Chapter 1: Milk and Toilet Paper
Talking to your reflection in the mirror did little to help you prepare for what you were about to do: venture outside your apartment and be forced to mingle with people in real life. The person staring back at you had one eye shut and the other searing a hole into your very soul. With a black sclera and a glowing blue iris, your right eye was demonic and supposed to match your soulmate's left eye. Once the media announced the arrival of monsters from Mount Ebott two years ago, you knew your other half was one of them...and so did everyone else. It used to be that you could go out in public and people would gape at your unusual appearance, but ultimately assume that you were hiding your soulmate's eye with color contacts – a common action those not actively seeking their soulmate took. Now, with the news of monsters and magic being reality rather than fantasy, people, more often than not, cast you terrified or disgusted looks. They talked behind your back or insulted you to your face. You didn't always fear walking the streets of Ebott City, and now that you did, you could only be glad that monster hate groups didn't know of your existence. Yet.
Ah, but thinking about all the bad that possibly laid in wait outside of the door wouldn't get you moving. Time to focus on the silver lining: milk and toilet paper. Maybe some chocolate, if you really needed it to recover from the outside world. Giving yourself the widest smile you could muster up, you picked up the eye patch your cousin sent you as a joke for your birthday last year and fit it into place over your “monster” eye. It wouldn't be the strangest thing people in this city have seen because, you know, monsters. Once your eye was properly concealed, you pulled on a jacket, grabbed your keys, and left the apartment room. You lived on the second floor, so you jogged down the stairs to the lobby – you never trusted the creaky elevator after the first time you took it. When you stepped outside, you could see your breath and thick clouds hung overhead. Oddly enough, you'd always been pretty insensitive to the cold, but you covered up in the chilly weather anyway, since it wasn't normal for a person to be wearing short sleeves in the autumn and winter.
You didn't own a car because you only made enough to keep yourself fed and sheltered, but there was a convenience store that offered enough variety in items that you didn't often have to go out of your way to the main social hub of the city to reach an actual grocery store. It wasn't much warmer inside the store than outside. There were only a few people present: the bored looking cashier, a couple women whispering over price tags, and someone in a black jacket with their hood up. Your kept your head down as you located and approached the refrigerated beverages. You were sorely disappointed to find that there was no more milk (and a quick glance around revealed that the hooded person was holding the last jug), but you spotted eggnog and, deciding 'tis the season' and all, you grabbed two cartons. Looks like no chocolate for you; you had a temporary replacement. You found the toilet paper and you were debating whether to go for softer or “more efficient” when you overhead the cashier nearby. You curiously peered around the shelf you were scrutinizing.
“S-sorry, man,” the cashier, an older teenage boy with wild curly hair stammered nervously to the customer in the jacket. “We're not allowed to serve your kind here...”
The milk jug was slammed onto the counter, along with a couple mustard bottles and cold medicine before the hoodied stranger turned and stormed out. You were frozen in shock. That had been a monster, a skeleton, with an eye like your right eye, but glowing red instead. You broke out of your surprise when you saw the cashier about to put the abandoned items under the counter to be restocked later. You hastily grabbed a small pack of toilet paper.
“Wait!” you croaked, startled by your boldness as you hurried to the counter and put your items next to the skeleton's. “I'll buy those, too. I-in a separate bag, please.”
You were proud that you voice hadn't broken until the end, and you were pleased to find that you had enough money with you for everything. Looks like being over prepared paid off this time – literally. Once you had your bags, you left the store and found that it'd begun to snow. Only one pair of footprints marred the thin layer of white and in the distance, a figure in dark clothing was walking briskly away.
“Hey, Mr. Skeleton!” you called, wincing when you realized that sounded much more rude out loud than in your head. Plus, what if they were a girl? But they stopped and turned to glower at you as you rushed up to them. Up close, they looked even more like a male, but you weren't an expert on skeletal anatomy, so... “It's about to storm pretty bad; you should take these and go home,” you suggested meekly, holding out the bag of the items they'd tried to buy.
“i don't need yer pity,” he – definitely a 'he' – snapped.
You flinched and dropped your gaze to the ground.
“I-I'm sorry, I-I-I...”
You were about to drop your arm, maybe set the bag on the ground and run, when bony fingers brushed against yours as he took the bag. He sighed heavily, sounding tired, and you dared to glance up. He wasn't meeting your eyes and seemed to be sweating slightly, and you found that you weren't as nervous as you first had been. He seemed to have the same problem interacting with people as you did.
“thanks,” he grunted, eyes darting to your face before dropping again.
“Y-yeah.” You winced as the wind picked up, snow and sharp cold slapping your face almost painfully. “I'm going to go home now. Stay safe!”
He didn't reply as you turned and began jogging the other way, both to generate heat in your body and get home faster. When you were in the safety of your apartment room, you sunk down against your door, breathless for a moment. You'd actually spoken to a real life monster! Sure, some lived in the same apartment you did – a couple were even on the same floor – but you'd never been face-to-face with one. Not to mention that was one of the longest conversations you've had lately. A small smile curved on your lips and for the rest of the night, you felt lighter than you had in a while.
Chapter 2: Lose Yourself (In Your Mind or To The Music?)
"Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion." - Martha Graham
A/N: I named Dancetale Sans. Don't hate me. There are going to be so many Sanses in this story, I had to do it. It's a punny name -- appreciate it, haha!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
With Christmas closing in, you finally had to give up your solitude in exchange for venturing into the center of Ebott City. If you wanted to get quality gifts for your family members to make up for the fact that you weren't going to (didn't want to) make it to the annual Christmas party, you would need to go to the Ebott Mall. It was too far away and too cold to go on foot, so you had to take the bus. Unfortunately, you slept in and almost missed it. In your rush to get to the bus stop in time, you'd forgotten your eye patch, but that was fine; your hair was just the perfect length and style to cover your “monster” eye with it. It was just a risky gamble when it came to the unpredictability of wintertime breezes. Not many people were on the bus when you boarded, and, even better, no one tried to talk to you. You could humor lonely grandmas or curious children, but the fact that you hadn't needed to boded well for you. It was going to do wonders for the length of time you'd be spending in the crowded mall.
And crowded was a tame term for the massive amount of people – human and monster – that filled the building.
Well, you thought, taking a deep breath as you surveyed the sea of people from the safety of the doorway, it's too late to go home.
So you braved the storm. It got a little tense as you looked around for a good store to go into, with people rushing around and brushing shoulders with you, but you managed to get into a shop that wasn't filled to the brim. In fact, it wasn't filled at all. No one was in sight, except an old turtle – tortoise? – monster behind the counter. He gave a friendly greeting as you began to browse. Some items on the shelves were really old, things you hadn't seen since you were a kid and some things you were sure your parents hadn't seen since they were kids. You come across a little pirate ship key chain charm that made you think of your oh-so-funny cousin. They'd love the irony, you were sure of it. You brought it to the counter, offering a small smile. You scanned the items lined up on the counter as the turtle began to ring up your purchase, and you added a little plastic ring to buy because it might be a little rude to only get one cheap trinket.
“Have a nice day,” the monster – Gerson, a little handmade sign on the counter read – said with a small, wheezy laugh as you left the shop.
You were expecting to have to plunge back into the suffocating grasp of skin and loud voices, but you weren't expecting the crowd from before to be stagnant. Outraged voices filled the air and barely audible below them was the sound of...music? You began to push your way through to the center and what you found surprised you. A small group of monsters (and a human child) were dancing together. A skeleton monster, who looked remarkably like the one you'd met a month ago minus the dark colors and sharp teeth, was the only one not moving to the music's rhythm, though the fact that he was holding the radio playing the music explained why. The human child separated themselves from the goat monster they were dancing with and approached the crowd, their hands flying through gestures – sign language that you couldn't quite follow because of the speed and the fact that you weren't close enough.
“FRISK, PLEASE STAY BACK,” a tall skeleton dancing with a robot called.
All the dancing came to a halt as the voices of disapproval and hatred rose. Frisk looked a little scared, taking a step back as the crowd began to close in. The robot stepped forward, in front of Frisk, and glared at the protesting humans.
“METTATON,” the skeleton began to protest.
“No, Papyrus, if they're not going to stand back, I'll make them!”
Beneath the bangs covering the right side of their face, a pink light began to glow. Your jaw dropped in awe – were you about to witness monster magic?! – until you abruptly recalled that monsters weren't allowed to use their magic in the main human dwellings of the city. This Mettaton could get into really big trouble, and they could get their friends in trouble as well. You mustered as much courage as you could and shoved your way out of the crowd and into the shrinking ring the monsters were in. You planted yourself between Mettaton and the protesters, praying that the monster wouldn't hit you with a magic attack from behind as you raised your hands in a placating manner towards the crowd.
“P-please, wait,” you called, above the dimming voices of protest. “Can't we settle this peacefully? They're just dancing. Is that really a big deal?”
You heard an offended huff from behind you and you really hoped that you didn't just say something you were going to regret.
“That's how they plan on eradicating us,” a man spoke up from somewhere in the throng of people. “They'll gain our trust and slaughter us in our sleep.”
“Yeah!” a woman near the center of the crowd shouted. “Don't you know what their king did?! He killed six innocent children!”
You, in fact, had not known that. And that made you a little more wary of their king, but...
“What does that have to do with these monsters?”
That seemed to bring everyone to a halt and though cold sweat was beginning to form on your face due to the dark glowers you were gaining and the heavy weight of the monsters' gazes on your back, you continued speaking.
“The deaths are on the king's hands – why would you punish all monsters for the mistakes of one?”
Silence filled the air, thick and heavy, and you were beginning to think that your peace talk was going down the drain and you'd be torn to pieces with the monsters, but finally murmurs of agreement rose from the people and they slowly began to disperse with a few lingering to direct scowls at you and the monsters. You felt lightheaded – you never wanted to do that again; public speaking was not your forte – and as you turned around to face the monsters, you were knocked over when something hard collided with your stomach. At first you thought you'd gotten punched, until you realized that you'd ended up on the ground with a small child wrapped around you. Frisk looked up at you and smiled brightly.
“Frisk, child, please let our friend up,” the goat monster said. Frisk pulled away and got to their feet, and the goat monster offered you a hand. You let her pull you to your feet, but you weren't expecting to be enveloped in a tight hug by her as well. “Thank you very much.” She released you and offered a curtsy. “I'm Toriel.”
She introduced Mettaton, Papyrus, Frisk, and Sans, who gave you varying expressions of gratitude, and you introduced yourself in return.
“just call me 'danz', kid,” Sans added after his introduction.
Danz? Oh, like 'dance'. That was funny, and Sans grinned wider when you smiled. The other four began dancing again, and this time the attention they drew was much less negative. You remained by Danz to watch them for a few moments before you turned you attention to him.
“Hey, why aren't you dancing?”
“hm?” Danz glanced up and when he saw you were indeed talking to him, he shrugged. “i just don't got the stomach for that kind of thing anymore.”
You pursed your lips, studying him even as he turned his gaze back to his friends. Then something strange happened. The word JUDGE floated through your mind.
Judge? you thought, confused, but as soon as the thought passed, more words and even numbers appeared, so vivid it was almost as if you were seeing them appear right before your eyes.
*DANCETALE!SANS L͞V̨̛ ̴̧͝?̕͡ ̷̡̢H̸͞P̧͡҉͟ ̶̛̕2̕̕0̛̕/̛͜1̵̵
“hey, kid, you mind?”
You blink rapidly and find yourself staring into Danz's eyes. He looked a little disgruntled and, if you weren't mistaken, confused.
“...how are you doing that?”
You weren't even sure what just happened, and he seemed to realize that because he just shook his head. Deep in the recesses of your mind, the word CHECK made itself known and you tried not to let your curiosity get the better of you, but you couldn't help it.
*DANCETALE!SANS 1 ATK 1 DEF
*Dancing was his life and passion.
You glanced down at Danz and found him watching the finale of his friends' dancing.
*He misses it.
“whelp, we're done here.”
Danz clicked the radio off as some of the spectators came up to Toriel and the others and began praising them on their dancing. You checked your phone and found it was almost time for the bus home to arrive. You'd wasted your shopping time away, but that was alright. You'd get the rest of the presents before it was too late. You were ready to leave, but you felt there was one more thing you had to do.
“Hey, Danz, could we exchange phone numbers?”
You offer a sheepish smile. “I'm kind of interested in learning to dance. And I think it would be nice to have a friend.”
He was silent for a moment and you almost thought you were too forward. You weren't the best person when it comes to socialization...
“mm, i guess you got a pointe,” he decided with a wink (and you knew that there was a joke in there, but it wasn't quite clicking; it likely had something to do with dancing). “when it comes to good friends, you're already pretty close to the barre.”
You offer him your phone and he adds himself as a contact. You snort at the name he'd inserted – danz master – and say farewell to him and the others before you left the mall to catch the bus. You arrived at the bus stop a few minutes early and you took a seat on the bench, sighing softly. Today was a good day. You'd almost had an issue with your anxiety with the crowd there, but you didn't, and in the end, you gained new friends. Even as the bus pulled in and you saw all the people crowded in the seats and aisle as you boarded, the small smile on your face couldn't be budged.
A/N: This went through a major edit from the original draft I wrote up, but I think it turned out nicely. What do you guys think? Also, who should you meet next? Anyone from any universe; I wanna put as many as I can in here. Also, who do you think your soulmate is? Because you might've thought it was Undertale Sans when you first read this story, but remember that Dancetale Sans and other Sanses like Underswap Sans and Altertale Sans have the same magic eye that Classic Sans has. ;3 Enjoy!
Chapter 3: Don't mind me, just ghosting by...
"You can learn a lot about a person by listening to a song that means a lot to them." - Unknown
A/N: Thank you somethingcats for the idea that helped me create this chapter! I hope you (and everyone who reads it) likes it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
You ended up procrastinating over the next few weeks. The fact that you had to get presents still lingered in the back of your mind, but you just had enough social interaction to last you for a good while. So it was only three days before Christmas when you finally decided you couldn't hold off leaving your room any longer. You managed to wake up at a (terribly) early time, getting into some really thick and warm clothes because it was snowing pretty heavily outside. Your eye patch went on and your hair was going to fulfill its duty by helping your cap keep your ears warm.
The bus was devoid of life besides the bus driver when you boarded, so you could sit in any seat and enjoy the silence, interrupted only by the rumbling purr of the engine. It looked so peaceful outside the window, and you had a feeling it'd be a nice, beautiful day for you. When you arrived at the mall, you found, to your immense joy, that there was not nearly as many people as there had been when you met Danz.
Ah, Danz... You two had been texting each other on and off over the last few weeks on and off. You never thought you'd enjoy talking to someone every day, but Danz was funny and nice. He had a lot of dancing puns to tell, but you weren't really too surprised by that. (You'd looked up dancing puns when you'd gotten home after getting his number and you found out that “pointe” and “barre” were both ballet terms. You had a good laugh about that.) You'd asked him a few times about teaching you to dance, but the first time he'd changed the subject and the second time he'd outright said no. You really didn't want to lose the only person you interacted with these days, so you dropped the subject until one day, when you were watching dancing videos online so you wouldn't be completely out of the loop the next time you met someone who danced or when Danz let loose a new pun, you got a good idea. The beginning of the next conversation you had with Danz went something like:
You: I was watching a few videos where groups were dancing to one of my favorite songs. It's so cool to watch them move to the beat so easily! They each used the same choreography, too!
danz master: really? there's dances like that out there?
Somehow it didn't surprise you that Sans' form of dancing – whatever that may be – wasn't something he followed steps for. You crossed Latin, Waltz, and Ballet out of the list of possibilities.
You: Yeah. I kind of want to learn the dance. Do you want to do it with me?
You honestly hadn't asked with the intention of tricking him into showing you some moves, but after you sent the message, you cringed a little, hoping he wouldn't take it that way. To your relief, he didn't. But what he sent in reply surprised you.
danz master: eh, sure, why not? we have to hang out as friends sometime, anyway.
You didn't manage to get him to promise to do it with you, but his word was as good as anything, so there was another thing on your mind besides getting Christmas presents: getting a CD with the music on it so you didn't have to waste space on your computer by downloading it. But that would come last, just so you could spend the most time on it. It took a few hours, mostly because you were second-guessing yourself on some of the gifts, but you managed to get your parents, other close cousins, and grandparents items you thought (hoped) they'd like.
Your last stop was the music shop and you went in with one arm laden with bags. This shop was run by another monster, but this one was much smaller than Gerson. Across the front of the counter, in blue-green paint, was the name Shyren. The monster kind of resembled an angler fish, but with what looked like hair. You assumed she was Shyren. She seemed to live up to the first half of her name, avoiding looking directly at you, so you decided not to bother her until you were checking out. You began examining the music available. There were a lot of old records, relics like what was available in Gerson's shop, but to your delight, there was a lot of modern music, too. There were even some music available by monsters, the most prominent being by...Mettaton? But the robot on the front of the case looked a bit different from the Mettaton you met. Maybe that was a common name. You found the CD you were looking for, but decided to explore the shop and see if there was anything else you'd like to take home.
As you browsed, you eventually became aware of humming. It was soft, so much so that if you hadn't been going down the different aisles and getting closer to the source, you would've never heard it. Your curiosity wouldn't leave you alone about it, so you set down the CD case you were examining and looked for whoever was making such lovely music. You finally found them near the back. They weren't much bigger than Shyren, but they were certainly much different. They kind of resembled the kind of ghost a child would draw, but they had on headphones and were holding a CD case with little nubs that were their arms and you were struck with how adorable they were. A name tag was on their chest, somehow, and all you could make out was -blook. Then they suddenly turned towards you, eyes lifting from the case, and the small smile that'd been on their face immediately dropped, the humming coming to a halt.
You both stood there, staring at each other in awkward silence, and you hardly dared to breathe because you were so embarrassed that you'd been caught looking at them for no reason.
“...do you need something?” Napstablook, as the name tag now fully read, asked, despite how they looked like they wanted to be anywhere else instead of chatting with you.
You jerked out of your slight reverie and blushed furiously.
“N-no, I'm so sorry, I was just looking at the music and I heard your humming – it's lovely by the way – and...” You trailed off, unsure of exactly where you were going with that and not wanting to get stuck in your normal loop of rambling when you were embarrassed.
The ghost stared at you and, right before you eyes, they began fading bit by bit until they were completely gone and the CD case dropped out of thin air. You barely caught it before it hit the ground, and you examined the front. The same ghost you were talking to was on the front, with the Mettaton on the other cases you saw earlier next to them. You still felt bad about scaring the poor ghost away, and if their humming was any indication, they were pretty good with music, so you decided to buy the CD (even if it only had three songs). When you went to the front, humming the ghost monster's catchy song under your breath, Shyren smiled hesitantly and began humming the same tune as she rings up your purchases. You beam at her and thank her, causing her to blush, before you leave.
You lingered long enough in the mall to get some lunch, and once you were done, you found a place to get your gifts wrapped before you left. It was a lot later than you thought it was, because the sky was beginning to grow dark outside. You made you way to the bus stop, wishing you'd thought to bring along gloves as you fingers turned pink, and when you reached the bench, you were surprised to see Napstablook there. They turned and looked at you, and you both stared, just like you had in the shop.
...awkward... you sang in your mind as you took the initiative to look away this time and sat on the opposite end of the bench. You set your bags of wrapped gifts by your feet and set the bag of CDs by your side, taking out the one of your favorite band and looking over the songs on the back.
“you bought my music.”
It took you a moment to remember that it was just you and Napstablook there on the bench and that they had to be talking to you. You looked over and noticed that you bag was open just enough to show the cover of Napstablook's CD case. You give a small laugh as you met their eyes.
“Yeah. I felt bad for being so rude, and your humming was really lovely, so you music probably is, too.”
They didn't blush under the praise like you would've (and honestly, you weren't sure if ghosts could blush), but their down-turned mouth curved into a smile and the silence that settled between you two was like peaceful ambiance. The bus arrived, with some people on it this time, and you took a seat close to the front. Napstablook took the spot next to you and though you didn't speak a single word to each other for the ride, by the time the bus arrived at your stop, it felt like you two were beginning to grow into good friends.
“Can I have your number?” you blurt out.
They looked a little surprised, then quietly gave you the digits you'd asked for. You promised to call them sometime and let them know what you thought of their music, and after you got off the bus, you waved at them through the window as the bus pulled away. It was freezing cold out, but you felt very warm inside as you made your way home.
A/N: I had a lot of fun with this! Keep those AU requests coming! I'll accept them all! All AUs welcome! And whether anything is requested or not, I'll have a new chapter out tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed it!
Chapter 4: Out of this World
You didn't often take midnight strolls through Ebott City Park. You also didn't often come across monster dogs, who seemed to be playing fetch with disembodied hands. Also...was that monster melting?!
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Even with your intense desire to stay indoors, you knew you needed fresh air now and then. And with the stress of Christmas Day – chock full of phone calls from well-meaning family members – you decided to treat yourself. That's why you chose to go to the park, long past the time any sane human being would've been out in the cold. Others might have thought you crazy for doing such a thing, but you were bundled up warmly and accompanied by a thermos of nice, hot tea. There were no crowds to skirt around, no risk of having to interact with anyone – just you and the cold wind turning your nose, fingers, and cheeks a rosy hue. As you walked down the abandoned sidewalk, you marveled at how the softly falling snowflakes glinted like jewels in the lamplight. To you, it was paradise. And in fact, Napstablook had suggested you do it (after you insisted that you didn't want to lie down and feel like garbage alone). They said that quiet strolls through the park were a tried-and-true method of stress relief.
You'd never been to the park before, but that was likely due to the fact that Ebott City didn't have a park. Not until the monsters came, at least. And it'd grown in beautifully. You were definitely enjoying yourself. You'd have to send another thanks to Napstablook.
Noise in the distance interrupted your previously silent night. As you listened closely, you could make out barking. Your heart swelled; you loved dogs! Taking a long sip of your tea, you decided to go find them. Whether they were strays or not, it'd been far too long since you'd been able to show a dog your never ending affection. Animals always seemed to make human interaction much simpler to handle. When you found them, you realized that if two hadn't been wearing silver armor and standing upright on their hind legs, you probably would've missed them completely, since their fur blended in with the snow around them.
There were three monster dogs total. One of the armored dogs was larger than the other, but with a small head, and the third (and only one on all fours... all sixes?) was even bigger than them both.
More of it to love, you thought happily, though...it kind of looked more like a spider than a dog. Good thing you weren't squeamish about arachnids.
From what you could see, the dogs were playing fetch. You couldn't see who was throwing the ball, but someone had to be there because the dogs kept bringing it back to the same place. You began approaching them and as the ball was thrown again and the dog monsters scrambled after it, you stopped short at the sight of two disembodied hands floating in mid-air. They also paused, as if the hands could see you, before disappearing in a Napstablook-like manner – but in a black haze instead of just straight-up fading.
“Oh, w-wait!” you called out, but it was too late.
The dogs were returning quickly, the spideresque one in the lead, and you were prepared to apologize for ruining their fun when you noticed that the strange dog was not only faceless, but appeared to be in a permanent state of semi-melting. Between each of it's six legs, a cat-like shape was present. (You could've sworn that you heard meowing coming from them but that was impossible, wasn't it?) The tennis ball was dropped from the hole in its face, covered in a black substance, and it landed at your feet.
“Uhh... Sorry, but I'm not...”
It bowed its head to nudge the ball closer and (somehow) looked at you expectantly. The two armored dogs watched with wide, excited eyes and tongues lolling out of their mouths. How could you resist? So you stooped down to pick up the ball, avoiding the ooze coating it, and threw it as far away as you could. The dogs immediately scrambled after it with excited barks and dissolved into play-fighting when they reached where it landed, each trying to get ahold of it. You couldn't help but smile. You loved animals, and these dog monsters were no exception.
"T͜h͜҉ey͢͜'r͞e̵̷ ̢͠s͘҉̨o l̢̨̕i̡̕v҉͞e͏͢ļ̢y͏,͢ a̶҉̴r̡e͜n'̴̡t̡ ̢t͘͠h̨̛ey̕̕?"
The voice hurt your ears and made your head throb, and though it didn't appear to be speaking English, you felt like you got a general grasp of what was being said. As if you'd heard that language before. You turned towards the speaker and found a skeleton monster (what was with all these skeletons??) standing a few feet away.
He was clothed in all purple – turtleneck, pants, and shoes –, except his cloak, which was a cloudy grey color. His eyes were a similar color to his shirt. Two painful looking cracks curved over the top of his skull, both connecting to the tops of his eye sockets. He also appeared to be in a state of non-solidity – like Napstablook, you could see right through him if you weren't focusing on looking at him. What caught your attention the most, however, was the inside of the cloak he wore – or rather, what you could see of it. It reflected a galaxy you'd never seen before, including stars that twinkled, and it was absolutely mesmerizing. In fact, the longer you looked at it, the more it felt like you were being drawn into it.
The melted dog whipped past you, drawing your attention away from the cosmos, and you watched the floating hands from before appear once more, one taking the ball and the other patting the dog. You noticed that thin flickering shadows attached the hands to the galaxy monster's body.
"̛͝E̵n̡d̷̛̛o̷̶g͞e͢͠͞n̶̡y̧͟ ̛͟͠s͝ȩ͞em͝s ̧͝t͢o҉̸ ͏l͟į̸͞ķe̡̢ ̧y̶̸o͡ư̶,̵͠"͡ he said as Endogeny pranced over to you.
You tentatively patted their head and found that they were more solid than they looked.
"I'҉̶m̧ W̨.̡̛D̕͜.͟ ̷̷G̸͢a̷s̴͘tę͝r̛͢,̸"͏͡ he added, holding out his free hand.
You shook it, realizing his hands had holes in the centers when you nearly shoved your fingers through them. How was he managing to hold the ball? You introduced yourself as well.
“It's nice to meet you. If I can ask...why are you out here at this time of night?”
Well, he could ask the same of you, you supposed. It was just... Most monsters didn't venture out at night alone, as far as you knew, because of the dangers of monster-hating humans attacking them, even within the supposed-to-be-safe boundaries of their communities. Then again, Gaster wasn't alone.
"̢̛͡N̷̵i̡̕͜͠g͟͏ḩ̵͢͞͏t̴̡ ̶̛͟i̵̡̢͜͟s̕͏̢̕ ̧͡ţ̷͢h͘̕͢͞ę̷ ̸̧͏o̵n̸̛͏l̢͠y̵̷̢̢͡ ̴̧͢t̶͡͠͠i̶҉̨̡m͡͏e̶̶͝ ̵̨͝I̕͢ ̢ca͢͏͝n͝͏͏̡͏ ҉l͏̶e͝a͏̷͞v̷͟͜e̕ ͟͞͞҉ţ̷h̶e̸͞ ̢͏V̧͞͝O̶̕͜͡I̡͏͏͜D̸̨ ̷̵̶̢̧o̢͠͏̴n̸̢͜ ̴̵̢Ȩ̕҉a̵҉̕r̨t͘͟͡ḩ̸͝͞,҉̧͠"̶ he explained.
You were surprised to find that you could no longer understand his words – it just sounded like static in your mind. (Painful static.) He seemed to realize that as he stopped speaking and just smiled sadly. You felt bad for making him unhappy, so you decided to spend the rest of your dedicated walk time with him and the doggos. He tried to get you to go home (you assumed), but you were determined. You even shared your tea with him. (He looked so happy at your act of kindness; you were happy that he was happy, but at the same time, your heart twinged for some reason.) The two of you played with Endogeny, Greater Dog, and Lesser Dog until the sun began to rise and when you turned to look, Gaster was gone. What a strange monster... After saying goodbye to your new dog friends, promising to come back again soon, you decided to go home and sleep the day away. And maybe you could ask Danz about Gaster.
A/N: In case you couldn't make out the words, (Outertale) Gaster's translations are:
1. They're so lively, aren't they?
2. Endogeny seems to like you.
3. I'm W.D. Gaster.
4. Night is the only time I can leave the VOID on Earth.
It purposely gets harder to read as your ability to understand him fades. His speech's coherence fades as it grows closer to day.
Chapter 5: Knife To Meet You
"Kindness is like first love. It can change a life with a miracle and a promise to wipe away sorrow and strife." - Unknown
A/N: I know chapter 4 wasn't my best work... I just really wanted a Gaster to come into the story, and Outertale Gaster is really cool. Anyway! I promise that if you didn't like chapter 4, you'll (probably) like this new one!
Debuts: Horrortale!Sans = Horror
Horrortale!Papyrus = Jaws
Underswap!Sans = Blue
Underswap!Papyrus = Stretch
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It turned out that mentioning Gaster to Danz wasn't going to be happening any time soon. Every time you got on your phone to ask him, it was like Gaster's name slipped your mind. It was really frustrating, and you finally gave up after a week of trying. On the bright side, you managed to convince Danz to meet up with you so you could finally dance together. He said he'd make arrangements, so you had to be patient, but that was fine for you.
New Years came and went, and as you watched fireworks of Ebott Central from the rooftop of your apartment, you made a vow to become more social. After all, you met such wonderful and interesting people outside of your apartment. And a week later, while browsing online, researching what was known so far about monsters, you found an ad asking for volunteers to help with a soup kitchen for poor monsters. You were surprised, to say the least. Most monsters were well-off upon reaching the surface, because of their gold. You hadn't known there were any who couldn't afford to feed themselves. You found the schedule for the soup kitchen and decided to go to the next opening.
When the day arrived – a brisk, but sunny, Saturday – you began the long walk to the monster district. Or rather, one of many monster districts; they all were on the outskirts of Ebott City, and you lived closest to what was known as the Alpha District. Thank the stars for monster fanatics online. You stopped at the park for a moment when you got there and found Lesser and Greater Dog playing cards. Endogeny was nowhere to be seen, and when you asked about its whereabouts, you interpreted the replying barks to mean something like, “they don't come out in the daylight.” That made you sad, but you'd just have to see the other dog monster another time. Leaving the two dogs with pats on their heads and Lesser Dog's neck significantly longer than when you arrived, you finally found the soup kitchen. A truck was parked outside, and as you approached, you found yet another skeleton monster taking boxes out of the open back. He looked a lot like – and was as tall as – Danz's brother, and he paused when he saw you, regarding you curiously.
“uh, you lost, kid?” he asked.
“N-no,” you replied. “I saw the ad online, for the s-soup kitchen?”
His eye sockets widened in surprise. You guessed that not many humans were willing to help with something like this. Before he could say anything, a loud voice came from the soup kitchen's doorway.
“Huh? You really want to help us?”
You peered around this Papyrus-lookalike and found who must've been his brother, dressed in a white t-shirt and grey pants, white and blue sneakers on his feet and a blue bandanna around his throat.
You couldn't get anything else out before the shorter skeleton had you wrapped up in a bone-crushing hug. You could feel yourself begin to sweat but you didn't want them to decline your help, so you managed take it until the taller monster stepped in.
“bro, we've talked about this. personal space.”
You were abruptly released and the blue-clad skeleton 'mweheheh'd sheepishly.
“Sorry, Papy.” He turned to you and stuck out a gloved hand – the glove the same color as his bandanna. “I'm Sans. You can call me Blue.”
Another Sans? Was it a common name? And 'Papy'...stood for Papyrus? You shook his hand and once he let go, he took the boxes from his brother and headed inside. Papy just grabbed more.
“you can call me 'Stretch,' if you want,” he drawled. “it's been the name that's stuck since we got to the surface.”
You just nodded and as he followed his brother into the building, you grabbed a box (you didn't think you could handle any more, they were heavier than the brothers made them appear) and did the same. The inside of the place was surprisingly spacious compared to the outside, with folding tables and chairs leaning against the walls on either side. It was built like a cafe, in a way, and there was a door in the back that you guessed led to a kitchen. Since Stretch and Blue weren't in sight, you supposed that was where they were, so you carried your box there and found Blue talking excitedly to a monster that was on fire?! – no, made of fire. Stretch wasn't anywhere to be seen, but you hardly noticed. Blue turned as you came in and beamed.
“See, 'By, this human wants to volunteer their time to help us! They're pretty souper, huh? Mweheheh!”
The flames turned lighter around where you guessed his mouth was, and if you looked closely, you could barely make out a fanged grin.
“Indeed.” The flame monster approached and took the box from you before offering his other hand. You gave him the benefit of a doubt that he wouldn't burn you and you were right; his fingers curled around yours and the warmth they provided went up your entire forearm. “I'm Swapby. It's nice to meet you, my dear~” He lifted your hand and placed a kiss on the back, which made heat rise to your cheeks from embarrassment once your hand was released.
“Swapby, stop trying to seduce our assistant,” Stretch said from the doorway, and you turned your head and stared at him for a moment. You know he came in before you, and he certainly didn't go around you to get back out. He caught your eyes and winked. “these are the last of the boxes, bro. why don't you and 'By start cooking while...” He glanced at you again and you were embarrassed to realize that you hadn't even given them your name.
You've made fantastic first impressions lately, you thought sarcastically as you offer your name.
“right. we're gonna start setting up out there.”
You both left the kitchen and you were about to walk over to the tables and chairs when Stretch's hand landed on your shoulder.
“one sec, kid.”
You looked up at him and found his right eye glowing. He raised his right hand – the one that wasn't holding you in place – and you followed his gaze. With a wave of his hand, a table was lifted off the ground, surrounded by a haze that was the same orange as his eye – he was using magic! The table was set up, and the others followed before you were let go. You turned to him, mouth hanging open, and watched as he lit a cigarette he got from who-knows-where.
“heh, first time seeing magic?”
You thought back to Gaster's floating hands and wondered if they counted, but seeing as mentioning him was apparently taboo in the universe's mind, you just nodded.
“maybe i'll show you more later. right now, we still got a skele-ton of work to do.”
You nodded again and began to set out chairs while Stretch did the same, but with magic – every time you turned around, chairs would be missing from the walls and placed at tables. By the time you finished, Blue was carrying food out and placing it at the low counter in the back. Stretch taped an 'OPEN' sign to one of the windows and you two set yourselves up behind the counter with Blue, waiting for monsters to come in. It didn't take long.
There had been a lot of monsters in and out for food. They were all so kind and most were looking for jobs, hence why they couldn't get food. You wished them all luck, and they seemed just a bit happier that there was someone out there rooting for them.
“you're a natural,” Stretch commented once the flow slowed significantly. “they really like you.”
You offered a bashful smile in return as Blue patted your back enthusiastically.
“We should restock the food,” Blue decided. “Papy, come with me. Will you be alright on your own, human?”
You nodded and watched them disappear into the kitchen. When you turned your attention ahead again, you nearly died at the sight of a large red eye light watching you. You swallowed thickly and resisted the urge to press a hand to your chest to make sure your heart was still beating. You weren't sure what was up with running into all kinds of skeletal monsters, but this one had to be the most terrifying one you'd ever seen. For starters, he hadn't blinked once since you looked at him, and you knew from experience with Danz, Stretch, and Blue that they definitely blinked like humans. Then there was the painfully jagged looking hole that stretched from the front of his frontal bone to the back of his parietal bone on the left side. (You would never admit it, but you looked up skeleton anatomy after meeting the mysterious skeleton at the convenience store. You were glad to see it stuck.)
“U-uh, what would you like to have?” you asked.
He regarded you in eerie silence for a moment before turning his head slightly, never looking away.
“hey, jaws, get in here.”
Another monster entered and this one towered over everyone you'd ever met in your whole life (and that was saying something, considering that Stretch and Papyrus were the tallest people you'd ever met before today). He offered a smile to you when he stood at the counter, and despite his uneven teeth, the smile was friendly enough to put you at ease.
“HORROR, ARE WE FINALLY GOING TO GET SOME REAL FOOD?”
You winced a little – Jaws didn't have an inside voice at all; it was kind of like Danz's brother's voice, but even louder – and Horror's grin widened slightly.
“yeah,” he replied. “we'll have some meat pie.”
“PLEASE,” Jaws added, frowning at Horror, who shrugged without looking up at his brother.
You went over to the meat pie, which Blue had been handling previously, and lifted the knife. You looked up to ask how many slices they wanted, and you couldn't help yourself when you jumped at the sight of Horror in front of you once more. He was closer to the counter this time, and the fright made your grip on the knife slip. His eye light darted to the knife the second it left your hand and you could've sworn you saw a blue haze around it, not dissimilar to Stretch's magic, before you were distracted by a burning pain. The knife had caught the skin of your wrist and cut cleanly across the side. Blood dripped down your hand and you squeaked, not from the sight of the blood – you weren't all too squeamish, as a matter-of-fact –, but from the bony hand that was suddenly locked around your forearm and dragging you forward until you were leaning across the counter with your stomach pressing painfully against the side.
Horror had a hold of you, and his eye light was gone, leaving you even more terrified than before. His grin stretched into something strained and fake, and his other hand lifted, a magic haze filling it, and his jaw parted, revealing sharp canines that you most definitely didn't want digging into your skin. But before you could scream, or he could harm you, Jaws grabbed Horror by the shoulders and dragged him off the ground, almost pulling you over the counter entirely, but Horror let you go at the last second. You fell back, clutching your bleeding arm to your chest.
“BROTHER, NO! WE'RE NOT IN THE UNDERGROUND ANYMORE!”
With a flicker, Horror's eye light reappeared, but it dilated to a pinprick when he saw blood on his hand.
Jaws gently set Horror down and as he did, you noticed that the other monsters in the building were watching on in horror and disgust. You grabbed one of the paper towels that were supposed to be handed out as napkins to those who came in for food and you pressed it to your wrist as you watched Jaws and Horror, the former monster knelt down and hunched over, trying to calm the latter.
“H-hey,” you said softly, cursing the shaking of your voice as you watched Horror tense. “Look, I'm okay. It's just a scratch. It's not your fault.”
It took a few moments, but Horror finally looked up, his eye light back to normal, and it landed on the stained paper towel. His permagrin dropped and he held out his shaking hands towards you. Before you could give him your arm in return, a hand dropped on your shoulder and you could feel a presence looming behind you.
“W h a t h a p p e n e d ?” Stretch demanded darkly.
Horror scrambled back, bumping into Jaws' legs as the taller monster stood. You didn't have to look up to know that Stretch saw the blood on Horror's hand and drew his own conclusions.
“That's not very knife, Stretch,” you said, and you could feel his disbelief as you kept your eyes on Horror, whose permagrin was twitching upwards again. “It was just a misunderstanding.”
Stretch let out a heavy sigh and you could feel him relaxing. “alright, if you say so.”
His hand left your shoulder and you leaned over the counter to give Horror a paper towel.
“Here. Wipe your hand off.”
You turned to ask Stretch for a new knife, and instead found two plates of meat pie waiting. Stretch must've done it. You offered them to Jaws and Horror, who accepted them. Horror wouldn't meet your eyes, but he mumbled a thanks as he and his brother went to sit in a corner, far from the other inhabitants of the soup kitchen. Then Blue was there next to you, pulling the paper towel away from your cut and fretting over you.
“It's not good for humans to lose blood,” he scolded, as if you cut yourself on purpose.
His gloved hands hovered on either side of your wrist and you watched in awe as green magic filled the space in between and your cut sealed itself shut. He took another paper towel and wiped your hand and wrist down.
“Thank you, Blue,” you breathed, and smiled when he 'mweheheh'd proudly.
When the soup kitchen finally closed down, you were given gold by Stretch. You tried to give it back – you'd come to be a volunteer, after all – but he insisted.
“listen, it's not even all that much,” he said with a shrug. “think of it as compensation for getting injured.”
You rolled your eyes, but shoved the gold into your pocket. You said goodbye to him, Blue, and Swapby, promising to help them again if they needed it, and you left. To your surprise, you had visitors waiting for you outside the soup kitchen. Horror was there with Jaws behind him and, next to him, a young brunette girl in a dirty purple dress and no shoes.
“heya,” Horror greeted. His eye light darted around before focusing back on you. “i wanna say sorry for earlier. i... where we came from, it's not a good place. i'm still getting over some...bad habits. we live on the streets, and it's rough. we have to eat whatever we can find to survive, and monsters can get feral from going too long without food. well, our kind, anyway... and, heh, a hot dog stand only brings in so much gold...”
You hadn't meant to let him go on so long, but you'd been stupefied by the fact that he thought he owed you an explanation.
“Hey, seriously, it's fine. I'm alright, see?”
You lifted your arm and showed off the almost flawless skin. (It turned out that healing magic can heal most wounds, but usually leaves scars when it comes to any kind of open wounds.)
“Look, you don't owe me your life story. Just saying sorry was enough.”
Horror and Jaws looked relieved. You turned to the girl and offered a smile.
“And who is this?”
“my friend tori's kid. her name's aliza.”
You noticed her nose was red and she was sniffling softly, but she looked content even in the chilly weather, holding both Horror and Jaws' hands.
“Actually, you know what? I have an idea, if you really want to make it up to me.”
Horror nodded frantically, and you understood why. If people ever found out he attacked a human, he'd be as good as dust.
“Take a selfie with me?”
He looked confused, but agreed easily enough, and soon you had not only Horror, but Jaws and Aliza around you as you took a picture. It turned out well in your opinion, with Horror blushing a dull red and the other two beaming.
“Cool! Thanks. Also, here.”
You took the gold out of your pocket and pushed it into Horror's hands.
“That's to pay for the picture.”
He looked completely lost, but that was good, because you didn't want him to have a reason to give it back. Next, you turned to Aliza as you shed your jacket.
“You can have this, too. I have plenty at home.”
She gave you a look – she obviously knew what you were doing – but accepted it, looking very grateful as she sunk into the oversized piece of clothing.
“I'll see you guys later, okay?”
You said your farewells and parted ways, and you decided you learned a very good lesson – never judge a book by its cover. People say it all the time, but a lot of people don't follow it very well. And now you had a reason to, because you experienced it first hand.
When you got home, you dressed up in the warmest clothes you could find, since you walked all the way back in the freezing cold, and got onto your computer. You set up a fundraiser with the picture you'd taken with Horror and the others. You had a good feeling that it would be a success.
Monsters deserve homes as much as humans do, you thought as you posted it.
*(You are filled with KINDNESS.)
A/N: As for Horror using magic on the knife, no, he was not trying to hurt you. He was trying to catch it before it could hurt you. But his magic has been wacky ever since Undyne put that hole in his head, so that's why it cut you.
The fundraiser for Horror and his brother (as well as Aliza and Tori) was going better than you expected, to be honest. Sure, there was a lot of hate in the mix, but you didn't even bother deeming those comments any responses, deleting them and pushing them to the back of your mind, though your heart went out to monsters that had to deal with that hatred.
You were up early for a lazy day, but you hadn't slept too well for the past few nights, and once you were up, you couldn't get back to sleep. So you began setting yourself up on the couch in nothing but your night clothes, checking the computer to keep track of the fundraiser and scrolling through social media to see the general reaction people have to monsters. You found a lot of reports on hate crimes, some even going so far as to dust monsters, and you raise a hand, running your fingers under your right eye. You pondered if you could help bring humans and monsters together by revealing your eye and being proud of it, but just the thought had you choking on your breath in fear. It was hard enough that some people knew of your eye and the only thing keeping them from beating down your door was the fact that they'd rather stand back and jeer from the sidelines. Imagine if the world knew...
Sure, revealing it would probably make it easier to find your soulmate, too, but you had a feeling that wasn't the case. And besides, what if you soulmate didn't like you? You could barely go out in public without fear of someone criticizing you. You were weak and antisocial and would rather curl up in your room with ice cream and a movie than go out and see your family. You--
“♪I don't know about you, but I feel better when I'm dancing♪”
You practically dived off of your couch to find your phone when Danz's ring tone sounded. You were immensely grateful for the distraction and you hoped you didn't sound too breathless when you finally found it in your bedroom, on your bed.
“H-hey, what's up?” you asked.
Danz was silent for a moment. “uh, did i catch you at a bad time?”
“No, no, I was just stalking celebrities online.” As soon as the words left your mouth, you let yourself flop face down on your bed, absolutely mortified at your temporary lack of brain to mouth filter.
On the other end of the line, Danz chortled. “guess you're starving for something better to do, huh?”
“Ha ha, very funny,” you groaned against your covers.
“does that mean you don't wanna dance with me today?”
You sit up so quickly that you almost fall onto your floor. “R-really? We're gonna dance today?”
“well, i mean, if you're busy--”
“No way,” you interrupted eagerly. “I'm totally ready!”
Well, not really, since you still had to get into actual pants, but he didn't need to know that.
“oh, cool. i'll come pick you up. where do you live?”
After relaying your address to Danz, as well as describing the surroundings of your apartment for the skeleton after the weirdo asked, you set about getting dressed. You decided to put on simple, loose clothes that you could move in, and just as you got into the bathroom, a knock sounded on your door. There was no way Danz could be there already.
“Just one minute!” you called as you ran your fingers through your hair and picked up your eye patch.
The knocking sounded again and you took the eye patch with you as you left the bathroom and crossed the living room to the door.
“Who's there?” you asked distractedly as you put the patch on. It was harder to do without a mirror.
“curry.” Yep, that was definitely Danz's voice. Did he live closer than you thought? And...wait, was this a knock knock joke?
You decided to humor him. “'Curry', who?”
“if you don't curry up, i'm gonna leave you here.”
You laughed as you finished tying the eye patch and, after making sure it was on properly and double checking that you had your CD with you, you unlocked and opened the door. Danz was standing outside, hands in his pockets, and he grinned at you. After being in the presence of Jaws and Stretch, you were starting to take more notice of the heights of others compared to yourself. Danz was the exact same height as you, which was a relief, because you didn't want to look up at anyone anymore, but then again, you didn't like looking down at anyone, and Blue was a little shorter than you. He made up for that with his big personality.
“That's not very nice, Danz.”
You stepped outside your door, locking it with your key before following Danz downstairs and outside the apartment building. You both began walking down the street and you were pleased to find it was warmer than when you went out for the soup kitchen. You wondered briefly how far you had to walk, and, if it was really far, if walking could count as your warm up.
“hey, do you trust me?”
You glanced over at Danz, who was looking up at the sky. You followed his gaze and saw that clouds were blocking out everything – it would probably rain, and you hoped it did that instead of snowing.
“You're my friend. Of course I trust you.”
Danz's permagrin grew wider and he offered you a hand. “well, i know a shortcut.”
You grabbed his hand and he led you through the next alley that presented itself. You were a little nervous when it began to grow dark, darker, yet darker the further you went in, but you didn't stop. You just tightened your grip on his hand. When you emerged from the other end, you were in Ebott Central. You gaped at the tall buildings that were nowhere near where you just where. Danz took his hand back and when you looked at him, he had a sheepish look on his face.
“oh, look, we're here,” he coughed, moving past you and stepping up to what looked like an abandoned building.
You followed him inside, wondering if he just used magic without you even knowing it, and found that the inside of the building was clean and tidy compared to the outside.
“like it?” Sans asked. “tori bought this place. it's gonna be a dance studio where monsters and humans can come together to share their passion for dancing.” He glanced back at you as he opened the first door down the hall. “you're allowed here any time, kiddo.”
You felt a small smile form on your face. “That's sounds nice. Don't think you're getting out of dancing with me, though.”
Sweat beaded on his skull and you smiled wider as he refused to meet your eye.
“i don't know what you're talking about.”
As you followed him and glanced around the spacious room, Sans shut the door and cleared his nonexistent throat as you approached the radio against the wall. There was also a computer and projector – likely for when people want to learn choreographed dances. They'd both come in handy.
“also, quick question.” You hummed to let him know you were listening. “what's up with the eye patch?” You tensed slightly, not expecting that. After all, most people didn't ask. “you don't have to answer, if you don't want to,” Danz quickly added. “it's just, my bro's pal, undyne, wears one too.”
“I'm sorry, Danz. I'm just not comfortable talking about it,” you admitted quietly.
He nodded and you put in your CD, skipping to the song you wanted to dance to so he could hear it once. As it played, the two of your stretched. Well, Danz most just rolled his wrists around, making cracking noises just to see the grimace on your face, but he didn't really have muscles to stretch, so you couldn't complain. When you were finished, you used the computer and projector to bring up the video that had started this all.
For the next couple of hours, you tried to follow the movements of the people in the video, but it was harder than you'd expected. (It wasn't like dancing was your normal hobby.) Maybe you should've practiced at home while waiting for Danz to choose a place to dance. He wasn't dancing at all. He went from watching the video to teasing you when you stumbled or making dance jokes. In the end, you were getting nothing out of the experience except building frustration.
“I can't do it,” you finally whined, dropping to the floor. “I suck!”
“aw, c'mon, kid, you weren't ba-- er, too bad.”
You huffed softly and got up to pause the video. “I'll be back.”
Danz didn't stop you as you left the room and you managed to find the bathroom after a few minutes of searching. You were sweaty and gross and you just wanted to go home. You peeled off your eye patch to let your eye breath some and so the skin beneath it wouldn't get all pruny from the sweat. You paced in front of the stalls, then splashed water on your face and looked at yourself in the mirror.
*5 ATK 10 DEF
*You're tired to the bone.
*You want to give up.
You spit your tongue out at your reflection, your “monster” eye gleaming back at you.
“I'm not giving up,” you muttered to yourself as you replaced the eye patch. "I'm just taking a break." Then you returned to the room where you'd left Danz.
As you approached the door, you heard music playing. You peered through the little window on the door and found the projector was shut down, but the radio was playing the song you'd chosen. And Danz... Danz was dancing. It wasn't choreographed at all, but you could tell it came from his very soul. And you finally realized what his dance style was. Hip hop. And he was so good at it.
What am I doing? You scolded yourself as you backed away from the door. I want Danz to show me this himself.
You approached the room again with heavier steps and when you opened the door, Danz was leaning against the wall, bobbing his head to the music. You offered him a smile.
“I think I'm done dancing for today.”
“alright. how about some lunch? i'll pay.”
He probably felt bad, you realized, but hey, you weren't going to turn down free lunch. It just meant you'd have to pay next time. You collected your CD and the both of you left. There was no shortcut this time; the two of you just went to the mall and chose a random food court. Well, you thought it was random. It was actually run by a monster, a female spider with a nice suit and glasses sitting on her nose.
“Welcome to Muffet's,” she called as she rounded the counter on roller skates. “Go ahead and take a seat.”
Danz gave a lazy wave to indicate he heard her and began walking further in. There were a lot of monsters present, and as you looked around to sate your curiosity, you spotted a couple familiar faces. It was Stretch, sitting in a booth, and sitting across from him was the skeleton from the convenience store.
“Danz, let's see if we can sit with them,” you suggested, gesturing to the two, and he shrugged, following you.
Stretch saw you first, grinning as he sat up from the slouch he was in.
“oh, hey, look what the cat dragged in.”
“Hello, Stretch,” you greeted.
You turned your attention to the other skeleton, who was watching you and Stretch with wide eye sockets. He had white eye lights instead of a single red one like the last time you'd met.
“y-you're that human!” he gasped.
Stretch looked between the two of you. “you two know each other?”
“remember that human i told you about, the one who bought the medicine and stuff for my kiddo?”
Stretch hummed softly. “oh, that one. well, pal, this is my buddy, Red.”
You introduced yourself and asked if you and Danz could sit with them.
“the more, the merrier,” Stretch replied.
You turned to Danz and he started climbing into one of the booth seats. When you turned back, you found that Red was next to Stretch instead of across from him. You chalked this up to magic (again) and sat next to Danz. As he and Stretch began a conversation, with Red occasionally adding in his own two cents, you found the stress from your not-dance lessons fading away. It was nice to have friends to hang out with, and as they pulled you into their conversation, you found that you couldn't have been happier.
A/N: Sorry, guys, no new characters today. It's important to reinforce the bonds of friendship, so that's what I did. Maybe there'll be a new character in the next one. Maybe not. We'll see. I hope you enjoyed this!
Chapter 7: Tone It Down
it's hard to wake up
from a nightmare
if you aren't even
A/N: I'm so sorry it took so long for this chapter to come out! I really, really wanted G!Sans in here, and I rewrote this thing three times. >:/ That being said, this is over twice as long as the other chapters, so enjoy. Also, just so you know for a reference further in the story, 'strast' means pleasure in some languages. You'll see why you have to know this.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Suffice to say, you weren't one for spending time with the outside world. Your perfect day consisted of staying in, listening to your favorite music, and losing yourself in a book or stalking interesting people online. So how, exactly, did you end up in the middle of a large gathering of both people and monsters? Well, it had a little something to do with your ghost monster friend.
Blooky: i don't want to be a bother...
Blooky: but in case you were interested...
Blooky: we're having an open house this weekend in the store
Blooky: it's so up-and-coming and new artists have a chance to get their music out
Blooky: you can come if you want
Blooky: you'll be one of the first to hear all the new music
The invitation came out of the blue, but you couldn't deny that the idea excited you. Being able to listen to the music people put their hearts and souls into sounded about as nice as reading a novel in bed.
You: Of course I'm coming! See you then!
The weekend came much faster than you were expecting, but you caught the first bus to Ebott Central that Saturday and gazed out the window, pondering if you'd find yourself getting drawn into new genres of music. You had a favorite type of music and you usually stuck to it, but maybe this would be your chance to branch out. Your excitement didn't dampen in the least as you made your way to the mall and, once there, inside to Shyren's shop. You felt your confidence waver when you entered, though. There were people everywhere. You could barely see over a dozen heads towards Shyren, who seemed to be sat atop a...body? No, that was a mouth on it, not crossed arms. Another monster, it must be, and they're probably offering her moral support, since she doesn't seem to be handling the crowd too badly.
“o-oh, you actually made it.”
You turned and saw Napstablook floating towards you. They didn't sound excited to see you, but they had a small smile on their face that spoke volumes and a small white top hat on their head.
“Blooky! You look amazing!”
You pulled them into a hug and for a moment you panicked, thinking it would be unwelcome, but they just gave a soft hum and said, “it's called 'dapperblook.'”
You released them as you took another look around. Yeah, this place was packed.
“You guys are doing really well. You haven't had any problems, right?”
They shook their head, expression brightening even more. “everyone has been really nice. you can take a look around, if you want. i'm going to go help shyren.”
You nodded and let them go. You started browsing the first few isles. There were a lot of CDs that definitely hadn't been there when you first came. You collected a few that had interesting cover titles or song names and, when you exhausted your options, you headed further into the store to look around more. When you reached the back, you weren't surprised to see you weren't the only one there, nor were you too shocked to come across a skeleton monster, seeing as that was becoming the norm for your life. He was clad in white and grey, mostly, with a beautiful scarf around his neck that was decorated like sheet music. Blue headphones hung around his neck as well, almost swallowed by the scarf's fabric, and the outer sides of his shorts resembled piano keys. So he was definitely a music lover.
“Hello,” you greeted, and he jumped slightly before turning to you. In his left eye socket, instead of a normal white eye light like most of the skeletons you'd met or a red one like Red's, sat a single white eighth note. It moved around like a normal eye light, but it didn't quite focus on your face. “Sorry for scaring you,” you tacked on.
“it's fine. eye don't mind.” He winked and you laughed.
“I see,” you replied in as sagely a tone as you could muster, though by the look of his smirk, you would regret your word choice.
You were right. His grin grew wider and wider the longer you stood there, stunned into silence. Finally, you tried to apologize again, but embarrassingly enough, you choked on your own breath in your panic. He began laughing as he inched closer and managed to get a hand on your shoulder, patting it a few times until you were breathing somewhat properly again.
“Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry,” you finally managed to choke out, your voice high and squeaky in a way you hadn't heard in a long time.
That just made him laugh harder, his fingers curling into your sleeve as he doubled over, clutching his stomach (or rather, the area where it would've been) with his free hand.
“it's – phew, i haven't laughed like that in a long time – it's okay, kid,” he said as he straightened up. “it's always funny to hear people react to finding out i can't see them.”
You couldn't help but smile slightly at the energy radiating off of this skeleton, but you still felt kind of guilty that you'd gotten yourself into such a situation.
“if you feel so bad about it, you could suggest some music for me.” He gestured vaguely in the direction of the closest aisle of CDs. “i kinda came in blind.”
The area above his eye sockets moved as if he were wiggling eyebrows that he didn't have – you figured that magic was the reason the bone moved so fluidly. You couldn't help the laugh that escaped you.
It turned out that, in the back, there were plenty of CDs by artists you did know. You asked your new acquaintance – he said that his name was Sans (Seriously, you thought, what is up with this name and short skeletons?), but you could just refer to him as 'Tone' to dial down confusion – what kind of music he liked, but he unhelpfully explained that he liked anything. You picked out a few CDs that had songs that you found particularly enjoyable and you explained why to him as you placed them in his hands one by one. At around ten CDs, he was practically glowing with the thought of listening to them and, to your horror, declared that he would buy them all. He asked for more suggestions and you very specifically only picked out two more because you didn't want him to buy so many and discover he didn't like the music as much as he thought he would. Though unsatisfied that you wouldn't give him more, he agreed to just take what he now had in his arms and accompanied you to the front. You weren't expecting to find that the shop was almost completely empty.
“oh, hello, tone,” Napstablook greeted from where they was floating next to Shyren. The monster that had acted as a sort of “body” for her was gone. She gave a shy 'hello' as well, whistling softly to herself. “did you finally pick out some music?”
“yep.” Tone moved forward until the front of his shoes hit the counter, then he placed the stack of CD cases on top. “this human helped me out.”
Napstablook's smile was back as their eyes lifted to you. “that's good.”
You gave a sheepish grin in return. The total came out to less than you thought it would, which relieved you, and Tone had to have Shyren help him with the correct amount of gold, but then he had his bag of CDs ready to take home. Tone turned to you, his eye light darting all over the general area you were in until you cleared your throat – then his eye light locked onto your face with startling clarity, even though it felt like he was looking through you.
“thank you for helping me.”
“It's no problem,” you replied with a slight shrug, pausing when you remembered that he couldn't see you.
“...wanna see a magic trick?”
You couldn't contain the eager gasp that escaped you. He chuckled and raised a hand. He snapped his fingers, and suddenly he was gone. You knew your eyes probably were the size of plates, but Tone had just disappeared – he teleported!
“That was amazing!”
It took a few moments for you to come down from your excitement, but when you did, you bought the music you'd picked out – all of it from new music artists that you'd never heard of and one being a collaboration CD between Shyren, Mettaton, Napstablook, and a surprise guest called Napstaton. Then you bid the two shy monsters farewell as you walked out. As you began heading back towards the front doors, you heard loud footsteps running in the distance and growing louder as they came closer. But there was no way that they were heading towards you...
You spun on your heel just in time to witness Blue skidding to a stop in behind you, his shoes nearly touching yours.
“Mweheheh! I found you!”
You opened your mouth to talk, but suddenly Red walked out from behind Blue, and you could've sworn that Blue was alone just a second ago.
“calling it a bit close, Blue,” the rougher-looking skeleton grumbled. “you almost knocked 'em on their ass.”
“It's okay,” you assured them when the brighter colored of the duo looked a little put out. “What's up, you two?”
“WELL!” Blue seemed to have regained his energy. “I found a new dance club while I was on my morning run yesterday! It looked really cool, and its Grand Opening is tonight! I wanted to go check it out, and Red agreed to come with me!”
It was hard to read the lips of someone who, well, didn't have them, but you could somehow make out 'help me' when you glanced at Red.
“I saw you while we were eating lunch, and I wanted to know if you would come with us!” the other skeleton continued on. “That way I can officially hang out with you as friends like my brother and Red have!”
“Uh...” To be honest, you'd never been to a club, much less a dance club. And you'd never planned to be – ever. It was hard enough to go out to the mall, and even that was only eased by the fact that every time you'd come after shopping for Christmas presents, you were either visiting Napstablook or came with Danz. But Blue looked so excited and you'd feel bad to let him down. “Sure. Is your brother coming?”
“no,” Red answered bitterly for his companion. “he had too much lazing around to catch up on.”
Funnily enough, that was Danz's excuse when you asked him if he wanted to come with you to Shyren's shop today.
“Okay. That's fine. Um...” You glanced down at the bag in your hand. “I have to bring these home. And change.”
“That's fine!” Blue assured you. “Let's trade numbers. You can text your address to Red and we'll come pick you up later.”
You shrugged and exchanged numbers with them both. You were a little surprised to find three new numbers in your phone instead of two when you got it back.
“I gave you my brother's number, too,” Blue explained.
“Alright. See you guys later.”
You left the mall and as you walked towards the bus stop, you checked to see what names they had put in. red. THE SANSATIONAL SANS. Papy. To say the least, you were amused. Blue could keep his, since you'd know the different between his and any other Sans that wanted to put in their real name. You changed the others, though, then texted both numbers.
You: Hey Red. I sent you my address. Did you get it?
edge lord: yep. see ya at 6.
You: Hi, Stretch. I'll give you three guesses on who I am. Your brother gave me your number.
You didn't get a reply.
Once you were home, you put your new CDs away in the cabinet beneath the tv. You had time to waste, and while you did, you found yourself on the receiving end of three different texts over time, all from skeletons. This was where you got alerted to their particular quirks. For example, Danz was no longer sending you dancing puns, but weather related ones instead.
danz master: i tried to catch some fog.
danz master: i mist.
On the other hand, Red appeared to have an affinity for darker humor. Not that that was much of a surprise to you.
edge lord: why can't orphans play baseball?
edge lord: they don't know where home is.
You: No! That's so mean!
edge lord: you're laughing.
You: You can't prove anything!
And then there was Stretch. You supposed he liked knock knock jokes, since that was how he chose to start his first text to you.
sweet-as-honey: knock knock
You: Who's there?
sweet-as-honey: a broken pencil
You: A broken pencil who?
sweet-as-honey: never mind... it's pointless
About half an hour before six, you pushed yourself to get up and take a shower. You only stayed in the shower for about ten minutes. You didn't take too long to decide on what to wear, going with a pair of grey skinny jeans and a dark blue shirt. You returned to the bathroom to put your eye patch on, making sure to secure it properly, and smoothed out your hair so it wasn't hanging in your face. When you finished, there was a knock on your door. You collected your bag, phone, and key as you went to answer it.
“Who's there?” you called as you placed a hand on the doorknob.
To your surprise, it was Blue who answered, not Red. That didn't stop you from continuing the joke.
“Lettuce in, please!”
You snorted and opened the door in time to see Red literally facepalm. Blue was wearing grey shorts and a white shirt, his bandanna still sitting around his neck. Red was wearing his normal clothes.
“You look nice!” Blue chirped. “Are you ready to go?”
You nodded and stepped out, closing and locking the door behind you. The three of you left the apartment building and began walking down the street. Instead of heading for Ebott Central, where you expected the club to be, you were going towards the monster district where you first met Blue, Swapby, and Stretch. The walk was short and before long, you found yourself standing in front of a club where the music was so loud, the windows were vibrating. The neon light sign on the front read 'Grillby's'.
Blue was holding open the door, and Red was already inside. You followed him in and were surprised to find that despite the volume, the loud music didn't hurt your ears. The bass notes, however, could be felt in your bones. Red led the way to the bar at the back, and you skirted around the large crowd of dancing monsters and humans to follow him. For a while, your group just sat at the bar and watched the others dance to the admittedly good sounding music. Red got a drink from who knows where and was sipping from it while occasionally stealing sips from a mustard bottle he had stored in his pocket.
“Well, I'm going to go dance,” Blue finally announced, getting off of his bar stool and spinning to look at you and Red. “Are you guys coming with me?”
“I think I'm good,” you declined, the mere thought of mingling with such a large crowd making goosebumps rise on your arms.
“sure,” Red decided, downing the rest of his drink and jumping off the tall-as-him stool to follow his fellow skeleton.
When they vanished from sight, being significantly shorter than most of the people on the dance floor, you finally took a look around instead of watching the masses move. Your eyes locked onto a section of the club that looked unused currently, and your eyes widened.
“Is that a stripper pole?” you squeaked to yourself.
A laugh from behind you had you spinning around in your seat. The monster before you was, for lack of better terms, hot. (You would bet that Danz and the other punning skeletons would be proud.) A fire elemental like Swapby – and boy were you beginning to see a pattern between these names and the monsters they belong to –, this one had spiky “hair” that was outlined in blue flames. He had on shades and his mouth was much easier to make out. He was wearing a sleeveless fishnet shirt and white jeans. A few bracelets sat around his wrists and you were sure that if the music wasn't so overwhelming, you'd be hearing them clink against each other as he moved.
“Yeah, sorry,” he replied, voice surprisingly clear over the music. “Sans moved this entire place from the underground, and I couldn't exactly get rid of it.”
You were pretty sure that Tone and Danz wouldn't go to a place like this – Tone because he just didn't seem like the type, and Danz didn't want to dance in public. Blue and Red obviously weren't who this monster was talking about. Maybe you'd meet them someday.
“I'm Grillby,” the fire monster said, offering a hand. “But lately I've taken on the name Strastby.”
You tell him your name in return, having to shout over the noise, and shook his hand. It was incredibly warm, like Swapby's, and when he released your hand, the warmth lingered.
“You want anything to drink?” he asked.
You looked at all the bottles on display behind the bar and you realized you didn't recognize any of the names. It didn't really matter to you – you didn't drink.
“Um... Do you have anything non-alcoholic?”
He grinned. “It's all non-alcoholic.” You must've looked surprised, because he explained. “All these drinks are magic. It'll get a monster absolutely wasted, but humans are more resilient to magic than monsters, so it's more like soda to them. A boost of energy and all.”
That sounded absolutely fascinating. Sure, maybe you shouldn't be taking his words at face value, but no one ever said you had much self-preservation.
“Okay, I'll have a drink. You can choose what kind.”
When he gave you your drink, you were entranced by the colors. It was pink and orange and pale yellow – like a sunset.
“None of my drinks really have a name, so, uh, enjoy.”
You took a sip and were surprised when all your senses seemed to sharpen. The music was louder and easier to feel under your skin, and details in the very wood of the bar stood out. The drink went down like a caffeinated beverage – it was similar to soda in a way, like you'd been told. A monster further down the bar called for a drink, and Strastby left you to take care of it. You kept your drink in your hands as you turned to see if you could spot your skeleton friends in the crowd. Just when you thought that you might've seen where they were lingering, a man settled in the seat next to you. You didn't look at him until he began speaking.
You glanced over and he flashed what he must've assumed was a charming smile.
“You looked a little lonely.”
“I wasn't,” you mumbled timidly.
He didn't take the hint and leaned closer.
“What do you say that you come home with me?”
Your mind went blank for a minute as pure panic gripped you. You'd been flirted with before a couple times, but never had it been so blatant as this, and it made you extremely uncomfortable. You stammered as you tried to reply and he put his hand on your arm. Your lungs stopped working as he stood and moved as if to pull you to your feet. Your felt your lips move, but your ears were filled with static that made it hard to think. You feared you were about to pass out as black spots filled your vision, but a skeletal hand landed on the man's shoulder. You really hoped it was Red or Blue.
“hey, p a l, they said to l e t g o.”
You were released and you were out of your seat as soon as you were freed. You swayed slightly as the man turned around, anger in his expression, only for him to tense when he came face to chest with a skeleton. He skirted around the newcomer and disappeared into the crowd. The skeleton's single golden eye light landed on you.
“hey, are you okay?”
This monster was taller than you, maybe almost as tall as Stretch. He had cracks on his face that reminded you of Gaster, and while he had a permagrin, it wasn't as large as the that of the Sanses you'd met. He was clad in black jeans and a short, open black jacket that revealed every individual rib. Despite his somewhat intimidating appearance, you felt safer than you had before, though it was still a struggle to breathe and your hands were shaking.
“why don't we step out for a minute,” he suggested, resting his hand on your arm, where the guy from before had grabbed you, before he moved his hand to your shoulder and guided you through the club.
You only noticed you were outside when cold air struck you like a whip and you were desperately sucking in deep lungfuls of air. It was a lot colder than it had been before you entered the club, but maybe that was because it was really warm in the club itself. The skeleton monster withdrew his hand and when you glanced over, you saw he was lighting up a cigarette. This was the first time a monster had approached you rather than the other way around.
*GASTER!SANS 6̷̷̛͡6̴̨͘͢6̡̢͞҉̵ ATK 6̷̷̛͡6̴̨͘͢6̡̢͞҉̵ DEF
*He's hiding something.
*c̛̕ ̵͡A̸̴̛͠ ̡͏̸͠n̸̴͝ ̶͘Y ̸̧̧͢o҉̶ ҉̷̷̧Ư̡̢͞͏ ̛͜t̷̨̛̛ ͝R҉̨͘͡ ̢͘͢ư̸ ̴̛͟͡S̢̢̢̡̧ ҉̛t̶̵ ̷̛͡H̸ ̸̵̨i̶͏̸͜ ̴̨͏̸M̢͟͞͝͝ ̶͟?͟͡͝
“feeling better now?”
You jolted slightly when he spoke. He wasn't facing you, or even looking at you (and you weren't sure if he could, anyway, with his right eye light gone), but you still felt like he'd done that Check thing that you just did to him.
“K-kind of...” You sighed and looked down. You felt a little guilty, but... “I just want to go home...”
He sucked on his cigarette and you couldn't help but stare as his ribcage filled with swirling smoke.
“i can take you home.”
You blinked and he turned to you, smoke curling from between his teeth. He offered the hand that wasn't holding the cigarette.
“tell me where you live. we'll take a shortcut.”
Stranger danger! your mind screamed, but you were mentally worn out at this point and nothing bad had happened to you so far from trusting monsters. (What was it that was being said on the internet? Monsters were made of love or something like that?) So you told him the address of your apartment and, when prompted, your room number as you took his hand, trying not to focus on the weird, suction-like feeling as your palm laid flat on top of the hole in his hand. He led you down the street and into an alley, and the effect of your surroundings darkening around you reminded you of Danz's shortcut.
Dark, darker, yet darker, a distant part of your mind whispered, sending chills down your spine.
But there was something different about this. The walk took longer than Danz's had and you were beginning to feel a little lightheaded. You looked at this Gaster – Sans? – to tell him that you weren't feeling so well, but when you did, his form blurred and it was as if you were looking at two images of separate monsters overlapping one another. Even more bizarre was the fact that it wasn't as if you were seeing him in double vision – it was as if there was a Sans leading you through the darkness at the same time that a Gaster was, and they were both holding your hand. It made your head pound and your vision whited out.
When you came to, you were being led through what looked like your apartment living room, but you were still a bit out of it and everything was still so dark. You blinked and suddenly you were being laid on your bed. Your shoes were being removed and a golden light appeared out of the gloom.
“he̷̛͏y͝, ͘͘y̧o͢u w͏i͏̷t̨͞h͡ ̶m̧҉e͢҉̡?͜ ̶͝ ̴d̢̛ǫ͢ ̵̸yo͏͘u͢͡ s̷͠le̷e͢p̨ ͞w̴͡į͜͞t̶h ͘͢y͜o̸̷u̡͟͏r͠ e͞y̵͟e̢ ̸̕p͏a͏̴͞t͝҉҉c̛h͘͠ ͘̕͝o̶n͘?”
The voice rang in your head painfully, like Gaster's had, but you could actually mostly understand it, and you shook your head weakly. Your eye patch was pulled away after a moment and you almost felt, rather than heard, your escort suck in a sharp breath.
“s̵̡o ̴͜͞th͞͞a̶t̛'s̸̶̨ ̶̨w̷h̶҉a͟t̡ ̨͠yo͞͏u̢͝ ̵a̷̸r̸e̸͜͏,” he whispered in awe.
That was the last thing you heard before you fell asleep.
A/N: So. Who's curious about what a CHECK and JUDGE would reveal about you?
What is up with G?
Will we find out soon? I'm curious too! XD
Chapter 8: Fair Play (pt. 1)
"You found yourself meeting the empty eye sockets of yet another skeleton, this one dressed in a black robe and holding what appeared to be a scythe. You blinked and then he was gone."
A/N: Sorry this took so long! Hopefully you guys think it's worth the wait. After all, you meet new skeletons, including but not limited to Underfell Papyrus and the Swapfell brothers. Let me know what you think!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When you woke up, you had a headache similar to a hangover. You hadn't experienced one before, but you'd read enough books and online stories to know what it was supposed to feel like. Or maybe you just had a migraine. You slowly sat up, your memories of the previous night returning to you, and any exhaustion left in you fled as your hand flew to your uncovered “monster” eye.
“so that's what you are.”
You not only let a total stranger take you home, but he'd seen under your eye patch! You were about to get up and make sure your apartment was empty aside from you, but as you swung your legs over the edge of the bed, you saw a cup of water on your nightstand, along with a bottle of aspirin, your patch, and a folded piece of paper. You paused to listen closely, but you couldn't hear anyone moving in the other room, so you decided to not leave your room just yet. You took two aspirin and drained the glass, then unfolded the note.
hey, sorry i couldn't stick around to make sure you were alright; i had things to do. i talked to strastby. he's gonna hold onto your stuff at the club until you return for it. if you feel like letting me know you survived the night, text me. see ya later.
That meant you were probably alone, but you got up to check all the same. It turned out that you were right, and that relieved you. You had to admit, you were a little nervous about G knowing where you lived, but he presumably didn't mean you any harm. He did help you last night, after all. And then there was what you saw when your eye patch had been removed...
*GASTER!SANS LV 1̷͡҉͟ HP 6̕҉̸6̴̨̧͡6͏͠/̵̢1҉̡̧̨͡
You weren't exactly sure what it meant, but you just had a feeling that he wasn't dangerous. At least...he wasn't a danger to you. You sighed and shook your head. There was no point in thinking about it too hard. You'd just have to trust your gut. And get your stuff back. You buried your face in your hands and groaned when you remembered something important. Red and Blue. You'd left them behind at the club without a second thought. They were probably worried. You were an awful friend. You'd have to make it up to them in some way. Maybe you'd take them a peace offering, like Nice Cream or something...
You decided to take a shower before you left. It only lasted about ten minutes, and once you'd gotten dressed – in jeans and a t-shirt, with a jacket pulled on last minute in case it was still chilly out, and your eye patch, of course –, you left your apartment. You just hoped that the club was open so early. The walk to the monster district was as short as you remembered it being, but it was a lot more crowded than it had ever really been when you traveled through before. It was a little nerve wracking, to be honest, but thanks to your friends, you'd gotten better at being out in public, even if it only lasted a short time. Most of the monsters that passed you by were taller than you, and even the ones who weren't had some...interesting features, like the little volcano monsters with lava dripping out of the holes on top of their heads. You looked around out of curiosity as you came to a stop at a crosswalk, the street light above it shining green. Then you saw them.
You observed the skeletons across the street. They kind of reminded you of Blue and Stretch, if they were combined with Red's fashion choice. The shorter one was clad in what appeared to be grey armor; he had a worn and torn purple scarf tied around his neck in a manner that made it look more like a bandanna, and he had gloves that went to his elbows of the same color. He also wore tan shorts and black boots. He had fangs that definitely resembled Red's, and you couldn't see his eye lights from so far away, but they didn't seem to be the normal dots that most Sanses you'd encountered had.
Then there was his (you assumed) brother.
Even with the distance between you and them, you could see that most of his bones (whatever bones were visible) were yellowing slightly, probably due to the cigarette smoldering between his teeth. His skull was almost too white in comparison. It was a little unsettling, especially when the black of one of his eye sockets was tinted a light red. He had fangs too, but there was no gold replacement as far as you could see. So he wasn't quite as edgy as Red. He was clad in a black undershirt (or t-shirt?) under a purple and black jacket. (The purple he wore was more of a sangria than the mauve his brother had on.) He also wore shorts, though they were black with grey stripes down the sides, and he had on sandals over white socks.
Out of the corner of your eye, the crosswalk light turned from the red hand outline to the white stick figure in motion. You began crossing the road, gaze still locked on the skeletons, who seemed to be bickering – lightheartedly, if the shaking shoulders of the Papyrus was any indication. The Sans was suddenly looking at you, and that made you stop in surprise and embarrassment. The designs of his eye lights, now that you were close enough to see, were both purple, stage one Sierpinski triangles (something you distantly recalled learning in college and seeing online) that matched the one on the upper left side of his armor; the right one sat in a circle of white and the other did not. His fangs parted, but whatever he said was lost on you in the wake of a horn. You turned your head and it felt like the world slowed around you as the truck barreling down the road didn't show any sign of slowing. Your chest felt tight and you felt like you were weighed down by more than gravity, then suddenly you were flying to the other side of the road, your original destination. You landed on your ass, quite painfully, on the edge of the sidewalk and watched numbly as the truck sped by, bypassing the obvious red light. Once it was out of the way, you found yourself meeting the empty eye sockets of yet another skeleton, this one dressed in a black robe and holding what appeared to be a scythe. You blinked and then he was gone.
“hey, you alright, human?”
The speaker sounded bored and apathetic, obviously not really caring about your health, and the reminder that you weren't alone had you scrambling to your feet and turning to face the monsters you'd been observing earlier. The one who had asked the question was obviously the Papyrus; his expression matched his voice pretty spot on.
“U-uh, I think so,” you uttered, resisting the urge to rub your sore backside.
“Of course you are!” the other skeleton spoke up. “I saved you, after all. I am--”
Both of the skeletons froze and you wished you had kept your mouth shut, especially as Papyrus' empty right eye socket began smoldering with purple magic.
“Ah! My reputation proceeds me!” Sans seemed pleased. “You must be one of my big fans.”
“O-oh, totally,” you replied. “A-and I'd like to thank you so much for preventing me from becoming a pancake in the road.”
“I don't know what that flat bread food has to do with any of this, but you're welcome anyway.”
You were ready to leave now, but one look from Papyrus stopped you from moving.
“now, human, don't you think you owe us a little something for extending your life?”
You had a feeling he was talking about money, but you had a better idea. If this Sans was anything like Blue like you thought...
“Y-yeah, sure. How about...my friendship?”
They both looked absolutely dumbfounded, though you could see the beginnings of intrigue in Sans' expression. You quickly took advantage of the situation.
“After all, the two of you would like to have a human friend, right?”
Papyrus' eye sockets widened as he caught onto what you were doing and you were so afraid of getting on his bad side, but then Sans spoke up.
“Yes! Having an ally with such a strong soul is sure to make our enemies tremble with fear!”
Papyrus sighed, appearing to give in, and you counted that as a victory for yourself as you introduced yourself.
“As amazing as my name is, you can address me as Blackberry!” the Sans boasted.
Well, you read a poem once that used blackberries to depict both youth and death, and if Sans' personality and words so far were any indication, the name was a perfect fit.
“And this is my unnameable brother, Papyrus.”
“...your brother kind of looks like he's beginning to rust--” You and your big mouth. This happened more often than you'd like – your thought-speech filter broke sometimes when you were nervous. Before you could apologize, though, Sans was laughing.
“Rust! That is a good name for you, brother!”
That...wasn't exactly where you were going with that, but Papyrus didn't seem to mind it. (He honestly didn't seem like he minded much of anything.) And with the excited expression on Sans' face, you'd feel terrible if you disappointed him. Not to mention that you were kind of sure that Pap-- Rust would kill you if you did.
“Thank you, human! Now, to commemorate our new friendship, my brother and I will allow you to give us your number.”
Well then. You haven't had so many phone contacts since you were in high school, and now you would be having two more! (You were just lucky you actually knew your own number; before you started gaining monster friends, you didn't know more than the first two digits.) When you got your phone back, you'd have to list them as Rust and THE TERRIFYING BLACKBERRY. It...felt kind of good to be liked by people. Them not being your species just made it even more special.
“If you don't mind me asking, why are there so many monsters out today? I haven't been on this side of town often, but it's not usually so crowded.”
“there's a festival going on,” Rust drawled. “the first one, but probably not the last.”
Blackberry took over the explanation before you could ask for more details. “Essentially, there will be a retelling of the general adventures of the many ambassadors of Monsterkind, and demonstrations of our amazing puzzles and traps, our food and cultures, and, of course, introductions to the art of FIGHTing.”
The way he said it made you think it was a little different than normal fighting.
“Ah! Human, why don't you join us? We were just heading over to the festival now!”
You blinked, surprised, and Rust looked just as stunned.
“we just met them,” he protested weakly.
“That doesn't matter,” his brother said dismissively. “They are our friend now.”
“That's a kind offer...” And it really was; you wanted to go to the festival and learn first hand about Monsters. “...but I have to go pick up something right now.”
“Not a problem! My brother will take you.”
You and Rust exchanged looks, but it appeared Blackberry's mind was made up.
“geez,” Rust muttered under his breath as he dropped his cigarette, stepping it out, then took out a new one, lighting it up. “fine. we'll meet you at the park, bro.”
Blackberry nodded and headed off in the direction you vaguely remembered the park being located, then it was just you and Rust.
“where are we headed?”
You look up at him. “Um... Grillby's?”
He actually chuckled, and your cheeks turned red because you knew it was at your expense.
“there are a lot of grillby's, bud.”
“The owner is Strastby.”
“oh... that one.”
His face twisted into an expression you couldn't exactly identify, so you weren't sure if it was a positive or negative reaction. (You couldn't even get a read off of his tone, considering the lack of real emotions in his voice.)
His hand landed on your shoulder and you flinched in surprise at the sudden touch. He led (pulled) you down the sidewalk, and the world steadily darkened around you two until nothing was left but pitch blackness. Your jaw dropped, and Rust turned his head in time to witness your expression. He snickered, pulling his cigarette from between his teeth with his free hand.
“what, you've never taken a shortcut before?”
This was a shortcut? Your mind went back to Danz and G's shortcuts. This is what had actually happened? They had taken you through alleys, so you'd always just assumed... Well, you actually hadn't been sure what to think about it, but you hadn't expected it to be something they could just do anywhere. They must've cared more about being seen doing it than Rust.
You'd been so deep into your thoughts that you hadn't noticed the world returning around you until he spoke. You were indeed in front of the right Grillby's. Rust let you go and leaned against the wall next to the door. You gave him a curious glance.
“i'll wait here for you. go ahead and do what you have to do.”
You were a little nervous about going in by yourself, but you pushed the door open and entered anyway.
“Sorry, we're clo-- Oh! Welcome back!”
The whole club was empty aside from Strastby and a Sans sitting at the bar across from him. (You decided that from now on, any skeleton monsters that looked like a Sans or Papyrus you knew would be dubbed as a Sans and a Papyrus until you learned their chosen names.)
“who's this cutie, 'by?”
You took in the appearance of the Sans carefully because he looked a lot different from the ones you'd met. For one, he was wearing a crop top – it was black with a bright blue heart in the center. That wasn't even what really drew your attention, though. What caught your eye was the fact that there was more than just a spine visible between the hem of his shirt and the waistline of his shorts. In fact, it almost looked like he had actual skin, but made of a see-through, violet substance that kind of reminded you of jello. His shorts were black and fell below his knees, and he wore a jacket like Red, with a fluffy hood and everything, but there were no sleeves, revealing thicker arm bones than you expected – as if he had muscles beneath the bone. The jacket was the same shade of violet as his stomach – if that's what that really was – and the fluff was as blue as the heart on his shirt. He also wore blue boots that covered the part of his legs that his shorts didn't.
“enjoyin' the view, sweetie?”
Your eyes shot up to meet his – your cheeks heated up in mortification of being caught staring again – and you realized his eye lights were tinted purple.
“S-sorry,” you squeaked.
Before he could tease you again, Strastby's hand came down across the back of his head. Then he offered you an apologetic smile.
“Ignore him. You came for your things, right?”
You nodded and approached the counter, standing next to where the Sans was rubbing his skull. When he saw you glancing at him, he offered a grin and a hand.
“My name is Lust.”
You were a little startled by the name, but hey, to each their own and all that. You accepted his hand and told him your name.
“it's as beautiful as you are,” he offered, winking.
Unbidden, your cheeks regained their red hue and he looked absolutely pleased about that.
“Lust,” Strastby growled in warning and your hand was dropped like it was on fire as Lust raised his hands in a placating manner.
You were handed your bag and you were more than relieved to find your phone inside. You wanted to just sit and go through the numerous texts you had notifications for, but you didn't want to risk Rust leaving, if he was still waiting for you at all. (He didn't seem to like you very much.)
“Thank you, Strastby. It was nice to meet you, Lust. I have to go now, but I hope to see you guys later.”
They said bye as you left, and you were kind of surprised to find Rust was still leaning on the wall, smoking a cigarette. Three cigarette buds littered the ground at his feet.
“ready to go?”
You nodded and this time he slung an arm around your shoulders as he escorted you into the darkness once more.
“How do you guys do this?” you dared to ask. You found that it was a little hard to breathe when you were talking in the middle of a shortcut, so you opted to do it as little as possible.
“just bending time and space,” Rust replied nonchalantly, like it wasn't the most amazing thing in the world. “or, in simpler terms, magic.” That earned him an eye roll because you had a strong feeling that had his hands been free, he would be doing jazz hands for effect.
You were pretty sure you wouldn't get more of an answer than that, so you let it be. You took the time to look around and you thought you saw something further in the darkness – a hulking, off-black figure with a white face and what appeared to be orange and blue eyes that glowed. You didn't get a chance to point it out before you and Rust were exiting the shadows at the entrance of what appeared to be a large fair. It was chock full of humans and, more importantly, all kinds of monsters you'd never encountered before.
“Ah, Rust, Human, there you are!”
Blackberry came running to meet you two, and when he got close enough, you saw a black wristband around one of his gloves. He held out two more for you and his brother – one was also black, which Rust took, and you accepted the neon pink one.
“Now then, human, where would you like to go first?”
Rust looked surprised, as if Blackberry didn't often take others' opinions into account, and you decided to choose something before the dark Sans got impatient.
“Um, I'm kind of hungry.”
Blackberry took your wrist and began pulling you towards a long ling of wooden stands. As you got closer, you weren't sure if you found it humorous or unnerving that there were so many skeletons. Before you could actually reach one, someone walked past you, their shoulder colliding harshly with yours. You turned to glare at them, but they didn't even stop. The person was a human, wearing black shorts, sneakers, and a blue jacket with the hood up.
“Hey, watch where you're going next time!” you called after them.
They raised a hand to wave it dismissively. “yeah, yeah,” they drawled, their voice a deep timbre that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end for some reason. Then they disappeared into the crowd.
“Humans are jerks,” Blackberry grumbled, and when you looked down at him, he flushed indigo. “I didn't mean you! Let's just get some food.”
You and Rust chuckled as you followed. The first stall you stopped by was selling all kinds of sweets.
“hey, welcome to the party,” the Sans behind the stall greeted. “i'm sugar, your local confection expert. let me know what you're craving, and i'll have it right to ya. and the first one is free! that ought to sweeten the deal.”
Sugar was simply charming, and...pretty. (You had no other words to describe him.) The most noticeable features of his that set him apart from other skeletons was the blue, petal like marks around his eye sockets and the similarly colored heart on his forehead with spiderweb marks extending from the top. He had on a white shirt – you couldn't see his pants or shoes – and on top of that, he had a blue jacket with sprinkle designs. The fluff of the hood was bubbly looking and kind of reminded you of cotton candy, with blue and purple colors.
“Do you two want anything?” you asked the skeletons with you.
“i'll take candy cigarettes,” Rust decided. At your confused frown, he grinned. “it's more for aesthetics.”
“...sure.” You turned to look at Blackberry, who shook his head.
“Sugar makes my magic levels spike, and I don't think anyone, much less you, could survive the outcomes of that.”
Shrugging, you turned back to Sugar, who had been watching with an amused expression. “I guess a pack of candy cigarettes and some white chocolate.”
“good choices,” he said, and as he rummaged around the bottom of his stall, you spotted something in the back that made you smile involuntarily.
“And some sugar skulls.”
Straightening with your previously requested sweets, Sugar snickered. “alright.” He put the treats in a small bag and offered them to you. You pulled out your wallet, which you had left behind with your bag and phone, but he shook his head.
“nah, they're on the house, sweetheart,” he said. As you went to protest, he gave you a grin that spoke volumes – he could argue with you all day, and you wouldn't win, so you gave in.
“Okay, thank you.”
He waves you off and as you, an impatient Blackberry, and a bored Rust continue to the next stall, you dig into your bag of candy and discover a thin piece of paper taped to the bar of white chocolate. You passed Rust his candy cigarettes and pulled the paper out. It was a phone number. That...was pretty clever. You put it in your pocket as you stopped by the next stall. This one featured much healthier snacking options: fruit, and a wide variety at that. And it was run by two skeletons instead of one.
You thought your eardrums were going to burst from the taller monster's loud voice, but you offered a friendly smile anyway. He was clad in armor similar to Blackberry's, but in different colors and less sharp. He had an orange scarf around his neck and a similar looking clothe belt around his waist, pinned closed with a sort of tie that had a large flower on top. He had a few freckles on his cheekbones, too. In all...he kind of reminded you of a cantaloupe.
“MELON, GET UP!”
The Sans, who had been snoozing in a chair in the back, opened an eye socket lazily.
“no thanks, bro. you can handle them this time; make sure they seed their way from here with smiles.”
The skeleton in the back certainly lived up to his name. He was wearing light pink turtleneck, and his shorts were black with red stripes on each leg. He had on a green jacket with a red stripe going across the front and sleeves, dotted with black specks that resembled watermelon seeds; his jacket fluff was designed the same way. On his feet, he simply wore pale, fuzzy green slippers. The longer you looked, you noticed, the pinker his face turned, revealing a smattering of freckles you hadn't previously noticed stretching across his whole face. Then you realized he was looking back at you with eye lights the same color as his slippers and you were probably embarrassing the hell out of him, but you couldn't look away. He was so adorable – similar to Blue's cute factor, if you were being honest.
Blackberry calling your name in an irritated tone caught your attention and you found that he and Rust were waiting for you, a large slice of honeydew sitting in Blackberry's hand.
You took a step towards them when you heard another call of your name. You twisted around in time to catch sight of Blue before he collided with you; his momentum sent you both toppling over. Your head hit the ground and it took a moment to reorientate yourself, but when you did, you found yourself looking up into the watery eye sockets of one of your favorite skeletons.
“YOU'RE OKAY!!” he cried, wrapping his arms around your neck as he hugged you.
You wrapped your arms around him in return, gently patting his back. You now felt guilty for not taking the time to check your text messages as soon as you'd gotten your phone back.
“blue, let 'em up.”
You peered over Blue's shoulder and found Stretch standing above you. Danz and Red were behind him, and with them, Danz's brother and another Papyrus you didn't recognize. Blue scrambled off of you and helped you to your feet.
“a-are you okay?” Red asked.
He was sweating heavily and instead of white eye lights, he had a single red one again. You weren't sure why, until the other edgy skeleton of the group spoke up.
“Don't talk to the human, you idiot!” he snapped, his fist coming down on the top of Red's skull.
You were shocked and more than a little upset about how this newcomer was treating Red, but Danz pulling you into a hug distracted you.
“that's red's brother, edge,” he mumbled in your ear. “they're always like that.” He pulled back and offered a slightly strained smile, but you couldn't even muster up one in return. “i'm glad you're alright. just, uh, let us know next time before you go dark, okay?”
“It's not like that,” you protested halfheartedly. “I'll...text you later to explain.”
He seemed satisfied with that, nodding.
“Oh! Hello, Blackberry!”
Blue was smiling cheerily at your previous two companions for the day. Blackberry looked a little miffed about your attention being on others aside from himself, while Rust didn't look like he cared much. Like usual. You wondered if you'd be able to get a genuine, emotional reaction out of him at some point.
“mutt,” Stretch greeted Rust with a strained smile that looked more like a grimace.
“ashtray,” Rust growled back, purple magic flaring in his dark eye socket once more.
You were sensing some hostility between them, but you weren't quite sure how to ease the tension, so you settled for just keeping an eye out to make sure they weren't at each others' throats. You were distracted by Danz's brother, Edge, and Red.
“I didn't get a chance to properly thank you for stopping the humans from driving us out of the mall,” Danz's brother said, smiling at you. “You can simply call me Latin.”
Latin was very handsomely dressed, like when he was dancing with the other monsters. He wore a off-white dress shirt with a red cravat that matched his shoes, and black pants.
“It's nice to officially meet you. Danz has told me a lot about you.”
Latin turned to his brother with a broad grin, which made Danz's cheeks turn cyan. As you let the brothers have their moment, you brought your gaze to Edge. You offered him a hesitant smile, trying not to let Red's increased sweating make you nervous.
“It's nice to meet you too, Edge.”
He scoffed, red eye lights raking over you as his expression turned disdainful.
“OF COURSE IT IS,” he snapped. “YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUTTER ME UP, HUMAN. THAT WON'T MAKE ME LIKE YOU.”
You winced a little, smile faltering. Wow, what a jerk. You were very much content to drop the conversation and never talk to him again, but it seemed Red had other ideas.
“h-hey, don't talk to them like that,” he said, voice trembling just slightly.
Edge's sharp glare turned to his brother, making Red flinch back.
“i-i mean... you sh-shouldn't...”
“WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO, WHELP?”
Edge's hand raised again and you went to take a step forward – though you weren't sure if you were going to pull Red out of the way or take the blow for him –, but Red's eye light darted to you, and the feeling of being weighed down by more than gravity came over you once more and you could only watch helplessly as Red was struck on the skull once more, and a lot harder than he had been before. Out of the corner of your eye, you noticed the other skeletons watch on with sympathy in their eye sockets – Stretch and Blue's expressions were particularly tight. Your eyes followed the cracks on Red's skull and you felt sick to your stomach – did his brother cause those? You very suddenly wanted to go home...
“hey, kid,” Rust called. “c'mon. let's go watch some FIGHTs.”
“Excellent idea, brother!” Blackberry agreed.
You glanced at the other six skeletons, who all exchanged looks (except Edge, who apparently thought he was above them all) and shrugged.
“lead the way, mutt,” Stretch mumbled.
Rust gave him a menacing grin and you felt an almost electric charge filling the air, which you were fairly certain was from magic. You really didn't want any more infighting, though, so you looped your arm through one of Rust's, then the other through one of Stretch's, causing them both to look at you in surprise.
“Well, what are we waiting for?” you asked in a cheerful tone. “Let's go!”
A/N: Well, this chapter is certainly exciting, and so long I had to split it apart. You've been officially introduced to Latin, and you've now met Lust, Rust, Blackberry, Edge, Sugar, Melon, and Cantaloupe, and you sort of met Reaper. Amazing, right? I hope you guys liked it! Also, in case you didn't know, I based Swapfell Sans and Papyrus off of the original Swapfell designs, and I tried really hard with their personalities, so I hope you guys thought they were alright.
Chapter 9: Fair Play (pt. 2)
(In the back of your mind, you distantly noted that a few months ago, before you encountered Red and Blue and Danz, you wouldn't have taken the talk of multiple universes in stride – at least, not at first.)
A/N: Alright! I was a little iffy about this for a while, that's why it took so long to get published, but let me know what you guys think. I think it turned out well overall. I hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Your group didn't end up going directly to the FIGHTs, mostly because you didn't actually know where they were taking place and neither did any of the skeletons with you. (Or rather, the ones who would talk to you; if Edge knew, he was keeping his teeth sealed and Red wouldn't even look at you now.) So you hit up a bunch of carnival-esque games instead. You roped Danz into competing against you at a dart game while Black and Blue took each other on at a strength-testing game. Danz completely destroyed you, popping balloons with every dart he threw while you only hit three, two of which refused to pop. But Danz gave you his chosen prize – a little Frisk figurine. This Frisk looked different than the one you met, with a purple and blue sweater instead of a ballet outfit, but you chalked it up to a similar situation as the multiple Sanses and Papyri. You tried to get Red to play with you, but after his first decline and the deadly look Edge gave you, you didn't ask again. Eventually, your group came across a booth with a sign that read, 'Kiss A Monster – 10 Gold'. While Stretch and Latin peered over a festival map they got from who-knows-where while you were watching Blue and Black obliterate each other at games, you wandered over curiously. Behind the counter sat three monsters: a robot with square glasses and a yellow bowtie, a tall skeleton wearing black leggings and a skintight pink undershirt that outlined every individual rib, and--
“oh, hello again, cutie,” Lust greeted. “here to smooch a monster?”
“Tempting as the offer is,” you said, glancing up at the sign, “I don't have gold.”
Besides, you lips were reserved for the cheeks and foreheads of family and close friends. You didn't have a significant other. Lust didn't look too disappointed.
Before he could say more, the other skeleton was suddenly in your space and almost stole a kiss on accident anyway.
“Personal space, Papy,” the robot whispered, pulling him back a little by his shirt.
“WOWIE!” he exclaimed, seeming not to notice the increased breathing space between the two of you. “You're very pretty for a human!” As you chuckled awkwardly – you were clueless when it came to waving off compliments without looking like you were digging for attention –, he took one of your hands and shook it energetically. “You can call me Love! This is my brother, Lust, and my datemate, Beauté.”
You mouthed the robot's name as you shook his hand as well – it sounded French, but you weren't sure because you only took Spanish in school, and even then you only retained half of what you learned –, then dared to blow a kiss towards Lust. He looked pleasantly surprised, so it was worth the residual embarrassment. You decided to take advantage of your current situation and asked if they knew where the FIGHTs were happening.
“i'll let you know if you give me your phone number,” Lust bargained just as Love opened his mouth to answer.
You were unimpressed by the request until Lust's eye lights turned into hearts. You'd seen Blue's eyes turn into stars, and Black's eye lights weren't dots either, but you never saw hearts before, so you agreed. Maybe you could convince one of the Sanses to show you all the shapes their eye lights could turn. With sexy skeleton added to your contacts (along with Love not LOVE and Ghost I'd Smooch, because you couldn't resist Love's pleading eyes and he gave you his boyfriend's number in case he didn't have his phone on him...though you didn't understand the references), you returned to your group with directions to your original destination.
“C'mon guys,” you called, this time taking Danz and Latin's arms. “Let's go this way.”
The others followed with limited grumbles – which meant everyone complied easily except for Edge, but you all ignored him.
When you finally arrived at the correct area, a FIGHT was already in progress. Blue led the way, carving the rest of you a path towards the edge of the barrier that seemed to be put in place to prevent magical attacks from striking the audience. You gasped sharply when you saw a familiar head towering over the others in the crowd and you released the dancing brothers, rushing around Blue excitedly.
The eerily tall skeleton half turned, causing the people around him to back away unless they wanted elbows to the face. His crooked teeth stretched into a broad grin at the sight of you and he got to his knees, further disrupting the crowd. (That was okay; it allowed the rest of your group to fill in the gaps before the space was lost.) Jaws pulled you into a hug, a lot less tight than you were expecting, and when you were released, he gripped your shoulder and pointed into the arena.
“LOOK, FRIEND! MY BROTHER IS FIGHTING RIGHT NOW! I'M SURE HE'LL BE HAPPY TO KNOW THAT YOU CAME TO SUPPORT HIM!”
You didn't have the heart to tell him that you being here was just due to the coincidence of gaining Blackberry and Rust's friendship. You turned your gaze towards where Jaws was gesturing and sure enough, there was Horror. He looked pretty roughed up, scratches and smears of blood – bone marrow, you corrected yourself – staining his exposed bones. In his hands was an axe, the handle being made of a long, thick bone. As you laid eyes on the skeleton across from him – looking just as scraped up, with an additional gash across his jacket sleeve, exposing his humerus that was also soaked in bone marrow – the air around you chilled by several degrees. He held a bone in one hand that dimly glowed purple, the end sharpened to a point. Both skeletons were breathing heavily.
“How long have they been fighting?” you asked Jaws, trying to ignore the sudden tension radiating from the other monsters in your group.
“HM...” Jaws crossed his arms, almost knocking you off balance. You couldn't be mad, though. It was kind of funny that he couldn't control his lanky limbs. “ALMOST AN HOUR NOW, I BELIEVE.”
“Oh...” You wondered just how much magic they had in their reserves to go non-stop like this. You were also wondering why they'd want to fight so long anyway. “Well, who is that fighting him?”
“he's bad news,” Red growled, catching your attention. Edge didn't even reprimand him for talking to you, his eye sockets smoldering crimson. “the fucker dusted everyone in his universe, even his own brother.”
Your eyes widened in alarm. (In the back of your mind, you distantly noted that a few months ago, before you encountered Red and Blue and Danz, you wouldn't have taken the talk of multiple universes in stride – at least, not at first.)
“Is Horror safe fighting him, then?”
“OH, DON'T WORRY ABOUT MY BROTHER,” Jaws said. “HE IS STRONG ENOUGH TO TAKE ON DUST EASILY! ALSO, THERE'S A NO KILLING POLICY IN THIS TIMELINE.”
“not that that'll stop psychopaths,” Stretch muttered behind you. “he's Classic's problem now, though.”
You didn't know who Classic was, but you filed the name away for later reference. You bit your lip as Dust and Horror clashed, sparks flying between both their weapons and their eyes. There certainly was no love lost between them. You had to turn your head to glance to your right side, but all of the skeletons were crowded behind or to the left of you, so you reached up as if you were brushing aside stray hairs and pulled your eye patch up enough to see the fighters.
*HORRORTALE!SANS L̵V̢̛͢͠ ͠͠͝?̵̕͟ ̨̢H̕͟͟P̴͘ ͠3͢͝҉8̴̧̧͡/̸̕͠͡?̵̨̕͢͞
*DUSTTALE!SANS LV 19 HP 56/91
Wow, you thought, sliding your eye patch back down. That's...a lot of LV...
You didn't know what exactly LV stood for – you wanted to say 'level,' like in video games –, but something told you that it wasn't exactly positive. And Dust had a lot more than Horror.
From killing everyone in his world, your mind helpfully reminded you.
Dust lifted a hand and something formed behind him. It resembled an animal skull, in a way, and as its jaw dropped open, a blinding white beam came out. You had to cover your eyes, as did all the other humans watching, while the monsters just winced slightly. When you could see again, you noted a burn mark across the ground and saw that Horror had rolled out of the way. Only the side of his jacket was singed.
“that's fuckin' cheating!” Horror growled over the impressed roar of the crowd.
“you gonna do something about it?” Dust asked, shoulders shaking imperceptibly, and smiled.
Horror's grip on his axe tightened, then he freed one hand and clenched it into a fist. He made a gesture, like he was pulling up something heavy, and the ground at Dust's feet fractured. His gaze and yours dropped to it just as sharp and curved bones burst from it. You flinched, hands lifting to cover your face, but Dust wasn't there. He was right in front of Horror, and they were crossing weapons again.
“H-how did he do that?” you asked.
You hadn't even seen him move. A hand settled on your shoulder, and a glance over revealed slightly yellowing bones. Rust.
“that's what our shortcuts look like from the outside,” he explained, having to lean in closer so his monotonous voice could be heard over the cheers. “don't worry, he's not that fast.”
Teleportation over advanced speed? Oh yeah, that made you feel a lot better about the outcome of this fight, especially when they were getting dangerously close to each other, more cuts littering their bones.
“What, um... What exactly are the rules for FIGHTs?” you asked Jaws.
He didn't appear to hear you, but Black had the answer covered.
“They're not allowed to kill each other.”
You waited for more, but nothing else followed.
“That's it?” you squeaked.
“They're supposed to stop when one of them reaches a single HoPe point,” Blue added from where he'd wormed his way through the crowd to stand at your elbow.
“supposed to,” Stretch repeated under his breath.
His negative comments weren't helping settle your nerves. You wanted to take off your eye patch and keep an eye on their HP – HoPe points, according to Blue –, but you just knew that was asking for unwanted curiosity and attention from not only the skeletons in your group, but the humans around you too, so you decided to put your nervous energy to good use.
“Come on, Horror!” you shouted through the noise of the crowd. “You can do it!”
His eye light darted over to you, but so did Dust's. You blanched under the mismatched eye lights, but it seemed your cheering did some good because Horror broke the stand off they were currently in, bashing the glowing bone to the side and slamming his axe into Dust's side. You jerked back, hand flying to your mouth as, through the freshly sliced fabric, you watched two of his ribs disintegrate into dust and where they'd been connected to his spine, bone marrow spewed out. You didn't need your “monster eye” to know that his HP just dropped to one.
You almost feared that Horror would finish him off as his weapon faded from existence; he pressed the cheek of his axe against the underside of Dust's chin, tipping his head up. His permagrin moved slightly at the corners (and that is something you've noticed before; the lazier Sanses don't seem to ever really open their mouths to speak – even when you had lunch with Red, Stretch, and Danz, the two shorter monsters ate somehow without parting their teeth) and Dust's expression twisted – you couldn't tell if it was in agony or hatred or rage, or even all three, but then Horror pulled away and let Dust collapse on the ground. Someone announced Horror's victory over Dust, as if no one had been watching, and the response was deafening. Horror was given a small bucket full of gold and he looked towards you and Jaws again, heading your way while dragging his axe behind him. The barrier rippled as he got closer, but didn't stop him from passing through, and Jaws pulled him into a hug.
“YOU DID IT, BROTHER!”
“yep. we're eating good tonight, bro. i bet aliza will be happy to hear that.” When he was released, Horror turned to you. You noticed that his weapon was now gone. “and it's all thanks to you. so, uh, thanks.”
“Oh, no, you did all the work,” you deflected sheepishly. “I'm glad you won.”
You couldn't help the glance you cast back into the arena, but Dust was gone. The rest of your group crowded around you, Horror, and Jaws, congratulating the Sans on his win, but suddenly all the noise in the area was cut off but a loud scream. The crowd churned around you as everyone tried to get a look at the source, then suddenly everyone was fleeing. You were knocked over and received a few shoes to the fingers of your left hand and a single shoe to the face, scraping your cheek and causing blood to trickle towards your chin, but before you could get properly trampled, you were lifted by the back of your shirt in a manner that surprisingly didn't choke you.
“ON YOUR FEET, HUMAN!” Edge ordered, releasing you upright once more, then disappearing into the chaos.
With his hand gone, you felt cold air hit your back. His claws must've torn through your shirt, not that it would've mattered; you clothes were all filthy from the beer-soaked dirt anyway. You noticed that the others were spread around, trying to herd people in a more orderly manner, and when you turned to face the way humans and monsters were streaming from, you saw four humans lagging behind, but in their hands were knives and guns and at their feet were piles of dust. Your chest felt tight as your mind raced through the possibilities of anyone you met – Sugar, Melon and his brother, Beauté and Love and Lust – being one of the casualties. The festival grounds were beginning to look sparse, but the instigators were no longer chasing stragglers. Instead, they crowded around a fallen monster.
You raced towards them without even thinking, but you faltered when you realized who they'd cornered. It was Dust. His eyes glowed with an eerie purple light, but then it flickered out as he clutched at the side that Horror had axed in. The humans were taunting him, kicking at him and laughing when he flinched or cringed in pain. He didn't seem to be able to use magic. You felt bad for him, but after he obliterated everyone in his world, wouldn't it be better if this world was spared from him? (Your heart twisted angrily at your poisoned thoughts.) Then Dust's eyes met yours–
*DUSTTALE!SANS 1 ATK 1 DEF
*He doesn't want to die yet...
*papyrus, please help me...!
–and you couldn't do it. No matter what others said he did in the past, no one deserved to die like this: alone and afraid. Not when you could help. But how could you help? You were just a hu–
No, your mind barked at you. You're not completely human, are you?
While researching monsters, you'd read before that your soul was the very culmination of your being. It made up what you were. And you shared your soul with a monster.
*(You're filled with JUSTICE.)
You felt a surge of power swelling within you, but it broiled just beneath the surface of your skin, like it was being blocked. Your monster eye burned and before you could second guess the choice you were about to make, you reached up and tore off your eye patch, letting it slip through your fingers to the ground below. (You tried to ignore how the breeze caused the dust to lap at your shoes and pants.) The world turned pitch black around you, the hate group, and Dust – he was the only one you could still see in color. In front of each human hovered hearts – like the kind that a child drew, not the kind that beat within the chest of every human – of different colors: their souls.
You didn't bother to CHECK them.
You recalled Horror's attack and mentally gripped onto the energy coursing through you before you threw your right hand into the air. For a split second, nothing happened, but before you could even begin to fear that you were making a fool of yourself, that you couldn't even save one monster, bones erupted between the hate group and the fallen skeleton. The men and women jerked back, barely avoiding receiving the attack to their faces. Growls of 'monster' on their tongues died out as their eyes landed on you. You wondered what a sight you made to them -- a bloody and muddy human with the eye of a monster, controlling magic when no other humans have been able to.
They were about to be even more impressed.
Warm air blew from behind you, sending your hair into your face, followed by twin growls and a steadily brightening glow around you. You didn't have to turn around to see what it is -- you could see it in the eyes of the humans stumbling back in fear. You clenched your raised hand into a fist and two lasers of blue (so bright that it was almost white, but somehow you weren't blinded by the light this time) struck the ground at the humans' feet, sending them fleeing with screams and cries of panic. The creatures – *Gaster Blasters, your “monster eye” informed you – flew past you in pursuit, vanishing in thin air like the bones from the ground once the last of the hate group was out of sight.
The world returned around you and now you felt drained, like you'd gone a week without sleep. You really wanted to go home and curl up on the couch and pretend the day had never happened. But you forced your feet to obey you as you approached Dust, who was watching you like you were about to attack him next. You dropped to your knees next to him and, letting your soul guide you, you raised your uninjured hand over him. It began to glow green and small sparks of green energy floated from your palm and disappeared when they touched Dust.
*DUSTTALE!SANS LV 19 HP 75/91
*DUSTTALE!SANS LV 19 HP 82/91
*DUSTTALE!SANS LV 19 HP 90/91
When the glow faded away, your consciousness went with it. The only thought in your mind was the hope that Dust wouldn't kill you.
A/N: I love Dusttale!Sans. He's one of my favorite AU skeletons. :) Who else do you guys want to see? So far I have the Reborntale brothers, possibly Aftertale Sans and Disbelief!Papyrus, and the GasterBlaster bros on the waiting list.
Chapter 10: Everything's Changed
“Oh! You're awake!”
You turned your head and found a Sans and Papyrus standing at your bedside. They were dressed in suits of red and brown, and the Sans had on a fedora hat. Because to that, they reminded you of those mafia men in the old movies you watched with your father as a child.
“Allow us to introduce ourselves. My name is Capo,” the Papyrus stated proudly, then gestured to the other skeleton. “This is Mob. We're here to assist you after the incident from last week.”
A/N: You wouldn't believe how long it took to come up with a name for Mobtale Papyrus. You can look up what his name means if you want, but all you really need to know is that it's based off one of the higher ranks in the mafia. And I'm so sorry it took so long to write this chapter, it took forever to find an idea I could roll with. Unfortunately, it's not a super exciting chapter, but the next one will be really good!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
You could hear sirens and voices and static ringing in your ears. You couldn't remember opening your eyes. Your vision was fading in and out in a worrying manner, and you could only really see out of your right eye*. You deduced that you were in an ambulance; a paramedic was speaking to the someone in the background, but you couldn't make out their words. Before you could try to strain your hearing, you registered two figures leaning over you. One you (barely) recognized as Gaster, his purple eye lights focused on you in concern. He looked terrible, his features drooping as if he was melting. You could feel the weight of his hand on your shoulder, like he was trying to comfort you and remain standing.
On your other side was a Papyrus you'd never seen before, cloaked in a dark grey robe and a long scarf around his neck. He was gazing at Gaster sympathetically while reaching for something hovering over your chest – it was an inverted heart, pulsing slowly with a dim violet light. Your soul, you realized distantly. … Oh. Oh. Were you about to die? Just as the Papyrus' fingers were about to brush the surface of your soul, a semiring of green blocked it off. The pulsing of your soul was growing steadier, the light glowing a little brighter.
Papyrus pulled away with a surprised smile, and Gaster looked relieved, hand squeezing your shoulder slightly. You were relieved, too – so relieved, in fact, that you were passing out again. Just before you were welcomed back into unconsciousness, though, you thought you saw a familiar, black-cloaked Sans appear beside Papyrus before they both vanished.
You woke up in a hospital. You weren't really sure if you were surprised about this or not. Everything felt numb, except for your “monster” eye; it really stung, and you let it close. That helped a little.
“Oh! You're awake!”
You turned your head and found a Sans and Papyrus standing at your bedside. They were dressed in suits of red and brown, and the Sans had on a fedora hat. Because to that, they reminded you of those mafia men in the old movies you watched with your father as a child.
“Allow us to introduce ourselves. My name is Capo,” the Papyrus stated proudly, then gestured to the other skeleton. “This is Mob. We're here to assist you after the incident from last week.”
“Incident...?” you repeated slowly. "Last week?" You weren't quite grasping what he meant, but it seemed they were prepared for that, because Capo passed you a phone, a video loading on the screen.
You rewatched the video over ten times, almost unable to believe that the person in it was you, but there was no mistaking the clothes you'd worn on the day of the festival. Despite the grainy quality, the appearance of your magic still made you awestruck. The video cut out after the Gaster Blasters fired their lasers, causing the person recording to curse as the light blinded out anything else their phone camera might've picked up. You finally handed Capo his phone back, slumping in the hospital bed and burying your face in your hands.
“Can't I just go home?” you all but whine, peering at the suit-clad skeleton brothers between your fingers.
They exchanged looks that made your heart sink.
“i'm afraid your home has been vandalized by an anti-monster group,” Mob explained bluntly. “we're not quite sure how they found where you lived, but by order of classic, we can't let you return there.”
There was that name again. 'Classic.' You really needed to meet this (you presumed) skeleton.
“Can I at least see my friends? I want to make sure they're okay.”
You were really afraid that Mob was about to tell you that while you were rescuing a murderous stranger, your friends had been hurt or, worse, dusted.
“they refused to leave until they saw you,” the short skeleton finished, looking vaguely annoyed.
You kind of wanted to strangle the nicely dressed monster for giving you a miniature heart attack.
“So...can I see them now?”
Capo nodded and went to the door, opening it and poking his skull out. He barely finished announcing, “They're awake,” before he had to get out of the way or risk being trampled by the herd of monsters that entered the room. Your hospital room wasn't very big, so they filled up all the free space. There was Blue, Red, Danz (all of whom you were expecting), Rust, Black, Napstablook, (who were pleasant surprises), and Edge (who was completely unexpected).
“We're so glad you're alright!” Blue exclaimed.
The rest of the monsters echoed his sentiments, filling the room with noise, but you didn't mind. You were glad they were alright, too. Blue and Napstablook had brought flowers for you, daisies of various colors, and you were touched. (There was a single red hibiscus in the middle of Blue's bouquet that you suspected was Red's doing.)
“So, can we see it?” Rust asked bluntly, once you set the flowers aside. “Your eye?”
The rest of the monsters didn't even try to act like they weren't just as equally curious – well, Edge did, but he wasn't doing a very good job –, though a few (Blue and Danz) shot Rust warning frowns. You hesitated, not because you didn't trust (most of) them, but because you'd hidden your “monster” eye for so long, the fact that it was no longer a Big Secret was a little mind-boggling. But you conceded, in the end, and opened your eye. It didn't hurt anymore, though it did water a little in response to the light.
“Wowie...” Blue whispered, starry eyed – literally. The other skeletons appeared to be in various stages of surprise, awe, or (in Red, Rust, and Edge's case) apprehension.
It was rather late in the day already, unfortunately, so you didn't get very much time with your friends before they had to leave due to visiting hours ending, but they promised to keep in contact. By the time they all had to file out, Rust, Black, and Napstablook had already shortcutted (or faded) away and Edge hadn't stayed more than a minute longer after your eye re-reveal.
“you're going to be released the day after tomorrow,” Mob told you, being the last one in the doorway. “my bro and i will be back to pick you up.”
When you were finally alone, you stared at the ceiling. You didn't want to go to sleep for some reason – whatever dream(?) you had between the time you passed out to waking in the hospital, it was making you uneasy, even if you couldn't remember any of it. But eventually your exhaustion won out and you drifted off. Thankfully it was a dreamless rest. (Or did you just not remember again?)
The next day passed by alarmingly quickly, in your honest opinion. Horror and Jaws dropped by for a couple minutes to check on you and marvel over your eye (well, the latter did; the former kind of eyed you from where he stood near the door). Danz and Blue returned, armed with armfuls of 'Get Well Soon' cards and a few stray gifts.
“All of your friends were worried,” Blue informed you as you picked through them.
There were cards from Latin and the other dancing monsters from the mall, Lust, Love, and Beauté, Swapby and Strastby (their combined card surprised you a little, but according to your skeletal friends, all the Grillbies knew each other pretty well), and Shyren. Frisk had sent you a well-used pink rabbit toy, and the dog monsters that you and Gaster had played fetch with sent you a very familiar tennis ball. Even Tone sent you a gift – a brand new CD by someone called Napstaton. It was all very touching, and you suffered through a few embarrassing minutes of crying in front of your friends.
That night, you didn't dream again, but G's words from (what felt like) forever ago echoed in your mind just before you drifted off: "͟S̡͘o͞ ̶th̡a̸͜t̵'͢͡s҉ w̴̛h͏a̶͢t҉ ͟y̷o̸͢u̶ ̶͟͝ar̛e͘."͝
The next morning, by the time you finished the questionable-looking breakfast and were free to go, the “mafia” brothers had arrived. You were more than surprised to see Stretch standing outside the hospital as you exited the front doors, flanked by Mob and Capo, the latter holding your grocery bag of wrapped cards, toy, CD, and ball. Behind Stretch, pulled up to the curb, was Edge in the driver's seat of a fancy red sports car.
“it's about time they let you out,” he said, patting you on the shoulder. “sorry I couldn't visit; I was busy with a few things. but it's good to see you back on your feet.”
“It feels good to be free,” you agreed with a laugh. Sort of free, anyway, you thought.
Mob and Capo had explained that you were to be staying in a temporary residence until they (or rather, 'Classic') could clear up the mess that the media was making about a human using monster magic.
“anyways, here.” Stretch gave you a small backpack.
Upon opening it, you were greeted by bundles of clothes stuffed in it to the brim in a variety of colors. “These aren't--”
“most of your belongings couldn't be salvaged, including your clothes,” the lanky monster explained. “so a few of us came together and bought you new stuff.” He grabbed one of your hands and put a phone – much fancier than your beat-up original – in it. “that's yours now, too.”
“You guys didn't have to do that,” you protested. You didn't like the thought of anyone wasting money on you, but the fact that they went out of their way to do so anyway made you feel warm inside and you couldn't help but smile. “But thank you.” You glanced past him briefly towards Edge, who appeared to be impatiently grumbling to himself. “And what about...?”
“oh.” Stretch didn't even glance over his shoulder, offering a lazy shrug. “he's my ride to work.”
“Ah. Good luck.” You hadn't meant to let that slip, but Stretch chuckled good-naturedly.
“text us if you're feeling bonely out there,” he called from where he was now sitting next to Edge after teleporting. (Or...shortcutting.)
You waved as they drove off and wondered how Stretch even knew you were leaving when you just found out five minutes ago.
“Alright, this way,” Capo said, directing you to his brother, who was offering a hand. You took it after a moment of hesitation, already preparing for a shortcut and thus not surprised when your surroundings darkened until it was pitch black. You were surprised when just as soon as the last of the light faded, it was back again, and instead of standing in front of a hospital, you were standing in front of a small, dilapidated house on the edge of the city; behind it loomed the forest. “Welcome to the safe house!”
Your jaw dropped as you twisted to face Mob.
“How did you do that?” He raised a brow and you quickly elaborated. “Your shortcut... We didn't even move! A-and it only took a few seconds!”
“oh, you've taken shortcuts before?” He stuffed his hands into his pockets. “a shortcut can be executed quickly, it just uses up a lot of energy. and a lot of us who use 'em don't have the energy to do it.”
“Then why do you?”
“heh, well, why wouldn't i? i suggest talking to one of your friends about it instead.”
Before you could try to pry more from him, Capo called the both of you over from where he was now standing in the open doorway of the house. You reluctantly let the subject drop and followed the taller skeleton inside. It was more spacious than the outside would suggest, but maybe the lack of too much furniture made it appear that way. There were only two doors that you could see upon entering, one leading out the back of the house.
“the attic upstairs should work out as a bedroom,” Mob explained from behind you as you walked over to the stairs. “the room down here is a bathroom, i think. or maybe it's a storage room.” He shrugged slightly. “it's been a while since we had to hide anyone here. my bro brought them by himself last time.”
“And I already took it upon myself to fill your cabinets with all the kinds of pasta ingredients you could ever need!” Capo announced proudly, setting the grocery bag onto the shoe rack by the door. “Mob filled the fridge with...things too, and there's Nice Cream in the freezer.”
Capo smiled, then he and his brother began walking out the door.
“W-wait, you're leaving already?” you asked, head swimming from the rapid happenings being thrown in your face. Distantly, you recalled a time when you would've been all too happy to be alone.
“we've got jobs to do, kid,” Mob said dismissively. “you'll be fine. we'll stop by to check up on you once in a while.”
Then, when Capo's hand settled on Mob's shoulder, they were gone. You slowly shuffled over to the door and shut it, locking it for good measure (because you didn't know where in the city you were) before deciding to explore your “home for the foreseeable future.”
You left the entryway and walked right into the living area – with just a comfy-looking couch and a small tv – sharing the space with a kitchen, separated from the rest of the room by an island counter. You tested the sink, satisfied when clean water came out. Shutting it off, you glanced around, then decided to test the maybe-bathroom door, which led to a small laundry room-slash-bathroom (though there was only a toilet and sink for the bathroom part...). The other led to a rickety porch, covered in cobwebs and fallen leaves. Letting the porch door swing shut, you walked upstairs (though the stairs, trapped between a banister and the wall, were uncomfortably thin). Like Mob had said, the attic was acting as the bedroom, with a small bed covered in a dusty blanket and pillow (though fortunately there was no rodent droppings) and an equally small dresser, which you set your bag upon.
You sat on the bed, feeling how soft it was and studiously ignoring the dust, and looked through your new phone. It had all your old contacts, thankfully, and even a couple new ones: sugar skull and Edge – Only For Emergencies. You made a face at the last one as you tucked the phone into your pocket. As much as you wanted to, you decided it was still too early for you to nap and mope, so you decided to head to the kitchen and scout out the “pasta ingredients” that Capo left for you.
When you opened the first cupboard, all you saw were spaghetti boxes, completely overrunning the whole thing, except in the corner, where a couple ramen noodle boxes were. The next cupboard held spiral and shell noodles, and when you opened the third, you feared that there would just be more noodles. Fortunately, there was only spaghetti sauce and other sauces you'd need for various kinds of pasta you actually didn't know how to cook. You'd just have to look up instructions. You went for the fridge next and thanked all the gods above for Mob because he left you things for a variety of foods, like hamburger meat, lettuce, tomatoes, grapes, and other stuff. And, as Capo mentioned, there was Nice Cream in the freezer. All together, a nice haul, and it seemed like it'd last for a while. How long did they expect you to have to live in the woods?
A/N: I'd just like to point out that while the Reader is obviously well aware that G, Danz, Tone, and Rust (and now Stretch) can use shortcuts, they don't assume the same of the other Sanses or Papyruses. So, for example, they don't realize that Horror and Red can use shortcuts, too. Also remember that Reader doesn't realize the polarization of the AUs, like Rust and Black being from a universe that is opposite of Edge and Red's, but also just a darker version of Stretch and Blue's.
Also, sorry we didn't get into Reader's new-found magical abilities, but that's what the next chapter will cover in its entirety (pretty much).
*Reader didn't open their eyes. They were using their magic to “see”. That's why the only colors described in that scene are the color of their soul, the “shield,” and Gaster's eye lights; they're all pure magic.
Let me know what you think!
Chapter 11: A Human's Guide To Magic
“I'm supposed to stay at a place out here until it's safe to go back to Ebott.” You were cut off from the social life that you'd actually begun to enjoy. … “Actually...would you guys like to stay with me?”
A/N: It's been too long. I'm really sorry, guys. Writing is hard. I really hope this turned out okay, and I'll try to not let as much time pass before the next chapter is out. Also, please go back and reread chapter 10. It's had some important revising done. So has chapter 4 - that one's not as important, but you could still check it out. I hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Your dream-free nights in the hospital came back to bite you in the ass on your first night in the safe house. It wasn't a normal dream (not that “normal dreams” really existed), nor was it a nightmare (thank goodness). It was more like an out-of-body experience in a new place than a dream.
It started off when you opened your eyes to a white void. That was it. Just a solid white space that appeared to stretch on forever. You took a few tentative steps forward and once you were sure that you weren't going to hit any invisible boundaries, you kept moving. You didn't appear to be going anywhere, but eventually you saw a figure in the distance, growing closer, and glancing up, you found blue strings hanging from some indeterminate space above you. Tangled in the strings were skeletal puppets that looked eerily like a lot of your friends.
“if we're really friends...you won't come back.”*
You slowed to a stop when you realized that you were just a few steps behind the figure. He was sitting in front of a tear in the otherwise white expanse, showcasing stars. They were beautiful. You couldn't make out any of the figure's telling features with his hood up, so you slowly walked around him until you were standing at his side, looking down at him. He was a skeleton monster, as you expected. What you hadn't expected was for him to look so different from every other skeleton you'd met.
All the skeletons you'd met before were unique in their own right, but this one was the only skeleton you'd ever seen with black bones and what appeared to be permanent, blue tear-marks on his face. His fingers were red and yellow, and his toes – well, the toes you could see; he was missing one of his slippers – were red like his femurs. His eye sockets were also red. The left eye light was blue on yellow with a dot of black in the center, and the other was simply a speck of white. His teeth were yellow, and his permagrin was downturned. He wore a dark, gradient blue jacket (the inside of the hood was yellow), a red shirt, and black shorts with blue lines down the sides. His whole appearance seemed to flicker at the edges and error symbols faded in and out of existence across his body.
In his lap stood two puppets. Well, one of them (a blue-hoodied Sans) was standing while the other (a Frisk) was laying on their stomach, a sharp bone tearing through their center. Both were attached to the same blue strings that were hanging from the “ceiling,” though these ones were coming from the monster's fingertips. You leaned closer when the puppets flickered, the Frisk returning to normal and the Sans turning into the same skeleton puppeteering them. He gazed at them blankly before he became overcome with rage.
“L̵̢-̕͡l̸̴̨͢͠-̡͜͜͝l̢̛͟-̵̵o̵o҉͜-̶̵̢͡k̶̵ ̴̡ą͜͝͞ţ̛ ̸͜͡w̨͘͜h̴̛a̶̵̕͞-͞a̡̡̨͡͡t͏̕ ͢͢͠y̸͟͏͡o̸ư͘͜'̨̧v̶͟҉e̡̛ ̶̴͡d̡͜͡o҉̕-̵̵͠͝ǫ̵͜͟͞-͠͞o̷̢ņ̨͢ȩ͘ ̡͢ţ͜͢o̶̕ ̧͜m̴̸̧͘͢ę̴͏-̵̨ȩ͟-̷͢͞e̴͢-̸̨͢͠e̵̸͢!̷̸̢" he screamed, voice skipping like a scratched CD.
The strings reeled the Frisk into the palm of his hand, and he squeezed the poor doll so hard that its head popped off. You flinched away from the display, taking a good few steps back in case he decided to suddenly notice you, but he didn't. Instead, he scrutinized the decapitated Frisk with an irritated expression. His eyes glanced up at the stars in the rift and the anger seemed to fade. He tossed the Frisk puppet aside, clutching his puppet doppelgänger tightly, but not enough to ruin it, and curled over his lap, burying his face in his arms. You felt bad, and reached out to try and...comfort him?…but shadows appeared on the edges of your vision and enveloped you. A dissonant sob was the last thing you heard.
Then you woke up.
You'd skipped dinner the night before, too uncomfortable in a new environment to feel hungry, but now your stomach was begging you to sustain yourself, so you reluctantly dragged yourself out of bed and down the stairs. The small clock on the store read “11:57,” so you slept in later than you usually did recently, but you didn't mind. The sleep had shaved off the last of the exhaustion left over from the hospital.
You dug around in the fridge and, in the back, found a few plastic cups of peaches. You grabbed a couple, scouted out the location of the silverware, and took them out onto the back porch to eat in peace and get some fresh air – killing two birds with one stone and all that. You hadn't noticed before, but there was a tall, round table in the corner, with two chairs pulled up to it. You grabbed the one with the least spiderwebs, dusted it off as best as you could with your sleeve pulled over your hand, and curled up on it, absentmindedly shoveling peaches into your mouth as you gazed out into the forest.
By the time you finished eating, you had made up your mind. If you were going to be stuck who-knew-where for who-knew-how-long, you were going to make the best of it. You hadn't been out in nature for years, and this was your big chance to get back into it. And then, when you went home (if you went home...?), you might be more inclined to spend your free time outside rather than cooped up in your room with only your computer for company. So you went inside, tossed your fork into the sink and the plastic cups into the trash under the sink, then went to get dressed.
This also happened to be the perfect opportunity to see what all the skeletons had bought you in terms of clothes. You appreciated that almost all of the pants were jeans, with a few sweatpants thrown in for good measure. Then there were the shirts – most of them t-shirts with crappy puns on them that made you laugh despite yourself, and a few longer-sleeved shirts with graphic designs. And there was a striped hoodie in black and white. You pulled one a pair of the jeans and a shirt that said, “I make horrible science puns, but only periodically,” with the outline of the periodic table in the background. From the very bottom of the bag, you also procured a familiar eye patch, which you contemplated over for a minute before putting back into the bag. Once you had on your socks and shoes, relieved yourself in the bathroom, and combed out the mess that you called your hair, you were ready to have an adventure.
Wandering through the forest, armed with only your new cell phone and the bunny Frisk sent you (tied to one of your belt loops by its ears), was...kind of boring. It wasn't that you didn't enjoy the sights and smells of the forest, but having no one to share it with took a lot of the excitement out of it. When you were a child, your father would take you and your cousins out camping. You would go fishing in streams, take pictures of beautiful flowers for your mother, and catch fireflies on warm nights. Sometimes you would find a herd of deer and lay on the ground, watching them (and, depending on the time of year, their fawns) cross open fields of grass. Camping used to be your favorite activity; being away from the rush that was Life, away from the leers and taunts of 'freak' from your classmates – at least your family and the animals wouldn't mock you for something you couldn't control.
You heard footsteps nearby and stopped. They continued on, plodding heavily across the ground, and you crept forward, wondering if you'd be able to catch a good look at a buck in its prime – maybe even some does and their babies, if you were lucky. You rounded a particularly thick tree and came face-to-face with a jagged-toothed skull. You shrieked, and the skeleton screamed right back.
“jaws! are you okay?”
Another skeleton joined the first, appearing out of thin air, as you clutched your chest and wheezed, trying to regain your breath. You recognized them now as the previously-screaming skeleton straightened to his full, towering height.
“OH! HORROR, IT'S OUR HUMAN FRIEND!”
“Wh-what are you guys doing here?” you asked once you recovered from your semi-heart attack.
“WE LIVE HERE,” Jaws replied for him.
“we're t o o s c a r y to stay in the shelters in the city,” Horror growled. “so we go during the day, to walk aliza to school and watch her afterwards until tori's done bussing tables at muffet's. then we're out here.”
“WE'VE GOT A SHED,” Jaw announced too proudly for a monster being forced to live in almost complete isolation.
A thought struck you and you wanted to kick yourself. The night of the festival, you were planning on checking the donation progress for Horror and his family, but that obviously hadn't worked out and now your laptop was who knew where. But you had your new phone... You'd have to check for service back at the safe house.
“what are you doing out here?” Horror asked.
“I'm supposed to stay at a place out here until it's safe to go back to Ebott.” You were cut off from the social life that you'd actually begun to enjoy. … “Actually...would you guys like to stay with me?”
Horror looked bemused while Jaws was beginning to grin – well, broader than he already was before.
“It'd be a lot less lonely,” you added, and that seemed to be the breaking point. Jaws picked you up in a tight hug and spun you around twice.
“WE WOULD LOVE TO!” he yelled, making your ears ring. “WOULDN'T WE, BROTHER?”
Horror continued to look skeptical for a moment, then finally relaxed and nodded. “yeah. yeah, sure. the more, the merrier.” He didn't seem very enthusiastic; it appeared that Jaws' decisions held more sway over what he did than anything.
Having Horror and Jaws staying with you made the whole situation feel a bit less jarring. Jaws explored the whole house, even squeezing his way upstairs and somehow making it back down without getting stuck. Sans just stayed downstairs with you and you let him examine your eye up close when he asked. You made them hamburgers for an early dinner, and they went through almost all of the hamburger meat before their hunger was satiated. You wondered when the last time they had a proper meal was, or if their hunger was normal for monsters. After directing them to the living area to watch tv for the time being, you settled for having a meal of Ramen Noodles, digging into the back of the cupboard in search for a specific kind.
Aha! No one can hide the chicken flavored Ramen Noodles from me! you thought victoriously as you peered into the second box.
As you took one of the packets out and began to go about preparing it, you were reminded of your college days. You hadn't wanted to spend more money on food than you had to, so you survived on Ramen Noodles, dry cereal, and salad, with the occasional fruit, too. A few of your rare friends sometimes invited you out for lunch and you tried to get your much-needed nutrients when that happened.
As you waited for the pot of noodles to cook, you hefted yourself onto the island counter and turned on your phone. To your surprise, you had full service. You weren't sure if you were piggybacking off of the nearest building or if it was built into the house, but you weren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. You got onto the fundraiser page and your eyes widened when you saw just how much was raised in the time since you began it; there was enough that they wouldn't even need to live in an apartment – they could get a full house in the monster district and have enough left over for food, clothes, and whatever else they would need.
You sent a text to Danz, including the fundraiser page link, and asked him if his Toriel would be willing to help you, since you couldn't leave the safe house. Over the course of befriending all kinds of monsters from all kinds of backgrounds, you'd done some research and you were stunned beyond belief when you realized that you met a member of royalty. (It was also disconcerting to learn there was a King Sans and King Papyrus, not related to each other.)
After eating your noodles, taking care of trash, and washing the dishes, you joined the skeleton brothers on your couch, squeezing between Jaws and one of the couch arms, with Horror sitting on Jaws' other side. You watched a couple late night cooking shows and a comedy routine before Jaws yawned. Horror was already asleep. You offered them your bed.
“Are you sure?” Jaws asked in the softest voice you'd ever heard come from him.
You gave him a reassuring smile. “The couch will only fit one person. You two probably want to stick together, so you can have the bed. It should have enough room for you both.” You glanced down at yourself briefly. “Just let me get changed.”
When you looked back up at Jaws, his eye sockets look suspiciously shiny around the edges, but then he blinked away any possible tears. “O-of course.”
You went upstairs, throwing on a pair of sweatpants and a long sleeved shirt, and grabbed one of the blankets before you returned downstairs. You wished Jaws a goodnight as he carried Horror up the thin staircase, and he returned the sentiment. You brushed your teeth, locked the doors, then settled onto the couch. It was lumpy – more comfortable to sit on than lay on, and you'd left both of the pillows for the skeleton brothers, so you had to use the hard arm rest. You would probably wake up with a sore neck, but at least your limbs weren't hanging off the edges like Jaws' would've been.
This living arrangement lasted much of the same for the next few days (minus the time that Jaws offered to help you with dinner and you all had to have ham sandwiches and canned veggies because somehow the whole pan caught on fire).
About a week after Horror and Jaws started staying with you, you woke up sweating. It wasn't because of a dream, though, but because you had two more blankets piled on top of you than you normally did, and your head was buried in one of your pillows. You sat up, hair falling in your face, and checked your phone after retrieving it from where it had fallen onto the floor. It was about ten in the morning. You dropped your phone onto your lap and stretched your arms above your head.
A loud shout of your name caught your attention, just before the back door slammed open. Jaws peered inside, smiling as always. He was practically vibrating with excitement. “COME OUTSIDE! I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU!”
He ducked back out the door. You took a moment to pat your cheeks – though that didn't help wake you any further – before you slid off of the couch (dropping your phone to the floor again) and approached the door. Opening it, you're nearly blinded by the morning sunlight, but your eyes adjusted (the right one faster than the left) and you gaped at the sight that greeted you. Jaws stood in the center of a make-shift arena-slash-maze of bones.
“pretty cool, huh?” You jumped when Horror spoke from beside you – he was slumped in one of the chairs at the table. “he- er, we wanted to do something to thank you for housing us.”
“WE'RE GOING TO HELP YOU LEARN TO USE YOUR MAGIC!” Jaws interrupted excitedly.
You weren't exactly sure how to feel about that. On one hand, you were grateful that they were willing to do something so momentous (to you) for you. On the other, you weren't even sure you wanted to learn how to use magic. What had it done for you so far in your life except bring you strife? You were an outcast amongst your own kind, and now you were forced to stay in a place isolated from both monsters and humans because of what you were – or rather, what your soul was bound to.
“hey.” You glanced over at Horror, who was idly picking at the jagged hole in his skull. “i know you've probably been through hell because you and a monster are 'destined to be,' and humans apparently can't accept that because it's wrong.” He rolled his eye. “but the way i see it, you can either let their fear control your own, or you can embrace it and prove to them that you're more than your other half.”
You bit your lip in thought, and looked back to Jaws, who was waiting patiently, gloved hands on his hips. You sighed. “Yeah... Okay.” You smiled slightly. “I'll do it,” you added with a little more energy in your voice, causing Jaws to beam. “Just let me get changed.”
You ran upstairs and changed into a fresh t-shirt (with nyan-cat plastered on the front) and sweatpants, dropping your phone into your bag so you didn't accidentally break it. You stopped by the bathroom when you returned downstairs, giving a half-hearted attempt at taming your nest of hair (and giving yourself a pep talk), then went back outside.
“Okay, let's do this!” you declared boldly.
A few minutes later, you weren't as confident in your decision. Completing the maze was a breeze – you only hit a few snags, like the surprise pitfall trap near the end, but made it in one piece. Jaws had been ecstatic and Horror even flashed you a thumbs up. But what came next was using your magic properly.
“was the festival the first time you used magic?” Horror asked.
You shook your head and explained your previous uses of CHECK and JUDGE. He actually looked surprised.
“huh. yep, those are certainly magic-based. use them on my bro, and tell me what you see.”
You were confused, but did as you were told. Jaws stood still, looking as confused as you were, but compliant anyway.
*HORRORTALE!PAPYRUS LV 1 HP 680/680
*HORRORTALE!PAPYRUS ATK 20 DEF 20
*He loves his brother...
*...but sometimes he doesn't understand the ridiculous things Sans does.
You felt like that last part was influenced purposefully by Jaws, and when you looked up at him, he winked. You chuckled and told Horror the stats you observed. He looked at Jaws, then at you, and chuckled.
“color me impressed. alright, bro, you can move onto your next lesson.”
The next lesson was learning to call up attacks. Jaws gave a few examples, like ordering blue bones to erupt at your feet and impale you in the chest. You'd screamed and froze, in shock rather than fear, because somehow you knew that they wouldn't hurt you as long as you didn't move, but how can anyone just not react to being stabbed. The bone's magic buzzed uncomfortably where it passed through you. With a wave of his hand, the bones dissolved and you were free again. Your first move was to drop to your knees and take a few deep breaths. Then it was your turn. To say the least, it didn't go well. No matter what you did, you couldn't get the magic thrumming beneath your skin to bend to your will. It was extremely frustrating.
“I don't even understand how I did it the first time!” you groaned when Jaws urged you to try yet again.
“humans have bigger magic reserves than us monsters,” Horror called from his new lounging position on the back porch steps. “the reason you passed out was probably because it was your first time accessing the large pool of magic laying dormant within you. all of your magic rushed out instead of just what was needed to fuel attacks.”
You paused and turned to him. “But I thought you said JUDGEing and CHECKing were magic-based, too.”
“they are. they...” He grunted, reaching up to scratch idly around the hole in his skull. “how do i put this...? you know how grillbies are always aflame?” At your nod, he continued, “well, that's a passive magic ability. magic is always fueling it, but it's not coming from their reserves. you understand?” He sighed when you gave him a blank look.
“THINK OF IT AS HAVING A SEPARATE SOURCE OF MAGIC IN YOUR EYE,” Jaws spoke up behind you.
Horror looked momentarily surprised, then grinned. “yeah, exactly,” he agreed, practically glowing with pride towards his brother. “the rest of your magic – in your blood, your bones, your very molecules – comes from your soul.”
Horror exchanged a look with Jaws. “you know what a soul is, don't'cha?”
“Of course.” It was one of the very first things you learned about monsters – their entire existence depended on their soul. But did that apply to humans, too?
“well, summon it, then.”
“BROTHER!” Jaws shrieked, sounding scandalized as he crossed his arms tightly across his chest.
“what? a soul isn't intimate to humans. they only get weird about their...bits.” He makes a vague gesture towards his lower half, making you blush out of residual embarrassment, even though you knew nothing was there. (Though, thinking back to Lust's weird violet skin, you couldn't help but wonder, and that made your face burn even more.)
“YOU'RE MAKING THE HUMAN UNCOMFORTABLE!”
“No, I-I'm okay,” you choked out. Horror grinned and you narrowed your eyes at him, betting he knew exactly what he was doing. “I'll summon my soul, then.” You glanced at Jaws. “If that's okay?”
He shifted awkwardly, then gave a decisive nod. “I SUPPOSE IT IS AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT TO THE USE OF MAGIC. PLUS, WE CAN TELL YOU WHAT YOUR MAIN TRAIT IS!”
“Okay.” You paused. “How do I summon my soul?”
The brothers went silent and just stared at you for a moment, then Jaws took a deep breath, puffing out his chest.
“I'LL SHOW YOU,” he declared boldly (considering how self-conscious he was about the subject just a minute ago). “YOU JUST FOCUS ALL OF YOUR MAGIC INTO THE CENTER OF YOUR BEING AND...” He raised his hands to his chest, an expression of concentration falling over his face, and then there was a white, glowing, inverted heart floating above his gloves, bathing them in light. He cradled it close, as if afraid to drop it. “...JUST GUIDE IT OUT.”
You made sure not to stare, since you weren't sure just what etiquette you were supposed to take when it came to a monster's soul, and looked down at your own chest. You raised your hands and squeezed your eyes shut. You could feel the magic flowing through your veins, and you tried to push it towards your torso. It resisted quite insistently, but you bullied it into going where you wanted. The sensation was just as uncomfortable as when Jaws' blue attack was sticking through you. You willed your soul to leave your body, then opened your eyes.
Your hands were empty.
You wanted to pull your hair in frustration, but dropped your arms instead.
“i guess you'll just have to practice,” Horror teased casually, and when you turned to face him, he was gone.
Jaws patted you on the shoulder, guiding you towards the porch. “WE CAN TRY AGAIN LATER. YOU'LL BE A PRO AT MAGIC ATTACKS IN NO TIME – NOT AS GOOD AS I, BUT GOOD ENOUGH.”
That managed to garner a laugh from you, and though you wanted to just keep attempting magic, you let Jaws drag you into a movie marathon that lasted well into the evening. (Horror didn't reappear once the entire time, but he was at breakfast the next morning.)
A/N: *This was the last thing he said to his Frisk as a normal Sans before they reset the timeline and caused him to become an error.
I hope you guys liked this. What do you guys want to happen next? Meeting new monsters? Getting the Horrortale monsters their home? Let me know!