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Never a Lovely So Real

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There's three places in this town where a monster can sit down for a good meal.  Oh, sure, we've got bakeries galore, and there's a guy who drives an ice cream truck all over the Little Underground -- there's even a hot dog stand when I'm feeling up to it.  And Ebott has plenty of restaurants outside of the Little Underground.  But if you're a monster, and you want a place with waiters and tables and the whole nine yards, there's really only three options; the humans won't have us in their very refined establishments, after all.

The first place -- the only place you're likely to know of if you're human -- is Club MTT.  It's famous -- this is where Shyren got her start, after all -- and it's booked solid for months, so good luck with reservations.  But if you know a guy, you might find yourself at a nice table near the front.  Don't worry about being the only human there; there's more humans than scary monsters at Club MTT.  The food's hit or miss, more spectacle than substance, but people go really wild for the entertainment and the glamour.  Mettaton himself is up there on stage most nights, and whatever you think of the guy, he puts on a great show.

The second place is Grillby's.  You gotta love Grillby's. Maybe you've heard of this one too, especially if you're from around here; it's where humans go when they want "the authentic Little Underground experience."  It ain't glamorous, but the grub's fantastic.  And hey, if you wanna know a guy who could get you into Club MTT, just look for me there.  I'm the one with all the best jokes, and I've got a tab you could help me out with.

The third place is Lo Spaghettore.  It's a great little restaurant in the heart of the Little Underground -- cozy atmosphere, friendly waitstaff, and so on.  A nice, family-friendly kinda place.  Humans never seem to find their way there, but if they did I know they'd be welcomed with open arms.  The chef, a real swell guy named Papyrus, always comes out to ask how dinner was when you're done with your pasta.

What I think you should tell him is that dinner was great.  I strongly advise against complaining about dinner.  Dinner was fantastic.  Excellent, even.  Make no bones about it.  Best spaghetti you ever had.  Let them pack up the leftovers in a doggy bag.  You're gonna have a lotta leftovers.

After you skip the spaghetti, though, you should order the pie.  Trust me on this.  Men have died for the recipe.  Hell, men have killed for it.  Which was a mistake, because no stone-cold killer's ever gonna get their grubby paws on Tori's famous pie.  She'd never allow it.  I mention this because I think people get the wrong impression about monsters -- about the Dreemurrs in particular.  What you see in the papers is sensationalized.  I'm not sayin' it's incorrect, but I just wanna point out that at no point have any of us ever been convicted.  There ain't a gentler soul out there than Asgore Dreemurr, and Tori -- well, she's a classy lady, is all I can say.

Me?  Come on, look at me, I'm, what, four feet tall and all bones.  You got nothing to fear from me.  So what if there's been some... incidents in our community?  We monsters have to do what we can to survive, and it ain't illegal to make bad spaghetti or good pie.  Or to stick together.

Anyway, if you don't like the pie, I'll eat my hat.  'Course, I'd eat my hat anyway if it made for a good punchline.  With ketchup, obviously.  I may be a monster, but I'm not a barbarian.

Where is this all going?  Well, you gotta know the lay of the land.  Usually I'm at Grillby's in between my various tasks and errands around town.  I'm a very busy guy!  I have to get in a lot of loitering, boondoggling, passing time, shilly-shallying, and general faffing around.  But I always go to Papyrus' place for dinner.  Always.  Even if I'm performing at MTT later that night.  I am part-owner, after all; I gotta look after the place.  Also, he's my brother.  We ain't got anyone but each other, not anymore.  But I don't like to think about that.

So it shows how important Undyne is that I agreed to meet her at MTT for dinner in the first place.  Papyrus wasn't real happy he wasn't invited, but I told him Undyne knows he's got his important chef duties to attend to, and I think he even believed it.  We may not agree on much, me and Undyne, but she definitely wants to keep Papyrus out of trouble same as me.

Anyway, I walk in and there's Mettaton on stage in a slinky dress, singing about love and death and how great his legs are -- his usual schtick -- and Undyne's accompanying him on the piano, looking bored out of her skull and cranky as ever.  I take my hat off, I order a Bloody Mary and a burger, I clap politely when the song's done, and I sit there and look around wondering why we're here.  Not why we're here philosophically; I swore off worrying about the difficult questions ages ago, they're too much effort.  I mean, why we're here in this glitter-trap full of slumming humans, because presumably Undyne has some important business.  She usually does.

When they're done with their set she comes over to my table.  "You're early.  You said you wouldn't be able to get that delivery finished until six."

I shrug.  "I know a shortcut.  Anyway, what's going on?"

She looks around tensely, then sits down.  There's a noise like an elephant blowing its nose, and she bares her teeth at me before removing the whoopee cushion from the seat and throwing it on the table.  It lies there like roadkill.

I smirk.  She sits down, scowling, and continues as if nothing happened.  "Rumor is the Flower Boys are making a move soon."

"Yeah?  Rumor is always that they're making a move," says I.  "They're probably rooted to the spot, same as ever."

She rolls her remaining eye.  Sometimes Undyne does not appreciate a good joke when I tell it.  This is true of many people.  I try not to hold it against her.  "This is serious, Sans," she says.  "People are saying they're prepping to reset the entire Little Underground."

"Reset" is a euphemism.  It means they're gonna wipe it clean.  They're gonna clear it out.  In plain language, they want to kill us.

This is nothing new.  They're crooks, after all.  As a legitimate businessman, I despise their methods, obviously.  Fortunately, I got friends in low places to deal with all of that messy work.

"So you're gonna shoot 'em up," I say, shrugging.  "No cartilage off my nasal cavity."

"It's not that simple," she says.  "They have this kid."

"What?"  I am baffled.  I've never met him, but the Flower does not strike me as the parental type.  I don't even think the guy has friends.  It's just him and his goons.

"They have this kid," she repeats.  She lights up a cigarette, takes a long drag, and sighs, apparently exhausted from a long day of piano and beating people up.  Smoke curls out of her nose, mouth, and gills.  "The boss doesn't want to just kill 'em all.  Collateral damage, you know?"  After a thoughtful pause, she adds, "The boss never wants to just kill 'em all."

"Why do they have a kid?" I ask.  "Who is this kid?"  My burger comes.  I pick the sequins out of it.  Never liked the taste of sequins.

She shrugs.  "Beats me.  Must be a pretty special kid if the Flower's willing to play babysitter.  Anyway, we're planning on doing a thing next week.  We need you to distract the cops."

"What kind of thing?" I ask.

"It's not your kind of thing," she says, quickly.  This is also a euphemism.  It means "It's gonna be fucking brutal, Sans."  Or "You're a useless lump, Sans.  Stay out of it."

I can't really be insulted, because that is basically my job description right there.  I work hard at being useless.  Still, I'm curious.  "How do I know what kind of thing it is or isn't if you won't tell me?" I ask.  "When you put it like that --" and here I grin for real, because she walked into it "-- it sounds pretty fishy."

"You planning on helping out?" she asks, raising an eyebrow.  "Because if not, it's not your kind of thing."

"You kidding?  I'm already working my fingers to the bone here.  Besides, you said you needed me to serve as a distraction."

"That's right," she says.  "The boss wants to see you tomorrow for lunch.  Specific instructions, I guess.  Twelve-thirty sharp at Lo Spag."

"Gotcha."

"Oh, and…"  Undyne makes a face.  "She wants you two to take the kid, after.  Just for a little while, until things settle down."

"What?"  I gotta be straight here, I can barely keep a goldfish alive on a good day.  Besides, I have my hands full with Papyrus.  And the boss is... well, she used to have kids.  I thought she missed 'em.  "They're taking the kid?  Who is this kid?"

Undyne shrugs.  "That I don't know.  What, you gonna turn her down?"  She puffs on her cigarette thoughtfully.

"She's a hard lady to turn down," I say.  "What about the big guy, though?  Can't he watch the kid?"

"Yeah, he suggested that."  Undyne's frown looks like a knife drawer in disarray.  "But like you said.  She's a hard lady to turn down."

"You got any idea what these specific instructions are?"  Probably not, but it's worth asking.

She shakes her head.  "Your guess is as good as mine.  Better, maybe.  How'd you say you knew Toriel, again?"

"I don't remember specifying," I say, maybe a little harsher than I meant it.  She don't like my tone, clearly, but she's not gonna push it.  "Sorry.  I guess it's not that exciting.  We were pen pals for a while, that's all."

"Pen pals," she repeats, clearly not believing me.  I can't blame her.  She's seen the state of my mailbox.

"Yeah," I say.  "She likes getting mail."

Undyne doesn't know what to do with this, so she drops the subject.  It's for the best.  Things are awkward enough between Tori and Asgore and I don't wanna make things worse.  Not that I think I -- well, anyway.  Things are awkward.  "Right," says Undyne.  She puts out her cigarette, nearly breaking the ashtray in the process, and yawns.  "We got another set in ten.  You on the schedule for tonight?"

"Nah, they got a real comedian filling in," I say.  I almost laugh, she looks so relieved.  She straightens her tie and starts to leave.  "Hey, you want me to say hi to Alphys for ya?"

She brightens.  "Yeah!  Yeah, how's she doing?  Wait, when are you seeing her?"

"Probably after the cops rough me up next," I point out.  "So I don't know.  Soon, though.  The boys in blue, they got a lot of anger issues.  I'm thinking I should charge by the hour like a head-shrinker."

"Oh.  Yeah."  She looks a little dismayed.  Undyne may not like me very much but she's a part of the family, and she hates to see an innocent person get hurt.  Lucky for her I'm not innocent, right?

"So I'll tell her hi, then," I say, taking my hat.   "Hey, thanks for the grub."  I get up to make my escape.

"What?" she says.  "Hey!  Come back here!  I'm not paying for --"

I vanish into the crowd, and I'm home before she knows it.