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Fellby was NOT pouting.

 

He was not pouting and certainly not back in the body of his eight year old self...

 

“It’s not fair!” he declared his utter disdain for the situation at hand. He really hated his spur of bad luck.

 

“I am sure we will find a solution,“ replied Grillby softly as he sat down beside Fellby on the couch.

 

The last few hours had been a flurry of events; Gaster having come and kidnapped the children, being super creepy throughout the entire ordeal, something suddenly reverting Fellby to his childhood years and, finally, Grillby kicking Gaster’s boney ass into the next millennium... Though he managed to get everyone home safe and sound once the Royal Guard showed up and dragged the ex-scientist off.

 

Now Fellby sat on the couch pouting and shivering slightly from the cold. Grillby being so close helped of course, if only a bit. Okay, a lot but still! “It’s just not fair,“ Fellby repeated. “First I get smacked around and now I’m tiny!“ he fussed, looking towards his small hands. “How the fuck am I supposed to do ANYTHING?!? Let alone the shit I need to!“

 

“Language,“ Grillby reminded him. “I‘m sure it won’t be that bad...” he answered, reaching out and petting over Fellby’s head.

 

Fellby’s first instinct was to bat the hand away but, after the day he just had, the touch felt nice and more importantly it was warm so he’d allow it. Just this once.

 

It kind of reminded him of simpler days when he was just a tiny spark. Grillby would do the same whenever he was upset over something or not getting his way...

 

A high pitched squeal and the suddenness of being pulled against something bright yellow forced the blue flame’s thoughts back to reality. Swabby must have returned from putting the children to bed and apparently decided now was a reasonable time to start freaking out.

 

“Swabby, let me go!” growled Fellby, struggling a bit against the chest he now squished to and finding it somewhat alarming how Swabby had no trouble holding him still.

 

Being a kid again sucked!

 

“Nope!” Fellby could HEAR Swabby’s grin. “Awwww, you are so cute as a kid! And just the perfect size for cuddling!”

 

“Cut it out ya damned candle!”

 

“Never!”

 

Fellby was nuzzled affectionately while Grillby just chuckled to his side.

This was so unfair.

 

Totally, absolutely unfair!

 

He sighed and quit struggling.

 

Maybe he could use this new form to guilt Swabby into making him candy later... And he would so get Grillby to carry him around everywhere!

 

After all, he was just a tiny little spark now surrounded by all that snow and overall wetness outside...

 

Fellby gave a small shudder. Seriously he wasn’t suppose to creep himself out! Just think of the benefits he could gain in this form...

 

Perhaps he could even get the shopkeeper to give him a few extra cinnabunnies!

 

Still... He really hoped that this would all wear off soon...

 

Fellby wasn’t sure how long he’d be able to stand the candle being able to cuddle to him whenever he wanted without being able to fight him off.

 

Not to mention that it just felt weird having to look up to Pyru... Seriously when did the brat get that tall?!? It wasn’t fair in the least!

 

...

 

Of course all of these thoughts would quickly change the moment Fellby discovered that Grillby had trouble saying no to his tiny, eight year old self and that he’d easily be able to request Swabby to make full course meal-sized trays of candy at his beck-and-call.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The dripping water had kept Fellby up for days already. Or at least it seemed like day… could’ve been weeks or just hours for all he knew. He couldn't tell anymore. He was just so tired. He hurt all over and was hungry, not to mention the cold that never seemed to leave.

 

It was dark.

 

It was always dark here and the air was to humid.

 

Even if he could sleep, Fellby was afraid to.

He was afraid that the water that constantly dripped, forming a puddle, not far from where he was chained to the wall would reach him in his sleep.

 

He also was afraid of his dreams.

The screams of his parents haunted him, as well as the phantasms of how everybody he knew died that day. His friends and neighbors and... everyone else in the village.

 

Everyone was gone and it was all his fault.

 

They appeared within his dreams often enough… screaming at him, accusing him of murder. He couldn’t deny it, it was his fault. Everything was his fault.

 

As if the nightmares weren’t bad enough, the happy dreams were ten times worse.

 

Dreams of waking up at home with his mother calling him for breakfast or his father smiling whist trying to get him out of bed… Dream of going on adventures with his friends, exploring the mountainside surrounding the village.

 

Dreams of Grillby… He imagined how he must look now. He’d be an adult, all grown up…

And dreams of the flame soldier the humans often spoke about in hush whispers.

 

Worst of all his dreams began merging the two together. In these dreams, Grillby became the flame soldier, kicking in the door to take him away and hug him as he did when they were children, telling him everything would be okay…

 

Though none of these ever lasted long enough. He’d wake up alone and cold, surrounded by total darkness with only the dripping of water for company.

 

At the very beginning he would cry after such dreams. Now, however, he hadn’t any tears left.

 

Fellby wasn’t sure if he really had any true emotion left. He just felt... empty.

 

It was no surprise then that when the screaming started, he did not budge. Not that he could anyway, his foot was still in a shackle bolted to the wall, only to be taken off when the humans got him to heal them or occasionally when they decided to torture him.

 

It was best not to get his hope up.

 

This was just another dream after all.

 

The screaming became louder, closer.

Then there was a loud CRACK as the door exploded into a cloud of splintering wood and flame.

And suddenly there was light, almost too bright to bare.

 

Fellby had to admit, he became impressed with his dreams. They never seemed so real before.

There was a figure standing in the doorframe, tall and clad into some sort of amour. Familiar orange flames flickering on the exposed head and hands, white eyes burning with something Fellby couldn't name.

The cold seemed to leave the room entirely, the remains of the door still burning alongside the tinge of LOVE within the air; not directed at him but still there, heavy and tense like a storm cloud just before lightning struck.

 

The flame soldier turned towards him and suddenly the LOVE dissipated. “Fellby!”

 

Abruptly his world became warmer as the flame soldier hugged him, pulling him close to the heated armor plate covering the man’s chest.

 

Fellby tried to put up a fight, regardless of the safety he felt within the flame soldier’s arms, but was too weak to do much. None of his dream had ever went this far!

 

Finally, Fellby slumped into the warmth, giving up his futile struggling for the bit of selfishness to be close to the heat.

 

“I can't believe... I didn't know... what did they do...”

 

Ugh this guy rambled like Grillby used to do.

 

“I am getting you out of here, it's not safe.”

 

No kidding. It wasn’t like he hadn’t known that already.

 

“I am so sorry, Fells... oh stars...”

 

There were more words but Fellby droned them out. They were meaningless after all; this dream would fade away just like the others.

 

He nuzzled deeper into the strong shoulder before him. It was still warm and smelt of smoke, leather and strangely of herbs.

 

There was a pull on his leg as the soldier... no as Grillby, there was no denying that his subconscious transformed his childhood friend into the soldier once more, stood up causing the chain to catch. The man let out a soft curse, moving his hand down towards the shackle.

 

“It's no use,” Fellby finally whispered. “It's.... anti-magic...”

 

He had expected for the dream to end. It wasn’t like he’d ever be able to escape anyways…

Instead he felt the chuckle ripping through Grillby’s chest more rather than hearing it. “The metal might be. The stone isn't.”

 

With another wave of heat, corresponding to a brightness which made Fellby turn his head to the side, there was a CRACK and the chain around his leg became limp.

 

He was free, leg still within the shackle but the chain no longer attached to the wall.

 

“Come, let's get out of here,” whispered Grillby, wrapping his long red cape around the smaller flame and holding him close.

 

Fellby, despite telling himself not to hope, held on.

 

Grillby carried him the whole way.

Out of the room, out of the little building the humans had kept him, out of the nightmare.

He carried him to an outpost of the monster army where he was given clothes, food and a place to rest.

 

Grillby refused let go for one moment, even after they reached the safe zone.

 

This wasn’t a dream, was it?

 

The thought only occurred to Fellby after about a week.

 

This was real.

 

Grillby had found and rescued him.

 

This was REAL!

 

He was free; He was safe!

 

He latched onto Grillby as soon as the thought hit him, crying against his cousin’s neck.

 

“F-Fells?”


“S-shut up,” the blue flame hiccuped out. “You… you’re really here.”

 

“What?”

 

Grillby sounded confused but Fellby didn't care to explain himself. He continued to cry and hug onto the older flame, never wanting to let go again.

 

There was a hand against his back after a bit, petting him. “Shhh, I'm here Fells... It's okay. We are safe. It's alright...”

 

Fellby made a little sound, clinging more. “Thank you thank you thank you thank you,” he half chanted out, not even aware he was speaking.

 

It was night by the time he was calm enough to speak normally with Grillby, no light save for the glow of their flames.

They spoke quietly with one another, in hushed tones as though they were children once again hiding under a blanket during a sleepover, about what happened to the village and of Fellby’s health… and of many things that occurred over the several years since they last seen one another…

However, they were a few things which remained unspoken. Grillby’s LOVE and the torture Fellby had been placed under…

 

But that was alright… Everything was okay now.

 

Grillby made a promise to protect him from now on, to stay by his side.

 

Fellby, for the first time since he was robbed of his precious childhood, began to gain HOPE.

 

 

In the end, the war turned badly for monster kind.

 

Grillby continued to fight alongside the Royal Army yet monsters lost.

 

A deal was stuck up between the humans and King Asgore. Fellby wasn’t sure the exact details but the gist was that monsters would be sealed underground while humans claimed the surface…

 

He held tightly to Grillby’s hand as the barrier flickered into place. Feeling his cousin’s warmth around him, he knew it could be much worse.

 

At least there were no humans here.

 

And elementals lived a long life so they’d seen the sun again… eventually.

 

Fellby did not really care though. He would trade a thousand suns just to stay with Grillby.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Being a kid again was strange, especially with his mind retaining all of the memories and experience of his former self. He was an adult stuck in a child’s body, literally.

Whereas the other children had need of a sitter, he did not. He could easily reheat any leftovers within the fridge and knew full well how to take care of himself, even if that just detailed sitting on the couch and watching television all day.

 

This was the situation Fellby found himself in.

 

Grillby, having to leave for work, thought it best to take the boys to the Dogamy and Dogaressa’s house for the day due to their being no other ‘adult’ within the house since Swabby had left a couple of days before to take care of some issue with his restaurant. He had, of course, prepared Fellby some food for the day, placing everything where he could easily reach without having to stand on one of the kitchen chairs and off he went with the boys…

 

It seriously pissed him off.

 

He had been alone in the house with the boys on several occasions! It wasn’t as if anything was different... Fellby was just shorter now than before. Well, he could have had gone with them but to be honest he really hadn't wanted anybody to know about his little problem right now, especially not the dogs. So staying alone at home it was for him.

 

Though he supposed that it wouldn’t be so bad. He could spend his entire day in peace, just watching TV and eating sweets to his hearts content, perhaps taking a quick nap before everyone returned home.

 

Or so he thought.

 

Thing is, his body – his new CHILD body – became restless.

 

He did not have need of extra sleep, even on days he barely got in a few hours...

 

Not to mention he felt a surplus of energy, especially when fueled by sugar so setting home all alone was just boring.

 

“Ugh,” Fellby growled out, sitting up with a pout lodged on his face. “This is boring as fuck!”

 

The only thing on TV was Mettaton and, even with his idle mind, the robot could not hold his attention for more than a few seconds. Besides, he really did not need the headache that the show usually drug up. How could the kids stand this stuff? He thought with being a kid again he would suddenly get the appeal but nope. Still annoying as ever. Urgh.

Fellby glanced towards the large living room window, looking out over the snow-covered street. There was no orange glow to indicate Grillby's return. Of course.

 

“This is so unfair,” he whined to the empty room. “Grills coulda at least stayed… damn workaholic.”

 

He was so bored! Usually the kids or Swabby would be keeping him company but this… ugh he wished he could just get out of the house!

 

Fellby paused at the thought. “Man, fuck this,” he proclaimed, pushing himself from the couch. “I’m still an adult, I don’t need to listen to their rules!”

 

With that, he quickly made his way to the closet where he snagged up an extra set of boots and one of Papyrus’ spare jackets, tugged them on and stood before the main door.

 

“Well…” he found himself hesitating.

 

Ever since the switch, Fellby’s magic had been fluctuating as it did when he was a child and, no matter how hard he tried, he could not make use of or even sense his LOVE… it was almost as if he never had any to begin with…

So, what if his flames were still that of a tiny spark’s as well?

Snowdin was super cold, after all. No sane flame would venture here… well, Swabby but that was for the children. And Swabby knew how far he could push that boundary. Fellby was…

 

Well, Fellby was a kid again.

 

Weak.

 

He took a deep breath, holding it within his chest for a moment before exhaling.

He couldn’t find his cell phone. He probably lost it within Waterfall while they were fighting that psycho.

Usually the house phone would be his next go to, knowing Grillby’s number by heart, but a stray blast from Parz’ last temper tantrum fried the outlet and they had to wait for one of the monsters in Hotland to come fix the connection.

But the boots and jacket had a cold protection spell, Fellby knew Grillby had spent a small fortune assuring such when the boys first arrived, so everything should be fine.

He hoped.

 

With another deep although shaky breath, Fellby pushed onward; exiting the house and walking steadfast to Grillby’s bar.


Obviously Snowdin was cold. The chill made Fellby wishing he had grabbed a hat or one of Swabby’s dorky scarfs and, now that he was smaller, the snow pushed ever-so-slightly over the top of the boots, pressing against his pant leg. While not entirely painful, the dull ache almost caused him to turn on his heel and head back to the house more than once.

When the orange glow of the bar’s sign came into focus, Fellby ran the remaining distance and quickly pushed past the over-sized door.

 

Inside the bar was pleasantly warm due mainly to Grillby’s natural heat. And, from the looks of it, all of the regulars were here and then some. Including some monsters who did not live in Snowdin.
However, the Guard Dogs were not present, Dogamy and Dogaressa most likely still at their home with the children and the others... well, they were most likely recovering from the battle with Gaster too. Fellby really hoped they were all doing fine, he liked the dogs after all… even if they were on a lower branch of the Royal Guard.

 

Fellby gave a shrug before pushing his way through the crowd, struggling to navigate his path to the bar.

 

“Hey there, little man,” a voice spoke up from behind him. “Are you lost?”

 

Fellby turned to hiss at them but his breath caught within his throat. The monster who spoke towered over him!

 

A Woshua.

 

A very big Woshua!

 

“Uhhh….” Fellby was already stepping back.

 

“Oh you came from the outside,” hummed the Woshua. “You’re all dirty.”

 

“DON'T GET ANY IDEAS,” snapped Fellby before pivoting on his heel and made a mad dash to the bar. “GRILLS!” he managed to scream out upon seeing the taller flame, jumping up and sliding over the counter to safety.

 

Grillby barely managed to catch the small blue flame before he hit the ground, adjusting him quickly so that the child sat upon his hip. “Fells?”, he whispered out, barely audible even with Fellby's head right at his mouth.

 

Fellby held on tightly to Grillby’s shoulder. “That psycho is after me with water!”

 

The Woshua did in fact come closer, making an unhappy sound to match the look on its round face. “Ooohh,” they finally muttered out a semi apology. “I didn’t realize this was your kid, Grillby.”

 

Grillby blinked at the words, looking down towards Fellby who seemed to be pouting as he clung to him. “….?”

 

The Woshua turned around and shuffled back to where it had been previously, water slushing from its movements.

 

Fellby seemed to instantly relax, his shoulders dropping though still holding tight to Grillby’s vest.

 

“Don’t look at me like that,” he growled out upon seeing the expression on the other flame’s face. “I was bored! And don’t be getting any ideas, I’m an adult remember?”

 

“Hey, can I have another over here?” came a voice from the other end of the bar.

Grillby carefully places Fellby down on the ground and goes over to the Knight Knight who was holding out an empty glass.

 

Fellby watched Grillby as he mixed the colorful drink skillfully, orange flames moving in an arc whenever Grillby swiveled his hands.

 

“Thank you,” the Knight Knight nodded in appreciation as he took the drink from Grillby, paying instantly along with tip before taking the first sip. “It's nice to be here again,” he commented, glancing around. “Your bar hadn't changed at all.”

 

Fellby felt himself glare at the monster. It sounded as though he came here often… or at the very least often enough.

 

Grillby however just nodded, offering a smile.

 

“Grillby says he’s happy you think so,” spoke up Turpis who was in his usual chair at the main bar. The fish monster more often than not translated, rather horribly mind you, for the silent bartender. Usually Cardinal joined him but Fellby couldn't see the red bird monster.

 

“Good,” chuckled the Knight Knight. “So how have you been, Grillby? It’s been a long time since we last spoke.”

 

Grillby gave a shrug of his shoulders, keeping his eyes focused on the monster before him whilst making a small gesture with his hand.

 

“Grillby said he’s fine but would much rather hear how you were during these last few years,” translated Turpis.

 

Fellby begun to get annoyed. Normally it was somewhat funny how far off this guy could be with his sudo-translating but that wasn’t at all what Grillby meant with that little wave, he was sure of it!

 

The Knight Knight, however, begun telling the flame how he had joined the Royal Guard, raising in ranks and becoming leader of a small unit guarding some area between Hotland and New Home.

 

It was BORING!

 

Yet Grillby listened, full attention on the over-sized monster. His flames shifting a bit to indicate that the conversation amused him.

 

“Ughh Grills,” Fellby tried to get his attention though Grillby did not hear him, his voice now lower pitch than before. “Grills!”

 

Still nothing.

 

UGH it was so ON now!

 

But what could he possibly do to get the bartender’s attention? The orange flame was way too caught up in his work and chatting with patrons… This was so unfair, he should be paying attention to him!

 

Fellby sulked back, looking at the small space behind the bar.

Clean glasses and a handful of plates were stacked neatly on one of the shelves within easy reach of whoever manned the counter. The shelf just below that contained pristinely folded towels embroidered with a cursive G whilst the lowest shelf held a half full tip jar and, what really caught the blue flame’s attention, a small jar filled to the brim with colorful lollipops and suckers.

 

Fellby reached out, removing the glass lid from the candy jar and began pulling out fistfuls at a time until he found a banana flavored one. He hastily unwrapped the sucker and plopped it into his mouth before jamming the remainder back into the glass container not caring that the lid no longer fit properly before focusing once more on the problem at hand.

 

Grillby being a workaholic again.

 

He wasn’t even paying him the slightest attention! Even after being transformed into a kid again…

 

Wait a second…

 

He was a kid.

 

Adults had to pay attention to children!

 

That’s just how the world worked. And it certainly always worked for the boys… Grillby ALWAYS payed attention to them!

 

But… well this was entirely different than a bunch of starved skeletons eating trash.

 

Still, there had to be some way to use this situation to his advantage. Hell his own father would drop everything whenever he called out for him.

 

His father.

 

Not Grillby.

 

Grillby had stopped to listen to him suddenly when they were kids and he’d beg him to come play…

 

But his father… no A father would surely do anything and everything for their child. Including stop being a workaholic.

 

… Right?

 

And, well, surely his father would forgive him for what he was about to do.

 

Fellby rounded the corner of the bar, pulling the sucker from his lips as he took in a deep breath, holding it for just a moment.

 

This had to be nothing less than perfect.

 

“DADDY,” he yelled out, running up to Grillby and latching onto him, wrapping both his arms and legs around the taller monster’s leg.

 

That certainly pulled a reaction from the bartender.

 

Grillby stiffened, flames shooting out blue for a moment as his focus snapped down to stare at the small fire elemental attached to him.

 

The Knight Knight coughed around the sip he just took.

 

Turpis fell from his chair. “Since when do you have a kid?” he asked in disbelief, his eyes wide and more fishlike than ever.

 

“Daddy”, whined Fellby in his best little kid voice, “I’m scared.”

 

Grillby ignored the fish monster for now, leaning down to pick Fellby up still looking bewildered.

 

Fellby felt smug for having gained apparently all of the attention, wrapping his arms around Grillby’s neck and holding on tightly. “Daddy, can we go home now?” he whined out while glancing towards the Knight Knight who was still in shock.

 

“Seriously, Grillby…”

 

“HAH!” came a voice on the other side of the bar, “YOU OWE ME 10 GOLD!”

 

Everyone turned to look at the source of the shout, the drunken bunny, who was pointing a bit too closely to another monster’s nose.

 

Fellby, using the moment distraction, lowered his voice as he turned towards the general region where there could be his cousin’s ear. “Really, Grills, it’s super boring at home all alone,” he huffed. “And it’s not like I can go back to Hotland looking like this.”

 

Grillby blinks as his mind caught up to the whispered conversation and shook his head lightly, smiling a bit and still blushing slightly blue. Well it was his fault that Fellby had to take such drastic measures…

 

“So um,” coughed the Knight Knight awkwardly, “I didn’t know you had children.”

 

Grillby looked as though he wanted to speak but Fellby quickly cut him off. “Well my daddy works waaaaay too much,” he huffed out with a small pout. “And that leaves me all alone and bored when he is away.” Hmm no one seemed to recognize him. Then again, it wasn’t every day that a full-grown adult suddenly got changed back into their childhood body, was it? “I wanna play with my daddy now. He’s mine, get your own!”

 

One could hear a pin drop in the bar at this point, Fellby’s voice echoing within the small space.

 

In that silence, the sound that slowly built up was especially noticeable.

 

Laughter.

 

Grillby’s laughter.

 

The entire bar was staring at them as Fellby watched the orange flame in awe, holding onto him stronger.

 

Grillby was laughing so much that tears began to collect at the edges of his eyes. It was a loud and deep laughter too, with some hissing and crackling of flames intermixed and honestly pretty great to see. Fellby can't remember seeing Grillby laugh like this, at least not as an adult.

 

Needless to say, the bar closed early that day.

 

Fellby was smugger than ever.

 

Not only did he get Grillby to come home and spend the rest of the day with him but he also made him laugh out loud.

 

In public!

 

He refused to let go of Grillby for the remainder of the day, even when the children returned from their playdate and begun fussing at him for hogging the elemental. And he even didn't cared one bit when Swabby came how that evening and framed the pictures made that day for them to hang in the kitchen.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

Parz took off his coat as he stepped inside, shaking the snow from his boats before moving off the faded brown mat before the door.

 

“When’s Papa gonna be done?”

 

Parz paused at the high-pitched voice coming through the hall, half in the process of hanging his coat on the rack alongside the two already present.

 

“Well,” came Sans’ familiar voice from the living room, “he did say he was making something hot for the three of you…”

 

Three? Had they guest over?

 

That was unusual.

 

Parz finished hanging his coat and made his way into the living room, giving a shocked gasp at the sight that awaited him. He blinked slowly.

 

“Sans, brother, why are there three flame children sitting on our couch?”

 

Sans glanced up, face automatically falling into his default lazy smile as he shrugged his shoulders before leaning back into the back of the couch on which he was sitting.

 

“Eating cookies.”

 

There was a twitch in Parz’ brow.

 

They’re really good,” mumbled the small blue flame who was perhaps four or five years of age around a mouthful of crumbs as he pets the sleeping Pomeranian, named Toby by Suny, at his side.

To the boy’s other side sat an even tinier yellow flame. Well the toddler more leaned against the blue flame with a half eaten cookie grasped in one hand as his eyes drooped more and more with each passing second.

 

The third child, the oldest feasibly by maybe two or three years, watched Parz curiously. The orange child’s body seemed tense and cautious to everything around them as he kept the smaller two within his reach, flames flickering slightly at every noise that came from the kitchen.

 

Judging by the coats hanging within the hall and by the fact that he wasn't already tackled by a bright blue blurr, Parz guesstimated that Papyrus was the source of the noise and most likely trying once more to cook. He really hoped that his brother was making hot chocolate, one of the only things Papyrus had really mastered…

Parz gave a soft sigh, trying to calm his nerve before speaking.

 

“You haven’t answered my question.”

 

Sans shrugged and grinned, making Parz frown.

They settled in Snowdin a few years prior, sharing a small house together. They had a cozy life and none of them were willing to leave one another, regardless of how they scraped each other nerves at times.

Sans studied science in Hotland, teleporting back and forth each day, whilst maintaining numerous part-time gigs. Not that babysitting had ever been on that list as far as Parz could remember.

 

Parz himself had joined a lower branch of the Royal Guard, aiming to work his way to the top ranks. It was hard work for sure, especially with the recent human attack near the capitol a few weeks prior. Snowdin was evacuated neatly and without causalities (something Parz took pride in, seeing that he was involved with the process).
Papyrus and Saz had applied likewise but… well Papyrus was too soft for the job and became more of an errand boy whereas Saz became a sentry abate a lazy one.

 

Their youngest brother, Suny, worked at the local sweet shop. An extra hand for the bunny who ran the place.

And Pyru… he was usually off doing his own thing in Waterfall. Parz had no idea what he did there but usually he came back humming something annoyingly catchy.

 

All in all, life was good... Still, six skeletons under one roof often spelled trouble.
Parz had thought the worst of it had been when Suny brought home the annoying white dog.

 

Chaos on paws.

 

Or the shitty string of ex-boyfriends and / or girlfriends and / or other-romantic-partners Saz tended to acquire. Not that any of them lasted long with Parz and Sans interfering. (Really, none of them were even CLOSE to meeting the standards Parz had for a partner of his brother!)

 

Least of all, Sans’ experiments often filling the basement with smoke. Quite worrying since he had the solo key…

 

However, this really took the cake!

 

Sans...”, Parz growled.

 

“Well,” chuckled Sans softly, “that’s a funny story.”

 

“This is NOT funny,” growled Parz, pointing at the couch. “These are flame children! Made of FIRE, Sans. One of them is YELLOW! They shouldn’t be here,” he continued, losing his articulated tone. “They shouldn’t be in Snowdin at all!”

 

Snowdin was far too cold for flames.

 

Parz looked over the children, a hint of worry crossing his features.

 

They appeared okay health-wise but their clothing looked worn, not quite in tatters though it seemed as if they had not changed recently. White specks clung fiercely to the two eldest children’s cuffs.

 

Parz’ frown deepened.

 

Monster dust?

 

“I know they shouldn’t be here,” huffed out Sans, crossing his arms. “I found them.”

“You found them?”

“Yeah.”

“Three children.”
“Yep, they just… sparked my interest.”

 

“Three fire elemental children,” continued Parz as if he had not heard the pun, “who live exclusively in Hotland and are known to have very strong familial bonds...”

 

No flame would ever leave a child of them behind... children for flames are rare and precious. Even among monster they are considered very protective of their families.

 

“Yeah,” mumbles Sans, stretching out his arm on the back of the couch. “And still, they are here.”

 

The orange flame turned his attention back to Sans, feeling the shift of the skeleton’s arm behind his head. For a moment, the boy’s shoulders tensed up though quickly relaxed once he realized the monster beside him made no other movements.

 

“I found them out in the snow.”

 

“…You found them running in the snow?”

 

“More of hiding in a tree hollow,” corrected the shorter skeleton. “I was out looking for Toby. Seems he’s taken a liking to these boys.”

 

“Alone?”

 

“This one here,” Sans pauses for a second, giving a short nod of his head in the orange flame’s direction, “seemed very insistent on keeping these two safe.”

 

“So you decided to bring them home?”

 

“It's not as though I could start asking questions there in the snow, could I?” shrugged Sans. “Said they been on their own for a while now… that they were afraid and cold so I told them I’d get them somewhere safe.”

 

“We whooshed here,” interrupted the blue flame.

 

Sans giggles into his free hand. “I teleported them over.”

 

Parz huffed at the thought, glancing towards the children.

They were tiny and thin.

Something within Parz’ soul pulled painfully, though he wasn’t entirely sure if flames could even gain weight. “What’s with the clothes?”

 

“That’s what they were wearing when I found them,” mumbled Sans, unable to keep himself from looking towards the specks of dust gathering at the bottom of the children’s pants. “Suny drug Saz out to buy something warmer for them, they shouldn’t be long.”

 

“We need to contact a healer,” decided Parz, already whipping out his cell phone. “I’ll contact Undyne to check the missing persons list.”

 

“…You know,” mumbled out Sans, “I don’t think we’ll find anybody missing them. Three flames this far out from Hotland…”

 

“We should start a fire,” the taller skeleton continued with a look towards the fireplace. “Flames need to be kept warm.”

 

“Oh oh,” called out the tiny blue flame, seemingly forgetting the half-eaten plate of cookies. “Can I start it? Daddy sometimes lets me start the fire at home always!”

 

Sans shifted, gigging at the wording of the sentence. “Sure, you can help me get it going.”

 

The child cheered, squirming out of the older boy’s grip and joined Sans in front of the fireplace.

 

“I sent a message,” remarked Parz as he watched his brother with the small flame. “What are we going to do with them until find their family?”

 

“I don’t know… keep them?”

 

Parz snorted. “They’re not stray dogs, Sans.”

 

“No,” he agreed, sitting back as the fireplace shot to life with blue flames. “But they’re tired and have nowhere else to go…”

 

Parz gave a thoughtful hum.

 

“They can have my room,” Sans decided. “I’ll bunk with Papyrus.”

 

“Your room is a pigsty,” interjected Parz. “I won’t allow anyone to step foot in such a mess.”

 

“SANS,” fussed Papyrus, stepping out of the kitchen with a tray of hot drinks. “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO CLEAN YOUR ROOM YESTERDAY!”

 

Sans shrugged his shoulders. “I was busy.”

“YOU WERE SLEEPING!”

“They can stay in Papyrus’ room,” Parz resolved.

“Huh?”

“It’s clean and you already have toys in there.”

 

“YAY,” the small blue flame threw his arms in the air as he cheered. “I wanna stay with Papa!”

 

Parz raised a brow. “Papa?”

 

Sans cupped his hands over his mouth, unable to keep from giggling out like a giddy school girl in the anime Undyne and her girlfriend watch, whilst pointing towards Papyrus. “He’s been calling him that since we came home.”

 

Parz sighed. Well, honestly, he didn't care. Papyrus was Papa now. Just another strange day in the skeleton household.

 

-

 

Days later the skeletons received news that the flames’ parents had been killed in the human attack.

With no one left to resume care for the children, the six brothers found themselves signing several legal documents.

 

Grillby, Fellby and Swabby, as the flames were named, would be theirs to raise and protect from this day forward.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Fellby had always been an adventurous child. Climbing on trees, exploring the wild, he was all about going out and seeing the world.

Grillby knew that better than anybody else.

The blue flame also disliked anyone telling him what to do.

Which Grillby should have known all things considered.

 

Of course Fellby disappeared just shy of three weeks after being transformed into a child while no eyes were on him. Grillby being busy at the bar whilst Swabby attended a PTA meeting at the boy’s school.

 

After the initial panic and the discovery of a hastily written note saying, “Stuff to do in Hotland” Grillby supposed that, at the very least, his cousin had learned to tell him where he was going… Not that he was entirely pleased about the matter.

 

Seriously, one would believe the flame had the mentality of a child to fit his adolescent body.

 

Not to mention the whole ‘dad’ ordeal still raging within Snowdin’s population…

 

If Fellby had the nerve to call him father in public then, the bartender decided, he would act as such. He set out for Hotland, intent on grounding his little shit of a cousin until he was his actual age again!

 

No matter how long that would take.

 

-

 

Fellby gave a shudder.

 

He felt kind of bad for running away like that but… well he left a note so it wasn’t exactly running away. Still, Grillby and Swabby were both worrywarts and he really needed to go out for a bit.

 

Ugh, just because he currently LOOKED like a kid didn’t mean he was one! He wasn’t some helpless brat needing to be coddled 24/7.

 

It was annoying, increasingly so.

 

Especially given the current situation.

 

“Did you find any news about a missing spark?” huffed the lizard monster, aka Angel, as she crossed her arms over her chainmail armor. “Or how the fu-“ her words stalled for a moment, eyes trailing back towards Fellby before continuing, “freak, I was saying freak! How the freak did the little one get in here?”

 

“I set this fucking place up,” growled Fellby in return, crossing his arms over his chest and rolling his eyes at the gasps from the monsters surrounding him. “Oh come on, it’s not like you haven’t heard worse.”

 

“You really shouldn’t use that kind of language, little spark,” mumbled the vulkins named Foxy gently before leaning towards the muscular lizard and whispering, “Damn where’d he pick up words like that?”

 

“I can hear you!”

“Aww come on, little one, can’t you tell us where your parents are?” cooed the Pyrope Fellby had long since dubbed Rope having forgotten his true name ages ago. Usually he liked him well enough. Today he was just as annoyed with him as with anybody else.

 

“I AM A FUCKING ADULT YA DING BATS!” shouted Fellby.

 

Being coddled by his cousins was awkward enough and now having his gang do the same… it was creepy! Given their reputations and all. Heck, he had seen Angel beating a guard down to 5 HP on a bad day and Foxy could swear a storm up when she was angry and Rope was more levelheaded but could have down right sadistic ideas when somebody was picking on the monster they had under their protection! There were monsters whispering their names in fear because of their status and reputations.

Not that those would ever last could the guards or towns folk see them all now.

 

“Holy fu-freak this kids got a voice,” muttered Angel, crouching down to the fire elemental’s height. Fellby could see her face twisting with a strange sort of concern under all her scars. “Look, I know you’re trying to be all tough but this is a really dangerous place and I bet your family is worried a lot about you…”

 

Fellby felt his face fall. “Do I have to fucking spell it out?” he questioned, annoyed. “I AM FELLBY!”

 

“But… boss is an adult,” chipped in Bob the Temmie. If Fellby wasn't so annoyed right now he would be proud how well his speech was again. “And a lot taller. You’re just a kid.”

 

“I AM NOT A KID,” the blue flame shouted back, small sparks of purple shooting through his flames. Fellby gripped his hands into fist, taking several deep breaths to calm himself. “I may look like a kid but… ugh how many blue flames do you know huh?”

 

“Well…” mumbled Bob obviously deep in thought.

 

“Besides the fucking assholes holed up in the apartment complexes looking down on everyone and everything like its beneath ‘em?”

 

Bob shuffled forward, leaning close to Fellby causing the flame to shift slightly away. “You do kinda look like boss… a mini boss.”

 

“Oh shit,” shrieked Rope, “What if this is Boss’s kid?!?”

 

“Oh now you fucking swear,” huffed out Angel grumpily. The gang had, after all, kept giving her the evil eye when she came close to cursing in front of the child since he appeared within their hideout.

 

Angel!”

Foxy beside them sighed, forming a fireball within her slightly cracked crater before blasting it towards the follow gang members, knocking a single HP from each of them and effectively shutting them up. “Okay,” she finally spoke up looking towards Fellby again. “If this
is boss’s kid then we should take care of him and… and try to inform boss that he’s here.” With a nod to herself, she continued, “I bet he’s worried sick.”

 

“How?” huffed out Angel, rubbing the spot on her head where the fireball briefly connected. “He kinda disappeared weeks ago and… well you know how he gets.”

 

Rope bounced up and down in agreement. “Never even knew he had a partner…”

 

“It makes sense now,” chipped Foxy. “Of course we don’t know! If anyone knew he had a partner, a kid even, they would be like major targets! He probably has them hidden away…” The last part came out in mumbles as though the Vulkin were slowly pulling together her thoughts. “That must be why the kid doesn’t want to tell us anything useful and how he knew about our hiding place. Boss must’ve told him to come here in case he got lost!”

 

Fellby let out a frustrated groan as the top tier and most trusted members of his gang began forming opinions and beliefs that he was his own lost son.

 

What else could go wrong with this day?!?

 

“I just wonder who his partner is…” mumbled Foxy with a quick glance in Fellby’s direction. “Must be a flame… Think maybe it’s one of the guy’s he been spotted with?”

 

“I don’t know,” shuddered out Rope. “I don’t think boss would be that careless…”

 

“Does it really matter?” huffed Angel, clicking her claws against the chainmail armor. “We gotta figure out how to tell boss that his kid is here.”

 

“I’m NOT helpless!”

 

“Shh, it’s okay little spark,” cooed Bob as he pet the flames on top of his head. “We get you home to your daddy.”

 

This was the worst day in his fucking life!

 

…Okay, no, he couldn’t even joke about that. Far from it. This day doesn’t even click in the Top 100 of Bad Days.

 

The day was bad but not THAT bad... Just more annoying than anything.

 

“Fuck,” Fellby let out the defeated curse as the Temmie continued to pet him. “I’m not a dog.”

Bob just smiled. “No, you’re a lost little spark.”

 

“Ugh.”

 

Anything else that might have been said was interrupted as the door flew open.

 

There were several exclamations of surprise, Rope going as far as jumping into Angel’s arms at the noise.

 

In the now open door way stood none other than Grillby.

 

And he looked pissed.

 

Fellby could feel his sins crawl on his back as Grillby stepped close, looking down at him. “Uh…”

 

“…Language.”

 

Bob blinked up at the fire elemental, completely unfazed by his aura. “Oh it’s boss’s friend!”

 

“Oh umm… so uhh,” began Foxy hesitantly as the orange flame picked up the blue child who had somehow found his way into their hideout, “You uh… will get the little one back?”

 

Grillby glanced towards the Vulkin in silence, giving only a curt nod as he shifted Fellby within his arms so that he could not wiggle free so easily.

Fellby just groaned before shouting out, “Don’t do anything stupid!” to the group as Grillby turned away.

 

Grillby walked a few paces away, heading in the direction of the Riverperson, still holding tightly to the smaller elemental.

“So um…”

“…”

 

“I left a note,” the child grumbled at the silence, squirming in the bartender’s hold. “Put me down, I can walk you know!”

 

“No.”

 

“What? No I can't walk or no you won't put me down?`”

 

“Yes.”

 

Fellby got the impression that Grillby was laughing at him. He huffed, crossing his arms in his cousins grip.

 

“Fellby?”

 

Fellby looked up to Grillby, still pouting and made a noise to confirm that he was listening.

 

“… You’re grounded.”

 

“WHAT?!?”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

October.

The grand celebration of Halloween. Or All Hallows’ Eve depending on who you asked.

It was a very, very old tradition with several different names which was tied to the earliest days of magic.
It used it be the time when certain magic types were especially strong. Summoning magic was at its peak and the souls of humans and animals were closest to the plane on which monster souls resided.

 

There were legends of how skeletons were created on a Halloween night under the ghostly light of a full moon… However, these times are long gone; together with the knowledge of how to summon up monster like skeletons, ghosts, elementals, etcetera.

 

At least that was what Saz told them.

 

Monsters did not celebrate Halloween per se though, like with Gyftmas, they had their own variation. A small tradition, mostly for children, proposed by King Asgore in effort to raise Hope and moral amongst the monsters trapped in the Underground.

 

The celebration had some key elements similar to the human tradition: There were costumes, free candy and a large party within every sector of the known Underground. Of course, it helped that some human movies and literature relating to Halloween found their way down to the dump.

 

“We know that already, Uncle Saz,” whined Fellby, interrupting Saz’ explanation about the holiday. “We celebrated Halloween, Swabby was a butterfly last year.”

 

“BUFFERFLY,” giggled out the tiny yellow flame, flapping his arms up and down happily.

 

“Aww really?” chipped Suny excited, lights forming blue stars within eye sockets. “That sounds super adorable!”

 

Grillby gave a small nod. “Fellby was a bee... and I was a flower,” he added quietly.

 

“Jackpot,” snickered Pyru from where he lounged by the fireplace.

“Don’t you mean honeypot, bro?” questioned Sans, shoulders shaking with barely contained laughter.

 

“SANS,” shrieked Papyrus in his seat beside the laughing skeleton.

Sans, in turn, winked and teleported away before his brother could begin one of his tirades about puns in the living room.

 

“Aww a flower, a bee and a butterfly,” humed Suny. “That sounds super-duper cute!”

 

“Mom got pictures,” informed Fellby. “I’m sure she’ll show you when she gets back.”

 

There was an uncomfortable shift within the room.

Suny winced as Pyru hid his face by taking an exaggerated drink from his Hot Coco mug.
Even Papyrus went silent, a frown forming on his face.

Saz looked down at his hands, twitching nervously.

 

This was how it always was. Awkward silence the very moment the parents of the flame children were mentioned.

 

Swabby was still far too young to fully understand what had happened, seemingly content to stay wherever Grillby and/or Fellby were in the moment whereas Fellby was completely oblivious believing that the skeleton brothers were just long-term babysitters until their parents returned.

Only Grillby had realized that they were gone from this world…

 

“Well uhh anyway…” said Saz awkwardly. “So… you guys wanna have costumes this year too?”

“YES!” answered Fellby quickly, standing as he done so.

 

Swabby gave a happy sounding hum.

Grillby nodded quickly. “If we can.”

 

“Well then, you’re in luck,” grinned Suny. “We got the best sewer in all of Snowdin right here!”

 

-

 

Surprisingly, the best sewer turned out to be Sans.

 

“So,” mumbled Sans lazily, sitting on his bed – or rather the bottom bunk of the bunkbed Papyrus had forced him to buy after the dreaded deep-cleaning of the room. The two now shared the same room again and Papyrus refused to sleep in chaotic filth so Sans’ trash tornado had completely vanished and all of his documents and papers were filed away on a shelf within colorful binders that Sans was sure Suny must’ve chosen. “You all wanna have costumes?”

 

Normally, now, the room was spotless. But today, as the three flames came in and sorted through the various Halloween themed items, there was colorful fabric and foam scattered about everywhere.

A sewing machine was standing nearby ready to be used and Sans himself had an aura of attentiveness to him that was quite unusual for the skeleton.

 

“YES,” Fellby responded, thrusting some red fabric into Sans’ lap. “UNCLE SAZ AND UNCLE SUNY SAID YOU WERE THE BEST COSTUME MAKER!”

 

“The best! The best!” chirped Swabby beside the blue flame, jumping up and down excitedly.

 

Sans’ heart melted. He was so whipped by these kids but could anyone really fault him for that? They were frigging adorable! “Alright, alright,” the skeleton chuckled softly, trying to calm the flames.

 

Hehe, pun.

 

Sans had to chuckle at his own thoughts. “Don’t needle me too much with that. What do you want, huh?”

 

“I WANNA BE A DRAGON,” declared Fellby loudly. “THEY ARE BIG AND STRONG AND GO RAAAWR!”

 

“RAWR!” giggled out Swabby.

 

“Dragon, huh? I think I can manage that,” Sans nodded before looking to Swabby. “And you, little spark?”

 

“Pwincess!”

 

“Princess?”

 

“Pwincess!”

 

“Yeah,” mumbled Grillby, “he’s like our princess from the stories…”

 

“I’m the dragon and Swabby’s the pretty princess,” chirped Fellby. “And uh… Grills you GOTTA be the knight! You’d be the best!”

 

Grillby hesitated at that, looking a bit unsure.

 

Swabby however joined into the cheer, standing and waddling over to Grillby to give him a hug. “Knight! Knight!”

 

Sans smiled at them as Grillby finally gave in with a nod. “Dragon, Princess and Knight coming right up.”

 

Swabby’s costume came first, Sans wanting to get the correct measurements taken before the little flame got sleepy. His was also the easiest to make: adding golden highlights to an emerald dress Parz had bought Swabby earlier in the year. Of course, the hardest part of all was creating the hennin crown... which Sans ended up sewing some jade, the closest color he could get to match the dress, fabric around a leftover party hat and adding a transparent veil to the tip.

 

Fellby’s dragon costume was next. Midnight blue fabric sew together with a lighter purple color fabricating the underbelly along with little foam claws, wings and a tail. Sans decided against a full mask seeing as it would make it harder to see, not to mention he still wasn’t sure if the flame children needed air like an actual fire or not, and in turn attached a hood with pointy foam spikes to make up the head.

 

Fellby barely waited until Sans was finished sewing the last stitch before pulling the outfit on and giving a roar and hugging Swabby to himself declaring, “I’VE CAPTURED THE PRINCESS!”

 

Swabby squealed out in delight and the two of them played, giggling and laughing while Fellby tickled Swabby while the little flame tried to squirm away in his hold. Sans in the meantime began to work on Grillby’s costume.

 

The knight costume was more challenging but it gave Sans time to speak with the young flame elemental while the others were distracted. “What’s up, little buddy?” he questioned as he measured Grillby. “Something bothering you?”

 

“…Nothing.”, came the short and quiet answer, indicating that it was everything but.

 

“Aww come on, it’s me, Uncle Sansy…”, said Sans, scooting a bit closer and looking Grillby in the eyes. “What’s up?”

 

“It’s… the first without them,” the boy finally whispered sadly. “Aunt Aeris and… and mum always… always did that together.”

 

Uh-Oh, he could hear the tears behind Grillby’s words.

 

“And... and they... they never will... anymore,” mumbled Grillby out, his voice now more of a broken whisper than anything.

 

“You miss them a lot, huh?” Sans mumbled out, petting the child before him.

 

Grillby nodded, flames flickering in a way that Sans started to associate with Grillby being upset or close to tears.

 

Sans wrapped his arms around the orange flame gently, letting the flame cuddle his face into his collarbone, hiding from the world. “Hey, it’s okay,” he spoke into the hug. “It’s okay… I got you.”

 

Grillby held onto him for a while, not saying anything but seemed a bit better when Sans finally let go.

 

“I know it’s hard,” the skeleton continued. “But uh… me and my bros, we uh… we’re not trying to replace your folks or anything,” Sans stuttered out. Dang this was way harder than he’d ever imagine it would have been! “But we wanna be... or rather we’re here for you. Okay?”

 

Grillby nodded slowly.

 

“So uh… we do this now. Okay? But… whenever you umm wanna… wanna talk about that,” Sans glanced towards the two younger flames, lowering his voice slightly, “alone… You can always come to me. All right? I got you.”

 

Grillby opted to hug Sans another time before moving back so that he could finish his costume.

 

“Annnnnnd,” Sans spoke up after a few, long hours of sewing, “done!”

The knight costume was mostly gray and shiny silver fabric held into shape via foam pads and tied cords along with a pair of old gray work gloves and a rose red cape.

 

Fellby promptly tackled Grillby too with a roar. “I’VE CAPTURED THE KNIGHT!”

 

“I haven’t even put it on yet, Fells,” muttered Grillby, doing his best to keep standing as the blue flame laid all his weight on him.

 

“Well you still got a few days before Halloween,” Sans chuckled as he watched the children. “How about we all take a nap until then?”

 

Swabby, in turn, yawned out.

 

“We can’t sleep all the way til Halloween,” retorted Fellby, pushing the hood down from his face. “We might miss the candy!”

 

“Hmm,” the skeleton hummed back. “I’m not too sure about that…”

 

“Nooooooooo.”

 

Overall it was a fun day making the costumes with the children.

Sans felt as though he traveled back in time to when he used to make Halloween costumes for himself and his brothers… Heck, Papyrus still had some of them hung up in his former bedroom closet!

 

Chuckling, his mind filled with memories of a very happy and excited babybones, Sans herded the children back to their room for a nap.

 

-

 

The following day, the children made candy together with Parz.

Papyrus wanted to help too but luckily Pyru had come in about half an hour before they started and demanded Papyrus’ help with designing Halloween puzzles in the front yard for all of the children to enjoy.

 

“BUT THE GREAT PAPYRUS HAS TO HELP WITH THE CANDY,” exclaimed the tall skeleton, hand panning over the kitchen. “WITHOUT MY GREAT GUIDANCE, PARZ MAY NOT ADD THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF GLITTER OR SPAGHETTI!”

 

“The right amount is zero,” muttered Parz to himself as he straightened his apron. It had been a gift from their father a few years back: jet black with the words ‘No bitching in my kitchen’ written finely in bright red cursive across the chest.

 

Fellby had once asked what the word meant, a question Parz still dodged like a pro.

 

The flames too were in their aprons already, watching Papyrus and Pyru with eyes full of merriment.

 

Aww come on, bro,” half whined Pyru. “Parz can handle that. You’re more needed with the puzzles. Otherwise Sans has to help and you know how his puzzles are!”

 

“Pun riddled and full of word searches!” huffed out Papyrus. “WE CAN’T HAVE THAT! WE WOULD BE THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE WHOLE TOWN!”

 

“Yeah, soooo let Parz handle the kitchen and come help me.”

 

Papyrus sighed dramatically, turning to the flames. “TINY FLAMES,” he said, voice booming. “THE GREAT PAPYRUS HAS TO HELP HIS LAZY BROTHERS WITH SOMETHING OF UPMOST IMPORTANCE OUTSIDE! THEREFORE, I LEAVE YOU IN THE CARE OF MY VERY GOOD BROTHER PARZ!”

 

“Mmmmm-kay,” let out Fellby with a questioning tone. “Do we still get to make candy?”

 

“OF COURSE, TINY FLAME,” answered Papyrus, bending down to pet Fellby’s head. “ALAS I MUST GO. ONWARDS, BROTHER, THE PUZZLES AWAIT UP! NYEH HEH HEH!” With those words, Papyrus did an impressive tackle-jump out of the kitchen, disappearing from sight.

 

Pyru winked in their direction as he followed the taller skeleton out of the kitchen.

 

He also stole a bottle of honey causing Parz to huff when he finally noticed but, overall, he didn’t seem to really be upset by it.

 

Together they made cherry candy, Parz letting them roll out the candy mass and praising them for them being able to do it very evenly. The children’s heat made the candy much easier to mold.

 

Fellby snuck a few pieces of fresh candy before they really had a chance to harden whereas Swabby’s hands and face was covered in flour and melted candy at the end of it all.

 

Parz frowned as he tried to figure out the best way to clean them up when he felt a tug at his apron. He blinked surprised and looked down.

 

Grillby smiled shyly up at the skeleton.


“What is it?”

“Umm,” he hesitated for a moment before smiling again. “The candy was good.”

 

Parz nearly had a heart attack.

 

Not only was this the first time Grillby actually opened up and talked to him directly but the boy was saying he liked something sweet!

 

“Uh… thanks,” mumbled Parz unsure of how to proceed.

 

Grillby nodded.

 

“GRILLS! GRILLS! DID YOU TASTE THEM?” asked Fellby, coming closer to him, grinning widely. “YOU LIKE THEM?”

 

Grillby just smiled and shrugged.

 

“GRIIIIIIILLLLLLS, I TOLD YOU TO TALK! GUHHHH.”

 

“I like them.”

 

“YES!” Fellby threw his arms up in the air in a victory pose before turning to Swabby. “See? We got him to eat sweets! He’s on our side now!”

 

“YES,” cheered the yellow flame, mimicking Fellby’s pose. “Our side, our side!”

 

Parz had no clue as to what was going on. Whatever it was, it at least seemed to make the flames happy so it couldn’t be a bad thing…

 

Fellby and Swabby hugged onto Grillby happily.
Parz felt himself smile at the picture.

 

 

-

On the morning of Halloween itself, whilst Sans helped Grillby and Fellby get ready, Swabby sat in the living room already dressed in his princess dress and painting away in a coloring book.

 

Someone had made the mistake of leaving the finger-paint out on the coffee table and, while Swabby painting in the coloring book wasn’t an issue, the problem was when Swabby looked from his book to Pyru who happened to be sleeping on the couch…

 

The yellow flame apparently decided that white was white and began coloring away on Pyru’s skull.

 

When Saz later discovered them, he laughed so hard that he woke Pyru who, disoriented and blinking confusedly around the room, was now painted very colorfully.

His whole skull was covered with small spots of color, all of which seemed to form little patterns, centering around a huge sun flower that was skillfully painted in the middle of Pyru’s forehead.

 

“W-what?” mumbled out Pyru.

 

“Oh man, you look hilarious,” laughed Saz as he petted Swabby. “Good job, little guy.”

 

Swabby giggled out.

 

Saz bent down and picked the little elemental up, sitting him on his hips, a grin forming. “How about we make the others pretty too?”

 

“PWETTY!

 

“Yeah, little guy, come on.”, he chuckled out as he grabbed the paints and left the room, leaving a very confused Pyru sitting on the couch wondering what had just transpired.

 

Needless-to-say, the skeletons all ended up with painted skulls too leaving the bunny family next door super jealous. Seriously, nobody could ever top being painted on by a little adorable flame.

 

Even Parz seemed to glow proudly with the deep red poinsettia painted on his skull.

 

The brothers exchanged looks as the flames ran around the front yard with the neighborhood children doing the various puzzles Papyrus and Pyru had set up.

Swabby ran laughing and giggling around with the younger bunny kids whilst Fellby chased them, roaring loudly and Grillby ran a bit to the sides, catching the small children as they ‘escaped’ the dragon.

 

It was a rather cute scene.

 

They had the best family in the Underground, there was no doubt about it.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Coming home these days was a bit like opening one of Undyne’s boxes of pralines; you never really knew what you were about to get.

 

Seriously.

 

Parz once found a block of burnt cheese in one…

 

At least he knew there wouldn’t be burnt cheese at home. Papyrus thankfully agreed to split cooking between the two of them with a bit of nudging to focus mainly on drinks and desert while Parz, himself, would do… pretty much everything else.

 

There was a considerate amount of less smoke in the house now at the very least.

 

This day, however, marked the one-month anniversary of taking in the tiny flames.
It was strange at first. Involving many family discussions on if the skeletons could even raise the children properly in Snowdin with no other flame elementals around… but it appears all of the immediate family of the children were victims of the latest human attack and the ones who remained were deep in mourning leaving no one really able to care for such younglings.

 

That and the flames seemed to have bonded with the brothers already, unwilling to leave their cool new uncles.

 

Still, there was a lot they had to arrange.

 

Sans now shared a room with Papyrus so that the children could have Papyrus’ old room. Of course, they had already bought a larger bed suited for the children, new clothes… and, well, Papyrus already had several toys in his room.

 

Not to mention setting up the flame-proof enchantments after Swabby accidentally burst a cabinet into flames in a giggle fit.

Those enchantments were EXPENSIVE!

 

There was also the issue of safety. Swabby, especially, was very vulnerable to the cold and none of the children could go around water so everything had to be made safe for them to use. Including the installation of a tub made for oil baths…

 

And that barely began the list.

 

Though now, a month later, things seemed to have somewhat settled.

Parz opened the door to the high-pitched laughter and shrieks of joy he came to associate with the tiny flames. Though… there was a sound among that which wasn’t quite right; prickling static, the sound of exploding magic gathering… followed by more laughter.

 

In the living room stood Papyrus in his canine form, big and tall, though still a bit dopey looking, his maul wide as glowing white magic gathered within. On his back sat the three flames; Fellby in the middle holding tightly to Swabby who continued to laugh and clap his chubby hands together merrily, and Grillby in the rear holding steadily to the both of them while beaming brightly. Papyrus let go another blaster, the powerful attack causing a puff of ash to spew from the fireplace where it crashed, prompting more laughter from the children.

 

“AGAIN, AGAIN!” shrieked Fellby.

 

Swabby threw his little arms up, flames shining brightly from underneath the wool onesie Sans had knitted just a few days prior. “AGAIN, AGAIN,” his high-pitched voice cried alongside the blue flame’s own.

 

“What in the ever-loving Underground are you doing?!?” questioned Parz, finally stepping into the room.

 

“PAZ!” happily cried out Fellby. “LOOK, LOOK! PAPA MAKES WUSH BEAMS!”

 

Parz sighed deeply, hating himself a tiny bit for how his soul melted at being called ‘Paz’.

They had quickly discovered that Fellby had difficulty pronouncing some names and that he liked to give everything special nicknames which Swabby was quick to repeat.

 

Grillby was… still a bit of an odd one. He looked to Parz in the moment, smiling widely though his eyes held a sort of judging quality to them.

Parz always felt as though the child were trying to see into his soul and find out every little detail of him. It was… very strange and a bit unnerving.

 

To see the orange flame laughing and happy like this was rare. Though his gaze towards the two flames sitting before him held a certain tenderness…

 

Papyrus shook before finally changing back, ending with him sitting in the floor with all three flames within his arms. “GREETINGS, BROTHER,” chirped Papyrus, prompting more giggles from Fellby and Swabby. “I SEE YOU HAVE FINALLY RETURNED! I WAS JUST SHOWING OUR LITTLE ONES MY GREAT BLASTER ATTACK!”

 

“I saw that,” hissed out Parz. “That was very dangerous!”

 

“IT WAS FUN,” interrupted Fellby, raising his arms upwards.

 

Parz frowned.

“PAZ, PAZ, COME!” added Fellby, making grabby hands towards the skeleton.

 

Parz finally stepped close only to have the blue flame latch onto him. Parz hugged back, petting him softly on the end.

 

Fellby and Swabby, as the brothers discovered, seemed to need LOTS of affection.

 

Fellby flames glowed a bit stronger as Parz gently placed him on the ground, flickering happily.

 

Grillby quickly reached out and hugged Fellby back to himself, looking towards Parz as though daring the taller monster to say something about it.

 

Before he could, however, there was a loud bang from the kitchen causing them all to jump.

“Welp, that was fun,” muttered Sans as he stepped out of the kitchen alongside Suny, chuckling deeply.

 

“MWE HE HE HE,” giggled the smaller skeleton like a madman. “IT SURE WAS, BROTHER! TINY FLAMES,” he boomed upon seeing the children, “WE HAVE GREAT NEWS! I, THE MAGNIFICENT SUNY, AND MY BROTHER, THE… umm…” Suny faltered a bit, glancing towards Sans.

 

“Punny.”

 

“YES! MY PUNNY BROTHER, SANS!”

 

Parz barely managed to suppress the groan.

Papyrus made a very clear noise of displeasure.

 

“WE MADE YOU DINNER!”

 

“Ugh,” grumbled Parz. Whatever those two cooked up was more than likely a mess of taco shells and ketchup… or worse.

 

Fellby, however, seemed excited. “GRILLS, GRILLS, LET GO,” the blue flame half whines, squirming within the older flame’s hold. “ITS DINNER TIME, I’M HUNGRY!” He began tugging and dragging at Grillby the moment he was placed on the ground. “COME ON!”

Papyrus stood up slowly with Swabby carefully balanced in his arms.

“So…” Parz began, unsure. “You guys uh… have fun?”

 

“Yeah,” nodded Papyrus in return, unfazed by his brother’s unease. “I had everything under control, you know. The Great Papyrus would never allow the little flames to come to harm!”

 

“I… I know that.”

 

“Pap, Pap,” cheered Swabby.

Parz envied him for his utter ignorance.

 

“NYEH-HEH-HEH-HEH,” laughed out Papyrus as he tickled the tiny flame causing him to giggle even more.

 

Parz felt himself smile at the sight.

Things turned suddenly bright as Papyrus held the tiny flame towards his somewhat shorter brother.

Parz blinked, looking towards the smiling toddler.

 

Swabby blinked for a moment with wide eyes before making grabbing hands to the skeleton before him.

“I think somebody wants to be held by you, brother,” chuckles Papyrus. “Here, tiny flame, settle down in the great arms of the brother of the Great Papyrus!”

 

With these words, Parz suddenly had his arms full with a tiny yellow flame.

Swabby instantly nuzzled against him, wrapping his petite hand in the fabric of Parz’ shirt.

 

“Hm?” Papyrus’ questioning voice sounded. “Are you alright, brother?”

Parz did his best to ignore the feeling of unconditional love coming from this tiny, little monster who seemed to trust him so easily. His face darkened, however, at Papyrus’ nudges and he quickly turned on his heel to see what mess awaited him within the kitchen.

 

It was a gamble coming home now but one thing was for certain:

There was a lot of love within this house.

 

But Asgore be damned, Parz loved these flames embarrassingly too much as it was.

 

 

There were, of course, things they discovered about their new charges.

 

Fellby was often the most vocal and trusting. He would run up and hug all of the skeletons without second thought and was always ready to jump onto their backs whenever one of them changed into their blaster form. The child would talk nonstop about his day, even if it just involved playing in the house. Fellby loved sweets and could already read surprisingly well for his age; something Suny had discovered while reading the children a bedtime story.

The blue flame also loved his cousins very much and seemed to never be alone at any given time. He would drag Grillby around the house by the hand, often instructing the older flame to carry Swabby to wherever their current destination was, only to spend most of his time trying to teach the toddler how to talk or some various game.

 

Parz once caught the oldest two flames playing chess. Not bad either, even though Fellby had suddenly employed an ‘earthquake’ move after it looked as though he would lose.

Grillby had, at the time, not even a hint of surprise on his features. Instead, the orange flame merely smiled, shaking his head as Swabby laughed out beside them.

 

Grillby, on the other hand, did not like sweets; Parz noticed quickly that Grillby would give anything with sugar in it to Fellby but seemed to eat the more bitter or sour tasting food just fine. He was fairly strong, able to carry the other two flames if necessary, and seemed to have unusually good control over his flames, often summoning up balls of fire to amuse his cousins.
The orange flame did not talk much unless he were talking with Fellby and Swabby. Though he seemed to gravitate towards Sans and Papyrus more than the other skeletons, often speaking in few words or sign language which he said he had been practicing at school. Grillby was the only one to never complain, not even about the cold even though Parz spotted him shivering to on a few occasions.

 

Swabby was a bright and happy child despite being the youngest and weakest of the three. His flames became amazingly bright after a few weeks within the brother’s care. The yellow flame seemed to enjoy any sort of contact and affection, hugging onto whoever picked him up and cooing readily at anything that moved. He wasn’t one for taking life slow, opting to run around as fast and far as his little feet would carry him, something Parz could only imagine was Fellby’s influence.

Swabby also loved colors, being drawn to anything bright and shiny. When Pyru got him a box of crayons, he was the happiest little flame in the Underground. All of the skeletons received lovingly crafted pictures; some of which looked pretty good for something a toddler doodled.

 

The three of them was theirs now.

 

Their little flames…

 

They all became sudo dads yet none of them had a clue as to what to do.

 

Parz began to notice some things on his own too.

 

For example: flames could change color. It did not happen often but sometimes Grillby would go blue or green while Fellby would turn either red or purple. Swabby usually stayed yellow but would get a green tint to his face at times.

 

Additionally, flames were WARM. Usually just pleasantly so, their flames magical and not harmful to others. However…

 

Fellby developed the habit of slipping into the skeleton’s beds, usually either Sans’ or Saz’ since they were still in bed in the mornings whilst the others were downstairs preparing breakfast and getting ready for the day. He tended to cuddle up to the skeleton in question after sneaking away from whoever had woken the children for the day and then… heat up or… something.

 

Parz often heard Saz and Sans softly complaining to each other on how they would wake pouring in sweat due to the added heat, often combined with a light migraine.

They discovered too that whenever Fellby slept with Swabby in his arms, the little flame would turn solid green.

 

After some research, aka Parz questioning nearly every flame he came across in Hotland, they learned that they were witnessing heat-sharing which apparently was something very important for flames. Heat-sharing was sort of a gesture of comfort and trust between family members, friends and beloved ones.

Upon hearing such, Sans nor Saz never complained about the heat again, overly touched by the fact. They did, however, frequent their shower more often; something Parz was thrilled about considering that he, Papyrus and Suny had tried on several occasions before to get them on a better stance with personal hygiene.

Overall, it was a win for everyone.

 

Of course, not everything they discovered was about the flames…

 

Saz was relaxing on the couch after a long day’s work when he noticed a blue shine creeping up to him. He blinked open his ruby red eyes and made a small wave towards Fellby who quickly crawled up onto the couch beside him. “Hey there, little blue,” yawned out Saz.

 

“Hey,” huffed the child in question. “I’m not little!”

 

Saz let out a little hum.

 

“You’re short too!”

 

“Won’t deny that,” chuckled Saz.

 

Fellby crossed his arms and pouted, obviously unhappy that he couldn’t get a rise out of the skeleton.

 

Saz chuckled, reaching out and pulling the small child down to himself in a hug, nuzzling his head flames. “What’s up, Fellby?” he finally asked. “You got something on your mind?”

 

“Yeah,” mumbled Fellby, shifting so he sat on Saz’ middle. “Where’d you get that?” he questioned, pointing towards the golden fang.

 

“My tooth?”

 

“Yeah,” nodded Fellby. “It’s all shiny and cool!”

 

“Aww, tiny flame,” chuckled Saz unable to help the red tint filling his skull. “That’s kinda… kinda lame.”

 

“No, it’s super cool!”

 

“You think so, huh?”

 

Neither one noticed Parz halting mid-step on his way to the living room, shifting to hide somewhat behind the door frame.

 

“My tooth… let’s see… I was pretty young when I got it,” replied Saz. “Maybe… maybe around your age.”

 

“REALLY?”

 

“Yep,” nodded the skeleton. “I was kinda… a wild kid. Though my body kinda came with a switch; either I was awake and full of energy like you or, well, out like a light. It was annoying.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“One moment I was running and playing with my bros. The next? BOOF! I was waking up hurting like a bi-“ Saz barely caught himself, “a lot. All my bros were freaking out and I was missing a tooth.”

 

Parz glanced away guiltily.

Saz had conveniently left out a good chunk of the story.

 

“But you know,” continued Saz from the living room, “Parz really was there for me. He got our dad and even helped clean me up.”

 

Parz huffed. He had not done as much. He did call for their father but had barely touched Saz for a week afterwards.

 

“And, well, I needed a replacement, didn’t I?” chuckled Saz. “Couldn’t just run around with a hole in my head. So… Parz had the idea of making a fake one.”

 

It had been a stupid idea. Parz just couldn’t stand staring at the hold in Saz’ mouth any longer, couldn’t stand the memory of how quickly the missing tooth had turned to dust and… well, the only thing his mind would allow him to see when he looked to his brother was him doing the same; turning to dust bit by bit and blowing away… So he ran to their father and insisted that they should put something in its place.

Now the golden glint stood to remind him what a horrible brother he was.

 

Parz wondered if Saz just pretended for the little flame’s sake or if he really was that ignorant and believed the lie about him being this amazing and caring… He wasn’t sure which was worse; being despised yet sugarcoated in fake love or actually being adored because his own deception.

 

…No. What was he even thinking? Saz had never hated him. He was just as unable to hate as Papyrus and Suny were.

 

“THAT’S SO COOL!” cried out Fellby. “PAZ IS AMAZING!”

“Yeah,” agreed Saz readily. “He’s the best.”

 

“I wish I had siblings,” muttered the blue flame out of nowhere. “Grills got a sister but she’s never home and Grills said they don’t get along too well.”

 

“Wait… Grillby has a sister?”

That was news.

“Uh-huh,” confirmed Fellby. “She’s waaaaaaay older than him and um… uhh… stuff that’s a secret, sorry.”

 

“Uh… all right,” mumbled Saz, petting the child on the head while thinking hard on the matter. If Grillby had a sister then, in reality, he should at the very least be in her custody… right? “You got him and Swabby though… so why do you wanna have a sibling?”

 

“Because it would be cool!”

 

“It’s a pain,” spoke out Parz, finally stepping inside the living room. “Trust me.”


“PAZ!” cheered Fellby, bouncing on Saz’ stomach.

“Oof,” huffed out the small skeleton, reaching out to hold onto the child.

 

Parz sat down beside Saz’ legs, reaching out and ruffling Fellby’s flames. “Hey, brat.”

 

“I’m not a brat!”

 

“Sure you’re not,” chuckled Parz deeply. “The others are waiting in the kitchen. Run along now or there will be no pie left.”

 

“MY PIE!” With these words, Fellby was gone in a blue blur. “GRILLS, SAVE SOME FOR ME!”

 

“So…” Saz began once the child was out of earshot. “How much did you hear?”

 

“Everything.”

“Hmm.”

“…One of them has a sister…”

 

“Yeah,” mumbled Saz. “Sounds sour… She didn’t ask for them or at the very least Grillby. Must be hard on the little guy knowing he has a sibling that just… doesn’t care.”

 

Parz nodded slightly, throat feeling dry. “Or she hasn’t heard,” he spoke, unsure of how shaky his own voice was. “Unlike as that is…”

There was a moment of silence between them.

Something in Parz gave him a shove and he leaned down, hugging Saz awkwardly yet strong.

 

Saz tensed for a split second in surprise though quickly relaxed, laying his head against Parz’ shoulder. “Hey…umm…”

 

“I really do care,” muttered Parz. “I… I’m sorry if… If I don’t show it… like I want.”

 

“I understand, bro. It’s fine.”

 

“I love you.”

 

“Love you too,” replied Saz softly, “of course… now hey, don’t be getting all mushy on me here.” A soft chuckle escaped the smaller monster. “You know Suny would never let either of us live this down.”

 

Parz chuckled softly at that too, something hard and cold inside him melting. He let go after a few more moments because Saz was right and he really didn't want to deal with Suny shrieking at them about their great brotherly bond.

 

But... it was kinda nice to get some things out for now. He just had to work on being this amazing brother Saz seemed to believe he is.

 

 

 

The issue with Grillby’s sister, however, was a standing topic.

Once everyone knew of it, they knew the next step was to talk to the little flame about it.

They were in the skeletons care for a month already and things seemed to have improved nicely. Grillby, especially, was more relaxed and talkative than previously, often gravitating towards Sans whenever he seemed unsure about something.

 

So when Sans had the little flame all for himself, the other two off playing with the bunny children next door, he knew he wouldn’t get a better chance.

They were sitting together in Sans’ and Papyrus’ now shared room, Grillby having choose to stay inside due to a headache, and playing a light game of chess. Grillby was surprisingly good at the game, taking Sans’ stone with ease when the skeleton hadn’t been playing seriously.

 

“…I know what you wanna ask,” mumbled Grillby after a long while. “Fells told me he told Saz about her.”

 

Hehe guilty as charged,” chuckled Sans nervously. “I… I do want to, Grillby but… Do you want to talk about her?”

 

“No really,” answered the orange flame, moving his piece. “But I gotta…”

 

“If you don’t really want to then you ain’t gotta,” told Sans softly. “But it would help us understand the situation.”

 

Grillby went silent, staring at the chess board.

Sans wondered for a second if the boy would speak again.

“My mom was really sick before the human came,” mumbled Grillby after a long pause. “Like… really sick. Dad was really worried and… Aunty Aeris, Uncle Smalt and Uncle Garrett helped a lot but she…” He paused again, glancing up to Sans shortly before quickly looking back down. “I heard them talking when they thought I was asleep,” explained Grillby quietly. “Dad said it was my fault.”

 

“…” Sans blinked. “What?”

 

“It… It was,” replied Grillby. “Mom grew sick after she carried my soul. Dad said… said I took too much from her so she got sick and… and my sister said so too.”

 

“Grillby… I don’t think that’s true.”

 

“It is! I heard it!”

 

“That doesn’t mean it’s true,” replied Sans. “Come here.” He hugged Grillby to himself, only now able to feel how much the child was shaking. “Hey,” he mumbled softly, petting through the orange flames. “Don’t think like that… You can’t help being made and… a lot of monsters have problems with their health after having a soul. Your mom was obviously very loved and I’m sure she would have pulled through.”

“Doesn’t matter now,” sniffled Grillby. “They’re all gone…”

 

“I know,” whispered Sans. “But it’s not your fault. You even kept the other two safe this whole time.”

 

“They’re my whole world,” confessed Grillby quietly with another sniffle.

 

“Hard not to love them, huh?”

 

Grillby nodded, whole body still shaking a little.

 

“But… where was your sister during the attack?”

“She doesn’t live in Hotland,” replied Grillby quietly. “She lives in New Home because… um… She’s two hundred years older than me and already got a partner.”

 

Two hundred years?!?”, asked Sans surprised. He knew flames lived a long life but really? Two hundred years?

 

“Aunty Aeris told me it’s normal for flames,” nodded Grillby. “Mom and Aunty Aeris are twins but that’s like… super rare and she told me that there is always a long time between siblings. That’s why everyone who is my age is my cousins.”

 

“Uhh yeah,” mumbled Sans, trying his best to take in this new information. “So… Swabby?”

 

“His dad is Fellby’s dad’s brother,” answered the child. “But I love him and he’s my cousin too!”

 

Sans chuckled. “The two of you really adore the little one, huh?”

 

“Yeah,” agreed Grillby livelier. “Swabby’s our princess!”

 

Sans snorted a bit. That was just adorable! And whatever Grillby’s sister had going through her head, she was totally missing out the most amazing kids ever. “A princess, huh? So… what are you then?”

 

“I’m gonna be a knight!”

 

There was a brief flashback to when Papyrus always said he’d become a Royal Guard.

 

“I’m gonna protect Swabby and Fellby forever!”

 

“I think so too,” agreed Sans, chuckling. “That’s how the stories go after all.”

 

“Fellby gets into trouble all the time and… and I gotta keep them safe.”

 

Sans petted over the child’s head. “Sure you do, kiddo.”

 

They sat together in silence for a while, their chess game completely forgotten, before Grillby spoke out again. “What will happen to us?”

 

“Hm? What do you mean?”

 

“…Are you sending us to my sister?”

 

Sans blinked. “Why do you think that?”

 

“I’m not stupid,” huffed Grillby icily. “I know this isn’t like… a fairy-tale. You live in Snowdin. You’re skeletons and we’re flames and… and we’re not yours, you just found us. I mean… you're kind and nice and helped us but… but you got stuff to do and… and kids are a burden…”

 

“Grillby, what-“

 

Grillby continued as though not hearing Sans, tiny flames flickering increasingly upset . “You can’t take Swabby back though. They’ll be mean to him,” he pleaded. “Please… don’t send us there. Somewhere… anywhere else will do but… but…”

 

Sans hugged the upset flame tightly, feeling how much he trembled. His thoughts were reeling.

Did Grillby truly believe that this was a temporary solution? That they just held onto them until they could find something else?

“Shh,” he shushed the child, slowly rocking him against himself. “It’s all right, I got you.”

 

He could feel the child in his arm shaking, he could hear the tiny sobs and a spot on his shirt became quickly warm. He never saw Grillby cry before…

 

“They’re all gone,” whimpered Grillby against Sans’ shoulder. “I couldn’t… but I led them away and then it… it was cold and they could’ve been… been gone too and I was so scared. They didn’t know and I couldn’t tell but… but… I don’t want Fellby or Swabby to be sad.”

 

There were some more mumbles though none of which made sense .
Sans waited, continuing to rock and shush Grillby softly, before he spoke again. “Listen, Grillby, whatever gave you the idea we would just send you away-“

 

“That’s how it works,” Grillby cut the skeleton off.

 

“Hmm I always thought family stuck together.”

 

It took all of three seconds for the words to sink in.

 

First there was no reaction.

 

A double take.

 

A blink.

 

Disbelief.

 

Hope.

 

And finally understanding.

 

Flames sparked to life, high and bright orange as Grillby squawked out, “W-what?”

 

Sans grinned brightly at the glowing, hopeful face in front of him. “Baby flame, you’re family. OUR family. As long as you kiddos want.”

 

The hug he got out of that was the most beautiful and best hug of his life to date.

 

 

 

 

Onmake:

 

As it turned out, Grillby wasn’t wrong.

It came as a surprise after they spoke to the king but apparently Swabby’s mother was in line for the throne; the queen’s fire magic coming directly from the flame line of Swabby’s mother, Hyacinth. In turn, Swabby being the next ruler once it passed her.

 

Of course, there were lots of monsters and lines before him, the crown of the queen more-than-likely going to the prince once he reached age. The chances for Swabby even being considered to step up was slim at the very best.

 

But, technically, there was a title and the little flame could fight to have it recognized in due time and if the right requirements were met.

 

Monster politics were strange.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It had already been days since Fellby was transformed into an eight year old and, truthfully, it was beginning to feel oddly normal.
Fellby wasn’t sure if he should be happy with that thought or not. But at least things were easier though annoying when trying to reach out for something only to remember that his arms were a lot shorter now and useless.

But this form had it’s pluses.

Grillby was willing to carry him around and weather he asked for him to or not, though Fellby quite enjoyed the attention. The bartender also seemed not bothered whenever he’d fall asleep during these times.
In fact, these were some of the best naps Fellby ever had, second only to when he were actually a child and able to nap with his parents on hot summer days.

To be honest, he actually felt relief at the fact that Grillby became so clingy.

Fellby didn’t want to admit it but he was still terrified after the little stunt with Gaster and the strange gleam in the mad scientist’s eyes when he had spoken about Fellby as a new piece for his collection... He had nightmares after that where Gaster would morph into the human he had long ago dubbed ‚Red‘ and lock him away again in a cold, dark cell. Worse yet was that sometimes the boys were also in such dreams...

Fellby tried all sorts of tricks to evade these night-terrors.

The best way, as it turned out, was making Grillby and Swabby sleep in the same room with him.
Luckily neither seemed to mind; Grillby, as mentioned, becoming clingy and would instantly cuddle up to him, feeding his flames a sharp current of heat whereas Swabby was more-or-less a zombie at night, easily following instructions and gentle tugs to follow after the tiny blue flame.

However, the boys often complained about how Fellby tended to ‚steal‘ the two flames attention here of late. Of course, Grillby would sooth them and Fellby would offer to play with them not really knowing what else to do given his new height.

As much as Fellby enjoyed the attention, he did not want the boys to be lacking in anything.

Now Swabby was easily guilted into making candy – even if the yellow flame began putting conditions on said treats; eating vegetable was suddenly a must and Fellby wasn’t allowed any alcohol or coffee.

Moreover, Fellby was able to finally see Swabby without the aid of his sunglasses! Beforehand his eyes were damaged from his time with the humans, too sensitive to withstand even normal lighting. Now he could marvel at the sight of bright yellow flames and, yeah, the kids were right, Swabby was definitely like the sun.

Also Swabby tended to hug on him a lot. He tended to hug on Fellby the instant Grillby released his hold on him. The hugs were always full of life and just tight enough without being overbearing. Now that Swabby was actually taller than him, these hugs felt almost like a shield protecting him from everything outside of the embrace.
Fellby had to admit that he actually found himself looking forward to such hugs.

There was still the issue with Swabby being colder than himself but it felt oddly calmly for Fellby, reminding him of days lost with his mother...

He did not want to lose this.

Other than their previous complaints, the kids were strangely okay with the fact their uncle was now their relative age. Sans explained it as being used to shifting forms due to their own canine bodies so their uncle having a different body now was no different than all of them being able to transform into dogs at will. All in all, they were just happy that the blue flame now had more energy to play games with them.

Fellby also had to admit that, due to the new perspective, everything seemed much more exciting. The children’s room was suddenly a lot bigger and the hiding spots were now useful to him. Everything was suddenly an adventure now! Not to mention that a lot of the games reminded him of how he and Grillby used to play as children...

Fellby was a master in hide-and-seek though Grillby had always managed to find him. It was pretty even with the kids; they could smell him in their canine form and were surprisingly good at hiding... White bones against white snow was hard to spot.

Of course, none of them really wanted to venture outside with Gaster still fresh on their minds but it was something to look forward to.

 

That was the point when Fellby began to realize this would take more than a few days to fix.
He was already planning weeks ahead with his new body and that was... concerning.

He was pulled from his thoughts as he was suddenly lifted and cuddled, yellow flames dancing in his view. „Gah, Swabby, cut it out!“

“Nope,“ giggled Swabby. „You are way too cuddle-able! Besides, you looked grumpy...“

“I’m not grumpy,“ the blue flame huffed, giving up his squirming.

Swabby let out a laugh and let himself fall backwards onto the couch with Fellby, continuing to cuddle him close. “What exactly is on your mind then?“

Fellby huffed, sending his best glare to Swabby though sighed deeply after a few moments when he realized it probably looked more adorable than angry given his new appearance and let himself fall limp within Swabby’s hold. “I just... I was thinking about going out in the snow with the brats,” he mumbled. “…like this.”

Swabby blinked. “But… aren’t you afraid of going outside still?”

“Yeah but… I was thinking about… weeks,” Fellby continued, muttering as he tried to put together his thoughts. “Weeks of me being like this.”

“Oh… OH,” Swabby made a sound of understanding and begun petting the flame within his lap similar as to how he did with the skeletons.

“Its just… Do you think I’ll stay like this?”

“Well… sooner or later you’re bound to grow up again,” replied the yellow flame. “How old do you think you are now? Seven or eight?”

“That’s about right.”

“So another ten years and you’ll be an adult.”

“I don’t WANT to wait that long!” whined Fellby. “Growing up sucks but… but being an adult sucks too.” He frowned deeply. “And being a kid sucks even worse! Ugh.”

Swabby couldn’t help but to giggle. “Fells, that sounds like everything sucks.”

“EVERYTHING SUCKS A LOT,” huffed Fellby in turn before shifting within Swabby’s hold so that he could look at the yellow flame pleadingly. “Make me some candy? I need to drown out my misery! I need some sugaaaaaar….”

Swabby laughed out-right, nuzzling Fellby affectionately.

‘It shouldn’t feel good,’ Fellby monologued to himself. It should have felt embarrassing and belittling but it was actually nice. Instead this felt warm and kinda goofy.

Real affection.

He blamed kid hormones or… whatever it was. Ugh he didn’t really know what to call it, if kids even HAD hormones or not!

“Fellby, I know this... all of this isn’t really what you want,” began Swabby softly, “but… you know, you still got me and Grillby. For us nothing really changed. You are still you and we’ll always be by your side, no matter what. You’re family and we got to stick together.”

Fellby stilled at these words, holding tightly to Swabby. He felt strangely warm and an unusual flutter of happiness.

“…Candy?” he finally pressed out, not trusting his voice with much more in the moment. It was bad enough the candle more-than-likely saw how touched he was by this, he didn’t have to announce it to the world.

“Alright, alright, I’ll make you something sweet,” answered Swabby. “But don’t eat it all at once.”

“I make no promises.”

“At least save some for the children?”

Fellby considered the option. “I’ll think about it.” For all of two seconds.

Swabby chuckled as he sat Fellby down and turned towards the kitchen, disappearing from view.

Fellby leaned back against the couch. It was odd but he really did feel better.

And it wouldn’t be so bad having to grow up again… right? At least this time he’d have more kids to play with…

And the boys weren’t nearly as boring as Grillby could be as a kid.

Plus he could talk his way into free sweets! That was certainly a winning situation.

Maybe it really wasn’t as bad as he originally thought…

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

Fellby hadn’t been tucked into a bed for a very long time. He had outgrown the need for that way before his village had gone up in smoke and dust; not that his parents hadn’t tried to do so anyways… especially after he had passed out in the early morning after a late night of reading through all of the healing books he could get his hands on.

Though he never really outgrew the habit of sneaking into his parent’s bed and sleeping with them during the early hours of the morning. It was a flame thing, so he was told, for a whole family to sleep together whenever possible. It preserved heat and kept lower hued flames warm and safe.

 

It felt right.

 

Though Fellby, himself, usually tucked himself away between his mother and father… Still, his heat alone was enough to keep his mother glowing a gentle orange throughout the remainder of the night as he shared his heat with her. He had plenty after all. Then there was his father who himself was a big source of heat, e ven when Fellby was little sleeping near his father would cause his flames to shoot up to a rich purple.

 

There were also naps and nights spent with Grillby, before his family moved away… Both of them cuddled together like kittens and sharing heat with each other whenever they could.

 

The problem now was that he was a full-grown adult and hadn’t shared a bed nor heat with anyone like that in a long time. He didn't need the comfort or heat of others anymore to sleep.

Now that he was back in the body of a child it felt… wrong.

 

He still had the couch all for himself even though Grillby now forced him to sleep with several more blankets and Swabby had the annoying habit of piling pillowing all around him in a smothering manner… but it was fluffy and warm so it wasn’t like Fellby could really complain on the matter.

 

And Fellby did enjoy all of the extra attention he received from Grillby, his cousin going as far as to carry him around whenever Fellby would make a complaint… Not to mention that Swabby was easily guilted into making him sweets even though the yellow flame began putting conditions on them: eating his veggies was now a must and coffee was cut from his morning meal…

One the other hand, he was finally able to look at Swabby without the aid of his sunglasses! His eyes, before, were damaged from his time with the humans; too sensitive to stand bright light and hurting from looking too long at Swabby even with protection. Now he could marvel at the sight and, he had to admit, the kids were right, Swabby really did look like the sun.

 

They still did their thing in the evening together; sitting close to one another while talking and watching re-runs on the television, Swabby and Grillby fixing clothes while Fellby idly watched.

 

However, somewhere along the line, Fellby would begin to doze and Grillby would switch the television off before helping Swabby lay the blue flame fully down and tucking him in for the night with well wishes before retiring themselves.

 

Yet, this night, Fellby found himself laying wide awake, staring into the darkness.

 

He could not shake the feeling of cold even though he knew it was impossible due to the number of blankets surrounding him. Not to mention the overbearing loneliness as he watched the shadows meld together just out of range of his flame…

 

It took a few minutes for Fellby to make his decision. Grabbing hold of one of the random blankets, he stood and began making his way upstairs as quietly as possible.

 

He did, for a moment, consider slipping into bed with the boys but a quick glance into the room revealed the skeletons already half over top of one another in their sleep. Far too crowded and boney for his taste.

 

Fellby came to stand at Swabby’s door, the soft yellow light creeping from under it making him feel oddly soothed… He opened the door and marched straight to Swabby’s bed, finding the flame sound asleep.

Fellby hesitated for a moment before reaching out and grabbing hold of Swabby’s closest arm.

 

“Hm?” made the yellow flame, still more asleep than wake, eyes blinking open.

 

“Get up, candle,” growled Fellby as he tugged at Swabby’s arm. He missed his normal strength, he could have easily pulled Swabby to his feet back when he was an adult… “Get up already!”

 

“Huh? Fells?” mumbled Swabby confused though finally sitting up, rubbing at his eyes with his free hand. “Up? Why?”

 

“Yes, UP!” Fellby huffed in return, “come on.” He managed to get Swabby to stand and began pulling him along behind him, still dragging his blanket.

They made their way to Grillby’s bedroom, Swabby still too far out of it to question.

 

Fellby shoved open the door and pulled Swabby into the room.

 

Grillby’s bedroom was decently bare, the only thing indicating that the room was not a guestroom were the few pictures of flames and skeletons sitting upon one of the nightstands.

Grillby himself was laying in the large bed though he was not sleeping, either woken by their entrance or having not yet fallen asleep to begin with. He sat up when he noticed Swabby’s bright flames, looking surprised. “Swabby?” he blinked, just barely noticing the smaller blue flame standing next to him. “Fellby?”

 

Fellby did not answer, dragging his blanket and Swabby towards the bed like an over-sized teddy bear before climbing in. They shifted a bit and Swabby gave quite a few yawns but, in the end, both Grillby and Swabby were in bed, facing one another, whilst Fellby was cuddled under his blanket between them. It was warm and soft.

 

It was perfect.

 

Grillby shot Swabby a questioning look.

Swabby just shrugged helplessly before giving another yawn, barely able to stay awake himself.

 

There was a soft chuckle from Grillby as he wrapped his arms around the two flames. “Did someone get lonely on the couch?”

 

“Shut up,” mumbled Fellby, snuggling closer to Grillby’s warmth, “it’s cold as fuck down there and you’re warm.”

 

“Why bring me?” yawned out Swabby, too tried to realize he too was snuggling closer. “I was sleeping…”

 

“Uh… well…” In truth, Fellby knew not the answer himself. “Quit yawning all over me ya stupid candle and go to sleep,” he huffed out in mock anger.

 

Grillby leaned down, nuzzling Fellby gently. “Language,” he whispered.

“I’m not a kid,” grumbled the blue flame in turn.

 

“I know,” spoke Grillby, “but you are tired and seek rest, do you not?”

 

Fellby huffed, not responding but that in itself was a message loud and clear to the two other flames. He cuddled closer between the two and closed his eyes finally feeling like everything was correct and how it was supposed to be.

Grillby’s body was much larger than his own, overflowing with magic and heat whereas Swabby’s, though larger than himself was rather small, soft and oddly comfortable. The overall feeling of safety and care.

 

It was everything he ever wanted.

 

“Can I stay?” The words were out of Fellby’s mouth before he could stop them, betraying several different emotions.

 

There was a shifting around him before two sets of arms wrapped around his small form, bodies on each side of him moving closer as if to shield him from the darkness itself.

 

Fellby let out a small huff, squirming lightly. “I’m not a kid,” he declared one final time.

 

“Of course not,” mumbled Grillby’s deep voice next to his head.

Swabby let out a small hum in agreement though the blue flame swore he was more than likely already asleep and cuddling to him on instinct.

“It’s all right not wanting to sleep alone,” continued the larger elemental.

 

“Can we just… not talk about this,” grumbled Fellby.

 

Fellby could feel his cousin smile even though he couldn’t quite see his face. “Sleep well, you two.”

 

Swabby let out another yawn. “Yeah, good night.”

 

Fellby could not help but to yawn out himself, cuddling even closer. “…night,” he mumbled out, feeling sleep begin to take it’s hold.

 

He slept deep and dreamless that night, with just the vague sense that everything was right with the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Caring for the little flames was the most joyful, if a bit terrifying, thing Sans had ever had the pleasure of doing, no doubt about it. The three children brought him and his brothers boundless joy and, well, he loved the little guys with all of his soul and then some.

 

There really was nothing better than to pop in at home and find the children crying out ‘Uncle Sans’ excitedly or being tackled by the largest two flame children. It was the best feeling in the world!

 

“Then last week, little Swabby drew a picture of us,” Sans chuckled as he leaned against the dull purple door located to the far side of the wood.

 

A small chuckle sounded from the other side.

 

“It was pretty cute. He even got Toby right. Though… we’re gonna need a bigger fridge soon, I think.”

 

The chuckling turned to a straight laugh. “You seem thoroughly enamored by the little ones,” spoke the deep feminine voice through the thick door. “You love them a lot, huh?”

 

“Y-yeah, I do,” answered Sans softly. “It’s… a bit strange, really.”

 

“You really are a wonderful father.”

 

“What?!? I’m not…” protested the small skeleton, soul pulsing fast within his rib-cage.

 

Him? A father?!?

 

“In all but name, truly.”

 

“I… I have no idea what I’m even doing,” blushed Sans, pulling his hood up over his skull though no one was around to even see his embarrassment. “I just raise them together with my brothers…”

 

“Don’t you have a good example? You’ve always talked about your father fondly…”

 

“Dad… well… dad is…” He wasn’t sure how to explain. “He’s something… different. I mean, yeah, he tried his best and loved us but… Well he was just one guy with the six of us. That really wasn’t a typical situation,” sighed Sans, leaning heavily against the old door. “Just… there is a lot of stuff that can go wrong. Stuff went wrong with us sometimes.”

 

“My dear friend,” spoke the voice gentle, interrupting him, “I will let you in on a big secret of parenthood… There will always be mistakes. Things that can go wrong often do. In the end it’s more about being there, having more good memories than bad.” There was a brief pause before she continued. “And, of course, doing your best.”

 

“You think so?”

 

“I know so,” she chuckled out though it sounded… not as happy or mirthful as Sans was used to. Almost bitter.

 

“…You alright?” Sans asked with a bit of hesitation.

 

“I am, my friend. I’m sorry if I spooked you just now… I’m just a silly old woman regretting things far in the past…”

 

“That doesn’t sound very alright,” spoke Sans slowly.

 

There was a faint chuckle again. “It’s nothing you should burden yourself with. Just take my word on this. You love them no matter if they are your own or not; you love them, care for them and will be their parent no matter if they call you by such or not. You just will be. This love won’t care if you think you are a good person or a bad one, this love won’t care about if you are ready or not. It just… overtakes you,” she spoke out fondly. “It consumes you and you will be forever changed by it. This type of love is something that… that never goes away.”

 

Sans blinked at the words, at a loss for what to say.

He wanted to tell his friend something but… but he had no idea what.

 

He left for home later with a strange fluttering feeling within his soul. Confusion mixed with a lot of other emotions he barely had words for.

 

Once home, he saw Papyrus and Suny fussing over Grillby who sat between them with a teary-eyed look trying very hard not to cry in that special way of his while Papyrus was busy setting the orange flame into one of his winter coats.

 

“Uh what’s going on here?” Sans asked as he came closer, looking over the small flame who, in turn, looked away with his eyes cast down and half hidden.

 

“Brother, it’s good you’re back,” stated Papyrus seriously. “We don’t exactly know what has happened but it seems that Grillby has hurt himself and Suny and I have decided to take him to the healer to get checked out.”

 

Sans could feel his soul give a small, painful squeeze. He kneeled down in front of Grillby, looking him over once more. “Hey kiddo,” he greeted gently. “How are you doing?”

 

Grillby did not answer his question, instead leaned towards him a teensy bit.

 

Sans reached out, petting over the softly flickering flames.

 

“Touched water,” mumbled out Grillby finally, barely audible. “Swabby was reaching for the coat but it was still wet so… so I took it from him.”

 

“And got yourself hurt?”

 

Grillby nodded. “But Swabby is safe.”

Sans sighed softly. That was not an uncommon trait of Grillby’s. “You are certainly a brave little knight, huh?” He continued to gently pet through the flames on top of Grillby’s head. “But you gotta go get checked out now, alright?”

 

“I’m fine.”

 

“Hey, what did we say about asking for help, huh?”

 

A guilty look crossed over Grillby’s face.

 

“Aww it won’t be bad, Grillby,” spoke up Suny, reaching out to pet the small flame as well. “We’ll get to go on a fun ride to the healer and then you’ll feel much better!”

 

Grillby blinked, looking to Suny curiously. “Ride?”

 

“Of course,” giggled Suny, standing up straight to strike a pose. “THE GREAT AND MAGNIFICENT SUNY AND HIS EQUALLY GREAT BROTHER PAPYRUS WILL BE WITH YOU ALL THE WAY!”

 

Papyrus changed into his canine form, giving a small yipping sound before nuzzling a bit at Grillby. Once the boy’s attention was on him, Papyrus bent down on his front paws to let the flame climb onto his back.

 

Grillby hesitated.

 

“Hey, baby-flame,” Sans spoke out, petting Grillby once more, “it will be alright.”

 

“Will you look after Fellby and Swabby?” questioned Grillby.

 

“Of course, I promise.”

 

Grillby finally nodded, hugging onto Sans tightly before climbing onto Papyrus’ back.

 

Suny then transformed too, letting out his own small bark and rushed to the doorway, running outside with Papyrus and Grillby in tow.

 

And just like that, they were off, leaving Sans alone.

Saz and Parz, Sans figured, were probably at work… and who knew where Pyru was, his brother usually slept during this time of day though that has seemed to have gotten harder for him since the children joined their household.

 

Sans chuckled to himself at the thought.

 

Perhaps he should busy himself searching for the remaining children. It was rather odd not seeing them right when he stepped inside, especially with Grillby being hurt… “Fellby? Swabby?” called out Sans as he walked further into the house.

 

He received no answer.

 

Walking around the house, calling the children’s names every once in a while, he was finally met with a small giggle. “Fellby?” Sans stepped closer to where the sound had come from. “Fellby, where are-“

 

Sans stopped dead in his tracks.

 

Fellby and Swabby seemed to have drug half of the pillows and blankets from their shared room into a corner, forming a makeshift, despite being badly designed, fort.

 

Swabby lay on a tiny pile of pillows dressed in one of Parz’ red shirts which looked more like a dress on the baby flame, giggling and clapping from time to time as he watched Fellby. Each clap of his small hands was followed by a soft clanking sound as the metal loops around his arms collided against one another.

 

Fellby, meanwhile, was wearing a black shirt and one of Suny’s bright blue scarves as a makeshift cape as he held Toby within his arms, in the process of lowering the vibrating dog into a pair of Swabby’s booties.

 

Not that Toby really seemed to mind, already dressed up in an oversized shirt himself with various ribbons and bows strung through his fur. Instead, the Pomeranian seemed perfectly content, his tail wagging so fast one could barely even see it.

 

Sans couldn’t help but to chuckle at the scene. “What are you two doing there?”

 

Fellby looked up, obviously surprised by the sudden voice interrupting their playtime, and froze. “Uhhh well… ummm…”

 

“PWETTY,” chirped Swabby, pointing a chubby finger in Toby’s direction.

 

“Umm we uhh just… wanted to… umm…”

 

“They wanted to make Toby pretty,” explained Pyru as he sat up slowly from behind the mountain of pillows. His skull was painted with colorful butterflies and several flowers, most likely Swabby’s handiwork.

 

“I see,” chuckles Sans, coming closer to the group so he could pet Toby’s head. “So what exactly is all of this?”

 

“We were playing,” mumbled out Fellby almost shyly.

 

“Getting pwetty,” Swabby cut in happily.

 

“Yeah,” agreed the blue flame quickly. “See? Swabby made Pyru all pretty and we just had to dress up! Look! We’re playing the Royal Family!”

 

“I’m a pwincess!”

 

“I can see that,” giggled out Sans. “You’re a very pretty princess, Swabby.”

 

The yellow flame beamed at the words.

 

Fellby sat down fully, leaning his back against the pillow barely supported by Pyru. “And Toby had to get dressed up too so we were getting him ready.”

 

Swabby cheered, little hands reaching out to pet over the dog.

 

Sans had a really hard time trying not to laugh. “Looks like you guys had a lot of fun, huh?”

 

“Yeah! We even made a castle!”

 

Swabby suddenly looked around, seemingly taking note of something, or rather someone, missing. “Where Grills?” he questioned as though Sans had hidden him away.

 

“Huh? Yeah where is Grills?” repeated Fellby. “Papa said he had to talk to him for a bit but he said he’d come play once he was done. He promised to be our knight…”

 

“He… He’ll be back in a bit,” replied Sans, doing his best to keep his voice even and calm for the children.

 

Pyru scooped up Swabby and began tickling him.

The high-pitched giggles from the tiny flame filled the room.

 

However, Fellby seemed more alarmed. “Back in a bit?” he asked, voice raising ever-so-slightly. “Where’s he going?”

 

Sans moved closer, placing his hand on Fellby’s shoulder in a soothing manner. “Just a really quick visit to a healer to get looked over.”

 

“Is he sick?” gasped the blue flame in turn, hands coming up to his mouth in shock. “Grills can’t get sick or… or did he get hurt?!?”

 

The honest worry on Fellby’s face tugged at Sans’ soul. “He’ll be fine,” he assured. “Everything will be just fine. Grillby seemed alright when I passed them just now.”

 

“YOU HAVE TO REALLY CHECK,” demanded Fellby, not as soothed as Sans had hoped. “Grills… Grills is super-duper stubborn! He never tells anyone what’s going on or when he gets hurt. He won’t even tell daddy if he doesn’t like his veggies!”

 

Sans blinks. “But you know?”

 

“Well duh, I’m his best friend! Of course I know! I know EVERYTHING about Grills,” exclaimed the little fire elemental, flames flickering. “He tells me all his secrets.”

 

“His secrets?”

 

Fellby made a face, pushing at Sans’ hands. “I can’t tell you because then they wouldn’t be secret,” he huffed out. “Did umm did he get hurt earlier? When Swabby tried to take the coat?”

 

“A bit, nothing serious,” informed Sans slowly. “Does he do that often? Not telling others when he gets hurt?”

 

“Yeah,” replied Fellby. “He’s always fussing about me and Swabs but he doesn’t let us do anything for him at all, even if he gets hurt or upset.”

 

Sans nodded slowly; that was what he had already assumed about the orange flame.

A great desire to make sure that his loved ones are safe and taken care of whilst neglecting himself…

 

Reminded Sans a bit of himself actually.

 

Of course it did not help that Grillby actually knew what had happened to their parents, judging by the dust on his clothes when they first found the children… He most likely found his, and perhaps the others’, parents dust too.

Add to that what Sans had been able to get out of the small orange flame thus far; conflicts within the family, a sick mother with a father who blamed a suggestible child for such… Well you got a hell of a bad self-esteem in the making and the tendency to define yourself over the needs and happiness of others.

 

It was something no child should have to deal with.

 

Honestly, they should probably ask Healer Asklepios to talk with Grillby about everything.

 

That child needed, as Papyrus put it, a hug schedule. Like constant hugs, all of the time. Strategically placed so there is always a certain level of family love combined with warm hugs.

 

It had helped with Saz and Parz after all.

 

“Uncle Sans?” questioned Fellby with a concerned look once he noticed the skeleton had zoned out.

 

“Huh? Oh yeah,” chuckled Sans sheepishly. “Don’t worry about this bonehead, sometime something just rattles around in my skull.”

 

“Are you worried about Grills?”

 

Damn, the kid could be observatory when he wanted to.

All of these kids will be so much trouble once they’re older…

 

“I am,” the skeleton admitted. What was the point of trying to deny it? “But you know what? We can make him better together.”

 

Fellby’s eyes shined brightly at the words. “Really?!?”

 

“Yeah, of course,” replied Sans. “We just have to show him that we are one big happy family and that we love him.”

 

“So… I can show him Toby?”

 

Sans laughed out. “I think he would actually like that.”

 

“Then we can give him hugs!”

 

“That’s the plan,” agreed Sans. “I think it would help his disposition a lot.”

 

Fellby nodded, though obviously confused by the large word. “Well… we’ll do that then!” With that, the blue flame picked up Toby once more. “Come on, Toby, we gotta make you ready for when Grills comes home!”

 

Sans and Pyru sat back, watching as Fellby semi forced the small dog into an assortment of clothes while Swabby clapped and giggled along.

 

“You really like Toby, huh?”

 

“DOGS ARE GREAT,” chirped Fellby brightly. “I ALWAYS WANTED A DOG BUT MOM AND DAD… well, mainly dad, said no,” he huffed out, sitting Toby within his lap for the time being. “IT’S SO COOL YOU HAVE A DOG! I’M SURE WHEN MOM SEES THAT I CAN TAKE CARE OF YOURS THEN THEY’LL HAVE TO LET ME HAVE ONE! THAT’S HOW IT WORKS… right?”

 

Sans felt a sharp prick in his soul.

 

Maybe they should also let Healer Asklepios have a talk with Fellby too…

And Swabby for good measure. Grillby had hinted that the other monster in Hotland were mean to the little yellow flame.

 

Sans joined the children on the floor, shooting a quick glance towards his half-asleep brother. For now, he supposed, he could at least keep the children’s thoughts occupied.

 

-

When the others returned, Fellby lit up and ran to Grillby, embracing the orange flame in a tight hug.

Swabby trudged after the blue flame, grasping at Grillby’s pant legs happily while telling the older elemental “lowe you” over and over.

 

Sans couldn’t help but to smile when Grillby hugged the two flames back.

 

Papyrus stepped over to Sans, handing his brother a note from Asklepios while Suny stashed some healing salve away in the pantry. “Everything went smoothly, brother.”

 

“Hey, Grills,” Fellby finally spoke up, pulling out of the hug and straightening his shirt a bit. “GUESS WHAT! SWABS AND I GOT TO PLAY WITH TOBY ALL DAY LONG! WE MADE HIM PRETTY. WANNA SEE?”

 

There was a low flicker within Grillby’s flames; Sans was getting better at picking up the flame’s expressions and body language because he just knew from that flickering that Grillby was deeply touched. And probably close to tears of joy.

 

“I love you too,” mumbled the orange flame; a quiet, whispered confession.

 

Sans smiled softly. Dang, he really loved these kids.

 

Maybe the lady behind the door was right after all.

 

 

The rest of the day was spent together; Parz cooking everyone a nice dinner while Saz and Suny entertained the children and Pyru freeing Toby from his dress-up session. Fellby and Swabby did not seem to want to stray far from Grillby’s side, Fellby even demanding the older flame to tell him more about a boy who was some sort of pupil of Healer Asklepios though all Sans really got from the conversation was that the boy’s name was Sylvan.

 

When Sans brought the children all to bed later that evening, Grillby hugged him tightly with a whispered “love you” which made Sans feel as though his soul was bursting with happiness.

 

Really, these kids had him wrapped around their little fiery pinky fingers.