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Liberosis

Chapter Text

One drop.

 

Two drops.

 

Rain was incessant this year.

 

With just two months into the new year, people had already gotten used to it — which explained the colourful array of umbrellas and their bright tones contrasting with the gray skies, gray buildings, and gray atmosphere of the area.

 

You used to like rain.

 

You used to like it, until it eventually managed to seep through your ceiling and ruin most of your furniture.

 

You used to like it, until it eventually made you unable to dry your clean clothes without walking more than a mile to reach a laundromat.

 

You used to like it, until you started arriving to work with a cold and clothes drenched enough to fill an entire swimming pool for the summer.

 

As you contemplated over your recently grown hatred towards rain, you looked to your right, catching the most unusual sight in all of mankind:

 

A skeleton without an umbrella.

 

It wasn’t the skeleton that bothered you, but more the fact that — despite the predictable weather — he didn’t seem to bother carrying an umbrella with him.

 

Arching an eyebrow at such an unusual scene, you approached him, gesturing with your umbrella towards him once making visual contact with glowing irises.

 

“You okay, dude?” You questioned, witnessing how the assumedly permanent smile on his face tugged downwards — if only scarcely. “I have a spare umbrella in my backpack, if you want.”

 

He didn’t say anything. Rather, he just hummed at your words and shook his head.

 

“I’m alright.” He finally spoke, his tone hinting at a relaxed, almost Bronx-like accent. Neither of those two you were expecting his voice to sound like. “The rain ain’t botherin’ me — it just feels nice.”

 

“Well, I’ll see you later then, stranger.” You replied, looking back towards the route you’d deviated from. “I’ve gotta head to work.”

 

With those final words, you were given a nod in acknowledgment and a wave goodbye. You quickly returned the gesture before turning around and heading off to work.

 

One drop.

 

Two drops.

 

Water continued to pour down from the sky, the world around you continued to pass on, you continued walking down the street, and the skeleton continued to bask under the rain.

Chapter Text

Three drops.

 

Four drops.

 

Today, you had to brace yourself for a downpour.

 

Water continued to leak from your roof and you were struggling to find buckets big enough to last through the entire day.

 

Knowing the small containers you owned weren’t going to be enough, you grabbed your backpack and left your home, locking the door before running off to the laundromat, knowing the clothing baskets they kept for free use could help with your dilemma.

 

You took the same route you were accustomed to take for work, seeing as both places were located not too far away from each other — something which you were grateful for after having to walk a mile just to reach either of the two places.

 

With your umbrella shielding you as best as it could, you were able to keep your backpack dry by shifting it over to your torso and keeping it safe in your hold.

 

The same, however, couldn’t be said about your back.

 

The back of your shirt was drenched, as so were the back of your jeans.

 

As you continued your walk towards said location, you came across the same skeleton, sitting at the exact same spot, and with the exact same expression — that permanent smile on his face that didn’t seem to wipe off no matter what thought crossed his mind.

 

Curious, you ventured off towards his side, once more gesturing your umbrella to him and offering your spare one, only to have him decline again.

 

“Didn’t think I’d see ya again, pal.” He spoke, a light chuckle interrupting the repeated melody of rain hitting the ground and the top of your umbrella. “How’s life treatin’ ya?”

 

“It's been fine. Just the same old, daily grind.” You responded, surprising yourself by sitting down next to him, only to be more surprised to see him scoot over to leave more space for you to sit down next to him. “You?”

 

“Been givin’ this new job a try.” He replied, looking down at his shoes as he contemplated the wet concrete below them. “It hasn’t been that bad so far.”

 

Smiling at his response, you complimented him for his achievement, afterwards stating you had to go somewhere else.

 

“Gotta go now, dude.” You spoke, standing up and shielding your backpack as best as you could while the rest of your back continued to get rained on. “I had fun.”

 

“Same here.”

 

After those two words were said, you made your way back to the usual route, the previous conversation lingering in the back of your mind, making you wonder over the skeleton sitting below the rain in spontaneous days of the week.

 

It’d been two weeks since your first encounter with him, and today was the third meet-up you’d had with him — all of these meetings taking place at a different day and a different hour, but at the same location.

 

Three drops.

 

Four drops.

 

The downpour came to a halt.

Chapter Text

Five drops.

 

Six drops.

 

A light rain was forecasted today, which meant people would be outside more.

 

Bodies shuffled past you in a feverish haste, some saying their apologies and others telling you off for messing with their day.

 

Your eyes darted from corner to corner, looking to see if you could catch sight of the skeleton again.

 

Today marked your eight day without seeing him, and you were surprised to think that yourself.

 

It was silly of you to expect to see him when neither of you had bothered to come up with a precise meeting time and spot. And it was sillier to expect to see him every week.

 

Yet, it just didn’t feel right.

 

The quotidian meetings you had with him told that — despite the many things he seemed to be keeping to himself — he was still holding up; that he was still keeping it together.

 

Looking around one final time, your eyes finally came across him, his permanent smile gone.

 

Taken aback by the frown on his skull, you continue to inspect the scene, noticing a taller skeleton standing next to him. In contrast to his relaxed and low voice, the taller skeleton’s tone was as loud as a speaker set to play heavy metal twenty-four hours a day.

 

”Why won’t you go with us? Is there something troubling you?” The taller one asked, concerned highlighted over his words.

 

”I just don’t want to.” The shorter one replied. “I’d rather spend it at home.”

 

”You always say that, brother!” A pause, followed by a sigh. “Why not give us a chance? I believe it could help with lifting up your mood!"

 

”Fine.” Was his reluctant response. “But I’m not makin’ any promises.”

 

Though you didn’t want to be caught eavesdropping on their conversation, you were surprised to see him acknowledge you with a short wave the moment his brother left off to another direction.

 

Despite not knowing what the situation was about or if he could understand sign language, you signed the words “stay strong” with your hands before turning around and leaving to work.

 

Five drops.

 

Six drops.

 

At that point, you hadn’t realized what you’d just started, but you were going to find out soon enough.

Chapter Text

Seven drops.

 

Eight drops.

 

Today, you’d somehow met at a café.

 

A spider lady was busy tending to the customers that came and went; waiters ran to and fro the establishment, making sure to serve each and every client before they decided waiting wasn’t worth their time.

 

You were midway through exiting the shop, whereas he was just about to enter it.

 

As if knowing what he was here for, your eyes averted to the tall skeleton taking the orders of a small family of two.

 

You opened the door and waited for him to enter, though instead of resorting only to a “thanks” for your gesture, he followed it with a “hey, wait up” moments after.

 

In response to him calling out for you, your feet came to a careful stop and you turned around to face him.

 

“Yeah?” You questioned, a quizzical frown playing on your lips.

 

“My bro’s holdin’ a human-monster get together to celebrate ten years since monsters left the Surface, so I figured I’d give you an invite.”

 

On cue to those words was him taking out a folded paper from his front pocket and handing it over to you.

 

“Thanks. . .” You trailed off, taking the paper in your hands and unfolding it afterwards.

 

You took a step forward into the shop, not wanting for the paper to shrivel up under the rain.

 

Before your eyes laid a colourful flyer advertising a reunion over at the city’s plaza. Below those words was the schedule, stating the event was to take place next Sunday at noon.

 

“I’ll think about it.”

 

With a wave goodbye, you left the establishment for a second time, looking back after realizing neither one of you had bothered to introduced yourselves and get to know your names.

 

You brushed that thought away and turned back around when remembering there was no reason to do that right now; there was no reason to know that right now.

 

Seven drops.

 

Eight drops.

 

For once in a long time, a blinding ray of sunshine managed to pierce through the gray clouds, adding a hint of vibrance to your surroundings.

Chapter Text

Nine drops.

 

Ten drops.

 

For once in a long time, the rain had picked up and — though there was the occasional drizzle — a light sun managed to shine through.

 

You smeared some hair gel carefully across your nephew’s unruly curls, chuckling when hearing him protest over the excessive amount you were adding to it.

 

“Your hair needs to stay put for the party.” You reasoned, facing his reflection in the mirror. “We’ll wash it off once it’s over, okay?”

 

In response, your nephew nodded and waited for you to finish with the last coat of hair gel.

 

“Can I go to the thing you’re invited to, too? I don’t have anything to do on Sunday.”

 

“Sure.” You nodded. “So long as grandma agrees with that.”

 

“You know she won’t let me!" He huffed, crossing his arms over his puffed up chest, annoyance present in his tone. "She says Sundays are for staying at home and studying.”

 

“Well, dear, I can’t go against her words." Facing the mirror again, you let out a sigh when seeing the saddened look plastered over your nephew’s face. "But if she lets you, let me know, alright?”

 

“Alright. . .”

 

Nine drops.

 

Ten drops.

 

The clouds began to cover the sky again. The sun ceased shining over the city, and the humid air began to take over.

 

You made sure your nephew was all set for the birthday party of his friend, giving him a ticklish kiss on the cheek before sending him off with your grandmother and waving farewell, the car gradually beginning to disappear from your vision.

 

Once the car was no longer in sight, you looked at the flyer you accustomed to keep in your pocket ever since you encountered with the skeleton at the café.

 

You were uncertain about going, yet you couldn’t avoid your curiosity towards meeting up at a plaza full of both humans and monsters.

 

Though this was the tenth gathering, you’d never once gathered the courage to attend one, and — now — you were itching to see what it could be like.

Chapter Text

Eleven drops.

 

Twelve drops.

 

Today, it rained for less than ten minutes. It was currently Sunday, twelve in the afternoon, yet there wasn’t a hint of a cloud in sight.

 

As if experiencing some sort of post-apocalyptic scenario, neighbours began to rejoice and a flood of bodies walking and running around happily across the streets took over the city.

 

Smiling in amusement to their excitement, you shook your head lightly, later focusing on arriving to your destination before one o’clock.

 

The monster-human gathering had begun almost an hour ago, though you believed it would be more prudent to show up one hour after, just in case people were barely showing up and in case last-minute preparations were still being made.

 

With your nephew holding onto your hand, you both continued to walk further towards your destined location, killing time by chatting away your thoughts.

 

Arriving at the city’s plaza, you were surprised to see the influx of people gathered around you. Humans and monsters of all shapes and sizes were busily conversing or trying food from different stalls, joy a palpable emotion as you continued to observe each and every person close by. The event was full of energy and warmth, something which immediately rubbed off on your nephew.

 

After asking you for permission to go play with other children, he left with a rushed “thank you” and a hug, before running off with a pair of monsters and a trio of humans.

 

Thinking about forming some small talk with older folk, you were taken aback when seeing the tall skeleton from before approach your side.

 

“Hello there, human!” He spoke, voice booming with friendliness and excitement.

 

Eleven drops.

 

Twelve drops.

 

The tall skeleton offer you his gloved hand, the fabric's bright red colour inviting you to shake hands with him.

 

“It is lovely to finally meet one of my brother’s friends!”

Chapter Text

Thirteen drops.

 

Fourteen drops.

 

Though the meeting with Papyrus — Sans’s younger brother — had resulted well, as so had the monster-human gathering, what Papyrus said before leaving worried you.

 

“Sans is rarely ever home nowadays. . . It seems that, whenever something stresses him out, he storms out of the house — without even bothering to grab an umbrella! It sincerely worries me, but it is relieving to see he has made another friend."

 

After he said that, he placed a hand over your shoulder, as if entrusting you to keep up with what you’d been doing until now to become his ‘friend’.

 

But, really. . . Could you call yourselves that?

 

If it weren’t for the taller skeleton’s intervention, you might’ve taken much longer to learn Sans’s name.

 

Not to mention, your meetings weren’t exactly long-lasting.

 

Sure, they were often, but they didn’t last more than ten minutes each.

 

Even so, you didn’t want to dampen Papyrus’s hopes, so you went along with the word he’d chosen to describe you.

 

Thirteen drops.

 

Fourteen drops.

 

After returning home with your nephew, you decided to go outside and lock the house, using the opportunity of him sleeping to take a nightly walk around the city.

 

Once outside, you walked down the usual route leading to the laundromat, coming across a fire-based monster sitting on a bench next to Sans, who had a sloppy grin on his face and a half-empty bottle of ketchup in his hand.

 

Not wanting to interrupt their apparently drunken conversation, you attempted to walk away, only to have him call out for you.

 

“Wanna join us?” He offered. "The night’s still young.”

 

Sighing, you tried not looking back, yet the thought of ignoring him and the new face next to him made you unable to do so.

 

Though you weren't particularly fond of alcohol anymore, you had trouble being near it or by someone under its influence, and you didn’t want to risk it.

 

Collecting your thoughts, you took in a deep breath before turning back around to face him.

 

"No, thanks.” You spoke. “I’ll pass on drinking for tonight.”

 

Those words had left your mouth faster than rushing water, yet you didn’t regret it.

 

Maybe it was the hour — Or, perhaps, it was the stress of a long work week followed by taking care of your nephew during the weekend.

 

But, what you knew at the moment was that you felt confident enough not to give into drinking.

 

You looked at the time displayed over your phone’s screen, noticing it was still barely ten o’clock.

 

Mustering up enough willpower not to fall for the temptations of alcohol, you took in a deep breath, popped some chewing gum, and walked over to Sans and the fire monster’s side.

 

You sat down next to them, time flew by, and — overall — you had a good time.

 

With their warm — pun intended — company serving as a distraction, you felt ready to take on the world.

 

You felt ready to face another day.

Chapter Text

One cigarette.

 

Two cigarettes.

 

Another drizzle was forecasted today, yet you didn't bother on using your umbrella, Sans's habit seemingly having grown on you with these past few weeks of getting to know him.

 

Today, you'd given in to one of your temptations — smoking.

 

You disliked having to go back to it — you hated it, even. But it was better than resorting to alcohol — according to you, at least.

 

You'd already gone through two cigarettes, and you were currently on your third one. The occasional passerby gave you accusatory looks for the smell and the smoke.

 

Your hands shook with anxiety and your heart beat rapidly against your ribcage. 

 

It was becoming harder and harder to find relief with just two cigarettes. Your body was starting to get used to them again.

 

Finishing up your third one, you heaved out a long, heavy sigh and put the fire away, throwing the remains in the trashcan near the bench you were sitting at.

 

You closed your eyes, trying to calm your thoughts.

 

"Um. . ."

 

You heard a voice almost as faint as the squeak of a mouse, though you didn't bother checking to see who it was and continued to keep your eyes closed.

 

"(Sir/Miss). . ."

 

You heard the voice again, this time louder and clearer, making you open your eyes and begin your search for the voice.

 

After looking around, your head drifted towards the trashcan, where a ghost with a concerned frown and baggy eyes floated close to it.

 

"Are you okay?" The ghost questioned. "You. . . You look like me when I'm feeling like garbage."

 

A moment of silence followed after his words, your surprised state failing to come up with a response.

 

"Well. . . “ You trailed off, taking in a sharp breath. “I feel like shit, actually." You laughed, an honest, genuine one.

 

You weren't expecting for the ghost to be so forward, though it certainly helped with lightening the mood.

 

"But it's no biggie, dude."

 

You caught a ghost of a smile on his face as you said that, an unusual feeling of contentment taking over.

 

Not wanting to make your newly-made acquientance feel left out, you scooted over to the right, leaving some space for him to sit down.

 

"Enough about me, though. . ." You began, deciding if you were to continue being bold around him or not. "You look more done with life than I do — Feeling up for a chat, stranger?"

 

This time, a more noticeable smile managed to show on his face.

 

"You can call me Napstablook." He mumbled. "If. . . If you want to, that is. . ."

 

"Sure." You nodded, watching as he sat down next to you, being careful so as to not faze through the bench. "The name's ________, by the way."

 

One smile.

 

Two smiles.

 

After that introduction, Napstablook built up the courage to show you a ghost trick he called "DJ Blook", which consisted of him forming some headphones and sunglasses with his tears.

 

Once witnessing that, he asked for your opinion, to which you decided to be even more bolder than you were before.

 

You flirted with him.

 

Jokingly, of course.

 

Or was it, really?

Chapter Text

One teardrop.

 

Two teardrops.

 

Today, you watched as your grandmother was lowered ten feet underground.

 

Though you’d told yourself many times to expect that to be happening soon, tears didn’t fail to leave your eyes and you found yourself leaning your head against your nephew’s for support. You cradled him carefully in your hold, hugging him as tightly as you could allow yourself to. His curly hair tickled your nose as he responded to your actions by hugging you tighter.

 

The burial lasted for more than three hours, yet you didn’t stop crying until the last hour.

 

Your eyes were red and sore, and all you wanted was to go back home.

 

Yet, that desire was far from reach today.

 

Now, you had to convince the jury to leave you with your nephew’s custody.

 

You sure as hell weren’t going to let anyone else besides yourself take care of him from now on.

 

Three hours.

 

Four hours.

 

Much to your luck, the trail to whether or not your nephew would be in your care was put on-hold. The judge was reluctant to make her decision once she learned both your second uncle and aunt had a history less than reputable compared to yours.

 

She’d asked for full documents regarding their past whereabouts, leading for her to uncover past crimes regarding negligence to their own children, mistreatment towards animals, and discrimination towards monsters.

 

The judge was about to give you full custody of your nephew, until she found out about your past relations with alcohol and the current economical state you were in.

 

Due to these circumstances, she put the trail on-hold, mainly in order for you to take a drug taste and an interrogation that would then determine your future with your nephew.

 

Needless to say, you felt like shit again.

 

It was currently nine o’clock on a Saturday night, and your nephew was nowhere to be seen around your apartment. He’d been taken for temporary care under a Head Start teacher willing enough to take the task after a full week of dealing with more than twenty children running rampant inside her school.

 

Wanting a change of scenery, you pulled on a jacket and left the building, running off with a packet of gum and three sticks of them in your mouth.

 

You couldn’t smoke.

 

You had to stay clean for the test.

 

You couldn’t let your nephew be sent off to Heaven knows where.

 

You had to change for his sake.

 

You blinked away the tears threatening to blur your vision again, the feeling of a hand touching your arm making your stop on your tracks.

 

“You’re gonna crash into that lamppost if you don’t look where you’re goin’.”

 

The familiar voice made you lower back down to reality, the previously angry response you were about to lash out being replaced with a long exhale.

 

You glanced at the lamppost you were warned about, afterwards turning around to face with the one who’d stopped your hasty steps.

 

In front of you was Sans, accompanied by the most beautiful being you’d ever seen in your entire life:

 

A surprisingly tall doggo clad in heavy armor.

Chapter Text

One pat.

 

Two pats.

 

After waiting to see if the doggo was willing to let you pet him, you were able to distract your mind away from negative thoughts.

 

Right now, all you could think about was how many pats you could give him until his long neck was finally too far from your reach.

 

The world around you seemed to blur away, and you could only focus on having fun.

 

"Boof!" The doggo exclaimed, tail wagging wildly as you threw a stick you'd retrieved from a nearby tree. He immediately jumped from his armor and ran towards it, tongue out as he panted with excitement.

 

"Didn't know you were a dog person." Sans spoke, watching the scenery with an amused grin. He'd laid against the lamppost to observe you. "If anythin', I would've guessed you were into cats more."

 

Once the dog was back with the stick, you took it in your hold, afterwards giving him a pat on the head as you then turned to meet with Sans.

 

"I like them both equally, actually." You let out a quiet chuckle. "Though, I can't really have either one as a pet, considering I live in an apartment."

 

He seemed to think over your words after that. You could see his irises had drifted away from you, and the ever-present grin on his face seemed to be distant.

 

"Ever considered visitin' an animal shelter?" He questioned, standing up straight as he began to approach you and the doggo's side. "They can let you play with 'em without havin' to commit."

 

"Never really thought of it, to be honest." 

 

You paused, stopping yourself from saying those six words that haunted you the most right now: "I could bring my nephew, too".

 

A frown didn't hesitate to show on your face, and you could feel your eyes itch again.

 

"You alright?" He asked, taking notice over your sudden change in mood.

 

"Y. . . Yeah." You shook your head lightly, as if hoping that doing so would shake away your doubts. "I'm just tired."

 

Instead of saying something, he stayed quiet, gaze traveling up and down the current expression plastered clear on your face.

 

"The name's Sans, by the way." He said, holding a hand out for you to shake.

 

Eyes flickering to meet with his skull, it took you a minute to process what was going on.

 

"__________." You responded, a small smile visible on your face.

 

Completing the hand shake, you were surprised to feel a jolt of electricity course through your body. 

 

Your eyes widened as you let go of him, looking down to see the figure of a buzzer wrapped underneath his gloved hand.

 

"Figured you could use a lil' jolt to lighten things up." He explained.

 

Lips slightly parted as you observed him, a more genuine smile took over, and you decided to go for the bold option again.

 

"Yeah." You assented. "I really felt a spark between us."

Chapter Text

One knock.

 

Two knocks.

 

You stood up from your living room's small love seat, walking towards the door and peaking through the peephole.

 

In front of you stood the social worker who'd told you to wait for your results, his presence merely blocked by the door and its small chain lock. Concern didn't hesitate to appear over you as you thought over possible scenarios why he was here.

 

Exasperated, you adjusted your clothing as quickly as you could, making sure to look as decent and presentable as it was possible with the little time on your hands.

 

You inhaled before opening the door, trying to pick up your composure and make yourself seem pleased to have him here.

 

"Good morning." You welcomed, trying to hide the stutter in your voice. "Is something the matter?"

 

You couldn't avoid your internal disgust with how formal you were being right at this moment. All your id wanted was to shut the door in his face and throw itself in bed.

 

Surely, the man was here to tell you the drug test results had gone wrong, and that your nephew was now far from your reach.

 

"Well, yes. . ." He admitted, tone hesitant as he placed a hand over the back of his neck. "But it's not related to work. I'm only here to. . ."

 

He trailed off again, your nerves running short and door getting closer and closer to touching the tip of his nose.

 

"Yeah?"

 

"I was wondering if you could ask the founder of Hu-Mons to convince the monster embassador to have an interview with us." He explained, words spilling out faster than Jell-O on a ceramic plate as he referred to Papyrus — the one in charge of forming the yearly human-monster get together for a full decade. "It's for our —"

 

"No." You spat, angry at the idea that he'd only come all the way here to ask you for Papyrus's assistance.

 

"It's for out yearly review." He insisted. "The human embassador is almost twenty-one now, and we want to ask them how they're coping with their monster family."

 

"What makes you think I have the right to do that?"

 

"You have less chances to keep your nephew, if you disagree."

 

The frown you'd been trying to hide ever since opening the door for him took full control of your face, lips tugging downwards, eyebrows furrowing in impatience, and hand clenching to the doorknob hard enough to make your palm hurt.

 

"Bullshit."

 

With that, you closed the door, huffing after hearing his insistency from behind it.

 

Again, you opened the door, your short fuse ready to go off at any second.

 

"Wrap it up, dude." You spoke, sighing. "I have somewhere to be at noon."

 

"Alright." He began. "Now, hear me out. . . I'm not hear to obligate you to do it, but —"

 

His speech was interrupted by a Froggit hopping on top of his head, causing him to let out a yelp as the frog monster hopped again, standing before you with a mousy frown.

 

The reluctant frog monster then showed you a card, allowing you to identify them.

 

Apparently, they were a social worker, too.

Chapter Text

One croak. 

 

Two croaks.

 

After the first social worker cowered behind your mailbox, the second one was left to tend to you.

 

“Don’t mind him.” Froggit croaked, the pronunciation of their words in English coming off slow and paused. “He says this to every human who even remotely acknowledges Papyrus’s presence.”

 

The frog monster hopped again, afterwards extending their tiny hand towards you, in wait for you to take it.

 

“I’m afraid I haven’t introduced myself yet.” They continued. “Our kind is only know by the name of Froggit, but my fellow co-workers have nick-named me Frogger.”

 

”Lovely to meet you, Frogger.” You replied, taking their tiny hand in yours. “My name’s __________.”

 

After that, you shook hands with them, a small smile forming on your lips as you did so.

 

One question. 

 

Two questions.

 

After some small talk with Frogger, the topic regarding your drug test eventually surfaced over the two of you. The first social worker tried chastising you for not agreeing with his proposal and even went as far as to hint blackmail if you refused to help him, but your newly-made frog acquaintance convinced you that was just his normal conduct.

 

Having that clarified, you decided to ask Frogger the question that most bothered you since leaving the police department.

 

”Are my results out yet?”

 

”No.” The frog monster shook their head. “It takes some time, so I would recommend you stay alert over any phone calls after two to three more days. They should inform you whether or not your nephew will be staying with you then.”

 

They stood staring at you for some time, focusing on the distressed expression on your face.

 

After a minute, they spoke up.

 

”Would you care to accompany me for some lunch at Grillby’s?” They offered. “I’m no expert nor one to judge, but you look like you could use a distraction.”

 

You hesitated.

 

After your encounter with Lesser Dog — as Sans had told you his name was — the skeleton had invited you to a dog shelter at two o’clock, saying that you could spend some time with the dogs there without having to worry about taking them home with you. You’d agreed to the invitation, seeing as you had a free schedule after the day of the drug test. Now, you were thinking over what choice to make.

 

”Actually. . .” You began, passing a hand behind your neck in doubt. “I’ve already somewhere to be at two. Some other time, maybe?”

 

If you weren’t aware of the headache you had since the trail, you would’ve thought you’d imagined seeing the frog monster smile in a somewhat smug fashion, a mischievous glint remaining in their eyes.

 

”Is it a date?” They inquired.

 

Again, you debated whether or not to be bold.

 

A brief moment of silence passed before you decided on what to do.

 

”It isn’t.” You negated, a more humored smile stretching across your face. “I’d honestly rather date you.”

 

*Frogger understood what you said.

 

*Despite their sheepish attempts at shrugging it off, they seem to be flattered.

 

*Acquired: Frogger’s phone number and a rain check to lunch at Grillby's.

Chapter Text

One pet.

 

Two pets.

 

You laughed as a German Shepherd pounced on you, licking your cheek.

 

Many more dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes surrounded you, one after another snuggling next to you as you continued to pet each and every one of them.

 

After a while, you glanced a look back towards Sans, who was standing behind the fence that kept him safe from all the hungry dogs in observant wait for his possible approach.

 

An idea crossed your mind once you caught sight of a small and white Pomeranian huddled in a corner, far, far away from the rest.

 

Excusing yourself from the bigger bunch, you reached out for the Pomeranian and took him in your hold, afterwards walking towards Sans and handing it over to him.

 

”C’mon.” You insisted. “He won’t bite.”

 

You could see Sans’s hands hesitate when reaching out for the dog, yet you confronted that situation by gently pushing the Pomeranian forward, permitting for him to lick the skeleton’s phalanges in a playful manner.

 

”He likes you!” You cooed, a teasing grin appearing over your visage. 

 

“You sure he doesn’t just find me tasty?” Sans chuckled.

 

"I'm sure." You snickered. "He's not trying to chew on you, unlike that Saint Bernard over there did."

 

You pointed at the biggest dog of a group of four, who was now sniffing a Chihuahua's behind, saluting him into their group. After seeing it become a group of five, you turned back to meet with Sans.

 

"She tried to take your leg twice." You stated, reminding him of when you both first entered the petting area and — moments after — the time when she tried to grab the skeleton's leg despite him having already gone behind the fence. "This lil' guy's only licking your hand."

 

You continued to talk with him about dogs, topics varying from which were after him, which were not, and which dog you thought was the cutest. 

 

One goodbye.

 

Two goodbyes.

 

After approximately two hours spent in the animal shelter, you were now standing outside under the light rain shower, not bothering to take out your umbrella as you waited for a bus next to your companion's side. You fumbled with the shelter's flyer in your hands, an uncertain expression present on your face.

 

You looked at the skeleton, inspecting his distant expression with curious eyes and an inquisitive frown.

 

Shortly after leaving the premises, you took notice of his sudden change in mood. The previously genuine smile on his face seemed forced, leaving you to think over what way you could let him know you were there for him, just as he'd been the day you almost collided with a lamppost.

 

You decided to stop glancing at him to avoid coming off as strange, yet your gaze was soon snapped back to him once you heard some faint snoring from his direction.

 

Looking back to him, you witnessed his eye sockets were closed, his head lightly tilted to the side as he ventured off into a deeper sleep.

 

You then looked at your watch, noticing there were still twenty minutes until the next bus arrived.

 

You put the flyer away and placed your satchel down on the space left between you and him, serving as a makeshift pillow for him to use.

 

With a hesitant hand, you reached out for his shoulder, careful not to be too abrupt as you laid him down on it.

Chapter Text

One thunder.

 

Two strikes of lightning.

 

Ten minutes after you mounted the bus along with Sans, the light rain managed to turn into a thunderstorm. Lightning flashed from all directions and you couldn't avoid flinching after one crashed dangerously close to your window. 

 

Heaving out a sigh, you decided to pay closer attention to your company.

 

To your surprise, he'd chosen to do the same, leading you meet face-to-skull and for you to think back on when you were both sitting on the bench.

 

A few minutes before the bus arrived, you observed how he slowly began to shift on the bench, sockets eventually opening and body standing back up.

 

At that time, he didn't acknowledge the state he'd woken up in, neither had he given you any sort of odd or questioning look. Rather, he just brought up another topic regarding his brother Papyrus and how he was busy planning the post-proposal party of his engaged, fish monster friend.

 

"Thanks." He suddenly spoke, tone somewhat off and ambivalent as you instantly broke eye contact with him, realizing you'd drifted off into your own thoughts. "I, uh, didn't really bring that up earlier, 'cause I noticed when you did that."

 

Lips pressed together as you pondered over his words, you decided to ask him a question.

 

"It's fine." You dismissed his explanation with the gentle wave of your hand, fumbling with the strap of your bag afterwards. "I should've'nt done that — You barely know me, as I barely know you.”

 

He remained in pensive silence for a moment, observing the state of the weather outside the  windows before continuing.

 

”Wanna change that startin' today?” He asked.

 

Now, it was your time to think about what to say.

 

You hummed softly as you sorted out your mind, taking in the ambiance mainly composed of hushed murmurings of people riding the bus and the rhythmic thumping of the wheels on the occasional rocky pavement.

 

”Sure — I don’t see why not.” You replied.

 

One stop.

 

Two stops.

 

The bus hissed as it gradually came to a halt, allowing for a large crowd to exit with a hurried pace. Few bothered to open their umbrellas, seeing as the heavy rain was finally picking up.

 

First was Sans's stop.

 

You were expecting him to say his goodbyes right there and then, but — instead — what you received was an invitation to pick up Frisk at their university.

 

"Their uni's far from home." He explained along the way, the both of you maintaining a slow pace as there were still ten minutes left until Frisk finished with their final class. "We're still saving up to have a third car, so the least I can do now's make sure they get home safe."

 

You smiled at that comment, reminiscing the day when his half-drunken state confessed to you about a promise he'd made to someone named 'Tori'. It made you think that — perhaps— that was his main reason for performing this routine.

 

You also decided to keep quiet about that, knowing he could most likely have hazy memory of that particular day and regret the few things he'd told you.

 

After a few minutes of walking and conversing, it was finally time to pick up Frisk.

 

You stood outside the complex, picking up another set of bus tickets while you waited for their return.

Chapter Text

Before you stood the Monster Embassador, and hell, it was awkward — for you, at least.

 

They were only twenty-one years old, and yet they'd accomplished more than you could imagine.

 

From being the co-founder of Hu-Mons™, helping fund a school for monsters, and being halfway through finishing their Bachelor's degree — among many other things — you felt as small as an ant next to them.

 

You were three years shy of reaching your thirties, and you were still struggling to so much as keep a roof over your head.

 

Hell, you were at risk for having your nephew be taken away for —

 

You were snapped out of your thoughts by a hand being placed over your shoulder.

 

You looked up, coming across Frisk, who began to sign with their hands moments after.

 

"Come with us." They told. "I would like to know you better."

 

You declined their offer with the gentle dismissal of waving your hand.

 

"I really shouldn't."

 

Letting out a thoughtful hum, they took out their phone from their back pocket and began to type away in it.

 

It took them a minute before finishing and pressing the 'text-to-speech' option on the screen.

 

"Any friend of Sans is a friend of mine." They insisted. "There will not be many people aside from him, Toriel, and me — The rest are out preparing for Undyne and Alphys's wedding."

 

You took in a sharp breath, chest rising and falling quickly in response to your actions. The sudden break from anti-anxiety medications was taking a toll on you ever since the drug test, and you couldn't help taking everything in without being overwhelmed.

 

Irresolutely, you agreed, not wanting to dampen their mood nor wipe the hopeful smile on their face.

 

"Yay!" They typed, the robotic voice of their device trying to mimic excitement making you suppress a smile.

 

For a young adult balancing so many things at once, they sure were peppy and enthusiastic — one could say determined, even.

 

One traffic light.

 

Two traffic lights.

 

After one final bus ride, you were finally at their home, eyes not hesitating on taking in the grandiose house they lived in.

 

It clearly showed their family was a large one, which made the whole deal about needing a third car much more understandable now.

 

"Follow me!" They typed again, gesturing with their head over to the entrance of their humble but not-so-small abode.

 

Seeing you stand there with a blatantly lost expression, Frisk took their hand in yours and pulled you with them, leading you to rush your steps as they led you inside the house.

 

They unlocked the door of their home with their free hand, Sans intervening by pushing it open.

 

Your amazement only increased when looking at the state of your surroundings.

 

You were mesmerized by the utter perfection of their home. Everything — from the pastel colour of the walls to the small trinkets and decor displayed about — complemented each other in one way or another.

 

If you hadn't known about their own troubles with economy, you would've thought their home belonged to the richer folks from the street a few blocks away from yours.

 

Thinking back on the invitation, you were more than relieved they hadn't thought of visiting your place instead.

 

Your place was an awfully cramped mess.

 

Then again, most of your life was.

 

Shaking your head to remove those thoughts, you proceeded inside the living room, where you were promptly greeted by Frisk holding two glasses of lemonade.

Chapter Text

You were only halfway into drinking your lemonade when Frisk received a video chat call from someone named Toriel — presumably their parent as the voice from the other line wouldn’t stop asking them questions about how they were and how their day went. Their consistent hand movements and gestures to respond to each of Toriel’s questions showed that, too.

 

Before hanging up, they turned their phone’s screen over to you, allowing you to see a well-dressed goat woman sitting on a desk chair, a pair of glasses resting over the tip of her nose as she stopped shuffling some papers and documents to face you with a smile.

 

“Greetings!” She spoke, her tone about as melodic as the soft tunes of a wind chime.  “I assume you must be the one Sans was taking to the animal shelter today, are you not?”

 

“Yes.” You nodded. “That’s me — It’s lovely to meet you, Toriel.”

 

“Likewise, __________.”

 

A brighter smile formed over her fluffy features, and she stood up straighter on her seat before speaking up again.

 

“I am afraid I will not be able to meet personally with you today.” She continued. “But I do hope it will be possible in a future visit.”

 

Her eyes flickered back to Frisk. She then asked them a question regarding a pie she’d kept in the refrigerator, to which they responded to with a nod.

 

Contented by their response, the goat woman shifted her eyes towards Sans’s direction, giving him a friendly reminder that he would be in charge of the house until the others arrived from their wedding preparations. You chortled quietly to yourself after seeing her give him a stern look, only to be followed by a pun about doors and him responding with an equally important doorknob pun.

 

It wasn’t until she heard a school bell ring that she began to wrap things up.

 

One goodbye.

 

Two goodbyes.

 

After a while of speaking with Frisk, Sans excused himself from the living room.

 

The moment he was out of sight, Frisk took you by the arm and pulled you close enough to see the phone’s screen.

 

Confused, you arched an eyebrow and focused on reading what they’d typed, the message being short but alarming enough to make a cold sensation run through your body.

 

“I have something important to tell you.”

 

You dipped your head slowly, permitting Frisk to know you’d finished reading the message. 

 

Bobbing their head back, they typed in a longer set of sentences before showing them over to you.

 

"I trust you will not turn against if I were to confess you something. You have known Sans for a few months now, and I believe you could help me with something. . . Of course, I do not want to impose on you, so do not be afraid of speaking up."

 

"What's wrong?" You asked, concern etched over your tone.

 

"To be truthful, I am worried Sans might be inclining more on drinking again. He had stopped for a long time, but I suspect there is something he must be keeping away from us, and I think that might have to do with —"

 

Suddenly, the phone was taken away from your sight.

 

The one you were talking about had shown up, the light in his eye sockets faint as he leaned against a nearby couch for support.

 

Before either of you could say something in regards to his well-being, he was passed out on the floor.

Chapter Text

One hour.

 

Two hours.

 

Three hours passed with you making sure everything was set before your guest had the chance to wake up.

 

The faint shuffling of medicines and the soft chime of pills hitting the bottle were the only melodies present at your home.

 

Said melodies were stopped after finding the small, first-aid kit targeted towards monster kind, something which you bought after having a Temmie act up with a bad case of allergies when coming in contact with you.

 

Though you were still friends and kept in touch every once in a while, that memory never faded away and you made sure you always kept a spare of monster medicines around in case another emergency popped up again.

 

One creak. 

 

Two creaks.

 

The slow creaking of your bed made you alert, causing for your head to shot up and face the one lying on the mattress, wrapped solely by a thin and worn bedsheet.

 

”Stay put.” You advised, walking towards him and placing a hand over his shoulder in an attempt to direct him back to bed.

 

Those plans were halted by his own hand grabbing your arm, eye sockets almost void of their usual light as he tried to regain his composure.

 

”What happened?” He questioned, sockets furrowing while he made sense of his surroundings.

 

”You passed out from overdose.” You stated, lamenting having to be as blunt as you were, but believing he would rather have things said as they were. “I told Frisk they shouldn’t miss their dress measurements for their friends’ wedding, and that I could watch over you while everyone came back.” You explained, afterwards brushing his hand away and facing him with the most honest expression you could muster.

 

”I know you don’t know me enough for me to be doing this, so you can decided what to do from here. . . So long as it doesn’t involve drinking."

 

”I’ve never said that.”

 

You backed away from him once you saw him try to stand up.

 

Despite your hesitation, you couldn’t ignore the instinct of lending out a hand when seeing him having trouble getting out of bed.

 

”I know you good‘nuff to know you’re actin’ weird.” He spoke, accepting your help by reaching out for your hand.

 

Once he was sitting on the bed, he continued voicing out his thoughts.

 

“So, tell me. . . What’s up?”

 

”You’re the one I should be worrying about now.”

 

”You know me good‘nuff, then.”

 

”No, I —“ You huffed, your mind a jumbled and constricted mess with you trying to sort yourself out. “Just. . . Just know you can talk to me about anything that’s troubling you.” You corrected. “I won’t push into it — I know it’s awkward having someone ask why you passed out."

 

”I’m guessin’ you’re talking from experience.” He teased, his ever-present grin tugging upwards.

 

”I am.” You admitted, a ghost of a smile appearing on your face product of your attempt at smiling back. “It’s like that old saying goes. . ."

 

You thought back on one of your grandmother's many sayings, choosing the most adequate one for your current situation with your guest.

 

"A bunny without a tail tells another bunny to go look for its own.”

Chapter Text

One pill.

 

Two pills.

 

You gave the skeleton a glass of lukewarm water, making sure to offer him a slice of bread afterwards.

 

With a quick ‘thanks’, he took the glass in his hand, gulping down the pills you’d given him to tone down both his headache and dizziness.

 

At first, he’d planned to go straight back home once the effect of the pills showed up, yet he remembered what you’d told him about the tailess bunny helping the other find its own.

 

He looked at the time displayed on your alarm clock, noticing there were roughly eleven minutes left until the clock reached eleven at night.

 

”Want to go out for a while?” You offered. “Or would you rather stay here and watch TV?”

 

”The latter.” He answered. "I'm too tired to go anywhere."

 

”Alright.” You smiled, happy to know he was planning to stay the night instead of tumbling off and ending up Heaven knows were. 

 

You were pretty damned experienced in that area — enough to have a one-night stand with a robot you only knew’s initials were ‘MTT’.

 

Now that you thought about it, maybe it was best if your nephew were taken away for adoption.

 

You weren’t exactly the best parental figure when you were drunk, if you were just going to wake up half-naked next to a robot.

 

Not that it mattered if he was one or not.

 

Hell, you knew monsters who were much more decent compared to some humans you came across with.

 

”You sure you can head out like that?”

 

Sans’s voice brought you back to reality, leading you to flinch and witness your hand hovering over the doorknob, fingers trembling and palm building up a cold sweat.

 

”You look like you’re about to pass out.”

 

You pressed your lips together and breathed through your nose, gaze catching a glimpse of the television’s screen going off.

 

You then looked at Sans again, seeing him pat the space left next to him.

 

”C’mere.” He called out.

 

You blinked and — before you knew it — you were sitting down next to him, telling him of your past affairs with alcohol, your first — and last, since that marked the day you switched two bottles of wine for a pack of cigarettes — one-night stand with a robot, and how you had to set an example for your nephew now that your grandmother was no longer with you.

 

”Tibia honest, I don’t know what the big deal is.” He spoke. “I mean, sex’s just sex, right? Just ‘cause that happened once doesn’t mean you’re officially meant to feel like shit. S’long as it’s consensual, it shouldn’t matter who you sleep with.”

 

“I don’t even like sex.” You let out a shaky laugh, a mixture between awkwardness and disbelief, placing a hand over your forehead and facing your lap. “It just happened ‘cause we were both drunk and sad about something — In reality, I can’t even stand the thought of placing my lips over someone else’s, unless it’s to save their life.”

 

In response to your commentary, you could see him scoot forward, a mischeavous look present on his face and nose cavity inches away from touching your nose.

 

”Lucky for you, I don’t have lips.” He chuckled. “Wanna try it out?”

 

”Hell no.” You laughed back, pushing him away with the playful nudge of your shoulder. “You’re still under the effects of alcohol.”

 

”Hypocrite.” He remarked.

 

”That I am.” You nodded. “But, also, I’m sober, and you aren’t — So it wouldn’t be consensual if I did that.”

Chapter Text

The both of you talked until the clock marked three in the morning.

 

Though he showed skepticism on certain moments, you were able to gather enough information regarding why he was having his troubles with alcohol consumption and his lack of moderation.

 

Truth be told, you were short on advice yourself. You were recently falling back to the temptation of cigarettes and you weren’t sure what to say without imposing too much on him and making yourself seem intrusive.

 

One thing you did tell him was how you coped with your stress and avoided smoking too often by chewing gum. It wasn’t the best tip to offer, and you were you sure it didn’t work the same with alcohol, but you still gave it a try. 

 

“So, find a distraction, eh?” He spoke, a somewhat unabashed glint crossing the light of his irises. “With Undyne and Alphs’s wedding, Paps having troubling keepin’ peace at Hu-Mons, and a bunch of other stuff. . . I guess I could use a distraction from those distractions.”

 

”I get it.” You assented, lips forming an empathetic smile. “So, what do you have in mind?”

 

”Just spending time like this’s fine.”

 

“Want to make this a regular thing, then?”

 

”So long as we’re not awake at this hour.”

 

You grinned at his comment, looking back to see another half hour had passed by with him and you fooling around. 

 

You stood up from the couch, making your way to the kitchen and retrieving two plastic cups from the top counter. Then, you took out a quart of milk from the refrigerator, pouring equal amounts into both cups before returning with them back to where your guest was.

 

”Let's make a toast.”

 

You handed him one of the cups, sitting back down next to his side. 

 

“This day’ll mark the day I told you of my one-night stand, and you telling me of your own troubles.”

 

You lifted the cup, lightly bumping yours with his.

 

”To Liberosis.”

 

You were expecting him to ask what that word meant, though — instead of received an inquiry from his part — he repeated your words instead. 

 

“To Liberosis.”

 

After a brief period of calming quietude, you both proceeded to stand up from the couch. 

 

You looked at him, and he looked at you.

 

”Sleep?” You asked.

 

”Sleep.”  He replied.

 

One goodnight.

 

Two goodnights. 

 

You let him sleep on your bed for the rest of the night, neither of you bothering to go about the usual guest pleasantries when you closed the door and let him be. The two of you were tired enough to waste any more energy on debating, and the late hour didn’t help, either.

 

With those final words, you left off towards the living room, laying your sleep deprived body on the sofa and resting your head against the armrest.

 

One drop.

 

Two drops.

 

You were distracted from your objective of sleeping by the sound of rain hitting the zinc panels of your roof, making you stand back up and head over to the window.

 

With an agape mouth, you admired how rain drops began to collect over your window, the city's light making it all the more breathtaking to look at.

 

For once in a long time, the rain didn't bother you — For once, you didn't frown when looking at the rainy skies.

 

You smiled, heading back to the couch with a lighter, more relaxed feeling nesting inside your chest.

 

Before you closed your eyes, you took one final look at the time displayed on the clock set nearby.

 

5:00 a.m.

Chapter Text

You were woken by the incessant ringing of your phone, blaring a tune all-too chaotic for your current state of mind.

 

Groaning, your eyes shot open and you passed a hand over your face, letting out a tired huff as you tried to find motivation to stand up.

 

You reached out for the phone without bothering to see who it was, balancing it between your shoulder and ear while remaining seated on the couch.

 

”Hello?” You answered, voice groggy and giving away your lethargic state.

 

”__________, dear.” A familiar voice responded, making you furrow your eyebrows as you tried to make memory of who that gentle voice belonged to.

 

”Yes?” You spoke, a yawn taking over your words. “Who is this?”

 

”This is Toriel.” The voice from the other line continued. “I am calling to see if Sans is still at your apartment — I was told he stayed with you while Frisk attended to their dress measurements.”

 

”Oh. . .” You trailed off. “About that. . .”

 

You blinked various times until your vision was finally able to make sense of the time displayed on your phone’s screen.

 

Your eyes grew when seeing it was two in the afternoon.

 

”Let me check something first.” You told, pressing the speaker of your phone against your chest before making the effort of getting out of the couch. 

 

You lifted your body off the seat, your own weigh and lethargy combined with gravity making it almost impossible to stand.

 

After some struggle, you were successful.

 

You then headed to your bedroom, standing in front of the door with a frown, an uneasy feeling crawling over your shoulders.

 

You were supposed to be watching out for him, as you so had promised to Frisk, yet here you were — a drowsy mess hesitating on opening the door to see if he was still alive.

 

”Sans?” You called, knocking on the door thrice.

 

Silence.

 

One knock.

 

Two knocks.

 

More silence.

 

With three fruitless attempts at getting him to answer, you panicked, pushing open the door with as much force as you could gather.

 

You could feel weigh fall off your shoulders the moment you witnessed him still sleeping in your bed, ribcage rising and falling slowly as faint snores left his teeth.

 

Not even you banging the door hard against a wall had proven to be enough for him to wake up.

 

Still, you were relieved to see he wasn’t dead.

 

”Goodness. . .”

 

Your body ran cold when you remembered you still had Toriel on-hold, speaker only muffled by the thin cloth of your shirt.

 

”Just what is going on out there?”

 

One explanation.

 

Two explanations.

 

After reassuring Toriel everything was fine and that Sans would be on-time for his suit measurements, you said your goodbyes and quickly began with your mission. You woke him up by pulling the sheets away from his body, to which he responded to by opening his sockets and facing you with a confused stare, a replay of yesterday’s post-hangover events taking action now.

 

”We have to get you all set to meet the tailor before five o’clock.” Was your immediate explanation, leading him to stand up and question the hour. “It’s almost two thirty, by the way.”

 

In response to you telling him the time was a whistle leaving his teeth.

 

”Damn.” He spoke. “It still only feels like I just went to sleep.”

 

You looked away from him, a smile threatening to show itself over your face with you holding back the urge to reply with ‘same’. Instead of doing so, you gestured him to follow you.

Chapter Text

One farewell.

 

One see you soon.

 

With a smile and a wave, you said your goodbyes, quickly enough not to delay him and make him miss his ride back home.

 

A large crowd passed through, some excusing themselves before interrupting you while others rushed off with hushed murmurings and the occasional shove.

 

After an odd intermission of quietude, he turned around, walking off towards the bus without any final words aside from his 'see you soon' from earlier.

 

You held back the desire to give the skeleton a hug before the doors managed to close on him, a practice you’d managed to cultivate when having your nephew and grandmother say their goodbyes after their customary, three hour long visits to your place.

 

That feeling was instantly shattered by a comment made by one of your neighbours.

 

”First a robot, and now a skeleton?” They mocked, dimples forming on their face as they grinned in delight at having gained your attention and making you face with them.

 

Silence.

 

“You sure are desperate, aren’t you?” They added.

 

More silence.

 

“Last time you did that, you had the decency not to bring them home with you.” They continued.

 

A huff, followed by you taking one step closer to them.

 

“And they were more human-looking, too —“

 

”What the fuck is your problem with that?” You spat, your previously calm self taking a wild, almost drastic turn. “Last time I checked, racism was left in the early 2000s.”

 

”And sluttery was popular in the sixteenth century.”

 

Your nails buried inside your palm, anger slowly bubbling up and taking over your chest.

 

“At least that doesn’t do much harm.” You replied. “Your bigotry, on the other hand —“

 

Your bickering was interrupted by your phone going off three times.

 

You glared at your neighbour one final time before checking to see what that meant.

 

“thanks for everythin’, pal.” The first message read. “i didn’t really have the chance to say that back there.” The second one continued.

 

Another text popped up on the screen.

 

"ya didn't really look too good back there, and your neighbour wasn't lookin' too happy, either. so, uh, guess what I'm tryin' to say is. . . just call me if something comes up."

 

The smile that was gradually forming on your face was smacked away by Frogger’s text message — the fourth and final notification left to check on your phone.

 

You were hesitant to click on it, expecting only the worse.

 

“I apologize, _________.” The message read.

 

Another pause, followed by your shaky hand struggling to keep the phone balanced in your hold.

 

“I am not certain if you have recieved the results yet, but —“

 

You locked your phone, not ready to face the truth as your heart sped up its pace.

 

Distracted by everything going on all at once, you ignored the hostile comments, snarks, and remarks made by your neighbour, heading off back home and looking at them one final time before closing the door.

 

You could’ve sworn you saw their gaze soften when seeing your sudden change of state, it going quickly from persistent anger to rising joy to sudden frustration.

 

At that thought, you scowled — There was no way your neighbour, one who criticized you ever since you first stepped foot on this apartment complex, was going to have a sudden change of heart now — Right?

 

You shook your head.

 

That’s the silliest thing you could imagine right now.

Chapter Text

One sniffle.

 

Two sniffles.

 

You hugged your nephew tight, not yet ready to let go.

 

Your chest rose and fell with each breath you took, whimpers, sniffles, and sobs being the somber melody to play over and over, causing you to hug tighter until he was finally able to stop crying.

 

“I’ll. . . I’ll visit you.” You spoke. “No matter where you’re taken to — even if it’s the other city across from this one — I’ll visit you at least once every week, if they so allow me to.”

 

“But I wanted to stay with you!” He protested, the tiny hands he had grabbing your back squeezing tighter. “You’re like my second (dad/mum)!”

 

“I’m not.” You sighed, letting go of him and kneeling down to his height. “Your real parent was grandmum — I was only your. . . I was only your babysitter for some time.”

 

Furrowing his eyebrows, your nephew clenched his fists, controlled anger being manifested by his balled hands falling down the sides of his waist.

 

“I wanted you to stay. . .” 

 

His anger cooled off into sadness, gaze facing down as more tears threatened to leave his eyes.

 

“I can’t.” You stated, tone of voice not leaving space for any argument further than the one you’d created. “You have my number if anything goes wrong — only for emergencies.”

 

Frogger arrived at the scene with one hop, their usual frown now turned into a more honest and concerned one as they stood in front of you and your nephew.

 

“I am afraid it is time for you to leave, __________.” They spoke, handing you over a yellow document with their tiny hand extended as far as it could. “Inside is our contact information for when we assign an appropriate home and family for your nephew.”

 

“Thank you. . .” You uttered, managing to form a small smile despite the heavy feeling resting inside the pit of your stomach.

 

“We will be sure he is left in good hands.”

 

With those final words, you exited the building, carrying nothing but a slim document and a feeling of incompletion. 

 

Even so, you still were happy about one thing.

 

Your nephew would most likely be in better hands if he were taken from you — If you hadn’t yet gotten a grip on your life, you were in no conditions to be taking care of a child, either.

 

One text.

 

Two texts.

 

After a long time of not paying attention to your phone, you decided to check it out, seeing various notifications on screen — one text from Toriel and another pair from Frisk, followed by two missed calls and one voicemail.

 

A happier smile tugged on your lips when reading the first message.

 

”Greetings, _________. I would like to thank you for your assistance yesterday. Both Frisk and Sans were able to arrive on time for their measurements as results of your help. As I stated before, I would like to get to know you personally, so you are more than welcome to tell me whenever you are free to meet up. Take care, child. 3:-)”

 

”Hello! Thanks for your help back there — Was Sans trouble? I hope he didn’t rattle your bones too much back there!”

 

You pressed down, seeing another text from the same name.

 

“Seriously though, thanks! He seems a bit better, and I think he said something about you two meeting up every Saturday? It’s nice to see he has another pal to hang out with! Catch you later, _________.”

 

You were about to see who the missed calls belonged to when a hand was placed over your back.

Chapter Text

One heart skip.

 

Two heart skips.

 

You looked towards the owner of the hand, coming across the social worker who’d been scared off by Frogger before.

 

He seemed calm and collected, a large contrast from the restless mess he was when appearing in front of your doorstep.

 

”Hey —“

 

”I’m really not feeling up to this right now, dude.” You spoke, cutting him off without a stutter. “Go find someone else to blackmail, or just don’t bother people at all.”

 

You were about to take your leave when he took hold of your arm.

 

In contrast to being grabbed by someone you knew, his touch made you snap by yanking your arm away from his grip.

 

”Stay away from me.”

 

”It’s just one interview!”

 

”I don’t see why you’re so obsessed with getting an interview from Frisk.” 

 

“It’s for a good cause.” He defended. "Is it a crime to care about their well-being?" 

 

"I would believe you if you hadn't immediately tried to blackmail me when I refused to help you — Or if you would just ask them directly instead of asking me to convince them.”

 

"Just. . . Just listen, man — I need this interview!"

 

"So, the truth comes out now?"

 

"Please." He pleaded. "I promise you I won't bother you anymore — Hell, I'll take you out to dinner if you just try to convince them and Papyrus."

 

"Take me out to dinner, you say?" You grinned, catching an open space to do what you were best (not really) at. "Why, that's the most tempting offer you've given me so far! Ever considered having another number on your phone?

 

“Did you just try to. . .” He trailed off.

 

”Flirt?” You teased. “You bet I did.”

 

Leaving him questioning your choices — not that you weren’t questioning them yourself — you left, venturing further off into the city, taking in the light rain shower beginning to take over the sky.

 

You sighed as raindrops hit against your skin, allowing the cooling sensation to ease your heated cheeks and the soreness of your eyes, product of tears running nonstop ever since having taken your nephew to his new destination.

 

Realizing you’d forgotten something, you shielded yourself under a nearby bus stop, pocketing a pair of one dollar bills out of the back of your jeans and handing it over to a street performer.

 

Once you did so, you sat down next to her, giving her a polite salute by raising your hand before checking to see who the missed calls belonged to.

 

One was from Sans.

 

The other one was from . . . 

 

You raised an eyebrow, lips casting a frown as an uncensored scoff left your vocal chords.

 

Talk about bad timing.

 

”Something shitty came up, I bet.” The performer chimed in, a sympathetic grin taking over her face.

 

”Yeah. . .”

 

You looked at her, taking in her fluffy, pink ears and her chipped front teeth.

 

You once felt sympathy for her, but that gradually changed into empathy the more days you spent with her while you waited for the bus to arrive.

 

Though she wasn't the richest of the bunch and didn’t have a stable living space, she somehow managed to overcome those obstacles enough to reject any other help aside from the occasional pocket change given during her performances.

 

"Just do what makes you feel happy first — as long as ya don’t harm nobody, you should take it easy every once in a while. It’d be good for ya, partner!”

 

You thought about what she said, checking the voicemail afterwards.

 

”Hey, pal.” It began. 

 

“Call me whenever you’re free.”

Chapter Text

Saying you were surprised for his reason for calling was an understatement.

 

Your shock was quickly noticed by the street performer, making her scoot closer to you and place a paw over your shoulder.

 

”You alright, partner?” She asked, preoccupation engraved in her voice. “You look like you’ve see the creator of the Void himself.”

 

”Y — Yeah.” You stuttered, slightly taken aback by her hand touching your shoulder, though not quite minding her proximity due to the comfort found in the warmth of her furry paw. “I’m just a bit overwhelmed, s’all. . .” You coughed, more of an awkward harrumph than anything else. “I, uh, was invited to meet with a couple that’s getting married next month.”

 

”What's go ya so worked up, then?”

 

”Well, I just don’t really know the person who invited me well to accept.”

 

”And why should that matter?” She pressed, titling her head, floppy ears tilting to the side with her movement.

 

One thought.

 

Two thoughts.

 

Her question made you think back on certain things.

 

You looked down at your lap, fumbling with your fingers as you thought back on the day you were seventeen — about a year after the monsters were freed from the Underground.

 

( . . . )

 

”What’re you doing here?” One of the elder monster kids questioned.

 

”Yeah — Don’t you have anywhere else to be?” A younger monster kid pressed.

 

”You didn’t even go to the ceremony — Why should you care now?” Their human friend spat. “You even left your date alone, but now you suddenly care about monsters?”

 

”It — It weren’t my fault! I. . . My mum didn’t wanna let me go when she saw I were goin’ with a monster!”

 

”You left her alone — You left your prom date alone! She was crying all night because of that — because of you!” The human continued. “You're no better than your ‘mum’.”

 

For some reason, the tears you were holding back began to shed when being made fun of your accent.

 

Of all the straws you could possibly pick, this one was the silliest one.

 

Even so, you were too vexed by the situation to care.

 

So you ran — hand now balled up into a fist and slamming against a tree once you were far, far away from their line of sight.

 

“I didn’t fuckin’ meant to!”

 

And you cursed — for the first time in your seventeens years of living, accent not shying away from the word, either.

 

”And. . . And it ain’t my fuckin’ fault I don’t be carryin’ the same accent as they do!”

 

Even though you were onset on not letting your accent be a product of embarrassment, the constant reminder of that day made you unable to do so. 

 

Little by little, your accent was replaced, as so were your friendships — both human and monster — replaced with a few drinks at the age of eighteen.

 

( . . . )

 

”Partner?”

 

The voice broke you away from your memories.

 

Before you could so much as respond to the bunny’s calling, you were pulled forward into a warm and gentle embrace, the earthy, somewhat musty scent of her fur making you sigh, finding comfort in her natural perfume.

 

”I dunno what got to ya all of a sudden, but. . . Just remember you’ve got a friend ‘round these parts whenever you’re feelin’ sad.”

 

You hugged her tighter, a sniffle and a shudder taking over your body.

 

Needless to say, you felt like a child again.

Chapter Text

"You made it." Sans spoke, more in disguised surprise than a regular statement.

 

You nodded, not sure how to follow the words without the likelihood of creating an awkward silence between you.

 

One seat.

 

Two seats.

 

After having made the invitation to meet and greet you at the coffee shop, you were sent a text message an hour earlier to remind you of being there.

 

Despite the reminder, you were still reluctant towards the idea of meeting up with him before the others made their arrival.

 

"Were you going to meet up with someone else now, or. . . "

 

"Not really." He shrugged. "I kinda just wanted to see this place before it got all crowded up."

 

As if sensing what you were about to say next, he spoke up again.

 

"And I remembered you can't separate a table without at least two people present." He added. "So I figured, 'why not invite the one who put up with me and my hangover a few days ago'?"

 

The doubt showing on your face melted away the moment you saw the rather easygoing expression on his face.

 

He leaned over the table, propping an arm over the surface.

 

“You're actin’ weird again.” He remarked, grin tugging upwards once he said those words.

 

Instead of coming up with a way to shrug his statement off, you couldn’t help the smile that formed on your face with the way he’d said it. A muffled laugh accompanied by an accidental snort followed your smile, leading you to look away from him — as if having been caught red-handed.

 

”You. . . You read me too well.” You confessed, grinning from ear to ear once you were able to contain yourself. “Here I am, the one supposed to be helping you out — the one supposed to worry about you acting weird. . . But it’s the other way around!”

 

Though he was unsure over your reason for finding the matter as amusing as you did, he jested, your previously muffled laughter and current smile hinting at raw honesty.

 

One glass of water.

 

Two glasses of water.

 

A waitress stood in front of your table, cloth hung neatly over her arm as she welcomed you to the establishment.

 

”Welcome, sir.” She directed to the skeleton.

 

“And. . .” She hesitated when greeting you, eyeing your black dress pants and white collar shirt with confused scrutiny. "Welcome, (mister/lady).” She finished, once being sure of her decision.

 

You could envision her internally grimacing by the way she looked away and scrunched up her nose, though she soon recovered by setting a plate of bread on the middle of the table.

 

You never related to someone more than you did today.

 

”I will be back shortly to tend to your orders.” She declared, afterwards rushing out of the scene, the sound of her heels clicking briskly against the tiled flooring gradually melting away with the rest of the environment’s noises.

 

”So. . .” You began, once the waitress was no longer in sight. “How’s it been?”

 

"Are ya really gonna ignore how you're feelin' and just straight up ask me how I feel n'stead?"

 

You looked at him, steely determination taking care of your uneasiness.

 

"Yes." You answered.

 

"Figured." He replied.

 

He took the glass of water set in front of him, swirling the clear liquid around before facing you.

 

"I dunno water thinking 'bout, but we're really not gonna get far actin' like this."

 

"I understand." You nodded slowly, looking at the rippling liquid for a brief second before continuing. "I just. . . don't want to water you down with my own problems."

Chapter Text

The chatter, the music, and the distant noise of the busy city melded into the environment like honey in tea, the pleasant experience allowing you to relax for once.

 

The two brides had arrived an hour after you, their attire surprisingly casual from what you were originally expecting them to be.

 

Seeing the fish lady in a pair of jeans and the lizard woman in a jean skirt made you look down at your own dress pants, noticing they looked as if they were ready for a picnic whereas you seemed as if you had to go teach children after your meeting with them came to an end.

 

Your fixation over comparing attires was eventually forgotten with the conversation you shared with them, it varying from the prospects of marriage to what their jobs were.

 

Eventually, the latter was directed at you, too, leading you to tell them snippets of your daily living.

 

“That’s awesome!” Undyne exclaimed, slamming her hands down on the table, grin glistening with the artificial lighting provided by the coffee shop.

 

Though she brought the attention of various clients and workers, she didn’t seem to mind the attention and proceeded to keep on speaking with you.

 

“I’ve never met a real-life coach before — What’s it like?” Undyne questioned.

 

”It’s. . . It’s honestly not that exciting. I just teach elementary school kids the basics of self defense.” You replied.

 

”That's still pretty damned cool.” She insisted. “I’m all about teaching kids how to look up for themselves.”

 

She eyed your figure, uncovered eye narrowing as a pensive frown took over her scaly, blue complexion.

 

”Though, I wouldn’t’ve guessed with your build.”

 

”Undyne!” The lizard monster protested, not quite in favor of her fiancée bringing up that subject.

 

”You know I’m just kidding, Alph.” Undyne chuckled, sliding an arm over Alphys’s shoulders and pulling her against her chest, causing the other to blush over where she was being hugged to.

 

At that scenario, you smiled, finding it a scene too cute to witness without having the urge to do so.

 

”It’s okay.” You waved your hand in dismissal, smile tugging higher in a more reassuring manner. “I’m used to it — The elder kids always ask that themselves.” 

 

“Yeah.” Sans chimed in, a chortle leaving his teeth, shoulder bones shaking in response to his action. “They’re probably wonderin’ why their teacher was replaced with a wimp.”

 

Your shoulders tensed as you turned to face with him, the glare you were ready to dish out faltering when trying to think of a way to respond without the repercussion of you looking back to what you said and regretting it.

 

”. . . At least they don’t ask why I look like a shrimp.” You mumbled, regretting your words with how wimpy they'd come out.

 

“Okay comeback.” He spoke. “But bad delivery, pal.”

 

At that comment, you looked away, a somewhat uncertain frown taking over.

 

You didn’t want to keep acting the way you were acting now, if it was only going to prevent you from moving forward.

 

Then, however, you remembered you were here to lend out a hand — or try to, at least — so you mustered up some courage to face him and say your next words.

 

”I’ll get you next time, though.” You teased, nudging his shoulder afterwards.

 

"Sure you will." He winked.

 

”When’s the wedding?” A voice spoke from behind you, the vague familiarity of their tone making your entire body freeze faster than a puddle in the middle of winter. 

 

You turned around, coming across none other than the robot from your one night stand.

Chapter Text

One leap.

 

Two leaps.

 

Instinctively, you stood up from your seat, the sudden squeak noise of you pulling the chair back alerting the skeleton standing next to you.

 

You rushed over towards the bathrooms, hesitating before entering the family one.

 

Once arriving at the expanse interiors of the bathroom, you let your lungs free the oxygen you’d been keeping in since recognizing the robot from before. Your back rested against the door, legs gradually sliding forward until you were almost slumping against it.

 

”How am I s’possed to get out of this mess now?” You breathed, rubbing the creases on your forehead in hopes to prevent a headache from taking over. 

 

You unlocked the door, pushing it open ever so slightly as you peeked through the little space left between the frame and the panel.

 

Your heart almost stopped when seeing MTT looking towards the door, eyebrows furrowed as he inspected the door with a concerned frown, eyes flickering from the table Undyne, Alphys, and Sans were sitting at to the placed you’d hidden in.

 

Even more did your heart sky rocket when witnessing him striding forward to your hiding place.

 

”Shit.”

 

You closed the door again, this time staying in a standing position but looking down at your feet, remaining in anxious wait to see what the robot would do from here on.

 

”Are you alright?” He questioned, voice barely muffled by the door keeping you away from him.

 

You remained silent for a minute, thinking whether or not it would be better to be forward in a situation like the current one.

 

It took you a moment, but you soon settled on your decision.

 

You were going to be forward — You'd had enough of chickening out over every single thing, no matter how small or insignificant it was.

 

With determination, you unlocked the door, coming out of the bathroom with one decisive step, eyes downcast as you tried to find courage to face with him.

 

Once you did, he smiled, honesty present through his now relaxed eyebrows and confident posture.

 

You were mildly taken aback when having a hand laid out in front of you, in wait for you to take it.

 

”I believe we haven’t introduced ourselves properly.” He spoke, once you gained the courage to lock your hand with his. “I’m Mettaton, but you’re more than welcome to call me MTT or Met, if it’s better for you.”

 

”__________.” You replied, smiling back to return his politeness over the situation. “It’s. . . Nice to meet you, Met.”

 

His smile grew wider when hearing you use one of the nicknames he’d brought up, happy to know you were able to trust him in regards of that matter. 

 

“Let's get back to the table, shall we?” He offered. “I was told someone absolutely darling was to accompany us today, and I think I might just know who that is already.”

 

You looked up at him, seeing him wink at you in a playful fashion. 

 

“Your outfit complements you, by the way.” He added. “If I didn’t know those two gals already, I would’ve assumed it was you who was planning on getting married soon.”

 

One conversation.

 

Two conversations.

 

After minutes of conversing with him, you both walked over to the table, catching sight of Papyrus and Toriel entering the building, along with a reptile-like monster and a pair of guards holding hands.

Chapter Text

What was at first a simple meet up with the skeleton and the two brides eventually became a large get-together composed of eight monsters and yourself.

 

You were surprised to see that one of them was a pupil you once taught when giving high school students self-defense class.

 

”It’s great to see you again, teach!” The lizard monster spoke, excitement present in their tone. “You still teachin’ the high school kids?” 

 

“No.” You shook your head, smiling. “I actually moved on to teaching elementary students three years ago — The space opened up, and I was lucky enough to be accepted.”

 

”That's cool.” They smiled back, now hovering over the table as a brighter expression took over their yellow-tinted features. “I’ve missed having you as a coach.”

 

”Are you still working to become a gym teacher?” You asked, remembering the many stories they’d told you revolving around their dreams and aspirations.

 

”You bet I am!” They replied, this time falling back against their seat as they looked over to the fish lady sitting one chair across from them.

 

“It’s nothing.” Undyne spoke, grinning at them in a somewhat proud manner. “At this point, you’re the one that’s teaching me new techniques.”

 

Happy to see them engage in a conversation of their own, you remained quiet, returning to drinking your coffee, though promptly being pulled into another conversation by the couple dressed in heavy armor.

 

”So, you’re the one Toriel’s been talking about recently?” The one with the bunny ears questioned, whereas the one with the ears similar to Undyne’s remained silent, paying close attention to your body language.

 

”Yeah.” You spoke. “I’m just here ‘cause we agreed to meet in person, though.”

 

”Don’t get me wrong, dude.” He corrected, taking off his helmet to reveal a smiling face about as cute and fluffy-looking as the street performer’s. “I’m asking ‘cause of how happy she looked when talking about you.” A pause. “She’s, well. . . She’s been super kind with me and my boyfriend since she let us stay at her place, so it’s nice to see her happy, y’know?” 

 

“I get it.” You nodded. “She’s like a close friend, then?”

 

”A. . . mother, actually.” The one with the fins intervened, his helmet still on and gaze facing his lap. “She let us stay when chaos erupted two years after the Barrier was broken.”

 

Seeing them sitting close together and with their hands now firmly interlocked, you couldn’t help internally gushing over how sweet it was to see another couple as close as Undyne and Alphys were.

 

”I’m glad for you both.” You replied, a freer smile taking hold of your face. “You seem really happy together.”

 

”Thanks, dude.” The rabbit-eared one chimed in, smile now showing his full, two front teeth.

 

The scenery made you assume the reason for him having kept his helmet on for as long as he had was due to how adorable his face was — adorable enough to make his entire guard gear and surprising set of muscles seem about as threatening as a hamster clenching its fists and challenging you to a one-on-one fight.

 

You weren't about to say that out loud, though.

 

Hell, you were wimpy-looking enough to make ten year old kids appear to have more muscle mass than you.

 

No wonder Temmies liked you so much.

Chapter Text

One drink.

 

Two drinks.

 

It felt strange to be as sober as you were at such an hour of the weekend, and you were more than grateful for that.

 

For once, you felt in control — like you had an actual grip on your life instead of just bullshitting your way through it and hoping for the best.

 

You laughed at the thought, the lightness of your tone making Toriel face with you.

 

”It is lovely to see you are enjoying yourself, __________.” She spoke, holding a cup of tea in her fluffy hands as she brought the hot liquid to her lips. “I was afraid you would not be at your most comfort here, but it seems I was gladly mistaken.”

 

“You guys are fun to be around with.” You admitted, looking down at your drink in what you strongly hoped wouldn’t be seen as embarrassment, swirling the contents around with the straw absentmindedly. “I’m. . . I'm glad I was given the invitation, so. . . Thank you.”

 

You could feel sheepishness crawl on your back and fall upon your shoulders, not quite sure how to continue voicing out the many jumbled thoughts trafficking your busied mind.

 

”You ain’t got nothin’ to give us thanks for.” Sans intervened, his usual grin now showing amusement through the way it lightly tugged upwards in response to the scene he was witnessing. “You're one of our pals now, so I’ll invite ya wherever’s or whenever’s possible.”

 

At that, you smiled, thanking him as well for his words and continuing your conversation with them.

 

Due to the many folks to talk with and the comestibles set over the table, you lost track of the time, but — thankfully — you hadn't lost track of how many drinks you had. Knowing you were on your second drink and were planning on stopping after the third one made you happy.

 

The fact that you were drinking simply to join in on the fun with Undyne and a few others fond of having a casual drink or two made you feel happier.

 

One chime.

 

Two chimes.

 

All heads present turned to face the sound, spotting Frisk entering the establishment with slumped shoulders heavy with the weigh of their backpack and a ghost of a frown painted on their face.

 

They looked up and straightened their posture when sensing all eyes on them, facing everyone with the most honest smile they could gather before walking towards the now table for ten and slumping down on the empty chair left one seat after yours.

 

The almost invisible frown they carried earlier was now nonexistent. They greeted you and everyone else present with the wave of their hand, hugging their goat mother tightly moments after, their seating position making their body nuzzle against Toriel's.

 

Though you were happy to see them find comfort in Toriel's embrace, you couldn't brush off the tense feeling of not knowing who or what was the reason behind their frown from earlier.

 

Even so, you tried not to fixate too much on that matter, having witnessed Toriel ask them if anything was wrong, only to have them smile again and insist they were doing okay.

Chapter Text

One goodnight.

 

Two goodnights.

 

Somehow, you were convinced that midnight was an hour too late for you to be taking a bus back home.

 

One persuasion led to another and — eventually — you ended up sitting on the edge of the visitor’s bed, street clothes changed into a pair of pajamas provided to you by Papyrus, a signature, bright and red race car imprinted on the left side of your chest.

 

You looked at the clock.

 

1:00 a.m.

 

Time was passing exceedingly slow for your liking, and though you had to go to work tomorrow, you weren’t exactly feeling up to falling asleep yet.

 

Slowly pushing the door open, you went down the stairs of the guest hall, arriving at the main living room moments after.

 

You were still getting used to their large home, though you were lucky enough to have memorized the route leading to the front exit.

 

Halfway through venturing around the living room, you stopped, alerted by Frisk’s presence looming over the door left ajar, an uneasy expression apparent over their face.

 

Your reluctance towards approaching them vanished when seeing tears begin to trickle down their cheeks.

 

”Frisk?” You whispered, voice as hushed as you could manage while you slowly began to approach them. 

 

In response to you calling out for them, they flinched, said action followed by them turning around with a clumsy spin and hurrying over to you, placing both hands over your shoulders.

 

You looked at them, witnessing the same expression you often caught when your nephew wanted a hug.

 

And so, you did that — approaching them slowly enough until they’d consented to your approach. 

 

“What's wrong?” You asked.

 

They pulled away with a careful push, wiping their tears away with the sleeve of their striped jacket before taking their phone from their back pocket, unlocking it, and expressing what was currently on their mind.

 

”I am just very happy.” They typed. “It is nice to spend time like we did today. . . Recently, it seemed as though we were going back to the day when monsters first left the Underground, so it was nice to have a change of pace. It was. .  . nice not to worry about things for once.”

 

At that, you breathed a sigh of relief, your fearful expectations of them confessing the opposite being shattered by their soft smile.

 

”I am grateful for moments like these.” They typed.

 

They hugged you again, squeezing you tighter than before.

 

“Goodnight, __________.” Was their third and final message, putting away their phone back where it belonged.

 

One wish.

 

Two wishes.

 

After wishing well to one another, you decided to see what was up with them looming over the door before they encountered with you.

 

Taking one step forward and peaking through the door with a curious heart, your pupils grew and eyebrows rose when coming across Sans sitting down on the grassy floor, irises locked on the stars taking over the sky.

 

You were taken by further surprise when seeing a bottle of alcohol still intact, left strayed on the dewy blades as he focused his attention somewhere else. 

 

You then investigated further, noticing Alphys and Undyne sitting farther away on a garden swing, bodies interlocked in a firm hug.

 

You smiled, thankful as well to experience calm — a rarity; perhaps, a luxury — to encounter with nowadays when having to juggle many things at once.

Chapter Text

Your ship began to sink the morning after your reunion with Frisk's monster family.

 

And no, we're not talking about fictional couples here.

 

One inhale.

 

One exhale.

 

You tried not to let your cut in pay be the center of your attention as your boss — the professor of one of the few monster-human schools available in the city — began to explain her reasons for the changes taking place at her school.

 

"I apologize to all those who did not expect this to be happening so soon." She spoke, her short stature leading her to ask for one of her assistants to lower down the camera for her PointPower presentation.

 

The whiteboard lit up once the camera was turned on, leading you to witness the opening title.

 

The Closing of Monster-Human Schools

 

"As some of may have been informed already, it seems as though we are being forced to take a step back into history. The closing of the very first monster-human school was announced yesterday, leading for our small country to be cut back down to only five Head Starts, fifteen schools, and seven universities that allow humans and monsters to share one studying space."

 

"This is getting ridiculous." You spoke, unable to control the sudden rising of anger tugging at your chest. 

 

No wonder Frisk was so emotional back there.

 

Hell, the poor child must've had more than enough with all the daily bullshit thrown at them and their monster family.

 

"It's been a decade since monsters were freed, yet we're still segregating them?" You continued, letting out a sharp breath through your nostrils.

 

"Yeah." A co-worker added, taking a step closer to you. "And the only places I've ever heard of that allow monster-human marriage are that little chapel two cities across from ours and Las Vegas — a place hours away from our country!" He exclaimed.

 

"They're both right!" Another co-worker intervened, joining you and your companion by standing next to his side. "I still can't marry my girlfriend of seven years just because I have fins for ears!" She fumed.

 

"Alright, alright." Your boss taped her ruler against the whiteboard thrice, gathering everyone's attention before continuing. "I know you are all upset over this decision — I am myself. . . But we must first finish discussing what will be done from here on, until we find a better solution to these unfortunate happenings."

 

"What will be done from here on, then?" A janitor asked, her gaze almost piercing as she tried not to break her broom in half.

 

Seeing the state she was in, a second janitor arrived, his expression flustered as he reached out for the broom and pulled it away from her grasp.

 

"We will be transferring twenty percent of those students to our school as well as six percent of their employees, which brings to light the reason for everyone's cut in pay."

 

"How're we even gonna transfer that many people 'ere?" A third janitor questioned. "And don't get me wrong, boss — I'm just wonderin' how it'll be possible with the current number of students in each classroom."

 

"We will be getting to that matter shortly, sir." She replied, the saddened expression she'd been trying to hold back showing itself briefly through a faint frown. "For now, we will be discussing what will be done in regards of the classes we are currently offering and how we will assign certain posts to our future employees."

Chapter Text

One coin.

 

Two coins.

 

Though what was left of your paycheck wasn't much, you were determined on collecting the funds your boss had asked — not ordered — for everyone to collect, in hopes that the school could be expanded to provide a better education for children in need of it.

 

So far, you had ten dollars and eighty-five cents.

 

It wasn't much, but you were getting somewhere.

 

Just eighty-nine dollars and fifteen cents more, and you would be one-fifth closer enough to reaching your desired goal of gathering five-hundred dollars to donate.

 

You wanted to add fifty more, but you eventually remembered you still had to save something for this month, seeing as your bank account barely reached a three-digit number since the costs for your grandmother's burial arrived at your mailbox.

 

Even so, you were happy.

 

You found a third reason for not spending too much money on either cigarettes or alcohol.

 

Though you weren't planning out quitting "cold-turkey", as you did have your notorious experiences with that, you were working on reducing the amount you consumed every week.

 

As a result, you began to smoke one cigarette instead of three and tried your best not to get too close to the alcohol section of the grocery store.

 

And, as a cause for your evasion, you ended up bumping into Frisk at the diary section, their face back to the calm expression they carried, but lacking its usual feeling of determination.

 

"Hey." You spoke, an empathetic smile forming on your face.

 

They attempted to smile back, though that only resulted in them grimacing and trying to look away from your sight.

 

You eyes shifted discreetly down to your pocket, hand rummaging inside it to see if you had enough to invite them for some coffee at the shop two stores across from here.

 

"Do you want to have some coffee with me once I'm done checking out?" You offered, your words making them meet with you instead of the refrigerator stacked with various kinds of yogurt and milk.

 

For a twenty-one year old young adult, they seemed to be carrying too much on their shoulders, and you wanted to try reaching out for them in the best way you could possibly manage at the time being.

 

"Sure." They signed. "That would be nice."

 

One checkout.

 

Two checkouts.

 

Once you and they finished with packing the few groceries you'd come to pick up, you both distracted one another along the way to the coffee shop by conversing about simpler thoughts revolving around groceries, coffee, college, and other topics between yourselves.

 

It wasn't much, but it helped with keeping the frown away from their face. 

 

You didn't wish for them to be reminded too much of the situation, so you instead tried your best to distract them by talking about almost anything that crossed your mind, leading you to — at one point — almost slip on confessing they were admirably mature and independent for their age.

 

Luckily, your accidental hinting at that thought was brushed away by the two of you arriving in front of the coffee shop.

 

You opened the door for them once making sure all your groceries and their own were in place, entering after letting another passerby through.

Chapter Text

One coffee.

 

Two coffees.

 

The two of you sat down on a table located far away from the other customers, wanting some privacy in order to hear your company out in case they decided to open up to you.

 

Your cups were half-full with warm coffee, empty sugar packets and used mixing straws set neatly apart on the center of the table.

 

Heaving out a long, tired breath, Frisk took a sip of their coffee, retrieving their phone from their jean skirt’s pocket and lowering the volume down to three.

 

They began to type away at an almost furious speed, tears beginning to well up in their eyes as they blinked to avoid their vision from being clouded. You offered them a napkin, which they promptly grabbed and used once taking a break from their incessant typing. 

 

“I honestly do not know where to begin with. . .” The message began, the robotic voice of the device set low enough for only you to hear by leaning slightly over the table. “I am worried the university I am studying in will close soon. Parents of those students who are younger than twenty-one arrive at the office furious to learn their human — sometimes monster — child has been going out with someone from a different race. With so many parents’ protests, our university’s reputation has been lowering, which threatens the probability at it remaining open for long.”

 

“Have they arranged a meeting or anything to discuss this?” You asked, growing uneasy at the thought of another building closing down. “It doesn’t seem adaquate that they’d have the power to lower a university’s reputation as much as they have. Students should have the right to date who they want as long as it’s mutually consensual. . . Most of the students there are around the same age range, too, so it really shouldn’t matter who they go out with.”

 

You took in a deep breath, catching yourself at the edge of ranting with how much you’d spoken over the topic. 

 

Focusing instead on what they were doing, you watched how they typed something else before pressing the text-to-speech option again.

 

“Our university’s director has taken action, but so far. . . We have been ignored. They say the elementary school that is about to close is more important now, and though I agree with that. . .”

 

The robotic voice stopped, sentence being left unfinished as Frisk clutched the phone tightly in their hand, pulling it away from both your ears and line of sight.

 

“I am scared.” They finally confessed, through the hesitant use of sign language. “There is no other word to describe it.”

 

You smiled at those words, the ends of your lips twitching when gathering courage to speak up.

 

”I am, too.” You admitted. “But, I promise you this. . .”

 

You eyed their face for consent over you reaching out for their hand.

 

They responded to your incentive by taking hold of the hand you’d extended out.

 

With caution, you squeezed their hand in yours.

 

”I promise you I’ll try to support both schools at once.” You declared, eyes itching and cheeks heating up as you took in the delicate situation in hand. “I. . .”

 

You slowly let go of their hand, taking a moment to wipe away a tear that’d managed to escape and roll freely down your cheek.

 

”I. . . I didn’t know about this until today, so I thank you for telling me about it. No voice should go unheard, and no student should be left without education because of intolerance.”

Chapter Text

One glare.

 

Two glares.

 

Shortly after Frisk left off on a bus towards their home, the one whose calls you’d been avoiding showed up, his mouth turned into a frown as he faced you with crossed arms.

 

”A week.” He stated, anger snapping at the last letter of the second word he spat out. “It has been a week since I called you, and I have yet to see a message or a call back.”

 

”I’ve been busy, pops.” You explained, not quite happy to see him here after having completely ignored both the burial of your grandmother and your nephew’s search for a stable home. “Y’know, with giving my nephew away for adoption, my grandmother’s death and all.” You spat, teeth gritting almost hard enough to make you chip a tooth.

 

”I very well told you that was all your responsibility if you chose to stay in this city.”

 

”It’s one of the few that allows monsters to share the same living space with humans.”

 

At that commentary, your father remained silent, his stern frown turning into a more saddened one as he looked down to his feet.

 

A sigh managed to leave his vocal chords and his eyes became clouded with an emotion you were uncertain of.

 

”I understand your reason for staying.” He began, words trailing off every so often. “But just remember what happened when you told your mother you were planning on going to prom with a monster.”

 

Now, it was your turn to sigh.

 

You faced him with lips now turned into a straight line, eyebrows furrowed as you tried to find the willpower to say your next words.

 

”I’m happy here, pops.” You assured him, a reserved smile showing on your face. “Sure, it’s not as easy as when I lived at my hometown, but I’m in my late twenties now. . . And, as grateful as I am for havin’ you folks raise me, what mum said and still says about monsters will just keep me away from visitin’ her often.”

 

You took a pause, noticing your accent was beginning to show and realizing you had something else you wanted to voice out before he had the chance to say anything else to strengthen his argument.

 

”And it’s not just ‘cause of that.” You continued. “Since I’m happier here, I plan on making a future for myself here and continue working at the monster-human school I told you of — I. . . I even made some new acquaintances recently, and. . . Well —“

 

”They’re all monsters, aren’t they?” Your father chuckled, more in disbelief than in humor. 

 

“Sort of.” You responded.

 

Eyeing you from head to torso, your father gave a weaker smile, his shoulders slumping and crossed arms unlatching as he placed a hand over his forehead, rubbing the tension away from his creases.

 

”Alright.” He spoke, taking a pause just a little too long and tense for your liking. “I won’t push further. . . But remember we still welcome you at our town if things ever get too rough for you."

 

“Understood.” You nodded. “Thanks. . . pops.”

 

You directed the most honest smile you could possibly muster, extending a hand out for him to fulfill a handshake.

 

He promptly completed the handshake, letting go moments after and tilting his head forward.

 

”Be seeing you, (son/daughter).” He dismissed. “I trust you’ll know how to keep taking care of things by yourself.”

Chapter Text

After Frisk sent you a message to inform you they'd arrived safely to their home, you decided it would be fun to take a walk around the city's streets. 

 

For once, you didn't have anything to look over before you gave your next self-defense class. Everything was currently up-to-date, and you wanted to appreciate that moment by heading out and having fun.

 

At eight o' clock, you ended up making a stop by the street performer's usual spot, the soft luminescence of the lampposts combined by the cool breeze prompting you to venture further into the streets. The toned-down conversations of the few passerby walking by complimented the croaking of the frogs and the chirping of crickets, sounds often silenced by the incessant honking of cars and worn tires screeching in protest over the speed they were being forced to make a turn in.

 

All-in-all, it was peaceful.

 

Five minutes.

 

Ten minutes.

 

It took you over fifteen minutes to reach the bunny, posture rectifying itself and mouth immediately falling open in awe when taking in the atmospheric scenery unveiling itself before you.

 

A crowd of over thirty people — some monsters, some humans — had huddled close to see her strum her guitar. Her eyes were closed, serenity vibrating off her as she played a familiar, though oddly distant tune for everyone present to enjoy. Each strum was performed with utter care and precision, her nose twitching along with the rhythm being produced with her guitar.

 

The often empty guitar case was now half-full with coins and dollar bills of varying amounts, the occasional flower and paper wanting to contract her services popping among the pocket change.

 

You decided to stay back and enjoy the tunes without bothering anyone close by, stuffing your hands inside your jeans' front pockets, shielding yourself from the coldness of the night.

 

You were taken aback by the harmony and tranquility of the entire scene, the thought of such a thing occurring even with all unfortunate incidents taking over the news not once crossing through your mind. What was once an improbable event in your eyes became true, happiness rising enough to make you feel giddy and carefree, if only for a while.

 

One melody.

 

Two melodies.

 

Three more melodies were played until the bunny decided it was time to wrap things up.

 

A few folks "aww-ed" when seeing her begin to put her belongings away while others clapped and cheered — some even whistling — and telling her to play again soon.

 

It was sweet, really.

 

A warm feeling resided in your chest, overjoyed to have experienced that moment without any interruptions.

 

Wanting to show your gratitude for that experience, you taped a yellow sticky note to a five dollar bill, scribbling the words "You were great back there!" followed by a little smiley face scribbled next to the message. Afterwards, you tried to make sure the bunny was distracted when you approached her guitar case, the idea of having her recognize you making you believe it would ruin her moment as well as the conversations she was sharing with others.

Chapter Text

One question.

 

One drink.

 

A few weeks after the incident with the closing of schools, you ended up creating a ‘drinking’ game of sorts with the skeleton you’d agreed to hang out with once a week.

 

There wasn’t any alcohol involved, though.

 

Rather, the game consisted of a session of questions, where the one that refused to answer it would have to drink a liquid the latter liked.

 

So, long story short, he was to drink tea every time he refused, whereas you. . . 

 

You had to drink ketchup.

 

Though to most people the first option wouldn’t seem so bad, he actually didn’t enjoy the bitter tea you drank — the one labeled 'Anxie-Tea', meant to calm you down after a long day of work.

 

He was on his first drink, whereas you were on your second one.

 

”Alright.” He mumbled, once having recovered from the bitter taste. “Question Four. . .”

 

He took a moment to decided over what would be the next question, eyeing you and your home every so often.

 

”Have you ever been to the Underground?”

 

At that, you raised an eyebrow, confused as to why his line of questioning suddenly became easy on you.

 

”No.” You shook your head. “The only times I ever saw what it was like was when watching the news and reading history books.”

 

He nodded gently to your response, afterwards signaling it was your turn to ask a question.

 

”Why did you ask me that?” You blurted out, not even waiting for him to properly take the drink in his hold.

 

He placed it back down, looking straight at you, irises dimming and grin faltering.

 

The countdown began.

 

Three. . .

 

Two. . . 

 

O —

 

“I was curious.” He replied, heaving a sigh. “I figured it’d be a nice place to visit next week for your birthday.”

 

You hummed at his response, part of you sensing as if he’d only told you a half-truth. 

 

“Is that all?”

 

“You gotta wait until the next question, pal.” He chuckled, the previous tension and hesitation being replaced with honesty. 

 

“You're one sly skeleton.” You responded to his laughter with a smile. “This is the second time you do this.”

 

”You better start taking notes, then.” He remarked

 

“Anyway, let's keep goin’.” He spoke up again, waiting until you took the bottle of ketchup in your hand. “When’s the last time you slept for more than two hours?”

 

Your smile tugged upwards once hearing those words, making you glance a look at your reflection through the table’s glass surface.

 

”If I’m being honest. . .” You trailed off. “I don’t remember, really. The longest I’ve slept this week’s been four hours.”

 

”Tough job, or is it somethin’ else?”

 

”You have to wait for the next question.” You snickered, leaning against the table as if to challenge him.

 

”Getting back at me, huh?”

 

”I guess I have a bone to pick with you now.”

 

You sat back up straight, brushing away the remains of your smile by taking in a deep breath.

 

”Alright. . .” You breathed. “Is there any other reason for that question besides my birthday?”

 

The light, almost bubbly mood that’d been cultivated vanished away faster than lightning, tension growing heavy as the next countdown began.

 

Three. . . 

 

Two. . . 

 

O —

Chapter Text

“There’s somethin’ I wanna show you when we get there.” The skeleton confessed.

 

You furrowed your brows at his response, brain quickly resorting to making assumptions in regards to what could he possibly want to show you at the Underground.

 

Having now been a decade since monsters resided in that area, the majority of the Underground had been turned into a historical museum of sorts, and the founder of the location it could be found on had the audacity to charge a fee when entering certain parts of the Underground.

 

Supposedly, the funds collected would be given to charities that helped monsters establish their presence better in the Surface and to construct shelters for those who suffered due to the racism directed at them and their supporters.

 

You called bullshit on that, though.

 

The founder’s office had been conveniently growing in size ever since a fee began to be imposed, not to mention how little shelters there were after ten years of tourists paying to see the remains of the Underground.

 

”If ya don’t wanna go, it's fine.” Sans spoke again, moving you away from those thoughts.

 

”No, no. . .” You shook your head, a smile appearing on your face. “I’d love to. I’m more nervous about entering the Underground rather than over what you want to show me.”

 

You harrumphed after those words, not sure if he was going to carry on with the drinking game from here on.

 

Your questions were promptly answered by him speaking up.

 

”What’s that jar for?” He asked. “The one in your bedroom, I mean.”

 

You were about to ask how he knew about the money jar kept at your bedroom’s desk, though you remembered he’d earlier asked where the bathroom was at — which made sense, considering he had to cross both the bed and desk to reach it.

 

”It’s. . . for something important.” You replied, not wanting to tell him the full truth regarding the closing of schools.

 

”Vacation, rainy day, or is it somethin’ else?”

 

You debated whether or not to tease and remind him that it had to be only one question per round, yet the mood that topic managed to form proved you incapable of doing so. 

 

“Something along 'rain day', I suppose.” You spoke, fumbling with the cap of your ketchup bottle as you faced the table’s surface. “It’s a. . . fund of sorts, if you could call it that.”

 

He took a moment to observe his surroundings, his irises shifting from the pair of worn-out love seats to the old refrigerator decorated with brownish rims product of oxidation.

 

"So, I'm guessin' those funds ain't for you?"

 

"Yeah. . ."

 

He remained silent, his focus now switching to your seated self, causing you to become self-aware and straighten your position before speaking up.

 

"Something wrong?" You asked.

 

"Nope." He laughed, a short though hearty melody interrupting the silence. "Just curious, s'all."

 

He stood up from the cushion lying on the floor, offering you a hand to help you stand up.

 

You eyed it with scrutiny, however, aware of what happened the last time you did that.

 

"No thank you." You smiled. "I can do that myself."

 

"You're no fun." He joked, hands being shoved into his jacket's front pockets as he took a few steps back, allowing you some space to move and stand up.

 

"Call me what you want, but I learn from experiences."

Chapter Text

The day prior to your birthday eventually arrived by your calendar, though you didn’t exactly pay much attention to it.

 

Instead, you decided to tidy things up around the house and prepare the next class for your students. You busied yourself running to and fro around your empty household, only stopping when hearing your phone ring.

 

You almost jumped in response to the noise, the quietude of your surroundings making everything louder than what you were accustomed to.

 

Taking the phone in your hand, you could feel your body grow cold the instant you read the caller ID.

 

You had somewhere to be today, and you were still in your sleepwear.

 

The reminder that you were going to visit the Underground tomorrow had flown right over your head, causing you to bolt towards the bathroom to begin your preparations to go out, all while holding your phone between your ear and shoulder to answer the call.

 

“I’ll be there in thirty.” Were the last words he told you before hanging up, leading you to respond with a muffled “okay”, seeing as you’d been multitasking by brushing your teeth and shoving your belongings inside your backpack while putting the call on speaker.

 

One quarter.

 

Two quarters.

 

The thirty minutes you’d been alerted of were marked clearly over the clock set close to your kitchen, and you were more than grateful not to hear a knock on your door. You benefited off this moment by performing last minute arrangements over both your attire and what you would bring with you for the trip.

 

It was five minutes after that a rhythmic knocking on the door was heard, followed by you asking, “who’s there”.

 

And, oh boy, did you screw up.

 

“Femur.”

 

“Femur. . . Who?”

 

“Asgore Femur.”

 

All thoughts went flying through the window at the mention of that name.

 

The voice behind the door was oddly different from the short skeleton’s usual tone, though you’d figured that was just him and one of his usual jokes.

 

Now, however, it was a different story.

 

You peeked through the peephole, your assumptions being proved correct when seeing the former King of Monsters standing in front of the door leading to your oh-so spacious and presentable apartment.

 

“One second. . .” You uttered, fumbling with the few locks of your door as best as you could with your sweaty hands.

 

You then pushed it open, being greeted by a large hand being laid out in front of you.

 

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, __________.” Asgore spoke, his deep and booming voice making you hesitate despite the gentle look on his face.

 

Then again, how the hell could you not hesitate at the thought of shaking hands with a former King?

 

With your luck, your sweaty hand could most likely slip — or your feet could trample when trying to approach him to fulfill the handshake.

 

Trying with all your might not to let your awe show, you pressed your hand discreetly against your jeans to dry it off and gradually stretched it out towards him. You shook hands with him, an odd feeling of completion following the moment he let go of your hand.

 

You didn’t screw up!

 

A happier smile tugged at your lips, and you found yourself inviting him into your apartment in spite of how tiny and cramped it was.

 

Thank the Heavens, you got some cleaning done today.

 

One chat.

 

Two chats.

 

Asgore Dreemurr was sitting on your living room, and you weren’t sure whether to pinch yourself or not to see if you were daydreaming.

Chapter Text

One blink.

 

Two blinks.

 

You malfunctioned the moment Asgore told you he'd been concerned about the situation revolving around the closing of schools and Frisk's own troubles.

 

He actually came to visit to ask you about Frisk, seeing as they'd arrived at his home much happier than when they first left off to do the groceries.

 

"I'm. . ." You stuttered, not knowing how to approach the matter with — and again you remind yourself — the former king of monsters!

 

Hell, you'd been staying at a former queen's household, and you hadn't even known about it!

 

"I'm sorry, sir."

 

You finally found the courage to say those words, shifting on your seat and pressing yourself hard against the fabric, as if wanting to be swallowed by the couch in hopes to escape this confrontation.

 

"What Frisk told me. . . I feel shouldn't be telling you." You took in a breath, trying to calm down the rapid but rhythmic thumping of your heart. "I know you're their father, but I believe the one who should tell you is they when they're ready. . . It should come from their mouth instead of mine."

 

Though he did seem a bit taken aback by your words, you could see his chest slowly rise and fall once before a calid smile took over his bearded face.

 

"I understand." He spoke, the tea you'd given him swirling along with his movements.

 

He took another sip, afterwards closing his eyes and letting your apartment be taken over by silence.

 

One teardrop.

 

Two teardrops.

 

Three teardrops rolled down his cheeks as his two large hands found their way over his face, covering his saddened expression away from your line of sight.

 

"Pardon me if I made myself seem intrusive." He spoke again, taking his hands away from his face and adjusting his posture as best as he could. "Ever since my ex-wife and I agreed on Frisk's custody, we have been recieving different emotions from our ends. More often than not, Toriel would call to say Frisk had been hugging her frequent times a day."

 

You refilled the goat gentleman's cup, knowing very well he could use Anxie-Tea more than ever now.

 

"In my end, I have noticed they tend to force happiness and often insist nothing is wrong, despite the worried look on their face." He continued. "They often speak about these matters with Papyrus, but — of course — he feels the same way as you. They have occasionally spoken with Sans also, and — though he is a bit more lax with the situation — his concern for them has caused him to try and solve those problems by himself."

 

You were perplexed by everything he was confessing to you, the uncomfortable sensation of feeling like a complete stranger in front of him, as well as every other monster you'd gotten to know these past four months, leading you to politely intervene on his venting the moment he took a pause.

 

"I'm flattered to have you talk with me about this." You told, a frown forming on your features as your eyes trailed reluctantly up to meet with his face. "However. . . I feel I'm not supposed to be hearing this — I feel I'm not acquainted enough with everyone to have the opportunity to hear all this."

 

You could see his typically warm gaze turn cold the moment those words left your lips, leading you to assume you done fucked up.

Chapter Text

One stutter.

 

Two stutters.

 

Words were practically spilling out of your mouth without control, apologies eventually being transformed into explanations regarding why you said that. It wasn’t until you felt yourself go dizzy with anxiety that you stopped, placing a hand over your forehead as a constricted breath escaped from your lips.

 

”Remember you are a teacher, __________.” Asgore spoke, setting down the empty cup of tea over the glass table and shifting on his seat to come face-to-face with you. “If you truly feel as if you should not be listening to what I am saying, see their matters through the eyes of a teacher, instead of a friend. Think about the times you have had a student approach you with a complication they cannot bring home with them — Think of them as one of those students.”

 

You could feel your thoughts begin to clear the more he continued to speak about that subject. Doubts plaguing your mind began to fade away, and your belief over not being acquianted enough with Frisk to be told about all these occurrences vanished, if only for the time being.

 

You imagined them as one of your students, arriving at your desk around office hours with an uncertain frown present on their face.

 

”I would like to request of you that you, as a teacher, continue to hear them out, if you are comfortable and capable of accepting.” The goat gentleman continued, a brief pause transpiring over the two of you. “Do not get me wrong — I did not give you that advice to force you into accepting. Rather, I mostly desired to calm your thoughts. Your way of thought, though considerate, should not be taken to extremes where you isolate yourself from forming relations with other people.”

 

”Alright. . .” You trailed off, feeling your voice could break at any given moment.

 

In no way did you want to end up a crying mess in front of him.

 

Sure, you blurted out a ton of confessions to your skeleton friend — as far as to tell him about your one-night stand — but this was a different story. Confessing was much more easier for you to get over with compared to the former. 

 

“I will gladly continue to hear them out.” You finally carried on with your words, finding temporary strength in taking in a deep breath. “Thank you for your concern, sir Asgore. . . And, again, I apologize for what I said earlier.”

 

Asgore smiled warmly in response to your words, his bearded features almost glowing with sympathy as he began to stand up from his seat. 

 

“I am glad.” He admitted, the two of you now making your way towards the door, having caught that he desired to leave your apartment. “Thank you for your time, __________. You have my phone number — Do not hesitate to call me if you are seeking advice as well. . . Any acquaintance of mine that cares enough for my family deserves that, at the very least.”

 

One farewell.

 

Two farewells.

 

With those final words, he left, door locking behind him and leaving you alone with your thoughts.

 

Except, you weren’t alone.

 

Sans was still waiting in your backyard, aware that the conversation you were having with Asgore required privacy.

Chapter Text

One lock.

 

Two locks.

 

You made sure you locked each and every one of your doors before leaving, especially the one you kept your money jar in.

 

Your private conversation with Asgore hadn't been acknowledged. Instead, you were told by Sans to pick up your belongings before leaving, knowing the trip was going to be a long one.

 

"Are you sure we'll be fine leaving like this?" You asked, growing concern over not being there for your workplace during the small (birth season) break you were given.

 

Most of the schools had made this an obligatory, two week suspension, seeing as the transfers of both students and teachers was a tough project and the ones in charge of managing said process had too much on their hands to worry about anything else.

 

You felt unsure about it, yet you weren't exactly allowed to assist them on those matters, neither were you at a status high enough to be in charge of anything major other than deciding what the next self defense class would be about.

 

"Worried 'bout leaving' your job behind?" Your companion asked.

 

You stopped walking alongside him, meaning to ask him how he'd asserted, but remembering what Asgore had told you about Frisk and the whole ordeal surrounding the closing of schools.

 

"Yeah. . ." You muttered, eyebrows furrowing as a thought crossed your mind. "Come to think of it, I never asked you what your job was."

 

He looked at you, a hint of mischief present on his bony features as he moved aside to let other passerby through.

 

"Any guesses?" He teased.

 

"Well. . ." You smiled, thinking back on previous conversations you had with the goat lady during one of your stays at her home. "Toriel did tell me you were having trouble making some kids behave, so I'm guessing. . . You're a teacher, too?"

 

"Yup." He nodded, sitting next to you on one of the benches nearby to wait for the next bus to arrive. "I’m an astronomy teacher, by the way." He confessed, a sheepish look crossing his irises as he rubbed the back of his cranium. "I used to handle the ol' telescope business back at the Underground, so when the position opened up, I took it."

 

"Didn't you also work at a hot dog stand before?"

 

"I've had multiple jobs." He shrugged. "Money wasn't really a big deal back then, so being committed to them was optional."

 

"How many jobs are you managing now, then?"

 

"Only two, including the astronomy one."

 

You thought back on one of the days when you were first just getting to know him, remembering how he said he'd "been givin' this new job a try" and how he'd been enjoying it so far.

 

"Figure you enjoy the second one more, no?"

 

He shifted on his seat, wanting to face you more closely.

 

He seemed caught off guard by the question, though he soon recovered by speaking up.

 

"Why's that?" He asked, faint curiosity present in his tone.

 

"You just look happier when you talk about it." You replied, leaning your back against the wooden surface of your seat and facing the sky.

 

The clouds were almost nonexistent nowadays, though that didn't stop the few present from covering the sun and making the city remain with its typically humid climate.

 

”Your face. . .” You continued, still looking away from his face. “It just looks more relaxed when you talk about things you like.”

 

You ended up facing him when feeling his frigid hand press carefully over your shoulder.

 

"I'm glad to have met ya, __________." He told. "These last few months've been fun spendin' time with you."

Chapter Text

One announcement.

 

Two announcements.

 

With all the events going on recently, you’d lost track of time.

 

Now, you were watching the news, realizing it was June due to the occasional reports revolving around Pride Month.

 

The brief intermission of commercials allowed you some time to think.

 

So far, you’d dated a firegirl monster during your high school years, gone out with a fast food clerk for a few weeks during your college days, had a one night stand with a robot, and set up a (platonic) date with a skeleton to the Underground.

 

None of them went farther than a hug and a few cheesy pick up lines, as neither of you were feeling up to anything further than platonic — except the one night stand, of course.

 

But still, you were both drunk and sad, so you barely remembered much aside from waking up next to him without your top half on.

 

You shook those thoughts away when hearing your phone ring, seeing the lizard scientist’s name blinking over the screen.

 

Having a vague idea as to why she decided to give you a ring, you took the call quickly, pressing the speaker against your ear and lowering the volume of the television down to zero.

 

“Hello?” You answered, your voice echoing due to the quiet surroundings of your (almost) empty living room.

 

Words practically began to cascade from her mouth the moment you answered the call, her rambling eventually coming to a stop when catching herself talking too fast for you to understand her words clearly.

 

”Are you going to the Pride Parade this month?” She asked, her excitement showing through the exasperation of her tone. “We. . . We wanted to invite you if you hadn’t thought about it!”

 

You hummed in response, glancing a brief look at the time displayed over the nearby wall clock and standing up from the couch to check on your work schedule.

 

The flipping of pages was the only sound present in the room, aside from Alphys’s faint breathing over the speaker.

 

”Sure. . .” You trailed off. “It’s on the 8th of this month, right? I don’t have anything planned until then.”

 

One agreement.

 

Two agreements.

 

The two of you settled on the time you would meeting up. She informed you about who would be going out of her entire household as well as where the event would take place in. It took you a few minutes, but you were eventually able to form an agreement and hang up.

 

Once you did, you sat back down on the couch, the television still muted and showing the final news reports of the day over the screen.

 

The silence and the privacy allowed you to continue on reflecting over your past relationships.

 

The firegirl. . .

 

The fast food guy. . .

 

You’d even flirted with a social worker, for Heaven’s sake!

 

That thought made you want to check on your message history with them, wanting to see just how far your relationship had gone with them.

 

The last message was actually a date you’d settled on to fulfill the invitation to dinner you’d put a rain check on.

 

It was set on the 7th, one day prior to the event you’d scheduled with Alphys today.

 

”I want to know more about you. ;)”, was the last message Frogger had sent you, though it was all in good fun.

 

You both joked over your relationship, though you did feel as if they truly meant some of those texts sometimes.

 

You chuckled at that thought, the odd and rather confusing reality of the situation making you smile.

Chapter Text

One footstep.

 

Two footsteps.

 

You could hear a light and fast set of footsteps approaching you, the speed not even allowing to so much as stand up from the bench and turn around to see who they belonged to.

 

"__________!" An all too familiar voice exclaimed, the feeling of two small hands grabbing your back and pushing you down following moments after. "__________!" The person cried out again, voice breaking the second time your name was called out. "I — I've missed you. . ."

 

You tried to regain sense of your surroundings, coming across your nephew sitting on your lap.

 

Tears stained his cheeks and a hint of mucus could be seen dripping from one of his nostrils.

 

He was about to wipe his nose with the sleeve of his shirt, yet you stopped him by grabbing his arm and offering him a tissue from your backpack instead.

 

"Why's that, dear?" You asked, concern present on your tone as you wondered over why he missed you as much as he did.

 

The last time you'd visited him was three weeks ago — And the reason you hadn't visited him more often than that was due to your aunt telling you he was going on a trip with her to the countryside.

 

"Weren't you out of town for the past two weeks?" You asked, deciding to voice out your doubts.

 

Your nephew seemed to tense at those words, leading you to furrow your eyebrows and place a hand over his cheek, trying to get him to face you.

 

"What's wrong?" You pressed, lips turning into a frown.

 

"I. . ."

 

He looked at his surroundings, stopping only when coming across with Sans.

 

His tense figure only managed to stiffen more, tears continuing to trail down his cheeks at a quicker and bountiful pace.

 

"Auntie said you were busy with monsters."

 

"What?" You deadpanned, one brow raising as creases began to take over your forehead. "Busy in what sense?"

 

"I dunno. . ." Your nephew raised his shoulders to emphasize his lack of knowledge over that topic, confusion briefly presenting itself over his face. "She. . . She just said you didn't have time for us anymore."

 

You could see Sans squirm on his seat and look away from the scene from the back of your eye, clearly growing uncomfortable over having to overhear your conversation with your nephew.

 

"Why would she say that?" You inquired. "You know I always leave Sundays for visiting you." 

 

One pause.

 

Two pauses.

 

The probability of him gathering courage to say anything else was shattered by your aunt appearing in front of you, her arms crossed over her chest as she tapped her foot over the concrete sidewalk with impatience.

 

”Put him down.” She ordered, her tone strict and leaving no space for any possible arguments. “You’re not allowed to be near him until I say so.”

 

You felt yourself instinctively gulp the tension forming in your throat, shock presenting itself over your inability to respond as well as to follow her orders. The world around you seemed to spin and your body became paralyzed with fear, a sensation you hadn’t felt ever since the time you woke up next to your one night stand.

Chapter Text

One interrogation.

 

Two interrogations.

 

Your aunt questioned you back and forth, barely giving you enough time to process her appearance and demands.

 

"I've been well." You assured her, for what seemed to be the tenth time since you came across with her.

 

She scowled at your words, narrowing her eyes and focusing them on your faint but clearly noticeable eye bags.

 

"You look like you haven't slept in days." She acknowledged.

 

Her eyes then flickered over to Sans, nose scrunching as she faced you again.

 

"I can only guess why. . ." She trailed off. "But I'd rather keep it to myself."

 

"Why won't you tell me?" You questioned, taking a step closer to her. "Be straight with me if anything's bothering you."

 

You could see her jaw clench in response to your actions, her hands turning into fists and veins showing over her forehead.

 

"Do not challenge me, __________." She warned. "I will not tolerate any disrespect from you."

 

"You're the one assuming things about me and who I'm spending time with, just because we differ in appearances."

 

"That's because I'm right in what I'm saying." She persisted.

 

This time, it was her turn to take a step forward.

 

"You get along better with this thing." She made emphasis over to your companion's side, her volume capturing the attention of a few curious bystanders. "Rather than your next door neighbour of five years!"

 

The anger you'd been holding back snapped with the way she'd spoken about him, leading for the world around you to blur, your attention focusing only on her figure.

 

"That's because, unlike them. . . He's not an asshole!" 

 

The first thing your eyes saw after saying that was the ghost of a hand being inches away from touching your face.

 

You tried to avoid the hit, though her hand still managed to brush roughly against your neck, her original aim being your cheek.

 

The scene was startling enough for your nephew to shriek and cover his face in fright by hiding behind the first person he found — this one being Sans.

 

"That's not how ya earn respect, pal." He spoke, narrowing his gaze at her as his eye sockets later focused on you and your nephew, his tolerance seemingly having lessened after witnessing that event unfold. "Maybe work on that so your kid doesn't turn out like you."

 

"You- You have no right to speak to me that way!" She exclaimed, voice lowering so as to avoid attracting any more attention and having the police called. Her left pointer finger pressed harshly against his ribcage and jabbed at him enough to make him take a precautionary step back, careful not to trample with the child hiding behind him. "You're not the one who —"

 

"Leave him alone!” You demanded. "You're taking this too far now."

 

Her words were halted by you grabbing her by the shoulder and making her face you instead, despite her attempts at breaking away from your hold.

 

One intervention.

 

Two interventions.

 

It took you some time to finally get her to calm down and back away from both him and you.

 

One thing led to another, until it was finally time to part ways. 

 

That's when you realized your nephew would be left to deal with her anger alone.

 

The thought frightened you.

 

It frightened you enough to make you kneel in front of him minutes before your departure, in order to have a final word with him before you left off to continue with your journey.

 

"Hey, buddy. . ." You called out, cupping his cheek with the shaky palm of your hand. "Are you okay? You look a little pale."

Chapter Text

 

One sniffle.

 

Two sniffles.

 

Your nephew ended up a crying mess once you asked him that question, leading for your aunt to accuse you of mistreating him and for you to ignore her, all whilst cradling the child in your hold and taking him to sit on a bench with you.

 

Watching the scene unfold, Sans approached your side, giving you support by pressing a hand over your shoulder and whispering something in regards to how you were holding up — that he would wait in case you needed company on the road back home once you dealt with your nephew's situation.

 

As a response, you smiled, grateful to still have him by your side despite this being the second time he had to leave you alone with a more personal matter. You held the hand he’d placed over your shoulder, thanking him before telling him it was fine and that you would wait for a bus back home — after you managed with your nephew’s outburst.

 

He seemed hesitant to leave you alone, though he understood and left off with a nod.

 

Once he was gone, you looked back at your nephew, ignoring your aunt’s complaints about how "intimate" the hand-holding had been.

 

Your nephew's crying was nonstop, sniffles turning into sobs and sobs turning into hiccups.

 

 


 

 

Half an hour had passed by since he began crying, and you were yet to fully calm him down. Your patience was running thin, yet you tried not to blow up, knowing one of the main causes of this event was related to your aunt wanting to keep you away from him.

 

”I wanna be with you again!” Your nephew protested, his hands gripping weakly over the collar of your shirt — as if pleading for you to take him with you. “I. . . I don’t care who you spend time with. . . I just wanna live with you again! I wanna see you pick me up at school again, and give me a hug before going to bed!”

 

”Calm down.” You ordered, a hint of annoyance crossing the many emotions taking over your body, knowing very well he was crossing a line now — That he’d crossed it the moment he started crying loud enough for others to hear. “I understand that you miss me, but you need to calm down. I'm sure auntie will do that soon, too.”

 

”But I miss you. . . She- She won’t let me visit you anymore!”

 

You sighed at his tantrum, creases forming over your forehead as a hand was placed over your nose, nostrils flaring as a result of the complexity presented over the current matter.

 

“I’ll visit you once I’m given auntie's permission." You told. “You must know by now the reason you were taken away from me, and what could happen if I disobeyed her orders.”

 

His body stiffened when hearing those words, another set of tears welling up in his eyes as he tried holding his emotions back. He lowered his head and nodded, pouting at the ground below his feet as one final sniffle left his nose. 

 

“Okay. . .” He mumbled, pressing his fluffy hair over your stomach before nuzzling his head against it and letting out a shaky breath. “I- I don't want you to go away forever. . .”

 

Silence fell hard between the three of you after that last sentence, finally allowing you to excuse yourself from your aunt and say your farewells to your nephew, despite how much your brain was yelling at you to do otherwise.

 

”Don’t think I’ll let you go so easily, __________.” Your aunt warned. “If you want me to let him visit you like he so insists, you’ll have to earn it with due time.”

 

As you left off with that warning, you were only sure over one thing: you had to do something, and it had to be quick.

Chapter Text

Four hours had passed by since the incident with your aunt, and you were now back home, the quietude of your surroundings allowing you to brainstorm on how you could possibly deal with your nephew and the one in charge of him.

 

Sure, you could call a social worker or someone like that right off the bat, but your past actions and the reputation they created didn't exactly make you a trustworthy source if you were to denounce your aunt of anything. Not to mention, you knew she wasn't one to go down without a fight.

 

One ring.

 

Two rings.

 

Your phone’s persistent ringing noise took over the silence you’d so gotten used to living with. Grudgingly, you stood up from your seat on the couch, checking the caller ID before answering the call.

 

The name “Frogger” flashed on the screen, making you pick up the call without second thoughts.

 

”Hello?” You spoke, waiting for the one on the other line to speak up.

 

”__________, I apologize.” They replied, not even allowing you to so much as ask about their apology as they continued to voice out their thoughts. “Your nephew was supposed to be sent to a foster home, but your aunt came barging in the middle of it all. She claimed your brother — may he Rest In Peace — had signed a note that confirmed she was to take him under her care when he passed away. However, your. . . partner informed me over what happened today. Once more, I apologize for letting this happen. I promised you your nephew would be left in good care, so I will begin investigating the matter today, once I check out of work. Please, bare with me, and thank you for listening.”

 

”W- Wait a minute.” You stuttered, shocked by the social worker’s sudden rambling filled with apologies and confessions. “Someone else contacted you, then?”

 

”Yes. I was told by your partner that you were hit as a result of your aunt’s anger, and that the child in her care ended up hiding in fright behind him. He came personally to my office about an hour ago, hence why I figured it was best to contact you as soon as he left.”

 

”I. . .” 

 

You were left speechless, not knowing how to process nor react to the situation present before you. 

 

“I don’t know what to say. . . I. . . Th- Thank you.” You breathed, your chest tight with emotions you were still struggling to sort out. “You don’t need to apologize — I understand how impulsive she can be.”

 

”But it is my job to secure the safety of children all across this city.” They insisted. “I will be communicating with you soon. In the meantime, please make sure you keep in touch with both the child and the woman in question.”

 

Though they stopped speaking after that, the way they’d ended that sentence made you feel as if there was still something on their mind. 

 

“Take care.” They told, their tone somewhat distant and longing. “Though we have not been able to meet up in person since our last outing together. . .” A pause. “You are. . . still quite dear to me, __________.”

 

With that, they hung up, leaving you with a sense of both confusion and merriment.

 

For one, you felt confused as to what that last line was supposed to be.

 

A confession?

 

An apology?

 

. . . Both?

 

Your merriment, on the other hand, was safe to say was due to finding safe land in the midst of all your rising troubles, adding to the fact that you had two people on your side in terms of helping you take your nephew away from your aunt’s care.

 

Chapter Text

Nighttime eventually made itself present over the sky.

 

The few open windows placed around the living room allowed for a cool breeze to enter your apartment, accompanied by the sounds of the bustling city and the muffled noise of the late night news playing in the background.

 

You looked at your phone, noticing there were only five minutes left until it marked nine o’ clock.

 

It had been an awfully long, exhausting day today and the hours only seemed to pass on as slowly as the commercial breaks flashing on the television screen — even with how busy you’d been searching around your house to see if you could find any crucial information that could bring closure to your nephew’s future.

 

You were aware he had to go through an interrogation with a social worker after this, yet you knew how frightful he became over situations like these. With his age barely reaching a two-digit number and his deceased fathers having raised him in an overprotective environment, you worried he would freeze in fear the moment he had to voice out the truths that could potentially change his life.

 

You looked at your phone again, debating for a third time since you hung up on Frogger if it would be good to call the person responsible for this well-needed push in your life.

 

Was he already sleeping?

 

Or was he busy doing something else?

 

Would it even be okay to call him at this hour?

 

Sure, you’d texted him a few times before, but – aside from the call he gave you earlier in the morning to alert you over your (now cancelled) plans – the thought of calling him had never once crossed your mind.

 

Taking in some oxygen in hopes to lessen your excessive thinking, you decided to first send him a text message to ask him if he was free to have a talk with you.

 

Five minutes.

 

Ten minutes.

 

You stopped looking through your collected information when hearing your phone ring, the caller ID prompting you to pick it up as quick as it was humanly possible – until it came the time to answer, that is.

 

With a hesitant and shaky thumb, you pressed the “answer” button and held the device against your ear, giving commencement to a conversation filled with explanations, thank yous, an invitation on his part to postpone today’s cancelled plans, and a brief discussion over what you would be doing while you waited for the social worker’s response.

 

It wasn’t until you realized it was already ten fifteen that you decided to wrap things up, feeling as if you’d rambled on too much and that you’d taken away too much of his time.

 

“But, seriously, thank you!” You spoke, clutching the phone tightly in your hand as you fumbled with the sleeve of your shirt with your free one. “I- I’m just so happy, I could hug you right now!”

 

”Anythin’ to make your birthday tomorrow less crappy.” He laughed. “I’m just doin’ what I think’s right, so don’t worry about it, pal."

 

”I still need to make it up to you somehow.” You insisted, taking in another breath before continuing. “I just. . . really appreciate it, y’know? It’s nice to have someone like you around.”

 

You wanted to stop your rambling, feeling you were being too sentimental and mushy the further you spoke to him, yet you couldn’t bring yourself to hang up just like that. Instead, you ended up thanking him one fourth and final time, telling him that you were only a call away if he needed anything himself.

 

One goodnight.

 

Two goodnights.

 

You ended the call at ten thirty three, the ghost of a smile present on your face lasting for the entirety of your night.

Chapter Text

 

One day.

 

Two days.

 

Three days passed since the incident with your nephew, and — so far — things were going well between you.

 

You called him twice since that day, telling him the days when you would visit, as well as the days you would call — all according to your aunt’s approval.

 

He was overjoyed to hear the news — enough for you to hear a happy, muffled squeal through the other line, combined with his tiny feet stomping all over the place. The celebration lasted for about a minute, until your aunt told him it was enough, and that he needed to go back to doing his homework.

 

You could hear him protest once before she threatened over taking his favourite stuffed animal away, using the same tone you used whenever he crossed a line he wasn’t supposed to.

 

”Hello?” Your aunt’s voice rang clear over your ears, her sharp tone leading you to assume her patience was almost nonexistent.

 

”I’m here.” You replied.

 

She cleared her throat before speaking up again.

 

”I hope you do not think of touching your nephew with your filthy hands ever again.” She threatened. “Those monsters you’ve touched. . . Who knows what strange things they may carry within them? I know you’re a grown (man/woman), so I will not tell you to stop being with them anymore, but don’t ever dare to lay a hand on your nephew’s cheek to wipe his tears, if you’re the one that’s causing them!”

 

One inhale.

 

One exhale.

 

Everything surrounding you seemed to fade away the moment she finished with her speech, your phone being dropped to the ground as your hands found their way to your face. You could hear her yelling to see if you were still there, but your mind was too clouded for you to react accordingly. 

 

You ended up kneeling on the floor, lowering your head until the hands covering it came in contact with the cold, wooden surface of the floor.

 

How long had it been since you last ended up crying?

 

You didn’t know.

 

What you did know, however, was that you needed it more than ever now. 

 

Quiet tears rolled down your cheeks as your hands still covered your face, a single hiccup taking over the silence of your empty apartment.

 

 


 

 

One smile.

 

Two smiles.

 

After regaining your composure, you ended up heading to your room to stand in front of your mirror, posing as confidently as it was possible before you left your home.

 

What previous moments like these had taught you was that you couldn’t stay inside your apartment for long. If not, you would just end up wallowing to yourself all day and most likely pass out at seven past meridian.

 

Due to that, you left an hour after you calmed down, thinking that a cigarette or two could most likely help after today’s events.

 

After all, it’d been a long while since you last smoked one.

 

Your newfound relationships as well as you trying to find a solution to the closing of schools had kept you busy, and it wasn’t until now that you realized just how many things you’d achieved when looking back to when you first began to meet with Sans and his family.

 

One thing had led to another, and now, you had over ten new people you could at least refer to as “close acquaintances”.

Chapter Text

One conversation.

 

Two conversations.

 

You talked with Sans about the few updates you’d received on your nephew, confessing to him that you’d been trying to get on your aunt’s good side to avoid having her blow up like she had a few days ago.

 

Sure, that led to you avoid almost all her questions regarding your personal life, as well as agreeing with her over things you didn’t quite find to your liking, but – to you – those risks were worth it if they equaled to your nephew’s well-being.

 

Long story short, you ended up agreeing to her offer of her becoming a matchmaker to set you up with a (man/woman), who she claimed would help you get your mind off the skeleton standing next to you on the train. 

 

“She’s been vexing over you ever since that day.” You laughed. “Really, just because I held your hand that one time, she’s been all up on my case and won’t shut up about how ‘dishonourable’ I’m being to my family.”

 

”So you’re gonna go out with this (guy/gal)?” He asked. “You sure you’re up for it?”

 

”If it means getting my nephew out of trouble, then. . . yes.” You muttered, gulping the vile that’d risen over your throat as you thought of the negative outcomes of the date she’d set up. “But, on the bright side, I. . . I have faith the case’ll be solved by the time that date arrives.”

 

You shook your head, realizing you were dampening the mood with your words.

 

”Anyway,” you continued. “Enough about me. . . How’re you holding up?”

 

His irises flickered for a moment before he scooted closer to your side, allowing some space for the people passing by to continue with their daily grind. 

 

“Pretty good, actually.” He admitted. “Undyne and Alph are just two weeks away from tyin’ the knot, and Frisk’s been happier lately.”

 

You let out a flare from your nostrils in empathy, your brows knitting close as a tight smile formed on your face. 

 

“That’s good and all. . .” You trailed off, tilting your head to the side to obtain a better view of his face, which had been covered by another passenger squishing close to him. “But, what about you? Are you happy right now?”

 

One stop.

 

Two stops.

 

The previously cramped train now composed itself of you, your skeleton companion, a businesswoman, and a photographer walking idly from corner to corner inside the vehicle, stopping once being warned through the intercom that he had to stay still until the ride came to a stop.

 

You proceeded to sit down next to Sans on one of the empty seats, continuing with your conversation once he gathered his attention back to you.

 

”I’ve been feelin’ better.” He replied. “I don’t think I’ve passed out again since that time you took me in.”

 

Based on the tone he’d ended that sentence with, you figured he still had something in his mind that he wanted to say out loud. As a result, you chose to remain silent until he continued where he’d left off.

 

”And. . . I’ve been practicing this new hobby lately.” He told, passing a hand over the back of his cranium as he faced his lap.

 

”What is it?” You asked, toned down excitement present in your voice as you held back the urge to give him a shake to get the words out.

 

Seeing the hopeful expression on your face was enough to make him chuckle, his shoulders slumping back down in relaxation and back resting comfortably against his seat. 

 

“Remember the time we went to the dog shelter together?”

 

“Yeah?” You encouraged, smiling. 

 

“I’m a volunteer there now – And Frisk is, too.”

Chapter Text

One drink.

 

Two drinks.

 

After an hour-long train ride and another half hour of stopping to chat with a co-worker, you arrived at Grillby's, the place you'd a "date" with Frogger in before everything revolving around your daily living went haywire.

 

Now, you were with another companion and had agreed with him that — besides the food you were going to order — you wouldn't have more than two drinks for the remainder of the night.

 

You were practicing moderation, the company surrounding you serving as a way to move away from those wants.

 

”I. . .” You trailed off, wanting to bring up the matter revolving around the bickering between you and your aunt and how she’d pressed her pointer finger sharply against Sans’s ribcage. “I’m sorry about what happened that day. I, well. . . I shouldn’t’ve challenged her in public.” Stress began to bubble up, thinking back on all the things you could’ve done to tone the situation down. “I’m. . . I’m also a self-defense teacher, for Heaven’s sake! I could’ve done something better than just hold her back after what happened.”

 

He seemed a bit lost over what you were talking about, until you pressed your hand against your chest and mouthed the words “my aunt”, trying to send the most discreet hint possible towards what you were meaning to say.

 

”Oh, that.” He chuckled, a meditative sigh leaving his teeth afterwards. “Fuhgeddaboutit, pal — Stuff happens. . . And from what I’ve seen, it needed to happen."

 

He stayed quiet after that, playing with one of the fries on his plate absentmindedly.

 

“Are you really okay, though?” You insisted, a small yet concerned smile presenting itself over your face. “I wasn’t able to talk to you personally too much after that, so I just. . . I just can’t help it, y’know?”

 

"Really, __________, you worry too much over me." He spoke, his tone allowing you to know those words were well-intentioned on his part. "Let's focus on enjoyin' the rest of the night for now."

 

"Alright. . ." You mumbled. "Just- Just know I'm here for you, too."

 

He gave a faint nod in response to your words, his ever-present smile tugging upwards as he focused back on finishing both his order of fries and half-empty glass of water. You moved on to do the same, though your worries still lingered as your eyes focused on the skeleton’s chest, remembering the way your aunt had threatened him and how he’d remained so calm despite how angered she looked.

 

It took all your might to stop the urge of reaching out for his face and checking to see if he was truly alright, a custom that'd grown on you whenever one of your students hurt themselves while practicing their moves.

 

”Since you insisted on payin’ for this,” the skeleton spoke up again, causing you to gulp down the recent bite you’d taken and face with him instead, noticing he carried a genuine, encouraging smile while doing so. “I’m gonna pay for the hotel I told you about.” He took a moment to look at the time displayed over the wall clock next to Grillby’s bottle collection, humming briefly in thought. “It’s gettin’ late already, so we’re gonna have to find a place to stay near in.”

 

Though you wanted to refuse his offer of paying for your stay at a hotel, you chose to smile back and nod in approval to his reasoning, noticing it was already one in the morning — meaning you would have to wait until five for the next bus to pick you up.

 

One conversation.

 

Two conversations.

 

The few, half-drunken customers left around the bar gradually began to leave when passing final conversations between each other. It wasn’t until only the horseman next to the jukebox and the owner of the bar remained that you both began to wrap things up, having one last drink of water to tone down the sole, two drinks you’d had since your arrival at eight o’clock.

 

You’d both agreed on not drinking more than two glasses, and had succeeded in doing so.

 

With him talking to you and viceversa, as well as the distractions of the few friendly folk remaining in the bar, you were able to move aside from the heavy, stinging necessity of forgetting.

Chapter Text

One check-in.

 

Two check-ins.

 

Though you insisted on paying for the costs of a two-night stay at a hotel, Sans still ended up paying for the room.

 

He asked if you would be fine with sharing the same room as him, which you agreed to with a nod.

 

The thought of sharing a room with someone else wasn't exactly a new experience for you, seeing as you used to share your own place with your nephew back in the day. Not to mention, it was one of the cheapest, vacant rooms you could see over the receptionist’s computer screen.

 

"You sure 'bout it?" He asked again. "Don't just say yes 'cause it's cheaper."

 

You perked up in response to that last sentence, surprised to see how he'd seen through your intentions as quickly as he had.

 

"H- How did you. . ." You trailed off, feeling the back of your neck and ears heat up when seeing the look on his skull.

 

"We've known each other for about five months now." He remarked. "It'd be a crime if I didn't know somethin' about you."

 

You watched how he handed off the payment to the receptionist when a thought crossed your mind.

 

"So. . ." You began, a cheeky smile tugging at your lips. "You can see through my bullcrap, then?"

 

"Pretty much." He laughed. "Kinda like how you just said 'bullcrap' instead of the other word."

 


 

Almost an hour had passed by since you arrived at the hotel, and now that it was almost three in the morning, it was finally time to wrap up for the night.

 

A shaky hand was about to knock on the door of your shared bedroom, until you remembered the elevated possibility that you could be put in a position that would require you to dish out a knock-knock joke.

 

You retreated it, knowing very well that — no matter how much you tried — you were really, really bad at making puns. 

 

Instead, you resorted to asking if you could enter, being responded to with a "yeah, c'mon in".

 

You creaked the door open, spotting him sitting on the edge of one of the two beds, his skull facing his lap as a rather unknown look crossed the faint glow of his pupils.

 

He flicked his gaze over to you, quickly regaining composure by standing up and absentmindedly pulling away the sheets of the bed — as if he were suddenly planning on going to sleep.

 

"You okay?" You asked, slowly approaching him as your hand tried to reach out for his back.

 

You flinched when coming in contact with a frigid, almost freezer-cold sweat.

 

"It's fine."

 

"No, it isn't." You insisted, carefully pushing him down to sit next to you on the now half-clothed mattress of the bed. "You're sweating, and you look like you're gonna pass out anytime soon."

 

He faced with you, his sockets closing and later opening before letting out a faint breath through his teeth.

 

"Guess we've rubbed off on ya, huh?" He chuckled. "Your face reminds me of Frisk's whenever they want to get somethin' done."

 

"I guess you have." You smiled. "Like you once said to me. . ."

 

You shuffled on your seat, a somewhat teasing expression crossing your face as you chose to quote back on one of your past meetings with him.

 

"You're actin’ weird again."

 

In response to your words was a distant chuckle, an uneasy look present on his skull as sweat began to trail down his forehead.

 

One pause.

 

Two pauses.

 

Silence prevailed, and time seemed to pass exceedingly slow.

 

Everything was quiet enough for you to hear your breathing as well as his own.

Chapter Text

Your eyes opened up slowly, your foreign surroundings causing you to take some time until you were finally able to make sense of where you were sleeping at.

 

You remembered last nights events, how Sans had been out of it, and how you'd reluctantly stood up from his bed to allow him some space. The thought made you shift in bed, wanting to face the one he was sleeping in, only to see his bed was empty, the single evidence that he'd slept there being the messy covers and the jacket he'd left strayed next to the pillows.

 

It felt strange having company again, yet you tried not to think too much over it, knowing this was only for two nights and that it wasn't the same as living with your nephew. You reminded yourself you couldn't get used to it.

 

You stood up from your own bed, letting out a yawn as you passed a hand over the back of your neck, drowsiness still present over your body.

 

One minute.

 

Two minutes.

 

A few minutes passed by with you getting through your morning routine. It'd taken you about half an hour to finish things up, which made you worry over still not seeing him around your shared room when returning back to the beds.

 

You looked around, not a hint of his presence nearby. Afterwards, you decided to check the small balcony you'd spotted yesterday before going to bed.

 

You pushed the curtains away, looking through the glass sliding doors and spotting his figure leaning over the railings.

 

Hesitantly, you knocked on the glass, wanting to make sure you weren't invading his privacy before joining him outside. He first looked over his shoulder, turning around completely when recognizing you. Then, he approached your side, sliding the door open and greeting you with a "good mornin'".

 

You greeted him back, your eyes avoiding his face as you remembered last night's events.

 

"Are you. . . feeling okay?" You asked, wanting reassurance over his well-being.

 

"I'm good." He replied, his smile tugging slightly upwards as he brought the coffee cup he'd been holding in front of you, the gesture serving as an offer to some caffeine. "Want some? There's more in the coffee pot."

 

You smiled back at him, rejecting his offer with the soft shake of your head. "Thanks, but I'm not really much of a morning drinker."

 

"Hinting at somethin' else there?" He joked, taking sip of his drink while you both sat down on the pair of seats set in a corner of the balcony.

 

"I might be." You joked back, a small laugh leaving your lips.

 

You looked at him for a moment before focusing on the rest of your surroundings, awe presenting itself over your complexion as you took in the landscape before you.

 

"This place is beautiful." You spoke, taking in the view composed of palm trees, blue skies, and an assorted array of artisanal shops set near the pool area of the hotel. "It's kinda like we're not even in the city anymore."

 

It seemed as if though he appreciated your words enough for them to be labeled as a compliment. 

 

"Glad ya like it 'ere, pal." He reciprocated, copying your actions of taking in the tropical scenery displayed before him. "We used to go here in the summer, so it was the first place I thought of when lookin' for a place to crash."

 

You remained quiet after that, the atmosphere between you being one of calm and passivity.

Chapter Text

One mile.

 

Two miles.

 

After three more miles of walking and passing through an extensive path lined by large pine trees decorated a little too early for Christmas, you were able to enter the first tourist-accessible location of the Underground, the first scenery to reach your eyes being that of cozy town covered from corner to corner with snow, the name “Snowdin” making much more sense when seeing a few houses’ doors blocked by large piles of snow.

 

“I see why you told me to bring a bigger jacket.” You spoke, your body beginning to shiver as you snuggled yourself in a sweater twice your size. “I’ve been to a few cold places before, but this one tops them all.”

 

In response to your comment, you could see him move closer to you, shoulders almost grazing with your arms while you continued to admire the scenery before you.

 

You could see a few bunny children engage in a snowball fight with human children along the center of the town, their energetic laughter a reassuring melody to the parents in watch. A plump and purple bunny woman was setting up shop, her sister helping her by placing a batch of freshly-baked pastries labeled “cinnamon bunnies” over the main counter.

 

Your observation was cut short by a feeling of warmth spreading throughout your entire body, most of the energy centered between you and the small distance you’d kept with the skeleton walking next to you.

 

“Sans?” You questioned, facing him when realizing the warm sensation emanated from where he was standing at.

 

You could see a faint, blue glow prevail between you. Reaching out for it with your hand allowed you to know that warm feeling was product of it.

 

“Thought we could warm up to each other while we’re here.” He joked, gently nudging your arm with his shoulder.

 

You snickered at his comment, his cheeky grin only adding to the overall effect of his words.

 

“Thank you. . .” You mumbled, your attention drifting over to Monster Kid, who was practicing their combat skills with their older sister.

 

They stopped sparring with her to wave at you with their foot, a bright smile present on their face as they nudged their sister with their forehead, telling her who you were. Happy to see them, you waved at the pair, stopping for a moment to properly introduce yourself to their sister.

 

One exchange.

 

Two exchanges.

 

After introducing Sans and yourself to Monster Kid’s sister, you were ready to say your goodbyes, though those actions were halted by her calling out your name.

 

“Wait!” She exclaimed, stopping you by placing her head against your back. 

 

You did as told and turned back to her, your patient smile being replaced with a worried frown when seeing the distressed look on her face.

 

“You’re a friend of Frisk’s. . . Right?” She asked.

 

”Yeah. . .” You nodded, unsure as to what was the reason for the troubled expression she carried. “What’s wrong?”

 

Instead of responding to your question, she faced with Sans, narrowing her eyes as she inspected him from head to toe.

 

”And you’re part of their family, right?”

 

Sans assented to her words, his expression mimicking yours.

 

You were fearing the worst, your recent, unfortunate series of events leading you to have low expectations whenever something unexpected came up.

 

”Good!” She cheered, her body inching forward as she made a gesture for you and your companion to stay together. “I’m their university’s assigned counselor, and I’ve been wanting to have a talk with you both.”

Chapter Text

One conclusion.

 

Two conclusions.

 

After a lengthy conversation with Monster Kid’s sister, you’d finally reached the end of the topic she’d held you and Sans back for.

 

She’d spoken to you about how Frisk’s conduct had improved considerably since the past few weeks, and how grateful she was to see she had people like Sans and yourself for them to vent to and rely on whenever she wasn’t near.

 

“Please, continue to do what you’ve been doing to keep their spirits up!” She pleaded before saying goodbye, a few tears pricking her eyes as she faced you both. “They’re as determined as they first were when they were younger, and I have a feeling it could only improve as time goes on."

 

“You have my word, ma’am.” You spoke, whereas Sans only chose to nod. 

 

With a final wave goodbye, you continued with your journey through the Underground, walking quietly with Sans along the way.

 

”Since when were you so formal?” He teased, being the first one to speak up. 

 

You remained confused for a moment, until you realized he was referring to the way you’d spoken to Monster Kid’s sister, your posture tense and words coming off more elaborated than usual when having to speak with her directly — similar to the way you'd spoken with Asgore back at your place.

 

There was just something about talking with other adults that made you feel as if you barely had your life together when compared to them.

 

Whenever you felt in control, someone would talk about their achievements and — though you were proud and happy for them — you couldn't help feeling as if you were falling behind in the whole "adulting" process.

 

”To be honest. . . " Your words trailed off, not knowing whether or not to confess your thoughts. "I guess just feel more relaxed when I'm with you.” You admitted, your hands finding their way inside your pockets as you puffed out a breath, a shiver crawling up your spine. “ It's just. . . Sometimes, I feel like I have to act like I know what I'm doing all the time — like I have to act as if I don't have any doubts, when in reality. . . I have more than I can count."

 

You shook your head lightly, trying to brush away some of the snow that’d fallen on top of your head — it somehow having formed the shape of a small dog when falling down.

 

”This’ll probably sound cheesy, but I feel like I can really be myself when I’m with you.”

 

Silence followed after your confession, the only sound remaining being the faint whistling of the cold wind and the light crunching of snow below your feet.

 

”You're lucky I’m not lactose intolerant, ‘cause I would’ve died right here and now.” He deadpanned, an honest and hearty laugh making you smile in return.

 

Ten minutes.

 

Twenty minutes.

 

Around thirty minutes passed by until you finally came to a stop, having arrived at a climate drastically different from the freezing weather of Snowdin.

 

Before you stood a hauntingly beautiful landscape, composed of bright and blue flowers scattered about the dim area — with various mushrooms serving as the main lighting, and a large, sparkling waterfall being the centerpiece of the entire scenery.

 

You took a step forward, awe showing through your widened eyes and slightly parted lips. The feeling of something cold and wet hitting your arm made you look up, noticing a few drops fall from the roof, these forming small puddles dispersed close to the flowers.

 

The previous cold you felt changed into a cool temperature pleasant enough to make you want to keep your jacket on.

 

”This is beautiful.” You commented, taking in your surroundings.

 

”You know who else is beautiful?” He asked, looking at you.

 

“Who?”

 

”That lil’ doggo over there.”

 

He pointed at a small, white dog similar to the shape of the snow that’d fallen on top of your head earlier, causing you to grin – despite your original expectations regarding what he was going to say.

Chapter Text

“Penny for your thoughts?” Sans inquired, noticing how quiet you’d become ever since you arrived at Waterfall.

 

You shook your head, your attention focusing on the monster-human family walking together by the bridge, the children pointing at the ‘stars’ present in the sky.  

 

“It’s nothing.” You assured him, looking up at the sky yourself to take in the many bright, radiant dots illuminating the area. They shimmered softly, making their presence known by gathering together to intensify their glow.

 

“If you say so.” He shrugged, an exhale leaving his teeth while he glanced a quick look at the family that’d captured your attention.

 

The children – one human and one monster – were busy murmuring secret messages to each other with a flower they’d found, giggling whenever it replied back in a higher-pitched tone. The parents were busy chatting to themselves, casting a look every once in a while to your and Sans’s side.

 

You looked at them as well, fear poking at the back of your head when seeing one of them begin to walk to your side, leaving the other parent in charge of watching over the children.

 

One step.

 

Two steps.

 

She eventually arrived in front of you, the kind smile on her face allowing you to calm down – if only a little.

 

”Pardon me, but are you also a couple?” The fire monster asked, her small, dot-like eyes centered on you. 

 

You looked over towards Sans’s direction, unsure on how to respond to her question.

 

Her hopeful – almost yearning – tone made you unable to look at her directly in the eye without messing up your response.

 

Once you saw him nod, you smiled, eyes trailing back to the one in wait for your response. 

 

“Uh. . . yes.” You replied, the weak response making you wish for an escape route. “We are.”

 

“Oh, I’m so glad!” She exclaimed, a few sparks of her ‘hair’ flying around her as she gave a small jump in glee, her dot-like eyes squinting in joy. “It's so hard to find other people to talk to about this! Most of the couples I know are either staying at the town that allows monster-human marriage or looking to marry in Las Vegas. . . Sometimes I just want to do the same, but then I remember there’s that Hu-Mons corporation here, and I just don’t want to leave it behind! And, oh dear –“

 

She took a breath, a small puff of smoke leaving her ‘mouth’. 

 

“I talk too much!” She giggled. “Sorry about that – It’s just so much easier to talk to people like you, y’know? It makes me feel at home.”

 

”Don’t worry about it, ma’am.” You assured her, smiling. “I understand –  It’s a rarity to see couples like us out in public nowadays.” 

 

“I know, right?” She continued, gesturing for you and Sans to sit down next to her on the grass. “How long have you been dating, anyways?”

 

”F- Five months. . . I think?” You stuttered, uncertain if you were to keep up with your act or if it was time to wrap it up.

 

”Oh, you’re barely just starting!” She gushed, clasping her hands together. “How sweet!”

 

One conversation.

 

Two conversations.

 

The two of you kept on speaking for an hour, Sans occasionally adding his own details about how you’d gotten to know each other, strengthening his words by inching close to you.

 

Despite your embarrassment over having to spread a few white lies regarding your actual relationship with him, the merriment and overall relief visible on her face was enough to ease your doubts.

 

At that moment, she seemed to find a place where she and her family belonged in.

Chapter Text

One frown.

 

Two frowns.

 

You frowned for what had to be the third time today since arriving here.

 

It seemed your brain wanted to make things difficult for you today with how it quickly reminded you of your nephew whenever a family walked past. The way the children clung onto their parents and caretakers made you look back on your nephew's case, causing you to think too much for your own good.

 

"Wanna fulfill the thing you told me over the phone a few days ago?" Sans asked, the sudden arrival of his question leaving you to look at him with a confused stare.

 

It took you a minute until you remembered the call you'd made, where you'd given him enough thank yous to last for a decade.

 

The thought made for your ears to heat up and for you to cough in embarrassment.

 

That sensation lasted briefly, until you saw him inch closer to you from where he was sitting at— his short arms making a gesture in case you consented to his approach.

 

And so, you embraced him — unable to reject the offer he'd made with the quantity of emotions that were endlessly piling up your mind.

 

With each passing minute, you could feel yourself grow weaker and how your body began to loosen in the middle of the hug, a shudder taking over your chest as your arms fell limp over his sides. 

 

“I’m worrying too much.” You laughed, a mix between humour and disbelief, your chin placed over his shoulder blade as your hands rested on the floor. “It’s only been a week, but I still can’t stop thinking about him — To think the case’ll probably have to wait 'til next month makes me wanna tear my eyes out.”

 

”Don’t do that.” He advised, his tone hinting at more honest humour as he carefully began to push you away, coming skull-to-face with you and giving your shoulder an encouraging squeeze. “They’re not gonna let anythin’ bad happen to him.”

 

”I just. . . I just can't believe this is happening." You sighed. "She was so calm since she took him under her wing, but she snapped all of a sudden. . . She didn't look like herself when she started to yell, and even less when she hit me." You rambled on.

 

"Not to be givin' shots in the dark, but that sounds like betrayal." He acknowledged. "You wouldn't expect her to do something like that, so maybe that's why you feel that way."

 

"Well, the truth is. . ." You looked down at your lap, unable to face him with how you were feeling. "Back when I was little — When I was left under her care. . . She used to act like that with me, but she always said she was sorry, and. . . And I believed her everytime she said that."

 

You tried to stop yourself from spilling each one of your thoughts, fearing you were crossing a line and that you'd already said enough.

 

"I'm sorry." You stopped, wiping away a tear that'd managed to break free with the sleeve of your jacket. "I'm ruining this for the both of us."

 

You reached out for the water of the river, cupping the liquid between your hands and splashing some over your face.

 

"I really need to get my shit together." You laughed. "I've been crying too much lately."

 

You faced the water, letting out a breath and taking a moment to compose yourself.

 

”You can do it.” He encouraged, accompanying you by sitting next to you in front of the river and taking your hand in his. “I believe in ya, __________.”

Chapter Text

After an extensive day of exploring part of the Underground, only being able to go as far as the end of Waterfall, you were ready to wrap things up for the day and head back to the hotel, knowing you had to prep things up for this upcoming week now that classes were starting again.

 

You both walked in silence, the exhaustion of walking a long distance and giving a final round around Snowdin showing through a quiet yawn shielded by the palm of your hand.

 

”Had fun today?” He asked, looking up to face with you.

 

”Yeah. . .” You replied, your thoughts drifting back to the fire monster, her family, and her joy over having found another couple sharing her predicament.

 

You decided not to bring it up, seeing as he hadn't either.

 

“Thanks, by the way – I had fun, and I got some stuff out of my chest, too.” You added.

 

”Anytime, pal.” He halted on his steps, the sidewalk reaching its end. “I kinda owed it to ya, since we couldn’t do it on your birthday.”

 

You waited until the light turned red, crossing with him to the other side. The few lampposts illuminating the area as well as the small amount of people around led you to look at the time displayed on your phone, noticing it was almost ten at night.

 

”I didn’t even realize it was this late until now.” You added, continuing your walk with him to the hotel. “The Underground kinda makes you lose track of time.”

 

You made a stop at the entrance of the café located next to the hotel, a thought crossing your mind.

 

”Do you want anything to eat?” You inquired. “I didn’t really see you eat much aside from a few cinnamon bunnies – And that was hours ago.”

 

”I’m fine.” He dismissed, shaking his skull.

 

One interlude.

 

Two interludes.

 

You narrowed your eyes, a defiant – perhaps mischievous – smile appearing over your face.

 

Wary over the look you were giving him, he took one step back, whereas you took one forward, the charade lasting until you managed to trap him between a wall and your own body.

 

”You're lying, aren’t you?” You challenged, mainting distance between your chest and his ribcage so as to not touch him without his consent. "You've got the same look you had last night."

 

Quietude followed after your words, his skull tilting up to face with you, an equally defiant grin present on his face. 

 

“What makes you think that?” He retorted.

 

”You’re sweating again.” You remarked.

 

To emphasize your point, you pulled away from him and retrieved a few napkins from the messenger bag you’d been carrying to store your jacket in, handing them over and waiting for him to wipe his forehead. No words had to be exchanged for him to follow up with what you meant with that, his phalanges brushing against your fingertips when reaching out for the napkin. 

 

He took it and wiped his skull two times around, throwing it away on a nearby trash can before facing you again.

 

”So?” You crossed your arms over your chest, a proud smile tugging at your lips.

 

”What’re ya plannin’ at, __________?” He asked, genuine curiosity present in his tone.

 

”Nothing.” You responded, your defenses lowering as you prepared yourself to say your next words. “I’m just worried about you – I’m worried you’ll pass out again."

 

A pause.

 

"I. . .  I made Frisk a promise to be there for you, remember?”

 

Your words had come off weaker than you originally intended them to, though he didn’t seem to notice as his sockets arched upwards, a hint of surprise showing through the light of his irises.

Chapter Text

You both soon entered your shared place at the hotel, your previous words regarding the promise you’d made having caused for him to finally open up to you.

 

Though you didn’t mind his change of heart, you were uncertain about what was going through his mind. He seemed troubled, despite how much he tried to hide it.

 

Entering the bedroom, he approached his mattress, whereas you chose to remain standing — watching him let out a sigh through the crooks of his teeth.

 

“So, I know I haven’t been too honest with ya.” He began, sitting down on the edge of the bed before continuing. “But I wanna change that, ‘cause if I’m gonna be honest, I’ve come to trust you, __________.”

 

You chose to remain silent in response to his words, facing with him in order to let him know you were listening.

 

”When I passed out and woke up at your place, I noticed lil’ things that kinda just made me wanna know more about you – Like that time you gave me medicine, even though it wasn’t effective for your kind. You were someone livin' by yourself and mindin’ your own business, not havin' any reason to keep some monster medicine in your drawer, yet you still kept it despite it all."

 

He stood up from his seat, skull breaking away from facing you. 

 

“Maybe ya think it’s dumb, or that it doesn’t matter, but. . .” He trailed off. “Knowin’ you cared enough to still keep it around made me wanna get to know you better.”

 

You found yourself unable to breath consistently, your chest tight with an emotion you were uncertain of.

 

”And when I saw you get all panicky before you met with Undyne and Alph for the first time, I knew somethin’ wasn’t right. To see you try to keep distance from us simply ‘cause ya didn’t wanna bother us. . . I felt there was somethin’ more.”

 

You wanted to speak up against those words, yet the way he’d ended them made you understand he was yet to be finished.

 

”It’s not every day we saw a human like that.” He continued. “Most of ‘em either joined our side head on — Others complained about havin’ to share the same drinkin’ fountain with a monster.”

 

He made a gesture for you to take a seat, seeing as you were still standing up, your back leaning against the wall as your arms crossed over your chest.

 

With reluctant steps, you accepted his offer, sitting down next to him, though still maintaining distance, your mind wondering if you’d crossed a line when hugging him back at the Underground.

 

Then again, it was a mutually consensual act, so you chose to discard that thought for now, wanting to focus on his words instead.

 

”But you. . .” He carried on. “You kept your distance, but you didn’t exactly tell us off for sharing the same space as you. It’s like you were taking the blame for somethin’, but I didn’t know what at that time.”

 

You tensed when seeing him lean next to you slightly, his fibula brushing against your leg as result of his proximity.

 

”But I have a feelin’ to what it is now.”

 

You gulped down the tension in your throat, gathering the courage to speak up.

 

”What. . . What is it, then?” You asked, your voice raspy from a sudden lack of usage.

 

“You were keepin’ away from us.” He spoke, his irises drifting over to your trembling arms, these seeking support by the hands you had gripping on the mattress’s fabric. “And it wasn’t ‘cause your family was tellin’ ya not to – your aunt’s enough proof of that.”

 

One pause.

 

Two pauses.

 

It took a while for him to carry on with his thread of thought.

 

”You’ve been keepin’ away from us for a whole other reason.”

Chapter Text

One minute.

 

Two minutes.

 

A few minutes passed until you found yourself able to speak again, your hand grasping at your chest.

 

”You don’t have to keep doing this if it makes you uncomfortable.” You spoke up, noticing how dim the light of his eye sockets continued to get with the more he talked. “I. . . I don-"

 

“I’m okay.” The skeleton assured, rubbing the back of his skull. “It’s just kinda hard to open up like this, y'know?” He chuckled. “The last time I did this was with Frisk, and that was five years ago – I kinda stopped talking to 'em like this when they went to college.”

 

He breathed in, his smile more relaxed now as he continued on speaking.

 

“Guess what I’m tryna say is. . . I appreciate ya, __________. I didn’t lie when I told you I liked spendin’ time with you. Just keep in mind ya don’t have to keep away all the time – Like you did just now.”

 

“But you looked like you were gonna die for a minute there.”

 

“That’s ‘cause I suck at being honest with myself.”

 

Your attempt at saying something was cut short by him letting out a constricted huff.

 

”I’ve been thinkin' too much in the past — I just kept on thinkin' the same thing would happen if I got too close to ya.”

 

"And what would that be, Sans?" You asked, his name rolling off with your words almost instinctively — a result of how onset you were on hearing the rest of what he wished to say.

 

"I. . ." He paused, hiding his hands away in his pockets. "I don't wanna think too much about it, but let's just say it had to do with a potential friend turning into a threat."

 

You nodded, a gentle smile presenting itself over your (s/t) complexion.

 

"I understand." You spoke up. "I won't push further into that."

 

He reciprocated your actions, standing up from the bed and walking in silence over to the entrance leading to the balcony.

 

"I'll be out here if ya need anythin'." He added, his voice now appearing distant from your hearing. "I know you have to go settle everythin' for next week, so I'll let ya do what ya have to do."

 

One drop.

 

Two drops.

 

To your surprise, you could see how small droplets of water complimented the scenery outside. Your companion seemed to share the same thought as you, having stopped pushing the curtains away to take in the rain.

 

While you watched him slide open the door, you couldn't shake off the feeling that there was still something he wished to tell you. Even as he entered the balcony and closed the door behind him, you felt there was another reason for him to want to confess all those thoughts all of a sudden. 

 

You brushed that doubt away for the time being, wanting to follow up what he'd suggested regarding the end of your vacation and how you were to balance teaching with keeping up with your nephew's tentative custody case.

 

You had to be in your highest spirits now, and you reminded yourself things were going to get better for him — you reminded yourself he was going to have his well-deserved justice soon.

Chapter Text

One question.

 

Two questions.

 

You eventually found yourself unable to sleep with how much you were thinking over things that weren't to be solved right here and now.

 

It was currently two in the morning, yet you were still shifting in bed.

 

You turned towards the skeleton's bed, your eyes focusing on his face.

 

He seemed to be sleeping soundly, long intakes of air filling his ribcage before he let out a snore muffled by the sheets he had covering half of his face. You could see his chest slowly rise and fall, his expression relaxing whenever he let out the breaths he took in.

 

He looked peaceful.

 

Yet, there was something still pricking at the back of your head, the sensation similar to that of having one of your students insist the bruise on their arm was just a result of sparring with another child.

 

"Enjoyin' the view?"

 

Your body flinched underneath the covers, your eyes jumping over back to where the skeleton laid at.

 

Though you'd stopped looking at him after a while, you were still facing him — resulting in you looking away suddenly and standing up from the bed, remaining seated over the mattress.

 

"Sorry about that. . ." You mumbled, passing a hand through your scalp and clearing your throat in hopes to lessen the awkward feeling that came with having been caught. "I, uh. . . kinda just couldn't fall asleep again, y'know?"

 

"From the looks of it," he countered, propping himself up with his elbow, hand lifting his head to face you. "It looks like ya haven't had a wink of sleep for the whole night."

 

Your mousiness grew tenfold when seeing him pat the space left next to his chosen side of the bed, his expression remaining calm as he did so.

 

"You can come over 'ere if ya want." He encouraged.

 

"Th- Thanks, but I'm fine." You dismissed, feeling your body grow warm with embarrassment. "I wouldn't want to make you lose sleep 'cause of me."

 

"Alright." Sans inched closer to the edge of the bed, the sound of the sheets shifting being the only noise to follow after that last word he'd spoken.

 

You did the same, your hand breaking free from the covers and reaching out for the lamp centered over your beds, lowering the intensity of the bulb enough for it to be considered a night light.

 

"Goodnight." You wished, smiling to show your gratitude over his concern.

 

"G'night, pal." Sans returned. "The offer still stands in case it's five and ya still haven't gotten any sleep." He chuckled. 

 

As he drifted off back to sleep, you found yourself comparing this experience with your previous encounters.

 

Unlike your one-night stand with Mettaton, the moment you shared felt intimate on a entirely different level.

 

Unlike the sleepover you once had with the fast food clerk you used to date, you felt more comfortable with his proximity.

 

Unlike the day he'd stayed at your place after having passed out, he seemed calmer and there was a prominent sense of trust you didn't manage to feel at that time.

 

It felt different.

Chapter Text

Two days had passed since your brief journey into the Underground.

 

The final days of your vacation were finally over — Now, you were barely fifteen hours away from returning back to work, and you were pretty much an anxious mess, having to balance both the matters revolving around your nephew and the speech you would be giving to your students regarding the changes that would soon be made at the school.

 

One ring.

 

Two rings.

 

After three rings, the person on the other line spoke up, allowing you to breathe a sigh of relief.

 

"How did the interview go?" You asked, it being the first thought to cross your mind.

 

There was a long, unbearable second of silence until you heard the shuffling of papers and croaking in the background.

 

"__________. . ." Frogger began, their voice low with caution. "Are you sitting down?"

 

The question made you raise an eyebrow, at the same time causing for worry to triple its numbers.

 

"I am now." You spoke, sitting down on the couch located next to the center table. "What. . . What's wrong?"

 

"Your nephew is safe now."

 

"Th- That's great! Why do you —"

 

"Unfortunately, he will still not be left under your care."

 

Those words made you clutch onto the phone tightly, your eyes facing the floor as you held back the emotions pricking at your eyes.

 

"I understand."

 

You scrunched your nose at the sound of your own voice, it having broken in all the wrong places.

 

"Your record still prevents you from having him." Frogger stated. "In fact. . . And, as much as this pains me to say, you cannot adopt any child — be they blood related or not — based on our requisites."

 

"I understand. . .” You repeated the same words, brain refusing to cooperate with you as you found yourself wiping a tear away from your cheek.

 

Thank Goodness, you'd done most of the crying (and hugging) over at Waterfall.

 

"H- He's still safe, then?" You inquired, phone progressively slipping from your hand as it shook with controlled fervour. "Where is he now?"

 

"He's staying at a children's group home presently." They replied. "I meant to tell you sooner about this, as he has been staying there for approximately three days now. . . But we weren't able to communicate with you until we managed to see if he adapted well to his environment or not."

 

"Three days?" You exclaimed, standing up from your seated position as you proceeded to pace over to the kitchen, the necessity of drinking some Anxie-Tea™ presenting itself more than ever now. "Why wasn't I informed about this? I've been worried sick!"

 

"C- Calm down now, __________." They stuttered, if only briefly. "I am aware this might be a lot for you to take in, and I would not want you to pass out, so please —"

 

"I'm okay." You insisted, your tone leveling down as your voice grew softer. "It's just. . . I was just so worried! To think the investigation took a speedy turn in just two weeks — I. . . I was told it would take a month to settle things out!"

 

"We were fortunate enough to look into your aunt's record more thoroughly, finding things that were once hidden away from us — allowing us to discard the letter your brother left regarding his son's custody." They explained. "Your partner arriving to testify as well as of you having not worsened the fight between you and your aunt also helped with our case. . ."

 

They trailed off for a moment, the sound of a chair being pulled back briefly present to your hearing.

 

"The interview with your nephew resulted positively, too — He ended up in tears by the end of it all, but he still managed to provide our officers with every little detail about the unfavourable treatment he recieved at your aunt's home."

Chapter Text

"I have footage of your nephew at the children's group home." Frogger spoke, once you were able to calm down more. "I will search for it and send it to you as soon as I file some reports."

 

You felt relief fall upon your shoulders when hearing the news from Frogger, your giddiness showing through the bounce in your step and the hint of a smile remaining on your face even as you hung up on them. Your hands held tightly onto your phone, mind remaining in anxious wait for the video they were to send to you.

 

A few minutes passed until the notification managed to show up on your screen, alerting you of the video sent through text message.

 

You clicked on it and opened the sent file, a video of your nephew being asked to smile for the camera being the first thing to greet you.

 

”Say hi to ___________!” The cameraman encouraged, his voice enthusiastic as he zoomed in on the child's face. “Do you have anything to say to them?”

 

Your nephew’s large and round eyes stared hopefully at the camera, a single tear falling from the corner of his eye which he hastily wiped away with the sleeve of his shirt. His curly hair bounced with the nod he'd directed at the one filming him.

 

The child took a step closer, tapping the camera's lense to quell his curiosity over reaching out for it.

 

”_________?” He called, the way your name rolled off his tongue making you cover half of your face with your hand, trying to hold back the tears clouding your vision. “I dunno if you’re there, but. . . I miss you! You’re the best (aunt/uncle) ever, and I want you to be happy. . . So, I hope you are now. . . I- I don’t want to see you sad again, __________. . . I love you!”

 

At that, you paused the video, placing a hand over your chest as you let out a long, constricted breath, the lump forming on your throat preventing you from breathing well. 

 

Once you regained your composure, you unpaused the video and returned to watching it, sitting down on the couch though still leaning forward to pay better attention at the scene unfolding before your eyes.

 

”Keep working at that school! The monsters are your friends. . . remember? You can't let them down!” His voice continued, the camera wobbling slightly as the cameraman tried to avoid an incoming ball one of the children nearby had kicked out of bounds. “And, uh. . .” He trailed off, looking around until he spotted what you assumed to be one of his monster friends. “Keep hanging out with that skeleton guy if you want to, okay? Ms. Toriel told us we should make friends with people that make us happy. So if you’re happy. . . Keep it up!”

 

One minute.

 

Two minutes.

 

The video lasted for three more minutes, those of which mainly composed themselves of your nephew showing you around the playground he was at and introducing you to some of his friends living under the same roof as him.

 

When there were only a few seconds left, he hugged the camera and pulled away, waving goodbye as the recording came to an end.

 

Now left to reflect on these events, you began think about the teacher's name he'd mentioned earlier.

 

Simply knowing he had Toriel as a teacher and that he was now staying at a children's group home instead of your aunt's place, you couldn't help smiling, finally having something fall back into place for once.

 

One drop.

 

Two drops.

 

Your attention was brought to the sudden bolt of lighting flashing next to your glass sliding door, accompanied by a sudden downpour and the ghostly whistles of the wind blowing past.

 

Thank the Heavens, it's raining again!

Chapter Text

One knock.

 

Two knocks.

 

Halfway into getting ready to settle everything for tomorrow morning, you were interrupted by someone knocking thrice at your door.

 

Finding it odd to have a visit this late in the night, you fished out the pocket knife you’d thrown away in your hamper along with your jeans, rushing over to the door and looking through the peephole.

 

Your eyes grew when seeing it was Sans, a solemn expression painted clear on his skull as he held onto the wall for support.

 

“Sans?!” You called out, swinging open the door.

 

He stumbled on his feet, his face pressing against your abdomen.

 

"I fucked up."

 

Your body tensed when hearing him curse.

 

Though you had a tendency to use them yourself to spice up your vocabulary, you rarely ever heard him use them. Rather, he'd told you the reason he was accustomed not to curse was due to Toriel's warnings and the fact that he'd hung around with Frisk ever since they were ten years old.

 

"What happened?" You asked, proceeding to grab him by the shoulders, noticing both his back and face were soaked with sweat — the difference from the previous times he was like this being that he now felt hot to the touch. "You're heating up!"

 

"I. . ." He mustered up his words with visible effort, closing his eyes sockets for a moment before opening them again. "I slipped. I. . . I ended up drinkin' again."

 

"H- How much did you have?" You asked, looking back at your open door, catching a brief glance of your neighbour peering from behind their fence.

 

"I lost count."

 

His pained smile was enhanced by the way his eye sockets narrowed and how his hands clung onto your arms.

 

"Let's get you inside first." You spoke, heaving a sigh to calm yourself down. "You can tell me what happened as soon as I get you out of those clothes."

 

One lock.

 

Two locks.

 

After helping him enter your apartment, you locked the door and directed him to sit down on your sofa, making sure he was settled properly before hurrying to look for a spare change of clothes and some medicine to cure what you assumed was a skeleton's equivalent to alcohol poisoning.

 

"Wh- How did you even get here?" You asked, standing in front of him with furrowed brows and a frown, kneeling to match his height on the couch.

 

Carefully, your hand reached out for his jacket, helping him take it off as your eyes flickered over to his face.

 

"You're the only one I could trust on this." He spoke, grabbing your wrist when you attempted to help him out of his shirt. "You don't have to do this, y'know? I just needed someone to talk to."

 

"You have a fever!" You exclaimed, sudden anger rising at the way he chose to shrug the matter off. "I didn't even know skeletons could have fevers — You're always cold whenever you're near me!"

 

"I just had too much to drink."

 

"You could've died!"

 

You could see him flinch slightly at those words, hand letting go of your wrist.

 

One drop.

 

Two drops.

 

You could feel something cold run down your cheek.

 

Wiping it away, you looked up at him, letting out another breath as you tried to remain calm, remembering the times when you used to arrive back home the same way — a contrast being you were sometimes alone to deal with the after effects. At other times, you had to feign your soberness, not wanting for your nephew to know you'd been out drinking.

 

"You're right. . ." You mumbled, facing him with a weak smile. "I understand, just. . . Don't scare me like this anymore — I thought I was gonna lose you for a minute there."

Chapter Text

One confession.

 

Two confessions.

 

Through his half-drunken state, he ended up telling you about most of the things that seemed to be troubling him — the topics varying from how Frisk was dealing with college to how Papyrus was struggling with Hu-Mons.

 

"Five months. . . and I screwed everything up with one night." He muttered.

 

You managed a small smile when hearing him use words that replaced cursing, allowing you to know he'd calmed down enough to act like his usual self.

 

"It's okay. . ." You spoke, rubbing circles over his back as you rested your chin over his shoulder, sitting behind him on your bed. "You can get back up — You just gotta try harder this time. . . I know you can do it."

 

He stopped your hands by holding onto one of them, which he tugged at for you to inch closer to him.

 

"Sorry for botherin' ya." He apologized, his earlier tugging motion leading you to assume it was okay to give him a hug.

 

You did just that, embracing him from behind as you took in a breath — the faint, minty scent of the body wash you'd lent him earlier catching your senses.

 

"I'm here for you." You returned. "I know it's hard. . . I had more than a few slip ups when I quit both drinking and smoking, but. . . It pays off — It feels good to be in control of yourself."

 

He pulled away from you, standing up from the bed as he slipped his shoes back on.

 

"I gotta go."

 

"This late?" You asked, worry engraved in your tone. "You can stay, if you want."

 

"I don't wanna make them worry."

 

You stood up from the bed yourself, walking over to his side.

 

"Wouldn't that just make them more worried?" You inquired again. "You can just send them a message telling you're gonna stay here with me."

 

A laugh broke the quiet of the room, the heartiness of that sound causing you to smile.

 

"I don't know what I'd do without ya, __________."

 

Having said that, he looked for his cellphone and began to type in a message, sending it after a few minutes of typing.

 

"I'm gonna have to take you out again soon." He laughed a second time, looking at you. "I've gotta make this up to you somehow."

 

"That's just the alcohol speaking." You joked.

 

"I'm as sober as a judge."

 

"Sure you are."

 

You ended up poking your tongue out, the bubbly feeling of having helped him with his *slip causing you to play along more than you were accustomed to.

 

"You're lucky I don't have a tongue." He spoke, grinning. "I would've got back at ya, otherwise."

 

One pillow.

 

Two pillows.

 

You ended up placing a pair of pillows on the spare, inflatable mattress you'd managed to retrieve from the previous clutter in your closet, checking everything twice before letting him know he could use it.

 

"Doesn't this remind you of something?" You asked, wanting to have one last word with him before you both went to sleep.

 

You were both laying on different sides of the room, resting on different beds — the moment reminding you of the time you'd spent with him barely four days ago.

 

"I think I remember doing this before." He replied, grinning. "But there's hotelling where."

Chapter Text

One hour.

 

Two hours.

 

You woke up three hours before you returned back to work.

 

By seven in the morning, you had to present yourself to your boss to ensure her you were still planning on working for her after the two-week vacation you were given as a result of the recent closing of monster-human schools. 

 

You chewed on your lip when realizing it was way too early to wake up someone with a hangover, so you instead began to write a quick note for when you left off to work.

 

Good morning, 

 

I would like to-

 

You erased what you’d written out, your custom of writing e-mails to your students’ parents leading you to instinctively resort to using formalities.

 

Yo,

 

What’s up, homie?

 

You erased that again, chuckling quietly to yourself.

 

Hey,

 

I hope you’re feeling better now. I had to head off to work, but I left a spare key next to your jacket. 

 

You hummed in thought, thinking over something else.

 

There’s also some breakfast in the microwave for you to heat up. It’s the best cure for a hangover.

 

Take care, and I’ll be waiting for you to take me out like you promised. ;-)

 

You erased the winky face, thinking you’d gone far enough with that last line.

 

Just kidding, by the way. I just wanted to know if you remembered what we talked about last night.

 

Satisfied with the letter, you left it next to his jacket, heading off to your bathroom and giving a start to your day afterwards.

 

One minute.

 

Two minutes.

 

About half an hour passed until you were finally done with showering, the awkward feeling of having someone around your room leading you to wrap yourself with the largest towel you could find when returning back to look for your clothes.

 

You made sure you looked your best today, wanting to make this feel like the start of a new semester instead of an interruption due to the recent tension growing between monsters and humans.

 

Moments like these made you feel as if you were back to the time when humans were just getting used to having monsters around.

 

Ten years ago, a scenario like the one you were currently in would've been unthinkable of.

 

Ten years ago, a relationship like the one you now shared with the skeleton was unimaginable  — a mere, far-fetched thought.

 

Ten years ago, handing out your spare apartment key would’ve been compared to letting a criminal into your home.

 

And it was still like that when it came to some of the people you knew – Your aunt was proof of that. 

 

Or maybe she was just a sour person in general.

 

Either way, thoughts like these were making their comebacks after ten years, and the damage was beginning to show little by little over the education system.

 

You were startled out of those thoughts when hearing Sans shift on the bed, making you look over to make sure he hadn’t woken up yet. Once you were certain of that, you let out a quiet exhale and focused back on getting dressed, picking out your work uniform and readying yourself back at your bathroom.

 

You then made sure you left everything set for when he woke up with a hangover, sneaking one last look at him before leaving off to work, smiling to yourself when seeing him still sleeping soundly between all the bed sheets you'd given him.

 

*Seeing him safe fills you with determination perseverance.

Chapter Text

One rumour.

 

Two rumours.

 

Rumours about you dating someone began to spread during your lunch break, the co-worker you'd stopped to chat with after leaving the train station back then being the main culprit and cause of all the gossip surrounding you. 

 

"So, you're dating someone?"

 

"Who's the lucky person?"

 

"Who asked who?"

 

You were practically bombarded with questions from left to right when sitting down at the table with them, your coworkers all focusing their eyes on you.

 

"Uh. . ."

 

That was the only sound you could let out as you tried to take in everything thrown at you all at once. Their gazes were expectant and some were leaning over the table, their lunches moved aside as they waited for your response.

 

"I'm not dating anyone." You answered, aware that — aside from that one time you'd pretended to be dating Sans — you weren't really a couple. You only did that to bring support to a family and nothing more.

 

"Oh, come on!" One of the janitors exclaimed, her voice rising with thrill as she slammed a fist over her sandwich, squishing it enough to be considered grilled now. "The look on your face says otherwise."

 

"Yeah." A teacher agreed, nodding. "You've been in higher spirits since we returned from our vacation."

 

"Did you have a rendezvous, perhaps?" Another voice chimed in, their voice hinting at mischief.

 

"Really, there's nothing going on." You insisted, taking a long sip of your drink before continuing. "If it means anything. . . I only hung out with a skeleton by the Underground as a birthday celebration sort of thing."

 

"That's a date, then!" The janitor insisted, furrowing her eyebrows in anger.

 

Chuckling, you shook your head, looking down at your beverage and swirling it around with a straw.

 

"He's nice, but I'm not really sure it'll go anywhere further than that." You admitted.

 

"So you do like him!" She exclaimed again.

 

"Is it the tall one that's in charge of Hu-Mons?" The cafeteria man questioned.

 

"His brother, actually." You corrected.

 

One of the teachers in the Science Department seemed to perk up at your response.

 

"Is it the guy teaching Astronomy?"

 

"Yeah." You nodded, your lips turning into a pensive frown. "What about him?"

 

She exchanged glances with another teacher before speaking up.

 

"He's going to be visiting this school along with his brother tomorrow morning." She explained.

 

You almost ended up toppling over your drink with the sudden reveal of information, causing you to look at her with wide eyes.

 

"Are you serious?"

 

All heads present nodded almost collectively at your question, leading you to blink before processing their answer.

 

"What's wrong?" The janitor teased. "Skeleton got yer tongue?"

 

You shook your head, trying to ignore the questionable change she'd made over that saying. 

 

"It's nothing." You dismissed, taking a moment to breath in. "I'm just kind of surprised, s'all."

Chapter Text

One step.

 

Two steps.

 

You passed through the gathering crowd with uncertainty, not knowing what to expect of the announcement Papyrus was to give at the gym.

 

People continued to enter the premises, chatter filling in on the usual, echoey silence of the gym whenever it was empty.

 

"Hey!" The teacher from the Science Department called out, her left ear making a gesture for you to join her as her nose twitched with excitement. "Over here!"

 

You tipped your head, walking to her side and stopping once standing in front of her.

 

"What's up?" You asked.

 

"Is that your guy?" She returned.

 

Your eyes trailed over to where her left ear subtly pointed at. She'd gestured to the short skeleton dressed in suit and tie — a sharp contrast from his usual outfit composed of a jacket and basketball shorts, the view causing you to shake your head as a mix between a huff and a laugh left your mouth.

 

"He's not my guy." You defended, crossing your arms as you sent an annoyed grin to her direction. "We just hang out together sometimes."

 

"I know." She giggled, her two large, front teeth showing during that action. "It's just Miss Janitor over there has other opinions about that."

 

You returned her laugh with one of your own, proceeding to focus back on the stage set up for Papyrus's announcement.

 

One test.

 

Two tests.

 

The principal's assistant tested the microphone three times, handing it over to the founder of Hu-Mons afterwards.

 

"Thank you, sir!" Papyrus spoke, taking the item from his hand and stepping forward on the stage, focusing his gaze on the crowd standing in the middle of the room. "You may take a seat, everyone! We will begin shortly."

 

He looked over his shoulder, his attention mainly centered on the back curtains briefly swaying with someone peeking from behind them.

 

"The principal had an inconvenience, but we will be back soon to speak about the changes made over the education system."

 

He then looked over to the tables set on the far right side of the room, looking back at you and the rest of the crowd to continue on with his words.

 

"Since teachers, guardians, and their respective children are all gathered here today, we have food and drinks available for you — all courtesy of Grillby's and Muffet's!"

 

Everyone cheered at his words by clapping, smiles present on their faces as children began to tug at their parents' legs to gather their attention, in hopes to be given permission to play outside while the principal arrived.

 

"Enjoy yourselves!" Papyrus spoke once more, placing the microphone back on the stand before beginning to make his way down the stage. "We will notify you as soon as she's here."

 

With that, he left, following his older (and shorter) brother to the teachers gathered up at another corner of the gym, discussing what would be done for the rest of the semester.

 

You watched as others followed up to that by forming their own conversations as well, each group discussing something different in terms of the changes the school was going through.

 

As the crowd continued to break away, you were left with the same people who'd previously ambushed you with questions back at the employees' lounge during yesterday's lunch break.

 

"I bet you three bucks you can't go the whole announcement without getting all sappy with that Astronomy Prof you're hanging out with."

 

Those were the first words that were directed at you the moment you joined them, these words belonging to the janitor herself.

 

"Three bucks?" The other janitor spoke, a teasing smile present on his face.

 

"Hey, times are tough for all of us." She reasoned, chuckling. "And I'm practically doing this (gal/guy) a favour by not betting more than three bucks!"

 

You looked at her with narrowed eyes, trying to seem angered yet failing with the way she smiled at you.

 

"What do you say, __________?" She continued, holding out a hand for you to shake. "Wanna bet?"

 

One deal.

 

Two deals.

 

You both shook hands as you agreed to her bet, resuming your day by conversing with the rest of the co-workers nearby.

Chapter Text

In the midst of the break given to everyone present while Papyrus waited for the principal of the school to arrive, his older brother approached your side, leading for the janitor to look at you with a playful — if not smug — smile. You avoided paying too much attention to her as you instead focused on Sans, asking him if he was — as many rumoured — truly going to move into this school to teach astronomy.

 

"I am." He nodded, his overly-formal attire seeming to discomfort him with the way he awkwardly hooked his thumbs with the rivets of his dress pants.

 

The response you were regretting to hear caused for your shoulders to tense.

 

If this was really happening, it meant that he was part of the monster-human school that'd closed down.

 

Though it was something you were expecting to hear about ever since he told you of his second job, you were trying to distract yourself in hopes to escape from that reality.

 

"Wh- What about Toriel, then?" You stuttered, wanting to kick yourself for suddenly becoming an anxious mess. "I hear she's now teaching part-time at a children's group home — Was she sent to another school, too?"

 

"The first one to go, actually." He replied, walking with you to a pair of the available seats laid out for everyone around. "Since she was the one who founded it, they're givin' her the position as co-principal of the school."

 

You looked down at your lap, fumbling with your fingers as a tight frown took over your face, the reason for your sudden gloom hitting you harder than you were expecting it to.

 

"Was that the other thing you were worried about back at the hotel?"

 

There was a moment of silence before he spoke up.

 

"Kinda." He spoke, his gaze moving slightly upwards to focus on the troubled look you carried on your face. "But I didn't wanna say anythin', 'cause I was already expecting it to happen."

 

You gulped the worry forming on your throat, clutching onto your own dress pants as anger piled up over the rest of your emotions.

 

"It just freaking sucks that even after ten years, stuff like this keep happening!" You exclaimed, trying to keep your voice low and words clean due to the current place you found yourself in — There were many children and their respective guardians sitting around, so you tried to avoid getting all worked up with the news.

 

"Keepin' it PG, eh?" The skeleton teased, aware of how you'd masked your words. 

 

Shaking his head, he laid his back against the seat, relaxing his bones and slumping an arm over your own chair — an action that gained attention from the janitor's part, who was still around to make sure you were losing the bet.

 

"But, in all seriousness now, ____________." He continued speaking, his posture more at ease now as he faced with you. "Don't get too worked up over this — We were already waiting for somethin' like this to happen. Things've been getting harder each day. And the complaints we received daily weren't helping, either."

 

"I'm so sorry." You muttered, heaving out a sigh. "This stuff's getting ridiculous, and I just . . . Even with all the stuff you're going through, I still ended up getting all emotional at the Underground."

 

"You're not So Sorry." He spoke, his expression stern as his irises drifted over to a kangaroo-like monster standing awkwardly next to the school's art teacher. "He is."

 

You held back the urge to shove him by the shoulder when realizing he was referring to the new art teacher that would be accompanying the elder one. 

 

"And don't worry 'bout that." He then added, looking back at you. "I was the one who ended up drunk at your door real late at night."

 

He took this moment to take out the spare apartment key from his pocket, which he tried to return. You, however, insisted he could keep it in case an emergency showed up.

 

"Remember it's okay for you to let go sometimes, too.” He carried on with his train of thought, stuffing the key back where he’d retrieve it from and facing you again. “I don't wanna see you bottle things up all the time – What happened at Waterfall’s really nothin' to be ashamed of.”

Chapter Text

One dollar.

 

Two dollars.

 

You ended up handing out three dollars to the janitor, having practically lost the bet the moment Sans wrapped his arm behind your chair.

 

"You failed hard, __________." She laughed, taking the money from your hold. "It kinda makes me wanna give you your money back by inviting you to some coffee."

 

"I'm not about to accept your pity." You joked, the playful look you were trying to hold faltering the moment you thought about a more serious matter.

 

Once you handed her the payment, your eyes trailed over back to him, observing how he talked with other teachers as he later joined his brother at the stage, helping him adjust the microphone for when the principal arrived.

 

"Why don't you make the first move?" The one from the Science Department asked, following along with the janitor's game. "You looked pretty cute — A bit sappy, yes. . . but still cute."

 

You thought back on how much he'd hidden the fact that the school he was working in was on the verge of closing down and on the way he'd arrived in front of your home due to it. At that moment, you realized that — just as you were too worked up on your nephew's custody, your students, and your living costs — he was too worked up over his own matters to worry about anything beyond that. 

 

"Honestly. . ." You muttered, swirling around the Spider Cider (now mostly free of actual spiders) in your hand as you hummed in thought. "We're happy the way we are right now — It's kinda fun just getting to spend time with him without worrying about any of that."

 

Those words led for everyone around you to frown, their strong hopes over obtaining some more gossip to spread around being watered down.

 

That resulted in them to stop with their fooling around and focus instead on discussing what you were all going to say to your respective students tomorrow after today's general announcement.

 

"May I have your attention, please?"

 

The principal's voice made everyone turn to the stage, seeing her standing with Papyrus and his assistants.

 

"Mister Papyrus and I have gathered you all here to orient you on the changes the school's currently going through."

 

She looked at everyone for a minute before handing the microphone over to the skeleton standing next to her.

 

"As the principal stated, we would like to advise you all stay strong in the midst of these changes — Both elders and youngsters are suffering everywhere due to the recent spike between humans and monsters, mostly by older adults, who claim their children should not be interfering with another race."

 

You caught a hint of sadness in his skull as he tugged at the collar of his suit.

 

"But today, I ask you one thing: I ask you continue sharing your lives with those who make you happy — be they human or monster. Do not let others make you feel as if it's wrong to share your life. . . to share special moments with someone else, simply because of their appearance."

 

He switched the microphone to his other hand, freeing it in order to take the principal’s hand in his.

 

”Today, I ask you hold hands with someone you are close to – no matter of what race they are.”

Chapter Text

One step.

 

Two steps.

 

After the announcement Papyrus made to promote respect between the old and new students and staff, you continued walking down the street. Your pace was relaxed and your body was too — until you heard some footsteps approaching, the sound making you turn around and meet with the built fish lady you'd last seen a month ago.

 

"__________!" She called out from a distance, waving a small envelope in her hand. "Hold up — I wanna give you something!"

 

You halted on your steps, approaching her until you were an arm's length away from where she stood waiting at.

 

She towered before you with steely eyes and a large, friendly grin, handing out the envelope to you before speaking up.

 

"It's an invitation to our wedding." She explained, seeing the confused state you were in. "I've been meaning to get these out over a month ago, but thanks to the bad news about our schools and all that stuff, I didn't have a chance to even choose one with Alph! We're both pretty new at this traditional stuff, so. . ."

 

She scratched the back of her neck after those words, a hint of embarrassment over what she'd just confessed to you presenting itself through the gradually decreasing tone of her voice.

 

"I was gonna tell Smiley to invite you instead, since you're allowed to bring a plus one and all. . . But I figured I'd be pushing for luck with that."

 

"Smiley?" You asked, confusion present on your tone.

 

"That's Sans." She corrected, chuckling. "The nickname kinda stuck to me after someone else said it."

 

She rummaged around her pocket for a minute, retrieving a wallet and pulling out a card from its contents. 

 

"Anyway," she continued, handing you over the item. "There's also this card in case you're not sure what to wear."

 

You looked at the card and spotted 'Mettaton's Boutique' printed in the middle with an elegant font, immediately sensing as if the Universe was setting you up with him again just for laughs.

 

"Thank you. . ." You mumbled, taking the offered card in your hand and putting it away along with the wedding invitation. "It really means a lot to have you invite me." You smiled.

 

"Don't sweat it, __________!" She exclaimed, smiling back.

 

One conversation.

 

Two conversations.

 

You ended up chatting with Undyne for a long, long while, the main set of topics spoken between you being the offer you'd made to help her deliver the envelopes on time as well as her telling you she'd set you up with that boutique card to help you out — She knew times were tough and that renting a (suit/dress) from a friend would result much more beneficial than buying the first, all-too expensive piece you came across with.

 

“I’ll be waiting for you, _________.” She dismissed, giving you a quick pat on the shoulder as she began to take her leave. “Don’t let me down!”

 

Smiling at her, you waved goodbye and assured her you’d be there, returning to deal with your own matters once she was out of your sight.

Chapter Text

One spar.

 

Two spars.

 

You blew the whistle when seeing two children engage in a fight too rough for either of the two to come out unharmed of.

 

Walking towards them, you knelt to their level and separated them both, a patient look crossing your features as you began to ease them out. You could see the reason for their rough fighting was due to them being angry with each other — a conclusion you'd managed to retrieve based on the way they looked at one another, even when holding them back.

 

"She's saying mean things about you!" The bunny child exclaimed, her ears perked up and nose twitching with discontent. 

 

"Am not!" The human child protested, crossing her arms over her chest as she glared at you. "I'm jus' sayin' the truth!'

 

"Would you care to tell me what you were saying, Blue?" You asked, directing your words at the girl as you focused your eyes on her. "I would like to know what's bothering you."

 

Your gaze grew soft in hopes to get her to open up to you — something which she did after a few minutes of silence, her clenched fists showing she was reluctant towards getting the words out.

 

"M'kay. . ." She muttered, looking down at her feet for a minute before facing back up again. "It's jus' I've been thinkin' of what my mum said 'bout mixed races."

 

Her accent caught you off guard, it being similar to your hometown's — something you hadn't noticed about her with how quiet she often was.

 

"She and pops're from different countries, so their families're always gettin' into some sorta fight. . ." 

 

Her words trailed off in the middle of her sentence, having to stop in order to wipe away the stream of tears going down her cheeks, something which you aided in by retrieving some tissues from your desk and asking for the rest of your students to go on time out for the next fifteen minutes — the last one to leave being the bunny child she'd fought with.

 

"The stuff my friend's said about me sayin' bad things about you. . . It's 'cause of that." She continued, taking in a breath accompanied by a shudder. "When the Astronomy Prof sat down with you. . . I remembered what my parents said about how they were wishin' I wouldn't do the same as them when I'm older - That they don't wanna see me 'snuffer'. . .  Or 'suffer' — or somethin' like that. . ."

 

Three pauses.

 

Four pauses.

 

She took what you labeled a fifth pause since she began speaking, her tears being unable to be held back any longer with the current state she found herself in.

 

"When I saw you two. . . I started to say stuff about how you two were doin' the wrong thing, but then I remembered. . . It's kinda the same for me and my friend."

 

A hiccup broke through, her trembling body seeking comfort by hugging the helmet she'd been using while wrestling.

 

"Mum always says pop's also like a friend to her. . . So wouldn't that mean I shouldn't be friends with Bun-Bun?"

 

You froze at her words, her sudden string of confessions making you unable to react accordingly right off the bat.

 

Taking in a breath, you stretched out your shoulders a bit before speaking up.

 

"Have they tried to stop you from getting along with Bun-Bun?" You asked, trying to mask the shakiness of your voice by attempting to form the most coherent question you could muster.

 

"No. . ." She shook her head, frowning. "But they're sayin' it's best if I dun cause trouble for her parents — that it's better if I dun get too close and I jus' settle with being her wrestlin' partner."

 

"But you don't want that, right?"

 

She shook her head again.

 

"I don't."

Chapter Text

One goodbye.

 

Two goodbyes.

 

After dismissing the human child, you proceeded to call in the bunny child, wanting to have a talk with her as well.

 

"Am I in trouble, (miss/mister) _________?" She asked, standing in front of you with an uneasy expression, shielded by the helmet she still wore despite having given her a timeout.

 

You smiled at her as you reached out for the helmet covering most of her face away from your sight, advising her to hold her head firm while you helped her with taking it off.

 

"You're both excused to go talk with the counselor after we finish talking, so there's no need for you to wear this anymore." You explained. "I called you here to ask you something important."

 

"Y—yes?" She stuttered, waiting for your question.

 

"Do you still consider Blue a friend — even after what happened today?" You asked, lips shifting into a straight line.

 

There was a moment of silence before she found the courage to speak up.

 

"Yeah. . ." She trailed off, her frown making itself clearer over her face and the overall, tense posture she held. "We kind of started fighting because of the things she was saying, but she didn't try to hurt me. . . She was just saying how you couldn't date the Astronomy Professor because 'bad things would happen'."

 

"So you were the one who started the fight?"

 

"Yeah. . ." She repeated, looking down at the floor and focusing on her bare feet instead of your face. "I was angry because my sister and her date are like you two."

 

"Come again?" You spoke, raising an eyebrow — hoping to obtain more information by asking her to repeat herself.

 

"My sister's dating a human." She clarified. "So I guess I took it out on my friend after what she said. . ."

 

She gulped her nervousness away, her nose twitching more noticeably with each passing second.

 

"But I didn't really ask her why she said those things." 

 

She looked up again, a hopeful stare piercing at you.

 

"I should've asked her. . . right?"

 

Three seconds.

 

Four seconds.

 

Five long, excruciatingly tense seconds passed by, your mind conflicted over the way you were to respond to her question.

 

"That would have been good." You agreed, nodding. "However, you can't reset what's happened now, so you'll still have to speak with her after this — The counselor can aid you in that, too."

 

Shifting your knelt position, you placed a hand over her elbow's protector pad, allowing her some support before you continued on with your next words.

 

"If you truly want to keep on being friends, it would be best if you solved this miscommunication first."

 

You witnessed her tilt her head at your words.

 

"What's that?" She asked, confusion present in her tone.

 

An awkward chuckle left your lips when realizing you'd gotten too carried away with your words, prompting you to explain what the word miscommunication meant before you moved on with your next thought.

 

"I'm giving you both what's left of today's lesson to sort things out at the office." You continued, smiling. "So promise me you'll come back tomorrow with the results, okay?"

 

"Okay." She agreed.

 

With that final word, you excused her from remaining in your classroom, waiting patiently until she and her friend left off with the counselor before calling the rest of the children back in.

 

There was still half an hour remaining until the class came to an end, and you were determined on it resulting well — You wanted to make sure no child left today with a frown.

Chapter Text

Your first week of teaching had gone by in the blink of an eye.

 

Currently, it was Satuday in the afternoon — a day you often took to hang out with Sans, but which you'd postponed with beforehand.

 

You stood in front of an unfamiliar door, taking in a breath to muster up courage to knock at it.

 

One knock.

 

Two knocks.

 

Knocking three times, you heard someone shout they'd be there soon. You took this moment of wait to check yourself one final time on your phone’s screen, wanting to make sure you looked as decent as it was possible for when meeting them.

 

"Hello!" A warm voice greeted, the door being held back by her hip. "You must be __________, right?"

 

You looked at her, surprised to see it was the same shopkeeper you'd spotted at Snowdin. A trio of bunny children were behind her, along with a human teenager and an elder bunny which you assumed was her husband.

 

"Yeah. . ." You trailed off, surprised to see a full house standing behind her.

 

"I think I've seen you before. . ." She hummed, taping her chin as her eyes scanned you from head to toe. "You were around Snowdin some time ago, right? You were with Papyrus's brother, if I'm not mistaken.”

 

You nodded to her assumption, smiling at the teenager, who'd waved at you.

 

"Yes. . . I'm (N/n)'s (aunt/uncle)." You explained.

 

"Glad to meet ya, honey!"

 

With that, she shook your hand and made a gesture for you to enter her home, a merry smile tugging at her mouth as she began with her introductions.

 

"This is my husband. . . And these four kiddos are just a few of my children!" She introduced, the triplets waving their paws at you while the teenager took a step forward, offering a hand out to you.

 

"I'm Green." He spoke, smiling. "It's nice to have you here. (N/n)’s in the shower right now, but he should be here soon."

 

You were escorted by him to the living room, where the triplets started to play next to their toy box, whereas their father began to serve some drinks and sweets made by the shopkeeper herself.

 

"I've been wanting to get to know someone from (N/n)'s family!" She spoke, looking at you. "Frogger told me you were originally taking care of 'im, but that you couldn't adopt him at the end?"

 

You nodded slowly, a small and somewhat bitter smile showing up on your face.

 

"I'm, well. . ."

 

Noticing your reluctance towards speaking, she looked back at the bunny children playing together with their toys. She stood up, walking to their side afterwards.

 

"Do you kiddos wanna play outside?" She asked, smiling. "You father has something he wants to show you — Don't you, dear?" She spoke, eyes drifting to her husband, who nodded and stopped serving the drinks, an action which was replaced by Green's assistance. 

 

Once they were gone, she turned back to you while the teenager placed the tray of juice and pastries in front of you, an encouraging smile showing up on his face.

 

"I. . ." You sighed, passing a hand along the back of your neck. "I'm unable to adopt due to an incident with alcohol. . . Five years ago, I was taken to a hospital for alcohol poisoning. And after that, well. . . I've had that incident on my back, and it shows up with stuff like this.”

 

You took a pause, finding it hard to say your next words.

 

"If it weren't for all that, my brother. . . He would've probably let him under my custody — But he didn't trust me anymore after that, and I can't blame him for it."

Chapter Text

Everything came crashing down on you the moment you confessed those thoughts.

 

The fact that you’d let your brother down by ending up in a hospital when he needed you the most and the awareness that he’d died without ever regaining trust on you caused for the world around you to spin. You felt your body shake, until Green placed a hand over your shoulder with a gentle smile present on his face.

 

”You don’t have to keep talking about this if you don’t want to.” He reassured you, his voice soothing to your hearing.

 

”My boy’s right, __________.” The shopkeeper nodded, handing you a glass filled with ice-cold juice in hopes to calm you down. “I just wanted to know more about you, not delve into anything personal.”

 

”It’s okay.” You sighed. “It’s. . . It's not right for me to keep things hidden, when I was the one who brought this over myself – It's not right for me to hide the truth.”

 

One confession.

 

Two confessions.

 

You ended up telling them part of the reasons why you were unable to adopt and mentioned how – after the passing of your grandmother – everything went downhill in terms of his custody.

 

”We were already planning to adopt him.” The shopkeeper mentioned once you finished with your explanation, looking down at her drink as a pained memory made itself present over her thoughts. “Frogger had already set everything up, but days later. . . We were told a woman barged in with a letter, claiming she was the one to take care of (N/n) when your brother passed away.”

 

The somber look on her face was enough to tell you she felt as if part of that had been her responsibility, yet you insisted it was your aunt to blame for that scenario — hinting at how impulsive she often tended to be.

 

”__________!” Your nephew’s voice rang clear in your ears, interrupting your conversation with the shopkeeper. Curious, you looked up at the stairs set next to the kitchen, seeing him going down from them with hasty steps.

 

You were soon ambushed into a tight hug, his body shaking with pent up emotions as he held on tighter by clutching onto your shirt.

 

”I missed you!” He exclaimed, letting you go as he sat on your lap.

 

”It’s only been two weeks.” You joked. “I’m sure you couldn’t’ve missed me that much.”

 

He giggled when receiving a kiss on the cheek, his hands being placed over his knees as he began to question how you were doing.

 

”I’m fine, dear.” You assured him, passing a hand through his hair. “I saw the video and followed your advice.”

 

His eyes brightened with joy, a happy smile showing up on his face.

 

”So you’re still teaching at that school?” He asked. “And what about that skeleton guy?”

 

”I’m still hanging out with him, too.” You chuckled, brushing some of the hair away from his face. “Did you even brush your hair before going down? It’s all messy.”

 

After he arrived at your side, you ended up spending two more hours at their home, their hospitality almost unabling you to leave. With seven people in the house, whenever you said it was time to leave, they found something they wanted to show you. As a result, you stayed for a total of five hours, the last exchange being telling your nephew to be good – that you would visit him whenever you had time and whenever his new family allowed you to.

 

”You're welcome to visit him any time you like – Just let us know beforehand so we can prep things up!”

 

With that, they all said their respective goodbyes, your nephew being the last one as he gave you one final hug before you left.

 

”Take care!” The bunny woman spoke, the rest of the group present waving as you began your walk to the nearby bus stop.

Chapter Text

One ring.

 

Two rings.

 

Picking up the call shortly after three rings, you were greeted by Sans’s voice asking how you were holding up after the meeting with your nephew’s foster family.

 

"How did it go?” He asked, a hint of concern slipping from his tone. “What’s the family like?”

 

”It went well.” You replied, holding the phone tighter as you paced near the bus stop, making sure to keep an eye out for the vehicle to avoid having to wait an hour for another one. “The same couple who wanted to adopt him before ended up taking him in the end – They’re awfully nice, and. . . One of the parents actually knows you. She’s the Snowdin shopkeeper, if I’m not wrong.”

 

”That’s nice.”

 

You tensed at the sheer warmth of his tone, his typically relaxed way of speech replaced and hinting at something else today.

 

“I’m happy for ya – You and (N/n) deserve it.”

 

”Thank you. . .” You muttered, taken aback by the sudden emotion behind his words.

 

You were brought out of your trance by someone tapping you on the shoulder.

 

One of the less nosy co-workers belonging to the Spanish Department had alerted you of the bus's arrival, a smile being directed at him in gratitude for his warning. In spite of the doors having opened, he waited for you, a patient smile enhancing the gentle look on his face.

 

”I gotta go now, but I’ll see you next Saturday.” You dismissed, following the janitor into the bus. The already crowded area made you hold onto the rails alongside him. “And. . . I guess this Monday at school, too.” You then corrected, chuckling. “I keep forgetting we work together now.”

 

”Sure – I’ll see you later, pal.” He agreed. “Have a goodnight.”

 

”You too.”

 

Before you were able to hang up on him, his voice broke through the line again, telling you to wait.

 

"Uh. . ." He began, his voice fading away and being replaced with something shuffling along hushed whispers in the background. "Are you free this Monday after school?"

 

"Yeah." You arched an eyebrow at his question despite him not being able to see it, mind wondering over just what he wanted to speak with you. "What's up?"

 

A beat passed before he was able to respond to that question.

 

"There's somethin' I wanna tell you." Sans answered, the noisy warning that the bus was about to take off causing him to wait until he could carry on with his words. "But it's gotta be in person."

 

"That's cool with me." You shrugged, holding onto the rails tighter as the conductor hit a few bumps in the road. "We can meet up at my classroom after four, if you want."

 

"Sounds good." He agreed. "It's a date, then."

 

With that, you hung up the call, closing your eyes for a moment to contemplate over the conversation you'd just gone through.

 

"Are you alright, (ma'am/sir)?"

 

You flinched at the sound of a warm voice coming from behind you, reminding you that the co-worker was holding on next to you.

 

He still carried the same smile from before — perhaps, having grown even softer when turning to meet with him.

 

"Yeah." You nodded, smiling back at him. "It's just been an eventful day, y'know?"

 

If it weren't for the fact that he wasn't your therapist — even though his smile closely mimicked one's — you would've ended up spilling each of your thoughts right there and then. Instead, you warned yourself not to end up confessing everything in front of him. Biting your tongue, you resisted the urge to tell him all about your nephew and the uncountable doubts you had aside from that.

Chapter Text

Bracing yourself for another session of social confrontations, you stood in front of the door leading to Mettaton’s boutique.

 

You made sure to check over any possible signs of exhaustion over your face after arriving home yesterday five minutes before midnight. The visit to your nephew’s foster home, the delay of the bus due to the sudden rainfall, and the long road back to the complex eventually postponed your plans of arriving home by ten.

 

It was now twelve in the afternoon on a Sunday, the thought that you had to teach tomorrow despite your tired state almost making you wince.

 

One chime.

 

Two chimes.

 

The chime of the bells hung over the boutique's front door alerted the clerk behind the counter of your presence, his apathetic look changing into one of intrigue when recognizing you.

 

"Boss?" He called out, the word seeming to irritate him with how those words left his mouth. 

 

You heard a muffled 'yes?' from behind the door he was staring at, followed by him looking back at you for a brief moment.

 

"The (man/woman) you told me about's here."

 

Almost instantly, the door swung open, in arriving who you assumed was Mettaton due to the way he’d called out your name. In contrast to the time you’d first met him, he was now the shape of a square, the features of his face being composed solely of red and yellow lights. His legs were replaced by a wheel, the only thing left intact being his metallic arms and gloved hands.

 

”We’ve got to get you all set, darling!” He exclaimed, gesturing for you to follow him into the room he’d exited out of, barely allowing you the time to so much as greet the cat-like monster who’d alerted him of your arrival.

 

The only thing you managed was a quick smile and nod, wanting to somehow acknowledge his presence due to the grim, perhaps life-weary look he persistently carried over his face.

 

One try.

 

Two tries.

 

You tried out three different (suits/dresses), all of these which you politely rejected due to Mettaton's tad too extravagant clothing choices making you uncomfortable.

 

"Is there anything more. . . simple-looking?" You asked, looking down at the sparkly outfit you currently wore. "Wouldn't this outshine the brides?"

 

"Oh, please." He laughed, the sound coming off more robotic than usual. "With what they'll be wearing, it'll take Isabel Toledo to be here for her to outdo what I've created!”

 

He took a step closer to you, wrapping the measuring tape around your waist and pulling you against him as he hummed in deep thought.

 

Your breath hitched at his sudden proximity — the only thing preventing you from wanting to flee the scenario being that he wasn't in his 'Ex' form any longer. Having him close to you in a less. . . seductive form allowed your mind some ease and (almost) made you forget about the past.

 

"I think I have one that might just be fit for you."

 

With those words, he left off back to where the suits and dresses stood at, shuffling through the racks until he found what he'd been searching for.

 

"What about this, sweetheart?"

 

He laid out the option in front of your eyes, the elegant simplicity of the (suit/dress) making you nod with a grin.

 

"It looks beautiful." You complimented.

 

"Go try it on!" He urged, hanging it neatly over your arm as he ushered you back inside the changing room. "I can fix whatever's off — I just want to see how you'd look in it!"

 

You nodded firmly, closing the door as you heaved out a breath.

 

With most of your family members having already gotten married and settled down, you forgot how exhausting getting ready for weddings was.

Chapter Text

One measurement.

 

Two measurements.

 

Once Mettaton finished touching up your chosen outfit, he vanished behind another door and — minutes later — came back with the neatly ironed (suit/dress) wrapped in a thin layer of plastic.

 

"Are you really sure I can have this?" You asked, awe present in your tone at the mere mention of taking it as a gift. 

 

"Of course!" He insisted, pushing the dry-cleaned item closer to you to further emphasize his words. "Besides, this makes up for those drinks you bought me back then — Oil-based shots aren't exactly cheap, y'know?"

 

"I had a better income at that time." You returned, not yet ready to accept his present. "You really don't owe me anything."

 

"Oh, but I do!" He remarked, 'booping' your nose with the tip of his finger. "You were there for me when I most needed company."

 

His words left no space for more arguments, leading you to take the clothing without further protest and begin making your way out of the dressing room.

 

You passed by the payment counter, where the bored cat monster from before was now busily tending to a line of teenagers asking him for appointments with Mettaton for their prom.

 

This time, you managed a more genuine smile at him before leaving the boutique, the sight of him returning your salute causing your smile to brighten.

 

One chime.

 

Two chimes.

 

The melody of the bells were the last thing you heard as you came across the ghost who you'd first met by a trash can.

 

"Hey!" You greeted, a ghost of a smile showing on his face. "Napstablook, right?"

 

"Yeah. . ." He bobbed his head. "Sorry for blocking your way — I was going to give my cousin a visit, but it still looks full. . ."

 

You peeked a look back inside the boutique, furrowing your eyebrows as you wondered over what could be done.

 

"Well. . ." You hummed, looking at the business card you'd been gifted with. "I'm not sure if he has an appointment now, but he closes up in three hours — Wanna hang out while he's done?"

 

You could see his dispirited frown turn into the shape of an 'o', followed by a stutter and him shifting with unease.

 

"It's okay." He shook his head, looking down at the pavement. "I don't want to bother you or anything. . ."

 

"It's fine!" You insisted, giving him a careful nudge on where his shoulder would be to avoid fazing through him. "I have nothing else to do for today."

 

You waited for his response, observing how he fumbled with his fingerless hands as his eyes jumped from one corner to the other.

 

"Sure." He accepted, a small smile returning to his face. "That sounds nice. . ."

 

Grinning back at him, you encouraged him to follow you to the coffee shop nearby, being it the only place quiet and calm enough around the city that wouldn't scare him away nor make him feel uncomfortable.

 

You both shared stories dating back since the last day you'd spoken with him and drank some coffee afterwards — the latter which he reluctantly agreed to, seeing as you insisted on paying for it.

Chapter Text

You were tackled down by Blue and Bun-Bun the moment they burst through the door, your worry over their absence on Friday after their incident the day before fading away the very second you saw them smiling.

 

"We're still friends!" Bun-Bun announced, pride showing through the stance she held as Blue nodded happily at that sentence.

 

"No matter what happens, we're gonna stick to each other 'till we grow old — just like you're doin' with the Astronomy Prof!" Blue added, shying away the instant she realized she'd said that loud enough for the few students around her to hear. 

 

You felt something heavy fall upon the pit of your stomach after pretty much having her hint at you being old, but you soon shook that thought away, reminding yourself you were still on your (late) twenties.

 

"I'm proud of you both!" You encouraged, smiling at the pair, eyes briefly trailing over to the students making their way inside the classroom in a neat line. 

 

After waving at them to let them know you'd acknowledged their presence, you proceeded to look through your work satchel in search for some stickers.

 

Gingerly, you reached out for the top of their hands and placed a smiley face on them, an action which made them giggle once seeing they matched with each other. The bunny child sported a human smiley face, while the human child wore a bunny one.

 

"Thanks, (miss/mister) __________!" Bun-Bun spoke, hooking her arm with her friend's.

 

Blue only resorted to another bob of her head, her quiet demeanor returning after being broken shortly with her excitement over telling you how the counseling had gone.

 

One lesson.

 

Two lessons.

 

You finished giving your last two evening classes for the day, exhaustion falling upon you the second the last student left through your door.

 

Slumping yourself on top of your desk, you wondered over just how you were to find the energy to last until Friday, the busy weekend you'd gone through showing up now that Monday had almost come to an end.

 

It wasn't long until you had to regain some energy to stand back up to open the door, hearing someone knock at it.

 

"Damn."

 

You perked up when recognizing the voice, looking down to meet with the short skeleton you were now (working) partners with.

 

"I was gonna make a knock-knock joke, but it looks like the day's knocked you down enough already."

 

You managed a weak smile at his comment, allowing him to enter your classroom as he sat down on one of the student’s seats, his small frame allowing him to fit almost perfectly in it.

 

"What's got ya smilin'?" He asked, noticing the way you tried to hide your grin from that observation.

 

"Nothing — Just. . . thinking to myself." You muffled a laugh, hiding your smile away from his sight by picking up your belongings to follow him out of the classroom. "Where're we going, anyway? You didn't say much about it during the phone call."

 

"It's a surprise."

 

"Aw, c'mon — Not even a hint to where it's at?"

 

"Nope."

 

Giving up on obtaining that information for the time being, you picked up your satchel and the keys laying on the desk, balancing them on your index finger. He promptly hooked his arm with yours, leading you out of the classroom in silence.

 

One goodbye.

 

Two goodbyes.

 

As you walked along the path leading to the exit, you continue to wave your goodbyes at the acquaintances nearby, arm still hooked with Sans's. It doesn't take long before you arrive at the parking lots next to the gates, the traitorous bunny from the Science Department perking up with curiosity when spotting you.

 

It's clear she notices the sudden proximity shared between you and the skeleton, though instead of teasing you or turning smug like the janitor, she asks if you're still up for having her drive you to your apartment today.

 

"It's cool." Sans intervened, the sound of his voice catching you off guard. "They're coming with me today."

 

Before you could wonder over what his plan is, he gestured over to Papyrus parked a few lots away from where the bunny stood at. Looking at that direction, you noticed the red convertible you once remembered him owning was now swapped with an elder-looking model sporting a few bumps, along with some faint paint wear by the sides.

Chapter Text

One turn.

 

Two turns.

 

You tried to calm down the anxious feeling of being with the founder of the organization that pretty much kept peace between humans and monsters afloat — aside from the work Frisk had gone through as an ambassador to allow monsters get where they were now.

 

Papyrus had insisted you took the front passenger seat, despite how reluctant you were over taking it. The sight of Sans sitting on the backseat left you feeling tense, awkward, and pretty much just completely out-of-place.

 

”So, tell me, __________. . .” Papyrus began, taking a third turn towards the place he and Sans were adamant about keeping secret. “When did you begin dating my brother?”

 

You almost choked on air at the sudden bluntness of his question, leading you to look away and focus your stare on the greenery beginning to unfold itself shortly after leaving the city.

 

From the corner of your eye, you could see Sans do the same.

 

”Uh. . . I haven’t really –“

 

”A few weeks.” Sans intervened, his voice cutting through the silence like a sharp knife on thin rope.

 

“Really?” Papyrus narrowed his gaze at those words, clutching tighter onto the steering wheel as he looked at Sans through the small mirror set in front of him. “I believe one of my employees said it was five months.”

 

You froze at that statement, remembering the fire monster lady from almost a month ago. 

 

“We weren’t sure what to say back then.” The shorter skeleton of the two defended. “But we didn’t wanna get her hopes down.”

 

”It is not right to give her false hopes, either.” 

 

“It was my fault, sir.” You chimed in, not wanting to stay silent in regards to that topic. “I didn’t want to turn her down, so I came up with that story right on the spot.”

 

Papyrus’s gaze softened after those words, his grip on the wheel loosening as he heaved his tension away.

 

"Though I appreciate your honesty, I would like for you to keep in mind what you told her — If I had not put up an act myself, she would have felt betrayed."

 

"We're both at fault." Sans intervened, straightening his posture on the back seat, something you caught brief sight of from the front mirror. "We both thought the same and agreed to do it."

 

His words were finite, allowing his brother some peace, which he used to concentrate back on driving, the dots on his skull following the road in front of him.

 

One pause.

 

Two pauses.

 

A long-lasting sense of tension remained within you, the thought that you could say something else before you arrived at the place Sans wanted to take you to making your mind rack up anxiety.

 

Awkwardly, you looked back towards Sans, who'd fallen asleep now that quietude fell upon you again. You then glanced at Papyrus, a frown showing up on your face, still not convinced that you'd said enough to be satisfied yet.

 

"I'm deeply sorry, sir." You spoke up, taking in a breath to calm down. "It was two-faced of me to act the way I did. . . even though I tell my students to always be honest with others."

 

"I have already accepted both your and my brother's apologies." Papyrus replied. "I simply do not wish to see this happen again — The lady you told that to has not left this city because of your words, and though I do believe it is partially good. . . She and her family turned down an opportunity of a peaceful and happier life, solely for what she witnessed over on Waterfall.

Chapter Text

You froze the moment you stepped foot into the bar, taking in the sight of many monster-human couples sitting around, chatting and drinking happily without a care in the world. A pianist was on a far corner of the room, accompanied by a saxophonist and a drummer, along with a trumpet and a bongo player, all five of them joining together to create a cocktail of jazz and Latin music.

 

“Whaddya think?” Sans asked, directing a bashful grin to your side.

 

Focusing again on your surroundings, you noticed another fire monster standing behind the counter, this one a blue flame as she poured drinks with the help of what seemed to be her significant other. He was a lanky man with a strong jaw, full beard, and thick eyebrows, cashing in the payments customers began to hand out.

 

“This is. . . really something," you mumbled, finding support in the midst of your confusion by holding his hand tighter. “I honestly regret doubting you in the first place.”

 

“No hard feelings, pal.” He laughed. “I took ya here to have a good time, so let’s focus on that for now.”

 

Nodding, you walked forward, sitting down with Sans on one of the empty tables for two, trying to move away from the few couples around that were getting too steamy as the night went on. Most of them, however, seemed to be pleased simply with holding hands or  by telling jokes to one another.

 

“Sh – Should I really have a drink?” You asked, suddenly growing conscious of the place you were in. “I just. . . I feel like I’ll end up having too much or get all carried away.”

 

“It’s fine – We have each other, and we can set it straight if something’s gettin’ outta hand,” he assured you, his smile widening slightly as he pointed at one of the drinks on the menu. “This one’s good if you’re looking for somethin' easy.”

 

You focused on the drink he pointed at, heat rushing up the back of your neck when reading the name.

 

Soul intercourse. 

 

“Oh my gosh," you blurted, pushing the menu away from your sight. “That’s too much!”

 

“It’s the softest drink they have.”

 

“You know what I’m taking about!”

 

A second of silence passed with you looking at one another, the two of you erupting in laughter afterwards.

 

"Oh geez. . ." You chuckled, placing a hand over your face as you shook your head. "You really got me there."

 

"Your face was worth it." He snickered. "For a moment, it looked like all the blood drained from your face."

 

One drink.

 

Two drinks.

 

You had only three drinks of the one Sans had recommended, the name leading you to try convince him into ordering them. Of course, he wasn't going to give in that easy, so you ended up pointing the item to the bartender, almost stuttering a 'yes' when she asked you if it was the 'Soul Intercourse' one.

 

Now, you were a little bubbly, though not enough to make you feel entirely dizzy and out of it. The empty glass in your hands shone under the bright lighting of the room as you fumbled with it.

 

"(Y/n)?" Sans began, setting his half-empty drink down to face you.

 

"Yeah?"

 

"I need you to follow me to the message board real quick," he explained, pointing at the large board covered with newspaper clippings and set two tables away from the band. The group had switched some of their instruments to begin playing 'Love for Sale' by Sergio Mendes. "There's somethin' I've wanting to show ya, and I think today's the day for that."

Chapter Text

You stared with attentive eyes at the message board in front of you, unable to process all the information you were reading.

 

Year 20XX : After days since the Barrier's shattering, XX country reports the first death of a monster in the hands of a human.

 

Year 20XX : After almost a year of monsters residing on their lands, XX country to decriminalize monster-human relationships outside of the work environment.

 

Year 20XX : After constant protests and complaints, XX country to make illegal romantic and 'intimate' relationships between humans and monsters.

 

"I. . . I hadn't really given this much thought —  the thing about monster-human relationships, I mean." You broke the silence, taking a moment to look at the reports again.

 

"That's why I brought you here."

 

You both backed away from the board filled with decade-old newspaper clippings, sitting on a more private area of the bar. The table had dim lighting and was mostly out of everyone's line of sight, allowing you some time alone with him.

 

"You've been helpin' the school ever since you applied there, right?" Sans asked, making eye contact with you. "I figured you'd like to know more about monsters."

 

"And what the Underground was like, too." You agreed, nodding. "I had two girls get into a fight 'cause of their different views, so I'd really like to know more to understand them better."

 

"Whatddya like to know, then?"

 

"Well, I've learned how it all started from History books. . . What was life like at the Underground?"

 

.   .   .

 

Claustrophobia.

 

That was one word to describe what it felt like.

 

The feeling you got after exploring the entirety of the Underground. . . It felt as if you were living trapped under a dome, one that you couldn't escape from unless you were willing to spill the blood of seven humans to obtain their souls.

 

At least, that was what monsters were always told.

 

Asgore felt the life sucked out of him when he saw Frisk break the Barrier — without having to give up their life or soul away.

 

Needless to say, the King was devastated — And he still is now, after almost eleven years since monsters reached the Surface.

 

Grim tales aside, the fact that a human child explored the Underground in less than a week didn't help with the feeling of claustrophobia.

 

For centuries, monsters had lived in a place they could explore in less than a week.

 

And let's not forget the fantasies that were shattered — the utter thought that everything would turn out well the moment monsters arrived at the Surface.

 

Schools separating human children from monster children were soon established, along with laws that prohibited monsters and humans to share both work and living spaces.

 

Everything had gone to Hell, and most monsters — as well as those humans who didn't despise them — were losing their HP. . . their Hope.

 

Once more, the former King of Monsters blamed himself for his race's shortcomings. As he watched hate crimes constantly being dished out, he regretted not being wise enough to understand the complexity of what awaited them at the Surface.

 

If it hadn't been for Frisk — the monster ambassador — and Papyrus — the founder of Hu-Mons — it would've taken a lot longer to get where they stand now.

 

Perhaps, you wouldn't even met each other until Heaven knows when. Or at all.

 

.   .   .

 

"That's. . ." you muttered, at complete loss for words.

 

"It's cool if you need time to soak everythin' in."

 

"Do you trust me?"

 

The light of his irises seemed to dim for a brief moment, question catching him off guard.

 

"I. . ." the skeleton trailed off, taking in a breath.

 

He leaned in over the round table keeping little distance between you, reaching out for your face.

 

Slowly, his thumb rubbed against your cheek and his hand brought you closer to him. He stared straight into your eyes, gaze softening for barely a second before he returned with his guarded expression.

 

"I do."

 

His cold breath hit against your lips, the faint scent of alcohol masked with menthol taking over your sense of smell. 

 

"I like you, (Y/n)."

Chapter Text

You fumbled with your fingers and clenched your jaw, eyes facing your lap as you took in the melody about to end. The time on your phone showed it was barely two hours away from reaching midnight, and although you’d been tired since classes came to an end, the words he’d directed at you had woken you right back up.

 

“I. . .” You gulped the tension in your throat, palms patting at the fabric of your uniform to wipe away the cold sweat. “I like you, too.”

 


To your surprise, you could see his irises shift in colour, a hint of happiness showing over his skull.

 


“Great.” The same, warm tone he used when giving you a call rose again, leading you to look away from facing your lap, moving on instead to grasp at the glass of water one of the waiters had left to ease the effects of alcohol and prevent any future hangovers in the process. “’Cause I’ve been wantin' to invite you to Undyne and Alph’s wedding. . . I, uh, just didn’t know how to bring it up.”

 

“Did you set all this up just to invite me?” you teased, a grin matching the mischief in your tone.

 

“Caught me in the act, eh?” He laughed. “But really, (Y/n). . . I meant what I said.”

 

“I wasn’t doubting you,” you corrected, directing a warmer — genuine — smile towards him. “I was just wanting to see what your reaction would be.”

 

One drink.

 

Two drinks.

 

You gulped the water you’d been given, letting out a relieved gasp when drinking down to the last drop.

 

“Care for more water, (ma’am/sir)?”

 

The waiter who’d earlier approached you to check on how you were both doing arrived again, a pitcher of water in hand and some towels hung over his arm. Sans still had his own glass full, so he rejected him with the wave of his hand whereas you nodded to the offer.

 

“Thank you,” you spoke up, watching how he left off with a quick half-bow after filling your glass.

 

“Want me to follow you back home?” Sans offered, noticing the way you drank your second fill of water as if your life depended on it.

 

Though you didn’t want to admit it, the drinks they served here were levels stronger than the ones you had over at previous bars, and it made for even the softest drink – of which you were still unaccustomed to say out loud – to have an effect on you. Your cheeks had grown warm and your eyesight was getting blurry which each passing minute.

 

“I wouldn’t want to keep you any longer, but if you’re up for it, then. . .” A pause followed after that last word, the feeling of nausea beginning to settle over you. “Sure.”

 

“You’re drunk, aren’t ya?” he prodded, taking a moment to analyze the way you tried to force past your blurry vision.

 

You smiled at that question, the tone he used similar to the one you’d used when asking him about the wedding invitation.

 

“A little,” you admitted, pressing a hand against your cheek. “The drinks here are. . . a bit tougher than what I’m used to.”

 

One payment.

 

Two payments.

 

Once you both split the bill — something which you insisted on — you left the building. Now, you were left to wait again by the bus stop, the two of you agreeing it was too late to call Papyrus or anyone else for a ride back home.

 

While you waited, you laid your head against Sans's shoulder bone, thanking him the moment he removed the suit jacket of his work uniform to wrap your top half with it.

 

You shifted on your resting position for a moment, wanting to face with him before you said your next words.

 

”Thank you for all this,” you began, unable to hold back the urge to cup his cheekbone with your free hand. “It was nice getting to spend time like this again.”

 

The sight of him not brushing your hand away made for nausea to be replaced with calm – if only briefly. 

 

[*Knowing that – little by little – you’ve managed to get where you are now fills you with perseverance.]