it’d be,
I’d take over the country, everyone would bow to me,
Sit up in my palace, and baby you would be my queen,

We’d run this ship together, just you wait and see…

 

You took a moment to look up t the group he had come in with. Chara and Frisk were trying to look over the crowd. No doubt they had noticed Asriel slip away. Their silent friend, Sans, didn't seem to be doing much to help them. Instead he was at the bar, chatting with Grillby over a red drink of some kind. You couldn't tell very well, the lights made it difficult for you to see much of anything beyond their realm of illumination. 

 

We’ll be royalty,
And I’ll be the king baby,
We’ll be sitting on a throne,
We’ll be sitting on a throne, you and me, all alone,
Ain’t no stopping us now

We’ll be royalty,
So who d’you trust, girl its ride or die,
We’ll be royalty
So pack your stuff, lets take this to the sky,
We’ll be royalty,

So who d’you trust, girl its ride or die,
We’ll be royalty
So pack your stuff, lets take this to the sky,
We’ll be royalty

 

With that, your song was done and the dancing groups stopped to applaud you. A smile on your face, you took a bow.

"Thank y'all fer listenin',"You began, drawl slipping back into place, "but don't none of you lovely folk leave, I've got anotha' song fer y'all later. I'll be comin' by ta catch drink and food orders in jus' a hot minute!" With that, you stepped off the stage, to only immediately be hugged around the knees by Asriel. Laughing, you reached down and put your hand on his head before pushing him away far enough to allow you to kneel in front on him. 

"You were wonderful!" He said, clapping his hands and bouncing from foot to foot. 

"Thank ya, Asriel. I'm glad ya enjoyed it. Now let's go find yer aunt. She looked worried about ya."

"Oh, I forgot to tell her where I was going." The happy expression on his face faded to guilt, and you didn't like seeing it. You straightened back up before picking him up and placing him on your hip. 

"Is this okay wit' ya? I don' wanna lose ya in tha crowd." He nodded, one of his arms going around your shoulder to help keep himself steady as you adeptly navigated the dance floor. It wasn't long before you made your way to his family, still where you had seen them earlier. Frisk caught sight of the two of you and rushed over. 

"Asriel Dreemur, how many times do I have to tell you not to wander off? Everyone was worried sick about you!" Her hands kept patting around his face and head before relaxing, relief over her non-harmed nephew allowing her catch her breath before turning to you. 

"It's nice to see you again, I'm sorry you had to watch that." Frisk said, sounding embarrassed. You shook your head as your put Asriel back on the floor beside Frisk and Chara.

"It wasn' a problem in tha slightes'. Jus' means tha boy's got a good fam'ly. Never gotta be sorry fer tha'." Frisk gave you a grin, and you supposed she had really been worried about putting you out with her tone towards your little friend. Her eyes lit up and a question escaped her lips.

"So when did you start working here?"

"Believe it or not, I jus' started 'ere yest'rday. I've lived out yonder in tha countryside all my life, jus' moved ta tha city yest'rday with help from my Grumps. He got me a job a' Sylvester's so I work there in tha mornin'. I'm stayin in an apartment 'bout twenty licks north-northeast of 'ere." You explained. She nodded along in understanding as you spoke, encouraging you to continue with your little spiel. 

"So how are you liking the city so far?" She inquired.

"So far, it's pretty nice. Lots ta see. Not ev'ryone is as nice as y'all, but it is wha' it is. Anyways," you drawled, "it's time fer me ta bounce aroun' and get some orders. Y'all already been taken care of or can we get ya somethin'?" You reached across the bar for the notepad and attached pen before turning to face the family of monsters and humans. 

"Some water would be nice. Kids, do you guys want anything?" 

"Milk!"

"Tea!" 

Both orders were blurted out at the same time and you wrote them down-just in case you forgot them.

"And does yer pal over there need anythin else?" Your eyes darted to Sans who was nursing a..bottle of ketchup. Wait...is it just me or is that the second monster I've met drinking ketchup..? Actually, in this setting, he looks kinda familiar.....OMG!

You didn't even hear if Frisk replied or not.

"Ya were 'ere last nigh', weren' ya?" You directed your voice towards the skeleton. Unlike the first time you saw him, this time you felt no nervousness.

"Nice to see ya finally remember me, little vixen. Was starting to get bonely  thinking I was the only one who recalled yesterday. The name's Sans. Sans the Skeleton." 

"It's nice ta formally meet ya, Sans. Ev'ryone jus' calls me Fox." 

"Likewise. I'd hate to keep ya from your work, so add another bottle of ketchup to that list for me, will you please, Vix." The nickname didn't miss your attention as you nodded, quickly scribbling down his drink order. Walking behind the bar, you got the drinks ready. Asriel had only said tea, so you got him unsweet-a shiver of dread at the thought crawled up your back- and walked back over to them. They all took their respective drinks and you asked if you could get them anything else, which they all declined. You moved onto the next table. 

"Hey gorgeous, when you get off work, do you wanna come back to my place? I'm sure I could show you a good time.." 

"Sir, I'm very flattered. I really am. But I am gonna have ta decline on tha' offer. Is there anythin else I coul' git fer ya? Maybe a drink or I can put in a food order fer ya?" You deflected. His face fell just ever so slightly and he muttered a generic beer. You nodded and let him know you'd be right back with his drink, which you were. 

The rest of the evening proceeded in much the same manner. You'd catch bird calls and other not so subtle flirts, humans and monsters alike trying to get you to sleep with them. It's strange..... you thought. Do people really find me attractive? I thought I was just average though..Oh well, take a compliment when ya can, I suppose. Either way, you weren't going to allow it to distract you. 

The crowd died down for a little while. With it slowing down, you let Grillby know that you were going to do your second number. It was easy enough to make your way to the stage, and when you made it, you looked for Asriel and his family. You knew he'd want to hear you. But further instruction assured you that they had gone home for the night. Well, three of them left. There was one familiar figure still in the same space at the bar. 

You felt nervous but shook it off as the music started up. Easy picking on a guitar filled the room and you started off the lyrics, smooth and soulful.

 

Same old place
Same old city
What can I do?
I'm falling in love

I'm just an old hound dog
Roaming around, oh Lord
I've got all this and Heaven above

 

Everyone began to make their way back to the dance floor now that they had something to dance to. You felt Sans' eyes land on you and you kept your nervous shutter to yourself. Why did he make you so nervous? No one had ever made you feel that way before. You weren't sure you liked the feeling. 

 

Oh, Atlanta
I hear you calling
I'm coming back to you one fine day
No need to worry
There ain't no hurry cause I'm
On my way back to Georgia
On my way back to Georgia

I get a feeling in me
When I remember all those crazy days and crazier nights
Can't you hear the music playing?
You must have heard them saying
We're gonna rip 'em up and light up the night

 

The music had picked up a bit, and you were really getting into it. You had loved this song ever since you were little. It was often played when your neighbors had all gotten together in the past to dance and drink and be merry in everyone's barns. Those were some good times. Maybe you'd go back around Thanksgiving to visit with everyone again.

 

Oh, Atlanta
I hear you calling
I'm coming back to you one fine day
No need to worry
There ain't no hurry cause I'm
On my way back to Georgia
On my way back to Georgia

Same old place
It's the same old city
What can I do?
I'm falling in love

I'm just an old hound dog
Roaming around, Lord, Lord
I've got all this and Heaven above

 

Your voice had dipped down with the pause of music, making people eager to hear you more. You still felt Sans staring at you. Instead of forcefully not making eye contact with him, you stared right back into his sockets. Your eyes didn't leave his until you finished the song. 

 

Oh, Atlanta
I hear you calling
I'm coming back to you one fine day
No need to worry
There ain't no hurry cause I'm
On my way back to Georgia
On my way back to Georgia

Oh, Atlanta
Hear me calling
I'm coming back to you one fine day, hey
No need to worry
There ain't no hurry cause I'm
On my way back to Georgia
On my way back to Georgia

 

With that, you took your final bow of the night. Everyone cheered and told you how good of a job you had done as you stepped off the stage. You made your way to the bar and poured yourself a glass of water. Singing sometimes dried out your mouth so you didn't really want to talk too much until things were back to normal. 

"Perfect, as always, little vixen." A familiar deep voice sounded in your ear, breath touching the back of your neck. You jumped and made a little squeak from the shock, resulting in an almost dropped glass. Turning, you glared at Sans who stood, lackadaisical grin in place, not bothered by the look you gave him.

"Thank you Sans, for the compliment, as well as the heart attack." You bit out, sarcasm scathing and fear making your drawl hide. 

"Nice to know that I can make your heart pound, especially when you're as beautiful as you are." His eyes, no...eyelights, looked you up and down briefly.

"Ha ha." You replied, relief flooding you and allowing your body to relax. "Can I git ya somethin', Sans?" 

"No thanks. I was just on my way out and I wanted to let you know that I greatly enjoyed your performance tonight. See you tomorrow, Vix." With that, he was gone in the blink of an eye. No, literally, he was gone in a blink. He didn't walk away and he didn't do any smoke and mirrors kind of trick. He just....vanished....

You stared at the spot until a voice cleared itself behind you. You turned to find a monster waving you down a few seats down the bar. You made his drink and you continued this way until Grillby let you know it was time to start closing up. He showed you how to turn off the outside lights and the trick in how to lock the front door. You had to pull it shut firmly and wiggle the lock a few times back and forth. You knew it was locked when it finally clicked into place. Turning, a broom and dustpan were waiting for you, propped against a table. You were amazed to see that Grillby had already wiped down the tables and the bar, stacking the seats over the clean surfaces. What was even more amazing was the fact that there was no chewed up gum on the undersides of the chairs. Choosing not to waste any more time, you began your sweeping. The size of the building caused you to take awhile to sweep. After forty minutes though, you had finished. Grillby was counting the money and tips behind the bar, but he stopped long enough to show you the mop and mop bucket. 

It took less time to mop than it did to sweep, you found out. For which you were glad. It was getting close to midnight and you were happily thinking of your little sleeping cot. Once you finished mopping, you found the drain in the cleaning section of the kitchen and dumped the murky water and wrung out the mop. You made your way back to the front where Grillby was checking on something behind the bar. When his flames shifted, you saw a cabinet of nothing but ketchup and you realized he was counting the number that was missing. Without turning to face you, he said one word, and you understood why he was counting almost immediately. 

"Sans."

After the ketchup was counted and the number deducted, he wrote a sum of money down on a slip of paper, which he then stored in the register. 

"I always record Sans' tab though I don't know why. It isn't like he ever pays the damn thing." You heard the flame man grumble quietly, more to himself than to you. When his voice rose, you knew this time he was talking to you.

"Here are your tips for the night. Good work for your first day and I will see you tomorrow." He showed you out the back door and locked it behind you hesitantly. It seemed he had noticed that it was dark and you'd be walking home alone but wasn't sure if you'd be comfortable if he asked to walk you home. 

You didn't mind though. You were pretty observant when you were by yourself. Besides, you weren't too far from your new home. Look, see? It was only about a hundred more feet down the road. You whistled to yourself, though you stopped when you walked into the lobby area. You figured that the people working wouldn't want to hear you be too obnoxious. With dread, you began that terrible walk up the stairs. Lord knows that you at least will stay in shape if you keep this up, but you'd much rather shuck corn which you hated more than anything on earth. Panting, you finally made it to your floor and your door. You unlocked it and walked inside. Even without checking, you knew you smelled bad from how much you had sweat today, and the smell of cigarettes, booze, and grease also seemed to follow you. Yeah, you were pretty ripe. Bee-lining to the bathroom, you indulged yourself in a steamy shower, scrubbing away the dirt and grime you had picked up. God this feels so good. You thought to yourself. 

Once you were finished, you toweled off and you crawled onto your cot. You didn't care that it was scratchy against your skin, you had a warm and soft blanket covering you. It wasn't long before you drifted to sleep, the events of today repeating themselves in your dreams and a content smile on your face.

Chapter Text

It had been a exhaustively long day. You had woken up bright and early to get to Sylvester’s and when you had gotten there, Eddie was no where to be seen. Someone else, a older lady named Yvette, had been in his place. She seemed nice enough, and she liked to talk almost as much as you did. Through talking with her, you found that she had worked at the company for twenty-three years, seven years less than Eddie. But, despite her more advanced age, she still worked hard. You believed that you could be friends with her in the future, if only she’d stop eating the fruit that you had cut. It wasn’t a lot that she ate, but she knew somehow to eat just enough so that one of your bowls wouldn’t be entirely full. In part, you were annoyed, but mainly, you were just really impressed with her skill.

Because of the snackish fiend, you left out of work a bit later than you had the day before. Wasn’t too big a deal, but it did take out some of your scheduled time to look for some furniture. You had brought a bit of money with you earlier, determined to get a table and at least one chair so you weren’t reduced to sitting on the floor while you ate.

Still in your work uniform, you had found a little thrift shop and began meandering around. So far, only clothes and knick-knacks caught your eyes. They were cute, you thought, but not what you needed at the moment. You passed by a rather large and impressive book section and you brought your hand up to hide the books from your sight. You knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you got to looking at them, you would buy every single one.

Safely beyond the temptation of the books, you made your way to the back of the store, finding a decent sized furniture selection. There were mattresses you could see in the back, but you had never been able to sleep on a pre-used mattress before. You shuddered to think about how dirty they had to be. You passed by some couches for the same reason, although, there was a cute little loveseat… NO, table and chairs. Table and chairs , you told yourself. Eventually, you found one. It had a granite tabletop that was light grey, and cream colored legs. Even better, it was being sold as a five-piece set. A table and four chairs, four matching chairs. You quickly searched for a tag but, for some reason, you couldn’t find one.

Ahh this is one of those places that like to haggle with their customers. Let’s see if I can get this around $60.

It took you a while to find someone who worked there. Their shirts were different colors even though the design was the same. The name of the business across the chest with some weird saying on the back. “ The more you want it, the more it costs..?” Makes it almost sound like the wearer is a prostitute.. your mind sounded. You shook out the innuendo as best you could, before inquiring about the granite table.

The man told you they were asking $90 for it, but with some work, you got it to $65 + tax. They had probably thought it worth about the same as you and bumped up the price so they could let you talk them down. You had never really been a fan of that system. It makes people think that they’re getting a great deal, even though they’re really not. It was a cheap sales tactic, but one that worked well enough.

Either way, you were, indeed, going home with that table. Best of all, they delivered at no extra cost. You gave them your address and told that they would be bringing the table and chairs later on in the day. When you asked around the time, they told you it would be close to six, which wouldn’t work because you had your other job that you needed to get to.

After talking with them, you let them know that around ‘this time tomorrow’ would be the best option for you, they agreed. With that settled, you had begun your walk home. It was uneventful, and that was just the way you liked it. The sun filtered through the few trees that were there, and you could see all kinds of little birds flittering from branch to branch. You thought you recognized a few as sparrows and finches, though you weren’t entirely sure. You wouldn’t be until you heard them sing, which they seemed determined not to do.

You got home and immediately changed into some of your nicer clothes for Grillby’s . You wore a purple v-neck that hinted at your cleavage and it hugged your waist, easily showcasing your curves. With it, you wore black shorts and some short black boots. You thought you must look fierce. All your hard work on your farm had paid off, and most of you was pretty toned, if you did say so yourself. With that, you pocketed your keys and wallet, and, making sure your door was locked, made your way to work.

It was pretty empty when you came in, only a monster or human here or there in the spacious room. Grillby was in his usual place at the bar, polishing his one of his glasses again. You greeted him and he flickered, his flames indicating that he heard you and returned your greeting. Within the past few days, you had already figured out that he was definitely the silent type, but you were quickly able to figure out his responses by his head nodding or shaking, or his flames reacting. It was pretty convenient, having a boss whose emotions could never truly be hidden.

When you asked his he wanted you to start waitressing because there wasn’t a crowd just yet, he nodded and handed you a half-apron, a pen, and a pad of paper. You quickly tied the apron around your hips and stuck your writing materials inside one of the large pockets. Making sure you washed your hands, you began going around, table to table, taking orders for drink and for food.

Grillby disappeared into the kitchen when you passed him the food orders and you took care of the drinks yourself. Luckily, no one had yet asked for some mixed alcoholic beverage, so you were able to handle yourself just fine. You were going to have to talk with Grillby about letting you get the bar so he could cook, though you severely doubted that he was going to give up his place behind the bar. Not with how much he polished those glasses and made googly-eyes at the mahogany wood. You began to believe that bar was his most cherished love.

People began filling in more as time went on. Once the restaurant was half full and you had finished with the drink orders, you picked out a couple of records and let Grillby know that you were headed up to the stage. He nodded, the only sign that he heard you, and you placed the record on the turntable as you took off your apron. Grillby took a moment to shoo you up to the stage after he stepped out of the kitchen, and carefully placed the needle on the record and hit the play button.

You stepped up to the microphone as the music began, a slower song this time. You figured for a Tuesday night, slower may be better. You’d have more regulars, you assumed, and it wouldn’t be nearly as busy as it had been on the previous days.

You opened your mouth and the lyrics began to flow out, effortlessly.

Some sunny day-hay baby

When everything seems okay, baby

You’ll wake up and find out you’re alone

Cause I’ll be gone

Gone, gone, gone really gone

Gone, ga-gone, cause you done me wrong

 

Human and monster alike began to look up to you, and while they didn’t get up, a few nodded along with the music. As you sang, you watched another monster walk through the front door and they quickly made a beeline to the bar, where luckily, Grillby had returned after delivering the food to the proper tables. They began chatting together and you figure this is probably the only time you’ll watch Grillby actually be animated when he’s talking with someone.

 

Everyone that you meet baby

As you walk down the street baby

Will ask you why you’re walkin’ all alone

Why you’re on your own

Just say I’m gone

Gone, gone, gone

Gone, ga-gone, cause you done me wrong

 

You made it to the half-way mark. A few people had come up to dance, but it was a more sad song, so you weren’t surprised. You had always enjoyed this song. Grumps had introduced you to it when you were little and he had told you over and over again: “ Little fox, if a man doesn’t treat you right, you don’t need that man.” You took it to heart, and liked to believe that it had led you to be the strong young woman that you were today.

 

If you change your way baby

You might get me to stay baby

Ya better hurry up if ya don’t wanna be alone

Or I’ll be gone

Gone, gone, gone

Really gone

Gone, Ga-gone

Cause you done me wrong

 

With that, you ended your first song and made your way back up to the bar and picked up your apron, retying it around your waist. You picked up your pen and notepad, but before you could leave your place behind the bar, Grillby waved you over, the monster you had seen earlier sat across from him.

“Hello dearie,” the monster began. You noticed that she, at least the voice sounded like a she, had numerous arms, and was that two, three, four, five eyes?! Now that you looked closer at her, you easily identified her as a spider monster. Though it was then that it occurred to you that you hadn’t said anything, and were indeed being rude.

“I’m sorry, hello, nice ta meet ya, miss.” You rushed out, eager to make amends for your poor choice. She waved you off though.

“It’s no problem at all. My dear friend told me that you’re not yet used to monsters. I was expecting it oooh hoo hoo.” She cooed at you. You assumed it was a type of laugh.

“But that’s not why I’m here, dearie. Let’s talk business,” her voice dipped down and caught all your attention. The way she looked at you made you think that she already had you in a web, even though you couldn’t feel or see one.

“I’d like to offer you a job at my establishment. You’d be singing, but for a much more high-class clientele.” You began to speak but she shushed you, and what she said next almost made you believe that she could read your mind.

“I’m not saying that you’d quit here, oh no no, I’m saying that you’ll work here, and at that other little job Grillby told me you had, and at my place. My establishment is a nightly one, much like this one here. We close up a little earlier, and I’m willing to pay more than Grillby here. If you choose to accept, he and I will split days, does that sound alright, dearie?” She pitched.

You began to think. It really did sound good, too good in fact, and if there was something that you knew, it was that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But, this could lead you higher up into the world of fame, and you really wanted to be a famous singer. Maybe you could make this work after all.

“Tha’ sounds mighty fine, indeed, ma’am.” You told her. But then a thought crossed your mind, how can you work for someone if you don’t even know their name? And so, you asked.

“Just call me ‘Muffet’, dearie.”

“Miss Muffet, then,” you smiled at her and offered your hand, which she grabbed with one of hers. So warm you thought as you two shook on your deal.

“Now if ya’ll’ll excuse me, I gotta git back ta servin’ mah guests. Thank ya fer tha job, miss Muffet.” You drawled, before turning back to your guests.

By the time you made your way back to the bar, a notepad full of drink orders, Muffet and Grillby had already decided your fate.

“Friday, Monday, and Thursday, you’ll be working here, and Saturday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, you’ll be working at my location. We decided to give you Sundays off.” Muffet told you. You agreed that that was a good schedule, and you got at least one busy day at each location. She handed you the address and let you know you start tomorrow at five in the evening. With business finished, Muffet left the store after a quick ‘excited to work with you,’ and you began taking drinks back to their respective tables while Grillby got back in the kitchen.

About an hour passed, and you were surprised to see Frisk walk in the door, with a super tall monster beside her. It was another skeleton, this one much taller than Sans, and Sans was tall . Spotting you, Frisk grabbed the skeleton by the hand and pulled him over to you.

“Fox! I want you to meet someone!” She explained to you excitedly. “Fox, this is Papyrus. Papyrus, this is Fox!” He extended a hand out to you and you took it gingerly. Unlike what you expected, his had was super warm. Even with the glove, you could feel the heat through it. He was sharply dressed, he had a black suit and an orange dress shirt underneath the jacket, black shiny dress shoes, and a black hat held in his hand.

“IT IS NICE TO MEET YOU, HUMAN FOX.” He buzzed loudly. “FRISK SAID THAT YOU ARE NEW TO EBOTT CITY, SO ALLOW ME, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, TO FORMALLY WELCOME YOU TO OUR LOVELY LITTLE CITY!!”

“It’sa pleasure ta meet ya, mister Papyrus. Can I git ya anythin’ ta eat or drink?”

“FROM HERE?! NONSENSE! I DESPISE GREASY FOOD! IT IS POOR TASTE OF A CHEF TO LEAVE PUDDLES OF GREASE WITH EVERY DISH. THAT IS WHY I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, AM A MASTER SPAGHETORE.”

He looked proud of himself, and you found yourself smiling up at him. Normally people that spoke loudly were arrogant, and you couldn’t stand arrogance. But for some reason, this Papyrus put you at ease. He seemed to be more innocent than anything, and you were charmed to meet him.

Talking for a while, he found out that you came from the countryside, that you didn’t have any friends yet (which he then proudly called himself your friend), and that you worked two, no, three jobs. He seemed impressed with the earliness with which your days started, and unimpressed with the time you went to sleep, though when you explained to him that it was because you were getting home late from work and that you didn’t keep anyone at home waiting, he seemed to accept it more. You found out from him that Frisk was a co-worker, and Sans was something of his boss. It amazed you to learn that this skeleton in front of you was Sans’ younger brother. He seemed deeply proud of his older sibling, saying that as lazy as he was, he wasn’t as lazy as he had been in the past, which was a vast improvement in his opinion.

After a few more minutes, you had to start working again and you waved at them. They didn’t stick around for long after you got back to work. Frisk had apparently wanted to stop in and let you two meet, but they were on their way to something to do with work. She didn’t elaborate much, and you didn’t press for more information. You never would force someone to answer a question they weren’t ready to answer.

You made your rounds about the restaurant, taking out orders to waiting patrons, refilling drinks, taking down more orders for Grillby.

Sans came in a little while later and took his seat at the bar. You were back there so you got him his ketchup. He took a large sip and you casually let slip that Frisk had introduced you to someone really interesting earlier in the evening. When he raised a brow (how does he even do that?!), you told him.

“Yer brother, Papyrus.”

“Oh, ya got to meet Paps, did ya? Isn’t my bro so cool?” As he said that, his grin grew soft and he got this little dreamy look in his eye.

“Yeah, he’s real cool. He made me his friend, he said.” Sans nodded, like he had both expected as much and was pleased with your answer.

“Glad to see ya made a pal, Vix. You’ll never meet anymore more loyal than him.” With that, he finished his ketchup bottle and requested another. You pulled another one from his drawer and passed it to him. He popped the lid off and for a moment, you thought you saw a flash of blue inside the neck of the bottle. Sans winked at you when he caught you staring, and you decided that your mind was just playing tricks on you, despite the extremely visible flush of red on your cheeks.

“I’m gonna go ahead and sin’ my final song fer tha nigh’. Is there anythin’ else I can git fer ya, Sans?”

“Hmm, you can answer me a question..” His voice trailed off like he wasn’t quite sure if he should ask you anything in the first place.

“And wha’ woul’ tha’ be?”

“Would ya smooch a skeleton?”

You couldn’t even form a response to him, instead, you stared at him, an even redder blush taking over the entirely of your face. Did he really just ask that? Oh my goodness..is he serious?! I don’t even know him that well do I come off as being easy? Why would he ask that? Whywhywhywhywhywhywhy??

After a moment, he began laughing. It was a deep, hearty laugh, one that came from the soul. It lit up his face, and blue ( blue?) tears began to pool at the corners of his tightly shut eye sockets. And it struck you in that moment, Sans was exceptionally handsome, especially for a guy made of only bones. But recognizing his good looks didn’t help your case any, and when his eyes opened and darted back to you, they quickly shut, his laughter getting more intense. It took him awhile, but he began to calm down.

“Sorry, kid” chuckle “you shoulda seen” chuckle “your face. The look you gave me sure tickled my funny bone . Certainly enough to make me crack a rib , lil Vix.” chuckle chuckle .

You rolled your eyes at how silly he was being. It had never occurred to you that Sans could even be so boisterous, especially when he had been nothing but quiet and calm since you had first met him. You could definitely see yourself trying to make him laugh like that again in the future.

“Ha ha, v’ry funny, Sans. Any song recommendations, bonehead ?” You teased. He just shook his head, a fat grin on his face that had gotten wider when you called him ‘bonehead’.

“Naw, doll, just something upbeat. Don’t wanna lose this good mood ya gave me.”

You nodded and exchanged the selection you had made earlier for one that you believed would suit him better. You got it started and made your way up on stage, apron left at one of the nearby empty tables. Gripping the microphone, you dipped your voice low and soft, blending your voice to the music.



Hey-o, here comes the danger up in this club

When we get started man, we ain't gonna stop

We gonna turn it out, 'till it gets too hot

Everybody sing, hey-o

Tell 'em turn it up 'till they can't no more

Let's get this thing shakin' like a disco ball

This is your last warning, a courtesy call



With that, the music picked up, hard and heavy. Your voice followed along with the flow easily enough. Chancing a glance over at Sans, relief flooding you for some strange reason when you see that he’s still at his place at the bar. You can see his hand tapping and him nodding along to the music as he takes a large sip of ketchup. It made you feel happy and proud to know that he was enjoying himself.

 

Hey-o, here comes the danger up in this club
When we get started man, we ain't gonna stop
We gonna turn it out, 'till it gets too hot
Everybody sing, hey-o
Tell 'em turn it up 'till they can't no more
Let's get this thing shakin' like a disco ball
This is your last warning, a courtesy call

 

The other monsters were beginning to make their way onto the dance floor, the music making them energized. I wish I could dance with them fluttered across the forefront of your mind. You shook it away to concentrate on the lyrics.

 

I am not afraid of the storm that comes my way
When it hits, it shakes me to the core
And makes me stronger than before
It's not a question about trust
But will you stand with us?
Can you feel it?
Make it real and

I think it might wash away tonight
Awakened from this never ending fight
It takes more than meets the eye
This war we're fighting is not just writing

 

You saw Sans, your eyes trained on him, get up from his seat and approach the dance floor. You were curious as to what he was doing, but when he began dancing with another monster, you immediately were hit with a tide of jealousy, which you quickly clamped down on. There was no way you were going to get jealous of another monster dancing with Sans. No way. It was more natural that way than you pining after him. Besides, you were a human, he probably thought you weren’t attractive, or, hell, that you were a whole different species entirely . There was no way you ever get with a skeleton .

 

Hey-o, here comes the danger up in this club
When we get started man, we ain't gonna stop
We gonna turn it out, 'till it gets too hot
Everybody sing, hey-o
Tell 'em turn it up 'till they can't no more
Let's get this thing shakin' like a disco ball
This is your last warning, a courtesy call

There's a rumble in the floor
So get prepared for war
When it hits, it'll knock you to the ground
While it shakes up everything around
But survival is a must
So will you stand with us?
Can you feel it?
Make it real and
Make me feel it

 

You closed your eyes. You didn’t want to keep seeing him dancing with another woman. It hurt and you couldn’t understand why. I just met him a few days ago. What the hell is wrong with me? Oh no! Your voice fell a note when you stopped focusing on the lyrics. You highly doubted anyone would notice, but you would rather sing something perfectly as you could.

 

I think it might wash away tonight
Awakened from this never ending fight
It takes more than meets the eye
This war we're fighting is not just writing

 

Back on track, that verse you didn’t miss or mess up anything. When you opened your eyes, you had lost sight of Sans, which was a good thing. You worked hard at not looking for him, instead, you focused on some of the more familiar faces that had come in earlier in the week.

 

Hey-o, here comes the danger up in this club

When we get started man, we ain't gonna stop

We gonna turn it out, 'till it gets too hot

Everybody sing, hey-o

Tell 'em turn it up 'till they can't no more

Let's get this thing shakin' like a disco ball

This is your last warning, a courtesy call

 

Hey-o, here comes the danger up in this club

When we get started man, we ain't gonna stop

We gonna turn it out, 'till it gets too hot

Everybody sing, hey-o

Tell 'em turn it up 'till they can't no more

Let's get this thing shakin' like a disco ball

This is your last warning, a courtesy call

 

Song finished, you stood on stage catching your breath as the patrons applauded you. Giving them a smile and a bow, you made your way off stage, compliments and flirts following you back to your apron.

After you finished your song, people began to pay and head out the door. It was getting rather late and close to closing. A few people called out a goodnight to you as you began sweeping the floor. There was only a couple of people still inside, all of the crowded around the bar chatting with each other and with Grillby, or rather, at him as he made no effort to add anything to the conversation. It didn’t take you long to get finished sweeping, and by the time you got your mop water ready, the last of the patrons had left the restaurant. Grillby was making quick work of the tables and chairs, wiping them down and  cleaning off the undersides when he happened to find gum. You knew when he found some because his flames would flicker erratically and you’d hear him grumble under his breath.

It didn’t take you as long to mop as it had the day before. This time, you actually got to help Grillby with the tips as you finished turning out all the lights before he was finished.

He handed you what you earned before walking around the storefront. Nodding to himself, he turned to you and put a fiery hand on your head, causing you to look up at him.

“Good work today, Fox.”

“Thank ya, Grillby. I had fun,” you beamed up at him. He kept his hand on your head, you didn’t mind-the heat felt so nice, as he spoke again.

“Don’t let Sans get under your skin. He’s a dangerous man, so be careful around him and don’t let your guard down.” He warned.

“Was I tha’ o’vious?” You asked, head dipping forwards as you looked at the ground. Grillby didn’t answer, patting your head. That was answer enough for you.

“ ‘ave a good nigh’, Grillby.”

“See you Thursday, Fox.” His hand fell from your head and he walked back inside the building, door shutting behind him and lock clicking into place. You just stood there, feeling hurt and dejected, but not really knowing why. Embarrassment that Grillby had noticed your actions flowed through you as you turned from the restaurant and made your way back home.

You weren’t really paying attention to your surroundings. If you were, you would have noticed that eyes followed your every step.

Once you got back to your apartment, you made your way up the stairs before going inside and collapsing on your floor from exhaustion. You were just going to shower in the morning. Setting your alarm, you crawled your way into your bedroom and onto the cot, sleep claiming you in seconds.

Chapter Text

That morning, you had met another new co-worker, but this one was not in your department. Oh no, he worked over in the meat department. He, Tony, was a tall lanky fellow and he had red hair, his face etched into a permanent state of disillusionment. He wasn’t much older than you, you had guessed, but there was something about how he looked at you that made you feel incredibly small and legitimately scared of him.

You had always been good at reading people. He gave you a terrible feeling, and so, other than a standard greeting, you hadn’t spoke to him. Knowing that you worked with someone like that, it made you finish your job faster than usual. You didn’t even want to stay in the same building with him.

When you told Eddie, he told you there was something off about that boy and to be careful around him.

“He’s got those predator eyes.” Eddie had told you. He didn’t have to tell you twice to be wary of Tony, hell, he didn’t even have to tell you once. You knew deep inside you that he was no good.

Once you got off work, wishing Eddie and Sylvester a good day, you kept looking over your shoulder, worried that you were being followed home. It was a bad omen and you hoped that you would be okay by the end of the day.

In the safety of the front lobby, you finally allowed yourself to relax as you pulled your aching legs up the many flights of stairs to your apartment. Stepping inside the threshold, you felt immensely better. So, my first night at Muffet’s..she mentioned it was more high class so maybe a skirt would be good?

You began to poke around your small closet before you found a longish grey skirt with purple roses on it. Lace decorated the hips and the bottom hem of it. It paired nicely with a form fitting black shirt that you owned, and you wore your black boots again with it.

It may have been a slightly outdated look, you knew, but you couldn’t bring yourself to part with the clothes. They had stuck with you for a decent while and you had grown comfortable with them.

A knock at your door surprised you, until you remembered your deal with the moving company the day before. Peeking through the peephole, you recognized the uniforms and unlocked the door before opening wide enough to let them in.

“Where do you want your selections, ma’am?” They asked you.

You looked at the man, fairly slight in his build with blond hair and the beginnings of wrinkles appearing on his face. You weren’t sure he’d be able to get the table inside the door and his men were just slightly out of breath, having pulled the table and chairs up the stairs.

“Anywhere’ll do. I’ll figure it ou’ so don’ ya or yer men worry none. Y’already did tha hard par’ fer me.” He nodded, and instructed him men to bring your kitchen set inside. The chairs had come in easily enough, but the table worried you a bit. They wound up getting inside your home by laying it sideways and putting two legs through at a time. It worked, and it didn’t bump your doorframe or hurt that lovely granite that drew you to it in the first place.

Since they brought it to you and while you had tried to help with the chairs, you still felt guilty for them having to bring the dining set all the way up five flights of stairs, so you made sure to tip them well. They thanked you (probably from not getting tipped often), and you bid them farewell before shutting your door and locking it behind them.

You set your table up near the kitchenette, leaving a decent sized walkway so you wouldn’t bump into the chairs if you happened to leave one untucked from sitting, or in case you happened to have future friends over.

From when the movers came in until now, you had blown maybe a single hour. It was still too early to go to Muffet’s but you had nothing else to really do at home. You tried to kill time by wiping down the table and its legs, as well as the legs and backs of the chairs, but you only managed to lose fifteen minutes.

Sighing with reluctance, you left. Maybe you would see something interesting on your way to your new job?

Following the instructions on the card Muffet had handed you the night before, it took no time at all for you to make it to her restaurant. When you looked at the card, it read Muffet’s Bakery and Cafe , matching the lettering on the building in front of you. Outside was painted a very soft lavender, with actual lavender growing in pots outside the door with little yellow buttercups surrounding them. It was overall very feminine and lovely.

Stepping through the door, however, was something you hadn’t expected. Everywhere you looked, you were showered with silver and black, purple accents livening up the place. It was, in your opinion, super posh, and you never thought you would set a foot in a place like this. It really was more high-class, causing a feeling of not belonging stirring within your stomach.

More shocking than your discomfort and the lovely interior decor was the sheer number of spiders in butler’s uniforms there. One walked up to you and made a gesture as though to follow it, though you shook your head and told it that you were only looking around. It snapped its little fangs at you as though annoyed, and crawled back up the string of wed from which it had descended.

There is no way this is my new job you found yourself thinking. A long black wood bar with those silver edges caught your attention towards the back corner of the establishment. You certainly felt like you were definitely not in a cafe or a bakery. Instead, it felt more like a five-star restaurant.

A voice cleared behind you and you turned to see Muffet, a welcoming smile on her face.

“I’m glad you could make it, dearie. Though..you are a bit early..” Her voice tapered off and you explained that you had decided to find her location because you were unfamiliar with the area, which was true. You hadn’t been to this side of the city yet.

She nodded with understanding before you caught her eyes look you up and down. You suddenly felt underdressed for the elegance that her restaurant commanded.

“Do I need ta change, ma’am?” You asked her, a bit timidly. You hoped she refused, you didn’t really have anything better than what you had on. The only thing left was a dress your mother had left you, a blue velvet, floor-length dress that had a blue satin train and matching shawl. You didn’t want to wear it, it was so precious to you and you were deeply worried that wearing it would damage it in some way.

Your fears were unfounded as Muffet shook her head.

“No,dearie, I actually think your clothes are fairly appropriate. You match my decorating, ahuhuhuhu~” She told you, glint in her eyes. “Though, it wouldn’t be bad to consider updating your wardrobe. You look to be around my size. Maybe I can get some of my old dressed to fit you, though I would have to sew up the extra arm slots…” Muffet mused before you.

“Oh well, we won’t speak of such things just yet. Let me give you a tour of the place, dearie.”

You nodded, silently agreeing that a short tour before you began would be a wonderful way to pass your time. She walked you around the dining area fairly quickly, showing you the bar and the stage in the back of the room but in opposite corners. Leading you down a long hallway between the bar and stage, Muffet pointed out the kitchen on the same side of the building as bar, as well as the bathrooms towards the end of the hall. Before the bathroom doors, there was a flight of stairs, leading both down towards a basement and up towards a second floor.

“If you go down stairs, it’s where we keep our more expensive wines and other supplies for the kitchen that may not fit in the actual kitchen itself. We keep new cooking utensils, pots and pans, as well as cleaning supplies down there. Upstairs is my office.” She explained as she led you up the narrow stairwell. Once inside, you were amazed at the quantity of spiderwebs that littered the small room. You supposed that you shouldn’t be too surprised, after all, it seemed like both your boss and the rest of your co-workers were spiders. But it was seriously a lot. It looked liked you had stepped into a halloween shop almost. You attempted to not look disturbed so as not to offend your new boss, but you weren’t entirely sure you got away with it. If she noticed, Muffet didn’t remark about it; instead she led you to her desk. She took a seat on one side and made a motion as to suggest that you sit (in the thankfully web-free) chair across from her.

“Here is your contract, dearie. Go over it, fill out any blank spaces, and then you can go downstairs and have a treat and drink before you begin. This will be the one and only time it’s on the house, so please enjoy yourself.” She smiled sweetly at you, fangs poking through her lips.

“Yes ma’am.” You told her, before filling out your basic information. It took you about twenty minutes to completely fill out the contract. Despite how few pages there was, the print was tiny and you had a hard time reading it. You suddenly found yourself wishing you had some glasses, or at the very least, a magnifying glass. This was just plain ridiculous trying to read. There you were, head bent forward, a deep slouch in your shoulders, and a squint that could belong to someone trying to look up on a bright sunny day. But eventually, you made your way through the contract and passed it back to Muffet.

She looked over your responses quickly, a bit of laughter or some thoughtful clicking of her fangs. You couldn’t tell if she was laughing at you or if she was annoyed with you. Not knowing began to make your skin crawl, but you glanced at your arms to make sure none of her spiders were causing it.

Muffet put your contract away in a file before she began talking to you once again.

“As you could see from downstairs, I do have a much more elegant restaurant than dear Grillby. As such, I attract the more wealthy and powerful denizens of Ebott. On occasion, even the most famous monster, Mettaton, comes in here. Most of my guests, however, are politicians, lawyers, doctors, and even a few mob bosses. As such, if they speak to you, please be as professional as possible. One, for the reputation of my business, and two, for your own safety. Everyone you see in here is in a position of some kind of power. Please be careful.” She warned you, and you decided to take that advice to heart. Sure you could handle yourself against most of those types of people, though they may try to ruin your finances or your life, you knew for a fact that the bosses of mafia wouldn’t hesitate to ruin your life, and by ruin your life, you meant end it very prematurely.

“With the scary part out of the way, with my more prestigious clientele, remember to sing songs that are a bit softer or more what you’d find in a place of high class. Try to keep any swearing to a minimum.”

“Tha’ won’ be a probl’m, miss Muffet. Ya c’n coun’ on me.” You reassured her. It seemed to be the right thing to say, because she nodded and sent you on your way downstairs.

You took a seat at one of the tables more out of the way, though it was difficult to find one. Most of them seem to have been strategically placed to always be in vision of bar. A spider slinks down on a web and makes a strange chirp at you.

“Are ya askin’ me fer my ord’r?” You asked it and it nodded at you. You weren’t entirely sure how a spider could nod, but you didn’t want to waste its time.

“May I git a donut an’ a spider cider?” You read the first two things that you saw on the menu.

It clicked it’s fangs and crawled up its web strand to, you assumed, the kitchen.

While it was gone, you looked over your surroundings. The tables all had white tablecloths with silver and purple marbling dying parts of it, black and white candles decorating the tops. The chairs were purple, with black wrought-iron. Despite the hard metal, they were surprisingly comfortable and it became easy to sit back and relax while waiting for your snack.

It didn’t take long for your order to find its way onto your table. Absentmindedly you thanked the spiders that brought them to you, and you didn’t notice them begin to chatter amongst themselves. All but one left you. Once you took a bite of the donut ( oh goodness it was so good) , it looked up at you expectantly. You told it what you thought of the treat and it seemed happy, kind of bouncing on its web strand. With that, it receded back towards the ceiling and you alternated between the snack and your cider. As soon as your last bite had been consumed, the spider came back to remove your dishes. While it was there, you gave it its tip. Since Muffet had told you the meal was on the house, you tipped the entire cost of the drink and snack. Somehow, it was still around twenty dollars. You made a mental note that no matter how good the food was, you would not  get distracted and eat anything here unless you planned for it way in advance.

You watched the humans and monsters come and go for close to an hour before a familiar face made its way over to you.

“Heya Miss Fox!” a young voice eagerly called out and the monster ran over to you.

“Heya, Asriel. How are ya? Ya with Frisk an’ Sans again?” You asked him. He shook his head.

“Nope! I’m here with my mom and dad! Stay here!” With that, he ran off. You followed him with his eyes, suspecting what he was planning, but wanting to make sure. He made his way over to two very large monsters that looked almost identical to him. The taller one wore a black suit with a yellow dress shirt and the smaller one had on a beautiful purple gown. Asriel was talking animatedly with them and he began to drag them towards your table. Seemed your suspsions were correct.

As the two tall goat monsters approached you, you stood up and extended your hand with a smile on your face as Asriel ran to your side.

“You must be Mrs Fox. Our son has told us about you many times. I am Asgore Dreemurr, and this is my wife, Toriel. It is nice to finally meet you.”

“It’s nice ta meetcha, Mr an’ Mrs Dreemurr. Though I’m gonna have ta correct ya jus’ a tad. I am in no ways a ‘Mrs’, yet.” As you spoke, Asgore, the larger monster accepted your out-strectched hand, giving it a firm shake. You extended the same courtesy to Toriel.

“Excuse me if I am being rude,” Asgore began, “but what are you doing at Muffet’s ? Asriel had mentioned that you worked at Grillby’s.

“This is actu’lly a new thin’. Yest’rday, miss Muffet approached me an’ offer’d me a job ta sing ‘ere. This is gonna be my firs’ day workin’ ‘ere.”

“Ah, very good, very good.” Asgore mused to himself. “Well, it seems like Asriel will get to see you more often. My wife and I frequent here. It was nice meeting you, child.”

“It was nice ta meetcha, as well, Mr Dreemurr.”

“Please, call me Asgore. You helped my son, there is no need for formality.”

“Al’ighty then, Mr Asgore. Please enjoy yer supper.” You told him while extending a nod to his wife. They turned to leave so they could return for their table. Asriel hung back for a moment. You knelt down and gave him a hug, causing him to blush, but he returned it before running back to the table with his parents.

At that time, Muffet strode confidently out of the hallway. One of her many eyes made contact with you and she began walking in your direction.

“Fox, dearie, I know it’s early, but go ahead and get on stage. Do you have your songs for today picked out?

“Yes ma’am. I do.” Muffet led you back into the hallway and ushered you into backstage.

“Sit here, dearie. I’m going to do your makeup.”

Oh no. You thought. You had never worn makeup before. You were kind of scared to see how this was going to go.

Muffet began to rub some kind of cold liquid on your face followed by more cold liquid. It felt like she was drawing on a clown’s face. Once she had the makeup on your face, she attacked you with a brush, swirling it around this way and that. You felt terrified when you felt her hands move up to your eyes. When she told you to open them, you almost fought her. She’s gonna poke me in my damn eye, I just know it You thought worriedly. You really didn’t want her to stab your eye out with a makeup thing, so you sat as still as you could, doing your best to imitate a statue. But, finally , she was finished. You told her your song selesctions and she nodded, approving your choices.

She talked with one of her many spiders, having it get the songs ready. As the music began, you were told to ‘break a leg’ which you definitely didn’t want to do. You would have to ask Muffet about it once you were done.

The music was soft, slight drums and guitar playing. This was one of your favorite songs and you weren’t going to mess up on it. You began singing, your voice starting off high and lilty.

 

I'm falling down
And 15 thousand people scream
They were all begging for your dream
I'm falling down
Five thousand houses burning down, yeah
No one is gonna save this town

 

Yeah, that was how you liked it. You had loved this song since you were small. The original singer’s falsetto always gave you a wonderful feeling in your heart.

 

Too late, I already found what I was looking for
You know it wasn't here
No, it wasn't here
I was calling your name
But you would never hear me sing
You wouldn't let me begin
So I'm crawling away
'Cause you broke my heart in two, yeah
No I will not forget you

 

It was a sadder song, you could admit that, and that’s why you would have never performed it at Grillby’s . You felt hesitant, for some reason, to sing anything that wasn’t an upper type song there. You didn’t think Grillby would mind, but you wanted the customers to leave there happier than they had come in.

 

Too late, I already found what I was looking for
You know it wasn't you
No, it wasn't you, no
Falling away
You don't ever see me free
No, I could not forget you

Falling down
Five thousand houses burning down, yeah
No one is gonna save this town, yeah

 

The roughest part of the song was out of the way, first letting your voice get rough and then a fade type sound. But the song got a little rougher before it finished.

 

Too late, I already found what I was looking for
You know it wasn't you
No, it wasn't you, no

Falling down
Now my world is upside-down, yeah
I'm heading straight for the clouds

 

When your song ended, you were met with a quiet applause, though you could definitely make out a more enthusiastic hand clapping coming from one of the tables. It wasn’t nearly the kind of welcome that you had come to expect at Grillby’s . You found yourself rather missing the more rowdy crowds of your other job. But you supposed that was why things were called jobs . It was a great deal to work here, but it definitely wasn’t going to be on the more fulfilling side of things.

With that, you made your way off the stage. Muffet was clapping and telling you what an amazing job you had done, which you accepted with a humbled ‘thank you.’ She then let you know that during your downtime, you should go and welcome the guests to the establishment and tell them that their business was greatly valued.

So that is what you did. A few people ignored you or waved you off, while others nodded politely and heard you out. Then were the tables were customers attempted to ask you out or flirt with you. A couple of people made you feel uncomfortable and you learned that it was just easier to accept what they were saying before moving on to the next table. Eventually you were done, and you made your way to the bathroom. It wasn’t that you needed to relieve yourself, but you more needed some water. You felt like Muffet would be one to charge you for tap water so you cupped your hands under the bathroom sink and drank your fill.

Drying off your mouth, you made your way back out to the floor and let Muffet know you were ready for your next song. This next one was a country song, one that your Grumps had introduced you to. They said it was around when they were little. You found that you enjoyed the artist, so you wound up listening to more and more of their songs as you got older. They had good meaning, one in particular you felt would work well here. The old electric guitar started and you began with some “la de da’s” to begin.

 

Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean
And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers
Till they're covered up with flowers
In the back of a black limousine

 

You had a lot of respect for this song, despite its age. Most people here were just listening for white noise you had already figured out. They wouldn’t catch the deeper meaning of your words, only what they wanted from their own conversations.

 

La-da da da da da da da
La-da da da da da de
Talking 'bout you and me
And the games people play
Oh we make one another cry
Break a heart then we say goodbye
Cross our hearts and we hope to die
That the other was to blame

Woah-ah
Neither one will give in
So we gaze at our eight by ten
Thinking 'bout the things that might have been
It's a dirty rotten shame

Woah-ah

 

As you watched, people spoke and ate. It seemed Asriel was the only one paying attention to you, which you didn’t mind. You found yourself taken with the boy and considered him a friend. You figured if his parents were able to frequent a luxury place like Muffet’s then his school friends most definitely would want to be friends with him for his wealth only. Even in the country, you knew some people like that.

 

People walking up to you
Singing glory hallelujah
And they're try to sock it to you
In the name of the Lord
They're gonna teach you how to meditate
Read your horoscope, cheat your fate
And further more to hell with hate
Come on and get on board

 

You were approaching the end of your song. While it wasn’t a long song, it had more lyrics than the more modern songs you chose to sing and as much as you liked it, you were happy for it to be over.

 

Look around tell me what you see
What's happening to you and me
God grant me the serenity
To remember who I am
'Cause you've given up your sanity
For your pride and your vanity
Turns your back on humanity
And you don't give a da da da da da

La-da da da da da da da
La-da da da da da de

I keep talking about you and me

And the games people play

I keep talking about you and me

And the games people play

Keep talking about you and me

 

Your voice trailed off with the music towards the end. Muffet was again cheering for you from behind the curtains. This time you had gotten even less applause, though you highly doubted it was from them listening to you. They were too absorbed in what the other person nearest them was saying.

You made your rounds again this time, talking with your other customers that you failed to speak with the first time around. It seemed Asriel and his folks had left for the evening. You felt kind of sad at that, but it was getting fairly late. Muffet told you to sing one more song for the night and then you could go home. Honestly you felt like boring your customers. Yeah you could sing, but you weren’t providing them anything else, just some little somber tune as a backdrop to their conversations.

But you picked out yet another song , eager to head home. You could see how working here could be soul-crushing at some point. At least you had Grillby’s to look forward to.

 

Long way going to
Get my medicine
Sky's the autumn grey of a lonely wren

Piano from a window played
Gone tomorrow, gone yesterday

I found it in the street
At first I did not see
Lying at my feet
A trampled rose

 

If Muffet wants softer music, here, she could have it. Though you were going to have to look up more slow songs. At this rate, you’d run out of them within a week.

 

Passing the hat in church
It never stops going around

You never pay just once
To get the job done

What I done to me,
I done to you
What happened to the trampled rose?

 

This song was another that you had enjoyed since you were small. Your dad had introduced you to the artist and you had fallen in love with her voice. She always sounded like an angel to you, and she knew every note needed to break your heart.

 

In the muddy street
With the fireworks and leaves

A blind man with a cup I asked
Would he sing 'Kisses Sweeter Than Wine'

I know that rose,
Like I know my name
The one I gave my love,
It was the same
Now I find it in the street,
A trampled rose

 

Ohh~

 

You let the instrumental at the end of the song take over and finish out as you took your final bow of the night. You felt more dead inside than you had in awhile. A part deep inside of you believed that it was most likely due to the fact that it didn’t seem like your customers were enjoying the music and that it just wasn’t lively like you loved it and needed it to be.

Wishing Muffet a good night, you began your walk back home.

The streets were quiet and illuminated only with the weak light from the streetlamps. You could hear some scuffling down some of the alleyways, but you told yourself not to go investigate, it wasn’t safe for you. At the nearest street corner, you noticed a little flower shop. You pushed your face up against the window, peering inside. You really wanted to go in, but it was late, close to midnight, and it had been closed for a few hours already at this point. Letting out a disappointed sigh but promising when you had more time you’d come back, you left the cute little shop behind you.

You made it back without any issue. It had started sprinkling a bit once you had made it to your street, but it wasn’t anything that had you drenched by the time you were inside the safety of the lobby. Shivering a bit from the air conditioning, you made your way up the stairs before entering your home. Not wanting to sleep in wet clothes, you changed into some soft pajamas, a large shirt and some sweat pants. You brushed your teeth and had a glass of water before laying down on your cot, setting your alarm, and quickly falling into sleep.

Chapter Text

A loud buzzing noise assaulted your eardrums, proudly exclaiming it was time to get out of bed. Your body didn’t want to comply, and you groaned as you turned over on the cot, careful not to roll off. The alarm clock was starting to get on your nerves and you reached over to shut the stupid thing off. Your annoyance fueled you, and you sat up, yawn stretching your mouth open. With fresh air in your mouth, you could taste your morning breath.

You stood up and made your way to the bathroom, nearly rushing for your toothpaste and toothbrush. As soon as you were finished brushing your teeth, you started the water for your shower, waiting for the water to get hot before stripping and climbing in. The hot water flowing down your body kick started your brain, allowing you to finish getting ready for the day.

Pulling on your uniform just as soon as your body was dry enough to let you get it on without hassle, you pocketed your keys and wallet before locking your door and walking heavy-footed down those god-awful stairs. Maybe you’d start looking for a place without stairs if you could find one. In this city, you kinda doubted it.

You walked down the increasingly familiar roads on your way to Sylvester’s . The sky was still dark and your path was illuminated only by streetlights. As strange as it was to see a bustling city so dead silent, you kind of enjoyed the peace that it brought you. When you came across your work building, the sky had just begun to brighten. You were still early, so you watched the dawn. Maybe waking up as early as you do paid off once in awhile. Maybe.

Time flew by quickly, and before you were ready, it was time to get to work. You knocked on the door until your boss let you inside. Morning greetings were exchanged and you made your way to your back room. No one was there yet, so you printed out your production report like Eddie had shown you once before and recorded your balance on hand for the cut fruit and veggies.

You weren’t going to have to do as much today. You had discovered the day before that you could cut some extra product and use it the next day. Falling into your newly developing habit, you began with the cut veggies. When you first started, it took you an hour to get them done, now you had cut twenty minutes off that initial time.

By the time you finished, Eddie was walking in the door. He wished you a good morning and you returned it, each of you in turn asking how the other was doing. Eddie told you about how his wife was giving him a hard time last night over his drinking.

“Girl, I was sitting there on my couch, drinking my beer, and my wife, man, she came over and she took my beer. She took it and drank it all. How am I supposed to get drunk when she comes and takes all my stuff?”

“Maybe buy ‘er somethin’ ta drink?”

“Why? She already takes most all my money. I don’t know what she does with it. I guess she and my daughter use it to go find those stupid cats they like so much. Ya know, we got six cats, two of them are pregnant. You know anyone who wants some babies?”

“I c’n take two of dem. I ain’t got anyone ta keep me comp’ny when I’m home so it’ll be great. And, ya know, ya can get those spay and neuter tickets right? Instead of tha surgery ta fix ‘em be super pricey, ya can ‘ave ‘em fixed fer somethin’ like ‘round fifty dollas.”

While you were talking with Eddie, you had moved onto cutting your fruit. You started with melons. It hadn’t taken you long to figure out that you should rarely have more than one or two bowls of honeydew or cantaloupe as they just didn’t seem to move. You didn’t really understand why. You especially loved the former, even more than you loved watermelon. Once you finished cutting those, you put both melons into a silver colored tray for the mixed fruit and mixed melon bowls. In the cooler, you pulled out the additional cut watermelon that you cut yesterday and quickly filled a few bowls. The rest went into the mixed melon tray.

Eddie had moved onto working the truck that had come in. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, it seemed you had a truck come in. Eddie would stand in the cooler with the door wide open as he moved product off the pallets and onto the metal shelves inside the large walk-in.

You finished your cut fruit a few hours later and found that you still had an hour and a half left to go in your shift.

“Do ya want me ta help ya fill tha floor, Mr Eddie?” You asked the older man.

“I won’t turn you down. Take this cart and start filling up the sections where they belong. Remember that the older product goes in front of what you’ve got there.”

You did as he asked, taking the double-decker cart, a cart that had a bottom layer and a top layer only two feet above that, and made your way to the fairly empty sales floor.

On the cart, you could see some iceberg lettuce, some carrots, and a lot of similar type boxes. One of them read ‘ Caesar’ and you figured they had to be bagged salads. The similar boxes were on top of the other product, so you began locating the individual salads before taking off the older product and filling the now-empty space with the new product, before finally replacing the older stuff in front of the newer.

You made it through a few boxes before you heard a voice clear itself behind you. You quickly turned and acknowledged the voice, asking if you could help them find anything. But it wasn’t until you actually looked at the owner of the voice did you feel a soft smile making its way onto your face.

“How ya doin’ t’day, Miss Toriel?” You asked the goat monster.

“Miss Fox! I did not expect to see you here, child. You are a very busy young woman. Are you well?” She asked, her voice both deep and light at the same time, mature sounding, and very soothing.

“Yes ma’am. I’m doin’ jus’ fine. Eddie fin’lly let me outta tha backroom ta help ‘im out out ‘ere.”
“Yes, I rather like Eddie. He is a good man. He is always working hard, no matter when I see him. I am glad that he has found himself a helper.” A soft smile graced Toriel’s face, and it occurred to you that she could actually be considered beautiful. You never knew you’d think that about a goat, let alone a goat monster.

“Thank ya, Miss Toriel. I hope ta be of more help ta tha ol’ man jus’ as soon as I learn tha rest of this ‘ere department.”

“That is good, child. Now, to take you up on your first question, you would not happen to know where I might find breadcrumbs now would you?”

“I b’lieve those are gonna be down tha bread aisle. Tha’s tha only place I c’n think of ta look.”

You led Toriel down to the bread aisle, which just happened to be all the way across the store from your department. Towards the bottom of one of the shelves, you were able to find a small tin of the crumbs, but there was only that one. Toriel assured you that that was fine, that she didn’t need any more than that, and allowed you to return to your corner of the store.

You finished stocking the shelves with the product on your cart and turned to make your way back towards the backroom to put away that which you hadn’t found space for on the shelf, and to refill your cart with different product.

When you made it to the back, Eddie had already down-stacked most of the pallets; the only one he hadn’t yet moved was the one that had the potatoes and tomatoes, neatly stored outside the cooler. Making sure it was alright to take them out (it was), you grabbed a pallet jack and pulled them outside slowly. It was so damn heavy, and despite the pallet now rolling, you still had to pull with most of your strength in order to get it out onto the sales floor. Luckily, most of the customers you passed were kind enough to move out of your way, seeing that your heavy load was most definitely very difficult to maneuver.

Out on the floor once again, you start stocking the tomatoes, namely because they were on the top of the pallet. You had never thought about all the different kinds of tomatoes, you had thought they were all created equal because the ones your neighbors grew all looked alike. But now you were able to recognize that they had probably been growing only one type. You had green tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes ( they look so weird!) , roma tomatoes, vine ripe, cluster, and beef-steak. That was even ignoring those little ones in the hard plastic packaging.

“Well well well, what have we here?” a voice purred behind you. You turned to face it, not recognizing it, and wondering if you had done something wrong, not sure, but also noting the amused tone.

Behind you stood a fairly tall man, definitely much taller than you. He had blond hair that had been slicked back, beautiful emeralds made their homes within the whites of his eyes, and he had an even and well groomed short beard that was darker than the hair on his head. A light dusting of freckles dusted his nose and cheeks. He was dressed to the nines, white dress-shirt covered by a grey jacket and paired with grey slacks, black shoes shined to perfection peeking out from under the well tailored hem. Dear mother of all that is holy, this man is gorgeous . You couldn’t contain the thought and as it fluttered across your mind, you felt a heat blossom across your face. It then occurred to you that you hadn’t yet spoken and he was waiting for you to respond to him.

“I-is somethin’ tha matta, sir?” You asked, nervousness causing you to stutter on your first words.

“Yes, there is. What is a beautiful dame such as yourself working at a rundown little shop as this?” His voice was pleasant and fairly deep, though not as deep as Sans’. Why did he even cross my mind? You mentally chastised yourself for thinking about the goofy skeleton when you had a suspected deity standing before you.

“I’m n’t quite sure what ya mean, sir.” You blush had deepened a bit and suddenly you found yourself hating that damned drawl you had.

“I mean you, my dear. When I saw you, I had thought an angel must be missing from Heaven and God above.”

You felt he was laying it on pretty thick, but you were so flattered at his kind words. He didn’t wait for your response as he grabbed your hand and carefully kissed the back of it, his lips as soft as silk.

“The name’s Joey, dollface. Might I have the pleasure of knowing yours in return?” God is he a prince or something? Is this normal? I don’t know what’s going on…

You introduced yourself to him, but let him know that everyone just called you Fox. He said your name, your real name, a couple times, tasting it in his mouth.

“I have to say, doll, I like your actual name much better than your nickname, but if it pleases you more, I will gladly refer to you as ‘Fox’, Miss Fox. Now that we have been better acquainted, would you do the honor of letting me take you out?”

“I’m n’t sure tha’s prop’r ta ask a girl tha’ ya jus’ met t’day, Mr Joey.” You told him. And honestly, you believed that. It was a bit strange, and while you were charmed by this man, you still had your wits about you.

“Oh dear, I’m afraid you’re correct. Well, would it be agreeable with you if I were to call on you tomorrow? Here, same time? Perhaps we can talk a bit once you get off work and see what happens from there?” He didn’t sound dejected in the slightest, and you were a bit impressed that he hadn’t slunk away like a dog with his tail between his legs because you turned him down. You didn’t speak, but you did nod. You could agree to talking after work outside your job once you clocked off for the day. That wouldn’t be anything unusual. Just two people talking in a very public place. A mental sigh escaped you. You were trying way too hard in order to justify your reasoning, but it couldn’t be helped. You really wanted to see this man again.

“Very good, doll. Have a wonderful rest of your day. I eagerly await our next meeting.” He kissed the back of your hand once more before turning on his heel and strolling confidently out of the store, head held high and strong shoulders squared against the world.

With the man still in your mind, you very slowly began to fill the potatoes on the shelf. Who was this man, and why had his presence and attention caused your heart to flutter..? You shook your head, trying to shake him out of it. Maybe you were just sick, yeah, that was it, and you should go speak with a doctor about that weird feeling in your chest. You decided that one of these days, you’d go set up an appointment and get yourself checked out.

After that, you made short work of filling up the shelves. Whatever you couldn’t fit on the table, you found stored nicely underneath the tables on pallets. You took your now product-free pallet, covered only in empty boxed, back into the back room where Eddie had finished pulling product from the pallets and putting them on shelves. He now seemed to be working on some kind of paperwork, though you had zero idea of what was actually going on.

“Finish’d tha ‘maters and ‘taters, Mr Eddie.”

“Thanks for your help today, girl. Go home and have a good day.”

“Ya do tha same as well, sir!” You responded back cheerfully. Clocking out, you waved goodbye to your boss who was helping someone a few feet away. He waved back and you walked out the door. It was early, but compared with the soul-sucking job at Muffet’s and waking up early, you were utterly exhausted. You made it back home in record time, although you stared forlornly at the stairs before trudging your way up them. Once inside your apartment, you beelined for your cot, pulling your uniform off your body and laying the clothes neatly on the floor. With an alarm set to wake you up in two hours, you took a lovely little nap.

And little it was, it felt like no time had passed from the time you were in a vaguely horizontal position until that alarm shrieked to life in your ear.

You turned it off and laid there, staring up at your empty ceiling, trying to fight the urge to sleep longer. You were warm and comfortable on your cot, all bundled up in your blankets, did you really have to get up?

Yes. You did. A strangled groan of despair and frustration escaped your throat as you sat up, rubbing your eyes.

You threw on some clean clothes for Grillby’s , this time donning on a long sleeved button-up green shirt and some black slacks.

Locking up your apartment and walking down the stairs for the second time that day, you began making your way down the road to your job.

“Look! Don’t they look so red and pretty!”

“I know! I want one but I left my money at home…”

“You think we can steal one?”

“Sis! You can’t steal! It’s illegal!”

You picked up on some conversation spoken by young voices. Turning your head, you looked around, trying to spot the kids before they stole from some vendor. The streets were packed with people and food carts, but you found them over at a stall that had all kinds of apples and pears. As soon as your eyes landed on the kids, you immediately recognized them.

“Asriel! Chara!” You called. Both kids turned to look at you, grin overtaking the monster’s face and a scowl adorning the human’s.

“Ya kids wantin’ somethin’?” You asked them, full well knowing they did.

Asriel nodded while Chara looked away from you hurriedly.

“Yeah, Miss Fox! We found some pretty apples but we both forgot our money today.”

“It’s none of her business, Asie.” You began to get the distinct feeling that while Asriel seemed to like you, Chara seemed to hold some kind of hostility towards you, but you stopped paying attention to it. Instead, you turned to the vendor.

“‘Scuse me, sir, c’n I git them two apples righ’ there?”

“Fifty cents, ma’am.” He told you as he bagged up the apples. You handed him a couple coins and he passed the bag to you, which you promptly turned and gave to the kids at your side.

“‘Ere ya go, kids. Now, ya’ll bes’ move ‘long an’ find yer folks, ya hear me?”

Asriel took the bag from you and put an arm around your legs, giving you a hug in thanks. Chara began pulling at him, causing him to let go of you. You waved to them, continuing your way to work.

When you walked in the door, it was already packed. You didn’t quite understand as it was Thursday and most people had to go to work in the morning, but you didn’t mind the crowd. The loud noises washed over you, people chattering away, laughing, Grillby could be heard in the kitchen knocking pots and pans around. You felt like there definitely had to be more than one fire monster here with all the work your boss was able to get completed on his own. Figuring it was already super hyped in here, you wanted something that was way energetic. Though you wished you had a band member for this particular song, you could do with the music record itself.

You put the record onto the turntable and hit play, quickly making your way to the stage. You almost didn’t make it, but you did. You picked up the microphone just in time for the lyrics to begin, the loud music picking up in your soul.

 

The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war

Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor

The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war

Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor

Tell me, tell me, where the freaks at

Tell me, tell me, where the freaks at

Freaks at, freaks at, freaks at, freaks at


Your voice didn’t quite mesh well with the original vocals, but with how much energy was flowing through the room, you could do well enough. The bass dropped and you continued on the song.

 

Tell me where the freaks at

We get that bass thumpin', people jumpin' all over the world

We got them speakers pumpin', Timmy Trumpet for the woman with curves

Got that freak flow, freak show

Welcome to the circus

Let the leaders lead, preachers preach

Welcome to the service

Close the curtains on 'em if they're actin' like they never heard us

See we do this for a purpose just to keep that fire burnin'

And we don't need no water let that mother-mother-burn

Timmy play your trumpet let the people go berserk

 

This is where you had wanted someone to come in for you. You’d have to find someone who could play trombone though. It wasn’t that popular of an instrument though, it would be super difficult to actually find someone who knew how to play it and who could play this part of the song flawlessly.

But despite lacking a person to play an instrument for you, the bodies were getting more and more active as you sang. A lot of people had gathered on the dance floor and could only be doing what you had heard of as moshing. You had never seen it before, and although it looked kind of violent and haphazard, it also looked extremely fun. Enjoying the view before you, you finished the shorter song.

 

The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war
Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor
The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war
Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor

Tell me, tell me, where the freaks at
Tell me, tell me, where the freaks at
Freaks at, freaks at, freaks at, freaks at

Tell me where the freaks at

The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war
Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor
The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war
Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor

 

You were met with a thunderous applause as you ended the song. Boisterous voices cheered and your slight depression from working at Muffet’s left you entirely. Getting off the stage was difficult though. The sea of bodies hadn’t yet cleared the way and you struggled to slink through the active crowd. Someone accidentally brought an elbow down upon your shoulder, causing an ‘ouch’ to escape your lips. You would most definitely have a bruise, but accidents happen. Eventually, you freed yourself and made your way over to the bar to collect your apron and tools needed to write down orders. You made your way through the throng of people and made sure you were super careful when you recorded their location. There was a lot of movement and you didn’t want to accidentally give someone the wrong order. Everyone here tonight was here for a good time and who were you to take that from them?

Orders recorded, you made your way back up to the kitchen window that overlooked the bar. You hung up your tickets and took care of all the non-cocktail drink orders. You easily deposited them in front of your patient customers before turning back to the bar for the rest of the drinks.

Over an hour passed and it was still super busy in the restaurant. You didn’t even notice when Sans came in and sat down, but he was at the bar when you returned from dropping off food orders.

You waved to him and passed him a bottle of ketchup, him taking the moment to speak to you.

“thanks for the apples for the kids, vix. i’m not gonna hold you up, but thanks for keeping an eye socket out for them.”

You snickered at the pun and just waved him off. You didn’t have much time to stand around. As you returned to the bar, though, he kept telling you jokes, causing you to laugh. But as much as he did, there was a certain someone that kept flashing across your mind. You couldn’t wait for tomorrow to come.

“hey, vix, did ya know that you look bone tired? ” The terrible calibre of his humor caused you to snort at his joke while you passed him his ketchup.

“Thanks, Sans, I love bein’ call’d tir’d. Really charmin’,” you joked back.

On the next trip, he told you another.

“ya know, if keep working like you do, eventually you’ll work yourself to the bone .” His joke caused him to laugh wildly and you had a feeling that he was reaching his limit. Somehow, ketchup actually managed to get him drunk.

Your mind kept going back to Joey over and over that night. Is he really interested in me? Goodness that’s one fine man. Do I want him interested in me? I think I could make some sweet mus-NO it is TOO early to be thinking those thoughts Fox! Get out of your head and back to work! You had to fight against the unstoppable tide of thoughts that kept cresting within your mind. They would start out innocent enough but then they kept turning more and more intimate which you were definitely not prepared for. Normal working wasn’t going to help you clear your mind. No, it was time for the next song on your mental list for the night.

Letting Grillby know, you stood on stage while he prepared the music. A slower jazz tune picked up, and you let your voice hit more seductive notes. Actually, wait, this wasn’t a good song choice; there were way too many innuendos. But you couldn’t back out now, so instead you let your natural heat build up as you sang.

 

Ask any of the chickies in my pen
They'll tell you I'm the biggest motha’ hen
I love them all and all of them love me
Because the system works, the system called reciprocity

 

With that little opening, the song picked up and began hitting a more snazzy tune. It was a fun song to sing, and you were definitely already enjoying the looks you were getting from your audience as they took to the dance floor once more.


Got a little motto
Always sees me through
When you're good to Mama
Mama's good to you

There's a lot of favors
I'm prepared to do
You do one for Mama
She'll do one for you

 

Yeah, it was another song from Chicago, but it was probably your favorite one from the musical. It always had been, though it was just barely surpassed Mr Cellophane and Cell Block Tango (which were tied), both of which followed closely behind this number.

 

They say that life is tit for tat
And that's the way I live
So, I deserve a lot of tat
For what I've got to give

Don't you know that this hand
Washes that one too?
When you're good to Mama
Mama's good to you

 

You took a look around the bar, watching your guests amuse themselves with dance. Looking over towards the bar, you could see your boss nodding along with the jazz music, polishing a glass near Sans, who happened to have a bit of blue dusting his cheekbones. It made you a bit curious, but while you were staring at him, his eye lights locked with your eyes, and you quickly averted your gaze, ashamed you had been caught. You pushed your focus back to the song at hand.

 

If you want my gravy
Pepper my ragu
Spice it up for Mama
She'll get hot for you

When they pass that basket
Folks contribute too
You put in for Mama
She'll put out for you

 

Yeah, why had you picked this song at all? Your thoughts were getting torn between focusing on the lyrics and Joey. Perhaps he would be someone that you get to know well in the future. God, you hoped so.

 

The folks a top the ladder
Are the ones the world adores
So boost me up my ladder kid
And I'll boost you up your's

Let's all stroke together
Like the Princeton crew
When you're strokin' Mama
Mama's strokin' you

So what's the one conclusion
I can bring this number to?
When you're good to Mama
Mama's good to you

 

A huge round of applause reached your ears, and you heard a surprising number of catcalls. It seemed that your audience had enjoyed the song, and innuendos, as much as you had enjoyed singing it.

The rest of the night passed in a blur. It was so busy that Grillby had to actually make some of the customers leave as they were staying past closing.

“You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.” His voice had crackled at them. When they had made no motion to move, you could see small sparks beginning to pop from his skin. It was obvious he was getting frustrated with the drunks. You stepped in and helped walk them to the door, eager to close so you could go home and sleep.

Once the people here outside, you locked the door behind them and turned off the outside light that broadcasted whether or not the bar was open. Grillby had already put out the broom and mop for you, and you made quick work of cleaning up, though you didn’t sacrifice quality for the lesser time, no, you made sure you got everything well swept and mopped for your boss. He was counting tips in the back by the time you had finished and put the cleaning supplies away. Grillby handed you what you had earned that night. By far it was your largest payout yet, just breaking $200. He walked you to the back door and watched as you walked down the road.

This night was different than usual. Normally you felt safe, but this time, you could feel eyes on you. You had no idea where they were coming from, but you couldn’t escape them. Turning round, you had both hoped that there was and was not a person. Had a person been there, you wouldn’t have been crazy but you would have been in danger, but the other way around would be that you were not in danger, but you were crazy. You didn’t like either of those choices, but you’d rather be crazy than dead. Shaking your head, you marched double-time to get to your apartment.

When it was finally in sight, you nearly sprinted to the door. Only once you were inside did you allow yourself to breathe a sigh of relief. But because it was slightly louder than normal breathing, the clerk behind the lobby desk gave you the stink-eye. You ignored it and made your way up the stairs to your home. Not bothering with the lights, you walked to the bathroom where you sat on the floor for a few minutes, catching your breath. You hoped you had only imagined it. Once calmed down a bit more, you changed into your pajamas and climbed into your makeshift bed, your interactions with Joey tomorrow long forgotten, the high from a job well done vanished. You had a hard time falling asleep, and even when you did, nightmares plagued your mind until morning.

Chapter Text

When your eyes had opened that morning, all you felt was grogginess. More-so than usual. The nightmares hadn’t stopped at all and you were in no way rested. Sometime during your tossing and turning, you had rolled right off your cot and onto the floor. You hadn’t gotten back up. A part of you figured that the nightmares would keep coming, and you really didn’t want to land on the floor again. You could already feel the bruise forming on your hip from the first fall.

Yet despite your rough start to your morning, the time flew by. Eddie had made some quip about your appearance when you had first walked in, but the look you gave him prevented him from teasing you any more that day. You did your work steady, and you surprised yourself when you found yourself done with the cutting and cleaning still relatively early. Eddie sent you home with strict instructions to go back to sleep. However, as you were leaving your department, you felt like you were forgetting something. The feeling had been nagging you all day, dragging its uncomfortable tendrils through your mind, and you just wished that you could remember something.

As you walked out the doors of your job, you immediately remembered what that something was. Standing before you was Joey. Aw shit. I look horrible, there’s no way he’ll want to do anything with me today. Depression began to settle over your shoulders like a thick blanket. This really couldn’t be happening. In the midst of your self-loathing for not taking more time on your appearance earlier this morning, he walked up to you, and began talking.

“Hello, dear Fox. How are you today?” While he spoke, he handed you a single small white flower. It wasn’t a carnation as it was too small, and it had a very delicate scent. He had probably picked it himself, and you found yourself charmed over the tiny thing.

“I’m doin’ al’righ’ I ‘spose. How’re ya doin?”

“I’m doing excellently now that you’re standing before me.” He proudly exclaimed. You almost rolled your eyes, but you let him flatter you anyway. It was a decent confidence booster despite knowing you definitely did not look your best.

“How about we take a walk by a park today, if you are feeling up to it? I know a place where we can get you some Nice Cream. It’ll help you feel better than just ‘alright’, my dear.”

“Wha’ is ‘Nice Cream’? Are ya sure ya don’ mean ice cream ?” You asked him, just slightly confused as to why someone so articulate would misspeak like he did.

“No, Miss Fox. Nice Cream. It’s a monster treat. They say that monsters add some kind of magic to the recipe and it can brighten another’s day. Would you like to see what I mean?”

You nodded eagerly, and took note that he didn’t seem repulsed by monsters like quite a few of the other humans around town. An open minded guy wouldn’t be too bad, and with how handsome he was, you began to suspect that somewhere down the line, someone was playing a joke on you. However, Grumps had always told you to never look a gift horse in the mouth, and you were going to follow that little tidbit of advice.

Joey extended his arm to you and you took it gently. He led you down a couple streets and you two spoke about many trivial things; the weather, occupations, future job desires. You had made it no secret that you wanted to be a singer, you even let him know about your other jobs at Grillby’s and Muffet’s . You couldn’t find enough energy to act shocked when he told you that he had plans to take over his father’s business. And eventually, your conversation grew more comfortable, causing you both to speak about the injustices that minority humans and monsters face on a daily basis. On this particular subject, you listened as he explained that while things are slowly improving, they’re still not at an acceptable level of tolerance. You both had gotten rather heated on that particular subject, and for the best, you had steered the conversation to something a bit more acceptable for a public outing. You asked him if he had ever gotten to see any musicals in the city and he had mentioned quite a few, most of which you had heard before and had loved.

“Would you like for me to take you sometime? It would be an honor to escort a lady as lovely as yourself.” His smile felt genuine and you felt that stirring within your chest again. Maybe seeing a play with him wouldn’t be too bad and could actually be nice? You agreed and he decided that he’d do some looking around and next week, he would have some choices for you.

You two eventually made it to the park, the same one that you had gone to see the first day you had come to the city. On one of the sidewalks, near quite a few lovely blue flowers, the flowers that you had one before believed to have come from another world, Joey led you to a little street cart, with a blue rabbit monster standing over it.

“Two Nice Creams, my good sir.” Joey told the bunny-man. His fur looked to be soft and you kinda wanted to touch it before you harshly reminded yourself that the monster wasn’t an animal for you to touch. He had a large, lopsided smile and reached his paws into the cart. When he pulled them out, he was holding the Nice Creams which he passed to Joey.

“That’ll be two dollars, sir.” Joey reached into his pocket and withdrew a five dollar bill, laying it on the counter.

“It isn’t much but keep the change.”

“Really?” The bunny’s voice took on a more excited tone and when your...date?...partner?...friend?...(what were you supposed to call him? None of those choices felt particularly accurate. Maybe acquaintance could work…? It would have to do, you were out of words.) Joey confirmed that he was allowed to keep the change.

As you two walked away, you watched as the man next to you pulled the wrapper off the nice cream and motioned for you to do the same. You followed what he had done and as he brought the treat up to his mouth, you copied him. When the cold of the nice cream reached your lips, you brought your tongue out gingerly and licked the frozen sweet. It was really good, you could admit. Sweet and cold, it was perfect for a summer day. You had never tasted anything like it. You had eaten ice cream before, sure, but this was on a whole different level. You looked back down at the wrapper in your hand and noticed something written on it. “You look great! Have a wonderful day!” Reading that while enjoying the magic infused ice cream must had done something, because you realized then that you were smiling brightly and you felt really nice.

“You look like you’re enjoying that, my dear.” When you nodded at Joey, he replied with an ‘excellent.’

“Though I am afraid, Joey, but it’s gittin’ ‘bout time fer me ta head on ova’ ta my otha’ job. Ya feel like walkin’ me home an’ ta my otha’ place?”

“That is no problem at all, my dear.” He offered you arm, and this time began walking at a more brisk pace, of which you were thankful. When you came across turns, you let him know which way to go and soon you were back at your apartment.

“Yer welcome ta come up, but I will letcha know tha’ I don’ ‘ave much of nuthin’ and it’s up-a-ways up them stairs.”

“That is fine with me, dear Fox. Lead the way, beautiful.” You turned and began the long walk up the stairs. It kind of made you smirk to yourself when you heard Joey’s breath turn haggard while yours didn’t change quite so much. It seemed you were getting used to these wretched things after all.

Eventually, you two made it to your small home, you unlocked the door and motioned that he could sit at your new table while he waited. Rushing into your bedroom, you grabbed a long-sleeved button up, and a skirt that ended half-way down to your knees. Fairly short, but nothing scandalous. You ran your brush through your hair and reapplied your deodorant and perfume. Leaving your bedroom, you noticed Joey seemed to be happily enjoying the chair you had bought. His long legs had relaxed and stretched out in front of him, his hands crossed over his stomach as he slouched, and his hat had drifted forwards to cover his eyes. You tapped his shoulder softly.

“Joey, it’s time ta go now.”

He sat up and stretched some more. His movements were languid and you felt as though you were watching a cat. Joey stood, offered you his arm and his best smile once more, and you took both, the arm strong and firm under your hand and the smile touching something deep within your chest.

You led him down the stairs and out of the building before making your way to Grillby’s .

“So what is this other job of yours, my dear?”

“I work at a bar, singin’ and waitressin’ fer a few hours a couple days out tha week. I do anotha’ simila’ job at Muffet’s . Tonight, though, I’m workin’ at Grillby’s .” You explained to him.

Grillby’s , you say? I can’t say I’ve ever been there, though I know where it is. What is the atmosphere there?”

“I like it. It’s nice an’ casual. Ev’ryone is really nice, though there are a decent numba’ of folks tha’ keep thinkin’ if they ask, I’ll agree ta a date with ‘em. Bes’ jus’ ta ignore ‘em.”

“Should I up my game? I rather enjoyed today and I’d love to be able to spend another one with you.”

“Naw, ya jus’ keep doin’ wha’ yer doin’. I jus’ like fer thangs ta feel more natural is all. Don’ wan’ ‘em ta be forced.”

“As you wish.” He told you with a smile on his face. It seemed like he had approved of your response, which you had hoped he had. You had enjoyed spending time with him and talking with him. It filled something within you and you thought that you had been beginning to feel rather lonely.

It wasn’t long until you made it to your other workplace. For a Friday night, it sure was packed. You could see through the window of the building, before you even opened the door, the tightly packed throng of people. Joey held the door open for you and allowed you to walk in before him. The noise which had been muffled by the thick brick walls was now pounding in your head. You had no idea how you’d be able to hear anything over the noise.

You made your way to the bar, Joey sticking close behind you. Once you made it behind the bar, you pointed to a cup, asking your guest if he wanted a drink. He nodded and you managed to hear him say one of the craft beers Grillby had on tap. You gave him his drink and let him know you were about to go on stage, causing him to nod. Goodness gracious, it is so hard to even think in here…

Finding the song you wanted to sing, and hoping Joey wouldn’t get the wrong message from it, you waved to Grillby and pointed at the record in your hand. You could barely see him nod and you layed it on the records, not yet putting the needle on it. It was difficult, but you managed to squeeze past and through the crowd of people before taking the microphone in your hand.

“Hello, hello, hello! How is my lovely crowd doin’ ta-nigh’?” Your voice had rang clear and true over the speakers, and the crowd of people, both those sitting at the tables and those standing near the stage, cheered, beer and other liquors sloshing in their hands.

“Are we ready ta git this shindig on tha road?” More cheers greeted you, and about that time, with the noise levels dying down, you watched as Grillby started the music for you. A pop and electronic beat hit your ears and you began singing.

 

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh! Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh! Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga oh-la-la!
Want your bad romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga ooh-la-la!
Want your bad romance

 

Most of the crowd seemed to know this song and were drunkenly trying to sing it with you, especially the ladies, though you caught quite a few of the guys moving their mouths with the music. Joey was still where you had left him at the bar, though his eyes were only fixed on you, looking almost amazed that you had hidden such a wonderful voice from him. You gave him a wink and kept singing.

 

I want your ugly
I want your disease
I want your everything
As long as it's free
I want your love
Love-love-love
I want your love
I want your drama
The touch of your hand
I want your leather studded kiss in the sand
I want your love
Love-love-love, I want your love (Love-love-love, I want your love)

 

You knew that this song was pretty provacitive, but something about it had drawn you in years ago. The singer’s voice hit some lovely notes in this song, and it almost reminded you of an even older electronic band, Ace of Base . Not too many people you grew up with had known about them, but you had found a CD of theirs in a box that had belonged to your mother years ago. Either that or you really were wanting a bad romance. No way for you to tell, really, and so you enjoyed letting the words flow from your lips.

 

You know that I want you
And you know that I need you
I want it bad
Your bad romance
I want your love and
I want your revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!)
I want your love and
All your lovers revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh! Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh! Oh-oh-ooh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga ooh-la-la!
Want your bad romance

 

You could barely see it, but you thought you could just make out a hint of a blush dusting Joey’s face. He was still watching you, but not quite so intently. Instead, he was trying to flag Grillby down. Heh, he’s finished his drink already. You weren’t sure why you found it funny. It could be the implication that he was either a lightweight or he was feeling nervous while watching you. It was hard not to let your laughter make it into your voice but you were sure it was showing in your eyes.

 

I want your horror
I want your design
'Cause you're a criminal
As long as you’re mine
I want your love
Love-love-love
I want your love
I want your psycho, your vertigo shtick
Want you in my rear window
Baby you're sick, I want your love
Love-love-love, I want your love (Love-love-love, I want your love)
You know that I want you
And you know that I need you
I want it bad, bad romance

 

Your eyes travelled over the group of people dancing drunkenly in front of you. They seemed to be enjoying themselves to the fullest and it put a huge wave of contentment within your heart. You liked seeing people happy, able to forget their problems if only for a little while. It did your heart good and you hoped that your mom and dad were proud of you as well.

 

I want your love and
I want your revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh!)
I want your love and
All your lovers revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh! Oh-oh-ooh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh! Oh-oh-ooh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga ooh-la-la!
Want your bad romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga oh-la-la!
Want your bad romance

 

One of the better things about this song is that it was super repetitive. You didn’t have to memorize so many lyrics, just the order in which they came. The most difficult thing with this song is that the original artist apparently loves French, so learning that you weren’t hearing gibberish but actual words had shocked you all those years ago. No matter, you rather liked how it sounded yourself. One of your favorite songs also had French in it.

 

Walk, walk fashion baby, work it move that bitch crazy
Walk-walk fashion baby, work it move that bitch crazy
Walk-walk fashion baby, work it move that bitch crazy
Walk-walk passion baby, work it I'm a free bitch baby
I want your love
And I want your revenge
I want your love
I don't wanna be friends
(J'veux ton amour et je veux ta revanche j'veux ton amour)
I don't wanna be friends, I don't wanna be friends
I don't wanna be friends, I don't wanna be friends
Want your bad romance (caught in a bad romance) want your bad romance
I want your love and
I want your revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh!)
I want your love and
All your lovers revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh! Want your bad romance
Caught in a bad romance
Want your bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh! Want your bad romance
Caught in a bad romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga ooh-la-la!
Want your bad romance

 

With that your job was finished, the lyrics ended and the music faded into a cacophony of clapping hands, cat calls, and drunken cheers. You took your bow and stepped off the stage, making your way back to the bar. People patted your back and shoulders, telling you that you did a great job. You made your way back to Joey, and he congratulated you on your performance.

“Good job, my dear Fox. That was absolutely marvellous!”

“Well, I’m glad ya liked it!”

“I more than liked it, my dear. I was enraptured over the glorious lilts of your voice. It felt as though an angel was speaking right into my soul!”

“I’m no’ sure if it was tha’ good, but I thank ya anyways.”

“I am sorry, but I am going to have to cut this short, dear Fox. Have a wonderful night at work, beautiful, and I will be sure to see you around.”

“Thanks, Joey, ya be safe headed home, ya hear?”

“Yes, my dear, I hear you.” He gently took your hand before bringing it to his lips. Almost hesitantly, he carefully dropped it after he kissed it and he strode out the door of the building. The motion had your heart beating quickly, even more than the usual adrenaline did after a performance, and you brought your hand to your chest. He really did charm you in the most unexpected ways and, you weren’t going to lie, you really did enjoy his company today. A part of you, a large part, hoped you’d see him soon.

Shaking your head and shaking your thoughts from the man that walked out the door, you began tending to your customers, filling up drinks and taking orders amongst the crowd with easy. You made sure to record the clothes of the people so that you could find them again with the proper tab.

You passed by the window to the kitchen about the time Grillby put a burger and fries up on the sill, next to some hotdogs and quite a few ketchup packets. He handed you the ticket and you took the food to the table that had ordered it, only mildly surprised to see Sans and Frisk there. Also sitting with them was another monster, her skin...er.. scales ..a deep ocean blue and hair that nearly put Grillby’s flames to shame.

“How ya’ll doin’ tonigh’?” you asked them.

“hey Fox, busy night, eh? I guess with only you and Grillbz on the team, you two are boned .” His deep baritone chuckled out, only to elicit a groan from the blue monster lady.

“Sans, I only agreed to come here tonight because you swore to me that you’d not make puns!”

“relax, ‘Dyne. I’m only hoping to tickle a funny bone or two.” You found it funny, and struggled to contain your laughter, but only because the blue lady had a dark glint in her yellow eyes. Instead, you focused on putting the plates of food on the table while Frisk introduced you to the new face.

“Fox, this is Undyne. She’s a good friend of ours. Undyne, this is Fox, the lady we told you about that helped Asriel and Chara earlier.”

“So you’re the punk human who helped the brats?” the lady’s, Undyne’s, voice rose and you flinched, worried she was going to start yelling at you.

“Yes’m... Is somethin’ wrong?” You asked the question after Undyne didn’t immediately say something back to you.

“Where are ya from, pipsqueak?” her eyes darkened a shade and you felt a chill up your spine. This woman was definitely intimidating and you had never been all that good when the other kids had challenged you.

“I’m from tha countryside, ma’am. Jus’ moved ‘ere wit’in tha week.”

“So that’s where you picked up that ridiculous accent?”

“Sorry, ma’am, but it’s tha way I was b’rn an’ raised. C’ain’t nothin’ I c’n do ta git rid of it.”

“Undyne! Stop bullying her! She’s done nothing but be nice to us. For shit sake, even Asgore and Toriel like her!”

“and Paps has even told me to invite her over for spaghetti. He may be a softie but he’s a good judge of character.”

Sans and Frisk both came to your defence, causing Undyne to sit there, her mouth opening and closing like a..heh.. fish outta water . She didn’t really seem to expect that her friends would take your side over hers, and to be frank, you hadn’t suspected it either. Though, it wasn’t the first time someone had teased you about the way you spoke. The few times Grumps had taken you into town, you had heard how the other people spoke and what they said. How they told each other that your Grumps must not have had educated you and you were going to grow up to be just some dumb farmer.

Not wanting to prolong the awkwardness anymore, you took your leave, out of habit asking if there was anything else that you could do for them though not staying to hear what they said. Instead, you focused on filling drinks as far away from that table as you could be. While you really liked Frisk and Sans, you really didn’t want to see the other one.

One you caught up on drink orders, you quickly found a new record in Grillby’s collection. Placing it on the player and positioning the needle, you let Grillby know that you needed him to hit play when you made it to the stage.

Ever the reliable one, music hit the speakers right as you made it to the microphone, spilling out over the still boisterous crowd of patrons.

 

In the daylight,

I’m your sweetheart,

You’re goody-two-shoes prude is a work of art

But you don’t know me,

And soon you won’t forget,

Bad as can be, yeah you know I’m not so innocent

 

Your voice, still fairly thick from the anger you felt towards Undyne helped guide you through the rough sections of the rock song. Normally you had a hard time getting your voice the way it needed to be for these types of lyrics, but today was an exception. Your eyes even moved over the heads of the crowd to look at the offending table, a part of you sickly glad over the fact that Undyne refused to look at you and Frisk was cheering you on.

 

Better beware I go bump in the night,
Devil-may-care with a lust for life,
And I know you,
Can’t resist me,
Soon though you,
Are so addicted
Boy you better run for your life!
Welcome to the nightmare in my head, (Oh god!)
Say hello to something scary,
The monster in your bed, (Oh god!)
Just give in and you won’t be sorry,
Welcome to my other side,
Hello it’s Mz Hyde!

 

You began to wonder after you said it if calling a person a monster who wasn’t a monster was racist or an insult, but seeing as though none of the monsters in the bar were raising pitchforks and that Grillby had had this song in the first place, you figured you were on the safe side. Especially because everyone dancing on the dancefloor was going at it hard and not really paying attention to much outside the music. Perhaps you had better start thinking of this place as a nightclub more so than a bar.

 

I can be the bitch,
I can play the whore,
Or your fairytale princess who could ask for more
A touch of wicked,
A pinch of risqué,
Good girl gone bad, my poison is your remedy
Better be scared, better be afraid,
Now that the beast is out of her cage,
And I know you,
Wanna risk it,
Soon though you,
Are so addicted
Boy you better run for your life!
Welcome to the nightmare in my head, (My god!)
Say hello to something scary,
The monster in your bed, (My god!)
Just give in and you won’t be sorry,
Welcome to my evil side,
Hello it’s Mz Hyde!
Hello it’s Mz Hyde!
Hello it’s Mz Hyde!

 

With the hardest part of the song out of the way, you looked forwards to ending the song. While you loved it and the voice of the original singer, sometimes her singing style took a toll on your throat. But no matter, a spoonful of honey and some tea would fix you right as rain. Maybe Grillby would fix you a glass when you finished your song?

 

I’m the spider crawling down your spine,
Underneath your skin
I will gently violate your mind,
Before I tuck you in
Put on the blindfold
There’s no way to be sure,
Which girl you’ll get to know!
(It’s me Lizzy, I swear)
Welcome to the nightmare in my head, (My god!)
Say hello to something scary,
The monster in your bed, (My god!)
Just give in and you won’t be sorry,
The nightmare in my head, (Oh god!)
Say hello to something scary,
The monster in your bed, (Oh god!)
Just give in and you won’t be sorry,
Welcome to my evil side,
Hello it’s Mz Hyde!
Hello it’s Mz Hyde!

 

With that, the song was done and you took your bow. Your ears were met for the second time that night with a round of applause though over the clapping of hands, you heard a word rising from the back of the crowd, slowly moving its way closer and closer to you as others took up the word. Encore .

“Ya’ll are wantin’ more? Is tha’ wha’ I’m hearin’?” You asked out over the microphone. The room cheered and looking to the back, you saw Grillby nod, telling you it was alright.

“Alrigh’, one last song an’ den I gotta git back ta work b’fore tha boss misses me. Grillby, you got Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling an’ Lizzy Hale?”

As soon as you asked, he quickly pulled out the record and music started, soft and easy at first.

 

I pirouette in the dark

I see the stars through me

Tired mechanical heart

Beats til the song disappears

Somebody shine a light

I'm frozen by the fear in me

Somebody make me feel alive

And shatter me

So cut me from the line

Dizzy, spinning endlessly

Somebody make me feel alive

And shatter me!

Shatter me!

Somebody make me feel alive

And shatter me!

 

The violin picked up and the music got faster as you sang through the lyrics. It was a shorter one and not as hard on your voice as the other one had been, even though you picked the same artist. You hadn’t been prepared for someone to want another song and with the last one still on your mind, you had picked the first one that your brain was able to latch onto.

 

If only the clockworks could speak

I wouldn't be so alone

We burn every magnet and spring

And spiral into the unknown

Somebody shine a light

I'm frozen by the fear in me

Somebody make me feel alive

And shatter me

So cut me from the line

Dizzy, spinning endlessly

Somebody make me feel alive

And shatter me!

Shatter me!

Somebody make me feel alive

And shatter me!

 

It looked like the crowd didn’t mind your taste in music, as again they were all dancing and enjoying themselves, although there weren’t as many as there had been. It was getting close to closing and everyone was trying to finish their drinks and meals and get out before they were chased out by your boss.

 

If I break the glass, then I'll have to fly
There's no one to catch me if I take a dive
I'm scared of changing, the days stay the same
The world is spinning but only in gray
If I break the glass, then I'll have to fly
There's no one to catch me if I take a dive
I'm scared of changing, the days stay the same
The world is spinning but only in gray
(Only)
Somebody shine a light
I'm frozen by the fear in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me
So cut me from the line
Dizzy, spinning endlessly
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!
Shatter me!
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

 

With your song reaching its end, the place cheered and hollered for you again and as you made your way off the stage, you were praised by your guests for your talents. You thanked those who stopped you and let them know how much their words meant to you and you really did mean it. You were happy that you were able to bring others a small piece of happiness, so much so that you forgot your earlier anger at the rude fish lady from earlier.

As the evening went on, you did your waitressing duties well until only two guests were still in the building, though they had moved from the table to the bar.

“Y’all know we’re closin’ righ’, ya two?” You asked the familiar guests.

“it’s fine, Vix. we won’t make a mess so you can close around us, yeah?”

“Y’all bes’ take tha’ up wit’ tha bossman.”

“Don’t worry, Miss Fox. They often like to stay and watch me close up shop.” A voice popped behind you. You hadn’t even heard Grillby walk up behind you which caused you to jump when he spoke.

“hey, kid, don’t jump outta your skin .”

“Sans, I am not a kid!”

“whatever ya say, kiddo.”

You groaned in frustration. This silly skeleton was going to be the death of you.

“Don’t worry, Fox. He calls me a kid, too. It’s easier to just ignore the bonehead .” The pun caused both you and Sans to chuckle in amusement.

The pun still on your mind, you focused on your tasks for closing up, sweeping and mopping, and getting all the lights.

Grillby was stilling at the bar with Frisk and Sans, finishing up the tips for the evening before handing you your share.

“heya, Vix, let Frisky here and I walk ya home. consider it an apology from us with how our pal treated ya earlier.”

“Tha’s really not needed, y’all. I don’ live v’ry far from ‘ere.”

“Then it’ll be no trouble at all, Fox! Besides, we didn’t get to talk with you much today.

“Well, if y’all’re sure...I reckon it won’ hurt nothin’..”

“Thank you, Fox! On the way, you can tell us how you like Muffet’s! Grillby let us know that she offered you a job. She never does that, but you’re so talented so it should have been expected she’d set her eyes on your at some point!”

While Frisk chattered away, Grillby led your group to the back door and told you all goodnight. Frisk looped her arm around yours while Sans hung around behind the two of you, only occasionally interjecting comments here and there as you walked down the darkened streets to your apartment.

When you finally made it to the doors of the lobby and stopped, Frisk looked up at the building.

“So you live here? It’s kind of a rough end of town, isn’t it?”

“Is it? I’ve not had any probl’ms ‘ere so far. Do ya’’ wanna come up? I ain’t got much but I can fix y’all somethin’ ta drink.”

“that’s alright, Vix. just wanted to make sure ya made it home alright. you have a goodnight, yeah?”

“Yeah, no problem. I actually git ta sleep in t’morra’, so I’m lookin’ forward ta takin’ a long nap.” You said with a grin on your face.

“Night, Fox! See ya soon! Let’s hang out sometime, okay?” Frisk called to you as she and Sans began walking back the way y’all had come. You waved to them before turning and making your way up to your apartment. Once you were inside and your door closed, it wasn’t long until you were out of your work clothes and crawling into your blankets on your cot. You hadn’t been lying when you told them that you were looking forwards to sleeping in. So, in honor of Saturday, you fell asleep, not even bothering to set your alarm clock.

Chapter Text

Frisk’s POV

 

We only walked Fox home because Grillby had let us know about a string of violent crimes in the area. He worried about that little helper of his. I’m not sure if it has to do with he just likes her helping around, even I gotta admit that her singing is pretty spot on, or if it had to do with the fact that he legitimately cares for her. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the latter. Oh well, it’s none of my business.

I personally find Fox to be cute. She’s nice and tries to help everyone she comes across. Luckily that kindness extends to monsters as well.

“hey, kiddo, ya listening to me?”

“Sorry, Sans. What were you saying?”

“what do ya think about Grillbz asking us to keep an eye on Vix?”

“I like her well enough. She seems to be harmless. Grillby has asked to help with worse things than keeping an eye on his help, so not a bad gig, if only she hadn’t caught someone’s eye.”

“you knew they were there, too, didn’t you?”

“Yeah. Seems like they’ve been following her for awhile. It’s likely they know where she lives, even down to the floor number and room.”

“makes our job all the harder, eh? oh well, as long as Grillbz keeps the ketchup coming, i’ll watch Vix as long as he asks.”

“You do realize that you could have said that in a less creepy way, right, you dork?”

“what can i say? maybe i just want to scare ya outta your skin, kiddo. ever think of that?”

“Sans, you will keep an eye on her the nights I don’t, right?”

“of course, kid. what do you take me for? a pile of lazybones?”

I bit in a snicker at that. That’s exactly what I think of my best friend.

“glad i can still tickle your funny bone, though i don’t do as well as i used to. but yeah, you just leave the good little Vixen to me. i’m not the underboss for no reason, though this is way below my jurisdiction.”

“Hey, now that they’ve seen us with Fox, they’re gonna be less likely to mess with her. Not too many people want our family as enemies.”

“we didn’t see the faces of those following us tonight. they could be part of a rival family. i’ve heard on good faith that a few members of the soregones have been snooping about our territory as of late. the boss already knows. so for now, keep your mouth closed and your eyes opened. don asgore and i really don’t need the grunts hearing about this and getting worked up and starting something.”

I thought about the words he said. If the Soregones were really following Fox, she was in more danger than any of us thought. Most families in the area tried to leave civilians out of territory disputes. Didn’t need the law getting closer to us than it already was. But that family was more ruthless towards innocents than any of us cared to imagine. There was no telling how many people they ruined.

After that, Sans and I fell into silence. We investigated around where we had noticed the pursuers, but there was nothing to find. Nothing that could lead us to the Soregones. Whoever had been there, they knew what they were doing, and they were not going to give us anything to go on. They were good that their job, to say the least.

A final look around still turned up nothing and Sans suggested that we head on home. His skeletal hand found its resting place ( heh heh..resting place.. ) on my shoulder, and, feeling my stomach lurching in anticipation, he led me through the void, only letting go of me once I was in my livingroom.

He didn’t wait for me to tell him goodnight, as as soon as my feet were firmly planted, the familiar feeling of the air tightening and shimmering engulfed him. When I turned around, I was all alone. If it was one thing that he made clear, that while we may be best friends, he would never return my feelings.

With that ball of disappointment, I headed to my room for a well deserved night’s rest.

Chapter Text

The first thing you noticed was warmth all over your legs and a light shining past your eyelids. Groaning, you rolled over so the light was out of your face, but you made sure your legs didn’t leave the warm place on the small cot. You had slept for what felt like an eternity. What day was it…? Oh no! Sunlight! I’m late for work! You sprang out of your bed and hopped into the shower, anger that you had slept in coursing through your veins and sick with worry about how being late would affect your job. Wait...what day is it..? You tried to find the answer within your rapidly awakening brain, but it kept holding back the information you so desperately needed.

Now clean, you hopped out of the shower and dried yourself off. It didn’t take you much time to get dressed and run out the door. But it wasn’t until you made it Sylvester’s that you realized that the day was Saturday, meaning you had the morning off. Man, I could have stayed in my warm and sunny cot.. You felt a pout making its way onto your face before realization set in. Had you only been here for a week? It felt much longer than that. More like you had been here for months already.

Well, what to do? You thought to yourself. With your morning now free, you began to make your way to the park when a reminded crossed your mind. The flower shop I found! Changing your route, you made your way down the lane, following the road to Muffet’s . While you definitely were not looking forwards to going there later, you knew you would have to. After all, you had told yourself many times already, this is a great chance for me to be discovered and it pays well!

The false hype in your mental voice sounded nothing more than fabricated and sarcastic. Your brain had just mocked you. Shaking your head to clear your thoughts, you walked down the still unfamiliar street, until finally, the beautiful little shop lay before you.

Your feet picked up the pace, and you glanced in the window as you approached. You saw some people in there, which told you that the place was indeed open. Pushing open the door, you were quickly engulfed in the smell of earth and herbs, with floral hints occasionally passing you by. Looking around, you found all kinds of seeds, soil, and planters, be them seed starters, proper flower pots, and windowsill planters. The windowsill ones caught your attention and you grabbed a couple of the smaller ones, followed by a couple bags of potting soil. Next, you would have to pick out the seeds. You wanted something that you would be able to cook with and make teas with. Browsing around at the different flowers and seeds, you found a few things that you could use, but nothing was really catching your eyes. That was, until you found a seed packet with those odd blue flowers you saw at the park. You grabbed one packet of those seeds, and grabbed the yellow ones right next to them. Huh, Echo Flowers and Buttercups .. never grown these before but they look lovely. You placed the packets carefully in your basket and continued looking around. You found a lovely little orange knockout rose which you couldn’t leave alone, and a raspberry bush that was still tiny and looked like it was struggling. You couldn’t stand to see plants withering away, so you grabbed it and the rose as well.

You came across more herbal seed packets, and decided to get catnip (a great substitution for those who didn’t care for chamomile), St John’s wort, and tumeric. You could use those, plus the dried raspberry leaves and rose hips to make a wonderful tea that would promote better sleep and, more importantly, help lessen the pain from your cramps when Mother Nature came to visit.

Grabbing a few more packets of basic herbs, namely mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley, you made your way to the counter where a monster with the head of a clam was ringing up someone else. You placed your stuff up on the counter once there was enough room, and began to remove your stuff from the basket. The person in front of you paid and headed out the door with their items, while the clam monster began ringing you up.

“Did you find everything you needed today, miss?” Her voice was clear, and reminded you of a crystal clear spring that grew near your home. You had gone there many times with Grumps, mainly because it was his favorite place to fish, but also because you loved to swim in the cold water.

“Yes’m, I did. Though I do have a questi’n fer ya. How do ya grow them there echer flowa’s an’ them bud’acups?”

“The echo flowers are a terrific indoor plant. They like heavy moisture and low light, and grow remarkably well in pitch black rooms. If you grow them where minimal light hits them, they actually glow in the dark!”

“Whaaa’? Yer kiddin’!”

“No ma’am, scout’s honor!” she help up her right hand, thumb eclipsing pinky and with middle three fingers held straight up, a motion that everyone recognized as a pledge.

“Well, color me surprised! Ain’t that som’thin’ else!” This flower was sounding cooler and cooler to you by the minute.

“Can I use it fer tea? Or fer cookin’ wit’?” You asked her.

“If you cook it, it has a texture like celery, and it tastes like mint and dill almost. I wouldn’t suggest using it for tea though, but your buttercups you can!”

“Wha’s tha bes’ way ta grow tha bud’acups?”

“Buttercups require heavy sun and the soil should stay damp, not wet. Water should be given to them in the morning right before sunrise for best results. For tea, you can use the leaves, but the petals are better. Dry them out completely and never pair the buttercups and echo flowers together in a dish. They grow far apart for a reason, if you put them together and ingest them, they are extremely toxic for humans. Monsters can put them together just fine, but we use them mostly for medicine and in small doses.”

“Thank ya fer lettin’ me know! I woulda put ‘em tagetha’ jus’ ta see wha’ would happen! How long should I wait b’fore I try tha otha’ one when they’re ready ta use?”

“A good rule of thumb is to wait around 48 hours, just to make sure they’re out of your system, I think. I’m not entirely sure how long it takes for the human digestive system to work, but I would think that two days should be enough time…” she trailed off.

“Thank ya fer yer help, ma’am. I sure do ‘preciate it.”

“You’re very welcome. And your total today comes out to 30G.” You fished the money from your wallet and passed it to her.

Walking out the door with your hands full of your purchase, your feet seemed to carry you quickly to your apartment. Though, the weight of all the stuff was heavy, and your arms ached by the time you made it home. You were actually kind of shocked with how fast you got back, but you didn’t have the energy to think about it too much.

Once inside, you took the planters and loaded them up with the soil you had bought, careful not to make a mess on your floor by putting the plastic bags from your moving day under the bag of dirt and the planters. Even though it would be a few days before you put the seeds in the windowsill, you went ahead and installed the planters. Afterwards, you planted your seeds in the starting trays that you had bought. It was a great way to get them ready for growth without the birds eating them before they even had a chance.

The roses and the raspberry bush still needed your attention though. With your new orange knockout roses, you decided that you could go ahead and plant them in the windowsill since they were healthy enough. You put your hand at the base of the plant, getting pricked by the thorns as you turned the pot upside down and carefully wiggled the roses out of the container. The roots had already taken over that small pot, and there wasn’t much room left for them to grow. Had you waited another week, the roses would have been wilted by the time you found them.You carefully untangled the roots, being extra gentle to avoid damaging them and putting your new baby into shock. It was already going to be a big adjustment for the rose, but you hoped it would be alright. Still holding the rose, you made a space for it in the planter and meticulously tucked the roots into the soil, slowly lowering the main stalk of the plant until it was nestled within the soil and all the roots were covered.

Next, to help it even more, you needed to add some water. It would further prevent the rose from going into shock and it helped with the rose taking to the new environment with which it was entangled.

Not as easy to manage was that little raspberry bush. The leaves had wilted, and while the stem was still green, it was incredibly brittle. The soil under it was dry and you wondered when was the last time it had been watered. Poor thing..let’s fix you right up..

You added a little bit of water to the pot it was in and let it soak into the soil. You had to be wary of adding too much water to the roots. Raspberry plants needed quite a bit of water, but too much could promote root rot, so there was a delicate balance of dampening the soil but not drowning the plant in water. They also need quite a bit of sunlight, so you found the sunniest window you had and put the plant inside on the sill. You’d put it outside when the plant had rehydrated itself and could handle the bright sun.

With all your planting done, your grown plants recovering and your seeds being started, you washed your hands to get the soil off of them and out from under your fingernails. You highly doubted that Muffet would appreciate you coming to work looking filthy. But you still had a while before you had to go to work, so, you laid down in a sunny spot on your floor and decided a nap was in order.

You normally didn’t dream, or if you did, you could never remember what you had dreamed about, but this time was different. You weren’t entirely sure of what was going on, but you saw Sans leaning over you, a very heated look in his eyes. The cracks that ran from his eyes only adding to the uncomfortable warmth that you yourself felt. And while alluring as those eye lights of his may have been, they frightened you for just a moment. You turned your head, and a hand that came up and caressed your neck and cheek was definitely not skeletal. Looking back at the weight on you, you met the eyes of another. Sans was long gone, and the heat of the breath and body of the towering man was Joey. Your breath caught in your chest as your eyes fell upon a man in dark standing behind him, and with lightning speed, hands were wrapped around your throat.

Struggling, you tried to get away from the assailant, but you were helpless. Your body felt as though it was moving through quicksand and, had you been able, you would have cried out over the pain of feeling your windpipe collapse under the intense grip, but instead, you laid there gasping, trying to suck air in to the best of your abilities. It wasn’t until a new darkness covered your vision did you sit up.

Now wide awake, your throat painfully twinging in memory, you gasped in the fresh air like you had gone years without it. Your breathing was harsh and ragged from fear, and your body was flush with sweat. Standing up a bit unsteadily, you walked into the bathroom. You looked extremely haggard, your eyes red, hair in a mess, and skin flushed crimson. But what terrified you most is that now, you could make out the bruises around your neck. It had been a dream, right? But..that mark was suggesting otherwise.

Your eyes widened in realization that that meant that someone had been inside your apartment. While something had made them stop, they may still be there and you had nothing to defend yourself. You could run into the hallway...maybe one of your neighbors would be home and you could have them call the police. But what if they weren’t home...should you make the run down to the lobby where you knew someone would be? It would be a gamble either way. But you had made the trip up and down those stairs numerous times in a day..perhaps you were faster than your attacker. No, you were faster than them.

You took a deep breath and readied yourself. And, without a thought in your mind, focused only on your destination, you made your break. With a burst of speed, you shot for the door, quickly unlocking the deadbolts and slamming the door shut behind you. Anything you could do to slow a potential pursuer. You made the sharp turn to the stairs and quickly descended, at times taking three steps in a single stride. Then you heard the noise you had been dreading, the sound of feet slamming behind you. You had already made it two flights down, but you still had three to go. Picking up the pace, jumping down some of the stairs and nearly twisting your ankle, you made it down another flight.

But the sound of feet had only gotten closer. Could you make it down two more flights? It would be close and you weren’t sure that you’d be able. Breath rushed in your sore throat as you pushed yourself to go even faster. Your heart thundered in your chest. You had never been a fast runner, but gravity was helping you this time. But at the same time, it was helping the person behind you, too.

Another flight down, but you still had one more to go, and if anything, it sounded like the person had gotten closer to you. Cursing under your breath, the sound of shoes slamming onto the stairs only got louder until you believed that they were right behind you. Your heart was beating in your chest rapidly. You felt like a caged animal and you needed to get away. Pushing yourself to your limit, you finished the stairs and darted out into the lobby. You needed a place to hide. To the surprise of the worker in the lobby, you leapt behind the front desk and crouched in the cubby where their legs splayed out.

“Call tha cops, will ya?!” You whispered-screamed at them. Seeing you in such a panic, she picked up the phone and began pressing the buttons just as the rushing feet of your chaser made it to the lobby. The phone was laid down on the counter, face up, and you found yourself praying that they wouldn’t hear if the police picked up.

“Hey, ya see a girl run through here just a minute ago?” A deep voice echoed through the room, and for some reason, you found it to be incredibly familiar, although you couldn’t place where you had heard it.

You gripped their pants and hoped that she wouldn’t give you away.

“Yeah, ran outside. What she do?” The question was ignored and the man left the building. About that time, the police picked up on the receiver.

“911, what is your emergency?”

The lobby clerk picked the phone back up off the counter and began speaking into it.

“Dunno. One of the residents of the Gladen Edge Apartments came running down the stairs. Was being chased and she has a nasty bruise on her neck. Can you send someone over? I’m not sure if the chaser is gone yet. He went outside. The resident will be in the employee break room.”

You were still huddled underneath the desk. When you heard that you were about to have to leave your hiding spot, your heart rate picked back up and your breathing became quick again. What if he sees you, Fox? You barely got away this last time. Your thoughts became a swirl of worry within your mind. Just what kind of trouble did you get yourself into? It wasn’t like you had gone around poking your nose where it wasn’t wanted. You did your work like you were supposed to, helped others when you could, and otherwise didn’t bother anyone. At least, you didn’t think you bothered anyone.

Consumed in your head, you didn’t hear when the desk clerk put the phone back on the receiver. She poked you with her foot, causing you to jump and hit your head on the underside of the desk. Wincing and rubbing your head, you looked up at her, and she gave you a gentle smile.

“Let’s get you in a better spot, okay?” She offered you her carefully manicured hand, nails glistening like rubies, and you took it. Her hand was warm, and while small, you could feel a strength within them. She easily pulled you to your feet, not once swaying with imbalance on those high heels of hers. Once she had gotten you up, one of her arms found their way around your shoulder and she guided you back behind a series of doors. It was easily a maze, but you felt yourself calming down near this lady. She finally made it to a door with the words Employee Lounge and unlocked it, leading you inside. It was sparsely decorated but it had a large couch that looked like the one out at Gran and Grump’s house. It was long, but on the thinner side, and the most god awful shade of yellow you had ever laid eyes on, but it just looked so comforting and homely, and you found yourself walking towards it, barely needing the help from the lady next to you. You almost fell onto the old thing, and began to nestle yourself into the corner where the back met the arm.

“Hey, I have to go back out to the lobby, okay? When the police get here, I’ll come back. There’s some pens and paper over in the little desk against the wall, so if you want to start writing down the details of the guy, it’ll help you when the cops show up ask their questions.”

You nodded. She turned and walked out the door, heels clicking behind her, as she closed it behind her. You heard the turn of the lock, but looking at the handle, you could lock or unlock the door from the side you were in, so you weren’t trapped.

Thinking back to what she had said, you wished you had something to write down, but you didn’t even get a glimpse of your attacker. You had been asleep, and then most likely unconscious, before you had woken up enough to run. The only thing that you knew was that it was a man and he had a voice that you had most definitely heard before. But where had you heard it? The man could have easily been the voice of someone at any of your jobs. You talked with enough people but didn’t quite know all their faces. Maybe it was someone that you had turned down for a date recently? You got asked out quite a bit at Grillby’s , but you had never once accepted any of their advances.

That didn’t seem right, though. They had all seemed so kind, even if they were drunk most of the time. You didn’t really like the idea of suspecting others. It was unfair to them to even think their name should they cross your mind.

You really didn’t want to think about it anymore, so you just allowed your mind to wander. It took you back home to the creeks and farms, where the cattle grazed on fields of grass and red clover. To the chickens that woke everyone up at the break of dawn, and to all the friends that you had. You thought fondly of the Waldren’s and the Sawyer’s, whose sons and daughters you had played with for as long as you could remember. There was that time that Sally McGill had scared you half to death when you were out hand fishing for catfish, and you then turned around and tossed a gator flea that had just bit you on her head. You remembered playing man hunt with your friends, and one of the boys had outrun everyone by skipping. What was even better was that he had sat down by the fire mid-chase and everyone ran right past him.

There was a part of you that was deeply missed all those summer evenings with your friends, when the crickets were chirping and the whip-poor-wills would sing. You even missed the damned mosquitoes and that hot country sun, both of which had surprisingly vanished since you moved into the city. It wasn’t like you were all that far away from home, just about an hour or so by horse and cart.

You wondered how your family was doing with you gone. You knew they must miss you as much as you missed them but, you wished you could know what they were doing. Maybe I’ll write them a letter tomorrow. But best not tell them about today.

A knock at the door snapped you out of your wandering thoughts.

“This is Officer Barry with the Ebott police force. Will you let me in, miss?” A gentle but masculine voice reached your ears through the fake wood that made up the door.

You stood up and silently walked over to the door. There wasn’t a peephole so you couldn’t look outside, but you unlocked the lock and cracked the door open just a smidge. Your eyes met the chest of a tall man. His arms there thick like the branches of a tree, and when people describe the core of the body as a ‘trunk’, this man must have been the picture in the definition. Eyes moving towards his face, you noticed that he wasn’t the most attractive of people, but his eyes were somehow both stern and kind. You immediately felt comfortable near this man and opened the door wider to allow him entrance.

Taking your place back on the couch, you waited for him to begin asking his questions.

“Okay ma’am, can I have your full name and date of birth?”

You told him, but kindly let him know that you went by Fox.

“Miss Fox, what were you doing at the time of the assault?”

“I was a-sleepin’ away, sir.”

“When did you know you had been attacked?”

“Well, I had a nigh’mare ov’ sorts, an’ when I came ta, I had ta git some water ‘cause my throat was sore. When I walked inside tha bathroom, i noticed tha’ I had this here markin’ on my neck.”

You held your hair out of the way for him so that he could clearly see the bruise you were mentioning.

“What did you do next, ma’am?”

“Well, I figured tha’ if I had jus’ woken up and it was still hurtin, then tha folks tha’ did this ta me might not had left jus’ yet. Figuring tha’ they migh’ still be in tha place, I booked it fer tha door, got it open, an’ took off like a bat out’er Hell. Reckon ‘bout two fligh’s down, noticed they was coming afta’ me, so I ran even hard’r. Jus’ barely made it behind tha’ lobby desk b’fore they was roundin’ tha turn outta the stairway.”

“Did you catch a glimpse of what they look like or were you given any indication that you knew who they are?”

“Not entirely, sir.I thought I heard tha’ voice fr’m somewhere b’fore, but I couldn’ place it. Thought maybe I heard them fr’m one o’ my jobs.”

“Where do you work, ma’am?”

“A coupl’a places. Work at Sylvester’s and Sons , Grillby’s , and Muffet’s .”

“And did you do anything that may have caused someone to want to come after you?”

“Naw, sir. Been bein’ polite t’all an’ doin’ my bes’ ta make everyone happy. I don’ discriminate agains’ no one, be ‘em monst’r o’ human.”

“Are you aware that there are some people that see kindness towards monsters as abandoning your race?”

“Yer kidin’, offic’r! Do they really?”

“How long have you been in the city, miss?”

“Well, I reckon it’s been ‘bout a week at this point in time.”

“Alright ma’am, one last question and I’ll be out of your way. Since moving here, have you felt like you were in danger in anyway?”

“Actually, I have fer tha pas’ few nigh’s. When I git offa work, I walk back ta ‘ere, an’ fer a coupl’a nigh’s, felt like someone’s been follawin’ me in tha wee hours of tha mornin’. They folla me from ‘bout tha first corner I pass at Grillby’s ta tha lobby ‘ere.”

“Thank you for your time ma’am. If at all possible, invest in some pepper spray if you don’t have any already, and try to see if your coworkers can escort you home. If not, call a cab.It’ll be safer than you walking home by yourself.”

“Thank ya, sir. I ‘preciate ya stoppin’ by.”

“That’s my job, ma’am. Have a good day.”

With that, the officer stood up and walked out of the employee lounge, leaving you to yourself. You leaned back against the back of the couch and let out a huge breath that you hadn’t been aware that you had been holding. You could hear the officer talking with the apartment employee down the hall, and it sounded like she was answering the same kinds of questions you had answered. Well, that’s what you assumed anyways, it was impossible for you to actually make out what they were saying through the closed door.

Minutes passed, and then you heard the door open, the lady coming back in.

“Miss Fox, the officer is wanting to look at your apartment and conduct an investigation. If it alright if I give him the key?”

“Yes’m, tha’s alrigh’. Can I leave fer a bit? I gotta go ta work t’nigh’ and I don’ really wanna stick aroun’ ‘ere fer a minute.”

“Yes, that’s fine. Would you like for me to call you a cab?”

“No ma’am, I’ll walk there but I’ll ask my boss to call one fer me when I git offa work t’nigh’.”

“Have a good night at work, miss, and I’m sorry you’ve had this experience. We will be sure to up the security here.”

You nodded before standing up and walking out the door. The lady led you back through the hallways until you made it back to the lobby. You didn’t want to go back upstairs for your stuff, so you walked outside as you were. Maybe Muffet would understand?

Walking quickly, it didn’t take you long to get to work. You were slightly out of breath and you hadn’t been able to keep yourself looking over your shoulder the entire way there. You should have just got a cab but you hadn’t really been thinking. Now that most of the adrenaline had worn off, you knew that you had just been extremely stupid. The guy could have still been around and here you were casually walking down the street like nothing was wrong. You had even gone as far as to ignore the eyes that found their way to your uncovered neck. The stares were starting to get to you, and you begin to feel a sense of shame that you had been attacked, even though the rational part of your brain was screaming at you that it wasn’t your fault.

You walked in the front door and made a beeline to your boss’s office, keeping your head and eyes downcast. Knocking on the door, you heard the sweet voice say ‘come in,’ which you did.

When Muffet looked at you, her many eyes taking in your appearance, she quickly stood and her numerous arms were embracing you and patting at your face all at once.

“Oh, dearie, what happened? ” She legitimately sounded concerned for you and you were able to make out worry in her eyes.

“Someone broke inta my place an I think tried ta kill me when I was takin’ a midday nap..” your voice trailed off and in response, the hug from Muffet got tighter.

“You could have called in, dearie. With something like that happening, I would have let you had the day off.”

“I couldn’ stay there, ma’am. Not righ’ yet anyways.”

“Okay, how is your throat then?”

“It’s a bit on tha tender side, but if I stick with softer songs, I think I’ll be alrigh’. I jus’ don’ ‘ave nothin’ much ta wear righ’ now.”

“You leave that to me!” With a snap of her fingers, she called over one of her little spiders. A few noises were clicked its way, and with a snap of its fangs, it scurried off down the hallway. While it was gone, Muffet pulled out a hairbrush from her desk and began gently combing it through your hair. You could barely feel her hands in the strands, but you could feel a slight tickle. It felt like you had hundreds of baby spiders in your hair and you fought back a shudder. But after the initial feel, you began to relax.

As you felt some of the tension in your neck leave you, the door opened, and in came a large spider. Having been a bookworm all your life, you immediately thought of Aragog from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets . On it’s back was some kind of fabric that was carefully draped across the large spider.

You tensed as the large spider chirped and snapped its jaws. Muffet stood up from you and pulled the clothes from off it’s back.

“Fox, dearie, this is Amos. If you’d like, he’d be willing to stay around your apartment and guard it for you.”

“While I do ‘preciate tha’, I’ve a feelin’ tha’ he’d guard tha place from tha residents, too. Not gonna lie ta ya, if a spider is bigger than tha nail on my lil’ finger, they scare me quite a bit.”

“Oh, that’s too bad. Well, hopefully we can work on that fear. As a start, come over here and touch Amos!”

You didn’t even have to look at yourself to know that your face paled instantly. With less than steady legs, you very slowly creeped over to the enormous spider. When you were a foot away from him, he snapped his fangs, causing you to almost fly back to the other side of the office. As if noticing your discomfort, his legs lowered himself all the way to the ground before pulling up close to his sides. He looked ready to pounce, but you hoped he wouldn’t jump at you with Muffet there. Slowly, you stretched out hand out and hesitantly, you put a single finger against one of his legs. It was warm and the hairs on it were coarse and almost spikey, even. Feeling a bit braver, you put your entire hand on the leg and carefully moved it up and down, feeling a very small portion of the spider. Just as you were beginning to relax, he jumped at you causing you to quickly retreat, a scream escaping your lips. Amos flipped on his back, legs twitching wildly in the air and it occurred to you that he was laughing at you. It didn’t help that Muffet had one of her hands covering her mouth, trying to hide her own laughter. You couldn’t even bring yourself to be mad. They had got you good, but if anything, they solidified your fear of spiders for life.

Her laughter subsiding, Muffet walked over to you and clicked something back to Amos, who flipped back over and walked out of the room, one of his back legs closing the door behind him. You boss motioned for you to stand up, and when you did, she held the fabric up against you. Nodding to herself, she instructed you to change.

Taking the fabric, you walked to the bathroom and quickly changed. The cloth turned out to be a beautiful green dress, and it was super smooth to the touch. It almost felt like velvet, but you couldn’t be sure. It flowed all the way down to the floor, and the neckline plunged way down. You felt beautiful in it, with how it complimented your skin tone and fit your body perfectly. The only problem was that ugly purple bruise that wrapped around your neck.

Walking back to Muffet, she turned you this way and that, checking you out. When she seemed satisfied, she sat you down on a chair and took out a whole arsenal of makeup. It felt like forever, with her putting product after product after product on your face, but what kinda surprised you is when you felt the brushes touching everything that the neckline of the dress laid bare. With a click of her fangs, one of her many spider family members brought out a mirror that was passed to her. Holding it up in front of you, you nearly didn’t recognize yourself. But what made it even more impressive was the fact that the bruise was gone. Muffet had completely concealed it.

“Get out there and do your best, dearie.” She flashed you a gentle smile, before moving away from you and letting you leave. Your bare-feet glided you elegantly off the floor, completely hidden by the long dress. You had always loved being bare-foot, so this felt even more magical to you.

You walked confidently up to the stage, the music already starting.

 

Cambridge to Boston,
Lives in a world she's lost in.
Victim of compromise.

He's staring at her Aberdeen heart,
London eyes, Glasgow bone.
She's a whistle in the catacombs,
A paradox.
He's in love with the statue in a marble block.
He's in love with the girl that time forgot.

 

As with the last time, the guests at Muffet’s didn’t really pay you much mind. Today it was welcomed, while your voice was doing it’s best, you could hear a slight scratchiness to it and you were content that with everyone being absorbed in their own conversations, that they most likely wouldn’t pick up on it.

 

She just shuts her ears,
She's fallen too far,
With salt in her scars.
Don't let him taste her tears.
She's fallen too far,
The girl that time forgot.

Wasted moments,
Full of potential atonements.
An angel in disguise.
But he can see her Aberdeen heart, London eyes, Glasgow bone.
She's a whistle in the catacombs,
A paradox, ooohh.
He's in love with the statue in a marble block.
He's in love with the girl that time forgot.

 

Maybe this wasn’t too bad. It was easy money here, and you didn’t really feel like you had to give too much of a proper performance. And on another note (heh heh the pun didn’t miss you), you liked being able to sing some gentler songs on occasion that wouldn’t fit well with the atmosphere at Grillby’s .

 

She just shuts her ears.
She's fallen too far,
With salt in her scars.
Don't let him taste her tears.
She's fallen too far,
The girl that time forgot.
That time forgot.
The girl that time forgot.
(That time forgot)

You let her go, catacombs,
You let her go.
You let her go, catacombs,
You let her go.

She just shuts her ears.
She's fallen too far,
With salt in her scars.
Don't let him taste her tears.
She's fallen too far,
The girl that time forgot.

 

With that, your song finished and you left the stage, mainly in search of a water and a chance to rest your throat, which was getting more ornery by the minute. You wished that you could talk with the customers like you had been instructed to do, but it was going to be challenging for you to finish the last song of the night. Muffet would understand, you hoped. It wasn’t like you weren’t socializing with everyone because you wanted to be a loner.

Letting out a sigh, you walked back into Muffet’s office.

“Since it’s killin’ me ta be chatty, do ya want me ta go ahead and sing tha final song and scat?”

“That’s fine, Miss Fox. Do that and then go have a long rest somewhere.”

“Thank ya ma’am.” You left her office again, making your last trip of the night onto the stage. The music started, this time an even softer song began playing.

 

Still and silent
Calm before the storm
Gold and diamond
Jewels behind the throne

Into the night, out of the dark, take to the sky, chasing the stars
All that we said, all that we are, waiting to fly, this is the start

Hide and seek, reason and rhyme, grand and glorious
Living the dream, yours and mine, euphoria
Hide and seek, reason and rhyme, grand and glorious
Living the dream, yours and mine, euphoria

 

It was a nice and calming song, and your voice wasn’t yet rioting while you were singing, the words flowing effortlessly from out of your lips. You enjoyed listening to the electronic parts of the song and you wondered how someone would be able to play it live. You had never seen a band do it, not that you had seen too many bands ever, just the bluegrass and folk bands that played every sunday night in the barns around your neighbors’ properties.

 

Stone and feather
Move outside your head
Now or never
Strong in every step

Give me a sign, hitting the mark, take to the sky, chasing the stars
Open your eyes, watching afar, waiting to fly, this is the start

Hide and seek, reason and rhyme, grand and glorious
Living the dream, yours and mine, euphoria

(Hide and seek, reason and rhyme, grand and glorious
Living the dream, yours and mine, euphoria)

 

The music calmed down and you stepped off the stage, a quiet and polite round of applause rounding the dining room. You returned to Muffet’s office and collected your clothes before returning to a private place to change. You also made sure to wash off all the makeup, though you wanted to keep it on your neck so that you didn’t have to see the marks and no one else would stare at you. But there they were, a deep purple, marring your otherwise decent complexion.

“‘Ere’s yer dress back, ma’am.” You said, holding out the still warm dress back to your boss once you were back in her space.

“Thank you dearie, be safe going home, okay?”

“Yes’m, thank ya.”

With that you walked out the door. It was still kind of light out for once, but it would be pitch black in moments. You should have asked her to call you a cab but you had entirely forgot. About to turn around and ask, a familiar figure standing against the wall caught your eyes.

“Sans?, What’re ya doin’ ‘ere?”

“would ya believe it? your boss asked me to keep an eye socket out for ya, vix. that hothead has taken a liking to ya and so here i am, dollface.” The taller skeleton somehow moved the bone around his eye and winked at you which caused the cracks on his face to move as well, much like a scar would for a human.

“so since i am getting paid to keep an eye on ya, ya mind telling me what caused those marks on your pretty neck?”

“Kinda had someone break in ta my place an’ I think they tried ta kill me in my sleep..” You looked away, not proud of the marks that made you a victim. Sans stepped closer to you until he stood right before you. All you could really see of him was his nice shoes and fancy trousers as you were looking downwards. His hand, free of a glove this time, reached up and carefully brushed your cheek, before moving under your chin and raising your head. Your eyes met his eye lights, something hard in them and a flicker of blue, and you watched in fascination as his teeth and jaw moved.

“look up for me, vix. let me check this out.” You did as he asked, and his phalanges moved from your chin and down your neck, very softly examining the bruise. He was careful not to poke it or apply pressure, before letting his hand drop.

“i’m gonna take you to my place for a minute, just so my bro can heal you up, okay? if you want, i can have frisk come over, too.” You shook your head, there was no need to make Frisk come over and you told him that.

“alright, well, let’s take a shortcut, okay? you might want to hold on tight to me so you don’t fall.” You clutched tight to his arm, surprised that you didn’t feel the bones underneath. The air around you changed, turning almost to molasses. It was hard to breathe and you felt the ground shift under your feet. You closed your eyes shut and pressed your face into his arm until your feet hit solid ground once more. The air here was cooler and had a bit of a musty kind of odor, while you could see lights behind your lids.

“we’re here, vix. you can open your eyes now.” You did as he said and you found yourself in a clean and simple living room. There was a tv and an older green couch. On the other side, there was a table with a rock and... sprinkles? ...on it. There was also a sock on the floor, with numerous sticky notes near it.

A loud noise was coming from another room, and something that smelled amazing wafted through the doorway.

“SANS? IS THAT YOU? YOU’RE HOME EARLY! DINNER'S ALMOST READY!” Papyrus poked his head out of the kitchen with a large smile on his face.

“OH! HELLO HUMAN FOX! I WAS NOT AWARE YOU WERE COMING OVER! I HAVE NOT PREPARED ENOUGH DINNER FOR A GUEST…” his voice trailed off, and before you could say anything, Sans spoke up.

“she’s not here for dinner, bro. she needs your help. someone bruised her neck real bad and she needs you to heal it for her.”

“OF COURSE HUMAN! COME INTO THE KITCHEN SO I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON THE SAUCE! THE GREAT PAPYRUS WILL HAVE YOU BETTER IN NO TIME!”

You followed his instructions, Sans giving your back a gentle nudge and you a wide smile. Stepping into the kitchen, Papyrus had you sit down and show him your neck. He put both hands in front of it before a green light began to seep out of them. It coated your neck in warmth and in no time at all, you were given a mirror, your bruise completely gone.

“Wow, tha’s amazin’ Paps!” You exclaimed. An orange blush dusted his cheekbones and he let out a proud ‘nyeh!’

“IT LOOKS LIKE MY BROTHER IS READY TO TAKE YOU HOME NOW, HUMAN! YOU WILL HAVE TO COME BACK ANOTHER DAY AND I WILL GLADLY COOK FOR YOU!”

“Thank ya, Papyrus, I will mos’ certainly haveta do jus’ tha’! Thank ya so much fer yer help! I owe ya one!”

He waved off your praise before you walked out of the kitchen and back to Sans, who hadn’t moved from his spot.

“let’s go, dollface.” He offered his arm to you again, and you took it, closing your eyes and bracing for the change. It was easier this time, not nearly so rough on you. When you opened your eyes, you were somewhere dark. Sans removed his arm from your grasp before he flipped on a light, showing you your bare home.

“figured that you wouldn’t mind going straight home, vix. hope ya don’t mind but I mapped one of the empty rooms here to figure out the layout and then later on found your room number. had a feeling with those assholes following you last night that you may need some help.”

It felt weird, someone confessing that they knew where you lived, but Sans had been nothing but kind to you, and you felt like he was trustworthy, especially with a brother like Papyrus sticking by him.

“here, take this, vix. it’ll help ya keep yourself safe. ya know how to use one?”

You took the pistol from him, nodding your head. You did better with a rifle, as you had gone hunting many times, but this wasn’t for food, this was for point-blank self defense.

“Thanks, Sans.”

“don’t think anything about it, vix. you’re a friend to monsters from what i’ve judged about ya, it was only a matter of time before your own kind turned against ya. do ya work tomorrow?”

You shook your head.

“stay here then. it’s getting rough out there. i’ll give frisk the day off so she can keep ya company, okay?”

“Alrigh’, thank ya again, Sans. I ‘ppreciate tha help tha’ ya and yer brotha ‘ave given me t’nigh’.”

“think nothing of it, fox. have a good night.”

The air got tight again and before your eyes, a flash of blue, and Sans was gone.

You crawled onto your cot, attempting to get some rest, but doubting that you were going to get much. Your eyes drilled holes into your bedroom door that night.

Chapter Text

Day was beginning to break and you had already been awake for a few hours. After the incident, you had barely slept a wink. Instead, your eyes glazed over as you stared out the window. You watched your part of the city come to life, dark and still at first, before slowly the early risers and those who couldn’t be late rushed down the streets, followed by armies of the waking dead. They walked without thought to their stores or businesses. A few times, you thought you watched racism occur, but with you being so high above the masses, there was not much you could do.

Hell, you couldn’t either leave or stay in your ‘home’ without feeling like something bad was going to happen again. Maybe you should have taken Muffet up on her offer. Amos was scary and not many people were fearless when it came to spiders. You had a few people who seemed to like them, and you yourself didn’t mind the small ones, but Amos had been something else.

Maybe you should have let Sans call Frisk for you last night, she wouldn’t mind sharing her bunk with a stranger, right? No, even with danger looming over your head, you couldn’t impose yourself on her. It wasn’t right. But he did say that she would be over here today, right? You couldn’t remember clearly

With a sigh, you tore your eyes from the world outside your window. Walking back into your barren abode, you eyed your pile of dirty clothes with distaste. The apartment here didn’t have a laundromat, so you were going to have to find one. No doubt whoever was working downstairs would know where the closest one was, but you didn’t really want to walk up and down those stairs more than was needed.

But you also needed breakfast. You didn’t have much food stored yet. Grumbling to yourself, noting that your throat wasn’t sore anymore, you pulled on some blue jeans and a red tank-top, having already showered earlier and grateful that Papyrus had removed the bruise. You’d do laundry later when Frisk was here, but first, you were going to find a breakfast joint.

Exiting your apartment, you made your way down those stairs, your mind churning. Well, if I moved, maybe I could find a place without so many stairs..

The lady from yesterday was back in her place when you walked into the lobby. When she saw you, her eyes immediately softened.

“Dear, you look dreadful.”

“Don’ surprise me none. Didn’ sleep a wink las’ nigh’.”

“I don’t blame you. I am so sorry you went through that ordeal. The police suggested that it may be because you work with monsters. Are you going to quit?”

“I don’ know. I really like workin’ wit’ Grillby an’ I can’ say Muffet works me tha’ hard an’ tha pay ain’t all tha’ bad.”

“Wait, you’re already in with Muffet?”

“Yeah, she’s pritty posh now tha’ ya mention it.”

“No, not that. As far as famous monster’s go, she’s at the top. Her baking skills are phenomenal and she only hires those that she can polish up and send to the most famous monster, Mettaton. Girl, if she’s got her eyes on you already, it won’t be long before you’re scouted.”

“Ya sure? Ev’rytime I’ve been up on ‘er stage, I nearly feel see-through. Like, nobody is enjoin’ tha music, jus’ focusin’ on whatev’r it is tha’ they gotta say.”

“Fox, the people that go there are super important people. The mayor, the governor, lawyers, doctors, even the damned President and his family has been there. Girlie, if you stay there, it won’t be long at all before you’re at the top. And when you’re there, remember that little ol’ Judith Hand, that’s me, will still be here rooting for your success!”

“Thank ya, Miss Judith, I’ll make sure ta stop in when I’m over on this ‘ere side ov town. It’ll be tha leas’ I could do. After all, I’m fairly certain tha’ ya’re tha reason tha’ I’m okay t’day. Had ya not hidden me yest’rday, I migh’ not ‘ave been alive ta see tha sunrise.”

“I only did what was right. We women gotta stick together when the world is ruled by pigs and thugs.”

“Ya’re righ’ ‘bout tha’. But jus’ rememb’r tha’ it don’ matt’r how bad a pig is, ya can still git some good stuff outta ‘em wit’ tha righ’ tools. But speakin’ ov butcherin’ tha hog, where can a girl git some breakfas’ ‘round ‘ere?”

“There is actually a breakfast place not too far from here, it’s only two blocks down the main road and on the left side of the street. When you’re done, can you bring me a coffee with some cream please? This should be enough to cover it.”

Judith passed you a five and you told her that you’d get her one. She waved at you as you left and, walking out to the main road, you could see the place she was talking about. It was a small place, but the outside was clean. Some tables under umbrellas sat close to the building, the gentle yellow fabric catching your eyes. Over the door was a sign that read MeMaw’s Home Cookin’.

You easily made your way down the bustling street and the door opened without protest. A bell announced your presence and an older lady with hair as white as cotton and a bright smile welcomed you and told you to sit anywhere you wanted.

There was a small wooden table near a window, and the window had jasmine growing around the outside of it. It looked comfortable and you quickly found yourself with your butt firmly planted in the small space. Outside the window, little honey bees and larger bumblebees worked at collecting the pollen from the white flowers. With the way the sunlight streamed in, you felt like you were back home. If only you couldn’t hear the activity outside, you would have believed you were back in the countryside.

The old woman walked up to you and poured you a glass of water.

“You found the best seat in the house. What would you like, sugar?”

“May I git a sweet tea, ma’am?”

“You got it, angel girl. And to eat?” She asked, scribbling down your drink.

“Wha’cha recommend?”

“We’ve got MeMaw’s oatmeal with fruit, or grits and eggs. There’s the From-Scratch pancakes, or country fried steak. You could have sausage sampler with biscuits, and we also have a tender rib-eye that comes with eggs, biscuits, and grits. We can also do omelettes with meat, veggies, cheese, or any combination of the three. My favorite though would be tied between the sausage sampler or the grits and eggs.”

“Think I’m leanin’ grits an’ eggs t’day.”

“Alright, sugar, and how would you like your eggs?”

“Let’s do over medium, if ya don’ mind.”

“Not at all. Let me get that into the kitchen for you.”

You nodded your thanks to the lady and while she walked off, you let your eyes wander around the establishment. The entire place was decorated with a light wood, most likely birch wood, with the tables and chairs a more rich colored wood, you suspected oak. The floor was the darkest part of the place, being a dark wood of some kind. You didn’t know what it was exactly, but if you had to guess, it would either be teak, walnut, or rosewood. Somehow, the different shades fit the interior perfectly, and instead of clashing, they came together to make a warm and safe space.

Where the wood was not, like the top half of the room, it was that same soft yellow that you had seen from outside. Despite how tiny this space was, the colors blended well and really opened up the space. You could see yourself coming here all the time should the food turn out well.

A glass of tea was placed down in front of you, shaking you out of your reverie.

“This is your first time in here, isn’t it, sugar?”

“Yes’m, it is.”

“You liking what you see?”

“Yes’m, I am. It reminds me ov back home.”

“I’m glad to hear it. My husband and I have put a lot of work into this place.”

“Y’all did a lovely job”

“Thank you, angel girl.” Just then, the sound of a bell sounded, and while you looked to the door expecting to see someone, the lady turned around and walked back behind you, before returning with your food.

“Here you are, sugar. Is there anything else I can get you?”

“No, ma’am, I’m set, thank ya.”

“Wave me over if you need me, dearie.”

The lady walked off behind a door and left you to eat your meal undisturbed. You tasted your grits and eggs before you determined that they needed salt. Once you got them seasoned your way, you began mixing them together, letting the still liquid yolk coat the grits and make them not so dry. Despite you having this meal less than two weeks ago, it felt like the first time in a long time. It wasn’t long before you cleaned your plate and finished your sweet tea.

When she came around again, she handed you your ticket and you paid. Then, just as you were about to talk out the door, you remembered the coffee and cream that Judith had asked you to get her.

Now with the coffee and cream ready to go, you returned to the apartments. Judith was still at her desk and you passed her the drink and her change. She thanked you and you made the trek back up to your room.

Once inside, you took your place at the window and watched the people. But about fifteen minutes later, there was a knock at your door. With the sliding deadbolt still in place, you cracked it open and saw Frisk standing outside.

“Oh! Heya Miss Frisk, gimma a secon’ ta git this door unlocked!” You shut the door and slide the lock out of place before opening it wide and letting her come inside.

“How are you doing, Fox?”

“I’m doin’ a bit bett’r, jus’ still on edge.”

“I can imagine so. Sans told me what happened. Did you see who hurt you?”

“Naw, when I woke up an’ knew somethin’ was off, I booked it downstairs as fas’ as I could. I mean, I was like a bat outta hell. And ‘bout tha time I got down ta tha lobby an’ jumped Judith’s desk, he was comin’ ‘round tha’ doorframe. Judith told him tha’ I had ran righ’ out tha front door, and while he was runnin’ outside, she snuck an’ stuck me in’a break room until tha police man showed up. But naw, if ya wanna know wha’ he looked like, ya gotta talk wit’ tha lady downstairs.”

“You didn’t ask her for a description?”

“Naw, she coul’ tell wha’ he looked like all day long, but until I see ‘im, I ain’t gonna know wha’ he looks like exactly. There ain’t no sense in suspectin’ ev’ry Joe tha’ walks on by jus’ ‘cause he may share a trait or two wit’ tha coward tha’ went aft’r a sleepin’ woman, ya know?”
“That’s fair, but do you know that if the lead that was given to the police was starts pointing towards the mafia, they won’t help you, right?”

“Why wouldn’ they help?”

“Because they don’t want their families to die.”

“Oh, tha’ does put a damper on things, don’ it? Well, I reckon take a seat an’ git comf’table. There ain’t much in here. Was wantin’ to git some laundry done t’day. Can we go ta a laundromat in a bit?

“Fox, you’re not going to find a laundromat open on a Sunday. You’ll have to get it done tomorrow.”

“Well shoot. Is there a store tha’ sells soap then?”

“You might be able to find a convenience store open that sells soap.”

“And some line?”

“Line?”

“Like, a string or somat like tha’. Meant fer hangin’ up tha washin’?”

“I can’t be sure. But we can check between here and the park if you want. We just don’t need to go far. Sans’ll kill me if something happens to you, and then once he’s done with me, he’d let Grillby kill me, too. Kinda like being alive, yeah?”

“Alrigh’, let’s git ta it then. Where’s tha neares’ shops?”

Frisk led you down your stairs and out onto the street, before turning almost immediately down a small road. On the corner was a little shop, and, walking in, you immediately found the soap. You quickly made your purchase and continued your search for the needed line. But no matter how many stores you went in, you weren’t able to find it.

By the time you had made it to the park, you were fighting back irritation and you could tell Frisk was too. You were both feeling antsy and were wanting to get back to the apartment, where at the very least you couldn’t be followed easily.

“Fox, you want a snack? There’s a burger place right over there.”

“Sure, but can I park it ‘ere by this big ol’ tree fer a moment? I’m tired an’ I needa sit down. Here’s somethin’ ta cover it.” You passed her a ten and she made her way over to the food truck a short ways down.

You found a dip in between the roots of the tall tree and sat down, letting your eyes shut as you leaned back against the rough bark. A few minutes passed, and you relaxed as you felt the sunlight warm your skin and the birds chirping right above you. A gentle breeze occasionally passed you, carrying the faint smell of earth and flowers.

You were so relaxed that when a bag was slipped over your head and something hard hit you, you couldn’t even scream.

As you fell into darkness, little did you know that Frisk had just witnessed the entire thing and was already calling Sans.



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You were instantly aware of a splitting headache echoing throughout your skull. The pain made you nauseous and you struggled to not throw up, but thankfully, the grits you had earlier were sticky and didn’t move from where they were.

Not sure where you were, all you could tell was that you were alone and it was somewhere dark. Either that or the sun had set.

What was I doing? Something about a string...oh, that’s right. I have to get my laundry done. You opened your eyes, though you couldn’t see anything and it made you wonder if they were open at all. Trying to stand up, you found that your arms and legs were very uncomfortable and they couldn’t move. Something had bound your wrists behind the chair you were sitting on and your feet were tied together to the chair as well.

You groaned in your discomfort, but you had no idea of how long you were in that dark room. You had to have been awake for hours now, or at least, it felt like hours. There was a sensation of pressure on your belly, and you recognized that you really had to pee. Would it be best to call for someone to let you go? Or should you just pretend to sleep.

The slamming of a door silenced your thoughts and you couldn’t help but flinch due to the proximity of the loud noise. Steps echoed around your room, and then there was light. It was harsh and bright, causing you to quickly shut your eyes.

“Well well, look what we have here. It took longer than I thought it would, but I finally caught ya, ya little monster fucker. Ya know, ya made it really tricky to get you alone, especially with your little body guards hanging around you all the time.” The voice spoke to you, and you immediately knew it belonged to your previous assailant. Your eyes opened, now more used to the light, but the masculine voice was behind you

“How’s your neck, dollface? I nearly crushed your throat last time, but I don’t see any bruises.” A hand brushed down your cheek and you jerked away from the unwelcomed touch, but your bindings didn’t really allow you much room to escape. The hand found purchase in your hair and pulled your head to the side, giving him a full view of your neck.

“That is a shame, I worked so hard on giving ya a mark as ugly as ya are. Purple suits ya, dollface. Perhaps I should try again before ya leave, but I’ll be sure to make it stick this time.”

You couldn’t help the shiver down your spine or the way that your eyes closed of their own accord, tears prickling in the corners. You couldn’t help it. You were so scared and you were completely at the mercy of someone who had tried to kill you the previous day. Panic began to set in, and your breathing became erratic. Someone please, help me! Please! I don’t want to die! But nobody came.

“Well, before I can do that, first I gotta ask ya. Tell me what ya know about those little monster pals of yours.”

You shook your head, tears gently ran down your face and your voice broke.

“I don’ know nuthin’ ‘bout ‘em. They’re jus’ regula’s at my job! I jus’ met ‘em this week! I swear I don’ know anythin’ more! Please let me go, please, sir!”

Footsteps moved to the side of you, and you chanced a glance up at the person. His hand lashed out and took a firm grip of your chin, forcing you to look at him. And suddenly it clicked. You had seen this man before. He worked with you at Sylvester’s ! What was his name..? Tim..?Tom…? Oh! Tony . Realization dawned upon you, and you felt a crash of anger sweep over your fear, the fear was still there, but it was now much less. Biting your tongue, you glared up at him. You wouldn’t let him keep you in a blubbering mess, you absolutely and utterly refused.

“Really now, dollface. Tell me the truth.”

“I am, ya damn useless shit sack. Since ya made yerself a’ home in my place, why don’ ya just talk with tha folks there ‘bout how long aga’ I got there. Ain’t been moved in fer a damned week an’ ya crazy shits ‘ave tried ta kill me an’ naw I’ve been stolen ‘way like a god damn trinket. Ya let me outta ‘ere righ’ this instan’! I’ll kick yer damn ass and stomp ya like clydesdale!” You couldn’t control the words falling out of your mouth. You were just too angry.

He made a sound like a ‘tsk’ before bringing a hand down swiftly across your face. You registered the noise before you felt the pain. You adjusted your jaw, tongue rolling around in your mouth, tasting some rawness on the side where he hit you. In response, you spit on him, saliva and a hint of blood landing on his cheek.

“Been ‘urt worse by a rooster. Yer one o’ tha least intimidati’ cocks I’ve dealt wit’.” You couldn’t help but instigate him, and you noticed him chewing on the inside of his lip, his eyes having darkened at your insinuation and obvious jab at his manhood. You must have hit a sore spot because his hands were clinching tight at his sides. A smirk contorted your face, knowing you had won the verbal battle.

“So, since ya’re ‘ere wastin’ my time, why don’tcha jus’ go on ahead an’ tell me ‘bout yerself. Obviously, I know ya fr’m work, but why would such a blatan’ racist be workin’ a’ one o’ tha most monst’r friendly places in town? Yer big boss want ya ta suffer? Er perhaps, he jus’ ain’t got a lick o’ respect fer ya. Afta’ all, he’s thrown ya ta tha dogs.” You began making jabs at him, planting thoughts in his mind. You weren’t really good with manipulation, but you just wanted out. If you could get him broken enough, he may just let you go sooner.

No sooner than you had thought that did a fist connect with stomach, the force of which knocked the chair back, causing your head to connect hard with the cement floor and your hands to hurt something terrible as your weight was pushing them between a rock and a hard place, literally. Welp, that didn’t work you thought to yourself as you felt your hands bruise from the impact. You tried to breath, but you found you couldn’t inhale. It seemed as though he had knocked the breath out of you. The lack of air was causing you to panic slightly, as you missed what it was he was saying, instead focusing solely on your discomfort.  

“--see how well you behave now.” Eyes narrowed, you watched him reach behind himself as he continued speaking, “Sad to say, I actually have orders not to kill you. Boss isn’t quite ready for the next war. But I will make you speak, one way or another.”

“I don’ gon’ an’ told ya I ain’t know nothin’ ‘bout no monst’rs.”

“So you aren’t aware all your little pals are in the Amr ollphéist Syndicate? I find that hard to believe.”

“Wha’ ‘n tha stars ‘n heaven is a Am-roll-hist Syndicate? Who ev’n came up wit’ a stupid ass name like tha’? Soun’s like a joke ta me. Ya sure ya ain’t jus’ pullin’ my leg? Cuz’ there is a thin’ o’ takin’ a joke too far.” A lingering anger, still mixed with fear, was now being blended further with your confusion and apprehension. There was no way those folks were part of a gang. They were too nice. Well, maybe Sans could be in one, and maybe that Undyne fish-bitch, but not Frisk and Papyrus.

“I guess you really didn’t know, so I’m gonna help you out, girly. Stay away from them, or the next time we meet, well, that pretty face of yours is going to be at the bottom of a river. Now, it’s time for you to catch some z’s. Don’t need ya knowing where you are, after all.”

He withdrew his hands from behind his back, a syringe in one of them. He quickly stabbed it into your leg, injecting you with whatever that was.

Not five seconds later, you found yourself fighting against drowsiness but you couldn’t keep your eyes open. Can’t…….sleep……………..here…….. You fell into darkness once more.

 

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You were warm, but your head felt like it was on fire. It was too warm and you needed to get away. You needed something cold, but as though the heavens were sadistic, the air surrounding you only got warmer. The fire on your head moved down to your shoulders and you weakly pushed it away. But the heat spread, enveloping your body. Your vision was surrounded by orange, and while your eyelids were closed, it was too bright. It was painful to be around.

Finally, the heat abandoned you, but the sounds of a roaring fire surrounded you, before calming into the sound of a gentle fire in a fireplace. It rose in ferocity a few times, each time settling back down, before the orange faded from your eyelids and the sound of that crackling inferno dissipated.

Silence surrounded you, and you were claimed again by unconsciousness. But this time you dreamed. For some reason, Sans was there, and so was Frisk, Papyrus, and Grillby. Papyrus stayed near you, his hands never leaving you. Sans and Frisk were standing together in a corner, while your boss spoke with them. You could tell something was wrong, the flames on his head were raging, and you were reminded of a certain flaming disney villain. You had never seen Grillby lose his temper before, but you found yourself glad that he wasn’t turning it on you. You bet he could be scary.

Suddenly, everyone was around you, and even that stupid carp Undyne was near you. They all looked to be talking to you at once, crowding in around you, and you couldn’t break free. Their faces, the more animated they became, began to melt around you. You screamed, and the melting parts of their bodies landed on the bed you were in, before it flowed against your bare skin. You tried to get away, but the more you moved, the more you struggled, the more of their slime washed against you. They kept melting, and the magic slime started to rise up your body, it covered your thighs, before moving up past your belly button. It slowly and disgustingly rose over your naked breasts, before covering your shoulders, creeping up  your neck. You thrashed as hard as you could, the slime slipping unwelcomely into your ears, and you couldn’t hear yourself screaming any longer. Tears slipped down your face, and the sticky material moved further up, slipping into your mouth and covering your eyes. You couldn’t see, and you tried to hard to spit the offending mucous out, but it kept pouring into your mouth, your lungs. You couldn’t breath. It began moving into your nose, and you heard something through the plasma. A deep laugh, malicious in nature, before two stark white hands, visible in the slime, reached out quickly, and snatched your eyes from your skull.

You sat up, sweat dripping down your body. Your eyes darted around your unfamiliar settings, and you had no clue where you were. Your body was on a very comfortable bed, and when a draft of cold air hit you, you realized that you weren’t wearing anything. Tightening the blanket around you, you gasped when a sharp pain shot up your wrists, and, looking at them, you saw them tightly bandaged up. Just what had happened to you? You were with Frisk...weren’t you..? You needed a strong twine for...something... Just what were you doing, Fox? And where in god’s holy hell were your clothes?! You looked around the room, not yet getting up. You couldn’t see any of your things. Wincing, you shifted in the bed, wrapping the blanket as tightly around you as you could despite the pain, before you gingerly placed your feet on the cold floor. You began to stand, when the floor creaked loudly in protest, causing you to cringe. You didn’t know where you were and you didn’t want to let anyone know that you were awake. But, it seemed your prayers were to go denied. The door slammed open, and you were greeted by none other than Grillby.

“Boss? Where ‘n tha blue blazes am I? An’ why on god’s green earth am I as naked as tha day I came inta tha worl’?” You could make out a brow lift slightly as in confusion, before he approached you, his hot hands pressing down on your shoulders, forcing you to sit on the bed.

“You’re in my home, Miss Fox. I found you outside the bar early yesterday morning. You were not in the best shape, I’m afraid.” His voice crackled like a gentle fire, and the comfort it brought you sent tears to your eyes and caused your voice to crack when you spoke.

“Wha’ d’ya mean? I was at tha park wit’ Frisk. We were lookin’ fer somethin’, twine I reckon, but lordy knows I don’ remember much else afta tha’. Wha’ happen’d ta me, boss?” He looked at you pensively, and placed his hand over yours as your emotions welled up. It just wasn’t fair that some folks never had a problem in this city, and twice in as many days, you had been injured by some nefarious gangsters.

“I am afraid that I do not have an answer for you. You were missing for a full day. It is now Tuesday around three in the morning.”

“WHAT?! Shit! Wha’ am I gon’a tell Sylvester? He’s not gonna b’happy wit’ me fer missin’ work! And wha’ ‘bout ya an’ Miss Muffet? I cain’t b’lieve tha’ I failed ya bo-”

“Fox.”

“Heh heh, yeah, Grillby?” You chuckled nervously.

“It has been taken care of. Continue to rest. You may stay in here for the rest of the evening. I would like to offer you my spare bedroom tomorrow. Sans and Frisk have disappointed me in keeping you safe, it seems. I feel a certain fondness for you, I can’t deny it, and I worried about your safety as you walked home in the middle of the night. I would like to offer you a place in my home. It would help make these old embers relax knowing that you would not have to be out on the dangerous streets at night. But first, sleep on it. Give me an answer in the morning.”

With that, he patted your head softly, and left the room, very softly shutting the door behind him.

You thought about his words as you laid back on his pillows. Dangerous streets...well..it is nice of him to offer me a place...but can I afford to live here? I don’t want to impose on him…

As you laid in his bed, body warming under the covers, you retraced the steps in your mind for Sunday. You remembered getting the coffee at the little yellow restaurant, and you remembered bringing it back to your new friend, Miss Judith. Not long after that, Frisk showed up. What was the chore you had to do again? Oh! I still need to do my laundry! And, you found the soup you needed..but you could not for the life of you find that stupid special durable line that you needed to make sure your clothes could dry. You had walked over to the park together, and you had both gotten...hungry! That’s right. And Frisk walked over to the food cart thing to get you two food. You...what did you do? Why couldn’t you remember? Maybe you should just rest...wait. Rest! I was resting at the base of that tree!

But what happened then? Agh, it was so frustrating. You felt like it was urgent that you remember. Grillby said that you hadn’t looked pretty when he found you...so someone hurt you… A face flashed through your mind. You recognized it immediately. Him. That creepy ass that you worked with. He hurt you, and suddenly, you remembered it all again. You clutched at the back of your head, trying to feel for that bump that you know you should have been feeling since you woke up. Your body tensed, and you looked around, almost fearful that everything you had seen since you opened your eyes was just a dream, that you were back in that dark room and he was just waiting for you to wake up so he could abuse you more.

But when he didn’t come, you relaxed again, staring up at the ceiling. You’re safe now, Fox. You’re safe. Grillby is nearby. Nothing is going to get you. You took a deep breath and rolled over onto your side. For some reason, you were so tired, even though Grillby had explained that you had been asleep all day. If anyone is out there, please don’t let me have any nightmares. I’ve had a rough day… Your eyes shut, and you tried to sleep.

Chapter Text

You woke up feeling better than you have in what felt like ages. The aches and pains that had settled in your body, slight, and small enough to ignore without too much difficulty had vanished. Sunlight shown in through the open curtains, falling on the spacious bed that you currently occupied. Just when  had you last felt this amazing when you first woke up? You snuggled deeper into your borrowed pillows and blankets, the conversation from last night ( early this morning? ) floating through your mind.

Was he really sure that you could stay here? It wasn’t like you had much furniture to begin with so it wasn’t a matter of it being a difficult move. Did you even want to move in with your boss? God that sounds so unprofessional .

Well, you certainly didn’t want to be kidnapped again, or strangled. Naw, not again. Not to mention, you were secretly ashamed of your..uh.. colorful.. language. You really didn’t like cursing like that, it just wasn’t you, but you had been so scared and angry that you couldn’t have helped it...could you? Maybe it was just best you just tell him that you’ll make due. You really didn’t want to be an inconvenience to him.  

You wished that the bed would just swallow you whole. You were warm, and comfortable, and safe . Did you really have to get up? Grillby was still waiting on your answer. With a sigh, you knew you had to talk with him. Just when you had decided to be more independent, all this mess had to happen. You threw the covers off of you, before putting your bare feet on the cold wooden floor. Looking around, you found your clothes sitting on the dresser, neatly folded and cleaned, carrying the faint smell of wood smoke. Quickly dressing, you made your way out of the bedroom before descending the stairs, following the muffled sounds of clanking pots and pans.

Peeking through the doorway, you found the fire elemental busying himself with making breakfast. There was already a stack of pancakes and a bowl of fresh fruit near him. You took a step over the threshold, and when your foot made contact with the floor, he turned his head to glance at you. Offering him a wave, you could make out the hints of a smile on his face before he turned back to his work. Ugh, why does he make turning him down so difficult. You made your way over to him, taking a seat on the opposite side of the counter, before he pushed the plate of pancakes and the fruit over to you.

“Coffee or tea?” His whisp-like voice targeted you.

“Tea, if ya don’ mind.” He gave a nod before setting a cup of hot herbal tea in front of you. How he made it so fast, you couldn’t tell. You had seen something like a flash from his hand for a second, but it was gone before you could pinpoint what it was. A sip of the tea told you it was good but you needed sugar, eyes scanning the countertop for the sweet substance. Grillby noticed you looking and reached behind him in a cupboard, before passing you a few packets.

You quickly shook them in and as your were about to look for something to stir it in, a flat wooden stick found its way into your cup.

“Thank ya, Grillbz.” You stirred your drink, before taking another sip. It was perfect. You took a long sip this time, savoring the warmth on your lips, and the strong and sweet taste of your drink. You closed your eyes as you drank, feeling the heat moving down into your stomach. Opening your eyes, you watched as Grillby cut everything off, and took a seat next to you, a steaming mug of coffee in his hands.

Breakfast consisted of an awkward silence, you trying to ignore the elephant in the room, and Grillby waiting patiently for you to voice your choice, as you both ate. He finished before you, and you watched as he cleaned his plate with his fire magic. The leftover bread from his pancakes was burned off, the juice from some of the fruit evaporated, and then what the atmosphere couldn’t take burned away into ash. Surprisingly, the smell of burning food didn’t appear, though you were expecting it to. You were aware that you were staring, and you knew that he knew that your eyes hadn’t left his hands. A blush rose to your cheeks as you looked away. It wasn’t polite to stare, no matter how cool magic was to watch. Still flushed with embarrassment, you quickly scarfed down the rest of your meal, before you muttered “It was cool ta watch.” A chuckle came from him, and he patted the top of your head, before picking up your now-empty plate and doing the same trick, making sure you watched again. Once the scraps had burned away, he held the plate out to you.

“Touch it, you’ll find it quite cold.” You looked up at him in shock and disbelief. There was no way that plate wasn’t going to scald your hand the minute -- no, the second -- you touched it. But he just stared at you expectantly, a small expectant smile on his face. With a sign, you finally relented, you really couldn’t say no to him when he had that kind expression on his face, and you timidly reached your hand out to touch the plate. Your fingers met with cold porcelain, though you jerked your hand back with a gasp as though you had been burned. Giving the plate a glare, you touched it again, more confidence in your actions, and you looked up at your boss with wide eyes and your mouth slightly agape. How is it not hot? It’s not even warm!

“How did ya do tha’?!”

“Magic, my dear.”

“But it ain’t hot!”

“I know.”

“But how?!

“Magic.”

You groaned and put your head in your hands. Grillby gave a soft laugh at your expression, before he stood and put the now clean plates away. He did the same thing to your silverware, before sitting back down to finish his coffee and you your tea.

The silence around you is now more companionable, though you still didn’t feel entirely comfortable just yet. Could you really stay here? You really liked your boss, but he had already done so much for you at this point that you were beginning to feel like a parasite. You didn’t like to owe people anything, you never had. You paid your debts as fast as you could and would deny yourself every little pleasure you could until you had no choice but to take them. Thinking about it caused you to fidget in your seat, and you failed to notice Grillby watching you from the corner of his eye.

Finally, you let out a sign, you just couldn’t impose more on him. It wasn’t fair to him to have to take care of you because apparently you were a magnet for danger. Why the hell am I the main character? Make it about someone else, will ya? But the author of your life ignored your pleas, and instead laughed at your suffering. Turning from the sadistic author that existed only in your mind, you instead focused your attention on the fire elemental. You really had to give him an answer. With another sip of tea, you began.

“Grillby, I really ‘preciate tha offa’, I really do, but I jus’ cain’t accept it. I’ve a’ready accepted too much fr’m ya, I really couldn’ take much more o’ yer kindness. I haven’ done nothin’ ta earn it.”

A warm hand found its way onto your own and gave a gentle squeeze.

“Fox, no one deserves to be attacked, be it in their own home, or when they’re out with friends. I will not force you to stay here, but should you stay, I would match the rent of the place you reside now, and you would have to help out around the household. You would not be staying here for nothing. Do not take my kindness as charity.” The stern words echoed in your mind.

“Me stayin’ ‘ere wouldn’ bother ya none?”

“Not at all.”

“Ya sure?”

“If I was unsure about you staying here, I would not have offered.”

“Jus’ gotta make sure. Don’ wanna be in yer way.”

“You would not be in the way.”

“Ok...I’ll stay..” Your voice lowered to a whisper, and you would have guessed he hadn’t heard you, if not for a second gentle squeeze on your hand. Your tea had gotten cold, and, giving a wince, you finished the last of it, not enjoying the lukewarm liquid nearly as much as you had the hot. There was something about cold herbal teas that made you want to cringe. Sweet iced tea, typically an orange pekoe variant, worked well for you, but the herbal teas had no business being anything but hot.

Grillby stood and took both your cups before cleaning them in his own special way.

“I suggest you return to your apartment and pack. Take my cellphone. There is a dimensional box that you can use to carry your stuff back here. It will carry anything that you yourself can physically lift. I shall remain here to clear out the guest bedroom.”

“Okay, thank ya, Grillby!” You told him with a smile on your face. Rushing out the door, you looked around, checking for anyone that looked suspicious. Thankfully you didn’t see anyone, which made you hope that maybe those creeps weren’t around, and not just of a case of ‘you missed them.’ With hurried steps, you took off down the street paying attention to the people around you. A child cried in their mother’s arms, a young teen in rough shape reaching into the purse of an older lady, a man chasing the child off with nothing, a dog yipped and snapped as someone accidentally stepped on the very tip of its tail. Nothing but normal daily activities. People shopped at the various street vendors, bargains taking place all around you, the hollering of a paper boy, reading out the day’s headlines in his loud voice, trying his hardest to be heard over the hustle and bustle of the distracted and the focused.

Fortunately, you didn’t see anyone that looked to be particularly sinister, and you rapidly made it to your apartment. Judith was there, and when you came in, she immediately rushed you from behind the counter, trapping you in a tight hug.

“Oh goodness Fox! Where were you? I was so worried!” You returned the hug.

“Sorry, Miss Judith, I kinda somewhat sorta got kidnapped..eh heh heh.” You gave an awkward laugh scratching at your scalp.

“You what?!

“Yeah...was wit’ Frisk, tha girl ya saw tha otha’ day. We were looking fer somethin’ tha’ I needed ta git my clothes clean an’ we got ta tha park wit’out findin’ it, so we stopped fer lunch. Frisk went up ta a vendor an’ while she had her back turned, someone came and scooped me up fr’m where I was dozin’ off under tha shade of tha big ol’ oak out there.”

“They didn’t hurt you, did they?!”

“Jus’ kinda got scuffed up jus’ a bit. Bigges’ thing was tha’ they did a number on my wrists. Did ya know when yer hands are tied aroun’ tha back o’ a chair an’ ya git pushed over onta them, ya cain’t do nothin’ ta move wit’out makin’ it hurt worse?”

“Fox! This is no time to be joking! Have you called the police?”

“Naw ma’am. Kinda jus’ woke up fr’m whatev’r they did ta me early this morning. They dropped me off a’ Grillby’s an’ he was takin’ care o’ me until I woke up. He basically twisted my arm inta agreeing ta live wit’ him.”

“Why didn’t you call the cops this morning when you woke up?!”

“I jus’ woke up fr’m a stressful day. I needed my beauty rest.”

“Oh my stars. Just call the police! This is no joking matter! You could have been raped! You could have been killed !”

“But I wasn’, I jus’ got knocked ‘round a little bit.”

“Fine fine, I’ll call ‘em when I git my stuff. I took Grillby up on his offer.”

“I would hope so! At least staying with a monster will help deter some of the pricks that want to hurt you. But if he hurts you too, he won’t like what happens next.” Judith said, a dark look overtaking her features.

“Goodness, it ain’t nothin’ like tha’! Besides, he’s my boss . He won’ hurt me none cause I’m jus’ ‘bout his only help.’

“Still...be careful. Now go get your things and call the police, for crying out loud.”

“Yes’m, ya got it!” You hurried up those stairs, so happy that for now on you won’t have to go up them ever again. This is the end of your short lived relationship with those stupid stairs. You were finally free of them! Happiness grew in your soul and with a smile on your face, you threw open your door.

Your stuff hadn’t been moved in the slightest and you hoped that that meant that no one had come inside looking for you again. You gathered all your belongings into the main living area, but it wasn’t like you had much. The biggest things you had were the old cot and the new table and chairs that you had bought. Now with everything in front of you, you looked at the phone Grillby had handed you. It was an older model, but flipping through the buttons, you found a menu item that read Dimensional Box A and a second that read the same, but instead of an ‘A’, it was now a ‘B.’ You selected the ‘A’ box, opening it, and noticed that it was empty. Leaning on your table as you played with the buttons, you eventually hit one that caused your table to vanish, quite literally looking as though it had been sucked into the small mobile phone, which in turn made you fall flat on your face now that the table which previously was holding you up vanished. Rubbing your tender face and taking a look in the cell phone, you could now see ‘Small Table’ labelled inside it. Huh...That’s interesting..I wonder if I have to touch the item for it to go in.

This time, you tried to get one of the chairs to go in, keeping your hands off of it, but it refused to budge. The second your hand touched it, though, the chair vanished from your sight. It seemed as though you would have to touch the item you wanted to go in. Eventually, you got everything you owned in the phone. Thank goodness you weren’t going to have to take a second trip.

With a quick glance around, making sure you hadn’t left anything behind and nodding when you hadn’t missed anything, you shut and locked the door behind you got the last time. You rushed down the stairs, elated that you were leaving them behind for good. But before your left, you felt the need to say goodbye to your friend. When you turned to face her, however, she had a pout taking over her lips, hands on her hips, one foot tapping on the tiled floor. The look on her face told you all that you needed, and you offered her a sheepish grin as you took out the cell phone that Grillby had let you borrow, pressing the three numbers to emergency services that your friend expected you to push.

“911. What is your emergency?” A deep and masculine voice answered on the first ring.

“Um, I’d like ta rep’rt a kidnappin’. Can ya send an offica’ ta Gladen Edge Apartments please?”

“An officer is in route. Can you give a description of the kidnapper?”

“Tall beanpole ov’ a feller. Got somewhat long hair, ‘bout ta tha shoulda’, ‘n it’s b’tween red ‘nd brown. His name is Tony, works fer Sylvester a’ Sylvester’s and Sons .”

“Can you describe the victim and the getaway vehicle for me?”

“Well, I was tha one tha’ got ‘napped. Dunno wha’ tha vehicle was, was knocked out purty fast.”

“Do you know where your assailant is right now?”

“Naw sir, was dropped off a’ one o’ my jobs, tha boss kind o’ patched me up.”

“Are you in danger in any way at the current moment?”

“Naw sir.”

“The closest officer is two minutes away from your location. Do you need me to stay on the line?”

“Naw sir.”

“Very well, stay where you are until the officer tells you otherwise.”

You hung up the phone after a quick noise of affirmation came from your throat before turning and looking at Judith.

“Ya happy now?”

“Yes. God Fox, how could you not have called before now?”

“Kinda jus’ woke up ‘nd ain’t been thinkin’ much ‘but it.”

“Yes yes I get that. But still! People were worried about you.” She put her head in her hands and a deep breath escaped her. You could see the stress leave her shoulders just slightly, and a stab of guilt shot through your chest. You hadn’t wanted to make anyone worry. You had honestly thought that you were relatively invisible since you had only been here for a week, but somehow you had made friends very quickly. Discomfort ate at you and you found yourself walking over to Judith, placing a hand on her shoulder, trying to make things better. You weren’t big on touching people you didn’t know well, but despite it not being so, you felt like you were at fault for her stress and worries.

You really had nothing to say, so you ran your hand over her shoulders gently, trying to let her relax and just not worry. You could feel it in your gut, she was a kind person, and she probably got attached super easily, something that you were not prone to doing yourself. You liked forming easy friendships with others, you liked that feeling of having many friends, even if they wouldn’t be what you called a ‘close’ friend. That deeper friendship wasn’t something that came naturally to you, and, while loyal and kind, you didn’t really enjoy that feeling of being super close to others.

The silence became awkward, and you found yourself wondering where in the world that officer was. Had two minutes not yet passed? But about the time you thought that, you saw a patrol car pass outside the door of the apartment lobby. Moments later, the officer stepped through the door, his eyes landing on you and Judith. She looked up when she heard the door open.

“Which of you is the victim?” You raised your hand, and took a seat at one of the few chairs in the lobby. He took out his notepad and pen, before sitting across from you. His eyes took you in, looking you up and down. You weren’t sure if he was staring you for potential markings, or if he wasn’t quite sure that you were telling the truth.

“Miss…?”

“Fox.”

“Miss Fox, can you explain the attack in as much detail as you can remember?”

You told him the story of how you had been out with Frisk shopping, how she took off for food and you had sat down for a quick rest since you hadn’t slept the night before, thanks to the first attack on your persons. You told him about waking up in that strange and awful room, how you had been scared, and then how you had tried to manipulate the situation, only for your attempt to earn you a punch and a trip to the floor before you were knocked out. You told him how you had been taken to your boss’s business and how he was a monster and how he had looked after you.

When you mentioned that your boss was a monster, he glanced over you again, sighing since now any evidence of your injuries is gone. You finished your story, and he took notes, but you had seen the look, in his eyes when a monster was mentioned, how they just kind of dimmed. You didn’t know if that meant that he was disappointed or something, but suddenly you felt like you had done nothing but wasted both your time and his.

With a sigh, he stood and you did the same, shaking his hand as he told you that they’d look into it. You didn’t bother calling him out on what you knew was a lie, instead, you thanked him and let out a lungful of air that you hadn’t realized that you were holding. Oh well.

With your spirits significantly lower, you raised your hand to wave farewell to Judith, who was anxiously wringing her hands together. She was upset, and understandably so. It wasn’t every day that a service that you relied upon for safe keeping completely destroyed your faith in them. But today, you had both seen the racism in the system, and knew that no matter how bad things got in the future, you could only rely on yourselves to keep things safe.

“Fox, I am so sorr-” You silenced her by putting your hand on her shoulder.

“Nah, don’tcha worry yerself none. You was jus’ doin’ wha’ ya knew ta be righ’. ‘Sides, ‘m gonna be livin’ wit’ a gent tha’s blindingly attractive.” A cheeky grin plastered on your face, you couldn’t help but be proud of the pun that had popped to the forefront of your mind. There was a certain skeleton that would be happy to hear that he was rubbing off on you.

Judith gave a small smile back to you, before she shrugged out from under your hand.

“Ha ha, too funny. You do know that now we are totally going to have to talk about the fact that you live with your hot boss.”

A groan escaped your lip as you fought back a giggle.

“Wha’? Ya wanna know if thangs git a bit heated b’tween us?”

“What can I say? If I lie, my pants will be on fire .”

“I c’n see tha’ ye’re jus’ burnin’ up a’ tha thought.”

“I supposed you’ve ignited my passion.”

“‘Nd yer jus’ lava n it.”

You both locked eyes, before you’re bent over at the waist laughing at the ridiculousness of your pun war. It felt good to laugh, especially after the depressing visit with the police. Once you get your laughter under control, and let’s be honest, the tears to stop falling down your cheeks, you took a steadying breath.

“Drop by Grillby’s la’er. I ain’t got a cell so we gotta set a time ta visit.” Your voice was soft as you spoke, but not without the mirth of your enjoyment.

“Yeah yeah, maybe. If you’re good.”

With a wave, you left the building and headed back to your new home. It doesn’t take long for you to get back, and when you walk through the door, you see both Sans and your boss at the bar. Grillby beckons you over and you take a seat next to Sans.

“Wha’cha need, bossman?” You drawled. Expecting Grillby to speak, you almost jump when it’s Sans instead.

“tell us more about yourself, kiddo. wanna know why a charming dame like yourself seems to get involved with danger at every corner.”

“Not really sure wha’cha wanna know. Ain’t nothin’ more th’n wha’cha see. Jus’ a lil’ Southern Belle tryna be a famous singer. I c’n cook jus’ ‘bout anythin’ an’ ain’t too shabby a hunter. Dropped outta school early ta help on tha farm, but so did everyone else I know. Ain’t really nothin’ much ta know.”

“what do ya know about the Ebott gangs?”

“Jus’ tha’ it seems ta be entirely humans ‘gainst monsters. Why?” Sans made a noise in the back of his throat, almost like a grunt before he ignored your question and asked a different one.

“do you know how gangs have territories and why it’s important to know where you live?”

“Naw, ain’t heard nothin’ like tha’.”

“well, with you living here, you’re on monster turf. amrollphéist turf. and there is a...small protection fee..that is required of all that live here.”

Protection fee? What the hell is that? Extortion? Why can’t anything be god damn simple?

“And if I refuse?” you ask, feeling uneasy

“well, pal, if you refuse…” at this point, Sans’ eye lights disappeared giving him a dark appearance that sent chills down your spine, “ y o u  w o n ‘ t  l i k e  w h a t  h a p p e n s  t o y o u.

No matter how much you tried, you couldn’t control the thundering of your heart beating in your ears, the fact that your mouth had gone dry, or the shivering that was most definitely not because of the air conditioning in the building. You were scared, more scared then when you had been kidnapped only a day before. You couldn’t help it, but tears rose to your eyes and you hurriedly got off the barstool, backing away from the normally jolly little skeleton. Your chest felt tight, and you couldn’t breathe. You needed to get away from him.

Chancing a look, your eyes flicked to your boss, just in time to watch him to spray Sans with the soda gun from behind the bar.

His voice hissed as Sans’ eyes returned to normal, if just slightly confused.

“grillbz, you know paps isn’t going to like my suit getting wet.”

“Be nice.”

“i was just answering her question.”

“Be nice to my employee or else I’ll stop making you ketchup.”

“fine fine. damn grillbz, didn’t expect you to get upset over that.”

You didn’t wait around to hear the rest. You hurried around behind Grillby and rushed up the stairs before locking yourself in your new room.

Breathe, Fox. Breathe. In….out…..in…..out….. You focused on your breathing for a few minutes until you felt like you weren’t going to start hyperventilating. Don’t think about the scary little creep down stairs. Think of home. Of your little farmhome. It’s midsummer, you’ll have to remember to take time off from work to go home in the fall for the harvest. Yeah, focus on the smell of dirt, and fresh produce, and your sweat. Focus on the sound of singing as you harvest the crops, and of the sound of the birds, and the wind. Remember that nip in the air, and the coolness of the plants that you touch, the chill to your hands from picking your vegetables, and the weight of them in the wicker baskets on your hips and back.

You finally relax, your heartbeat no longer pounding in your ears. With a sigh, you pull out Grillby’s phone and begin unpacking your things. It doesn’t take you long, and what you don’t need anymore, like your cot, gets put away in your closet.

As you finish, a knock sounds at your door. You take a deep breath, and when you open it, you are greatly relieved to see your boss, and only your boss, standing before you. He stares at you, a question in his eyes.

“I reckon ‘m fine, Grillby. Jus’... didn’ know he could be that scary. Been a lot happenin’ ‘n tha’ pas’ week, ya know?” He didn’t say anything, just put a hand to your cheek in quiet reassurance.

“Oh,” you say, remembering,” ‘ere’s yer phone. Thank ya fer lettin’ me borra’ it. Jus’ so ya know, tha lady tha’ works where I lived told me ta call tha cops ‘bout wha’ happened. I did, but it didn’ do much good. Jus’ don’ wantcha ta git too bothered by tha call log. I promise tha’ was tha’ only call I made.” You passed him the phone, and he pocketed it without looking at it, his hand dropping from your face.

“Do not worry about the fee. It is included in the rent already. And do not be too angry with Sans. He is used to people, monsters and humans, trying to make his job difficult. It does not excuse his actions, but perhaps it explains why he reacted the way he did.”

“Wha’s his job, if ya don’ mind me askin’?”

“He is the underboss of the Amrollphéist Syndicate.” His flames flickered nervously as he told you, and you wondered if perhaps you shouldn’t have asked.

“So does tha’ mean tha’ Frisk ‘nd Papyrus ‘nd Undyne are his..uh..coworkers?”

“Yes. Asgore is the Don, and Gaster is the advisor to Don Asgore, as well as the father of Sans and Papyrus.”

“What about you?”

“I do not work directly for them, at least, not anymore. I am much too old for the rough lives that they live. Instead, I collect information for them, when people drink and their lips loosen. In return, I can stay here in my bar, and do what makes me happy.”

“Wha’s tha’?”

“I can help distract people from the troubles of this world.”

You fell silent and pondered his words. In a way, you can see how he does do exactly that. The drinks and the listening. They both help a person, in their own way. But it doesn’t solve the problems that they have. Perhaps sometimes it is better to let someone solve their own troubles, and instead offer support as they need it.

“Yeah, I reckon I c’n see where ya’re comin’ fr’m.” And as you said that, you realized that he had distracted you from your fear of Sans, you were feeling more comfortable, and more safe than before he had come to see you.

“Thank ya, Grillby. Fer distractin’ me, an’ fer standin’ up ta Sans fer me. ’m sorry I caused a probl’m ‘n tha firs’ place.”

His flames flared up, giving a sense of accepting your thanks while also reassuring you that you had caused no such problems. He hadn’t said a word, but you could feel the intent coming from his flames. It felt...nice...assuring...Without thinking, you stepped closer towards him, and wrapped your arms around his waist, your face buried in his shoulder. He was so warm and solid and safe he felt in your arms. His arms wrapped around your upper back, returning your hug, and his cheek pressed into your hair. And, suddenly, you were no longer hugging Grillby, you were hugging your dad.

You were a little girl again, no more than twelve years old, and your kind daddy was smiling down at you, his boyish looks getting more boyish as he looked down at you with that big goofy grin.

“Daddy, when I git bigger, ‘m gonna be a singer! ‘nd then, you ‘nd mama won’ have ta work so hard! We c’n play ‘n tha creek, ‘nd catch all tha lightnin’ bugs, ‘nd we c’n git mama tha’ purty dress she’s been wantin’ and ya tha’ fancy piano!”

“Well, tha’ sounds mighty fine, but wha’ ‘bout yerself?”

“I a’ready got everythin’ I want! I got you ‘nd mama!”

His laugh, so warm and happy, filled your soul with joy and love. This was home and nothing could take that away.



Until it was taken.



“Fox, are you okay?”

A voice that was too soft to be your late father’s filled your ears, and you jumped back from your boss with a start.

“I am so sorry! I don’ know wha’ got inta me!”

“Y/N.” Hearing your name, you looked up at your boss, only now being aware of the tears that were falling down your face.”

“‘m sorry...I was jus’.. Ya jus’..I-” You took a breath to steady yourself, ignoring your heart that was cracking just a little bit more, “Ya reminded me o’ my dad fer a second. He..h- he ‘nd mama died almos’ twelve years ago. I was thirteen. ‘m sorry, Grillby.”

“May I ask what happened to them?”

“Was a huntin’ accident...mama was out gittin’ huckleberries out ‘n tha woods pas’ our fence, she was gonna make my favorite pie...nd’ it started ta rain. She was gonna wait it out under tha huckleberry bush, but someone, a neighbor, saw her white dress out under tha bush, ‘nd thought her ta be a swan...his mother had been needin’ a new pilla’ cause she had hurt her back carryin’ somethin’ way too heavy.. one shot was all it took… When daddy found out, he died of a broken heart. He tried fer me, he really did, but it was..too much fer him ta be able ta move on.”

Tears were streaming down your face as you spoke, your voice soft. You would think that after so long, it wouldn’t hurt, but that pain in your heart, in your soul, it never really left you. How long after their death did you want to join them? You had had no one and as much as you wanted to, you couldn’t hate them. You couldn’t hate them for abandoning you, for leaving you with this gaping hole in your chest. No, you loved them as much as ever. You just missed them. So much .

Grillby didn’t say anything as you cried, instead, he wrapped you back up in a tight hug. Even as your tears hissed as they touched him. Eventually, he spoke, and it crushed you as much as it healed you.

“I can tell that they loved you very much. And I am certain that wherever they are, they are so proud of you.”

You couldn’t help it, and you cried harder. You cried for the loss of your parents, the unfamiliarity of your new environment, the fear and pain you had felt at your apartment being broken into, the attack on you, the pursuit of your attacker, the kidnapping from the other day, the beating that you had taken, and the fear of someone that you were beginning to feel comfortable with turning on you like a rabid dog.

Grillby’s flames flicked around you, soothing the hurt in your soul. He really did feel like your daddy, and you let him comfort you. It had been so long since you had felt anything like this, and you weren’t ready to give it up. You just wanted your mama and papa back, you wanted your family to be okay. You had begged and pleaded with God for so long, take away everything and anything from you. Take your strength, take your voice, take your talents, your home, your friends. Turn the world against you, but just give you back your mama and papa please God please… But he didn’t, and no one came.

Eventually, your tears began to slow, but that persistent pain lingered in your chest. Your leftover strength left you, and you slouched against the flame elemental, your soul weary and your body unable to do anything. Grillby picked you up, his arms under your upper back and knees, carrying you bridal-style. He walked you down to the bar, before setting you down in a booth. He walked behind the bar, and grabbed you a bottle of water, before walking back over and handing it to you.

You hadn’t realized, but your tears had dehydrated you, and you greedily drank half the bottle.

“‘m sorry ya had ta see tha’, Grillby.”

“I understand, Fox. I lost my wife and my son years ago. I am fortunate that I still have my daughter, but not a day goes by that I do not think of them.”

“May I ask wha’ happened ta them?”

Grillby took a long look at you, his eyes flickering between your face and your chest, almost like he was staring through you.

“There was a fire in a human neighborhood, set by teenage arsonists. My wife had my son with her during a stroll when she came across the scene. She could hear the screams coming inside, and so she rushed in. The fire would not harm her nor our son, so she was not fearful, instead she was focused on getting those who couldn’t withstand the flame outside. She saved a whole family, and their pets, before the the human firefighters got there. They did their best to fight the flames, however, when she walked out of the building, they assumed she was a human on fire, and turned their hoses on her, and extinguished both her and my son. I do not blame the humans responsible, though I did for a long time. They were only trying to help. She and my son, they both turned to dust, and the running water spread their remains. I don’t know if you know, but when a monster dies, their dust is spread on the people that they cherished, or on items that were important to them. Their essence lives on in that person or item. However, I was unable to do that for her. But she lives on, on the street of the family that she saved. I believe that she watches over them, along with my son. My lovely Valkea and my wonderful Tuli..”

His voice trailed off, and his flames looked dimmer.

“They have lovely names.” Your voice was soft, and even your drawl was more subdued than usual.

“I agree. What are your parents’ names?”

“Molly and Jason.”

He didn’t respond, but there really wasn’t much to say. Instead, you two sat in companionable silence until it was time to open the bar. The night passed in blur. Thankfully, Sans stayed away that night. After work, you were worn out, from both the physical work and the emotional drain from earlier in the day. When you finally laid down for sleep in your new room, you made sure to thank Grillby with all your heart and soul. He wouldn’t know, but you felt like it was appropriate. When sleep claimed you, your dreams were that of the past, and while the tears fell from your eyes, a smile graced your lips.

Chapter Text

When you woke in the morning, bright sunlight streaming in through your open curtains, you couldn’t help but take note of just how comfortable you were and how at peace you felt. You really hadn’t planned on talking with Grillby about such heavy emotional material, but now that you had, your chest felt lighter in a way. Almost as though some unknown darkness had left you. Your heart was still tender, but you were stronger for it.

With a sigh, you sat up, taking a moment to stretch and pop a few of your joints. Your body already felt more awake just by doing that. Standing, you grabbed a change of clothes and walked to the bathroom outside your bedroom. You couldn’t tell if Grillby was awake yet or not, but you really wanted a shower. Besides, he wouldn’t need it….right?

Shaking your head, you turned on the water, getting it to a pleasantly hot temperature. You knew once your body got acclimated to the heat that you’d have to make it even hotter, but that was still a few minutes off. You stripped out of your pajamas and stepped into the warm water. The water pressure was absolutely perfect, and you sighed contentedly. As you wet your hair, you couldn’t help but begin to sing. Honestly? Shower singing was the best, with only the fog as your audience. It was easy to forget that your voice wasn’t as private as you thought it was.

 

If I die young bury me in satin

Lay me down on a bed of roses

Sink me in the river at dawn

Send me away with the words of a love song

Uh oh uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother

She'll know I'm safe with you when

She stands under my colors, oh and

Life ain't always what you think it oughta be, no

Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby

The sharp knife of a short life,

Well, I've had just enough time

 

Grabbing your shampoo, you begin to clean your hair, scratching at your scalp, your nails feeling really good against your skin. It felt so heavenly. You began rinsing as you sang the second part of the song.

 

If I die young bury me in satin.

Lay me down on a bed of roses

Sink me in the river at dawn

Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life,

Well I've had just enough time

And I'll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom

I'm as green as the ring on my little cold finger

I've never known the lovin' of a man

But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand

There's a boy here in town says he'll love me forever

Who would have thought forever could be severed by

 

Your body was already getting used to the temp, so you turned the handle, letting more heat cascade down your head and shoulders. There was something about morning showers that made you both energized and relaxed. With your hair rinsed, you then grab your conditioner and work it into your hair.

 

The sharp knife of a short life,

Well I've had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I'll wear my pearls

What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts, oh no I'll sell them for a dollar

They're worth so much more after I'm a goner

And maybe then you'll hear the words I been singin'

Funny when you're dead how people start listenin'

 

Letting it sit, you next grab your body wash, and your loofah, getting it sudsy before scrubbing at your skin with it. When you hit over your ribs, you couldn’t help getting gooseflesh with how pleasant the sensation of the rough material was. Man, you loved your back getting scratched. Maybe you could find a back scratcher in town? Shaking the thought from your mind, you decide to rinse off and finish your song.

 

If I die young bury me in satin

Lay me down on a bed of roses

Sink me in the river at dawn

Send me away with the words of a love song

Uh oh (uh oh)

The ballad of a dove

Go with peace and love

Gather up your tears, keep 'em in your pocket

Save 'em for a time when your really gonna need 'em oh

The sharp knife of a short life,

Well I've had just enough time

So put on your best boys, and I'll wear my pearls

 

Body rinsed off, you focused on getting your conditioner out before you turn your head into a grease ball. Now that your clean, you really don’t want to get out of the hot water, but you couldn’t bother your new roomie by taking it all, so you shut off the water before stepping out, and toweling yourself off.

You quickly changed into your clean clothes and finished up in the bathroom by brushing your teeth. Going to your room, you finished with applying your deodorant before heading downstairs.

Grillby was already prepping in the kitchen for tonight. You offered him your help, but the quivering of his flames shooed you from his kitchen. Well then, if he didn’t want your help that way, perhaps you could help in another.

“Grillby,” you called from the window that let you see into the fireman’s space, “do ya need anythin’ fr’m tha store? Gonna go fetch’us some groceries. Gimme yer list if ya’ve got one.”

He walked from his station and out of your sight before returning, holding out the shopping list but pulling it away whenever you reached for it. His brow raised in a silent question: which store?

“R’lax, Spitfire, jus’ gonna go ta Sylvester’s . ‘Sides, I gotta tell tha boss why I ain’t been ta work in tha pas’ coupl’a days.” He leveled a glare your way (most likely for the nickname you suddenly bestowed upon him) before very deliberately putting the list in your hands. With you having the list, he waves you off, flicking an ember towards you, and resumes the prep work for the evening.

When you walk outside, you take a deep breath of fresh air. While there is some smog in the city, right now there is enough of a breeze to clear it out of the immediate area. A bounce in your step, you make the way to your day job.

It was a beautiful summer day, but you know that soon it’s going to get chilly. It was already late August, pretty soon the leaves would turn vibrant with color. With a happy sigh, you took in your surroundings. Despite being here for over a week now, you really enjoyed the city, despite the obvious dangers that it contained.

In no time at all, you’re walking into your other job. You make a beeline to your boss’ office. You see him sitting in his chair behind his desk, hands holding his head up. You knock on the door, causing him to jump up with shock, and you feel somewhat guilty knowing that you scared the older man. He almost tripped over his feet trying to get to the door and he hurried;y opened it for you, pulling you inside his office.

“Fox! Where have you been?”

You explain what you had went through, and then you told him who had done it to you. The anger on his face that one of his employees could and would do something as horrible as what had been done to you was almost scary even though you had done nothing wrong. Insead, it was righteous fury on your behalf.

“Have ya told your Grumps about this?”

“Naw, sir. I’d rath’r not contribute ta tha death o’ a person, ev’n if they’re a real piece o’ work.”

He let out a breath, none of the stress on his face or in his posture relaxing as it left him.

“Ya file a report on him?”

“Yes sir, but I don’ reckon tha’ tha officer did anythin’ ‘bout it.”

“Well, I’m going to terminate the guy. I refuse to have someone like that work for me. I have a reputation to uphold. I also understand if you don’t want to work here after your attack either.”

“Ya know, I may jus’ take ya up on tha’. Don’ really feel comf’rtable leavin’ Grillby’s this long. Almos’ waitin’ fer tha oth’r shoe ta fall, yeah?”

“Yeah, I gotcha there. Well, as an apology for his actions, I’ll include a severance pay for a month. Gotta look after my rival’s kid and all.” He flashed you a small grin before extending his hand. You took it and gave it a firm shake.

“I’ll mail your checks to Grillby’s , that work for you?”

“Yes sir, that’ll b’mighty fine.”

With that, he led you from his office, shutting the door behind you as you left. You really hadn’t planned on quitting, but you really had been telling the truth--you don’t feel comfortable being away from the fire elemental all that long.

Shaking yourself of those thoughts, you took out the list that Grillby had gave you and read over it.

Ground beef

Potatoes

Eggs

Tomatoes

Lettuce

Sweet onions

Vinegar

Salt

Pepper

Garlic

Worcestershire sauce

Coffee

Tea

Milk

Eggs

Flour (self rising and all purpose )

Sugar

Bread

 

Holy Hell. I’m gonna need to bring my own shopping cart next time... You dryly thought to yourself as you picked up a basket near the door.

The few times that you had gone shopping with Gran, she had always insisted on getting the dry goods first, and so that is what you did. Luckily, most of the stuff was on the baking aisle, so you grabbed the seasonings, flours, sugar, and bread. You weren’t sure if Grillby wanted the bargain brand items or name brand items, so instead, you stuck to the stuff that you knew for a fact was good quality. Items now in your shopping basket, you figured the sauce would be down the condiment aisle. You found it on the top shelf. Of course the store would feel the need to put the stupid stuff in an area where you couldn’t reach.

You took a step back from the products, only to step into a person behind you.

“O’ goodness, ‘m so sorry, sir. Are ya alrigh’?” Looking up at him, it took you a split second to recognize him.

“I am perfectly fine, Fox. I hadn’t seen you around lately, are you doing well?”

“‘M doin’ alrigh’, Joey. Jus’ had a few stressful days s’all.” He peered down at you, taking in what you had said, and you offered him a tentative smile.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Naw, talked ‘bout it too much with tha police ‘nd ev’rythin’. Don’ really wanna git inta it if it ain’t gonna do me no good, ya know? Jus’ wanna forgit ‘bout it all.”

“Alright, my dear. Whatever your say. If there anything I can do to help you, though?”

“Sure! If ya wanna git down tha’ there bottle o’ worcestershire sauce offa tha top shelf, tha’ would be helpful plenty.” With a breathy chuckle, he easily reached up and pointed to one of the bottles, you shook your head and directed his hand to the one you wanted, taking it from him with a ‘thanks’ once you could reach it.

“So whattaya been gittin’ inta since tha las’ time I saw ya?”

“Not much, really. I’ve been helping my father with his business lately. It is so hard to find good help these days, I’m sure you understand. Too many people want someone to do all the work for them and then don’t want to hold up their end of the bargain. It’s a shame.”

“Hmm, wha’ is it tha’ y’all do?”

“We’re a humble moving company. We’ll take your product wherever it is that it needs to go so long as it is within the country.” You fell silent as you thought, returning to your list and looking for the tea and the coffee. As you begin walking, hesitating just slightly to make sure that your companion was following you --he was--, the gears in your brain turned. By the time you find your needed aisle, you’re struck with an idea.

“Haveya ev’r thought ‘bout takin’ tha stuff ta tha place y’all’re goin’ fer half tha price, ‘nd then when ya’ll git there, hold onta tha furniture or whatev’r until they pay ya tha otha half?”

“We have thought about that, and sometimes it works, other times it does not. It depends on the people that we are dealing with, sadly.

“Hmm, well, looks like y’all’ve got a humding’r on yer hands. Cut business wit’ tha folks tha’ do ya dirty?” As you spoke, you reached up and grabbed a couple teas. You weren’t sure which types Grillby wanted, so you picked out some Orange Pekoe, Earl Gray, a fruity and non-fruity green tea, and a blueberry-flavored white tea. At least if he didn’t like it, you knew for a fact that you would.

“They’d just go to a different company. It isn’t like we are the only ones who do this for a living. But let’s not worry about it. I didn’t mean to make you come up with solutions to our problem.” Knowing he probably didn’t want to talk about the situation, it was rather dull after all, you let the topic drop and picked something else to talk about.

“Well, whattaya need fr’m ‘ere, then? My Gran always says ta git tha dry goods first ‘nd then focus on tha cold stuff. Prev’nts ‘em fr’m gittin’ too warm too quick.”

“I will have to remember that for my future purchases. However, for today, I was instructed to get some lamb chops. I believe everything else is already at home.” He followed you as you walked to get your next item, the coffee, which was just a few paces down from the tea. Pleased with your selection, you began making your way to the produce department.

“We c’n go there afta this. I jus’ gotta grab a coupl’a thangs.”

“That is fine, Fox. Please, take your time.” You were already looking at the potatoes. Deciding that a bag would be better than singles, you flipped them this way and that, checking for those cancerous looking eye growths and for green coloring under the skin. Didn’t need anyone getting sick, after all. Luckily, you were able to find an acceptable bag fairly quick.

You didn’t spend much time on the onions and tomatoes. So long as they were firm and not discolored, you were happy with them. Same deal with the head of garlic. You had already got garlic powder from the spice aisle, but nothing could compete to fresh garlic.

The iceberg lettuce was a different story though. You looked and looked, but all the heads just seemed sad to look at. They weren’t as firm as they should be, the leaves appeared to be wilted and were beginning to yellow.

“Something wrong?” Your companion asked you. Nodding as you spoke, you explained that these weren’t all that good.

“Would some of these work for you, instead?” Joey motioned to some green-leafed lettuce, sitting a few shelves above the iceberg. You reached out and felt the leaves. It felt crisp, the leaves were standing tall. Picking it up, you looked for visible bad spots, and even pulled the leaves back just slightly to investigate further.

“Poss’bly. D’pends on wha’ it’s gonna be used ta make. Salads? This’ll b’perfect. Burgers? Coul’ work, but d’pends on tha type o’ meat used. Got a diff’rent taste than tha’ iceberg there.”

“Do you not know what it is that is going to be made with it?” He inquired of you.

“Naw, Grillby ain’t said nothin’ ‘bout wha’ it’s needed fer. Jus’ asked me ta git it fer him. I’ll git it though. If he don’ like it none, well, it ain’t like I’m lettin’ ‘im pay fer it.” You put the lettuce in a produce bag and let Joey guide you to the meat department. The two of you found his lamb chops first, so you waited while he made his selection. He didn’t spend too long looking really, just grabbing whichever one was on top.

“Your basket is looking heavy, would you let me carry it for you?” You looked down at it, finally noticing the weight of it. It was rather heavy…

“If ya don’ mind, tha’ll be awf’lly kind of ya.” With a kind smile that showed off his dimples and made your heart speed up, he reached towards the basket, easily pulling it from your grasp. Fox, what are you thinking? You can’t be having this kind of emotional reaction to someone you just met! You hurriedly stomped down that rush of affection but you couldn’t wipe the flush that was beginning on overtaking your cheeks.

“I ain’t got but one more thin’ ta git so ya ain’t gotta carry it fer long.” The two of you walked down a few feet until you got to the ground beef.

“I don’t mind. If anything, I should have offered earlier. I’m sorry I didn’t. To make it up to you, would you allow me to escort you back to Grillby’s?”

You flush lit up deeper. Never had someone your own age ever treated you like this. Sure the boys you knew back at the farm would hold doors open for you, but they never offered to carry anything unless it was purely for showing off to their friends. You found yourself nodding, your eyes not leaving the tiles of the floor.

“Excellent. You’re wonderful company and I was hoping that we could spend more time together.”

“T-thank ya.” You were being uncharacteristically bashful right now, what was wrong with you? Forcing your feet to walk towards the front end of the store, you mentally chewed yourself out for acting like some foolish schoolgirl. Yeah, he was charming, and helpful, and a gentleman, but there was zero reason that he was being around you for more than just being polite and kind to a new face.

Finally, you made it up to the counter. The man behind the register quickly pulling your things off the conveyor belt, scanning them, and then bagging them himself (in paper bags). When he read you the total, you pulled out your bank card and paid for your items. There was only three bags, but you watched as Joey made sure to grab the two heaviest ones for himself, leaving you the lightest.

“Fox, would you care to join me for dinner this evening? We can go wherever it is that you desire.” Oh goodness. Does he mean like a date? Do I even want to go on a date with him? Wait...what would Grillby say? Why am I even thinking about this? I have to work! Just turn him down gently, Foxy…

“I dont’ know ‘bout ta’nigh’...gotta work ‘nd all tha’ jazz. Ya reckon Sunday nigh’ woul’ b’good fer ya? Tha’s tha only nigh’ I git off.” There, now he gets a chance and I don’t gotta call out. You smirk to yourself, pleased that you were able to quickly solve your problem.

“I am afraid that that will not be possible. You see, every Sunday night is my family’s weekly family dinner and ,well, they don’t approve of anyone missing dinner that night. Not even death is a valid excuse.” He said while watching your face. “Besides, my mother is quite scary.” With that, you couldn’t help but laugh and he smiled down at you good naturedly. You supposed what Grumps had told you years ago must really be true, ‘a good man fears and fears for the women in their lives.’ Joey allowed you to come down from your laughter and as you walked back towards Grillby’s, you both learned of the other’s parents. His mother was a doctor and his father had that moving company. They had been high school sweethearts and had been married for thirty years. Joey admitted that they had been rather strict parents, but he liked to believe that he and his three brothers grew up better for it.

“.....so that’s finally how we got his head out of the wall. But the entire time we were panicking trying to get him out, he was chanting in latin and had that awful cherry pie smeared across his face. When he was free, he looked like an unbaked pastry!” His story had you in stitches. You had never heard of someone that absurd and your ribs were protesting the visuals that caused you to laugh as hard as you were.

When you were finally able to get your breathing under control, you began telling him of the time a mouse ran up your leg on Christmas night.

“So I was hearin’ some sort o’ noise fr’m tha cats one nigh’, ‘bout close ta three o’ four in tha mornin’. Wasn’ taa big o’ a concern, but I wan’ed tha racket ta quiet on down so I coul’ go back ta sleep. So I got up, walked inta tha kitch’n ‘nd turned on tha ligh’. Cats were in tha livin’ room by tha cat door ‘nd I coul’ see they had some poor lil’ critter. Look a bit closer, ‘nd there’s a mouse. Now mama nev’r liked a mouse. Reptiles ‘nd all, no probl’m, lil’ tiny mammals, she’s gonna be bringin’ down Armageddon in a bucket o’ Hellfire. So I git back inta tha kitch’n ‘nd I grab a paper towel ‘nd head back on inta tha livin’ room. Mouse is still there, cats keepin’ it in one place, more o’ less. Walk on ov’r ta it, bend down ta pick it up, ‘nd this lil’ sonofagun runs up my damn britches’ leg! I grab it fas’ as I c’n, but now it’s pinned ta tha back o’ my calf ‘nd if I let ‘em go, it’s jus’ gonna run up higher. So ‘ere I am, bent ov’r ‘nd hand on tha back o’ my leg, tryna hobble on ov’r ta tha door. Well, I kick tha lil’ table tha’ daddy built, knock it ‘nd me ov’r. Now ‘m on tha floor, one han’ on my leg, ‘nd tha oth’r grippin’ my toe on tha same foot. ‘M on tha floor jus’ a’hollerin. Mama ‘nd daddy come runnin’ in, daddy’s got his shotgun, lookin’ ‘round fer tha reas’n ‘m fussin’ ‘nd mama’s got these big ol’ gator tears rollin’ down her face. Well, they’re smart folks, they figured I was wand’ren ‘round in tha middle o’ tha nigh’ ‘nd I done gone ‘nd tripped. So they start tryna help me up ‘nd I keep hollerin ‘tha mouse’ll fall, tha mouse’ll fall’. They’re both lookin’ at me like I done gone ‘nd los’ my ever lovin’ mind! I finally was able ta ‘xplain tha’ I had a mouse ‘n my draw’rs, so daddy somehow got me inta tha yard ‘nd my mama was jus’ pullin’ my britches off as soon as I was outside. So ‘ere it is, snow on tha ground, wit’ me, a lil five year old pantsless, mama chasin’ tha mouse out, ‘nd daddy jus’ laughin’ away a’ how our Christmas got turned upside down.”

Joey had started laughing the minute you told him that the mouse had run up your pajamas, and only laughed harder as you told the story. But when you finished speaking, you could see Grillby’s just down the road, and Joey’s boisterous laughter had turned into small snickers.

“Thanks fer helpin’ me wit’ tha groceries,” you told him, now on a slightly more serious note.

“It really is no problem at all, my dear. I was glad to be of some use to a beautiful woman.” You blushed hard at his words and averted your eyes to your moving feet. It wasn’t that you weren’t used to comments like that...oh, wait, it totally was that you weren’t used to comments of that nature. Nevermind.

As you two approached the door of your work, you opened and held the door open for Joey.

“Thank you, dear Fox, but you didn’t have to do that. I would have been more than happy t-” you cut him off, explaining that you weren’t going to allow the man carrying your things, who had both arms full, to hold open the door for you, when you still had a free arm. With a smile, you instructed him to put the items on the bar while you put them away in the kitchen.

Steps coming from up above let you know that Grillby was home, and was currently headed down the stairs, presumably to investigate the noise that you were causing. You were slightly confused as to why he hadn’t come and spoke with you in the kitchen, yet, but you put it out of your mind as you focused on getting the cold items into refrigeration.

When you finally left the kitchen, you saw Grillby leaning into the bar on one hip with his arms crossed glaring pointedly at your friend. Placing a hand on his shoulder finally caused him to break the stare off as he looked down at you.

“Grillby, this ‘ere is my frien’, Joey. Joey, meet Grillby.” They begrudgingly shook hands, both of them quickly dropping the hand shake and retreating back into their closed off positions, causing one of the most awkward silences that you had ever had the displeasure of hearing.

“He helped me wit’ tha groceries. C’n ya go check ‘em out ‘nd make sure tha’ I got tha righ’ stuff fer ya, bossman?” You watched as your boss’s flames flickered, indicating that he heard you and from the pointed stare he gave you, you figured it would be best to get Joey out of there as Grillby headed into his kitchen.

“Hey, Joey, thank ya so much fer yer help t’day. Let’s do lunch sometime soon, okay?” Having your focus on him seemed to allow him to relax. Joey gave you a smile and agreed, suggesting the coming up Friday. You agreed.

“So long as ya git me back ‘ere b’fore three so I c’n help tha boss prepare fer tha nigh’.”

“That won’t be a problem at all, my dear. Please have a lovely rest of your day.” With a wave, he left the bar, and you let out a sigh of relief as some of the tension in the building dissipated. Walking into the kitchen, you noticed Grillby standing by the fridge, checking your selections, but even if you didn’t know your boss as well as you did by now, you could tell by the aggressiveness of his flames on his head and hands that he was trying hard to control his emotions. The fact that you did know him as well as you did, meant that you had just the slightest bit of fear as you stepped forwards. When he was calm, it was easy to forget just what kind of control he had over his magic, but seeing him in this state, struggling to retain his control and not allow his magic to take over, it merely emphasised just how strong the fire elemental was.

You stepped closer, standing next to him and allowing him to know that you were there, but not pressing him to speak to you. But after a moment, he managed to take a deep breath and put his fire back under control as he closed the fridge.

He placed his hand on your head and gave you a gentle pat, and you could tell that while he was upset with something about Joey, you could also see that you had done good with your selections and that he was pleased.

“Do ya wan’ me ta help ya git set up fer t’nigh’, Grillby?” He shook his head. When he spoke, and the now familiar wispy sound reached your ears, suddenly you found yourself yawning.

“Go take a nap, songbird. I will see you down here in a few hours.” A sound of protest left your throat causing him to chuckle and you were all but shooed out of his kitchen and chased up the stairs.

You plopped down on your bed and were out like a light in under thirty seconds.



When you opened your eyes again, Grillby was standing over you, his warm hand on your shoulder, gently shaking you awake.

“Five m’re minutes, Grillbs…” you mumbled. His flames crackled, the sound something akin to a laugh before he started shaking you again.

“Need you on the stage, songbird. We’re doing something different.” With a groan, you sat up, rubbing at your eyes.

“Yeah, boss?”

“Commissions. The regulars know you well enough now that they’ll pay for your songs. They put in a suggestion and then you sing it.” Your brain was slowly catching up to what was being discussed, but it was at least catching up nonetheless.

“Wha’ if I don’ know it?” At least it had caught up quick enough to address that  particular problem.

“Make a list of which titles you know. They can only pull from there. Fair?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“One more question, can you play any instruments? I used to have a band that played for me and I’ve been thinking about getting them back together.”

“C’n play tha fiddle, banjo, ‘nd a bi o’ piana.”

“Would you be willing to play with the band if I get them back here?”

“Sure, if y’all got a use fer me. B’more th’n happy ta.”

“Good. Get ready and come down stairs. I’ve got tea ready.” With that, he walked out of your room, pulling the door shut behind him with a soft ‘click’. You stayed sitting for a few minutes, focusing on waking up. Finally you stood up, taking a nice long stretch and allowing your blood to flow quicker. You very slightly remembered something that you had learned in high school. Apparently when you stretched after being in a certain position for an extended amount of time, the tightening of your muscles pushed the blood that pooled in your muscles back into your veins and it released endorphins or something that made you feel good. You had never been good with science, but that little tidbit of information had interested you. Maybe because you enjoyed stretching when you first woke up.

Walking over to the dresser that came with the room, you quickly ran your brush through your hair, making it behave after it took advantage of your nap to go crazy. Now that you were up and moving a bit, the drowsiness that had accompanied you just moments before was already working on fading into the background of your mind.

When you made it downstairs, Grillby was in the kitchen with the promised tea. Seeing it quickly reminded you of your shopping experience earlier.

“Grillby, wha’ kind o’ tea d’ya like? I picked a’ random earlier cause I didn’ know so I jus’ got wha’ I knew I liked.”

“I prefer green tea or oolong tea. Extra flavors are not needed but are not refused either.”

You fixed up your tea, adding a healthy serving of sugar to your cup, and the two of you both sipped in silence. Grillby eventually passed you a sheet of paper and a pen and instructed you to write down the songs that you knew.

“Ya c’n read cursive, righ’? I cain’t write ‘n print decen’ enough t’save my life.” He nodded, and you got to work, trying to remember all the songs that you knew and didn’t know. You wound up taking both sides of the one sheet and over half of a page on another before you passed the paper to Grillby. You were certain that you knew more than the songs you had written down, but you couldn’t remember them for the life of you.

“You can write down more as you remember them. This is a good start.” You boss waved off your slight concern and you both went back to sipping your teas as Grillby got to work designing and making a more polished version of your music list.

When he finished, he posted the list on one of the central columns of the dining area. The list was large enough that everyone would be able to see it with ease, but they would have to get up closer in order to read it. Each song had a price listed next to it and were sorted into groups of kid songs, family friendly songs, and explicit songs. Kid songs were only a dollar or 1 G, but if you were going to be singing to kids, it had to be a price that parents would be willing to pay. The family friendly songs were priced between five and ten dollars, or 3 to 8 G, and explicit songs were priced at fifteen dollars and up, or 10 G or more. People could also request a mystery song for three dollars or 2 G

You understood his pricing scheme, and you could agree with it. It made sense for the songs for kids to be marked significantly lower than the explicit songs, mainly because with the decent amount of kids that showed up with their parents, you didn’t want  them to hear anything explicit coming from you. The price made sure that someone was really going to have to want to hear it and they wouldn’t be able to pay for it on a whim.

With the list out, you finished your tea and waited. Grillby had already completed all the prep work while you were napping, and now all you had to do was wait on Grillby to open the doors to the bar.

It didn’t take long, and not fifteen minutes later, some of the regulars were already heading in to their usual places. You quickly made your first round of the evening, collecting drink orders that never changed. No one wanted food yet, so you busied yourself with making sure that glasses stayed full and the beer stayed flowing.

About an hour into your shift, you made an announcement about the new song situation and directed everyone’s attention to the song selection sheet. Some looked at it with interest, others paid little to no mind about it, but you made sure that they knew where it was. After you made a few more rounds, filling drinks and bringing food to the tables, you managed to check the request box under the sign, and there was a few songs listed and attached to the requested funds. Let’s see here, ‘Control’ from Halsey, ‘Errors’ by K.I.D., ‘Whore’ by In This Moment, ‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls, Turn on Billie by The Pierces, and ‘For Your Entertainment’ by Adam Lambert...good choices, folks.

You handed the list to Grillby and let him know which order to play them in before you stepped up to the stage and addressed your audience.

“Hey y’all. I got some purty good choices up ‘ere t’nigh’. One o’ tha songs is gonna b’explicit, so I’m gonna sing it first since we ain’t got no youngin’s ‘n ‘ere yet.” The small crowd cheered a bit, only a few of the regulars being the only ones remotely sloshed and loud.

Grillby began the music and you began singing to the hard rock song. It was difficult on your voice, but you managed to handle it without too much trouble. You had always had a hard time making your voice rough enough to sound decent with the lyrics. But, luckily for you, it was soon over.

You stepped off the stage as the patrons were applauding you, and you made a quick round, filling drinks, taking order, and bringing out food. A few monsters and humans began flirting with you, and you were sure to politely turn them down. They took it good naturedly, and suggested that maybe next time they’d have better luck, but didn’t push it beyond that. You were thankful that they were all mostly reasonable drunks.

Once your round was over, you flashed a signal to Grillby, who started the music for the next song as you returned to your place behind the microphone.

 

And I'd give up forever to touch you

'Cause I know that you feel me somehow

You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be

And I don't want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment

And all I can breathe is your life

And sooner or later it's over

I just don't wanna miss you tonight

And I don't want the world to see me

'Cause I don't think that they'd understand

When everything's meant to be broken

I just want you to know who I am

 

You let yourself sing soulfully into the microphone, and you noticed a couple had stood up and were slow dancing on the dance floor. In only another few moments, most of the couples that had come in were dancing together. You could see the love they had for each other and you felt a rush of affection and happiness at watching them. The sight made you smile as you sang, and you continued through the song.

When it was finally over, the couples applauded you, and you returned the gesture back to them, which made a few of them blush and others beam in contentment. Stepping off the stage, you ran to the bathroom to relieve yourself, making sure to wash your hands before you left. On your way out the door, you accidentally ran into someone.

“I am so sorry,” you drawled out breathily. “Are ya alrigh’?” When you looked up, a familiar blue fish was glaring down at you.

“Better learn to watch where you’re going, punk.” Her yellow eye glinted sharply as she stared you down. The unwaveringness of that single eye made you feel on edge which caused the fine hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. With that uncomfortable feeling settling inside your gut, you flinched back from her with a short ‘yes’m.’

She shoved past you, forcefully pushing you out of her way. You remained in the hallway for a moment more, trying to calm your rapidly beating heart. Well, that could have gone worse… With a sigh, you made your way back out to the floor, determined to get in at least one round.

However, once you stepped into the bar, you were quickly grabbed around the hips by a tiny monster. An ‘oof’ escaped your lips and when you looked down to see who had snagged you, a bright smile belonging to the cute Asriel was beaming up at you.

“Hi, Miss Fox! I missed you!” His white fur flushed with pink as the boldness of his words startled him.

“Heya, Asriel. How’re ya ‘nd yer folks doin’?” You quickly returned his hug before lifting him and settling his small frame on your hip. Once he was secure and you started walking towards his regular table, he began telling you about everything that had happened since he last saw you. About how he and Chara had played a prank on Sans and Frisk, how they got the same prank on their parents, and that while their mom had been tickled pink, their dad had grounded them for a day.

“A day o’ bein’ grounded jus’ fer lettin’ ‘im walk inta some cling wrap? Tha’s rough, buddy.” You sympathized with him.

“I know, right? We were just playing! If mom hadn’t been there, it would have been longer!” He pouted, and you had to fight an urge to ‘awww’ at him. He’s just so dang cute!

You set him down once you got to his usual seat. Frisk and Chara was there, waiting for him to return.

“I see you found your pal, Asriel.” Frisk smirked at him, causing his fur to flush pink once again, before turning her focus to you. “How are you doing, Fox? Any more problems lately?” The way she said that didn’t sit well with you, but you chose to ignore it.

“It’s’all been swell. Ya know Grillby had me move ‘n yest’rday, righ’? ‘Nd since tha person who gave me probl’ms ‘n tha first place worked a’ my oth’r job, I quit it earlier t’day.” Her eyes widened just slightly, her shoulders tense. For what? You weren’t sure, but a second later, she relaxed, and a more sincere smile was flashed your way.

Moving back into work mode, you asked them if you could get them anything to eat or drink, and once they put in their orders, you completed your round. As you were behind the bar, you let Grillby know to go ahead and start the next song while you dropped off the drinks at Asriel’s table.

When you stepped up on the stage for the third time that evening, you did your rendition of Errors , which, while kind of a downer, a few humans and monsters managed to find some was to dance to it.

Eventually, the song ended, and you finished off the requests as you had the time. You kept getting more and more throughout the night. However, the response that bothered you most was when you sang Turn on Billie . For some reason, Frisk had glared at you the second she heard the end of the chorus. You didn’t understand what was wrong when you sang Don't be silly,

Turn on Billie. She's singing us to sleep So we can dream our lives away. And if we wake up in full makeup, We'll paint the town blue 'cause baby, red is so passe.’ After the song had finished, she had stormed out. When you asked Grillby about it, he had only shrugged, but you couldn’t shake the feeling that you had somehow insulted her.