Welcome to Snowdin!
HOME OF PAPYRUS!
A fuzzy claw scribbled hastily over the large and intrusive font. The bear let out a heavy sigh, shaking his head sadly. “That is not politics.” There was a crunching of snow nearby, leading to another bear dressed like a bright holiday present.
“Why not?” the cheery bear asked, a bundle of wrapping paper crinkling in his pockets.
The other bear shook his head again, this time with extra judgement. “You wouldn’t understand! There should have been a petition to see if the town would approve first!”
The gift bear looked over the little town with a slow blinking stare. A cute bunny happily chattered away while walking through town, her little brother Cinnamon hopping gleefully into the thick soft poffs of snow that littered the roads. The small white bunny practically vanished in the snow, but luckily his sister kept a leash on him at all times. Smart thinking! Another taller rabbit man stood nearby, watching in what appeared to be horror for some reason?
“I don’t think anyone would really mind,” the gift bear said after a short while.
Politically-minded bear shook his head for a third time, letting out a deeply exasperated sigh. “It’s the principle of the thing!” He tried scrubbing the ink off with a wet blanket that was covered in little bunny patterns. “Imagine if we just let those teenagers run loose around town and do whatever they wanted!”
Gift bear blinked, a light layer of snow growing over his back and melting into his fur. He didn’t notice. “Don’t they already? Besides, isn’t it thanks to those teenagers that we have such a nice holiday?”
“That’s…” He seemed to be at a loss for words for once. He couldn’t find the strength to shake his head a fourth time. “That’s not the point! We have a system!”
A snow poff formed on the gift bear’s head, appearing as a rather stylish hat. “Isn’t the system to talk to that tall skeleton, who talks to a fish?”
“Exactly!” He nodded, with just a hint of smugness. “And I don’t believe the fish or the king was informed in this decision! It’s not politics!”
Gift bear tilted his head, causing the snow to come tumbling down. “Does the king really need to get involved in this?”
“Of course!” The political bear nodded happily, finding the PAPYRUS had finally washed off almost completely. “That is the very essence of politics! It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Hm,” Gift bear mumbled with a yawn. “I suppose?” He couldn’t help but wonder if the politics bear just liked gossip.
Another soft crunch reached their fuzzy ears. The footsteps gave off the distinct impression of someone who was sure of themselves, someone who had been around the block quite a few times. Everyone in Snowdin had their own way of walking in the snow, you could usually hear someone coming before you saw them.
“Hiya, guys!” the voice said, her surefooted steps stopping before them. The shopkeeper huffed lightly, pretty crystals forming in the warm fog of her breath. She held bags of various knickknacks and baked goods in her strong arms delicately, with the air of a monster who had held (and maybe dropped) more than a few children she did not ask to hold. “What’s the gossip today?”
“It’s not gossip!”
“That funny skeleton vandalized the welcome sign,” Gift bear said slowly, with a tone that implied it wasn’t nearly as bad as the other bear might make it out to be.
“Oh? The short one, right?” the shopkeeper said, squinting her eyes to find the damage, but finding none. “It doesn’t seem so bad.”
Political bear threw his claws into the frigid air. “No, no, the tall one this time! And this is only because I cleaned it! Oh, he will be hearing about this, believe you me!”
The shopkeeper grew silent, looking over to gift bear who merely let off a slow shrug. “I, uh, believe you,” she said finally. “Good luck with that. Anyway, I am opening up the shop now, I’ll talk to you two later.”
The overly gossipy bear merely grunted grumpily, returning to his self-inflicted work. Gift bear’s eyes perked up slightly. He stood back up quickly, the piles of snow avalanching off his large body. “Oh, that reminds me of why I came here in the first place! I was waiting for you to open. May I come in?”
She smiled. This one was always her first customer, always waiting for her. He’d buy the same thing. Wrapping paper. She wasn’t sure how he had so much money, but she was sure that if anything happened to him, she’d probably be out of business. “Of course, let me just get the door.”
“Allow me, miss,” the gift bear said, his feet sluggishly crunching along the snow path. The door to her shop was always unlocked. Nothing ever got stolen, although sometimes teenagers did come in and move things around.
With a smile, the shopkeeper made her way inside to find the usual relaxing warm atmosphere. Gift bear always helped her inside, he was such a gentleman. “Thanks,” she said like always. Letting out a sigh, she dropped her bags on the counter, pushing a manly red bandana to the side. The bags seemed to get heavier and heavier with the years, but she usually brought the same things every day. “What color would you like today, hun?”
Gift bear blinked, his rather tired eyes perking up at the question. She asked him every morning, and he seemed to always get surprised by it, as if he couldn’t believe she knew he would buy wrapping paper. “Oh, um, hm, I didn’t think about it yet.”
She smiled again, a tired smile, but a genuine one. “Take your time,” she said, fixing her ears in one of the mirrors behind. She looked past the town notice and noticed that the snowboarding event would be today. (God, that silly skeleton infected her mind.) “Gonna be taking part in that little competition?” she said absentmindedly, trying to press and clean the fur on her ears. They were starting to droop, and the snow left them at least a little damp.
“Oh, oh my no,” the gift bear said, taking a seat across the counter. His nose twitched like it always did to the smell of warm cinnamon buns. Even through the mirror, the shopkeeper could see it. With a smirk, she quickly reached in and tossed him the bunny shaped roll, free of charge. Guy deserved it. “Thank you!” He said, clumsy paws nearly dropping it.
The shopkeeper placed her elbows on the counter, always glad she could be so informal with this customer. “More of a young people thing, hm?” She let out a small sigh.
He nodded, his mouth already full of bun. “Offh courshe, but ifts okay. It’ll be enjoyfbal to mmfwatch.”
“Guess so,” she said, thinking back on the times she used to ride down the snowy hills without a care. Back in those days, her ears stood up tall and bounced along with her in the wind, springy and loose, and-
“Yellow, please,” Gift bear said with a slow smile.
“I’d like yellow wrapping paper today, if you have it,” he explained with a nod. “Not many people give out yellow presents! It’s a very underrated gifting color if you ask me.”
She snapped out of her daydream and reached under the counter where she kept all her wrapping paper. Best to keep it close. With the usual crinkle, she placed it before him, noting the pretty golden flower design. He was right, not many people went with yellow. “This okay?”
“Oh, that will be perfect,” he said with a wide smile. “How much do I owe you?”
She laughed. “20g like always.” As if the price had ever changed after all these years.
He reached slowly into his sweater pocket, loose giftwrap crinkling loudly, dropping the coins necessary. She noted the extra two coins gleaming under her lamp. He was always a good tipper, too. “Thank you very much, miss.”
Again, she wondered, who did all these gifts even go to? What did he gift to everyone? What else did he do all day? Paper in tow, the bear lumbered out the door, a cold draft cutting into her fur. It was going to be awfully slow today with the event. Something struck her.
“Um, wait!” she shouted.
The gift bear froze in place, slowly looking back her way, as if using the last ounces of his energy. “Yes, miss?”
She wasn’t sure what came over her. “Would you like to go watch the snowboard race together? Later today?”
Oh my god, what was she doing. This was her best customer! Don’t scare him away! Her sister always said she got too friendly with the male patrons, and when was she going to start a family like her? Kids are so great, she should really think about-
“Sure, that sounds delightful,” the gift bear said with a cheery smile. “I will see you then, miss.” The door closed quietly, and she could hear that big slow crunch of his as he went home, or wherever it is he went all day.
She sighed to herself, noting her heart had been beating much faster than it had in a long while. She’d have to close up early, but, that was probably fine. Who else would even want to show up today anyway? She looked back into the mirror, propping her ears up high.
Her ears twitched. Quick and successive snow crunching reached her little shop now, getting louder and louder. She frowned as an ear flopped down over her face, giving her an unflattering slap.
The door burst open, cold snow and icy winds spilling into her cozy warmth. Chilldrake scampered in, sunglasses gleaming indoors, practically blinding him in the dim light. He bumped cooly into the counter before looking up at the unimpressed shopkeeper with a toothy grin. Where Chilldrake went, Ice Cap was soon to follow.
“Hey, goodbye, man!” Chilldrake hissed through his beak.
Ice Cap made sure his hat was still in place when his tiny little legs stumbled inside. His hat was in place! He looked to Chilldrake quickly. Was his hat still cool though? Chill nodded. Still cool. His ice body melted ever so slowly, dripping water all over the shopkeeper’s floor. It was cool though.
“What,” the shopkeeper said, clearly impressed with the teens.
Ice Cap struck a pose with his friend, trying to look as bad as possible. “Heheheh! He said goodbye, because he’s an anarchist! Down with society’s usual greetings!” Oh, his hat looked SO bad right now, it was great. This old shopkeeper lady probably never seen someone as bad as these two!
“Right,” she said with a sigh. “Goodbye to you too, I guess.”
Chilldrake frowned. “Hey man, it’s only cool if I say it.”
Ice Cap nodded, dripping more water around the place, noting how Chilldrake’s sunglasses totally blinded him and caused him to stare at a wall. Man, what a cool guy! He didn’t even care what anyone thought of him! “Good one, Chill!”
“Thanks, Cap, lookin’ good yourself,” Chill said to a nearby hat rack.
Ice Cap swelled, idly fixing his hat so that it balanced better on his head. “Thanks, Chill, you’re-“
The shopkeeper grunted. “Do you kids want anything or not?”
Chilldrake turned to face her, but instead stared directly at a cute bunny pillow. “Hey lady, I’m an anarchist, not a rude dude. Not cool, interrupting like that.”
Ice Cap nodded along, making sure his hat was still on his head. It was! Nice hat, Ice Cap thought Chilldrake thought. Oh, Nice had ice in it! Like his name! He couldn’t wait to tell Chill about this development.
“I’m this close to kicking your skinny butts out of my shop,” the rude old lady said. “Tell me what you want or get out.”
Chilldrake flinched, beads of icy sweat forming across his feathers. He was so cool, he wasn’t even afraid to let everyone know how afraid he was! “All right, all right! Uh. What kind of food you got?” He paused. “Not that I eat food. Eating’s for nerds, that’s what everyone does. I don’t eat, I-”
“I’ve got cinnamon buns for sale,” she interrupted very rudely again.
Chilldrake nodded suavely, hitting his suave head against the wall, but not even crying about it. Much. “ Cool , dude, cool . We’ll take 20 of those.”
The shopkeeper’s eye twitched. “That’ll be 500g,” she said through grit teeth.
Ice Cap’s hat nearly fell off his head! Oh, that would have been horrifying! Imagine, losing his hat! His head would be so ugly, he’d lose his whole identity! Luckily, his hat was still there. Nice hat , Chilldrake surely thought again.
Patting the rabbit pillow’s head lightly and extra cooly, Chilldrake said, “Hey man, money is like, a shackle created by society. Money is what makes teachers give you homework! Can we just like, have it?”
Ice Cap smirked. Chilldrake was such a smooth talker! He never even imagined how money worked, and how it surely was worthless in the long run! Money couldn’t buy his hat for example! His mom gave him this hat!
“No,” the shopkeeper said flatly. Ice Cap could hear the distinct sound of teeth grinding, and it reminded him of sick flips and also his hat. “Pay or get out. Now.”
Chilldrake coughed super cooly. “Uh, can we just get 1 then?”
“I’ve, uh, only got 24,” Chilldrake admitted cooly.
“Oh my god, that’s fine.”
“Cool,” Chilldrake said coolly, coolly dropping his coins on the floor before the bunny pillow.
The shopkeeper practically threw the warm gooey treat into Ice Cap’s little hands. “Whatever, now get out! ” She roared, pushing the teens out into the cold Snowdin air.
“That went well,” Ice Cap said, wondering how good this Cinnamon Bunny would look on his hat.
“Hello to you too, old lady,” Chilldrake said to the door. (Note: Hello means goodbye when you are a super cool anarchist like us. In case you forgot.) Nice Hat by the way, Ice Cap.
“So, should we go find Snowy?” Ice Cap said, fixing his cap. “He’s probably pretty hungry.”
“No way,” Chilldrake said with a cheeky grin.
Ice Cap stared. “But, I thought that was the whole point! Ever since Snowy ran away, he hasn’t been eating enough, and you said ‘we should go get some grub from that old shopkeeper lady’, and-”
Chilldrake held up a wing to silence Ice Cap. In a quick motion, his sunglasses gleamed brighter, and he stared at his friend with an intensity to rival even Ice Cap’s hat! “Anarchist, remember? I was saying, yes.” He allowed himself to chuckle. “Nice hat, by the way.”
Ice Cap’s mind was shattered into a million pieces. He felt the universe inside his hat, the knowledge of it all drove him insane for the briefest of moments. Cool . “Oooohhh!!!”
Before the duo could move on, the sound of snow getting crunched in a clumsy succession reached their ears. Oh no. The two of them winced.
“Hey, what are you doing, bear guy?” the voice asked, barely paying attention. Somehow, they could hear him staring at his phone.
“The sign was vandalized, you see, and I’m making sure that-”
“Yeah, whatever, what’s up with the wifi here? It always sucks. I swear, someone is throttling my internet.”
Chilldrake stumbled backwards, his sunglasses falling into the snow. “I thought we lost him!” He said, his tone no longer silky smooth. “How does he keep finding us?”
Jerry’s eyes perked up at the sight of his two very close friends. They were probably fake friends, so he wouldn’t keep them too close, but they were friends anyway, and they loved him. The bear from before was talking about something he didn’t care about. “I am not interested in this!” he said very loudly. “I am leaving!” His many legs scampered towards the teens who no doubt lost him accidently.
Sure, Jerry was 30 years old, but he could relate to these teens. Nobody liked the teens, nobody understood them, much like nobody understood Jerry. Jerry was a good guy deep down, but no one ever listened to him and tried harder to work their lives around him .
“Hey guys,” Jerry said with a huff, already tired from moving quickly for about five feet. “Musta accidently left without me, that’s really rude you know.” He looked at Ice Cap’s big dumb hat for the 20th time today and let out a wheezing laughter. “Dumb hat by the way, haha!”
Ice Cap frowned and looked to the side, staying silent. Haha, Ice Cap, that idiot, probably loved these jokes! Sure, his hat really was dumb and stupid, but they were friends, and he understood.
“Hey, man,” Chilldrake said, fumbling for his dumb sunglasses in the snow. “Don’t make fun of his hat. That’s not cool .”
Ugh. Ugh! Jerry fumed inwardly and knew the polite thing to do was not be rude back, so instead he did the extra polite thing and showed the two teens a gif on his phone. The image was of Jerry facepalming with the caption reading ‘tfw ur friends keep making the same stupid jokes.’ Jerry was so kind. They were lucky he didn’t say what he was actually thinking, and really they should thank him.
“God, are you still doing those stupid jokes?” Jerry asked, putting his phone away. “I know you like that dumb Snowy kid, but geez.”
Ice Cap frowned again. “Snowy is a good friend of ours and we’re trying to help him, remember!?”
Jerry pulled out another phone and stared into the latest meme he had made of himself a moment ago. “Yeah, I mean, his dad is right, though, he’s not funny.”
Chilldrake was practically fuming for some reason. “His mother is missing, too, Jerry! Why are you such a jerk?!”
Ugh! These ignorant teens just did not understand. “That’s just my culture, all right? It’s incredibly rude to call me a jerk.”
“What culture?” Ice Cap asked. “You’re the only monster of your kind, there are no other Jerries!”
Chilldrake finally found his dopey sunglasses and put them back over his beak. “And being a jerk is not a culture.”
Ugh!! Ugh!!! Jerry lifted his phone and showed them an image of Jerry scowling at them. He wouldn’t say what he was thinking, because he was polite, unlike these jerks who would not accept him for who he was. Jerry was so misunderstood.
A smell wafted into his nostrils. Cinnamon frosting, warm and gooey! His stomach rumbled. He saw the ugly looking bun in Ice Cap’s tiny hands and realized they had gotten a gift for him. Yes, he supposed they did owe him an apology, and this would do. With a nod, he nabbed the dumb bun and devoured it in a single bite with his gaping mouth.
“Meh, honestly guys, this is not a great apology,” he said with his mouth open, spilling crumbs onto the snow.
Chilldrake and Ice Cap’s eyes went wide with admiration. “You… you just ate that! That was for Snowy! He hasn’t eaten in almost twelve hours!”
Jerry coughed up some more bits of the bun without covering his mouth. A few specks hit Ice Cap and got on Chill’s glasses. “I was doing him a favor, this thing sucked. Total garbage. Honestly, not even worth it to a starving child.”
“That was the last of our savings!” Chilldrake cried like a little baby. “Can you at least buy us some other food for Snowy?”
Ugh! Jerry pulled up an image of him face palming again. “I left my wallet at home. Why would I bring it out anyway? I can’t be held responsible for you two not having money.” What! The image didn’t load in yet! “What is wrong with this place’s wifi!? I swear my internet is deliberately targeting me!”
“Jerry, you need to connect to the wifi, we’ve told you this every time,” Chilldrake said.
Jerry didn’t hear, he was too busy looking for another passive aggressive image. But they wouldn’t load! God, why didn’t anyone care about him? Why was everyone against him? Why wouldn’t they respect him like he respected them? When the image finally loaded, a picture of an annoying dog showed up on his screen.
He coughed up blood.
“Geez, man, are you okay?” A voice said in the distance, tentative snow crunches coming closer to Jerry.
Ugh! Where did his friends go? When Jerry looked back up, Snowdrake and Ice Cap were gone, only a few bird prints and tiny circles in the snow where they once stood. They should have waited for him to get his image up! And then, they leave him when he must suffer through this trauma? He didn’t even want to think about seeing that dog again!
“Uh, hey, like… I don’t want to be rude, but…” the voice continued, much closer to Jerry. “You just coughed up blood. That’s weird, right? I don’t think that’s a good thing? Are you okay?”
That one guy who thinks everything’s weird.
“Geez, I’m fine ,” Jerry grunted, already back to tapping through his phone. The weird bunny tilted his head and raised an eyebrow. Surely, that’s not normal? “Look, it was ironic blood, okay? It was just a joke.”
“That, uh, that seems really unhealthy, and it doesn’t seem like much of a joke?” the weird bunny said out loud. He kind of wish he kept to himself, but he couldn’t help but be genuinely worried about this strange monster.
Jerry lifted his phone up to show an image of him scowling. Jerry himself was also scowling. The weird bunny was regretting a lot of his choices up to this point. Not to mention, Jerry wasn’t even saying anything? Did… did this mean he was all right? Should he call for help? Maybe that strange doctor over in Hotland?
“Help! Help!” a feminine voice called. A new set of snow crunches drew closer, soft and cute somehow?
Weird bunny gasped awkwardly to his shame. He had always stared at this cute bunny girl from afar, watching her walk a, uh… a smaller bunny on a leash. That was very weird. Right? Certainly someone would think it was weird!
“Shh, weird lady, your constant noises are waking me up,” Jerry grumbled. But… he wasn’t sleeping?
The cute girl stopped before them, probably acutely aware of how cute she looked all worried like this. Her ears sprung with each delicate motion. “But, but! My Cinnamon! He’s stuck in a tree!”
Jerry simply showed an image of himself rubbing his temples, as if in a migraine. He also did this in real life as well. Weird guy was not sure he wanted to be a part of this, but, he didn’t seem to have a choice?
“Uh, who is Cinnamon? What tree?” Weird guy asked, trying to keep eye contact with cute bunny’s eyes, but also trying not to look too deeply into them. That’d be weird. He would not want to be weird.
She hunched over slightly, wiggling in a cute worried pose. “My brother! I’m always taking him out for a walk! Some teens ran by me in a flurry, and I lost my grip and Cinnamon hopped off and got stuck in that tree over there!” She pointed at a tree over by Grillby’s. Even her pointing was adorable. She had little bunnies painted on each of her nails! That’s…. that’s weird, isn’t it!?
Weird guy narrowed his eyes. There were poffs of snow and frosting all over these trees, he couldn’t see… Oh! Wait! There it was! The little white bunny wiggled its nose cutely on a tree branch, looking scared. His leash had gotten stuck on one of the branches, and it seemed this bunny had not grown any thumbs somehow. Weird guy looked at his own paws. How… how was it he had thumbs and that bunny did not? Why did he walk upright, and that one did not? Did… no one think about these things?
“Ugh, fine, I’ll see what I can do!” Jerry grumbled, sighing and groaning the entire way as he walked towards the tree. “Why doesn’t anyone do anything for me?”
Oh, geez, this guy was just going to make things worse! Weird bunny had to find some way to help.
“Oh, thank you so much!” Cute girl squealed, her tail bouncing along with her as she ran to the tree as well. Not, uh, not that he was looking. That’d be weird.
Jerry looked up at the tree. His long arms could probably reach the branch, but he’d have to put his phone down and stretch a little. “Ugh, just what am I supposed to do?”
Weird guy didn’t want to get in the middle of things, but this seemed like a rather important time to speak up? “Uh, um, you could just reach up and grab it?”
Jerry could not believe what he was hearing. The image of him on the phone said as much. “What! Do you have any idea the strain that would put on me ?!” He shook his head. “No, I can’t help. You shouldn’t have let your brother get stuck in a tree. I had a brother get stuck in a tree once.”
…Somehow, weird guy got the feeling Jerry was lying and had no brothers.
“He was stuck there for weeks! Nearly died of starvation. Did I say tree? I meant stuck on a cliff!” Jerry sighed, and seemed on the verge of tears? “You are lucky your brother is just stuck in a tree. Anyway, I am not interested in this anymore, and I am leaving!”
“But, my poor Cinnamon!” Cute girl whined, her cheeks puffed out, eyes sparkling. Jerry seemed to be immune to her. He merely walked on, following a couple of strange tracks in the snow. Looked like bird claws and little spheres.
Weird guy shuffled unhelpfully in the snow. There was nothing he could do. He couldn’t climb trees! He was too afraid to talk to her anyway! Not to mention he got this awful feeling in the pit of his stomach when he saw her little brother. “I’ll help,” his mouth said. What!! Why did he say that?!
Her attention completely focused on him. Her hands curled into cute little fists, full of determination and joy. “Oh, you will?! Thank you so much! I could kiss you!”
Oh god, no, this is getting too weird.
He found himself standing at the base of the trunk, looking up at the poor frantic rabbit. It wasn’t that high, but the realization washed over him like a blizzard. When was the last time he climbed anything!? Where would he even start? Just…
He put both of his arms around the trunk, like an awkward hug. It was incredibly rough, and even a little sticky. Okay, this seems like a thing, let’s just work with this. He placed his foot against the tree and pushed. Ow! He scraped his hands! He made no progress either!
“You can do it!” The cute bunny cheered, wiggling with energy.
No, I can’t! He mentally screeched, looking down at her from the tree branch. Wait what?!
“I… I’m here?!” He asked dumbly, looking into Cinnamon’s eyes. Oh, god. Cinnamon’s nose twitched and he tilted his head, using his little paws to clean his ears. Weird humanoid bunny was not ready for this. How did…. how did this make sense? His reality was crashing down on him.
Soon he was sitting on the branch, Cinnamon in his lap, freaking him out. This is a real bunny, isn’t it!? Then…. then what am I!? I am a bunny too, aren’t I!? But… Cinnamon looked up at him, wordless. It couldn’t even speak! I don’t remember being a bunny like this!?
“Hey!! You did it!” The cute girl cried from below. “Come on down!”
Weird bunny gulped. The rabbit in his lap was free from the branch, the leash dangling down over the edge rather dangerously. It… it was too far down! His legs would break! Or… a real rabbit’s legs would be fine. But was he a real rabbit? Was he even real?!
“I… can’t,” he mumbled, incredibly ashamed of himself. His body would not move, his brain could not function. He was now stuck in the tree as well.
“Oh!!” The cute girl put her hand over her mouth adorably. “Well, you tried! At least Cinnamon is happy!”
He looked down. The rabbit was nibbling mindlessly on weird guy’s pants. Was he happy? Did he even think?
Snow and earth crunched together in unison nearby, the very Underground itself attempting to hold together. Multiple steps edged closer, padding and crushing in a confused yet oddly strict unison. A group of people were coming! Oh god, he was saved! … oh god, they would see him stuck in a tree. He was never going to live this down.
The group quickly came into view.
The Royal Guard.
“Huh, what’s going on here?” the captain said, her lone eye staring up at a rabbit guy and a smaller rabbit in a tree.
Dogamy and Dogaressa lifted their noses into the air, taking in a deep sniff of the cold piney air. Someone sweaty was high up! Higher than he should be! And he had a cute little puppy with him! “Is there danger?” Dogamy asked. “(We can help!)” Dogaressa added.
“I don’t see anything?” Doggo growled, the doggy treat in his mouth billowing a hot scent into the dogi’s nostrils. Oh! Those stupid treats always ruined his smelling! How many times had they told him?!
Greater Dog and Lesser Dog yipped cheerfully, tails wagging like motor boat propellers as they stared up the tree. At least they knew!
“My brother got stuck in a tree!” a voice said. The Dogi sniffed. She smelt like flowers and perfume! Gross! “Then this guy tried to help, but he also got stuck.” Dogamy noted she smelt much worse than Dogaressa and then whispered as much into Dogaressa’s ear. They giggled and nuzzled together.
Their good smelling sweaty fish leader spoke up. “Hey, think you guys can take care of this?” she asked. “Papyrus wants me to meet up for lunch for whatever reason,” she sighed.
Dogamy’s ears lifted in delight. Dogaressa’s tail wagged. “You can count on us, boss! (We’ll get that puppy and that weird guy out of that tree or die trying!)”
Undyne raised an eyebrow, but the dogi couldn’t see that, nor would they understand what it meant anyway. “Yeah, uh, don’t die though, okay? I’ll see you guys later. Good work out there.”
“I’ll do my best, sir!” Doggo said, saluting. What a kiss-up! (She gives you enough treats!) Metal clanked, and the earth broke beneath Undyne’s feet as she stepped away, leaving the dogs to their important mission.
Dogamy and Dogaressa sniffed the pine needles and woody bark. Hm, there was a distinct scent here. This is Lesser Dog’s tree! (We’ll make it our tree later.) Dogs weren’t exactly known for their climbing ability, but the smell of Lesser Dog gave Dogaressa an idea! “Oh, what is your idea?!” Dogamy asked, nuzzling his wife.
Dogaressa grinned. “(Oh, Doggo, do you have any ideas?!) I bet he doesn’t!”
The burning doggy treats smell replied, “Who said that! Where even is the puppy! Why aren’t they moving around!”
Hee hee! (We’re so smart!) Undyne will give us treats for sure! (Doggo can’t hog them all anymore!)
“(Lesser Dog, at attention!)” Dogaressa barked. With a quick pant and a yip, Lesser Dog stood before the tree, his tail whirring at light speeds. Dogamy looked to the perfume smell. “Excuse me, miss, would you mind petting Lesser Dog?”
“Oh, um, all right?” The stinky perfume said, her overly powerful scent invading their nostrils. There was the distinct sound of petting, followed by excited barks and yips. I want to be pet, too! (I know, but first we get the job done!) “Oh my goodness!”
Lesser Dog’s scent was higher up, his snowy wet dog smell now next to the puppy and the weird sweaty guy. “Aaaaaaaa!” the sweaty voice screamed. “This is so weird!!”
“Now climb down! (And stop screaming!)”
After a bit of shuffling and happy yips, the puppy was back on the ground, along with the sweaty, screaming guy. “Oh, thank you so much, doggy!” The stinky girl said, clearly petting Lesser Dog more, as they could smell him past the tree tops now.
“But… but… (It was our idea!)” Dogamy cried and Dogaressa growled.
“Lesser Dog, you did it again!” Doggo cheered, offering a delicious meaty smelling treat.
Lesser Dog yipped in the distance, placing the treat in his pocket for later.
“I cannot deal with this right now,” said the sweaty voice. “Uh… thanks. I guess,” he mumbled before scurrying away with quick tiny snow crunches.
Dogamy whined sullenly to himself. Dogaressa’s fur bristled. She hated when people made her hubby sad. But Undyne taught her to be good! Be good! ‘Don’t bite, that’s a bad dog! Only bite humans. If you want to bite your fellow dogs, come to me later, I’ll give you a treat if you don’t!’
That’s right! Undyne would give her a treat for not biting!
Dogaressa’s fangs hid away as she nuzzled her husband lovingly, reminding him of their captain’s words. His tail wagged instantly, batting against her. Her tail followed suit. It would be okay!
A snore followed by a dreamy bark left Greater Dog’s muzzle. His curled-up body in the snow could be confused as a shiny little snowpoff. Dogaressa poked him and the large animal instantly jolted back into awareness with a startling energy. “(Come on, let’s go to Grillbys!) I’m hungry!”
Greater Dog borfed and ran through the tiny doors, his armor scraping against the entrance. At least those two listen to us! (I listen to you, too!)
Lesser Dog attempted to fit himself into the building but found his neck didn’t quite allow it. The tall dog settled for simply sticking his head through the window, barking and yipping inside. The Dogi turned their noses to the smoky dog treat smell. “Are you coming? (Yeah, come on!)”
“I’ll join you guys later,” Doggo said.
Dogaressa let out a pouty hmph! Dogamy nuzzled her gently, reminding her of the future treats. She was alpha of most of the pack! But Doggo never submit! Was he brave? (Or just stupid!?) They shrugged and moved for the doorway.
Their noses twitched. Someone was watching. They reeked of wet fur and sadness. There was another who smelled of hot coals and smiles. They had smelt these two before, but never bothered to find out who they are. I hope they see us! (See how cute we are! Maybe they’re jealous!?)
That rat in a scarf, and that smiling little demon.
The mouse bundled his scarf tightly around himself uselessly, bracing for the cold that crept ever closer into his fur. “Everyone else always seems to have so much fun around here,” he said with a sigh. “I don’t get it. Why those dogs are always so happy?”
Keep smiling. The red demon watched alongside his friend. “They’re dogs,” he said simply. “Dogs tend to be happy even in the worst times.”
That one weird dog with the daggers stood outside Grillby’s, puffing hot smoke into the frigid air. His tail didn’t wag. “He doesn’t look happy.”
The demon adjusted his scarf slightly as well, nothing kept the cold away better. “He’s probably content with being by himself.” He made a light humming noise. “Why don’t you ask him how he’s feeling then, hmm?”
“No way!” the mouse replied. “I’d… rather just watch.”
The demon smiled. “Me too.”
These two met in the same spot almost every day. They didn’t even know the other’s name. Maybe they didn’t want to know? While they seemed like complete opposites, they both enjoyed people watching.
“There’s so many little stories,” the mouse said, watching as an angry fish knocked way too hard at someone else’s door. “So many sad stories. That dog couple deserved a treat.”
“Hmm. I thought it was a happy one,” the demon said, his smile never faltering. “They saved those little rabbit people.”
The mouse groaned. “You think everything is great.”
“Not true,” he said simply. “There is a lot of sadness and misery here.”
“But what’s the point in focusing on that, hmm?”
The little scarf mouse simply waved it off, hearing this one too many times. He decided time would be better spent watching the fishy knight.
The door finally opened. “Well, Papyrus, I made it. Despite my better judgement,” the knight grumbled.
“AH! ROYAL GUARD CAPTAIN UNDYNE! I HOPE YOU’RE PREPARED FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE LUNCHEON!”
“Ngah,” she groaned, stepping inside. Their story had been told enough it seemed. The door slammed shut, hiding them away.
The scarf mouse shook his head sullenly. “See that? Where’s the joy in that?”
“Hmm? I see no problems there.” The demon would have raised his eyebrows if he had any.
“She doesn’t even want to be there! She doesn’t even like that weird skeleton guy!”
“I think she does,” he said with a light smile, looking into the home as smoke billowed from the windows. For whatever reason, the tall skeleton crashed through the window, shattering it into a million pieces, before sprinting to Grillby’s. They both craned their necks lazily as they watched. “Why else would she keep going over?”
The tall skeleton sprinted past again, spaghetti noodles and red sauce dripping into the white snow. He crashed through a different window for some reason as he entered the home again. The mouse let out a tiny sneeze, wiping his nose on the scarf.
“She just feels bad for him. He has no friends.”
“He does struggle with that, doesn’t he?” the demon nodded.
“ Thank you!” the mouse exclaimed with outstretched hands. “For once you agree with me!”
Still, he smiled. “I wasn’t finished. I think she’s his friend. She just doesn’t know it yet.”
Now his hands were out in the cold air, above his head. “Oh, that’s baloney! How can anyone be friends with someone and not know it?” He looked over at the demon with a frown. Neither of them had friends! What made him so sure all the time?
For once, the demon let out a low chuckle, looking down at the mouse. “It’s more likely than you think.”
“Nonsense,” he grumbled. “I suppose next you’ll tell me those teens aren’t so bad.”
There was an odd moment of silence as it appeared the demon was thinking. Snow fell, and the dog out by Grillby’s let out a yip as he burnt his lip. A slow bear lumbered by, holding a yellow patterned gift. Angry screams could be heard from inside the still smoking home.
As usual, they ignored that.
“Yes,” the demon said with a nod, continuing his thought about the teens. “They may be rude, they may cause trouble, but they’re good at heart. They want to help their friend, Snowy.”
The mouse narrowed his eyes. “Who ran away from his father! Because the father said he could never be a comedian!” He looked particularly smug, yet still morose, which was rather impressive. “Not to mention his mother’s been missing for months, too!”
“Hmm.” The demon stared forward into the flames that were now spreading across the home. This was rather common. It fended off the cold quite well. “It is quite sad. I agree.”
He sighed into his scarf, defeated. There was more to be said. There was always more to be said. “But?”
His smile grew ever so wider. The mouse knew him too well. It was a comforting feeling. “But, he’s made new friends. Even in the worst times, people are fighting to stay happy, to keep each other happy. I think that Snowdrake is just what the teens needed to get their act together as well.”
“Ugh,” the little mouse groaned. This guy seemed to always know the right thing to say. He always knew how to make a sad thing and turn it into a happy story! “I suppose you’re right.”
The demon’s lips twitched. The smile did not falter, but… “You are right as well, though.”
He felt warmer, at least. He loosened his scarf ever so slightly, allowing a brief smile to show. He figured the demon needed it. But he didn’t want to talk about this anymore. Instead he looked toward the burning home, and the fish and skeleton standing before it.
“paps, the house is on fire, again,” a bored voice said from a window above.
“NO, BROTHER, IT’S JUST THE NORTHERN LIGHTS.”
“Well, Papyrus, you’re a weird punk,” the knight started, unable to hold back a fang-filled smile. “But I gotta say! You steam some good spaghetti!”
The gangly skeleton in question replied with nothing but an aggressive thumbs-up, which seemed to impress the knight even further as she left towards Waterfall.
“Think that’ll get him in the royal guard?” The mouse asked, staring into the crackling flames.
The demon shrugged. “Probably not, but he must have gotten bonus points with the captain for burning down his home.”
“True.” He nodded.
Squeaky wheels and jingling bells rang through the smoky/snowy air, crunching alongside the crackling of fire. Mouse and demon turned their head together to find their newest monster to watch and comment on. A blue rabbit walked sluggishly by, his ears drooping sadly. The words “Nice Cream!” in big bright happy letters lit up his cart.
The Nice Cream Guy.
His shoulders slumped as he tugged the cart along. It was quite heavy with the lack of product sold. Seemed only a couple teens had wanted any Nice Cream today, and they didn’t have any money. He was desperate for customers, for anyone to at least try his desserts, so he had given it to them for free. Maybe he hadn’t made any money, but at least he had sold some smiles?
Even as he strolled through Snowdin, he noted the lack of interest. No one even looked his way! Well, except for a couple of monsters off to the side, a mouse and some demon, chattering silently to themselves. Maybe they’d like some Nice Cream and were discussing that? The mouse shook his head, but the demon smiled. His ears couldn’t help but perk up at the thought of customers.
Yeah! Don’t get down yet! There’s still hope! He took in a big breath of the smoky hot air of Snowdin and stood confidently. Wait, smoky hot air of Snowdin? That’s not…
Flames licked the cold air, burning brightly across the home’s roof, despite the snow. The owner of the home stood proudly outside the door, rattling his bones and mumbling ‘NYEH’s and ‘HEH’s under his breath.
“Oh my goodness!” Nice Cream guy exclaimed, sprinting over to the skeleton. “Your home! Are you okay!?”
The skeleton in question simply stared, a look of confusion. “NYEH? OH THIS? PLEASE DO NOT WORRY, IT IS SIMPLY AN ILLUSION OF MAGNETISM!”
Nice Cream guy’s eyes went wide with confusion. He couldn’t help but double check? The flames were a bright yellow, and still very hot. The door had already burnt off the hinges, and a couch had melted inside. “Uh, um,” Nice Cream guy started. This skeleton here was extremely confident everything was fine, and Nice Cream guy couldn’t help but wonder if maybe it was? “I think that is certainly a fire!”
Another voice came from the window above, the fire hungrily eating its way upwards. “nah, don’t worry, nothing to get fired up about, hehheh.”
Oh my god, there’s someone still inside!?
“OH MY GOD!” the tall skeleton screamed. “SANS, THAT WAS AWFUL, PLEASE GO BACK TO SLEEP.”
A smaller skeleton gave the ‘ok’ sign from the second-floor window before returning to his bed. Nice Guy managed to hear snoring over the flames. This wasn’t right! … was it?! That mouse and demon simply stared blankly, as if this were a normal occurrence.
“We need to get the royal guard!” Nice guy shrieked, anxiety pumping through his body.
Again, the skeleton waved him off. “I JUST HAD THE CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD HERE!” He struck a heroic pose. “SHE WAS INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED BY THE FIRE! SHE EVEN HELPED START IT!”
Nice Guy was trembling. “I thought you said it was the illusion of magnetism?!”
“… I MEANT THAT, YES.”
No one was going to do anything. That poor smaller skeleton was in danger! If he didn’t help, no one would. But Nice Guy wasn’t a hero, he was just a coward! A coward who couldn’t even sell ice cream!
His body worked against his brain. While his mind stood still in a torrent of thoughts and fears, his arms pumped and his legs dashed. Smokey spaghetti sauce burned his throat, but he had nice cream! Plenty of it! This fire would be his best customer!
You look wonderful today! The wrapper said as the fire licked up its insides, letting out an exhausted belch as it died a satisfied death. You can do anything you put your mind to!
You are valid!
Did you do something with your hair? It’s so pretty!
No one else remembers that embarrassing thing you did in high school!
That last one put out quite a bit of fire.
nice to meet you, heheheh.
these flavors are cool.
cream of the crop, heh.
Wait a minute, he didn’t write those last three! Before Nice guy knew what happened, he had the smaller skeleton over his shoulder, snoring loudly into his ears. Old ketchup and sweat wafted into his nostrils as his body collapsed back into the icy snow, a welcome chill after a burning heat.
“WOWIE,” The taller one exclaimed. Or at least he had to assume it was the taller one, considering he had fallen face down into the snow. “YOU REALLY DID NOT HAVE TO DO THAT!” There was an awkward silence, the crackling of fire now replaced by the silent falling of snow. “YOU AND MY BROTHER AT LEAST SEEM TO GET ALONG WELL.”
A snore entered Nice Guy’s ears, much too close for comfort, but he didn’t have the strength to move at this point. Maybe his Nice Cream was a failure, maybe nobody had wanted it, but he did a good thing, right? Even if these skeletons didn’t want help, he did a good thing right?
Snow crunched nearby. A mix of careful stepping and excited stomping. A group no doubt. Nice guy didn’t even have to look up to know who it was. Not that he had the strength to look up anyway.
The Librarby crew.
“…Right,” the librarian said with a sigh as she witnessed the scene before her. She adjusted her glasses, just in case she misunderstood. A blue bunny and a small skeleton appeared to be taking a nap in the middle of the road in front of a rather charred home which reeked of burnt and steamy spaghetti.
“OH, HELLO MISS LIBRARBIAN!” Papyrus shouted, waving his arms rapidly, as if trying to take flight.
She sighed again. “It’s librarian. I am a librarian. The sign is a typo .” It didn’t matter how many times she told Papyrus. Every day he came to the librarby-damn it, she meant library! Every day he came to the library , looking for new crosswords and junior jumble. Lady Garf, of course, was always all too thrilled to make new games for him every day.
Not that she held anything against the Lady, she was quite glad to have her around and kept people coming to the librarby! But, she could be a bit full of herself at times.
Papyrus ignored the librarian as usual. “NYEH HEH, WELL SIGNS CAN’T LIE I’M AFRAID!” She wanted to correct him and tell him that signs can of course lie but she was too hungry to get into that argument again. “OH, GOOD DAY LADY GARF! I HOPE YOU’LL HAVE A NEW CHALLENGING JUNIOR JUMBLE READY FOR ME TOMORROW!”
The Lady giggled that incredibly fake giggle of hers, the kind that somehow only the librarian could tell was fake. “Oh ho ho! Relax my bony friend, this kind of genius takes time!” She kept a pen daintily on her cat ears and a clipboard at her front, just in case ‘inspiration’ took her. “I think I will be making a rather devilish crossword next time,” she purred.
The librarian tapped her scaly foot in the snow rather impatiently. The problem with living next to Papyrus, (while she did adore him [honestly]) was that every time they left the building Papyrus would stop them all for a pleasant conversation. Sometimes she just was not in the mood. “Can we please-”
“OH, MISS NEWSPAPER EDITOR!” Papyrus shouted. “ANY BREAKING NEWS TO REPORT!?”
There was never any breaking news. The yellow rhino twirled her scarf cutely around her finger in thought. “Oh my, yes!” Ugh. “Did you hear about the snowboarding contest, Mr. Papyrus?” That hardly qualifies as news! Everyone knew about it!
She nodded, bits of snow falling off the horn of her leathery snout. “Yes! I’m planning on titling it, ‘Top 3 Snowboarding Winners You Didn’t Expect to Win!’” She smiled a bit too widely, a light huff of hot foggy air escaping her mouth. “And then I’m gonna draw the winners with big huge muscles!”
The librarian rolled her eyes, but luckily no one was paying attention to her. Er, well, except maybe the Loox staring directly at her, but she usually kept her mouth shut.
Papyrus’ eyes sparkled, similar to how the editor drew her men in comics. “WOWIE! I’LL BE SURE TO READ YOUR NEWSPAPER AS SOON AS IT’S OUT! I EXPECT TO BE COMPLETELY SURPRISED AS WELL!” Even though surely he’d know who the winners will be.
She had had enough! Her stomach rumbled, and her head ached. “Excuse me, but I really must be going.”
Lady snickered. “Oh, you are quite hungry, aren’t you? You get so cranky when you don’t eat.”
“I-I do not!” The librarian stuttered, unhappy with just how well these ladies knew her. They read her like a book, a book sorted by color and filled with only about forty or fifty words in each.
Scarf giggled sweetly and waved to Papyrus, who surprisingly took this as a sign to leave. He dropped a pile of gold on the sleeping blue bunny, scooped up his brother from the snow, and sauntered back into his charred home as if nothing was the matter.
“Mike, would you like to come have lunch with us?”
She was speaking of the Loox. A strange name for a girl, but her name nonetheless. The librarbian wasn’t exactly one to judge strange names. Mike shook her head, that large eyeball staring through them rather uncomfortably. “Nah, I’ve got food at home. I want to work on this Junior Jumble.”
“Ohhohoho!” Garf practically cackled. “That one will keep you quite busy! It took that Papyrus fellow weeks to solve that one!”
Mike stared at Garf for a few seconds, the silence of the snow falling almost deafening the group. She was a strange one, this Loox. Always showed up at the library, but never quite engaging much with the others. “Nah, I think I got this,” she said finally before sauntering off.
Even Garf and Scarf let out a sigh of relief after that, as if they had been holding their breaths. “Mike is, uh, hm, a little hard to get close to, isn’t she?” Scarf said with a strained smile.
The librarian felt a small weight lift off her shoulders. She had to admit, she was glad to see the other ladies could be open with her. At times, she too felt she wouldn’t allow anyone to get close to her as well. “Yes, but she’s a good person. Maybe just shy.”
Garf nodded. “Anyone that enjoys my crosswords and jumbles must be a good person!” At that, her eyes widened, and she quickly plucked the pen from her ear and quickly began scribbling some nonsense down, muttering ‘oh this will be good…’
Librarian ignored that. “So, Grillby’s for lunch then?”
Scarf frowned. “I suppose. I tried stopping by that nice bunny shopkeeper’s place but looks like she’s closed today.”
Garf merely mumbled some kind of ‘mmhmm’ and nodded along.
Grillby’s wasn’t exactly the librarian’s favorite either, but it was always open, and it was just across the way. By comparison, it was much better than the ‘food’ Papyrus kept trying to gift the librarby ladies, at least. They always had to discreetly toss it out back when he left. Even the snow seemed to melt around it, cooked or not, as if trying to escape from the perilous pasta.
A ruff voice billowed as they walked through the door. “Hey there, ladies,” Doggo said, positioning his smoking doggy treat in his lip for the perfect smile. The librarian rolled her eyes and moved in, leaving only a stationary Scarf behind.
“Hello, Doggo!” Lady Garf said, her pen scribbles suddenly at a standstill, her facial fur somehow turning a shade of pink.
Scarf giggled and delicately pat Doggo on the head with her leathery hands, making sure to keep mostly still and quiet.
“PAT? POT? PET?” Doggo yipped, his cool voice and demeanor completely obliterated. “Who????”
Garf frowned and pulled Scarf into the dreary little establishment, leaving a confused and yapping dog outside. “Will you stop messing with him?”
“Oh, come on!” Scarf giggled. “It’s funny!” The Lady kept her serious frown, as if someone had ripped a crossword puzzle in half right in front of her face. “Oh, all right, I’ll draw you a buff Doggo later tonight. Even?”
The librarian shook her head. She wanted no part in their girlish desire for dates and things of that nature. Right now, she was hungry, and that meant navigating through this greasy den. The best thing about Grillby’s was that everyone knew your name.
“Heeeeeyyy! It’s the librarbian!” A ditzy voice yelled.
The worst thing about Grillby’s was that everyone knew your name.
“Ayyyy, librarbian! (Awooo! Librarbian!)” The entire restaurant howled in unison, laughing and drinking up their horrible disgusting drinks. Of course, Garf and Scarf never got this much of a greeting, but then again, they didn’t have a typo on their buildings.
She had vivid dreams of slamming her librarby sign with a massive hammer. The letters crumbled before her with satisfying crunches, blasting into a million pieces, while everyone in Snowdin watched, saying “ We’re sorry miss librarian!” Oh, how she laughed.
“Girl, you’re getting that look again,” Scarf muttered, gently patting the librarian’s back, but due to her rather stout and rough frame, kind of ended up knocking the wind out of her. “Let’s get something to eat before you smash something.”
Scarf always seemed so in tune with everyone’s inner thoughts. Maybe it was just a journalist thing? Either way, it soothed the librarian ever so slightly. The ladies took a seat in the only open booth available, Scarf and Garf sitting next to each other as usual, chattering away about the latest gossip. (They called it ‘news,’ of course.)
She wasn’t a fan of Grillby’s. The main source of light was Grillby himself, the flames crackling and dancing to a stuttering soundtrack by a dying jukebox. A long-necked dog yipped with the stutters, his tongue drooling happily in the window, his body sitting obediently outside. Most of the patrons were shrouded in a gloomy darkness, yet still they smiled brightly as long as their friends were near. It was a strange place, full of contradicting feelings. A struggling sadness but also a determined hope.
Didn’t take long for Grillby to show up. Service was decent at least. He stood before the table, pencil and notepad in hand (somehow not burning up) and a blank expression that even the librarian couldn’t read.
“Grillbz wants to know what ya guys want to order!” a voice yelled from across the way.
That red bird.
Red smiled to herself. Sure, anyone could have guessed what Grillby might have said there, but those librarby ladies didn’t come here too often. She took any chance she could get to translate for ol’ Grillby. Gave her purpose. Made her feel like she had done something with her life besides lean against this stinky old fish all day. Not that she hated him! He was her only good friend, but I mean, if he just learned some basic hygiene…
“Uh, I guess, can I just get a burger?” The librarbian asked, not accustomed to the menu. “With… with everything on it. Don’t skimp on anything!” She paused. “Please.”
The big rhino lady with a scarf smiled sweetly. Red had seen her around a bit more than the others. “Can I get the Grillbed Chicken Salad please?”
Stuck up cat lady fluttered her eyelashes, placing a pen delicately behind her cat ear. You aren’t fooling anyone lady! “I’ll have the lasagna.” Grillby aint fallin’ for you anytime soon! Stick to the half-blind dogs why don’tcha!
Red had seen the flirts. She’d often give Grillby a ‘free’ crossword of the day, that smug look on her face as she did so. But Red knew Grillby better than anyone! As soon as that smug cat was gone, he’d take one look at the crossword and drop it in the bin. Ha! Serves her right! “ Puttin’ this trash where it belongs,” Grillby would say. Or at least, that’s what Red imagined he was saying.
Grillby was about to head off to start the food when the librarbian interrupted. “Oh, excuse me, but could we get a round of tea as well?”
A jolt of dopamine shot through Red’s skull. “We don’t got tea!” she yelled across the place. Grillby nodded, and another hit relaxed her body.
“Oh, um, can we just get water, then?”
“Grillbz doesn’t do well with water, sorry!”
She sighed. “Can we just get whatever is available to drink then?”
Red grinned. “Three rounds of Grillbz’ fire juice comin’ right up!” Grillby looked back at Red with what could be considered a glare, had he any facial features.
“Fine, whatever works.”
Grillby had a brief expression of defeat about him before writing it down anyway. Fire Juice was the strongest drink around! Burned your throat, burned your nose, burned your insides too! But it got the job done. It was drunk Bun’s favorite! Most of the regulars’ favorite, actually. Red took another sip of hers. The burning was completely dulled by now, just a dull tinge of sweet cinnamon, but that was just the way she liked it.
Her backseat rumbled a little, followed by the stench of week old sushi. “Think those ladies could go for a guy like me?” Ugly fish grumbled.
Sometimes, Red wished she had a translator for herself. It was easier to talk through other people. “Maybe?” She shrugged. She wished she had said, ‘If you took a bath, and shaved, and didn’t smell like soggy boozed up fish and chips!’ The old fish deserved better.
A low rumbling erupted from his gullet, a gentle laugh that Red had to admit felt like a soothing back massage to her, a droning voice that helped her drift to sleep more times than she’d like to count. “Hehheh, you always know just the right thing to say, don’tcha, Red!” He slapped his meaty fin against the counter. “Grillbz, another round for my pal Red.”
Grillby nodded. “He says, ‘thanks, you’re my favorite customer.’”
The fish laughed again, another soothing lullaby to Red, causing her eyelids to droop ever so slightly. “Har har! Grillby you’re one swell guy! And here I thought Sans was your favorite!”
Red was acutely aware of how glad she was that her feathers were the color they were. Grillby was busy making drinks and heating up food behind the counter, not even facing them. “He says, ‘Nope! You’re my favorite! Nicest guy around! Any lady would be lucky to snag you.”
“Har har! You always say the nicest things, Grillbz!”
Grillby didn’t even seem to hear. Luckily Red’s scaly cushion wasn’t one to pick up on these details, or at least was usually too drunk to notice. Red took another sip of burning, allowing the world to keep spinning slowly, her head as light as a feather. She imagined Sans would probably make a pun out of this and laughed to herself.
“So, y’hear about that snowboarding competition?” the fish asked.
Red shrugged. “Same thing every year isn’t it? That one guy, Glyde, just shows up out of nowhere and always wins.”
A grumpy grumble, sending pleasant vibrations down Red’s spine. “Yeah, I know, but it’d be nice to see him lose for once, don’tcha think?”
Red sighed. “He ain’t gonna lose. Never does. It’ll be same thing. Might as well stay here.”
She could tell he frowned just by his movements. “Bit gloomy way of thinkin’ though.”
Red didn’t reply. She gulped down a fire, hoping to get that pleasant dizziness back again. Wasn’t enough right now. The stuttering of the jukebox was all to apparent in her skull, each skip of the beat cracking into her, breathing thoughts of hopelessness through her barricades.
“Hey, punk horse guy!” Red tweeted out, rubbing her temples. “Fix that jukebox, will ya?!”
That horse frowned, his black leather gleaming with a sheen of someone who cared way too much for his appearance. “Oh, just because I stand here all the time, I must be the master of the jukebox, huh?! I stand here, and society just assumes this of me, right!? Also, I’m a hamster !”
The fish flinched slightly at the yelling but kept quiet. Red growled. “Hamsters are just small horses! And you’re a big hamster, so you’re a horse!” The jukebox screeched again, sound cutting into her skull. “Just fix it, will ya!?”
“Don’t put your labels on me, maaaan!” the punk whinnied. Yeah, that’s right, whinnied! Because he’s a horse!
Red crossed her wings over her chest. “Yeah, well, Grillbz says you should at least try and fix it!”
Grillby handed the plates of food to the librarby ladies, nodding to them politely, completely unaware to the goings on at the counter.
Punk Horse looked shocked. Everyone respected Grillby, Red knew. Everyone loved Grillby. “Well, if Grillbz says so. Check this out, you wankers.” He let loose an awkward grin, his slightly yellowed teeth shining in ways he probably didn’t intend. “Ayyyy!” He screamed as he punched the jukebox with all he had.
Two things happened that moment. Red’s headache went away without any issues! She was back to her laughing self the moment he hit that stupid thing.
The second thing that happened was the jukebox was broken beyond repair, the music replaced by Punk Hamster’s delightful whines of pain as he kissed his poor bruised fist, a tear rolling under his sunglasses.
Red found herself literally on the floor laughing, not even sure how she got there, but glad she was. Her fishy friend was down there with her, his low rumble of a laugh meshing with hers, probably had fallen once her back wasn’t there to support him anymore.
Ah, that couldn’t have gone any better! Maybe things weren’t as doom and gloom as she thought!
“see you guys have been horse’n around in here,” came a voice at the entrance.
The entire restaurant appeared to brighten up. “Sans!! (Small bone boy!) Sansy!! Papyrush’sh brother guy!” Everyone screamed in a strange not-quite-unison. Even the librarbian crew was yelling. Oops, looks like they had been drinking that fire juice.
The short skeleton stood with that hopeful grin on his face, a happy shrug as his joke landed and everyone laughed cheerily.
He looked through the usual faces. He came here every day. Every day. Over and over.
nah, no thanks, he thought.
“Hmm…” he growled, confused. His fangs grinded together in thought, creating a few sparks which only made Drunk Bun giggle more. “Me?”
“yeah, you,” Sans said, his grin almost as big as Big Mouth’s mouth. “you’re a food kinda guy, right? whatcha want, lemme get ya something.”
How thoughtful! Big Mouth always knew Sans was generous, but this was surprising! So spontaneous! Although, Big had the sneaking suspicion Sans was trying to get out of something or get away from something. Hmm…
“Sanssssyyyy!” Drunk Bun whined, her sack-like head wobbling and bouncing, trying to get his attention. “Y-y-you’re gonna get me something too, r-right?!”
Big Mouth shook his mouth. That girl was obsessed. She seemed so lonely all the time, so Big Mouth made sure to sit with her today. She got a bit rowdy, so he didn’t always sit with her, but for the most part she was okay. Sans tended to make her better.
Sans nodded to her, sending that hopeful smile her way, visibly soothing the bun’s woes right then and there. “sure thing, i’d have to be a bonehead to forget about you. wouldn’t want to make ya hopping mad. watcha’ want?”
She laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Laughed still! …. Seriously, still laughing?! Big Mouth turned around and heard the librabians all laughing as well. Okay, it wasn’t that funny!
Sans chuckled lightly to himself. “see? the ladies are d rinking that up.” He looked to Big, those little orbs of light staring into him in such a way that was almost uncomfortable but not quite. A look that knew too much about him. “want me to get ya the usual? ultimate grillburger, extra cheese, extra sauce? meat done rare, of course.”
His fangs widened, hurting his cheeks a bit. “Hmm, yes actually. Thank you.”
“extra ketchup too, right?”
There was a spark as his fangs moved rapidly into a frown.
“kidding, i’m kidding, big guy.”
Big mouth smiled again. He wasn’t too picky about his food, but he despised ketchup. It ruined a perfectly delectable meal! Overtook the balance of tender meat and tangy sauce and replaced it all with a gross tomato-paste! His tongue cringed at the thought.
“Sansy!! Just get me some more Firewater, will ya?? I’m a thirsty girl, tee hee!” Drunk Bun giggled, hopping much too close to Sans. Big Mouth rolled his tongue (instead of eyes) and shook his mouth.
“can do,” Sans said with a nod, completely unfazed by her advances both literal and metaphorical. “hey, grillby, ya get all that?”
Red was gathering herself off the floor, positioning herself back against that ugly fish. “Grillbz said yes!” she said with a nod, not even looking towards the guy in question.
“put it on my tab, k?”
“Grillbz says ‘no problem, my man!’”
Big Mouth had never seen a fire sigh, but he assumed that was what Grillby must have been doing. Oh well, it was best he didn’t get involved. Sans moved onto the next table, petting the dogs and handing them delicious bones, their tails wagging like helicopters.
Bun rolled around and hopped on the table happily, the silverware jingling with each bounce. “I’m so glad Sansy is here!! N-n-nothing ever happens without him! Now we can really party!”
Big Mouth made a face but wasn’t quite sure what face that was. “Hey, we have plenty of fun without him. Things happen around here without those skeletons, ya know.” He sighed. “Despite what the people here would have you believe.”
“You two are my bestest friends ever!!!!” screamed the librabian directly behind Big. “I, hck! I know I don’t shay so often, and-and I know I, hck! Get a lil’ grumpy sometimes! B-but I love you guys!”
“Aww, girl, we love you too!” The rhino lady said, much soberer then the rest. “Even if you’re a sloppy drunk.”
The fancy cat attempted to laugh cooly, but it just came out with hiccups and burps, fooling nobody. “Oh ho ho, hck! Gurl, if it weren’t for your library, I would have never found how absolutely genius I am at crossword puzzles! I’m so happy to have met you!”
There was the sound of plates clattering and tables creaking in ways they clearly were not supposed to. “Aww, com-com’ere!!” one of the ladies shouted as they climbed over various dining obstacles to hug each other.
Yips and yaps and howls overpowered the ladies. Big Mouth turned to see the dogi standing up straight, nuzzling each other, their little paws unable to keep still. “I won, I won! (We finally beat Greater Dog! I’m so proud of you, hubby!)”
Greater Dog sat with the usual smile, his tongue lolling. He didn’t seem to mind the loss.
“Let’s go out and enter that fun snowboarding competition! Maybe we’ll win that too! (Better yet, let’s bet on ourselves, and win even more!)” The Dogi quickly scampered out of the building, their axes shredding the wooden floor, and ready to shred some snow.
Big Mouth looked through the window seeing that creepy duo, scarf mouse and little demon guy had finally moved from their spot. They must have gone to watch, too. Big’s mouth widened as he saw the Shopkeeper from across the way talking with that bear in the tacky sweater. They were smiling, each a present in the other’s hand, heading towards the hills.
“Heh heh, har har!” The ugly fish laughed. “I bet those dogs will give Glyde a run for his money! Ya know, I heard that even those rascally little teens are wantin’ to enter this year. Hopin’ to win the prize money for somethin’ or other.”
Red’s eyebrow raised, and for once, she sat up. “Really? Hmm, those kids are a wily bunch. Maybe I should go see it after all.”
“Don’t see why not!”
“You know what!” Red said, standing up on her claws for once. “You’re right, old man! Let’s go cheer ‘em on! Anyone but that smug Glyde!”
“That’s what I wanted to hear!” he replied, the two of them waddling out the door, supporting their wobbling bodies all the way.
Big Mouth nodded to Drunk Bun. “See?”
The bun’s body jolted up, her dizzy eyes leaving the greasy old table. She instantly locked onto Sans, however. “N-n-no! Sansy still isn’t back! D-don’t bother me unless Sansy is here!” She quickly resumed her examination of the table, mumbles and snores escaping her mouth.
He sighed in defeat, the air from his mouth practically blowing Bun off the table. She didn’t notice.
Before he knew it, Sans was back, without even a sound. He held a steaming burger on a plate, positively glistening with sauces and grease. Cheese melted down the sides of the meaty cliffs, creating a cascading waterfall of dairy product. Big Mouth licked his lips, stomach already rumbling in anticipation.
Sans sat across the way, gently scooting Drunk Bun’s sleeping form to the side. Ironically, she never woke up to see him. “gotcha your burger, mac. ” Big didn’t get it.
“Thank you, Sans,” Big Mouth said earnestly. “So, how are things?”
His orbs looked out the window to his slightly well-done home. “gettin’ pretty heated .” He chuckled. “nah, but punk over there seems to be worried about us losin’ our culture or whatever.”
Big Mouth knew better than to talk with his mouth full. Especially his mouth. “Hmm…. What for?”
“city’s getting overcrowded sounds like. likely other monsters’ll move over here.” Hmm. No pun.
“You think it’s a valid concern?”
Sans shook his skull, teeth splayed out in that constant grin. Big Mouth wondered if that hurt. Smiling like that always hurt him. “eh. snowdin’s gonna stay the same as it always has. not that it’s a bad thing. i like it here.”
Big Mouth’s tongue was practically drowning him in saliva as he waited to eat his meal. But he had one more question. “Are you going to see the snowboarding competition? Sounds to be exciting this year.” Big Mouth preferred to eat his sandwich, however. The librarbians seemed to be having a perfectly good time here as well, laughing and gossiping together behind him.
Sans chuckled. “nah. glyde always wins.”