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A Rogue What?!

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“hey uh...boss?” Neatly affixing his scarf over his armor, the tall skeleton turned smoothly to his underling and raised a brow ridge.

“YES? WHAT IS IT?” The smaller skeleton grinned nervously.

“snow’s getting heavier. don’t ya think we can do this some other time?” Brow ridge now furrowed, his superior straightened and narrowed his eyes.

“A BIT OF SNOW SHOULDN’T PREVENT US FROM PATROLLING, SANS. A GUARD DOESN’T LET LITTLE THINGS LIKE THAT GET IN THE WAY OF HIS DUTY.”

"it snowed like another three inches pap! it hasn’t even been an hour!” Sans's voice rose in disbelief. “with how much it’s been pelting don’t you think it’d be a lot more difficult to track anything?!” Papyrus frowned, but then it rose to a smirk.

“AH BUT YOU FORGET BROTHER,” he stated, “A HUMAN COULD BE USING THE WEATHER TO THEIR ADVANTAGE.” He drew his gloved hand to his face dramatically. “THEY COULD BE MARCHING THROUGH SNOWDIN THIS VERY INSTANT!”

“are you fucking--” Sans covered his face with his metacarpals, his voice rising as his sentence progressed. “seriously?! you don’t know that! for all we know, a human could be sitting it out behind that huge door when they saw how shitty. it was. outside!”

Exasperated, he flung his fists around defiantly. “i’m not goin out there, bro and you can’t make me!” His brother’s smirk lowered into a frown again. His voice followed suit, as his words became more punctuated.

"TRY TO OPPOSE ME, ONE MORE TIME.” uh oh. Sweat immediately beaded on the smaller skeleton’s skull.

“i uh--just don’t wanna lose you in the storm boss,” he stammered, “honest!”

“THEN WEAR THE COLLAR,” his brother suggested icily, as if it were plainly obvious.

“wha--and how’s that gonna help?” A slap to the kitchen counter interrupted him. Boss glowered, red eyes flaring.

“SANS.” The smaller skeleton stiffened.

“y-yeah boss?” Phalanges pinching his nose ridge, his brother’s voice came out a growl.

“YOU NEED TO MAKE UP FOR THOSE TIMES I’VE CAUGHT YOU SLEEPING AT YOUR STATION. HOW CAN ANY MONSTER LEARN TO RESPECT THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS IF THEY DO NOT RESPECT HIS BROTHER?” Papyrus sighed, his tone now lax. The emphasis on each word was still present however.

“You are an extension of me, Sans. You represent me when I am not there. And the collar is a reminder of that. I can’t pick up your slack all the time,” a gloved phalange gently scratched at Sans’s temple as Boss smirked. “Besides, what other monster can I trust if not you?”

Blinking dumbly, the smaller skeleton blushed brightly as soon as he realized the compliment. Papyrus chuckled when he covered his face with his hoodie. Walking toward the door, the tall skeleton motioned for him to follow. Sans reluctantly obeyed, slightly lifting his hood off his sockets.

“Come now, it can’t be that bad Sans.” Snow greeted him in gusts as Papyrus opened the door. His brow ridge furrowed with a twitch as he frowned. “HM.” Surveying the scene, Papyrus walked confidently outside. His boots sunk into the freshly fallen snow with a pamf.

Ankle-deep, only the height of his footwear protected him from the very unpleasant moisture. His frown deepened, and along with a faint dusting of rouge. “YOU BEST WEAR YOUR REAL SHOES SANS,” he said at last. “SLIPPERS WOULD DO NO GOOD HERE.”

Sans exhaled loudly. There really was no way around it. Once Pap got it in his head, it was definitely happening. No point fighting the inevitable. As his brother returned indoors, he defeatedly moved to find the collar Boss gave him.

 

Unhurriedly shuffling to the living room, he eyed the couch. Using his phone as a light, he proceeded to search under it. Hm. He figured it as much.

Furrowing a brow ridge as he closed the flashlight app, he moved to the television. Over and around it he looked but again, no collar. From across the room, he gave their pet rock a glare of suspicion, but it wasn’t near it in the least.

Huffing, Sans walked to the kitchen, his stride a little longer. Steps slightly quicker. Opening all the drawers and cabinets with his magic, he brought all their contents forth.

Nothing but their various cutlery and silverware. Nothing but their motley collection of plates and dishes. He didn’t know what he expected.

A flare of magic glowered with his frustrated growl, but he made sure all their things were put in their place. As if on cue, his brother called out from the next room.

“IS EVERYTHING ALRIGHT SANS?”

Sighing heavily, Sans closed all the drawers and cabinets. If but a little loudly.

"just peachy. everything’s just peachy,” he muttered to himself. “yeah,” he answered.

There was a brief pause and a door closing before Papyrus called out again.

“DO YOU NEED ASSISTANCE, BROTHER?”

“nah,” he said more to himself, then “nah bro I got this,” he replied loudly as he retrieved a bottle of mustard from the fridge.

Well, at least he definitely knew it wasn’t there. Slurping mindlessly, he mentally ran through the places he hadn’t looked yet.

He had checked the lower levels save for the closet (which Papyrus was currently using) so that only left their bedrooms and the bathroom. It wouldn’t be impossible for him to have left it in his bro’s room. After all, the two sometimes borrowed each other late at night.

But if he had, Pap would have told him, or at the very least, handed it to him by a phalange the next time he saw him. Sighing, Sans resumed his search, and passed by just as Papyrus was removing his battle body in favor of a turtleneck sweater and slim pants.

(Damnit he really didn’t need that right now.)

Sans tried to hide the slight dusting of red on his cheekbones as he reached the stairs. Staring down at the carpet in appreciation of those bones, he didn’t realize he hit the bottom of the bottle once he started his ascent.

Annoyed, Sans chewed at the tip before shortcutting the bottle to the nearest trashcan. A groan escaped his teeth.

Man, why did his brother get him this way. It just wasn’t fair sometimes. Without even trying Papyrus could get him so worked up.

Not like he didn’t like it-oh no. Sometimes it was something Sans craved. If he had a lip he’d surely bite it.
Turning his attention to the top of the stairs, the smaller skeleton’s eyelights widened when he saw a stripe of red. A large, hopeful grin creased his face as he skipped steps to reach it.

Breathing a sigh of relief, the skeleton unhooked the collar from the upright and ran his distal phalanges on the soft material. For something so simple, Boss really went all out. Of all the junk that flowed into the Underground, he was able to find something so comfortable and so him. Sans smiled fondly.

He’ll be sure to find it a permanent home one day when not in use. Staring at the small rounded spikes that matched his tooth, Sans lifted it to his neck and buckled the collar in place. The supple leather rested against his clavicle. He fingered the tag idly as he peered down the stairs to see what his bro was up to.

Boss was getting his heavy jacket out of the closet. No way was The Great and Terrible Papyrus going to be unprepared for a long and cold excursion. He even brought out the bodysuit to cover his exposed features.

Not like Sans minded seeing his brother’s bones, but it was disappointing he wouldn’t be admiring a eyeful of iliac crests once in little while. Ah well.

“I WILL NOT HAVE YOU FREEZING OUT THERE SANS,” Papyrus said as he tossed him a sweater like his own before slamming his room door shut to change. Sans shrugged off his jacket as he slowly added the other layer over his shirt. Popping the collar out so it was visible, Sans put on his jacket and waited patiently in the hallway.

The material was soft against his bones. Had maybe a couple small holes, and was slightly too long for him, (he had to tuck in the extra fabric to keep it all in check) but it was warm.

Boss was so cool, thinking about him like that. Leaning against the wall, listening to the muffled noises from his brother’s room, Sans’s thoughts wandered.

How Boss was probably dipping those hardened but beautiful tarsals through the translucent fabric. Or how his soft sweater cradled his rib cage. Those beautiful bones with slight fractures and chips. Those tiny cracks that decorated his little brother’s being.

Sans felt a shiver up his spine. He couldn’t get enough of them. And he couldn’t wait for the next time he could get a feel for them.

How he’d have his cute little brother. His helpless, precious brother...all to himself.

Suddenly realizing his tongue had coalesced, Sans wiped the drool from his mandible with his jacket sleeve. focus goddamnit. ugh.

Slapping his sockets with his metacarpals, Sans then remembered he was supposed to wear his real shoes outside today. He wondered where he put his sneakers last. It had been a while since he really needed them. He’d been getting around fine with just socks and fuzzy slippers. But that was during light snowfall.

With the way the weather was coming down, it’d only take a couple minutes til they’d be soaked. Plus they’d take forever to dry. Sans found the notion unappealing. Padding to his room, the small skeleton fished around his piles of stuff until he maneuvered his footwear from them.

Laces disheveled, but otherwise in like-new condition, Sans grinned.

“would ya look at that. they survived.” Kicking his slippers near the mattress, the small skeleton slipped on the sneakers with care. They fit well to his surprise.

Boss had gifted them to him a couple years back. Considering their state it was a miracle they even fit. “guess i didn’t grow too much since then.” he shrugged as he stood to get a better feel of them.

The last time he wore them was to try them on the first time, much due to Boss’s insistence. He had taken them immediately off afterward, so it was no wonder they were still stiff.

So Sans walked around his room, rocked onto the balls of his heels, and stood on his toes. The little exercises made certain they were at the very least comfortable for him, and not digging into his metatarsals or his calcanei. (New shoes usually chafed around the ankles even with socks. He wasn’t taking any chances.)

Satisfied, Sans walked into the hall, leaving the door slightly ajar. Papyrus was waiting.

“TIE YOUR SHOELACES SANS,” he prompted, as he zipped the small skeleton’s jacket shut. Even the small detail, Paps would notice. As if he knew he’d forget. Sans chuckled lightly while the two climbed down the stairs.

“aw c’mon bro,” he half-joked, “aren’t me wearing the damn shoes good enough for ya?”

“FINE,” the taller skeleton answered, as they both stepped out into the cold. “BUT YOU DON’T GET TO COMPLAIN WHEN YOU TRIP AND FALL ON YOUR SORRY ASS.”

----

Being outside confirmed Sans’s suspicions. It was terrible. His mood fell almost immediately. And it was a wonder their door wasn’t blocked.

With a quick prompting from his brother, they carefully slid down the small slope that was once their porch stairs. With how slippery it was, as soon as they landed, Sans tied his laces with blue magic.

“stupid motherfucking snow,” he mumbled, kicking at it. Only to have his foot misstep and sink cleanly into a deceptively deep pile. Sans would have laughed if he wasn’t so embarrassed.

“uh boss?!” Struggling to keep his balance, the shorter skeleton unfortunately lost his footing and landed ungracefully into the pile. And almost immediately afterward, felt himself sinking.

In a slight panic now, Sans tried again with a louder voice. “b-boss?!” Flailing around wouldn’t help in the slightest, but he still tried to at least roll out of it.

Nope. He just sank further in. Not happening then.

If Sans knew how deep this snow was by stars he’d probably be less afraid but oh shit was this snow gonna eat him alive FUCK.

Where the fuck was Boss? Wasn’t he just next to him? He wouldn’t let him sink would he FUCK THAT’S COLD.

“aw c’mon if this is some new training tactic i swear to the void i will wreck your ass!” Finally, (fucking finally) Sans felt blue magic lift him from the snow just as it completely caved in, revealing a very large hole.

He put on his best stern face only to see Papyrus’s failed attempt at stifling his laughter.

“YOU--” a snort escaped before he could stop it, “YOU FELL INTO MY TRAP.” Sans’s face deadpanned as Pap belted out loudly.

The only pauses he took were for the occasional snort and to take a breath. “YOU’RE VERY LUCKY IT WAS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS,” he snickered, “OTHERWISE IT’D BE SPIKES WRECKING YOUR ASS, BROTHER.”

oh. my. stars. He couldn’t believe this. The shorter skeleton took a breath. Boss’s laughter subsided into silence.

“ya got me good bro,” he smiled widely. “you really did.” His brother straightened triumphantly as his magic dissipated around Sans.

The older of the two landed on his feet. Though, he did catch himself before he slipped again.

“NYEH HEH HEH!! YOU REALLY MUST FALL FOR MORE OF MY TRAPS BROTHER, SO I CAN GLOAT ABOUT HOW GREAT THEY ARE BECOMING,” he smirked proudly.

“don’t be silly bro,” Sans answered with a wink, “i’ll fall for you any day.”

Paps’s expression became unreadable for a moment before he turned around.

“WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT FLIRTING WITH ME IN PUBLIC?” he glowered, his tone failing to hide the embarrassed air in his statement.

“not to...do it?” the shorter skeleton slowly teased. “besides, i know you like it.”

Sans leaned in close, staring straight at his brother’s eyelights confidently. “no one else needs to know,” he continued, his tongue slowly coalescing until it gingerly touched Papyrus’s mandible.

His brother’s eyelights shrank significantly and Boss immediately stiffened as he jerked away from Sans’s advances.

Striding a few feet away, Papyrus took a few deep breathes before calling him over.

“COME SANS, LET US BE OFF.”

“coming boss,” he replied with a chuckle. Boss was so cute when he was flustered.

Sans made sure to keep his distance, just in case Pap wasn’t ready to face him yet. He knew how he got when he was hot and bothered, but it was so fun to tease his baby bro.

Trudging with a slight spring in his step after his superior, Sans kept his gaze at the ground. Maybe today wouldn’t be so bad after all.

The snow was blowing a lot harder since they left their house, and it blustered into his sockets. Squinting flakes away the best he could, Sans followed the trail of his brother’s boots as they slowly made their way to their patrol route.

Snowdin being on an elevated surface made the trek down a bit more treacherous with the wind beating against them. And the creaking bridges made it even more unsafe. But it wasn’t like the Great and Terrible Papyrus didn’t prepare accordingly. Oh no, he certainly set precautionary measures for times like these. Stopping at the foot of the first bridge, his crimson magic flared as he summoned a Blaster.

“GET ON,” he commanded, the incident from earlier nearly forgotten or stowed away for a later discussion. The smaller skeleton hesitantly jumped after him.

“do we have to?” the golden-toothed skeleton whined softly, immediately shrugging closer to his superior. He received a hard glare, and decided against discussing the matter further.

As the two rode it across Sans clutched at the back of Papyrus’s jacket tightly, his phalanges and face dug into the supple leather. A small comfort in this harrowing ordeal. It felt like forever until the Blaster finally landed.

When Sans opened his shaky sockets, he saw that they were way past the other guards. In fact, they were in front of Pap’s sentry station. Fearfully, the small skeleton faced his brother.

“BLIZZARDS MAKE FOR GOOD COVER FOR MORE THAN WAYWARD VAGABONDS, DON’T YOU AGREE SANS?” His gravely voice lowered with a chuckle, which Sans smiled gratefully at. “LET US CONTINUE.”

Though their route was always covered with snow, the increasingly heinous blizzard made it more difficult to pinpoint even the most familiar trails. But the two set off anyway, with Papyrus leading the way. Boss was so cool, bravely taking the front and also shielding Sans from most of the wind.

The smaller skeleton found himself grinning thoughtfully. They were halfway (maybe?) through their trek when Sans nearly ran into his brother’s legs.

“what’s the holdup?” he yelled over the wind. Boss motioned for him to come forward. Brow ridge furrowing, Sans obeyed.

The only tracks that should have been present were their own. Yet here, in a blizzard mind you, was a trail leading away from their route and into the forest. “what in the void?”

“MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY.” Papyrus squinted at the trees. “IF WE HURRY THE TRAIL MAY STILL BE PRESENT.”

“wha-but boss!”

The tall skeleton sped into the trees, branches cracking behind him. Sans ran as fast as he could after him. As much as the snow would allow. Sharp branches caught him and he broke through in frustration. The only thing he could see now was his brother’s red scarf. A stark contrast bright enough to catch as it blew in the wind.

Don’t face the danger head-on, he wanted to say, I don’t want you to be alone! Angrily picking up his pace, Sans trudged through the ever-deepening snow. Creeping halfway up his tibiae and fibulae, the small skeleton felt a shiver and regretted not adding the lengthening attachments to his zip-up shorts.

Since he was a good head (two to be precise) shorter than his brother, traversing through the blanketing particles was very arduous. And to top it all off, the shorter skeleton was starting to slow down. In desperate need of a boost, Sans clawed his jacket open and snatched two mustard packets from a hidden inner pocket.

Ripping through them with sharp teeth, he slurped down the liquid spice. Feeling the food instantly convert into more magic, Sans picked up his pace. He didn’t bother zipping his jacket back up.

Eventually, gasping and panting, the short skeleton broke into a clearing, and reached his brother. Using his femurs and patellas as support, he gave himself a moment to catch his breath. Papyrus, back hunched, was kneeling over a particular set of prints. Pondering it with tented phalanges.

“SANS,” the tall skeleton directed his attention to the ground as the shorter straightened his posture. “TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE.” Inspecting them with squinted sockets, Sans uttered his thoughts aloud.

“quadruped in nature, so that narrows it down a bit.” The tracks were deep in the snow, leaving a long tear-drop shape. “too small to be any of the other guards.” The dogs had larger, more definitive paw prints. These ones were close, but didn’t match.

“too big to be that annoying dog.” In fact, the size of the prints themselves made for at least twice that little white dog. “tracks are the wrong shape to be a bunny.” The very beginning of the prints suggested padding. Bunnies didn’t have paw pads.

Scratching his skull as he inspected them further, Sans lowered his body closer to the ground. The wind was making it hard but he did see something. “claws too. what d’ya think boss?” Papyrus rose slowly, and straightened confidently.

“NOTHING THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS CAN’T SOLVE.” Surveying the scene, he smirked. “I SUSPECT WE WILL ENCOUNTER THEM SOON.”

Looking around, Sans saw what he meant. There wasn’t just one set of prints. There were many; more than he expected. What in the void was going on?

Hesitantly following the trails with his eyelights, Sans froze when he heard a noise in the wind. A long shrieking howl. Boss jerked toward it too, stiff with anticipation. Eyelights glowed crimson as he readied his gloved hand to summon a weapon.

Ke-thump.

Ke-thump.

Ke-thump.

Quadruped in nature.

San’s eyelights shrank as they glowed red. Sweat beaded on his skull. The noises drew nearer.

Too small to be the other guards.

Ke-thump. Ke-thump. Ke-thump.

Too big to be that annoying dog.

A distant snarl. An enraged bark.

As their silhouettes defined, there was a beat as Sans took a moment to process what these monsters even were.

Definitely not a bunny.

His soul quaked in his ribcage.

And there were many.

Soul pounding, a sense of dread climbed up Sans like choking vines. It was the vorp of his brother’s magic that snapped him out of his descending thoughts. A glowing red bone appeared in front of him. Papyrus stood, back to him, in a protective position.

“STAY CLOSE NOW,” Boss growled. “WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF.” Sans nodded stiffly as he wiped his sockets with his sleeve.

“y-yeah boss.” The noises stopped momentarily, and the two skeletons took defensive stances in anticipation.

They heard shuffling, and heavy breathing, displaced with the wind in front of them. Then, they saw a shape lunge. Papyrus immediately caught it mid-air, gripping its soul with a ding of blue magic. It growled viciously, black mane long and unkempt, sharp teeth strange on the figure, but it was evident what kind of monster this was. A Temmie.

“Disgusting,” Boss spat, as his grip on its soul tightened. The Tem yelped loudly in response. Sans didn’t have time to be confused. Snarling, and their maned heads rippling in the wind, two more canine monsters appeared.

Leaping up at him, Sans barely had time to dodge. He heard a strangled yelp as the Tem his brother caught exploded into dust. “DUCK YOU IDIOT!” Sans threw himself to the side as he felt the magic surge from the ground and impale his attackers. Their feral yelps were only a beat away from their dusting. Heavy boots rushed through the snow.

“GET UP YOU SACK OF SHIT, WE HAVE TO RECOUP.” Red magic glowed fiercely and it took Sans a moment to compose himself. Blinking rapidly, he hoisted himself up and awkwardly stumbled to his brother.

Were they scouts? Did they alert the rest of the group? Where was the rest of them? And what were they doing all the way in Snowdin? Sans had so many questions but now wasn’t the time to ask them. They were being hunted.

Escaping some distance away, the two skeletons stopped a moment. Running this much was a mistake. If Sans had an inkling of where they even were he would have just taken a shortcut. But it was a bit late for that.

Better to know where he was for sure than getting stuck in a tree. For now, he needed to focus on surviving, and protecting Papyrus.

“think we can take’em boss?” he panted, standing back to back with his brother. Papyrus scoffed.

“ARE YOU AWAKE ENOUGH TO EVEN STAND, WHELP?” The smaller skeleton grinned.

“waddaya take me for? a sack of bones?” Boss sighed, annoyed.

“SOMETIMES SANS THAT’S ALL YOU EVER ARE.” Sans shrugged tiredly. “NOW HURRY,” he frowned, tossing the smaller skeleton a few small, circular constructs. “WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO DALLY.” Eyeing them, the shorter brother blinked before setting them a few feet away from the trees with blue magic.

“can’t argue with that.” The snow began to pick up, and the two waited, their stances ready for another assault. And it wasn’t long til they heard it again. That sudden, high-pitched shriek hung in the air as the snow hinted their numbers. How were there this many out here? Sans couldn’t stop to wonder.

They came crashing through the trees, some immediately springing the traps the Boss set.

“HOLD YOUR GROUND,” he growled, as more stormed out, circling the two. “DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR TRAINING?” Sans furrowed his brow ridge. Of course he did.

“yeah?” he answered, distractedly. His eyelights glowered intensely as he watched them close in.

“GOOD,” Papyrus grinned sharply. “ABOUT TIME WE TEST IT YEAH?”

The sharpened bone in his gloved hand rose. Bludgeoning the feral beasts nearest to him, he laughed aloud. “HOW ABOUT WE SHOW THEM WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY MESS WITH US?” Sans found himself chuckling despite their situation. Boss was too cool.

With renewed vigor, the small skeleton knocked some back with blue magic as soon as they came remotely close. They collided with the surrounding trees with a yelp and scurried away.

“whoops,” he shrugged. “better luck next time.” Finishing a swift blow to two more, Papyrus groaned and jerked toward him.

“YOU CAN’T JUST LET THEM LEAVE, SANS! WHAT IF THEY COME BACK FOR REVENGE?” Impaling another with his bones, the taller skeleton huffed. “I WON’T ALWAYS BE AROUND TO SAVE YOUR SORRY ASS.”

Sans dodged a couple more as they threw themselves at him. Their sharp teeth dripped with saliva and flecks of red speckled their otherwise white souls. What the--? Was that how they were able to live out here for so long? But how did they get here in the first place?

Sans displaced the air around him as he shortcutted to the ones that got away. They immediately snarled and backed away. Their eyes red with magic and fear.

“sorry pals, but ya know the boss.” His eye-lights flared crimson with a slight lining of yellow. “no survivors unless ordered.”

With a flick of his wrist sharp bones erupted from the ground and impaled them into what he hoped was a swift death.

Breathing heavily now, Sans felt the sweat roll down his skull. The glow in his eyelights disappeared as he stared at the piles of dust that scattered with the wind. O h n o .

His distal phalanges tugged at his collar.

How many had they dusted?

How many were l e f t ?

His breaths became ragged as he distantly heard more come upon him. Red, sharpened bones erupted in front of and around him as he turned, one shaky palm facing them. Their dust blew with the wind. Sans felt disgusting. He felt his LV rise. His patellas buckled under him. Stumbling, his grip on the collar tightened.

Sure they were feral, but they were monsters too.

Did that make much of a difference if it was for defense?

He winced at the hard smack of bone against bone. The ripping of flesh as protrusions caught them. The howls and cries as they all fell down o n e b y o n e.

They echoed in his skull. And they became so loud he almost couldn’t hear his thoughts.

do it for papyrus, he told himself. do it to protect yourself. do it. do it. d o i t !!

His summoned blasters beamed them until they were all engulfed in red.

Their dust piled and mixed with the surrounding snow.

Sans felt sick. His phalanges curled into unsteady fists around the soft leather. Red tears trickled from his sockets. He stood his shaky ground as he blearily stared at the Temmie before him.

“DO IT SANS!” he heard his Boss faintly, but he c o u l d n ’ t m o v e . Sweat and snow left his skull chillingly cold. His eyelights were glowing pin pricks in his sockets. At his hesitation it bounded closer, shrieking a terrible, lonely cry. Teeth bared, and launching itself, the Tem was just mere inches away when a red protrusion caught it through the chest and erupted through its neck.

Slamming into Sans, the small skeleton was knocked back into the dust-mixed snow. It blew around him. Not even the fresh layer falling could make him feel clean. His eyelights narrowed in horror.

They didn’t have time to cry out in pain.

It was everywhere. Resting on his bones, sticking to his teeth. Gently landing on his clothes.

Sans spat and scrambled from it, a shivering mess. Tears were still slipping from his sockets as he hurried to wipe them. If this was a new method of training he never wanted to do it again.

If Paps ever ordered him to he’d refuse.

But would it even matter?

Heavy boots crunched toward him.

He felt his soul ding softly as his soul became blue.

Lifting him from the ground, Sans became limp. Boss stared at him with hard eyelights. Inspecting his soul, Papyrus gave it a once-over then released it. Sans plopped ungracefully to the ground.


“what the fuck was that for?!” he yelled, betrayed that his brother dropped him like that. But then he felt it before he heard it. That disappointment laced in his words as his brother stared down at him.

“You’ll live,” the taller skeleton gruffed. Turning back, he motioned for the other to follow. “Hurry up, it’s getting dark. It’ll be a while until we find our way home.”


Staring at his brother’s shrinking silhouette, Sans got up. Brushing snow and remaining dust off his jacket, he gave the scene one last look before finally turning and jogging after Papyrus.

They’d have to report their encounter.

He’d have to relive it again.

But afterward he won’t need to think about it ever again.

“hey uh boss,” he sputtered, “we uh don’t have ta walk back.” Papyrus slowed his pace, but didn’t stop. Peering over his shoulder to his underling, he asked,

“AND HOW, PRAY TELL, WOULD WE BE ABLE TO RETURN HOME?” Sans grinned nervously.

“i know a shortcut?”

Boss’s face scrunched in disgusted disbelief, and he returned to his previous pace toward their last encounter with the Tems. “no, wait!” Catching his brother’s gloved hand, he tugged himself closer. “i know it’s hard to believe,” he gulped, “but you hafta trust me. please.” Papyrus slowed to a reluctant stop.

“THIS BETTER BE WORTH MY TIME SANS.” The smaller skeleton’s grin widened as he took the taller skeleton’s other hand in his.


“don’t worry boss. it’ll only take a sec.”

Focusing all his energy on their living room (heh) Sans took a breath as his magic surrounded them. He could feel his brother shift uncomfortably, but he didn’t let it distract him. With a blip the cold dissipated and the warmth of their house surrounded them.

The brothers floated for a bit before Sans’s magic unceremoniously dropped them on their carpeted floor. Papyrus’s face scrunched in momentary confusion before getting up and brushing residual snow off his jacket.

“THAT WAS CERTAINLY...SOMETHING,” he muttered. Sans’s collapsed form lay sprawled on the carpet, clearly exhausted.

“heh. usually it’s just me so,” even lifting up his head was a chore. “that really took a lot outta me.” Winking at his brother, Boss rolled his eyelights, unamused.

“WE WILL NEED TO REPORT THIS ENCOUNTER TO UNDYNE,” the tall skeleton affirmed, shrugging off his outerwear. Putting it on a hanger with a protective cloth cover, Papyrus hung his leather piece in the closet.


Boss was so attentive, taking care of his clothes like that. Watching his brother stride to the kitchen from the floor, Sans found his eyelights flickering. Stars was he tired. Maybe Pap wouldn’t mind if he took a little nap.

--------

Papyrus scrolled down his contacts until he came upon Undyne’s. What Sans did was unexpected. Why he chose to not inform him of such an ability before was beyond him, but the tall skeleton was sure he had his reasons. No, he’d make sure his secret was safe with him. Too many others would exploit it if he allowed. He couldn’t do that to his brother.

Taking a breath, Papyrus pressed the call button. The encounter with those feral Temmies was troubling. Not to mention he had almost lost his brother. If it weren’t for that split second it took to summon that bone, Sans would have left with more than just trauma-induced scars.

The tall skeleton inhaled shakily at the memory. Stars he looked so small and frightened. And when he froze like that--and that beast clamored to him-- Papyrus quashed those fears the instant he heard a voice on the other line.

“What’s up, Nerd?”

“I HAVE A PRESSING MATTER TO REPORT, UNDYNE.”

“Is it the matter of that stick up your skeleton ass?”

“WHAT IN THE VOID UNDYNE, THIS IS IMPORTANT.”

“HAHA Allriiight.” Her cackling laughter echoed off speaker. He frowned, unamused. “We can meet up at my place after this storm’s over, ‘kay Bonehead?”

“SOUNDS GOOD. I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW THEN.”

“Later Nerd!”

As her line clicked, Papyrus felt that growing fear engulf him again.

And he had told Sans he wouldn’t be around all the time to save him.

If he hadn’t--if he hadn’t--would he even still be here? Putting his phone down on the kitchen counter, Papyrus strode back to the living room. His rapidly humming soul jumped when he saw Sans’s empty sockets. Quickly kneeling on the floor, he put a temple to his brother’s sternum. His soul’s pace steadied when he heard Sans’s soul pulsing softly.

Just sleeping.

Peacefully.

He exhaled a breath he didn’t know he held, and wiped the tears he didn’t realize welled in his sockets. Sans needed it; a well-deserved nap for their harrowing ordeal. Cradling the smaller skeleton in his arms, Papyrus brought him up the stairs and carefully removing his outer layers before laying him in bed.

Surely The Great and Terrible Papyrus’s framed bed would be more comfortable for his brother than that old mattress. When he moved to release the small skeleton, he found his phalanges hooked on the fabric of his scarf. Whining softly, Sans nuzzled his skull closer to the escaping warmth.

“don’t leave, please,” he pleaded, though Papyrus wasn’t sure if he was half-awake or sleep-talking. Slowly unlatching his brother’s phalanges, he stroked his mandible gently.


“Alright Brother,” he obliged with a loud whisper. Climbing into bed with him, the tall skeleton got comfortable and the small skeleton snuggled close. Putting a protective arm around the skeleton at his side, Papyrus touched his teeth to his brother’s forehead.

“I’ll protect you Sans,” he vowed. “As long as I stand, I promise. You have nothing to fear when you’re with me.” Nuzzling his nasal ridge to Sans’s glabella, the two slept in the comfort of the other’s arms.